"I predict future happiness for Americans if they can prevent the government from wasting the labors of the people under the pretense of taking care of them." --Thomas Jefferson President of the United States1801-1809
16th President of the United States. March 4, 1861 – April 15, 1865
HOW LONG HAS IT BEEN SINCE YOU READ THIS???? THE GETTYSBURG ADDRESS
Fourscore and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal. Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle- field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field as a final resting-place for those who here gave their lives that this nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this. But, in a larger sense, we cannot dedicate…we cannot consecrate…we cannot hallow…this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us, the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us…that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion; that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain; that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom; and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.
Got this from a friend and thought it sounded like a solution...especially since I am one of the "over 50". What do you think???
The Business Section of the St. Petersburg Times asked readers for ideas on "How Would You Fix the Economy?" I thought this was the BEST idea.... I think this guy nailed it!
Dear Mr. President, Patriotic retirement: There are about 40 million people over 50 in the work force - Pay them $1 million apiece severance with the following stipulations: 1) They leave their jobs. Forty million job openings - Unemployment fixed. 2) They buy NEW American cars. Forty million cars ordered - Auto Industry fixed. 3) They either buy a house or pay off their mortgage - Housing Crisis fixed. It can't get any easier than that! PS If more money is needed, have all members in Congress and their constituents pay their taxes…
Peter Marshal is a minister and the son of Peter Marshal Sr. who was Chaplin for the U.S. Senate during the 1950ties. This is long but good.
American by the Grace of God
"Why do you not know how to interpret the present time?" (Luke 12:56)
Every once in a while I come across something that reminds me what a gift of God it is to be an American, and to have the privilege of living in this country. Such is the powerful story of one Peter W. Schramm, born in Hungary, who came to the United States as a young boy with his parents and sister in 1956, refugees from the vicious Soviet suppression of the Hungarian uprising.
I well remember those young Hungarian Freedom Fighters, and their futile but heroic fight against the overwhelming military force of a brutal Soviet invasion. As Schramm tells it, "on October 23, 1956, students gathered at the foot of Sandor Petofi's statue in Budapest and read his poem "Rise Magyar!", made famous in the democratic revolution of 1848. Workers, and even soldiers, soon joined the students. The demonstrators took over the state-run radio station and the Communist Party offices and toppled a huge statue of Stalin, dragging it through the streets. Rebellion soon spread throughout the country. The demonstrators--now Freedom Fighters--held Soviet occupation forces at bay for several days.
"On November 1, the Hungarian Prime Minister announced that Hungary would withdraw from the Warsaw Pact [the Soviet military organization for all their satellite and occupied countries, Ed.]. At dawn on November 4, the Soviets launched a major invasion of Hungary, in an offensive involving tens of thousands of additional troops, air and artillery assaults, and 6,000 tanks."
I vividly remember what Schramm was writing about, for though I was only 16 years old in 1956, I understood clearly what was happening. I listened to the TV and radio news stories of these young Hungarians (many of them no older than I was), armed only with Molotov cocktails (homemade gasoline bombs in bottles), rifles, pistols, hand grenades, and whatever weapons they could steal from dead Russian soldiers, fighting bravely in the streets against tanks and artillery and aircraft. The West, and particularly the United States, stood by, watched, and did nothing but lodge protests with the Soviets, while daily the Freedom Fighters broadcast urgent pleas for help. I recollect clearly my anger and frustration with the Eisenhower Administration for not going to their aid. Of course, that quite possibly would have meant war with the Soviet Union, which we weren't willing to risk in order to rescue Hungary.
The resistance was crushed in less than a week. "The last free Hungarian radio broadcast spent its final hours repeating the Gettysburg Address in seven languages," wrote Schramm, "followed by an S.O.S."
Stop reading this, and think for a moment of what that last sentence means.
These young people in a foreign country--who undoubtedly had never been to America and knew little of our history--so valued the timeless principles expressed by our greatest President in his brief but eloquent remarks at Gettysburg that they chose them for their last words. How can anyone begrudge Abraham Lincoln a prominent place in the pantheon of men who have made a godly impact on the course of human history? When the Civil War threatened America's future, Lincoln was raised up by God to save the nation by summoning our people to return to the Biblically-based moral and spiritual ideals annunciated in the Declaration of Independence.
Yet, in recent years, he has been falsely accused by some would-be historians as a racist, and is still tragically misunderstood as a tyrant, destroyer of constitutional liberties, and perpetrator of big government (none of which are true) by many Southerners. In the Civil War book of our adult history series, which I am now working on, I shall do my best to set that record straight. Meanwhile, back to Schramm's story:
"Over 20,000 Hungarians were tried and sentenced for participation in the uprising, hundreds receiving the death sentence. An estimated 200,000 Hungarians--of a population of nine million--became refugees. 47,000 came to the United States." One of those young Freedom Fighters somehow escaped the Soviets, and late that fall ended up at Mt.HermonPrep School, in Massachusetts, where I was a one-year Senior. We were honored to have him with us.
Peter Schramm and his family also came to America in that fall of 1956, when he was not quite ten years old. He, his parents, and his four-year-old sister shared a small apartment with his father's parents and his brother near the eastern railroad station in Budapest. But his story actually begins some years before then.
When the Communists took control of Hungary in 1949, they "expropriated" his parents' little textile shop--he wrote that it was about half the size of his current living room--and everything in it. That same year, they sentenced his father's father to ten years of hard labor. What was his crime? He had in his possession a small American flag. When asked at his "trial" (these were nothing but "show" trials, in an attempt to deceive the Western press) why he had it, he replied that it "represented freedom better than any other symbol he knew." At that time, Peter's father, William, tried to persuade his wife Rose to leave the country, but she couldn't bear to break the ties to family and friends. Soon, William was sentenced to a year of prison. Someone had turned him in for calling a Communist a tyrant (which he had!). When he was released, he washed windows and made illegal whiskey to try and feed his family.
The grandfather got an early release from the labor camp in 1956, and returned to the family "looking like a victim of the Holocaust," Schramm writes. But his spirit had not been broken. The first thing he wanted to know was whether the family still had the American flag. They didn't, of course; it had been confiscated by the police. But incredibly, Peter's father William had managed to find another one, and had carefully hid it away. When they took it from its hiding place Peter says that just "seeing that flag somehow erased much of the pain and torment of my grandfather's years of imprisonment; it seemed to give him hope."
Now, because the Freedom Fighters had taken over the railroad station, Soviet tanks were positioned in their neighborhood. The fighting was fierce. Bodies lay everywhere; one lay just outside their window for days. As it became clear that the revolution would fail, everyone knew that the Soviet oppression would come down on them harder than ever. If they were going to get out, it had to be now, while there was still a chance.
The deciding event happened one day when William went out to get bread. A hand grenade landed next to him, but miraculously failed to go off. When he came back to the apartment--but let Peter tell it: "He came home and announced to my mother that he was going to leave the country whether she would come or not. Mom said, "O.K., William. We will come if Peter agrees. Ask Peter."
"But where are we going?" I asked.
"We are going to America," he said.
"Why America?" I prodded.
"Because, son. We were born Americans, but in the wrong place."
"He said that as naturally as if I had asked him what was the color of the sky. It was so obvious to him why we should head for America that he never entertained any other option. Of course, he hadn't studied American history or politics, but he had come to know deep in his heart the meaning of tyranny. He hungered for its opposite and knew where to find it. America represented to my father, as Lincoln put it, 'the last, best hope of earth.' "
These sentiments about America were not unusual among Hungarians at the time, Schramm notes. "Among the Hungarians I knew--aside from those who were true believers in the Communists--this was the common sense of the subject. It was self-evident to them."
They could not tell anyone that they were leaving, not even Peter's grandparents and uncle. In that way, the relatives could answer truthfully to the police that they knew nothing about it. So, the little family had to leave with next to nothing--a small bag of clothes and a doll for each child and one small bag for both parents. And William also had 17 one dollar bills, "which he had been hoarding for years; good as gold, he always said" [Alas, that was then, Ed.].
Boarding a train headed toward the Austrian border, they discovered that many of their fellow passengers had the same idea. The Russians were stopping the trains and searching them, but the Schramms kept their heads down and said nothing to anyone.
When they left the train with hundreds of others, it was dark, and the border lay many miles away, across fields and farms. In spite of trying to keep separated and take different paths, they soon began drifting together, since they were all headed in the same direction. Haystacks had to be avoided, because Russian soldiers often hid in them, and they were told never to respond to a crying child, since that was a favorite Russian trick. Soon they came across a boy whose father had been shot, and took him into their group.
Finally, the moment came. "We crossed a little bridge in the dark before morning. Someone heard the sound of German on the other side of the bridge. It was the Austrian border post!"
They were free, at last.
At first they were led to a big barn in Nickelsdorf, Austria, where they slept, then moved to an Army camp near Innsbruck, where they were housed and fed. Peter's father got a job while they were waiting to be interviewed for refugee placement by the embassies of different countries. When the representative from the American embassy came, he asked William if he had any relatives in America. There were none. "Don't you know anyone in America?" was the next question. As it so happened, they did.
Back in 1946, before Peter had been born, his father had managed to build a car out of spare parts, which was a rare thing in ravaged post-war Hungary. He would scour the countryside in it, looking for junk to trade or sell. On one such trip he had come across a broken-down Volkswagen, driven by a de-commissioned U.S. officer who had been born in Hungary and was touring the country preparatory to returning to America. After Peter's father helped him get the car running, he refused payment, but did take the grateful driver's card. It read: "Joseph Moser, DDS, Hermosa Beach, California." "If you ever need anything," Moser told him, "don't hesitate to call." William had given the card to Peter's mother for safekeeping, and by the grace of God, she had brought it in her satchel! They showed the card to the American, and he promised to check it out.
He followed through, and surprisingly (or maybe not, if you know the ways of the Lord!), Dr. Moser was still in Hermosa Beach. Within a week the Schramms were sent to Munich, and then took a plane to New York City. On Christmas morning, they were taken to Camp Kilmer, New Jersey, for processing, and a few weeks later took a train to Los Angeles, where they were met by Dr. Moser and his family.
Peter continues the story: "Sponsorship meant that they had to guarantee that we would not become a burden to the American people. (Moser) had to house and feed us for awhile. Mom and Dad both got jobs right away, Dad at the local newspaper lifting heavy things, and Mom cleaning houses. Soon we had a little beach shack to live in, and my parents were able to purchase their first restaurant with their savings and a bank-financed loan. The whole family went to work. We had to tear the place apart before we could open it. After it was opened, my sister and I washed dishes as Mom and Dad cooked and waited on tables."
About the time Peter went to high school the family moved to StudioCity and bought a bigger restaurant. Schramm's Hungarian Restaurant was located across the street from some of the movie studios. After graduating from Hollywood High in 1964, he enrolled at San Fernando Valley State College (now California State University, Northridge) while continuing to work for his parents. By this time, Peter had become an avid reader, and was beginning to build his own library.
But he had not yet learned what he would later come to understand about American history and politics. Sadly, he notes, "even in the early '60s, (before 'political correctness' had been heard of), it was already common for teachers and professors to teach that America was an amazingly hypocritical place. All I needed to know about Abraham Lincoln, one teacher said, was that he was a racist."
Thankfully, he did not imbibe this poison, and through becoming involved in California Republican politics was eventually led to a doctoral program in government at ClaremontGraduateSchool in 1971. There, he "came to understand what Lincoln meant when he said that the ideas of the Declaration of Independence were the 'electric cord' that linked all Americans together, as though we were 'blood of the blood, and flesh of the flesh, of the men who wrote that Declaration.' This was what it meant to be an American."
It still is.
Schramm writes: "America became home to me, and these days I continue my life as a student of America. The difference is that now a university pays me to study, rather than my paying for the privilege. Here at a liberal arts college in central Ohio, I'm in the ironic position of teaching . . . Americans . . . how to think about their country. . ."
"When I teach them about American politics and American history, I start with a simple thing about their country and themselves. I tell them that they are the fortunate of the earth, among the blessed of all times and places. I tell them this is a thing that should be as obvious to them as it was to my father. And their blessing, their great good fortune, lies in the nation into which they were born. I tell them that their country, the United States of America, is not only the most powerful and the most prosperous country on earth, but the most free and the most just. Then I do my best to tell them how and why this is so. And I teach them about the principles from which those blessings of liberty flow. I invite them to consider whether they can have any greater honor than to pass undiminished to their children and grandchildren this great inheritance of freedom."
As you can see by the date...I started this post on Tuesday of last week but with two little kids around there is not much time for blogging.
Last Tuesday Bud and I celebrated our anniversary. 47 years...my oh my where have the years gone? Most of the time I don't think I am older than 47 but my body reminds me. We celebrated by taking Ella and Hogan to Abilene to the Zoo. We had a big day planned. Best laid plans...and all.
Jana, Bruce and two of their older kids had gone with a church group skiing in Colorado.
We ended up going to Chick Fil A and spending about 3 hours while Bud sat at the car dealership. Just had a light out. The kids and I celebrated with green ice cream.
By the time we got to the Zoo they were about to close so we drove back to Stamford to the City Park. It was lots of fun. They have a nice duck pond.
And a really nice playground.
We had an unexpected surprise at the park. Bud's niece Jamie, her husband Cody and their two little sons Rylan and Mason were at the park. They live there (not at the park but in Stamford) Cody and Jamie own Iron Hand Steel. They go to the park to play volleyball with other family and friends. They are such a cute family.
I think the kids had fun even though we didn't get to the Zoo that day. I had to work on Wednesday and Thursday so Bud took them back on Thursday and they had a lot of fun seeing all of the animals.
We took them home on Friday and got home today. They were glad to get home to Mommie and Daddie and we were glad to take them. We really had a good time with them but as I said in an earlier post...Age is a matter of mind and this week my body minds.
Folks, we are in trouble. If you want to live with your head in the sand don't read this.
Written by Senator Tom Coburn
Tuesday, 10 February 2009
[Senator Coburn recently gave this speech on the floor of the Senate]
We are going in exactly the wrong direction. We ought to be standing on the principles that made this country great.
There ought to be a review of every program in the Federal Government that is not effective, that is not efficient, that is wasteful or fraudulent, and we ought to get rid of it right now. We ought to say, Gone, to be able to pay for a real stimulus plan that might, in fact, have some impact.
I would be remiss if I didn't remind everybody that next week we are going to hear from the Obama administration wanting another $500 billion. Outside of this ["stimulus" bill], they are going to want another $500 billion to handle the banking system.
I want to make sure the American people know what is in this Stimulus bill. I think once they know what is in this bill, they are going to reject it out of hand. Let me read for my colleagues some of the things that are in this bill.
The biggest earmark in history is in this bill. There is $2 billion in this bill to build a coal plant with zero emissions. That would be great, maybe, if we had the technology, but the greatest brains in the world sitting at MIT say we don't have the technology yet to do that.
Why would we build a $2 billion powerplant we don't have the technology for that we know will come back and ask for another $2 billion and another $2 billion and another $2 billion when we could build a demonstration project that might cost $150 million or $200 million? There is nothing wrong with having coal-fired plants that don't produce pollution; I am not against that. Even the Washington Post said the technology isn't there. It is a boondoggle. Why would we do that?
We eliminated tonight a $246 million payback for the large movie studios in Hollywood .
We are going to spend $88 million to study whether we ought to buy a new ice breaker for the Coast Guard. You know what. The Coast Guard needs a new ice breaker. Why do we need to spend $88 million? They have two ice breakers now that they could retrofit and fix and come up with equivalent to what they needed to and not spend the $1 billion they are going to come back and ask for, for another ice breaker, so why would we spend $88 million doing that?
We are going to spend $448 million to build the Department of Homeland Security a new building. We have $1.3 trillion worth of empty buildings right now, and because it has been blocked in Congress we can't sell them, we can't raze them, we can't do anything, but we are going to spend money on a new building here in Washington .
We are going to spend another $248 million for new furniture for that building; a quarter of a billion dollars for new furniture. What about the furniture the Department of Homeland Security has now? These are tough times. Should we be buying new furniture? How about using what we have? That is what a family would do. They would use what they have. They wouldn't go out and spend $248 million on furniture.
How about buying $600 million worth of hybrid vehicles? Do you know what I would say? Right now times are tough; I would rather Americans have new cars than Federal employees have new cars. What is wrong with the cars we have? Dumping $600 million worth of used vehicles on the used vehicle market right now is one of the worst things we could do. Instead, we are going to spend $600 million buying new cars for Federal employees.
There is $400 million in here to prevent STDs. I have a lot of experience on that. I have delivered 4,000 babies. We don't need to spend $400 million on STDs. What we need to do is properly educate about the infection rates and the effectiveness of methods of prevention. That doesn't take a penny more. You can write that on one piece of paper and teach every kid in this country, but we don't need to spend $400 million on it. It is not a priority.
How about $150 million for a Smithsonian museum? Tell me how that helps get us out of a recession. Tell me how that is a priority. Would the average American think that is a priority that we ought to be mortgaging our kids' future to spend another $150 million at the Smithsonian?
How about $1 billion for the 2010 census? So everybody knows, the census is so poorly managed that the census in 2010 is going to cost twice what it cost 10 years ago, and we wasted $800 million on a contract because it was no-bid that didn't perform. Nobody got fired, no competitive bidding, and we blew $800 million.
We have $75 million for smoking cessation activities, which probably is a great idea, but we just passed a bill, the SCHIP bill, that we need to get 21 million more Americans smoking to be able to pay for that bill. That doesn't make sense.
How about $200 million for public computer centers at community colleges? I mean, did we talk with Dell and Hewlett-Packard and say, How do we make you all do better? Is there not a market force that could make that better? Will we actually buy on a true competitive bid?
No, because there is nothing that requires competitive bidding in anything in this bill. There is nothing that requires it. It is one of the things President Obama said he was going to mandate at the Federal Government, but there is no competitive bidding in this bill at all.
We have $10 million to inspect canals in urban areas. Well, that will put 10 or 15 people to work. Is that a priority for us right now?
There is $6 billion to turn Federal buildings into green buildings. That is a priority, versus somebody getting a job outside of Washington , a job that actually produces something, that actually increases wealth?
How about $500 million for State and local fire stations? Where do you find in the Constitution us paying for local fire stations within our realm of prerogatives? None of it is competitively bid.
Next is $1.2 billion for youth activities. Who does that employ? What does that mean?
How about $88 million for renovating the public health service building? You know, if we could sell half of the $1.3 trillion worth of properties we have, we could take care of every Federal building requirement and backlog we have.
Then there's $412 million for CDC [Centers for disease Control] buildings and property. We spent billions on a new center and headquarters for CDC. Is that a priority? If we are going to spend $412 million on building buildings, let's build one that will produce something, one that will give us something.
How about $850 million for that most ``efficient'' Amtrak that hasn't made any money since 1976 and continues to have $2 billion or $3 billion a year in subsidies?
Here is one of my favorites: $75 million to construct a new ``security training'' facility for State Department security officers. We already have four other facilities already available to train them. But they want theirs. By the way, it is going to be in West Virginia . I wonder how that got there.
So we are going to build a new training facility that duplicates four others that we already have that could easily do what we need to do. But because we have a stimulus package, we are going to add in oink pork.
How about $200 million in funding for a lease - not buying, but a lease - of alternative energy vehicles on military installations?
We are going to bail out the States on Medicaid. Total all of the health programs in this, and we are going to transfer $150 billion out of the private sector and we are going to move it to the Federal Government. You talk about backdooring national health care.
Henry Waxman has to be smiling big today. He wants a single-payer Government-run health care system. We are going to move another $150 billion to the Federal Government from the private sector.
We are going to eliminate fees on loans from the Small Business Administration. You know what that does? That pushes productive capital to unproductive projects. It is exactly the wrong thing to do.
We are going to spend $524 million for information technology upgrades that the Appropriations Committee claims will create 388 jobs. If you do the math on that, that is $1.5 million a job. Don't you love the efficiency of Washington thinking?
We are going to create $79 billion in additional money for the States, a ``slush fund,'' to bail out States and provide millions of dollars for education costs. How many of you think that will ever go away?
Once the State education programs get $79 billion over 2 years, do you think that will ever go away? The cry and hue of taking "our money" away, even though it was a stimulus and supposed to be limited, it will never go away. So we will continue putting that forward until our kids have grandkids of their own.
There is about $47 billion for a variety of energy programs that are primarily focused on renewable energy. I am fine with spending that. But we ought to get something for it. There ought to be metrics. There are no metrics. It is pie in the sky, saying we will throw some money at it.
Let me conclude by saying we are at a seminal moment in our country. We will either start living within the confines of realism and responsibility or we will blow it and we will create the downfall of the greatest nation that ever lived.
This bill is the start of that downfall. To abandon a market-oriented society and transfer it to a Soviet-style, government-centered, bureaucratic-run and mandated program, that is the thing that will put the stake in the heart of freedom in this country.
I hope the American people know what is in this bill. I am doing everything I can to make sure they know. But more important, I hope somebody is listening who will treat the ``pneumonia'' we are faced with today, which is the housing and mortgage markets. It doesn't matter how much money we spend in this bill. It is doomed to failure unless we fix that problem first.
Failing that, we will go down in history as the Congress that undermined the future and vitality of this country. Let it not be so.
I had a really nice visit with Shari and James on the phone tonight. They still do not know what they will do about another drain tube for James. I don't think the Drs. really know what to do. They are concerned that two tubes would be very uncomfortable for him. James sounded great. He has as always a positive attitude. We discussed the fact that the Drs. do not know so they really can't give him any answers. The Doctors really thought James would not live this long so they are just taking one day at a time. They are basically waiting on the Doctors to decide if they will do anything else.
Shari and I were just talking about getting old. Sharla, Mary Lu's daughter once ask mother, "Mama did you get old all at once or did it just come upon you?" I really think it just comes up on us. I don't really think I am old...until I go baby sit for Jana's two youngest kids. They are just precious but they can sure wear you down. Last week Hogan the 4 year old has Scarlet Fever. I didn't know people still had that. But, anyway he had strip throat and woke up with a rash all over his body. Jana took him to the Doctor and they diagnoised him with Scarlet Fever. He was a sick little guy. Then Ella who is 2 got the strip throat and Jana had an abcessed tooth. So guess what I did? I headed to Mesquite to help out. By the time I got there everybody was a better but the weather was terrible. Thank God for McDonalds Play Ground.
Now I ask you, "How could you not want to baby sit with these two precious little ones?"
I came home on Tuesday afternoon and that is when I knew that I was old. It just came upon me. I was glad to be in my own bed. I remember mother and daddy never wanted to be gone from home overnight because they wanted to sleep in their own bed. Now I understand how they feel. I worked on Wednesday and Thursday and I am now rested after a few days off. I think it was just a dream. Today I don't think I am old. I am young again.
A friend sent me a birthday card a few years ago that said, "Age is a matter of mind, it don't matter if you don't mind".
This is for my friend Jackie. If the rest of you would like more information please send $19.95 to me in the next 24 hours and I will give you more dieting information that will work for anybody. If you send the money in the next 12 hours I will double the diet tips.
The Pasta Diet' The Pasta Diet and Your Health
ITALIAN PASTA DIET -- IT REALLY WORKS!
1. You walk pasta da bakery.
2. You walk pasta da candy store.
3. You walk pasta da ice cream shop.
4. You walk pasta da table and fridge.
You will lose weight!
For those of you who watch what you eat, here's the final word on nutrition and health.
1. The Japanese eat very little fat and suffer fewer heart attacks than the English.
2. The Mexicans eat a lot of fat and suffer fewer heart attacks than the English.
3. The Chinese drink very little red wine and suffer fewer heart attacks than the English.
4. The Italians drink a lot of red wine and suffer fewer heart attacks than the English.
5. The Germans drink a lot of beers and eat lots of sausages and fats and suffer fewer heart attacks than the English.
Eat and drink what you like. Speaking English is apparently what kills you