Archive | November 2008

Victory in Iraq: Something to be Thankful For

Folks, our troops are coming home, and not with their tails between their legs as the lefties wanted, but with heads held high:

While Americans sat down for Thanksgiving dinner deciding what they were thankful for, the Iraqi parliament Thursday passed an agreement with the U.S. that set a date certain for American withdrawal, as war critics wanted. But it was based on conditions on the ground, as the Bush administration insisted.

The conditions on the ground are that the jihadists are a spent force that lost the war as well as the hearts and minds of the Iraqi people. Province after province has been returned to Iraqi control, and the young Iraqi nation appears both willing and able to defend itself.

Under the terms of the agreement, U.S. forces will withdraw from Iraqi towns and cities by June 30, 2009, and the entire country by Jan. 1, 2012. The deal could still be rejected by the Iraqi people in a referendum scheduled for July 30, a key Sunni demand to get their agreement, but by then U.S. troops will no longer be a visible presence in urban areas.

That public referendum is very significant… if they don’t trust their government to keep them safe, the Iraqi people can ask us to stay. Of course, that would drive the lefties into an absolute tizzy, because we’ll have been asked by the Iraqi people to stay.

But there really shouldn’t be any reason for the Iraqis to feel unsafe, the Iraqi government has done a marvelous job of taking over the reins of power from Saddam and his Ba’athists.

The pact comes after a report on Iraq’s progress that retired Gen. Barry McCaffrey, now an adjunct professor of International Affairs at the United States Military Academy at West Point, compiled for his colleagues.

The report concludes: “The United States is now clearly in the end game in Iraq to successfully achieve what should be our principle objectives: the withdrawal of the majority of U.S. ground combat forces . . . in the coming 36 months; leaving behind an operative civil state and effective Iraqi security forces; an Iraqi state which is not in open civil war among the Shia, the Sunnis, and the Kurds; and an Iraqi nation which is not at war with its six neighboring states.”

A job well done by all our soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines. Welcome home, troops. You did good, no matter what Reid, Pelosi, Kerry, Murtha, et al want to claim.


That’s a Navy SEAL, All The Way!

This almost speaks for itself, but it’s worth noting that this sign appears on the door of a hospital room (not sure where, probably due to OpSec). See below… SecDef Gates says this is at Bethesda National Naval Medical Center… good place for a wounded SEAL.

I’d say that SEAL has the right attitude.

And a tip of the hat to the one and only Blackfive.

Update: Looks like SecDef Gates knows about this wounded SEAL, since he mentioned this sign in a speech in October.

Black Friday Takes On New Meaning

…and it’s not a good meaning.

Two people were gunned down and killed Friday inside a Toys R Us in Palm Desert, Calif., authorities said.

Riverside County sheriff’s Sgt. Dennis Gutierrez said Palm Desert police got a call saying shots had been fired inside the store around 11:35 a.m.

One juvenile is in custody, according to unconfirmed reports.

(emphasis in original)

Condolences to the family and friends of the victims.

That aside, it’s marvelous how those strict gun control laws in California stop this kind of thing, isn’t it?

Getting Ready for Christmas

In honor of the holiday season, I’ve switched the blog to a more Christmas-y theme. Enjoy!

Prayer Request

Update and Epilogue (by PhyCon 11:45PM 11/27/08 – at the top so you don’t have to read everything below this):

At this time of year I have always looked forward to the constellation Orion being in the sky.  He and I have had some great conversations over the years, albeit, a bit one-sided.  As a child I had a paper route in my small home town.  And DadII’s house was the last one on it.  They always knew when they got their morning paper because I put papers inside of screen doors if they were available.  Their house has a very small porch or it could be called a mud room.  The door to this room is one of those old wooden screen doors that closes on a spring with a “BANG!!!”.  For some reason I always delighted in trying to run from the door to make it into the street before it did its spring-fed duty.  BANG!!! And then I’d see a light come on in the house.  I’d laugh quietly and make my way home the whole long one block away.

Through the years that BANG!!! has been a running joke and a point of focus for happy times.  I stopped doing that paper route when I was 16 but I STILL love hearing that old door go BANG!!!  I started this post out with an intro about Orion and our conversations.  They have been many and varied as I grew from an 8 year old boy to a 40 year old man.  DadII was also a fan of Orion.  As I was driving home Orion was rising into a crystal clear night sky.  The stars were shining brightly all around but Orion looked even brighter than the others.  I began thinking about all of those conversations and the ones I had with DadII over Orion.  When I was about 15 miles (that’s 15 minutes to you city folk 🙂 ) away from the Hospice tonight the last bit of Orion cleared the horizon and I knew DadII had left this Earth.

I wasn’t surprised when I walked down the hall to his room and a nurse stopped me.  All I asked was “when”?.  7:45PM MST, DadII went home.  MomII hugged me tighter than she ever had.  We then said prayers for his safe passage into heaven along with Robin, the Episcopalian Priest.  A short time later MomII was ready to leave and we took her to a hotel.  We stayed with her until she kicked us out with assurances that if she needed anything she would call.  She is heading home tomorrow to that small town and screen door where she will have all the support she needs in the coming days.

I told her this is still a day for Thanksgiving.  DadII is safely home.  I’m certain his fitting for wings was scheduled a very long time ago 🙂


PS: Please keep DadII, MomII, their children, and grandchildren in your prayers.  You have my eternal gratitude.


Our own PhyCon has a good friend–in fact, close to a second father–who’s in the final stages of a terminal illness. The friend (call him “B”), B’s family, and Phy could all use a lot of prayer right about now; B for “Godspeed” without pain, and the family and friends for comfort and peace at this time.

It would probably also boost Phy’s spirits to drop by here and see some messages of support. Please feel free to post your good wishes.

UPDATE (from PhyCon): All, I haven’t been around much the last week or so because I’ve been keeping DadII and MomII company at our local Hospice Center.  B (DadII) has had a couple “fair-to-midlin” (according to MomII) nights these last two and MomII kicked me out early because there have been a plethora of visitors the last two days.  More are on their way tomorrow and I won’t be going back in until tomorrow evening – at MomII’s request.  (I suspect she thinks I’m neglecting my own duties … would be very much like her.)

The long and short of it is B might make Thanksgiving, he might even make Christmas, or he might even go longer than that; but it is in God’s hands.  I know MomII, her family, her adoptive family (in name only), and all B’s friends appreciate any and all prayers.

Thank you and God bless!

Update (from CW) and Bump: Seems that “B” doesn’t have long now. Please pray hard now!

Update (from PhyCon): MomII went home Monday morning mainly because the thinking is DadII is one of those who won’t “release” if he has his loved ones around.  She also had the usual life things to deal with like bills and other things.  I spent almost three hours with DadII last night and we actually had some good conversations.  His speech is down to one or two words for the most part coupled with nods and head shakes.  He was very concerned as to where his wife and children were.  After I told him their locations he ‘settled’ again and relief washed over his face (this is my interpretation of his facial expressions).  After the “where” conversation, DadII called out a name I initially didn’t remember.  It was his mother’s name.  He sounded excited when he initially called it out and I was concerned.  I asked him if there was anything I could do to help him and he said, “Angels”…”see angels”.

I talked with one of the (most fabulous one I’ve ever met) hospice nurses, Diane, about this and she told me he had been “seeing angels” and “other afterlife” stuff for the last six hours.  MomII had left his side just about 6 hours before DadII started reporting these visions.  His pain medications have consisted of Tylenol and low-dose Percocet so the visions are most likely not drug related.  Shortly before I left last night his pain level had increased significantly enough that his oncologist prescribed much stronger medications including morphine.

I will return tonight after work to sit with DadII for as long as he wishes me to be there.  MomII is due back tomorrow by 1PM.  I don’t know if DadII will still be on this Earth then but I wouldn’t be surprised.  He’s hung on much longer than the nurses have thought he would.  He’s a very proud and strong man.  I am richer by far for having had the opportunity to spend the time with him and his family I’ve been afforded.  I thank God for this and pray His gentle hands will hold DadII soon.

Please feel free to comment, ask questions, and/or pray.  All are welcome.

Update 1:30AM MST 11/26/08 (by PhyCon): Thought I’d get on and put out on update.  DadII is resting comfortably right now.  His breathing is deep and not labored.  I’ll be spending the night here and am planning on trying to get some sleep as soon as I publish this update.  It’s been mostly a quiet night.  Not much conversation at all though he’s tried on occasion.  He just doesn’t have the strength left for a lot of speech :(.  MomII is due back today now in less than 12 hours and I plan on being here until then.  DadII isn’t really recognizing people now so I don’t think it really matters if I stay or not to him.  I’m staying mostly for MomII and their kids.  As one of those kids told me tonight, “It’s nice to have boots on the ground.”  I kept a pretty steady stream of text messages and emails heading out so I think all those immediately concerned know what is going on.

I’m tired…off to a recliner with a blanket for me. (now 1:35)

Update 4:35PM 11/26/08 (by PhyCon): MomII showed up around 1:30 today and I related the day’s and night’s events to her plus had the nurses who were on shift at the time pass on their info.  DadII is fading and I expect to have a phone call sometime tomorrow.  Knowing MomII she won’t call as soon as he passes but will wait until well after so as to ‘not spoil’ the holiday.  I will be very surprised if he makes it very far tonight.  That said, she kicked me out @ 4PM today and told me to “go home” meaning to my parent’s house approximately 100 miles away.  I’ll be on the road and out of touch with the blog for the most part for the duration.  If I get news, I’ll post it as quickly as I can…probably by telling CW and asking him to do it.

I appreciate all the prayers and wishes.  I have passed them on to MomII and she was gratified.  Keep it up because there will be a new angel very soon!

Update & Bump from CW (19:41, 27 Nov): PhyCon reports that “B” passed away about 7:45 pm Mountain time this evening. Prayers for friends and family are still appreciated.

Economy Not In a Depression; Not Even as Bad as Carter’s

The ever-readable Victor Davis Hanson has some sharp words for people panicking over the economy:

Get a grip. Much of our current panic is psychological, and hyped by instantaneous electronic communications and second-by-second 24-hour news blasts. There has not been a nationwide plague that felled our workers. No earthquake has destroyed American infrastructure. The material United States before the September 2008 financial panic is largely the same as the one after. Once we tighten our belts and pay off the debts run up by Wall Street speculators and millions of borrowers who walked away from what they owed others — and we can do this in a $13 trillion annual economy — sanity will return.

Gas, now below $2 a gallon, is still falling — saving Americans hundreds of billions of dollars. As housing prices settle, millions of young Americans will buy homes that just recently were said to be out of reach of a new generation.

If it was once considered a sign of economic robustness that homes doubled in value in just a few years, why is it seen as a disaster that they now sell on the way down for what they did recently on the way up? If we were recently terrified that gas would reach $5 a gallon, why do we now just shrug that it might fall to $1.50?

Unemployment is still below 7 percent; it was around 25 percent when Franklin Roosevelt became president. Less than 20 banks have failed, not the 4,000 that went under in the first part of 1933.

Of course, we needn’t reach all the way back to the 1930s to find a worse economic situation than we face today. Under President Carter, the terms “stagflation” and “misery index” entered the common lexicon. Interest rates peaked at over 20%, and the cost of a gallon of gas went from 40 cents in 1973 to over a dollar a gallon by 1979 (and remember, in 1979 a dollar would buy a lot more than it will today).

Compared to the Carter era, we are currently in a mild downturn. It’s certainly not as bad as the Great Depression, no matter what the talkingheads on the evening MoveOnMedia news tell you.

However, if Obama makes the wrong move, we could see a return of the terms “stagflation” and “misery index.” Let’s all pray that he avoids those mistakes.

Thanking God for America and Capitalism

Many people today will think back to the first Thanksgiving, with the Pilgrims at Plymouth, but what most won’t realize is that the Pilgrims at first tried a form of socialism as their government (though the term “socialism” hadn’t been coined at that time, so of course they didn’t call it that).

William Bradford, in his History of Plymouth Plantation, describes how, in 1621, the colony functioned economically:

For as some were thus imployed at affairs abroad, others were excersised in fishing, aboute codd, & bass, & other fish…of which every family had their portion.

In short, all the food was put into a community pool and each family thus drew out what they needed. Sounds eminently fair, doesn’t it?

Only one problem. It didn’t work.

Most of us know the story, how some 45 of the original 102 died the first winter. As the colony grew, with new ships arriving in 1623, for instance, the communal plan was no longer feasible.

On ye other hand the old planters were affraid that their corne, when it was ripe, should be imparted to ye newcomers, whose provissions wch they brought with them they feared would fall short before ye year wente aboute (as indeed it did). They came to ye Govr and besought him that as it was before agreed that they should set corn o for their perticuler, and accordingly they had taken extraordinary pains ther aboute, that they might freely injoye the same, and they would not have a bitte of victails now come but waite till harvest for their owne, and let ye new comers injoye what they had brought; they would have none of itm excepte they could purchase any it of them by bargaine or exchainge. Their requeste was granted them, for it gave both sides good contente; for ye new comers were as much afraid that ye hungrie planters would have eat up ye provissions brought, and they should have fallen into like condition.

This is clearly the beginnings of a capitalist system. Each man raises as much food as he can, and sells it to whomever needs it for whatever price could be agreed upon. And the colony flourished after that.

The reason socialism, communism, communalism, or whatever you want to call it doesn’t work is because it goes against fundamental human nature. No one works their hardest if they think that the benefits of that labor will be taken from them (voluntary charity is another issue, being voluntary instead of enforced). However, when the benefits of each person’s work are that person’s to do with as he pleases, he’s much more likely to work as hard as he can and make as much as he can. It’s simple self-interest. Many on the left would call that “selfish” and/or “unfair,” but it’s what has given America such a high standard of living that many of our so-called “poor” live in better conditions than the average citizen of other nations, with air conditioning, cable TVs, microwaves, and cell phones (you wanna see real poverty, go to the third world, especially those nations that are still working under the old socialist/communist model).

So, while you take time today to thank God for all the blessings you enjoy, remember to thank Him for leading the Pilgrims out of socialism and into capitalism. It’s quite likely that if they hadn’t made that change, you’d not be enjoying such a good meal today.

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