Since Oct 3, 2002
*clap - clap - clap - clap*
Welcome to my Free Republic Home Page - Thank you Jim Robinson and family
The Texas Gulf Coast
The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance
"Be courteous to all, but intimate with few, and let those few be well tried
before you give them your confidence."-- George Washington
"Govern wisely, and as little as possible" ~ Sam Houston ~
The Texas State Capitol
The deliberations of the Constitutional Convention of 1787 were held in strict secrecy. Consequently, anxious citizens gathered outside Independence Hall when the proceedings ended in order to learn what had been produced behind closed doors. The answer was provided immediately. A Mrs. Powel of Philadelphia asked Benjamin Franklin, Well, Doctor, what have we got, a republic or a monarchy? With no hesitation whatsoever, Franklin responded, A republic, if you can keep it.
- Arguably the first FReeper - he didn't even have dial-up but he had a horse and lantern
and made historic use of both.
**** I am an American ****
Meet the new Commander in Chief ...
President Ronald Reagan and Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher.
Modern era conservative heroes. We'll not soon see their like again.
~ + ~ I'm also a 6th Generation Texan ~ + ~
Eternally grateful to members of
All branches of the United States Military, our Allies
and all who hold Freedom and Liberty dear.
9/11/01 ~ Never Forget
Freedom is not free.
Free Republic Rocks!
Ben Stein's last column from Morton's:
As I begin to write this, I slug it, as we writers say, which means I put a heading on top of the document to identify it. This heading is eonlineFINAL,; and it gives me a shiver to write it. I have been doing this column for so long that I cannot even recall when I started. I loved writing this column so much for so long I came to believe it would never end.
It worked well for a long time, but gradually, my changing as a person and the world's change have overtaken it. On a small scale, Morton's, while better than ever, no longer attracts as many stars as it used to. It still brings in the rich people in droves and definitely some stars. I saw Samuel L. Jackson there a few days ago, and we had a nice visit, and right before that, I saw and had a splendid talk with Warren Beatty in an elevator, in which we agreed that Splendor in the Grass was a super movie. But Morton's is not the star galaxy it once was, though it probably will be again.
Beyond that, a bigger change has happened. I no longer think Hollywood stars are terribly important. They are uniformly pleasant, friendly people, and they treat me better than I deserve to be treated. But a man or woman who makes a huge wage for memorizing lines and reciting them in front of a camera is no longer my idea of a shining star we should all look up to.
How can a man or woman who makes an eight-figure wage and lives in insane luxury really be a star in today's world, if by a star we mean someone bright and powerful and attractive as a role model? Real stars are not riding around in the backs of limousines or in Porsches or getting trained in yoga or Pilates and eating only raw fruit while they have Vietnamese girls do their nails.
They can be interesting, nice people, but they are not heroes to me any longer. A real star is the soldier of the 4th Infantry Division who poked his head into a hole on a farm near Tikrit, Iraq. He could have been met by a bomb or a hail of AK-47 bullets. Instead, he faced an abject Saddam Hussein and the gratitude of all of the decent people of the world.
A real star is the U.S. soldier who was sent to disarm a bomb next to a road north of Baghdad. He approached it, and the bomb went off and killed him.
A real star, the kind who haunts my memory night and day, is the U.S. soldier in Baghdad who saw a little girl playing with a piece of unexploded ordnance on a street near where he was guarding a station. He pushed her aside and threw himself on it just as it exploded. He left a family desolate in California and a little girl alive in Baghdad.
The stars who deserve media attention are not the ones who have lavish weddings on TV but the ones who patrol the streets of Mosul even after two of their buddies were murdered and their bodies battered and stripped for the sin of trying to protect Iraqis from terrorists.
We put couples with incomes of $100 million a year on the covers of our magazines. The noncoms and officers who barely scrape by on military pay but stand on guard in Afghanistan and Iraq and on ships and in submarines and near the Arctic Circle are anonymous as they live and die.
I am no longer comfortable being a part of the system that has such poor values, and I do not want to perpetuate those values by pretending that who is eating at Morton's is a big subject.
There are plenty of other stars in the American firmament...the policemen and women who go off on patrol in South Central and have no idea if they will return alive; the orderlies and paramedics who bring in people who have been in terrible accidents and prepare them for surgery; the teachers and nurses who throw their whole spirits into caring for autistic children; the kind men and women who work in hospices and in cancer wards.
Think of each and every fireman who was running up the stairs at the World Trade Center as the towers began to collapse. Now you have my idea of a real hero.
We are not responsible for the operation of the universe, and what happens to us is not terribly important. God is real, not a fiction; and when we turn over our lives to Him, He takes far better care of us than we could ever do for ourselves. In a word, we make ourselves sane when we fire ourselves as the directors of the movie of our lives and turn the power over to Him.
I came to realize that life lived to help others is the only one that matters. This is my highest and best use as a human. I can put it another way. Years ago, I realized I could never be as great an actor as Olivier or as good a comic as Steve Martin...or Martin Mull or Fred Willard--or as good an economist as Samuelson or Friedman or as good a writer as Fitzgerald. Or even remotely close to any of them.
But I could be a devoted father to my son, husband to my wife and, above all, a good son to the parents who had done so much for me. This came to be my main task in life. I did it moderately well with my son, pretty well with my wife and well indeed with my parents (with my sister's help). I cared for and paid attention to them in their declining years. I stayed with my father as he got sick, went into extremis and then into a coma and then entered immortality with my sister and me reading him the Psalms.
This was the only point at which my life touched the lives of the soldiers in Iraq or the firefighters in New York. I came to realize that life lived to help others is the only one that matters and that it is my duty, in return for the lavish life God has devolved upon me, to help others He has placed in my path. This is my highest and best use as a human.
Faith is not believing that God can. It is knowing that God will.
~ By Ben Stein ~
"I regret that I have but one
subscription cancellation notice
to give to my local newspaper."
~ Wayne ~
Life is mostly froth and bubble
Two things stand like stone
Kindness in another's troubles
Courage in your own
~ Goodnight Cindy ~
~ 1958-2003 * RIP ~
The man who shot Liberty Valance
"You want me to spell it out for ya? We put a green apple on the head
of a red white and blue Texas steer and named him Art ... comprende amigo?"
Things I like...
"There's no way to rule innocent men. The only power government has is the power to crack down on criminals. When there aren't enough criminals, one makes them. One declares so many things to be a crime that it becomes impossible for men to live without breaking laws."
~ Ayn Rand ~
Of all tyrannies, a tyranny exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber barons cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end, for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.
The Ruger 10-22 - You really do need one of these...
These tend to work as well ...
Nat King Cole - I Found A Million Dollar Baby
The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane.
~ Marcus Aurelius ~
The trouble ain't that there is too many fools, but that the lightning ain't distributed right.
~ Mark Twain ~
Our Fearless Leader with the lovely Ann Coulter
"Our God-given unalienable rights are NOT open to debate, negotiation or compromise."
"Obama is a Compleat Idiot"
+ ~ Jim Robinson ~ +
RUSH LIMBAUGH Talk radio host
A national phenomenon, Limbaugh's influence is massive and has endured the test of time. His recent contretemps with Senator Harry Reid was indicative of Limbaugh's continued power he raised $2.1 million for military and police families by selling on eBay a letter from the Democrats attacking him. As far back as 1996 he won the ultimate conservative accolade by having Al Franken, a left-wing comedian, pen a volume about him entitled: Rush Limbaugh Is a Big Fat Idiot.
For three hours each day, Limbaugh ranges from waxing philosophical to sounding off about political issues of the day. His theatrical style belies an erudition and painstaking research that his detractors often underestimate. His show began in 1988 and still tops the listenership lists. Often accused of going OTT, he courts controversy and relishes a battle. Any conservative Republican would chew off his own arm to appear on the Limbaugh show.
Remarks of Tony Snow ...
Upon Receiving Freedom of Speech Award From The Media Institute Friends & Benefactors Awards Banquet Washington, D.C. October 16, 2007
"Thank you for this award. I am not quite sure why I have received it, but Im not inclined to ask or complain. Instead, Ill express my gratitude by giving the First Amendment a good workout for the next few minutes. First, a confession: I love the news business. I spent 28 years in newspapers, television and radio, and no doubt will return in some fashion to all three. Few professions are as stimulating, unpredictable or fun. At its best, journalism serves as an unending graduate school - a place where one constantly must learn new things, meet new people, encounter everything from garden-variety evil to shimmering new advances on the intellectual and cultural scene, and stand on history's sidelines, while someone pays you for the adventure. That's a great deal by any standard. The First Amendment, as others have noted, serves as the foundation for the enterprise, and supports reporters in their quest for truth - or at least for serviceable facts that in time might lead them toward some reasonable facsimile of truth.
We also hear that the First Amendment is under siege. I think that's true. I don't believe anyone here would disagree with the proposition that the quality of public discourse isnt what it once was or that it presently achieves levels of excellence and depth that it desperately needs to reach. Yet, while it may be tempting to blame the usual suspects - the government, interest groups, angry factionalists - those forces frequently have always tried to restrict the free flow of ideas, and they always have failed. They're not the culprits here. Instead, there's a new and unexpected menace on the block: The media. Let me explain. American journalism finds itself in a highly unusual predicament. In the early days of this nation, the press was wild, untamed, and omnipresent. Papers sprouted everywhere, and not even Ben Franklin could resist the temptation to turn his printing presses into devices for spreading gossip, maligning political enemies, and entertaining readers with items ranging from the important to the grandly weird. Then came a period of consolidation and gentrification. Moguls controlled major media outlets and a handful of elite institutions - the New York Times, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal and the three television networks - shaped and defined not merely what counted as news, but what counted as acceptable opinion. The press lost its Wild West flavor and became what Tom Wolfe described as: a Victorian gent.
Now, far be it from me to derogate the heat-seeking one-liner. Insults have a long and proud place in American politics. One of my favorites took place years ago, when drug testing was all the rage. A pretender to Fritz Hollingss seat demanded that the old boy take a drug test. This prompted Hollings to reply: I'll take a drug test just as soon as my opponent takes an I.Q. test. That, my friends, is a wonderful insult. It's also a lousy surrogate for analysis or information. In one of those horrid quandaries that now form the bane of editors existence, consumers claim to despise such stories. They're lying, of course - as ratings and web hits demonstrate. People love juicy, titillating, humiliating, crass, gross and slimy tales - always have. Millions will stare slack-jawed at car ambling down the 5 in Los Angeles, or gobble up the latest about Brittney and her babies. Sensational stories are incredibly tough to avoid - but they shouldnt form the bulk of Washington reportage.
The third news-cycle pox: Polls. Polls provide a ripe source for conflict because pollsters regularly reduce complex questions to queries of mind-numbing simplicity: Do you want America out of the war? Would you like it if the government guaranteed health care? Should the government guarantee full employment? Should we spend more on education? Should we cut your taxes? The answer to each of the above is, Well, sure! But note that the questions are asked in a vacuum, as if the object of a respondents desire could be had for free, without consequences. Pollsters routinely ask if people would like something unobtainable - guaranteed employment, for example - and politicians take the wistful answers as holy writ. Someone opposed to a guaranteed employment scheme can expect to be accused of supporting joblessness or hating the poor, at which point the mud would fly on both sides - all because of a poll question based on an idiotic assumption. Dumb questions beget dumb debate. In short, media organizations have been seduced by process, conflict and polling stories, and along the way have sacrificed the tradition of looking for creative ways to understand and explain the world. They have become hostages to the easy and shallow stuff and strangers to stories that touch peoples hearts and characterize their actual lives. Indeed, journalists seem to have developed an elitist contempt for the daily concerns of viewers, listeners and readers - and the public has noticed. This explains the across-the-board slippage in newspaper circulation, and viewership of broadcast and cable news.
This brings me to the final dangerous factor - a cramped view of the First Amendment itself. News organizations gleefully embrace the First Amendments protection of a free press, but what about the two other freedoms - of religion and assembly? The three are linked indissolubly. To assail one is to weaken the other two. But the journalistic establishment doesn't seem to appreciate this fact. Religion in this country - Christianity especially - has been redefined as a menace, rather than a bulwark of our social order. Schools no longer acknowledge Christmas, for instance, but they celebrate Kwanzaa. The onslaught against traditional religion is palpable and real. Despite this, religion flourishes - revealing a profound and growing disconnect between the journalistic establishment and the public, not to mention the political elites who have put many of the strictures in place. The press does a horrible job of discussing religion - reporters are less likely to attend worship service than the public generally, and are less likely to take a skeptical view of those who want to constrain religious expression. In some cases, one can almost hear a muffled cheer when a court or organization puts a muzzle on those who merely want to express their religious beliefs.
Similarly, we spend too little time defending the rights of people to assemble freely, including those determined to make perfect fools of themselves by expressing outrageous views. Campaign-finance reform is an abomination to the First Amendment. It limits the ability of citizens to express political views during political campaigns, thus taking the attack on free assembly into realm of electronic communications. The McCain-Feingold law has restricted the right of people to express themselves in the most basic public forum of all - the political town square. Predictably, campaign-finance reform did what it always does: It reduced the power of average citizens to affect political campaigns, and strengthened the hands of the wealthiest among us. McCain-Feingold destroyed political parties and educational and organizational institutions, drove out moderating voices, lifted the lid on spending - theres talk of a billiondollar presidential race next year - and seems only to have enhanced the standing of cranky billionaires.
I've raced through a lot of issues here, but you get the point: The media have embraced practices and policies that actually erode First Amendment freedoms and weaken the practice of journalism itself.
Now, I'll conclude with good news and bad news. First, the bad: The public hates politics and the press. People don't trust either institution, even though they sustain our system of free intellectual enterprise. Those of us involved in either profession - or in my case, both - shouldn't complain. We need to ask how things reached this state, and how we can fix the problem. Now the good news: I don't think any of the weaknesses I have cited are inherent or irreversible. I have spent nearly 30 years of my life in the business of journalism, and with luck, I'll get 30 more. I love the business and the people who work in it. My experience as White House press secretary confirmed what I always have known: Reporters are curious, aggressive, eager to learn, and interested in ideas. They share many of the frustrations I have mentioned this evening. They want to range wider, dig deeper and explore more broadly than they can today. They hate censorship. They love what they do. They see it as a noble calling. They want to get better at their jobs, and they want to grind their competitors into dust. They know the public has become sick of vicious political discourse and the media who pass it on. They know the country teems with new kinds of stories, incredible innovations, novel ways of attacking the problems we all confront. But everyone needs to realize that the days of the old-fashioned newsroom are over. It's a different world out there - wilder, more competitive, and much less predictable than even a decade ago. Rather than cursing innovation, journalists need to embrace it. They need to get out of their cubicles and plunge into the task that drew most of us into the business in the first place the challenge of engaging a chaotic world filled with willful fellow human beings; a world of joy and agony; of triumph and crushing failure; a world united by love and atomized by hatreds and aggression, The democratic media provide new tools for examining our world, new competitors for reporting about that world, and new reminders to the press establishment that markets really do work - and people want better than they're getting.
I come not to bury journalism, but to celebrate and challenge it. It's a cliche that every crisis presents an opportunity, but it's true: The democratization of the media is a good thing. We now face competition from all quarters - including from people who have specialized expertise that journalists lack. We ought to welcome the new participants in the game and learn from them. They should do the same with us. Theres an old boast in the business - that the job of a journalist is to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable. The thing is, we never realized that we were becoming The Comfortable - with good pay, job security, and access to movers and shakers all around the world. We need to cast off our coziness, venture away from safe stories and presumptions and into the wilderness of new topics, new ideas and new sources of information. In that quest lies the possibility of fulfillment and joy - and the hope of keeping alive the text and the spirit of the First Amendment."
Full remarks of Tony Snow pdf.
Contrary to published reports, William F. Buckley is very much alive and well, using as little Arab oil as possible.
Among other things I suspect he's packin' a pocket Constitution ;o)