This is Ligonier's friendly neighborhood blog and an attempt to recapture our lively opinionated debates in a free speech zone.

Please join our conversations. Contributors welcome.

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Would you like to buy a cute little minicooper?

We've decided to retire our little 2003 minicooper and have a new one on the way. The mini dealer will take it in trade but I thought I should offer it for sale in case you want a sweet little car.  It's got almost 120000 miles on it and is just the best car!  I would keep it but it needs work on the power steering - possibly a pump replacement.  The power steering is intermittent.  This sweet little car needs to go to soul who is more of a car tinkerer than I am.  We are asking $3000.  If you want it call me at 724-238-7783 or send an email to  Move fast because we will likely do the trade within 10 days.

The good news about NSA surveillance...

I really believe that for now there is too much information and unless you are a select target, no one is watching you.  So, in that respect, things aren't much different than it would be since a select target is likely to have been subjected to surveillance under the old methods.

That said, we still have to be vigilant about changing the rules and curbing back this invasive government because humans solve problems by refining systems. Unless We the People reject this form of government, there is a likelihood that the surveillance system will morph into a true police state with all the cultural accoutrements taking political correctness to a whole new level.

Let's keep this in mind and as we make choices, choose liberty.  Liberty is the gift of choice.

If you have an hour to use learning about our Brave New World, watch this video.

In one word, describe this picture.

shedding light on the comments by the Pope concerning economics

Arthur Brooks, head of the American Enterprise Institute, a think tank that promotes free markets, said he agrees that the pope's beliefs are likely informed by his Argentine heritage.
"In places like Argentina, what they call free enterprise is a combination of socialism and crony capitalism," he said.
Brooks, also a practicing Catholic who has read the pope's exhortation in its original Spanish, said that "taken as a whole, the exhortation is good and right and beautiful. But it's limited in its understanding of economics from the American context." He noted that Francis "is not an economist and not an American."

and the count down begins

Monday, December 30, 2013


global warming scientists are trapped in the Antarctic ice

Somewhere far, far to the south where it is summer, a group of global warming scientists are trapped in the Antarctic ice. If you missed the irony of that situation, it is because much of the mainstream media has glossed over that rather inconvenient bit of hilarity.

Read more:

Saturday, December 28, 2013

I love Camille.

A key part of the remedy, she believes, is a "revalorization" of traditional male trades—the ones that allow women's studies professors to drive to work (roads), take the elevator to their office (construction), read in the library (electricity), and go to gender-neutral restrooms (plumbing).
Michelle Obama's going on: 'Everybody must have college.' Why? Why? What is the reason why everyone has to go to college? Especially when college is so utterly meaningless right now, it has no core curriculum" and "people end up saddled with huge debts," says Ms. Paglia. What's driving the push toward universal college is "social snobbery on the part of a lot of upper-middle-class families who want the sticker in the window."

Friday, December 27, 2013

Winter Concert on Saturday

Hi Diane,
This is a little late, but you might like to post it.
The Ligonier Village Musicans invite everyone to their annual Winter Concert at the Town Hall at 2:00 Saturdayafternoon, December 28.
Music of Mozart, Haydn, Schubert, Sousa, Sigmond Romberg and others will be featured.
Admission is free. Donations will be shared with the local Food Pantry.

Charles Henry

Mountain Palace - Season's Greetings! (Open New Year's Eve)

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from Mountain Palace! Our special this weekend is cumin lamb with peppers and onions with rice. This dish is a winter and New Year favorite in northern China. In addition to its healthy properties of boosting the immune system and enhancing hormone levels, it is quite tasty and one of their favorite dishes. Come to Mountain Palace this weekend to enjoy this special or any of our other tasty, healthy authentic northern Chinese dishes including hot pots, chicken/cashews/celery, hui guo rou, home made dumplings, healthy soups, and northern Chinese salads. It's all hau chr gila! Dr. Lacy will be conducting her traditional Chinese medical exercise and acupressure session this Saturday at 11:00 at the YMCA in Ligonier, members and walk-ins welcome. Eatery hours are Friday 6 to 9, Saturday 2 to 9 and Sunday 12 to 6. We will be open New Year's Eve from 6 to 9, please make reservations. Eleven miles north of Ligonier left off of Route 711 onto Creek Road directly across from Mirror Lake.  724 717-8614

I need to do this.

  • If you're growing geraniums indoors in pots, cut back leggy stems by about half, repot the plants in fresh soil, and then set them in a cool, bright window.

forced to compete anonymously

The event, which is being held in the United Arab Emirates city of Abu Dhabi, features the team not under the Israeli flag - but under the ambiguous listing of the Federation Internationale des Echecs, or World Chess Federation.  

As Maariv noted, Israel boys aged 16 to 18 and girls 10 and 14 traveled to Abu Dhabi for the competition, accompanied by their parents. 

Israel hesitated to send them to the competition because of geo-political tensions, but finally decided to participate in the competition. 

One of the girls attending is Anastasia Waller, who two months ago won the European championships for chess players up to age ten. Waller beat Deputy Foreign Minister Ze'ev Elkin in a chess game held in October in the Knesset.  

Chess News, who originally broke the story, slammed the move. "It is a very unfortunate precedent for the World Youth, and unheard of until now," the site wrote.

Wow...Jews leaving France

Thursday, December 26, 2013

thanks to Rob for the YIKES heads up

on the Feast of Stephen!

The wren, the wren, the King of All Birds,
On Saint Stephen's Day he was caught in the furze.
Although he is small his family is great.
Come out, good lady, and give us a treat!

the toy train at Martin's

The sound of a toy train making its way around the track under a Christmas tree brings back memories of a simpler time.
In the early 1950s and 1960s, a train around the tree was considered by some to be as important as the star or angel on top the tree.

Read more: 
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Natural Pathways to Healing

First Friday Community Series
January 3rd- 7:30 PM
Natural Pathways to Healing

A panel of experienced practitioners will present and discuss some of the ideas and practices current in non-traditional healing. The panel will include Granny Earth, Naturopath: C. J. Frank, Cellular Expansion: Melissa Kuhla, Massage Therapy: and Renny Sherrow, Energy Medicine.

The First Friday Series offers the public the opportunity to hear religious, philosophical or other vital topics affecting humankind. The belief set of a different religious tradition or other subject is presented and discussed each month. 

Free to the public - Sponsored by 
Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Ligonier Valley
1.5 miles East of Ligonier on Route 30 (Beside Ligonier Valley Beach)

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Wishing all of you peace and prosperity in the new year ! -Dmitri

Carolyn on the joy of Santa gigs

Snowflakes fell gently and lazily while we rang the Salvation Army bell. Occasionally the breeze would pick up, offering us a wind chill factor. One breeze was sufficiently strong to knock over the kettle support, which we caught before it fell.
Ringing the Salvation Army bell for Heritage United Methodist Church was just one of our Santa Claus gigs this 2013 Christmas season.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

This is one of a pair of angels my mother bought for us when we moved to Ligonier.

We found them at the Nearly New shop when it was down where Mommygear is now.  I love their 60s style hairdos.  ;)

an account of reincarnation....

For his shocked parents, these nightly scenes were traumatic.

For experts, they were baffling.

As the nightmares became more terrifying, the child started screaming the name of the 'little man' who couldn't get out of the plane. It was James - like his own name. He also talked in his dreams of 'Jack Larsen', 'Natoma' and 'Corsair'.

James Leininger's father, Bruce, was flummoxed. In a desperate attempt to find an answer to his son's troubled nights, he embarked on an obsessive three-year research project, armed only with the outbursts and names his son had been shouting in his disturbed sleep.

What he discovered astonished and perplexed him, and drove him to an extraordinary conclusion.

A lifelong Christian, it was not the answer he had sought for his son's behaviour. But he came to believe James was the reincarnation of a World War II fighter pilot; a man who had been shot down in his plane and struggled to escape as it caught fire; a hero.

Read more:
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Amica of Ligonier

A charming home accessories store on East Main Street, 
Amica offers a unique selection of gifts.  
Look for the purple awning!

203 East Main Street, Ligonier, PA 15658-3117 
(724) 238-8545

What is Christstollen?

Stollen as a food eaten during mediaeval fasting – Dresden Christstollen® is first recorded in 1474 on a bill at St. Bartholomew's, a Christian hospital. At that time, however, there was no thought of festive pleasures: the mediaeval fasting food was made only of flour, yeast and water. The authoritative Catholic church did not allow butter or milk, as a sign of abstention.

The butter missive – However, as Saxons have always enjoyed the pleasures of life, Prince Ernst, Elector of Saxony, and his brother Albrecht asked Pope Innocent VIII to revoke the ban on butter. The Holy Father granted them their wish, sending his Butterbrief, or butter missive, to Dresden in 1491. From then on, stollen bakers were also allowed to use richer ingredients.

PA Supreme Court Chief Justice Ronald Castille on unconstitutionality of Act 13

"By any responsible account, the exploitation of the Marcellus Shale Formation will produce a detrimental effect on the environment, on the people, their children, and the future generations, and potentially on the public purse, perhaps rivaling the environmental effects of coal extraction."

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Question for mobile readers....

I just switched the mobile view on Ligonier Living.  I am trying to give you easier access.  Is this design better or do you prefer the other more simple view? Since comments don't work on mobile, please shoot me an email to  Thanks!!

Friday, December 20, 2013

Camille Paglia reacts to Duck Dynasty matter. I love Camille Paglia.

The suspension of Phil Robertson from A&E’s Duck Dynasty is outrageous in a nation that values freedom, according to social critic and openly gay, dissident feminist Camille Paglia.
“I speak with authority here, because I was openly gay before the ‘Stonewall rebellion,’ when it cost you something to be so. And I personally feel as a libertarian that people have the right to free thought and free speech,” Paglia, a professor at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia, said on Laura Ingraham’s radio show Thursday.
“In a democratic country, people have the right to be homophobic as well as they have the right to support homosexuality — as I one hundred percent do. If people are basing their views against gays on the Bible, again they have a right of religious freedom there,” she added.

Read more:

pretty Christmas decorations

While dropping the minicooper at Laughlintown Garage the other day, I noticed how pretty this house across the street was decorated and thought I'd share a peek with you.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Happy Hour debuts tonight at the Main Street Wine Bar!

Beginning this Thursday, December 19, 

join us for Happy Hour at the Main Street Wine Bar. 

Drink specials and half price pizzas!

What could be better? How about free chips and salsa with any order. Plus, we have great menu offerings to really make an evening of it.
Thursday, Friday and Saturday from 5-7 pm
come get happy at the wine bar.
Stop by and see us! We look forward to your visit!
Main Street Wine Bar                              4147 Main Street, Stahlstown, PA 15687             (724) 593-WINE 

another good article on the Duck Dynasty matter

A&E’s suspension of Robertson is within their right. If their aim, however, is actually to be “strong supporters and champions of the LGBT community,” their application of the Streisand effect to Robertson’s views couldn’t possibly have helped.
In this month’s issue of Reason, Jonathan Rauch explains why the argument for restricting speech to promote tolerance is even weaker than it was 20 years ago, when his book Kindly Inquisitors, a defense of free speech and the public criticism necessary to build knowledge that it fosters, was first published. An updated version for the twentieth anniversary was released this year

good article on the Duck Dynasty matter

For the record, I’m undecided on whether or not I think Phil actually is homophobic, although I certainly think his statement was offensive, and not only to the LGBT community. But I also think that if I were to spend a day calling ducks with Phil, I’d probably end up liking him—even in spite of his position on gay men. It’s quite possible to throw one’s political support behind traditional, heterosexual marriage, and yet not be bigoted.
I’m reminded of something Bill Maher said during the height of the Paula Deen controversy: “Do we always have to make people go away?” I think the question applies in this situation, too.
Why is our go-to political strategy for beating our opponents to silence them? Why do we dismiss, rather than engage them? One of the biggest pop culture icons of today just took center stage to “educate” us about sexuality. I see this as an opportunity to further the discussion, to challenge his limited understanding of human desire, to engage with him and his rather sizeable audience—most of whom, by the way, probably share his views—and to rise above the endless sea of tweet-hate to help move our LGBT conversations to where they need to go.
GK Chesterton said that bigotry is “an incapacity to conceive seriously the alternative to a proposition.” If he is right—and he usually is—then I wonder if the Duck Dynasty fiasco says more about our bigotry than Phil’s.

Read more: The ‘Duck Dynasty’ Fiasco Says More About Our Bigotry Than Phil’s |

I swore I would never play this game. Ha!

Given that the game is viewed as ‘luck’ based, it harbors behavior similar to that associated with slot machines. However, that is based on the assumption the game is actually luck based. For example, when you roll dice, the outcomes are fairly predictable. Match-3 games are not like dice in this manner because they are run on more sophisticated computers. Equipped with the proper algorithm, the candy board–supposedly based on ‘luck’–can be manipulated against your favor. Some would perceive that this would be a positive factor because the difficulty of the game can be monitored, but it’s exactly the opposite for that exact reason. You can be forced to take more turns than necessary and play against a ‘loaded deck’ of seemingly-random-but-actually-rigged combinations, leading to an endless ‘just one more try’ tumble. Ultimately in gameplay, this progression-dominant, forward mentality results in the loss of all of your lives.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Pittsburgh made the Huff Post.

As a city whose signature sandwich comes with fries on top, we wouldn't blame you if Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania wasn't the first place to spring to mind as an icon of healthy living.
But over the years, as Pittsburgh has evolved from a steel city of the industrial boom into a modern mecca of culture and education, many consider it a hidden gem. In fact, it has even been named as Forbes' most livable U.S. City. What's more, a 2012 survey found that residents in the Pittsburgh area rated their happiness as a 7.8 out of 10, compared to the 7.4 national average. While Pittsburghers still have room for improvement in the health department (despite some gains, they have one of the highest air pollution rates nation-wide, for one), there are more than a few things to be gleaned from Pennsylvania's second-largest city. Read on for nine lessons Pittsburgh offers on living well.

Elie Wiesel speaks out on Iran

Iran Must Not Be Allowed to Remain Nuclear
If there is one lesson I hope the world has learned from the past it is that regimes rooted in brutality must never be trusted. And the words and actions of the leadership of Iran leave no doubt as to their intentions.
Should the civilized nations of the world trust a regime whose supreme leader said yet again last month that Israel is “doomed to annihilation,” and referred to my fellow Jewish Zionists as “rabid dogs?”
Should we who believe in human rights, trust a regime which in the 21st century stones women and hangs homosexuals?
Should we who believe in freedom trust a regime which murdered its own citizens in the streets of Tehran when the people protested a stolen election in the Green Revolution of Summer, 2009?
Should we who believe in the United States trust a regime whose parliament last month erupted in “Death to America” chants as they commemorated the 34th anniversary of the storming of our Embassy in Tehran?
Should we who believe in life trust a regime whom our own State Department lists as one of the world’s foremost sponsors of terrorism?
America, too, defines itself by its words and actions. America adopted me, as it did so many others, and gave me a home after my people were exterminated in the camps of Europe. And from the time of the founding fathers America has always stood up to tyrants. Our nation is morally compromised when it contemplates allowing a country calling for the destruction of the State of Israel to remain within reach of nuclear weapons.
Sanctions have come at a terrible economic cost for the people of Iran. But, unfortunately, sanctions are what have brought the Iranian regime to the negotiating table.
I appeal to President Obama and Congress to demand, as a condition of continued talks, the total dismantling of Iran’s nuclear infrastructure and the regime’s public and complete repudiation of all genocidal intent against Israel. And I appeal to the leaders of the United States Senate to go forward with their vote to strengthen sanctions against Iran until these conditions have been met.
I once wrote that history has taught us to trust the threats of our enemies more than the promises of our friends. Our enemies are making serious threats. It is time to take them seriously. It is time for our friends to keep their promises.
Elie Wiesel
Nobel Peace Laureate

Our NSA is like the Stasi says Merkel

In an angry exchange with Barack ObamaAngela Merkel has compared the snooping practices of the US with those of the Stasi, the ubiquitous and all-powerful secret police of the communist dictatorship in East Germany, where she grew up.
The German chancellor also told the US president that America's National Security Agency cannot be trusted because of the volume of material it had allowed to leak to the whistleblower Edward Snowden,according to the New York Times.
Livid after learning from Der Spiegel magazine that the Americans were listening in to her personal mobile phone, Merkel confronted Obama with the accusation: "This is like the Stasi."
The newspaper also reported that Merkel was particularly angry that, based on the disclosures, "the NSA clearly couldn't be trusted with private information, because they let Snowden clean them out."
Snowden is to testify on the NSA scandal to a European parliament inquiry next month, to the anger of Washington which is pressuring the EU to stop the testimony.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013


Not sure who did the morph but it's excellent.  Hubby calls him Obixon.

checkpoint was “a gross abuse of power on many levels”

Reading resident Ricardo Nieves said that he had to repeatedly refuse to take part in the survey over a 5 minute period before the was allowed to leave. Nieves noted that the presence of city police and a police car with flashing lights was designed to “intimidate motorists” into submission and “gave the checkpoint an air of authority it would not otherwise have had,” according to the Reading Eagle.
Nieves told the City Council Monday that the company’s hiring of police officers to help run the checkpoint was “a gross abuse of power on many levels” and that the firm running it refused to divulge why they were demanding to take swabs of people’s cheeks, with Nieves asserting, “Clearly it was for DNA.”
City Police Chief William M. Heim later remarked that the cheek swabs were to test for the presence of prescription drugs, dismissing Nieves’ assertion that the police presence was coercive by claiming, “People are not pressured by police presence to do something they don’t want to.”
“Our rights are being violated more and more every day, it’s another way of government intrusion into our lives,” said Councilman Dennis M. Sterner, complaining that local police were unable to pick up local drug dealers after years of investigations, yet were perfectly happy to pull over motorists on a whim.

No Kissing Helmets Or Any Other Lovey Dovey Peacey Stuff Please

"The head of the Italian police officers' union is charging a 20-year-old art student with "sexual violence" and "causing offense to a public official" after she famously kissed a riot cop's helmet visor during a protest against a new bullet train. Really. Despite his ordeal, the hero officer stayed calm, explaining, “When I'm wearing my uniform I represent the police institution, and I have an obligation not to react to provocation."

Critics of the charges argue he was just asking for it by being dressed like that." ('Love that tongue-firmly-in-cheekiness.)

Will you sign up? Have you signed up? I'm still waiting to hear from someone who has signed up. ;)

Banks have mostly repaid the bailout. GM is refusing to do a payback. Remember that when we buy a car.

[GM ] WASHINGTON -- The General Motors bailout may have cost the government $10 billion, but GM CEO Dan Akerson rejects any suggestion that the company should compensate for the losses.
He says Treasury officials took the same risk assumed by anyone who purchases stock.
"I would not accept the premise that this was a bad deal," Akerson said during a question-and-answer session at the National Press Club in Washington. He also said the government's $49.5-billion aid to GM helped save billions of dollars in tax revenue and government social services.
Akerson spoke in the wake of Treasury announcement last week that it sold its last shares in GM and Akerson's decision to retire in January. The automaker's board of directors named Mary Barra, the company's first CEO, to succeed Akerson.

[BANKS] A recent report by the Treasury Department lists $4.68 billion in outstanding TARP payments as of June 30.
Virtually all of the biggest financial institutions, from Bank of America (BAC) and Goldman Sachs (GS) to Wells Fargo (WFC), have repaid their bailouts, with interest and dividends.

Wellington Alley might get a reprieve in the Y plans which have been tabled for now.

Celli said several tweaks were made to the plan since it was presented to the board in June, including additional windows to bring more natural light into the gymnasium and “simpler roof systems in terms of shape.” He said several storage and equipment rooms were moved from the front to the back of the design to “show off” the gymnasium more, which will be at the intersection of East Church Street and North Market Street.
He said he and his team are looking into bringing out the brick of the pilasters on the existing Y building so it better matches the brick expansion.
Celli said the revised plan is “much more sympathetic architecture to the other public buildings in the town.”
Pending a property survey, Celli also said the plan includes using Wellington Alley as a two-way street for traffic, instead of the plan's original use of Elm Alley for outgoing traffic and Wellington Alley for incoming traffic.

Read more: 
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Monday, December 16, 2013

Clever, clever Brits....

'Early Christmas' for Frackers: Site Blocked With Massive Wind Turbine Blade
Wrapped in a large red bow, campaigners leave 54-foot long symbol of renewable energy at entrance of drilling site

"The growing protest movement against the "new wave" of gas-fired power stations and fracking test sites around the U.K. added a festive spirit to its campaign on Monday when a group of demonstrators delivered a 54-foot wind turbine blade to a drilling site near the city of Manchester, blockading workers from entering the site. "This morning fifty pro-renewables campaigners delivered a 17 meter, 1.5 tonne wind turbine blade as a 'Christmas gift' for fracking company IGas," announced No Dash for Gas, the UK-based anti-fracking group behind the action. After wheeling in the massive piece of equipment and assembling it on the spot, protesters left it in front of the entrance of the site wrapped in a large red Christmas bow. IGas, the gas company which was carrying out exploratory drilling at a site in Barton Moss, just outside the city of Manchester, was forced to stall production before police eventually managed to move the blade out of the way.
No Dash for Gas protester Sandra Denton, who participated in the action, stated:
We’ve delivered this early Christmas gift to IGas to remind them that we don’t need damaging, risky and polluting energy sources like oil and gas to power the UK. The Government and the big energy companies are planning to build a new wave of gas-fired power stations, partly fed by thousands of fracking wells across the British countryside. This would lock us into using this expensive and dirty fossil fuel for decades to come, trapping us in a future of spiraling energy prices and disastrous floods, storms and droughts as climate change kicks in."

I love Camille Paglia.

Is it any wonder that so many high-achieving young women, despite all the happy talk about their academic success, find themselves in the early stages of their careers in chronic uncertainty or anxiety about their prospects for an emotionally fulfilled private life? When an educated culture routinely denigrates masculinity and manhood, then women will be perpetually stuck with boys, who have no incentive to mature or to honor their commitments. And without strong men as models to either embrace or (for dissident lesbians) to resist, women will never attain a centered and profound sense of themselves as women.
From my long observation, which predates the sexual revolution, this remains a serious problem afflicting Anglo-American society, with its Puritan residue. In France, Italy, Spain, Latin America, and Brazil, in contrast, many ambitious professional women seem to have found a formula for asserting power and authority in the workplace while still projecting sexual allure and even glamor. This is the true feminine mystique, which cannot be taught but flows from an instinctive recognition of sexual differences. In today’s punitive atmosphere of sentimental propaganda about gender, the sexual imagination has understandably fled into the alternate world of online pornography, where the rude but exhilarating forces of primitive nature rollick unconstrained by religious or feminist moralism.

Read more: It’s a Man’s World, And It Always Will Be |

and so it begins

A federal judge in Washington said Monday that the government’s widespread collection of telephone records of millions of Americans is likely unconstitutional.

U.S. District Judge Richard J. Leon granted activist Larry Klayman's request for a preliminary injunction that temporarily blocks the controversial program.

Read more at:

MIT study on group intelligence: A bunch of smart people together doesn’t make a smart group

...but populating a group with more women than men, or even exclusively with women, does tend to result in a group that works more intelligently.
"The surprising finding: individual intelligence is only moderately correlated with group intelligence. If it’s not smart people, then what is it that makes a group smart? “We found three significantly correlated factors,” says Malone. One is the average social perceptiveness of the group members. The researchers measured social perceptiveness by administering a test called “reading the mind in eyes.” In that test, the study subject tries to guess what each person in a series of 36 photographs is feeling by looking only at their eyes. “When a bunch of people in the group are good at that, then group on average is more intelligent,” Malone says.

Also correlated to the level of intelligence of the group was the degree to which members participated equally in the discussion. “If one or two people in the group dominated, then on average the group was less collectively intelligent,” Malone says his research found. Finally, the percentage of women in the group was a predictor of the group’s intelligence. “More women was correlated with more intelligence,” he says."

promising news...sheriffs refusing to enforce gun bans

Some sheriffs, like Sheriff Cooke, are refusing to enforce the laws, saying that they are too vague and violate Second Amendment rights. Many more say that enforcement will be “a very low priority,” as several sheriffs put it. All but seven of the 62 elected sheriffs in Colorado signed on in May to a federal lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the statutes.

The resistance of sheriffs in Colorado is playing out in other states, raising questions about whether tougher rules passed since Newtown will have a muted effect in parts of the American heartland, where gun ownership is common and grass-roots opposition to tighter restrictions is high.

the persistent postal poinsettia

The next time you visit the Ligonier Post Office say hello to their persistent poinsettia who is  STILL LIVING since last Christmas!

He articulates our fear. What happened to our country and can we save it?

Indeed, all other reasons aside, to have conferred immense power on a public figure with so meager a track record and so thin and discontinuous a résumé defies even the most rudimentary logic. Who is this man who sits in the Oval Office? (As PJM commenter “cfbleachers” correctly remarks in response to a previous article of mine, “Obama has spent his entire life perfecting the art of the mask.”) And what is his modus operandi? “Obama,” writes Dinesh D’Souza in Obama’s America: Unmaking the American Dream, published just prior to the 2012 election, “is possessed of a certain low cunning that makes him politically formidable. Obama’s skill…is to figure out what the American people want to see and hear, and then give it to them, while doing something entirely different.” By 2012 Obama’s lack of a paper trail, his craftiness and his penchant for deceit should have been blatantly obvious to any sensible and mature American voter, irrespective of class, race or gender.

TV personality Monica Crowley concurs. In a recent speech, she spelled out what should have been plain for all to see: “We have a president who…came out  of the swamps of Chicago machine politics, who learned at the knee of the communist revolutionary Frank Marshall Davis, who studied under Marxist professors…who trained intensively in the revolutionary tactics of Saul Alinsky, who launched his political career in the living room of Marxist revolutionaries and domestic terrorists… who for two decades sat in the pews of the radical anti-American preacher, who tried desperately to bury that past, who spoke about the fundamental transformation of the nation…who waged war on entire news organizations, Fox News, and who spent his first term slamming into place radical wealth redistribution and socialized medicine….What I’m describing here is the classic tin-pot dictatorship. We never thought it could happen here, and yet, here it is….Those of us in this room knew what was going on from the beginning before he was even elected president, but now it’s starting to dawn on more and more people what is really happening here.” She is right. Even for those who were not “in this room,” there should have been little doubt that Obama was a man without a discernible moral core, inspired by an anti-American political philosophy and utterly devoid of presidential heft.

But American voters were ready to be taken in by a smooth-talking, shape-changing, confidence-man, like the gullible “marks” in Melville’s last novel about the exploits of an adroit charlatan, and to trust the image rather than the substance (or absence of same). This is another way of saying that America elected the results of Obama’s wholly predictable dogmatic fecklessness. America elected not to be America anymore, to fundamentally transform itself from a solvent, powerful, feared and respected nation into a quasi-European basket case. America surrendered to reparation chromatics, as if seeking absolution for a history that no one today is responsible for and that Obama himself never experienced. Admittedly, Obama’s approval ratings have plunged of late, but public opinion is notoriously volatile and will probably rebound at some point. Liberal dogma and white guilt will see to that. One can only hope it will assume the form of a dead cat bounce.

The question remains. What will it take to awaken the tranquilized sector of the public and shake the elite corps of complacent opinion-makers out of their blind and factional torpor? How long before reality pre-empts fantasy? “The last five years of the Obama administration,” writes Russian émigré Alexander Markovsky, “have been like living on a volcano.” How long before the lava starts to flow?
One must hope that America will come to its collective senses before it is too late. But I am afraid that it will take nothing less than a major catastrophe, a fiscal implosion that takes the “food” out of food stamps, coupled with more high-casualty terrorist attacks both abroad and on its own soil, leading to the eruption of civil unrest and the possible impeachment of the most destructive president in the entire pageant of American history — a sorcerer’s apprentice in a house on fire or a Machiavellian schemer following a carefully contrived plan — before America emerges from its devastating slumber. Assuming, of course, that it ever does, or that a path to recovery will still be possible. For nothing is guaranteed in a nation so divided as America is today.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Happy Birthday to Carolyn Holland!

For days before my three-score and ten birthday my husband Monte kept asking me what I wanted to do.
“I don’t know,” I said. “I just want a quiet day.”
That wasn’t what he wanted to hear. He wanted to do something special.
The day before my decade-turning event he asked me if I wanted to go to a Holiday Luncheon Buffet at the Latrobe Airport branch of DeNunzio’s Restaurant.
“That sounds nice,” I said. “But I’ll only go if we can attend as Santa and Mrs. Claus.”