Remembering Jon Vandevander

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Larger Than LifeAs part of of The 2,996 Project, I’m remembering Jon C. Vandevander of Ridgewood, NJ, who was 44 on September 11th, 2001.
He was a Vice President at Carr Futures, and on that morning he was at work (along with Damian Meehan) on the 92nd floor of the North Tower at the World Trade Center. At 8:46 AM, the recently-hijacked American Airlines Flight 11 slammed into floors 93-99 of the North Tower, wiping out the eight floors occupied by Marsh USA.
Although Jon’s office was below the impact zone, the extensive damage caused by the airplane impact left him and over 60 other Carr employees trapped. A story from the UK Guardian describes a small part of what happened:

10:00 – North Tower, 92nd floor, Carr Futures, 28 minutes to collapse.
‘MOM,’ asked Jeffrey Nussbaum. ‘What was that explosion?’
Twenty miles away in Oceanside, Arline Nussbaum could see on TV what her son could not from 50 yards away. She recalls their last words. ‘The other tower just went down.’ ‘Oh my God,’ her son said. ‘I love you.’
Then the phone went dead.
That morning, the office of Carr Futures on the 92nd floor was unusually busy. A total of 68 men and women were on the floor. About two dozen brokers for Carr’s parent company had been called to a special 8am meeting. When the building sprang back and forth like a car antenna, door frames twisted and jammed shut, trapping a number of them in a conference room. The remaining Carr employees, about 40, migrated to a large, unfinished space along the west side. Nussbaum called his mother and shared his mobile phone with Andy Friedman. In all, the Carr families have counted 31 calls from the people they lost.
Carr was two floors below the impact and everyone there had survived it; yet they could not get out. Between 10.05 and 10.25, videos show, fire spread westward across the 92nd floor’s north face, bearing down on their western refuge.
At 10.18, Tom McGinnis, one of the traders summoned to the special meeting, reached his wife, Iliana. The words are stitched into her memory. ‘This looks really, really bad,’ he said. ‘I know,’ said Mrs McGinnis, who had been hoping that his meeting had broken up before the airplane hit.
‘This is bad for the country; it looks like World War Three.’ Something in his tone alarmed McGinnis. ‘Are you OK, yes or no?’ she demanded. ‘We’re on the 92nd floor in a room we can’t get out of,’ McGinnis said. ‘Who’s with you?” she asked. McGinnis mentioned three old friends – Joey Holland, Brendan Dolan and Elkin Yuen. ‘I love you,’ he said. ‘Take care of Caitlin.’
McGinnis was not ready to hear a farewell. ‘Don’t lose your cool,’ she urged. ‘You guys are so tough, you’re resourceful. You guys are going to get out of there.’ ‘You don’t understand,’ McGinnis said. ‘There are people jumping from the floors above us.’
It was 10.25. The fire raged along the west side of the 92nd floor. People fell from windows. McGinnis again told her he loved her and their daughter, Caitlin. ‘Don’t hang up,’ she pleaded. ‘I got to get down on the floor,’ McGinnis said. The phone connection faded out.
It was 10.26, two minutes before the tower crumbled. The World Trade Centre had fallen silent.

Jon was able to reach his wife on the phone after the crash, as recounted in “A Widow’s Wish”:

Jon VandevanderThere is a peacefulness in Anne Vandevander’s voice, the serenity of someone who has known happiness and accepted a fate that robbed her of some of it. Anne’s husband, Jon, worked as a trader for Carr Futures Inc., on the 92d floor of 1 World Trade Center. She talked to him several times after the tower was hit, until about 10 minutes before the building collapsed.
“He said ‘I love you and tell the kids I love them,’ ” she said. A week later, a police officer came to her door to say they had found his body. She buried him in a cemetery in Ridgewood, N.J., where they lived with their three children. “Most wives will never get that opportunity,” she said of the others who are still searching for missing relatives. “I have him back in Ridgewood. My one wish that morning was to have his wedding band back, and now I’m wearing it.”
Jon Vandevander, 44, loved his job and died with men he had worked with for 4 years at Carr, and for 10 years before that when their division was owned by Dean Witter.
He played soccer in college, and coached his children’s soccer, baseball, softball and basketball teams. He loved taking his two oldest children golfing at the Ridgewood Country Club. “He was a great dad,” she said. “I feel very fortunate.”
Profile published in THE NEW YORK TIMES on October 9, 2001.

Carr Futures lost dozens of its employees on 9/11:

Carr Futures survives its darkest hour
By Collins, Daniel
Publication: Futures
Date: Saturday, December 1 2001
When the airliners crashed into the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, the world changed for everyone, but especially Carr Futures, an FCM that had offices on the 92nd floor of the WTC’s north tower. Of the 141 employees based in its New York office, 69 did not survive that day, says CEO Didier Varlet, who was in Spain when he received word of the events via cell phone. Some New York-based Carr employees were traveling, some were on the Nymex floor and some worked a later shift, but of the 69 people in the 92nd floor office that morning, nobody escaped.

Jon was a member of the Lycoming College Class of 1979. Two other Lycoming alumni, Angela Kyte and Justin Moulisani, died in the 9/11 attacks.
Leave a note to honor his memory on this memorial and this guestbook. Godspeed, Jon.

Remembering Damian Meehan

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As part of of The 2,996 Project, I’m remembering Damian Meehan, a Carr Futures employee (along with Jon Vandevander) who died in the North Tower of the World Trade Center on September 11th, 2001. He was 32. The following biography was written by his family.

Growing up in a large family in Manhattan’s Irish Inwood in the 1970’s, gave Damian all the necessary essentials for a very happy childhood. Six older brothers, an older sister and a baby sister set the tone for a perpetual smile and a unique laugh that became a very integral part of his personality. His big brothers, Shaun, Michael, Eugene, Kevin, Chris and Paul, while always creating obstacles and torment in his daily life, grew to love, protect and admire this most gentle of siblings. His sisters Kitty and Janine just adored him from day one.
Damian’s loving nature made his life a very happy experience. He was such a happy kid and people loved being around him. His easygoing personality and perpetual smile endeared him to a wide circle of friends. He attended Good Shepherd grammar school in Inwood and made many close friends there that would stay with him through life. As a child he played in Inwood Hill Park and spent his summers at the Four Green Fields. Both Inwood and the Four Green Fields, played major roles in his early and developing years, that led to friendships that were to last a lifetime.
Damian was so trustworthy, that his parents allowed him to travel by subway to attend Power Memorial High School. Unfortunately, Power closed in 1984, just after Damian’s freshman year, so he decided to finish at St. Raymond’s in the Bronx, where a few of his brothers also attended. Upon graduation, Damian chose SUNY New Paltz for college. Two years later, his Dad convinced him that there was more to learn at home. Damian decided to join his sister Janine at Lehman College, where he was first introduced to Janine’s friend, Joann McCarthy. It was definitely love at first sight – and the rest is history. While in college, Damian worked at the Columbia Tennis Center in Inwood, along with various bartending jobs throughout the city. In August of 1993, Damian decided to try Wall Street and it was his brother-in-law, Marty Boyle, that introduced him to the wild world of finance. He worked for Dean Witter, which later became Carr Futures, and he came under the guidance and counsel of Brendan Dolan and they became fast friends for the rest of their lives.
On June 6, 1998 , at the age 29, Damian married the love of his life, Joann McCarthy at Mount St. Ursula Church. They were just a perfect couple; so much love, devotion and respect that was obvious to all. They settled in Riverdale. The following year they bought a house in Glen Rock, NJ near their friends Brendan and Stacey Dolan, and Kathy and Joe Holland.
On January 23, 2000, Damian Peter, Jr. was born – the arrival of Damian, Jr. could not have been more perfect. It was a great time in Damian’s life. He loved being a father and cherished every minute spent with his son. He was so proud of little Damian and always boasted about his accomplishments. They had their own rituals. Every night, little Damian would stand on the couch and watch out the window for his “gogga-gogga” to come home from work, and if Damian got home after little Damian’s bedtime, his Dad would immediately go into his room and stand over his crib and talk to him while he slept. It was an unbelievable bond.
Damian was a gifted athlete. Gaelic football was a big part of his life from a very young age; he won every under-age medal with Good Shepherd as a full back and continued at Junior and Senior grades with additional success. When Good Shepherd could no longer field a full team, Damian went to play for Donegal, along with Dave Mc Sweeney, another former Good Shepherd player. Those were great years for Damian, as he took immense pride in the fact that he was playing for his parent’s native county team. He trained really hard and thoroughly enjoyed playing at this top level at Gaelic Park and internationally as part of the New York panel.
Damian also enjoyed running, even more so in the last few years, when he began competing in races with his brothers and sister, Kitty. Damian was an excellent runner, his siblings watched in awe, as he ran the toughest hills effortlessly, and always managed to have the fastest time. Damian also enjoyed golfing and did so quite often with his brothers, extended family and childhood friends from Inwood, Chris Lee and Donn McNamee.
Most of all, Damian was a “family man”, in every sense of the word. He loved going up to the Four Green Fields because it meant spending time with family and close friends and sharing many laughs. He loved playing Bingo and the card games that followed in the dance hall into the wee hours of the morning. He looked forward to participating in the basketball tournament every July 4th and Labor Day weekend. Last Labor Day weekend, Damian spent quality time with his family and friends at the Four Green Fields, and had a great weekend. Everything was perfect. Damian was always making plans for next month and for the next five years. Life was so good: health, happiness and a secure future. Little did we know that we were all enjoying the very best time of our lives. A week later, came the devastation of September 11th, leaving such so much pain, anguish, devastation and heartache that will never heal. Life will never be the same again.
In the early hours of October 2nd, Damian’s brothers Michael, Eugene and Kevin brought us the tragic-yet joyful news that Damian had been recovered on Monday, October 1st with a bunch of firemen and civilians on West Street. The news was so final – we had lost our beloved Damian forever. Damian’s wake at William’s Funeral Home was an incredible scene, as thousands came to say goodbye to our Damian, and yet again at Good Shepherd Church on October 8th, as Father Kevin Devine led us all in a final farewell to one of the most beautiful human beings ever created. Damian now rests in peace at St. Anastasia Cemetery in Harriman, New York.
On January 13th 2002, Damian and Joann’s little daughter, Madison Margaret was born and it was finally a day to rejoice. Damian Jr. is delighted with his baby sister.
We will never forget Damian and we will all make sure that his children know the type of man their father was. For all of us, our Damian was truly one of a kind.

Rest in peace, Damian. You are not forgotten.
Please visit The Damian Meehan Memorial Fund and consider making a donation to their scholarship program.

President Nancypants to his Marines: “Whiskey Tango Foxtrot?”

Ready for a prime example of Barack Obama’s incredible narcissism and utter military ineptitude? Read Bob Woodward’s account of a briefing in Afghanistan conducted by deployed Marines for Obama’s National Security Advisor, General Jim Jones:

Jones was carrying out directions from President Obama, who said recently, “My strong view is that we are not going to succeed simply by piling on more and more troops.”

During the briefing, (Brig. Gen. Lawrence) Nicholson had told Jones that he was “a little light,” more than hinting that he could use more forces, probably thousands more. “We don’t have enough force to go everywhere,” Nicholson said.
But Jones recalled how Obama had initially decided to deploy additional forces this year. “At a table much like this,” Jones said, referring to the polished wood table in the White House Situation Room, “the president’s principals met and agreed to recommend 17,000 more troops for Afghanistan.” The principals — Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton; Gates; Mullen; and the director of national intelligence, Dennis C. Blair — made this recommendation in February during the first full month of the Obama administration. The president approved the deployments, which included Nicholson’s Marines.
Soon after that, Jones said, the principals told the president, “oops,” we need an additional 4,000 to help train the Afghan army.
“They then said, ‘If you do all that, we think we can turn this around,’ ” Jones said, reminding the Marines here that the president had quickly approved and publicly announced the additional 4,000.
Now suppose you’re the president, Jones told them, and the requests come into the White House for yet more force. How do you think Obama might look at this? Jones asked, casting his eyes around the colonels. How do you think he might feel?
Jones let the question hang in the air-conditioned, fluorescent-lighted room. Nicholson and the colonels said nothing.
Well, Jones went on, after all those additional troops, 17,000 plus 4,000 more, if there were new requests for force now, the president would quite likely have “a Whiskey Tango Foxtrot moment.” Everyone in the room caught the phonetic reference to WTF — which in the military and elsewhere means “What the [expletive]?”

Whiskey Tango Foxtrot
That’s right, campers. It’s all about Obama: his feelings, his reputation, his political future, his comfort. Don’t pester him with requests for reinforcements. Sasha and Malia have to make do with the allowance Daddy gives them; you can do the same with what he’s already given you. Run along now, and accomplish your mission without any politically uncomfortable casualties, OK? The Redistributor-in-Chief has to get back to socializing the health care system.
Jules Crittenden’s bluntly-worded assessment follows, after the jump.

Video: Dick Cheney’s speech at AEI (Update: Obama speech added)

This is a speech delivered today at the American Enterprise Institute in which former Vice President Cheney defended the Bush Administration’s actions and policies during the War on Terror in the years after 9/11. Cheney carefully and completely refuted allegations of torturing terrorist detainees, and he eviscerated Barack Obama’s foolish defense policies, naïve defense decisions, and nakedly opportunistic demonization of the outgoing President.

If you prefer, you can watch the whole thing on AEI’s site.
Once the White House posts the video of Obama’s speech on the same subjects today, I’ll add it below so you can compare and contrast each man’s honesty, seriousness, motivations, wisdom, and statesmanship … or lack thereof.
Transcripts: Cheney’s speech; Obama’s speech

Update:
Here ya go …

Remembering Damian Meehan

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As part of of The 2,996 Project, I’m remembering Damian Meehan, who was 32 when he died in the North Tower of the World Trade Center on September 11th, 2001. The following biography was written by his family.

Growing up in a large family in Manhattan’s Irish Inwood in the 1970’s, gave Damian all the necessary essentials for a very happy childhood. Six older brothers, an older sister and a baby sister set the tone for a perpetual smile and a unique laugh that became a very integral part of his personality. His big brothers, Shaun, Michael, Eugene, Kevin, Chris and Paul, while always creating obstacles and torment in his daily life, grew to love, protect and admire this most gentle of siblings. His sisters Kitty and Janine just adored him from day one.
Damian’s loving nature made his life a very happy experience. He was such a happy kid and people loved being around him. His easygoing personality and perpetual smile endeared him to a wide circle of friends. He attended Good Shepherd grammar school in Inwood and made many close friends there that would stay with him through life. As a child he played in Inwood Hill Park and spent his summers at the Four Green Fields. Both Inwood and the Four Green Fields, played major roles in his early and developing years, that led to friendships that were to last a lifetime.
Damian was so trustworthy, that his parents allowed him to travel by subway to attend Power Memorial High School. Unfortunately, Power closed in 1984, just after Damian’s freshman year, so he decided to finish at St. Raymond’s in the Bronx, where a few of his brothers also attended. Upon graduation, Damian chose SUNY New Paltz for college. Two years later, his Dad convinced him that there was more to learn at home. Damian decided to join his sister Janine at Lehman College, where he was first introduced to Janine’s friend, Joann McCarthy. It was definitely love at first sight – and the rest is history. While in college, Damian worked at the Columbia Tennis Center in Inwood, along with various bartending jobs throughout the city. In August of 1993, Damian decided to try Wall Street and it was his brother-in-law, Marty Boyle, that introduced him to the wild world of finance. He worked for Dean Witter, which later became Carr Futures, and he came under the guidance and counsel of Brendan Dolan and they became fast friends for the rest of their lives.
On June 6, 1998 , at the age 29, Damian married the love of his life, Joann McCarthy at Mount St. Ursula Church. They were just a perfect couple; so much love, devotion and respect that was obvious to all. They settled in Riverdale. The following year they bought a house in Glen Rock, NJ near their friends Brendan and Stacey Dolan, and Kathy and Joe Holland.
On January 23, 2000, Damian Peter, Jr. was born – the arrival of Damian, Jr. could not have been more perfect. It was a great time in Damian’s life. He loved being a father and cherished every minute spent with his son. He was so proud of little Damian and always boasted about his accomplishments. They had their own rituals. Every night, little Damian would stand on the couch and watch out the window for his “gogga-gogga” to come home from work, and if Damian got home after little Damian’s bedtime, his Dad would immediately go into his room and stand over his crib and talk to him while he slept. It was an unbelievable bond.
Damian was a gifted athlete. Gaelic football was a big part of his life from a very young age; he won every under-age medal with Good Shepherd as a full back and continued at Junior and Senior grades with additional success. When Good Shepherd could no longer field a full team, Damian went to play for Donegal, along with Dave Mc Sweeney, another former Good Shepherd player. Those were great years for Damian, as he took immense pride in the fact that he was playing for his parent’s native county team. He trained really hard and thoroughly enjoyed playing at this top level at Gaelic Park and internationally as part of the New York panel.
Damian also enjoyed running, even more so in the last few years, when he began competing in races with his brothers and sister, Kitty. Damian was an excellent runner, his siblings watched in awe, as he ran the toughest hills effortlessly, and always managed to have the fastest time. Damian also enjoyed golfing and did so quite often with his brothers, extended family and childhood friends from Inwood, Chris Lee and Donn McNamee.
Most of all, Damian was a “family man”, in every sense of the word. He loved going up to the Four Green Fields because it meant spending time with family and close friends and sharing many laughs. He loved playing Bingo and the card games that followed in the dance hall into the wee hours of the morning. He looked forward to participating in the basketball tournament every July 4th and Labor Day weekend. Last Labor Day weekend, Damian spent quality time with his family and friends at the Four Green Fields, and had a great weekend. Everything was perfect. Damian was always making plans for next month and for the next five years. Life was so good: health, happiness and a secure future. Little did we know that we were all enjoying the very best time of our lives. A week later, came the devastation of September 11th, leaving such so much pain, anguish, devastation and heartache that will never heal. Life will never be the same again.
In the early hours of October 2nd, Damian’s brothers Michael, Eugene and Kevin brought us the tragic-yet joyful news that Damian had been recovered on Monday, October 1st with a bunch of firemen and civilians on West Street. The news was so final – we had lost our beloved Damian forever. Damian’s wake at William’s Funeral Home was an incredible scene, as thousands came to say goodbye to our Damian, and yet again at Good Shepherd Church on October 8th, as Father Kevin Devine led us all in a final farewell to one of the most beautiful human beings ever created. Damian now rests in peace at St. Anastasia Cemetery in Harriman, New York.
On January 13th 2002, Damian and Joann’s little daughter, Madison Margaret was born and it was finally a day to rejoice. Damian Jr. is delighted with his baby sister.
We will never forget Damian and we will all make sure that his children know the type of man their father was. For all of us, our Damian was truly one of a kind.

Rest in peace, Damian. You are not forgotten.
Please visit The Damian Meehan Memorial Fund and consider making a donation to their scholarship program.

Julio Pino gets his department chairman fired

The chairman of the history department at Kent State University just got himself canned. He allowed his department’s resident jihad booster, Professor Julio Pino, to take six weeks of leave to attend a conference … in the Persian Gulf.
That’s a good start. Now KSU needs to fire Julio.
Some background:

  1. Me and Julio Down by the Schoolyard
  2. The Smoking Gun Points to Julio Pino
  3. Kent State and Jihad-Gate
  4. Julio Pino: Islam’s Most Effeminate Jihadist
  5. Klansman teaching History at Kent State
  6. Julio Pino: A Genocidal Racist without Moral Authority
  7. Pino 911
  8. Rate My Terrorist Professor Dot Com

How not to fund a war

SisyphusMy good friend and co-blogger Too Short and I got into an argument yesterday over whether President George W. Bush’s administration will go down as one of the worst in American history. Among other things, Too Short objected strenuously to the income tax cuts that President Bush shoved through Congress a few years back. Evaluating the alternative takes some mental heavy lifting, so get ready to push uphill against the big-government mindset.

To my buddy’s way of thinking, income tax cuts for “the rich” are a Bad Thing™ in a time of war, and we Americans should follow our grandparents’ example during World War II and “sacrifice for the war effort” … translated as “pay more taxes.” Now I don’t recall Too Short advocating a revival of programs like rationing and price controls and the WPA, which all went together with the 1930s-1940s package. Then again I might have just missed it when he said it. He wouldn’t be the first to substitute wishful thinking for free market realities.

Squeezing blood from a stoneI argued that income tax cuts in wartime are not inherently a Bad Thing™. When taxes in general are excessively high, economic activity tails off as people lose their incentive to work, save, and invest. Next, government revenues shrink because the total amount of money available for taxation has shriveled. The big government advocate instinctively responds by raising taxes, which deepens the downward spiral (the Laffer Curve illustrates the general concept nicely).

If you’re a government official trying to fund a wartime military machine, having no tax revenue is truly a Bad Thing™. A logical government in that situation lowers tax rates to stimulate the economy and raise tax revenues. Now it can buy guns and butter and F-22 Raptors. Pretty straightforward stuff so far, right?

My compadre Too Short retorted that I wasn’t figuring in federal payroll taxes, which tend to hammer the poor. It was a point well taken since so far I was only talking about income tax cuts. I couldn’t puncture his counterclaim because I didn’t have the necessary data at my fingertips, so I asked for a temporary ceasefire.

I went looking for ammunition, and to my surprise I found that I was far more right than I realized.

The Tax Foundation pored over the dry, dusty tax and spending data collected by all levels of American government between 1991-2004, and they found that for every $1.00 of taxes that the poorest Americans forked over, they got $8.21 back.

There’s more:

While the U.S. tax system is progressive, the distribution of government spending makes the overall fiscal system more progressive than is apparent from tax distributions alone. Using a microdata model we estimate the distribution of federal, state and local taxes and spending between 1991 and 2004. We find households in the lowest quintile of income received roughly $8.21 in federal, state and local government spending for every dollar of taxes paid in 2004, while households in the middle quintile received $1.30, and households in the top quintile received $0.41. Overall, tax payments exceeded government spending received for the top two quintiles of income, resulting in a net fiscal transfer of between $1.031 trillion and $1.527 trillion between quintiles. Both taxes and spending appear to have large distributional effects on households, and these effects have grown since 1991. The results suggest tax distributions alone are an inadequate measure of progressivity, and policymakers should examine both tax and spending distributions when judging the overall fairness of policy toward income groups.

Did you catch that? Yes, payroll taxes hit poorer people harder than they hit rich people. But when you account for all federal, state and local taxes and government spending on entitlements, my pal Too Short’s idea of “increasing our sacrifices” via higher taxes on “the rich” just doesn’t cut it. The folks at the lower end of the income scale more than make up for their payroll tax losses, and the folks higher up the line get royally hosed.

Remember that those dastardly “rich people” that our leftist friends love to hate are the very ones who risk their capital to create businesses, conduct research on new technology, and hire the rest of us. Without “the rich” we don’t produce the best bullets and boots and cell phones. Without “the rich” our economy loses its advantage over the rest of the world.

Look at how we punish success:

Tax burdens and entitlement windfalls

Let that sink in for a moment. Does that seem like a wise idea in peacetime? How much less so in the middle of fighting a war!

Now look at it another way. Focus on the blue bars below:

Entitlements minus taxes

Don’t repeat my initial mistake by looking at tax rates alone. You’ll miss the big picture. Always, always, always figure in government spending when you’re trying to figure out how to pay for a war. Our steeply progressive tax-and-spend system takes money from America’s most productive people and showers it on the least productive. While you can make a good argument for keeping some parts of the social safety net, we’re way beyond the point of absurdity now.

Here’s a slightly more detailed summary of the report:

While many studies answer the question of who pays taxes in America, the question of who gets the most government spending is often overlooked. Just as some Americans bear a larger portion of the nation’s tax burden than others, some Americans also receive a larger share of the nation’s government spending.

This report summarizes the key findings of a comprehensive 2007 Tax Foundation study of federal, state and local taxes and government spending. The results show that when we consider the distribution of government spending as well as taxes, it provides a dramatically altered view of how U.S. fiscal policy affects Americans at different income levels than is apparent from the distribution of tax burdens alone.

Overall, we find that America’s lowest-earning one-fifth of households received roughly $8.21 in government spending for each dollar of taxes paid in 2004. Households with middle-incomes received $1.30 per tax dollar, and America’s highest-earning households received $0.41. Government spending targeted at the lowest-earning 60 percent of U.S. households is larger than what they paid in federal, state and local taxes. In 2004, between $1.03 trillion and $1.53 trillion was redistributed downward from the two highest income quintiles to the three lowest income quintiles through government taxes and spending policy.

These findings suggest tax distributions alone do not tell Americans how much the nation’s fiscal system is helping or hurting low-income households. To answer that, we must look beyond tax burdens to government spending as well. Lawmakers who ignore the distribution of government spending risk making policy judgments based on an incorrect set of facts about the United States fiscal system.

In my buddy Too Short’s defense, he joined me in criticizing runaway federal spending that makes drunken sailors look frugal. Reasonable folks are tired of creeping socialism, and we expect to see some real spending cuts before 2009’s over. And I’m not talking about the Washington version of “cuts.”

So what’s the bottom line? Income tax cuts are still a good idea, and so are cuts in entitlement spending. If we do both, the economy will surge forward and government revenue will increase along with it. That translates into much more money available for the military. Seventy-year-old notions of “sacrifice” will punish the most productive Americans and further erode our military readiness.

Sorry, old buddy. You lose this round.

More info: Tax Foundation report and accompanying Frequently Asked Questions

Update: TooShort’s response

Medal of Honor: LT Michael Murphy, USN

Medal of Honor

10/22/07 UPDATE: Full citation posted!
A Navy SEAL will posthumously receive the Medal of Honor on October 22. Lieutenant Michael P. Murphy is the third man to receive America’s highest military award for valor in the War on Terror.
U.S. Navy press release:

murphy.jpgMurphy was the officer-in-charge of the SEAL element, which was tasked with locating a high- level Taliban militia leader to provide intelligence for a follow-on mission to capture or destroy the local leadership and disrupt enemy activity. However local Taliban sympathizers discovered the SEAL unit and immediately revealed their position to Taliban fighters. The element was besieged on a mountaintop by scores of enemy fighters. The firefight that ensued pushed the element farther into enemy territory and left all four SEALs wounded.
The SEALs fought the enemy fearlessly despite being at a tactical disadvantage and outnumbered more than four to one. Understanding the gravity of the situation and his responsibility to his men, Murphy, already wounded, deliberately and unhesitatingly moved from cover into the open where he took and returned fire while transmitting a call for help for his beleaguered teammates. Shot through the back while radioing for help, Murphy completed his transmission while returning fire. The call ultimately led to the rescue of one severely wounded team member, Hospital Corpsman 2nd Class Marcus Luttrell, and the recovery of the remains of Murphy and Gunner’s Mate 2nd Class (SEAL) Danny Dietz and Sonar Technician 2nd Class (SEAL) Matthew Axelson.
Eight more SEALs and eight Army “Nightstalker” special operations personnel comprising the initial reinforcement also lost their lives when their helicopter was shot down before they could engage the enemy. The entire battle, the culmination of Operation Redwing, resulted in the worst single day loss of life for Naval Special Warfare personnel since World War II.
The sole surviving SEAL, Marcus Luttrell, wrote a book about the battle after he departed the Navy this summer. In his book Luttrell credited all three of his teammates for their heroism, including Murphy’s sacrificial act that eventually led to his rescue.

Please, when you discuss this good news with friends and family, remember the following:

  1. LT Murphy will receive the medal, not “win” it. Recipients consider it disrespectful to be called “winners.”
  2. Even though the President awards the medal in the name of Congress, it’s not the “Congressional Medal of Honor” or the “CMH.” It’s simply the Medal of Honor. Much of the confusion probably stems from the name of The Congressional Medal of Honor Society; it’s a Congressionally-chartered society, not a society for recipients of a Congressional medal. The official name of the award is the Medal of Honor.
  3. Try not to confuse the Medal of Honor with the Presidential Medal of Freedom or the Congressional Gold Medal, neither of which are military awards for valor.
  4. Take time to learn about recipients of the next-highest award for valor in combat. Click on the “Uncommon Valor” logo in the upper right corner of this page and familiarize yourself with other heroes of this war (especially LT Murphy’s teammates, Matt Axelson, Danny Dietz, and lone survivor Marcus Luttrell).

Thank you, Lieutenant Murphy, for your valor and sacrifice.

Why the jihadis hate us: Exhibit A

I give you this year’s Folsom Street Fair, held in San Francisco and sponsored by the Miller Brewing Company. Be warned … clicking the image below will take you to a citizen photojournalist’s site that documents the blatant and unrestrained sex acts that took place in public and in full view of children and on-duty uniformed police. This is not safe for work, and frankly not safe for a full stomach:
Folsom Street Fair
While our troops go in harm’s way to advance America’s security and bring liberty to millions, these homegrown fringe nuts engage in public sexual bacchanals on the streets of San Francisco and hand our sworn enemies a precious P.R. gift. Is it any wonder that jihadist savages draw new recruits with propaganda that says only shari’a law can prevent flamboyant drag queens and aggressive leather fetishists from running rampant on their own streets? “This is what America stands for”, say Ayman Zawahiri and Muqtada al-Sadr and Hassan Nasrallah. Their recruits need only see photographs like these for words like “liberty” and “freedom” to sound like synonyms for “license” and “debauchery.”
I worry that we Americans have lost our collective moral spine. The Folsom Street Fair should make us hang our heads in shame. Can we no longer see the difference between right and wrong? If events like these continue they will end up causing more attacks on all of us. Don’t the Folsom Street crazies understand that the jihadis would kill them all if given the chance?
Hat tip: Michelle Malkin. I’m done drinking Miller Genuine Draft. Pass me some Thirsty Dog.

Update:

 
Palomino! Palomino!

Sherrod Brown votes to tuck tail and run

Yesterday our junior U.S. Senator, Sherrod Brown, voted to cut off funding for U.S. troops in Iraq. Here’s the amendment he voted for (with my emphasis added):

SAFE REDEPLOYMENT OF UNITED STATES TROOPS FROM IRAQ.
(a) Transition of Mission.–The President shall promptly transition the mission of the United States Armed Forces in Iraq to the limited and temporary purposes set forth in subsection (d).
(b) Commencement of Safe, Phased Redeployment From Iraq.–The President shall commence the safe, phased redeployment of members of the United States Armed Forces from Iraq who are not essential to the limited and temporary purposes set forth in subsection (d). Such redeployment shall begin not later than 90 days after the date of the enactment of this Act, and shall be carried out in a manner that protects the safety and security of United States troops.
(c) Use of Funds.–No funds appropriated or otherwise made available under any provision of law may be obligated or expended to continue the deployment in Iraq of members of the United States Armed Forces after June 30, 2008.
(d) Exception for Limited and Temporary Purposes.–The prohibition under subsection (c) shall not apply to the obligation or expenditure of funds for the following limited and temporary purposes:
(1) To conduct targeted operations, limited in duration and scope, against members of al Qaeda and affiliated international terrorist organizations.
(2) To provide security for United States Government personnel and infrastructure.
(3) To provide training to members of the Iraqi Security Forces who have not been involved in sectarian violence or in attacks upon the United States Armed Forces, provided that such training does not involve members of the United States Armed Forces taking part in combat operations or being embedded with Iraqi forces.
(4) To provide training, equipment, or other materiel to members of the United States Armed Forces to ensure, maintain, or improve their safety and security.

Is this what Ohio’s voters want from their junior senator?

Video: Dennis Kucinich interview on Syrian TV

I’m sure this deranged little gnome thinks he’s doing something admirable, but just watch this clip.

If Dennis Kucinich was actually seeking to give aid and comfort to America’s enemies, how would his actions be any different from the above? Answer: they wouldn’t be.
Here’s the transcript.

Update: Some representative quotes, with my emphasis added.

The fact of the matter is we are all being weakened by continuing a war that’s based on a lie. This war was based on lies. Iraq didn’t have the weapons of mass destruction. It wasn’t connected to 9/11. It had nothing to do with Al-Qaeda’s role in 9/11. What are we there for? So I have stood up repeatedly and said: “Look, stop the war.” Once the war started: “Here’s the plan to get out and stop funding the war.” And so we’ve had many opportunities now and I think it’s very clear that we now have to focus on a peace plan, reach out to the world community, and that can only happen with those of us who are involved in the process meeting with people to see if there is an interest. And I’ll tell you, President Assad, today, indicated a very strong interest in playing a role to help bring about stability in Iraq, and the fact of the matter is – whether the Bush administration wants to admit it or not – that President Assad is actually helping by providing a sanctuary in which Iraqi refugees can come. This is a great humanitarian crisis that’s been created by this war. And Syria is one of the few countries in the world who has opened its arms to the Iraqi refugees, who have come here, with only the clothes on their back, and are looking for a way to survive. It is an extraordinary gesture on the part of the Syrian government that they would provide an opportunity for people to save their lives. And so this is something that I think needs to be recognized. And it also shows that here is a man, President Assad, who should be respected and appreciated for the role that he has played. And so it is important for the United States to take that gesture as a sign, a very powerful demonstration, of the willingness to try to achieve peace. And I think we need to move forward with that understanding.