Saturday Sighting: Last Day of the Year

Phew! 2011 went by super fast.

Now onto the Next Big Thing - 2012.

Thank you to those who read TCC, commented, sent news tips, or agreed to an interview.

Happy New Year!

Independent of Barnes County

My 'ax the property tax' column was republished in this ND publication on page 10. The free-thinking publisher is Nikki Laine Zinke.


Friday Fun: Homes of the GOP Candidates

Naturally, they all live very well.

Naturally, Ron Paul's home, near Houston, is the most modest one of the bunch.

And it's for sale! (According to the Daily Mail.)

Casa Paul Pool

Friday Fun: Free Wallpaper from RMEF


Friday Fun: Boho Chic Baby

My friend Bonnie's little angel, Aftasie.

Mama, who is a nursing student in Oregon, is having a good time dressing up her baby girl.


Of White Wedding Zinnias & Goldetti Squash

Yesterday the mailperson brought the 2012 Burpee catalog to our box. It contains ooohh and aahhh quality photos of flowers, veggies, and fruits.

It's way too early, for me, to think about outdoor gardening, given the 'hardiness zone' I live in, but it may not be too early for you, if you live in, like, Florida.

However, with the right window or with grow lamps, indoor container gardening is doable all-year round. Since the fall, I've been successfully growing violas on a south windowsill. They are even blooming, even though the weather is brrrrr.

The pretty catalog is also available online if you want to peek at all the varieties of sunflowers or tomatoes pictured, or chuckle at the creative names Burpee's marketing department dreams up for the seed packets.


The Poised Alpha Male

This is Milo. My neighbor's huskie. I think he's movie-star handsome.

He rarely barks, and he can strike a pose. Milo is the strong, silent type. Sigh.

Believe it or not, he's still a puppy.

So when he plays ... well, he can play like a pup.

Ruff, ruff.


"El Comandante" - Mascot for Liberals

Available from Che Mart. (Caveat: Some of the material is spot on, some too naughty for my taste.)

From Humberto Fontova's exposé on Ernesto: "Fidel Castro's henchman whose face adorns hipsters' T-shirts, posters, and ad campaigns - are based on a murderous communist regime's outright lies."

Even at small and remote North Central Michigan College, I've spotted stickers of his militant mug on a professorette's door. Ugh.


Feliz Navidad!

Mary did you know ...

That your baby boy

Will one day rule the nations.


Where in the World is Santa?

The Norad tracker

Tiny Tim: God Bless Us, Every One

'Twas the Newt Before Christmas by Barack O.

My 'poem' appeared at the Daily Caller.

Thanks to Tucker for tweeting it, also.

Here's how it begins:

" ’Twas the night before the Holiday, when all through the White House,
Not a liberal was social networking — no one was clicking a mouse.
The Jimmy Choos were hung by the chimney with care
In hopes that Newt Gingrinch soon would be there.

The Occupy protesters were nestled all snug in their street beds,
While redistributionist schemes danced in their (air)heads.
And Michelle in her snuggie, and I with my Chicago Bulls cap,
Had just settled down for a climate-change nap."

Ho ho ho, and Merry Christmas.


Remembering the Imprisoned at Christmas

Writing in the American Spectator, Doug Bandow, a champion of religious liberty, opines about the persecution of Christians in the DPRK (North Korea). It's an extremely unsettling article (as it should be).

Here's some stats: "Some 150,000 to 200,000 people are believed to be imprisoned in abysmal conditions. Of those, between 40,000 and 70,000 are said to be held for religious reasons -- principally for Christian worship and evangelism. ICC figures that number may be even higher, perhaps 100,000, though no one really knows. Reports circulate of the execution of believers, especially leaders like pastors and Bible smugglers."

Doug advises those of us in the West to, at least, pray for the persecuted and also lists several organizations that attempt to expose this darkest of regimes.

TCC Interview: Tiffany Dortignac Weathers

Described as hard-working, yet laid back Tiffany is married to Nathan who works for JDC Contracting. They live in SoCal and are blessed with two beautiful children, Caleb and Julia. She's also an accomplished piano teacher and savvy cultural observer with a fine sense of humor. Tiffany writes on her blog, "I grew up in one of those Judeo-Christian homes that apparently strike terror in the hearts of the likes of Betty Friedan."

Her homeschooling parents, Michelle and Jack Dortignac, are the parents of 14 children. Tiff, as I call her, is the first born.

TCC: What's it like to go from living with a family of 16 to being a family of four?

Tiff: I get more sleep now. I also get more down time. I am more rested, which I’m enjoying very much. Living with a family of sixteen was excellent preparation for marriage and parenting, because I was never used to having everything go my way.

TCC: I bet! Now that you are so well rested, please complete this sentence. Barack Obama is ______________.

Tiff: Confused. I think he really is trying to do right, but he has a completely distorted view of what right and wrong are.

TCC: What's one question that you would ask the GOP presidential candidates?

Tiff: I would ask how they would deal with the federal debt problem. No one gets out of debt by just eliminating a deficit. We need to pay that mess down, and we don’t need to start by raising taxes.

TCC: Favorite type of music?

Tiff: I like to listen to music that is soothing, calms nerves, and is not at all showy, like The Living Room Sessions, by Chris Rice.

TCC: And you are probably the definition of a soothing mommy. Thanks for sharing!

In the photo: Mr. and Mrs. Weathers on their wedding day in December of 2008.


Mini Poinsettas

Christmas usually means vibrant, hardy, and entirely affordable poinsettas. The more the merrier!

But the minis, sometimes available in grocery stores, are in a class by themselves. Even online buyers sell the adorable little plants fast. I think these make for unique hostess gifts.

Wise Words about Family

"The way you help heal the world is you start with your own family."
~ Mother Teresa


Tonight: Obama Immigration Decision Discussion

From Mikey Cutler: "This evening, I will be a guest on Neil Cavuto’s program, on the Fox Business Network that airs from 6:00 PM until 7:00 PM Eastern Standard Time. We will be discussing the administration’s decision to cut back on the National Guard troops that have been assigned to the US/Mexican border and the impact this is likely to have on jobs and national security."

This should be a good segment as Neil (pictured, right) is respectful to his guests and asks intelligent questions.

Update: Neil being fair and balanced.

Santa, Please Bring This Man a Tundra

Move over, Bruce Willis! Make room for Wid Lyman.

(The Ironman, also known as The Count, appears in the beginning of this Toyota commercial for the Fernelius dealership of Cheboygan, MI.)


Don't Mess with Texas ... or Baby Jesus

My latest column at the Belgrade News begins like this: "Tra la la la. Tis’ the season to censor Christians in the public square. La la la la."

I mention the Madison, Wisconsin-based Freedom From Religion Foundation, a group of atheists who are busy little grinches this time of the year.

FFRFers made a fuss over a nativity scene located outside the Athens, Texas county courthouse.

The photo is of the crowd (5000!) that came to a rally in Athens in support of the crèche.

Update: Franking rule gets rescinded.

Visual Satire

Oh to have a job as a political cartoonist ...


Better Than That Tacky SNL Skit*



Sunday Inspiration: Danny Woodhead

For a professional football player, Danny is tiny. He's a five-foot-eight running back for the New England Patriots (who, by the way, will be playing the Denver Broncos today). But Number 39 has become a fan favorite, because he plays with heart and speed.

As SI notes: "It's only on a football field where Danny Woodhead weekly stands out as the most unlikely of highlighters, etched against a panorama of enlarged NFL humanoids. Where he regularly ducks beneath the swat of defensive linemen, a foot taller and 100 pounds heavier, to churn out a few more yards. Where blitzers don't even see him until he blocks them to the ground. Where he skirts out of the backfield, outruns a linebacker, jukes a cornerback, and gains another 10 yards."

Danny has also been described as "grounded" or an "everyman." At 26 years old, he's married to his high school sweetheart and was homeschooled through high school in his native Nebraska, the product of a close-knit, blue-collar religious family.

This article and this article explain the source of his drive and his fearlesness.

This commercial plays up his likeable ordinariness.


Sat. Sighting: National TV Time for ND's Property Rights Crusade

Charlene Nelson, of Empower the Taxpayer, gets interviewed by Stuart Varney of Fox Business News.

Prole Nation: Key to Happy-Smiley Femmes

Based on the study's twisted conclusions, why bother to have children?

So would yesteryear's art masters be inspired to paint portraits of botoxed women sitting at nondescript desks fiddling with their computers?


Rock on, Thomas Edison, Rock on!

Ye Modest Stockpile

Enlightening news and welcome news: "Congressional negotiators struck a deal Thursday that overturns the new rules that were to have banned sales of traditional incandescent light bulbs beginning next year.

That agreement is tucked inside the massive 1,200-page spending bill that funds the government through the rest of this fiscal year, and which both houses of Congress will vote on Friday. Mr. Obama is expected to sign the bill, which heads off a looming government shutdown.

Congressional Republicans dropped almost all of the policy restrictions they tried to attach to the bill, but won inclusion of the light bulb provision, which prevents the Obama administration from carrying through a 2007 law that would have set energy efficiency standards that effectively made the traditional light bulb obsolete.

Stopping the bulb ban was a chief GOP priority coming into this year, with all of the candidates seeking to become chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee saying they would push through a repeal. That bill cleared the House but Democrats blocked its consideration in the Senate.

House Republicans then insisted on adding a provision into the year-end spending bill, and it was one of the last major sticking-points in the negotiations.

The spending bill doesn’t actually amend the 2007 law, but does prohibit the administration from spending any money to carry out the light bulb standards — which amounts to at least a temporary reprieve."

Hurrah! (But how absurd it has come to this - the federal government interfering with the marketplace and the choices of consumers to this extreme extent.)

WaPo: You got game

Not worth nitpicking; this succinct analysis of last night's debate is just about right, even down to the Tebowing reference. Go here

Fri. Fun: The Lady Gaga of Poli Sci Profs

The bellicose young woman in the video below, who specializes in Twaddle 101, is an Occidental College academic. Her name is Caroline Heldman, and, among other things, thinks voter fraud is not a problem and doesn't have much use for the Tenth Amendment. Dr. Heldman ardently opposes state laws which require photo IDs to vote because "some poor people can't get an ID card and 11% of the American public doesn't have it."

This blogger put together a state-by-state list of what such state IDs cost. Spoiler alert: Affordable they are ... even for so-called poor people.

If you watch, be prepared to cover your ears.


Marmite: Banned in Denmark

But not in Petoskey. Not yet, at least. I found this litte jar of Marmite at a local foodie store.

The Danes banished the yeast spread, because it contains "too many vitamins."

One British expat living in Copenhagen declared: "But if they want to take my Marmite off me, they'll have to wrench it from my cold dead hands."


Es Amnistía, Mr. Know-Poquito

Remember the intemperate statement made by Newt Gingrich, about illegal aliens, at a recent debate: “If you've been here 25 years and you got three kids and two grandkids, you've been paying taxes and obeying the law, you belong to a local church, I don't think we're going to separate you from your family, uproot you forcefully and kick you out.”

Rick Oltman (pictured, right) reminds Newt: "The illegal aliens that you mentioned who have been working here for 25 years have committed at least two felonies in obtaining those jobs." Ouch.

Now check out this video of Mr. Know-Poquito* apologizing in Spanish for intemperate remarks he made. (Muy divertido = very amusing.)

*"Poquito" is the Spanish word for little

Update: On the 'comprehensive' immigration issue, Latino Fox News continues to act as an arm of La Raza. Go here. Mrs. Santana, thanks for sending the link.


Northern Plains Property Rights Revolution

My latest column on North Dakota's Measure 2 (which if it passes would abolish the property tax) is available at the Daily Caller. Go here.


Just Furious!

Señor Wall writes about the federal Department of Justice's gun running scandal known as "Fast and Furious." Go here.

An interview with Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) on the topic.

Will the capo di tutti capi of the Justice Department - Eric Holder - resign?


Tebow 7:1

Amazing grace ... that saved a team like the Denver Broncos.

Maybe the most amazing win of all.


Just wow.

Broncos Coach John Fox keeps thanking the 'good Lord,' and he doesn't seem like the sort that normally makes this sort of gesture. Good for him!

Sidebar: Business Insider comes up with a National Enquirer-like headline: "TIM TEBOW: How He Went From A Homeschooled Kid To The Most Popular Face In The NFL."

Update: Wayne passes along this WSJ piece - "Denver's New Favorite Mensch."

Sunday Inspiration: Spurgeon on Crusoe

Back in 1885, British author Daniel Defoe's "Robinson Crusoe" (published in the early 1700s) inspired the take-no-prisoners preacher Charles Spurgeon to put together this sermon.

Here's how Spurgeon, also a Brit, starts: "Robinson Crusoe has been shipwrecked. Sick, feverish and miserable, he is left on the desert island alone. He has no one to help him—none even to bring him a drink of cold water. Accustomed to sin, he had all the vices of a sailor; but his troubles now prompt him to seek help from the God he had ignored.... He finds a Bible in a chest he had rescued, and he discovers this passage:

'Call upon Me in the day of trouble: I will deliver you, and you shall glorify me.' Psalm 50:15

That night he prayed for the first time in his life, and ever after there was in him a hope in God ... "

What a difference a sincere plea/prayer can make for a castaway.

Spurgeon's ending is also preachy but edifying.

Sidebar: Robinson Crusoe describes his education, at the beginning of the story, thusly: "My father, who was very ancient, had given me a competent share of learning ... " A very early form of homeschooling, no?

In the photo: Crusoe statue in Lower Largo, Fife, Scotland


Disrespectful to Sister Denise's* Memory

Yesterday the Des Moines Register reported about an unusual campaign spearheaded by nuns. The gist: "Catholic sisters from ten religious communities in Iowa and neighboring states will kick off a campaign on Monday that ties the words of Jesus to a more open view on immigration.

Media for the campaign will come in the form of posters and billboards across the state featuring a Bible verse, or at least a modern take on one."

The story also explains that the campaign is a “ 'direct response' to Secure Communities, a deportation program coordinated at local, state and federal levels that enlists law enforcement officials in identifying and removing illegal immigrants."

Sample of the Sisters propaganda:

This slick pseudo-spiritual campaign is flat-out dishonest. First, of all the United States does welcome immigrants. In fact, we are the most welcoming and generous country in the world when it comes to reaching out (and providing unconstitutional funds) to foreign nations and the foreign born.

Second, 'stranger' isn't the same as 'criminal illegal alien.' The Ten Commandments commands folks to not steal. Breaking and entering into another country, without going through the appropriate channels, is a form of theft.

Third, it's wrong to politicize and manipulate Jesus' words.

Whatever happened to nuns being known for their good deeds, as opposed to championing anarchy?

*Sister Denise Mosier was killed by an illegal in an automobile accident.

Sat. Sighting: Like a Pencil



The cozy, on the tower, was made entirely of yarn by artist Robyn Love and a team of adventuresome knitters.

The skinny on why a water tower in SoHo rated such a transformation.

(My knitting projects are infinitely more modest, but just as rewarding.)


Friday Fun: Christmas Bubble Lights

Talk about giving your tree a one-of-a-kind glow!

The retro bubble lights are cheery, colorful holiday decorations; a real conversation piece. They come in sets of 7 or as a single night light.

Own them while you can, as, in the near future, some government grinch will probably decide to ban them.


Breathtaking Details

I recently discovered this enthralling painting by Jan van Kessel, a Flemish artist who was born in the 1600s. The title is: "Noah's Family Assembling Animals before the Ark."

Click it on it, and study it for a few minutes.


That Northern Plains Property Rights Revolution

I have put together another column about North Dakota's Measure 2 that, if it passes, would nix property taxes. It's been published by the Daily Caller. Go here.


Mike and the AGs: The Debate That Rocked

Last night's presidential candidates Fox News forum, hosted by Mike Huckabee, was excellent. Due, in no small part, to the tough, interesting questions posed by Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt and Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli (in the photo). Florida AG Pam Bondi, also participated. She was lively but not as formidable as Ken and Scott. Mike H. was a very gracious moderator.

The video of that entire forum is here.

Chia Obama? Are you kidding me?

I couldn't stop laughing: "Representing peace, hope, and prosperity."

Order a couple of these and give them to your liberal friends as Christmas gifts.

There's also a Chia Washington and Chia Lincoln - the epitome of kitsch.


Keystone XL Pipeline = Jobs, Jobs, Jobs

Well-argued op ed, on the Keystone XL Pipeline, by a former ambassador to Canada who is pro-pipeline.

David Wilkins states, "Environmental radicals decided the KXL pipeline was their cause celebre.

Back in 2008, environmentalists had high hopes, with a brand new president and a Democratic Congress, that their wish list would at last be granted.

But that didn’t happen. Instead, environmental groups have been dealt several setbacks. A climate change bill passed the House by the smallest of margins in 2009, only to die in the Senate and with it the promise of legislatively mandated cap-and-trade.

More recently, we’ve seen scandals involving the administration favoring multi-million-dollar loans to renewable energy companies like Solyndra, only to see them file for bankruptcy. With a sputtering economy, Americans put environmental concerns on the backburner. And Congress, likewise, has had no appetite to pass legislation that could be deemed 'anti-jobs.'

As a result, the more strident environmentalists were demanding a victory -- so when Nebraska expressed concern over the project and started seeking an alternative route to avoid areas in the Sand Hills, the administration had a hook on which to hang the delay."

More information about the project.

Article about the congressional hearing, that took place yesterday. Detractors v. supporters went at it.

Update: A pipeline worker, from Oklahoma, weighs in.


Friday Fun: Hello Kitty

Meow. While on my weekly walk to downtown, I ran into this friendly black cat.

He was especially endearing, since - surprise - he lacked a tail. Aww.


Will North Dakotans Ax the Hated Property Tax?

My latest column
, at the Belgrade News, begins like this: "We Americans view our homes as our castles, but it’s easy to feel like a serf, instead of a lord or lady of the manor, when we regularly are forced to pay ‘rent’ to the government for our abodes (even when we have no mortgage) in the form of a property tax.

The great state of North Dakota is poised to right that wrong.

This coming June, residents will have the opportunity to vote on a primary ballot measure that, if approved by voters, would eliminate local property taxes, retroactive on Jan. 1, 2012. They would be the first state in the nation to do so."

Charlene Nelson, a heroic homeschooling mom of three, is the force of nature who helped organized this ballot effort and is also the spokesperson for Empower the Taxpayer. Here's her blog (which features the Monopoly game guy).


No GOP Debate Tonight

Reuters reports: "The Arizona Republican Presidential/CNN Debate has been set back by two months to February next year to bring it closer to the state's presidential primary, CNN said on Tuesday.

The debate, which is being sponsored by CNN, will move to February 22, 2012, from the previously scheduled date of November 30, CNN said in a news release."

The AZ prez primary is Feb. 28.

Rewired Brains and Gaming in Higher Ed.

This article would provoke a strong reaction from my husband, the old-school college math teacher with a couple of engineering degrees. (If he had time to read it). The intro:

"At some point, engineering professor Brianno Coller realized he didn't like slogging through dry math problems as an instructor any more than he had as a student. So he thought about what could liven things up — animation! interactivity! —and it hit him: video games.

He designed one, and now his third-year students at Northern Illinois University in DeKalb build virtual race cars, complete with roaring engines and screeching tires, that must maneuver an increasingly challenging course. Along the way, they're exposed to computational math, a basic building block of engineering.

'I use games to, in some sense, throw away the textbook,' says Coller, 42, who played Lunar Lander and other video games as a kid. 'My philosophy is that learning can be a burdensome chore or it can be an interesting journey.' "

The burdensome chore can become the interesting journey, Mr. Coller.

Thanks to Mrs. Santana for sending this article.

Java Jolt

Startling way to begin a NYT article: "For decades, Democrats have suffered continuous and increasingly severe losses among white voters. But preparations by Democratic operatives for the 2012 election make it clear for the first time that the party will explicitly abandon the white working class."

Thanks to Mr. R for passing this along. The rest is here.


Sowell: No inherent 'right' to live in the U.S.

Do read Thomas Sowell's primo column on Newt Gingrich's silly, counterproductive remarks about amnesty.

Here's an excerpt: "The purpose of American immigration laws and policies is not to be either humane or inhumane to illegal immigrants. The purpose of immigration laws and policies is to serve the national interest of this country.

There is no inherent right to come live in the United States, in disregard of whether the American people want you here. Nor does the passage of time confer any such right retroactively."

Here's an another: "The more doctrinaire libertarians see the benefits of free international trade in goods, and extend the same reasoning to free international movement of people. But goods do not bring a culture with them. Nor do they give birth to other goods to perpetuate that culture.

Why do people want to come to America in the first place? Because America offers them something that their native countries do not. This country has a culture which has produced a higher standard of living and a freer life than in many other countries.

When you import people, you import cultures, including cultures that have been far less successful in providing decent lives and decent livelihoods. The American people have a right to decide for themselves whether they want unlimited imports of cultures from other countries."



Ron who?


Sunday Inspiration: October Baby

A coming-of-age flick with a twist ...

October Baby features a song performed by Gianna Jessen, the well-regarded pro-life advocate who is a walking-talking miracle. Watch her giving a riveting speech here. (In the first few minutes, Gianna explains the role Planned Parenthood had in sentencing her to death.)


Saturday Sighting: Jumbo Squash

Not colorful, but certainly unique.


Black Friday BUYcott Participant

I did my small part, for the BUYcott, and went to WalMart for the sales that began at 10 pm. No electronic gadgets, though. This pilgrim bought a red crock pot and a single cup coffee maker.

Oh, Susana

Allan Wall has written a very good column about GOP Gov. Martinez's (who is a fierce champion of rule of law and the country's first Latina governor) battles with treasonistas.

Here's how it starts: " 'DON’T LET NEW MEXICO BE THE NEXT ARIZONA - STOP GOVERNOR MARTINEZ' is the headline on a 'Send a Message' action page, on the website called America’s Voice.

Emblazoned on the page is a photo of New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez, who has run afoul of the Open Borders lobby for attempting to – can you believe this? – deny driver’s licenses to illegal aliens."

Read it all here.

In the photo: Susana Martinez

Tim Tebow Foundation's Hospital Project

The hosptial for children (a 30-bed surgical facility) is expected to open in 2013. Groundbreaking will occur early next year.

Location: Davao City, Philippines

From the press release: "The construction project is expected to cost $3 million, with donors from CURE and the Tebow Foundation sharing the costs. About one-third of the children treated at the hospital are expected to be charity cases.

The hospital will house a Timmy's Playroom, which will provide faith, hope and love to children before and after their surgeries. It will be the Tim Tebow Foundation's first international playroom."

Amazing, how much good he's accomplishing. And Tim's not even 25 years old!


Hosting While Pilgrim

Taken at: Gaylord, MI Thanksgiving annual community dinner (over 250 folks came!)

The One That Got Away

Happy Thanksgiving!

Photo: From the 'wild turkeys in my backyard' collection