Friday, January 20, 2012

The Final Five: January 20, 2012

The Final Five: Bedtime Stories for Conservatives
January 19, 2012

Tonight's Crazy Story:
Illinois Woman Accused of Bringing 5-Year-Old Son to Bank Heist
The title says it all...


Topic One: The Tea Party's Relevance
Is the tea party movement still relevant in this year's election? I would contend that the tea party's influence is not nearly as strong as it was in 2010. One possible reason is because the grassroots nature of the tea party does not lend itself to a national presidential campaign. However, an American Thinker article by Peter Heck contends otherwise. Heck does make two excellent points. First, the tea party was not about regaining a Republican majority or winning the presidency; it was about fighting for smaller government. Second, Mitt Romney was the "conservative" choice in 2008, but he is now considered the moderate candidate. An argument could be made that this is due to his healthcare law (which was not an issue in 2008), but the influx of conservatism in Washington could also play a role. Using these standards, the tea party is doing well. Almost all of the candidates in the election have shifted to the right in order to appeal to the Republicans. It is true that this is a general trend (campaign to the right in the primary; campaign from the center in the general election), but the move to the right has been much greater this year. Also, the tea party has done an excellent job opposing big government and fighting for change in Washington. However, it is also true that the candidate with ideals closest to that of the tea party was also the first to drop out after the election started. Without a tea party candidate in the race, it remains to be seen whether Republicans will come to the polls like they did two years ago.


There's Always Time for a Laugh:
"A hiker who was lost in a blizzard said he stayed alive by digging a snow tunnel and burning dollar bills for warmth. Today he was offered a job as President Obama's economic adviser."
-Jay Leno


Topic Two: SOPA/PIPA
A victory for freedom today as Scary Harry announced that a vote on PIPA will be postponed. Peter Scheer writes that Corporations need the protection of the first amendment, so that they can protest without fear of government reprisal. "Their good intentions notwithstanding, those who believe corporations have no free speech rights (or that they should have, at most, a second-rate version of the free speech protections for individuals), should realize that only the First Amendment stands in the way of governmental punishment-legislative, regulatory or otherwise-against Google and other Fifth Estate corporations for their inciting of public opinion against SOPA-style legislation."

Meanwhile, former Senator and Hollywood lobbyist Chris Dodd said that piracy will decimate the entertainment industry. However, the tech industry currently has the upper hand in this debate, and given the recent loss of support for these bills in Congress, it appears that the bills could be headed for failure.


Debt Watch:
On Thursday, the government spent a mere $1,513,829.40 over its revenues, bringing the national debt to:
$15,236,280,735,687.76


Topic Three: Iran
Rick Richman has an article discussing Obama's failures on Iran. "...the administration will not commit to “any particular action beyond ratcheting up rhetorical pressures and economic sanctions” and will try only to “say enough to keep Israel from pulling its own unilateral trigger.” If Carney’s remarks are any indication, Obama plans to congratulate himself on Tuesday for a consensus that pre-dated him, avoid any commitment beyond what has repeatedly failed in Cuba, Iraq, and North Korea, and hope this will take him beyond November." As I have mentioned here before, Iran will only talk when it allows them to delay other actions and still pursue their weapons.

Alan Elsner writes that the US has been unclear in analyzing the Iran situation. "The ongoing campaign of sabotage and targeted killing is clearly having a powerful psychological effect and has slowed the Iranian program. But the question remains whether these tactics, even in combination with the tough sanctions scheduled to take effect in coming weeks, can actually stop it."


Tweets of the Day:
Ken Gardner (@kesgardner): Obama claims 60 days wasn't long enough to decide on the pipeline. But you know what took less than 60 days to approve? Solyndra. #tcot


Topic Four: Home Ownership
Dan Caplinger has an good article contending that the falling rate of home ownership is good. I agree with his argument: there are people who received mortgages who never should have been granted the loans. However, I would take it one step farther and also contend that this is necessary for the economy to recover. Any time we have a "bubble," we will have to bring the level back to normal before recovery can occur.

CNN analyzes the failure of Obama's housing policy. I agree with the contention that Obama just kicked the can down the road with his housing policy. Mortgage modifications might help a few families, but most of the families that could not afford their original mortgage would not be helped by a modified mortgage. However, even more important, Obama has not solved the unemployment problem, which greatly affects the housing problem.


Food for Thought - A Quote from our Founders
"No country upon earth ever had it more in its power to attain these blessings than United America. Wondrously strange, then, and much to be regretted indeed would it be, were we to neglect the means and to depart from the road which Providence has pointed us to so plainly; I cannot believe it will ever come to pass."
-George Washington


Topic Five: The Keystone Pipeline
The Weekly Standard editor Fred Barnes writes twelve things we can learn about Obama because of the Keystone Pipeline decision. He shows how the pipeline decision shows that Obama is going to run from the left. I would contend that it also shows that Obama will only concern himself with pandering to his constituencies while ignoring the real problems America faces.


Tomorrow in History
January 21, 1789 - The first American novel, The Power of Sympathy or the Triumph of Nature Founded in Truth, is published in Boston, Massachusetts.


Grab Bag - Interesting Stories to Conclude Your Evening
If Chicago has such great gun control, why is this news?

Obama says we can't wait, but then waits on Keystone jobs

Democrats want "Reasonable Profits Board" to control corporate profits

Chivalry died in the gender equality movement


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Free Thinking: The Election

Instead of writing a column advocating for a specific policy, I am going to try something different tonight and just write down some of my current thoughts on a topic.

Perry's withdrawal leaves four candidates in the race for the Republican nomination, and now I am not sure who I will support. I already wrote on why I cannot support Ron Paul here, and I stand by my comments. Under a Ron Paul presidency, we would be living in fear, and fear is the greatest ally of those who desire progressive change.

Mitt Romney's record concerns me. His support for an individual health insurance mandate and government health subsidies are not the type of policies we want to put up against a President who has made those topics a part of his signature legislation. The fact that the mainstream media and even Obama's own team wants to run against Romney shows that they view Romney as the least-likely candidate to defeat Obama, no matter what the polls might suggest right now. (Remember, the election is 10 months away, and the GOP has not selected its nominee yet.)

Rick Santorum concerns me for a similar reason. Every candidate that has experienced a "surge" has immediately been attacked by the media. Bachmann was criticized as an imbecile. Perry imploded before the media had the chance to run much on him, but ads like this show that they were looking for dirt. Herman Cain's campaign withered under the scrutiny of sexual harassment allegations. Newt Gingrich was first attacked as a narcissist, and now that he has experienced a second surge, his personal life is gaining attention. However, Santorum did not experience these attacks after he surged just before Iowa. This makes me question what the media and Obama have on him that could be used in the general election to clinch an Obama victory.

That leaves Newt Gingrich. Yes, he has plenty of baggage, but that is not exactly breaking news. He also has made some poor associations since his time as Speaker, but he admits that some of those were a mistake. However, he does have two strengths. First, he has a record of conservative leadership that no other remaining candidate has. Romney's record as governor is as a moderate; Paul and Santorum have no record as leaders. Gingrich helped lead the fight for the first balanced budget in decades and for reform of the welfare program. Second, Gingrich is definitely the best debater in the field. He is an intelligent man who can think on his feet, and he would certainly be able to dismantle the Obama rhetoric in a debate. However, I do not know how much this would help Gingrich with the voters.

This is certainly not an endorsement of Newt Gingrich. At this point, I still do not know who I would feel comfortable supporting. I would definitely exclude Paul and Romney, but I have difficulty choosing between Santorum and Gingrich. There are positives and negatives to both candidates, and weighing them will certainly be difficult.

Washington Update: January 20, 2012

Senate
The Senate will hold another pro forma today at 2 PM. The full Senate is expected to return on Monday, January 23.

House
The House met for a pro forma session yesterday. The House's next full session will convene on Monday, January 23 at 2 PM.

Committee Meetings
There are no committee meetings scheduled for today.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

The Final Five: January 19, 2012

The Final Five: Bedtime Stories for Conservatives
January 19, 2012

Tonight's Crazy Story:
Bank Robber Calls 911 On Himself: Cincinnati, Ohio Police Arrest Frank Coleman
A man robbed a bank, and then called police to turn himself in 30 minutes later. He was found waiting right where he said he would be.


Topic One: Compromise
RedState's Daniel Horowitz has some analysis on the effects of the Budget Control Act that raised the debt ceiling last year. "On August 1, the total federal debt stood at $14,342,358,440,969.10. Today, it stands at $15,236,288,061,558.65. That’s an increase of $894 billion. What’s the significance of August 1? That is the day Congress passed the Budget Out-of-Control Act. It took us from the country’s founding until 1982 to accrue $894 billion in debt, yet we have accomplished that in a half year. Thus, on average, we have incurred an additional $5.26 billion in debt since passage of the debt deal. That’s $219 million per hour."

Another RedState column from Erick Erickson shows the ridiculous nature of the compromises where the Republicans supposedly won. "Republicans were supposed to have big wins on the debt ceiling and on the Keystone XL Pipeline. They told us they had played the Democrats. Instead, we played ourselves." Winning in this matter requires a fair and unbiased media--something we do not have. If the media had brought attention to the debt ceiling vote and the Keystone Pipeline decision, then it might make a difference. Unfortunately, they glossed over these issues in favor of the latest Kardashian news and viral videos that distract all of us from the real issues facing our nation.


There's Always Time for a Laugh:
"President Obama took Michelle out to a steak restaurant for her birthday, marking the first time in months the words “Obama” and “well done” appeared in the same sentence."
-Jimmy Fallon


Topic Two: SOPA/PIPA
Yesterday, several sites staged a blackout in order to protest SOPA and PIPA. Today, protesters took to the streets in New York to voice their opposition. In talking with people, I have found very few--both Republicans and Democrats--who support them. This is a clear case of Congress selling out to the interests of those who have the big money. It is true that we need to stop online piracy, but restricting freedom is not the way to do it.

The New York Times had a Room for Debate section yesterday on SOPA. I particularly agree with the opinion of Julian Sanchez in "Focus on Innovation Instead." Innovation can make piracy unattractive while still providing the desired service at a low cost. Combine this approach with stiff fines for those who do participate in piracy, and we can find a common sense solution without resorting to the type of censorship allowed by SOPA and PIPA.

Two final links. First, WaPo describes internet censorship around the world. Second, if you want to have a good laugh, you can see Hitler's response to SOPA. Of course, if SOPA passes, this will obviously be in violation and need to be removed.


Debt Watch:
On Wednesday, the government reduced the debt by $8,839,700.29, bringing the current national debt to:
$15,236,279,221,858.36


Topic Three: ObamaCare
What do small businesses--one of the driving forces of our economy--fear most? ObamaCare. 74 percent of businesses believe that the health care deform law is impeding hiring. Of course, HHS Secretary Sebelius says that small businesses will benefit from the law and that they only oppose the law because of "misinformation." This is just more typical Obama administration rhetoric that treats Americans as if they are dumb. We only oppose the law because we do not understand what is best for us.

A USA Today article shows another problem with ObamaCare: people using the Emergency Room for dental problems. This problem will not get better as we expand health care to more people.


Tweets of the Day:
Marty Beckerman (@martybeckerman): I keep buying Greek yogurt, why isn't Greece's economy better yet? :( #compassion


Topic Four: Tax Rates
This Lennard Davis Op-Ed in the Huffington Post deserves an award for being containing the greatest stupidity. Davis shows that he does not understand the difference between an effective tax rate and a tax bracket. Those who make $34,000 annually do not pay 15% of their income in taxes: they pay 0% on a portion of it, 10% on another portion of it, and then 15% on the rest. Romney did not say he was in the 15% tax bracket; he said he pays 15% in taxes. His income is likely due to a large amount of capital gains income, which is set at that same rate. It is fine that he disagrees on the specifics of the tax code (I actually agree that there are way too many tax breaks), but it is flat-out wrong to claim that he pays the same tax rate as someone who makes $34,000 annually.

The USA Today has an explanation of the difference. The article explains that the average effective rate is 11% and that those making under $50,000 average paying a mere 5%. This is completely different from what Davis's Op-Ed would have us believe. Another reason that Romney's effective rate is so low is because FICA taxes are not calculated on capital gains. While the majority of Americans have this deducted from their paychecks, the self-employed must report and pay a 13.3% tax on their self-employment income. This lead to higher rates for those (like Gingrich) whose income comes from work as an independent contractor through consulting and speaking engagements.


Food for Thought - A Quote from our Founders
"It already appears, that there must be in every society of men superiors and inferiors, because God has laid in the constitution and course of nature the foundations of the distinction."
-John Adams


Topic Five: The Election
We are now down to the final four candidates, as Perry announced today that he is suspending his campaign and endorsing Newt Gingrich. Then, just when we thought we were done with Iowa, we have this news: Santorum might have won, so lets just call it a tie. They are now admitting that one of the most-watched nomination just got botched by eight precincts with disappearing ballots.


Tomorrow in History
January 20, 1981 - Iran releases 52 American hostages only twenty minutes after the inauguration of Ronald Reagan as President.


Grab Bag - Interesting Stories to Conclude Your Evening
Bill Clinton tells the truth

Boehner says he picked the wrong time for payroll tax fight

Not so picture perfect: Kodak files for bankruptcy

Homeland Security Dept. cancels 1600 deportations


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We Need Right-To-Work

Imagine walking out the door after your first day on the job and being met by a man with a gun. The man sticks the gun to your head and tells you that if you do not give him your money, he will injure you so that you will never be able work there again. Some might try to fight, and others might agree to pay the money, but everyone would report a theft of this nature to the police and hope the perpetrator is caught and brought to justice for this illegal act. However, a similar case of theft takes place legally at workplaces in 28 American states when union bosses force employees to pay dues whether or not they actually support the union. Furthermore, unlike the example, this theft is not a one-time deduction; it is a robbery that takes place each payday. However, federal labor law does allow states to choose whether or not to legalize this theft. Legislation currently under consideration by the Indiana legislature would make the state the 23rd to approve right-to-work legislation. Contrary to what the unions want you to believe, this does not eliminate unions. It simply gives employees something that is basic to the American experiment: freedom.

I am a supporter of the right to unionize. I currently work for an employer with a union, and I have seen many cases where union representation was needed to resolve situations. I worked in a similar job for a different employer where there was no union, and I also saw situations there where union representation would have been desirable. If the workers desire to group together in order to request better wages or benefits or to obtain representation to resolve situations, then they should have the right to form that group.

What I cannot support is the forced thievery by unions that currently takes place in 28 states. When a person accepts a job with a union employer in one of these states, the person must begin paying dues to the union. This forced deduction takes place regardless of the desires of the new employee. The person begins paying dues and is automatically enrolled as a union member. If the person does not wish to become a member, they can request that their name be removed from the membership list, but they still must allow the dues to be taken from their paycheck. Unions say the forced dues are necessary because everyone benefits from the union's work.

Furthermore, many of the people who are paying these dues did not even have a vote for the union. A union exists from the time it is certified in an election until the time it is either decertified in a similar election or the company is closed. In between those times, the company continues to hire new employees to replace ones who quit or were fired. Since it only takes 50% plus 1 to certify the union, it is possible in some cases that one union-supporting employee's resignation could drop the support of the union below the needed level. However, unless employees go through the difficult process of attempting a decertification vote, no one knows if the union actually has the support of the employees. After years of having a union, there will be very few people left at the company who actually voted for the union. This does not mean that the union would not have the support of the employees (enough of the new employees hired could still support the union), but it does mean that the union has the benefit of being able to exist without the support of the individuals it represents.

Right-to-work legislation solves both of these problems. First, in a right-to-work state, employees choose whether or not the union is worth supporting. My home state, Kentucky, is not a private-sector right-to-work state, but public-sector employees in Kentucky do have the benefit of right-to-work provisions. As a public-sector employee, I have the freedom to choose whether or not I would like to take advantage of the union's benefits. I have personally chosen not to support the union, but I can understand the reasons why many of my co-workers do support it. I can choose to have the dues taken out of my pay, but I am not forced to hand over my money to a union without consent.

Second, in a right-to-work state, unions only have the support of the employees who choose to join. While the employees may not actually have the opportunity to cast a vote for or against certification, the employees can cast a vote of support or opposition to the union when they fill out (or decline to fill out) the form authorizing the union payroll deduction. Therefore, the union's membership roll serves as an up-to-date list of who supports the union rather than an up-to-date list of who works at a particular company.

Right-to-work legislation does not affect the right of employees to unionize; it only affects the freedom of employees to decide whether or not the union will be granted access to a portion of their earnings. Unions have devised a variety of arguments in their own defense, but the truth is that the union leaders are only interested in protecting their own power. Right-to-work legislation forces unions to compete for a person's money just like every other business that strives to earn that person's financial support. If the union is doing a great job of protecting the employee in the workplace, the union will receive overwhelming support. If the union does a poor job, support will quickly dwindle. It is time for America to stop turning a blind eye to the theft that occurs with every paycheck from a union workplace in over half of American states.

Washington Update: January 19, 2012

Senate
The Senate will hold another pro forma on Friday at 2 pm. The full Senate is expected to return on Monday, January 23.

House
The House held two votes which led to passing a resolution of disapproval on the President's request to raise the debt ceiling. The motion passed the House by a vote of 239-176. The House will meet in a pro forma session today before adjourning for the weekend.

Committee Meetings
There are no committee meetings scheduled for today.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

The Final Five: January 18, 2012

The Final Five: Bedtime Stories for Conservatives
January 18, 2012

Tonight's Crazy Story:
Indiana Mom Forces Son to Wear 'I Lie, I Steal' Sign on Street Corner
A mother in Fort Wayne, Indiana, made her son stand on a street corner with a sign saying, "I lie, I steal, I sell drugs, I don't follow the law." Some onlookers called the police, but they said that the "unconventional" punishment was not illegal.


Topic One: Education
California Governor Jerry Brown released today that he will call for less testing during his State of the State address tomorrow. This might be a historic moment in that California's leadership may be proposing something I can actually support. If testing is a learning tool (as many say), then America should have the greatest educational system in the world. Unfortunately, America's education is failing to keep up, and the high amount of testing done is part of the reason. Instead of forcing educators to teach particular topics and then "checking up" on the teachers and students through use of testing, we should focus on ways to establish these evaluation outside of handing students a sheet with circles to fill in. Testing is an important part of the educational system and should not be abolished entirely, but it does need to be reduced.

Mary Ann Rankin, President of the National Math and Science Initiative, wrote a HuffPo Op-Ed about the need for good teachers. If teaching was really such a wonderful job that pays a good wage and provides great benefits, why are schools struggling to find qualified teachers? The truth is that a first-year teachers make barely more than minimum wage on a per-hour basis, after factoring in time for preparing lessons, grading papers, and attending required conferences and other activities. Complicating this problem is the fact that the more time a teacher spends on work-related activities, the less the per-hour pay becomes. Any businessman knows that the rate of pay is related to the quality of applicants applying for a job. When a person can choose between a career making a starting salary $50,000-$75,000 or teaching in the same field at a salary of $18,000, most will choose the higher salary. Then, those who enter the teaching field do so because it is a job--not a passion--and the education of students is secondary to receiving a paycheck. If we want to improve our educational system, we must find ways to attract better teachers.


There's Always Time for a Laugh:
"Today is Martin Luther King Jr. Day, a day everyone in my studio audience decided to celebrate by seeing the whitest man on television."
-Conan O'Brien


Topic Two: SOPA
Today is blackout day for several sites, including Wikipedia and Reddit. These sites blacked out in protest of the SOPA and PIPA bills currently before Congress. These sites accurately contend that enacting this law will make it difficult for new sites to start and compete. While the government would be unlikely to go after a large site such as Facebook, imagine the ramifications of the government essentially shutting down the next Facebook in its infancy because a user broke copyright law. Neither law will curb piracy, but they both will curb freedom of speech. The fight over these bills is far from over, but recent developments do indicate momentum in the direction of freedom rather than censorship.


Debt Watch:
DEBT
$15,236,323,396,400.44


Topic Three: The Arab Spring
Egpyt's transition to democracy is likely not what the people had in mind. Egypt's military is attempting to hold onto its power, the Islamist party holds approximately 40 percent of the seats in the new Parliament, and the two groups are looking for ways to work together. This looks more like a recipe for an Islamic dictatorship than a democracy. Meanwhile, Egypt's military rulers have warned of a "grave danger", but they promise that the military will protect Egyptians from it. It is worrisome anytime a government comes promising to look out for your interests; government rarely places the interests of its citizens about its own interests.

Thomas Freidman writes in a NY Times Op-Ed that we are entering a time of complicated diplomacy. I disagree with his contention that the Islamist parties had little intention to take over Egypt, but I do agree that diplomacy with the region has just become a lot more difficult as a result. This is even further complicated by the presence of Israel in the region. Hopefully, we will continue to stand with Israel no matter what course the other nations of the region choose. Unfortunately, our support for Israel could end as soon as November if we choose the wrong President.


Tweets of the Day:
Chris Barron (@ChrisRBarron): BREAKING: Romney is a rich guy running for President! Shocking esp with the grand tradition of paupers getting elected President


Topic Four: Congressional Deadlock
2011 in Congress was filled with three major discussions. First, we had the budget (which should have been completed by October 1, 2010, but had been extended with multiple continuing resolutions.) Second, we had the debt ceiling debate, which gave Obama the biggest debt ceiling increase in history and gave us the failed supercommittee. Finally, we had the payroll tax cut extension, in which Republicans gave in to the Senate and approved a two-month extension with a promise to consider a full-year extension after the holiday break. Now, two of those issues are showing up at once.

First, the payroll tax cut debate was never truly resolved. Both sides say that they want to extend the cut, but neither one can agree on how to do it. (If they both want to do it, would it be too much to ask for a bill that just keeps the payroll tax cut without any other stuff added on?) A conference committee is expected to work out the differences between the House and Senate proposals, but only time will tell if the conference works out any better than the supercommittee.

Second, the debt ceiling debate is coming back now that the President has requested the final phase of the increase approved last August. Congress does have the right to stop the increase, but it will take a two-thirds majority in both chambers to overrule a Presidential veto of a resolution to stop it. Both houses will likely vote on a resolution of disapproval, but it will ultimately do nothing to stop the increase.


Food for Thought - A Quote from our Founders
"The reformation was preceded by the discovery of America, as if the Almighty graciously meant to open a sanctuary to the persecuted in future years, when home should afford neither friendship nor safety."
-Thomas Paine


Topic Five: Iran
So far the President's response to the Iranian crisis has been to do virtually nothing. Even the sanctions implemented are implemented at the President's discretion, and that could mean that they will never be put into place. Jonathan Tobin has a piece analyzing whether the President will be able to get away with inaction on Iran. Wait! Today, we find out that Obama might have done something about Iran: propose talks. Of course Iran would be interested in talking as long as it delays any other actions and allows them to reach their goal of a nuclear weapon. Otherwise, talking is a recipe for failure.


Tomorrow in History
January 19, 1953 - Lucille Ball gives birth on her show, I Love Lucy. 68% of American televisions tuned in to watch the episode.


Grab Bag - Interesting Stories to Conclude Your Evening
Does Obama push food stamps?

Wisconsin submits 1 million signatures to recall Walker, but will it be enough?

Forbes Columnist: the ability to fire people creates more jobs

Will the wealth tax kill our economy?


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Mid-Week Media: More Solyndras, Dead Voters, Uncle Barry, Campaign Quotes, and Volleyball

It's Wednesday! That means it is time to take a look at some of the best media from the past week.

CBS did a report on how the energy department has wasted taxpayer money on green projects:


Project Veritas produced a video showing how easy it is for dead people to vote in a state without at Voter ID law. Look at all the dead people who would have been disenfranchised by Republicans pushing Voter ID laws:


Chris Matthews was unintentionally correct just before going to break:


Uncle Obama has a message for YOU:


Here are some examples of campaign quotes taken out of context:


Obama is concerned that everyone pay their fair share...well, half of everyone anyway:


Finally, two Chinese volleyball teams created quite the rally in a recent match:

Washington Update: January 18, 2012

Senate
The Senate met in a pro forma session yesterday. They will hold another pro forma on Friday at 2 pm. The full Senate is expected to return on Monday, January 23.

House
The House reconvened yesterday to begin the second session. Their first order of business was to accept the resignation of Sergeant-at-arms William Livingood and to elect Paul Irving as the new Sergeant-at-arms. The House then approved resolutions to notify the President and Senate that the House had reconvened.

Today the full House will consider H.J. Res. 98 which will express disapproval of the President's request to raise the debt ceiling.

Committee Meetings
There are three House committees and one joint committee meeting today:
  • Two subcommittees of the Financial Services Committee will hold a hearing on the economic impact of the Volker Rule.
  • The Intelligence Committee will examine a report on the role of the Dept. of Homeland Security.
  • The Ways and Means Committee will consider H.R.1173, the Fiscal Responsibility and Retirement Security Act of 2011, which will repeal the CLASS program.
  • The Joint Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe will continue its hearing on the Western Balkans and the NATO Summit.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

The Final Five: January 17, 2012

The Final Five: Bedtime Stories for Conservatives
January 17, 2012

Tonight's Crazy Story:
Ringing Cellphone Disrupts New York Philharmonic Performance
If you are attending a classical music concert, the last thing you want to do is forget to turn your cell phone off and have it ring in the middle of the performance. However, if it does happen, it can be even more of an annoyance if you refuse to admit your mistake and let it keep ringing. At a recent New York Philharmonic concert, the disruption became so bad that the conductor stopped the performance until the phone was silenced.


Topic One: The Election
Romney appears headed for a sweep of the first four contests. South Carolina has Romney 32, Gingrich 21, Paul 14, Santorum 13. Meanwhile, Florida has Romney 42, Gingrich 25, Santorum 9, Paul 8. Still, the tight race in the opening states yields a close delegate count. However, after saying earlier that it did not matter, Santorum now says that a recount of the Iowa caucus votes could make him the winner. This would not matter much. Ultimately, this is a race for delegates, not votes, and the delegate estimates would likely remain unchanged.

An interesting article written by Rob Long is up at National Review. He contends that Ron Paul's candidacy is good for America. "...it does suggest a sad conclusion: that the job of the constitutional candidate — the ombudsman for the founding document, the champion of the framers — is unlikely to appeal to anyone except the humorless crank at the end of the bar. And that’s not Ron Paul’s fault. That’s ours." Paul's candidacy has raised some very good points about America straying from the Constitution. Long's claim might be correct: America needs someone each election who will point out the ways both parties are straying from its founding principles. And while Paul may constantly be cast as a crazy man, perhaps his voice will be what pulls our nation back toward the government our founders imagined.


There's Always Time for a Laugh:
"Some big election news. Jon Huntsman has officially dropped out of the 2012 presidential race. Wow, not having Jon Huntsman on the campaign trail is gonna be like . . . Well, it’s gonna be like having Jon Huntsman on the campaign trail."
-Jimmy Fallon


Topic Two: "Recess" Appointments
Politicians are continuing to debate whether or not Congress was actually in recess when Obama made his recess appointments. Yesterday, National Right-to-Work Foundation President Mark Mix caused a stir when he stated that the appointments have created a constitutional crisis. The interesting fact (as this article and many others have pointed out) is that the practice of holding pro forma sessions to stop recess appointments was started not by Republicans, but by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. Reid's support for Obama's appointments now shows that he was either bluffing when he tried this tactic during the Bush administration or that his opinions can be modified whenever it is politically expedient to do so. (My guess is that it is the second.)

Michael Barone calls the recess appointments one-man rule. "The Framers thought it more important to limit power than for government to act quickly. Barack Obama disagrees. Republican presidential candidates have been praising the Founding Fathers. Obama has been defying them. Interesting contrast." Jim Yardley has further analysis, saying that Obama just sneaks around any rules he views as "inconvenient."


Debt Watch:
Last Friday, the government reduced the debt by $8,837,447.91, bringing the total debt to:
$15,236,323,396,400.44


Topic Three: Congressional Divisiveness
Politico has a great article on the partisanship in Washington that Obama has failed to transcend. To be fair, some of the divisiveness in Congress is due to the 2010 rise of the tea party, which has stood on principle instead of compromising. (I am not saying that is a bad thing; only that it is not due to Obama's actions alone.) However, this was due to Obama's first two years in which he pushed legislation through without concern for any party other than his own.

Lawrence Wolf had a great response to Reid's comments today. "My conclusion is simple. Harry's view of extreme is, well, extreme. Where else but in the extraordinary mind of Harry Reid would a balanced budget be extreme? Where else but in Washington DC would the idea of cutting public funding for a Cowboy poetry reading and the studying shrimp exercising be extreme? Are the Tea Party extremists so heartless as to expect Cowboys to fund their own poetry reading? Do these Tea Party extremists really expect shrimp to exercise unsupervised? Most assuredly, forcing shrimp to exercise without public funding, borders on cruel and unusual; at least in the mind of Harry Reid."


Tweets of the Day:
Craig Carroll (@craigcarroll): The Senate Democrats have not passed a budget in 13.8 Kim Kardashian marriages. #tcot #p2


Topic Four: ObamaCare
Politico's Jennifer Haberkorn raises a good point about the ObamaCare issue: it will ultimately be decided in the next election, not at the Supreme Court. I agree. If Democrats retake the House and maintain their control of the Presidency and the Senate, they can reintroduce to fix any Constitutional issues raised by the Supreme Court. If Republicans control both houses and the Presidency, the majority of the law will be repealed. Split control of the three institutions will make it difficult for both parties, and it would likely depend on which party controls each of the two houses. However, the implication is clear: regardless of the outcome of the court case, this election will decide the future of the (Un)Affordable Care Act.

Two more good reads on health care. First, Sally Pipes has excerpts from her book on repealing and replacing ObamaCare. Second, Robert Samuelson discusses how the poor economy has reduced health care spending.


Food for Thought - A Quote from our Founders
"Foreign influence is truly the Grecian horse to a republic. We cannot be too careful to exclude its influence."
-Alexander Hamilton


Topic Five: Iran
An NYT Op-Ed yesterday makes the most ridiculous claim: create a "nuclear free zone" in the Middle East. Iran or any other nation will never give up their weapons. They have already shown that they will only consent to global agreements when it advances their cause. Iran may go along with this plan, but just because they agree to a plan does not mean that they will cease all attempts to develop a nuclear weapon. The Jerusalem Post agrees, saying that military action must be kept on the table as a deterrent. In other news, are Barbies "immoral"? Iran thinks they are, and is now claiming that they need to be removed from all stores in the nation. However, the article points out that toy versions of the spy drone Iran recently captured will be allowed. I'm sure the girls just can't wait to trade their Barbies in for a model spy drone! Isn't political Islam just a wonderful bastion of freedom and liberty?


Tomorrow in History
January 18, 1903 - President Theodore Roosevelt's radio message to King Edward VII of Great Britain is the first transatlantic radio message to originate in the United States.


Grab Bag - Interesting Stories to Conclude Your Evening
Occupy protesters welcome Congress back to DC

Fed considers printing more money

UK Olympic security documents left on train

US toughens policies on illegal immigration


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America Needs Hope and Change

This article originally appeared here on October 28, 2011.

“Hope” and “Change.” Two words that captivated the attention of America three years ago, and ultimately, it was these words that fueled the selection of our current President. While Republicans have taken to mocking these two words (“How's that hopey changey feeling working out for you?”), perhaps they should look a little more closely at these two words and see what they can learn about Americans.

Contrary to what many of my fellow conservatives would like to admit, Obama's message was exactly what the country wanted and needed in 2008. Americans had spent the last eight years under a president who campaigned as a conservative but governed as liberal—if not more liberal—than the man who preceded him. (For example: Clinton signed welfare reform; Bush signed the Medicare prescription drug package.) At the same time, we were engaged in two wars that we won quite handily, only to find our military incapable of ending civilian rebellions that followed. Meanwhile, many Americans were losing their houses, and those who could afford to stay in their homes were finding they owed more than the homes were now worth. Toss in rising unemployment and the largest deficits in American history (at the time), and it was not a pretty picture for America. If there was one thing that Americans wanted in a president, it was someone who could provide hope and change: hope that America would regain its economic strength and solutions for change to make that happen.

Americans responded positively to Obama's 2008 message: the Democratic base turned out in unprecedented numbers. However, in the almost three years since that election, Americans have come to realize that they were fooled. Good marketing sold a message of hope and change, but the product failed to meet expectations. America failed to ask Obama what his ideas of “hope and change” really meant. Under Obama, Americans have seen more “business as usual” instead of “change we can believe in.” Unemployment and debt continue to rise, many houses are still underwater, and we are still in Afghanistan and only now talking about getting out of Iraq. Given all these scenarios, it is no wonder that Obama's approval ratings continue to fall. Americans were promised change, but little has changed, and the changes that Obama has implemented have not been what Americans hoped for.

We have now begun the time for Republicans to determine who will contest Obama in the 2012 election. However, Republican candidates need to take a lesson from the president's 2008 campaign. Instead of spending their time attacking each other or attacking Obama, the candidates need to begin laying out their own message, centered around the ideas of “hope” and “change.” America needs someone willing to stand up and lay out a real plan to change America for the better. America needs a president who will change an over-regulating executive branch that is stifling job creation. America needs a president who will change course in the Middle East and allow us to put out the insurgencies in Iraq and Afghanistan. America needs a President who will change our financial priorities and reduce the debt instead of piling on more debt. America needs a president who will provide hope to the jobless by laying out a plan that business leaders—not academic economists who have never created a single job—say will increase hiring.

The problem with the Obama presidency was not the message of hope and change, but the lack of action that followed the message. Defeating Obama in 2012 is certainly possible, but it will require a strong leader with a strong message. That message, however, can be as simple as using the ideas behind the two words Obama rode to the presidency three years ago. However, unlike 2008, Americans will not be fooled by mere words, and will expect a plan of action from whoever is the nominee. A message and a plan that provides hope and promises change could be exactly what America still needs.

Washington Update: January 17, 2012

Senate
The Senate will meet in a pro forma session today at 10:15 AM. The full Senate is currently scheduled to convene next Monday, January 23.

House
The full House will meet to open the second session of the 112th Congress today at 2 PM.

Committee Meetings
There are two House committees and one joint committee meeting today:
  • The House Armed Services Committee will hold a hearing on small and mid-sized business doing business with the Department of Defense.
  • The House Rules Committee will consider a resolution of disapproval on the President's request to raise the debt ceiling.
  • The Joint Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe will hold a hearing on the Western Balkans and the NATO Summit.

Monday, January 16, 2012

The Final Five: January 16, 2012

The Final Five: Bedtime Stories for Conservatives
January 16, 2012

Tonight's Crazy Story:
Mexican Team Bobbles Heart Headed for Transplant
A Mexican medical team dropped a cooler containing heart headed for a transplant. The cooler came open and the plastic-wrapped heart came out on the street. You would think that organs for transplanting would be transported in containers that would make it difficult or impossible for this to happen.


Topic One: Obama and King
Today, we remember one of the greatest civil rights leaders: Martin Luther King, Jr. While he was certainly not a perfect man, he pioneered one of the only peaceful revolutions in the world's history. George Picard wrote an excellent piece today describing how Obama's policies and ideas would repulse Martin Luther King, Jr.: "The man who campaigned on the theme that there was no "white America" or "black America" has used his powers as President to practice identity politics on a scale never before seen in America. Barack Obama has overtly chosen top officials on the basis of their skin color and not on the content of their character. Moreover, he has enacted policies that overtly favor "people of color" over "people of pallor" regardless of the merits of the individuals impacted by his programs. What were we expecting from a man whose moral compass was the race-baiting Pastor Jeremiah Wright, whose views of white people and America would have repulsed Martin Luther King, Jr.?"

Today, I made two posts describing King's legacy. First, I posted King's six principles of nonviolence and his ten-point nonviolence pledge that all marchers had to sign. Second, I posted the text and video of his famous "I Have a Dream" speech. Probably the most famous line of the speech is this: "I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character." Unfortunately, there are people today who have perverted King's dream. Al Sharpton claims that the dream was not to put one black family in the white house, but to make everything equal in everybody's house. He is correct on the first part, but he is wrong on the second. His dream was precisely stated over and over in his speech: judge people by their character. He was not claiming that we should not judge; he was claiming that we are judging people by the wrong standard. We should practice "characterism", not racism.


There's Always Time for a Laugh:
"According to USA Today, the Internal Revenue Service's budget is too small for them to reform all the things they need to do. Good! That's fantastic!"
-Jay Leno


Topic Two: SOPA/PIPA
The debate over SOPA and PROTECT IP continues even though the bill has been stripped of its worst element. The battle is not oTver, but we have taken an important first step in protecting the freedom of the internet. Many internet sites such as Reddit, the Cheezburger network, and MoveOn are planning a "blackout" on Wednesday to protest the bills. Today, Wikipedia announced that they will join the protest. However, even worse is the possibility that the bill will be defeated, but its provisions will be slipped into another bill without anyone realizing. This would not be a problem if Congress read its bills, but John Conyers can explain why that is just too much to ask.

Adam Thierer explains the significance of a past court case, Reno vs. ACLU, in the SOPA/PIPA debate. This is not the first attempt to institute internet censorship: the Communications Decency Act of 1996 gave the FCC these powers. However, the Reno decision overturned this law and restored the right to free speech on the internet. "Was the Reno decision the end of the line for government censorship efforts? Probably not, but all future efforts to impose controls on speech and expression—online or otherwise—will be held to a much higher standard thanks to the Court’s historic decision 15 years ago in Reno v. ACLU."


Debt Watch:
Due to the federal holiday today, debt figures for last Friday are unavailable. As of last Thursday, the debt stood at:
$15,236,307,075,631.58


Topic Three: "Shrinking" Government
Has Obama turned a corner and finally decided to support smaller government? Obama's proposal to combine departments sounds great on the surface, but is it really that wonderful? Daniel Gelernter explains that a show called "Yes Minister" shows that it might just be a code for increasing the size of government. "The show’s leading civil servant Sir Humphrey gleefully explains that amalgamating departments means you get to keep all the existing staff, and then add an extra layer of coordinating management at the top. The whole really is more than the sum of parts." This is a win-win situation for the President: he can make it sound as if he is decreasing the size of the government in order to appeal to the public, but he still accomplishes his goal of increasing the size of the government.

Even the Huffington Post ran a column about the ridiculous nature of Obama's "reductions": "He called a national press conference on the subject of shrinking government to only announce that he wants to combine one of the smallest agencies in the federal government with the Department of Commerce and several other federal trade and commerce departments. ... If Obama really wanted to talk about shrinking government, he would talk about some of the larger agencies." An IBD editorial concurs: "After pushing through one of the largest expansions of government in history, the president now claims he wants to streamline it on behalf of struggling businesses. Pardon us if we're skeptical about his sincerity."


Tweets of the Day:
Michael J. Fell (@MichaelJFell): NEWS FLASH! It is possible to preserve, protect and defend the U.S. Constitution without being a Ron Paul supporter. NEWS FLASH!


Topic Four: Congress
The House reconvenes tomorrow; the Senate returns next week. FOX News analyzes the current state of the Republican party and the tea party movement. Meanwhile, some are saying that they see another year of fighting in Congress. I personally do not think that gridlock is necessarily a bad thing. Is there anyone who thinks we suffer from too little legislation?

Scary Harry joined the establishment Republicans in claiming that we need to eliminate the tea party influence. "I would hope that they understand that everything doesn't have to be a fight. Legislation is an art of working together, building consensus, compromise. And I hope that the Tea Party doesn't have the influence in this next year that they had in the previous year." The tea party made great gains in 2011, but if we are going to continue and expand the fight for smaller government, we must hold strong in the coming year. We also must begin to focus on gaining influence through leadership in the party. It is great to have tea party representatives fighting in Congress, but it would be even better if we had tea party people in Republican leadership positions both in Congress and on the Republican National Committee to back those we send to Congress.


Food for Thought - A Quote from our Founders
"I was summoned by my country, whose voice I can never hear but with veneration and love."
-George Washington


Topic Five: The Final Five's Future
I am going to forego writing about a fifth "current event" topic to ask the readers for their advice. I would like to know your opinions about the Final Five. One of my concerns since switching to the topic format has been that it might be too long for people to be able to read and check out all the links. It has also become quite a substantial endeavor for me to be able to put one together every night. I like the topic format and do not think it would be wise to switch from it, but if people are having trouble reading it and I am having difficulty in putting it together, perhaps it might be better if I started publishing it only one or two nights per week. If you have some input, please e-mail me at finalfive@defenseoffreedomblog.com.


Tomorrow in History
January 17, 1946 - The UN Security Council meets for the first time.


Grab Bag - Interesting Stories to Conclude Your Evening
Suicide attacks hit Iraq

Americans not concerned about income inequality

Who opposes the Keystone pipeline?

Group spends $6 million on ads on Solyndra and Obama

New EPA rules would raise gas prices


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A Tribute to Martin Luther King, Jr.: Nonviolence Principles and Pledge

Dr. King's Six Principles of Nonviolence
Courtesy of The Martin Luther King, Jr. Center for Nonviolence
1) Nonviolence is a way of life for courageous people. It is a positive force confronting the forces of injustice, and utilizes the righteous indignation and the spiritual, emotional and intellectual capabilities of people as the vital force for change and reconciliation.

2) The Beloved Community is the framework for the future. The nonviolent concept is an overall effort to achieve a reconciled world by raising the level of relationships among people to a height where justice prevails and persons attain their full human potential.

3) Attack forces of evil, not persons doing evil. The nonviolent approach helps one analyze the fundamental conditions, policies and practices of the conflict rather than reacting to one’s opponents or their personalities.

4) Accept suffering without retaliation for the sake of the cause to achieve the goal. Self-chosen suffering is redemptive and helps the movement grow in a spiritual as well as a humanitarian dimension. The moral authority of voluntary suffering for a goal communicates the concern to one’s own friends and community as well as to the opponent.

5) Avoid internal violence of the spirit as well as external physical violence. The nonviolent attitude permeates all aspects of the campaign. It provides mirror type reflection of the reality of the condition to one’s opponent and the community at large. Specific activities must be designed to help maintain a high level of spirit and morale during a nonviolent campaign.

6) The universe is on the side of justice. Truth is universal and human society and each human being is oriented to the just sense of order of the universe. The fundamental values in all of the world’s great religious include the concept that the moral arc of the universe bends toward justice. For the nonviolent practitioner, nonviolence introduces a new moral context in which nonviolence is both the means and the end.

Dr. King's Pledge of Nonviolence
All marchers were required to sign this pledge.
1) As you prepare to march meditate on the life and teachings of Jesus.

2) Remember the nonviolent movement seeks justice and reconciliation - not victory.

3) Walk and talk in the manner of love; for God is love.

4) Pray daily to be used by God that all men and women might be free.

5) Sacrifice personal wishes that all might be free.

6) Observe with friend and foes the ordinary rules of courtesy.

7) Perform regular service for others and the world.

8) Refrain from violence of fist, tongue and heart.

9) Strive to be in good spiritual and bodily health.

10) Follow the directions of the movement leaders and of the captains on demonstrations.

A Tribute to Martin Luther King, Jr.: I Have a Dream


I am happy to join with you today in what will go down in history as the greatest demonstration for freedom in the history of our nation.

Five score years ago, a great American, in whose symbolic shadow we stand today, signed the Emancipation Proclamation. This momentous decree came as a great beacon light of hope to millions of Negro slaves who had been seared in the flames of withering injustice. It came as a joyous daybreak to end the long night of their captivity.

But one hundred years later, the Negro still is not free. One hundred years later, the life of the Negro is still sadly crippled by the manacles of segregation and the chains of discrimination. One hundred years later, the Negro lives on a lonely island of poverty in the midst of a vast ocean of material prosperity. One hundred years later, the Negro is still languishing in the corners of American society and finds himself an exile in his own land. So we have come here today to dramatize a shameful condition.

In a sense we have come to our nation's capital to cash a check. When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir. This note was a promise that all men, yes, black men as well as white men, would be guaranteed the unalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

It is obvious today that America has defaulted on this promissory note insofar as her citizens of color are concerned. Instead of honoring this sacred obligation, America has given the Negro people a bad check, a check which has come back marked "insufficient funds." But we refuse to believe that the bank of justice is bankrupt. We refuse to believe that there are insufficient funds in the great vaults of opportunity of this nation. So we have come to cash this check -- a check that will give us upon demand the riches of freedom and the security of justice. We have also come to this hallowed spot to remind America of the fierce urgency of now. This is no time to engage in the luxury of cooling off or to take the tranquilizing drug of gradualism. Now is the time to make real the promises of democracy. Now is the time to rise from the dark and desolate valley of segregation to the sunlit path of racial justice. Now is the time to lift our nation from the quick sands of racial injustice to the solid rock of brotherhood. Now is the time to make justice a reality for all of God's children.

It would be fatal for the nation to overlook the urgency of the moment. This sweltering summer of the Negro's legitimate discontent will not pass until there is an invigorating autumn of freedom and equality. Nineteen sixty-three is not an end, but a beginning. Those who hope that the Negro needed to blow off steam and will now be content will have a rude awakening if the nation returns to business as usual. There will be neither rest nor tranquility in America until the Negro is granted his citizenship rights. The whirlwinds of revolt will continue to shake the foundations of our nation until the bright day of justice emerges.

But there is something that I must say to my people who stand on the warm threshold which leads into the palace of justice. In the process of gaining our rightful place we must not be guilty of wrongful deeds. Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred.

We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline. We must not allow our creative protest to degenerate into physical violence. Again and again we must rise to the majestic heights of meeting physical force with soul force. The marvelous new militancy which has engulfed the Negro community must not lead us to a distrust of all white people, for many of our white brothers, as evidenced by their presence here today, have come to realize that their destiny is tied up with our destiny. They have come to realize that their freedom is inextricably bound to our freedom. We cannot walk alone.

As we walk, we must make the pledge that we shall always march ahead. We cannot turn back. There are those who are asking the devotees of civil rights, "When will you be satisfied?" We can never be satisfied as long as the Negro is the victim of the unspeakable horrors of police brutality. We can never be satisfied, as long as our bodies, heavy with the fatigue of travel, cannot gain lodging in the motels of the highways and the hotels of the cities. We cannot be satisfied as long as the Negro's basic mobility is from a smaller ghetto to a larger one. We can never be satisfied as long as our children are stripped of their selfhood and robbed of their dignity by signs stating "For Whites Only". We cannot be satisfied as long as a Negro in Mississippi cannot vote and a Negro in New York believes he has nothing for which to vote. No, no, we are not satisfied, and we will not be satisfied until justice rolls down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream.

I am not unmindful that some of you have come here out of great trials and tribulations. Some of you have come fresh from narrow jail cells. Some of you have come from areas where your quest for freedom left you battered by the storms of persecution and staggered by the winds of police brutality. You have been the veterans of creative suffering. Continue to work with the faith that unearned suffering is redemptive.

Go back to Mississippi, go back to Alabama, go back to South Carolina, go back to Georgia, go back to Louisiana, go back to the slums and ghettos of our northern cities, knowing that somehow this situation can and will be changed. Let us not wallow in the valley of despair.

I say to you today, my friends, so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.

I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: "We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal."

I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.

I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a state sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.

I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.

I have a dream today.

I have a dream that one day, down in Alabama, with its vicious racists, with its governor having his lips dripping with the words of interposition and nullification; one day right there in Alabama, little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers.

I have a dream today.

I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight, and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together.

This is our hope. This is the faith that I go back to the South with. With this faith we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. With this faith we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. With this faith we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day.

This will be the day when all of God's children will be able to sing with a new meaning, "My country, 'tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing. Land where my fathers died, land of the pilgrim's pride, from every mountainside, let freedom ring."

And if America is to be a great nation this must become true. So let freedom ring from the prodigious hilltops of New Hampshire. Let freedom ring from the mighty mountains of New York. Let freedom ring from the heightening Alleghenies of Pennsylvania!

Let freedom ring from the snowcapped Rockies of Colorado!

Let freedom ring from the curvaceous slopes of California!

But not only that; let freedom ring from Stone Mountain of Georgia!

Let freedom ring from Lookout Mountain of Tennessee!

Let freedom ring from every hill and molehill of Mississippi. From every mountainside, let freedom ring.

And when this happens, when we allow freedom to ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God's children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual, "Free at last! free at last! thank God Almighty, we are free at last!"