Tsunamis and the passing of Jerry Orbach
Yes, I know the two are very unrelated, but my blogging time is limited.
The disaster and devastation experienced as a result of the Asian Tsunami cannot be understated. I, for one, cannot remember a natural disaster in my lifetime that has caused so much destruction and taken so many lives at one time. My heart breaks to see so many in so much pain.
Now that the water has begun to recede and the bodies are beginning to be identified, the political jockeying on the world stage is starting. Everyone wants to be seen in the best possible light.
I am very proud of the way W has taken swift action in this matter. He has organized a Coalition of the Effectively Able (my words, not his) of the United States, Japan, Australia, and India to respond to this disaster. That said, the UN is up in arms - stating that they and they alone should be the organizers of the relief effort. W, by there definition, is undercutting their authority. They seem astonished at this effort.
I can answer their astonishment with one simple phrase:
Iraqi Oil for Food Program - Codename RATHOLE.
Why on earth would we want to throw more money down that rathole? Can anyone in their right mind expect well meaning democratic nations to fall for that again? Sorry guys. We don't dance. The Coalition of the Effectively Able can get relief aid to the needed regions faster and more effectively than the RATHOLE people can - even bypassing the stop where the RATHOLE bureaucrat's pockets are lined.
I'm sure this won't be the last we hear of this effort.
Memo to two nations:
France: You are not the largest donor of humanitarian aid in the world. Your numbers are roughly half that of the United States, and that's even before we start counting foreign aid. Nice try.
Sri Lanka: You may not like Israel. That's fine. But when your house is on fire and your family is dying you really shouldn't ask where the fire hose came from.
And finally - Jerry Orbach aka Detective Lenny Briscoe.
Jerry Orbach died yesterday after a short battle with Prostate Cancer. After 12 seasons on NBC's Law & Order he had become a regular visitor to my television screen.
His musical theatre, stage, and screen career spanned over four decades. That said, he'll be most remembered as Lenny Briscoe - the hard nosed, old fashioned, and wisecracking detective he played so well. Near the end of his life, he and Lenny became harder and harder to tell apart. I guess that's the hallmark of a great actor - they just play themselves.
One more note about Jerry - your kids probably know him very well. You see, not only did he play a hard nosed NYPD detective, he also lent his vast musical talents to the first animated feature ever to be nominated for Best Picture. Jerry played the speaking and singing voice of Luimere - the Candle Stick in Walt Disney's Beauty and the Beast.
Remember that next time you find yourself humming Be Our Guest.
Godspeed Jerry. You'll be missed.
Here endeth the lesson.
In the coming days the world will celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, an even commonly known as Christmas, despite all efforts to redefine the season. Trees will be lit, presents will be opened, and feasts will be eaten - all to commemorate the birth of a man over 2000 years ago.
His birth, foretold by prophets and heralded by an angelic choir, went largely unnoticed by the world he came to save. It was a very busy season after all. The world around him was in turmoil - each man being recalled to the city of his birth to be taxed and counted according to imperial fiat.
It was in such a world that he was born. His birth was the most important event happening at that time, never the less when that event came knocking on the door of Bethlehem, there was no room in the inn. Our lives are sometimes like that. Too cluttered by the hustle and bustle of the daily grind to take notice of the small events and opportunities that come knocking.
The first 30 years of his life are largely unrecorded. We know that he grew up as the son of a carpenter, "growing in grace and truth by degrees." He grew to be a large man - standing some 6 foot 3 inches judging by the modifications made to the tomb his body inhabited for the three days after his crucifixion.
He took from the weak and the simple of mankind and forever changed the world - even though he never ventured far from the place of his birth. His gathered a physician, a tax collector, some fisherman, and other run of the mill people and turned them into a group of men that would forever leave their mark on the world.
He was the most popular dinner guest in all of Jerusalem. Women flocked to be near him. Children loved him. He ruined every funeral he ever attended. He was a strong and mighty man - if you doubt that go read the story of the Cleansing of the Temple.
His message was simple. "Come follow me, for my yoke is easy and my burden is light." What did he ask in place of a burnt offering? A broken heart and a contrite spirit. For this he was persecuted, humiliated, and eventually crucified.
He was hung on a cross between two thieves just outside Jerusalem. For those of you unfamiliar with the brutal nature of this form of capital punishment, I will only advise you it takes a very long time to die. It was during this time, undoubtedly the lowest point in Christ's life, that one of the thieves looked upon Jesus and said the following immortal words:
Jesus, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom!
It is from this event that I learned a very important message. When the chips were down, his enemies were celebrating victory, and all seemed to be lost, Christ conducted himself in such a manner that a dying man looked into his eyes...and saluted him as a king.
That, dear reader, is why I celebrate Christmas. It truly is a time to celebrate joy, renewal, and peace.
Lastly, while in the midst of your reverie, take time to remember those Peacemakers who are far from home and in harm's way. They do what they do so you may live as you like.
Here endeth the lesson.
From the front lines
Before I get around to my Christmas post, I'd like you to visit Training For Eternity. It is written by a US Army Chaplain who was present in the aftermath of the attack in Mosul. This man truly does God's work.
Soldier on, Chaplain.
Blessed Are The Peacemakers
Today in Iraq 22 American Servicemen were murdered by terrorist bastards.
My prayers go out to the wounded and the families of the dead. What did they do to deserve this attack? They were having lunch.
I hope the families find peace and understanding after this loss. As for the terrorists (I will no longer refer to them as insurgents, for they are little more than criminal thugs) I have but one thing to say.
Make your peace with Allah, you'll be seeing him shortly.
To the survivors, I need say nothing more than Godspeed and Good Hunting. They know what to do.
1. To fallen soldiers let us sing
where no rockets fly nor bullets wing
Our broken brothers let us bring
to the mansions of the Lord
2. No more bleeding no more fight
No prayers pleading through the night
just divine embrace, eternal light
in the mansions of the Lord
3. Where no mothers cry and no children weep
We will stand and guard to the angels sleep
All through the ages safely keep
the mansions of the Lord
- Mansions of the Lord as performed by the West Point Glee Club
The Two Word Controversy
I'm going to say it, so if you're easily offended, you've now been warned.
Turn back now. I'm warning you again.
Ok. You asked for it.
Somewhere, somehow, lawyers at the ACLU headquarters just felt a tremor in the force. They are, no doubt, at this time drafting legal proceedings against the SOTR demanding a cease to all references to holidays of a religious nature.
You laugh, but remember absurdity usually finds its way into the public square.
I grow weary of the unceasing effort made by the Christophobes masquerading as politically correct leftist elites to remove all mention of Christ from Christmas - replacing said reference with terms like "Winter Carnival", "Time of Gifts", and the old standby, "Holiday Season".
As Anthony Browne, a self proclaimed atheist explains, this assault on Christmas is nothing new.
In 1647 Oliver Cromwell cancelled Christmas: no parties, no fun, no days off work. Cromwell's Puritanism was offended by bacchanalian revelry, led by the Lord of Misrule. Each year, town criers went through the land ordering that "Christmas and all other superstitious festivals" should not be celebrated.Reminding the reader again of Browns status as "a lifelong atheist who finds all God stuff embarrassing," he himself appreciates the religious message of Christmas.
The English were outraged. Secret festivities were held, pro-Christmas riots broke out and dozens of Christmas martyrs were jailed. A pamphlet called An Hue and Cry after Christmas was published, demanding that: "Any man or woman, that can give any knowledge, or tell any tidings of an old, old, very old grey bearded gentleman, called Christmas . . . let him bring him back again into England."
The ACLU and like minded self-loathing, guilt-ridden, politically correct liberal elite would have you believe that the mere mention of Christ in a carol, decoration, or other context is offensive to minority religions and thus - in the spirit of never offending anyone on any level - must be discouraged and even outlawed.
Their argument is invalid on its face and any other part of its anatomy. America is the most universally acceptive religious country on the face of God's Green Earth. You want to set up a Kwannza display? Go right ahead. Light the Menorah. Trim the Christmas Tree. Come join the party, there's room enough for everyone. That is the great message of America - one that is truly lost on the self-loathing, guilt-ridden, politically correct liberal elite.
So, dear reader, join me in a little civil disobedience. Its good for the soul. Don't let Scrooge and The Grinch win. If you see any of the Christophobes waging war on Christmas, sing a carol for them. Try Joy to the World, or O Come All Ye Faithful.
Then make sure to wish them a Very Merry Christmas.
Here endeth the lesson.
Lord, help thou Newsweek's Unbelief
This commentary is written as part of Hugh Hewitt's Vox Blogoli VI - What does Newsweek's story on Christmas tell you about the MSM?
Let me first state, for the record, I am not a New Testament Theologian - nor do I intend to play one in this Blogosphere. Never the less, I was a bit taken aback by Jon Meacham's lengthy effort to put a secular spin on what he himself admits is a belief held by a majority of Americans.
You see, I count myself among the number who believes that Jesus Christ was born to Mary in a Bethlehem stable over 2000 years ago. I take Luke at his word when he describes the Angel Gabriel announcing the birth to the shepards watching their flocks by night. It is somehow fitting that the most spectacular musical event in human history was witnessed by so few.
Are there imperfections in the Scriptural Record? Of course. The gospels were written by different men with differing viewpoints on what was important to record for posterity. Their recollections are imperfect, but never the less they speak truth to the hearts of men - and something inside the reader senses and feels the truthfulness of their words.
And that, dear reader, is where the MSM and the Believing Christian part company. Jon Meacham would want you to believe Christianity in general is too flawed to be believed. His sources are no doubt well researched and vetted - at least enough for him to be satisfied with
his work. Mr. Meacham is obviously very well read and learned, however he lacks wisdom.
It is as if Mr. Meacham and the rest of the MSM were like those who listened to Jesus as he recited parables and teachings in the 13th Chapter of Matthew:
53 And it came to pass, that when Jesus had finished these parables, he departed thence.Very little can be done with those who make not the slightest effort to have faith or believe in something or someone they cannot fully understand. As is evident by the last verse quoted above, even Christ himself could do no mighty works because of the unbelief of the people
54 And when he was come into his own country, he taught them in their synagogue, insomuch that they were astonished, and said, Whence hath this man this wisdom, and these mighty works?
55 Is not this the carpenter's son? is not his mother called Mary? and his brethren, James, and Joses, and Simon, and Judas?
56 And his sisters, are they not all with us? Whence then hath this man all these things?
57 And they were offended in him. But Jesus said unto them, A prophet is not without honor, save in his own country, and in his own house.
58 And he did not many mighty works there because of their unbelief.
with whom He was interacting.
Am I making a wholesale, full scale, scathing indictment of the MSM as a whole? Perhaps. I know there must be men and women of faith behind the wrought iron gates of the MSM establishment. That said, their voices are faint, and their beliefs well hidden. Until the MSM
undergoes a rebirth of mainstream values and beliefs, no great work can be done there.
Here endeth the lesson.
What if Harry Threw a Hearing, and Nobody Cared?
In a very short article in today's Washington Times, it is reported that the Dems intend to continue their oversight of the W Administration.
I feel the need to point out something that is and should be obvious to everyone. The Democrats are going to hold show hearings next year which have no real meaning. No subpoena power is granted to these "committees" and little more can come from them except sound bytes good for use on the evening news.
The Dems feel the need to do this because they believe the Republicans have "skirted its responsibility for administration oversight as defined in the Constitution."
If the Democrats really want to exercise the responsibility of congressional oversight as it relates to the Executive Branch, they might want to consider one very simple, elementary course of action:
Win An Election
Here endeth the lesson.
I am not a lawyer. I do not play one on TV, nor to I claim to be a legal authority in the blogosphere.
That said, and despite the best efforts of CBS' David Paul Kuhn I will say what's on my mind if for no other reason that to make him angry.
This week, the House and Senate passed what is billed to be the most extensive reform of the US Intelligence Community in nearly half a century. Whether or not the reforms prove valuable, or merely political window dressing remains to be seen. I have a great respect for the men and women who work in the shadowy Intel world and will thus give them the benefit of the doubt for now.
Within the intel reform bill were also some anti-terrorism laws designed to give the government more effective tools in catching the bad guys.
That is, after all, what law enforcement is supposed to do. More often than not, the American Civil Liberties Union believes the exact opposite. They believe in making life easier for the criminal element and harder for those who would prosecute, imprison, and possibly execute said criminals.
Perhaps I should've warned the ACLU readers. The mere mention of state sanctioned execution might rupture one of their blood vessels.
You can read about the ACLU hysterics here.
Having admitted my non-lawyer status, let me explain a few things to the ACLU:
1. There exists no right to criminal behavior. Scour the Constitution all you want. Its not there. Therefore, if your scumbag clients get themselves caught by The Man while engaging in criminal activity, they'd better get used to a 6x9 cell with a large, morbidly obese roommate named Bubba.
2. Terrorists do not have a right to operate in this country. Nor do those who harbor, fund, or otherwise support said terrorists. Anyone participating in terrorist related activities who has the mis-fortune of falling into Uncle Sam's dragnet better make friends with Bubba too.
3. This nation is at war. There are those who seek to do this nation harm, and more often than not, you at the ACLU find yourselves on their side. Think about that very carefully. Would you have the same freedoms under their system of "government"? Methinks not.
4. Finally, a cheesy reference to a really bad Stallone movie. In Cobra, right after he had cleaned out and killed several thugs in a supermarket, Cobra was asked the following question by a reporter:
Reporter: Detective, did you use unnecessary deadly force?
Cobra: I used everything I had.
We've already learned through sad experience the consequences of senselessly limiting our ability to protect this country from her enemies. I, for one, would not want to be caught on the wrong side of this war.
Here endeth the lesson.
I had such hopes for Harry Reid
I did. I swear.
I had hoped that he would've learned from his predecessor, Tiny Tommy Daschle - the soon to be former Senate Minority Leader whose next job is wondering what he's going to do now that he actually has to live in South Dakota.
South Dakota is wondering what it will do with Tiny Tommy. Perhaps his travel visa will be revoked. But I digress.
Harry (I haven't come up with a nickname for him yet - feel free to suggest one) went on Meet the Press on Sunday. Rather than attempt to bring some semblance of comprehension to the Democratic Party, Harry evidently spent the night studying Tiny Tommy's playbook. A complete transcript of the interview can be found here.
Some highlights of the exchange:
That, dear reader, is straight from the Tiny Tommy playbook. Back in September, I commented at length regarding the realities facing Social Security. Harry would do well to read that. He needs to remember that my Social Security funds are mine and I would prefer that he keep his hands off my decisions regarding my retirement.
MR. RUSSERT: Private accounts for Social Security--the president has made that a priority of his domestic agenda. Will you work with him in privatizing part of Social Security?
SEN. REID: Tim, I can remember as a little boy my widowed grandmother with eight children. She lived alone, but she felt independent because she got every month her old age pension check. That's what this is all about. The most successful social program in the history of the world is being hijacked by Wall Street. Yes, Social Security is a good program. And if the president has some ideas about trying to improve it, I'll talk to him, and we as Democrats will, but we are not going to let Wall Street hijack Social Security. It won't happen. They are trying to destroy Social Security.
MR. RUSSERT: No private accounts?
SEN. REID: They are trying to destroy Social Security by giving this money to the fat cats on Wall Street, and I think it's wrong.
After reading the interview transcript and the barbed attacks aimed at W, Big Time, and Clarence Thomas, I can only arrive at the conclusion that Harry is attempting to follow in the footsteps of Tiny Tommy.
Harry, you and Tiny Tommy share some remarkable similarities. You are, as he was, a Blue Senator from a Red State. Next time you go to the White House, look closely at the roof. Someplace up there on a pike is Tiny Tommy's political head.
Best to shred the Tiny Tommy playbook, Harry.
Here endeth the lesson.
Corruption at the UN? I'm shocked!!
Taking time to point out corruption at the United Nations is like trying to count the stars. The instances are far too numerous to document - almost.
In recent days, the putrid details surrounding the UN Oil For Food (properly entitled Oil to line the pockets of Kofi Annan's Cronies) have begun to surface.
If you read the entire article, you'll find links to other details that will raise your blood pressure. The one that particularly perturbs me is the one regarding Kofi Annan's son, Kojo
Seems that Kojo took advantage of his dad's position to line his pockets with some cold, hard, ill gotten Iraqi cash. Kofi's reaction when confronted with proof of his son's misdeeds? Surprised, and of course the old Tom Daschle standby, disappointed. To quote the man directly:
He is a grown man, and I don't get involved with his activities and he doesn't get involved with mine.
I don't know about you, but my father would personally fly out and woodshed me to express his surprise and disappointment if I had acted in a similar manner.And, don't forget the French Connection.
Kofi's actions as a "leader" are symptomatic of the near if not completely fatal disease infesting the halls of the United Nations Headquarters which has turned those buildings into a huge waste of valuable New York City real estate. Its almost as if Kofi took a page from Casablanca and is doing a very bad imitation of the cop:
Kofi: There's corruption in this establishment! I'm shocked!
Moneygrubbing Corruption Peddler: Sir, here are the numbered Swiss accounts into which your kickback money has been deposited.
Kofi: Oh, yes. Thank you. Please blame the Usual Suspects.
Moneygrubbing Corruption Peddler: The Americans and other well meaning capitalistic countries with democratically elected leaders?
Kofi: Yes, that will do nicely.
Somebody, please stop the insanity.
Birth, Life, and Death
After having taken to heart the virtual tongue lashing bestowed upon the Blogosphere by Hugh (honestly, Hugh, I was really getting around to it), I have decided to comment on the Groningen Protocol.
Now I know you're asking, "Sure, Cordeiro, first how do you pronounce Groningen and what is the related Protocol?"
I have no idea how to answer the first question, as I don't speak anything close to Dutch. I can answer the second question.
The Groningen Protocol has been put forth by the Dutch detailing the circumstances under which measures may be taken to euthanize newborn babies deemed to be terminally ill.
No, you did not misread my commentary. The Dutch, who already have protocols to kill terminally ill elderly people now have a protocol by which they can legally kill newborns - actually up until age 12.
But wait, it gets better.
A parent's role is limited under the protocol. While experts and critics familiar with the policy said a parent's wishes to let a child live or die naturally most likely would be considered, they note that the decision must be professional, so rests with doctors.I am not a doctor, nor do I play one on TV. I do not purport to understand the issues surrounding the decision to terminate life support or other measures used to prolong the life of a terminally ill infant or child.
What I am is a husband and a father. I have stood by the fetching Mrs. Cordeiro twice as she has reached forth to touch the hand of God and bring life into this world. In the deep recesses of my soul I knew that I might be called upon to make decisions that would affect the life and possible death of my bride and/or our child.
As a husband and a father, that is my job. Its what I signed up for. No doctor or other professional has the right, Groningen Protocol be damned, to interfere in that role. Anyone attempting to make life and death decisions regarding my children runs the risk of having his or her head forcibly removed from his or her body. The duty of parents is to protect their children at all costs from anyone seeking to do them harm. Parents understand this. Fathers understand this.
The Dutch, however, seem to have justified themselves all the way down the slippery slope by codifying something unspeakable - most likely so they can justify a death for convenience sake.
But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea.- Matthew 18:6 Here endeth the lesson.