Kudos to Joe Scarborough and the Morning Joe Cast Along With Starbucks for Work Helping a New Orleans High School

I give a tip of the hat to Joe Scarborough, the cast of Morning Joe and their primary sponsor, Starbucks, for their efforts when the show aired in a volunteerism-focused visit to New Orleans on Friday (November 20). “Morning Joe’s” title sponsor and the show’s partner in its drive to spark volunteer efforts around the country presented a $125,000 check which boosted a donation total of more than $200,000 to John McDonogh High School – not counting the overtime donation of a new gym floor sparked by an on-air challenge by guest Digger Phelps!

Additional donations announced during the show came from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Co. (700 textbooks and professional development curriculum for teachers), the NBA and Spalding sporting-goods company (new hoops and backboards for the gym), NBC News (a free one-year subscription for the school to NBC News Archives on Demand and a donation to McDonogh’s college tour for ninth-graders).

The gym-floor donation came after Phelps Googled sports-floor companies and called one out on the air — Robbins Sports Surfaces of Cincinnati, Ohio.

Joe Covington Jr., of the Birmingham, Ala.-based Covington Flooring Co. – the regional distributor-installer for Robbins — happened to be in New Orleans on Friday for a business trip, and immediately began to field e mails and cell phone calls from people in his company and Robbins.

Covington arrived at John McDonogh, measured the space to be resurfaced, quickly consulted with a Robbins decision-maker, and the donation was decided.

Though “Morning Joe” had already left the air, Covington and Robbins meeting Phelps’ “Google and Guts” challenge so quickly prompted an unplanned live follow-up report — featuring Covington surrounded by the “Morning Joe” cast — during “Morning Meeting.”

“It was pretty wild,” said Covington, estimating that the value of the new floor will range from $80,000 to $150,000 depending on the material chosen for the job.

Then Saturday’s volunteerathon was dubbed “Brewing Together Day of Service.” (Starbucks recently rebranded one of its coffee lines to Gold Coast Blend, Morning Joe Edition.)

“I saw (President Obama) go down last month, for the first time, for a couple of hours before flying out to his fundraiser in San Francisco,” Scarborough said. “We had a discussion about it around the table, on the air. You sit there and wonder what else has to be done to draw focus on New Orleans and Mississippi. That wasn’t done over the past four years, and how could we still be – what’s the (Dick) Cheney word on Afghanistan? Dithering? – how could our federal government and state governments still be dithering four years later in reaching out and helping New Orleans and helping out Mississippi and helping everyone who was so dramatically impacted by Hurricane Katrina?

“So many people come on our show and talk about what they talk about in Washington and what they promise to do,” said “Morning Joe” co-host Mika Brzezinski, whose family named its Katrina rescue dog Cajun. “This is our way to say, ‘OK, you guys can keep talking, but anyone who actually wants to do something, come join us. Seriously, come out here. What you have to offer, offer. Let’s do it. Let’s help these people.’

I am pleased and surprised to see this group using their position and status to actually do something rather than just complain that the government isn’t doing enough. If more people in Washington, New York and Hollywood would follow the example set by the Morning Joe crew and Starbucks, the country would be much better off.

Thanksgiving Holiday

Thanksgiving was first celebrated by the settlers at Plymouth in the Massachusetts colony in 1621 under the leadership of Governor William Bradford, when the Pilgrims and Wampanoag Indians shared an autumn harvest feast which is acknowledged today as one of the first Thanksgiving celebrations in the colonies.

Although this feast is considered by many to the very first Thanksgiving celebration, it was actually in keeping with a long tradition of celebrating the harvest and giving thanks for a successful bounty of crops.

George Washington and James Madison each issued a Thanksgiving proclamation once during their Presidencies.

Thanksgiving as a national U.S. holiday is actually a more recent tradition – when Lincoln issued his Thanksgiving Day Proclamation that the holiday was established as a national annual event, occurring on the last Thursday of November.

Lincoln was inspired by a series of editorials and letters written by Sarah Josepha Hale, the New England editor of the hugely influential magazine Godey’s Lady’s Book. Though he initially resisted Hale’s appeals, Lincoln eventually embraced the idea of creating a national Thanksgiving holiday as a day of unity amid the strife of the war.

The first observance of the national holiday came one week after the dedication of the Soldiers National Cemetery at Gettysburg. The language of the proclamation is beautiful and marked by a rare felicity of expression.

The year that is drawing toward its close has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added, which are of so extraordinary a nature that they cannot fail to penetrate and soften the heart which is habitually insensible to the everwatchful providence of almighty God.

In the midst of a civil war of unequaled magnitude and severity, which has sometimes seemed to foreign states to invite and provoke their aggressions, peace has been preserved with all nations, order has been maintained, the laws have been respected and obeyed, and harmony has prevailed everywhere, except in the theater of military conflict; while that theater has been greatly contracted by the advancing armies and navies of the Union.

Needful diversions of wealth and of strength from the fields of peaceful industry to the national defense have not arrested the plow, the shuttle, or the ship; the ax has enlarged the borders of our settlements, and the mines, as well of iron and coal as of the precious metals, have yielded even more abundantly than heretofore.

Population has steadily increased, notwithstanding the waste that has been made in the camp, the siege, and the battlefield, and the country, rejoicing in the consciousness of augmented strength and vigor, is permitted to expect continuance of years with large increase of freedom.

No human counsel hath devised, nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the most high God, who while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy.

It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently, and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and one voice by the whole American people. I do, therefore, invite my fellow-citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next as a day of thanksgiving and praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the heavens. And I recommend to them that, while offering up the ascriptions justly due to him for such singular deliverances and blessings, they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to his tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners, or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the almighty hand to heal the wounds of the nation, and to restore it, as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes, to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquillity, and union.

In testimony whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the seal of the United Stated States to be affixed.

–President Lincoln’s Thanksgiving Day Proclamation, October 3, 1863

Xerox Doing Something Good To Support the Troops Overseas

Last week, I received one of those forwarded emails that we all get, but this one I didn’t just delete on the spot.

This one contained a link where you can pick out a Thank You card and which Xerox will print and send to a military member serving overseas. Granted, you can’t pick out who gets it, but will still go to a member of the armed forces.

I feel like Xerox has been doing a little something for the good of the troops with this program and it costs you nothing to send one. Xerox deserves kudos for this!

Whether you are for or against the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, I urge you to take a few seconds to send a note of gratitude for the troops overseas! Being overseas and away from your family while serving your country is hard enough anytime, but this time of year a little note of “thanks” is always welcomed.

After you’ve sent one yourself, I would encourage you to suggest the same of people you know.

Be like Xerox and do something good at LetsSayThanks.com

The Cloward-Piven Strategy, Part I

The Cloward-Piven Strategy is one of the methods used by Progressives to create and manage crisis. This strategy can explain Rahm Emanuel’s ominous statement, “You never want a serious crisis to go to waste.”

The Cloward-Piven Strategy is named after Columbia University sociologists Richard Andrew Cloward and Frances Fox Piven. Their goal is to overthrow capitalism by overwhelming the government bureaucracy with entitlement demands, thereby pushing society into crisis and economic collapse.

Cloward and Piven published an article titled “The Weight of the Poor: A Strategy to End Poverty” in the May 2, 1966 issue of The Nation. Following its publication, The Nation sold an unprecedented 30,000 reprints. Activists were abuzz over the so-called “crisis strategy” or “Cloward-Piven Strategy,” as it came to be called. Many were eager to put it into effect.

In their 1966 article published in The Nation, Cloward and Piven charged that the ruling classes used welfare to weaken the poor; that by providing a social safety net, the rich doused the fires of rebellion. Poor people can advance only when “the rest of society is afraid of them,” Cloward told the New York Times on September 27, 1970. Rather than placating the poor with government hand-outs, wrote Cloward and Piven, activists should work to sabotage and destroy the welfare system; the collapse of the welfare state would ignite a political and financial crisis that would rock the nation; poor people would rise in revolt; only then would “the rest of society” accept their demands.

Their article called for “cadres of aggressive organizers” to use “demonstrations to create a climate of militancy.” Intimidated by threats of violence, politicians would appeal to the federal government for help. Carefully orchestrated media campaigns, carried out by friendly, leftwing journalists, would float the idea of “a federal program of income redistribution,” in the form of a guaranteed living income for all — working and non-working people alike. Local officials would clutch at this idea like drowning men to a lifeline. They would apply pressure on Washington to implement it. With every major city erupting into chaos, Washington would have to act.

Cloward and Piven instructed activists that if a crisis did not exist, they should promote or manufacture one by exaggerating a benign or unthreatening predicament. In doing so, contrived commotion would serve as a tool to convince the masses of their urgent need for rescue. In order to achieve the ultimate goal, students were encouraged to stress the social system to the breaking point, which would quash capitalism and institute socialism through a massive infusion of government intervention.

This was an example of what are commonly called Trojan Horse movements — mass movements whose outward purpose seems to be providing material help to the downtrodden, but whose real objective is to overwhelm government agencies with a flood of demands beyond the capacity of those agencies to meet. The flood of demands was calculated to break the budget, jam the bureaucratic gears into gridlock, and bring the system crashing down. Fear, turmoil, violence and economic collapse would accompany such a breakdown — providing perfect conditions for fostering radical change. That is the Cloward-Piven theory.

Making an already weak economy even worse is the intent of the Cloward-Piven Strategy. It is imperative that we view TARP, Stimulus Package I (and the 2nd one being considered now), National Health Care, Cap and Trade and Card Check through this end goal. The Cloward-Piven strategy explains why these Progressive plans to “stimulate” the economy and, in Obama’s words, to ‘fundamentally remake America,” involves massive deficit spending projects. They are following Cloward and Piven.

Eric Holder’s Latest Blunder

Unless you are setting out to create a crisis, the decision announced by Attorney General Eric Holder to bring Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and four other terrorists from Guantanamo to New York City for a public trial in civilian court is one of the worst decisions to come from the Obama administration.

If you skip right past the fact that these are terrorists and enemy combatants first and foremost who should never be allowed to set foot on American soil; if you simply ignore the spectacle it will cause on a world stage to put on the show of a trial (I say a show because the current administration, Obama and Holder included, has stated that it is a foregone conclusion that the trial will result in a guilty verdict); if you do not care that the American intelligence community will, once again, have it’s capabilities and techniques exposed for all to see; there are still the minor details of what the rules will be and who is going to pay for the costs of this “show trial.”

I do not believe that the Justice Department has fully explained how Mohammed’s trial will differ from any other federal criminal proceeding with regards to the defendant’s rights. If, for instance, you take into consideration that Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and his friends have every right to choose to represent themselves in an American court and therefore have access to every piece of evidence and how it was obtained AND have the right to speak extensively during the trial, you might have a problem. If you take into consideration that regardless of representation, that the defendants did not have their Miranda rights explained to them prior to questioning to include the right to an attorney and the right not to answer questions, which could result in the case being thrown out of court, you might have a problem. If you consider that fact that the President of the United States and the Attorney General have both stated that torture was used to obtain confessions and other information from the defendants, again which could result in the case being thrown out of court, you might have a problem. These are just a few and I’m sure a legal expert could cite many, many other problems.

Now, as far as who will pay the costs of the trial. Of course, the U.S. taxpayer will pay for the legal fees of both the defendants and the prosecutors and the taxpayer will pick up the tab for all of the costs of the court. And don’t forget the security surrounding the defendants and the court will come at additional taxpayer expense. But what of the other expenses.

The Governor of New York has indicated that the state is in dire straights financially and will likely be broke by the end of the year. I’m sure it was with that in mind that Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY) is urging the administration to reimburse the city for what he says could be $75 million in extra security costs related to the terror trials. I suppose when the nation is already $12 trillion dollars in debt, an additional $75 million isn’t much, but I would be willing to bet $75 million is on the low side by an extreme amount especially since there is no way to predict the length of the trial itself.

I should like to point out that New York, in addition to it’s own population, has a large amount of people visiting on a daily basis. During a trial such as this, there will, potentially, be an even larger amount of people traveling to New York. If you look at terrorist incidents in other countries, you will find that they are seldom on the scale of the attacks of 9/11. A potential attack on the court or facilities where the prisoners will be held during the trial aside, an incident or multiple incidents in New York or Washington taking place as a show of support of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed by al Qaeda or any other group in other public areas is a very real possibility. Thanks to everyone who has stonewalled securing our borders, it would be easy to have zealots come into the country from any of these groups. The OTMs, or other than Mexicans, crossing the southern border has been a known problem for years! Do the math. There are roughly 15 to 20 million illegal aliens in the U.S. and ten percent of those are OTMs. Any percentage of the OTMs that are from hostile countries constitutes hundreds of thousands.Throw that potential into a mix with our own, home-grown terrorist, such as Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan and other “lone wolves” are also potential threats. How many of these are living and walking around in New York today?

On the plus side for the city of New York, there should be a huge number of additional members of the world press in town to cover the trial. I’m sure they will generate a large amount of income for the city’s hotels, bars and restaurants during the length of the trial. So everything should be okay. Right?