||Entrance to Royal
It appears that Dean Barnett
(Soxblog) is back in the saddle after a Colorado vacation and is once again
bailing out Hugh Hewitt on Hughs Townhall.com
website. I use the term bailing out tongue-in-cheek, because I fully
appreciate Hughs hectic schedule that precludes even the most remote opportunity for
One of the advantages to living in Colorado
is that you dont have to fly on United Airlines to get here, an experience that Dean
lamented in his article entitled Irrelevant Vacation Notes. It is likely that
Mr. and Mrs. Soxblog were traveling many of the same Colorado highways and byways, and at
the same time, that my better half and I were last week, along with our son Aaron, his
wife Dawn, and a delightful 15-year old visitor from Germany named Robert were. Robert is
enjoying his first trip to America, and we have spent much of the summer trying to satisfy
his insatiable desire to see and learn new things while trying to convince him that
everything to see in America is in Colorado. He has experienced Rockies baseball and a
junior competitive soccer tournament, NASCAR races and the Frontier Days Rodeo in
Cheyenne, July 4th fireworks and the Denver Art Museum, a symphony concert at the Red
Rocks Amphitheater and the Molly Brown Museum, traveling over eight or ten major mountain
passes in Colorado, Rocky Mountain and Mesa Verde National Parks, the Air Force Academy,
and his first experience with fishing. Of course, there was a method in our
madnesssome day we hope to make a genealogical visit to Germany, and we will expect
three hundred miles from home and enjoying the immense beauty, the political junkie in me
was never too far submerged. Two experiences in particular brought out an urgent desire to
get back to my Dell DIM4500 and put my thoughts on the screen. The first of these occurred
during our visit to the ski/resort town of Telluride. If you are not familiar with the
town, it can best be described as an Aspen or Vail in waiting. As with those towns, it is
infested with Liberal vermin. The citys Town Council recently passed a symbolic
resolution, the first of its kind (at least in Colorado), calling for the impeachment of
President Bush and Vice President Cheney. The Denver
Post recently described the town as [A]n independent-minded
historic-mining-town-turned- resort without a single Republican in office. Democrats,
Libertarians and Green Party members fill every elected chair.
Nonetheless, we entered this den of iniquity to see the rustic
downtown set among the majestic San Juan Mountains and to enjoy the western atmosphere. As
we passed one of the many local real estate offices, I noticed advertisements for homes
and land that were for sale in and near the town. The smallest and oldest homes began at
about a half a million dollars, and a rather nice, modern log home of decent size was
advertised for over $9 million. The rest of the homes for sale ranged in price between
We later stopped at a small restaurant on the outskirts of town, and
similar homes with large balconies dotted the landscape. I could not help but envision
John Edwards or Al Gore sitting on one of those balconies worrying about the
poor and middle-class people of the Second America, as if they had any idea
whatsoever of what it would be like to be poor or middle-class and not be able to afford
to live in this beautiful part of Colorado. I thought about the sheer hypocrisy of the
Telluride Town Council, the voters who put them in office, and liberal politicians in
general who look down from their verandas at poor and middle class America, telling them
I feel your pain.
The second special event of the trip involved the opposite end of the
political spectrum. On the way home, our last stop was at the Royal Gorge Park in
south-central Colorado. The first time I visited this park, many years ago, it was a
pristine setting with a beautiful suspension bridge crossing more than a thousand feet
above the floor of the Arkansas River Canyon. The view was magnificent even from the road
approaching the bridge from either side. Park visitors could enjoy this aesthetic wonder
either for free or for a very small price.
It now more closely resembles Disneyland, with large, multi-colored
buildings, fences, and a noisy amusement park blocking any and all views of the canyon
unless you pay an exorbitant fee to pass through gates to get to the bridge. For a mere
$118 per person, you can get a 12-minute flight in a helicopter that buzzes back and forth
across the canyon. In effect, crass commercialism now prevents many families from seeing
this beautiful site that was once one of the major tourist attractions in the state, and
what they would see is a noisy, hustling, and bustling tourist trap that this Coloradan
will never visit again.
While I support free enterprise and the capitalistic system, there
should be a limit placed on where it can be practiced, especially on such a scale. America
is blessed with many natural wonders to be shared and enjoyed by all. If we allow these
treasures to be despoiled by commercial development such as that which has taken place at
the Royal Gorge, we will lose them and future generations will no longer be able to enjoy
those special places that we take for granted today.
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Levity Ain't No
Everyone needs a little humor from time to time, and since our policy
here at The Drum and Cannon is to meet our customers' needs, today we will depart
from our in-depth and award-winning attempts to convert diehard liberals back to the path
of righteousness and rationality. If we poke a little fun at them, it's only because we
love them and want them to learn how to occasionally laugh at themselves.
The other day I went downtown and went into a shop. I was only
in there for about 5 minutes. When I came out there was a cop writing out a
parking ticket. I went up to him and said, "Come on, man, how about giving
a retired person a break"?
He ignored me and continued writing the ticket. I called him a "Nazi."
He glared at me and started writing another ticket for having worn tires.
So I called him a "doughnut eating Gestapo." He finished the second
ticket and put it on the windshield with the first. Then he started writing
a third ticket. This went on for about 20 minutes. The more I abused
him, the more tickets he wrote.
Personally, I didn't care. My car was parked two rows over. The car that
he was putting the tickets on had a bumper sticker that said "Hillary in
'08." I try to have a little fun each day now that I'm retired. It's
important to my health. (Sent to me by a
friend who is a fellow retiree)
Hugh Hewitt reports tonight about the
anti-war activist who tried to trip up Mitt Romney at a campaign forum today by asking if
any of his five sons would demonstrate support for the war by enlisting in the military.
The guv provided a very good answer, but the darker side of me wishes that he had
responded thusly, Oh, I dont know, you will have to ask them. Theyre
adults, you know. Maybe its for the same reason that you and your friends
havent joined al Qaeda yet, although you apparently support that group.
And yet another one that I received in my e-mail from a friend, but
it originally appeared in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. It is about that
American Legend, Yogi Berra. We all know that Yogis mastery of the English language
is superseded by only Mark Twain and Winston Churchill. The following is but one example.
I cannot vouch for its accuracy, but it sounds vintage Yogi. Yogi was addressing the
graduating class at St. Louis University in May of this year, where he had also just
received an Honorary Degree.
|Thank you all for being here tonight. I know this is a busy time of year, and if you
weren't here, you could probably be somewhere else. I especially want to thank the
administration at St. Louis University for making this day necessary. It is an honor to
receive this honorary degree. It is wonderful to be here in St. Louis and to
visit the old neighborhood. I haven't been back since the last time I was here. Everything
looks the same, only different. Of course, things in the past are never as they used to
Before I speak, I have something I'd like to say. As you may know, I never went to
college, or high school for that matter. To be honest, I'm not much of a public speaker,
so I will try to keep this short as long as I can.
As I look out upon all of the young people here tonight, there are a number of words of
wisdom I might depart. But I think the most irrelevant piece of advice I can pass along is
The most important things in life are the things that are least important.
I could have gone a number of directions in my life. Growing up on the Hill, I could have
opened a restaurant or a bakery. But the more time I spent in places like that, the less
time I wanted to spend there. I knew that if I wanted to play baseball, I was going to
have to play baseball. My childhood friend, Joe Garagiola, also became a big-league
ballplayer, as did my son, Dale. I think you'll find the similarities in our careers are
You're probably wondering, how does a kid from the Hill become a New York Yankee and get
in the Hall of Fame? Well, let me tell you something, if it was easy nobody would do it.
Nothing is impossible until you make it possible.
Of course, times were different. To be honest, I was born at an early age. Things are much
more confiscated now. It seems like a nickel ain't worth a dime anymore. But let me tell
you, if the world was perfect, it wouldn't be. Even Napoleon had his Watergate.
You'll make some wrong mistakes along the way, but only the wrong survive. Never put off
until tomorrow what you can't do today. Denial isn't just a river in Europe.
Strive for success and remember you won't get what you want unless you want what you get.
Some will choose a different path. If they don't want to come along, you can't stop them.
Remember, none are so kind as those who will not see.
Keep the faith and follow the Commandments: Do not covet thy neighbor's wife, unless she
has nothing else to wear. Treat others before you treat yourself. As Franklin Eleanor
Roosevelt once said, 'The only thing you have to fear is beer itself.'
Hold on to your integrity, ladies and gentlemen. It's the one thing you really need to
have; if you don't have it, that's why you need it. Work hard to reach your goals, and if
you can't reach them, use a ladder. There may come a day when you get hurt and have to
miss work. Don't worry, it won't hurt to miss work.
Over the years, I have realized that baseball is really just a menopause for life. We all
have limitations, but we also know limitation is the greatest form of flattery. Beauty is
in the eyes of Jim Holder.
Half the lies you hear won't be true, and half the things you say, you won't ever say.
As parents you'll want to give your children all the things you didn't have. But don't buy
them an encyclopedia, make them walk to school like you did. Teach them to have respect
for others, especially the police. They are not here to create disorder, they are here to
Throughout my career, I found good things always came in pairs of three. There will be
times when you are an overwhelming underdog. Give 100 percent to everything you do, and
when that's not enough, give everything you have left. 'Winning isn't everything, but it's
better than rheumatism.' I think Guy Lombardo said that.
Finally, dear graduates and friends, cherish this moment; it is a memory you will never
forget. You have your entire future ahead of you.
Good luck and Bob's speed.'
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Marine General Points Out
Successes in Iraq
The situation in
Iraq is rapidly changing according to civilian media reporting as well as official
military reports. Those of us who support the war find the optimistic news encouraging,
while those who oppose the war either find the same news discouraging, either admitting
that it will cause "a real big problem" for the Left (Rep. James Clyburn D-SC),
or downplaying the credibility of the news to a level of simple propaganda (Sen. Harry
Reid and Rep. Nancy Pelosi). On July 10, 2007 the Commandant of the Marine Corps, General
James T. Conway, gave a straight-forward assessment of the progress of the war as part of
P. Shultz Lecture Series at the Marines
Memorial Association and World Affairs Council. Whether you
agree or disagree with the war, you owe it to yourself to objectively read the General's
comments and then form your own opinion. More likely than not, you will join the
once-again increasing number of Americans who, according to recent polls, support the war.
You can read the General's speech in its entirety here.
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War in Iraq 101: a basic course for the War's critics
moves on and the disagreements over the course of the War in Iraq continue, it becomes
more and more obvious that the events that took place early in the war become distorted
and what was fact becomes fiction, while what was fiction becomes fact. Critics on
the Left, for example, frequently state that the Administration falsely tied the Iraqi
government under Saddam Hussein to the 9/11 attacks as an excuse for invading Iraq.
Nothing could be further from the truth, but it is widely believed nonetheless, thereby
distorting and inflaming what might otherwise be civilized discussion. Another false
impression is that the coalition forces disbanded the Iraqi Army after Baghdad was taken,
thereby eliminating a potent force that could have helped stabilize the country early in
the war. In August of 2004, PBS Frontline
interviewed Walter Slocombe, the former director of national security and defense in the
Coalition Provisional Authority. This was the U.S. organization charged with
overseeing Iraq's reconstruction and transition to democratic rule.
interview, Slocombe describes what really happened to the Iraqi Army during and after the
push to Baghdad. He talks about what was not planned for in the aftermath of the war and
describes the challenges in training Iraqi security forces following the almost total
disappearance of the Iraqi Army. He describes it thusly:
Well, the United States government had expected that there would be substantial Iraqi
military units which were intact, which were sitting in barracks with their commanders,
with their weapons, with their physical facilities intact, in effect waiting for orders.
That just didn't happen. The entire Iraqi army vaporized. They simply all went home as the
fighting went forward. And that meant that a lot of the initial things we would have to
do, both good and bad, didn't have to be done because there was no army to deal with.
I wasn't completely surprised. If you think about it, I think the central issue why the
army disappeared is that it was a conscript army. And as soon as it was clear that the
organized military resisting us was collapsing, the officers lost most of the control of
their troops, and sometimes the will to try to control them.
Slocombe also describes the status of the military infrastructure shortly after the
fall of Saddam Hussein:
[A] lot of the stuff that was in the facilities was stolen; almost all the nontactical
vehicles, trucks, jeeps, cars, that kind of stuff were almost stolen. And then almost
every government-related facility in Iraq was ransacked and looted by the local
population. So the military bases practically, without exception, were in ruins. The walls
and the roofs were often intact, but everything else was ripped out or burned, and that
was also true of government offices, courthouses, police stations all around the country.
A little known yet important aspect of the story is that the Coalition later paid
former Iraqi military personnel to allow them to provide for their families.
disband the army. The army disbanded itself. ... There was no army to disband. We were not
sending people home who were doing useful work or failing to put them to work cleaning
streets or whatever. ... What we did do was to formally dissolve all of the institutions
of Saddam's security system. The intelligence, his military, his party structure, his
information and propaganda structure were formally disbanded and the property turned over
to the Coalition Provisional Authority. And in addition, former and formal military ranks
were abolished. But we also said at the time that we would make payments to former
officers or to former military personnel, and we actually set up that system within about
six weeks and have, in fact, continued to pay the former officers. And we even made a
one-time payment to the conscripts. That's the story on the so-called disbanding.
Army was, for the most part, organized in such a way so that the majority of the
conscripts were Shi'ites while the officer corps was made up primarily of loyal Sunnis,
many of whom were active Baathists. It was only natural that there would be questions
regarding the loyalty and dependability of the Army's leaders.
Furthermore, even if they had come back, as I said, all the facilities were trashed.
And you can't run an army without places for the troops to sleep and eat and take care of
bodily functions, much less without equipment so you can move them and train them and
communicate with them, all those sorts of things. ... In order to have an army that can do
anything, you've got to have a structure; you've got to have facilities for them; you've
got to have arms; you've got to have a leadership that they will follow.
And then there is the problem that using a badly trained, ethnically unacceptable army
with very dubious, politically loyal leadership to do a critical security job is a formula
The only logical solution was to begin building a new military from the ground up,
taking advantage of the experience and skills that were still available, especially among
lower echelon officers and non-commissioned officers. The function of the new army would
be radically different from that for which the former army was trained, namely internal
security and counter-insurgency rather than conventional warfare. Advancement would be the
result of performance rather than loyalty to a dictator. In essence, it was a totally new
military paradigm, one for which the old army of Saddam Hussein was not suited. And it was
a correct decision made by the Bush Administration and American military leaders.
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