This category contains 44 posts

Yellow dogs, splitting hairs and being human

Memories in the hearts and minds of others are what we leave behind. Even more than our DNA, that’s what makes us human. We are the only species having this conversation, after all!

More than I’ve noticed in the past, this nascent Presidential election is bringing out emotions, old rivalries, and pitting Conservative against Conservative as we perfect our skill of hair-splitting. We’re covering life, liberty and pursuit of happiness like the founders and many since, and reviewing changes in local politics as well as basic philosophies and world visions. (Not New World Order, how you see the world.)

And, Lord knows, we Conservatives can split hairs finer than Baptists.

Nevertheless, I think all this fussin’ is a good thing as long as we stop short of “eating our own. ” We’re proving, once again, that we are not merely reactionaries or like those old “yellow dog” Democrats or Republicans (meaning we’d vote for an old yellow dog before we’d vote for the other Party). We have arrived – and are arriving – at our opinions through thought and research. (Don’t you love the Internet?)  No one can watch us nit-pick (and cherry-pick quotes) and accuse us of blindly following some leader. Oh, no. Not us!

However new and raucous our debates have become, some of us have been reminiscing about the people who influenced our views on politics, even as we continue to engage in political arguments.   I’ve gotten to “know” some pretty impressive grandma’s and parents and been able to share my own memories of my family.*

We’re reminding one another of why Texas went from a Democrat State to a Republican State. And we still learn lessons from the people who lived that conversion before us.

What a great debate and a blessing to live in these times!


*My mother passed away in August, 2006. I still miss her. Here’s an introduction in the form of the note I wrote on what would have been her 70th birthday:

Easter Sunday, April 8, 2007 would have been my mother’s 70th birthday. Helen Margaret Jernigan Burnett, “Mama,” died from complications of thymic carcinoma last August.

Mama is probably the source of my addiction to arguing and politics. Some people might think it comes from being the oldest daughter of a Baptist preacher, but I believe it comes from being the daughter of a certain Baptist preacher’s wife.

Mama was a teetotaler, prolife, conservative who believed in equal opportunity for anyone who would do the work, but also worked to help others. She and Daddy stopped to “early vote” on the way to see the chest surgeon – just in case her surgery was scheduled before the election a few weeks away. She was semi-famous in her hometown as the food demonstration lady at the local Wal-Mart, the one who handed out samples and root beer floats. She won awards at work for leading fund raising and selling at the store, and ran the early morning Senior Citizens Bingo. Most of all, she was the best “Grandmama” in the world.

As Daddy pushed her wheelchair into the hospital for what turned out to be her last admission, she suddenly looked up at the people around her and said, “I have the best insurance in the world: Jesus Christ!”

It turned out that she was suffering a series of strokes that would steal her ability to do even basic self-care and make her delirious most of the time. Daddy, my sister or I took turns to be with her most of the time; feeding her, helping with her baths and trying to help her control her pain. I wasn’t always patient and I’m afraid that I preached a few of the lessons I learned from her, back at her. But I was better at doing what I could for her than I would have ever thought.

In spite of what I knew of her condition and prognosis, Mama’s death was totally unexpected. Evidently, she had her final stroke while in the MRI, as I sat at the head of the machine, singing to her and trying to keep her (both of us) calm.

I’ve often heard people say that they wouldn’t want to be a burden to their children. Needing someone else to feed us and wipe our chin when we can’t hold the spoon, much less assist us in performing much more intimate acts of hygiene, seems to be the worst thing we can imagine.

I’ve never had a good answer for patients or family members when they express this fear to me. Now, I know that the worst thing that I can imagine is living the rest of my life without having fed Mama, washed her, and rubbed her back on that last day.

The faith that she and Daddy surrounded me with as a child makes me sure that Mama is in heaven. But it’s the memories of caring for her those last few days that let me live here on earth knowing that I loved her as best I could when I could. Mama’s last lesson was that we owe it to our loved ones to allow them to care for us, for their sakes.

Answer to Bias Against Governor Rick Perry

We would be wise to remember a universal truth: No government has ever taxed and spent its way to greater prosperity.” Governor Rick Perry, 2005

This is in response to a post by blogger “MarkAmerica” at Unfortunately, there are many bloggers out there making the same accusations and false statements. Hopefully, this will clear up some of the questions less biased people might have.

To MarkAmerica:

Incredulously, your statements here imply that you are privy to the thinking and motives not only of Governor Perry, but of Mark Davis! Your comments are skewed bias and nothing more useful than shotgun accusations without evidence to back them up.

You falsely state that the Governor does not represent the same ideals as those of us in the Tea Party. I attended my first Tea Party event on February 27, 2009 in San Antonio and I say that you are flat wrong. Governor Perry met with 3 separate Tea Party groups on Tax Day, April 15th, 2009 – the day he’s accused of suggesting that Texas might secede. We know he never suggested any such thing, but he has always firmly stated his belief in small government, less taxation, and greater accountability to the people.

You also falsely claim that Governor Perry has less in common with regular Texans than with Wall Street “types.” I think his history is at least more familiar to Texans: he grew up far away from the city on a tenant farm, became an Eagle Scout, flew C-130’s as an Air Force pilot, and spent a few more years back on that farm as an adult.
You falsely claim that the Governor is uninterested in individual rights. A review of his speeches and of his books prove that to be a lie. He said in his first State of the State in 2001, that “We must preserve freedom and opportunity by extending it, one Texan at a time.” In his 2003 State of the State address, the Governor made his concern for the individual even more clear by telling the Legislature to remember that “behind every government program, there is a real taxpayer funding it.” He also reminds us that “The right to life is a fundamental right declared by our forefathers” and has consistently championed prolife laws each session.

Your false claim that the Governor only talks tough when he’s running for office is easily dis-proven by looking at 2003, when he had just won re-election for four years. Texas, like the Nation was reeling from the financial fallout of September 11, 2001. The Governor had already led State agencies to cut spending for the fiscal year by 7-13% and called on the Legislature to pass the first budget to cut State spending since World War II by prioritizing education, security and “fiscal responsibility, because neither of these priorities can be met unless our spending is disciplined.”

The Governor has always been adamant about cutting taxes, too. He’s repeatedly called for cuts in property taxes. Look at this, from the 2005 “State of the State”speech:

It is time to cut property taxes for the hardworking people of Texas. In fact, let’s not only give Texans property tax relief…let’s give them appraisal relief too.

Texans don’t like taxation without representation, and they are sick and tired of taxation by valuation.

The time has come to draw a line in the sand for the taxpayer: Let’s cap appraisals at three percent.

If you oppose a three percent cap on the philosophical grounds of local control, I can respect your position. But then I would hope you would be consistent, and advocate for the repeal of the ten percent cap on the same basis. There is no point in being lukewarm on this issue. Either be hot or cold; either provide real appraisal relief, or none at all. But let’s stop this false pretense of taxpayer protection at ten percent.

You falsely claim that the Governor has had a “more recent conversion” on tightening border security, ignoring the fact that Texas spends about a (edit 21:00 8/28/11) 100 dollars of our own tax funds each year to secure the border. Back in the Spring of 2001, he vetoed a driver’s license bill because it didn’t limit illegal aliens. He has consistently demanded that the Federal government do its job on border control by authorizing National Guard deployment. In 2005, he used money from his own office budget to increase funding for local law enforcement and set aside a task force from the Department of Public Safety.

You falsely accuse that the Governor is guilty of “corporate-cronyism.” The Governor promotes privatization rather than growth of government and taxes wherever possible, encourages Texas to compete with other States for jobs and business investments, and most of the business owners appreciate his efforts. Our 2005 tort reform – and the new “loser pays” law – has benefited every business except the trial lawyers. The Toyota plant that opened in San Antonio and a $3 billion dollar Texas Instruments plant are just two strong examples that our Texas policies work to bring jobs to Texas.

Your false claim that the Governor is a “statist” is ridiculous. The entirety of the book Fed Up!: Our Fight to Save America from Washington is proof against your statement. Here’s just a couple of quotes:

“The statists believe in a powerful, activist central government that advances a radical secular agenda in the name of compassion. The hide behind misguided notions of empathy and push token talking points about fighting for the little guy, all the while empowering the federal government to coercively and blatantly undermine state-, local-, and self-governance.” Location 320

“The truth is, I don’t care what party the statist is in. The fact of the matter is, it is the statist, and those who support or enable him, who is the problem. For too long he has undermined this country by empowering the national government at the expense of liberty. An America defined by the statist in Washington is an America doomed to fail.” ” Location 338

(both quotes from Perry, Rick; Newt Gingrich (2010-11-15). Fed Up!: Our Fight to Save America from Washington. Little, Brown and Company. Kindle Edition., the Kindle PC edition. And, no I don’t get a dime from, either. I just do my homework.)

Since you dismiss anything since 2010, here’s an earlier example that the Governor has a clear understanding about personal responsibility, opportunity and a better understanding than most about the differences in power of local governments, the States and the Federal government. He testified before the US House of Representatives against federalization of emergency first responders in 2005. (Testimony here.) (Yes, the response of Washington to the crises after Katrina was to propose to federalize EMS.)

I’ve blogged on the Gardasil Executive Order at since February, 2007 and have written more in the last month at It’s foolish to continue to claim that the Governor was bribed by $6000 in donations (he raised $20 million dollars that year). There is no evidence that the Governor had any motive other than to decrease disease, speed up the coverage of the vaccine by private insurance, and to strengthen parents’ rights by making it easier for them to opt out of any or all mandatory vaccines.

Which leaves the TransTexasCorridor. That was a now-defunct attempt to solve a lot of problems including the need to move more traffic and freight faster, safer and outside city congestion by a combination of privatization and tolls. We had concrete examples of the need for more roads leading across the State during the evacuation of South Texas in response to Hurricanes Katrina, Rita, and Ike. The Governor encouraged the 2005 law to protect private property rights through the control of eminent domain and signed even stronger protections this year.

Conservatives and Republicans shouldn’t forget that our enemy is big federal government and that States are better suited and have the Constitutional authority to try many more solutions to many more problems. As someone who’s been accused of being a “Perry operative” due to my answers to the multiple political rants against Governor Perry, I assure you that some of us have sincerely come to the opinion that Governor Perry should be our next President by the same process that others have decided to advocate for their own particular candidate. We recognize that in his 10 years as Governor, he has boldly practiced what he professes: that States should be “laboratories of democracy.” Not every experiment works, but the Governor has demonstrated that he can learn from mistakes and has the flexibility to change course when the people object.

The Facts on Gardasil and Perry: Right Wing vs. WingRight

Do you really want to frustrate me? Publish an opinion piece online, but restrict comments so that I can’t tell you where you’re wrong. Sure, it’s your site, and you make the rules. Well! Since I have my own blog  . . .

The mainstream media has rediscovered Executive Order RP65 that Governor Perry issued in February, 2007. I wrote a “A Dose of Reason, Perry and Gardasil” to answer some of the gobbledygook in the media.

Unfortunately, some of the pundits we normally consider conservative are just as mixed up and fail just as miserably in their research and conclusions.

Michelle Malkin ( ) won’t take new subscribers or comments from the public at all. She has written a disorganized rant calling Governor Perry “Obama-like.”  She claimed that the Governor went over the heads of the Legislature, calls the opt-out clause “bogus,” without researching what it was before the Governor’s EO, and is evidently completely unaware of the funding of vaccines in the US.  I was able to comment at the column’s syndication site,,   copying and pasting my coverage of these concerns in “A Dose of Reason, Perry and Gardasil.”

RedState’s  Bill Streiff and Erick Ericson have posted their own articles That site won’t take comments from new subscribers. Ericson reposted his 2007 missive that compared the Executive Order to eugenics and focused on the possibility of corruption due to Merck’s lobbying.

Streiff’s two pieces, here , and  here,  cover the de-bunked corruption charges and provide a succinct list of ethical objections that are less subjective and a bit more organized. Here’s my reply:

1. The recommendation did not include males, though males can carry and transmit HPV. This oversight made the creation of “herd immunity” impossible. This, definitionally, means the vaccine could have only a limited effect in combatting HPV.

The vaccine had not been recommended for boys at the time. The reasoning is that the vaccine prevented cancer. Society was not ready to talk about anal sex and males having sex with males, so there was a delay in adding boys. Since that time, the recommendations have changed to include boys.

2. Not all strains of HPV linked to cancer were affected by the vaccine. While doing something is better than doing nothing… generally… no one knows what the impact will be of creating a better evolutionary environment for the others strains by eliminating competing versions of the virus.

We knew at the time that the vaccines covered the viruses that caused 70% of cervical cancers (16 and 18) and 90% of the strains that cause genital warts (6 and 11). The preventive effect for these strains was 96% to 100%. according to the British Journal of Cancer article on the 5 year follow-up, published in December, 2006. (It was on-line November, 2006 and I accessed it for review today, August 18, 2011.)

We already had evidence, since confirmed, that there might be some cross-immunity for other strains.

3.Requiring people to receive a vaccine against diseases which they may very well never encounter is a very queasy ethical area. Unlike diseases like measles, whooping cough, etc., HPV is not spread through casual contact.

True. But 50% of people will be infected at sometime in their lives. The true cost is all of those abnormal pap smears – the cellular changes are all – 99.7% due to HPV.  It’s also true that we vaccinate for tetanus – what we used to call “lock jaw” – even though it’s not contagious, and for Hepatitis B, which is only spread through blood and body fluids.

4. Clinical trials were conducted on women aged 16-26 leaving everyone to presume that Gardasil was safe and efficacious in 10 year-olds even though there was zero data pertaining to that age group.

Completely false. Both the 2007 Gardasil insert (no longer available online, but I saved a copy on my computer) and the current insert contain information about early testing on boys and girls 9-15. 1122 girls ages 9-15 received the vaccine during trials to test the immunogenicity, demonstrating the production of antibodies.
There. I feel better, don’t you?

Debunking the Rick Perry “Pro-Sharia” School Curriculum Myth

Please read the whole column at CounterContempt. Note that the whole fuss began at lefty as a (successful) attempt to bring out criticism of Governor Perry and to get inflamed people to make inflammatory remarks about Islam.

Much of the curriculum centers on very dry materials, presented with no editorializing – historical timelines, glossaries, the basic tenets of Islam (presented without either endorsement and praise, or denunciation and criticism), etc. Of interest to us, however, is the lesson plan that deals with Islam and the West, past and present. This is the lesson plan that mentions Sharia, al-Qaeda, Israel, Hamas, etc.

The lesson plan was written by Ronald Wiltse. Mr. Wiltse is a retired history teacher in San Antonio. He graduated from Pepperdine University in 1966, and received his MA from Middlebury College in 1982. For several decades, he taught world history at Edison High School, in San Antonio.

He is a Christian, and an ardent and vocal supporter of Israel.

via CounterContempt Debunking the Rick Perry “Pro-Sharia” School Curriculum Myth.

Bogus “14 Reasons” – Here’s the truth

There’s been an email going around with out and out lies about the Texas economy and half truths or lies about our Governor Perry.I worked on this last weekend, sitting up most of Sunday night and rechecking my facts and numbers this morning.

Here’s the truth:

To everyone thinking about Rick Perry for President:

#1 Rick Perry is a “big government” politician.  When Rick Perry became the governor of Texas in 2000, the total spending by the Texas state government was approximately $49 billion.  Ten years later it was approximately $90 billion.  That is not exactly reducing the size of government.

During that same period, Texas’ population increased by about 20% ( and we grow 1000 – 1300 people a day from people moving in from all over the US)  and aggregate inflation over that period was about 25%. So the actual growth of government was 39% over 10 years, or less than 3% per year.

#2 The debt of the state of Texas is out of control.  According to, the debt to GDP ratio in Texas is 22.9% and the debt per citizen is $10,645.  In California (a total financial basket case), the debt to GDP ratio is just 18.7% and the debt per citizen is only $9932.  If Rick Perry runs for presi dent these are numbers he will want to keep well hidden.

These are completely false numbers.  In fact, Texas received a credit upgrade this week.

Go to the US Debt Clock Website   or Texas’ Debt Clock.   I checked this morning, August 16, 2011, in order to make sure I had the correct numbers: Texas has a debt to GDP ratio of 18.5% and a debt per person of  $8345 – down from last week’s  $8930.

The truth is that Texas is second lowest State in debt compared to personal income.  Half our our debt is bonds voted on by the People at election time. The other half is mostly “self-supported debt” – like student loans – that is paid off when people pay interest on the loans. Texas has decreased “non-self-supported debt” by 16%.

More here:

#3 The total debt of the Texas government has more than doubled    since Rick Perry became governor.  So what would the U.S. national debt look like after four (or eight) years of Rick Perry?

The “more than doubled” number includes city, county, and school districts — not just State debt.  See # 2 and the link that notes that the People voted to allow TXDOT to borrow money (Bonds) in 2001 and voted to sell bonds for the creation of the Texas Cancer Prevention and Research Institute. Everyone should quit voting for more debt when those amendments come up at election time!

#4 Rick Perry has spearheaded the effort to lease roads in Texas to foreign companies, to turn roads that are already free to drive on into toll roads, and to develop the Trans-Texas Corridor which would be part of the planned NAFTA superhighway system.  If you really do deep research on this whole Trans-Texas Corridor nonsense you will see why no American should ever cast a single vote for Rick Perry.

The Legislature stopped the above, Perry signed the Bill. But, the Legislature introduced Regional Mobility Authorities, etc., which can make these deals. It was on the ballot and the People of Texas voted to pass the Constitutional Amendment to allow borrowing in the form of bonds in 2001.

Perry put SB 18, a bill to protect private property rights from the misuse of eminent domain, on his “Emergency” fast track this year and signed the Bill into law at the first Regular Session.   That law limits the use of eminent domain to public use, requires a formal “bona fide offer” process, mandates a market price and allows the original owner to buy the land back in 10 years for the LESSER of either the original price or the current market price if it’s not used for the stated purpose.

#5 Rick Perry claims that he has a “track record” of not raising taxes.  That is a false claim.  Rick Perry has repeatedly raised taxes and fees while he has been governor.  Today, Texans are faced with significantly higher taxes and fees than they were before Rick Perry was elected.

These are cigarette taxes, user fees, etc. that were raised when the school property tax was lowered in 2006.

#6 Even with the oil boom in Texas, 23 states have a lower unemployment rate than Texas does.

And 26 States have higher rates!

We are increasing jobs faster than most and have produced more NEW jobs than all the other States put together.

Our unemployment rate is impacted by our illegal immigrants and legal immigrants. 1000 people come in legally each day. If the rest of the US were adding jobs at the rate that Texas is, the US unemployment rate would be 7.9%.

#7 Back in 1988, Rick Perry supported Al Gore for president.  In fact, Rick Perry actually served as Al Gore’s campaign chairman in the state of Texas that year.

Al Gore was Pro-life, Pro-marriage, and Pro-Israel in 1988 – he got most of his grief in that race from opponents backing Jesse Jackson because he was Pro-Israel.

Governor Perry’s dad was a Democratic County Commissioner. Governor Perry said in 1985 that he was going to make the Democrats move right. By 1989, he changed Parties. His home County still voted Democrat in 2006.

#8 Between December 2007 and April 2011, weekly wages in the U.S. increased by about 5 percent.  In the state of Texas they increased by just 0.6% over that same time period.

Texas’ annual wages have grown significantly faster than other big States.  We didn’t lose jobs in the first place.

The false number proves that there’s lies, darned lies and statistics. (That, and don’t use Rachel Maddow for your source.)  It costs less to live here, too.

#9 Texas now has one of the worst education systems in the nation.  The following is from an opinion piece that was actually authored by Barbara Bush earlier this year….

•  We rank 36th in the nation in high school graduation rates. An estimated 3.8 million Texans do not have a high school diploma. •  We rank 49th in verbal SAT scores, 47th in literacy and 46th in average math SAT scores. •  We rank 33rd in the nation on teacher salaries.

These numbers are useless without telling us what the same numbers were before 2000. Are we better or worse than we were?

They are strongly influenced by the poor performance of the school districts in the inner cities of Houston, Dallas, and El Paso, plus our border areas. It’s aggravated by the illegal aliens that are unstable or just through the State.

 #10 Rick Perry attended the Bilderberg Group meetings in 2007.  Associating himself with that organization should be a red flag for all American voters.

Governor Perry was invited to speak as the Governor of the State of Texas, which would be the 17th largest economy if we were an independent Nation.

On the other hand, Margaret Thatcher was a member.

#11 Texas has the highest percentage of workers making minimum wage out of all 50 states.

At least they’re working and not on unemployment!

Our job force and our job numbers are growing much faster than the rest of the Nation.

#12 Rick Perry often gives speeches about illegal immigration, but when you look at the facts, he has been incredibly soft on the issue. If Rick Perry does not plan to secure the border, then he should not be president because illegal immigration is absolutely devastating many areas of the southwest United States.

Governor Rick Perry is for border control and has the record to prove it:

Governor Perry has always advocated for “boots on the ground” at the border, but has been unable to get the Feds to send the manpower. He’s advocated  letting the military practice the use of unmanned Predator aircraft along our border (“They’ve gotta practice somewhere.”)

There are National Guard troops on the Border. Perry has repeatedly asked for more and recently won approval for the 1200 (we only got about 250) that have been deployed to stay longer.    Read this news report from a year ago.

As a direct result of the Governor alerting the Texas Republican Congressman about Obama’s plan to remove the National Guard after less than 6 months, we’ll have them longer.  News report, here, from last month about the extension.

More, here

Watch and listen to Governor Perry talking with Greta van Susteren about the border. boots on the ground, and the problems with the fence. (You can see and hear the Texas Ranger helicopters in the background.)

He created the Ranger Recon force, sending 150 Texas Rangers (one riot, one Ranger) to the border along with helicopters and  Texas Guardsmen. He demanded and got National Guard and two unmanned drones. He got the National Guard deployment extended beyond the original 6 months.
Unfortunately, Texas only got 1/4 of the Guardsmen and 2/8 of the drones.

Texas (with our costs from the ICE detention center detainees being dumped in the State by Homeland security, support of Katrina refugees, our natural disasters like Ike, wildfires, and tornadoes) is expected to pay for our own Guard if we want them here after September.

Texas has spent $200 million a year on the cost of jailing illegal aliens that the feds bring here. We’ve spent $79 million of our own Texas tax funds on troops, helicopters.

The Legislature refused to fund his virtual border, so he used money from the Governor’s discretionary fund. In some cases, local sheriffs and cities refused to cooperate.

Here’s an article from January of this year showing resistance from border Sheriff Wiles.

#13 In 2007, 221,000 residents of Texas were making minimum wage or less.  By 2010, that number had risen to 550,000.

More Rachel Maddow.   AT LEAST THEY’RE WORKING!!! 

Do you want the Federal Government to raise minimum salary, again? Or how about a Chicago-style “living wage” requirement that runs businesses out?

#14 Rick Perry actually issued an executive order in 2007 that would have forced almost every single girl in the state of Texas to receive the Gardasil vaccine before entering the sixth grade.  Perry would have put parents in a position where they would have had to fill out an application and beg the government not to inject their child with a highly controversial vaccine. Since then, very serious safety issues regarding this vaccine have come to light.  Fortunately, lawmakers in Texas blocked what Perry was trying to do.  According to Wikipedia, many were troubled when “apparent financial connections between Merck and Perry were reported by news outlets, such as a $6,000 campaign contribution and Merck’s hiring of former Perry Chief of Staff Mike Toomey to handle its Texas lobbying work.”

Gardasil is a good vaccine. The truth, is that the Legislature had already imposed mandates and had made it harder to opt out in the prior session. Governor Perry made it easier.

According to a complete review by the CDC and the FDA, is that there have been no Deaths due to the vaccine.

I’ve covered this subject in an earlier review at this blog.

(Edited 8/17/11 for formatting and a couple of typos. Hopefully, it’s easier to read. My answers should be in red.)

The Undefeated: Sarah Palin Documentary

Sarah Palin “The Undefeated” Documentary

Did you know that there is a documentary movie, The Undefeated, about the life of Sarah Palin that outlines her political career before her nomination as John McCain’s running mate in 2008?

The movie opened July 15, 2011, in ten theaters across the Nation, with very little advertising other than word of mouth and some on-line buzz. Texas is a big State. Since the only Texas theaters were in Dallas and Houston, I didn’t think I’d get to see the movie until it comes out on DVD.

However, I was in Dallas, Texas for a medical conference last week and realized that I was closer than 250 miles. My sister lives in the Arlington area and we went to see the movie at the Grapevine AMC, near the DFW airport. The only 2 other people who were there bought their tickets after asking us what we were going to see. They had never heard of the movie, at all. Since they like Sarah, they were glad to hear about it.

I was worried that I would be disappointed in the movie since I don’t sit still very well, and rarely go to movies in the theaters anymore. I sure wouldn’t have ever guessed I’d volunteer to go see a documentary!  In addition, I’ve read Going Rogue, and just started America by Heart, so I knew some of the biographical information and feared I might be bored or offended by saccharine fawning.

However, after 2 hours in a darkened theater, the only complaints that I have about the movie are that some of the filler clips looked like cheap effects and that the movie was a tad too long.

The film included quite a lot of video documentation from the years that Sarah was mayor of Wasilla, Alaska, from her time as Chair of the Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission and as Governor. There are videos and news clippings documenting long years under fire from both Republicans and Democrats and the fact that her family has spent years living life in the public eye. The real-time news footage and recorded speeches show a competent woman who understands the issues with which she is confronted and who has faced challenges as she tried to cut spending and waste. We learned about the law making Alaska’s natural resources the property of the State. The Governor fought old ways of making back room deals in order to maximize the oil and gas industry for the benefit of Alaskans and the Nation. Not only that, but there’s a couple of great bits of film showing a very pregnant Governor Palin!

Before seeing the movie, I was worried about the effect that running for President in 2011 might have on Governor Palin and her family. The movie convinced me that they have been seasoned as Sarah moved up through Alaska’s political ranks.  Should she announce for President, I believe that the Palin family would know exactly what they are getting into. I believe they can handle it.

How come we never saw all this film and real-time news footage about the Palin as Mayor, State Commissioner and Governor during 2008? The McCain for President and Republican National Committee powers-that-be must have been incompetent or actually wanted to lose the election.

McCain’s staff blew it worse than I thought!

One of the more powerful parts of the movie was the portion of an interview with Andrew Breitbart in which he called the men of the Republican party “eunuchs,” for failing to stand up for Governor Palin. I’ve been thinking about the men that I admire in the Party, and wonder why they have not defended the Governor. Could it be true that Sarah is a threat to the Republican old guard?

Sure, Sarah and the rest of us understand what it means to “fight like a girl.” She doesn’t need to be defended by a bunch of big, tough men. The point is that the men should have stood up for her, whether she needed it or not. That way, they’d have acted like we expect men to act.

The de Tocqueville Moment: will we endure?

Has the United States of America reached the Moment predicted by Alex de Tocqueville when,”The American Republic will endure until the day Congress discovers that it can bribe the public with the public’s money?”

Congress and the DC bureaucracies have expanded the federal government, increased regulations and permits, heaped ObamaCare —>on top of “Stimulus” —> on top of TARP and all of this —> on top of the other spending that made Conservatives angry enough to stay home in 2006 and 2008 is not the answer.  We didn’t like it in November, 2010 and we don’t like it now!


Edited for spelling 3/28/2012 BBN

An Open Letter to Republican Leaders

Conservative Republicans from my home town of New Braunfels and all over Texas have made it a point to tell me that they are frustrated with you. Even as you begin asking for our support in next year’s election, y’all don’t seem to remember who brought you to the dance, and that we are supposed to lead.

You may have heard our Conservative song at times; even going so far as to dance all around your own Bills in order to appear in step with us. But you still dance to a beat we don’t like far too often.

We worked so hard last year to send a Republican majority to Austin and Washington, only to have the people we elected seem to pay little attention to us and our Party Platform.

In Austin, it was a compromise on the Speaker and toll roads. In DC, we’re watching this political theater about the budget and the debt ceiling.  Why are Republicans, with a majority in the House and a clear mandate from the voters, still getting bogged down in “negotiation?”

And don’t tell us how hard it is to hammer Bills into Laws. This is your job, the one you volunteered for. It can’t be any harder than what we did to get you there in 2010, and what you’ll ask us to do in 2012.  And we did it on top of our regular duties, not as a paid, full-time job!

After all the time and money we  invested in your campaigns before the primaries, some of us spent  thirteen hours working the polls on Primary Day and rushed from there to attend our Precinct Conventions.  Delegates to our Precinct and County Conventions gave up hours on Primary night and on a Saturday later in the month. Before these meetings, we reviewed the old Party Platform and carefully crafted new resolutions. Then we defended them at our Precinct, County and State Conventions. Some of us served on Convention Committees at the County and State level, giving more time to sift through the Resolutions, put them in order and finally come up with a Platform that our Delegates approved at the State Convention.

I’m sorry if this seems like I’m giving you a hard time, and I’d rather be spending my time encouraging you than griping. But, still,  if we can do all that, why can’t y’all cut spending in DC?

Edify, don’t split hairs

We Conservatives can split hairs finer than Baptists – or the Galatians and Ephesians to whom the Apostle Paul wrote 2000 years ago. Apostle Paul had good advice when he admonished us to edify one another and to gently correct our opponents.

Dividing Conservatives: Who Started This, Anyway?

(The ACLU is probably hiring lawyers as we speak. See! Government can create jobs outside of Government bureaucracies.)

Remember when we were told not to pay attention to what people do in the privacy of their own bedrooms? Now, they’re forcing us to watch. We didn’t start this round, but get ready: Conservatives who believe that marriage is between one man and one woman will be treated as divisive and accused of splitting the Conservative vote.

President Obama has declared his support for legislation ending the Defense of Marriage act. The bill, the Respect for Marriage Act, will be heard today in the Senate Judicial Committee.

The full title is, “S.598, The Respect for Marriage Act: Assessing the Impact of DOMA on American Families.” In the House, it’s H.R. 1116. According to the,

The bill which was introduced by Sens. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) would repeal all three sections of DOMA which places a strong federal hold against states rights in the matters of legalized same sex marriage recognition.

The new bill is set out to repeal specifically the sections in which DOMA defines marriage as the union between a man and a women, instructs states not to recognize same sex marriages performed in other states and prohibits the federal government from recognizing legally performed same-sex marriages.

Which is probably exactly where it should be heard. After all, now there can be more lawsuits,like this one in Vermont against private business owners who does not want to celebrate same sex marriage in their Inn.

There’s a conversation on Facebook about whether the phrase “gay conservative” is an oxymoron. I maintain that it is.  Will organizations like the Log Cabin Republicans still want to vote with Conservatives who are happy to form coalitions on fiscal  matters, small government, and the sanctity of life, but who won’t support the change they want to make in the family or the definition of marriage? Will they join in the debate in favor of “Respect for Marriage,” and how will they do it?

The basic unit of society is the family. Social experiments with the family are not conservative because they risk weakening that basic unit, the source of support and protection in times of crisis and where we learn the skills that allow us to function in the greater society.

There is no historical support for same sex couples forming a stable family.  There’s more empiric evidence for stable families resulting from polygamy. For that matter, the Egyptian Pharaohs, who practiced incest in order to keep their power in the family, managed to hold their reign together longer than the entire history of open same-sex lifestyle, much less the legalization of their “marriages.”

Those who disagree with me tell me to go along to get along and to quit bringing “the church” into politics, “because parties are about politics & policy issues not religious ideology.”

While I do have strong religious convictions, I don’t like to use religious arguments in politics. I don’t need to claim that the only reason to support traditional monogamous marriage is because marriage is a covenant with our Creator. I consider the fact that I can debate tough philosophical (even “ideology”) by using empirical arguments is proof that my position is close to the truth.

My fellow conservatives and I did not start this. The ones bringing in “controversy” are the ones who demand to make us aware of what should be a very private matter and that we agree with their redefinition of marriage and the family.  It is they who insist on dividing conservatives by identifying first as homosexual, then as fiscal conservatives, etc. This identification declares that their purpose is not to cut spending or support small government: their primary purpose in forming a political group is to gain sympathy for their true cause.
(edited, 11AM, 7-20-11, to remove a repeated sentence. 8-9-11, for grammar and to add link to NYT story on Vermont Inn.)

We Republicans

“We ended up with candidates chosen by the least knowledgeable voters.”

Here’s an older post that I wrote June 1, last year. It still applies, more than ever!

We Republicans are the Tea Party. If you look at the Tea Party, you will see the Conservative foundation, the remnant that have opposed “centrists” and “moderates” for years. We are the ones who have known all along what the Dems relearn each election cycle, but some of our own never seem to: Americans are conservative, to the right of center. When all the couch potatoes woke up last year, we were the ones who were here to welcome them and give them somewhere to start.

Some of us sat out the 2006 and even 2008 elections to “teach them a lesson;” that they need to legislate like Republicans if they want us to support them. Where Republicans turned out to vote, we held offices. Where the Republican voters were no-shows, we lost ground and offices. In a few cases, Republicans crossed over in the name of Chaos and strong conservatives were narrowly defeated in the Primaries, leaving us with a choice between a RINO, a Democrat or an under vote. We ended up with candidates chosen by the least knowledgeable voters.

Well, that was successful, wasn’t it? Can’t you just imagine all the true conservative candidates in the Presidential primary of 2008, each wishing the Chaos voters had turned out for them?

The Dems won a majority and then a super majority in the Federal House, Senate and the White House, allowing them to ram-rod their agenda to spread the wealth around, undermine families and threaten the weak and sick at all stages of life. Corrupt and corrupting Chris Dodd, Charlie Rangel, and John Conyers wield Committee Chairmanships when they should be indicted. The media ignored – and continues to ignore – our plainly stated opposition, underreporting our numbers and drowning out our voices as they proclaim that we lost because the Left better represented the voters and the Country was ready for Change! And now, the media and the liberals are crowing about the power of the tea partiers, and asking everyone who will give them a few seconds what we’ll “do” with “them.”

Unfortunately, the “moderate” Republicans and some of our conservatives didn’t learn the lesson we wanted to teach them. Instead, they decided they need to spend more time and money wooing the swing voters and undecideds. The Big Tent is looking more like a Circus. (See CPAC and “gay conservatives.”)

Many who have appropriated the title of “conservatives” – those who have never been active (or even voted) in the Republican Party before and those who spend their “meet-up” time with the Libertarian Party – are using any and all opportunities to infect the Party with their discontent. If they can destroy us for their own political gain and “Revolution,” they will be happy.

If your goal is to throw the bums out for the sake of defeating the old established leadership, if you think it’s your turn at power, even if you’ve never been involved, much less been a leader, then perhaps your motives aren’t as pure as they should be. Please reconsider what your real goal is and how – whether – your actions will achieve your purpose.

I Still Hate You, Sarah Palin (a golden oldie)

Do not forget. We must learn and develop our own brand of “Rules for Radicals,” without the obscenities. We must act accordingly.

I Still Hate You, Sarah Palin – David Kahane – National Review Online.

Let’s see: Life or Toll Roads?

Every 30 minutes, today, the “news” on the radio claimed that Governor Rick Perry can’t count on Texas Christian Conservatives.

Well, he sure could in November, 2010! (and 2006 and 2002, too!)

The San Antonio radio station, WOAI 1200 AM, is the local talk-show leader, with Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity and our own Joe “Pags” (I’m not even going to try to spell it – that’s what he calls himself). The Station has played harsh sound bites all day on the news, accusing Governor Perry of having “corporate slush funds.”(Money the Legislature has appropriated specifically for a specific purpose is not a “slush fund.”)

I admire the woman in question and believe that I agree with her on 98% of the issues. Terri Hall is the founder of San Antonio Toll Roads and Texans United for Reform and Freedom. I’ve held her baby while she lobbied, and testified with her against the expansion of toll roads and selling our infrastructure to foreign private interests this year.

I just don’t agree with her way of deciding which politicians to support. Matters of life and traditional marriage and family are enough to make me turn off on a politician – and they will also win my loyalty when there are some issues on which we disagree. (There’s a hierarchy: Life trumps Liberty, Liberty trumps Property and these all trump purely political divisions like how to pay for roads.)

The trouble is that Terri is as close to a one-issue person as I’ve seen, applauding pro-abortion Democrats in the same pages where she condemned those like State Rep Frank Corte. in his Republican Primary  a few years ago because he didn’t vote the way she demanded on toll roads. Never mind that Rep. Corte is one of the most conservative men in Texas and the author of dozens of pro-life and pro-family Bills that became law. Never mind that while in office, he was constantly attacked from the Left (called “Frank ‘the Fetus'”), and that her opposition fed their glee.

And yet, I can still join her in those fights we agree on.

We Conservatives can split hairs finer than Baptists – or the Galatians and Ephesians to whom the Apostle Paul wrote 2000 years ago. Whether you’re a Christian or not, Paul had gave good advice when he admonished us to edify one another and to gently correct our opponents.

Edited for grammar, 18:20, 7-7-11, BBN)

Republicans: we eat our own

Can you imagine the grief of fighting the Progressives AND the Conservatives from the right, all the time? Do you ever send approval to our elected officials when they do the right thing? Do you ever offer constructive ideas, or do you bounce around like a ping pong ball, from one sound bite presented by the the lame stream media to another, with no control over your own direction?

Case in point:  I’ve been following the blogs and the rants and reactions to what they perceive as compromise on the part of Republicans, according to reports in the New York Timesand the Houston Chronicle’s coverage of yesterday’s interview with Senator John Cornyn of Texas on Fox News Sunday.  It seems very few people look for the original video, which is on-line, here,  at Fox News.

Senator Cornyn flatly stated that the Republicans will not support and the American People do not want tax increases. From a more balanced article on the interview at the Wall Street Journal:

Republicans want major spending cuts before they agree to increase the debt cap. Many insist the budget deal can’t include any tax increase. But like Mr. Cornyn, some have opened the window to raising federal revenue. That could pave the way for an agreement.

Mr. Cornyn said Sunday he wanted any broad revamp of the tax code to be revenue neutral, meaning it shouldn’t bring in more cash than the current system. There may not be enough time to strike such a tax deal before Aug. 2, he said.

“But it ought to be the first thing we turn to, to make our tax code more rational. We could bring down rates, eliminate a lot of the tax expenditures and loopholes,” he said.

If the sides don’t reach a long-term budget accord this month, Mr. Cornyn said Congress may have to approve a short-term deal.

“The big problems aren’t going to go away if you cut a mini-deal, all it does is delay the moment of truth. So I’d say better now than then, but if we can’t, we’ll take the savings we can get now and we will re-litigate this as we get closer to the election,” he said.

The Dems WANT the government to shut down. They can’t wait to blame it on the unyielding, “political” Republicans. Worse, they’re floating the idea that Obama can ignore Congress’ will on the debt ceiling. And somehow, the far left always manages to control one another and stay on the same page while revving up the mob that wants to redistribute wealth, secure abortion on demand and declare war on our family values and children’s innocence but not on terrorists from a culture that would kill them in a minute for the very things they support.

The media, the Left, and our own reactionary mob will convince the rest of the country that the Republican leadership’s attempts at solutions are worthless political posturing. Our mob will be worse: making the perfect the enemy of good and dredging up old slights and rivalries.

I’ve been writing about Senator Cornyn and the ceiling debt, but could just as well be discussing Governor Perry or any number of State and Federal politicians and issues. If you’re at all able, look for the original source and/or two reports before making up your mind when you hear or read anything our Republican leaders in the media.

@bnuckols tweets

Click here to get your “Choose Life” license plate

Rick Perry RickPAC

Yes, I'm still for Governor Perry!


What to read around here