I don’t remember doing so with any of the minimum wage jobs I’ve had, but in all my professional positions, I had to provide to my employer some form of ID that proved I was eligible to work in the United States. In each of these cases, my U.S. passport was sufficient, but a birth certificate would have also worked. It’s annoying to me that I have to provide proof of citizenship (or a visa that allows employment in the U.S. for non-citizens), but that’s the law passed by the government. And speaking of government, in January of 2009, Senator Barack Obama became President of the United States. If I have to prove my citizenship for my tech job, doesn’t this same requirement apply to the top job in America? In the case of the job of U.S. President, the Constitution specifies the requirements for the position in Article II, Section 1:

No person except a natural born Citizen, or a Citizen of the United States, at the time of the Adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the Office of President; neither shall any Person be eligible to that Office who shall not have attained to the Age of thirty-five Years, and been fourteen Years a Resident within the United States.

There’s no doubt that President Obama is over 35, and there’s also no problem with his residency in the States. The problem comes from the phrase “natural born Citizen” and what it means. The Constitution never defines it, and there has been some legal wrangling over what constitutes a natural born citizen. So is Obama a natural born citizen? Well, there’s no arguing that he was born of a U.S. citizen mother and British subject father, since Kenya was a British crown colony at the time of Obama’s birth in 1961. If Obama had been born in Kenya or somewhere else outside the States, then U.S. citizenship could still be conferred by his mother’s citizenship, but then the legalities become a bit manky since the law at the time put some restrictions on citizenship that his mother wouldn’t qualify for, as one email I have received puts it:

US Law very clearly stipulates: ‘If only one parent was a U.S. citizen at the time of your birth, that parent must have resided in the United States for at least ten years, at least five of which had to be after the age of 16.’ Barack Obama’s father was not a U.S. citizen and Obama’s mother was only 18 when Obama was born, which means though she had been a U.S. citizen for 10 years, (or citizen perhaps because of Hawaii being a territory) the mother fails the test for being so for at least 5 years **prior to** Barack Obama’s birth, but after age 16. It doesn’t matter after. In essence, she was not old enough to qualify her son for automatic U.S. citizenship. At most, there were only 2 years elapsed since his mother turned 16 at the time of Barack Obama’s birth when she was 18 in Hawaii. His mother would have needed to have been 16+5= 21 years old, at the time of Barack Obama’s birth for him to have been a natural-born citizen. [no, I'm not going to put [sic] after every error. Sheesh. — CM]

Accepting this poorly written email as correct, the law states that his mother would have to be a citizen for at least 10 years, “at least five of which had to be after the age of 16.” Since his mother was 18 when Obama was born, she doesn’t qualify. QED, so call the press and announce Obama isn’t a natural born citizen, right? Well, no. Her age would only matter if Obama were born outside of the United States.

Obama’s birthplace is listed as Honolulu, Hawaii, which makes him a natural born citizen because of his birth, and the age and residency of his mother just doesn’t enter into it. “He wasn’t born in Hawaii, he was born in Kenya, dontchaknow?” Really? Then why are there announcements printed in both the Honolulu Advertiser and Star Bulletin announcing his birth? This makes him a natural born citizen, and the debate is over, right? Wrong. Nothing stops a good story, or even a bad story, if enough people tell it.

“Then-candidate Obama published his birth certificate, showing he was born in Hawaii!” Well, actually, no. He published a certification of live birth, but that is not a birth certificate. And that’s different enough to provide an excuse to continue the debate over his citizenship. But one thing that the certification provides is a location of birth. But we don’t have to just accept that certification. Hawaiian state officials have recently stepped forward to state that they have seen Obama’s actual birth certificate:

“I … have seen the original vital records maintained on file by the Hawaii State Department of Health verifying Barack Hussein Obama was born in Hawaii and is a natural-born American citizen,” Health Director Dr. Chiyome Fukino said in a brief statement. “I have nothing further to add to this statement or my original statement issued in October 2008 over eight months ago.”

“OK, so he was born in the U.S., but he renounced his citizenship at some point!” I have seen this argument also in emails. Here is the meat of the claim:

Q: Did he travel to Pakistan in 1981, at age 20?
A: YES, by his own admission.
Q: What passport did he travel under?
A: There are only three possibilities:
1. He traveled with a U.S. Passport,
2. He traveled with a British passport, or
3. He traveled with an Indonesia passport.
Q: Is it possible that Obama traveled with a U.S. Passport in 1981?
A: No. It is not possible. Pakistan was on the U.S. State Department’s “no travel” list in 1981.

Conclusion: When Obama went to Pakistan in 1981 he was traveling either with a British passport or an Indonesian passport. If he was traveling with a British passport that would provide proof that he was born in Kenya on August 4, 1961, NOT in Hawaii as he claims. And if he was traveling with an Indonesian passport that would tend to prove that he relinquished whatever previous citizenship he held, British or American, prior to being adopted by his Indonesian step-father in 1967. [Again, presented as I got it -- CM]

There’s just one problem — Pakistan wasn’t on the “no travel” list in 1981. In fact, the State Department had issued a travel advisory in 1981 with regard to visa requirements when entering Pakistan, showing that it was OK for Americans to travel there. So Obama was free to use his American passport, just like anyone else, when he visited.

OK, so where are we in all this? We have a Hawaiian official who has publicly declared seeing Obama’s actual birth certificate and that he was born in Hawaii. There are two announcements posted in Hawaiian newspapers announcing his birth in Hawaii. There is a certification of live birth that, while not being the same thing as a birth certificate, clearly states he was born in Hawaii. And finally, there’s no problem with him having traveled to Pakistan in 1981 with a U.S. passport.

Still think Obama isn’t a natural born citizen? Then try this on for size: when Senator Hillary Clinton saw her support eroding as Obama gained steam during the 2008 primaries, don’t you think she would have released any information she had about Obama being ineligible for the Presidency? She would have had everything to gain and nothing to lose if Obama were shown to be ineligible for the office, but she never came forward with the charge. You may dislike practically everything Obama has done as President, as I do, but I have seen nothing that convinces me that he isn’t eligible for the office. I see plenty to show he’s not ready for the office, but nothing that would legally prevent him from actually holding the office. Besides, if he were ineligible, we would have to deal with the administration of President Biden. *shudder*

So why the big brouhaha over his birth certificate? Tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of dollars have been spent defending Obama against the many lawsuits brought forward asking that he prove his status as a natural born citizen of the United States. These lawsuits could be satisfied and easily dealt with if Obama were to produce his actual birth certificate, but instead he has chosen to fight them. Why spend the money, time, and effort to fight these lawsuits when they could be dismissed with the brandishing of a single document? Could this be a hornet-trap kept active by the democrats to lure in and force conservatives to waste their time on this issue rather than letting conservatives fight them on other more challenging issues?

Perhaps it’s just the American tendency to believe in the concept of equality under the law, but I would like to have Obama, and anyone else who is elected to any position in government, prove that he is legally eligible to serve in that office. After all, when I got my job, I had to prove I was eligible to work there. It just makes sense to me that people in government should be held to the same standards they hold other people to.

We are close to the edge. The ticking time bomb of Global Warming is getting close to zero and exploding in our face. Don’t believe me? You need to visit OneHundredMonths.org and listen to the tick yourself! Hurry! Based on the countdown on the web site, there are only 88 months left!

Or 84 months, if you look at the days or hours countdown timers. Someone should explain to them they lopped four months off from their countdown timer. But hey, what’s four months among friends? So by December (or September) 2016, the environmental ticking time bomb will explode, and at that point, it will be too late. If we don’t fix global warming by then, “we could be beyond the climate’s tipping point, the point of no return.” (cue the ominous music) The report linked from the site calculates that we may hit the equivalent of 400ppm CO2 by December 2016.

But OneHundredMonths.org isn’t the only place telling us that the clock is ticking. The Miami Herald quotes Noel Brown, the director of the New York office of the U.N. Environment Program, that we have only a 10-year window to fix global warming.

A senior U.N. environmental official says entire nations could be wiped off the face of the Earth by rising sea levels if the global warming trend is not reversed…. Coastal flooding and crop failures would create an exodus of “eco-refugees,” threatening political chaos, said Noel Brown, director of the New York office of the United Nations U.N. Environment Program, or UNEP.

Ten years. That’s all we have before entire nations are wiped off the face of the Earth. I hope you have good flood insurance. Have you considered moving to higher ground?

Oh, wait. Noel Brown issued that UNEP report in the summer of 1989.

Never mind.

A year or so back, one of my nieces asked me what my plans were for the summer vacation. I explained that other than the one week I’d take off to attend the family reunion, I’d be working the whole time. I tried to explain that I only get about three weeks of vacation, and those tend to get used up around Christmas and the family reunion in the summer. Other than that, I work the whole year through. Since she’s still in school and her father is a university professor, she doesn’t understand how most people work hard throughout the year.

I say most people because not everybody does. But if you can’t tell the difference between work and recess, you are congressional material!

Based on Uncle Jay’s calendar, Congress had only 97 work days in 2007. By comparison, I have 253 work days in 2009. Boy, am I in the wrong business!

There is much debate over the health care reforms proposed by President Obama. But I’m actually using the word wrong. Debate happens when both sides discuss the reasons for and against some object or objective, but there is no debate if there is no dialog. If one side makes it impossible for the other to talk, then there is no debate. When former Representative Tom Tancredo tried to address some students and faculty of the University of North Carolina, he was prevented from doing so by the boisterous and destructive actions of some protestors.

“No dialog with hate!” some people chanted at Tancredo, but I don’t understand why. If someone is going to say something hateful, stupid, or incredibly offensive, I want that person to say it. I’m not going to shout him down or stop him from saying it, partially because I believe that others have a right to free speech as I do, and partially because I love to hear people clearly state their hateful, stupid, or incredibly offensive ideas. It makes it easier to reject them. And mock them.

But not everyone believes that people should be free to speak. The people who protested Tancredo obviously didn’t believe he had any right to speak at the university. And as Andrew Klavan explains, some of the debate tactics used by people is nothing more than a way of telling the other person to shut up.

When someone tells you to shut up, they are telling you that the debate is over. Their minds are made up, and no amount of talk or facts will change their minds. Does that sound like someone who is looking for truth, or someone with his eyes tightly closed, his fingers in his ears, and going “la, la, la! I can’t hear you!”? Pretty childish, no? They can’t handle the debate, so it’s much easier if you’d just shut up and go away. So what does that say about our Dear Leader when he says something like this:

“But I don’t want the folks who created the mess to do a lot of talking. I want them to get out of the way so we can clean up the mess. I don’t mind cleaning up after them, but don’t do a lot of talking.”

This is not the voice of someone who wants to discuss and debate. This is the voice of someone who wants you to shut up, sit down, and take whatever he shovels out to you. And you had better be grateful for it, too.

I read a very interesting Business Week article as it was passing around at work. It is titled “How the Mighty Fall: A Primer on the Warning Signs”, as excerpted from the book by Jim Collins, How the Mighty Fall and Why Some Companies Never Give In.

In the book (and the Business Week article), Collins outlines five stages of decline of companies and he asks a question: “Why do some great companies fall, and how far can a company fall and still come back?”

Our principal effort focused on a two-part question: What happened leading up to the point at which decline became visible, and what did the company do once it began to fall?

Our comparative and historical analysis yielded a descriptive model of how the mighty fall that consists of five stages that proceed in sequence. And here’s the really scary part: You do not visibly fall until Stage 4! Companies can be well into Stage 3 decline and still look and feel great, yet be right on the cusp of a huge fall. Decline can sneak up on you, and–seemingly all of a sudden–you’re in big trouble.

His five stages of decline are more than I want to list here, but stage four hit me hard when I read it.

The cumulative peril and/or risks gone bad of Stage 3 assert themselves, throwing the enterprise into a sharp decline visible to all. The critical question is: How does its leadership respond? By lurching for a quick salvation or by getting back to the disciplines that brought about greatness in the first place? Those who grasp for salvation have fallen into Stage 4. Common “saviors” include a charismatic visionary leader, a bold but untested strategy, a radical transformation, a dramatic cultural revolution, a hoped-for blockbuster product, a “game-changing” acquisition, or any number of other silver-bullet solutions. Initial results from taking dramatic action may appear positive, but they do not last.

When we find ourselves in trouble, when we find ourselves on the cusp of falling, our survival instinct and our fear can prompt lurching—reactive behavior absolutely contrary to survival. The very moment when we need to take calm, deliberate action, we run the risk of doing the exact opposite and bringing about the very outcomes we most fear. By grasping about in fearful, frantic reaction, late Stage 4 companies accelerate their own demise. Of course, their leaders can later claim: “But look at everything we did. We changed everything. We tried everything we could think of. We fired every shot we had, and we still fell. You can’t blame us for not trying.” They fail to see that leaders atop companies in the late stages of decline need to get back to a calm, clear-headed, and focused approach. If you want to reverse decline, be rigorous about what not to do. [emphasis mine - CM]

When I read this, I recognized that the United States is firmly in stage four having elected a charismatic savior in President Obama. He has vowed to rebuild America, but rather than taking “calm, deliberate action” he has told us that we have to bail out the banks, the auto companies, and spend, spend, spend right now without waiting or thinking about it. In just his first 100 days, Obama generated a deficit that is four times what Bush produced in eight years, and that’s with Bush fighting a war on two fronts. If Obama continues to spend at this pace during his four years in office, he would produce a deficit 54 times greater than Pres. Bush produced in twice the time. This level of spending is impossible to maintain for either a faltering company or nation.

What we need is calm and deliberate action. But what we are getting is the wild flailing of “do something, do something NOW!” that comes from not knowing what to do. It’s what we get as a nation for electing an inexperienced leader.

I’ve been thinking about race and racism for the past few weeks, and I have come to the conclusion that at its root, racism is the result of viewing people as groups rather than as individuals. For example, it is racist to believe that purple people are lazy, and green people are smart just because they are purple or green. But it’s not racist if you think Joe is lazy because he never does anything, or Jane is smart because she’s both a brain surgeon and a rocket scientist.

Here’s my working definition of racism: the belief that a person’s race is important in judging the superiority or inferiority of that person; also viewing everything through the filter of race. The idea that purple people are better than green people is a racist idea because it judges the groups based on their race classification only. And a professor of Green Studies who sees every real or imagined insult as an attack on him personally because of his Green color is likewise a racist.

The sad news is that we have not gotten past race and racism as a nation yet. As proof, I offer President Obama. He is often referred to as our nation’s first black President, but is he really? OK, ignoring the claim that President Clinton was our first black President, President Obama’s mother was white and his father was black. That makes Obama a half-and-half mixture of the two races. To identify him as black implies that the 50% of him that is black is more important than the 50% that is white. Another example is Tiger Woods. As Wikipedia puts it, he is “one-quarter Chinese, one-quarter Thai, one-quarter African American, one-eighth Native American, and one-eighth Dutch.” But every time he is called black or credited as the “first African American to win a men’s major golf championship,” a value judgment has been made stating that the 25% of him that is black is of greater worth and mention than the other 75% of his ethnic makeup. That is a value judgment based on his race, and to my mind that is racist.

I don’t care about the President’s family background; I care about his stated goals and policies. I disagree with his plans for government control over more and more aspects of Americans’ lives.

Is this attitude racist? How could it be racist if my disapproval of Obama has nothing to do with his race and everything to do with his far-left policies? But people on the left are crying “racist!” when people criticize or lampoon our Dear Leader. Don’t believe me? The left is now worried that calling Obama and his supporters “socialists” is now code for much nastier racial epithets. Here is MSNBC host Carlos Watson, making this claim:

The second half rambles off onto immigration, but here’s the part that shocked me. Watson is paraphrasing David Brooks:

More credible conservatives have to stand up and say that there is a line that has to be drawn, that there is a line of responsibility that’s important, and that extends to the words that we chose. Including how we use even legitimate words like socialist.

Words mean things, and it is quite accurate to label Obama and other Democrats as socialists as they are trying to take over the nation’s economy, but it is also accurate to identify his plans for government control of businesses, like banking and auto industries, as fascism. Are either of these words racist? If you say that they are, I have to ask you to point out how they target a specific race. I am left to believe that they may be considered racist words solely because they are used to target Obama. Consider the two images below.

Two Jokers

Both Presidents are being compared to the Joker character as portrayed by Heath Ledger in the recent Batman movie, “The Dark Knight.” But people are calling the poster on the left racist, while there was no outcry when the same thing was done to President Bush. The same treatment was given to both Presidents, but it’s virulent racism when done to Obama and mere good humor when done to Bush. I am led to believe that to the left, any criticism directed at President Obama is racist because it is directed at President Obama. That reminds me of something the Apostle Paul wrote to Titus:

Unto the pure all things are pure: but unto them that are defiled and unbelieving is nothing pure; but even their mind and conscience is defiled. Titus 1:15

If someone sees everything through the lens of race, that person is a racist and nothing is pure to him. I look forward to the day, as did Martin Luther King, Jr., when we will not be judged by the color of our skin, but by the content of our character. On that day we will have put racism behind us.