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How Not to Ask for Money

When you’re going to ask for $25 billion of taxpayers’ money because your industry is broke, it’s probably best not to travel by private jet. Just a thought.

They really don’t get it, do they?


Why You Should Not Be Long-Winded

From today’s Writer’s Almanac:

It was on this day in 1863 that Abraham Lincoln got up in front of about 15,000 people and delivered the Gettysburg Address, which begins, “Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth, on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.”

It was a foggy, cold morning on this day in 1863. Lincoln arrived at the new national cemetery in Gettysburg at about 10 a.m. Around noon, the sun broke out as the crowds gathered on a hill overlooking the battlefield. A military band played, a local preacher offered a long prayer, and the headlining orator, Edward Everett, spoke for more than two hours. When Everett was finished, Lincoln got up and pulled his speech from his coat pocket. It consisted of 10 sentences, a total of 272 words. The audience was distracted by a photographer setting up his camera, and by the time Lincoln had finished his speech and sat down the audience didn’t even realize he had spoken.

There are five known manuscripts of the Gettysburg Address. The earliest version is the copy he gave to his private secretary, John Nicolay, and it’s thought to be the version he used for the oration at Gettysburg. It is two pages long — the first page is in ink on official Executive Mansion stationary, and the second is in pencil on lined paper. This version doesn’t contain the words “under God” in the phrase “this nation under God shall have a new birth of freedom.”

Lincoln made one other copy at the time, which he gave to his other private secretary, John Hay, and then he wrote out three more copies in later years — one for a benefit book and two for the historian and former statesman George Bancroft. Lincoln had to copy out two because the first one was written out incorrectly on both sides of the paper and so wouldn’t go in Bancroft’s book. The second copy for Bancroft is the only one that Lincoln signed his name to. It’s the copy that has been reproduced on a widespread basis in books and photographs and leaflets, and it is considered the standard version of the speech.

“Thanks for voting for me. I just wish you weren’t ignorant.”

I’m sure the good people of California will be glad to know their chosen leader in the United States House of Representatives thinks they’re idiots. Reacting to the passage of Proposition 8 by voters last week (the proposition bans same-sex marriage in the state), Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi had this to say in an interview with the San Francisco Chronicle:

In a wide-ranging interview with The Chronicle, Pelosi said she believes some voters might not have fully understood the initiative, which overturned a state Supreme Court ruling legalizing same-sex marriage. The measure was approved 52 to 48 percent.

“Unfortunately, I think people thought they were making a statement about what their view of same-sex marriage was,” the San Francisco Democrat said. “I don’t know if it was clear that this meant that we are amending the Constitution to diminish freedom in our state.”

The proposition couldn’t possibly have passed because voters understood the iniative and wanted to make it illegal for same-sex couples to marry. Nope, same-sex marriage is so obviously a legal right that the only explanation for the outcome of the vote is that people didn’t understand what they were voting for.

Just another example of what Thomas Sowell calls “the vision of the anointed” — the idea that there are an anointed few in society who understand what is best for the country because they are enlightened. The rest of us need to be told by government what to do because otherwise, we’ll be left to wallow in our ignorance.

Thanks, Ms. Pelosi, for your vote of confidence in your constituents. It comforts me to know you’re third in line to become President of the United States (only two heartbeats away!) and you wouldn’t let a little thing like the opinions of the people who voted for you affect the way you do business. I’m glad we’re in good hands.



We have a new president-elect. His name is Barack Obama (I wonder if there’s anyone in the civilized world who doesn’t know that name?) and he’s a black man.

The news really played that up last night and at first I was annoyed by that being the lead item, but the more I think about it, the more important I think it is. Most of us grew up after the fight for civil rights, so it’s not as much a part of our perspective, but it really wasn’t all that long ago that black people couldn’t vote, couldn’t eat in the same restaurants as white people, weren’t regarded as equal people. We’ve come a long way and we’re better for it. The sense of hope and possibility this election gives to millions is incalculable.

I was annoyed by that aspect at first because when I look at Obama, I don’t see black or white. I didn’t think of him as a black man running for president; I thought of him as a liberal running for president. I didn’t approach this election as a referendum on race, but a test of values, of principles, of belief, of life.

I watched the thousands of people celebrating, tears streaming down the faces of some, delighted grins spreading across the faces of others, and for a while, all I could think about were the thousands of babies who will never be able to vote, who won’t ever see the light of day because we just elected a man who is very much in favor of their destruction.

I listened to him speak and I wondered what he will say when he has to face down those who are pure evil, who don’t care about hope and change, who are done talking and want to wipe us out.

I hear people talk about healing and working together and reaching across the aisle. I’m all for it, as long as “healing” isn’t code for “you have to do what we want because we won and you didn’t.” On the economy, on health insurance, on the environment, yes, let’s work together and move forward. We’ll disagree, but we can talk about it and try to work it out.

There are other issues, though, where we will not be able to work together. There is no compromise between life and death. There is no gray area between truth and error.

Pray for our president. Respect him where you can, work with him where you can, work against him when you have to, influence him for good. And remember, he’s just a man.

America is still an extraordinary country. We didn’t just fall off a cliff because we elected Obama. We did that a long time ago from a moral perspective. But we’re still blessed to call this nation home, blessed to have the freedom to disagree with our leaders, blessed to raise our families here, blessed to live out the Gospel every day in a multitude of ways. As they say, God bless America.

Election Day 08

A few random thoughts on Election Day 2008:

  • Voting is a great privilege. Go do it.
  • That said, how can this be the biggest election of our lifetime? Most of us were alive four years ago when they said the same thing. And probably four years before that and four years before that. They’re all big. Deal with it.
  • I’m a little jittery. Too much coffee. Not a huge Starbucks guy, but it was nice they’re giving away free coffee. Of course someone had to complain about it.
  • If I were running a terrorist organization, I’d plan my attack for today. Think about the chaos.
  • Just heard a college student say, “I’m excited. I hadn’t voted in a presidential election ever.” That’s kinda cool.
  • The long lines at the polls are pretty cool too. The best part? I didn’t have to wait in them. My line was short.
  • A few years ago I thought Kentucky was ahead of the curve because we voted electronically and Florida was dealing with those pesky hanging chads. Now we’re back to paper ballots. Huh.
  • Love how everyone’s talking about voting.
  • So, go vote. But don’t put your hope in the results. Save that for One who really deserves it.