The Biggest, the First, and the Worst

Tomorrow marks one month since the recent ice storm hit us.  The final figures are now in, and for Kentucky the storm was:

1.  The biggest in our history, because most of the state was affected.

2.  The first time that the governor called up the entire Kentucky National Guard.

3.  The worst natural disaster we have ever suffered.  Losses included 36 lives and $114 million in repairs and clean-ups.

By comparison, the middle of this week was much milder.  The grass is starting to turn green again; temperatures got into the 50s on Wednesday, and the low 60s on Thursday.  After bundling up for so long, it seems strange to walk outside without a jacket, or go into the basement and not hear the furnace.  It didn’t last, though.  A cold front came in today, so it was one of those bizarre situations when it was warmer before sunrise than after it.  The front was proceeded by a line of short but intense thunderstorms, which passed over us at 5 AM.  The rain stopped by noon, but it stayed overcast for the rest of the day.  Tomorrow an inch of snow is in the forecast, and Leive and I are planning to visit Louisville, so hopefully the weather won’t make our trip too challenging.

And what may someday be considered the most important news of this week:  there are now nineteen states with bills promising to enforce the Tenth Amendment of the US Constitution, by calling on the federal government to stop acting in ways that go beyond the boundaries of the powers assigned to it.  It’s a response to all the irresponsible spending we’ve seen from Washington lately; yesterday I heard that President Obama is spending money like water because he has no plans to pay it back.

For those who may not be Constitutional scholars, the Tenth Amendment is probably the most neglected part of the Bill of Rights.  In a nutshell, it states that all powers that the Constitution does not specifically give to the federal government must go to the states or the people.  However, during my whole lifetime it has been ignored by most folks; the bureaucracy in Washington has grown, to the point that some may call it more oppressive than the British tyranny we threw out in the American Revolution, while the power of the states has shrunk by comparison.  Thus, the time may be coming when the USA will have a unitary government, not a federal one.


KY State Representative Introduces State Sovreignty Resolution

Kentucky Resolutions Redux

I am discussing this because last January I started working on the fifth history paper for my North American history series.  Called “The American Superpower,” it will cover US history from 1933 to the present.  So far I am only up to World War II, so don’t expect to read the whole thing until late this year.  Here’s a sneak preview from the paper, which ties in with the above story: 

From Chapter 2 onward, American history has been a story of growth.  In Chapter 2 we saw the future American community grow in population and confidence, until it was ready to survive on its own.  In Chapter 3 the theme was growth in the amount of land; thirty-four states joined the Union during that time, compared with fourteen in Chapter 4 and two in Chapter 5.  Then in Chapter 4 it was growth in wealth and military power.

All those trends have continued, but in this chapter a new trend became dominant: the years since 1933 have been an age of massive federal government growth.  Before the Civil War, the federal government only occasionally interfered in the lives of ordinary Americans; now with taxes, Social Security, Medicare and endless regulations, it meddles in our lives constantly.  And much of Uncle Sam’s growth has come at the expanse of the states; whereas the Constitution gave nearly as much attention to states’ rights as it did to the rights of individuals, today the state governments have become largely irrelevant to most of us.

I’m old-fashioned enough to be pessimistic about the nation’s future if this trend to centralize power continues.  Hopefully these Tenth-Amendment resolutions are a step in the opposite direction, to put the federal government back where it belongs.

Hey, Mr. Vice President! Get Al Gore to Help You! Didn’t He Invent the Internet?

Hoo-boy, Joe Biden was put in charge of the economic stimulus package’s website, and he can’t remember a simple URL.  When asked for it during an interview, he apologized for not writing down the number!  I take it he didn’t mean an IP address, like what I’m looking for when I check where the spam to this blog is coming from.



A couple of weeks ago, I read a column from a black conservative named Kevin Jackson, who thinks that Barack Obama picked Biden to be his VP because there’s nothing like a dumb white guy stumbling around to make him look good.  At the rate Biden’s going, I wonder how long it will be before the media needs to apologize for the way it treated Dan Quayle?

The Biden Distraction

Math By The Decade

I just heard this joke, though apparently it has been going around for a few years.  I will add it to the joke folder on The Xenophile Historian shortly.

New Math

1. Teaching Math in the 1950s

A logger sells a truckload of lumber for $100. His cost of production is 4/5 of the price. What is his profit?

2. Teaching Math in the 1960s

A logger sells a truckload of lumber for $100. His cost of production is 4/5 of the price, or $80. What is his profit?

3. Teaching Math in the 1970s

A logger sells a truckload of lumber for $100. His cost of production is $80. Did he make a profit?

4. Teaching Math in the 1980s

A logger sells a truckload of lumber for $100. His cost of production is $80, and his profit is $20. Your assignment: Underline the number 20.

5. Teaching Math in the 1990s

A logger cuts down a beautiful forest, because he is selfish and inconsiderate and cares nothing for the habitat of animals or the preservation of our woodlands. He does this, so he can make a profit of $20. What do you think of this way of making a living?

Topic for class participation after answering the question: How did the birds and squirrels feel as the logger cut down their homes? (There are no wrong answers..)

6. Teaching Math since 2000

Un hachero vende una carretada de madera para $100. El costo de la producciones es $80. ¿Cuál es su beneficio?

One Little Blocked Road Causes Big Headaches

Last week the city closed the west end of Mapleleaf Dr, the part that runs between Man o’War Blvd and Todds Rd, to put in a sewer pipe.  Because that made the part of Todds Rd. between Palumbo and Liberty Rd. useless for transportation, they closed that road, too.  At first I didn’t think too much of it, figuring it would be a minor inconvenience that only lasts for a day or so.  Now it has been a week, the roads are still closed, and I’m hearing they’ll stay that way for a month.

Who’d have thought this would create such a whopping traffic snarl?  The closed part of Mapleleaf is only one city block long, so short that you could almost spit across it.  However, for Leive and I, it was our favorite shortcut for avoiding Man o’War during the busy times, which happen all too often on that poorly designed beltway.  Evidently a lot of other folks used it, too, because whenever I go on the nearest roads — Man o’War, Palumbo, Liberty, and even New Circle Rd., traffic is backed up for at least half a mile.  And unless I head east, going directly out of town, I can’t drive anywhere without using one or two of those roads.  On Friday and Saturday, for example, it took me half an hour to get home on them, when it normally takes no more than ten minutes.  For the time being, when I have to be downtown for any reason, getting there is NOT half the fun!

The weather is still challenging, too.  Most of the time the temperature is no higher than the 30s.  Over the weekend we got first some rain, and then two inches of snow.  Now I think I know what a “snow shower” is, if the weatherman was talking about the rain-to-snow transition.  Since we’ve also had ice, sleet, fog and wind, I’m wondering what will fall on us next.  Oobleck, perhaps?

I’m still not having trouble starting my engine and driving in the cold weather.  The real problem I’m having is how the doors on the Buick keep freezing shut.  It even happened today on the way to work, though we didn’t get any rain or snow last night.  The last time I went shopping, I saw a $2 can of something called “de-icer” which is supposed to get ice off cars quickly.  I didn’t buy it, but I’m now thinking of getting a can, the next time I see it in a store.

My Random Thoughts on Republicans

From “My Random Thoughts

I Could Carve A Republican With More Backbone From A Banana

I said plenty about the Democrats, but that doesn’t mean the Republicans will get off easily. My problem with the GOP is how it keeps wimping out to the Democrats, again and again. What a bunch or girlymen; in 2004 I expected the Democrats to be poor losers, but the Republicans were even poorer winners! We elected them to cut spending, make the country more secure, and destroy the other party, but instead, they acted as if Washington politics was some sort of game. We also see them insist on playing by the rules, rules which the other side doesn’t follow. They are like the proverbial fellow who brings a knife to a gun fight, or a poker player who complains about being dealt too many aces, and proceeds to give them to the other players.

For example, on George W. Bush’s judicial nominations, and the confirmation of John Bolton, the Democrats resorted to an unprecedented filibuster, refusing to allow a vote on most of the candidates. The Republicans were in the majority until the 2006 elections, so they had the power to tell the Democrats to go suck eggs! Instead, they let the Democrats get away with behavior that was never permitted in the past, whining that if they ordered an immediate up or down vote to fill the increasing number of vacancies on the bench (the so-called “nuclear option”), the Democrats might someday do the same thing to them. For Bush’s second term, the Democrats took up a strategy of perpetual anger; they accused those around Bush (e.g., Scooter Libby, Alberto Gonzalez) of various crimes, when none were committed, and the Republicans meekly apologized for the appearance of any wrongdoing.

A more recent example was the 2008 Senate race in Minnesota, which pit a Republican incumbent, Norm Coleman, against Al Franken, a failed comedian and talk show host. For Coleman it shouldn’t have been a contest; Franken is so moonbatty that even the Minnesota Star Tribune, a newspaper known for its liberal tendencies, endorsed Coleman. Instead, the results were too close to call, so the Democrats blatantly stole the election, in a recount that dragged on longer than the notorious 2000 Florida recount. Except for a lawsuit from Coleman himself, there were far fewer Republican protests than you’d think. I don’t know which is worse: that half of Minnesota voters think Franken is fit to be a senator, or that the Republicans let Franken and the Democrats get away with it. A party which allows that to happen does not deserve my support.

Missing Republican Backbone

Jay Dyson, the artist behind the defunct, feels the same way about the GOP as I do.

They Can Say No to Taxes, But Not to Spending

When it comes to budgets, Bush outspent every previous president. Maybe FDR and LBJ increased spending by a larger percentage, but I’m too young to know for sure. Here are the figures I have for how much the federal budget increased every year, on average, under the past five presidents:

  • Carter = 4.2%
  • Reagan, first term = 3.5%
  • Reagan, second term = 1.8%
  • George Bush the Elder = 1.9%
  • Clinton, first term = 1.0%
  • Clinton, second term = 1.9%
  • George Bush the Younger, first term = 4.4%
  • George Bush the Younger, second term = 3.75%

The last figure is too recent to include the trillions spent in the financial bailouts of 2008. And this is from the party that promises less government in all areas but defense?

I know, we had a recession and a war less than a year after the 2000 election, and the creation of the Department of Homeland Security added an expense our grandchildren will probably be paying (government agencies do not willingly disappear when they’re no longer needed), but there are also quite a few spending increases that have nothing to do with these things, stuff I would only expect to see if a Democrat was in the White House. Hundreds of billions for Medicare to cover drug prescriptions. The largest agriculture subsidy in history. An education program (“No Child Left Behind”) so generous that only Teddy Kennedy wasn’t satisfied with it. A $286.5 billion highway spending bill loaded with 6,371 pet projects, in a volume so big (1,752 pages) that I doubt anybody ever read the whole thing. One appropriation in the bill that did get attention was $460 million for two bridges in Alaska, one of them connecting the mainland with an island that only has 50 inhabitants (the so-called “Bridge to Nowhere”). When Ronald Reagan vetoed a highway bill like that in 1987, one that earmarked money for only 157 projects, he said, “I haven’t seen this much lard since I handed out blue ribbons at the Iowa State Fair.” Bush, however, found it extremely difficult to say no; he didn’t veto a bill of any kind until July 2006, when he got one requesting funding for embryonic stem-cell research.

The Unarmed Invaders

The Republicans have also dropped the ball when it comes to illegal immigration. In fact, neither of the two major parties is serious about protecting our nation’s frontiers. The Democrats want illegal immigrants as new voters (presumably because their birth rate is so bad), and the Republicans want illegal immigrants as cheap labor (modern-day helots, as Victor Davis Hanson called them). Therefore they allow a flood of undocumented aliens to come in. Our borders with Canada and Mexico are still mostly unfortified, and in some areas unpatrolled. In the pre-9/11 world that symbolized more than a century of good relations between the three largest nations of North America. Today, however, neither Canada nor Mexico is allied with the United States in the War on Terror, so at least we ought to be sure that no terrorists are sneaking across the Rio Grande or the 49th parallel; Lord knows it is easy enough to do if the Mexican and Canadian governments aren’t watching their side of the lines. In April 2005 the “Minuteman Project” went to Arizona and simply watched, alerting the Border Patrol when they saw people sneaking across. They showed that our borders can be controlled, but the government largely ignored this news. It’s a crying shame that ordinary folks feel the need to take a primary function of government into their own hands, when the government itself will not do it.

Now let the record show that I am not against immigration; I am all in favor of legal immigration. You’ve heard that the United States was built on legal immigrants, from the Irish and Germans of the early nineteenth century to the Vietnamese of the 1970s and 80s. For that matter, my wife is a legal immigrant, and she came from an area the federal government sees as a danger zone (Mindanao, Philippines). Arnold Schwarzenegger is probably the most famous example right now of an immigrant who came to America with almost nothing and made good; we can always use more people like him. What I want to see is that we have a record of everyone coming in, so we can more easily track the bad guys. In addition, illegal immigration raises the cost of government all around; the bill goes up for law enforcement, social services, education, health care, etc, putting a severe strain on many state and local budgets. Finally, when those who come in illegally can receive amnesty simply by staying here long enough, it’s an insult to those who took the time and did the paperwork to become legal immigrants.

Mexico lost Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and California in the nineteenth century because it wasn’t willing to settle those places, but the United States was. Now with Mexicans pouring in, it looks like the trend is going the other way; indeed, Hispanic racist groups like MEChA and La Voz de Aztlan talk about taking back the southwestern United States for Mexico. Michelle Malkin has called the illegal immigrants from Mexico “reconquistadors.” When you look at them this way, they aren’t just jobseekers jumping across our border, but an invading army. Don’t be fooled because these invaders are unarmed; in today’s society, an unarmed crowd can occupy land, too (e.g., Morocco did it with the “Green March” in 1975). If they were willing to assimilate into American culture, I would not have cause for alarm. Instead, these newcomers don’t want to learn English. At rallies they fly the flags of their home countries instead of American flags. They say things like, “With all due respect, Los Angeles is ours.” Finally, they don’t want to learn the civic values that made this country more successful than the countries they left. In other words, they are reversing what John F. Kennedy said in his inaugural address; instead of asking what they can do for America, they ask what America can do for them.

Apparently there are too many undocumented aliens in this country to lock them all up or send them back. Some people don’t want to do anything about the problem for that reason. I have read columns which offer various solutions, like increase the penalty on American employers who hire illegal immigrants (so that the illegals will go back if they can’t get jobs in the states), or raise up Mexico’s economy until that country is rich enough that it will want to keep its workers from leaving. Whether or not these are good ideas, let’s secure our borders first, and then we will have time to decide what to do with the illegals already here.

For the people living in the border states, illegal immigration is a big issue, in some cases the most important one, so if either major party took a tough stand, I venture it would win over these people, and that party would make considerable gains in the next election.

Three-Dollar Lettuce

What I Would Like to See

Finally, the Republicans need to do something that will show the differences between them and the Democrats. I mean, if the Republicans want to act like “Democrats lite,” in terms of spending and their stand on the issues, then why vote for Republicans at all? Most voters, like most shoppers, would rather have the real thing, not an imitation product. And a RINO platform isn’t likely to win over those who vote Democratic most of the time. Just look at how the New York Times treated John McCain; they endorsed him as their favorite Republican candidate at the beginning of 2008, but started trying to tear him down the minute it looked like he was going to get the nomination.

To put it in a nutshell, when Democrats act like Republicans, they win. When Republicans act like Democrats, they lose. Gosh, you’d think more Republicans would have figured that out by now!

Saying “So-and-so Republican isn’t as liberal as the Democratic candidate” won’t do, either. That negative approach may keep the hard-core Republicans in line, but if you want the “swing” voters, you need to offer a positive message. Just look at how it worked for the Democrats in 2004. As long as that campaign was, I never found out what John Kerry stood for. Heck, I don’t think even Kerry knew what he stood for, except to oppose whatever George W. Bush favored. And though I was in one of the “battleground states” at that time (Florida), I never met a real Kerry supporter. All the people I met who had a political opinion were either Bush supporters or Bush haters; I didn’t consider “Bush haters” to be Kerry supporters because if the Democrats had nominated a baboon to run against Bush, most of them would have voted for the monkey anyway.

So what did the Republicans learn from 2004? Not too much! In 2008, the Democratic slogans of “Change” and “Yes we can” were some of the vaguest we have heard since Thomas Dewey was a presidential candidate (“You know that your future is still ahead of you.”), but it seemed that all the Republicans could say was “Vote for McCain, because he’s not Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama.” Why not some good reasons to vote for the Republican, instead of reasons to vote against the Democrat? As the old saying goes, you can catch more flies with honey than you can with vinegar. Of course a good fresh roadkill will beat both honey and vinegar hands down, but that’s another story!

The Republicans were at their best when they captured Congress in 1994, and they did it by issuing the “Contract With America,” a list of ten bills they promised to bring to a vote, during the first 100 days of the 104th Congress. Here is the text of the Contract, in case you haven’t seen it. What I’d like to see is a program for America like that, from whatever party I support in the future. Along that line, here is the sound-bite version of the promises I wanted from a presidential candidate in 2008:

  • Abolish the IRS.
  • Cut spending.
  • Ignore the tree-huggers.
  • Secure the borders.
  • Kill the terrorists.
  • Smack the hippies.

Of course the Democrats weren’t in favor of any of these, inasmuch as many of them are ex-hippies. The only ones McCain supported were #2 and #5, and I had my doubts about his commitment to #5. If any party will add them to their platform, count me in.

“Those of us who believe in the two-party system regard voting for a third party as throwing away your vote. However, we could use two new parties to replace the Democrats and Republicans.”–Thomas Sowell, 07/14/2005

My Random Thoughts on Democrats

On The Xenophile Historian I have a page devoted to miscellaneous political opinions, items that aren’t long enough to justify giving them their own webpages. I call it “My Random Thoughts,” after the “Random Thoughts” column that Thomas Sowell writes from time to time.  Until now I had eleven items on the page; now I have increased the list to nineteen.  What happened was that I used to have two separate pages listing the problems I have with the two major political parties in the United States.  One was called “Circling the Drain:  The Death of the Democratic Party,” and the other was entitled “What Happened to the Republican Party?”  Much of what I said there went out of date with last November’s election, so I took those pages down, and this month I finally got my thoughts composed enough to write some updated comments.  The new comments are shorter than the old ones, so I just added them to the other random thoughts.

If you go to “My Random Thoughts,” you will find that what I wrote for points #1 through #11 has not changed.  My new comments for the Democrats are #12-15, and my new comments for the Republicans are #16-19.  Most of the material has appeared on this blog first, over the past two years, so most of it won’t be new to regular readers.  And now, here are the comments about the Democrats; those for the Republicans will appear in the next message.

We Need New Party Symbols

For the first years of my adult life, I was a registered Democrat; then, when the Democrats rejected traditional, “family” values, I switched to the Republicans, and stayed with them for more than twenty years. Later on, however, the Republicans were a disappointment as well. Consequently I registered as an independent when I moved from Florida to Kentucky, so I’m not aligned with either major party anymore. My point of view can be summarized by the title of a book Bernard Goldberg wrote on the subject: “Crazies to the Left of Me, Wimps to the Right: How One Side Lost Its Mind and the Other Lost Its Nerve.”

Along that line, the traditional party symbols are out of date; both the Republicans and Democrats need new political animals. Now that the leftists are in full control of the Democratic Party, the barking moonbat (a term introduced by columnist Michelle Malkin) should replace the donkey, while for the GOP, the rhino (as in RINO, meaning Republican In Name Only) is more appropriate than the elephant.

Occasionally I hear our two major parties called the “crazy party” and the “stupid party,” referring respectively to the Democrats and Republicans. At first I thought it was mainly a characterization of how the parties had acted in recent years, but now it seems to have gone on for quite a while. According to Wikipedia, around 1990 comedian Mark Russell called the Democrats the “brainwashed party” and the Republicans the “brain-dead party.” You could also call Republicans the “Seinfeld Party,” because when they were last in power, they didn’t seem to be about anything.

When It’s Smart to be Dumb

While a lot of people may think the Republicans are stupid, the Democrats can act pretty dumb themselves, when it suits their purposes. Consider these examples of political cluelessness:

  • Joe Biden doesn’t know the Constitution after 36 years in the Senate, and thinks the US and NATO kicked Hezbollah out of Lebanon.
  • Charlie Rangel doesn’t know the tax law his committee writes.
  • Barney Fwank didn’t know a gay brothel was being run in his house.
  • Barack Obama attended the same church for twenty years without knowing what his preacher was saying.
  • Teddy Kennedy didn’t know how to call the police or emergency personnel after driving off a bridge and drowning his passenger.
  • Robert Byrd doesn’t remember he was in the KKK and doesn’t know that it’s bad to use the “N” word in a TV interview (which he did as recently as 2001).
  • Harry Reid only knows how to whine at them wascally Wepublicans and say we lost the war.
  • Nancy Pelosi doesn’t know how to make a bipartisan speech.
  • Jim McDermott doesn’t know it is illegal to eavesdrop on private cell phone conversations.
  • Bill Clinton doesn’t know the meaning of the word “is.”
  • In 2008, Hillary Clinton didn’t know if she was running for a third term as co-president or first term as president.
  • Valerie Plame doesn’t know if she worked for 5 years at a desk or as a spy in the field.
  • Sandy Berger doesn’t know that stealing documents from the National Archives is wrong, even if your socks and underwear are clean.
  • Dan Rather doesn’t know forged documents are worthless as evidence.
  • The Mainstream Media doesn’t know it is biased.
  • Jesse Jackson doesn’t know a rainbow has other colors besides black and green (as in money).
  • Al Sharpton doesn’t know where his church is.
  • Ward Churchill doesn’t know which Indian tribe he belongs to.

These people have shaped our culture, and now they will be running this country.

Assault and Moonbattery

For the Democrats, the name “crazy party” fits. They have showed it with their unreasoning hatred of Republicans, especially George W. Bush. By my standards, Bush wasn’t very conservative, but to most Democrats he could do nothing right, even when outspending his predecessors, supporting amnesty for illegal immigrants, or increasing foreign aid to Africa. They saw him as a “fundamentalist,” a “right-wing zealot,” who could not even have good intentions. Dr. Charles Krauthammer, a former psychiatrist, defined this behavior as a mental illness and called it BDS, “Bush Derangement Syndrome.” Then during the 2008 election, we saw the same behavior become “Sarah Palin Derangement Syndrome,” and finally “Joe the Plumber Derangement Syndrome.” I have a feeling that the typical moonbat Democrat sees conservatives like myself as looking something like this, now that both major parties have exiled us to the wilderness:

Red State Voter/Wolverine
Those of you who enjoy classical literature are no doubt familiar with Don Quixote. It’s amazing how many of today’s liberals identify with him, considering that Don Quixote is probably the most famous loser that never lived. Especially the part of the story where he attacks the windmill, one of the oldest symbols of capitalism. An article in The People’s Cube goes so far as to call Don Quixote “The Ultimate Moonbat.” But do you remember what happened to him in the end? After he did the windmill business, dreamed the impossible dream, and tried to win the heart of a peasant girl whom he thought was a princess, he met a man in shining armor who called himself the “Knight of the Mirrors.” When the Knight of the Mirrors showed him his reflection, Don Quixote suddenly realized how silly he looked, and gave up his quest. If the barking moonbats who act as the voice of today’s Democratic Party could see how they really look to the rest of us, I wonder how many of them would change their tune?

“Whom the gods destroy they first make mad.”–Euripides

What Is Liberalism, Anyway?

Apparently liberalism now means the opposite of what it used to mean. Liberals used to be populists; now they’re elitists. Democrats used to be the party that represented the working class, but now, judging from their presidential candidates (e.g., Gore, Kerry, Edwards, Obama) and from the fact that they control more than half of the wealthiest congressional districts (San Francisco, Boston, Baltimore, etc.), it’s safe to say that they have become the party of the rich. Whereas they used to favor human rights and the spread of democracy, now they don’t care; note their lack of enthusiasm for the elections in Afghanistan and Iraq, and how Jimmy Carter went from being the human rights president to the former president who never met a dictator he didn’t like. The Democratic Party used to portray itself as “the party of love”; now, except on the gay-marriage issue, it’s the party of hate. In the past, most conspiracy theories came from right-wing extremists; now they’re more likely to come from the left end of the political spectrum (e.g., see what they said about September 11 and Hurricane Katrina). College campuses, the best place to find liberals in most communities, used to be bastions of free speech; now they censor even harmless comments, pictures, etc., in the name of “political correctness.” Most telling of all, liberals used to embrace change for its own sake, but now they’re often afraid to try any new idea, calling it a “risky scheme.”

Along those lines, it is appropriate that the media now refers to the states that vote Republican as “red.” Red is the color of revolution, and the vision of a global people’s revolution has passed to those who call themselves conservatives. In response the Left has become reactionary, a victim of the Hegellian/Marxist dialectic that once encouraged them to think that history was on their side.

A Marion County Mission?

I get the impression from reading history that during the three hundred years when Spain either ruled or claimed Florida, Spanish activities were largely confined to the neighborhoods of St. Augustine and Pensacola.  Now evidence has turned up of what they were doing elsewhere.  An archeological team from the University of Florida has discovered the remains of Spanish-style buildings at two sites along the Oklawaha River, near present-day Ocala.  Spanish records mention the building of two missions in this area during the 1620s, to convert the local Indians, and apparently these are the missions.  The effort was unsuccessful; the missions were abandoned after the Timucuan tribe revolted against Spanish rule in 1656, and then were forgotten until now.  I know my brother is going to be interested in the story, if he hasn’t heard about it already.

Researchers: Remains may be from 17th century

Bovine Macroeconomics, Updated

Back in the early 1980s, I heard the best explanation I can remember of political/economic systems.  It gave six examples (socialism, communism, fascism, nazism, New Deal bureaucracy and tradtional capitalism), and told how each system would treat a farmer with two cows.  Since gaining Internet access, I have seen a few more copies of the list, vastly expanded.  Now here’s the latest version:

Bovine Economics 101

You have 2 cows.  You keep them and give your lord some of the milk.

You have 2 cows.  You keep one and give one to your neighbor who has no cows.

You have 2 cows.  The government takes one and gives it to your neighbor who has no cows.

You have 2 cows.  The government takes both but lets you have some of the milk.

You have 2 cows.  The government takes both and sells you the milk.  You join the underground and start a campaign of sabotage.

You have 2 cows.  The government takes both and shoots you.

You have 2 cows.  The government buys both cows, shoots one, milks the other and throws the milk away.

You have 2 cows.  The government taxes you to the point where you have to sell both cows.  Your taxes go to support a man in a foreign country who has only one cow, which was a gift from your government.

You have 2 cows.  You sell one and buy a bull.  Your herd multiplies and the economy grows.  Finally you sell them all and retire on the profits.

You have 2 cows.  You sell one and force the other one to produce the milk of four cows.  You are surprised when the cow drops dead, and hire a consultant to find out why.

You have 2 cows.  You go on strike because you want 3 cows.

You have 2 cows.  You redesign them so they are 1/10 the size of an ordinary cow, and produce the milk of 20 cows.  You then create a clever cow cartoon image called cowkimon and market them worldwide.

You have 2 cows.  You re-engineer them so they live for 100 years, eat once a month and milk themselves.

You have 2 cows.  Both are mad.

You have 2 cows, but you don’t know where they are.  You break for lunch.

You have 2 cows.  You count them and learn that you have 5 cows.  You count them again and learn that you have 42 cows.  You count them again and learn that you have 2 cows.  You stop counting cows and open another bottle of Vodka.

You think you have two cows, but you don’t know what a cow looks like. You take a nap.

You have 5000 cows.  None of them belong to you.  You charge others for storing them.

You have two cows. You enter into a partnership with an American corporation. Soon you have 1,000 cows and the American corporation declares bankruptcy.

You have 2 cows.  You worship them.

You have 2 cows.  You have 300 people milking them.  You claim full employment, high bovine productivity, and arrest the journalist who reported otherwise.

You have 2 cows.  You sell three of them to your publicly listed company, using letters of credit opened by your brother-in-law at the bank, then execute a debt-equity swap with an associated general offer so that you get all four cows back, with a tax exemption for five cows.  The milk rights of the six cows are transferred through an intermediary to a Cayman Island company secretly owned by the majority shareholder, who sells the rights to all seven cows back to your listed company.  The Enron annual report says the company owns eight cows, with an option on one more.  No balance sheet is provided with the release.  The public buys your bull.

You have 2 cows.  Both are on the barbie.

You have 2 cows.  The one on the left is kinda cute.

You have 2 cows.  You donate one to the party most likely to win the next election (and the other to the second best bet just to cover your back).  You sit back and wait for the returns to come rolling in.

Did It Have to Be Denver?

Last Tuesday afternoon, President Obama signed the economic stimulus bill.  However you felt while the bill was debated, it’s law now.  It will either save us from a depression, result in a “lost decade” like what happened to the Japanese in the 1990s, or end capitalism as we know it.  You might want to mark February 17 on your calendar, and come back to it in a year or so to see if we’re better off because of it.

What bothers me is that the president was in Chicago to celebrate President’s Day with friends, and he chose to fly to Denver to sign the bill, to let everyone know that the stimulus would focus on “green” industries and energy sources.  Yes, Mr. President, Colorado is working on those, but couldn’t you have just as easily signed the bill in Chicago or Washington, DC?  Unless you travel by electric train or helium balloon, you’re going to burn fossil fuel to get to Denver, and that will increase your “carbon footprint” — just what you want us all to reduce.

Also, on Tuesday I saw yet another case of people getting confused over whether they elected a president or a messiah.  The picture below shows a display of children’s books about Barack and Michelle that appeared at a Borders bookstore in Dallas, TX.  A spokesperson for Borders said they did not mean to have customers thinking these were religious books, they just happened to have a bare shelf available under the sign.  The rest of us are left scratching our heads, though.


Nice Going, Mo

You made a career out of improving relations between Moslems and non-Moslems, and now you’ve just undone it all.

I’m talking about a news story from Buffalo, NY that probably won’t get the attention it deserves.  Muzzamil “Mo” Hassan, an executive for Bridges TV, a Moslem TV network, was recently arrested for having allegedly beheaded his wife, Aasiya Z. Hassan, after she filed for divorce.  Here’s the story in case you hadn’t heard about it:

Prominent Orchard Park man charged with beheading his wife

As awful as this crime is, the reporters and commentators are trying to hush up any suggestion that religion might have motivated somebody to cut off Ms. Hassan’s head.  Pray tell, aside from Islam, is there any religion, political ideology or philosophy in the modern world that approves of this behavior?  What we have here is a certified honor killing, and whoever is responsible fits my description of a barbarian.  I wrote about that in an essay for The Xenophile Historian, entitled “Satan’s Chosen People“.  The only teaching I know of that comes even close to this is an Old Testament law that calls for stoning children who insist on being rebellious, and I don’t think that punishment was ever enforced.  Would anyone disagree that if the killer was a devout Jew or Christian, any connection between his beliefs and the crime would be shouted from the rooftops?

I also found it interesting that two years ago, Mr. Hassan received an award from CAIR, everyone’s favorite front organization for terrorists.  Today the award seems more fitting than it did before.

Beheader hubby was hero to US Muslim activists

The good news is that some feminist groups are starting to get the message that enemies of our government treat women worse than we do; they were silent when word got out about Saddam Hussein’s rape rooms in Iraq, or when the Taliban lowered the status of Afghan women to a lower level than black Americans were at during the Jim Crow era.  Here’s a statement from the New York chapter of the NOW gang:

Press Releases

Just when I think it may be possible for Moslems to live successfully in a modern, Westernized world (e.g., the recent free election in Iraq), along comes a story like this to tell me otherwise.