Sotomayor on Video

May 26, 2009


In her own words.

Oh, she’s not promoting it, not advocating it. No, not much.



CA Court Upholds Prop 8

May 26, 2009


Via AP. In a stunning victory for common sense, and in a move that actually supports the will of the people of California, that state’s supreme court upheld Proposition 8, the ban on same-sex marriage. The court did rule, however that existing same-sex marriages would be allowed to stand.

More as this develops.


No Big Surprise: It’s Sotomayor

May 26, 2009


Well, so President Obama has made his pick for Justice Souter’s replacement on the Supreme Court: Sonia Sotomayor. You may recall it was Ms. Sotomayor who said that a “court of appeals is where policy is made.” Below, the quote in context, according to the New York Times:

This month, for example, a video surfaced of Judge Sotomayor asserting in 2005 that a “court of appeals is where policy is made.” She then immediately adds: “And I know — I know this is on tape, and I should never say that because we don’t make law. I know. O.K. I know. I’m not promoting it. I’m not advocating it. I’m — you know.”

Sheesh! She sounds like Obama when he’s off the prompter. She also sounds like our president when she says of her college years, “The Puerto Rican group on campus, Accion Puertorriquena, and the Third World Center provided me with an anchor I needed to ground myself in that new and different world.” 

Malkin says “identity politics triumphs.” Ed Morrissey at HotAir wonders about a possible GOP fillibuster.

Some of her decisions border on the ridiculous:

As a federal judge, Sotomayor’s commitment to “serving the underprivileged” has led her to some highly contentious legal decisions where she has placed “empathy” over common sense or the dictates of the law. In 1998, the Family Research Council mockingly bestowed on Sotomayor its Court Jester Award for her decision to extend the application of the Americans with Disabilities Act to a woman whose self-identified “handicap,” which caused her to fail the New York State bar exam several times, was her illiteracy. (emphasis mine)

 But her liberal street cred is impeccable. From the Wall Street Journal:

She was part of a three-judge panel that decided a case recently argued before the Supreme Court about the validity of a civil-service exam for firefighters in New Haven, Conn. Ms. Sotomayor was part of a panel that decided the test could be deemed invalid because no minority applicants passed.

What does Karl Rove have to say about this awful pick?

Hope everyone’s in a praying frame of mind. This country is going to need all the prayers it can get for the next four years.


Do Not Stand at My Grave and Weep

May 25, 2009

Do not stand at my grave and weep
I am not there; I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds that blow,
I am the diamond glints on snow,
I am the sun on ripened grain,
I am the gentle autumn rain.
When you awaken in the morning’s hush
I am the swift uplifting rush
Of quiet birds in circled flight.
I am the soft stars that shine at night.
Do not stand at my grave and cry,
I am not there; I did not die.

Mary Elizabeth Frye – 1932

UPDATE: Memorial Day 2010

Memorial Day: Forget something?

May 24, 2009

While in the check-out line at a local grocery store Friday, I couldn’t help but notice the middle-age woman in front of me as she went over her food purchases just before the clerk totaled things up.

“Let me just check to make sure before you add it all up, OK?” she said to the clerk.  Then she reviewed her purchases quickly: “OK, now… steaks, burgers, chicken breasts, hot dogs… hmmm… WHAT AM I FORGETTING?”

I knew it wasn’t the time or place, but it seemed to me that she was forgetting the real purpose behind the Memorial Day picnic she was preparing for.  How I wanted to somehow remind her of those who had sacrificed and paid the ultimate price of admission to her families celebration.

Instead, I bit my tongue and said nothing.

“OHMYGOD!” she exclaimed. Obviously she had thought of something else she needed.  “The Ice Cream! I can’t believe I forgot the ice cream!” she exclaimed as if this were the most important part of her party. She pleaded with the clerk to let her get the ice cream which was in the aisle directly behind us. The clerk acquiesced. Then she turned to me and pleaded, “I’m sorry sir, this will just take a moment, I know exactly where it is.”  This  was obviously the most important thing in her life, so I smiled and said, “No problem.”  As she rushed back to the get ice-cream, I shared a look with the clerk who just smiled at me as if she understood what was really bothering me.

In a moment, the lady returned with 4 cartons of  “Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough” ice cream. I thought how sad that for such a solemn holiday, this was her priority. Still, I bit my tongue.

As she instructed the clerk to total her purchase she turned and thanked me for being patient. It was then, I noticed her shaking.  Then she offered an explanation in a quivering voice:

“You see, this was my son Jonathan’s favorite ice cream in the world. So whenever we get the family together, we always have this for desert in honor of him but especially on memorial day.” Then as she reached into her wallet for her debit card to pay for her purchases, I heard her say under her breath, “…that damn war!”

She managed to complete her purchase without losing it, but I nearly did. As she left, she turned and apologized yet again, and the best I could muster was to say, “Thank you.” It might have sounded like an odd response to others, but she gave me a look that said, “On behalf of my son, you’re welcome.”

By the time I had paid for my purchase, she had disappeared in the parking lot.  I had wanted to tell her how much I appreciated her son’s service and shared her loss.  But all that needed to be said was “Thank you…” and I had done that, albeit somewhat awkwardly.

So to all of you other veterans out there, and to the families of those men and women who paid the ultimate sacrifice,


Gerry Ashley (USAF) Vietnam Era

No… The Pelosi Issue Should Not Go Away…

May 24, 2009

…And it must be resolved.

The talking heads on television are beginning to suggest that politics trumps the truth, and that the whole Pelosi/CIA issue will just disappear from public discourse.

It’s all too brutally simple really:

  • Pelosi accused the CIA of lying… In fact she accused them of lying all the time to Congress.
  • The CIA accuses Pelosi of lying when she says that she didn’t know of the harsh interrogation techniques already in use in 2002. The CIA says that they told her everything.

That’s it, that’s all… I don’t want to hear crap about “The Bush Administration” or “mis-remembered”. We’re talking about a Speaker of the House two heartbeats away from the West Wing, and the most powerful intelligence-gathering agency on the planet. We’re talking about the “right here and right now”. I don’t want to hear about “political stalemates”. We’re talking about national security of the highest order.

The politicians and the spies have crossed a line, and we all know it. Collectively speaking, one of them is lying out of his/her tail section… Let’s get this fixed and make sure that the despicable, hubristic, egotistical, unpatriotic, power mongering liar is, and make sure that he/she can’t even find a job scrubbing toilets with his or her eyebrows afterwards.

If we can’t do that much… Well… Our politicians are just pathetic jokes, and our media needs to grow some cojones and make sure this issue doesn’t just softly and silently vanish away.

Alan Speakman

It’s WHO We Celebrate. Not WHAT.

May 24, 2009

Sometimes a story must be told in its entirety to fully fathom its significance.  I believe this is one of those times, so I  hope you will indulge me regarding its length.

I want you to meet Terry. For reasons you will soon understand, I omit his last name. But he was a friend of mine, and those are words I’m proud to write.

Terry was one of those kids you just couldn’t help but like. Tall, gangly, and shy, he was raised by his grandparents when his single mother abandoned him. But Terry made the best of it, always managing to find something to smile about. He wasn’t blessed with a lot of natural skills, so he worked hard at being the best he could be in everything he did – the best ball player, the best student. The best friend. He never wound up being the best of anything but that last item. You could count on Terry to give his all in any task he did. And his was a friendship you could take to the bank and collect interest.

Terry was naturally impatient, like a lot of kids our age. But with Terry, it was as if he somehow knew he wasn’t to be afforded as many years as the rest of us. Like the cliché, he lived his life as if every day might be his last. But unlike most who live their lives that way, Terry had plans. Knowing his grandparents couldn’t afford to send him to college, he decided to join the military and take advantage of the GI bill when he got out. It was a four-year plan that simply made sense to Terry. Although his grandparents feared he might be sent to fight in the Vietnam war, they knew once Terry made his mind up, there was no point in trying to talk him out of it.

When one hears about the death of a soldier during war, it’s often told as a tale of bravery, courage under fire. Sometimes, however, death’s suddenness springs unexpectedly… One moment you’re talking with your buddy about the plans you’re making for when you each get home, and the next instant you hear a sickening sound and watch helplessly as your friend slumps to the ground – a portion of his head blown away by a sniper. That was how Terry’s best friend in his unit described his death. He continued his description to me, some years later:

“In an instant, he was gone. It’s the odd things you recall.” He then described what he remembered. I have tried to capture the essence of his memories here:

  • Sometimes, there’s no dramatic last words. He’s alive one moment, and dead the next.
  • Sometimes, there’s no tragic throes or struggles to gasp for breath. It’s simply done.
  • Sometimes, there’s no staggering, no crawling, or desperate attempts to reach safety like you see in the movies. The stroke of death leaves you suddenly without any muscular control and you simply fall at the whim of gravity. Done.
  • Perhaps most eerily, you suddenly realize that the bullet arrived prior to the sound of the shot that killed your friend. That means he was dead from that bullet before the sound of the shot reached his lifeless body. You’re not sure why that matters to you, but it does.

This is how it was for my friend Terry, to die in service to his country. But the story doesn’t end there. because the problem with the dead is that they leave behind the living.

At Terry’s funeral, dozens of extended family and friends grieved. There was something horribly wrong in the world that day and we all knew it. Each of us left the cemetery realizing that a young man who did everything the right way and deserved to come home and raise a family with his same values was now gone.

I share Terry’s story here because I want to make a point: Multiply that tragedy by over 58,000, and you have some idea of the scope of the loss in human lives from the Vietnam war. Each one of those 58,000 was a “Terry” to someone. Every single one of them.

Now multiply that by close to two million which represents the approximate number of soldiers who died in all the wars the United States has fought in both at home and abroad, and you have some idea of the impact. These are the people we honor on Memorial Day. These are the men and women who gave their lives so that we can be free. Many thousands more survived, but with wounds that left them with far less than the complete lives they saved on our behalf.

It is important that we live our lives with as much purpose, meaning, and dignity as possible as a tribute to those who never had the chance, and for those who sacrificed much of their health in the process. To squander the opportunity they have given us would be to trivialize their sacrifices and their loss.

While it’s the leaders who establish their vision of the future, it’s the young soldier who pays the price, each one willing to lay down his or her life so that those who come after them can live and flourish. If we cannot properly honor them for their sacrifices, then we truly no longer deserve the freedom their sacrifices provided to us.

Gerry Ashley, USAF Veteran (Vietnam Era)