Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Blog Storm

Hurricane Katrina: Blog for Relief Day

Thursday, September 1

A day of blogging focused on raising awareness of and funds for relief efforts to aid those affected by Hurricane Katrina

Much more tomorrow, wherever you blog.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Cruel Katrina

Water, water, every where,
And all the boards did shrink;
Water, water, every where,
Nor any drop to drink.
~ Samuel Taylor Coleridge, "The Rime of The Ancient Mariner"

It hasn't been so very long since we saw images of such utter devastation. Last Christmas time, we watched the tragic wreckage left by a tsunami half a world away.

Today, we're watching video of the cruel and overwhelming destruction that Hurricane Katrina has flung upon our own shores in Louisiana and Mississippi. It's time now for us to help our tragedy-stricken neighbors here at home.

It is still far too early to know the depth and breadth of this catastrophe. It will be weeks, if not months, before utilities are up and running at normal capacity. Stagnant water threatens disease and further deaths. Food, drinking water, clothing, shelter, medication, and care for the young, the old, and the ill have all become critical issues literally overnight. Rescue and medical workers from across the nation are at this moment racing towards the disaster area to offer their welcome and much needed assistance.

What can you and I do to lend a hand?

Please contribute to a reputable charity of your choice, especially one that has a Hurricane Katrina account earmarked for disaster relief. I'm contributing to Catholic Charities. Hugh Hewitt has posted links to churches in the New Orleans, Biloxi, and Gulfport areas. He has floated the outstanding idea of asking our clergymen to offer a partnership with one of the churches in the afflicted regions, for the purpose of providing humanitarian aid directly to the congregations.

Glenn Reynolds has also posted many excellent links to charitable and relief organizations. Choose one or more, and help to support our neighbors in their time of great and urgent need. Be generous, be caring. I know it will be easy for all of us, because this is what Americans do best.

Monday, August 29, 2005

A Link To History

August 28, 2005
America’s Historian in Chief
by Alan W. Dowd
American Legion Magazine


The RULE is easy to follow when I read anything by or about Victor Davis Hanson. I hope you enjoy his interview, linked above.

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Accomplishments and Goals

"Failure is not an option."
~ Ed Harris as Gene Kranz, "Apollo 13"

Power Line's August 28 posting, "A Positive Accounting," is must reading. If time allows, link to Christopher Hitchens' source article, "A War to be Proud Of."

And as an additional food for thought item, see Robert J. Caldwell's article "Fight to win in Iraq."

As Americans, we should appreciate the tremendous progress that has been accomplished by our outstanding military to date.

I have heard many troops make statements to the effect that they can persevere in their mission so long as they know they have the support of the American people. As Americans, we should have the common goal to stand together in support of our troops.

The troops know their mission. We should recognize ours.

Saturday, August 27, 2005

Talking or Walking?

What has happened to Leonard Pitts?

On September 12, in the Miami Herald, Pitts published the most moving and inspiring article on the abomination that was September 11. He fully captured the shock, pain, grief, and righteous anger of the nation. His words sent shivers up my spine, for the heart is a writer's best inkwell.

If you haven’t already, you should read every word of his article. In closing, Pitts promised the enemy that they they didn’t know his people, but they were about to learn.

Over the past four years, the enemy has learned much about us through our media. Most of the lessons have been helpful to them rather than to us or, more importantly, to our troops. This past week, Pitts wrote an anti-war, anti-Bush piece that was permeated with so much venom it would drop a herd of elephants. It is difficult to reconcile the two articles with the same writer.

The August 26 article is cause for terrorists to dance with delight. In his article, Pitts asks many questions we have come to expect from the hysterical left. Why are troops dying, why are so many injured, why are Iraqis dying. Why, why, why. Questions are good and necessary, but when reasonable answers are offered, people like Pitts cover their ears and hum.

Pitts points to a casualty count that is rising “like floodwater.” Excuse me, Leonard, but I know many members of the armed forces, and all of them agree that our casualties to date have been almost miraculously light.

This is not to minimize the tragedy of each loss, both to their families and to our nation, but to emphasize the courage and professionalism of our military. Our troops understand their mission in the Middle East, and they support it. This crucial fact is deserving of our respect. They know better than anyone that people will die in order for their mission of ensuring an independent, democratic Iraq to succeed. If I may pose a question or two of my own, if our troops are able to accept the dangers of war and their inevitable casualties, then who are we, safe at home, to pontificate against their extremely difficult job? What right do any of us have to make their hard road even more arduous?

Troops are dying in Iraq and Afghanistan because they have made the noble commitment to protect America from harm. It is that true and simple. The battle for Fallujah certainly seems preferable to a battle for Philadelphia, but the left won’t accept that explanation. Perhaps they feel we need to be roughed up a bit more on our own turf before a proactive response to a vicious and merciless foe is appropriate.

Liberal rants are very predictable. They always arrive at a rabid Bush hatred. Pitts refers to Bush’s “stubborn hubris” and inability to admit error. He also tosses in the “blinkered morality” of a “frightened nation” that won’t challenge the president, thus reinforcing MSM’s interpretation of those supporting the necessity of this war as pathetic, robotic simpletons.

It seems to me that words are easy for Leonard Pitts. On September 12, they sprang from outraged rivers within his soul, inspiring him to write the definitive column of that terrible day, 9/11. Pitts should be commended and remembered for that.

Pitts, in turn, should realize that talking the talk is only the beginning. It’s walking the walk that gets the work done.

Walking the walk requires blood, sweat, toil and tears, but it is what's required to get you where you’re going. This hard fact is especially true when the road is as difficult, dirty, and dangerous as the war against international Islamist terrorism. May God bless and protect our precious troops along the way.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

My Guys

There they are, my fellas, about half of them. These were my adopted soldiers, courtesy of Soldiers' Angels. They are home safely now for the past six months, but they served one long, difficult, dangerous year in Iraq.

I had the honor and privilege of supporting them with cards, letters, and the ever-popular care packages.

How did I become a Soldiers' Angel to ten troops? Initially, "the Sarge" was my assigned soldier. He wrote to thank me after receiving his first carb-and-sugar loaded goody box and told me how much "the guys" enjoyed the treats. Sarge mentioned that he didn't eat sweets...and so began my tradition of sending two boxes each month, one for Sarge and one for "the guys." I don't know who had more fun, Pete and me putting the packages together, or our guys when they received the booty.

I keep a framed copy of this photo on my desk at work, to remind myself each day to be grateful for the service of our troops.

I have an adopted Marine now through Soldiers' Angels, since April. I send him a care package each month. We have never corresponded, but I worry about him every bit as much as I did my guys last year. He is always in my prayers. I honor and cherish him as my friend and protector, which he truly is.

I realize that I may never meet or even hear from my Marine. No matter. He will always be one of my guys.

Thank you, Michael. Be safe and well.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

More On The Movie

In reflecting upon "The Great Raid," it struck me that I had seen no promotions or trailers for this excellent film. This is a mystery to me. It is a high quality production, well acted, with an inspiring true story as its base, and it carries a message of hope about the strength and goodness of not only America's military, but of our people.

Why wouldn’t such a positive film experience be more widely promoted? If more Americans knew about this movie, they would certainly view it. I have recommended it to many moviegoers since seeing it on Sunday. If you are interested in seeing one stellar example of the awesome nobility and outstanding accomplishment our armed forces have achieved, this is a powerful way to do so.

Comments from other moviegoers across the country confirm my opinion. “The Great Raid” is a great movie.

Sunday, August 21, 2005

Triumph Over All Hell

“War is all hell.”
~ William Tecumseh Sherman

Civil War General Sherman's quote has been popularized without the quantifying term "all"--most of us have heard simply that "war is hell." But Gen. Sherman, who was so well acquainted with the earthly hell we call war, understood that it is the totality of hell. War contains the all of the complete cruelty, the abject misery, the ceaseless suffering, the bottomless grief--in fact, everything painful and poisonous that hell would hold.

Sixty years ago, in January 1945, the most successful rescue mission in U.S. military history was carried out as the surviving POWs of the Bataan Death March were saved in a daring operation by Army Rangers. The movie "The Great Raid" tells this inspiring story with a raw honesty and ruthless intensity that draws an agonizing mozaic of the horror that is war.

This movie also shows us the heights to which human courage and heroism can soar, as so often happens in war. "The Great Raid" is a difficult movie to watch, but it is an uplifting story that deserves to be told. It needs to be told, especially today when our history is being rewritten according to elite agendas. I hope many millions of Americans will see this movie.

War is all hell, but knowledge is all power.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

When Silence Speaks Best

When my son was 14 years old, he was hit by a car and very seriously injured. He suffered many broken bones, needed surgery, spent time in ICU, several more days in the hospital, and then months in physical therapy.

But ultimately, none of that mattered. Because he healed and, most importantly, he was alive.

I remember just a few weeks after Matt’s accident, another boy in our city was hit by a car. The circumstances of this second accident were eerily similar. The boy, also named Matt, was hit while crossing the street. His older sister was watching from the other side of the street as the accident occurred, just as my daughter watched our Matt. The boy was hit into the air by a brown car, his classmates looking on in horror, and his shoes were knocked off his feet. All these details, exactly what happened to my Matt.

With one major exception. This second little boy died.

I felt deeply connected to this second Matt’s mother. I remember the cold chill her grief-stricken wails gave me as I watched the evening news. I remember my fear and panic the day of the accident. How near had Fate led me to such bottomless sorrow! For days, this bereft mother was on my mind and in my prayers. I wanted to write to her. I tried to, several times. But no words would come; there was nothing to write.

Because the reality is, her son was dead. Mine is alive. And truly, there was nothing more to say.

I feel the same about the Cindy Sheehan story. I am unqualified to address her situation, her state of mind, or her actions. I have no right to do so. Her son is dead, and mine is alive.

And truly, there is nothing more to say.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

As Food Goes By

The original title of the classic movie "Casablanca" was "Everybody Comes To Rick's." Although I'm glad the title changed, the fact is the original title told the story. Everybody in the movie who came to Casablanca did pay at least one visit to Rick's.

And everybody who comes to San Diego should pay at least one visit to Lou & Mickey's.

You can't miss it. It's across the street from the San Diego Convention Center and right next door to the Padres' new ballpark, Petco Park. While you are there, savoring delicious food and stellar service, you may also enjoy an exciting adventure. That's my friend Michelle pictured in a 2004 photo, cozying up to Mark Harmon, star of CBS's hit show, NCIS, during one of his visits to Lou & Mickey's.

With all due respect to the late, great Paul Henreid, there's just no contest when it comes to which leading man I'd rather bump into in a cafe. Here's looking at you, Mark. Hopefully, on my next stop at Lou & Mickey's.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Seeing For Myself

Today's posting at Eagle and Elephant has piqued my curiosity about "The Great Raid." The MSM critics are colder than lukewarm, but moviegoers who have seen the film are quite enthusiastic about it.

Considering the dearth of trust I place in the mouthpieces of MSM, I'm planning to see the movie this weekend. Hugh Hewitt posted today that he plans to do the same.

There's Hollywood, and there's history. Rarely do the two cross accurate paths. I'd like to know what Victor Davis Hanson thinks of the film. Meanwhile, I'll go and see it for myself.

Sunday, August 14, 2005

Have Spin, Will Unravel

"Maybe we need a 9/11 Commission Commission to investigate the 9/11 Commission."
~ Mark Steyn

I’m quite relieved that I never spent an overabundance of time on the proceedings or outcome of the 9/11 Commission. It’s becoming increasingly apparent that their report needed a bit more truth and a lot less politics.

My indifference to the Commission stemmed from the fact that an appointee of the Clinton Justice Department, Jamie Gorelick, sat in judgment on the Commission instead of in the witness chair, where she belonged. That was too far through the political looking-glass for me to give much credence to the Commission’s findings. In fact, the word "joke" comes to mind.

When the 9/11 Commission Report was released, I did read the section about the planes, and it brought me to tears. If there was a chance to stop this, but the stopping didn’t happen…well, we can only hope that the responsible parties will have a lifetime job trying to face themselves in the mirror.

We owe all the 9/11 dead a full and true recounting of the genesis of 9/11, not one filtered through partisan shutters. We should be told what was known exactly when, by exactly whom. But I, for one, won’t bet money that we will.

Friday, August 12, 2005

343 Heroes

They were the first troops to die as the war began nearly four year ago. Most of them didn't have time to realize that. They were too busy working hard in unimaginable conditions, racing the clock in their valiant efforts to save innocent lives.

They are the 343 FDNY firefighters who died at in the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001.

Just as did our 1,846 honored military troops who have made the supreme sacrifice for their country to date, the 9/11 firefighting heroes died in the line of duty, doing the job that they had dedicated themselves to do--saving and protecting civilians. Their courage in the face of such overwhelming horror, and their steadfast devotion to duty in the midst of such evil chaos, still has the power to chill my skin each time I think of it.

And I think of it often.

9/11 touched New Yorkers deep in the core of their beings. I have lived in California for half my life, but I was born and raised in New York. Most of my extended family still lives there. In fact, I spent much of 9/11 trying to reach anyone in the family by telephone, to find out if my FDNY cousin was alive. At about 2:00 p.m. Pacific time, I got a call from my sister-in-law, letting me know that Brian was okay.

But 343 others were not. The FDNY deaths of 9/11 hit close to uncounted thousands of homes, including those of my relatives. One of my brothers is a coworker of the late Chief Richard Prunty's brother. My youngest brother, and my sister, both lost firefighting friends. My cousin Brian probably lost count of how many funeral he attended for his firefighting brothers.

Many decades ago, my late father lost his father, his brother, and his uncle in the FDNY line of duty. Because of this family history, I feel a soulful connection to the 9/11 heroes and their grieving loved ones. Remember that, just as we Americans are blessed with our military forces, we are fortunate as well to have our brave firefighters who set a sure boot against danger for our benefit.

The fallen heroes of FDNY, the first fighting casualties of the GWOT, represent 343 of the many thousands of reasons why the post-9/11 world is forever changed. They were all that is good, strong, and noble, and their sacrifice is a sad and constant reminder of how much we have lost.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Good News, For A Change

The Dept. of Defense carried a story on Kristen Maddox, as noted in my August 5 post. Now that some news wires are discovering her inspiring appeal, local newspapers such as the San Diego Union-Tribune are reporting her heartwarming human interest story.

This is the type of hopeful news that we Americans need to hear more often. In the midst of MSM's steady drumbeat of Bush-bashing, body counts, and doomsaying, we can all benefit from some good news.

A young person supporting her contemporaries in the U.S. military is very good news. It shows a depth of appreciation, understanding, and respect of our military forces that is sadly lacking among media elites.

You most likely won't see this on "tragedy TV," as Laura Ingraham colorfully describes MSM television. So read Kristen's story. I dare you not to be uplifted by her generosity, dedication, and enthusiasm in the most worthy cause of supporting our troops.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Care in the Air

My hastily-compiled goody box for the 3rd Battalion, 25th Marines Regiment is on its way to Capt Kasparian for distribution to his troops. Considering the fact that I gave myself a hard deadline of Monday morning, August 8, to get the package into the air, I did fairly well.

Troops of the 3/25, you've got peanuts, cookies, trail mix, powdered lemonade, chewing gum, Mentos, red licorice, Chees-Its, Kelloggs snack bars (blueberry), Advil, playing cards, and two kinds of beef jerky winging towards you. Also included is a thank-you card from me, although that sounds absolutely ridiculous.

How does a safe, comfortable American who is living her life untouched by war say "Thank you" to the troops who are giving their blood, sweat, tears, and young lives to keep her so well insulated?

I don't know how. I don't believe a way exists to properly thank them. But if it does, it's certainly not through a box of Chees-Its.

Love, prayers, and heartfelt gratitude to all our precious troops tonight.

Sunday, August 07, 2005

Universal Destination

The paths of glory lead but to the grave.
~ Thomas Gray, Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard

Regardless of my personal opinion of Peter Jennings or his reporting, I am truly sorry for the suffering he and his loved ones had to endure during his terrible journey through lung cancer. My prayers go out for him and to his family tonight.

Worth A Thousand Words

IRAQ THE MODEL has a picture posted on Sunday, August 7, 2005, that must be seen to be appreciated. How sad that it won't be seen on TV's alphabet networks.

Friday, August 05, 2005

A HOT Idea

For another suggestion about providing hands-on troop support, read the heartwarming story of 21-year-old Kristen Maddox and her outstanding idea for sending military care packages.

They are our troops. Let's all put a helping hand into their support.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

The Tip of the Spear

Marines are the tip of the spear. The people we shoot at are going to shoot back.
~ Col. Kevin Rush, 25th Marine Regiment, Brook Park, Ohio

Capt James Crabtree, USMC, says it for us straight from the heart. Please read every word, and then take his bottom line seriously. It's time for Americans to stop talking about supporting the troops and start walking the walk to the post office to prove it.

As the good Captain points out, for the price of "about two lattes at Starbucks," a care package can be mailed to the hard-hit 3rd Battalion, 25th Marine Regiment. Here's the address Capt Crabtree provides:

Adopt a Marine
c/o Capt Kasparian
3/25 H&S Co
Unit 72110
FPO, AE 09509-2110

I won't neglect my adopted Marine from Soldiers' Angels this month. But a second package will be going out from me to the troops of the 3rd Battalion, 25th Marine Regiment. Please join me in offering thanks and consolation to these brave heroes who stand fast as the tip of the spear between us and the enemy.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Politically Correct, Realistically Wrong

Random searches in the New York City subway systems means that blue-haired New Jersey grandmothers and blond-haired Swedish exchange students are as likely to be stopped and searched as any young Arab male.

This is the height of stupidity.

Why does the F.B.I. post its "Ten Most Wanted" posters in a public place such as your local post office? Because they would like people to see what these criminals look like and, if they think they recognize one of them, to call the authorities. All this so that, just possibly, the F.B.I. can apprehend the criminal before more crimes are committed.

Thinking caps, everyone. Apply this process to global terrorism. Who do we seek as the criminal?

I have yet to hear of a American grandmother or a Scandinavian student acting as a suicide bomber. If I've missed the news bulletin, please clue me in. I listened to one brainiac this morning on the radio arguing that Timothy McVeigh was white. Yes, so was Hitler. They've both been dead for years. What's your point, Einstein?

Since September 11, 2001, the enemy has presented a consistent appearance. To ignore that fact so as not to offend anyone is an idiotic luxury we can not afford. Do we need another American city in flames before we get this? Apparently, we do. We are very slow learners when it comes to protecting ourselves intelligently.

Click here to learn more of the American history the public schools don't teach anymore, and here to read about the benefits of harsh, unhesitating actions in war. We'd all better start figuring this stuff out fast. Hopefully, while the Jersey grandmas and the Swedish sophomores are still alive.