The Wisdom of Checks and Balances

Saturday, July 30th, 2011 3:37 pm by mikeinvaldosta

The Founding Fathers were not perfect. Slavery was wrong. Women’s suffrage was wrong. Dividing the Federal government into three separate branches with checks and balances on each other, and limiting their authority to those powers specifically enumerated within The Constitution was pure brilliance. The bi-cameral congress was an act of providence.

I bring this up due to the debt ceiling crisis. The left wing and the suppliant media have labeled the ”Tea Party” members of congress as “terrorists” due to the unwillingness to go along with President Obama and Harry Reid’s plan for raising the debt limit.

Fareed Zakaria, CNN’s Shaman of Obamotics, proclaims the Tea Party is hijacking America with an agenda “it cannot get it through the political democratic process.” He then positioned the loyal opposition’s stance as, “we’ll blow up the country if you don’t listen to us. We will hold hostage the credit of the United States, the good standing of the United States and we’ll blow it up.”

In today’s world, standing on principle and following the prescribed legislative rules outlined within The Constitution of The United States of America amounts to “terrorism” if you happen to disagree with the Democrats.

In 2006, then a freshman Senator from Illinois in the minority, Barack Obama voted against a debt ceiling raise. Does that make President Obama a reformed terrorist in Fareed Zakaria’s eyes?

The Constitution exists to limit the Federal government’s power. Furthermore, it is designed to make the creation of new laws difficult. If I may, it exists to limit the ability of politicians, especially those suffering from Potomacitis, to enact knee-jerk legislation based upon the emotions of the day or the next election.

If we are going to start throwing the word “terrorist” at those we disagree with politically, perhaps we should start with those that do not respect The Constitution and the checks and balances contained within.

 

The Cruel Joke that is the Boehner Plan

Saturday, July 30th, 2011 12:52 pm by Neal

Well, now that the GOP House has screwed the pooch and passed the Boehner debt ceiling increase bill, it’s worth reading Andy McCarthy’s Against the Boehner Plan to see what we got.

To Thomas Sowell, the Boehner plan seems commendable because it would not only “spare the country a major economic disruption” but also “spare the Republicans from losing the 2012 elections by being blamed — rightly or wrongly — for the disruptions.”

Rightly or wrongly. In a nutshell, that tells us everything we need to know about the state of Obama’s opposition. Even our best minds assume that a principled stand taken for the right reasons is a loser. Standing in the midst of what is already a catastrophe, even our best minds are content to pretend that the “disruption” is something from which we can be spared.

Ask any rational person: “When a government is so addicted to reckless spending that it has run up a crushing $14.3 trillion debt that it has no plan to pay back — when it is borrowing $180 million per hour because it has taken on more obligations than it could ever hope to satisfy — would it be better to extend that government’s credit line another $2.5 trillion so it can continue heedlessly along, or to take every available opportunity to force it to alter course dramatically?” There is only one right answer to that question.

And that’s just the beginning. Read it all: the country is in economic trouble, and McCarthy explains the predicament without the political spin from either side.

Another Blow to Global Warming Alarmism

Thursday, July 28th, 2011 11:39 am by Neal

The facts just keep piling up against the Global Warming alarmists, but don’t wait on the EPA to let facts get in the way of their anti-fossil-fuels agenda.

This lastest news comes from NASA, New NASA Data Blow Gaping Hole In Global Warming Alarmism:

NASA satellite data from the years 2000 through 2011 show the Earth’s atmosphere is allowing far more heat to be released into space than alarmist computer models have predicted, reports a new study in the peer-reviewed science journal Remote Sensing. The study indicates far less future global warming will occur than United Nations computer models have predicted, and supports prior studies indicating increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide trap far less heat than alarmists have claimed.

Study co-author Dr. Roy Spencer, a principal research scientist at the University of Alabama in Huntsville and U.S. Science Team Leader for the Advanced Microwave Scanning Radiometer flying on NASA’s Aqua satellite, reports that real-world data from NASA’s Terra satellite contradict multiple assumptions fed into alarmist computer models.

“The satellite observations suggest there is much more energy lost to space during and after warming than the climate models show,” Spencer said in a July 26 University of Alabama press release. “There is a huge discrepancy between the data and the forecasts that is especially big over the oceans.”

In addition to finding that far less heat is being trapped than alarmist computer models have predicted, the NASA satellite data show the atmosphere begins shedding heat into space long before United Nations computer models predicted.

The new findings are extremely important and should dramatically alter the global warming debate.

Obama is No Lincoln

Wednesday, July 27th, 2011 12:00 pm by Neal

Check out Jonah Goldberg’s observations on Obama’s Towering Inferno, aka the debt ceiling “debate”.

Imagine you’re in a burning office building. Obama’s plan for getting out alive: “Okay, you guys break up into different groups and come up with a series of proposals about how we get out of the building. I will then negotiate with each of you separately and then together, and then separately. Then I’ll get on Skype and tell the world what I think of your respective plans and criticize you for their lack of seriousness. I will insist that we have balanced approach of applying both water to the fire and opening the windows, which some say will only provide more oxygen for the flames. But my base says window-opening is essential. Oh and I will blame all of the gasoline I threw around on the lower floors of this building on the guy who moved out two years ago. And I will veto any plan that requires we have a new plan should we get stuck on another floor. And, did I mention this mess was created by the former tenant and….ahhh what’s that smell?

Communism is Heavy

Wednesday, July 27th, 2011 11:47 am by Neal

Jon Stewart on the debt ceiling debate:

The Commerce Clause Must be Redefined

Thursday, July 14th, 2011 11:27 pm by mikeinvaldosta

The Commerce Clause is an enumerated power granting the United States Congress the power “To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian Tribes”. The Tenth Amendment states the Constitution’s principle of federalism by providing that powers not granted to the federal government nor prohibited to the states by the Constitution are reserved, respectively, to the states or the people. With every passing day, the Commerce Clause and the Tenth Amendment become more contradictory than the precedent day. At present, the Commerce Clause has eroded the Tenth Amendment to the point of obsolescence.

The very core of Federalism is built upon the limited powers of the Federal Government and the unique privileges granted to the individual states allowing them to write their own laws. The freedoms that all American’s derive from The Creator serve as an obstruction to Federal power, as does the Tenth Amendment, this is how the framers saw the role of government. Those that wish to expand the power and reach of the Federal government have successfully sought to utilize the vague Commerce Clause to trump both the Federal government’s limitations and the powers granted to the individual states by the Tenth Amendment.

The phrase “General Welfare” exists twice in the United States Constitution presenting another open door for those that desire to expand the scope and reach of Federal government power. The latter reference, in the Taxing and Spending Clause, is often referred to as the General Welfare Clause. Unlike the Commerce Clause, the so called General Welfare Clause has, in the past, lacked the specificity required to trump most state laws.

Today, America’s citizens are faced with a severe and imposing challenge to their individual freedoms. The Tenth Amendment, the very facilitator of our country’s nearest approach to true democracy, is under assault once again by the Commerce Clause and the ever growing General Welfare provision within the Taxing and Spending Clause. This assault arrived within a Trojan horse titled the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, otherwise known as Obamacare, which was signed into law March 23, 2010.

Obamacare is under constitutional challenge due to its mandate that citizens purchase healthcare insurance or face penalty within the tax code. The Obama administration, Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, and the Democratic members of congress they lead, base the legality of the Obamacare mandate upon the Commerce Clause and, to a lesser extent, the General Welfare “Clause.”

The basis for the reliance on the Commerce Clause lies within Medicare and Medicaid, two 1965 government programs enacted over one hundred fifty years after the ratification of the United States Constitution, as well as the Federal Insurance Contributions Act (Social Security) of 1935, that claimed constitutionality upon the General Welfare “Clause” and the Commerce Clause. All three programs, if offered by a private company, would qualify as the largest Ponzi scheme ever inflicted upon a people.

The central element of the Obamacare mandate revolves around the ultimate cost to the Federal government to provide healthcare to a citizen that does not have insurance or the financial wherewithal to purchase their healthcare. Ultimately, the Obama administration will rely upon the vague Commerce Clause in that the cost of the healthcare resulted in a cross state lines financial transaction due to the bill being picked up by the Federal government.

When this issue arrives at the Supreme Court, which it is sure to do, the stakes will go far beyond the constitutionality of Obamacare. At stake is our, every individual citizen’s, right to live our lives as we see fit. Should the court uphold Obamacare and its assertion that our health is an interstate commerce issue that falls under the Commerce clause, there is no facet of our lives that the Federal government will be prevented from legislating. The very powers the founding fathers sought to limit will become unlimited due to the Federal entitlement granted by Lyndon Johnson’s Medicare.

You may believe universal healthcare is a good thing, a thing an advanced nation such as The United States of America should provide. That is not the primal issue at stake. The means by which the Obama administration wishes to achieve this goal represents the largest affront to our individual freedoms since the British last fired upon our shores.

The Commerce Clause was never intended to be a back door to dominance of the governed. The sole intention of the Commerce Clause was to provide a legal framework for the resolution of issues involving multiple states and jurisdictions.

Should Obamacare be upheld, the Federal government’s power will no longer be limited of its citizens. There will be no activity in your life that can involve a consequence to your health that will not be subjected to the legislative powers of Congress.

It is paramount that Obamacare be defeated and the Supreme Court redefines the reach of the Commerce Clause.

Watch for the day when it becomes, marked: ‘Account overdrawn.’

Wednesday, July 13th, 2011 10:31 pm by Neal

This wonderful Michael Ramirez cartoon fits nicely with this small excerpt from Francisco’s Money Speech in Ayn Rand’s “Atlas Shrugged”:

“Do you wish to know whether that day is coming? Watch money. Money is the barometer of a society’s virtue. When you see that trading is done, not by consent, but by compulsion – when you see that in order to produce, you need to obtain permission from men who produce nothing – when you see that money is flowing to those who deal, not in goods, but in favors – when you see that men get richer by graft and by pull than by work, and your laws don’t protect you against them, but protect them against you – when you see corruption being rewarded and honesty becoming a self-sacrifice – you may know that your society is doomed. Money is so noble a medium that it does not compete with guns and it does not make terms with brutality. It will not permit a country to survive as half-property, half-loot.

“Whenever destroyers appear among men, they start by destroying money, for money is men’s protection and the base of a moral existence. Destroyers seize gold and leave to its owners a counterfeit pile of paper. This kills all objective standards and delivers men into the arbitrary power of an arbitrary setter of values. Gold was an objective value, an equivalent of wealth produced. Paper is a mortgage on wealth that does not exist, backed by a gun aimed at those who are expected to produce it. Paper is a check drawn by legal looters upon an account which is not theirs: upon the virtue of the victims. Watch for the day when it becomes, marked: ‘Account overdrawn.’

Obama Channels Marx

Monday, July 11th, 2011 9:05 pm by Neal

Was Obama off the prompter at his speech this morning? He let slip his belief and affection for Karl Marx’s classic quote:

“From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs”:

The American Thinker blog has the story:

Video of Obama’s Marxist moment.

* * *
UPDATE: Fred Thompson weighs in on the Marxist’s latest gaffe:

Every once in a while, President Obama, when he freelances, exposes his inner-core ideology and the fact that he has little acquaintance with how the real world works. In his Q & A Monday, he explained again the necessity for people like Warren Buffett and himself to give up in taxes “hundreds of thousands of dollars I don’t need.”

It is going to be difficult for a great many of those “millionaires and billionaires” subject to the Obama tax rates to pay those extra “hundreds of thousands of dollars,” because they only make $200,000.

Does he not realize that the little company tending the lawn around Warren Buffett’s home probably pays the same income-tax rate that Buffett pays? And that his tax-rate increase on the “wealthy” would raise that firm’s taxes the same? According to the Obama vision, money you have earned is basically on loan from the government until our president deems you don’t “need” it anymore.

I think about the guy or gal who has worked their way up the ladder to finally reach the $200,000 taxable income level, who has a medical emergency or who is the sole source of income for an invalid parent. I wonder if they think they “need” every dime they earn.

There are very few Buffetts, and President Obama probably knows most of them. But we’ve got quite a few H.E.N.R.Y.s (High Earning Not Rich Yet).

I wonder if our president knows any of them.

Class Warfare, Obama-style

Monday, July 11th, 2011 4:26 pm by Neal

Ship of Fools

Thursday, April 14th, 2011 12:16 pm by Neal

Global Warming Explained

Friday, February 18th, 2011 2:50 am by Neal

Liberals give children a bad name

Thursday, February 17th, 2011 5:26 pm by Neal

There are lots of children in Wisconsin schools, but they’re not sitting in desks. They are called “teachers” when they’re doing their job and not abusing sick leave to throw a temper tantrum at the capitol (I say “teachers” in quotes because I refuse to dishonor real teachers.) These union thugs have proven, as if anyone still doubted it, the disdain that they have for the taxpayers who pay their worthless asses. They all should be fired.

Left Re-embraces Hate and Vitriol in Wisconsin:

The left has come unglued. Forgetting that public sector employees work for the taxpayers (and not the other way around), unions descended upon the Capitol in protest.

Among the loudest protesters were the teacher unions. Angry that the governor was not treating them as professionals, some teachers unions staged a “sickout,” causing schools to cancel classes due to insufficient staff levels. (Talk about a mixed message.)

Better still, some teachers dragged students to the Capitol as political props. Video released by the MacIver Institute shows students marching through the streets, carrying signs and protesting. Only one problem: the kids don’t have the slightest clue why they’re there. In the video, one student says, “We’re trying to stop whatever this dude (meaning Gov. Walker) is doing.”

But the depth of the students’ cluelessness was matched only by the nastiness of their teachers. Some union members were also seen holding signs that read, “Death to Tyrants.” Other messages included, “Hosni Walker,” “Hitler Outlawed Unions, Too,” and “Walker puts the dic in dictator.” Stay classy, government school teachers!

One protestor had sign that read, “I am not replaceable. I am professional.” Really? Do professionals disrupt the learning process to engage in silly political theatrics? Do professionals use students as political pawns to help secure hefty retirement and benefit packages for themselves?

Perhaps the teacher unions would have more credibility if taxpayers ever saw the unions’ expend this much passion and energy over the drop-out rate and the travesty of seeing high school graduates who cannot read their diplomas. Remember teachers, actions still speak louder than words.

Now that the unions are fighting for their very existence, they are open to discussing education reforms and spending concessions. But the unions should have cooperated long ago, before states such as Wisconsin started careening toward insolvency.

The unions and the other special interest groups are reaping what they have sown. They’ve called the shots for so long, that they’ve made harsh budget decisions a necessity. But instead of seeking constructive solutions, they are back to spewing anger, hate and vitriol.

Soon, that may be all that remains of the American left.

Also recommended is this piece at Powerline. Don’t miss the links to Jay Nordlinger’s excellent commentary on this ridiculous situation.

Shut up and pass the bacon

Thursday, February 17th, 2011 1:03 pm by Neal

Civility

Thursday, February 17th, 2011 1:36 am by Neal

Just a small accounting on that new age of civility.

Herman Cain

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker.

The Republicans are taking away my baby food!

Nancy Pelosi: Republicans put women and children last.

This will be an easy list to expand. Stay tuned.

UPDATES:

17 February 2011:

Hosni + Hitler = Scott Walker.

Constitutionalism

Friday, January 7th, 2011 1:02 pm by Neal

Don’t miss Charles Krauthammer’s article in today’s National Review, Constitutionalism:

Americans are in the midst of a great national debate over the power, scope, and reach of the government established by that document. The debate was sparked by the current administration’s bold push for government expansion — a massive fiscal stimulus, Obamacare, financial regulation, and various attempts to control the energy economy. This engendered a popular reaction, identified with the Tea Party but in reality far more widespread, calling for a more restrictive vision of government more consistent with the Founders’ intent.

Call it constitutionalism. In essence, constitutionalism is the intellectual counterpart and spiritual progeny of the “originalism” movement in jurisprudence. Judicial “originalists” (led by Antonin Scalia and other notable conservative jurists) insist that legal interpretation be bound by the text of the Constitution as understood by those who wrote it and their contemporaries. Originalism has grown to become the major challenger to the liberal “living Constitution” school, under which high courts are channelers of the spirit of the age, free to create new constitutional principles accordingly.

What originalism is to jurisprudence, constitutionalism is to governance: a call for restraint rooted in constitutional text. Constitutionalism as a political philosophy represents a reformed, self-regulating conservatism that bases its call for minimalist government — for reining in the willfulness of presidents and legislatures — in the words and meaning of the Constitution.

The most galvanizing example of this expansive shift was, of course, the Democrats’ health-care reform, which will revolutionize one-sixth of the economy and impose an individual mandate that levies a fine on anyone who does not enter into a private contract with a health-insurance company. Whatever its merits as policy, there is no doubting its seriousness as constitutional precedent: If Congress can impose such a mandate, is there anything that Congress may not impose upon the individual?

Obamacare = Crony Socialism

Friday, January 7th, 2011 12:57 pm by Neal

Karl Rove had an excellent article in yesterday’s Wall Street Journal, ObamaCare Rewards Friends, Punishes Enemies. The article details how the implementation of Obamacare is rife with waivers for unions, overreaching Federal control of insurance rates (typically the regulatory turf of the States), payoffs to the AARP, and more. John at powerline rightly calls this “crony socialism.”

From Rove’s article,

In September, HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius began granting waivers to companies that provided workers “mini-med” coverage—low-cost plans with low annual limits on what the insurance will pay out. This followed announcements by some employers that they would have to drop these plans because they did not meet the new health law’s requirement that 85% of premium income be spent on medical expenses. … Whatever is going on here, a disproportionately high number of waivers are being granted to administration allies.

It’s not hard to connect the dots. The Obama administration is using waivers to reward friends. On the flip side, business executives will be discouraged from contributing to the president’s opponents or from taking any other steps that might upset the White House or its political appointees at HHS.

This is not what people had in mind when candidate Obama promised in his acceptance speech in August 2008 to undo “the cynicism we all have about government.”

Read the whole thing for the details. We can’t get rid of this law fast enough.

The Nanny State Marches Forward

Tuesday, December 21st, 2010 3:03 pm by Neal

“We could give it all back to you and hope you spend it right… But … if you don’t spend it right, here’s what’s going to happen.” — Bill Clinton, 1999

“We can’t just leave it up to the parents.” — Michelle Obama, 2010, referring to decisions on feeding children while talking about the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids law.

The Socialist-Democrat Party has a long tradition of treating adults like children and respecting only a select few personal choices: the choice to have an abortion being one.

David Catron at The American Spectator has a great piece today on how this shameful tradition continues unabated among our current rulers. Check out Obamacare and the Broccoli Mandate:

If Gershengorn had been permitted to provide a candid response to the judge’s observation, he would probably have said something like, “What’s your point?” He, like everyone else in the Obama administration, presumably believes that the commerce clause gives the federal government the authority to regulate virtually every decision we make in our day-to-day lives. Indeed, the belief that Washington can — and should — supervise us as if we were a nation of children is the core tenet of their nanny-state political philosophy. This is the belief system that prompted First Lady Michelle Obama to say, as her husband signed a law that will regulate what children eat during summer vacations and what can be sold in school vending machines, that child nutrition is something “We can’t just leave…up to the parents.” Without the “help” of the federal government, some mother might fail to force broccoli on her kids.

Likewise, we “can’t just leave it up” to the patients to decide for themselves if they should buy health insurance. Indeed, according to the Obama administration, there is something sinister in the very suggestion that we must allow them to do so. In a recent editorial published in the Washington Post under the names of Secretary of Health & Human Services Kathleen Sebelius and Attorney General Eric Holder, we are told that the twenty odd lawsuits challenging the right of Congress to impose the individual mandate are “troubling.” Why are they so troubling? “We saw similar challenges to laws that created Social Security and established new civil rights protections. Those challenges ultimately failed, and so will this one.” In other words, the officials of twenty states, including the old Confederate bastions of Michigan, Colorado, Washington, and Nebraska, are actually modern equivalents of Bull Connor and Orval Faubus.

Calling a Spade a Spade

Tuesday, December 7th, 2010 3:02 pm by Neal

Stanley Kurtz, author of Radical-in-Chief: Barack Obama and the Untold Story of American Socialism, exposes the new organization, No Labels, founded by David Frum and William Galston.

Here’s an excerpt from Kurtz’s article in National Review Online, David Frum, Speech Policeman:

All Galston and Frum have done is to make explicit — and reinforce — the mainstream press’s existing determination to ignore and silence critics of Obama’s radicalism. Once No Labels gets going, public resentment at these silencing techniques is bound to increase. Contrary to Galston and Frum, the way to reduce polarization is not to suppress disagreement but to invite reasoned debate on the issues that actually divide us. Since a substantial portion of the public views the president as a covert radical, let the topic be debated in the widest and most respectable forums. If the president’s accusers offer mere bluster, or his defenders are living in denial, we shall see it all then.

Abused as they may often be, we can’t even think without labels — which is to say, without categories. Galston and Frum label their own opponents when they decry them for “brain-dead partisanship.” Apparently, Frum consigned my book to that category without even reading it. Who was the brain-dead partisan there? Galston and Frum don’t actually mean “no labels.” What they really mean is, “no labels of which we disapprove.” Their new group might more aptly be named “Shut Up.”

As to the numerous critics who understood even before the 2008 election that Obama was a Socialist, Kurtz pays this complement:

Two and a half years of research into Obama’s past has left me with a healthy respect for the many Americans who concluded long ago that Obama was a socialist. No doubt some of these folks are intemperate and open to criticism. But I’m struck by how the critics were largely right — and for the right reasons, too. They looked at Obama’s questionable political partnerships, the not-so-hidden hints of radicalism in his memoirs, his own unguarded remarks during the campaign, the general tenor of Alinskyite community organizing, and the upshot of his political program. This yielded a rough-and-ready judgment that was harsh, but by no means unsupported. Two years of painstaking research in archives scattered across the country confirms that, on the whole and in the round, Sean Hannity, Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, Joe the Plumber, a host of bloggers, and even John McCain were correct: Obama really is a socialist. These critics are the folks Galston and Frum want to delegitimize and silence, but they had Obama correctly pegged from the start. My book irks Frum because it proves that his favorite targets have been right all along.

No Labels? No thanks.

I Remember Kenneth Kumpel

Friday, September 10th, 2010 10:53 am 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.

The Obama Icon

Tuesday, July 27th, 2010 9:42 am by Neal

Here’s a well-done video on the power and danger of iconography and how the Democrats are so entrenched in the O-brand that it now is used in place of the Presidential Seal of the United States.

Of course, this kind of propaganda is only possible when facilitated by a State-run media complex.