A Tale of Two Sittings (Rome/Obama)

For what I saw as a Humorous (in a cynical way) was Obama’s (40%ish popularity) take on his meeting with the Pope (85% popularity) yesterday. The Vatican posted its take on the meeting also. One wonders if they actually in the same room??? Supposedly they were because, unlike Mooch, the Press was invited to take pictures. Frankly, I’ll take the Vatican’s version.

Only God knows for sure: Obama, pope differ on accounts of ‘social schisms’ talk

(midway through the article)
The Vatican, however, issued a statement after the meeting saying the president’s discussions with Francis and two other top Vatican officials focused “on questions of particular relevance for the [Catholic] Church in [the United States], such as the exercise of the rights to religious freedom, life and conscientious objection” — issues that have fueled divisions between Mr. Obama and the church.

Although Mr. Obama wanted to highlight his bond with Francis over questions of economic inequality and helping the poor, Obamacare’s mandate for employers to pay for birth control gained more attention. (Sounds like CROSS-Talk, so to speak)

The president clearly wanted to benefit from the global popularity of the pope. Their meeting was a highlight of Mr. Obama’s foreign trip that ends Friday in Saudi Arabia, but it was at an awkward time for the president.

Two Sittings

Read it all here: http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2014/mar/27/obama-meets-pope-francis-vatican/#ixzz2xHMNmYnx

But, but, but, they’re blue states! How can this be?

This is really no surprise to someone who grew up in the South:

Report: NY schools are most racially segregated
By Karen Matthews | Associated Press

NEW YORK (AP) — New York state has the most segregated public schools in the nation, with many black and Latino students attending schools with virtually no white classmates, according to a report released Wednesday.

The report by the Civil Rights Project at the University of California at Los Angeles looks at enrollment trends from 1989 to 2010.

In New York City, the largest school system in the U.S. with 1.1 million pupils, the study notes that many of the charter schools created over the last dozen years are among the least diverse of all, with less than 1 percent white enrollment at 73 percent of charter schools.

“To create a whole new system that’s even worse than what you’ve got really takes some effort,” said Gary Orfield, co-director of the Civil Rights Project and an author of the report.

More at the link. But there are two more paragraphs, further down, that just have to be cited:

“In the 30 years I have been researching schools, New York state has consistently been one of the most segregated states in the nation – no Southern state comes close to New York,” Orfield said.

Other states with highly segregated schools include Illinois, Michigan and California, according to the Civil Rights Project.

What? You mean that the blue states, the ones which voted, and voted pretty heavily, for Barack Obama, are the ones with the most segregated public schools? They’re liberals, don’t you know, so how can this be?

Well, I can’t say that I am surprised in the slightest. I grew up in Kentucky, and the public school system in Mt Sterling was officially segregated when I started there.1 In the summer between my fifth and sixth grade years, DuBois, the black school, mysteriously burned to the ground, and all of the black students had to be included in the previously all white school. There was only one school, so there was no forced busing for integration to fray people’s tempers. This pattern was not at all uncommon in small towns in the South.2

In contrast, there was Wilmington, Delaware, in one of those liberal blue states, in which the good white folks practically destroyed the public schools in reaction to a federal judge ordering county-wide integration in New Castle County. As a result, when we moved there in 2000, Delaware had the highest rate of private school attendance in the nation, led by New Castle County. It was an unwritten rule: if you could possibly afford to send your kids to private school, you did.

And New Castle County was the most segregated place I have ever seen. The city of Wilmington was heavily black and Hispanic, while the outlying suburbs were mostly white. Hockessin, where I lived, had almost no black families, though it did have a substantial Asian population.3

Let me be blunt here: the reason that the schools are so segregated in those oh-so-blue states is because all of those oh-so-liberal white people still don’t want to live next door to black or Hispanic families. They might have voted for Barack Obama, and they might have heavily Democratic political representation, but they still want their black folks to live a few blocks away, thank you very much.

  1. In the middle of the third grade. I went through kindergarten the first and second grades in Antioch, California, and started the third grade in Portland, Maine.
  2. There was a plan in place, before the fire, to integrate specific grades at a time, in response to what the law required, rather than the all-at-once integration which occurred. I don’t know what the adults were thinking about integration at the time, since I was still just 11 years old, but once integration actually happened, it was uneventful enough that I don’t remember anything about it at all.
  3. We lived next door to a fairly large Korean Christian Church.

The American left are pro-choice on exactly one thing

Via Donald Douglas, I saw this gem concerning Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA):

Boxer: Why doesn’t Hobby Lobby oppose Viagra?
posted at 12:41 pm on March 25, 2014 by Ed Morrissey

Behold one of the most chronically misinformed members of the US Senate surprising utterly no one with the extent of her insight into the Hobby Lobby case.  Barbara Boxer appeared on MSNBC this morning to declare her support for the HHS contraception mandate, claiming at one point that it protects the religious freedom of employees. As Twitchy captured in this segment, Boxer then goes on to challenge Hobby Lobby’s owners for hypocrisy for not opposing insurance coverage of Viagra for men … which even flummoxes Boxer’s MSNBC interviewer:

First and foremost, Viagra (and other erectile-dysfunction drugs and treatments) aren’t widely covered by insurance. That’s one reason why a large online market for inexpensive purchases of the drugs exist. Second, as anyone who gives a moment’s thought about the subject would realize, such drugs would be appropriate to help empower natural procreation, which isn’t against anyone’s religion, last I checked. Lastly, and this is a more minor point, Boxer ignorantly invokes the Catholicism of the plaintiffs in this court hearing, when none of them are actually Catholic.

The religious objection is to contraception and sterilization, and in the Hobby Lobby case, it’s narrowed to a specific kind of contraception — abortifacients. Boxer blithely dismisses the distinction and blathers about the employer taking away the woman’s right to choose her form of contraception — which is nonsense. Just because an employer refuses to subsidize that choice does not mean they are forbidding it or blocking access to it. It’s the same kind of “war on women” double-talk that assumes that employers have total control over the private choices of their employees, when the existence of an independent salary demonstrates the exact opposite. No one gets paid in company scrip any longer, and haven’t for a century or so.

It’s utter drivel, and its source is unsurprising, to say the least.

More at the link.

There are two very important facts which the left are trying to hide here:

  1. If the Supreme Court sides with Hobby Lobby, it would mean that employers would not have to provide health insurance which covered contraception, but employers still could include such coverage if they wished. Some employers might conclude that including contraceptive coverage was a wise idea, in that it might reduce pregnancies among its workers and their families, thus leading to less time off taken by those employees.
  2. If the Supreme Court sides with Hobby Lobby, it would not make contraception unavailable; it would simply mean that employers would not have to provide no-copayment contraception coverage as part of their health insurance plans. As we noted here, even Planned Parenthood has said that birth control pills will run between $15 and $50 a month. Contraception is inexpensive and widely available in this country, and that would not change.

Senator Boxer, as you might expect, didn’t have the first clue that the Obama Administration regulations concerning health insurance don’t require health insurance plans to cover Viagra or other erectile dysfunction drugs, and thus the comparison was worthless. Companies could choose to have their health insurance plans structured to include those medications, just like they could choose, if Hobby Lobby wins, to cover contraceptives, and that’s just fine with me: such is an exercise in liberty. But, of course, the American left are pro-choice on exactly one thing.

No, no, no, no, no!

From the Times of Israel:

Pollard-for-prisoners deal said offered by US to save peace talks
No confirmation of Army Radio report that Kerry, on emergency visit to the region, willing to free Israeli spy in order to salvage negotiations
By Times of Israel staff and AFP March 26, 2014, 11:32 am

Israelis demonstrate at the Western Wall for the release of Jonathan Pollard in 2005. (photo credit: Nati Shohat/Flash90) (Click to enlarge)

The United States has proposed freeing Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard in a trade-off deal in which Israel would agree to proceed with the next round of prisoner releases, including Israeli Arab prisoners, and the Palestinian Authority would agreed to extend the current peace talks, Israel’s Army Radio reported Wednesday.

It said the offer had been conveyed to Israel and the PA, but there was no official confirmation. State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki was quoted telling journalists accompanying Secretary of State John Kerry to a meeting with PA President Mahmoud Abbas Wednesday morning that there were currently no plans to release Pollard, who is serving a life sentence.

In exchange for Pollard, Israel would agree to release 26 prisoners, among them around 20 Arab Israelis, and the Palestinians would agree to continue talks until the end of 2014, according to Army Radio.

Kerry reportedly made the offer after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made clear his intentions to forego the final stage of a prisoner release, previously agreed to as a bargaining chip for starting peace talks this past July, unless Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas agreed to extend the talks past the upcoming April deadline.

More at the link.

I know that Israel has long sought the release of its spy, Jonathan Pollard, and I know that Israel is an ally, but Mr Pollard is an American citizen who betrayed his country. He pleaded guilty in 1987, was sentenced to spend the rest of his miserable life in prison, and that’s exactly what his fate should be.

The Times report said that he is due to be paroled next year, but that should not happen. Mr Pollard, who has been in prison for 28½ years, is not in the best of health, but I still don’t care: he should die in prison, after which point his remains should be thrown in the garbage. There should be no mercy, no mercy at all, for a man who would betray his country.

Apparently, I shall be offensive!

Robert Stacey Stacy McCain retweeted:


Which leads to this story from The New York Times:

The Decline and Fall of the ‘H’ Word
For Manys Gays and Lesbians, the Term ‘Homosexual’ is Flinch-Worthy

These days, this sign, wielded in New York in 1971, might very well be lettered differently. (Credit: Fred W. McDarrah/Getty Images; click to enlarge.)

To most ears, it probably sounds inoffensive. A little outdated and clinical, perhaps, but innocuous enough: homosexual.But that five-syllable word has never been more loaded, more deliberately used and, to the ears of many gays and lesbians, more pejorative.

“ ‘Homosexual’ has the ring of ‘colored’ now, in the way your grandmother might have used that term, except that it hasn’t been recuperated in the same way,” said George Chauncey, a Yale professor of history and an author who studies gay and lesbian culture.

Consider the following phrases: homosexual community, homosexual activist, homosexual marriage. Substitute the word “gay” in any of those cases, and the terms suddenly become far less loaded, so that the ring of disapproval and judgment evaporates.

Some gay rights advocates have declared the term off limits. The Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, or Glaad, has put “homosexual” on its list of offensive terms and in 2006 persuaded The Associated Press, whose stylebook is the widely used by many news organizations, to restrict use of the word.

More at the link.

The notion that the word “homosexual” has the ring of “colored” would be an inaccurate. Being a more clinical term, a better comparison word would be Negro, not colored. However, I won’t debate that, since the homosexual activists would never even examine that point rationally; they would only yell and scream about what they feel is right.

However, in the Official Stylebook of The First Street Journal, the proper word “homosexual”1 is always to be used; the word “gay,” which appropriately means “having or showing a merry, lively mood: gay spirits; gay music. Synonyms: cheerful, gleeful, happy, glad, cheery, lighthearted, joyous, joyful, jovial; sunny, lively, vivacious, sparkling; chipper, playful, jaunty, sprightly, blithe,” the definition it had for many, many years before the homosexual activists managed to get hold of it, is the only acceptable definition for the word gay in our stylebook. At The First Street Journal, we do not misuse the language!

The homosexual left are, as you would guess, trying to manipulate the debate by manipulating the language; intelligent conservatives will not allow this to happen. “Gay” might be an all-too-convenient shorthand for the five syllables and ten letters of “homosexual,” but it conveys the implication that being homosexual is all of those things that the real definition of gay means, and that is certainly not the case. Homosexuals go through rather a lot of abuse growing up, as normal people taunt them and see them as disordered. The Catechism of the Catholic Church gets it about as right as I have ever seen it put:

  • §2357 Homosexuality refers to relations between men or between women who experience an exclusive or predominant sexual attraction toward persons of the same sex. It has taken a great variety of forms through the centuries and in different cultures. Its psychological genesis remains largely unexplained. Basing itself on Sacred Scripture, which presents homosexual acts as acts of grave depravity, tradition has always declared that “homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered.” They are contrary to the natural law. They close the sexual act to the gift of life. They do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity. Under no circumstances can they be approved.
  • §2358 The number of men and women who have deep-seated homosexual tendencies is not negligible. This inclination, which is objectively disordered, constitutes for most of them a trial. They must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided. These persons are called to fulfill God’s will in their lives and, if they are Christians, to unite to the sacrifice of the Lord’s Cross the difficulties they may encounter from their condition.
  • §2359 Homosexual persons are called to chastity. By the virtues of self-mastery that teach them inner freedom, at times by the support of disinterested friendship, by prayer and sacramental grace, they can and should gradually and resolutely approach Christian perfection.

To allow the homosexual activists attempt to seize control of the language, to slant debate in their direction, is not acceptable. The Times article continues, to give a brief history of how the word “gay” was co-opted, and how it is in more general misuse today, but we ought not to give in to that misuse.

  1. The term “lesbian” is appropriate and within the stylebook norms, because it is a clinical term referring to female homosexuals. The term “same-sex” may be substituted for prosaic reasons.

Your Small Business: Who’s Really in Charge

Your Small Business: Who’s Really in Charge

The Role of Cash

Any small business owner, particularly if a growing business is involved, understands the issue of cash flow and working capital. The constant pressure of meeting the demands of payables and payroll are often listed as one of the biggest challenges of running a small business.

While managing cash flow is a constant concern, even for large, well-capitalized firms, it doesn’t have to be as difficult as it often is. However, it seldom an entrepreneur has the training or insights to manage the process on their own. Because of this, many professional accountants make small business accounting their specialty.

When looking for an accountant to help with the many needs for financial record keeping and reporting, it is wise to look for a firm or individual who understands the unique issues related to startups and growing small businesses. A call to such groups as 1800accountant is one way to accomplish that task.

Reinventing the Wheel

One of the unfortunate things about the experiences of many small business owners is the price they pay for continually reinventing the wheel. With the number of hurdles in today’s competitive business environment, any resource that can prevent mistakes and help avoid learning needless lessons is important to achieving success.

For example, the process of evaluating the credit of potential customers and establishing credit terms can be complex and time-consuming. On the other hand, an experienced accountant can help deal with such questions in a few moments instead of hours or days.

Likewise, establishing a chart of accounts, determining how to do daily cash reconciliations, and other standard accounting activities should be done by an experienced accountant, not by a business owner learning on the job.

There was an advertising campaign a number of years ago that made the statement, “Pay me now or pay me later.” The point of the ad was that if certain issues weren’t taken care of in a timely and effective manner, they would eventually have to be dealt with in a more expensive and inconvenient manner.

Small business accounting issues are much the same. If the right investment is not made up front in at least rudimentary accounting processes and reporting, the time will come where it will be costly to try and catch up. The right help with preparing tax filings, payroll reports and basic financial reporting can prevent a number of very negative consequences.

Russia and NATO

Found on Facebook on . Click to enlarge

Found on Facebook. Click to enlarge.

I found this image on Facebook, on Ron Paul Flix.

Ukraine was not a member of NATO, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, but the formal basis for NATO-Ukraine relations is the 1997 Charter on a Distinctive Partnership, which established the NATO-Ukraine Commission (NUC). In 2008, Ukraine was considering NATO membership, but the election of the now-deposed Viktor Fedorovych Yanukovych as President ended that; President Yanukovych ended that bid, which the parliament ratified. With Russian President Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin’s move to seize the Crimea after President Yanukovych was deposed, there are 28 NATO Presidents and Prime Ministers and Kings and Queens who are very glad that Ukraine opted out of the membership process.

Russia talks tough with Estonia as ‘protecting Russian speakers’ excuse wheeled out again after justifying Crimean takeover
Crimea has fallen. Ukraine is teetering on the brink. Are Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania the next dominoes to fall?
March 20, 2014

Russian officials last night expressed ‘outrage’ at Estonia’s treatment of its large ethnic Russian minority.

It’s a familiar move: The Kremlin defended its seizing of the Crimean peninsula from Ukraine a month ago with the pretext it has the right to protect Russian-speakers outside its borders.

It’s by no means the first time this excuse has been heard.

Nearly 80 years ago, Germany began its annexation of nearby states with the widely broadcast notion of protecting marginalised German-language speakers.
Russia is now adopting the same line towards ex-members of the Soviet Union.

A Moscow diplomat told a United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva last night that the language policy in the Baltic state of Estonia was comparable to what had caused it to move on Crimea — a move to prevent the use of the Russian tongue.

More at the link. While Ukraine was not a member, Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia, the Baltic states, are members of NATO. In June of 1940, the USSR invaded the the Baltic states, quickly conquered them, and put in place puppet governments, all of which “requested” entry into the Soviet Union. The USSR annexed all of those nations, including the Scheschupe area of Lithuania, which, under the secret protocols of the Nazi-Soviet Non-Aggression Pact was supposed to be given to the Third Reich. In early 1941, the USSR and Nazi Germany agreed on that, with the USSR paying Germany ℛℳ31.5 million.

With the collapse of the Soviet Union, which Mr Putin has called “the greatest geopolitical catastrophe of the century“, the Baltic states regained their independence.

Article 5 of the North Atlantic Treaty states:

The Parties agree that an armed attack against one or more of them in Europe or North America shall be considered an attack against them all and consequently they agree that, if such an armed attack occurs, each of them, in exercise of the right of individual or collective self-defence recognised by Article 51 of the Charter of the United Nations, will assist the Party or Parties so attacked by taking forthwith, individually and in concert with the other Parties, such action as it deems necessary, including the use of armed force, to restore and maintain the security of the North Atlantic area.

Any such armed attack and all measures taken as a result thereof shall immediately be reported to the Security Council. Such measures shall be terminated when the Security Council has taken the measures necessary to restore and maintain international peace and security.

Put simply, if Russia invades Estonia, to “protect” the Russophones there, under the North Atlantic Treaty, Russia would have invaded all 28 NATO nations. What would the oh-so-brave Army Specialist pictured above — hiding his face and having removed his name tag from his uniform for the picture, but who has been deployed with the 101st Airborne at some point — say, as part of an Army required, by law and by treaty, about coming to the defense of Estonia? Under the NATO treaty, that would be our business and would be our fight.

Of course, it wouldn’t be that soldier’s decision, would it? It would be the decision of the President of the United States, Barack Hussein Obama, and President Putin has tested the mettle of our President, and found him wanting. Everyone reading this article knows that, despite the obligations of the NATO treaty, if Mr Putin sent Сухопутные войска Российской Федерации, the Ground Forces of the Russian Federation, rolling into Estonia, our Commander-in-Chief would issue a strongly worded condemnation of that, issue a few more sanctions against the Russian economy, have Ambassador Samantha Power angrily bring up that horrid invasion before the United Nations Security Council, perhaps cancel a round of golf for serious meetings, and that’s just about it.

And Vladimir Putin knows it. If he likes Estonia, he can take Estonia. Let’s face it, we aren’t about to risk a war with Russia, with its huge armies and nuclear weapons, over Estonia, or Latvia, or Lithuania, or Germany or the United Kingdom.

I just hope that Mr Putin doesn’t demand Alaska and California back.

Tough Enough!

No one pays as much attention to the second group! From Stars and Stripes:

Ten more women graduate from Marine Corps infantry course
By Jennifer Hlad | Published: December 19, 2013

Ten female Marines graduated from the Marine Corps’ Infantry Training Battalion on Thursday, bringing the number of women who have completed the program to 13.

Pvt. Kassandra Woodward, Pvt. Brittany Dunklee, Pfc. Rose Rodriquez, Pvt. Mica Hollingsworth, Pfc. Fabiola Perez Zuniga, Pfc. Fabiola Davila, Pfc. Falande Joachin, Pfc. Harlee Bradford, Pvt. Michelle Verduzco and Pfc. Catherine Sanders graduated from the training course for enlisted infantry Marines at Camp Geiger in North Carolina, Marine officials said.

PFC Harlee Bradford, center. Behind her are, left to right, PFC Cristina Fuentes Montenegro, PFC Julia Carroll and PFC Katie Gorz. These women were the first four successful candidates from the Marine Infantry course, but PFC Bradford had to wait until the second class to be graduated, due to an injury sustained at the end of the course. Click photo to enlarge.

Two of the women completed almost all of the course with the previous class but were injured before they could complete the final physical fitness test required for graduation in November. That class was the first to include women.

Though the women were held to the same standards — including physical fitness — as men, they will not be assigned to infantry jobs. Instead, they will go to the military occupational specialty schools to which they were assigned before they arrived at Camp Geiger.

The infantry training course includes a live-fire exercise, a 20-kilometer hike and a 72-hour integrated infantry field exercise, as well as physical fitness tests that involve running, pull-ups, ammunition can lifts and a timed obstacle course. The women must pass by the men’s scoring standard in order to graduate, Marine officials said.

More at the link. As we noted previously, one of the final four Marines who completed the first course sufered a stress fracture in her leg and was unable to complete the final test, but would be given another chance when she healed; that was Pfc Harlee Bradford, who was graduated from this second class. While only three of fifteen women passed the first class, this one saw a higher success rate, with ten out of thirteen candidates passing the course. Thus far, ten women have attempted the more grueling training course for infantry officers, and none have completed the course.

Rule 5 Blogging: The Army and the Air Force

It’s the weekend and time, once again, for THE FIRST STREET JOURNAL’S version of Rule 5 Blogging. Robert Stacey Stacy McCain described Rule 5 as posting photos of pretty women somewhat déshabillé, but, on this site, our Rule 5 Blogging doesn’t put up pictures of Megan Fox in her summer clothes, but women, in full military gear, serving their countries in the armed forces. The terribly sexist authors on this site celebrate strong women, women who can take care of themselves and take care of others, women who have been willing to put their lives on the line in some not-so-friendly places, women who truly do have the “We can do it!” attitude.

This week, we’re back to good old American soldiers! Click any photo to enlarge.

Walk around before flight on an F-15E Strike Eagle.

Walk around before flight on an F-15E Strike Eagle.

Continue reading ‘Rule 5 Blogging: The Army and the Air Force’ »