Saturday, May 31, 2008

Three Questions for Obama

Senator Obama, when will you finally decide to go back to Iraq, to see the progress first hand?

Vets for Freedom asks the excellent question noted above, in Spc. Norley's ad, linked here.

A second question for Mr. Obama: Why did you refuse to meet with Vets for Freedom when they requested a meeting at your Senate office, while you were actually sitting in your office (perhaps hiding under your desk)?

Third question for Mr. Obama: Do you truly have the gall to think you should be Commander-in-Chief of our military forces?

Thursday, May 29, 2008

English Lesson

Let's take a quick break from politics and the sorry state of the world. Please, work with me for one post. I want to turn attention to something near and dear to my heart: the English language.

As a lifelong "word person," I've gritted my teeth for years as I catch spelling, syntax, and grammatical errors in articles in newspapers, magazine articles, and now, the major internet blogs. They make me cringe, every time.

It's not so much the fact that mistakes are made--I see the same errors every day in the e-mails of the business world, where I simply sigh and keep reading. Not everyone was an English major, I remind myself. But in the case of the printed media, there are people who are paid to 1) know the rules, and 2) apply them. These people are called "editors," and in my opinion, they should either do their jobs--or learn them.

Here are my "Top Ten Typos"--for lack of a better term:

1. Loose/Lose - To "lose" is a verb meaning to misplace or fail at something. The adjective "loose" describes something not tight, or as a verb conveys the action of setting something free (e.g., "loose the anchor"). These words are not interchangeable.

2. It’s/Its - "It's" is a contraction of two words, "it is." This has nothing to do with the single word, possessive pronoun "its" which denotes ownership. It may be my imagination, but the incorrect usage of "it's" instead of "its" seems to be increasingly common. It's leading English grammar to its degradation, if not destruction.

3. You’re/your - Not as ubiquitous as "it's/its" errors, but seen often enough to indicate a growing laziness among writers. "You're" is the contraction for "you are." "Your" is a possessive pronoun. If you're using "your" instead of "you're," grammar is not your strong suit and you're in need of a proofreader.

4. To/too - Another common error, but more forgiveable. It's such a tiny word. Using the preposition instead of the adverb is usually the result of the writer going too fast.

5. Pundit/Pundint - This is a relatively new mispronunciation, heard mostly on cable TV and talk radio. There is only one "N" in the word "pundit," which means an expert or learned teacher. But many commentators insist on sneaking in the second "N"--thus proving their lack of expertise, at least in speaking English.

6. Divisive/Divisive - There used to be no divisiveness over this word. It was correctly pronounced "di-VY-siv" and there was no debate. Now, we have the trendy "di-VISS-iv" strain racing through talk media like a runaway verbal flu. Did someone just make this up? Will we soon start hearing "in-SISS-ive" commentary rather than "in-SY-siv" analysis? At the rate the language is deteriorating, don't be surprised if we do.

7. Old adage - "Adage" means a proverb or a saying of long usage. This definition describes an old saying. To say "old adage" translates as "old old saying." How very, very redundant.

8. Could've went - Along with "should've ran," your basic grammatical nightmare. I hear it on a regular basis, even from M.B.A. holders. Perhaps especially from them. This is a blog, not a textbook, so I won't belabor the issue here. But if you don't see the problems in this usage, you owe it to yourself, and to your mother tongue, to look it up.

9. Nuclear - It's pronounced noo-clee-ar. Not "noo-cu-lar"--no matter how many times Jimmy Carter says it, that's completely wrong. If you're plagued with mispronunciation of this word, try this simple exercise. Say "new," then immediately say "clear"--there, that's it! "New-clear"--you've got it!

10. Exact same - You see it everywhere, hear it from everyone. I must confess this one doesn't bother me as much as it did my father. An English language purist, he groaned as though in pain every time he heard it. "Exact" means "same"--see #7 above. So "exact same" is "same same."

English is a complex language with plenty of room for error. We're all going to make mistakes occasionally when we write and speak. But I think we should make the more honorable and obscure mistakes, and scrub the common errors from our personal usage.

It's not right that we lose our native language to the divisive pundits who would turn correct English usage into an adage. You're too smart for that. Although we could have gone separate ways, let's stay nuclear on this and keep accurate grammar the same.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Required Reading

Michael Yon is an independent, self-supporting embedded reporter in Iraq, a former Green Beret who has consistently called the bad shots as well as the good in the ongoing war against Islamist terrorism.

Yon's objective reporting has earned enormous credibility with the military and civilians alike.
Moment of Truth in Iraq is Michael Yon's most recent book. If you would like to make sense out of the war we are winning, despite what the nightly news would have you believe, you must read it.

Yon also posts to a blog
, and his photos and first-hand accounts of wartime experiences are heartstopping. I've followed his work for over a year and have now added Michael Yon to my sidebar for easy linking. Please visit his site, read the amazing reports you will never hear from MSM, and support his work.

With a presidential election rapidly approaching, every American has an obligation to know the facts about our military, their mission, and the real story of success that is now unfolding in the Mideast. It's time to do our homework before we vote, as November 2008 will indeed be America's "moment of truth" in Iraq.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Our Honored Dead

The United States of America's Most Hallowed Ground

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Mary and Our Military

...Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners now, and at the hour of our death. Amen.
~ The Hail Mary

With Memorial Day fast approaching, I decided to research the patron saints for all branches of our military.

As it turns out, all of the U.S. Armed Forces are in the care of the same first rate patron saint. I think our troops should have nothing but the best, and one can't do better than the Blessed Mother.

Mary, Mother of Our Lord, has numerous titles within the Catholic Church. She is our military's patron in three different representations.

United States soldiers have as their patron the Immaculate Conception. There are many other soldier patron saints, including St. Martin of Tours and Michael the Archangel. But the American Catholic bishops decreed Mary the Immaculate Conception as patron saint of the United States in May 1846, thus our U.S. soldiers receive her special protection.

Air Force pilots, and all airmen, are guarded by Our Lady of Loreto. There is an ancient story that Mary's girlhood home was transported by angels to Loreto, Italy, where it remains to this day. From this tradition came Mary's patronage of all aviators.

Sailors, Coast Guardsmen, and all mariners--which includes our U.S. Marine Corps--are watched over by Stella Maris, a latin term for Our Lady, Star of the Sea that dates to the early days of the Church.

Prayers for all of our brave military men and women, whether fighting or fallen. May your patron saint guide your steps always, to the end of this life and beyond, into glory.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Baseball and Inspiration

The Boston Red Sox have never been my home team, but stories as inspiring as Jon Lester's go far beyond geographical borders.

Congratulations to Jon Lester, world class competitor in pitching baseballs and fighting cancer. Accomplishments like his are the stuff of legend. Lester's no-hitter reminds each of us of the uplifting rewards delivered by hard work towards a personal goal, against any naysayers and all odds.

It's a heartwarming baseball milestone that every American sports lover (even Yankee fans) should take the opportunity to enjoy celebrating.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Appalling Ignorance

He beat the hell out of me.

Barack Obama indignantly brands general remarks by President Bush, in which Obama is not even named, an "appalling attack" upon himself. He even gave a press conference to rant against this perceived slander.

But what's really appalling is Senator Obama's ignorance of 20th century Cold War history.

"When Kennedy met with (Soviet leader Nikita) Khrushchev, we were on the brink of nuclear war," lectures Obama, as reported far and wide by a blissfully cooperative press. I haven't seen a single MSM outlet challenge the stunning inaccuracy of Obama's declaration--probably because they haven't bothered to check the facts. And if they have checked, they know that the facts are unfavorable to Obama, therefore unreportable.

The Vienna Summit was held in June 1961. The U.S. was nowhere near the "brink of nuclear war" at that time. But Khrushchev came away from that meeting with the impression of Kennedy as soft, weak, and easily pushed around. Kennedy realized it, even stated it bluntly to a NY Times reporter, but it was too late to stop the emboldened Soviet premier from pressing forward with his plans for basing Soviet missiles in Cuba, 90 miles from the U.S. mainland.

The direct result of the friendly chat in Vienna in June 1961 was the Cuban Missile Crisis of October 1962. It was the meeting itself that propelled us to "the brink of nuclear war." Now, in light of the facts, tell me how much sense it makes for a hypothetical President Obama to sit down and attempt to smooth things out with Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad?

Petulance, arrogance, and overweening pride are bad enough character traits in a prospective president. But Obama's astonishing level of historical ignorance is completely unacceptable and outright dangerous in a would-be Commander in Chief, especially during a time of war.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Busy News Day

The majority...simply does not have the right to erase, then recast, the age-old definition of marriage, as virtually all societies have understood it, in order to satisfy its own contemporary notions of equality and justice.
~ Associate Justice Marvin Baxter, California Supreme Court, May 15, 2008 - Dissent on Same Sex Marriage

Actually, Justices Baxter and Chin described today's decision as "judicial fiat." Very apt, considering that 61% of the California electorate voted to recognize only marriage between a man and a woman in March 2000.

But, I fully expected today's decision. In the wake of Proposition 187, which was also trashed by the courts, Californians have learned that our votes are meaningless--unless they conform to the moment's politically correct standards. So much for Lincoln's "government of the People," which seems to have perished from the earth after all, at least in the State of California.

Some seem to believe that we should negotiate with the terrorists and radicals, as if some ingenious argument will persuade them they have been wrong all along. We have heard this foolish delusion before. As Nazi tanks crossed into Poland in 1939, an American senator declared: "Lord, if I could only have talked to Hitler, all this might have been avoided." We have an obligation to call this what it is — the false comfort of appeasement, which has been repeatedly discredited by history.
~ President George W. Bush, to Israeli Parliament - May 15, 2008

It's all true. Every word the president said in this speech is a timely reminder of history we are in danger of repeating. Yet the Democrats are outraged--particularly Barack Obama. Of course, in Obama's egomaniacal mind, this was a direct insult to him. There are any number of Congressional numbskulls--and a disgraceful ex-president--who simply don't comprehend the advancing threat we face from radical Islam. But for Obama, everything is all about him.

The president's speech was a gift for John McCain, who smoothly interjected himself into the fracas. "It does bring up an issue we'll be discussing with the American people and that is, 'why does Senator Obama want to sit down with a state sponsor of terrorism?' McCain inquired, noting that Obama's willingness to chat with enemies underscores his lack of experience and portrays him as naive. Today was a bad round for the Barackstar.

We must use all our forces, and save lives at whatever cost. Life is the most precious thing.
~ Premier Wen Jiabao, China, May 15, 2008

China's death toll from this week's earthquake could reach 50,000. The photos of the devastation are overwhelming to see. China's crushing tragedy puts our country's current events issues into perspective. We Americans do have more than our fair share of "judicial fiats" and "false political attacks." It's a good time to remember that we also have more than our fair share of comforts and blessings.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Prayers for China

The thoughts and prayers of the American people are with the Chinese people, especially those directly affected. The United States stands ready to help in any way possible.

China's massive earthquake covered an area equivalent in size to the continental United States from Maine to Arizona and killed over 12,000 people, with the death toll still climbing. That's a degree of disaster, destruction, and human suffering very difficult to comprehend from the comfort of an American living room.

As is usual in the wake of any world disaster, the U.S.A. immediately pledged its support and aid to China. To everything there is a season, and now is the time for us to help our Chinese neighbors.

Monday, May 12, 2008


Hillary Clinton has far more in common with the Terminator than mere inhuman perseverance. Like the frightening T101, no matter how badly she's wounded, she just won't quit in her determined, tireless pursuit of her prey--oops, I mean, her goal.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

A Double Celebration

For with God nothing is impossible.

Today is Pentecost Sunday, often referred to as the "birthday of the Church." This celebrates the day that the Spirit of God descended upon the Apostles and Christ's mother, Mary, giving them the strength, courage, and ability to communicate necessary to teach Our Lord's message.

It's also Mothers' Day in the U.S., which creates a harmonic intersection between two important occasions.

Without the brave consent to God's will of a young Jewish girl named Mary, there would have been no Church. The Blessed Mother, as many Catholics refer to her (I've never heard my mother refer to her as anything else), was a commanding presence not only through Our Lord's early years, but throughout the critical moments of his public life and death, as well as Pentecost.

It was Mary, after all, who prompted Our Lord into beginning his ministry, at the wedding at Cana. When she heard the bad news about the wine, Mary proceeded directly to Jesus and told him of the problem. "Woman, what wouldst thou have me do? My hour has not yet come."

Translated into modern-speak, that roughly boils down to "Ma, what do you want from my life? I'm not on duty yet."

Undeterred by his reluctance, Mary returns to the servants and instructs them to "Do whatever he tells you." She had faith that her son would listen to her--and sure enough, he did.

This is why so many Catholics cherish their devotion to the Mother of Our Lord. When we ask her aid in prayer, we know she will place our intentions before God. Based on Scripture, that method promises good results.

So Happy Mothers' Day, to my mother, to yours, to every mother reading, and also to our Blessed Mother on this birthday of the Christian Church, which her faith in God made possible.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

10,000 Reasons to Hide

Michelle Obama gave a campaign speech in North Carolina on May 2. She didn't run out of words until she reached 10,008 of them. (HT:HH)

Barack Obama's famous "More Perfect Union" speech on race was less than half that long. It makes me wonder: who's the candidate, and for what?

Mrs. O's moaning motor mouth gives new meaning to the Clintonian phrase "two for one," and it should make any voter who remembers the '90s shudder. Hillary was usually spouting off as First Lady, complaining about "vast right wing conspiracies"--which seem to have fallen out of fashion. But now we've got Big Mouth Michelle following in Hollerin' Hillary's footsteps.

At least Hillary could keep her kvetching brief. Mrs. Obama, scolding and indignant, will harangue you until your eardrums burst.

In her 10,000+ words, Michelle Obama didn't find much to praise in the country that has given her opportunity, influence, fame, a hefty six-figure income, an extremely comfortable life, and degrees from two of our most prestigious universities. In fact, she seems fairly outraged that she was actually expected to pay for such an exclusive education. I suppose after Barack gets elected, we'll have government vouchers to get everyone into Princeton and Harvard.

Michelle Obama uses words such as "alone," "struggling," "isolated," "divided," "cynical," and "fear." It's such a scary place, America, where people are "mired in debt" and living under a "veil of impossibility," where we're raising a "nation of doubters."

Listening to her paint this grim scenario, you'd think the Obamas would have taken their children and fled years ago to the safety, comfort, and promise of--China? Russia? North Korea? Nevermind. If you listen to Mrs. Obama, almost any place you can spot on a world map would be better than "struggling" in the Moving Bar of America.

And oh, the angst generated by that moving bar! The Incredible Moving Bar got a dozen mentions. You can't say she didn't warn us:

"I talk about this all the time, they set the bar...and then what happens? They move the bar. "

The nerve of "them"--whoever "they" are. If we could just figure out who "they" are, we could get "them" to stop moving "the bar" which prevents us from ever being happy in this godforsaken, depressing, broken down shell of a nation.

Michelle also lectures us that "we spend more time now in this nation talking about what we can’t do, what won’t work, what can’t change."

Now, here she could be on to something real. Because I'll tell you what I can't do--I can't vote for Barack Obama. That won't work for me. That fact can't change. Not in 10,000 words.

Monday, May 05, 2008

The Way to Boston

I guess God made Boston on a wet Sunday. ~ Raymond Chandler

If you've stopped by at all in May, you'll know I've been offline. It was time for me to go visit my baby girl in Boston, her home since September 2007.

Although a born East Coaster, I had never spent any time in Boston before this. Driven through it at top speed (and is there any other kind in Boston?), yes. Wandered through Logan Airport, yes. But stopped to smell the tulips in this lovely town? No, not until this past weekend.

It is a fascinating place, Boston. Lots of brick, cobblestone, statues, and history. I think every American should spent a couple of days exploring Boston. Lace up your hiking boots and go walking--there's too much to miss if you drive. If ever a city was built for walking, it's Boston. The roots of the U.S.A. run deep around you as you travel the Freedom Trail, the old blending carelessly with the new.

That famous architectural wonder,Trinity Church, has as a next-door-neighbor a glass office building soaring into the sky. Paul Revere's house nestles between newer (though still old) brick houses and shops. The memorial to the 54th Regiment, of "Glory" movie fame, stands watch over a busy street corner. And the Public Gardens and the Boston Common , two of the oldest public parks in the country, are bursting with the blossoms of springtime right now.

It was damp and cloudy, with copious sprinkles of misty rain the entire time I was there, but the weather was of no importance to me. I wanted to see my much-missed daughter, to know that she has settled into her new hometown and is enjoying her new life. We both also wanted to have some fun together, and did we ever. Besides shepherding me along the Freedom Trail and a tour of Trinity Church, she took me to the Red Sox game on Saturday night. The Sox won, saints be can't help but root for them while in Boston. It's almost like mind control.

Being from New York originally, I thought I understood sports fans. I didn't. Boston takes sports mania to a whole new level, kind of like a crazed cult religion that everyone follows. It's hard to describe if you haven't been there, which is another reason everyone should visit. You can then see for yourself the sea of Red Sox hats, jackets, sweatshirts, even jewelry that crowd the streets day and night. And in this current basketball season, you can also see massive Boston Celtics banners lashed to the fronts of buildings--including the State Capitol.

We packed a lot into three days, my daughter and I. We talked, walked, laughed, ate, drank, and wrote a continuing chapter of our own family history. For nearly 30 years, my mother has been flying West each year to visit me in California. Now I'll be flying East to visit my daughter, for however long she lives there.

The Freedom Trail is linear and marked by a red path to guide you along the way, but the Family Trail turns in the circle of love that needs no direction.