Monday, March 23, 2009

Heart vs. Mind

Saturday was a perfect day in the woods of northern Florida, with the dogwoods blooming and not even a hint of rain.  At our campsite, I was lounging in my hammock gazing up at the bright green canopy of the forest when Sarah climbed in with me.  She snuggled up, placed her hands on my chest, and said: "Daddy, I'm not done with lunch but I want to see you because I love you."

Back home on Sunday night, she knew the following day was a workday.  When I tucked her into bed she asked:  "Daddy, can you sleep in my bed tonight since you won't get to see me tomorrow?"

And so I have been feeling happy and sad at the same time: Happy that she is so sweet at this stage in her life (she is four) but sad with the knowledge that these days are numbered.  For the most part, she genuinely loves doing things with me and Erika, but there is no doubt that come puberty  or some point before  that will change.  Being seen with her parents will become uncool.  She will want to be thought of as independent and free of our influence.  Her classmates will come to have more sway than us.

This is all natural in the grand scheme of things, so in a philosophical sense, it can not be seen as bad.  Every one of us who ever lived to adulthood experiened the change in ourselves, and most of us turned out just fine, and most of us have strong relationships with our parents now that we are grown.

But as much as my mind understands this and accepts it, my heart thinks it absolutely sucks.   I want Sarah to stay four years old forever, and I want me and Erika to stay in our late thirties, but God has other plans.  I trust Him, but I would be lying if I said the trusting is easy.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Spring Equinox

Some thoughts about spring on its first day:


I love how it is often warm and rarely humid.


I love that bright, shimmering shade of green that new leaves give to old trees.


I love how wildflowers turn ordinary roadsides into vivid profusions of color and life.


I love going swimming with my daughter again.


I love sitting outside in the afternoon and drinking a margarita beneath a cloudless blue sky.


I love spring training baseball.


And finally, I am riveted by the most intense pursuit in all of sports:  the NHL playoffs.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Emotions Strangely Mixed

It is two months after Inauguration Day, and the power grabs of the most dishonest administration in our history continue unabated.

With each passing day, Obama & Co.’s mischiefs accumulate so quickly it has become almost impossible to keep up with them. The Exalted One is trying to turn America into a sluggish quasi-European welfare state that will snuff out the creative, spiritual spark that defines humanity.

I predicted this from the beginning, and am clearly against it, so how can I possibly have mixed emotions on how to feel about it tonight? Well, let me tell you: On the one hand, everything we are seeing makes it look like our federal government is happily inviting disaster to come into our lives, but on the other hand, there are signs that the public is starting to realize it and resist it. So perhaps Obama & Co.’s avarice is just what we need to spark a reawakening of pro-free-enterprise, anti-central-government fervor…much like the economic contraction of the 1970’s (in tandem with Jimmy Carter’s meekness on foreign policy) served as a catalyst for the Reagan Revolution of the 1980’s.

Of course, if hope comes in the form of Republicans regaining control of any part of the federal government, “over the horizon” is two years away at best. And if such a thing does occur, recent history tells us not to get excited too fast. We must hope any Republicans who make it into office are genuine conservatives – the kind of people who will hold true to principle rather than follow the example of the last bunch of Republicans, who went native when they got to Washington and saw themselves get hoisted from office as a result.

I am against pretty much everything Obama & Co. is trying to do, and am disgusted at the thuggish way they are trying to achieve their goals. But at the same time, I also believe that their arrogance and overreaching will cause the pendulum of public sentiment to swing back and sweep them away. And since that would be good, I am not sure if I should feel competely dismayed by their actions, or if I should feel encouraged by the reaction I expect them to generate.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Ron Silver, RIP

I was just checking the headlines and was surprised to see that Ron Silver died yesterday at age 62. Apparently he had been battling esophageal cancer for some time.

You may not recognize his name, but you would probably recognize his face. He was an excellent actor whose movies included “Silkwood” and “Reversal of Fortune” and television shows included “The West Wing” and “Crossing Jordan.” On stage, he won a Tony Award in 1988 for “Speed the Plow.”

I have liked what I’ve seen of his work over the years but I am not going to go into his specific acting abilities, place in acting history, etc…because, well, I’m not really into any of that.

What I will say is that for some time I have admired Mr. Silver’s authenticity, for lack of a better term, when it comes to political matters. He started off as a conventional Hollywood liberal, working on projects with the likes of Alec Baldwin and Susan Sarandon, so it’s obvious that he and I haven’t always been on the same side of the issues. However, on matters of national defense and the intrinsic goodness of American ideals, Mr. Silver was unquestionably conservative, at least after 9/11. He did away with his Democrat voter registration, re-registered as an independent, and began calling himself a “9/11 Republican.” He even spoke at the 2004 Republican National Convention.

And on those policies about which his opinions diverged from mine, I have no doubt that he sincerely believed those policies would benefit others. Unlike the vitriol-spewing members of the Hollywood Left who always seem to be involved in causes for the sake of puffing up their own image, Mr. Silver was in them for the right reasons and he never sought the spotlight. His example will be missed.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Glimpses of Spring

March snow has accumulated as far south as central Alabama as this winter of record cold continues to grasp much of the Northern Hemisphere.  But here in Florida, spring has started showing glimpses of itself over the last five days or so. Though it’s cool enough to wear a jacket in the morning, afternoon temperatures are reaching 80 degrees, the strawberry vines are full of fruit, and the azaleas are bursting with so many blossoms you can barely see their leaves.


This past Saturday, we took Sarah to her friend Hannah’s fourth birthday party at Bane’s Hydroponic Farm.  The kids picked strawberries under a sky of robin’s egg blue, gobbled down cupcakes, and enjoyed talking to a pot-bellied pig.  It’s incredible how healthy it feels to be outside for hours when there is no humidity to ruin the sun’s warmth.

On Sunday, we went to the Gasparilla Arts Festival in downtown Tampa.  I don’t know how many people were actually buying things, but I am happy to say the festival was crowded despite the tough economic times we’re in.  When we sat down in Gaslight Square, at the southern edge of the festival and within earshot of a band, Sarah was absolutely adorable.  She danced around and around in the grass, staying in sync with whatever the band was playing even though the default move she often used – a pirouette with her arms arched over her head – does not exactly lend itself to covers of Jimmy Buffet and Johnny Cash.  It kills me that we left the camera and camcorder at home and were unable to capture that cuteness for posterity.


Some who read this blog probably think I’m obsessed with politics, but I’m not.  I follow politics because I feel a responsibility to be aware of government’s dealings and keep it in check, but at the end of the day I feel a kind of kinship with John Adams, who wrote:  “As much as I converse with sages and heroes, they have very little of my love and admiration.  I long for rural and domestic scenes, for the warbling of birds and the prattling of my children.”

Sunday, March 8, 2009

For Us or Against Us?

The National Intelligence Council (NIC) is responsible for sorting through the mountains of data mined by 16 intelligence gathering agencies, in order to determine what information gets presented – and how it gets presented – to the president and senior policymakers.  As such, the person who heads the NIC has enormous influence on how well our government is able to defend the nation from its enemies. 


What would you think if that person was a man who believes that China’s communist government was justified in its crackdown against freedom demonstrators in Tiananmen Square, during which it murdered one of them by running him over with a tank?  What would you think if he was recently on an advisory board of China National Offshore Oil Corporation, which is owned by the communist government and known for its ties to many of the world’s dictatorships?  What would you think if he had literally worked for the Saudi royals whose nation is the world’s largest exporter of terrorists?  What would you think if he is currently president of an anti-Israel organization that receives the bulk of its funding from the Saudi king?  What would you think if he believes America brought the September 11th attacks on itself by being allied with Israel?  Would you think that person really believes in America and has her best interests at heart?


Well, the above description is the real biography of the man recently named head of the NIC.  His name is Charles Freeman.  His ties to China go back at least as far as 1971, when he served as an interpreter during Richard Nixon’s meetings with its government.  His ties to Saudi Arabia go back at least as far as 1989, when he became U.S. ambassador to that country.


The position of NIC Chair does not require Senate confirmation, so it often goes under the radar.  Freeman was named to the post on February 26th, not by President Obama but by Dennis Blair (director of national intelligence).  Obama can undo it, however, and he should.  If he does not, this country is on a predictable path to disaster – and by extension, so is freedom everywhere.

On a side note:  Notice how you hear virtually nothing in the media about Freeman being tabbed to lead the NIC, but you hear so much about the Obamas buying a swingset and choosing a dog and the president's hair starting to turn gray?

Monday, March 2, 2009

A Calamity in Action

From the beginning, I have been crystal clear expressing my belief that Barack Obama does not care for this country and is unfit to be its leader, yet even I could not have expected this level of calamity to rear its head this soon.  Obama is already well on his way to becoming the worst president in our history, which is phenomenal when you consider that he was sworn in just 42 days ago and his plans are still waiting to be implemented.


When he spoke about important matters on Inauguration Day, his words showed him to be “an unconvincing lightweight who has taken little time to think things through.”  That was not a good way to start your reign when the country you are leading is facing enemies who are so determined to destroy it that they are happy to kill themselves and their children in the process.


Then, less than three weeks after taking the executive reigns, Obama was off fear-mongering about how America might never rebound from its economic doldrums if we don’t bow down and submit to his schemes for expanding the reach of the federal government…you know, the same federal government whose involvement in economic matters has a decades-long record of failure; the same federal government that never does anything well; the same federal government that will “go after the proprietor of your local hardware store with thermonuclear weapons if he underreports by $300, but will ignore Jesse Jackson or the chairman of Enron when their returns are a million dollars out of whack.”


Then, assuming that his fear-mongering would soften opposition, Obama came out with his quasi State of the Union address last week.  In it, he reaffirmed his intention to expand the reach of federal power – with more specifics this time!  And in the wake that address, the stock market, always sensitive to the words of politicians, went into a nosedive both steep and sustained, the likes of which I don’t recall seeing since I became an adult.


But for me, the kicker came today, when it was reported that The Exalted One has contacted the Kremlin and said he is willing to consider discontinuing our plans for a missile defense system in Europe, if Russia agrees to help us “resolve” Iran’s pursuit of nuclear weapons.  In other words, Obama has, for all intents and purposes, sold our Eastern European allies down the river by telling their biggest enemy that we may abandon our promise to protect them.

On the one hand, this gives the lie to his oft-trumepeted concern for our country’s “standing in the world,” and on the other it is an indirect dereliction of his duty to defend America. It tells our friends we are unreliable and that there is no reason for them to stand by us.  And by displaying a profound lack of principle and nerve, it is sure to embolden the world’s wicked forces and invite their aggression.


It would be bad enough if Obama was simply na├»ve, but I don’t think that is the case.  Several times I have identified him as a Marxist.  I once wrote that he “wants to weaken our national defenses against the rest of the world” and that he “is the politician for which every Bolshevik since 1917 has been waiting.”  As intemperate as that may sound, the evidence supports it more and more.


(Pardon me for quoting myself, from a prior post, in the second paragraph of this one.  And thank you, John Derbyshire, for the delicious quote I used in the third paragraph.)

Please note that when this post was first published, it contained a factual error that has been corrected in this version.  Also, since this post was first published Obama has contradicted parts of the report about his contact with the Kremlin (I do not find his contradictions credible when you pay attention to what he said, but thats a whole other post.)