Happy 4th of July

US_Flag_color.gifOnce again, our glorious blue orb completes its annual circuit around the sun. For us, it’s the 230th such circuit since the signing of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776.

For Americans, it’s a time for barbecues, fireworks, family outings to the park or get-togethers in the back yard. It’s a time to ooh and ahh at the spectacular pyrotechnics displays. In between bites of the hot dogs, we remember that the fireworks recall the turning points in US military history when we won the critical battles on the road to freedom and independence.

For our allies in Europe, Asia, Australia, North America and the Indian subcontinent, it’s a time for head-scratching and disbelief: where are these blokers headed, and why don’t they tell us what they’re doing? As for the other continents and regions, it might be presumptuous to invoke the term “allies”.
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School Voucher Program: As reported by the ACLU Online

The Court rejected an Establishment Clause challenge to Cleveland’s school voucher program. This marks the first time in history that the Court has approved the transfer of millions of dollars in taxpayer money to parochial schools where it will be used for religious education.

That’s not the way we heard it.
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Pledge declared Unconstitutional

Yes, I knew it was wrong back in 1954 when we were more or less forced to insert those two extraneous words. I recall that our teacher was uncomfortable with it, too. In my family, we were not brought up in the practice of any particular religion, so I would just mumble the words, or substitute an extra “indivisible” because who would notice?

I always thought it was a stupid sop to the few people who were trying to prove a point that there’s no room here for folks who don’t attend their particular church. Suffice it to say, the world is full of more evil and much bigger stupid sops – the kinds that kill and maim.

I know that this phrase has been cited as justification for any manner of bigoted schemes and cabals, but honestly, these have never flown because they have the Constitution to reckon with yet.

So of course it figures that this has to come to a head almost 50 years later precisely when we need our solons focused on controversies like the Mideast, Al Qaeda, the economy and oops, here you go, WorldCom. This will give the movers and shakers something comparatively meaningless to soapbox about, instead of getting back to work and generating negative spin.

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Inalienable?

What the Creator does is his business, but it’s not legally binding …

“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” …

The Supreme Court ruled this week that the government can’t detain illegal aliens indefinitely. The Friday, June 29 version of the story published by the New York Times put it this way:

“Washington — In its second decision this week affirming the rights of immigrants, the Supreme Court ruled yesterday that the government may not detain deportable aliens indefinitely simply for the lack of a country willing to take them.”

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California’s Energy Crisis

California’s Energy Crisis: Letter – Still in Denial: I met some co-workers from out of state today, and we talked about how the news of California’s energy crisis is in the news, but not in the same way that it’s in the news in California!

In this state, perhaps, we’re still far too preoccupied with finger-pointing to start reaching any clear consensus on how to produce more of our own energy. There are interesting parallels to the oil shortages of the 1970’s; in that decade we became abjectly dependent on “foreign” oil producers because most of us really believed we had a virtually unlimited supply of cheap oil. We paid for this fantasy accordingly. Today, starting with (but not limited to) California, we are witnessing a repeat of the same “day late, dollar short” mentality, but, this time, the “foreigners” are us!

This letter to a friend is the first attempt we’ve made to address this situation at SummitLake.com. It may not be the last. You may not think private enterprise, certainly not the kind we are witnessing today, can possibly participate in a solution to the energy problem. Or, you may think the “Greens”, the religiously environmental groups, are to blame. And then, of course, it’s always fashionable to blame “the government”, but it’s another thing entirely to show just how the mechanisms operate. This is our modest and incomplete start. In case you get hot under the collar, keep an energy-efficient fire extinguisher handy. Enjoy! March 20, 2001

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Dear President Bush

California Energy Crisis

It was February 28, 2001. President Bush had recently remarked that California had gotten itself into its own energy crisis, and he didn’t think the government should intervene to bail it out. A lot of readers may agree. in principle. I lost track of how many Californians live in this state today. Few of them deserve to be “blamed” for the current energy problems, and no one voted for energy deregulation. It was legislated upon us.

Whether you support laissez-faire free enterprise, or the strictest government regulation of “public utilities”, one thing’s for sure: Californians have the worst of both worlds. Since then, other states have suffered a couple of bona-fide natural disasters, and President Bush has agreed to look into helping California bail itself out of its own long-term energy shortfalls.

In the true SummitLake.com tradition, we asked ourselves this question: if we take President Bush at his word, how would this work? The following letter, privately circulated to date, is our tongue-in-cheek answer:

Dear President Bush,

Just a note to thank you SO much for your recent observation that we Californians got our self into our so-called “energy crisis”, and we can jolly well get ourselves out of it without no federal help, thank you.
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Deadly Circle of Questions: Sudan

Sudan

Deadly Circle of Questions

In Khartoum we bombed Shifa Pharmaceuticals Industries Co., the Sudanese company suspected of manufacturing a “precursor chemical” which could be used by Iraq to manufacture ‘VX’, a deadly nerve gas.

The evidence: a scoop of dirt obtained from outside the pharmaceuticals plant. How did we obtain the sample? How did we document its origin and analysis? How could the precursor contaminant have gotten into the soil? What is the necessary link between the sample and the factory? Where’s the “proof” ?
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