February 24, 2005
Great American Quotes
Liberty and Union, now and forever, one and inseparable.
-- Daniel Webster
A house divided against itself cannot stand.
-- Abraham Lincoln
The business of America is business.
-- Calvin Coolidge
In this springtime of hope, some lights seem eternal; America's is.
-- Ronald Reagan
If you try that again, I'll ram my fist up your ass.
-- Rep. Bill Cadman, addressing a colleague on the floor of the Colorado House of Representatives, February 22, 2005. (Rocky Mountain News via Drudge.)
The Rubber Band Man's "Pricipal"
In yesterday's Best of the Web, the Journal's James Taranto notes an example of the mindlessness enshrined in most zero-tolerance school policies.
At Liberty Middle School in Orange County, Florida, a 13-year-old student received a 10-day suspension and may be expelled after school officials accused him of assaulting a teacher with a rubber band.
Robert Gomez, a seventh-grader at Liberty Middle School, said he picked up a rubber band at school and slipped it on his wrist. Gomez said when his science teacher demanded the rubber band, the student said he tossed it on her desk. After the incident, Gomez received a 10-day suspension for threatening his teacher with what administrators say was a weapon ...
I linked to the Liberty Middle School website and clicked the Administration link. There I noticed that a welcoming statement from the principal, Elisha Gonzalez-Bonnewitz, is entitled "A message from the pricipal [sic]."
Clearly, it's time for President Bush to champion the No Education Administrator Left Behind Act.
February 22, 2005
Great Moments In Funeral Pre-Planning
I want a great funeral ... I want my ashes shot out of a cannon. — Hunter S. Thompson, instructing his family moments before committing suicide, February 20, 2005. (As reported by the New York Post)
February 21, 2005
The U.S.S. Who????
On Saturday, the United States Navy commissioned its last Seawolf-class attack submarine, the USS Jimmy Carter.
[blink...blink...rubbing eyes] Wait a second. Did I just type what I think I typed??
I sure did!
I can only assume that the Carter is armed with nothing but good intentions.
Oops. Not so. The AP reports that the new sub "entered the Navy's fleet Saturday as the most heavily armed submarine ever built ..."
Well, well, well, I'll be damned. America's most heavily-armed attack sub is named for a weak-bladdered, anti-America pacifist. Oh, the irony. I love it!
Now when North Korea or some other punk-country causes problems, President Bush can just tell 'em that the United States will send Jimmy Carter to "negotiate" a solution.
George Washington Day
Note: This is a reprint of an item I originally posted on February 17, 2003.
Today America pays tribute to its presidents. Unfortunately that group includes many lackluster chief executives, including the politically inept (James Buchanan, Ulysess Grant, Woodrow Wilson and Jimmy Carter) and the morally inept (John Tyler, Millard Fillmore, Warren Harding, Lyndon Johnson, and Bill Clinton). These presidents are not worthy of a holiday-caliber commemoration.
Moreover, honoring all the presidents collectively on one day renders the holiday meaningless. That's why Congress should scrap Presidents Day and replace it with a holiday honoring the one person indispensable in the forging of the United States: George Washington.
As the Continental Army's commander-in-chief in the American Revolution, the most influential voice calling for a Constitutional Convention (over which he presided) and the first president of the United States, Washington occupies the center stage of American history. But more important than what Washington did is what he did not do. Though he would have had the military and popular support to do so, he firmly refused absolute power by explicitly dismissing suggestions that he make himself America's king.
In May of 1782—less than a year after the British surrendered to Washington at Yorktown—the Continental Army had yet to be paid by the new (and largely powerless) Congress established under the Articles of Confederation. In an attempt to resolve the issue of compensation, Colonel Lewis Nicola wrote his commander-in-chief expressing the opinion of many in the Continental Army that Washington make himself king of the United States. Washington's indignant reply reveals not only his exemplary character but his steadfast commitment to limited republican government:
Sir: With a mixture of great surprise and astonishment I have read with attention the Sentiments you have submitted to my perusal. Be assured Sir, no occurrence in the course of the War, has given me more painful sensations than your information of there being such ideas existing in the Army as you have expressed, and I must view with abhorrence, and reprehend with severety. For the present, the communication of them will rest in my own bosom, unless some further agitation of the matter, shall make a disclosure necessary.
I am much at a loss to conceive what part of my conduct could have given encouragement to an address which to me seems big with the greatest mischiefs that can befall my Country. If I am not deceived in the knowledge of myself, you could not have found a person to whom your schemes are more disagreeable; at the same time in justice to my own feelings I must add, that no Man possesses a more sincere wish to see ample justice done to the Army than I do, and as far as my powers and influence, in a constitutional way extend, they shall be employed to the utmost of my abilities to effect it, should there be any occasion. Let me conjure you then, if you have any regard for your Country, concern for yourself or posterity, or respect for me, to banish these thoughts from your Mind, and never communicate, as from yourself, or any one else, a sentiment of the like Nature.--May 22, 1782
As the nation's first president, Washington established presidential precedents and traditions to which most of his successors adhere. He defined the office. In doing so he was guided by one objective, which he explained in his Farewell Address of 1796:
With me, a predominant motive has been to endeavour to gain time to our country to settle and mature its yet recent institutions, and to progress without interruption, to that degree of strength and consistency, which is necessary to give it, humanly speaking, the command of its own fortunes.
Washington's policy triumphed. And today the United States has "the command of its own fortunes."
America should show its gratitude and respect by designating George Washington's birthday—February 22—a national holiday.
Fear And Loathing In Aspen
After accidentally shooting his assistant while chasing a bear from his property five years ago, I assumed Hunter S. Thompson was a bad shot.
I was wrong.
No longwinded eulogy here other than to say that after years of brain-nullifying drug and alcohol abuse and breaking the sound barrier with a new motorcycle or car, Hunter finally achieved his life's goal -- an untimely death.
My favorite HST column is a hilarious review of the Ducati 900 Supersport that he wrote for Cycling World magazine. Entitled Song of the Sausage Creature, Hunter concludes with suggesting his epitaph:
That is the attitude of the new-age superbike freak, and I am one of them. On some days they are about the most fun you can have with your clothes on. The Vincent just killed you a lot faster than a superbike will. A fool couldn't ride the Vincent Black Shadow more than once, but a fool can ride a Ducati 900 many times, and it will always be a bloodcurdling kind of fun. That is the Curse of Speed which has plagued me all my life. I am a slave to it. On my tombstone they will carve, "IT NEVER GOT FAST ENOUGH FOR ME."
February 14, 2005
Czechs and Balances
The yellow-bellied commie symps in charge of Spain these days think Cuba's Darth Castro is muy swello.
That's why the Spanish rojos recently led an effort to repeal a 2003 European Union resolution urging member-nations to invite anti-Castro Cubans to embassy parties in Havana.
Granted: when it comes to fighting communism, inviting a freedom fighter to an embassy soiree for foie gras, cavier, cocktails and delightfully cheeky conversation is hardly on a par with the Berlin Airlift. But, hey, it's a bit refreshing to see that the listing-to-the-left gargoyles running Old Europe had the gumption to make even a slightly symbolic anti-communist gesture.
But now that al-Qeada has managed to engineer the election of socialist snake Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero as Spain's president, the 16th Century superpower did a 'bout-face and moved last month to repeal the EU's anti-Castro resolution.
New Europe to the rescue!
As the Prague Post reports (via James Taranto), a new EU member-nation with vivid memories of communist brutality flexed its muscles:
In their first foreign-policy victory since joining the EU, Czech officials in Brussels have blocked a proposed ban on inviting Cuban dissidents to receptions at European embassies in Havana.
... the Czechs threatened to use their veto in the 25-member Council of Foreign Ministers, where unanimity is required on policy decisions.
The "Cocktail Wars," as one paper dubbed them, ended Jan. 31 when Foreign Minister Cyril Svoboda convinced other ministers to remove the ban during a closed-door lunch.
"I consider this an unequivocal success," Svoboda later told reporters.
Debate over the ban touched a nerve here, where many former dissidents entered politics after communism fell in 1989.
Former dissident-turned-president Vaclav Havel wrote in the Jan. 28 edition of the French newspaper Le Figaro, "I can hardly imagine a better way for the EU to spit on [its] principles. ... We will start discriminating against free-thinking people."
"Considering our totalitarian past, it was unacceptable for us to accept limitations on contact with people who are fighting for democracy," Svoboda told reporters.
As Donald Rumsfeld often says, this is an amazing thing. Here we have an Eastern European nation -- fresh from breaking the brutal bonds of communist rule -- boldly thwarting attempts by Western European commie sympathizers from smooching Darth Castro's fanny.
Western European socialists are, no doubt, stewing. It was two years ago this month that France's Jacque Chirac chastised and threatened Eastern European nations -- many of which were, at the time, waiting on EU membership approval -- for endorsing America's Iraq policy. Sniffed Chirac:
These countries have been not very well behaved and rather reckless of the danger of aligning themselves too rapidly with the American position ... It is not really responsible behavior. It is not well brought-up behavior. They missed a good opportunity to keep quiet ... Romania and Bulgaria were particularly irresponsible. If they wanted to diminish their chances of joining Europe they could not have found a better way.
In hindsight, Chirac's comments betray a desperation. Perhaps he and other EU socialists feared that admitting Eastern European countries would undermine Western Europe's leftist goals.
Judging from the Czech Republic's EU resolution victory last month, Chirac's fears are, happily, well founded.
February 03, 2005
Honoring SFC Paul Smith
Last Memorial Day, I posted the heroic story of Army Sergeant First Class Paul Smith.
A member of the 11th Engineers, 3rd Infantry Division and a veteran of the Persian Gulf War, the 33-year-old Smith pledged "all that I am to ensure that all my boys make it home" from Operation Iraqi Freedom.
On April 4, 2003, Smith and 17 of his "boys" were erecting a temporary POW camp near the Baghdad airport when they came under heavy fire from nearly 100 Iraqi Fadayeen troops on the left and right. Heavily outmanned and outgunned, Smith boarded an American armored vehicle, manned the .50 caliber machine gun and began laying down protective fire in both directions. Smith fired for several minutes, pinning the Fadayeen soldiers down, saving the lives of his men and buying time for reinforcements to arrive. As American reinforcements dispatched the Fadayeen troops, an Iraqi bullet smashed into Smith's neck, killing him instantly.
But, true to his word, SFC Smith's boys made it home.
Last Tuesday, Paul Smith's widow Birgit, daughter Jessica and son David were informed by the Pentagon that President Bush will award Paul our nation's highest and rarest honor, the Congressional Medal of Honor. The first CMH recipient since 1993, SFC Smith is also the first Iraqi Freedom veteran so honored.
According to the St. Petersburg Times, the presentation ceremony will take place at the White House in March.
It's important to remember that Smith wasn't ordered to man the machine gun. In fact, he could have ordered any of his men to undertake that duty. But he didn't. He gave his life to save his men and to defend his nation. SFC Paul Smith is the best America can do.
February 02, 2005
Insert Foot (A) Into Mouth (B)
As noted in today's Washington Times, megaboob Jimmy Carter engaged in a bit of wishful thinking last September on NBC's Today show:
I personally do not believe they're going to be ready for the [Iraqi] election in January...because there's no security there.
Does this guy ever tire of being wrong?
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