I'm still enjoying the Life of Fred math series, as you can see from my booklist; I hope to finish all that the Daleys have before I leave here.  Despite what the author claims, it's not really a complete curriculum, but it's a fun supplement, it covers a lot of math, and there's really nothing like it.  It covers a lot more than math, too, as five-year-old math professor Fred Gauss makes his way through his busy days.  For obvious reasons, the following excerpt from Life of Fred:  Jelly Beans caught my eye:

It is not how much you make that counts; it is how much you get to keep.  Taxes make a big difference.

In the United States, the top federal income tax is currently 35%.  The top state income tax is 11%.  The top sales tax is 10%.  TOTAL = 56% (56 percent means $56 out of every $100.)

In Denmark, the top income tax is 67%, and the VAT (which is like a sales tax) is 25%.  TOTAL = 92%.

If you want to keep a lot of the money you earn, Switzerland's top income tax rate is 13%, and the top VAT is 8%.  TOTAL = 23%.

Yes, it's an over-simplification (the book is meant for 4th graders), but it certainly helps distinguish Switzerland from Sweden.

Posted by sursumcorda on Friday, February 20, 2015 at 1:41 pm | Edit
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It's still worrisome that our president does not consider directing the education of one's own children to be a fundamental human right, but today I'm offering thanks and respect for the Department of Homeland Security's decision to allow the Romeike family to stay in the U.S. "indefinitely."  (Previous posts here and here.)  That decision is not as satisfying for legal precedent as a positive court decision overturning the administration's efforts to deport the family—on the grounds that Germany's heavy-handed anti-homeschooling laws are not sufficient reason to grant asylum—but the Supreme Court refused to review the case.  The TSA's decision, while still leaving the Romeikes in a somewhat tenuous position, at least also leaves them safe in their Tennessee home.

Posted by sursumcorda on Wednesday, March 12, 2014 at 10:53 am | Edit
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This past weekend we had a very encouraging shopping trip, and as an inveterate non-shopper, I don't say that often.  This time we ventured into a part of town we rarely visit (though after this experience it may happen more often) and most notably went to our IKEA for the first time.

At the risk of exacerbating the Switzerland-Sweden confusion, I'll mention that going to IKEA was like a mini visit to Janet's apartment, though sadly lacking in grandchildren.  There are many similarities in the stock between this and the IKEAs I've been in in Switzerland, and I kept exclaiming, "Look, that's their silverware drainer / toy bins / easel!"   "That's the exact train piece package I bought over there!"

Although the purpose of the trip was merely exploratory, we did end up buying several items, and what both surprised and thrilled me was where they were made.  Yes, there were certainly plenty of items with the "Made in China" label, but we also easily found products from India, Bulgaria, Latvia, and other alternative sources, and even the occasional "Made in USA."  Later in the same trip we were happy to buy a teapot made in the Czech Republic from Crate and Barrel.

To judge by what's available in most stores, China has a monopoly on production these days, and their reputation for product safety and factory working conditions is terrible.  Even if their record were pristine, I'd still be concerned about their control of the market.  (Microsoft, Apple, and Google make me similarly nervous.)  I don't boycott Chinese products, but I'm a lot happier to see more variety available.  Is India any better?  I don't know, but until proven otherwise I'll take the chance, and I'm certainly happy to buy from countries with European Union standards.

Posted by sursumcorda on Tuesday, March 11, 2014 at 5:07 am | Edit
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altThe Occasional CEO has an interesting take this morning on our obsession with the "original intent" of the Founding Fathers when the Constitution was crafted.  It confirms my long-held belief that the most amazing thing about the Constitution is that it has worked as well as it has for all these years.  Imperfect as it may be, a compromise that no one was happy with, it serves well as an anchor to restrain the human tendency to be "tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness."

(I would have written about this even if I couldn't have used Eric Schultz's cool image above, which is originally from uvamagazine.org, but I think it captures the obsession neatly.)

The founders, Wood concludes, succeeded so well in promoting democracy and equality among ordinary people that that’s precisely what they got.  Neither Washington, who led the common man in battle, nor Adams, who represented him in court, had any illusions about human nature, preferring a strong national government (led by a wise elite).  Jefferson, the great champion of the common man, could not have tripped over more than a few common men in all his years in Paris and on his great plantation, so when he finally understood late in life [who] they were and what they were like, he was dumbfounded.  (That's why, when we quote him, we use the early stuff.)

By 1820, the great experiment had spun wildly out of control, far beyond the vision or comfort of its creators.

[T]here was one Founder who would today be fundamentally comfortable and happy with the results of the great American experiment.  Alexander Hamilton, Jefferson’s lifelong enemy, was an immigrant, an opponent of slavery, a proponent of a large standing army, and (like Adams and Washington) had serious doubts about democracy.  He was the only Founding Father who understood finance, banking, capital creation and fundamental economics, the only one who truly comprehended the Industrial Revolution.  He believed America in time would become more urban and industrial, more hierarchical and unequal. ... Hamilton was the true genius of Republic 1.0—and, as sometimes happens, almost none of his coFounders understood what he was doing.

It's well worth reading, and makes me want to read Gordon Wood's Revolutionary Characters, which was the article's inspiration.

Posted by sursumcorda on Monday, September 16, 2013 at 9:47 am | Edit
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I took the Front Porch Republic out of my news feed, not because what they had to say was bad, but because it was too good.  I was spending 'way too much time reading, and composing comments in my head—whether or not those comments ever made it into print.  But then they started sending me their weekly updates....

Here's a good article on immigration.  Normally I don't read about the topic, because it's so inflammatory; too many people, as they say, are enjoying the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought.  This one is different, as are most FPR articles, whether I agree with them or not.  For one thing, he lambasts both the Republicans and the Democrats.  ("[A]s with nearly everything in establishment Republicanism, even when they are sincere they are still lying"; for the Democratic skewer, see below.)  For another, he acknowledges three points that I've long thought critical to the debate:

  1. Immigration in sufficient numbers inevitably and irrevocably transforms a culture; if we try to ignore or deny this and don't take steps to defend and preserve that which is good about our specific culture, it will be overrun just as surely as imperialism destroyed the native cultures of its colonies.
  2. We are repeatedly told that we need more immigrants because there are not enough Americans who are willing/qualified to do the jobs.  Whether it's a factory owner crying that he'd go out of business without illegal immigrants (shades of pre-Civil War Southern plantation owners' insistence on the necessity of slavery), or companies pushing for more H1-B visas because they can't find enough Americans to do their high-tech jobs (meaning, qualified Americans are asking for higher salaries than Indians and Moldovans)—the bottom line is not that Americans can't or won't do the jobs, but that we value low prices more than fair wages.
  3. We feel a need for large numbers of immigrants because our own birth rate is too low.  This reproductive minimalism is both an expression of our lack of appreciation for our own culture, and a great factor in its demise.*

I wonder if it is even possible to debate immigration honestly.  The Democratic party has bet big that the continued use of contraception among white Americans and the admission of peoples from the Latin south will, in the long term, tilt demography permanently in favor of its version of the welfare state, and, consequently, its sustained power.  Moreover, the turning away of Americans from marriage and the having of children suggests a lack of investment in, an apathy regarding, the future character of their country.  It is no more surprising that Americans should be resigned regarding the future of their culture than it is that Americans should desire immigrants to labor for the welfare state in lieu of the children who could have been. These trends are a tacit vote of assent to the Democratic strategy vastly more significant that any election-day tally. Further, neither Republicans nor Democrats seem to be capable of giving voice to a genuine love of country: one that does not base itself on being a jingoistic bully abroad, but rather on a reverent care to preserve and cultivate what we have, here, now, at home.


*I commend our children for their valiant countercultural efforts, aka grandchildren. Switzerland also needs help in this regard.

Posted by sursumcorda on Friday, May 17, 2013 at 3:35 pm | Edit
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The Romeikes have lost the latest round in their fight to keep from being sent back to Germany, where homeschooling is considered a sufficient reason to take custody of children away from their parents.  The ruling is being appealed.

On the bright side, the court did rule that "parents do have a right to direct the education and upbringing of their children."  However, they also said,

“Congress might have written the immigration laws to grant a safe haven to people living elsewhere in the world who face government strictures the United States Constitution prohibits,” the court ruled. “But it did not.”

[Attorney Michael] Farris said he finds great irony that the Obama administration is releasing thousands of illegal aliens—yet wants to send a family seeking political asylum back to Germany.

“Eleven million people are going to be allowed to stay freely—but this one family is going to be shipped back to Germany to be persecuted,” he said. “It just doesn’t make any sense.”

Actually, it makes plenty of sense—if you consider only political expediency.  Immigration "reform" that supports an economy fueled by slave labor is considered a politically savvy move, while offending an important ally—Germany—is not.

Posted by sursumcorda on Wednesday, May 15, 2013 at 7:10 am | Edit
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I've often wondered why tolerance is considered such a high principle these days.  Granted, I have many qualities that cause those around me to exercise forbearance; nonetheless, I hope for more in even a casual relationship than mere tolerance.  I'd rate our various neighborly relationships, for example, as great, good, casual, and tolerant, with the last being better than "nasty," but nothing to brag about.

Perhaps the preaching of tolerance comes because we have failed so badly at love.  Tolerance—at best—says, "I disagree with you, but it doesn't matter."  Love says, "I disagree with you, and it does matter, but I love you, and I choose to believe the best of you.  I will pray for you, encourage you, and seek out ways to work with you that do not violate my conscience.  I will be alert to any lesson God wants to teach me through you."

Lowering the bar is not the solution.  Redefining a C as an A rarely inspires higher performance.  Besides, we're not doing so well at tolerance, either.  With a hat tip to VP via Facebook, here's a lighter moment dedicated to all who have been slammed by the unloving who preach love, or by the intolerant who preach tolerance.


Posted by sursumcorda on Tuesday, April 30, 2013 at 7:04 am | Edit
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For your amusement only, since I don't know the details of these tax numbers.  Highest bracket?  Average tax rate?  What other taxes do citizens pay?  But you can be pretty sure that other people have worse tax sitations than we do. (Click image for a clearer view.)


Posted by sursumcorda on Monday, April 15, 2013 at 9:37 am | Edit
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I’m sure there are more than a few problems with the President’s budget proposal, depending on one's point of view, but I'd like to comment on three that I think particularly egregious.  What we think of most issues depends, of course, on whose ox is being gored, and I’m not immune to that problem.  However, here are three provisions that I think are pushing our society as a whole in a decidedly wrong direction.

  1. Not indexing Social Security benefits to inflation, but to another index that rises more slowly.  While most people are upset because this would significantly reduce benefits (how else can it significantly help the budget?), and of course this matters to me as well, because we’re reaching the age where we’ll be depending to some degree on those checks.  But that’s not my primary concern, which is that it would reduce the incentive for the government to curb inflation.  We’re already in the precarious position where inflation benefits the government in the short term—as it does most debtors.  This provision would make inflating our currency still more attractive, as the more the money inflates, the less retirees will receive in real income.
  2. Limiting retirement savings.  Most importantly, this discourages saving.  Americans are already very bad at saving money; despite what the advertisers will tell you, this bodes ill for achieving a stable, healthy economy.  IRAs and other tax-deferred savings plans have been a good incentive in the right direction.  Note:  these accounts are not tax-protected or tax-free, as some articles are suggesting.  The tax is merely deferred until the money is withdrawn.  Under the President’s proposal,  "[s]uch accounts would be capped at $3 million in 2013 dollars—which officials say is enough to finance a $205,000-a-year income."  Do you believe that?  I don’t.  As my husband said, "I’d like the person who made that calculation to sell me a 30-year annuity backing up his words.  I dare him to guarantee a 6% return."  I doubt there’s anyone who would take that bet, unless he’s pretty sure we’ll have either a very strong economy or rampant inflation (see #1 above).
  3. Limiting charitable tax deductions.  Capping the charitable deduction at 28%, while increasing the top tax rate to nearly 40%, will without a doubt decrease charitable giving in an age when it is increasingly needed.  Insist all you want that "real philanthropists" will give to charity no matter what, the truth is that the charitable tax deduction is more than just an incentive:  it means we have more money to give.  And as the Forbes article (link above) points out, "the Obama charity tax increase implicitly assumes, under cover of 'fairness,' that Washington will do a better job spending the money than private donors will.  But by encouraging philanthropy, we encourage imagination and innovation—in ways the political process, more likely to be constrained by conventional wisdom, will not."  What's more, the charitable tax deduction is a great investment for the government:  At the margin, forgoing $40,000 in tax revenue generates $100,000 in charitable donations.  Perhaps most worrisome of all is that encouraging citizens to turn over their charitable responsibilities to the government hinders the development of a just and caring society.

While it is clear that we need both spending cuts and tax increases to tackle our financial problems, not all cuts, and not all taxes, are equally valuable.  Put another way, some are more harmful than others.  These three proposals are a threat to the long-term health of our country.

Posted by sursumcorda on Saturday, April 13, 2013 at 6:23 am | Edit
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Two years ago, Stephan wrote an excellent summary of why Americans overseas bear an unfair and disproportionate tax burden.  It's still true, and you can help by e-mailing the House Ways and Means Committee by April 15—if you don't need all that time to prepare your own taxes, that is.  You could also, of course, e-mail them with your own thoughts about tax reform in general.  That's too much for me to contemplate at the moment, so I settled for writing on this subject.  Here's one of my two letters, minus a few details.  You'll note I cribbed a good deal from Stephan's post.

I am writing to ask that the International Taxation Committee of the Ways & Means Committee for Tax Reform seriously consider the proposal of the American Citizens Abroad (ACA) for reform to residency-based taxation (RBT).  (http://americansabroad.org/files/6513/6370/3681/finalsubrbtmarch2013.pdf)

The current policy of citizenship-based taxation is unique among developed countries:  all others levy taxes based on residence alone.  As I understand it, this taxation by citizenship is intended to prevent very wealthy Americans from avoiding taxes in the USA by moving abroad.  But do you remember when tuna fishing nets inadvertently caught and killed porpoises as well?  There are several unintended, unfair consequences of this tax policy for ordinary, non-wealthy US citizens abroad  Here are a few examples:

  • The USA taxes its citizens abroad based on their income converted into US dollars. You might earn the same salary in year one as in year two, but be forced to declare an increase in income of several thousand US dollars because the dollar was devalued in that period
  • If you are hired as an expatriate by a large company, you cost the company more in expenses and tax attorney fees, which makes you less attractive for hiring.   This competitive disadvantage of its citizens is damaging to the US economy, particularly in this climate of globalization.
  • US citizens abroad run the risk of unintentionally becoming criminals because of the complex tax laws and agreements. The US tax code is complicated for US residents; it is worse as a citizen abroad. Additionally, IRS personnel rarely are able to answer questions you might have, so even if you try your best you run a very real risk of unintentionally running afoul of the IRS.
  • US citizens abroad are being denied basic local banking services. Many local banks altogether refuse dealings with anyone liable to taxation by the IRS rather than running the risk of being sued.
  • Because “any United States person who has a financial interest in or signature authority or other authority over any financial account in a foreign country, if the aggregate value of these accounts exceeds $10,000 at any time during the calendar year,” must file an FBAR, an American overseas may be denied employment or promotion since US tax law could require disclosure of the company account to the IRS.

Even though I, myself, reside in the United States, I am affected by this unjust form of taxation.  My American daughter and her American family are currently living overseas and thus are hurt by the problems above.  Furthermore, I have been unable to open a simple bank account in her town in which to keep a small amount of funds to use while visiting them.  The banks will not open accounts for Americans because IRS rules require them to break their own rules to do so.

A move towards a residence-based system would it be simpler and fairer for Americans living abroad, and would strengthen America’s global competitiveness.

Please consider the RBT proposal submitted by American Citizens Abroad (ACA).  (http://americansabroad.org/files/6513/6370/3681/finalsubrbtmarch2013.pdf)

Posted by sursumcorda on Thursday, April 11, 2013 at 8:01 pm | Edit
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Why wrestle with how to express this story when thduggie has already done it so well?

Back in 2010, a German family was granted political asylum in Tennessee, because they had been homeschooling their children in a country that prosecutes, fines, and removes children from homeschooling parents. This immigration judge sent a strong message to the world: America is still a country where Liberty is writ large.  Today, the same family stands in danger of being deported back to Germany. Whether the appeal stems from a fear of offending an ally, or a fear of having immigration offices overrun (by legal immigrants), the message is the same: “We’re scared of our Liberty.”

The Romeike family's plight should be of concern to every American, because a threat to liberty, even—or maybe especially—on the part of an ally, is a threat to us all.  American homeschoolers, even though they currently enjoy educational freedom in every state, should be very concerned:  if our courts rule that educating one's own children is not one of the most basic human rights and responsibilities, that precedent could (and probably will) be used to attack our own hard-won liberty.

This is not, however, just a homeschooling issue.  If the forced removal of children from stable, loving families is not considered by the United States to be a heinous act, no one dare consider his family safe.

Even Al Jazeera has noticed the case.  Their article is actually the best summary I've seen of the situation.

I'm not, in general, a petition signer.  But today I registered with whitehouse.gov (a simple process) so that I could sign this petition to allow the Romeikes to remain in the United States, where they can educate their children without fear of unthinkable reprisals.

Here is the text of the petition:

We, the undersigned, respectfully request that the Obama Administration grant full and permanent legal status to Uwe and Hannelore Romeike and their children. The Romeikes, a homeschooling family represented by HSLDA, were granted asylum in 2010 because Germany persecutes homeschoolers with fines, criminal prosecution, and forcible removal of children from their families. Every state in the United States of America recognizes the right to homeschool, and the U.S. has the world’s largest and most vibrant homeschool community. Regrettably, this family faces deportation in spite of the persecution they will suffer in Germany. The Romeikes hope for the same freedom our forefathers sought. Please grant the privilege of liberty to the Romeike family.

If 100,000 people sign a petition within 30 days of its creation, the Obama Administration will officially respond.  As of today, almost 60,000 more signatures are needed by April 18 in order to reach that threshold.

Please consider signing the petition, writing President Obama and/or your representatives, or otherwise publicizing the Romeikes' dire situation and this opportunity to set a precedent for or against not only our basic educational freedom, but even more, our commitment to Liberty itself.

Update 5 April:  Here's a brief chronology (full article) for those who want more information but don't want to sift through the articles.  (Emphasis mine.)

German law mandates that children attend a public or state-approved school. The local mayor informed the family that they would face fines and could lose the custody of their children if they did not attend school. The parents also faced potential jail time.

The government fined the family heavily and at one point seized the children to force them to attend school.

After trying to secure an exemption from the law, the Romeikes fled the country and immigrated to Tennessee in 2008. They had been fined well over $10,000 by the time they fled and faced escalating fines if they continued to homeschool their children.

The family applied for asylum in the United States and an immigration judge granted it to them, citing a well-founded fear of persecution if they returned to Germany.

However, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), part of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), appealed the ruling to the Board of Immigration Appeals.

The board overturned the original judge’s ruling and ordered the Romeikes deported to Germany. The Romeikes appealed their case to the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals, where their case will be heard April 23.

Posted by sursumcorda on Thursday, April 4, 2013 at 3:24 pm | Edit
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Most of those who know me also know that I don’t like the government being involved in our health care, for too many reasons than I can go into now.  More than once I’ve asked, “Do you really want to trust your health to the same folks who are mangling public education?” 

Important note:  I support the public school system, much as I find fault with it.  There are many teachers among our family and friends.  Our own children attended the local schools for a number of years.  We pay school taxes, and have voted in favor of most requested tax increases, including last year’s. Everyone in the family has put countless hours into (public) school volunteer work.

Another important note:  I agree that our health care system is in a big mess, and big messes invite government interference whether we like it or not.  Personal experience of family and friends has shown me that public health care can work very well (France, Switzerland) and very badly (UK, Canada).  (I know there are readers of this blog who are happy with Canada’s health care, but I’m going by the experiences of those I know personally, which, alas, are negative.)  I don’t like the way in which our government is approaching health care reform, but that’s not the point here.

The point is consistency.

In the battle over health care, the faction I will loosely designate as “pro-government-social-program” (PSGP) wins for consistency:  The same people who are pushing national health insurance are ardent advocates of public education.  Viewing education as a fundamental, essential right of every child, they make it not only available but compulsory, and not only for the poor but for everyone, and expect everyone to participate.  They frequently oppose anything (private schools, home education, vouchers) that would allow students to opt out of monopoly government schooling.

Having concluded that the cost of a (possibly large) uneducated segment of the population is greater than the cost of providing “free” education to all, they are consistent in applying the same logic to health care.

I, on the other hand, am not consistent, and neither, it seems, are many with better conservative credentials than mine.  How can I support public education for all and not health care?  Why is it considered acceptable, even admirable, for everyone—including the rich—to take government assistance in the form of public education, but lower-class, even shameful to be on Medicaid, accept Food Stamps, or live in public housing?  What makes education so much more important than health care, food, or housing?

And maybe the PGSP’s are not as consistent as I thought, because I don’t see them pushing for compulsory soup-kitchen and housing project attendance.

Although … when our kids were in school, the school breakfast/lunch program, which served a useful purpose for poor children who otherwise would not eat, was pushed on everyone.  It wasn’t exactly mandatory, but the schools used plenty of promotions and advertisers’ tricks to get children to pressure their parents to send money for their lunches rather than pack them better food from home.  In the case of breakfast, they actually kept the other students trapped on the school bus until the breakfast-eaters were finished.  So who knows what's next in the minds of the PSGP's?

I don’t know where we’re going and what we’re in for with all this, and I don’t know how I’m going to rethink my attitude in regard to public education and/or health care.  But it certainly was a revelation to discover my own inconsistency.

Posted by sursumcorda on Wednesday, February 27, 2013 at 8:48 am | Edit
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Extra!  Extra!  Congressman cuts his own budget!

I know there are those among my readers who are inclined to disbelieve anything that comes from Fox News, but this story is confirmed by the left-leaning Orlando Sentinel as well.  U.S. Representative Daniel Webster has done what all politicians should do until the country is back on sound financial ground:  cut his own salary, and slashed his office budget, returning $360,000 to the Treasury.  And this isn't the first year he's done that.

“I learned as a father of six children and a small business owner how to live within my means by prioritizing my spending and doing more with less during tough times,” said Webster in a statement. “Washington needs to embrace the same approach by spending less rather than simply borrowing more, and I believe that starts with me.”

"If we're going to fix government it's going to have to start in our own house," he said.

Congressman Webster said if all 435 members of Congress would be a hawk about each dollar, it would save tens of millions of dollars each year.

"If it's appropriated, the rule is spend it. I don't believe that. I believe we ought to look at it as every dollar is important."

I've liked Dan Webster since my first contact with his office back in 1990.  It was he who was largely responsible for the bill that clearly legalized homeschooling in Florida, so I'm forever grateful, even if we have some points of disagreement.  He also eschews negative campaigning, and has a reputation for statesmanship, civility, and true bipartisanship.

Granted, his pay cut of $4700 is only 2.7% of his $174,000 annual salary, but would you voluntarily pay an extra 3% in taxes?  Anyone who considers that a triviality is welcome to try to out-do him.

It turns out that our own representative, John Mica, also returned appropriated money ($150,000 in the last two years), and another Florida congressman, Bill Posey, has given back money and also held his own salary to the level he earned when he was elected in 2008.  This kind of action ought to be bigger news than it is.  No, it's not going to solve our problems, but it's a step, and more than that, it's an important symbol.

If Americans must suffer to bring about a sane and stable economy, then those who have taken on the mantle of leadership, be they politicians or business leaders or entertainers, should ... LEAD!

Posted by sursumcorda on Wednesday, January 30, 2013 at 1:44 pm | Edit
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No, it's not serious, and it's not an invitation for some wild-eyed idiot to try to change the election results by violent means.  Reggie Jackson wants us to stop fighting and start working together for the good of the country.

Hall of Famer Reggie Jackson was elated with the re-election of President Obama on Tuesday, but if he had his way, Mitt Romney would be part of the administration, too.

"Just because President Obama is back in power is not as important as all of us pulling together, ''Jackson told USA TODAY Sports. "The best would be for Obama to be president and Romney to be vice-president. We need everyone to come together.

"I get so disappointed when I hear all of the negativity from Republicans against the Democrats and Democrats against Republicans. We need to come together as a nation. Black. White. Hispanics. Jewish. Native Americans.

"We need to have the resolve to work together. It's like when the Yankees have a great team, it helps baseball. When the Knicks and Lakers are great teams, it helps basketball. If the Republicans and Democrats can get together, it will make our country a strong, better place, for everyone.''

Amen and amen.

(Except maybe the part about the Yankees....)

Posted by sursumcorda on Saturday, November 10, 2012 at 6:26 am | Edit
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On this day in 1989 the gates opened, and the German people themselves answered President Reagan's famous call.

Porter, who more than two decades before had crossed over to East Berlin (and back) at the terrifying Checkpoint Charlie, understands best the wonder and glory of the day, but our kids each have a souvenir piece of the Wall, thanks to friends who were living in Germany at the time.

Thanks be to God.

Posted by sursumcorda on Friday, November 9, 2012 at 10:48 am | Edit
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