Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Webutante's First Cigar Award: It's A 'No Cigar' to John Kerry for Boring Us to Death for Over 30 Years

Senator John Kerry is not only an unrepentant traitor to our nation's veterans and troops, a man stuck in the sixties and the Vietnam era, he is also a monumental bore. This has been going on for over 30 years.

Enough is enough. It's time to simply walk away, turn off the tellie, stop reading and talking about it. And for me, to stop writing and thinking about it.

So today, without further ado and needless rhetoric, Webutante's first 'No Cigar' award goes to Mr. Kerry.

"Hit the road, Jack, and don'tcha come back no more."

Halloween Fright: Nancy Pelosi on Her Way to Becoming Speaker of the House?

In case you're not scared enough about world events and the upcoming elections next week, please take time to click on the link taking you to Michelle Malkin's Halloween Vent in which she talks about committee appointments, if the Dems sweep Congressional races and take majority leadership. Click the link above, then double click on her screen for Hot Air TV and then listen carefully. But prepare to get really, really scared!

Do you know who Alcee Hastings, Charlie Rangel and John Conyers are and where they might be headed? It's time you learn the truth and weep!

Take time to educate yourself on the possible consequences of voting conservatives out, disappointing as the past Session was.

And if you're not scared enough, and want to get really, really, really freaked, then check out this article on what gay marriage advocates may really want. And it's not just monogamous gay marriage which is bad enough.


Please get out to vote for conservative candidates and conservative principles next week and encourage family and friends to do likewise.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

RNC's new ad on Hollywood Harold, Not Racy, Just Scary

This week the Republican National Committee released this new ad on Harold Ford who's running against Bob Corker in Tennessee's hotly contested Senate race. This portrays him as the liberal his record shows him to be.

A Hollywood type liberal?

Harold votes, you decide.

Is a Christian who's liberal better than one who's conservative?

Harold speaks, in this video, you decide.

The picture of Ford above was taken at the Ritz-Carlton in Washington D.C. for a magazine shoot for Washington Life and features Ford wearing "an Ermenegildo Zegna suit and shirt and a Brioni tie," in an article on men of substance and style.

In these latter days of the '06 campaign, Ford is sounding so sophomoric and silly that I'm embarassed for him.

Hopefully the voters of Tennessee will see through Ford's unsubstantial propaganda and will elect Bob Corker to the Senate on November 7.

Two of James' Favorite Scripture Readings

First, Romans 8:28

"And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose."

And then, Psalm 91:1-2

"He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, "He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust."

Read the whole thing, as they say in the blogosphere. And thank you again, James for these recommendations on Saturday.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Meeting James, an Unexpected Entrepreneur and Evangelist, in a Parking Lot in Bethesda, MD

Getting a car wash Saturday afternoon in D.C. was the last thing on my mind.

In fact when driving in the nation's Capitol, I never get one. Locations are scarce and inconvenient and the lines way too long to make the monumental effort worthwhile.

I was focused on finding a certain crocheted chapeau, anyway, to give a friend for Christmas, and had run out to one of my favorite boutiques to look. With limited time, I drove into a paid lot behind the shop and ducked into the last parking place.

Enter James, the Entrepreneur and Evangelist.

Getting out of my car, I saw him scrubbing away on someone's BMW parked across the lot. What a great idea, I thought---getting a car wash here while shopping. And no down time!

As I stared at him and his buckets, he looked at me and said, "That car of yours looks like it could use a good washing. Give me twenty minutes and I'll have it looking like new for twenty dollars. My name is James. Everyone knows me here."

I liked this man's succinct, to-the-point pitch and, he was correct, my car hadn't been washed in weeks, for at least a thousand miles.

"Twenty dollars, huh," I said. The thought of my car looking clean and shiny was priceless. I had to contain my enthusiasm!

"Sold, James, nice to meet you," I said. Twenty dollars in twenty minutes. Go!

"I'll be back in a few."

Twenty-five minutes and no hat later, I was back. James was still working away.

So I sat down on the curb beside my car.

"You're from the South like me," he said. "I just love that accent."

James said he's a retired Marine who started washing cars in parking lots years ago. He made enough money to put his now grown daughter through four years at a good college and also support himself.

"I work seven days a week, except when it rains and when I go to church," he continued. "People love me to wash their cars here all year round, especially in icy weather. It's hard work but I do pretty well for myself. Today I live alone, it's just me and God. I like it that way."

Here was a happy, hard working man. A man content with who he is and what he does in life. A man who is an inspiration to sit and talk to in the back parking lot of a one of the toniest shopping areas in the country.

I pressed him to continue while I listened.

"I'm a believer in Jesus Christ. He came and died for my and your sins. I am thankful for that and try to live every day giving Him glory."

Does he think the end is near?

"Oh yes baby, The Almighty, He has the trumphet up to his mouth right now."

Well, I pressed, then what should we all do?

"Repent, know you need a Saviour and ask Christ into your life for real. Then read the Scriptures, pray and live like every day your last," he replied.

In the last few minutes we talked, he quoted me some of his favorite Bible verses which I wrote down to post on Sunday. He thanked me for bringing out the evangelist in him. But I said it was I who had the most to be grateful for that day.

Then James finished washing my car. And just as he said, it was shiny like new. I paid him $20 plus a good tip. And I thanked him again so much.

As I left that parking lot today, I realized that more than my car had gotten a shine. My soul was a bit spiffier than when I arrived.

Thank you James, for washing my car and walking the talk of your beliefs.

In a city of consummate power seekers and brokers, I met one of the truly powerful men in all of D.C.--- James, The Entrepreneur and Evangelist, working and preaching out of a back parking lot in Bethesda, Maryland.


"Success is a lousy teacher. It seduces people into thinking they can't lose."--Bill Gates

"I attribute my success to this---I never gave nor took any excuse." --Florence Nightingale

"Everything in excess is opposed to nature." --Hippocrates

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Afternoon Museum Fix at the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C.

First, we were off to the Smithsonian's National Portrait Gallery to see portraits of some of American's greatest historical figures. The banner in front of the museum here features Pocahontas looking like a British Grande Dame, which it turns out she was, among other things. Going to places like this helps me bone up on my early Amerian history, and I realize how much I have to learn and relearn. Why is it the older I get the more fascinated I become with history, especially with this country's great history and the many stories of its people?

Then we walked down Pennsylvania Avenue for a late afternoon snack at the Willard Hotel, one of D.C.'s great old landmarks and world-class center for power smoozing. A wonderful day all around.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Too Hot for Corker in Tennessee, but Not Too Hot for Here

This ad by the Republican National Committee on Harold Ford is priceless, a bit wicked, and well worth a look, even if Republican candidate Bob Corker won't run it now.

So, take a look, if you dare. And enjoy.

Wink, wink.

Obama: Auditioning for West Wing or Playing Grown-up with the Real Thing?

Did I read that correctly? Barack Obama is really interested in running for president in 2008? The junior senator from Illinois, who's only served two of a six year term since 2004, certainly has his sights set high.

Why does the word "hubris" come to mind? Or "premature?"

"Inexperienced" is what VP Dick Cheney was thinking.

This is the kind of silly, even ridiculous, news story that happens when you combine a liberal drive-by news media with an elite, left-wing electorate which has no rock solid principles yet is desperate for a "rock star" candidate to get all mushy about.

Enter Mr. Obama straight out of central casting: Handsome, multicultural with an American mother and African father, articulate, Harvard educated and oh so very ambitous. Ambitious enough to know a good thing when he sees it.

An editorial in today's Investors Business Daily describes The Obama Effect on a recent television appearance:

"'During a book tour stop on NBC's "Today" show, new host Meredith Vieira hailed Obama as a "rock star" and "electrifying." Commenting on his convention speech, Vieira said: "Many people, afterward, they weren't sure how to pronounce your name, but they were moved by you. People were crying.'"

Please spare us anymore, Meredith.

But please do tell what this man stands for? What has he done that might make me consider him a viable candidate in the next presidential election?

With a law degree from Harvard Law School in 1991, he worked briefly for a Chicago civil rights law firm and taught constitutional law at University of Chicago Law School, before becoming an Illinois state senator in 1996.

In his first run for the U.S. House of Representatives in 2000, Obama was resoundingly beaten by incumbant Bobby Rush, a former Black Panther community activist who accused his defeated opponent of not "being around the first congressional district long enough to really see what's going on."

Today, Obama, as a U.S. Senator for two years, has been around the national political scene long enough to see his superficial star rising and to know he'd best get on with saving our country from itself while he's still "hot."

So now with a keynote address at the Dem's National convention in 2004, a new book tour and two years in Washington, D.C. under his belt, what else can we say about a man who's now suffering Potomac Fever and positioning himself as a rock star candidate with the frothing liberal media?

IBD goes on to say today: "Obama is a hard-core liberal whose voting record in the Senate is virtually indistinguishable from (Ted) Kennedy's.

"Half the Democrats in the Senate voted for Supreme Court nominee John Roberts, even Patrick Leahy and Russ Feingold. But not Obama.

"When nominated in 2004 for the Democratic Leadership Committee's list of 100 rising stars, Obama bristled at the suggestion he was a "mainstream" Democrat. In a letter to the magazine Black Commentator, he said he didn't "view such inclusion as an endorsement on my part of the DLC platform."

"I spend much of my time with audiences trying to educate them on the dangers of the Patriot Act, Patriot Act 2 and the rest of John Ashcroft's assault on the Constitution," Obama said.

Indeed, he voted no on reauthorizing the Patriot Act. His position on the war on terror is enough to make anyone cry. Obama has voted:

No to private gun ownership.

No to mandatory sentencing and the death penalty.

No to prohibiting lawsuits against gun manufacturers.

Says he would have voted no to authorize going to war in Iraq.

No to oil and gas drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge but supports mandated ethanol use and raising fuel economy standards. "

As liberal as Ten Kennedy? The candidate to deal with North Korea, Iran, Iraq? Tough on the War on Terror? Doesn't want me to own a gun?

Obama is getting less and less "handsome" by the minute.

But make no mistake, Obama's star is rising with the MSM and will continue to make a meteroic ascent with liberal Democrats in search of a star.

Surely they don't really take him seriously for president. However, with the possibility of running on a ticket with Hillary in 2008 as vice-president, Obama must be beside himself with anticipation. I can only imagine what the elite press is gearing up for.

Warning, much emotional frothing and swooning ahead!

I think I'd rather go fly fishing than to watch.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Why the Democrats Have George Washington, John Adams and Thomas Jefferson Rolling in their Graves

This just in from Paul Teller, Deputy Director of the House Republican Study Committee. The rest of this post speaks for itself:

Democrat Agenda?

In light of ongoing Democrat criticisms of the Republican legislative agenda, the following is an abridged list of actual bills that have been introduced by House Democrats this or last year, including bills regarding condoms for prisoners, crack-cocaine, and adult diapers:

The baby boomers must be breathing a sigh of relief that adult diapers are a top priority for the Dems. They don't want to hurt us.....they just want to help us! Forget the War on Terror. This is just in time for The War on Dotage.

Didn't Washington, Adams and Jefferson fight for this inalienable right for us? And isn't the federal government supposed to do this kind of thing?

Vive la Nanny State!

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Quotes on the Long War: Lincoln or Bush? WWLD?

"There is more involved in this contest than is realized by every one. There is involved in this struggle the question whether your children and my children shall enjoy the privileges we have enjoyed."

"If I were to try to read, much less answer, all the attacks made on me, this shop might as well be closed for any other business. I do the very best I know how - the very best I can; and I mean to keep doing so until the end. If the end brings me out all right, what's said against me won't amount to anything. If the end brings me out wrong, ten angels swearing I was right would make no difference."

In the American Civil War, lasting from 1838 to 1865, there were 620,000 casualities. Of those, one-third were from battle and two-thirds from disease. At the Battle of Antietam a total of 23,000 men were killed. It was the single bloodiest day in American history.

Throughout the Civil War, Lincoln was bitterly criticized by the press and citizenry on both sides. He agonized about every aspect of the war's (at times bumbling, inept) prosecution, but never the rightness the Union's cause: which was first to save the Union and second to end slavery.

Today, in the War on Terror, I wonder: What would Lincoln do? WWLD?

Where would our country be, if he had lost his nerve and ended the war prematurely?

A Thought for Today

This from C. S. Lewis,

"When a man is getting better he understands more and more clearly the evil that is still left in him. When a man is getting worse he understand his own badness less and less.

A moderately bad man knows he is not very good: a thoroughly bad man thinks he is all right.

This is common sense really. You understand sleep when you're awake, not while you're sleeping...You can understand the nature of drunkeness when you are sober, not when you drunk. Good people know about both good and evil: bad people do not know about either."

Friday, October 20, 2006

Glenn and I Both Go for Bob Corker in Early Voting This Week but Split on Gay Marriage

Saw where Glenn Reynolds voted early this week, as I did.

We both went for Bob Corker for the U.S. Senate seat now held by the outgoing Majority Leader Bill Frist.

I thought Reynolds would surely end up voting for Ford but am pleasantly surprised cause I think of him as quite liberal.

My vote was not about whether the Republicans deserve my vote. It wasn't about voting for someone because I find them likeable. It was and always is about the principles I think best align with my own and our country's needs at this critical, critical time: The War on Terror, gun and property rights, illegal immigration and low taxes. And Corker embodies those best in my opinion.

But when it came to the state's Marriage Amendment, Glenn and I went our separate ways:

Glenn claims he voted "against the anti-gay amendment." But I see it very differently: I voted "against" nothing. Rather I voted for what I consider the definition of marriage is and how it should be now and forever defined--between one man and one woman......who are in the genus of human beings to be even more specific.

To me, anything else is a farce no matter how politically correct. I know that automatically makes me "homophobic," the moniker that radical gay rights activists use to guilt people like me into submission. So be it.

I do think one day the gay lobby will win out in some more states, like they have in Massachusetts. And the envelop will continue to be pushed, first for gay marriage, then gay or hetero group marriage, then some damn fool will want to marry his pet llama. It will be a three-ringed circus, even more outrageous than the one we now live in.

And a slippery slope with no end in sight.

Unless we continue to define marriage in the realm of Objective rather than subjective truth.

Still, I'm glad we both voted for Corker. And those new space age voting machines were too cool...not to mention the adorable "I Voted" sticker with the American flag I got to wear out on my jacket.

Like seeing the U.S. Capitol at night, voting is still an ineffable privilege and thrill for me.

Comment from John Tamney to My Daughter

John Tamney has just written a response to the piece my daughter wrote on an earlier piece he did. I thought it worth putting up on the my main page. Thanks, John.

As the writer of the estate tax piece, I figured I should comment. I think we're mostly in agreement here. Problems such as illness naturally mean more than my ability to watch videos online.

Still, the argument applies. Another Forbes 400 member (Patrick Soon-Shiong) has developed a drug for his company (American Pharmaceutical Partners) that will fight cancer in a new, and innovative way. Essentially Abraxane will be inserted into cancerous cells, but will carry with it a "Trojan Horse" of sorts. The cancerous cells will move to the drug, but within it is a cancer killer that will kill the cells.

Importantly, it is access to capital that makes these life improvements available to us. To advocate for the estate tax is to ask for something that will shrink the amount of capital available to the Howard Sterns and YouTube founders of the world, but also the Patrick Soon-Shiongs. Successful people are that way because they give people what they want. This is something to embrace.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

The Donald on the Economy, The MSM and North Korea

If you want to stay down in the dumps on the economy, then don't listen to The Donald's interview with Neil Cavuto of Fox News here at NRO.

But if you choose to tune in, be forewarned that your perspective will be refreshed on the housing "crash," the MSM's spin on the economy, oil prices, alternative energy sources, and the threat of North Korea.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Note from my Daughter

My daughter's been saying for some time that she wants to comment here, but I've heard nary a word from her up to now.

But tonight after a nice visit with her over a salad, I received this message via e-mail, rather than through the comments section.

All things work for the best as I am delighted to publish her on my "front page" rather than the comments section anyway. She is a wonderful, thoughtful writer, more self-contained and serious than her often frivolous mom...

So, without further ado, here's Webudaughter, the product of a union between two parents now about as far apart on the political spectrum as two humans can get! Thank you for taking the time to share this, daughter-o-mine: So dear readers, after seeing this, how would you repond?

Congratulations Mom on starting your new blog! I enjoy reading what you have to say even though I do disagree from time to time. It is great to have a venue where you can express your ideas and have others respond.

So I guess I will get started by responding to your recent post of John Tamney’s article: In the article, he sets out to make an argument for the abolition of the estate or “death” tax. He begins by proclaiming capitalism to be a system that rewards entrepreneurs via profits. These profits, he goes on to say, are a direct result of the degree of problems that have been solved and are a direct reflection on the improvement of our overall quality of life from the eradication of any particular problem.

The death tax, he claims, has been an erroneous way for these profiteers to be forced to give back to society, when in fact they have more than paid their debt to society by solving a particular problem. Therefore, case closed ... no estate tax.

My remarks won't be addressing the validity or non-validity of the estate tax. Instead, they will be focusing on his central premise that “absent the profit signal, there’s no way of knowing who among entrepreneurs is doing the most to improve how we live. Profits are a way of keeping score, and the greater the profits, the more problems that have been solved.”

Let me start by saying that I am not against profits or capitalism, but I find Mr. Tamney’s argument flimsy. In his article he outlines YouTube’s unbelievable growth and sale to Google for 1.65 billion dollars as his benchmark for the rationality of capitalism. He goes on to glowingly depict the founders of You Tube as real problem solvers that have added value to society and been rewarded appropriately. He mocks those who would “decry their windfall.”

You say that they deserve this windfall because they have solved a problem that has benefitted society. And I say, hold on a minute and let’s look a little deeper into the issue. For starters, ”a problem is defined in the dictionary as a “doubtful or difficult matter requiring a solution – kind of like getting people successfully out of a burning building, or dealing with the threat of Islamic fundamentalists, or helping children in Africa who are orphaned and starving at an early age because both of their parents have died of AIDS, or slowing the spread of Type II diabetes which is now the fastest growing disease in the world, or finding ways to curb the rising tide of – shall I even say it — Global Warming.

These and many, many more maladies are just some of the real problems that we face today. There is a spectrum of problems, from minor inconveniences to life and death situations. And not being able to successfully send over the internet a video of a dog in a tutu standing on it’s hind legs or a decrepit old woman firing a shot gun in a wheel chair is not my idea of a genuine or serious problem.

It is more in line with trying to figure out what to wear for a Saturday night party. What these young men have done is essentially provide one more avenue of entertainment on the Internet. And I would argue that it hasn’t really made the world a better place. Instead, it has made the world a more comfortable place as well as a more entertained place – but that isn’t necessarily better ...

And let’s face it, the price tag that accompanied the sale of YouTube has nothing to do with any real value that it provides to our society. And it has everything to do with the potential marketing arena that will be captured by the traffic generated on the Website. Therefore, Google is betting on the advertising revenues as herds of people trample to the site to watch mostly frivolous videos. At times – many more times than not – profits have nothing to do with value added to our society and more to do with rewarding the depravity of our society.

Case and point – Howard Stern’s $500 million contract over five years with Sirius satellite radio. Howard Stern is an entrepreneur. And a mighty good one I might add. Is the value that he adds to society worth $500 million? Is he improving our lives? Have you ever listened to one of his broadcasts or seen it aired on cable TV? I wouldn’t give you a nickel for his opinion. As a society we pay a high premium for entertainment, from gambling to pornography to Howard Stern, professional sports, Hollywood movies, and now YouTube. Are the recipients of these profits worthy of them?

There are countless people working as teachers, plumbers, scientists, researchers, doctors, lawyers, accountants, firefighters, diplomats, politicians, actors, directors, etc. to solve both minor and major problems on a personal and nationwide scale daily.

But they never reap the huge benefits and rewards of their creativity and hard work as some others. And that is because life isn’t fair, capitalism isn’t fair. Some people get rewarded more than others. Profits aren’t always a rational thing. And a lot of it has nothing to do with the value or virtue of someone’s work or product, but instead reflects the human need to seek comfort and gratification at any price. So when Mr. Tamney says, “Profits are a way of keeping score, and the greater the profits, the more problems that have been solved,” I don’t agree.

Profits are profits. They can be the result of value added and they can also be the result of base human desires that don’t really elevate the status of society as a whole.

Yes, capitalism can and does solve problems. And it creates other problems, too. It is a human system - complete with virtues and flaws and complexities. I refuse to just glibly defend it’s value without taking a more critical look at it’s realities. Nothing is just peaches and cream in a fallen world, and I for one will not make a false idol out of capitalism although I am grateful to live in a country that operates with it.

Your Daughter

With a comment like that, I would expect you to be starting your own political/economic blog any minute! Thank you so much for taking the time to write this thoughtful piece. Meanwhile, come again soon and often. Makes for lively debate and fun!

Being Popular vs. Starting a Blog

I have to admit, I am learning a lot and having some kind of fun starting this new blog. I love to write and it's been way too long---and a few thousand trout streams--- since I did it professionally. That said, there's also some pain that goes along with this project.

A few people I love--friends, family and an acquaintance--do not approve of what I am doing in general and several of my posts in particular.
And it pains me.

Like everyone, I want to be universally liked and acclaimed. Endlessly right and never boring.

Unfortunately, it's never gonna happen. And I feel a small sting already from several people I would most love to share this project with.

My piece on Constance Gee at Vanderbilt was "mean-spirited" and hit too close to home. The one on Bob Corker with Bill and Lamar was not nearly nice enough. It seems political correctness is in order if you're writing about your own party and and the home team.

Yesterday, pontificating on my sleep habits was low on the "interest meter," said a reader. Should have been more risque.

My critics can take heart in knowing that I have very little traffic yet. And may never have much to speak of. There won't be a lot of sex, violence or profanity to spice things up.

But it ultimately doesn't matter.

I, and every blogger worth her/his salt has to decide why we're here, what we stand for and who we mean to please.

Last night, I talked to my very liberal sister in Colorado and told her of my new endeavor. Her response, "It's not one of those neo-con things is it?" Well, actually yes it is, I told her. She doesn't even want to know the name of it, and will never come here to read. And it's just as well. It would only make her endlessly mad, and Thanksgiving might be ruined as a result. So it's fine with me, really. Still makes me a tad sad.

So I'll keep on writing and taking a few hits, keeping in mind that being popular, through blogging, is by no means a guaranteed result. I love, love, love to think things out by writing, so I'm not about to stop. But it doesn't change my love for my family critics. And hopefully, theirs for me.

But I'm not willing to compromise being true to myself and will just have to let the chips fall where they may here at Webutante.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Newt to Bob Corker, Are you Listening?

Today on the Drudge Report, I saw that Newt Gingrich has spoken: The Republicans can still pull it out of the fire. After all, 3 weeks is an eternity in politics. You can follow the link above to read Newt's piece in its entirity. But here are the high points:

"Republicans should enter these closing weeks of the election with clarity, conviction and confidence. The GOP owes it to the American people to give them an inspiring choice. When you are right, you have confidence.

The theme is simple: We can't go back to the failed policies of the past.

Republicans are right on defeating terrorism, and the left is wrong in wanting to run and hide from danger and take up the disastrous policies of appeasement and weakness that defined the Carter Administration. Americans should never again face a 444-day hostage crisis in Iran or an energy policy which leads to gasoline rationing. If every American understood the consequences of losing to the terrorists, the Democrats would lose seats this November.

Republicans are right on cutting taxes and growing a better economy, and the left is wrong in their desire to raise taxes, enlarge command-and-control bureaucracies and return to their failed economic policies, which during the Carter Administration pushed America into the deepest recession since the Great Depression. It was a Democrat Congress and a Democrat administration that presided over interest rates of 22 percent and inflation at 13 percent, and it was a Democrat President who gave a speech in which he lectured the American people to expect less and to lower their standards. If every American knew that Congressman Charlie Rangel (N.Y.), the Democrat choice to head the Ways and Means Committee, had promised to raise their taxes, the Democrats would lose seats this fall.

Republicans are right to favor traditional American conservative social values, and the left is completely wrong to put San Francisco left-wing values third in line to be President by electing Nancy Pelosi (Calif.) to speaker of the House. If every American knew the Pelosi voting record, the Democrats would lose seats this fall.

Republicans can turn this around, but they must make the case with clarity, conviction and confidence.

Are you listening, Bob?

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Breaking Us to Redeem Us

John Donne (1573-1631) understood brokeness as God's path for us to genuine salvation and redemption in and through Christ when he wrote:

"Batter my heart, three-personed God, for you
As yet but knock, breathe, shine, and seek to mend;
That I may rise and stand, o'erthrow me, and bend
Your force to break, blow, burn and make me new.....
Take me to you, imprison me, for I
Except you enthrall me, never shall be free,
Nor ever chaste, except you ravish me."

Saturday, October 14, 2006

You, YouTube and the Estate Tax

This just arrived in an e-mail today from John Tamney who frequently contributes to NRO. I think it's a great case study of how capitalism works at its best to solve problems in the private sector for the benefit of all. And why such problem solvers deserve to reap profits for their creativity and hard work. He also argues for the permanent abolition of the death tax:

The announced acquisition of YouTube is another reminder that access to capital is what enables entrepreneurs to solve problems. The estate tax distorts savings and capital formation in favor of immediate government consumption. The estate tax should be abolished.

October 13, 2006, 2:14 p.m.YouTube, the Forbes 400, and the Estate Tax. The case for capital, entrepreneurs, and the abolition of the inheritance tax.

By John Tamny

During an interview on ABC this past August, YouTube’s Chad Hurley talked about the trouble he and co-founder Steve Chen experienced when they tried to e-mail friends a video of a dinner party they attended in January 2005. Their difficulties led to the creation of YouTube, which allows Internet users to share original videos “worldwide.” As Hurley put it in the interview, “We thought, a lot of people were gonna have the same problem. And so we started working on a solution for this problem right away.”

Hurley’s words deserve special attention given this week’s announcement of YouTube’s $1.65 billion acquisition by Google. Hurley and Chen, like most members of the 2006 Forbes 400, are problem solvers of the first order. While many will decry their windfall, not to mention the fact that the Forbes 400 is now exclusively a billionaires club, rational minds will celebrate.

Indeed, contrary to the class-struggle assertions suggesting an estate tax is necessary so that the rich can “give back,” the success of Hurley, Chen, and the majority of the Forbes 400 makes it clear once again that they’ve given back in spades.

Absent the profit signal, there’s no way of knowing who among entrepreneurs is doing the most to improve how we live. Profits are a way of keeping score, and the greater the profits, the more problems that have been solved. Von Mises referred to this process as the removal of “uneasiness” — which is what members of the Forbes 400 do all the time. Simply, they make our lives better.

As the respective heads of Fidelity Investments and Franklin Resources, Ned Johnson and Gregory Johnson offer investors low-cost access to some of the best money managers in the world. Ameritrade founder J. Joseph Ricketts provides investors with low-commission-cost access to stocks and bonds. According to Lorraine Spurge, author of Portraits of the American Dream, Forbes 400 member Michael Milken was responsible for “nearly all the job growth in the decade of the 1980s.”

For the frequently confused, publisher Patrick McGovern created the “ For Dummies” series, while the frequently lost are no longer adrift thanks to Min Kao and Gary Burrell, designers of increasingly affordable Global Positioning Systems.

Carnival Cruise founder Micky Arison made seafaring affordable to the masses, and it should also be noted that when Hurricane Katrina struck last year, Arison freed up three Carnival ships to provide housing for 7,000 Katrina refugees.

Those who lived in the ‘70s no doubt remember six to eight week waiting periods for items ordered over the phone. Thanks to FedEx founder Fred Smith, acquisitive types can now purchase items for next-day delivery. Thanks to Howard Schultz, coffee drinkers now have 12,000 Starbucks stores to patronize around the world. As opposed to exploiting consumers, Schultz opens five new stores a day so that a daily ritual for many is made even more convenient.

Returning to YouTube, its transformation into a billion dollar company was made possible through funds provided by Sequoia Capital, while its acquirer’s metamorphosis into the world’s most utilized Internet search engine was funded by both Sequoia and Kleiner Perkins. The capital provided by both venture firms came from pension plans funded by the average American, university endowments, and yes, savings offered up by the working and idol rich.

It is through access to capital that the supposed “have nots” become “haves.” On the other hand, inheritance taxes discourage saving while stimulating immediate government consumption of the capital that otherwise would be available to entrepreneurs. To insure the largest capital base for the problem-solvers of the future, the estate tax should be abolished.

— John Tamny is a writer in Washington, D.C. He can be reached at jtamny@yahoo.com.

Friday, October 13, 2006

The Company they Keep--Corker vs. Ford in Tennessee

They're bringing in the big guns. And the heavy artillery.

U S Senate campaigns here are ramping up by bringing in national figures to help with their tight races.

Republican Bob Corker is on the trail with Ken Mehlman, chairman of the Republican National Committee, while Democrat Harold Ford partners with John Sweeney head of the nation's largest federation of labor unions, the AFL-CIO.

Sure, having some big wigs come in to campaign may help your morale and esprit de corps. But in the end for me it always comes back to principles and standards. What does each man's life stand for up to now? And, what does he say he stands for if elected to be a US Senator? And how does that stack up again what I think are the most important issues facing our country?

Corker has had a multitude of life experiences, both private and public, as a doer; whereas Ford has a narrower menu of experiences that involve big family politics, big labor unions and big government.

The War on Terror is no joke and even if all other things were equal, I'm not voting for anyone I think might go soft and fuzzy when the going gets tough, tougher and toughest in this global war. I want someone who will stand firm against the terrorist threat and the main stream media (MSM). And, I want someone who remembers history well enough to take some lessons from our nation's past.

Bob Corker is the man I support for all these reasons.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Brrrrrr, gettin chilly here in the Midsouth

....and may even hit our definition of "cold" by tonight.

Windows coming down to cracked at night, blankets out and the best news of all.....it's cool enough to get my soup pot out and turn on the oven!

To celebrate, I cut and chopped all sorts of vegetables late last night and now have homemade chicken vegetable soup ready. Tonight, I will have the first of a series of "soup suppers" here with friends. Keeping it simple with soup, baguettes and olive oil, frisee salad, a glass of Cotes Du Rhone topped off with a tiny slice of pumpkin pie.

Mix generously with good conversation and a few laughs, after first giving thanks to our Great Maker for the bounty of the season and this great country.

Still, I hope the memory of my Mother will forgive me: I forgot the okra. Everyone knows no southern woman worth her salt makes this soup without okra. Guess I've been out west too much.

But I'll remember the next time, Mother, and always think of you when I do.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

My Idea of a Winning Presidential Ticket in 2008

I know it's early, but it never hurts to plant seeds now.

This, in my opinion, could be an unbeatable ticket for conservatives in 2008: Rudi Giuliani and Michael Steele.

While many pundits predict Southerns will insist on a candidate more socially conservative than Rudi, I don't buy it. He will and should be perceived as the strongest choice in the War on Terror and hence very electable in the South. Steele is likewise a good choice for below the Mason-Dixon line. Both men exude a sense of authority and leadership. And it will be unmistakable to our enemies. What an historic combo!

Let's talk Appeasement

First some definitions of appeasement:

1)The policy of granting concessions to potential enemies to maintain peace; 2) To yield or concede to the belligerent demands of a nation, group or individual in a conciliatory effort, often at the expense of principles or justice.

In the weeks ahead, I will be focusing on the political doctrine of appeasement--past, present and (potential effects on our) future.

But for now, over at American Digest, Mr. Van der Leun has posted a wonderful video example of appeasment at its most horrifying best, from the annals of recent history. Priceless.

Can we really afford, as a country, to elect people to public office who will take us back to the policies of appeasement on the local, national or international scenes? Or who believe that all causes are morally equal (moral equivalence) and who deny the concept of a just war?

God have mercy on us if we do.

Monday, October 09, 2006

US Senate candidate Bob Corker with two grassroots supporters in Tennessee Monday night

So, you're a little disappointed with the last session of Congress. Several issues ranging from immigration, health care and social security reform, to the permanent repeal of the death tax are weighing on your mind. Then there's the pageboy scandal, the lingering war in Iraq and Afghanistan with its negative, liberal spin by the MSM, and the growing tensions in Iran, Syria, Israel, Iraq, Afghanistan, North Korea, Cuba, Venezuela, Russia, and Georgia, just to name a few.

And that doesn't even include the imminent threat of Brad and Angelina now traveling in India, or Barbra Streisand on an unhinged, left-wing singing tour.

All in all, one could be pretty down-in-the-dumps and feel like throwing in the towel when it comes to politics and mid-term elections. Easy to say Washington is washed up and our country gone to the dogs.

Unless, of course, you look back at our amazingly messy, dirty rotten political history. Need we go further than the terrible squabbling and backstabing that went on during the Adams-Jefferson Presidential election of 1800? It's too much for me to recount this late at night. But it sure wasn't pretty.

If the present is tough to swallow and the past is rottener still, then shall we contemplate for a moment the future:


Let's put it this way: do you really want to spend the next two years-- 24/7/365 --seeing, reading, staring at the impeachment of President George Bush.....on.....on...... ON THE DRUDGE REPORT?

Me neither. So let's get ourselves together, roll up our sleeves, pick up our towels and go forward with renewed vigor for the challenging tasks ahead.

Look no further, therefore, than to Tennessee for a horse race that is shaping up to be neck-and-neck all the way down to the November 7th finish line. As Tennessee goes, most believe, so goes the nation.

Enter Republican candidate Bob Corker, of Chattanooga, a businessman, former city mayor and state Finance Commissioner, and Democrat Harold Ford from Memphis, a five term Congressman (and wannabe lawyer who has yet to pass the bar exam) whose family business is, was and always will be machine politics. Both are handsome, sophisticated ambitious men who want retiring Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist's job in a big way.

But don't let image fool you. There is a difference between these two men and what they'll stand for in Congress and the Senate when one of them is elected less than one month away.

Let's be clear yet again: national politics is a jungle, and no one accomplishes everything they promise on the campaign trail. But in the larger scheme of things, Bob Corker vs. Harold Ford is a race that conservatives, yes Republicans, need to win.

I am convinced that Corker will be stronger on the values that are most pressing to our nation than his opponent. These include strong national defense on all fronts of the War on Terror and illegal immigration, open appropriations processes to cut out late-night, secret pork barrel federal spending earmarks, energy independence while keeping taxes low so the private sector can continue to create jobs which cause our country to flourish by putting more (not higher) tax revenues into the federal Treasury.

In the weeks ahead, I will continue to post on the differences between the conservative Corker and the more liberal Ford.

But in closing, I wish to say that both Senators Bill Frist and Lamar Alexander, pictured above, with Corker, have served Tennessee and our country with dignity, above board moral character, commitment and honor. While, many of us would like to have seen them go further in a number of areas, this country and its economy are better by a long shot for their service. And thanks for staying the course in Iraq, Bill and Lamar. It's the only action that was/is sensible for standing up to the terrorists, now and in the future.

And, Bill, thanks for helping me operate my digital camera so I could take your pic!

This Senate race matters to Tennesseans, our country and hopefully to Matt Drudge too.

English as the Official Language

Recently, 38 US Senators voted against a bill making English the official language of the United States. Please remember this list and its political affiliation when you go to vote soon. Their names are listed below:

Akaka (D-HI)
Bayh (D-IN)
Biden (D-DE)B
Bingaman (D-NM)
Boxer (D-CA)
Cantwell (D-WA)
Clinton (D-NY)
Dayton (D-MN)
Dodd (D-CT)
Domenici (-NM)
Durbin (D-IL)
Feingold (D -WI)
Feinstein (D-CA)
Harkin (D-IA)
Inouye (D-HI)
Jeffords (I-VT)
Kennedy (D-MA)
Kerry (D-MA)
Kohl (D-WI)
Lautenberg (D-NJ)
Leahy (D-VT)
Levin (D-MI)
Lieberman (D-CT)
Menendez (D-NJ)
Mikulski (D-MD)
Murray (D-WA)
Obama (D-IL)
Reed (D-RI)
Reid (D-NV)
Salazar (D-CO)
Sarbanes (D-MD)
Schumer (D-NY)
Stabenow (D-MI)
Wyden (D-OR)

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Their brilliant careers

There are few things that a mid-lifed technologically challenged female appreciates more than people who help her with some of life's greatest struggles, including but not limited to, turning on and off a computer, learning to use an iPod, and making friends with a digital camera and a new blogsite. Enter the geek squad of geniuses at my Mac store.

Thanks so much to you guys, and to WP, on the Windows XP side who has even come to my home/office to help me interface my ever more wired, dual operating world.

Your careers are, well, brilliant, and, no, I'm never gonna get a tattoo.....

Getting remarried vs. starting a blog

Today, Saturday the 7th, one of my best girl friends, Edie, is getting married for the third time on a big butte overlooking our beloved Snake River, with full views of The Grand. And here I sit thousands of miles away, trying to figure out how to spell "relativism" for my new blog.

Wish I could be there, E and R, but since I'm not, my love and best wishes are with you. May God bless your union.

Go ahead and make a liar of the guy who said: "Remarriage is the triumph of hope over experience!" Make me want to throw this computer out the window and go fling myself down that aisle again.

It may be a hard sell though.

Have a smoke on me!

Theories on gender fender benders

I have attempted over the years to buy into the "gay gene" theory which says all gays are "born that way," and "once gay, always gay."

Try as I might, however, I keep coming to another conclusion that's not politically correct by today's post-modern standards.

The question of the origin of gay orientation can be summed up as follows: Is it an issue of hardware (a gay gene), software (early childhood development) or of a trendy updated download? And does it really matter what it is anyway?

First, I do believe there are a very few children born with truly confused sexual identities, manifested by obvious physical traits. These are easy to spot to even the casual observer. This is clearly a hardware issue and often resolved by medical and surgical means.

But much more frequently, same sex attractions can and do occur in early childhood, long before a child has the ability to make conscious decisions.
According to some experts--often discredited and outed by many of the radical gay righters and politically correct liberals--there is a normal phase all children pass through--and most come out of-- that involves same-sex attraction and bonding.

During this time, children who grow up to be normal heterosexuals go on to find their opposite sex parent more exotic and mysterious, and hence more attractive as they grow into adolescence and adulthood.

However, the children who go on to have same sex attractions experience the same sex parent or caretaker to be more exotic and thus more attractive as they grow into maturity. This is an issue of early software programming in the basic operating system. And because it often develops at a young age, it usually feels like a hardware issue.

The reasons a child unconsiously finds his same sex parent or primary caregiver more attractive are legion, and can include aloofness, absence or abuse from the same sex parent, or over-bearingness or abuse from the opposite one. But clearly in an early developmental childhood phase, a "software" problem develops at the most fundamental level of operation.

These gays are usually the ones who think and feel, and are told, that there's is a "gene" problem and therefore their condition is fixed in concrete and can never be changed. Today if such a person wanted to even explore the possibilities of change of orientation, they are warned they couldn't and shouldn't want to change. Instead, such a person should have "pride" in the intractible nature of their situation.

The experts who insist change is much more possible than any of the militant gay righters are willing to concede are frequently outed and accused of being hate-filled homophobes of the worse kind.

This is also where the most militant gay rights activists are focusing their attention and efforts politically: theirs is a natural condition of birth and therefore it should be afforded the same rights and privileges in all aspects of life as heteros.

Forming another group of gays that develop later in life are heteros who live part of their lives in opposite sex relationships and later, after raising a family, or marrying and divorcing, make a more conscious decision to cross over.

I have known several of these people (usually women sick of doing the dishes for some couch potato or disillusioned with the Pope who never had to clean up after all those children) who have declared theirs a political/lifestyle choice. These women usually become the militant feminists historically with a more extreme, vocal political agenda than hetero women.

This is clearly a software issue, not of the basic operating system, but an addition to, say, the control panel later in the life of the "computer."

Finally, there are college students who experiment with their sexual identities in the new found freedom of a college setting. In that case, many return to their hetero roots, though some do not. I have friends who had a daughter who did this in college. Because the father was a high school principal and knew this was experimentation, they played it very cool. After the "gay" daughter got beat up by her girlfriend, she decided to come back over and today is married to a man with whom she has several children.

This is indeed a trendy softward download which is easily deleted or over-ridden with an update.

So while I think a very few people do have it hard-wired into their genetic codes, most gays have it programmed into their software somewhere between their basic operating system, the control panel and their documents folder.

I believe that for those who are interested, leaving same-sex attractions is certainly possible though the degree of difficulty in leaving depends on where and when the gay enabling software was installed. And I also realize that many of those people don't want to leave and never will.

But the militant gay righters would have everyone believe that their condition--whether they like it or not--is cast in concrete and can never be changed.

I don't buy that for a minute. Not all gays are created in the same way. I dare not say "equally."

More on this in later posts.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Gee, Constance

In the annals of Bush Derangement Syndrome, a new case study has been added and hits close to home, just around the corner to be exact: This vignette might be entitled "Constance Gee & the American flag versus George Bush et al."

It seems that Constance, the second wife of the "rock star" Chancellor Gordon Gee of Vanderbilt University in Nashville (the highest paid university head in the history of the nation) doesn't, hasn't and never will like President Bush, The War or anything even slightly to the right of Ted Kennedy. And so she uses her position as First Lady of Vanderbilt, my old alma mater, to drive home her point: When Bush was re-elected for a second term in 2004, she ordered the American flag lowered to half-mast at the mansion, named Braeburn. In mourning, Constance, a tenured professor at VU, wanted everyone in town to share her pain. Then to console herself, she went into her hidden stash at the mansion and smoked herself a joint "for medicinal purposes."

While the antics of Constance making a spectacle of
herself has been gossip around these parts for a while, the wonderful/awful saga of the high-living, big-spending Gees went mainstream on September 26, 2006 on the front page of the Wall Street Journal. Tongues have been wagging here ever since. Some highlights of that story continue, " Mrs. Gee has caused stirs on campus with her liberal politics."...besides lowering the American flag at Braeburn which Mr. Gee says he soon ordered back up the pole, "she and others signed a letter of protest to the chancellor when Condoleezza Rice, then Mr. Bush's national security adviser, was invited to address graduating students in the spring of 2004."

The upshot of the story is that the 66-member Board of Trustees at Vanderbilt is trying to rein in both their chancellor's freewheeling spending (the Gees just finished a $6 million renovation of the mansion, going over budget by millions) and free-talking, unhinged liberal wife. without running off Mr. Gee and his amazing fundraising machine.

"Trembling, the chancellor confessed, 'I've been worried to death over this,'" saying that she smoked marijuana only to relieve an inner-ear ailment.

Whatever Mrs. Gee's medical condition, her position as first lady of a liberal arts university has clearly been abused and needs to be held to some accounting. The liberal elites have not only taken over the MSM but the hallowed halls of higher, middle and lower education. And Mrs. Gee is just another shining example. Never mind the new drug-free initiatives on the university campus, or the hallowed exchange of ideas--both liberal AND conservative, Mrs. Gee is unrepentent.

Gee, Constance, we know your politics and your sixties antics. But your husband's many fundraising drives may soon feel the effects when he goes calling for money from many of the same conservatives who helped build the new conservatory at the residence where you don't miss a chance to denigrate our President and hold court on the horrors of the current administration in Washington.

So, please count me out of Vanderbilt's next humongous fundraiser.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Note to self and the ACLU

Despotism may govern without faith, but liberty cannot.

How is it possible that society should escape destruction if the moral tie is not strengthened in proportion as the political tie is relaxed?

And what can be done with a people who are their own masters if they are not submissive to the Deity?

---Alexis de Tocqueville

And somewhere I read he thought Southern women were the dullest of all on the face of the earth.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Malaprops are Us

This is the official opening post of Webutante, and for the first time in months, I am at a loss for words. Nevertheless, I feel like a kid in a candy store with a shiny new quarter to spend. In order to celebrate my new venture, I bought myself a brand new paperback dictionary to keep near my computer so as not to embarass myself with too many misspellings and malaprops.