I Remember Kenneth Kumpel

Friday, September 9th, 2011 10:52 pm by Neal
Kenneth Kumpel — loving husband, father, firefighter, cook and all-around Renaissance man.

Kenneth Kumpel — A Passion for Living

What makes a beautiful life? I’ve always believed the surest sign is a person who loves to live and loves his life. Kenneth Kumpel was such a man.

Spend any time reading about Kenneth Kumpel, and one thing becomes crystal clear: he had a passion for living. At its essence, a firefighter takes great risk in order to save the lives of others. Such sacrifice can only come from a person whose love of living is so great that he will risk it to preserve life for others. His wife of 18 years, Nancy, said that “he was always a firefighter at heart. … He loved the camaraderie of it. He lived firefighting every moment of the day. … The Fire Department definitely helped complete him.” That kind of dedication comes from a man who is passionate about his work. A passion for work is a passion for living.

Kenneth was also the chef in the family. I know from personal experience that anyone who loves to cook is an artist. Chefs thrive on making a necessity of life — eating — a beautiful, delicious, entertaining experience: taking a requirement of life and making it a pleasure of life. Kenneth shared this gift with his family and friends. “‘There was never a woman in the kitchen at holidays,” said Mr. Kumpel’s mother-in-law, Barbara Gorman. She and her husband, James, enjoyed the feasts the firefighters in the family prepared: ”their son, Jim, also a firefighter, was Mr. Kumpel’s friend as well as his brother-in-law.” Cooking is almost a lost art in modern America, but not to Kenneth Kumpel. He took the firefighters practice of cooking in the firehouse and brought it home to share with family and friends. A passion for cooking is a passion for living.

Kenneth also loved the water. He and his family lived in the town Cornwall-on-Hudson, drawn there to be next to the river he so enjoyed. “A sleek black boat, named Batboat in honor of their son’s favorite superhero, was the family’s vehicle for enjoying the peace and beauty of the river.” He and his wife also enjoyed the ultimate water sport, scuba diving, and they would periodically travel to Aruba or the Cayman Islands — classic, diving destinations.

Kenneth Kumpel also enjoyed woodworking, making stained glass, and constructing a beautiful home for his family. “A craftsman with the skill and attention to detail of a pro, Mr. Kumpel renovated his family’s former home in West Brighton, and he built their home in Cornwall. A perfectionist, he took satisfaction in the ‘extra details and finishing touches,’ said his wife.”

Because firefighters can have a few days off between shifts, Firefighter Kumpel, a steady, warm presence, had time for his sons. He cooked, cleaned, coached, volunteered and endlessly fixed up their house in Cornwall, N.Y., perfecting his stained-glass windows, tiling and floors.

Food, clothing and shelter are commonly referred to as “the necessities of life.” Kenneth Kumpel took at least two of these three and turned them into “a passion of life.” This is a passion for living.

Kenneth was a family man. He and his wife Nancy, whom he married in 1982, have two sons, Gregory and Carl. Kenneth would take them boating, play sports, and was a coach in their recreational soccer and baseball leagues. “The family enjoyed vacations together at Lake George, N.Y., and recently vacationed in Florida, where they alternated between the excitement of a theme park and the calm of hanging out, swimming, and barbecuing at the condo.”

Kenneth never lost the youthful qualities of play and humor. Firefighting is a deadly serious business, and Kenneth Kumpel was a professional. However, he didn’t let that fact change his lighthearted, happy outlook on life. In the firehouse, “he also developed quite a reputation as a practical joker, once switching the hinges and handles on a refrigerator so it opened from the opposite side, and placing beds on soda cans, for a surprising effect when someone sat down.” He was also known to smear peanut butter on the phone receiver. Not any man can handle the risk and pressure of being a firefighter, but a man who loves his life and enjoys it every minute can handle it. Kenneth Kumpel was that man.

Kenneth loved his work as a firefighter, the art of cooking, the craftsman art of woodworking and stained glass, enjoying recreation such as boating and scuba diving, coaching (and playing with) his two sons at soccer and baseball, making music, playing practical jokes, and much more. This is living at its best. These are the active creations of an artist who loves his craft, and no amount of money can instill this in a person who doesn’t possess it. If you want to know the secret to happiness in this world, look at the life of Kenneth Kumpel and the passion he had for living.

Personal Note

On a personal note, I’d like to thank Dale Challener Roe for organizing “the 2,996 project” because it has given me the opportunity to discover and honor this great man and American hero, Kenneth Kumpel. “Kenny” feels like a brother to me, and I think there is some higher power that destined me to learn about this man and honor him with my tribute.

From cooking to diving, to playing sports with his kids, to playing musical instruments, this is a man after my own heart.

To his wife Nancy, sons Gregory and Carl, and mother Lois: your husband, father and son is a great man. My deepest sympathies go out to you and your family, and I’m so sorry for your terrible loss. Kenneth, you are a hero of the finest kind. You willingly gave your life so that others may live, but it comforts me to know that you didn’t waste the time given to you on this earth. You, sir, truly have a passion for living.

I think a fitting way to close this tribute is with a poem by Jacob Katz, a fourth grader (at the time of writing) in the Yavneh Day School in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Kenneth Kumpel, “fix-it” man
Husband & father of two sons
Was first a policeman,then a fireman
He only thought of others lives
To lose this hero is unberable.

Sincerely, Jacob Katz
4th grade, Yavneh Day School

Research and Notes

silive.com entry on Kenneth Kumpel

A quiet person who was happier doing things than talking about them, Firefighter Kenneth Kumpel’s presence was manifested in his beautiful craftsmanship — and the pranks he played.

The 42-year-old family man lived in Cornwall-on-Hudson, an upstate town to which he and his wife were drawn because of its location on the river. A sleek black boat, named “Batboat” in honor of their sons’ favorite superhero, was the family’s vehicle for enjoying the peace and beauty of the river.

He always had time for his sons, Gregory and Carl, whether it was boating, a game of kickball or coaching organized sports of soccer or baseball. The family enjoyed vacations together at Lake George, N.Y., and recently vacationed in Florida, where they alternated between the excitement of a theme park and the calm of hanging out, swimming, and barbecuing at the condo.

Mr. and Mrs. Kumpel periodically took off as a couple to Aruba or the Cayman Islands, where they enjoyed scuba diving.

Mr. Kumpel also indulged in the firefighter’s vocation of cooking. He was the chef in the family, according to his wife, with a finely developed palate that told him just the right ingredients to add. She might bake a chicken, but he would prepare shrimp scampi.

Newsday article on Kenneth Kumpel:

Kenneth Kumpel was a New York City police officer for four years before changing careers. He was assigned to a precinct that covered Chinatown and, later, Manhattan’s infamous “Alphabet City,” said his wife, Nancy Kumpel.

But “he was always a firefighter at heart,” she said.

Bill Kaufman (Newsday)

Kenneth Kumpel, a firefighter with the New York Fire Department, was a prankster and a craftsman. He built the family’s home in Cornwall after renovating their former home in West Brighton. As a practical joke, he once switched the handles and hinges on a firehouse refrigerator so it opened from the opposite side. At a memorial Mass, an FDNY marine unit fireboat sprayed plumes of water, making rainbows in the air. The display honored Kumpel’s love of the Hudson River and the family’s boat, which was christened the Batboat.

–The Associated Press

New York Times

Raised by his mother and grandmother, Kenneth Kumpel, 42, spent much of his adulthood filling in the gaps left by an absentee father. He was a self- taught handyman and craftsman around the house; an endlessly patient, delighted father of Gregory, 11, and Carl, 9; a buddy who sought, through work, the camaraderie of other guys, first as a New York City police officer and then, more happily, as a firefighter.

Because firefighters can have a few days off between shifts, Firefighter Kumpel, a steady, warm presence, had time for his sons. He cooked, cleaned, coached, volunteered and endlessly fixed up their house in Cornwall, N.Y., perfecting his stained-glass windows, tiling and floors.

That was his castle, his home. But the firehouse ”Ladder Company 25 on Manhattan’s Upper West Side was Firefighter Kumpel’s home away from home. He would fix up the firehouse, too. Oh boy, would he.

Why is that bed slowly sinking to the floor when a firefighter flops on it? Someone propped it on empty soda cans! Who switched the handles and hinges on the refrigerator door? Smeared peanut butter on the phone receiver? The Fire Department definitely helped complete him, said Nancy Kumpel, his wife of 18 years.

Firefighter Kenneth Kumpel, Ladder 25 (bravestmemorial.com tribute):

Kenneth Kumpel returned to the river he loved so dearly earlier this month. The Hudson River meant so much to the Schenectady-born firefighter who lived along its mighty shores with his wife, Nancy, and two sons, Gregory and Carl. Ashes collected from Ground Zero were tossed over the side of the family’s boat not too long ago as a symbol of his sacrifice. Kumpel was a volunteer with the Highland Engine Company and the New Hyde Park Fire Department in Long Island. He was a giver and loved firefighting. He was 42. (62 Days Article)

Guest Book for Kenneth Kumpel (legacy.com tribute):

I remember your husband and children’s father as such a great down to earth guy who was always making your sons laugh and always brought a smile to the community. My family is good friends with yours and I used to baby sit the boys when they were little and I just wanted to let you know your family is always in my prayers and tonight at my school Oneonta State College we are holding a memorial service where his name will be put on a banner so that we will never forget
— Kristin Kukkonen (Cornwall, NY)

My name is Jim Gorman and I am the Brother-in-Law of Kenny. I am also a NYC Fireman. I would like to take this time to thank all of you who have done something for Kenny and all of our brothers (NYC Firemen), as well as all of the people who were lost in the attacks on America. There’s not a day that my sister and her sons, my parents or anyone in my family doesn’t think of Kenny. We all miss and will never forget him. He was a GREAT man! God bless you and America.
— James Gorman (Staten Island, NY)

*** UPDATES: Post-tribute information ***

September 11, 2001 Victims — a memorial site dedicated to the victims of September 11, 2001. Here are the posts for Kenneth Kumpel.

Post from Charla M. Billings:

I was so excited to see that a memorial quilt is being made for the 9-11 victims. I searched the list for a firefighter who did not yet have someone working on a quilt square……there was one left: Mr. Kumpel. I feel his name was left for me for several reasons. I have a son his age and my youngest son is a firefighter/paramedic here in Texas. The similarities in Mr. Kumpel and my firefighter son are amazing: the love of working with wood and being a perfectionist at it, the love of being “the” cook; the volunteering at local firestations during “off” time; the love of diving (my son is a certified swift water rescuer. My son is also on the state rescue team and would have loved to have been called to New York to help in the rescue. It would be wonderful to correspond with Mr. Kumpel’s family. My heart goes out to them and I will now be able to focus on a real person in my prayers for 9-11 victims. Thank you.

Post from Gary Biggerstaff LBFD:

In the months that followed 9-11-2001 I visited ground zero and was overcome with the site of the wreckage and all the personal notes left for the missing. Among them I found hand written notes from Ken Kumpel’s young boys attached to a dozen photos of them together. The photos showed happier times with his wife and son’s on vacation. One note from Kens 9 year old son read as follows. ” Dad- you will always be my hero, I love you and miss you very much. I hope I get to see you in heaven some day. I hope you don’t forget me. I will never forget you.” Being a fireman in California myself and a father of two young boys I was deeply touched by this 9 year olds sentiments. I returned home and created 343 personalized white crosses that I display at my home each September 11th to honor those who gave so much. Ken is not only a hero to his son’s, he is a hero to me. These crosses can be seen by visiting remember911ride.com.

Ron Paul Will not go Away

Monday, August 15th, 2011 11:33 pm by mikeinvaldosta

Without further comment.

After Strong Showing In Iowa, Why Is Ron Paul Still Getting The Media Cold Shoulder?

by Josh Feldman | 5:30 pm, August 15th, 2011


While Michele Bachmann claimed victory in the Iowa straw poll, Congressman Ron Paul came very close. The Texas congressman has attracted many passionate supporters, and yesterday anAssociated Press article said he went from being a fringe candidate to “shaping the 2012 race.”

However, he has not exactly been a favorite of the mainstream media’s. Bachmann, the gold medalist of Iowa, was interviewed on every single Sunday morning news program, while Tim Pawlenty, the bronze medalist, got his fair share of media attention by announcing his withdrawl from the race the same day. Rick Perry got a decent amount of headlines for getting in the race, but his fellow Texan has not gotten the same in kind. The Examiner’s Timothy Carney puts it in perspective:

With Tim Pawlenty out of the race, only two active Presidential candidates scored more than 10 percent in Saturday’s Iowa straw poll. Following the media coverage Sunday, you would never guess Congressman Ron Paul was one of them.

On Sunday, Paul garnered less than half of the media coverage given to Governor Perry, and roughly half of the coverage Pawlenty got on the day he dropped out. Obviously, one of the factors to be considered here is the considerable amount of news made by both men, but why is Ron Paul still being ignored by the media at large?

Yesterday on CNN’s Reliable SourcesRoger Simon of Politico gave a fairly candid take on how Paul is being treated by the mainstream media.

Any Ink is Better Than no Ink

Monday, August 15th, 2011 4:32 pm by mikeinvaldosta

As I said in yesterday’s post, Ron Paul: The Man Most Feared by Washington, D.C., Congressmen Paul has the establishment on the run. Today, Roger Simon, the liberal Chief Political Columnist of Politico, gave a little press to Ron Paul, backhanded as it was.

Ron Paul remains media poison

Paul’s name was not mentioned in this piece nor in many others. A Wall Street Journal editorial Monday magnanimously granted Paul’s showing in the straw poll a parenthetical dismissal: “(Libertarian Ron Paul, who has no chance to win the nomination, finished a close second.)”

But “close” does not fully describe Paul’s second-place finish. Paul lost to Bachmann by nine-tenths of one percentage point, or 152 votes out of 16,892 cast.

If it had been an election, such a result would almost certainly have triggered a recount. It was not an election, however, and that is my point. Straw polls are supposed to tell us, like a straw tossed into the air, which way the wind is blowing.

And any fair assessment of Ames, therefore, would have said the winds of the Republican Party are blowing toward both Bachmann and Paul.

Nonsense, some would say. Straw polls are just organized bribery, with the campaigns buying the tickets and distributing them to supporters. (And, in fact, this is what I wrote before Ames.)

What they really show, many argue, is not where the philosophical heart of the party is, but the organizational abilities of the candidates.

Fine, I’ll buy that. But why didn’t Paul get the same credit for his organizational abilities as Bachmann did for hers?

I am far from a Libertarian. I believe big government is swell as long as it does big things to help the common good. But after Ames, it was as if Paul had been sentenced to the Phantom Zone.

Bachmann appeared on five Sunday shows following Ames. Paul appeared on none. POLITICO’s Kasie Hunt was one of the few reporters to do a separate story on Paul’s showing at the straw poll, but to most of the media he remained an exotic, unworthy of attention.


So I asked Paul Monday if the media blackout disturbed him,

“It did disturb me, but it was not a total surprise,” he replied. “The result at Ames was significant; it might well have propelled us to the top tier. The media cannot change that.”

Though the media can, of course, change that since we get to determine who the top tier is.

“It is hard for them to accept,” Paul said of his showing at Ames. “I had one interview scheduled for this morning, a national program, but they canceled. It is shocking to be told nobody wants you.”

After showing what a stunning jackass of a hack he is, Roger Simon basically reveals the truth with a few quotes from the Congressman.

But Paul almost wins the thing and he remains poison.

“They [the media] believe this guy is dangerous to the status quo,” Paul said, “but that is a reason to be more energized. I am a bit more challenging, but I am not on the wrong track. I don’t think that my ideas are more exotic. They are threatening.”

In his interview with me, Paul stressed his “peace” message — he wants our troops brought home from foreign soil — and believes that and his fiscal conservatism will gain him supporters.

“We are trying to reverse 100 years of history, the change from a republic to an empire, the change to tax and spending, who wants to admit that?” Paul said. “Who wants to admit we don’t have to be policeman of the world?”

Like all members of the establishment and the media elite, Roger Simon understands Ron Paul will fix the nation’s economy by destroying Washington’s.


Ron Paul: The Man Most Feared by Washington, D.C.

Sunday, August 14th, 2011 1:47 pm by mikeinvaldosta

Yesterday’s Iowa GOP straw poll in Ames was won by Representative Michele Bachmann. The Iowa native won by 152 votes. Who finished in second? Was it Rick Perry? Tim Pawlenty? Mitt Romney? You really wouldn’t know by the “Main Stream Media’s” response, and apparently the phone hacking scandal across the pond has skewed Fox News more toward the “Main Stream” than “Fair and Balanced.”

Ron Paul finished second in case you were wondering. How does an event have such meaning for Representative Bachmann in the collective media’s eyes, while that same event has so little meaning for Representative Paul when viewed through the same lens?

The answer is simple. The Washington media, the Democrats, and the Republican establishment have one common attribute. They are all scared to death of Ron Paul. They are scared to death of what a Ron Paul administration would mean for their personal lives, their power bases.

Ron Paul was the “Tea Party” before there was a “Tea Party.” So why does the media choose to make Michele Bachmann the face of the “Tea Party?” Simple, she fits how they would like the “Tea Party” to be portrayed. The “Tea Party” was not a grass roots movement with abortion in mind, nor gay marriage, nor gays in the military. The “Tea Party” was, and is, about limiting the role, size, and effect, of government, not a re-targeting of Federal government power, a scale back of it.

When Rep. Bachmann formed the “Tea Party” Caucus in the House, she usurped a grass roots effort and allowed the Democrats and the Media to paint the “Tea Party” as right wing loons in the mold of Bachmann.  The last 18 hours have shown how far the media will go to keep the spotlight on Rep. Bachman and off of the true challenger to Washington power, Ron Paul.

Representative Bachmann won the straw poll by a margin of 152 votes, or 0.91%, statistically a virtual tie. Logic would dictate this would require some coverage of Ron Paul’s strong showing. Reality is scant mention of the true “Tea Party” candidate’s impressive showing by the Washington press corps.

Meet the “Press”:

The subject was yesterday’s Iowa Straw Poll, in which Michele Bachmann finished in a  statistical dead heat with Ron Paul.

Yet these bozos yapped on for half an hour without mentioning Paul, except in passing. They went on at great length about Bachmann and even Tim Pawlenty, her fellow Minnesotan who finished way back in the pack and dropped out of the race. But hardly a word about the Texas congressman.

I found this particularly grating when the subject came to the theme of getting the government off our back. First they showed a clip from Rick Perry, even though the Texas governor did not compete in the straw poll.

Then they showed a clip from, of all people, Pawlenty. Not a single one of these clowns mentioned that Paul practically invented the idea of getting the government off our backs.

And not a single one of them mentioned that Paul also pioneered the idea of voting against raising the debt ceiling. He has never voted to raise it in all his years in Congress. Yet when that issue came up, all the talk was about Bachmann, who just discovered the issue the other day, relatively speaking, and who is a complete ignoramus on economic issues.

What are these idiots up to? Well, I shouldn’t use terms like  ”idiots” and “bozos.” These guys know exactly what they’re doing. The pitchmen for the mainstream Republican Party, such as Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad, want to everything in their power to deep-six the man who has stood up to the Republican establishment for three decades.

This is just one example of the true problem, and really how few differences exist between the two utterly flawed political parties that maintain hold over the country.  All that matters to establishment politicians, on both sides of the aisle, is obtaining and retaining power.

The economy surrounding Washington, DC, never slows.  Housing prices around DC never decline. Government never tightens its belt, it occasionally will slow growth, but never shrink. Politicians get elected, move to Washington and, most often, never return. They continue to fatten themselves feeding at the Federal trough.

Ron Paul is the only genuine threat to this. Lobbyists, of either ilk, understand a Ron Paul administration would be bad for business. Should Washington’s power begin to dissipate and return to the states, where it belonged all along, the press corps would no doubt undergo contraction.

In the end, a Ron Paul presidency, no matter how good it would be for the country, would be bad for the other kind of government dependent, the elitist that feeds on Washington’s excesses.

Where the “abolition of want” leads

Saturday, August 13th, 2011 3:47 pm by Neal

Today’s must read piece is The New Britannia by Mark Steyn.

This is the logical dead end of the Nanny State. When William Beveridge laid out his blueprint for the British welfare regime in 1942, his goal was the “abolition of want” to be accomplished by “co-operation between the State and the individual.” In attempting to insulate the citizenry from life’s vicissitudes, Sir William succeeded beyond his wildest dreams. As I write in my book: “Want has been all but abolished. Today, fewer and fewer Britons want to work, want to marry, want to raise children, want to lead a life of any purpose or dignity.” The United Kingdom has the highest drug use in Europe, the highest incidence of sexually transmitted disease, the highest number of single mothers, the highest abortion rate. Marriage is all but defunct, except for William and Kate, fellow toffs, upscale gays, and Muslims. From page 204:

“For Americans, the quickest way to understand modern Britain is to look at what LBJ’s Great Society did to the black family and imagine it applied to the general population”.

Verizon Union Striker Gone Wild

Wednesday, August 10th, 2011 8:31 pm by Neal

(Hat tip: Breitbart.tv

Striking Verizon IBEW union worker places his daughter in front of a truck while yelling obscenities at the non-union, replacement workers.

Rick Santelli, Take Two

Monday, August 8th, 2011 11:14 pm by Neal

CNBC’s Rick Santelli, an early voice for the teaparty, cut loose another great rant today on the state of the US “leadership”:

Civility — Democrat-Style, Last Week.

Monday, August 8th, 2011 8:21 pm by Neal

(Hat tip: @EWErickson at redstate.com)

Watch excerpts from Obama’s speech on the Gabby Gifford shooting (the “civility” speech) interspersed with comments from Democrats in the last week.

Michelle Malkin SMACKS DOWN Newsweek.

Monday, August 8th, 2011 8:05 pm by Neal

You go Michelle!

Michelle Malkin smacks down Newsweek for the cover photo of Michele Bachmann while exposing, through many examples, the addiction the MSM has to altering the photos of conservatives and Republicans. What a cheap, cowardly thing to do, but we are talking about liberals.

Sigh. Seriously, Tina Brown?

Yes, I’m talking about you, Oxford University-educated Newsweek/Daily Beast editor Tina Brown.

You’ve resorted to recycling bottom-of-the-barrel moonbat photo cliches about conservative female public figures and their enraged “crazy eyes?” Really?

Who’s in charge of Newsweek cover graphics now — a Media Matters Soros Monkey? A random Daily Kos commenter? Keith Olbermann’s intern’s intern?

The once-mighty Newsweek magazine-turned-Beast is apparently so proud of its Democratic Underground-pandering Michele Bachmann cover and title that its editors are promoting the photo and pushing the hashtag #QueenofRage on Twitter.

It’s a long article, but be sure to make it to the end. You’ll thank me.

Judge Judy — “This is what we’re creating.” Know what I’m sayin’?

Sunday, August 7th, 2011 7:28 pm by Neal

Judge Judy reveals a young, college student for the moocher he really is. “That’s what we’re creating…him.”

We’re experiencing an embedding problem with this video. Use this link.

Video: Small Businesswoman tells Obama to “Apologize!”

Sunday, August 7th, 2011 5:30 pm by Neal

(Hat tip: Weasel Zippers)

It needed to be said. I’m not so sure she’s correct about this Administration not having a “plan”, however. Cloward-Piven, for example.

Al Gore loses it

Sunday, August 7th, 2011 12:33 pm by Neal

Ahhhh…this is precious.

Al Gore Really Lets the BS Fly:

“When you go and talk to any audience about climate, you hear them washing back at you the same crap over and over and over again,” he continued. “There’s no longer a shared reality on an issue like climate even though the very existence of our civilization is threatened. People have no idea! … It’s no longer acceptable in mixed company, meaning bipartisan company, to use the goddamn word climate. It is not acceptable. They have polluted it to the point where we cannot possibly come to an agreement on it.”

Al, so sorry that Chicken Little didn’t win the day. It’s time to cash it all in — hey, you’ve made tens of millions on this racket, so all is not lost!

S&P downgrades U.S. credit rating from AAA to AA+

Friday, August 5th, 2011 8:47 pm by Neal

Those who have been following the fauxsterity from the spending behemoth in DC will not be surprised at this news.

From Reuters, U.S. loses AAA credit rating from S&P:

NEW YORK (Reuters) – The United States lost its top-notch AAA credit rating from Standard & Poor’s on Friday, in a dramatic reversal of fortune for the world’s largest economy.

S&P cut the long-term U.S. credit rating by one notch to AA-plus on concerns about growing budget deficits.

U.S. Treasuries, once undisputedly seen as the safest investment in the world, are now rated lower than bonds issued by countries such as the UK, Germany, France or Canada.

The outlook on the new U.S. credit rating is negative, S&P said in a statement, a sign that another downgrade is possible in the next 12 to 18 months.

(Reporting by Walter Brandimarte; Editing by Jan Paschal)

Stay tuned for updates.

* * *


7 August 2011

Tom McCammon shows how the liberal spin machine is selectively quoting the S&P report in order to, well, lie of course! S&P Downgrade – Spin vs. Reality.

6 August 2011

Stanley Kurtz on S&P Has a Point:

It’s going to take time, debate, and above all elections to resolve this conflict. Supposedly, our squabbling political parties are incapable of compromise. In fact, we have serious disagreements on first principles that cannot and should not be resolved in the absence of a more fundamental determination of which way the country wants to move. Whether or not Barack Obama is reelected will be the single most important factor determining the direction we take. Nothing much will happen until that question is resolved, S&P notwithstanding. And for all the problems it causes, that is the way it has to be.

Kevin Williamson on Downgrade Nation:

On Feb. 7, 2010, the secretary of the Treasury, Timothy Geithner, was asked whether persistent deficits put the United States in danger of losing its AAA credit rating. “Absolutely not,” he said. “That will never happen to this country.” A little over a year later it did, when the ratings agency Egan-Jones downgraded the United States to AA.

Mark Steyn on Mad Debt and The Downgrade Begins:

The frivolousness of the political theater in Washington this last month and its mostly fraudulent media coverage did huge damage to the United States. It confirmed to the world, as S&P’s analysis suggests, that Washington is institutionally incapable of genuine reform. This was one of those it’s-the-music-not-the-lyrics moments: As damaging as the specifics of the ”deal” were, the broader sub-text of a political class pretending that it was meaningful was even more so.

Michelle Malkin on The downgrade delirium

5 August 2011

Cato Institute video on the significance of the U.S. Credit rating.

Thank you, Jonah Goldberg

Tuesday, August 2nd, 2011 7:20 pm by Neal

To Hell with You People:

Finally, president Obama, our national-healer, gives a speech. It was a good speech. Indeed it was one of the first speeches in a long while that got anything like bipartisan support. Civility. New tone. No more martial metaphors. These were the takeaways.

So flashforward to this week. Tom Friedman — who knows a bit about Hezbollah — calls the tea partiers the “Hezbollah faction” of the GOP bent on taking the country on a “suicide mission.” All over the place, conservative Republicans are “hostage takers” and “terrorists,” “terrorists” and “traitors.” They want to “end life as we know it on this planet,” says Nancy Pelosi. They are betraying the Founders, too. Chris Matthews all but signs up for the “Make an Ass of Yourself” contest at the State Fair. Joe Nocera writes today that “the Tea Party Republicans can put aside their suicide vests.” Lord knows what Krugman and Olbermann have said.

Then last night, on the very day Gabby Giffords heroically returns to cast her first vote since that tragic attack seven months ago, the vice president of the United States calls the Republican party a bunch of terrorists.

Read the whole thing here.

Compromisers Only, Principled Pols Not Allowed

Tuesday, August 2nd, 2011 2:34 pm by mikeinvaldosta

The so called grand compromise over the debt-ceiling was little more than window dressing. The real heavy lifting of deficit reduction, a task the congress is Constitutionally charged with, was “delegated” to a new, so called, super congress or super committee.

This star chamber is to be made up of 12 members of congress.

The four top congressional leaders — House Speaker John Boehner, Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell — would each appoint three lawmakers to the super committee within two weeks of the passage of the debt ceiling bill.

Read more

Six Dems, six Republicans, sounds fair, right? Not so fast.

Three Republican Senate sources tell TWS that senators who vote against the deal will be ineligible to serve on the so-called “supercommittee” for deficit reduction that the legislation creates.

Apparently, responsible minders of the taxpayers’ hard earned money are not allowed to join this Potomac love fest. Does this mean anything more than, “Tea Party, stay out!”?

Potomac Math

Monday, August 1st, 2011 2:28 pm by mikeinvaldosta

Compromise is an American politician’s preferred method of calculating. The hard science of math has no room for emotion in its results. 1 + 1 always equals 2. It is a provable scientific fact. It is also too rigid and limiting for a politician. Therefore math must also be compromised. Like principles, there is no place for hard and rigid rules in Washington; therefore scientific math has been replaced by the math of compromise.

Take, for example, the “History making compromise” President Obama made with Republicans, or vice versa depending upon one’s perspective, there is no actual decline in spending.

No plan under serious consideration cuts spending in the way you and I think about it.  Instead, the “cuts” being discussed are illusory, and are not cuts from current amounts being spent, but cuts in projected spending increases.  This is akin to a family “saving” $100,000 in expenses by deciding not to buy a Lamborghini, and instead getting a fully loaded Mercedes, when really their budget dictates that they need to stick with their perfectly serviceable Honda.  But this is the type of math Washington uses to mask the incriminating truth about their unrepentant plundering of the American people.

The saddest part of Washington’s compromised math is the complete and utter support it receives from the press. The very press the Founding Fathers sought to protect in the Constitution. The very press the Founding Fathers expected to keep politicians honest and in check. The very press that is currently throwing a hissy fit due to the suggestions government’s growth be slowed, not halted, not cut.

It is no wonder Fox News has nearly eclipsed all of its competitors combined.

A Debt Deal Without $4T in Cuts is a Double Whammy

Sunday, July 31st, 2011 2:20 pm by mikeinvaldosta

Yesterday I wrote of the consequences we face if the debt-ceiling is raised and if President Obama chooses to default. The reality is even worse. The compromise being sought by establishment Republicans, The Senate, and the president will ultimately lead to both higher inflation AND higher interest rates. A crushing double whammy on the US economy.

The “limited magnitude” of both debt plans put forward by congressional leaders would not put the nation’s AAA credit rating back on solid footing, Moody’s Investors Service announced Friday.

“Reductions of the magnitude now being proposed, if adopted, would likely lead Moody’s to adopt a negative outlook on the AAA rating,” the credit rating agency said in a new report. “The chances of a significant improvement in the long-term credit profile of the government coming from deficit reductions of the magnitude proposed in either plan are not high.”

It added that “prolonged debt ceiling deliberations” have increased the odds of a downgrade, but that the firm is still confident policymakers will avoid a default.

Our elected leaders had three options. Raise the debt ceiling and continue to print money to buy our own debt while making every commodity cost Americans more. Default and drive interest rates higher and hurt borrowers while rewarding responsible savers. And last, they could cut the $4 trillion in spending required to sustain our AAA credit rating, strengthen the dollar, and place America back on solid footing.

Washington kumbya compromise has once again found another, even worse than compromise, to stick us with. They have predictably decided to raise the debt ceiling, continue to print money AND have our country’s credit rating downgraded. We will be left with higher interest rates for borrowing and weakened purchasing power due to inflation caused by printing new money. The worst of both worlds. Ah, compromise.

But hey, screw reality and logic, let’s all have a feel good emotional moment of the grand compromise in Washington. Republicans and Democrats have reached across the aisle to screw the American people once again. Feels great, doesn’t it?

Now, more than ever, I am convinced congressional term limits AND a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution are the only ways our country can solve its government bloat problem.

If we are to Change the Debt Ceiling, Lower It

Sunday, July 31st, 2011 12:06 am by mikeinvaldosta

With all the debate and rancor over the debt ceiling reality has been shoved down Alice’s rabbit hole. President Obama now talks of indirect taxes in reference to the effect higher interest rates will have on America. In fact, the reality is, higher interest rates only effects borrowers. The de-valuation of the dollar affects all spenders of American currency.

A down-grade in American debt is sure to cause interest rates to rise on all borrowers. Whenever the government competes with the private sector in the dollars for loan market, interest rates will rise. The reality is, interest rates would have already risen had it not been for two major factors. First, the private sector has no appetite for risk. Taking a loan means incurring risks. Second, 70% of the Federal government debt issued in June was purchased by the U.S. Treasury with newly printed money, a practice known as monetary easing. 70% of the demand for U.S. debt was the U.S. Treasury.

Quantitative easing lowers interest rates. This is a good thing for borrowers. Central planners (Marxists or Keynesians) believe this will spur economic activity in the private sector. In a stable political and regulatory environment this may be true. In an activist environment with new and increasingly burdensome regulations on the private sector, the free markets (capitalists) take a wait and see attitude.

An undisputed fact of quantitative easing is the devaluing of the newly printed currency. In our case, for every dollar the Federal Government is borrowing, it must print new money for 70% of that borrowing. With each new dollar printed, every dollar in your savings account or 401K is devalued. In a global economy where commodities are valuated in US Dollars two types of people feel the effect of quantitative easing, those that loan the United States government money, and the citizens of the United States.

Pick any globally traded commodity you like, overlay a chart of the United States Dollar index on top of that commodity. You will quickly see the relationship the drop in the dollar has with our purchasing power as Americans. 3rd world dictators have resulted to inflating their way out of debt for many decades. Is that the proper course for the United States of America?

Believing the status quo, quantitative easing, is a punitive tax on all holders and spenders of US Dollars, let’s examine the alternatives.

Default. Default is not really an option. The Federal government brings in more than sufficient revenues to service its debts. The Federal government brings in more than enough revenues to service its entitlement payments, military obligations, veterans benefits and all other mandatory obligations. What gets paid and what goes unpaid will be a political decision made by the president and his tax cheating Treasury Secretary.

Default will force the Federal government to pay higher interest rates. This will have a dynamic effect in out years on the deficit. This will cause private sector borrowers in competition with the Federal government to pay higher rates on their borrowing.

Default will also benefit responsible citizens. Default will benefit responsible citizens that live within their means. Default will benefit responsible citizens that save their money. Default will benefit responsible citizens that place their money in money market accounts. Default will benefit responsible citizens that purchase Certificates of Deposit. Default will benefit citizens that purchase the Federal government’s debt.

The other option is to cut spending. This is an option that benefits all holders of US debt and spenders of US currency. A tightening of the money supply, otherwise known as the US Treasury shrinking its balance sheet, would strengthen the dollar, enabling all holders of the greenback to purchase more with their hard earned, or government provided, dollars.

Given the three choices; let Obama continue to spend unchecked, let the country default, or reign in spending and get our country and our currency on solid footing, there is no way in hell I would ever vote to raise the debt ceiling.

Go Marco, Go!

Saturday, July 30th, 2011 8:12 pm by Neal

Today on the Senate floor, Marco Rubio gave an incredible speech on the raising the debt ceiling debacle. He also did a rare thing — yield some of his time so John Kerry could interject some comments and questions to Rubio during his speech. I think you’ll like Rubio’s responses to Kerry’s questions. It’s good to see our newest Statesman in such good form. To thine own self be true, Marco Rubio.

Welcome, MikeinValdosta, and Big News southchild.com readers!

Saturday, July 30th, 2011 6:10 pm by Neal

After a long blog break, we are back at it, and we have some new changes to make this site more fun for everyone!

First, we’d like to welcome MikeinValdosta as a new writer. Check out his articles, The Commerce Clause Must be Redefined and The Wisdom of Checks and Balances for a taste of what’s to come. You’re going to learn a lot.

So, drumbeat…..the Big News is that we’ve enabled comments for registered users! This has been an outstanding request for a long time, and we’re very excited to finally be doing it! Registration is open for now, but hurry up and grab your user names because we might not keep it open indefinitely. We really look forward to hearing from you: comments have been opened on all posts going back at least one year, including some great posts from Tyler Butler that were posted in May, 2010. Be sure to check those out and maybe we can get Tyler to write some great, new articles!

OK, time to go snap some beans and shuck some corn. We look forward to enjoying with you a re-vamped, and re-energized southchild.com.