4th of July 1926 and 4th of July 2015

Declaration of Independence

H/T goes to Powerline, for this quotation from President Calvin Coolidge, 30th President of the United States (1923-1929).  Known for his laconic speech and no-nonsense attitude toward governing, he said this about the Declaration of Independence.  It is especially appropriate given the latest dicta from our own version of “Masters of the Universe” sitting on the Supreme Court and in the White House.

“About the Declaration there is a finality that is exceedingly restful. It is often asserted that the world has made a great deal of progress since 1776, that we have had new thoughts and new experiences which have given us a great advance over the people of that day, and that we may therefore very well discard their conclusions for something more modern. But that reasoning can not be applied to this great charter. If all men are created equal, that is final. If they are endowed with inalienable rights, that is final. If governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed, that is final. No advance, no progress can be made beyond these propositions. If anyone wishes to deny their truth or their soundness, the only direction in which he can proceed historically is not forward, but backward toward the time when there was no equality, no rights of the individual, no rule of the people. Those who wish to proceed in that direction can not lay claim to progress. They are reactionary. Their ideas are not more modern, but more ancient, than those of the Revolutionary fathers.”

Fast forward to 2015, and in our land of the free, home of the brave, we learn that a judge has issued a gag order against Aaron and Melissa Klein, owners of Sweet Cakes by Melissa.  You might remember them as the Oregon couple who refused on religious grounds to bake a wedding cake for a lesbian couple.  In January 2014, the Kleins were fined $135,000 for mental and emotional damages suffered by the lesbian couple.

Earlier this week, Oregon Labor Commissioner, Brad Avakian, not only finalized the ruling, but then issued a gag order against the Kleins, after they appeared in an interview with the Family Research Council, where Aaron Klein was quoted as saying:  The fight is not over.  We will continue to stay strong.”

Avakian then issued this gag order against the couple:

“The Commissioner of the Bureau of Labor and Industries hereby orders [Aaron and Melissa Klein] to cease and desist from publishing, circulating, issuing or displaying, or causing to be published … any communication to the effect that any of the accommodations … will be refused, withheld from or denied to, or that any discrimination be made against, any person on account of their sexual orientation.”

Whether or not you’re a believer or agnostic, the above gag order is an attack against the 1st Amendment and the fundamental right of free speech.  The people of Oregon should be ashamed that their liberal and so inclusive policies of live and let live, are designed only for those who meet politically correct standards.  Here’s a lesson:

Bill of Rights

Article the third… Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Article the fourth… A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

Article the fifth… No Soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the Owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law.

Article the sixth… The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

Article the seventh… No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.

Article the eighth… In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defence.

Article the ninth… In suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved, and no fact tried by a jury, shall be otherwise re-examined in any Court of the United States, than according to the rules of the common law.

Article the tenth… Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.

Article the eleventh… The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.

Article the twelfth… The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

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I Am My Father’s Daughter

This Father’s Day 2015 is full of memories as my life takes on another turn of events.  I’m not certain when the impact occurred as to how much of an influence my father really had on me.

Edwin Kowalski

Is it every time I fill the lawn mower with gas, and remember when Dad would say, “don’t fill it all the way up to the top; the gas needs a little room to expand.”  Or is it when I drive the car in winter, and remember what he said to do when if I hit an ice patch.  Or maybe when I’m in my DIY painting mode, and remember dad’s instructions about using the paint roller and sashing the trim.  Or perhaps, a bigger impact when I see someone having a difficult time, or an accident, and I just automatically, by rote, rush in to help.  I learned the latter when I saw my dad pack me in the car along with some supplies and we drove over to some of his employees’ homes that had been flooded out by heavy rains one year.  Mom told me dad was a softie, because he remembered his own life’s hardships, and yet that “softie” was not a pushover.

Dad had three loves in his life:  his family, his golf game, and his business.  The order was flexible depending upon events of the moment.  He was the oldest of five children, and his own father passed away when he was teenager.  He had to quit school to support his mother and siblings.  He never finished high school, and yet when he finally retired due to health reasons in his late 70’s, he was a proud owner of a manufacturing business employing a significant number of people.  And yes, Mr. President, he did build that.

I grew up with a “Tiger mom”, so dad, with his calmness and practicality, was the perfect foil when Mom and I would go at it over piano practice, and later other mother/daughter duels.  Whereas mother was always miserly in her praise for a job well done, lest I “get a big head”, dad wore a big smile on his face and shared a hug.

But in hindsight, my dad’s greatest impact on my life and the person I am today involves the obstacles of life.  “No one owes you a living,” he would say.  He never dwelt on the hardships, the injustices, or the ingrates.  Instead, he used his energy to solve the issue and make the situation better than it was.  What Dad lacked in formal education, he more than made up for it in determination.  He always had faith in me, and he was my sounding board and shoulder when life’s lessons threatened to overwhelm me.  He believed in family, his country, in the goodness of the Almighty, and that life’s rewards were there for you if you worked hard and treated your fellow man fairly.

When dad passed away suddenly at age 87, his wake spoke volumes to the man he was.  People from the condo building where my parents lived came out in force, employees who worked for him over the many years, industry colleagues, golfing buddies, neighbors from where I grew up.  “Your father always said hello to me,” “he always lent a hand,” “he gave me my first break,” “I learned more from your father than I did my own,” “his face always lit up when he spoke about you and how proud he was of you,” “his family always came first.”

And now, as I honor Father’s Day with some grillin’ and chillin’, I realize that I have not lit a large enough fire on the Bar-B for my intended dinner.  I AM my father’s daughter.

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Week in Review: Trump Jumps, Alexander/Alexandra, Greek Theater, Shakespeare (not) in Love

Last week was a busy, busy, news week, so here’s Political Woman’s POV ….

Trump Jumps into the Republican Race for the Presidential Nomination

So is he in it to win it, or just in it?  Probably one of the greatest showmen since P.T. Barnum, “the Donald” has entered the run for the White House.  Before his potential voters are labeled, “Trump Chumps”, harken back to 1992, when businessman Ross Perot’s entry into the Presidential race cost George H.W. Bush the election.  Perot resonated with the electorate, because he spoke to not only their fears, but their hopes for a better America. Perot’s comment about Bill Clinton’s constant reference to his governorship of Arkansas as bona fides to become president was priceless …” but I could say, you know, that I ran a small grocery store on the corner, therefore I extrapolate that into the fact that I can run Wal-Mart. That’s not true.”

Look for Trump to provide similar comic relief, but also touch similar chords.  We are now seven years beyond the market and housing bubble crash of 2008, and the economy is still struggling under the weight and uncertainly of Obamacare, regulatory over-reach, a labor force with a record number of people who are NOT working, more part-time work being created than full time jobs (see the latest jobs report), the highest corporate income tax rate in the world, and on and on.  Trump is speaking to the people who’ve lost their jobs to overseas competitors, as well as those who lose their jobs here at home replaced by visa holders a la Disney.

Trump will force issues and he’ll force fellow candidates to speak out as to where they stand on issues that matter to the voting public.  He’ll bring a different dynamic to the race, and we can only wait for more abashedly remarks that I would call, “Trump-isms.”

Replacing Alexander with Alexandra

It speaks volumes of our government — the OPM is hacked by the Chinese, with a minimum of four million government employees’ personnel records compromised; no clear strategy to combat ISIS with several hundred more American “advisors” being sent to Iraq; TPA fast-track authority granted to the President, relating to a trade-agreement that 95% of the House and Senate members have yet to read — and now (drumroll please) Treasury Secretary Jack Lew announces that Alexander Hamilton, whose face has appeared on the $10 bill will be replaced with a yet-to-be-named woman, when the newly redesigned currency appears in 2020.

Pandering to the whiny, squeaky-wheel feminist special interest groups, the man who founded the American banking system as we know it, became its first Treasury Secretary, and was instrumental in getting the Constitution written and passed, will soon be keeping Shakespeare company in that now infamous group known as the “old, dead, white men.”  As a woman, who remembers quite well the early feminism of Gloria Steinem and Betty Friedan, I say, when there’s a woman with the credentials of a Washington, Lincoln, Hamilton, Jackson, Grant or Franklin, whose decisions, action and leadership literally transformed this country and its history forever, then put her on our currency, not before.

Will or Won’t Greece Exit the Eurozone

As Greece’s long-running financial soap opera continues, resultant from the 2008 market crash, it’s getting down to the proverbial wire of June 30, whether Greece defaults and exits “grexits” the Eurozone or not.  If you’re an investor in mutual funds that encompass European stocks and bonds, you’re probably on antacid tablets or on the phone with your investment advisor.  While Greece’s economy is minute compared to the US’, Greece’s impact on the European economy is much more significant since the European Central Bank is holding/funding much of the Greek debt.  As we are a global economy, the last time we went through a similar Greek drama, our stock market suffered financial declines.  Our banks have exposure in Greece to the tune of approximately $32 billion, and our exposure to the Eurozone market is far, far greater not even counting the value of our exports.  To read more on this subject click here and here.

So as Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras heads to Brussels this week for talks on bailing out or bailing in Greece once again, we should pay a tad more attention than we usually do.  Earlier this week, the UK Telegraph came out with this story, “It’s time to hold physical cash,” where the manager of one of Europe’s biggest bond funds is urging investors to keep cash under the mattress.  Actually, I’m in the corner with another writer, Jeremy Warner, who warns a market correction will most likely be triggered by some unanticipated event, in other words, totally out of the blue.  Just like in 2008.  Lovely.

Shakespeare – Theater of the Absurd

Just when you thought Caitlyn or Rachel would win the award for when the new normal isn’t normal, along comes English teacher, Dana Dusbiber.  She writes in The Washington Post Education blog (text can be found in this article), that her students shouldn’t have to read Shakespeare because other literature “better speaks to the needs of my very ethnically-diverse and wonderfully curious modern-day students.”

In the ancient days of my college years, I had to take an English literature course a part of the university’s then “core curriculum.”  I chose “The Romantics,” which included works by Wordsworth, Coleridge, Lamb, Keats, Shelley, and Byron.  I remember being scared to death of that course, and before I finished the semester, that English course was one of the best I had ever taken.  And why?  Because of the professor, whose name I’ve long forgotten.  Three days a week for 45 minutes, he became lost in the world of the Romantics and took his students with him as he read verses and explained the tragedy of Margaret in “The Prelude,” and later the bawdiness of Byron’s “Don Juan.”

Imagine what Ms. Dusbiber could accomplish, and others like her to show her “ethnically-diverse” students through literature, that life today is not so very different than it was several hundred years ago.  Instead, she is contributing to the meme now found in so many of our universities that courses are only relevant if they mirror life as we know it today, or what we experience in our own race, gender, and ethnicity.  Having a diverse literature curriculum is good for all students, but for Ms. Dusbiber to omit Shakespeare from her course curriculum, whose writings influenced future generations of authors, dramatists and actors is “the most unkindest cut of all.”

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We are the land of the free because of the brave – Memorial Day 2015

American Eagle rests on a gravestone in Ft. Snelling cemetary – (Frank Glick)

On July 4, 1776, 56 men gathered in a room in Philadelphia and put their signatures onto a document that formally began the American Revolution.  It was almost 13 months after the Continental Army was founded (June 14, 1775) to fight the British. Today, we remember the countless American lives throughout history who not only fought for our freedoms but also in defense of them and our way of life.

In combing through columns written by better essayists than this author, I found this essay in the May 20 2015 edition of The Wall Street Journal, written about Staff Sergeant Ryan M. Pitts, a recipient of the Congressional Medal of Honor.

“…a man who joined the U.S. Army out of high school, twice deployed to war, and who in July 2008 was the last man alive in an observation post named Topside, above the village of Wanat in the Hindu Kush mountains of northeastern Afghanistan.  Wounded in the forehead, one arm and both legs, Sgt. Pitts defended that outpost with grenades and a machine gun until helicopter gunships could lay down supporting fire to clear the way for his rescue.”

Staff Sergeant Pitts was selected to give the commencement address at the University of New Hampshire.  He spoke about courage and fear.

“Courage is not the absence of fear; it is the ability to move forward in the face of it. There is beauty in this definition, because courage can exist in the decisions we make every day. Courage exists in the individual who accepts who they are and openly lives the life they want in the face of rejection. Courage exists in those who challenge their own perceptions in the face of accepting they are not infallible. Be courageous and appreciate courage in others who take action in the face of fear.”

He closed by saying: “The last thought I will leave you with is more a matter of character. Never forget those who helped you reach where you are.”

Then he named the men who died that morning, eight on Topside and one in the village of Wanat: “ Sergio Abad, Jonathan Ayers, Jason Bogar, Jonathan Brostrom, Israel Garcia, Jason Hovater, Matthew Phillips, Pruitt Rainey and Gunnar Zwilling.”

In our present day America, I would almost venture a guess that 75% of American high school teenagers would be unable to tell you what our nation’s highest award for valor is.  I would also venture to guess that 75% of our college students have no clue either.  But, they can probably name every character on the Game of Thrones.  

Memorial Day 2015 is especially poignant for many given the news of the several days, mainly the fall of Ramadi, made even more so by the question du jour for the past two weeks as to whether we should have invaded.  In a country where there is more column space given to what is wrong with the military (The New York Times gave 32 consecutive days of coverage to Abu Ghraib, while burying the story about another MOH winner, Cpl. Jason Dunham on page 3 of Section 3)1, there are still thousands of service members and their families who give selflessly, so that we may enjoy our Memorial Day celebrations in peace with families and friends, or however we wish to spend this day.

While we remember the fallen, it is those who serve, who say, “not on my watch” who keep us safe.

We must never forget that we are the land of the free because of “the brave.”

Staff Sgt. Ryan M. Pitts, winner of the Medal of Honor (Getty Images)

Taken at the funeral for Navy SEAL Jon Tumilson, with his faithful dog, Hawkeye

1 Peter Collier, “American Honor“, The Wall Street Journal

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Adoption is Forever – if you’re not prepared, don’t do it

I haven’t posted for quite a while, as I’m spending most of my time on my sister site, political-woman.com.  However, this short video that a friend of mine shared on Facebook, has haunted me, and struck a nerve.  The video is about 3 minutes, but is very powerful, and has over 350,000 views.  The ending is unexpected and the film says more about adoption in three minutes than some films, speeches and websites can say in paragraphs and pages.

If you know someone who is seriously considering adopting a pet, please share this video.  So many people who want to adopt pups, start out with a good heart and good intentions, and then realize that owning a pup (or cat) is like caring for a child or a parent.  It can be quite over-whelming as a new adopter when one discovers the pup comes with clean-up duty, may get into your things and accidentally damage them, and require attention at odd times, get underfoot and may have unforeseen medical bills.

Should you be one of those adoptive parents and are having second thoughts, just drop me a line.  I have four dogs, one of whom is a rescue and set a new bar for home destruction.  But I’ve toughed it through, and he’s a member of the family.  As an adoptive parent, you become their world.

And if you’re a new adoptive parent, and have decided you just can’t do it anymore, please, call a rescue or take the pup to a shelter.  But before you do, look into those eyes, and remember how much they trust you to do the right thing.

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If you have a pup, post its photo and cheer up a young teen fighting cancer: Photo Doggies for Anthony

Haven’t posted here for quite a while as I’ve been concentrating on my other blog, Political-Woman.com.  However, came across this on the news:  Photo Doggies for Anthony.  He’s a young teen fighting cancer and in Phoenix Childrens’ Hospital for chemotherapy.    http://abcnews.go.com/Lifestyle/photo-doggies-anthony-sends-pooch-pics-wishes-phoenix/story?id=28000983

The link to posting a photo can be found here:  https://www.facebook.com/events/1005474049479538/

There but for the grace of God, go I.

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D-Day: 1944 / 1984 / 2014 — An image is a worth a thousand words

You be the judge.

1944 – A Hero

D-Day (US Army-Flicker)


1984 – A Leader


2014 – A “Fill-in-the-blank”


President Obama (chewing gum) at 70th Anniversary of D-Day Memorial in France


H/T Weasel Zippers:  http://weaselzippers.us/188765-obama-chomps-on-gum-during-d-dad-anniversary-event/


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