Restoring the Sacred

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Sundays are for Beauty - The Boogie

Regular readers will recall my comments in “Sundays are for Beauty, Part 4,” about my former boss, mentor, and good friend, Dick Lynch of Shepherdstown, West Virginia. Dick, who has been described as the “most rabid Wolverine football fan in the land,” was found, surprisingly, to be into ballet. I remember thinking: what next? Well, what’s next is “Boogie Woogie.” Imagine that. Henceforth, Dick will be described as the most eclectic lover of the arts I know.

Thanks for the video, Dick, and GO BLUE!

Saturday, May 30, 2009

WSJ Letters, 05/30/2009

It’s Saturday and once again time for my favorite letters to the editor of the Wall Street Journal this week.

There Is a Cost to Treating the Rich Like Caged ATMs.

It seems amazing that prior to 1966 New Jersey had no sales tax, and prior to 1976, no income tax. As a kid in 1966, I remember the sales tax Gov. Richard Hughes imposed and, just like that, we were off to the fiscal races. In the intervening years, the good times led to increased budgets and state hiring, and the bad times were met with tax increases -- never spending cuts -- and here we are. Let's not even talk about the health and retirement benefits these state employees receive.
I can think of dozens of friends and acquaintances who have changed their residencies to a low-tax state since the last hike in the top New Jersey state income-tax rate in 2004 (to just under 9%). I think it's fair to say that many in this bracket felt unfairly targeted (insulted, really) by Gov. Jim McGreevey's new rate and voted with their feet. I don't know the numbers but I can imagine this has cost the state dearly; our huge budget deficit would indicate that it has. When you consider the broader implications of losing large numbers of the productive people who tend to populate the top tax bracket, soaking the rich is nothing less than political malpractice.

David J. Murphy 
Rumson, N.J.
It Used to Be Conservative to Get a Liberal Education

In "The Closing of the American Mind" (1987), Allan Bloom attempted to draw a parallel between Germany circa 1933 and America in 1968. He proposed that in each circumstance, the universities were despised and overthrown, and a political system was compromised by a radical ideology which presumed to offer some higher moral truth than that of bourgeois society. In the first case the attack was on the bankrupt and decadent Wiemar Republic; in the second, it was the ideals of Western civilization and the Enlightenment which, in the 1960s, were trashed by rampant school children wholly ignorant of what those ideals were. In America, as in Germany perhaps, higher education had failed democracy. And in America at least, the adult world had failed it too. We are much the less for it today.
In Mr. Paletta's useful telling of a subsequent anarchic event (there were many), it is clear that a result of "the use of political tactics to produce a politicized university" (insofar as they have been successful) is the passing of the liberal arts. No wonder the cry of today's bereft youth is about "change" and "the future." In their "impoverished souls," as Bloom phrased it, there is neither past nor meaningful present. But no human being, or community of human beings, can begin from nothing like God or history to build anew a homely cottage, let alone so magnificent an edifice as Western civilization. Under the Consulate, Napoleon Bonaparte, declared an end to the French Revolution. This is proof enough for the rational mind that, at a minimum, some "futures" are inherently worse than others.

Blakeslee Barnes 
New York
Benefit Incentives Aid Unwed Motherhood

A good article by W. Bradford Wilcox, but he left out one of the most important reasons 20-plus-year-old single women are having babies: the earned income credit ("The Real Pregnancy Crisis," Taste, May 22).
As an Enrolled Agent representing taxpayers before the Internal Revenue Service, I see many more single women having babies and collecting from $2,000 to $4,000 at tax time. Many of these live with their boyfriends instead of marrying them so they can file as single or head of household and collect this delectable refund.

Virginia Bryce 
Camarillo, Calif.
Obama's Auto Plan Is an 'ism,' but It's Not Capitalism.

Regarding Scott Sperling's "Obama's Auto Plan Is Capitalism at Work" (op-ed, May 19): I refer Mr. Sperling to the dictionary definition of capitalism: "an economic system in which capitalists play the principal part . . . the operation of the system is controlled by private enterprise."
Almost every paragraph in Mr. Sperling's article describes actions that are the antithesis of capitalism. For example: "the Obama team is focused on fundamentally restructuring"; "the government's offer to GM bondholders"; "all debt holders have now agreed to the government's plan"; "the money government has invested in GM."
There are many more statements that demonstrate President Barack Obama's plan is some form of "ism," but it's certainly not capitalism.

James M. Rodney 
Birmingham, Mich.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Obama 1, Veterans 0

Colonel James Arthur McGinn, U.S.M.C.

The Patriot Post published an interesting story yesterday, and I've included a snippet from it below. A link to The Patriot Post is now included in MY Blog List on the right side of this Blog. The entire story about Mike McGinn being turned away from Arlington cemetery on Memorial Day when he went to visit his father's grave can be found at this link:
When you click on the link, look for "Alexander's Essay 28 May 2009."

Here's the snippet from that story:

Marine Aviator's Memorial Day Wave Off

"The consciousness of having discharged that duty which we owe to our country is superior to all other considerations." --George Washington

Every week, the greatest challenge I face as editor of The Patriot Post is determining which subject among all the current news and policy issues concerning liberty and constitutional integrity should be the target of an essay. I mention this because deep into this week's treatise and just a few hours ahead of deadline, I received a message from one of our Patriot readers that offered a far more powerful perspective on where we are as a nation than anything I'd been writing.

That message was from Mike McGinn, and began: "Only under the administration of a former 'community organizer,' a product of the corrupt Chicago political machine, who never served a day of his life in uniform, could a 20-year retired Marine Corps Officer be prohibited from visiting the Arlington National Cemetery resting place of his father, a 30-year retired Marine Corps Officer with distinguished combat service, on the most hallowed of days for our fallen and deceased military servicemen and women -- Memorial Day."

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Bud Day on Torture

We’ve all heard what President Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder have said about waterboarding: “Waterboarding is torture.”
Well, one might ask: How would either one of them know anything about torture - or warfare for that matter? Retired U.S.A.F. Colonel George E. (Bud) Day possesses a great deal of empirical knowledge about both. He experienced real torture at the hands of the North Vietnamese when he was their “guest” at the Hanoi Hilton and other torture chambers for a period of five years and seven months. He was released, on March 14, 1973. He is the most decorated U. S. service member since General Douglas Mac Arthur, having received more than 70 decorations, most of which were for actions in combat.

On March 6, 1976, Bud Day was awarded the Medal of Honor by President Gerald Ford.

The following is an E-Mail forwarded by a friend. In it Bud Day recounts his experiences as a POW, and provides real insight into what is and what is not torture.

Medal of Honor Awardee Bud Day talks of Torture

Dear Kelly: Thanks for the "heads up" on the Medal of Honor spots. Some of my friends have seen it already and mentioned it. I sent a copy of my book to Fox News in D.C., and wanted Sean Hannity to be able to talk about what torture really is. He has no one on his side to talk about torture..who has been tortured. He is free to quote from the many illustrations that I provided in my book Duty Honor Country

I got shot down over N Vietnam in 1967..a sq commander.

After I returned in 1973.. I published 2 books that dealt a lot with "real torture" in Hanoi. Our make believe president is branding our country as a bunch of torturers when he has no idea what torture is.

****e.g * as to me..put thru a mock execution cuz I wud not respond...pistol whipped on the head...same event.. Couple of days later...hung by my feet all day.
I escaped and got recaptured a couple of weeks later.. I got shot and recaptured. Shot was OK...what happened after was not.

They marched me to Vinh.. put me in the rope trick trick..almost pulled my arms out of the sockets

Beat me on the head w/ a little wooden rod until my eyes were swelled shut, and my unshot unbroken hand a pulp.

Next day hung me by the arms...rebroke my right wrist...wiped out the nerves in my arms that control the hands..rolled my fingers up into a ball. Only left the slightest movement of my L forefinger. So I started answering w/ some incredible lies.

Sent me to Hanoi strapped to a barrel of gas in the back of a truck.

Hanoi..on my knees..rope trick again. Beaten by a big fool.

Into leg irons on a bed in Heartbreak Hotel.

Much kneeling--hands up at Zoo.

Really bad beating for refuse to condemn Lyndon Johnson.

Several more kneeling events. Cud see my knee bone thru kneeling holes.

There was an escape from the annex to the Zoo. I was the Senior Officer of a large building

B-cuz of escape..they started a mass torture of all commanders.

I tk it was July 7, 1969..they started beating me w/ a car fan belt. In first 2 days I took over 300 strokes..then stopped counting cuz I never thought I wud live thru it.

They continued day-nite torture to get me to confess to a non-existant part in the escape. This went on for at least 3 days. On my belting.. cut open my scrotunm w/ fan belt stroke. opened up both knee holes again. My fanny looked like hamburger..I cud not lie on my back.

They tortured me into admitting that I was in on the escape..and that my 2 room-mates nu about it.

The next day I denied the lie.

They commenced torturing me again with 3- 6- or 9 strokes of the fan belt every day from about July 11 or 14 October 1969. I continued to refuse to lie about my roomates again.

Now, the point of this is that our make-believe president has declared to the world that we (U. S.) is a bunch of torturers.. thus it will be OK to torture us next time when they catch us....cuz that is what the U.S. does.

Our make-believe president is a know nothing fool who thinks that pouring a little water on some one's face, or hanging a pair of womens pants over an Arabs head is TORTURE. He is a meathead.

I just talked to MOH holder Leo Thorsness who was also in my sq in jail was john McCain..and we agree that McCain does not speak for the POW group when he claims that Al Ghrib ws torture.. or that "water boarding" is torture.

Our president and those fools around him who keep bad mouthing our great country are a disgrace to the United States. Please pass this info on to Sean Hannity. He is free to use it to point out the stupidity of the claims that water boarding ..which has no after torture. If it got the Arab to cough up the story about how he planned the attack on the twin towers in NYC...hurrah for the guy who poured the water.

Col. Bud Day MOH

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

The Post Turtle

That’s a Post Turtle up there, and this story was forwarded by my good friend Drew Carr in Philadelphia. This is, of course, just a joke, right?


“While suturing a cut on the hand of a 75 year old rancher, whose hand was caught in the gate while working cattle, the doctor struck up a conversation with the old man. Eventually the topic got around to Obama.
The old rancher said, 'Well, ya know, Obama is a 'Post Turtle.''

“Not being familiar with the term, the doctor asked him what a 'post turtle' was.

“The old rancher said, 'When you're driving down a country road and you come across a fence post with a turtle balanced on top, that's a 'post turtle'. The old rancher saw the puzzled look on the doctor's face so he continued to explain. 'You know he didn't get up there by himself, he doesn't belong up there, he doesn't know what to do while he's up there, and you just wonder what kind of dumb ass put him up there to begin with'.”

One administrative note: the link to “The Anchoress” on the right side of this Blog has been deleted because her Blog can now be accessed through “First Things,” the link to which is being retained.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Quotes from a Scurrilous Scoundrel


grossly or obscenely abusive: a scurrilous attack on the mayor.

an unprincipled, dishonorable person; villain.
On “Meet the Press” on Sunday, May 24, 2009, U. S. Senator Richard Durbin (see three photos above), was asked by the host about former Vice president Dick Cheney’s statement: “I think the president will find, upon reflection, that to bring the worst of the worst terrorists inside the United States would be cause for great danger and regret in the years to come.”

Durbin replied:

“Now, let me just say this, I know what Vice President Cheney said. But if you want an insight into his analysis of intelligence and national security, you should always remember four words: weapons of mass destruction. That was a bogus fear tactic used by Vice President Cheney years ago which led us into a war that has cost us 4,283 American lives, we should recall on this Memorial Day weekend, added a trillion dollars to the national debt and took the eye off of capturing Osama bin Laden and al-Qaeda.”

Durbin forgot to explain how Cheney convinced the Intelligence Services in France, Germany, the United Kingdom, and this country that Saddam possessed weapons of mass destruction, or how he convinced Colin Powell (with whom he was seldom in agreement) to make the case before the United Nations.

There are, of course, too many examples of scurrilous attacks by this scoundrel to document in one post, but we must never forget his comments about our troops after the phony Left-driven scandal about the terrorists detention facility at Guantanamo Bay. Here is a Durbin quote from the Washington Post story recounting his outrageous comments about men and women to whom he owes a debt that will never be repaid. He is talking about an FBI agent's report of "abuses" at Guantanamo. (I have no idea why the FBI was conducting an investigation at Guantanamo, but I would like to know more about the qualifications of the agent who wrote the report.) "If I read this to you and did not tell you that it was an FBI agent describing what Americans had done to prisoners in their control," he said, "you would most certainly believe this must have been done by Nazis, Soviets in their gulags, or some mad regime -- Pol Pot or others -- that had no concern for human beings."
But here, you can watch the rogue in action on the Senate floor.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Memorial Day 2009 - Never Forget!

"Our obligations to our country never cease but with our lives."

--John Adams, letter to Benjamin Rush, April 18, 1808




Sunday, May 24, 2009

Sundays are for Beauty - I Believe

Pope John Paul II who, along with Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher, played a major role in the collapse of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (The Evil Empire), was the victim of an attempted assassination, on May 13, 1981. He miraculously survived that attempt after losing three-quarters of his blood. He credited Our Lady of Fatima (who made her first appearance to the children in Fatima, Portugal on the same date, in 1917), with saving his life that day. He said later:

Could I forget that the event [Ali Ağca's assassination attempt] in St. Peter’s Square took place on the day and at the hour when the first appearance of the Mother of Christ to the poor little peasants has been remembered for over sixty years at Fátima, Portugal? For in everything that happened to me on that very day, I felt that extraordinary motherly protection and care, which turned out to be stronger than the deadly bullet.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

WSJ Letters, 05/23/2009

It's Saturday and time for my favorite letters to the editor of the Wall Street Journal this week.

MP's Bad Example Hurts Democracy

Quentin Letts's amusing summation of British members of Parliament being most appropriately hoist on the petard of their public sanctimony and simultaneous private enrichment ends with his concern that this may cost the public's faith in democracy ("British MPs Pad Their Expense Accounts," op-ed, May 14).
Indeed, it is faith in government, not democracy, which is getting a salutary shaking. Voters need reminders, lest we give up our freedoms too easily, that for all the rhetoric of good intentions and Santa-like beneficence, government is not benign and noble, but lousy at self-censure (think earmarks, Fannie Mae and Medicare fraud), easily corrupted by power, and tends to tyranny, whether by dictators or benevolent utopians.
Heather R. Higgins 
New York

Parliament's Lessons for Congress

The petty expense-account pilfering by members of the British Parliament ("School for Scandal," Weekend Journal, May 16) offers two valuable lessons to U.S. politicians: High taxes and salary caps are inherently corrupting; and, when too much power and privilege are granted to the political elite, it is human nature to exploit both in order to game the system for personal advantage. The British political class that arrogantly ignored the two axioms richly deserves the contempt of the governed, and must be held accountable for its irresponsible behavior.
U.S. legislators and the president should heed the lessons of the British melodrama and rethink their plans to raise taxes (generally not a good idea in a recession anyway) and set limits on executive compensation. The more Barney Frank and friends scheme to keep money out of the hands of greedy businessmen, the more those businessmen will scheme to circumvent the rules and avoid sending money to greedy politicians in Washington. Europeans, including members of the British Parliament, waste a great deal of creative energy and credibility capital looking for ways to exploit gray areas in rules and regulations. That's because their pay is limited and their tax burden is oppressive.
Perhaps Rep. Frank and his colleagues should hop on a private jet for a fact-finding trip to London before taking any more steps to fix capitalism; and, while they're at it, they should pray that the cost-per-fact ratio for congressional fact-finding junkets never gets released to the American public.
Doug Ryan 
Palm Coast, Fla.

Hard to Fling Mud And Stay Clean

Your May 15 "World-Wide" column (page one) contends that "the spat" between House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the Central Intelligence Agency "is the latest sign of how Bush's prosecution of the war on terror is putting the Democrats on the defensive."
Not exactly. The spat is a sign of how a purely political attack on the Bush administration has rebounded to bite the liberal Democrats in Congress. Ms. Pelosi's clumsy attempts at fancy footwork are a delight to behold.
Dudley McFadden 
Sunnyvale, Calif.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Choose One or the Other

How is that some (many) of the same people who have no problem with the destruction of an innocent child in the womb get very exercised over the waterboarding of the likes of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed? We condone approximately 800,000 "legal" abortions every year in the United States, and if the Bill our president sponsored while still a U. S. senator becomes law (he has said he would sign it), that number will probably increase since the tax dollars of all of us will pay for any abortion at any stage of pregnancy. None of that seems to bother those on the Left who are extremely bothered and upset by the thought of a master terrorist (and two of his cohorts) going through something that we put all Navy Seals and other Special Warfare Soldiers and Marines through as part of their training. Waterboarding is NOT torture no matter how many times Obama and Eric Holder say it is. If it were torture we would be routinely torturing our most elite troops. If our interrogators intended to inflict harm on the three terrorists who were waterboarded, they could have done so - but they didn't. None of the three terrorists were harmed by the enhanced interrogation techniques (believe me, if they were we would know about it), and all are still breathing and walking about. None of the 2,974 Americans who were killed in the attacks of 9/11, planned by Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, are breathing or walking about, and none of the more than six million innocent babies aborted since 9/11 are breathing, and none will ever walk about.

And please spare me any talk about how, during the past eight years, we have lost our moral bearings, especially when that talk comes from the same people who see nothing immoral about the destruction of innocent babies.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Cheney 1, Obama 0

Today was an historic day for anyone following the continuing debate, inflamed by the current administration, in which those in the current administration cannot find enough bad things to say about the successful efforts of the previous administration - efforts that have kept us safe since 9/11/01. Speeches given by President Obama and former Vice President Dick Cheney are perfect examples of two different styles of speaking publicly: one is a patriotic speech full of substance; the other, a political speech full of rhetoric. You can decide which is which. Here are links to the speeches:

I would only add that after reading the president's speech I couldn't help wondering just how often he willingly offered up his lunch to school yard bullies when he was a young boy.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Speed Limits and Spending

The above is from The Heritage Foundation Papers live feed on the right side of this blog. Click on "Blog" at the top of the Heritage website. "Just because you sometimes travel at 64 mph in a 55 mph speed zone, doesn’t mean you can’t criticize someone driving 174 mph..."

That in no way, in my opinion, would excuse the irresponsible spending of the George W. Bush administration.

Daniel Hannan, MEP, representing South East England (see his Blog linked on the right side of this one), was given one minute the other day to explain to the European Parliament what he sees as the problem with government bailouts.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

We should be so lucky

Martin Will Resign as U.K. House Speaker, BBC Says

May 19 (Bloomberg) -- Michael Martin, the speaker of Britain’s House of Commons, will resign today as Prime Minister Gordon Brown’s government struggles to defuse the parliamentary expenses scandal, the BBC reported.

The speaker’s office said Martin would make a statement about his future to the House of Commons in London at 2:30 p.m., a day after he brushed aside suggestions from members or Parliament that he resign. He is due to meet Brown at 4 p.m.

A resignation would mark the first time in more than three centuries that a speaker, who leads debates in the lower chamber of Parliament, was driven out of office in Britain. As more than 90 of the 646 lawmakers in the House of Commons faced questions about their expenses, Martin has defended the system and called in police to investigate how information about claims leaked.
Will Nancy Pelosi take the example of the Speaker of the House of Commons and do the right thing? I don't think so.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Say it aint so, Joe.

Remember when former Vice President Dan Quayle was ridiculed so brutally by the media for misspelling potato, for daring to criticize the TV show Murphy Brown for glorifying unwed mothers, and for a number of Yogi Berra-like utterances? They completely marginalized a decent, intelligent public servant because they wanted to, but Joe Biden, a virtual gaffe machine, continues to get a media pass in spite of a never-ending list of verbal and intellectual blunders.

Well, here's a small sampling of Biden's articulate eloquence gathered from the Fox News website (where else could you find them?).

On Inauguration Day, Jan. 20 2009, Biden misspoke when he told a cheering crowd of supporters, "Jill and I had the great honor of standing on that stage, looking across at one of the great justices, Justice Stewart." Justice John Paul Stevens -- not Stewart -- swore Biden in as vice president.

When criticizing former GOP nominee John McCain in Athens, Ohio, on Oct. 15, 2008, Biden said, "Look, John's last-minute economic plan does nothing to tackle the number-one job facing the middle class, and it happens to be, as Barack says, a three-letter word: jobs. J-O-B-S, jobs."

In a Sept. 22, 2008, CBS interview, Biden misspoke when he said Franklin D. Roosevelt was president when the stock market crashed in 1929.
"When the stock market crashed, Franklin D. Roosevelt got on the television and didn't just talk about the, you know, the princes of greed. He said, 'Look, here's what happened," he said. Herbert Hoover -- not Roosevelt -- was president in 1929, and television had not yet been invented in 1929.

- Biden mistakenly referred to Alaska governor Sarah Palin as the "lieutenant governor" of her state during a town hall meeting on Sept. 4, 2008 at George Mason University in Manassas, Va.
"I heard a very, by the way I mean this sincerely, a very strong and a very good political speech from a lieutenant governor of Alaska who I think is going to be very formidable, very formidable not only in the campaign but in the debate," Biden said.

During his first campaign rally with Obama as his vice presidential running mate on Aug. 23, 2008, Biden introduced Obama by saying, "A man I'm proud to call my friend. A man who will be the next President of the United States -- Barack America!"
It's not just his mangling of syntax or his penchant for the misspoken phrase that sets Biden apart; he also seems unable to understand that some things need not be shared with his friends in the media. This recent headline cannot be true, can it?
Biden Reportedly Reveals Location Of "Secret" Vice Presidential Bunker

It is true. He did that at the recent Gridiron Club dinner where it was overheard by a Newsweek contributing editor, who felt it was her responsibility to tell the whole world.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Sundays are for Beauty - Swan Lake

This Sunday’s reminder of the beauty in the world comes from my former boss, and good friend, Dick Lynch, of Shepherdstown, West Virginia. Anybody who has ever met Dick knows that he is the most rabid Wolverine football fan in the land, but who knew he was into ballet? I didn’t.

Thanks, Dick.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

WSJ Letters, 05/16/2009

It’s Saturday, and time for my favorite letters to the editor of the Wall Street Journal for this week. I picked only two letters, because there were two excellent “Notable & Quotable” pieces I wanted to add.

Great Persuasiveness Should Serve Truth

Daniel Henninger's "100 Days: 'Harry, I Have a Gift'" (Wonder Land, April 30) points to Barack Obama's remarkable ability to convince people on both sides of an argument that he agrees with them. Mr. Henninger quotes from a 2007 story about Mr. Obama's tenure as president of the Harvard Law Review: "Mr. Obama cast himself as an eager listener, sometimes giving warring classmates the impression that he agreed with all of them at once."
One is reminded of ancient Greek culture when teachers of Sophism were much admired, highly paid and widely sought by young noblemen, especially those who aspired to public office. Protagoras, the first of the Sophists, emphasized the relativity of truth. Students were taught to praise and blame the same things. Because truth is always subject to interpretation, Protagoras believed a correct action on a topic would be that which was most advantageous to the individual.
Mr. Obama has the gift of Sophistry. But as Socrates later noted, the Sophist is not really concerned with truth and justice, but instead seeks power.
John Staige Davis, IV 
Charlottesville, Va.
Release of Pictures Will Show Commitment to Change

The ACLU long ago dropped the fig leaf of working on behalf of ordinary Americans to protect them against the tyranny of a powerful federal government. When the rights of U.S. citizens are violated by Democratic politicians, whether it's Sarah Palin's emails, Joe the Plumber's private records, or the property rights of bondholders of auto companies being destroyed to force their compliance, the ACLU is nowhere in sight. Give it the chance to act as an attack dog against a Republican administration and the ACLU is present and relentless.
Steve Heitner 
Port Jefferson Station, N.Y.
Notable & Quotable

British historian Andrew Roberts writing at the Daily Beast Web site:

A slight air of unreality has permeated the debate over "enhanced interrogation techniques" in the war against terror, with historians embarrassedly studying their toecaps over the issue. For the truth is that there has not been a war in history in which torture has not been employed in some form or another, and sometimes to excellent effect. When troops need information about enemy capabilities and intentions -- and they usually need it fast -- moral and ethical conventions (especially the one signed in Geneva in 1929) have repeatedly been ignored in the bid to save lives.
In the conflict generally regarded today the most ethical in history, World War II, enhanced interrogation techniques were regularly used by the Allies, and senior politicians knew it perfectly well, just as we now discover that Nancy Pelosi did in the early stages of the war against terror. The very success of the D-Day landings themselves can largely be put down to the enhanced interrogation techniques that were visited upon several of the 19 Nazi agents who were infiltrated into Great Britain and "turned" by the British Secret Intelligence Service (SIS) between 1939 and 1945. Operation Fortitude -- the deception plan that fooled the Germans into stationing 450,000 Wehrmacht troops 130 miles north of the Normandy beaches -- entirely depended upon German intelligence (the Abwehr) believing that the real attack was going to take place at the Pas de Calais instead. The reason that Admiral Wilhelm Canaris, the head of the Abwehr, was utterly convinced of this, was because every single one of his 19 agents, who he did not know had been turned, told him so.
If anyone believes that SIS persuaded each of these 19 hard-bitten Nazi spies to fall in with Operation Fortitude by merely offering them tea, biscuits, and lectures in democracy, they're being profoundly naïve.
Notable & Quotable

Jon Basil Utley writing at

It's only a matter of time before President Barack Obama's vast popularity runs aground on his energy policies. In the name of saving the planet from global warming, he has delayed new oil drilling, an action that will have major political repercussions once the world economy recovers. Instead of using some [of] the stimulus billions to produce more gas and oil, Obama's wild-eyed supporters dream of "renewable" energy derived from corn, wind, sunshine, and even grass.
With the appointment of extremists like climate czar Carol Browner and science adviser John Holdren, Obama has placed his administration's environmental policy in the hands of radicals. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar proposes replacing oil and coal with windmills. Yet Barron's recently reported that America would need to build 500,000 giant offshore windmills and transmission lines to produce Salazar's specified 1,900 gigawatts of electricity. In contrast, oil and gas drilling could provide hundreds of thousands of solid, well-paying blue-collar jobs. . . .
All of these things are happening at a time when natural gas is abundant and cheap. The new technology of horizontal fraccing has made it economically feasible to drill into vast shale deposits in many states, even famously difficult ones like Michigan and New York. Many cars could run on natural gas, much like many buses do already. On a recent trip to Peru, I learned that most taxicabs have been converted to natural gas for a cost of about $1,000 each. New technologies continually revive old oil and gas fields and make new ones economically viable. So it's little more than socialist Malthusianism to argue that the world is running out of cheap energy. Science will always find and harness new sources.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Hamlet or Henry V?

The president's reversal of his decision to release the EIT photos is commendable, but, according to Andy McCarthy, not all that commendable. What Obama has done is place the ultimate decision on the release of the photos back in the hands of judges - in this case Justices of the Supreme Court. There are two problems with that: (1) one can never be sure that the activists on the court will not be influenced by the extreme left to interpret the law as they see fit, and (2) it gives Obama the opportunity to blame the court (to his political base) if it should rule against the release, and at the same time take credit for such a result (with the rest of the country). An opposite ruling by the court would work for him in reverse. In short the decision gives Obama political cover, as he demurs from another tough decision.

According to McCarthy, in a recent column: "He (Obama) has it within his power, and has had it within his power at all times since January 20, to issue an executive order determining that the release of the photos would harm U.S. national security and contravene U.S. foreign-policy objectives....the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) expressly permits him to do that. Of course, doing so would require the president to be a grown-up — to say, “I’m the president, I’m the commander-in-chief responsible for the security of these young men and women in harm’s way, and I’m the guy elected to protect American lives. Regardless of whether the courts think these photos are law-enforcement materials exempt from FOIA disclosure, I have determined — by the power vested in me by FOIA — that these photos must be suppressed in the interest of American national security.” There is a link to the McCarthy column in my post of May 12, 2009, entitled: "Waiting for a hero."

By the way, Andy McCarthy is the former federal prosecutor in New York who convicted the perpetrators of the 1993 bombing of The World Trade Center. He is the only pundit in the debate over whether terrorist acts should be handled as violations of criminal law or acts of war with any credibility based on experience, and he consistently has called them acts of war.

It's time for our president to stand up and show leadership. Hamlet was famous for his reluctance to make a decision; Henry V was famous for his call to arms at the siege of Harfleur, in 1415:

Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more;
Or close the wall up with our English dead.
In peace there's nothing so becomes a man
As modest stillness and humility:
But when the blast of war blows in our ears,
Then imitate the action of the tiger;

In a recent television interview retired U. S. Army Lieutenant Colonel Ralph Peters opined: "We don't need a Hamlet in the White House. We need a Henry V." He's right.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Pelosi is not a Prevaricator

Amid all the controversy over the release and now non-release of the EIT photos, Nancy Pelosi has outdone herself and brought new meaning to the word "duplicitous." The best summary of the web she has spun for herself is spelled out clearly in a piece by Karl Rove in today's Wall Street Journal. You can read it here:
Unfortunately, we have come to expect such conduct from our politicians as some, such as Pelosi, will say or do anything to disparage the actions of members of the other political party. They do so for one simple reason: power. It doesn't matter who gets hurt by their actions as long as they maintain their power. In this case, though, Pelosi finds herself in a Catch 22. If the prior administration was engaging in torture, as she has been stating, facts that have now come to light make her complicit in those actions. She now has to either flip flop on her definition of torture, or keep denying the obvious, i.e., she knew and approved of it. As always, facts are facts, and they speak for themselves. I standby what I wrote above: Pelosi is not a prevaricator; she's a liar.

Pelosi's conduct in this affair could make one distrust, unfairly, all politicians. Daniel Hannan, MEP, whose blog is followed on the right side of this one, has a pertinent and timely post on the problem caused by those politicians whose actions, like those of Pelosi, unfairly taint the reputations of all their fellow elected officials. Here's a link to Hannan's post:

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Green Lies at School

The following excerpts are from The Heritage Morning Bell posting, dated May 12, 2009. For the full post go here:

The Story of Lies: Greenpeace in Your Kid’s School

In case you weren’t reading the New York Times front page today, we wanted to point you to an especially disturbing story. The Times wrote about The Story of Stuff, “a 20-minute video about the effects of human consumption, [which] has become a sleeper hit in classrooms across the nation.” What classrooms? Very likely the school your child attends, since over 7,000 American schools or churches have ordered the DVD.
The Story of Stuff highlights the very extreme left’s Greenpeace view of America. Essentially it tells the story of how America is not a nation to be proud of, and in fact, your child should be ashamed for living in it. For example: after implying that the radios for sale in Radio Shack are assembled by 15 year olds in Mexico, and by purchasing one, you contribute to the exploitation of the third world and the eventual end of the Earth, the film’s creator and narrator Annie Leonard says:
“So MY country’s response to this limitation is simply to go take somebody else’s.”

But how does she take shots directly at America? A healthy discussion on capitalism vs. the benefits of socialism might be okay, right? Annie Leonard tells us:
“Let’s start with the government. Now my friends tell me I should use a tank to symbolize the government and that’s true in many countries, and increasingly in our own. After all, more than 50% of our federal tax money is now going to our military.”
Aside from throwing in a little jab towards the expense our government spares to its ultimate duty of protecting us, and telling children to resent our armed forces, it is also factually inaccurate. The Congressional Budget Office estimated direct defense outlays to be roughly 20% for FY 2007 and that number has remained largely consistent until President Obama’s proposed defense cuts this year.
If you'd like to see Annie Leonard in action, check this video. For the full version go to You Tube and enter "Story of Stuff."

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Waiting for a Hero

If one of the above two potential heroes does not take a stand on the release of the so-called torture photos, there will be mayhem around the world (remember the Danish cartoons?). One or both of these men: James Jones, National Security Advisor (formerly Commandant of the Marine Corps), and Admiral Mike Mullen, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, has the chance to avert this impending disaster by strongly advising President Obama against the unnecessary (and gratuitous) release of the photos. Both should threaten to resign should the president release the photos, and then do so if he does.

The inestimable Andy McCarthy has written a must-read piece on the photo release on National Review Online today. Here's a link:

We need a hero.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Sundays are for Beauty - Mother's Day


"My mother had a great deal of trouble with me, but I think she enjoyed it."

Mark Twain (1835 - 1910)

Saturday, May 9, 2009

WSJ Letters, 05/09/2009

It's Saturday and time for my favorite letters to the editor of the Wall Street Journal this week. I've also included a special "Notable & Quotable" this week.

College Rejection: Time to Grow Up

I read with interest the article showcasing the attempts of colleges to achieve the lofty goal of notifying unaccepted applicants of their rejection without hurting the feelings of a generation that has never encountered rejection or failure ("Rejection: Some Colleges Do It Better Than Others," Work & Family, April 29).
This is the maturation of the generation where everyone was chosen for the team, all were allowed to play regardless of level of skill, and all received some award or trophy. Now they are squinting as they enter the blinding reality of the real world where only the qualified get hired, only the best get promoted and where there really are winners and losers.
The colleges go to great lengths to avoid hurting an applicant's feelings by "denying the student's application, and not rejecting the student" when in reality it is the student and not the application who wasn't as qualified as those who were accepted. They lost, a better student earned the spot, and they are upset because they didn't get a blue ribbon for trying. The generation protected from failure and rejection is now coming of age and they expect special treatment from the world. I'm buying stock in pharmaceutical firms that make mood-disorder medications.
Stanley Riggs 
Sarasota, Fla.

Long Judicial Tenure, Not Life Appointments

I propose another suggestion in response to your May 1 letters "Face It: Judges Are Political, Elect Them Openly." All federal judges, from the lower-ranking district courts to the U.S. Supreme Court, should be appointed to a fixed term of office by the president and confirmed by the Senate. The term should be relatively long (say, 14 years), and incumbent judges should be eligible for reappointment. Congress and state legislatures should approve a constitutional amendment to end lifetime tenure of judges on our courts.
There needs to be accountability in our courts. So many court decisions have political ramifications. My proposal is based on the process used to select appointees to New York State's highest court: the Court of Appeals. The lack of lifetime tenure in New York has produced some excellent judges and court decisions.
Paul Feiner 
Greenburgh, N.Y.

Intangible Capital Built on Individual Rights, Property

Barry Bennett's letter regarding intangible capital "Intangible Capital Is Most Important" (May 7) makes a strong moral case for a flat tax. If "wealth is created primarily by the vast societal infrastructure that we take for granted" then all who benefit from that infrastructure have a moral obligation to contribute to the governmental institutions that support it. He is right to point out that a steeply progressive tax structure is debatable from a public policy standpoint. But one can hardly argue the "morality" of a vast number of Americans contributing nothing and taking increasingly more from the producers in our society.
Laura Sozio 
Charlotte N.C.

Notable & Quotable

Mickey Kaus writing at
The rationale for the [auto] bailout was that a bankruptcy would kill car sales, so the government had to step in and negotiate all the bankruptcy-style concessions without actually having a bankruptcy. But Obama was unwilling to get the U.A.W. to make the bankruptcy-style concessions that would be necessary to have a viable Chrysler. And Chrysler wound up in bankruptcy anyway. Prediction: It will either fail or suck up continuing annual taxpayer subsidies in the billions. In the process it will keep flooding the market with cars and make it harder to save GM and Ford. It didn't have to be that way. . . .
And there is something creepy in the way many analysts simply accept that, of course, banks receiving TARP funds must now do Obama's bidding on unrelated matters like the Chrysler bankruptcy. This is a long way from JFK using his presidential power to face down a steel price hike -- a long way toward an unpleasant economic model that creates at least the potential for political thuggery, that preserves capitalism's inequalities without its freedoms and efficiencies.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Is there a parallel here?

We'll never know for sure why Barack Obama started, stopped, and started wearing the American Flag lapel pin after 911, or why he decided not to continue the White House participation in the National Day of Prayer yesterday. Call me crazy, but I see a parallel here.

Here's what Obama said when questioned about his missing American Flag lapel pin during his campaign for the presidency, when, according to the main stream media, the war in Iraq was going poorly.

"You know, the truth is that right after 9/11, I had a pin." Shortly after 9/11, particularly because as we're talking about the Iraq War, that became a substitute for I think true patriotism, which is speaking out on issues that are of importance to our national security, I decided I won't wear that pin on my chest. Instead, I'm going to try to tell the American people what I believe will make this country great, and hopefully that will be a testimony to my patriotism."

The National Day of Prayer was created in 1952 and signed into law by President Harry Truman. In 1988, President Ronald Reagan amended the law to state the day would be observed on the first Thursday in May. For the past eight years, President George W. Bush hosted an ecumenical ceremony at the White House on the day designated, and invited Protestants, Catholics and Jews to participate.

This year the White House, in fact the Executive Branch, did not participate in the National Day of Prayer, and the president, through his estimable spokesman, Robert Gibbs, left us with this:

"I think the president understands, in his own life and in his family's life, the role that prayer plays. And I would denote that the administrations prior to the past one did proclamations. That's the way the president will publicly observe the national prayer day. But, as I said, privately, he'll pray as he does every day."

I really miss Tony Snow.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Citizen Legislators vs The Pros

This is Daniel Hannan, who, if the UK has any chance at survival, will be the next occupant of #10 Downing Street. He is currently a member of the European Parliament, representing South East England. He was first elected to that position in 1999, and was re-elected in 2004. In April 2008, he was elected to the top position of the Conservative list for the 2009 elections. He blogs regularly at:

Here’s a sample from one of his recent blogs that got me thinking about, and longing for, term limits.

“… MPs these days tend to mess about in para-political jobs before standing for Parliament, as think-tankers, researchers, trade union officials, NGO agitators, party apparatchiks or lobbyists. Look at the current Cabinet. As far as I can work out, not one of its members has ever been involved in making anything or selling anything. Almost all are creatures of the public sector

“There are lots of useful ways to clean up Parliament. But making MPs wholly dependent on state spending is not one of them. The idea that being an MP ought to be a full-time job sounds reasonable, but is specious.

“Ideally, I'd like to go further, and have citizen legislators: that is, parliamentarians who meet for relatively few days each year and who, although they are compensated for their time, cannot expect to make a living from it, but are assumed to be carrying on with whatever they did before. Something similar happens in Switzerland, and the Swiss seem to be doing pretty well….”

Here in the United States, Congressional efforts to limit the terms of members of the House and Senate lost their air in 1997, but that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be resuscitated. The Republican majority in Congress, in their 1994 “Contract With America,” initially declared term limits a priority, but that Congress failed to get the necessary votes for a constitutional amendment – which would be needed to mandate the limits.

Our House of Representatives today has 62 members who have “served” for more than 20 years. Nineteen of them have “served” for over 30 years, and two (both Democrats) for more than 40 years. Almost 58 percent of the Members have been there for 10 years. Does that sound good?

James Madison wrote: legislators should be “called for the most part from pursuits of a private nature and continued in appointment for a short term of office.” I don’t think he meant by “short term of office,” 40 years, 30 years, or even 20.

It has not always been so. From 1798 to 1901, the average number of terms served by House members was 2.18. From 1901 to 2002, the average number of terms per House member increased to 4.86, and since 1947 that number has increased to 5.84. In short, we are living under the “guidance” of professional legislators some of whom have never held a real job – let alone create a real job.

Jack Kemp always said that the best way to argue against a bad idea was to offer a good idea. So here's my good idea, and borrowing from Jonathan Swift, I'll call it a "Seven Step Modest Proposal to Improve Representation."

1. Members of the U. S. House of Representatives may serve only two (two year) terms in their lifetime, and those terms need not be served consecutively. They may thereafter serve in the U. S. Senate, but not in the term immediately succeeding their final term in the House.
2. Members of the U. S. Senate may serve only one six year term in their lifetime. They may thereafter serve two terms in the House of representatives but not in the term immediately succeeding their term in the Senate.
3. The House and the Senate will be modeled after the U. S. Military Reserve Force. Both Houses will meet in Washington D. C. one weekend each month, and for two weeks each summer. The weekend meetings, when possible, will be accomplished by way of telephone or video conferencing.
4. Each member of the House and Senate will have a full-time staff made up of two members in Washington D. C., and one in the home district. The Senate staff member may serve anywhere in the state, at the discretion of the Senator.
5. In order to be a candidate for either the House of Representatives or the Senate, the individual must have served in the U. S. Military. Those not eligible for active combat service must have served in some ancillary military capacity.
6. All candidates for seats in the House of Representatives and the Senate must pass an intelligence measuring test that demonstrates, at a minimum, competency in reading, writing, and balancing a checkbook.
7. All travel and living expenses of members of Congress in connection with their official duties will be reimbursed by the U. S. Treasury. Retirement and health insurance will not be provided, but a modest sum will be paid to each member, while serving, which can be used to contribute to any personal retirement or health insurance plan set up by the member.

Adoption of this modest proposal will, hopefully, lead to a new kind of legislator: one who will be motivated by service to country rather than by self aggrandizement. Their knowledge of the real world will serve them well as they legislate, and their legislative experience will make them even better citizens when they return to private life.

One of the principal arguments advanced against term limits, even less draconian than the above modestly proposed steps, is that such a Congress would not have nearly enough time to legislate. I would answer that argument with one word: EXACTLY!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Victims of Duplicitous Demagogues, Part 3

See prior posts on this topic: April 29 and 30.

There is a D. C. School Choice rally today in Washington from 1:00 to 2:00 P.M. at Freedom Plaza, 14th Street and Pennsylvania Ave. NW., but with the presidents of Pakistan and Afghanistan both in Washington today, don't expect a lot of media coverage for this important event. For more information on the D. C. voucher program, check out this website:

You may have seen statistics reporting that approximately 44 percent of the children of congressmen attend private schools, but this, I think, is misleading, because one might assume that some similar percentage attend D. C. public schools. I don't think that is likely. I will bet that any children of congressmen who attend public schools are doing so in Northern Virginia where Secretary of Education Arne Duncan has enrolled his children.

The lady in the first video is right: this should not be about politics, but some facts are clear.
1. The D. C. Opportunity Scholarship Program was passed by the 2004 Republican Congress.
2. The program is being dismantled by the 2009 Democratic Congress.
3. Democratic Senator Dick Durbin injected the language in the Omnibus Spending Bill that will effectively kill the program.
4. The National Education Association (NEA), one of the two major teachers unions, spent $25 million on "political activities and lobbying" and $65.5 million on "contributions, gifts and grants since 1990.
5. Between 88 percent and 99 percent of the political contributions made by the NEA since 1990 have gone to Democrats.

NOTE: Please participate in the poll at the bottom of this page.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

We need another Jack Kemp

Jack Kemp was a Renaissance man, and we haven’t seen many of them in politics in my lifetime. Much has been written about Jack Kemp since his death, on Saturday, at the age of 73, and I’ve culled just a bit of it for this post to remember a great man.

The Wall Street Journal in an editorial called him a “Capitalist for the Common Man,” and went on to say:

Kemp, who died Saturday at age 73, was among the most important Congressmen in U.S. history. He wasn't powerful because he held a mighty post, and he never served in the House majority. He helped to transform the Republican Party though he was never its Presidential standard bearer. His influence sprang from the power of his ideas, and from the sincerity and enthusiasm with which he spread them.
Along with Senator William Roth of Delaware, Kemp proposed a 30% across-the-board tax cut. Though the Democrats who ran Congress combined with Old Guard Republicans to defeat it during the Carter Presidency, a GOP candidate by the name of Ronald Reagan liked what he saw. Reagan largely adopted Kemp-Roth as his own, campaigned on it in 1980, and the proposal eventually became the basis for the 25% income-tax cuts that finally took effect in 1983 and became the most successful domestic policy achievement of the modern era. The Kemp-Reagan policy mix of lower taxes to lift incentives, sound money to break inflation, and regulatory relief to unleash entrepreneurs became the foundation for the prosperity of the 1980s and 1990s.
And this from David P. Goldman, associate editor of First Things:

The transmission of ideas in the Reagan Revolution was one of the stranger developments in intellectual history. Robert Mundell, the Canadian economist who in 1999 would win the Nobel Prize, had already been chief economist of the International Monetary Fund and was teaching at the University of Chicago. Arthur Laffer (whose famous “Laffer Curve” would summarize supply-side economics) was Mundell’s colleague at Chicago. Mundell is an authentic genius who sported shoulder length prematurely gray hair, with Siamese-cat blue eyes that had an unnerving way of fixing on his conversation partner. The professionals in economics shunned him because his views were so novel as to threaten all their settled opinions.
Laffer translated Mundell’s insights into terms that Jude Wanniski could understand, and Jude then explained it all to Kemp. Through this game of telephone, there emerged the 1981 Kemp-Roth Tax Cuts, one of the few really decisive turning points in American economic history. And it was accomplished entirely outside the usual channels of policy transmission. There were no Wall Street gurus, no strings pulled by investment banks, no academic consensus, only a broken-down actor, a broken-down quarterback, an outsider of an economist, and a newsman with pronounced messianic tendencies.
Jack was a leader who loved his country and put it before personal gain. When he left office he had the equity in his house and not much else. But he had four children, including two sons who played professional football, and seventeen grandchildren. By the time I got to know him he was full time on the lecture circuit, putting his family finances in order before joining the Washington thinktank Empower America.
A devout Christian, Jack made far more of a difference than an ex-quarterback with a physical education degree from Occidental College had a right to. He earned our gratitude not only for what he accomplished, but for what he proved about the character of the United States.
There are a few things not mentioned by either the Wall Street Journal or First Things, that I think are more than noteworthy.

1. Jack Kemp played in the American Football League (AFL) for all 10 years of its existence. He played in its All Star game seven times, and played in its championship game five times. He set many of the league’s career passing records.
2. He received the AFL Most Valuable Player in 1965 after leading his Buffalo Bills to a second consecutive championship.
3. He was a Sporting News selection at Quarterback in 1960 and 1965.
4. He was the only AFL Quarterback to be listed as a starter for all 10 years of the league’s existence, and was one of only 20 players to play all 10 years.
5. His number 15 was retired by the Buffalo Bills in 1984.
6. During the early part of his football career, he served in the United States Army Reserve.
7. He co-founded the AFL Players Association, and served five times as its president.
8. He married his college sweetheart, Joanne Main, and remained devoted to her for 50 years.

Jack Kemp is survived by his wife of fifty years, his four children and 17 grandchildren. R. I. P.

Here are two of the last pieces Jack Kemp wrote for the Wall Street Journal. No one can say he didn’t warn us.

Obama and Economic Opportunity
April 17, 2008
In my opinion, people of all colors and income levels don't hate the rich. They want to get rich. They're more interested in generating wealth than they are in redistributing wealth. They want to own property, educate their children and build a nest egg that can be passed on to their heirs. Unfortunately, some aren't able to access the same ladder of opportunity that is so readily available to the majority. . . .
By giving people access to capital and allowing them to take ownership of assets, entrepreneurship will be encouraged and the cycle of poverty can begin to be broken. All persons should have the opportunity to go as high as their merit and determination can carry them. My favorite quote is from Abraham Lincoln, who said, "I don't believe in a law to prevent a man from getting rich; it would do more harm than good. So while we do not propose any war upon capital, we do wish to allow the humblest man an equal chance to get rich with everybody else."
Lincoln's definition of entrepreneurial capitalism is the best I have ever heard.

It's Time to Think Big on Tax Cuts
Oct, 8, 2008 (with Peter Ferrara)
John McCain needs to show the nation that he has the economic recovery plan to restore long-term economic growth. To do that, he needs to refocus his campaign with a new tax plan. Mr. McCain should come out for an alternative, optional flatter tax system, which he has already supported. . . .
Mr. Obama, by contrast, offers tax increases on savers, investors, small business, employers, and other job creators, a trillion dollar plus spending increase, and new regulatory burdens. That has no prospect of restoring economic growth. It will only do the opposite.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Last Word on Notre Dame

One last thing, from First Things, about Notre Dame’s intention to bestow an honorary degree on the most pro abortion politician in the land.

First Things is published by The Institute on Religion and Public Life, an interreligious, nonpartisan research and education institute whose purpose is to advance a religiously informed public philosophy for the ordering of society.

The following essay is taken from the First Things website:

May 1, 2009
Notre Dame, My Mother
By Lacy Dodd

For many members of the Notre Dame Class of 2009, the uproar surrounding the university’s decision to honor Barack Obama with this year’s commencement address, and to bestow on him a doctorate of laws, has provoked strong feelings about what the ensuing conflict will mean for their graduation.
I know how they feel. Ten years ago, my heart was filled with similar conflicts as we came closer to the day of my own Notre Dame commencement and my commissioning as an officer in the United States Army.
You see, I was three months pregnant.
That March, I had gone—alone—to a local woman’s clinic to take a test. The results were positive, and I was so numb I almost didn’t grasp what the nurse was getting at when she assured me I had “other options.” What did “other options” mean? And what kind of world is it that defines compassion as telling a young woman who has just learned she is carrying life inside her that she has the option to destroy it?
When I returned to campus, I ran to the Grotto. I was confused and full of conflicting emotions. But I knew this: No amount of shame or embarrassment would ever lead me to get rid of my baby. Of all women, Our Lady could surely feel pity for an unplanned pregnancy. I recalled her surrendered love to God’s invitation to become the home of the Incarnate Word. “Let it be done to me according to thy word,” she had said. In my hour of need, on my knees, I asked Mary for courage and strength. And she did not disappoint.
My boyfriend was a different story. He was also a Notre Dame senior. When I told him that he was to be a father, he tried to pressure me into having an abortion. Like so many women in similar circumstances, I found out the kind of man the father of my child was at precisely the moment I needed him most. “All that talk about abortion is just dining-room talk,” he said. “When it’s really you in the situation, it’s different. I will drive you to Chicago and pay for a good doctor.”
I tried telling him this was not an option. He said he was pro-choice. I responded by informing him that my choice was life. And I learned, as so many pregnant women have before and since, that life is the one choice that pro-choicers won’t support.
Still, I count myself lucky. I was raised by a mom and dad who marched for life—and who walked the walk when I needed them. However much I may not have wanted to embarrass them with my pregnancy, amid my troubles I always knew I had a priceless gift: a family that would welcome into their hearts the life that God had put in my womb.
I also had the advantage of a good and loving friend, Sara, who reminded me that her mom was a counselor at the Women’s Care Center in South Bend. It was this Women’s Care Center that provided me with the encouragement that everything was going to be all right. They educated me on my pregnancy, and they provided me with information on how to stay healthy.
So, without my boyfriend’s support, I graduated from Notre Dame on schedule with a bachelor’s degree in American Studies. I earned my ROTC commission as a second lieutenant in the U.S. Army. I returned to my parents’ home in Florida, having been granted a delay from active duty. I sought and received advice and loving counsel from Kimberly Home, a pregnancy resource center in my hometown. And I prepared to give birth to the human being who has given me the greatest and most unexpected joy in my life.
Because I was to be an unmarried mom (in the Army no less), I felt compelled at least to research adoption through Catholic Charities. A counselor at Kimberly Home guided me through the decision process and provided me with referrals. Kimberly Home connected me with other women of unplanned pregnancies who had gone through closed as well as open adoptions. It was helpful and caring.
After much prayer, I came to terms with the fact that this baby was a gift I had already chosen to accept. With the support of my family, I would make it work. Through the State of Florida Child Support Enforcement Agency, I obtained a court order for my daughter to receive child support from her father.
And then a miracle came: On All Saints Day 1999, I gave birth to baby Mary. Her name is no accident. This Mary was living inside me while I walked the campus of a university dedicated to a woman who is mother of us all, and it was Mary Our Mother who gave me courage when I was afraid of what would lie ahead. Mary teaches us always to be open to seeking the will of God in our lives, no matter what it is, and never to be afraid of God’s will. God’s will may contain suffering, but God’s will also brings peace and joy. When we place ourselves at God’s disposal, he will do great things for us.
Those great things included the precious moment when my father came to meet his granddaughter on that glorious day she was born. He took one look at Mary in my arms and said to me, “This is your gift for making the right decision.” At that moment, I realized my little girl and I would be forever blessed.
Notre Dame is a special place, but it is not immune to the realities of modern life. There are students who face unplanned pregnancies, and—most tragically—women who think their only option is abortion. Statistics show that one out of every five women who have an abortion is a college student; many of these women cite the fear that they will not be able to complete their education as a primary reason. On campuses all across this country, abortion is the status quo. We need to change that with an unambiguous stand for life, and Notre Dame needs to be in the lead.
There have been many things written about the honors to be extended to President Obama. I’d like to ask this of Fr. John Jenkins, the Notre Dame president: Who draws support from your decision to honor President Obama—the young, pregnant Notre Dame woman sitting in that graduating class who wants desperately to keep her baby, or the Notre Dame man who believes that the Catholic teaching on the intrinsic evil of abortion is just dining-room talk?

Lacy Dodd is a member of the Notre Dame Class of 1999 and a proud mother. She also serves on the board of Room at the Inn, a Charlotte-based nonprofit now working to build at Belmont Abbey America’s first campus-based maternal care facility for pregnant college students.