Friday, August 28, 2009

What Would You Do?

Part I: 11:30AM

This morning, on the way in to work I was listening to a New Hampshire radio station's morning show hosted by three guys. One of the guys was recounting a story he had read in an email from a listener. I'd like to present an abbreviated form of the story, from memory, to you all and invite you to answer some "What would you do?" questions in your comments.

The listener who had written the email explains that his mother owns a house that was built in the 1700s. One day, a sink hole opened up in the backyard. The whole grew to three feet wide and four feet deep. The woman called her son over to investigate.

The man examined the hole and ultimately got down inside and started to dig a bit. In the hole he found a wooden box. As he dug a bit more, the box began to take a rectangular shape. He continued digging and eventually was able to see that the wooden box was about two and a half feet wide. Though he hadn't succeeded in exposing the entire length, he could see the box was a rectangular in shape, at least five feet long.

OK, now stop. At this point in the story, jot down what you're thinking and what you would do about it. What do you think you might have? Do you call anyone? Do you continue digging? What if this is a coffin, what would you ultimately do about it? Would you report it? Should you report it? Would you exhume the remains and sell them on Ebay? Would you check for valuables?

I'm going to give the conclusion of the story in an edit to this post later today.

[Part II: 6:15pm]
The man continued digging until he had fully exposed the box. One one end, he found a pipe leading into the box. It turns out, the box was actually nothing but an old drywell. No body. No treasure. The story itself ends there. But the question of "what if?" lingers. I'd love to read your comments.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

All Hype Aside, Let's Check the Facts

It would be unseemly of me, a conservative and a gentleman, to criticize the dead. Thus, in the aftermath of the death of Edward "Teddy" Kennedy (22 Feb 1921 - 25 Aug 2009) I will refrain from any editorial and simply state facts and facts only. I will not opine. I will not interject subjective comment.

Perhaps this will provide some very small counterweight to the effusive torrent of leftmedia veneration of the late Sen. Kennedy.

The following Facts come from the Patriot Post.

Kennedy's 47 years as a senator made him the third-longest serving senator in the US Senate, second only to Robert Byrd (D-WV) and Strom Thurmond (R-SC).

Edward Kennedy was born into great wealth, privilege, and political influence, the fourth son of Joseph and Rose Kennedy.

He never worked a day in his life in a private-sector job.

He held an established reputation as a serial womanizer in college.

Ted was kicked out of Harvard for cheating. A few years later, he was allowed to return to complete his undergraduate degree.

Ted was a life-long abuser of alcohol. [Incidentally, on the first cruise my wife and I took to the Caribbean, the captain of a vessel we were aboard told us a story of how a drunken Ted Kennedy nearly drove a speed boat into the side of his vessel and did succeed in swamping his boat and passengers with an enormous wave as he sped by. Fact.]

On the evening of July 18, 1969, a drunken Kennedy left a party with Mary Jo Kopechne, an attractive 28 year old intern (pictured above). Kennedy lost control of his car on a one lane bridge and the car landed upside down in the water. Kennedy freed himself from the vehicle and, after resting by the water's edge, walked back to the party. There, one of his political assistants took him back to his hotel. Kopechne remained trapped in an air pocket inside the overturned car. Nine hours later, after sobering up and conferring with political advisors and lawyers, Kennedy called authorities to report the incident. By that time, Kopechne's body had already been discovered.

With the help of his father Joe's connections, Kennedy was charged only with leaving the scene of an accident. In his testimony, Kennedy stated, "I almost tossed and turned. ... I had not given up hope all night that, by some miracle, Mary Jo would have escaped from the car." Kennedy was given a two month jail sentence, which, in fact, was suspended. He never served a day in jail for the crime.

Claiming that the charges of "immoral conduct and drunk driving" were false, Kennedy was re-elected to his second term in the Senate by a landslide 62% of the vote. [I'm still managing to bite my tongue and refrain from comment.]

When the scandal broke that President Bill Clinton had lied under oath about his sexual liaison with a Monica Lewinsky, Kennedy firmly backed the president.

President Clinton awarded Kennedy the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian award in the U.S. which goes to individuals who have made "an especially meritorious contribution" to the United States.

During Clinton's years as president, Kennedy stated: "We have known for many years that Saddam Hussein is seeking and developing weapons of mass destruction."

In 1987, Ronald Reagan's nomination of Samuel Alito to U.S. District Attorney, Kennedy's vote was amongst the Senates unanimous consent. Once again, when Alito was nominated for the Third Circuit Court of Appeals in 1990, he again received Kennedy's vote and unanimous Senate approval. However, during Alito's Supreme Court nomination hearings, Kennedy attacked Alito's character and his record. [A very interesting reading of Kennedy's political motivations can be found here:]

I could go on (and on and on...) but I want to go home and, frankly, I'm looking forward to the remainder of my life without this man staining my voting ballots, and without having to give further thought to the many political and social debacles this man contributed to in the Commonwealth and the country.

One final word from the Patriot Post worth quoting: "A man who can't govern his own life should never be entrusted with the government of others."

Noah Webster said, "The virtues of men are of more consequence to society than their abilities. ... In selecting men for office, let principle be your guide. Regard not the particular sect or denomination of the candidate -- look to his character."

That's a lesson the people of the Commonwealth have yet to learn.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Can't Do It... Wouldn't Be Prudent

[W]ith respect to future debt; would it not be wise and just for that nation to declare in the constitution they are forming that neither the legislature, nor the nation itself can validly contract more debt, than they may pay within their own age...

-Thomas Jefferson (But what did he know?)


"Meanwhile, in Brazil, India, China, Japan and much of Continental Europe the recession has ended. In the second quarter this year, both the French and German economies grew by 0.3 percent, while the U.S. economy shrank by 1 percent. How can that be? Unlike America, France and Germany had no government stimulus worth speaking of, the Germans declining to go the Obama route on the quaint grounds that they couldn't afford it. ... And yet their recession has gone away. Of the world's biggest economies, only the U.S., Britain and Italy are still contracting. All three are big stimulators, though Gordon Brown and Silvio Berlusconi can't compete with Obama's $800 billion porkapalooza. The president has borrowed more money to spend to less effect than anybody on the planet. Actually, when I say 'to less effect,' that's not strictly true: Due to Obama, one of the least-indebted developed nations is now one of the most indebted -- and getting ever more so. We've become the third most debt-ridden country, after Japan and Italy. According to last month's IMF report, general government debt as a percentage of GDP will rise from 63 percent in 2007 to 88.8 percent this year and to 99.8 percent of GDP next year. Of course, the president retains his formidable political skills, artfully distracting attention from his stimulus debacle with his health care debacle. But there are diminishing returns to his serial thousand-page, trillion-dollar boondoggles. They may be too long for your representatives to bother reading before passing into law, but, whatever the intricacies of Section 417(a) xii on page 938, people are beginning to spot what all this stuff has in common: He's spending your future. And by 'future' I don't mean 2070, 2060, 2040, but the day after tomorrow."

--Columnist Mark Steyn

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

And Now for Some Good News

Pictured here is the Norwegian Jewel, a 294 meter luxury vessel with a complement of 1,000 crew members and a capacity for 2,376 guests. In the month of November, three of these guests will be me, my wife Janet, and my son Benjamin.

I've wanted a nice holiday for some time now and at last we will be having one. This 7 day adventure will be leaving port in Miami and trapsing about the western Caribbean, stopping at a number of exotic destinations.

This will be my third cruise. The first was our honeymoon which was to Bermuda. Prior to the Big Day, I encouraged friends and family to join us on the cruise. Most people thought I was crazy asking for company on our honeymoon, but, it became obvious fairly quickly that it would have been very nice to have had some people we knew on the cruise. After all, it wasn't like we were going away to a private island -- we were on a boat with over 2,000 strangers. To have had a handful of them be people we knew would have made it much better. Since it was formal dining, we were compelled to sit with the same two families of strangers every night. It was nice enough, but it would have been much nicer to have been able to share and converse with friends.

The second cruise was far better. This time, we went with several families of my extended relatives. What a surpremely glorious time we all had. Each family, each person had the freedom to do what they wanted during the day. Then, during supper, we would reserve a table for 25 and share our stories and laughter over the events of the day. If you go are ever able to share such an opportunity with your friends and family, I adjure you to seize the chance. It was truly one of the most enjoyable times of my life.

This time, it will be the three of us plus two. Janet's father and aunt will be joining us. This will give us some extra friendly faces to share the time with and, as a bonus, someone to watch Benjamin for a little while to allow Janet and me to sneak away to be alone. Janet's aunt genuinely loves babysitting "Jammin". She's agreed to watch him as often as we need. I am very grateful for this and will no doubt take her up on it from time to time, but I also can't wait to spend some time in the pools and on the beaches with the little prince.

I leave this open invitation to anyone who reads this. Join us! This is a very affordable cruise. (If it wasn't, Janet and I wouldn't be going on it.) There is more than enough room for anyone who would like to take some time before Thanksgiving to enjoy the sun and the surf before the snow settles in on us. I would love to have anyone and everyone join us. We have room for up to 2,370 of our closest friends and family.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Hellth Insurance

I can't bring myself to write about this topic. As I begin to compile my thoughts, I find it harder and harder to hold onto a keyboard and mouse because my hands just naturally want to reach for my musket.

The Obamaniacs are calling anyone who disagrees with their opinions "unpatriotic" and "racist." The private citizens who show up at these ridiculous town hall meetings and voice their opposition to government take over of their healthcare are marginalized and accused of being planted there to create a commotion.

The simple facts of the matter are that the Democratic Party (and the untold number of Socialists who populate it) know that their time is short and they have to ram their agenda down our throats as fast as they can before we oust them in the next election.

For the which, by the way, let me take just a moment to parenthetically thank George Bush for the disasterous and near complete failure in his presidency that paved the way for the knee-jerk election that is on the verge of costing us our freedom.

But as I was saying, I just don't have the words to express the outrage that comes over me when I think about the sword that is currently hanging over our heads in the form of Obama's health care bill. Actually, I do have the words, but most of them are comprised of four letters and shouldn't be used in polite company.

Therefore, allow me to provide a few statement about Obama's health care plan that will no doubt be more insightful than what my own crude words could express:

Page After Page of Reasons to Hate Obamacare
• Page 22: Mandates audits of all employers that self-insure!
• Page 29: Admission: your health care will be rationed!
• Page 30: A government committee will decide what treatments and benefits you get (and, unlike an insurer, there will be no appeals process)
• Page 42: The “Health Choices Commissioner” will decide health benefits for you. You will have no choice. None.
• Page 50: All non-US citizens, illegal or not, will be provided with free healthcare services.
• Page 58: Every person will be issued a National ID Healthcard.
• Page 59: The federal government will have direct, real-time access to all individual bank accounts for electronic funds transfer.
And MUCH more...

Ronald Reagan's views on Socialized Medicine
(This was recorded in 1961 and is startlingly prescient.)

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Do No Harm?

Recently, Barack Obama said:

First of all, nobody is talking about some government takeover of health care. I'm tired of hearing that. I have been as clear as I can be. Under the reform I've proposed, if you like your doctor you keep your doctor. If you like your health care plan, you keep your health care plan. These folks need to stop scaring everybody, you know?

So why are wise people so upset with his plan?

My commitment is to make sure that we have universal halthcare for all Americans by the end of my first term as resident. ... I would hope that we could set up a system that llows those who can go through their employer to access a federal system or a state pool of some sort. But I don't think we're going to be able to eliminate employer coverage immediately. There's going to be potentially some transition process.

Oh! Now it makes sense. He's lying!


Monday, August 3, 2009

Snorkeling in Boston

This past Saturday was the best beach day I've experienced in at least four years. In fact, the snorkeling down on Rexhame Beach in Marshfield was the best I've experienced since I took a cruise through the western Caribbean.

The water was crystal clear, the waves were surprisingly calm, and the water temperature was probably 60 degrees or better.

Along with two childhood friends of mine who came back from Pennsylvania to visit, we stayed in the water most of the day. We captured a number of crabs and even managed to snag a couple of small lobster by hand. You haven't seen speed until you've gone after lobsters in their own habitat. It's amazing how fast they can spin around and attack your outstretched hand. (Fortunately for my digits, I'm just a bit faster.)

I don't really consider myself one to have hobbies. I love video games; I get a lot of satisfaction working on the manor and the garden; and I enjoy antiques and oddities; but I have to say that if there was one thing I could do night and day without eating or sleeping, it would World of Warcraft. (If there were two things that I could do night and day, the second would be snorkeling.

It's a little like being in outer space; only, rather than feeling like a weightless astronaut out on a spacewalk, it's more like being the spaceship itself, sleekly moving through the infinite void.

It's something I can completely lose myself in. In fact, during our honeymoon cruise to the Bahamas, we very nearly didn't make it back to the ship before it sailed away because we lingered so long in the reefs.

What a great weekend.