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Thursday, December 15, 2005

New Review: The War on Christmas

ExampleThe following is a brief excerpt from a review posted on PopandPolitics.com:

‘Tis the season to be a polemic!
Actually that’s not really fair. John Gibson, author of the best seller, “Hating America,” and anchor of Fox News Channel’s, “The Big Story,” has written a reasonably rational book cataloging events where the federal holiday, Christmas, seems to be under attack in several school districts and municipalities throughout America. “The War on Christmas: How the Liberal Plot to Ban the Sacred Christian Holiday Is Worse Than You Thought,” isn’t nearly as bad as the title makes it sound.

First, this is not an opinion piece like an Ann Coulter or Michael Savage book. Gibson editorializes somewhat, but his thoughts are not what comprises most of the volume. Instead, as stated above, what Gibson does is break the book down chapter by chapter based on a town where something happened that appeared to be -- or was absolutely meant to be -- a threat toward the public celebration and recognition of the Christmas holiday. The chapters take place in Covington, Georgia; Mustang, Oklahoma; Baldwin City, Kansas; Plano, Texas; Eugene, Oregon; Indianapolis, Indiana; and Maplewood, New Jersey. The narrative comes from Gibson’s first person interviews with the players of each chapter.

At 29-years-old, I can still vividly remember how my public elementary school in Uniondale, Long Island in New York plastered the halls and classrooms with Christmas trees, Santa Claus, stars (not the Jewish kind) and decidedly secular but appropriate snowflakes. On the calendar, plain as day, it read for the last two weeks of December, “Christmas Break.” This theme followed when my family moved to the other side of Nassau County and I attended Plainedge Public High School. Though my school had a large population of Jewish families, the last two weeks of school were known as the “Christmas Break.” To my recollection, not a single Jewish kid cared in the slightest why they were getting nearly two weeks off from school.

Therein lies the problem, which is the impetus for Gibson’s book. More

Thursday, December 08, 2005

New Review: The FairTax Book

ExampleThe following is a brief excerpt from a review posted on PopandPolitics.com:

Have you ever had this conversation?

Person A: Hey, how much did you make this week from your job?

Person B: How much did I make, or how much did I take home?

You see, right there is the problem. As a law-abiding, tax-paying, hard-working society we seem to have contracted battered-wife syndrome when it comes to taxes. In what other series of circumstances would anyone put up with essentially being mugged on a weekly (or bi-weekly) basis? When it comes to income tax we shrug and just hand over our money amidst a wave of resignation.

We should be angry about this (and many of us are), but what action can we take to change our regressive tax system?

Alas, there is salvation in the form of syndicated talk show host Neil Boortz's and Congressman John Linder’s co-authored work, “The FairTax Book: Saying Goodbye to the Income Tax and the IRS (Not the mention the Social Security tax, the Medicare tax, corporate income taxes, the death tax, the self-employment tax, the alternative minimum tax, the gift tax, capital gains taxes, tax audits, and some major headaches every April 15.)”

Basically the FairTax would be a consumption tax at a rate of 23% in lieu of all the above-mentioned federal taxes. The worker/investor would receive all of his or her earned income in their paycheck without any funds removed for any taxes. Under this system, if you bank every paycheck and never spend a dime of it, then you’ll never have to pay a federal tax. However, other than basic necessities such as food and clothing, most people do not manage to go through life not spending their hard-earned dough. As a result, all Americans would pay federal taxes through new consumer purchases that would carry a 23% sales tax, which would then be used to feed the federal coffers including Social Security and Medicare. (More)

Monday, December 05, 2005

The Enemy of My Enemy Is My Friend…Even the Iranians

This Post is also available at The Blogger News Network

What puzzles me about the last election cycle was how Bush’s team depended on the “flip flopper” label to undermine John Kerry’s candidacy. All of a sudden it became the worst thing ever to change ones mind in light of new facts. Well, in a true Bush Administration Moment, it looks as if they are indeed changing their minds and opting for a new strategy regarding the war in Iraq. In what can only be described as, “Thank God the average American citizen doesn’t pay attention to the news or has chronic Attention Deficit Disorder", the US is now looking to Iran of all countries, to help stabilize Iraq in order for US forces to withdraw from that country sometime within the next few years. Now ain’t that a kick in the head?

According to Newsweek, President Bush gave US Ambassador to Iraq, Zalmay Khalilzad, explicit permission to begin a diplomatic dialogue with Iran in order to help secure Iraq after US troops’ pullout in phases. Mr. Khalilzad stated in the press that, “I’ve been authorized by the president to engage Iranians as I engaged them in Afghanistan directly.”

Ambassador Khalilzad has worked with the Iranian’s before. Khalilzad has in the past made deals with Teheran in Afghanistan, most notably at the Bonn summit of Afghan factions, which shaped the nature of Kabul's government after its liberation from the tyranny of the Taliban in 2001. It appears the Mr. Bush is looking at Khalilzad to rekindle that old magic again with our friends in Iran.

As I’ve stated previously, at this point there are so many reasons against going to war with Iran, nukes or no nukes, that dialogue and co-existence actually seem like a bold and rational strategy. Iran, as we all know by now, is indelibly tied to Russia, China, Venezuela, and as of late, India.

In fact, there are now reports that India’s view of Iran’s nuclear policy is not only nearly exactly the same as the Russians but there strategy to solve the nuclear dilemma and not refer Iran to the UN Security Council appears to be bearing fruit.

Continued Here