I disagree with Hightower.

What you will find here is: a centrist's view of current events;
a collection of thoughts, arguments, and observations
that I have found appealing and/or amusing over the years;
and, if you choose, your civil contributions which will make it into a conversation.

He not busy bein' born, is busy dyin'. - Bob Dylan

Please refer to participants only by their designated identities.

suggestion for US citizens: When a form asks for your race, write in: -- American

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Why is Texas the fastest growing state?

Yesterday I saw a BBC article offering 10 reasons why so many people are moving to Texas.  Given that both armadillos and yellowarmadillos are identified with Texas, I decided to post it here....that, and the fact that YA discusses a number of these issues on a national scale (jobs, taxes, regulation, etc).
As a Kansan, I want to correct one mistake of the author:  Dwight Eisenhower was a Kansan, not a Texan.  One of my favorite statements from the article is the following quote:  "The classic social contract is - we're not going to do a ton to help you but we're not going to get in your way."

The "Comments" section is worth reading, some for the blind stereotypes from people who claim to have lived there "...everyone carries at least one pistol." and some for the balancing-statements provided by others. 

Saturday, May 25, 2013

perpetual warfare

Since I have been complaining about Obama a lot lately I am happy to be able to say something good about him.  He has just announced several things about the "war on terror", a title he doesn't like, that indicate that he considers the war part to be over and that in the future we will treat it like common crimes.  (I think that he has already done that too much of the time.)  I will talk more about the particulars later.

Here I just want to say that we have been warned by everyone from James Madison to George Orwell about the dangers to a republic of perpetual warfare.  I agree with them and with Obama that we should, at some point, mark an end to any conflict.  Perhaps another terror organization will arise that requires a state of war to deal with it, but as for Al Queda lets call it done.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013


This article is by Jillian Kay Melchior in the National Review.

        A tea-party group targeted by Democrats gets attention from the IRS—and the FBI, OSHA, and the ATF.

Monday, May 20, 2013

We're pointing a gun at our democracy

In a CNN article
Donna Brazille - a Democratic party leader - says:

...  We're pointing a pistol at our heads. A government of, by, and for the people requires that people talk to people, that we can agree to disagree but do so in civility. If we let the politicians and those who report dictate our discourse, then our course will be dictated. ...

I agree.

Unfortunately, she then goes on a rant about how there is nothing to all of these scandals except Republican obstructionism against the program of her man, Obama.

Friday, May 17, 2013

IRS Apologizes 3

As I said in number 1 this speaks for itself and it is pretty bad.   Below is what I learned from PBS and one of the networks.
There are some interesting facts here.  These were not regular 501 (c) 3 tax exempts  in which neither the donor nor the receiver pays taxes on the money transferred.  These were either the  501 (c) 4 or the 527.
The second of these is a purely political committee which has taxes due and must reveal its donors.  To qualify for the first category your organization must spend most of its efforts on public service, i.e. on nonpolitical things.  These distinctions are new because of the Citizens United SCOTUS decision.
If you are in this game you want to be in the first group 501(c)4.  So people would be straining to get there.
Furthermore, since it was the year of the tea party, there were lots more right side applications than left.  They would have looked at more tea party things even if they had done it randomly.  
They admit that they gave extra focus to right side sounding group names.  
But (I love the next two.)
It was mostly in one office in Cincinnati.
That office is the headquarters for this kind of determination.
After Obama got the IG’s (inspector general) report they fired the head guy at the IRS.
He wasn’t there at the time this stuff happened, he gets to stay for a week, and he was leaving in two weeks anyway?
Even the regular reporters are starting to ask real questions since the AP incident.
Example:  “Mr. President, when did you find out about these political IRS actions?”
That doesn’t mean that they are going to get answers:  In response to the last question he said: “I got the IG’s report yesterday.”  Does he think that that is cute?  I think that it shows contempt for us and the press.  He said some other stuff too, but he did not answer the question.  We have no idea how long he has been sitting on this.  If he had been seriously outraged, as he says he is, then we would have heard about it months ago when those responsible had been fired.
Am I losing confidence in this man?

Yes. No buts about it.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Who's minding the store?

BOB SCHIEFFER:  "This is not the Nixon administration, ... . This is more of a case, is anybody home?

I mean, just all of a sudden you have this thing with the Justice Department where they’re getting all these phone records of all the reporters. The Attorney General, well he didn’t know anything about it. You get to the IRS, they don’t seem to know anything about the Tea Party thing. You come to White House, they don’t know anything about Benghazi. Somebody’s got to grab hold of this thing.

It’s very, very disturbing what we’re seeing here. "

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Caleb Johnson

Caleb Johnson Murray High School 1995, Cornell 1999, and Columbia 2008 is starting to get some recognition as a filmmaker. 
His latest short film, Root, is being shown by the prestigious SXSW and other festivals. 

  You can find out more about the film and scheduled showings at the laurel page.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

IRS Apologizes 2

I think that it is very unlikely that Obama was involved in the attempt by some  IRS officials to get the Tea Party type nonprofit organizations.  I expect that it was overly enthusiastic underlings.  It reminds me of what my university department chairman told me one time:  "Its not your enemies that get you in trouble.  Its your friends.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Benghazi 4

The media has found Benghazi with a vengeance.

I noticed that the people who explained why no help was sent, talked a lot about the fact that it only lasted 7 hours and it would have taken the military longer than that to get there.

None of our illustrative reporters asked:  "Did you know at the beginning that it would only last seven hours?"

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Two Vignettes



Coming back from Christmas,
I and my – for lack
of a better word—lover
stop here at noon on New Year’s Day
to watch the football games.
We are quarreling over something
I can no longer remember.
We will be back to back
before the Orange Bowl is over.
(Before spring,
it will all be over,
both of us defeated
in a game no one’s made the rules for:
living two thousand miles apart
in places we can’t leave.
Distance does us in.)

For reasons too complicated to explain,
my ex-husband is driving me back to Texas
after Christmas in Tennessee.
We hit Little Rock with not much time to spare:
I rush in to register; he peels off for junk food.
We settle in just as the Cowboys kick off.
On the trip we have speculated
about whom the Democrats will run in ’84,
have argued over whether we should have built the bomb
once we knew Germany didn’t have it after all,
and I have learned that driving a stick shift
is not like riding a bicycle.
We are almost twenty years from the wedding,
some thirteen from the divorce.
But marriage is not the only tie that binds.
(Later, at home, someone will ask,
“But didn’t his wife mind at all?”
and I realize that’s the first time
the idea has occurred to any of the three of us,
and so I say, “No, I expect she was glad
to have the house to herself for a while.”)

Honoria, a local Murray poet

Friday, May 10, 2013

IRS Apologizes

I think I'll just let this one speak for itself.

IRS Apologizes for Targeting Conservative Groups

Thursday, May 9, 2013

ex patriots

If you come from Murray - Calloway County let us know what you are up to with a small post here.  If you'd rather you can send it to me at wcbell@murray-ky.net and I'll put it up.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Benghazi 3 - media

Apparently, the nonFox media is finally starting to cover the Benghazi affair.  It occupied a major portion of last Sunday's Face the Nation show on CBS.  Until recently I had seen it only on Fox.

Oct 21 I said here:  "I believe the President was concerned that the terrorist attack on Benghazi would be seen a harbinger of the collapse of his middle eastern foreign policy.  That is why for two weeks his administration conducted a media campaign to convince us that it was a demonstration that got out of hand and not an organized activity." 
In the comments there it was noted that:  "... the response by the administration was the standard damage control that we see from our institutions from time to time when events threaten to damage their brand."  That is, of course, frequently true. That is why we need a independent media.  That brings us to the real and double tragedy here. Our mainline media will not only not cover this important story, it assures us that those who do cover it are unreliable.  The majority of  our media apparently sees its role as supporting the administration's (mis?)representation of those events.

Recall how the media handled Bush's claims about African yellowcake?  I have a friend who went on interminably about how the Bush people "outed a CIA agent" (Valerie Plame, author of the subsequent book - Fair Game).  That friend has not been at all concerned about the idea that perhaps this administration left an ambassador (Chris Stevens) and others out to die.  I told her that, contrary to Obama's claims, the Libyan President said (in September) that it was clearly a preplanned attack and she asked, "Libya has a President?" 

I would argue that the blame for my friend's indifference lies not with her, but with the media and its selective reporting. 

By way of comparison the reader should note that Ambassador Stevens will not be writing a book about the treatment that he received from his administration.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Curris and Dunn

For those interested  in local Murray News:

An article in the Murray State News on Thursday last compares the moves against President Curris in the eighties and the current nonrenewal of President Dunn's contract.

The following comment was appended:

While there are some similarities in the cases of Presidents Curris and Dunn there is a very large difference that the author of this article passes over lightly and there is a timeline question about the actions against Dr. Curris.

The current action by the board is one of not extending Dunn’s contract beyond its current end which I believe is on June 30, 2014.  However, there were two occasions on which the board moved to end Curris’s time as president.  If the second one (in 1982) were the only attempt, then that case would, as you have suggested, be similar to this one because the board decided to replace Curris at the end of his contract on June 30, 1983.

However, in this article, there seems to be some confusion between the second move against Curris (1982) with the first, which occurred in February of 1981.   It was on that first occasion that the charges were brought and the courts became involved.  In the 1981 action, the board was not simply trying to let a contract run out.  Their objective was to break Curris’s contract, which had almost 2 ½ years remaining, and remove him immediately.  That is quite a different thing than letting a contract run out.  That is why the action required charges and that is why it resulted in such a huge fight.  Curris won that stage of the fight. 


Wayne C. Bell, Faculty Senate President, 1982-83

 For more on this subject see: My Tenure Biennium

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Obama's "game changer"

On April 30, in the light of recent evidence indicating the use of Sarin gas in Syria, Jon Stewart roasted the President (for game changer remarks and subsequent inaction about the use of such gas) and some Republicans (for their response).

Three things:

1.  I'm not real sure that he was justified in his complaint with the Rs (that they want to do something but don't want "boots on the ground").  There are in fact some substantial things that one can do that do not involve "boots".  Construct a no-fly zone over Syria or persuade the Russians to quit supplying Assad.

2.  I agree with what I will call Jon's first criticism of Obama.  When Obama first trotted out the red line gamechanger talk he left it completely open as to what the response would be.  He should have been clearer at the outset that there would still be a variety of responses that we could make in the event that the "game changing" use of WMD actually occurred.  (It also wouldn't have hurt if he had made a distinction on what our response would be based on who used the WMD.)  Instead he gave the impression that if any WMD appears in Syria we were going to jump right in with both feet.

 3.  I strongly disagree with the complaint about the second criticism of Obama in this case.  That is that he said we were going to do something and we should now be going gung ho into action.  You may or may not have supported Bush 43's actions vis a vis the existence of WMD in Iraq.  However, the lack of supporting evidence in that case makes it absolutely essential that any action by Obama vis a vis the use of WMD in Syria is based on rock solid evidence.  There is no room for a margin of error here.

Cable news

Does the YA community get much news from MSNBC, CNN, or FOX?

Who are some of the pundits you listen to?

I read most of my news, but also like to watch clips from various cable news shows to see what it is that they are all saying on a given day.

I'm curious - for example, in the past I have generally liked listening to Charles Krauthammer but has been annoying me recently. He seems more and more like a partisan hack than a weighty conservative thinker.