Thursday, June 28, 2007

Immigrants - Legal and otherwise

Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!

If you've visited the Statue of Liberty, you may have seen these words which are the last two sentences of the poem "The New Colossus" on a plaque on the inner wall of the pedestal.

Many of my fellow conservatives are high-fiving each other today, happy that they have killed immigration "reform". They are thrilled that there will be no amnesty for 12 (or 20) million illegal aliens who have crossed deserts and oceans to arrive in America. They understand that no further legislation for immigration reform is likely to occur before 2009. By this time, there will still be 12 (or 20 or 40) million illegal aliens who will be working outside the protection of labor laws...because we know that very few of these people will be deported. Even the conservatives admit that we cannot (and do not want to) send back the folks who serve our meals, pick our vegetables, clean our hotel rooms, and landscape our homes and businesses. We have simply kicked the issue down the road for another administration to handle.

I have heard no proposed solutions for what to do with the wretched refuse that has washed up on our shores. Instead, I've heard and read gleeful celebration of "Victory!" and vindication for hurt feelings in a sensitive debate. I have even read one usually moderate conservative voice suggest to the President of the United States that he "had better ask nicely and have a long list of persuasive arguments" when he needs help in the future.

So, immigration "reform" is dead until President Clinton or possibly President Obama is in office. President Bush has been humbled like Gulliver in the land of Lilliput. All the while the tired, the poor, and the huddled masses continue to dream of gaining a place in this land that is their last best hope.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Contrast and compare

There is a video of Rosie O'Donnell's daughter that is posted on Rosie's website. The video apparently tries to make a statement about the lost innocence of her daughter and her transformation from Princess to Soldier.

Well, I have a little soldier picture, too. Look at his bright eyes, his relaxed smile. Will he grow up to be a soldier like his daddy? I hope it's not necessary. But I'll be proud of him if he does. Or if he doesn't.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Better than

Before there were blogs, there was the great website: It provided cynical counterpoint to those sappy motivating calendars that executives would order and give to employees in the hopes of teaching them success. This morning, I ran across a website called "Military Motivator." It's a hoot. (h/t Yankee Mom)

Monday, June 25, 2007

Why I am optimistic

For a few years, I was very active in reading and reacting to news via the "Mainstream Media," conservative blogs and other media outlets. I was fortunate enough to exchange correspondence with some well-known journalists and more than a few times the thoughts that I had expressed would appear in articles in various national newspapers, magazines, or blogs.

Life is much different now. I hardly exchange correspondence with journalists anymore - my days as a quiet activist military mom are quickly coming to a close.

Now, my source of "opinion" is usually sitting next to me on an airplane or in the boarding area of an airport. A few weeks ago, I sat next to a young man whose parents came from Croatia. I don't know how we got onto the subject but we started talking about the Palestinian situation. He was extremely well informed and as we were finishing up our conversation, I asked him if he thought that he was unusual in his knowledge of world events. He said he was, and I told him that I disagreed. Actually, I have had several such conversations on planes.

I have watched the small segment of the population who are now young men and women in their mid twenties to lower thirties. I chaperoned my sons' classes and activities through junior high and senior high. My fellow parents often complained about the bad behavior of this particular group of students. I would venture to say, even then, that we were seeing the greatest generation. The other parents would look at me as if I had two heads.

The nation now watches in amazement as these young men and women willingly and nobly fight Islamic terrorism wherever our national policy allows. Young writers provide a voice of reason with poise and grace at places like National Review and in blogs where there is no barrier to entry for reaching a potentially huge audience.

In private conversations with regular folks, I hear recurring themes: gratitude for the military, disgust at the media, distrust of both political parties.

While men like Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid declare the "war is lost" and the national newspapers highlight every coalition setback, our young men and women quietly fight our wars, absorb news of the world, and refer to facts that are neither found on the front page of the New York Times nor in network newcasts. They are the thinkers and the doers that their parents were not.

The future is in good hands with "Generation Y" whose coming of age corresponded with the attacks of September 11, 2001. While Baby Boomers and Generation Xers have become bored with the fight and weary at the loss of someone else's sons and daughters in the war on terror, these young men and women will soldier on.

God bless 'em.

I LOVE this man

Christopher Hitchens has been one of my favorite writers ever since the Spring of 2004 when my son was serving in Iraq and I joined the ranks of news/opinion junkies.

Today, one of his best columns appeared in Slate. Titled: "Look Forward to Anger," Hitchens points out how the media are manipulated to amplify the anger of professional Muslim protestors. He writes: "I have actually seen some of these demonstrations, most recently in Islamabad, and all I would do if I were a news editor is ask my camera team to take several steps back from the shot. We could then see a few dozen gesticulating men (very few women for some reason), their mustaches writhing as they scatter lighter fluid on a book or a flag or a hastily made effigy. Around them, a two-deep encirclement of camera crews. When the lights are turned off, the little gang disperses. And you may have noticed that the camera is always steady and in close-up on the flames, which it wouldn't be if there was a big, surging mob involved."

He finishes with this perfect paragraph: "We may have to put up with the Rage Boys of the world, but we ought not to do their work for them, and we must not cry before we have been hurt. In front of me is a copy of this week's Economist, which states that Rushdie's 1989 death warrant was "punishment for the book's unflattering depiction of the Prophet Muhammad." There is no direct depiction of the prophet in this work of fiction, and the reverie about his many wives occurs in the dream of a madman. Nobody in Ayatollah Khomeini's circle could possibly have read the book for him before he issued a fatwah, which made it dangerous to possess. Yet on that occasion, the bookstore chains of America pulled The Satanic Verses from their shelves, just as Borders shamefully pulled Free Inquiry (a magazine for which I write) after it reproduced the Danish cartoons. Rage Boy keenly looks forward to anger, while we worriedly anticipate trouble, and fret about etiquette, and prepare the next retreat. If taken to its logical conclusion, this would mean living at the pleasure of Rage Boy, and that I am not prepared to do."

Mr. Hitchens, nor will our family live at the pleasure of Rage Boy.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

News you can use

...but don't expect to find it on the front page of the New York Times.

From the latest Gallup poll on Americans' confidence in various institutions:

"Americans have relatively low levels of confidence in the Fourth Estate. Just 23% of Americans have a great deal or quite a lot of confidence in television news, and only 22% express the same sentiment for newspapers. Neither of these two entities has done exceedingly well in Gallup's history, but both are particularly low this year. "


Those numbers are even lower than President Bush's in the same poll. Confidence in the presidency is rated at 25%.

Congress' rating? 14%

I think it's safe to say that the self-absorbed press (in general) is becoming less and less relevant by the passing week. Folks are turning off the news because they don't believe what they are being told anymore. One day - perhaps very soon - we will wake up and find out that all is not lost in Iraq. You just won't read about it on the front page of the New York Times..

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Pray for them

As you read this post from Michael Yon, you will become informed of the scope of the military offensive that the coalition forces are making in Iraq. At this moment, our young men are engaged in the depths of Hell.

Please pray for them.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Is the war in Iraq lost?

Senator Josepth Lieberman doesn't seem to think so.

From the Wall Street Journal's OpinionJournal today:

"I recently returned from Iraq and four other countries in the Middle East, my first trip to the region since December. In the intervening five months, almost everything about the American war effort in Baghdad has changed, with a new coalition military commander, Gen. David Petraeus; a new U.S. ambassador, Ryan Crocker; the introduction, at last, of new troops; and most important of all, a bold, new counterinsurgency strategy.

The question of course is--is it working? Here in Washington, advocates of retreat insist with absolute certainty that it is not, seizing upon every suicide bombing and American casualty as proof positive that the U.S. has failed in Iraq, and that it is time to get out.

In Baghdad, however, discussions with the talented Americans responsible for leading this fight are more balanced, more hopeful and, above all, more strategic in their focus--fixated not just on the headline or loss of the day, but on the larger stakes in this struggle, beginning with who our enemies are in Iraq. The officials I met in Baghdad said that 90% of suicide bombings in Iraq today are the work of non-Iraqi, al Qaeda terrorists. In fact, al Qaeda's leaders have repeatedly said that Iraq is the central front of their global war against us. That is why it is nonsensical for anyone to claim that the war in Iraq can be separated from the war against al Qaeda--and why a U.S. pullout, under fire, would represent an epic victory for al Qaeda, as significant as their attacks on 9/11."

There's more. Go read it all.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

More sad news

I have not been blogging much lately. Life has been a whirlwind of plane trips and road trips and cruises. I'm home for three weeks and perhaps I will be able to post a few thoughts.

In February, I started following the news of 2nd Battalion, 16th Infantry Regiment, 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division out of Fort Riley, Kansas.

Today, I found the sad news that another of its soldiers has been killed in Iraq. He was Pfc. Shawn D. Gajdos, 25, of Grand Rapids, Michigan. May he rest in peace, and may God grant comfort to his family.