Sunday, January 31, 2010
Back on April 5, 2009, we posted Vasily Kalinnikov's First Symphony (he wrote only two), and thought you might like this one. The previous post also included biographical information about Kalinnikov and the assistance he received from fellow Russian composer, Sergey Rachmaninov. It's a beautiful story.
Sorry no performance of this piece by a live orchestra could be found. Just close your eyes and listen, and enjoy. You might want to play the First Symphony and then this second one if you have time.
Have a Beautiful Sunday.
Saturday, January 30, 2010
This has been traveling the email circuit, and it's a great story. Snopes shows its status as: Real photograph; inaccurate description. Here's the link to Snopes:
After reading the background, training, and accomplishments of this young lady (in the Snopes link), there is no doubt in my mind that she could have done exactly what it says in the email, and God bless her if she did.
The Real Miss America .
This 19 year old ex-cheerleader (now an Air Force Security Forces Sniper) was watching a road that led to a NATO military base when she observed a man digging by the road. She engaged the target (i.e. she shot him). It turned out he was a bomb maker for the Taliban , and he was burying an IED that was to be detonated when a US patrol walked by 30 minutes later. It would have certainly killed and wounded several soldiers.
The interesting fact of this story is the shot was measured at 725 yards. She shot him as he was bent over burying the bomb. The shot went through his butt and into the bomb, which detonated; he was blown to pieces. The Air Force, (not the Marines that get all the glory,) made a motivational poster of her.
H/T: AL N.
Friday, January 29, 2010
Profiles of Valor: U.S. Marine Corps MGySgt Peter Proietto
United States Marine Corps Master Gunnery Sergeant Peter Proietto was serving in Afghanistan when, on March 12, 2003, his patrol was ambushed by Taliban fighters. As the other Marines in the forward element of the patrol sought cover, Proietto stayed in position -- exposed to enemy fire though he was -- in order to provide suppressive fire for the protection of his comrades.
As the firefight continued, Proietto bravely stayed at the machine gun atop his unarmored vehicle on an open road. The Team Sergeant advised him to leave that position for cover, but he stayed and fired on the enemy for almost an hour until he ran out of ammunition. When the ammunition was gone, he grabbed his M4 carbine and continued to engage the enemy. Soon, the Taliban were pushed from their positions. For his actions, Proietto received the Bronze Star with combat "V" for valor. His citation says he "displayed himself in a courageous professional manner and his heroic and immediate response to enemy fire and willingness to jeopardize his own safety to provide supporting fire for the rest of the team demonstrated a level of dedication to the mission and his fellow soldiers, which is rarely surpassed."
This was Sarah Palin's response (available on the web) to the SOTU speech
The Credibility Gap
While I don’t wish to speak too harshly about President Obama’s state of the union address, we live in challenging times that call for candor. I call them as I see them, and I hope my frank assessment will be taken as an honest effort to move this conversation forward.
Last night, the president spoke of the “credibility gap” between the public’s expectations of their leaders and what those leaders actually deliver. “Credibility gap” is a good way to describe the chasm between rhetoric and reality in the president’s address. The contradictions seemed endless.
He called for Democrats and Republicans to “work through our differences,” but last year he dismissed any notion of bipartisanship when he smugly told Republicans, “I won.”
He talked like a Washington “outsider,” but he runs Washington! He’s had everything any president could ask for – an overwhelming majority in Congress and a fawning press corps that feels tingles every time he speaks. There was nothing preventing him from pursuing “common sense” solutions all along. He didn’t pursue them because they weren’t his priorities, and he spent his speech blaming Republicans for the problems caused by his own policies.
He dared us to “let him know” if we have a better health care plan, but he refused to allow Republicans in on the negotiations or consider any ideas for real free market and patient-centered reforms. We’ve been “letting him know” our ideas for months from the town halls to the tea parties, but he isn’t interested in listening. Instead he keeps making the nonsensical claim that his massive trillion-dollar health care bill won’t increase the deficit.
Americans are suffering from job losses and lower wages, yet the president practically demanded applause when he mentioned tax cuts, as if allowing people to keep more of their own hard-earned money is an act of noblesse oblige. He claims that he cut taxes, but I must have missed that. I see his policies as paving the way for massive tax increases and inflation, which is the “hidden tax” that most hurts the poor and the elderly living on fixed incomes.
He condemned lobbyists, but his White House is filled with former lobbyists, and this has been a banner year for K Street with his stimulus bill, aka the Lobbyist’s Full Employment Act. He talked about a “deficit of trust” and the need to “do our work in the open,” but he chased away the C-SPAN cameras and cut deals with insurance industry lobbyists behind closed doors.
He spoke of doing what’s best for the next generation and not leaving our children with a “mountain of debt,” but under his watch this year, government spending is up by 22%, and his budget will triple our national debt.
He spoke of a spending freeze, but doesn’t he realize that each new program he’s proposing comes with a new price tag? A spending freeze is a nice idea, but it doesn’t address the root cause of the problem. We need a comprehensive examination of the role of government spending. The president’s deficit commission is little more than a bipartisan tax hike committee, lending political cover to raise taxes without seriously addressing the problem of spending.
He condemned bailouts, but he voted for them and then expanded and extended them. He praised the House’s financial reform bill, but where was Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae in that bill? He still hasn’t told us when we’ll be getting out of the auto and the mortgage industries. He praised small businesses, but he’s spent the past year as a friend to big corporations and their lobbyists, who always find a way to make government regulations work in their favor at the expense of their mom & pop competitors.
He praised the effectiveness of his stimulus bill, but then he called for another one – this time cleverly renamed a “jobs bill.” The first stimulus was sold to us as a jobs bill that would keep unemployment under 8%. We now have double digit unemployment with no end in sight. Why should we trust this new “jobs bill”?
He talked about “making tough decisions about opening new offshore areas for oil and gas development,” but apparently it’s still too tough for his Interior Secretary to move ahead with Virginia’s offshore oil and gas leases. If they’re dragging their feet on leases, how long will it take them to build “safe, clean nuclear power plants”? Meanwhile, he continued to emphasize “green jobs,” which require massive government subsidies for inefficient technologies that can’t survive on their own in the real world of the free market.
He spoke of supporting young girls in Afghanistan who want to go to school and young women in Iran who courageously protest in the streets, but where were his words of encouragement to the young girls of Afghanistan in his West Point speech? And where was his support for the young women of Iran when they were being gunned down in the streets of Tehran?
Despite speaking for over an hour, the president only spent 10% of his speech on foreign policy, and he left us with many unanswered questions. Does he still think trying the 9/11 terrorists in New York is a good idea? Does he still think closing Gitmo is a good idea? Does he still believe in Mirandizing terrorists after the Christmas bomber fiasco? Does he believe we’re in a war against terrorists, or does he think this is just a global crime spree? Does he understand that the first priority of our government is to keep our country safe?
In his address last night, the president once again revealed that there’s a fundamental disconnect between what the American people expect from their government, and what he wants to deliver. He’s still proposing failed top-down big government solutions to our problems. Instead of smaller, smarter government, he’s taken a government that was already too big and supersized it.
Real private sector jobs are created when taxes are low, investment is high, and people are free to go about their business without the heavy hand of government. The president thinks innovation comes from government subsidies. Common sense conservatives know innovation comes from unleashing the creative energy of American entrepreneurs.
Everything seems to be “unexpected” to this administration: unexpected job losses; unexpected housing numbers; unexpected political losses in Massachusetts, Virginia, and New Jersey. True leaders lead best when confronted with the unexpected. But instead of leading us, the president lectured us. He lectured Wall Street; he lectured Main Street; he lectured Congress; he even lectured our Supreme Court Justices.
He criticized politicians who “wage a perpetual campaign,” but he gave a campaign speech instead of a state of the union address. The campaign is over, and President Obama now has something that candidate Obama never had: an actual track record in office. We now can see the failed policies behind the flowery words. If Americans feel as cynical as the president suggests, perhaps it’s because the audacity of his recycled rhetoric no longer inspires hope.
Real leadership requires results. Real hope lies in the ingenuity, generosity, and boundless courage of the American people whose voices are still not being heard in Washington.
- Sarah Palin
Thursday, January 28, 2010
Jonah Goldberg, editor-at-large of National Review Online, and the author of Liberal Fascism: The Secret History of the American Left (a must read if ever there was one), wrote this column in the New York Post today. It's the clearest analysis of last night's State of the Union speech that I've seen today.
Paul Mirengoff, over at Power Line Blog, discusses the many mistakes (?) included in the president's criticism of the decision of the Supreme Court in the case: Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission.
The piece, which he called "A Sound Bite Too Far" contains this:
I'm pleased that Justice Alito did not wait for bloggers and media fact checkers to discover that Obama's statements about the decision are false. Now the president has a reason, other than the apparently insufficient one of good manners, not to attack the Supreme Court when its Justices are in the audience as invited guests.
Wednesday, January 27, 2010
Obama Makes Global Warming a NASA Priority | The Foundry: Conservative Policy News.
The Heritage Foundation reported this good news on its Blog, The Foundry, today.
The Orlando Sentinel reports that President Obama will introduce a budget next week which will cut future exploration funding from NASA, including the planned missions to the Moon and Mars set in motion following the Columbia disaster. On first glance, this may appear to be a budget cutting move to fall in line with the drop-in-a-bucket spending freeze Obama has proposed. But it isn’t. In fact, NASA’s budget is increasing. So if NASA’s budget is increasing, why are exploration plans being put on hold? Obama is halting America’s exploration of the unknown so we can explore…global warming.
According to a CBS Investigative Report, the trip to Copenhagen for the now infamous 2009 Global Warming Conference, made by “106 people from the House and Senate,” which included “spouses, a doctor, a protocol expert and even a photographer,” cost us taxpayers a measly million dollars. What did we get for that money? Nothing, not even a T-Shirt.
Tuesday, January 26, 2010
According to this report on Politico.com, Senator Jim Webb (D-Va) has finally remembered his Scots Irish combative roots, and has spoken out against the Obama administration's decision to try 911 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed (above photo) in New York City. In a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder, signed by Webb, Blanche Lincoln (D-ARK), Independent Joe Lieberman, and Republicans Lindsey Graham, John McCain, and Susan Collins, the six senators say in part:
“Your decision to prosecute enemy combatants captured on foreign battlefields like Khalid Sheikh Mohammed is without precedent in our nation’s history. Given the risks and costs, it is far more logical, cost-effective, and strategically wise to try Khalid Sheikh Mohammed in the military commissions.”
More Dems want KSM trial out of NYC - Kasie Hunt - POLITICO.com
Bret Stephens of the Wall Street Journal wrote a particularly clear analysis today of why President Obama's first year in office has perhaps rated less than a "solid B+ grade."
Here are some clips:
It's not as if he (Obama) lacks for charisma. It's that he believes too much in the power of charisma itself and specifically too much in his own.
So what's Copenhagen Syndrome? It is a belief in your own miracles. It is thinking that those who crowned you king actually knew what they were doing. It is buying into your own tulip bulb mania. It is the floating evanescent bubble of self. God help you when it bursts.
To read the entire article, go HERE.
Monday, January 25, 2010
Dr. Charles Krauthammer Speaks About Obama's Foreign Policy | The Foundry: Conservative Policy News.
Dr. Charles Krauthammer, who described President Barack Obama’s first 12 months in office as “the year of living fecklessly,” spoke at The Heritage Foundation last week on “The Age of Obama” and gave his views of the President’s first year of foreign policy.
Don't miss the video; it's 52 minutes, but you'll enjoy every minute. Watch when you have the time.
Sunday, January 24, 2010
Itzhak Perlman, who has been paralyzed since age four from polio, went on to become, in the opinion of many, the greatest living violin virtuoso in the world. In the above video he's performing Beethoven's Violin Concerto in D Major, Opus 61 (3) with the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra in 1992. His biography is pretty amazing, and doesn't even mention his wonderfully engaging sense of humor.
We had the good fortune of attending Mr. Perlman's live performance of this masterpiece with the Jacksonville Symphony, on January 9, 2010. Magnificent!
Have a Beautiful Sunday.
Saturday, January 23, 2010
The guys at Power Line Blog first posted this video, on January 6, 2010. They posted it again today with the following note:
Earlier this month, we posted this video, called America Rising. As I noted then, it doesn't exactly represent our point of view, since we never fell for Obama's "hope and change" shtick, but it's powerful nonetheless:
Since then, it has become a phenomenon--not so much on the web as via email. Email is the underside of the internet; it is amazing how widely some videos, cartoons, anecdotes, etc. are disseminated, off the radar screen, as people email them to friends and colleagues. The America Rising video illustrates the point--currently, between 30,000 and 40,000 people a day are finding their way to our earlier post, and viewing the video, via links they received in emails. So if you didn't email the original link to your friends, feel free to send them this one.
Please use the "Share" button below to email this to anybody you think might not have seen it. Or, click on the small envelope to the left of "Links To This Post" below to email this post to a friend or group of friends.
Friday, January 22, 2010
Obama Administration Caught Lying! Holder Made Decision to Mirandize Christmas Bomber, Not FBI Agents!
The Obama Administration is caught lying yet again!!!! It was announced by WH Press Secretary, Robert Gibbs, that AG Eric Holder was indeed the one who made the decision, yet a day earlier, FBI Director Mueller said it was "agents on the ground."
Anyone who believes that Holder, once again, made such a decision (remember he "decided" to try KSM in NYC) without the approval of the White House probably still believes that Bill Clinton "did not have sexual relations with that woman."
Steve Hayes of The Weekly Standard, and esteemed member of The Panel on Fox News Special Report asks, in his column today, a question on the minds of many Americans: Who made the decision to treat the Christmas Day Bomber as a criminal rather than a terrorist?
Neither Hayes nor anyone else has yet been able to have this question answered by anyone in the administration. The estimable director of the FBI, Robert Mueller, has stated that the decision to read Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab his "Miranda Rights" was made by "agents on the ground." That, though, begs the question. The answer being sought is the identity of the administration official who made the decision to treat him as a criminal defendant rather than an enemy combatant. Since Abdulmutallab has no such "Miranda Rights" anyway (he is not a U. S. citizen), it really makes no difference who advised him of the "Rights" he does not have. The reading of his "Rights" comes into play only if the ridiculous decision to try him in our civilian court system (rather than try him before a military tribunal after proper water boarding) is carried through. Who made that ridiculous decision is the question that must be answered.
Thursday, January 21, 2010
From The Heritage Foundation's Blog:
The Department of Education reports that more than half of high school seniors lack even a basic knowledge of American history. Many college students, another study finds, can’t identify the Gettysburg Address and don’t know that James Madison was the father of the Constitution.
…High schools largely ignore, minimize, or disparage the story of America’s Founding in the classroom…We must reverse this course by making a commitment at every level of education to promote an awareness and appreciation of the true principals of the American Founding…The public mission of our schools in the past was to transmit this knowledge to young Americans as the most important requisite for democracy. This must be the mission of our schools again.
That’s exactly the mission that former U.S. Secretary of Education William J. Bennett has taken on.
Bennett has produced a series of history books and online curricula for students in grades 8-12, which are being made available this month. The books are being published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.
Bennett Releases Books to Teach U.S. History to Students | The Foundry: Conservative Policy News.
Please share this information with any friends who have children in grades 8-12, or who would be interested in reading the books to their younger children, or even refresh their own knowledge of America.
Daniel Henninger, who writes the Wonderland column in the Wall Street Journal, explains today exactly what the voters in Massachusetts revolted against two days ago. It's an excellent history lesson in modern day liberal politics.
Here are some clips:
The central battle in our time is over political primacy. It is a competition between the public sector and the private sector over who defines the work and the institutions that make a nation thrive and grow.
Enter the Obama administration, the first one born and raised inside this public bubble, with zero private-sector Cabinet members. Act one: a $787 billion stimulus bill, which they brag mainly saved state and local jobs. Then came the six-month odyssey for Obama's $1 trillion health-care bill, dripping with taxes. Independent voters felt like everything was being sucked into a public-sector vortex.
What an irony it is that in the same week the Kennedy labor legacy hit the wall in Massachusetts, the NEA approved a $1 million donation from the union's contingency fund to the Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate. It is this Kennedy legacy, the public union tax and spend machine, that drove blue Massachusetts into revolt Tuesday.
To read the entire article, go Here
Wednesday, January 20, 2010
Andrew McCarthy, writing on National Review Online today, hits the target on what caused the big win in Massachusetts yesterday for Scott Brown. Health care reform certainly played a part, but it was national security above everything else that resonated with the voters. Here's a clip (Eric Holder take note):
The laws of war are the rule of law. They are not a suspension of the Constitution. They are the Constitution operating in wartime. The Framers understood that there would be wars against enemies of the United States — it is stated explicitly in the Constitution’s treason clause (Art. III, Sec. 3). The American people understand that we have enemies, even if Washington sees them as political “engagement” partners waiting to happen. Americans also grasp that war is a political and military challenge that the nation has to win, not a judicial proceeding in which your enemies are presumed innocent. The rule of law is not and has never been the rule of lawyers — especially lawyers we can’t vote out of office when they say we must let trained terrorists move in next door.
To read the whole piece click on the link below.
It’s the Enemy, Stupid by Andrew C. McCarthy on National Review Online
"And let me say this, with respect to those who wish to harm us, I believe that our Constitution and laws exist to protect this nation - they do not grant rights and privileges to enemies in wartime. In dealing with terrorists, our tax dollars should pay for weapons to stop them, not lawyers to defend them."
SCOTT BROWN, Newly Elected U.S. Senator from Massachusetts
Monday, January 18, 2010
Sunday, January 17, 2010
This will be the last Beautiful Sunday made so by the Mills Brothers. They had many more top hits, but these three plus the two last Sunday and the one posted two weeks ago
are the best of their hits on You Tube. Enjoy, and have a Beautiful Sunday.
Saturday, January 16, 2010
Matthias Shapiro, of the Political Math Blog, has done it again: proven the adage that a picture is worth a thousand words. He says he made these charts because he wanted to communicate, in a single image, how much earners make and how much they pay in taxes. He calls our tax system "progressive" (because it is) but adds that it is not as progressive as some wish it was.
Charles Krauthammer sums up the first year of President Obama's reign:
The health-care drive is the most important reason Obama has sunk to 46 percent. But this reflects something larger. In the end, what matters is not the persona but the agenda. In a country where politics is fought between the 40-yard lines, Obama has insisted on pushing hard for the 30.
And the American people—disorganized and unled but nonetheless agitated and mobilized—have put up a stout defense somewhere just left of midfield.
Click below to read the full article:
One Year Out: The Fall by Charles Krauthammer on National Review Online
Friday, January 15, 2010
Here are five videos that tell us all we need to know about the scam called Global Warming being perpetrated on the world's citizens by Al Gore and the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). John Coleman (see my earlier post) has done a great service in bringing truth to the debate that for so long has been a one-sided affair, thanks to a government seeking to take more control of our lives and a main stream media seeking to curry favor with that government.
Thursday, January 14, 2010
Heather Mac Donald is a John M. Olin fellow at the Manhattan Institute and a Contributing Editor to City Journal. According to the website for the Manhattan Institute, which publishes City Journal, her work at City Journal has canvassed a range of topics including homeland security, immigration, policing and "racial" profiling, homelessness and homeless advocacy, educational policy, the New York courts, and business improvement districts. This piece appears in the Winter 2010 Edition of City Journal. In it, she explores what happens when a city such as Chicago looks to the government for assistance in the rearing of children rather than to the missing fathers who have abandoned those children - along with any semblance of individual responsibility. It's not a pretty picture.
She does not fail to mention the brief tenure of our president as a community organizer in one of the worst areas of Chicago.
Yet a critical blindness links Obama’s activities on the South Side during the 1980s and the murder of Derrion Albert in 2009. Throughout his four years working for “change” in Chicago’s Roseland and Altgeld Gardens neighborhoods, Obama ignored the primary cause of their escalating dysfunction: the disappearance of the black two-parent family. Obama wasn’t the only activist to turn away from the problem of absent fathers, of course; decades of failed social policy, both before and after his time in Chicago, were just as blind. And that myopia continues today, guaranteeing that the current response to Chicago’s youth violence will prove as useless as Obama’s activities were 25 years ago.
Chicago's Real Crime Story by Heather Mac Donald, City Journal Winter 2010
A previous piece by Heather MacDonald appeared on this Blog in July 2009. It can be found here.