Belle of Liberty

Letting Freedom Ring

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Release the Rivers!

In a nearly unprecedented move (at least as far as anyone in northern New Jersey can remember), N.J. Gov. Christie gave the word on Friday to reduce the reservoir levels by three feet in Wanaque and Pompton Lakes, ahead of the anticipated flooding from Hurricane or Tropical Storm Irene tomorrow.

The mayors of Wayne Pequannock, Little Falls, Fairfield, and Pompton Lakes spoke with the governor on a Friday morning conference call. He cautioned the mayors that he was taking a “leap of faith” in giving the order. By decreasing the water level now, authorities hope it will decrease the chance of major flooding when the storm hits.  The Newark Star-Ledger noted that “it remains unclear if all will go according to plan, or if moving that much water before the storm will have an adverse effect on towns downstream.”

The paper quoted U.S. Rep. Bill Pascrell (D-8th Distr.) as saying, “I have no idea what will happen when we open those gates. Maybe it will work.”

Post Brook was nearly bone dry below the Lower Twin Lake Dam on Thursday evening. Once the gates were opened, it quickly traveled off, long before Hurricane Irene even made landfall in North Carolina. By now it should have found its way out to sea. There’s a good chance Irene will pick up that water and drop it right back into the Wanaque Reservoir again. But at least the water will have someplace to go. The lake and reservoirs have been held back for years at the behest of lakeside residents. The Pompton Dam was installed to protect upstream residents at the costs of hundreds of thousands of homeowners downstream from southern Pompton Lakes right on down to Fairfield, where the Pompton River joins up with the Passaic River.

“Pompton” in the Lenni Lenape Indian language means “convergence” or “meeting of the waters.” Three major rives, or streams if you like, eventually meet up in southern Pompton Lakes – the Pequannock (“the river between two hills”), the Wanaque (“rest and repose”, and the Ramapo (“sweet water”), which then form the Pompton River.  The Pompton Dam may have once protected a small number of vacation homes up above Pompton Lake, on the Ramapo River, in long ago days. Since the 1960s, however, too many people have made their homes here for politicians and bureaucrats to send their common sense on vacation while thousands of working class people are driven out of their homes.

Since the dam was built in 2007, homes have flooded that never flooded before. It’s not just Old Wayne and Beaver Brook in Pequannock (all former vacation homes), or the former cottages along the Passaic River in Fairfield and West Paterson (where my grandparents used to live) that are flooding out anymore.  Route 23 from the junctions at Route 46 and 80, north to just short of the Route 287, is regularly flooded out, and in storms with less rain than Irene is packing. The road has been known for flooding, but never on the scales it’s known since 2007. Heaven only knows how long Route 23 is going to be out of commission after Irene is finished with us.

Thanks to Gov. Christie’s courage in ordering the release of the dams, “leaping” will not be the only recourse for residents of Riverdale, Pompton Plains, Pequannock, Lincoln Park, and Wayne in trying to cross Route 23.

Friday, August 26, 2011

The Eye of God

Mayor Bloomberg evidently doesn’t believe in the power of prayer - or God.  According to a Wall Street Journal report on Wednesday, and a follow-up report by CNN today, no clergy have been invited to the 9/11 10th Anniversary ceremony in Manhattan next month.

The clergy can commiserate with the firefighters and police officers as well as EMS responders who also are not invited to this milestone remembrance.  Plenty of politicians of all stripes will be there.  The Media will be there.  The Families will be there.  But not the brothers and sisters of the uniformed first responders who ran into those burning buildings never to return, nor those who went in themselves and somehow survived.  Certainly not the clergy, who are despised by the Media, politicians and bureaucrats, and Progressive “Family” members who believe Government is God.

They want it to be just a nice, quiet ceremony where they can hobnob in front of the cameras in peace, without the unwashed masses, the hoi polloi, trying to elbow their way in and ruin their photo opportunities with the political movers and shakers of our times.  A few non-partisan words, a few tears, then it’s off for a little brunch in a reserved room at some exclusive – and expensive (that’ll keep out the hoi polloi) – Manhattan restaurant.  Ties, if you please, gentlemen.

They feel that there’s such an unsavory quarrelsomeness over religion.  That is, after all, what brought the buildings down, so it’s only fitting that God be non-personna at this ceremony.  God is definitely on their “C” list, along with the firefighters, EMS personnel, and the general public.  Such a waste of time and energy, religion.  Government is so much more efficient.

There’s not a miracle or wrath of God that science can’t explain away.  Global changes, of course, are man-made.  The on-coming hurricane is evidence of Man’s tampering, not God’s vengeance on a city that would honor murderer Che Guavera with a statue and ban prayers at Ground Zero.  Besides, the storm has turned eastward, as they usually do.  It’s the water temperatures, not God.  Besides, He’s always said He would never do something like that.  If He’d sent Irene directly over southern New Jersey, thousands of criminals would have been endangered in New Jersey’s Burlington County, which houses – what? – 14 prisons?

That would be cutting His nose off to spite His face.  Instead, Hurricane Irene is predicted to storm her way along the coastline, where LBIers are hastily boarding up their beach houses and heading home.  Cape May is still under evacuation watch.  The Garden State Parkway and other roads’ inbound (towards the coast) lanes haven’t been reversed – yet.  New Jersey is waiting to see what Nature and God have in mind.

Someone may have said a – gasp! – prayer for all the poor hoi polloi who live on the western side of the Garden State Parkway.  They’re the working class people who service the resorts on the coast and the prisons along the southern delta.  We who pray, pray that the storm will stay out to sea.  Coastal New Jersey will still get battered pretty good – but not punished.

What Irene and God will do after that is still unknown, for all the instrumentation of science.  Right, the eye of the storm is headed for the New York City-Nassau County border.  Mayor Bloomberg should say a prayer that God didn’t read the Wall Street Journal Wednesday or CNN’s website this morning, and change His mind about sparing Manhattan the full brunt of the eye of the storm.  If He does spare the city, Bloomberg should get down on his knees and utter a prayer of thanksgiving on 9/11.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Gov. Christie's Evacuation Orders for Hurricane Irene

This is Gov. Christie's pre-evacuation order for the Garden State:

  • Gov. Chris Christie: "If I order a mandatory evacuation, you'd better leave. If it turns out to be less, you should thank your lucky stars."

  • What's the Worst That Could Happen?

    The Metropolitan New York area survived the earthquake.  Now it must prepare itself for a possible direct hit by Hurricane Irene.  Hurricanes are another act of nature that actually hardly ever happen to New York City and points west.  The last direct hit on the city was Hurricane Gloria in 1985.  Long Island is another matter altogether.  That’s where the hurricanes this area usually gets go on vacation. 

    Hurricanes like the Hamptons and the Cape.  They pass by the Jersey Shore, but apparently consider the Wildwoods, Seaside Heights, and Asbury Park too low-profile to be bothered.  They’re not even impressed by all the seaside-cottages nestled on the Jersey Shore’s secret hot-spot (don’t tell those kids from Brooklyn and the Bronx), Long Beach Island (only real Jerseyites get to call it LBI).

    Evidently, the Jersey Shore has caught Irene’s “eye.”  She wants to check out Snooki and the gang, maybe get Snooki’s autograph.  Snooki is a Jersey Girl by way of New York City and Hollywood, though.  The real Jersey Girls, that I know, can’t stand her.  They think she’s a poser and that she’s giving real Jersey Girls a stupid name.

    People along the Jersey Shore’s barrier islands know they can’t be insured by the regular insurance companies.  The houses in Ventnor City (just south of Atlantic City), for instance, are all within the 1,000 foot setback.  There’s really nowhere you can go that isn’t within reach of a tidal surge, even on its back bay.  Ventnor City’s homes are all Millionaire Row homes.

    If these homes get damaged, though, you can be sure the Media will blame the “evil” insurance companies for putting money ahead of community partnership.  Never mind that these are all vacation homes.  Or that the residents should at least be aware that they’re building a house 200 feet from the water.

    New Jerseyans have an excuse, at least.  Hurricanes have sideswiped the Garden State, but rarely come for a visit, so Snooki feels relatively safe having a home right on the boardwalk (or wherever they are).  On Long Island, though they should know better, houses are built right along the beachfront, up to the water’s edge, cheek by jowl, with ne’er a thought of what might happen if a hurricane happens.

    No need to worry.  Just blame the insurance company if something goes wrong and your house is washed out to sea.  Get your community organization united and picket your local insurance company’s offices for not insuring homes on the ocean side.

    Health care is really the biggie for community activists who’ve been setting up the insurance companies for years.  The Progressives taught us for years that insurance companies were just like all those other “evil” corporations; only in it for the money.  Therefore, take whatever you can get from them.  Don’t sign on for health insurance until you can’t help it.  Let your employer – another of those big, “evil” corporations – take care of your insurance.

    Young people are impressed and intimidated by the notion that buying insurance, especially at an early age, will be a drain on their limited finances.  Besides, it’s all part of the game; getting someone else to pay your bills.

    Had any young person taken out health or life insurance, by age 50, they would have been paying a considerably lower premium at this point, as compared to trying to take out a policy at age 50.  Premiums do rise, but they would not have risen as catastrophically as they have.

    Now, unable to stay in business, most insurers are fleeing the health insurance business completely.  One of the reasons is onerous state regulations (which will become federal, and therefore, pretty much permanent, if the Optional Federal Charter goes through).  In New Jersey, the governor is the mandatory head of nearly every major health insurance company in the state.  For the time being, that governor is Chris Christie.  A health insurer can’t do business here unless the governor is at the head of the table, making sure those companies don’t “profit” off other people’s “misfortunes.”

    Misfortunes such as overeating, smoking, being too liberal with the salt shaker and the butter.  Sitting in lounge chairs watching Snooki and Friends instead of getting out and playing volleyball themselves.  Walking their dog.  Playing with the kids.  Driving when they could walk.

    Gee, I sound like a Liberal.  Well, I don’t mean to sound like one.  Even if people do all that normal stuff, they shouldn’t have to pay $1,000 a month for the health insurance to cover life in general.  We have become too dependent on the health insurance for every little sniffle, without preparing for it ourselves in advance.  Now everyone wants to jump on the lifeboat – some people of whom are rather heavy, and others who are bringing along all their kids, for whom they should be able to manage the expenses themselves.

    We wail in surprise that the health insurers are bailing out.  We have news for you:  they’re only supposed to be helping out.  Insurance companies aren’t charities.  But we listened to the Liberals telling us how “evil” they were, how we should let our employers pay the freight, and then let the government (read:  “taxpayers”) carry us the rest of the way.  We really fell into the trap and now we’re in a fix, especially with the rising unemployment rates.  Just when were we going to figure out that our companies couldn’t afford all our luxury benefits, and the health insurers couldn’t afford all the luxury benefits the unionized health care workers demanded?

    Now we’re having a heart attack over the cost of health insurance?  Or a panic attack, at any rate.  Government’s suggestion is to throw Grandma over the side of the lifeboat.  That’s a solution?  As in the Final Solution?  Sadly, that’s exactly what Fabians like George Bernard Shaw had in mind.  Culling the herd.  We’re the “Bewildered Herd,” according to Walter Lippmann; we’re too stupid to make decisions for ourselves.  So the Death Panels – and that’s what they are – will make the hard decisions for us.

    The worst is yet to come, though.  Stock up on your comfort food this weekend as you try to figure out (like me) how you’re going to pay for medical care if/when you lose your job and who’s going to pay for it when you can’t.

    Wednesday, August 24, 2011

    Freedom Means Never Having to Say You're Sorry

    I was sorry to read an apology by my absolute favorite Conservative author, Andrew McCarthy, to Islamic moderates for the hypocrisy of Colonial Christians in the National Review recently.  I thought Mr. McCarthy knew his history better than that.

    What the apologist-seekers say is true:  Colonial America was divided up into religious colonies.  The Quakers settled in Pennsylvania.  The Puritans held forth in the Massachusetts Bay Colony.    The Catholics claimed Maryland for their very own.  Roger Williams, an advocate of freedom of religious freedom and separation of church and state, was kicked out of Massachusetts and founded Rhode Island the Providence Plantations (the state’s official name to this very day).

    Settlers not of the colony’s particular religion, like Williams, were finding it very difficult to settle or remain in that colony and were forced to go off to find other places in which to live.  As the colonies became more organized, they realized this wasn’t exactly liberty’s light shining at its brightest, and they began to enact laws to protect settlers.

    Churches were the original centers of the communities in those days, and chose their own municipal laws.  Until more centralized colonial governments began to form, they were the laws.  The Salem Witch Trials of 1692 signaled the beginning of the end of such religious discrimination (the very thing the Pilgrims had left England to escape).

    Various wars had dissolved the English charters in the Bay Colony, leaving the religious settlements to govern themselves, something they’d had in mind all along.  After the trials, there was such a public outcry, the Massachusetts courts were forced to reverse the decision against the accused (many of whom had already been tortured and executed) and exonerate them (some posthumously).

    By the time the Articles of Confederation had been found wanting and the Constitution was being constructed, the Founding Fathers knew the new Constitution couldn’t be passed without a Bill of Rights, the very first of which had to guarantee citizens the right to freedom of religion and speech.  A town couldn’t keep someone from living there because they were not a member of the local church, or even a member of any church at all.

    Therefore, present-day Americans owe no apologies for the religious attitudes of Colonial, pre-Constitution, pre-Bill of Rights Americans, who weren’t even officially Americans yet.  We have no legal proof from any Muslims, not even Moderates, that if they should overrun our country, that they would not force a conversion or dhimmitude upon us.  Their history, contrary to ours, gives every indication that mandatory conversion is precisely what they would inflict upon us.

    They have given us no word or vow which we can trust.  They argue our own Constitution against us – that someone is innocent of a crime until proven guilty – even though the circumstantial evidence (their history) is against them.  Yet, by the grace of our Constitution, they can immigrate here and worship whatever religion pleaseth them.

    Hardly any American (save KKK members) would deny them their right.  Nobody would care, really, how they worship, except that we know from their own ideologists’ writings that conversion, the subjugation of other religions, is part of their mandate.

    The Founding Fathers were honest, righteous men who mended the wrongs committed by the original Colonists.  They believed in democracy, not theocracy, or at least a form of it; even they believed that men needed to be governed – but with laws, not whips, swords, and onerous taxes.

    They also knew very well that Man, in his weakness, must seek forgiveness, not from other men, but from God alone.  Jesus taught us we must love our neighbor and seek our neighbors’ forgiveness as well, and that it’s our duty to forgive, if we expect to be forgiven.

    There is the ideological divide:  Christians believe in forgiveness, through Jesus; Muslims think only God can forgive, that Jesus was just some dude who did some nice things, and until we cross that bridge, until we come to it, the Muslims have been assigned the special task of punishing everyone else whom they believe is apostate or sinful.

    Instead of apologizing to fellow sinners (the Muslims), Mr. McCarthy ought to have asked these “moderate” Muslims:  “Who died and made you God?”

    Shaking Things Up

    Earthquakes by the dozen happen in California every day.  They’re so frequently that the U.S. Geological Survey has given California its very own place on the USGS website’s Earthquakes section.  A 4.8 on the Richter scale is business as usual for them.  Nothing to see here, folks, move along.  To tourists, it can be alarming.  During a tour of the Universal Studios lot, the tour guide welcomed the visitors to California and noted wryly that the quake everyone just felt wasn’t a special effect.

    Here in the Northeast, quakes aren’t common, but they’re not unusual, either.  At least until they start buildings swaying in New York City.  Last year (or was it last winter), a 4.8 quake out in the Atlantic set our fifth floor to undulating.  My co-workers didn’t even notice.  They noticed this quaker, though.

    “Guys!  Something’s happening!!” cried one co-worker, who stood up.  And with a cry of, “Oh my God!  I think I’m going to be sick!” quickly sat down again.  Then one of my other co-workers stood up, and realized she was going to be sick.

    Sure enough, the floor was rumbling and undulating.  I kept my seat, but I could see out the window.  The building was swaying back and forth.  Our building was made to withstand earthquakes.  Our upper floor was designed to be flexible, rather than rigid.  Which means, any time someone heavy comes by or rolls by with a heavy load, the floor shakes.  You know it’s an earthquake when the floor keeps on shaking.

    The building shook so noticeably, we were certain the epicenter was here in New Jersey.  My co-workers were anxious to leave.  I suggested waiting until the shaking stopped.  Once downstairs and outside, beyond the reach of falling bricks (although I eyed the lightpoles in the parking lot warily), people started texting and learned the epicenter was in central Virginia.

    For us to feel it here, it had to have been some earthquake!  But seismologists on television tell us it had to do with the terrain.  Between central Virginia and New York City, there’s not much rock to get in the way of a seismic wave; it can just go on and on.  That’s why buildings in the city as well as ours swayed.

    Yet some people felt it, while other people nearby did not.  One of my co-workers is married to one of our facilities technicians.  He came up to visit later.  He and his co-worker said they didn’t feel anything, but saw that people were already evacuating.

    “Do you think we should pull the fire alarm?” one asked.

    “I dunno.”

    “Well, people are leaving; something must be wrong.”

    “Okay, I’ll pull it.”  And the guy did.

    Once they checked the building for damage, we came back in and went back to work.  My older brother, who’s a facilities manager just south of here, felt it and was busy checking his building for damage.  My younger brother didn’t feel it and was disappointed.

    “It happened ten minutes to two?  I was just coming home.  How come I didn’t feel it?”

    “Well, A., maybe it’s because you’re six foot four and drive an enormous, diesel-powered pick-up truck.”

    Mom’s house also sits atop an enormous boulder that the developers were unable to blast away.  We’ve felt quakes in the past, but they were local quakes that would have more of an effect.

    A couple of interesting things were going on yesterday, and a couple of interesting buildings were slightly damaged in Washington, D.C. (our co-workers in our office just south of Philadelphia thought the quake was “exciting”, like a wicked roller coaster ride):  the National Cathedral and the Washington Monument.  The Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial on the National Mall was dedicated on Sunday.  Here in New York, DHK was acquitted of rape charges against the hotel maid and Attorney General Eric Holder was just beginning the announcement as the earthquake hit New York.

    Wall Street was busy having a party as the stock market was rising.  Vice President Biden was praising China for its one-child policy, a statement from which he backed off, and it was revealed that Maxine Waters not only said that the Tea Parties could go straight to Hell, but that she wanted to be the one to send them there.

    A noted seismologist claimed that hundreds of quakes have happened in Virginia, but a look yesterday at a seismic historical map of Virginia – which has since vanished from USGS website – showed that the area has experienced no more than about 50 since the USGS began keeping records.  That’s compared to thousands in California (no surprise there).  Not unheard of, but not very common, either.  A Northeastern city that has known quakes to happen is Boston, where church steeples toppled over during the Colonial era.

    No sooner will we “recover” from the earthquake, than newly-minted Hurricane Irene will come storming up the Northeast coastline to give us a piece of her mind.  Lightning storms, earthquakes, and hurricanes.  Strange that of all the buildings in the nation’s capital, only the Washington Monument was damaged enough to be closed, and now a heavy wind and rain is coming close on the heels of the earthquake.

    The Washington Monument sits right in front of the White House, although it would be more likely to topple towards the Lincoln Memorial.  The Liberals sure don’t want a toppled-over Washington Monument creating any signs for the Tea Partiers, so they may just strap themselves, en masse, to the monument to keep it from being blown away in the storm.

    Monday, August 22, 2011

    The Finger of God

    A few nights ago, a terrible thunderstorm passed through New York City, striking the Bank of America building in Mid-Town Manhattan. Most people don’t believe in “Acts of God.” Most insurance companies refer to these calamities as “Acts of Nature.”

    An Act of God connotes a violent act of retribution, vengeance, and even most Christians would argue that since Jesus came and took all our sins upon His shoulders, that God is a kind, loving, and merciful God. God is kind and merciful to the repentant, and even for them, they still have to check in at the Pearly Gates, where Saint Peter and Jesus are waiting to check their passports and “wand” their souls.

    God never said that He wouldn’t knock us up side the head now and then to let us know when we’re going in the wrong direction. For Him, a lightning strike may only be a gentle tap. Or it might be a wake-call. Or punishment. (“Hey Stupid, I set off lightning strikes for over half an hour. How many warnings did you need to get off the beach?!”)

    He gives us ample opportunity to get out of the way of those “Acts of Nature”. Still, we don’t heed them. When the Pharisees decided to test Jesus, demanding that he show them signs from Heaven, He replied, “O ye hypocrites. Ye can discern the face of the sky; but can ye not discern the signs of the times?” Evidently, we don’t do either very well and see neither the signs of the sky or the times. We certainly don’t take signs from the sky as messages from God.

    $91 billion dollars. That’s how much Bank of America accepted from one of Obama’s stimulus plans, courtesy of Obama, according to Mark Steyn, speaking on the Rush Limbaugh program today. All to cover the costs of borrowers who never had the means to pay back loans, investors who figured (wrongly) that Uncle Sam could come up with the cash for backing the loans, and various corrupt politicians and bureaucrats who looked the other way to make it possible for banks like Bank of America to get Brownie points for supporting the Community Reinvestment Act.

    Now, God generally isn't concerned with money matters. He figures that’s the work of the Devil (someone we never hear about). If you want to go around making deals with the Devil, that’s your problem. But don’t say He didn’t warn you. However, many innocent people got caught up in the financial mess, people who’ve gone to work, paid their bills on time, given to charity, and not spent beyond their means.

    God apparently looked over Bank of America’s books (and probably others, as well) and wasn’t too happy seeing all that red ink. He probably saw the minus-zero interest conservative savers are getting – paying – on their dwindling savings. Our God isn’t like the Muslim/Socialist God. If you’re using people’s money, and making interest on it, then you should be paying them back some of that interest.

    Money people had been saving for their retirement is gone and a bunch of agnostic (at the very least) bureaucrats are telling people how the government is going to take care of them. God can only be thinking, sarcastically, “Why how magnanimous of them….”

    God heard Rev. Wright say, “God damn America!” God couldn’t have been too pleased about that. “I’ll decide for Myself who I’m going to damn and who I’m going to bless, thank you very much.” At least the song “God Bless America” is a hymn – a prayer.

    Then there was Democrat Congresswoman Maxine Waters who roused her Democrat followers by crying, “The Tea Party can go straight to Hell.” But Waters served on the Committee on Financial Services. Her “American Dream Down Payment Initiative” would have allowed high-risk borrowers to take out mortgages with no money down.

    The initiative failed. But Countrywide Mortgage began writing no downpayment mortgages within two years, according the book Reckless Endangerment. Waters was also Fannie Mae’s and Freddie Mac’s fairy godmother – along with Barney Frank. In Waters’ opinion, in appointing a new regulator for the housing pair, “we were trying to fix something that wasn’t broke. We should do no harm to these GSEs. We should be embracing regulation…”

    Countrywide sold off some its mortgages to Bank of America, who put the risky loan bundles under a special, protected division of its operation until it could sort through the mess and weed out the bad loans from the good. Presumably that’s why BOA had to accept $91 billion from the government, that is to say, the taxpayers.

    Our barrel roll downhill isn’t over, judging by the markets. The price of gold is shooting to unheard of high prices. Eventually, that bubble is going to burst, too. But when the buyers try to turn their gold into cash (I’m told), the cash isn’t going to be there. The only way for magic cash to magically appear is for the Federal Reserve, on Obama’s orders, to magically print it.

    Don’t expect God to do it for us. He specializes in lightning bolts, not Monopoly Money, and He can conjure up more lightning bolts than the Fed can conjure up greenbacks.

    The Pen is Mightier Than the Sword

    Many citizens are sitting on the sidelines of the battle between the Progressives and the Tea Parties. They would much rather stay out of the battle and just live in peace. Complaining about the divisiveness, they say there is just too much politics, that the groups are too extreme.

    The two sides split bitterly when we abandoned the foundation of our country’s laws: The U.S. Constitution. The Tea Parties are simply a group of Americans who never left that ground; it is the Progessives who’ve lied and manipulated to drag America off her foundations and back into the wild, to a time when there was no rule of law, when the common people were illiterate, and tyrants and elite bureaucrats ruled.

    Writers like Walter Lippmann insist that it is impossible for the common people to rule. Thomas Jefferson warned democracy was only for the educated, and Ben Franklin predicted that once people learned how to vote themselves money, democracy would disappear.

    Money is the most corrupting of all the influences. Charlotte Bronte was right when she wrote in Jane Eyre, “Most people will do anything for a salary.” Even Paul Revere was criticized for doing business with the Tories during the American Revolution.

    Average people live by the axiom that you never discuss religion, sex or politics in company, mixed or otherwise. We are warned that if we make our opinions known we jeopardize our jobs and our futures. That’s enough for most people to clam up.

    The Progressives aren’t holding guns to our heads. They’re dong something worse – they’re creating bureaucrat laws and holding that legislation to our heads and then defying us to criticize or complain about it. They abjure us to be good little children, read our Bertrand Russell and Ring Lardner Jr., and go along to get along.

    My friend and editor J.D. refuses to get involved for fear someday he might have to pick up a gun. If he were to pick up his pen, now, and others like him, no one may need to use a gun. It would be nice if we could avoid bloodshed(!). The longer we refuse to get involved, to write those letters to the editor, to Congressman, to Senators, or on our blog, the more likely we are to come to actual blows.

    In China, and in former Stalinist Russia, dissidents were regularly hauled off to prison, where they were starved and tortured. A far cry from the mere boycott of the Hollywood Ten during the McCarthy era, in which Ronald Reagan and Walt Disney were among the champions who recognized communism’s danger.

    We are now witnessing the retribution for the McCarthy era. In Hollywood, there is a dearth of creativity. Movie marquees are a rehash of old, classic television series, remakes of successful films, and the usual, mindless, scatological, and foul-mouthed kids’ movies. They’re protected by the First Amendment of the very Constitution the Progressives wish to destroy.

    Unless we speak up now, and teach our children to read and not just recite, the canon of Western Literature will disappear entirely. No one will be allowed to follow in that tradition and no one will want to because principles are simply too expensive a luxury for the average American.

    Sunday, August 21, 2011

    Familiarity Breeds Conservatives

    “Why do you have to go all the way to Philadelphia for a writing course?!” Mom wanted to know.
    Because the writing instructors in the city are generally all jerks. They’ve turned my co-workers into propaganda-producing puppets – which is what public relations is all about.

    “But you already know how to write!”

    Some of my editors don’t think so. When told the class was about marketing writing, not the actual act of writing, she was happier and approved of the two-hour trip and its nearly $500 fee.

    Much of what the instructor taught was mostly well-established theory: editors are lazy slackers who think writers are lazy slackers. Keep to the word count. Know the magazine and read any one of number of writer’s guide for each editor’s particular requirements.

    The course was for marketing non-fiction freelance writing. All the students were public relations staff members experienced in executive speechwriting. The teacher asked each student what their interests were and she proceeded from their with suggestions for submissions.

    What do you do when your only interest is politics - Conservative politics? Why, you interview the student sitting across from you who attended Vassar College as a “diversity” student, meaning she came from a middle class home and attended a public high school.

    “A very good high school,” she noted. But still, it was not a prep school. Although she was an excellent student, she was not prepared for Vassar’s rigorous academic standards.

    “My first year,” she said, “I didn’t get above a C in any class. The other girls had come from prep schools where they actually read the Greek philosophers. In my high school, they taught us the names and their basic history, but we never read Aristotle.”

    She described the culture of the fashionable college in Poughkeepsie, N.Y. One girl was the daughter of the head of the American Communist Party.

    “She arrived every day in a limousine,” the woman said. “You kind of expect to see limos at Vassar. But for the daughter of the head of the Communist Party to be riding around in one, just seems kind of odd.”

    There was the lesson in a nutshell. The teacher said anyone who stuck to only one side of the political spectrum might have problems getting published, although she admitted they had a perfect right to do so.

    The Connecticut woman’s Vassar experience stands as a perfect example of why we Conservatives need to bone up on our Aristotle and Plato, Locke and Rousseau, Washington and Jefferson, Smith and Marx, Hayek and Keynes, Alinsky and Buckley, and the U.S. Constitution and the Ten Planks of Communism. Don’t just repeat what someone else has told you about these philosophers and philosophies; read them for yourself, study them, know them.

    The Progressives didn’t come up from the projects. They’ve only exploited people who have. They’ve gone to exclusive prep schools and colleges, riding to school in chauffeured limousines, no less.

    The teacher spoke about organizing our time so we don’t waste any of it. “Do your research. Don’t waste time on blogs (this blog was the exception, she said, because it was so passionate). Write letters to the editor. Build up your bylines.

    “Don’t wait,” she admonished. The Like Minds Conservative Book List, or syllabus, if you like, will soon be ready, just in time for the new school year.  Start catching up and start your kids on the philosophers.  The only way we're going to win this battle is to fight ideas with ideas, words with words, and revolutionary fervor with revolutionary fervor.