Thursday, November 12, 2009

Voice Your Opposition to the Health Bill

Netty Weisbaum writes:


Obama provides his people a link to contact media to support healthcare bill! We can take advantage of it!

We can use this same link to OPPOSE it. Dick Morris says we have to get 8% points in disapproval ratings to defeat it! Please follow this link, send your letter of opposition. (and continue to fax)

Thanks Sandra for providing me this info:

Barack Obamas " Organizing for America " has put the call out for people to Email their local papers and write a letter to the editor. They have created a VERY easy and fast way to write all your local papers with just a few key strokes. PLEASE take a minute to do this today and jump behind enemy lines to help kill the bill.

Here's what we need to do :

Go to :

1. Put in your Zip code. You will be redirected to a page where you enter all your address information.

2. Check all the boxes for all of your local papers.

3. NOW CAREFUL THIS IS THE IMPORTANT PART ! DO NOT CLICK NEXT. Instead Click " 2. Compose Letter " this is in the top middle of the page. This will allow you to compose your own letter to the editor against the healthcare bill.

4. Write your letter to the editor against the healthcare bill.

5. Now click Next

6. Preview your letter to the editor and click Send Email

Here is my letter:

Dear Congressman Hinchey:

Health care reform at this juncture is ill advised and inappropriate. At present, Americans pay an extreme and extortionate share of national income in taxes. Many in Ulster County are paying $1,000 per month in property taxes. The total national tax bill is in excess of 50%. An expensive health reform bill will bankrupt the nation. There are numerous additional problems with it, including the potential affects on medical innovation, which no "public health expert" understands and none will get right.

I urge you to vote against health reform.


Mitchell Langbert

Netty Weisbaum Protests The Affordable Health Care for America Act (H.R. 3962)

>My letter follows, your own is encouraged to kill this legislation dead in its tracks as we regain control of our country and our lives as American citizens:

Dear Editor:

Passage of the Senate version of H.R. 3962 is the DNC powerbroker's dream come true. Please note my vehement rejection of this legislation: is unconstitutional will impose draconian taxation on all Americans and their heirs for generations to follow will bankrupt small business which is 70% of our economy

4. proposed $1.2 Trillion dollars likely to grow much larger

5.85% Americans like their healthcare plans

6.Obama administration is purposefully encouraging high unemployment as sympathy to ensure passage of Senate version of H.R. 3962

7.bill is not about healthcare, it's about complete control over the lives of all Americans through bureaucracy & thugocracy

8.few legislators have even read what the WSJ calls 'the worst piece of legislation ever written' could be delivered to all Americans competitively if were to become portable, removing interstate commerce restrictions against sales of health insurance policies and if tort reform were enacted

10.DNC affiliations to lobbyists, special interest groups, such as trial lawyers, George Soros and his global financier pals, DEMAND this legislation to use the United States taxpayer as its personal ATM machine through draconian taxation as redistribution of wealth to the UN, EU, IMF, ad nauseum.

11.passage of the Senate version of H.R. 3962 will give government control of nearly 50% of the U.S. economy

12.passage of the Senate version of H.R. 3962 will ensure DNC control of the United States in perpetuity by creating dependence on the government through entitlement ideology

13.passage of the Senate version of H.R. 3962 is the DNC powerbroker's dream come true.


Best Regards,

Netty Wisbaum, CCIM

Johansen Calls Olive Reporting The Pits

I just received this e-mail from Town of Olive Conservative Party chairman Chris Johansen. Paul Smart is the editor of the Town penny saver, the Olive Press.

>Dear Paul:

I was not real happy with the results of this last election but I think we accomplished something and I had a lot of fun. One thing that I wasn't at all happy with was the complete lack of reporting on town meetings. I don't know why a town paper can't have a reporter covering town meetings especially budget meetings. I don't think Gary will report a meeting unless something of personal interest to him is on the agenda.

Paul if you cant get someone to regularly cover our town meetings a couple of us are going to start a town newspaper at least for now on the Internet. I am interested in your thoughts on this please get back to me.


Vanacore Speaks Out On Incompetence, Corruption in The Town of Olive

I just received this e-mail from a correspondent covering the Town of Olive Budget Meeting. I am still getting over a drawn out cold. Notice that the correspondent is accusing a reporter, Gary, for the Olive Press, the Town newspaper, of relying on one-sided accounts of Town meetings from die hard partisan Democrat Sylvia Rozelle. I guess the Olive Press learns its reporting techniques from the major market newspapers and network television. Since American media is generally little more than (Democratic Party) partisan propaganda, it can never be relied on to report news. The Olive Press seems to be reaching for the stars and must be proud that its methods parallel those of the best-known Democratic Party newspapers and television stations.

The correspondent also points out that no one in the Town understood a resolution on retirement benefits but the board passed it anyway. My correspondent probably does not know that I wrote my doctoral dissertation on the subject of cognitive limits on rationality in the administration of pension law. Likewise, I ran into our committee person Craig Grazier flagging cars because of an accident on Route 28. Indeed, I got lost on the detour and about 20 cars following my lead all got lost too, speaking of cognitive limits on rationality.

>Hope you are feeling better...

I attended the short and sweet board meeting last night. As usual, it was a small turn out - and no press. I have to applaud Rita Vanacore for standing up and speaking out about the budget. Just as Berndt was about to take a roll call vote on passing the budget, she raised her hand and spoke out... "I know you are going to pass the budget - but I want to register my objection - I think you really should be tightening your belt and I feel that we should not be seeing any increase this year." Of course, that will not make the papers... you know Sylvia is not going to recount that to Gary so that it's printed.

>Her point is a solid one - if Berndt was attempting to reduce the budget instead of increase it, the unexpended balance of $475,000 WOULD have offset any increase. It's only because he would like to keep the status quo, and continue to have such large unexpended balances each year, that we end up with the increases. And of course, there is the cat and mouse game that is played with state aid each year. If you don't "need" it then you won't get it. I believe that is the way the Highway gets the "CHIPS" funds each year. If you lower the budget - you don't qualify. So there always must be an increase.

There were two resolutions - one was tabled because Helen Chase was not quite happy with the wording. The other had to do with Retirement Hours for workers. There is a new reporting system that needs to be done - and all employee hours for purposes of state retirement, were part of this resolution - perhaps it would be interesting to have a copy of it to better understand it. It was so confusing, they didn't even read the entire resolution - but passed it unanimously.

There will be two reports of interest coming up next month - the DEP will be reporting on the bridge repairs and the continuing saga of the bypass road they are building. That will be of interest since they will eventually be doing the railroad bridge in Boiceville as well as the 5-arch bridge in Boiceville. And of course the dividing wehr, or 15 arch bridge as some know it. Also the Esopus Creek issues will be discussed - this was postponed from a previous month - concerning flooding, I believe.

Peter was absent along with Craig & Donnie - most likely due to the horrific accident that closed 28 near the Pine View Bakery. I saw Craig flagging traffic when I left the meeting. I had hoped the road would be open, but it was not and I ended up helping a couple of folks trying to find their way over Bostock Mountain to Boiceville. With no signs - if you are not from here, you are easily lost - or at least think you are.

All in all, the meeting took a whole 30 minutes, even with all the confusion and discussion with Rita. Otherwise, it was pretty cut and dry. Bruce made a suggestion that turned into a "motion" and was seconded - that all cell phones be turned off during meetings. Rita actually suggested that they need to make an announcement at the beginning of meetings since many folks would not know of the "ruling" unless they were there. They thought that was a good idea.

Anyway - Tomorrow is the recount in Kingston - I wish I could be there - but I must work. I will be waiting to hear what happens. I'm hoping that Craig will edge Linda out. It would be great.
Talk to you soon,

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Message From J Crum


I'm coming at you from my personal email...

I have been sending and moving information along to a good number of people in the last few months. People intuitively are worried about the spending and debt. They "get it" and see nothing but wasted money with little in return.

The health care issue is different as it will impact everyone personally. Once they see the expenses, the distortions and the really twisted logic things will change. I think the apolitical are becoming political.

What is the killer is the 4th estate. They are largely now a mouth piece of the liberal party and for now still set the agenda.

So, as I see things right now, it is a race. A race to see who will win: communists/statists vs we the people and our republic.

Too early to tell, but the odds are against us right now. The irony is that the bankrupting policies may actually in the long term end up saving the republic itself. The left will be financially and morally castrated, the other side poor but intellectually intact.

Our strength never lay in our money. It never has. It lay in our ideals, our understanding of the nature of man and what works. Mitchell, the increasingly real possibility exists that the recent oversteps may destroy the cancer that is eating our nation. The left needs its institutions and perspective to be totally destroyed and rendered invalid. Recent decisions will make that a near certainty, it is just that along the way, there will be terrific harm.

The patient will be sickened, but will recover.

Napolitano versus West

I seem to have mixed friendships. On the one hand, Phil Orenstein has been arguing for Allen West for president. West is a retired Lt. Col. who was stationed at Fort Hood (see audio). On the other, Glenda McGee just e-mailed that she favors Andrew Napolitano.

Glenda writes in favor of Fox News legal analyst Andrew Napolitano:

Subject: Brilliant Idea--Andrew Napolitano for President.

A constitutional Lawyer, not a politician, well known, respected by left and right, pass it on to EVERYONE.

Pawlenty, weak, Romney a Rino, Sarah, great but hated by too many.

Pass it on to all.

Phil writes in favor of Lt. Col. Allen West


Here is Lt Col. Allen West's terrific interview on the Steve Maltzberg show earlier today:
Thank you Honest Conservative, Pat Carfagno for preparing the Podcast!

Also just heard the good news at the end of the interview. Allen remarked that he will be in NYC on Jan 12th for a Hudson Institute sponsored event. I will send details as soon as I have them, but for now all Patriots mark your calendars for that day and let's give the good Col. a big patriotic New York welcome and send-off to Congress!!


I think that Phil and Glenda are on the right track. We need an infusion of new blood into the national leadership of the Republican Party. Any new candidates need to be vetted on support for the bailout and a game plan for elimination of much of the junk government in Washington, such as the Department of Education and the Department of Energy.

101st Airborne and David Limbaugh Respond to My Blog

I wrote about the moral implications of Barack Obama's dithering about the Fort Hood mass murder here and also here.

David Limbaugh, celebrity author, responds:

----- Original Message -----
From: David Limbaugh
To: Mitchell Langbert
Sent: Tuesday, November 10, 2009 9:00 AM
Subject: Re: Barack Obama's Moral Confusion About Murder

Bravo! Well done!

As well, Jim Crum and a member of the 101st Airborne (if you recall, the historic subject of the classic HBO series, Band of Brothers) write:



You've been read by a large number of 101st Airborne, active and retired. A few responses to this have even come in from overseas, yeah the "dumb soldiers", those 22 year old yokels, are actually not so "dumb" and I would argue are better read than many of your faculty...because they are required to. But that's another story.

The missive immediately below is from a man who is largely responsible for intelligence. Good man.

Thanks for Bob Robbins for sending this along.


-----Original Message-----
Sent: Wed, Nov 11, 2009 12:51 am
Subject: America's Growing Moral Bankruptcy

An offering contribution from a correspondent of mine, and a Christian conservative.

If Christian conservatives are going to be the sole custodians of virtues and morality in our culture, we need to listen to what many of them have to say with a fine-tuned ear. The title of the article that was forwarded is poignant and valid. Moral bankruptcy, and its manifestations in multiculturalism, are one reason why our nation is being crippled by concepts like political correctness, speech codes, hate-crimes laws (the very idea that "crime" must be modified by the adjective "hate" in order to somehow make a crime more of a crime is a politically correct contradiction that somehow adds even more degrees to violations of law, life and property). Moral relativism is, or seems to be, the code by which Barack Obama lives, and by which he is trying to lead the nation. Itself a bankrupt ideology, the "conciliatory" exterior of moral relativism cannot survive the scrutiny of logic and reason (or even the light of day). The concept is a contradiction in terms by its own construct. If everyone is entitled to "their truth" then truth has no meaning in an absolute sense, since by logical test A cannot be A and Not-A at the same time and in the same reference. Therefore, the "relativity of truth" is a cruel contradiction, and a hopelessly tangled logical error. Likewise, as Daniel Patrick Moynahan said: One may be entitled to one's own opinion, but not one's own facts." By this, Moynahan lamented the idea that debates must have rules, and those rules must be applied in order for discourse and dialogue to take place at all. Without framework, even simple conversations are only two sides speaking past each other and not treating the subject. We saw this the past week from none other than the flagrant violator of truth and logic, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. The "fact" that she "believes" what she says (at the moment she says it) does not make her "honest." In fact, Pelosi is by far the most dishonest and corrupt politician in the Houses of Congress today, because she has sold her honor and integrity for power. That is a far more dangerous variety of greed than just selling one's vote for money. Sown within the nineteen hundred pages of the national health care reform bill are the seeds of the downfall of our economic system, and the substitution of government by edict from an elite oligarchy who will ultimately strive to control every system of authority and power (and wealth) in our nation. This is so far distant from the spirit of the law enshrined in the US Constitution that we gasp in distress, since the Constitution as written and as intended in law is slowly disappearing from sight--driven from its primary place by a collectivist philosophy that espouses the very things that created the rift between the thirteen colonies and the "mother country" in the eighteenth century. The states are becoming the "colonies" of a "federal" system that is neither federal nor a system, but a community of "philosopher kings" who presume because they were elected by a majority constituency of their home district, that they have the right to remodel the entire government structure to suit their majority instead of the entire "constituency" population of their home district.

And the great waffler-in-chief, Barack Obama, continues to say much and nothing at the same time. He speaks to his audiences with great conviction, with the help of a teleprompter, and he has a charisma that conceals his ambition and truly bankrupt moral conviction that "everyone should have an equal chance at the pie." This is totally different from everyone having a chance at improving their lives, getting a job and making their own choices. The recent legislation, including health care "reform" is aimed at developing further the "welfare class client" system of voters dependent on the federal government for every essential of life, without paying any (monetary) penalty for the privilege. It is not an "opportunity." Yesterday, I sent out an article with comments that showed the real cost to the recipients of government "aid" in terms of an intangible burden placed on them and the rest of society that has a cost figure, in percent, at least, attached. As long as our nation continues to assume that we can control our urban poor minorities by throwing money and "benefits" at them in turn for their vote, we will have no chance of changing the course of the ship of our state, which, in my view, is bound for some very troubled waters, and soon..

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Barack Obama's Moral Confusion About Murder

I had previously blogged about the difference between the moral richness described in Maratha Nussbaum's Fragility of Goodness and Barack Obama's cretinous response to mass murder. As I awaken this morning, I am reminded of the moral degeneracy of the New York Times with respect to Walter Duranty's reports about the Soviet Union in the 1930s and the failure of the American left to question the mass starvation in the Ukraine. The American left has never systematically examined its response to Stalin's mass murder of 65 million people, the worst in history, and the left's moral support of that mass murder. The left's hands have been and continue to be caked thick with blood. It is a movement of psychopathic apologists for murder.

In this light, America's communist president is unable to condemn the mass murder at Fort Hood. To the left, mass murder has always been a matter of moral complexity. To the left-controlled mass media and to our communist president, mass murder is a gray area to be debated. The killing of 100,000 people by Fidel Castro is a matter over which the New York Times glosses. Mao's killing of 25 million is a matter for the Times to ignore, or to publish an article about Mao in 1971 that said how well the Chinese state was working. And when the author, John Kenneth Galbraith, dies, do not mention that he wrote or the Times published such an article, but criticize Milton Friedman, who helped Pinochet, who murdered 3,000 people.

Such is a degenerate America, ruled by holocaust deniers and apologists for murder, led by a president who sees moral ambiguity in the mass murder of Americans killed by a traitor.

Barack Obama A Moral Cretin

Abe Greenwald of Commentary (h/t Larwyn) comments on the strange statement of Barack Hussein Obama concerning the mass murder at Fort Hood:

>Barack Obama asked that we not “jump to conclusions” about Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan, who is alleged to have killed 13 Americans at Fort Hood last Thursday. Forget “jump to.” If only President Obama would crawl toward, or flirt with, or even stumble upon a conclusion, I’d be overjoyed. On this you can rely: Obama will never express a conclusive opinion on last Thursday’s massacre.

I happen to have been reading a wonderful book by the University of Chicago philosopher and classicist, Martha C. Nussbaum, entitled The Fragility of Goodness. The book was written in 1986. My philosophy professor at Sarah Lawrence College, Elfie Stock Raymond, was likely an admirer of Nussbaum because I see many parallels between Nussbaum's ideas and Elfie's that we discussed in conferences back in the early to mid 1970s, especially her rejection of Kantian ethics. Reading Nussbaum, 35 years later, I am able to better grasp that position.

The book is about moral complexity as seen through the eyes of Greek tragedians and philosophers, notably Aristotle. The third chapter, that I have been working through, is about Sophocles's Antigone. One of the themes of Greek tragedy is conflict among moral duties, and Antigone is about this, the conflict between Creon's unitary commitment to the good of the polis and Antigone's unitary commitment to her duties toward her dead brother, killed in a war against the same polis. Nussbaum argues that moral richness and complexity are at the heart of Sophocles's and other tragedians' vision, and that they contrast with a much more narrow vision of ethics of Plato, who sees an optimal moral path. The idea of moral optimality is carried forward by Kant. If you read Hannah Arendt's Eichmann in Jerusalem you see that Eichmann used Kant as a moral defense. This is consistent with Nussbaum's argument. Simplistic moral solutions are impoverished (p. 75):

>...the statement of human triumphs through reason turns out to be also a compressed document of reason's limitations, transgressions and conflicts. It suggests that the richer our scheme of values, the harder it will prove to effect a harmony within it. The more open we are to the presence of value, of divinity, in the world, the more surely conflict closes us in. The price of harmonization seems to be impoverishment, the price of richness disharmony. It looks, indeed, like an 'unwritten law' that 'nothing great comes into the life of mortals without disaster'. It is at this point that the men of the Chorus say, appropriately, 'looking on this strange portent, I think on both sides'.

I am waiting to get to Aristotle, but clearly his philosophy emphasizes the importance reconciliation of competing moral virtues.

Perhaps you can see the message for corporate maangement here. So many of our business leaders have had unitary moral codes. In the case of Jeffrey Skilling, the emphasis on creativity or the image of creativity at the expense of all other moral values. In the case of Robert Moses an emphasis on transportation flow at the expense of uprooting hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers. In the case of the management theorist Chester Barnard, an emphasis on the moral code of the corporation at the expense of all other moral codes, including filial loyalty. These views are Kantian in that they assume a singular optimal moral solution. Barnard speaks of leadership as the creative reconciliation of moral codes, but his creativity is unitary in nature and so Creonic and Kantian--the simple value of corporate profit maximization is the ultimate good in his view; creativity comes in just to convince employees to forsake their other codes.

Here we have Barack Obama. His problem is not the conflict among virtues or the reconciliation of belief, but rather the bankruptcy of belief. He has no values at all. There is no moral ambiguity in an army officer's turning traitor to his country, murdering 13 people and wounding 30 more. Only an ethical cretin would claim that there is a need to "reserve judgment". What are the alternative moral considerations when one faces mass murder?

Obama's moral sickness reflects a deeper malaise in America. The nation has allowed ignorant ideologues to take control of its education system and its culture. School teachers who can barely read are indoctrinated in education schools as to cretinous, politically correct ideologies of the National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education. As a result, Americans have increasingly become moral degenerates addicted to failed government solutions and incapable of thinking logically. Barack Obama's cretinous morality is a symptom, not a root cause, of American decline.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Attorney General Elect Ken Cuccinelli (VA) Describes Democratic Party Looting

In the above video, then State Senator Ken Cuccinelli (R-VA) describes how he has had to fight Democratic Party officials' lying and manipulation to try to hold the line on government waste and mismanagement.

Aaron Biterman recaps some of the victories of the Republican Liberty Caucus on the RLC site. He writes:

>Another election gone by, and it turned out quite well for the Republican Party overall and the Republican Liberty Caucus in specific.

Republicans elected new Governors in New Jersey and Virginia. Neither of the candidates, Chris Christie or Bob McDonnell, was endorsed by the Republican Liberty Caucus, but we believe they will provide a better vision for their states than their respective opponents.

In Virginia, voters elected State Senator Ken Cuccinelli to the post of Attorney General. Cuccinelli is a social and fiscal conservative, and some RLC members have been offended by his social conservatism. Still, he seems to be one of the few politicians in the state that understands the concept of limited government, and has a voting record consistent with the RLC’s goals. His new position elevates Cuccinelli to one of the most high-level advocates of limited government in the country.

RLC members in Virginia worked hard to help Cuccinelli win the nomination for Attorney General, and many contributed to his campaign directly. Cuccinelli has said that he will not enforce laws he deems unconstitutional. In 2007, Cuccinelli took the time to drive several hours to address a small group of RLC members. View his speech to RLC members at YouTube.

In the RLC’s biggest victory of the night, RLC National Committeeman Dan Halloran was elected to the New York City Council in a Queens district that leans heavily Democrat. Halloran is also the state Chair of the Republican Liberty Caucus in New York. He worked tirelessly to become elected and will join just four other Republicans on the 51-member City Council.

The RLC also had some other significant victories in New Jersey and New Hampshire. Incumbent Michael Patrick Carroll, who the RLC discovered earlier in the year, was re-elected to his New Jersey House seat. Perhaps the most successful liberty-oriented politician in the state, Michael Doherty, was elected to an open seat in the New Jersey State Senate. The RLC profiled Doherty in an earlier edition of our newsletter.

In the Granite State, Jim Forsythe led a team of liberty-loving Republicans that successfully helped three candidates obtain victory. Political newcomer Lynne Blankenbeker was elected in a special election to the New Hampshire House, and RLC members Phil Greazzo and Cameron DeJong were elected to Alderman and Selectman positions in Manchester, New Hampshire.

Several non-endorsed candidates with strong libertarian leanings were also successful on Election night, including Kim Rafferty, who was elected to the Birmingham City Council in Alabama, and Shaun Kenney, who was elected to a County Supervisor in Fluvanna County, Virginia. Additionally, Lisa Marie Coppoletta has advanced to a run-off in a race for San Marcos City Council in Texas.

Unfortunately, TABOR ballot initiatives — which would tie revenue increases to population and inflation growth to keep spending in check — were defeated by voters in Washington state and Maine. The gay marriage ballot initiative in Maine passed, overturning gay marriage in the state, while voters in Washington state chose to extend rights for gays and lesbians.

The nine victories for RLC-endorsed candidates this fall combined with the five spring victories (in Arizona, Illinois, Massachusetts, and Texas) have resulted in a very successful off-year election for liberty-focused Republicans.

Congratulations are extended to all of the above candidates, our other endorsed candidates, our supporters, and the folks that helped our endorsed candidates succeed

How to find a job in a High Unemployment World

Sharon Gitelle of Forbes has posed a question to the bloggers on the Forbes network and aims to discuss the results in a conference call with Carl Lavin, Forbes's managing editor. Forbes just covered a case, Prudential v. Giacobbe, on which I worked as an expert witness, so this is my second crossing of paths with Forbes today (the first was indirect but still, something of a coincidence).


Recently, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported a jump in the unemployment rate to 10.2%.Some economists think we could be looking at 10.5% by early next year.

Given these grim forecasts, how do you counsel recent college graduates and others entering the job market for the first time in this employment climate? Is there any advice or strategies you find particularly useful?

I have taught in business schools since 1991, most recently as an adjunct in the Langone MBA program in the NYU Stern School of Business for the past 13 years and in Brooklyn College's Economics Department as a tenured associate professor for the past 11. During all of those years I have addressed this question in my managerial skills and organizational behavior courses. Indeed, I have done so since I first started teaching at Clarkson University located in New York's 23rd Congressional District.

There are three steps to finding a job. The first is to have clearly defined goals and a mission. The second is to learn first hand about your chosen profession through intensive informational interviewing. The third is to utilize all available avenues, to include direct mail, Website and help wanted ads, search firms, job fairs, college recruiting and personal contacts as well as informational interviewing.

In What Color Is Your Parachute? Richard N. Bolles outlines a useful goal setting and informational interviewing approach that may be limited for college grads and MBAs in that he does not detail the concept of cold call informational interviewing that can be quite valuable in major job markets like New York's and other large cities'.

The idea of cold call informational interviewing is to arrange an in-person meeting with an experienced manager or professional in the field that the student is considering. This is done by:

-writing a letter requesting an informational interview that makes clear that he or she is not seeking a job but rather information on specified topics such as emerging trends in the field or how to break into the field;

-in the letter, setting a time that the student will call to set up a meeting;

-calling at the set time

Most students realize that the rejection rate will be higher than the acceptance rate, something that writers, actors and others in competitive fields know, but something that is always difficult to accept. I point out to my classes that success only comes from rejection; that Babe Ruth led the American league in strikeouts as well as home runs; and that Sylvester Stallone was rejected 150 times when he was trying to market the manuscript for Rocky (I got the last statistic from an Anthony Robbins tape circa 1990).

Informational interviewing works because managers are often interested in advising young people interested in the field. The "invisible job market" whereby jobs are filled through contacts is only accessible through informational interviewing. And the information gained in the interviews will give job applicants a leg up over others who lack inside information about the field.

Handling of the informational interview can be taken to high levels of sophistication. A good sales person can probably land a job in the informational interview without asking for one (remember, the condition of informational interviewing is that the applicant is not seeking a job). In the good years of the late 1990s I had MBA students at NYU landing an offer in one informational interview. That is less likely to occur now unless the applicant has strong sales skills. But a sequence of 20-50 informational interviews will land a job.

At one point I went on about a dozen informational interviews myself. My rejection rate to get in the door was about 80%, acceptance 20%. I did not get any offers (I did it during one summer) but had I continued I do not doubt I would have. Compare the 20% interview acceptance rate with the 1-3% acceptance rate characteristic of mass-mailed job letters. Moreover, the interviews are more productive because they are learning and relationship-building experiences.

Prior to informational interviewing the student should have set a life goal and mission. This is extremely difficult for about 20 percent of students; easy for about 20 percent; and a matter of mild indifference to the rest. A student with a focused goal can gain expertise in the field and will be motivated to put up with failure that leads to success. Developing a mission about which the graduate is enthusiastic is of incalculable value in today's world, where ethical confusion (which is not the same as ethical ambiguity) reigns supreme.

An individual with a moral sense that their professional objective is a personal mission will be focused and highly motivated. Clear goals work in a range of ways, and this is one of them. Combine that with inside information gleaned from informational interviews and a willingness to turn over every stone, and the worst job market will not prove disappointing.

Forbes Covers Case on Which I Worked

Over the past couple of years, I have served as expert witness on a case, Prudential v. Giacobbe. Ultimately, the judge threw out my expert witness report essentially for my giving legal opinion while not being a lawyer, but the attorney reworked my arguments as a legal brief and we won.

Forbes has written up the case here. This was the first time my work has been thrown out by a court, but not the first time the other side has tried. Several years ago I spent an entire day in deposition in downtown Chicago defending against that argument.

It is, of course, not the first time a national magazine has written about a case on which I worked, because I also started working on In Re Tittle et al. v. Enron before it was settled. The Forbes article doesn't mention that while the initial arguments were based on common law, we shifted the discussion to ERISA. The Prudential life insurance plan was an ERISA plan, and so the rule of ERISA outweighed the common law arguments. It is difficult for trial lawyers to work with ERISA because it is a specialized field. Courts' rules tend to favor big business. I worked cheap for the plaintiff, as is my policy.

Forbes writes:

>With death knocking at your door, you realize some family members are more important to you than others, and decide to change your life insurance policy accordingly.

What could go wrong? Just ask the Giacobbe family of southern New Jersey. Inaccurate change-of-beneficiary forms Richard Giacobbe submitted to his life insurer two weeks before his March 2007 death left his wife battling his parents and brother over three-quarters of a million dollars worth of benefits.

Richard, an insurance agent at Prudential Insurance, had named his wife Linda as the beneficiary on his company-sponsored life insurance shortly before their 1986 marriage. In March 2006, he was diagnosed with terminal thyroid cancer. As his condition worsened, there were signs he was becoming estranged from Linda; eight months after he was diagnosed, he began living alone in a rented apartment not far from the couples' Toms River, N.J., home.

On March 6, 2007, Prudential received a change-of-beneficiary form from Richard naming new primary beneficiaries on his life insurance: his mother, Kathleen; father, Robert; and brother, also named Robert. On March 21, Richard received a letter back from Prudential informing him that his beneficiary change form could not be processed because it was missing his family members' Social Security numbers. Richard never sent back the corrected forms and died the following day.

It wasn't long before Linda was locked in a court fight with her dead husband's immediate blood relatives over who should get the $751,000. The key question in the case: whether the incomplete change-of-beneficiary form was proof that Richard truly intended to remove his wife from his life insurance policy in favor of his parents and brother.

Read the whole thing here.

Disempowering Rather than Disbanding Congress

Contrairimairi just sent me an e-mail about a Natural News post by Mike Adams. The author argues that because of electronic telecommunication:

"...instant communication is available to almost everyone. A new law being proposed in Washington could be instantly read -- and voted on -- by the People all across America. The Internet has made the whole purpose behind the U.S. Congress obsolete... irrelevant. Why do Americans need someone else to represent them when we can all just read and vote on the bills ourselves? In an age of instant communications, Congress is no longer needed."

The author misconstrues the reason for republican as opposed to democratic government. In fifth century Athens, 2,200 years before the American revolution, direct democracy did exist. The problems were not a matter of communication because Athens was small. Aristotle did not see democracy to be as good as aristocracy. He had seen democracy first hand in Athens. The problems with it were severe. They had to do the emotional nature of groups and mobs; the willingness of the populace to succumb to tyrants; and the eagerness of opportunistic poor people to steal the property of those more successful than themselves. Crowd psychology is easily manipulated. Lynchings and mass murder have been associated with democracy as well as tyranny (which Aristotle saw as the perverse form of monarchy). Aristotle preferred aristocracy to democracy, but held that a mixed form of government is most preferable.

The Founders were aware of these arguments, and equally, were concerned with Aristotle's claim that democracy amounted to rule by the needy. The many will not acquire as much property as the few, and will pass laws to deprive the competent and successful of property, arrogating it to themselves. This will cause the economy to deteriorate as competent people cease to put forth effort.

In our world, the existence of electronic media permits elites to manipulate public opinion in their favor. The ease of communication that television and the Internet permit means that hundreds of millions can think like a single mob. Plans like the bailout and the health insurance bill will seem on the surface to support the poor, in the case of the bailout to prevent unemployment and in the case of the health care bill to make coverage universal. But the effect of these laws is inevitably to further the ends of economic elites.

More democracy gives greater power to the elite power structure. The power of the mass media is too great for bloggers to compete. Even conservative bloggers allow the Wall Street-dominated mass media to control the terms of public debate and harp endlessly about the brain-dead mass media. They do not trust themselves to generate their own ideas, and remain slaves of the Wall Street power structure.

Charles de Secondat, Baron of Montesquieu developed the idea of mixed government further. He argued that the republican form of government is best supported by a federation or federal form of government. The Founding Fathers studied Montesquieu carefully. The Swiss provided an example of a federation that was stable.

The Founders argued that the mixed form of government would work best, and they were right. The American republic has lasted longer than any other.

But Aristotle argued that all forms of government are unstable, and that they transmute into each other. We are seeing that now. The instability began with Progressivism, which enhanced the amount of democracy. The high degree of democracy led to the manipulability of public opinion by the power elite and the increasing amount of lobbying and special interest power. Repeatedly, led by the left (whose impulses, including its advocacy of socialism have repeatedly served Wall Street's interests), America has instituted laws that seem to serve the mass but instead serve the wealthy. This has led to the same pattern that will result from Mike Adams's plan in Natural News: more democracy on the surface coupled with greater power in fact to the power elite.

A better approach would be to disempower Congress. That means reinventing federalism to download power to the states and end Congress's ability to pass the bullsh*t laws that is has. Spin off the federal regulatory structure to the states (including social security) and allow each state to decide how to pass laws. The competition that will result will infinitely improve decision making.

Contrairimairi on Lt. Col. Ralph Peters

I just received this from Contrairimairi in Chicago.

> I saw one of the interviews with the Col. He was spot on! This man should be calling more of the shots for the military. He does NOT mince words or play remember....the way our military USED to be!

I just sent out info on how P/C was destroying this Country recently. Everyone has to constantly "pussy-foot" around issues in fear they "might" insult someone else......BALDERDASH!

In my world now, there is ONLY "black and white" my Dad. What an AMAZING person he was! How I miss him! He was 100% Polish......and LOVED Polish jokes. He just couldn't get enough of them. I am 1/2 Polish, and much like my Dad, I love and retell Polish jokes like there was no tomorrow. Anyone who may be insulted....PLUG YOUR EARS!

This has gotten so unbelievably out of hand.....P/C is what empowers people like PIGLOSI! Keep the masses scurrying on "non-issues".....and BLAST them when they are not looking....or....even when they ARE!

I am no longer comfortable with "waiting" till the mid-terms. I believe Americans must REMOVE every member of Congress, the usurper-in-chief.......AND all members of our judiciary until we find trustworthy replacements who will ADHERE to the Constitution. All laws passed since Chet Arthur should be repealed. We now know he was also a usurper. Nothing he did was legal....and therefore.....IMHO....everything since can be judged on that foundation....and DISMISSED!

That means, OUT with the FED! OUT with IRS and Income Tax......out with Medicare and Medicaid......I say, turn it over to the private sector, and let them run with it. Things will be a bit messy for a while.....but I believe only for the short term. Americans are VERY good at working against the odds....and I am on the side of our People.

Call me crazy, but there is a story out today calling for the end of Congress since it's practicality is long out-dated. We have instant access to media....legislation.....and it is not difficult for the People to vote and have their decision COUNT! I am for it.....those who care to take the time to insure this Country is guided under Constitutional Principles should be checking the situation out. There is no more need for Congress, and they DO NOT represent their constituents anyway.

GOD Bless you,

Check this Article:

Carl Svensson Congratulates Dan Halloran

>On behalf of the gang, I would like to thank you and your Queens allies for a job well done; we know that it took a lot of effort, time, and money.

You now find yourself in a unique situation having won with the support of the broad coalition that is necessary for pro-freedom forces to be able to contest elections successfully in cities throughout New York State. It appears, for example, that you are the highest elected official who ran on the Libertarian line in the US, and their are accolades that they are showing upon you (via their various e-lists) are well deserved. I hope that you can work with themselves to re-evaluate their strategic and tactical guidelines which are self-destructive and a detriment to putting forth a winning coalition of parties.

The Conservatives and Republicans, especially in the Bronx and in Kings,too often refuse to work together. Hopefully, you can help resolve that situtation in time too.

Best Wishes,


Town of Olive Budget Badly Managed

It doesn't seem strange to Democrats that on the one hand their media, the New York Times and the like, have been announcing deflation while the Democrats raise taxes by 6%. Does it seem illogical to Democrats that taxes are going up when they are claiming that prices are going down? I guess not. Democrats are able to have prices going up and down at the same time. They are the Alice-in-Wonderland Party.

A correspondent attended the Town of Olive budget meeting. The Town officials here are wasters who have trouble answering questions and become insulting toward anyone who asks. In a town of about 4,500 people the Town is holding a near-million dollar bank account, rumor has it to build an un-needed office building. When people ask questions, the goosestepping socialists-in-power insult them.

My correspondent writes about the Budget meeting:

>...the Budget hearing the other night was a joke. There were the usual attendees - and a few people that seemed to be there as support to Berndt and company. Rita Vanacore was there - Donnie Van Buren was there - no press - and, oh yes - Linda Burkhardt's husband was there filling in for Linda... That's another joke...

Anyway, they shaved off about $100,000 from the original amount to be raised by taxes. Some of the area they used to do this were areas that they had capital reserves and could pull from them to offset any suspected deficit during the year. $20,000 here and $10,000 there -

They reduced some of the items they had high-dollared before - knowing it would be less actual cost - but still left a substantial amount that will likely be a cushion when all is said and done. They continued to undercut the expected revenues.

Berndt (Town Supervisor) is of a mind that by creating the unexpended balance, he can reduce the amount to be raised by taxes, without it creating too much of a stir each year. Few, if any, come and see what's happening. Even Berndt can't seem to see his own folly in doing things this way. If the budget numbers weren't inflated, there would be no need to raise the higher amounts. If things were more realistic, the amount to be raised by taxes would be the same whether you have the unexpended balance or you don't - he just can't seem to grasp that. What really bothered me was the Contingency account. They have allocated $75,000 to this fund - and 2008's balance was showing zero. So I asked what amount had been allocated to this account in past years - and was told it's always been $75,000... I'll have to look at some of my preliminary budgets - I still have them from when I was on the board... That amount conveniently disappears each year - what a slush fund that is...

I also have the percentages that each area has increased over last year. General Fund, Highway Fund, Fire District, etc. Overall, the amount that our taxes are going up will be 6.2%. There seems little chance of that changing at this point.

Bruce (Town Board) got quite impolite with Rita at one point during the evening... "I explain this again - what don't you understand about this?" He was rude and very demeaning to her query about the unexpended balance and how it works. She persisted and said that 11% of the budget is a large unexpended balance - and she would prefer to see much less - to which Berndt responded that "okay, so next year, when I come to you with only $75,000 in unexpended balance and have to raise your taxes even higher, you won't be so happy." and Rita responded back by saying that "she would rather have her money now than to be giving extra to the town."

Of course, there was no press at this meeting*...It infuriates me that this does not get out.

Then Berndt closed the public hearing for the night - and they started going over the bills and signing off on payroll. Sylvia passed out the minutes from the last meeting - and it was obvious that they were having their Audit Meeting. I believe that Berndt actually "announced" it as such just in passing - but nothing was brought up for discussion - and when all had finished doing that little chore, they closed that meeting and thanked everyone for coming. We were driving home at 8:32. So an hour. And not all of that for the budget.

It's amazing how asleep this town is. And it's a wonder why more people don't care. I don't understand it - and it truly makes me wonder why I bother to care so much.

Anyway - thought you would like to know a little more about what happened the other night.

*I'm not sure that our little local newspaper that comes for free in our mailboxes every two weeks is really "press". The writers are local hippies and housewives, at least one of whom is related to a Town official.

Town of Olive Officials Harrass Dissident Republican

A local Republican recently told me that they are being harrassed by Town of Olive officials because they have publicly disagreed with the current administration. The government in the Town of Olive is one little example of the danger that socialism pose to freedom. When the government decides who gets to build and who gets a job, Certificates of Occupancy and employment become dependent on the whims of thuggish, authoritarian government officials.

A National Health Plan Will Manage Your Death

The coming four decades will see an increase in the number of elderly with a concomitant decline in national economic power. The misallocation of economic resources (huge investments in undesirable real estate and Wall Street) have already guaranteed the decline. Economic statistics may continue to register growth, but the question you will need to ask yourself is "Am I as well off as I was 10, 20 or 30 years ago?" The answer will be no. And it will get worse and worse.

As America is declining economically, Baby Boomers are reaching retirement. The health care system is already over-strained, absorbing 16% of the gross national product. A doubling of the elderly who can continue to demand the level of health care to which Americans are accustomed will lead to ever greater costs, 30 or 40 percent of the national economy does not seem unlikely. These costs have not been pre-funded or saved. The savings rate is nil or nearly so, and has been for decades. How can these costs be covered?

It seems to me that they cannot. In other words, in the absence of national health insurance there will be increasing prices and care will be allocated to those who can pay. If Medicaid, Medicare and private plans try to continue to cover health insurance, their costs will be staggering.

In order to limit the cost increases but achieve a rationing solution (rationing by price making Medicare unworkable), care would have to be reduced. The only way that can be done is for the government to take control of the health care system. By doing so, government edict rather than price allocation will determine who gets care and the kind of care that is given. Procedures that might cure someone but are deemed cost ineffective will be scotched. The government will manage your death, and for some the nationalization of health insurance will mean an early death. Health care does not dramatically affect life expectancy. The difference will show up in the overall statistics as maybe a few months' drop in life expectancy, if any. But obviously some people will see their lives shortened significantly.

But care will get worse, and I will bet that we will die at younger ages than our parents. Government is going into the business of deciding who lives and who dies.

UN Agenda 21 -- Sustainable Development

Glenda McGee just sent me the above video. It seems to me that the step-by-step trend toward increasing government control is leading to communism. This could well be accomplished in the name of environmentalism. The video is right that the illiteracy and innumeracy generated by the public schools facilitates social control and facilitates the march toward extremism. Glenda just forwarded me an article about Maurice Hinchey's plan to make the Hudson River a park. Do we see a pattern?

Hinchey Aims to Bureaucratize Hudson River

Glenda McGee just sent me this article about Congressman Maurice Hinchey's plan to turn the Hudson Valley into a national park. I can imagine that the right to re-hab your house, put in a new bathroom, or sneeze without permission from the goose steppers in Washington will be eliminated.

Adam Bosch of the Times Herald Record

"KINGSTON — Congressman Maurice Hinchey wants the federal government to adopt the Hudson River Valley as a unit of the National Park Service.

"The designation would make the valley eligible for more federal grants to boost conservation, historic preservation and tourism."

"So this is How Liberty Dies -With Thunderous Applause"

I just received this message from Jim Crum. I have nothing to add. Of course, I have not watched the Democratic Party's press corps. The health plan is one more nail in the coffin of freedom. Happily, I have no children.

"So this is How Liberty Dies -With Thunderous Applause"
-Doug Mataconis (Below the Beltway) re:a line in Star Wars.

Jim writes:

Folks, I am still sickened by recent events. A press corps so emasculated by PC, that they cannot call another act of terrorism by a Muslim exactly what it is and why it was done. A President with terrific oratorical skill blowing a "gimme" presser as he is unable to distinguish when it is appropriate to be jovial and when it is not. The recent events on the CAP-N-Trade bill- sure to hit most households with a minimum $2000 in taxes. Last night's vote on this monstrosity of a health care bill. The WSJ is now saying that people in the upper middle class can expect to pay 20% of their gross income on this wickedness. Others will be forced to show on their 1040 that they are "paying up" the Pelosi street tax, or be fined and go to jail- except illegal aliens, of course. They don't pay. I feel like a nervous observer outside of a delivery room. Hearing nothing but screaming, I can tell things are not going well. So it is with our nation. What deformed creature has congress given birth to, and just what exactly, am I supposed to do?

Sleep is not coming easy to me lately. Time for a bourbon before bed; I need it.
Stay sharp, events will begin to move quickly.


I have nothing to add.