Monday, February 28, 2005

Sources, Please?

Okay, I was going to ignore Ted Rall and his rant against the “right wing” bloggers, Bloggers and the New McCarthyism, (February 22)

But the responses have been too much fun.

Ted enjoys deriding the bloggers in rec rooms, especially the 48-year-olds in their parents basements, as noted in Editor and Publisher. These personal attacks are a sign of the increasing panic I've noticed in leftie blogs. But, in Rall's ranting and raving--which he effectively demonstrates that lefties can do quite well--I noticed something else:

Ted isn’t much for quoting sources. Here are some examples from The McCarthy piece:

“Political bloggers…link to articles in traditional media. Then they rant and/or rave about them. "Great piece in the Journal." "The usual crap at"

Would you cite your sources, please?

“…conservative blogs mirror their mainstream counterparts by applying a far angrier and more violent tone than that of their liberal foes. Here's a sample of online comments written by Republican bloggers: "Ted Rall should be beat to within an inch of his life with a baseball bat." "Every morning when I read the paper, I hope the headline will bring me tidings of [Ted Rall's] untimely demise. Untimely? Nah. Overdue." "When I flush the toilet, it isn't considered violence, is it? So killing Ted Rall should be no different."

Would you cite your sources, please?

"Ted Rall should be beat to within an inch of his life with a baseball bat." "Every morning when I read the paper, I hope the headline will bring me tidings of [Ted Rall's] untimely demise. Untimely? Nah. Overdue." "When I flush the toilet, it isn't considered violence, is it? So killing Ted Rall should be no different."

Would you cite your sources, please?

Death threats against liberal pundits are commonplace among, and essentially unique to, the right-wing blogs.

Would you cite your sources, please?

And the GOP thinks that's OK.

Would you cite your sources, please?

Bloggers are ordinary people, many of them uneducated and with nothing interesting to say.

Can you document that statement, Ted? (Quite possibly you’re wrong about bloggers having nothing interesting to say, since so many of them are developing growing audiences.)

They're sitting in their rec rooms…”

Again, sources, please?

"... regurgitating and spinning what real journalists have dug up through hard work. They don't have sources…”

Apparently, Ted, neither do you. Now, run along back to your rec room. And try to play nice with the blogger “wolf pack” at your door, because they aren't leaving.

Friday, February 25, 2005

Supreme Nonsense

Hugh Hewitt has a new blogger’s symposium in full swing:

Vox Blogoli 2.2: Does the Senate GOP Go McClellan or Grant if Harry Reid "Goes Gingrich?"

The growing angst in the Senate over future Supreme Court nominees warns of a Red vs. Blue battle that will be epic in its proportions. Democrats, still steaming over their resounding November loss, aren’t about to stop throwing their sore-loser tantrums. President Bush, never one to shrink from confrontation, has knocked the chip off the left’s shoulder by re-nominating former Interior Department Solicitor William Myers, a nominee who was blocked last year, and U.S. District Judge Terrence Boyle, a nominee who has been waiting for his confirmation hearing since the beginning of Bush's presidency.

To answer Hugh’s question, “Should the GOP leadership in the Senate push to a confrontation with the Democrats over the filibustering of judicial nominees,” I say...

Of course! The president is right to be confident in resubmitting his choices. Not only have the voters endorsed his administration by returning him to office; more importantly, he has nominated skilled and ethical judges who deserve their appointments.

I’ve never studied law, but I don’t believe that the slightest violation of law or "Senate tradition" is at the heart of this bitter fight. Religion is the problem for the Democrats. They are terrified that a judicial nominee who believes in accountability to a Power higher than government will find a place on the bench.

To answer the second question, “…if the Dems filibuster even one judicial nominee, should the GOP move to the "nuclear option" of a rule change, even if Harry Reid threatens a Senate shutdown?”

Yes, again! Having forgotten that it was the human soul’s quest for religious freedom that gave birth to our country, the Democrat crusaders are committed to blocking any appointment of judges of faith. This blind and irrational dedication carries them far from their Senate duties, into the realm of the ridiculous (shutting down the Senate) and the irresponsible (during a time of war). Most Americans are tired of obstructionist Senate whiners and would like to see them dealt with firmly. Changing the rules in the midst of a Democratic tantrum would have an effect much like confiscating a spoiled brat’s toys.

It might shock them enough to be quiet and reevaluate for a moment. It might force them to acknowledge the majority rule that refuses to submit to minority tyranny any longer.

It's definitely worth a try.

Thursday, February 24, 2005

The Spirit in the Web

Pope John Paul II is a man of advanced age, failing health, pure faith, and brilliant mind. His most recent Apostolic Letter, "The Rapid Development," is addressed to those who communicate through the Internet medium. So bloggers, pop open the link and get an eyeful. You are in for an enjoyable and insightful read, but you will also receive a reminder of your profound responsibility to act as a positive force in modern communications.

As noted in the blog "Ninme," the Holy Father is "not just an old white man." He is keenly aware that the Internet presents a channel for good that is unlimited in its possiblilities. As John Paul states in the opening paragraph of "The Rapid Development," “Man’s genius has with God’s help produced marvelous technical inventions from creation, especially in our times." Pope John Paul II recognizes that the potential for expanding knowledge and education through the World Wide Web is infinite. Infinite, too, is the opportunity for "people of goodwill," in the Pope's words, to teach God's Word through this new technology that is exploding across the globe.

The awesome power of the written word bears with it a serious responsibility to use it wisely, especially in this age of instantaneous mass communications. Hugh Hewitt writes at length about The Rapid Development Apostolic Letter in his Weekly Standard column, with many excerpts quoted therein.

Hugh has his favorite passages, and I have mine:

"Do not be afraid of new technologies! These rank “among the marvelous things” – inter mirifica – which God has placed at our disposal to discover, to use and to make known the truth, also the truth about our dignity and about our destiny as his children, heirs of his eternal Kingdom."

John Paul II published The Rapid Development on the feast day of St. Francis de Sales, patron saint of Catholic journalists. For many years, I have considered St. Francis to be my personal patron saint. This is not only because I am a Catholic writer, but especially because his feast day, January 24, just happens to be my birthday.

The Pope believes that "The great challenge of our time for believers and for all people of good will is that of maintaining truthful and free communication which will help consolidate integral progress in the world. "

I agree, Your Holiness. And I promise to assist in whatever small way I can.

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Do No Harm

Hippocrates would never recognize the practice of medicine if he could come back for a brief hour to view how modern Americans apply the science for their comfort and convenience, specifically in the Terri Schiavo case.

If one takes the time to read the famous Hippocratic Oath, it actually starts out as more of a prayer than a pledge. Invoking the gods of his civilization in his oath, Hippocrates specifically promises "I will give no deadly medicine to any one if asked...Into whatever houses I enter, I will go into them for the benefit of the sick, and will abstain from every voluntary act of mischief and corruption."

Applying basic reading comprehension skills, that doesn't sound to me like Hippocrates would lean towards yanking Terri Schiavo's feeding tube. Although he lived four centuries before Christ, the great Greek physician had a lot in common with those trying to protect her life today.

Some facts are timeless and absolute. The evil of deliberately murdering an ill, defenseless person is one of those facts. Regardless of modern technologies, inventions, progressive societies, and New Age philosophies, mankind does not have jurisdiction over life and death. Truth does not change. God has the ultimate power over life and death. Hippocrates knew it when he wrote his oath, and the good people trying to save Terri Schiavo know it. Long after our civilization is dust, protecting her innocent life will remain the right thing to do.

Judge George Greer was wise to stay this execution. It leaves time for prayer and action. May those who love Terri and seek to keep her alive find a way to keep her safely in their care.

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Moving Towards Ludicrous

I watched ABC News tonight, a very rare activity for me. It’s just a personal thing; I’ve had enough of Pompous PJ to last me a lifetime. But I wanted to catch up on the rain-induced mudslides in Southern California, my home turf, so I tuned in.

There was a story on the Islamic American arrested for allegedly plotting an assassination attempt against President Bush. Of course, the word “torture” was bandied about. It seems his U.S. captors “tortured” him. Whether or not the charge has any veracity, it appears “torture” always applies to physical wrongdoing when the U.S.A. stands accused.

“Torture” never seems to apply when Al Qaeda is a perpetrator. Not even when they are sawing the heads off screaming hostages on videotape.

“Torture” has been exclusively reserved by MSM for supposedly mistreated enemies of America. How do you categorize a naked prisoner in a U.S. military prison with panties on his head? Why, that’s a clear case of “torture,” and occasionally its twin description, “atrocity.”

How do you describe a bound hostage with terrorists using an oversized machete to saw off his head? Oh, that’s a terrible thing, indeed, but never quite “torture.” They’re a tough crowd, those Old Media journalists.

But like the LA Times, I digress. Back to PJ and his evening info-tainment. In his usual ponderous fashion, Jennings moved through stories about the dangers lurking within fine print in contracts and the threat of bird flu. Finally, he came to a story on videogames designed to get children moving. The report claimed that video manufacturers are contributing to the ongoing efforts to reduce childhood obesity. Of course, there’s a healthy dollar side to this corporate altruism.

For $50-$100, parents can now buy videogames that will make children stand up and dance, play laser swords, or jump around chasing flying vegetables or some such objects. These seem like extraordinary measures to get children moving.

Maybe I’m missing something, but it seems the solution would be a lot easier, more sensible--and cheaper--if parents would just turn off the television set, hide the controller, and send the kids out to the yard to play. It worked for my kids, and it cost me nothing.

In these days of constant video play, whatever has happened to the traditional outdoor games of tag, hide-and-seek, kick the can, mother may I, red light, green light, hopscotch, jump-rope, stickball, swinging statues? How about riding bikes, skating, building forts and go-carts? What about football, softball, basketball, all the other balls?

I’m glad I was a kid before the electronic age shackled childhood to the TV set. Videogames were standard during the later years of my kids’ childhoods, and they played their share. But the charms of the great outdoors and the fun of their sporting activities prevented them from becoming mired in the video wasteland.

I realize it’s a busy world for most families today, and it’s also more dangerous. I’m not advocating letting kids run wild in the streets. But backyards and schoolyards remain safe havens for most children’s active games. If parents are actually paying $100 for a videogame intended to get their kids off the couch, I can't help but think that we’re moving in a lazy and ludicrous direction.

Monday, February 21, 2005

A President of Faith

Readers old enough to remember know that initially, George Washington and Abraham Lincoln enjoyed separate holidays on their birthdays; February 12 for Lincoln, February 22 for Washington. Much like Christmas Day, the holidays were observed on those dates regardless of which day of the week they fell upon. During the Nixon administration, the holidays were combined into one, and thus lost much of their meaning. Many people today are unaware that the holiday is set aside to honor two of our greatest presidents.

So in honor of the father of our country, whose birthday is tomorrow, let's take a look back through history, to President George Washington's first Inaugural Address, delivered April 30, 1789, in New York. Take a few minutes to read it, and then ask yourself how such passages as the following would sit with the ACLU today:

" would be peculiarly improper to omit in this first official act my fervent supplications to that Almighty Being who rules over the universe, who presides in the councils of nations, and whose providential aids can supply every human defect, that His benediction may consecrate to the liberties and happiness of the people of the United States a Government instituted by themselves for these essential purposes, and may enable every instrument employed in its administration to execute with success the functions allotted to his charge. In tendering this homage to the Great Author of every public and private good..."

Almighty Being? Great Author? Just imagine the left's reaction to such terms today. Obviously, they would conclude, some wild-eyed rightwing conservative evangelical fanatic is delivering this speech!

But read on. Washington was just warming up.

"No people can be bound to acknowledge and adore the Invisible Hand which conducts the affairs of men more than those of the United States."

What? "Adore the Invisible Hand"? This is a blatant violation of separation of church and state! Or is it? Actually, the term "separation of church and state" appears nowhere in the official founding documents of the United States. The Constitution states that "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion." George Washington's thanks to God was in fact an expression of his personal religious views, "the free exercise thereof" is guaranteed by that very same document. But facts have never gotten in the way of an indignant liberal tantrum.

Perhaps even more outrageous to our modern lefties would be Washington's next flagrantly fervent statement:

"...since we ought to be no less persuaded that the propitious smiles of Heaven can never be expected on a nation that disregards the eternal rules of order and right which Heaven itself has ordained..."

What's up with that remark? Is Washington trying to say that Americans are actually answerable to a Higher Authority for their actions? Is he implying that we can't make up our own rules without risking the loss of God's favor? What a crazed religious nutcase! How did he ever get elected?

President Washington apparently felt confident enough in the words of the Declaration of Independence that he concluded his first inaugural address with yet another prayer to our Creator:

"Having thus imparted to you my sentiments...I shall take my present leave; but not without resorting once more to the benign Parent of the Human Race in humble supplication that, since He has been pleased to favor the American people with opportunities for deliberating in perfect tranquillity...on a form of government for the security of their union and the advancement of their happiness, so His divine blessing may be equally conspicuous in the...wise measures on which the success of this Government must depend."

After reading the full text of George Washington's first inaugural address, all I can say is "Amen."

Saturday, February 19, 2005

Disorderly Thinking

On February 18, World Net Daily posted an interview with Bill Maher that is a classic illustration of the secular arrogance Americans are dealing with in their Old Media.

Maher, host of HBO’s “Real Time with Bill Maher,” thinks that religion “stops people from thinking.” He goes a step further and brands religion as “a neurological disorder.”

This “lack of enlightenment of so many Americans,” Maher intones solemnly, “means the nation actually has more in common with its enemies than one might think.”

This is heavy stuff. I'll need some time to absorb the profundity of it all. I mean, when you check back, it sure looks like most of the great minds in history believed in God. Did Augustine and Aquinas suffer from a neurological disorder? Were Shakespeare and Michelangelo unenlightened? Was DaVinci unthinking? Was Mother Teresa, and is John Paul II, “weak-minded people who need strength in numbers”? (On this last example, Bill quotes Jesse Ventura, that great modern thinker, to backup his position.)

Thank heaven—oops, I mean, thankfully, we have the towering intellect of Bill Maher to save us from the ignorance of religious simpletons.

Bill claims to be “embarrassed” that America “has been taken over by people…who do not believe in science and rationality.” He then proceeds to compare fairy tales to Bible stories, claiming that a child would never know the difference.

Hmm. I happen to think that children are much smarter than they get credit for, certainly much smarter than your average garden variety secular elitist media snob. For example, by the age of five, my kids were asking me quite probing, involved, and persistent questions about life, death, and God. Notice the triangulation here, Bill. My kids got the connection at a very early age. They never showed quite such sustained intensity of interest in Goldilocks or Hansel and Gretel. But then, religion was “drilled into” their heads at a young age.

Well, as a parent of faith, that was my job. As you so astutely observe, the children “can’t be responsible…for what adults put in your head.” But adults are very much responsible for putting good values and sound principles into their children’s heads. Maher thinks that suicide terrorists flying planeloads of innocent people into buildings full of equally innocent workers was a “faith-based initiative.” Compare that to the Western world’s religious organizations donating on-going tsunami relief. Do these two activities have much in common to a thinking person? If the scientific and rational Maher can’t see the difference between good and evil applications of faith, if he can’t see how very different we are from our enemies, then nothing I can write here is going to help him to figure it out.

But I do think it’s kind of humorous that someone who compares the tales of the Brothers Grimm to the Bible considers “science and rationality” to be his trump card. Fictional children’s stories, written a scant few hundred years ago, compared to holy and historical scriptures that have been recorded and handed down through several millenniums, along the way serving as the foundation of major and enduring world religions.

Think about it, Bill. Religious people, for the most part, view human intellect as a gift from our Creator—you know, the same One who endowed us with “certain unalienable rights,” according to the Declaration of Independence. From his statements, it appears that Maher believes that rationality is just another neat idea human beings dreamed up for themselves.

The Founders knew that our rights come from God. So, too, does reason. Maher and the liberal elites like him prefer to think that mankind is the last word in its own accountability. That way, they can make up their own rules with impunity, and do so while feeling smugly superior to all the little religious “crazies” who work hard to walk the steep and narrow path of faith.

So Bill, who fed you that fairy tale about how “enlightened” you are? Who got you to “stop thinking” long enough to believe the U.S. is like Syria and Iran? It sounds to me as though you’re suffering from more than one neurological disorder.

Thursday, February 17, 2005

Dormez Vous?

Frère Jacques,
Frère Jacques,
Dormez vous?
Dormez vous?
Sonnez les matines,
Sonnez les matines.
Ding Ding Dong,Ding Ding Dong.

As many of you know, that's a lovely French ditty children all over the world learn to sing. The words ask "Brother John" if he's sleeping. Morning bells are ringing, morning bells are ringing....

...Time to wake up, country of France. Men described as "Islamic militants" by the Kansas City Star have been arrested in your midst, plotting to blow up the Eiffel Tower--sacre bleu! This story even appeared in Le Parisien, a daily French newspaper. We didn't see much of this story in L'Etats-Unis, but what else is new? Our MSM isn't interested in corroborating the worldwide dangers of militant Islam; they might risk appearing to support our president during a war. Such a faux pas that would be for the Fourth Estate in the elitist global village!

But ecoutez moi, good citizens of France. Listen up. You may want to consider taking this whole terrorism thing a tad more seriously. You are, after all, part of "Western civilization," a member of the "infidel" population. Like it or not, you're at risk for an attack--no matter how many francs and Euros Saddam Hussein sucked up from you.

France has the most stirring national anthem I've ever heard. Did you ever watch "Casablanca," with Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman? That scene where Paul Henreid leads the orchestra in playing La Marseillaise to drown out the singing Nazis--well, if you can watch that without getting goosebumps, you have no soul. The song starts out:

Allons enfants de la Patrie,
Le jour de gloire est arrivé !

Which means:

Arise, children of the fatherland
The day of glory has arrived.

Are you sleeping, citizens of France? Time to wake up, time to arise. With the news of the plot against the Eiffel Tower, those morning bells are definitely ringing. And they sound very much like an alarm.

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Blog Flash

Do you ever wonder how things are going for the Iraqi people?

I’ve heard that they have 38 new schools have been built. I also heard that 25 Iraqi students came to the U.S. in January 2004 for the re-established Fulbright program. On that subject, the 2006 Iraq Fulbright competition is due to begin in March.

And the Iraqi Navy is operational, you know. They have 5- 100-foot patrol craft, 34 smaller vessels and a navel infantry regiment.

Who knew? Not MSM fans, that’s for sure.

There are plenty of other positive and encouraging Iraqi facts to learn. I wonder if MSM will ever get around to mentioning them? It doesn’t really matter whether they do or not, since you’re finding out about them, anyway, on my blog.

Gee whiz. Not bad for an amateur. And I’m not even in my pajamas yet.

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

A Call To Cyber-Arms

Roger L. Simon thinks that bloggers can make a difference in Iran. I don't know if that's true, but it's certainly worth my two sentences worth.

Good things do seem to be expedited via the blogosphere lately. The troop-trasher at CNN, Eason Jordan, "resigned" rather abruptly last week in the midst of a blog swarm. MSM saw to it that those destructive bloggers immediately became the story, rather than Jordan's inexcusable slander against our soldiers. His accusations of journalists killed and tortured by U.S. troops remains unexplored, except on the blogs--which are relentless on the subject. Oh yes, we were an electronic lynch mob out for blood, sitting around in our bathrobes tearing poor, defenseless Eason to shreds. The Wall Street Journal even called the bloggers "salivating morons." Never mind what Eason actually said, it's "the price" he paid that has MSM's knickers in a twist.

Ah, yes, the price. The cost of accountability is truth. Some journalists find that too steep a tab to consider paying. Why else would the video of Jordan's infamous remarks remain unreleased?

Now, a premier blogger asks members of the blogosphere to channel their collective energy in a quest to rally public support, domestically and internationally, for regime change in Iran. Some blogs have already started. More will take up the call, and who knows? After Trent Lott and Jayson Blair, after Dan Rather and Eason Jordon, it's not so incredible to believe that maybe blogs can make a positive difference in Iran.

It's worth a try.

Saturday, February 12, 2005

On His Way Home

Some of you will remember that for the past year, I've supported a soldier in Iraq through the wonderful organization Soldiers' Angels. His faithful e-mails had stopped in the past several days, and I was on edge because of the violence following the elections in Iraq. I knew that his tour of duty was due to conclude this month, and I hoped he was already in transit. But, I couldn't be sure until I heard from him.

Today, I received an e-mail from him. He's already in Kuwait and is scheduled back in the U.S. on February 17.

It's hard to describe the kaleidoscope of emotions his message engendered within me. I cheered out loud, breathed a sigh of relief, grew teary-eyed, whispered a prayer of thanksgiving. All this for a soldier I have never met, yet I have grown to cherish as both a dear personal friend and a precious national treasure. I can't even begin to imagine how his family must feel.

God bless you, Sarge. Thanks for putting it all on the line for us back home. Good man, great job, brave sacrifice. All Americans owe you, big time and always. I hope we get to meet each other someday. But, even if we don't, remember that your "Yankee Angel" is proud to be forever in your debt.

Thursday, February 10, 2005

A Waste of Hate

I've just finished reading an article by Ward Churchill, professor at the University of Colorado, written after the attacks of September 11, 2001. I'm not going to link such garbage to my blog, but Google yields prolific results if you type in his name.

It's a shame that such a hateful, small-minded creature bears such a good name--Churchill, as in Sir Winston, who would have made hash out of the professor's venomous drivel. If I've ever read more evil trash, I don't recall.

Yet Ward Churchill chooses to live in these horrendous United States. Professor, may I be so bold as to ask: Why do you stay here? Why do you make your living here, accepting money and publicity from such a substandard country as the U.S.? How can such a high-minded, smarter-than-the-average-genius tolerate us simpleminded, vapid, greedy, Nazi-like Yanks?

I'll tell you why: because there's no where else on earth that you can have a better life. And you know it in your hypocritical gut. There's no other country that would tolerate your abusive ingratitude or your filthy accusations without reprisals. Brave men and women have fought and died to protect your right to spit upon their memories with your vicious tripe. So you can revel in all the comforts of the America you vilify, spewing hate, endorsing September 11 and encouraging those who hate as you do to strike at us again. Hate is your recurring theme, your battlecry, your mantra, your reason to live. You'd enjoy receiving hatred--but you won't get any from me.

You're not worth the energy, professor.

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

The Next Crisis

As James Lileks so cleverly put it in his blog posting of February 3, "Welcome to the Axis of Damn Well Better Get Your Act Together!" That would be you, Iran.

President Bush and Secretary of State Rice have laid it on the line about as plainly as I've ever heard politicians speak. In fact, there isn't much left for Iran to say except, "Here are the keys to our reactor plants."

It would be nice if "the globe" was with us on this one, but I suspect it won't much matter when the chips are down. One mid-September day nearly four years ago, President Bush stood on the hot and smoking pile that had been the Twin Towers, hugged rescue workers, wept with grieving families, and made a promise. When he called to the nation through that bullhorn, "Soon, the whole world will hear you," he proved in short order that he meant it.

Iran, I hope that you've been paying attention.

Tuesday, February 08, 2005


Mainstream media, in the form of CNN, is taking another beating with the Eason Jordan coverup. What's that famous definition of insanity? Doing the same thing repeatedly, expecting different results--yes, something along those lines. The NY Times and Jason Blair, CBS and Rathergate, now CNN and Eason Jordon all demonstrate the insanity syndrome very well.

It's long past time to face the new day, Old Media. You simply can't filter the facts, shape opinion and elude consequences the way you did in the old days of 6:00PM deadline. The newsroom is now invisible, it's open 24/7, and if your editors persist in thinking that they have the last word...well, seven million bloggers, with 40,000 more starting up each day, are going to have something to say about that.

Bloggers, especially the big names, are watching the media, and they're reporting back to the public about the reporters. You've been busted, and you're under permanent surveillance now. Better get used to it and clean up your journalistic act accordingly, because it's going to be a long probation for MSM.

Monday, February 07, 2005

Refresher Course

I always hesitate to mention Sen. Edward Kennedy of Massachusetts, but especially lately. Good grief, what an embarrassment—to his state, to his country, and most of all, to himself.

How disappointed big brother Jack would be in Teddy’s current rantings against the Iraq war.

If you read what President Bush has been repeatedly saying about our fight in Iraq, it sounds very much like what President John F. Kennedy said in his inaugural address on January 20, 1960:

“The world is very different now. For man holds in his mortal hands the power to abolish all forms of human poverty and all forms of human life. And yet the same revolutionary beliefs for which our forebears fought are still at issue around the globe--the belief that the rights of man come not from the generosity of the state but from the hand of God.”

That sounds very much like a man of faith talking, doesn’t it? Someone who knew that the blessings of liberty come from our Creator, just as President Bush does.

Do you think President Kennedy, who faced down the Soviets during the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962, would retreat from Iraq if he were the president today? JFK is, after all, the president who committed our military to Vietnam.

The timeliness of passage below is chillingly prophetic of our current military activity in Afghanistan and Iraq, and a sober warning to other nations, most notable Iran:

“Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe to assure the survival and the success of liberty.”

That one sentence is probably the best summation of the American spirit ever written. You might want to copy it down and keep it with you for easy reference, Senator Kennedy. I’m willing to bet that your brother would be pleased if you did.

Sunday, February 06, 2005

"Kaneohe marines died for freedom"

At work last week, I received a forwarded e-mail containing the text of a very moving and powerful piece written by a newspaper reporter in Hawaii. What Charles Memminger of the Honolulu Star-Bulletin wrote on Feb. 1 about the 27 Kaneohe-based Marines who perished in the helicopter crash in Iraq on January 26 deserves to be shared.

Having received Mr. Memminger’s permission, and with thanks to him and to the Star-Bulletin, the full text of his article appears in italics below.

Honolulu Lite
By Charles Memminger
Tuesday, February 1, 2005

Kaneohe marines died for freedom

Due to the peculiar acoustical properties involving large bodies of water, the haunting sound of taps, played mournfully on a trumpet, travels at 10 o'clock nightly from the Kaneohe Marine Base two miles across the still waters of Kaneohe Bay and into my bedroom.

Taps is played to let Marines on base know "all is well" and it's time to hit the sack. But as I lay in bed on Thursday night and taps floated eerily through the screen door, I knew all was not well on the base. I had seen the headline in that morning's Star-Bulletin: "26 Kaneohe Marines die. Helicopter crash in Iraq also kills a Pearl Harbor Sailor." The Marines were helping prepare Iraq for its historic national election when their helicopter went down.

A day after the tragedy, U.S. Sen. Ted Kennedy, the pathetic, bloated black sheep of both the Kennedy family and America in general, had the audacity to say in a speech, "U.S. military presence (in Iraq) has become part of the problem, not part of the solution."

How different can two sounds be? The sound of taps made me sad. The sound of Ted Kennedy made me sick.

And then I awoke on Sunday morning to see on TV Iraqis dancing in the streets. More than 8 million of them had defied the spineless Ted Kennedys of the world urging the election be postponed and terrorists threatening to make the streets run with voters' blood, and went to the polls in percentages higher than a typical Hawaii election.

Kennedy, whining that the American casualty rate is too high to justify us being in Iraq, urged immediate withdrawal of American troops. He knows something about immediate withdrawal in the face of casualties, having shown his bravery by abandoning a young woman to drown in a car he drove off a bridge in a little place called Chappaquiddick in 1969.

Seeing the Iraqis' elation at having voted in a true democratic election for the first time -- they were so ecstatic that some accidentally even thanked America for getting rid of Saddam Hussein -- raised the question, Was the death of 27 Hawaii troops worth it? Is the death of even one American worth bringing freedom to a part of the world where our country's contributions will never be acknowledged (at least as long as George W. Bush is president)?

The day our Marines died in Iraq, a 28-year-old Maui man was killed in car crash. And a day later, a 15-year-old Honolulu girl was killed driving a stolen car. And an Ohio worker killed his auto plant supervisor. Were those deaths "worth it"? Or worth anything? There are a lot of seemingly pointless deaths every day. About 42,000 people are killed every year in America in automobile accidents. More than 20,000 die from the common flu. Nearly 16,000 people are murdered. Ninety people are killed yearly by lightening. And in 1969 a 29-year-old blonde in Massachusetts was killed because a gutless U.S. senator drove her off a bridge and left her there. Those deaths don't seem to have accomplished anything, except to keep a certain hypocritical pompous toad politician from becoming president.

So, were the deaths of 26 Marines and a sailor from Hawaii "worth it"? Watching the Iraqis' expressions of pure joy following Sunday's election tell us the deaths were certainly worth something.

For the record, Ted Kennedy is wrong. The U.S. military isn't part of the problem in Iraq. It IS part of the solution. A major part of the solution.

And when I hear taps float into my bedroom tonight from the Marine base where I know a thousand hearts feel pain, I will know that 27 of my neighbors did not die in vain.

Charles Memminger, the National Society of Newspaper Columnists' 2004 First Place Award winner for humor writing, appears Sundays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays. E-mail


One would think, after the recent Dan Rather disaster at CBS, that mainstream media (MSM) would have figured out that they really can't get away with anymore of their left-wing agenda nonsense in the bright glare of the exploding blogosphere.

But with the arrogance so characteristic of elites who have enjoyed a long reign of unchallenged power, CNN steps into the cyber-crosshairs of a million blogs with an air of invincibile nonchalance. Oh, yes, the troops are killing the journalists, what, didn't you know? Please trust CNN on this, lowly readers. Remember, citizens of the globe, that you heard it first from CNN's Eason Jordan.

But hearing it and swallowing it, reading it and accepting it, are very different things in this new age of instant electronic information. Hugh Hewitt, godfather of the blogosphere, has been attacking this story since Day One like the blizzard did Boston. Powerline charged up its batteries to follow suit, and battalions of bloggers large and small snapped to attention. Judging from the Rathergate results at CBS, I'd say things are looking pretty grim for Eason at the moment. Unless he has the courage to level with the public, which, judging from his past behavior, is an unlikely outcome.

MSM, of which CNN is certainly part, do yourself a favor and face the truth. As difficult as it will be, you must accept the new reality if you want to survive in it. You can't perpetuate your garbage any more, because we don't have to accept yours as the last word. In fact, nowadays your word is likely the beginning of a story. More and more often, the blogs are tending to compose the conclusion. They do so by following the "5 Ws"--who, what, when, where, why, by citing legitimate sources, by backing up their stories with facts, and by being answerable to their readership. If bloggers editorialize, they're much more likely than MSM to let you know up front that they are presenting their own opinion.

Following these procedures is called journalism. Give it a try, MSM, and you just might retain a portion of your audiences who are hemorrhaging over to the blogosphere.

Saturday, February 05, 2005

New Face Forward

I've had some fun this afternoon setting up a new template. Blogging is a labor of love, but it can be time consuming. Now that I've learned how to post links on my sidebar, I know my blog visitors will have plenty of good reading material to explore while I excuse myself to toss some supper together.

I hope you like the new format. Your inputs are welcome, and thanks for stopping by.

Friday, February 04, 2005

Nailing the Left

Reading Victor Davis Hanson always makes me feel like I'm taking post graduate courses in a variety of subjects including history, sociology, psychology, and especially geopolitics. His entry today in National Review Online, titled "The Global Throng: Why the world’s elites gnash their teeth" needs to be read by anyone who struggles to understand the venom spewing from the left.

VDH explains this seething amimosity towards all things Bush with an articulate intelligence, a controlled anger, and an army of facts that will dismantle even the most frothing liberal arguments against America's current course of action in Iraq. He's that good. Just read it for yourself, you'll see.

Now excuse me please, I think I've fallen in love with the professor and must leave the classroom immediately...

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Eternal Moment

Anyone who watched the president's State of the Union speech tonight will remember at least one part of it. It was the moment that the young Iraqi woman, whose father was executed by Saddam Hussein, turned and embraced the mother of the fallen Marine Sgt. Byron Norwood.

The Iraq conflict crystalized in that instant into a vivid, moving lesson on what this war is really about. The courage of those who face the dangers, the nobility of those who bear the sacrifices, the pain of loved ones left behind, the gratitude of a new nation to its liberators, and the staggering price of freedom--it was all there, in that one inspiring, spontaneous moment.

As I watched, through welling eyes and chilled skin, I saw that the chain of Sgt. Norwood's dogtags, clutched by his mother, had become entangled in the Iraqi woman's cuff as they hugged each other. They smiled through tears and tugged a second or two before the chain came free. I was overwhelmed with the symbolism it carried.

Americans, especially our military, are eternally entwined with the spirit of the Iraqi people. Because of the bravery of our troops, the Iraqi nation had the chance to take their baby steps down freedom's path.

Iraqis will remember the friendship they have been given by the United States and its military. Iraqis are forever connected to us, our brethren in liberty. They will never forget.

Most Americans won't forget, either. I know I won't.