Saturday, June 30, 2012

Nancy Pelosi-Dingbat

From PJ Media

June 28, 2012 - 3:39 pm - by Andrew C. McCarthy
Led by Chief Justice John Roberts, the Supreme Court decided that Americans have no right to due process. Indeed, the Court not only upheld a fraud perpetrated on the public — it became a willing participant.
The assessment charged for failure to comply with ObamaCare’s “individual mandate,” which requires Americans to purchase health insurance, was presented to the country by the administration and the Democratic Congress as a penalty assessed for lawlessness — i.e., for refusing to honor this new legal requirement. It was strenuously denied by proponents that they were raising taxes.
The Obama administration, in particular, was adamant that the assessment was a penalty, not a tax: the president himself indignantly objected to a suggestion to the contrary in an ABC News interview with George Stephanopoulos. Obama officials also vigorously maintained that there had been no violation of the president’s oft-repeated campaign pledge not to raise taxes on the middle class. Moreover, as stingingly noted in the joint dissenting opinion of Justices Scalia, Kennedy, Thomas and Alito, the Democratic majority in Congress rejected an earlier version of the bill that became ObamaCare precisely because it imposed a tax — lawmakers intentionally substituted a mandate with a penalty for failure to comply so they could continue to contend that no one’s taxes were being raised.
Chief Justice Roberts claims that Congress simply used the wrong label. That is legerdemain. This is not a case in which Congress was confused, or inadvertently used the wrong term under circumstances where the error wasn’t called to its attention. The tax-or-penalty question was a hotly contested issue. As the dissent points out, it is one thing for a court to construe as a tax an exaction that “bore an agnostic label that does not entail the significant constitutional consequences of a penalty — such as ‘license’…. But we have never — never – treated as a tax an exaction which faces up to the critical difference between a tax and a penalty, and explicitly denominates the exaction a ‘penalty.’”
Let’s say that, back when I was a prosecutor, I tried and convicted a man on a charge of conspiring to sell narcotics. I can prove he was conspiring, but it was really to sell stolen property. I convict him but, on appeal, the court holds, “The prosecutor’s evidence that it was drugs the defendant conspired to sell is wholly lacking.” At that point, the conviction has to be dismissed, and if I want to try him a second time, this time for conspiring to sell stolen property, I’ve got to indict him and start the whole process over again.
Let’s suppose, however, that the appeals court instead said, “Eh, drugs, stolen property, what’s the big whup? You just wrote the wrong commodity into the indictment. So let’s not bother with a whole new trial at which you’d have to prove the correct charge to a jury. Let’s just rewrite the indictment and pretend that it says ‘stolen property’ instead of ‘narcotics.’ Then we can uphold the conviction and call it a day.”
That would never be permitted to happen — not even to a crook of whose guilt we were certain. It would be an outrageous violation of due process, a conviction obtained by false pretenses, that would not be allowed to stand.
Yet this is essentially what Chief Justice Roberts & Co. did. They said the American people are not entitled to an honest legislative process, one in which they can safely assume that when Congress intentionally uses words that have very different meanings and consequences — like tax and penalty — and when Congress adamantly insists that the foundation of legislation is one and not the other, the Court will honor, rather than rewrite, the legislative process. Meaning: if Congress was wrong, the resulting law will be struck down, and Congress will be told that, if it wants to pass the law, it has to do it honestly.
Just as an appeals court may not legitimately rewrite an indictment and revise what happened at a trial, neither may it legitimately rewrite a statute and fabricate an imaginary congressional record. But today, the Supreme Court rewrote a law — which it has no constitutional authority to do — and treated it as if it were forthrightly, legitimately enacted. Further, it shielded the political branches from accountability for raising taxes, knowing full well that, had Obama and the Democrats leveled with the public that ObamaCare entailed a huge tax hike, it would never have had the votes to pass.
The ObamaCare mandate was enacted as a penalty flowing from Congress’s Commerce Clause power. It has been upheld as a tax flowing from Congress’s power to tax-and-spend under the General Welfare Clause. As the dissent sharply demonstrates, the contention that the mandate could have been enacted as a tax is frivolous. Meanwhile our country, trillions of dollars in debt and rapidly sinking further, desperately needs a debate about the limits of Congress’s power to tax and spend for the general welfare.
Madison — correctly in my view — thought the General Welfare Clause (which is in the preamble to article I, section 8 — it is not a separate, enumerated power) was simply an affirmation that Congress had the power to tax and spend to achieve the specific grants of power exactingly set forth in that section. Hamilton, by contrast, argued that the General Welfare Clause was an independent (i.e., not restricted to the enumerated powers), open-ended grant of authority to the national government to tax and spend on anything that would support someone’s idea of the overall betterment of society. Madison rightly contended that Hamilton’s interpretation would defeat the purpose of enumerating Congress’s powers — namely, to limit it to only these functions and no others. It would also usurp the rights and authority of the states and the people, in whom were retained all rights and authority not expressly assigned to the national government by the Constitution.
During the New Deal, under FDR’s court-packing threats, the Supreme Court adopted Hamilton’s view — enabling Congress to enact the New Deal, the Great Society, Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and innumerable other programs for which there is no enumerated power in the Constitution. These programs are unsustainable and leading us over the economic cliff, besides intruding on the domain of state power. Had ObamaCare been honestly presented as a tax, or had the Court acted properly by striking it down as an illegitimate use of the commerce power and telling Congress that if it wanted to pass the bill as a tax it would have to pass the bill as a tax, our dire financial straits might have forced this much needed debate about the limits of congressional welfare power.
We have now lost that opportunity through fraud: fraud in the legislative action, and fraud in the judicial review. Due process would not allow this to be done to a criminal, but the Supreme Court has decided that Americans will have to live with it.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Barry's hiding something?

Mark Steyn: Obama the first Invented-American president

Mark Steyn: Obama the first Invented-American president

Government Stupidity

EPA fines oil refiners for failing to use nonexistent biofuel

posted at 8:41 pm on June 22, 2012 by Howard Portnoy

Question: Do you fill your car’s tank with gasoline that is part cellulosic ethanol, an environment-friendly distillate of wood chips, corn cobs, and switch grass? Let me answer for you: No, you don’t. You couldn’t if you wanted to. Petroleum products blended with cellulosic ethanol aren’t commercially available, because the technology for mass-producing cellulosic ethanol hasn’t been perfected. None of which has stopped the Environmental Protection Agency from imposing hefty yearly fines on oil refiners. According to the The New York Times, in 2011 automotive fuel producers were assessed $6.8 million in penalties. That amount is expected to climb dramatically this year. Guess who ends up footing the bill for the difference?
This has got to be the ultimate example of government bureaucracy gone mad. How did it happen? Blame can be divided over the last two administrations. In his 2006 State of the Union Address, George W. Bush promised to “fund additional research in cutting-edge methods of producing ethanol, not just from corn, but from wood chips and stalks or switch grass.” The following year, Bush signed into law the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 (EISA), which mandates that oil refiners begin blending cellulosic ethanol into their gasoline and diesel products.
The “advanced biofuel contribution” under the law was to begin in 2009 at 0.6 billion gallons of cellulosic biomass and rise incrementally, first to 1.35 billion gallons in 2011, then to 2 billion gallons in 2012, and so on. By 2022, 21 billion gallons of fuel pumped into the nation’s cars and trucks was to be cellulosic ethanol.
The law further stipulated that if refiners failed to comply with the EPA mandate, they would pay a penalty.
The only problem with this arrangement was that the grant recipients responsible for coming up with Bush’s “cutting-edge methods of producing ethanol … from wood chips and stalks or switch grass” instead came up empty. In a 2011 report, the National Academy of Sciences concluded that “currently, no commercially viable bio-refineries exist for converting cellulosic biomass to fuel.” The report also noted that the renewable fuel standard “may be an ineffective policy for reducing global greenhouse gas emissions,” since the full life cycle of the fuel, including its transport, could lead to higher emissions than conventional petroleum.
Undaunted, the Obama administration has forged blindly ahead, continuing the elusive search for a technology that will produce cellulosic biomass—at taxpayers’ expense. Since thanks to the EPA mandate we are already paying more at the pump, the American people are truly getting nothing for something.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Celebrity in Chief

Queen Elizabeth II celebrated her Diamond Jubilee a few days ago — that’s 60 years on the throne. Just to put it in perspective, she’s been queen since Harry S. Truman was president. At any rate, her jubilee has been a huge success, save for a few churlish republicans in various corners of Her Majesty’s realms from London to Toronto to Sydney pointing out how absurd it is for grown citizens to be fawning over a distant head of state who lives in a fabulous, glittering cocoon entirely disconnected from ordinary life.
Which brings us to President Obama.
Last week, the republic’s citizen-president passed among his fellow Americans. Where? Cleveland? Dubuque? Presque Isle, Maine? No, Beverly Hills. These days, it’s pretty much always Beverly Hills or Manhattan, because that’s where the money is. That’s the Green Zone, and you losers are outside it. Appearing at an Obama fundraiser at the home of Glee creator Ryan Murphy and his “fiancĂ©” David Miller, the president, reasonably enough, had difficulty distinguishing one A-list Hollywood summit from another. “I just came from a wonderful event over at the Wilshire or the Hilton — I’m not sure which,” said Obama, “because you go through the kitchens of all these places and so you never are quite sure where you are.”
Ah, the burdens of stardom. The old celebrities-have-to-enter-through-the-kitchen line. The last time I heard that was a couple of decades back in London when someone was commiserating with Sinatra on having to be ushered in through the back. Frank brushed it aside. We were at the Savoy, or maybe the Waldorf. I can’t remember, and I came in through the front door. Oddly enough, the Queen enters hotels through the lobby. So do Prince William and his lovely bride. A month ago, they stayed at a pub in Suffolk for a friend’s wedding, and came in through the same door as mere mortals. Imagine that!
So far this year, President Obama has been to three times as many fundraisers as President Bush had attended by this point in the 2004 campaign. This is what the New York Post calls his “torrid pace,” although judging from those remarks in California he’s about as torrid as an overworked gigolo staggering punchily through the last mambo of the evening. According to Brendan J. Doherty’s forthcoming book The Rise of the President’s Permanent Campaign, Obama has held more fundraisers than the previous five presidents’ reelection campaigns combined.
This is all he does now. But hey, unlike those inbred monarchies with their dukes and marquesses and whatnot, at least he gets out among the masses. Why, in a typical week, you’ll find him at a fundraiser at George Clooney’s home in Los Angeles with Barbra Streisand and Salma Hayek. These are people who are in touch with the needs of ordinary Americans because they have played ordinary Americans in several of their movies. And then only four days later the president was in New York for a fundraiser hosted by Ricky Martin, the only man on the planet whose evolution on gayness took longer than Obama’s. It’s true that moneyed celebrities in, say, Pocatello or Tuscaloosa have not been able to tempt the president to hold a lavish fundraiser in Idaho or Alabama, but he does fly over them once in a while. Why, only a week ago, he was on Air Force One accompanied by Jon Bon Jovi en route to a fundraiser called Barack on Broadway.
Any American can attend an Obama event for a donation of a mere $35,800 — the cost of the fundraiser hosted by Dreamworks honcho Jeffrey Katzenberg, and the one hosted by Facebook’s Sheryl Sandberg, and the one hosted by Will Smith and Jada Pinkett, and the one hosted by Melanie Griffith and Antonio Banderas, and the one hosted by Crosby, Stills, and Nash. $35,800 is a curiously non-round figure. Perhaps the ticket cost is $36,000, but under Obamacare there’s a $200 co-pay. Those of us who grew up in hidebound, class-ridden monarchies are familiar with the old proverb that a cat can look at a king. But in America only a cool cat can look at the king.
However, there are some cheap seats available. A year and a half ago, big-money Democrats in Rhode Island paid $7,500 per person for the privilege of having dinner with President Obama at a private home in Providence. He showed up for 20 minutes and then said he couldn’t stay for dinner. “I’ve got to go home to walk the dog and scoop the poop,” he told them, because when you’ve paid seven-and-a-half grand for dinner nothing puts you in the mood to eat like a guy talking about canine fecal matter. And, having done the poop gag, the president upped and exited, and left bigshot Dems to pass the evening talking to the guy from across the street. But you’ve got to admit that’s a memorable night out: $7,500 for Dinner with Obama* (*dinner with Obama not included).
And here’s an even better deal, for those who, despite the roaring economy, can’t afford even $7,500 for non-dinner with Obama: The president of the United States is raffling himself off! For the cost of a $3 non-refundable online-application processing fee, you and your loved one can have your names put in a large presidential hat from which the FBI background-check team will pluck two to be ushered into the presence of their humble citizen-executive. That’s to say, somewhere across the fruited plain, a common-or-garden non-celebrity will win the opportunity to attend an Obama fundraiser at the home of Sex and the City star Sarah Jessica Parker, co-hosted by Vogue editor Anna Wintour, the British-born inspiration for the movie The Devil Wears Prada. I wish this were a parody, but I’m not that good. But I’m sure Sarah Jessica and Anna will treat you just like any other minor celebrity they’ve accidentally been seated next to due to a hideous faux pas in placement, even if you do dip the wrong end of the arugula in the amuse-bouche.
If you’re wondering who Anna Wintour is, boy, what a schlub you are: She’s renowned throughout the fashion world for her scary bangs. I’m referring to her hair, not to the last sound Osama bin Laden heard as the bullet headed toward his eye socket on the personal orders of the president, in case you’ve forgotten. But that’s the kind of inside tidbit you’ll be getting, as the commander-in-chief leaks highly classified national-security details to you over the zebra mussel in a Eurasian-milfoil coulis. For a donation of $35,800, he’ll pose with you in a Seal Team Six uniform with one foot on Osama’s corpse (played by Harry Reid). For a donation of $46,800, he’ll send an unmanned drone to hover amusingly over your sister-in-law’s house. For a donation of $77,800, he’ll install you as the next president-for-life of Syria (liability waiver required). For a donation of $159,800, he’ll take you into Sarah Jessica’s guest bedroom and give you the full 007 while Carly Simon sings “Nobody Does It Better.”
There are monarchies and republics aplenty, but there’s only one 24/7 celebrity fundraising presidency. If it’s Tuesday, it must be Kim Cattrall, or Hootie and the Blowfish, or Laverne and Shirley, or the ShamWow guy . . . I wonder if the Queen ever marvels at the transformation of the American presidency since her time with Truman. Ah, well. If you can’t stand the klieg-light heat of Obama’s celebrity, stay out of the Beverly Wilshire kitchen.
Mark Steyn, a National Review columnist, is the author of After America: Get Ready for Armageddon. © 2012 Mark Steyn

Tuesday, June 5, 2012


Ayers and Obama: What the Media Hid


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Obama's connection to Bill Ayers, like his connection to Jeremiah Wright, briefly became a campaign issue in 2008. The Obama campaign was quick to distance the candidate from the 60's domestic terrorist, even as blogs continued to dig up evidence connecting the two men. Eventually the issue became enough of a story that, on October 3rd, the NY Times weighed with a piece titled "Obama and ’60s Bomber: A Look Into Crossed Paths" by author Scott Shane. Looking back it's clear that the Times' story downplayed or overlooked some significant connections between the two men, connections which may have raised red flags for some voters.

According to Bill Ayers' next door neighbor, Senator Barack Obama was a guest at a 4th of July party Ayers hosted in 2005. The date is significant because it effectively undercuts the claim, made by the Obama campaign during the 2008 election cycle, that Obama and Ayers were merely acquaintances who had only crossed paths a few times since 2000. Obama's attendance at the party suggests they were friends.
Scott Shane clearly didn't know about the 2005 party. Indeed, he writes near the end of his piece "Since 2002, there is little public evidence of their relationship." But it now appears Shane was intentionally misled by Obama spokesman Ben LaBolt who he quotes as follows:
“The suggestion that Ayers was a political adviser to Obama or someone who shaped his political views is patently false,” said Ben LaBolt, a campaign spokesman. Mr. LaBolt said the men first met in 1995 through the education project, the Chicago Annenberg Challenge, and have encountered each other occasionally in public life or in the neighborhood. He said they have not spoken by phone or exchanged e-mail messages since Mr. Obama began serving in the United States Senate in January 2005 and last met more than a year ago when they bumped into each other on the street in Hyde Park.
The claim that Obama hadn't "spoken by phone or exchanged e-mail" with Ayers since 2005 appears in retrospect to have been a Clintonian parsing of the truth. In fact, it now appears they spoke face to face at Ayers 4th of July party. But notice there's a bit of goalpost moving being done by LaBolt here as well. No one suggested that Ayers was a political adviser to candidate Obama. The suggestion was that the two men were friends and that the friendship might indicate that the two shared similar worldviews. That's the story the NY Times and the rest of the media never fully investigated in 2008.
Shane's story does note that the Obama-Ayers connection began with the Chicago Annenberg Challenge, a school grant initiative which Ayers helped bring to Chicago. Obama was later selected to be the Chairman of the Board for the CAC. Shane notes that "some bloggers" have suggested Ayers tapped Obama for the position but he goes on to explain this probably wasn't the case. The impression is that these unnamed bloggers have unfairly overstated the connection the two men shared.
However, Shane overlooks the more obvious (and easily documented) connection. Various boards on which Obama sat in the late 90s granted nearly $2 million dollars to Bill Ayers' Small Schools Workshop. This archived webpagenotes over one million granted to Ayers' project by the CAC, but the Woods Fund and Joyce Foundation (on whose Boards Obama also sat) granted nearly an additional million in donations to Ayers' group during the same time period.
In addition to donations to Ayers' Small Schools Workshop group, the same foundations donated $761,100 to a related group run by Ayers’ brother, John Ayers. In fact, in 2001 Obama would join the "leadership council" of a successor to the CAC called the Chicago Public Education Fund. Also on the leadership council of the group was Bill Ayers' brother John. (Documents demonstrating this connection have been hidden from view on the internet archive using robots.txt).
It's easy to claim that Obama and Ayers weren't "close." How does one measure "close" in the absence of detailed personal history that isn't available in this case. It's much harder to deny the connection implied by the nearly $3 million dollars Obama helped direct to Bill Ayers and his brother. Why didn't Shane Scott see fit to mention any of this?
Finally, one of the arguments the Obama campaign used in 2008 (dutifully repeated by the Times), was the suggestion that Bill Ayers radicalism was a thing of the distant past by the time Obama knew him:
A review of records of the schools project and interviews with a dozen people who know both men, suggest that Mr. Obama, 47, has played down his contacts with Mr. Ayers, 63. But the two men do not appear to have been close. Nor has Mr. Obama ever expressed sympathy for the radical views and actions of Mr. Ayers, whom he has called “somebody who engaged in detestable acts 40 years ago, when I was 8.
This is extremely dishonest as it suggests that the only objectionable thing about Bill Ayers is his history as a domestic terrorist. Surely that would be enough for many people, but even putting his past aside there is ample evidence that Ayers is as radical now as he was then. On September 11th, 2001, Ayers was profiled by the NY Times in a piecewhich opened with Ayers saying "I don't regret setting bombs...I feel we didn't do enough." In 2010, Ayers' wife Bernadine Dohrn said in an interview that she and Bill "are radicals today" and added "we think the real terrorist is the American government." Just two months ago Ayers was in Union Square telling anyone who would listen "I get up every morning thinking today...I'm going to end capitalism." This is the adult who Barack Obama befriended in Chicago.
Ayers methods have certainly changed since the 60s, but his commitment to bringing down the American system has been a constant throughout his life. Therefore, it's fair to ask what Obama saw in Ayers, the committed anti-capitalist radical. It's also fair to ask why the NY Times (and the rest of the media) were so quick to dismiss the import of the connection. No one is saying Obama and Ayers were part of a secret cabal, but they do seem to have been friends over a period of years, so presumably they had something in common. Given Ayers' consistently extreme views on America and government, isn't that worth exploring?

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Heavy ice could delay start of Shell Alaska's Arctic drilling - Environment -

Heavy ice could delay start of Shell Alaska's Arctic drilling - Environment -

.22 Long Rifle

First time this has happened to me, Ruger Mark II

First Amendment Rights Terminated? Peoples Republic of Chicago

From Tammy Bruce

New Column: Is Obama Deliberately Revealing National Security Secrets?

by Tammy on June 2, 2012

I think the answer is Yes, for a couple of reasons. The most obvious is his re-election effort affected by Corvette Syndrome–taking credit for and bragging about national security events or accomplishments may give people the impression that he’s tough and cares about the country. Just like men who feel the need to drive around in cars that are meant to signal something they feel deficient in. In other words, legitimate accomplishment doesn’t need to brag or advertise.
The other reason so many people are unwilling to touch is the fact that Obama, throughout his term, has done things to harm this country. So why stop now? It may be subconscious, but you can’t have this much destruction at every level to have it be simple bad luck. Even a broken clock is right twice a day–in order to be this much of a mess Obama has to be working at it. I contend Obama is deliberately doing as much damage as possible to punish us for rejecting him and to make President Romney’s job even more difficult. Not only will Romney have to face an economic disaster, but now he’ll be contending with the aftermath of a president who is revealing national security secrets to the entire world as we arguably plunge toward war on various fronts.
After a slew of leaks about national security efforts, we have another one. Someone from Obama’s administration reveals Stuxnet was created by us and the Israelis:
Stuxnet Worm Crafted by U.S., Israel to Thwart Iran’s Nuclear Program
Even CNN has noticed the disturbing trend at Obama’s White House:
Loose lips and the Obama national security ship
The level of detail spilling out through media reports about crucial national security operations is raising the question of whether President Barack Obama’s administration can keep a secret – or in some cases even wants to.
In just the past week, two tell-all articles about Obama’s leadership as commander-in-chief have been published, dripping with insider details about his sleeves-rolled-up involvement in choosing terrorist targets for drone strikes and revelations about his amped-up cyber war on Iran.
Each article notes the reporters spoke to “current and former” American officials and presidential advisers, as well as sources from other countries.
“This is unbelievable … absolutely stunning,” a former senior intelligence official said about the level of detail contained in the cyberattack story.
The official noted that the article cited participants in sensitive White House meetings who then told the reporter about top secret discussions. The article “talks about President Obama giving direction for a cyberweapons attack during a time of peace against a United Nations member state.”

I believe Obama knows it’s over, through internal polls and simple obviousness of his incompetence. I’m sure he blames the American people–he believed we’d sit back and take our punishment. That’s another serious problem he has–his projection of his own loathing of himself as an American onto all of us. He truly thinks we’re awful and expects us to accept denigration. His own election perhaps reinforced his contempt for the American people. With his dislike of the White House itself, his elitist, condescending attitude toward Americans, his preferred “campaign” strategy of trying to pit us at each others throats (racial tensions, gender tensions, class war, gays versus straights), and deliberately destruction economic jihad, he has gotten away with a lot. Now he’s shocked we’ve had enough. Well, Newsflash for Obama: we have.
When George W. Bush became president, his team found that the Clinton regime had vandalized the White House. In at least one example of Frat House pettiness, Clinton’s team removed all the “W”s from the computer keyboards. Ha ha ha. One of the things that Clinton should have removed was left behind–the Oval Office carpeting. President Bush’s team had to do that themselves.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

More Democrat Hipocracy

MA Democrats: No Entry to Convention Without Photo ID


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9 hours ago82post a comment

In recent years, Democrats have argued that requiring voters to show photo IDs prior to voting is an egregious act of voter suppression. Ben Jealous, of the NAACP, has gone so far as to argue that such requirements are tantamount to modern-day Jim Crow laws. In the world they inhabit, lots of voters don't have access to photo IDs, so requiring voters to provide this will "disenfranchise" them and leave them out of the democratic process. Funny they don't feel that way for their own party conventions.

On Saturday, Massachusetts delegates will meet in their state's Democrat party convention. The votes of these delegates will determine whether there are primary elections for their party nominations. With so much at state, Democrats have decided to implement Voter ID requirements:
Wait, what? Democrats tell us that photo ID requirements disenfranchise minority voters, who, inexplicably, have limited access to photo IDs. Yet, at their own convention, they insist that all delegates provide a photo ID to even have access to the convention floor. When their own party is at state, it seems their priorities are somewhat different that their rhetoric suggests.
If the Democrats actually believe the rhetoric from people like Ben Jealous, then they have disenfranchised scores of potential delegates with this photo ID requirement. If, on the other hand, they instituted the photo ID requirement to ensure the integrity of the votes of the party delegates, they should repudiate the NAACP and work to ensure that their own rules carry through election day.
Voter ID is good for me, but not thee is not a winning campaign slogan.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Baby sparrows

In an evergreen bush, just outside the office door.

The Corzine Rule

The Corzine Rule