tvm's blog

Heart Day has passed...


...can chickens be far behind?

We were driving down North St. in Dryden yesterday when I said to my youngest (teenaged) daughter, "Won't be long before we're doing chicken barbecues in front of Clark's!" Her reply? "Boy, you must really be anxious for spring!"

It's true.  I used to say that it was all downhill to spring after St. Patrick's Day.  Now I say that it's all downhill to spring after Valentine's Day.  I don't think that's the result of global warming—just increasing age.

A valentine

"Saints are not supposed to rest in peace; they're expected to keep busy: to perform miracles, to intercede. Being in jail or dead is no excuse for non-performance of the supernatural. One legend says, while awaiting his execution, Valentinus restored the sight of his jailer's blind daughter. Another legend says, on the eve of his death, he penned a farewell note to the jailer's daughter, signing it, "From your Valentine.""


"For Saint Valentine that real love of others, from family members to strangers in life, a genuine compassionate love was at the root of his being....Evidence exists to say his faith was so strong he was willing to die for the sake of others [....], for those principles in which he believed — eternal principles like fidelity, forgiveness, mercy and compassion.

Yes, these same principles can still inspire us as much as they often challenge us. This day in honor of Saint Valentine may be great for the card makers, restaurants and candy companies — but living out the values of this saint may be for us a greater means to happiness, understanding, forgiveness and a truly meaningful and lasting love.

That is, after all, what he had in mind."

Happy birthday, Mr. Lincoln

Essay at Heritage:

On February 12, America will celebrate Abraham Lincoln’s 202nd birthday, but will conservatives celebrate his legacy? Lincoln is a pivotal figure in American history, yet some conservatives are wary of him. Lincoln, the Left proclaims and the Right fears, is the father of big government.

Conservatives shouldn’t be fooled. If big government means a permanently large and growing federal budget and a vast civil service (see William Voegeli’s Never Enough: America’s Limitless Welfare State), then Lincoln may deny paternity for both. As Allen Guelzo explains, while the federal budget indeed ballooned to meet the cost of the Civil War (from $63.2 million in 1860 to $1.29 billion in 1865), it shrank once the war ended (back to $293 million by 1870). “If Lincoln had plans to create ‘big government,’” Guelzo concludes, “none of his successors seems to have known what they were.”  Similarly, while the federal government employed more people during the war, the number shrank once the war ended.

In reality, big government is a Progressive invention, designed by Progressive thinkers such as Herbert Croly and John Dewey and perpetrated by Progressive presidents such as Theodore Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson, and Franklin Delano Roosevelt. These men embraced big government, because they held certain principles opposed to the limited government framework set forth in the Declaration of Independence and Constitution.

By contrast, Lincoln held a different set of premises. He defended the Constitution and “never had a feeling politically that did not spring from the sentiments embodied in the Declaration of Independence.” To understand Lincoln, therefore, we must turn to the documents he held so dear....

Read the whole thing.

(Pajama) party of "no"

From the Washington Times:

Watchdog wants investigation of Capitol sleepovers

A government watchdog group has asked the the Office of Congressional Ethics to investigate whether members of Congress who sleep in their offices are violating House rules.

The group, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), also has called on the OCE to determine if these members are violating tax law by failing to report lodging as a taxable fringe benefit.


"House office buildings are not dorms or frat houses," said CREW Executive Director Melanie Sloan. "If members didn't want to find housing in Washington, they shouldn't have run for Congress in the first place."

There were 33 Republicans and 7 Democrats cited, including—sigh—Richard Hanna.

"Americans expect members of Congress to follow the tax laws just like everyone else," Ms. Sloan said. "If legislators are going to treat their offices as dorm rooms, at the very least they should pay the appropriate taxes.

"And really, who wants to run into a member of Congress in need of a shower wandering the halls in sweats or a robe?" she said.

Or hoodie/footie pajamas?  Maybe we need to earmark (am I allowed to say that?) some of the proceeds from a DREP chicken BBQ for our congressman's housing in DC?

By the way, we are not naïve—we know that donors to CREW include such progressive groups as George Soros' Open Society Institute, Democracy Alliance, Service Employees International Union, the Arca Foundation, and the Gill Foundation. Methinks they doth protest too much—this is almost certainly just a ploy to gain some publicity for themselves. Still worth a giggle anyway, though.

Help with Valentine's Day gifts & cards

This gadget would sometimes be helpful at our house :-)

And then there are the ever-popular GOP Valentine's Day cards. They're free (good thing—no one would actually give money to the RNC for this stuff).


Relevant to some of our recent posts and made me laugh, just when I really needed one.  I love Michael Ramirez:

UPDATE: Guess I'm in good company—Ed Morrissey at Hot Air likes Ramirez, too  smiley

Hate to be a fearmonger and all...


...but the empty cupboard may well be looming.  We can mitigate it by paying attention.

Get ready for higher food prices 

Warnings of higher food prices headed for American supermarkets and restaurants were swallowed easily across much of farm country Wednesday.

The big gulp came when the U.S. Department of Agriculture reported that global demand had pushed U.S. corn supplies to their lowest point in 15 years...



U.N. Food Agency Issues Warning on China Drought

HONG KONG — The United Nations’ food agency issued an alert on Tuesday warning that a severe drought was threatening the wheat crop in China, the world’s largest wheat producer, and resulting in shortages of drinking water for people and livestock.


World wheat prices are already surging, and they have been widely cited as one reason for protests in Egypt and elsewhere in the Arab world. A separate United Nations report last week said global food export prices had reached record levels in January. The impact of China’s drought on global food prices and supplies could create serious problems for less affluent countries that rely on imported food.

Both of the above by way of Weasel Zippers.

And more good news (from American Thinker):

The US is hurtling toward out-of-control inflation while the political class tries to convince the hoi polloi that inflation is not a problem. Government-generated CPI data show tame inflation. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke claims deflation, not inflation, is the danger to the economy.

Despite government propaganda every shopper knows inflation is already a serious problem.... 

The "As A Mom" members (see the "badge" in the right-hand column) have been tracking this trend since November, recording real prices of real groceries that real people buy in real stores.

Keep your eye on what's going on.

Sarah Palin and me

Oh yeah, and Buffalo Bill and those other guys, too...from Day by Day:

Even more February calendar items


We're almost halfway through the month but things just keep on popping up:

  • Sunday, February 20th, 2-4pm: Fracking debate between Don Siegel (SU/Geology) and Tony Ingraffea (Cornell/Civil and Environmental Engineering). Bob Spitzer (SUNY Cortland/Political Science; panelist, Ivory Tower Half Hour) will moderate. SUNY Cortland, Brown Auditorium, 9 Main St., Cortland, NY.  Parking and space inside the auditorium is likely to be at a premium, so plan accordingly. (h/t Kathy)
  • The new chair of the majority steering committee in the Assembly, Barbara Lifton, will be having a series of town meetings "to give an overview of the governor's proposed budget and to hear what you think..."  The schedule is: Tuesday, Feb. 22, 3-5 p.m., Newfield Town Hall, 166 Main St.; Tuesday, Feb. 22, 7-9 p.m., Ithaca Town Hall, 215 N. Tioga St.; Wednesday, Feb. 23, 7-9 p.m., Cortlandville Town Hall, 3577 Terrace Rd.; Thursday, Feb. 24, 3-5 p.m., Lansing Town Hall, 29 Auburn Rd.; Thursday, Feb. 24, 7-9 p.m., Groton Town Hall, 101 Conger Blvd. If you live in her district, be sure to join the Barbara Lifton group at Village Squared.
  • From Cathy Wakeman's Dryden Town Talk column in the Ithaca Journal earlier this week: "Mayor Sterling and the village trustees are holding three "informational exchanges" (one has already taken place--tvm) so residents can share "thoughts, aspirations and goals for the Village of Dryden." To chime in with your 2 cents, visit the Village Hall, 16 South St. (second floor) at 7 p.m. on either Feb. 23 or March 8. With so many projects under way in the village, this is a great opportunity to make your voice heard."
  • This one is really for March--just wanted to call your attention to it now.  The Dryden Town Board Abstract and Agenda meetings (2nd Wednesday of the month) have a new start time—7:30pm.  I would guess that means that the zoning discussion part of the meeting would start later as well. (h/t Kathy)


More goodies from today's Ithaca Journal, this time the "Guest Viewpoint:"

Local governments have led the effort in recent years to envision, accelerate and achieve strong climate protection goals. The 600 local governments that are members of a national network called ICLEI — Local Governments for Sustainability, have reduced their greenhouse gas emissions by 23 million tons in 2005 alone. This translates into about $600 million in annual cumulative savings, largely on energy expenditures. The town and city of Ithaca, the Town of Dryden and Tompkins County are all members of ICLEI.


Town of Dryden

* Energy efficiency upgrades at highway department completed.

* Geothermal system and high-efficiency lighting added to town hall facility.

* Provided funding for local residents to get energy audits.

* Sustainability planner hired (who is the person writing this piece--tvm)

* Energy coordinator to be hired in 2011.

* Sustainability planning process under way.

Sounds unimpeachably wonderful, doesn't it? Well, as many people who have been paying attention to the zoning and sustainability discussions (and, yes, they are connected as noted in an earlier post) in Dryden are aware, not so much. Poke around the ICLEI website, and then take a look at the "ICLEI Primer: Your Town and Freedom Threatened."  Sound familiar?


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