Monday, December 28, 2009

Looking Back on 2009

It's fitting to look back on the year that was 2009 with Dave Barry's annual year in review column. Enjoy.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Christmas Eve 1968

It's a timeless message that was first shared by the crew of Apollo 8 on Christmas Eve 1968:



Merry Christmas to everyone.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Major League Baseball to Ban DH?

I certainly hope it happens. At least this is a step in the right direction.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Homeowners Association Caves: Veteran Allowed to Fly Flag

Follow up on an item I previously noted and a very happy ending. A 90 year old Medal of Honor winner won his battle with his homeowner's association with an assist from both of Virginia U. S. Senators (hat tip: Hot Air):

RICHMOND, Va. — A 90-year-old Medal of Honor recipient can keep his 21-foot flagpole in his front yard after a homeowner's association dropped its request to remove it, a spokesman for Democratic Virginia Sen. Mark Warner said Tuesday.

The Sussex Square homeowners' association likewise has agreed to drop threats to take legal action against retired Army Col. Van T. Barfoot, Warner spokesman Kevin Hall said.

The association had threatened to take Barfoot to court if he failed to remove the pole from his suburban Richmond home by Friday. It had said the pole violated the neighborhood's aesthetic guidelines.

This was a no-win situation for the homeowners' association and they made the right decision. Hats off to Senator Mark Warner and Senator Jim Webb for standing up for Col. Barfoot. The homeowners' association also made the right decision by allowing this American hero to keep his flag.

Monday, December 07, 2009

Remembering Pearl Harbor's Last Hero

The Japanese surprise attack on Pearl Harbor Naval Station on December 7, 1941 marked one of the darkest days in America history and prompted our entry into World War II. Fifteen servicemen were awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor on that day but only five survived the battle. Lt. John William Finn, who turned 100 years old this past summer is the only remaining survivor of those fifteen men. He reportedly was headed to Pearl Harbor today for commemoration ceremonies. Mary Katherine Ham has a wonderful profile of this genuine American hero that is well worth reading.

Ed Morrissey reminds us also of the enduring lesson of Pearl Harbor:

The lesson from that war is that appeasement and complacency doesn’t keep one from having to fight a war. It usually forces one to fight from an extreme disadvantage. That’s a lesson we have not remembered in dealing with expansionist powers in our own time, even after a second shock like 9/11 after years of complacency in dealing with al-Qaeda. We’re falling back to treating radical Islamist terrorism like a Law and Order episode, and allowing one of the main drivers of radical Islamist terror, Iran, to arm itself with nuclear weapons with no consequences whatsoever.

We must never forget Pearl Harbor.

Sunday, December 06, 2009

Decorated Veteran Ordered to Remove Flagpole

Click on the video to see the story and prepare to be outraged. 90 year-old Colonel Van D. Barfoot who served in World War II, Korea, and Vietnam and was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor this week was served with a notice from his homeowner's association to take down his flagpole because it violates the association's bylaws. This is nitpicking by the homeowner's association. I sincerely hope that they realize what a tremendous debt we owe to Colonel Barfoot and millions of others like him who have faithfully served their country. Perhaps his homeowner's association could find a way to exercise some grace and allow him to keep his flagpole.



Hat tip: Townhall

Saturday, December 05, 2009

Sportsman of the Year - Derek Jeter

I'm not much of a fan of the New York Yankees but admire their consistency. One of the keys to their success is Derek Jeter who this year garnered Sports Illustrated's Sportsman of the Year award. After reading Tom Verducci's profile of Jeter in this week's magazine, I came away impressed with the man who could easily be called Mr. Yankee. Congratulations to Derek Jeter for an outstanding season and an impressive career so far.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Dispatches from the Heartland

Why is it that people are standing up against government policies? Why have the tea parties taken off in popularity? And why is it that both parties, Democrats and Republicans alike, appear to be disconnected from their constituents? Perhaps it's because politicians don't understand what's going on in Middle America, the heartland where values and principles seem to be far different from those of the urban centers of both coasts. Salena Zito takes a look at one such town and finds an America quite different from what Washington thinks it ought to be. And that's not a bad thing at all.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Why We Celebrate Thanksgiving

As we gather this week with our families to celebrate Thanksgiving, it's helpful to remember why we celebrate. This essay traces the history of this holiday and would be worthwhile to share with your family tomorrow.

Happy Thanksgiving.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Friday Fun

Few commercials will make me stop whatever I am doing and pay attention. But invariably I will pay attention to ESPN's "This is Sportscenter" spots because they are usually very funny. Here's a compilation of the 25 best with video of each.

Hat tip: Mary Katherine Ham

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Goodbye, Freedom

If government healthcare reform passes, then we can kiss our freedoms goodbye according to Judge Andrew Napolitano:

Congress recognizes no limits on its power. It doesn't care about the Constitution, it doesn't care about your inalienable rights. If this health care bill becomes law, America, life as you have known it, freedom as you have exercised it, and privacy as you have enjoyed it will cease to be.

Last week the House of Representatives voted on a 2,000 page bill to give the federal government the power to micromanage the health care of every single American. The bill will raise your taxes, steal your freedom, invade your privacy, and ration your health care. Even the Republicans have introduced their version of Obamacare Lite. It, too, if passed, will compel employers to provide coverage, bribe the states to change their court rules, and tell insurance companies whom to insure.

We do not have two political parties in this country, America. We have one party; called the Big Government Party. The Republican wing likes deficits, war, and assaults on civil liberties. The Democratic wing likes wealth transfer, taxes, and assaults on commercial liberties. Both parties like power; and neither is interested in your freedoms.

Think about it. Government is the negation of freedom. Freedom is your power and ability to follow your own free will and your own conscience. The government wants you to follow the will of some faceless bureaucrat.


Be sure to read the whole thing.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Oops

Sometimes technology can be unreliable.


Obama's Home Teleprompter Malfunctions During Family Dinner

Hat tip: Allahpundit

Wandering In The Desert

A couple of weeks ago, my wife and I made our first visit ever to Scottsdale, Arizona. It's a little strange for us given that we live in the middle of the Blue Ridge Mountains in Virginia. A trip to the desert is a little startling at first. As we were landing in Phoenix, I couldn't help but be struck by the lack of green plants and grass. Instead, I saw a lot of dust and, of course, cacti.

While wandering around Scottsdale, though, I was struck by a couple of different sites. For one thing, there is actually something attractive about cacti. Here's one example that was outside our hotel:



There's also this:



But cacti were not the only plant life we saw. There were also some gorgeous flower arrangements such as this around town:



Just because we were in the desert doesn't mean that everything was flat. In fact, mountains sometimes we're popping up in the middle of town. Here was the view out our hotel room window:



That's Camelback Mountain in the background and it's one of the most famous mountains in Arizona.

Two different thoughts came to me while on this trip. First, the beauty of God's creation can be found anywhere even in the desert. Mountains such as Camelback pop up all over the place. And despite the lack of vegetation, the flowers there were quite beautiful.

The second thought struck me as we were driving back through the Shenandoah Valley when we returned to Virginia. I was awed by the mountain vista and the beauty it encompassed. I had driven that stretch of road more times that I could count. But this time, because I had been in the desert, I appreciated the view that much more. I think that's why God allows us to have times when we are in the desert and we feel distant from God. Once we return to the "mountaintop" we have a little more appreciation for the blessings He bestows upon us.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Taking A Bow

President Obama caused quite a ruckus over the weekend while in Japan. When he met Emperor Akihito he bowed which is a major faux paus. Americans do not bow to royalty and especially not Presidents. But as this video shows, the President not only bowed once but several times:



But as this video shows, other world leaders know not to bow to the Emperor (hat tip: Ed Morrissey):



At least one expert on Japan says the President's critics on both the right and left are all wrong about why it was wrong but makes the point that the bow was still offensive in the eyes of the Japanese.

Two thoughts come to mind. First, there is no question that the President is very intelligent, having been educated at Harvard and Columbia. Either he's not listening to his protocol advisers or the State Department has some housecleaning to do.

Second, this whole incident reminds me of this toy for some reason:

How To Bake Great Artisan Bread At Home

I love bread. My waistline will testify to this fact. When I travel, I usually eat at least one meal at either (a) a local bakery or (b) Panera Bread when I can't find a good local bakery. Little did I know that it's possible to make the same high quality artisan bread at home and the best part is that it's really, really easy.

Here's how you do it: first, go to a grocery store or warehouse club and buy a 5 quart tub of ice cream. Then eat the ice cream and save the container (this is what you will use to store your dough). Then go buy this book and follow the instructions:



It's that easy.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Celebrating Joy Out of Sorrow

Mark Alexander has the heartwarming story in this week's essay at the Patriot Post. Be sure to read all the way to the end to discover how two patriots found joy in the midst of dealing with grief. It's a beautiful story and one well worth reading.

Friday, November 06, 2009

Two Different Views of Healthcare Reform

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi insists that she is going to get a vote on healthcare reform over the weekend but one has to wonder what she thinks she is going to accomplish. According to the Wall Street Journal's John Fund, there are some Democrats who are questioning the wisdom in pushing ahead especially in light of Tuesday's election results:

It's one thing to be serene under fire, it's another to be delusional.

More than a few Democrats in Congress are perplexed and worried that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is insisting on ramming through a 1,900-page health care bill on Saturday, just days after her party took heavy losses in Tuesday's elections. "It reminds me of Major Nicholson, the obsessed British major in the film 'Bridge on the River Kwai,'" one Democrat told me. "She is fixated on finishing her health care bridge even as she's lost sight of where it's going and what damage it could cause to her own troops."

Indeed, the Speaker's take on Tuesday's off-year elections struck some of her own members as delusive "happy talk." "From our perspective, we won last night," a cheerful Ms. Pelosi told reporters, citing her party's pick-up of a single House seat in a New York special election and retention of another strongly Democratic seat in California.

That's not how many of her own troops see it. Democratic Rep. Parker Griffith of Alabama told Politico.com that members are "very, very sensitive" to the fact that the agenda being pushed by party leaders has "the potential to cost some of our front-line members their seats"

On health care, added New Jersey Democrat Bill Pascrell: "People who had weak knees before are going to have weaker knees now."

Meanwhile, Republicans have outlined their own common sense and no-cost reform proposals that actually reform the health insurance system rather than turning the whole thing into another gigantic government bureaucracy.

Speaker Pelosi might just get her wish and see her bill pass the House. Chances are that even if she succeeds to keep enough Democrats together to pass it the bill will undergo vast changes in the Senate. More importantly, passage of a massively complex healthcare bill may fufill Democrats' dreams of government healthcare but it will likely cause so many of their members to lose seats that they could be in the minority for many years to come. The key question will be how many Democrats are willing to risk political suicide for the sake of passing this bill. My guess is not many.

Flu Vaccine Shortages and Government Healthcare

A new ad will begin to run nationally today that makes the case that the government has no business getting any further into running healthcare given how they've handled the H1N1 flu vaccine shortage (as well as sending vaccine to Gitmo detainees before American citizens) (hat tip: Michael Goldfarb):



It's a great ad and makes a very salient point. For all the talk about how widespread the H1N1 pandemic was supposed to be, the government sure seems to have been caught woefully unprepared in developing sufficient supplies of the vaccine. The ad reinforces what we already know: everything government does is going to be far less efficient and far more costly than they say it will be.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

EP Debut: Wish That I Was by Annie Parsons

Wikipedia says that a songwriter is "someone who writes the lyrics, as well as the musical composition or melody to songs. But a true songwriter is not someone who not only can write a song but can communicate feelings and thoughts through the music and lyrics, someone who reveals either part of themselves or through their music share things that any listener can identify with, themes that resonate with us.

Annie Parsons (not related to me) is a true songwriter.

I met Annie earlier this year on a trip to Nashville. I got to know her through my own daughter Annie.

Annie moved to Nashville a couple of years ago to pursue songwriting. This past summer, she made her debut at the Bluebird Cafe in Nashville which is a big deal.

Now, Annie has just released her first EP entitled Wish That I Was. For a limited time, she has it available for sale. And she makes a compelling case why you should go buy this EP.

Please go and support Annie by buying her EP. She is a terrific writer and a wonderful singer as well. You will certainly enjoy her music.

Monday, November 02, 2009

Becoming a Conservative

One of my favorite TV shows is Chuck which airs on NBC (currently on hiatus until after the Winter Olympics). One of its key characters is Reagan-loving NSA agent John Casey played wonderfully by Adam Baldwin. I've always been curious whether the actor shares some of the character's political views. Now I know that the answer is yes.

Hat tip: Mary Katherine Ham

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Phillies Making History

Jimmy Rollins' game-winning double in the bottom of the ninth in Game 4 of the NLCS was the first walk-off game winning hit in the postseason since 1988. That hit? Only one of the most famous home runs in major league history: Kirk Gibson's pinch-hit home run against the Oakland A's in game one of the World Series. Of course, that was just life imitating art:




The Phillies will face either the Yankees or Angels (Game 5 of the ALCS is tonight with the Yankees ahead 3-1) but whoever they face they will be trying to make a little history of their own.

Here's an added bonus: Vin Scully's call of the Gibson home run. Priceless.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Book Review: The Other Mr. Darcy by Monica Fairview



In Jane Austen's classic novel Pride and Prejudice, Caroline Bingley has her eyes set on marrying Fitzwilliam Darcy, a handsome gentleman of no small fortune. As anyone who is familiar with the novel knows, Mr. Darcy ends up marrying Elizabeth Bennett and Caroline is heartbroken to see the man she loves marry another woman. But Fitzwilliam has an American cousin Robert who sees Caroline weeping at the wedding. He's immediately smitten but will he be able to win the affection of Miss Bingley?

Click here to read the rest of this article at Blogcritics.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Book Review: Peter and the Sword of Mercy by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson



Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson are back with the fourth installment in their popular Starcatchers series. Click here to read my review of the book at Blogcritics.

Book Review: Double Cross by James David Jordan

Taylor Pasbury has had a tough life. Her mother ran out on her when she was just nine years old. Her father was murdered when she was seventeen while trying to protect her from a brutal rape. She had a successful career as a Secret Service agent before being dismissed for extracurricular activities. To top it off, her last client, Simon Mason, a noted televangelist, was murdered.

But things are about to get even more complicated. First, Mason's assistant turns up dead in an apparent suicide as allegations of embezzlement swirl around her. Then her mother suddenly decides to reappear in her life. As she begins to sort through the clues someone starts shooting at her. And a simple case of suicide quickly becomes a complicated case of murder.

This is the premise behind James David Jordan's new thriller Double Cross, the sequel to his best-selling suspense novel Forsaken. Once again Mr. Jordan, a corporate attorney by day, shows his ability to weave an intriguing story of suspense.



Jordan has already shown an ability to tell a good story without preaching at the same time. There are themes within each of his books that will give the reader plenty to think about. Taylor is a flawed woman who is struggling to figure out not only what she wants out of life but also what God wants and expects from her. The reappearance of her mother also is a source of tension for Taylor because she was abandoned at an early age but also because her role is integral to the overall story and causes her to think long and hard about who she can trust.

Once again, Mr. Jordan has spun a terrific yarn. In Taylor Pasbury, he has an intriguing heroine: a woman with a very tough exterior who at the same time is extremely vunerable and lonely. She's also deeply flawed which makes her incredibly fascinating.

Double Cross is another fine novel from Mr. Jordan. As I said when I reviewed Forsaken, I could enjoy reading about Taylor Pasbury for quite some time. Here's hoping that there she's got more adventures ahead of her.






447545: Double CrossDouble Cross

By James David Jordan / B & H Publishing Group

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Debunking Global Warming Myths

A brand new film from the Cornwall Alliance for Stewardship of Creation entitled Not Evil Just Wrong takes a critical look at the claims made by global warming fearmongers and attempts to separate the facts from fiction. Which is worse: the (alleged) problem or the proposed solutions? Click the video below to see the trailer.



Hat tip: Chuck Colson

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

White House Goes To War Against Fox News

Frankly I can't understand why any White House would declare war on a single media outlet but that's exactly what the Obama Administration has decided to do with Fox News. Fox's own Brit Hume succinctly points out what a huge losing strategy this is:



Hat tip: Don Surber

Monday, October 12, 2009

What's Your Favorite Pixar Movie?

Here's one author's take on which Pixar movies are the best. As the writer points out, their movies are so good it's hard to distinguish which one is best. I agree with the top pick but beyond that it's debatable.

Hat tip: Instapundit

Friday, October 09, 2009

President Obama Wins Nobel Peace Prize While Achieving Nothing

To be fair, it's premature that President Obama won the Nobel Peace Prize. Even the Associated Press isn't buying the argument that he deserves it:

The awarding of the Nobel Peace Price to President Barack Obama landed with a shock on darkened, still-asleep Washington. He won! For what?

For one of America's youngest presidents, in office less than nine months — and only for 12 days before the Nobel nomination deadline last February — it was an enormous honor.

The prize seems to be more for Obama's promise than for his performance. Work on the president's ambitious agenda, both at home and abroad, is barely underway, much less finished. He has no standout moment of victory that would seem to warrant a verdict as sweeping as that issued by the Nobel committee.

And what about peace? Obama is running two wars in the Muslim world — in Iraq and Afghanistan — and can't get a climate change bill through his own Congress.

His scorecard for the year is largely an "incomplete," if he's being graded.

That running two wars remark is important and signals the bind the President will now find himself in as a Nobel Peace Prize laureate. He's already withdrawing troops in Iraq and it's a safe bet that he'll do the same in Afghanistan. Of course, you don't have to take my word for it.

This was a political award pure and simple and had nothing to do with accomplishments either real or imagined. Then again, this is nothing new. The fact is that the Nobel Peace Prize doesn't mean the same thing it used to. Awarding the Peace Prize to President Obama doesn't do anything to enhance the standing of the prize. It doesn't do a whole lot for the recipient, either.

UPDATE: John Fund asks what the Nobel Committee was thinking.

Oh, this is where I went wrong. It's all about him, not us.

It wasn't what he achieved. It was that he wasn't George W. Bush.

And why he didn't win the prize for Literature.

Thursday, October 08, 2009

FTC Announces Regulation of Bloggers

Because they obviously don't have enough to do.

This has actually been brewing for a while as I pointed out a few months ago.

My first impression is that I have a hard time seeing how the FTC is going to practically make this work. But as Ann Althouse points out, the enforcement thing seems a little vague and selective:

The most absurd part of it is the way the FTC is trying to make it okay by assuring us that they will be selective in deciding which writers on the internet to pursue. That is, they've deliberately made a grotesquely overbroad rule, enough to sweep so many of us into technical violations, but we're supposed to feel soothed by the knowledge that government agents will decide who among us gets fined. No, no, no. Overbreath itself is a problem. And so is selective enforcement.

Good point. No one really expects the FTC to be able to consistently apply its rules.

But then there's that pesky First Amendment. And the law of unintended consequences.

Since the announcement was made I've received a number of e-mails from folks all asking the same question: what does this all mean?

The more benign explanation is that the FTC is trying to crack down on so-called "pay per post" schemes that could appear misleading to the public. The more conspiratorial line of thinking is that the goverment is trying to suppress free speech.

I'm inclined to side more with the latter explanation. My bet is this will end up at the Supreme Court before it's all over. Meanwhile, ordinary citizens like me will have to figure out how to cope with yet another set of onerous government regulations.

It's enough to make me sick.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

The Motivational Churchill

He's one of the most quoted leaders of all time. Now, an enterprising blogger has taken Winston Churchill's famous quotes and turned them into terrific motivational posters. Great fun.

One of my favorite Churchill quotes is on romance: "My most brilliant achievement was my ability to be able to persuade my wife to marry me."

Hat tip: Matthew Continetti

New BP Sports Column

Over at BP Sports, you can check out my column on teen golfer Lilly Ellis and a remarkable achievement that serves as an inspiration to all of us.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Dave Barry and Free Speech

More than anywhere else, colleges and universities consistently restrict students' rights to free speech. Recently a quote from award-winning humor columnist Dave Barry was at the center of a free speech controversy at Marquette University. The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education caught up with Barry and spoke with him about the controversy and his advice for students.



Hat tip: Kevin Glass at Townhall

Monday, September 28, 2009

It's Time to Dump the UN

Leave it to Mike Huckabee to nail the issue in the video below. In light of last week's circus in New York it's time to dump the UN.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

An Historic Speech

Most of the coverage from last week's meetings at the United Nations focused on leaders of rogue nations. But the most important speech was one given by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. It's a tough speech and one worth watching. It's also a speech that historians may look back upon years from now as very prophetic. Take time to watch it all.







Saturday, September 26, 2009

Buy Coffee and Support the Troops

I've got to hand it to former Marine (is there really such a thing as a former Marine?) Hank Salmans. He took his love for coffee and turned it into a business that does more than makes a profit. He uses it to support the troops. Here's to Hank and I hope he sells a lot of coffee. By the way, the names of the blends are really cool.

You can buy his coffee directly from his website.

It makes me want to buy some.

Hat tip: Instapundit

Friday, September 18, 2009

How Monopoly Helped Allied Prisoners Escape

This story is a great antidote to the avalanche of political stories being blogged about of late. Few realize this but secret maps and other things were smuggled to Allied prisoners of war during World War II inside Monopoly sets. It's a terrific story of ingenuity and creativity in keeping prisoners involved in the war effort. (Hat tip: Free Republic)

For fans of the game, check out Philip Orbanes terrific book Monopoly: The World's Most Famous Game And How It Got That Way. I previously reviewed the book here.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Maybe They Were Onto Something.....

Consider this:

But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security. (Source)
Does this sound anything like what we're experiencing now?

Monday, September 14, 2009

Responding to Obama's Health Care Speech

I had been working on a lengthy post responding to the President's health care speech and then ran across this column by Shikha Dalmia that makes my case better than I could so I'll just encourage you to read it instead.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Quick Takes 9-12-09

Some random links for your consideration over the weekend:

The Wonder of God's Creation - new pictures from the refurbished Hubble telescope. These are incredible pictures. (Hat tip: Al Mohler)

A new resource for building a Christian worldview.

Ace scores two aces - Steve Blass, winning pitcher for the 1971 World Series champion Pittsburgh Pirates scores not one but two hole in ones in the same round.

Remembering the 2996 Americans who died on 9/11.

Thoughts on the Rule of Law.

Some cool DIY projects
. (Hat tip: Jonah Goldberg)


Listening to a liar. Yes, Joe Wilson was right.

13 steps to giving a speech like Obama.

Today marked anti-goverment protests around the country. Here's cool time lapse video of the crowd assembling at the D. C. Rally. Plus some pictures from the rally here.

Have a great weekend.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Remembering 9/11

Author's Note: The following post was originally written on the five year anniversary of 9/11. Though the President and others want to turn 9/11 into a National Day of Service, there are many of us who will always remember 9/11 for what it really was: the day that terrorists killed over 3000 of our fellow citizens and brought a global war onto American soil. We must never forget what happened that horrible day.

*********************************************************************************
I will never forget 9/11. No matter how hard I try, I can't block out the memories of that day. They will be forever burned in my memory.

I was supposed to be attending a meeting in Bala Cynwyd (just outside of Philadelphia) on 9/11. My wife and two daughters (ages 4 and 5) went up a few days early to explore the Amish country as well as downtown Philadelphia. We had had a great time visiting an area that we had never visited before. But that Tuesday morning everything would change - in ways far greater than we could have ever imagined.

The day started normally enough. My meeting was supposed to start at 9:00 so I headed downstairs to the hotel restaurant early to eat breakfast. My wife and daughters were a little later getting ready. Our meeting started on time and was underway for about an hour before taking our first break of the morning. Many of the folks in this meeting were from New York. While we were on the break, several guys tried to call the office but couldn't get through. One of them finally decided to call the operator and see what was wrong with the telephone lines. He would be the first one to share the news with us: the World Trade Center had been hit. Another person came in and said it was the Pentagon. It would be a few minutes before we realized that it was both.

By the time we managed to get a TV brought into the conference room we were able to see the replay of the South tower being hit. Moments later it collapsed. It took all of us only a split second to decide we needed to go home. The fourth airliner, United flight 93, would crash in Western Pennsylvania within the next few minutes.

My wife had taken the kids next door to Denny's to eat breakfast. A waitress told her that the Pentagon had been hit. Her sister's husband often worked at the Pentagon. Was he there? Frantically, she was calling her unable to get through. It would be much, much later before we found out he wasn't there and was completely safe. My wife came back to the hotel not knowing how to find me. At the time, I didn't carry a cellphone (I have ever since). She was in the lobby trying to call her sister when I finally came upstairs. I looked at her and said "We're going home".

At the time we lived in Richmond, VA, almost directly due south along Interstate 95 from Philadelphia. Under normal circumstances, it would have taken about five hours to drive home. But Washington, DC is directly on Interstate 95. Due to the attack at the Pentagon, Washington was completely locked down. Our only choice was to head west and then south in a long circle along interstates through Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Virgina. It was a long drive home.

As we were leaving the hotel we turned on the local news on our radio. The mayor of Philadelphia was holding a press conference announcing the evacuation of the city. Everyone was being ordered home since at that time we didn't know where the hijackers intended to fly United 93. It was reasonable to assume that Philadelphia was a target. One thing was clear: we were at war. We weren't sure yet who was responsible but we knew we had been attacked. The peaceful setting of Lancaster County was strangely appealing. Surely whoever this was wouldn't attack the Amish. We would be safe there, wouldn't we? As we drove on there was this eerie feeling of not knowing what to expect next. Would there be further attacks? Who was responsible? Why had they attacked us? Our daughters thankfully were oblivious to what was happening. At least until the announcement was made that Walt Disney World had closed (we had made our first visit as a family the previous year). Then it registered with them that something was wrong.

Everywhere we stopped along the way home people seemed to be trying to carry on with life as normal even though they all knew that life would never be normal again. Everything had changed. By late afternoon we had made it to Harrisonburg, VA (about 3 1/2 hours from home). At first we thought we would just find a hotel room and spend the night but there were none to be found. Greyhound had ordered all their buses to stop wherever they were and as a result people had to find hotel rooms. Everything was closing down: restaurants, stores, shopping malls were all closed. We managed to find a gas station that was still open. When I went in to pay there was the extra edition of the local paper with the photo of the burning towers above the fold. This was not just a bad dream. This was real.

As we left Harrisonburg and headed towards home I can remember the eerie sight of a single jet plane crossing the sky. I knew it was a military plane since all civilian aircraft had been grounded much earlier in the day. This is what it felt like to be at war.

We eventually made it home safely that evening. But we knew that everything had changed. A couple days later we got another grim reminder of just how serious things were.Where we lived, we never saw military traffic. But around 9:00 one evening just a few days after the attacks we were buzzed twice in the span of a couple of minutes by a pair of F-14 fighter jets. It was yet another reminder that we were truly at war. There would be other reminders, as well. I went to Las Vegas for a meeting a couple of months later (a meeting that was originally supposed to take place the week after 9/11). The sight of armed soldiers patrolling the airport was a clear sign that things had changed. While I was in Las Vegas I stayed at the New York, New York Hotel and Casino. As the name suggests, the hotel is supposed to remind one of the New York skyline. Even three months after 9/11, there was a memorial of flowers, posters, and messages of support for the police, firefighters, and people of New York City. I couldn't help but be struck by the sight.

Driving by the Pentagon several months after 9/11 and getting to see firsthand the devastation caused by the terrorists would be yet another grim reminder of the war we had been dragged into by our attackers. I can't forget no matter how hard I try. We should never forget for this is why we fight.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Facebook Ruins Friendships

I was talking with a friend of mine the other day that has teenagers and we were discussing problems in relationships. It seems that her daughter was having some problems with friends that was exacerbated by things that were being posted via text message and Facebook. I then ran across this column about how Facebook can ruin friendships and thought it really struck a chord.All of this made me think about all the stupid things I did as a teenager and how glad I am that I didn't have technology available to make me more stupid. Frankly, I don't know how teenagers today manage. Perhaps we're all better off not relying so heavily on technology to help us maintain contact with our friends.

Monday, September 07, 2009

Educating Obama

Although President Obama is set to deliver a speech to students tomorrow via the internet, he could be well served to pay close attention to the speech below. He could learn a lot.



Hat tip: Hot Air

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Schilling to run for Senate?

It's an intriguing possibility:

BOSTON — Curt Schilling, the former major league pitcher who won the allegiance of Bostonians by leading the Red Sox to the 2004 World Series, said Wednesday that he has "some interest" in running for the seat held for nearly 50 years by Democratic Sen. Edward M. Kennedy.

Schilling, a registered independent and longtime Republican supporter, wrote on his blog that while his family and video game company, 38 Studios, are high priorities, "I do have some interest in the possibility."

"That being said, to get to there, from where I am today, many, many things would have to align themselves for that to truly happen," he added.

Any other comment "would be speculation on top of speculation," Schilling said, adding, "My hope is that whatever happens, and whomever it happens to, this state makes the decision and chooses the best person — regardless of sex, race, religion or political affiliation — to help get this state back to the place it deserves to be."

This could be a fun race to watch.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Remembering Ted Kennedy

With the passing of Senator Ted Kennedy this week, media outlets will no doubt be spending the next several days reflecting on his legacy. But to fully understand who he was and the legacy he leaves behind it would be helpful to read essays by Carl Cannon and Mark Alexander.

He definitely achieved much through his long life but he also leaves a mixed legacy behind. It is not so much a person's achievements that define them. It is their character. That is how we should probably remember Senator Kennedy.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Coping with H1N1 Flu

School is starting and officials are naturally worried about the potential of a H1N1 flu outbreak. The federal government has tried to provide some helpful advice. But buried in the memo is this brilliant little nugget on how to deal with a student infected with the H1N1 virus:

If close contact with others cannot be avoided, the ill student should be asked to wear a surgical mask during the period of contact. Examples of close contact include kissing, sharing eating or drinking utensils, or having any other contact between persons likely to result in exposure to respiratory droplets.


Kissing with surgical masks on? I suppose it's too much to ask for the kids to not kiss period.

This is your tax dollars at work.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Eric Bruntlett Makes History

He may not be a household name but he should be in the Hall of Fame after accomplishing the rarest of feats: an unassisted triple play (only the 15th ever) to end a game (2nd ever). Amazing. Click the link to see the video.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Healthcare Reform Hypocrisy On End Of Life

Ever since former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin made her "death panel" remarks on Facebook, President Obama has repeated as often as he can that the government in the proposed health care reform plan would not "pull the plug on granny".

However, there is one agency responsible for healthcare of a certain segment of the population whose actions directly contradict the President's rhetoric (Hat tip: The Corner):

If President Obama wants to better understand why America's discomfort with end-of-life discussions threatens to derail his health-care reform, he might begin with his own Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). He will quickly discover how government bureaucrats are greasing the slippery slope that can start with cost containment but quickly become a systematic denial of care.

Last year, bureaucrats at the VA's National Center for Ethics in Health Care advocated a 52-page end-of-life planning document, "Your Life, Your Choices." It was first published in 1997 and later promoted as the VA's preferred living will throughout its vast network of hospitals and nursing homes. After the Bush White House took a look at how this document was treating complex health and moral issues, the VA suspended its use. Unfortunately, under President Obama, the VA has now resuscitated "Your Life, Your Choices."

Who is the primary author of this workbook? Dr. Robert Pearlman, chief of ethics evaluation for the center, a man who in 1996 advocated for physician-assisted suicide in Vacco v. Quill before the U.S. Supreme Court and is known for his support of health-care rationing.

"Your Life, Your Choices" presents end-of-life choices in a way aimed at steering users toward predetermined conclusions, much like a political "push poll." For example, a worksheet on page 21 lists various scenarios and asks users to then decide whether their own life would be "not worth living."

The circumstances listed include ones common among the elderly and disabled: living in a nursing home, being in a wheelchair and not being able to "shake the blues." There is a section which provocatively asks, "Have you ever heard anyone say, 'If I'm a vegetable, pull the plug'?" There also are guilt-inducing scenarios such as "I can no longer contribute to my family's well being," "I am a severe financial burden on my family" and that the vet's situation "causes severe emotional burden for my family."

When the government can steer vulnerable individuals to conclude for themselves that life is not worth living, who needs a death panel?


This just goes to show in judging where the President stands on different aspects of health care reform that it might be better to pay more attention to his actions than his words.

A Way To Reform Baseball?

Not that it necessarily needs to be reformed except for getting rid of the stupid designated hitter rule in the American League. Seems to me everyone should play by the same rules. Still, this proposal does offer some interesting food for thought.

End of Life In a Nutshell

Leave it to Richard Brookhiser at National Review to sum it up:

We already know what Dr. Obama thinks about the beginning of life. Not confidence-making for the end.


Indeed.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

The (In)Experience Factor

During the primaries and the general election campaign last year, the most potent argument made for not supporting Barack Obama was his lack of experience. He had never managed anything. He did not have any leadership experience. And with only two years in the U. S. Senate, he lacked sufficient knowledge of how the legislative process worked in Washington. In other words, he didn't know how to lead or to govern. Although the debate over Obamacare is far from over, this fatal weakness has been laid open for all to see in the debacle over how health care reform has been handled so far.

President Obama's first mistake was that he did not lay out a vision for what health care reform should look like. He relied on the same nonspecific campaign rhetoric that led to victory last November in the election when talking about health care reform. He had convinced the public something needed to be done about health care but he hadn't made the case for specific steps that needed to be taken. Even his New York Times op-ed doesn't contain a single tangible proposal on how he will achieve the reform goals he wants to meet. By contrast, Whole Foods CEO John Mackey laid out a very sensible proposal for reform in a Wall Street Journal op-ed last week. The President could have taken a cue from someone like Mr. Mackey by providing specific proposals of what to accomplish with reform legislation.

The President's second mistake was not practicing what he preached when it came to bipartisanship. At the beginning of this debate, President Obama made it clear he wanted support for healthcare reform to be bipartisan. But instead of bringing Republicans into the process of drafting the reform legislation, he outsourced the writing of the bill to Nancy Pelosi and the House Democratic caucus. As a result, he got a bill that was chock full of goodies for their liberal supporters and controversial proposals that no one in their right mind could defend. The President then squandered precious political capital having to play defense on issues such as "death panels" and single-payer programs and flip-flops on the public option.

Now the President finds himself in a bind. His approval ratings are plummeting. The public is growing skeptical about whether they can trust him on this issue. Getting Republicans to come to the table at this point seems unlikely. Despite having supermajorities in both houses of Congress, he probably won't be able to get anything passed anytime soon as he can't keep his own party in line.

So what does the President do? Is it time to hit the reset button as some have suggested? You can't erase the past but you can move forward, can't you?

The first step for the President will be the most difficult. He has to come out and publicly admit that he has made mistakes in how he has handled health care reform. He then has to tell Congress to start over from scratch. He should bring leaders from both parties together and lay out a plan of what he wants to accomplish and be willing to listen to and incorporate ideas from both parties. There are an abundance of proposals being tossed about. The President needs to be willing to cull through them and working with Congress incorporate the best of them.

President Obama has a difficult task ahead. If health care reform is to be enacted it's going to require him to do something he hasn't had to do nor has the experience to do: be a leader. The chances of reform being enacted are directly tied to his ability to demonstrate leadership. If the President's plan does fail he has no one to blame but himself.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

One More Reason to Re-Read 1984

The other day I was discussing with my oldest daugher (who will begin high school this year) what books she should be reading this fall. I offhandedly suggested George Orwell's 1984 simply because it speaks so directly to many of the issues we face today with our imperial federal government. But this article by Roger Kimball brings out another aspect of the novel I had forgotten about (which only goes to prove that I need to pick up the book and read it again.

Take time to read the article and then watch carefully how President Obama and his supporters deal with those who oppose his policies. The parallels between the novel and real life are striking.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Is Obamacare Constitutional?

I'm no lawyer and I can't say for sure but it's a fair question to ask and one that is not being debated. Robert Natelson, who is a law professor at the University of Montana, has the analysis and draws some fascinating conclusions.

A Most Unusual Baseball Game

It's not every day that you'll read about baseball being played at 3 a.m. at Yankee Stadium. But this story explains why.

Hats off to the Yankees for making this happen.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

White House Issues Non-Apology Apology

The White House released a statement this evening to try to squash the controversy that erupted Thursday over unsolicted e-mails they had been sending:

The White House for the first time Sunday seemed to acknowledge that people across the country received unsolicited e-mails from the administration last week about health care reform, suggesting the problem is with third-party groups that placed the recipients' names on the distribution list.

In a written statement released exclusively to FOX News, White House spokesman Nick Shapiro said the White House hopes those who received the e-mails without signing up for them were not "inconvenienced" by the messages.

"The White House e-mail list is made up of e-mail addresses obtained solely through the White House Web site. The White House doesn't purchase, upload or merge from any other list, again, all e-mails come from the White House Web site as we have no interest in e-mailing anyone who does not want to receive an e-mail," the statement said. "If an individual received the e-mail because someone else or a group signed them up or forwarded the e-mail, we hope they were not too inconvenienced."

This is a classic non-apology apology and doesn't answer the main question which is how they managed to obtain e-mail addresses of people who did not access the White House website nor they signed up for any e-mail updates.

Since my e-mail address suddenly ended up on the White House distribution list and I hadn't signed up for anything I would still like to know how they got my e-mail address. Could they reveal which groups had submitted lists from which they got the addresses?

For an administration that promised to be transparent, it seems to be acting a lot like Big Brother to me.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

White House Sending Unsolicited E-Mails - Is That A Problem?

Things got a little testy at today's White House press briefing when Fox News' correspondent Major Garrett asked Press Secretary Robert Gibbs about unsolicited e-mails being sent to people who about healthcare reform:



The e-mail itself is not problematic. The White House is using this means of communication to get its message out to concerned voters. But the problem is somehow the White House is getting a hold of people's e-mail addresses. I don't have any idea how David Axelrod got my e-mail address. I don't publish the address anywhere on purpose. I don't want just anybody to have access to my e-mail address. I've never e-mailed the White House or sent anything to their flag@whitehouse.gov address because I don't want to give that information to them. But it appears they managed to get it somehow anyway.

The irony here is that if David Axelrod paid any attention to anything I've read so far about healthcare reform he would quickly figure out that I am opposed to the President's proposals.

So the question remains: how is the White House getting folks e-mail addresses and is the privacy of individuals being violated? Just how much information does the White House have and, more importantly, what are they going to do with it?

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Where We're Heading in the Healthcare Debate

I agree with Glenn Beck that we haven't reached the point where eugenics is being implemented as a matter of policy. However, when you look back at history, you understand the dangers that lie ahead in the health care debate. Click on the video below to see the whole story:

Thursday, August 06, 2009

One Way to Stimulate the Economy


Here's one way to stimulate the economy: buy these keychains for every member of Congress. Something tells me they could use them.

Friday, July 31, 2009

Quick Takes 7-31-09

Thanks to the miracle of advanced publishing, here are some links for your weekend enjoyment. Meanwhile I'm away from the computer for the next few days tending to some family matters.

Here's a great video: time-lapse footage of the construction of Disneyland. (Hat tip: Glenn)

One of the curious aspects of the health care reform debate is how little attention has been paid to TennCare. This article explains why universal health insurance advocates would be wise to give it a closer look.

Just another lousy photo-op. I wouldn't have accepted the invitation. I agree with Rich. At least this beer lives up to its advertising.

I'm not sure whether this is true but I'd be willing to try it out.

An argument for limited government.

Hypocrisy, lots and lots of it.

A Farewell Address worth reading again.

Good point: able to inspire but unable to lead.

More on Obamacare and end-of-life decisions.

Bookmark this site: the Joe Biden gaffe aggregator. Priceless. (Thanks to Jonah.)

How to pass the time waiting for Chuck to return. Meanwhile, Bryce (Matthew Bomer) has a promising new series premiering in October.

Today marks baseball's trading deadline. Why July 31st doesn't matter as much as you might think.

Video of the week: life-sized Mouse Trap.

Three new books worth reading on Apollo 11. Plus, how to build the guidance computer.

How to run for office.

Don't tell Shepard Smith about this story.

Founder's Quote of the Week:

"If, from the more wretched parts of the old world, we look at those which are in an advanced stage of improvement, we still find the greedy hand of government thrusting itself into every corner and crevice of industry, and grasping the spoil of the multitude. Invention is continually exercised, to furnish new pretenses for revenues and taxation. It watches prosperity as its prey and permits none to escape without tribute." --Thomas Paine, Rights of Man, 1791


Have a great weekend.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Obamacare and The End of Life

Buried deep within the 1000+ page healthcare bill is a confusing and vague provision that mandates "advanced care planning consultations" for Medicare recipients. What exactly is intended by these consultations is open to interpretation.

The provision originated from an earlier bill
that was designed to encourage patients to consider hospice and pallative care as they near the end of their lives. But make no mistake, this is also about money. According to one estimate, Medicare spends $100 billion a year for care of patients in their last year of life.

Many critics are rightly concerned that the government will be dictating to patients what care they can and can't receive. The Bioethics Defense Fund is going so far to suggest that this provision is government endorsement of euthanasia.

As a matter of fact, such arguments about the cost of caring for the eldery and infirm as an endorsement for euthanasia has been tried before:



This poster appeared in Nazi Germany during the 1930's. The message reads: "60,000 Reich Marks. This is what this person suffering from hereditary defects costs the Community of Germans during his lifetime. Fellow Citizen, that is your money, too."

The arguments being made for mandatory "advanced care planning consultations" seemed to be eerily similar to the poster above. Critics of the President's health care plan have very legitimate reasons to be worried about what this provision means. Voters should be concerned also.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Healthcare Reform Is Coming! No, Wait, It Isn't!

Two different headlines from the same day illustrate the fundamental issues of the healthcare reform debate:

Blue Dog Democrats Announce Deal on Healthcare Reform


Key Senate Aide: Healthcare Reform Deal Not Imminent


The real reason that there is no quick solution coming is threefold: no one can agree on what exactly needs to be reformed, no one can agree on a solution, and the government is trying to provide the solution.

First, what needs to be reformed? It all depends on who you ask. Talk to a liberal Democrat and they will tell you that we need to have universal health insurance. Or that we need to do something about the uninsured. Or that we need to reduce the influence that insurance companies have over medical decisions.

Talk to a conservative Republican and they'll tell you we need to get the government out of the business of providing health insurance (or at least streamline the current programs). They'll tell you that we need to eliminate waste in Medicare. They'll also talk about reducing overall costs.

Who's right? There's an element of truth in both sides of the argument. But there is no consensus on exactly what issue(s) need to be reformed thus the wide disagreement on how to solve the problems.

This brings us to the second point which is that without agreement on the problems you can't find consensus on solutions.

To make matters worse, President Obama is running around pitching a plan without specifics. No one really knows what his proposed solution might be or what he thinks the extent of the problem really is because he doesn't come right out and tell anyone. He's been acting as if people will just do what he wishes because he asks them to. Perhaps he would be better served to slow down, listen to all sides in this debate, and figure out what the right steps are to take rather than trying to cram his agenda down the throats of voters. If polls are any indication, voters do not like what they are hearing from the President.

Finally, there is the issue of government involvement in the delivery of health care. Despite the fact that it has been proven repeatedly that government cannot fix every problem, Democrats still want to have government take over health care. Voters do not like that idea and understand what a disaster such a system would be. Most of the proposals so far make the government bureau overseeing health care look like the Office of Circumlocution from Charles Dickens' Little Dorrit:

The Circumlocution Office was (as everybody knows without being told) the most important Department under Government. No public business of any kind could possibly be done at any time without the acquiescence of the Circumlocution Office. Its finger was in the largest public pie, and in the smallest public tart. It was equally impossible to do the plainest right and to undo the plainest wrong without the express authority of the Circumlocution Office. If another Gunpowder Plot had been discovered half an hour before the lighting of the match, nobody would have been justified in saving the parliament until there had been half a score of boards, half a bushel of minutes, several sacks of official memoranda, and a family-vault full of ungrammatical correspondence, on the part of the Circumlocution Office.

This glorious establishment had been early in the field, when the one sublime principle involving the difficult art of governing a country, was first distinctly revealed to statesmen. It had been foremost to study that bright revelation and to carry its shining influence through the whole of the official proceedings. Whatever was required to be done, the Circumlocution Office was beforehand with all the public departments in the art of perceiving--HOW NOT TO DO IT.


While the news channels may drone on about how healthcare reform is about to be passed it doesn't seem likely to happen anytime soon. The longer the debate drags on the better as it is far better to stick with the current system we have no matter how flawed it may be rather than to rush through a package that will only make the situation far, far worse.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Preview: The Prisoner

AMC unveiled a nine minute preview for their remake of The Prisoner, starring Jim Caviezel as Number 6 and Ian McKellan as Number Two. Check it out. It looks like it will be a fabulous series.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Why I Am Not On Facebook (or Twitter)

A few months ago I started a Facebook page at the urging of a couple of friends. Having heard so much about the service I decided to check it out. It was also partly an experiment for my kids' sake as they were asking me about getting their own pages.

A couple of months ago I took it down. It's not because of any specific problem I had with it. It was really more a matter of not having time to keep up with it.

The fact is that I am pretty busy and while I am interested in what's going on in the lives of folks on my friends list it was just taking far too much time to keep up with. Maybe I'll go back one day. But the longer I leave my account deactivated the less likely I am to reactivate it.

Meanwhile, I've never seen the attraction of Twitter. I know it's all the rage these days but it doesn't seem to have any benefit. Like Facebook, it seems like something that takes a lot of time to keep up with. And that's more time than I have on my hands at the moment.

I'd be interested to hear from those who use either Facebook or Twitter regularly. What do you like or dislike about it?

In a related item, check out the video below on how Twitter can kill you:

Thursday, July 23, 2009

President Obama Overexposed?

Gee, you think so?



The possibility that the President's overexposure is hurting his message is not the big news story. The big story is that it took the media so long to catch on.

Hat tip: Hot Air

Communion on the Moon

Forty years ago, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin made history by walking on the moon. But before they exited the lunar module for their moonwalk, Buzz Aldrin took time to do something even more special. He took communion on the moon. Eric Metaxas has the entire story. Check out this special moment from one of the greatest events in history.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Random Thoughts From The Road

Each year I have an opportunity to come to Louisville for a week on business. But there's also almost always a little fun mixed in. Of course, it's as much about the journey as it is the destination.

We came a different way than usual this year driving through West Virginia. It's a beautiful state that is wrongly maligned. The only drawback for travelers is that that there are stetches of highway that have very little to offer travelers to see except lots of scenery.

We made an unplanned stop in Charleston and ended up stumbling upon a treasure. The Capitol Market is a wonderful farmer's market open seven days a week. In addition, they have some incredible indoor shops as well. We picked up sandwiches at Johnnie's Fresh Meat Market that were truly delicious. But the biggest surprise was a Swiss chocolatier (yes, you read that correctly). Holls' Chocolates imports all its chocolate from Switzerland and then fashions all its confections by hand. They are absolutely divine. If you can't get to the store you can always order online.

************

The other night we were out at a major sporting goods store shopping for swimsuits. One of the family (I won't embarass them here but they know who they are) forgot their swimsuit. We ended up stumbling on such good deals we bought three. Anyway, when I got to the checkout counter I was a little surprised to see a sign advising shoppers that there were specific limits on how many boxes of ammunition you can buy at one time. Turns out that there has not only been a surge in sales of guns since the November election but now ammo is hard to come by. There's a political statement being made here somewhere.

************

Whenever we travel we try to sample local restaurants. In fact, our first night here we didn't waste any time ordering dinner from our favorite pizza joint in Louisville, Wick's Pizza. They have some of the best pizza I've ever tasted.

Sometimes, however, eating out gets old. Since our hotel has a kitchenette, my wife decided to be adventurous and cook dinner for us. This required a trip to the grocery store. While I'm normally frugal when it comes to shopping there is one store that is worth the trip and the price. The Fresh Market is a little more pricey than your average grocery store but it also carries lots of things you can't find anywhere else. If you never visited one be sure to stop in when you get a chance.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Where's That Stimulus Money Going?

I was driving through West Virginia and Kentucky last weekend and saw a number of signs advertising that some particular road improvement project was being funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act otherwise known as the "stimulus plan" or by its more derisive name Porkulus.

About half the projects I saw on the road appeared to have already been completed. The other half were in various states of progress.

But I couldn't help wonder about the money spent on the signs. Turns out I'm not the only one. Frankly, I can't see why the money was spent on the signs. But then again, this is the federal government and, as usual, nothing they do makes sense.

Perhaps the better thing to have done was to forgo buying the signs and spend more money fixing the roads.

I'm just saying.....

Thursday, July 09, 2009

The End Is Near?

This week I had to put both of my cats on Prozac.

You read that right. Prozac for cats.

I'm pretty sure it's a sign of the apocalypse.

Monday, July 06, 2009

Will Obamacare End Roe v. Wade?

At least according to this article in The American Spectator, the answer is yes:

Stated or unstated, a driving force behind modern liberalism takes root in the 1973 Supreme Court decision Roe v. Wade, in which abortion was legalized. The Court found a "right to privacy" guaranteed by the due process clause of the 14th Amendment, saying that a woman had a constitutional right to abort her child up until the "point at which the fetus becomes viable." The Court quite specifically defined viability as the point at which a fetus is "potentially able to live outside the mother's womb, albeit with artificial aid. Viability is usually placed at about seven months (28 weeks) but may occur earlier, even at 24 weeks."

Quite aside from the political acrimony the Roe decision has generated from the day it was issued, the hot debate over President Obama's health care proposal alters the abortion debate in a fashion quite unintended. If passed, ObamaCare could instantly set up a legal confrontation between the principle behind President's health care system -- and the principle undergirding Roe v. Wade. Which in turn would launch a political battle royal between proponents of government health care and abortion rights.

Why?

A reading of the Roe decision leaves no doubt whatsoever of what abortion advocates have claimed ever since the opinion was handed down. To quote the Supreme Court decision directly:

We repeat, however, that the State does have an important and legitimate interest in preserving and protecting the health of the pregnant woman, whether she be a resident of the State or a nonresident who seeks medical consultation and treatment there, and that it has still another important and legitimate interest in protecting the potentiality of human life.

If, as Roe clearly states, "the State does have an important and legitimate interest in preserving and protecting the health [emphasis mine] of the pregnant woman" -- why doesn't it have "an important and legitimate interest" in protecting the health of the rest us?


The article goes on to point out that the fundamental premise behind universal health care is that the government could be deciding who gets what medical care thus taking the decision-making process out of the hands of the patient and putting into the hands of bureaucrats. If that's so, you can be sure that abortion advocates will be at odds with those who want a single-payor health system.

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Book Review: Failure Is Not An Option: Mission Control From Mercury To Apollo 13 And Beyond by Gene Kranz

I was only 3 years old when Apollo 11 landed on the moon. But I remember the landing like it was yesterday. My parents made sure to get me out of bed to watch Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin walk on the moon as they understood what an amazing piece of history we were witnessing.

Since that time I have been enamored with space travel. In fact, like many boys my age I dreamed of becoming an astronaut until I grew too tall to qualify (I am 6'6" and the maximum height allowed for an astronaut was 5'11").

I have numerous accounts of the space program but up until now had not read a flight director's account of the space program. That is, not until I just finished Failure Is Not An Option: Mission Control From Mercury To Apollo 13 And Beyond by Gene Kranz. To find out more about the book, check out my review here.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Book Review: Face of Betrayal by Lis Wiehl with April Henry

I usually don't have a whole lot of time to read and what little time I do devote to reading isn't normally devoted to fiction. Part of my problem is finding stories that intrigue me and hold my interest. But when I first saw Face of Betrayal I was immediately intrigued as I knew of Lis Wiehl from her work on the Fox News Channel and the Radio Factor with Bill O'Reilly. I was very pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed the book. To find out more, read my review of the book.

Also, be sure to check out my interviews with Lis Wiehl and April Henry.






547057: Face of Betrayal, Faith and Consequences Series #1Face of Betrayal, Faith and Consequences Series #1

By Lis Wiehl with April Henry / Thomas Nelson