I was about 10 years old. Unfortunately, many kids can't protect themselves like I once did. Even worse, so much bullying today has turned to torment. Yesteryear's boyhood brawls have transformed into today's torture.
It's a new day in which social networks have created cyber-bullying. Why harass a kid in a school hall with a handful of kids when one can use Facebook and YouTube to bully him or her repeatedly in full view of the whole world? In so doing, the public damage and consequences are instantly and exponentially escalated.
I in my innocence was, in the aftermath of SEAL Team Six's disruption of Osama bin Laden's bucolic life in posh Abbottabad, reading editorial comment by the great newspapers of this republic. As always, the Wall Street Journal was superb, pausing to congratulate President Barack Obama for "ordering a special forces mission rather than settling for another attack with drones or stand-off weapons from afar."
The Washington Post was, likewise, informative and appreciative of the president's prudent decision to let SEAL Team Six do its thing, skirting the laws of a sovereign nation and acting unilaterally to put a bullet hole in Osama's head.
In New York City, 41 percent of babies are aborted.
It's even worse than that, actually.
As the Chiaroscuro Foundation, a group that supports abortion alternatives, has pointed out: "Sixty percent of African-American pregnancies in New York City were aborted in 2009, the most recent year for which data is available. In a 10-year period beginning in 2000, more than 900,000 pregnancies in the city ended in abortion -- nearly one-eighth of the entire city population of just over 8 million."
Abortion, of course, is a hot-button word, bringing up all kinds of emotions in all kinds of people.
First quarter profits for American oil companies are jaw dropping. Exxon earned nearly $11 billion, up 69 percent from a year ago. Royal Dutch Shell PLC, Europe's largest oil company, announced it made $8.78 billion in the first quarter, a 60 percent increase over last year. Much of it, but not all, is due to higher gas prices, over which the companies have very little control due to our heavy reliance on foreign oil.
Some in Congress -- mostly Democrats, but a few Republicans -- are calling for an end to tax breaks enjoyed by the oil companies and in some cases, higher taxes on their profits. But the Obama administration is contributing to higher energy prices, which inflate the companies' bottom line.
In the words of that great American philosopher, Larry The Cable Guy, “WE GOT-R-DONE”!!!
Osama bin Laden sleeps with the fishes, and the best military on the planet has kept a promise President George W. Bush made to the American people almost a decade ago. He said, “I don’t know if it will be tomorrow, or next month, or next year, but we will get him.”
It’s inevitable that the joy and national unity over the killing of that monster bin Laden would cool. Already we’re debating the journalistic and political ramifications. On Wednesday, President Obama told CBS he wouldn’t “spike the football” by releasing photos proving Osama is dead.
I agree with the President, as much as that pains my friend Sean Hannity and other conservatives (and non-conservatives like Juan Williams). Some argue that it will put to rest any conspiracy theories that this is but a hoax. No it won’t. Let’s go back to the American killing of Saddam Hussein’s sons Uday and Qusay in 2003. To deal with the paranoia and disbelief of Iraqis, the military allowed access to the bodies...after they did facial reconstructions to make the sons look more like they did before their faces were shot off. Guess what? None of that helped with many Iraqis, who continued to express skepticism. The failure of the Hussein sons to reappear (and now Osama) should be proof for the doubters, not so for fanatics. Before he had birthers; now we’ll have deathers.
Here's a non-rocket science question: If you expect a reduced harvest of wheat, corn, rice or any other commodity some time in the future, what would be the wise thing to do about your consumption today? I bet that the average person would answer: Consume less now so that more will be available in the future.
But how in the world can people be encouraged to consume less now? Enter the futures market, which consists of a worldwide group of millions upon millions of traders, often called speculators. Speculators, betting on a future shortage, buy up wheat, corn and rice today in the hopes of making money selling it for a higher price when the bad harvest hits. As speculators buy more and more wheat, corn and rice, they drive up today's prices. As today's price gets higher, people consume less, but more importantly, people do the intelligent thing without bureaucratic edicts. The vital role of the futures trader, or speculator, is to allocate goods over different time periods. And, it's not just wheat, corn and rice that must be allocated over time but all commodities including oil.
In the spirit of post-bin Laden peace, love and harmony, President Obama has asked all Americans to "harness" national good will and stand together. The commander in chief could practice what he preaches — by inviting President Bush to stand with him at Ground Zero in New York City on Thursday.
It would be an extraordinary — dare I say "unprecedented," to borrow one of Obama's favorite words — act of political maturity, good faith and transcendent unity against our common jihadi enemies.
Last night, some reported that Obama had invited Bush — who declined. If that's true, Dubya needs to change his mind — for America's sake.
We are living in strange times indeed when it's not laughable to suggest that President Obama will be difficult to beat in 2012. Well, I'm not buying it, even considering any positive (but inevitably temporary) surge Obama may receive with Osama bin Laden's death.
In 2008, as an economic crisis played into his hands, Obama ran against an uninspiring opponent in John McCain, campaigned on grandiose promises in lieu of a record, and cultivated and rode a mainstream media wave based on a myth of his messiahship. Yet he still only won with 53 percent of the vote.
Thank goodness for the royal wedding! It took U.S. media attention off Donald Trump for a few minutes. In case you missed it, President Barack Obama actually made a statement about Trump's search for Obama's official birth certificate, now made public by the White House.
One assumes the president took Trump seriously not to help generate free publicity for the "Celebrity Apprentice" finale later this month, but to keep the flamboyant real-estate mogul front and center as the face of GOP 2012. Trump is currently polling well. He's doing so because he appears to have a fearless streak when it comes to Obama. The Donald shows some passion, while most potential GOP contenders are comparatively on the sidelines.
America can display a strange sexist standard on child sexual abuse. When an adult woman assaults a teenaged boy, Hollywood laughs this off as a teen dream come true. The topic was great fodder for ‘90s teen shows like “Dawson’s Creek” with not a drop of judgment inserted, proving that when Hollywood pleads it’s only “reflecting reality,” it’s really only reflecting its own reality.
Mary Kay LeTourneau started assaulting her student Vili Fuulaau when he was 12 and she was 33. When they married ten years later – and after she served seven years in jail -- the nuptials were celebrated on air by "Entertainment Tonight." The couple remains shameless. They've repeatedly hosted a "Hot for Teacher Night" at a Seattle nightclub.
Today, MTV panders to its teen audience with this same "hot for teacher" fantasy. Recently, their scuzzy British teen soap "Skins" repeatedly hinted that the young female teachers were carrying around barely submerged desires for the teenaged boys. Now the second season of MTV's teen comedy "The Hard Times of R.J. Berger" has centered an entire episode on a female teacher and a boy having loud sexual intercourse in a janitor's closet.
Count me among the abstainers. I won't be watching over-the-top media coverage of Friday's wedding between Prince William and the "commoner" Kate Middleton.
After the "wedding of the century" of William's mother and father in 1981 and the ensuing drama that led to their divorce in 1996 and, eventually, her death on Aug. 31, 1997, the wedding of their son is unlikely to match the earlier nuptials in pomp or circumstance.
While inspecting the body politic, one encounters one clear sign that liberalism is dead. It is the condition of our political discourse. Polite commentators note that the dialogue is "rancorous." Some say toxic. Actually, it is worse than that. It is nonexistent.
From the right, from the sophisticated right, there is an attempt to engage the liberals. House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan just did it by presenting a budget that cried out for intelligent response. President Barack Obama's response was to invite Ryan to sit in the front row for his "fiscal policy" speech at George Washington University. There Obama heaped scorn on an astonished Ryan and his work. He did not even mention Ryan's name. This is what Obama calls an "adult" debate?
Last weekend, David Ignatius in his Washington Post column made a vital contribution to the debt and deficit debate: "Take the deficit pain now. It's a truth of economics and life that if you have bad news coming, take the hit early and get it behind you. You can't start building until the debris is out of the way."
Ignatius offers various examples from history (e.g., Fed Chairman Paul Volker's 1979 interest rate hikes that caused the recessions of the early '80s, but broke the inflation psychology and (I would add, with Ronald Reagan's policies) built the foundation for 25 years of prosperity.
The RINO (reverend in name only) Terry Jones is like his fellow RINO, Fred Phelps, but in political drag.
Jones, the "pastor" (PINO?) of the tiny and inconsequential Dove World Outreach Center in Gainesville, Fla., was jailed last week in Dearborn, Mich., "following a jury trial that found he was likely to create a 'breach of the peace' for plans to protest outside the Islamic Center of America in Dearborn," according to the Detroit News. Jones and his associate Wayne Sapp were taken into custody after they refused to post a $1 "peace bond." A judge then barred Jones and Sapp from entering the property of the Islamic Center -- the largest mosque in the U.S. -- for three years. The two posted bond and were released, but they promised to return on Friday.
Confirmed: "Drain the swamp" is Washington-speak for "Let it fester." While House ethics watchdogs dither, it's shady business as usual for ethics scandal-plagued Democratic Rep. Maxine Waters.
Last summer, the House Ethics Committee charged the entrenched California congresswoman with three violations related to her wheeling and dealing on behalf of minority-owned OneUnited Bank in Los Angeles. The panel accused Waters of bringing discredit to the House for using her influence to seek and secure taxpayer-subsidized special favors for the failing financial institution.
Eight months have passed since the House ethics panel charged Waters. But to date, there has been no action. No trial. No consequences.
Smugglers are heroes of sorts. The essence of what a smuggler offers is: "Government tyrants want to either prevent or interfere with peaceable voluntary exchange among individuals. I can reduce the impact of that interference." Let's look at smuggling, keeping in mind that not everything illegal is immoral and not everything legal is moral.
Leading up to our War of Independence, the British, under the Navigation Acts, had levied taxes on a wide range of imports. One of those taxes was on molasses imported from non-British islands. John Hancock, whose flamboyant signature graces our Declaration of Independence, had a thriving business smuggling an estimated 1.5 million gallons of molasses a year. His smuggling practices financed much of the resistance to British authority. In fact, a joke of the time was "Sam Adams writes the letters (to newspapers) and John Hancock pays the postage."
In the Bush years, poll results that showed the American people losing confidence in their president were featured routinely on the front page of major newspapers like The Washington Post. But when the Post discovers Obama’s ratings collapsing, you need a search party to find where inside the paper they’re buried.
On April 26, the Post offered three stories on polls, each with bad news for Obama. The only one mentioned on the front page (in the very bottom right-hand corner) was a Post/ABC poll showing “rising gas prices are leading Americans to drive less, and hurting the president’s popularity.” Then the reader would have to travel to page A-12.
“Hurting” is an understatement. Only 39 percent of those who called gas prices a “serious financial hardship” approve of Obama’s performance as president. Among independents who found hardship, 67 percent disapprove of Obama. Ouch.
The governing class in Washington has no excuse for not having addressed our spending issues and formulating a comprehensive federal debt retirement plan before we approached another debt ceiling threshold.
At every possible opportunity, politicians convince themselves that it's always better to kick the can down the road — Democrats because they aren't remotely serious about debt reduction, Republicans because they're afraid of their own shadow.
"I am so glad not to be in high school anymore," Mary Hardy tells me.
The wise college sophomore was responding to an article I asked her to read about adolescent girls dressing badly.
As in, like sluts.
Mary tells me: "My parents never let me dress like that and I am grateful -- only now -- to them because the boys in high school, although they did not say it, did respect me more especially at the dances, where no one tried to come up and 'dance' with me in the manner they did with the other girls, whose bodies were mostly exposed."
For the Christian faithful, the week between Palm Sunday and Easter Sunday is sacred. It’s a time of reflection and prayer and fasting. It is Holy Week. It deserves the strongest respect.
But our secular media culture does not bend a knee – or even shut a mouth. Instead, Holy Week means it is time to grab the spotlight with the most indulgent forms of spiritual irreverence and mockery. Start with the infantile Lady Gaga. She released a new single titled "Judas."
Her primary lyrical "thought," if you can call it that, is "I'm just a holy fool, oh baby he's so cruel / But I'm still in love with Judas, baby." She says "Jesus is my virtue," but "Judas is the demon that I cling to."
Everyone but the blind and reckless agrees that the United States faces a dire financial crisis. But only one of the two major political parties is offering a plan that has a reasonable chance of averting this crisis and restoring the nation to financial health.
Obama's ever-changing proposals, allegedly designed to tackle the problem, simply could not work. One of the following must be true: He doesn't agree that the crisis is grave, doesn't understand that his policies can't work, doesn't have the same vision about America as most of us, or doesn't intend for his policies to work. Some people believe he's intentionally damaging America, because they believe he's too smart not to know that we face a crisis and that his policies can't work.
Don't be fooled by The Donald. Take it from one who knows: I'm a South Jersey gal who was raised on the outskirts of Atlantic City in the looming shadow of Trump's towers. All through my childhood, casino developers and government bureaucrats joined hands, raised taxes and made dazzling promises of urban renewal. Then we wised up to the eminent-domain thievery championed by our hometown faux free-marketeers.
America, it's time you wised up to Donald Trump's property redistribution racket, too.
Trump has been wooing conservative activists for months and flirting with a GOP presidential run — first at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington and most recently at a tea party event in South Florida. He touts his business experience, "high aptitude" and "bragadocious" deal-making abilities. But he's no more a standard-bearer of conservative values, limited government and constitutional principles than the cast of "Jersey Shore."
In bridge, a trump card is held in reserve for winning a trick. In politics, Donald Trump is anything but reserved and appears to think he might trick enough voters to win the next presidential election.
There's plenty to draw on when critiquing a possible Trump candidacy. His multiple marriages (three) and affairs provide fodder for the media and contrast poorly with President Obama's "family values" image as husband of one wife and father of young daughters, whom he clearly loves.
Why is it that Donald Trump is a creditable candidate with a significant segment of Republican voters? In some polls, he runs ahead of all Republicans save Mitt Romney, and all I have heard him say is that he wants to see our president's birth certificate. Imagine if he would ask to see budget cuts from the president or revenue enhancements.
Frankly, I would like to see President Barack Obama's birth certificate, too. But on the other hand, I have in hand a copy of a notice of our president's birth printed Aug. 13, 1961, from The Honolulu Advertiser. That has to count for something, no? According to the notice, he was born Aug. 4, 1961, but there are a lot of other things about him I would like to know. For instance, I would like to see those aforementioned budget cuts and the revenue enhancements.
Ka-ching, ka-ching, ka-ching. President Obama's perpetual campaign cash-o-matic machine kicks into high gear again this week as the celebrity-in-chief heads to Hollywood for several high-priced fundraisers. But while the Democrats' 2012 re-election team stuffs its hands into every liberal deep pocket in sight, questions about the Obama 2008 campaign finance operation still fester.
Last week, the laggard watchdogs at the Federal Election Commission announced an audit of the Obama 2008 campaign committee — which raised a record-setting $750 million. White House flacks are downplaying the probe as a "routine review."
If future historians look back on the ruins of the American economy after a U.S. bond crisis struck in the second decade of the 21st century, many causes will be noted. Obviously, it will be seen that for decades before the catastrophe, the U.S. was spending vastly more than it could afford on government health and retirement programs.
And, just as after the Great Depression, Pearl Harbor and Sept. 11, 2011, blue-ribbon commissions will be incredulous that all the telltale signs of the coming disaster were in plain view, yet were ignored.
The average American, as parent, student and taxpayer, has little idea of the academic rot at so many of our colleges. Save for a tiny handful of the nation's colleges, what distinguishes one college from another is the magnitude of that rot.
One of the best sources of information about our colleges is the New York City-based Manhattan Institute's quarterly Web magazine, Minding the Campus, edited by John Leo, former columnist for U.S. News & World Report.
Conservatives who really wanted to see at least a spending “haircut” for NPR or public broadcasting in the underwhelming budget deal for 2011 might have suggested at least some symbolic victory for conservatives. Here it is: Fire David Brooks as the alleged conservative or Republican “counterpoint” on PBS and NPR on Friday nights. We could hire Donald Trump to announce it from the boardroom.
Or keep him, but banish forever, for once and for all, the notion that he is a man of the Right.
After President Obama’s budget speech at George Washington University, Brooks wrote a column for The New York Times declaring: “It doesn't take a genius to see that Obama is very likely to be re-elected.” Republicans may try to reform entitlements, but “voters, even Republican voters, reject this.” Obama “hit the political sweet spot with his speech this week. He made a sincere call to reduce debt, which will please independents, but he did not specify any tough choices.”
I am beginning to wonder whether President Obama is so cocky about his 2012 re-election prospects that he thinks he doesn't even have to be serious in his budget plan offerings.
Unfortunately, the nation's unfunded liabilities aren't so casual as the president; they are growing by more than $10 trillion per year, which means that our looming debt crisis becomes far more problematic with each passing day.