Thursday, June 30, 2005

Liberal media and Denzel Washington

Brooks Army Medical Center

Don't know whether you heard about this, but Denzel Washington and his family visited the troops at Brook Army Medical Center, in San Antonio, Texas (BAMC) the other day. This is where soldiers that have been evacuated from Germany come to be hospitalized in the States, especially burn victims. They have buildings there called Fisher Houses. The Fisher House is a hotel where soldiers' families can stay, for little or no charge, while their soldier is staying in the hospital. BAMC has quite a few of these houses on base but as you can imagine, they are almost completely filled most of the time.

While Denzel Washington was visiting BAMC, they gave him a tour of one of the Fisher Houses. He asked how much one of them would cost to build. He took his check book out and wrote a check for the full amount right there on the spot. The soldiers overseas were amazed to hear this story and want to get the word out to the American public.

Why does Alec Baldwin, Madonna, Sean Penn and other Hollywood types make front page news with their anti-everything America crap and this doesn't even make page 3 in the Metro section of any newspaper except the base newspaper in San Antonio?







Saturday, June 18, 2005

Guantanamo Bay and the War on Terror

It's important what the rest of the world thinks of the United States.
But it's more important that we defend ourselves against terrorists who
seek our annihilation. Much of the criticism of our efforts, both
international and domestic, is factually wrong and appears to be driven
by a partisan hostility to President Bush.

Last week the Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing on Guantanamo
Bay, the U.S. military base where a $150 million facility has been built
to house detainees in the war on terrorism, individuals who might better
be described as "people who will kill Americans if given half a chance."

At the hearing, Democrats criticized the Bush Administration, alleging
that the 520 prisoners are in "legal limbo," that "there is no plan
exactly how they're going to be handled," that their "rights under the
Geneva Conventions have been violated," and that they deserve some sort
of a "trial" or they should be released. A big problem if true, but none
of it is.

The detainees at Guantanamo are not in a legal limbo any more than any
other prisoners in any other war were in limbo when they were captured.
International law allows any nation the right to detain enemy combatants
for the duration of a conflict. The primary reason is to prevent them
from killing more Americans, and, secondarily, to gather useful
intelligence. That's why we are holding these men - they are enemy
combatants who were shooting at our troops or otherwise involved in
terrorism, and many have information that could help prevent further
attacks. We certainly never "tried" captured Nazis or Japanese POWs in
World War II (with the exception of a few leaders charged with war
crimes) although many were held for years.

The Supreme Court has since ruled that because Guantanamo is under U.S.
control, some traditional American legal procedures apply, including the
right of each detainee to have his status reviewed. After that ruling, a
special commission was established to determine whether, in fact, all of
the detainees were enemy combatants, and a number of them were released.
We know that at least a dozen went right back to fighting us, because
they were subsequently captured again on the battlefield.

Those who remain in detention - a tiny fraction of the 10,000 enemy
combatants we have picked up over the past few years - are terrorist
trainers, bomb makers, extremist recruiters and financers, bodyguards of
Osama bin Laden, would-be suicide bombers, and so forth. Because they
indiscriminately target civilians and are not fighting for another
particular country, among other reasons, these individuals do not
qualify for the protections of the Geneva Conventions. Nonetheless,
official U.S. policy is to apply Geneva standards, including access to
lawyers, Red Cross visits, and so forth. Every single detainee receives
a new review every year to determine whether he still poses a risk. That
would seem to be a reasonable standard for a country at war, and surely
a credible "plan" for "handling" their cases.

The recent flurry of partisan and international criticism of the
handling of Islamic sensibilities at Guantanamo, sparked by a
discredited Newsweek report that a copy of the Koran was flushed down a
toilet, must have Osama bin Laden rolling with laughter. None of the
critics had previously displayed much concern over the abuse of Muslims
by other Muslims, as occurs every day in Iraq. The reality is that
virtually all prisoners are better fed and cared for at Guantanamo than
they have ever been in their lives. They are certainly treated well in
comparison to those Westerners taken captive by terrorists in Iraq, who
are typically beheaded.

A handful of politicians have even raised the idea of shutting down
Guantanamo, because of its "negative symbolism." But as even vociferous
critic Sen. Pat Leahy (D-VT) has conceded, "The question isn't
Guantanamo by itself. Obviously, if we're holding people, we're going to
hold them somewhere."

Exactly. Attacking the United States should bring serious consequences,
including imprisonment, if we can catch you.
--Sen. Jon Kyl

Monday, June 13, 2005

Photos You Will Not See On Most Liberal Networks

Soldiers at Prayer

Thank you, Mr. Bush

Soldier and Child

Iraqi Children



Saturday, June 04, 2005

Catholic or Puritan

By Ana Rodriguez-Soto
Catholic News Service

ORLANDO, Fla. (CNS) -- When speaking of firsts in U.S. history, the place should be Florida's St. Augustine, not Plymouth, Mass; the first settlers should be Spanish, not British; and the religion should be Catholicism, not Puritanism.

"It's about time that we corrected our brethren in the northern climes," Michael Gannon told an audience of Catholic journalists during a May 27 workshop at the Catholic Press Association's annual convention in Orlando. "By the time the pilgrims came to Plymouth, St. Augustine was up for urban renewal."

A professor emeritus at the University of Florida, Gannon has done extensive research on the history of the state and written the landmark book on the subject, "The Cross in the Sand," published in 1965.

He also wrote the first chapter of "Florida's Catholic Heritage Trail," a book to be published this year which encompasses the history of all seven of Florida's Catholic dioceses, beginning with the events in 1565 in St. Augustine.

Known as "the Grinch who stole Thanksgiving" by some New Englanders, Gannon said, "we have to tell the story" of Florida's early history and, by extension, the Catholic contribution to the history of the United States.

It was Juan Ponce de Leon in 1521 who first explored the territory he christened Florida, after the Spanish name for Easter, Pascua Florida. That was 86 years before the British arrived in Jamestown, Va., in 1607 and nearly a century before the pilgrims landed at Plymouth Rock in 1620.

"There is a place called St. Augustine. It's critically important to Florida history. It's critically important to Catholic history. It's critically important to our country's history," said Eric Johnson, director of the Mission Nombre de Dios (Name of God) in St. Augustine, the first Catholic parish in the United States.

Johnson and Susan Parker, of the Division of Historical Resources for Florida's Department of State, joined Gannon as co-presenters of the workshop.

According to Gannon and evidence uncovered by state archeologists, Ponce de Leon and subsequent Spanish explorers had landed in what are now Tampa Bay and Pensacola Bay, and explored as far north as the Chesapeake Bay, by 1526.

They brought with them not just soldiers but farmers, families and Spanish priests -- Dominicans, Franciscans, Jesuits -- who set up 38 mission outposts in Florida by 1655. In fact, the name San Francisco was given to a mission in Potano, near present-day Gainesville, about 170 years prior to the use of the name in California.

"These were selfless men of God who wrote one of the great stories in the history of the faith in North America," Gannon said. "Here were the first people who carried the lamp of Christianity into the darkened interior of North America."

Contrary to popular belief and what is taught in some history books, "the natives were not in any way used or abused by the friars, nor would they let them be abused by others," Gannon said.

He described the priests as living among the Indians as Peace Corps volunteers do today, teaching them European ways without imposing their beliefs. By 1655, the Franciscans counted 26,000 native converts in Florida.

Gannon called the Spanish priests "the first great defenders of human, civil and religious rights in what is now the United States." He stressed that "no Indian was ever converted by force."

Johnson noted that when Pedro Menendez de Aviles landed in 1565 in present-day St. Augustine, just south of Jacksonville, he claimed the land for Spain with both a flag and a cross. Seeing him and the rest of the Spaniards reverence the cross, the Timucuan Indians who had gathered at the site followed suit.

"The very beginning of the teaching of the Gospel in the United States was by example rather than by word," said Johnson.

That gesture was followed by the first Mass on U.S. soil. It was celebrated by the priest who accompanied the expedition, Father Francisco Lopez de Mendoza Grajales, on Sept. 8, 1565, on the site known to this day as Mission Nombre de Dios (Name of God).

After the Mass, Menendez de Aviles invited the Timucuans to join him for "the first communal meal of Europeans and natives together," Gannon said. "This was the first communal act of thanksgiving in the first permanent European settlement of what is now the United States."

Nombre de Dios also is the site of the first Marian shrine in the United States, the Shrine of Our Lady of La Leche y Buen Parto (The Milk and Happy Delivery), a devotion carried over from Spain by couples seeking to conceive or bear healthy children.

"People come from all over the United States and other countries to pray to Our Lady of La Leche," Johnson said. "What started with Father Lopez as the first parish priest has continued to this day."

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Interesting Quotes

"When people stop believing in God, they don't believe in nothing -- they believe in anything." --G. K. Chesterton