THE CLARION ISSUE VOL. XI ISSUE I Jan./Feb. 2010 TERM LIMITS, THE CONSTITUTION, AND WHAT AMERICANS CAN DO ABOUT THE SITUATION By R. A. Pearson During a mid-November broadcast of the CNN Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer, every news watcher‟s favorite curmudgeon, Jack Cafferty, asked a question concerning congressional term limits on his Cafferty File. The responses Cafferty chose to read from the audience pointed to an overwhelming preference to term limits among American voters. Cafferty pointed out there is a proposed amendment to the Constitution imposing six-year or three term limits on Representatives and 12-year or two term limit on Senators. The bill was proposed by Republican Senator Jim DeMint of South Carolina has who described it as “an historic opportunity to bring an end to an era of oppressive political oligarchy that threatens the very fabric of representative government.” Of course for this momentous constitutional change to occur members of Congress will have to literally vote themselves out of office, a job which has a good salary and many perks, and this is situation which is very unlikely to occur. One has only to look at the recent New York City mayor‟s race where term limits were changed by the City council allowing the current mayor Michael Bloomberg and themselves to run for third terms. Term limits were also on the agenda for the Republican „Contract With America‟ during the 1993 congressional elections where Newt Gingrich and his party promised the American people a vote on the reform, but the vote failed. In Georgia, Jack Kingston, a Republican who represents the first district which includes costal Georgia, ran on term limits in the 1993 election, won, and is still in Congress. He has served nine terms. Politicians point to a couple of facts about term limits which are true. To impose term limits will take a Constitutional admendment. Since the Constitution does not impose them they are unconstitutional until such an admendment in passed. They also point to elections, indicating the people will vote the individuals out of office when and if they become dissatisfied with the job the person is doing. However, long term service does have disadvantages to the American political process. The obvious problem with the absence of term limits is individuals tend to stay for a long multi-terms. A week or so after his initial question on term limits, Cafferty asked a question about West Virginia‟s long term Senator, and former Ku Klux Klan member, Robert Byrd, who has served 51 years in the Senate and a total of 57 years in Congress. Cafferty pointed out the initial intention of the founders of the American republic was not for long-term public service, but for short-term public service and then the individual would return to the private sector. Other individuals with long, multi terms included South Carolinia‟s Strom Thurmond (47 years in the Senate), Arizona‟s Carl Hayden (56 years in the House of Representatives and Senate), Georgia‟s Richard B. Russell, Jr. (38 years in the Senate), and Michigan‟s John Dingell (54 years in the House of Representatives). While long tenures allow individuals to gather power in Congress by obtaining important roles in their committees and parties, it can also lead to corruption, a lack of sensitivity to the needs of the American people, and simple distance from their constituents. The lack of term limits creates the steady need for raising money to hold a long-term job. Each Congressman or woman finds him or herself running for office every two years mandating a constant need for campaign cash. The six-year cycle in the Senate is almost as bad since a Senate race is state wide and even more expensive. The constant need for cash forces the members of congress to rely on lobbyist for fundraisers, which helps lawmakers and lobbyists bond as long-term partners in fund raising and binds the members of congress to the lobbyist for information swapping on various pieces of legislation and even in the production of legislation. Another problem with the lack of term limits is it helps create political dynasties. When even a casual observer looks across the nation it is easy to spot states where political dynasties, even oligarchies, have formed over the years. The Kennedy clan in Massachusetts, the Dodd family of Connecticut, the Udall relatives out West, the Rockefellers, the Bush family, and even the Biden family in Delaware, where a hold was placed on the Vice President‟s Senate seat so his son Beau Biden could run in 2010. The basic problem with political dynasties is with the same families in control of the major political offices: new officials who would bring new ideas, new energy, and new proposals to the country are blocked from service. The country gets the same old tired policies and the same old rehashed rhetoric, political bickering, and legislative stagnation it has seen over the past 50 to 75 years. However, to impose term limits would require a Constitutional amendment. To date all 27 amendments to the document have occurred using the two-thirds clause, a part of Article V saying, “The Congress, whenever two thirds of both Houses shall deem it necessary, shall propose Amendments to this Constitution.” As we have noted, the problem with a term limit amendment beginning in Congress is the Congresspersons would literally be risking voting themselves out of a job, and a somewhat lucrative one with excellent perks at that, if they put a term limit amendment before the country. This is just not going to happen in any existing universe. Yet, our founding fathers, or founding persons to be politically correct, gave the American people another door to amending the Constitution. Further in Article V we find the never used three-fourths clause which states, “the Legislatures of two thirds of the several States, shall call a Convention for proposing Amendments, which, in either Case, shall be valid to all Intents and Purposes, as Part of this Constitution, when ratified by the Legislatures of three fourths of the several States, or by Conventions in three fourths thereof, as the one or the other Mode of Ratification may be proposed by the Congress.” This provision allows for state legislators to call a convention (everyday citizens) to propose an amendment or amendments to the constitution and then the state legislatures or state conventions approve amendments to the Constitution thus bypassing Congress in the process. While this way of amending the Constitution has never been used, it is a perfectly legitimately way to do so. In a day of mass communication, with internet blogs and political web sites, cell phones, blackberries and other hand-held communication devices, and massive grass roots movements emerging across the nation such as the TEA (Taxed Enough Already) Party movement, with social networking sites such as Facebook and twitter, perhaps the American public could force a new amendment concerning term limits into the Constitution if they chose to do so. The process is there; it simply requires the political will of the American people to make it happen if term limits are the true wish of the American people. If America is to remain a government of, by, and for the people, the people must exercise all of the political and Constitutional tools within their power. Mr. Cafferty, here in the great state of Georgia we say, “Yes Virginia, there is a Santa Claus and a Climax, Georgia, and in Climax they even have a country festival called Swine Time complete with a chitterling eating contest.” If these things are possible, the Constitution can be amended to include term limits, even without the approval of Congress! THE „GLOBAL WARMING‟ CONSPIRACY By D. E. Lovett The recently concluded Copenhagen conference on “climate change” was an absolute and dismal failure on doing anything of substance to address the issue. This is good news for the great majority of us. While most of the participants paid lip service to the fiction of human activity being the primary cause of “global warming,” most of them, rightly, refused to sacrifice any of their own real economic self-interests in the name of speculative benefits. This is entirely in keeping with the spirit of Kyoto, which produced absolutely no benefits whatsoever, despite Al Gore‟s ardent pleading for it (not to mention the scare-mongering.) The US Senate served notice, 12 years ago, by a unanimous vote, that it would not ratify a treaty which so seriously would have impacted the American economy, with no discernable benefits to America. This philosophy should still be operable today, but is in danger of losing root (Waxman-Markey) so that the leftists can placate their ideological base of radical environmentalists. Their view is that human activity is responsible for all the woes of the world, and only by seizing control of, and limiting, all human activity, can the planet be “saved.” These cultural elites are firmly convinced they know much better than ordinary folks what is good for us, and are determined to impose their ideology on the rest of us “unwashed.” “Climate change” has been going on for billions of years, and the idea that humanity can alter its course is pure hubris. The best estimates the climate change extremists can produce show that returning the US‟s energy consumption to the level of the 1700s will perhaps reduce “global warming” by a few tenths of a degree. All the resources now proposed for reducing global temperatures by that minute fraction would be much better spent in efforts to mitigate the effects of the warming, rather than futile attempts to prevent it. But the issue is not reducing global temperatures: it is imposing control by an ideological minority on the vast majority of us who want to maintain and improve our current standard of living. NULLIFICATION: THE GREAT DECENTRALIZER By Jason Spencer With the passage of monstrous pieces of legislation in 2009, big government is on a frantic pace to destroy the last vestiges of the Constitution that secure our liberties. Specifically, the health care bills that passed in each chamber of Congress, which are now in conference, has the authority to mandate individuals to purchase health insurance…or else. If one does not purchase what they tell an individual to buy, the government may fine, prosecute and even make that individual see the inside of a jail. In addition, the cap- and-trade bill that passed the House of Representatives requires homeowners to retrofit their humble abodes with new energy efficient construction codes. If the cap-and-trade bill becomes law, homeowners failing to retrofit their homes with these new “green” federal requirements will be denied resale. The aforementioned examples are just a few of many unrelenting assaults upon the liberties of American sovereigns. Once upon a time, American sovereigns and their respective States made sure that Congress operated within its seventeen enumerated powers that were delegated to them. Presently, abiding by these constitutional constraints is seen as trivial, insignificant, and inconvenient by today‟s Congress. American sovereigns and their respective State legislatures, with stunning insouciance, have allowed this power grab to transpire over many years. Now, we may have “crossed the Rubicon” in terms of recovering what liberties we have ceded to the federal government. Are we now just merely lowly subjects who are at the mercy of an all powerful centralized State groveling for the crumbs of freedom it now desperately craves? We must become sovereigns again, but how do we do that when the federal government‟s powers are no longer bound by the original seventeen enumerated powers granted under the Constitution? Instead, the federal government‟s powers have expanded beyond the original enumerated powers with over 4000 federal criminal laws and over 40,000 pages of a perverted and incomprehensible tax code. How do we, as individual sovereigns, empower our States to reclaim the great residuum of power from the federal leviathan in order to serve our interest and be the protectorate of liberty? The answer to these questions is the idea of nullification. Nullification or “to nullify” is a topic that nowadays is considered archaic, a historical novelty and is even considered taboo in polite political conversation amongst academic historians, jurists and the political mainstream. This word is much akin to its close cousins “secession”, “devolution”, “interposition”, “States Rights”, “delegated powers” and in some cases “Constitution”. However, an interest in nullification is gaining momentum among state legislatures with the advent of multiple state sovereignty resolutions being enacted to slap the proverbial and overreaching hand of the federal government. So, what is nullification? Nullification is the legal theory by which states can declare federal laws unconstitutional. The United States was founded on the ideals that federal power could be challenged by the states. When a state „nullifies‟ a federal law, it is proclaiming that the law in question is void and inoperative, or „non-effective‟, within the boundaries of that state; or, in other words, not a law as far as the state is concerned. Nullification is also a fundamental state right to prevent federal domination: A domination that is all too commonplace today. Nullification is an important means for the several states to defend themselves against an all powerful central government just as the original thirteen colonies achieved at the nascency of the Republic. The individual thirteen British colonies that eventually became individual states were always separate political entities. American victory established the precedent and left no doubt upon where sovereignty resided. Individual state sovereignty was at the heart of the Anglo-American argument that led to the American Revolution, and for that matter, it was the prime issue that led to the subsequent War Between the States. At present, state obstruction of intrusive federal laws through meaningful nullification must now be considered as a rightful remedy and a necessary tool against the centralized state. Among other rightful remedies to thwart wrongful infringements afforded to the sovereign states are interposition and even secession. Specifically, interposition is where a state may use force to prevent the execution of federal laws it deems a violation of the Constitution; and a state may claim the right of secession, which is a peaceful withdrawal from “the political bands which have connected them…” to a tyrannical central authority. However, throughout human history most secession attempts have not ended peacefully—but in the 1990s, the Soviet Union did not forcibly prevent breakaway republics from leaving during its collapse. As a result of the central authority‟s impotence, those republics were allowed to leave peacefully. Andrew Jackson once argued that nullification is “incompatible with the existence of the Union”, but nullification is entirely compatible because it underscores the very foundation of the Union: The doctrine of delegated authority and the separation of powers. Thus, the Ninth and Tenth Amendments to the Constitution, along with Article VI (the Supremacy Clause) prohibit federal usurpation or the wrongful infringement upon the reserved authority of the States or “We the People”. Furthermore, some would even say that secession is not legal since the War Between the States settled that issue. On the contrary, states have a right to resist and even call for a political divorce “whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive” for which it may then “institute new Government.” Laws enacted by the federal government that reach beyond the scope of its delegated authority under the Constitution are illegitimate. Thus, without the possibility of state secession or nullification, what does the federal government have working against its power? Some would answer this question by employing the use of the courts. Unfortunately, the courts have become politicized and are not impartial and not objective arbiters for the cause of liberty as secured by the Constitution. The role of the federal courts as the final arbiter of disputed constitutional issues is probably the weakest aspect of the Constitution. Over the years, there have been issues presented to the courts to answer constitutional questions where violations may have occurred and how the Constitution applies. Conversely, the courts have been involved in issues where the Constitution does not apply. When the courts involve themselves in non-constitutional issues, it politicizes the halls of justice. By doing so, our liberties fade, and passing political litmus tests becomes the objective of the court—not whether the courts understand the Constitution. This weakness in our federal courts allows Congress to pass numerous laws over the past 100 years giving the federal government additional authority not mentioned in the Constitution. But, without amendment, altering the enumerated powers by legislative fiat is, in and of itself, unconstitutional. Presently, there are many numerous nullification efforts currently underway in several states. A proposed Constitutional Amendment to effectively ban national health care will go to vote in Arizona in 2010. Thirteen states now have some form of medical marijuana laws—in direct contravention to federal laws which state that the plant is illegal in all circumstances. And, massive state nullification of the 2005 Real ID Act has rendered the law nearly void. Similarly, as in Montana and Tennessee, New Hampshire seeks to “exempt firearms, firearm accessories, and ammunition manufactured in New Hampshire from federal law regulation” with House Bill 1285. Furthermore, in an effort to interpose for its citizens, New Hampshire will implement felony charges against federal agents for violations of their citizen‟s rights. Finally, Americans have started to wake up to the intrusive omnipotent central government and have begun to resist. Thus, nullification proves to be an efficacious legal method as a great „decentralizer‟ by binding government with the chains of the Constitution. THE BOW, THE FLAG, AND THE WHITE HOUSE PARTY CRASHERS FALLOUT By R. A. Pearson As an American citizen I have become very concerned about several items appearing in the news toward the end of last year. When President Obama met with the Emperor of Japan during his tour of Asia, I became upset, maybe even nauseated, at the idea of an American President bowing to the Emperor of Japan, or any other foreign leader for that matter. The second problem I had was the photo of Sarah Palin on the cover of Newsweek in which she appears in running attire, with which I have no problem, but the American flag is flopped over a table or chair like a throw quilt. This displays a complete lack of respect for the flag of our country. Finally, after all the hoopla over the White House party crashers, why did the Obama administration claim executive privilege for the White House Social Secretary Desiree Rogers? It is the bow, the obvious disrespect of the flag, and the claim of executive privilege for a White House Social Secretary that have upset this writer. As “they” often say, “When in Rome do as the Romans do,” the Obama administration protocol experts assured the American public and the president a bow was proper when meeting the Emperor of Japan. However, as this editorial is being written on December 7, 2009, the anniversary of the date that has lived on in infamy, Americans need to be reminded of the many thousands of American and other allied prisoners of war in the Pacific Theater during World War II who had to begin their day by bowing to the Emperor of Japan. Statistics show 40% of these POWs died from disease, mistreatment, torture, lack of medical care, starvation, and simple neglect at the hands of the Empire of Japan. For our President to repeat this humiliating gesture is a slap in the face of these POWs both living and dead, even though some protocol experts indicate it is proper and appropriate. At sea, the ships of our proud nation never dip our national flag even when another country‟s ship dips its flag to them; therefore, our President should never bow to any emperor, king, Pope or potentate, be him from an oil rich Middle Eastern country, Japan, or Shangri-La. Another point of contention this editor has had with the news towards the end of the last tear was the photo of Sarah Palin on the cover of the November 17 issue of Newsweek, where the U.S. flag was used as a drop cloth and virtual arm prop for the former Governor of Alaska and Republican Vice-presidential candidate. It is not the intention of this article to debate or rehash whether the use of photo by Newsweek was appropriate or sexist, the intent of this discussion is to discuss the inappropriate use of the flag in the photo wherever and for whatever reason Sarah Palin posed for the picture. The proper display of the American flag and flag etiquette has been a long-standing issue in the Clarion Issue as any long-term reader of the newsletter can attest. The display of the flag in the photo is a clear violation of Section 8, part b, of the Flag Code which reads: “The flag should never touch anything beneath it, such as the ground, the floor, water, or merchandise.” While Americans have grown accustomed to seeing violations of the Flag Code all around, such as rock stars with the flag used as a cape (Kid Rock at the 2004 Super Bowl), flag shits and jackets, flag embossed popcorn carafes, and even President and Mrs. Bush standing on carpet of the American flag at Ground Zero in Manhattan on September 11, 2006, one would expect better of Mrs. Palin for a posed photo for a runners magazine (Runner’s World) cover. As a governor who sent Alaska‟s National Guard and her son to Iraq, she should know a little flag etiquette and the Flag Code. The flag is to be treated as a living symbol of our great nation and not as a photo prop. If Sarah Palin wants Americans to really take her seriously, she may start by treating the American flag with a little more respect. Perhaps the final insult to the American intelligence at the end of last year came in the wake of the White House party crashers at the reception for the Indian Prime Minister, Manmohan Singh, held on November 24, 2009. While the interloping, Washington socialite couple, Tareq and Michaele Salahi, may have caused a few headaches for Homeland Security and the Secrete Service, the real people who droped the ball were the people at the White House Social Secretary‟s office who were obviously and obliviously eating caviar, knocking back Champaign, and looking forward to a dinner of curried shrimp and rice while the whole mess was unfolding. It is typical for the Office of the White House Social Secretary to have personnel posted at the entrance of any official White House event with the official guest list. This sensible observance of reasonable protocol would have sent the Salahis back out into the rain or into Secret Service detention where they needed to be and kept them off the news and their Facebook pages for weeks following the event. However, what is more appalling, is that an administration which promised openness and transparency has now claimed executive privilege in regards to White House Social Secretary Desiree Rogers. This seems very Cheney and Nixonsque in the light of what executive privilege is intended to cover and protect and what it is not intended to cover and protect. The privilege should protect top national decisions and how the executives arrived at the decisions, not who sits next to whom at a state dinner and if broccoli is to be on the menu. During the Clinton administration Capricia Marshall, Special Assistant to the First Lady, Hillary Clinton, testified concerning the investigations into the Whitewater Scandal, the death of Vincent W. Foster, and other White House matters. The Obama administration dropped the ball on this call, and if this transparency, the President is “neck deep in the Big Muddy” to quote an old Pete Seeger anti-war tune from the 1960s. The end of the year events discussed in this article are certainly not the milestone events of the last four months by a long shot. The surge in Afghanistan will affect the lives of our service personnel and the national debt for years to come, the nation‟s unemployment rate is still very high, the health insurance debate rages on and will affect many citizens, and other issues are more important, but somehow I had to have a say on the issues discussed above. For our President to bow to any world leader, especially the Emperor of Japan, is unreasonable: it should never happen. For Sarah Palin, or any public figure, to be photographed with the flag as an armrest and in violation of the Flag Code is disgraceful. Finally, for the Obama administration to claim executive privilege for the White House Social Secretary, regardless of the situation, is an outrage and an indignity to the conscience of the American people. I only hope that in 2012 I can choose between someone other than the incumbent and Sarah Palin. Editor‟s Note: Who are the mysterious “They” everyone speaks about? As in “They won‟t let you do that.” They won‟t let you read that.” “They won‟t let you show that DVD.” “They won‟t let me sell that car for that price.” Here at the Clarion Issue we know who “They” are. T is for the trouble they cause. H is for the hassles they give. E is for the earnings they take away. Y is for you who wants to be one of they! THE CLARION ISSUE BLOG Visit our blog and post a comment on these and all other editorials. www.clarionissue.blogspot.com “BRING ‟EM ON” A CLARION ISSUE WAR UPDATE CASUALTIES AS OF JULY 4, 2009 US SERVICE PERSONNEL KILLED IN IRAQ ………. 4,373 US SERVICE PERSONNEL WOUNDED IN IRAQ ……….. 31,673 US SERVICE PERSONNEL KILLED IN AFGHANISTAN…….. 955 US SERVICE PERSONNEL WOUNDED IN AFGHANISTAN … 4,736 TOTAL US SERVICE PERSONNEL KILLED IN WARS …… 5,328 COST OF BOTH WARS …………………….………. $950,000,000,000 “As you know, you go to war with the Army you have. They‟re not the Army you might want or wish to have at a later time. If you think about it, you can have all the armor in the world on a tank and a tank can be blown up.” Donald Rumsfeld, December 2004 HUMOR US A NEW JOB FOR THE NEW ECONOMY Jack was sitting on the plane when a guy took the seat beside him. The guy was an emotional wreck, pale, hands shaking, moaning in fear. “What's the matter?” Jack asked. “I‟ve been transferred to Detroit , there are a lot of crazy people there. They‟ve got lots of shootings, gangs, race riots, drugs, poor public schools, and the highest crime rate in the nation.” Jack replied, “I‟ve lived in Detroit all my life. It‟s not as bad as the media says. Find a nice home, go to work, mind your own business, and enroll your kids in a nice private school. It‟s as safe a place as anywhere in the world.” The guy relaxed and stopped shaking and said, “Oh, thank you. I‟ve been worried to death. But if you live there and say it‟s OK, I‟ll take your word for it. What do you do for a living?” “I‟m a tail gunner on a beer truck.” A TRIP TO THE ICE CREAM SHOP A little old man shuffled slowly into the „Orange Dipper,‟ an ice cream parlor in Leesburg, Virginia, and pulled himself slowly, painfully, up onto a stool. After catching his breath he ordered a banana split. The waitress asked kindly, “Crushed nuts?” “No,” replied the elderly man, “arthritis.” TO BE SIX AGAIN A man was sitting on the edge of the bed, watching his wife, who was looking at herself in the mirror. Since her birthday was not far off he asked what she‟d like to have for her birthday. ”I‟d like to be six again,” she replied, still looking in the mirror. On the morning of her birthday, he arose early, made her a nice big bowl of Lucky Charms, and then took her to Six Flags theme park. What a day! He put her on every ride in the park; the Death Slide, the Wall of Fear, the Screaming Roller Coaster, everything there was. Five hours later they staggered out of the theme park. Her head was reeling and her stomach felt upside down. He then took her to a McDonald's where he ordered her a Happy Meal with extra fries and a chocolate shake. Then it was off to a movie, popcorn, a soda pop, and her favorite candy, M&M‟s. What a fabulous adventure! Finally she wobbled home with her husband and collapsed into bed exhausted. He leaned over his wife with a big smile and lovingly asked, “Well dear, what was it like being six again?” Her eyes slowly opened and her expression suddenly changed. “I meant my dress size, you retard!” The moral of the story: Even when a man is listening, he is going to get it wrong. CLUNY‟S CORNER: A DOG GONE LOOK AT THE WORLD GETTIN‟ MY EARS CLEANED The weekend after Thanksgiving I got real sick. I mean so sick my master had to carry me to the good folks at the Animal Medical Clinic where I always get the very best of care. The place is sort of like Cheers, everybody there knows your name, and not just big celebrities like me, they know every doggie and kitty who visits the place by name, growl and purr. After Dr. Sarah had cured my major problem, gave me some pills for my new thyroid condition, and then she noticed my ears were dirty and in need of medication and attention. Then it all started! My master had to squirt this stuff (medicine) down my ears twice a day for two weeks. I really thought that would be enough, but when I went back to the clinic, where everybody knows my name, Dr. Sarah actually cleaned them. Dr. Sarah took a rag and cleaned the outer portions of my ears where they flop over, and then she begin on the inner sections of my ears, what is called in medical terms the ear canal, with Q-tips. Talk about stress. This was the worse feeling I‟ve had in a long time. She did both ears and pulled out all sorts of gunk and goop. Then the good Doctor took a water bulb and flushed out my ears. It felt like a tsunami in there, but she got them all clear and clean. Then it was home for a few more weeks of my master putting more medicine down my ears. However, it was worth it. Now I can hear a lot better. I don‟t have to turn up the TV to watch Lassie and Rin Tin Tin on our new satellite dish with 347 channels and those Alpo commercials come in loud and clear. Best of all, when Ms. Leash‟enup baby-sits me when my master is out of town, I can hear her call me for supper when I‟m in the back yard chasing squirrels. SPEAKIN‟ SOUTHERN A SOUTHERN LOOK AT RUSSIAN CULTURE Ba/lets- Ballet Tri/coughs/key (Pytor Illych Tchaikovsky) - The Russian composer of the Nutcracker. Told/story (Leo Tolstoy)- the Russian writer of War and Peace and Anna Karenina. Dr. Chicago (Dr. Zhivago)- A book and movie set in Russia mainly during the revolutionary turmoil from 1914 to 1930. Boris Pasteurized (Boris Pasternak)- The author of Dr. Zhivago. Dustys/off/key (Fyodor Dostoyevsky) -The Russian writer who authored Crime and Punishment, The Idiot, and The Brothers Karamazov. Usage: Bubba: “I seed Wa/nee/der (Juanita) all dressed up at the Stop & Shop jest then. She must be goin‟ to see the greyhoun‟ dawgs run and make a few bets.” Charlene: “Naw, she‟s a headin‟ for the ba/lets to see the Nutcracker. That Russian ba/let by Tri/coughs/key (Tchaikovsky) they always do at Christmas.” Bubba: “Ain‟t that the one where all the mice come out and fight with the toy soldiers, and the Rat King and the Prince have a sword fight, and they‟s all dressed in tights and uniforms.” Charlene: “That‟s the one. Why Bubba, I never knowed you was so cultured. Do ya want me to get tickets for tomorrow‟s show?” Bubba: “Naw, I never seed the Nutcracker. I jest read where Michael Jackson ripped off that scene for one of his videos.” Billy Ray: “What ja readin‟ there, Elvira?” Elvira: “I‟m a readin‟ Dr. Chicago (Dr. Zhivago) by Boris Pasterized (Boris Pasternak).” Billy Ray: “What is it about?” Elvira: “Well, Dr. Chicago is married but falls in love with this here other woman and they go through the entire Russian Revolution and Civil War huntin‟ each other.” Billy Ray: “They orta make it into a movie. Libel to be a big seller with the Civil War a going on. Is Dr. Chicago a Yankee or a Reb?” Elvira: They made it into a movie starrin‟ Omar Sheriff (Omar Sharif) in 1965 and it was over three hours long and won five Oscars. It was an epic and classic like Gone With The Wind and War and Peace!” Billy Ray: “Yea, I seen Gone With The Wind and Billy Bob, Thelma Lou‟s secon‟ cousin, said he read War and Peace by that Told/story (Tolstoy) feller when he was in six month sol/tary (solitary) con/fin/ment in prison. Said it was somethin‟ about Russia.” Sketer: “Hey Slim, You ever read any Dustys/off/key? Slim: “Didn‟t have to read „bout him being off key. I heard him off key in the church choir on Sunday. Big time too.” Sketer: “Naw Slim. I mean the Russian writer that writ those long books like Crime and Punishment, The Brothers Kara/katch/off (Karamazov) and The Idiot.” Slim: “The Idiot! He writ a book about the mayor?” Sketer: “Naw, The Idiot is about this guy who has spells or sumpm (something).” Slim: “Well if‟in the feller had spendin‟ spells that Dustys/off/key feller was a writin‟ „bout our mayor! A li‟l crime and punishment for that whole lot at city hall don‟t sound nary bad either.” CLARION ISSUE TRIVIA What is the term used to describe a pathological fear of contact with dirt, to avoid contamination and germs? A. ankylophobia B. caniophobia C. rhabdophobia D. phagophobia E. mysophobia F. samhainophobia Answer E. Mysophobia Mysophobia is from the Greek words Musos- unclean and phobe- fear. An individual who has such a fear is often referred to as a mysophobe. The term was introduced by Dr. William Alexander Hammond in 1879 when describing a case of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) exhibited by repeatedly washing one‟s hands. This phobia is sometimes referred to as germophobia or germaphobia. PS. Samhainophobia is a fear of Halloween! QUOTE OF THE MONTH “All men having power ought to be distrusted to a certain degree.” James Madison MUSIC REVIEWS TOM RUSSELL‟S BLOOD AND CANDLE SMOKE By R. A. Pearson American folk/country singer Tom Russell released a new CD in late 2009 entitled Blood and Candle Smoke. The CD is a 12 cut CD set and for the most part the setting for the songs on the album is in the American Southwest or in Mexico making the collection a true compilation of related music. The instrumentation on the CD is exceptional. The horns, the accordion, and other instruments seem to give each song just the right blend for just the right mood in the song. While Russell‟s carrier spans over 40 years and includes over 20 album credits, Blood and Candle Smoke may be the 56-year-old artist‟s best work ever. The opening song on the CD, “East of Woodstock, West of Vietnam,” is the unique story of a traveler through time and Africa during the turbulent times on the continent. It is a great song as is the second cut on the CD, “Santa Ana Wind.” “Santa Ana Wind” is about California and the deceit and lies used by the whites in settling the area. “Nina Simone” is another great song on the album. It is the story of a man who discovers a long lost singer during a trip down into Mexico. Another great song on the CD is “Crosses of San Carlos.” This song is about being confined by civilization. From the young Native American boys, to the old jaguar on the hunt portrayed in the song as crossing the border hunting a deer and „he ain‟t afraid of your hunting dogs,‟ Russell examines the forces of society‟s confining influence on nature and natural freedom. Other songs of interest include, but or not limited to, “Finding You,” “Criminology,” “The Most Dangerous Woman In America,” and “American Rivers.” Members of the Tucson, Arizona, band Calexico who helped make the CD included: Joey Burns on guitar and bass, Jacob Valenzuela on trumpet, Barry Walsh on keybords, and John Convertino on drums. Blood and Candle Smoke was produced by Tom Russell and Craig Schumacher. In an interview on National Public Radio (NPR) Russell said, “these are 12 songs I can live with for the rest of my life.” This is one of the best CDs I‟ve heard in a long time. It‟s worth a listen. 2009 also saw the release of a new CD for Native American folk singer Buffy Sainte- Marie, the Cree Indian born in Saskatchewan, Canada, but who was orphaned at an early age and raised by relatives in Maine. She became an influential folk singer in the 1960s and never really left the folk music scene. Her most popular songs include “Universal Soldier,” “Mister Can‟t You See,” “Summer Boy,” and “Cod‟ine.” Her 2009 CD, Running For The Drum, is her 18th album and her first new album in over 15 years. The songs on Running For The Drum are often set to the beat of Native American drum rhythms. The first song “No No Keshagesh,” is a heavy rock beat about corporate greed, real estate fraud, and the harm the exploitation has done to the earth. “Working For the Government” also attacks the political establishment for their wars, spies, and continuation of conflicts at the cost of millions to tax payers. However, the CD has a sensitive side. The love songs “Too Much Is Never Enough” and “Still This Love Goes On” show a very tender side of the artist and “When I Had You” is a very emotional break-up song. The collection has several spiritual numbers also. The quietly comforting “Easy Like the Snow Falls Down” is a reflective song about being there for others. “Still This Love Goes On” is a remembrance of the beauty and quietness of the Cree reservation when the artist is away from the beauty of the Canadian wilderness. “Cho Cho Fire” is a song about the first time a city person experiences a powwow and includes the line „See „em running for the drum‟ where the CD gets its title. The CD includes an acoustic treatment of “America the Beautiful,” with new lyrics to reflect the Native American community and a lovely new re-recording of The Buffy Sainte-Marie classic, “Little Wheel Spin and Spin.” Running For The Drum is a unusual CD. For those readers who like music with a Native American flair or are fans of Buffy Sainte-Marie from way back, this may be an album to look into. Off The Map by the Silk Road Ensemble is a classical/cultural group originally assembled by fabled cellist Yo Yo Ma. This CD celebrates the group‟s 10-year anniversary. The traditions of the Native Americans in the Andes can be encountered with Gabriela Frank‟s composition “Ritmos Anchinos.” Evan Ziporyn‟s “Sulvasutra” features India‟s great tabla player Sandeep Das, pipa player Wu Man, and violin and cello players Johnny Gandelsman, Colin Jacobsen, Nicholas Cords,and Eric Jacobsen in an explosive piece of music designed to present a type of musical Big Bang experience for the listener. Angel Lam‟s “Empty Mountain, Spirit Rain” and Osvaldo Golijov‟s “Air to Air” help round out as unique a CD as the Silk Road Ensemble has yet to produce. A Book of Note: In late 2009, Terry Gross host of NPR‟s „Fresh Air,‟ interviewed David Bianculli, the author of Dangerously Funny, The Uncensored Story of the Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour. The author indicated the book was about the Smothers Brothers, especially Tommy Smothers‟, battle with the CBS censors during the late 1960s. One episode Bianculli recalls in the book is when folk singer Pete Seeger performed his anti-war song “Waist Deep In The Big Muddy.” The song, set during a training exercise in World War II, is about an officer who leads his troops into an unreconnoitered deep stream and was drowned. The refrain would follow along the line of „We were (knee) (waist) (neck) deep in the Big Muddy -- And the big fool said to push on.‟ In the symbolism of the day, the big fool was the President ( LBJ or Nixon) who continued sending troops into Vietnam (the Big Muddy) only to be swallowed up by a hopeless quagmire. Some people will argue the song is as valid today as it was in the 1960s thanks to decisions by Presidents Bush and Obama. “Waist Deep In The Big Muddy” is now on Pete Seeger‟s Greatest Hits CD (the 16 cut version) re-released in April 2002. The Smothers Brothers have a greatest hits CD entitled Sibling Revelry, an 18 cut compilation including “Cabbage,” “Chocolate,” “The Saga of John Henry,” and “Crabs Walk Sideways.” Both CDs are available at the online music stores. HISTORY‟S CURRENTS THE GRAY GHOST PARTS 1 & 2 By John Bailey John S. Mosby was commander of the 43rd Battalion, Virginia Partisan Rangers, an independent Confederate cavalry unit which operated behind Union lines in Northern Virginia. Mosby‟s unorthodox hit and run tactics tied down at least 100,000 enemy troops to guard supply lines and in the opinion of General Grant lengthened the Civil War by three months. John Mosby was born on December 6, 1833 in Powhatan County, Virginia about forty miles west of Richmond. He was a small frail child and thus was bullied by other boys his age. He said that he never ran from a fight, but never won a fight either. In 1849 Mosby entered the University of Virginia in classical studies. He excelled in Latin, Greek and literature but struggled in mathematics. During his third year Mosby got into a fight with a local bully whom he shot in the neck with a pepperbox revolver. He was arrested and convicted of unlawful shooting for which he was fined $500 and sentenced to a year in jail. While in jail Mosby took up studying the law and due to irregularities in the jury as well as his poor health, he was released after eight months. He was later pardoned and the fine was rescinded. After he was released from jail, Mosby continued his law studies and was admitted to the bar. He opened a law practice in Howardsville, Virginia. Shortly after opening his practice, Mosby met Pauline Clark who was visiting from Kentucky. They were married in Nashville on December 30, 1857 and settled in Bristol, Virginia. Prior to the Civil War Mosby was very vocal in his opposition to secession but when war broke out he enlisted in the army as a private. He later said that he thought that the war was fought for the preservation of slavery of which he disapproved but that a soldier should fight for his country. Mosby said that the South was his country. Mosby‟s unit was sent to Richmond where they were issued weapons and uniforms. The uniforms were the same as clothes worn in the penitentiaries and the men piled them in front of their commander‟s tent, refusing to wear them. Only two men wore them, Mosby and one other. Mosby later said that in three months the others would have been glad to have the prisoner‟s clothing. Mosby‟s unit participated at First Manassas, the first major battle of the war. Soon after the battle Mosby wrote to his wife telling her of his peril during the fight. Actually the men were held in reserve and never fired a shot. Following the battle, Mosby became a cavalry scout in Northern Virginia and was soon recognized for his courage and quick thinking. By late winter of 1862, Mosby was promoted to First Lieutenant and made regimental adjutant. In the winter session of the Confederate congress a law was passed dictating that soldiers would elect their own officers, up to the rank of regimental commander. Mosby‟s commander, Colonel Jones was replaced by Fitzhugh Lee, a nephew of Robert E. Lee. Lee and Mosby did not get along so Mosby offered his resignation which was accepted and Mosby was again a private. J.E.B. Stuart, the cavalry commander had Mosby transferred to his staff as a courier, although he used Mosby as a scout rather than as a courier. During the Federal campaign to capture Richmond in the spring of 1862, Mosby found that the enemy flanks were guarded only by cavalry. He reported this to Stuart who gained permission to conduct a raid behind Union lines. With a force of 1200 riders and 2 pieces of artillery Stuart rode around the opposing army capturing 166 prisoners, 260 horses and mules, disrupted enemy supply lines and gathered invaluable intelligence. This was accomplished with the loss of only one man. Robert E. Lee publicly praised Mosby in his report of the affair. Following the Seven Days Battles, Mosby was captured and taken to Washington for ten days until he was exchanged. While being returned south onboard a ship Mosby saw several ships loaded with Union troops being transferred from North Carolina. By questioning people on the ship Mosby ascertained that the troops were being moved north to reinforce General Pope in Northern Virginia rather than to add to the army on the peninsula which had assaulted Richmond. Upon his release he went straight to Lee‟s headquarters where he gained access to the General. He gave Lee the information and upon reminding Lee of his accomplishments in Stuart‟s ride around the Union Army his information was taken seriously. Based on Mosby‟s report Lee ordered the bulk of his army north resulting in the Confederate victory at 2nd Manassas. Mosby‟s star was rising. In early 1863 Mosby was given command of a battalion of partisan rangers and ordered to operate behind enemy lines in Northern Virginia. He became so effective in disrupting the invading army that the area between the Blue Ridge Mountains and Washington D.C. became known as “Mosby‟s Confederacy.” He was promoted to Captain on March 15th and to Major on March 23rd. Beginning with a band of 15 men Mosby was soon disrupting enemy operations by capturing soldiers and horses at night and destroying supplies. He also captured a group of Union soldiers who had been systematically robbing homes. Following an operation the rangers would scatter with orders to meet again at a predetermined place. Some would lodge in a friendly home while others preferred to camp outdoors. One soldier slept in graveyards because he found them to be quiet and the ground was soft. The Union cavalry in the area was commanded by a British soldier of fortune named Percy Wyndham. He took Mosby‟s operations as a personal insult and publicly vowed to destroy the Confederates. In response, Mosby determined to capture Wyndham and on a rainy night in March Mosby with a force of 29 men infiltrated Wyndham‟s headquarters in the town of Fairfax. Wyndham was not in town but his second in command, General Stoughton was in charge. With five rangers Mosby entered headquarters, rudely awakened Stoughton by raising his nightshirt, and slapping his bare buttocks. When Stoughton demanded to know the meaning of the outrage he was asked if he had heard of Mosby. When he said, “Yes, have you caught him?” Mosby stuck the barrel of a pistol in his nose and said, “No, but he‟s caught you.” Mosby escaped without firing a shot taking with him one general, two captains, 30 privates and 58 horses. Two days later Mosby turned Stoughton over to Fitzhugh Lee. Stoughton and Lee had been West Point classmates and Lee cordially welcomed his old friend dismissing Mosby without comment. General Stuart as well as the rest of the South was elated with Mosby‟s exploit. Lincoln‟s comment was that he could always make more generals but good horses were harder to come by. Mosby‟s men were a loosely organized group, coming together at a predetermined time and place, conducting a raid and then scattering throughout Northern Virginia. They slept in private homes, barns, haystacks and camped in the woods. One Ranger preferred graveyards because they were quiet and the ground was soft. Between raids, Mosby was constantly on the move scouting enemy positions. Due to the sensational articles in both the Northern and Southern newspapers most people pictured him as a giant of a man so no one recognized the small stoop-shouldered man as the commander of the Rangers. One rainy night Mosby, accompanied by two prisoners held at gunpoint, fell in with a troop of Union cavalry for several miles and then turned off on a side road. On another occasion it was reported that Mosby was in Culpepper, Virginia and enemy cavalry came into town looking for him. A man sitting in a barber chair informed the Union commander that Mosby had left the town not ten minutes before and told which way he went. After the cavalry galloped away in pursuit, Mosby got out of the barber chair and rode out of town in the opposite direction. By spring of 1863 Mosby‟s command had grown to about 55 men. Many were transfers from other cavalry units while others were local men whose knowledge of the terrain proved to be invaluable. There was also a European adventurer, a soldier of fortune and a Union sergeant who deserted to Mosby because he enlisted to save the Union, not to end slavery. The sergeant later became a lieutenant in the Rangers known as “Big Yankee” Ames. Many were attracted to Mosby because of the opportunity for plunder. According to the Partisan Ranger Act, regularly enlisted men were allowed to keep whatever valuables they captured. While some independent units were little better than thieves, Mosby did not tolerate pillaging from private citizens. Deserters, thieves and cowards were quickly weeded out. Throughout the spring Mosby was able to raid throughout Northern Virginia capturing men and material as well as disrupting communications. While most of the citizens were loyal to the South, there were many Unionists who were quick to point out Mosby‟s activities to the Northern troops leading to near disaster. During one raid Mosby was at first victorious but was soon surprised by a large force of Union cavalry and was routed leaving his prisoners as well as many of his own dead and wounded men behind. At a place called Miskell‟s Farm Mosby‟s command numbering about 70 soldiers was surprised by a force of over twice their number. Mosby was able to rally his men into a savage counterattack and routed the Union cavalry capturing 85 men. While Mosby‟s exploits were impressive his real value lay in scouting the enemy‟s movements and the diversion of large bodies of Union troops from the battlefront. Mosby‟s rangers were attached to Stuart‟s cavalry as scouts for Lee‟s invasion of Pennsylvania in the summer of 1863. While Stuart‟s performance was marginal at best Mosby was cited for his outstanding performance. Throughout the rest of the war Mosby‟s men became adept at destroying railroads forcing the Union to construct blockhouses within sight of each other all along the tracks. Mosby even used a cannon to attack the trains and on one occasion stopped a train carrying General Ulysses Grant. The Rangers were driven away before they discovered their prize. In the spring of 1864 General Custer hanged ten of Mosby‟s men as spies, even though they were in uniform when captured. Mosby hanged five of Custer‟s men in retaliation and the hangings ceased. Ten Union prisoners were chosen by lot for hanging Mosby excused one prisoner because he was a child while three others escaped. One was released by some of Mosby‟s Rangers because he was a Mason. When Mosby heard of this he was enraged, informing his men that his unit was a military command, not a fraternity house. As Lee‟s army was forced further south toward Richmond, Mosby‟s area of operation grew in size. In early1865 Mosby had eight companies under his command. His unit was scattered from east of Fredericksburg, north to the outskirts of Washington and west to the Shenandoah Valley. By the war‟s end, most of Mosby‟s command just dissolved and went home. At least one Ranger committed suicide by single handedly attacking a large body of Union troops. Because one former Ranger was implicated in the Lincoln assassination Mosby‟s Rangers were specifically excluded from being paroled. On April 21st Mosby called his men together at a place called Salem Crossroads and disbanded the battalion. Mosby was declared an outlaw and a $5000 reward was placed on his head. Mosby was forced to hide in the mountains of his native in southwestern Virginia while his brother negotiated his surrender. Under the impression that he could turn himself in, Mosby rode into Lynchburg, Virginia and presented himself for surrender. The provost marshal knew nothing of the arrangements and promptly ordered Mosby‟s arrest. Mosby drew his pistols and informed his would-be captors that all 12 cylinders would be empty when they took him. He backed from the room and rode from the town. Upon hearing of this incident, General Grant ordered that Mosby be allowed to surrender. After being paroled, Mosby opened a law practice in Warrenton and soon moved his family there. He was doing quite well, soon expanding his practice to real estate. He even received a $10,000 fee for negotiating a contract to rebuild a railroad that he and his men destroyed. While the war was over, Mosby was often arrested by his former enemies, partly due to old grudges held against him and partly because Mosby was extremely difficult to get along with. Mosby‟s wife finally went to General Grant and got a letter granting Mosby his full civil rights. Following the death of his wife, Mosby traveled the world becoming a railroad attorney and at one time was appointed ambassador to Hong Kong. Throughout the remainder of his life he was always accompanied by one or more former Rangers. While living in California Mosby was a frequent guest of the Patton family and often was seen drawing maps and diagrams in the dirt for young George Patton. In his final years Mosby managed to alienate nearly everyone and was constantly involved in controversy. One of his sons commented that the war ruined a good father. Mosby often regretted that he had not died in the war. To his credit, Mosby always looked after his men, helping them in any way he could. Mosby died on May 30, 1916, and was given a hero‟s funeral in Warrenton, Virginia. History‟s currents or current history? You decide! GOVERNMENT AND HOW IT WORKS: A CASE STUDY Once upon a time the government had a vast scrap yard in the middle of a desert. Congress said, “Someone may steal from it at night.” So they created a night watchman position and hired a person for the job. Then Congress said, “How does the watchman do his job without instruction?” So they created a planning department and hired two people, one person to write the instructions, and one person to do time studies. Then Congress said, „How will we know the night watchman is doing the tasks correctly?” So they created a Quality Control department and hired two people. One person to do the studies and one to write the reports. Then Congress said, “How are these people going to get paid?” So They created the following positions, a time keeper, and a payroll officer, then hired two people. Then Congress said, “Who will be accountable for all of these people?” So they created an administrative section and hired three people, an Administrative Officer, Assistant Administrative Officer, and a Legal Secretary. Then Congress said, “We have had this command in operation for one year and we are $18,000 over budget, we must cutback overall cost. So they laid off the night watchman. Now slowly, let this entire scenario sink in. How quietly, we go like sheep to the slaughter. Does anybody remember the reason given for the establishment of the Department of Energy during the Carter Administration? Anybody? Anything? No? Did not think so! Did not think you would! Bottom line. We have spent several hundreds of billions of dollars in support of an agency the reason for its creation no can remember! However, the reason was simple and at the time, everybody thought it very appropriate. The Department of Energy was instituted on August 4, 1977, to lessen our dependence on foreign oil. It has been pretty efficient, huh? Today it is 2009, 32 years later. The budget for the Department of Energy is over $24.2 billion a year. It has over 16,000 federal employees and about 100,000 contract employees and look at the job they have done. (This is where you slap your forehead and say, “What was I thinking?”) 32 years ago 30% of our oil consumption was foreign imports. Today 70% of our oil consumption is foreign imports. Your government‟s bureaucracy is working hard for you! CLARION ISSUE BRIEFS THE SOUTH KLAN HOLDS RALLY AT OLE MISS Members of the Mississippi White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan spent about 10 minutes waving flags, displaying Nazi-style salutes and occasionally gesturing at a group of about 250 hecklers that included young children at a pre-game rally in Oxford, Mississippi, on November 20, 2009, before the Ole Miss Rebels‟ football game with LSU. They were protesting the school's decision to drop a pep song that included “Dixie.” Fans often ending the song by chanting, “The South will rise again.” Ole Miss Chancellor Dan Jones had asked the fans to stop the chant, and when they did not, he instructed the band to stop playing the song. The Klan said it was protesting over lost Southern symbolism at the university, which has been rocked by racial strife before. The controversy began in October when the Ole Miss Associated Student Body passed a resolution in favor of discontinuing chanting “the South will rise again.” However, the resolution was never fully enacted because it was not signed by the proper school officials after passing the senate, said Peyton Beard, Ole Miss Associated Student Body director of athletics. The song, „From Dixie with Love‟ is one of Ole Miss‟ traditional songs on game day, and the student section has chanted “the South will rise again” during the song for years, said Brian Ferguson, alumni chairman of the Colonel Reb foundation. The student section largely ignored the resolution and other attempts to stop the chant prompting the removal of the song from the band‟s game day repertoire. In a written address to the Ole Miss student body Chancellor Jones said, “We cannot even appear to support those outside our community who advocate a revival of segregation. Consequently, I have asked the band not to play „From Dixie with Love‟ at upcoming athletics events. The absence of this song will send a clear message that the university is neither facilitating nor indirectly condoning the chant.” The decision to ban the song drew the attention of the Ku Klux Klan, which made plans to protest the ban in full robes on the day of the LSU game from 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. Shane Tate, the North Mississippi great titan for the Mississippi White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, indicated the protest was to tell Ole Miss enough is enough. The Klan considered the removal of the song as an attack on our Christian, southern heritage and culture, and it‟s time for every person to have a right to freedom of speech. Prior to the event Tate said, “We aren‟t coming there to cause problems or cause trouble. Trouble has already been caused by a handful at Ole Miss, including the black student body president, who wants to shape Ole Miss into yet another liberal sodomite college.” Ole Miss officials said the Ku Klux Klan had the right to voice its opinions as long as it did not interfere with university activity or the personal rights of others. In the end, the protest lasted about 15 minutes. In 1997, student leaders approved a resolution asking Ole Miss fans to stop waving Confederate Battle flags at athletic events. University officials then banned people from bringing sticks into games, a move that dramatically curtailed the decades-long practice of fans carrying the flag. Jones‟ predecessor, Robert Khayat, said the Confederate Battle flag had been misused by groups such as the Ku Klux Klan and it was not in the university‟s best interest to use it as a symbol. Six years ago, university officials decided not to have an on-field mascot during sporting events, getting rid of the long-standing Colonel Rebel, a white-haired old man who carries a cane and resembles a plantation owner. At the time, school officials had said they needed a more athletic-looking mascot. Perhaps nixing “The South shall rise again” and „From Dixie with Love‟ was the next appropriate step. The Chancellor gave the students plenty of time to keep the song and end the chant. As the Clarion Issue has always indicated the Ku Klux Klan needs to come up with its own symbols. They have disgraced the Confederate Battle flag, a historic flag used by some of the Confederate forces during the Civil War, and parlayed the burning cross, a Scottish symbol used to call the highland clans to battle, into a symbol of hate. Can these guys have an original thought? WILLIAM “DOLLAR BILL” JEFFERSON SENTENCED Former Representative William “Dollar Bill” Jefferson, also known as “Cold Cash Jefferson” after some $90,000 was discovered in his freezer, was sentenced to serve 13 years in prison for what the lead prosecutor described as “the most extensive and pervasive pattern of corruption in the history of Congress.” The sentence was handed down on November 13, 2009, a Friday the 13th, but a fairly lucky day for the former congressman considering the sentence he could have received. On August 5, 2009, former U.S. Representative William Jefferson of Louisiana was convicted by a federal jury in Alexandria, Virginia, of 11 of the 16 corruption charges against him in a case that included three counts of money laundering, three counts of wire fraud, and one count of racketeering. He faced a maximum possible sentence of 150 years in prison for all the charges. The sentence by federal Judge T.S. Ellis III fell well short of the 27 to 33 years recommended by the government, but it was by the far the stiffest jail term ever imposed on a member or former member of Congress for crimes committed while in office. In imposing the sentence the judge said Jefferson‟s conduct was “a cancer on the body politic.” On the advice of his attorney, Jefferson declined the opportunity to make a statement at his sentencing and remained silent because he plans to appeal his conviction. Jefferson‟s attorneys argued that the government‟s sentencing recommendations ignored the full picture of the accused‟s life and accomplishments. The defense memo filed for the sentencing hearing said, “William Jefferson is more than the punch line of a late night talk show joke or the one-dimensional character depicted in the prosecution‟s arguments.” They said the court should “ensure that while the sanction adequately reflects the gravity of the offense, it is not greater than necessary to serve the ends of justice.” The defense plans to appeal the conviction and noted that no court had ever imposed a sentence of longer than 100 months in a case involving a member of Congress. In 2006 Rep. Randy “Duke” Cunningham (Rep. of California) was sentenced to eight years and four months for taking $2.4 million in bribes to help military contractors win government business as well as for tax evasion and fraud. Jefferson represented Louisiana's 2nd Congressional District, which includes most of the New Orleans area, for 18 years. He lost his House seat to Republican Anh Joseph Cao in a December 2008 election. GEORGIA HOUSE ELECTS NEW SPEAKER By R. A. Pearson On Monday January 11, 2009, the Georgia House of Representatives elected David Ralston its new speaker. The election ends a somewhat turbulent scandal that brought down former speaker Glenn Richardson, one of the state's most powerful politicians, , who stepped down as following allegations of an affair with and a lobbyist a suicide attempt. Ralston's supporters said the Blue Ridge Republican would offer a steady hand in the wake of the drama surrounding the GOP scandal. Richardson resigned as Speaker of the House at the beginning of the year, and resigned his House seat representing Paulding County in a letter to the governor later in January 2010. State Rep. Mark Burkhalter briefly ran the House on Monday, capping off an 11- day tenure as speaker. Burkhalter, who had been speaker pro tem, automatically took over when Richardson stepped down on January 1. After Ralston's election, Burkhalter handed over the gavel and embraced his party's new leader. The House also elected Jan Jones, a Republican from Milton, as speaker pro tem. The vote made her the highest ranking woman in Georgia legislative history. Ralston, the 72nd speaker of the Georgia House of Representatives, indicated the state budget will be his top priority. While they have already made $3 billion in cuts, state revenues have continued to decline. This year state lawmakers are predicting a shortfall of $1.5 billion. The lawmakers point out thousands of teachers and state workers already have been furloughed and the State parks have scaled back their hours. Prisons have grown more crowded. In the courts there is a growing backlog in civil cases and delays in thousands of criminal cases. Ralston says public education is a core mission of state government, but with the budget shortfall in evidence everywhere, teachers in Georgia are already bracing for more cuts as Georgia‟s budget continues to shrink. Ralston has offered an olive branch to minority Democrats who have complained for years about Richardson's sometimes bullying style. He immediately sought to strike a tone of firm reassurance saying, “Sometimes renewal is born by adversity,” as the chamber recovers from scandal and moves forward into a session of brutal budget cuts which will impact all Georgians. Today the Georgia GOP holds a 105-74 advantage in the House. JOHN OXENDINE TO SPEAK AT GOP DINNER IN CAMDEN COUNTY The Camden County Republican Party will be having their annual dinner on February 20, 2010, at the Osprey Room at Osprey Cove in St. Mary‟s, Georgia. A social hour begins at 6:00 p.m. and the dinner starts at 7:00 p.m. The guest speaker for the event will be Georgia Insurance Commissioner and Republican candidate for the party‟s nomination for governor John Oxendine. Oxendine is from Gwinnett County. Oxendine is in a crowded field of at least seven Republicans vying for the gubernatorial nomination; however, he is believed to be the early leader due to name recognition. Other candidates include Karen Handel, Georgia‟s Secretary of State, from Roswell, State Senator Jeff Chapman of Brunswick, State Senator and former President pro tempore of the Senate Eric Johnson, who leads the race in fund raising from Savannah, and Congressman Nathan Deal from northern Georgia. The cost for the event is $50 a plate. To purchase tickets contact Adam Jacobson at firstname.lastname@example.org . The Camden County GOP will hold its February Grits & Bits Breakfast Meeting on Saturday February 6, 2010, at the Fraternal Order of Eagles Aerie in St. Mary‟s (behind the police station in the industrial park). The breakfast will begin at 9:00 a.m. The cost is $7.00. The guest Speaker for the breakfast is Harold Logsdon a candidate for Insurance Commissioner. The GOP will be having other candidates for various posts at both their Grits & Bits breakfasts and their Camden County Republican Women forums. Check the Clarion Issue blog and with the Camden County GOP for the time and place of these events. THE NATION WHITE HOUSE PARTY CRASHERS BECOMING CON ARTISTS The couple that crashed a White House party held on November 24, 2009, has turned into a real set of con artists as they try to keep up their appearance as real members of the Washington insiders social circle. Tareq and Michaele Salahi have been caught twice since the event which made them infamous using fraudulant techniques to ease pass their financial hardships as members of the Beltway social elite. The first fraud came in November when Tareq Salahi gave up his fake Patek Phillipe watch, and told his lawyer it would be worth more than enough to pay a $2,000 debt to their landscaper and yard care service, A1A Improvements. In theory the watch was an heirloom and worth between $17,000 to $250,000. However, Ray Cosey, owner of R E Jewelers Watch & Clock in Chambersburg, Pennsylvania, examined the watch, said it was an imitation, and might be worth $100. He said the watch probably could be bought on the street for less. The Salahi's settled the debt with a bank check delivered to the Court for $2,063.55 to cover their bill. The judge then ordered the fake watch released. It has also been reported the Salahis had drinks at the posh Hay-Adams Hotel, where they walked out on the bill after leaving the state dinner they crashed November 24. The couple allegedly stopped at the hotel‟s Off the Record bar around 9:15 p.m. At some point, Tareq Salahi slapped down $20 “for the tip,” but said he had left his credit cards in the car. The couple never returned to settle the bill. The couple has also had a run in with the government of Montgomery County, Maryland, which conducts all the wholesale liquor sales on its territory. This incident stems from the Salahis‟ purchased wine and beer for America‟s Polo Cup World Championship, a charity polo event they held in the county in May 2009. According to documents filed in Montgomery County District Court, the couple returned more than $10,000 worth of merchandise, but they still owe more than $13,000 from the bounced check. The Salahis seem to be gaining a type of fame they did not expect from crashing the dinner party at the White House. If they are ever called into legal account for their actions on November 24, they may find it hard to write a check or hock a watch for bail. Fame does have its price. Meanwhile, a new word is being added to the English language; to be „Salahied‟ is to have your party crashed by uninvited guests. Perhaps there needs to be a second definition and tense of the word, such as „acting Salahied,‟ for a type of fraudulent socialite behavior. PETA‟S KRUPA AD PROVES CONTROVERSIAL An ad released by the People for the Ethical Teatment of Animals (PETA) featuring aspiring actress, model, and „Dancing with the Stars‟ contestant Joanna Krupa, has caused a major controversy in the media world. In the ad, released in late November, early December 2009, Krupa appears almost naked; her private parts are covered by a large, well-placed metallic crucifix, for the ad entitled “Be an Angel for Animals.” The ad is an attempt to urge people to adopt pets from rescue shelters instead of buying them from “puppy mills.” In the ad the Polish-born beauty indicated puppies sold in pet shops come from „puppy mills,‟ where the dogs are raised in cruel conditions and forced to live in tiny, filthy metal cages without any socialization or exercise. They lack proper veterinary care and are often abandoned by breeders. Plus, every puppy or kitten who is bought prevents an animal in an animal shelter from finding a home. However, while Krupa‟s intentions may be good, the combination of nudity and religious symbolism has certainly gotten the former Playboy cover girl the publicity she was after, much of it bad. InsideCatholic.com Publisher Dean Hudson said, “It‟s totally inappropriate. It‟s another instance of disrespect toward Christianity and another example of the kind of abuse that would never occur with any other major religion; because the outcry would be so immediate and so loud that the people behind it would immediately retreat.” Catholic League President Bill Donohue said in a statement that Krupa‟s new ad for the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals “exploits Christian symbols ... The fact is that cats and dogs are a lot safer in pet stores than they are in the hands of PETA employees. Moreover, pet stores don‟t rip off Christian iconography and engage in cheap irreligious scams.” Donohue went on to add, “PETA is a fraud. It also has a long and disgraceful record of exploiting Christian and Jewish themes to hawk its ugly services. Those who support this organization sorely need a reality check. They also need a course in Ethics 101.” Opponents say PETA has a history of using “shock” ads featuring nude celebrities to promote animal rights. According to PETA, up to 8 million cats and dogs are turned over to animal shelters annually, and half of them are euthanized due to a lack of suitable owners. PETA officials claim animals purchased from pet stores are often from inhumane puppy mills. Krupa responded to the criticism by stating, “As a practicing Catholic, I am shocked that the Catholic League is speaking out against my PETA ads, which I am very proud of. I‟m doing what the Catholic Church should be doing, working to stop senseless suffering of animals, the most defenseless of God‟s creation.” Krupa defended nudity earlier this year, claiming the human body is a work of art, “The fact is, Pope John Paul said, since we were born naked, it is art, and it's just showing a beautiful body that God created.” This was not the first PETA ad Krupa bared her body for. In 2007 she was nude for PETA‟s “I‟d rather go naked than wear fur” ad campaign. The controversial ad ran on various places on the world wide web and also appeared on posters. THE WORLD KANGAROO GOES ROGUE IN AUSTRALIA Chris Rickard, a 49-year-old resident of Arthurs Creek, Victoria, was treated by surgeons at the Austin Hospital in Melbourne on November 23, 2009, after he was mauled by the four and a half foot tall kangaroo while walking his dog, Rockey. The event took place near a dam in the southern Australian state about 35 miles northeast of Melbourne. According to Rickard, he was walking his Blue Heeler, Rocky, near his home when they woke a sleeping kangaroo in some long grass near the dam. When the startled roo ran into the pond near the dam, Rocky followed him barking. The kangaroo then grabbed Rocky with its front paws and held the dog under the water for about 20 seconds until Rickard arrived. Rickard indicated, “I thought I might take a hit or two dragging the dog out from under his grip, but I didn't expect him to actually attack me. I was stuck having to hold onto the dog with both hands because it was half drowned, and I couldn‟t really see anything because the kangaroo just ripped into me. It was a shock at the start because it was a kangaroo, about five feet high; they don‟t go around killing people. Then all of a sudden I realised the first hit it gave me opened up a wide gash above my eye and blinded me. I was flailing away underwater carrying a dog with a kangaroo ripping into me. All I could do was just keep pushing for the bank and he was trying to push me under the water, so at that point I elbowed him in the throat and that made him back off a little bit.” Rickard only managed to escape after he elbowed the kangaroo in the throat as it tried to hold him underwater. Rocky was “half-drowned” when he pulled him from the water. Rickard said, “I have dealt with roos like that before and they normally just leave, or leave you alone if you leave them alone. But this one was really aggressive.” Life support paramedics were called to rush Mr. Rickard to the hospital, where doctors were particularly concerned about the wound to his abdomen which had torn through the flesh and could easily become infected. Dogs will often chase kangaroos, which have been known to lead the pets into water and defend themselves there. Kangaroos rarely attack people but will fight if they feel threatened. The Blue Heeler or Queensland Heeler is also known as the „Australian Cattle Dog.‟ The breed is a courageous, tireless, robust, compact working dog. The dog is a medium size dog and is agile, well muscled, powerful, and determined while working. They are also known for their trademark traits of being intelligent, resourceful, and extremely alert. The Blue Heeler is a high-energy, active dog. They are not content with sitting around the house for hours on end and will encourage you to take them outside for exercise, play, and work. Blue Heelers, like most herders, tend to be one-person dogs. They do not require much in the way of cuddling or affection. Though tough and resolute, they will definitely appreciate positive feedback and good treatment and make loving companions. Sometimes their herding instincts can suddenly come into play. They may „herd‟ family members or nip lightly at heels if they want something. While they do not bark a lot they are still very protective of the home and make excellent watchdogs. SWISS VOTE BANS MINARETS On November 29, 2009, Swiss voters overwhelmingly approved a constitutional ban on minarets, the towers attached to a mosque from which a muezzin calls the faithful to prayer, barring the construction any new towers in the Alpine nation. The surprise vote, which was expected to fail, put Switzerland at the forefront of a European backlash against a growing Muslim population. Muslim groups in Switzerland and abroad condemned the vote as biased and anti-Islamic, and business groups said the decision hurt Switzerland's international standing and could damage relations with Muslim nations and wealthy investors who bank, travel, and shop in Switzerland. Election results stood in stark contrast to opinion polls taken 10 days before the election showing only 37 percent of the voters supporting the proposal. Experts indicated they feared Swiss had pretended during the polling that they opposed the ban because they didn't want to appear intolerant. The referendum by the nationalist Swiss People's Party labeled minarets as symbols of rising Muslim political power that could one day transform Switzerland into an Islamic nation. The initiative was approved 57.5 to 42.5 percent by some 2.67 million voters. Only four of the 26 cantons or states opposed the initiative, granting the double approval that makes it part of the Swiss constitution. Sponsors of the vote point to rising anxieties in recent years across Europe about growing Muslim minorities. They indicated the minaret is a sign of political power and demand, comparable with whole-body covering of women by the burka, tolerance of forced marriage, genital mutilation of girls, and the failure of Muslin population to assimilate into the population. Switzerland‟s Muslims comprise about six percent of the country‟s 7.5 million people. Many are refugees from the Yugoslav wars of the 1990s and only about one in 10 actively practice their religion, according to a government spokesperson. The country has four standing minarets, which would not be affected by the ban. The mosques do not traditionally broadcast the call to prayer outside their own buildings. The seven-member Cabinet that heads the Swiss government had spoken out strongly against the initiative, but the government said it accepted the vote and would impose an immediate ban on minaret construction. The Cabinet went on to add, “Muslims in Switzerland are able to practice their religion alone or in community with others, and live according to their beliefs just as before.” Amnesty International said the vote violated freedom of religion and would probably be overturned by the Swiss Supreme Court or the European Court of Human Rights. United Nations human rights chief Navi Pillay said the referendum was the product of “anti- foreigner scare-mongering” in condemning the vote. „WHAT A CROC:‟ THREE NEW ANCIENT SPECIES OF CROCODILES FOUND IN AFRICA The three new species of crocodiles, along with new examples of two previously known ancient crocodiles, were detailed in mid-November by researchers Paul Sereno of the University of Chicago and Hans Larsson of McGill University in Montreal. They spoke at a news conference organized by the National Geographic Society, which sponsored the research. The team announced the discovery of a 20-foot-long crocodile with three sets of fangs, much like wild boar tusks, which roamed parts of northern Africa millions of years ago. This fearsome croc definitely hunted meat. However, not far away, another newly found type of croc with a wide, flat snout like a pancake was fishing for food, and a smaller, 3-foot-long relative with buckteeth was chomping plants and grubs in the same region. According to Sereno, “These species open a window on a croc world completely foreign to what was living on northern continents.” The scientist was commenting on the unusual animals that lived 100 million years ago on the southern continent known as Gondwana. Hans Dieter Sues of the Smithsonian Institution‟s National Museum of Natural History said the discovery revises the ideas of what ancient crocodile-type reptiles were like. The researchers suggest that these crocs could gallop across the landscape chasing prey and yet dive into water and swim. According to Sues, the editor at ZooKeys magazine which published some of the findings, “It's a joy for anyone who is interested in ancient life to see.” Sereno indicates the African crocs appeared to have had both upright, agile legs for bounding overland and a versatile tail for paddling in water. He believes "Their amphibious talents in the past may be the key to understanding how they flourished in, and ultimately survived, the dinosaur era," according to an article in National Geographic magazine. Sereno added, they weren't racehorses, but they could move quickly. Freshwater crocs in Australia manage to eat a few people every year and these would have been able to do as well, he said. However, there were no people around at the time for the meat eaters to eat. The newly discovered crocodile species include: • Kaprosuchus saharicus, nicknamed "BoarCroc," found in Niger. BoarCroc was a 20- foot-long meat-eater with an armored snout for ramming and three sets of dagger-shaped fangs for slicing. The tusks stuck out above and below the jaw like a modern warthog, said Larsson. "This has never been seen before on any crocodile." • Araripesuchus rattoides, which the researchers call "RatCroc," found in Morocco. This 3-foot-long croc was a plant- and grub-eater with a pair of buckteeth in the lower jaw it used to dig for food. • Laganosuchus thaumastos, or "PancakeCroc," found in Niger and Morocco. Also 20 feet long, it was a squat fish-eater with a 3-foot pancake-flat head and spike-shaped teeth on slender jaws. Sereno said it probably remained motionless for hours, its jaws open and waiting for prey. In addition the researchers found new fossils of two previously named species: • Anatosuchus minor, "DuckCroc," found in Niger, a 3-foot-long fish-, frog- and grub- eater with a broad snout and Pinocchio-like nose. Special sensory areas on the snout end allowed it to root around on the shore and in shallow water for prey. Its closest relative is in Madagascar. • Araripesuchus wegeneri, or "DogCroc," found in Niger, a 3-foot-long plant- and grub- eater with a soft, doglike nose pointing forward. Since 2000, the team has focused on fossils in the Sahara Desert. Sereno‟s first find was Sarcosuchus imperator, a 40-foot-long creature that would have weighed 8 tons when he was alive and he was called “SuperCroc.” The new findings are detailed in the journal ZooKeys as well as National Geographic magazine and a documentary which appeared on the National Geographic Channel. WORLD WAR II VET RETURNS HITLER‟S ART BOOK John Pistone was among the first U.S. soldiers who entered Adolf Hitler‟s home called the Berghof, near Berchtesgaden, Germany, nestled in the Bavarian Alps as the war came to a close in 1945. While making his way through Hitler‟s home Pistone noticed a table with shelves underneath containing a book with pictures of various works of art. Exhilarated by the certainty of victory over the Nazis, Pistone took an album filled with photographs of paintings as a souvenir not realizing the significance of the book at the time. Pistone returned home with the photo album after surviving the battlefields in Europe. He finished college, went into the restaurant business, and had five children. The album mostly stayed up on a shelf at his home in Beachwood, Ohio, but he would occasionally take it down and let family members look through it. Almost sixty-five years after Pistone took the album home to Ohio, the 87-year-old has learned its full significance: The book is part of a series compiled for Hitler featuring art he wanted for his “Fuhrermuseum,” a planned museum in Linz, Austria, Hitler‟s hometown. Pistone's album will be returned to Germany in a ceremony at the U.S. State Department early in 2010. Germany has 19 other albums discovered at the Berchtesgaden complex that are part of a 31-album collection of works either destined for or being considered for the Linz museum. Pistone‟s 3-inch thick, 12-pound album‟s journey from obscurity began this fall when a friend became curious about the book sitting on Pistone‟s bookshelf. After some Internet searching the friend discovered that the Dallas-based Monuments Men Foundation for the Preservation of Art was involved in the 2007 restitution of two other albums that were part of a series documenting art stolen by the Nazis from Jewish families. Its founder, Robert Edsel, who, while living in Italy for a time after selling his oil and gas business, became interested in what was done to protect art in World War II, and traveled to Ohio this fall to examine Pistone's album. Seeing it convinced him that Pistone had one of the missing albums of the series on the planned museum. Art historians point out the discovery of albums could help. In Pistone's case, experts had the names of artwork featured in his album but the photographs could help match them to the correct piece of art. Edsel indicated, “They are key documents from the crime scene.” The art Hitler wanted for his museum was bought, stolen, or confiscated. The 13th album contains works by some of Hitler‟s favorite German painters, including a photo of Adolf von Menzel‟s painting of Frederick the Great that hung in Hitler‟s office in Munich. Adolph Hitler had tried to become an artist earlier in life. He had failed twice to enter the Vienna Art Academy but was rejected both times because his portfolio contained too many structures and not enough people and too few “heads.” The Vienna Academy suggested he go to architecture school. While allied bombs and Russian artillery were destroying Hitler‟s Third Reich, „der Fuehrer,‟ Adolph Hitler, spent hours in a room in his underground bunker in Berlin, a lot of it with Albert Speer, his favorite architect, planning the rebuilding of Linz, Austria, the home of his planed “Fuhrermuseum.” Editor‟s note: Adolph Hitler was born in Austria in 1889. In 1907 and 1908 he tried to enter the Vienna Art Academy. If he had been in Vienna studying in 1914 he would have been drafted into the Austrian Army, but he drifted to Bavaria in Germany and in 1914 joined the German Army at the start of World War I.