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Archive for December, 2010

On November 2 there was a Republican landslide — but like an avalanche in slow motion, the landslide just keeps going!

GOPAC chairman Frank Donatelli just sent out a press release crowing that 25 Democratic legislators have now switched parties and become Republican.

“We are pleased with the decision of these men and women to leave the Democratic Party and join with us.  They are adding to the ranks of Americans who want to put result-oriented ideas into action to get us moving in the right direction. Each of these legislators’ insight, experience, and commitment to common-sense, conservative policies will make our Party stronger,” Donatelli said.

When Louisiana’s Representative Noble Ellington switched parties… it actually gave Republicans control of the state legislature for the first time since Reconstruction.  Here’s the full list of legislators who have switched:

# Representative Allan Boothe – Alabama House
# Representative Steve Hurst – Alabama House
# Representative Mike Millican –Alabama House
# Representative Lesley Vance – Alabama House
# Senator Tim Golden – Georgia Senate
# Representative Ellis Black – Georgia House
# Representative Amy Carter – Georgia House
# Representative Mike Cheokas – Georgia House
# Representative Bubber Epps – Georgia House
# Representative Gerald Greene – Georgia House
# Representative Bob Hanner – Georgia House
# Representative Doug McKillip – Georgia House
# Representative Alan Powell – Georgia House
# Senator Chris Steineger – Kansas Senate
# Senator John Alario – Louisiana Senate
# Senator John Smith – Louisiana Senate
# Representative Noble Ellington – Louisiana Senate
# Representative Walker Hines – Louisiana House
# Representative Fred Mills – Louisiana House
# Representative Michael Willette – Maine House
# Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith – Mississippi Senate
# Representative Bobby Shows – Mississippi House
# Senator Eldon Nygarrd – South Dakota Senate
# Representative Allan Ritter – Texas House
# Representative Aaron Pena – Texas House

This is wonderful news, and the timing could not be better.  Here’s why:

1.  Reapportionment. The 2010 census will be the basis for reapportionment of Congressional seats — and the lower-tax, business-friendlier, family-friendlier “red states” have gained population, while the “blue states,” with their anti-growth policies have — imagine! — not grown. In fact, many of them have lost population. That means a greater percentage of the 435 members of the House of Representatives will soon be coming from conservative-leaning states.

2.  Redistricting. The boundaries for Congressional districts are redrawn by state legislatures every ten years, following the census — and the GOP saw huge gains in state legislatures on November 2; some 18 state legislatures flipped from Democratic to Republican control on Election Day.  Louisiana, as noted above, now makes that 19.  This means Democrats will have considerably less leeway to pull their usual gerrymandering shenanigans in the redistricting process.

3. Standing up for state sovereignty. As pointed out by Big Peace contributor SusanAnne Hiller, we’re living in an era in which, in matters ranging from health care to border enforcement, the federal government is actively attacking the individual states. And from Arizona to Virginia, the states are fighting back. The more state legislatures that are run by pro-active Republicans, the better the odds of curbing federal overreach. The recent spate of party switches further strengthens the Republicans’ hand in each of their respective statehouses.

Wish I had the time to look up each and every one of these brave legislators and find out what exactly was behind their decision to switch parties. I’d like to think that a few of them might have had their minds changed by some caring constituent having given them a copy of  Can a Catholic Be a Democrat? — which was written by someone much like them, a Democrat state legislator disturbed by the direction that party has taken.

hat tip: Weasel Zippers

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In the Roman Catholic, Anglican and Lutheran churches, today, December 28, is the Feast of the Holy Innocents, commemorating the babies killed by King Herod in his jealous rage to eliminate Jesus, the newborn King.

Herod “the Great,” king of Judea, was unpopular with his people because of his connections with the Romans and his religious indifference. Hence he was insecure and fearful of any threat to his throne. He was a master politician and a tyrant capable of extreme brutality. He killed his wife, his brother and his sister’s two husbands, to name only a few.

Matthew 2:1-18 tells this story: Herod was “greatly troubled” when astrologers from the east came asking the whereabouts of “the newborn king of the Jews,” whose star they had seen. They were told that the Jewish Scriptures named Bethlehem as the place where the Messiah would be born. Herod cunningly told them to report back to him so that he could also “do him homage.” They found Jesus, offered him their gifts and, warned by an angel, avoided Herod on their way home. Jesus escaped to Egypt.

Herod became furious and “ordered the massacre of all the boys in Bethlehem and its vicinity two years old and under.” The horror of the massacre and the devastation of the mothers and fathers led Matthew to quote Jeremiah: “A voice was heard in Ramah,/sobbing and loud lamentation;/Rachel weeping for her children…” (Matthew 2:18). Rachel was the wife of Jacob/Israel. She is pictured as weeping at the place where the Israelites were herded together by the conquering Assyrians for their march into captivity.

Many historians and Biblical scholars think there may have been “only” a few dozen infants and toddlers killed.

The Holy Innocents are few, in comparison to the genocide and abortion of our day. But even if there had been only one, we recognize the greatest treasure God put on the earth—a human person, destined for eternity and graced by Jesus’ death and resurrection.

What does all this say about our own country, where more than 3,300 babies are killed by abortion every day?

What drives us to go on a Herod-like rampage?

Are we, like Herod, afraid that this new King — who is Love — might remove us from our own self-made thrones?

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This wonderful piece ran at RedState on Christmas Day (“What I really want for Christmas, you can’t wrap with a bow”). The author talks about not being able to think of anything when people asked him what he wanted for Christmas. But on Christmas Eve, as he was putting his children’s presents under the tree, it struck him — what he really, really wanted:

I want my children to grow up knowing that America can once again be the land of the free;

I want my children to know that, whether they live richly or poorly, they have a nation that lives by its founders’ principles;

I want my children to have a government that fears its people, not the people fearing the government;

I want my children to live a country that does not hate and punish success, nor reward mediocrity or failure;

I want my children to grow up knowing that no matter how high or low they set their sights, they still live in the land of opportunity, that nothing (except themselves) can hold them back from achieving their dreams;

I want my children to live in a country where wealth is created and produced and not stolen by some redistributive petty bureaucrat;

I want my children to grow up without being saddled with the debt accumulated by whorish politicians and the masters they serve;

I want my children to live in a country where politicians do not sell themselves to the highest bidder and whose sole responsibility is to respect the Constitution;

I want my children to know that, win or lose, for all these things we fight for, we have not and will not give up, that we will continue the fight until the end;

I want my children to know that, even if it means we tear it down and rebuild it with our own hands, living free is far greater than living under the yoke of a tyrannical state;

I want my children to know that, should we lose, there once stood the greatest country on this earth, a nation that was toppled only by the avarice of its politicians and the apathy of its citizenry; and,

I want my children to know that, should we lose, America was once the shining city on a hill for millions of people throughout the world, a land where Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness are and always be inalienable rights and that these are self-evident truths.

I wish, when I’d been asked over these past few weeks what I want for Christmas that, instead of saying “nothing,” I would have answered bluntly: I want my children to grow up knowing that America is secure. But, of course, these are things that cannot be wrapped with a bow, nor placed under a tree.

These are things that my children don’t yet understand, but I do…and so do you.

How Washington and his men spent Christmas night, December 25, 1776

In your heart of hearts, you know, like I do, that 2010 was the easier fight. You know that the next two years (and beyond) are going to require greater actions, greater coordination and greater sacrifice, if we are going to save this nation for your children and my children.

In a week, we need to start 2011, hopefully, refreshed and renewed, but start we must. The fight over the next few years will be more brutal, as the stakes for them and for us are so high. But, it is a fight that must continue until either they lose, or we lose and America is lost forever.

Now that the mid-term elections are behind us, the battle must begin at the precinct level. If you are not involved in your precinct, then that is the place to start. With the majority of precinct committee positions vacant, if we are to save the nation, we must first have a ground game and that ground game begins and ends at the precinct level.

The other side has a ground game that has already been proven successful. It will be used again. Their coordination (even among rivals) is ahead of ours. Their boots on the ground, their voter registration programs, their phone banks and precinct walks, are all ahead of ours.

The first step for you, for us, must be filling the unfilled precinct committees. Over the last couple of months, Ron Robinson has been significantly expanding Procinct….

Our nation is far from secure, our children’s futures far from certain. We are the generation on whose shoulders this falls. No one else will do it for us, or for our children. We must do it—all of us.

[Now that] all the toys have been unwrapped, take a moment to pause and look at your children. Do you think that in 10 years they’ll still appreciate that new X-box or doll house more than a free nation? In 20 years, do you think they’ll still be squealing in delight over unwrapping that toy made in China, or will they be crying in anguish over a nation lost?

As you ponder this, think about how hard you work to provide material things for your children throughout the year. What good is any of it without a nation? Perhaps instead of watching that football game [on TV], you could spend an hour reading Ken Blackwell’s plan for a Conservative Resurgence. Perhaps instead of working that extra hour of overtime, you could take an hour or two per month and spend them at a precinct committee meeting.  Don’t assume there is someone else doing it for you or your children—because there probably isn’t.

[As you settle down with your family for dinner today], take a moment to talk about how you can help save this country for all of our children. Make a solemn vow, together, to do what is necessary and right to get involved in 2011 and beyond. If you can take action and help save this country, it will be worth more than any present [from under the tree].

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“In the beginning was the Word.

And the Word was with God.

And the Word was God….

And the Word became flesh,

and dwelt among us.”

Rejoice!

Rejoice in “the things that have now been announced to you…

things into which angels longed to look.”

John 1: 1, 14

1 Peter 1:12

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One of my favorite “Christmas movies” is not on any “best Christmas movies” list that I know of. It’s a quirky little indie movie called Metropolitan, and it’s about a bunch of upper-class , mixed-up kids from Manhattan who’ve come home from college for their Christmas break. They go to debutante parties every night, and afterward, sit around with cocktails, talking for hours about sociological theories and the meaning of life.

Believe it or not, it’s hilarious. But there are some pretty serious themes in it for anyone who cares to find them. Metropolitan is a sort of modern version of Jane Austen’s Mansfield Park, much as Clueless is a modern take on Emma. Jane Austen is even explicitly mentioned at several key points in the movie — my favorite being this little snippet:

guy:  “Nearly everything Jane Austen wrote seems ridiculous from today’s perspective.”

girl:  “Has it ever occurred to you that today, looked at from Jane Austen’s perspective, would look even worse?”

Touché!  If Jane Austen could travel through time and plop down in Times Square, I daresay she’d be appalled. And I don’t just mean by the sexual lewdness, and the commercial garishness, but also by the general rudeness of people to each other — from people blasting up their car stereos so loud that it inflicts physical pain on people nearby, to the ubiquitous refrain of “whatever,” uttered snidely to dismiss another person without having to formulate a real reply.

I’ve often speculated about the huge popularity of all things Austen in the past fifteen years or so. What can modern Americans possibly find to relate to in Austen’s tales of the turn-of-the-19th-century landed English gentry?

Well, for starters, “common courtesy” — which is not so common anymore.  In our crude, brash, vulgar culture, Jane Austen’s world is a soothing balm to frazzled sensibilities.  The Golden Rule has not changed, and never will:  Treat others the way you would like to be treated. For all our cynical posturings, every one of us, deep down, would like to be treated with civility and respect. The oft-scorned traditions of chivalry and Emily Post etiquette were really just adaptations of the Golden Rule designed to train us to behave in accordance with that rule even when we don’t feel like it.

What strikes me whenever I read Jane Austen or watch one of the film adaptations is how considerate of other people her heroines are. Even the relatively abrasive Emma earnestly tries to do right by the people around her. To her neurotic, “high-maintenance” father, who would drive most people to distraction, she is unfailingly gracious and kind.

In Austen’s society, even people who secretly despise each other are polite and don’t make a scene. Our generation tends to dismiss that as “hypocrisy” — but maybe it’s just a matter of having the decency and good sense to not make life any more difficult than it already is.

It’s been many years since I’ve heard psychologist Dr. Laura Schlesinger on the radio, and I don’t remember anything she said except one thing, because she repeated it often. People would call in — especially in the weeks leading up to the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays — worried about how they were going to deal with some difficult person during the anticipated family gatherings — a domineering in-law, perhaps, or an obnoxious cousin, an estranged sibling, an ex-spouse.  She would always tell them:  “You don’t have to like them. You only have to be polite.”

Whenever I read Austen, I learn much from her heroines’ unfailing solicitousness toward others, their tolerance of those they find personally irritating, their good manners even when under stress. Human beings tend to revert to old habits when they’re stressed, so these characters’ training in civility must run very deep. A wise man said, “We can’t make people be good — but we can make that kind of society where it is easier for people to be good.” Austen’s era know this instinctively — and trained its young accordingly.

I also notice that Austen’s protagonists have very rich interior lives.  But a rich interior life — by which I mean a deep self-knowledge, and the keen perceptiveness about others that that can bring —  may only be possible in an environment that affords enough quietness to literally hear oneself think.

Finally, the biggest difference between Austen’s society and our own may be the behavior of men toward women, and vice versa. Don’t get me wrong; I would never want to go back to a time when women had no career opportunities to speak of and no freedom to travel alone, were discriminated against in countless ways, and were often treated like children. No, what I’m speaking of is civility. If you’ve read Austen (or watched the film adaptations), you know what I mean. Whatever their follies, the people of Austen’s time at least had enough sense to acknowledge what so many moderns have forgotten:  Men and women are different.  And that’s not something to wring one’s hands about, but to celebrate. A society that ignores or denies such a huge, basic fact is going to be a society with a lot of dysfunction. You end up with divorce and abortion and people numbing the pain with every imaginable drug.

Perversely, “progressives” either actively promote the dysfunction, or misguidedly advocate things that will make it worse. “Political correctness,” for instance, far from inspiring people to behave more decently toward each other, only exacerbates social friction and resentment — which people then vent by being rude toward others!

“Progressives” often think conservatism means wanting to “go back” in time. But they are the ones who keep wanting to go back — to ideas, such as Marxism, that have long since been shown by real-world experience to be out of touch with reality and hence, inevitably, catastrophic. Conservatives try to respect, not deny, timeless truths about human nature. The motivating principle for most conservatives I know — and very clearly for Allen West — is the dignity of the human individual.

Conservatives don’t treat each other respectfully because some agent of the political-correctness thought police is standing over us, threatening us with a lawsuit or a fine if we don’t. We treat each other respectfully because that’s the Golden Rule — and, knowing we are each made in the image of God, we do our best to live by it.

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A letter from Allen West

The Go West For Allen West blog has Congressman-elect West’s December update to his South Florida constituents. It gives you a nice feel for all he’s been doing lately — and of course his personal warmth, honesty, love of country, and eagerness to serve shine through:

Greetings Patriots!

Greetings to all of you who shall receive this weekly missive. What a week, as we draw closer to a very Merry Christmas.

We received our Congressional committee assignments this past week, and I was humbly pleased to secure positions on the House Armed Services and Small Business committees. These two committees will afford me the ability to serve America by protecting our military and also the foundational economic engine for our country, small businesses.

In keeping with the latter, I also had the chance to visit several places that promote job creation and opportunity in our South Florida community. First, I had an impressive tour at the main campus of Keiser University in Ft. Lauderdale. During the tour, I learned how the Obama administration is attacking “for profit” education institutions. Next, I had a breakfast with members of the Ft. Lauderdale Downtown Development Authority. After that, I went to the groundbreaking for the United Technologies Test Fire and Safety site at the Pratt Whitney, Sikorsky campus. During the tour of Pratt Whitney, I had a chance to walk through the Blackhawk helicopter assembly line…brought back some great memories!

Also very memorable, was my attendance at the annual Holocaust Survivors luncheon, held in Boca Raton at Temple B’nai Torah. I cannot even begin to express the emotion of being with those who suffered through such a horrific ordeal. In my remarks to the crowd, I stressed my firm commitment that “never again” means exactly that. It is a message which America must clearly send to the despots, dictators, autocrats, and theocrats who threaten the modern State of Israel, which we rededicated in 1948…but has existed for 5771 years.

There were a couple of events this week which were simply fun to do. The first was Thursday evening in Jupiter where I spoke to the Palm Beach Sheriffs Office SWAT annual Holiday dinner. I told these brave men and women that they are the everyday guardians of our community and examples of leadership. Being in that room with them reminded me of what it means in America to be exceptional…..and a hat tip to SWAT Captain Robert Allen.

On Friday morning, I visited the high school of my oldest daughter, Aubrey, and talked with several Senior classes on our current economic situation. These young people are far more attuned and savvy than we were back in 1979 when I was a high school senior!

Also this week, I sent a letter to GOP Majority Leader-Elect Eric Cantor referencing the 2011 House calendar pertaining to it only having 123 days for us to be in session on Capitol Hill. Perhaps I have come from a different background, but I truly believe that the desperation and criticality of these times demand greater exertions from those elected to serve America. We shall see if the calendar is adjusted.

On December 14th my wife Angela celebrated another birthday…and I am not so stupid as to say how many. It is always a nice time for Aubrey and Austen to sing to Angela and express their love…..no, I do not sing and my love had better be expressed in a gift!

Lance Corp. Jose Hernandez

December 14th will now also have another significance for me…in memory of someone that I have never met and did not know…but yet I am bonded to forever. It was the day that Marine Lance Corporal Jose A. Hernandez, of Lake Worth, Florida, lost his life in Afghanistan. Hernandez would have turned 20 years old this coming week. On Friday night I was privileged to attend, along with Angela and former Congressman Mark Foley, the beach side candlelight vigil for this young warrior who gave the last full measure of devotion.

The following morning, the sacrifices of this young Marine were immediately apparent. We turned over almost a thousand toys to Marine Reserve Non-Commissioned Officers for the Toys for Tots program. The service of Lance Corporal Hernandez means we live in a Country where we are free to give to those less fortunate. We live in a Country where warriors such as our Marines can serve on distant battlefields and yet show their kind benevolence towards those who are less fortunate here in America.

May my Warrior Brother requiem en pace…………

In keeping with the theme of sacrifice, our family attended the 27th Annual First Baptist Church of Ft. Lauderdale Christmas pageant. The wonderful evening full of spectacular singing and performances reminds us of what Christmas truly means. It is the time to remember that “God so loved us all that he gave us His only begotten Son”. This is the most special gift of sacrifice for those of us who are looking for that which will fill the spiritual void in our lives.

We must understand that there is nowhere in our founding documents where separation of church and state is mentioned. It is a reference to a letter from Thomas Jefferson to a Baptist minister alluding to our country never having a head of state which is also the head of church. Separation of Church and State does not mean the separation of faith from the individual. Many thanks to Pastor Larry Thompson and First Baptist Church of Ft Lauderdale for an incredible pageant event.

Also, thanks to my own Pastor, Scott Eynon of Community Christian Church in Tamarac, for calling me this week just to say he was keeping me in his prayers!

Something to watch out for! My appearance on Israel TV January 18th on the number one English language show in Israel, “Tuesday Night Live in Israel.” The show is broadcast throughout all of South Florida on Comcast, Atlantic Broadband and on JLTV on DIRECTV, and into 26 million homes nationwide. I had the chance to be interviewed with the show’s host, Rabbi Jeremy Gimpel on Sunday while he was in town briefly. The taping will be aired on the January 18th show-which by the way will be taped live in America- in Ft. Lauderdale.

In closing, I would like to offer my congratulations to President Barack Hussein Obama for coming to grips with the reality check of November 2, 2010. His efforts to ensure that the American people will not have a huge tax increase on 1 January is to be commended. However, we in the 112th Congress shall work hard to end the necessity of unemployment checks before the 13 month extension point. Furthermore, we look forward to working with the President on creating effective, efficient, and limited federal government as we curtail spending and reduce the size and scope of a bloated, redundant, and duplicitous Washington DC.

Lastly, just a final thought…the past two years have seen the highest amount of casualties in Afghanistan, we have ten of our Warriors sitting in prison at Ft Leavenworth, North Korea has sunk a South Korean naval vessel and fired 200 artillery rounds into South Korea, Iran marches on towards reaching nuclear capability, our borders are unsecure and a border patrol agent was just killed as Mexico begins to resemble Iraq or Afghanistan………..and the most important Strategic defense issue for the lame duck Congress was to repeal the policy called “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”.

My priorities will be to ensure the enemy which killed LCPL Jose A Hernandez gets killed, wherever he exists……my concern is not making our military conform to individual behavior. However, the liberal left of this lame duck Congress, and some misguided Republicans, are truly more concerned with whom members of our fighting force sleep and appeasing, at a last gasp, impertinent special interest groups.

Utterly disturbing, totally pathetic.

Steadfast and Loyal,

Allen

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Let Them Fight or Bring Them Home!” is the blog of John Bernard, a veteran with 26 years service in the U.S. Marines.

In his latest post, he bemoans the lives lost in Afghanistan due to the extremely misguided policies of the leftists who have been running things in Washington.  He takes the policymakers to task for their complete lack of understanding of Islam and what motivates Muslims. It is a sad, realistic, frustrating missive — and then, in the last few paragraphs, it suddenly changes tone:

Enter Colonel Allen West. Colonel West, soon to be Congressman West, has been selected to serve on the House Armed Services Committee. Given the content of his campaign speeches and especially those dealing with this particular issue, it is apparent, for the moment, that he could be the greatest ally our Warriors have inside the Beltway; someone knowledgeable of the military, the battlefield, Islam and with the tenacity of a dog with a bone. My encouragement to Colonel West is to never forget ‘your first love’ and never forget that an appointment inside the Beltway by reason of a won election is first, foremost and always, service. You must never forget that service comes with a cost to the one serving – and always be prepared to pay the price.

You will be dragged out and scourged as a hate-monger.

You will be reviled by those of lesser character and lesser understanding of the issues.

You may find yourself only serving one term because the electorate is fickle and largely without intestinal fortitude.

Compromise is the forte of the unprincipled and in this case will get Warriors killed – for political gain as it has been doing for far too long!

You will, however, be held in the highest esteem by the only group that really counts right now, especially during a time of war and that is, the Warrior community. Those who have chosen to put their collective backsides where their beliefs and hearts lie are in the end, the only ones that matter because their lives are the only ones truly at risk for the benefit of us all.

You can, in fact, be the one person in that miserable place we have dubbed ‘the Dark City’ that can turn this around and in the process, save lives – American Warrior’s lives and maybe, just maybe, in the process hand to the American people the one thing they have forgotten counts in time of war; a victory.

God Speed!

Semper Fidelis;

John Bernard

My dear patriots, we need to stand with Allen as he stands with our brave warriors!

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