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Monday, April 30, 2012

The Zimmerman Arraignment

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Friday, April 27, 2012

50 Ways Obama Is Destroying Our Economy


All of us can think of a few outrages and disastrous moves made by President Obama that make us question his motives and his commitment to the Constitution he took an oath to defend and uphold. In just the area of economics, however, this is probably the most inclusive list you will see anywhere.
The List Could Be Longer

By GARY SHAPIRO on 4.27.12 American Spectator
Fifty ways the Obama Administration has hurt the economy and job creation.

President Obama has been the worst president for business in my lifetime. The result: a stagnant economy where some half of American adults do not pay federal income taxes and almost half live in a household that received benefits from the U.S. government.

The President's rhetoric demonizing business and dividing the country, and the Administration's actions hurting the business environment or specific industries have dampened business hiring.

To be fair, President Obama has taken some actions that have been helpful: Pushing through the Bush trade deals, opposing Internet restrictions, shepherding the recent JOBS Act that removed government barriers to capital formation and obtaining additional spectrum for broadband. These have been positive, pro-innovation and pro-business measures -- but they have not been enough.

Since President Obama has taken office we have at least two million more employable Americans, yet after trillions of dollars of stimulus and deficit spending, we actually have fewer non-government jobs than we did the day he took the oath of office. The totality of the actions below has cast such a pall over our economy that we will be stuck in a jobless recovery for the foreseeable future. President Obama and his Administration have…

1. Increased the deficit more than $4 trillion, causing the first-ever downgrade in the U.S. credit rating and for the first time raising serious questions about U.S. financial stability.

2. Issued 106 new major rules that cost U.S. businesses $11 billion in implementation and more than $46 billion each year.

3. Blocked Boeing's new South Carolina factory from opening to assuage his union supporters.

4. Raided a Gibson Guitar factory for violating an arcane India law even though India does not believe the law has been broken.

5. Issued an "ambush" election rule allowing quick unionization and limiting an employer's ability to present reasons for non-unionization.

6. Restricted how companies hire unpaid interns, cutting the link between students and employers.

7. Blocked the construction of the Keystone Pipeline that would have given jobs to thousands of American workers, further reducing the domestic oil supply and forcing our ally Canada to turn to China as a more willing partner.

8. Cut authorization of permits restricting drilling in Gulf and slowed permitting of new oil drilling so our future oil supply will be restricted and gas prices will be higher.

9. Mandated third party certification for all manufacturers participating in the Environmental Protection Agency's Energy Star program, which has raised costs for manufacturers and created a disincentive for participation in the program.

10. Funded Solyndra and other unworthy companies, wasting taxpayer money but also discouraging other privately funded companies from entering the market.

11. Only moved on Bush free trade agreements and failed to enter one new free trade agreement, even while our competitors have entered many, making U.S. goods more expensive to export.even while our competitors have entered many, making U.S. goods more expensive to export.

12. Pushed for passage of card check legislation that would infringe upon the rights of workers and make the United States a less desirable place to open a business.

13. Created a new rule requiring every employer to post notices on union "rights," (found illegal by a federal court in April).

14. Changed rules on unionization votes so the majority of employees no longer need to vote to unionize, allowing easier unionization.

15. Disparaged the city of Las Vegas twice, which led to an immediate and dramatic fall-off in hotel room bookings and hospitality jobs.

16. Proposed onerous restrictions on government officials attending trade shows, threatening vital cooperation between business and government to create jobs.

17. Mandated that every hotel swimming pool have special access for the disabled, causing pools to close or hotels to add expensive add-ons, hurting the hotel industry and employment.

18. Imposed a requirement that every employer with more than 49 employees provide health care insurance or pay a fine.

19. Allowed the United States to become the highest corporate tax nation in the developed world.

20. Required every children's product to undergo expensive testing, threatening thousands of small businesses that make children's products.

21. Demonized businesses and one-percent income earners consistently as greedy.

22. Increased the number of IRS audits of successful job creators while dramatically cutting audits of those reporting no income.

23. Proposed regulating gas fireplaces in homes, threatening a large segment of the market despite no energy rationale.

24. Failed to approve one new nuclear plant, increasing our energy dependence.

25. Defended EPA "strong-arming" of property owners by threatening fines -- March 2012 Supreme Court's unanimously rejected EPA position.

26. Ignored proposals of his own Bipartisan Deficit Commission and thus guaranteed further choking deficits and financial uncertainty.

27. Imposed a 2.3 percent new excise tax on innovative medical devices.

28. Imposed a new investment income "surtax" of 3.8 percent.

29. Raised the Medicare Payroll tax from 2.9 percent to 3.8 percent.

30. Required every individual to buy health insurance as part of his healthcare reform, which the Congressional Budget Office says will cost twice as much as the White House originally advertised.

31. Proposed a seven percent hiring quota for "disabled" workers in every job category for government contractors, creating a new expensive burden to doing business with government.

32. Expanded the definition of "disabled" to include people with diabetes and heart disease, among others, and specified new quotas for hiring under this definition.

33. Opposed "repatriation" of U.S. corporate profits made overseas (and already taxed), thus encouraging U.S. companies to invest those profits in foreign enterprises.

34. Proposed higher taxes for business-use airplanes, raising the cost of many U.S. operations.

35. Sought to give the IRS the power to license all tax preparers, discouraging entrepreneurs by raising the cost to enter the market.

36. Attacked the Supreme Court twice directly, undercutting confidence in the separation of powers.

37. Raided California medical marijuana facilities, harming entrepreneurs and threatening medical treatments.

38. Sought and signed the Dodd-Frank financial reform law with its hundreds of new rules and restrictions that impose billions in new costs on financial companies.

39. Advocated for the "Buffett Rule," which would discourage U.S. investment and barely dent the deficit.

40. Expressed plans to raise the capital gains tax, which would discourage U.S. capital formation and drive investment overseas.

41. Created new emissions standards for industrial boilers that may cost hundreds of thousands of U.S. businesses a total of $14.5 billion.

42. Pursued his campaign pledge to adopt electronic medical records, at an estimated cost of as much as $100 billion. The plan is already costing jobs.

43. Set new energy-use mandates for many products, discouraging innovation and consumer choice and raising product costs.

44. Imposed new restrictions on the number of hours driven by truck drivers, costing more than $400 million with no proven additional safety benefit and raising the cost of goods shipped in the United States.

45. Failed to confront drug company payoffs/rebates to doctors, thus raising the cost of health care.

46. Negotiated secret trademark treaties that are so secret their effects are unknown.

47. Failed to make government more transparent by restricting FOIA requests, according to the Washington Post, making review of government actions difficult.

48. Neglected to do anything about providing guns to Mexico drug cartels, which resulted in the death of U.S. Border Patrol agents, causing worldwide doubt as to U.S. rule of law.

49. Perpetuated the fraud of "green jobs" to sell and justify stimulus funds with little evidence to support the market for these jobs.

50. Investigated leading U.S. companies, such as Amazon, Apple, Google, Intel and Qualcomm, which encouraged other countries to do the same.

No doubt some might quibble with some items on this list; others could probably take it up to 100. The point is that the Obama Administration has hurt business interests and job creation. While President Obama and his administration aren't solely responsible for America's economic turmoil, they have definitely hurt much more than they helped.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Gary Shapiro is the president and CEO of the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA), the U.S. trade association representing more than 2,000 consumer electronics companies, and the author of the New York Times Bestseller, The Comeback: How Innovation Will Restore the American Dream.



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Thursday, April 26, 2012

A Better Answer to America's Drug Problem

A few years ago, seeing the costs and the pathetic results of the “War on Drugs’, I came out for legalization and taxation of recreational drugs. The “War on Drugs” is still a costly, abject failure, but I realize that legalization is really not a viable option. The most costly drug, in terms of human suffering, is caused by the legal use of alcohol. I shudder to think of those costs if drugs like cocaine and heroin were made legal.
Still something must be done. The “War on Drugs” is a costly boondoggle and a complete failure. Recreational drugs have permeated and corrupted all levels of American society, destroyed one country (Mexico), and made another country (Afghanistan) an ungovernable, festering playground for terrorists. There is a better, middle-ground way, as is discussed below:



Rethinking the War on Drugs


April 20, 2012, Wall Street Journal

Prohibition and legalization aren't our only choices when it comes to drugs. Proven programs can greatly reduce the harm caused by hard-core users—and reduce our prison population, too.
By MARK A.R. KLEIMAN, JONATHAN P. CAULKINS and ANGELA HAWKEN

"For every complex problem," H.L. Mencken wrote, "there is an answer that is clear, simple and wrong."

That is especially true of drug abuse and addiction. Indeed, the problem is so complex that it has produced not just one clear, simple, wrong solution but two: the "drug war" (prohibition plus massive, undifferentiated enforcement) and proposals for wholesale drug legalization.

Fortunately, these two bad ideas are not our only choices. We could instead take advantage of proven new approaches that can make us safer while greatly reducing the number of Americans behind bars for drug offenses.

Our current drug policies do far more harm than they need to do and far less good than they might, largely because they ignore some basic facts. Treating all "drug abusers" as a single group flies in the face of what is known as Pareto's Law: that for any given activity, 20% of the participants typically account for 80% of the action.

Most users of addictive drugs are not addicts, but a few consume very heavily, and they account for most of the traffic and revenue and most of the drug-related violence and other collateral social damage. If subjected to the right kinds of pressure, however, even most heavy users can and do stop using drugs.

Frustration with the drug-policy status quo—the horrific levels of trafficking-related violence in Mexico and Central America and the fiscal, personal and social costs of imprisoning half a million drug dealers in the U.S.—has led to calls for some form of legalization. Just last week, at the Summit of the Americas in Cartagena, President Barack Obama got an earful from his Latin American counterparts about the need to reverse current U.S. drug policy.

The appeal of legalization is clear. At a stroke, it would wipe out most problems of the black market by depriving gun-wielding thugs of their competitive advantage. But for it to work, it would have to include not just the possession of drugs but their production as well—and not just of marijuana but of substances that really are very dangerous: cocaine, crack, heroin and methamphetamine.

Legalizing possession and production would eliminate many of the problems related to drug dealing, but it would certainly worsen the problem of drug abuse. We could abolish the illicit market in cocaine, as we abolished the illicit market in alcohol, but does anyone consider our current alcohol policies a success? In the U.S., alcohol kills more people than all of the illicit drugs combined (85,000 deaths versus 17,000 in 2000, according to a study in the Journal of the American Medical Association). Alcohol also has far more addicted users..

Alternative Drug Programs that Yield Results
Any form of legal availability that could actually displace the illicit markets in cocaine, heroin and methamphetamine would make those drugs far cheaper and more available. If these "hard" drugs were sold on more or less the same terms as alcohol, there is every reason to think that free enterprise would work its magic of expanding the customer base, and specifically the number of problem users, producing an alcohol-like toll in disease, accident and crime.

Fortunately, there are things that we already know how to do that work demonstrably better than our current antidrug regime and avoid the predictably dire consequences of legalization. These practical measures can't abolish drug abuse or the illicit markets, but they could shrink those problems to a manageable size.

Start with the biggest problem: alcohol. Inflation has eroded the federal alcohol tax down to about a fifth of its Korean War level in constant-dollar terms. Analysis by Philip Cook of Duke University suggests that tripling the tax—from about a dime to about 30 cents a drink—would prevent at least 1,000 homicides and 2,000 motor-vehicle fatalities a year, all without enriching any criminals, putting anyone behind bars or having a SWAT team crash through anyone's door.

Raising alcohol taxes would have a big effect on adolescents and heavy drinkers, but many problem users of alcohol would have enough money to keep guzzling. Some of them like to drink and drive, or drink and beat up other people. Telling them not to misbehave does not do much good, because being drunk makes them less responsive to the threat of criminal penalties. So we need to find ways of preventing drinking among the relatively small group of people who behave very badly when they drink.

Larry Long, a district court judge in South Dakota, developed one promising approach, called 24/7 Sobriety. Started in 2005, it requires people who commit alcohol-related crimes—originally just repeat offenders for drunken driving but now other offenders—to show up twice a day, every day, for a breathalyzer test as a condition of staying out of jail. If they fail to appear, or if the test shows they have been drinking, they go straight to jail for a day.

More than 99% of the time, they show up as ordered, sober. They can go to alcohol treatment, or not, as they choose; what they can't choose is to keep drinking. According to the state attorney general's office, some 20,000 South Dakotans have participated in 24/7 Sobriety (a large number for state with just 825,000 residents), and the program has made a big dent in rearrests for DUI.

By distinguishing sharply between people who use alcohol badly and the larger population of non-problem users, 24/7 Sobriety moves past the simple dichotomy of either banning a drug entirely or making it legal in unlimited quantities for all adults.

An alternative means to the same end would require everyone buying a drink to show identification. A state could then make someone convicted of drunken driving or drunken assault ineligible to buy a drink just by marking his driver's license. That is a pretty minimal intrusion on the liberty of people convicted of crimes and on the privacy of those who don't now get "carded."

The same principle of denying drugs to problem users could work for the currently forbidden drugs. Current laws already make it illegal to possess or use cocaine, heroin and methamphetamine, but the risk of arrest is too low to be much of a deterrent. However, once someone has been convicted of a crime, the rules change. Abstinence can be required as a condition of pretrial release, probation or parole, and that condition can be enforced with chemical testing.

Drug testing is already widespread for probation and parole, but these systems lack any sort of swift, moderate penalty for detected drug use. Given the alternatives currently available—issuing a warning to the relapsed drug user or sending him back to serve out his full sentence—most judges and parole officers choose the warning. Probationers quickly learn that a warning is mostly a bluff, and they keep on using drugs and committing crimes.

'If subjected to the right kinds of pressure, even most heavy users can and do stop using drugs.'

Steven Alm, a circuit judge in Honolulu, and Leighton Iles, the probation chief for Tarrant County, Texas (Fort Worth and Arlington), have demonstrated that swift and certain sanctions make all the difference. In a carefully studied yearlong trial involving hundreds of probationers, Judge Alm's program, called HOPE, reduced drug use by more than 80% and days behind bars by more than 50%, according to figures from the National Institute of Justice. Offenders quickly learned that drug use was no longer something they could get away with, and even most long-term users were able to quit. The program freed them from the cycle of use, crime and incarceration.


Having to call in every day to find out whether it is your day to be tested turns out to be powerful help in staying clean. As one probationer told a researcher, "Knowing I had to make that phone call the next morning ruined the high." Leighton Iles's Swift program in Texas has recorded equally impressive results, and there are promising pilot efforts with parolees in Seattle and Sacramento.

Substantial progress in suppressing the drug use of arrestees would be a great boon. It would deprive the illicit drug markets of their most valuable customers, which would, in turn, reduce violence in inner-city neighborhoods and take the pressure off Latin American countries now racked by drug dealing.

Since the war on drugs started in earnest three decades ago, the law has found it impossible to stop the flow of illegal drugs. Prices have dropped despite billions of dollars spent on catching drug dealers and locking them up. We are long overdue for refocusing antidrug efforts on the central task of protecting public safety and order.

David Kennedy of John Jay College in New York City has pioneered two related programs designed to go after the most violent dealers and organizations and to shut down the most violent market areas. His Drug Market Intervention program, first used in High Point, N.C., in 2004 and replicated many times in places such as Hempstead, N.Y., and Memphis, Tenn., focuses on areas where crack houses and flagrant street-corner dealing generate crime and disorder.

The first step, once the police negotiate community support, is to identify all the dealers and make cases against them. Then comes the surprising part: Instead of being arrested, the nonviolent dealers are called in for a meeting. (The handful of violent ones go to jail.) They are presented with the evidence against them—perhaps video of them making a sale—and confronted by angry neighbors, clergy and relatives. Each one is then offered a choice: Stop dealing and get help to turn your life around, or tell it to the judge.



The point is not to eliminate the drug supply but to force dealing into a less flagrant and socially damaging form: sales in bars or home delivery instead of street-corner transactions. The results have been spectacular, with long-established markets disappearing overnight.
Prof. Kennedy's other innovation was the Boston Ceasefire program. In 1996, violent youth gangs engaged in drug dealing and other crimes were brought in by the authorities and given a simple message: "If anyone in your gang shoots somebody, we will come down on every member of the gang for all of his illegal activity." Suddenly gang members had a strong reason to enforce nonviolence on one another, and pressure from peers turned out to be more effective than pressure from police officers. Youth homicides dropped from two a month before the program started to none in the following two years.

This approach could be applied to violent individuals as well. Instead of trying to arrest all dealers indiscriminately, law enforcement could identify the most violent dealers, warn them that if they don't stop right away they are headed to prison, and focus on putting away as many as possible of those who don't quit. That wouldn't shrink the supply of drugs, but it might reduce street violence.

The U.S. has reached a dead end in trying to fight drug use by treating every offender as a serious criminal. Blanket drug legalization has some superficial charm—it fits nicely into a sound-bite or tweet—but it can't stand up to serious analysis. The real prospects for reform involve policies rather than slogans. It remains to be seen whether our political process—and the media circus that often shapes it—can tolerate the necessary complexity.
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Wednesday, April 25, 2012

The $8 Billion Cover-up


One of the most egregious aspects of Obamacare is the transfer of $500 billion dollars from Medicare to help finance Obama's health care fiasco. Now the Obama Administration is using sleight of hand to disguise this gutting of the Medicare program.

The $8 billion cover-up
Tuesday, April 24, 2012 Boston Herald

The bad news just kept coming yesterday for the nation’s Medicare program — with no help in sight from an administration that substitutes economic sleight of hand for real reform.

The trustees of the Social Security and Medicare program reported that a sagging economy and an influx of retiring baby boomers were putting an enormous strain on the system, and according to their annual financial reports, Medicare would run out of funds by 2024 and Social Security’s retirement fund would run dry by 2033.

“Medicare’s actual future costs are highly uncertain and are likely to exceed those shown . . .  in this report,” the trustees said.

All of those rather sobering figures are something to think about the next time Democrats accuse House Budget Chair Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) of wanting to push granny over a cliff by suggesting responsible reforms of both programs to keep them solvent.

And there was more evidence yesterday of administration malfeasance on Medicare with the release of a report by the Government Accountability Office on an $8.3 billion “experimental” program run out of Health and Human Services.

Remember how under Obama- care about 12 million seniors enrolled in Medicare Advantage programs — popular for their extra benefits like vision and dental care — were going to be kicked off those programs? Well, that change would become apparent to seniors next October (the start of the open enrollment period for the following year), just weeks before the presidential election.

Enter the $8.3 billion “demonstration project” which HHS is using to temporarily keep those programs alive — at least until after the next election. The GAO report said the project “dwarfs all other Medicare demonstrations” and is so poorly designed that there was no way of knowing whether the bonuses paid to insurers netted “meaningful results.” It’s what happens when you throw money at plans just to cover your political backside until after Nov. 6.


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Tuesday, April 24, 2012

It's Bush's Fault

The day the Democrats took over was not January 22, 2009, it was actually January 3, 2007 the day the Democrats took over the House of Representatives and the Senate, at the very start of the 110th Congress.

The Democratic Party controlled a majority in both chambers for the first time since the end of the 103rd Congress in 1995.

For those who are listening to the liberals propagating the fallacy that everything is "Bush's Fault", think about this: January 3, 2007 was the day the Democrats took over the Senate and the Congress.

At the time:
The DOW Jones closed at 12,621.77.  The GDP for the previous quarter was 3.5%.  The Unemployment rate was 4.6%

George Bush's Economic policies SET A RECORD of 52 STRAIGHT MONTHS of JOB GROWTH.

Remember the day...
January 3rd, 2007 was the day that Barney Frank took over the House Financial Services Committee, and Chris Dodd took over the Senate Banking Committee.

The economic meltdown that happened 15 months later was in what part of the economy?  BANKING AND FINANCIAL SERVICES!

Unemployment... To this CRISIS by (among MANY other things) dumping 5-6 TRILLION Dollars of toxic loans on the economy from YOUR Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac FIASCOES!

Bush asked Congress 17 TIMES to stop Fannie and Freddie - starting in 2001 because it was financially risky for the US economy.

And who took the THIRD highest pay-off from Fannie Mae AND Freddie Mac? OBAMA.  And who fought against reform of Fannie and Freddie?  OBAMA and the Democrat Congress.   So when someone tries to blame Bush...
REMEMBER JANUARY 3, 2007.... THE DAY THE DEMOCRATS TOOK OVER!.  Budgets do not come from the White House. They come from Congress, and the party that controlled Congress since January 2007 is the Democratic Party.

Furthermore, the Democrats controlled the budget process for 2008 & 2009 as well as 2010 &2011.  In that first year, they had to contend with George Bush, which caused them to compromise on spending, when Bush somewhat belatedly got tough on spending increases.

For 2009 though, Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid bypassed George Bush entirely, passing continuing resolutions to keep government running until Barack Obama could take office. At that time, they passed a massive omnibus spending bill to complete the 2009 budgets.

And where was Barack Obama during this time? He was a member of that very Congress that passed all of these massive spending bills, and he signed the omnibus bill as President to complete 2009.

If the Democrats inherited any deficit, it was the 2007 deficit, the last of the Republican budgets. That deficit was the lowest in five years, and the fourth straight decline in deficit spending. After that, Democrats in Congress took control of spending, and that includes Barack Obama, who voted for the budgets.

If Obama inherited anything, he inherited it from himself. In a nutshell, what Obama is saying is: I inherited a deficit that I voted for, and then I voted to expand that deficit four-fold since January 20th.
Thanks to Connie for providing this.

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Sunday, April 22, 2012

If I Wanted America to Fail



Comments from HotAir:

The message at the very end is especially poignant:

If I wanted America to fail I…I suppose I wouldn’t change a thing.

This is exactly right of course, and the prescription for change is more than just about electing a new president in November, or the GOP winning a majority in the Senate. Yes, the destructive effects of big government on economic prosperity and individual liberty have been exponentially worse since Democrats won a majority in Congress in 2006. Culminating in the nightmare of 2009-2010. But America veered off course long before this, with both parties complicit in the growth of runaway government spending and the perpetual expansion of federal power.

I don’t think Democrats want America to fail any more than Republicans do, and I don’t think this is really the message of this video. But there is an immense contrast in the vision of what a successful America means between the left and the right. For many Americans, I daresay most, an America that seeks to maintain a facade of shared prosperity by confiscating more and more resources from the most productive among us, and placing them at the disposal of power-seekers in Washington D.C., is not a vision of success at all. It’s a recipe for decline, and friction in our society at a time when we should be seeking out and supporting more effective, and unifying, solutions to the challenges we face.

This is the choice we face at the ballot box this November.




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Friday, April 20, 2012

More On The Trayvon Martin Nightmare

In a country where blacks numbering 12% of the population account for more than 50% of the murders of whites, and where no mention of the recent murder of two white Brits by a black thug (in Sarasota, not far from Sanford) is made either by President Obama or Al Sharpton, the incidence of black rage and violent crime is a pressing national calamity.
The Trayvon Martin Nightmare A FURTHER PERSPECTIVE By Arnold S. Trebach

4.19.12 American Spectator A shameful moment in civil rights history. The Martin-Zimmerman matter is a nightmare because of the way in which government officials, private citizens, and the media have made blunder after blunder in taking a sad situation and provoking it into a national and international catastrophe. Instead of acting as the leader of the nation and seeking to calm the situation, President Obama engaged in blatant racial pandering by saying the dead youngster would have looked like his son if he had one. Attorney General Holder has been even worse and I assume that he is working with the active approval or indeed the encouragement of Mr. Obama and the White House staff.

Of all the sins committed in recent months by the Obama-Holder Justice Department, one of the worst is the refusal to curb the blatant criminal activities of the New Black Panther Party. This hate group has taken to the Florida streets and has openly put a $10,000 bounty on the head of George Zimmerman, dead or alive. If the attorney general needs legal advice on what federal statutes have been violated by the Panthers, I will seek out some freshman law student in Washington and send him down the street to the Justice Department. Such shameful racial pandering gets votes, lots of them. There is an important election coming in November. As a veteran of the original civil rights movement, I simply cannot believe that this is happening to the country that I love. I have the same angry, sad feeling that I had when I sat in a civil rights hearing in July 2010 and watched J. Christian Adams blow the whistle on in his former colleagues in the Civil Rights Division for their racist behavior in the performance of their official duties. The current disturbing actions of Messrs. Obama and Holder demonstrate that Adams' seminal book, Injustice, was sadly prophetic.

For many years in the distant past my specialty was investigating and reporting on police and mob brutality to blacks and other minorities. My investigations often were conducted in the hot sun of Mississippi or Alabama or in the cold of beautiful downtown Detroit as part of my duties as a federal civil rights official. Time after time I documented cases of such unlawful actions against innocent black citizens. (For what it is worth, I was helped in my Detroit investigations by a little known young black lawyer named John Conyers.) Moreover, on several occasions I confronted the brutal police and mob leaders and sought to convince them to curb their racist activities. The available evidence in the Zimmerman-Martin case bears no resemblance to the actual cases of brutality that I documented. The evidence, to start with, reveals George Zimmerman to be a minority citizen who had black friends, including two young kids he mentored. Joe Oliver, a black friend with media experience, has felt impelled to come to his defense in the public forum, and continues to do so. No reliable evidence shows Zimmerman to be a violent bigot. No reliable evidence supports the notion, put forth by many black and white officials, that he hunted Martin down and shot him like a dog.

While other evidence may appear that will change my mind -- and it is evidence not wild hysterical charges that should rule here -- the current available evidence suggests that in his legal capacity as a neighborhood watch volunteer Zimmerman became concerned that Martin might have been one of the burglars who had been breaking into homes in that neighborhood. The two had some conversation and soon, according to Zimmerman, Martin hit him, knocked him down, and jumped on him. There was a struggle on the ground and Martin tried to get Zimmerman's pistol which was in a holster at his waist. Zimmerman somehow got his gun in his hand. One shot was fired and the young man died. That was indeed a tragedy but the evidence suggests that the shot was fired in self-defense. Had George Zimmerman been intent on killing the young man, as many people have claimed, he could have taken his gun out and shot him several times from a safe distance. There is no evidence of that murderous intent.

To the contrary, there is evidence that Zimmerman deeply regrets the shooting and is suffering from post-traumatic stress. He believes that his life has been ruined. Because of the massive number of threats on his life, including threats from the Black Panthers, he and some of his family members have been hiding and living in fear. Think of that fact. An alleged assailant, a minority member who claimed he is innocent, has been hiding and living in fear of black mobs. In America. In the year 2012. Now, George Zimmerman has been charged by the special prosecutor, Angel Corey, with second degree murder and is in jail awaiting further proceedings.

WHILE THE FACTS OF THE CASE have been reviewed time and time again in the media, here and around the world, I have just gone back and looked at a few key pieces of objective fact that seem to have been forgotten in the racial hysteria. Zimmerman claimed self-defense, a legal defense that has been in existence for centuries, long before the new stand-your-ground laws expanded on that defense. I have not found a single solid contrary fact that has been brought forth in all the emotional weeks since the sad death of Trayvon Martin. In her amateurish statement of probable cause for the second degree murder charge, Special Prosecutor Angela Corey did not cite a single such solid contrary fact. Her actions seem to be in response to the public protests and not to any new objective facts. It is just possible that Ms. Corey could be facing ethical charges like Mike Nifong, the ill-fated prosecutor in the Duke lacrosse case.

In my experience the facts that come out soon after an incident occurs are usually the facts that tell the truth. Perry Mason moments are as rare as hen's teeth. Officer Timothy Smith arrived within minutes of the shooting. He wrote in his report: "Zimmerman stated that he had shot the subject [Martin] and he was still armed. Zimmerman complied with all of my verbal commands and was secured in handcuffs. Located on the inside of Zimmerman's waist band, I removed a black Kel Tek 9mm PF9 semi auto handgun and holster. While I was in such close contact with Zimmerman, I could observe that his back appeared to be wet and was covered in grass, as if he had been lying on his back on the ground. Zimmerman was also bleeding from the nose and back of his head." That report also stated, "Zimmerman was placed in the rear of my police vehicle and was given first aid by the SFD [Sanford Fire Department]. While the SFD was attending to Zimmerman, I overheard him state, 'I was yelling for someone to help me, but no one would help me.'"

These objective facts are fully supportive of Zimmerman's version of the incident. They have not been rebutted except by mass hysteria and by charges of racial discrimination on the part of police and prosecutors. Zimmerman agreed to talk to the police investigators and even took a voice stress test while in custody. This is a type of lie detector test used by hundreds of federal, state and local law enforcement agencies. It was reported that Zimmerman's voice test came out clean. Yet, there was a conflict in the opinions of the local law enforcement officials as to the proper course of action. Lead homicide investigator Chris Sereno said he did not believe Zimmerman's story and wanted to file an affidavit charging him with manslaughter. However, Police Chief Bill Lee and State Attorney Norman Wolfinger looked at the same set of facts and concluded that there was not enough evidence to support a conviction. Since Wolfinger was in the superior position, the case was dropped and Zimmerman was released.

This action was consistent with centuries of Anglo-American legal traditions enshrining the presumption of innocence. However, those centuries of traditions mean nothing in the current racial quagmire afflicting America and its legal system. Race hustlers Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson and the New Black Panthers soon took the lead in demanding that Zimmerman be arrested and jailed. It seemed as if the nation's social fabric was being torn asunder by racial hate and mob hysteria. And where are our president, our attorney general, and the entire federal law enforcement community in this nightmare? They seem to be on the side of the mobs. Instead, they -- starting with Messrs. Obama and Holder -- should be saying that they understand American history and American legal traditions and they know that even if Zimmerman appeared to be guilty, the forces of justice would stand solidly in favor of fair and peaceful judicial process. They should be shouting out from the Rose Garden of the White House that the era of lynching is long dead and we will not let mobs of any color revive it, that we will protect the judicial process and we will protect Mr. Zimmerman -- with federal troops if necessary.

IN THE RECENT PAST the mobs were white and the objects of their hate were black, as at many efforts to integrate schools in compliance with court orders. National and local police and military forces were ordered out to hold the white mobs back. Now one of the main inciters of violence is Al Sharpton, our president's designated leader of outreach to the black community. Moreover, there seems to be no attempt to curb the Black Panthers, who a few years ago were also given favorable treatment by Mr. Holder's Justice Department. I repeat: this is a nightmare for all of us, including the millions of decent black citizens who will take years to recover from this trauma.

Brooding over this entire situation is the obscene level of black crime in America. That subject is too often ignored. Normally, it receives little national attention unless the assailants are white and the victims are black. Black leaders and liberal politicians routinely deny that the high level of black crime even exists. Numerically, as is well known, black on black crime is the sad rule. However, black on white crime frequently occurs, which was the case in another recent murder case in Florida, one that has been largely overlooked by the national media. It has also been ignored by President Obama and his entire administration.

The evidence in this case is not in dispute and it is truly a horrible racial hate crime. Last April, Shawn Tyson, black and aged 16, confronted two white British tourists in a Sarasota public housing neighborhood where Tyson lived. The young man was raised by a single mother; no father was in the house. The Britons were James Kouzaris, 24, and James Cooper, 25. Both were well-educated young professionals on a carefree holiday in Florida. It was early in the morning and both were quite drunk when they wandered into Tyson's area, the Old Projects in Newtown, a section of Sarasota. Tyson confronted them with a pistol and demanded money. When the two said they did not have any money, Tyson replied that he had "something for your ass." The young murderer bragged to friends later that when he started shooting, the victims started crying and pleaded for their lives. Tyson was unaffected by the pleas of the "crackers" and continued shooting until both were dead. At the trial, which concluded recently, virtually no defense was offered by Shawn Tyson. He was convicted and was immediately sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Paul Davies and Joe Hallett, friends of the murdered Britons, attended the trial and issued emotional statements about their dead friends and about the lack of compassion shown to their parents, particularly in light of the massive amount of compassion shown recently to the parents of Trayvon Martin. Davies said, "We would like to publicly express our dissatisfaction at the lack of any public or private message of support or condolence from any American governing body or, indeed, President Obama himself.

Mr. Kouzaris [the father of one of the victims] has written to President Obama on three separate occasions and is yet to even receive the courtesy of a reply. It would perhaps appear that Mr. Obama sees no political value in facilitating such a request or that the lives of two British tourists are not worth ten minutes of his time."

Thus, there is tragedy and heartbreak all around us now. Our president should take the lead to defuse the mob mentality roiling our society. He should disarm and prosecute the Black Panthers. If nothing else, he must launch massive efforts to curb black crime, whether involving black victims or victims of other races. He must see to it that George Zimmerman and his family are provided with police or military protection. And of course it might be a nice idea if he called the parents of Cooper and Kouzaris and expressed his condolences for their tragic losses in our country. If our president cannot accomplish these civilized actions, he has finally and fully forfeited the trust of those who voted for him .
About the Author: Arnold S. Trebach is a professor emeritus at American University and a member of the Maryland State Advisory Committee to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights. During the original civil rights movement, he was a civil rights protester in the South and also a staff member of the Commission.

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Thursday, April 19, 2012

Why Democrats won't vote on a budget

Although Democrats always like to raise taxes, there is a special reason why President Obama and the Democrats want so badly to raise taxes right now - and it has nothing to do with "fairness" - it has everything to do with the hole they are in having to pay for Obamacare.

Why Democrats won't vote on a budget

April 18, 2012 Washington Examiner

Households make budgets. So do businesses and nonprofits. There was also a time when Congress made them, but those days are long gone -- 1,086 days gone, to be precise.

That's the last time Democrats, who have controlled one or both houses of Congress this whole time, passed a budget resolution through either the House or the Senate.

On April 15, 2010, both houses failed to meet the statutory deadline for passing a budget for the first time ever. Although the Senate Budget Committee would later pass a plan out of committee, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., blocked it from the floor, going so far as to prevent even a debate about the budget.

Asked to explain this bicameral failure in the face of trillion-dollar deficits, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer said, "It's difficult to pass budgets in election years." Turns out, it is also difficult to get re-elected when you don't pass budgets. Later that same year, House Democrats lost 63 seats.

Senate Democrats lost six seats in 2010 but managed to retain control of the upper chamber. Surely, in the nonelection year of 2011 they would bring a budget to the floor, right? Wrong. Reid told reporters at the time, "There's no need to have a Democratic budget," adding, "It would be foolish for us to do a budget at this stage." In July 2011, Reid's assistant leader, Dick Durbin, D-Ill., went so far as to claim on national television that Republican filibusters prevented a budget from passing. He must have known he was fibbing -- under Senate rules, budget resolutions can pass with a simple majority.

In fact, Democrats just wanted to focus on attacking the "Path to Prosperity" budget proposed by House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan, R-Wis. Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said, "To put other budgets out there is not the point." As Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner would later say, "We don't have a definitive solution ... We just don't like yours."

Fast forward to this past Monday, when Senate Budget Chairman Kent Conrad, D-N.D., announced he would attempt to pass a Democratic budget out of his committee for the first time since 2009. Conrad even held a press conference Tuesday during which he released a budget document nearly identical to the Bowles-Simpson deficit reduction plan that President Obama rejected in 2010.

But Reid quickly moved to quash this plan, and Conrad, who is retiring after this year, backed off at the eleventh hour. "This is the wrong time to vote in committee; this is the wrong time to vote on the floor," Conrad told reporters late yesterday afternoon.

It is no coincidence that the Democrats' failure to pass a budget began immediately after Obamacare became law. In order to hide its $1.7 trillion price tag and $500 billion in tax increases through 2022, Democrats had already exhausted every last budgeting gimmick. As a result, they had no further tricks up their sleeve to pay for the rest of their spending priorities without voting on the massive tax increases that Conrad's new budget contained -- $2.6 trillion, and not just on the rich.

Put yourself in the shoes of the half-dozen vulnerable Democratic senators who are up for re-election this year. Would you want to vote for that?

That is why Reid forced Conrad to pull his budget, even knowing that such a move would create an embarrassing spectacle. To paraphrase another politician, "We're running for office, for Pete's sake!"

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Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Baseball’s Elephant in the Room

At virtually every baseball game you see, two or three bats shatter, and the barrel of the bat, now shaped like a spear, flies out into the infield or into the stands. This has been going on for several years and dates to the time when maple bats replaced ash bats. As sure as you are reading this, someone, a player, a coach or a fan is going to be killed, and major league baseball will have a disaster on its hands – a disaster that easily could be foreseen and avoided.

"The problem with most wood is that strength is proportional to weight, so if you want a really strong wood, you can do that, but you end up getting an increase in weight," Smith explained. "And if you want a really light wood, you can do that, but you pay for it because your strength goes down. So there's this kind of optimum balance."

In the 1990s, maple started to make the rounds as an alternative. It was appealing because it was stronger (which is better for hitting longer distances) and less prone to flaking than ash, so players didn't go through bats as quickly. Most players still stuck to their ash bats, though — that is, until Barry Bonds got the single-season home run record in 2001, using a maple bat.

Now, just a few years later, maple is no longer on the fringe.

"For 50 years, northern white ash was the wood. Today half of the bats in the major leagues are made out of maple. So it was a very dramatic shift," Smith told LiveScience.

This problem and this possibility is nothing new. The following story was published in 2008:

Baseball at breaking point over maple bats

Yahoo News May 8, 2008

Someone’s going to die at a baseball stadium soon.

Might be a player. Could be an umpire. Possibly even a fan.

It almost was a coach.

The scar on Don Long’s left cheek still puffs around the edges, fresh enough that it looks like a misplaced zipper instead of the mark of someone who lived too hard.

Like every scar, this one has a story, and it involves a piece of shattered wood, about two pounds heavy, that tomahawked 30 feet before slicing through his face.

Nate McLouth thought he just missed the sweet spot of the bat. It was April 15, the eighth inning, and the Pittsburgh Pirates were getting pummeled at Dodger Stadium.

Long, the Pirates’ hitting coach, milled about the dugout until he heard McLouth hammer Esteban Loaiza’s 0-2 pitch. Long looked up and tracked the ball down the right-field line. He had no idea baseball’s greatest weapon was headed right at him, and that had he been positioned an inch to the left or right, he might not be here to talk about it.

About two or three times a game. players swinging bats made of maple wood end up with kindling in their hands while the barrel – blunt and thick on one end, splintered and sharp on the other – flies every which direction. Pitchers and middle infielders stand in the greatest line of fire and do their best acrobat imitations to avoid the remnants. On occasion, the shard will land in the stands and harm a fan. And sometimes, as it did in the case of Long, it will wind up in the dugout.

“Didn’t see it at all,” Long said. “It just hit me. I backed up. I saw the blood coming out on the card I keep and on my shoes.”

The Pirates’ training staff rushed Long into the clubhouse to stop the bleeding. The bat sliced through the muscle in his cheek, catching nerves in its wake. A piece broke off and lodged under his skin. A doctor needed to remove the stray wood before he could sew 10 stitches.

When McLouth ended up on second base, he wondered why so many people were scurrying around the dugout. He ran to first with three inches of wood in his hands. He couldn’t find the other 30 or so, when it occurred to him: the ruckus was over his bat, the maple that was barely seen in baseball before 2001, when Barry Bonds hit 73 home runs using one. Now, about 50 percent of players use maple.

“They’re great,” McLouth said, “except for that.”

The incidents keep happening, and following Mike Coolbaugh’s death last season when a batted ball struck him in the neck while he was coaching first base in a minor league game, neither Major League Baseball nor the MLB Players Association can afford to wait for another tragedy when it could take preventative measures. Were officials from either party to meet with Long and see his face, they would understand the issue must be resolved immediately.

“When I blow my nose out of this side,” Long said, “I have to look in the mirror and make sure nothing’s hanging there because I can’t really feel what’s happening.

“Could’ve been a lot worse. Could’ve hit me in the eye.”

Long tried to smile. The right side of his mouth perked up. The left side didn’t move.

In 2005, alarmed by the increasing number of broken bats, baseball gave $109,000 to a man named Jim Sherwood and asked him to compare maple bats with the ash ones that used to be the norm. Sherwood runs the Baseball Research Center at the University of Massachusetts-Lowell, and the conclusion of the study did not jibe with the hundreds of players who swear maple leads to better performance.

“We found that the batted-ball speeds were essentially the same for the two woods,” Sherwood said. “Maple has no advantage in getting a longer hit over an ash bat.”

The study also found something evident to anyone watching baseball: Ash bats crack while maple bats snap.

Even so, something about the maple bats caused a frenzy. Sam Holman, who started the Original Maple Bat company out of Canada to give players an alternative to the softer ash, supplied Bonds with his first maple in 1999. Word spread, and soon Sam Bats, as they’re called, showed up across baseball. Chuck Schupp, the director of professional sales at Hillerich & Bradsby, the parent company for Louisville Slugger, saw the abundance of Sam Bats in clubhouses and urged his company to join the maple fray. More than 20 bat makers now are licensed to sell maple bats for about $65 a pop, compared to $45 for ash bats, and the demand isn’t lessening.

“I feel like they’re harder,” McLouth said. “Whether or not that’s scientifically true, I’m not sure. But psychologically, I feel like they are.”

Players love their bats irrationally. Ichiro Suzuki keeps his in a silver case.

Kosuke Fukudome weighs his to the gram. Jeff Cirillo slept with his. Some talk to them, kiss them, massage them. Anything to keep them happy.

So when in 2006 MLB broached the issue of maple bats during the collective-bargaining negotiations, it did not go well. The union wasn’t receptive to a unilateral ban and didn’t budge at the thought of at least imposing specifications to lessen the likelihood of breakage.

MLB scoffed at putting nets in front of the seats closest to the field, as the NHL did after a stray puck struck and killed 13-year-old Brittanie Cecil. The discussions went nowhere quickly, and it ended with them agreeing to table the issue until a later date. Both sides spent the next year focusing on the Mitchell Report, and only after the Long incident did they revisit it.

“We have provisions in the agreement,” union leader Don Fehr said Thursday by phone. “There will be a committee that will be put together and meet on it. We’ll look at it in good faith.”

Said Rob Manfred, MLB’s lead labor counsel, in a statement through a spokesman: “Baseball is aware of the bat issue. We have done scientific research in the area. We brought the issue to the bargaining table in 2006 and we are embarking on a detailed consideration of the issue with the union in the context of the Safety and Health Advisory Committee.”

When that happens, the thickening of the bat handle seems the likeliest compromise. Sherwood said the study showed that as the size of the handle increases, the potential for broken bats decreases. Players might object to thicker handles because they add weight, and every 10th of an ounce counts.

An outright ban is unlikely to muster union support, and it would be a logistical nightmare: Schupp said Hillerich & Bradsby would need at least 18 months to fill the orders of ash bats for all their clients.

Though, as one union source noted, after long struggles the players agreed to add earflaps onto helmets and ban amphetamines. If MLB is insistent enough, and perhaps willing to sacrifice something in return, the players might agree to forgo maple.
“I do not anticipate players will jump up and down and say, ‘You can take our bats away right away,’ ” the union source said. “If that’s backlash, I do expect some, yeah. Players may say, ‘Aren’t there other things you can do first?’ ”

Yes, though sources said MLB, while not sold on an outright ban, will push for one. The day after Long was hit, officials received video of the McLouth at-bat from multiple angles. One particularly gruesome shot came from a field-level camera pointed toward the dugout.

That afternoon, MLB officials contacted the union to set up a meeting to discuss maple bats.

All last season, Jorge Posada encouraged New York Yankees teammate Doug Mientkiewicz to switch from maple to ash. Mientkiewicz was tired of his bats breaking.

“They blow up constantly,” said Mientkiewicz, a first baseman now with the Pirates.
He had seen his bats shatter and heard stories, like the one where Eric Byrnes, angry after a bad at-bat, slammed his maple into the ground and saw its shrapnel hit catcher Miguel Olivo in the head.

Outspoken voices are beginning to emerge. Pirates manager John Russell and Tampa Bay Rays manager Joe Maddon have called them “dangerous,” and Mientkiewicz said it was “amazing” that one hasn’t struck and injured a player.

“It’s going to take somebody getting severely hurt to think about a change,” Mientkiewicz said. “Anybody who thinks I’m overreacting should go look at our hitting coach’s face. It was spooky. It was really spooky.”

Doctors predict the nerves in Long’s face will regenerate and he’ll be able to smile again. He’s not calling for an outright ban on maple, either, because he understands how particular and superstitious players can be.

Look at McLouth. A 26-year-old who hadn’t finished a season with more than 329 at-bats, he ranks fourth in the National League in slugging percentage and is on target to make his first All-Star appearance.

No one would blame him for not changing his underwear, let alone the tool he uses to get his hits.

“I’m thinking about maybe trying ash again,” said McLouth, sitting in the clubhouse at Nationals Park last week, holding his maple bat, flexing his wrists, taking quarter swings. “I mean, just thinking about it. Because I swear, ever since I broke the bat that day in Dodger Stadium, it seems like, as a team, we’ve broken three or four bats a day.”

That afternoon, against the Nationals, on the third pitch of the game, McLouth’s bat split. The bat boy ran out to retrieve the refuse, returned from the dugout with a new one and handed it to McLouth, who walked back to home plate with his weapon of choice.

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Saturday, April 14, 2012

Ann Romney Destroys 'War on Women' Baloney


Ann and Mitt Romney with their five sons, daughters-in-law and 16 grandchildren

The opening gambit in the phony and deceitful "War on Women' orchestrated by the Democrats to divert voters from Obama's atrocious record as president was the 'out-of-the-blue' question on contraception asked by Democrat mouthpiece, George Stephanopolis, at a Republican debate three months ago. This was followed by the Obama edict that would force Catholic charities, schools and hospitals to pay for items, including abortion-inducing medications, that violated Catholic doctrine, a requirement that is clearly unconstitutional. Then Sandra Fluke and Hillary Rosen were trotted out. Now Democrats are running for the hills and screaming, "What war on women?; there is no war on women". They have again embarrassed themselves when their lies are laid bare.

Fortunately for those of us interested in some truth for a change, there is a record:
From yesterday's Daily Mail (Excerpt)
"Perhaps the most preposterous thing Rosen said on CNN last night was not the foolish "never worked a day in her life" jibe aimed at Ann Romney but her contention that Republicans invented the notion of a "war on women".

"Well, first, can we just get rid of this word 'war' on women?" she said. "The Obama campaign does not use it. President Obama does not use it. This is something that the Republicans are accusing people of using, but they're actually the one spreading it."

The problem with that is that the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee drew up a petition protesting the "Republican war on women". So too did the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. And Nancy Pelosi described the Ryan budget as a "war on women".

Not to mention such notorious Republican outfits such as NARAL, Emily's List, Daily Kos and MoveOn.org. Or the front group "Women of the 99 Percent" that has been making illegal robocalls across the country.

Oh and then there was a person called Debbie Wasserman Schultz, who just happens to be chair of the Democratic National Committee. And as chance would have it was advised by, er, Hilary Rosen....

The rapid and comprehensive disavowals of Rosen underlined the fact that this was not a fight the Democrats wanted to have. They realised that Ann Romney is extremely popular and a major asset to the presumptive Republican nominee. And most Americans, Right or Left, instinctively respect a woman who raises five sons and also survives Multiple Sclerosis and breast cancer."
Daily Mail

The Democratic Party Is Rotten Through and Through

By Neil Snyder April 14, 2012 American Thinker

Hilary Rosen is a frequent visitor to the White House. According to White House visitor logs, she has visited the president's home 35 times since he took office, but on Thursday, Press Secretary Jay Carney did his best to distance President Obama from Rosen because of her remarks about Mitt Romney's wife, Ann. Carney's claim that he knows three Hilary Rosens was a feeble attempt to defuse a ticking time bomb.

Rosslyn Smith had an interesting blog in Thursday's American Thinker in which she said:

Let us count the Hilary Rosens in Jay Carney's world. There is Hilary Rosen spokesperson for RIAA and lobbyist for SOPA. There is Hilary Rosen the CNN [c]ontributor. There is Hilary Rosen single mother and [LGBT] activist. There is Hilary Rosen current partner of Randi Weingarten, President of the American Federation of Teachers. (That Hilary Rosen was half of the several gay and lesbian power couples at the recent state dinner honoring British PM [David] Cameron.)
That sure is a lot of Hilary Rosens.

Wait! They are all the same Hilary Rosen you say? So they are.

Rosen wasn't sharing her personal views about Ann Romney on CNN, comments that launched a thousand denials. She was reciting the Democratic Party line, when she said:
Guess what? His [Romney's] wife has actually never worked a day in her life. She's never really dealt with the kinds of economic issues that a majority of the women in this country are facing in terms of how do we feed our kids, how do we send them to school and why do we worry about their future.

Sandra Fluke was no accident, either. She was ushered onto the national stage by former Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to decry the lack of support that she received in her unending quest to locate affordable contraceptives so that she could complete her law degree at Georgetown University without having to go to bed each night wondering if she would wake up in the morning pregnant. Fluke was so busy studying and doing other things that she didn't have time to visit the Target store down the road, where birth control bills were available for $9 a month. In Fluke's world, Georgetown University should have been required to provide health insurance for her that includes contraceptives despite the fact that the Catholic Church opposes contraception.

Both Rosen and Fluke are part of the Democratic Party's war on women, particularly women who don't buy into the Democratic Party's lines on abortion, same-sex marriage, LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender) rights, and a host of other issues that define what the Democratic Party has become. In their world, women who reject their positions on those issues are nominal women, not real women like Rosen, Fluke, and Pelosi, for example.

The Democratic Party is also waging a war on blacks. They viciously attack anyone, blacks included, who dares to believe that institutionalized dependence on government handouts is not the path to prosperity -- people like Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, Representative Allen West (R-Florida), and former presidential contender Herman Cain, for example. These men have the audacity to believe that people should be judged by the content of their character rather than by the color of their skin, but Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton, for example, are considered good Democrats because they realize that their well-being depends on buying the Democratic Party's line and stoking the fires of racial discord. That's a line that President Obama knows all too well. In fact, he's the stoker-in-chief.

You name the issue, and if there is a perverse dimension to it, the Democratic Party will be on that side. The same is true where government dependence is concerned.

If the issue boils down to a choice between independence and dependence, the Democratic Party will come out in favor of dependence every time. Unfortunately, until now Republicans have been far too willing to go along rather than risk being portrayed by Democrats as anti-woman or anti-black and jeopardize their hopes for re-election. As a result, we are looking at trillion-dollar deficits as far as the eye can see, more than $15 trillion in national debt, and a steadily decaying moral fabric of our society.

Things are changing, though. People are overcoming their fear and speaking out against government policies that have driven this nation to a financial and moral precipice. In the process, they are encountering the wrath of the Democratic Party's war machine that seeks to destroy them. That's to be expected. Since Democrats can't defend their policies with facts and logic, they demonize people who question their positions on issues.

The Rosen and Fluke controversies indicate that Democrats are running scared. They are losing the battle for women, and they are afraid that they will lose the White House and the Senate in November. Their best hope for victory during this election cycle is to pivot to the sane center, but they can't do that because they are so beholden to and dependent upon the radical far left in their party, where rottenness is in full bloom. That wing of their party has infected their body politic to the point where today, the Democratic Party is rotten through and through, and President Obama is their champion.

The 2012 presidential election is shaping up to be a battle between right and wrong instead of right and left. Democratic Party stalwarts smell victory in the air, but it's not their victory that they smell. People who stand for honesty, equity, and American exceptionalism are taking sides with Republicans this time around because they must if they hope to make a difference. Democrats are beginning to see the writing on the wall, and they are behaving desperately because they have no choice. This will be a bruising election battle to be sure, but if right-minded people stick together, they will win.

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Thursday, April 12, 2012

Is Obama's Birth Certificate Really Forged?

I'm not and never have been a 'birther', mostly because of the two Honolulu newspaper birth announcements, but I have always felt that Obama was hiding some serious problem in his history that would be revealed by his actual birth certificate. Of course, if you are a conservative, you know that you are an environment-trashing, racist, women-hater who stole whatever wealth you have from poor minorities. If you are a conservative who also thinks that there is something fishy about Obama's birth and citizenship story, you are also obviously a nut (liberals will call you a wingnut).

Well, consider this and remember that researchers have conclusively demonstrated that the "birth certificate" is fake in many different ways, and that it was digitally constructed. This proof is simply an additional proof of forgery that more people are able to understand because it requires very little technical expertise to comprehend it:

Oblivious to the Obvious

By Nick Chase April 10, 2012 American Thinker

Is Barack Obama's long-form birth certificate a forgery? Definitely yes, for those of us who have spent a lifetime writing and producing technical documents, and who remember how they were produced in pre-computer days, and who have the technical expertise today to produce them using computers. For us, it's been an "open secret" that the document image released by the White House on April 27, 2011 is a complete fake.

Last year, as document experts researched the digital PDF posted at whitehouse.gov and published their findings on the internet, it quickly became clear that the "birth certificate" fails authenticity on at least three levels:

First, in the digital composition of the PDF, where even cursory analysis with Adobe Illustrator will reveal how it was constructed from digital snippets. (My personal favorite is where Illustrator reveals that the supposed rubber-stamp imprint of the registrar, Alvin T. Onaka, was shrunk 24% and rotated 90 degrees counterclockwise before it was added to the forgery.)

Second, without fancy (expensive!) software but just by magnifying the PDF about 4x, visible to the naked eye is the mixture of bitmap and grayscale elements which would not have been possible with an ordinary computer scan of a paper document. This is most obvious in the Bates-stamped certificate number, "61 10641" in the upper-right corner of the certificate; the "61 1064" digits are stark black, and the trailing "1" digit is shades of gray, and blurred. Certainly, somebody tampered with this number. Bitmap and grayscale mixtures can also be clearly seen in Line 18a, the parent's signature.

Third, in the typefaces, with at least two different typewriter fonts (maybe more) being used in the single document.

But the problem with most of this research is that it's "geeky," requiring at least some computer knowledge ("layers," "fonts," "anti-aliased," "chromatic aberration," and the like) to understand that the technical arguments for the "birth certificate" being fake are valid. Thus, it's very difficult to prove to the general public, which typically doesn't know much about documents except how to read them, that the Obama "birth certificate" really is a forgery.

So last summer, I wondered if there would be some way to demonstrate that this "birth certificate" is indeed a fake, just by looking at the document itself and without resorting to computer software or to any knowledge about how computers produce documents. And, after studying it for a while, I realized that the forgery fails the "pitch test."

This is a check you can perform yourself, without fancy software of any kind -- or even a computer -- once you have printed out the forgery onto a piece of paper.

Even a six-year-old with scissors and the paper image can perform, and understand, this test. (In other words, the test is simple enough that even a dumbass journalist can understand it.)

What do I mean by the "pitch test"? Simple. Manual typewriters (and monospace electric-motor-powered typewriters) have a "pitch" -- so many typed letters per inch. There were many different manual typewriter type styles in the 1960s, but by far the most common were "Courier 10" -- ten characters per inch, including the space bar -- and "Elite 12" -- twelve characters per inch -- with "Courier 10" predominant.

Thus, all of the typed characters in a row of text would, if placed over another typed row of text, be in perfect vertical alignment (including typed spaces), because each typed character occupies exactly the same horizontal space in its row. That's what "monospace" means.

(People over the age of 55 who spent their student years slaving over a typewriter to produce homework papers will know exactly what I'm talking about. People under the age of 30 who have been brought up in the world of tweets and Microsoft Word may not have a clue.)

So, if I took a line of typewritten text from the Obama document and positioned it just above another typewritten line from that same document, if the "birth certificate" were authentic, then the individual letters in the two rows should be in perfect vertical alignment -- one letter directly above another -- right?

For my test I did not use the digital version released by the White House; instead, I used a picture of the actual paper document that Obama claims is a certified copy of his birth certificate. This photo was taken by NBC News reporter Savannah Guthrie, the only reporter from the pool of White House reporters allowed to touch and photograph the paper document, and which she later released to the public.

Using computer software, I copied the text "6085 Kalanianaole Highway" in line 7d of the picture and pasted it above (and touching) the text "Maternity & Gynecological Hospital" in line 6c, in the process placing the "a" of "Highway" directly above the "a" of "Hospital -- the next to last letter in each line. The result is shown in Figure F (F is for forgery) below:

Figure F. In a real typewritten document, the letters line up vertically.

In the Obama "birth certificate" forgery, they do not.

(Don't worry that the pasted-in line chops off the tops of the letters of the line of text below it. The purpose here is not readability, but to show that the letters do not line up vertically.)
As you scan your eyes to the left, you can see that by the time you reach the "6" of "6085," the vertical alignment is half a character off with the "y" of "Maternity." This is not possible on a manual typewriter. It would appear that the alignment problems originate with the word "Highway," whose letters are slightly narrower and in a different typeface from the text in line 6c. The difference in typefaces is most noticeable in the letter "H" of "Highway" compared to the "H" of "Hospital"tt.
If you still don't quite understand -- look at Figure M (M is for monospace) below, which shows how the two lines of text would line up vertically (with the "6" above the "y," using two spaces following "6085") if the "birth certificate" really had been typed on a typewriter instead of being digitally created. (I have added the bleeding-heart background to make the copy-and-paste more visible.)

Figure M. In a true monospace (typewritten) document, the letters are in vertical alignment. (Courier typeface used here.)

I carry a copy of Figure F in my iPhone so I can show people why the "birth certificate" is a forgery whenever the subject comes up. Or, occasionally, even if the subject doesn't come up but I'm in the mood to annoy a liberal.

This pitch test works even with the Obama T-shirt! You know, the white T-shirt that has Barry's picture and "Made in the USA" on the front, and a living-color print of the "birth certificate" digital PDF at shoulder-blade height on the back, just above the legend "BARACKOBAMA.COM"?

If you happen to be in the vicinity of a copier when an Obama supporter wearing the T-shirt passes by, strip off the shirt (male supporters only!), place its backside on the copier glass -- being careful not to wrinkle or stretch the fabric -- and make two photocopies enlarged 200% or more. With scissors, cut out the words "6085 Kalanianaole Highway" on line 7d from one copy and position them above the words "Maternity & Gynecological Hospital" on line 6c on the uncut copy, doing the best you can given the limitations of T-shirt fabric to line them up as was done in Figure F. You should see something similar to Figure T, below:

Figure T. The letters do not line up vertically in the digital version of the "birth certificate" printed on the Obama campaign T-shirt.

This alignment was much more difficult for me to achieve than the one shown in Figure F because the T-shirt fabric twists downward at the word "Hospital" in line 6c. I lined up the two "a"s along the vertical threads they touch (which corrects for the twisting of the fabric). When properly aligned, you can see the typewriter letters don't line up vertically, just as they did not in Figure F. This works even if the T-shirt has been worn and put through the wash several times, as was the T-shirt used for Figure T. Some stains just can't be laundered away.

The Republicans must be delighted that the Obama campaign is merchandising on its mugs and T-shirts the fraud that the president has perpetrated on the public.

Armed with this proof, you can now approach any of your liberal friends who are interested and very easily demonstrate why the Obama "birth certificate" is a forgery.

Then you will probably see your friends progress through the classic stages of denial.

You are first likely to hear, "I don't believe you." What your friends really mean is that they are confused because you have disturbed their belief system. Most anybody who has spatial perception and knows even a little bit about typewriters will understand what you have shown them -- even liberals. They can choose -- which are they going to believe, the president, whom they worship, or their own lying eyes? You can almost see the smoke curling out their ears as their brains begin to fry.

This is not an issue of belief -- your liberal friends are entitled to believe whatever they wish. It is an issue of evidence -- concrete proof that the document is a forgery. And it is only one of many (more technical) concrete proofs offered up by respected professionals who have debunked the "birth certificate."

You can challenge your friends to go on the internet and search for any reliable evidence that anybody has posted that disproves Figure F or any of the proofs offered by others dissecting the digital PDF "birth certificate" which was released at whitehouse.gov.

They won't find any, because there isn't any.

Next in line -- get ready for it -- may be the r-word. Now, your friends aren't going to call you a racist, because they know you and they know you're not a racist. So you're likely to hear something more generic like "People wouldn't be looking into this if the president were white. They're only doing it because they don't like having a black man in the White House."

This is still a personal attack on you, because at the very least it implies you share the same views of the president that racists do. So make your reply personal -- something like "You mean, it would be OK for me to look at the president's credentials if he were white -- as was done for candidate John McCain -- but because the president's skin color is black, he gets a pass?" Then envision those curls of smoke erupting into flames as the real racists are exposed.

At some point you will get a very sensible reply from your friends -- that there is no motive for the president to release a fake (therefore it must be genuine).

That we do not know the motive -- this is true.

Researchers have been able to construct a timeline for the birth of Barack Obama. It shows that although legally married, the president's mother, Stanley Ann (Dunham) Obama, and his father never lived together. Ann dropped out of college in the spring of 1961 and lived in a cottage behind her parents' house in Hawaii until giving birth. Then, within a month, she moved to Seattle as a single mom, with Barry in tow, to resume her studies. She did not return to Hawaii until the president's father had left for Cambridge, Mass. to attend Harvard. There is nothing in this timeline to even remotely suggest that Barack Obama was born anywhere except in Hawaii.

You might point out to your friends, though, that if police departments across the country waited until they knew the motive behind every criminal act before they took suspects into custody, the country would be awash in crime. Fortunately for the public safety, the police apprehend suspects when appropriate and sort out the motives for the crimes later.

So it should be in this case. We start with the known facts: that (1) the "birth certificate" is fake, and (2) the president has said it's his birth certificate. It is up to researchers to work backward from the known facts to establish why the president was unable or unwilling to release a genuine one.

Your liberal friends may also claim that no one can be sure that the "birth certificate" is a forgery because the paper certificate has never been examined by an expert. This is also true -- the president has not submitted the paper document to independent forensic analysis to establish its authenticity. You might also remind your friends that the proof shown in Figure F is based on the paper document, not on the digital PDF -- and are they implying that there is a difference between the paper and digital versions? If so, that would be fraud right there.

Finally, you may from your friends see some degree of acceptance -- OK, maybe the document really is a forgery. But it's really no big thing. Like, who cares? It's unimportant in relation to the president's accomplishments (if you're a progressive) or destructiveness (if you're a conservative).

This, too, is true. It really isn't a big deal when you place it in context with the very serious issues facing this country and the world. Politicians lie to get elected and stay in office; we the public have come to understand that. It's why Congresscritters rank lower than used-car salesmen in public esteem. So now that one more lie has been exposed, what do we know now that we didn't before?

But that misses the point. The point is, the legitimacy of Obama's "birth certificate" is a taboo subject. People who dare to suggest it might be a forgery are immediately branded as extreme right-wing kooks or racists. The partisans are trying to shut them down so that others will be afraid to look at the obvious -- move along, people; no need to look, there's nothing to see here. (You can understand why, now that you have seen how embarrassingly easy it is to prove the "birth certificate" is phony.)

This is totalitarian; it is antithetical to who we are as free Americans. It attacks the very foundations of the progress of civilization -- inquiry and research -- and it is dangerous.

How ridiculous it is to tell anybody to remain ignorant and oblivious? I invite everybody reading these words to really look. Never mind what the totalitarians say -- look, and think, for yourself.

About the author: Nick Chase is a retired but still very active technical writer, technical editor, computer programmer, and stock market newsletter writer. During his career he has produced documentation on computers, typewriters, typesetters, headline-makers, and other pieces of equipment most people never heard of, and he has programmed typesetting equipment. You can read more of his work at contrariansview.org.

Footnote tt: If you think that the reason why there are two different typewriter typefaces in the document is because two typewriters were used in its preparation, the second typewriter being used because the first broke down -- forget it.

First, remember that the proof of forgery in Figure F is not a unique proof (that is, it's not the case that there is no evidence of forgery except for Figure F).

Researchers have conclusively demonstrated that the "birth certificate" is fake in many different ways, and that it was digitally constructed. Figure F is simply an additional proof of forgery that more people are able to understand because it requires very little technical expertise to comprehend it.

Second, three different typewriter typefaces (and likely more) appear in the document, as you can clearly see in Figure Q below:

Figure Q. The Obama "birth certificate" forgery has (at least) three different typewriter typefaces in three slightly different sizes.

Figure Q is similar to Figure F, except I have moved the text "6085 Kalanianaole Highway" slightly higher so you can read the word "Hospital" below, and I have vertically lined up the H in "Highway" with the "H" in "Hospital" so you can easily see how different-looking they are.

Then I took the word "Student" in Line 12a of the document and vertically lined up its first "t" with the "t" in "Hospital." As you can see, the two "t"s are also noticeably different, and the word "Student" is distinctly larger than the word "Highway." How many typewriters are we supposed to believe were used to produce this "birth certificate?"

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Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Have the Lies Now Become Obvious to All?

Ever since the Democratic Party was taken over by the hard left, the party of Harry Truman and John Kennedy has subsisted on a program of lies and deceit: Republicans hate women; Republicans are out to destroy Medicare and Social Security; you can choose your own doctor, and costs will be less under Obamacare; Obama will finance his campaign entirely on federal funds; drilling has been increased under Obama; etc., etc., etc.

Anything embarrassing to Democrats is suppressed by the mainstream media, and anything that can be spun and distorted to support their policies will be advanced, even if they have to resort to lies to accomplish this. The Martin-Zimmerman case has now broken whatever boundaries that may have existed on this duplicity. NBC doctored the 911 tape to try to show Zimmerman as a racist; CNN similarly distorted a tape, and ABC deliberately mischaracterized a video tape to belittle his injuries; the New York Times called it murder while the investigations are still ongoing. And it goes on and on. The mainstream media have become objects of ridicule for those who are paying attention.

Update: at least two leftist journalists have been fired for their roles in the sliming of George Zimmerman, one from NBC and one from Media Matters.

The Tipping Point for the National Media?

By Jay Ambrose April 6, 2012 RealClearPolitics

Almost every Friday morning, a friend and I get together for strong coffee and bracing political discussion, and sometimes he will say journalists lie. No, I respond -- they make mistakes and their biases pop through their reporting, but it's not lying. What am I to argue now that we've learned about NBC News and the doctored tape?

On broadcasts to millions, NBC played a recording of a police officer's conversation with George Zimmerman the night he shot and killed unarmed 17-year-old Trayvon Martin in Sanford, Fla. Zimmerman was patrolling his neighborhood as a citizen, called the cops, and, according to NBC's version of the conversation, said he had been following someone who "looks like he is up to no good. He looks black."

That's not how the conversation actually went. Zimmerman said there was someone walking around looking "like he's up to no good, or he's on drugs or something," and the officer on the other end asked, "Is he black, white or Hispanic?" Zimmerman responded that the man looked black.

The unchanged tape is a thousand miles distant from the mangled one, and NBC has said it is sorry for "an error made in the production process." But that is evasive mumbo jumbo. The editing was not a technical issue of production. It was a substantive issue of content, and the "error" happened to fit a thesis of racist homicide while making the network look like a watchdog hero. It seems to me to have been error with a purpose.

Sadly, very, very sadly, this NBC incident is one of many possible examples of an outlandish, rules-be-damned rush to judgment in which reporters and commentators are playing the roles of crazed prosecutor, judge and jury not about to wait for evidence.

According to a news report on findings by the PEW Research Center, news outlets have been paying more attention to this story than any other. For a stretch, the MSNBC cable network spent half its time on it, and one of MSNBC's hosts, longtime racial agitator Al Sharpton, has been leading protests. ABC embarrassed itself somewhat less than NBC when it claimed that a video of Zimmerman showed no signs he had been attacked by Martin. The issue matters because the reason police did not arrest Zimmerman was their believe he was defending himself. ABC was wrong about the video.

It checked with forensic experts and changed its story.

Some of the bad journalism has been slightly more subtle, such as the frequent juxtaposition of a photo of an unshaven Zimmerman in a jail uniform next to a photo of Martin as an angelic looking kid. But there has also been journalism of the kind that produced an eyewitness who says he saw 6-foot-2 Martin on top of Zimmerman and that revealed how Martin had been expelled from school three times and was once found in possession of jewelry that was not his. Zimmerman, we have learned, is himself a minority -- his mother is Hispanic -- and has white as well as black family members. Black friends have spoken up for him and he has mentored a black child, although he also has some rough spots in his past.

What happened is a terrible tragedy, and it is understandable that many would react emotionally. But many have also seen journalistic unfairness in all of this. Jack Pitney, a professor at Claremont McKenna College, recently told the Christian Science Monitor that the story "undermines public confidence in mainstream news media, which is already pretty low." He noted PEW already says 77 percent of Americans think the press is generally unfair.

News is in a stage of dramatic transition. Newspapers and broadcast networks are in decline as new media -- cable TV, blogs and more -- are making themselves felt in ways both scary and encouraging. No one knows where it will end. This much we can bet on: If mature media forsake reasonable standards, it will end badly.

The tipping point cometh.

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Monday, April 09, 2012

It's Still September for Red Sox Fans

By mid-September last year, a strange phenomenon struck 10's of thousands of Red Sox fans: the question that arose in everyone's mind, "How will they manage to blow this game?". It didn't matter if they were ahead by 1 run or 10, somehow they would lose. The reason for this was obvious: although other problems emerged, it was the collapse of Red Sox pitching that did the most damage in September.

Well, it's still September for Red Sox fans.

Tigers 13, Red Sox 12: Winless Sox still searching for relief

By TIM BRITTON April 9, 2012 Prvidence Journal

DETROIT — The doomsday comparisons will last another day.

This one was the worst loss yet, a sickening bullpen meltdown that made Thursday’s look like a practice drill. The Red Sox blew a three-run lead in the ninth and a two-run advantage in the 11th, bowing to the Tigers, 13-12, in 11 innings on Sunday at Comerica Park.

For the second straight year, Boston begins its season on the wrong end of a sweep.
“Three games isn’t a start,” Dustin Pedroia said. “We have 159 more.”

“It’s one series, man. This is the first one. Even the Yankees got swept,” said Alfredo Aceves, who surrendered Miguel Cabrera’s game-tying three-run homer in the ninth. “Just forget about Detroit.”

The Red Sox would like to banish this memory just as much as they’ve tried to turn the page on the ghosts from last season. They didn’t just lose three games here. Their offense was shut down twice, two of their big three starting pitchers were pummeled and their defense looked shaky. Their bullpen — well, if one has nothing nice to say ...

After Aceves blew the lead in the ninth, Mark Melancon had a chance to earn redemption from Thursday and close it out in the 11th.

One strike away from putting the Red Sox in the win column, Melancon hung a 2-2 curveball to Alex Avila, who turned on the pitch and knocked it off the railing in right for a two-run walkoff winner.

“It was a hanger and he hit it,” Melancon said. “It’s still only three games; I understand that. Today can’t happen.”

Aceves did no better in his first save opportunity of the year, in which he required only seven pitches to blow a three-run lead.

He allowed a looping single to Austin Jackson — the center fielder’s fourth hit of the game and eighth of the series — and an infield hit to Brennan Boesch. Cabrera stepped up as the tying run and promptly acted the part, cracking Aceves’ first-pitch fastball into the seats down the left-field line.

“Yeah, he hit it hard,” said Aceves. “Some days they hit it, some days they don’t.”
Thus, the man tabbed to replace Andrew Bailey as closer has yet to record an out while facing five batters this season. The secondary choice has picked up a pair of walkoff losses, allowing four runs while retiring only three men.

Who takes the hill when the Red Sox next need a save is up in the air.

“We’re trying to figure out what to do. We’ll keep it a work in progress,” said manager Bobby Valentine. “We’re three days into this thing since we lost our closer.”

Asked if Daniel Bard is an option, Valentine replied, “Might be.” Bard is still scheduled to start Tuesday in Toronto.

What about Vicente Padilla, who tossed four scoreless innings on Sunday?

“Who knows? We’re still working things out as we go here,” pitching coach Bob McClure said. “It’s all going to mesh here eventually. We’ll just see how it goes.”

McClure isn’t worried about whether Aceves or Melancon can shake off their early woes.

“If you’ve played the game long enough, it happens,” he said. “I don’t expect anything but good things from them.”

“It would have been nice to get [the save]. It would have been nice to get a win,” said Melancon. “I need to stay aggressive and not let these affect me and keep going — if I can ever sleep.”

In his first start since June, Clay Buchholz was knocked around, lasting only four innings and yielding seven runs. He had not allowed more than five earned runs in his last 42 starts.

The Red Sox lost despite scoring 12 or more runs for the first time since 1970. No team in baseball lost a game when it scored at least a dozen in 2011.

Despite the difficult first series, Boston isn’t quite panicking — yet.

“Everyone wants to get off to a great start. But these guys did it last year, we did it down in Tampa last year,” catcher Kelly Shoppach said. “The standard has been set. It can be done.”

“These guys are professional guys,” said Valentine. “This is a group as good as any I’ve ever been around. They know what they need to do, and I believe they’ll continue to do it.”

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