How does one measure whether a life was a success, or a failure?
Some would measure it by recognition, that is, how many knew the person's name. For others, the measure of a successful life would be the amount of wealth accumulated, or possessions held. Still others would say a life was successful if the person made a major contribution to society -- in medicine, sports, politics, or the arts.
President Obama's decision in 2010 to cut NASA's budget and abandon the Constellation program, established by the Bush administration, which was charged with returning Americans to the moon by 2020 and creating an "extended human presence on the moon," has created a vacuum, which China will attempt to fill.
China has announced an ambitious five-year plan that includes the launch of space laboratories, a manned spaceship to the moon and the creation of its own global satellite navigation system that will almost certainly be used for military purposes.
What human motivation gets the most wonderful things done? It's really a silly question, because the answer is so simple. It turns out that it's human greed that gets the most wonderful things done. When I say greed, I am not talking about fraud, theft, dishonesty, lobbying for special privileges from government or other forms of despicable behavior. I'm talking about people trying to get as much as they can for themselves. Let's look at it.
This winter, Texas ranchers may have to fight the cold of night, perhaps blizzards, to run down, feed and care for stray cattle. They make the personal sacrifice of caring for their animals to ensure that New Yorkers can enjoy beef. Last summer, Idaho potato farmers toiled in blazing sun, in dust and dirt, and maybe being bitten by insects to ensure that New Yorkers had potatoes to go with their beef.
I think it's very difficult for any of us to be objective about any subject, especially something we care deeply about, but my objective observation is that liberals tend to be less aware of and less willing to admit their biases.
We see this often, which I'll get to, but first, let me relate how this phenomenon most recently came to my attention.
A friend of mine hands me what looks like a business card. It says, "Don't Die Stupid." As America begins another round of voting to select the next president, or retain the current one, what we need is a stupid test. Flunk it and you shouldn't vote.
The year 2011 has drawn to an end, and as I look back, I see several of my predictions that appear pretty sound. President Barack Obama is dead in the water and will be beaten in 2012. I have made that prediction over and again this year and I think it will be borne out.
Another observation I've made is that liberalism is dead. By the coming election, it will be the rare psephologist who fails to notice. Say, the occasional MSNBC political expert may still think liberalism is full of brag and bounce after the fall elections, as will the Sunday morning news know-it-alls. But after the Nov. 6 elections, with the Senate and the presidency added to the Republicans' trophy chest, I think my observation will be commonly accepted.
With 2011 drawing to a close, it is time to account. As an early-and-often chronicler of Chicago-on-the-Potomac, I am amazed at the stubborn and clingy persistence of President Barack Obama's snowblowers in the media. See no scandal, hear no scandal, speak no scandal.
Dartmouth College professor Brendan Nyhan asserted in May -- while Operation Fast and Furious subpoenas were flying on Capitol Hill -- that "one of the least remarked upon aspects of the Obama presidency has been the lack of scandals." Conveniently, he defines scandal as a "widespread elite perception of wrongdoing."
In the upcoming presidential election, two issues are more important than any others: repealing Obamacare and halting illegal immigration. If we fail at either one, the country will be changed permanently.
Taxes can be raised and lowered. Regulations can be removed (though they rarely are). Attorneys general and Cabinet members can be fired. Laws can be repealed. Even Supreme Court justices eventually die.
But capitulate on illegal immigration, and the entire country will have the electorate of California. There will be no turning back.
Paul Stefan James lived for only forty-two minutes – with a heartbeat, but never taking a breath. It seemed like a cruel coincidence that his mother’s Chicken Soup for a Mother’s Soul calendar had those words to offer on his birth date.
Is there, or should there ever be, a point when a state is no longer penalized for its discriminatory past?
Not according to the Department of Justice, which last Friday rejected a South Carolina law that would have required voters show a valid photo ID before casting their ballots.
Justice says the law discriminates against minorities. The Obama administration said, "South Carolina's law didn't meet the burden under the 1965 Voting Rights Act, which outlawed discriminatory practices preventing blacks from voting." Why South Carolina? Because, the Justice Department contends, it's tasked with approving voting changes in states that have failed in the past to protect the rights of blacks.
Last week, I documented more than a dozen ways in which, in just the past six months, the Obama administration is trampling on the religious liberties of America's finest military service members. (If you haven't read Part 1, you can find it here.)
I am very disappointed by the dissolution of religious liberties in the U.S. military. Times have sadly and radically changed since my father served in World War II, since I served four years in the Air Force and since my two brothers, Wieland and Aaron, served in the Army in Vietnam. (My brother Wieland paid the ultimate price there in the line of duty.)
Anyone who knows me knows that for my whole life, I've been a huge supporter of our U.S. military personnel, whom I congratulate about their victory in Iraq. But when our president and officials in the U.S. Department of Defense exchange a war abroad for a religious war at home, can't we see that something else is seriously awry in this administration?
It's one thing to watch "merry Christmas" be omitted from signs in your favorite department store but quite another to see Bibles withheld from wounded warriors at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center. It's true! On Dec. 2, the Family Research Council reported that it had discovered a memo released in September at the esteemed military hospital, in which Navy officials announced that "no religious items (including Bibles, reading material, and/or artifacts) are allowed to be given away or used during a visit."
Americans need only to open the daily newspaper or turn on the nightly news in order to see the media’s double standard. Each day we continue to hear the Occupy Wall Street movement’s hijacked the slogan of "the 99 percent" which has been forced it into our lexicon and the media’s daily lingo. And almost comically, Time magazine has decided that "The Protester" is 2011's Person of the Year.
The Daily Caller's Mary Katharine Ham, reminds us to travel back in time to appreciate the media double standard as she points out that:
Fellow right-wingers: Is our objective to taunt Obama by accusing him of "Kenyan, anti-colonial behavior," of being "authentically dishonest" and a "wonderful con" -- and then lose the election -- or is it to defeat Obama, repeal Obamacare, secure the borders, enforce e-verify, reform entitlement programs, reduce the size of government and save the country?
If all you want is to lob rhetorical bombs at Obama and then lose, Newt Gingrich -- like recent favorite Donald Trump -- is your candidate. But if you want to save the country, Newt's not your guy.
Scruffy progressive protesters locked themselves together across railroad tracks, blocked traffic and shouted profanities at police on Tuesday in a coordinated "West Coast Port Shutdown." Truckers lost wages. Shippers lost business. This is what the Occupy Wall Street movement calls "victory."
Aging Big Labor bosses toasted one another from the sidelines as they declared the "rebirth of the labor movement." What's really going on? It's an old-school power grab by a decrepit union wrapped in self-deluded social media do-goodism.
The most disturbing aspect of President Obama's "60 Minutes" interview is how sincere he sounded when misrepresenting his record. I'm not sure whether I would prefer that he be lying or self-deluded, but there's plenty of each to go around.
Obama is a left-wing ideologue, a true believer, who is convinced that his agenda is mandated by a superior moral imperative (from who knows where) and that it must be advanced irrespective of the consequences, because no matter how bad they might be, they would have been worse without his agenda.