The political stalemate leading to the so-called shutdown of the federal government has shown with devastating clarity how official Washington is consumed with symbolism over substance.
The symbolism begins with the word shutdown itself. Despite the noise and fury in Washington, the vast majority of Americans haven't noticed any change in their daily lives because most of the federal government has not shut down. It is functioning as normal. Social Security checks go out, and the military is still on duty.
While gridlock is the game in Washington, pilfering and degradation apparently are the pastime of some unpatriotic thugs at war memorials across the country. For me, that is about as low as a nation and its people can go.
This past week in Natick, Mass., veterans and other law-abiding citizens were stunned to discover that a soldier's helmet — from one who died in battle — had gone missing from the community's prized Fallen Soldier's Memorial. The helmet was cemented atop a rifle that is part of a display that also includes a piece of the twin towers and two military boots beside a wall of names of service members who died during the battles of World War I, World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War.
President Obama pledged to end partisanship, but instead has exacerbated it. He recently accused House Republicans of being extortionists for opposing a raise in the debt ceiling and wanting to defund Obamacare.
Dictionary.com defines extortion as "the crime of obtaining money or some other thing of value by the abuse of one's office or authority."
There's been another mass shooting by a crazy person, and liberals still refuse to consider institutionalizing the dangerous mentally ill.
The man who shot up the Washington Navy Yard on Monday, Aaron Alexis, heard voices speaking to him through the walls. He thought people were following him. He believed microwave ovens were sending vibrations through his body. There are also reports that Alexis believed the Obamacare exchanges were ready to go.
New York Times columnist David Brooks argued on PBS' "NewsHour" Friday night that "Sen. Ted Cruz and similar legislators" are obstructionists who care more about undermining the Republican establishment than advancing legislation.
Note that I didn't use "conservative" to modify "columnist" or "David Brooks," though the Times and other mainstream media outlets routinely bill Brooks as conservative. Featuring a left-leaning moderate and depicting him as a conservative is a clever technique the liberal media employ to discredit conservative ideas.
Expecting Syria to live up to an agreement between Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov for the cataloging, inspection, removal and eventual destruction or sequester of chemical weapons is a subtle seduction.
Why would a dictator like Bashar al-Assad relinquish his most potent weapon in the midst of a civil war? President Obama and his sycophants claim it was the threat of military action against Syria that focused Assad's mind. That hardly seems credible after Kerry's promise that any U.S. missile strike would be "unbelievably small."
Last week, WCSC-TV reported that after Benjamin and Hope Jordan relocated to Charleston, S.C., they needed to find a baby sitter for their 7-month-old son, Finn, but what they found was a wolf in sheep's clothing.
Benjamin and Hope wanted a loving, nurturing baby sitter, just like any other concerned parents who work during the day but have no family or friends to watch their child. They had done their homework and thought they had discovered her in 21-year-old Alexis Khan. She passed a background check and had credible work experience as a baby sitter, and both of Finn's parents thought she was "a good fit."
2013 has been a tough year for the political class.
The most recent evidence comes from Colorado.
Earlier in the year, the political elites in Washington were certain gun control would be enacted following the horrific massacre at a Connecticut elementary school. When nothing passed, they expected politicians who refused to support more gun restrictions would face consequences for their actions.
Americans unsure what to think about President Obama's plans for Syria should remember that all military action undertaken by Democrats for the last half-century has led to utter disaster. (With the possible exception of the Village People's "Y.M.C.A." video, which I say still holds up.)
Democrats are gung-ho about deploying the U.S. military provided only that it will harm the national security interests of the United States, but vehemently oppose interventions that serve American interests.
"One does not sharpen the axes after the right time; after the time they are needed." -- Russian Proverb
The late Ukrainian violinist Mischa Elman is considered one of the greatest of all time, but he has nothing on Russian President Vladimir Putin, who has played the Obama administration better than any musician.
Before we head to Syria to avenge the mass murder of their kids, how about we finish avenging ours ?
When I say "finish," of course I really mean "start." A dozen years after the 9/11 attacks, the trials against the jihadist plotters who incinerated pregnant women, firefighters, grandparents, newlyweds, toddlers and schoolkids on their first-ever plane rides have yet to begin.
No one can blame you if you start out in life poor, because how you start is not your fault. If you stay poor, you're to blame because it is your fault. Nowhere has this been made clearer than in Dennis Kimbro's new book, "The Wealth Choice: Success Secrets of Black Millionaires."
Kimbro, a business professor at Clark Atlanta University, conducted extensive face-to-face interviews, took surveys and had other interactions with nearly 1,000 of America's black financial elite, many of whom are multimillionaires, to discover the secret of their success. Kimbro's seven-year study included wealthy blacks such as Byron E. Lewis, Tyler Perry, Daymond John, Bob Johnson, Cathy Hughes and Antonio Reed. Kimbro says that many of today's black multimillionaires started out poor or worse. So what were their strategies?
Oh, how I long for the days when liberals wailed that "the rest of the world" hated America, rather than now, when the rest of the world laughs at us.
With the vast majority of Americans opposing a strike against Syria, President Obama has requested that Congress vote on his powers as commander in chief under the Constitution. The president doesn't need congressional approval to shoot a few missiles into Syria, nor -- amazingly -- has he said he'll abide by such a vote, anyway.
A military jury sentenced unrepentant Fort Hood jihadist Nidal Hasan to death on Wednesday. But if another murderous Muslim soldier's case is any indication, Hasan may be sitting in the catbird seat for years to come. And our men and women in uniform will remain endangered by Islamic vigilantes in their own ranks.
Remember Sgt. Hasan Akbar? On March 23, 2003, this hate-filled soldier with the 326th Engineer Battalion lobbed stolen hand grenades and shot his M-4 automatic rifle into three tents filled with sleeping commanding officers at the 101st Airborne Division's 1st Brigade operations center in Kuwait. The grenade attack claimed the lives of two American patriots: Capt. Christopher Seifert and Maj. Gregory Stone.
Here's a question: What is the true test of one's commitment to freedom of expression? Is it when one permits others to express ideas with which he agrees? Or is it when he permits others to express ideas he finds deeply offensive? I'm betting that most people would wisely answer that it's the latter, and I'd agree. How about this question: What is the true test of one's commitment to freedom of association? Is it when people permit others to freely associate in ways of which they approve? Or is it when they permit others to freely associate in ways they deem despicable?
I'm sure that might be a considerable dispute about freedom of association compared with the one over freedom of expression. To be for freedom in either case requires that one be brave enough to accept the fact that some people will make offensive expressions and associate in offensive ways. Let's explore this with an example from the past.
In this last installment of my back-to-school series, I will address possibly the most controversial aspect of Thomas Jefferson and public education: Did he advocate and expect only a completely secular public education system?
Rather than have it remain only in churches or private schools, Jefferson proposed that religious education be incorporated in the public education system, too — but with a twist.