Saturday, December 15, 2012

Silent Night / ABC News (Newtown, CT shooting)

In 1966, Simon & Garfunkel released a version of Silent Night, which had the 7 O'clock news playing in the background. Here is the background:

"7 O'Clock News/Silent Night" is the twelfth and final track on Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme, a 1966 album by Simon and Garfunkel. The track consists of an overdubbing of two contrasting recordings: a simple arrangement of the Christmas carol "Silent Night", and a simulated "7 O'Clock News" bulletin of the actual events of 3 August 1966.
The "Silent Night" track consists of Simon and Garfunkel singing the first verse twice over, accompanied by Garfunkel on piano. The voice of the newscaster is that of Charlie O'Donnell, then a radio disc jockey. As the track progresses, the song becomes fainter and the news report louder. Matthew Greenwald calls the effect "positively chilling".[1] Bruce Eder describes the track as "a grim and ironic (and prophetic) comment on the state of the United States in 1966".[2]

It is indeed chilling, but also a reminder of the peace that comes through Jesus Christ and the evil and tragedy that mankind creates. I thought of this juxtaposition in the wake of the Newtown, CT shooting and decided to put this together. Nothing can erase the pain of this tragedy, but with the Savior, peace is still possible.

Who will protect gun control advocates on THAT day?

In the wake of that terrible tragedy in Newtown, Connecticut, the gun control advocates are out in full force. Liberals are perfectly willing to relinquish constitutional rights for the good of us all. After all, they know better than we do.

This Liberal "logic" makes me think of a great moment from the Robert Bolt play, A Man For All Seasons. The scene takes place between Sir Thomas More and his future son-in-law, William Roper.
William Roper: So, now you give the Devil the benefit of law!  
Sir Thomas More: Yes! What would you do? Cut a great road through the law to get after the Devil?  
William Roper: Yes, I'd cut down every law in England to do that! 
Sir Thomas More: Oh? And when the last law was down, and the Devil turned 'round on you, where would you hide, Roper, the laws all being flat? This country is planted thick with laws, from coast to coast, Man's laws, not God's! And if you cut them down, and you're just the man to do it, do you really think you could stand upright in the winds that would blow then? Yes, I'd give the Devil benefit of law, for my own safety's sake! 
It is frightening how quickly gun control advocates will cut down constitutional rights in a simplistic attempt to fix a complicated problem. Yet, they rationalize and justify cutting down the Second Amendment because it makes them feel they have control of something. It feels safer. 

So, we are to relinquish a constitutional right for the benefit of the children. Trade rights for desired safety and security. Liberals tend to make arguments in this manner, because it feels good and it seems like there is causation. There isn't. It is an illogical argument. Laws and bans do NOT stop criminals from acting on their evil plans, thus the reason they are "criminals" in the first place.

Considering we are a nation ready to give up on the "war on drugs" because drugs are so rampant that we cannot enforce our laws, how can we expect law enforcement to keep guns away from criminals and protect law-abiding citizens who are defenseless? Banning guns for law-abiding citizens would likely embolden and enable criminals, making the nation - and yes, children - less safe.

The gun culture in America is a serious problem. There are too many gun deaths. There is too much violence. Our culture is suffering. We have a morality problem. We have an entitlement and envy problem. We have a respect-for-life problem. But, we must have honest, all-encompassing debates about the problems and the solutions. In this case, seeking to cut down the Second Amendment is a knee-jerk reaction which could prove disastrous for all Americans. And if the guns are legislated away, who will protect the gun control advocates on THAT day?

Saturday, October 20, 2012

What Does Obama Have In HIS Binders?

The ridiculous "binders" story is not worthy of a post. So, I thought I'd just post a picture instead, just to prove that Obama does indeed know what a binder is, and that he actually uses them. According to Harry Reid, he could have anything in there and until he reveals what is in there, we can assume he is hiding something. So, what does Obama have in his binders? Leave guesses in the comments section...

He could have anything in there!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Obama in 2008 on National Security: "The Buck Will Stop With ME!"

In light of Hillary Clinton taking the blame for failures in the Benghazi attack while Obama remains in hiding (from reporters), let us take a moment to remember yet another lofty promise Obama made back in 2008:

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Joe Biden: "LIFE Begins at Conception" (But it's okay to take that LIFE)

Joe Biden carefully carved out his stance on abortion in the Vice Presidential Debate with Paul Ryan. Not wanting to sound "extreme" and likely wanting to pander to women voters, Uncle Joe made the most illogical case a person can make for abortion. Here's what he said:

"With regard to -- with regard to abortion, I accept my church’s position on abortion as a -- what we call de fide (doctrine ?). Life begins at conception. That’s the church’s judgment. I accept it in my personal life. 

But I refuse to impose it on equally devout Christians and Muslims and Jews and -- I just refuse to impose that on others, unlike my friend here, the congressman. 

I -- I do not believe that -- that we have a right to tell other people that women, they -- they can’t control their body. It’s a decision between them and their doctor, in my view. And the Supreme Court -- I’m not going to interfere with that" - NY Times

Joe believes it's a life, but doesn't want to "interfere" with a decision between the mother and the doctor as to whether that LIFE will live or die. Once again, he believes it is a LIFE. He said that. I am not taking anything out of context. "Life begins at conception."

I cannot believe a politician - or anyone - can get away with this hypocrisy. Joe, how can you accept that a fetus is a life and not believe you have a right to interfere on behalf of the unborn child? We tell all citizens they cannot murder - except in cases of self-defense - so why can't we tell a woman she can't destroy a life, even if it is inside of her body? Do you agree with the Declaration of Independence that one of the God-given rights is to LIFE, LIBERTY and THE PURSUIT OF HAPPINESS? Didn't you swear an oath to defend the Constitution? How can you claim the voiceless, powerless fetus is a life, but then claim you don't have a right to tell the woman she can't kill it? Who speaks for the fetus? Why does the mother's "choice" trump the baby's RIGHT to LIFE?

What's particularly disturbing is that a few sentences before that, Joe said, "Catholic social doctrine talks about taking care of those who -- who can’t take care of themselves, people who need help." When it comes to abortion, who is it in the equation who can't take of himself/herself? Is it the mother? The doctor? Who needs the most help? Who needs the most protection? Sure, the mother may be in a bad position, but death is usually not on the line (and if it is, most pro-lifers support abortion as an option). Perhaps Joe should change his statement to "taking care of [voters] who can't take care of themselves, [voters] who need help." Votes seem to speak the loudest to politicians!

I am pro-life and I think we have a duty to protect the unborn - who can't help themselves. I think people should make better preventative choices if they don't want to have a baby. I know, that is so self-righteous of me to see that as a viable option. But, discussing the rightness or wrongness of abortion is not my purpose here. I am pointing out the contradiction in Biden's abortion position. I disagree with those who say that a fetus is not a life, but I can at least concede that there is debate about it. And if a fetus is not a life, then I can at least understand how a person could justify abortion. What I cannot accept is someone who believes it is a life and supports a mother's "right" to take that life.

It doesn't work, Joe. You can't have it both ways and given the choice between LIFE and any other "right"...LIFE is the trump card!

Still, while Biden's position is completely illogical; it's not quite as disgusting as Obama's abortion position:

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Is Biden Too Crazy To Be Defeated in Debate?

"You can't beat crazy!"
I think we can all agree; Joe Biden is a bit crazy! Some people think he's crazy in the sense that he says things that politicians don't normally say. Some people think he's crazy in the way your crazy uncle is crazy - it's a bit alarming but it's also kind of endearing. Some people think Joe Biden is legitimately crazy - not-fit-to-be-President crazy or not-fit-to-be-employed crazy.

Regardless of the type of crazy or the degree of crazy, crazy people are hard to pin down. They don't play by the rules! When most of society (the number appears to be dwindling) has agreed to use logic and reason in discussions and debates, it puts most of us at least on similar wave lengths. We can still have big disagreements and differences of opinions, but we are still generally able to understand where others are coming from. But, when someone comes from an entirely different wave length, it is so foreign and odd that it is hard to discuss ordinary ideas. You may have logic, reason, facts and style on your side, but a crazy person can put on such a bizarre show that it frustrates you and distracts you from your objectives that the crazy person can actually start to make you think you're crazy.

As a litigator, I have had the unfortunate experience of facing several pro se (people who represent themselves) parties. In many ways it is a great advantage to face someone who doesn't have a lawyer, but it can also be confusing, time-consuming and maddening. Pro se parties do crazy things like filing non-existent, insane motions. You are left to wonder: do I even have to respond to this considering it is insane or do I still have to answer just to be safe? Usually you answer the crazy motion to protect yourself and your client, which is time-consuming and expensive for the client. Then, when you draft the response you have to combat the craziness and sometimes the only way to combat it is with craziness. I admit that sometimes it is fun, but usually it is annoying.

Paul Ryan is slick, smart and focused. He seems to dislike nonsense and frivolous debate. Well, he's going to get it tonight! Biden is going to be all over the place. He's going to attack Romney/Ryan, he'll make some outrageous allegations, he'll appeal to the working class effectively and he'll try to paint Ryan as a young punk who doesn't know what he's talking about. He will make some good points, but he will also say some crazy things. If Ryan can't bring the debate back to reason, he will open the possibility that Crazy Uncle Joe might appear to have bested him, even if Ryan wins on substance, reason and sanity. In addition, crazy people often gain sympathy because of their plight. Many Americans will have a soft spot for Joe, so if Ryan goes at him too hard, he might come off as a mean bully.

I actually find Joe Biden somewhat endearing, especially when he is making good points for the GOP, but I wouldn't want to have to debate him. Expectations for Biden (and most crazy people) are so low that if he is still clothed at the end of the debate, it will be a victory. Who would you enlist for debate prep as a stand-in for Biden? Leave suggestions in the comments. Here is my pick.

The sh**er will be full when Biden leaves the stage Thursday night

Tuesday, October 9, 2012


Critical Race Theory (“CRT”), as defined by one of its most influential and founding advocates, Derrick Bell, is “characterized by frequent use of the first person, storytelling, narrative, allegory, interdisciplinary treatment of law, and the unapologetic use of creativity.” (See, WHO'S AFRAID OF CRITICAL RACE THEORY, Derrick Bell (1995))  He further explains, “We use a number of different voices, but all recognize that the American social order is maintained and perpetuated by racial subordination.” (Id. at 906) Bell, a former professor at Harvard School of Law, explains that two types of CRT members exist: (1) People of color who are “ideologically committed to the struggle against racism”; and (2) white people who are “cognizant of and committed to the overthrow of their own racial privilege.” (Id at 898)

Professor Dorothy Brown - the same Dorothy Brown who appeared on Soledad OBrien's show to criticize Joel Pollak's previous characterization of CRT - adds that “[a]lthough CRT does not employ a single methodology, it seeks to highlight the ways in which the law is not neutral and objective, but designed to support White supremacy and the subordination of people of color.” (FIGHTING RACISM IN THE TWENTY-FIRST CENTURY, Dorothy Brown (2004)) Essentially, CRT uses the law to demonstrate a problem that lies within and without legal institutions; that white supremacy and privilege is deeply rooted in American culture and the Civil Rights era of the 1960s did little to bring about equality.

A recent revelation by shows a past connection between President Barack Obama and CRT theorist Derrick Bell. While President Obama’s association with an African-American Harvard law professor in the 1990s does not suggest, by itself, that President Obama was or is a proponent of CRT, it warrants investigation into whether his narratives and/or policies have any grounding in CRT.  This article explores this issue by reviewing the President’s books, interviews, speeches, press conferences and actions for any indication that his agenda is based on such a radical theory. Ben Shapiro, of, has already written a phenomenal article about the ties between Obama, Bell and Critical Race Theory. This article seeks to build on those ties and delve into the words of Barack Obama. As such, it relies almost entirely on the actual words of Barack Obama through the years.

Early Days; Harvard Law

After graduating from Columbia, Barack Obama worked in New York for a brief time and then moved to Chicago to work as a community organizer. After working to elevate those in the black community for nearly four years, Obama "became aware that it’s more and more important to understand the intricacies of the system, how money flows and business operates. As more public policy is made by private actors, any strategy for Blacks has to involve the understanding of what is happening in the private sector," he said in a 1990 interview.  The LA Times reported that "[a]fter four years, Obama decided it was time to move on. He wanted to learn how to use the political system to effect social change. He set his sights on Harvard Law School, where he quickly distinguished himself as a top student."

While attending Harvard Law School, Obama would be taught and mentored by prominent and controversial African-American professors Derrick BellCharles Ogletree and Laurence Tribe.  Tribe would call Obama the "best student I ever had" and the "most exciting research assistant." Shortly before Obama's 2008 election, Tribe said that if Obama were to be elected, he would appoint justices "who share his view that the Constitution is a living document that has to be interpreted in light of evolving values of decency."  

In 1990, Professor Tribe said that "what truly distinguishes Obama from other bright students at Harvard Law is his ability to make sense of complex legal arguments and translate them into current social concerns. For example, Obama wrote an insightful research article showing how contrasting views in the abortion debate are a direct result of cultural and sociological differences." 

Obama gained national attention when he was elected the first African-American President of the Harvard Law Review.  On why he chose to run for the position, Obama said, "[i]t was another door we hadn't walked through yet."  He added"I wanted the job because it would allow me to have some influence on the course of legal debate in this country."

Barack H. Obama at Harvard Law (Photo: NY Times)
While Obama's election as President of the Law Review was celebrated nationally, according to a 1990 LA Times piece "some of Obama's peers question the motives of this second-year law student. They find it puzzling that despite Obama's openly progressive views on social issues, he has also won support from staunch conservatives.  Although some question what personal goals motivate Obama, his interest in social issues is deeply grounded." Harvard Law Professor Derrick Bell did not appear to be overly optimistic: "While I applaud Obama's achievement, I guess I am not as hopeful for what this will mean for other blacks at Harvard.  There is a strange character to this black achievement. When you have someone that reaches this high level, you find that he is just deemed exceptional and it does not change society's view of all of the rest."

While President of the Law Review, Obama relied on "compromise" and "bipartisanship" to work with fellow Law Review students who might not have agreed with his politics.  "These are the people who will be running the country in some form or other when they graduate. If I'm talking to a white conservative who wants to dismantle the welfare state, he has the respect to listen to me and I to him."

As for Obama's own thoughts about his election and his plans for the Law Review, Obama revealed, "'I personally am interested in pushing a strong minority perspective. I'm fairly opinionated about this. But as president of the law review, I have a limited role as only first among equals.''  Elsewhere he stated that “[p]eople like myself are learning a certain language of mainstream society, of power and decision making. “We have an obligation to go back to the Black community, to listen and learn and help give our people a voice.  I’m nontraditional less in my training than in my focus, and my past and my future plans. My background is more concrete and hands-on. Issues of public policy and the Black community are of major importance to me.”

Obama would continue to work with his mentors, Tribe, Bell and Ogletree throughout his career at Harvard Law. Charles Ogletree was a senior advisor to Senator Obama in 2008 and has continued a close correspondence with the President.  Ogletree gave a three-part lecture at Harvard entitled "Understanding Obama", he now teaches a class at Harvard with the same title and plans to publish a book about Obama...but will wait until after the 2012 election.  Ogletree, who has written heavily about race in the law,  has warned colleges and universities that admitting mostly foreign-born blacks to meet the goals of affirmative action is insufficient, stated: “Whether you are from Brazil or from Cuba, you are still products of slavery. But the threshold is that people of African descent who were born and raised and suffered in America have to be the first among equals.”

Community Organizing in Chicago

After graduating from Harvard Law School in 1992, Barack Obama spent some time at a law firm in Chicago before heading back to the streets to engage in community organizing.  According to a Crain's Business Article in September 27,1991, Obama's two aspirations were: "political reformer and entrepreneur for social justice." In the article, Obama says "[t]emperamentally, I'm more suited to the latter. Practically, it's very difficult." He also stated that, because of his time in Hawaii and Indonesia, he was in a "unique position" to impose his world view on racial issues. 

One of Obama's major goals in community organizing was voter registration.  In 1992, he told the Chicago Sun-Times "Our biggest problem is the young, the 18 to 35 group. There is a lot of talk about 'black power' among the young but so little action. Today, we see hundreds of young blacks talking 'black power' and wearing Malcolm X T-shirts, but they don't bother to register and vote. We remind them that Malcolm once made a speech titled 'The Ballot or the Bullet,' and that today we've got enough bullets in the streets but not enough ballots."

In an appearance on NPR's All Things Considered in 1994, Obama said, "it's time for all of us, and now I'm talking about the larger American community, to acknowledge that we've never even come close to providing equal opportunity to the majority of black children. Real opportunity would mean quality prenatal care for all women and well-funded and innovative public schools for all children. Real opportunity would mean a job at a living wage for everyone who was willing to work, jobs that can return some structure and dignity to people's lives and give inner-city children something more than a basketball rim to shoot for. In the short run, such ladders of opportunity are going to cost more, not less, than either welfare or affirmative action. But, in the long run, our investment should pay off handsomely. That we fail to make this investment is just plain stupid. It's not the result of an intellectual deficit. It's the result of a moral deficit."

Eventually, Obama became discouraged by the limiting factors of community organizing. He wanted to effect more social change and have a bigger impact, so he entered the political arena in 1995.  He told Charlie Rose, "I saw the law as being inadequate to the task. It’s very difficult to bring about social change at this point through the courts. [And] community organizing was too localized and too small." 

Many years earlier, Professor Derrick Bell had expressed a similar frustration, stating "[p]rofessor Leroy Clark has written that the black community’s belief in the efficacy of litigation inhibited the development of techniques involving popular participation and control that might have advanced school desegregation in the South…A lawyer seeking social change, Clark advises, must “make clear that the major social and economic obstacles are not easily amenable to the legal process and that vigilance and continued activity by the disadvantaged are the crucial elements in social change. (Derrick A. Bell, Jr., SERVING TWO MASTERS: INTEGRATION IDEALS AND CLIENTS INTERESTS IN SCHOOL DESEGRATION LITIGATION, 85 Yale L. J. 470, 471 (1976).

Interviews about Dreams From My Father

In 1995, Barack Obama wrote his first book; Dreams From My Father: A Story of Race and InheritanceHe told Charlie Rose, “I originally got the idea of writing a book while I was at Harvard Law School, where I served as president of the Law Review. In listening to a number of the debates going back and forth about affirmative action and voting rights and all the controversies surrounding race issues in the country, I thought that I might be able to insert myself into the debate and hopefully clarify it." About the same time, at his friends' urging he also entered into the political arena, because, as he says, "I saw the law as being inadequate to the task. It’s very difficult to bring about social change at this point through the courts. [And] community organizing was too localized and too small."

More to come soon...

Obama Plagiarizes Lincoln's Condolence Letter

A recent story broke about the father of a fallen Marine who was upset by a condolence letter received from Barack Obama...four months after the death of his son.  The letter is a form letter, which the Administration has sent to the families of other fallen soldiers.  Impersonal and delayed form letters to the parents of fallen heroes are bad enough, but it looks like Obama has actually ripped off much of the language, tone and sentiment of Abraham Lincoln's 1864 letter to Mrs. Bixby.

Below you can find each letter in its entirety. Similar phrases and/or sentiments are highlighted. You be the judge.

Lincoln Letter

"Dear Madam,

I have been shown in the files of the War Department a statement of the Adjutant General of Massachusetts that you are the mother of five sons who have died gloriously on the field of battle.

I feel how weak and fruitless must be any word of mine which should attempt to beguile you from the grief of a loss so overwhelming. But I cannot refrain from tendering you the consolation that may be found in the thanks of the Republic they died to save.

I pray that our Heavenly Father may assuage the anguish of your bereavement, and leave you only the cherished memory of the loved and lost, and the solemn pride that must be yours to have laid so costly a sacrifice upon the altar of freedom.

Yours, very sincerely and respectfully,
A. Lincoln"

Obama Letter

"Dear _________,

I am deeply saddened to learn of the loss of your son, ____________, USMC. Our Nation will not forget his sacrifice, and we can never repay our debt to your family.

A simple letter cannot ease the pain of losing a child, but I hope you take solace in knowing that his brave service exceeded all measures of selflessness and devotion to this country. We honor him not only as a guardian of our liberty, but also as the true embodiment of America's spirit of service to a cause greater than ourselves.

Michelle and I offer our heartfelt sympathy, and pray that God's grace gives you comfort as you grieve. In life, your son was a shining example of all that is best in our land. In rest, may he find the peace we all seek.

Barack Obama"

While Lincoln's letter was unique to Mrs. Bixby, Obama's letter is sent as a form letter to families of fallen soldiers - 4 months late, apparently. Lincoln's letter has heart-felt sentiment and is backed by the historical context of Lincoln's love of this country and its soldiers. Obama's letter is betrayed by his seeming apathy and lack of respect for our military. Lincoln hand-wrote his letter; Obama simply signed his. One can dispute these points, but on top of all of the disrespectful aspects of this form letter, Obama didn't even write it; Lincoln did (and much better than Obama).

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Suburban Roads Lead To Middle Class Swing Counties, Mr. Obama

The Daily Caller video that surfaced (Not "re-surfaced" as reported by the Mainstream Media, because the most controversial portions never surfaced before) of Obama speaking in 2007 has some fascinating aspects to it relating to the middle class.  I couldn't care less what voice or cadence he used, because the substance is what is important to me.

Among other divisive things, Obama said: "We don't need to build more highways out in the suburbs.  We should be investing in minority-owned businesses, in our neighborhoods, so people don't have to travel from miles away."

Here is a small list of assumptions in that short excerpt:

1. Minority-owned businesses aren't in the suburbs;
2. "We" shouldn't be investing in non-minority-owned business (in the suburbs or not);
3. "Our" neighborhoods aren't in the suburbs;
4. "People" currently have to travel from miles away to visit businesses; and
5. The highways in the suburbs are in good shape or the state of highways in the suburbs isn't important.

There are more, but that will suffice for purposes of this article.  Obama's use of the word "our" suggests he is speaking collectively with his audience.  Since the audience is made up of almost all African-Americans, it is quite reasonable to assume that Obama is speaking about African-Americans and their situation.  And since he differentiated between the suburbs and "our" neighborhoods, it is also reasonable to assume that Obama is referring to the suburbs as "their" neighborhoods (whites or non-blacks).

Obama was generally correct in his assessment of the suburbs.  According to articles (here and here; and there are many more) "the average middle class white household lives in the suburbs" and "the average middle class African-American household lives in the center city."  Recent articles note that the percentage of African-Americans in the suburbs is actually growing - nearly 33% as of 2011.  Do those African-Americans need roads out there in the suburbs with those people?  Are those African American suburb-dwellers still part of the "our" that Obama was talking about?

What is most interesting to note is that the suburbs are made up of almost all middle class voters, whether black or white.  If Obama were a true man of the middle class, it seems he would want to build roads (literally and figuratively) to the suburbs.  So, why wouldn't Obama want to build more roads for these middle class citizens?  Why wouldn't he want to encourage minority-owned businesses to migrate to the suburbs?

There are about a dozen counties in the United States that could swing the 2012 election to one side or the other.  In almost every case, the suburban middle class voters are key.  For example, Chester County, PA, Jefferson County, CO, Wake County, NC, and Hillsborough County, FL all have significant populations of middle class voters living in suburbs.  President Obama has tried to paint himself as the man of the middle class for nearly six years, and yet the middle class has been the hardest hit during his Presidency.  Under Obama the median household income fell to $50,054 (8% drop since 2007).  And now (or then) he is telling the ones in the suburbs that they don't need more roads.  Let us celebrate the unity of that notion.

Could it be that Obama doesn't see people in the suburbs as "middle class"?  According to Charles Ogeltree, one of Obama's mentors, political advisors, when Obama says "middle class" he really means "poor", but doesn't like to use the term "poor" because it's demeaning and not politically popular.  Are most people in the suburbs poor?  No.  So, when Obama talks about the middle class, is he talking about the people in the suburbs?  Probably not.  Have Obama's policies been aimed at the traditional "middle class" or the "poor"?  You decide.

And, those swing voters in those swing counties out in the suburbs should decide whether Obama really has their best interests in mind as they drive to the polls on those suburban roads Obama doesn't think "we" need.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

An Economy That Works For Everyone?

I recently received the following email from Michelle Obama:

"Garrett --

I'm always amazed by how Barack balances his responsibilities as president, a husband, and a dad.

But sometimes even he needs a little help. And this campaign is going to take all of us pitching in.

All of the things we've poured our hearts into -- from passing health care reform to fighting for an economy that works for everyone -- are on the line. 

I know I don't want to wake up on November 7th wondering if I could have done more. So I'm doing everything I can between now and Election Day to make sure we can keep moving this country forward for four more years. 

We've only got a few more hours before an important fundraising deadline. Please support this campaign by giving $3 or more today:

From all of us, thanks. 


Even HE needs a little help, huh?  Well, as nauseating as that statement is to me, it is the "fighting for an economy that works for everyone" comment that has me wondering.  What kind of an economy does work for EVERYONE?  Does that kind of economy exist?  Is it even conceivable, desirable or attainable?

I think not.  Is the President spending all his time chasing Nirvana?  Yep.  Is that going to actually help the Country?  Nope.  So much for the bring the great Pragmatist.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

UNDERSTANDING OBAMA By Charles Ogletree (Harvard Lecture)

In February of 2011, Harvard Professor Charles Ogletree gave a three-part lecture at the W.E.B. Du Boise Institute for African and African American Research.  The title of the lecture series was "Understanding Obama" - focusing on Obama's life from Hawaii to the White House. You may recognize the setting; that's because this is the series of lectures from which unveiled the video of Obama embracing Professor Derrick Bell after which Professor Ogletree admits to hiding the video during the 2008 election. You can see that portion of the lecture in its entirety in Part 1 below. Evidently, Professor Ogletree will be teaching a new course at Harvard entitled, "Understanding Obama." He is also set to publish a book about Obama, which he will not release until after the 2012 election.

Because each lecture is roughly 90 minutes long, I have clipped portions that I think people will find interesting. You can, however, see the lectures in their entirety here and I would encourage you to do so.  You can also click the headings to see my individual posts about each lecture.


Thursday, April 5, 2012

An Open Letter To Senator Harry Reid Re: Attacks On Mormonism

Senator Harry Reid
Office of Senator Harry Reid
522 Hart Senate Office Bldg
Washington, DC 20510
An Open Letter to Senator Harry Reid Re: Attacks on Mormonism
Dear Senator Reid,
I, like you, am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. In fact, I was a member of a Gospel Doctrine class you taught as a lay Sunday School teacher in Washington, DC in the summer of 2001. I didn’t agree with your politics then, and I still don’t, but I appreciated your devotion to teaching.
As members of the LDS church, we are not obligated to support any particular candidate or political position. But, as you know, one of the articles of our faith is that “[w]e claim the privilege of worshiping Almighty God according to the dictates of our own conscience, and allow all men the same privilege, let them worship how, where, or what they may” (11th Article of Faith). This obviously does not mean that everyone will afford us the same privilege and respect, but we certainly should seek to protect others’ rights to practice their religion and come to their defense when they are attacked, no matter what their religious affiliation. Is it not our duty to defend this right?
I remind you that the LDS church and its members have suffered severe persecution in their brief history. Early church members were driven from state to state by mobs, militias and hostile communities; deprived of property; slandered; tortured, raped and murdered...all because of their beliefs. Seeking protection of the rights guaranteed by the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, Joseph Smith traveled to Washington, DC to supplicate President Martin Van Buren for assistance. As you may recall, President Van Buren punted, saying, “...your cause is just, but I can do nothing for you. If I take up for you, I shall lose the vote in Missouri” (Documentary History of the Church, 4:80).
Senator Reid, as the 2012 General Election approaches, it appears that Mitt Romney will be the Republican nominee for President. It goes without saying that there are legitimate attacks against Mr. Romney and not every attack will be based on religion, but actual attacks on Mormonism related to Mr. Romney have already begun. Lawrence O’Donnell, of MSNBC, recently launched a baseless smear against Mormonism and in all likelihood President Obama and his political allies (of which you are clearly one) will launch vicious attacks on Mormonism for political gain.  Putting aside the obvious hypocrisy of their remaining silent on your Mormonism while attacking Mr. Romney’s, isn’t it despicable and beyond even the realm of political smears to launch such attacks?
Article VI, paragraph 3 of the United States Constitution states that: “ religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States.” I don’t expect you to support and defend Mr. Romney’s political positions, associations, decisions, actions or background, but will you not defend his religion; your religion? Will you honor your oath of office by supporting and defending the Constitution? I would hope that you would do so for a Catholic, Evangelical, Methodist or any other denomination or religion, but your silence would be all the more glaring if maintained in the face of attacks on your own faith. Will you stand silently as your political friends trample the Constitution and smear your religion? Are political points that important?
The First Amendment to our divinely-inspired Constitution (D&C 101:80) protects the rights of the free exercise of religion. It also protects freedom of speech. I acknowledge that those who baselessly attack religions - Mormonism in this case - are free to do so and you and I are free to stay silent or speak. My question is: How will you exercise your freedom of speech? Will you follow in President Van Buren’s footsteps or will you be courageous, even if it means losing the vote? Is the cause just? Can you do something? Will you do something...anything?
                                                                Your brother in the gospel,
                                                                        Garrett R. Hall

Monday, April 2, 2012

Trayvon Martin Case: What Would Atticus Finch Do?

In the classic novel, To Kill A Mockingbird, Atticus Finch represents Tom Robinson, an African American accused of raping a white woman, in a criminal trial. The trial takes place in Maycomb, Alabama - a town essentially ruled by an angry white, racist mob. Despite threats from the townspeople, Atticus Finch agrees to represent Tom and at one point faces down the town mob, which is intent on lynching Mr. Robinson. As the trial unfolds, it becomes obvious that Tom Robinson is innocent, but the all-white jury still convicts him.

Throughout the novel and the trial of Tom Robinson, Atticus takes time and great effort to explain to his children, Scout and Jem, that they should avoid prejudice, hatred and a rush to judgment. He scolds Scout for trying to solve disagreements with physical violence and provides the ultimate example when he himself is challenged to fight, but walks away. Atticus tries to teach his children that they have to try to understand people and their motives before judging. He famously tells Scout, "You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view - until you climb into his skin and walk around in it." 

Now, it would be easy to assume that, because Atticus represented a black man in the deep South, that he would side with the likes of Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson today to decry the kind of racism Tom Robinson faced in Maycomb and Trayvon Martin allegedly faced in Sanford. But, it is important to also note that Atticus took time to warn the children against judging Boo Radley, a white recluse and town weirdo living in Maycomb. Does Finch's message go beyond race?

I have always admired the character of Atticus Finch because he stands for restraint, equality, patience, understanding, civility, due process and the rule of law. I admit this is speculation, but I don't believe Atticus represented Tom Robinson because he was black; but because it was the right thing to do. I can't speculate what Atticus Finch would do or say in the Trayvon Martin case, but I think it's safe to say he wouldn't side with the group/mob now seeking to capture George Zimmerman, escalate the situation, convict Zimmerman without all the facts, judge him without due process and put a bounty on his head. Atticus Finch, I think, would advocate restraint, civility, due process and the rule of law. And, if necessary, I think he would stare down the angry mob that is seeking to destroy George Zimmerman.

The case of Trayvon Benjamin Martin is a terrible tragedy. A young boy - a son, sibling and friend - was prematurely killed. A man, George Zimmerman, whether guilty of manslaughter, murder or anything else, took the boy's life and will have to live with that the rest of his life. A community was rocked over the incident and a Nation is now partially divided over it. One or both of them resorted to violence to solve a disagreement. We simply don't know what happened and why, but we would do well to remember the words of Atticus Finch when thinking about Trayvon and Zimmerman: "You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view - until you climb into his skin and walk around in it." This leads to few clear answers but at least it ensures that we proceed with fairness, understanding and dignity.

Where are the Atticus Finches of yesteryear? 

Friday, March 30, 2012

UNDERSTANDING OBAMA: THE CONUNDRUM OF RACE - Charles Ogletree Lecture, Harvard Law

In February of 2011, Harvard Professor Charles Ogletree gave a three-part lecture at the W.E.B. Du Boise Institute for African and African American Research.  The title of the lecture series was "Understanding Obama" - focusing on Obama's life from Hawaii to the White House. Because each lecture is roughly 90 minutes long, I have clipped portions that I think people will find interesting. You can, however, see the lectures in their entirety here and I would encourage readers to do so.


In the final lecture of his "Understanding Obama" series, Charles Ogletree explores what he calls "the conundrum of race." Ogletree is introduced by a man who sums up the previous two lectures in this way: "The first one took us through the intersection of race and Obama's earlier life then last night we followed him and race, I don't know why they're so intersected." The term "intersection of race" is an interesting term...I'm not sure why, but it's ringing a "Bell".

Ogletree correctly points out that not every criticism of President Obama is racist. Kudos for that, Professor!  He plays the clip of Obama talking about the Louis "Skip" Gates incident and notes Obama's history of highlighting racial profiling. He claims that people looked for ways to disagree with Obama, noting that Glenn Beck's ratings went up when he started criticism Obama. Ogletree applauds Obama's appointment of a "diverse" group of Circuit Court judges - gays, African-Americans, women, etc. 

When asked if Obama will play the "class card", Ogletree says "he already has!" and then explains how Obama has carefully framed the argument for class warfare by using the term "middle class" instead of "poor." Ogletree plans to publish a book about Obama, but says he will wait until after the election. He says that "WE" do want government in our lives, to help us and give us stuff. Ogletree wonders if we will ever be post-racism, because he claims racism is so deeply embedded.

Please watch the video and share it with your friends, family and tweeps. 

Thursday, March 29, 2012

UNDERSTANDING OBAMA: THE EMERGENCE OF RACE - Charles Ogletree Lecture, Harvard Law

In February of 2011, Harvard Professor Charles Ogletree gave a three-part lecture at the W.E.B. Du Boise Institute for African and African American Research.  The title of the lecture series was "Understanding Obama" - focusing on Obama's life from Hawaii to the White House. Because each lecture is roughly 90 minutes long, I have clipped portions that I think people will find interesting. You can, however, see the lectures in their entirety here and I would encourage readers to do so.


In this second lecture, Professor Ogletree focuses on racism and its impact on President Obama and his 2008 campaign. He refers back to the video of a young Obama introducing Derrick Bell at a protest in 1990 and reminds listeners that Obama referred to Bell as "the Rosa Parks of the legal profession." He takes a question from Henry Louis Gates Jr. - yes, Beer Summit Henry "Skip" Gates - about the inevitable emergence of "Obama 2", insisting that Obama "fell" (disappointed members of the black community) but that he will be resurrected as "Obama 2." Ogletree also notes that Obama was crucified but will rise again, clear analogies to Jesus Christ. Perhaps what they are saying is that once he is resurrected (2nd term), he will have more flexibility.

Professor Ogletree points to examples of racism by Bill Clinton, Glenn Beck and some in the Black community. He explores the false claims of Obama being Muslim and other claims that were apparently grounded in racism. Discussing what Obama must do to get the economy going and to win reelection, Ogletree says, "He will have to announce a multi-million jobs plan of his own very soon - that's unavoidable - a multi-million person - it's multi-billion dollars- but a multi-million person jobs plan that's going to get people back to work. It may have to be - and you taxpayers may cringe at this- it may have to be over a trillion dollars. So, we keep talking about money spent in 2009-2010; it was a drop in the bucket. It wasn't enough to transform the economy..."

With regards to health care, Ogletree claims that ObamaCare is easy to understand and the Obama Administration has done a terrible job explaining it to the American people. He says it "helps the African-American community substantially...we're at the bottom of the rung so we're going to benefit from it." He predicts that Obama will be upheld by the Supreme Court (this was back in November of 2011) and that the term "ObamaCare" will become a positive term. 

Please watch the video and share it with your friends, family and Tweeps.

UNDERSTANDING OBAMA: FROM BARRY TO BARACK - Charles Ogletree Lecture, Harvard Law

In February of 2011, Harvard Professor Charles Ogletree gave a three-part lecture at the W.E.B. Du Boise Institute for African and African American Research.  The title of the lecture series was "Understanding Obama" - focusing on Obama's life from Hawaii to the White House. Because each lecture is roughly 90 minutes long, I have clipped portions that I think people will find interesting. You can, however, see the lectures in their entirety here and I would encourage readers to do so.


Professor Ogletree spends a significant time talking about race and how President Obama's feelings about his "black side" shaped him and his views. He also speaks extensively about Obama's struggle to find a religion that would support his community organizing and accept him. Ogletree explains the deep friendship between Obama and Jeremiah Wright, as well as the impact that Derrick Bell had on this young African-American Harvard law student.

Ogletree claims that Obama is not a socialist; but is a moderate Democrat. (What?) Ogletree is extremely reluctant to point out "mistakes" made by the Obama Administration (Because he doesn't want people to use it as ammo in the 2012 election), but he claims the one "shortcoming" of Obama is that he has been too deferential to Congress on issues affecting the American people. (What?) He says that Obama has learned that bipartisanship does not work but that Obama still believes he can "bring the world together." 

Please watch the video and share it with your friends, family and tweeps. You can watch the second and third lectures by following the link below.