August 31, 2008
"Remember, that Time is Money."
-- Benjamin Franklin (Advice to a Young Tradesman, 1748)
August 30, 2008
"It is not necessary to enumerate the many advantages, that arise from this custom of early marriages. They comprehend all the society can receive from this source; from the preservation, and increase of the human race. Every thing useful and beneficial to man, seems to be connected with obedience to the laws of his nature, the inclinations, the duties, and the happiness of individuals, resolve themselves into customs and habits, favourable, in the highest degree, to society. In no case is this more apparent, than in the customs of nations respecting marriage."
-- Samuel Williams (The Natural and Civil History of Vermont, 1794)
August 29, 2008
"Without wishing to damp the ardor of curiosity or influence the freedom of inquiry, I will hazard a prediction that, after the most industrious and impartial researchers, the longest liver of you all will find no principles, institutions or systems of education more fit in general to be transmitted to your posterity than those you have received from your ancestors."
-- John Adams (letter to the young men of the Philadelphia, 7 May 1798)
August 28, 2008
"Men of energy of character must have enemies; because there are two sides to every question, and taking one with decision, and acting on it with effect, those who take the other will of course be hostile in proportion as they feel that effect."
-- Thomas Jefferson (letter to John Adams, 21 December 1817)
August 27, 2008
"Harmony in the married state is the very first object to be aimed at."
-- Thomas Jefferson (letter to Mary Jefferson Eppes, 7 January 1798)
August 26, 2008
"A popular Government, without popular information, or the means of acquiring it, is but a Prologue to a Farce or a Tragedy; or, perhaps both. Knowledge will forever govern ignorance: And a people who mean to be their own Governors, must arm themselves with the power which knowledge gives."
-- James Madison (letter to W.T. Barry, 4 August 1822)
Biden on Obama
'Some day he will be ready, but he's not ready now.'
-- Joe Biden
August 25, 2008
"Without Freedom of Thought there can be no such Thing as Wisdom; and no such Thing as Public Liberty, without Freedom of Speech."
-- Benjamin Franklin (writing as Silence Dogood, No. 8, 9 July 1722)
August 24, 2008
"[W]e are confirmed in the opinion, that the present age would be deficient in their duty to God, their posterity and themselves, if they do not establish an American republic. This is the only form of government we wish to see established; for we can never be willingly subject to any other King than He who, being possessed of infinite wisdom, goodness and rectitude, is alone fit to possess unlimited power."
Instructions of Malden, Massachusetts for a Declaration of Independence, 27 May 1776
August 23, 2008
"Energy in the executive is a leading character in the definition of good government. It is essential to the protection of the community against foreign attacks; it is not less essential to the steady administration of the laws; to the protection of property against those irregular and high-handed combinations which sometimes interrupt the ordinary course of justice; to the security of liberty against the enterprises and assaults of ambition, of faction, and of anarchy."
-- Alexander Hamilton (Federalist No. 69, 14 March 1788)
August 22, 2008
"The Alien bill proposed in the Senate is a monster that must forever disgrace its parents."
-- James Madison (letter to Thomas Jefferson, 20 May 1798)
It seems that the Brits have been fed a line of bull about Americans by their own media.
A poll of nearly 2,000 Britons by YouGov/PHI found that 70 per cent of respondents incorrectly said it was true that the US had done a worse job than the European Union in reducing carbon emissions since 2000. More than 50 per cent presumed that polygamy was legal in the US, when it is illegal in all 50 states.
Let's see. What is their primary source of news? The BBC.
Also, Glenn Reynolds weighs in.
August 21, 2008
"Remember, my Eliza, you are a Christian."
-- Alexander Hamilton (speaking to his grieving wife, 7/12/1804)
The "holy grail of biofuels"
Gasoline produced from garbage, sewage, and manure is feasible with current technology. The Texas Engineering Experiment Station is on the ball with this one, and a production plant could be built within 18 months.
The advanced process is possibly the only integrated system that converts biomass directly to gasoline. Most other emerging processes convert the biomass into alcohol and then blend it with gasoline. The system is relatively inexpensive and focuses on using biomass waste streams and non-food energy crops rather than food products such as corn.
Additionally, the cost of such a conversion would lie between $1.70 and $2.00 per gallon excluding all government subsidies and tax credits. This cost range is dependent on the type and cost of feedstock as well as the size of the biorefinery. This would provide some much-needed relief for consumers when it comes to fueling their vehicles, whose current options are to pay more or drive less.
Not only is it possible in 2010, it also is cheaper than conventional gasoline.
Wow. It eliminates biological waste, is technologically feasible, and would cost less than conventional gasoline.
Texas. There is a lot of good to be said about a state that has no income tax, does not have burdensome taxes on business, encourages partnerships between academia and business, and facilitates the exploration of new technology.
Ya'll come on down! It's a big state -- we've got plenty of room.
Oh, and . . . gig 'em!
August 20, 2008
"The prosperity of commerce is now perceived and acknowledged by all enlightened statesmen to be the most useful as well as the most productive source of national wealth, and has accordingly become a primary object of its political cares."
-- Alexander Hamilton, 1787 - Federalist No. 12
August 19, 2008
"Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclination, or the dictates of our passions, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence."
-- John Adams, 1770 - in Defense of the British Soldiers on trial for the Boston Massacre
The problem with dialogue in America
Over the course of the last few years, I have become very concerned with the increasingly vitriolic rhetoric being exchanged between the political left and right in this country. Increasingly, the proponents of liberal politics are verbally assaulting, sometimes viciously, those professing a conservative philosophy, and right-leaning people are increasingly returning the favor with personal attacks of their own. One need only look at Michelle Malkin's website to see this kind of hate-filled bile -- in the comments to her posts.
American politics seems to be spiraling down into the sewer -- in more ways than one. It appears that we've lost our ability to hold reasoned debate. Our tradition of exchanging contrary ideas and their supporting arguments is virtually non-existent anymore.
And we are the poorer because of it.
Instead of reasoned debate, we exchange personal insults. Instead of an exchange of arguments and supporting facts and logic, we exchange demeaning and inflamatory accusations. Instead of logic, we exchange bile.
I can't but help to think -- hope, really -- that we all are seeing this happen and are saddened by it. We are diminished when we stoop to such mean-spirited and bullying tactics in some pathetic attempt to win an argument.
Our founding fathers were far from perfect when they undertook to form "a more perfect union." They harbored tremendous differences as they labored to forge a government based upon "the people." They, too, debated with great vigor and passion. But they were far less likely to impugn the honor of those they disagreed with so mightily -- let alone utter the vile obscenities that are so readily exchanged today.
I have an idea about why this is so. America's founding fathers were generally men of faith. And they read their bibles. A passage in James caught my attention Sunday, and I wonder if it was one that these men observed when undertaking their debates [emphasis mine]:
Do you want to be counted wise, to build a reputation for wisdom? Here's what you do: Live well, live wisely, live humbly. It's the way you live, not the way you talk, that counts. Mean-spirited ambition isn't wisdom. Boasting that you are wise isn't wisdom. Twisting the truth to make yourselves sound wise isn't wisdom. It's the furthest thing from wisdom—it's animal cunning, devilish conniving. Whenever you're trying to look better than others or get the better of others, things fall apart and everyone ends up at the others' throats.
Real wisdom, God's wisdom, begins with a holy life and is characterized by getting along with others. It is gentle and reasonable, overflowing with mercy and blessings, not hot one day and cold the next, not two-faced. You can develop a healthy, robust community that lives right with God and enjoy its results only if you do the hard work of getting along with each other, treating each other with dignity and honor.
-- James 3: 13-18 (The Message translation)
We, in America, need to stop taking the lazy, self-centered path, and start doing the hard work of getting along with each other -- treating each other with dignity and honor. Only then will we become a healthy, robust society -- again.
Like we are meant to be.
August 18, 2008
"Man, once surrendering his reason, has no remaining guard against absurdities the most monstrous, and like a ship without rudder, is the sport of every wind. With such persons, gullibility, which they call faith, takes the helm from the hand of reason and the mind becomes a wreck."
-- Thomas Jefferson, 1822 - letter to James Smith
August 17, 2008
"People generally have more feeling for canals and roads than education. However, I hope we can advance them with equal pace."
-- Thomas Jefferson (letter to Joel Barlow, 10 December 1807)
August 16, 2008
"Dependence begets subservience and venality, suffocates the germ of virtue, and prepares fit tools for the designs of ambition."
-- Thomas Jefferson, 1781 - Notes on Virginia, Query 19
August 15, 2008
"Repeal that [welfare] law, and you will soon see a change in their manners. St. Monday and St. Tuesday, will soon cease to be holidays. Six days shalt thou labor, though one of the old commandments long treated as out of date, will again be looked upon as a respectable precept; industry will increase, and with it plenty among the lower people; their circumstances will mend, and more will be done for their happiness by inuring them to provide for themselves, than could be done by dividing all your estates among them."
-- Benjamin Franklin, 1753 - letter to Collinson
August 14, 2008
"I am for doing good to the poor, but I differ in opinion of the means. I think the best way of doing good to the poor, is not making them easy in poverty, but leading or driving them out of it. In my youth I travelled much, and I observed in different countries, that the more public provisions were made for the poor, the less they provided for themselves, and of course became poorer. And, on the contrary, the less was done for them, the more they did for themselves, and became richer."
-- Benjamin Franklin, 1766 - On the Price of Corn and Management of the Poor
Parenting for the future
"I don't think it's necessary to win a popularity contest with your kids, and especially not while they're kids. Parents should be more concerned with what their kids will think of them when they reach thirty. Or, more importantly, what their kids will think of themselves. Most of us, when we look back over our lives and our reactions to our parents, discover that today we accept and are grateful for things we rebelled against at the age of fifteen or twenty."
-- Ronald Reagan
[Via Paul Smith.]
Education or indoctrination?
"There is a growing tendency for schools and even some churches to challenge the mores and values of parents, to encourage a young person to develop his own ideas and standards. That's healthy only if the young person already has the maturity of having accepted and lived with a set of values in his own family. Otherwise he is likely to fall victim to the first doctrinaire teacher or minister who gets to him, just to maintain a sense of security. That's when education becomes indoctrination."
-- Ronald Reagan
[Via Paul Smith.]
August 13, 2008
"I think we have more machinery of government than is necessary, too many parasites living on the labor of the industrious."
-- Thomas Jefferson, 1824 - letter to William Ludlow
August 12, 2008
"If we can prevent the government from wasting the labors of the people, under the pretence of taking care of them, they must become happy."
-- Thomas Jefferson, 1802 - letter to Thomas Cooper
August 11, 2008
"The pyramid of government-and a republican government may well receive that beautiful and solid form-should be raised to a dignified altitude: but its foundations must, of consequence, be broad, and strong, and deep. The authority, the interests, and the affections of the people at large are the only foundation, on which a superstructure proposed to be at once durable and magnificent, can be rationally erected."
-- James Wilson
"Throughout history, poverty is the normal condition of man. Advances which permit this norm to be exceeded — here and there, now and then — are the work of an extremely small minority, frequently despised, often condemned, and almost always opposed by all right-thinking people. Whenever this tiny minority is kept from creating, or (as sometimes happens) is driven out of a society, the people then slip back into abject poverty.
This is known as "bad luck."
-- Robert Heinlein
August 10, 2008
"As our president bears no resemblance to a king so we shall see the Senate has no similitude to nobles. First, not being hereditary, their collective knowledge, wisdom, and virtue are not precarious. For by these qualities alone are they to obtain their offices, and they will have none of the peculiar qualities and vices of those men who possess power merely because their father held it before them."
-- Tench Coxe (An American Citizen, No.2, 28 September 1787)
August 09, 2008
"The blessed Religion revealed in the word of God will remain an eternal and awful monument to prove that the best Institution may be abused by human depravity; and that they may even, in some instances be made subservient to the vilest purposes. Should, hereafter, those incited by the lust of power and prompted by the Supineness or venality of their Constituents, overleap the known barriers of this Constitution and violate the unalienable rights of humanity: it will only serve to shew, that no compact among men (however provident in its construction and sacred in its ratification) can be pronounced everlasting an[d] inviolable, and if I may so express myself, that no Wall of words, that no mound of parchm[en]t can be so formed as to stand against the sweeping torrent of boundless ambition on the [one] side, aided by the sapping current of corrupted morals on the other."
-- George Washington (fragments of the Draft First Inaugural Address, April 1789)
August 08, 2008
"Proclaim liberty throughout all the land unto all the inhabitants thereof - Lev. XXV, v. X"
Inscription on the Liberty Bell, from Leviticus 25:10
Economic justice = socialism
And that is what Barack Obama is selling.
"Economic justice" simply means punishing the successful and redistributing their wealth by government fiat. It's a euphemism for socialism.
In the past, such rhetoric was just that — rhetoric. But Obama's positioning himself with alarming stealth to put that rhetoric into action on a scale not seen since the birth of the welfare state.
In his latest memoir he shares that he'd like to "recast" the welfare net that FDR and LBJ cast while rolling back what he derisively calls the "winner-take-all" market economy that Ronald Reagan reignited (with record gains in living standards for all).
Obama also talks about "restoring fairness to the economy," code for soaking the "rich" — a segment of society he fails to understand that includes mom-and-pop businesses filing individual tax returns.
It's clear from a close reading of his two books that he's a firm believer in class envy. He assumes the economy is a fixed pie, whereby the successful only get rich at the expense of the poor.
Following this discredited Marxist model, he believes government must step in and redistribute pieces of the pie. That requires massive transfers of wealth through government taxing and spending, a return to the entitlement days of old.
Go read the whole thing.
August 07, 2008
"The Sun never shined on a cause of greater worth."
-- Thomas Paine (Common Sense, 1776)
“When World War II ended, the United States had the only undamaged industrial power in the world. Our military might was at its peak, and we alone had the ultimate weapon, the nuclear weapon, with the unquestioned ability to deliver it anywhere in the world. If we had sought world domination then, who could have opposed us? But the United States followed a different course, one unique in all the history of mankind. We used our power and wealth to rebuild the war-ravished economies of the world, including those of the nations who had been our enemies. May I say, there is absolutely no substance to charges that the United States is guilty of imperialism or attempts to impose its will on other countries, by use of force.”
— Ronald Reagan
August 06, 2008
"Our cause is noble; it is the cause of mankind!"
-- George Washington (letter to James Warren, 31 March 1779)
The State of Our Government
The libertarian in me cannot help but appreciate this . . .
[Via Despair, Inc.]
August 05, 2008
"Liberty must at all hazards be supported. We have a right to it, derived from our Maker. But if we had not, our fathers have earned and bought it for us, at the expense of their ease, their estates, their pleasure, and their blood."
-- John Adams (A Dissertation on the Canon and Feudal Law, 1765)
Thirty years ago today, my lovely wife and I were married. We were young and naive and madly in love . . .
We've had both good times and bad through the years, but the good times have been far more numerous and of longer duration than the bad times.
Our marriage team has gone through much during this time: three academic degrees (between us, plus the equivalent of another one); unemployment; under employment; the poor student years; separation due to war, and to work; two daughters, seven years apart; the deaths of friendships and loved ones; new friendships; the joys of parenthood; happy times; sad times; fun times; and dull times . . .
During that time, our marriage has been blessed by two major influences: our firm determination to make things work, and more importantly, God being a significant part of our marriage.
I, personally, have been blessed by her deep love for me (even when I was unlovable), her fierce loyalty to me (even when my loyalty wavered), her unconditional support for me (even when I thought I was unsupportable), and her tremendous faith in me and my potential (even when I had no faith in myself). All of these things have contributed tremendously toward making these thirty years together happy and successful.
My lovely wife is absolutely wonderful in all of her many roles, and I am humbled and grateful that God has blessed me. of all people, with such an angel.
I pray that I will be blessed with another thirty years of marriage to this amazing woman. A woman whom I love so dearly.
God bless you, honey. I love you.
August 04, 2008
"But as the plan of the convention aims only at a partial union or consolidation, the State governments would clearly retain all the rights of sovereignty which they before had, and which were not, by that act, EXCLUSIVELY delegated to the United States."
-- Alexander Hamilton (Federalist No. 32, 3 January 1788)
People sign a petition to ban H2O.
An oldie, but goodie.
August 03, 2008
"[H]owever weak our country may be, I hope we shall never sacrifice our liberties."
-- Alexander Hamilton (Report on a National Bank, 13 December 1790)
August 02, 2008
"A local spirit will infallibly prevail much more in the members of Congress than a national spirit will prevail in the legislatures of the particular States."
-- James Madison (Federalist No. 46, 29 January 1788)
August 01, 2008
"This gave me occasion to observe, that when Men are employ'd they are best contented. For on the Days they work'd they were good-natur'd and chearful; and with the consciousness of having done a good Days work they spent the Evenings jollily; but on the idle Days they were mutinous and quarrelsome, finding fault with their Pork, the Bread, and in continual ill-humour."
-- Benjamin Franklin, 1771 - Autobiography