Government inattention to running its own businesses profitably does not bode well for the investment banks and auto companies now in the grips of government incompetence due to the bailout fiascoes. The US Postal Service, a quasi-government entity not unlike Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, is in real financial trouble. Conservatives With Attitude comments:
The Postal Service was $2.8 billion in the red last year and is facing even larger losses this year due to a sharp decline in mail volume in the weak economy. Postmaster General John Potter broached the possibility of cutting mail delivery from six days to five in January, but the idea has not been warmly received in Congress. “We are facing losses of historic proportion,” he told a House subcommittee. “Our situation is critical.”
“Without a change we will exhaust our cash resources,” Potter said. “We can no longer afford business as usual.” He estimated that delivering mail five days a week instead of six would save $3.5 billion per year.
Like the auto companies, USPS suffers from legacy costs and high labor costs that impede profitablity.
The total payment for 2009 for retiree health benefits is estimated at approximately $7.4 billion. This includes the scheduled payment of $5.4 billion, as mandated by the PAEA, and an estimated $2 billion for current retiree health benefit premiums.Georg Jensen at The American Interest Online proposes necessary changes at the Post Office:
Unlike other federal agencies, the Postal Service is required by law to fund the cost of health benefits premiums for both current and future retirees. The Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act (PAEA) requires the Postal Service to pay into the Postal Service Retiree Health Benefits Fund regularly scheduled payments through 2016. As of September 30, 2008, this fund had a positive balance of $32.6 billion.
Here is what to do, and the order in which to do it:1. Replace the USPS senior management team with proven corporate executives who know how to run a $76 billion company with vision and accountability to stakeholders.
2. Negotiate with the unions to gain the concessions necessary to get the USPS’s labor costs in line. To be competitive with private competitors, the USPS will need to pay its workforce less than the $42 average hourly wage they receive today. Between layoffs and renegotiated compensation and benefits, drop the payroll costs from 80 percent of USPS’s expenses to 60 percent.
3. Invest in modernization of the sorting centers to gain long-term efficiencies, but tighten up the network so that unprofitable centers and unprofitable post office branches are closed.
4. Normalize the pricing differences between first-class, second-class (publications) and standard mail (advertising) to reflect actual delivery costs, and end the ratepayer and taxpayer subsidization of Big Mail. USPS subsidizes U.S. businesses by means of the fees it collects from ordinary postal customers. For example, if you wish to mail someone a large envelope weighing three ounces, you’ll pay $1.17 in postage. A business can bulk-mail a three-ounce catalog of the same size for as little as $0.14.
5. Redefine the Universal Service Obligation [six day delivery] so that it makes sense in the 21st century. Use available online technology that enables the Postal Service to know when customers don’t need delivery or would forego a default delivery option to have their mail delivered electronically, redirected elsewhere or destroyed.
6. As consumers switch to all-electronic delivery of postal mail, modify the USPS’s delivery fleet with in-vehicle dynamic routing systems such UPS and FedEx use, so that USPS vehicles don’t have to stop at every house, every day.
7. Follow the international model for liberalization. Having competitors in the marketplace will force the USPS to become more efficient and truly competitive. Customers will have a choice, just as they do today with phone-service providers. Better yet, move to privatize the USPS before the option disappears.
If you haven't been keeping "pace" (as they say in Britain), Susan Boyle is avoiding the paparazzi in order to prepare for her next solo for the Britain's Got Talent competition. The song will be "Whistle Down the Wind," by Andrew Lloyd Webber.
Meanwhile, more information on the world's most famous person trickles in. Before I continue, I would like to say that I have speculated here and here that Susan may be a savant.
Watching the incredible Susan Boyle video, I was struck by her stumbling and bumbling during the initial interview, and after the performance when she hesitated, then began to leave the stage before her exit interview. She seemed confused by the discussions about her performance, her three “yes” votes and the offstage interview.Catholic News Service publishes this enlightening information from the perspective of her priest, Father Basil Clark:
It occurs to me that she may be a savant. According to the Wisconsin Medical Society, “music is generally the most common savant skill.”
The comments of her priest seem to confirm my initial thoughts.
He has seen the situation unfold many times before, having regularly accompanied Boyle, 47, on the annual Legion of Mary pilgrimage to the Marian shrine in Knock, Ireland.Apparently, Susan Boyle was brain-damaged at birth, as a result of oxygen deprivation, and she has lived in her family home, sleeping in the same bedroom where she was born. Father Clark goes on to express his joy for her good fortune and his concerns about her future:
"When I watched the judges' faces it reminded me of what I was like when I first saw Susan singing -- absolutely blown away by the quality of the singing and by that fantastic voice," said Father Clark, dean of West Lothian, the district that covers Boyle's home village of Blackburn.
"Anyone who sees her for the first time behaves the same way. I have never heard her sing badly, though she might lose the words if the stress gets too much," he told Catholic News Service in an April 16 telephone interview.
"When she gets up to sing it can either be wonderful or you can get the unpredictable eccentric behavior, but it is to do with the fact that she has learning difficulties.
"In a sense, there is a beautiful voice trapped in this damaged body," he said. "It is an absolute contrast. There she was on television acting very peculiarly and the audience was expecting peculiar things to happen and then a voice of an angel comes out -- and that's Susan."
Father Clark said that local people who knew Boyle, the youngest of nine children of a family descended from Irish migrants, were "enormously proud of her and wish her the best but they are aware of the risks she is running," adding that her behavior has previously drawn cruel taunts from children.
"People are slightly worried about what might happen after this bout of fame," he explained.
"I am quite worried for her," he added. "I think it's great at one level. It might just be the thing that will make her, but she is a very vulnerable person and it could be quite difficult.
"It is a great opportunity for her and as far as I am concerned she should make the best of it, and if it lasts, it lasts, and if it doesn't, then it's still more than almost any one of us will ever achieve," he added. "It is important in sustaining her and making sure this is all a very, very beneficial experience."
From the WSJ comes the bad news about ethanol:
Consumers were asked to suspend disbelief as policy makers blurred the lines between economic reality and a business model built on fantasies of a better environment and energy independence through ethanol. Notwithstanding federal subsidies and mandates that force-feed the biofuel to the driving public, ethanol is proving to be a bust. In the fourth quarter of 2008, Aventine Renewable Energy, a large ethanol producer, lost $37 million despite selling a company record 278 million gallons of the biofuel. Last week it filed for bankruptcy. California's Pacific Ethanol lost $146 million last year and has defaulted on $250 million in loans. It recently told regulators that it will likely run out of cash by April 30.
How could this be? The federal government gives ethanol producers a generous 51-cent-a-gallon tax credit and mandates that a massive amount of their fuel be blended into the nation's gasoline supplies. And those mandates increase every year. This year the mandate is 11 billion gallons and is on its way to 36 billion gallons in 2022.
To meet this political demand, VeraSun, Pacific Ethanol, Aventine Renewable Energy and others rushed to build ethanol mills. The industry produced just four billion gallons of ethanol in 2005, so it had to add a lot of capacity in a short period of time.
Three years ago, ethanol producers made $2.30 per gallon. But with the global economic slowdown, along with a glut of ethanol on the market, by the end of 2008 ethanol producers were making a mere 25 cents per gallon. That drop forced Dyersville and other facilities to be shuttered. The industry cut more than 20% of its capacity in a few months last year.
What's more, as ethanol producers sucked in a vast amount of corn, prices of milk, eggs and other foods soared. The price of corn shot up, as did the price of products from animals -- chickens and cows -- that eat feed corn.
Texas Gov. Rick Perry reacted by standing with the cattlemen in his state to ask the Environmental Protection Agency last year to suspend part of the ethanol mandates (which it has the power to do under the 2007 energy bill). The EPA turned him down flat. The Consumer Price Index later revealed that retail food prices in 2008 were up 10% over 2006. In Mexico, rising prices led to riots over the cost of tortillas in 2007. The United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization and other international organizations issued reports last year criticizing biofuels for a spike in food prices.
Ethanol is also bad for the environment. Science magazine published an article last year by Timothy Searchinger of Princeton University, among others, that concluded that biofuels cause deforestation, which speeds climate change. The National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration noted in July 2007 that the ethanol boom rapidly increased the amount of fertilizer polluting the Mississippi River. And this week, University of Minnesota researchers Yi-Wen Chiu, Sangwon Suh and Brian Walseth released a study showing that in California -- a state with a water shortage -- it can take more than 1,000 gallons of water to make one gallon of ethanol. They warned that "energy security is being secured at the expense of water security."
For all the pain ethanol has caused, it displaced a mere 3% of our oil usage last year. Even if we plowed under all other crops and dedicated the country's 300 million acres of cropland to ethanol, James Jordan and James Powell of the Polytechnic University of New York estimate we would displace just 15% of our oil demand with biofuels.
First we get the news from Rivals:
MIAMI (AP)—Isiah Thomas sat in his new gym for an hour, at one point turning his gaze toward the Florida International players he’ll now coach.
“There’ll be a lot of ups,” Thomas said, almost in a cautionary tone. “There’ll be a lot of downs.”
He’s experienced plenty of both, of course.
Without the ups, FIU wouldn’t have wanted Thomas.
Without the downs, Thomas wouldn’t have needed FIU.
And so begins a surprising basketball marriage that got under way Wednesday when Thomas was introduced as FIU’s new coach, three days shy of the 1-year anniversary of his firing as coach of the New York Knicks. Thomas will not accept a salary in his first season, instead donating that money back to FIU, and will earn somewhere around $275,000 in the final four years of his deal.
That doesn’t count the $12 million or so the Knicks will continue paying him over the next two years.
“I did not come here for the money,” Thomas said.
Instead, he’ll have a chance to rebuild his tarnished Hall of Fame image.
As a player at Indiana and in the NBA, Isiah "Zeke" Thomas attained All American and Top 50 NBA honors but as Bill Simmons over at SonicsCentral notes, his post-playing career has been a "trainwreck".
Zeke takes over the Raptors as Executive VP and in a short 4 year period manages to wear out his welcome. A dispute with then-Raptors management over inappropriate conduct with team staff (sound familiar?) and improper giveaways to NCAA players results in his dismissal. Undaunted, Zeke flashes that cheesy sh*t-eating grin and moves on to the NBA on NBC, where his stilted, self-serving color commentary leads NBA to add Bill Walton to improve things.
Let me say that again - Zeke was SO bad they added Bill Walton to the broadcast to make it better.
After leaving NBA on NBC commentary in the capable hands of stoner Walton and East Coast know-nothing blowhards like Peter “Toys R Us” Vecsey, Zeke moves on yet again, this time to:
The Continental Basketball Association. The CBA used to be the NBA’s minor league, the precursor to today’s NBDL but a hell of a lot more organized. Even coaches like George Karl and Phil Jackson paid their dues in the CBA and it brought forth more than a few players who played sizeable roles on some very good teams; Vincent Askew, Tim Legler, Mario Elie. It was thought that under Zeke’s leadership the CBA might grow into a successful feeder league for the NBA itself. On August 3, 1999 an investment group headed by Zeke purchased the whole shebang including licensing and marketing for about $10 million.
Like any good incompetent executive who wants to look good for his shareholders the first thing Isiah did was cut salaries. And believe me, these guys weren’t making much money to begin with … about $1500 a week, which was then cut down to $1100 a week with players being responsible for many of their own travel expenses.
About eight months later Zeke was offered the head coaching job of the Indiana Pacers, who apparently came to this decision after Larry Bird consulted sheep entrails or huffed some serious glue. Isaiah signs a letter of intent to sell to the NBA Player’s Union but then ends up putting himself first, running away to coach the Pacers while putting the CBA in a blind trust … a mere 18 months after Zeke taking over league operations the CBA folds. That’s got to be some kind of record considering the league had been around over 50 years before he became involved with it.Isiah did OK, not great with the Pacers … After getting cut loose from the Pacers the Knicks move in to sweep him up. Why God, why??? What the hell in his miserable resume would ever make anyone think this jerkoff was qualified to run a lemonade stand, let alone one of the premier franchises in the sport???
Things didn't go well with the Knicks as Rivals notes:
Thomas wants to move past the problems that marred his tenure with the Knicks, such as being the central figure in a sexual harassment lawsuit and, according to authorities, being found unconscious in his New York-area home last fall after someone at the residence called 911 to report someone overdosed on sleeping pills.
The only mystery here is why FIU would want a coach with an obvious morals problem and a backpack full of failure.
Despite the efforts by the Drive-By Media to make Obama a decisive leader and hero, the fact is that he did not order the pirates to be taken out. Blackfive tells how the rescue happened:
I just finished listening to the press conference w/ ADM Gortney about the rescue of Captain Phillips. At the time it happened the USS Bainbridge was towing the lifeboat to calmer waters as the sea state was deteriorating. One of the pirates was on board the Bainbridge as the talks about obtaining Phillip's release continued. The lifeboat was approx. 25 m behind the Bainbridge when snipers on the fantail observed one of the pirates in the pilot house of the lifeboat pointing an AK-47 at the back of a tied up Phillips and the other two pirates on board were visible (at least shoulders and heads). The standing authority gave them clearance to engage the pirates if the life of the captain was in imminent danger. The on scene commander deemed this to be true and gave the order to fire. All three bad guys were taken out and then a rigid inflatable boat went to the lifeboat to retrieve Phillips. Iti is unknown at this point whether the shooters were SEALs or Marine Scout Snipers as both would have been available. This was not a rescue attempt ordered by National Command Authority i.e. the President. It was a reaction by the on scene commander under standard authority to safeguard the life of a hostage.
The AP is reporting that President Obama gave the order to use military force to rescue the hostage, that is misleading.
WASHINGTON (AP)—Administration officials say President Barack Obama approved the military operation that rescued a U.S. captain held hostage by Somali pirates.
The officials say Obama ordered the Defense Department to use military resources to rescue Richard Phillips from a lifeboat off the Somali coast.
He did affirm the military's authorization to use force if the captain's life was in danger, but they already would have had that authorization as part of their standard rules of engagement. If there are innocents about to be slaughtered the same reasoning that authorizes self defense also covers an imminent execution unless the ROE specifically forbid it.The AP is making it sound like there was an active rescue ordered by the President. It was not, there was an imminent threat and the local commander gave the order to fire. Good on Obama for ensuring their authorization was clear, but let's also be clear that he did not authorize or order an active rescue attempt.
Dr. Arthur Robinson, President and Research Professor of the Oregon Institute of Science and Medicine, wrote this sobering article for Human Events:
And so it has begun. Word is beginning to spill into the news of food riots and starvation in poor countries, as a result of shortages and the resulting high prices for grain. This suffering is a direct result of the unprincipled actions of self-interested people in developed countries who are promulgating the scientifically refuted myth of human-caused global warming.
Frightened by this myth, U. S. federal and state governments have diverted a significant amount of the American grain supply into the production of ethanol -- an entirely counterproductive action that has helped to cause these grain shortages.
There is no intrinsic shortage of food. Since, however, food is perishable; the market produces each year an amount of food comparable to that which will be consumed. Stored food -- primarily grain -- usually suffices to smooth fluctuations due to weather and other factors. Prices fluctuate within a range narrow enough that most of the world’s people have sufficient food at a price they can afford. When, however, a large amount of grain is suddenly withdrawn from the market, severe shortages can result.
This current food shortage is only the beginning.
We have been down this road before. Unprincipled opportunists [including Rachel Carson through her book, Silent Spring]-- falsely claiming that DDT is dangerous to the environment -- managed to engineer a world-wide ban of DDT. DDT had eradicated malaria from the developed world and was well on its way to eradicating it from the less developed countries at the time this ban of DDT was instituted. The initiation of DDT use against malaria was rewarded by a Nobel Prize, and the U.S. National Academy of Sciences estimated that DDT had saved hundreds of millions of lives.
One of the principal political figures who worked to ban DDT was none other than Al Gore.
As a result of the DDT ban, more than 30 million children in Africa and Asia have died from DDT-preventable malaria, and an estimated 500 million adults are today chronically ill from this disease. The ban of DDT was the worst act of technological genocide in human history.
Now, Mr. Gore is the recognized leader of an effort to ban at least 90% of world use of hydrocarbon fuels. Once again, his claims are based upon bogus science and are motivated by personal financial and political self interest. Mr. Gore has been joined by the United Nations and its IPCC process. The goal of the United Nations is clear. It wants the power to tax and ration world energy supplies. This would place essentially unlimited power and money in the hands of the United Nations and cooperating world political entities.
As acts of genocide, the potential effects of the human-caused global warming industry are so profound that the DDT genocide is minor in comparison.
Hundreds of millions of human beings live today on the very edge of existence -- with all of their available resources consumed in the quest for food, shelter, and the minimum necessities of life. Without world technology and the energy that makes that technology possible, these people will slip from the lower rungs of human existence and will die. By abruptly lowering world hydrocarbon use, the human-caused global warmers are going to kill these people.
Politicians in the United States have given us a first taste of the horrible suffering of human beings that is to come. By responding to the myth of human-caused global warming by mildly diminishing American grain supplies -- in a futile, politicized attempt to burn grain as fuel, American politicians have given the world a slight taste of the starvation and slaughter that is to come.
Many people are responsible for promulgating the myth of human-caused global warming – environmentalists, politicians, businessmen, media personalities, and a relatively small band of self-interested scientists. They have done this regardless of an overwhelming body of scientific information that definitively refutes the hypothesis of human-caused global warming. [See Robinson, Robinson, and Soon, Environmental Effects of Increased Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide.]
In the case of DDT, the truth did not matter. The Environmental Protection Agency’s own scientific review board had reviewed the scientific literature and proclaimed DDT entirely safe and very useful. In the case of the hypothesis of human-caused global warming, the truth is also becoming increasingly irrelevant, as perceived political reality replaces reality in public discourse.
Al Gore has surpassed himself. Having helped to kill tens of millions of helpless African, Asian, and South American children and to sicken hundreds of millions of other people with his support for the ban of DDT, Mr. Gore is now attempting to deprive the survivors in these same countries of energy -- life-giving energy that makes possible their meager existences.
Industrially useful energy is fungible. It flows back and forth throughout the world with ease. A projected reduction in supply in the United States and an ill-considered reaction to that projection has caused current world food shortages. These shortages are only very small reminders of the vast shortages that will occur if hydrocarbon use is truly curtailed.
No greater act of genocide has ever been proposed in human history than the proposal to abruptly end the use of much of the world’s hydrocarbon energy.
Al Gore and his United Nations retainers have received the Nobel Prize for Peace. The only peace that they are offering to the world’s people, however, is the peace of the grave.
Presidential advisor John Holdren's suggestion that we consider using geoengineering as a last resort to manage global warming is a terrific barometer of how far over the edge climate alarmism has gone. Holdren, formerly a Harvard physicist, is actually suggesting that we consider putting substances in the atmosphere to reflect the sun's rays to reduce global temperature.
So how would that affect, say, plants that need solar radiation for photosynthesis? What about humans who need sunlight to make vitamin D? President Obama talks a lot about solar power; how, exactly, would solar power work with reduced solar radiation? What if we reduced the solar radiation reaching the Earth's surface at the same time, say, as a drop-off in solar activity -- a phenomenon that may now be occurring. What would we do then? Vacuum up the substances we put in the atmosphere? How would be calibrate any of this to start with? What is the ideal average global temperature or the ideal global climate?
Holdren is no stranger to half-baked ideas about our civilization and planet. As a population control-guru, Holdren has warned of ecoside, strained planetary resources and advocated government-sponsored sterilization programs. Though Holdren has been continually wrong on all counts, he somehow has gotten himself elevated to the top science advisor to the President of the United States. Now he wants to consider blotting out the sun. Perhaps Holdren is not really serious and is just trying to scare the public into pushing for hasty action on greenhouse gases. Either way, I don't think this is the sort of change that America voted for last November.
Mark Royden Winchell wrote a compelling, well researched, essay entitled "Canonizing Martin Luther King" which draws heavily on the work of MLK biographer David J, Garrow's "Bearing The Cross; Martin Luther King , Jr., and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference." The entire "Canonizing" article is well worth your time to read here.
The likes of David Duke and the white supremacist group Stormfront have been attempting for sometime to discredit Martin Luther King and his leadership in righting the wrongs of racial segregation. I hesitated writing this piece because I certainly do not want to be be perceived as sympathizing with these weirdos.
However, history shows that Reverend King suffered all the foibles of his humanity which were quickly swept under the rug because of the potential tainting of his image and the civil rights cause after his assassination in Memphis on April 4, 1968. King's judgment was questionable in associating with New York lawyer and Communist apparatchik Stanley D. Levison, who became one of King's most trusted advisers.
Levison was ...a key factor in the FBI's later surveillance of King: there were allegations of a connection between Levison and the Communist Party that formed one of the legal bases for wiretaps of King's telephone communications. FBI chief J. Edgar Hoover ordered those wiretaps as well as surveillance of King, of King's advisors outside the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, and of their relationships to Communism ... The FBI hoped to use the information to discredit King and his organization.From the FBI surveillance tapes came the infamous Willard Hotel recordings that detractors use to cite King's frequent adulterous sexual activities. The Jan 19, 1998 edition of Newsweek contained this statement:
January 6, 1964, was a long day for Martin Luther King Jr. He spent the morning seated in the reserved section of the Supreme Court, listening as lawyers argued New York Times Co. v. Sullivan, a landmark case rising out of King's crusade against segregation in Alabama. The minister was something of an honored guest: Justice Arthur Goldberg quietly sent down a copy of Kings account of the Montgomery bus boycott, "Stride Toward Freedom," asking for an autograph. That night King retired to his room at the Willard Hotel. There FBI bugs reportedly picked up 14 hours of party chatter, the clinking of glasses and the sounds of illicit sex--including King's cries of "I'm f--ing for God" and "I'm not a Negro tonight!"So, was Reverend Doctor King a socialist? From "Canonizing Martin Luther King" we find these confirming words from M.L. King:
We are now making demands that will cost the nation something. You can't talk about solving the economic problem of the Negro without talking about billions of dollars. You can't talk about ending slums without first saying profit must be taken out of slums. You're really tampering and getting on dangerous ground because you are messing with folk then. You are messing with the captains of industry. . . . Now this means that we are treading in difficult waters, because it really means that we are saying that something is wrong . . . with . . . capitalism. . . . There must be a better distribution of wealth and maybe America must move toward a Democratic Socialism.Doctor King's womanizing was legendary. One kiss-and-tell book was written by Georgia Davis Powers, entitled: "I Shared the Dream: The Pride, Passion, and Politics of the First Black Woman Senator from Kentucky."
One of the places to which "M. L." summoned her was Memphis in April of 1968. But on that particular occasion, Ms. Davis would have to wait her turn. On Wednesday night, April 3, after telling an enthusiastic throng of followers that he had "been to the mountaintop," King and two of his closest colleagues, Bernard Lee and Ralph Abernathy, were invited to a steak dinner at the house of one of Martin's lady friends. After dinner, Lee and Abernathy preferred taking cat naps to pursuing a closer relationship with the two women who had been provided to keep them company. When Abernathy awoke, some time after one a. m., he noticed King and their hostess coming out of her bedroom. When they got back to the Lorraine Motel, Bernard Lee retired for the evening, but King and Abernathy noticed a light on in A. D. King's room. Although A. D. was occupied with a white woman, Georgia Davis was also there to greet Martin. Seeing that his friend had plenty of company, Abernathy excused himself and headed for the room he and Martin were sharing. Leaving the door unlocked, Ralph went to sleep around three a. m.MLK plagiarism was revealed after his death. "Canonizing" tells the story:
Although King had not come back to his room by dawn, a third woman had arrived looking for him. Between seven and eight a. m., King finally made it upstairs to his floor of the motel. But instead of returning to his room, he stopped off to see the woman who had been seeking him earlier. By the time King did get back to his room, he had obviously had a fight with this most recent paramour and now implored Abernathy to call her to make things right. Unfortunately, she was so angered that she hung up on the dutiful aide after a string of abuse. Minutes later, the woman was in the room of the two legendary civil rights leaders, engaged in a shouting match with King, which ended when he shoved her across the room. Her bags packed, this young woman took the next plane out of town. That evening, King was gunned down on the hotel balcony.
In 1984, Coretta Scott King authorized the Martin Luther King, Jr., Papers Project to gather the writings of her late husband. A team of researchers directed by the Stanford University historian Clayborne Carson and funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities later began editorial work on this project. At the same time, Keith D. Miller, a young English professor at Arizona State University, was preparing a study of King's rhetoric and its various sources. Miller and the Carson team were all ardent admirers of King and his many undeniable accomplishments. As a result, they were loath to think ill of the good doctor. Nevertheless, their research made it unmistakably clear that, beginning in graduate school, an alarming number of King's speeches and published writings were plagiarized. The pattern was too obvious and too persistent to be blamed on careless scholarship. King willfully took the ideas and words of others and claimed them as his own.
Although the full extent of King's plagiarism did not become widely known until the early 1990s, evidence of his pilfering was uncovered by Ira G. Zepp, Jr., in a Ph.D. dissertation that he completed at St. Mary's University and Seminary in 1971. In his book "Stride Toward Freedom" (1958), King appropriated "phrases, sentences, even large parts of paragraphs" from Paul Ramsey's "Basic Christian Ethics" and Anders Nygren's "Agape and Eros", both of which were required reading in a course that King took at Crozer Theological Seminary in the spring of 1951. What Zepp and few other people realized at the time was that the dissertation for which King received his doctorate in theology from Boston University in 1955 included substantial unattributed passages from a similar dissertation written by a student named Jack Boozer, which had been accepted in that same department three years earlier.
In his book "Plagiarism and the Culture War" (1998), Theodore Pappas produces seven extensive passages that King stole almost word-for-word from Boozer's thesis. As Pappas makes clear, these passages merely represent a larger pattern of intellectual theft. King was so careless that he incorporated a few of Boozer's lapses in his own work. When he did deviate from his source, he was apt to venture into error. Intellectually, King was so out of his depth in comparing the conceptions of God in the thinking of Paul Tillich and Henry Nelson Wieman that he probably could not have written a competent dissertation on his own. And even as a plagiarist, he appears to have been singularly inept. If King's air of godliness was called into question by his marital infidelity, his proud use of the title "Dr." also was based on a lie.
In one of the more revealing passages in her shameless memoir, Georgia Davis Powers recalls the time in 1968 when The Dreamer got off the phone with a close advisor, the Communist apparatchik Stanley Levison:
I didn't hear all the conversation, but I heard Martin repeat something Levison said to him. After he hung up, he was still repeating this phrase. "Cowardice asks, is it safe? Expediency asks, is it political? Vanity asks, is it popular? But conscience asks, is it right?"
I asked, "Will you use that in your speeches?"
He smiled, "I will use it when it is appropriate."
I said, "M. L., is anything we do and say original?"
He replied, "Originality comes only from God. Everything else has, is, and will be used by someone else before you."
Finally, Mark Royden Winchell comments on the support of Martin Luther King exhibited by conservatives:
Neoconservatives who argue that King would oppose racial preferences were he alive today are obviously ignorant of positions he took during his lifetime. In his book "Why We Can't Wait" (1964), he wrote: "[I]t is obvious that if a man is entered in a race three hundred years after another man, the first would have to perform some impossible feat to catch up with his fellow runner." He went on to tell of a conversation he had with Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru concerning "the difficult problem of the untouchables, a problem not unrelated to the American Negro dilemma."
In addition to passing anti-discrimination laws and spending "millions of rupees annually developing housing and job opportunities in villages heavily inhabited by untouchables," the Indian government required that when "two applicants compete for entrance into a college or university, one of the applicants being an untouchable and the other of high caste, the school is required to accept the untouchable." When King's traveling companion, Lawrence Reddick, asked the prime minister if this didn't amount to discrimination, Nehru replied, "Well it may be. But it is our way of atoning for the centuries of injustice we have inflicted upon these people." King clearly advocated that America go forth and do likewise.
It is unclear whether King would have endorsed the payment of outright reparations to African Americans, but he agreed with the principle behind this demand and saw both affirmative action and social welfare programs as down payments on the debt that America owed to the descendants of slaves. A few pages after describing his encounter with Nehru, King drives this point home:
No amount of gold could provide an adequate compensation for the exploitation and humiliation of the Negro in America down through the centuries. . . . Yet a price can be placed on unpaid wages. The ancient common law has always provided a remedy for the appropriation of the labor of one human being by another. This law should be made to apply for American Negroes. The payment should be in the form of a massive program by the government of special, compensatory measures which could be regarded as a settlement in accordance with the accepted practice of common law.