Monday, June 22, 2009
Memorial Day weekend has come and gone. School is out for the Summer and graduations have been held. Now the calender says it is Summer so the last guide post has been passed . Yesterday I went down to Target to buy a special edition 3 CD set of the soundtrack to Woodstock held in the Summer of 69, 40 years ago. Target has a big 40 year celebration going on with "Woodstock" merchandise in it's own section of the store. They have a blu ray DVD of the movie "Woodstock" for sale along with the regular DVD, the Soundtrack CD I bought, paper dishes and napkins with the "Woodstock" logo, as well as posters, tee shirts and even beach towels. I love it, Capitalism co opting the hippies!
I was not at Woodstock in the Summer of 1969! I was being drafted into the U.S. Army. However, if every guy in the army who told me he was at Woodstock actually was telling the truth there would have been twice as many people there. In 1970 if you walked through an army barracks you would have seen every other guy playing the Woodstock album on his stereo. It was very popular. I like only about 50 % of the album but bought it because it reminds of a time and place in my youth. 40 years ago!
Saturday, June 20, 2009
This from the Weekly Standard:
In 1823, first-term congressman Daniel Webster spoke up in support of the Greek revolution. Responding to critics who said that mere rhetorical support would do the revolutionaries no good, Webster said: "I hope it may. It may give them courage and spirit. It may assure them of public regard, teach them that they are not wholly forgotten by the civilized world, and inspire them with constancy in the pursuit of their great end."
And in any case, Webster continued, support for those fighting for freedom abroad was "due to our own character, and called for by our own duty."
The history of the world has been man's attempt to throw off the chains of tyranny. China, North Korea, & Iran are only current examples of this continuing struggle.
Friday, June 19, 2009
Dennis Richardson is a fellow attorney here in Southern Oregon and he is a friend of mine. He is also a State Representative in the Oregon Legislature. Today I revived an email newsletter he regularly sends out. It is as follows:
Rep. Richardson's Newsletter
June 19, 2009
Education in Oregon—The House the OEA Built
Who should decide the best way to educate an individual child, the teacher’s union or the parents? Today’s newsletter is about the on-going struggle for power in Oregon’s educational system.
No one doubts the power and influence the Oregon Education Association (teachers’ union) has in the Capitol. In fact, when the Democrats regained power in the House of Representatives, we said in jest, “This is the House the OEA built.” No one is laughing now. The Willamette Weekly recently revealed the OEA has used its influence to get a state-employed attorney to draft politically charged, pro-OEA language for legislation intended to strangle OEA competition. The OEA lobbyist asked the Dept. of Education attorney to draft provisions in direct contradiction of Oregon’s State Board of Education. And the attorney did it. To see how subversive the OEA and its union representatives’ actions have become in legislative politics, read the Willamette Weekly’s article, the letter from State Board of Education’s Chairman, Duncan Wyse, and the recently discovered e-mail from OEA union lobbyist Laurie Wimmer to Oregon Department of Education attorney, Cindy L. Hunt.
The OEA lobbyist’s requests were granted and the desired provisions were then buried in Senate Bill 767. Deep in SB 767 is found the following provision:
SECTION 13c. ORS 338.125 (2)(b) applies to all public charter schools operating in this state prior to, on or after the effective date of this 2009 Act unless: (1) A public charter school has been granted a waiver of the provisions of ORS 338.125 (2)(b) by the State Board of Education under ORS 338.025;
Although most people reading Section 13c of SB 767 would not give it a thought, a close reading shows it is intended to shut down any competition to OEA’s hold on public education. The statute referred to, ORS 338.125 (2)(b), states in relevant part the following:
“…if a public charter school offers any online courses as part of the curriculum of the school, then 50 percent or more of the students who attend the public charter school must reside in the school district in which the public charter school is located.”
The target of this wording is the Oregon Connections Academy (ORCA), which is part of Scio School District. Notwithstanding the small size and rural location of Scio School District, it had the vision to grasp the opportunity to create a computer-based, distance learning option for some special needs students. These are students who, for the most part, did not fit well in “bricks and mortar” public schools. These are students who had parents that knew and loved them, and were willing to make a change to ensure their children had a chance for educational success. One such parent was Kristine Ribali. Please spend a few minutes and watch Ms. Ribali. Listen to her story, then you decide who knows what is best for her son's education, the OEA or this mother. She has one daughter who remains in public school and one who now attends ORCA.
ORCA now has approximately 2500 students located statewide. In short, ORCA is a flourishing, well-organized, curricula-oriented alternative educational format known as a “virtual school.” By reading ORCA’s curricula, its frequent teacher-pupil interaction, its testing and tutoring that enables a student to actually learn and understand a lesson or concept before progressing to the next lesson, you will see why the OEA is so afraid of the competition, and so determined to crush such virtual schools with unattainable requirements.
After connecting the dots and recognizing the collusion and subterfuge the OEA has foisted on the Legislature in Senate Bill 767, I invite you to read the comments by parents who are powerless to stop the OEA, as it flexes its political muscle and drives through the Capitol the anti-parental choice, self-serving agenda contained in SB 767. If you agree that parents should have a voice in where and how their children should receive their education, if you are as disgusted as I am to learn how the OEA used a state-salaried attorney to circumvent our State Board of Education's Chairman, go to the "Contact Your Elected Officials" link below and make your voice heard. Senate Bill 767 will be considered in the House on Monday or Tuesday. If you think SB 767 and OEA's maneuvering should be defeated, make your voice heard. Express to your Representative whether or not you feel the educational option of ORCA should remain available to Oregon parents with special needs children.
There is a story about a teacher’s union lobbyist once being asked when the union would really start caring about children’s education. “When the children have union cards,” was the cogent reply.
I do not blame the OEA for doing what unions do. I do blame the people for voting for legislators who have allowed the OEA and the public section unions (SEIU and AFSCME) to gain such power and control over our legislature. If the voters knew how pervasive the public sector unions’ influence is here in the Capitol, there should be a public uprising, a march of 10,000 citizens circling the Capitol, shaking their fists and demanding immediate repeal of laws allowing unionization of public employees and laws requiring the state to deduct union dues from state employees’ wages -- money that can then be used to elect Representatives and Senators who will promote the unions’ agendas. It is truly a vicious political cycle.
Unfortunately, the voters have been too complacent, too willing to sell their birthright of freedom for a bowl of pottage flavored with political promises. Yet, there is hope.
I see clouds forming. I hear rumblings of the sleeping giant. I sense an awakening of a freedom-loving people. There is change in the air, a change we really can believe in. Not false promises of change by one willing to continue and even intensify his predecessor’s statist policies, but real change, a course correction, a reversion to, and renewal of principles that made America the land of the free and the hope of the world. Recently, a letter was written by Janet Contreras, a frustrated American from Arizona. Although it is long, if you want a sense of what the rising, non-partisan “tea party” mentality is about, you will want to read it. I am convinced Ms. Contreras speaks for millions of Americans who are waking up and beginning the campaign to reclaim our states and nation. Maybe you are one of them.
There are many fine, good, hardworking teachers and other public employees in Oregon. However, the teachers union and the other public employee unions here in Oregon now run the state. It takes courage to speak out against these unions as Dennis has and I salute him.
From last night’s “All-Stars.” on the "Special Report" News Program on FOX NEWS
1. On the state of the health care debate:
That's the big setback this week, was one number, the CBO (nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office) number that came out, which estimated the Obama plan, or at least the one coming out of Congress…the Kennedy plan, would add $1.6 trillion in deficit spending.
The reason it is devastating is because it put a real number on the essential contradiction of the Obama fiscal idea. His idea, a correct idea, is that the way to control exploding deficits with all of the programs he's proposing is to bend the curve to lower the cost of entitlements, particularly Medicare and Medicaid.
He's right. If you do that, it would save so much it would even allow for all the trillions thrown away on stimulus and other stuff.
The contradiction is that when you look at the health care, the real plan in the real world as proposed now, it bends the curve upwards to $1.6 trillion additional spending, and that explodes the whole idea of a fiscally responsible plan.
2. On the public’s perception of Obama’s policies:
I think the real drama of the Obama presidency is the contest between charisma and reality. And he is the most charismatic, in fact, some Democrats and some of the press think of him as messianic, but at least [the most] charismatic president since Reagan and Kennedy, and perhaps more so.
But you have the reality, and you see it in the gap between his own popularity and his policies.
The ones that I think the Democrats ought to have anxiety over are the deficits, the auto takeover, and Guantanamo, because each of them is a symbol. Deficits is the old bugaboo about Democrats as free-spending liberals. Autos is the idea of Democrats who want to expand the reach and authority of government.
And Guantanamo is a double effect, soft on crime. You get those pictures of Uighurs in paradise swimming on the beach in swim trunks in Bermuda. And secondly, soft on national defense, the idea of having terrorists in America. Cheney capitalized on that, and he won in that debate.
On those three items, there is a real gap opening up, and Obama will be able to carry those issues on personal popularity, but only so far. In the end, reality is going to bite him.
Thanks National Review online for posting the transcript.
Krauthammer is one of the smartest guys I know in politics and policy in this country.
Thursday, June 18, 2009
Barbara Boxer: Call me 'Senator'
Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) didn't like a Brigadier General calling her "ma'am" at a Congressional hearing yesterday.
"Do me a favor," she said, "could say 'senator' instead of 'ma'am?' It's just a thing, I worked so hard to get that title, so I'd appreciate it, yes, thank you."
Click on the title for the video. The tone in her voice really says it all...... the bare transcript does not convey the contempt she had for the General...... she hates the military! She has a reputation for a prickly and petty personality. Hopefully we can say ex Senator some day!
Wednesday, June 17, 2009
They are remaking one of my and many conservative favorite movie. John Milius wrote and Directed the first movie in 1984.It starred Patrick Swayze, Charlie Sheen, Jennifer Gray, Ben Johnson and Powers Boothe. The following synopsis is from the IMDB:
It is the mid-1980s. From out of the sky, Soviet & Cuban troops begin landing on the football field of a Colorado high school. In seconds, the paratroops have attacked the school & sent a group of teenagers fleeing into the mountains. Armed only with hunting rifles, pistols & bows and arrows, the teens struggles to survive the bitter winter & Soviet KGB patrols hunting for them. Eventually trouble arises when they kill a group of Soviet soldiers on patrol in the highlands. Soon, they will wage their own guerrilla warfare against the invading Soviet troops....under the banner of 'Woverines'!
Why would you want to remake perfection? This time it's Russians and Chinese who invade the United States and it takes place in Spokane Washington
Wikipedia has this info on the remake:
Two top executives at MGM, Harry Sloan and Mary Parent, announced that a remake of Red Dawn is in the early stages of pre-production in May 2008 at the Festival de Cannes. This was announced along with a big-budget rebuild of RoboCop, which director Darren Aronofsky among others has recently been in to discuss. The remake of Red Dawn is slated to be directed by Dan Bradley, who has previously worked as a second unit director and stunt coordinator on films such as The Bourne Ultimatum, Spiderman 3 and the Quantum of Solace. MGM has announced that Red Dawn will be remade "keeping in mind the post-9/11 world that we're in". In a further announcement the same month, Dan Bradley has been confirmed as the director with Carl Ellsworth, screenwriter of Red Eye and Disturbia writing the updated screenplay. Ellsworth will be working from a story written by Jeremy Passmore. Vincent Newman (A Man Apart) is also acting in a producer capacity. Australian Chris Hemsworth has been cast in a lead role.
Ellsworth, who was 11 when the original was released, has said:
"The tone is going to be very intense, very much keeping in mind the post-9/11 world that we’re in. As ‘Red Dawn’ scared the heck out of people in 1984, we feel that the world is kind of already filled with a lot of paranoia and unease, so why not scare the hell out of people again? It was later revealed that the Chinese would be the invaders and they would be aided by the Russians later on."
Joining Hemsworth are Josh Peck, Adrianne Palicki.
I have big concerns that John Milius in not taking part in the remake!
To read more click on the title for a link to the IMDB page for the remake.
At the end of the original Red Dawn they show a large rock that has been turned into a memorial to the freedom fighters that has the following inscription"
"In the early days of World War 3, guerrillas - mostly children - placed the names of their lost upon this rock. They fought here alone and gave up their lives, so that this nation should not perish from the earth."
A friend sent me this in a email today:
George Carlin's Views on Aging
Do you realize that the only time in our lives when we like to get old is when we're kids? If you're less than 10 years old, you're so excited about aging that you think in fractions.
'How old are you?' 'I'm four and a half!' You're never thirty-six and a half. You're four and a half, going on five! That's the key
You get into your teens, now they can't hold you back. You jump to the next number, or even a few ahead.
'How old are you?' 'I'm gonna be 16!' You could be 13, but hey, you're gonna be 16! And then the greatest day of your life ! You become 21. Even the words sound like a ceremony. YOU BECOME 21. YESSSS!!!
But then you turn 30.. Oooohh, what happened there? Makes you sound like bad milk! He TURNED; we had to throw him out. There's no fun now, you're Just a sour-dumpling. What's wrong? What's changed?
You BECOME 21, you TURN 30, then you're PUSHING 40. Whoa! Put on the brakes, it's all slipping away. Before you know it, you REACH 50 and your dreams are gone.
But wait!!! You MAKE it to 60. You didn't think you would!
So you BECOME 21, TURN 30, PUSH 40, REACH 50 and MAKE it to 60.
You've built up so much speed that you HIT 70! After that it's a day-by-day thing; you HIT Wednesday!
You get into your 80's and every day is a complete cycle; you HIT lunch; you TURN 4:30; you REACH bedtime. And it doesn't end there. Into the 90s, you start going backwards; 'I Was JUST 92.'
Then a strange thing happens. If you make it over 100, you become a little kid again. 'I'm 100 and a half!'
May you all make it to a healthy 100 and a half!!
HOW TO STAY YOUNG
1. Throw out nonessential numbers. This includes age, weight and height. Let the doctors worry about them. That is why you pay 'them.'
2. Keep only cheerful friends. The grouches pull you down.
3. Keep learning. Learn more about the computer, crafts, gardening, whatever. Never let the brain idle. 'An idle mind is the devil's workshop.' And the devil's name is Alzheimer's.
4. Enjoy the simple things.
5. Laugh often, long and loud. Laugh until you gasp for breath.
6. The tears happen. Endure, grieve, and move on. The only person, who is with us our entire life, is ourselves. Be ALIVE while you are alive.
7. Surround yourself with what you love , whether it's family, pets, keepsakes, music, plants, hobbies, whatever. Your home is your refuge.
8. Cherish your health: If it is good, preserve it. If it is unstable, improve it. If it is beyond what you can improve, get help.
9. Don't take guilt trips. Take a trip to the mall, even to the next county; to a foreign country but NOT to where the guilt is..
10.. Tell the people you love that you love them , at every opportunity.
AND ALWAYS REMEMBER :
Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away
Tuesday, June 16, 2009
This time of year I think back fondly of the Drive In Theaters of my youth. In the post World War II era of the 1950's families were trying to find an entrainment option as they raised the "baby boom" generation. What follows is an "oldie goldie post" of a few years ago which I have added to and re edited.
I loved Drive In Theaters as a kid.In fact, if I were to pick the favorite thing of my youth it would be Drive In Movies. I grew up in Ogden, Utah; Boise, Idaho; Roseburg, Oregon; and Coos Bay/North Bend, Oregon in the 1950's. Each of those towns had drive in theaters. I can remember going to two or three movies a week in Ogden in the summer before we had TV. This was when I was 4 or 5. My dad didn't like indoor movies because as he said there was always someone behind him chewing on gum which he hated. My mom would make us sandwiches (usually tuna) along with Kool-Aid in a thermos and cookies.(Coke was too expensive) There was always a commercial before the intermission between double features for the snack bar food. I remember an ad for a foreign food I had never heard of called "pizza". My dad said it tasted like card board so we never got any. My mom loved pop corn so we always got some. To draw family's the theaters sometimes had special attractions like pony rides or steam engine train rides. I still have a black & white photo in my "movie room" of my sister and I on ponies taken at a Drive In Theater before the movie. We must have been 4 and 6 years of age. It is one of my favorite pictures. They all had playground equipment we would play on till the movie started. The movie always started with a cartoon. I remember running to the car as the cartoon started. I even loved and still love the previews. Before the movie dad's would often turn on their spot lights and play games on the screen.
The movies, or shows as we called them, often were not in retrospect that good. I can remember Ma &Pa Kettle, Here Come the Nelsons ( Ozzie and Harriet before TV) and the Bowery Boys. Not real sophisticated stuff. But their was always John Wayne. I can remember campaigning for weeks to go see "Blood Alley". Not because I knew anything about it other than it's name and John Wayne was in it. I loved saying "Blooooood Alley." I knew if Jeff Chandler was in a movie I could talk my mom into going. My sister who still likes to go to bed early would always sleep through the second feature but not me. My dad would always make fun of the kissing scenes and my mom would always kid us about the hero being the only one left in war movies.My mom would put her head on my dad's shoulder and fall asleep. The sound was usually terrible but I loved the big screen and how it transported me out of small town America in the days before color TV. Most of them are gone now the victim of VCR's and now DVD's and high land prices. I still miss them.
My wife and I have been "empty nestors" since our youngest child, our son, left for college some 7 years ago. However, he has come home from college or graduate school for at least a month or so since then and it is something his mother and I have looked forward to each summer. We enjoy his company. He and his mother enjoy cooking and shopping for food. I enjoy discussing politics and history with him and we both enjoy late night movies either on DVD or at a local theater or a play in Ashland.He loves July 4th fireworks and his birthday is shortly thereafter. This year he will not be home. For the last few summers he had a job here in Medford at a local retail store as a cashier. This summer he has a job back east where he goes to graduate school working as a cashier in in a gift store attached to a chain restaurant. Oh, his mother and I will visit him and his sister for a few days this summer; but, he will not be coming home and we will miss him.
On June 24th ABC news will broadcast Charlie Gibson's WORLD NEWS from the Blue Room of the White House and a one hour prime time special from the White House on Obama's health care plans ! Can you stay..... state run media!
This from the Drudge Report:
Late Monday night, Republican National Committee Chief of Staff Ken McKay fired off a complaint to the head of ABCNEWS:
Dear Mr. Westin:
As the national debate on health care reform intensifies, I am deeply concerned and disappointed with ABC's astonishing decision to exclude opposing voices on this critical issue on June 24, 2009. Next Wednesday, ABC News will air a primetime health care reform “town hall” at the White House with President Barack Obama. In addition, according to an ABC News report, GOOD MORNING AMERICA, WORLD NEWS, NIGHTLINE and ABC’s web news “will all feature special programming on the president’s health care agenda.” This does not include the promotion, over the next 9 days, the president’s health care agenda will receive on ABC News programming.
Today, the Republican National Committee requested an opportunity to add our Party's views to those of the President's to ensure that all sides of the health care reform debate are presented. Our request was rejected. I believe that the President should have the ability to speak directly to the America people. However, I find it outrageous that ABC would prohibit our Party's opposing thoughts and ideas from this national debate, which affects millions of ABC viewers.
In the absence of opposition, I am concerned this event will become a glorified infomercial to promote the Democrat agenda. If that is the case, this primetime infomercial should be paid for out of the DNC coffers. President Obama does not hold a monopoly on health care reform ideas or on free airtime. The President has stated time and time again that he wants a bipartisan debate. Therefore, the Republican Party should be included in this primetime event, or the DNC should pay for your airtime.
Republican National Committee
Chief of Staff
This from National Reviews Blog:
First question from Charlie Gibson? "Mr. President, please tell us how your awesome plan will save America."
Monday, June 15, 2009
"It's hard to know whether President Obama's health care "reform" is naive, hypocritical or simply dishonest. Probably all three."
Who said that? Rush Limbaugh, Shaun Hannity, Newt Gingrich? No, Robert Samuelson the economics columnist for NEWSWEEK magazine. To quote from the column:
It's hard to know whether President Obama's health care "reform" is naive, hypocritical or simply dishonest. Probably all three. The president keeps saying it's imperative to control runaway health spending. He's right. The trouble is that what's being promoted as health care "reform" almost certainly won't suppress spending and, quite probably, will do the opposite.....
The one certain consequence of expanding insurance coverage is that it would raise spending. When people have insurance, they use more health services. That's one reason why Obama's campaign proposal was estimated to cost $1.2 trillion over a decade (the other reason is that the federal government would pick up some costs now paid by others). Indeed, the higher demand for health care might raise costs across the board, increasing both government spending and private premiums.
To read the rest of the column click on the title for a link
Sunday, June 14, 2009
You're a grand old flag,
You're a high flying flag
And forever in peace may you wave.
You're the emblem of
The land I love.
The home of the free and the brave.
Ev'ry heart beats true
'neath the Red, White and Blue,
Where there's never a boast or brag.
But should one acquaintance be forgot,
Keep your eye on the grand old flag.
George M Cohan
I have always been a "flag waiver" even when it was not (is not) popular.
Friday, June 12, 2009
Oh, those Oregon State Beavers! This news story hit the press this morning:
The Liberty, an independent conservative student newspaper at Oregon State University, has plastered the word CENSORSHIP on the front page of its current issue. Oregon State officials have banned the newspaper from distributing on campus except for two locations. One in the student union and the other in the administration office.All other racks on campus have been removed.
The Daily Barometer the "Official" student newspaper is allowed racks for distribution all over campus.. According to a local TV news report, OSU administrators say the Barometer is the only recognized student publication at the university and “therefore is the only newspaper allowed special distribution" The Liberty says that’s "censorship.”
Sounds like Censorship to me!
Thursday, June 11, 2009
John Wayne died 30 years ago today on June 11, 1979. I still remember where I was when I heard the news. My bother in law called and told my wife while I was mowing the front lawn. She called out to me with the news.Has it really been 30 years!
Legend says that when the Germans ordered Jews in occupied Denmark to identify themselves by wearing armbands with the Star of David, King Christian X of Denmark and non-Jewish Danes thwarted the order by donning the armbands themselves. The legend is not true but unlike the rest of Nazi occupied Europe, during World War II, the Danes were able to save most of their Jewish citizens.
65 years later:
The Reverend Jeremiah Wright, who for 20 years was the spiritual mentor to the president of the United States, surfaced Tuesday, and the Daily Press of Newport News, Va., reports:
Wright told the Daily Press that he has not spoken to his former church member since [Barack] Obama became president, and he implied that the White House won't allow Obama to talk to him.
"Them Jews ain't going to let him talk to me," Wright said. "I told my baby daughter that he'll talk to me in five years when he's a lame duck, or in eight years when he's out of office. . . .
"They will not let him to talk to somebody who calls a spade what it is. . . . I said from the beginning: He's a politician; I'm a pastor. He's got to do what politicians do."
James von Brunn Who killed a security guard at the Holocaust Museum in Washington DC yesterday also did not care for "them Jews," as the Washington Post reports: "Von Brunn's writings condemning 'Negroes' and Jews were prolific." Reviewing a tract he wrote that was available online until yesterday, we noticed that he tends to spell the word JEW in majuscules and use it as an adjective as well as a noun, a practice straight out of the Anti-Semitic Manual of Style. James von Brunn also had the address with him of the neo con Weekly Standard in Washington DC which is a magazine that strongly defends Israel and in which Bill Kristol is an editor and founder.*
Yes, today I Am a Jew!
* Some of the above comes from the Wall Street Journal email newsletter.
What are we thinking?
Background from the Weekly Standard:
The Obama Justice Department has quietly ordered FBI agents to read Miranda rights to high value detainees captured and held at U.S. detention facilities in Afghanistan, according a senior Republican on the House Intelligence Committee. "The administration has decided to change the focus to law enforcement. Here's the problem. You have foreign fighters who are targeting US troops today--foreign fighters who go to another country to kill Americans. We capture them. . . . and they're reading them their rights--Mirandizing these foreign fighters," says Representative Mike Rogers, who recently met with military, intelligence and law enforcement officials on a fact-finding trip to Afghanistan.
Rogers, a former FBI special agent and U.S. Army officer, says the Obama administration has not briefed Congress on the new policy. "I was a little surprised to find it taking place when I showed up because we hadn't been briefed on it, I didn't know about it. We're still trying to get to the bottom of it, but it is clearly a part of this new global justice initiative."
From thee Weekly Standard:
U.S. Department of Justice Confirms FBI is Reading Miranda Rights to Detainees in Afghanistan
Justice Department spokesman Dean Boyd confirms Steve Hayes's report that the FBI is reading Miranda rights to terrorist suspects in Afghanistan:
“There has been no policy change and nor blanket instruction issued for FBI agents to Mirandize detainees overseas. While there have been specific cases in which FBI agents have Mirandized suspects overseas, at both Bagram and in other situations, in order to preserve the quality of evidence obtained, there has been no overall policy change with respect to detainees.”
Saturday, June 06, 2009
Ronald Reagan’s unforgettable Pointe du Hoc speech on the 40th anniversary.
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 40 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--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 90 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 there.
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 signed 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. Do 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 the 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 from 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 rollcall of honor with names that spoke of a pride as bright as the colors they bore: the Royal Winnipeg 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 thought--or felt in their hearts, though they couldn't know in fact, that in Georgia they were filling the churches at 4 a.m., 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 40 years after the war. Because of this, Allied forces still stand on this continent. Today, as 40 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 some day 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 are 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 value [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.
(Writen Saturday morning the day after) On Friday I arrived at the Rogue Valley Country Club about 8:30 AM and met up with other volunteers and unloaded cars and trucks of the items needed for the silent and oral auctions. We moved it all up to the second floor of the club house to where the dinner auction would be held. We then set up for the golf tournament registration. "IowahawkDuck" and I each brought our 8 feet high blow up Oregon Ducks and set them up in the registration area. I had printed up an information flyer on the oral auction so I distributed them to the 30 or so golf carts that would be used that day so the golfers would be able to get an advanced look at what would be in the auction. I then put them on the tables for the golfers lunch on the RVCC's veranda. We sold the golfers "mulligans" while they registered. "Iowa" and I then had lunch. The bus from Eugene arrived with the coaches and staff of the University of Oregon Athletic Department. Jim Bartko
Executive Senior Associate AD made the trip. Jim got his start here in Medford as our Duck Athletic Fund Representative oh so many year ago.
After lunch we cleaned up the registration area as the golfers hit the course and moved the 8 foot blow up Ducks to the RVCC Ballroom. Joe, Dave, Jim D and his wife, and I then spent about 3 1/2 hours setting up the Ballroom for the Dinner/Auction with most of the time setting up the silent auction of 64 items.Mr & Mrs "O" helped decorate up the room and were a very nice addition to our group of volunteers I then drove by the office and picked up my wife and rushed home for a quick shower. My wife and I returned to the dinner about 5:20 PM and helped coordinate the ladies who handled dinner registration along with the folks who were helping me with the oral and silent auctions.After dinner head basketball coach Ernie Kent spoke followed by new head football coach Chip Kelly.The normaly noisy room was very quit when Coach Kelly spoke. This is his second trip to Medford since he was announced as our new Head Coach and he is a big hit with Medford fans and fans here in Southern Oregon. While the oral auction was being conducted we closed the silent auction in three stages and moved the silent auction items from the Ballroom to the cashier room and helped the ladies who had changed from working on the dinner registration to now working as cashiers for the auction. After the oral auction was over I helped the cashiers deliver the oral and silent auction items to the winners. After the dinner we packed up all of our equipment and were out the door of the Rogue Valley Country Club about 9:45 pm. During the day I had met a lot of nice Duck fans and had some very good help from "Iowa," my wife, Mr & Mrs 'O" and a lot of other volunteers. We had a lot of people who worked on the Golf Tournament portion of the event led by "Dave S".
Don't have the final figures but hopefully we raised some funds for University of Oregon Athletics.
After two years without a Duck Athletic Fund Representative, here in Medford, to help us put on the event, it was good to have Joe Ancell stationed down here . His help made the event even better.
Next year we will be back for Duffin 2010! Let's Go Ducks
Thursday, June 04, 2009
Update on Preseident Obama's Speech in Egypt today from Andy McCarthy of National Review:
President Obama said the actions of Muslim terrorists "are irreconcilable with the rights of human beings, the progress of nations, and with Islam. The Holy Koran teaches that whoever kills an innocent, it is as if he has killed all mankind; and whoever saves a person, it is as if he has saved all mankind."
The president was drawing on Sura 5:32. Somehow, though, he managed to leave out the very next verse, Sura 5:33:
The punishment of those who wage war against Allah and His Messenger, and strive with might and main for mischief through the land, is: execution, or crucifixion, or the cutting off of hands and feet from opposite sides, or exile from the land: That is their disgrace in this world, and a heavy punishment is theirs in the hereafter.*
I must say that some of that sounds even worse than waterboarding. But, in any event, it's hard to see how ignoring it is consistent with forming a “partnership between America and Islam must be based on what Islam is, not what it isn’t.”
[Hat tip, Robert Spencer.]
* I'm quoting from one of the copies of the Koran I keep in my personal library — published by the Ministry of Hajj and Endowments of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia — but I have no reason to doubt that the same scripture could be found in Thomas Jefferson's Koran.
I am sure not all followers of Islam believe this literally but this is what led some Islamic fascist to fly a plane into the World Trade Center.
Wednesday, June 03, 2009
Robert J Samuelson the economic columnist for Newsweek and the Washington Post has written a column about the Main Stream Medias infatuation with Barack Obama:
The Obama infatuation is a great unreported story of our time. Has any recent president basked in so much favorable media coverage? Well, maybe John Kennedy for a moment, but no president since. On the whole, this is not healthy for America.....
The infatuation matters because Obama's ambitions are so grand. He wants to expand health-care subsidies, tightly control energy use and overhaul immigration. He envisions the greatest growth of government since Lyndon Johnson. The Congressional Budget Office estimates federal spending in 2019 at nearly 25 percent of the economy (gross domestic product). That's well up from the 21 percent in 2008, and far above the post-World War II average; it would also occur before many baby boomers retire. ....
The press has become Obama's silent ally and seems in a state of denial. But the story goes untold: Unsurprisingly, the study of all the favorable coverage received little coverage.
To read the rest click on the title for a link
Monday, June 01, 2009
National Review posted part of Mitt Romney's speech to the Heritage Foundation:
"Arrogant, delusional tyrants can not be stopped by earnest words and furrowed brows. Action, strong bold action coming from a position of strength and determination, is the only effective deterrent.
It is time to apply comprehensive, regime-crippling sanctions to North Korea. Assets should be seized; international financial capabilities terminated. North Korea should be recategorized as a state sponsor of terror. And, most importantly, the President should immediately reverse his recent decisions and strongly support completing our ballistic missile defense system.
America sacrificed the blood of its sons and daughters and sent treasure abroad, helping nurture democracy and human rights all over the world. We sustained a network of alliances and built military prowess that at first contained and then defeated Soviet communism. Because of what America did in the 20th century, there are hundreds of millions of people around the world who now live in freedom – who, but for the price paid by the United States, would have lived in despair. I know of no other such example of national selflessness in the history of mankind. That is why America is the hope of the earth.
That is also why, with all due respect, I take issue with President Obama’s recent tour of apology. It’s not because America hasn’t made mistakes—we have—but because America’s mistakes are overwhelmed by what America has meant to the hopes and aspirations of people throughout the world.
The President also claimed on Arabic TV that America has dictated to other nations. No, America has sacrificed to free other nations from dictators. Britain’s Guardian newspaper noted that Mr. Obama has been more critical of his own country, while on foreign soil, than any other president in American history. That would be a most unfortunate distinction at any time. But it is particularly so today: with all that is transpiring in the world, in Iran, North Korea, Georgia, Somalia, Iraq, Pakistan and Afghanistan, this is the time for strength and confidence, not for apologizing to America’s critics."