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Free Citizen

This writer espouses individual liberty, free markets, and limited government.

Location: Jackson, Mississippi, United States

Friday, October 27, 2006

The Distinct Sound of Purring

Everyone in the apartment complex I lived in knew who Ugly was. Ugly was the resident tomcat. Ugly loved three things in this world: fighting, eating garbage, and shall we say, love.

The combination of these things combined with a life spent outside had their effect on Ugly. To start with, he had only one eye, and where the other should have been was a gaping hole. He was also missing his ear on the same side, his left foot appeared to have been badly broken at one time, and had healed at an unnatural angle, making him look like he was always turning the corner.

His tail had long since been lost, leaving only the smallest stub, which he would constantly jerk and twitch. Ugly would have been a dark gray tabby striped-type, except for the sores covering his head, neck, even his shoulders with thick, yellowing scabs.

Every time someone saw Ugly there was the same reaction. 'That's one ugly cat!!'

All the children were warned not to touch him, the adults threw rocks at him, hosed him down, and squirted him when he tried to come into their homes, or shut his paws in the door when he would not leave.

Ugly always had the same reaction. If you turned the hose on him, he would stand there, getting soaked until you gave up and quit. If you threw things at him, he would curl his lanky body around your feet in forgiveness. Whenever he spied children, he would come running, meowing frantically and bump his head against their hands, begging for their love. If you picked him up he would immediately begin suckling on your shirt, earrings, whatever he could find.

One day Ugly shared his love with my neighbours' dogs. They did not respond kindly, and Ugly was badly mauled. From my apartment I could hear his screams, and I tried to rush to his aid. By the time I got to where he was lying, it was apparent Ugly's sad life was almost at an end. Ugly lay in a wet circle, his back legs and lower back twisted grossly out of shape, a gaping tear in the white strip of fur that ran down his front.

As I picked him up and tried to carry him home I could hear him wheezing and gasping, and could feel him struggling. I must be hurting him terribly I thought. Then I felt a familiar tugging, sucking sensation on my ear - Ugly, in so much pain, suffering and obviously dying was trying to suckle my ear. I pulled him closer to me and he bumped the palm of my hand with his head, then he turned his one golden eye towards me, and I could hear the distinct sound of purring. Even in the greatest pain, that ugly battled-scarred cat was asking only for a little affection, perhaps some compassion.

At that moment I thought Ugly was the most beautiful, loving creature I had ever seen. Never once did he try to bite or scratch me, or even try to get away from me, or struggle in any way. Ugly just looked up at me completely trusting in me to relieve his pain.

Ugly died in my arms before I could get inside, but I sat and held him for a long time afterwards, thinking about how one scarred, deformed stray tomcat could so alter my opinion about what it means to have true pureness of spirit, to love so totally and truly.

Ugly taught me more about giving and compassion than a thousand books, lectures, or talk show specials ever could, and for that I will always be thankful. He had been scarred on the outside, but I was scarred on the inside, and it was time for me to move on and learn to love truly and deeply. To give my total affection to those I cared for.

Many people want to be richer, more successful, well liked, beautiful, but for me, I will always try to be like Ugly.

-- Author unknown

Sunday, October 22, 2006

The Rainbow Bridge Story

It was a year ago today that I lost my beloved Kitty Boots.

To honor her memory, I am posting this message of hope, whose author is unknown.

Just this side of heaven is a place called Rainbow Bridge. When an animal dies who has been especially close to someone here, that pet goes to Rainbow Bridge. There are meadows and hills for all of our special friends so they can run and play together. There is plenty of food, water and sunshine, and our friends are warm and comfortable. All the animals who had been ill and old are restored to health and vigor; those who were hurt or maimed are made whole and strong again, just as we remember them in our dreams of days and times gone by.

The animals are happy and content, except for one small thing; they each miss someone very special to them, who had to be left behind. They all run and play together, but the day comes when one suddenly stops and looks into the distance. Her bright eyes are intent; her eager body quivers. Suddenly she begins to run from the group, flying over the green grass, her legs carrying her faster and faster.

You have been spotted, and when you and your special friend finally meet, you cling together in joyous reunion, never to be parted again. The happy kisses rain upon your face; your hands again caress the beloved head, and you look once more into the trusting eyes of your pet, so long gone from your life but never absent from your heart.

Then you cross Rainbow Bridge together...

Friday, October 13, 2006

'Air America' Goes Broke

Reprinted from NewsMax.com

Friday, Oct. 13, 2006

Air America Radio, a liberal talk and news radio network that features the comedian Al Franken, has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, a network official told The AP.

The network had denied rumors just a month ago that it would file for bankruptcy. On Friday, Air America spokeswoman Jaime Horn told The Associated Press that the filing became necessary only recently after negotiations with a creditor from the company's early days broke down.

The network will stay on the air while it resolves issues with its creditors, Horn said. In addition to Franken, the network also features shows from liberal talk show host Randi Rhodes and Jerry Springer.

Horn declined to name the creditor with which talks had reached a logjam. The company will operate in the interim with funding from its current investor group.

Air America also said Friday it had named Scott Elberg as its new CEO. Elberg, a former general manager of the radio station WLIB in New York, has been with the network since May of last year.

The filing marked the latest turbulence at the liberal talk radio network, which went on the air two years ago. This April, Danny Goldberg stepped down as CEO and was replaced by an interim chief executive from a management consulting firm.

"Nobody likes filing for bankruptcy," Elberg said in a statement. "However, this move will enable us to concentrate on informing and entertaining our audience during the coming months."

© 2006 Associated Press

Canada's Socialist Utopia

[This is reprinted from The Patriot Post of October 13, 2006. Do we want the same outfit that runs the post office and the IRS to run our health-care system, which is 1/7 of the U. S. economy?]

Canada’s current health-care system is the perfect example of why government should not be responsible for the health of its citizens. According to Paying More, Getting Less, a recent study published by Canada’s Fraser Institute, health-care costs will consume over half of Canada’s total revenues by 2020, and all revenues by 2050 “in six out of 10 provinces if current trends continue.”

“The way public health insurance is currently structured in Canada is not financially sustainable,” according to the study’s author, Brett Skinner, Fraser’s Director of Health, Pharmaceutical and Insurance Policy Research. “Provincial health spending has grown faster than revenue for a long time. We are nearing the limits of our capacity to pay for necessary medical care through public funds alone.”

In order to maintain its financial footing, the system has limited recipients’ choices of insured care. “This has produced unacceptably long waits for medical services; reduced access to health professionals and high tech equipment; fewer hospitals... withdrawal of public insurance coverage for previously insured medical goods and services; and the delay or outright refusal to provide public insurance coverage for new treatments and technologies available in other countries,” the study found.

Suggested changes to the system include requiring patients to make co-payments, allowing citizens the right to choose private-insurance providers and to permit free-market competitiveness among health-care providers. “As health-care spending swallows a larger and larger share of revenues every year,” Skinner wrote, “provincial governments will be forced to spend less on other public priorities or impose economically harmful tax increases and further limit access to necessary medical treatment.”

[Canadians who can afford it cross the border and take advantage of U. S. health care. Cleveland, Ohio, for example, is the hip-replacement capital of southern Ontario.]

Thursday, October 05, 2006

The Donkey King's Temper Tantrum

by Greg Asimakoupoulos
September 29, 2006

Temper, temper, Mr. Clinton.
Look at how you lost your cool.
Donkey King, you were a jackass.
Kicking foxes? What a mule!

Temper, temper, Mr. Clinton.
Who are you to come unglued?
Ms. Lewinski had your focus,
not that tall bin-Laden dude

Temper, temper, Mr. Clinton.
You who call the kettle black
You who stir the stew of rancor
bubbling about Iraq.

Temper, temper, Mr. Clinton.
Tantrums like you just displayed
cause us to reveal your foibles
and discount your pious bray.

This column appears every Friday only in The Partial Observer.

This article was printed from www.partialobserver.com.
Copyright © 2006 partialobserver.com. All rights reserved.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Common Sense from Oklahoma

[Investor's Business Daily ran this piece on September 29, 2006. Oklahoma has two great U. S. senators; I'd love to see Sen. Tom Coburn run for president in 2008.]

Environment: The country is drowning in wild alarums warning of impending doom due to global warming. Yet there has risen -- from the U.S. Senate, of all places -- a lone voice of rational dissent.

While Al Gore drifts into deeper darkness on the other side of the moon, propelled by such revelations as cigarette smoking is a "significant contributor to global warming," Sen. James Inhofe is becoming a one-man myth-wrecking crew.

Inhofe, a Republican from Oklahoma, took to the Senate floor two days last week to expose the media's role in the global warming hype. This is a man who more than three years ago called the global warming scare "the greatest hoax ever perpetrated on the American people" and has made a habit of tweaking the left-leaning environmental lobby.

One member of the media, Miles O'Brien of CNN, responded last week to Inhofe's criticism of the media with a piece criticizing Inhofe and challenging his arguments. If anything, it seems that O'Brien's reply simply motivated Inhofe to continue his effort to undress the media's complicity and bring light to the issue.

We hope so. The "science" on global warming and the media's propaganda campaign need to be picked apart.

The assumptions made by gloomy theorists should be revealed for what they are: mere conjecture.

The lies and carefully crafted implications, many of them discharged like toxic pollutants by a former vice president, deserve a thorough and lasting deconstruction.

What the public needs -- and deserves -- is a credible voice to counter the sermons from Gore, on whose behalf cigarettes were distributed in 2000 to Milwaukee homeless people who were recruited by campaign volunteers to cast absentee ballots. Inhofe could be that voice.

He's no John the Baptist crying out in the wilderness. What he is, in fact, is a thrice-elected senator, a former member of the House and, before that, a state senator and representative.

For those not impressed by a political background -- after all, Gore, far out of proportion to his qualifications, rose to the second most powerful position on Earth -- consider that Inhofe is an Army veteran and longtime pilot, and has actually worked in the private sector.

Unlike most in the Senate, Inhofe is willing to stand on a soapbox and expose his head to his opponents' rhetorical stones. Name another in that august body who would dare label as a hoax the premise that undergirds the day's most trendy pop cult. Is there anyone there who would want to try to stand up to the likes of O'Brien?

O'Brien's biased report is not exactly the type of exposure global warming skeptics hope for, though. The goal, say the skeptics, should be to teach and inform, to provide an alternative to the flood of hyperbole and intentionally misleading thunder that's passed off as settled science.

There are enough scientists to fill a fleet of Humvees who can express scepticism over global warming, despite Gore's claims that the matter has been resolved in favor of his conclusions. But none has the forum a U.S. senator can command. With rare exceptions, scientists can marshal media attention on the climate change issue only by spouting the party line that man-made emissions are causing Earth to warm. That's the sort of stuff the press laps up like a starving dog.

Without the wind of a compliant media at his back, Inhofe nevertheless got his message out to America, primarily through C-Span and the Drudge Report, which linked to his speeches at the Web site of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works.

Among those responding to Inhofe's first speech included a scientist and a meteorologist. Both hold views on global warming that are in line with the senator's -- which puts them at odds with the environmental lobby's assertions of "consensus" that have been relentlessly beaten into the masses for more than a decade.

The most important audience, though, is among the Americans who have no links to science. They're the ones who have a lot to learn and will benefit the most from someone who has mass access to the public and is willing to challenge the widely -- and often uncritically -- accepted claims about climate change.

© Investor's Business Daily, Inc. 2006. All Rights Reserved.

Monday, October 02, 2006

A One-House Legislature?

[In the October 1, 2006 Clarion-Ledger, a letter-writer named Margaret Nicholas said, "[W]e do not need a 174-member Legislature. Half that number and a unicameral group would be sufficient in a state with such a small population. Think of the money, time, effort that would be saved!"

Since this question of the size of the Mississippi legislature keeps recurring, I am posting here a "golden oldie." This letter appeared in The Clarion-Ledger on January 14, 2002.]

Bob Barnett of Brandon presented some interesting ideas on our legislature, the most powerful branch of state government ("Legislature needs these reforms," Oct. 5, 2001).

The one-member-per-county concept won't fly, as the U. S. Supreme Court has mandated that legislatures be apportioned on the basis of population.

We definitely don't need 52 senators and 122 representatives, however. California, with almost 12 times our population, has 40 senators and 80 assembly members.

Will career politicians support something which may cost them their jobs? The phrase "slim and none" comes to mind.

We had every-other-year legislative sessions until 1970. There were frequent special sessions in the off years, and it was believed that annual sessions would reduce the number of special sessions. (How's that working out?)

The one-house legislature is a really bad notion, mainly because it would be easier to pass laws. The U. S. Constitution gave us a two-house Congress, and 49 states (all but Nebraska) followed with two-house legislatures.

If one house passes a bad bill, the other house can stop it. If the two bodies pass contrasting versions of the same bill, they have to reconcile their differences before sending the measure to the governor. This allows for more discussion and consideration.

The most efficient government is a dictatorship. Our government, with its system of checks and balances, was designed to be inefficient, making it nearly impossible for a tyrant to seize control of it.

The Globe is Warming and We're all Gonna Die!

[A conservative friend recently told me that he worried that there might be something to the "global warming" malarkey, so I decided it was time to post something on this bogus issue. If you were around in the 1970s, you'll recall that the environmental wackos were then spreading alarms about a "New Ice Age." Whew! Aren't you glad we survived that one?]

By Alan Caruba
web posted October 2, 2006

To understand the whole global warming debate you have to understand that it is not about any dramatic warming of the Earth. The Earth has been warming since the end of the last Ice Age with time out for some mini-Ice Age episodes.

As Richard S. Lindzen, the Alfred P. Sloan Professor of Atmospheric Science at MIT, has repeatedly written, the average global temperature has increased about one degree Fahrenheit over the past century. It's a natural cycle and, since we are at the end of the current 12,000-year interglacial cycle of temperate climate, we are due another Ice Age.

Global warming is about controlling the world's population by impeding or making more costly the use of energy -- oil, natural gas, coal, and nuclear -- in developed, industrial nations and thwarting efforts to expand the use of electricity in Third World nations. Keeping people ignorant and ultimately dependent on a vast one-world government based on failed socialist utopian policies is the name of the game. [AMEN!]

This explains in part why so much of the global warming propaganda has been coordinated and emanated from the United Nations. Its International Panel on Climate Control and its Kyoto Protocol on Climate Control are just two examples of the mischief that is generated by the UN. The Panel has revised its estimates of global warming so many times that it has become a farce. Worse yet, those estimates are all based on deeply flawed computer models.

So what explains just a few of the headlines we are all reading every day now? "Earth spews troubling amount of methane", "Winter ice declining rapidly in the Arctic", and "Nastier hurricanes? Just blame us: Study links human activity, monster storms."

A friend of mine, John Brignell, a British professor emeritus, runs a website called NumberWatch.com. On it you will find a page that documents how just about every imaginable natural phenomenon has been attributed to global warming. It's a very long, often totally contradictory list and a tribute to the idiocy and hypocrisy that fuels the global warming hoax.

While the global warming hoax has an economic component whose focus is energy use, there is a political component because it is through the implementation of laws that the control of human behavior is achieved. This was seen most recently when California's legislature voted to implement controls on "greenhouse gas emissions" from utilities and other industrial activities said to be the primary cause of global warming. California has notoriously failed to keep pace with the growth of its population with the provision of sufficient electrical power.

The global warming hoax is also intended to force people to use public transportation or to select alternative forms of energy such as solar or wind. These latter two are totally inadequate to our needs and exist, like ethanol, largely because of government subsidies and mandates. [Windmills, of course, are not allowed off the coast of Hyannis Port, Massachusetts.]

So why are we reading this sudden new spate of articles about things alleged to cause global warming? It is not a coincidence as, indeed, nothing one reads or hears incessantly is accidental. Where it takes on a very dangerous potential is the proposed legislation emanating out of Washington, D.C. these days.

Largely unable to find traction with its anti-war diatribes, the Democrats' fallback position is to scare everyone with global warming. It began in the summer of 2005 when Sen. Jeff Bingaman (D-NM) proposed a bill calling for modest mandatory limits on emissions of greenhouse gases said to cause climate change.

These limits are moving forward despite the unanimous rejection of the Kyoto Protocol by the Senate some years ago.

It is essential to keep in mind that climate change is caused by factors such as solar activity, the heating or cooling of the oceans, cloud formation and activity, and volcanic activity. Human beings have absolutely no "control" over these climate factors.

The vast bulk of the Earth's surface isn't inhabited, despite the fact there are six billion humans extant. Humans and other animals' lives depend on the oxygen we breathe. We exhale carbon dioxide. The Earth's vegetation benefits from the carbon dioxide as the essential element it requires for growth. And yet there are people in government and elsewhere that will tell you that CO2 is a greenhouse gas or even a "pollutant" that is bad for the Earth.

Some of those people are in Congress and these days it is, in the words of Business Week reporter, John Carey "awash in carbon-capping bills and proposals from Senators John McCain (R-AZ), Jim Jeffords (I-VT), Tom Carper (D-DE), John Kerry (D-MA), and others. Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) plans to introduce legislation on the first day of the next session of Congress."

Perversely, they will find support from the utility industry that would prefer regulatory certainty. This has nothing to do with the dubious, often duplicitous, science of global warming and everything to do with running a business. Similarly, the agricultural lobby will no doubt support this legislation in order to benefit from crops used to make ethanol, a gasoline additive that actually and grotesquely costs more to produce and provides less energy per use.

Finally, these proposed regulations to cap emissions are immediately nullified by the obvious fact that other nations such as India and China, with a billion people each, will not be joining this fraudulent effort. We could shut down all energy use in America without having any effect even if the false assertions about global warming were true.

The proposed legislation must be stopped before Congress in its stupidity imposes it. Previous Congresses thought Prohibition and the War on Poverty were good ideas. If you think life in America is expensive today, you have no idea how that cost will increase if global warming "controls" are imposed.

Alan Caruba writes a weekly column, "Warning Signs", posted on the Internet site of The National Anxiety Center. His new book, "Separating Fact from Fantasy" has just been published by Merril Press. © Alan Caruba, 2006