Saturday, July 31, 2010

Memories of Aunt Louise

A couple of weeks ago, Aunt Louise (my mom’s older sister) left this temporary life to go to her permanent home in heaven. I had not seen her in a while, so many of my memories are somewhat old and faded. Yet, because of her great love for her family, she always kept up with everyone else. Not a single birthday, graduation or any other special event would pass without us receiving a card at the very least. To a young man on a very hectic schedule, these cards and occasional calls brought a certain sense of normality, like an anchor in a turbulent sea. Unfortunately, she was an anchor that I all too often took for granted.

Aunt Louise and my mother, along with five other siblings, grew up in a small farm house in a rural area of Northeast Texas. As a kid, I used to love to play around the old barn, then one day found out that this “old barn” was the home in which they were actually raised. It was only used as a barn after my grandparents later built another house on the land. This other farm house became the family gathering place for Christmas and other special occasions.

Louise and my mom were typical sisters, always arguing among themselves but fiercely loyal to each other, probably because they were so much alike. During family gatherings, my mom and dad would sometimes get into petty (often good natured) arguments, and Louise would almost always take my dad’s side (along with her youngest sister Claudene). I suspected she did this just to agitate mom, and it usually worked. You could tell my mom was perturbed when she started calling her “Norma Louise”.

Read the entire Memories of Aunt Louise article, including additional pictures.

Monday, July 26, 2010

July 2010 – A Review

Once again, I got snowed under (if I can use this expression in July) on a couple of engineering projects, so here’s a brief rundown of a few happenings in the past few weeks.

Even with congressional approval at an all-time low of 11%, it appears big national money and voter amnesia may still win out this fall, as both John McCain and Harry Reid have now taken leads in their respective states of Arizona and Nevada.

In the “sacrifice is only for the common folks” department, John Kerry, who repeatedly voted to raise taxes in Congress, has moored his new multi-million dollar yacht in Newport, RI to avoid a six-figure state tax that he (along with Ted Kennedy) helped increase on the other citizens of Massachusetts. Mr Kerry’s chief of staff claimed that the Senator is only berthing his yacht in Rhode Island due to maintenance considerations rather than to avoid paying the tax.

Similarly, Al Gore, after calling for his subjects to decrease their carbon footprints while he maintains his mansion in Tennessee, has now purchased a nine million dollar ocean-view manor in Santa Barbara. The Italian-style house has six fireplaces, five bedrooms and nine bathrooms. Doesn’t it seem just like yesterday when he was declaring that the California coast would soon be under 20 feet of water due to global warming? Due to Mr Gore recent massage scandal, he’s been keeping a low profile on the climate change issue, but Mr Kerry appears to have picked up the baton. Last week, he told a town hall meeting that the Arctic would be ice-free in 5-10 years. On the bright side, this will give him some additional ocean on which to sail his yacht.

Our final entry in this department, which could also be called “do as I say, not as I do”, is FLOTUS Michelle Obama taping all those commercials urging people to come on down to the Gulf Coast to spend their vacation and money, before jetting off with BHO for a Maine vacation. Meanwhile, their family dog was flying in on his own private jet. As Publius’ Forum notes:

As the rest of us toil on the unemployment line, as millions of Americans find their retirement accounts dwindling, their hours at work cut, and their pay scale trimmed, King Barack and Queen Michelle are flying their little doggie, Bo, on his own special jet airplane for his own little vacation adventure.
Now, Ms Obama is planning a five day trip to Spain during the first week of August for a "private visit in the company of old friends", reserving about 30 rooms at a five-star hotel on Costa del Sol. This will precede another a ten day vacation at Martha’s Vineyard.

Changing subjects, remember the op-ed that Rep Bart Stupak wrote in the Washington Post back in March on why he withdrew his demand for federal funding of abortions to be taken out of healthcare as a condition for his vote:

Therefore, I and other pro-life Democrats struck an agreement with President Obama to issue an executive order that would ensure all Hyde Amendment protections would apply to the health-care reform bill. No, an executive order is not as strong as the statutory language we fought for at the start. We received, however, an “ironclad” commitment from the president that no taxpayer dollars will be used to pay for abortions.
As we’ve seen this month, both Pennsylvania and Maryland received federal tax dollars to pay for abortions under the new health care law. At least Mr Stupak still has his airport grant money.

Finally, Mr Obama is now officially in campaign mode for the 2010 elections and the strategy continues to be “blame Bush and claim things could be worse”. He repeatedly claims that the economy would be much worse without his policies, and paints those of his opponents as “job killers”. He counts on the media to continue to cover up the facts, such as the two million new jobs created the final year that the Republicans controlled congress, and that the “Bush recession” only began after Ms Pelosi, Mr Reid and their fellow Dems took control of congress. The next few months will tell whether or not this strategy will work.

Monday, July 5, 2010

A Tale of Two Afghan Videos

It has been an interesting Independence Day weekend, to say the least. We had not heard from our son Justin, who is serving in the US Marines in Afghanistan, in about three weeks. Many other marine parents warned us to stay away from the daily news in order to retain our sanity. This is easy for me in that I get most of my news from the internet, since the nightly so-called news programs are merely a rehashing of the days talking points from Move On and the Daily Kos. Still, during especially rough times, I have other parents call and warn me to keep my wife away from the news for the next few days. I can only imagine the emotions of parents during the time when President Bush was in office, and the media always portrayed the war and the troops in the worst possible light. Now that the media’s messiah is the current commander in chief, they have sanitized the war news somewhat, but it can still be unsettling to watch.

This past week, the world witnessed the very graphic video of a British soldier under fire, bloodied with bullets splashing around him in the sand. Fortunately, he was not hurt seriously and returned to duty later that day. This video was a graphic reminder of the conditions under which our brave troops are serving.

The next day, our friend Starrla called to tell my wife that she saw our son Justin on CNN. Later, my brothers called to say that they had seen Justin in a Yahoo video that has since been taken down. We looked up the video, and sure enough, there he was. It was difficult to make a positive id since he was wearing all his gear, but he finally called and confirmed that he was in the five hour firefight, that he was safe, and that he had been on camera. So, while the first video brought worry, the second brought some comfort for the moment.

As we continue to celebrate on this Independence Day weekend, please remember to pray for all the friends and relatives back home. Above all, please continue to pray for our troops serving in harm’s way. While the liberal politicians are busy stripping away our freedoms and traditional values on which our country was founded, these brave men and women are putting their lives on the line daily to preserve them. May God bless our Troops.