Saturday, June 30, 2007


THE PRESIDENT: Good morning. Next week, Americans will gather with friends and family to celebrate the Fourth of July. I look forward to spending this Independence Day in Martinsburg, West Virginia, with the men and women of the West Virginia Air National Guard.

On the Fourth of July we celebrate the courage and convictions of America's founders. We remember the spirit of liberty that led men from 13 different colonies to gather in Philadelphia and pen the Declaration of Independence. In that revolutionary document, they proclaimed our independence based on the belief that freedom was God's gift to all mankind.

To defend that freedom, the 56 signers of the Declaration pledged their lives, their fortunes and their sacred honor. Their sacrifices built a new Nation and created a future of freedom for millions yet to be born.
Today, a new generation of Americans has stepped forward and volunteered to defend the ideals of our Nation's founding. Around the world, our brave men and women in uniform are facing danger to protect their fellow citizens from harm. In Afghanistan, our military and NATO forces are hunting down the Taliban and al Qaeda, and helping the Afghan people defend their young democracy. And in Iraq, American and Iraqi forces are standing with the nearly 12 million Iraqis who voted for a future of peace, and opposing ruthless enemies who want to bring down Iraq's democracy and turn that nation into a terrorist safe haven.

This week I traveled to the Naval War College in Rhode Island to give an update on the strategy we're pursuing in Iraq. This strategy is being led by a new commander, General David Petraeus, and a new Ambassador, Ryan Crocker. It recognizes that our top priority must be to help the Iraqi government and its security forces protect their population -- especially in Baghdad. And its goal is to help the Iraqis make progress toward reconciliation and build a free nation that respects the rights of its people, upholds the rule of law and is an ally in the war on terror.

So America has sent reinforcements to help the Iraqis secure their population, go after the terrorists, insurgents and militias that are inciting sectarian violence, and get the capital under control. The last of these reinforcements arrived in Iraq earlier this month, and the full surge has begun. One of our top commanders in Iraq, General Ray Odierno, put it this way, "We are beyond a surge of forces. We're now into a surge of operations."

Recently, we launched Operation Phantom Thunder, which has taken the fight to the enemy in Baghdad, as well as the surrounding regions. We're still at the beginning of this offensive, but we're seeing some hopeful signs. We're engaging the enemy, and killing or capturing hundreds. Just this week, our commanders reported the killing of two senior al Qaeda leaders north of Baghdad. Within Baghdad, our military reports that despite an upward trend in May, sectarian murders in the capital are significantly down from what they were in January. We're also finding arms caches at more than three times the rate of a year ago.

The enemy continues to carry out sensational attacks, but the number of car bombings and suicide attacks has been down in May and June. And because of our new strategy, U.S. and Iraqi forces are living among the people they secure, with the result that many Iraqis are now coming forward with information on where the terrorists are hiding.

The fight in Iraq has been tough, and it will remain difficult. We've lost good men and women in this fight. One of those lost was a Marine Lance Corporal named Luke Yepsen. In the spring of 2005, Luke withdrew from his classes at Texas A&M to join the United States Marines. And in October 2006, he deployed to Iraq, where he manned a 50-caliber machine gun on a Humvee. Six months ago, Luke was killed by a sniper while on patrol in Anbar province. Luke's father describes his son's sacrifice this way: "Luke died bringing freedom to an oppressed people. My urgent request is ... finish the mission. Bring freedom to the Iraqi people."

On this Fourth of July, we remember Luke Yepsen and all the men and women in uniform who have given their lives in this struggle. They've helped bring freedom to the Iraqi people. They've helped make Americans more secure. We will not forget their sacrifice. We remember their loved ones in our prayers. And we give thanks for all those from every generation who have defended our Nation and our freedoms.

Laura and I wish you a safe and happy Fourth of July. Thank you for listening.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Bush Rejects Democrat's Subpoena... plays "Hard Ball"!

President Bush, moving toward a constitutional showdown with Democrats in Congress, asserted executive privilege Thursday and rejected the Democrats demands for documents as part of the political warfare the Democrats have waged since they gained control of congress.

White House Counsel Fred Fielding in his letter to the Senate
explained Bush's position on executive privilege this way: "For the President to perform his constitutional duties, it is imperative that he receive candid and unfettered advice and that free and open discussions and deliberations occur among his advisers and between those advisers and others within and outside the Executive Branch."

This "bedrock presidential prerogative" exists, in part, to protect the president from being compelled to disclose such communications to Congress, Fielding argued. And he questioned whether the documents and testimony the committees seeking are critically important to their investigations.

According to a recent Gallop poll, the percentage of Americans with a "great deal" or "quite a lot" of confidence in Congress is at 14%, the lowest in Gallup's history of this measure -- and the lowest of any of the 16 institutions tested in this year's Confidence in Institutions survey. It is also one of the lowest confidence ratings for any institution tested over the last three decades.

So Democrats send more subpoenas, it can only help drive your poll numbers down! Bush, now you need to pardon Scooter Libby!

YES!:Immigration Bill Goes Down in the Senate

Good news, the U.S. Senate defeated on a procedural vote the amnesty immigration bill. Now "Where's the fence to stop ILLEGAL immigration? STOP ILLEGAL immigration and then and only then we can discuss what to do about those that are already in the United State ILLEGALLY! Once the faucet is turned off reasonable people can work out a compromise on this issue. However nothing is going to happen as long as the flood of ILLEGAL immigrants continues.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Our Son is home!

Our son is home from graduate school for a few weeks before he has to return to his summer job as a research assistant for his history professor. He drove in last night and It was good to see him. He has not been home since Christmas. Our cat Gabby was happy to see him. He will be able to celebrate the 4th of July with us and spend his birthday at home. Earlier this week I located some tickets to the Oregon vs Michigan football game in Ann Arbor so he and his sister from Washington DC can meet there for the football game in September. It was his sisters idea and I love it that my kids are Oregon Duck fans even if they both graduated from other colleges (Him- Willamette University in Salem Oregon and Her - Claremont McKenna College in Claremont California). Not that long till football season but we still have a busy summer ahead of us.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

The Essential Paul Simon

Today Warner Brothers released the music CD "The Essential Paul Simon" I have "The Essential Simon and Garfunkel" and "The Essential Bob Dylan" but this is the first "Essential" release of Paul Simon's solo music since 1972. I have already converted my Simon and Garfunkel collection from record vinyl to CD but had not done it with the solo work of Paul Simon. Quite frankly I did not like some of his work since the break up with Art Garfunkel. For example, his "Hearts and Bones" album. Therefore I was happy to see this release because it gave me a way to update to CD without buying a lot of stuff I don't like. The CD released today retailed for $19.99 but Target had an opening sale of $11.99. Today on the way to work I stopped by Target and got it. I have not listened to his latest album of "Surprise," so on the drive to work I listened to the song "Father And Daughter" and being the father of a daughter it bought tears to my eyes. A very nice song, one of his best. The 2 disc set has the following songs
Disk: 1
1. Mother and Child Reunion
2. Loves Me Like a Rock
3. Me and Julio Down by the School Yard
4. Duncan
5. Kodachrome
6. 50 Ways to Leave Your Lover
7. Slip Slidin' Away
8. Gone at Last
9. Something So Right
10. Late in the Evening
11. Hearts and Bones
12. Take Me to the Mardi Gras
13. That Was Your Mother
14. American Tune
15. Peace Like a River
16. Stranded in a Limousine
17. Train in the Distance
18. Late Great Johnny Ace
19. Still Crazy After All These Years
Disc: 2 1. Graceland
2. Diamonds on the Soles of Her Shoes
3. Boy in the Bubble
4. You Can Call Me Al
5. Under African Skies
6. Obvious Child
7. Born at the Right Time
8. Cool, Cool River
9. Spirit Voices
10. Adios Hermanos
11. Born in Puerto Rico
12. Quality
13. Darling Lorraine
14. Hurricane Eye
15. Father and Daughter
16. Outrageous
17. Wartime Prayers

The picture above is from a little known album that I bought in 1972 or 1973. It was an English import of an album Simon did while he was living in England in the early 1960's. He played in small coffee shops etc and made this album. Here is a summery someone else wrote about it.

After Simon & Garfunkel's debut failed to break through, Paul moved to the U.K. and released this solo album to even less fanfare. Then "Sounds of Silence" became a surprise smash in the U.S. and Simon returned home and gave Artie a call. Since S&G went on to re-cut all but one of these songs, this is a fine just-a-man-and-his-guitar LP .

I love the album and it's simplicity and hope to get it on CD some day. BTW, the girl on the cover was his girl friend at the time.

Monday, June 25, 2007

The Winds of War !

Iran is making a mistake that may lead the Middle East into a broader conflict

By Jushua Muravchik from the Wall Street Journal

Several conflicts of various intensities are raging in the Middle East. But a bigger war, involving more states--Israel, Lebanon, Syria, Iran, the Palestinian Authority and perhaps the United States and others--is growing more likely every day, beckoned by the sense that America and Israel are in retreat and that radical Islam is ascending...

Democracies, it is now well established, do not go to war with each other. But they often get into wars with non-democracies. Overwhelmingly the non-democracy starts the war; nonetheless, in the vast majority of cases, it is the democratic side that wins. In other words, dictators consistently underestimate the strength of democracies, and democracies provoke war through their love of peace, which the dictators mistake for weakness....

With the Bush administration's policies having failed to pacify Iraq, it is natural that the public has lost patience and that the opposition party is hurling brickbats. But the demands of congressional Democrats that we throw in the towel in Iraq, their attempts to constrain the president's freedom to destroy Iran's nuclear weapons program, the proposal of the Baker-Hamilton commission that we appeal to Iran to help extricate us from Iraq--all of these may be read by the radicals as signs of our imminent collapse. In the name of peace, they are hastening the advent of the next war.

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

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Congratulations to Oregon State

Congratulations to the Oregon State Beavers and their fans for winning their second straight NCAA Baseball Championship today in Omaha Nebraska. Go Beavs.

See you at Autzen Stadium in Eugene on December 1st for the Oregon vs Oregon State "Civil War" football game. Go Ducks!

Friday, June 22, 2007

New Counter Tops

Today we had new counter tops installed in our kitchen and both bathrooms. For the last 20 + years we have had 1970's burnt orange counter tops in our kitchen and the "kids bath". My wife has grown to hate those counter tops but with two kids to raise and get through college there were other priorities. Well, today those orange counter tops are history. A few days ago I ask my wife how long she has disliked the old counter tops and she said it started a year after we move into the house 20+ years ago. They were in good condition and I liked the orange. The new counter tops are a beige/cream with brown speckles. They also installed new sinks. They aren't granite but they should help update our house for eventual sale when we downsize in a few years. My wife stayed home from our office today while they were installed. A plumber was to come by about 3 pm to hock up all three sinks. He showed up and asked what faucet need to be fixed? She said he was scheduled to connect the three sinks and he seemed puzzled. He was able to hook up the kitchen but didn't have time to do the other two. My wife was very upset! By the time he advise us of this fact it was too late to reschedule a new appointment for Monday through the plumbing company's office. He did seem to indicate he would fit us in on Monday but to say the least we are not happy!!!! The idea was he would come at 3 pm after the counters were installed and it would be done in one day with only one day away from our office. Such are the frustrations of depending on others in home improvement projects. The counter tops look good and I am sure it will get done next week. Lesson... do not schedule one day projects for Friday! More updates on our home improvement projects to come up the master bath "re bath."

Another review on "A Mighty Heart"

In the post below I write about Roger Ebert's review of the Angelina Jolie movie "A Mighty Heart". This is a movie about the Wall Stree Journalist, Daniel Pearl, who was beheaded by Islamic Fascist. Movie reviewer Debbie Schlussel,reviews the movie from a different perspective. Her review starts out:

I went to the screening of "A Mighty Heart"--activists Brad Pitt's and Angelina Jolie's movie on the Al-Qaeda murder of Daniel Pearl--expecting a movie with an agenda.

And that is exactly what I got. That, plus a Lifetime Channel weepy-damsel-in-distress movie of the week. Muslims are the heroes--NOT the perpetrators--in this "Can't we all just get along?" kumbaya film ostensibly about terrorism.

As one would expect from the Jolie-Pitts, "A Mighty Heart" is mostly NOT about the Al-Qaeda murder of Daniel Pearl, killed in cold blood specifically because he was a Jew. In fact, the movie minimizes that, instead repeatedly blaming America for its treatment of Guantanamo Bay prisoners as the reason Pearl was cut into the ten pieces like a slaughtered chicken, the state in which his body was found. (That's no surprise, given that the Jolie-Pitts hired as "A Mighty Heart's" director, Michael Winterbottom, who also directed the propaganda fake-umentary, "The Road to Guantanamo.") In "A Mighty Heart," we see no depiction at all of Pearl's captivity or even kidnapping by Qaeda thugs, but for a few re-enactments of tiny parts of the famous Pearl video.

To read the rest of her review click on the title for a link.

Left wing Roger Ebert

Today in his review of the movie "A Mighty Heart"(about journalist Daniel Pearl)Movie reviewer Roger Ebert makes an outrageous comment for which he should apologise. He states: "The Americans who complain about negative news are the ideological cousins of those who shoot at CNN crews. The news is the news, good or bad and those who resent being informed of it are pitiful." People, Right or Left, who complain of biased news reporting are exercising their First Amendment Rights! I love FOX NEWS but Democrats have every right to criticise it even if they are wrong. To compare them or those on the Right who criticise the "Main Stream Media" with being the "ideological cousins" of Islamic fascist" who shoot at reporters or in the case of Danial Pearl, behead a reporter and show the world a video of it, is an outrageous comment and I for one will not allow this slur to go unchanged. It's the old "moral equivalency" argument that paralyses the western world in it's fight with the Islamic fascist.

I guess this is the same Roger Ebert who in another review said:

I still have my membership card in Students for a Democratic Society, signed by Tom Hayden, who handed it to me at a National Student Congress in 1963, and tucked the $1 membership fee in the pocket of his flannel shirt. SDS in those days was still the "Student Department of the League for Industrial Democracy," an old-line left-labor group headed by Norman Thomas, whose statement on the back of the card made it clear the organization was nonviolent and anti-communist. Within a few years, SDS would be captured by a far-left faction which became the Weather Underground, the most violent protest group in modern American history

(For a link to the review where this last quote is found click on the title above.)

As a side note, Ebert is battling cancer and we all hope he wins that battle.In spite of his left wing views I always read his movie reviews and find them interesting and they give me a good feel for the movie from his perspective.

AFI: "The Greatest Movies of ALL TIME"

(The Searchers (1956) at # 12)

The American film Instituter's 2007 list of the top 100 U.S. movies with the ones I have in my DVD collection in bold:

100. Ben-Hur (1959)
99. Toy Story (1995)
98. Yankee Doodle Dandy (1942)
97. Blade Runner (1982)
96. Do the Right Thing (1989)
95. The Last Picture Show (1971)
94. Pulp Fiction (1994)
93. The French Connection(1971)
92. Goodfellas (1990)
91. Sophie’s Choice (1982)
90. Swing Time (1936)
89. The Sixth Sense (1999)
88. Bringing Up Baby (1938)
87. 12 Angry Men (1957)
86. Platoon (1986)
85. A Night at the Opera (1935)
84. Easy Rider (1969)
83. Titanic (1997)
82. Sunrise (1927)
81. Spartacus (1960)
80. The Apartment (1960)
79. The Wild Bunch (1969)
78. Modern Times (1936)
77. All the President’s Men (1976)
76. Forest Gump (1994)
75. In the Heat of the Night (1967)
74. Silence of the Lambs (1991)
73. Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969)
72. The Shawshank Redemption (1994)
71. Saving Private Ryan (1998)
70. A Clockwork Orange (1971)
69. Tootsie (1982)
68. Unforgiven (1992)
67. Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf (1966)
66. Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)
65. The African Queen (1951) (Not on DVD)
64. Network (1976)
63. Cabaret (1972)
62. American Graffiti (1973)
61. Sullivan’s Travels (1941)
60. Duck Soup (1933)
59. Nashville (1975)
58. The Gold Rush (1925)
57. Rocky (1976)
56. Jaws (1975)
55. North By Northwest (1959)
54. M*A*S*H* (1970)
53. The Deer Hunter (1978)
52. Taxi Driver (1976)
51. West Side Story (1961)
50. The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001)
49. Intolerance (1916)
48. Rear Window (1954)
47. A Streetcar Named Desire (1951)
46. It Happened One Night (1934)
45. Shane (1953)
44. The Philadelphia Story (1940)
43. Midnight Cowboy (1969)
42. Bonnie and Clyde (1967)
41. King Kong (1933)
40. The Sound of Music (1965)
39. Dr. Strangelove (1964)
38. The Treasure of the Sierra Madre (1948)
37. The Best Years of Our Lives (1946)
36. The Bridge on the River Kwai (1941)
35. Annie Hall (1977)
34. Snow White and the Seven Dwarves (1937)
33. One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Next (1975)
32. The Godfather, Part II (1974)
31. The Maltese Falcon (1941)
30. Apocalypse Now (1979)
29. Double Indemnity (1944)
28. All About Eve (1950)
27. High Noon (1952)
26. Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939)
25. To Kill a Mockingbird (1962)
24. E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial (1982)
23. The Grapes of Wrath (1940)
22. Some Like it Hot (1959)
21. Chinatown (1974)
20. It’s A Wonderful Life (1946)
19. On the Waterfront (1954)
18. The General (1927)
17. The Graduate (1967)
16. Sunset Blvd (1950)
15. 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)
14. Psycho (1960)
13. Star Wars (1977)
12. The Searchers (1956)
11. City Lights (1931)
10. Wizard of Oz (1939)
9. Vertigo (1958)
8. Schindler’s List (1993)
7. Lawrence of Arabia (1962)
6. Gone with the Wind (1939)
5. Singing in the Rain (1952)
4. Raging Bull (1980)
3. Casablanca (1942)
2. The Godfather (1972)
1. Citizen Kane (1941)

(34 out of 100 - I will get the "African Queen" when it comes out on DVD) To check out my compete DVD collection click on the title above for a link to my collection listed at DVD Aficionado. Once there click on "collection statistics" for a breakdown of my collection by genre.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

"A Journey into Islam"

For a grim analysis of the state of the Islamic world read Tony Blankly's review of a book on Islam from a world famous Islamic scholar. Click on the title for a link. In short don't count on the "moderates"

Breakfast at Tiffany's

When I was a young teenager I went to see the movie "Breakfast at Tiffany's" at the Egyptian Theater in Coos Bay, Oregon. I remember talking my parents into going based upon the popularity of the song by the same name. I fell in love with Audrey Hepburn and a few weeks later for my birthday got the sound track record album with the same picture on the cover of the album as shown in this post (The record album cover was in color). I still have that album. A few weeks ago I was walking through Fred Meyer and there was the same picture in black and white, poster sized, and nicely mounted. We were in the middle of redoing our "movie room" and so I decided to get the picture. However there were at least three in stock so I put it off till another day. I went back a week later and only one was left . It now hangs on the wall at the foot of the stairs going into our "Movie Room." I am still in love Audrey Hepburn and the movie. For a kid from Coos Bay, Oregon it was my first glimpse of New York sophistication. I remember my Mom, with her Midwest values, was upset that Holly Golightly jumped into bed with George Peppard and "they weren't even married" I remember saying "but they only slept." Remember this was 1961 and everything changed as we got deeper into the 60's. It was only later I learned that Hollywood had toned down the character Truman Capote had created in Holly Golightly. I really believed that Holly got $50.00 just to go to the "powder room" and for being a nice looking date. When I went to New York City for the Republican Convention, in the summer of 2004, I walked by Tiffany's and looked into the same window Hepburn did at the opening of the movie. To read more about the movie click on the title to the IMDB main page on the movie.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

North Bend Middle School

The North Bend Middle School, in North Bend Oregon, hit the national news today when a student appeared in New York City on ABC's Good Morning America. As a grad, of what we then called "North Bend Junior High," I was proud to see the student wear his North Bend Middle School Bull Dog (Bull Pup for the Jr High) tee shirt with the dog looking over a football. Go Bulldogs. The kid was even wearing braces.... but that is another story. The student and his North Bend teacher were there to be interviewed about an experiment he performed that demonstrated the toilets were cleaner than the drinking fountains at the school.To read ABC's news story click on the title for a link.

Fred Thompson Does London

Republican Fred Thompson took his non campaign, campaign for the Republican nomination for President to London and said the West should not take the military option off the table in dealing with Iran. He was in London to make a speech and meet with the Iron Lady, Margaret Thatcher. Click on the title above for a link to a Reuters news story about Thompson's trip. Today it was reported that Thompson and former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani are tied in a poll of Republicans for the Republican nomination.

Three Men in a Tub

Last night I got home from night court at 9 pm and it was there on the hallway floor near what we used to call "The Kids Bathroom." It was a kids bath toy our children used to play with 20 + years ago. Two of the three men are missing and the bell in the bottom of the "tub" is corroded; but, it brought back a flood of memories of another time. As I stated in an earlier post we are having new counter tops (not granite) put into our kitchen and bathrooms on Friday and my wife was cleaning out the cabinets below the sinks. She found the bath toy in the back of the cabinet under the sink in "The Kids Bathroom". We have been going through a lot of our stuff this Summer sorting things out for our garage sale in July and/or Goodwill or the dump.My wife threw away a lot of "stuff" under that sink but set the toy aside. I think there is space in in the back of the cabinet under the sink for a "tub" with a corroded bell and one of the three men.

Monday, June 18, 2007

"Here Comes Summer

Another great song of Summer


HERE COMES SUMMER - 09/10/1959
1 week at #1 - 14 weeks on chart

Here comes summer
School is out, oh happy day
Here comes summer
I'm gonna grab my girl and run away
Here comes summer
We'll go swimming every day
Oh let the sun shine bright on my happy summer home

Well school's not so bad but the summer's better
Gives me more time to see my girl
Walk through the park beneath the shiny moon
Oh when we kiss she makes my flat top curl

It's summer
Feel her lips so close to mine
Here comes summer
When we meet our hearts entwine
It's the greatest
Let's have summer all the time
Oh let the sun shine bright on my happy summer home

Here comes summer (here comes summer)
Almost June, the sun is bright
Here comes summer (here comes summer)
Drive in movies every night
(Double feature) Double feature
Lots more time to hold her tight
So let the sun shine bright on my happy summer home

Well I'll want to hold my girl beside me
Sit by the lake till one or two
Go for a drive in the summer moonlight
Dream of her love the whole night through

It's summer she'll be with me every day
Here comes summer, meet the gang at Joe's cafe
If she's willing, we'll go steady right away
Oh let the sun shine bright on my happy summer home
(Oh let the sun shine bright) here comes summer time at last

I ask my wife today if she would go "steady" with me this Summer and she said only if I stoped trying to sing this song!

It's Summer !

I here by officially declare it Summer. There are three "benchmarks" for the beginning of Summer; Memorial Day, school letting out with graduations, and June 21st which is Thursday. I love this time of year. The whole Summer lays before you. However, this year it will not be a "lazy" summer for the Wickre's. We are putting in new carpets in our house on all three floors and two stairs which involves moving everything and we have accumulated a lot of stuff over the years. Also, we are doing a lot of repainting both outside and inside before the carpet men arrive. We are putting in new counter tops in the kitchen and bathrooms and are redoing the master bath. Our son will be home for a few weeks around July 4th and we will be celebrating the 4th in Ashland and his birthday thereafter. In order to get rid of some of our "stuff," which we have spent weeks sorting, we are having a big garage sale in July. In August we are going on a vacation of a life time but I will talk about that when we get back. I love Summer! Have some ice Tea. Picture above is from the movie "A Summer Place" (1959) with Troy Donahue and Sandra Dee. A cheesy movie but a great song by The Letterman that always reminds me of Summer.

(To read more about "A Summer Place" click on the title for a link to the IMDB site)

Thursday, June 14, 2007

"Harry Reid is a worm"

Today Rich Galen is on fire with his column which is "right on":

"The other day Democratic Senate Majority Leader said the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Marine Corps General was "incompetent" and, according, he "made similar disparaging remarks about Army Gen. David Petraeus, the top U.S. commander in Iraq."

Ok. Harry Reid is a worm. We know that. He once told a group of high school students in Nevada that President Bush was "a loser." And just a couple of weeks ago he proclaimed the war in Iraq to be "lost." ....

If you are looking for a true political leader, you can just pass right over Harry Reid. He is perfectly willing to give aid and comfort to the enemy - likely putting American soldiers at greater risk by his comments - for political gain....

Last week the Senate made a big deal about trying to bring a vote of "no confidence" against Attorney General Alberto Gonzales to the floor - at which Reid also failed, by the way.

Republicans should attempt to bring a similar vote against the Democratic Majority Leader - no confidence in a man who would put politics ahead of national security."

(To read the entire column click on the title for a link.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

The Doolittle Raiders

A man who was among the Doolittle Raiders, 80 men who led America's first air raid on Tokyo, conducted April 18, 1942, has died. The raid used B-25 Mitchell bombers launched from an aircraft carrier. The B-25's were land based bombers that many though could not be used on an aircraft Carrier.

Col. Jack A. Sims, a decorated World War II veteran, died Saturday in Naples, Fla., after a long illness. He was 88.

Sims was called ``Kalamazoo's first flying hero'' in the 1940s for being among the pilots who conducted the Tokyo raid under the direction of Gen. Jimmy Doolittle. Exploits of the raiders, who flew many additional missions over Europe during World War II, served as a morale booster for the United States.

Since the war, the raiders have gathered yearly at reunions around the country. Their numbers have dwindled, and at their 65th reunion in April, only seven or eight were present.

Following the raid, the planes flew on to China, some of it occupied by the Japanese, The Japanese were able to capture eight men from two planes' crews. Three of these prisoners of war, Second Lieutenants Dean E. Hallmark and William G. Farrow and Sergeant Harold A. Spatz, were executed at Shanghai by the Japanese government in October 1942. Another, Lieutenant Robert J. Meder, died in prison more than a year later.

The raid did little damage to Japan but was a moral booster for the United States in the days after Pearl Harbor and was a beginning of the pay back for Pearl Harbor and later for the "Bataan Death March" that culminated when the United States dropped the bomb on Hiroshima to end the war.

"Fightin’ words Iran must hear: End border raids or bombs away;" by Jay Ambrose

"Can you believe that Joe Lieberman? Iran has gone to war with us, sending troops across its border with Iraq to kill perhaps as many as 200 of our soldiers, and Lieberman wants to stop them.

His gall doesn’t end with saying that Iran should be asked to quit it, which the administration has done. He has gone so far as to propose we take military action against the base where hostile soldiers are being trained.

He is not talking about a massive ground invasion. Air power ought to do the trick, he says, adding that military strategists are the ones who actually ought to decide such things. Simply getting serious and telling Iran what’s coming and meaning it might do the trick, too, which is to say, Lieberman has gone much, much too far......

There is another issue, too, that it seems to me resides behind this one. Showing backbone against Iran in this way and othersmight give it some pause about its plans to develop nuclear weapons, the last thing we want to do, of course.

Imagine that the portion of the world we might reasonably call civilized stood up as one and said, no ifs, maybes or buts, Iran: If you don’t quit your nuclear-development activities, we will encircle you economically, cut you off, let you shrink to a kind of nothingness. And if you nevertheless persist, if you keep strutting about with your insane rhetoric about destroying Israel while simultaneously devising the means to do just that and possibly blackmail Europe and even begin a monstrous nuclear conflagration that could engulf the Middle East and spread beyond it, we will take joint action to defang you - to destroy your nuclear facilities and neuter your armed forces."
(To read the rest of the column click on the title for a link)

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Sen. Lieberman : Take aggressive military action against Iran

On Sunday Senator Joseph Lieberman, the former Democratic VP nominee in 2000, said: "I think we've got to be prepared to take aggressive military action against the Iranians to stop them from killing Americans in Iraq," Lieberman said. "And to me, that would include a strike over the border into Iran, where we have good evidence that they have a base at which they are training these people coming back into Iraq to kill our soldiers."

"We've said so publicly that the Iranians have a base in Iran at which they are training Iraqis who are coming in and killing Americans. By some estimates, they have killed as many as 200 American soldiers,....Well, we can tell them we want them to stop that. But if there's any hope of the Iranians living according to the international rule of law and stopping, for instance, their nuclear weapons development, we can't just talk to them."

He added, "If they don't play by the rules, we've got to use our force, and to me, that would include taking military action to stop them from doing what they're doing."

Lieberman said much of the action could probably be done by air, although he would leave the strategy to the generals in charge. "I want to make clear I'm not talking about a massive ground invasion of Iran," Lieberman said.

"They can't believe that they have immunity for training and equipping people to come in and kill Americans," he said. "We cannot let them get away with it. If we do, they'll take that as a sign of weakness on our part and we will pay for it in Iraq and throughout the region and ultimately right here at home."

Friday, June 08, 2007

Where's the Fence?

Great political ad.

The commercials show three women driving along a desert road. They stop and peer at the saguaro-studded vastness.
A voiceover narrator intones, "Last year, Congress authorized 700 miles of fence along the southern border. So far, just a few miles have been built. Now, Congress and the president want to give amnesty to millions of illegal aliens instead of securing the border. Call your senators and give them a message."
Throughout, a shrill-voiced woman asks, "Where's the fence? Where's the fence?"
Then the women spot three Hispanic men running across the road.
The woman shouts, "Where's the fence?" The men shrug and scamper away.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

The Lessons from D-Day

Victor Davis Hanson has a good column about the mistakes made in World War II to remind us that mistakes are made in war but to not let the mistakes deter us from doing what is necessary to preserve our freedom

"the Normandy campaign reminds us that war is by nature horrific, fraught with foolish error - and only won by the side that commits the least number of mistakes. Our grandfathers knew that. So they pressed on as best they could, convinced that they needn't be perfect, only good enough, to win."

To read his entire column click on the title for a link.

John McCain's Campaign is in trouble!

Anyone who has read this blog for a while know I have been a supporter of John McCain for President. Today I am suspending my support for John McCain. Don't get me wrong, if he wins the Republican nomination I will whole heartily work and support him. However, I now believe he can not get the Republican nomination because of his support for an "amnesty" program on ILLEGAL immigrants. Tonight on the FOX NEWS "Hannity and Colmes" show pollster Frank Luntz gave a devastating blow to the McCain campaign based upon a focus group he ran of New Hampshire Republicans that watched the Republican Debate last night on CNN. Several of the people in the focus group came in as McCain supporters and voted for him 8 years ago when he ran against George Bush. Their comments were along the lines of "He looks old" "He is showing his age" "He has lost it" , "He is wrong on immigration" , "He talked like he was just filling up the time" , "He rambled" "he didn't have any energy" I am paraphrasing hear. Luntz said it was the most devastating turn around he has ever seen from a focus group and he has been running focus groups for years. The immigration issue is tearing the Republican party apart and McCain is in the minority. I am personally willing to look past the issue because of my admiration for John McCain, However, I now believe it is such a hot issue that if McCain got the nomination he would tear the Republican party apart. I am not supporting any candidate as of now but it now comes down to Romney, Giuliani,and Thompson.

Fred Thompson's non Campaign, Campaign

Fred Thompson is running for President of the United States. He just has not announced it. Even though I have doubts about his "fire in the belly" I have been impressed with his non campaign, campaign so far. He took on two people conservatives love to hate, week before last, when he took on Michael Moore and Castro with his "You Tube" video reply to Michael Moore and got a lot of free publicity. Last night he did not appear in the Republican debate. So while on CNN the announced Republican candidates were beating up on each other in their debate , Thompson appeared on FOX NEWS and got better ratings by himself than all the Republican candidates did on CNN. Now, today he gives a commentary in favor of a pardon for Scooter Libby. On the other hand, I didn't feel he was particularly good in his FOX NEWS interview last night. He is just sooooooo laid back and looks old an haggard. However, maybe people like that "laid back" approach to politics?

Fred Thompson on why Scooter Libby should be pardoned

If former Senator Fred Thompson keeps this up I just may have to support him for President! Where is your voice John McCain? Thompson states:

"The sentencing of Scooter Libby was the last in a series of acts that has resulted in a shocking injustice – one created by and enabled by federal officials. As I’ve been saying for many months, this is a “he said-she said” case about political infighting that would have never been brought in any other prosecutor’s office in America.

The CIA started the ball rolling by sending the Democratic partisan husband of one of its employees to Niger on a sensitive mission. Knowing an opportunity when he saw one, he returned and blasted the Bush Administration (the fact that he blatantly falsified a few important things along the way is another story). It should not have been a shock to CIA officials when people then asked, “Who is this guy and why was he sent to Niger?” The only mystery in Washington is why the CIA employee-wife’s name, Valerie Plame, took as long as it did to leak.

Nevertheless, the CIA demanded that the Department of Justice investigate the leak of her name (not surprisingly, the fact that the CIA was making such a request was leaked). This put pressure on the DOJ. The DOJ, in turn, promptly caved to the media and Congressional pressure to appoint a Special Counsel to investigate the Plame leak. However, there were two glaring problems for anyone with a sense of justice, or who may have gone to law school for one semester.

The Justice Department and the new Special Counsel knew that: 1.) The leaking of Valerie Plame’s name did not constitute a crime because she was not a “covered person” under the relative criminal statue and, 2.) They already knew the name of the leaker: State Department official Richard Armitage.

Yet small matters such as these do not matter much to Justice Department officials trying to cover their own fanny, or to a newly minted Special Prosecutor with a reputation to make and members of the media to satisfy.

Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald proceeded to make public statements and employ tactics that would have brought condemnation in any other setting. He moved heaven and earth for a year and a half in order to come up with some sort of “process” crime against a high-level Administration official -- so that he could try them in one of the most anti-Bush Administration places in America, Washington DC.

The best he could come up with was a man who was not well known to the public, but who was basically working two full-time jobs after 9/11 -- trying to prevent such a thing from happening again. The White House physician says that, “Mr. Libby worked himself to exhaustion day after day reviewing national intelligence estimates.” Of course, he had to make time for hours of testimony before Fitzgerald’s grand jury and Fitzgerald found inconsistencies. At trial, practically every government witness not only was inconsistent with other government witnesses, but was inconsistent with regard to their own prior testimony.

During his closing arguments, Fitzgerald did what has caused many a prosecutor to get a mistrial: He asked the jury to consider “facts” that had not been placed into evidence or proven in any way. It was so egregious it was even too much for the judge, who admonished him.

Mr. Libby was convicted of perjury and false statements. For sentencing, the federal probation office filed a statement that the applicable federal guidelines called for a sentence of from 15 to 21 months. He also identified several grounds for what is known in the law as a “downward departure” from that range. In this case, Mr. Libby had led an exemplary life, and had sacrificed in order to serve his country and will presumably lose his law license. In other words, under the law, the judge would have had ample reason for giving Mr. Libby less than 15 months, including probation.

Fitzgerald, seeing this probation report and reverting to form as someone without professional judgment or scruples when it comes to landing his prey, weighed in. Throughout the trial, Fitzgerald insisted that Valerie Plame’s status was irrelevant and that the defense could not use her status in any way. But now that it came time for sentencing, Fitzgerald insisted that her status be considered, and that Mr. Libby be treated as if he’d violated the law he’d never even been charged with.

Proving once again that Fitzgerald can get away with practically anything in Washington, the judge apparently accepted Fitzgerald’s argument, contrary to all notions of basic fairness. The judge rejected his own probation office’s recommendation, not only doubling the 15-month minimum to 30 months, but also fining Mr. Libby $250,000 and giving him 400 hours of public service. Apparently, the judge is going to make Mr. Libby start serving his sentence in the near future, before he can get his appeal heard.

Unfortunately, this is an example of what Washington is all about these days. All too often the intersection of politics, law and the media results in a lack of responsibility by practitioners in all three areas. Having all this crashing down on the head of one man and his family, in a time when national security leaks are published regularly on the front pages of the newspapers without consequence, will justifiably add to the cynicism and outrage on the part of all observers.

For the preamble to our Constitution, our founders stated explicitly the purposes for our Constitution. Listed even before providing for domestic tranquility or for the common defense was the establishment of justice. Official behavior, with regard to matters like the Scooter Libby case, are not what our framers had in mind. Now this excessive sentence, given by the Federal District Judge is just another in a long line of reasons why Mr. Libby should be pardoned."

Bush Should Pardon Scooter Libby (Part II) !

Any one who reads this blog for any period of time knows that I think a lot of President George W Bush. However Bill Kristol speaks for me when he writes:
Will Bush pardon Libby? Apparently not--even if it means a man who worked closely with him and sought tirelessly to do what was right for the country goes to prison. Bush spokeswoman Dana Perino, noting that the appeals process was underway, said, "Given that and in keeping with what we have said in the past, the president has not intervened so far in any other criminal matter and he is going to decline to do so now."

So much for loyalty, or decency, or courage. For President Bush, loyalty is apparently a one-way street; decency is something he's for as long as he doesn't have to take any
risks in its behalf; and courage--well, that's nowhere to be seen. Many of us used to respect President Bush. Can one respect him still?
William Kristol is editor of The Weekly Standard.

D-Day June 6, 1944 - Bloody Omaha

This picture depicts Omaha Beach on the day of Operation Overlord (D-Day), June 6, 1944. Located in Normandy, France, Omaha Beach was one of the five beaches invaded by the Allies and the most difficult. After the first three waves of landings the American solders were pinned on the beach by German fire and were hugging the sea wall most of the morning as they were unable to move off of the beach.

Since there was no more room on the beach follow up waves of troops were halted. The plan had been to move up the ravines to the top of the bluffs over looking Omaha Beach but they were blocked by German cement pill boxes. Eventually small units of American troops scaled the bluffs directly and cleared out the ravines from behind to take "Bloody Omaha" The situation that morning was so precarious the American command considered pulling the troop off the beach.
One unknown officer in his famous words best describes the brutality of the battle, "Two kinds of people are staying on this beach. The dead, and those about to die."

D-Day June 6, 1944 (63 years ago today)

23 Years ago today Ronald Reagan said it much better than I ever could.

The Boys of Pointe Du Hoc
President Ronald Reagan

(June 6, 1984 Normandy, France)

We're here to mark that day in history when the Allied armies joined in battle to reclaim this continent to liberty. For four long years, much of Europe had been under a terrible shadow. Free nations had fallen, Jews cried out in the camps, millions cried out for liberation. Europe was enslaved, and the world prayed for its rescue. Here, in Normandy, the rescue began. Here, the Allies stood and fought against tyranny, in a giant undertaking unparalleled in human history.

We stand on a lonely, windswept point on the northern shore of France. The air is soft, but forty years ago at this moment, the air was dense with smoke and the cries of men, and the air was filled with the crack of rifle fire and the roar of cannon. At dawn, on the morning of the 6th of June, 1944, 225 Rangers jumped off the British landing craft and ran to the bottom of these cliffs. Their mission was one of the most difficult and daring of the invasion: to climb these sheer and desolate cliffs and take out the enemy guns. The Allies had been told that some of the mightiest of these guns were here, and they would be trained on the beaches to stop the Allied advance.

The Rangers looked up and saw the enemy soldiers at the edge of the cliffs, shooting down at them with machine guns and throwing grenades. And the American Rangers began to climb. They shot rope ladders over the face of these cliffs and began to pull themselves up. When one Ranger fell, another would take his place. When one rope was cut, a Ranger would grab another and begin his climb again. They climbed, shot back, and held their footing. Soon, one by one, the Rangers pulled themselves over the top, and in seizing the firm land at the top of these cliffs, they began to seize back the continent of Europe. Two hundred and twenty-five came here. After two days of fighting, only ninety could still bear arms.

Behind me is a memorial that symbolizes the Ranger daggers that were thrust into the top of these cliffs. And before me are the men who put them here. These are the boys of Pointe du Hoc. These are the men who took the cliffs. These are the champions who helped free a continent. These are the heroes who helped end a war. Gentlemen, I look at you and I think of the words of Stephen Spender's poem. You are men who in your "lives fought for life and left the vivid air singed with your honor."

I think I know what you may be thinking right now -- thinking "we were just part of a bigger effort; everyone was brave that day." Well, everyone was. You remember the story of Bill Millin of the 51st Highlanders? Forty years ago today, British troops were pinned down near a bridge, waiting desperately for help. Suddenly, they heard the sound of bagpipes, and some thought they were dreaming. Well, they weren't. They looked up and saw Bill Millin with his bagpipes, leading the reinforcements and ignoring the smack of bullets into the ground around him.

Lord Lovat was with him -- Lord Lovat of Scotland, who calmly announced when he got to the bridge, "Sorry, I'm a few minutes late," as if he'd been delayed by a traffic jam, when in truth he'd just come form the bloody fighting on Sword Beach, which he and his men had just taken.

There was the impossible valor of the Poles who threw themselves between the enemy and the rest of Europe as the invasion took hold, and the unsurpassed courage of the Canadians who had already seen the horrors of war on this coast. They knew what awaited them there, but they would not be deterred. And once they hit Juno Beach, they never looked back.

All of these men were part of a roll call of honor with names that spoke of a pride as bright as the colors they bore; The Royal Winniped Rifles, Poland's 24th Lancers, the Royal Scots Fusiliers, the Screaming Eagles, the Yeomen of England's armored divisions, the forces of Free France, the Coast Guard's "Matchbox Fleet," and you, the American Rangers.

Forty summers have passed since the battle that you fought here. You were young the day you took these cliffs; some of you were hardly more than boys, with the deepest joys of life before you. Yet, you risked everything here. Why? Why did you do it? What impelled you to put aside the instinct for self-preservation and risk your lives to take these cliffs? What inspired all the men of the armies that met here? We look at you, and somehow we know the answer. It was faith and belief. It was loyalty and love.

The men of Normandy had faith that what they were doing was right, faith that they fought for all humanity, faith that a just God would grant them mercy on this beachhead, or on the next. It was the deep knowledge -- and pray God we have not lost it -- that there is a profound moral difference between the use of force for liberation and the use of force for conquest. You were here to liberate, not to conquer, and so you and those others did not doubt your cause. And you were right not to doubt.

You all knew that some things are worth dying for. One's country is worth dying for, and democracy is worth dying for, because it's the most deeply honorable form of government ever devised by man. All of you loved liberty. All of you were willing to fight tyranny, and you knew the people of your countries were behind you.

The Americans who fought here that morning knew word of the invasion was spreading through the darkness back home. They fought -- or felt in their hearts, though they couldn't know in fact, that in Georgia they were filling the churches at 4:00 am., in Kansas they were kneeling on their porches and praying, and in Philadelphia they were ringing the Liberty Bell.

Something else helped the men of D-day; their rock-hard belief that Providence would have a great hand in the events that would unfold here; that God was an ally in this great cause. And so, the night before the invasion, when Colonel Wolverton asked his parachute troops to kneel with him in prayer, he told them: Do not bow your heads, but look up so you can see God and ask His blessing in what we're about to do. Also, that night, General Matthew Ridgway on his cot, listening in the darkness for the promise God made to Joshua: "I will not fail thee nor forsake thee."

These are the things that impelled them; these are the things that shaped the unity of the Allies.

When the war was over, there were lives to be rebuilt and governments to be returned to the people. There were nations to be reborn. Above all, there was a new peace to be assured. These were huge and daunting tasks. But the Allies summoned strength from the faith, belief, loyalty, and love of those who fell here. They rebuilt a new Europe together. There was first a great reconciliation among those who had been enemies, all of whom had suffered so greatly. The United States did its part, creating the Marshall Plan to help rebuild our allies and our former enemies. The Marshall Plan led to the Atlantic alliance -- a great alliance that serves to this day as our shield for freedom, for prosperity, and for peace.

In spite of our great efforts and successes, not all that followed the end of the war was happy or planned. Some liberated countries were lost. The great sadness of this loss echoes down to our own time in the streets of Warsaw, Prague, and East Berlin. Soviet troops that came to the center of this continent did not leave when peace came. They're still there, uninvited, unwanted, unyielding, almost forty years after the war. Because of this, allied forces still stand on this continent. Today, as forty years ago, our armies are here for only one purpose: to protect and defend democracy. The only territories we hold are memorials like this one and graveyards where our heroes rest.

We in America have learned bitter lessons from two world wars. It is better to be here ready to protect the peace, than to take blind shelter across the sea, rushing to respond only after freedom is lost. We've learned that isolationism never was and never will be an acceptable response to tyrannical governments with an expansionist intent. But we try always to be prepared for peace, prepared to deter aggression, prepared to negotiate the reduction of arms, and yes, prepared to reach out again in the spirit of reconciliation. In truth, there is no reconciliation we would welcome more than a reconciliation with the Soviet Union, so, together, we can lessen the risks of war, now and forever.

It's fitting to remember here the great losses also suffered by the Russian people during World War II: 20 million perished, a terrible price that testifies to all the world the necessity of ending war. I tell you from my heart that we in the United States do not want war. We want to wipe from the face of the earth the terrible weapons that man now has in his hands. And I tell you, we are ready to seize that beachhead. We look for some sign from the Soviet Union that they are willing to move forward, that they share our desire and love for peace, and that they will give up the ways of conquest. There must be a changing there that will allow us to turn our hope into action.

We will pray forever that someday that changing will come. But for now, particularly today, it is good and fitting to renew our commitment to each other, to our freedom, and to the alliance that protects it.

We're bound today by what bound us 40 years ago, the same loyalties, traditions, and beliefs. We're bound by reality. The strength of America's allies is vital to the United States, and the American security guarantee is essential to the continued freedom of Europe's democracies. We were with you then; we are with you now. Your hopes are our hopes, and your destiny is our destiny.

Here, in this place where the West held together, let us make a vow to our dead. Let us show them by our actions that we understand what they died for. Let our actions say to them the words for which Matthew Ridgway listened: "I will not fail thee nor forsake thee."

Strengthened by their courage, heartened by their valor and borne by their memory, let us continue to stand for the ideals for which they lived and died.

Thank you very much, and God bless you all.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

63 years ago today!

On June 5, 1944,General Dwight Eisenhower paid a visit to the 101st Airborne Division at Greenham Commons's in England. In a few hours they were to parachute into occupied France to spearhead the D-Day attack across the English Channel of nearly 175,000 American, Canadian and British troops on Hitler's fortress Europe. After 63 years it is easy to forget that there was no certainty that the attack would succeed. Eisenhower had even drafted a statement in case the invasion failed and he was forced to withdraw the troops from the beaches of Normandy. After months of detailed planning on the verge of the attack Eisenhower visited his troops he was sending into battle. As he was leaving one of the paratroopers called out, "now quit worrying, General, we'll take care of this thing for you." In 24 hours many of these men would be dead or wounded.

Pardon Scooter Libby NOW!

I said this months ago on this blog and I will say it again, George W Bush should immediately Pardon Scooter Libby. William F Buckley once said something to the effect that we Conservatives too often leave our wounded on the political battlefield.Not this time! It is a travesty of justice that Sandy Berger who stole National security documents from the National Archives gets probation and Scooter Libby gets 30 months in prison. President Bush, Pardon Libby Now!