Monday, May 28, 2007

Memorial Day: Poem From Iwo Jima Veteran


At last it's quiet on Iwo,
At last the battle is won,
And we who are left
Say a prayer of thanks,
Because our job is done.

In the shadows of Mount Suribachi,
Where crosses mark our dead,
We read the names of our buddies,
And stand with bended head.

We recall good times together and
The sacrifices shared,
But we can't see why they had to
While the rest of us were spared.

So we say to you, and truly,
Our hearts are filled with pain,
But we know some distant day,
We all shall meet again.

And if one should ask me how I know,
I would just reply,
We all met God on Iwo,
Not just those who had to die.

So to their loved ones back home
Hold up your head with pride,
For they are all true heroes,
These men who fought and died.

And to all mankind throughout our
Let's not forget their pain,
This time let's build a lasting
So their death will not be in vain.

Harry Claassen
Friend of Howard Egan

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Congress Blinks, But Not Before They Lie Too

The Deseret News has an editorial today regarding the war funding bill passed by Congress this week. They bring to light two important points. The first is that Congressional leaders backed down:
"No matter how you look at it, Democrats in Congress blinked first in their showdown with the president over war funding."

"Faced with the real possibility that they would be blamed for U.S. soldiers being shortchanged, they capitulated."

So Congress blinked. They played chicken and lost.

But, to complete their failure, they then broke their own rules and stuffed a war funding bill with domestic spending that is too controversial to pass on its own.

How about $1.2 billion for Midwestern dairy farmers? Don't bother Congress with those pesky new rules they imposed on themselves about spending increases having to be offset by cuts in other places. Nope Congress simply sneaks it into a war bill so that no one will notice.

Congress also allowed air carriers to reduce their pension plans by $2 billion, gave $425 million to Northwest counties harmed by low timber revenues, and raised the minimum wage to $7.25 an hour.

All things that apparently couldn't get done once the "100 Hours" ran out.

The Deseret News sums it up well:
"Both political parties have learned that the quickest way to pass one controversial measure is to make it a tiny part of a much larger measure that comes with high political stakes."

"But Americans should never expect an end to wasteful federal spending until lawmakers are called to account for the semi-hidden tricks they use to reward their pet causes."

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Al Sharpton, Mitt Romney, and Mormonism

Take a look at these videos, then I'll write some really important stuff on the topic:

as for the one Mormon running for office, those that really believe in God will defeat him anyway. So don't worry about that.

Sigh. This got a bit of press, as Romney called it a "bigoted statement" and Sharpton told everyone that's not really what he meant.

Is it bigoted? I don't know. But I'm not buying Sharpton's cries of being misquoted. His statement is pretty clear, and frankly he's not alone. There's plenty of people that think the same thing. There's plenty of churches that preach it from the pulpit.

But you know what? Big deal.

Anyone familiar with LDS history knows that "mormon bashing" began before the Church was even organized. Heck, Mormons had a governor in the freest nation in the world sign a statement saying it was ok to kill them. Eventually they ended up walking a few thousand miles to an area that even the mountain men wouldn't live in- all so they could live without fear of angry mobs showing up at their door to rape their wives, shoot their husbands, and burn down their house. Alas, the government ended up sending an army to Salt Lake City anyway, I suppose for old times sake.

Not too long ago I served a two year mission for the LDS Church. It was one of the best things I've ever done. I lived in a foreign country, learned a new language in only a few months, and met some of the greatest people I'll ever know. I was also spit on, swore at, and had rocks thrown at me.

Every six months the LDS Church holds what it calls General Conference. And every six months the tens of thousands of attendees are treated to an array of "protesters." At a recent conference one of these protesters brought a special prop: LDS "garments"- sacred undergarments worn by faithful latter day saints. This protester blew his nose with them and waved them in the conference-goers' faces.

Al Sharpton is not alone. There's plenty of folks that dislike Mormons, some quite vehemently. But in the grand scheme of things, it doesn't really matter. I suppose some of my fellow Mormons will be outraged, or call the statement bigoted as Romney did, but that serves no purpose. There's no reason to be offended, no reason to be angry. So Al Sharpton doesn't understand my religion. Welcome to the club.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Rosie O'Donnell In The News Again

Take a look at the following videos. This first one shows Rosie (and, incidentally, two others as well) talking about terrorism and the United States.

Videos like that one are what make pundits rich. Predictably, Rosie is condemned in the next clip:

This next video shows the repercussions of the constant punditry and name calling:

First, hurray that Elisabeth Hasselbeck finally fights back. I've seen a few clips of her encounters with Rosie and frankly she wilted every time. Good for her for sticking to her guns when literally everyone else held a differing opinion.

But that's not the real issue here. I think Rosie was close to tears. I think she was honestly stung by all of the criticisms and sniping that goes on in the world. She obviously reads and watches what is written and said of her and her views. Most of it is venomous. People like that Joe Scarborough are trying to get her fired and silenced. I don't agree with her views on most things. I think she can be belligerent and overbearing. I think she harms the war effort in a very meaningful way. But I respect the fact that she thinks, and is not afraid to share her opinions. She creates dialogue. She says what many "normal" people are thinking on some level, but are unable to express fully. I want more people like her out there. And I want more people to hear others' views and think critically about them, and form opinions of their own. Rosie O'Donnell facilitates that process.