Friday, January 30, 2009

What Scares Me Most

In these most recent 20 years -- the alleged winter of our disrespect of the Islamic world -- America did not just respect Muslims, it bled for them.
~ Charles Krauthammer

Charles Krauthammer has written an important essay on the truth of America's treatment of the Muslim world. What scares me most about Obama's presidency is his terribly dangerous posturing as the penitent new American leader, pandering to the Muslim world with firm hubris in the power of his charm and persuasion.

My greatest fear is that this kindler, gentler approach to those who wish us dead will indeed result in more dead Americans. The shadow of September 11 has grown dim in our collective memory (although not in mine), and our enemy thinks in decades, not months or years as is our impatient and perilous wont. This is the reason I voted for McCain, a Republican for which I had little enthusiasm except on the one issue that matters most to me--national security.

I sincerely hope I am wrong. But I am afraid that, with each well-heralded shift away from the security policies of President Bush, we move closer towards disaster at the hands of a vicious enemy who nods approvingly at our incredible naivete.

The economic crisis is serious, of course, but however difficult the means, it can be fixed. Money is in constant ebb and flow, but there is no return on investment for lives lost.

Monday, January 26, 2009

The First Right

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life...

The remainder of humanity's rights are rather moot without the first: Life.

There are many impassioned pro-lifers; I have never been one of them. However, I do know right from wrong, and I understand the evil of destroying life. This is neither a religious nor a biblical viewpoint, although I could make those arguments, probably with greater ease. My concept of abortion as a wrongdoing comes from what the philosophers, and our founding fathers, termed "natural law."

In its simplest form, natural law defines that which any human being instinctively knows to be wrong. No religious rules, no Holy Scripture, just a person's gut knowledge that an action is wrong.

Stealing? Wrong. Murdering? Wrong. Killing a baby? Also wrong.

Think about it. Today's technology supports the life argument, not death. Those sonograms of early stage embryos that we see gracing office computer screens and home refrigerator doors, why, that's little Megan or Michael! But if the pregnancy happens to be ill-timed, why is little Megan or Michael suddenly nothing more than a splotch of medical waste?

This is not to say there is absolutely no place for ending a pregnancy. Of course, there are such circumstances. But they should be dictated by serious health reasons, not personal convenience. We, as a society, should be working to protect the life that modern science proves exists within the womb; human rights should apply. Yet with the stroke of a pen last Friday, President Obama signed the death warrants of uncounted multitudes of innocent babies around the world.

Wrong. Not something that makes me in any way "really proud of my country," to quote Michelle Obama on the campaign trail.

The president signed the executive order late Friday afternoon, as though hoping no one would notice. But Pope Benedict XVI happened to be watching, and the ensuing publicity is not quite the cover of darkness Obama had hoped for.

I'm going to watch the follow up on this issue, because I think it will be interesting. American bishops may soon be receiving direction that it's time to stop winking and nodding as such paper Catholics as Nancy Pelosi, Joe Biden, Ted Kennedy, John Kerry, among others, step up to the communion rail.

While I've never been on fire about the abortion issue, I know it's wrong. I find it very telling that President Obama chose an obscure hour at the start of a weekend to try to slide this change through. He evidently was nervous about media coverage.

If Obama is hoping that Pope Benedict will be too worried about being unpopular to pursue the issue--well, that may not be a matter of natural law, but he's wrong.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

We Do It Best

The British have their grand coronations and all their unrivaled royal pomp and ceremony. But the United States of America has the classiest, most dignified, civilized and celebratory exchange of power in history.

I didn't vote for Barack Obama, but I am able to relish the day and all it signifies. Inauguration Day only comes once every four years. On the occasions when the White House changes occupants, the rest of the world can only stand back, watch, and wonder at the fine discipline and respectful structure of our system.

The man who has been the country's leader for the past four years very simply steps aside and honors the transfer of authority to the new president, who was elected by the American people according to the process outlined in our Constitution. This peaceful transformation and renewal of our nation has been occuring, uninterrupted, since George Washington took the first presidential Oath of Office. It always presents our best opportunity to show the world what "government by the people" really means.

Change. It was the buzzword of President Barack Obama's campaign, and today was a splendid example that the U.S.A. does it best.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Happy Endings

It's a feel-good story that Americans welcome especially now, in our tough economic times. The miraculous conclusion two days ago of US Airways #1549 is a reminder to us--and to our enemies--that, in the wake of 9/11, our country--and in this particular case, New York--now stands vigilant and prepared for disaster.

There is a strange irony to this event occurring in the waning hours of George W. Bush's presidency. During his first year in office, he was swept by 9/11 into the status of wartime president. We know the rest, and President Bush has paid a huge personal price to bring us to his finish line without another attack on our nation.

I should be careful with that statement, as there are two days left before Bush leaves office--and Al Qaeda and their demonic ilk never sleep.

Although I have had my own exasperations with President Bush, I still maintain that history will vindicate him in a way that MSM and the hard left in this country never will. There are actually some in the international media that realize this, as evidenced in this eloquent article by Andrew Roberts of the United Kingdom.

Like Flight 1549, Bush's presidency was on a collision course with death and destruction from an external force, yet bravely bore the assault, impact, and extensive damage necessary in order to get its people through safely.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

January Mystique

There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio,
Than are dreamt of in your philosophy.
~ Hamlet Act 1, Scene 5 ~ Wm. Shakespeare

Today, as I “surfed the net,” I came across this piece by David Brooks, “In Defense of Death,” written in honor of the recently deceased Fr. Richard Neuhaus. While the article is interesting in itself, I find it especially intriguing because it was 3 years ago today—on Friday the 13th, 2006--that my husband and I learned he would die very soon. One week to the day later, Pete was gone.

I don’t know how to explain the many coincidences that punctuate the sad, secret little anniversaries I observe each January. I only know that they occur with startling regularity, and that they bring me a sense of peace and comfort. Stumbling upon this article today, on a website I visit only occasionally, is only one of these coincidences.

Pete told me he would haunt me. I like to believe that, in his characteristically precise fashion, he has found a quiet and creative way to do so in a manner that can’t be missed, even by one so habitually preoccupied and unobservant as myself.

In Defense of Death,” indeed. Okay, Pete, I’ve gotten the memo that all is well. Thanks for checking in--again.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Money Talks, Greatness Walks

I'm a rolling thunder, a pouring rain
I'm comin on like a hurricane
My lightning's flashing across the sky
You're only young but you're gonna die

I won't take no prisoners, won't spare no lives
Nobody's putting up a fight
I got my bell, I'm gonna take you to hell
~ AC-DC's "Hells Bells"

It's no news that these are hard times.

The hardest thing so far for me is watching Trevor Hoffman leave San Diego for Milwaukee. It hurts far more than looking at my 401(k) balance. After all, money may come back someday. But Trevor? As they say in baseball, "That ball is gone."

Aside from the excitement of watching Hoffman pitch baseball at his best, he is an unmatched team leader and role model for the younger players. Hoffman has been a Padre since 1993, works hard, is dedicated to his team and winning, is devoted to his family, helps the community, and wanted to stay on with the Padres after he retired to act as a liaison between players and management.

Trevor Hoffman is every bit of the good stuff, and he didn't deserve to have his $4 million deal pulled off the table by Padres management. I don't care if he hadn't answered them yet after three weeks. The man is a champion who put untold millions in the club's coffers just by showing up in the ninth inning. He should have been treated with more respect. But he wasn't, and now he's gone. It will be a challenge to get happy about baseball season this year.

There is no way to explain to someone who has never been to a Padres game closed by Trevor Hoffman the thrill of watching him trot out of the bullpen for the final outs, but here's a link that will try. Here's another link to his record-breaking 479th save, a game my daughter attended. Everyone in the stadium would stand as one electrified body, roaring cheers over the strains of AC-DC's "Hell's Bells," Hoffman's signature tune. I was fortunate to be there a few times to experience the excitement of his wins. I admire him as a player and as a person, and after Tony Gwynn retired, Hoffman became my favorite baseball player.

I'm a bereft fan now, with no one to look up to on the Padres and nothing to look forward to next season. In San Diego, Trevor Time is over, and it's taking me to hell.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

A Refreshing Appraisal

I have been patiently waiting for a charitable retrospective of George W. Bush's presidency, one that did not belabor his innumerable beastly faults. As Obama's inauguration draws ever nearer, I knew that one would surface, eventually.

It is no surprise that this positive synopsis of the past eight years was written by Hugh Hewitt. Although he is a rock-solid Republican, Hewitt maintains a reasonable degree of objectivity as he points out the outgoing president's achievements, which have always been largely ignored by MSM. If you haven't time to read the whole piece (although I hope you do), this passage is an effective summation:

Here was an extraordinary and controversial man who
accomplished a great deal, lost many battles, stood by his friends sometimes too long and could be stubborn beyond political calculation but who accomplished his most urgent task of protecting the union against its many enemies. The successful completion of that task is what all great presidents have in common.

I've been as exasperated as the next conservative with George W. Bush over a variety of issues. I think he made some dreadful mistakes in the past eight years. But to Hewitt's comprehensive tribute, I'll add my own one-sentence assessment of Bush 43's presidency: He made me feel safe.

In a deeply troubled world such as the one we inhabit today, I can offer a leader no higher praise.

Sunday, January 04, 2009


Ya gotta believe

Defying all odds throughout a season of questionable officiating, key player injuries and generally bad breaks, the San Diego Chargers have lived to fight another day after their thrilling overtime victory in the wildcard playoff game last night.

Who knows, they may just beat the Pittsburgh Steelers next Saturday. Stranger things have happened. And after a game like last night's, anything seems possible for the Bolts.

Go Chargers!

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Thoughts on the New Year

Wipe the slate clean, it's time for a fresh start. As 2009 dawns, each of us can look forward to new beginnings.

Economic issues are on most American minds, justifiably enough. If we still have our jobs, let's be grateful for them and work hard to keep them. For the many of us who are suffering the misfortune of unemployment, try to stay positive. What's that adage? Tough times don't last, tough people do. This country has been through much worse.

Heck, I've been through much worse. I remember the early '80s recession, with 16% interest rates right after New Year, 1982. Pete and I had just bought our first home, he was in construction and all his jobs fell through right after we closed escrow on Jan. 5. I wasn't back in the workforce yet, having young children at home. So we had a brand new mortgage and no income for a brief and scary time, until I found a job in the spring. Construction, always hard hit in bad times, didn't pick up until the fall. When I read the stories of today's struggling young families, I nod in sympathy. I understand their fears and worries completely.

Yet my family managed to survive that difficult time, even to thrive eventually. There's a reason we are given one day at a time; it's really all we can handle, isn't it? Especially in a rough financial time like the current one. So I resolve to live my New Year each day as it comes, with the knowledge that, whatever tomorrow may bring, I'll find a way to deal with it.

New Year's Day is a reminder that every day is a gift in itself. There are 365 fresh starts stretching ahead of us. Let's make the most of them.

Happy New Year to all.