Friday, March 30, 2007

"The Secret"? 


John 18.20:

"I have spoken openly to the world," Jesus replied. "I always taught in synagogues or at the temple, where all the Jews come together. I said nothing in secret.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Baby, It's Cold Outside 


My long-time blog-buddy Mike Hendrix has foolishly, foolishly invited yours truly to join the highly-paid blogging staff at Cold Fury, so I'll be doing some writing there as well.

It's my pleasure to do so--Mike & Co. have done some great writing over the years and I appreciate what Cold Fury stands for: not the passing anger of a moment, but a life-long steely determination to see America triumph over her enemies, protect her innocent and avenge her fallen.

I'm so there.

So y'all come by. Set a spell. Take your shoes off.

Okay--on second thought, leave your shoes on.

Democracy vs. Deals with Dictators 


“…[T]here is a far greater divide between the world of freedom and the world of fear than there is between the competing factions within a free society. If we fail to recognize this, we lose moral clarity. The legitimate differences among us, the shades of gray in a free society, will be wrongly perceived as black and white. Then. the real back-and-white lines that divides free societies from fear societies, the real line that divides good from evil, will no longer be distinguishable.

A lack of moral clarity is why an Israeli journalist compared a kippah to a prison. It is why people living in free societies cannot distinguish between religious fundamentalists living in democratic states and religious terrorists living in fundamentalist states. It is why people living in free societies can come to see their fellow citizens as their enemies, and foreign dictators as their friends.[…]

I believe that all people are capable of building a free society. I believe that all free societies will guarantee security and peace. And I believe that by linking international policy to building free societies, the free world can once again secure a better future for hundreds of millions of people around the world. […]

Now that we are entering what some have called World War IV, we must restore the moral clarity that helped win the last world war without firing a shot. We must understand the differences between fear societies and free societies, between dictators and democrats. We must understand the link between democracy and peace and between human rights and security. Above all, we must bring back moral clarity so that we may draw on the power of free individuals, free nations and the free world for the enormous challenges ahead.”--From the preface of ‘The Case for Democracy’, by Natan Sharansky

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Praying For Catherine 

"If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world."--C.S. Lewis, 'Mere Christianity'

As most of you know, Cathy Seipp is hospitalized and near to that other world for which we were all made. Our prayers are with her and those who love her.

On reflection, Cathy gave me one of the best blog days of my highly lucrative blogging career. It was when she praised our work at the now toasty Huffington's Toast, the creation of my Midget-Savant friend, Steve H., and staffed by a talented collection of fine bloggers and also myself.

To be sure, it was a small, small, infinitesmally small event in the scheme of things, but to a guy who just set out to blog for pun & prophets, it was quite a thrill to see one's words quoted on the digital pages of National Review Online. (Especially the words of a fictional character; in this case, Special Agent Eustis P. Hamrod, as he pursued his elusive quarry, the diabolical fugitive and equally fictional Arianna Huffington across continents.) It is always a thrill for a writer when a reader "gets it".

And certainly a thrill to be noticed at the House That Buckley Built. A Yale undergraduate over a half-century ago gets liberal sand stuck in his conservative craw, and goes on to build a magazine and a movement that someday encompasses a "Left-Coast Correspondent" like Cathy, who noticed some yahoo bloggers having fun at liberals' expense--and all thanks to Al Gore's vast energy-sucking invention, of course. Life sure is funny.

As I said, it's really a small, small thing. But what was not small is that it brought Cathy some laughter and enjoyment, a small repayment of the laughter and enjoyment she brought to us. That's as big as it gets.

I began with a C.S. Lewis quote, so I'll end with one, from 'The Problem of Pain':

"The road to the promised land runs past Sinai."

Or in Cathy's case, past the corner of Sinai and Wilshire in that other City of Angels, where doubtless she will soon be found jay-walking and committing journalism while conservative.

Godspeed, Catherine, Godspeed.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Cpl. Howard V. Ramsey 


Spc. April L. Dustin for Army News Service:

(PORTLAND, Ore.) The echo of a 21-gun salute and bugler playing Taps seemingly marked the end of an era as a state and national treasure was laid to rest in Portland, Ore., March 2.

Retired Army Cpl. Howard V. Ramsey, Oregon's last living World War I veteran and the last known U.S. combat veteran of WWI, died in his sleep Feb. 22 at an assisted living center in southeast Portland. He was honored in a memorial service attended by nearly 200 people at Lincoln Memorial Park exactly one month before reaching his 109th birthday.

"This is a very historic occasion; we lay to rest today our nation's oldest combat veteran," said Pastor Stu Weber, who officiated over Ramsey's memorial service.

In an Associated Press report, Jim Benson of the Veterans Administration said there are now only seven WWI veterans on record with the VA, although it is possible there are unknown veterans who may still exist.

Of the seven known WWI veterans still living, none were shipped overseas, making Ramsey the last known combat veteran of "The Great War." Ramsey inherited the title two weeks before his passing, when Massachusetts veteran Antonio Pierro passed away on Feb. 8.

Ramsey's lifetime spanned three centuries and 19 presidents. He was born in Rico, Colo., on April 2, 1898, when the U.S. flag had just 45 stars and President McKinley was preparing to declare war with Spain.

Too young to be drafted, Ramsey tried to voluntarily enlist but was told he was too skinny by Army standards. After gorging on bananas and water to successfully meet weight standards, he was placed in the Army's transportation corps.

Ramsey sailed to France in September 1918 to join General John "BlackJack" Pershing's American Expeditionary Force. Ramsey drove cars, trucks and motorcycles for the Army and trained other Soldiers how to drive. He was often selected to drive officers to special engagements, one officer "gigging" him for having a dirty truck despite the constant rain and mud in France. He also drove ambulances, transported troops to the frontlines and delivered water to troops on the battlefields.

Ramsey once recalled his service in WWI saying, "We were under fire a lot at the front, and we really caught hell one time. I lost friends over there."

After the armistice, Ramsey spent several months recovering the remains of American Soldiers who had been hastily buried in the trenches and transported them to the Meuse-Argonne American Cemetery, the largest American cemetery in Europe.

"You'd better believe it was pretty awful work," Ramsey told Oregonian reporter Rick Bella in 2005. "It was tough, but you became hardened to it."

Nearly 90 years later, Ramsey was still haunted by regret for not breaking the rules and keeping a diary that fell from the pocket of one deceased American Soldier. Ramsey told family and friends, "I wanted to keep that diary so badly to send it to his mother, but it was against the rules to keep anything from off the bodies."

Veterans of many generations and wars, and military representatives attended Ramsey's memorial service to pay their respects, including Brig. Gen. Raymond C. Byrne Jr., commander of the Oregon Army National Guard's 41st Infantry Brigade Combat Team, and Jim Willis, state director of Oregon Department of Veterans Affairs.

"If we are going to end an era, I can think of no better way than to do it with a person who is a model representation of the kinds of Soldiers who served this country in WWI, and someone who would be an example to any combat Soldier serving up to, and including those who serve in Afghanistan and Iraq today. All (veterans) would be justifiably proud to have known Corporal Howard Ramsey," said Willis.

Retired Army Col. Don Holden, whose father was Ramsey's classmate at Washington High School, shared fond memories of Ramsey's sense of humor. He said farewell to his old friend by reading the epic WWI poem "Flander's Field," which Ramsey could recite from memory well into his late 90s.".............

More from OregonLive:

"Zack Veselik, Ramsey's great-grandson, recalled one of those moments Friday during a late morning service honoring Ramsey, who died Feb. 22.

"Grandpa was 83-years-old when I was born," Veselik said. "He was 93 the last time we arm-wrestled. And he beat me."

The story brought hearty laughter from the nearly 200 people at Lincoln Memorial Park Funeral Home.

Ramsey, a U.S. Army corporal who was stationed in France for 1&1/2 years into late 1919, was 108 when he died in his sleep at a Southeast Portland assisted living center.

The service attracted people from varied backgrounds, a testament to the essentials of Ramsey's life: strong family ties, an enduring bond with the military and service to his country, and love of driving and travel.

Veselik fondly remembered "Grandpa sweetie pie" as a family-first patriarch to four generations as father, grandfather, great-grandfather and great-great-grandfather.

"I think we really thought that grandpa would be here forever," he said. "Grandpa saw a lot of things in his life, but he was never created to live this life forever."

Veselik also spoke of how Ramsey wanted to see him, as the last great-grandchild, graduate from high school. Ramsey did. He also was around to see Veselik get through college and to see his three great-great-granddaughters born to his great-granddaughter Megan Vanderpool."............

To many Americans, the First World War might as well be the Peloponnesian War.

Not to me. When I was a boy, many of these veterans were still around and I knew some of them, as well as a child may know a man. My own grandfather was an Army mule-skinner in France and we still have the elaborate Kaiser silver "dollar" he brought back with him.

I knew these men and they were good men. We live in the nation they built and we stand upon their shoulders. Forget them at your peril.

Forget them not.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

ManufacturedNews(tm) Network Presents 


"News, Just Like Mom Used To Make...If Your Mom Was Tokyo Rose"


(Nozzler's Knob, Neb.) In a move widely speculated upon yet historically pre-determined, German philosopher Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel announced his candidacy for the presidency today on a platform of Dialectical Speculative Reasoning and Post-Kantian Metaphysics. Which, when you think about it, makes more sense than "non-binding resolutions" or anything else the Democrats are saying.

Prof. Hegel dismissed concerns that his German citizenship precluded him from serving as president. "I've been dead for 175 years...and you're worried about me being German?" asked Hegel. philosophically.

In other campaign news, Sen. Chuck Hagel also announced he was not now a candidate, but was a candidate to be a candidate in the future. Hagel however did make two promises: that if he were president, his non-binding symbolic resolutions would be "even non-bind-ier and more symbolific" than those offered by Democrats.

Hagel also promised to change his name to "Schopenhauer".

"You know, if I played my cards right, I think I could get half of John McCain's 20%," added Hagel. poorly.


(Elkscat, Nev.) Under pressure from the Bongwater Brigades, the Nevada Democrat Party has cancelled FOXNews' participation in a presidential candidate debate.

"We're always more than willing to give the benefit of the doubt and talk to any terrorist-sponsoring, IED-building, nuke-crazy dictator in the world," said Nevada party spokeswoman Bugsy Butterfly-Seagull, "but talking to vicious thugs like Shepard Smith or Laurie Dhue--well, that's just where we Democrats bravely draw the line."

The candidate forum was expected to go on as part of Nevada Democrats' Secret Land Deal Days celebration, but FOX reporters would be replaced by a balanced and diverse group of journalists, including liberals, ultra-liberals, ultra-ultra-liberals and Keith Olbermann.


(Box Springs, Tenn.) Former Vice President Al Gore assailed the U.S. Government for extending Daylight Savings Time, claiming that more hours of daylight would contribute to Global Warming. Gore demanded that the government purchase 500 trillion dollars of Carbon Offsets from his company to "expiate our sins, my children."

When it was explained to Mr. Gore that Daylight Savings Time didn't really affect the amount of sunshine in a day, Gore broke down and sobbed like a small child. In French.

Later, Gore sent a strongly-worded letter to the Sun, demanding that the distant star "do it's part" and purchase 500 trillion dollars of carbon offsets from his company.

The Sun was unavailable for comment. That lucky old sun.

In other Offset News, Tony Soprano is offering "Crime Offsets", in which he would not burn down your business if you purchased a Business Warming Protection Offset from his company.


(Spanish Omlette, Ala.) When Lurleen Lardslurpee's tabby cat Rufus suddenly expired after choking on a hairball the size of Dick Cheney's heart, little did she know history was being made.

"If only the administration had fully funded hairball-prevention research, my precious Rufus would be alive today," said a sobbing Mrs. Lardslurpee. "It's all Bush's fault!"--and with that, it became official:

Every Bad Thing That Has Ever Happened Or Will Happen In The Entire History of the World Is George W. Bush's Fault, according to experts.

"It seems that if a Kalahari bushman stubs his toe on a meteorite, it's George W. Bush's fault--that's why they're called 'bushmen', you know," explained Prof. Felchen Feltchenfeltcher, a Blame Assignment expert at Harvard's Kennedy School of Date Rape.

"If your jeans are too tight--Bush's fault. If you can't find the can-opener--Bush's fault. If your company picnic is rained-out--Bush's fault. If the university passes you over for tenure while giving tenure to some fat dykey feminist from the Fat Dykey Feminist Studies Department--Bush's fault," said Prof. Feltchenfeltcher.

"Even some geologists now believe that the San Andreas Fault is, in fact, "Bush's Fault".

"This 'Blame Bush Syndrome' has gotten out of hand and is approaching the level of a public mental health epidemic," said Feltchenfeltcher, "a state of affairs for which I, of course, blame Bush."

When asked if there was anything that was not Bush's fault, the professor thought for several days and replied "Yes--the fact that we haven't had any terrorist attacks in five and a half years--that's not Bush's fault."


(Washington, D.C.) Sen. Jim Webb addressed the thoughtful and dignified mob assembled in the nation's capital this weekend to demand America's Unconditional Surrender.

"If the Bush twins and Mary Cheney had to go to Iraq, this war would already be over," said Webb to the approving roar of the crowd.

"Because if there's one thing the terrorists fear, it is our teen-age girls and pregnant lesbians. Frankly, they scare me, too," continued Webb, warming to his subject. "That's why I'll be introducing legislation which will allow parents to force their college-age children to join the military."

At this point, some scattered booing could be heard and the crowd appeared bewildered. More bewildered than usual, I mean.

"We need to create a political class of "empowered" "stake-holders" who are "invested". For example, if it were the wages of politicians and journalists that were threatened by illegal immigration, the borders would be fixed by Wednesday. You want Walter Reed fixed? Require that all politicians receive their medical care there. You want Social Security fixed to meet the needs of its customers and not to meet the revenue needs of politicians? Require that congressmen give up their gold-plated retirement plans and receive Social Security, too. Want tort reform? Allow legislators to be sued for legislative malpractice. Want preferences ended? Let's discriminate against the children of politicians for a while and see how they like it. Want..."

At this point, an angry Sen. Webb was unable to finish his speech due to being chased by an even angrier mob of congressmen who ripped at his flesh like weasels.

Exactly like weasels.

In other Washington news, Atty. General Alberto Gonzales said "The person who suggested firing eight federal prosecutors was probably the same guy who walked by Valerie Plame's door and suggested sending her husband to Niger. We've really got to find this guy."

Sunday, March 11, 2007

The Law & Order Candidate? 

Sen. Fred Thompson:

[...] "A congressional vote to cut off funding could stop the troops or could stop the war altogether but the critics of the plan don’t have the stomach for that. It might be politically dangerous. One sponsor of the Senate resolution said that the goal is to demonstrate that the president is “on his own.”

Last week I said that it seemed to me that we ought to support the plan for the additional troops (which, incidentally, would bring the troops up to a number that is still less than the number of troops we have had there in the past) because the consequences of an American defeat in Iraq are so great. [...]

What I can’t see is this nonbinding resolution of opposition.

Is it really in our country’s best interest to signal to the enemy that they probably only have to wait us out a little longer because congressional determination to defeat them is crumbling? Doesn’t such a resolution further diminish our chances for success at the very time our soldiers are preparing to go into battle? And finally, regardless of our politics is this the time to announce to the world that our president is “on his own”?"

More of Sen. Thompson's columns here.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

My Favorite Amendment 


The Second Amendment:

"A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed."

Why my favorite? Is it because...

a.) many a would-be homegrown dictator and foreign invader have choked on the prospect of confronting a nation of armed freemen?

b.) many law-abiding citizens have been able to confront and thwart criminals?

c.) it is the right that ensures all the others?


d.) I simply like things that go "BOOM!"?

All true. But the real reason?

e.)With the possible exception of the First Amendment's requirement that 'assemblies' be "peaceable', it is the only amendment that contains both a "Right"...AND a "Duty" .

A right to keep and bear arms...and a duty to defend one's country.

There never was nor never will be a 'right' that comes unaccompanied by a corresponding duty. In this Age of "All Rights, All the Time", we've had way too much emphasis on Rights in comparison to Duties.

For example, have you ever heard the phrase "Civil Duties leader"? Just once, I'd like to open the paper and read "Arrested Man Claims Duties Were Violated". These days, we're even told that jihadists are entitled to American Constitutional and civil rights--even though they're not American, reject Constitutions, want to destroy civilization and balk the very concept of rights--except for their Divine Right to behead you.

The D.C. Court of Appeals:

"...we conclude that the Second Amendment protects an individual right to keep and bear arms. That right existed prior to the formation of the new government under the Constitution and was premised on the private use of arms for activities such as hunting and self-defense, the latter being understood as resistance to either private lawlessness or the depredations of a tyrannical government (or a threat from abroad). In addition, the right to keep and bear arms had the important and salutary civic purpose of helping to preserve the citizen militia. The civic purpose was also a political expedient for the Federalists in the First Congress as it served, in part, to placate their Antifederalist opponents. The individual right facilitated militia service by ensuring that citizens would not be barred from keeping the arms they would need when called forth for militia duty. Despite the importance of the Second Amendment’s civic purpose, however, the activities it protects are not limited to militia service, nor is an individual’s enjoyment of the right contingent upon his or her continued or intermittent enrollment in the militia."

Quite right. Even those Framers who inserted the 'militia' clause recognized the individual's right to self-defense. What they sought to prevent were private armies disloyal to the government duly established by the people.

John Adams:

"To suppose arms in the hands of citizens, to be used at individual discretion, except in private self-defense, or by partial orders of towns, countries or districts of a state, is to demolish every constitution, and lay the laws prostrate, so that liberty can be enjoyed by no man; it is a dissolution of the government. The fundamental law of the militia is, that it be created, directed and commanded by the laws, and ever for the support of the laws."

I'll never forget the first time I heard a liberal explain the 2nd Amendment. "Only the militia has a right to bear arms. And the militia is the State National Guards. And the State National Guards are mere adjuncts of the Federal Government."

Therefore, in the liberal view, an amendment which purportedly recognized the right of the people to be armed ...was actually an amendment which guaranteed that the Federal Government and the Federal Government alone had the right to bear arms!

That twisted view would have caused widespread rioting in 1789 during the Bill of Rights debates.

Congratulations to the D.C. Appeals Court. Their ruling is a victory for common sense, for common decency, for the Constitution, for the Framers, for the law-abiding citizens of Washington, D.C., for true jurists, for the people, for our country...and for the smallest minority of all:


Sunday, March 04, 2007

Norwegian Woodpile 


Or should I say, it once had me:

The New York Post:

" Indeed, while Health Commissioner Thomas Frieden has kept busy as a beaver designing new paradigms for public health - databanks for diabetics and trans-fatless fast food - the rats have been running amok.

That's rats as in Rattus norvegicus - a legendary dispenser of disgusting diseases and the bane of traditional practitioners of public health for centuries.

Video footage of Rattus - a whole herd of them - flitting about a Village fast-food joint made national news last week. [...]

Of course, if the Taco Bell rats had been smoking, Frieden would have been there to nail the door shut himself. (And Mayor Mike would have held a press conference to commend him.)

As it is, Frieden has his inspectors running roughshod all over the city - now. [...]

Of course, none of this would have been necessary had Frieden been in command from the get-go.

Instead, he was busy unveiling New York City-brand condoms, lecturing new mothers on breastfeeding and warning of the danger secondhand smoke poses to pets.

Meanwhile, the rats were running wild.

Back to basics, Dr. Frieden."..............................

Thus it goes with Global Warming.

By imposing new taxes, regulations, rules, mandates and unweildy international strictures decreed by unaccountable international bureaucrats, we would waste vast resources on trendy yet fictional crises while neglecting basic economics and science. Those basics would actually improve the lives of millions living today, rather than provide some extremely dubious benefit to future generations based on a weather forecast for Wednesday, July 2, 3007.

It's not glamourous. It won't get you an Oscar. You won't be invited to chat with DiCaprio. People would easily recognize you for an untreated meglomaniac if you claimed your cause was "the most important moral, ethical, spiritual and political issue humankind has ever faced." And, let's face it--there's not likely to be much demand for 'wharf-rat offsets'.

Once upon a time Martin Luther , the founder of Habitat For Humanity, famously nailed his thesis to the door in objection the the papal practice of selling "indulgences" to wealthy sinners. And today the Prophet Algore (Methane Be Upon Him) is selling indulgences to wealthy environmental sinners--including himself. Not even those popes were nutty enough to sell indulgences to themselves.

The difference is this: with Martin Luther, you get resistance to the Diet of Worms. But with Offset Al, you get subsistance on a diet of worms.

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