George Michael (March 24, 1939 – December 24, 2009) was an American sportscaster best known nationally for The George Michael Sports Machine, his long-running sports highlights television program. Originally named George Michael's Sports Final when it began as a local show in Washington, D.C. in 1980, it was nationally syndicated by NBC from 1984 until its final installment was aired on March 25, 2007. Michael won a Sports Emmy in 1985 for his work on The George Michael Sports Machine.
Early life and career
Michael was born George Michael Gimpel in St. Louis, Missouri on March 24, 1939. While attending Saint Louis University, he worked as a Midwest promoter for several record labels such as Scepter and Motown. After brief stints at WIL-AM in his hometown and WRIT-AM in Milwaukee, he became a disc jockey at KICN-AM (call sign changed to KBTR in 1964) in Denver in 1961, working under the name "King" George Michael for the first time. He earned the nickname due to his success at "ruling" evening radio.
He moved to Philadelphia in September 1966 as one of the original "Boss Jocks" at WFIL-AM, which had just changed its format to Top 40 rock and roll. He served as music director and evening deejay, working the 6-to-10 pm shift. WFIL, which was popularly known as "Famous 56" after the transition, ended WIBG-AM's listener ratings dominance and became the city's most popular radio station by the summer of 1967.
Michael, noted for his energetic style, was hired by WABC-AM in New York City in August 1974. This was a daunting challenge not only because he was entering the nation's largest media market, but he also had to succeed radio legend "Cousin Brucie" Morrow, who had jumped to direct competitor WNBC-AM. Several incidents from Michael's radio stint there have been chronicled in Morrow's autobiography. Even though he was reunited with Dan Ingram and Ron Lundy, colleagues from his WIL days in St. Louis, Michael's time at WABC, which ended in 1979, was mostly frustrating because he was no longer a music director who had any influence on a playlist which was much shorter than the ones with which he was more familiar.
His first experience in sports broadcasting also came in 1974 when he was a television announcer for the Baltimore Orioles on WJZ. He declined an offer to work for the ballclub full-time in order to accept the WABC position. As part of the deal to bring him to New York, Michael also worked for WABC-TV as the weekend sports anchor and a color commentator on New York Islanders telecasts for several seasons, paired mainly with Tim Ryan. He served as an occasional substitute on ABC Contemporary Radio Network's Speaking of Sports show whenever Howard Cosell, the primary commentator, was on vacation or assignment.
 Television career
As the primary sports anchor at WRC-TV (News 4) from 1980 to 2007, Michael was easily one of the most popular media personalities in the Washington, D.C. area. Michael got significant latitude in his programming, employing a bevy of segments some might consider old-fashioned, including his "Tuesday Replays" and "Wednesday Wrestling." He also had devoted extensive coverage to and was considered a significant influence in the popularity of NASCAR, broadcasting interviews with famous drivers such as Dale Earnhardt well before that sport became what it is today. An avid equestrian himself, Michael also broadcast segments on bull riding and rodeo.
Michael's affable personality landed rare interviews with many aloof local and national sports personalities. For example, Michael's team at WRC had been the only local sportscasters allowed to broadcast from inside the Washington Redskins' FedEx Field during the season.
In November 2005, Michael was seriously injured in a horseback riding accident. He broke several ribs and injured his wrists during the mishap at his Comus farm in upper Montgomery County, Maryland. Michael resumed his duties in December 2005.
 Later career
Michael left his role as WRC's daily sports anchor on March 1, 2007 following a dispute with WRC-TV (News 4) over layoffs of his staff. The George Michael Sports Machine went off the air on March 25, 2007. He continued to host weekend sports panel shows, such as Full Court Press (basketball season) and Redskins Report (football season) as well as interviews at Redskins Park on Mondays with Jim Zorn and Joe Bugel through December 2008. He was completely dropped from WRC due to budget cuts despite the fact Redskins Report was consistently one of WRC's top shows. He indicated at the time of his layoff, he would like to work on a panel show again but not on a nightly newscast.
Michael died at age 70 at Sibley Memorial Hospital on December 24, 2009 after being diagnosed with B-cell chronic lymphocytic leukemia for two years.. He is survived by his wife Pat, whom he married in 1978 and who produced the Sports Machine, along with daugthers Michelle and Cindi, son Brad, sister Jane, and brother Earl.
1. ^ "Washington sportscaster George Michael has died". The Washington Post. 24 December 2009. http://voices.washingtonpost.com/local-breaking-news/washington-sportscaster-george.html?hpid=breakingnews. Retrieved 24 December 2009.
2. ^ George Michael official biography at WRC-TV
3. ^ a b c Bernstein, Adam. "George Michael, famed D.C. sportscaster, dies," The Washington Post, Thursday, December 24, 2009.
4. ^ Denver's KTBR/71: "Home of the All Americans" – Denver Radio Memories.
5. ^ a b c George Michael (profile) – Broadcast Pioneers of Philadelphia.
6. ^ a b c d "Hiring George Michael For WABC" – MusicRadio77.com
7. ^ "The Cousin Bruce Morrow 'Party Tape'" – MusicRadio77.com.
8. ^ Morrow, Bruce & Baudo, Laura. Cousin Brucie: My Life in Rock 'N' Roll Radio. Sag Harbor, NY: Beech Tree Books, 1987. (ISBN 0-688-06615-1)
9. ^ John Maynard (2006-11-17). "George Michael to drop anchor chores, continue weekend sports panel shows". The Washington Post. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/11/16/AR2006111600669.html.
10. ^ Leonard Shapiro (2006-11-21). "Saying goodbye to George Michael". The Washington Post. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/11/21/AR2006112100626.html.
11. ^ Shapiro, Leonard. "Loss of Michael Is a Truly Deep Cut," The Washington Post, Monday, December 29, 2008.
12. ^ http://www.usatoday.com/sports/2009-12-24-george-michael-obit_N.htm
Bill's Comment: George Michael was one of the Philly Boss Jocks on "Famous 56", WFIL, in Philadelphia, from approximately 1966 to 1974. One of the last songs he played at the station was "When Will I see You Again" by Three Degrees. Heaven is waiting for you, George. WE will catch up with you, then. R.I.P.
Friday, December 25, 2009
George Michael (March 24, 1939 – December 24, 2009) was an American sportscaster best known nationally for The George Michael Sports Machine, his long-running sports highlights television program. Originally named George Michael's Sports Final when it began as a local show in Washington, D.C. in 1980, it was nationally syndicated by NBC from 1984 until its final installment was aired on March 25, 2007. Michael won a Sports Emmy in 1985 for his work on The George Michael Sports Machine.
Host of 'Sports Machine' Michael passes
Broadcasting pioneer hosted long-running highlights show
By Barry M. Bloom / MLB.com
12/24/09 6:06 PM EST
Sportscaster George Michael passed away on Thursday morning after a lengthy bout with leukemia. He was 70.
Michael was a mainstay of the Washington, D.C., sports media scene and made his name nationally with the syndicated "George Michael Sports Machine," a weekly highlights show.
Michael was surrounded by family and friends when he died from complications of chronic lymphocytic leukemia at Washington's Sibley Memorial Hospital.
"The Washington Nationals and the Lerner family join all of the Washington community and sports fans nationally in mourning the loss of legendary sportscaster George Michael," the Nationals said Thursday in a statement.
"He was not only an icon in sports in the Nation's Capital, but he was also a pioneer in the sports broadcasting world with his use of game highlights during his nationally syndicated program 'The George Michael Sports Machine.' Our deepest affection and condolences are with the Michael family in their time of grief."
The prototype for "Sports Machine" was launched in 1980 as a late-night local feature shortly after Michael's arrival at WRC-TV in Washington. In 1984, it became the first nationally syndicated sports highlights show, ultimately airing in 194 U.S. markets and 10 foreign countries. The show ran until March 2007, when cutbacks at WRC and Michael's health issues led to the end of the show's run.
"He waged his battle against cancer with the same drive and determination that made him a one-of-a-kind in the broadcasting industry," the Michael family said in a statement. "Whether it was covering a sports story, working on his horse farm, or spending time with family and friends, he approached everything in life with passion."
Michael's family said plans for a memorial service are not yet complete. He is survived by Patricia, his wife of 31 years, his daughter, Michelle Allen, and his son, Brad.
Barry M. Bloom is a national reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.
Tuesday, December 22, 2009
A journalist reads the latest draft of the Copenhagen Accord at the climate summit in Denmark. APView Enlarged Image
Global Warming: Russian analysts accuse Britain's Meteorological Office of cherry-picking Russian temperature data to "hide the decline" in global temperatures. Is Copenhagen rooted in a single tree in Siberia?
Michael Mann, a Penn State meteorologist, wrote in Friday's Washington Post that "stolen" e-mails from the University of East Anglia's Climate Research Unit still don't alter the evidence for climate change.
Mann, a creator of the discredited hockey-stick graph used in reports from the U.N.'s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change to show man-made warming, attacks climate skeptics, including former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, saying they "confuse the public."
Chutzpah has been redefined.
As Ronald Reagan used to say, facts are stubborn things. The fact is that imminent man-made climate disaster has been shown to be a massive fraud driven by manipulated data and deliberate suppression of facts to the contrary.
The latest Climate-gate shoe to drop is the Moscow-based Institute of Economic Analysis (IEA) accusation that the Hadley Center of Britain's Meteorological Office deliberately relied on a carefully selected 25% of Russia's weather stations that fit its theory of global warming.
By ignoring those that don't, the Russians say, the CRU overestimated warming in the country by more than half a degree Celsius.
Russia accounts for 12.5% of the earth's land mass and has weather stations throughout, so ignoring vast swaths of it can greatly skew any analysis. The IEA says CRU ignored data covering 40% of Russia, preferring data from urban centers and data that showed a warming trend. On the final page of the IEA report is a chart that shows the CRU's selective use of Russian data produced 0.64C more warming than using all the data would have done.
Steve McIntyre at ClimateAudit reports that the CRU has long been suspected of misusing Russian data. He notes a March 2004 e-mail from CRU director Phil Jones to Mann that says: "Recently rejected two papers (one for JGR and for GRL) from people saying CRU has it wrong over Siberia. Went to town in both reviews, hopefully successfully. If either appears (in these journals) I will be very surprised, but you never know with GRL." (JGR and GRL are scientific journals).
Siberia has played a pivotal role in this outright fraud. In 1995, a paper by the CRU's Keith Briffa asserted the medieval warm period was actually really cold, and recent warming is unusually warm. It relied on tree ring data from trees on Siberia's Yamal Peninsula.
Here too data were carefully selected. Those from just 12 trees from 252 cores in the Yamal data set were used. A larger set of 34 tree cores from the vicinity shows no dramatic recent warming, and warmer temperatures in the Middle Ages. They weren't used.
The hockey-stick graph was produced in 1999 by Mann using these manipulated tree ring data. The graph supposedly proved air temperatures had been stable for 900 years, then soared off the charts in the 20th century. Mann et al. had to make the Medieval Warm Period (A.D. 800 to 1400) and the Little Ice Age (A.D. 1600 to 1850) statistically disappear.
McIntyre, who with fellow Canadian researcher Ross McKitrick exposed the hockey-stick fraud, says the evidence from only one Siberian tree, known as YAD061, seemed to show a hockey-stick pattern. If they look hard enough, the CRU can probably find a tree that shows evidence of elves making cookies.
This tree spawned the hockey stick that found its way into the reports of the U.N.'s climate change panel. It led to Kyoto and Copenhagen, which is why McIntyre calls it "the most influential tree in the world." As the CRU e-mails and other evidence reveal, Mann and his unindicted co-conspirators are barking up the wrong one.
Saturday, December 19, 2009
Friday, December 18, 2009
Fiscal Errors: The U.S. government's unprecedented spending splurge, with no end in sight, is creating a mountain of debt that endangers both our economy and way of life. Can something be done about it?
Anyone who reads IBD knows we're not doomsayers. Sometimes, in fact, we've been chided for cockeyed optimism in the face of even the gloomiest prognostications. Our faith in America's resilient economy, the world's largest and most creative, and in the productive people who make it go, was reason enough.
That said, we face a rather stark fact today: The current path for U.S. debt is unsustainable.
Our $14 trillion economy is more than three times bigger than the next largest in the world. But our debt will soon surpass even the bloated level of WWII, when we were literally fighting for our lives and freedoms with a weak economy struggling to emerge from the Great Depression.
In just the last year alone, according to a report this week from the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget (CRFB), total U.S. public debt has jumped to $7.6 trillion, or 53% of GDP, from $5.7 trillion, or 41% of GDP.
Also this week, to accommodate its out-of-control spending, Congress will vote to lift the U.S. debt limit by $1.8 trillion to almost $14 trillion. Why now? They don't want to do it in 2010, an election year.
And, yes, the size of the debt does matter. By 2018, at current spending trends, debt as a share of GDP will reach 85%. In 2022, it will hit 100%. And it will keep rising at least until 2038, reaching 200%.
At that level, our fast-growing, high-innovation, high-wage economy begins grinding to a permanent slowdown. The accumulated debt will become a millstone around our necks. Fleeter, less-indebted competitors in the developing world will sprint right past us.
If you don't think so, just look at Japan. It was the world's fastest-growing developed economy for most of the postwar era. But it stumbled in the late '80s and began a debt-financed binge of "stimulus" packages in the 1990s and early 2000s. Today, it has the worst of all worlds: a 200% of GDP debt load, and low or no growth.
Recent debt debacles in Dubai and Greece, both of which are near bankruptcy, show what can happen to nations when they spend too much. Now, we're on the same path.
It's no mystery why this happens. "Government borrowing reduces resources available for private investment, leading to lower productivity, wages, and economic growth," noted the Heritage Foundation in a recent study. So, yes, all this debt does matter.
But debt doesn't create itself. During this decade, total nominal federal spending has soared 97%, or nearly 10% a year well in excess of the estimated 60% the economy grew during the same time.
You might think this would be cause for alarm. But you'd be wrong. The Senate just passed another $1.1 trillion pork-filled spending bill a 12% spending hike with little, if any, thought toward what it will mean for the future of public finance.
Some might take comfort in the creation of a new Bipartisan Fiscal Task Force to address the nation's "long-term budget crisis." Unfortunately, nine Democrats who co-sponsored that bipartisan budget panel voted for the 12% spending hike.
As Dan Mitchell of the Cato Institute put it: "Fixating on the deficit allows politicians to pull a bait-and-switch, since they can raise taxes, claim they are solving the problem, when all they are doing is replacing debt-financed spending with tax-financed spending."
It's true that a lot of federal spending is on automatic pilot. Programs such as Medicare and Social Security grow as the population ages. At the same time, the economy grows less dynamic.
But at some point, we all have to ask ourselves how much we want an inefficient government to do, and how much we can do for ourselves. We can't have everything and still have a strong economy.
Those who propose raising taxes, rather than cutting spending, should understand: The level of taxes needed to pay for the massive expansion in expenditures expected over the next half-century would bankrupt our nation.
The Tax Foundation recently estimated that tax rates would have to nearly triple to close our fiscal gap. That's not possible without crashing our economy, possibly for good.
The prospect of turning the next generation of Americans, those now in childhood and those yet to be born, into virtual tax slaves to pay for our fiscal irresponsibility is immoral. The time to cut spending is now not later.
Posted by Joyce Kavitsky at 12/18/2009 04:38:00 PM
December 16, 2009
The New York Times' Nicholas Kristof recently wrote a column about John Brodniak of Oregon, who developed a cavernous hemangioma, causing him great pain as blood leaks into his brain.
According to Kristof, Brodniak can't get medical help because we don't have universal health care. Senators who vote against ObamaCare, Kristof said, are morally equivalent to someone who would walk past a man "writhing in pain on the sidewalk."
In another article in the Times, William Yardley wrote about Melvin Tsosies -- also of Oregon -- who ended up with $200,000 in medical bills after having a heart attack.
As of March 2008, Yardley reported, Tsosies was waiting to find out if he would win the Oregon lottery for health insurance. But with 600,000 uninsured state residents and a "universal" health care program with only enough money to pay for about 24,000 of them, Tsosies is more likely to win a Powerball lottery.
How can this be happening? Oregon already has "universal health care"! (Probably just a coincidence, but isn't Oregon also the only state with physician-assisted suicide?)
Once again forgetting about the existence of the Internet, the Times neglects to mention its own erstwhile enthusiasm for Oregon's universal health care plan, introduced back in 1990.
Back then, the Times published an editorial titled "Oregon's Brave Medical Experiment," hailing this technocratic monstrosity as an example of "hardheaded compassion" designed to make "health coverage available to many more families."
Ron Wyden -- then a congressman from Oregon, now a U.S. senator at the forefront of pushing "universal health care" onto the nation -- said: "This is a strong dramatic step toward universal access of health care." He predicted, "[T]his is going to be copied everywhere."
No wonder Wyden is such an ardent proponent of national health care -- it will force states that didn't adopt these idiotic universal health care schemes to bail out the ones that did.
Liberals cite medical horror stories from the very states they once cheered for enacting universal health care in order to argue for a national health care plan that will wreck the entire nation's medical care the same way liberal states already wrecked their own medical care.
Only Democrats could propose fixing one Bernie Madoff-style scam with an even bigger Bernie Madoff-style scam.
Maybe when national universal health care fails, we'll be able to go international. Then interplanetary -- then interstellar! Why should I pay for my gall bladder surgery when some Venusian could?
Eighty-five percent of Americans are happy with their health care, but Democrats have a plan to make it worse for more money. As a bonus, national health care will add trillions of dollars to the national debt, and your insurance rates will skyrocket.
Democrats are being utterly disingenuous to say that you won't have to leave your current plan under national health care. Maybe, but it won't be your choice: Your employer will be making that decision for you.
Recall that one of the big selling points of national health care is that it is supposed to reduce costs for American businesses. The only way national health care will make American companies "more competitive" is if they dump their employees into the public health care system.
It's so weird! We expected X number of people to show up for health care and instead 75X showed up! Yeah, just like every other government program in the history of the world.
Ten years from now, we'll be talking about cost overruns of $6 trillion -- but by then, national health care will be an untouchable "third rail" of politics, just as Medicare is now. (Ironically, injuries sustained from actually touching the third rail won't be covered under ObamaCare.)
As with Medicare, voters will be terrified to go back to even the wisp of a free market system we have now, afraid that they'll never be able to get health insurance without the government providing it. Having been dragged unwillingly into the government plan, how will a 58-year-old be able to leave the public system and get insurance on the free market?
Speaking of which, how many of you are planning to retire on your Social Security benefits? Just you there, with the shopping cart full of cans?
The only solution will be for the government to keep running up gigantic deficits and raising taxes on "the rich," which, in turn, will stifle job creation and economic growth in a phenomenon known to economists as "the Carter years."
In addition to forcing Americans into dealing with surly government workers in order to obtain medical care, sooner or later, there's no free lunch. (And if government X-rays are anything like the photos the DMV takes for your license, count me out. I don't want my lungs looking like they had a bad hair day.)
Even if national health care puts the screws to doctors and pharmaceutical companies by reimbursing them below cost -- so all future doctors will soon resemble DMV employees and no new drugs will ever be invented -- the government is still going to have to cut services and pay for the system with massive tax hikes.
Which is exactly what happened with Oregon's "Brave Medical Experiment."
Ann Coulter is a columnist and author of Guilty: Liberal Victims and Their Assault On America.
Posted by Joyce Kavitsky at 12/18/2009 04:09:00 PM
Thursday, December 17, 2009
Global Warming: Drip by drip, like a glacier melting in the sun, the claim that man is changing the climate is dissolving into irrelevance. The recent findings of Swiss researchers expose another hole.
Former Vice President Al Gore has for years warned that man-made global warming is melting the world's glaciers a tactic commonly used by alarmists who want to whip up hysteria. Swiss researchers, however, have presented evidence that weakens the argument.
Scientists at Zurich's Federal Institute of Technology have found that solar activity caused Alpine glaciers to melt in the 1940s at rates faster than today's pace, even though it's warmer now.
The study found that the sun in the 1940s was 8% stronger than average and far more powerful than it is today. It also concluded that solar activity was weaker from the 1950s to the 1980s, an era in which the glaciers advanced.
The Swiss researchers are spinning their own work, saying that the evidence doesn't mean the public can stop worrying about man-made warming. But their finding validates other researchers who have said solar activity has a far greater impact on temperatures than human CO2 emissions.
This report from Zurich reminds us of another myth perpetrated by Gore. In his Academy Award-winning documentary, "An Inconvenient Truth," he contends the snowcap on Mount Kilimanjaro has retreated because of human greenhouse-gas emissions. Yet scientists have been telling a different story.
They say the melting on the 19,340-foot mountain has been going on for more than a century, beginning long before man accelerated CO2 emissions. They also report that temperatures at the top of Kilimanjaro never fall below freezing, so the reason for snowcap loss has to be due to one or more causes not related to temperature. A lack of snowfall is likely one of those.
Just as the Swiss researchers tried to soft-pedal their findings, the scientists who have studied Kilimanjaro also refuse to let the narrative unravel. They say the facts about the snowcap shouldn't be used to raise doubts about the official line that man is warming the planet. Nothing to see here, they say in effect, so move on.
Another sign that the alarmists' claims are falling apart is the statement made Monday by Gore at the global warming conference in Copenhagen: "Some of the models suggest ... that there is a 75% chance that the entire north polar ice cap, during the summer months, could be completely ice-free within five to seven years."
While the chance that sea ice will disappear that soon is virtually nil, there's a 100% certainty that Gore was wrong.
"It's unclear to me how this figure was arrived at," said Wieslav Maslowski, a scientist from the U.S. Naval Postgraduate School whose work Gore had misused. "I would never try to estimate likelihood at anything as exact as this."
It wasn't the first time Gore has crossed into fantasyland. Last month, he announced on the "Tonight Show" that "the interior of the earth is extremely hot, several million degrees," when in fact it's no more than 9,000 degrees Celsius and might be only 4,000. Not even the sun is "several million degrees." Its surface based on Gore's criteria is a cool 5,550 to 6,000 degrees Celsius.
Then there's his movie, so full of scientific errors at least nine of them that a British court two years ago ruled it could be shown in secondary schools only when notes to balance its political bias were also presented in class.
Despite his poor stewardship of the facts and his refusal to debate the issue, Gore is still the go-to guy for most journalists who cover global warming. He's still identified as the climate guru who actually has something to contribute to the conversation.
The truth, though, is that Gore and so many others gathered in Copenhagen are propagandists. They know that the way to arrange the world economy to fit their preferences and require lifestyle changes in developed nations is to demand that governments do something about the environment.
Tuesday, December 15, 2009
Why are liberals so angry?
Will breaking things down to its simplest level be the best way to solve this dilemma? All intelligent people know this to be true. I read this simple story somewhere, some time ago, that shows the basic differences between liberals and conservatives.
The story used to be: The ant (the conservative) works hard in the withering heat all summer long, building his house and laying up supplies for the winter.The grasshopper (the liberal) thinks the ant is a fool and laughs and dances and plays (drinks, smokes and does drugs) all the summer long.Here comes winter and the ant is warm and well fed.
The grasshopper, however, has no food or shelter, so he dies out in the cold. MORAL OF THIS STORY IS: Be responsible for yourself.
THE CONTEMPORARY VERSION OF THIS SAME STORY IS: The ant works hard in the withering heat all summer long, building his house and laying in supplies for the winter. The grasshopper thinks the ant is a fool and laughs and dances and plays all the summer long. Here comes the winter, the shivering grasshopper calls a press conference and demands to know why the ant should be allowed to be warm and well fed while others are cold and starving. NBC, ABC, CBS, MSNBC, CNN, and PBS show up to provide pictures of the shivering grasshopper next to a video of the ant in his comfortable home with a table filled with food.
Americans are stunned by the sharp contrast. A picture is worth a thousand words. How can this be, that in a country as wealthy as ours, can this poor grasshopper be allowed to suffer so much? Kermit the Frog appears on Oprah with the grasshopper and everybody sympathizes and tears flow when they sing, “It's Not Easy Being Green.” Acorn stages a demonstration in front of the ant 's house where the news stations film the group singing, “We shall overcome,” while Rev. Jeremiah Wright has the group curse God for the grasshopper's dilemma.
Nancy Pelosi & Harry Reid complain in an interview with Larry King that the ant has gotten rich off the back of the grasshopper, and both call for an immediate tax hike on the ant to make him pay his fair share.
Finally, the EEOC drafts the Economic Equity & Anti-Grasshopper Act retroactive to the beginning of the summer. The ant is fined for failing to hire a proportionate number of green bugs, and having nothing left to pay his retroactive taxes, his home is confiscated by the Government Green Czar Van Jones. The story ends as we see the grasshopper finishing up the last bits of the ant’s food while in the government house, which just happened to be the ant's old house, crumbles around him because he didn’t maintain it. The ant had disappeared into the snow.
The grasshopper is found dead in a drug related incident, and the house, now abandoned, is taken over by a gang of spiders who terrorize the once peaceful neighborhood. MORAL OF THE STORY: Be careful how you vote in 2010 and 2012.
Can I ask what you do for this country? I'm not saying you don't work or pay taxes, but so many liberals just take and take and take and think it’s their right.
I used to think it was just that Liberals are immature. But a disturbing pattern was noticed over and over and over: most Liberals can't even engage in civil discourse, and when they are confronted with positions that don't match theirs, they lash out like crazed pit bulls. This oddity was noticed for a long time, and like others before me have concluded that Liberalism really is a mental disorder based on strikingly irrational beliefs and emotions.
“Contemporary liberals relentlessly undermine the most important principles on which our freedoms were founded,” paraphrasing Dr. Lyle Rossiter, author of the new book, "The Liberal Mind: The Psychological Causes of Political Madness." "Like spoiled, angry children, they rebel against the normal responsibilities of adulthood and demand that a parental government meet their needs from cradle to grave."
While political activists on the other side of the spectrum have made similar observations, Rossiter boasts professional credentials and a life virtually free of activism and links to "the vast right-wing conspiracy." For more than 35 years he has diagnosed and treated more than 1,500 patients as a board-certified clinical psychiatrist and examined more than 2,700 civil and criminal cases as a board-certified forensic psychiatrist. He received his medical and psychiatric training at the University of Chicago.Ronald Reagan once said, "The trouble with our liberal friends is not that they're ignorant; it's just that they know so much that isn't so.”
Reagan had hit upon something really important and eye opening! Liberals seem to have a very, very tenuous grasp of things. Therefore, they figuratively dig their claws in and fight tooth and nail against anything that doesn't fit their viewpoint of the world.
The Liberal mind is about as stable as a house of cards. On some levels, they realize that confronting reality will destroy their entire view of the world, much like someone in the 1200's finally realizing the shocking truth that the world isn't flat, after all.
Imagine how difficult it was for frightened sailors to finally accept the truth: they lived frightened lives unnecessarily. The horizon wasn't full of sea serpents. There was no edge of the world.
Conservatives absolutely baffle and exasperate Liberals. Why? Because Conservatives appear to have solid beliefs while the Liberal is lucky if he can formulate some vague, hazy philosophy of things.
When a Conservative argues with a Liberal, the Liberal feels he must lash out for fear of discovering that his whole imaginary world is just that: fiction. So, Liberals preach "tolerance", but only tolerance for their viewpoints. Anything else is heresy. Just try confronting a Liberal with the facts about global warming and he'll practically start foaming at the mouth.
The mind of the Liberal cannot acknowledge that a Conservative is right because the fuzzy Liberal mind is like a shaky house of cards. If the Liberal realizes he's wrong about one thing, it totally destroys their whole imagined reality he has constructed for himself. So when Liberals scream like threatened children when you talk about FOX News, or Rush Limbaugh, it is because their brains are not wired to accept contradictory information.
Liberals don’t get their information from the left and the right, putting their beliefs to the test by checking if they are based on fact and not on conjecture or psychological construction. Liberals cannot do this. It would destroy their carefully crafted dream world existence.
What do you think?
Joseph Michael Wasik
It’s been over a year since the election of 2008 and yet Sarah Palin cannot show up in the news without a barrage of vicious attacks from the media. Although she is no longer a candidate for vice president, the vitriol continues to spew over the release of her book, "Going Rogue: An American Life."
Many think the anti-Sarah sentiment stems from her solid pro-life position but I would like to explore reasons that go way beyond her feelings about abortion.
As you look back in history to the late 1960s and 1970s, you see a wave of feminist ideals being sold to women, including the notion that they needed to delay motherhood to get ahead in their careers. Many women bought into this belief that giving birth and career advancement didn’t mix. So what happened? Many women chose the birth control route, delaying marriage and childbirth well into their thirties and even forties. Their biological clocks ticked away and they sacrificed the most fertile time in their lives for career advancement and what they thought would be true happiness.
Some, when faced with an unplanned pregnancy they believed would interfere with their careers, chose the abortion route. They sacrificed the life of their unborn child for their own personal career advancement.
Now enter Sarah Palin, a woman with a husband, children and a high-profile career. Yes, this hockey Mom went from school board, to mayor, to governor to a vice presidential candidate! And her own unplanned pregnancy ended not in the hands of an abortionist, but in the loving embrace of the Palin family.
Now when the women who sacrificed motherhood either by abortion or birth control look at Sarah, they can’t stand her, even if they can’t explain why. Because she was able to have a family and a career, they see her as having the best of both worlds. They see, in this confident, self-possessed, accomplished woman, surrounded by a loving family, everything they gave up.
In a nation that has lost more than 50 million children to abortion, we have millions of women who have these repressed feelings. Many have suffered silently from these negative consequences since their abortion. As a father of a murdered unborn baby, I know first-hand about this trauma and I invite anyone still dealing with this pain, shame and regret of abortion to visit www.SilentNoMoreAwareness.org.
The next time you hear Sarah being attacked so viciously, consider that it might be because we are a nation that has been wounded by abortion.
What do you think?
Posted by Joseph Michael Wasik at 12/15/2009 09:25:00 PM
Wednesday, December 09, 2009
December 9, 2009
With the publication of damaging e-mails from a climate research center in Britain, the radical environmental movement appears to face a tipping point. The revelation of appalling actions by so-called climate change experts allows the American public to finally understand the concerns so many of us have articulated on this issue.
"Climate-gate," as the e-mails and other documents from the Climate Research Unit at the University of East Anglia have become known, exposes a highly politicized scientific circle -- the same circle whose work underlies efforts at the Copenhagen climate change conference. The agenda-driven policies being pushed in Copenhagen won't change the weather, but they would change our economy for the worse.
The e-mails reveal that leading climate "experts" deliberately destroyed records, manipulated data to "hide the decline" in global temperatures, and tried to silence their critics by preventing them from publishing in peer-reviewed journals. What's more, the documents show that there was no real consensus even within the CRU crowd. Some scientists had strong doubts about the accuracy of estimates of temperatures from centuries ago, estimates used to back claims that more recent temperatures are rising at an alarming rate.
This scandal obviously calls into question the proposals being pushed in Copenhagen. I've always believed that policy should be based on sound science, not politics. As governor of Alaska, I took a stand against politicized science when I sued the federal government over its decision to list the polar bear as an endangered species despite the fact that the polar bear population had more than doubled. I got clobbered for my actions by radical environmentalists nationwide, but I stood by my view that adding a healthy species to the endangered list under the guise of "climate change impacts" was an abuse of the Endangered Species Act. This would have irreversibly hurt both Alaska's economy and the nation's, while also reducing opportunities for responsible development.
Our representatives in Copenhagen should remember that good environmental policymaking is about weighing real-world costs and benefits -- not pursuing a political agenda. That's not to say I deny the reality of some changes in climate -- far from it. I saw the impact of changing weather patterns firsthand while serving as governor of our only Arctic state. I was one of the first governors to create a subcabinet to deal specifically with the issue and to recommend common-sense policies to respond to the coastal erosion, thawing permafrost and retreating sea ice that affect Alaska's communities and infrastructure.
But while we recognize the occurrence of these natural, cyclical environmental trends, we can't say with assurance that man's activities cause weather changes. We can say, however, that any potential benefits of proposed emissions reduction policies are far outweighed by their economic costs. And those costs are real. Unlike the proposals China and India offered prior to Copenhagen -- which actually allow them to increase their emissions -- President Obama's proposal calls for serious cuts in our own long-term carbon emissions. Meeting such targets would require Congress to pass its cap-and-tax plans, which will result in job losses and higher energy costs (as Obama admitted during the campaign). That's not exactly what most Americans are hoping for these days. And as public opposition continues to stall Congress's cap-and-tax legislation, Environmental Protection Agency bureaucrats plan to regulate carbon emissions themselves, doing an end run around the American people.
In fact, we're not the only nation whose people are questioning climate change schemes. In the European Union, energy prices skyrocketed after it began a cap-and-tax program. Meanwhile, Australia's Parliament recently defeated a cap-and-tax bill. Surely other nations will follow suit, particularly as the climate e-mail scandal continues to unfold.
In his inaugural address, President Obama declared his intention to "restore science to its rightful place." But instead of staying home from Copenhagen and sending a message that the United States will not be a party to fraudulent scientific practices, the president has upped the ante. He plans to fly in at the climax of the conference in hopes of sealing a "deal." Whatever deal he gets, it will be no deal for the American people. What Obama really hopes to bring home from Copenhagen is more pressure to pass the Democrats' cap-and-tax proposal. This is a political move. The last thing America needs is misguided legislation that will raise taxes and cost jobs -- particularly when the push for such legislation rests on agenda-driven science.
Without trustworthy science and with so much at stake, Americans should be wary about what comes out of this politicized conference. The president should boycott Copenhagen.
The writer was the 2008 Republican nominee for vice president and governor of Alaska from 2006 to 2009.
What do the Obama administration, the Federal Communications Commission, a handful of liberal academic elites and Google all have in common? Answer: a radical plan to regulate the Internet that may totally upend the free market in today's massive information economy.
Recently, FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski publicly proposed new net neutrality rules that flip the existing role of government in the net neutrality debate from a hands-off, free market enabler of consumer choice to a new, heavy-handed regulator of private companies and entrepreneurs.
With broadband providers in his sights, Genachowski announced a series of "principles" he claimed were geared toward consumer protection.
Four of these principles were similar to existing FCC practice, but with the added twist of applying only to broadband providers, thus imposing government sanctions on just one segment of the broader information economy.
Unfortunately, this one segment is one of the few bright spots in our otherwise moribund economy.
A fifth, and brand new, principle is equally discriminatory against broadband providers and even more damaging to the free market and the Internet economy. This principle of "nondiscrimination" will make illegal any attempt by broadband and content providers to offer the advanced services consumers want prioritized high-definition movies, games, television shows and music.
All of these principles combined are but one more step to water down the concept of ownership on the Internet. The FCC may not believe this, or won't let on if they do, but that's certainly the agenda of many of net neutrality's most vocal backers in elite academia and the "public interest" community.
It is some of these voices influential with the Obama administration who believe that for-profit companies have no business charging for information or services in a digital environment.
In their utopia, "information equality" doesn't allow for such capitalist behavior because, as they say, "all information wants to be free." Think of it as the Internet version of rent control.
Rest assured, these FCC principles will radically transform the way business is done in our information economy, and taken to their logical conclusion could do extraordinary damage to the information economy itself.
And this is where Google comes into the picture.
With for-profit broadband providers the target of the government assault, Google stands to make windfall profits as its competition is handcuffed by federal regulators and its dominant advertising-content business model is supported and vindicated by official policy.
Nevermind that Google was the sixth-largest contributor to President Obama's campaign, or that a number of current and former Google executives sit as high-level advisers to the president and the FCC. The FCC in the name of consumer "fairness" has gerrymandered long-accepted broadband principles to target Google's competitors and give one of the administration's strongest political allies a competitive advantage every step of the way.
It appears the FCC has managed to redefine the definition of an Internet Service Provider (ISP), excluding Google from the category and thus also from its regulations. And so, although Google is in fact the largest ISP in the world (accounting for 6% of all Internet traffic according to a recent Arbor Networks study), it can continue with business as usual while Google's broadband competitors are saddled with heavy new FCC regulations.
Essentially, the Obama administration is securing Google's dominance in advertising-supported content on the web, while all but shutting down all other business models including subscription-based, streaming, downloaded and pay-per-view strategies.
This is not, and should not be, the way American government does business. It is a frightening realization of how little technical knowledge and how many political considerations have contributed to the FCC's current stance.
Recent criticisms of the FCC's net neutrality proposal by FCC Commissioner Robert McDowell in this regard are enlightening. "Do you really want five unelected bureaucrats such as myself none of whom have an engineering degree, we're all liberal arts majors making these types of decisions?" he asked.
Political payback for one company at the expense of an entire information economy is impermissible. The old game in Washington of industries lobbying for harmful regulations on their competitors appears to be alive and well.
The fact is that the same free market principles and intense competition that have made the Internet the powerful force it is today and that have constantly pushed America's corporations including Google toward new innovations and services must be allowed to endure.
Neither silly Utopian notions of net neutrality and equality other words for price controls nor political payback can be permitted to interfere. The Internet is a powerful force, and it would be to the detriment of all if the FCC is successful in trying to regulate its potential.
Forbes is president and chief executive officer of Forbes Inc.
Posted by Joyce Kavitsky at 12/09/2009 09:29:00 AM
Thursday, December 03, 2009
For late-19th-century anarchists, terrorism was the "propaganda of the deed." And the most successful propaganda-by-deed in history was 9/11 not just the most destructive, but the most spectacular and telegenic.
And now its self-proclaimed architect, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, has been given by the Obama administration a civilian trial in New York. Just as the memory fades, 9/11 has been granted a second life and KSM, a second act: "9/11, The Director's Cut," narration by KSM.
September 11, 2001, had to speak for itself. A decade later, the deed will be given voice. KSM has gratuitously been presented with the greatest propaganda platform imaginable a civilian trial in the media capital of the world from which to proclaim the glory of jihad and the criminality of infidel America.
So why is Attorney General Eric Holder doing this? Ostensibly, to demonstrate to the world the superiority of our system where the rule of law and the fair trial reign.
Really? What happens if KSM (and his co-defendants) "do not get convicted," asked Senate Judiciary Committee member Herb Kohl. "Failure is not an option," replied Holder.
Not an option? Doesn't the presumption of innocence, er, presume that prosecutorial failure acquittal, hung jury is an option? By undermining that presumption, Holder is undermining the fairness of the trial, the demonstration of which is the alleged rationale for putting on this show in the first place.
Moreover, everyone knows that whatever the outcome of the trial, KSM will never walk free. He will spend the rest of his natural life in U.S. custody. Which makes the proceedings a farcical show trial from the very beginning.
Apart from the fact that any such trial will be a security nightmare and a terror threat to New York what better propaganda-by-deed than blowing up the entire courtroom, making KSM a martyr and making the judge, jury and spectators into fresh victims? it will endanger U.S. security.
Civilian courts with broad rights of cross-examination and discovery give terrorists access to crucial information about intelligence sources and methods.
That's precisely what happened during the civilian New York trial of the 1993 World Trade Center bombers. The prosecution was forced to turn over to the defense a list of 200 unindicted co-conspirators, including the name Osama bin Laden.
"Within 10 days, a copy of that list reached bin Laden in Khartoum," wrote former Attorney General Michael Mukasey, the presiding judge at that trial, "letting him know that his connection to that case had been discovered."
Obama Blocked Execution
Finally, there's the moral logic. It's not as if Holder opposes military commissions on principle. On the same day he sent KSM to a civilian trial in New York, Holder announced he was sending Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, mastermind of the attack on the USS Cole, to a military tribunal.
By what logic? In his congressional testimony Wednesday, Holder was utterly incoherent in trying to explain. In his Nov. 13 news conference, he seemed to be saying that if you attack a civilian target, as in 9/11, you get a civilian trial; a military target like the Cole, and you get a military tribunal.
What a perverse moral calculus. Which is the war crime an attack on defenseless civilians or an attack on a military target such as a warship, an accepted act of war which the U.S. itself has engaged in countless times?
By what possible moral reasoning, then, does KSM, who perpetrates the obvious and egregious war crime, receive the special protections and constitutional niceties of a civilian courtroom, while he who attacked a warship is relegated to a military tribunal?
Moreover, the incentive offered any jihadi is as irresistible as it is perverse: Kill as many civilians as possible on American soil and Holder will give you Miranda rights, a lawyer, a propaganda platform everything but your own blog.
Alternatively, Holder tried to make the case that he chose a civilian New York trial as a more likely venue for securing a conviction. An absurdity: By the time Obama came to office, KSM was ready to go before a military commission, plead guilty and be executed. It's Obama who blocked a process that would have yielded the swiftest and most certain justice.
Indeed, the perfect justice. Whenever a jihadist volunteers for martyrdom, we should grant his wish. Instead, this one, the most murderous and unrepentant of all, gets to dance and declaim at the scene of his crime.
Holder himself told the Washington Post that the coming New York trial will be "the trial of the century." The last such was the trial of O.J. Simpson.
Posted by Joyce Kavitsky at 12/03/2009 04:30:00 PM
Last week, someone (probably a whistle-blower at the Climate Research Unit at the University of East Anglia, England) released e-mails and other documents written by Phil Jones, Michael Mann and other leading scientists who edit and control the content of the reports of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
The e-mails appear to show a conspiracy to falsify data and suppress academic debate in order to exaggerate the possible threat of man-made global warming.
The misconduct exposed by the e-mails is so apparent that one scientist, Tim Ball, said it marked "the death blow to climate science." Another, Patrick Michaels, told the New York Times: "This is not a smoking gun; this is a mushroom cloud."
Although I am not a scientist, I know something about global warming, having written about the subject since 1993 and recently edited an 880-page comprehensive survey of the science and economics of global warming, titled "Climate Change Reconsidered," written by a team of nearly 40 scientists for the Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change.
The content of the e-mails doesn't surprise me or other skeptics in the warming debate. We have been saying for many years that the leading alarmists have engaged in academic fraud, do not speak for the larger scientific community, and are exaggerating the scientific certainty of their claims.
Tens of thousands of scientists share our views, including many whose credentials are far superior to those of the dozen or so alarmists the media quote and promote.
The implications of these e-mails are enormous: They mean the IPCC is not a reliable source of science on global warming.
And since the global movement to "do something" about global warming rests almost entirely on the IPCC's claim to represent the "consensus" of climate science, that entire movement stands discredited.
The release of these documents creates an opportunity for reporters, academics, politicians and others who relied on the IPCC to form their opinion about global warming to stop and reconsider their position.
The experts they trusted and quoted in the past have been caught red-handed plotting to conceal data, hide temperature trends that contradict their predictions and keep critics from appearing in peer-reviewed journals. This is real evidence they should examine and then comment on publicly.
It's possible that the e-mails and other documents aren't as damning as they appear to be on first look. (I've read about two dozen of them myself and find them appalling, but others may not.)
Looking at how past disclosures of fraud in the global warming debate have been dismissed or ignored by the mainstream media leads me to suspect that they'll try to sweep this, too, under the rug. But thanks to the Internet, millions of people will be able to read the e-mails and make up their own minds.
This incident, then, won't be forgotten. Journalists who attempt to spin it away and politicians who try to ignore it will further damage their own credibility, and perhaps see their careers shortened as a result.
Polls show that only a third of Americans believe global warming is the result of human activity, and even fewer think it is a major environmental problem. This new scandal, combined with a huge body of science and economics ignored or deliberately concealed by the alarmists, proves that the large majority of Americans were right all along.
How did the Average Joe, who knows so little about the real science of climate change, figure out that global warming is not a crisis when so many journalists were completely taken in by it? I think he saw some clues early on that most journalists, because of their liberal biases, missed.
Average Joe noticed how Al Gore and other Democratic politicians were quick to capitalize on the matter, even before the scientific community could speak with a unified voice on the issue.
He figured out, correctly, that politics rather than science was the force that put global warming on the front pages of the newspapers and on television every night.
He also probably noticed that spokespersons for liberal advocacy groups like Greenpeace and the Union of Concerned Scientists were suddenly being quoted in the press as experts on climate change, whereas just a few years earlier they were (rightly) considered radical fringe groups.
And Average Joe noticed how global warming "skeptics," even distinguished scientists and trusted people like former astronauts, were ignored, rejected or demonized by the press just for asking for proof, and for not going along with the latest and increasingly silly claims about all the things global warming was supposedly causing: droughts and floods, warming and cooling, "global warming refugees," and so on.
While the issue of global warming is complex, one needn't be a genius to figure out that man's role is small, that the effects of modest warming of the kind seen in the latter half of the 20th century were at least as positive as negative, and that scientists who can't predict next week's weather probably can't predict what climate conditions will be like one hundred years from now.
This isn't "denial," it's just common sense.
The executive summary of "Climate Change Reconsidered" makes these points and more, in plain English, and it's only eight pages long. The report itself contains more than 4,000 citations to peer-reviewed literature.
The IPCC e-mail scandal makes this a good time for reporters and other opinion leaders to take a serious look at the skeptics' case in the global warming debate and perhaps move to the middle, where serious journalists and honest elected officials should have been all along. A good place to start is the Heartland Institute's Web site devoted to global warming realism, at www.globalwarmingheartland.org.
It's not too late to regain some of the native skepticism that Average Joe had all along to see through the global warming scam.
Bast is president of the Heartland Institute and editor of "Climate Change Reconsidered: The 2009 Report of the Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change," by Craig Idso and S. Fred Singer. The book's executive summary and contents can be downloaded for free from http://www.nipccreport.org/.
Monday, November 30, 2009
Forecast for Dec. 11th: Thirty percent chance of precipitation, 100 percent chance of Dave Roberts retiring.
Dave Roberts told viewers yesterday that after 56 years in the business (31 of them in Philly at WPVI), he'll be retiring in December. The local weather legend will co-host his final 6-ABC IKEA Thanksgiving Day Parade next Thursday, and his final Action News AccuWeather forecast on December 11th.
I wouldn't know where to begin putting into words what Roberts has meant to the Delaware Valley over the years, as both a trusted weatherman and tireless philanthropist. Jim Gardner, why don’t you have a crack at it. From the 6-ABC Web site:
"Dave's reputation for random acts of kindness sometimes overshadows the fact that Dave Roberts is a brilliant broadcaster. As much or more than anyone I've known, Dave knows how to make a viewer think that he's talking to them personally. That's a powerful talent that can't be taught and Dave has it. He also communicates the same likeability or, forgive me, lovability to his viewers that he does to his co-workers. Dave Roberts has the innate ability to bring intelligence, warmth and dignity to everything he does on television. There aren't too many broadcasters who can cover that many bases. He does. All you have to do is glance at his resume to understand that he may be the most versatile television broadcaster in America. He might also be the most supportive colleague I could imagine having. I will miss him terribly."
Yup that pretty much sums it up.
Posted by Joyce Kavitsky at 11/30/2009 09:15:00 AM
Al Alberts, 87, the former singing star who championed thousands of youngsters on his TV show Al Alberts' Showcase, died yesterday morning at his home in Arcadia, Fla.
As she had been since their marriage in 1953, his wife, Stella, was at his side.
Stella Alberts said her husband had been ill for several weeks with circulatory problems in his legs but previously had been in good health. "All of a sudden, God took him," she said.
His son Chris, a director for the New Candlelight Theatre in Ardentown, Del., said the apparent cause of death was complications from kidney failure.
Mr. Alberts rose to fame in the 1950s as one of the Four Aces, whose hits included "Love Is a Many Splendored Thing," "Stranger in Paradise," and "Three Coins in the Fountain" by Jule Styne and Sammy Cahn.
But generations of Philadelphians knew him as "Uncle Al," a tuxedoed fatherly figure with a white pompadour, blinding smile, and infinite patience, who gave screen time to young singers, hoofers, and comedians on Saturdays.
The program started on Channel 48 in 1968, and two years later moved to Channel 6. His show, which also toured local theaters, launched the careers of Andrea McArdle, Sister Sledge, Teddy Pendergrass, and Jarrod Spector.
"It was like going to church - a staple of life in Philadelphia," said McArdle, the first star of Annie on Broadway. She was 8 or 9 when she first appeared on Showcase.
Mr. Alberts' wife was "Aunt Stella" to the show's performers: 6-year-old "Teeny Boppers," 7-to-14-year-old "Gold Nuggets," and 14-to-19-year-old "Show Stoppers." All had come to the monthly audition at J&A Caterers in South Philadelphia.
"To a wannabe thespian or entertainer, his show was our American Idol," McArdle said. "I just remember getting a spot on his show was, at the time, as big as getting Annie to me." To her, the Albertses were "extended family," and she later joined Mr. Alberts in his frequent charity appearances.
"He knew where his success came from - it came from the people," said Gerry Wilkinson, a historian with the Broadcast Pioneers of Philadelphia. "The people loved him."
Steven Sacks, Mr. Alberts' longtime cameraman, said: "He had a way with children. If they didn't get something right, he would ask them over and over again."
W. Carter Merbreier, TV's Captain Noah, said Mr. Alberts "took great delight in any of them bridging the gap from his show to national fame. He could have made a business career out of squeezing them dry, but he didn't. He was behind them the whole way."
Mr. Alberts told an interviewer in 1985: "I have never gotten to the point during an audition where I said, 'OK, kid, that's enough.' I let them have their three minutes in the sun."
Mr. Alberts' own career began before World War II as a piano player and singer on The Horn & Hardart Children's Hour, a radio show.
He was born Al Albertini on Aug. 10, 1922, and graduated from South Philadelphia High. After World War II, Mr. Alberts, his Navy buddy Dave Mahoney, Sod Vaccaro, and Lou Silvestri formed the Four Aces, who first performed in a Prospect Park milk bar downstairs from a bookie joint.
Their first hit single was "(It's No) Sin" and was aimed at Delaware County college students before they left for summer vacation. Released on the group's own label, it sold more than a million copies.
"All the boy bands [today] call upon that tight harmony," McArdle said.
In 1956, with rock and roll crashing in on the Aces' style, Mr. Alberts left the group and toured as a solo act. The original members of the group later lost the rights to the Four Aces name in a federal-court decision.
"If he did miss being a big star, he didn't show it," said Sacks, the cameraman. "He loved being around Philadelphia and the Delaware Valley. Every once in a while, he did a nightclub act. That kept him fulfilled. . . . I think he chose this the way he wanted. He could have been on the road 10 times more, but that's not what he wanted."
The Albertses retired at the end of 2000 and moved to Florida shortly after. Even after his retirement, Mr. Alberts had a way of bubbling into the regional consciousness. Each year as Memorial Day approaches, Mr. Alberts' recording of "On the Way to Cape May" draws hundreds of requests, said Ross Brittain, who hosts the morning show on classic-hits WOGL (98.1): "It's the traditional summer song."
After Mr. Alberts left Channel 6, he also produced Harmony, a weekly big-band radio show.
Besides his wife and son, Mr. Alberts is survived by son Al Jr. and a grandson.
Stella Alberts said a memorial would be in Florida at a later date. She said her husband's ashes would be scattered at sea.
Contact staff writer Michael Klein at 215-854-5514 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Posted by Joyce Kavitsky at 11/30/2009 09:00:00 AM
Thursday, November 19, 2009
Financial 'Reform': Sen. Chris Dodd's proposed overhaul would replace the Federal Reserve with a "super regulator" to oversee the banking and financial industries. Will it work? Consider the source.
Along with fellow Democrat Barney Frank, now chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, Dodd, who heads the Senate Banking Committee, has done as much to damage this nation's financial system as anyone and that includes all the CEOs and subprime scoundrels as well as former Fed chief Alan Greenspan, whom many blame for lax oversight and too-loose credit in the run-up to the meltdown.
What did Dodd do? In recent decades, he and his fellow Democrats created a system of perverse incentives by unleashing the Community Reinvestment Act to force banks to make bad loans, then encouraging Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to finance the scheme with taxpayer-guaranteed borrowing.
It led to Fannie and Freddie virtually taking over the mortgage industry. It also led to the financial meltdown that began in 2007, from which we're still trying to escape. Now Dodd wants to "fix" what he and his pals broke.
In particular, Dodd's bill would shrink the duties of the Fed. As the Washington Post put it, his plan "would impose the most fundamental change in the Fed's mission since the Great Depression, leaving it responsible for little besides setting monetary policy."
For those who ask "so what?" let's start with the obvious: The Fed did not create the financial crisis, though it's possible that holding interest rates at a 40-year low for nearly a year in 2003 and 2004 contributed to its severity. No, our system melted down because the banks did what they were told by Dodd and others in Congress: lend money, even when it was financially unwise to do so.
Dodd and other believers in government's omnipotence think regulators can know at all times what's going on in the economy and control it. They can't. The economy is far too complex and the temptations to corruption and greed far too great.
As economist Don Boudreaux wrote: "These unavoidable realities of the human condition will result in the One Big Regulator ... injecting into financial markets systematic risks far greater than those that already exist."
Dead on. It will, in short, be worse than what we currently have.
By handing off the Fed's risk-management, consumer-protection and bank-regulation responsibilities to a new super agency, we wouldn't just be shuffling responsibilities we'd also be fostering the dangerous delusion that all our economic ills require massive new bureaucracies to cure them.
Why would Dodd & Co. do this? One reason might be that the Fed by law is highly independent. So the senator and others in Congress can't tell it what to do, or even threaten it through the budget. This builds resentment in Congress. And as we all know, Congress is all about control. Having once ruined our financial system, they now seek even more control.
The Fed isn't perfect, but it is independent. And a number of studies in recent years have shown that central banks around the world do a better job when they're free of direct political pressure.
We may take issue with the Fed's role in bank bailouts, or its conduct of interest-rate policy, but we don't think those would be corrected by having a super regulator in charge. Quite the contrary.
Perhaps Dodd expects us to forget his role in the 2007-09 financial fiasco how he was part of Congress' oversight of the banking system as he and others in the legislative branch accepted sweetheart loans from the very banks they were supposed to oversee.
Well, we haven't. Such incompetence and venality cost us trillions of dollars in bailouts, phony stimulus and TARP funding. Our financial system doesn't need more oversight of this sort.
Posted by Joyce Kavitsky at 11/19/2009 03:21:00 PM
The Economy: We knew something was funny when the White House claimed that 640,000 to 1 million jobs had been created from this year's stimulus. What we didn't know was that it would turn into a massive fraud.
Not only have 640,000 new jobs not been created from the stimulus an absurd claim, given the economy's loss of nearly 4 million payroll positions this year but it now seems that even the jobs themselves are fictional.
Thanks to the digging of a number of data sleuths, it turns out that many of the jobs reported by states come from made-up congressional districts.
This would be funny if it weren't a criminal waste of public funds. And yet, G. Edward DeSeve, who runs the government's economic recovery program, says the errors are "relatively few" and "don't change the fundamental conclusions one can draw from the data."
Excuse us? The "relatively few" errors are in fact thousands in number. But that's the pernicious place we find ourselves today a public official defending shoddy accounting that looks an awful lot like fraud to the tune of billions of dollars.
One example: the 15th Congressional District of Arizona, where 30 jobs were salvaged with $761,420 in spending, according to Recovery.gov, the official government Web site. As ABC News reports: "There is no 15th Congressional District in Arizona; the state has only eight districts."
States as diverse as Kansas, New Mexico, New Hampshire, Ohio, Minnesota and West Virginia also reported phony jobs.
Stimulus jobs were also reported in 35 congressional districts in Washington, D.C., and four U.S. territories. The problem: None of those jurisdictions even has congressional districts.
All told, according to the useful Web site Watchdog.org, some $6.4 billion was spent to "create or save" 30,000 jobs in phantom districts. That comes out to about $225,000 per nonexistent job. And that's only what's been found so far.
The Washington Examiner's bogus-job count is even higher at 75,343, a figure likely to climb as more are discovered.
Some cases were egregious. California's state university system took in $268.5 million in stimulus funds, claiming it "saved" 26,000 jobs. It has since admitted that few, if any, jobs were really at risk.
The government's response to all this? "Human beings make mistakes," shrugged Recovery Board spokesman Ed Pound on Monday. But by Tuesday, as the furor grew, the board's DeSeve was vowing to go through reports with a "fine-tooth comb."
But this should have been done all along. The official Web site vows that stimulus spending will "be subject to unprecedented transparency and accountability," and that inspectors general of 28 federal agencies will "continually review" their spending.
To our knowledge, however, none of the errors was found by an inspector general. All were discovered by private individuals curious about what their tax dollars were being spent on.
Imagine for a moment a CEO standing before the public and claiming similar bookkeeping errors. He'd be arrested for fraud, frog-marched from his office, tried, convicted and left to rot in jail.
We said from the start that the stimulus and TARP programs would be an invitation to fraud, waste and abuse. Sadly, this has proved true. Yet no one is likely to suffer so much as a reprimand.
As the White House talks about another stimulus, Americans need to know that the promises of transparency and openness in the first program haven't been kept. And that billions of their tax dollars are being wasted.
Posted by Joyce Kavitsky at 11/19/2009 03:14:00 PM
Saturday, November 14, 2009
Civilian cop Mark Todd was REAL hero whose shots ended Ft. Hood masscare, says his mom! By Rich Schapiro
November 13th 2009
Sgt. Mark Todd, 42, of the Killeen police department is the person who actually shot Major Nidel Malik Hasan in last week's massacre.
My son's a hero, too!
The mother of a civilian cop whose role in ending the Fort Hood massacre was overshadowed by his tiny, female partner insisted Thursday her son deserves commendation.
"When he told me what happened, I was thinking, 'Why are they giving this woman all the credit?'" Mary Todd, 66, the mother of Sgt. Mark Todd, told the Daily News.
"I don't want to diminish what she did. I just hope they give him credit, too."
In the days after Thursday's mass shooting at Fort Hood, Sgt. Kimberly Munley was widely lauded for her role in taking down gunman Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan.
One Fort Hood official described how a wounded Munley stayed on her feet in a raging gun battle with Hasan and ended his rampage with two well-placed bullets into his torso.
That account appears to be false.
Todd, 42, said Thursday his bullets felled Hasan. Providing the most detailed account of the takedown, Todd said he and Munley arrived at the base processing center at the same time, but split up.
Munley encountered Hasan first and was shot three times in the ensuing gun battle. It's unclear if Hasan was hit.
Still on his feet, the blood-thirsty Army psychiatrist paused to load his handgun before Todd found him.
"I came around. I challenged him. I saw him turn toward me and I started taking fire again, and then I returned fire," Todd told NBC's "Today" show.
Todd said that his shots knocked Hasan off of his feet and he then he checked the gunman for other weapons.
"I thank God to this day that I wasn't hit," Todd added. "It was a miracle."
Posted by Joyce Kavitsky at 11/14/2009 02:19:00 PM
Tuesday, November 10, 2009
November 09, 2009
Old-fashioned parents know how important it is to teach their children the “value of a dollar.” Uncle Sam doesn’t seem to have learned this lesson though, which has grave implications for our future standard of living.
For most of this decade, the Federal Reserve has pursued a policy of having a “weak” dollar, a dollar that’s cheap in relation to other currencies. Current Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke prevailed on former Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan to adopt this policy, and Bernanke is now continuing it. And if continued much longer, a weak dollar policy—combined with overspending and bad tax policy--will irreparably reduce America’s standard of living.
Inherent in the idea of standard of living is the level of our present and future consumption. America’s “standard of living” is generally considered a measure of how easy it is for us to satisfy our material desires. There are many ways we might look at this--how many televisions or computers we have per household, how much health care we consume on a per capita basis and how many families in our nation live below the poverty level. But however our standard of living is measured, current monetary, fiscal and tax policies will diminish it if we stay on our current path.
Now, clearly some people benefit from a weak dollar. Farmers and other exporters who sell abroad benefit because their products are cheaper (and thus more attractive) on world markets. But because we purchase so many more foreign goods than we export, a weak dollar policy is very bad for consumers and decreases our purchasing power.
Over the last 20 years, America’s appetite for foreign goods has increased multifold. And it is not that easy just to “buy American.” In many cases, there may not be an American choice in a particular product category and if there is, the “American” product may still have significant foreign content in it. This means that as the dollar weakens, our purchases of foreign goods cost much, much more. We will see our household purchasing power decline in future years as effects of the weak dollar policy filter through our economy.
Another effect of a weakening dollar is that investors fear holding assets in dollars. And so the steadily weakening dollar has produced capital flight from the U.S. which harms our economy, as investors seek assets denominated in other, stronger currencies. This leads to a downward spiral as dollars become less and less desirable.
U.S. per capita gross domestic product (GDP) has fallen over 25% since 2000 when measured in euros (a more stable gauge of value than the weak dollar), according to top Wall Street economist David Malpass. Germany’s GDP has overtaken America’s GDP on a per capita basis. And America’s standard of living relative to the rest of the world is falling off a cliff -- with President Obama’s policies giving it a two-armed push over the edge.
Spending plays a major role. The Obama budget also includes record shattering federal spending increases and trillion dollar annual deficits, doubling the national debt in five years, and tripling it in ten. The Administration’s own budget numbers now show total Federal debt reaching $23.3 trillion in 2019. That debt will exceed 100% of GDP by 2011, giving us the honor of the 7th highest government debt-to-GDP ratio in the world. As Judy Shelton recently reported in The Wall Street Journal, that puts us in the company of Zimbabwe, Lebanon, Singapore, Jamaica, Japan, and Italy.
To put our national debt in perspective -- a country cannot even join the European Union unless its government debt-to-GDP ratio does not exceed 60%. This means that even if we wanted to join the EU, our economic fundamentals may soon be seen as too weak.
The Government Accountability Office (GAO) projects that under current policies, the federal debt will climb to almost 300% of GDP by 2040. Even during World War II, the national debt peaked at 113% of GDP. This was only a temporary condition and at least we vanquished Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan in return for spike in the debt. Now, huge debts are a way of life in America. Obama’s budget busters include increasing federal welfare spending by one third in just his first two years, with total welfare spending soaring to $1 trillion by 2014 and $10.3 trillion over the next 10 years, according to the Heritage Foundation.
Consider also the effect of taxes. President Obama’s budget provides for increasing the capital gains tax rate by 33% at the start of 2011. The top federal income tax rate would also increase by almost 30% if a health care reform bill similar to the one passed by the House this weekend becomes law. These prospective tax increases on earnings in dollars would cause further capital flight, increasing the downward spiral of the dollar and our standard of living.
These soaring tax rates and crushing deficits will lead to a continued decline of American living standards. Based on the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office’s GDP and inflation assumptions, continued declines in household wealth holdings are projected from 2009 to 2014, with real U.S. per capita GDP falling to below 2000 levels. So much for the Obama recovery.
But the hit to our standard of living could be much worse than even these numbers show. The economy has performed substantially worse this year than was assumed in the Obama budget, with our growth lower and unemployment at a much higher level. Economists predict that these negative trends will continue in the near future. -- This means future deficits and debt will be far higher than the administration projects.
Unlike our government, Americans have drastically cut back on their discretionary spending in response to frightening economic conditions. In some cases, Americans have done this because they are unemployed and can’t afford to spend, but many others have done this out of fear of what may be to come. We may think that it is appropriate for Americans to learn to consume less. But even if we chose now voluntarily to reduce our consumption of cars, electronics and houses, we still want to be able to afford to purchase them in the future.
The decline of America’s standard of living can be reversed with a dramatic change in course to pro-growth economic policies. But American voters need to wake up, or face declining standards of living far into the future. While a Susan B. Anthony dollar may be larger than a euro in size, it will take change to our fiscal and monetary policies to make the value of our dollar approach that of the euro any time soon.
Mallory Factor is the co-chairman and co-founder of the Monday Meeting, an influential meeting of economic conservatives, journalists and corporate leaders in New York City. Mr. Factor is a well-known merchant banker and speaks and writes frequently on economic and fiscal topics for news stations, leading newspapers and other print and online publications. Mr. Factor appears on "Fox & Friends," "The Strategy Room" and other Fox News Channel programs. He is a frequent contributor to the Fox Forum . Contact him at email@example.com.
Posted by Joyce Kavitsky at 11/10/2009 03:23:00 PM
President Obama recently delivered a special address aimed at quelling small-business owners' concerns about Democratic plans for health care reform.
The legislation, he assured, would "benefit millions of small businesses" and was "being written with the interests of Americans like you and your employees in mind."
That's a nice sentiment. But it's not backed up by the facts. Several new studies show that ObamaCare will dramatically increase health costs for most small businesses.
One study relied on actuarial data from WellPoint, a large health insurer that provided customer data in 14 states where it operates Blue Cross plans. The report concluded that 70% of small businesses would experience higher health insurance premiums if the Democrats' health plan passes.
For the average small employer in New York City, the increase in premiums would be modest just 6%. But in Franklin County, Ohio, a typical small business would be hit with an 86% increase. Similarly sized businesses in Louisville, Ky., and Richmond, Va., would see their premiums go up 20% and 25%, respectively.
These findings align with the results of a different study, produced by Blue Cross Blue Shield and the consulting firm Oliver Wyman. It estimated that the average small business would experience a 19% jump in premiums within the first five years of ObamaCare's passage.
A third study, from America's Health Insurance Plans and PricewaterhouseCoopers, found that the reform bill approved by the Senate Finance Committee would result in a 28% increase in premiums for firms with fewer than 50 workers by 2019.
Simply put, the Democrats' reform plans would raise the cost of insurance for small businesses. A quick look at the various elements of their legislative package shows why.
For starters, the Democrats' proposal would require every insurance policy to cover a minimum set of benefits, even if the customer doesn't want or need them. At the state level, such benefit mandates can increase the cost of a basic insurance plan by 20% to 50%.
Why? Insurers price their products based on how much they might have to pay out in claims. The more treatments an insurer is on the hook for, the more costly it is to cover each customer, and therefore the higher the premium.
The Democrats' package would also institute a federal "guaranteed-issue" law, which would prohibit insurers from denying coverage to customers based on pre-existing conditions.
This reform is well-intentioned. But it ensures that many people will wait until they get sick to buy health insurance. Insurers' risk pools will dry up until only those with chronic health problems remain. Companies will respond by jacking up premiums. Indeed, states that have implemented guaranteed-issue laws have seen premiums jump 227%.
Of course, rising health-insurance prices hurt all employers big and small. But the bigger ones have the luxury of spreading those costs among many workers. They can also use their purchasing clout to negotiate lower rates with carriers.
Small businesses don't have these advantages. That's why, on average, they pay 18% higher premiums than their large counterparts, according to the Commonwealth Fund.
Even without the Democrats' "reforms," small-business health premiums were expected to go up, on average, by 15% over the next year. And to add insult to injury, the House would also impose a 5.4% surtax on individuals with annual incomes of more than $500,000 and families of more than $1 million.
The tax would not be adjusted for inflation, so more and more small-business owners would be ensnared by it each year.
Managers would likely compensate for these new costs by discontinuing health benefits, cutting wages, holding off on new hires or even laying off workers. Can the Democrats' efforts really be called "reform" if they'd leave workers and businesses alike worse off?
The administration has dismissed accounts critical of its health reform plan out of hand. But the facts don't lie. The Democrats' reform package will make health insurance more expensive for small firms. If the president and his congressional allies are serious about defending the interests of small businesses, they need to get a new plan.
Pipes is president and CEO of the Pacific Research Institute. Her latest book is "The Top Ten Myths of American Health Care."
Posted by Joyce Kavitsky at 11/10/2009 02:35:00 PM
Health Care Reform: Failure to buy health insurance in the just-passed health care bill could get you five years in jail with a $250,000 fine. How can violating a law that's unconstitutional be a felony?
The passage last Saturday night of the House health care measure by a fragile 220-215 margin may well prove to be a Pyrrhic victory. In polls, townhall meetings and tea parties, Americans have shown they don't want a "reform" that costs a staggering $1.2 trillion yet fails to meet the left's desire of insuring all the uninsured.
And they certainly don't want a bill that threatens them with incarceration if they don't comply.
This monstrosity would raise insurance premiums and taxes to prohibitive levels and add unconscionably to the national debt.
It will force physicians to leave the medical profession in droves, exacerbating an already perilous doctor shortage. This and so-called cost controls will lead to rationing.
The mechanisms for deciding who gets what, if any, care and even what care will be available are already in place. Some, like a cost-effectiveness board, slipped into the failed stimulus bill.
Under sections 7201 and 7203 of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's bill, Americans who don't maintain acceptable health insurance coverage and who choose not to pay a fine/tax of up to 2.5% of income are subject to fines of up to $250,000 and imprisonment of up to five years.
As Dave Camp, R-Mich., ranking member of the House Ways and Means Committee, observed, "This is the ultimate example of the Democrats' command-and-control style of governing buy what we tell you or go to jail."
Evading the income tax is punishable by jail time. But the income tax required a constitutional amendment; it was not imposed by judicial fiat.
When asked by CNSNews where in the Constitution Congress is authorized to force Americans to buy insurance or imprison them, Pelosi gave the wide-eyed response, "Are you serious?"
Yes, Madam Speaker, we are. The Supreme Court, in United States vs. Lopez in 1995, has already specifically rejected the idea that Congress can regulate non-economic activities of individuals simply because, through a chain of events, they might have some impact down the road.
The U.S. Senate should give this nonsense a decent burial. Otherwise, that classic film line might take on a whole new meaning: "What are you in for?"
Posted by Joyce Kavitsky at 11/10/2009 02:28:00 PM
Friday, November 06, 2009
Friends hail police Sgt. Kimberly Munley for taking down Fort Hood gunman, Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan By Rich Schapiro
November 6th 2009
Police Sgt. Kimberly Munley is credited with ending the Fort Hood mass shooting before even more people were shot."
The hero cop who ended the bloody rampage at Fort Hood by pumping four bullets into the crazed gunman even though she was wounded is known for her toughness, friends say.
Before relocating to Texas, civilian police Sgt. Kimberly Munley spent about five years as a cop in North Carolina where she forged a reputation as a no-nonsense officer.
"I'd like to say I'm surprised, but I'm really not," said close friend Drew Peterson, 27.
"She was born and bred to be a police officer. If you were ever to be in a fight, she'd be the first person to stand up next to you and back you up. She's a tough cookie."
Munley's toughness and grace under pressure were on display Thursday when she and her partner responded within three minutes of reported gunfire, said Army Lt. Gen. Bob Cone.
Munley, who had been trained in active-response tactics, rushed into the building and confronted the shooter as he was turning a corner, Cone said.
"It was an amazing and an aggressive performance by this police officer," Cone said.
Munley was only a few feet from Army psychiatrist Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan when she opened fire.
Wounded in the exchange of bullets, the 34-year-old Munley was reported in stable condition at a local hospital.
In a posting on her Twitter page before the shooting, she wrote: "I live a good life....a hard one, but I go to sleep peacefully @ night knowing that I may have made a difference in someone's life."
Munley's brother Daniel Barbour told ABC News that his sister had been shot three times in the hand and the leg.
One of the bullets pierced an artery, requiring her to undergo surgery Friday.
The diminutive Munley - she stands 5-foot-4 and weighs about 120 pounds - served as a cop in Wrightsville Beach,
N.C., before she moved to Texas to enlist in the military, friends said.
She is married with two daughters and is no longer in the armed forces.
"She's the happiest, sweetest, most fun-loving girl you'd ever want to be friends with - and never want to cross," Peterson said.
The hero cop spent Thursday night phoning fellow officers to let them know she was fine and to find out about casualties in the attack - the deadliest ever on a military base in the U.S., Cone said.
Cone said Munley's aggressive response training taught her that "if you act aggressively to take out a shooter you will have less fatalities."
"She walked up and engaged him," he said. He praised her as "one of our most impressive young police officers."
Posted by Joyce Kavitsky at 11/06/2009 04:26:00 PM