Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Kevin Jennings Must Go

This morning, a friend of mine said to me, "Andy, I read your post from the other night, and I thought, 'there has got to be more to this". My friend couldn't believe that a teacher wouldn't report a student who told him that student had been raped. He also couldn't believe that teacher would be selected to be the Safe Schools Czar. I have been looking into this since Monday, and my friend is right, there is more to the story. However, the "more to the story" paints a darker picture than I described on Monday.

In case you didn't read my post from Monday, Kevin Jennings is the Safe Schools Czar. According to the Office of Safe and Drug-Free Schools, this job is charged with providing, "…financial assistance for drug and violence prevention activities and activities that promote the health and well being of students…"{emphasis mine}. Kevin Jennings was a teacher when a 15 year old male student came to him and said that a man had picked him up at a bus stop restroom and took him home to have sex with him. Mr. Jennings advice to the student was to use a condom. This isn't an allegation. We know this from Mr. Jennings own words in an audio tape from a rally where Kevin Jennings spoke to the Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network (GLSEN). When another teacher pointed out that Kevin broke the law because he didn't report the event out to the authorities, Mr. Jennings threatened to sue the teacher in court.

After my post on Monday, I found out more details about Kevin Jennings. In 1990, he founded GLSEN, the organization he bragged to about telling the 15 year old boy to use a condom with the man picking him up. GLSEN has been accused of promoting homosexuality in schools. It's one thing to teach that kids shouldn't be bullied because of their differences. It is another thing entirely to have a conference were officials instruct students on the proper use of "fisting". According to Fox News, one official at the conference said, "[fisting] gets a bad rap…[It's] an experience of letting somebody into your body that you want to be that close and intimate with…[and] to put you into an exploratory mode." Quoting Fox News further:

"From what I've heard, I have concerns as well." Jennings told the Boston Globe in May 2000."GLSEN believes that children do have a right to accurate, safer sex education, but this needs to be delivered in an age-appropriate and sensitive manner."

"What troubles me is the people who have the tape [of this event] know what our missions is, they know that our work is about preventing harassment and they know that session was not the totality of what was offered at a conference with over 50 sessions," he said.

The fact that this was offered to children at all is totally inappropriate. The rest of the sessions could have been entirely innocent. This one session outweighs the others.

According to Jennings, GLSEN's mission would be achieved if straight people decided it was ok for someone to promote homosexuality in schools because by then homosexuality wouldn't be equated with something bad that shouldn't be promoted. In this situation we had a sophomore in high school who was getting picked up by an adult male to have sex. Mr. Jennings couldn't see past his own activism to protect the child or to comply with the law.

Mr. Jennings has no credibility that he can distance himself from his own personal politics in order to make informed decisions about school age children. How can parents trust any decision his office has anything to do with? Mr. Jennings shouldn't' have a presidentially appointed position; he should be awaiting his day in court for failure to report statuary rape that he knew was taking place. President Obama should ask for Mr. Jennings resignation and answer some hard questions. Is this behavior acceptable to the President? Did the President vet Mr. Jennings? Did he know about this, or did he think this was acceptable behavior from a teacher?

Monday, September 28, 2009

Would You Trust Kevin with Your Children?

Today's Washington Times carries a story that should worry every parent. I admit the story is an editorial, but it is an editorial because it calls for action from President Obama.

Imagine a local teacher, we will call him Kevin, is approached by a 15 year old male student. The student tells Mr. Kevin that he has been having sex with an older man. None of the stories I have read explain what prompted the boy to approach Mr. Kevin. What would you expect the teacher to do? Should Kevin tell the boys parents? Should he report the statutory rape to the police? Should Kevin, as a teacher and concerned adult, try to protect the boy and tell him to come forward in order to protect other kids? Maybe the student should go home, ask for his parents help, and together go to the police. No, Kevin decided that this situation required a very different approach.

According to the Times,"… in a new audiotape discovered by Fox News, the 15-year-old boy met the "older man" in a "bus station bathroom" and was taken to the older man's home that night." When faced with this difficult situation, Kevin told the student to use a condom. Kevin would later write a book an state that he,"… allayed the student's concerns about the relationship to such a degree that the 15-year-old 'left my office with a smile on his face that I would see every time I saw him on the campus for the next two years, until he graduated." Kevin Jennings would see the student for another two years. For two years he would think not of what he should have told the boy, or that the boy should report this sexual predator to the police. Instead, Kevin would think of this boy as success because what he was doing was ok and because Kevin had told the student to use a condom.

Mr. Jennings would brag about his actions to a chapter of the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network. According to the Times, this is a group that promotes Homosexuality in schools. One could accuse Kevin Jennings of simply pandering to the crowd. Of course how would you explain the quote from his book? And then there is the nasty case of how he handled it when a teacher suggested he may have broken the law. He threatened to sue the teacher in court.

Don't worry about Kevin Jennings. President Obama was so impressed with him; Kevin Jennings is now the Safe Schools Czar. The man who told a worried 15 year old student that he should just wear a condom, is now in charge of ensuring all schools across the nation are safe for your children. There are no details of what happened to the 15 year old boy. We can only hope someone who knew the difference between right and wrong was able to help the boy.

I am personally disgusted by this story. Words don't convey how much the actions of Kevin Jennings disturb me. Kevin Jennings should be fired immediately. No one who shows this kind of judgement should have a job in any Presidential administration, let alone a position affecting schools and school age children. Additionally, local authorities should be given the information and should investigate possible charges. Finally, President Obama should use his next Prime Time news conference (I am sure there is one coming up) to apologize to parents across the country.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Book Review: Culture of Corruption

Michelle Malkin's Culture of Corruption: Obama and His Team of Tax Cheats, Crooks, and Cronies is a very interesting and timely book. It seems like each week brings new revelations about a czar or other nominee in President Obama's cabinet. Just this past Labor Day weekend Van Jones, Green Jobs Czar, quit in the middle of the night. The announcement was made just after midnight on a Saturday. Not quite the actions of a transparent administration.

Michelle Malkin's book covers a number of czars and other members of the administration. She has a chapter on Michelle Obama, Hillary Clinton, and Joe Biden for example. Some of the ties to scandal, dirty money, and corruption that each of these three have in their history is really disturbing. Perhaps the most scandal plagued chapters are on czars and President Obama's ties to Acorn (the chapter is titled "Obamacorn"). At the beginning of the chapter, Mrs. Malkin cites then Candidate Obamas words from February 2008:

I come out of a grassroots organizing background. That's what I did for three and half years before I went to law school. That's the reason I moved to Chicago was to organize. So this is something that I know personally, the work you do, the importance of it. I've been fighting alongside ACORN on issues you care about my entire career. Even before I was an elected official, when I ran Project Vote voter registration drive in Illinois, ACORN was smack dab in the middle of it, and we appreciate your work.

One of the most impressive things about Culture of Corruption is where Mrs. Malkin draws her criticisms from. It would be easy to write a book like this while citing Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, or Fox News. Mrs. Malkin instead references a number of liberal groups, reporters and papers in addition to sources such as Robert Byrd (D-West Virginia) or President Obama himself. In the above quote, she uses Obama's own words to tie him to ACORN. One would expect this from someone with her credentials. I have followed her blog for sometime and have seen her go after Republican and Democrat alike. I wasn't aware of her history with the Seattle Times where she won the,"...Council on Government Ethics Laws (COGEL) national award for outstanding service for the cause of government ethics and leadership, and for investigative columns that expose campaign finance abuses and corruption by Washington State Democrats, Republicans, and political organizations."

In the introduction to the czar chapter ("Backroom Buddies: Dancing with the Czars"), Mrs. Malkin quotes a letter Senator Byrd wrote to Obama in February of this year. It seems Senator Byrd had a number of concerns about the czars and the number of czars President Obama was appointing. Among the concerns of Senator Byrd's:

  1. What is the relationship between the czars and their counterparts in the Executive branch?
  2. Will the lines of authority between the czars and their counterparts be used (accidentally or purposefully) to hide information or provide cover for people making bad decisions?
  3. Would the czars be accountable to Congress or the American public?

It's not often that I agree with Senator Byrd, but these are very valid points. Recently, more Democrats have joined in with their own concerns regarding the czars. The Politico recently quoted both Sen. Russ Feingold and Sen. Dianne Feinstein as having concerns about the czars, their responsibilities, and their accountability. Currently, czars don't go through any sort of congressional confirmation. Many members are now calling on the czars to testify before congress.

Culture of Corruption: Obama and His Team of Tax Cheats, Crooks, and Cronies is a very critical look at the President and the people he has surrounded himself with. Unlike Bill Ayers and Rev. Jeremiah Wright, these are the people the President has selected to run this country. They should have the bright light of public scrutiny shown on them. Michelle Malkin's book is a great first step. It should be read by anyone who wants to know more about the "transparent" Obama administration or believes that elected officials (Republican or Democratic) should be held accountable to the public.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Rain, Rain, Go Away.

I have been a little quiet on this site for the last week. As my regular readers know, I have a new son who is doing a good job of keeping me to four hours of sleep or so. What you may not know is that I have been busy at work with the floods in Metro Atlanta. Here are a few pictures from Monday to show you that I have been busy, and I haven't forgotten my readers.

Water isn't typically allowed on the roads like this. As you look across the picture, the water is some 9 to 10 feet deep against the far trees.

One of the bridges I saw on Monday. This one was deemed unsafe for both cars and pedestrians.

Here is a picture of some people out to see the sights. The bridge in the middle of the picture is the same one from the previous picture. Let this be a lesson to you. If a bridge or a road is closed, stay off it no matter what it looks like.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Of Government and Men: Industry + Profit = Good

I intended this series to be about fundamentals. This week's post is no different. It's good for our country when business (both large and small) make money. To me this seems obvious, but to a number of politicians, I believe this may be a new concept. Because of that, if this sounds a little simple, I apologize ahead of time.

For the most part, we benefit as a nation and as a community when businesses make profits. When American oil companies make a profit, it's good for us. When pharmaceutical companies make a profit, also good. When Wal-Mart has a good year, it's very good. Remember, these companies do what they do because they are in the business to make money. You don't go to work expecting to donate your time to your employer. You expect to get paid. Why should the oil industry be any different?

Why is it good? When Wal-Mart makes money, their stock goes up and their stockholders make money. Typically, we think of stockholders as stuffy rich white guys who smoke cigars in their personal libraries at home. In some cases this is true. However, teachers unions often invest in successful companies. State Employees Unions do as well. As do many 401 k and retirement funds. Not to mention the employee that has worked at a store their entire career and has been able to purchase stock.

When companies make a profit, they are able to expand their businesses. These expansions create jobs. You might be tempted at this point to say, "Ah! But what if those jobs go overseas?!" Fair point. However, if they are going overseas for reasons we can change, then we should make changes to make the U.S. more appealing for business. For example, instead of punishing business through tax laws, why not make our tax system more appealing to business? If more businesses are here, that creates a larger tax base and higher employment.

When we talk about free health care or windfall profit taxes on any business, we are forgetting that these businesses exist to make a profit. Why are we punishing this? The American Dream has been to create a business, become successful at that business, and make money doing something you love. The government shouldn't punish this.

One last point. In most cases, businesses have a financial incentive to do what their customer's want. If their customers want more fuel efficient vehicles, auto manufacturers will make more fuel efficient vehicles. If their customers want it, they can sell more, and that is why they exist in the first place. The only time government needs to mandate something like this is when customers don't want it in the first place.

The government makes a number of laws that cut into business, stifle business, or just force companies to close up shop. There are only a few representatives who started out in business and understand what businesses go through. Many of these career politicians should spend some time understanding the businesses (especially in their district) before discussing topics like "windfall profit taxes".

Without business, where would we be? If we crush business by forbidding them from making a profit, who will stay in business?

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Maureen Dowd vs. South Carolina

Over the past few days I have been more than a little disturbed at the number of people who are accusing Republicans of racism. According to such intellectual giants as Maureen Dowd, President Jimmy Carter, or Georgia Democrat Hank Johnson, if you disagree with the President, you are a racist. These are the same people who told us it was Patriotic to question President George Bush. President Carter has had his own problems with race in his past and should probably focus on cleaning those up before he attacks others. These attacks are from the same party that has given us Klu Klux Klan member Robert Byrd, Democrat Senator from West Virginia. One of Byrd's claims to fame is to be the only sitting member of the Senate who was once an admitted Klan member. The President's Attorney General accused Americans of being cowards when it comes to race. Maybe he was referring to his own party…

I thought I would start my research for this column by reading Maureen Dowd's column for myself. Maybe she had been widely misquoted in the press. Surely no one would accuse another person of racism based on something Ms. Dowd imagined. She points out that,"…fair or not, what I heard was an unspoken word in the air: You lie, boy!" That's right. Maureen Dowd says Joe Wilson is a racist not because of what he said, but because of what she imagined. In a sane world, Ms. Dowd would be laughed at as she was run out of town.

While this has been heavily covered, what I hadn't realized was that Ms. Dowd goes on a rant against the entire state of South Carolina. She slanders Mr. Wilson's involvement in the Sons of the Confederate Veterans, while not mentioning any problem with Byrd's involvement with the actual KKK. She draws on the history of South Carolina to accuse Joe Wilson of racism. Why is Joe Wilson a racist? Because South Carolina fired the first shot in the Civil War. Because Jim DeMint wanted conservatives to "break" the President (Democrats were the model of civility and bipartisanship under President Bush). Because Mark Sanford refused stimulus funds when he felt the state couldn't afford the price tag that came with the stimulus bribes.

In perhaps the most bizarre section, she quotes a Democrat from South Carolina who attacked Bill Clinton in the Palmetto State for alleged racial attacks against then candidate Obama (again, Democrat racial attacks). Jim Clyburn (D-SC) said that a resolution must be passed against Joe Wilson because:

"In South Carolina politics, I learned that the olive branch works very seldom," he said. "You have to come at these things from a position of strength. My father used to say, 'Son, always remember that silence gives consent.' {emphasis mine}

Keeping in mind that the Congressional Research Service says that HR 3200 would allow legal and illegal immigrants to buy health insurance, and that Joe Wilson knew these aspects of HR 3200, does the Democrat from South Carolina really believe Wilson should have kept quiet and given his "consent" to a falsehood?

Perhaps the next time Ms. Dowd wants to accuse a state of being populated by racist, she should do a little homework.

Ms. Dowd, just because you included a racist statement in your mind doesn't mean the rest of us did too. If you want to throw heinous terms around based on what you imagined, listen to the late Michael Jackson, and start with the Man in the Mirror.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Support The Fighting Four

I have a widget I have added at the top of this site. It will be here for the next 15 days. All four of these conservatives are running for office. I have personally heard Marco Rubio and Michael Williams speak, and have been very impressed with their history. These four are strong conservatives that will help the Republican party out. But more importantly, they will be strong leaders in the nation. If you are like me, you are probably a little hesitant to donate to the Republican Party. May I suggest these four as an alternative.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Of Government and Men: Personal Accountability

It may seem strange to write about a personal trait in a series about the government and its responsibilities. This series has been dedicated to what I think are some of the most important philosophies behind our government. So why a post dedicated to a personal trait found in individuals?

In today's world of buzz words, "accountability" usually means being held responsible for something, and not always in a good way. Holding an employee “accountable for their actions” is a good example. However, personal accountability can also be used to apply to the everyday things. For example, you are "accountable" for your day to day actions. You are "accountable" for your job, your own health, and your happiness. We are not guaranteed happiness, a gold plated health plan, a great job, or even a home. The government doesn't have the duty, or even the power, to provide you with these things. Remember, anything the government can give you, the government can also take away.

I believe the problem with many of our issues today is that we have stopped looking to provide for ourselves. We want someone to give us a nice house, two cars, and a check. If they will take care of us (through "free" healthcare), then maybe we are willing to sacrifice a little freedom for it. The truth of the matter is that you are the one responsible for your life. This is a hard lesson, but life forces all of us to make choices. Some of those choices we may not like, and we may not like the results of some of those choices. However, only you can make those choices, and you are the one responsible for their outcomes. When you let someone else decide your life, you are still responsible for it, because you have given that person or that group the ability to make choices for you.

There may be situations that are beyond your control, but that doesn’t change the fact that you, and not the government, are responsible for your life. If you lose your job, you must decide what to do next, not President Obama. The President can make our nation more or less likely to create new jobs, but for the most part he can’t affect your individual employment.

If there is only one lesson you learn from this series, I hope that it is the following:

You are responsible for your own life, not the government. Your life is what you decide to make of it for better or worse.

You should be an active participant in government so that we can all try to keep the government from throwing roadblocks in our way. You should pay attention to politics and to what candidates do so that you know how the government may affect your life. However, how you react to changes in the government or in your personal life are up to you. These lessons have been forgotten by many in elected positions today. I believe the bailouts under President Bush, and the continued bailouts under President Obama are wrong because they violate this principle. By allowing companies or individuals to be classified as “too big to fail” the government restricts the freedom of those companies and their competitors. When the government provides money to a company to protect it from failing, it suddenly gains power in that company. We can look at GM and the firing of its CEO by the President to see this in real life. The President shouldn’t be able to fire any employee in the private sector.

When the government invests in a company, that company’s competitors are suddenly at a distinct disadvantage. How is it a good idea for the government to decide which companies should be successful and which ones should fail? Those who support the auto bailouts should ask if they would support an oil-industry bailout under President Bush.

Personal Accountability at the personal, corporate, and government level means that we are each responsible for our own successes and failures. The more we forget that, and the more we allow laws to “protect us from ourselves” the more we lose our freedoms. It may feel good to try and protect people from themselves, but there is no way to do that without restricting their freedoms. How many laws would we have on the books today if the laws were clearly spelled out in terms of what that law prevents you from doing instead of what the law might give you?

Friday, September 11, 2009

In Memory of Jennifer Mazzotta (1978 to 2001)

I volunteered this site to participate in Project 2996. This project is dedicated to remembering the people who were killed on September 11, 2001. One of the victims of that day was Jennifer Mazzotta.

How do you write an adequate memorial to someone you have never met? I don't know that you can. I was touched by the many loving words I discovered on different web sites from her family. Jennifer was the oldest of three kids. Her mother said that Jennifer was the first of the three to graduate college, and the entire family was very proud of her. After graduating from St. Joseph College, she went to work for Cantor Fitzgerald. She was working there on the morning of September 11th.

Jennifer and her fiance Anthony had been together since her high school prom. They were together for almost six years and were ready to plan their wedding. She was a Godmother. Ten days after her death, her niece was born. Her nephew was born two years later. These two didn't meet her in this life, but I am sure she is with them every day.

Everything I found written about Jennifer by her family and friends was filled with love. They celebrated her strengths. She sounds like she was a very dedicated woman. She was someone who knew what she wanted and worked hard to accomplish her goals. As I read through the different memorials out there, a few words kept jumping out: intelligent, beautiful, hard working, and loving.

You can also see that she touched the lives of those who she met. The memorials from her family and friends I found while researching this are very touching. From reading them, I think Jennifer would have wanted us to remember her family: her brother and sister, her parents, her aunts and uncles, her fiance, and those new additions to her family since her death.

Jennifer Mazzotta was a good, smart, and loving young lady who shouldn't have been taken so early. Today, our thoughts and prayers are with her, and with her family.


Take a few minutes today and think of those who passed on September 11th. The 2996 Project has a list of sites participating in this memorial. Take a few minutes to read a few of those at random. They have left us, but we can still remember them.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Live Blog of Tomorrow's Speech -- Cancelled

UPDATE: I have canceled the live blog tonight. I apologize for any inconvenience.

I am going to attempt to live blog tomorrow night's speech by President Obama. This will be my first Live blog, so if you show up tomorrow, I ask for your patience.

Monday, September 07, 2009

Of Government and Men: Spending and Taxes

There are a few things about government that are painful, unpleasant, noxious, and just can't be avoided. Two of those are taxes, and government spending. Both cause the tax payers to have less money and both should be done with a lot more caution than seems to happen. There are ways to really harm people with both of these as well. As terrible as taxes and government spending are, they are also a necessary evil.

As a matter of full disclosure, I am almost always for less taxes. I believe the more the government taxes us, the more it cuts into our freedoms. Our current Federal tax code would print out to more than 7500 pages long! For comparison my study Bible weighs in at a little over 2100 pages complete with notes, research, annotations, and scripture. That 7500 pages doesn't include any state or local taxes you may have to pay which will be covered by their own lengthy rules. I also believe that many things the government spends money on could be better done by the States, the private sector, or even charities. My rule of thumb is that the government only does two things really well: Make war and waste money.

Stepping down from my soap box, there are a few things the government needs funds for, and it is authorized to collect them under our constitution. For example, a strong federal government is the only entity that can protect all 50 states in a time of war. A strong federal government is also the only entity that can manage our federal court system. These aren't the only examples, but they are two examples of why our government needs to collect taxes. However, the income tax system we use is probably one of the worse tax systems available. It punishes those who work and produce while rewarding those who don't. The harder you work, the more successful you are, the more the tax system requires you to pay the government. If this was the system of punishments and rewards at your child's school, you would expect your kid to avoid working and studying because they would get rewarded for doing just that.

I posted a story about Congressman David Crockett a few days ago. This is the David Crockett of fame, who eventually became a Congressman. I think that story illustrates one of the problems with the governments priorities when it spends money. As I mentioned earlier, there are legitimate reasons for the government to tax, and then spend that money it takes through taxes. However, there are a number of things the government spends on that it shouldn't spend on. If the government is spending money on things that "feel good", it probably shouldn't spend that money. Recently, the auto bailouts seemed like a good idea to some. However, in hindsight, what did we get for the money we spent, and is it worth sticking future generations with the bill for bailing out two companies?

This is a topic that could easily fill a book (though not as long as one as the tax code). However I want to leave you with this parting thought: Everything our government does requires money. That money is only obtained by taxing or borrowing. If the government taxes to pay for it, then it is taking money from you, your neighbors, your parents and your grandparents to pay for it. If it borrows, then it is taking money from your children and grandchildren. Shouldn't the government be a little more careful with how it spends money than what we see in Congress right now?

Saturday, September 05, 2009

A Lesson on Taxes and Spending

In preparation for this week's issue of "Of Government and Men", I wanted to recount this story about David Crockett. I have seen this story in a number of places, the version I am going to quote below is from Ted, White, and Blue by Ted Nugent. "The Nuge" in turn is quoting from The Life of Colonel David Crockett by Edward Sylvester Ellis. This story is about a lesson then Congressman David Crockett learned from a constituent. The story as quoted was in Crocket's words.

One evening, Congressman Crocket and a number of other elected officials were around the Capital when they noticed a large fire had broken out in Georgetown. They rushed to the scene and tried to lend their hand, but the damage was done. Crocket was distraught to see a number of families were now homeless, and had only the clothes on their back as a result of the fire. The next day, a bill was introduced appropriating $20,000 for the relief of the victims of this fire. Congress put aside all other business to rush this through, and they were quite proud of themselves at appropriating this money for those families.

The next summer, Crocket was back in his home district campaigning for re-election. He didn't expect any trouble, but thought it might be a good idea to feel out his constituents. He came across a farmer who was polite to him but very cold at the same time. The farmer told Crocket he had voted for him before, but wouldn't be voting for him again. Crocket was shocked and begged the man to tell him why. Eventually the farmer came back to the vote the previous year to appropriate $20,000 for the victims of the Georgetown fire. He asked Crocket if he had in fact voted for said $20,000 relief bill. Crocket said he had, and he was proud he had. Any nation as rich as ours could afford to give, "…the insignificant sum of $20,000 to relieve the suffering women and children, particularly with a full and over flowing treasury…" This was the problem. The farmer pointed out that Crocket either hadn't read the Constitution, or didn't understand it, and that his vote for this bill proved it. He pointed out that first, the government should only have enough money to cover it's legitimate purposes. The money in the treasury is taken from working families, so while Congress may feel good giving this money to families in need, what about the need of the families they took these funds from?

Secondly, the Constitution doesn't define charity. If Congress believes it has the right to donate to charity (as in this case) then there is no stopping the amount they may take from one family to give to another. Finally, the farmer pointed out, "Individual members may give as much of their own money as they please, but they have no right to touch a dollar of the public money for that purpose." The farmer stressed that the money Congress had appropriated for the relief of the fire victims wasn't Congress's money to give away. They should take up a collection of their personal money if they felt that passionately about it, but they shouldn't take from the treasury, and by extension, the other families of the nation to give to these families.

Crocket then says the following:

"I tell you I felt streaked. I saw if I should have opposition, and this man should go to talking and in that district I was a gone fawn-skin. I could not answer him, and the fact is, I was so fully convinced that he was right, I did not want to."

He finally asked the man to give him one more chance. Crocket promised to study and be guided by the Constitution. He hoped that if he ever voted for another bill such as the Georgetown fire bill, he would be shot dead. This is an important story from our nation's history, and one with lessons for today's Congress as it debates health care and other issues. Congressman David Crocket had his eyes opened to the meaning of the Constitution by talking to a constituent. I hope more of our members of Congress learn from their constituents during this recess, and that they realize that tax money isn't their money. It's the people's money and it should be treated with the respect it deserves.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Quick Notes: Comments, David Scott, and 9/11

It's been some time since I last wrote an issue of Quick Notes. However, I had a couple of topics I wanted to write about today, so I thought now as the perfect time for a new issue. Sit back and enjoy!

Comments. I've added a new widget on the right side of the blog (no pun intended). On the right side of your screen, about midway down, you should now see the most recent comments on Political Friends. Occasionally I get a comment about an older post that I would like everyone to see, so I thought this might be helpful. It is set to show the last five comments. Let me know what you think. Do you like it? Is it distracting? Would you like more or less comments? More or less details on those comments? Thanks ahead of time for any input you have.

David Scott's Courage. I am represented in the House by Congressman David Scott (D-GA). I have been trying to track down a town hall meeting I could attend to discuss health care with Mr. Scott. After his meltdown in front of a few constituents at the beginning of the month, he has been a little reluctant to appear at town halls. I have talked to Mr. Scott's office a number of times asking when he was having his health care town hall to hear from constituents. At first I was told it would be on August 28th and would be cosponsored by the AARP. However, as the clip above got more play, Mr. Scott backed down from this event. David Johnson of the Congressman's office said they were no longer having the event. He claimed that every venue they approached were worried about security issues. Apparently that wasn't the case.

State Representative Don Wix notes on his site that last week he attended, "...the townhall meeting in Austell sponsored by the AARP to hear from Congressman David Scott and to talk with local citizens about the pending healthcare legislation." I have to respectfully disagree with both Mr. Wix and Mr. Scott. When the event is an invitation only event sponsored by a friendly special interest group, it hardly qualifies as a "townhall" and I am not sure their goal was to hear from local citizens.

Special 9/11 Post. I volunteered Political Friends to join Project 2,996. This site is dedicated to remembering the victims of 9/11. I have been given a name I will write a special post about that day. If you have a blog or a site and want to participate, they still have plenty of names to assign, so go volunteer to help. I normally allow debate on here. I only moderate comments when they become insulting. For my 9/11 remembrance post, I will be very heavy on the moderate button. If you have anything political to say, don't do it on that post. I will include a reminder with the 9/11 post.