Sunday, July 26, 2009

Henery Gates World View

"You will know them by their fruit".....

"Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. 16You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles? 17Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. 18A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit.
  19Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20Therefore by their fruits you will know them.


Henry Gates Rant In 1996 On "Racist White Institutions"

I have no doubt that there racism involved in the incident between Professor Gates and Sargent Crowley.  Watching this video confirmed it.  Like the Rev. Wright, Gates has also been a confidant of President Obama.

It will be interesting to see how this video will be discussed by the main street media....if at all.

Sarah Palin's Farewell Speech as Alaska Governor

Class Act....

She may be different; her syntax and speech pattern may may be a bit syncopated; but if you listen to the content of her comments, you'll find a very admirable person.



My Preview Of The Public Plan....


I spent some time this past week attempting to get my life back to "normal" after two weeks of running around the East Coast with relatives from England.  It was great fun, but some tasks did get backed up a bit.  Among tasks put off was my Driver's License renewal.  No problem....every thing needed was near at hand, including a recently renewed Passport.  In addition, I was running low on a medical prescription, and I need to re-order.  No problem, I'd just call in the prescription for refill, and it would be mailed in a day or two.

Funny how things work out......

About two years ago, at the recomendation of some family members, and despite being covered by private health insurance, I requested and was approved for enrollment in the Veterans Affairs Health Care.  I figured that I'd try it out and see if it was worthwhile to be involved with a governmental agency - and one tied to the military at that.

My initial reaction when I got to the local V.A. clinic was an immediate flashback, and not a good one, to my days in the Army. A rigid appointment, queuing for a couple of hours up with a number, a non-bedside manner lab tech, very loud nurse-clerks bellowing out instructions, coupled with a number of hurry-up and wait go-here, go-there directions.  Five hours later, the first day was over, but I still had to wait for my next appointment to see my assigned "Team" doctor.  At that point my view wasn't too enthusiastic about the experience so far, but I decided to at least take the next step, meet with the doctor, and then determine if I'd continue to participate.

The doctor that I was assigned to, although very young, was very thorough.  She asked all the right questions,  and answered all my questions in a very professional and patient-respectful way. I was impressed.  At that time I had two current prescriptions and she agreed that they should be continued, but not with exactly the same medications, as the VA would not prescribe them. We'd have to change to generics.  No problem, the V.A. generics were less expensive, and if they didn't work as well as my existing prescriptions, I'd just switch back.  Since I had private medical health insurance, as well annual income level above a threshold level, I would also be responsible for a co-pay on any visits, procedures and medications delivered by the V.A.  No problem....

So, over the past two years, I continued seeing my original private medical group as well as the V.A. as I evaluated the V.A.'s performance.  After two years, I felt comfortable with the capability of most of the people in the V.A who I dealt with, and their relative efficiency of operation.  My only negative evaluations had to do with the structural limitations placed on clinic operations and the bureaucratic layers of decision making that were apparent, not only in the lack of freedom that the doctors had in determining their course of action, but in their ability to prescribe alternate medications, even if they agreed that the medication might be superior and patient was willing to pay the differential.

Despite those dissatisfactions, and since I really don't have any significant medical issues to deal with, I decided a month ago to simplify my life, cease participation with my private clinic, and just focus on working with the V.A.

Like many others during the past year or so, and especially the past few months, I've been following the discussions and arguments regarding the Health Care Bills being pushed through Congress with great interest. The major issue has been the Democrats call for a "Public Plan", and the reality that despite their claims to the contrary, their "Public Plan" would become our only Health Care plan. The major fear factors around that scenario seem to be the control over options regarding medical care alternatives, rationing of care based on bureaucratic cost control, and forced "equality" of care under their misguided perceptions that our Constitution's basis of equal opportunity somehow equates to forced equal treatment and outcomes.

Getting back to my initial goals for the week, I called the V.A automated prescription ordering service but after inputting my request, was informed by the machine that my prescription was not renewable.  No problem.  I called my V.A. team to request a contact with my doctor and a renewal of my prescription.  A call came back the next day from my doctor's nurse.  Oh, oh......there's a eligibility for V.A. Health Care had been cancelled.  "Sorry".  She didn't know why, "but here's a couple of numbers" in two other Florida cities that  may able able to help me.  OK, No problem....I'll call.

I called one number, left a message and waited.  No return call.  An hour later, I called another number and spoke with Shelly.  She couldn't tell me what happened, but thought it might have to do with my income, and suggested that I fill out a new form, fax it back to her, and directed me to the V.A web site.  Found the form, downloaded it, filled it out, and faxed it to Shelly.  Along the way, I filled in the same form on an eligibility  calculator on their web site, and voilà, it computed that I was eligible.

Next day, Shelly calls, tells me that I neglected to include my private health care costs, which should make my case even more positive, but then tells me that my net income from my business last year can't be a negative....she can't input that on her computer.  Meanwhile, I've been attempting to understand this model, where one year you're in, and the next year you're out.  I was a veteran, still a veteran, and I pay for any amounts not covered by my health care insurance.

Shelly can't figure out what to do next, so she provides me with a number to call in Virginia.  
"Good luck, and let me know what happens....."  

No problem.... I call the number in Virginia, turn on the speakerphone, and work on my PC.  A while later, I speak with David....a very nice guy.  We start from the beginning.  He looks up my records.  We talk about my income...he says based on the figures I provide to him, I'm not eligible. I tell him that he web site says I am...he says "can't be".  We both go to the web site...he fills the calculator in with my numbers....voilà, it computes that I'm eligible...he's the specialist....he's now confused.  We chat a little more....  Hmmm....  He's got to speak with some other people, he'll get back to me.

I don't wait for his call. I have a feeling this will take some time.  I leave for my appointment at my local Florida Motor Vehicle office to renew my license.  I'm feeling all my documents; passport, Social Security Card, V.A. picture identity card, utility bills, insurance card, vehicle registration card.....No Problem.

Get to Motor Vehicle office a little early and start the process with two people....the ofice manager and a new hire  he's training on their system.  No problem...  She gets my information, locates me in their system, starts me on the eye exam....the usual minor issue crops up.  I can't see out of one eye.  No problem.  Next step.....problem.  The manager informs me that I have a suspension existing on my license from NY State....??????  The National Records data base that was initiated after 9/11 by Homeland Security has gone live, so all the State Motor Vehicle Dept's are now linked.  Since I'm not aware of ever having any license suspension,in any State, I ask "What reason does the system give for saying I had a license suspension?"
"Can't tell you.  It doesn't give one.  You'll have to straighten this out and then come back. Sorry".  

The Florida DMV manager can't help me.  The system only tells him that I've got a standing license suspension in NY State.  But, he does give me a number to call in NY, and say's he'll put me to the head of the line when I come back, if I can get it straightened out.  

"Thanks.... No problem...I'll call them."

Hmmm....  Problem.  I remember what NY's DMV was like to deal with in person.  I can't imagine that it's become easier to do business with, especially via the phone.

I left NY State in 1993 to live in Europe, and terminated my residence in NY State in 1998 when I returned and moved to Florida.  I did register a new car in NY that I purchased in June of '98 when I returned, but re-registerd the car and exchanged my license for a Florida one in October of '98.  

It's only 4:20 PM when I get outside to my car.  I call NY....I'm in queue.... I hear the firm and distinctively New York voice of "Reggie"....NY State DMV.  I tell him that I'm trying to find out why NY has a suspension on my license.  He says with the tired disdain of someone who's heard this story before, "Don' worry...we'll tell you 'zactly why it was suspended....  Hold on".... silence.....I wait and watch the clock. Seems like hours, but it's only four minutes. Next contact comes on but I miss her name.  I start my story...she cuts me off..."Name?.....DOB?.....Last four of your Social?"  Wait.........

"You owe us $25 for having to send a notice of insurance suspension to you."  WHAT?......  I'll cut to the chase.  When I moved to Florida and re-registered my car, notified my insurance carrier of the change in residence, they notified NY State that my insurance in NY had been terminated.  Since I didn't mail my license plates back to NY (who knew?), they mailed a notice to me (at my old address in NY which the US Post Office was to have forwarded to my new address but evidently never did). 

"OK, OK.......I'll pay the $25....."  
"Hold on...I'll transfer you...."   Wait.........

"Hello NYS DMV"
"I liked to pay for an insurance suspension notification"
"That's $25"
"OK, can I pay it over the phone?"
"Yes, but it will cost you $5 additional, and it won't get processed until Monday anyway, and won't hit the National database for a few days after that.  Might as well do it online.  Got a PC?"  
"How many days will it take to update the National database?"
"Can't tell.....a's the website address, pay it on'l be better".

By now it's 5PM...the day's over...government offices on the East coast are closed.  Time to head home to a quiet, no-surprise dinner with my wife.  An hour and a half later, all has gone as wife and I are just finishing dinner.  My phone's David from the V.A. he's actually been working the 12PM to 8PM shift so he's still on duty.  He's got "Good News, bad news, and good news". 

Good news #1 seems to be that they figured out what was wrong with the web site that showed I was eligible, and they fixed it.  It will no longer compute I'm eligible. But he thanks me very much for pointing out the system error to them so that no one else would be confused.

Bad news is that I'm no longer eligible, despite the fact that the V.A. just recently upped the income eligibility levels by 10%.

Good News #2 is that I'm really still eligible because I had been enrolled previously under different eligibility factors.  He's got me back in the system.  I thank him warmly for his consideration in following this through for me, and request that he send me a letter attesting to that, he agrees.  We both part amiably and satisfied on a late Friday evening.

OK.......if you're still reading this narrative, let's see how my story relates to "Obamacare".  

It would be great hubris on my part if I were to attempt to pronounce a solution for improving our nation's health care system.  It's huge....American's spend about $2 Trillion on health care each year.  It's complex....with hundreds of thousands of suppliers, and hundreds of million participants.  Similarly, it's hubris on the part of the Democrats (and some Republicans) to think that they can re-architect this baby in mid flight and not have it crash.  No one experienced in any type of system change methodology would even contemplate such an act...unless they were an imbecile, or had another agenda.  So it's not my intention here to address what change should, or shouldn't be made to the system, but my past few days dealing with what could be considered a micro-model of government managed health care is very telling.

Everything in the story involves my interaction with Government agencies, the bureaucrats who staff them and make arbitrary and capricious decisions, as well as the hard working people (in many cases), who assiduously attempt to provide some measure of quality service for their customers (us) while maintaining some semblance of self-respect and dignity despite working in severely disfunctional bureaucracies.  

Regarding Health Care, fortunately at  this time, I still have a private health plan option where I can choose my doctor, my medications, and assert my individual preferences for treatment.  How long that freedom of choice will remain viable once a "Public Plan" is put in place is highly questionable.  The basic unequal playing field created by government subsidized health care is obvious; it's inevitable share of market size and focus on cost reduction will destroy the private health insurance options by causing health care providers to shift their losses from the lower paying government Public Plan to the private insurance carriers (as Medicaid currently does), and in doing so, it will cause ever increasing cost increases to be passed on to private insurance plans and individuals. 

As that happens and costs increase, employers will shift their health insurance for employees to the lower cost Public Plan in an attempt to maintain cost equity with their competitors.  When that happens, the profitability that fuels the innovation in U.S. medicine will cease, and the ramifications of that will be even more severe for the rest of the world, as they depend on the research, inventions, and innovation that is fueled by the medical industry's profitability in the U.S.  No advancement in health care.

The part of my story regarding my license suspension in NY causing my inability to renew my license in Florida, demonstrates how an advanced national information system designed to protect Americans from foriegn terrorists, has easily been transformed by cash strapped State governments into a system to hold hostage, and extract cash out of, even long-gone residents.  

Think about the power over your lives that bureaucrats will have when there's a National Health Database that includes everything about your health history, linked to a database of the IRS, linked to a database of State DMV's, linked to....well you can just imagine....  Your records, like mine, could be flagged by some unknown, unseen minion in a department far, far away from you, that will prevent you from being authorized a treatment, a medication, or even access to the system.  I was lucky. I was able to navigate through the system and straighten things out (maybe....we still haven't received the letter, or the renewed drivers license),  but we may not be so lucky down the road.  That's why it's important to stop this headlong rush to pass a Health Care won't be healthy for us.

It's interesting that many Democratic Socialist Party's of the world use a fist clutching a rose as an emblem.  It's supposed to symbolize labor and their struggle against material and spiritual poverty, but in reality it always becomes the iron-fisted hand of despotic Socialist governments squeezing the life out of it's citizens.  They don't start out with that intention.....but human nature being what it is, they just evolve that way.  The same result will face us if the Democrats and Obama are allowed to transform the most advanced medical system in the world, into their vision of equal medical care for all (Well almost all.  Like all apparatchiks, members of Congress keep themselves separate from the rest of the people they control). 

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

'Stoke' Brit's in King Obama's Court

Welcome to Obamaland....

Like Mark Twain's 19th Century Hank Morgan, surprisingly waking in King Arthur's medieval court, two family guests from Stoke-on-Trent, England who we hosted the past two weeks, found themselves in a bit of a familiar yet strange land.  Unlike Hank, however, they weren't able to offer any advanced solutions to our current problems of health care, immigration, and economics, just their empathy and condolences for what we're going through regarding immigration and health care issues in the U.S.

Having at one time been an ex-pat in Europe for five years, I'm familiar with the curious aspect of finding oneself in a place that appears relatively familiar yet in actuality is quite dissimilar, as a result, I welcomed and enjoyed the conversations we had about their observations of the U.S.

They arrived on the evening of July 3rd,  finding themselves the next day at a huge Independence Day concert and spectacular fireworks on the St. John's River in Jacksonville celebrating our independence from their country.  They were surprised at the speed and ease with which we drove to the celebration, about 30 miles from our home, parked, enjoyed the party, left and returned home. They were also a bit surprised, but not at all disappointed, at the decorum of the large crowd, given all the  movie and TV depictions of the worst of American behavior shown around the world, expecting to witness some crude and rude behavior - but there wasn't any - just the opposite.

Over the two weeks we enjoyed visiting local attractions, as well as traveled to New Jersey, Westchester County, New York and Manhattan to visit other relatives and tour  major land-marks and attractions in NY City.  We had a great time and ample opportunity to discuss the things about the U.S. that caught their attention, or that they found noticeably different from England..

Like our rust-belt Detroit, Stoke is an old labor-intensive manufacturing center that generally has lost it's place in it's historic manufacturing industry - pottery.  Waterford-Wedgewood, Spode, Royal Doulton, and others have either closed shop there, and moved operations to lower cost production facilities off-shore, or have reduced local operations significantly.  And, as in Detroit, the loss of the prime manufacturing operations have significantly impacted all the other associated businesses supporting the industry, leaving the area a center of joblessness.  Unlike the situation in American, however, there's few opportunities to move someplace else in the country to find employment.  England, and the rest of the United Kingdom are relatively small; 244, 000 sq/km vs. the U.S.' 9,182,000 sq/km; and population of 60 million vs. the U.S.' 303 million, and the realistic potential of an average English worker to find viable work and living opportunities further afield within the European Union countries is nil.

Compounding the loss of manufacturing jobs in Stoke, the immigration of foreign workers who work for significantly lower wages has added to the diminished job prospects of the local workers.  Unlike the illegal Mexican immigrants that have streamed into the U.S., the new immigrant workers who have streamed into England are legal, and originate primarily from Eastern European country member-states of the EU, and as such, are entitled to all the social welfare services the UK offers.  But, other than the aspect of legality, many of the attendant consequences seem to be similar: dislocation of the local workforce; low levels of immigrant assimilation; overtaxed social services and overtaxed citizens; increased criminal activity; denigration and elimination of local traditions in acquiescence to the foreigner's practices and demands; and perceived loss of control to a distant central government, and now increasingly, Brussels. The net result seems to be a deeply felt quality-of-life decline.

Some of the aspects of life here that were noteworthy to them were large restaurant portion sizes, the low cost of everything, the widespread obesity of the people here, prevalence of unisex attire and the lack of noticeable feminine casual clothing worn by our women, the huge size of many stores and malls and the significant number of item choices generally available to us in every category, the fact that forty miles north of NYC you're in deep woods, the cleanliness of NYC along with it's vast size, the distances that we travel in our normal daily lives, the vast amount of open space in this country, the genuine openness (sometimes to an embarrassing fault) and friendliness of Americans, the widespread absence of clothes made in the USA, and the quality of goods that are.

On that issue alone they were insistent on buying only clothes made in the USA. We wound up visiting a number of stores and surprisingly finally found one that offered American made clothes.....American Apparel.  Normally I don't check the source of clothes, just evaluate quality, style and price, but now I'll include origin.  I remember that when living in Europe in the '90's, most of my colleagues treasured clothing and other products made in USA.  As a marketer, it appears that there's a significant void in the market for American made seem that someone could/should fill that product gap in addition to A.A.

When we talked about the economic conditions in England and in particular, Stoke, our guest volunteered that he had been born and bred a Socialist for most of his life. However, a number of years ago he realized how antithetical that -ism was to attracting the capital required to produce sustainable jobs and enough excess profitability in a global market, that would support the quality of life that he and most others aspire to.  The comparison of Stoke to the situation in Detroit was very close.  Both labor and government, in a double-teaming approach, squeezed so much out of the producers of jobs and wealth that ultimately, business' only option was to leave for more cost effective options.  The cascading domino-effect of loss of jobs, loss of tax revenue, loss of small community businesses and services, continues today.

During this time it was almost impossible to avoid hearing news reports on the Congressional debates over health care, so of course the National Health Service (NHS) in the U.K came up in discussion.  It appears that most of the critiques that we hear about England's NHS are valid. Lots of  management of most procedures; potentially long delays on advanced testing and procedures due to a triage-like approach to scheduling - treatment could also be denied if one does not meet requirements (see recent death of 22 year old needing a liver-transplant).  There is an increasing occurrence of people in the UK traveling abroad for treatment for various issues. Contrary what many may think, the NHS is not free. They pay about 350 Pounds a month for coverage, and pay for each visit to the Dr. as well.  There was also some frustration over perceived abuse of the NHS by many immigrants, as well as resentment over the ever-so-careful treatment of gypsy's and Travelers (the UK and Ireland's version of gypsy's) who don't pay anything into the system, similar to the same issue here over illegal immigrant's use of hospital Emergency Rooms for medical care.

They are pleased with the prescription aspect of it as all prescriptions are priced the same, around 7 Pounds each.  However, the availability of certain advanced drugs is questionable, and the determination of what is prescribed is also questionable.  An interesting side note was our guest's amazement of the the efficacy of Tylenol.  From my own experience in Europe, one of my family's requirements for me each time that I flew back to the States was that I load up on OTC products like Advil, Tylenol, and Benedryl because they were available by prescription only.

The discussion about health care lead to discussions about immigrants.  Overall, the impression conveyed was that there are overall problems with the assimilation of immigrants, both as a result of discrimination by the British, as well as the immigrant's desire to remain separate and maintain their culture.  Assimilation seems more of a problem with Pakistani's, less with people from India, even on the second generation born in England.  The new wave of Eastern European immigrants are a current noticeable problem because they are a relative new group, and their presence in the UK is more one of temporary guest worker intending to eventually go "home", as opposed to being an immigrant in the classic sense.  Only time will tell how this group ultimately fits in,  My sense tell me that they will, just like the previous waves of Russians did after the Revolution.

It was a great and enjoyable two weeks, and in reflection, I once again treasure my good fortune to having been born in this great country.  (But I'm looking forward to our reciprocal visit to the UK!)

Coat of Arms

Friday, July 3, 2009

Independence Day

Today's Wall Street Journal has a number of Independence Day related articles that are well written and informative. You may find them well worth your time; Making History By Peggy Noonan; The Last Best Hope of Earth By William J. Bennett and John Cribb; Flag Burning and Free Speech By Eugene Volokh.

Despite the well informed and interesting texts listed above, you may be greater informed by reading the treasured document that the American Revolution's founding fathers hammered out 233 years ago.  And when the fireworks and bands are playing tomorrow, you may want to give thanks to the courage and indomitable will that those men, their families, and the volunteers who fought for freedom possessed, and the unique legacy that they bequeathed on us....

The Unanimous Declaration
of the Thirteen United States of America

When, in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bonds which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the laws of nature and of nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. That whenever any form of government becomes destructive to these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness. 

Prudence, indeed, will dictate that governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shown that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such government, and to provide new guards for their future security. --Such has been the patient sufferance of these colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former systems of government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute tyranny over these states. To prove this, let facts be submitted to a candid world.

He has refused his assent to laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.

He has forbidden his governors to pass laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.

He has refused to pass other laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of representation in the legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.

He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.

He has dissolved representative houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.

He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the legislative powers, incapable of annihilation, have returned to the people at large for their exercise; the state remaining in the meantime exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.

He has endeavored to prevent the population of these states; for that purpose obstructing the laws for naturalization of foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migration hither, and raising the conditions of new appropriations of lands.

He has obstructed the administration of justice, by refusing his assent to laws for establishing judiciary powers.

He has made judges dependent on his will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.

He has erected a multitude of new offices, and sent hither swarms of officers to harass our people, and eat out their substance.

He has kept among us, in times of peace, standing armies without the consent of our legislature.

He has affected to render the military independent of and superior to civil power.

He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his assent to their acts of pretended legislation:

For quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:

For protecting them, by mock trial, from punishment for any murders which they should commit on the inhabitants of these states:

For cutting off our trade with all parts of the world:

For imposing taxes on us without our consent:

For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of trial by jury:

For transporting us beyond seas to be tried for pretended offenses:

For abolishing the free system of English laws in a neighboring province, establishing therein an arbitrary government, and enlarging its boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule in these colonies:

For taking away our charters, abolishing our most valuable laws, and altering fundamentally the forms of our governments:

For suspending our own legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.

He has abdicated government here, by declaring us out of his protection and waging war against us.

He has plundered our seas, ravaged our coasts, burned our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.

He is at this time transporting large armies of foreign mercenaries to complete the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of cruelty and perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the head of a civilized nation.

He has constrained our fellow citizens taken captive on the high seas to bear arms against their country, to become the executioners of their friends and brethren, or to fall themselves by their hands.

He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavored to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian savages, whose known rule of warfare, is undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

In every stage of these oppressions we have petitioned for redress in the most humble terms: our repeated petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A prince, whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

Nor have we been wanting in attention to our British brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, enemies in war, in peace friends.

We, therefore, the representatives of the United States of America, in General Congress, assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the name, and by the authority of the good people of these colonies, solemnly publish and declare, that these united colonies are, and of right ought to be free and independent states; that they are absolved from all allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the state of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as free and independent states, they have full power to levy war, conclude peace, contract alliances, establish commerce, and to do all other acts and things which independent states may of right do. And for the support of this declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes and our sacred honor.

New Hampshire: Josiah Bartlett, William Whipple, Matthew Thornton

Massachusetts: John Hancock, Samual Adams, John Adams, Robert Treat Paine, Elbridge Gerry

Rhode Island: Stephen Hopkins, William Ellery

Connecticut: Roger Sherman, Samuel Huntington, William Williams, Oliver Wolcott

New York: William Floyd, Philip Livingston, Francis Lewis, Lewis Morris

New Jersey: Richard Stockton, John Witherspoon, Francis Hopkinson, John Hart, Abraham Clark

Pennsylvania: Robert Morris, Benjamin Rush, Benjamin Franklin, John Morton, George Clymer, James Smith, George Taylor, James Wilson, George Ross

Delaware: Caesar Rodney, George Read, Thomas McKean

Maryland: Samuel Chase, William Paca, Thomas Stone, Charles Carroll of Carrollton

Virginia: George Wythe, Richard Henry Lee, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Harrison, Thomas Nelson, Jr., Francis Lightfoot Lee, Carter Braxton

North Carolina: William Hooper, Joseph Hewes, John Penn

South Carolina: Edward Rutledge, Thomas Heyward, Jr., Thomas Lynch, Jr., Arthur Middleton

Georgia: Button Gwinnett, Lyman Hall, George Walton

Source: The Pennsylvania Packet, July 8, 1776

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Karl Malden's Best Speech

Amazing, the management style of Unions hasn't changed that much since 1954....

Karl Malden, 1912 - 2009
A great American actor. Born Mladen Sekulovich. 

Picture worth 1000 Words....

It's Gargantuan......
and it's just a beginning.....

Cartoons by Michael Ramirez

Michael Ramirez Editorial Cartoonist for Investor's Business Daily

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