Thursday, September 30, 2010

The Portland Trailblazers, Brandon Roy, and All About Getting Better

The Portland Trailblazers have redefined themselves as a team in recent years.  Gone is the exceptionally talented but very undisciplined and self destructive Jail-Blazers teams of the late 90's. 

Today the Trailblazers still have exceptional amounts of talent but they also have a team of disciplined and dedicated young men with a common goal in mind; To win!  And leading that team is their All-Star shooting guard and arguably one of the very best players in the NBA, Brandon Roy. 

Brandon won the league's rookie of the year award in his first season and has only gotten better each additional year.  Now at the beginning of his fifth season, this team leader has already been working hard in the off-season to take the Trailblazers even further into the playoffs this year.  His determination and hard work are the example of the work ethic needed for a great player to become a legendary player.

Brandon Roy is dedicated to becoming one of the elite players in the league.  His focus and hard work in the off season bodes well for a young team that is still improving under the exceptional tutelage of Coach Nate McMillan. 

One of the keys for the upcoming season will be maintaining the health and preventing injuries sustained by players on the team.  Last year, after the beginning of a very promising season, injuries sidelined many key players at crucial points in the last half of the season, including for Brandon Roy at times.  While the Blazers still made the playoffs, despite those decimating injuries, they fell short of their potential.  If Brandon Roy has anything to say about it, the 2010-2011 season will be different.

The other key will be ensuring that center Greg Oden also is healthy and able to play an entire season.  While undeniably a great guy with much raw talent, Oden has yet to play a full season without injury.  (Meanwhile Kevin Durant, whom the Blazers opted not to draft in favor of the constantly injured Oden, has flourished in his first years in the league for the Oklahoma City Thunder and has reached the threshold of all-star status.) 

One hopes that Oden will reach his potential this season and prove that the Blazers chose wisely in that draft rather than raising the specter of ghosts from the past when the team chose a short lived player by the name of Sam Bowie instead of some slightly better known player named Michael Jordan.

Roy and Oden are two key ingredients to a successful Trailblazers' season.  Roy has done his part to be ready and to get better.  We will see if his teammate Oden is able to carry his share of the 82 game regular season burden this year as well.

See Brandon Roy's off-season work out here.

The Last Best Hope

I saw this on St. Blogustine and I rather liked it.  I warned Matt that I had every intention of stealing it and since he promised not to press charges, here it is.  Enjoy!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Immigration, World Poverty, and Gumballs - Updated 2010

Roy Beck puts our LEGAL immigration situation into very clear perspective in this video.  Many folks, particularly on the left, have repeatedly proposed drastically increasing our legal immigration levels into the United States in order to combat world poverty.  Mr. Beck clearly shows why this will not work. 

That is not to say that our immigration laws don't need a massive overhaul and changes made to allow a sustainable and beneficial level of immigrants to legally come to the United States.  In the long run, this needs to benefit America though, as it ultimately will do nothing to help the impoverished nations of the world.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Utah National Guard Takes Responsibility for Herriman Fire

On Sunday September 19th, the Utah National Guard began conducting live fire machine gun training at Camp Williams about thirty miles south of Salt Lake City, despite the tinder dry conditions and hot winds that were blowing that afternoon.  Unfortunately the worst happened accordingly.

A fire started around 1:30 PM that afternoon due to that machine gun fire which rapidly spread out of control and eventually ended up charring over 4,300 acres. 

The Utah National Guard quickly acknowledged that live ammunition from the exercise was indeed the cause of that fire.  Lt. Colonel Hank McIntyre stated that Utah National Guard crews tried to immediately get the blaze under control but with no success.  The National Guard waited nearly two hours trying to fight the rapidly growing fire before calling for outside fire services to assist them, according to the Major General Brian Tarbet.

Unfortunately that blaze grew and spread to the Herriman mountainside, consuming more than 4,300 acres and destroying three homes while damaging a fourth.  Approximately 1600 homes and more than 5000 people in the town of Herriman near the northern border of Camp Williams had to be evacuated for several days due to the fire. 

According to the local Salt Lake ABC affiliate, "At a press conference Monday afternoon, Camp Williams Adjutant Maj. Gen. Brian L. Tarbet apologized for the chain of events that led to the fire. Gen. Tarbet says that the fire "literally exploded across Camp Williams," after Camp Williams fire crews were initially fighting a five acre fire at about 1:30 p.m. Sunday."

Maj. General Tarbet further stated that Guard officials erred when they allowed live-fire training despite high wind warnings and also said that no one from the Guard checked to see if the National Weather Service had posted a "red flag" high-wind warning before permitting the machine gun exercise to proceed in such dangerous conditions.

Despite the lack of good procedure and safety leading up to the event, I applaud General Tarbet for his taking quick responsibility for the blaze without making excuses or looking to shift blame for the responsibility.  In the press conference, he said to the media, "We say we're sorry, deeply sorry; these are the citizens we're sworn to protect and we did not do that Sunday."  He characterized the fire as a "systematic failure" at Camp Williams.  "Our mission is to support our citizens, not to endanger them, and we failed in that yesterday," Tarbet further said.

Despite the loss to the families whose homes were destroyed and the thousands of people inconvenienced for most of a week due to evacuation orders, I am heartened that the Utah National Guard stepped up, admitted fault without excuse and have promised to make things right for those affected by the fire.  The Utah National Guard had setup evacuation shelters immediately via the Red Cross and set up a mechanism for claims against the Guard for the replacement of lost property.  Luckily no human life was lost in this tragedy. 

Thankfully, Maj. General Tarbet and the Utah National Guard, despite their dreadful mistakes, are honorable people that took full and complete responsibility and are actively working to make things right.  Their example of contrition without shirking the blame and responsibility is refreshing and something from which we can all learn these days. 

Monday, September 27, 2010

Pelosi Disparages Pledge; States Democrats "Stand By" Obamacare



I have never seen anyone more politically tone deaf than our current Speaker of the House seemingly is.  Perhaps Nancy Pelosi is trying to just put a good face on her impending removal from the Speaker's chair come November's elections.  Perhaps she really does believe what she says and thinks what she has accomplished with her Democratic colleagues is good and not just more cynical legislation enacted in order to gain or hold onto power.  Perhaps the only voices she hears on the day's issues are those of her decidedly far-left progressive constituents from her San Francisco congressional district.

Regardless, her statements of naivety and foolishness, particularly when it comes to the health care reform act actually "saving" us money is a pipe dream.  The Congressional Budget Office back in May even restated  the total cost of implementing health care and determined that we would indeed exceed the dreaded $1 Trillion threshold that was supposedly the deal killer for many folks in congress for voting for this travesty of an unconstitutional law in the first place.

Further, the health care act will indeed cause the rationing that many feared, and it is guaranteed to create a huge rise in costs to consumers rather than a reduction thereof.  The disincentives and price fixes created under the bill are such that many doctors will retire and fewer young people will go into medicine.  With the addition of millions more of Americans now being covered and with less doctors to provide care for them, this would suggest by simple supply and demand economics that costs will go up.  Fewer doctors plus more patients equals higher costs and longer waiting times and rationing of services.  It is simple mathematics.

Pelosi claims regarding Democrats and the Obamacare legislation, “Our members have stated where they are on it," said Pelosi. "They have voted for it. They stand by it, and they are great advocates for it.”  Indeed if this were true, how come we hear nary a member of congress running on the fact that they helped pass Obamacare with their vote?  Rather, the silence on the issue from Democrats is quite deafening!

Again though, Speaker Pelosi seems to think that this gargantuan expanse of government and the draconian costs associated with it so that "children" can take their sweet time to follow their dreams of what to do with their lives and still be covered under their parents health care policy until the age of 26 is exactly what America wanted.  The storm clouds are ominously darkening and swirling at full gale and Speaker Pelosi seemingly is out in the middle of a vast field without an umbrella to be found.  Talk about sowing the tempest, Ms. Speaker!

Putting Illegal Border Crossings into Perspective

Lets see if I have this right...

If you cross the North Korean border illegally, you get twelve years of hard labor.

If you cross the Iranian border illegally, you are detained in prison indefinitely.

If you cross the Afghan border illegally, you can be shot.

If you cross the Saudi Arabian border illegally, you will be jailed.

If you cross the Chinese border illegally, you may never be heard from again.

If you cross the Venezuelan border illegally, you will be branded a spy and imprisoned.

If you cross the Cuban border illegally, you will be thrown into a political prison to rot.

If you cross the United States border illegally, you can get a job, a driver's license, welfare, food stamps, credit cards, subsidized rent or a loan to buy a home, free education including in-state tuition for college, free health care, all sorts of lobbyists in Washington working on your behalf, government documents printed in your language costing tax payers billions of dollars, the right to carry your country's flag while protesting that you don't get enough respect, and even the right to vote in some cases.

I just wanted to make sure that I understood my racist xenophobic country's position on this issue and that I had understood this correctly.

Friday, September 24, 2010

The GOP and Their New Pledge to America

The House Republicans unveiled their Pledge to America yesterday in an attempt to provide a platform for which Americans can affirmatively vote for the GOP.  While much of what is contained within the Pledge is excellent, it frankly does not go anywhere far enough to correct the dangerous fiscal crisis in which America finds itself currently.

There are indeed some excellent aspects to the Pledge.  The top 10 of my personally favorite items within the pledge include the following:

1.  The House will try and repeal the pernicious and un-constitutional Obamacare act.  While it is unlikely that there will be enough votes to over-ride a guaranteed presidential veto on this matter, it is a good start in setting the stage on the issue.

2.  There is a mandate that all legislation will have a specific clause upon it stating where congress derives the constitutional authority for presenting each bill.  (This is a basic check on government over-reach that is long over due.  I suspect that this will still be abused, but it is a step in the right direction.)

3.  Congress will cancel the TARP program.  Now any businesses that are run recklessly and foolishly will have to survive or fail on their own merits.  No longer will they get tax-payer funded bail outs!

4.  Congress will cancel all unspent stimulus money immediately.

5.  Congress will eliminate control over Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.  These GSE's will have to operate as private businesses going forward from this point.

6.  The tax-payer funding of abortions will be ended.

7.  The packaging of controversial riders on top of other "must-pass" legislation will be ended.  A bill will have to advance on its own merits instead of using such tactics as Harry Reid has tried lately with adding items such as the repealing of Don't Ask, Don't Tell and the repealing of the Hyde amendment so as to allow tax payer funded abortions in military hospitals being attached to a defense appropriation budget bill.

8.  Congress intends to fully fund the missile defense program that President Obama foolishly cut.  This is vital in an era where rogue nations such as North Korea and Iran have or are in the process of having nuclear weapons capable of hitting areas of vital interest to America and its allies.

9.  Congress will strengthen border security.  This remains to be seen, but hopefully the government will actually back up their rhetoric on this for once.

10.  Congress will try to thwart any cap  & trade legislation and will work to foster the development of more domestic energy sources.

By and large, the pledge is a great start.  As I said though, it needs to go much further in the rolling back of government and in the facilitating of the cutting of spending. 

A great place to do this is by revamping social security and medicare which account for a huge percentage of the federal budget and are still forecasted to go broke in the very near future.  Another place to cut spending, especially for symbolic reasons to return control of certain issues to the states, is the abolishing of the Department of Education.  This is far better handled on a state level anyway.

Further, the Department of Energy which was founded during the Carter administration ostensibly to wean America's dependence upon oil has been a blatant failure.  It also should be disbanded accordingly.

There are plenty of other areas where the Pledge does not go far enough, but it is a far preferable agenda to that being proposed by the tax and spend socialists of the Democratic congress and President currently at the helm. 

One last issue I would like to see addressed; I would like to see each member of congress, particularly the Republicans, sign their names to the pledge to indicate that they will indeed abide by its excellent suggestions and thus be held accountable in their successes or failures accordingly.

Please read the Republican Pledge to America for yourself here.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

White House Insider On Obama: The President Is Losing It

http://newsflavor.com/opinions/white-house-insider-on-obama-the-president-is-losing-it/

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

The Dark Humor Behind Social Security

Dave Splash over at The Dark Stuff has posted what I imagine he thought to be an amusing and ironic political cartoon.  See below.

While there is indeed some truth to the cartoon, I find it even more ironic that the whole idea of social security was envisioned and implemented by our big brother government to protect us from ourselves by MAKING us set aside some of our own salaries so that we could care for ourselves in our old age when we retired and could or would no longer work, regardless if we wanted that money withdrawn from our paychecks or not. 

The fact that Social Security is slated to be bankrupt soon if nothing is done to alter it from its current path ( a problem that most politicians of all political stripes are loathe to try and address ) is quite ironic and darkly humorous in and of itself.  I have no delusions that the money that has been confiscated from me over the years will be returned in the form of a monthly retirement social security check in twenty years when I am of retirement age.  That simply is very unlikely to ever happen.

The true irony is that our paternalistic government was trying to protect us from ourselves and has ultimately robbed us of of our money because they were irresponsible in caring for the taxpayers' dollars while trying to teach us to be responsible.  That is what is sadly funny to me.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Top 20 Pro-Socialism Sound Bites of Obama, Advisors & Allies

This video provides first-hand  proof in their own words of why it is critical that we stop this transformational change that Obama and his progressive fellow travelers have begun implementing in America.  The next battle to be joined in this fight occurs on November 2nd.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Senator DeMint; Fighting for the Right Cause

South Carolina's Senator Jim DeMint is one of the very few guys in government that gets it these days.  He has stated, "I'm at a point where I'd rather lose fighting for the right cause, than win fighting for the wrong cause."  Indeed, he seems disgusted with the GOP establishment and has bucked the party by supporting the winning more-conservative candidates in Florida, Colorado, Kentucky, and now Delaware. 

Hopefully the establishment elites of both parties will take notice, pay attention to the people's wishes, and start putting forth and backing candidates that will do the right thing in restoring this country, rather than just gauging whether they can win in the general election.  It is in the arena of ideas that the country will ultimately be saved, and the best ideas or those being articulated by the more conservative and libertarian candidates.   After all, winning an election with candidates espousing more progressive ideals is not really winning, as our country will continue to suffer for it accordingly.  Thankfully we have a few members in congress such as Senator DeMint that understand this.

The Real Estate Tax Hidden in the Obamacare Act

Did you know that if you sell your house after 2012 you will pay a 3.8% sales tax on it? That's $3,800 on a $100,000 home etc. When did this happen, you ask?  Why, it is in our new healthcare reform act. What does this have to do with health care? Nothing, except for the fact that our government must find a way to fund this un-constitutional, freedom-stealing, socialistic mandated program.  Hence the need for this new real estate tax.

The bulk of these new taxes don't kick in until 2013, presumably after Obama's re-election. (God help us all if that comes to fruition!)  You can thank Speaker Pelosi, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, President Obama and nearly all of your local Democrat Congressman for this one.  The Obamacare law is set to screw the retiring generation who often downsize their homes, in particular.

  
Oh, you weren't aware this was in the Obamacare law? Guess what? You are not alone. There are more than a few members of Congress that aren't aware of it either.  Such is the result of clandestine midnight voting for huge bills they've never read though.


Keep this in mind when it comes time to vote in a month and a half from now.  We need a conservative majority willing to repeal this un-constitutional law.  Further, we need a veto-proof majority in both the House and Senate, as our Marxist in Chief will surely veto any attempts to repeal his signature piece of legislation. 


While I don't necessarily expect we will be able to make conservative gains in congress approaching those thresholds, anything less will leave this law in place to wreak further havoc until we do manage to elect a conservative president in 2012.  Will simply having a conservative majority, if not a two-thirds veto-proof majority, be enough to save our economy?  I don't know, but it will be vital to repeal this travesty of a "law" as soon as possible if our economy is to survive.  Real health care legislation that actually addresses problems there can then be introduced at that point.  In the meantime our current Healthcare Reform Act simply encumbers our citizens with additional taxes, further debilitates our economy, and worsens our health care.

Jackson & Sharpton Cartoon on Racism

Every once in awhile I find a political cartoon that elicits a chuckle from me simply because it is so darned accurate.  This is one of those cartoons.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Dinesh D'Souza on "How Obama Thinks"

I have heard some hate and discontent being raised from some of our progressive friends from the left regarding Dinesh D'Souza's most recent essay published on Forbes.com regarding President Obama and how he thinks.  I finally got around to reading the article and found it to be very insightful and quite brilliant.  Whereas I have heard cries of "racism" and other such rhetoric from the progressive front, I found nothing within the article to substantiate that claim. 

Quite the contrary, I think Mr. D'Souza did an excellent job in his research of the story and was able to articulate a very convincing theory as to what motivates our president in some of his more bizarre actions of governance.  On the whole, I think D'Souza absolutely nailed it in his explanation.

I would highly recommend reading the somewhat lengthy article and see if you do not agree.

How Obama ThinksThe President isn't exactly a socialist. So what's driving his hostility to private enterprise? Look to his roots.  By Dinesh D'Souza

The Deadly Threat of a Nuclear-Armed Iran

From time to time over the past years I have run into these full page ads in various political magazines from this organization named FLAME.  (Facts and logic about the Middle East)  The group is unapologetically pro-Israel and I have found their adds to be quite informative and upon further research, quite accurate. 

The latest one I came across is regarding the subject of Iran and their impending creation of a working nuclear weapon.  This is something that America and the world have seem to have dealt with in true ostrich fashion.  The time left for dealing with this critical issue is definitely running out and the repercussions of a nuclear armed Iran will be disastrous for America and possibly nation ending for Israel.  See Flame's ad below for more information.

http://www.factsandlogic.org/ad_109.html

Iran’s president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, has declared publicly – not once, but repeatedly – that Israel must be “wiped off the map.” That effort, the destruction of Israel, seems to be the main goal of Iranian policy. When Iranian missiles are paraded through the streets of Tehran, the destination “to Jerusalem” is clearly stenciled on them.

What are the facts?

A death wish for Israel. Ahmadinejad and the ayatollah who is the “supreme leader” have publicly mused that one or two nuclear bombs would obliterate Israel, but that, though it would cause devastating damage and millions of casualties, Iran would survive Israel’s retaliatory attack. Iran is a huge country, with about 60 million inhabitants, so they are probably correct. And who can doubt that those religious fanatics would not hesitate to allow the destruction of much of their country and to sacrifice a third or even one-half of their population in order to eliminate the hated Jewish state? When our country was entangled with the Soviet Union in the bitter 40-year long “cold war,” with both sides having sufficient nuclear weapons to destroy the opponent’s country and its people, things were kept in place by MAD – Mutually Assured Destruction. However “evil” the leaders of the Soviet Union (the “Evil Empire”) may have been, there was one great consolation and assurance: They were not crazy. But the Iranians and other Muslims are crazies, as we understand the concept. Because they take instructions directly from Allah, who tells them to kill the Jews and other infidels, whatever the cost.

Israel has no problem with Iran. They share no borders and have no territorial dispute. In fact, they face common Arab enemies and should be natural allies, as they indeed were under the Shah. Iran’s death wish for Israel is based entirely on religious fanaticism. In contrast even to the intractable North Koreans, the determination of the Iranians is immutable. It cannot be changed by persuasion, by diplomacy, by sanctions or by threats.

Once Iran is in possession of nuclear weapons, it will not only be a deadly danger to Israel, but to all of the Middle East and to virtually all of Europe. The flow of oil from the Middle East, the lifeblood of the industrialized world, would be totally under its control and so would be the economies of all nations of the world, very much including the United States.

What is to be done? In 1981, then prime minister of Israel Menachem Begin, being aware of Iraq’s nuclear ambitions and looming realization of those ambitions, decided that its nuclear reactor at Osiraq had to be destroyed. The IAF (Israeli Air Force) accomplished that in a daring and unprecedented raid. Iraq’s nuclear capability was eliminated in one stroke, never to rise up again. Israel had done the world an enormous service. Had it not been for Israel’s decisive action, the Iraqi conquest of Kuwait and, without question, also of Saudi Arabia and its enormous oil fields, and, for that matter, of Iran, could not have been prevented. Saddam Hussein would have been the ruler of the world.

The solution to the deadly threat that Iran poses to the world is obvious. Of course, diplomacy and persuasion, threats and promises, sticks and carrots – every possible means short of military action – should be used until it becomes clear even to the most obdurate that nothing can deviate Iran from its chosen path of becoming a nuclear power and to dominate the Middle East.

There is reason to believe that the people of Iran, especially the young people, oppose the oppressive and theocratic regime of their country and are hostile to the mullahs who control everything. But the government has the tools of power firmly in its hands. It controls the instruments of coercion – it can kill people and it controls the oil money. While it would be most desirable and in the interest of the world to be able to foment an overthrow of the Iranian regime, that is an unrealistic and unattainable prospect.

Regrettably, there is only one solution to the terrible dilemma confronting the world, the unacceptable danger of a nuclear-armed Iran. The terror, the destruction and the 60 million dead of World War II could have been prevented at several times during the Nazi regime. But the Allied powers, under the leadership of Britain’s prime minister Neville Chamberlain, opted for appeasement and for “peace in our time.” We cannot afford to make that same mistake again. The world must give Iran an ultimatum: Desist immediately from the development of nuclear weapons; if you do not, we shall destroy the facilities that produce them. There still is a window of opportunity to do that. That window may close very soon. But who would do the job? The United States would be the obvious choice. But if the United States were in accord, Israel could do it, just as it did the job in 1981 in destroying Iraq’s nuclear potential once and for all.

An attack on the Iranian nuclear installations would fall under the heading of “anticipatory self-defense,” recognized and sanctioned by international law and by common sense. Nobody really knows for sure how far Iran is from reaching its goal — six months. six years? The experts disagree. But if Iran is not stopped now, it may well be too late not very long from now.

Facts and Logic About the Middle East
P.O. Box 590359
San Francisco, CA 94159

Gerardo Joffe, President

Thursday, September 16, 2010

An Arizona Rancher Describes the Perils of Life Along the U.S./Mexican Border

A friend of mine from Arizona sent this letter to me.  I thought it provided a very interesting first-hand account of the dire situation faced along our southern border. 

The following commentary was penned by Ed Ashurst of Apache, Arizona:

I believe story telling to be an art form, certainly verbal record is the oldest form of recording history and recognized by historians worldwide. There is an old adage among those who love to tell a good tale, “Never let the truth get in the way of a good story.” And yet there are times when the truth is even more fantastic than exaggeration. What I write here is the truth, plain and simple.

I reside on, and manage a large cattle ranch in the far southeastern corner of Arizona. I’ve been here for 13 years and in that time frame have become far too familiar with the illegal trafficking in human beings, marijuana and other illicit drugs. Some have called it “the wetback culture” or “America’s border problem”. Lately it’s been taking steroids.

The recent murder of Robert Krentz by an illegal alien has received massive amounts of publicity worldwide. I live on the ranch bordering the Krentz ranch to the east and north. I can see the Krentz home looking out of my front door approximately 10 miles away. The day after Rob’s death I was involved in tracking the outlaw into Mexico. I saw the outlaw’s footprints where he crossed the border fence. I mention this to say I feel that I’m qualified to speak about current border issues.

My home has been broken into twice. My son’s home has been broken into also and between us we have had between twenty and thirty thousand dollars worth of stuff stolen from us including two ranch pick-ups, a four wheeler, 9 firearms (including a loaded AK 47) cash, jewelry all of our credit cards, driver’s license, etc. A guest house here on the ranch has been broken into so many times we quit counting… many times we haven’t even called the Sheriff’s dept. The Cochise County Sheriff’s dept. has no less than fifteen reports on file where I’ve called for assistance dealing with an outlaw illegal alien.

Several months ago, not long after Rob Krentz’s death, Fox news (channel 10 in Phoenix AZ) contacted me and expressed interest in coming down and doing a news story about me and the problems myself and other ranchers in this area have had in recent months with illegal outlaws. To prepare for my interview with Fox, I asked for assistance from six other neighboring ranchers and businessmen. All of these men are prominent men in the community, tax payers, business owners and individuals who have the best of reputations. Together we made a map of the area which covered from the southeastern corner of AZ going west about 20 miles to the silver creek area, and going north about 30 miles to the area around the towns of Portal, AZ and Rodeo, N.M. On this map we made marks recording violations to United States law committed by illegal aliens. We did not use government statistics (we wouldn’t know how to get them) but recorded incidents that we knew had happened first hand, many of which we had witnessed. We tried to record only the incidents that have happened in the last several years.
  • The sum total of what we recorded is this:
  • The arrest or capture of 40 illegal in one bunch – 40
(we didn’t bother with the countless smaller groups)
  • Loads of Marijuana found and captured – 213
  • Dangerous encounters with illegal aliens – 132
(assault, burglaries, forced entries, etc.)
  • Dead illegal aliens found by civilians – 16
  • High speed vehicle chases between dope haulers and law enforcement – 14
  • Illegal aliens spotted with firearms – 12
  • Fires started by illegal aliens – 9
Over 100,000 acres burned with the cost to taxpayers of $ 40,000,000. One fire near Portal AZ in June of 2010 cost $10,000,000. to fight (forest Service estimate)
  • Outlandish incidents – 4
Example: One bachelor in the Portal area was burglarized around 100 times. He finally took all his valuables and put them in a steel vault and welded the door shut. He then moved out of his house into a shed hoping the illegal aliens would leave him alone. They did not and he finally abandoned his property. Another outlandish event was when outlaws stole a brand new Caterpillar motor grader on the Geronimo Trail east of Douglas, AZ and drove south through the border fence never to be seen again. The grader belonged to Cochise County Hwy Dept.
  • Financial losses to private sector - $100,000,000.00
(losses in real estate value, personal property, etc., losses in wildlife habitat – immeasurable)

Last but certainly not least, the murder of Rob Krentz, which is right in the center of our map.
Let me put this in perspective. The area I’m talking about is an area that covers approximately 17 or 18 townships with only 20 miles being adjacent to the US – Mexico Boundary. Within this area, there is a population of perhaps 600 people, 90% of which reside in Rodeo, N.M. or Portal, AZ, 30 miles or so north of Mexico. No less than 80% of the people in this area have been burglarized or otherwise molested by illegal aliens. This area is about half as big as the Diamond A ranch or Babbitt ranch in northern AZ, both of which I’ve been employed on.

I’m sorry to report that this, in my opinion, is the small part of the story. The Mexican-American border has taken a dramatic change for the worse in the last several years. Those of us who live here see it first hand. As early as February of 1999 Sheriff Larry Dever warned me and others at a town hall meeting at the Apache School that the Sinaloa Cartel was moving into the Douglas-Agua Prieta area (Rob Krentz was at this meeting). The cities of Nuevo Laredo, Coahila, Cuidad Juarez, Chihuahua, and other border towns south of Texas have been controlled by outlaws for years. There is virtually no law enforcement in those places. The law is the law of the jungle. Until the last two years it seemed that Agua Prieta and Nogales were safer places but that has dramatically changed in recent months.

I am personally acquainted with 2 Mexican men, that I know to be honest and trustworthy, who have been involved first hand with Mexican outlaw terrorist acts. One witnessed first hand an execution of several people in broad daylight in Juarez. Several weeks later his daughter witnessed an assassination in Casas Grandes, Chihuahua no more than fifteen feet from where she stood. The other man is a legal Mexican green card holder (who was employed by the Krentz family for years) whose nephew was murdered by cartel members in Sonora. At night people in Douglas are hearing machine gun fire from Agua Prieta south of the border fence.

The Sinaloa Cartel is now putting a stranglehold on Agua Prieta. No more than 2 months ago 8 armed Mexicans were confronted by 2, U.S. Border Patrol agents north of the International Boundary in southeast Cochise County disguised as Federalizes. They were in fact cartel employees armed with assault rifles and automatic pistols. Mexican people that know tell me the situation in Agua Prieta has deteriorated dramatically in recent months. The good people are told to look the other way “or else.” Volumes could be written about this subject alone, but I will move on.

You could ask, “So what does this have to do with us living north of the border fence?” Plenty! The situation on the border isn’t just about a few workers walking north. It has everything to do with big business. Billions of dollars are being made trafficking humans, drugs, and contraband across the International Boundary. The Sinaloa Cartel, headed by Chapo Guzman and others, is reaping huge profits doing business along the border. The average coyote charges $1500 - $2500 to guide an illegal alien north to find work; usually abandoning them a short distance north of the line. A young man willing to pack dope north can make more than a construction worker or a teacher in the U.S. and only work a day or two a week.

This is not all south of the line. I could take you and show you businesses where checks and credit cards are not accepted and where very few customers walk through the door, yet the owners live in the largest mansions in town and drive very expensive cars. Could there be some money laundering going on? There are only two industries of any significance in Douglas, AZ: law enforcement (Douglas has one of the largest Border Patrol stations in America), and the illegal trafficking of drugs, people, etc. across the border. These two industries feed on each other, and the powers that be seem happy with the situation. Crooked politicians look good to the public when they clean up drunk driving and prostitution, until you find they own bars and whore houses south of the line. These things have happened!

But this, in my opinion, is only the beginning. Chapo Guzman who heads up the Sinaloa Cartel is a multibillionaire. This guy and others like him may be cruel and sinister people but they are also very smart businessmen. They are reaping profits off of the largest tax free unregulated business on the planet. They have so much cash they are befuddled what to do with it all. But they are going to figure it out.

There are rumors that Guzman is financing modern, state of the art feedlots and packing houses in Mexico with plans to overtake America as the Western hemisphere’s leading beef producer. This is probably only a small part of his plans. Mexico is a nation rich in natural resources. Petroleum is abundant and the corrupt Mexican government is in control of all of it. Pemex is the only gas station in town. Pemex, because of the incompetent Mexican government, is broke. Chapo Guzman is at war with the Mexican government and has dreams (not unrealistic) of controlling the entire nation. Think of all of Mexico’s natural resources in the control of Chapo Guzman! He already has the most profitable business in the world - selling Marijuana to your next door neighbor. Think what he could do with a tax free unregulated strangle hold on a nation of poor people begging to work for practically nothing.

Do you think that Chapo Guzman and others like him haven’t thought of all of this? Do you think that Guzman isn’t laughing all the way to the bank as he watches the evening news and hears how the American Government proclaims that the situation on the border is under control? What is going on in northern Mexico is capitalism in its rawest form. They have an untaxed unregulated business making huge profits and they have no plans of closing up shop any time soon. We here in the U.S. are overtaxed, over-regulated and being smothered by increasingly intrusive government that makes it hard to do business in a successful manner. You don’t have to be rocket scientist to figure this one out.

This has nothing to do with being Republican or Democrat or Latino or White. It has everything to do with being right or wrong. I came from a long line of Democrats. My great uncle was a U.S. Senator for several decades. My grandfather was an attorney, and a Superior Court Judge. I have a 1939 copy of a Time Magazine with his picture when he ran as a Democrat for Congress. The only time in history the U.S deficit was paid off was by a Democrat – Andrew Jackson. John Kennedy announced nearly 50 years ago that America could put a man on the moon and in less than a decade we did it.

I am now a registered Republican, but I’m not a Democrat hater. But, how can the president of the “can do” nation of Andrew Jackson’s and JFK’s party say we can’t seal the border? We conquered Adolph Hitler in World War II, but can’t seal the border? We put a man on the moon but can’t seal a leaking oil well in less than 90 days? While this is going on we tax and regulate American business with a vengeance that stifles the free market system that has made our country great. While Janet Napolitano announces the border is safer than ever, Chapo Guzman and others pack billions of American dollars south to invest in a tax free market with one of the largest cheap labor force on the planet at his disposal!

I challenge you to come to Douglas, AZ and drive east on the Geronimo Trail, or northeast on US Hwy 80 to places on the map like Chiracahua and Apache. Or go to Rodeo and Hatchita, NM. Go and search out the 5 biggest cattle ranches in the Apache, AZ area and ask them what they think. Go to Hidalgo County, N.M. and ask the ranchers and cowboys there what they are seeing and hearing. Ask the people who we do business with what they think of our opinions. I challenge you to ask the prominent people in this area, who work hard and pay taxes if they agree with Barack Obama or Ed Ashurst when it comes to what is really going on near the U.S.-Mexican border. Unlike Obama and others I don’t have to be surrounded by sycophants to make a statement. I purposefully left out the names of those who helped me with my map and the data I collected when preparing for the Fox interview.

In closing I challenge you to look around to see if what I say is the truth. This isn’t about a few Mexicans wandering around looking for a job. This is about American civilization going into a time of tremendous change – a building has foundations and walls, maybe the foundation of our country is still strong, I don’t know, but the walls have certainly fallen down and the keepers of the house are out to lunch.

July 25, 2010

Ed Ashurst, Apache Arizona

Hezbollah on the Southern Border

Rush on The Conservative Ascendancy

All politics is cyclical, so conservatism will not always rule the day, but Limbaugh is correct that it is in high ascendancy currently.  This is quite remarkable since it seemed that it would be in exile for at least a generation with the anointing of Obama to the presidency.  Ironically, the socialistic over-reach of President Obama and his fellow political travelers in the politburo.... er, I mean, in congress has awakened a majority of the American people who are lining up and voting that THIS is NOT what they wanted with the Democratic Party rise two years ago. 

The grass roots rise of the Tea Party has come along and is in the process of holding the GOP accountable and thrashing the progressives in both parties so that fiscally responsible and constitutionally guided candidates will overwhelmingly rule the day this November 2nd.  The light of hope is indeed becoming brighter once again in America!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

The Five Non-Negotiable Issues for Catholic Voters

I was listening to our local Catholic radio station on the way home from work yesterday and heard a discussion regarding the upcoming mid-term election and the moral responsibilities of Catholics to cast their votes while keeping in mind the "five non-negotiable issues".  Basically what was said is that for the Catholic voter there are five major issues that concern actions that are intrinsically evil and therefore must never be promoted or supported by law.  Catholics are thus instructed to vote against any law or candidate that would support these five issues accordingly. 

These issues are abortion, euthanasia, fetal stem cell research, human cloning, and homosexual marriage.

The Catholic voter's guide on this states that, "These five issues are called non-negotiable because they concern actions that are always morally wrong and must never be promoted by the law. It is a serious sin to endorse or promote any of these actions, and no candidate who really wants to advance the common good will support any of the five non-negotiables."

THE FIVE NON-NEGOTIABLE ISSUES


1. Abortion


The Church teaches that, regarding a law permitting abortions, it is "never licit to obey it, or to take part in a propaganda campaign in favor of such a law, or to vote for it" (EV 73). Abortion is the intentional and direct killing of an innocent human being, and therefore it is a form of homicide.


The child is always an innocent party, and no law may permit the taking of his life. Even when a child is conceived through rape or incest, the fault is not the child's, who should not suffer death for others' sins.


2. Euthanasia


Often disguised by the name "mercy killing," euthanasia also is a form of homicide. No one has a right to take his own life (suicide), and no one has the right to take the life of any innocent person.


In euthanasia, the ill or elderly are killed out of a misplaced sense of compassion, but true compassion cannot include doing something intrinsically evil to another person (cf. EV 73).


3. Fetal Stem Cell Research


Human embryos are human beings. "Respect for the dignity of the human being excludes all experimental manipulation or exploitation of the human embryo" (CRF 4b).


Recent scientific advances show that any medical cure that might arise from experimentation on fetal stem cells can be developed by using adult stem cells instead. Adult stem cells can be obtained without doing harm to the adults from whom they come. Thus there no longer is a medical argument in favor of using fetal stem cells.


4. Human Cloning


"Attempts . . . for obtaining a human being without any connection with sexuality through 'twin fission,' cloning, or parthenogenesis are to be considered contrary to the moral law, since they are in opposition to the dignity both of human procreation and of the conjugal union" (RHL I:6).


Human cloning also ends up being a form of homicide because the "rejected" or "unsuccessful" clones are destroyed, yet each clone is a human being.


5. Homosexual "Marriage"


True marriage is the union of one man and one woman. Legal recognition of any other form of "marriage" undermines true marriage, and legal recognition of homosexual unions actually does homosexual persons a disfavor by encouraging them to persist in what is an objectively immoral arrangement.


"When legislation in favor of the recognition of homosexual unions is proposed for the first time in a legislative assembly, the Catholic lawmaker has a moral duty to express his opposition clearly and publicly and to vote against it. To vote in favor of a law so harmful to the common good is gravely immoral" (UHP 10).

For me, these five non-negotiable issues are something with which I am in complete agreement with my church and will not have a problem supporting and voting according to church doctrine.  It is my fervent prayer that all Catholics, and indeed all Christians and good people of all or no faiths also see the moral good in opposing these five non-negotiable issues.  Supporting the dignity of life is always the right choice!

Stuart Shepard on Warning Labels

The Not-So-Moderate Imam Rauf

Guest Post by Carrie

We Americans make a huge mistake in thinking that a Muslim "moderate" is like a moderate of a political party in our own country.  It is not.  All "moderate" means to such as the Imam is that one is most careful in explaining his ideas, and truth is twisted into something palatable for us naive enough to believe him. 

This Imam will not denounce anything that the fanatics/terrorists want and he calls for a Palestinian state, in which Jews are the minority, to take the place of Israel. That state would follow Sharia law and be ruled by Islamists. 

History serves as a reminder: all Arab states kicked out their Jewish citizens, no matter that they had lived in them for hundreds of years, during and after WWII. The Arabs sided with Hitler.... If Israel and Palestine become one country, the Arabs will cast them out again, if not worse, this time.  Yet Israel has made its Arab citizens welcome to live and flourish, and they are free voters in all elections.  What is wrong with this picture?

The issue of the mosque (freedom of religion) at the WTC is fallacious; this is a political fight and one-ups-manship, not one about religious freedom, and this Imam and his co-horts all know that.
___________________________________________________________________________


One more reason to disbelieve Iman Rauf....and understand and believe the Koranic theory of "taqiyya".  Please follow the link to the excellent article in FrontPageMag.com below:

FrontPageMag Article

Guest Post by Carrie

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

GOP's Eric Cantor YouCut Deficit Reduction Plan

Minority Whip Eric Cantor has headed up this program for citizens to vote on which programs, expenditures, etc that they would like to see cut from the federal budget.  This is a promising first step and I strongly encourage everyone to go on line at the link below to vote for which programs they would like to see cut.  This only is a drop in the bucket overall, but hopefully with the support of We The People, this will transform into a return to Constitutionally-approved spending of our tax payer money!

"YouCut – a first-of-its-kind project - is designed to defeat the permissive culture of runaway spending in Congress. It allows you to vote, both online and on your cell phone, on spending cuts that you want to see the House enact. For the next several weeks, Congress stands in recess, but YouCut will continue - when Congress is back in session, we will bring your cuts to the floor for a vote. Vote on this page today for your priorities and together we can begin to change Washington's culture of spending into a culture of savings."
Save this site and vote EVERY week.

http://republicanwhip.house.gov/YouCut/


Monday, September 13, 2010

Government Employees and Their Evasion in Paying Taxes

I saw this article in the LA Times which very clearly displays the hypocrisy and double standards that our government has for its own employees versus all of us people who pay their salaries through confiscatory tax policies that they seemingly can ignore with impudence.

The article states in parts, "Privacy laws prevent release of individual tax delinquents' names. But we do know that as of the end of 2009, 41 people inside Obama's very own White House owe the government they're allegedly running a total of $831,055 in back taxes."

Further, "In the House of Representatives, 421 people owe a total $6,524,892. In the Senate, 217 owe $2,774,836. In the IRS' parent department, Treasury, 1,204 owe $7,670,814. At the Labor Department, where Secretary Hilda Solis' husband had some back-tax problems before her confirmation, 463 owe $7,481,463. Eighty-one workers for the Federal Reserve System's board of governors owe $1,076,733."

Next, "Over at the Justice Department, which is so busy enforcing other laws and suing Arizona, 1,971 employees still owe $14,350,152 in overdue taxes."

And finally regarding Janet Napolitano's Department of Homeland Security, "... there reside 4,856 people who owe the tax agency a whopping total of $37,012,174."

How in the world are we to survive as a nation when laws are only enforced on the people of this country and not on our "leaders"?  It is far past time when We The People must hold our elected officials and government employees accountable to the same laws and regulations with which we are held responsible to obey.


Evidently, they feel that they don't have to pay their "fare share" of the burden which they levy upon the rest of us.


Read the story in its entirety at:

http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/washington/2010/09/congress-taxes-irs.html

Hat tip to my old Navy buddy Rex for pointing out this story!

George Washington's Letter to Catholics

As some of my regular readers may know, I am a member of The Knights of Columbus, which is a fraternity of Catholic gentlemen whose purpose it is to defend the faith, country, community, and family.  It is a fantastic organization which has done innumerable good acts of charity for all people the world over.

Anyway, I received an interesting email from the Knights of Columbus' state advocate that I thought was worthy of sharing.  I have reprinted it in full below:

Brother Knights,


I found this and thought is might interest you as well. If you have read "Parish Priest," the biography of our order's founder, Fr Michael J. McGivney, you will know that in many colonies, then states, members of our faith were not given equal rights. The warmth with which our first president writes this letter gives some clue that such treatment was not his idea.  - Andy

=============

[March 15], 1790

Gentlemen:

While I now receive with much satisfaction your congratulations on my being called, by an unanimous vote, to the first station in my country; I cannot but duly notice your politeness in offering an apology for the unavoidable delay. As that delay has given you an opportunity of realizing, instead of anticipating, the benefits of the general government, you will do me the justice to believe, that your testimony of the increase of the public prosperity, enhances the pleasure which I should otherwise have experienced from your affectionate address.

I feel that my conduct, in war and in peace, has met with more general approbation than could reasonably have been expected and I find myself disposed to consider that fortunate circumstance, in a great degree, resulting from the able support and extraordinary candor of my fellow-citizens of all denominations.

The prospect of national prosperity now before us is truly animating, and ought to excite the exertions of all good men to establish and secure the happiness of their country, in the permanent duration of its freedom and independence. America, under the smiles of a Divine Providence, the protection of a good government, and the cultivation of manners, morals, and piety, cannot fail of attaining an uncommon degree of eminence, in literature, commerce, agriculture, improvements at home and respectability abroad.

As mankind become more liberal they will be more apt to allow that all those who conduct themselves as worthy members of the community are equally entitled to the protection of civil government. I hope ever to see America among the foremost nations in examples of justice and liberality. And I presume that your fellow-citizens will not forget the patriotic part which you took in the accomplishment of their Revolution, and the establishment of their government; or the important assistance which they received from a nation in which the Roman Catholic faith is professed.

I thank you, gentlemen, for your kind concern for me. While my life and my health shall continue, in whatever situation I may be, it shall be my constant endeavor to justify the favorable sentiments which you are pleased to express of my conduct. And may the members of your society in America, animated alone by the pure spirit of Christianity, and still conducting themselves as the faithful subjects of our free government, enjoy every temporal and spiritual felicity.

G. Washington
=============

I Am Israel

This is an exceptionally powerful and well-done video. H/T to Carrie once again!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Governing America based on California/New York or Texas/Utah Models

With the rapidly approaching mid-term elections less than two months away, we have reached a crossroads where there will finally be a referendum in our country on how we the people wish to govern our nation.  We can either take the socialistic big-government-is-always-the-solution approach like what has been done in California and New York, or we can take a more limited government, business-friendly approach such has been done in Texas and Utah as our models.


Let's start by looking at California.  California has long been governed with an eye towards progressive policies where the state government was the place that most people looked to for answers to all of their problems.  The results of this have been utterly devastating.  Indeed if California were a country, it would be the equivalent of either Greece or Iceland.  It is effectively bankrupt.  The state has long been over-governed, over-taxed, over-regulated, and over-unionized, with incredibly excessive spending and entitlement commitments that it will never be able to meet.  If current trends continue in California, the rest of the country will have to rescue it from the deep abyss of debt that the unsustainable spending and governing of this state has wrought.  Currently and most disturbingly, it would seem that our federal government is using California as its model on how to govern the country. 


New York, largely due to the huge population center of New York City, is the east coast sister of California.  Seemingly there is no problem that occurs that the people of New York don't look to the government to solve for them.  The result of this reliance upon government has created a climate where New York is the 49th worst state for business in the entire country.  It is directly preceded by California at the 48th spot.
















Chief Executive magazine recently conducted a survey of CEOs who rated California as the worst state in the country for doing business. It was awarded a grade of “F” in the category of “Taxation and Regulation” and was the only state to receive this grade.


New York is seemingly trying to follow suit where the taxation and regulatory burden for businesses has surpassed absurd proportions.  In New York City, it is now even against the law for restaurants to sell any food containing trans fats.  Yep, big brother is looking out for everyone there!


In contrast, the CEO's in that same survey rated Texas as the number one state in the nation for doing business. Comparatively to California, it is a low tax, low regulation, right-to-work state, where unemployment is is several points below the national average.


So where does Utah fall in this equation?  Utah is arguably one of the most conservative states in the union both politically and economically in the way it has been governed historically. It has indeed trended towards more progressive governance in recent years from its past where in 1992 Bill Clinton came in 3rd place behind George H.W. Bush, and Ross Perot in presidential balloting, but overall it still has strong bonafide conservative principles.


That conservative governance has resulted in the 6th best corporate tax index rank in the country, the 2nd best property tax index rank, and the tenth best in overall tax burden for its citizens compared to eleventh place for Texas, and again as opposed to 48th for California and 49th for New York.  Furthermore Utah is predicting having a balanced budget in fiscal year 2011, whereas California has a shortfall as a percentage of the state budget of 53% this year and 26% in 2011.  New York projects a nearly 39% shortfall this year and a 27% shortfall for 2011.












The bottom line is quite apparent.  When a state government over-extends itself to regulate and govern all aspects of life for its citizens other than just the basic functions that private companies or citizens cannot feasibly do upon their own (utilities oversight, state roads etc) then the burden of having such a hyper-intrusive government becomes so costly that the ultimate destination for these transgressions will necessarily result in insolvency of the state government.  Bankruptcy.  California is already on the precipice of this problem.  New York is not far behind.


In contrast, while Texas and Utah do have their own distinct problems as related to state governance, overall, the more business friendly climate and the overall lower taxation and lesser regulatory burden on the people there have created states where businesses have not fled in droves, thereby keeping unemployment numbers decidedly better than the nation as a whole and far better than California in particular.


So the question now remains, are we as a nation going to continue to vote for politicians and policies to govern our country in the models of New York and California, as we have been doing particularly under the Obama administration, or are we going to reject these obviously failed policies for those that have been fruitful in states such as Texas and Utah? 


Early sentiments seem to suggest that a large majority of the population has awoken and realizes that absolutely when it comes to government, less is more.  I have to assume that the good people of this country have indeed reached this conclusion, because the California/New York model is unsustainable and the results are apparent for anyone looking to see this fact.  It has now become crucial that we adopt the Texas/Utah model if we are to restore our country and undo the massive damage already done by the tax & spend & regulate crowd that is reflected in the California/New York model.  We will hear from the people on this matter very soon!


sources: taxfoundation.org and statehealthfacts.org

Saturday, September 11, 2010

The First Year of Saving Common Sense

It was on this day, September 11th, 2009, one year ago that I started Saving Common Sense.  Prior to that I had been wandering around the internet reading a few blogs that I found interesting or amusing. 

Of course, being the mouthy person that I am, I always had to leave my two cents worth of comments on any given posting that I thought warranted an "atta-boy" or a "You are wrong and this is why...." comment.   

Somewhere along the way, someone had commented to me, "You evidently have a lot to say; why don't you start your own blog?"  Being the idiot I am, I had never really considered doing such a thing up until that comment.  A week or so later, I figured, "Why not?" and jumped into the pool, as it were.

My silly little blog has seen steady growth in readership over this first year.  I am sure it will never reach the point where I have a couple thousands of hits per day, say like over at Blonde Sagacity, but I am happy with what has been accomplished thus far.  Besides, my original intent with Saving Common Sense was not so much to reach more people than the New York Times (although with the poor journalism and declining readership there, that may still be a near-future possibility), but rather to provide a platform for me to write about whatever whim crosses my mind. 

I even was honored by Ala over at Blonde Sagacity lately when she decided to post several of my articles as guest posts while she was away vacationing.  That alone surely didn't hurt readership exposure of my blog.  (Thanks Ala!  You are awesome!)

So at the first anniversary of Saving Common Sense and the better part of 6000 visits later I am heartened to see where we started and where we are now at with this blog.  Last month showed huge increases in readership where I saw over 1.6K page views during the month of August. 

Also I am thankful for the small contingent of my faithfully regular readers too, even those (and sometimes especially those) that have offered spirited debate against what I might have posted.  Dave Splash from The Dark Stuff has probably been the most prolific commenter (dare I say, dissenter) on Saving Common Sense, and although there is little that we agree upon politically, I appreciate his comments greatly.  Perhaps the seeds of wisdom have been planted so that he will politically evolve into a strong conservative.  (Can't wait to read the retort to that statement!)  Actually, it is good for me to be strongly challenged as I am hardly infallible and sometimes will error on a topic.  People like Splash are there to "help" me in that manner! :)

I would also like to thank those friends and family that are always on the look-out for stories to send me for ideas for posts.  Carrie, Rex, Paul, Mike, Greg, my terrific sister, my dearest mother-in-law, and my wonderfully sweet wife have been fantastic sources of information and inspiration for stories for me to address also!

It is funny but I am also always amazed at what has triggered the most page views over this last year from readers.  Sometimes I will write a posting that I anticipate will create a stir and not get a single comment.  Other times I will put some little whimsical piece in that just happened to strike my fancy and I will see page hits on it nearly every day.  A Cowboy's Prayer is an example of this.  While it doesn't have any comments, it sure does get a lot of hits.

Anyway, even though I had no idea what to expect when I started this blog, I can happily say that Saving Common Sense has still managed to surpass all of my nebulous expectations in its first year.  God willing, it will continue to do so over the coming years as well.  Thanks to all of you that have made it's first anniversary a great one!

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Taking a Vacation

Posts might be a little infrequent this week as I am taking a vacation.  My wonderful sister and brother-in-law (Trailblazer fan's both!) are coming into town and we are all going to head south to show them the beautifully majestic Arches National Park and Canyonlands National Park.  I and my family have been there before several times, but I never tire of the stunning scenery.  I am not in great shape, nor is my wife, so we won't be doing any hiking this time, but rather will spend the day in the parks and by the hot  tub with my sis & brother-in-law drinking margaritas under the star-filled skies at night.  Just what the doctor ordered!  Cheers!





No, the picture below is NOT the Grand Canyon.  It is of Canyonlands National Park in southeast Utah.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

A Conservative Ad for November 2010

While this ad is quite excellent, I sure hope the Republicans follow it up with a strong platform of what they are going to do differently from the Democrats. It is not enough to just vote against the progressives. (Although that is a great start!)  Conservativism needs a well-articulated platform for which the electorate can and will enthusiastically vote.

True conservative ideas are based on history, free-market economic principles, and the constitution. Those three things trump EVERYTHING the progressives have to offer and if well stated, it is the reason why conservatives will take over the House of Representatives and perhaps even the Senate in just two more months. 

This will only be the first step though; It is absolutely incumbent upon We The People, after we kick out the progressives from office, to ensure that those we elect in their stead stay true to their promises and oath of office in the herculean effort that is going to be required to restore our country to honor and greatness.  It can be done, if we are diligent. 

If we aren't, it is likely that things will improve somewhat at first and then degrade again into the rino Republicanism that was the hallmark of the more recent congresses during the early Bush administration.  You know... the corrupt and progressive Republican congress that became the catalyst for the progressive Democrats to take over and decimate our nation.  This can not be allowed to happen again.

video

Friday, September 3, 2010

Teachenor Clark's "Never Gonna Stand For This "

I think I found a new favorite song....  I'd also highly recommend Krista Branch's "I Am America"!

My Postings at Blonde Sagacity

I have been greatly honored this week by Ala over at her blog Blonde Sagacity with her deeming a few of my articles worthy of posting on her wonderful and decidedly MUCH-wider-read-than-mine blog this week while she is on vacation.  (I notice that she still has found time to pen a few short postings herself though, as evidently vacation means to her what it means to me.  Still doing work, but less of it.)

Anyway, my thanks to Ala and my strong encouragement to all to add Blonde Sagacity to your blog reading list!

Movie Review: Taking Chance

Over a year ago, Father Jim, who at the time was one of our parish priests, gave one of his typically brilliant homilies.  In the course of doing so he made reference to a made-for-cable-movie (HBO) entitled Taking Chance.  Although I don't remember all of the specifics of the homily anymore, nor how Father Jim artfully connected this movie to the scriptures we had heard in the liturgy that Sunday, I do remember him recounting with tears in his eyes the sacrifice, honor, and respect portrayed in this movie.

I was curious what it was about this movie that had left such a powerful impression on my priest, to the point where I still recall his emotional recounting of this movie a year and a half later.

I made it a point to watch Taking Chance....  and then I understood.

In this rare and exceptional movie, Kevin Bacon plays Marine Lt. Col. Michael Strobl, a career military man who volunteers to accompany the body of a dead Marine, 19-year-old Lance Corporal Chance Phelps, as he is returned from Iraq to his family for burial.

It is a solemn duty that Colonel Strobl does not take lightly.  The journey, as told in the movie, shows how those in the military and in our country pay the deepest respect to one of our fallen heroes.  The portrayals are not over the top but simply convey the profound respect and sadness that most of us feel when confronted with this reality. 

The screenplay for Taking Chance was coauthored by the real Colonel Strobl, now retired from the Marine Corps, and is based on the journal that Strobl wrote during the journey.  The depth of emotion and respect comes through on screen with great sincerity and truthfulness accordingly. 

Kevin Bacon as Lieutenant Colonel Strobl does a masterful job with the part.  He does not overplay the emotion in a falsely sentimental way but rather remains stoic and yet somehow deeply affected by his journey just the same as he is taking Lance Corporal Chance Phelp's body home to his final resting place.  It is undoubtedly Bacon's finest performance I have ever seen.

The movie is very understated in so many ways.  There is no violence, cursing, explosions or even excessive or complicated dialogue in Taking Chance.  The effect of sadness and respect are even more powerful because of this.

Towards the end of the film when Strobl briefly expresses regret that his role of "escort" feels hollow because of his own personal self-disappointment, a Korean War vet reprimands him. "Without a witness," he tells Strobl, Phelps would just "disappear."

Regardless of what your views are about war, I would most highly recommend viewing Taking Chance.  It is one of those rare movies that proves the axiom that "less is more" and more importantly it leaves a deep and lasting impression on a person as to what honor and respect truly are.  Having purchased and seen the movie several times, I understand now why Father Jim was affected the way he was.  I was too.