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Monday, December 10, 2018

Chambers, Branches--Whatever!

 

We are all born ignorant, but one must work hard to remain stupid.

~ Benjamin Franklin

Image: CO2islife
The new darling of the left seems to be the amusingly idiotic Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.  Her $21 trillion "Pentagon accounting errors" that would fund "Medicare for All" are actually defense spending transactions by our government.

Oops. I think maybe another source besides the left-wing magazine The Nation is in order. But prior to benefiting from additional homework, it's necessary to comprehend that you're wrong. In Ocasio-Cortez's case, that might take considerable effort.

Although newly elected, Ocasio-Cortez appears to be unfazed by factual challenges. Consider this jaw-dropping statement:
"If we work our butts off to make sure that we take back all three chambers of Congress—uh, rather, all three chambers of government: the presidency, the Senate, and the House."

She doesn't realize it, but Ocasio-Cortez is quite fortunate that she is not required to take a US citizenship exam to serve in Congress. Last year I helped a coworker study for the citizenship test, and it's no piece of cake. Those pesky government structure questions come up with dependable frequency. Any naturalized US citizen could have explained to Ocasio-Cortez that the government has three branches, not "chambers." And she got all three "chambers" wrong, anyway. It's not "the presidency, the Senate, and the House"--it's the executive, the legislative, and the judicial. That's enough to flunk the citizenship exam right there. Double--or is that triple?--Oops. The new congress woman from the Bronx is woefully uninformed, yet blissfully unconcerned.

But, of course, being a loyal lefty, she gets a quickly glossed-over pass from the media. I wonder what would have happened to Sarah Palin had she made these outrageously stupid remarks. Well, I don't really wonder. Can you imagine the cacophony of ridicule and criticism Palin would have suffered? Her gaffes would have filled at least a couple of 24-hour news cycles.

One of Ocasio-Cortez's goals is to be president. This week she went off on an incoherent tangent about the US Constitution saying "he cannot run unless he’s 35," when actually the text reads "person," not "he." Evidently the Constitution represents more required reading for this wondrous new gift to our "chamber of Congress."

Ocasio-Cortez doesn't have a clue about the three branches of government, but she does successfully complete the three sections of stupidity: ignorant, egotistical, and unaware.

Sunday, December 02, 2018

Well Done...


...good and faithful servant. ~ Matthew 25:23
George H. W. Bush, 41st President of the USA - Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Giving Tuesday, Going Broke

I like the concept of Giving Tuesday. Truly, I do. Charitable giving has been part of my budget for many years, a specific sum I have committed to donate each month to a worthy organization. I have a small, trusted, set of charities that I support in a revolving manner. For example, I contribute to military organizations in May and November (Memorial Day, Veterans Day); food-centric charities in November (Thanksgiving); toy drives in December (Christmas). There's a margin built into the budget for unexpected disasters such as wildfires, tsunamis, and earthquakes.

I provide this painstaking personal detail to emphasize that, 1) I firmly believe in consistent support of charitable causes, and 2) almsgiving is an integral part of my value system and lifestyle. With all that said--I am bone weary of Giving Tuesday.

In a perfect world, all charitable organizations would be as meticulous in disbursing their donations as they are in maintaining contact databases. Every stray charity I have ever donated a dime to has been hounding me for weeks via every communication means available. I've been bombarded with email pleas, telephone solicitations, snail mail letters and donation forms. Even my workplace has, for the past several days, sent lengthy email entreaties to all employees for donations to "the Foundation." (Wait, I'm at work--aren't you supposed to give me money?)

My college wants money, too, and they have been especially persistent. In fact, this year they've been so annoying that I'm considering cutting them off permanently. My charity allocation for the month of June (graduation season) always goes to my alma mater, but evidently that's completely insufficient when Giving Tuesday rolls around. I'll think twice next June.

The accounting slates seem to be wiped clean of any remaining balances, and the hapless giver is accosted by an insistent army of demanding, self-entitled charities. If I gave even a modest amount to each and every request I've received this month, I'd have to tap my retirement savings to buy groceries next week. Is that the goal?

Come on, nonprofit organization people, back off. You don't have to explain this to me--or to most Americans. Do you realize that in 2017, Americans gave more than $410 billion to charity? Yes, I know--we're fortunate in this country, we're blessed with riches most of the world can only dream of, and we should give back to those in need. But I don't need a special day of the year to remind me to do it. For Giving Tuesday, I'd like you to give me a break.

Sunday, November 25, 2018

After the Fires

Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images
The destruction left in the wake of California's November wildfires is mind-numbing in its enormity. Both Northern and Southern California face massive rebuilding efforts. But the town of Paradise in the Chico area, destroyed by the Camp Fire, faces especially daunting, discouraging challenges--it has been essentially obliterated by the flames.

How does a community go about rebuilding in the face of such vast devastation? I'm reminded of the old saying about how to eat an elephant: one bite at a time. But even going one step at a time, the cleanup, recovery, and rebuilding of Paradise will take years. Our northern neighbors will literally begin at the ground, sweeping away ashes and beginning again. It takes courage, faith, determination--and a great deal of financial support and resources--to undertake such an overwhelming task. 

This week was Thanksgiving, a uniquely American holiday dedicated to being grateful for our many blessings. It's a good time to remember our neighbors who have lost loved ones, homes and all their possessions. The Salvation Army, the American Red Cross, and many religious charities are among the many organizations assisting the fire victims in their time of need. All safe-and-sound Americans would do well to pause and make a donation, however modest, now that the fires have been extinguished and life begins to move on with its customary swiftness.

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Thursday, November 15, 2018

Riga's Goodbye


How lucky am I to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard.        ~ A.A. Milne

Riga - 2004 - age 1

Last night I euthanized my 15-year-old Labrador Retriever, Riga. It was a hard decision, because she wasn't critically ill. She was, however, impaired by many pains, limitations, and indignities of old age.

Since summer, I have observed my old friend closely as one by one, Riga's favorite activities moved beyond her reach. She could no longer enjoy her daily walks. Twice each day, for so many years, we had walked together. We spent thousands of hours covering uncounted miles. Now, although she wanted to walk, she was physically incapable. I kept shortening the distance to adjust, but one day she fell. Riga looked up with pleading eyes, wanting me to fix things so we could keep going.

Riga - 2018 - age 15
But some things can't be fixed, only ended.

Riga lost her appetite and, with it, many pounds. I cooked chicken or beef to coax her, mixed soft food with her kibble, topped it with treats. But all my efforts were met with mediocre results and lots of leftovers. Towards summer's end, she sometimes couldn't get through her doggy dog in time. Riga would hang her head in humiliation. Not a fun life for a proud old girl who never had "an accident" since the age of three months.

Most evenings she would pull out her favorite toy since puppy days. But instead of playing, she'd drop it on the floor and wander away. The last few nights, I carried her upstairs at bedtime to spare her the brave, step-by-step struggle.

In past years I've put two dogs down, and both times it was during a medical crisis. That leaves you with an emergency rush to the vet's office and a sick dog dying on a cold steel table, without time for family to say a proper goodbye. I didn't want that ending for Riga.

All of her blood work was good. She didn't have cancer or any other disease--and she won't. Last week I called a veterinary service that comes to your home to euthanize your pet and made an appointment. I spent the week just enjoying time with Riga, my longtime friend and companion. My son and his wife visited the night before Riga left us to bid this special family member farewell.

Riga and I had been through so much together. We both loved Pete; we both lost and grieved him. We found comfort in each other's company as we walked on through the years, together. We watched the kids get married; we welcomed grandchildren. It was so hard for me to say goodbye.

But this decision had to be best for Riga. She deserved a peaceful end; it was the last thing I could do for her. My house is lonely now, and I'm not done crying. But I'm grateful that I found the strength to let her go.

Run free, my good girl. I'll always miss you.

Sunday, November 11, 2018

One Hundred Years Ago Today

Deterrence prevents war.
~ Victor Davis Hanson 

On the 11th day of the 11th month of the year 1918, at 11:00 in the morning, the Armistice ending what was called "The Great War" was signed into place. Nearly 20 million people, military and civilian, had perished in the conflict.

Victor Davis Hanson's article presents in clear and simple terms why The Great War was succeeded in a mere two decades by a far bloodier worldwide conflict. He also cites some ominous conditions in the current state of international relations, and notes that "It is also always unwise to underestimate a peaceful America."

Winston Churchill wrote of the "gathering storm," in observing the factors contributing to the second World War. Students of history would do well to study his writings today. We should all be tuned in to the current global weather forecast, and that's not a reference to climate change.

Thursday, November 08, 2018

Monday, November 05, 2018

Rep. McSally Sings National Anthem at Arizona State University's Homecom...


The singing senatorial candidate, Arizona Representative Martha McSally. In addition to having a mighty set of pipes, you can add the fact that she was the first female fighter pilot in the Air Force.

Good luck tomorrow. I hope you win your Senate wings.

Monday, October 29, 2018

A Prayer for Pittsburgh

The eyes of the Lord are toward the righteous
From Dr. Matthew Neal's Twitter
and his ears toward their cry.
The face of the Lord is against those who do evil,
to cut off the memory of them from the earth.
When the righteous cry for help, the Lord hears
and delivers them out of all their troubles.
The Lord is near to the brokenhearted
and saves the crushed in spirit.

Sunday, October 28, 2018

Pots vs. Kettles

  1. "It's not wrong to compare Trump's America to the Holocaust..." - The Washington Post
  2. Filmaker "Michael Moore compare Trump to Hitler in new documentary" - CNBC
  3. MSNBC’s "Joe Scarborough Details Hitler's History of Lying Before Slamming Donald Trump's 'Unbelievable' Lies" - Newsweek
  4. "Seven times the media compared Trump to Hitler" - Washington Examiner (Dec. 2016)
  5. "I have thought an awful lot about blowing up the White House." - Madonna
  6. "Push Trump off a Cliff" - Rosie O'Donnell

Shall I go on? Yet the loony-leftwing mainstream media and its elite acolytes cannot stop citing Donald Trump's "heated rhetoric" as the reason for political violence in the USA. After two years of being force fed continuous "news" commentary on what an unleashed monster the president is--despite his persistent and impressive list of achievements on behalf of American citizens--now we're supposed to believe that he's personally responsible for the crazed behavior of a lunatic in Florida who sent pipe bomb packages to prominent Democrats.

Can we please get real here? After two years of relentless bad-mouthing, undermining, and downplaying of his accomplishments, the media is in a reliably feverish frenzy to blame President Trump for any and all ills in the country. It's beyond pathetic.

Do I wish the president would put a brake on his Twitter feed? Yes, often I do. Would it be better if he avoided references to body-slamming and other pugnacious activities? Probably. But, as he reminded 60 Minutes recently, he's president and I'm not. He obviously knows things I don't. However, I do know when I hear a pot calling a kettle black. I think the left-wing media has some "heated rhetoric" of its own to deal with before pointing such self-assured fingers at the president.

Monday, October 22, 2018

Power Grab

Mob members at doors to Supreme Court
"Take it back." How very telling.

Not "win it back" or "earn it back." TAKE it back. As though the federal government is the political left's exclusive property. If you harbor any concerns about voters of opposing viewpoints having their fair say, as protected by both federal and individual state voting laws--well, piffle. What do those deplorable, gun-toting, bible-quoting idiots know, anyway? Besides, they're all racist, homophobic xenophobes, right? Just take it back. "It" belongs to the left.

This is where the left-wing snob-mob has dragged us, and they show little interest in disbanding until they have bludgeoned their way back into power. They lost the presidential election in 2016, they lost the Supreme Court this year, and they subsequently lost their collective, totalitarian-leaning minds. The perennial blue bubble refuses to burst. The left cannot accept our current political reality, and the rule of law be damned. We'll need to wait for Election Day to learn just how effective their unhinged hysteria has been--or not.

Take it back? What if the American voters decide not to give it back? I shudder to think what the radical left's reaction will be to another defeat at the ballot box. The way these overwrought sore losers have been rampaging, disrupted restaurant meals are going to be the very least of our worries.

And if they win? Well, the leftists never tire of warning us against a coming dictatorship. Their strident command to "take it back" sounds like we're well on the way.

Sunday, October 14, 2018

Quality TV

Photo: Ed Miller
A few days ago I caught up with Amazon Prime Video's King Lear. There is such a plethora of junk cluttering the airwaves nowadays that it was a breath of fresh air to watch a quality production of a true classic. The stellar cast, lead by Anthony Hopkins as Lear, was outstanding.

Of course, I could watch Anthony Hopkins read the newspaper for an hour and be fascinated; he's just one of my favorite actors. But Emma Thompson, Emily Watson, and Florence Pugh are all captivating in their daughter roles, and the supporting players are excellent as well. Lear is a Shakespearean tragedy, so you know the final scene will be littered with dead bodies, as was the bard's treasured technique. But getting there is likely to hold your attention.

The play has been abridged in this production, so it moves swiftly and with lively action. Perhaps due to this compression, the story can get confusing at times, especially if you haven't read the play. In that case, it might be worth checking some online Cliffs notes--if for nothing else than to prepare you for the eye-gouging scene (truly gruesome, and worthy of any modern slasher movie). In addition to shortening the script, director Richard Eyre has set the action in modern Britain. I've seen this updating done with other Shakespearean plays and, to my surprise, have found that I enjoy the innovative approach.

People who claim to "not get" Shakespeare often don't realize that we quote him every day. In King Lear alone, you'll hear about coming full circle and putting the cart before the horse. All that modern relevancy aside, if you're a fan of great acting in a time-honored story, check out King Lear on Amazon. 'Tis worth watching.

Saturday, October 06, 2018

The Price of Justice

In a perverse, twisted way, the entire Kavanaugh debacle has served a positive and useful purpose. But the cost to the country, as well as to the judge and his family, has been horrific.
Image from Patch

Brett Kavanaugh has endured a grueling gauntlet few of us could withstand. His personal and professional good name and reputation, built through a lifetime of hard work, achievement, accomplishment, and public service, has been effectively destroyed by ruthless political and ideological enemies on the radical left. His parents, his wife and two daughters have suffered with him, and their lives, too, have been forever marked by this merciless
ordeal.

But throughout the brutal and filthy process of personal destruction, the left-wing ideologues have been exposed for what they are. They are devious, conscienceless liars who will stop at nothing to retain political power over the judicial branch of government. Their desperation is understandable; the radical left cannot achieve their totalitarian goals without the high courts. The majority of American voters do not support the left's radical agenda. Time and again, activist leftist judges have helped the radical left to accomplish its objectives.

I have seen this result of the leftists' relentless crusade firsthand, in my own state of California. The voters' majority decisions at the ballot box on such key issues as illegal immigration and gay marriage have been overturned by the courts if the left did not approve of the election results. Leftists love to cite our "democracy" as the reason to give them their own way, but they have no interest in true democracy. To leftists, there is only one acceptable way to think--their way. Disagree with them, and you will not only face their unfettered wrath--you will be deemed xenophobic, homophobic, misogynistic, evil, deplorable, inferior--stupid. They will seek to destroy you. This is indicative of authoritarianism, not democracy.  

The left-wing radical ideologues have no rules, no boundaries, no civility, no respect--no decency. If it is good for them, it is good--period. They will attack political opponents in public, screaming obscenities and threatening personal harm, to family members as well as the target individual. They are ruled by emotion and rage, not by reason or logic. This makes them extremely dangerous. America has seen this on full display in recent weeks, and the unseemly spectacle doesn't play well in Peoria. As a recent left-wing president was fond of stating, "This is not who we are." How ironic that Obama's words are now so descriptive of his own political philosophy and followers.

The Senate vote has been completed; Judge Kavanaugh has been confirmed as Supreme Court Justice Kavanaugh by a margin of two votes. The US Constitution has prevailed, but Justice Kavanaugh will bear the burden of this hard-won victory for the rest of his life.

Sunday, September 23, 2018

Whether or Not...

“In three words, I can sum up everything I’ve learned about life. It goes on."
~ Robert Frost

Life will go on, whether or not:
  1. Brett Kavanaugh is seated on the Supreme Court.
  2. Pope Francis does anything of substance in response to the most recent sex crimes revealed within the Catholic Church.
  3. Voters put Democrats or Republicans in the congressional majority this coming Election Day.
  4. President Trump gets credit for the booming economy.
  5. The world's climate is warming or cooling.
There's something both comforting and depressing in this reality, but that doesn't mean the average person is powerless in the grip of current events. There are certain actions we can take to ensure our tad of influence is leveraged to the fullest extent.

  • We can be sure we are registered to vote, and then do so.
  • We can stop financial support to the Catholic Church at every level.
  • We can speak out about the practical benefits of the jobs reports, the stock market, improved national security and military strength, and deregulation of US industry.

For my own peace of mind, I'm currently doing all of the above--whether or not it makes a difference as life goes on.

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

In Honor of Courage

Flight 93 National Memorial ~ Pennsylvania, USA

This nation shall remain the land of the free only so long as it is the home of the brave. 

~ Elmer Davis

The Wall of Names

The Tower of Voices


Sunday, September 09, 2018

News Break

One of the best things about a two-week vacation with family on the opposite side of the continent is the distance it achieves from media events. I missed a lot of "sound and fury" but am none the worse for it. In fact, I'm quite relieved to have been able to ignore most news reports and enjoy my time away.

For example, take the week-long public lamentations over Senator John McCain. I left town just after the onetime war hero, longtime senator had passed away, and I was halfway through my vacation before he was finally laid to rest. Viewed fleetingly from an iPhone, all the honors and ceremonies seemed endless. Of course there was the inevitable flap over President Trump; why he had to be involved, I don't know. Grieving family members have every right to say whatever they wish; formally invited eulogists, less so. I thought that even the slightest allusion to the senator's differences with the current president drew the spotlight away from John McCain, where it rightfully belonged, and that the bitter remarks were beneath the dignity of the senator's funeral. (Of course, as my grandchildren might say of McCain, "He started it!" by publicly barring Trump from his funeral in advance. But still...)

During my second week off, the Senate hearings for future Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh took center stage--complete with histrionic theatrics. All the Democrat's dramatic efforts and interruptions failed to render their protests as entertaining as the movie Spartacus, but New Jersey's Cory Booker gave it a go. I only heard snippets, but Booker's "Spartacus moment" was memorable, if not for the reasons he had hoped.

To cap off my vacation, Barack Obama, of all people, decided to pop out of his blessedly quiet corner and vocally trash his successor, Donald Trump. I was especially glad to miss this news coverage. Do we really have to listen to him again? For eight years, untold millions of Americans suffered in silence along with me as Obama lectured, hectored, lied, divided, and condescended to us. Now he's back at it. Doesn't the country have enough on its plate? No, in Obama's mind--and in the adoring media's estimation--there's always room for more Obama.

So although I thoroughly enjoyed my long break from the news, I know I can't run away from the fact that the news is still broken. And even if I could flee, I know for sure I wouldn't be wearing a pair of Nikes.

Sunday, August 26, 2018

Uncomfortable Shoes

And other shoes continue to drop in the ongoing scandal within the Catholic Church. It is now revealed that Pope Francis discontinued Pope Benedict's sanctions against Cardinal McCarrick, and also covered up for him until it was impossible to do so any longer in the face of the ugly, nauseating facts.

The "shoes of the fisherman" are apparently a bad fit for Francis. He should perhaps rethink his wardrobe entirely.


Link: Petition to Remove Cardinal Wuerl

Saturday, August 18, 2018

Of Millstones and Money Changers


So he made a whip out of cords, and drove all from the temple courts, both sheep and cattle; he scattered the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables.
~ John 2

In the wake of the disgusting revelations of the Pennsylvania's grand jury report on hundreds of sexual crimes against children by priests, and ensuing coverups by their superiors, I've heard and read many references to the New Testament's millstone warning. It appears in all three of the synoptic gospels (Matthew, Mark, and Luke), and it quotes Jesus saying the following:
“If anyone causes one of these little ones—those who believe in me—to stumble, it would be better for them if a large millstone were hung around their neck and they were thrown into the sea."
There it is, in black in white: hurt the children, and you're going to face fearsome punishment.

That dire admonition directly from the Lord's lips doesn't seem to bother the perverted priests or the complicit hierarchy of the Catholic Church. The details of the Pennsylvania report are sickening to read and too obscene for me to reference directly.

The millstone warning (my term for it) is all well and good, but there is another New Testament story that I believe fits the situation equally well. It appears in the second chapter of John's gospel and describes the fury of Jesus upon entering the temple and finding commerce being conducted. He actually fashioned a "whip of cords" and physically drove the money changers from the temple, overturning their tables and scattering all of their loot in the process.

That's what righteous anger looks like, and it was over selling birds and livestock in what the Lord called "my Father's house." Consider the famous question, "What would Jesus do?" with regard to the widespread rape of children (see "millstone," above) in his Father's house. This is not sin by merchants selling their wares, but depraved, deliberate evil by priests anointed to God's service, against the most innocent and vulnerable--young children. That unspeakable atrocity, repeated for many decades countless times the world over, was followed by the crime of coverup by those in authority over the criminals. What would Jesus do? I can't speak for the Lord, but somehow I doubt that a "whip of cords" would be sufficient for his response.

Jesus Drives out Money Changers
As a practicing Catholic, I am enraged. Just this month Pope Francis declared capital punishment "inadmissible." Yet Pope Francis has expressed only "shame and sorrow" (through a spokesman, no less) over the criminal obscenities reported in Pennsylvania's grand jury report. That's absolutely pathetic. I've got more than a few questions for the pope, and as a Catholic I have every right and duty to ask them.

When will child rape and sexual defilement be "inadmissible" in the ranks of the Catholic Church? When will the bishops who covered up these obscenities be exposed and held accountable? When will the offending priests and bishops be stripped of their privileges, handed over to law enforcement authorities, charged with rape, prosecuted, convicted, and thrown into prison for the remainder of their natural lives?

When will you deal with the evil that is rotting the Church from within? Until you do, your "holiness," you are a coward who is as guilty of these filthy, unspeakable crimes as the priests and bishops who committed them.

I remain a Catholic. As I explain to people who inquire, my obligation is to the Lord, not to any man or institution. Each of us someday will die and face God's judgment. I will need to answer for myself and for my sins. The pope, the bishops, all of the Church hierarchy that aided and abetted this corrupt and ubiquitous scandal*, and each and every evil priest who destroyed a child's life will need to answer for their own sins. Good luck with that.

*Link to petition to remove Cardinal Wuerl (added 8/27/18)

Sunday, August 12, 2018

The Train to Nowhere

Image from ALIVE East Bay Magazine
I've lived in California for several decades, but I've never adjusted to the state's profligate spending. Of course, the liberals are in the majority in the state assembly and senate, which perfectly explains the lack of common sense, but let's leave that aside for the moment. California flings money at a multitude of useless projects ranging from the highly impractical to the absolutely ridiculous.

The state's stalled "bullet train" is one financial disaster that fits both descriptions. Despite the complete waste of $77 billion on a project that is now eleven years behind schedule, Jerry "Governor Moonbeam" Brown still insists that California's bullet train is the future of transportation and environmental nirvana.

Just between us, I think he's still high from his last Linda Ronstadt concert.

Think about $77 billion dollars frittered away over the course of more than a decade by the government, with nothing to show the taxpayers for it. The "bullet train to nowhere," as it's called in polite circles, has an imaginative variety of alternate nicknames among the state's residents. I've heard it called the "crazy train," the "cuckoo choo-choo," and the "scam tram," among other monikers not suitable for this blog's editorial standards.

Consider what $77 billion dollars could do if it had been in vested in a real necessity, such as firefighting and drought mitigation. For far less than that mind-boggling sum, there could be more water treatment and desalinization plants built, more firefighting airplanes and helicopters bought, more firefighters hired, trained, and deployed to knock down the recent monster fires that California has been suffering in recent years.

I heard one conservative commentator declare that "drought is a choice." It's an interesting perspective, one that would have benefited California immensely had it been adopted by the state politicians even a few years ago. But, like it or move, California's politicians have us all traveling on the train to nowhere. If they only had a brain.

Sunday, August 05, 2018

Old News is No News




Image from Politico

As our president signs legislation

To satisfy pledged obligation

The media news stations

Pursue old allegations

And leave us in newsless starvation.

 

Sunday, July 22, 2018

A Quiet Triumph


Image: Paramount Pictures
I've always maintained that a script writer never allows a pregnant woman to go unexploited for dramatic purposes, and I think I've been proven correct in every TV show or movie I've ever watched. But never have I seen a pregnant woman used so extensively--and effectively--as Emily Blunt's character in the almost unbearably suspenseful film,  A Quiet Place.

In a post-apocalyptic world, the monsters have arrived yet again. In this incarnation, they are blind but hunt by sound. The creatures are extremely ugly, seemingly indestructible, and incredibly fast when they respond to an inadvertent noise. A Quiet Place is a quiet film that will keep you riveted to the edge of your seat, right from the start.

Directed by John Krasinski, who also stars, the story follows the Abbot family: father Lee, mother Evelyn, and their children, one of whom is deaf. The fact that the entire family is able to communicate fully in sign language no doubt has aided them in their survival. But as is the case in any successful horror movie, things will go wrong for the characters you have come to care about. The tension builds ever upward to the dramatic conclusion. I had a bit of a stiff neck by the time the credits rolled, but it was well worth it.

In a sociological analysis, A Quiet Place could be said to mirror our current national atmosphere, where one wrong sound brings immediate destruction. Just ask Roseanne Barr or the former CEO of Papa John's pizza, to cite two recent examples. But in a more intimate sense, the movie is a simple story of one family's love, resilience, sacrifice, and redemption. Get your bowl of popcorn and watch--quietly.

Friday, July 13, 2018

Hail to a Very Special Chief

Chief Joseph Pfeifer retired today from New York City's fire department. Pfeifer was the first FDNY chief on the scene at the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001. His firefighter brother, Kevin, was among those killed in the terrorist attack.

Chief Pfeifer had actually been eligible to retire a few days before 9/11 happened. In one interview, Pfeifer said he stayed on active duty so as not to end "on a sad note." His leaving the fire service marks the end of an era and, I hope and pray, the beginning of many joyful years ahead with family and friends.

Chief Pfeifer, a brave, unassuming, and enduring American hero. Godspeed.




Wednesday, July 04, 2018

Independence Day

Image from The History Cat
The Declaration of Independence of The United States of America

IN CONGRESS, July 4, 1776

The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for
one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected
them with another, and to assume, among the Powers of the earth,
the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and
of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions
of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which
impel them to the separation.

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, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.
That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men,
deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed,
That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends,
it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute
new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing
its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect
their Safety and Happiness.  Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments
long established should not be changed for light and transient causes;
and accordingly all experience hath shown, that mankind are more disposed
to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing
the forms to which they are accustomed.  But when a long train of abuses and
usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce
them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw
off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.
--Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now
the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government.
The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated
injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment
of an absolute Tyranny over these States.  To prove this, let Facts
be submitted to a candid world...
 
[You can read the exhaustive list of grievances against the English king 
within this link to the transcript]
 
We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in 
General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world
 for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority 
of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That
 these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and 
Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the 
British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the 
State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that 
as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, 
conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all 
other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. And for 
the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection 
of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our 
Fortunes and our sacred Honor.

Thursday, June 28, 2018

Consequential Choices

"Elections have consequences."

~ President Barack Obama, 2010


Image from FITSNews
Oh yes, President Obama was right about that. Elections certainly do have consequences. Obama went on to crow, "I won." Well, winning tables have a way of turning.

The Supreme Court was the driving force behind untold numbers of American voters deciding in favor of Donald Trump. With the retirement of Justice Anthony Kennedy, who in his three decades on the high court was an unpredictable and often upsetting swing vote, the appointment of the next justice assumes momentous import. As Marc Theissen wrote today, Trump voters "have just been vindicated."

Here's a link to President Donald Trump's list of 25 potential nominees for the U.S. Supreme Court. Trump first compiled the list as a presidential candidate in 2016, has added a few names since, and has stated that he will choose the next justice from among them. Speaking as one of 2016's innumerable "Supreme Court voters," I can say that I'm supremely content.

Saturday, June 23, 2018

Had Enough

I don't know about you, but I'm pretty much done with television news. Aside from natural disasters, I find the content of all the alphabet network news programs completely unwatchable. I may watch my local news on odd nights to check weather and sports, but other than that, you can tune me out.

I don't read newspapers anymore, either. For a long time now, the internet is my primary source for news, especially the website Real Clear Politics. It's got a ton of content from all sides, plus an increasing number of video clips from various news outlets. (It has too many pop-up ads now, but that's the world we live in). I also have my favorite talk radio commentators. Both internet and radio have been favorite go-to news sources for years, but now they are my two connections to current events.

The television coverage of President Trump is too hateful, dishonest, emotional, even profane. The past week in particular has been fraught with incoherent, hysterical hand-wringing over illegal immigration. Where did the media's sudden, touching concern for "the children" come from? It came from many facts quite disconcerting to progressives, some of which are:
  1. Trump's rising approval ratings
  2. A successful summit with North Korea
  3. Plummeting unemployment statistics / Rising job numbers 
  4. An economic boom unseen for decades
  5. The contents of the IG report showing the rampant corruption in government entities prior to Trump's election.
Positive news of anything Trump must be squashed, hence the liberal caterwauling over illegal immigration. But I don't think the president is worried; the more he is attacked, the better he does his job. And he is learning fast. If I may address the mighty MSM: Did it ever occur to you that he might be jacking with you? How about that enthusiastic rally he held in Minnesota the other night?

Melania Trump
Oh, and news flash on Melania Trump: she wore that "don't care" jacket deliberately, fools. She knew you'd run off in that direction immediately, like the pack of salivating jackals you are. You are now too busy criticizing her choice of wardrobe to realize the message was meant for you. Who are the ones acting stupid now?

Continuing our conversation, Mr. & Ms. Media: there are three memes you really need to work on if you, by some random stretch of the imagination, want to get them accurate:

The president's job is to enforce the law.
On Inauguration Day, the president swears an oath to uphold the U.S. Constitution. You can look it up. That's what President Trump is doing on illegal immigration. Just because you have a constitutional right to speak any idiot phrase that pops into your pea-brain does not remove his responsibility. Try dealing with that fact.

It's like the days of slavery, children being separated from parents.
Was it like slavery when it happened under Barack Obama? Of course not. And by the way, the U.S. did not invent slavery. As evil as it is, it has been practiced throughout the annals of human history right up to today. Let's ask this question--how many countries besides ours have fought a long and bloody war to end slavery? Go do your research on that one, media bright lights. I'll wait...

"Nazi Germany"
You've jumped the shark with this one. I hardly know where to start, but let's begin with what a dishonor this is to the murdered millions who tried desperately to leave Germany but couldn't. So tell me, how many of the thousands breaking the law trying to enter the US have been shot, hanged, starved to death, mutilated, tortured, gassed, and incinerated? If we are so similar to Nazi Germany, if we are that cruel and monstrous, so evil and wrong, why are countless illegal immigrants rushing our borders trying to get IN? Does that question make too much sense for you to answer? Apparently so.

I know the liberals are in frantic need of the illegitimate votes such an unfettered influx of unknown aliens would bring to the United States, but please stop lying about it. The photo of the crying tot was a nice try, but it's been totally discredited. The 2016 election proved that Americans are paying close attention to our borders, and while we are sympathetic to the plight of those beating down our nation's doors, we don't want the lawlessness to continue. We know by your nonsensical "news" coverage that you're not having it. You won't accept our decision. And that's why people like me have had enough and no longer pay the slightest bit of attention to you.

Saturday, June 16, 2018

Father's Day

Only a Dad

After 31 years, I still miss my Dad. Always will.
By Edgar Albert Guest

Only a dad, with a tired face,
Coming home from the daily race,
Bringing little of gold or fame,
To show how well he has played the game,
But glad in his heart that his own rejoice
To see him come, and to hear his voice.

Only a dad, with a brood of four,
One of ten million men or more.
Plodding along in the daily strife,
Bearing the whips and the scorns of life,
With never a whimper of pain or hate,
For the sake of those who at home await.

Only a dad, neither rich nor proud,
Merely one of the surging crowd
Toiling, striving from day to day,
Facing whatever may come his way,
Silent, whenever the harsh condemn,
And bearing it all for the love of them.

Only a dad, but he gives his all
To smooth the way for his children small,
Doing, with courage stern and grim,
The deeds that his father did for him.
This is the line that for him I pen,
Only a dad, but the best of men.

Monday, June 11, 2018

Inaccessible Communication

Leaving aside all the global drama for a moment, I thought I'd share this link from an editing website. Apparently there are now "Accessibility Terms" to use in writing and editing to avoid offending anyone.

Descriptions are becoming quite verbose, it seems. For example, you shouldn't say "blind person." It needs to be "person with visual impairment." Rather than the succinct word "mute," now the term is "person who is unable to speak."

My favorite accessibility term is "person without disabilities." It's terribly gauche to say "normal" or "able-bodied" nowadays. So in going to great lengths to avoid defining people by their disability, the politically correct powers-that-be have seen fit to define "healthy" people as "people without disabilities." While "a person with a hearing impairment" cannot be termed "deaf," we hale and hearty folks are defined by our lack of disabilities. Makes perfect sense, yes?

Words exist for a reason--to communicate. Words like "blind" and "deaf," which relay vivid meaning and instantaneous comprehension in a one-syllable sound, are now considered unacceptable. Or perhaps I should say, "word no longer used to communicate reality due to the possibility of offending delicate sensibilities." Yes, that's better. Clear as mud.

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

A Scandalous Double Standard

"Now, perhaps the president didn’t experience the fallout from a scandal, which is very different from never having been involved in one. For this confusion, Obama can thank the political media."
 ~ David Harsanyi

Just because the media didn't cover the Obama scandals does not mean they did not exist. In actuality, the Obama administration presided over numerous scandals, all of which were soft-pedaled by an adoring media that quickly swept them under the news rug and galloped on to the next story, hoping none of us would notice.

(Memo to Media: We did notice. That's why Trump is now president.)

The Obama scandals are quite extensive, and they impacted the country far more than President Trump's daily tweets. Trump's tweets, as ubiquitous, tasteless, and often inane as they are, still unfailingly manage to shock the waiting reporters, who spend hours analyzing each word while ignoring the positive nationwide effects of tax cuts, a robust economy, and low unemployment.

What are the Obama scandals? Below is a partial list:
  1. Fast and Furious gun-walking
  2. Solyndra subsidies
  3. IRS targeting of conservative groups
  4. Black Panthers intimidating voters at the Philadelphia polls on Election Day
  5. The VA's phony waiting lists
  6. Benghazi
  7. Spying on reporter James Rosen, among others
  8. Cartons of cash flown to a terrorist state to pay for a hostage
  9. The Clinton email server (that Obama learned about "in the papers." Sure he did.)
I could go on, but you get the idea. I'm not including "Spygate" just yet, but if true, that could be the whopper of the bunch--if it's covered by the media.

In fairness, flip the situations around. Imagine the outcry if Donald Trump had run guns to Mexico and one of our Border Patrol agents was murdered by one of those guns? What would the media reaction be if Trump gave away hundreds of millions of dollars to "stimulate" a company that ended up bankrupt? What would the outrage be if he had instructed the IRS to target, harass, and block liberal 503c organizations?

Keep going. Work your way through the list and tell me President Trump wouldn't be a pile of fried hash if he had done even one of those things. Yet Barack Obama, with his usual pompous arrogance, is allowed by the complicit media to boast that he "didn't have scandals."

Obama had more scandals than do most presidents. The only missing element in Obama's scandals is the media coverage.

Sunday, May 27, 2018

In Honor of Memorial Day

Remembering the sacrifices that ensured our lives of freedom.


Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Clearly "Animals"

"Clarity is more important than agreement."

~ Dennis Prager


If you've never read his books or listened to Dennis Prager on the radio or in a Prager U video, you're missing one of the most learned and logical thinkers of our time.

Prager is a very agile-minded conservative; this drives left-leaning people absolutely crazy. It's exceedingly difficult for his critics to win an argument with him, because his facts are so thoroughly researched and clearly expressed. That is his golden rule--clarity. Disagreement is all well and good with Prager, so long as both parties understand why their disagreement exists.

His magnanimity regarding differing viewpoints also drives lefties crazy. So crazy, in fact, that YouTube has restricted several dozen Prager U videos. That's a typical tactic of the "tolerant" left. Opposing opinions are not welcome; you must agree with them, or die.

Today, Prager takes apart E.J. Dionne's emotional rant in the Washington Post about President Trump's "animals" comment on the MS-13 gang members. As usual, Prager presents fact upon reason in his "Why the Left Won't Call Anyone 'Animals'" piece. It's clear that there isn't much left of Dionne's case by the end of Prager's rebuttal.

Clarity. It's a rare gift.

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Stephen Piscotty hits an emotional home run in his first at-bat after hi...


                        
Moments like this are the reason I love baseball best of all sports.

Sunday, May 13, 2018

Triple Thanks


I'm in that remarkably blessed demographic of women who today are able to celebrate yet another Mother's Day as a daughter, as a mother, and as a grandmother. Why this trifecta of good fortune has graced me I do not know; I only know that I'm grateful for this gift-times-three.

Happy Mother's Day to all moms, especially to my amazing mother, to my wonderful daughter, to my cherished daughter-in-law--and to me.

Wednesday, May 09, 2018

Apples vs. Oranges

As a rule, I don't like presidential comparisons. Each president is so individual, such a product of his own experience, current events, and the political winds of the day, that comparisons seem unfair. But on the topic of unfairness, let's consider for a moment how the media might react if President Donald Trump's accomplishments had been achieved by President Barack Obama.

Below are a few random samples:

1. Ambassador to Germany, Richard Grenell
If President Obama had appointed an openly gay man to such a high ranking government position, there would have been a rapid confirmation vote in the Senate followed by LGBT parades in the streets, all covered 24/7 by an adoring media. President Trump's gay nominee, however, was held up for months in the confirmation process, accused of being "misogynistic" in past tweets and "dismissive" of Russian meddling in our elections. Evidently gay is not so good if Trump makes the selection.
2. CIA Director, Gina Haspel
Again, if Obama had chosen the first woman to run the CIA, there would be a similarly fast confirmation accompanied by praise and adulation bordering on hysteria in the media and #MeToo land. Not only does President Trump get no credit for nominating a highly qualified woman, her confirmation is by no means certain. She is being portrayed as a sadistic proponent of waterboarding during the Iraq war, almost as though she had toted some buckets herself.
3. The Economy
Between deregulation in business, the booming stock market, and the popular tax cuts, President Trump's economy is apparently a great deal more dynamic and positive than President Obama's economy was. If you wait to hear the liberal media admit that fact, you have a lifetime hobby.
4. North Korea
President Trump has used some startling tactics in dealing with the Hermit Kingdom. Calling its leader "Rocket Man" seemed somewhat reckless at the time, but look where we find ourselves today. The leaders of North and South Korea have met, hugged, and crossed each other's borders for the first time in over seven decades; negotiations on removing nuclear weapons from the peninsula are scheduled to begin soon; and today, three US prisoners were released from North Korea and are on their way home.

If President Obama had accomplished even one of those things, the media would be actively promoting a second Nobel Peace Prize for him. But since President Trump is the architect of these successes (regardless of his methods), barely a mention is made in mainstream media without dire warnings and doleful faces. In tones of solemnity and doubtfulness, we are admonished that it's all likely to backfire.

We get it, network news anchors. Obama, apples--good; Trump, oranges--bad. The constant pounding against all things Trump gets more than a bit wearying. I wonder what the liberal media will do if President Trump not only completes his first term, but wins a second one? While I consider that very real possibility, please pass me the fruit bowl. I'd like an orange.