Thursday, September 28, 2006

Michael the Archangel

September 29, in the Catholic calendar, is the feast of the Archangels Michael, Gabriel, and Raphael. I'm an angel enthusiast, as any of my friends or family can affirm, so I pause again this year to commemorate the date.

As we Americans are in a protracted war that only seems to intensify, we specifically need Michael's assistance. As I posted last year: Michael, patron saint of police officers and soldiers, defends us against the powers of evil. He is considered to be the guardian angel of Israel, and he appears in the Koran, as well as both the Old and New Testaments.

In Michael, we find an archangel bound up in the histories of Judaism, Chrisitanity, and Islam, three major world religions that have converged at a cataclysmic crossroad in our lifetime. I think we all could use a bit of his heavenly help.

Michael's prayer is posted below. I have sent this to each of my adopted troops, on a prayer card that pictures Michael defeating Satan. So far, thank God, all my guys have come home safely. I like to give Michael a nod for their safety.

Prayer to St. Michael the Archangel
Saint Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle.
Be our protection against the wickedness and snares of the devil.
May God rebuke him, we humbly pray;
and do Thou, O Prince of the Heavenly
Host--by the Divine Power
of God--cast into
hell, Satan and all the evil spirits,

who roam throughout the world
seeking the ruin of souls.

Amen, indeed.

Unheralded Adios

Every once in a while, I force myself to watch TV's alphabet network news--"infotainment," it's been rightly called. Last night, I was curious to see if any mention would be made of the nationwide 7-Eleven convenience store's decision not to renew Citgo's fuel contract. Citgo gasoline comes from Venezuela.

It was also of interest to me to see if any portion of the 7-Eleven company's statement would be aired:
"Regardless of politics, we sympathize with many Americans' concern over
derogatory comments about our country and its leadership recently made by Venezuela's president
said 7-Eleven spokeswoman Margaret Chabris.

On ABC's so-called "World News Tonight," several minutes were burned covering the travails of a pill-popping American football player. No mention of 7-Eleven or their significant decision that shows action in support of our nation and president.

None of that was worth mentioning by ABC. Que lastima!

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

A Stubborn Fact

Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passions, they cannot alter the state of the facts and evidence. ~ John Adams, 2nd U.S. President

As the political tirades over terrorism heat up in the wake of Bill Clinton's tantrum on Fox, with furious Democrats railing that President Bush's policies have made us less safe, one fact remains solid and irrefutable: The United States has not been attacked by Islamo-fascist terrorists since September 11, 2001.

That's over five years ago. The situation could change at any moment, and no one realizes that better than the president. But up to the moment I'm writing this post, America has remained unassaulted since 9/11. That's a stubborn fact, and one that gets marked in President Bush's column.

Sunday, September 24, 2006



Trevor Hoffman, on the major league baseball record for all-time saves:


Thursday, September 21, 2006

Mary and the Muslims

Radio talk show host Laura Ingraham posted a link to a fascinating and provocative mid-20th century article by then Bishop Fulton J. Sheen (he later became archbishop, and is now being considered for sainthood). The topic of Sheen's article is the Blessed Mother's connection to Islam.

Although not too clear on the historical specifics, I knew that Fatima, Portugal, had been occupied by Islamic powers centuries ago. I have always assumed that the city of Fatima was named for the prophet Mohammed's daughter. Bishop Sheen's article explains that the source of the name is far more romantic, involving an interfaith marriage between a Catholic young man and a Muslim girl named Fatima.

The article also details the Islamic reverence towards the Blessed Mother, something I had been vaguely aware of but had not known the depths of its fervence. He then suggests that Mary, the mother of Jesus Christ, might well be the conduit through which Our Lord may reach the people of Islam.

Sheen offers his conclusion that the Blessed Mother's powerful and uniquely significant role in the spiritual history of humanity may not yet be complete. Her visitations to the shepherd children in 1917 at Fatima, Portugal, became world famous and gave the Blessed Mother one of her most well-known titles, Our Lady of Fatima (pictured). It is within the realm of reason that God would once again, in our current Islamic world crisis, apply her faithful willingness to do His will as a key component in His plan to "deliver us from evil."

On this subject, Bishop Sheen may have been light years ahead of his time.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Appreciating Our Heroes

It's hard to believe, but the holiday season is fast approaching. Remember our troops overseas, who are a long way from their families. Expressing our appreciation to them is easy to do, thanks to the "Holidays for Heroes" program through Soldiers' Angels.

Please give your participation some thought. Learn how easy and inexpensive it will be to lift the spirts of our troops during the holidays by reading the details on the Soldiers' Angels website.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Truth Hurts

The adage tells us that truth hurts. I would further state that the thinner the skin, the sharper the pain that truth will inflict.

The hysterical outrage from the Islamic world merely underscores the veracity of the quotation Pope Benedict XVI cited in his speech at Regensburg University during his trip to Germany. It was a quotation from a conversation between two men who have been dead for five centuries. Their thoughts are hardly a real-time threat. It seems to betray a certain insecurity and, dare I say it, intolerance, that Muslims would get worked into such a lather over one historical reference in a lengthy speech.

Now, they're bombing churches because of the pope's quotation. This vicious Muslim overreaction merely proves the pope's point. It is "evil and inhuman" to insist, under threat of death, that people accept their religion. Didn't that recently happen to two captured news reporters? And whatever happened to that story, by the way? It sure fell out of MSM news pretty quickly. But MSM wouldn't want to offend the Islamo-maniacs, they might come after them with a rusty scimitar. Not that there's anything "evil and inhuman" about slaughtering infidels. Oh, no, that's just an expression of faith. Nothing evil or inhuman about it, it's so very simple--praise Allah or die.

Imagine if today's Christians tried that approach with Jesus Christ. Or, the "monkey on the cross," as the misunderstood and grievously insulted Islamo-maniacs call Our Lord. It appears that all the deadly force and terrible insults must come from the Islamic side of the religious equation in order for peace to reign in the world.

Not that there's anything "evil and inhuman" about that.

I, for one, am glad someone finally came out and called radical Islam what it is, even if it was via an obscure historical quotation. And, as a Catholic, I'm extra-glad that the one who said it happened to be the pope. If they aren't "evil and inhuman," let the Islamo-fascists prove it to us--in concrete deeds, not in maniacal words.

UPDATE: I've read many analyses offering the conclusion that Benedict didn't know what he was getting into by using that particular quote. I disagree. This pope is one smart cookie, and I think he intentionally launched his verbal rocket to smoke the religious argument out onto center stage. Benedict may pay with his life, but this controvery may well alter the dynamics of "the world's" attitudes and actions towards the war.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Crystal Clear

"It's a dangerous world. I wish it wasn't that way. I wish I could tell the American people, ‘Don't worry about it. They're not coming again.’ But they are coming again." ~ President George W. Bush, 9/15/06

Read the story and decide for yourself if the president is asking too much of Congress.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

America Needs Her Mother

When history looks back upon this time in the U.S.A.--if, indeed, we survive long enough to have a history to look back upon--I think it will see a president who fought mightily to protect our country while others in government kept his hands tied and his legs shackled.

After today's senatorial defiance of the president's call for stronger interrogation tactics, I am beginning to fear our own leaders more than the Islamo-fascists. The senators are well positioned to do serious damage to our country and our military, and they seem eager and committed to do so. Whether they are motivated by political design or complete stupidity is beside the point. Their determined ignorance of our enemy's nature is certain to get a lot more Americans killed.

Even former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the prior Secretary of State Colin Powell, a great American hero and icon, has weighed in against his former boss. " The world is beginning to doubt the moral basis of our fight against terrorism," Powell wrote in his letter. Powell said Bush's bill, by tinkering with Geneva Conventions treatments allowed, "would add to those doubts. Furthermore, it would put our own troops at risk."

Don't look now, General, but our own troops are already at extremely high risk. No matter how solicitously we treat enemy prisoners, our troops will still have their heads lopped off if they are captured. I found all of Powell's statements utterly ridiculous.

"Moral basis of our fight"? What is he talking about? We're fighting people who pop out captive's eyeballs, just for fun, before killing them. Somehow, Britney Spears over the loudspeaker at Gitmo just doesn't compare. "The world is beginning to doubt," oh yes, there's a news flash. The U.S. acts and sacrifices, "the world" doubts. It's been that way for a long time, and it's why "the world" now has the luxury of armchair quarterbacking America's every move. "The world," as usual, is having all its heavy lifting done by the U.S.A.

This country needs more than righteous anger, although that doesn't hurt. The U.S.A. needs prayers, because I think we, as a nation, have totally lost our way. It is impossible to win this or any war by kissing the enemy's butt. Or "The world's" butt.

The patron saint of the United States is Mary, mother of God. She has hundreds of titles, collected over the centuries, but as our patron she is known primarily as the Immaculate Conception (pictured). In Catholic theology, this title refers to Mary being born without sin.

She has two other names as our patron. I'm a cradle Catholic, fairly savvy with Mary intel, but this second title was a new one on me: Our Lady of the Milk and Happy Delivery. I didn't quite know what to make of it until I read the link, which describes the first U.S. shrine dedicated to Mary. It certainly breathes fresh life into the bromide about learning something new everyday.

The third title is my favorite: Our Lady of Victory. In view of this ongoing war, the strength we need to win it, and the internal odds against us, I'm one American who takes comfort in the fact that Our Lady of Victory--our patron saint, Our Lord's mother--is on our side. Three badly needed "Hail Marys" for the U.S.A., coming right up.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006


When one wants to absorb the grim facts with a large dose of ironical humor, Mark Steyn is the only place to shop. I've linked two articles in which Steyn will have you smiling and shaking your head simultaneously.

I'm looking forward to reading his book, available online at and due for bookstore release at the end of this month: America Alone: The End of the World As We Know It. Coming to know Steyn as I have from his prolific writings, there will undoubtedly be more truth than poetry in it.

Monday, September 11, 2006

"We're in this together"

I flew home to San Diego from New York today, nonstop on American Airlines. It was a light passenger load, with perhaps one-third of the seats filled. The disaster of five years ago no doubt lays heavily on many travelers' minds. It certainly crossed my own mind, after seeing the riot of 9/11 coverage in New York newspapers all weekend and this morning. I prayed more than usual while awaiting takeoff.

It was a beautiful late summer day in New York today, a sparkling image of that tragic morning five years past. On the plane, I spotted a young Marine loading his gear into the overhead, and thanked him for his service--a rewarding habit I have acquired from Hugh Hewitt's oft-repeated advice. The young servicemen I greet and thank are always taken aback at first, and then warmly appreciative of the recognition. More Americans should try this simple gesture that is so important, so appreciated, and so gratifying to extend.

The flight was quiet and uneventful, and it was a rare treat to be able to stretch out across three seats to read my book, as though sitting on my living room sofa. As we approached San Diego, the captain made a brief and poignant statement over the speakers. To paraphrase, he thanked us for traveling with them on this date, when so many of our countrymen died in "such a horrific way." He stated that American Airlines had felt the loss "up close and personal." The captain then asked all passengers, "As you go about your business today in San Diego, please take a moment to pass a thought, raise a toast, or offer a prayer....for those who died."

He concluded with this simple directive, which was startling in its brilliant truth:

"Remember that we are all in this together."

Through the chaos, smoke and ash of September 11, 2001, that one fact seemed so very clear to all Americans. Remember "United We Stand"? We knew we were all in it together then. It's time to remind ourselves: no matter how we vote, or how much we wish things were different now, five years later we are still in it together.

Probably for a very long haul.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Never Forget

The World Trade Center

The Pentagon

Shanksville, Pennsylvania

Never forget the three battlefields of September 11, 2001, where thousands of our fellow citizens were slaughtered in a brutal act of war against the United States and its people.

I'll be in New York on 9/11. I'll also be taking a plane home to California on that day. It seems a fitting action to commemorate our murdered countrymen on the fifth anniversary of the merciless attacks that have come to be known simply as 9/11.

Friday, September 01, 2006

A Bone-Chilling Synopsis

As much as I admire Victor Davis Hanson as a scholar, historian and writer, I must say that his articles often put me in a gloomy state of mind. Today's entry in National Review Online, "The Waiting Game," is no exception.

VDH's pieces depress and alarm me because I think he is correct in his assessments. I, too, believe that yet another "earth-shattering kaboom" must occur on our soil before Americans realize the seriousness of this war.