Wednesday, November 24, 2010

A Grateful Nation

Courtesy of Newt and Callista Gingrich on Human

The very first “thanksgiving” was celebrated in 1619, one year before the Pilgrims landed at Plymouth by another group of English settlers. The event was held on the banks of the James River at what is now Berkeley Plantation, the birthplace of Benjamin Harrison, signer of the Declaration of Independence and father of the ninth President of the United States, William Henry.

Most Americans, however, remember that the Thanksgiving Day tradition was modeled after the 1621 event in Plymouth, Massachusetts where fifty Pilgrims and ninety Wampanoag Indians feasted for three days. The Pilgrims were indeed thankful for friendship and a bountiful harvest. In the previous year, half of the Pilgrims had starved to death. A Patuxet Indian named Squanto came to their rescue helping them to survive in the New World.

Throughout our history, Americans were called hundreds of times by their leaders to days of fasting and prayer and subsequent days of thanksgiving often by local officials and governors.

The first Thanksgiving Proclamation was issued by the Governing council of Charlestown, Massachusetts on June 20, 1676. The council wanted to offer thanks for a series of victories in the ongoing “War with the Heathen Natives” setting apart the 29th of June as a “day of Solemn Thanksgiving and praise to God for such his Goodness and Favor.”

But it was President George Washington at the request of the Congress, who on October 3, 1789 issued the first national thanksgiving day proclamation from New York City. Setting aside November 26, the proclamation stated that "our duty as a people, with devout reverence and affectionate gratitude, to acknowledge our many and great obligations to Almighty God and to implore Him to continue and confirm the blessings we experience."

Washington issued his second thanksgiving day proclamation in 1795. Presidents Adams, Jefferson and Madison all issued proclamation calling for a day of Thanksgiving.

But few Americans gathering this week with family and friends for the feast know about the woman most credited with making Thanksgiving Day a national holiday.

Born Sarah J. Buell on October 24, 1788, in Newport, New Hampshire, it was Sarah Josepha Hale’s persistent petitions that brought about the holiday. She sent hundreds of letters to politicians including five presidents imploring them to institute a national day of thanksgiving.

Buell became one of the most influential women in the United States as the editor of the most widely circulated women’s magazine called Godey’s Lady’s Book. She also penned “Mary Had a Little Lamb,” the most-well-known poem in American history.

But it was not until 1863, when Abraham Lincoln received her letter in the midst of the Civil War that the New England tradition would become a national one. “If every state would join in Thanksgiving,” she wrote, “Would it not be a renewed pledge of love and loyalty to the Constitution?” Lincoln agreed.

He set apart the last Thursday of November as a day of “Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens.” He called upon Americans “that while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings, they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to his tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty Hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquility and Union.”

Lincoln would issue three more thanksgiving proclamations from the White House. Subsequent presidents issued similar proclamations but the states chose different days for the thanksgiving observance. It was not until 1934 that Franklin Delano Rooseveltsaid that to “set aside in the autumn of each year a day on which to give thanks to Almighty God for the blessings of life is a wise and reverent custom, long cherished by our people.” In 1941, the Congress made the Third Thursday of November an official national holiday.

Again and again even in our darkest days, our leaders have called upon us to give thanks to our Creator for our many blessings. This year was a difficult year for so many Americans who are out of work or have suffered economic hardship. Nevertheless, we are a nation that has always persevered through hardship and we will again. Because even when challenged we have always been a grateful nation. So with gratitude, it is fitting that we should reflect upon what is good and what God has given us. It is in that spirit that Callista and I along with our entire team wish you and your loved ones a safe and happy Thanksgiving.

USPS to Unveil New Reagan Centennial Stamp on December 13

The Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation announced yesterday that on Monday, December 13, the U.S. Postal Service will unveil the new Ronald Reagan centennial postage stamp.  The event will take place at the Reagan Library in Simi Valley, Ca.  Here is the info.:

On Monday, December 13, 2010, the United States Postal Service is honoring President Ronald Reagan with a Centennial Postage Stamp. At this event, the artwork for the stamp will be unveiled. James C. Miller, III, a member of the USPS Board of Governors, will speak at this event on behalf of the Postal Service. As the Director of the Office of Management and Budget, Governor Miller was a member of the President’s cabinet and a member of the National Security Council from 1985-1988. Before that he served as Chairman of the U.S. Federal Trade Commission from 1981-1985.

The National Anthem for this program will be performed by Ms. Jordan Pruitt, a member of the Ronald Reagan Centennial National Youth Committee. Jordan Pruitt, 19, released her debut album in 2006, entitled “No Ordinary Girl.” She has been on tour with the Cheetah Girls, Vanessa Hudgens, “High School Musical: The Concert,” the Jonas Brothers and many others.

This is the third Ronald Reagan stamp. The first was issued by the Postal Service following the President’s death and was a 37 cent stamp. Following a rate increase, the Postal Service re-issued the stamp with a 39 cent denomination.

This event is free to attend, however reservations are required, click here to make reservations. For any questions, please call 805-522-2977.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Dayton Basketball Ranked No. 1 In Latest RPI (Not a Misprint!)

I know it means absolutely nothing in terms of true national ranking (especially on November 21), but following Saturday night's huge 16-point-deficit OT road victory for the Dayton Flyers at Ole' Miss, the team finds itself atop the nation's men's college basketball RPI rankings.  By January, they'll be sure to settle back in the 25-40 range, but it sure is nice to see at No. 1 ranking at any time of the year.  Go Flyers!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

NY Bishop Dolan Named President of U.S. Bishops

Great news coming out of this week's fall meeting of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) with the upset election of N.Y. Archbishop Timothy Dolan as President of the USCCB.  Bishop Dolan is a staunch Conservative who is not afraid to tackle the tough issues facing the Church and society at large.

Here's a new interview with Bishop Dolan on his new appointment conducted by Tim Drake at the National Catholic Register:

New York Archbishop Timothy Dolan was elected the new president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops Tuesday, Nov. 16. The election of Archbishop Dolan broke from precedent that held that the vice president of the bishops’ conference, in this case Tucson Bishop Gerald Kicanas, would succeed the outgoing president, in this case Cardinal Francis George of Chicago, in a vote that would be more of a formality. Archbishop Dolan addressed questions from the media gathered there shortly after his election.

What would be your chief priorities as president of the conference, in the Church and society?

Candidly, I haven’t had time to think about it. Frankly, I was surprised by the election of the bishops. I have immense regard for my predecessor, Cardinal Francis George.

I think what I can safely say is that probably my major priority would be to continue, with all the vigor that I can muster, what’s already been put in place. It’s not like — thanks be to God — we’re in crisis. Things are going well.

Can you address health-care and the possible funding of abortion in the health-care reform bill?

I am highly appreciative of the summary that Cardinal Francis George gave yesterday, which was downright eloquent. I admired the way he handled it.

The bishops of the U.S. are in somewhat of a delicate position in that we have been promoting comprehensive health care, but it wasn’t comprehensive, in that a precious part of those deserving care — those being unborn babies — weren’t receiving it. The bishops were cogent in expressing that.

Cardinal George was so articulate — as was Pope John Paul II — in telling us that although we’re political in the best sense of the word, we’re not partisan. The bishops of the U.S. are not partisan; we are pastors and teachers.

Did you speak with Bishop Kicanas after the election?

I did. I thanked him for his service and told him I held him in high regard.

He told me, “I’m with you all the way.” My one regret is that I’ll have to give up leadership of Catholic Relief Services.

Can you comment on the unprecedented nature of your election, and if there was any outside pressure on the bishops for whom to elect?

Bishop John Carberry was vice president and not elected president. This seems to be somewhat of a surprise.

When I received a letter that my brother bishops had nominated me, I was surprised. I don’t know how to interpret it. It was hardly a landslide election. I can remember three years ago, when Bishop Kicanas beat me for the vice president slot by one vote.

I take it that the bishops don’t like the idea of anyone being a shoo-in.

You presume that we’re sitting around thinking about these things. Most bishops are laudably absorbed in the activities of their own dioceses. When they get here, they take the election seriously.

As to an outside campaign, that wouldn’t be anything new. There’s always been some controversy surrounding the elections. I’ve felt the heel of blog attacks. The bishops bristle if they feel there’s any undue pressure from the outside.

You might interpret this as the bishops are tired of short and skinny presidents.

Robert George has said that it’s a signal from the bishops that they wanted a strong and assertive moral witness, more than they were looking for the dialogue and mediation coming out of the [late Chicago Cardinal Joseph] Bernardin approach.

Robby George is one of my heroes. I don’t know. When you speak about the leadership of bishops, you speak about style.

Bishop Kicanas would be as committed to the ideals of our Catholic faith as I would be. George is bringing up that there is a difference in style.

When I came to New York, I was interpreted quite the opposite — as a congenial and conciliatory kind of guy. You can’t win. I mean it when I say that we don’t sit around thinking about it.

Maybe what George was getting at is that there are many issues that Catholic social teaching can be a witness on. Is this about which issues you’re going to press on? Are the bishops signaling an interest in issues of life, abortion and marriage?

We bishops would bristle at the characterization that there are some bishops who tend to be more pro-life and family issues while others tend to the social-justice issues.

I don’t think that characterization would apply to Bishop Kicanas and myself. I once invited him to speak to one of our town meetings. He addressed pro-life, education, and marriage and family. I don’t find that kind of caricaturing to be accurate.

Are there other bishops who you view as a role model?

Bishop Edwin O’Hara, who I wrote my dissertation on. He was an immensely effective bishop. I’m wearing the pectoral cross of Cardinal John O’Connor. He has been a hero of mine, and my appreciation of him has only grown. He had a pastoral heart and sidewalk savviness, but was as cogent and compelling in preaching faith and morals as anyone.

Register senior writer Tim Drake filed this report from Baltimore

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Happy Veterans Day 2010!

Back by popular demand from last year's post...

Marine Corps Birthday Celebrates 235 years of "The Few, The Proud"

"The Few, the Proud": So says the motto of the U.S. Marine Corps, and so it is. The Marines are the smallest branch of the U.S. armed forces, but their reputation outmatches their size. Today, the marines celebrate their 235th anniversary, born before the country was in 1775.

"The Marines I have seen around the world have the cleanest bodies, the filthiest minds, the highest morale, and the lowest morals of any group of animals I have ever seen. Thank God for the United States Marine Corps!" Eleanor Roosevelt once said.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Bush's "Decision Points" Hits the Streets

Former President George W. Bush released his new book titled "Decision Points" today.  The book recounts the critical decisions of his presidency and personal life.

Decision Points is the extraordinary memoir of America’s 43rd president. Shattering the conventions of political autobiography, President Bush offers a strikingly candid journey through the defining decisions of his life.

In gripping, never-before-heard detail, President Bush brings readers inside the Texas Governor’s Mansion on the night of the hotly contested 2000 election; aboard Air Force One on 9/11, in the hours after America’s most devastating attack since Pearl Harbor; at the head of the table in the Situation Room in the moments before launching the war in Iraq; and behind the Oval Office desk for his historic and controversial decisions on the financial crisis, Hurricane Katrina, Afghanistan, Iran, and other issues that have shaped the first decade of the 21st century.

President Bush writes honestly and directly about his flaws and mistakes, as well as his accomplishments reforming education, treating HIV/AIDS in Africa, and safeguarding the country amid chilling warnings of additional terrorist attacks. He also offers intimate new details on his decision to quit drinking, discovery of faith, and relationship with his family.

A groundbreaking new brand of memoir, Decision Points will captivate supporters, surprise critics, and change perspectives on one of the most consequential eras in American history – and the man at the center of events.

Although I did not agree with everything Bush did (skyrocketing budgets, nominating Miers to S.C., and endorsing Spector over Toomey in 2004 Pa. Senate primary, etc.), I have great respect and admiration for the man himself.  He kept our country safe during a very dangerous time and I felt like we were led by a man with determination and resolve.  He has shown nothing but class since leaving office in January 2009 by staying out of politics and not taking shots at President Obama.  Wish I could say the same for former Presidents Carter and Clinton.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Keith Olbermann Suspended from MSNBC

Keith Olbermann has been suspended indefinitely without pay from MSNBC for making donations to three Democrats in violation of NBC's ethics policy.

"I became aware of Keith's political contributions late last night," Phil Griffin, President of MSNBC, said in a statement. "Mindful of NBC News policy and standards, I have suspended him indefinitely without pay."

Olbermann, who does not hide his liberal views, has acknowledged donations of $2,400 each to Kentucky Senate candidate Jack Conway and Arizona Reps. Raul Grijalva and Gabrielle Giffords during this election cycle.

NBC's ethics policy generally bars political activity, including contributions, without the approval of the president of NBC News, Steve Capus, according to a 2007 story on

"Anyone working for NBC News who takes part in civic or other outside activities may find that these activities jeopardize his or her standing as an impartial journalist because they may create the appearance of a conflict of interest," it says. "Such activities may include participation in or contributions to political campaigns or groups that espouse controversial positions. You should report any such potential conflicts in advance to, and obtain prior approval of, the President of NBC News or his designee."

In a statement released before the suspension as announced, Olbermann said: "I did not privately or publicly encourage anyone else to donate to these campaigns, nor to any others in this election or any previous ones, nor have I previously donated to any political campaign at any level."

The candidates Olbermann donated to had mixed results. Conway lost his race to Tea Party-backed Republican Rand Paul, but both Grijalva and Giffords lead in tight races that CBS News has not yet projected. All three appeared on Olbermann's show, and Grijalva has appeared multiple times.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Pence Leaves House Leadership Post; Sets Sights on Higher Office

RC Blog's favorite member of Congress, Mike Pence, resigned from his leadership role in the House of Representatives yesterday.  We are ready to start the "Pence in 2012" chant!!  Here's the article from the Indianapolis Star:

After helping Republicans take the House, Indiana Rep. Mike Pence plans to step down as the head of the House GOP conference, presumably to prepare for potential presidential or gubernatorial bid in 2012.

"Now that we have restored a Republican majority to the House of Representatives and I have fulfilled my commitment to the Republican Conference, my family and I have begun to look to the future," Pence said in a statement to colleagues this morning.

"As we consider new opportunities to serve Indiana and our nation in the years ahead, I have come to realize that it may not be possible to complete an entire term as conference chairman. As such, I think it would be more appropriate for me to step aside now, especially since there are other talented men and women in our Conference who could do the job just as well or better."

The Columbus Republican declined to say what his plans are, but he has been talked about as a potential presidential and gubernatorial candidate.

Pence was the top choice in a presidential straw poll of conservatives attending the Family Research Council's Values Voter Summit in September.

Gov. Mitch Daniels, who cannot seek re-election in 2012, has also left open the possibility of running for president.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

What Yesterday Was All About...

This video produced by The Heritage Foundation sums up why Americans yesterday stood up and cast their votes to remove those looking to destroy America as she was designed to be...

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Scott Walker - Wisconsin's Next Governor!

Fox News has just announced that it projects Scott Walker as the winner in the Wisconsin governor's race.  He's up by nearly 20 points.  RC Blog is a proud supporter for Walker and wish him the best as he moves on to Madison!  Scott's a future national star!!

Goodbye Blanche!

Arkansas gets rid of Blanche Lincoln in the Senate where she was a critical vote in the passage of ObamaCare.  Congrats to John Boozman for defeating her!

Rubio Rolls!

Looks like Marco Rubio will smoke Charlie Crist for the Florida Senate seat.

Keith Fimian with a decent lead (2,200 votes) over Gerry Connolly in the Virginia 11th House District race.

Interesting exit poll statistic -- women were +13 for Obama in 2008; today, there is no gender gap between R's and D's.

Early Results In Senate Races...

Rand Paul (KY) - Winner!
Dan Coats (IN) - Winner!

Rain Is Good News for Republicans

My wife finally has to admit I was right. She thought I was stereotyping Dems as lazy when I would pray for rain on Election Day each year as a way to keep the Libs at home and away from the ballot box. Now I have the proof (thanks to!  I can't help it if they're lazy....

You Didn't Vote? Don't Blame it on the Weather
by Tim Ballisty, Editorial Meteorologist

Does weather affect voter turnout?

When election day rolls around in November, that question seemingly always enters the political discussion.

Pundits spout out their beliefs - "Democrats are loving the rain in Dixie!" or "Republicans are happy to see that there's snow in the forecast for New England!"

But again, does weather truly act as a barrier between the voter and the voting booth?

In 2007, researchers actually got down to business and sought out an answer to this very question.

The study was written by political scientists Brad T. Gomez of the University of Georgia, Thomas G. Hansford of the University of California, Merced, and George A. Krause of the University of Pittsburgh.

The researchers analyzed the affects of precipitation and temperature on voter turnout in more than 3,000 U.S. counties for 14 U.S. presidential elections from 1948 - 2000, which they say is the most comprehensive test of the weather-turnout thesis ever done.

The evidence they uncovered does indeed support the claim; rain and/or snow significantly decreases the level of voter turnout within a county.

Not only does weather affect turnout but it provides a noticeable bump for Republicans. The study found that foul weather conditions are positively related to Republican Party vote share in presidential elections.

Let's dig into some of the numbers and find out how much rain and/or snow can add some intrigue into the voting returns.

Each one inch increase in rain above its Election Day average for a typical county yields a gain of 2.5% of Republican vote share.

Every one inch increase in rain above its Election Day average yields a decline in voter turnout by just slightly 1%.

Each one inch of snowfall above its Election Day average results in a gain of 0.60% in the Republican vote share.

Each one inch of snowfall above its Election Day average reduces voter turnout by nearly 0.5%.

Final RC Blog Predictions for Election Day 2010

House +56, Senate +8, Governors +7

Heritage Releases "Solutions for America"

Compiled by a team of Heritage experts, Solutions for America identifies the nature and scope of our most pressing problems in 23 discrete policy areas, and recommends 128 specific policy prescriptions for Congress to consider. Some of the recommendations are groundbreaking. Others are familiar. Some are being debated right now. All have one thing in common: They would return power to the people. And, collectively, they will transform America, setting her back on the track to prosperity and greatness.

Perilous times necessitate bold action. America is at a tipping point. To continue on the current path of ever-expanding central government will plunge us into a statist abyss of lost liberties, vanishing opportunity and dying prospects of a better tomorrow. But our nation can just as well correct course, as she has so often in the past.

Americans by the millions have begun the process, rallying around the vision of the Founders. The policies articulated in Solutions for America are calculated to make that vision a reality, to build an America where freedom, opportunity, prosperity, and civil society flourish anew.

To download a copy of Solutions for America, click here.

RC Blog Upset Special of the Day...

RC Blog predicts that senior House incumbent Jim Oberstar (D-MN) will lose to Republican challenger Chris Cravaack in the Minnesota 8th District House race.  Cravaack has run an excellent campaign and Oberstar has been showing his age (76) as of late.  Cravaack seems to be the right person at the right place at the right time to unseat Oberstar.  This would be a major leadership blow the Dems...

Monday, November 1, 2010

Gallup: Republicans Appear Poised to Win Big on Tuesday

The final USA Today/Gallup measure of Americans' voting intentions for Congress shows Republicans continuing to hold a substantial lead over Democrats among likely voters, a lead large enough to suggest that regardless of turnout, the Republicans will win more than the 40 seats needed to give them the majority in the U.S. House.

The results are from Gallup's Oct. 28-31 survey of 1,539 likely voters. It finds 52% to 55% of likely voters preferring the Republican candidate and 40% to 42% for the Democratic candidate on the national generic ballot -- depending on turnout assumptions. Gallup's analysis of several indicators of voter turnout from the weekend poll suggests turnout will be slightly higher than in recent years, at 45%. This would give the Republicans a 55% to 40% lead on the generic ballot, with 5% undecided.

Click here for all the polling details. is an independent site and is not affiliated with any official web sites, associations, or organizations associated with President Reagan. Any views expressed or content included on this site do not necessarily reflect the views, positions, or opinions of any of the organizations or individuals named, linked, or advertised.

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