Saturday, March 31, 2007

Date with a Dictator!

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi will visit Syria, a country President Bush has shunned as a sponsor of terrorism, despite being asked by the administration not to go.
"In our view, it is not the right time to have these sort of high- profile visitors to Syria," State Department spokesman Sean McCormack told reporters Friday.

Pelosi arrived in Israel on Friday in what is her second fact-finding trip to the Middle East since taking over leadership in the House in January.

Her repeat trip, an indication she plans to play a role in foreign policy, is also a direct affront to the administration, which says such diplomatic overtures by lawmakers can do more harm than good.
Pelosi will not be the first member of Congress in recent months to travel to Syria, but as House speaker she is the most senior.

White House spokeswoman Dana Perino said the speaker "should take a step back and think about the message that it sends."

"This is a county that is a state sponsor of terror, one that is trying to disrupt the Senora government in Lebanon and one that is allowing foreign fighters to flow into Iraq from its borders," Perino said.

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad "probably really wants people to come, and have a photo opportunity,

Remember when politics ended at the ocean shore. I wonder what would have happened if some Republicans would have gone to Germany in 1939 to meet with Hitler!

Monument Valley Update

On Sunday March 4th I posted on this blog part of a travel log from the Los Angeles Times about a staff writer's trip to one of my favorite places on earth..... Monument Valley. Well, yesterday the Medford Mail Tribune picked up the story and printed it with some great color pictures. If you missed it click on the title above for a link to the Medford Mail Tribune's reprint of the story. John Wayne said Monument Valley is "were God put the West" My favorite quote from the travel log:
The argument could be made that, from 1939's "Stagecoach" through "Cheyenne Autumn" in 1964, those magnificent seven (which include "My Darling Clementine," "Fort Apache," "She Wore a Yellow Ribbon," "The Searchers" and "Sergeant Rutledge") created the 20th century's image of the heroic, romantic West, showing us what it ought to look like, though it so rarely does

Of course all those movies were directed by John Ford. I have said it before I will say it again one of the best days of my life was the day I spent at Monument Valley with my wife and kids. The picture above of me was taken by my wife. Our Navajo guide had stopped the truck we were riding on so we could get some pictures. We were starting to get back on the truck and my wife said we have to get a picture of you by the sign. It was a very spur of the moment thing and I complied and it turned out to be one of my favorite pictures. You probably guessed that by how many times I have post it on this blog. I have the picture on a book shelf in my office. A few months ago two of my clients saw it and told me they were going to Monument Valley in a few weeks. When they got back they brought me a picture of the husband standing by the same sign in the same pose.

From the Neville Chamberlain School of Diplomacy

(Picture below of British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain after he returned to England from Munich after selling out Czechoslovakia to Hitler and calling it "peace in our time".)

Max Hastings also of London, writes in today's Oregonian "
We must keep talking to the Iranians offering carrots even when these are contemptuously tossed into the gutter, because there is no credible alternative. Even threats of economic sanctions must be considered cautiously. Their most likely consequence would be to feed Iranian paranoia, to strengthen the hands of Tehran's extremists. is not the American way, but only patience, statesmanship and refusal to respond in kind to outrageous behavior offer a chance of eventually persuading the dangerous nation to join a national universe."

This guy is in la la land! Yes, "peace in our time." I am sure he would have recommended to Reagan that he take out the line from his speech "Mr Gorbachev tear down this wall" when Reagan was at the Berlin Wall before the fall of the Soviet Union.If this guy had been in charge Reagan would never called the Soviet Union the "evil empire". Well, they were evil and Iran is evil!

What Would Winston Churchill Do!

This is an editorial from Investors Business Daily:
Hostage Crisis: Britain's response to Iran suggests the British lion now keeps its teeth in a jar. Would Winston Churchill have responded to the kidnapping of British sailors by running to the League of Nations?

Time was, the HMS Cornwall or any other British warship would have simply blown the Iranian motorboats that seized 15 British sailors out of the water. But these are the days when Western leaders run to the United Nations seeking meaningless resolutions of condemnation.

Sun sets on the Cornwall.
The problem with the West is we never get it. We never grasp the fact that appeasement, conciliation and endless negotiation do not work and that the only time documents achieve peace is when the words at the top read "unconditional surrender."

It's been 28 years since our embassy hostages were paraded on Iranian TV, and it was that weakness on our part that had tragic consequences for decades to come, culminating in the attacks of 9/11. This time it's British sailors, and every enemy from Osama in his cave to Ahmadinejad in his bunker is taking notes.

Maybe it's fitting that the British sailors were kidnapped almost literally under the guns of the Cornwall. If so ordered, the frigate could have blown the Iranian Revolutionary Guard flotilla out of the water.

Along with her sister ships Cumberland, Chatham and Campbell, Cornwall is slated to be mothballed as the British government does what no foreign enemy could ever do — sink the Royal Navy.

Two months ago, Britain announced that almost half its fleet of 44 warships will be mothballed due to defense budget cuts. British naval forces have been so degraded it is doubtful they could pull off 1982's Falkland Islands mission today.

This time next year, according to plans, the British navy that once ruled the seas will be roughly the size of the Belgian navy. According to the London Daily Telegraph, the cuts "will turn Britain's once-proud Navy into nothing more than a coastal defense force."

Last month, Blair announced that 1,600 British troops will return from Iraq in the next few months, further reducing Britain's presence to about 5,500. At their highest point shortly after the defeat of Saddam Hussein, British forces numbered over 40,000. The world's fifth-largest economy now supports an army 28th in size.

The mullahs in Iran clearly see today's Britain, beset at home with threats of terror, as a weak link in the war on terror. They have their own domino theory: Pry Britain away from the coalition of the willing, and it will speed up America's decline as well.

The commitment to defend freedom is not a school dance; no nation can afford to say it's tired and will just sit this one out. Britain should know this from its own experience. No piece of paper, no capitulation to tyrants, ever brings peace in our time.

Britain has stood with us and often stood alone with us. To be fair, she now hears voices in America calling for retreat from Iraq, even from the world stage, and sees her ally going wobbly. It would behoove us both to remember the words of Winston Churchill in another dark hour when the West faced another gathering storm:

"If you will not fight for the right when you can easily win without bloodshed; if you will not fight when your victory will be sure and not too costly; you may come to the moment when you will have to fight with all the odds against you and only a small chance of survival. There may even be a worse case: You may have to fight when there is no hope of victory, because it is better to perish than to live as slaves."

But of course he was called a "War Monger" by the British public during the "wilderness years" between the great wars.

Friday, March 30, 2007

You can count on the French... NOT!

French Foreign Minister Philippe Douste-Blazy said Friday that all steps must be taken to avoid an escalation between Britain and Iran over the detention of 15 British sailors.

"We must avert a course towards confrontation, any escalation," said Douste-Blazy in an interview to RTL radio.

(Picture is of Hitler visiting Paris after the French surrendered to the German Nazis in World War II)

Let It be True!

This from a Russian News agency:

MOSCOW, March 30 (RIA Novosti) - Russian intelligence has information that the U.S. Armed Forces have nearly completed preparations for a possible military operation against Iran, and will be ready to strike in early April, a security official said.

The source said the U.S. had already compiled a list of possible targets on Iranian territory and practiced the operation during recent exercises in the Persian Gulf.

"Russian intelligence has information that the U.S. Armed Forces stationed in the Persian Gulf have nearly completed preparations for a missile strike against Iranian territory," the source said.

American commanders will be ready to carry out the attack in early April, but it will be up to the country's political leadership to decide if and when to attack, the source said.

However, I doubt it will happen. Sooner or later the West will have to face up to the barbaric forces that control Iran. Better now.... than later when they have the "bomb." It is no coincidence that American hostages were taken in Iran during the Jimmy Carter Administration and now again hostages are taken when Nancy Palosy and friends are attempting to direct American foreign policy. Even our old "friends" the Saudis are distancing themselves from the United States. They see the lack of resolve in the United States and Western Europe. Tony Blair is on the way out and George Bush has less than two year left. Who will stand up to this evil? Evil feeds on weakness and lack of resolve! We can't run and hide. The evil that is islamic fascism will follow up back to America and no city will be safe. Our quite corner of the world is not safe as 9/11 proved. This danger is not going away!

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Washington DC Cherry Blossom Festival

It's cherry blossom time in Washington D.C. The National Cherry Blossom Festival is an annual celebration in Washington, D.C., from March 31st through April 15th, commemorating the March 27, 1912, gift to the city of Japanese cherry trees from Mayor Yukio Ozaki of Tokyo. Mayor Ozaki donated the trees in an effort to enhance the growing friendship between the United States and Japan and also celebrate the continued close relationship between the two peoples.

In a simple ceremony on March 27, 1912, First Lady Helen Herron Taft and Viscountess Chinda, wife of the Japanese ambassador, planted the first two of these trees on the north bank of the Tidal Basin in West Potomac Park. By 1915 the United States government had responded with a gift of flowering dogwood trees to the people of Japan. In 1927, a group of American school children reenacted the initial planting; the first festival was held in 1935, sponsored by civic groups in the nation's capital.

Three thousand, eight hundred more trees were accepted in 1965 by First Lady Lady Bird Johnson. In 1981 the cycle of giving came full circle. Japanese horticulturalists came to take cuttings from our trees to replace Yoshino cherry trees in Japan which had been destroyed in a flood. With this return gift, the trees again fulfilled their roles as a symbol and agent of friendship. The most recent event in this cycle occurred in the fall of 1999. It involved the formal planting in the Tidal Basin of a new generation of cuttings from a famous Japanese cherry tree in Gifu province reputed to be over 1500 years old.

In 1994 the Festival was expanded to two weeks to accommodate the many activities that happen during the trees blooming. Today the National Cherry Blossom Festival is coordinated by the National Cherry Blossom Festival, Inc., an umbrella organization consisting of representatives of business, civic and governmental organizations. More than 700,000 people visit Washington each year to admire the blossoming cherry trees that herald the beginning of spring in the nation's capital.

The famous trees signal the coming of spring with an explosion of life and color surrounding the Tidal Basin portion of the West Potomac Park in a sea of pale pink and white. The two-week festival is kicked off with an opening ceremony, followed by a dizzying array of activities and cultural events. Every day there is a sushi/sake celebration, classes about cherry blossoms, and a bike tour of the Tidal Basin. Art exhibits figure heavily during this time, such as photography (both local and Asian), sculpture, animation, and various cultural performances throughout Washington, D.C. Rakugo, kimono fashion shows, art exhibits, dance, singing, martial arts, merchant-sponsored events, and much more can be seen during this time.

The Cherry Blossom Princess Program is sponsored by the National Conference of State Societies on behalf of individual member state societies. Every year since 1948, state societies have selected students as princesses to represent their states in the festival.

Princesses perform a variety of public relations and diplomatic duties during the week which are an integral part of the overall educational and goodwill mission of the festival. The Cherry Blossom Queen, who is selected by a random spin of a wheel of fortune, and the first runner-up may be asked to represent the National Conference of State Societies at other events during their year-long reign. Every year since 1973, the queen has been invited to visit Japan by the Japan Cherry Blossom Association.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

John McCain's Petition on Iraq: "Surender is NOT an Option"

Over on John McCain's web site is the following petition:
1. The supplemental appropriations bill that passed the Senate on March 27, calling for a date certain withdrawal from Iraq, is nothing more than a guaranteed date of surrender.

2. It is a refusal to acknowledge the dire consequences of failure, in terms of the stability in the Middle East and the resulting impact on the security of all Americans, whether home or abroad.

3. Democrats have chosen the politically expedient position of failure rather than putting aside the small politics of the day in the interest of our nation and the values upon which this nation rests.

4. We the undersigned remain steadfast in our support for the war against terrorism and mindful of the consequences of failure in Iraq, even if Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid refuse to acknowledge those consequences.

5. We support our troops and the new strategy and believe it should be given the opportunity to succeed. American national security interests are directly at stake. Success or failure in Iraq is the transcendent issue for our foreign policy and our national security. People say they want to defeat the terrorists, but if we withdraw from Iraq prematurely, it will be the terrorists' greatest triumph.

6. If we leave Iraq based on an artificial timetable, al Qaeda will be free to plan, train for and conduct operations from Iraq just as they did in Afghanistan before 9/11.

Signed, James A Wickre

To sign your name click on the title above for a link.

Celebrate John Wayne's 100th Birthday

This coming May 22nd would have been John Wayne's 100th birthday, and Paramount Home Entertainment and Warner Home Video have joined forces to celebrate the Western legend's centennial with an "unprecedented initiative" of DVD sales and marketing that will honor the Duke with a 48-film tribute.

The flagship titles in the promotion will be Rio Bravo, in both a Two-Disc Special Edition and Ultimate Collector's Edition, The Cowboys as a Deluxe Edition, and True Grit as a Special Collector's Edition. Warner will also release for the first time its John Wayne Film Collection, a six-disc set that will feature the following films (all new to DVD): Allegheny Uprising, Reunion in France, Tycoon, Without Reservations, Trouble Along the Way and Big Jim McLain.
With 34 Wayne films available from Warner and another 14 from Paramount, some of the titles that will be promoted this May include: The High and the Mighty (Special Collector's Edition), Island in the Sky (Special Collector's Edition), The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, The Shootist, Big Jake, Hondo (Special Collector's Edition), McLintock! (Special Collector's Edition), and more.

Yes, the Duke lives on… as long as we have our DVD remotes at the ready.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Britain Must Respond Firmly To Iran's Provocations!

By Jack Kelly

That noise you hear as you pass the crypt at St. Paul's cathedral in London is Lord Horatio Nelson spinning in his grave.

Admiral Nelson was the greatest seaman of a seafaring nation which has produced many. If he had been in command of the HMS Cornwall in the Persian Gulf last Friday, British Prime Minister Tony Blair would not now be begging the mullahs in Tehran for the release of his illegally seized sailors and marines.

"No captain can do very wrong if he places his ship alongside that of the enemy," Lord Nelson said.
Lord Nelson, alas, was killed at the battle of Trafalgar in 1805. The captain of the HMS Cornwall is Commodore Nick Lambert, a more modern sort. He did nothing as six Iranian speedboats seized the boarding party from his ship as they were leaving the freighter they had inspected in Iraqi territorial waters.

The 14 men and one woman have been taken to Tehran, where the mullahs are threatening to try them as spies.

U.S. Navy Lt. Commander Erik Horner, executive officer of the USS Underwood, which shares patrol duty in the Shatt al Arab with the HMS Cornwall, expressed surprise that the British let their sailors and marines be taken without a fight.

"U.S. Navy rules of engagement say we not only have a right to self defense, but also an obligation to self defense," LtCdr Horner told the British newspaper the Independent. "Our reaction was 'Why didn't your guys defend themselves?'"

British rules of engagement "are very much de-escalatory, because we don't want wars starting," the former First Sea Lord, Admiral Sir Alan West, told the BBC.

"Rather than roaring into action and sinking everything in sight we try to step back and that, of course, is why our chaps were, in effect, able to be captured and taken away," he said.

Lord Nelson never met Admiral West or Commodore Lambert, of course, but he knew the type very well: "If a man consults whether he is to fight, when he has the power in his own hands, it is certain his opinion is against fighting," Lord Nelson said.

So Britain has responded to the seizure with stern words. "We have certainly sent the message back to them very clearly indeed," said Prime Minister Tony Blair. "They should not be under any doubts at all about how seriously we regard this act, which is unjustified and wrong."

But actions -- or in this case, inactions -- speak louder. Mr. Blair has a much bigger problem on his hands now than if Commodore Lambert had acted as Lord Nelson would have, and sent the Iranian gunboats to the bottom of the Shatt al Arab.

What Iran did is an act of war. What Iran is threatening -- to try as "spies" sailors in uniform seized on the high seas -- is a clear cut violation of Article 46 of the Geneva Conventions.

If you respond to such provocations only with sternly worded letters of protest, you can be sure there will be more such provocations in the future.

Why would Iran engage in such a provocation now?

First, taking hostages is what the mullahs do. When the Islamists first took control of Iran, they seized the American embassy and held 52 Americans hostage for 444 days. (They were released on the day Ronald Reagan took the oath of office. He'd made it clear during the campaign that he lacked Jimmy Carter's forbearance toward the Islamist regime, and the mullahs didn't want to risk testing his resolve.) In 2004, they seized eight British sailors on a similar maritime inspection mission. (The sailors were released after three days, but not before being paraded blindfolded on Iranian tv.)

Second, the Iranians need somebody to trade. The mullahs have been embarrassed by the apparent defection of two high ranking officers of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps, and U.S. and U.K. forces have arrested five Iranian intelligence officers within Iraq since the surge began. (The CIA apparently warned the British the mullahs were planning reprisals.)

Third, the mullahs need to distract an increasingly restive Iranian public from a deteriorating economy, and the high likelihood that the economic sanctions imposed by the UN last weekend will make things worse. Tyrants frequently beat war drums in such circumstances.

Whatever the reason or reasons, a firm British response is required. The worst thing Mr. Blair could do is make some kind of trade.

"We wait anxiously to see whether this weakened and discredited Prime Minister has the necessary spine to do what is required, or whether Britain will persist in presenting its weakest aspect to a potential enemy," said the London Telegraph in an editorial Monday

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Thank You Oregon Ducks!

Thank you to the the Oregon Duck men's basketball team for a great year. When things were "going south" in mid season you didn't give up and went on to win the Pac-10 Tournament and went all the way to the Elite 8 of the NCAA Tournament. You played with heart and made us all proud. Earlier in the season you beat two of the four teams in the Final 4, UCLA and Georgetown. I also want to thank coach Ernie Kent for overcoming adversity and working very hard to help his team. Regardless of what happens in the future you will always be a Duck and you will always be a warrior. You all made "March Madness" special. Thanks for the memories.

"A society that does not value its warriors will be destroyed by one that does"

Jack Kelly has a column on the movie "300":

A low-budget movie with no recognized stars that presents a cartoonish version of an event that happened long ago and far away is a surprising box office hit.

The movie is "300," about the battle in 480 B.C. at Thermopylae between Greeks and Persians. Its opening grossed more than $70 million, more than the next 10 highest-grossing movies playing that weekend combined.

"300" has been denounced by the government of Iran, and the battle it describes was cited by former Vice President Al Gore in his congressional testimony Wednesday as inspiration for Americans to fight global warming. That's a lot of buzz.

"300" has plenty of violence, sex and the largest number of ripped abdomens ever seen on the silver screen, which doubtless counts for much of its appeal. But there is more to it than that.

"300" is a simple story of good versus evil. A handful of valiant Spartan warriors, inspired by love of country and love of liberty, fight to the death against a foreign oppressor. (Go tell the Spartans, stranger passing by, that here, obedient to their laws, we lie.)

The reality is more complicated. The contemporary society Sparta most closely resembled was Nazi Germany. The actual 300 were more like the Waffen SS than the Minutemen. The Persian was the most benign of ancient empires. Its founder, Cyrus the Great, is praised in the Bible for having freed the Jews from the Babylonian captivity.

The Persians had reasons to be peeved with the Greeks. Some 20 years before, ethnic Greeks in what is now western Turkey revolted. Athens sent troops to help them. They sacked the provincial capital of Sardis, killing thousands of noncombatants.

The Ionian revolt was quelled, but King Darius' efforts to punish the Athenians came a cropper in 490 B.C. when a Persian force of 25,000 was routed on the plains of Marathon by a Greek force less than half its size.

Darius was succeeded by his son, Xerxes, who was determined not to make Dad's mistake of sending too few troops. He assembled an army of 250,000 men and a navy of 6,000 ships. To oppose them, the Greeks had an army of about 10,000 commanded by King Leonidas of Sparta, and a navy of 380 ships, commanded by the Athenian statesman Themistocles.

Leonidas made his stand at Thermopylae, a narrow mountain pass which prevented Xerxes from bringing his vastly superior numbers to bear. But a traitor showed the Persians a path through the mountains behind them. Leonidas learned of the treason in time to get most of his troops out of the trap. But he, his 300 Spartans and about 1,100 soldiers from Thespia and Thebes chose to remain, to fight to certain death.

Leonidas' last stand didn't prevent the sack of Athens. (It was Themistocles' naval victory at Salamis a month later that forced the Persians to withdraw.) But it made for a great legend, which is why Leonidas is better known to history than is Themistocles, a fascinating figure who was a combination of Winston Churchill and Lord Nelson.

Despite its oversimplifications, "300" is good history. The three battles of which Thermopylae is the most famous marked one of the greatest turning points in world history. Had the Persians succeeded, democracy would have been strangled in its crib, and the Hellenization of the ancient world never would have occurred. We may never have known Plato, Aristotle or Euclid.

"300" is soaked with the masculine virtues of courage, honor, patriotism and self-sacrifice, and the camaraderie that exists among fighting men who have been through a shared ordeal. These are little valued in Hollywood or contemporary society, and there is a hunger for them. This, I think, is the key to the movie's appeal.
We need to rediscover these virtues. At once the most preposterous and the most dangerous of contemporary beliefs is "nothing was ever settled by violence."
A cursory reading of history makes it clear that virtually every important development in the history of mankind has been, for good or ill, a product of violence. Every empire that's ever arisen rose by force. Islam was spread by the sword. Christianity is a religion which preaches (and often practices) turning the other cheek. But the Christianization of Europe got its jump start at the Milvian bridge, and was preserved from Islamic conquest at Tours, Lepanto and Vienna. The United States, the most pacific of great nations, was born in revolution.

It is the soldier, not the priest, who protects freedom of religion; the soldier, not the journalist, who protects freedom of speech. History teaches that a society that does not value its warriors will be destroyed by a society that does.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Oregon Ducks to the Elite 8

Tajuan Porter, the little guy nobody wanted, has Oregon one game away from the Final Four. The 5-foot-6 freshman tied an NCAA regional record with eight 3-pointers and finished with 33 points, and Oregon withstood a frantic comeback to top seventh-seeded UNLV 76-72 on Friday in the Midwest Regional.

The third-seeded Ducks advanced to play top-seeded Florida on Sunday.

"You get the feeling he was feeling good," Ducks guard Aaron Brooks said of Porter. "He's been doing it all year. It's not surprising to me. I had a front-row seat, the best seat in the house."

Malik Hairston had 14 points and 11 rebounds for Oregon (29-7), which has not reached a Final Four since winning it all in 1939. Maarty Leunen hit three 3-pointers and added 11 points.

Go Ducks!

President Bush on the "Cut and Run Crowd"



Diplomatic Reception Room

2:00 P.M. EDT

THE PRESIDENT: Today I'm joined here at the White House by veterans, family members of people serving in combat, family members of those who have sacrificed. I am honored that they have joined me here today.

Here in Washington, members of both parties recognize that our most solemn responsibility is to support our troops in the war on terror. Yet, today, a narrow majority in the House of Representatives advocated its responsibility by passing a war spending bill that has no chance of becoming law, and brings us no closer to getting our troops the resources they need to do their job.

The purpose of the emergency war spending bill I requested was to provide our troops with vital funding. Instead, Democrats in the House, in an act of political theater, voted to substitute their judgment for that of our military commanders on the ground in Iraq. They set rigid restrictions that will require an army of lawyers to interpret. They set an arbitrary date for withdrawal without regard for conditions on the ground. And they tacked on billions for pet projects that have nothing to do with winning the war on terror. This bill has too much pork, too many conditions and an artificial timetable for withdrawal.

As I have made clear for weeks, I will veto it if it comes to my desk. And because the vote in the House was so close, it is clear that my veto would be sustained. Today's action in the House does only one thing: it delays the delivering of vital resources for our troops. A narrow majority has decided to take this course, just as General Petraeus and his troops are carrying out a new strategy to help the Iraqis secure their capital city.

Amid the real challenges in Iraq, we're beginning to see some signs of progress. Yet, to score political points, the Democratic majority in the House has shown it is willing to undermine the gains our troops are making on the ground.

Democrats want to make clear that they oppose the war in Iraq. They have made their point. For some, that is not enough. These Democrats believe that the longer they can delay funding for our troops, the more likely they are to force me to accept restrictions on our commanders, an artificial timetable for withdrawal, and their pet spending projects. This is not going to happen. Our men and women in uniform need these emergency war funds. The Secretary of Defense has warned that if Congress does not approve the emergency funding for our troops by April the 15th, our men and women in uniform will face significant disruptions, and so would their families.

The Democrats have sent their message, now it's time to send their money. This is an important moment -- a decision for the new leaders in Congress. Our men in women in uniform should not have to worry that politicians in Washington will deny them the funds and the flexibility they need to win. Congress needs to send me a clean bill that I can sign without delay. I expect Congress to do its duty and to fund our troops, and so do the American people -- and so do the good men and women standing with me here today.

Thank you for your time.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Portland, Oregon aka Beirut West

Defacing statue of Abraham Lincoln

Burning a United States Soldier in effigy and burning "Old Glory"

This last weekend an antiwar demonstration was held in Portland Oregon and as part of the protest they burned "Old Glory", burned a United States Soldier in effigy and defaced a statue of Abraham Lincoln. Oh yes they "support the troops" (sarcasm). Have they no shame!

The McGovern Democrats Return!

Peter Wehner Writes :
If we retreat from Iraq, Islamic jihadists will not go gently into the good night.

We are now engaged in a pivotal war, which is itself part of an epic struggle. General David H. Petraeus, the top U.S. military commander in Iraq who was confirmed by the Senate without a single vote in opposition, is one of America's great military minds and one of America's great military commanders. Why oh why, then, are so many Democrats spending so much of their time and creative energy in an effort to undermine General Petraeus's new strategy instead of supporting it? Even granting the partisan politics of this city, the effort by Democrats is a remarkably revealing thing to witness. "Come Home, America" and McGovernism are back with a vengeance -- and like Round One, in 1972, it will leave a lasting imprint on the minds of Americans, for years to come.

To read the rest of Mr Wehner's article click on the title above for a link. Oh, Yes they "support the troops too" (sarcasm)

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Churchill & Chartwell

Winston Churchill once said "A day away from Chartwell is a day wasted." It was his favorite place on earth. Chartwell was purchased by Churchill as his home outside of London during the "Wilderness Years" while he was out of power between World War I and II. Tonight on Fox News, Oliver North hosted his hour show called "War Stories." from Chartwell where Churchill lived until his death. It was a wonderful documentary about the man. The greatest man of the 20th Century. Churchill understood the danger of Hitler and in the pre war years he warned England of the danger. He understood that if Hitler's army crossed the English Chanel and invaded England it would come through Chartwell on its march to London. He was half English and half American. They played the "Battle Hymn of the Republic" at his funeral. Someday I will make my pilgrimage to Chartwell. When I do I will report about it on this blog.

Ducks make the "Sweet 16"

So much for the little guys. The ones from Winthrop, at least. There's one from Oregon still standing mighty tall in the NCAA tournament. Diminutive but destructive Tajuan Porter, the shortest man on the floor at 5-foot-6, broke open a close game by making his first four shots of the second half Sunday, all from long range. That spurt, Aaron Brooks' 22 points and a smothering defense led Oregon over the frazzled Eagles 75-61 and eliminated the last remaining double-digit seed from the tournament. The third-seeded Ducks (28-7), who have won more games than any Oregon team since the 1944-45 squad won 30, will play seventh-seeded UNLV in the semifinals of the Midwest Regional in St. Louis. Go Ducks!

More on The South Medford Win over Lake Oswego

The Lake Oswego Review newspaper has an article titled."Behind the scenes with Kevin Love: An inside look at his final day, and game, as a Laker" by Kerry Eggers. Some interesting quotes from that article:

Shoff (Lake Oswego Coach) has gathered his players for the pregame talk. This one is more emotional than the one before the Sheldon game.

"It was a year ago we were sitting in this room, celebrating a state championship," the coach begins. "I want you guys who were with us last year to remember the feeling we had celebrating. That's the kind of memory you want to have. ... You know what it takes to be in a game like this. There will be 9,000 and something people out there, and 8,000 and something will be rooting for South Medford. ... but once the ball is thrown up, we just play. It's a game of basketball.

He quotes Lake Oswego, star Keven Love who is UCLA bound as saying:

"...We felt that it was really our 12 guys out there vs. everybody tonight. Their fans were against us, and some of our fans as well."
What does he mean by that?

"I'm not going to go into it," Love says. "I have a lot of school spirit. I love Lake Oswego. We felt like we were the underdogs, playing against everybody else. Like Coach Shoff says, we were in a foxhole together. That's how it's been the last four years. Nobody likes to see Lake Oswego succeed.

To read the entire article click on the title above for a link.

Saturday, March 17, 2007


Amazing Grace is a 2007 film directed by Michael Apted about the campaign against the slave trade in 19th century Britain, led by famous abolitionist William Wilberforce, who was responsible for steering anti-slave trade legislation through the British parliament. The title is a reference to the hymn "Amazing Grace" and the film also recounts John Newton's writing of the hymn.

Today my wife and I went to Medford's Tinseltown to see this movie. It is very well done and if you love British history and politics this is the movie for you. It is sort of a British "Jefferson in Paris and "Amistad" combined. Good music, costumes, cinematography, acting and story. It passed my DVD "test"..... I will get it when it comes out on DVD.

Movie trivia:Watch for Lord Tarleton in the Parliament scenes. He is the same person in history who shot Mel Gibson's young son in "The Patriot." He also was the person who burned the folks alive in the locked church in the same movie. Not factually correct as the British were quick to point out after the movie came out.

St Patrick's Day

My favorite Irishman is John Ford and what better day to watch his love story to his family's Irish ancestral homeland , "The Quiet Man" with John Wayne and Maureen O'Hara and direted by John Ford.

When Irish eyes are smiling,
Sure, 'tis like the morn in Spring.
In the lilt of Irish laughter
You can hear the angels sing.
When Irish hearts are happy,
All the world seems bright and gay.
And when Irish eyes are smiling,
Sure, they steal your heart away.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Ducks Win 1st Round NCAA

The Oregon Ducks won the first round of the NCAA Mens Basketball playoffs with a 56 to 58 win over Miami of Ohio. On to Winthrop in the 2nd round who beat Notra Dame in thier first round game. Go Ducks!

Thursday, March 15, 2007

South Medford Celebration

The South Medford High community is still celebrating the win of the Oregon State 6A Basketball Championship last Saturday night. It's as if no one wants to let go of that moment in time or the fabulous basketball season. In some ways we are "addicts" of South Medford High Basketball and tonight we got one last "fix" as there was a celebration of the win at the South Medford High Gym . They set up the stage used for senior graduation. The band was there playing "Techno" one last time "Whoo!... Whoo!" and the players were introduced. "BJ" even got a "hair cut". "BJ" is the team statistician and a long time Medford resident and beloved character in the Medford community. He said to the team while they were in the elevator at the Eugene Hilton that if South won the championship he would shave his head. Well tonight in front of about a thousand fans the team players, directed by Coach Murphy, gave "BJ a real close haircut. Coach Murphy gave an emotional speech that brought tears to him and many in the crowd. He has been the coach at South for the last 19 years and winning the championship was the culmination of a long quest. Coach Murphy thanked everyone from the ball boy to the janitor and team bus driver. He gave a special thanks to the owner of a local chain of grocery stores who called South Medford and said "fill as many buses with students as you can for the State Tournament and send me the bill." He got a deserved standing ovation from the crowd. The highlight of the night was when they turned off all the lights in the gym and turned on a lone spotlight which lighted the "raising" to the rafter, over the gym, of the "State Championship Banner" to the music of "We are the Champions." It brought tears to many. This was followed by a highlight film segment of the State Tournament on the back wall of the gym. As we entered each fan was given a glossy color 8 X 10 photo of the team with "2007 6A OSAA State Champions" across the top. To finance rings for the team, autographed basketballs were sold for $500 each and there were a lot of takers. Not only is Coach Murphy a great coach he is quite a showman. (See picture above.) The last time I felt like this was when the Oregon Ducks went to the Rose Bowl in 1994.I didn't want to leave the gym when the "Celebration Ceremony" was over. My wife and I lingered in the gym soaking up the moment. We didn't want to say good bye to South Medford basketball for another season.

On Tuesday Steve Duin of the Portland Oregonian wrote a column about the Championship game. What is interesting is he is NOT a sports columnist and I believe his wife works for the Lake Oswego school district. Some quotes from the column:

That sports fans was special. Before an emotional crowd in a storied gym, two of the best players--and high school teams-- in Oregon history delivered an unforgettable and fitting end to their prep careers Saturday in the state 6A basketball championship in Mac Court.

Hey, even the soundtrack was to die for...

Saturday's sell-out crowd, those on the floor and those tucked beneath the rafters... luxuriated in the moment, swept up not only by what the two teams brought to the floor in the Panthers' 58-54 victory but what the community of South Medford brought to Eugene.

"South Medford basketball is to that community what the Trail Blazers were to Portland back in the heyday" said Lakers coach Mark Shoff, and the Panther faithful--at least 5000 strong---overwhelmed McArthur Court. When those fans weren't cheering Singler, sharpshooter Michael Harthum and Van Dellenback-Ouelette, they were brought to their feet by the South Medford pep band and the drum grove it calls "Techno" ....the "whoo! Whoo! and the jumping....( are part of it)..."It's fun to see 6000 people jumping up and down"...

As those of us know who have watched these guys for the last four years, the memories will keep you warm during the long winters ahead.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Stand Firm America!

March 12, 2007 – An early withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq would endanger the United States and imperil the global war against terrorism, Vice President Richard B. Cheney told members of a pro-Israel advocacy group here today.
The United States and Israel “are the prime targets of a terror movement that is global in nature and, yes, global in its ambitions,” Cheney told American-Israel Public Affairs Committee members at a group conference meeting.

“The leaders of this movement speak openly and specifically of building a totalitarian empire covering the Middle East, extending into Europe and reaching across to the islands of Indonesia, one that would impose a narrow, radical vision of Islam that rejects tolerance, suppresses dissent, brutalizes women and has one of its foremost objectives the destruction of Israel,” Cheney said.

Terrorists “wage war by stealth and murder,” Cheney pointed out, noting their employment of suicide bombers ignores the rules of warfare and targets the innocent.

“Civilized, decent societies will never fully understand the kind of mind-set that drives men to strap on bombs or fly airplanes into buildings, all for the purpose of killing unsuspecting men, women and children who they have never met and who have done them no wrong, but that is the very kind of blind, prideful hatred we're up against,” he said.

The terrorists want to obtain chemical, biological or nuclear weapons of mass destruction to impose their demands through more spectacular attacks or blackmail, Cheney said. Such an enemy cannot be fought using previous strategies and methods, the vice president said, adding that terrorists aren’t going to sit down at a table for negotiations or be fought to a standoff.

Therefore, terrorism must be confronted “directly, patiently and systematically, until the enemy is destroyed,” he said.

The war on terror also is a battle of ideas, Cheney said, noting that by providing an alternative to the terrorists’ hateful ideologies, “we improve the chances for a lasting peace and we advance our own security interest.”

In recent years, liberty-loving people in Lebanon, Afghanistan and Iraq have risen up against terrorism and its ideology of hatred, Cheney said. However, the terrorists struck back with more killing and violence, he said, noting Hezbollah operatives continued their rocket assaults against innocents in Israel and Lebanon.

“Also, in 2006, Taliban and al Qaeda fighters in Afghanistan waged a new offensive against Afghan and NATO forces, and Iraq’s Sunni and Shiia extremists engaged in an escalating sectarian struggle that continues to this day,” Cheney said.

Yet, American and NATO forces in Afghanistan are preparing a new spring offensive against Taliban and al Qaeda fighters, Cheney pointed out. And, in Iraq, “our coalition is pursuing a new strategy that brings in reinforcements to help Iraqi forces secure the capital so that nation can move forward in the political process and turn toward reconciliation,” he added.

Army Gen. David H. Petraeus, the U.S. military commander in Iraq, and the troops under his command “are in the midst of some extremely tough, intense and dangerous work,” Cheney said.

America’s servicemembers “represent the best that is in our country,” Cheney said. “They're well-trained and professional. Their morale is high. They're giving this mission everything they've got, and they are doing an absolutely brilliant job.”

The war in Iraq is central to the war on terrorism, Cheney said, noting that fugitive al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden has often referred to Baghdad as the capital of his vision of a world dominated by radical Islam.

“Obviously, the terrorists have no illusion about the importance of the struggle in Iraq,” Cheney said. “They have not called it a distraction or a diversion from their war against the United States. They know it is the central front in that war, and it’s where they’ve chosen to make a stand.”

Iraq’s relevance to the war on terror couldn’t be more obvious, Cheney said, noting that Iraqi security forces and U.S. soldiers and Marines in Iraq routinely battle al Qaeda operatives.

“Here at home, that makes one thing above all clear. If you support the war on terror, then it only makes sense to support it where the terrorists are fighting us,” Cheney said.
He added that an early pullout of U.S. troops from Iraq “represents a full validation” of al Qaeda’s strategy, Cheney said. The only way they can win is if we lose our nerve and abandon our mission, and the terrorists do believe that they can force that outcome. Time after time, they have predicted that the American people do not have the stomach for a long-term fight,” Cheney said. A military withdrawal from Iraq would place the United States in greater jeopardy, he explained, because the terrorists would conclude they could attack America again and again.
“Let me say that a precipitous American withdrawal from Iraq would be a disaster for the United States and the entire Middle East,” Cheney said. “It’s not hard to imagine what could occur if our coalition withdrew before Iraqis could defend themselves.

Moderate Iraqis would be singled out and eliminated, he said. Meanwhile, Iranian-supported Shiite extremists “could be in an all-out war” with al Qaeda and Saddam Hussein regime-led Sunni extremists, he added.

Such a nightmare scenario would inflame the Middle East, embolden America’s worst enemies and leave the United States measurably weakened, Cheney said.

“We must consider, as well, just what a precipitous withdrawal would mean to our other efforts in the war on terror and to our interests in the broader Middle East,” Cheney said.

After achieving victory in Iraq, the jihadists “would look abroad for new missions,” he said.

“Many would head for Afghanistan to fight alongside the Taliban,” the vice president continued. Other terrorists would travel across the Middle East to spread discord and undermine moderate governments, he said.

“What would it say to the world,” Cheney asked rhetorically, “if we left high and dry those millions of people who have counted on the United States to keep its commitment?”

A sudden withdrawal of U.S. forces from Iraq would also “dissipate much of the effort that’s gone into fighting the global war on terror and result in chaos and mounting danger,” he said.

“For the sake of our own security, we will not stand by and let it happen,” Cheney said.

Sunday, March 11, 2007


The South Medford Boys basketball team won the Oregon 6A State Championship last night at the University of Oregon basketball arena Mac Court. Before a sell out crowd the South Medford Panthers beat Lake Oswego for the Championship of the largest high schools in Oregon. Lake Oswego was led by center Kevin Love who is going to UCLA next year. South Medford was led by Kyle Singler who is going to Duke University next year. It was the battle of the titans and was a rematch of last years State Championship won by Lake Oswego. This was the second win this season by South Medford over Lake Oswego. In December South Medford beat Lake Oswego in a tournament in the Portland area. South Medford and the entire state has been waiting all year for this rematch in the Championship and "pay back" was sweet!

The crowd was predominately made up of Medford fans who drove the three hours to Eugene for the game. Through out the game the Medford fans waived their white towels to urge the Panthers on to victory. After the game the fans rushed the court and celebrated long into the night. South Coach, Dennis Murphy, led the victorious Panthers in a jig as he was perched on a ladder having just cut down the net off the basket. The South Medford fans jumped up and down to the music of the band and were led by the coach who jumped up and down on the ladder waiving the net above his head. It was a classic moment I will not soon forget. I only wish my kids, South Medford grads, could have been there to celebrate with their mother and I . It has been a magical year. Thanks for the memories and a great year!


An Oregon Duck fan who was at the game posted these comments on an internet forum:
First, I do not have a "dog in the fight". I was at the Championship game last night simply because I enjoy basketball.
CROWD: Great crowd on both sides. But it was CLEAR the majority of the fans supported South Medford. I bet 70% of the crowd was from Medford or supported Medford.
I think both crowds did a great job supporting their teams. BUT South fans were unreal. They were the best fans I have ever seen at a high school game. There cheers and chants were unique! You guys rock!
OFFICIALS: South was getting screwed ALL night in calls. I don't think it was partial, just inconsistant.
Kevin can bang and push but if Kyle touched him, KS got called. It was nuts and almost cost South.
COACHING: It was clear that Coach Murphy coached and Shoff and Dudley whinned all night. It will be interesting to see what happens next year, maybe they will actually have to coach!
It's without question that the better "team" was South, not even in question!
I think Kevin is a good player but just in Oregon, he doesnt have anyone physically that can match up with him.
I think Kyle is the more "complete" basketball player and will be the better college/NBA player.
In Oregon, Kevin can "push" himself around but NOT in college. In order of Kevin to have sucess at the next level, he will have to have solid players around him!
What is with Kevin walking all the way out to center court to stretch before shooting a free throw.
Oregon has never embraced Kevin. There is just something about him that makes me think he only cares about himself. I don't know the guy but man, he is NOT KS.
Kyle is the measuring stick of what a high school player should strive for.
It wasn't a Panther victory but a celebration that should be enjoyed by the entire city of Medford. You did yourself proud!

Ducks Win Pac- 10 Tournament Championship

The Oregon Ducks men's basketball team blew out U$C yesterday in Los Angeles to win the Pac-10 Tournament and got a 3rd seed in the NCAA's. They will play Miami of Ohio on Friday in Spokane. Go Ducks

Monday, March 05, 2007

"Kentucky Fried Hillary: N.Y. Senator Adopts Southern Drawl in Church Service"

The Drudge Report has a link to a recording of Hillary Clinton putting on a very fake drawl at a Southern Church to appeal to a mostly black audience in her attempt to beat back the threat to her campaign of Illinois Senator Barack Obama. Click on the title above for a link to the recording..... it is very funny!

Sunday, March 04, 2007

We Have a Rendezvous with Destiny !

The following is part of "The Speech" given by Ronald Reagan as a pre-recorded, nationwide televised program sponsored by Goldwater-Miller on behalf of Barry Goldwater, on October 27, 1964. His words give us guidance in the present war against Islamic fascism.
A nation which can prefer disgrace to danger is prepared for a master, and deserves one." Let's set the record straight. There is no argument over the choice between peace and war, but there is only one guaranteed way you can have peace--and you can have it in the next second--surrender.
Admittedly there is a risk in any course we follow other than this, but every lesson in history tells us that the greater risk lies in appeasement, and this is the specter our well-meaning liberal friends refuse to face--that their policy of accommodation is appeasement, and it gives no choice between peace and war, only between fight and surrender. If we continue to accommodate, continue to back and retreat, eventually we have to face the final demand--the ultimatum. And what then? When Nikita Khrushchev has told his people he knows what our answer will be? He has told them that we are retreating under the pressure of the Cold War, and someday when the time comes to deliver the ultimatum, our surrender will be voluntary because by that time we will have weakened from within spiritually, morally, and economically. He believes this because from our side he has heard voices pleading for "peace at any price" or "better Red than dead," or as one commentator put it, he would rather "live on his knees than die on his feet." And therein lies the road to war, because those voices don't speak for the rest of us. You and I know and do not believe that life is so dear and peace so sweet as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery. If nothing in life is worth dying for, when did this begin--just in the face of this enemy? Or should Moses have told the children of Israel to live in slavery under the pharaohs? Should Christ have refused the cross? Should the patriots at Concord Bridge have thrown down their guns and refused to fire the shot heard 'round the world? The martyrs of history were not fools, and our honored dead who gave their lives to stop the advance of the Nazis didn't die in vain. Where, then, is the road to peace? Well, it's a simple answer after all.

You and I have the courage to say to our enemies, "There is a price we will not pay." There is a point beyond which they must not advance.
This is the meaning in the phrase of Barry Goldwater's "peace through strength." Winston Churchill said that "the destiny of man is not measured by material computation. When great forces are on the move in the world, we learn we are spirits--not animals." And he said, "There is something going on in time and space, and beyond time and space, which, whether we like it or not, spells duty."

You and I have a rendezvous with destiny. We will preserve for our children this, the last best hope of man on Earth, or we will sentence them to take the last step into a thousand years of darkness.

Monument Valley

One of my favorite places on earth is Monument Valley in Utah near the Arizona boarder. The picture is of me a few years ago at "John Fords Points". Monument Valley was made famous by movie director John Ford who made a number of Westerns there some with John Wayne. My wife and kids stayed at Gouldings Lodge where John Ford stayed while making his movies and took a guided tour with a Navajo guide on the back of a four wheel drive truck. It was one of the best days of my life. Today there is a travel story from the Los Angles Times about a trip a staff writer took to Monument Valley. If you will click on the title above there is a link to the full travel story . His trip very much mirrors our trip. A few quotes from the Times story:
Monument Valley's star power
By Kenneth Turan , Times Staff Writer
Times Staff Writer

March 4, 2007

Monument Valley, Utah

I thought I knew Monument Valley. I'd seen the westerns John Ford shot here, as well as the Isuzu car commercials. I'd read the books and devoured the documentaries. I knew that John Wayne had referred to this remote region of Navajo country as the place "where God put the West."

So what would be the purpose of actually coming here?

More than that, I worried that the experience might be anti-climactic. What if, like many major stars, it was less impressive in person than on the big screen, a landscape that looked empty and bereft without Hollywood's effortlessly mythologized cavalry riding purposefully across it?


What if, God forbid, I wished I'd stayed home?

The man behind my dilemma was, of course, Ford. He shot only seven movies here, but the shadow they cast is long and persuasive.

In fact, the argument could be made that, from 1939's "Stagecoach" through "Cheyenne Autumn" in 1964, those magnificent seven (which include "My Darling Clementine," "Fort Apache," "She Wore a Yellow Ribbon," "The Searchers" and "Sergeant Rutledge") created the 20th century's image of the heroic, romantic West, showing us what it ought to look like, though it so rarely does.

To see Ford's Monument Valley westerns is to see scenery — what one guide vividly describes as "great mesas, buttes, sandstone pinnacles, spires, fins and arches, all monuments to 500 million years of giant earth uplifts and the perpetual forces of erosion" — not merely photographed but raised to the level of religious iconography.

Not only are these cinematic landscapes magical in and of themselves, but they also simultaneously dwarf and exalt the men who occupy them. They raise the actors who inhabit this space — John Wayne being the most notable — to heroic status simply for being as casually at home in this matchless terrain as the Greek gods were on Mt. Olympus.....

Despite its pedigree and its knockout beauty, it gets relatively few tourists: 500,000 a year compared with the estimated 5 million for nearby Grand Canyon. And most of those who do come are from overseas. Top honors go to German tourists, followed in numerical order by the French, Japanese and Italians before Americans appear on the visitor list......

If you want to get a hotel room in Monument Valley itself, there is only one place to stay: Goulding's Lodge, a low-slung, 62-room establishment nestled comfortably at the foot of the massive Big Rock Door Mesa, just across the state line in Utah. Even if there were other places to choose from, Goulding's would be the destination of choice. It is the Vatican City of western films, the place where memory resides, an establishment whose story is inextricably linked with the valley's relationship with the movie business.
Harry Goulding and his wife, Leone, arrived in the valley in 1923. The land then belonged to the Paiutes, not the Navajo, and when it became available for homesteading in 1928, the Gouldings, who initially lived in a tent, bought 640 acres for $320 and built a small trading post with living quarters on the second floor.

The official one, which might even be true, has Goulding, hurt by the Depression and hearing that John Ford was looking to shoot a western on location, going to Los Angeles. Armed with a book of professionally shot photographs, he was determined to get Ford to work in the valley, which had previously been the site of a 1925 silent called "The Vanishing American."

Goulding may or may not have laid out his bedroll in the production offices and threatened to wait as long as necessary for a meeting, but Ford was persuaded to shoot "Stagecoach" here. He considered it "the most beautiful place on Earth" and visited the valley so often that he eventually acquired the Navajo name of Natani Nez (Tall Leader), and as a major enemy of studio interference, he was especially partial to the fact that no spot in the United States was farther from a railroad than this locale.


Though the Ford cast and crew members who stayed here and the Gouldings are long gone (brothers Gerald and Roland LaFont, own the establishment now), the lodge and each room, complete with small balcony and orange plastic chairs to complement the red sandstone mesa, continue to offer the spectacular views that attracted Hollywood years ago and still inspire the kind of ecstatic, died-and-gone-to-heaven experience Ford himself must have had when he set eyes on this scenery....

(Gouldings)... it's an entire mini-city warmly dedicated to the worship of the cinematic West. The front desk rents John Ford DVDs; a small theater shows one of them every night. The bookstore offers a range of wares: Pendleton blankets, Tony Hillerman novels, even a Navajo dictionary with a CD pronunciation guide. The Stagecoach restaurant serves "hearty meals just like the Duke loved," including various cuts of steak and ample portions of Navajo fry bread.

The highlight of a visit to Goulding's is the original trading post, which looks just like it did when it appeared in "Fort Apache" in 1948. Now a museum, it features memorabilia, the swinging saloon doors from "My Darling Clementine" as well as pages from Goulding's celebrated guestbook, in which John Wayne poignantly wrote in 1945, "Harry, you and I both owe these monuments a lot.".....

The buttes and mesas of the valley, as imposing as visitors from another galaxy yet delicate and romantic, are always ready for their close-up. In fact, one of the surprises of Monument Valley is that appreciation or even knowledge of Ford's westerns isn't necessary to fall in love with being here. The reality is so thrilling that the films almost fly out of your head, leaving you with a feeling of pure elation. If ever a place cast a spell, rooted you to the ground and refused to let you leave, this is it........

Since we were already staying at Goulding's, we booked one of the half-day tours. Twenty people filled up what looked like a converted school bus placed on the bed of a pickup truck and headed out to get a closer look at Mitchell, Merrick, the Mittens, Grey Whiskers, King on His Throne, John Wayne's Boot and the other eclectically named monuments.

Because the valley is on reservation land, all tours are guided by Navajos. Tour buses are the only vehicles allowed to go off the 17-mile drive and explore the valley's back country, stopping at natural arches and ancient Anasazi petroglyphs and offering glimpses, including an incongruous basketball hoop, of places where people make their homes.

All tours stop at John Ford Point, the director's favorite camera location, the place where numerous cavalry charges and Indian attacks were committed to film.

The most remarkable thing about Mystery Valley, after spending time amid the motorized bustle of Monument Valley, was a silence so complete you felt you were listening to the sound of eternity as you looked at the ruins.

To be there alone is to go back in time and enter a kind of parallel universe, just as beautiful as the one the films made famous but more reserved, respectful and remote.

If you are a fan of John Ford and or John Wayne go to Monument Valley you will not be disappointed.I can still remember getting up before dawn so I could watch the sun come up over the valley. We watched in our room John Ford movies on VHS tape each night we were there and I had recorded some of the sound track to some of his movies to play as we drove into the valley.The museum in the trading post was fun and the little hut out back ( Which stood for John Wayne's quarters in "She Wore a Yellow Ribbon") was great too!

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Ducks Win "Civil War" Game!

The Oregon Duck's beat the Oregon State Beavers 70 to 49 at Mac Court in Eugene in men's basketball. The Ducks at the beginning of Pac-10 playe beat the Beavers in Corvallis to sweep the Beavers this season. On to the Pac-10 Tournament in Los Angeles and then on to the NCAA tournament. It's always a good day when the Ducks beat the "Beavers. Go Ducks!

South Medford is going to State!

The South Medford Panthers Boy's Basketball Team won their second Oregon state playoff game tonight in Medford beating the Oregon City Pioneers 77 to 59 in a game that was closer than the final score. In a full gymnasium that included much of Medford the Panthers were down in the second quarter by at times 14 points. Some were thinking about canceling their reservations for the state tournament. Oregon City was collapsing up to 3 players on South's ,Duke University bound, Kyle Singler. South worked their way back from a big deficit to tie the game 29 to 29 at the half. South broke open the game in the second half when the big men guarding Singler got into foul trouble. It was a very physical game and Singler had to go out near the end of the 2nd quarter with a bloody chin. In the second half when South broke open the game the South Medford crowd went craze. South fans charged the court at the end of the game in celebration. This was senior Kyle Singler's last home game. The team now moves to the final 8 at Mac Court in Eugene at the University of Oregon for the State Championship Tournament. Go Panthers on to State!

They Are All Gone Now!

Howard V. Ramsey, Oregon’s last living World War I veteran, and Americas last known combat veteran of World War I died in his sleep Thursday at the age of 108.

In Flanders Field

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved, and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.

If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

Friday, March 02, 2007

Written Leland Report Released

The written Leland Report has been released to the press. Last fall Ted Leland the former Athletic Director at Stanford was asked by University Of Oregon President Dave Frohnmayer to conduct an investigation of the University of Oregon Athletic Department and report back to him. Even though the University contract called for a written report no written report was issued when Leland gave an oral report of the results of his investigation to AD Bill Moos and Dave Frohnmayer. Shortly thereafter the University bought out the balance of the Moos contract and Bill Moos was given an almost 2 million dollar golden parachute. Following questioning by the Eugene Register Guard newspaper Dave Frohnmayer agreed to go back to Leland and ask for a written report. This is the result of that request. Click on the title above for a link to a news story in the Oregon student newspaper The Emerald on the written Leland Report. That story has a link to a PDF file that has the complete 4 page letter report. Some interesting quotes from the report:

II Strength of the Department of Intercollegiate Athletics


Good People: The Department of Intercollegiate Athletic staff is very professional, has extraordinary work habits and is committed to completing its tasks. In addition, the department has a very strong family atmosphere that has helped to maintain exceptional staff stability over time.....

Athletic Facilities:Significant new construction and extensive renovations have been undertaken throughout the Athletic Department Physical Plant. This construction program has resulted in highly functional state of the art facilities....

Football:...It is important that I make special mention of the role Mike Bellotti plays within the department. He not only wins and generates public interest and financial return thru his success but he is a "real citizen of Oregon Athletics."


III Challenges of the Department of Intercollegiate Athletics

Competition Arena: The lingeringly uncertainty regarding the future of McArthur Court is a significant problem. Regardless of the course of action chosen, it is imperative that the university move forward quickly with its planning for a new/renovated facility. The previous "false starts" regarding the future of the arena undermines confidence in the department's ability to move forward in this much needed challenge.

Budget Issues: The department faces significant financial challenges in large part because it is probably "maxed out" in its major revenue streams(football ticket, Duck fundraising, Pac 10 income, apparel, sponsorship). If these established income categories increase only marginally over the next few years, the department needs new revenue sources. at the same time, there are some significant one time only expenses anticipated coming due in the next few years...... the department needs new revenue sources.....Business as usual will not solve the challenges facing the department.

Senior Management Team: It is important that the department move to rebuild its Senior Management Team. this has been strength of the department over the past few years---yet the "team" needs to be rebuilt and re energized at this time....

Significant Donors: the department has lost credibility with some of its significant donors. Across the board,steps must be taken to reestablish these relationships that have meant so much to the great progress the department has made in the past 15 years......

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Did the Drudge Report cause the 500 point drop in the Stock Market?

Click on the title above for an interesting news story from ABC News. I must admit I go to the Drudge Report more than a few times each day.

Bruce Crandall given the Congressional Medal of Honor for Saving the 7th Vietnam

WASHINGTON:President Bush today presented the Congressional Medal of Honor to retired Lt. Col. Bruce P. Crandall for his actions at the Battle of Landing Zone X-Ray in Vietnam's Ia Drang Valley. His heroic actions were portrayed on the "Big Screen" by Greg Kinnear in Mel Gibson's movie "We Were Soldiers"
The November 1965 battle was the first major battle of the Vietnam War.

"The medal is the highest military decoration a president (can bestow)," Bush said during a speech to guests who attended the White House ceremony, among them Secretary of Defense Bob Gates, Secretary of the Army Francis J. Harvey and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Marine Gen. Peter Pace.

Bush, starting off his remarks on a light note, referred to Crandall as "a bit of a handful growing up; one of his teachers said he had a unique ability to get in and out of trouble without any trouble at all."

On a more serious note, Bush recounted the events that have earned Crandall the highest praises of his comrades in Vietnam and ultimately brought him to the White House.

"They flew through a cloud of smoke and a wave of bullets," Bush said of Crandall and his wingman, then-Capt. Ed Freeman. "(They) carried out the wounded, although that wasn't (their) mission. If he had stopped (after one rescue attempt), he would have been a hero. But he went back 14 times - until every man was evacuated."

Although Crandall made no remarks at today's ceremony, Bush quoted him as saying earlier, "There was never a consideration that we wouldn't go into those landing zones (to rescue the wounded)."

Tomorrow, Secretary of the Army Harvey will induct Crandall into the Hall of Heroes during a ceremony at the Pentagon.

At today's ceremony, Crandall was recognized for repeatedly flying into a landing zone under intense enemy fire to rescue and re-supply a battalion of 1st Cavalry Regiment ground troops, even after the LZ had been closed.
"Due to policy at the time, medevac pilots weren't allowed to land on a landing zone until it was 'green' for a period of five minutes, meaning it wasn't being relentlessly attacked," said Crandall, then a major. Freeman, Crandall's friend of 10 years at the time, also participated in the risky life-saving missions.

Witnesses said the actions taken by Crandall and Freeman on the first day of the battle, Nov. 14, kept the 1st Battalion, 7th Cav. Regt., re-supplied and reinforced, and saved the lives of wounded Soldiers who would surely have died had they not been evacuated. Crandall was leading a group of 16 helicopters in support of the 1st Cavalry Division's 1st Battalion, 7th Cavalry Regiment the regiment led by George Armstrong Custer when he met his end at the 1876 Battle of the Little Bighorn, or "Custer's Last Stand."

The two aviators flew 14 missions, encountering intense enemy fire as they delivered much-needed ammunition to the ground troops and flew more than 70 casualties to safety. Freeman was awarded the Medal of Honor in July 2001 for his actions in the November battle.

Retired Col. Ramon Nadal was an eyewitness and former company commander in the 1st Bn., 7th Cav. Regt. Of the pilots' bravery, he said: "Without their support, both by re-supplying us with ammo and bringing reinforcements, we might well have been overrun."

Bruce did not only do good things for Company A at Camp X-Ray, Nadal said. "Months later, in Bong San, he volunteered to evacuate some of my Soldiers from a nighttime battle in the middle of a Vietnamese village, when no one else would fly into the tiny landing zone under enemy fire."

A grateful ground commander, retired Lt. Gen. Harold Moore, who was a lieutenant colonel leading the Ia Drang battle, said that without Crandall's "extraordinarily heroic effort" that day, "we on that field would have gone down."

Crandall retired as a lieutenant colonel in 1977, and in civilian life served as city manager for Dunsmuir, Calif., and in other public works positions in Arizona.

The New York Times buried the story inside on page 15.