Greenville Tea Party Draws 2,000 Protesters

2,000 protesters gathered on the banks of the Reedy River Friday evening for the Greenville Tea Party. Frustrated citizens joined Americans in more than 50 cities to decry the grotesquely irresponsible bailouts, pork, and ill-advised stimulus measures that are turning current and future generations into permanent federal piggy banks.

The rally organized by the Upstate Young Republicans was nothing short of inspirational.  I know that sounds sappy, but as a lifelong New Yorker, I’ve never seen that many Republicans in one place and honestly, it was kind of validating to see that they exist in real life, not just in the cesspools known as blog comment sections.  The turnout was incredible, dwarfing my expectations and those of the organizers.  Looking at the crowd estimates, it may have been the most well-attended of all the Tea Parties held Friday.

The ground was muddy, the sky overcast, the air humid, and no one seemed to care.

Here are photos of some of the protest signs (please excuse my ailing camera):

It’s gotta be a sweet tea party if you’re in Greenville, SC.

Welcome Back, Carter!

Elections have consequences.

Obamanomics: trickle up poverty.

Speakers electrified the crowd with talk of constitutional freedoms and personal responsibility, eliciting roars of agreement that could be heard blocks away. Rob and I listened to a young mother explaining the history of the Revolution to her daughter (accurately!) and watched fathers hoist their children into the air to wave flags and banners. Samuel Adams (and his reincarnation Rick Santelli) would be proud.

While the protesters were clearly unhappy with the usual suspects – Obama, Pelosi, and Reid – there was a particularly special place in their hearts for South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham. Chants of “Lindsey Don’t Care!” spread through the crowd as speakers criticized his earmarks in the most recent omnibus spending bill.

Mentions of our other South Carolina Senator, Jim DeMint, were met with wild rounds of applause. His consistent fiscal conservatism and hard-line stance against the bailouts has earned him hero status here in Greenville.

Even Ron Paul’s supporters were out in full force, gearing up for 2012 with updated campaign signs.

The highlight of the event, however, was when a speaker asked people under 30 to raise their hands so he could apologize to them for the generational theft taking place.  Since I turned 29 again this year, I joined right in and the only person who gave me a funny look was my husband.

Here are a few more photos of the crowd taken from the Main Street bridge:

And one final shot of the crowd rushing toward the river bank at dusk to toss in their tea:

Many of the protesters brought trash bags full of leaves in lieu of tea. I must have missed the memo – did they do that in other cities?

Local photographer Jenny Marie Brown has more photos of the Greenville rally.

Other Tea Party coverage (I’ll add to this round up over the weekend – leave your links in the comments):

Michelle Malkin’s Tea Party photo album

My friend Bill Hennessy covers the hugely successful St. Louis Tea Party he organized (1,000+ protesters)

Gateway Pundit has more on the St. Louis rally

America’s North Shore Journal has a multi-city round up

Dan at GayPatriot attended the LA Tea Party on Santa Monica Pier

The Denver Tea Party at Slapstick Politics

Video of the Atlanta Tea Party from Blue Star Chronicles

Great photos of the San Diego Tea Party from Christa at Cheat Seeking Missiles

And finally, to all the Tea Party naysayers who think this movement isn’t going anywhere (I’m lookin’ at you, Cavuto): it’s on.

Help Wanted: Grammar Czar

A recent op-ed in the New York Times gently chided President Obama for his tendency to shun the objective pronoun case.

Since his election, the president has been roundly criticized by bloggers for using “I” instead of “me” in phrases like “a very personal decision for Michelle and I” or “the main disagreement with John and I” or “graciously invited Michelle and I.”

The rule here, according to conventional wisdom, is that we use “I” as a subject and “me” as an object, whether the pronoun appears by itself or in a twosome. Thus every “I” in those quotes ought to be a “me.”

Proper pronoun selection is a reasonable expectation of a former Harvard Law Review editor with two Ivy League degrees under his belt. However, writers Patricia T. O’Conner and Stewart Kellerman suggest it is not our infallible leader, but the overly rigid rules of modern English that require correction.

So should the president go stand in a corner of the Oval Office (if he can find one) and contemplate the error of his ways? Not so fast.

For centuries, it was perfectly acceptable to use either “I” or “me” as the object of a verb or preposition, especially after “and.” Literature is full of examples. Here’s Shakespeare, in “The Merchant of Venice”: “All debts are cleared between you and I.” And here’s Lord Byron, complaining to his half-sister about the English town of Southwell, “which, between you and I, I wish was swallowed up by an earthquake, provided my eloquent mother was not in it.”

It wasn’t until the mid-1800s that language mavens began kvetching about “I” and “me.”

Most of us have inexplicable gaps in our education that lead to embarrassing linguistic mistakes. I had almost completed high school before someone told me the “l” in “wolf” isn’t silent. I never made that mistake again.

Now, however, we live in a time when failure is becoming obsolete. Corporations are too big to fail, high school students are graded on a curve, and irresponsible borrowers receive taxpayer-funded subsidies. Why shouldn’t we relax the rules of grammar to accommodate a public official’s ignorance?

For eight years, ridiculing George W. Bush’s semantic errors and grammatical gaffes was a national pastime. Examples of “Bushisms” were painstakingly chronicled in dozens of books and calendars. His most glaring verbal missteps were emblazoned on all manner of merchandise, from tote bags to thongs, and every instance of linguistic incompetence was presented as irrefutable proof of Bush’s general incompetence as President and Commander-in-Chief.

When President Obama screws up, we review Shakespeare for precedent. Apparently he’s too big to fail.

Obama Names Adolfo “Hot Sheet” Carrión to New Urban Affairs Position

Ever hear of a hot sheet motel?

When I was growing up in the Bronx, we called them no-tell motels until the local news popularized the term “hot sheet motel” to describe the grimy, STD incubators rented out by the hour to prostitutes, drug dealers, and addicts. The Northeast Bronx, especially Boston Road, was so infested with these crime havens we started calling it the sleaze belt.

Adolfo Carrión Jr., President Obama’s pick to lead the White House Office of Urban Affairs, knows a little something about hot sheet motels. While Carrión was serving as a New York City Councilman in late 2000, the Giuliani administration responded to citizen outcry about the motels by proposing new zoning laws to prevent new construction of these blights. Carrión helped block those laws.  Here’s how this Chicago-style political tale played out:

When angry residents of the Baychester community demanded that Mayor Giuliani rid the area of the motels and the crime they breed some years ago, the former mayor proposed a radical rezoning that would prevent more motels from opening there. This was set for quick approval when a couple of major property owners hired Mr. Ramirez’s [Roberto Ramirez, former Bronx Democratic Party Chair] law firm to stop the plan.

Mr. Ramirez assigned his top land-use associate, Linda Baldwin, to convince the local community board to back down. With a little bit of double-talk, a dash of deception, and the connivance of Mr. Ferrer [Fernando Ferrer, Borough President at the time], the plan was killed. And who exactly is this Linda Baldwin that “Boss” Ramirez turned to? She’s Mrs. Adolfo Carrion.

Carrión, who clearly had the public’s best interest at heart, accepted a $2,000 political contribution from Oscar Porcelli, one of the appreciative property owners. The conflict of interest stemming from his wife’s involvement was exposed by Mary Lauro, a Community Board member and strong supporter of the Giuliani plan. After becoming Bronx Borough President in 2002, Carrión refused to reappoint his whistleblower to the Board.

That wasn’t the last time community board members experienced backlash after failing to support Carrión. In 2006, he replaced four members of Community Board 4 after they rejected the plan for a new Yankee Stadium. The plan, which drew significant opposition regarding displaced parkland and large taxpayer funded subsidies, was later approved by the City Council. Carrión’s most visible role as Borough President has been Cheerleader-in-Chief for the Yankees, and he has been accused of neglecting community interests in his quest to get the new ballpark built.

Questionable campaign donations, conflicts of interest, and Chicago-style politics? Sounds like we’ve got another Democrat who’ll be a great fit for the Obama administration. Does Carrión get bonus points for getting arrested with Al Sharpton?

Oh, and those hot sheet motels? Well, Carrión was only for them before he was against them. Bowing to political pressure as Borough President, he made repeated attempts to cleanse the Northeast Bronx of the seedy establishments, but only a few have been eliminated. Not shocking considering he continues to accept campaign contributions from pro-hot sheet property owners.

Alan Wolfe: Conservatives Are From Mars, Liberals Are From Awesomeville

In his latest book, The Future of Liberalism, Alan Wolfe describes seven dispositions that characterize liberals:

  1. a sympathy for equality
  2. an inclination to deliberate
  3. a commitment to tolerance
  4. an appreciation of openness
  5. a disposition to grow
  6. a preference for realism
  7. a taste for governance

I hear liberals also absorb fluid like a ShamWow and have a pill that can make a man larger. Call now, operators are standing by!

Like Alan Wolfe’s liberals, I also embrace “a preference for realism,” so unless he’s describing classical liberalism, his assessment is nothing more than comic fodder.

Sex, Lies, and Georgia GOP Lawmakers

The state of Georgia is facing a $2.2 billion budget shortfall, but some GOP lawmakers believe they have the answer to curbing spending: a good old fashioned smut hunt, starting with public universities. State Representative Calvin Hill (R-Canton) issued a press release earlier this month to express his outrage regarding course offerings at Georgia State University:

What I am about to tell you will shock and disgust you.

Do you know that your tax dollars are being used at our state universities to pay professors to teach your children classes like “Male Prostitution” and “Queer Theory”? Yes, even in tight economic times like we are facing today, our Board of Regents is wasting your tax dollars to teach these totally unnecessary and ridiculous classes.

If that is not enough, you will even find a class entitled “Oral Sex” and another on “Sexual Orientation”. Yes, the list goes on and on.

In his zeal to incite constituent ire about the racy subjects being taught under their very noses, Rep. Hill failed to note he wasn’t actually consulting the course catalog. The subjects cited in Rep. Hill’s press statement are listed in the GSU guide to faculty experts, a document distributed to media outlets, governments, and research organizations to assist them with locating specialists. Oral sex and male prostitution are areas of faculty expertise, not entries on the course roster.

Male prostitution, for example, was the focus of a study of the spread of HIV conducted by faculty member Kirk Elifson. His results were published in the New England Journal of Medicine in 1989. Societal messages about oral sex are being examined by senior lecturer Mindy Stombler, who hopes her findings will help prevent the spread of sexually transmitted infections. Their expertise qualifies them to act as research consultants in these areas; they are not offering how-to seminars.

Stombler and Elifson spoke to the House Higher Education Committee last Tuesday, but Rep. Hill declined to ask the professors any questions at the hearing. Despite clarification from GSU faculty and administrators, Rep. Hill continues to assert, “Our job is to educate our people in sciences, business, math.” Humanities and social sciences be damned!

State Rep. Charlice Byrd (R-Woodstock) is also incensed by this “major misuse of the state university system’s budget.” She told CBS Atlanta:

I probably am a fuddy-duddy. I believe in the Bible. I’m a Christian. I go to church, and these are not the things that we are learning in church and in the Bible. And so if you want to call me a fuddy-duddy, have at it.

In a finger-wagging rebuke of the University delivered via YouTube, notorious fuddy-duddy Rep. Byrd assured viewers, “the timing is perfect to eliminate positions of professors and staff who are paid to provide such services.”

Of particular concern to Rep. Byrd is a course that actually exists, a doctoral seminar on queer theory. The validity of queer theory is certainly controversial and if the topic concerns Rep. Byrd’s constituents, she is obligated to investigate. However, she completely undermined her credibility as an elected representative (and her status as a decent human being) by publicly posting an unsubstantiated, patently outrageous claim (see cached copy here) that “there is a professor in charge of Queer Theory actively recruiting young teenage gays to accompany him on international trips.”

Nothing like implied charges of pedophilia to get an investigation going, huh?

Rep. Hill also suggested inappropriate faculty behavior. “The concern is what are we doing on our campuses? Are we actually recruiting people, if you will, into a lifestyle?” he asked.

By spending time ferreting out queer needles in the academic haystack, Calvin Hill and Charlice Byrd are distracting the Georgia legislature from careful consideration of state budgetary woes. They are manufacturing scandals where none exist.

There is plenty of room for debate regarding the legitimacy of queer theory as a fruitful academic discipline. Camille Paglia once referred to queer theorists as a “wizened crew of flimflamming free-loaders,” and she may be on to something. I tend to believe the academy’s obsessive division and subdivision of disciplines along lines of gender and ethnicity creates intellectually isolated academic ghettos, but that’s an opinion, not a mandate for legislative interference.

Georgia code (§ 20-3-51) specifies that “the government, control, and management of the university system and all of its institutions shall be vested in the Board of Regents.” The Board is also given authority to allocate appropriations among institutions as members see fit. While members of the public are free to voice curricular concerns to the Board, micromanagement of course content is not a function of the state legislature, not even when taxpayer dollars are involved, not even if Charlice Byrd launches an inquisition.

Celebrating Intellectual Dishonesty in the Abortion Debate

Making the digital rounds this week is a Youtube clip of a precocious 12-year-old girl delivering her articulate defense of the pro-life position on abortion. Conservative bloggers immediately fell in love, not just with the content of the seventh grader’s argument, but how she passionately conveyed her perspective with eloquence and poise.

YouTube Preview Image

Allahpundit proclaims her destined for Hollywood, calling her “young talent in the service of a righteous cause.” Ace finds her a “very poised public speaker.” And Robert Stacy McCain rounds up a similar smattering of praise and awe from other right-leaning blogs.

Their assessment of her performance is spot on – set her up with Obama’s teleprompters and she’ll be a surefire hit on the stump – but what about the content of her message?

Don’t worry, I’m not going to subject a 12-year-old kid to a complete ideological fisking. I have great respect for faith-based arguments against abortion, many of which she presents impressively, but there are some examples of false and dated information in her speech that detract from her case.

Most notably, her speech includes the oft repeated, scientifically unsubstantiated myth that women are “at a greater risk of developing breast cancer if they have an abortion.” Experts at The American Cancer Society, the National Cancer Institute, and The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists agree that scientific evidence does not support a link between abortion and increased breast cancer risk. The speech also includes exaggerations about the impact of abortion on women’s mental health.

I suspect the child who delivered this heartfelt speech was not aware she was citing false data. But that doesn’t mean we should pass it around without comment and hold her up as a model to which all kids should aspire. She is already gifted in the art of persuasion, and she would see even greater success if her talking points were less deceptive.

There are few aspects of the abortion debate I find more distasteful than the intentional spread of misinformation by people on either side. When pro-life activists mislead women about the harmful effects of abortion as part of a fear mongering campaign, it is just as egregious as intentionally downplaying the risks of abortion.

Whichever side of the abortion debate you favor, no matter how impressive you find this girl’s oratory skills, intellectual honesty requires us to expose arguments based on falsehoods, particularly when those falsehoods pertain to medical information. The truth is important, even it if doesn’t support our political goals.

Too bad that belief precludes me from successfully running for elected office.

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