How About a Bit of Good News for a Change?
"[A] good moral character is the first essential in a man, and that the habits contracted at your age are generally indelible, and your conduct here may stamp your character through life. It is therefore highly important that you should endeavor not only to be learned but virtuous." --George Washington
In 2013, we want to make a concerted effort to bring you at least some good news, which is why we will aim to lead off the Brief with a section called "Inspiration" for that purpose. Enjoy.
"For most parents, when a child leaves the nest it's usually for good. But at age 51, Tony Tolbert has come home again. ... He announced he was moving back home, because he was giving up his own fully furnished L.A. home, rent free, for a full year -- to a family he'd never even met. 'You don't have to be Bill Gates or Warren Buffet or Oprah,' Tolbert said. 'We can do it wherever we are, with whatever we have, and for me, I have a home that I can make available.' But to whom? Tolbert sought out a shelter for homeless women and children called Alexandria House. It was there he found Felicia Dukes. Needless to say, she couldn't believe the offer when she heard it. 'They had a young man that wanted to donate their house to you for a year,' Dukes recounted. 'And I'm looking at her, like, what? Like -- Are you serious?' ... Tolbert also became emotional when he talked about the life lessons he learned from his father, who is now suffering from Alzheimer's Disease. 'Kindness creates kindness. Generosity creates generosity. Love creates love,' he said. 'And I think if we can share some of that and have more stories about people doing nice things for other people, and fewer stories about people doing horrible things to other people, that's a better world.' Not a bad thought to begin the new year." --CBS News' Lee Cowan
For the Record
"While the December jobs report -- 155,000 net new payrolls, 7.8% unemployment rate -- was more or less in line with official analyst expectations, plenty of Wall Street economists thought it just might surprise to the upside. Maybe 200,000 jobs or more went the 'whisper' estimates. It didn't happen. Instead it was same old, same old. The increase in total nonfarm payroll employment was only a smidgen better than the average 2012 employment growth of 153,000 jobs per month. And that was exactly the same as the average monthly gain for 2011. And at that pace, the US won't return to pre-Great Recession employment levels until after 2025, according to the Jobs Gap calculator from the Hamilton Project. Indeed, if the labor force participation rate last month, 63.6%, were the same as in December 2011, 64.0%, the 'official' or U-3 unemployment rate today would be 8.4%, only a bit better than the December 2011 rate of 8.5%. In addition, average hourly earnings rose by just 2.1% over 2012, about the same as inflation. That means real wage growth was pretty much flat. Hard to call that progress." --American Enterprise Institute's James Pethokoukis
Opinion in Brief
"Back in the middle of the 19th century, things were getting better for the poor for the first time ever, what with the textile revolution and the railway revolution and steamships and all. But suppose you were a political activist, thirsting for power and meaning. ... That's when Karl Marx had his brilliant idea. Why not divide the masters from the workers, and win votes from the workers by demonizing the masters and plundering their wealth? Why not tell the capitalists 'you didn't build that'? Divide and conquer. What could go wrong? What could go wrong, Mr. President, is Reynolds's Law. 'Things that can't go on forever, won't. Debt that can't be repaid, won't be. Promises that can't be kept, won't be.' What could go wrong is that the educated ruling class would make a mess of everything it meddled with: health care, pensions, education, housing, green energy, the dollar. For what? Democratic politicians are never going to come up with an entitlement reform plan and warn their senior voters and their moms with disabled kids. When the Democratic voters are reduced to eating the paint off the walls, they will want to be able to say that the Republicans did it." --columnist Christopher Chantrill
"Have you yet heard House Speaker John Boehner take the time to spell out why Barack Obama's argument for taxing 'millionaires and billionaires' is wrong? It is not a complicated argument. Moreover, it is an argument that has been articulated many times in plain English by conservative talk show hosts and by others in print. It has nothing to do with being worried about the fate of millionaires or billionaires, who can undoubtedly take care of themselves. What we all should be worried about are high tax rates driving American investments overseas, when there are millions of Americans who could use the jobs that those investments would create at home. Yet Obama has been allowed to get away with the emotional argument that the rich can easily afford to pay more, as if that is the issue. But it will be the issue if no one says otherwise." --economist Thomas Sowell
"[T]he government may not descend to the evil of preventive law. The government cannot treat men as guilty until they have proven themselves to be, for the moment, innocent. No law can require the individual to prove that he won't violate another's rights, in the absence of evidence that he is going to. But this is precisely what gun control laws do. Gun control laws use force against the individual in the absence of any specific evidence that he is about to commit a crime. They say to the rational, responsible gun owner: you may not have or carry a gun because others have used them irrationally or irresponsibly. Thus, preventive law sacrifices the rational and responsible to the irrational and irresponsible. This is unjust and intolerable. The government may coercively intervene only when there is an objective threat that someone is going to use force. ... Statistics about how often gun-related crimes occur in the population is no evidence against you. That's collectivist thinking. The choices made by others are irrelevant to the choices that you will make. ... The government may respond only to specific threats, objectively evident. It has no right to initiate force against the innocent. And a gun owner is innocent until specific evidence arises that he is threatening to initiate force. Laws prohibiting or regulating guns across the board represent the evil of preventive law and should be abolished." --columnist Harry Binswanger
"For countless people, especially on the left, it's axiomatic that Adam Lanza's bloodbath was caused by America's gun culture. Many angrily demonize guns and the advocates of gun rights; they are convinced that only an ignoramus or a moral monster could oppose tighter gun control. ... It is fundamental to the Judeo-Christian outlook that human beings are not naturally good. 'The intention of man's heart,' God says in Genesis, 'is evil from his youth.' To use the Christian formulation, man is 'fallen.' All of us are tugged by conflicting moral impulses, and whether we do the right thing or the wrong thing is up to each of us. Peace, justice, and compassion are not the natural human condition. With rare exceptions, criminal violence can't be blamed on external culprits. Murder isn't caused by poverty or gory video games or low self-esteem -- or guns. Nor are wars caused by nuclear missiles, or al-Qaeda terrorism by box cutters. We fool ourselves if we imagine that by fixating on missiles and box cutters we can avoid reckoning with the cruel side of human nature. ... The desire to believe ... that 'people are truly good at heart' is powerful. Sadly, history refutes the idea that human nature alone will make a good world. Controlling bad things may sometimes be prudent. But it is above all by controlling ourselves -- by fortifying the better angels of our nature -- that the struggle against evil progresses." --columnist Jeff Jacoby
"The gun has been called the great equalizer, meaning that a small person with a gun is equal to a large person, but it is a great equalizer in another way, too. It insures that the people are the equal of their government whenever that government forgets that it is servant and not master of the governed. When the British forgot that they got a revolution. And, as a result, we Americans got a Constitution; a Constitution that, as those who wrote it were determined, would keep men free. If we give up part of that Constitution we give up part of our freedom and increase the chance that we will lose it all." --Ronald Reagan
"Wherever the people are true Christians, there are men to be found in large numbers, but everywhere and always, if Christianity wilts, the men wilt. ... The world is dwindling away, for lack of men; the nations are perishing for scarcity of men, for the rareness of men. I do believe: there are no men where there is no character; there is no character where there are no principles, doctrines, stands taken; there are no stands taken, no doctrines, no principles, where there is no religious faith and consequently no religion of society. Do what you will: only from God you will get men." --Louis Cardinal Pie from his 1871 Christmas homily (1815-1880)
"After reading Mark Alexander's column, 'Resolved For 2013,' I'll say that when I took an oath to support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies foreign and domestic, I naively never believed I would live to see a time where I was more concerned about domestic enemies than foreign enemies. If those on the Left want a fight, as far as I am concerned they've got one. America is the last bastion of Freedom and Liberty in the world. I will not let it go quietly into the night so help me God." --Edward in Eaton, Ohio
"I resolve to never give up my liberty, my freedom and my allegiance to this Republic, till death do us part!" --B.C.M. in Knoxville, Tennessee
"Friday's Digest relayed information about the coming efforts on gun control. To ban firearms is the ultimate form of subjugation. Wherever it's been done a ruling class was established and the people reduced to slaves. The basic rights of man are gone, and certain groups of people become the enemies of the State. Is this what Feinstein/Obama want?" --MikeEcho in Orting, Washington
"Dear brothers and friends: The Lord has given me a little extra money, so I can make a small donation to your cause. Thank you for your clear and concise reporting and opinions on what's happening in the Swamp. I was very frustrated when Barack Obama was re-elected, but the next Sunday, my minister reminded me that God is in control! You are the only news source that I can count on for the truth in any issue that is extant today. Keep it up." --Albuquerque, New Mexico
"I came to this country 45 years ago and have seen a big change. Unfortunately, the change has not been for the better. The Liberals have pretty much advanced their agenda to a point where it is becoming a danger to our Country's well being and Freedom. There are very few dedicated people and organizations like yourself who are willing to stand up and protect our Liberty and the very basic fundamentals on which this country was founded. I love this country and would do anything necessary to preserve its Liberty. Please keep up the good work and hopefully we will turn around the country some day." --Pushpavati
The Last Word
"Everybody agrees something is rotten on the Potomac. The ladies of the U.S. Senate think they've figured it out. It's that beastly testosterone that's making everybody but the ladies sick. 'We're less on testosterone,' says Dianne Feinstein of California. 'We don't have that need to be always confrontational. And I think we're problem-solvers, and I think that's what the country needs.' Mrs. Feinstein and the 20 ladies of the Senate, the largest number ever, got together on the eve of the opening of the new Congress to talk about how efficient and gracious they are, and how lucky we are to have them in town. ... The senator from California is from San Francisco, where estrogen is regularly added to the drinking water, so she knows its many benefits. She got plenty of seconds for her motion. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska agrees that an excess of testosterone may indeed be what ails the capital, but it might be 'the ego that is attached there.' Attached to what, she did not say, but ego -- and vanity -- has never been rationed in Washington. It's attached to nearly everything." --Washington Times editor emeritus Wesley Pruden
Semper Vigilo, Fortis, Paratus et Fidelis!
Nate Jackson for The Patriot Post Editorial Team