Tuesday, May 31

"MAVERICK MODERATISM" -- MCCAIN MAY WIN THE BATTLE, BUT WILL LOSE THE WAR

Brendan Miniter, in a column entitled "The McCain Myth," published in today's "WSJ.com" "Opinion Journal," dispels the notion that Senator John McCain (RINO-AZ) gained any traction in terms of his presidential ambitions in putting together the 11th hour "deal" ("The Great Senate Compromise") that undercut Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist's (R-TN) leadership and President Bush's mandate from his Republican core to place conservative, non-activist judges on the Federal bench.

Some of us in the blogosphere want to make sure Brendan Miniter's analysis is indeed prescient.

HAT TIP: "Lucianne."

JOHN MCCAIN -- "RINO" EXTRAORDINAIRE!

So why must McCain go? Why is he all too often referred to with the pejorative "Republican In Name Only" moniker? Here are but a few reasons why (and in no particular order):

1) McCain's misguided "friendship" with Senate colleague John Kerry that caused him to ignore Kerry's egregious record of voting countless times against defense appropriations bills for major weapons systems, instead choosing to contradict reality in an effort to shore up the Massachuetts' liberal;

2) McCain's misguided, myopic view of illegal immigration and his colloboration with Ted Kennedy on legislation that is clearly pro-amnesty;

3) McCain's misguided negotiation of a deal (a "deal" by the way that sacrificed several of Bush's judicial appointees) to scuttle the so-called nuclear option and ensure that the Democrats could continue to use the Senate's filibuster rule to sink the nominations of judges to the Federal bench who failed to pass their litmus test;

4) McCain's misguided gun-control campaigns in Colorado and Oregon;

5) McCain's misguided antics in delighting in undermining President Bush's agenda, over and over again;

6) Fact is, Senator John McCain has undermined Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist's authority, President Bush's mandate from his Republican base to install non-activist judges in the federal judiciary, and the Republican Party as a whole. He even went shamelessly after Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld during wartime.

Patterico has it right and so do we "Blogs For McCain's Opponent."

McCain must go!

HOUSTON FINDS ANOTHER WAY TO CATER TO ILLEGAL ALIENS

Houston is a "sanctuary city," as I have pointed out in previous posts. As utterly ridiculous as this policy is in so many cities in the United States, it is profoundly ridiculous here in the nation's fourth largest city, a city with a large and growing population of illegal aliens owing to its relative proximity to the contiguous border between Texas and Mexico. And this sort of thing (as well as this) -- direct threats to our nation's national security and our own security in our homes and daily, personal lives -- are among the upshots of foolish policies by government officials at the municipal, state, and federal levels and an illegal alien problem that is fundamentally out of control.

So now, in a major city with more than its fair share of budgetary problems (e.g., a "KHOU.com 11 News" story on May 6th opened with: " Because of a rash of retirements and budget woes, the city of Houston has had to tighten its belt and the mayor has asked all departments to look at ways to be more productive."), Houston's elected leadership has earmarked $90,000, in addition to $100,000 already spent, for a second taxpayer-funded day laborer site.

Fact is, day laborer sites are magnets for illegal aliens and don't let any public official tell you otherwise. What is it elected government officials, whether here in Houston or in Austin, Texas, or in Washington D.C., don't understand about the word illegal and lawbreakers? Illegal aliens should be rounded up and deported, not given city-funded staging centers from which they can secure work to maintain their presence in this country and to send billions of dollars in remittances back home to shore up Mexico's shaky economy.

Ironic, isn't it, that at a time when the Arizona legislature is determined to stop the public-funding of these kinds of day laborer sites, as part of a concerted effort to mitigate the deleterious impact on the state of illegal aliens, here's Houston going in the opposite direction.

There ought to be a law ...

PRINCIPAL SOURCES:

"blogHouston.net"
"NewsWithViews.com"
"The Conservative Voice"
"The Washington Times"

"BLOGS FOR MCCAIN'S OPPONENT" -- A CAMPAIGN WHOSE TIME HAS COME

A CERTAIN SLANT OF LIGHT ("ACSOL") proudly joins the newly established campaign in the blogosphere to defeat Senator John McCain (RINO-AZ) and chase him from political office. After all, enough is enough.

McCain undermined Senator Bill Frist's efforts to change the filibuster rule in the United States Senate to assure an up-or-down vote on President Bush's nominees to the Federal bench and now he has joined forces with Senator Ted Kennedy to pass amnesty legislation for illegal aliens under the guise of a guest worker program.

McCain has long been a Democrat in disguise, but his disguise has become threadbare in recent days. He relishes his self-annointed role as a "maverick," but we don't need a "maverick" in the majority ranks in the Senate -- we need a "team player" and loyal Republican. John McCain can be a "maverick" all he wants in his private life.

Charles Krauthammer has it right (as does Peggy Noonan) and this is one Republican poliblogger who is not going to ever forgive McCain for leading the charge to undermine the Republican majority in the Senate and close ranks with the obstructionist Minority Leader (certainly a misnomer now, as he appears to be the Majority Leader), Harry Reid (D-NV).

Rick at "Daisy Cutter" has developed this campaign and is our esteemed leader. Here is the post of his that formed its genesis. He has followed up with an additional post today.

Do note that a BLOGS FOR MCCAIN'S OPPONENT blogroll is now in the right-hand sidebar of my site -- just scroll down and you will find it. "ACSOL" is presently among a group of 14 bloggers who have committed to this effort, but I have no doubt there will be many others entering the fray, as the word of this campaign to unseat McCain spreads through the blogosphere.

Oh, and let's not forget the names listed in this post, among them Lindsey Graham (RINO-SC) and Mike DeWine (RINO-OH). They're deserving of our attention, too!

You can write to Rick at the following email address if you'd like to participate:

email to join

Monday, May 30

C-SPAN is presently covering the Memorial Day ceremonies at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery. I have had the privilege of visiting this sacred place a handful of times and observing the changing of the guard at this Tomb. It's a place where field after field of white crosses speak in a poignant, breathless silence of heroism and sacrifice -- of "Duty, Honor, Country."

You feel a chill down your spine and a lump in your throat upon entering Arlington and you're forever touched by the atmosphere of patriotism and high purpose that pervades its acres of graves upon leaving it.

President Bush is just beginning his address now, having been preceded by Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld. Rightfully, he has paid particular honor to the veterans, living and dead, of World War II, given the 60th anniversary this year of that somber chapter in the history of our world.

President Bush's address was short and heartfelt, but did not rise in eloquence to meet the solemnity of the moment. His leadership as Commander-In-Chief honors those who have fallen adequately enough, I think.

The president has departed and the colors have been retired. Spirits have stirred: spirits in olive drab, in brown khaki, in blue and gray, in white and in dress blues. Spirits -- each of whom gave their last full measure of devotion.

As General of the Army Douglas MacArthur once so eloquently said to the assembled Cadets of West Point:

And what sort of soldiers are those you are to lead? Are they reliable? Are they brave? Are they capable of victory?

Their story is known to all of you. It is the story of the American man-at-arms. My estimate of him was formed on the battlefield many, many years ago, and has never changed. I regarded him then, as I regard him now, as one of the world's noblest figures; not only as one of the finest military characters, but also as one of the most stainless.

His name and fame are the birthright of every American citizen. In his youth and strength, his love and loyalty, he gave all that mortality can give. He needs no eulogy from me; or from any other man. He has written his own history and written it in red on his enemy's breast.

But when I think of his patience in adversity of his courage under fire and of his modesty in victory, I am filled with an emotion of admiration I cannot put into words. He belongs to history as furnishing one of the greatest examples of successful patriotism. He belongs to posterity as the instructor of future generations in the principles of liberty and freedom. He belongs to the present, to us, by his virtues and by his achievements.

In 20 campaigns, on a hundred battlefields, around a thousand camp fires, I have witnessed that enduring fortitude, that patriotic self-abnegation, and that invincible determination which have carved his statue in the hearts of his people.

From one end of the world to the other, he has drained deep the chalice of courage. As I listened to those songs [of the glee club], in memory's eye I could see those staggering columns of the first World War, bending under soggy packs on many a weary march, from dripping dusk to drizzling dawn, slogging ankle deep through the mire of shell-pocked roads to form grimly for the attack, bule-lipped, covered with sludge and mud, chilled by the wind and rain, driving home to their objective, and for many to the judgment seat of God.

I do not know the dignity of their birth, but I do know the glory of their death. They died, unquestioning, uncomplaining, with faith in their hearts, and on their lips the hope that we would go on to victory.

Always for them: Duty, honor, country. Always their blood, and sweat, and tears, as we sought the way and the light and the truth. And 20 years after, on the other side of the globe, again the filth of murky foxholes, the stench of ghostly trenches, the slime of dripping dugouts, those boiling suns of relentless heat, those torrential rains of devastating storms, the loneliness and utter desolation of jungle trails, the bitterness of long separation from those they loved and cherished, the deadly pestilence of tropical disease, the horror of stricken areas of war.
Swift and Sure Attack

Their resolute and determined defense, their swift and sure attack, their indomitable purpose, their complete and decisive victory - always through the bloody haze of their last reverberating shot, the vision of gaunt, ghastly men, reverently following your password of duty, honor, country.

The code which those words perpetuate embraces the highest moral law and will stand the test of any ethics or philosophies ever promulgated for the things that are right and its restraints are from the things that are wrong. The soldier, above all other men, is required to practice the greatest act of religious training--sacrifice. In battle, and in the face of danger and death, he discloses those divine attributes which his Maker gave when He created man in His own image. No physical courage and no greater strength can take the place of the divine help which alone can sustain him. However hard the incidents of war may be, the soldier who is called upon to offer and to give his life for his country is the noblest development of mankind.


A HISPANIC OFFICIAL FIGHTS THE TIDE OF ILLEGAL ALIENS

There's a refreshing story this weekend (not too many stories like this one are found in the mainstream media) about a Mexican-American, Republican county commissioner in Canyon County, Idaho, who "has been on a crusade against illegal immigration," terming it an "imminent invasion" from Mexico. There's no surprise in this really. There are legions of patriotic Mexican-Americans -- proud members of the legal Latino community in this country and, to be sure, fine citizens -- who oppose this nation's immigration policies and its porous borders. Their voices just do not get heard often enough in the MSM and their voices are often lost amid the hue and cry of "racism" from powerful interest groups operating in this country who want the United States of America to become "La Republica del Norte" and the flag of Mexico to fly in our public squares.

The irony for me is in finding this story in none other than the "New York Times" (registration required for online edition). Now this is what I call progress.

The NYT's Timothy Egan writes of Mr. Robert Vasquez's efforts:

Mr. Vasquez has tried to have Canyon County declared a disaster area because of the strain from illegal immigrants. He has also sent a bill to the Mexican government for more than $2 million; that is the cost, he said, of Mexicans who are in the county illegally.

Mr. Vasquez says the newcomers overwhelm public services, bring gang violence and drugs, spread diseases like tuberculosis and insist on rights that should not be granted to noncitizens.

His latest salvo, a plan to sue employers who hire illegal immigrants, has angered the solidly Republican business community and many of the senior political leaders in this heavily Republican state. The plan would make Canyon County the only local government in the country to use federal racketeering statutes against people who employ illegal immigrants, said Howard Foster, a Chicago lawyer advising the county.


Maybe the "New York Times" is all over this story because it portrays the Republican Party and many Republican business leaders as complicitous in this nation's illegal immigration problems and resistant to much-needed solutions; and, at least from the perspective of what Mr. Vasquez is doing, the story implies (and correctly so) that the Bush Administration is doing harm to the legitimate interests of the legal Latino community -- a community in which the GOP is trying to cultivate votes -- in pandering to the corrupt Mexican government and its el presidente, Vicente Fox.

Whether or not there's a "Gray Lady" agenda at work here, I applaud its editors for going with the story. It needs telling. This is the one major issue in this country in which the Republican Party and many of its members are as much the issue as is the Democratic Party and much of its membership. Those who complain that the two political parties in this country have grown too much alike can find the underpinnings for their argument in the illegal immigration problem.

Mr. Vasquez knows what drives this runaway problem in the United States and it is not an overweening concern for the plight of poor Mexican nationals. It's all about dollars: huge remittances (in the billions annually) to Mexico; and cheap labor (profits) and plentiful votes here in this country.

The struggle here is contained to Canyon County, west of Boise with a population of 151,000. But it is part of a broader clash taking place across the country in the Republican Party; President Bush is pushing a guest worker program for illegal immigrants, while other Republicans are supporting private efforts to patrol the border and calling for additional muscle to seal it off.

Mr. Vasquez says it is a fight the party needs to have. "Some people say I'm a racist, that I'm a traitor to my heritage," he said. "There is nothing racial about this. The only color involved is green - for money."

With both parties trying to court Hispanic voters, politicians who have jumped into the immigration debate, like Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger of California, have found the issue to be perilous. Mr. Schwarzenegger was criticized by many Latinos after he praised a group of citizens patrolling the border.

Many farmers and construction contractors here say they could not survive without the pool of workers from Mexico. They have lined up behind a proposal by the state's senior senator, Larry E. Craig, a Republican, to allow illegal immigrants to stay in the country under certain conditions, a variation of a similar plan offered by President Bush.

CORRUPTION IN THE DRUG TRADE ON OUR SIDE OF THE BORDER

Today's "Houston Chronicle" (registration required) carries a story by reporter James Pinkerton that points to corruption within the ranks of U.S. Border Patrol agents. Indeed, there were 17 criminal cases aginst corrupt officials in 2004.

Pinkerton writes:

As Mexican drug cartels have transformed the Texas-Mexico border into one of the major transport corridors for marijuana, cocaine and heroin, traffickers have stepped up their efforts to bribe agents.

While attention has been focused on the wide-scale corruption of Mexican law enforcement officials by powerful drug organizations, recent investigations along the border have revealed corruption of several U.S. agents at key international crossings.

This blogger has written previously on how the Rio Grande Valley in south Texas remains a prime corridor for illegal traffiking in human cargo, illicit drugs, and, even more worrisome, the pathway of choice for the dreaded MS-13 gang that now ranges through 33 states in this country. The valley's major cities are Brownsville, Harlingen, and McAllen, Texas. There are numerous official Ports of Entry from Brownsville to Laredo and, of course, those used by cayotes to bring the illegals in and not just in the cover of darkness, but often in broad daylight.

And this is not a new problem in the valley. But now an acute problem is being exacerbated by the complicity of some of our own government agents.

Unfortunately, the corruption that is rife on the Mexican side of the border is insinuating itself into the U.S. side and not all who work for the Department of Homeland Security have homeland security as their primary goal.

As Pinkerton continues:

The most recent Texas corruption convictions include:

•Gerardo Diaz, a 43-year-old U.S. Customs and Border Protection inspector who pleaded guilty in El Paso to accepting a $15,000 bribe to allow five kilos of cocaine to enter the Ysleta port of entry. He was sentenced in March to eight years in prison.
•In April, U.S. Customs and Border Protection inspector Fabian Solis, 41, was convicted of taking $300 for each undocumented alien he allowed to enter the country at international bridges in Roma and Rio Grande City. He is awaiting sentencing.
Veteran prosecutors and federal agents say trying to bribe an official who mans a border crossing point, a highway checkpoint in the interior, or a stretch of the Rio Grande is a risky but successful tactic.

"To a drug organization, it's the logical extension of a successful business plan," explained former federal prosecutor Eric Reed, who entered private practice in Houston earlier this year. ''I mean, if you have a hook in a law enforcement officer, you've got it made."


The following should give Americans pause, as bribes can move not only human cargo and drug cargo, but weapons and people determined to harm us:

And the bribe amounts can be staggering.

''It's the money and weakness," said one longtime U.S. agent stationed on the border, who would only speak if his name was not used. "It doesn't take a whole lot to approach an officer at a Port of Entry and ask, 'How would you like to make $5,000 a car?' "

In a corruption case pending in McAllen, a U.S. Customs inspector living in a $500,000 home — complete with a basement movie theater — is accused of accepting up to $10,000 for each drug-loaded vehicle he allegedly waved through his inspection lane on an international bridge. FBI agents testified the inspector was working for two drug organizations.

Could it be that the Minutemen -- a volunteer organization of concerned American citizens determined to assist the U.S. Border Patrol in its apprehension of illegal aliens and drug traffikers -- might provide a countervailing influence to the bribery? Interesting that the President of the United States would be so quick to slander these fine Americans as 'vigilantes"; but, have you ever heard the president decry the corruption that James Pinkerton has reported on in the Department of Homeland Security or what it could portend if terrorists were to use sex and money to gain favor with those easily corrupted in the ranks of the Border Patrol?

Unthinkable? Think again!

Sunday, May 29

"DULCE ET DECORUM EST"


The bugle echoes shrill and sweet,
But not of war it sings to-day.
The road is rhythmic with the feet
Of men-at-arms who come to pray.
The roses blossom white and red
On tombs where weary soldiers lie;
Flags wave above the honored dead
And martial music cleaves the sky.
Above their wreath-strewn graves we kneel,
They kept the faith and fought the fight.
Through flying lead and crimson steel
They plunged for Freedom and the Right.
May we, their grateful children, learn
Their strength, who lie beneath this sod,
Who went through fire and death to earn
At last the accolade of God.
In shining rank on rank arrayed
They march, the legions of the Lord;
He is their Captain unafraid,
The Prince of Peace . . . Who brought a sword.

-Joyce Kilmer-

THEN AND NOW : AN OBJECT LESSON IN PROPRIETY AND DIGNITY

The inimitable Mark Steyn writes the following in a fitting Memorial Day remembrance of a time when this country had not lost its "sense of proportion," when "the outcome of a war and the fate of a nation" didn't hinge on "one freaky jailhouse" or on "elites" who were willing "to pay any price, bear any burden, as long as it (was) pain-free, squeaky-clean, and over in a week."

A gripping excerpt:

In my local cemetery, there's a monument over three graves, forebears of my hardworking assistant, though I didn't know that the time I first came across them. Turner Grant, his cousin John Gilbert and his sister's fiance Charles Lovejoy had been friends since boyhood and all three enlisted on the same day. Charles died on March 5, 1863, Turner on March 6, and John on March 11. Nothing splendid or heroic. They were tentmates in Virginia, and there was an outbreak of measles in the camp.

For some reason, there was a bureaucratic mixup and the army neglected to inform the families. Then, on their final journey home, the bodies were taken off the train at the wrong town. It was a Saturday afternoon and the stationmaster didn't want the caskets sitting there all weekend. So a man who knew where the Grants lived offered to take them up to the next town and drop them off on Sunday morning.
When he arrived, the family was at church, so he unloaded the coffins from his buggy and left without a word or a note to anyone. Imagine coming home from Sunday worship and finding three caskets waiting on the porch. Imagine being young Caroline Grant, and those caskets contain the bodies of your brother, your cousin and the man to whom you're betrothed.

That's a hell of a story behind the bald dates on three tombstones. If it happened today, maybe Caroline would be on Diane Sawyer and Katie Couric demanding proper compensation, and the truth about what happened, and why the politicians were covering it up. Maybe she'd form a group of victims' families. Maybe she'd call for a special commission to establish whether the government did everything it could to prevent disease outbreaks at army camps. Maybe, when they got around to forming the commission, she'd be booing and chanting during the officials' testimony, as several of the 9/11 families did during Mayor Rudy Giuliani's testimony.

Mark, of course, has it right, as more often than not he has it right. Just read the following, by way of contrast, from "Stars and Stripes" about the latest salvo from the father of Pat Tillman, whose son was killed in action in Afghanistan owing to a tragic case of "friendly fire":

An excerpt:

Pat Tillman’s father called Army investigations into his son’s death “shams” in a letter to The Washington Post on Saturday, and accused investigators of deliberately falsifying facts to cover up Army mistakes.

The letter, which offers clarifications to comments Pat Tillman Sr. made to The Washington Post on May 23, said that calling him “critical” of the Army’s handling of the investigation is an understatement.

“I did not say the Army ‘botched’ the investigation,” the letter read. “I said it deliberately falsified baseline facts — e.g. distance, light conditions, details perceived before and while firing, and the identification of ‘friendlies.’ ”

I cannot possibly comprehend the grief Pat Tillman Sr. must feel. He raised an exceptional son. But I don't think the Memorial Day weekend is the appropriate time to be excoriating the United States Army. There are other more fitting ways to remember the sacrifices that his brave son and other men and women like him have made to preserve this nation.

"DUTY, HONOR, COUNTRY ..."

It seems only fitting this Memorial Day weekend -- kindly sit back and listen to the famous address made by General of the Army Douglas MacArthur to the cadets of West Point on May 12, 1962: click here.

Read along, as you listen to the General's sublime eloquence and inspiring words:

Duty, Honor, Country

No human being could fail to be deeply moved by such a tribute as this [Thayer Award]. Coming from a profession I have served so long and a people I have loved so well, it fills me with an emotion I cannot express. But this award is not intended primarily to honor a personality, but to symbolize a great moral code-a code of conduct and chivalry of those who guard this beloved land of culture and ancient descent. For all hours and for all time, it is an expression of the ethics of the American soldier. That I should be integrated in this way with so noble an ideal arouses a sense of pride, and yet of humility, which will be with me always.

Duty, honor, country: Those three hallowed words reverently dictate what you ought to be, what you can be, what you will be. They are your rallying point to build courage when courage seems to fail, to regain faith when there seems to be little cause for faith, to create hope when hope becomes forlorn.

Unhappily, I possess neither that eloquence of diction, that poetry of imagination, nor that brilliance of metaphor to tell you all that they mean.

The unbelievers will say they are but words, but a slogan, but a flamboyant phrase. Every pedant, every demagogue, every cynic, every hypocrite, every troublemaker, and, I am sorry to say, some others of an entirely different character, will try to downgrade them even to the extent of mockery and ridicule.

But these are some of the things they do. They build your basic character. They mold you for your future roles as the custodians of the Nation's defense. They make you strong enough to know when you are weak, and brave enough to face yourself when you are afraid.
What the Words Teach

They teach you to be proud and unbending in honest failure, but humble and gentle in success; not to substitute words for actions, not to seek the path of comfort, but to face the stress and spur of difficulty and challenge; to learn to stand up in the storm, but to have compassion on those who fall; to master yourself before you seek to master others; to have a heart that is clean, a goal that is high; to learn to laugh, yet never forget how to weep; to reach into the future, yet never neglect the past; to be serious, yet never to take yourself too seriously; to be modest so that you will remember the simplicity of true greatness, the open mind of true wisdom, the meekness of true strength.

They give you a temperate will, a quality of the imagination, a vigor of the emotions, a freshness of the deep springs of life, a temperamental predominance of courage over timidity, of an appetite for adventure over love of ease.

They create in your heart the sense of wonder, the unfailing hope of what next, and joy and inspiration of life. They teach you in this way to be an officer and a gentleman.

And what sort of soldiers are those you are to lead? Are they reliable? Are they brave? Are they capable of victory?

Their story is known to all of you. It is the story of the American man-at-arms. My estimate of him was formed on the battlefield many, many years ago, and has never changed. I regarded him then, as I regard him now, as one of the world's noblest figures; not only as one of the finest military characters, but also as one of the most stainless.

His name and fame are the birthright of every American citizen. In his youth and strength, his love and loyalty, he gave all that mortality can give. He needs no eulogy from me; or from any other man. He has written his own history and written it in red on his enemy's breast.

But when I think of his patience in adversity of his courage under fire and of his modesty in victory, I am filled with an emotion of admiration I cannot put into words. He belongs to history as furnishing one of the greatest examples of successful patriotism. He belongs to posterity as the instructor of future generations in the principles of liberty and freedom. He belongs to the present, to us, by his virtues and by his achievements.
Witness to the Fortitude

In 20 campaigns, on a hundred battlefields, around a thousand camp fires, I have witnessed that enduring fortitude, that patriotic self-abnegation, and that invincible determination which have carved his statue in the hearts of his people.

From one end of the world to the other, he has drained deep the chalice of courage. As I listened to those songs [of the glee club], in memory's eye I could see those staggering columns of the first World War, bending under soggy packs on many a weary march, from dripping dusk to drizzling dawn, slogging ankle deep through the mire of shell-pocked roads to form grimly for the attack, bule-lipped, covered with sludge and mud, chilled by the wind and rain, driving home to their objective, and for many to the judgment seat of God.

I do not know the dignity of their birth, but I do know the glory of their death. They died, unquestioning, uncomplaining, with faith in their hearts, and on their lips the hope that we would go on to victory.

Always for them: Duty, honor, country. Always their blood, and sweat, and tears, as we sought the way and the light and the truth. And 20 years after, on the other side of the globe, again the filth of murky foxholes, the stench of ghostly trenches, the slime of dripping dugouts, those boiling suns of relentless heat, those torrential rains of devastating storms, the loneliness and utter desolation of jungle trails, the bitterness of long separation from those they loved and cherished, the deadly pestilence of tropical disease, the horror of stricken areas of war.
Swift and Sure Attack

Their resolute and determined defense, their swift and sure attack, their indomitable purpose, their complete and decisive victory - always through the bloody haze of their last reverberating shot, the vision of gaunt, ghastly men, reverently following your password of duty, honor, country.

The code which those words perpetuate embraces the highest moral law and will stand the test of any ethics or philosophies ever promulgated for the things that are right and its restraints are from the things that are wrong. The soldier, above all other men, is required to practice the greatest act of religious training--sacrifice. In battle, and in the face of danger and death, he discloses those divine attributes which his Maker gave when He created man in His own image. No physical courage and no greater strength can take the place of the divine help which alone can sustain him. However hard the incidents of war may be, the soldier who is called upon to offer and to give his life for his country is the noblest development of mankind.

You now face a new world, a world of change. The thrust into outer space of the satellite, spheres, and missiles marks a beginning of another epoch in the long story of mankind. In the five or more billions of years the scientists tell us it has taken to form the earth, in the three or more billion years of development of the human race, there has never been a more abrupt or staggering evolution.

We deal now, not with things of this world alone, but with the illimitable distances and as yet unfathomed mysteries of the universe. We are reaching out for a new and boundless frontier. We speak in strange terms of harnessing the cosmic energy, of making winds and tides work for us, of creating unheard of synthetic materials to supplement or even replace our old standard basics; to purify sea water for our drink; of mining ocean floors for new fields of wealth and food; of disease preventatives to expand life into the hundred of years; of controlling the weather for a more equitable distribution of heat and cold, of rain and shine; of spaceships to the moon; of the primary target in war, no longer limited to the armed forces of an enemy, but instead to include his civil populations; of ultimate conflict between a united human race and the sinister forces of some other planetary galaxy; of such dreams and fantasies as to make life the most exciting of all times.

And through all this welter of change and development your mission remains fixed, determined, inviolable. It is to win our wars. Everything else in your professional career is but corollary to this vital dedication. All other public purposes, all other public projects, all other public needs, great or small, will find others for their accomplishment; but you are the ones who are trained to fight.
The Profession of Arms

Yours is the profession of arms, the will to win, the sure knowledge that in war there is no substitute for victory, that if you lose, the Nation will be destroyed, that the very obsession of your public service must be duty, honor, country.

Others will debate the controversial issues, national and international, which divide men's minds. But serene, calm, aloof, you stand as the Nation's war guardian, as its lifeguard from the raging tides of international conflict, as its gladiator in the arena of battle. For a century and a half you have defended, guarded, and protected its hallowed traditions of liberty and freedom, of right and justice.

Let civilian voices argue the merits or demerits of our processes of government: Whether our strength is being sapped by deficit financing indulged in too long, by Federal paternalism grown too mighty, by power groups grown too arrogant, by politics grown too corrupt, by crime grown too rampant, by morals grown too low, by taxes grown too high, by extremists grown too violent; whether our personal liberties are as thorough and complete as they should be.

These great national problems are not for your professional participation or military solution. Your guidepost stands out like a ten-fold beacon in the night: Duty, honor, country.

You are the leaven which binds together the entire fabric of our national system of defense. From your ranks come the great captains who hold the Nation's destiny in their hands the moment the war tocsin sounds.

The long, gray line has never failed us. Were you to do so, a million ghosts in olive drab, in brown khaki, in blue and gray, would rise from their white crosses, thundering those magic words: Duty, honor, country.
Prays for Peace

This does not mean that you are warmongers. On the contrary, the soldier above all other people prays for peace, for he must suffer and bear the deepest wounds and scars of war. But always in our ears ring the ominous words of Plato, that wisest of all philosophers: "Only the dead have seen the end of war."

The shadows are lengthening for me. The twilight is here. My days of old have vanished--tone and tint. They have gone glimmering through the dreams of things that were. Their memory is one of wondrous beauty, watered by tears and coaxed and caressed by the smiles of yesterday. I listen vainly, but with thirsty ear, for the witching melody of faint bugles blowing reveille, of far drums beating the long roll.

In my dreams I hear again the crash of guns, the rattle of musketry, the strange, mournful mutter of the battlefield. But in the evening of my memory always I come back to West Point. Always there echoes and re-echoes: Duty, honor, country.

Today marks my final roll call with you. But I want you to know that when I cross the river, my last conscious thoughts will be of the corps, and the corps, and the corps.

I bid you farewell.

The text of this speech is reproduced from Department of Defense Pamphlet GEN-1A, US Government Printing Office, 1964.

DEFENDING A HILL IN A FARAWAY LAND (A MEMORIAL DAY TRIBUTE)

There's a stirring tribute to a fallen U.S. Marine, who died a hero to his men in brutal combat in the Vietnam War, over at "Daisy Cutter."

There will be many fine tributes published in the blogosphere in honor of Memorial Day and the men and women in uniform who made the ultimate sacrifice to preserve our freedoms, our liberties, and this great nation; but, I cannot imagine any more poignant or powerful than that I have linked to here for you.

It is the story of U.S. Marine Second Lieutenant John P. Bobo and of his valor on March 30, 1967.

This blogger writes eloquently about a man who graduated last in his class from the Marines' Basic School, but finished first in the hearts of his fellow Marines on that fateful day when his company was attacked and out-numbered by a reinforced company of North Vietnamese. The heroism described in this post is the stuff of legends. The assault was repelled and fifteen of Bobo's fellow Marines lived to return home because of his conspicuous gallantry.

Read every last word, for those words set the stage for what this weekend is really all about -- honoring the fallen and praying for those who stand watch.

Saturday, May 28

SOME PERSONAL DETAILS (AT THE RISK OF IDENTITY THEFT)

"The Anchoress" follows the "Happy Catholic's" lead in putting together an Alphabet Meme that runs the risk of playing into the hands of "identity theft" slugs! But, looks like fun and it's much too hot and humid here in southeastern Texas to venture away from the A/C and the keyboard, so here's my own twist on the exercise, albeit with discretion:

A is for Austin -- my maternal grandfather's first name, my middle name, my youngest grandson's first name, and the name of the Lonestar State's capitol (my age must remain a closely held secret!);

B is for Booze -- I prefer "Chivas Regal," but since it's produced by a French-owned company, my politics must get in the way of my preference in spirits, so, alas, its an extra-dry, Grey Goose Martini up with an olive;

C is for Career -- I'm obliged to be oblique, but it's most assuredly not what I'd most like to be doing (i.e., a professional writer);

D is for Dad's name -- he's a Bernard, as am I, and as was my paternal grandfather;

E is for the Essential item(s) to bring to a party -- a bottle of wine and my irreverent wit;

F is for Favorite song -- "Embraceable You," sung by Sarah Vaughan (and, NO, I'm not that old) or most any Ira Gershwin song;

G is for Goof-off thing to do -- classic movie, bowl of popcorn, and my wife nearby;

H is for Hometown -- a rust-belt industrial town in the Midwest that is a good place to be from, rather than to live in;

I is for the Instrument you play -- trumpet in my youth (piano in my mind);

J is for Jam or Jelly you like -- I don't, except as an ingredient in a marinade for babyback ribs;

K is for Kids -- two terrific adult sons living, each of whom has given me a grandson; another son is our saint in Heaven;

L is for Living arrangement -- a good-size home in one of those "corporate ghettos" surrounded by plush golf courses, a beautiful lake, and my wife's green-thumb touch with our extensive landscaping; we're blessed;

M is for Mom's name -- "Mom";

N is for Names of best friends -- Stuart and Lee;

O is for Overnight hospital stays -- twice;

P is for Phobias -- claustrophobia, acrophobia, and arachnophobia;

Q is for Quote you like -- "Far better it is to dare mighty deeds, to win glorious triumphs though checkered by failure, than to take rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy much, nor suffer much, for they dwell in that gray twilight that knows not victory or defeat (Teddy Roosevelt)."

R is for Relationship -- "Met her on a Friday and my heart stood still ..." 37-year anniversary coming up and it's been 41 years since I asked Cathy to "go steady" in high school;

S is for Siblings -- two terrific sisters and a wonderful brother (I'm the oldest), all of whom live much too far away; I miss them;

T is for Texas, ever been? -- currently a resident of southeast Texas and in the late 80s of northcentral Texas, but not so much as a hint of a Texas drawl;

U is for Uvula (oops, I mean Unique trait) -- my vocabulary and penchant for going against the grain of what ever is deemed the popular craze of the day;

V is for favorite Vegetable (s) -- Kentucky-style green beans; corn-on-the-cob;

W is for Worst trait -- impatience;

X is for Xenophobic (okay, X is for X-rays you've had) -- a slew of them (football knees);

Y is for Yummy food you make -- BBQ, BBQ, BBQ (and well, I should add);

Z is for Zodiac sign (gosh, couldn't it have been for Zoroastrianism?) -- Cancer.

Well, the sun has broken through the clouds, so it's time to join my wife for a splash in the pool. I'm not so sure this exercise revealed much about the "essential me." I majored in Political Science and minored in Economics in college, but my favorite course was "The Southern Novel." I can be a contradiction in terms. I've been a senior-level manager for many years and a good one, but had thought in college I would become a lawyer and politician. Whoops! Poetry stirs my soul. I'm happiest at this keyboard in the early morning hours with a pot of fresh-ground Starbuck's and a thought or two (or three) to amplify. I'm a prodigious reader and wish I were a better writer. I'm loyal to a fault and fault those who are disloyal (e.g., John McCain). I'm a traditionalist and intractable fuddy-duddy. I eagerly await the start of The Fighting Irish's football season and my sports' reverie embraces Vin Scully calling any of Sandy Koufax's no-hitters on a warm summer evening, a Jim Murray sports' column, or youthful visions of the Rams' David Deacon Jones running through the opposing team's backfield to drag a runner down from behind who was running an end-around sweep in the opposite direction! Most of all, I love my wife!

POINTS OF INTEREST AMONG MY "QUID PRO QUO" BLOGROLL BUDDIES

Here are some suggestions for you whether you're a regular reader of "ACSOL" or have just stumbled upon my blog, in which case I hope you view it as a serendipitous find and consider bookmarking it, or if you, too, are an intrepid blogger, placing it in your site's blogroll (in which case do let me know!).

Stay for a bit and take a look at the following in my eclectic "Quid Pro Quo" blogroll in the right sidebar of my blog:

"ACE" will mark his blog's 2 millionth unique visitor sometime this weekend and that's no small measure of success in the blogosphere. I'm light years away from hitting that threshold. Congratulations, ACE! Your voice is your own and your readers appreciate that one-of-a-kind perspective. Wear a hardhat when you enter this site -- an opinion you hold dear may just be the object of ACE's scorn!

Crescendo at "Combat Boots" has finally resurfaced after a bit of a blogging hiatus and offers this glimpse into the heart and soul of a young, intelligent woman who seems a bit overwhelmed at the moment with finding her own version of "Mr. Right" -- maybe hers is too tall an order in this egocentric world of brash, adolescent males. Anyway, I hope a fresh breeze of optimism curls around her this weekend and lifts her spirits.

Frank Laughter at "Common Sense Junction" does a superb job of covering the waterfront in terms of politics and current events, and always sprinkles in some historical retrospectives to remind his readers that our nation is the sum of its history and that history should be studied and its lessons learned. This is a blog that has developed a good head of steam and is indicative of the gems one can find if you periodically steer clear of the high-hit-count "big guns" and mine the so-called "tail of the blogosphere" for precious stones. And Frank's charm is that he is not a fence-sitter. He lets you know his positions -- clearly and unequivocally. Moreover, this man's talent is not limited to his blog. Take a look at his magnificent Web site: "Laughter Genealogy."

Justin Katz is a just-turned-30 carpenter who writes splendidly for both "Dust In The Light" and the well-regarded "Anchor Rising." The young man can write and he continues to improve at his craft. His self-reflection is akin to a man standing at a wood lathe, turning a gnarled chunk of oak into a sublime work of art. I'm not sure that Justin knows just how good he is. But that's part of his charm.

Don't venture over to "The Evangelical Outpost" until you've had more than your ration of high-octane coffee and you've donned your thinking cap. You'll find exquisite, nuanced writing and an intellectual depth not found in many corners of the blogosphere. Indeed, one ought to earn college credits for visiting this site. You can sharpen your mind, envigorate your spirituality, and learn much along the way. Just understand it's not a blog site that you can sleepwalk through and spend a minute or less in, as that would be a travesty.

Paul at "The Happy Capitalist" is a transplanted journalism major from Kansas living in the "Toto, we're not in Kansas anymore" LAND OF OZ -- the Left-of-left, bias-infused world of the Bay Area. His good-natured conservatism is forced to run against the vapid political currents that stream in under the Golden Gate bridge and flush traditional mores out to sea. His is a blog site of good cheer in a part of the country known for its breathtaking beauty and muddled thinking. How he stays so even keel is beyond me. Paul is the proverbial boulder in the coursing stream!

Greg at "The Hobbesian Conservative" is an indefatigable spirit whose irreverance and take-no-prisoners, right-of-center political mindset reminds me of Steve McQueen's line in "The Magnificent Seven": Mister, we deal in lead. Here's a good example of what I am talking about.

Corie Schweitzer is a fellow Houston-area blogger and English professor at a local community college. Her "Insane Troll Logic" is aptly named. This gal is plucky -- a real scrapper. "Liberals to the right of her; Liberals to the left of her; but onward charges Corie with guns ablazin'." The charm in her blog site is that you never know what topic she's going to remonstrate about. She keeps you guessing. What you do know for sure when you click on her site is that a facile mind and devilish sense of humor are sure to out flank something overlooked that once in Corrie's gunsight is perturbedly outrageous. Invariably, after reading one of her posts, I'm left saying to myself: "Good for Corie; but why didn't I think of that?" Here's a good example of Corie doing her thing. By the way, her blog has pierced the glass ceiling and is starting to make some of those "Top 10" lists many of us can only aspire to.

"Irish Law" is written by an accomplished young woman who has just finished law school at Ohio State University and is now preparing for the bar exam. She earned her undergraduate degree at the University of Notre Dame. She's decidedly Pro-life (as am I) and writes with intelligence and precision, as one might expect of a lawyer-to-be. I particularly like her posts on the embryonic stem cell debate. I get the sense that this smart, smart woman is going to accomplish big things in her life. I just hope her lawyering doesn't cut too much into her blogging! GO IRISH !!!

To read Carl at "No Oil For Pacifists" you must be on your game: fit intellectually and ready to run a demanding gauntlet of frequent links and incisive observations. His blog site is not for the politically feint of heart or the lazy, undemanding reader. People who read blogs tend to bounce in and bounce out. This is not a poliblogger's rendition of "USA Today." If your attention span is less than a couple of minutes, go elsewhere. Carl writes for readers who like to connect the dots and don't suffer from a nervous finger glued to their mouse.

Eloise at "Spitbull" strips the bark off of issues with the frenzy of a chainsaw-armed logger and every bit as fast. Don't bother if you're tame of heart. Hers is high-proof writing. Example.

"The Anchoress!" She's in a class by herself. She's to the blogger's keyboard what Amadeus was to music composition, but with a sense of propriety left intact. Her writing can soar and it is always relevant. How many posts do you ever encounter in the blogosphere that you re-read just to capture the nuance of the writer's argument or to take pleasure in the turn of phrase? What I enjoy most is that her intellect shines, but she doesn't feel compelled to put a quietus on her emotions, as if the latter would compromise the former. She writes with passion, and shares both mind and soul with her loyal readers. To read her is to come to know her, and that in itself is one of the great treats in the blogosphere! This is one site where exploring the archives you'll find a treasure-trove. Be a spelunker and descend into those limestone caverns and be dazzled.

Ilona at "True Grit" has just changed her blog's template and, I suspect, is still doing some tweaking and fine-tuning. Hers truly is that other sort of blog. She's among the most introspective writers you'll encounter in the blogosphere. She's special: she shares openly with her readers her ongoing exploration of self -- a personal journey of intellectual and spiritual self-discovery. To read Ilona is to pause and take a look at one's self in the mirror. Can we be as brave as she and not become complacent with ourselves?

Greg Wallace at "What Attitude Problem?" is a moving target and therein lies his charm. He covers the gamut -- a wide range of topics and with anything but predictable opinions. He's what "Mr. October" Reggie Jackson used to be called in baseball circles: the straw that stirs the drink. That said, he's well-grounded with those well-marked Midwestern virtues in his DNA. I'm just getting to know Greg and welcome him to my site's blogroll. He can be fun and he can be a handful.

Rodger Morrow is a former speechwriter for President Gerald Ford and still makes the polished turn of phrase his life's work. His "This isn't writing, it's typing" blog is so-named either owing to considerable modesty, or, as I suspect, a wry sense of humor. His writing will dazzle you. The man is educated. A professor of mine from my college days, Harry V. Jaffa, is one of the pre-eminent Lincoln scholars in the country and he's such a student of Lincoln that many noted academicians regard Jaffa's writing as eloquently Lincolnesque. I'm not near enough of a Renaissance man to know the antecedents of Rodger's writing craft, but he clearly is bright, well-read, and gifted. Rodger lost his mother in recent months and a poignant post he wrote in tribute to her took my breath away and made me marvel at his talent and the quality of his heart. He doesn't post frequently -- his blog is quality over quantity.

I'm proud to be linked by these good folks and take considerable delight in their writing. I hope my thumbnail sketches of their blogs have done them justice, as each is a very special person and all, to their credit, march to the beat of their own drums.

Have a good Memorial Day weekend and do say a prayer for our servicemen and servicewomen, living and dead, who have sacrificed so much to ensure our freedoms and liberties, and the perpetuation of this noble experiment -- this democratic republic, these United States of America!

Friday, May 27

"BLOGS FOR MCCAIN'S OPPONENT" -- AN IDEA WHOSE TIME HAS COME

Carl at "No Oil For Pacifists" led me here: to "Daisy Cutter" and this blogger's delicious idea to begin a Blog's For McCain's Opponent campaign. It's an idea whose time has come!

Count me in!

I want this Kennedy-loving RINO out of office.

Trust there will be a blogroll and a playbook! My email has been sent.

ALL THE WRONG SIGNALS FROM A SELF-STYLED, TOUGH-AS-NAILS SHERIFF

My good friend Frank Laughter has published this post today on Arizona's Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio -- a man who gets Frank's blood pressure up and for reasons that are all too apparent when you do an examination of Arpaio's self-serving posturing as the world's toughest lawman against the backdrop of his patent refusal to enforce immigration law and protect legitimate citizens from illegal aliens.

Indeed, if you're fed up as much as I, Frank, and a majority of American citizens are with our nation's porous borders and the attendant problems of millions of illegals being here and behaving like de facto citizens then you ought to read Frank's post and the two links he provides to previous posts of his. The story he tells of one of our military men, Sgt. Patrick Haab, being arrested and jailed for four days in Maricopa County for simply protecting himself when a group of illegals approached him in a parking lot is riveting and it ought to get your blood pressure up too! Too many people seem to forget that illegals are precisely that -- here illegally. They've already become lawbreakers once they're across the border and, as such, pose a legitimate threat to Americans. They're defectors -- people who won't fight the corruption in their own government and improve their own country. Mexico is sorely in need of some patriots.

So let me add to Frank's post and his two links with several of my own. Please take the time to read this material, as it will give you a deeper insight into all that's wrong in this country in our politicians failing to protect us from the illegals and their drain on our treasury and renting of our culture.

Read this by way of additional background on Haab's arrest once you've gotten through Frank's posts. Then sink your teeth into this well-written exegesis of the whole sorry affair -- a U.S. soldier arrested and jailed while illegal aliens went free -- by Jerome du Bois. Jerome is a fine writer. It's worth the time it takes to read his post.

I promise you if you get through all of this information, two things will happen. You'll appreciate why Frank Laughter is so fired-up mad and you'll want to sign this online petition (as over 400,000 Americans already have) demanding action from our president and Congress before we're totally colonized and become "La Republica del Norte."

A BIZARRE, TROUBLING JUXTAPOSITION AS WE ENTER THE MEMORIAL DAY WEEKEND



On page A3 of the front section of today's print edition of the "Houston Chronicle," there is a bizarre, troubling juxtapostion of a heart-wrenching photograph, replete with poignant caption, and, regrettably, directly below it, of a story on the Michael Jackson trial.

The photograph by Luis Sanchez Saturno of the newspaper "The New Mexican" calls to mind the poignancy of the photograph still etched in so many of our minds of the toddler "John-John" Kennedy, saluting his father as the caisson bearing President John F. Kennedy's body passed before him, his sister Caroline, and the widowed Jacqueline Kennedy, as the solemn procession moved down Pennsylvannia Avenue. Can you still hear those mournful drums? I can.

In this photo by Mr. Saturno, you see a flag-draped coffin flanked on either side by solemn-looking uniformed soldiers. In the foreground, standing erectly at a right angle to his father's coffin, is 17-month old Evan Grant, his left arm tucked behind him and his right hand holding a baby bottle to his mouth, seemingly unaware of how his life has changed. His father, Marine Lance Corporal Jonathan Grant, was killed in action in an amphibious assault on Karabilah on May 11th, and his remains have been returned to his home state of New Mexico for burial. It's enough to bring tears to your eyes -- the adult understanding that the child is now fatherless and that his life has been changed irrevocably because of his father's patriotic service to his country. That little boy will never toss a baseball with his father or bring a girl home to meet dad.

Below this touching scene of military sacrifice and the youthful innocence of a little boy is a disgusting headline about a disgusting criminal trial going on in California. The headline reads: Judge rules photos of Jackson's genitals can't be seen by jury. You'd think the "Houston Chronicle" employee who did the page lay-out could have been more sensitive and not juxtaposed the photo of sublime bravery with an article about loathesome misconduct. But who ever said the mainstream media gets it when it comes to military sacrifice.

As we enter the Memorial Day weekend, page A3 of the "Houston Chronicle" depicts the best and the worst of American life: a Marine's valor and the despicable bedroom antics of an alleged pedophile. Even if Michael Jackson is acquitted, I hold him in utter contempt, for I'm convinced at the very least that he fed alcohol to young, underage boys, showed them pornography, and took them to his bed -- a bed hidden behind closed doors with more locks on them than found on many bank vaults. Jackson is no "King of Pop"; rather, he is among the lowest of life forms. I've grown weary of his lipstick; his heavy eyeliner; his plastic surgery-effected androgynous mien; his arrogance; his self-righteousness; his histrionics atop car roofs.

That little boy in the photograph stands before his father's coffin and not, thank God, at the entrance to Neverland. His father died bravely preserving our rights, among them the right to a trial by jury and even to parading around like a horse's ass in front of T.V. cameras and turning one's self into a freak of nature. Many have died so the likes of the Michael Jacksons of this world can strut.

Jackson is threatening to leave this country if he is acquitted. If it comes to that, don't let the door hit you in your skinny ass, Michael. Go somewhere where depravity is welcomed. It's not welcomed here in the United States no matter what Hollywood and its Blue State fanciers purvey. Not yet, anyway.

Were it not for the editors of the "Houston Chronicle," I guarantee you, Michael, you would never deserve to be on the same page with patriot Jonathan Grant or the little boy he left behind.

POLICE STATE MENTALITY OR UNION MENTALITY: YOU DECIDE

"The Happy Capitalist" links to this outrageous incident experienced by Darren, a high school math teacher in California, whose blog is "Right On The Left Coast."

Darren experienced the following while participating in a public employees' rally in Sacramento protesting the Republican governor's policy agenda on education. Darren, you need to understand, was carrying a placard announcing an opposing viewpoint from that of the majority who had gathered at the state's capitol.

Not too far away from me was a group of off-duty police officers. They were wearing t-shirts from a law enforcement officer union and no doubt were there, as so many other union people were, because they or their union disagree with the governor. No problem.

One of the group approached me and called me some fairly foul names. He discussed some sexual practices in which he thought I'd be interested in participating, and threatened me physically. His friends stood by and did nothing to rein in this comrade of theirs who was displaying the most serious lack of professionalism I've observed in quite some time. I finally smiled at the guy and thanked him for his offer, but stated I could find more attractive sexual partners than him. I then walked to a shady spot about 20 feet away. He did not follow me.
Darren, of course, is a Republican and, as you read his post further, attended West Point. He's justifiably outraged.

I have a good friend who's a cop. Having gone to West Point I understand what it's like to live in a fishbowl, where everyone scrutinizes your every move. I also understand that police work is very demanding, often bringing you into contact with some of society's not-so-savory people. I even recognize that the authority granted to law enforcement officials by the Legislature is pretty heady stuff, and that it would take Supercop not to let some of that go to your head.

That doesn't explain or excuse using foul language and/or making homophobic comments to me because I carried a sign that said "I'm a teacher and I vote Republican."
In a state suffering from a massive, debilitating debt, the public employees' unions are doing their damnest to thwart Governor Schwarzenegger's efforts at restoring fiscal solvency. It's certainly within their rights to rally, but unionized, off-duty, police officers have no right to intimidate citizens who disagree with public employees' unions' hegemony in a state projected to have a $27 billion in debt by next year!

The former Democratic governor, Gray Davis, catered to these unions and helped bankrupt the state in the process. Stories like this abound from his reckless stewardship of the once Golden State (now mired in red ink). The unions had a friend in Gray Davis and see "The Terminator" as a threat. This is a state, mind you, where unionized prison guards earn six figure incomes -- three times that of the starting pay of a school teacher.

KRAUTHAMMER HITS THE NAIL ON THE HEAD -- FRIST & COMPANY FLINCHED

Charles Krauthammer, in his weekly Friday morning column in the "Washington Post" (registration required), wastes no time in getting right to the heart of the matter:

On Monday Republicans were within hours of passing a procedural rule that would have eliminated the Democrats' unprecedented use of the judicial filibuster. It would not only have freed from filibuster limbo seven Bush nominees to the appeals courts, but it would also have ensured future nominees, particularly to the Supreme Court, up-or-down votes.

Then the Republicans flinched. They settled for something less. Far less. How much less is still a matter of dispute, but the fact that they settled when they had within their reach the means to restore Senate practice to the status quo ante 2001 is indisputable. That in itself is a victory for the Democrats and a defeat for the Republicans.

He's right, of course. You can put all the lipstick you want on this pig, but it's still a pig. And majority Leader Bill Frist (R-TN), between this McCain-led travesty and yesterday's efficacious Democratic filibuster to postpone further the vote on John Bolton, has been effectively emasculated. He belongs in a boys' choir, not the U.S. Senate.

And the so-called Republican majority in the United States Senate is now a laughingstock. Of course, center-right Republicans are not laughing -- this writer among them. The guffaws are coming hard from the Democrats' side of the aisle. They're full of bluster now.

TEXAS GOVERNOR TO SIGN PARENTAL CONSENT BILL

The "Houston Chronicle" (registration required) reports in today's edition that the Texas Senate yesterday passed and sent on to Governor Rick Perry for signature a bill requiring written parental consent before a minor can obtain a legal abortion.

Under the bill, it would be a license violation for a doctor to perform an abortion on a girl younger than 18 without getting the signed consent form.

A judge could bypass the consent requirement by determining that involving a parent could put the minor at risk of physical or emotional abuse, or that she is sufficiently mature to make the decision.

Current law mandates that girls must notify their parents before getting an abortion, but doesn't require written consent.

This bill, of course, will not do much to stop the killing of the innocents -- the wanton slaughter of the pre-borns in this country. In any article you read, in any interview you hear, in which a Pro-Choice spokesperson is articulating the warped philosophy of abortion's efficacy in a woman's right to "the healthcare of her choice," the voice of the pre-born is silent and that sentient human being is left with no choice in the matter. The pre-born lives or dies at the whim of the mother and, now here in Texas when the mother is under 18 years old, at the whim of the mother's parent(s). Human life should not suffer from such caprice.

According to statistics gathered by the "Houston Chronicle," there were 3,499 abortions performed on minors in 2002 in Texas, of which 43 were late-term abortions. Those human beings never felt a mother's caress or lived to see the beauty of a Texas sunset or the majesty of a mighty Live Oak laying claim to a field of wildflowers. In all but the rarest of instances, these lives were taken as a matter of perceived convenience for the mother -- to rid herself of an unwanted burden. God's sublime creations were relegated to the medical waste heap.

In the context of the Pro-Choice, pro-abortion mentality rife in this country, the Texas legislature has done the right thing. But there should be no self-applause in the ranks of the proponents of this bill. For it's not even a half-step towards any form of justice for those hapless pre-borns in Texas whose young mothers and their parents will continue sadly, in most instances, to choose death over life for one of God's own. What this bill and others like it effect is the parents' complicity in the murder. You'll never see a newspaper write it up that way, however.

Thursday, May 26

EMERGENCY ROOM HEALTHCARE FOR ILLEGAL ALIENS

Would you believe the number is a staggering $1.45 billion annually? Put that in your pipe and smoke it.

Read this from United States Senator Jon Kyl:

The estimated annual cost to hospitals and other providers of emergency health care nationwide for illegal aliens is $1.45 billion. According to congressionally-commissioned research from the MTG Corporation, the annual cost to just the 24 counties along the border in Texas, New Mexico and California exceeds $200 million, and for Arizona's four border counties alone it's $32 million per year.

These unreimbursed costs, and other health-related issues, have put Arizona hospitals in a state of dire fiscal emergency. As a result, some have closed, or are in danger of having to close their emergency rooms and other services.

Will you please give signing this online petition some thought? Thank you!

THE RULE OF LAW SUPPLANTED BY THE RUSE OF LAW

The "New York Times" (registration required) runs a feature story today by Anthony DePalma entitled: "Class Matters -- 15 Years On The Bottom Rung." The story compares and contrasts the fortunes of two immigrants to America: one who came here legally, a Greek, John Zannikos; one who came here illegally, a Mexican, Juan Manuel Paralta.

Mr. Zannikos has assimilated well here in the United States and is now one of three owners of a New York, high-end, coffee shop catering to the well-to-do; Senior Paralta has not done anywhere near as well, however, and works for Mr. Zannikos as a cook and menial kitchen helper.

Mr. DePalma writes:

Political scientists are divided over whether the 25 million people of Mexican ancestry in the United States represent an exception to the classic immigrant success story. Some, like John H. Mollenkopf at the City University of New York, are convinced that Mexicans will eventually do as well as the Greeks, Italians and other Europeans of the last century who were usually well assimilated after two or three generations. Others, including Mexican-Americans like Rodolfo O. de la Garza, a professor at Columbia, have done studies showing that Mexican-Americans face so many obstacles that even the fourth generation trails other Americans in education, home ownership and household income.

The situation is even worse for the millions more who have illegally entered the United States since 1990. Spread out in scores of cities far beyond the Southwest, they find jobs plentiful but advancement difficult. President Vicente Fox of Mexico was forced to apologize this month for declaring publicly what many Mexicans say they feel, that the illegal immigrants "are doing the work that not even blacks want to do in the United States." Resentment and race subtly stand in their way, as does a lingering attachment to Mexico, which is so close that many immigrants do not put down deep roots here. They say they plan to stay only long enough to make some money and then go back home. Few ever do.

But the biggest obstacle is their illegal status. With few routes open to become legal, they remain, like Mr. Peralta, without rights, without security and without a clear path to a better future.

"It's worrisome," said Richard Alba, a sociologist at the State University of New York, Albany, who studies the assimilation and class mobility of contemporary immigrants, "and I don't see much reason to believe this will change."

What's worrisome for me, however, is the fact that Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents of the Department of Homeland Security will likely not arrest John Zannikos for knowingly employing an illegal alien and Juan Manuel Paralta for entering this country illegally. Both have broken the law, but the "NYT" reporter did not feel compelled to protect their identities, because he knows no arrests will follow publication of his story.

Instead, we'll get a sociological diatribe on the barriers to upward mobility for illegals and Liberal hand-wringing over Senior Paralta's plight. You get this sort of thing on the West Coast from the "Los Angeles Times" and on the East Coast from the "New York Times."

And therein is the problem in dramatic relief. No respect for the law. We're supposed to be a nation of laws.

Mr. Peralta was 19 when he boarded a smoky bus that carried him through the deserted hills of Guerrero and kept going until it reached the edge of Mexico. With eight other Mexicans he did not know, he crawled through a sewer tunnel that started in Tijuana and ended on the other side of the border, in what Mexicans call el Norte.

He had carried no documents, no photographs and no money, except what his father gave him to pay his shifty guide and to buy an airline ticket to New York. Deep in a pocket was the address of an uncle in the same section of Queens where Mr. Zannikos had gotten his start. By 1990, the area had gone from largely Greek to mostly Latino.

In 1990, Mr. Peralta was in the vanguard of Mexican immigrants who bypassed the traditional barrios in border states to work in far-flung cities like Denver and New York. The 2000 census counted 186,872 Mexicans in New York, triple the 1990 figure, and there are undoubtedly many more today. The Mexican consulate, which serves the metropolitan region, has issued more than 500,000 ID cards just since 2001.

Fifty years ago, illegal immigration was a minor problem. Now it is a divisive national issue, pitting those who welcome cheap labor against those with concerns about border security and the cost of providing social services. Though newly arrived Mexicans often work in industries that rely on cheap labor, like restaurants and construction, they rarely organize. Most are desperate to stay out of sight.

This is one American who is concerned about border security, the cost of providing taxpayer-funded social services to millions of illegals, and a Washington D.C. crowd, including the President of the United States, who, respectively, put laws on the books and do not faithfully enforce them.

President Bush does not want judges who legislate from the bench, and rightfully so. But he legislates immigration policy unabashedly from the Oval Office in making Senior Paralta, a Mexican national here in this country illegally, a de facto citizen of the United States of America.

Both men in this feature story in the "New York Times" are patent law-breakers. Their impact on our society and the costs each has generated for its taxpayers easily surpasses that of the Runaway Bride. But, Zannikos will continue to live in middle class comfort and take in his $130,000 a year. Paralta will continue to subsist at the poverty level and rely on public services for a safety net. And Jennifer Wilbanks, who concocted a cock-and-bull story of abduction will get tons of negative press, a grand jury indictment, and enough ignominy to last her a lifetime.

Where's the justice in that?

FOLLOW-UP: Jim at "Stones Cry Out" has a thoughtful post on the Jennifer Wilbanks fiasco and similarly disagrees with what D.A. Danny Porter is up to. Of course, the blogger who has been consistent from the onset in viewing this whole tawdry affair as a ridiculous overstep by the District Attorney is Frank Laughter of "Common Sense Junction."

I'LL NEVER PAY YOU TUESDAY FOR A CARL'S JR. BURGER TODAY

The younger of my two sisters called me to ask if I had seen the Paris Hilton commercial for the Carl's Jr. restaurant chain. I told her I had, that it was all over the news here in southeastern Texas and that Bill O'Reilly showed it over and over again on his show, obviously warming himself up for a post-"O'Reilly Factor" telephone call with one of his female staffers.

She told me that she, her husband, and college-age daughter had committed to each other never again to eat a Carl's Jr. hamburger. So you know, the chain has its greatest concentration of stores in California. Of course, that's precisely why they'll increase sales with this soft porn commercial. My sister and her family run against the grain of the Blue State libertines who populate the former Golden State and who, unlike them, will be tintillated, rather than offended, by Paris Hilton's writhing. That's the Hollywood influence at work, along with Democratic Party that long ago abdicated any role in preserving moral values in this country.

She probably called me because she knows I rival Wimpy in my love of the hamburger. Some say pizza is the perfect meal; I say it is the hamburger! I could eat them every day and never grow gastronomically weary.

What my sister didn't know in calling me is that Carl's Jr. has very few stores in Texas and what little concentration they do have is more up in the Dallas-Ft.Worth area. So I'll not be able to effect a boycott of any consequence despite my unsated appetitie for cheeseburger, cheeseburger, cheeseburger.

Still, if I lived in southern California, as my sister does, I'd join her in her family's campaign. Besides, there are two great choices out there that put Carl's Jr. burgers to shame anyway (and that's why Carl's must feel compelled to sell Paris' flesh, rather than their ground steak): IN-N-OUT and Tommy's Burger.

Trust me, as I lived in southern California for many, many years and I know a good hamburger when I eat one. These two burger chains have developed cult followings. Their burgers are the stuff of legends. Many a businessman gets off a plane at LAX, rents a car, and heads straight for one or the other. I've seen Rolls Royces at midnight pulled up in front of "Tommy's" original downtown location after a Dodger game lets out.

Just eyeball this thing of beauty!

When it comes to a hamburger trust word-of-mouth over bump-and-grind any day of the week.

"THEY'RE CENTRISTS, BUT THERE IS NOTHING MODERATE ABOUT THEIR SELF-REGARD"

Peggy Noonan has penned a classic. The "Seven Constitutional Dwarfs" or "The Seven Horsemen of the Acepha-Lapse," as I termed these RINO scoundrels, are none other than "The Magnificent Seven" in their own minds. But Noonan undresses their egos, pomposity, and platitudes and shows them for what they are:

I know they're centrists, but there is nothing moderate about their self-regard. And why should there be? I personally was dazzled by their refusal to bow to the counsels of common sense and proportion, and stirred that they had no fear of justified insult ("blowhard," "puffed up popinjay") as they moved forward in the halls of the United States Senate to bravely proclaim their excellence.

John McCain wryly reminded us not to miss A&E's biography of his heroic Vietnam experience. Joe Lieberman referred to the group as "this band of brothers, and sisters." But my favorite was Lindsey Graham, who said, "I know there will be folks 'back home' who will be angry, but that's only because they're not as sophisticated and high-minded as I am. Actually they're rather stupid, which is why they're not in the Senate and I am. But I have 3 1/2 years to charm them out of their narrow-minded resentments, and watch me, baby."

But she's just getting warmed up!

Back to the senators. Why did they put on that performance the other day? Yes, it was sheer exuberant egotism; it was the excitement of the TV lights; it was their sly conviction that if they laud themselves they will be appearing to laud the institution; and it was, no doubt, the counsel of their advisers that in the magic medium of television, if you declare you are a "hero" often enough people will come to associate the word "hero" with you. Advisers, you must stop telling them this. Please.

I think everyone in politics now has been affected by the linguistic sleight-of-hand, which began with the Kennedys in the 1960s, in which politics is called "public service," and politicians are allowed and even urged to call themselves "public servants." Public servants are heroic and self-denying. Therefore politicians are heroic and self-denying. I think this thought has destabilized them.

People who charge into burning towers are heroic; nuns who work with the poorest of the poor are self-denying; people who volunteer their time to help our world and receive nothing in return but the knowledge they are doing good are in public service. Politicians are in politics. They are less self-denying than self-aggrandizing. They are given fame, respect, the best health care in the world; they pass laws governing your life and receive a million perks including a good salary, and someone else--faceless taxpayers, "the folks back home"--gets to pay for the whole thing. This isn't public service, it's more like public command. It's not terrible--democracies need people who commit politics; they have a place and a role to play--but it's not saintly, either.

I don't know if politicians have ever been modest, but I know they have never seemed so boastful, so full of themselves, and so dizzy with self-love.

Howard Cosell would be proud of you, Peggy -- you tell it like it is.

ARLEN SPECTER TAKES A PAGE OUT OF MCCAIN'S PLAYBOOK -- MAKE FRIST A LAUGHINGSTOCK

So now it's Senator Arlen Specter's turn to show for all the world to see that Senator Bill Frist has lost control of the Republican side of the aisle in the United States Senate.

WASHINGTON -- Emboldened by a victory in the House, a bipartisan group of senators urged Senate majority leader Bill Frist to allow a vote on a bill to expand federal funding of embryonic stem cell research and threatened to go around him if necessary to guarantee that the matter is considered.

The bill would repeal the Bush administration's nearly four-year old restriction on the research, allowing scientists to use government funds to experiment on cells taken from embryos slated to be discarded by fertility clinics.

Arlen Specter, Senate Judiciary chairman, said the measure has the support of at least 60 senators, more than enough to beat back a conservative-led filibuster that would kill the bill. Specter said he believes as many as 67 senators would support the bill, enough to override a veto President Bush has promised if it reaches his desk.

Specter said he'll first appeal to Frist to schedule a vote, but will try to attach the stem cell measure to other bills if Frist refuses. The bill's supporters include Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid, who also called on Frist to allow a vote on the measure the House passed Tuesday.

So you aspire to be President of the United States, Senator Frist? How about trying to master Senate Majority Leader first? You have a long way to go. Seven RINOs made you look the fool and now along comes the spector of Specter embarrassing you!

SWIFT, UP OR DOWN VOTE!

I just read an Associated Press (AP) story by Laurie Kellman and I'm here to tell you my blood is boiling.

Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) has the audacity to call for a swift, up or down vote on anything? The nerve!

Naturally, and because he's a Democrat, he wants to move "swiftly" on legislation to "expand federal support of embyronic stem cell research." If a presidential appointee to the Federal bench doesn't pass Reid's and the Democratic Party's pro-choice litmus test, then the threat of filibuster ensues and the big stall goes into high gear. But when it comes time to play God and fiddle with human embryos, then Reid and Company want to go into legislative over-drive.

THE ANCHORESS AND HER READERS TACKLE A DIFFICULT SUBJECT: THE MYSTERY OF SUFFERING

Greg at "What Attitude Problem?" points in this post to a "fascinating conversation" that I, in fact, was following yesterday at "The Anchoress" -- a back-and-forth exploration of the mystery of suffering and whether or not a painless civilization is something devoutly to be wished or if there is a concomitant "loss of our humanity," as The Anchoress avers, in striving to be free of all "discomfort" and "inconvenience." Leave it to The Anchoress to tackle such complex theological, philisophical, and ethical themes. Of course, that's precisely why she has such a large following: she puts her heart, mind, and soul into her writing, and her writing is first-rate. Do take a look at the "Comments" thread that forms this "fascinating conversation" that will challenge you to ponder your own views and their antecedents grounded in life's experiences.

I, for one, do not want to live my life in an anesthesized condition, free of pain, heartache, discomfort, inconvenience, or any of those elements that comprise the "human condition" and give life meaning. What is a movie, a novel, a biography, or a song without an expression of the range of experiences -- good and bad -- that comprise a human life on this earth? Who would seek the soporific ennui of a life devoid of those elements, some hurtful and some sublime, that mark human existence and separate us from the rest of living creatures?

Where I stumble, where I struggle to reconcile my religious faith with the woof and warp of life and living is in the suffering of the innocents -- the pain and suffering indifferently meted out to so many of the pre-born, the babies, the toddlers, and the adolescents in our world. I was taught as a Catholic that God is omniscient and omnipotent, so it only follows that I must ask why an all-knowing and all-powerful God would create a universe in which his most noble creation -- man -- endures so much hunger, illness, and suffering (even premature death) before even reaching an age in which the mind can at least endeavor to reconcile such afflictions and infirmities with the soul.

The answer always given to me, both when I have suffered and when those I love have suffered, is it's the mystery of faith. That's when for me theology collides with humanity, and I'm often left utterly confused and feeling hopelessly abandoned to a cold, indifferent cosmos.

How have I come to reconcile the pain I would never inflict on innocents with the pain and suffering they so often experience in this world of God's making? I tell myself that it is because we try so desperately to understand God in an anthropocentric way, with these thorny questions of ours springing from and shaped by our own humanity -- our human condition -- rather than from God's purpose in creating us. It simply cannot be done. That's why, in religious terms, faith must conquer reason, because human beings can come to know God, but not comprehend Him. When he sent his only begotten Son to Earth, he invested Jesus with our own humanity, so that God's love translated in terms we could better understand with our own need for redemption. But that does not mean that God retains human elements and feels our pain or our heartache or is moved to intervene. Maybe it's as simple as we can never appreciate the world he offers us through all of eternity without coming to understand first what imperfection truly is.

And how many of us, despite all the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, would ask that we make the journey to Heaven before first partaking of the range of experiences here on Earth? Is that not why we cry at funerals? Is that not why a child's death is so grievous?