Monday, March 31, 2008

Play Ball!

The first full day of the Major League Baseball season is today. HOORAY! I'll be listening in on the Yankees hosting the Blue Jays this afternoon as the final season of the House that Ruth Built gets underway.

My Yankees prediction: 90-72, AL Wild Card

Friday, March 28, 2008

What a stirring endorsement

Chelsea Clinton has apparently given her mother a true boost towards the Oval Office, saying that she'd be a better President than dear old dad.

Well, that doesn't say a whole lot, does it? Talk about setting low expectations. A flea, if electable, would probably be a better President than Bill Clinton was.

TFH 3/27-28: Technical Sergeant Clinton M. Hedrick, USA

From Medal of Honor Citations:

*HEDRICK, CLINTON M.

Rank and organization: Technical Sergeant, U.S. Army, Company I, 194th Glider Infantry, 17th Airborne Division. Place and date: Near Lembeck, Germany, 27-28 March 1945. Entered service at: Riverton, W. Va. Birth: Cherrygrove, W. Va. G.O. No.: 89, 19 October 1945. Citation: He displayed extraordinary heroism and gallantry in action on 27-28 March 1945, in Germany. Following an airborne landing near Wesel, his unit was assigned as the assault platoon for the assault on Lembeck. Three times the landing elements were pinned down by intense automatic weapons fire from strongly defended positions. Each time, T/Sgt. Hedrick fearlessly charged through heavy fire, shooting his automatic rifle from his hip. His courageous action so inspired his men that they reduced the enemy positions in rapid succession. When 6 of the enemy attempted a surprise, flanking movement, he quickly turned and killed the entire party with a burst of fire. Later, the enemy withdrew across a moat into Lembeck Castle. T/Sgt. Hedrick, with utter disregard for his own safety, plunged across the drawbridge alone in pursuit. When a German soldier, with hands upraised, declared the garrison wished to surrender, he entered the castle yard with 4 of his men to accept the capitulation. The group moved through a sally port, and was met by fire from a German self-propelled gun. Although mortally wounded, T/Sgt. Hedrick fired at the enemy gun and covered the withdrawal of his comrades. He died while being evacuated after the castle was taken. His great personal courage and heroic leadership contributed in large measure to the speedy capture of Lembeck and provided an inspiring example to his comrades.

Clinton Hedrick, for your actions and indomitable courage in the face of the enemies of freedom, and for your sacrifice, I am forever grateful. March 27-28, 1945 was your finest hour!

Earth Hour - How I'll be celebrating

You may have heard or read about Earth Hour, which will take place tomorrow between 8 and 9 PM at your local time. The gist of this episode of environmental inanity is to shut off all of your electricity consuming devices as a purely symbolic gesture (even the proponents of this nonsense acknowledge it's a meaningless effort) to raise awareness about "climate change", "global warming", and the complete myth that carbon dioxide is a pollutant.

So, I hereby pledge that I will celebrate Earth Hour tomorrow, March 29, 2008 between the hours of 2000 and 2100 Eastern Daylight Time by:

1) Insuring that every single electric light in my house is turned on.
2) Running both cars at idle (for at least part of the hour)
3) Turning on and running as many of our appliances as possible during the hour.
4) Excercising, so I can generate even more carbon dioxide on my own.
5) Finally, I'll light a nice cheerful wood fire in my fireplace.

In short, I am going to do everything I can to increase my so-called "carbon footprint". I encourage you to do the same. Stand up for rationality over pseudo-science and manufactured crises.

And never forget that environmentalism isn't about saving the environment; it's about destroying capitalism, and thus freedom.

Best characterization of Pennsylvania I've ever heard

Just heard this on the Rush Limbaugh Program:

"Pennsylvania is like a little United States; you've got Philadelphia on one side, Pittsburgh on the other, and America in the middle."

Spot on Rush, spot on.

A story of someone who should have known better

CNN is running an article called "From $70K to food bank, one family's struggle". Yes, it tugs at the hearstrings. Yes, I have sympathy for Patricia Gurrero and her two children's plight. But, it is also likely that the direness of their circumstances could have been mitigated, if not eliminated. How?

"She has had to take extreme measures to pay for her interest-only mortgage of $2,500 a month."

She is obviously paying for a house she couldn't afford in the first place. Yes, I realize they live in Southern California. Yes, I also realize that it's likely that her house has lost value given the depressed real estate market in that area. Still, she really should have known that getting into an interest-only mortgage was a really bad idea since:

"A former loan processor, Gurrero knows all about that [the subprime mortgage crisis]"

So, one who was involved in the whole process of giving large loans out to folks who probably shouldn't have gotten them put themselves in the same boat, and now it's sinking. I'm sure there's some out there who would take some schadenfreude away from this, but I don't.

It does mention in the article that Ms. Gurrero is "estranged" from her husband, but not why. Certainly that is a contributing factor to her situation since it is unlikely (read "estranged", not "divorced") that her husband is providing anything in the way of child support. Of course, perhaps her husband is providing some support; if he wasn't, I'd expect the story to also play up the "deadbeat dad" angle. In either case, one lesson to take away is that stable families are less susceptible to economic upheaval. I am not saying that she should immediately go back to her husband - for all I know he could have been abusive to either her or the children - but I am making the general comment on society that marriages are too often looked upon as simple personal arrangements that can be rearranged at will.

Of course, CNN's real intent by this article is to portray the middle class as under seige by the rich who control banks and are now squeezing the little men because they can't pay the bills they said they could. Unfortunately for CNN, they accidentally tell the truth in their article that - this person at least - probably should have known better.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Injustice for a Cop Killer

Just read on Power Line that convicted cop killer Mumia Abu-Jamal's death sentence has been overturned. What is completely disgusting is this murderer being described as a "human rights campaigner".

Want to know the truth about Mumia Abu-Jamal? Start here, at the memorial site for Officer Daniel Faulkner, who was murdered in cold blood by Mumia Abu-Jamal.

I am anti-death penalty except for extreme cases, and the murder of a police officer certainly qualifies. Mr. Abu-Jamal deserves the lethal drip courtesy of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania (actually, he deserves worse), and it's over 25 years too late.

Saddam's Congressmen

I'm shocked, shocked, to read that a "trip to Iraq for three U.S. lawmakers during the run-up to the U.S.-led invasion" was paid for by Saddam Hussein's intelligence service through cut-outs.

The dates of the trip coincide with the trip by Representatives David Bonior (Democrat-MI), Jim McDermott (Democrat-WA), and Mike Thompson (Democrat-CA) in October of 2002. While these fine Americans are not named specifically in the Federal indictment surrounding the case, it's pretty clear that it was them who got their trip paid for on Saddam's dime.

I really don't care whether or not these upstanding patriots knew that the money for their trip came from Iraq or not. Their whole purpose in going was solely to undermine United States foreign policy, President Bush, and the need to insure Iraq's compliance with all of the various UN and other international sanctions against them - and produce compliance by force if necessary. No matter how you cut it, they gave aid and comfort to an enemy of the United States. That's treason in my book. It's just icing on the cake that they were the dupes of the dictator himself.

Bonior, McDermott, Thompson - enemy collaborators.

Michelle Malkin comments here.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Welcome Home Endeavour!

Space Shuttle Endeavour has just landed at the Kennedy Space Center after 16 days in orbit building the International Space Station on mission STS-123. Congratulations and Welcome Home to:

Dominic Gorie (Commander)
Gregory H. Johnson (Pilot)
Robert L. Behnken (MS1)
Michael Foreman (MS2)
Richard M. Linnehan (MS3)
Takao Doi (MS4, Japan JAXA)

An extra special welcome home goes out to Leopold Eyharts of the European Space Agency who is returning to Earth after about a month and a half onboard the ISS. NASA Astronaut Garrett E. Reisman launched with Endeavour and assumed Eyhart's position onboard the space station.

Five spacewalks, assembly of the Dextre robot, delivery of the first portion of the JAXA pressurized modules for the ISS; no doubt, a finest hour in space exploration!!!!

Operation Chaos: So Far, So Good

According to Gallup, Rush's "Operation Chaos" is bearing nice, healthy fruit.

Hat Tip: Drudge

Monday, March 24, 2008

TFH 3/24-25: Stalag Luft III - The Fifty

On March 24, 1944 the Great Escape began. This night, the determined Allied Prisoners of War in the North Compound of Stalag Luft III escaped through the tunnel that they dug and concealed from their Nazi captors. Seventy-six Allied airmen escaped via the tunnel until the escape was discovered and thwarted in the early morning hours of March 25th. Of the 76, three men evaded capture and reached neutral territory. 23 were recaptured and reimprisoned. The remaining 50 were recaptured and murdered in cold blood by their Nazi captors.

Read the true story of the escape, in the wonderful book by Paul Brickhill (he was a witness to the events as a prisoner in the camp).

I'll be watching the dramatized, yet historically accurate, movie version tonight.

Wikipedia has a good overview of the history of Stalag Luft III, and the Great Escape.

And finally, taken from this site, we here at Their Finest Hour remember the Fifty and their sacrifices for the cause of Freedom:

BIRKLAND, Henry - Flight Lieutenant, RCAF [Age 25]
BRETELL, Edward Gordon - Flight Lieutenant, RAF(VR) [29]
BULL, Leslie George - Flight Lieutenant, RAF [Unk.]
BUSHELL, Roger Joyce - Squadron Leader, RAF [33]
CASEY, Michael James - Flight Lieutenant, RAF [Unk.]
CATANACH, James - Squadron Leader, RAAF [22]
CHRISTENSEN, Arnold George - Flight Lieutenant, RNZAF [21]
COCHRAN, Dennis Herbert - Flying Officer, RAF(VR) [23]
CROSS, Ian Kingston Pembroke - Squadron Leader, RAF [25]
ESPELID, Halidor - Lieutenant, Norway [23]
EVANS, Brian Herbert - Flight Lieutenant, RAF [24]
FUGELSANG, Nils - Lieutenant, Norway [Unk.]
GOUWS, J. S. - Lieutenant, SAAF [24]
GRISMAN, William Jack - Flight Lieutenant, RAF [29]
GUNN, Alistair Donald Mackintosh - Flight Lieutenant, RAF(VR) [24]
HAKE, Albert Horace - Warrant Officer, RAAF [27]
HALL, Charles Piers - Flight Lieutenant, RAF(VR) [Unk.]
HAYTER, Anthony Ross Henzell - Flight Lieutenant, RAF [23]
HUMPHREYS, Edgar Spottiswoode - Flight Lieutenant, RAF(VR) [29]
KIDDER, Gordon Arthur - Flight Lieutenant, RCAF [29]
KIERATH, Reginald Victor - Flight Lieutenant, RAAF [29]
KIEWNARSKI, Antoni - Major, Poland [45]
KIRBY-GREEN, Thomas Gresham - Squadron Leader, RAF [Unk.]
KOLANOWSKI, Wlodzimirez - Flying Officer, Poland [30]
KROL, Stanislaw Z. - Flying Officer, Poland [27]
LANGFORD, Patrick Wilson - Flight Lieutenant, RCAF [24]
LEIGH, Thomas Barker - Flight Lieutenant, RAF [25]
LONG, James Leslie Robert - Flight Lieutenant, RAF(VR) [Unk.]
McGARR, Clement Aldwyn Neville - Lieutenant, SAAF [Unk.]
McGILL, George Edward - Flight Lieutenant, RCAF [Unk.]
MARCINKUS, Romas - Flight Lieutenant, RAF(VR) [Unk.]
MILFORD, Harold John - Flight Lieutenant, RAF(VR) [Unk.]
MONDSCHEIN, Jerzy Tomasc - Flying Officer, Poland [35]
PAWLUK, Kazimierz - Flying officer, Poland [27]
PICARD, Henri Albert - Flight Lieutenant, RAF(VR) [Unk.]
POHE, Porokoru Patapu - Flying Officer, RNZAF [29]
SCHEIDHAUER, Bernard W. M. - Sous-Lieutenant, France [22]
SKANZIKAS, Sortis - Pilot Officer, Greece [22]
STEVENS, R. J. - Lieutenant, SAAF [24]
STEWART, Robert Campbell - Flying Officer, RAF(VR) [33]
STOWER, John Gilford - Flight Lieutenant, RAF(VR) [Unk.]
STREET, Denys Oliver - Flight Lieutenant, RAF(VR) [21]
SWAIN, Cyril Douglas - Flight Lieutenant, RAF [Unk.]
TOBOLSKI, Pawel Whilem - Flying Officer, Poland [38]
VALENTA, Arnost - Flight Lieutenant, RAF(VR) [Unk.]
WALENN, Gilbert William - Flight Lieutenant, RAF(VR) [28]
WERNHAM, James Chrystall - Flight Lieutenant, RCAF [27]
WILEY, George William - Flight Lieutenant, RCAF [Unk.]
WILLIAMS, John Edwin Ashley - Squadron Leader, RAF [24]
WILLIAMS, John Francis - Flight Lieutenant, RAF(VR) [26]

Sunday, March 23, 2008

He is Risen!

Jesus Christ is risen today! Alleluia!

Nothing more needs to be said on this day. May you all have a happy and blessed Easter!

Friday, March 21, 2008

He died for us to give us life!

Today is Good Friday. My thought for the day is summed up by Stuart Townend's wonderful song, "How Deep the Father's Love for Us":

How deep the Father’s love for us,
How vast beyond all measure,
That He should give his only Son,
To make a wretch his treasure?
How great the pain of searing loss,
The Father turned his face away
As wounds which mar the chosen One
Bring many sons to glory.

Behold the Man upon a cross,
My sin upon his shoulders.
Ashamed, I hear my mocking voice
Call out among the scoffers.
It was my sin that held Him there
Until it was accomplished
His dying breath has brought me life
I know that it is finished.

I will not boast in anything:
No gifts, no power, no wisdom.
But I will boast in Jesus Christ;
His death and resurrection!
Why should I gain from His reward?
I cannot give an answer.
But this I know with all my heart:
His wounds have paid my ransom!


Amen and Amen!

What does this remind you of?

Senator Barack Obama (D-IL) has the following poster available for sale on his website:


Priced truly for the proletariat masses at a mere $70.00 (that works out to about 16 hours at federal minimum wage, after taxes, if you're wondering. Truly, Mr. Obama is for the working class).

Now, what does this poster really remind me of? How about:

Or perhaps:Echoes of the past, embodied by the socialists of today.

Hat tip: Red Stick Rant

Thursday, March 20, 2008

TFH 3/20: Specialist Charles Chris Hagemeister, USA

From Medal of Honor Citations, another tale of gallantry from a medic:

HAGEMEISTER, CHARLES CHRIS

Rank and organization: Specialist Fifth Class (then Sp4c.) U .S. Army, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 1st Battalion, 5th Cavalry, 1st Cavalry Division (Airmobile). Place and date: Binh Dinh Province, Republic of Vietnam, 20 March 1967. Entered service at: Lincoln, Nebr. Born: 21 August 1946, Lincoln, Nebr. Citation: For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty. While conducting combat operations against a hostile force, Sp5c. Hagemeister's platoon suddenly came under heavy attack from 3 sides by an enemy force occupying well concealed, fortified positions and supported by machine guns and mortars. Seeing 2 of his comrades seriously wounded in the initial action, Sp5c. Hagemeister unhesitatingly and with total disregard for his safety, raced through the deadly hail of enemy fire to provide them medical aid. Upon learning that the platoon leader and several other soldiers also had been wounded, Sp5c. Hagemeister continued to brave the withering enemy fire and crawled forward to render lifesaving treatment and to offer words of encouragement. Attempting to evacuate the seriously wounded soldiers, Sp5c. Hagemeister was taken under fire at close range by an enemy sniper. Realizing that the lives of his fellow soldiers depended on his actions, Sp5c. Hagemeister seized a rifle from a fallen comrade, killed the sniper, 3 other enemy soldiers who were attempting to encircle his position and silenced an enemy machine gun that covered the area with deadly fire. Unable to remove the wounded to a less exposed location and aware of the enemy's efforts to isolate his unit, he dashed through the fusillade of fire to secure help from a nearby platoon. Returning with help, he placed men in positions to cover his advance as he moved to evacuate the wounded forward of his location. These efforts successfully completed, he then moved to the other flank and evacuated additional wounded men despite the fact that his every move drew fire from the enemy. Sp5c. Hagemeister's repeated heroic and selfless actions at the risk of his life saved the lives of many of his comrades and inspired their actions in repelling the enemy assault. Sp5c. Hagemeister's indomitable courage was in the highest traditions of the U.S. Armed Forces and reflect great credit upon himself.

Thank you for your service and bravery in the face of the enemies of Freedom; March 20, 1967 was your finest hour!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Iraq: D+ Five Years

Some reflections on the 5th Anniversary of launching Operation Iraqi Freedom:

1) Of course, I remember vividly watching the news coverage. In particular, I remember a FOX News reporter broadcasting from outside RAF Fairford commenting on the Air Force B-52H bombers that were heading off on their bombing missions to Iraq with a comment that, "they're five or six hours away from their targets over Iraq." To which I recall replying to the TV, "or 10 to 12 hours from their targets over Pyongyang, and just 30 minutes from their targets in Paris!" I'm so glad we have allies like France (at that time, Sarkozy will hopefully be another story) on our side.

2) Being woken up by the live report by FOX's Greg Kelly from Saddam's front yard in Baghdad at about 4:00 AM was awesome.

3) I am an Iraq war supporter. I am also one who believes that the conduct of the war has been atrocious. If I was asked how I thought the war was being conducted, I'd have to say poorly - which of course would translate in a poll that I oppose the war. I'm upset that we haven't been more violent, destroyed more of the enemy, completely destroyed their will to fight, etc.

4) There have been almost 4,000 Americans killed in action in Iraq, and around 29,000 wounded. Given the size of the force and the duration of conflict, from a military perspective there have been zero casualties. I am not saying that to minimize the sacrifices of our Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines, and Coast Guardsmen, nor am I discounting the pain and suffering of the fallen, wounded, or their families - the sacrifices made by our forces and their loved ones are significant and I honor them all for their sacrifices - but not one single unit has been rendered combat ineffective because of enemy action. Approximately 3,000 casualties were suffered by the 1st and 29th Infantry Divisions on D-Day. In the 35 days of the Battle of Iwo Jima, the United States suffered 26,504 casualties: 7,315 killed or missing and 19,189 wounded.

As of this post, the United States has suffered 3,987 killed and 29,320 wounded in Iraq; in 1,827 days.

That works out to 3 service members killed per day; the killed/missing rate for the Iwo Jima campaign was 209 per day - 70 times higher

That works out to 17 service members wounded per day; the wounded rate for Iwo Jima was 549 per day - 32 times higher

That works out to 19 total casualties per day; the total casualty rate at Iwo Jima was 758/day - 40 times higher

110,000 servicemen were involved at Iwo Jima - 24% became casualties.

The best estimate I can find on the Internet is that approximately 1 million unique American servicemen and women have served in Iraq. Let's be conservative, and say the number is actually 750,000. At the 750K number, just 4.5% of the total force has become casualties.

Can we please have some perspective on casualties?

5) May God continue to protect and care for our Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines, and Coast Guardsmen - wherever they serve, comfort our wounded, lessen the grief for the families of the lost, grant wisdom to the commanders and leaders, and guide our way to ultimate victory for the Forces of Freedom.

And the Star-Spangled Banner in triumph shall wave,
O'er the Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave!

Obama's Speech

Some thoughts on Barack Obama's speech yesterday:

1) I didn't hear him deliver it live. After reading the transcript, I though it actually a good speech, even though I disagree with his positions. Then, I heard the sound bites. Could he have delivered this speech more like somebody addressing a convention of retired insurance adjusters? In reading it, I expected an upbeat presentation. From his tone and cadence, it was clear that the Empty Suit wanted to be doing anything but giving that speech.

2) Senator Obama's reflections on the last 50 years of race relations and the factors that persist in American cities range from laughable to absurd to simply disingenuous. It's the Democrats who prevented the participation of African Americans in unions and opposed desegregation. It's the Democrats who have been running our cities and schools, by and large. It's the Democrats who have created the culture of dependency going back to LBJ's Great Society and before. It's the Democrats etc., etc., etc., so now we - and the minority groups who they claim to stand for - should just keep voting them in office, all the while ignoring the complete failure of all their policies over the last fifty years. Right, got it, keep pouring my glass of Kool-Aid please.

3) I can't see how anybody - except perhaps a spaghetti-spined, "can't we all just get along" moderate - could be pleased with the content of the speech. The left will think he sold out; the right that he completely missed the issue.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Does he now have the creds for the ordination track?

Disgraced former Governor James McGreevey (D-NJ), now a non-ordination track student at the General Theological Seminary of The Episocpal Church in NYC, apparently has no shame.

In this story found at Fox News (and elsewhere), Mr. McGreevey (D-NJ) is apparently confirming the story that his former driver and campaign aide, Theodore Petersen, has stated that he testified to in a deposition; that the two of them engaged in "threesomes" with Mr. McGreevey's (D-NJ) estranged wife, Dina Matos McGreevey, prior to the McGreevey's sham (to him, not her, allegedly) marraige tainted by Mr. McGreevey's (D-NJ) unacknowledged sexual orientation.

Mr. McGreevey (D-NJ) is saying that this information has to be out in the open so they can "move on with their lives" and ostensibly for the sake of their 6 year-old daughter.

How exactly is having this story out going to help the McGreevey's daughter?

Is it just me, or does this play like James McGreevey (D-NJ) is upset that somebody else has been hogging gubenatorial sex scandal headlines?

Given the state of affairs in The Episcopal Church, this new revelation may have just punched Mr. McGreevey's (D-NJ) ticket for ordination, conscecration, and elevation to Presiding Bishop someday. He's certainly met what these days seems to be their threshold...

Kyrie Eleison, Christe Eleison

Monday, March 17, 2008

TFH 3/17: Vanguard 1 - 50 Years in Orbit!

On March 17, 1958 the United States Naval Research Laboratory succesfully launched Vanguard 1 into orbit. Vanguard 1 was the first solar powered satellite, the second satellite launched successfully by the free world, and the fourth orbiting man-made satellite overall.

Today 50 years on, though its transmitters are long silent, Vanguard 1 continues to orbit the Earth as the oldest man-made object in space.

Read more at the Naval Research Laboratory's Tribute Site.

50 years - ~196,000 orbits - by any count, a finest hour in space exploration!

Saturday, March 15, 2008

The Awesome Senator from Arizona

No, not John McCain - John Kyl! I just heard him this morning on NPR's Weekend Edition Saturday, and he was brilliant.

He was responding to surrender/failure pitcher James Webb (D-VA), so for sake of equality, the link to Webb's segment is also included. Kyl was as upbeat and confident as Webb was defeatist.

Audio of the segments should be available by 12:00 ET.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Perhaps the Empty Suit isn't so empty...

...instead, he could be full of hatred, whack-job conspiracy theories, and worse. Senator Barack Obama has, on numerous occasions, called attention to his association with the Rev. Dr. Jeremiah Wright, Pastor Emeritus of the Trinity United Church of Christ and spoke of him in complimentary terms.

The Power Line crew has a (to this point) four-part rundown of the situation with links to other contributors:

The Audacity of Hate
The Audacity of Hate, Part Two
The Audacity of Hate, Part Three
The Audacity of Hate, Part Four

There is absolutely NO WAY Senator Obama can be allowed to minimize or weasel out of his association with this Preacher of Hate. Jeremiah Wright married Barack and Michelle Obama, baptized their children, blessed their home, and is/was Senator Obama's pastor for twenty-some-odd years.

The Senator's disassociation from his pastor is laughable. If I ever heard such despicable, untrue, vindictive, hateful speech coming from the pulpit of my church, I'd be out of there. I wouldn't be hanging around for years, having the hatemonger baptize my children, or be welcome in my home, much less pronounce a blessing on it.

I can only draw one conclusion, and that is that Senator Obama likely subscribes in full to the Rev. Dr. Wright's scree. That puts them both very close to membership in the category of "enemies domestic."

Prayers needed for the Church; Realignment Ahead!

Stand Firm reports that Episcopal Presiding Bishop Katherine Jefferts Schori is planning to depose my Bishop, the Rt. Rev. Robert Duncan, prior to the Lambeth Conference later this year.

Locally, the Coalition for Realignment has launched within the Diocese of Pittsburgh. To quote from their close of the initial letter to the Diocese:

We are convinced that we have a great future as faithful followers of Jesus, and that for the vast majority in our diocese, that future will best be served by realigning with part of that large majority of Anglican Christians around the world who are unashamed of the Gospel. "For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes..." Romans 1:16

I'm proud that the Rector of my parish is one of the Coalition's steering commitee members.

Please pray for the church, for our Bishops +Robert and +Henry, for all faithful priests and deacons in the Diocese of Pittsburgh, and for the parishes - like my own - for whom 2008 will be a year of decision, action, and unabashedly standing for Christ's Gospel.

A sane voice at CNN?

Glenn Beck is certainly one of the few sane voices on CNN's payroll. This commentary available through CNN's website is right on the money.

Remember the kid from that interminable 1980s commercial whose father caught him using drugs? The father incredulously asked, "Who taught you how to do this
stuff?" and the kid responded, "You, alright? I learned it by watching
you."

Well, we are that kid and our government is that drug-using father who
doesn't think that anyone notices his bad habits.

Our government is leading us by example, and I don't mean that in a good way. For years, it has spent us into oblivion, mortgaging our future for programs we can't afford, and Americans have happily followed suit, running up credit card bills and home equity loans for things they never should've bought.

Unfortunately, we're also learning something else from our government: how to avoid taking responsibility for our actions.

From Eliot Spitzer's alleged hooker craze to the revelation that Arnold Schwarzenegger commutes to work in a large private jet even as he preaches the dangers of carbon dioxide emissions, there's never been a shortage of "do what I say, not what I do" hypocrites in politics.


Read it all.

TFH 3/14: LTJG(SEAL) Joseph R. Kerrey, USNR

Most folks out there would better recognize the name "Joseph R. Kerrey" as Bob Kerrey, the former two-term Democratic Senator from Nebraska. I recognize him here as an American hero. From Medal of Honor citiations:

KERREY, JOSEPH R.

Rank and organization: Lieutenant, Junior Grade, U.S. Naval Reserve, Sea, Air, and Land Team (SEAL). place and date: Near Nha Trang Bay, Republic of Vietnam, 14 March 1969. Entered service at: Omaha, Nebr. Born: 27 August 1943, Lincoln, Nebr. Citation: For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while serving as a SEAL team leader during action against enemy aggressor (Viet Cong) forces. Acting in response to reliable intelligence, Lt. (J.G..) Kerrey led his SEAL team on a mission to capture important members of the enemy's area political cadre known to be located on an island in the bay of Nha Trang. In order to surprise the enemy, he and his team scaled a 350-foot sheer cliff to place themselves above the ledge on which the enemy was located. Splitting his team in 2 elements and coordinating both, Lt. (J.G..) Kerrey led his men in the treacherous downward descent to the enemy's camp. Just as they neared the end of their descent, intense enemy fire was directed at them, and Lt. (J.G.) Kerrey received massive injuries from a grenade which exploded at his feet and threw him backward onto the jagged rocks. Although bleeding profusely and suffering great pain, he displayed outstanding courage and presence of mind in immediately directing his element's fire into the heart of the enemy camp. Utilizing his radioman, Lt. (J.G.) Kerrey called in the second element's fire support which caught the confused Viet Cong in a devastating crossfire. After successfully suppressing the enemy's fire, and although immobilized by his multiple wounds, he continued to maintain calm, superlative control as he ordered his team to secure and defend an extraction site. Lt. (J.G.) Kerrey resolutely directed his men, despite his near unconscious state, until he was eventually evacuated by helicopter. The havoc brought to the enemy by this very successful mission cannot be over-estimated. The enemy soldiers who were captured provided critical intelligence to the allied effort. Lt. (J.G.) Kerrey's courageous and inspiring leadership, valiant fighting spirit, and tenacious devotion to duty in the face of almost overwhelming opposition sustain and enhance the finest traditions of the U.S. Naval Service.

An alternate rendering of his citation can be found at the Home of Heroes

Senator Kerrey, I honor your bravery, determination, and sacrifices for the cause of Freedom. While I disagree with many if not most of your political stances, I thank you for your honorable service to our Nation, both in uniform and out.

No doubt in my mind though that March 14, 1969 was your finest hour!

In Rememberance: Laurie Beechman - March 8, 1998

My family and I are planning to take our summer vacation in the NY/NJ area. We're planning to take my very artistic, 6-year old daughter Penny to the Broadway production of The Lion King as one of our activities.

This sparked me to go back and listen to some of my original Broadway cast recordings of many of the shows I saw years ago. I then started thinking about some of the performances I saw (Lea Salonga as Eponine in Les Miserables, for example) and how fortunate I had been to see them live.

Well, one wonderful voice I remember from those shows was that of Laurie Beechman, the original Narrator in the NY production of Andrew Lloyd Webber's Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat (which I saw both on and off-Broadway), and who I also saw performing Grizabella in Cats (also an ALW show).

After doing some "what are they up to now" searching via Google, I was saddened to learn that Laurie Beechman lost her life after a protracted battle with ovarian cancer on March 8, 1998 - just over 10 years ago. She was about one month short of her 45th birthday.

The only recording I have of Laurie's music is my Joseph original cast recording, but I'm going to be getting some of her solo recordings.

There's a tribute site to the life and music of Laurie Beechman here. Please visit.

Washington DC: Business as Usual

The Congress has rejected a one-year moratorium on earmark spending - that is, pork-barrel spending (let's call a spade a spade, shall we) - and has also announced their intentions to impose what I believe would be the largest tax increase in US history by not affirming the tax cuts enacted under President Bush.

If you haven't filled out your Form 1040 for 2007 yet, remember these actions with each digit you enter.

Remember that the Congress cares not about your money; they care only for their power.

Remember that the Congress cares not about the constitutionality of the programs they fund; they care only for their power.

Of everybody in America, why is it the Congress that is never asked to do with less?

Thursday, March 13, 2008

What the French Foreign Minister Really Meant

If he was speaking in his native tounge, Monsieur Bernard Kouchner of France was misquoted - I think - in this English translation:

PARIS — Bernard Kouchner, the foreign minister of France, said Tuesday that
whoever succeeds Bush in the White House will have to restore the United States'
battered image and standing overseas...Kouchner said the United States will
never be the country it was before the Bush presidency and would have to work to
repair its reputation, especially since the 2003 U.S.-led invasion of Iraq..."I
think the magic is over," Kouchner told the International Herald Tribune. "It
will never be as it was before"...although it will take time, the new president
will have “many means to re-establish the image” of a country whose reputation
is suffering. Kouchner also discussed holding out hope of talking with Hamas,
the Palestinian faction that rules the Gaza Strip but has been ostracized by the
West and by its Palestinian rival, Fatah.
"We have to talk with our
enemies," he said.

What he really said is:

SURRENDER, SURRENDER, SURRENDER! Really, Islamofascists just want to peacefully coexist with us!

What I say is:

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

TFH 3/12: PFC Bryant E. Womack, USA

The medics who serve along side our front line soldiers - and their brethren Navy corpsmen who care for the Marines - are often unsung heroes. However, their selflessness under fire to care for the wounded in combat must be recognized.

From Medal of Honor Citiations:

*WOMACK, BRYANT E.

Rank and organization: Private First Class, U.S. Army, Medical Company, 14th Infantry Regiment, 25th Infantry Division. Place and date: Near Sokso-ri, Korea, 12 March 1952. Entered service at: Mill Springs, N.C. Birth: Mill Springs, N.C. G.O. No.: 5, 12 January 1953. Citation: Pfc. Womack distinguished himself by conspicuous gallantry above and beyond the call of duty in action against the enemy. Pfc. Womack was the only medical aid man attached to a night combat patrol when sudden contact with a numerically superior enemy produced numerous casualties. Pfc. Womack went immediately to their aid, although this necessitated exposing himself to a devastating hail of enemy fire, during which he was seriously wounded. Refusing medical aid for himself, he continued moving among his comrades to administer aid. While he was aiding 1 man, he was again struck by enemy mortar fire, this time suffering the loss of his right arm. Although he knew the consequences should immediate aid not be administered, he still refused aid and insisted that all efforts be made for the benefit of others that were wounded. Although unable to perform the task himself, he remained on the scene and directed others in first aid techniques. The last man to withdraw, he walked until he collapsed from loss of blood, and died a few minutes later while being carried by his comrades. The extraordinary heroism, outstanding courage, and unswerving devotion to his duties displayed by Pfc. Womack reflect the utmost distinction upon himself and uphold the esteemed traditions of the U.S. Army.

Bryant Womack, thank you for your service and sacrifice for the cause of Freedom. March 12, 1952 was your finest hour!

He's Gone

Spitzer resigns. Good riddance.

This morning though, I was somewhat bewildered by reports that Mr. Spitzer's wife, Silda (ed. comment - look at her, why would you cheat on that? Yes, there's a babe factor there.), was encouraging her unfaithful husband to not resign the Governorship.

That only makes sense on Silda Spitzer's part if she intended to let her soon to be ex-husband to get dragged through the mud even more, impeached, removed from office, indicted, tried, convicted, and imprisioned with as much embarrasment to him as possible, so that she can clean up even more in the divorce.

I'm praying for Silda and her three daughters that they find some comfort and shelter from the disgrace of their husband/father. I'm praying for Mr. Spitzer too, that he find some redemption of his brokenness.

For those out there who say prostitution is a victimless crime, here are the victims: Elyssa (Age 18), Sarabeth (15), and Jenna (13). May He bring them peace.

A Liberal Sees the Light!

Drudge linked to this article in the Village Voice by playwright/screen writer David Mamet entitled, Why I Am No Longer a "Brain-Dead Liberal".

Of course, I think the "brain-dead" qualification is a bit redundant, but what a refreshing read. Yes, they can be taught! Just one excerpt:
[C]lasses in the United States are mobile, not static, which is the Marxist
view. That is: Immigrants came and continue to come here penniless and can (and
do) become rich; the nerd makes a trillion dollars; the single mother, penniless
and ignorant of English, sends her two sons to college (my grandmother). On the
other hand, the rich and the children of the rich can go belly-up; the hegemony
of the railroads is appropriated by the airlines, that of the networks by the
Internet; and the individual may and probably will change status more than once
within his lifetime.
Amen, brother, and welcome home! I've always admired and enjoyed Mr. Mamet's work; it's icing on the cake to have him in the fold.

Read the whole thing...

Monday, March 10, 2008

TFH 3/10: Almon Brown Strowger

Almon Brown Strowger received his patent for designing the first electromechanical telephone switching device on this day in 1891. His invention is the forerunner of today's networking equipment and furthered the communications revolution, which lead ultimately to the cybernetic revolution and the Internet.

Inventing direct dial, operator-less, automatic telephone switching? Sounds like a finest hour to me!

Culture of Corruption?

Isn't this the kind of story that is supposed - according to Nancy Pelosi anyway - to only be about a Republican? It's about the Democratic "Mr. Clean" too...

UPDATE (3/10 @ 1613): This is a very funny take, found via Google Search...

Saturday, March 08, 2008

Looks like the Yankees get 3 extra home games

Just tried to get tickets for the Yankees coming to Pittsburgh on June 24-26. Got tickets to the June 24 game, but the other two sold out before I could get them too. Considering what tickets at PNC Park are vs. Yankee Stadium, there'll be a whole bunch of out-of-town Yankee fans there I'm sure.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Enemies Domestic

The US Armed Forces Recruiting Station in Times Square was attacked with an explosive device this morning. I'm sure some sicko thought that this was a valid form of protest, but sorry, it's actually treasonous.

Las Vegas: Giving ammo to the socialized medicine drive

This story about a clinic in Las Vegas resuing hypodermic needles and potentially infecting thousands with Hepatitis or HIV (and who knows what else could have been transmitted) is absolutely disgusting and tragic.

The article (and it's hardly the only one; the story is all over the news - as it should be) cites "cutting costs" as the reason why the clining reused needles, medication vials, and likely other items that are supposed to be single use only.

I'm shocked that The Cackler and The Empty Suit haven't jumped on this one yet as why we have to completely nationalize and socialize health care. Obviously, the government could have done better. Yeah, right.

Health care costs can be controlled by free market principles, not government control. Right now, health care costs are dictated by the insurance companies, because "networked" health care practices are required to accept what the insurance company offers as full payment - even if the amount does not meet their costs, much less allow for profit. That logic breaks down very quickly.

What should happen all the time is what is going occur to when I get a endodontic procedure done. The endodontist I'm seeing isn't part of my insurance plan, so I have to pay out of pocket. My insurance is going to reimburse me what they would have paid a "network" endodontist for the same thing. The difference is that what my insurance company is reimbursing me is about 1/2 what the actual fee is for the procedure! Yeah, I could stay in business if I only got paid for 1/2 of what my goods or services were worth.

Want to fix health care? Allow providers to recover full economic cost of their services. At that point, competition between providers will control prices - not insurance companies.

Trust the free market; it works every time it's tried.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

TFH 3/5/2008: 2nd Lieutenant Robert John Hibbs, USA

From Medal of Honor Citiations:

*HIBBS, ROBERT JOHN

Rank and organization: Second Lieutenant, U.S. Army, Company B, 2d Battalion, 28th Infantry, 1st Infantry Division. Place and date: Don Dien Lo Ke, Republic of Vietnam, 5 March 1966. Entered service at: Des Moines, Iowa. Born: 21 April 1943, Omaha, Nebr. G.O. No.: 8, 24 February 1967. Citations: For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of life above and beyond the call of duty. 2d Lt. Hibbs was in command of a 15-man ambush patrol of the 2d Battalion, when his unit observed a company of Viet Cong advancing along the road toward the 2d Battalion's position. Informing his command post by radio of the impending attack, he prepared his men for the oncoming Viet Cong, emplaced 2 mines in their path and, when the insurgents were within 20 feet of the patrol's position, he fired the 2 antipersonnel mines, wounding or killing half of the enemy company. Then, to cover the withdrawal of his patrol, he threw hand grenades, stepped onto the open road, and opened fire on the remainder of the Viet Cong force of approximately 50 men. Having rejoined his men, he was leading them toward the battalion perimeter when the patrol encountered the rear elements of another Viet Cong company deployed to attack the battalion. With the advantage of surprise, he directed a charge against the Viet Cong, which carried the patrol through the insurgent force, completely disrupting its attack. Learning that a wounded patrol member was wandering in the area between the 2 opposing forces and although moments from safety and wounded in the leg himself, he and a sergeant went back to the battlefield to recover the stricken man. After they maneuvered through the withering fire of 2 Viet Cong machine guns, the sergeant grabbed the dazed soldier and dragged him back toward the friendly lines while 2d Lt. Hibbs remained behind to provide covering fire. Armed with only an M-16 rifle and a pistol, but determined to destroy the enemy positions, he then charged the 2 machine gun emplacements and was struck down. Before succumbing to his mortal wounds, he destroyed the starlight telescopic sight attached to his rifle to prevent its capture and use by the Viet Cong. 2d Lt. Hibb's profound concern for his fellow soldiers, and his intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty are in the highest traditions of the U.S. Army and reflect great credit upon himself and the Armed Forces of his country.

Lieutenant Hibbs, I honor your service and sacrifice. March 5, 1966 was your finest hour!

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

It's McCain, so I'm voting for the least worst

Well, John McCain is officially the Republican nominee for President now as he's gone over the top in the number of delegates required.

I will be voting for him in November.

Even though it will be meaningless, I am going to be writing in Bobby Jindal's name for President in the Pennsylvania primary in April. We could have done so much better than the Bob Dole (i.e. "it's his turn") of 2008.

While I'd hardly call him an across the board conservative, he'd be less damaging to our Nation than either "The Cackler" (as I'll call her, ever hear her laugh?) or "The Empty Suit" (as I'll call him, for as Rush says: "Nobody says nothing better").

It's going to be hard to be enthusiastic about Senator McCain though, but I'll try. Did bring myself to add the links to his campaign at right...

Monday, March 03, 2008

Indy is back, and I can't wait!

He protected the power of the divine...
He saved the cradle of civilization...
He triumphed over the armies of evil...
On May 22, the adventure continues:
Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull
(above material is from the trailer)

Watch the trailer for the movie at the Indiana Jones site!

According to what I've read, the movie is set in 1957 - 19 years after the events of Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. Thankfully, that puts the character's age closer to Harrison Ford's 65 years.

The trailer looks awesome. Can't wait to see Indy do to the Commies what he perfected against the Nazis. Frome the trailer, it also appears that we're going to be revisiting the famous warehouse shown at the end of Raiders.

May 22nd can't come soon enough for me!

Congratulations to Grace Anglican!

Yesterday Grace Anglican Fellowship - a Slippery Rock, PA church plant of my parish, St. Christopher's Church - switched to mission church status and has become Grace Anglican Church!

Congratulations to the Rev. Ethan Magness and his congregation! The Holy Spirit is assuredly doing wonderful things in northern Butler County!

Please pray for Ethan+ and the other leaders of Grace Anglican Church, as well as for their whole congregation and their work of spreading His Gospel.

Saturday, March 01, 2008

Don't blame the Air Force, blame Boeing

Part of the big news of the day is the United States Air Force's decision to procure Northrop Grumman's KC-45A tanker aircraft instead of Boeing's KC-767 offering as the replacement for aging KC-135 (in service since 1957) - and eventually KC-10 (in service since 1981) - air refuelling tankers.

The "scandalous" aspect to this decision is that the KC-45 is based on the Airbus A330 commercial airliner and is not manufactured in the United States! Airbus, of course, is owned by the European Aeronautic Defence and Space Corporation (EADS). Northrop Grumman will be doing final assembly of the KC-45 in Alabama, and will be using domestically-produced jet engines for the planes, but most of the airframe components will be manufactured in Europe.

My first reaction to this decision was surprise (Boeing had been the favorite to win the deal) and then concern that we are sourcing a critical component of the United States' ability to project air power worldwide to a foreign supplier. However, I've done some research and:

1) The per aircraft acquisition cost for both the KC-45 and the KC-767 are essentially the same.

2) The KC-45 is a larger aircraft than the KC-767 and can carry both more cargo (in that role) and more fuel for transfer to "primary mission" aircraft.

3) The Boeing 767 is a 1970s era design - it originally entered airline service in 1982. The aircraft is being retired as a commercial airliner in the next 12-18 months by Boeing in favor of the new 787 Dreamliner. Effectively, had they chosen the KC-767, the USAF would have been the only remaining customer of the plane.

4) The A330 entered service in 1994 and is still in full production. Its replacement, the A350, is still in the early design phase, and won't be flying until 2013 at the earliest.

Sorry, but once I got past my knee jerk reaction to this, it's obvious that the KC-45 is a better option for the United States Air Force, based on the only alternative being the KC-767. Would I have preferred a majority-American constructed aircraft, absolutely.

In my opinion, it is completely Boeing's fault. Why they based their "future" tanker offering on a late 1970s aircraft design when they could have either used either the aforementioned 21st Century 787 is beyond me. The 787 could have carried more than an A330-based platform since it's a comparably sized, and lighter aircraft.

Boeing could have even made their offering based on the even larger 777 aircraft (introduced 1995), which would have dwarfed the capabilities of any alternative. Based on my research, the per unit acquisition cost for either a 777 or 787-based tanker aircraft would have been comparable, if not identical, to that of either the KC-45 or the KC-767!

Great move Boeing; real smart move to try and saddle the best Air Force in the world with 30-year old airplane designs when you could have presented modern, top-of-the-line airframes that are at the cutting edge of civil airliner designs.

As a taxpayer, I'm glad the Air Force chose the KC-45.