Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Thoughts for a Better Year

It's that introspective time of year, when we look back, take stock of where we've been, and look ahead to where we're going. New Year's Eve, a time for fresh starts, is upon us.

We all know the resolution drill, but I read something today that made astonishing sense for all year long. "Mentally Strong People: The 13 Things They Avoid" is a kind of road map to watering your own garden and being happy with where you are and what you have in life. Maybe the article resonated so strongly with me because it reminds me a bit of my own "Five Be's," which I listed here a couple of years ago.

Happy New Year. Make it a good one; only you can.

Friday, December 27, 2013

Beyond the Baroness

If you love old films, you've probably heard of Eleanor Parker. If you've heard of her, you've probably seen some of her movies. And if you've seen her movies, even though she's been retired from acting for many years, you'll be sorry that she's gone.

Eleanor Parker as "Lenore" in Scaramouche, 1952
Eleanor Parker was a whole lot more than "The Baroness" in The Sound of Music, which is how most movie-goers think of her. But she had a brilliant career in 1940s-and-50s Hollywood, acting with such giants as Errol Flynn, Clark Gable, and Frank Sinatra. She was an Oscar nominee for best actress three times.  Her obituary in the "Movie" section of The New York Times doesn't even mention one of her most engaging roles--that of the fiery, love-struck actress in Scaramouche, which starred Stewart Granger in the title role.

Although she acted until the early 1990s, I last remember her in Bracken's World, a 1970s TV show about Hollywood behind the scenes.

If you haven't seen it and you enjoy a good story on film, I recommend giving Scaramouche a viewing. It's likely that you may want to keep watching Eleanor Parker. So try a few of her other films. If you don't know where to start, Caged and The Naked Jungle are two of my favorites.

We've lost another of our great screen talents from the golden age. Fortunately, we've got her on film for all time.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Singing Christmas Joy

I get chills every time I hear the Christmas section of Handel's Messiah. This version is the London Symphony Orchestra in December 2006, conducted by Sir Colin Davis. Just awesome, brilliant, gorgeous music. Take a moment from the pre-Christmas bustle to enjoy the season in glorious song.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

A Christmas Story

Orlando, the hero guide dog
This dramatic story on the blind man who fell onto New York City subway tracks and his devoted guide dog that stuck by him as the train sped towards them has everything one could possible wish for during the Christmas season--love, faithfulness, courage, generosity, and at least a couple of miracles.

It's a heartwarming tale that proves happy endings aren't always Hollywood fiction; they can be a real-life reality. Although come to think of it, a smart movie maker might want to take a look at this one.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

The Gospel in Motion

"It's not a political agenda -- it's an evangelical one."
~ Kathryn Lopez on Pope Francis

Spreading the Good News
The Church's message hasn't changed, but the delivery has. And it's getting through. Pope Francis has earned enormous support with his simple style and direct answers. It's not like he's starting a new, more hip religion, as much of the media seems to believe. It's just that he's not allowing himself to be distracted with issues-du-jour.

This pope is a man on a mission to call us into action to make a better world. He's also quite the traditionalist, as he exhibited yesterday on Twitter:

Mary, Our Mother, sustain us in moments of darkness, difficultly and apparent defeat.

Hmm. What would Diane Sawyer do with that one?

Pope Francis is not exactly a wild-eyed revolutionary. Far from burning down the house, he seems intent on renovating it. There's room for all on the punch list. As Mother Teresa noted, even if you can only help one person, do it. Choose a chore and get to work.

Saturday, December 07, 2013

Wednesday, December 04, 2013

Poor Excuses

“The real measure of your wealth is how much you’d be worth if you lost all your money.”
~ Anonymous

Forbes has an interesting article that asks whether poverty is the result of bad luck, personal failings, or the enabling welfare state. The reader learns that Warren Buffett seems to think life is based on the "ovarian lottery"--a strange opinion for a man who built his own fortune from humble beginnings.

The article's staggering financial statistics of what we as a nation have spent in the past half century trying to cure poverty may make you ill; but, it's worth a read in this season of giving and gratitude.

And it's worth noting that poverty doesn't stop everyone, as these once-homeless celebrities demonstrate. Looks to me like these particular individuals won the determination-and-drive lottery. You'd think Mr. Buffett would have heard of that by now.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Thanksgiving Day

"Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good..."

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Fifty Years Ago

I was eleven years old, and I was at school. My classmates and I had just gotten settled at our desks for English class. But our teacher, Mrs. Nussbaum, was uncharacteristically distracted. She stood at the door, her back to the classroom, whispering intensely with another teacher. 

The bell rang, signaling the beginning of the period. Mrs. Nussbaum spun around and shouted, “Take out a piece of paper, now!” We all grabbed a sheet of loose leaf paper and slapped it on our desks. “Write a100-word essay on the importance of the presidency!” And she turned back to her hallway discussion.

I started writing. “1964. A president will be chosen...” Suddenly the classroom door slammed. We all looked up and watched our teacher walk to her desk. She sat down slowly, as though in pain. We waited, hardly breathing. Mrs. Nussbaum folded her hands on the desk and announced, “The president has been shot.”

We all gasped in unison. As she began to explain that we didn’t know too much about it yet, the public address system crackled to life. The school principal, Mr. DeGennaro, expressed his sorrow in informing us of “the assassination of President Kennedy today in Dallas, Texas.”

“So he’s dead, then,” Mrs. Nussbaum remarked in a dull voice, as if to herself. The principal asked for a moment of silence. As I mentally raced through a “Hail Mary,” I looked up at Mrs. Nussbaum. She was still sitting at her desk, head bent, eyes closed, hands folded now in prayer. Her lips were moving, and she was whispering strange words. As I strained to listen, I realized she was speaking Hebrew. My teacher was saying Kaddish for President Kennedy.

A silent minute passed. The PA system crackled again, and “The Star-Spangled Banner” began to play over the school’s loudspeakers. Mrs. Nussbaum jumped to her feet and slapped her right hand over her heart. As if connected by wires, the entire class immediately did the same. As we stood at attention during the national anthem, we could see the school’s American flag being lowered to half staff through our classroom windows.

When I rushed home that afternoon, it was surreal to find my father already there and in his “Saturday clothes.” Dad told me that he couldn’t concentrate at work after he heard the news and just came home. I sat with him throughout the evening and weekend, both of us glued to the grim black and white images that would fill television screens worldwide.

The entire country was wounded, grieving, staggering with sorrow. The assassination was all people could talk about for a long time. I was old enough to feel shocked and sad over President Kennedy’s assassination, but not old enough to grasp the countless implications of this dramatic turn of history.

It was the beginning of the end of innocence for our country. I remember so much of it. But my most vivid memory of November 22, 1963, is the image of Mrs. Nussbaum, deep in prayer for her dead president.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

The Color of Clueless

Oprah's recent ranting against "racist" America is more pathetic than enraging. She's got her gifts, but intellectual heft certainly isn't one of them.

Here is a multi-billionaire woman, one of the most famous people in the world. She happens to be of African American descent, but the majority of her fans aren't. As an American, Oprah built her fortune in the free market capitalist system that made this country great. She enjoys all the benefits and advantages of being a rich American woman, and she leveraged her wealth and influence to help elect the first African American president. Good for her. That's what free countries are all about.

It took a lot of non-black votes being cast for President Obama to be elected. And it takes a lot of non-white dollars being spent to keep Oprah at the pinnacle she has reached. It's a shame she's too ignorant to recognize how well both she and the president have succeeded in this "racist" hellhole called the U.S.A.

Oprah opines that the old racists will "just have to die" before things change in the U.S. Really? What about the 60% of voters under age 30 (of all colors) who voted for Barack Obama in 2012? More than half of them now view the president negatively. I doubt his skin color has much to do with their disapproval.

Why would Obama voters turn against him? Could the problem be shoving bad healthcare policy on us? Telling too many lies? Covering up multiple scandals? Insulting our longtime allies? Kissing up to our mortal enemies? There's a virtual smorgasbord of reasons why President Obama's approval rating is down to a mere 37%, and his race isn't one of them. Oprah needs some new talking points as much as she needs to face facts.

Incompetence is an equal opportunity deficiency, and it has no color. The nation's trouble right now is that our president is doing a bad job. That's the truth---in black and white.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

A Great Fall

President Obama, as is his wont, made another sweeping adjustment to "the law of the land," as we've so often been reminded his Affordable Care Act is. He said insurers should reinstate the canceled health insurance policies of millions of Americans, just for one year. Just like that. Really.

Forget the "born in Africa" theory--I want to know what planet this guy is from. The insurance industry has been shifting gears for years to accommodate the "Obamacare" law. They've implemented new software systems, rewritten health insurance plans, invested huge amounts of financial and human resources into being ready to meet the new legal requirements as of January 1, 2014. But now, because the president is being forced to admit that he screwed up, he wants a do-over. As Rhett Butler once remarked, "It's not that easy, Scarlett."

With his airy directive, Mr. Obama continues to ignore the fact that his tinkering with our personal health care since he was elected in 2008 is unconstitutional. He once again displays his shocking ignorance of how business works. Not to mention that this is another example of government by presidential decree, not by congressional legislation--more unconstitutional nonsense. It seems "the law of the land" is anything the president decides it is on any given day. At this chaotic
moment in American history, we're the biggest banana republic in the world.

You can't unscramble an egg. This mess will only get worse. It's time to flip the switch on the garbage disposal and start over on a clean counter.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Thursday, November 07, 2013

Taking Out the Trash

Information Technology, or "I.T." as it's popularly called, has transformed all of our lives. Where we used to make a call, write a letter, or drop in, we now just log on to a website and do our business (and let the NSA take it from there).

I've had my current computer for almost five years. It's a Mac that I bought for the photo and DVD functions, also the iPod application. Having grown up, technologically speaking, in the Microsoft universe, Apple's document programs are worthless to me. But I do like the photo features, both for personal use and for blogging.

Besides the blog, my other social media platforms include Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Pinterest. That's a lot of keyboarding, a lot of cutting and pasting--and a lot of deleting. Lately I've noticed that web pages have been loading slowly and then crashing, which makes it very tough to blog successfully. So I decided to do some basic maintenance. Remember, I'm a PC person, not an Apple gal. I've never paid too much attention to the trash bin on the desktop.

When I hit the button to empty the trash tonight, I had 48,957 items in it. That was an hour ago. It's down to 45,002 items now. Looks like I'll need to leave the computer running for awhile. And they say Macs are easy? Ha! Lesson learned. This would never happen with a Dell.

Next time I buy a computer, it's back to PC-Land for me. I prefer my Apples to be the edible kind.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

"Boo!" on the Beards

Tonight the Boston Red Sox won the World Series at home in Fenway Park for the first time since 1918.

Congratulations, guys. Now, would you all please go and shave? Those scruffy beards made you look like a smelly collection of homeless
Smith Brothers.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

A Lot on His Plate

When sorrows come, they come not single spies
But in battalions. ~ Hamlet, IV:5

President Obama certainly has his hands full these days. I'll bet today was one occasion that our feckless--I mean, fearless--leader would have preferred to skip having to talk. Getting busted for eavesdropping on Angela Merkel's personal cell phone, and she literally calls you on it? Whoops. Not a fun conversation.

And now there are reports that Saudi Arabia is about to give the USA the old heave-ho, diplomatically speaking. In the midst of Obamacare's mounting technological woes, the president's foreign relationships are also in shambles.

Such a pity. I guess the leveling of the oceans and the healing of the planet will have to wait.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Standing Up for Health

A woman standing behind President Obama during his rah-rah-healthcare speech today nearly passed out. I'm surprised she was the only one. From what I've heard of it, the speech was bad enough to induce a coma in anyone listening to more than three sentences. I'd rather sit through 27 minutes of a Ginsu steak knives infomercial than listen to today's speech.

But going back to the stage extras...where do these prop people come from, anyway? It seems the president can't speak unless he has a cluster of admiring grandstanders arrayed behind him in perfect formation. They always look kind of like a makeshift Mormon Tabernacle Choir hauled in from Washington's central casting office. Are these human backdrops meant to be an endorsement or a distraction? Are they government employees in a newly formed federal agency, maybe DEPSA--The Department of Extras for Presidential Speeches and Appearances?

I wish the president would just be quiet. Please, Mr. President. Stop talking for a few days. It won't kill you, and it might even help your healthcare plans. Think about it--not hearing you for awhile might keep lots of us from getting sick. Just ask that lady behind you--the one who's about to keel over in a heap.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Changing the Subject

The government crisis is over--for now. The Republicans caved, which is what they do quite well, and the Democrats gloated, which they do even better, and we can all go back to spending money we don't have and pretending that everything is just fine.

Of course, it's not fine, and it won't be until this particular president is history--if we make it intact as a nation to the 2016 election. However, let's look on the bright side. There always is one, if you look closely enough. Now we can start concentrating on the unmitigated disaster that is the "Obamacare" rollout and perhaps take a nostalgic look back at the various and assorted scandals from past months and years.

I suppose it's true that Hope springs eternal. And if change is the only constant in life, things are bound to get better. It's tough to imagine them getting any worse.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Saturation Point

I think the American people have had about enough of being pushed around for one presidential term. The Million Vet March on the Washington DC monuments seems evidence of that fact.

Note to the elitist political ruling class: proceed with caution. There's a sizable "Citizens Asserting Rights and Liberties" alert, dead ahead.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Occupy America? It's About Time

I've been following with special interest the stories of civil disobedience at our national parks.

That's OUR national parks. The parks belong to We the People, not to "the government." We pay for the parks out of our hard-earned tax dollars. The park personnel work for us. (As do the clowns in Washington D.C., heaven have mercy on us, but that's a different disgrace.)

When I read about citizens scaling gates, stepping over and under "Barrycades," and driving through orange cones, I have hope that some small spark of the USA I grew up in still exists. When I hear and read about the outrage caused by barring World War II veterans from their open-air memorial, I'm encouraged that enough people are waking up to the creeping tyranny that has surrounded us to make a difference in the tenor of the country.

Some are saying that the "Truckers Ride for the Constitution" scheduled for tomorrow is a hoax, but I'm skeptical. I think there's a lot more going on in the nation than the "officials" have a clue about. I'll be surprised if the Truckers for the Constitution don't "Occupy America" for the day.

It looks like everyday Americans from coast to coast are drawing some red lines of their own. It's about time.

Monday, October 07, 2013

An Idea Worth Considering

It appears that Facebook is not a complete waste of time. Below is an excerpt I read in the home stream tonight. In view of current events, it's a creative proposal worth thinking about. 

Warren Buffett, in a recent interview with CNBC, offers one of the best quotes about the debt ceiling: "I could end the deficit in 5 minutes," he told CNBC. "You just pass a law that says that anytime there is a deficit of more than 3% of GDP, all sitting members of Congress are ineligible for re-election. The 26th amendment (granting the right to vote for 18 year-olds) took only 3 months & 8 days to be ratified! Why? Simple! The people demanded it. That was in 1971 - before computers, e-mail, cell phones, etc. Of the 27 amendments to the Constitution, seven (7) took one (1) year or less to become the law of the land - all because of public pressure." Warren Buffet is asking each addressee to forward this email to a minimum of twenty people on their address list; in turn ask each of those to do likewise. In three days, most people in The United States of America will have the message. This is one idea that really should be passed around. Congressional Reform Act of 2013 1. No Tenure / No Pension. A Congressman/woman collects a salary while in office and receives no pay when they're out of office. 2. Congress (past, present & future) participates in Social Security. All funds in the Congressional retirement fund move to the Social Security system immediately. All future funds flow into the Social Security system, and Congress participates with the American people. It may not be used for any other purpose. 3. Congress can purchase their own retirement plan, just as all Americans do. 4. Congress will no longer vote themselves a pay raise. Congressional pay will rise by the lower of CPI or 3%. 5. Congress loses their current health care system and participates in the same health care system as the American people. 6. Congress must equally abide by all laws they impose on the American people. 7. All contracts with past and present Congressmen/women are void effective 12/1/13. The American people did not make this contract with Congressmen/women. Congress made all these contracts for themselves. Serving in Congress is an honor, not a career. The Founding Fathers envisioned citizen legislators, so ours should serve their term(s), then go home and back to work. If each person contacts a minimum of twenty people then it will only take three days for most people (in the U.S. ) to receive the message. Don't you think it's time? 

Sunday, October 06, 2013

The Spirit of Miramar

Photo: Gretel C. Kovatch, San Diego U-T
The annual Miramar Air Show was canceled on Thursday--one day before show time. Another executive order of epic stupidity and spite from our kingly Commander-in-Chief.

It's difficult to explain what a big deal the air show is to the San Diego area. People wait all year for it, invite out-of-town guests to visit for it, plan parties around it, spend a full weekend enjoying it. It brings multitudes of visitors and hefty revenues to the City, along with an impressive education in our military defenses.

This year, a New York City fire truck that responded to the September 11, 2001 attacks would have been one of the exhibits. What an enduring memory that would have been for attendees, especially the youngsters.

But we'll have none of that. No chills-inducing thrills of US strength and goodness. The White House chefs may keep working on the off-chance that the president feels like eating a grilled cheese sandwich at midnight. But a cherished annual tradition to honor our service men and women in one of America's most prominent military towns? Oh no, that must go.

As the many disappointed planners and suppliers packed up to leave, skywriters spelled out "Spirit of Miramar" across the blazing blue sky. I noticed a couple of other messages throughout Saturday afternoon, including "Tea Party Express" and, most notably, "We the People."

Better hurry up and finish that grilled cheese, Mr. President. I think your oft-touted "Change" definitely is coming, but not exactly the kind you had in mind.

Saturday, October 05, 2013

A Monumental Mistake

That's what the Washington Post headline on Kathleen Parker's article called it--a monumental mistake to shut down the World War II Veterans Memorial.

There is more news today--the barricades, which have been moved without hesitation since the shutdown are now wired in place. This is an open-air, privately funded memorial. Yes, that's right--over $200 million in private donations built it, vs. about $15 million in federal money. As Mark Steyn so eloquently puts it, "the feds paid for the grass."

The National Parks Service is following executive orders. A NPS spokesperson stated that the White House's Office of Management and Budget "sends everything down to all other departments. We are part of the Interior. Interior gives us our instructions." 

This means that the order to shut down the WWII Veterans' Memorial comes from the White House.

This is more than a mistake. It's an insult to every U.S. veteran, especially our vanishing treasure of WWII vets. The D-Day beaches and Normandy's cemetery for U.S. military have also been closed. These are the mean-spirited acts of a petty bully who is working hard to sink to the level of a tyrant. The veterans themselves, who risked their young lives facing down tyranny, have voiced their opinion of this travesty with their customary courtesy and grace.

But help against the "barrycade" may be on the way. "Honor Riders" to greet and escort veterans have poured into Washington DC. Check out the Facebook page for 2 Million Bikers to DC. This is like watching Sons of Anarchy unfold live in the nation's capital. I hope the president has training wheels.

Monday, September 30, 2013

Stop and Remember

MacArthur Airport is located in Islip, Suffolk County, NY, heading east on Long Island. The air field is on the small side, serving a limited number of carriers, and it offers Eastern Long Islanders a conveniently located alternative to the brutal drive all the way in to JFK or LaGuardia airports.

I often fly to MacArthur when visiting my mother. One trip this year, on the way home to California, I was hurrying towards my gate when I rounded a bend and came upon this display of "Dog Tags of the Fallen." The project was started by the friends and family of a fallen U.S. Marine from Long Island. Believe me, the sight of it stopped me in my tracks for a few minutes. After I read through the placard and several rows of the name tags that were swaying, shining, and chiming on their chains, I stepped back and fished out my camera for a photo.

When I continued on my journey, I walked a bit more slowly.

With all today's news spotlights upon budget showdowns and international carnage, it's easy to forget that our troops are still fighting and dying so that we are free to hurry safely through airports. We lost one this week who, like so many others, left a young family behind. It's always worthwhile to stop and remember the troops and all they sacrifice for us, so much of which can never be repaid.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

The Amazing Archangels

For he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways.
~ Psalm 91:11

Raphael - Patron of Health

    Being a bit of an angel nut, I always like to make note of this date. On the Catholic Church's calendar, today is the feast of the Archangels Gabriel, Michael, and Raphael.

    The archangels are very busy celestial beings, with earthly responsibilities far beyond their most famous areas of patronage. For example, Raphael watches over travelers and young people as well as human health, both physical and mental. Gabriel, in addition to all aspects of communications including postal employees, also keeps an eye on stamp collectors and the country of Portugal. Michael, who guards police officers, soldiers, sailors, paramedics, ambulance drivers and dying people, also keeps watch for grocery workers and bankers. On top of all that, Michael has a hefty list of countries to monitor.

Gabriel - Patron of Communications
    It's tough to pick a favorite, but I've always been kind of partial to Michael. I mean, what with the sword and the armor, not to mention the fierce facial expression, he looks like the kind of angel you'd want walking down a dark alley with you. But they're all interesting, even fascinating, and all of them appear in various books of the Bible; although you'll only find Raphael in the Catholic Bible. Since I'm Catholic, that works fine for me.

    These amazing, holy, supernatural creatures are intimately involved in human life and strife on earth. How much trouble and grief do you suppose their workings and interventions have prevented in this world? And just how busy do you think human beings will keep them in the future? I don't mean to be flippant, but truly--God only knows.

Michael - Patron of Protection

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Can We Talk?

Oh, dear, Mr. President. Your intractable refusal to sit down with Republicans and discuss a deal on the Affordable Care Act, better known as “Obamacare,” will be tough medicine for most Americans to swallow.

You see, the majority of U.S. citizens don’t like the healthcare law. We don’t like that you lied to us when you said we could keep our health insurance plans. Those plans are disappearing at an alarming rate, but that seems to be fine with you. That’s our problem, not yours. You have your oligarchy-only healthcare plan, and you’ve seen to it that your friends, supporters, and campaign donors get exemptions from Obamacare.

But the “little guy” (undoubtedly, that’s how you see us) is screwed. And if you look at the polls on this issue, along with your rising disapproval rating, you’ll see that we know it. The ACA means more government in our lives and more power in your hands. How nice to be you.

But refusing to even talk about it with Congress? That’s beyond comprehension. After all, just two weeks ago you were jumping through hoops to negotiate with a Syrian dictator who slaughtered his own people with poison gas. A couple of days ago you were ready to shake diplomatic hands with the head of the Islamist terrorist government of Iran. So why the complete and bitter refusal to sit down for a chat with your fellow American elected officials?

If only you showed this kind of resolve in holding to your “red line” in Syria.
If only you were this firm in laying down harsh terms to Iran.
If only you had been so unmistakably plainspoken over the Benghazi massacre, the IRS scandals, or the NSA wiretapping.
If only you were a strong leader.

But you are what you are, and we’re stuck with you for more than three years. How sad to be us.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Falling Off the Floor

I've been waiting for Mark Steyn to weigh in on last week's pathetic performance by the Gang that Couldn't Talk Straight, a.k.a. President Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry.

In the Washington Post, Charles Krauthammer elegantly fillets the president in "The fruits of epic incompetence."

There's much more to read on the subject of our national collapse upon the world stage, but these are two of my favorites. Oh, poor USA--our current chief executive always finds a way to fall off the floor. How low will we be by 2016?

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

A Day for Reflection

Remember September 11, 2001

Thursday, September 05, 2013

The Syria Dilemma

Almost everyone I have talked with this week wants to discuss Syria. Should we or shouldn't we intervene? That is the question of the minute, the hour, the day, the week.

It's very interesting to hear how people are deciding their position on this crisis. There are many surprises, such as diehard anti-war liberals calling for "surgical air strikes" and rock-ribbed conservatives backing away from any type of military engagement. The reactions definitely do not fall along party lines. It makes for fascinating conversations.

I've read a lot about the Syrian situation, and I've listened to a lot of debate pro and con our involvement. As for me, I think we should stay out of it. For dozens of reasons. Below are a few.

President Obama has displayed no real conviction on this matter. He shot off his mouth last year and painted a "red line" that he's now unwilling to cross without dragging the "international community" and "Congress" along with him. This is a president who has no trouble doing an end run around Congress whenever he wants to get his way. "We can't wait!" is one of his favorite remarks when he's about to rule by executive edict. Yet suddenly, confronted with a tough decision, he needs Congress for cover. Of course, it will be the fault of Congress when the whole operation goes south.

A man who refuses to be held accountable for his own ill-advised statements can not lead troops into battle. Not successfully. And our military men and women are too precious to be risked on such a poor and uncommitted leader.

A man who does not have the courage to take a stand on his own convictions should not be in a position of such power. His indecisiveness makes him dangerous. He tells lies, and he will continue to tell lies no matter how much truth is staring us in the face. With a different leader, I might feel differently about Syria. But then, with a different leader--one willing to take action up front rather than to "lead from behind"--the Middle East might not be in such a sorry state.

A man who will go to war over "international credibility" shouldn't be president. But he is. So to minimize the bloodshed that will inevitably flow out of control under such an inept commander-in-chief, I hope we stay home.

Saturday, August 31, 2013

A Conservative Roosevelt

Theodore Roosevelt was one of the most noteworthy presidents of the United States. He's one of the four outstanding chief executives carved into Mount Rushmore.

"Teddy" Roosevelt is considered by many scholars and historians to be our first modern president. He was a supporter of desegregation and women's suffrage. He also deserves a special place in heaven for preserving vast areas of public land by signing the Antiquities Act in 1906. This grew into our national parks system. He was also a fan of wildlife preserves. You could call him the first "green" president. He was a leading anti-war, pro-diplomacy progressive of his time.

Yet I wonder how some of his more notable quotes would be received today. By 21st century standards, Teddy Roosevelt sounds downright conservative--perhaps even like a "neocon." 

Below are five statements made by our illustrious 26th president. Read them and then ask yourself what the MSNBC crowd would do with these nuggets of wisdom:
  • "Every immigrant who comes here should be required within five years to learn English or leave the country."

  • "A thorough knowledge of the Bible is worth more than a college education."

  • "A vote is like a rifle; its usefulness depends upon the character of the user."

  • "To announce that there must be no criticism of the president... is morally treasonable to the American public."

  • "No man is above the law and no man is below it: nor do we ask any man's permission when we ask him to obey it."

Teddy sounds like quite a conservative Roosevelt. Who knew?

Sunday, August 25, 2013

An Inconvenient Conversation

In view of recent brutal murders, I wonder if Eric-"Americans are cowards"-Holder is still hungering for a "conversation on race."

An 88-year-old WWII veteran who was wounded in action during the war was beaten to death by two black teenagers in Spokane, Washington. Where are the inflated expressions of outrage from our self-righteous president?

The president was "not aware" of the Christopher Lane murder, according to his spokesperson. There will be no press conference called to express his fury over the young white man shot dead by blacks as he was jogging in Oklahoma. Dead white people apparently are irrelevant to this president.

I wonder if the murderers in these two slaughters look like President Obama's imaginary son? Or is that distinction reserved exclusively for black victims rather than black perpetrators? Rhetorical questions, of course. To President Obama, race relations seem to be a one-way street; blacks are always the victims.

The damage the Obama administration has done to interracial relations in this country is enough to make the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. do backflips in his grave. As we approach the 50th anniversary of King's "I Have a Dream' speech, whatever happened to "the content of their character" as the priority in human relationships? Race is being falsely injected into almost any topic of discussion originating at the Obama White House.

I think I know who the "cowards" are, and skin color has nothing to do with it. That might be worth a "national conversation." But I won't hold my breath.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Practicing Patience

I took some personal time to travel and visit with family last week. While visiting Grandson #1 on the East Coast, Grandson #2 was born on the West Coast.  I was looking forward to meeting the new little guy this weekend.

But a miserable cold accompanied me home, along with a dramatic case of laryngitis. So now I'm faced with the most frustrating weekend of my life in not being able to go see my new grand-boy. I find it so ironic that when my first grandchild arrived I was there for the blessed event, nearly 3,000 miles from home, and met him on Day 1 of his life. But for this new baby, who lives within easy driving distance, I was on the other side of the country when he arrived; and now I must wait nearly two weeks to see him for the first time.

For my entire life, I've been challenged by patience. I want things to happen immediately and will move mountains to make it so. That's not always best for everyone involved, including me--so I've worked at becoming more patient, year after year. I think I've made great strides, but at times like this I realize I have a long way to go yet.

I guess God is giving me a little homework in this area for improvement. This will be a very long week. I'll try to be patient.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

No Cure for What Ails Us

If it wasn't such a serious problem, it would be a joke.

"Obamacare." It's enough to make anyone sick.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Death by Policy

"In the immediate aftermath of his attack, the U.S. media, following their iron-clad rule that “Allahu akbar” is Arabic for “Nothing to see here,” did their best to pass off Major Hasan as the first known victim of pre-Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder." 
~ Mark Steyn

Nice try, but as Steyn goes on to point out, the butcher of Fort Hood has never been in combat. Read the entire article for a lively description of just how much the US is its own enemy. No one delivers the brutal truth with the harsh bluntness and caustic irony of Mark Steyn.

The idiotic policies of the US government truly are our worst enemies. It remains to be seen whether or not the nation can survive the stupidity by which it is governed.

Wednesday, August 07, 2013

Point Taken

"Patriot Game," linked here, is a post I wrote nearly eight years ago. I dismissed concerns about domestic government spying as so much piffle.

Well, it seemed like a good idea at the time. What a difference a few years can make in teaching us how human nature is the one thing that doesn't change. When given extra power, those in power will take even more--and most likely use it very badly.

The single comment I got on "Patriot Game" was from a blogger named Deedee. I remember I believed her account of the government's spying on her family, but I thought it was an isolated case. Now, in the wake of the NSA scandal and news of the mega data center in Utah, it seems like we're all in the same carefully surveilled boat. I even wrote a post on our snoopy government two months ago.

The world has changed exponentially in the past decade. The powers the Patriot Act extended to the US government were supposed to protect us from terrorists, not to spy on our own citizens. And if the Feds are determined to spy on Americans, couldn't they at least have been efficient enough to find the Boston Marathon bombers?

Early on in the process of domestic "data gathering," it appears that Deedee knew where this was going. Wherever she is now and for whatever it's worth, we're on the same page now.

Saturday, August 03, 2013

The Story that Won't Go Away

"...murder cannot be hid the length truth will out"
~ The Merchant of Venice, A2:s2

I'm pleasantly surprised to see that CNN, of all networks, is doing some digging on the Islamist terrorist attack against the USA in Libya last year.

Sooner or later, we're going to hear a lot more about what happened in Benghazi on September 11, 2012. The president can insist that it's a "phony scandal" all he wants to, but it's just a matter of time before this story breaks wide open.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Timeless Truth

"Judge not..."
~Matt 7:1

Holy hyperbole, Batman. A television news talking head discussing the remarks Pope Francis made about not judging gay people, actually asked "Do you think he's breaking with the Vatican?"

The pope, breaking with the Vatican? That would be like President Obama breaking with the Executive branch of government. (Well, maybe that's a bad analogy.)

Pope Francis was stating, in conversational terms, how every Christian should view any person. His rhetorical question asks, "What makes me so special, that I can judge another?" This merciful attitude is the meat of Matthew 7, which goes on to advise us to tend to our own issues and not concern ourselves with other people's business. You know, stop worrying about a speck in your neighbor's eye when there's a plank in your own. If you haven't read Matthew's gospel, chapter 7, I say give it a go. You don't need to be Catholic, or even Christian, to get the benefits from it. It's hard-hitting stuff that speaks to each of us in plain language.

The gospel's call to compassion doesn't change the fact that the Catholic Church clearly teaches that homosexual acts are sinful. This is not a discriminatory doctrine towards gays; heterosexual acts are equally sinful if they occur outside of marriage. That's just a fact.

So although his tone and manner are gentler, the pope is by no means taking a new direction. He's going by The Book. The source document, the gospel, is nearly two thousand years old. This timeless instruction is from Jesus himself. It boils down to the fact that there is right, and there is wrong. Gay or straight, every human being has sinned. So let's each of us take care of our own mess, and let the other guy take care of his. That's basically all Pope Francis was saying,

The extent of the media's ignorance of the Catholic Church never ceases to astonish me. In today's technological world, it signals a true laziness as well, because anyone who can open Google and enter a search term could find out the basic facts of any Catholic teaching. Evidently, that's too much trouble for reporters chasing a juicy headline.

So it has been with the media, and so it will continue to be. Like eternal truth, some things don't change.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

60 Years Since Korea

Thank you for your service, veterans of the Korean War.

Korean War Memorial, Washington D.C.

Friday, July 26, 2013

The Corrupted in Power

"It is said that power corrupts, but actually it's more true that power attracts the corruptible. The sane are usually attracted by other things than power."

Despite a growing cacophony of calls for his resignationSan Diego’s Mayor Bob Filner clings to power as tenaciously as he stalked female staffers. Today Filner announced that he’s going to seek counseling for his disgusting, misogynistic, borderline criminal behavior.

We’re so happy for you, Bob. And just who is going to run the financially-challenged city while you take time out to address your sick pathologies? You are barred from solitary meetings with female City attorneys, a fact that translates into you being incapable of doing your job. Do you really think you’ll survive a recall election? Are you really going to impose that disgraceful expense on San Diego, also? Of course you are. You’re a perverted thug with no concept of decency. Although I’m very glad that I didn’t vote for you, as a San Diego taxpayer I’m the big loser right along with the rest of the city.

As far as the mayoral race in New York City is concerned, I think I’d rather vote for Caligula’s horse than for Anthony Weiner. At least the horse wouldn’t be a sick, depraved, egotistical, nauseating liar. I could go on, but you get the picture—and I hope not on Twitter. Any voter who marks a ballot for Weiner could use some therapy, too.

These two disgraceful public officials, at opposite sides of the country, epitomize everything that’s wrong with the current state of our government, society, and culture. The politicians are out for themselves and no one else. Most citizens, too consumed with trying to survive from one paycheck to the next, have tuned out of the news. Many more have simply learned to expect bad behavior from those in public office. Still others have been so influenced by our “anything goes” social climate that they don’t see the big deal about lechery, uncontrolled sexual obsession, or lack of personal responsibility and accountability. The continuing dual scandals are truly a sad commentary on our times.

I don’t know where all of this is going, but I do know that when so-called “leaders” can behave in such an appalling manner and not face overwhelming demands that they step down, our country is in very serious trouble.