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Author: Leslie Eastman

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Leslie Eastman

I am an Environmental Health and Safety Professional, as well as a science/technical writer for a variety of news and professional publications. I have been a citizen activist since 2009, and am one of the co-founders of the San Diego-based group, Southern California Tax Revolt Coalition.

We are approaching the 5th anniversary of the start of the Tea Party movement. So, for fun, I wanted to explore the devolution of insults about citizen activists like myself over the years. First, we were peppered with a wide barrage: “Astro-turf”, “members of a mob“, “clansmen“, “un-American”, “political terrorists“, “Nazis“, and “evil-mongers“. I must admit, being called "well-dressed" by Nancy Pelosi was hilarious. Then, they hit us with their biggest bombshell: "Racists". Because all of these have failed to silence us, they have one last card to play. Now, we are simply crazy.
A Psychologist Diagnoses the Tea Party-and other extremists threatening our world. In “The Polarized Mind: Why It’s Killing Us and What We Can Do about It,” Kirk J. Schneider Ph.D., calls for a new and deeper psychological understanding of our greatest political and social conflicts and those who drive them.

I was recently privileged to chat with American Conservative Warrior Princess, Teri O’Brien, on Canto Talk.  She is a dynamic and engaging host herself, with a long history of conservative activism.  Her website is here. Teri has written a terrific synopsis of President Obama's personal, political and policy history: The ABC's of Barack Obama: Understanding God's Greatest Gift to America. With her tongue firmly planted in her cheek, O'Brien reviews the presidents many administration and policy failures. The saddest observation: There is enough material to cover all 26 letters of the alphabet! [caption id="attachment_76944" align="alignnone" width="337"](Teri O'Brien) (Teri O'Brien)[/caption] The book is rich with Teri's biting wit and cutting analysis. At about 60 pages, it is a fast read -- but well worth the time, as she summarizes a maze of scandal, deceit, and incompetence that has gotten lost in the avalanche of current news items slamming the Obama administration. And, as a special bonus, Teri has this great deal:
HERE'S THE REALLY EXCITING NEWS! From Sunday, January 26, 2014 through Tuesday, January 28, 2014, this information-packed, well-researched book, loaded with supporting links and information is available exclusively on ABSOLUTELY FREE!
Teri is an experienced attorney and talk-show host, who knows how to tie together detailed research, current events, and humor to cleverly highlight the many failures of Team Obama. She starts with "A" and ends with "Z", which condenses the many arguable anti-American, anti-Constitutional actions taken by Obama and his staff members and bureaucrats into a useful compendium. Not surprisingly, my favorite letters in her tome center on key aspects of "capitalism". For example, "J is for Jobs" is a walk down memory lane about the Keystone Pipeline being thwarted. The Canadians said over 7,000 jobs would be created if the unit went through as planned. The Obama Administration dismissed it, saying a mere 50 jobs might be generated -- and that wouldn't compare to all the "green jobs" the "Stimulus Plan" would create.

While the rest of the country has been enjoying the "Polar Vortex", my home state has had a slightly different set of "climate change" issues to address.
Gov. Jerry Brown declared a drought emergency on Friday, citing a need for conservation efforts and a fingers-crossed message that he "hopes it will rain" soon during what looks like it will be the driest year on record in the history of California. This is “perhaps the worst drought California has ever seen since records began being kept about 100 years ago,” Brown said at a news conference on Friday.
A piece in Breitbart notes that the drought may produce a spate of wildfires in the fall, when such disasters usually occur in the Golden State, and increasing tension between regions.
Reservoir levels in the north and central parts of the state were more depleted than in Southern California, but Brown still asked Los Angeles to do its part to conserve _ and gave a nod to the politics of water in the vast state. "The drought accentuates and further displays the conflicts between north and south and between urban and rural parts of the state. So, as governor, I'll be doing my part to bring people together and working through this.

College Insurrection posts are often inspired by a pithy synopsis of campus news by Professor Glenn Reynolds (aka Instapundit). So, with great joy, I wanted to share items from a new book featuring his wit, wisdom, and expertise on the subject of higher education, K-12 schooling, and possible technology-based transformations of how students learn that we may be seeing in the near future. One word for his newest publication, The New School: How the Information Age Will Save American Education from Itself: Compelling. I am the mother of a 6th grader who is currently attending public school. While my son's school is a good one, I find myself supplementing his education with trips to Kahn Academy (his math "coach" describes the program in a great article). A core theme in The New School is that online courses are one of the many new tools that will allow parents to customize an educational approach that makes sense for their children. In fact, he is an "early adapter" himself.
My daughter did most of her high school online, after spending one day in ninth grade keeping track of how the public high school she attended spent her time. At the end of eight hours in school, she concluded, she had spent about 2½ hours on actual learning. Switching to online school let her make sure that every hour counted. The flexibility also allowed her to work three days a week for a local TV-production company, where she got experience researching and writing for programs shown on the Biography Channel, A&E, etc., something she couldn’t have done had she been nailed down in a traditional school. And she still managed to graduate a year early, at age 16, to head off to a “public Ivy” to study engineering.
My boy will be doing an online course on robotics, which is a developing interest of his. He just informed me he wants to invent the "warp drive." This Halloween-time picture of us may explain why: Blake and Mom Star Trek In fact, this burgeoning industry in educational customization is counter to the 19th century approach that was the basis for today's American educational system, which was Prussian-inspired standardization during the Industrial Revolution.

Call it the political equivalent of the "Polar Vortex". As we enter Day 244 of the Internal Revenue Service scandal of suppressing conservative groups by the unfair application of tax-exempt status rules, there is a development that is chilling the hearts of citizen activists everywhere. The IRS is planning to codify its tactics into truly heavy-handed regulations. Matt Kibbe of Freedom Works explains:
“While you were all celebrating Thanksgiving with family and friends, the Obama Administration was quietly releasing a new set of draconian IRS regulations that would make it virtually impossible for tea parties that want to participate in the political process to do their business. They’re going after conservative groups, they’re going after libertarian groups, and they’re going after citizen groups that want to organize people based on the values of the constitution; based on the ideas of freedom and have an impact on the political conversation.”
In a nutshell, the agency will be using one of the administration's favorite tactics: Redefining terms. There would be favorable rulings for groups promoting "social welfare."

As Americans are recovering from their New Year's celebrations, it may be time to sober up with a look at some new laws that took effect January 1st. From the Washington Post, some of the more fascinating state rules now in place.
...2. Colorado became the first state to legalize recreational marijuana use -- perhaps the most talked-about new law of 2014 -- starting on Jan. 1. While Colorado stores have already begun selling marijuana, it isn't the only state with new drug laws. Washington has also legalized recreational marijuana use, and Illinois has legalized medical marijuana. 3. Illinois passed a law that prohibits drone-use that interferes with hunters or fisherman. This law was passed after PETA called for the use of "Air Angel" drones to monitor "hunters engaging in illegal activity." Another new law in the state prohibits state law enforcement from using drones to gather information without a warrant. 4. There's now a bigger fine for planning violent flash mobs on social media in Illinois. 5. In Oregon, it's now legal for mothers to take their placentas home from the hospital after childbirth. 6. It's now illegal to sell, distribute or possess shark fins in Delaware.
Colorado's rule change has already had some unintended consequences: Colorado 2-Year-Old Tests Positive For Pot (via Tammy Bruce).

At the start of the New Year, Legal Insurrection reader Nicholas wrote to ask Professor Jacobson the following question: Could 2014 be the year of the Tea Party Democrats? The political climate certainly seems appropriate. As Legal Insurrection's designated "Tea Party Democrat," I would like to answer this: Yes and No. Yes: Democrats are becoming as frustrated with their establishment leaders and failed policies as "Tea Party Republicans" have been with theirs. Exhibit 1: A townhall meeting in Chicago a hosted by Al Sharpton transformed into a "tea party" against “Chicago Machine” politics, Mayor Rahm Emanuel, and the aldermen in City Hall.
“This was a historic event,” Paul McKinley of V.O.T.E. (Voices of the Ex-Offender) and former 2nd Congressional District GOP nominee to replace Jesse Jackson, Jr. told Breitbart News..... McKinley told the room, “Stop blaming just anybody for the violence in the city of Chicago. Blame the right people, not just white people, but the right people. Because it’s not just white folks a part of this, but it is on the fifth floor. The fifth floor took your schools, the fifth floor just took your jobs that he said that he gave to the ex-offender… and every single alderman was a part of this criminal process.”
The video will delight fans of schadenfreude:

Price to Americans for helping other countries deal with "climate change":  $7.45 Billion. Price of an international air-sea rescue of 52 passengers (including 4 journalists and 26 paying tourists, and various academic advocates of "global warming"): Millions of dollars, to be paid by the shipping companies and their insurers. Price of the enjoyment brought to millions of "global warming deniers" when reading about the expedition of warmists on a Russian ship trapped in ice: Priceless. A CBS report (video):

As a Tea Party activist, one of my earliest assignments was trying to determine where we might be helpful in an ongoing battle between seal-loving eco-activist extremists versus the citizens who wanted to enjoy the La Jolla cove area and the businesses dependent on them doing so. In 2009, I wrote:
Over the years, my thoughts on the seals’ presence at the Children’s Pool has mirrored my growing anger at the “do-gooder”, anti-humanity, liberty-crushing environmental activists who have used a combination of emotionalism, poor science, and political gamesmanship to redesign regulations and control businesses to meet their distorted worldviews. An action item for the grassroots “Tea Party” movement is to address the disparity in activism, so that the needs of all citizens can be addressed in a manner that is friendly to businesses, the people that depend upon these businesses for their livelihoods, and the environment.
Nothing has changed. However, the stench has become so bad that several of the area businesses have filed a lawsuit...including George's-at-the-Cove, where my husband proposed to me in October 1998.
A lawsuit has been filed demanding the city eradicate the "foul, noxious and sickening odors" left by birds and sea lions defecating on the rocks next to La Jolla Cove.

As we head into the New Year, I thought this might be an appropriate time for an homage to two of my favorite things: the Tea Party and craft beer! Approaching the 5th anniversary of the start of the Tea Party movement, media types and establishment politicos are very upset that we are still alive and kicking! The U.S. Chamber of Commerce spending $50 Million to take on the Tea Party in 2014 Senate primaries.
"Our No. 1 focus is to make sure, when it comes to the Senate, that we have no loser candidates," Chamber strategist Scott Reed told the Journal. "That will be our mantra: No fools on our ticket." The financial support, which The Hill reported would pour at least $50 million into the campaigns of centrist GOP candidates, is part of an aggressive approach toward tea party Republicans since the 16-day October government shutdown.
One of my favorite Sunday morning activities is hearing the talking heads get excited about the impending Tea Party demise, complete with interviews with Washington's intelligentsia. The Atlantic article, Why the Tea Party Isn't Going Anywhere, is replete with many examples of our "extremism" and offers insight to the continued outrage at our existence.
...[A]t least three successive national election defeats will be necessary to even begin to break the determination and leverage of Tea Party adherents. Grassroots Tea Partiers see themselves in a last-ditch effort to save “their country,” and big-money ideologues are determined to undercut Democrats and sabotage active government. They are in this fight for the long haul. Neither set of actors will stand down easily or very soon.
Despite the authors' tainted view of our motives, these three principles are at core of most Tea Party activism: 1) Individual liberty 2) Fiscal responsibility 3) Limited government In fact, San Diego blogger Dean Riehm reminds everyone about the benefits of limited government and sensible deregulation with a brilliant piece on the craft beer industry.

Christmas is a celebration of "peace on Earth, goodwill toward men", and Santa Claus is famed for spreading joy to children throughout the world. However, reports from Turkey and the Balkans show that the image of Saint Nick is taking a beating. Literally. From the Hurriyet Daily News, which covers Turkey and the region:
A Muslim youth group and a neighborhood authority led two separate anti-Santa campaigns on the eve of Christmas in Turkey. The Istanbul University branch of a group called Anatolia Youth Association (AGD) released an illustration of a Muslim youth punching Santa Claus in the face and announced that it would make a press statement against Christmas on Dec. 26 in Istanbul. The group announced the event with a statement titled “Muslim, return to yourself!” adding that “Christmas is a Christianity practice.” The group also criticized the celebration of New Year’s Day, saying that the two dates were “mixed” and “united.” It claimed that celebrating Christmas and New Year’s Day was “wrong” and constituted “a blow dealt to Muslimism.”
The Blaze reports the image has spread to the Balkans:

Obamacare is ending the year on a very low note. Two states, both deep blue in their politics, are unhappy with the quality of the websites designed for the healthcare insurance exchanges.  Shockingly, they have opted to take a very free market approach to the problem.
Massachusetts -- whose government was one of the staunchest supporters of ObamaCare, and whose health plan arguably was the model for the law -- is refusing to pay any more until a working website is delivered. A spokesman for the Massachusetts exchange told that CGI's system is "far from where it needs to be" and the state will apply "nonstop pressure" to fix the problems. ...Vermont, too, is withholding $5.1 million to CGI over its failure to meet deadlines, according to a report in the Boston Globe. CGI, though, claims that neither state is fully cutting off its funding.

Egypt can be a place of miracles. As we have just celebrated Christmas, I am reminded of the flight into Egypt of the Holy Family. More recently, snow hit the streets of Cairo in more than a century. Now, Egypt begins its recovery after a brief visit with political insanity.
Egypt's security authorities launched a sweep of arrests of Muslim Brotherhood members on Thursday and warned that holding a leadership post in the group could now be grounds for the death penalty after it was officially declared a terrorist organization, stepping up the government's confrontation with its top political nemesis. The announcement came as a bomb exploded in a busy intersection in Cairo Thursday morning, hitting a bus and wounding five people. Though small, the blast raised fears that a campaign of violence by Islamic militants that for months has targeted police and the military could turn to civilians in retaliation for the stepped up crackdown. The terrorist labeling of the Brotherhood — an unprecedented step even during past decades when the group was banned — takes to a new level the government's moves to crush the group, which rode on elections to dominate Egypt's politics the past three years until the military removed Islamist President Mohammed Morsi in July after massive protests against him.
The move was made shortly after officials blamed the Muslim Brotherhood for a suicide bombing at a police headquarters north of Cairo that killed 16 people, as well as a series of other events highlighting increasing political tensions ahead of a key Jan. 14-15 referendum on a revised constitution.

While Japan is continues to cope with the economic fallout from the 2011 earthquake/tsunami disaster that led to Fukushima-Daiichi nuclear power plant catastrophe,it looks like members of the U.S. Navy are still struggling with real fallout.
When the USS Ronald Reagan responded to the tsunami that struck Japan in March 2011, Navy sailors including Quartermaster Maurice Enis gladly pitched in with rescue efforts. But months later, while still serving aboard the aircraft carrier, he began to notice strange lumps all over his body. Testing revealed he'd been poisoned with radiation, and his illness would get worse. And his fiance and fellow Reagan quartermaster, Jamie Plym, who also spent several months helping near the Fukushima nuclear power plant, also began to develop frightening symptoms, including chronic bronchitis and hemorrhaging. They and 49 other U.S. Navy members who served aboard the Reagan and sister ship the USS Essex now trace illnesses including thyroid and testicular cancers, leukemia and brain tumors to the time spent aboard the massive ship, whose desalination system pulled in seawater that was used for drinking, cooking and bathing. In a lawsuit filed against Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO), the plaintiffs claim the power company delayed telling the U.S. Navy the tsunami had caused a nuclear meltdown, sending huge amounts of contaminated water into the sea and, ultimately, into the ship's water system.
San Francisco Attorney Charles Bonner subsequently filed a federal suit in the Southern District of on behalf of a dozen sailors...but the number has since expanded to over 50. During a recent interview with Tammy Bruce, Paul Garner (an Encinitas attorney who is also involved with the case) said that number is likely to expand to over 70 claimants in the next few weeks. Though a San Diego judge dismissed the sailors case against the Tokyo Electric Power Co., operator of Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, that isn't the end of the legal battle on behalf of the sailors. The judge's ruling was based on a technicality and the case will continue in January.
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