Monday, January 31, 2005

"Left" Behind

Is anyone surprised by the reaction of the left to the historic Iraqi election? Pardon my yawns, but haven't we heard all this drivel before? Nothing the U.S. implements will ever work, and everything we hope to achieve is impossible.

Nobody says it better than Mark Steyn, so I invite you to read his reaction to the insistence of the left that, despite the millions of Iraqis in the world who bravely and joyfully voted, this whole war thing has just gone so horribly wrong.

John Podhoretz takes the mean-spirited lefties to task in bluntly biting New York terms. If you have a strong stomach, you can take in the transcript of Kerry the Great's interview with Tim Russert at Radio Blogger.

So just what are you trying to say, oh sages of the left? You railed that the war would cost us unimaginable casualties, that Saddam's Republican Guard would crush our army, and that our troops would be slimed with WMDs.

You were wrong. While each individual loss of our soldiers is a tragedy to be mourned, every military person I ask says that our casualties are almost miraculously light. The Republican Guard scattered. The WMDs? Well, you act like President Bush made the whole thing up.

So after Baghdad fell, what did you say? You ranted that the June 30, 2004 date for handing over the government to the Iraqis would never work, it was too soon, it would fail.

You were wrong, again. The handover went through on schedule, it did not fail, and it is working so far.

So after June 30, what did you say? You raved against the January 30 elections. They would never work, it was too soon, it would fail.

You were wrong, yet again. The elections worked like wildfire, spreading throughout the Iraqi population worldwide. They were ready, they were courageous, and they made sure it happened on schedule.

Three strikes, and you're out. Out of touch, and out of time. Those ink-stained fingers the Iraqis waved at the cameras as they laughed and danced in the streets should tell you something. The left wing media picked the wrong team, bet everything on it, and refuses to admit defeat, even when it's as obvious as several million purple fingers pointed into your face.

To quote John Podhoretz: "Losers."

Sunday, January 30, 2005

The Enemy At Home

In today's San Diego Union-Tribune, there is a must-read commentary by the Army's LTC Tim Ryan, 1st Cavalry Division in Iraq. Please read every word of it. In this article, I learned for the first time of 200 beheaded bodies, supporters of the American Coalition, that were found inside the main mosque at Najif. Did you know that? No, I didn't think so. Strange how the media never mentioned that.

After you've completed this article, if you have any sense of fairness and even the slightest modicum of respect for our troops, you will be angry. Please channel the force of that emotion into productive use. Forward the link to Col. Ryan's essay to all your friends--especially those who are against the war.

On this historic day, when Iraqis have been given the chance to determine their own future government, we should honor and thank our troops. We should especially remember, with reverence and gratitude, our brave heroes who have fallen to bring us to this moment. May God bless and keep watch over our soldiers in harm's way.

And may I live to see mainstream media allow them the credit that is due them.

Saturday, January 29, 2005

Blog New World

Last night I finished reading Hugh Hewitt’s newest book, “Blog: Understanding the Information Reformation That's Changing Your World."

The subtitle is a cogent comparison of modern bloggers to Martin Luther. In Chapter Two, Hewitt presents a wonderfully readable analysis of the events of the Protestant Reformation and marks the parallels with today's information explosion via the blogosphere. The invention of Gutenberg's movable-type printing press in 1449 changed world communications forever, and in 1517 Luther used the new technology to drive his message directly to the people, bypassing Pope Leo X altogether.

Sound familiar? It should. The internet is today's movable-type printing press, mainstream media is today's circumvented authority figure, and the bloggers are the new information reformers.

There is a breathless urgency to Hewitt’s writing about the current impact and future promise of blogs, and his enthusiasm for their endless possibilities is palpable and contagious. Hugh presents practical and innovative approaches to corporate and niche blogging that will appeal to forward-thinking publishers, musicians, sports franchises, and just about any special interest group.

With so much evidence already on the table to validate the enormous influence of the blogosphere, it is surprising that so little territory has been staked out by entrepreneurial bloggers. Hugh takes us through the detailed histories of how blogs have initiated and driven several major media stories in recent years. In large part due to bloggers, Senator Trent Lott had to step down as Majority Leader, the editor of the New York Times was compelled to resign, Dan Rather is “retiring,” and George W. Bush was elected to serve a second term. With such an impressive track record of dramatic results, it is curious that so many blog applications remain unexplored.

Hugh Hewitt is easy to listen to on his daily talk radio show, and he is equally easy to read. His style is briskly conversational, to the point, and always buttressed by meticulous research and presentation of facts. “Blog” explains that trust from readers is a hallmark of successful blogs. Trust can only be earned, and retained, by accurate information and prompt, honest admission of any errors. This trust is the open lesson of the blogosphere to mainstream media. Lack of trust is the reason that the old alphabet television networks are losing their audiences to the internet. If only the networks, and print media, would learn this inescapable fact, they might be able to stop the exodus of their viewers and readers to the blogs.

Hugh closes “Blog” with a clarion call to readers to launch into the rapidly expanding blogosphere lest we be left in the cyberdust of a new era in communications. His persuasive argument is so effective that it makes me very grateful that my little blog, , has been up and running for nearly six months. But he makes me anxious about not posting more often. I promise, Hugh, I’ll try to post daily going forward. I’m a nice Catholic girl, but the “Information Reformation” is one I don’t want to miss.

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

The Right of The Right

In his first Vox Blogoli of 2005, Hugh Hewitt invites bloggers to share their reactions to the following passage from Jonathan Rauch’s recent piece in the Atlantic:

“On balance it is probably healthier if religious conservatives are inside the political system than if they operate as insurgents and provocateurs on the outside. Better they should write anti-abortion planks into the Republican platform than bomb abortion clinics. The same is true of the left. The clashes over civil rights and Vietnam turned into street warfare partly because activists were locked out of their own party establishments and had to fight, literally, to be heard. When Michael Moore receives a hero’s welcome at the Democratic National Convention, we moderates grumble; but if the parties engage fierce activists while marginalizing tame centrists, that is probably better for the social peace than the other way around.”

If only saying it could make it so.

In one sweeping, scornful passage, Jonathan Rauch equates religious conservatives to “insurgents and provocateurs,” those fearsome maniacs who “bomb abortion clinics.” According to Rauch, it’s best to throw these “fierce activists” an ideological bone by letting them think they’re included equally with the “tame centrists” of their party. This placation of the lunatic fringe is necessary to keep the “social peace.”


Excuse me, but I haven’t noticed an excess of “fierce activists” roaming the streets, have you? Considering the election results of November 2, I’d say Rauch has completely missed the point that a large segment of the right’s “tame centrists” are actually religious conservatives.

As evidence, I would submit that most religious conservatives go to work every day and to church on Sunday. They honor their civic duty by voting in every election, are actively involved in their communities, and often serve their country in the military. Religious conservatives have an unshakable faith in God and consequently a firm belief in the existence of good vs. evil. They teach their children right from wrong and hold them accountable for their actions.

Does that sound like dangerous behavior? To me, it’s quite comforting to know that the heart and soul of the principles upon which our country was built are reasserting themselves through, of all things, the will of the people. But to Rauch and his ilk, these concepts are terrifying. Adrift in a cesspool of moral relativism, the left refuses to admit even the reality of right and wrong, let alone its legitimacy. To protect their world view, left wingers never miss an opportunity to minimize and dismiss the power of right by equating it with mindless fanaticism.

To answer Hugh’s questions, what does this say about the author? The message I get is that he is uncomfortable thinking beyond the extreme stereotypes of religious conservatives. Entertaining the possibility that religious people may have it right is inconceivable to him. Mired in his personal liberal agenda, Rauch finds menacing the fact that people of faith are an influential demographic in America. Thus threatened, he attacks. By using the examples of Vietnam and civil rights issues of the ‘60s to make his case, Rauch denies the differences inherent in the increasing impact of today’s religious conservatives. Despite the controversies it ignited, the Vietnam War did not threaten the moral fiber of our country. The civil rights movement succeeded in large part due to people of faith, including Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., not in spite of them. Today’s call by religious conservatives to be heard and respected, openly and equally as the secular left has been for decades, is their birthright. Freedom isn’t restricted to the left.

What does the article tell us about the Atlantic? A tired dinosaur of old media, the publication staggers down the well-worn path of liberal party lines, oblivious to the fact that the road has been sealed off by millions of those “tame centrists” on the right.

What does this say about the left’s understanding of Christian culture in America? Such a charitable question, for it allows that the left grasps the grass roots vibrancy of Christianity in today’s United States. If Rauch’s article is any indication, the left is far from comprehending the intelligence, the commitment, and of course the faith of the religious right. I would advise those on the left who seek religious conservatives responsible for disturbing their “social peace” to look not for wild-eyed fanatics who “bomb abortion clinics.” Look instead to your longtime neighbor who shares your garden fence, loans you his tools on Saturday afternoon, and says his bedtime prayers each night.

Saturday, January 22, 2005

The Blogging Buzz

On yesterday's post, I received feedback from Mover Mike, a blogger in Oregon who shares some common views and interests with me. He wrote to say he had linked my site on his blog--in this way, little blogs grow larger. I'd like to thank him and return the favor by linking his blog here. It's exciting to be a part of in this vast experiment in new media, to find other bloggers who can help to stretch the ever-expanding horizons of Internet communications.

I've just started reading Hugh Hewitt's latest book "Blog" (click the link for what's got to be the longest subtitle of the new century). Written in Hugh's usual breezy, conversational, factual and to-the-point style, it's a terrific read for anyone interested in current events. But it's especially pithy for bloggers of today, perhaps even more so for those of the future.

Hewitt lays out the foundations of the blogging revolution in easy language, with cogent references to recent events such as the Trent Lott-Strom Thurmond debacle, John Kerry's decline under the force of the Swift Boat Vets story, and Dan Rather's demise in the wake of the forged Bush documents disaster. All of these very significant news stories are the direct result of the research and efforts of new media, i.e., the bloggers. Without the persistence of the bloggers, each story would have died a natural Old Media death. Because of blogs, each story was steamrolled into a huge news event, with Mainstream Media bringing up the rear on coverage. "Blog" likens the Internet news revolution to the advent of the printing press, telegraph, radio, and television. Each of these communication vehicles dramatically changed people's lives and world views. Blogs are having the same effect, at an exponentially faster rate.

Blogging is an exhilarating pasttime and an exciting conduit into the heart of today's modern communications. Bloggers launch their words into the cyberspace of the blogosphere, and there's no way to calculate the possibilities of how many eyes might read them. One of the biggest thrills of blogging, for me, is to log in and find comments from readers on my postings. The positive comments are always gratifying, but even if some readers have negative reactions, it's a powerful feeling to know your words are reaching around the world. It's a feeling that carries responsibility, an inspiration to present the reader with solid facts that are well written.

News and commentary will be presented very differently in the new century. Web logs, or blogs, to a large extent will determine the style and substance of the new format. I'm grateful to be plugged in and participating in my own small way. How about you?

Friday, January 21, 2005

Inaugural Nonsense

I've lost count of how many times I've heard Old Media bemoaning the cost of President Bush's second inauguration. Pompous Pete Jennings made a point of calling the festivities "expensive" on ABC News last night.

Can anyone tell me the last time we had a cheap inauguration? Does anyone recall a previous president doling out box lunches to his inaugural guests, telling them to grab a soda pop and a seat on a picnic table bench? The problem today is, this was George W. Bush's inauguration, and as anyone in Old Media will tell you, everything the president does is one of three things:
1) just plain wrong, 2) badly wrong, or 3) terribly wrong.

Inauguration Day is an American tradition dating back two centuries. It's always been a celebration of our democratic process, something worth lavishing some money on in the opinion of the vast majority of Americans. Even during the Great Depression, Franklin D. Roosevelt enjoyed his Inauguration Day festivities. I've never heard so much whining about the costs until now. OK, so Bill Clinton's $33 million party was less than the estimated $40 million for George W. Bush. Nobody in Mainstream Media likes to mention that the cost of all the parties is privately funded by donors and the Republican party. Neither do they care to mention that Clinton spent more than twice that amount on his joy trips to China and Vietnam. And those were only two of Clinton's "expensive" globe-trotting jaunts.

I'm weary of all the fingers constantly pointing blame at our president, even on a time-honored day intended to be full of joy and hope for him and for our nation. Personally, I don't care how much the privately-funded parties cost--he was entitled to them, and I'm glad he was able to enjoy them.

One other thing, Old Media. Despite your fascination with the protestors, to the detriment of your coverage of the president's inaugural address, that was one terrific speech. The time may soon come when you'll wish you had paid it more attention. According to the plummeting network television ratings, your own exclusive "Day of Fire" is fast approaching.

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

War News

I have received several e-mails from my soldier in Iraq in the past few days. It's always reassuring to see his name in my in-box, because that means he remains unhurt for one more day. We are in a countdown now to his scheduled homecoming, 32 days to go.

In his most recent message, he mentioned that things are bad. His exact words were, "Things are the worst they have been since we have been here." Not a very reassuring statement, but a true and honest one.

Tomorrow is Inauguration Day for President Bush. I have no doubt that the war is never far from his thoughts. But in his new term, I'd really like to see him double down. How does he often phrase it? "Get the job done."

Yes, that's what I'd like to see. The job done and the troops home. But I'm a realist, not a Democrat. It's going to take a long, hard, painful time to reach both objectives. There are a lot of blood and tears in the way of a happy ending for Iraq. But a small victory, for me, will be my soldier and his National Guard unit coming home in 32 days.

Meanwhile, please keep those e-mails coming.

Thursday, January 13, 2005

The Fight of Our Lives

The tedious drumbeat of war protest has begun with Ted Kennedy leading the charge in his customary bitter, bombastic style.

The Senator’s haranguing voice is joined by the 16 members of Congress, led by California Rep. Lynn Woolsey, who sent a letter to President Bush calling for an “immediate withdrawal” of our troops from Iraq.

Isn’t it interesting that none of these war critics are calling for us to immediately withdraw from Afghanistan? Oh, but where would be the drama in such a demand? In Afghanistan, we have the most stunning victory for democracy flourishing in its infancy. Of course, Old Media only wanted to talk about poppies on the day that Afghan President Karzai was sworn in. Never mind that poppies have always grown in Afghanistan. The pressing need was that the success of the Bush Doctrine must be ignored, and if spotlighting poppies and drug trafficking were the only way for Old Media to do it, well, too bad if it’s old news.

But let’s get back to Iraq. The terrorists are fighting back like the cornered beasts that they are, putting our troops in constant danger. Our soldiers are dying violently and bravely. Iraq is everything that constitutes the worst of war. It’s bloody, it’s messy, it’s ugly, it’s frightening. As any combat veteran would tell you, it’s also hard. It’s very hard work, mentally, emotionally, spiritually, and of course, physically. And it will not be over any time soon.

Can we, as a people, do it? Can Americans face this challenge together and support our troops as they fight to achieve our security? When I listen to Ted Kennedy, or when I read about the letter of protest from Congress to the president, I’m worse than disgusted--I’m discouraged. I wonder if this nation is the same one that defeated the Nazis in World War II, at such great cost and sacrifice of our young servicemen.

After 9/11, it seemed for a brief time that we were again that nation. But some of us have forgotten. Life is too good for us here in modern America. We drive SUVs, drink expensive coffee, talk on cell phones, vacation in the Caribbean. We own stocks and summer homes. It’s easy to fool ourselves into believing we are safe. We think we have the luxury of relegating the horror of September 11 to history. And to the extent that we do not hold the lessons of that terrible day close to our hearts, we are in mortal peril.

Because we have grown as soft and spoiled as a rich man’s children, we are in danger. The danger comes not only from the terrorists, but from our own citizens who refuse to recognize the urgent necessity of our mission in Iraq. What will it take for them to realize we are fighting for our lives? More planes, more skyscrapers, more dead Americans? Maybe a suitcase nuke in Chicago or Seattle? What “proof” do you want that we are in a war?

“The War Against World War IV” by Norman Podhoretz is a long piece, but every American should read and learn from it. It is a thorough, comprehensive, insightful, intelligent, ultimately hopeful analysis of the stakes we Americans face in fighting the War on Terrorism, both at home and in Iraq. This war must be won. We can win it, in fact we are winning it. But do we have the staying power to see ourselves through to the finish?

I hope we do. It is truly the fight of our lives.

Saturday, January 08, 2005

The Homecoming Stretch

If all goes as scheduled, my soldier in Iraq, along with his band of National Guard brothers, is due to come home next month. As the clock winds down on his tour of duty, I find myself more nervous, not less.

The terrorists have shown repeatedly that they mean bloody business in challenging the January 30 elections. The amount of carnage most likely yet to come in the month of January is a frightening thought. I can only hope and pray, first and above all, that he and his men remain unharmed. My second hope is that they come home as scheduled in mid-February.

I begin 2005 with an eye on the calendar and my soul on prayer watch. May the Lord who brought our lives to this crucial intersection grant us the opportunity to meet one day. In the meanwhile, my heroic friend, may He keep you safe.

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

Loudly Irrelevant

As usual, Mark Steyn has the best summation of the comedy of idiocy that is the U.N. and its unbelievable gall in 1) accusing the "rich nations" (i.e. America) of being "stingy," and 2) the outrageous announcement that the U.N. is the only agency with "moral authority" to manage the relief efforts.

U. N. Humanitarian Chief Jan Egeland is still whining about the miserly response of the West to the tsunami disaster. “Here is my criticism to the rich world: Could we wake up please to those 20 forgotten emergencies as we have woken up so generously to this enormous tsunami that has hit 5 million people and killed more than 150,000?” he said Monday. “I appeal to the rich world — and the rich world, I identify as 30 to 40 nations — the rich world should be able to pick up the bill for feeding all the children in the world. It is one day’s worth of military spending.”

I know, I know. We've donated untold hundreds of millions of dollars, not to mention expensive military support, to the victims of the tsunami. But it's not enough, fellow Americans. We're just a bunch of spoiled cheapskates over here, tooling around in our SUVs, drinking our Starbucks lattes as we check our cell phone messages. If we were truly generous, we would sign our entire paychecks over the the U.N. for proper international disbursement.

Even more hilarious is the indignation of International Development Secretary Clare Short over the United States forming a relief coalition with Australia, Japan, and India. “Only really the UN can do that job,” she told BBC Radio Four’s PM programme.“It is the only body that has the moral authority. But it can only do it well if it is backed up by the authority of the great powers.”

Really? Only the U.N. has the "moral authority"? How many thousand victims of the tsunami in India would qualify their government to have the "moral authority" to help their own people?

According to Short, the U.N. can't function very well without the backup of the world's "great powers." Well, then, what does that tell you about the usefulness of this pompous, overfunded, overrated, overwhelmingly impotent organization called the U.N.?

The world has enough problems without these parasites complaining about their irrelevance in the global rush to aid the tsunami victims. Maybe if the U.N. took more action and talked less, people might pay attention.

Meanwhile, U.N. officials, we're busy helping. Please stop interrupting.

Monday, January 03, 2005

A Smart Move

President Bush has made a tactically brilliant move in appointing Bill Clinton to serve with his own father, the first President Bush, in heading an American fundraising effort to aid the victims of Asia’s tsunami.

It’s been apparent ever since he left office that Bill Clinton can not be long out of the media spotlight. Most recently, he announced this week after news of the tsunami, “It is really important that somebody takes the lead in this…” The implied criticism, of course, was that President Bush wasn’t cutting it.

Since Clinton is so determined to jump back onstage at every opportunity, why not give him something useful and important to do and to say? Placing him in a leadership role for fundraising efforts nationwide will not only keep the former President happy, it might even persuade enough venomous Democrats to stop criticizing the “stingy” United States long enough to start pitching in with some much-needed cash donations.

President Bush is laying some excellent groundwork for bipartisanship going forward in his second term. The Democrats have long been under the unbreakable spell of Bill Clinton. Satisfied to be back in the news, starring in a high-profile role, Clinton probably will have several positive things to say about G.W. Bush for the foreseeable future. This will steal a lot of steam out of the anti-Bush balloons abounding within the opposition. The fact that Clinton has been teamed with the first President Bush only adds luster to this new star on his chest, and it goes beyond the fact that “Bush 41” is the President Bush’s own father. Clinton is now working in tandem with both his predecessor and his successor, sandwiched snugly in between them like—well, like a hunk of ham in a sandwich.

That’s a caustic metaphor, and I apologize—but it’s too pertinent to delete. Clinton’s love of media attention is legend, and his charisma is undeniable. I know that the American fundraising team of former Presidents Bush and Clinton will be a highly effective, valuable tool for raising the cash necessary to deal with the overwhelming disaster in Asia. And that is the bottom line. Americans should do whatever we can to help those suffering such terrible pain on the other side of the world. Appointing two former presidents to remind us of our obligations in this crisis is a very wise, very compassionate act. Once again, President Bush has demonstrated his willingness to do whatever is necessary to accomplish the goals he has set both for the United States and for himself as our leader.

Now, okay, Bill, take it away.

Saturday, January 01, 2005

Ten Wishes For 2005

1. I wish that Bill Clinton would learn to follow the traditional grace and courtesy of all past presidents in not publicly upstaging or criticizing the current Chief Executive. To be more blunt, I wish he’d sit down and shut up.

2. I wish that Hollywood’s ruling caste would get a clue that the majority of Americans cherish the United States and support its president. Part of this wish is that the moguls would start in on at least one epic motion picture about the most devastating and life-altering day in our nation’s history: September 11, 2001.

3. I wish that ABC’s Peter Jennings would figure out, in the wake of Tom Brokaw’s retirement and Dan Rather’s impending departure, that it might be time for him to step down, too. As declining ratings continue to demonstrate, the television network news broadcast could use a complete transfusion of new blood.

4. I wish that the Democrat party would calm down and find a way to accept that not every terrible thing that happens is somehow President Bush’s or the Republican party’s fault. It’s impossible to take seriously their current hysterical approach to politics.

5. Oh, how I wish that the United Nations would be held accountable for its role in the Oil For Food scandal.

6. And oh, how I wish that traditional media outlets would choose to cover that U.N. role.

7. On the subject of Old Media, I wish that they would cover the positive things that are happening in Iraq as well as the negatives. We don’t hear much on the network news about Iraqi hospitals and schools reopening, roads and bridges being rebuilt—but those things are happening, even as we suffer American casualties.

8. Further to the subject of Old Media, I wish that they would learn to worry about international opinion the same way that France does.

9. I wish that more Americans would adopt a member of our military through Soldiers’ Angels.

10. Last, but most important, I wish that every American--indeed, I wish every world citizen--who is fortunate enough to be employed, well-fed, and safe, would donate some amount of money to the tsunami relief efforts in Asia, through the reputable, private charitable organization of their choice. Just imagine, if each of us did that, what a wonderful world this could be.

Best wishes to all for a safe and Happy New Year.