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Wednesday, October 10, 2007

On Flag Lapel Pins & What They Say

Roanoke Times columnist Elizabeth Strother (in "One nation, under whose God? ") comes to the defense of presidential candidate Barack Obama this morning after Obama decided to no longer wear an American flag lapel pin ever again:

Sen. Barack Obama has taken off his American flag lapel pin, he says, to make a statement.

It is a statement about patriotism: that simply showing the flag is not what true patriotism is all about. That love of America requires speaking out on issues important to its security, essential to its greatness.

I agree. Yet I winced.
She goes on to provide what I consider to be very shallow reasoning for her support. And for his decision being the correct one. Something about Obama wanting to challenge people to think.

How the conscious decision to discard a pin signifies some kind of challenge is beyond me.

But there is a point that the Times columnist missed. Or is simply incapable of understanding.

Why do people wear American flag lapel pins in the first place?

From Eugene Volock, writing in the Wall Street Journal:

Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama said he doesn't tell his wife he loves her any more, because "I love you" has become a substitute for "true love." The Illinois senator said he hopes to show his love by explaining his ideas about their relationship to her. Guess what the wife would think about that.

Of course, the story (from the AP) is a little different ... [he goes on to outline the familiar story about the flag pin and Obama's decision].

But the essence is similar: Wearing a flag pin is not supposed to be an explanation or an argument, just as "I love you" is not supposed to be an explanation or an argument. It's supposed to be a traditional statement of affection, powerful because it's cliché.

[I]f you used to say this and then you stopped, the symbolic message is pretty powerful. And that's true even though many people say "I love you" without meaning it (just as there are some who wear the flag pin but are just opportunists, not patriots). Even if this abuse of the phrase weakens its symbolism, an outright renunciation of the phrase retains its symbolism just fine.

The American people want a president who loves their country and who expresses that love, at an emotional as well as an intellectual level. For better or worse, a President Spock won't get elected. Candidate Obama should know that. (link)

Columnist Strother should know that too.

Say What?

I guess, in a family where the meaning of the word "is" is debatable, this too makes perfect sense:
Clinton Cites Lessons of Partisanship
Senator Says She's Best Equipped to Unite America
By Anne E. Kornblut and Dan Balz, Washington Post Staff Writers

Cedar Rapids, Iowa -- Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton pushed back against criticism from fellow Democrats that she is too polarizing to unite the country as president, arguing that the political battles she has been through make her uniquely equipped to bring the nation together and build a centrist governing coalition.

"I actually think that in a way, the fact that I've been through so much incoming fire all these years is an advantage." (link)
Hillary is the most hated politician in America today. She accepts that and sees it as an opportunity to unite the country.

The logic escapes me.

But then this is the same woman who thinks her husband's penchant for sticking cigars where they don't belong can be attributed to a vast right-wing conspiracy too.

Michelle Malkin Takin' It To 'em

I want to have this woman's next child.

Read "Dems Poster Kids: Bogus Beggar" in this morning's New York Post. A snippet:
Because liberal lawmakers cannot honestly defend their expansion plans as bona fide aid to the needy, they've surrounded themselves with the Frosts and other kiddie human shields to deflect any tough scrutiny. As they push for an override of the president's veto, scheduled for Oct. 18, the desperate Dems will shamelessly invoke the kiddie card to attack their critics for "attacking the children."

The children deserve sympathy and compassion. But this family made choices. Choices have consequences. Taxpayers of lesser means should not be forced to subsidize them.
To reiterate, this family that the Democrats trotted out to make the point that the SCHIP program needs to be expanded has considerable net worth ($300,000 in their home, $190,000 in commercial real estate bringing in monthly rental payments). Not to mention a middle-class income.

And the family is on government relief.

Going forward, the Democrats (and far too many Republicans who should be ashamed of themselves) have passed legislation (SCHIP expansion) that calls for the poorest of our citizens (any who smoke) to pay for the health care of this genuinely affluent family.

Michelle is right for denouncing the plan, the Democratic Party, and the parents who are making poor choices in their lives.

You go, girl.

Crisis Averted!

It looks like, after reading a press release from the Speaker's office, that the state government (the one that is in desperate need of funds) is sitting on $170 million in allocated but unspent cash. We have more money on hand than we thought we did.

Thus will end the Rainy Day Fund dispute.

Sure it will ...

The news:

RICHMOND, VA – At a Virginia Capital news conference, Virginia House of Delegates Speaker William J. Howell (R-Stafford) and House Appropriations Committee Chairman Vincent F. Callahan, Jr. (R-Fairfax) today released a letter by Chairman Callahan to Governor Kaine and a memorandum from Appropriations Staff Director Robert P. Vaughn detailing $170 million in unspent state funds not included in Governor Kaine’s October 1 announcement of measures being taken to close an estimated $641 million shortfall for fiscal year 2008.

House Majority Leader H. Morgan Griffith (R-Salem), House Majority Whip M. Kirkland “Kirk” Cox (R-Colonial Heights), House Privileges and Elections Committee Chairman Lacey I. Putney (I-Bedford) and House Health, Welfare and Institutions Committee Chairman Phillip A. Hamilton (R-Newport News) joined Speaker Howell and Chairman Callahan for the conference, adding their voices to the growing number of legislators expressing opposition to the Governor’s plan to use the state’s Rainy Day Fund in non-recessionary periods.

“It took just 30 days for the Kaine Administration to identify nearly $100 million in efficiency measures – things we should have been doing all along – to address slower, but still growing state revenues,” declared Chairman Callahan. “Shortly after the Governor announced his savings proposal last week, House Appropriations and Senate Finance Committee staff learned that the Administration’s plans did not reflect an additional $170 million in unspent balances, most of which will revert back to the General Fund. These unspent balances – coupled with the as announced $300 million in immediately curtailed spending already approved by the Governor – produce approximately $470 million in identified savings against the anticipated $641 million revenue shortfall. With each passing day, it is becoming more evident that using the Rainy Day Fund at this time and in this circumstance is clearly unwarranted.”

One has to wonder how these dollars weren't included in Kaine's calculations. Perhaps, with the amount of money now pouring into state coffers, $170 million was just a rounding error. Who knows.

Anyway, your state government has found a pile of cash it didn't know it had. It is at this point we should cheer.

Hip Hip hooray ...

Come Back When You Know What You're Doing

Was it just last week that Hillary rolled out her plan to give, should she be elected, $5,000 to every parent of a newborn?

Well, one has to wonder how much thought she's giving these whims of hers. She's now scrapped that plan and gone to another:

Clinton Urges 401(k)s, Matching Funds
By Nedra Pickler, Associated Press Writer

Webster City, Iowa (AP) - Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton proposed tax cuts of up to $1,000 a year on Tuesday to encourage millions of working-age families to open personal 401 (K) retirement accounts.

The New York senator said the program would be paid for through higher estate taxes.

At the same time, Clinton said she has given up another idea for a savings incentive—giving every baby born in the United States a $5,000 account to pay for college or a first home.

Instead, she said, her plan for what she called "American Retirement Accounts" will provide "universal access to a generous 401(K) for all Americans." (link)

I give this plan about a week as well.

Maybe the old gal should come back to us when she's got her training wheels off.

Any Bets On Who Did This?

It's not difficult to question the facts surrounding this story:

Noose Found At Columbia's Teachers College

A noose was found at Columbia University's Teachers College on Tuesday morning, police said.

A black professor found the symbol of hate dangling from her office door in a campus building on 120th Street between Broadway and Amsterdam.

Teachers College would not release the professor's name, but students said she teaches a class on social justice and is a vocal proponent of racial equality. However, a source identified the teacher as Madonna Constantine.

Teachers College spokesman Joe Levine said "a racist incident occurred" and that police were investigating. (link)

I know where I'd start looking for the "culprit."