Saturday, November 21, 2015

Saying It Best

From around the web, links to articles that in my opinion provide the best commentary on the US position in current events:

There remains another long year with President Obama. God help us.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Dim Views

Enlightened statesmen will not always be at the helm.

~ The Federalist No. 10

And so James Madison, in his foresight and wisdom, predicted the fatal shortcoming of our current president. Barack Obama's entrenched ideology and overwhelming arrogance will not permit him to admit he is on the wrong path to deal with radical Islamic terrorism.

Read this stunningly obtuse quote from a US president. I would not have believed that even President Obama could be this tone deaf, but I heard him say it today at a news conference in Turkey:

“What I’m not interested in doing is posing or pursuing some notion of American leadership, or American winning or whatever other slogans they come up with, that has no relationship to what actually is going to work to protect the American people...I’m too busy for that.”

Not interested in leading, not interested in winning; he's too busy. Astonishing, and brutally insulting to our country--especially to our military. Yet he calls his political opponents "shameful" for wanting to stem the flow of undocumented refugees from the Middle East. Do you think Franklin Roosevelt would have brought in thousands of Japanese refugees following Pearl Harbor? Rhetorical question, of course. Roosevelt made sad mistakes in dealing with Japanese residents in the US, but he did have some enlightenment going for him. FDR at least was interested in being a leader, and he was very interested in winning. "Victory," he called it. Nice word, that. Too bad we never hear it from this president.

With profound hope that I'm wrong, I think that by refusing to confront or even to define our enemy and the growing threats to our nation they embody, Barack Obama is probably going to get a lot of Americans killed before his second term ends. Hopefully in the next presidential election, US citizens will elect someone who has a basic interest in reality, in leadership, and especially in victory.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Standing with Paris

New York City, USA
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
London, United Kingdom
Sydney, Australia

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Forces Unseen

There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio,
Than are dreamt of in your philosophy.

~ Hamlet, 1:5

In this World Series, I'm routing for the New York Mets. But the Kansas City Royals are going to win. They just snatched Game 4 away in the final innings after trailing all night.

I've thought the Royals were destined for victory since Game 1, the day Royals starting pitcher Edinson Volquez lost his father. Royals third baseman Mike Moustaskas lost his mother in August; World Series Game 1 winning pitcher Chris Young's father died in September. And Volquez is just returning from his father's funeral in time to start Game 5, tomorrow. Which happens to be November 1--All Saints Day.

Of course, the fact is that the Royals are playing smoking hot baseball. They are outplaying the Mets. But for a bit of supernatural insurance on the foregone conclusion, you can't beat two dads and a mom cheering their sons from heaven's front row seats.

Happy Halloween.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Fading Fast

Reading Victor Davis Hanson is often a relentlessly grim experience, but the scholar and historian is so knowledgeable and insightful about the times we are living in that his work is always worth reading.

Hanson's recent article, "Is the West Slip, Slip, Slipping Away" is just one standard, sobering example of his wisdom. I only wish more people were paying attention...and learning.

Monday, October 26, 2015

Hard to Swallow

MEAT - Our Deadly Enemy
I remember when, according to scientists who study these things, foods like eggs or chocolate were very bad for you. Then, after years of guilt-ridden cholesterol consumption, suddenly these popular food items were blessed by new scientific findings and deemed perfectly consumable in reasonable quantities.

This lazy susan of dangerous food roulette has been spinning for at least fifty years. A certain food or drink is proclaimed evil and destructive by sage researchers--until it's not. The latest dire warning from the scientific know-it-alls is that meat--meat!--is bad for you. No, not merely bad--it's deadly! "Carcinogenic"! As bad as "smoking or asbestos"!

Holy rolling meatballs. We're all screwed. Or are we?

I grew up the eldest of four children. We all ate meat every blessed day. Horrible meat! Terribly perilous meat! Meats like cold cuts--bologna, liverwurst, or ham sandwiches in our lunch boxes. We ate hot dogs (the store brand) and hamburgers (pan-fried). My mother cooked bacon and eggs every Sunday morning. She saved the bacon grease and used it to cook other foods, like fried potato cakes, which she served when we had beef liver for dinner. Our regular delicious dinner menus included beef pot roast, flank steak, lamb neck stew, and roast pork. I suppose my brothers and sister and I should all be dead by now, instead of walking around perfectly healthy in our 50s and 60s.

My mother did all the cooking, and she ate the same things she fed us. I remember she wasn't a big snacker, but when she did indulge--usually over a cocktail--she liked to eat potato chips or processed cheese from aerosol cans on salty crackers. I also remember that she never paid attention to food warnings, as evidenced by our weekly bacon-and-egg brunch. Today Mom's ninety-five years old, in good health--and still eating meat. So all I can say to the latest scientific killjoys is, shut up and pass the salisbury steak. And don't forget the pan-drippings gravy.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Uniquely Suited to Stress

Tonight I watched Gifted Hands, a 2009 film that chronicles Dr. Ben Carson's background and medical career. It's a remarkable story.

I haven't given much thought to the idea of Carson for president, but I may need to re-evaluate. As I watched this show, I couldn't help but think that the presidency is a job often described in terms of its stress, pressure, and responsibility. We often hear or read what a "difficult job" the presidency is.

You want to talk about stress? Try stopping the hearts of infant twins conjoined at the skull and having just one hour to repair the bleeding blood vessel in their brain that will kill them if you don't fix it. Now, that's a bit of pressure to put a meeting with Putin in perspective.

I recently heard a radio interview with Dr. Carson in which he was asked about the famous "3:00 AM phone call," the hypothetical crisis that wakes the president and requires a split-second decision on what immediate action to take. In his mild-mannered way, Carson chuckled softly and replied that he had "probably had more 3:00 AM phone calls" than any of the other presidential candidates. And probably every one of those nighttime calls involved an urgent question that needed an instant answer. That's a unique qualification worth considering.

Carson is startling, almost incredible, in his direct and honest responses. I don't know if he can win the presidency with such candor. But based on what he has learned, overcome, and achieved in his life, I think that if by some wild chance Carson does win, he'll do the job well.

Saturday, October 03, 2015

A National Illness

Candlelight Vigil - Oct. 1. 2015 - Roseburg, OR

"...sick in his mind, sick in his soul."

~ Pa Bailey on Mr. Potter,  It's A Wonderful Life

The article linked here sums up my feelings about the underlying cause of the Oregon massacre. "Our culture is ill," John Kass writes.

It's true. Our families and communities are no longer strong; neither are our faith and principles. The disintegration of our national value system ultimately is to blame for the violent murder
of innocent lives.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Francis in America

Pope Francis at the 9/11 Memorial
I kept my television tuned to EWTN for most of Pope Francis' visit to America, so I'm pretty much "poped-out." Overall I give the Holy Father high marks for his visit. His ministry to the very young children, the disabled and handicapped, the bereft families of 9/11, and the Philadelphia prisoners were all very moving and powerful to watch. His use of a regular commercial jet aircraft and a little Fiat to ferry him about were perfect examples of "walking the talk" from which most world leaders could take critical lessons.

Of great significance--largely ignored by Old Media--was the pope's unscheduled stop to see the Little Sisters of the Poor in Washington DC. This religious order of nuns, who provide nursing care to the elderly sick, just happens to be suing the Obama Administration over the mandatory provision of birth control in the Affordable Care Act. Their case is pending at the US Supreme Court. For a pope who is known for non-judgmental stands and statements, Francis certainly seems to be choosing up sides here.

Less impressive to me was his recurring theme of climate change. Now, I'm no biblical scholar, but I don't recall Our Lord talking much about the weather. There is, however, a gospel story of Jesus zapping an unproductive fig tree into instantaneous firewood. It doesn't seem to me that Christ was an environmental purist. So the pope lost me a bit in all the politically correct climatology lectures.

I also think Francis was a bit timid on the abortion issue. There were a few mentions of protecting life "at all stages of development." But that's not going to ring bells with the fringe that believes life begins when the baby leaves the hospital. Perhaps all that baby-kissing-and-blessing Francis went out of his way to do is a subtle way of communicating the sacredness of life. I can only hope abortion rights fanatics will pause long enough to connect those precious dots.

As far as his chummy visit with the brutal leaders of Cuba goes, I don't know what the papal agenda was there. But the Cuban people sure seemed happy to see him, so I'll give Pope Francis a pass on that. After all, who am I to judge?