Biden vs. Obama on Memorial Day

Both Biden and Obama were out yesterday for speaking engagement to commemorate Memorial Day. Biden spoke at Arlington National Cemetery in place of Obama (much to the relief of the residents I expect.)

Biden actually made a pretty good speech as the column below describes. Obama on the other hand, hid under an umbrella in a hanger at an appearance at the Abraham Lincoln National Cemetery in Illinois when a thunderstorm appeared just as he was about to speak. He called his speech off and went home. Hmmm, just what does that say?

Biden understands that he must be political on Memorial Day and he’s knowledgeable enough to know he must not make a fool of himself on one of the most important and politically sensitive days of the year. Obama, on the other hand…

From the Charleston Daily Mail

Monday May 31, 2010

The Associated Press
An honor guard member stands during the trooping of the colors before Vice President Joe Biden speaks at Arlington National Cemetery.

ELWOOD, Ill. – Vice President Joe Biden hailed America’s fighting men and women Monday as the “spine of this nation,” while President Barack Obama’s Land of Lincoln tribute got washed out by a severe thunderstorm and high winds.

Biden made the more traditional appearance at Arlington National Cemetery on Obama’s behalf, saying the country has “a sacred obligation” to make sure its servicemen and women are the best equipped and best-supported troops in the world.

“As a nation, we pause to remember them,” Biden said. “They gave their lives fulfilling their oath to this nation and to us.”

Obama had readied a similar message of gratitude for his appearance at the Abraham Lincoln National Cemetery in Illinois, and actually had taken the podium to give the address when the skies opened up with a quintessentially midwestern late-spring downpour – thunder, lightning and high winds.

Under the cover of a large umbrella, he told thousands gathered before him that while “a little rain never hurt anybody,” nobody wanted “anybody struck by lightning.” He asked people to return to their cars for their safety, and he retreated briefly to an administration building on the cemetery’s grounds. Obama a few minutes later boarded a pair of buses to greet military families that came for the event.

Within the hour, reporters who accompanied Obama to the cemetery in Elwood, Ill., were told the speech had been called off. The White House had released copies of Obama’s prepared remarks in advance of his talk, but they were pulled back when the event had to be canceled.

Before the storm hit, and in advance of his appearance at the podium, Obama had visited a section of headstones where two Marines awaited him. After laying a wreath, he bowed his head in a moment of silence, his hands tightly clasped. Then a lone bugler played Taps.

At Arlington, Biden carried out the traditional wreath-laying at the Tomb of the Unknowns under a brilliant sunshine.

The complete article can be found at the website.

Biden vs. Obama on Memorial Day

Both Biden and Obama were out yesterday for speaking engagement to commemorate Memorial Day. Biden spoke at Arlington National Cemetery in place of Obama (much to the relief of the residents I expect.)

Biden actually made a pretty good speech as the column below describes. Obama on the other hand, hid under an umbrella in a hanger at an appearance at the Abraham Lincoln National Cemetery in Illinois when a thunderstorm appeared just as he was about to speak. He called his speech off and went home. Hmmm, just what does that say?

Biden understands that he must be political on Memorial Day and he’s knowledgeable enough to know he must not make a fool of himself on one of the most important and politically sensitive days of the year. Obama, on the other hand…

From the Charleston Daily Mail

Monday May 31, 2010

The Associated Press
An honor guard member stands during the trooping of the colors before Vice President Joe Biden speaks at Arlington National Cemetery.

ELWOOD, Ill. – Vice President Joe Biden hailed America’s fighting men and women Monday as the “spine of this nation,” while President Barack Obama’s Land of Lincoln tribute got washed out by a severe thunderstorm and high winds.

Biden made the more traditional appearance at Arlington National Cemetery on Obama’s behalf, saying the country has “a sacred obligation” to make sure its servicemen and women are the best equipped and best-supported troops in the world.

“As a nation, we pause to remember them,” Biden said. “They gave their lives fulfilling their oath to this nation and to us.”

Obama had readied a similar message of gratitude for his appearance at the Abraham Lincoln National Cemetery in Illinois, and actually had taken the podium to give the address when the skies opened up with a quintessentially midwestern late-spring downpour – thunder, lightning and high winds.

Under the cover of a large umbrella, he told thousands gathered before him that while “a little rain never hurt anybody,” nobody wanted “anybody struck by lightning.” He asked people to return to their cars for their safety, and he retreated briefly to an administration building on the cemetery’s grounds. Obama a few minutes later boarded a pair of buses to greet military families that came for the event.

Within the hour, reporters who accompanied Obama to the cemetery in Elwood, Ill., were told the speech had been called off. The White House had released copies of Obama’s prepared remarks in advance of his talk, but they were pulled back when the event had to be canceled.

Before the storm hit, and in advance of his appearance at the podium, Obama had visited a section of headstones where two Marines awaited him. After laying a wreath, he bowed his head in a moment of silence, his hands tightly clasped. Then a lone bugler played Taps.

At Arlington, Biden carried out the traditional wreath-laying at the Tomb of the Unknowns under a brilliant sunshine.

The complete article can be found at the website.

Spend a moment in Remembrance

Today is, officially, Memorial Day. I ask that each of you spend a few moments in Remembrance of those who have fallen in defense of our country.

Spend a moment in Remembrance

Today is, officially, Memorial Day. I ask that each of you spend a few moments in Remembrance of those who have fallen in defense of our country.

The Liberal Agenda: Slouching towards Irrelevance

Veep Joe Biden addressed the European Parliament, earlier this month, that Washington is not the Capital of the Free World, that Brussels is the Capital.

Earlier this month while in Brussels, Vice President Joe Biden told the European Parliament that while “some American politicians and American journalists refer to Washington, DC as the ‘capital of the free world’ … it seems to me that this great city, which boasts 1,000 years of history and which serves as the capital of Belgium, the home of the European Union, and the headquarters for NATO, this city has its own legitimate claim to that title.”
–The Heritage Foundation’s Morning Bell, May 25, 2010

This is extremely revealing of the liberal viewpoint. Liberals abhor the thought that the United States is the leader of anything. The United States is the cause of all the world’s ills. Therefore the United States cannot be acclaimed for anything but that which is at fault.

The Heritage Foundation’s Morning Bell notes the results of our liberals handiwork—“slouching towards irrelevance.” It’s very appropriate.

Slouching Towards Irrelevance

Earlier this month while in Brussels, Vice President Joe Biden told the European Parliament that while “some American politicians and American journalists refer to Washington, DC as the ‘capital of the free world’ … it seems to me that this great city, which boasts 1,000 years of history and which serves as the capital of Belgium, the home of the European Union, and the headquarters for NATO, this city has its own legitimate claim to that title.” How revealing.

The European Union is a profoundly anti-democratic institution, created and forced on member states by internationalist leftist elites despite widespread public disapproval. It should be no surprise that the same administration that can’t bring itself to enforce our laws and protect our borders would give such strong support to an institution that has so undermined national sovereignty in Europe. And given that the EU’s unelected and unaccountable bureaucracy employs more people than the entire British Army it is no wonder that NATO member nations have been unwilling/unable to pull their weight in the Long War.

One might hope that the Obama administration would look at the path Europe has gone down (a bloated welfare state that saps economic growth and bleeds military spending) and decide to change course. But President Barack Obama’s speech at West Point on Sunday quashed any such hopes. Speaking to graduating Cadets, President Obama laid out the increasingly identifiable pillars of the Obama Doctrine: greater reliance on international institutions; substituting soft power for hard power; and a more subdued and less self-reliant America – a scheme designed more to manage American decline than to ensure its people remain safe, free and prosperous.

Last Friday Charles Krauthammer gave us a whirlwind tour of what the Obama Doctrinehas looked like in action: failed engagement with Iran, surrender to Russia on missile defense, appeasement of Syria, support for pro-Chavez leftists in Honduras, and a gratuitous slap at Britain over the Falkland Islands. And what has it secured? A completely fake deal between Turkey, Brazil and Iran that will do nothing to slow Iran’s nuclear weapons program but has already made new meaningful sanctions next to impossible.

Instead of cutting domestic spending and reining in entitlements, President Obama passed a $862 billion failed stimulus and created a brand new health care entitlement all while laying the ground work for future cuts to our nation’s defenses. As Krauthammer wrote Friday: “This is retreat by design and, indeed, on principle.”

Perhaps, the worst thing about the speech was that the President made it in front of the men and women who will have to live with the immediate consequences of his actions. The Obama Doctrine will put them in harm’s way without the modern equipment they will need; with allies who will increasingly doubt our resolve; and at the mercy of an international order that will value their lives for less than the power which the White House wants to put in their hands.

***

As we approach Memorial Day this year, millions will be remembering and honoring those of us who have passed on. Last year Obama and Michelle toured Arlington National Cemetery grinning and laughing among themselves. Obama gave a short speech saying that all Americans should reflect somberly and prayerfully for our fallen. He declared a national moment of silence at 3:00PM Eastern Time. And what was Obama doing at 3PM? Playing golf at the Ft. Belvoir golf course. This year he and Mo are going home to Chicago and no specific observances are planned.

Typical.

***

And other items…

  • According to Rasmussen Reports, support for the repeal of Obamacare has jumped to its highest lever ever with 63% of voters now in support of repeal.
  • According to a new analysis by USA TODAY, during the first quarter of this year, paychecks from private business shrank to their smallest share of personal income in U.S. history while government-provided benefits — from Social Security, unemployment insurance, food stamps and other programs — rose to a record high.
  • Big labor ally Sen. Bob Casey (D-PA) is introducing a $165 billion bailout for troubled union pension funds.

Cowboy Up!

I’m not a horseman like Farmgirl. Nor, did I grow up on a cattle ranch. Our farm was more modest but we did raise some cattle and had a few horses around for awhile. I had enough riding ability to not fall off (mostly) and was able to maintain control (most of the time) of my horse. They’ve faded now but for a number of decades I carried some parallel scars on my right arm where a horse tried to scrap me out of the saddle against a Blackthorn tree. For those of you unfamiliar with Blackthorn trees, they grow large spines three to six inches long and covered by a fungus-like coating that will cause festering wounds if not treated within a reasonable amount of time.

Suffice to say, I had some basic riding skills.

When I started college at Southern Illinois University at Carbondale, IL, I did so on a small scholarship that paid most of the $350/quarter tuition. Dad, at this time was “retired” and disabled due to Black-lung common to most coal miners at that time. Dad drew his regular Social Security payment plus a supplemental payment for his disability. As a minor child, I drew a small SS check that was sufficient, barely, to cover my room and board at an off-campus Baptist operated dorm. If I wanted to have money for anything else—like dates or an occasional movie, I had to earn the money myself.

SIU at that time operated on the quarter basis with Fall, Winter, Spring quarters along with a shorter Summer quarter. Most students attended the three regular quarters, but I attended year-around. The time was 1966 and the draft whistled around all male students. Summer was the time to bring up the grade-point-average to insure the continuation of our 2-S student deferments.

The Spring term ended in the 2nd week of June. Most of the resident students went home over Memorial Day. I didn’t that weekend. I had to work.

It was roundup time!

A few weeks earlier, a representative of the Union County Livestock Association arrived at the dorm to recruit some students to round up cattle in the Mark Twain National Forest. The area south of Carbondale was known locally as the Illinois Ozarks and was covered by forests and hills. Large portions of land was farmed but much was still unsuitable for crops and was left fallow. During the winter, cattle roamed free throughout the area and saved local farmers the need to buy and store feed for their cattle through the winter. Come the spring, it was necessary to round up the cattle, separate them and identify ownership as well as tag the new-borne calves.

We “cowboys” would be paid for each head of cattle we delivered to the pens and stockyards scattered throughout the hill country. If it all worked well, I’d earn enough money to last for a number of months. I joined a couple of friends, Lyle and Tom, and we agreed to work together, pool our numbers and split the money three ways.

Late Friday afternoon, we were picked up and taken down to the roundup headquarters. At that site, we were assigned to a “foreman” who would oversee our territories, provide our horses and tack, maps, emergency phone numbers, army surplus radios and pack rations, and a surplus army tent for the next three nights. The schedule for the following days was rise at 4:00AM, eat breakfast and go to our roundup areas by 6:00AM returning in the evening around dusk for supper. A fourteen hour day.

Our area was in central Union County and covered by wooded hills and rocks. Geologically, this area was the southern terminus of the last glacial invasion. The hills were covered with boulders and included a number of cliffs to make it all interesting. The plan was for us to ride a ridge, one on the left, one on the right and the other along the ridge top driving the cattle before us. Temporary corrals were setup every few miles where our herd was collected, tallied, and hauled off to other sites for further examination and delivery to owners. After we’d delivered the cattle, we’d move on to another area and do it all over again. I don’t remember how much we earned per head, but each of us could finish the roundup with several hundred dollars pay. A small fortune at that time.

All went well Saturday. The weather was clear, little wind and the temps reached the mid-70s by the afternoon. Sunday, after a short church service, was a repeat of the same but with growing overcast and by mid morning, the cloud layer had come down with a cool mist. We’d collected two small herds by noon and had moved to another territory some miles away along the Mississippi River. The terrain here was rocky and contained high bluffs parallel to the river.

As I recall, we’d built a small herd of some twenty head or so and had reached a breach in the bluffs. The collection point was a mile or so away on the other side of the bluffs to the east. According to the maps, the easiest path to take was through the breach and then follow the shallow valley to the collection point.

The breach was a couple of hundred yards long with a small deer trail through the rocks. Some of the rocks were boulders a dozen feet across. Some were larger. The trail was wide enough to allow two or three head to move side-by-side.

The mist was getting heavier as I remember and we decided to push the herd a bit harder since they were penned by the rising cliffs on each side of the breach. Also, we were getting wetter and the temperature was dropping. There’s nothing like being tired, hungry, wet and cold to make you feel miserable.

We were half-way through the breach when the herd stopped. No matter what we did, the herd just refused to go forward and were showing signs of balking. I remember one cow showing the whites of her eyes. Something was ahead that was about to panic the herd.

At that point, I was closest to the head of the herd so I rode forward to see what was causing the trouble. I approached a jumble of rocks that had fallen from the side of the breach cliff when I smelled it. It was a smell you never forgot—snakes. In this case, it was a rattlesnake den in the rocks.

About the same time I smelled them, I heard the rattles. My horse’s ears went back and she (I think it was a mare,) halted refusing to move further. There was buzzing in front of me, to the right of me and I thought even to the left rear of me. My horse became very skittish and I did not want to be thrown off in the middle of a rattlesnake den.

To this day, I don’t remember exactly how I backed out of the rocks. Tom said my horse just backed straight out along the trail until we reached the head of the herd.

I have a thing about snakes. I’ve been struck by Copperheads before and was saved by my high-top boots. I usually carried a .22 revolver loaded with shot cartridges. But in that den, six rounds of .22 shot wouldn’t have made any difference.

We got the herd turned around and by-passed the breach in the bluff. It took us another 2-3 hours to reach the collection point but none of us objected. I don’t think it would have been possible to get the herd through the breach. The den was off to one side away from the trail but the smell would have spooked the cattle. It wasn’t worth the effort to save a couple of hours.

That was my last roundup. I had a better job working for the University the next year, dating my wife and my Mother would die that following Spring. I glad that I took the opportunity when it was offered, because I can say that for a short time, three days, I was a real cowboy.