February 3 2010
Philadelphia Daily News
It was a little bit of a surprise when Gregor "George" Woodruff became a Methodist pastor, his ex-wife said yesterday. It was a big shock, though, when she found out that Woodruff, the father of her two adult children, was arrested for allegedly sexually assaulting an underage girl in South Jersey.
"I really find it hard to believe," said Jean Haberl, of Schuylkill County, Pa. "I know nothing happened with our daughter when we lived together."
Woodruff, 61, a pastor at Ewan United Methodist Church in rural Harrison Township, Gloucester County, is accused of assaulting his victim on several occasions over the past two years, the Camden County Prosecutor's Office said yesterday. The Gloucester City resident was arrested Friday at the Kennedy Health System Crisis Center, in Cherry Hill, and remained as of yesterday in the Camden County Jail on charges of sexual assault and child endangerment.
Haberl said that Woodruff, whom she divorced more than 10 years ago, had been involved with churches in Pennsylvania but moved to New Jersey to live with his new wife and her young daughter. She said that Woodruff worked in telemarketing and only recently completed his studies to become a pastor.
"I never thought he was minister material," she said.
The prosecutor's office did not release the age, hometown or relationship between Woodruff and the victim. A woman interviewed at a yellow, two-story bungalow on Powell Street in Gloucester City and who claimed to be Woodruff's mother-in-law said that he lived there with her daughter and granddaughter. She said that the victim was a family member.
"She's happy now -- she's free," said the woman, who asked not to be identified.
Neighbors on Powell Street declined to comment on Woodruff's arrest.
The Ewan United Methodist Church was empty yesterday afternoon as was the preschool in the rear of the building.
Jack Shaw, a spokesman for the United Methodist Church in New Jersey, said that Woodruff had been assigned as a part-time pastor at the church since last July but has been "relieved of his duties at this time."
Shaw declined to comment on the charges against Woodruff.
"We have heard rumors regarding this arrest but we have been unable to confirm what the facts are," he wrote in a statement.
The Camden County Prosecutor's Office would not say why Woodruff had been arrested at a crisis center.
Thursday, April 08, 2010
On Feb. 27 last year, small numbers of middle-class taxpayers gathered in 50 American cities to protest President Obama's $786 billion stimulus bill, signed into law without the bother of reading it. And the Tea Party movement was born.
Organized in less than a week by conservatives on Twitter, the Tea Party movement has grown from political novices into a driving force that is rapidly changing the American political landscape. The fact that no one person is guiding that force seems to encourage some people, and especially the media, to appoint one.
After her speech at the Tea Party Nation convention in Nashville, there was great speculation from the national media about whether Sarah Palin would be the leader of the Tea Party movement. After all, Palin is a known conservative with grass-roots energy and support who is largely in lockstep with the values of the movement.
No Merger With GOP
Others have alluded to former House Majority Leader Dick Armey as the leader of, or spokesperson for, the Tea Party groups around the country.
But neither Palin nor Armey, nor anyone else for that matter, will ever lead or control the Tea Party movement. That's because it's not one body, but many locally organized groups, led by local people like me, along with two others on the Dallas Tea Party steering committee.
Each of us holds a full-time job and volunteers our time to the Tea Party movement. And while all the Tea Party groups share a number of common values and goals, no one group speaks for the others.
There has also been a great deal of speculation in the media that the Tea Party movement will become a wing of the Republican Party. That won't happen either. The various Tea Parties represent a truly grass-roots movement that operates independently of any political party. That is the beauty and the strength of the Tea Party.
It is true that many Republicans seek our endorsement because they claim to share our values. But it is also true that the media like to "anoint" a Tea Party candidate. That's what happened in the recent Texas Republican primary.
Several media sources identified GOP challenger Debra Medina as the Tea Party candidate. She wasn't; she was a Republican candidate whom some Tea Party members may have personally supported. Individuals are free to support whomever they choose, but, except for a few groups, mostly PACs, the great majority of Tea Parties are nonpartisan and do not endorse candidates.
The lack of a central authority is one way in which the Tea Party movement differs from some liberal grass-roots groups such as Moveon.org. We don't have a George Soros pulling the strings behind the curtain. Most Tea Party leaders are political neophytes brought to action by what they see as reckless fiscal behavior of both political parties.
Independence from national leaders or political parties allows the Tea Party movement freedom to act in accordance with our principles. We are not beholden to the ideology of any individual politician, group, political party or money person. It's a strategy that so far is working well.
Some may wonder why, at a time when the two political parties are becoming even more divided, the Tea Party movement is growing rapidly in numbers and becoming better organized, and has the ability to turn out record numbers of fiscally conservative voters in both the primary and general elections. The Dallas Tea Party alone has grown from 300 members in 12 months to more than 15,000 today.
It's The Economy
One reason we are becoming more effective is that we have largely eschewed social issues. We view fiscal irresponsibility as the greatest danger to America. And so nearly every local Tea Party embraces five basic principles: fiscal responsibility, personal responsibility, limited government, the rule of law and national sovereignty. Of course, many Tea Party members are social conservatives, but economic issues remain the unifying principle.
The Democratic Party has largely ridiculed and insulted the Tea Party movement along with denying its growing power. Many in the Republican Party wish the movement would go away or would like nothing better than to co-opt it. But the Tea Party is wary of current Republicans whom they view as having abandoned core Republican conservative fiscal values.
We believe the worst mistake the movement could make is to replace big-spending Democrats with big-spending Republicans. Many in the movement see the Tea Party as the last chance to save America from financial disaster.
To be most effective, the Tea Party must maintain its independence and spirit against the big-spending politicians in local, state and federal government. Those big spenders, if they haven't yet, will soon learn to fear the Tea Party!
Dennis is the founder of the Dallas Tea Party and sits on the three-member steering committee.
Posted by Joyce Kavitsky at 4/08/2010 03:00:00 PM
Regulation: A federal court has unanimously made it clear the government has no business interfering with Internet providers' network management. "Net neutrality" neutralizes businesses' property rights.
From the days when broadcast ruled the mass communications roost, the Federal Communications Commission has operated under the assumption the airwaves are owned by the public.
That served the public interest well when it came to fighting indecency, but what do you do when people communicate over "airwaves" with no air the phone lines, cables and fiber-optic networks that have superceded radio and TV signals?
That's the question over the power grab the federal government has been attempting under the misleading slogan "net neutrality." Washington insists it must stop Internet service providers (ISPs) from "discriminating" against certain content or applications, in effect meddling in the management of their businesses, in the name of "access for all."
But as Republican FCC commissioner Meredith Attwell Baker noted last year, there's never been any real threat to Internet access. Nor, as fellow GOP-appointed commissioner Robert McDowell has held, is there any authority granted to the FCC by Congress to regulate ISPs' management.
Turns out, they were right. On Tuesday, a Washington, D.C., Circuit Court unanimously squashed the Obama administration's attempts to control the Internet. Now, the signs are the FCC will try to find another way to do the job maybe by saying broadband carriers are the same as land-line phone companies. It's "Back to the Future" as we cross that bridge back over into the 20th century.
Call us paranoid, but we smell a very political rat in this White House push for net neutrality. Government would love to get its hands on cyberspace. And it wants eventually to tax it, of course.
But cyberspace is also where millions exchange information and viewpoints some of them hostile to those in power.
Michael Harrison, the founder of Talkers magazine, which covers talk radio, has predicted that conservative (and not-so-conservative) talk radio and the Internet will merge into what he calls "media stations." In that innovative new collective medium, print, talk, and visual will all be available together for millions of people.
Reading, hearing, watching the news and opinion will become a combined, complementary experience. It will be a very different media world from one dominated by newspapers, magazines and broadcast outlets.
It also has the potential of being a world the government has a much tougher time controlling unless it acts now to do so.
FCC chairman Julius Genachowski would have us believe the only dispute is over "congestion and other network-management issues, especially with respect to wireless broadband."
Private firms are legitimately concerned about "peer-to-peer" downloading of movies, games, etc., that can render copyrights meaningless. If ISPs try to prevent what are essentially electronic versions of shoplifting, why should they be condemned for "violating Internet openness principles"? And why must any solution to these problems inescapably be Big Brother watching us?
The DC Circuit did the right thing. It stood up for private Internet property rights. Unfortunately, they may not have the last word, since regulators can always think of plenty of ways to regulate.
Posted by Joyce Kavitsky at 4/08/2010 02:53:00 PM
Tuesday, April 06, 2010
What is it like to be a foreign ally of Barack Obama's America?
If you're a Brit, your head is spinning. It's not just the personal slights to Prime Minister Gordon Brown the ridiculous 25-DVD gift, the five refusals before Brown was granted a one-on-one with The One.
Nor is it just the symbolism of Obama returning the Churchill bust that was in the Oval Office. Query: If it absolutely had to be out of Obama's sight, could it not have been housed somewhere else on U.S. soil rather than ostentatiously repatriated?
Perhaps it was the State Department official who last year denied there even was a special relationship between the U.S. and Britain, a relationship cultivated by every U.S. president since Franklin Roosevelt.
And then there was Hillary Clinton's astonishing, nearly unreported (in the U.S.) performance in Argentina last month. She called for Britain to negotiate with Argentina over the Falklands.
For those who know no history or who believe it began on Jan. 20, 2009 and therefore don't know why this was an out-of-the-blue slap at Britain, here's the back story:
In 1982, Argentina's military junta invaded the (British) Falkland Islands. The generals thought the British, having long lost their taste for foreign lands, would let it pass. Besides, the Falklands have uncountably more sheep than people. They underestimated Margaret Thatcher (the Argentines, that is, not the sheep). She was not about to permit the conquest of a people whose political allegiance and ethnic ties are to Britain. She dispatched the navy. Britannia took it back.
Afterward, neither Thatcher nor her successors have countenanced negotiations. Britain doesn't covet foreign dominion and has no shortage of sheep. But it does believe in self-determination, and will negotiate nothing until and unless the Falkland Islanders indicate their desire to be ruled by a chronically unstable, endemically corrupt polity with a rich history of dictatorship, economic mismanagement and the occasional political lunacy (see: the Evita cult).
Not surprisingly, the Falkland Islanders have given no such indication. Yet inexplicably, Clinton sought to reopen a question that had been settled for almost 30 years, not just pointlessly stirring the embers but even taking the Argentine side (re: negotiations) against Britain a nation that has fought and bled with us for the last decade, and that today has about 10,000 troops, far more than any other ally, fighting alongside America in Afghanistan.
Of course, given how the administration has treated other allies, perhaps we shouldn't be so surprised.
Obama visits China and soon Indonesia, skipping India, our natural and rising ally in the region common language, common heritage, common democracy, common jihadist enemy. Indeed, in his enthusiasm for China, Obama suggests a Chinese interest in peace and stability in South Asia, a gratuitous denigration of Indian power and legitimacy in favor of a regional rival with hegemonic ambitions.
Poland and the Czech Republic have their legs cut out from under them when Obama unilaterally revokes a missile defense agreement, acquiescing to pressure from Russia with its dreams of regional hegemony over Eastern Europe.
The Hondurans still can't figure out why the U.S. supported a Hugo Chavez ally seeking illegal extension of his presidency against the pillars of civil society its Congress, Supreme Court, church and army that had deposed him consistent with Article 239 of their own constitution.
But the Brits, our most venerable, most reliable ally, are the most disoriented.
"We British not only speak the same language. We tend to think in the same way. We are more likely than anyone else to provide tea, sympathy and troops," writes Bruce Anderson in London's Independent, summarizing with admirable concision the fundamental basis of the U.S.-British special relationship.
Links Aren't There
Well, said David Manning, a former British ambassador to the U.S., to a House of Commons committee reporting on that very relationship: "He (Obama) is an American who grew up in Hawaii, whose foreign experience was of Indonesia and who had a Kenyan father. The sentimental reflexes, if you like, are not there."
I'm not personally inclined to neuropsychiatric diagnoses, but Manning's guess is as good as anyone's. How can you explain a policy toward Britain that makes no strategic or moral sense? And even if you can, how do you explain the gratuitous slaps to the Czechs, Poles, Indians and others? Perhaps when an Obama Doctrine is finally worked out, we shall learn whether it was pique, principle or mere carelessness.
Pollution Control: From cars to coal mines, the imposition of economy-killing restrictions is under way. Are the new EPA regulations on auto emissions the precursor to regulating carbon dioxide by executive order?
In announcing the Environmental Protection Agency's first regulations on greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from cars, Administrator Lisa Jackson has promised they won't be the last such rules stemming from the EPA's "endangerment finding" that carbon dioxide, six pounds of which every human being exhales every day, is a dangerous pollutant.
"These are the first regulations that cover greenhouse gas emissions in the United States," Jackson told reporters in a conference call last Thursday. She underscored the fact that additional regulations would be forthcoming since "the Clean Air Act talks about additional regulation needed once greenhouse gas pollution is acknowledged to be exactly that."
Under the new regulations, which begin in 2011, automakers would be required to reduce fleetwide GHG emissions each year, beginning at 295 grams of carbon dioxide per mile and culminating in a cap of no more than 250 grams per mile by the 2016 model year.
James Inhofe, R-Okla., ranking member of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, said Jackson was "imposing a backdoor energy tax on consumers created by the EPA" despite the fact that Jackson admitted to him that the regulation "won't have any meaningful climate impacts."
"This is the initial step in EPA's regulatory barrage stemming from the endangerment finding," Inhofe said.
As Inhofe related in an earlier YouTube video: "Jackson admitted to me publicly that EPA based its action today (the endangerment finding) in good measure on the findings of the U.N.'s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, or IPCC. She told me that EPA accepted those findings without any serious, independent analysis to see whether they were true."
The finding is an environmental sword of Damocles held over our heads a warning that if cap-and-trade legislation such as Waxman-Markey or Kerry-Boxer is not signed into law, the full regulatory fury of an unelected bureaucracy will be unleashed on the American people and the U.S. economy.
Unsure of its prospects in a Senate that no longer has a filibuster-proof majority, the administration has apparently decided to swing that sword. Stuart Varney of Fox Business Channel reports that the administration is prepared to impose new CO2 restrictions through executive order. This is an administration that doesn't take a resounding "no" from the American people on health care or cap-and-tax for an answer.
On Thursday, the EPA announced new environmental guidelines that will effectively curtail surface and "mountaintop" mining in a six-state region centered on Appalachia. According to the National Mining Association, the region covered by these restrictions produced more than 150 million tons of coal in 2008 more than 10% of the U.S. total and employed nearly 20,000 people.
According to the economic forecasting model of the Energy Information Administration, a proposed 70% cut in carbon dioxide emissions will cause gasoline prices to rise 77% above baseline projections, kill more than 3 million jobs and reduce average household income by more than $4,000 each and every year.
Fact is, U.S. carbon dioxide emissions have been essentially flat since the start of the Bush administration, while those of Europe and "developing" countries such as China, exempt from any such restrictions, have increased dramatically.
Even if we reduced our CO2 emissions to zero, the growth in Chinese emissions over the next decade would equal our current emissions, according to James M. Taylor, senior environmental fellow at the Heartland Institute, writing in Capitalist Magazine.
Just 3% of atmospheric carbon dioxide is produced by man and his activities. The other 97% is produced by nature. This is all economic pain for zero environmental gain. But then, this is not really about the environment. As with health care, it's all about the government grabbing more power at the expense of the people.
So much for those huddled masses yearning to breathe free. Your breath will now be taxed.
Health Overhaul: Despite the president's big talk about considering Republican ideas, tort reform was always a nonstarter. Now we find that the new health law will fill trial lawyers' pockets with added millions.
Here are the words that are music to the ears of ambulance-chasing attorneys from sea to shining sea: "or the care and services themselves, or both.''
As recently brought to light by the Daily Caller's Jon Ward, those words on the 466th page of the 2,704-page health reform monstrosity passed into law last month amount to a massive fiscal stimulus for some of the least needy, fattest cats in the country.
Section 2304 of the inappropriately named "Patient Protection Affordable Care Act" is entitled "Clarification of Definition of Medical Assistance." The section amends the Social Security Act and, by all appearances, fundamentally redefines Medicaid. The way that entitlement program for the poor works, managed by the states and funded by the states and the federal government under federal guidelines, will apparently be forever changed.
The requirement of the states in what they give Medicaid recipients apparently shifts from making payments to their doctors to ensuring the medical "care and services themselves." So in conditions of doctor shortages, states could be legally judged to have failed in their obligations if a Medicaid patient had been unable to get a doctor's visit in timely fashion.
As the Daily Caller quoted Louisiana health secretary Alan Levine in a memo to fellow state officials, "With the expanded definition, it leaves every state vulnerable to a new wave of lawsuits any time someone cannot access a service, even if that service is limited by virtue of the rates we pay."
Speculating that House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Henry Waxman, D-Calif., might be behind the provision, the Web-based publication noted Waxman's reputation as viewing trial lawyers as heroes for ordinary people. Ill-fated former senator and presidential candidate John Edwards, for instance, used medical malpractice suits to extract millions in excessive awards from targets ranging from obstetricians to even the American Red Cross.
In a campaign speech to the American Medical Association in Chicago in 2008, then-Sen. Barack Obama got booed when he told the crowd he wouldn't place limits on malpractice awards.
In that address he said, "I'm not advocating caps on malpractice awards which I believe can be unfair to people who've been wrongfully harmed," and he suggested instead that "we need to explore a range of ideas about how to put patient safety first, let doctors focus on practicing medicine, and encourage broader use of evidence-based guidelines. That's how we can scale back the excessive defensive medicine reinforcing our current system of more treatment rather than better care."
During the campaign, the alternatives to suing doctors that the president expressed a willingness to consider included encouraging what might be called medical mea culpa/cross-your-fingers programs. The idea seemed to be that if doctors and hospitals could admit mistakes more often, patients' families might be appeased and not file lawsuits.
Now it seems that what ObamaCare is really going to do is encourage lawyers to appeal to poor people to sue their states instead. So competing with all those billboards for the next Mega Millions and Powerball jackpots will be ads from personal injury attorneys encouraging the down-and-out to cash in their golden tickets in courtrooms around the country.
It's one thing to sue a department store when an old lady breaks an ankle on the escalator, or a doctor who botches a surgery. Chances are that people will feel sorrier for the store owner or the doctor than they will for the big, impersonal state government when its bureaucrats can't get grandma the specialist she needs.
ObamaCare's anti-tort reform is about the last thing cash-strapped states need right now, but the thousands of John Edwards clones out there who give lots to Democratic politicians are sure to be sporting even bigger smiles.
Posted by Joyce Kavitsky at 4/06/2010 09:19:00 AM