Let My People Go!

Hideous! The Obama Administration proposes empowering the aggressively anti-business EPA: "America’s unemployment problem isn’t getting any better. The Labor Department announced Thursday that jobless claims remained essentially unchanged, meaning 9.1 percent are without work. President Obama’s response to the situation has been a call for more government intervention, so soon the only places hiring will be federal and state agencies.

A peek at how bad things might get can be found in court papers filed earlier this month by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The agency is defending sweeping greenhouse-gas emissions rules that if fully implemented would require 10,000 new state-level employees to process permits. At the federal level, it would take 230,000new officials & a $21 billion budget expansion - quite a boost for an outfit that currently has 17,417 bureaucrats & $10.3 billion to spend. EPA admits it would be 'absurd or impossible to administer' the rules all at once, but 'that does not mean that the agency is not moving toward the statutory thresholds.'"

Continue reading here.

In the photo: Lisa Jackson, EPA czarina

Friday Fun: Faux Firefighter

This week's Public Safety Citizen Academy was all about firefighting. After a brief, informative lecture, my nine classmates and I got to don the heavy gear, break up in teams, and feel like we were in a fast-paced reality show. Call it Survivor Northern Michigan, and I probably should have been the first person voted off the island.

The best and most intense part was when we strapped on air packs and breathing masks and crawled into a dark basement to rescue a 165 lb. dummy. There was even fake smoke blowing.

We also got taken - one by one - up in the bucket truck, sixty feet into the air, overlooking the city marina. Finally, we smashed a door and pumped water from a giant hose. The latter was a blast. Get it?

In the photo: 'My' boots! To paraphrase that old song, "These boots are made for firefighting ..."


The Green Tea Party Movement

A project of PERC ... go here.

When a Student Passes out a Constitution ...

One wonders what the arrogant Mr. Moses (in the video) would have said to, say, James Madison?

CampusReform.org writes: "Are students that promote the black panther ideology and the Office of Diversity in league together at the University of Minnesota - Duluth (UMD)?

It would would appear so in the video below. The events took place last week as one young man, Phil Cleary, handed out pocket Constitutions on campus in honor of Constitution Day. He had a table with literature promoting Youth for Western Civilization, a group dedicated to traditional values and western civilization, and engaged in students and faculty passing by.

Then, the leftists showed up to heckle.

The young man in the video, Blair Jordon Moses, threatened to 'exercise' his 2nd amendment rights if he perceived that there was any kind of threat to the Multicultural Center."

The rest of the blog entry is here. Now watch the vid:

How Does Your State Rank: Big Labor vs. Taxpayers Index

Check it out!

The categories include ...

■Paycheck protection laws
■Secret ballot protections and card check
■Binding Arbitration
■Open meetings laws
■Government union density
■Public employee pension underfunding

The #1 state for being taxpayer-friendly is Tennessee, the #50 is New York.

Kudos to the Competitive Enterprise Institute for coming up with the rankings.


Dancing with Ideas: When Worlds Collide

I was in a whimsical frame of mind when I wrote my latest Belgrade News column.

Here's how it begins: "Last week was the a) premiere of Dancing With The Stars, season 13, featuring 12 celebrities vying for the mirror ball trophy, and also the b) Fox News/ Google GOP Republican debate, featuring nine presidential contenders vying to live in the White House.

I watched both and experienced overload.

Was it Chaz Bono who lobbied against Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, or was it Rick Perry who fumbled during the tango?

Was it Nancy Grace who was concerned about nuclear weapons in Pakistan, or was it Michele Bachmann whose red dress was perfect for a samba?

Was it Rob Kardashian who critiqued class warfare, or was it Newt Gingrich who complained about the judges’ low scores for his lindy hop?

The head spins and then it pirouettes.

However, if I had to rate each political candidate’s debate performance like a ballroom dance routine … "

Continue reading here.


Remembering Noah Webster

A tad too much 'psychoanalysis' of Mr. Dictionary (apparently Noah Webster was a moody, critical man) but, overall, an enjoyable look at the life and times of the West Hartford farm boy turned Yale scholar who was also America's foremost freelance writer. This remarkable New Englander is also considered, by the author, the Founding Father of American culture.

Can't forget that Mr. Webster was also the consummate political activist who helped establish Amherst College and a devout Congregationalist (when that meant something spiritual). He was also a loyal husband to Rebecca Greenleaf and father of eight - six daughters and two sons.

Noah, cousin of Daniel Webster, was born in October 16, 1758 and died on May 28, 1843 and was buried in New Haven, CT.


Operation Fast and Furious: Stonewalling Continues

The latest, from Fox News, on this lawless, Federal Dept. of Justice scheme that Robert Farango, of the Washington Times, has dubbed, "an anti-gun-running gun-running program."

Snippet from the article: "A document obtained Friday by Foxnews shows the following agencies all had some hand in Operation Fast and Furious: ATF, IRS, DEA, ICE, the U.S. Marshall's Service, Phoenix police and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

The operation allowed members of the Sinaloa Cartel to buy in excess of 1,900 weapons for more than $1.25 million dollars over a one-year period beginning October 2009, according to a briefing paper dated last January. The briefing paper did not delineate the duties of each agency, but other records have shown the IRS investigated the income sources of the straw buyers, Phoenix police assisted occasionally with surveillance, the DEA shared its informant and ICE 'saw everything and had access to everything' the ATF did, according to an agent tasked to Fast and Furious.

But throughout the operation, the agency recovered just over 10 percent of the weapons.

An ATF whistleblower agent told Fox News the agency made 'absolutely no attempt to follow the weapons.' And even though agents used electronic vehicle trackers, they only used them on the strawbuyers, not on those to whom they transferred the weapons."

How convenient.

Update: How F&F was funded.

Pensions 101

File under: The color of greed.

Check out USA Today's state-by-state primer on pensions. Investigative reporter Tom Franks concludes that taxpayer-funded pensions are the preferred way for legislators to pay themselves more money.

Community Policing

I'm currently attending a Public Safety Citizen Academy. The mini-school runs for 7 weeks and covers such topics as fire operations and criminal investigations. It also includes a lecture from a local tribal police officer and a tour of the county jail.

Last week I learned that of the 14 public safety officers my city has, zero are women. These peace officers are cross-trained as EMTs-firefighters-officers.

So far it's a laid-back and informative academy, and the director encourages photos and questions.

In the photo: Holding cells


Sun. Inspiration: Provocative Political Art

American Gothic meets the Real ID Act


The Big Ten ... Not in a Good Way

The 24/7 Wall Street reveals the list of the ten states that have 'lost the most jobs' to China. Number one is California, and number two is Texas.

Animal Planet III: Mighty Moose

In keeping with the Canadian creatures theme ... a couple of quality moose photos from Joe B. and Rick B.'s week-long camping trip to Isle Royale National Park. Ok, the park is not in Canada, but it's really, really close. Isle Royale can be accessed - by boat or plane - from Minnesota or Michigan.

Hola, alce!

Animal Planet IV? Possibly, possibly.


Friday Fun: Kilwin's Fudge Maker

Teddy, who hails from Moldova and works at the Kilwin's store in Mackinaw City, cuts the scrumptiouslicious chocolate fudge he so carefully cooked.


A Tale of Two GOP State Representatives

Tsk, tsk. Frank Foster, a very young freshman state represenative (who is my rep.), is at the top-of-the-list for taking free meals from lobbyists.

Rep. Foster excuses his behavior thusly: "It's a part of being one of the only freshman chairs that we have to work with the DNR* and the DEQ* on a lot of issues to do with small business to streamline those departments, and often we work into lunch and dinners."

That's weak, Frank.

In contrast, my friend, Rep. Jason Murphey, of Oklahoma, has not only donated a portion of his legislative salary to a pro-life organization, he has never taken a dime from lobbyists and consistently scores a 100% conservative rating.

"When I campaigned for office I ran on a platform of representing conservative values. I believe this ranking shows that I am keeping my word," Murphey said.

That's right, Jason.

*Department of Natural Resources
*Dept. of Environmental Quality

Frank Foster (L) and Jason Murphey (R)

Animal Planet II: Fishing in Canada

Yesterday it was caribou in Manitoba, today it's bass and northern pike in Spanish Ontario.

This is Lee of Albuquerque. I knew him when he was Lee of Miami. My hubby (his former college roomie) talked him into going to Brennan Harbor. Voila! City slicker did well.

Stay tuned. Animal Planet III is coming!


The Belgrade News is Joining the Blogosphere

Details here.

Animal Planet: Caribou Swim

This neat photo was taken by Tim E., a friend of a friend, on his recent journey to subarctic Manitoba.

Those velvety antlers are spectacular!


It's Time They Pay Their Fair Share ... The Poor, That Is

Writing for the AP (of all places!) Stephen Ohlemacher (pictured, right) explains: "On average, the wealthiest people in America pay a lot more taxes than the middle class or the poor, according to private and government data. They pay at a higher rate, and as a group, they contribute a much larger share of the overall taxes collected by the federal government.

The 10 percent of households with the highest incomes pay more than half of all federal taxes. They pay more than 70 percent of federal income taxes, according to the Congressional Budget Office."

He also reminds that, "The Tax Policy Center estimates that 46 percent of households, mostly low- and medium-income households, will pay no federal income taxes this year."

46 percent! Wow. Just wow.

Harvest of Educational Ideas

The 299th edition of the Carnival of Homeschooling is up.

It's the 'harvest' edition, and it's being hosted by Misty of HomeschoolBytes.

If you are interested in submitting a post to the next carnival, here's the info.

Photo: Misty's son with the family's zucchini crop. Credit: HomeschoolBytes

Jumbo-Sized Escargot

Illegal aliens come in all shapes and sizes, and some are less welcome than others.

Like the giant African land snail (pictured, right) that's taking South Florida by storm.

Nothing sluggy about this mollusk's behavior. They not only can munch through plaster and stucco, but they "lay about 1,200 eggs a year, and can carry a strain of non-fatal meningitis. Prolific breeders, they contain both female and male reproductive organs and live as long as nine years. They can be particularly devastating to agricultural areas and ecosystems and result in trade bans. Hailing from Eastern Africa, the snails are only allowed into the United States with special permits and for scientific research."


Northern Michigan's 16th Annual Richard Crane Memorial Truck Show

This past weekend, about 100 customized big rigs, featuring spectacular paint jobs and multi-colored lights, started a 5-mile trek in downtown St. Ignace, crossed the Mackinac Bridge, and ended in downtown Mackinaw City, where hundreds of people gathered to watch a parade of businessowners-on-wheels.

Spectators hold signs (in the dark!) asking the truck drivers to blow their horns. Which, of course, they do. Plenty of politically-incorrect, patriotic noise and light pollution ... whee!

This is a 'swag bag' that one of the truckers tossed to the crowd to advertise his business - more humble than the goodies that are given away during Fashion Week (see blog post below).

Androgynous Andrej: The Belle of the Ball

Fashion Week just came and went in NYC. It's an event, as you might have heard, where all the high-brow fashionistas display their wares (i.e. collections), and the vain people, who attend the clothing shows and get the plum front row seats, are photographed doing what they do best - posing with other vain people.

Even Gov. Rick Perry put in an appearance.

Also on display were those thin, tall runway models who rarely smile.

This year the fairest model of them all was Andrej Pejić (in the photo) who grew up in a Serbian refugee camp, before he moved to Australia. Basically he's a very pretty boy who models womens' clothing, mens' clothing, and womens'/mens' clothing. Naturally, his chic contra nature shtick is hot, hot, hot.

The gender-bending 'mate' speaks.


Sun. Inspiration: Dr. Dolittle of Politics

First, it was feral hogs, now it's burros.

Meet Roger Williams, a Texan with an appealingly sweet message, who is eager to become a congresscritter.

In this video he almost gets upstaged by his pack of bodacious donkeys.

H/T: Brandon


Well On My Way to Loserdom

A couple of nuggets of information from the much-discussed Heritage Foundation report about poverty in the United States:

"The typical poor American lives in an air-conditioned house or apartment that is in good repair and has cable TV, a car, multiple color TVs, a DVD player, a VCR, and many other appliances. Half of the poor have computers, and one-third have wide-screen plasma TVs."


"A poor child is more likely to have cable TV, a computer, a wide-screen plasma TV, an Xbox, or a TiVo in the home than to be hungry."

My! What about those of us, Americanos, that aren't considered poor, yet don't own a gaming system, have air conditioning, watch plasma television, or TiVo - well, what are we, then?

According to this blogger, we're losers.

The Educational Iconoclast's Ideas Live On

Past issues of Growing Without Schooling magazine (which ended its run in 2001) are now available online.

GWS, founded by John Holt in 1977, mostly concerned itself with secular unschooling and was unapologetically quirky.

Mr. Holt, who passed away on Sept. 14, 1985, had this to say about compulsory publik skooling: "It's not that I feel that school is a good idea gone wrong, but a wrong idea from the word go. It's a nutty notion that we can have a place where nothing but learning happens, cut off from the rest of life."


Friday Fun: BIGGBY Coffee

I was so pleased (still am!) when BIGGBY's opened a store less than a mile from my home. The industrious baristas who work there are a hoot. Hannah, in the second photo (who I call "Montana") is studying business at Lake Superior State University.

Perky Caitlin, in the third photo (on the left), is a glorious natural blonde who wants to go brunette. Go figure. Next to her is Travis who is Gaylord's best break dancer and is stoked about his new dojo.

BIGGBY's is a Michigan-based business. The Petoskey franchise is owned by Nick Spadafore.

Here's to "cool beans."


Trolling for Liberal Votes

Nifty op ed in the Wall Street Journal by a couple of Harvard researchers who argue that the President's jobs bill is a mostly a bailout for debt-ridden blue states that have a highly unionized public-sector work force.

Peterson and Nadler convincingly explain: "In a new study at Harvard's Program on Education Policy and Governance, we discovered why the Obama administration is so interested in helping out the states. States with a bluish hue—that is, states with legislatures that are heavily Democratic and have a highly unionized public-sector work force—must pay interest rates that are often an extra half a percentage point higher than states with a reddish coloring.

Specifically, a 20 percentage-point increment in either the Democratic share of the state legislature or a comparable increase in the share of the public work force that is unionized drives up interest rates by nearly a half a percentage point on a five-year security note. That amount is nontrivial. In Obama's home state of Illinois, it is costing governments over $700 million annually.

The impact of these political factors on interest rates is in addition to the impact of standard economic factors, such as a state's unemployment rate, its gross domestic product growth, and its debt-to-GDP ratio, all of which are themselves shaped in part by the state's political climate.

In short, the bond market has concluded that the more unionized the state and the bluer its political coloring, the riskier it is to hold bonds marketed by that state."

So much for creating opportunities for 'construction workers,' as Prez. Barry claims his bill will do.

Guys & College: Match Made in Feminist Hell?

Phyllis Schlafly writes: "In another striking proof that the Obama Administration is totally manipulated by feminists, the Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights sent out a 19-page 'DCL (Dear Colleague Letter) to colleges and universities that should make men fear attending college at all. The letter adopts the feminist theory that in all sexual controversies or accusations, the man is guilty unless he proves himself innocent.

This DCL carries the force of law since it purports to be an additional implementation of Title IX, the 1972 federal law that bans sex discrimination in educational institutions that receive federal assistance. But the DCL was never legislated by Congress, and it was not even launched as a regulation that requires posting for comment in the Federal Register.

The DCL is just a federal order, issued by a feminist bureaucrat named Russlynn Ali (pictured, left), which colleges and universities must obey under threat of losing their funding. Colleges have dutifully fallen in line by spelling it out in their fall orientations under the rubric of making campuses friendly to women and requiring sensitivity about offensive words and ideas.

The most unconstitutional part of Ms. Ali's impertinent DCL is that it orders colleges to reject use of the criminal justice standard of proof. The DCL rules that an accused man doesn't have to be judged guilty 'beyond a reasonable doubt,' or even the intermediate standard of 'clear and convincing' proof.

Instead, Ms. Ali instructs colleges that they must judge an accused man based on 'a preponderance of the evidence' standard. That means the campus disciplinary board (which may include feminist faculty from the Women's Studies Department) only has to believe that the female accuser is 51 percent likely to be truthful and accurate."

The rest of Phyllis' column is here.

Here's the 19-page letter, by über-feminist Ali, that she references.


Scott Brown's (Possible) Competition

Boston Herald columnist Howie Carr explains why Liz has the mo.

Is she another Martha Coakley? Possibly. Is Elizabeth Warren going to champion bringing back manufacturing (in a significant way) to help the middle classes she claims to care so much about? Nah.

Can Senator Scott Brown (R-MA) keep his senate seat? Dunno.

Of Feral Hogs and Bureaucrats

Dig the headline: "Labor commissioner takes aim at public employee unions."

Here's the website for Mark Costello's new nonprofit.

Commissioner Costello says: "I don't know if you know much about feral hogs, but they reproduce three or four times a year, they eat anything and everything, and I kind of think there is some comparison between bureaucrats and feral hogs."

Update: The Commish clarifies his remarks to a Fox affiliate.

Sewing Green (Or Old-School Conservation)

The idea behind 'sewing green' is to use organic and "repurposed" materials to make clothing, blankets, and purses.

I find the "felted foliage" scarf (made from old wool sweaters) endearingly funky. It's the one the gal on the cover of the book is modeling.

Another version of this leaf scarf:

This fashionista blogger walks you through the steps to make the colorful, wearable leaves.


All of It, Tyler!

The most original question of last night's GOP/CNN debate was asked by a bright young Californian named Tyler Hinsley: “Out of every dollar that I earn, how much do you think that I deserve to keep?" Sadly the teenager's question was largely ignored.

Prophet or Crank?

Tom Eddlem explains Ron Paul's stickiest moment of the CNN debate in Tampa.

Watch Rick Parry

Decent summary on the immigration portion of last night's debate by R. Beck.

The best part of the best part was when Gov. Perry got booed for defending Texas' decision to provide in-state college tuition rates for the offspring of illegals and calling it "the American way." The fun starts at the 3:15 mark.

Pitchfork Peasant of the Silver Tongue

The culture wars back-and-forth in last night's debate between Perry and Bachmann, about Gardasil, was pretty intense. Michele successfully zinged Rick.

You go, girlfriend!

The feisty exchange reminded me that in a galaxy far, far away, the original Culture Warrior also made his mark taking on the establishment - not just zinging liberals and RINOs - but also profoundly inspiring many Americans.

Remember this fella?

Update: Coming out next month.

Not Political, Just Very Personal

Jessica Sachs died on Sept. 11, 2001. This young woman, who was employed at PricewaterhouseCoopers as an accountant, was a passenger on American Airlines Flight 11.

My friend Melanie Krumrey, who is a pastor's wife, mom of three, and author (book photo at right), knew her well.

Below is Mel's heartfelt tribute.


"Jessica was such a presence! I remember meeting her a couple of months after moving here, and learning that she was really the only student to be a part of the beginnings of MERCYhouse, our church plant. She explained to me that she had talked quite a bit to John Ramirez at the Baptist Convention of New England about getting a church or ministry started at the University of Massachusetts. It was upon this meeting that I first saw her passion and tenacity in her love for the Lord and for ministry.

I remember her being in our home often and that the atmosphere was always one of joy and laughter and joking when she was present. She loved everyone – everyone was her friend! As my friend Shemaiah, who came here from Oklahoma to work with us for just a summer, has often said, “Jessica was my first friend in Massachusetts.” Jessica, who had known Shemaiah for all of about one hour invited her to go home with her that night and watch a movie with some other friends.

Jessica was always quick to inquire about how I was doing and was always so generous with her hugs and words of comfort. If I was considered “Mom” at MERCYhouse, she was “Mom #2” - always looking out for the needs of others – physical, spiritual and emotional. She considered it her privilege and duty to make sure all those around her were thriving. One Valentine’s Day she gave me and several others a painted terracotta planter. I still have it. It was such a blessing to me that she had thought of me along with her many other friends.

One of my favorite biblical topics is that of created masculinity and femininity. When I began leading a Bible study along these lines for the young women of our church, I also began to hear rumblings that Jessica was not necessarily thrilled with this idea. She never told me this directly, but the other girls did. She felt that “submission” was a bad word associated only with doormats! We eventually talked about it, and together came to a place of friendly understanding and even the ability to joke about it from time to time.

Despite these strong feelings regarding the idea of submission, Jessica greatly desired to be married. She came to me on several occasions expressing bittersweet feelings over her friends becoming engaged, and her own struggle with loneliness.

I know that she carried around in her heart a lot of inner turmoil, insecurity, and emotion. And yet when we worshipped together at church through music or prayer, she was fully engaged, seeking the Lord with her whole being. Watching her always brought joy to my own insecure, emotional, and even at times, depressed and lonely heart. She was an example and inspiration to me in her walk with the Lord in this fallen world.



The Day After: Surrender?

'Tough-love' commentary about 9-11 ...

From David Yeagley Wasting 9-11: The Commercial Approach.

From Allan Wall Ten Years After 9/11—Can We Have Israel-Style Airport Security Profiling Now, Please?

From Diana West Thank You, America, for the Golden Age of Islam.

From John Stossel: 9/11: Ten Years After.

From John Whitehead: Are we the enemy of freedom?

Look Out! Rick Perry is a REDISTRIBUTIONIST

He's no rugged individualist even though he plays one on TV [political commercials].

The governor, quite the stud when he was young, has secured plum government jobs for himself by playing the Texas card. He also excels at cronyism and corporate welfare handouts. So grody.

Natural Aviary @ Boyne Mountain

Taken with my not-that-intelligent phone - geese, a duck, and a few seagulls.


The Flags of September 11

Photos taken on September 11, 2001 in the People's Republic of Amherst

Here's my latest Belgrade News column which begins like this:

"For me, Sept. 11, 2001 began on the eve of Sept. 10 in a pastoral college town located about 160 miles north of Manhattan (the one in New York, not the one in Montana).

On that night I attended a public meeting in Amherst, Mass., where the town’s ruling class voted 4-1 to prevent 29 American flags from flying in the downtown for an extended period."

The 9/11/11 update.


Saturday Sighting: Car Wars

The (paper) money quote in this Ford promo: "I wasn't going to buy another car that was bailed out by our government."

Saturday Sighting: More Car Talk

Here's the gentleman - I think his name is Barry - who owns GM with NASCAR champ Jimmie Johnson.

Mr. Johnson and his fellow stock car drivers/millionaires (see photo below) recently visited the Casa Blanca. Wonder if any of them spoke up about the price of gas.

One of these dudes got busted for speeding. Really.