Monday, July 31, 2006

Grandchildren update!

At a time when war rips the Middle East (still) and poverty, sickness and misery affect much of humanity, it's good to know that there are some things that can still bring joy to my life. Dancing is one. My grandchildren are another.

I spent the last 3 1/2 days being pummelled, tackled, screeched at, cried to, and hugged and cuddled by two of the most beautiful children in the world. Marcy is six: a happy chatterbox who is frighteningly intelligent and helpful to the point of driving you crazy. Joe is three and, like all three-year-olds, has no volume or speed controls: he's full speed ahead and top volume all day long. And Marcy and Joe have a new sibling on the way, due in late September. I feel for my son and daughter-in-law, who will soon have three superturbocharged children to raise. But I'm happy, because I'll soon have three grandchildren to love and spoil, rather than just two.

And if I'm still worn out and exhausted and my ears are still ringing, I'm one of the happiest guys in the world, because I look at these wonderful children and see a little bit of myself carrying the family banner into a future that, sadly, is dangerous and uncertain. I can only hope that better and wiser people than myself can help us pull our collective heads out of our collective ... uh ... fannies and leave a world good enough for beautiful and loving children like these.

Have a good day. More thoughts tomorrow.


Wednesday, July 26, 2006

I've decided that the only thing in the world more difficult than figuring out a way to bring peace to the Middle East is figuring out how airline fares are calculated.

Yesterday I spent much of the day trying to get an affordable flight for Agnes and I from Washington DC to Dayton, Ohio to visit our grandchildren. I managed to locate and book flights for a round-trip cost of about $403...painful, but not too bad. But then I discovered I'd asked for the wrong return date - Monday, instead of the previous Sunday. When I made the change, the per-ticket charge zoomed from $403 to $654. Now what kind of silliness is this?

The price of those tickets went up by $251 in the space of about 15 minutes, and made it impossible for both of us to make the trip. So what happened? Did the earth suddenly balloon in size, making the distance to be flown longer and more expensive? Did the airline, during those 15 minutes, suddenly buy more jet fuel at a higher price? Did one of the unions stage a sudden wildcat strike and gain a big raise for its members? I suspect that one reason is that I wanted to fly on Sunday rather than on Monday - since more people want to fly on the weekend, the airlines feel justified in charging you more for the privilege, regardless of what the flight actually costs.

I will never understand airline ticket prices. Evidently, neither do the airlines, since they all seem to operate at huge losses. Some time back I read a wonderful satire of airline pricing that showed what it would be like to buy house paint if hardware stores priced paint the same way the airlines price included gems like the paint being more expensive if you are going to paint on the weekend rather than on a weekday, or less expensive if you paint one side of the house on Friday and the other side on the following Monday. I thought it was hysterical and right on the money. But my daughter, who is an international trade compliance analyst at the Department of Commerce, didn't think it was funny at her, worshiping as she does at the festooned altar of economic theory, airline pricing makes perfect sense.

So, let's do something easy. Hand me that Middle East peace plan again and let's take another look...

Have a good day. Good luck if you're flying...stop by the bank for a loan on the way to the airport.

More thoughts tomorrow.


Tuesday, July 25, 2006

I started a new book yesterday - Revolutionary Characters: What Made the Founders Different, by Gordon S. Wood. I was drawn to it partly because of my general interest in American history, and partly because it contains a chapter on Aaron Burr, the first famous American traitor. As it happens, if you follow my maternal family tree back far enough, you will find Aaron Burr sitting out on one of the's not an especially good thing to have a traitor as one's ancestor, but it does give me a personal connection to early American history that makes me want to learn more about those days.

A mere four pages into the book the author writes that, "The United States was founded on a set of beliefs and not, as were other nations, on a common ethnicity, language, or religion." This is a very simple, but very profound statement that's worth thinking about for a minute.

Arab Muslims and Jews are fighting each other in Lebanon and Gaza. In Iraq, Sunni and Shia Muslims are murdering each other at a rapid pace. Muslims and Hindus don't get along in South Asia. Catholics and Protestants coexist warily in Northern Ireland. Hutus and Tutsis massacre each other regularly in Rwanda. Serbs and Croats need NATO troops to keep them apart in Bosnia. Blacks and whites in southern Africa struggle to overcome a legacy of colonialism and racism, not always successfully. And so on.

And yet, somehow, all of these groups and many more live together in America in relative peace and tranquility. In spite of a historical legacy of slavery and institutional racism, blacks and whites in this country manage to live and work together. In any town of any size, you can find numerous churches, synagogues, mosques, and temples in which people of every religion you can think of can worship as they want. And while you can find Little Italy, Little Saigon, Little Ethiopia, Little Havana, or Chinatown in many large cities, the members of all these national and ethnic groups mix and mingle with a minimum of rancor.

Why is it so different here?

As Gordon Wood writes, America was founded on set of beliefs - in equality of opportunity and freedom of religious belief, among others - not as a haven for a particular religion or ethnic group or nationality. As a result, Americans tend to have a historical tolerance for each other's identities that has allowed us to build the most powerful and dynamic nation in history. Perfect? No. But ask yourself this question: which other country, anywhere in the world, has a problem with a vast number of people who try every means, legal and illegal, to get in?

It's not fashionable any more to talk about America as the "melting pot," where new immigrants of all types were melted down and re-formed as Americans. The new idea seems to be America as the "tossed salad," in which we are all tossed together to make a salad of many ingredients, each providing its own flavor to the whole. Whichever view you take, you have to admit that we've got a pretty good thing going here. Perfect, no. The envy (admitted or not) of the world, yes. But in spite of our problems, I can't think of anyplace in the world better to live.

This is why we need to avoid the trap of ethnic background or religious belief as the primary focus of our identity. I don't want to live in a place where my next door neighbor may want to kill me because of my name, my religion, or my skin color, and I don't think you do, either. Understand and protect what we have. Most of the rest of the world would give anything to live in the way we take for granted.

Have a good day. More thoughts tomorrow.


Monday, July 24, 2006

Israel is still pounding Lebanon, Hezbollah is still firing rocket barrages at Israel, Syria and Iran are the very pictures of wounded innocence, and the Secretary of State is en route to the Middle East to negotiate a cease-fire. Yawn.

There's no shortage of "experts" gushing sage wisdom on the situation in the Middle East, and there are the predictable calls from the world community (and particularly the Arab states) that the United States must get involved in negotiating an end to the fighting, because only the United States can put real pressure on Israel.

So, who's putting pressure on Hezbollah? On Syria? On Iran?

As readers of this blog know, I am very critical of the current US administration and the ineptitude of it's Middle East policies. But I find myself agreeing with Mr Bush that there is no point in negotiating yet another cease-fire unless it can establish the conditions for a larger peace settlement. The problem, of course, is that a cease-fire isn't in anyone's interest right now unless it's Hezbollah...which is in the position of the punch-drunk boxer reeling under his opponents relentless blows and waiting for the bell so he can get a break to regain his strength. Israel, understandably, isn't interested in a cease-fire that will just let Hezbollah rest, rearm, and start over. Iran likes the idea of a crisis that takes attention away from its nuclear programs. The Sunni-majority Arab states, perversely, secretly want Israel to pound the Iranian-backed Sunni Hizbollah forces into the sand so that they don't represent a rallying point for other Sunnis.

And so it goes.

What can Secretary Rice accomplish by flying to the area at this time? In my opinion, not much. She may succeed in getting a cease-fire, but she won't get real peace because no one is interested in peace on anything but their own terms, and all sides are being driven by their most radical elements. I wish the Secretary well and hope she succeeds.

But I'm not holding my breath, and you probably shouldn't hold yours.

Have a good day. More thoughts tomorrow.


Tuesday, July 18, 2006

I'm about ready to change themes in this blog for a while, having written quite a bit about religious extremism and its dangers over the last few posts. But before I do, I'd like to call your attention to an important article in last Sunday's Washington Post: it can be found in the Outlook section, and is titled "[Sexism Deleted] in Turkey." The author is Mustafa Akyol, a Turkish journalist, and he writes on the subject of the reform of Islamic tradition in that country - specifically, a move by Turkey's religious authorities to revise the hadiths by removing some of the most violent and mysoginistic statements. The hadiths are the non-Koranic commentary on the words and deeds of the prophet Mohammed, and they represent a very large proportion of the basis of sharia, or Islamic law. The hadiths contain statements like these, which the Turkish revisions would remove:

"Women are imperfect in intellect and religion;"

"If a woman doesn't satisfy her husband's desires, she should choose herself a place in hell;" and,

"Your prayer will be invalid if a donkey, black dog, or a woman passes in front of you."

The full article is very much worth your time in reading. You can find a link to it at the Washington Post website ( or, if you can find the July 16th issue in your library, the article is on page B2 of the Outlook section. It will make you realize two things: Islam is a religion much in need of reform; and Turkey's tradition of a somewhat gentler interpretation of Islam is a sign of hope in the otherwise poisonous religious atmosphere of the Middle East.

Have a good day. We'll move on to new thoughts on new topics tomorrow.


Monday, July 17, 2006

Yesterday's Washington Post featured a very interesting and timely front-page article titled "A Medical Crisis of Confidence." The basic article discussed the problems that arise when medical treatment and religious beliefs collide. One accompanying article looked at the issue from the point of view of medical professionals who refuse to provide medical treatments (such as abortions, birth control, etc) that they believe violate their religious or ethical principles; a second article looked at the experiences of patients denied treatment they sought which was otherwise guaranteed by the law.

This is a serious issue, and it deserves some serious consideration.

One of the freedoms enshrined in the Constitution is the freedom of religious expression. Article I of the Bill of Rights states that, "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof..." The Founders added this as the very first part of the very first amendment to the Constitution because they lived in a time in which religious intolerance and, indeed, religious warfare was not uncommon, and they wanted to ensure that the nation they were creating would be an oasis of religious tolerance in a world often driven by religious bigotry.

Unfortunately, as the nation becomes more conservative, many people on both sides of the argument are attempting to use the words of the Constitution to bolster their positions. Religious fundamentalists claim protection when they deny services - including otherwise legal medical treatment - to others because such services violate their beliefs; others claim protection from what they claim is discrimination based on their own beliefs or those of the persons who deny them the services they seek.

We are hardly in the position of Iraqis who murder each other because of differing visions of Islam, or of those in the wider Middle East who hate each other because they are Muslims or Jews. But the difference, to me, is one only of degree. When we allow religious beliefs, however deeply held, to drive the provision of medical treatment which is otherwise legal, we are on the downward slope from which the Founders in their wisdom sought to protect us. I do not wish to belittle or minimize anyone's ethics, but I believe it is essential that we recognize what can happen when we allow religious beliefs to drive wedges between us.

What's the answer to the conflict between religious beliefs and the requirements of duty? I don't know. But I do know that I don't want to live in a nation which allows someone to impose their religious beliefs on me. The Constitution allows not only freedom of religion, but freedom from religion...and the abuse thereof.

If you want to see where this can lead, you need only look to Saudi Arabia and ask yourself if this is where you want your country to go.

Have a good day. More thoughts tomorrow.


Sunday, July 16, 2006

I've been pretty serious for the last few posts, but now it's time to turn briefly to the lighter side.

Agnes and I spent the day yesterday as spectators at the Virginia State DanceSport Championships, and had a grand time. If you're one of those who thinks ballroom dance is a pastime for sissies and dilettantes, you might try watching an hour of true championship competition...or even better, try to keep up yourself. Make no mistake: tuxedos, ball gowns, and fancy costumes aside, these are real athletes giving it everything they've got.

Of course, for someone like me who loves to dance, enjoys photography, and has an eye for beautiful ladies in beautiful clothes, it doesn't get much better than this. Watching "Dancing with the Stars," "So You Think You Can Dance," and "Ballroom Bootcamp" on television doesn't come anywhere close to the action and excitement of watching it live in the ballroom, where the music flows through you and you can see the sweat and smell the perfume and feel the energy. If you have to spend a sticky, rainy day indoors, this is how to do it.

On the more serious side (you didn't expect me to be totally lighthearted, did you?), you might consider that in much of the Islamic world, such a contest would be considered the very height of sinful behavior, with narrow-minded clerics urging that the participants be beaten, jailed, or worse. Never forget for a minute that there are those out there who would impose this seventh-century standard of behavior and perceived morality on you if they could.

But for now, let's dance!

Enjoy your Sunday. More thoughts tomorrow.


Saturday, July 15, 2006

I work (some might instead say "physically occupy office space", but we won't go there) in the Pentagon as a contractor supporting Headquarters US Air Force. The Pentagon is an interesting, exciting, frustrating place to work, where you can see everything from the rankest stupidity to the most moving and inspiring scenes. I want to share one of the latter with you.

As the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan drag on, one of the things we often see in the Pentagon is wounded soldiers being treated at Walter Reed Hospital, brought to the building for VIP tours. Even for someone like me who can get pretty emotional, the sight of these young men (and women) missing arms, legs, or eyes; swathed in bandages or encased in casts or cages; can break your heart. These are young people with their whole lives ahead of them who answered a call to something larger than themselves and paid a terrible price. But for all that, it's inspiring to see these wounded soldiers, because the vast majority of them aren't sitting slumped in wheelchairs or limping along feeling sorry for themselves - they're alert, sometimes laughing, grateful for having cheated death, even at such a price. These are real Americans, and if your heart doesn't swell in your chest for them, there's something very, very wrong.

I served 23 years in the Air Force between 1973 and 1996, and never heard a shot fired in anger. I just missed Vietnam, and in subsequent wars and actions in Grenada, Panama, Iraq, and Afghanistan, I was always in staff positions in which I supported the people who actually did the fighting. On the scale of relative sacrifice, long days and nights at a desk in a stuffy office, while important in their own right, don't stack up well against long days and nights in bitter mountains or the burning desert, facing people who want to kill you.

We can never give these young warriors back the life they've lost. But we can - and should - appreciate their sacrifice and support them in any way we can. Whether you agree with the ongoing wars or not - and my position on Iraq is pretty clear - we owe these men and women a debt that can never really be repaid.

If you can publish a blog in which you can castigate religious extremists or tell the President he's made a mistake, remember that it's the Soldier, the Sailor, the Airman, and the Marine who've made it possible...not the well-meaning but naive protester and ivory-tower academic.

Have a good weekend, and thank the veteran who helped make it possible.

More thoughts tomorrow.


Friday, July 14, 2006

In yesterday's post I excoriated the Palestinians for their self-destructive actions in their relationship with Israel. Lest I be accused of being one-sided in this sad mess, let's take a look at Israel. It's clear to anyone with open eyes and half a brain that the US is rock-solidly on the side of Israel, no matter what happens. This makes it impossible for us to be an honest broker in attempting to mediate between Israel and it's neighbors. Let's face it: we have no credibility with the Arabs as an even-handed mediator. How did we come to this point?

The other day, I recommended you read a book called The Management of Savagery by Abu Bakr Naji to get an idea of how our deadly enemies view us. Today, I recommend you read a study published in March of this year by John Mearshimer (Department of Political Science, University of Chicago) and Stephen Walt (John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University) titled The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy. You can easily find and download this study on the Internet, and it's well worth your time in reading.

The basic position of the authors is that the foreign policy of the United States as it regards Middle Eastern affairs has been shaped by a very aggressive, very well-organized lobby dedicated to advancing the economic, political, and security interests of Israel. The authors point out that this effort is in no way different from the activities and aims of any other lobby; what sets it apart is the way in which it actually shapes US foreign policy in ways that are frequently contrary to our national interests. Whether you agree or not - and I do - you will find this to be a very detailed, well-documented, and devastating critique of how our fundamental national interests in the Middle East have been hijacked in the interests of Israel.

Now don't think that this means I'm a supporter of or an apologist for the Arabs. In most ways they are their own worst enemy, consistently working against their own best interests and blaming everyone but themselves for their own stupidity. But as I have always maintained, there is no one in the whole mess whose hands are clean. The Middle East is cursed with a poisonous combination of religious bigotry, political obtuseness, racism, and greed on all sides. The problem is that we cannot do anything to help resolve these issues because we have lost our status as a credible and even-handed negotiating partner by backing Israel unquestioningly at every turn. Any criticism of Israel issued by our government is simply empty words, unaccompanied by action. It's no wonder that the Arabs don't take us seriously.

Am I advocating that we throw Israel overboard? Of course not. But what I am suggesting is that we reassess what our fundamental interests are in the Middle East, and then act in our own interests and not in those of Israel or the Arab states, except as they mirror our own. The Muslim world would probably dislike us on religious grounds alone, whether we supported Israel or not. But we turn that dislike into hatred personified by the like of Osama bin Laden, Abu Musab al Zarqawi, and Ayman al Zawahiri when we subordinate our own fundamental interests to Israel.

It's time to reclaim our foreign policy.

Have a good day and a good weekend. More thoughts tomorrow.


Thursday, July 13, 2006

As I've often observed, the one thing you can always count on in the miserable snakepit of the Middle East is that the Palestinians, given a choice of courses of action, will consistently take the one that is in their worst interest.

We've seen this exemplified again and again over the past year: the Israelis withdrew from Gaza and, instead of seizing the opportunity to clean up the area, build new housing for the population, and create a functioning "statelet," the Palestinians immediately began fighting among themselves and using northern Gaza as a launching point for mortars and missiles targeting Israel. The Isreaelis reacted as you might expect. And then, when you thought it couldn't get much worse, Palestinian militants kidnapped an Israeli soldier and held him for ransom. The result: Israel has reoccupied much of Gaza, cracking down hard on the Palestinians and causing more damage to an already-ruined economy and physical infrastructure.

Not to be outdone, Hezbollah militants operating from southern Lebanon attacked an Israeli patrol, killing several soldiers and kidnapping two. The result: Isreal has moved into southern Lebanon and is pounding the area with artillery and air strikes...and CNN is reporting, as I write this, they have also bombed the Beirut airport and put it out of operation.

Maybe it's just me and my simple-minded approach to things, but this is complete lunacy. The Palestinians knew perfectly well how the Israelis would react to their actions, but went ahead anyhow, knowing that more innocent civilians would be killed, more property destroyed, and what's left of their economy ruined. But in their bizarrely-twisted mindset, it's more important to attack Israel than it is to get their own house in order and build a better future for their children.

Those who know me well know that I am not an apologist for Israel, although I do understand and appreciate the Israeli desire for security. And while I sympathize with the aspirations of the Palestinians for their own viable, functioning state, I am constantly amazed by their stubborn refusal to take the measures that are most likely to help them attain that goal. I often think that the best way to resolve the intractable problems of the Middle East would be to dispose of all our excess nuclear weapons there and let everyone start over.

Today, I've beaten up on the Palestinians; tomorrow, we'll discuss the Israelis. More thoughts then.


Wednesday, July 12, 2006

At this time of year many newspapers and magazines run articles recommending books for your summer reading. A book that probably doesn't show up on any of those lists is one that's worth your time in reading: The Management of Savagery, by Abu Bakr Naji. It can be downloaded as a .pdf file from the Counterterrorism Center at West Point; the URL is

This isn't easy reading, and being a translation from the Arabic is written in a flowery and somewhat stilted prose much different from what English speakers are used to; nevertheless, it's an important and very frightening look at what some very serious and very dedicated people have in mind for you and I. Naji presents a reasoned and dispassionate analysis of the history of the Middle East and of the reasons for the Russian failure in Afghanistan in the 80's, and then draws lessons from all of this which he applies to a plan to bring down America and bring on a worldwide Islamic caliphate. He espouses three goals (which you can find in their entirety on pages 24 and 25 of the text):

"A - The first goal: Destroy a large part of the respect for America and spread confidence in the souls of Muslims...

"B - The second goal: Replace the human casualties sustained by the renewal movement during the last thirty years by means of the human aid that will probably come for two reasons: (1) Being dazzled by the operations which will be undertaken in opposition to America; (2) Anger over the obvious, direct American interference in the Islamic world, such that the anger compounds the previous anger against America's support for the Zionist entity...

"C - The third goal: Work to expose the weakness of America's centralized power by pushing it to abandon the media psychological war and the war by proxy until it fights directly...As a result...even Americans themselves will see that the remoteness of the primary center from the peripheries is a major factor contributing to the possible outbreak of chaos and savagery."

These are not the wild ramblings of a loopy jihadi, but the coldly calculated thoughts of a very intelligent and very dangerous philosopher of religious bigotry and violence. Unlike many radical Islamic fundamentalists, Naji doesn't reject everything Western; despite his contempt for us, he encourages his readers to study and learn from modern Western management techniques as a way of better fighting us on many levels.

This is tough reading, but it's important. Leon Trotsky once said, "You may not be interested in war, but war is interested in you." We could paraphrase him now: "You may not be interested in radical Islam, but radical Islam is interested in you." Now is the time to study your enemy...because he is surely studying you, and his intentions are not benevolent.

Abu Bakr Naji and his kind don't want the kind of world I want my grandchildren to grow up in. The sooner we take them seriously, the better we will be able to counter their intent to employ the management of savagery.

Have a good day. More thoughts tomorrow.


Tuesday, July 11, 2006

The other evening I was listening to the Diane Rehm Show on our local NPR radio station. She was discussing with a panel of newspaper and media experts the recent exposures of US intelligence programs targeting terrorist and extremist groups and, as you might expect, the members of the panel strongly defended their actions as protecting you and I against the excesses of a government that will trample our rights at any opportunity. One member of the panel, the managing editor of the New York Times, commented at one point that his reporters had uncovered "many, many" secrets that they hadn't written about because, in their opinion, they were "legitimate" and didn't reflect any threat to our civil liberties.

Now, maybe it's just me, but I think something is very wrong here. I happen to think that I am in much more danger from politico-religious fanatics than I am from my own government. I also think that the next time lives are lost in a terror attack, the same newspapers that stand on their right to expose intelligence operations will be loudly trumpeting the failures of our intelligence services to predict and disrupt that attack.

You can't have it both ways. I can imagine that it's extraordinarily difficult to find ways to monitor the activities of secretive and deadly groups like Al Qaeda, and that it's very easy for them to change their activities and processes when they learn that we are able to take advantage of them. I will grant that the current administration tends to overreach itself and bend the laws in favor of the President's agenda; however, I also know that the intelligence community in this country spends a great deal of time ensuring that its operations are consistent with US law. I seriously doubt that the Osama bin Ladens and Ayman al Zawahiris and Abu Musab al Zarqawis of the world spend much time wringing their hands with their legal advisors before they murder people like you and I.

Yes, we have a free press that serves a key role as a watchdog over government excess. But I also think that our press sometimes needs to remind itself who our deadlier enemy is: our government, or those who would kill us at any opportunity.

I think I know where the real threat lies.

Have a good day. More thoughts tomorrow.


Monday, July 10, 2006

Back on June 22nd, I posted on the subject of the crisis in medical care in this country, listing a few of the many issues that bear on the problem of inadequate and unaffordable medical care and suggesting that I had some ideas for reforming the system. Here they are:

* First - and probably most difficult - remember that death is part of life. In a society that values the enjoyment of life and worships the technology that enables us to extend it, we view death as something to be feared, avoided, and postponed as long as possible...often at the cost of a life sustained only at great expense in a shell kept alive by drugs and machines and the heroic efforts of armies of doctors. We need to learn what our ancestors knew - life ends, and we need to re-learn when to let it go.

* Second - and equally difficult, but for different reasons - put a lid on enormous jury awards in malpractice cases. While some may be justified in the very rare case of true professional malfeasance, these are very few, and the end result cascades throughout the health care system as huge malpractice insurance costs for doctors and hospitals, which end up being passed on to patients as higher fees, higher insurance premiums, and skyrocketing costs for expensive tests and scans necessary only to protect the doctor and the hospital from lawsuits. Oh, yes - and it's the lawyers who see most of those jury awards, anyhow.

* Third - make the cost of medical care (including medical insurance premiums) 100% deductible on federal and state income taxes, rather than the current practice of deducting only that portion which exceeds a certain percentage of income. A healthy taxpayer is a productive taxpayer - why not let the tax system recognize and reward the government's interest in keeping taxpayers healthy?

* Finally (for now) - take the decisions on medical treatment away from insurance companies and put them back in the hands of the doctors. When courses of treatment are dictated more by what the insurance will pay than by what the patient needs, it's the patient who suffers the consequences.

These are just four ideas, each of which has merit and each of which is certain to offend and upset some part of the reading audience; nevertheless, each of them will undoubtedly help to bring some much-needed repair to a health-care system that has much to offer and which is, at the bottom, the best in the world. We need to work together to save it.

Have a good day. More thoughts tomorrow.


Friday, July 07, 2006

It's been a depressingly long time since I've posted to my blog, but I do have some excuses, chief among them being the wonderful vacation Agnes and I just enjoyed (more about which in a future posting).

In my last post, I said that I'd be offering my thoughts on medical care reform in the next post...but I've changed my mind. You'll have to wait for those thoughts another post or two. I found something worth immediate comment.

Victor Davis Hanson is one of my favorite commentators, and his website ( is an oasis of sanity and sage commentary in the vast wasteland of the internet. His recent article, "Socrates on Illegal Immigration," beautifully summarized my concerns and position on this issue. Since his concerns mirror my own, and his prose is so much better than mine, I thought I'd share it with you - here is the link:

Please read this important article and note his bottom line: "...once we as a nation choose to ignore our keystone laws of sovereignty and citizenship, the entire edifice of a once unimpeachable legal system will collapse. Ironically, we would then become no different from those nations whose citizens are now fleeing to our own shores to escape the wages of lawlessness."

Our tradition of personal accountability and respect for the law's equal treatment of all is the hallmark of our nation - it's what sets us apart from the lawless squalor that people stream to America to escape. Let's not ignore it out of a misplaced sense of social justice.

Have a good weekend. More thoughts later.