Sunday, May 30, 2010

Memorial Day

Memorial Day has a special meaning to those who served and to American Patriots. It is a meaning that needs to be shared, since for too many, Memorial Day is about BBQs, Indy, NASCAR, and the NCAA Men's Lacrosse Championship.

Memorial Day is about honoring those men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice for their country. It is about those men and women who, in future wars, will make that same sacrifice. The third verse of America the Beautiful captures this powerful sentiment:

O beautiful for heroes proved
In liberating strife.
Who more than self their country loved
And mercy more than life!

Memorial Day is about those men and women who lie in unmarked graves at places near Monmouth and Guilford Courthouse. It is about those men and women who lie at the Mexico City National Cemetery and on the hallowed grounds of Arlington. It is about those men and women who find rest far from our shores in the Philippines, Panama and Tunisia. Who find rest in the Old Country at places like Normandy, Luxembourg American Cemetery and Memorial, and Sicily-Rome American Cemetery and Memorial. It is about those men and women, our honored dead, who rest across America in cemeteries and veterans' parks. The American Battle Monuments Commission oversees these resting places, these hallowed pieces of America throughout the world, places worthy of our time and attention.

Abraham Lincoln understood and eloquently expressed this honor given to our fallen:

The mystic chords of memory, stretching from every battlefield and patriot grave to every living heart. . .should swell into a mighty chorus of remembrance, gratitude and rededication on this solemn occasion.

Please take a little time this Memorial Day to honor them. And then, enjoy the BBQ and other activities. But, please, honor them and give them pause.

Please also participate in The National Moment of Remembrance:

The National Moment of Remembrance, established by Congress, asks Americans wherever they are at 3 p.m., local time, on Memorial Day to pause in an act of national unity (duration: one minute).The time 3 p.m. was chosen because it is the time when most Americans are enjoying their freedoms on the national holiday. The Moment does not replace traditional Memorial Day events; rather it is an act of national unity in which all Americans, alone or with family and friends, honor those who died for our freedom. It will help to reclaim Memorial Day as the sacred and noble holiday it was meant to be. In this shared remembrance, we connect as Americans.


Wherever you are, observe the Moment at 3 p.m., local time, on Memorial Day. Ask others to remember—relatives, friends, church, neighborhood, or co-workers to observe the Moment at places such as your neighborhood, local pool, picnic grounds, etc., for one minute of Remembrance. Participation can be informal as ringing a bell three times to signify the Moment.


To provide a time of Remembrance for America’s fallen and to make a commitment to give something back to our country in their memory.To have Americans participate in an act of national unity and demonstrate gratitude and respect for those who died for freedom since the founding of our Nation.To provide a sense of history to our citizens and ensure that younger generations understand the sacrifices made to preserve our liberties.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Vibrant Church

A common statement by theological liberals is that the Church is losing steam, membership, and vibrancy because of its continued embrace of Orthodoxy. The other claim is that the Church itself is morally bankrupt because of the sex abuse scandal and has forever lost trust with the average Catholic.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinal today had a story which puts the lie to those statements and underlines the vibrancy not only of the Church of Southeastern Wisconsin, but also of the Orthodox direction of the archdiocese since the disgraced former Archbishop Rembert Weakland stepped aside.

Annysa Johnson writes in Catholic Archdiocese of Milwaukee raises $46 Million:

The Catholic Archdiocese of Milwaukee and its parishes have raised $46 million, nearly half of the $105 million goal set for the local church's largest capital campaign ever, and another $48.3 million in pledges to be fulfilled over the next three years, the archdiocese is expected to announce Sunday.

In all, the church is projecting to raise $94.3 million, or 90% of its goal, a feat archdiocese officials described as extraordinary in the economic downturn and with the sex-abuse scandal and other issues facing the church.

That is an astounding figure and one that highlights not only the vibrant faith of the Archdiocese where in the midst of an economic recession (though the recession is actually over by economic indicators), the faithful have come together to support the local church. The faithful have Faith in our Future, the future of the Church.

Yes, the Church suffered a crisis when the clergy sex abuse story broke. The Church leadership was implicit in many cases, yet, the faithful did not abandon the Church. Catholic religious orders are booming (those orders that are faithful to the Church). Orthodox Bishops have been able to inspire vocations to the Priesthood. Orthodox Catholicism is triumphing. The rumors of the death of the Church were greatly exaggerated. Sadly, in many cases, it was more wishful thinking. That thinking failed to recognize the power and vibrancy of the Church.

It is Pentecost. The Spirit is with the Church. See you at Mass.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Dave Obey Calls it Quits

This is a great day for the United States and for Wisconsin. The Liberal Lion, Representative Dave Obey of Wisconsin has announced his retirement. Congressman Obey was the poster-child for congressional term-limits. He also held that honor for pork spending (though one could argue he shares that with most Congressmen). He was a tireless advocate of government, the Social Welfare State, and a close ally of Speaker Nancy Pelosi. But, he was principled in his belief and faith in those things and there was no triangulation in him.

Both Obey and the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel will deny it, but Sean Duffy was a huge reason behind this retirement. For the first time in decades, Dave Obey faced a vigorous challenge in November. That, coupled with the current climate, did not make it conducive to be a big-spending, big-government, liberal incumbent.

In that respect, Rep Dave Obey is a lot like Rep Bart Stupak, though, Dave Obey was, despite all the disagreements, a principled man who passionately believed in bigger government, government spending, and the social welfare state. Representative Stupak sensed a strong challenger and pulled out, but he also sold out his principles for the thirty pieces of silver of an executive order.

Representative Dave Obey served in Congress for over forty years. He has earned his retirement; for the taxpayer however, one only wishes this retirement had come a decade earlier.

It is likely that Sean Duffy will be the next Congressman from Northern Wisconsin. With the exception of his favorite founding father (Who has Alexander Hamilton as their favorite founder?), he sounds like an excellent man and one who will serve Wisconsin AND THE TAXPAYERS well.

He'll also be the first Real Worlder in Congress.

(The next Wisconsin retirements need to be Jim Sensenbrenner and Tom Petri, 30 years in Congress is probably enough)

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Iraq Election Update

The drama involving the formation of a new ruling coalition in Iraq continues. Ayad Allawi's Iraqiya list finished first beating Prime Minister Maliki's State of Law list by two seats. The resulting jockeying has seen accusations of Iranian involvement by the former and calls for a recount by the latter. The Sadrists, the largest member of the Iraqi National Alliance, the list that finished a distant third, has in a private members only election stated it will not form a coalition with either Allawi or Maliki as Prime Minister. They prefer former Prime Minister Jaffari, a member of their INA list and a former lead of the Da'wa Party. The Kurds want desperately to be involved in whatever coalition ultimately is formed.

On top of the usual politics regarding the formation of a ruling coalition, a far more troubling spectrum is forming on the horizon. Frederick W. Kagan of the American Enterprise Institute and Kimberly Kagan of the Institute for the Study of War have written a piece for the Washington Post. They focus on the new development that has the Accountability and Justice Commission invalidating certain results by declaring certain candidates ineligible after the fact. The AJC is tasked with ensuring that active Ba'ath Party members cannot re-enter the government. Maliki is encouraging the AJC to declare certain candidates invalid. The goal is for Maliki to sap enough strength away from Allawi that his party becomes the leader. This action would be disastrous for Iraq as it would lead to a likely United Shi'a government that excludes both the Sunnis and the Kurds. Furthermore, the manner in which the Sunnis were deprived of their representation, would risk fulling the insurgency and beginning the cycle toward Civil War.

The AJC's actions are nothing less than to deny the Iraqi people their voice. They spoke loudly in the National elections for a democratic Iraqi state. If Maliki's desire to remain in power and the INA's visions of a Shi'a state are allowed to win out, it will be a dark day for Iraq as it begins to drift back toward authoritarianism.

There is little the United States can do but watch and pray that the better natures prevail, the elections are allowed to stand, and the growing pains of Iraqi democracy allowed to continue as it enters its own.

I am going to change my prediction on the eventual coalition however. I think it is now probable that the ruling coalition will consist of the State of Law list led by Maliki and the INA. In the end the desire for Shi'a dominance will win out and the INA will fall in line behind the Prime Minister.