Sunday, November 30, 2008

A Positive Story in College Football

From a college football program that is renowned for its wins, head coach, national championships, and, unfortunately, troubled inner-city athletes, the "feel good" story of the 2008 college football season surprisingly comes out of Tallahassee, Florida, home of the Florida State Seminoles.

Seminoles junior safety Myron Rolle announced yesterday that he will bypass his senior year of eligibility to accept his Rhodes Scholarship and study in Oxford, England, starting next October. Rolle was projected to be a high NFL draft pick in either the 2008 or 2009 draft.

Rolle, an aspiring neurosurgeon, was awarded the scholarship last weekend. He is the first Florida State football player to be so honored.

Rolle said he cannot delay the Rhodes Scholarship and is trying to decide whether he will participate in the next NFL scouting combine in Indianapolis in February. He also is considering training before and after his studies at Oxford and trying out for the NFL afterward.

"I want to be a neurosurgeon," Rolle said. "And I want to help impoverished nations build up their vaccination programs. I think in many poor countries, vaccination programs and mental health programs are wrongly pushed aside."

Thank you Myron Rolle for serving as a role model for student-athletes in an era where the only non-sports news they typically produce revolve around suspensions, arrests, and violence. Sadly, Rolle's positive story has not had much of an impact on his own teammates. This past week, two Florida State freshman wide receivers were arrested on misdemeanor battery charges stemming from a fight in the student union two weeks ago.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

The 10,000-Hour Investment

Malcolm Gladwell has written a fascinating study, "Outliers: The Story of Success", which should make a lot of people feel much better about not achieving instant success. In fact, he says it takes about 10 years, or 10,000 hours, of practice to attain true expertise.

"The people at the very top don't just work harder or even much harder than everyone else," Gladwell writes. "They work much, much harder." Achievement, he says, is talent plus preparation. Preparation seems to play a bigger role.

For example, he describes The Beatles' rise to fame: They had been together seven years before their famous arrival in America. They spent a lot of time playing in strip clubs in Hamburg, Germany, sometimes for as long as eight hours a night. John Lennon said of those years: "We got better and got more confidence. We couldn't help it with all the experience playing all night long." Overnight sensation? Not exactly. Estimates are that that the band performed live 1,200 times before their big success in 1964. By comparison, most bands don't perform 1,200 times in their careers.

Neurologist Daniel Levitin has studied the formula for success extensively, and shares this finding: "The emerging picture from such studies is that 10,000 hours of practice is required to achieve the level of mastery associated with being a world-class expert in anything. In study after study of composers, basketball players, fiction writers, ice skaters, concert pianists, chess players, master criminals, and what have you, the number comes up again and again. Of course, this doesn't address why some people get more out of their practice sessions than others do. But no one has yet found a case in which true world-class expertise was accomplished in less time. It seems it takes the brain this long to assimilate all that it needs to know to achieve true mastery." Two computer giants, Bill Joy, who co-founded Sun Microsystems, and Bill Gates, co-founder of Microsoft, also were proof of the 10,000-hour theory. Their years of hard work paid off, don't you think?

As Gladwell puts it, "Practice isn't the thing you do once you're good. It's the thing you do that makes you good."

Consider these thoughts from successful folks in all walks of life:

-- "A winner is someone who recognizes his God-given talents, works his tail off to develop them into skills, and uses these skills to accomplish his goals." -- Larry Bird, basketball star turned coach/team president.

-- "No one can arrive from being talented alone. God gives talent; work transforms talent into genius." -- Anna Pavlova, ballerina.

-- "I know the price of success: dedication, hard work and an unremitting devotion to the things you want to see happen." -- Frank Lloyd Wright, architect.

-- "The way to learn to do things is to do things. The way to learn a trade is to work at it. Success teaches how to succeed. Begin with the determination to succeed, and the work is half done already." -- Mark Twain, writer and humorist.

-- "Things may come to those who wait. But only the things left by those who hustle." -- President Abraham Lincoln.

Do you detect a theme here?

The abilities these people possessed were far-ranging, yet the formula for success was the same: hard work and lots of it. I don't know anyone who has succeeded any other way. Some people just make it look easy. Of course, you probably didn't see the first 9,999 hours of hard work. And you don't just have to work hard; you have to work smart, too.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

What Every Child Should Know About Thanksgiving

The following piece was written by former Speaker Newt Gingrich for Human Events. The R.C. Blog wishes everyone a happy, safe, and faith-filled Thanksgiving!

Second only to Independence Day, Thanksgiving is a uniquely American holiday. And as an American holiday, it is rooted deeply -- like our nation -- in faith in God.

The earliest Thanksgivings were celebrated by Americans who were keenly aware that their blessings -- like their rights -- came from God. In times of hardship unimaginable to us today, they took time to give thanks to their Creator.

Throughout early American history, when they suffered from drought, famine or war, Americans paused, not to seek vengeance or to question their faith, but to give thanks to God for the blessings they still had.

At a time when the economic news seems to get worse every day, it’s important to remember the humble faith of these early Americans. They didn’t just give thanks when times were good, they gave thanks when times were bad -- especially when times were bad.
Today is a decidedly different time in America.

Not only have many Americans forgotten or never learned the historic origins of our Thanksgiving -- to pause and give thanks to God for our abundance -- but radical secularists are intent on removing God and faith from our national life altogether.

Many of the entertainment and political elite seem to be threatened by religious faith.

Others seem intent on denying or whitewashing the central role that religious faith has played in American history, such as the attempt to whitewash God out of the Capitol Visitor’s Center. These radical secularists seek to portray those who acknowledge this historical fact as theocrats intent on imposing their religion on others.

In fact, to acknowledge the centrality of God in American history is to acknowledge America’s great freedom of religion -- the freedom to worship and the freedom not to worship. Many Americans have taken advantage of this freedom by drawing closer to their Creator. They understand, even if so many of our media and political elites don’t, that religious freedom is the cornerstone of all of our freedoms.

The centrality of God in Thanksgiving in America comes through in the words of some of our greatest national leaders:

Virginia Governor Thomas Jefferson, in 1779: “[I] appoint … a day of public Thanksgiving to Almighty God … to [ask] Him that He would … pour out His Holy Spirit on all ministers of the Gospel; that He would … spread the light of Christian knowledge through the remotest corners of the earth … and that He would establish these United States upon the basis of religion and virtue.”

President George Washington’s first federal Thanksgiving proclamation in 1789: “Whereas it is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favor.… Now, therefore, I do appoint Thursday, the 26th day of November 1789 … that we may all unite to render unto Him our sincere and humble thanks for His kind care and protection.”

President Abraham Lincoln, making Thanksgiving an annual national holiday in 1863, in the midst of the Civil War: “No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy.”

It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently, and gratefully acknowledged, as with one heart and one voice, by the whole American people.

Our leaders have not been alone in celebrating God’s gifts at Thanksgiving, of course.

I conclude with a poem by Lizelia Augusta Jenkins Moorer, an African-American poet writing at the turn of the 20th century. Her generous, hopeful view of Thanksgiving is made even more remarkable by the suffering and discrimination she endured as an African-American in the late 19th and early 20th century.


Let us give thanks to God above,
Thanks for expressions of His love,
Seen in the book of nature, grand
Taught by His love on every hand.

Let us be thankful in our hearts,
Thankful for all the truth imparts,
For the religion of our Lord,
All that is taught us in His word.

Let us be thankful for a land,
That will for such religion stand;
One that protects it by the law,
One that before it stands in awe.

Thankful for all things let us be,
Though there be woes and misery;
Lessons they bring us for our good-
Later 'twill all be understood.

Thankful for peace o'er land and sea,
Thankful for signs of liberty,
Thankful for homes, for life and health,
Pleasure and plenty, fame and wealth.

Thankful for friends and loved ones, too,
Thankful for all things, good and true,
Thankful for harvest in the fall,
Thankful to Him who gave it all.

Monday, November 24, 2008

R.C. Blog Celebrates Milestone!

Starting out on August 12, 2008 with a blog piece and video clip on the character (or lackthereof...) of Senator Obama, the R.C. Blog was launched. This past Saturday, the blog celebrated a milestone with its 100th blog post.

Over these first 2+ months, the R.C. Blog has received tremendous support and encouragement by traditional Conservatives and Catholics from around the world. For those of you who go to the blog regularly or, in some cases, daily, we thank you.

Here are some of the numbers we have seen over the first 100 posts:

  • The R.C. Blog has welcomed more than 10,200 visitors from 19 countries, including U.S. visitors in more than 350 cities.
  • An ad link to the R.C. Blog has been included in nearly 500,000 Google searches.
  • The R.C. Blog has been included in various "Wikipedia" pages related to Conservatives and Ronald Reagan as a reliable external reference.
  • The R.C. Blog was selected as one of the nation's best Conservative blogs by "UrbanConservative", a leading Conservative Blog firm.
  • Nearly 60 email subscribers get free daily R.C. Blog reports each morning on the previous day's posts.
  • The R.C. Blog started its own "TV network" on to feature embedded video clips.
  • The R.C. Blog also recently added its first regular (and not last...) correspondent (Christian Stockel) for additional Conservative insight and commentary.
As you can see, it has been an exciting first few months and we look forward to serving Conservatives everywhere in the future. In the future, look for new and exciting features, including exclusive interviews with past, present, and future Conservative leaders.

As always, we thank you for your support!

More Reasoning for the Failure of the Big Three

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Origin and History of the Solemnity of Christ the King

Tomorrow (11/23), the Roman Catholic Church will celebrate the Solemnity of Christ the King.

Here is some background information on this feast day:

On December 11, 1925, towards the end of that Holy Year, Pope Pius XI instituted this liturgical celebration as a feast ranked as a Double of the First Class with his encyclical Quas Primas.

The title of the feast was "D. N. Jesu Christi Regis" (Our Lord Jesus Christ the King), and the date was "the last Sunday of the month of October - the Sunday, that is, which immediately precedes the Feast of All Saints".

In Pope John XXIII's 1960 revision of the Calendar, the date and title remained the same and, in the new simpler ranking of feasts, it was classified as a feast of the first class.

In 1969, Pope Paul VI gave the celebration a new title: "D. N. Iesu Christi universorum Regis" (Our Lord Jesus Christ King of All). He also gave it a new date: the last Sunday in the liturgical year, before a new year begins with the First Sunday in Advent, the earliest date for which is November 27. Through this choice of date "the eschatological importance of this Sunday is made clearer". He assigned to it the highest rank, that of "Solemnity".

As happens with all Sundays whose liturgies are replaced by those of important feasts, the prayers of the Sunday on which the celebration of Christ the King falls are used on the ferias (weekdays) of the following week. The Sunday liturgy is thus not totally omitted.

It is also celebrated by the Legionaries of Christ order of priests and its associated international lay ecclesial movement, Regnum Christi, as "Regnum Christi Day". Its members are invited to spiritually renew their decision to give their lives to Christ out of love, and to do everything they can to make the Kingdom of Christ a strong and growing reality in society.

Buckeyes Rout Michigan, 42-7

My beloved Ohio State Buckeyes defeated a scrappy, yet completely overmanned Michigan Wolverines team 42-7 this afternoon before a sold out crowd at The 'Shoe in Columbus. It was the 105th meeting of what is known throughout the sports world as "The Rivalry".

OSU coach Jim Tressel continues to immortalize his place in Ohio State history having now gone 7-1 against their arch rival from Ann Arbor.

With Penn State cruising against Michigan State in the battle for the "Land Grant Trophy" (whatever that is...), it looks like the Bucks will finish the season tied with PSU for the Big Ten title, but they lose the head-to-head tiebreaker.

The Buckeyes will be headed most likely to Orlando to play in the Capital One Bowl against an SEC team on 1/1/09. It would be nice to end the misery against the SEC finally....

By the way, I told everyone all week (work, vanpool, friends, etc.) that the betting line of Ohio State -20.5 was the "lock of the week" and I predicted a final score of 42-7.

Friday, November 21, 2008

The Big Three Bailout – Socialism's Redux

The R.C. Blog is pleased to publish the first, in what we hope are many, regular opinion pieces on current economic and political issues from one of the most knowledgeable and charismatic Conversatives in No. Va. -- Christian Stockel.

Mr. Stockel, to be exclusively featured on the R.C. Blog, has a wealth of knowledge and experience in global economics and financial management and was a senior official in the federal government and worked directly on many of the issues confronting our current economic problems.

The R.C. Blog proudly presents "Thoughts from the Right Side"...

Thoughts from the Right Side - Christian Stockel

Congress continued its inquisition of executives from the Big Three today executed under the pretense of finding a way of "saving" the big three from extinction. Unfortunately, the political narrative being fed to the American public hides the real objective Congress and the political allies of the Democrat party. This objective has nothing to do with the survival of the American automobile industry and everything to do with saving the UAW and paving the way for a more involved Federal presence in the private economy. A brief review and comparison of the questions posed to the executives and union bosses tell the entire story. Now don't get me wrong. I enjoy the irony of having Barney Frank and Co. lecturing Detroit executives on fiduciary responsibility, fiscal discipline, and long term thinking as much as anyone else; however, if the CEOs of General Motors, Ford, and Chrysler knew what was good for them and their companies, they would run and file Chapter 11 bankruptcy before their corporate jets lift their wheels from the runways at Dulles Airport.

Despite the popular myth that 3-4 million jobs will disappear unless the auto industry get a chance to suck at the government teat, the fact is bankruptcy (Chapter 11 style) and restructuring would most likely result in a leaner, meaner, and more competitive industry that doesn't rely on UAW labor. The fact is a total restructuring of these firms will enable to follow a successful model of production employed by foreign manufacturers in the southern U.S. The Big Three wouldn't disappear; in fact, they would thrive, free of Congressional money and control. That strikes fear in Congressional Democrats. A successful U.S. auto industry setting up shop in a southern red state (yes there are still some left) and leaving blue state Michigan to fade further would put an inconvenient crimp in the Democrat model of economic development and be an uncomfortable story line to explain to the American public. It is interesting listening to Rep. Barney Frank bemoan how the the blue collar workers are being overlooked in the Federal bail-out bonanza that favors white collar industries and workers. However his real aim is to keep the UAW relevant and their members in job contracts that have hamstrung domestic auto manufacturers for over 30 years and in the Democrat party's hip pocket.

Currently, UAW workers at GM, Ford, and Chrysler earn an average hourly wage of $71.00 including benefits. In comparison, American workers at Japanese, European, and Korean car manufacturers in the US earn an average of $37.00. This does not include the extravagant retirement benefits and iron clad job protection schemes (e.g., you can't fire people that are poor performers) that have been extorted from the Big Three. Add to that the simple fact that a company like GM supports almost two retirees for every active worker and one can easily visualize the tight spot in which the American companies find themselves. Try being swift and nimble with that anchor tied around your neck. Chapter 11 restructuring would put these contracts and job guarantees in jeopardy. After backing Barack Obama and the Democrats substantially in the past election, the UAW is going to use their leverage to protect their current position – as untenable as it may be. The made their bet and won – they will make sure that they get the pay off. Add the ill-named Employee Free Choice Act and you have a business killing environment we haven't seen since 1929. To be sure, the demands and interests of other liberal interest groups will find their way into this discussion. The environmental lobby, economic justice lobby, and I am sure the gay rights lobby will find a way to interject themselves in this effort.

Congress is looking to put together a bailout package that will not only resolve the Big Three's short term liquidity problem and provide a political win for the Democrat controlled Congress, but maintain the current labor and management model that will inevitably result in the demise of our domestic automobile industry. However, in today's short-term news cycle and public memory – that is not important. As sad as this scenario may be, the long term implications will be worse than a large spike in Michigan's already depressing unemployment rate, a sudden lack of new Corvettes, some worthless stock, and the rapid deployment of executive golden parachutes.

In fact, the scenario being played out in Congress is simply a continuation of the political narrative established in the presidential election by the Obama campaign. A narrative that re-wrote history and planted the false notion of the “failure of capitalism” in the public consciousness and the need for a “responsible role” of the federal government in the private economy. This narrative was unchallenged by the McCain campaign and the leadership of the Republican party. (Remember, “our guy” is the one who talked about having the government pay people's mortgages.) This narrative changed the nature of the public debate and is what gave the Democrat party an image of being more responsible than Republicans when it comes to addressing issues in the economy. With the presidency secured and large majorities in the House and Senate, the Democrats are using the current economic crisis as a backdrop to ram through their agenda. This agenda; however, will be far less moderate than Obama let on in the campaign and will be in fact a far-left. socialist agenda. On the heels of unprecedented government ownership and entanglement in the financial industry, Congress is poised to give the government an unprecedented role in the automobile industry. Ideas that have been discussed so far have included government ownership of stock, government representation on the boards of these companies, and of course significant government input in management-labor relations. One can only imagine what the next Cadillac or Mustang will look like with the design, engineering, and management input of Congress. Envision an all electric Pacer with recycled denim interior in pastel colors with an EPA mandated governor limiting it to 25 mph.

As this circus unfolds in front of us, we conservatives should be asking who on our side in Congress is raising the voice of resistance to the steady march of managed economics and left wing madness. Who is articulating the virtues of free markets and limited government? No – sorry – those are just crickets you hear. After getting bruised in the most recent election cycle – few Republicans are offering any political or rhetorical resistance. It is even more painful to see the Republican Presidential candidate reaching across the aisle and looking to make a deal. It seems many Republicans are only looking at the short term political implications of current economic difficulties and ignore the larger risk and potential disaster that will result from this constant bail-out process. Once this precedent is established – no industry will be safe from federal meddling. As the siren call of federal bail-out funds beckons struggling companies, an ever growing list of American industries will be snared in Congress' grasp and corporate boards headed by the likes of Dodd, Schumer, Pelosi, Reid, and Waxman will be a reality. It signals the death of American free enterprise and the unique American economic model. One day in the near future, many of us who know better will all wake up and realize we are living in a cheap copy of France without the benefit of its food and wine.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Videos from Last Week's Heritage Foundation President's Club in Washington

The Heritage Foundation has just posted several videos from last week's President's Club Fall Meeting in Washington. Here are a few of the videos from the event...

Heritage President Ed Feulner
on the state of the Conservative movement

Rep. Mike Pence (Ind.)
on Conservative principles

The dinner address by
the Honorable William J. Bennett

PG County Police Hold Funeral for Abandoned Infant

In the Washington, D.C. metropolitan county of Prince George's County, Md., it is nice (for a change) to see a positive news story regarding its police department. Dealing with one of the most violent counties on the East Coast, the police department finally received some "above the fold" positive press in the Washington Post. The men and women in the PG Police Department exhibited great respect for life, especially for the innocent life of a newborn found in a trash bag.

Honoring 'a Baby No One Loved'
Prince George's Police Hold Funeral for Abandoned Infant

The homicide detectives stood in the cold wind yesterday at a quiet Clinton cemetery to bury an infant they named Maria del Pilar. They were the only mourners.

A month ago, the newborn was found alive in a trash bag in the Takoma Park area. She died later that day, and her mother was charged with murder. No one stepped forward to bury her, so Price George's County police officers gathered yesterday morning to do so themselves.

"This was a baby no one loved. This was a child who did absolutely nothing wrong," said Maj. Daniel Dusseau, head of major crimes for the Prince George's police.

Maria is the third infant whom Prince George's police have named and buried at Resurrection Cemetery in Clinton, a somber ritual that officers say is both cathartic and, they hope, a reminder to parents of what happens when they abandon a baby.

Buried next to Maria are two others: John Caleb Daniels, who was found in a plastic grocery bag in Oxon Hill in 2004, and Maria Grace Daniels, who was found in a plastic bag in a sediment pond in Riverdale Park in 2006.

The children could have been taken to a hospital, a church, a fire station or another safe haven, as allowed under Maryland state law, authorities said. Instead, police investigated their deaths and planned their funerals.

The lead investigator in Maria's case, Detective Nelson Rhone, organized yesterday's service and helped name Baby Jane Doe: Maria, because she was Hispanic, and del Pilar, after the Virgin of El Pilar, who is celebrated in Spain on Oct. 12, the day of the baby's birth and death.

"Every detective wants to close his case and provide some closure for the family. Unfortunately, when there is no family, the only closure we can provide is to the infant," Rhone said.

The funeral was a collaborative effort: The Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 89 raised money for a headstone, Lee's Funeral Home donated all services and a tiny coffin, Clinton Floral Shop sent a basket of pink carnations and white daisies, and the police chaplain performed the ceremony.
In addition to showing compassion to infants who died within hours of birth, the funerals help detectives cope with the heartbreak of such cases, said Steve Rhoads, the police chaplain. Most people don't realize the strong bond that investigators often form with victims whose deaths they are trying to solve, he said.

"They think that these guys are robots and unfeeling," Rhoads said. "This proves that they are not."

The cases of the first two abandoned babies are unsolved, but police have an arrest in Maria's death because of an anonymous tip. Four days after Maria was found, Prince George's police arrested Wendy Y. Villatoro, 25, who lived in the Takoma Park area. She admitted abandoning the infant, police said, and was charged with second-degree murder. The baby's extended family declined to claim the body.

"These are the kinds of victims your heart just breaks for, because they were completely innocent," said Detective Kelly Rogers, who helped organize a funeral for Maria Grace Daniels, the baby found in Riverdale Park. "Most of us have kids and know that if you just hear somebody yelling 'Mommy' in a crowded store, you turn your head out of instinct. You know something must have been seriously wrong with them or going seriously wrong for them to do this."

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Obama's Catholic Backers

Fantastic "op-ed" in yesterday's Washington Times. This is "must reading" for Traditional Catholics who still feel betrayed by the 54% of so-called "Catholics" who voted for Sen. Obama on November 4...

The elections weigh heavily on the hearts of America's Catholic bishops who gathered in Baltimore last week for their annual meeting. Not only do the bishops remain conflicted about how to contend with pro-choice politicians -a topic on their agenda - but they are also conflicted with their own Catholic colleges and professors, who played a vital role in turning the Catholic vote to Barack Obama.

Despite the Catholic bishops' clear disapproval of Mr. Obama's support for abortion rights - including his pledge to sign the Freedom of Choice Act - which would nullify state restrictions on abortions - many Catholics were persuaded that they could vote for Mr. Obama in good conscience. Exit polls show that he won over self-described Catholics 54 percent to 45 percent, better than the 52-46 split among all Americans. He even made inroads with Mass-attending and white, non-Hispanic Catholics.

For that, Mr. Obama has liberal Catholic professors and Catholic colleges to thank. It was Catholic academics who made the argument for Mr. Obama in the media and in lectures to Catholic audiences. Vocal Obama supporters include Pepperdine law professor Douglas Kmiec, a former dean of the Catholic University of America law school; Boston College theology professor Lisa Sowle Cahill; Duquesne law professor Nicholas Cafardi (former dean of Duquesne's law school); Notre Dame theology professor Cathleen Kaveny; and a St. Peter's College humanities professor, Jesuit Rev. Raymond Schroth.

The argument: that Mr. Obama will do more than John McCain to reduce abortions by fighting poverty, reforming health care and otherwise helping Americans in need. Mr. Cafardi has gone so far as to claim that "we have lost the abortion battle, permanently" and therefore Catholics should not be swayed by Mr. McCain's opposition to Roe v. Wade.

In publications ranging from Newsweek to the National Catholic Reporter, the professors openly attacked several bishops for proclaiming Catholic teaching that the right to life - including legal protections for innocent human beings - is a priority over other serious issues like the economy and health care. Mr. Kmiec accused the bishops of "low partisanship" for urging Catholics to vote in conformity to their faith. Mrs. Cahill blamed the church's shepherds for "damaging [the] rich Catholic faith tradition" and Notre Dame theologian Rev. Richard McBrien laments a "dearth of pastoral leadership" among bishops appointed by the late Pope John Paul II.

Throughout the campaign, several Catholic colleges and universities - including Mount Mercy College and St. Ambrose University in Iowa, St. Louis University in Missouri and Villanova University in Pennsylvania - hosted political rallies and stump speeches on their campuses. At St. Peter's College in New Jersey, nearly 3,000 people rallying for Mr. Obama were serenaded by a children's choir from a nearby Catholic school. An election-eve rally at Xavier University in Cincinnati featured performers Mary J. Blige, Shawn "Jay-Z" Carter and Sean "Diddy" Combs urging votes for Mr. Obama.

Nine members of Mr. Obama's Catholic National Advisory Committee were professors at Catholic colleges, and their peers were generous donors to Obama's campaign. Professors at the Jesuits' Georgetown University were ranked seventh among all U.S. colleges and universities in donations to the Obama campaign, totaling $179,000, according to an October analysis by the Chronicle of Higher Education.

So, why the enthusiasm for Mr. Obama on Catholic campuses? "[W]hile most Catholic pro-life groups, bloggers and some media outlets skew to both the theological and political right," explains columnist John Allen in the National Catholic Reporter, "a substantial share of the Catholic academy, in tandem with other media outlets and a galaxy of peace-and-justice activists, leans to the political and theological left." Left-leaning academics are nothing new to the United States, but on Catholic campuses their activism can become opposition to the religious truths which Catholic educators are expected to teach and respect.

Sociologist Anne Hendershott documents the decline of the Catholic academy in her forthcoming book "Status Envy," and a new national survey by the Center for the Study of Catholic Higher Education ( drives the point home. Theological dissent, contempt for the bishops and the Vatican, capitulation to the "Sexual Revolution," and imitation of elite universities and their glorification of academic freedom and cafeteria-style curricula produce graduates from Catholic colleges that are far less committed to the moral, social and political values of their predecessors.

But they do share, it seems, the values of Mr. Obama and American pop culture - so much so that pundits have begun to question whether the "Catholic vote" truly exists any more, as the majority of Catholic voters seem to follow social trends. Only a faithful minority adheres to the teachings of the Catholic bishops.

Dissent in the pews is something the Catholic Church has wrestled with for centuries, long before the 2008 elections. The more contemporary challenge is fidelity among Catholic educators and the apparent consequences when professors are in open conflict with the bishops.

Patrick J. Reilly is president and founder of the Cardinal Newman Society.

Fantastic Comic

Monday, November 17, 2008

Big Three Invade Washington Looking for Handouts

GM, Ford, and Chrysler are coming to get their "piece of the pie". You didn't think it would stop with the financial market did you???

Fantastic analysis from my friends at The Heritage Foundation:

Both the House and the Senate are set to gavel back into session this week, and both chambers’ first order of business will be a proposed bailout for Detroit’s Big Three: General Motors, Ford and Chrysler. Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA) and Sen. Carl Levin (D-MI) will introduce legislation to carve out $25 billion for Detroit from the $700 billion Wall Street bailout passed last month. This is on top of the $25 billion Congress already gave Detroit this past September.

Oh, and the auto unions have already told Congress they will ask for another $15 billion next year. If you’re beginning to notice a pattern here, you’re not alone. If Congress goes through with this auto bailout, it will not be the first nor last time Detroit will be coming to Washington with its hand out. It will simply become the way the auto industry is run.

There is no doubt U.S. auto manufacturers are in real trouble. Each company posted large losses in the third quarter, with General Motors and Ford reporting losses between $2 billion and $3 billion. But while all auto manufacturers have suffered a downturn in sales, Toyota still managed to come out in the black this past quarter. The problem is not an inherently troubled industry.

The problem is that Detroit’s automakers are trapped in a business model designed for another era. Union contracts force the Big Three to pay their workers an average of $30 more per hour than competitors like Toyota. The Big Three have to keep 15,710 independent dealerships happy nationwide, compared to only 4,000 for all their Japanese competitors. Finally, the Big Three are saddled with billions in annual “legacy costs” that go to more than 800,000 retirees and pay for enormous amounts of facilities they will probably never use again.

The policy question facing Washington is how best to facilitate the changes Detroit must make to survive. The left wants to run everything through Congress. Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) wants to choose what types of cars the automakers can build and craft a centralized plan to “assure the long-term viability of the industry.” Frank wants a “very tough oversight board” that could “veto ventures” new management wants to pursue. Detroit will never go through the necessary changes with Congress in charge. The types of changes needed will be painful and unpopular, and it is difficult to imagine politicians allowing them, never mind insisting on them.

There is an alternative. And it’s right there in the U.S. Constitution: bankruptcy. Since the founding of our country, the bankruptcy process has been an essential part of the nation’s commercial fabric. Bankruptcy is not the end of the road; it is, rather, a new beginning. The reorga­nization process provides unique flexibility to unlock the fundamentally sound productive capa­bilities of a faltering business by freeing it of many obstacles to success, such as unviable contracts, crushing debt and poor management. Reorganiza­tion is the right tonic for businesses like the Big Three that need to adjust quickly to new economic realities but are, at their cores, sound, productive and potentially profitable.

The fight over how the Big Three should be reformed will be an early test for the incoming liberal majority. The auto industry is hardly the only sector of the economy that is facing difficult choices. How Washington deals with Detroit will set a precedent for other businesses. As Sen. Richard Shelby (R-AL) told “Meet the Press” this weekend: “This is just a beginning of corporate welfare in a big, big way.”

Friday, November 14, 2008

Heritage's Ed Feulner on the State of Conservatism

The Heritage Foundation's President Dr. Ed Feulner delivered a motivating speech on the state of conservatism at Heritage's President's Club meeting earlier this week in Washington.

In my opinion, it was the best speech I've heard on conservatism in many, many years. This is "must read" material for all Conservatives.

Here is the link to read Dr. Feulner's speech:

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Heritage Foundation Unveils Trailer for "33 Minutes" Documentary

As a President's Club member of The Heritage Foundation, I am always impressed by the quality of its products and the expertise of its employees.

However, I must say that its newest initiative, called "33 Minutes: Protecting America in the New Missile Age", may be its most impressive and important work ever.

This past Monday, I attended The Heritage Foundation's President's Club Fall Meeting where we were shown the seven-minute trailer for the documentary set for release in early 2009. The hundreds in attendance, include me, were completely blown away. If this trailer doesn't scare you, nothing will...

Take a look at the trailer below:

For more information on this important initiative, visit

In the Winter of 2009, The Heritage Foundation will release a high-definition documentary that tells the story of the very real threat that hostile nations and rogue dictators now pose to every one of us. In 33 minutes or less, life as we know it in America could end. That's the time it would take for an enemy's ballistic missile to hit the United States. Aptly named, "33 Minutes: Protecting America in the New Missile Age", our documentary will be a key component in exposing our vulnerability to moms, dads and citizens across the country. The time has come to revive the strategic missile defense system that America uniquely can develop, maintain and employ for its own defense and the peace-loving world's security.

Liberal Washington (Com)Post Admits Obama Bias

WOW! The Washington Post's Ombudsman, Deborah Howell, exposed her own paper for what it really is -- a liberal rag. Funny how this analysis, and others like it at other media outlets, didn't come out until AFTER the election was over. We'll see if anyone remembers this four years from now...

An Obama Tilt in Campaign Coverage
By Deborah Howell

Sunday, November 9, 2008; B06

The Post provided a lot of good campaign coverage, but readers have been consistently critical of the lack of probing issues coverage and what they saw as a tilt toward Democrat Barack Obama. My surveys, which ended on Election Day, show that they are right on both counts.

My assistant, Jean Hwang, and I have been examining Post coverage since Nov. 11 of last year on issues, voters, fundraising, the candidates' backgrounds and horse-race stories on tactics, strategy and consultants. We also have looked at photos and Page 1 stories since Obama captured the nomination June 4.

The count was lopsided, with 1,295 horse-race stories and 594 issues stories. The Post was deficient in stories that reported more than the two candidates trading jabs; readers needed articles, going back to the primaries, comparing their positions with outside experts' views.

There were no broad stories on energy or science policy, and there were few on religion issues.
Bill Hamilton, assistant managing editor for politics, said, "There are a lot of things I wish we'd been able to do in covering this campaign, but we had to make choices about what we felt we were uniquely able to provide our audiences both in Washington and on the Web. I don't at all discount the importance of issues, but we had a larger purpose, to convey and explain a campaign that our own
David Broder described as the most exciting he has ever covered, a narrative that unfolded until the very end. I think our staff rose to the occasion."

The op-ed page ran far more laudatory opinion pieces on Obama, 32, than on Sen. John McCain, 13. There were far more negative pieces about McCain, 58, than there were about Obama, 32, and Obama got the editorial board's endorsement. The Post has several conservative columnists, but not all were gung-ho about McCain.

Stories and photos about Obama in the news pages outnumbered those devoted to McCain. Reporters, photographers and editors found the candidacy of Obama, the first African American major-party nominee, more newsworthy and historic. Journalists love the new; McCain, 25 years older than Obama, was already well known and had more scars from his longer career in politics.

The number of Obama stories since Nov. 11 was 946, compared with McCain's 786. Both had hard-fought primary campaigns, but Obama's battle with Hillary Rodham Clinton was longer, and the numbers reflect that.

McCain clinched the GOP nomination on March 4, three months before Obama won his. From June 4 to Election Day, the tally was Obama, 626 stories, and McCain, 584. Obama was on the front page 176 times, McCain, 144 times; 41 stories featured both.

Our survey results are comparable to figures for the national news media from a study by the Project for Excellence in Journalism. It found that from June 9, when Clinton dropped out of the race, until Nov. 2, 66 percent of the campaign stories were about Obama compared with 53 percent for McCain; some stories featured both. The project also calculated that in that time, 57 percent of the stories were about the horse race and 13 percent were about issues.

Counting from June 4, Obama was in 311 Post photos and McCain in 282. Obama led in most categories. Obama led 133 to 121 in pictures more than three columns wide, 178 to 161 in smaller pictures, and 164 to 133 in color photos. In black and white photos, the nominees were about even, with McCain at 149 and Obama at 147. On Page 1, they were even at 26 each. Post photo and news editors were surprised by my first count on Aug. 3, which showed a much wider disparity, and made a more conscious effort at balance afterward.

Some readers complain that coverage is too poll-driven. They're right, but it's not going to change. The Post's polling was on the mark, and in some cases ahead of the curve, in focusing on independent voters, racial attitudes, low-wage voters, the shift of African Americans' support from Clinton to Obama and the rising importance of economic issues. The Post and its polling partner ABC News include 50 to 60 issues questions in every survey instead of just horse-race questions, so public attitudes were plumbed as well.

The Post had a hard-working team on the campaign. Special praise goes to Dan Balz, the best, most level-headed, incisive political reporter and analyst in newspapers. His stories and "Dan Balz's Take" on were fair, penetrating and on the mark. His mentor, David S. Broder, was as sharp as ever.

Michael Dobbs, the Fact Checker, also deserves praise for parsing campaign rhetoric for the overblown or just flat wrong. Howard Kurtz's Ad Watch was a sharp reality check.

The Post's biographical pieces, especially the first ones -- McCain by Michael Leahy and Obama by David Maraniss -- were compelling. Maraniss demystified Obama's growing-up years; the piece on his mother and grandparents was a great read. Leahy's first piece on McCain's father and grandfather, both admirals, told me where McCain got his maverick ways as a kid -- right from the two old men.

But Obama deserved tougher scrutiny than he got, especially of his undergraduate years, his start in Chicago and his relationship with Antoin "Tony" Rezko, who was convicted this year of influence-peddling in Chicago. The Post did nothing on Obama's acknowledged drug use as a teenager.

The Post had good coverage of voters, mainly by Krissah Williams Thompson and Kevin Merida. Anne Hull's stories from Florida, Michigan and Liberty University, and Wil Haygood's story from central Montana brought readers into voters' lives. Jose Antonio Vargas's pieces about campaigns and the Internet were standouts.

One gaping hole in coverage involved Joe Biden, Obama's running mate. When Gov. Sarah Palin was nominated for vice president, reporters were booking the next flight to Alaska. Some readers thought The Post went over Palin with a fine-tooth comb and neglected Biden. They are right; it was a serious omission. However, I do not agree with those readers who thought The Post did only hatchet jobs on her. There were several good stories on her, the best on page 1 by Sally Jenkins on how Palin grew up in Alaska.

In early coverage, I wasn't a big fan of the long-running series called "The Gurus" on consultants and important people in the campaigns. The Post has always prided itself on its political coverage, and profiles of the top dogs were probably well read by political junkies. But I thought the series was of no practical use to readers. While there were some interesting pieces in The Frontrunners series, none of them told me anything about where the candidates stood on any issue.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Final Comments on the Election...

Sorry for the delay in posting original material to the R.C. Blog. I promise to keep it current and discuss many of the core issues important to Conservatives, especially under Liberal Rule.

It has been five days since Election Day and I needed a few days of R&R from politics and the blog. As a political junkie, I wanted to review the voter breakdown numbers and see the trends, both good and bad.

In a nutshell, why did Obama win? The answer is simple -- principally, the economy, but also I give credit to the Obama team for running a better campaign. It didn't hurt that they were flush with cash and in a position to focus on all battleground and "on the fence" states.

The Obama team was also the victor in the four-month tug-of-war between "is McCain just like Bush or isn't he". The Obama campaign was successful in making the argument stick and the McCain team was unable to adequately defend it. No one who follows politics believes this notion, but Obama was able to sell it to the average American.

I know the elite media was overjoyed in helping Obama get elected and they were quick to throw out terms like "Liberal Mandate in America". However, the facts support that America remains right of center.

Let's look at some of the highlights (and lowlights) from Tuesday:

Marriage Proposals Go in Favor of Traditional Definition -- All four states that included proposals on the ballot this year to "define" marriage went in favor of the traditional definition of a man and a woman. Most notably, the Liberal heartland of California approved an amendment to the state constitution. This comes in a state that voted for Obama by a 55-33 margin.

African Americans and the Youth Vote Disappoint the Dems -- In a year where the Democrats and the media were predicting huge voter turnout in general and record levels for African Americans and the youth, the final results were not even close. The overall vote count was on par with 2004 and not even close to the highest percentage in recent history. In addition, the African American vote was up a whopping 1 percent versus 2004 (13% vs. 12%). The youth vote was the same as 2004 in terms of percentage.

Obama Wins Independent Voters with Conservative Ideas -- As The Heritage Foundation reported on Wednesday, "Obama promised to cut taxes for 95% of workers and their families, expand the Army by 65,000 and the Marines by 27,000, and enact a net spending cut for the federal government. Lower taxes, a strong defense and shrinking the size of government. These are core conservative beliefs. Anyone who claims yesterday’s election was the end of conservatism simply was not paying attention to the campaign."

Predicted Senate and House Dem Gains Fall Short -- Despite predicting a filibuster-proof Senate with 60 seats and a gain of 25 House seats, the Dems fell short in both chambers. They are sitting at 57 with three seats still in play (Alaska, Georgia, and Minnesota) and only gained 20 House seats. The GOP did not fare so bad in the Senate when one considers that two-thirds of the incumbents running were Republican.

Catholic Vote Goes for Obama -- As a practicing Catholic, this was the most shocking and personally disappointing of all the results from Tuesday's election. In 2008, dozens of American bishops issued strong public statements reminding their people of their moral obligation to vote in defense of human life. Those statements varied in candor and in quality, but their overall impact was remarkable. The 2008 campaign produced a seismic change in the attitude of the American hierarchy; the bishops as a group were far more outspoken, far more explicit, than in any previous election. Did it help? Sadly, the answer was a resounding "no". According to the exit polls, 54% of American Catholic voters cast their ballots for Obama, despite the Democratic candidate's enthusiastic support for unrestricted legal abortion. A closer look at the numbers does provide some insight. Among Catholic voters who attend Mass weekly, McCain won majority support: 54-45%. Among those who do not attend weekly Mass, the margin for Obama was an overwhelming 61-37%. Thus Obama drew his support from inactive Catholics. And unfortunately, most American Catholics are inactive.

As we prepare for the Obama presidency, Conservatives around the country are asking, "now what?"

The first thing is to not give up or, even worse, conform to their beliefs. What we saw in 2008 was a re-energized Democratic Party who worked hard to get their party elected. The Republican Party was never energized and there was a split between the Conservatives and the Moderates. The Conservatives need to take back the leadership roles in the House and Senate, albeit in the minority, and push the Conservative Agenda. Whether the Dems want to admit it or not, America is still hungry for Conservative beliefs and policies.

Second, get involved. Find Conservative candidates and go volunteer. If you live in Northern Virginia, get involved with State Senator Ken Cuccinelli as he prepares to run for Attorney General in 2009. He is a strong Conservative, in the mold of Ronald Reagan, who could help reshape Virginia. For more information on Sen. Cuccinelli and his campaign for AG, visit

Finally, support key Conservative organizations, such as The Heritage Foundation, National Rifle Association, and the Club for Growth. Heritage is the No. 1 Conservative group in America and have been extremely successful in working with the Congress to both pass Conservative legislation and shutdown Liberal policies. They were at the forefront of nixing the Harriet Miers nomination to the Supreme Court and in shutting down the Bush-McCain-Kennedy immigration bill a few years ago. For more information, visit

Final comment on the 2008 results: Don't believe for a minute that Obama and the Congress are going to have a "love affair" starting in January. I have believed all along that Congress, with its record low approval rating, used Obama to gain seats. Members could see that Obama had all the momentum, not them, so they used him and rode his coattails. Come January, Sen. Obama will learn the hard way that Washington politics is a cutthroat game. I don't think that Obama will be able to get many of his Socialist agenda items through Congress without a lot of give and take. The good news is that without 60 votes in the Senate, strong willed Conservatives and Moderate GOPers can keep legislation in limbo for a long time.

Don't let your hearts be troubled. Although disappointing, we will survive this low point in American history as we did during the Carter years. Remember, without Carter we might not have had Reagan.....

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

How to Fight Back Against the Left

Dear Fellow Conservative,

We conservatives have our work cut out for us to hold back the liberal tide, and The Heritage Foundation -- America's leading conservative policy organization -- is prepared to fight back.

The Left is sure to claim a mandate to impose its radical agenda on America-from the economy to energy to the war on terror, from the Supreme Court to taxes, health care and education.

If we are to fight back against the liberal onslaught, we need your support today. Our goal is to raise $80,000 towards this effort by November 15.

Help Heritage fight to defend conservative principles and get a free Pocket Constitution with your gift of $35 or more.

And thanks to a generous matching gift, your gift today is worth double. So your tax-deductible donation of $50 is worth $100 to Heritage, and your gift of $100 is worth $200.

Triumphant liberals have already spelled out their plans:
  1. On the campaign trail, liberal candidates called for tax increases, massive new government health care programs, drastic new environmental controls and more.

  2. Rep. Barney Frank of Massachusetts said, "we'll have to raise taxes ultimately" as a result of liberal spending increases. He also wants to cut defense spending by a quarter.

  3. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said she supports re-imposing the Fairness Doctrine-an onerous regulation that could silence conservatives on talk radio.

  4. Liberals of all stripes have pledged to enact the Employee Free Choice Act, a handout to big labor that eliminates the secret ballot in unionization elections.
The Heritage Foundation is ready to stand up to this challenge. We will not stray from our mission to fight for the principles of free enterprise, limited government, individual freedom, traditional American values, and a strong national defense.

We are ready to fight back against the liberals and advance our conservative principles. We will build on our 35-year record of success-from welfare reform to missile defense to tax cuts-and help get America back on track.

But we need your help if we are to raise $80,000 by November 15 to make this possible. Will you stand with us?

Make a contribution to help Heritage counter the liberal threat and get your FREE Pocket Constitution.

Remember -- your gift is worth double, thanks to a generous gift from the Benwood Foundation.

In Washington, there are no permanent victories and no permanent defeats. We must remain firmly committed to our principles in both good times and in bad. That's why your help is so important.

Now more than ever, we are grateful for your support for our conservative principles and ideals. Without the support of conservatives like you, none of what we do would be possible.


Edwin J. Feulner, Ph.D.
The Heritage Foundation

Congratulations President-Elect Obama

After a hard-fought campaign nearly two years in the making, last night a candidate was elected president of the United States. That candidate promised to “cut taxes for 95% of workers and their families,” expand the Army by 65,000 and the Marines by 27,000, and enact “a net spending cut” for the federal government. Lower taxes, a strong defense and shrinking the size of government. These are core conservative beliefs. Anyone who claims yesterday’s election was the end of conservatism simply was not paying attention to the campaign.

Despite a political environment that heavily favored the party of the left, Barack Obama still managed only a 5-point margin of victory. Compare that to a true conservative, Ronald Reagan, who bested his liberal opponents by 9 points in 1980 and by 18 points in 1984. According to last night’s exit polls, Americans who voted yesterday are 34% conservative, 44% moderate and only 22% liberal. As Newsweek admitted earlier this year: “Should Obama win, he will have to govern a nation that is more instinctively conservative than it is liberal.”

There is no doubt the Republican Party has lost its way. Non-defense federal spending has risen 3.74% under President Bush compared to 2.93% under President Bill Clinton and 1% under Reagan. Federal spending now tops $25,000 per household annually, and the coming Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid costs threaten to add another $12,000 per household per year. Conservatives have a lot of work to do.

One of the many tasks conservatives will happily perform is making sure Obama keeps his promises to lower taxes, strengthen the military and cut spending. The Los Angeles Times reports: “[S]ome Democrats are already debating whether Obama’s promised middle-class tax cut should be scaled back to lessen the hit to the budget. ‘He should be able to persuade the country that some promises are going to have to be put on hold,’ said Will Marshall of the centrist Democratic Leadership Council.” In just 76 days, we are going to start finding out if the next president’s actions will match his rhetoric.

The Most Fraudulent Election Ever

From The Heritage Foundation:

According to federal election law, any presidential campaign that participates in public financing is automatically audited after an election. When Barack Obama broke his promise to the American people by forgoing the public financing system, his campaign became the first since public financing became law to have a chance of not being audited. Federal law does still allow the Federal Election Commission to audit a presidential campaign that doesn’t participate in public financing, but at least four of the six FEC commissioners must first vote to pursue an investigation “for cause.” No doubt there is great “cause” to be concerned about Obama’s fundraising efforts.

Late last month, the venerable and independent National Journal tested reports that the Obama campaign’s online fundraising system was built to facilitate fraud. Veteran journalist Neil Munro bought two pre-paid American Express gift cards worth $25 each to donate to the Obama and McCain campaigns online. Munro purchased the cards with cash and then accessed the Obama and McCain campaign websites from a public library in Fairfax, Va. The Obama campaign’s site accepted the $25 donation, but the McCain campaign’s site rejected it. Contacted by National Journal, the McCain campaign explained its system rejected the donation because American Express could not verify that the donor lived at the address given with the online contribution.

Contacted to explain why its campaign accepted the donation despite the existence of any safeguards, the Obama campaign replied by e-mail: “Name-matching is not a standard check conducted or made available in the credit card processing industry. We believe Visa and MasterCard do not even have the ability to do this.” But Juan Proano, whose technology firm handled online contributions for John Edwards’ presidential primary campaign, told the Washington Post it is possible to require donors’ names and addresses to match those on their credit card accounts. But some campaigns are reluctant to impose that extra layer of security. “Honestly, you want to have the least amount of hurdles in processing contributions quickly,” Proano said.

Obama’s donation fraud facilitation does not end there. Pressed by National Journal to explain why the campaign failed to identify hundreds of thousands of low-dollar donors, the Obama campaign responded that it “would be a pretty hard thing for us to be able to process.” National Journal responds:

But there is much widely used and inexpensive technology that allows Republican and Democratic campaigns to sort and identify millions of donors and to highlight or exclude overseas contributors. The technology is offered by companies that complete credit card transactions, by banks that provide credit cards to customers, by telecommunications companies that maintain digital networks, and by a variety of smaller firms that track Internet activity. … [A] five-minute phone call to Bank of America’s merchant-services department showed how a campaign could sort transactions to identify any credit cards that were used to make small donations under fake names and fake addresses. The campaign could download transaction data from the bank’s Web site and transfer the file into a database, such as Excel, said the Bank of America employee. “Then highlight all your transactions and click your sort button,” the employee said.

So there you have it. Instead of making a 5-minute phone call to protect the integrity of U.S. elections, the Obama campaign did nothing. This is exactly the same approach the campaign has taken toward ACORN’s massive and well-established voter registration fraud campaign. Hear no evil, see no evil. ACORN takes a zero-effort approach to preventing vote fraud during its registration drives. Nate Toller, who headed an ACORN campaign against Wal-Mart in California until 2006, told John Fund: “There’s no quality control on purpose, no checks and balances.” And Anita MonCrief, another ACORN whistleblower, agrees: “It’s ludicrous to say that fake registrations can’t become fraudulent votes. I assure you that if you can get them on the rolls you can get them to vote, especially using absentee ballots.”

Already Obama and Democrat staffers have been forced to resign for registering and casting ballots in more than one state. If Americans are ever to trust the electoral process again, a full investigation and audit of Obama and ACORN are an absolute necessity.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Election Day Comments and Predictions

This post will hit the R.C. Blog as I am packing up the car with signs and literature to hand out today at my local voting place. I'll be there until the last vote is cast and counted, serving as a poll witness to ensure the machines are properly shutdown and the votes are properly counted.

I am not going to the polls today to work on behalf of the McCain campaign, but rather as an American who is encouraging the anti-Obama vote. Sadly, I never thought I would find myself voting against someone, especially for President of the United States, but that is what is this year's election has come down to -- hoping to elect a moderate with some liberal tendencies to avoid all-out socialism.

At this point, all we can do is vote and pray. Regardless of the polls, I still hold some hope that the goodness of America and its people will see through the frosted glass the media has put in front of Senator Obama to hide his real past and true beliefs. The biased efforts of the media this year (worse than any previous election cycles I can remember) is nearly criminal.

Over the past week, I have talked with many people engaged in this election from both sides of the ideological spectrum and I continue to remain a proud Conservative not only for what we stand for, but for how we act.

My Lib friends (I do have a few...) don't care about ACORN, or Rev. Wright, or William Ayers, or "wealth redistribution". They only want to win and at any cost and regardless of the candidate. This must be what happens to the human psyche when you lose so many times in the past. They still exhibit anger over the 2000 election. They scoff at the idea that we have recorded evidence of individuals voting six, seven, even eight times in some states during the early voting period.

The same can't be said for Conservatives. I joke with them to "vote early and often" and many immediately respond back that losing the right way is better than winning the wrong way. These Conservatives are also the same people who won't disrespect the office of the presidency should Obama win today.

Over the past eight years, Lib parents have done this country a tremendous disservice by publicly and bitterly disrespecting President Bush. What does this teach America's youth? It's one thing to have an Obama sticker on your car, but it's another to have a minivan full of young kids with a sticker on your car that reads, "My child is an honor student and my president is an idiot!".

Having said all of this, here is what I think will happen:
  1. Obama will win both the popular vote (+4%) and the electoral vote (311-227).
  2. Dems will add seats to the House (+28-3o seat gain).
  3. Dems will also add Senate seats (+7-8), but fall short of the magic "60".
  4. Locally, Wolf in the 10th, Connolly in the 11th, Warner in the Senate.
  5. Bright spot of the day -- John Murtha loses in Pa.
I hope and pray I'm wrong on Nos. 1-3, but this is my objective look at an election year that has been anything but objective.

Regardless of the outcome, there will be much to write about come Wednesday.

God Bless America.

Sadly, we may need his blessings now more than ever...

Monday, November 3, 2008

Media Credibility?

The following opinion piece actually appeared in the N.Y. Times this weekend:

After the presidential election is over and the dust, animosity, glee and shock settle into something manageable, the nation will need to tackle the subject of “media bias” in a sincere and honest manner.

As an “independent conservative,” I’m expected to see liberal media bias lurking everywhere, but it’s not just me — and it’s not just conservatives. I know liberals, including newspaper editors, who think the “news” pendulum had swung dangerously far to the left.

Beyond recent studies by the Pew Research Center and the Project for Excellence in Journalism, other research shows that the media has tilted to the left; indeed journalists themselves have openly admitted as much.

Under the recent headline “Why McCain Is Getting Hosed in the Press,” Politico editors John F. Harris and Jim Vandehei opined:

OK, let’s just get this over with: Yes, in the closing weeks of this election, John McCain and Sarah Palin are getting hosed in the press, and at Politico. And, yes, based on a combined 35 years in the news business we’d take an educated guess — nothing so scientific as a Pew study — that Obama will win the votes of probably 80 percent or more of journalists covering the 2008 election. Most political journalists we know are centrists — instinctually skeptical of ideological zealotry — but with at least a mild liberal tilt to their thinking, particularly on social issues. So what?

“So what?” Those two cavalier words alone speak to the larger problem. Who cares if “80 percent or more of journalists covering the 2008 election” will vote for Barack Obama? Journalists, their editors, management, the candidates and the American people should care.

Regarding the Obama phenomenon and the media fascination with him, a senior staffer for a rival Democrat primary opponent offered up this theory to me for part of the bias. This person reasoned that the pressure within the news business to diversify and be politically correct means more minorities, women and young people are being hired. And young and ethnically diverse reporters and editors go easier on candidates who look more like them, are closer to their age or represent their ideal of a presidential candidate.

Over at, Michael S. Malone, a columnist, posted an article last week that created a firestorm of comment and interest. In part, he wrote: “The traditional media are playing a very, very dangerous game — with their readers, with the Constitution and with their own fates. The sheer bias in the print and television coverage of this election campaign is not just bewildering, but appalling.”

Mr. Malone then uses the rest of his post to explain why he feels so. For me and others, one of the most important points he raises is when he talks about the dangerous game the traditional media is playing with “their own fate.” Indeed, I — as well as two newspaper editors I know — would argue that one reason newspapers are seeing a decline in circulation is because they ignore or marginalize right-of-center or conservative readers.

On Friday, in an article about Mr. Obama’s infomercial, Howard Kurtz, The Washington Post media critic, wrote: “If the press were inclined to hammer the Democratic nominee for buying the election after blowing off public financing, the infomercial would be Exhibit A. But the press is giving him a pass on the issue.”

Earlier that week, and on the direct topic of media bias in favor of Mr. Obama, he wrote: “If, as a former McCain strategist put it, “the cake is baked” for his man’s defeat, it’s fair to ask whether the media have provided the flour, the frosting and the candles.”

And from the West Coast, we have this timely and germane observation. The Hollywood Reporter noted that, “In a room full of television industry executives, no one seemed inclined to defend MSNBC on Monday for what some were calling its lopsidedly liberal coverage of the presidential election.” Linda Bloodworth-Thomason, a self-described liberal and close friend of the Clinton’s punctuated the belief by saying that she would prefer a lunch date with right-leaning Fox News host Sean Hannity over MSNBC host Keith Olbermann. According to the report, one aspect of the coverage that bothered Ms. Bloodworth-Thomason and others was the way MSNBC — and other media — has attacked Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin and demeaned her supporters.

Tobe Berkovitz, associate dean of Boston University’s College of Communication, said, as reported by Mr. Kurtz in his media column: “If the mainstream media are wrong about Obama and the voters pull a Truman, that is going to be the end of whatever shred of credibility they have left.”

My point is, regardless of whether the news media are right or wrong about an Obama win, shouldn’t they still be concerned about that “shred of credibility they have left?” Shouldn’t they be concerned with numerous studies and the observations of various journalists that the business has tilted too far to the left?

On Foreign Policy, It's Ace vs. Amateur

From today's Investor's Business Daily:

Assuming both candidates intend to advance U.S. interests abroad, it bears looking at how McCain and Obama would conduct foreign policy.

McCain is the ace in foreign policy, not the much-applauded Obama. McCain has played pivotal roles in opening Vietnam to trade, passing the North American Free Trade Agreement and encouraging the color revolutions of Eastern Europe. He's visited most countries and knows that foreign policy works by keeping one's word first, not by projecting an ideology or personality. It will work.

Obama, by contrast, shows neither interest nor experience in foreign affairs, and defers to 300 advisers, mostly from left-wing think tanks. In the Senate, he's done nothing. He's recently traveled only to the warhorse trails of foreign policy in Europe and the Middle East, and not the emerging new democracies visited by McCain. It's inadequate and won't work.

Both candidates say they will work with partners. But how will their ideas play out?

For Obama, multilateral cooperation means reliance on the United Nations, even as dictators run U.N. operations for their own ends and the Security Council is deadlocked in the face of real threats. He'll get rolled because the U.N. system is institutionally weak.

For McCain, cooperation means supporting friends and recognizing enemies. In that realism, he proposes a new league of democracies to give free states a stronger voice. In advocating this, America increases its pool of like-minded allies to work with.

Obama, by contrast, blurs distinctions between friends and enemies. He discards coordination with allies in favor of going it alone with enemies. Example: His suggestion that he would press Iran to end its nuclear program by talking directly to its tyrants, never mind the coordinated effort with Europe now in place.

To allies, that comes across as arrogant, a faith in one's own charisma trumping the coordinated pressure. Iran's Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has already recognized its amateurism, hitting Obama with preconditions of his own for talks, while French President Nicolas Sarkozy decried Obama as "utterly immature" with "formulations empty of all content," Haaretz reported.

Obama showed the same careless disregard for allies in saying he would break the NAFTA treaty and rewrite it on his own terms, alarming not only Mexico and Canada, but other partners too.

McCain, however, grasps how foreign policy comes of consensus and spans administrations. Getting NAFTA took consensus — not only of Republicans and Democrats in Congress, but their equivalents in Mexico and Canada. He sees it to be built on, not dropped.

On human rights, both candidates say yes, and McCain has a long record to back it up. But Obama has a different point of view. Already he is using it as a weapon against America's allies, pointing the bony finger at Colombia on human rights and denying it free trade. At the same time, he downplays the atrocious human rights record of Cuba and says he will hold talks with its dictators. McCain keeps friends encouraged and enemies on notice — his rapid stance in defense of invaded Georgia last August was typical.

On global poverty, both vow to end it, but Obama's approach is outdated: doubling aid to $50 billion, as if welfare ends poverty instead of institutionalizes it. McCain proposes partnerships and trade treaties so that the poor can rise up through opportunity.

Obama's focus on personality also may affect the sinews of U.S. power — his congressional allies are proposing cutting military spending by 25%. With no military to back his plans, it's naive to think personality will trump a capacity to project power abroad.

McCain believes in the one U.S. policy that history shows has always worked: speaking softly and carrying a big stick. If defense is strong, the need to use force is low.

Only McCain's ideas are likely to enhance America's leverage and prestige abroad. Obama's proposals were last tried during the Jimmy Carter era; they left America at the nadir of its global influence. Obama's inexperience is why he defaults to such old ideas. McCain shows that experience gives you a cutting-edge awareness of what works.

A Letter to Senator Obama...

To Barack Hussein Obama,

The New York Times carried a story on Saturday, October 4, 2008, that proved you had a significantly closer relationship with Bill Ayers than what you previously admitted. While the issue of your relationship is of concern, the greater concern is that you lied to America about it.

The Chicago Sun reported on May 8, 2008, that FBI records showed that you had a significantly closer relationship with Tony Rezko than what you previously admitted. In the interview, you said that you only saw Mr. Rezko a couple of times a year. The FBI files showed that you saw him weekly. While the issue of your relationship is of concern, the greater concern is that you lied to America about it.

Your speech in Philadelphia on March 18, 2008, about "race" contradicted your statement to Anderson Cooper on March 14 when you said that you never heard Reverend Wright make his negative statements about white America. While your attendance at Trinity Church for 20 years is of concern, the greater concern is that you lied to America on March 14.

In your first debate with John McCain, you said that you never said that you would meet with the leaders of Cuba, Venezuela, Iran, and North Korea without "preparations" at lower levels…Joe Biden repeated your words in his debate with Sarah Palin…while the video tape from your debate last February clearly shows that you answered "I would" to the question of meeting with those leaders within 12 months without "any" preconditions. While your judgment about meeting with enemies of the USA without pre-conditions is of concern, the greater concern is that you lied to America in the debate with McCain.

On July 14, 2008, you said that you always knew that the surge would work while the video tapes of you from more than a year ago show that you stated that the surge would not work. While your judgment about military strategy as a potential commander-in-chief is of concern, the greater concern is that you lied to America on July 14.

You now claim that your reason for voting against funding for the troops was because the bill did not include a time line for withdrawal, while the video tapes of you from more than a year ago show that you voted against additional funding because you wanted our troops to be removed immediately…not in 16 months after the 2008 election as you now claim. While your judgment about removing our troops unilaterally in 2007 is of concern, the greater concern is that you lied to America about your previous position.

You claim to have a record of working with Republicans while the record shows that the only bill that you sponsored with a Republican was with Chuck Lugar…and it failed. The record shows that you vote 97% in concert with the Democrat party and that you have the most liberal voting record in the Senate. You joined Republicans only 13% of the time in your votes and those 13% were only after agreement from the Democrat party. While it is of concern that you fail to include conservatives in your actions and that you are such a liberal, the greater concern is that you distorted the truth.

In the primary debates of last February, 2008, you claimed to have talked with a "Captain" of a platoon in Afghanistan "the other day" when in fact you had a discussion in 2003 with a Lieutenant who had just been deployed to Afghanistan. You lied in that debate.

In your debates last spring, you claimed to have been a "professor of Constitutional law" when in fact you have never been a professor of Constitutional law. In this last debate, you were careful to say that you "taught a law class" and never mentioned being a "professor of Constitutional law."

You lied last spring. You and Joe Biden both claimed that John McCain voted against additional funding for our troops when the actual records show the opposite. You distorted the truth.

You and Joe Biden claim that John McCain voted against funding for alternate energy sources 20 times when the record shows that John McCain specifically voted against funding for bio fuels, especially corn…and he was right…corn is too expensive at producing ethanol, and using corn to make ethanol increased the price of corn from $2 a bushel to $6 a bushel for food. You distorted the truth.

You and Joe Biden claim that John McCain voted like both of you for a tax increase on those making as little as $42,000 per year while the voting record clearly shows that John McCain did not vote as you and Joe Biden. You lied to America.

You and Joe Biden claim that John McCain voted with George W. Bush 90% of the time when you know that Democrats also vote 90% of the time with the President (including Joe Biden) because the vast majority of the votes are procedural. You are one of the few who has not voted 90% of the time with the president because you have been missing from the Senate since the day you got elected. While your absence from your job in the Senate is of concern, the greater concern is that you spin the facts.

You did not take an active role in the rescue plan. You claimed that the Senate did not need you while the real reason that you abstained was because of your close relationships with the executives of Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, Countrywide, and Acorn…who all helped cause the financial problems of today...and they all made major contributions to your campaign. While your relationship with these executives and your protection of them for your brief 3 years in the Senate (along with Barney Frank, Chuck Schumer, Maxine Waters, and Chris Dodd) is of concern, the greater concern is that you are being deceitful.

You forgot to mention that you personally represented Tony Rezko and Acorn. Tony Rezko, an Arab and close friend to you, was convicted of fraud in Chicago real estate transactions that bilked millions of tax dollars from the Illinois government for renovation projects that you sponsored as a state senator...and Acorn has been convicted of voter fraud, real estate sub prime loan intimidation, and illegal campaign contributions. Tony Rezko has contributed hundreds of thousands of dollars to your political campaigns. You personally used your political positions to steer money to both Tony Rezko and Acorn and you used Acorn to register thousands of phony voters for Democrats and you. While your relationships with Rezko and Acorn are of concern, the greater concern is that you omitted important facts about your relationships with them to America.

During your campaign, you said: "typical white person." "They cling to their guns and religion." "They will say that I am black." You played the race card. You tried to label any criticism about you as racist. You divide America.

You claim that you will reduce taxes for 95% of America, but you forgot to tell America that those reductions are after you remove the Bush tax reductions. You have requested close to $1 billion in earmarks and several million for Acorn. Your social programs will cost America $1 trillion per year and you claim that a reduction in military spending ($100 billion for Iraq) can pay for it. While your economic plan of adding 30% to the size of our federal government is of concern, the greater concern is that you are deceiving America.

The drain to America ' s economy by foreign supplied oil is $700 billion per year (5% of GDP) while the war in Iraq is $100 billion (less than 1% of GDP). You voted against any increases to oil exploration for the last 3 years and any expansion of nuclear facilities. Yet today, you say that you have always been for more oil and more nuclear. You are lying to America.

Mr. Obama, you claimed that you "changed" your mind about public financing for your campaign because of the money spent by Republican PACs in 2004. The truth is that the Democrat PACs in 2004, 2006, and 2008 spent twice as much as the Republican PACs (especially George Soros and You are lying to America.

Mr. Obama, you have done nothing to stop the actions of the teachers union and college professors in the USA. They eliminated religion from our history. They teach pro gay agendas and discuss sex with students as young as first grade. They bring their personal politics into the classrooms. They disparage conservatives. They brainwash our children. They are in it for themselves...not America. Are you reluctant to condemn their actions because teachers/professors and the NEA contribute 25% of all money donated to Democrats and none to Republicans? You are deceiving America.

Oh, Mr. Obama, Teddy Roosevelt said about a hundred years ago that we Americans should first look at the character of our leaders before anything else. Your character looks horrible. While you make good speeches, motivating speeches, your character does not match your rhetoric. You talk the talk, but do not walk the walk.

  1. You lied to America. You lied many times. You distorted facts. You parsed your answers like a lawyer.
  2. You distorted the record of John McCain in your words and in your advertisements.
  3. You had associations with some very bad people for your personal political gains and then lied about those associations.
  4. You divide America about race and about class.
Now let me compare your record of lies, distortions, race baiting, and associations to John McCain:

  • War hero.
  • Annapolis graduate with "Country first."
  • Operational leadership experience (like all 43 previously elected presidents of the USA as a Navy officer for 22 years).
  • 26 years in the Senate. Straight talk.
  • Maverick: 54% of the time participated on bills with Democrats. Never asked for an earmark.
The only blemish on his record is his part in the Keating 5 debacle about 25 years ago.

Mr. Obama, at Harvard Law School, you learned that the end does not justify the means. You learned that perjury, false witness, dishonesty, distortion of truth is never tolerated. Yet, your dishonesty is overwhelming. Your dishonesty is tremendously greater than the dishonesty that caused the impeachment and disbarment of Bill Clinton. Your dishonesty is tremendously greater than the dishonesty of Scooter Libby. You should be ashamed.

Mr. Obama, it is time for us Americans to put aside our differences on political issues and vote against you because of your dishonest character. It is time for all of us Americans to put aside our political issues and vote for America first. It is time for America to vote for honesty.

Any people who vote for you after understanding that you are dishonest should be ashamed of themselves for making their personal political issues more important than character. Would these same people vote for the anti-Christ if the anti-Christ promised them riches? Would they make a golden calf while Moses was up on the mountain? Would they hire someone for a job if that someone lied in an interview? Of course not. So why do some of these people justify their votes for you even though they know you are dishonest? Why do they excuse your dishonesty?

Because some of these people are frightened about the future, the economy, and their financial security…and you are preying on their fears with empty promises…and because some (especially our young people) are consumed by your wonderful style and promises for "change" like the Germans who voted for Adolf Hitler in 1932. The greed/envy by Germans in 1932 kept them from recognizing Hitler for who he was. They loved his style. Greed and envy are keeping many Americans from recognizing you…your style has camouflaged your dishonesty…but many of us see you for who you really are…and we will not stop exposing who you are every day, forever if it is necessary.

Mr. Obama, you are dishonest. Anyone who votes for you is enabling dishonesty.

Mr. Obama, America cannot trust that you will put America first in your decisions about the future.

Mr. Obama, you are not the "change" that America deserves. We cannot trust you.

Mr. Obama, You are not ready and not fit to be commander-in-chief.

Mr. Obama, John McCain does not have as much money as your campaign to refute all of your false statements. And for whatever reasons, the mainstream media will not give adequate coverage or research about your lies, distortions, word parsing, bad associations, race baiting, lack of operational leadership experience, and generally dishonest character. The media is diverting our attention from your relationships and ignoring the fact that you lied about those relationships. The fact that you lied is much more important than the relationships themselves…just like with Bill Clinton and Richard Nixon…Monica Lewinski and Watergate were not nearly as bad as the fact that those men lied about the events…false witness…perjury…your relationships and bad judgments are bad on their own…but your lies are even worse.

Therefore, by copy of this memo, all who read this memo are asked to send it to everyone else in America before it is too late. We need to do the job that the media will not do. We need to expose your dishonesty so that every person in America understands who you really are before election day.

Mr. Obama, in a democracy, we get what we deserve. And God help America if we deserve you.

Michael Master
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