Belle of Liberty

Letting Freedom Ring

Saturday, June 25, 2011

What The Devil Hath Joined Together

With passage of the gay marriage bill in New York State, Americans are put on an awkward edge between God and civility. The New York bill includes a proviso that clergy will not be forced to marry homosexual couples. But how long will that withstand the test of the courts? Unfortunately, it will probably be a very short honeymoon.

This generation is not easy with the idea of shunning people for their race, religion, or sexual orientation. The latter is the one they’re least comfortable with, but are willing to overlook as God’s problem. The legalization of gay marriages, as opposed to civil unions, will make civility (ignoring what they do) rather more difficult.

No matter how you size it up, Mr. & Mr. Jones or Mrs. & Mrs. Smith, has an awkward sound to it. In the best boiled-frog method, we will be expected to become accustomed to such things. No one would really care what these couples do, in truth. People have enough to worry about in their own lives without worrying about what someone else in doing in theirs.

Now that it’s legal in New York, New Yorkers (New York liberals have never been ones to balk at social progress anyway) will be duty-bound to recognize these couples. Accepting them is one thing; recognizing such marriages as normal is quite another.

Jesus taught us not to judge others. Fair enough. But one can’t help thinking God is looking over our shoulders. What does He think of our silence in this matter? Does He regard us as weak or merciful in acknowledging homosexuality as “normal”?

Progressives have placed numerous legal barriers against our own better judgment. Their definition of discrimination is very loose. Just about any sign of disapproval or even just discomfort is now a punishable offense. That we should be merciful, as Christians, is rather obvious. The argument that the government should dictate our values to us to protect homosexual “rights” is not so clear.

Some have complained about extra-judicial laws against violent crimes against homosexuals. They didn’t see my co-worker come to more than one meeting with a black eye simply because he had a different sexual preference. Once, hoodlums threatened to shoot him.

Mercy and pity - voluntary acts - are fine. Being forced to write someone up as Mr. and Mr. doesn’t quite feel right. It feels wrong, like running your fingernails down a chalkboard. If it feels wrong, it probably is wrong. Tolerance can only go so far before it runs into the immutable fence of morality. Morality has become a dirty word. When morality becomes a despised concept, you know a society is in trouble.

There’s somebody who hasn’t been mentioned for generations – Lucifer. Somehow, it has become an offense to take the Devil’s name in vain, while God’s name is daily cursed and sullied. No one dares to speak the name of His Son.

Yet homosexuals want His blessing in marriage. In order to get the bill passed, activists agreed to add the stipulation that clergy need not marry anyone they deem unfit for the privilege. If they would do this thing they know perfectly well is against God’s will (have they read the story of Sodom and Gomorrah?), they’ll have no compunction about eventually forcing the clergy to unite un-unitable couples in matrimony, holy or not.

All is needed is a change in the wording of the vows: “What the Devil hath joined together, let no one put asunder.”

If anyone knoweth any reason why these couples should not be joined together in holy matrimony, let them speak now or forever hold their peace.

Friday, June 24, 2011


My apologies to my e-mail readers.  I'm the one who mistook miles for feet.  But even at 7,500 miles - the distance roughly from New York to Baghdad - that's just a little close. 

Timing is Everything

If we depended upon the Media to tell us important news, rather than issuing Progressive press releases, we’d still be living in the Stone Age.  “Man Invents the Wheel” would be the latest headline.  Or:  “Obama Invents the Wheel.”  He certainly wants to send us back to the Stone Age with his Luddite, Anti-Technology policies.

Thanks to NASA and the Space Weather Channel website, we have learned this startling piece of scientific news:

ASTEROID FLYBY: Newly-discovered asteroid 2011 MD will pass only 12,000 kilometers (7,500 miles) above Earth's surface on Monday June 27 at about 9:30 a.m. EDT. NASA analysts say there is no chance the space rock will strike Earth. Nevertheless, the encounter is so close that Earth's gravity will sharply alter the asteroid's trajectory:

Just so there’s no mistaking how close this flyby is going to be, SWC includes a diagram of the event:

This is going to be an alarmingly close call.  According to this item, the asteroid will not simply pass within 7,500 miles of Earth’s orbit, but within 7,500 – hundred, not thousand – miles of Earth’s surface.   That's about the distance from New York City to Tehran. 

I picked a swell day for my first day of summer vacation.  Vacationers flying that morning will have some incredible pictures to show the family at the next reunion.  So everyone with a camera – keep your eyes peeled at 9:30 a.m. (EDT) this Monday.

But wear a helmet.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Holland, Unbound

A Netherlands judge reluctantly acquitted popular Hollander politician and right-wing film-make Geert Wilders of charges of hate speech and discrimination against Islam. The judge ruled that no matter how many Muslims might be offended by Wilders’ views, his statements fell within the legal bounds of political debate.

Wilder has called to halt Muslim immigration and ban the Koran as the purveyor of a violent religion. The judge, Marcel Van Oosten said his claims must be seen in a wider context of debate over immigration policy. While he felt Wilders’ statements about a “tsunami” of immigrants overrunning the country and threatening its culture as “crude and denigrating,” they were also legal. Wilders lives under constant security due to death threats, although he has never called for or endorsed violence, according to Fox News.

In 2008, Wilder produced a film, “Fitna” (Arabic for “ordeal”), a 15-minute documentary featuring Koranic versus against news video of terrorism. Muslims around the world protested its release. But Wilders said his statements represent the views of millions of Hollanders and are protected by freedom of speech laws. He also claimed the charges were politically motivated. Last April, the same court acquitted the chairm of the Arab European League, Abdoulmouthabil Bouzedra, for publishing a cartoon questioning the authenticity of the Holocaust.

American laws bind us even tighter than Holland’s does. Only a few nationally-known authors dare criticize Islam, such as Andrew McCarthy. Between threats of lawsuits, ostracization and even death, even those who dare to criticize Islam perform a nervous dance around their own statements, throwing water on the fire and extinguishing the truth.

Meanwhile, the terrorists grow bolder, especially under the new leadership of al-Zawahiri. Today, a second Fort Hood bomb plot was uncovered. The Media loves to publish stories of “homegrown terrorism.” We don’t need to look abroad for foreign terrorists; they’re right here, within our own boards. What we don’t do is question how they got here or why they’re allowed to remain. Freedom of religion suffices to stifle any debate.

With every day that passes, they remain unacclimated to American culture; it is we who must become acclimated to them, instead. Wilders compared them to the Nazis and he wasn’t that far of base in his assessment. A violent minority can have a devastating effect on freedom.

Wilders is a ram among the Dutch sheep, a border collie who knows how to nip at the heels of his flock and ward off the Islamic predators.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Near-Miss Accident or Terrorist Incident?

Sometimes, it happens.  A pilot turns onto the wrong runway and tragedy happens.  The New York Post reports this morning that “a Lufthansa jumbo jet speeding toward takeoff was forced to a screeching halt on a Kennedy Airport runway to avoid a catastrophic collision with an EgyptAir plane that made a wrong turn into its path.”

If it had been a simple commuter flight or the airline of any Western nation, you’d just say, “Whew!  That was a close call.”  But when the other airliner involved, the one on the wrong runway, is from the Middle East, we have to put our antennas up and take a closer look at the radar.

The Post report continue:  “Cancel take off! Cancel take off plans!” yelled a frightened air controller who saw that the Munich-bound Lufthansa Airbus A340 was headed toward a collision with an Egypt Air Boeing 777 at around 6:50 p.m. Monday.

"Lufthansa 411 heavy is rejecting takeoff," the pilot radioed back.

The aborted liftoff came as the German airliner was roaring down Runway 22R, where an EgyptAir plane was precariously perched less than a mile away, officials said.

“Those two were coming together," radioed an unidentified pilot who witnessed the near-disaster.
A few minutes later, a pilot aboard a Virgin America flight arriving from Los Angeles piped in: "That was quite a show."   The Lufthansa plane was cleared for takeoff seconds before the incident.  Its pilots had to slam the brakes so hard, they worried they might be overheated.

“It was close," said an air-control source who believes the EgyptAir flight ended up in the path of the Lufthansa jet after its crew took a wrong turn.  Officials could not say how close the two planes came to colliding. FAA spokeswoman Holly Baker said it might take few days for investigators to sort out some of the basic details of the incident.

A collision would have been an epic tragedy. The Lufthansa jet had 286 passengers, plus crew, the airline said. EgyptAir declined comment, but its Boeing 777s can carry up to 346 passenger, plus crew.  An Airbus A340 has a normal takeoff speed of 180 mph -- meaning that if they'd reached full-speed a half-mile from the Egypt Air plane, the Lufthansa pilots had at best 10 seconds to safely stop their jet.

After the Lufthansa plane pulled off the runway, controllers sent a Port Authority crew to help check its brakes. After a stop at the airport terminal, it headed back to the runway, and finally departed about an hour and 40 minutes after the incident.   It arrived safely in Munich.  The EgyptAir jet took off for Cairo about 90 minutes after the incident.

Investigators spent an hour and a half with the Egyptian plane but eventually allowed it to take off.  When the report is released, we’ll learn whether the plane’s pilots pleaded innocent and how much of their story the investigators believed.  We’ll find out whether investigators checked their backgrounds, or whether political correctness has banned such research.  It would be interesting, too, to see the plane’s manifest, to learn if anyone important was on board the plane that terrorists would be interested in targeting.

There are no simple mistakes or misunderstandings when it comes to radical Islamists and airliners.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

The Hypocrites Are Coming! The Hypocrites Are Coming!

The New Jersey Senate yesterday crossed the Garden State’s public employee unions to pass a bill requiring significantly higher contributions for health benefits and pensions from more than 500,000 government workers.  In addition, the bill suspends unions’ ability to bargain over health care.

The bill, which passed 24-15, must still win over the Assembly committee, then pass to the lower house and then make its way to the Governor’s desk.  Gov. Christie is the driving force behind the legislation.  The full Assembly is expected to hear the bill on Thursday.  Tea Partiers, take note.

An amendment to remove a provision which would have limited public workers’ access to out-of-state medical care unless similar care wasn’t available in state was approved earlier by a similar margin.

“This is a watershed moment for New Jersey, proving that the stakes are too high and the consequences all too real to stand by and do nothing," he said in a written statement.

“As a result of Democrats and Republicans coming together to confront the tough issues, we are providing a sustainable future for our pension and health benefit system, saving New Jersey taxpayers hundreds of billions of dollars and securing a fiscally responsible future for our state.”

According to Fox News, “the legislation is intended to shore up badly underfunded retirement systems. A new tiered system would require teachers, police and firefighters and other public workers to pay a portion of their health insurance premiums based on income. Pension contributions would also rise by 1 percent immediately, and by an additional percent or more after a seven-year phase-in.

“Public-sector unions are vehemently opposed, in part because the measure limits collective bargaining over health care. Hundreds turned out at the Capitol on Monday for another day of protests that started with a march across the Delaware River into Trenton.

“The bill was moving through the Legislature as a result of a deal struck among Senate President Stephen Sweeney, Assembly Speaker Sheila Oliver -- both Democrats -- the governor and GOP legislative leaders. Bill Dressel, the head of New Jersey's League of Municipalities, told lawmakers the state's unfunded pension liability is “a ticking time bomb” that they now have a chance to defuse.

“Sweeney said the changes ‘will ensure that we are able to live up to our goals of keeping more of our health care dollars in New Jersey while not eliminating the choices that are so important to employees and their families.’ Senate Majority Leader Barbara Buono said the health care provision, even after being amended, is still too restrictive.

“I don't think there is any physician that would knowingly sign this certification,” she said. “It doesn't need to be watered down. It doesn't need to be amended. It needs to be stricken."
More than 3,000 public workers showed up at the statehouse Thursday to protest when the bill was up for a vote in a Senate committee.  On Monday, hundreds returned.  Protesters in Revolutionary War costumes gathered in Morrisville, Pa., and marched across the Delaware River in what union officials called ‘the second Battle of Trenton.’ Union members also set up more than 125 tents on a lawn behind the statehouse, along with a mock graveyard for collective bargaining rights. Public employee unions want any changes in their benefits made at the bargaining table, not through legislation.

“This is the defining moment for the labor movement in our generation," New Jersey AFL-CIO President Charles Wowkanech wrote in an email to enlist support for the rally, the latest and most ambitious of several recent Capitol protests.   A provision to allow collective bargaining over health care to resume after four years did little to quell union objections.

The Liberals have apparently decided that our Tea Party costumes weren’t so “silly” after all.  They think what worked for us can work for them.  They’ve been depending on our sketchy history of the American Revolution – they claim if we really knew the facts about the Revolution, that we’d be embarrassed.  Well some of us do remember our history, and continually refresh our memories.

Problems began with the British taxes.  Their main goal was to raise money to pay for the French & Indian Wars, which had gone on for at least 100 years.  But they also wanted to let the Colonials, or Yankees, know who was the boss.  At the time, the Colonials were not necessarily looking for severance and independence from Britain but justice.

The Colonies were taxed without representation, representation being difficult to achieve over a wide ocean sailing in wooden boats.  The colonists had had the right to vote on their own taxes through the House of Burgesses, with the consent of the monarch.  Parliament, fearing a growing population that would eventually overwhelm, took the right to represent themselves away from them.

This came about after increasing unrest over taxes and unfair trade practices.  Britain was basically using America as her garden and farm.  The colonies could produce raw goods, but they could not manufacture them.  They had to sell the raw goods to English manufacturers, and buy the goods back at exorbitant costs, putting many colonists, even George Washington, who was wealthy, into debt.  The additional taxes, which most colonists had means to pay, were the last straw.  The Colonists began boycotting British goods, and smuggling in what they needed. 

So much for Progressive claims of Colonial lawlessness.

Or our ignorance of Colonial history.

The British did not keep their word to veterans of the French & Indian Wars, if they, in fact, gave any word at all, concerning pensions.  Many of the veterans were left destitute, and according to The Real George Washington, our first president, then a colonel, was very generous in his charity towards these veterans whom he had led.  Anyone who came to his door was to be given the food or clothing for which they asked.
Our overpaid union government workers, who make more money than we do, are hardly the pitiful, ragged transients of Washington’s Day. They have more than the necessary means to keep themselves in their retirement without any pension at all, much less the extravagant pensions they are receiving or will receive.

In Boston, the British garrisoned many troops to keep the peace among the rioting Bostonians, the Sons of Liberty whom our present-day Progressives so revile, and to collect the taxes, leaving the frontier unguarded.  The Bostonians certainly harassed the British troops and were at fault in the Boston massacre.  Washington, Franklin, and John Adams all disapproved of the Boston Tea Party, feeling that Boston should have repaid the defaulting East India Company for the tea.  East India was nearly bankrupt, so Britain gave them the exclusive monopoly on the American trade.   Tea Partying Americans are too peaceful and law-abiding to wreak havoc on General Motors cars, but our government bail-out of General Motors and other faltering companies bears a striking resemblance to the East India Company.

We don’t have an army of soldiers in the United States.  But we do have a considerable army of union members who are just as violent, unprincipled, and ruthlessly destructive.  There are not pictures yet of these “Revolutionary War” companies.  Doubtless, these union members are wearing the tricorn hats and blue and duff of the Colonial rebels.

At heart, however, they’re “lobster-backs” and Americans need to hold the standard of “Don’t Tread on Me” against their treacherous attack on the state capitol in Trenton.  Anyone who can get to Trenton on Thursday needs to remind them of who the real “patriots” are.

Monday, June 20, 2011

It Is Wal-Mart, Hear It Roar

The Women of Wal-Mart thought they had too many women to ignore – 1.6 million, to be exact. But today, the U.S. Supreme Court decided they just had too many numbers to file a class-action lawsuit against the Wal-Mart chain, the largest employee class-action lawsuit in U .S. history.

According to Fox News, the court agreed unanimously that the litigation could not proceed as a class action in its current form, reversed a decision by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco. The jurists were split along 5-4 lines over whether the group presented a common claim. Justice Anton Scalia called the lawsuit “one of the most expansive class actions ever” to have been given the go-ahead by lower courts.

Plaintiffs “wish to sue about literally millions of employment decisions at once,” Scalia wrote. “Without some glue holding the alleged reasons for all those decisions together, it will be impossible to say that examination of all the class members’ claims for relief will produce a common answer the crucial question, ‘why I was disfavored.’”

Had the plaintiffs won, the suit would have cost Wal-Mart potentially billions of dollars in damages. A similar case, based on racial discrimination, put oil giant Texaco out of business.

“The court’s ruling erects substantially higher barriers for working men and women to vindicate rights to be free from employment discrimination,” the plaintiffs said in a statement after the decision. Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee suggested that the ruling shows that “an activist majority of the Supreme Court is making it more and more difficult for any American to have their day in court.

“Over the past two years,” he claimed, “the American people have grown frustrated with the notion that some corporations are too big to fail. Today’s decision will undoubtedly make some wonder whether the Supreme Court has now decided that some corporations are too big to be held accountable.”

The case started a decade ago when Betty Dukes said the management at the Pittsburg, Calif., Wal-Mart store where she worked was bypassing her for promotions. “I could see the men going forth and the women in the store stayed in the basic positions they were always in,” Dukes once told an interviewer.

Dukes’ discrimination claims were folded into a class-action lawsuit covering all current female Wal-Mart employees and anyone who worked for the company going back to late 1998. In a conference call with reporters after Monday’s ruling, Dukes said she was disappointed in the ruling but added, “we will persevere even though we didn’t get the ruling we hoped for.”

Lawyer Joseph Sellers said the ruling reverses 40 years of court decisions and raises the hurdles that workers have to clear to file discrimination claims. He emphasized that the decision made no judgment whether the company discriminated against its female workers and that he’s “determined to proceed” on behalf of his clients. This could be through scores of individual lawsuits against Wal-Mart or smaller class-action claims.

Justice Ruth Bader-Ginsburg led the four-member dissent, saying the court’s holding “disqualifies the class at the starting gate” for putting too much of a burden on the plaintiffs to show their individual claims are sufficiently similar to form a class-action suit. The ‘dissimilarities’ approach leads the court to train its attention what distinguishes individual members, rather than on what unites them.” Ginbsurg was joined in her opinion by Justices Stephen Breyers, Sonia Sotomayor, and Elena Kagan.

But the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which filed an amicus brief on behalf of Wal-Mart, said the unanimity of the case came when all the justices agreed that the lower court “radically lowered the standard for certifying class actions.

“Too often the class-action device is twisted and abused to force businesses to choose between settling meritless lawsuits or potentially facing financial ruin. Our economy would be better served if businesses could spend more resources creating jobs and few resources fighting frivolous litigation,” said Robin Conrad, executive vice president of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s National Chamber Litigation Center.

These are amazing statements by the plaintiffs, the Progressive judges, and the Democrats. Years ago, they lectured schoolchildren not to make “value judgments” or “stereotype.” It was every woman for herself, which meant what you thought about one woman, you couldn’t think about any woman. In those days, most women were happy to stay home and raise their children. A few malcontented women wanted to go play with the boys. Now we all have to play with them, whether we want to or not.

The female camel got her nose into the executive tent, and now all the women (seemingly) want to get their noses into the tent. Or do they? This sounds like the work of the Female Camel Workers of America trying to unionize the female camels. They don’t want the executives work, necessarily, just their pay. Those female executive camels work long hours and have to travel. If the caravan goes across the country, they have to load up the house on their backs and travel with it.

Lower-paid camels don’t have to travel, though, because they are less paid. There are plenty of camels out there in California to do what they do. Therefore, they can stay wherever they are and keep their children in the same schools. Still, if they can get on the union caravan and have some of that nice, executive pay redistributed, they’ll sign on. The company might have a problem enticing their female executives to caravan out to California, but that’s the company’s problem, not theirs.

If the Women of Wal-Mart want the better pay and be able to travel and get away from the kids, they’re going to have to prove they can do more than bag the merchandise. Why should they, though, if they can sue the company for the same money?

Fortunately, the Supreme Court saw through the ruse. Sen. Leahy had an amazing charge, accusing this more Conservative court of having an “activist majority.” Note how he also rails against the court’s ruling, erecting “substantially higher barriers for working men and women to vindicate rights to be free from employment discrimination.”

How did those men get their noses under the Progressive activists’ tent, anyway? Working men and women. That sounds like something from the 1930s. Executives, managers, and supervisors would be very surprised to hear that they don’t “work.” There used to be something called manual laborers, who didn’t have enough education to do anything else.

Wal-Mart’s “sales associates” are very pleasant people. It did a wise thing in opening non-union stores. Let us hope that the union camels don’t get their noses under Wal-Mart’s tent and turn what is an amazing American success story into Ali-Baba and the 1.6 Million Thieves.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

NBC's Pledge Sand Trap

Golf fans cried “Foul” not “Fore!” when NBC edited God out of the Pledge of Allegiance during its coverage of the U.S. Open at the Congressional Country Club. This was the final round of the golf tournament.

An NBC spokesman claimed that it was an accident that those two words were edited out, that it wasn’t done to upset anyone. He apologized to those who were offended. It would be interesting to know just how those two little words could have been “edited” out. By accident. Why was anyone “editing” the Pledge of Allegiance in the first place?

We know someone has to stand by the bleep button in case anyone says one of the seven deadly words. Hard to imagine anyone say a “bleep” word during the Pledge of Allegiance. Still, some one union hack had to be prepared, just in case.

Now I know some pretty religious union hacks, so I don’t want to paint them all with a broad brush, though it’s hard to imagine your average hard hat watching the U.S. Open. Still, not all union members in broadcasting wear a suit and tie, either.

There must’ve been something in that union technician’s contract that compelled NBC to cover for them. Keep hammering NBC, and they’ll keep digging themselves deeper into that sand trap until this mystery is finally solved.

That technician should know that while they edited God out of the Pledge today, some day, God will edit out the technician.