Saturday, November 3, 2007

I Know, I'm a Ranter

Ok, so it's fairly obvious I'm not a big Redford fan, or for that matter, a hollywood fan. Do I still watch movies- yes. I am not questioning Redford's RIGHT to say what he said, I was just upset by Redford's assumption that he speaks for everyone and that he doesn't give any specific examples of freedoms he lost.

I read a couple reviews and heard an interview with the author of a new book called Schmoozing with Terrorists. It details the direct effect that people like Redford have on the terrorists and their war on the West. I respect the right for a differing opinion, but just firmly believe it to be irresponsible to share it in a way that emboldens the enemy and ultimately results in the death of more American soldiers and marines. Is it really a surprise that deaths in Iraq are the lowest in many months, once we start talking withdrawal? The terrorists would not want us to change our minds by continuing the fight!

I'm saddened by those who may truly believe that the best expression of patriotism is to bash the US and its president as if they had all the facts.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

'Liberals' for Lions

Here's a recent gem of a comment from one of Hollywood's finest; the one and only Robert Redford.

"Our country has hit a point where we have lost so much," he said. "We have lost lives, we've lost sacred freedoms, we've lost financial stability; we've lost our position of respect on the world stage."

Who appointed Robert Redford to speak for America? Or for that matter, any of Hollywood? What is the deal with these filthy rich movie makers who 1) believe they are somehow mainstream and 2) think that because they produce fiction and live in a make-believe world- they can speak for the rest of us. How did entertainment and politics become so fused that you can't tell where one stops and the other begins?

I feel the US is on the way up. Maybe not society, mind you, evidenced by the degradation of the family and the dominance of reality TV... But specifically, Mr. Redford, what sacred freedoms or financial stability have YOU lost? As for respect from our world neighbors... That is such a cop out. Which ones? China- where human rights are a fallacy and the vast majority of the country runs on coal burning plants? Where's Al Gore's outrage over that? What other country could you, Mr. Redford, have accomplished what you have and enjoyed the freedom to do it? Name one. That's how we got to be the greatest nation on earth- We didn't care what others thought and just did the right thing. Please, do us all a favor and spare us your America sucks speech and go to whatever country serves you better.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

A Quick Review of 'Lone Survivor'

I was given this book as a birthday present from our good friends M&L. It came with their raving reviews so I quickly dove in.

I did not know it was going to be such an emotional ride as it details a real life account of four Navy SEALs in the mountains of Afghanistan. I regret the outcome of a single decision made by the group that led to the deaths of 19 special forces personnel. In my opinion and the opinion of the author, it resulted from the fear that the liberal news media would exploit the situation to serve a political agenda. Oh, by the way- the author is the only man that made it out alive. His story is incredible. It describes the toughest kind of decision a person can ever be asked to make; your lives and the success of your mission which could save thousands versus the lives of a few possibly innocent goat herders. (It turned out they weren't innocent)

There is also a stark contrast identified in the story between the ruthless, murdering Taliban and the indigenous tribes that harbored the wounded SEAL and defended him with their lives. I cannot imagine the human body taking so much punishment and surviving. I envy all that the SEALs and others like them stand for and are willing to do for our sakes and the good of the Nation.

Honestly, I have not settled out how I feel about the whole situation. Read it and I'd love to hear your opinion. BEWARE! The language of such hardened warriors is not always uplifting.

PS I don't have the clarity of writing to begin to address the problems with our sensationalist and negative media. I will only throw in one small golden nugget of history. During WWII, FDR implemented a domestic censorship code that banned the printing of any information that was deemed to be helpful to the enemy. Maybe that is not possible in the information age and it is perhaps, distasteful to democracies. But I believe it would save the lives of our young men and women fighting to defend freedom abroad. Here's an excellent link that describes the idea.

Secrets of Victory
The Office of Censorship and the American Press and Radio in World War II

by Michael S. Sweeney

That's all for now. Take care.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Religious Equality in Schools??

I got a real kick out of this article from a Chicago-suburb.

It seems there is a movement to rename or cancel Halloween and Christmas celebrations in schools. Can there ever be absolute equality and tolerance at the same time? More often than not, the majority is bending over backwards to be tolerant of the plethora of minority customs and cultures- which is great!- Cinco de Mayo, Ramadan and others. The Christian majority should be tolerant of other beliefs and customs. But is it crazy to expect the same courtesy from the minority? I'm sorry for offending!

The real funny thing is- aside from the name 'Christmas,' there's not much religion left in the holiday! It's about as secular as it gets with Santa Claus and Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer! When was the last time a public school did a Nativity as a school program? School boards are terrified to death of the slightest hint of any religious discrimination, that is to say only if it is Christian. If it is favor of islamic, hispanic, buddist or jewish observance it is TOLERANCE! Sorry, I'm ranting. We all need a healthy dose of Michael Scott's Diversity training from The Office.

Monday, September 17, 2007

It's Official, until they change.

The motto of the US Marines is Semper Fidelis. For those of you who don't speak yiddish, that means 'Always Faithful.' We, in the navy often time substitute this with Semper Gumbi- Always 'Flexible!'

There's also a reason they call them orders and not suggestions. They can change them at any time according to the needs of the service. But I am grateful to finally get my orders to the USS Annapolis (SSN-760) as the navigator, since I'm due to show up in about 6 weeks! We'll see if they change, but I don't expect them to.

I'd be lying if I said that I wasn't excited. Safe navigation of the ship is the obvious priority, but the navigator also takes responsibilities as the operations officer which expand my duties significantly. As a department head, I also work with the other two dept heads (Weapons Officer and Engineer) and report to the Commanding Officer via the Executive Officer. The work load is heavy and expectations are high in both tactical ability and management of the department which comprises about 1/3 of the 130 man crew.

As we contemplate making Connecticut our home for the next few years (and maybe longer), we are sure enjoying the cool weather brought by the approaching Fall. Yes, we have four seasons here in New England as opposed to the pseudo-seasons we get in Texas. Regardless, we hope the winter treats us kindly. I will likely be punished for degrading Texas with a blizzard of epic proportions. All Hail, Texas- where you can't shovel sunshine.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Remembering 9/11

Haley was 11 days old on September 11, 2001. We were living in Charleston, SC and I was fully engaged in the Navy's nuclear prototype training pipeline. This is a phase of a submariner's training where they finally get out of the classroom and get some great hands-on training on two retired submarines. (Stripped of most of the normal submarine systems and left with the nuclear reactor and engine room intact) As Nolan is about to find out- it was a pretty intense time. The training goes around the clock in shiftwork.

I was just getting off shift on that Tuesday morning. I usually got home around 730 and headed right to the rack, but Mo was up early with baby Haley. I stayed up to spend some time with Haley and turned on the TV. The first plane had already hit, and right there before our eyes, Mo and I watched the second plane hit. Needless to say, we were glued to the TV the rest of the day.
I am profoundly grateful for the country in which we live. I feel indebted to those who have served and given the ultimate sacrifice-past and present- that we can enjoy the freedoms that we take so often take for granted. It is hard to see so many lives lost in Iraq, Afghanistan and across the world. Yet I believe in the cause of the Iraqi war, both for their national security and ours. Don't tell me its not worth it when a larger percentage of Iraqis come out to vote under the threat of death than Americans.

The fact is there are evil people in the world that are actively seeking the destruction of western civilization, why?- Because we are the wrong religion- I don't think so. That is just the cover story. Democracy, capitalism and globalization rob those evil men of their power and oppression over the masses. Today, I am glad to live in a country and be a part of an organization that recognizes the threats and defends the lives of our citizens, even the ones that fail to see the signs. I'll never forget how I felt that morning. What did you feel, what do you remember?

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Our Pilgrimage to Palmyra

Over Labor day weekend, our family braved a six-hour trip to Palmyra, NY to see the church history sites that are there. (For official Palmyra info, go HERE. Or for a more descriptive blog go to Emily's blog.)

Let me just say that despite several opportunities to let something ruin the was wonderful to be there with the most important people in my life. I felt of the spirit that is there. My testimony was strengthened. I realized some things,.. that I don't necessarily feel like elaborating here- lets just say that this 'experience of life' has clarified itself just a little bit. And life is good.