Update, 5:00 PM: Witticism of the day goes to the Wall Street Journal’s James Taranto, who observes that “[Reid's] success to this point seems something of a miracle–an inspiration to dour, foolish men everywhere.”
Was that one of the painful throes of sheer desperation we heard from Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid yesterday?
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid took his GOP-blasting rhetoric to a new level Monday, comparing Republicans who oppose health care reform to lawmakers who clung to the institution of slavery more than a century ago….
“Instead of joining us on the right side of history, all the Republicans can come up with is, ‘slow down, stop everything, let’s start over.’ If you think you’ve heard these same excuses before, you’re right,” Reid said Monday. “When this country belatedly recognized the wrongs of slavery, there were those who dug in their heels and said ‘slow down, it’s too early, things aren’t bad enough.’”
Wow, what an apt analogy comparing us pesky ObamaCare opponents with the 19th century American defenders of chattel slavery because, you know, ObamaCare is so much about liberty. How else would you explain the extra layers of costly medical bureaucracy awaiting Americans if we vote for Harry Reid’s idea of health care reform: (more…)
After a busy weekend, all I have to offer are a few worthwhile reads for a Monday:
I listened carefully to Barack Obama’s West Point speech yesterday evening — at least as best I could while indulging the important concerns of the two Little Virtuses and ultimately having to turn off the radio to sit down for dinner. By that point I could tell the speech had dragged on too long for the relatively small amount of substance it contained.
I don’t need to go into great depth: Powerline’s Paul Mirengoff and Red State’s Erick Erickson offer excellent analyses of the politics, policies and rhetoric. (And Don Johnson asks where Colorado Republican Senatorial hopefuls Jane Norton, Ken Buck and Tom Wiens come down on Afghanistan.)
Meanwhile, if you want to find the depth of substance on the military challenges we face, and in Afghanistan in particular, the clarity and substance that was lacking in Obama’s speech — presented more pointedly and concisely — I recommend you read Victor Davis Hanson’s October address “The Future of Western War” in the latest (November 2009) edition of Hillsdale’s Imprimis.
A few items to commend to readers:
With that, I’ll leave a Thanksgiving meditation from Scripture, Psalm 145 (with passages that caught my attention highlighted in bold):
1 I will extol You, my God, O King,
And I will bless Your name forever and ever.
2 Every day I will bless You,
And I will praise Your name forever and ever.
3 Great is the LORD, and highly to be praised,
And His greatness is unsearchable.
4 One generation shall praise Your works to another,
And shall declare Your mighty acts.
5 On the glorious splendor of Your majesty
And on Your wonderful works, I will meditate.
6 Men shall speak of the power of Your awesome acts,
And I will tell of Your greatness.
7 They shall eagerly utter the memory of Your abundant goodness
And will shout joyfully of Your righteousness.
8 The LORD is gracious and merciful;
Slow to anger and great in lovingkindness.
9 The LORD is good to all,
And His mercies are over all His works.
10 All Your works shall give thanks to You, O LORD,
And Your godly ones shall bless You.
11 They shall speak of the glory of Your kingdom
And talk of Your power;
12 To make known to the sons of men Your mighty acts
And the glory of the majesty of Your kingdom.
13 Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom,
And Your dominion endures throughout all generations.
14 The LORD sustains all who fall
And raises up all who are bowed down.
15 The eyes of all look to You,
And You give them their food in due time.
16 You open Your hand
And satisfy the desire of every living thing.
17 The LORD is righteous in all His ways
And kind in all His deeds.
18 The LORD is near to all who call upon Him,
To all who call upon Him in truth.
19 He will fulfill the desire of those who fear Him;
He will also hear their cry and will save them.
20 The LORD keeps all who love Him,
But all the wicked He will destroy.
21 My mouth will speak the praise of the LORD,
And all flesh will bless His holy name forever and ever.
Ninety-one years ago today “the war to end all wars” officially ended. Among the millions of dead were more than 100,000 brave American military servicemen out of hundreds of thousands who honorably served (including two of my great uncles: Bill DeGrow and John E. “Ed” DeGrow). In 1954 the commemoration, originally called Armistice Day, expanded to celebrate the service of all American veterans and became known as Veterans Day.
Today I join with the millions of other Americans who honor the men and women who have worn the uniform for their sacrificial service on behalf of our nation. I am especially grateful this year to see so many businesses offering promotions that benefit our active duty personnel and veterans.
It almost goes without saying that the United States is besieged these days by dangers without and dangers within. In that light, may God keep our Republic strong, and may God enfold all our soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines — and their families — with firm guidance and loving protection.
Happy Veterans Day!
Twenty years ago today the Berlin Wall came down. Not exactly breaking news for my well-informed readers, but the significance of the event is hard to overstate. For five minutes of valuable reflection on the power of freedom with a stirring Beethoven soundtrack, check out this terrific video from the Competitive Enterprise Institute: (more…)
You’ll grant me a few indulgences for posting this one — after all, how often do I bother to write about my alma mater’s athletic feats? Not too often, I can assure you. But what happened yesterday in the old Hills & Dales on homecoming rates among the most historic gridiron happenings on Muddy Waters Field: the Chargers toppled the number 1 team in Division II, the perennial powerhouse Grand Valley State Lakers, 27-24.
Well, historic enough to make the Detroit News, anyway. The last time Hillsdale beat conference foe Grand Valley? Fifteen years ago, the year before I began my (non-athletic) college career. True, because it certainly didn’t happen during my brief tenures as sports editor for both the Hillsdale Collegian (1997) and Hillsdale Daily News (2001-02).
Yesterday’s upset ranks right up there in Charger football history with Chester Marcol’s 62-yard field goal (1969) and the 1985 NAIA national championship (before the team moved up to NCAA Division II). No word on whether the goalposts at Muddy Waters Field were left standing this time. But this was Hillsdale, after all — so no, it wasn’t that historic.
…Chargers charging to victory!
With the nearly never-ending election cycle, those of us here in the trenches can sometimes too easily lapse into the day-to-day tussles of the news without enough time spent in more serious reflection. (Or maybe it’s just those of us with small children whose attention spans are so easily distracted.)
Earlier this year I wrote several more reflective essays, most of which have ended up ignored by now. But while I still plan to write about the immediate issues of the day and follow events leading up to the 2010 election, I am also interested in engaging once more in deeper discussions about the status and future of the conservative movement — albeit, as dictated by the limits of my own time, occasionally.
What (besides the approaching end of baseball season) prompted me to do so? A recent essay published in the Washington Post by AEI’s Steven Hayward titled “Is Conservatism Brain-Dead?” (H/T The Next Right) ( I commend it to you — if you haven’t checked it out already.
Consider this post a teaser, and notice of a small course correction. There still will be plenty of political junk food to snack on here, but soon you also may have the opportunity to dine on something a little more substantive, too.
In recent years, one of the more famous heroic figures of the American Civil War — popularized by the Pulitzer-winning novel Killer Angels and the movie rendition Gettysburg — citizen-professor-soldier Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain was born on September 8, 1828. Today is the 181st anniversary of his birth.
Chamberlain, of course, was the hero of Gettysburg’s Little Round Top (1863) as commander of the 20th Maine, was wounded six times in battle, the general who presided over the surrender of the Confederate Army at Appomattox, Governor of Maine from 1867 to 1871, and President of Bowdoin College. If you want to learn more, I recommend In the Hands of Providence, a very good Chamberlain biography.
Rossputin makes a great observation about the not-so-great surprise (I’m shocked!) that the Obama porkulus money is being spent at such a slow pace:
The â€œstimulusâ€ bill was NEVER about stimulating the economy or fixing the infrastructure that needs fixing. Thatâ€™s why itâ€™s not being spent quickly and why many infrastructure projects are being undertaken where the bridge or road is not in very bad shape but happens to be in an important Democratic district.
Instead the â€œstimulusâ€ bill is about stimulating the Democratsâ€™ chances in the next election. The plan all along has been to save as much money as possible until mid-2010 and then spend like crazy, trying to buy as many votes as possible going into a mid-term election when the party in power tends to lose seats â€“ and which is already looking worse than usual for the Democrats.
This type of taxpayer-funded patronage is hardly new. If you’ve read the magnificent book The Forgotten Man by Amity Shlaes, you would know that Franklin D. Roosevelt similarly manufactured a lot of New Deal spending to his political advantage in the 1936 election — which proved to be landslide Democrat victory.
Obama and today’s Democrats have learned at least one lesson of history. But this time they aren’t working to produce a landslide as much as to stave one off on the other side.
Today marks the 40th anniversary of an event that made possible many a wry observation to begin with, “They can put a man on the moon, but they can’t….” (For a more serious take on how times have changed in the past four decades, check out yesterday’s Detroit Free Press column by bestselling author Mitch Albom.)
Last night I watched again the opening scenes of Saving Private Ryan. It’s hard to put such moving sacrifice into perspective, on this the 65th anniversary of the D-Day invasion to begin the liberation of Europe. But I leave you with portions of two relevant addresses — one contemporaneous and one retrospective. First, from General Dwight D. Eisenhower on the eve of invasion:
You are about to embark upon the Great Crusade, toward which we have striven these many months. The eyes of the world are upon you. The hopes and prayers of liberty-loving people everywhere march with you. In company with our brave Allies and brothers-in-arms on other Fronts, you will bring about the destruction of the German war machine, the elimination of Nazi tyranny over the oppressed peoples of Europe, and security for ourselves in a free world.
Then there was Ronald Reagan’s tribute to the “boys of Pointe du Hoc” delivered exactly 25 years ago: (more…)
No two events are perfectly parallel, but seldom are two such similar and terrible stories juxtaposed for our edification. Within 24 hours and within 500 miles from each other, two notable murders occurred — both evil acts perpetrated in public by two different men, but both for apparent ideological reasons, both sudden and horribly unexpected events for the families and loved ones of the victims, both suspects quickly brought into custody.
That’s where the parallels end. What’s most informative is some of the prominent responses to the two incidents: (more…)
On this Memorial Day, I can’t think to do any better than point you back to last year’s remembrance:
O beautiful for heroes proved
In liberating strife,
Who more than self their country loved,
And mercy more than life!
May God thy gold refine,
Till all success be nobleness,
And every gain divine.
Today, pay your respects to a fallen soldier, sailor, airman, Marine – and to their loved ones still with us. And donâ€™t forget to thank the troops you meet for their service to us all. Happy Memorial Day!
Otherwise, I defer to this Saturday Wall Street Journal column by Peggy Noonan (H/T Steve Meyer) on the need to renew American fascination with the military hero. (more…)
A quick-hit double-link in the form of two recent essays I recommend as timely and relevant reading for thoughtful lovers of liberty:
- “The Welfare State and the Meaning of Life” by Greg Forster, whose work I have come to know through his excellent research and analysis of school choice issues, but in this case makes a strong moral case against socialism
- “Ron Paul’s Secession Lies on Video” by libertarian lawyer and thinker Tim Sandefur, a college classmate of mine who delivers a remedial lesson in United States history and the Constitution to the Congressman and former presidential candidate … It’s one thing to speak up loudly against federal overreaches and for a renewed respect of the 10th Amendment, it’s quite another to call for unilateral secession from the Union (There is one sentence in Sandefur’s essay that I must disparage: Find it, and earn yourself a few bonus points)
Lovers of liberty need to be articulate and discerning, especially in these critical times.