The Right Perspective

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

A Soldier Responds to the New York Times

While checking out Laura Ingraham's website this afternoon, I found the following article, written by Lt. Tom Cotton and sent to the New York Times. Here is what Lt. Cotton had to say in response to the New York Times' disclosure of classified intelligence:

Dear Messrs. Keller, Lichtblau & Risen:

Congratulations on disclosing our government's highly classified anti-terrorist-financing program (June 23). I apologize for not writing sooner. But I am a lieutenant in the United States Army and I spent the last four days patrolling one of the more dangerous areas in Iraq. (Alas, operational security and common sense prevent me from even revealing this unclassified location in a private medium like email.)

Unfortunately, as I supervised my soldiers late one night, I heard a booming explosion several miles away. I learned a few hours later that a powerful roadside bomb killed one soldier and severely injured another from my 130-man company. I deeply hope that we can find and kill or capture the terrorists responsible for that bomb. But, of course, these terrorists do not spring from the soil like Plato's guardians. No, they require financing to obtain mortars and artillery shells, priming explosives, wiring and circuitry, not to mention for training and payments to locals willing to emplace bombs in exchange for a few months' salary. As your story states, the program was legal, briefed to Congress, supported in the government and financial industry, and very successful.

Not anymore. You may think you have done a public service, but you have gravely endangered the lives of my soldiers and all other soldiers and innocent Iraqis here. Next time I hear that familiar explosion -- or next time I feel it -- I will wonder whether we could have stopped that bomb had you not instructed terrorists how to evade our financial surveillance.

And, by the way, having graduated from Harvard Law and practiced with a federal appellate judge and two Washington law firms before becoming an infantry officer, I am well-versed in the espionage laws relevant to this story and others -- laws you have plainly violated. I hope that my colleagues at the Department of Justice match the courage of my soldiers here and prosecute you and your newspaper to the fullest extent of the law. By the time we return home, maybe you will be in your rightful place: not at the Pulitzer announcements, but behind bars.

Very truly yours,
Tom Cotton
Baghdad, Iraq

Oh how I wish that I could have written that letter, but how much more powerful are these words from a man who is not only putting his own life on the line, but is responsible for the lives of other brave men and women who are in harms's way for the sake of our country.

I'd like to believe that the "journalist" traitors will read this and understand, perhaps for the first time, just how harmful their power-hungry actions might prove to be. If these "reporters" had chosen to do the honorable thing, if they had cared more about their country and those trying to defend it than furthering their own vendetta with the Bush administration, then perhaps we would all be much safer.

Lt. Cotton's letter was written from a perspective that few of us sitting in our comfortable homes here in the United States have. He is on the front lines day in and day out, risking his life to keep this country, and all of the freedoms that it affords, safe from an enemy who would like nothing better than to take away every last one of our freedoms. Lt. Cotton's letter cuts to the heart of the matter: the New York Times chose to reveal a very powerful weapon to our enemy and as a result, that weapon is much less potent than it could have been. The end result is that all Americans are now in more danger than before.

While I wholeheartedly agree with Lt. Cotton in everything that he wrote, I do have one point of contention with his letter, or perhaps more accurately, something to add. Not only do I share Cotton's wish to see both the Times and the reporters punished, but I expect the Justice Department to also find and prosecute, to the fullest extent of the law, the leaker of this classified information. He must be held accountable for his actions as well.

And so I will end this post with what was perhaps the most powerful quote from Lt. Cotton's message: "I hope that my colleagues at the Department of Justice match the courage of my soldiers here and prosecute you and your newspaper to the fullest extent of the law. By the time we return home, maybe you will be in your rightful place: not at the Pulitzer announcements, but behind bars." The same goes for the leaker.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

A Note from the Floor

Who knew that repeatedly lifting a 27 lb. toddler could be so damaging?

Apparently, I am a weakling. There can be no other explanation. About a week ago, I began to notice that I was having some rather uncomfortable back pain. By Sunday afternoon, I'd been downing the Ibuprofen at the maximum allowable dosage for a couple days and decided that I would make a Drs. appointment for Monday. Of course, when I called the Dr. on Monday, there were no openings, so I and my considerable back pain waited not-so-patiently for an appointment today.

I loaded up Emily in the van and then into the stroller and waited for our turn at the Drs'. office. We got called back into the inner sanctum, at which point Emily began to get a little distressed. I assured her that she was not getting weighed, I was, and that the only one who should be stressed about that was me.

Next I hobbled behind the stroller into exam room 18 (I always end up there) at which point Emily began to vigorously shake her head "no, no" (remember, she doesn't talk yet). I once again reassured her that I was the one in the hot seat, so to speak.

The Dr. (not our usual one, as she will be leaving this job at the end of the month) came in, asked me about my symptoms and had me do a few range-of-motion exercises and assorted leg lifts. Of course, all of this was done in my polo shirt and underwear...a lovely sight I am sure. (And by the way, whoever came up with the paper "sheets" that are now used as gowns and sheets in the office should be publicly flogged. Come on, where is the dignity?)

The diagnosis? The Dr. looked at Emily sitting in her stroller and said that she was my problem. Or more to the point, repetitive lifting of Emily is the problem. I've hurt my back by taking care of my toddler. Lovely.

The best part of the story....the Drs. prescription for easing the pain. He suggested taking 3 ibuprofen 3 times a day, laying flat on my back on the floor with my knees bent as much as possible and icing my back (but not to the point of frostbite, mind you!) Oh and don't pick Emily up very much.


Only a man could say that to a stay at home mom of a toddler with a straight face and mean it.

So, it appears that for the time being, my computer time may be cut shorter than usual as I will apparently be lying face down on the living room floor with several packs of frozen vegetables on my entire lower back while overdosing on Ibuprofen. Either that or get used to the pain.

Ah Calgon, take me away!

Friday, June 23, 2006

Are We Winning the Hearts of the People?

In my previous post, I imagined President Bush trying to shore up his supporters, both here in America and around the world. Today, in The American Spectator, Christopher Orlet writes an interesting article about America's failed war to win the hearts and minds of, well, just about anyone anymore. It's an interesting, go read it.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

What I Wish the President Would Say

I'm not a great speech writer, and even if my word-smithing was good enough, the President would never use my speech because I'm not nearly politically correct enough. But if I were the President's speech writer right now, here's what I would have him say:

My fellow Americans and People of the world,
Tonight I stand before you prepared to say what has needed to be said for some time. What I have to say will not be politically correct. What I have to say will make many of you angry. In short, tonight, the gloves come off.

I will begin by addressing members of Congress. Ladies and Gentlemen of the Congress, GROW UP. There are more important issues on the table than your re-election, the amount of money you can spend on frivilous things for your state and trying to discredit my presidency. I am not the enemy. I should be the least of your worries.

We face an enemy unlike any other in the history of our nation. The Islamic jihadists hate us. They want us to convert to radical Islam or die. They want to take over America and they will not stop trying to harm us until they win or until they are dead. Those are the facts. They are persistent, they are savvy, and they are patient. They understand the stakes of this game. They are prepared to fight until the death. They know what they have to gain and what we have to lose.

Do you understand the stakes? Do you know what we have to gain by defeating this kind of enemy? Do you really understand what we could lose if radical muslims win? Do you care? Is America worth fighting for? Do you understand that if we lose this war, if we lose America, you will, in all probability be among the first to lose your lives? Is your life worth fighting for? Do you get it yet?

I challenge each of you this evening to quit playing political games and start caring more about the well-being of the country and the people you were elected to represent than what anyone else in the world thinks. Are you up to the challenge?. If you still don't get it, go back and read an accurate account of world history. Learn from it. Put aside the petty partisan politics and work with me to defend our country, our freedoms and our lives.

Next, I want to address the American media. Some of you are to be commended for your reporting of the facts. Some of you have done your job with dignity and an understanding of the true nature of this war. To you, I say, thank you and keep up the good work.

Most of you, however, have been a total disgrace. The major television network reporters and print journalists (and you know who you are) have allowed yourselves to be used as mere propaganda tools. You have foolishly chosen to take a political stand and make a statement against this administration that has colored your journalism in such as way as to absolutely blind you from reality. There is no integrity in what you do. You have become mouthpieces for a political activist group and you no more search for the truth than they do. Instead of supporting our men and women in harm's way, you do your best to undercut their efforts and to discredit their honor. You work tirelessly to shame these honorable men and women, all the while giving undue aid, comfort and credit to the enemy. Instead of reporting the facts, you search for sensationalism, often taking the word of a terrorist or dictator over the words of an American soldier and at times, completely fabricating stories in order to discredit those with whom you disagree.

Your complete lack of integrity and compassion, your willingness to give credibility to those so completely undeserving and your incredible bias has not gone unnoticed. I know what is being said and written and the American public is well aware of your tactics. On behalf of the American people, I tell you that we have had enough. If you choose to continue in the same manner, there will be consequences. If need be, there will be legal consequences. Your actions will no longer continue unchecked. When you slander or defame an innocent person or administration, when your words needlessly put American troops in greater danger, when you work to discredit America at home or abroad, your days as a "journalist" will be numbered.

Next, I want to address our allies. Thank you. I cannot express the gratitude I feel for your support in this global war on terror. You have heard the reports, weighed the evidence and chosen to side with freedom and democracy rather than oppression and tyranny. You understand that the threat is not simply for America but for all freedom-loving countries of the world. Simply put, you understand that in fighting with America, you also help defend yourselves against evil and terror.

The price of freedom is high. It is not won without the sacrifice of selfless men and women. I understand that with each death, the price grows seemingly too high to bear, but I urge you to stay the course. The price of defeat will, without a doubt, be much greater. None of us can afford to pay that price, and so we must win. There can be no other alternative.

And now let me say a few words to those who have chosen not to support America and her allies in the war on terror. You have already lost. You are already paying a terrible price for being unwilling to stand up against evil. You may not realize it yet, but your unwillingness to stand firm against oppression will ultimately result in the loss of your freedom. France and the Netherlands, Iran, North Korea and other countries who have chosen not to fight are already feeling the effects of oppression, whether from communist regimes long in place or the newer, as yet more subtle occupation of radical muslims. Your days, if you continue to choose not to fight, are numbered.

While America will always stand for freedom and democracy, will always fight for those who cannot defend themselves, we can only do so much. We cannot fight every battle by ourselves when faced with such a global threat. We must defend ourselves and our allies first. If you choose not to recognize the threat, to turn a blind eye to true evil and refuse to fight for your own freedom, then don't expect America to come running when you need help. The time has come when we must do whatever it takes to defend ourselves and our freedom-loving allies and if we must pull troops from your countries in order to do so, we will. We can no longer fight everyone else's battles. It's time to take a stand against evil. If you refuse, then we will no longer do it for you.

Now I turn to the American people. My fellow Americans, I love this great country and I know that many of you do as well. I apologize for sometimes allowing myself to get caught up in partisan politics, for sometimes being too stubborn to listen to those of you who elected me, and for sometimes focusing on the wrong solutions to problems. I will do my best to do better.

I promise you, however, that from this moment forward, I will do absolutely everything in my power to protect you and this country. I will fight with every ounce of my conviction those who wish to do us harm. I will not give in and I will not give up. I will fight for my freedom and yours, but I cannot do it alone.

I realize that this war on terror is not easy. Many of you have sacrificed already for the sake of this war. Some of you have lost loved ones on the battlefield. The price has been high, and it will go higher. I urge you to stand with me and stay the course. It is tempting to cut and run. It is tempting to concentrate only on the cost of this war, both physically and fiscally, rather than the ultimate outcome. It is tempting to be swayed by the false and innacurate reporting that has become all too common. I implore you to stand with me, to be strong and to remain patient. This war will not end quickly. In fact, it may never officially end. We must concentrate on winning each battle and in slowly, but certainly defeating our enemy. Our freedom, our country and our lives depend upon our prayers, our patience and our perseverance. If we stand together, we will not be defeated. The only way we can be defeated is if we defeat ourselves. This is what the terrorists hope and plan for. We cannot allow them to be successful. It is not an option. We will not be defeated from within if we resolve now, this very day, to stand and fight together.

And finally, there are a few things I would like to say to our enemy. First, America knows who you are. We understand that our enemy is not simply a band of thugs from one country, or a political ideology, but rather a religion of hate and intolerance. Radical Islam is not a peaceable religion as you so often profess, but one of oppression and intolerance. As such, it cannot be fought in the usual manner.

From here on out, if you are a muslim male, be prepared to wait in lines at airports and subways and train stations. We will be doing racial profiling. This will continue until muslim males no longer fit the profile of homicide bombers. If muslim females begin to fit the profile, they can expect long waits as well.

If you are captured on the battlefield as an enemy combatant, you have no American civil or criminal rights. The only rights you have are to be treated as a human being. This is far more than you do for your prisoners, but we refuse to stoop to your level. So complain to the press, complain to your immams, complain to the ACLU, but in the end, it will do you no good. If you fight against us and are captured, you forfeit your rights. We abide by the Geneva convention. That's it. If you want the rights of an American, then become a legal citizen and join the fight against evil and oppression with us. Otherwise, tough luck.

And finally, do not underestimate the will of the American people. It may seem as though we have lost our resolve, as if we have no patience for a long war, as if we have not learned any lessons from the brutal attacks you perpetrated against us on September 11, but you are wrong. While some have done just that, many others are still strong and patient and full of passionate resolve. They have been the quiet majority all along, but more and more, their voices are being heard. They are what make America strong. They will not give up, they will not give in and they know who and what they are fighting. Again, never underestimate America.

God Bless you, and good night.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

They're Fighting the Wrong War

I have often heard liberals say that the war in Iraq is "the wrong war, in the wrong place, at the wrong time". It has been a battle cry for some, so vehemently opposed to this war are they. The trouble is, they don't realize how accurate a statement that is, in a manner of speaking.

Rep. John Murtha, (D.-PA.) has become a spokesperson for this group of ideologues. A man who has honorably served his country, first as a Marine, then as a member of Congress for over 30 years, his reputation is good. He has earned the right to speak out about the war and the troops. He most definitely has a right to his opinion and he has some deeper knowledge of what it is like to be a soldier. Unfortunately, his opinion about the war in Iraq is wrong.

Murtha has become the poster-boy for those who have either opposed the war from the beginning or have grown impatient with the ongoing conflict. His military record makes him an "untouchable" (much to the joy of the liberals), similar to the 9/11 widows who have become politicized by the left. The liberals believe that since Rep. Murtha served (very honorably, it would seem) in combat in Vietnam, he can say anything he wishes about the Iraq war and should not be held accountable for his statements, much less debated. In other words, since he's "been there and done that" he must be right and how dare anyone question his opinion.

Well, I dare question it, as do many other conservatives. I have a great amount of respect for Rep. Murtha's service to our country. There is no doubt in my mind that he loves his country, to have served it in combat as he did. However, it does not make him an expert or even infallible when it comes to the current conflict. All of Mr. Murtha's personal military experience comes from the Vietnam era, it would seem. As a result, his past experiences with that conflict color his current understanding of the Iraq war. Murtha has fallen into the trap that many others who oppose the war have. He has been comparing this war with Vietnam.

While I can understand drawing some comparisons, this is dangerous thinking. It is important to learn the lessons of history and apply them to situations today, but to assume that we are fighting the same war today as when we were in Vietnam is a very serious miscalculation.

The Vietnam war was similar to the Iraq war in that both were highly unpopular wars with the people and the politicians. Both, it might be said, were political wars. Both wars were fought in very foreign, difficult countries where the enemy was often difficult to distinguish from the good guys. Both wars lost support as time passed.

There is at least one striking difference however, and it must not be ignored. The Vietnam war was fought as part of a larger war against communism. It attacked a well-known political ideology. The war in Iraq is also part of a larger war, the war on terror. However, this war is not simply against a political opponent, but rather a religious one. This is important because in politics, the better, stronger political idea, in this case democracy and capitalism, will ultimately be victorious because even uneducated people can recognize when good policies are working because it directly benefits them. Fighting a war against a religion or rather, a radical form of a religion, is much trickier because the end "victory" is not known until one dies, with each side believing they are right until the very end.

While Iraq is being won (and won over) to democracy because a democratic society is a better, more successful political idea, the war is far from over because we fight against a religious ideology that is still going strong, in Iraq and around the world. The problem we face is a serious one. America and it's allies, in large part, do not recognize the real enemy to our freedom. Our enemy is not a particular dictator or political regime, as it has been in past wars. Our enemy is radical, militant islam and the goal is to conquer and convert the world.

Militant islam waits and watches the conflict, patiently and with resolve, and they adapt their strategy as needed. They understand the war we are in they and are determined to win. They will not lose their resolve, they'll wait until we do. And it would seem that their wait will not be long.

On Meet The Press, with Tim Russert, Rep. Murtha made the comment, "We are not fighting the war. The soldiers are the ones fighting the war." While I think I understand what he was trying to say, a louder, probably unintended messages struck me. "This country is not fighting the war. We've left victory up to a few hundred thousand troops."

The liberal leadership believes that victory will come through force and strength alone. They are very wrong. In a war for our freedom, our way of life, and ultimately our very souls, the liberals have lost sight of who our enemy is and that for which we are fighting. They believe that the fight can take place half a world away and not be affected by anything here at home. They honestly believe that the battle is not here in America, even after the attacks of September 11. They believe that if we just protect America and do not take the fight to the enemy, that they might simply be content to leave us alone. They are wrong. They are fighting a new war with old tactics and ideas. They are unaware of the real enemy and the threat they pose. They wish to impose a timetable for this war to end. They don't know who, what and why we are fighting and that is perhaps the most frightening thing of all.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Where There's a Will....

(click image to enlarge)

We went to the zoo today and when I saw this camel, I just had to take a picture. Does God have a sense of humor? I think the evidence speaks for itself. (Note that the camel has positioned itself over a tree stump in order to scratch it's belly. He was having quite the grand ole' time!)

Bush Apologizes (This should make the Dems salivate!)

I watched the President make some remarks from the Rose Garden yesterday. At the end of his statement, he answered questions from the gaggle of reporters who were chomping at the bit to ask him about anything from Karl Rove to oh....Karl Rove.

The press conference would have been otherwise unremarkable, except for an exchange that I noticed towards the end. President Bush called on Peter Wallsten, of the L.A. Times, for the next question. As Mr. Wallsten began asking his question (about Karl Rove), President Bush asked him if he was going to address him with his "shades" on. The President then went on to quip, "For the viewers, there's no sun."

The press corp laughed and Mr. Wallsten continued with his question, with the sunglasses still on, and the press conference went on without any other notable happenings.

That's the background of the story. Now, as Paul Harvey would say, here's the rest of the story.

Today Peter Wallsten, in an interview by Nedra Pickler, Associated Press Writer, shared the reason he was wearing the "shades". Mr. Wallsten has Stargardt's disease which is a form of macular degeneration and can cause vision loss over time. One of the symptoms of the disease is sensitivity to sunlight, even on a cloudy day, which can apparently speed up the rate of loss of vision, hence the sunglasses.

Mr. Wallsten let the AP reporter know that President Bush had called him on his cell phone later in the day to apologize for his comment, as he was unaware of Mr. Wallsten's condition. Wallsten said that he told the President that there was no need to apologize and admitted that he had not told anyone in the White House about the disease. As a result, he said he was not offended by the comment.

President Bush said, "`I needle you guys out of affection,'" Wallsten said. "I said, 'I understand that, but I don't want you to treat me any differently because of this.'"

"Wallsten said the president said he would not treat him differently, so Wallsten encouraged him to 'needle away.'"

"He said, `I will. Next time I'll just use a different needle,'" Wallsten said.

Wallsten is quoted in the article as saying that he thought that was a pretty good line from the President. I agree.

As I read this article, I was reminded of how much the liberals in the country, including almost all of the left-leaning press corp, constantly try to paint President Bush as an arrogant cowboy who never admits his mistakes. They try desperately to catch him in a mistake and craft inane questions in an attempt to get a "soundbite" of the president admitting he was wrong in anything. My guess is that they are giddy with glee over this story because it shows how insensitive President Bush can be and how he doesn't think before he speaks.

Well, let the liberals and the media think what they will. I think the President of the United States showed a lot of humility and concern for his fellow human being when he took the time out of an outrageously busy day to personally call a reporter to apologize for an honest mistake. He didn't have to make that call himself. Other presidents would likely have asked a staffer to do it. Some presidents probably would never have even acknowledged the incident. This president did what an honorable man would do...he humbled himself, apologized, admitted he was wrong and did his best to make things right again. That's all anyone can ask.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Rating Christianity

Scripps Howard News Service reports on the upcoming movie "Facing the Giants", a family movie that is causing quite a controversy because of the PG rating imposed upon it by the MPAA (motion picture association of America).

The reason for giving this wholesome family movie a PG rating? According to a Scripps article, the MPAA said it, "decided that the movie was heavily laden with messages from one religion and that this might offend people from other religions. It's important that they used the word 'proselytizing' when they talked about giving this movie a PG. ..

The movie includes such elements as "waves of answered prayers, a medical miracle, a mysterious silver-haired mystic who delivers a message from God and a bench-warmer who kicks a 51-yard field goal to win the big game when his handicapped father pulls himself out of a wheelchair and stands under the goal post to inspire his son's faith. There's a prayer-driven gust of wind in there, too." (OH MY!)

This is the stuff that defined many a successful Disney film, back when Disney wasn't controlled by more liberal groups. In fact, this type of plot line is the traditional family movie. A Christian football coach uses his personal faith in God to help him overcome obstacles such a fear and failure. Along the way, he shares his faith with others. (GASP!) In the end, his team is victorious. Your basic family-movie plot.

So what, precisely, has given the MPAA cause for enough concern to rate this movie alongside those with profanity, violence or brief nudity? The American Family Association believes it is the following scene which merited the PG rating:

In a " between football coach Grant Taylor _ played by Alex Kendrick _ and a rich brat named Matt Prader. The coach says that he needs to stop bad-mouthing his bossy father and get right with God.
The boy replies: "You really believe in all that honoring God and following Jesus stuff? ... Well, I ain't trying to be disrespectful, but not everybody believes in that."
The coach replies: "Matt, nobody's forcing anything on you. Following Jesus Christ is the decision that you're going to have to make for yourself. You may not want to accept it, because it'll change your life. You'll never be the same.""

So if I understand this correctly, the film is rating PG for standing up for one's beliefs and sharing them with others. It offers a choice. "Here's what I believe. It has made a positive difference in my life. I'd like to share it with you, but in the end, it's your choice whether to accept it or ignore it. The decision is yours. Here's another (diverse) way to think."

I thought diversity was a good thing. I thought liberals loved diversity. I thought they were tolerant and open-minded to everything, especially religions. Oh wait, I forgot, this is Christianity we're talking about. It doesn't count. It only divides people. Christians are intolerant, hateful bigots. Ah yes, that makes sense. Of course we should warn unsuspecting families about this film's Christian message. It might "make" then choose to become a Christian. (OH NO!)

This film absolutely should not be shown. Instead, let's show something like "The Boys of Brokeback Mountain Meet Muhammed". Now that should be educational, positive and uplifting, right? There's no "proselytizing" happening there...

Friday, June 09, 2006

One of Those Days

Do you ever just have one of those days where absolutely nothing you do seems to turn out right? Or maybe one of those weeks? I think I'm having a week like that, but today, it's almost comical.

Let me give you some background. Two years ago, we bought a house with a pool. The pool is partially in-ground, partially above. It has a deck all the way around, so that we can walk out our back patio doors, onto the deck and be on the same level as the pool. The pool had a filter/pump combo that we've been using for the last two years, that the previous owner installed under one end of the deck. If you stand under that end of the deck, from ground to the top of the deck, it measures 46 inches. I'm 5'6", my husband is 5'10" (I might be giving him a bit much credit there!) As you've already deduced, doing any repairs on the filter/pump is, quite literally, a pain in the neck...and back. Not to mention the spiders...and wasps...and bugs...

So guess what broke this week? Yep, the filter/pump. First the filter had "issues" then the pump died. While that certainly wasn't ideal, it also wasn't the end of the world. We bought a new, stronger, better (at least that's what the pool store guy assured us) filter/pump combo and came home to put it together and install it. We decided, for lots of practical reasons to install it outside of the deck for easier servicing. Apparently, this is a good decision...but we'll get to that. We got ready to hook up all the hoses, and found that we didn't have the proper fittings to do so. No one's fault, just the way it was.

So yesterday, I made my 3rd or 4th trip to the pool store (the employees all know me now), bought the fitting, installed them myself (I can handle tools if need be) and filled the pool to the required level in excited anticipation of being able to run the filter and start cleaning the pool. When Andrew got home from work, we carefully read the instructions on priming the pump (the instructions are worthless), followed them to a "t" because we're a little well, conscientious would be one word for it...and plugged it in....

And heard a decidedly unpleasant "POP" followed by a few wisps of smoke from the motor of the pump. Not good. Not good at all. Needless to say, things got ugly quick. Andrew, Emily and I all turned on each other, we wanted to swear (okay, at least I did, even though I never have and don't intend to, but come've all been there!) The night was not a success.

So today, I've called the pool store again to see if I can get anyone to give me any ideas to try or advice. (Not likely.) The employees now know me by voice as well... Their advice...bring the pump back in, it might be a dud. GREAT! That's no problem, I'll just unhook everything, let water go everywhere, drag a very angry toddler back to the pool store and start from scratch. Sounds like fun to me.

If we're really lucky, it'll be a problem with our electric. FUN STUFF!

While I was out, my old college roomate called. I haven't talked to her in months and I couldn't wait to call her back. So I did. She wasn't there. Now we're playing phone tag. I think I'm "it". I decided to call my mom...she wasn't, and still isn't home. Apparently no one is home except for me.

It's been one of those days and weeks....My advice? Don't have one of those days/weeks. Just don't do it.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

A Lot On My Mind

First, my apologies for my absence. Life, do-it-ourselves-projects-gone-awry and problems with Blogger have left me woefully short on time and the opportunity to post something new and insightful. At least, that's my excuse this time.

So today's post is going to be a lot of quick observations of things that have been on my mind. A hit-and-run post, if you will. Here goes:

Regarding the killing of Al-Zarqawi - GOOD! It's about time the good guys get a big, media-covered victory. Too bad, the media still isn't all that interested in covering it the way they are when a civilian is killed. Oh well...

Michael Berg, father of Nick Berg who was beheaded quite possibly by Al-Zarqawi himself, blames who else but President Bush for his son's violent death.

From Reuters: "I don't think that Zarqawi is himself responsible for the killings of hundreds of thousands of people in Iraq," Berg said in a combative television interview with the U.S. Fox News network. "I think George Bush is." He went on to say, "Yeah, like George Bush didn't OK the torture and death and rape of people in the Abu Ghraib prison for which my son was killed in retaliation?"

Continuing in the interview, Berg said that he could understand what Zarqawi's family was going through, since his son's beheading was broadcast via the internet and a picture of the face of a dead Zarqawi has been broadcast on the news.

There are so many things to say here, but I'll respond with just a few.

First, "hundreds of thousands of people in Iraq" have not died. Thousands, yes, not hundreds of thousands. Let's be accurate, Mr. Berg.

Second, President Bush is not responsible for deaths carried out by terrorists. This is kind of an obvious inaccuracy, especially since terrorists groups tend to claim responsibility for the violence and deaths they create.

Third, my guess is that President Bush did not give his permission to the men and women involved in the Abu Ghraib prison fiasco. Whatever happened in that prison is the responsibility of the men and women who acted inappropriately. There comes a point where individual accountability for actions has to come into play. News flash: President Bush is not to blame for anything and everything bad in the world. Period.

Finally, Mr. Berg, who is no doubt grieving, is nonetheless wrong. There is no comparison to be made between the broadcast of the violent beheading of an INNOCENT civilian and the swift military killing of a known violent terrorist. No comparison whatsoever. In fact, I would go so far as to say that there was probably at least one person in Zarqawi's family who breathed a sigh of relief along with the rest of the world and said good riddance. There is no need to mourn the death of violent and evil men. There is even less reason to compare the death of a good man to that of an evil man.

Lest you think that Michael Berg is the only public figure speaking this way, let me assure you, he's not. In fact, I predict that over the coming weeks, many others will join in. Jerry Springer, speaking on Air America (does anyone even listen to that?) already joined in. I'd post his comments, but just read the quotes from Michael Berg. They're pretty much identical. Blame Bush. There you have it.

And finally, I've been thinking about this for a while. I think it's time for a third party. Okay, so I'm no scholar, and I realize there are problems with a 3-party system, but I'm beginning to think that something has to change. I propose the Conservative party. (Or maybe we could call it the Common Sense party...either way.) It's symbol, an eagle. Basically the party would espouse those values upon which our country was founded. Oh, wait, I've just had a better thought for a name...the Constitution party. Read the Constitution. That's what we believe. I'd like to join that party.

Monday, June 05, 2006

More Proof That The Liberals Don't Get It

On Sunday, I had occasion to hear Meet The Press (in between Emily saying "Aaaaaa! Aaaaa! at the top of her considerable lungs). At first, I didn't know who Tim Russert was interviewing, but this much was obvious - he was definitely a liberal. Then, I finally heard that the flaming liberal-of-the-day-in-question was none other than Presidential-hopeful Sen. Joe Biden (D-DE.)

Now, the tiny state of Delaware is a place near and dear to my heart. It is where I grew up, at least for the first 17 years or so of my life. My family is all still there, though it must be stated that they are not liberals. (Just wanted to clear the air.) However, many people from that miniscule Mid-Atlantic state are Democrats and apparently rather liberals ones, since they continue to elect Sen. Biden.

Sen. Biden may represent just a tiny, rather politically unimportant state (at least with regards to elections), but he typifies the most dangerous liberal politicians out in the public eye today. He appears, or at least has in the past, to represent the more moderate democratic thought when campaigning, yet his voting history tells a different story. His speeches say "Hey, I'm a good guy, I care about you, I'm an average-Joe, I'm just like you", but his voting record, and even increasingly his rhetoric, says, "I'm liberal, Liberal, LIBERAL. I'll do whatever it takes to discredit republican leadership and the especially the President, I'll do all I can to undermine this country, and I'll do it all because I want more power." He doesn't get it, though.

Why do I say that the liberals "don't get it"? Here's a simple example. Both Sen. Biden and Sen. Harry Reid have said, in almost identical words, that they don't understand what is so important about debating the merits of and voting on a Constitutional amendment that would define marriage as being between a man and a woman and would effectively ban homosexual marriage.

They complain that instead, the Congress should be debating topics like energy policies (I know this was first on Reid's list, perhaps also Biden's), trade imbalances, environmental policies, global warming, health care, etc...and oh yeah, protecting the country, etc... They both came out and said that the marriage amendment was not important and that it wasn't important to the American people. They claim it is being debated simply to rally conservatives and to avoid having to debate the "tough" issues. (See their list above)

Now, while I do agree that it is being done, at least in part, to rally the conservative base, I disagree that this is the only reason the amendment is being brought up before Congress. I believe that the Republicans understand that their base firmly believes that the importance of dealing with moral issues such as the definition of marriage, abortion, and the role of religion in public life is absolutely vital to the well-being and continued success of America.

Moral relativism and secular humanism, both bastiens of the modern liberal, are social experiments doomed to failure. One needs only to study the great empires throughout history to determine this fact. The reason America has been so successful and prosperous seems to be directly related to it's foundation in Christianity. Despite the liberals' denial that religious beliefs, and Christianity in particular, played a role in the founding of our country and were intended to be a part of our government, America's Christian heritage and morality are what have set it apart as a truly great nation. If we take that foundation away, either all at once or by slowing chipping away at it, one moral issue at a time, then we too are doomed to eventual failure.

This is why moral issues, like the marriage amendment, matter. It is why they are vitally important to the conservatives (and Christians). It is why we rally around these issues. If our country is morally bankrupt, then why bother protecting it from foreign invasions and terrorists? It will collapse from within. If we allow our moral foundation to crumble, then our country will no longer be great. America will not be the America she has been and was intended to be. And if the continued success of our country and it's future aren't important enough to debate, then I dare the liberals to tell me what is.

Friday, June 02, 2006

Gardening Success: An Update

While my flower beds are fully planted and mulched and the like, they are starting to suffer from weeds (dang it) and a weekend of 90+ degree temperatures and no watering. My hostas are looking a little worse for the wear, but hopefully plenty of water will help nurse them back to health. I certainly hope so anyway, because they are what I am most interested in keeping.

However, I would have to say that my two "Star Gazer" lily plants seem to be thriving. I wasn't sure they would live, or bloom, but they have and they really are beautiful. Of course, they still have a whole summer to survive, but they bloomed once and for me, that is a success.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Andy Rooney on Memorial Day

Last night, I heard Andy Rooney's commentary on Memorial Day. I only heard about it last night as it first appeared on 60 Minutes (of your life you can never get back), and I have no desire to watch any CBS "journalism". So, guessing that my loyal blog readers are much like me and don't waste their precious time on shows like 60 Minutes (of wasted time), I am providing Rooney's comments here:

(CBS) This segment was originally broadcast on May 29, 2005.

I posted the link to Rooney's comments so that anyone who reads this will understand the context. I do not want to be accused of putting words into Rooney's mouth or taking what he has said the wrong way. So before reading my commentary, please first read his.

There are a couple of key phrases that I think are rather unfair and need to be addressed.

For example, Rooney says that, "We use the phrase 'gave their lives,' but they didn’t give their lives. Their lives were taken from them."

Last time I checked, the men and women of the military DO willingly give their lives for their country. Yes, they are killed in combat by an enemy. Yes, they are killed and don't simply die of natural causes, but the fact remains that these selfless men and women join the armed forces with a full understanding that their lives may be required to protect and defend America...and they each give it willingly, not to the enemy, but to their country. Andy Rooney's perspective on this cheapens the sacrifice. There's no other way to put it.

Rooney also says that, "There is more bravery at war than in peace, and it seems wrong that we have so often saved this virtue to use for our least noble activity - war. The goal of war is to cause death to other people."

Personally, I can think of no more noble reason to be brave than to protect freedom and the good that it brings and to act in defense of the otherwise defenseless. After all, that is what I have always thought the goal of American wars was. In each and every American waged and fought war, American soldiers were either protecting our God-given freedoms or defending those around the globe who were being denied basic human rights and freedoms or those who were unable to defend themselves. The goal is not death. Most often, American wars are waged to stop a greater number of deaths. Yes, Americans die in the process, but countless other men, women and children live because of America's sacrifice. This is both bravery and nobility of the highest form. Death is a part of war, but it is not the ultimate goal. Rooney knows this. He has been in combat. He fully understands this, but his liberal agenda doesn't allow for rational reasoning.

Next Rooney says, "I wish we could dedicate Memorial Day, not to the memory of those who have died at war, but to the idea of saving the lives of the young people who are going to die in the future if we don’t find some new way - some new religion maybe - that takes war out of our lives. That would be a Memorial Day worth celebrating."

While I somewhat understand what Rooney is saying, he's wrong yet again. I don't want any more young (or old) men and women to have to die for freedoms' sake, but the reality of the world in which we live is that there will always be evil leaders who wish to take away the freedom and lives of other innocent people. Being diplomatic and peaceable is a great goal, it's always worth trying, but it is rarely enough to stop true evil. Evil is determined to succeed and the only way to stop it is to confont evil head-on and kill its root, otherwise it will spring up again and again, leaving a path of death and destruction wherever it goes. War is, and always will be, a part of our lives here on earth.

And finally, Mr. Rooney, Memorial Day is not a day to celebrate. Rather it is a day to remember and to honor those who willingly gave their lives for something greater than themselves. For one who should know better, you get this all wrong.