Archive for October, 2005

Semper Fidelis

Sunday, October 30th, 2005

Another great American slipped silently into the eternities today, unnoticed but for a very few friends and the fewer family members who remain. He was of the rare breed known as the \”Old Breed\”.

He was born in Italy in 1922. Young Pasqual was sent to America, along with his brother, to be raised by their aunt. At age 17 he was given permission to join the US Armed Forces, and at the age of 19 was one of 19,000 fellow Marines whose task it was to take the fight to our enemies in America’s first offensive operation of World War Two; Guadalcanal. He sacrificed every human comfort he was fighting to preserve for those he left behind. He endured abandonment by those who delivered him to this malaria-plagued jungle island. He carried on through the carnage, through the loss of comrades who had become closer than friends, and through the seemingly endless season of destruction. Every night the Tokyo Express would deliver a hail of high explosives. Every day “Sewing Machine Charlie” would strafe and bomb. Ever increasing numbers of near-suicidal Japanese infantry crept from the jungle by night and sniped from hiding places by day. Jungle rot was a silent and constant enemy that knew neither time nor allegiance. The hurried and premature withdrawal of US naval forces turned a difficult situation into a constant crisis. Food was in short supply. Supplies of all other varieties were as scarce as a night of uninterrupted sleep.

After six months of sleep deprivation and severe privation, interspersed with the harrowing and legendary battles of Tenaru River, Bloody Ridge and the nightly defense of Henderson Field, wearing rags and a “thousand yard stare”, he and his haggard and emaciated fellow-survivors were finally relieved of their violent vigil. So weakened by their ordeal were these Marines that many were unable to climb the netting to board the ships that would carry them to Australia for rest, recuperation and refitting. Sailors had to hoist them aboard.

If Pat had done nothing else in his life but this, he would have earned the peaceful, quiet death that overtook him in his 82nd year. But there was still more; the bitter battle for the Island of Peleilu required further personal sacrifice. More firepower and ammunition, per enemy casualty, were required to wrest this piece of real estate from enemy hands than in any other engagement of the entire war. The cruel and grueling brutality inflicted upon all the men who fought and bled and died on this rocky, cave-pocked Pacific outpost was near unimaginable. In his tour of the South Pacific Pat never enjoyed even a glimpse of Bali Hi. But he survived and, like the rest, was spared the battle to take the Japanese home islands by Truman’s courageous decision to drop the bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

He continued to serve his country well by administering engineering projects for the US Military and State Department during tours of duty in Morocco, Spain and Germany over a span of 40 years. He was an honest, reliable and decent person; a man without guile. He raised three children whom he loved, and they love him. Is there a greater reward in mortality?

All Americans owe a debt of gratitude to Pat and all the other Pats, Joes, Bills, Toms and Fred’s who more than self our country loved. Thank God there are still men like Pat among us, men who are “always faithful”. May we be ever and always faithful to them in return.

Semper Fi, Pat. Thanks for being my faithful friend.

Pols Picked by Poles at the Polls

Friday, October 28th, 2005

One of the most interesting but scarcely-reported items in the news is the election of conservative Lech Kaczynski to be the new President of Poland. The former Warsaw mayor defeated the Liberal candidate, Donald Tusk, in Sunday’s election by a whopping 10% of the vote. What makes this interesting is that the polls showed Kaczynski trailing Tusk by 15 points right up until the election. Someone must have failed to tell the Poles about the Polls.

\”Kaczynski had much stronger electoral cards because his main programme areas were closer to the electorate,\” said Tomasz Zukowski, a political scientist at the University of Warsaw. \”Tusk\’s ideas were too far removed from the values of most Poles.\”

The relevance of this event should be obvious for anyone with ears to hear and eyes to see. The Polish media is at least as liberal as anywhere else; a case could be made that, due to its Communist past, it is almost as liberal as the New York Times. The media once again tried to create a winner where there was none.

We are witnessing the same thing in California’s Special Election to Reform state government in numerous ways. The polls indicate that several if not all of the Arnold-supported initiatives are lacking majority support. Looking back at the polls prior to Arnold’s ascension to the office of Governor in the Golden State, we see a similar attempt to sway public opinion by making those who supported the Recall and Arnold feel as though they were in the minority. Heaven forbid that we should be surrounded by the like-minded! When the votes were counted, Arnold had won with nearly 60% of the vote with the other Republican candidate receiving 12% out of a total field of over 100 candidates! This was an overwhelming vote for change; a vote that knew no partisan bounds. Do you honestly believe that these eager citizens have forgotten the point of that whole exercize in the intervening 18 months? Is it possible that Arnold\’s programme areas are closer to the electorate than are the programmes of the elite media?

After the upcoming election the major media polls will once again be shown for what they truly are; a duplicitous effort to manipulate public opinion. The Poles were right; the polls were wrong.

The Plot Thickens

Thursday, October 27th, 2005

I am not surprised at the news that Harriet Miers has withdrawn her name from consideration to become the newest Supreme Court Justice. I would be surprised to find that this was not a previously conceived plan to focus people’s attention on the appropriate point that this seat does not belong to a woman or to a moderate or to a swing voter. Miers certainly possessed one of these attributes and perhaps she possessed them all. We will never know. But is this what we really want or need from a judge who will occupy that robe for decades? Should gender be a qualifier? Neither should it be a disqualifier. Bush gets credit for displaying his willingness to appoint a woman. Should Bush appoint someone who is acceptable to the Democrats? In the Miers appointment he did, but is this a satisfactory criterion? No.

We want and need the very best person with the best of qualifications, who must necessarily have a worldview similar to that of the only individual responsible for appointing a Justice to the US Supreme Court; George W. Bush.

Did President Bush and Harriet Miers hatch this plot to intentionally refocus the debate? You be the judge.

Misplaced Priorities

Tuesday, October 25th, 2005

The storm over the leaking of the name of once-covert CIA agent, Valerie Plame, to a journalist is nothing compared to the allegations that one of our intelligence agencies actually identified Mohammed Attah and several of his associates as dangerous terror suspects prior to 9-11.

The case involving Plame is being driven by her husband, Joe Wilson (a former ambassador during the Clinton Administration) and his pal, Senator Chuck Schumer, and revolves around the law that prohibits the identification of covert operatives within five years of their return to stateside duties. The law makes sense as it protects the lives of those covert operatives. Nevertheless, if Plame was indeed named, the statute of limitations for this crime had expired prior to the incident in question. She had been back in the states for more than five years and had, in fact, “outed” herself (by her own admission) while she had been stationed overseas. This leads to mighty peculiar legal implications.

In an effort to measure and clarify this “crime”, consider this analogous situation: a person takes his own life, dying from a self-inflicted gunshot wound. Six year later, I walk over his grave. I am subsequently charged with his murder for having committed an act that might have potentially killed him had he actually been alive. This is the essence of the Plame story. The major media/Democrat Party Axis is pushing this non-issue for purely political purposes, as it keeps the Bush administration from fully pursuing its agenda. There have even been whisperings of “impeachment” coming from the Democrat cloak and dagger room.

Meanwhile, we have another former Clinton administration official, Jamie Gorelick, who crafted the language that prevented intelligence operatives (code named “Able Danger”) from communicating their discoveries to the FBI; intelligence that, had it been acted upon would have saved the lives of at least people 3000 people; 3000 people who, unlike Valerie Plame, can never go home again. Jamie Gorelick also served on the Special 9-11 Commission from which no revelations concerning the identification of Attah were made public; where these revelations were, if fact, stonewalled.

There can be no better example of misplaced priorities than the examination of these two cases. Where is the real crime here?

Intelligent Design

Thursday, October 20th, 2005

It is interesting to note that the \”Theory\” of Evolution does not account for intelligence at all. This would seem to be an enormous failing. How does one explain the dynamic that permits the propounding of theory (of all theories for that matter) without including any reference to this capacity in the explanation of the evolutionary process? This is akin to elaborating economic theories in which no reference is made to money. We may have features similar to those of the great apes but in our capacity to think and create, we humans have set ourselves apart in ways wholly uncontemplated by the theory. I doubt that our arboreal cousins would be writing books (although titles such as \”Using Sticks for Ant Extraction\” and \”Grooming Your Friends for Love and Protein\” would make for very interesting reading) and building ivory towers and space stations if only they had developed opposable thumbs. Shouldn\’t evolutionary theory, in order to be taken seriously, be required to account for the human ability to consciously exercise intelligence? How does it explain the world we have re-designed for ourselves?

Salad Days

Wednesday, October 19th, 2005

Hearts of Romaine Salad with Blue Cheese, Roasted Pecans with Sesame Balsamic Vinaigrette Dressing.

Serves 4-6

Cut off top 1 to 2 inches of two whole heads Romaine hearts and submerge the rest in cold water for about 10 minutes, then remove from water and give the hearts a shake to remove excess water and refrigerate for an hour or two (this to clean and to restore crispness)

1/2-cup pecan halves per each head of lettuce- sauté these over medium-low to medium heat with 1TBL sesame oil. Watch carefully and toss frequently for about five minutes, add 1 TBL whole butter and toss, and then sprinkle with 1 TBL raw sugar, remove from heat and let sit until cool.

Dressing:
1/2 tsp good mustard (not too hot or too sweet)
1 tsp sugar
1 pinch salt
1 TBL Sherry vinegar or apple cider vinegar
1 tsp Balsamic vinegar (the better, the better)
Whisk well and drizzle in the following while whisking;
1 TBL sesame oil
2 TBL canola or other neutral-flavored oil
Taste for balance, add salt or sugar to taste. Add a few drops of hot water if the dressing is too acidic.

Cut lettuce into bite-sized pieces, sprinkle with good crumbled blue cheese (buy a piece of good cheese and crumble it yourself), top with the roasted pecans, toss with dressing and serve. You may add sliced red onions if you wish.

Enjoy

Bono for Secretary General

Saturday, October 15th, 2005

Recent efforts by politicians to use rock concerts as fund-raisers have raised something else, the ire of the socially conscious Irish rock band, U2. The group has distanced itself from the partisan plans of Senators Clinton and Santorum to share their respective luxury boxes with those who would pony up thousands of dollars for the privilege of hob knobbing with the pols. It is however, a perfect venue from a politician’s point of view. It must be somewhat refreshing to hang out with contributors without having to listen to them. These particular musicians don’t want the the political baggage on this tour. They are here to play good music, not for the promotion of partisan politics and its attendant distractions. This kind of activity is reserved for U2’s down time.

Here’s a suggestion to ponder; U2’s lead singer, Bono, would be the ideal replacement for Kofi Annan. He has spent significant time, effort and money to help solve some of the most pressing problems on the African continent. That should set him far apart from those UN bureaucrats who seemingly suffer from the habit of simply taking money. Let the “Draft Bono for UN Secretary General” movement begin. From U2 to UN; it only makes sense! In every way Bono would be far superior to Bill Clinton who has made no secret of his desire to rule the world body, if not the world itself.

Speaking of the former president, one of the darker secrets of his life has recently come to light; the real reason he moved his post-presidential office to the Upper East Side. America’s first black president has a better claim to this title than we had heretofore known. As it turns out, William Jefferson Clinton was not named for the nation’s third president afterall, but rather for George (no, not George Washington), George Jefferson.

Brave Men

Friday, October 14th, 2005

On the eve of the historic election in Iraq it is appropriate to thank those who made this moment possible; the men and women of the United States Military. For over 200 years our nation’s bravest have kept faith with the vision of the Founders and have fought to keep this Republic free and vibrant. Jefferson once noted that from time to time the Tree of Liberty had to be watered by the blood of tyrants and patriots. In this pursuit, our Brave Men and their Sisters in conflict have never let us down. In the course of maintaining our freedom, they have brought the ideals of democracy to those who were oppressed, and because of their willingness to sacrifice, hundreds of millions have been blessed to live in peace and prosperity for generations. All of us owe these great warriors a boundless debt of gratitude. I support our troops and their mission. May God bless them, each and every one.

Context Independence Part II

Friday, October 14th, 2005

Nation of Islam leader, Louis Farrakhan, claimed today that he has never hurt anyone by the things he has said. This was in response to a query relating to accusations that he had made disparaging remarks about Jews and homosexuals. He first ducked the question by referring to remarks, taken out of context, recently made by Bill Bennett. Bennett had been quoting from a book that had posed the possibility that crime rates would plummet if all black babies were aborted. He then added that he thought this whole notion was abhorrent and immoral. Naturally, the major media and Farrakhan feel their respective agendas are better served when using these unquestionably inflammatory remarks apart from their true and proper context. Imagine that; another contemporary example of context independence!

Minister Farrakhan went on to recall Pat Robertson’s regrettable suggestion that the US take preemptive action against Hugo Chavez; to assassinate him before he further harms US interests in the Western Hemisphere. Farrakhan failed to acknowledge that Robertson soon thereafter apologized for this thoughtless comment. When a person understands and confesses to having erred, is it proper to continue hold that person to that philosophical position? One can’t recall the spoken word as though it were an automobile with a repairable defect. When it’s said, it’s said. All one can then do is admit to having been mistaken. That individual no longer claims the erroneous position previously taken. Honesty then dictates that anyone repeating the discredited remarks must also include the subsequent repudiation of the statement. Failure to do so relieves the quote of its true and proper context.

Repeating remarks that have been taken out of context is intentional misrepresentation; in other words, a lie. Is Louis Farrakhan saying that lying doesn’t hurt anyone? He must believe so because he does of lot of it. Blaming George W. Bush for the 9-11 Islamikazi attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon couldn’t possibly hurt anyone. Blaming the US government for blowing up levees in New Orleans to intentionally harm black people certainly couldn’t harm anyone.

It will be interesting to hear the other harmless things he will utter at the Millions More Movement event this weekend. No doubt there will be slanders, but who will suffer more harm than those who falsely and slavishly believe his lies?

Context Independence

Thursday, October 13th, 2005

Watching sports in HD is nothing short of mesmerizing. In truth, watching anything in HD is nearly as breathtaking as being there, but without the chill, the insect shrill or the credit card bill. I found myself captivated by a ballet in HD, and I don’t even like ballet. The most mundane of things take on a significance they rarely possess in nature. The clarity and crispness of the image adds a dimension with which even the 3-D of reality has difficulty competing. It occurs to me that HD is truly the fulfillment of McCluhen’s assertion that the medium is the message. Content has become subservient to context. But maybe that has always been true of television and film. It certainly can be said of most music.

The President\’s Pick

Tuesday, October 11th, 2005

To further elaborate on my last post, as a citizen I am naturally concerned about the President\’s pick but he is the one who gets to choose. Those who are overly concerned should run for the office, get elected and then select whomever they wish, provided there is a vacant robe during their term of office. I don\’t know whether or not this woman is a stealth candidate or if it even matters at all, but I am glad to know that the President actually knows this person. I think this is a hopeful sign, at least a quantum leap beyond Bush One\’s half-hearted swipe at due diligence prior to being duped by Souter. I am much more concerned about the influence of the D.C. social swirl on the justices. It seems that most so-called conservatives appointed to the bench are somehow eventually \”socialized\” by the Brahmans of the Beltway and the Poo-bahs of the Potomac. There must be something more than intoxicating about sipping Manhattans with the denizens of DC that causes one to stumble consistently to the left.

Supreme Court Nominee

Tuesday, October 4th, 2005

If I was the President I would have chosen someone else. But I\’m not the President.