The Substance Missing from Obama’s Afghanistan Speech at West Point

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 … [Read more...]

Happy Thanksgiving

A few items to commend to readers:Michelle Morin has eloquently recounted the historical origins of Thanksgiving Mr. Bob has posted a nostalgic video of a Thanksgiving greeting from our former president Ronald Reagan. Don't forget you can find my 2008 series of "What I'm Thankful For" on one convenient page 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 … [Read more...]

Happy Veterans Day

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 … [Read more...]

Do We Still Celebrate the Berlin Wall’s Collapse 20 Years Later?

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: … [Read more...]

Historic Hillsdale Homecoming Win: Chargers Down No. 1 GVSU Lakers

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 … [Read more...]

Restoring Some Substance to the Political Junk Food Menu at Mt. Virtus

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 … [Read more...]

Remembering General Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain (1828-1914)

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. … [Read more...]

Obama Learned One History Lesson

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 “stimulus” bill was NEVER about stimulating the economy or fixing the infrastructure that needs fixing. That’s why it’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 “stimulus” bill is about stimulating the Democrats’ 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 … [Read more...]

D-Day Plus 65 Years

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 … [Read more...]