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.