Mexico–Failing State

Here’s a worthwhile piece from Powerline’s John Hindraker on the ongoing breakdown of social order south of the U.S. border. An excerpt:

The situation in Mexico is a disaster, and one that directly threatens our national security. For reasons that I don’t understand, most Americans don’t seem to care, and the Obama administration reflects that apathy. Mexico makes Iraq look like Switzerland. Iraq is, I think, important to our security, but Mexico is much more so. I don’t know what the solution is–other than the obvious, a massive application of police/military force to kill the criminals–but at a minimum, we should take notice.

(hat tip: Instapundit)

Absurdly Massive Vote Fraud in Houston Probably Just the Tip of the SIEU Iceberg

The Houston area’s Harris County is the second-most populous county in the nation. In the last election, some volunteers working at polling places started suspecting something fishy was going on. So they started digging.

What they found may have blown the cover off endemic union-enabled vote fraud across the country.

Catherine Englebrecht and friends started by searching voter registration databases for households in which six or more voters were registered. Since you have to 18-years-old to vote, six-voter households should be fairly rare. And by and large they were. Most Harris County precincts contained only 1800-2400 of such voter-rich homes. Then they found one that contained 24,000.

This is what we advanced statistical types call an anomaly.

Digging deeper, the group found that within that one precinct, there were 25,000 registrations submitted by a group calling itself “Houston Votes”–run by a former SIEU member. Oddly enough, the vast majority of those 25,000 registrations turned out to be phonier than The Situation’s tan. As a news story described it (emphasis mine):

Most of the findings focused on a group called Houston Votes, a voter registration group headed by Sean Caddle, who also worked for the Service Employees International Union before coming to Houston. Among the findings were that only 1,793 of the 25,000 registrations the group submitted appeared to be valid.

This is what we professional ethicists call cheating your rear off.

Of course, at this point, Fox News and the Washington Examiner have paid any attention to the extraordinary findings.

That’s because this is what we professional mainstream journalists call a non-story.

UPDATE: FBI investigating [SIEU’s] Stern in corruption probe

Cut from the Palin Book – Part 2

Another deleted scene from the book, The Faith and Values of Sarah Palin:

For most of us, our life memories begin with a small collection of hazy scenes from our fourth or fifth year of life. This is true for Sarah Palin, and thus her earliest memories are of Skagway. Most of those remembrances, in turn, are of the sights, sounds and smells of summer.

That summer dominates her memories isn’t surprising. Summer in Alaska’s panhandle is a natural circus for a child’s senses. Both the moose and the glaciers are calving. Family hikes along the storied Chilkoot Trail present glimpses of brown bears, foxes, and eagles on land; and of orcas, sea otters, and seals in the water below. Furthermore, summer meant a busy harbor as commercial fisherman, fishing guides, suppliers, outfitters, and steady stream of sightseers on day trips out of Juneau all moved in and out of the docks at the southwest end of town. The Palin house offered a front row seat for this daily aquatic ballet.

Chuck Heath had rented a small clapboard house on the gravel-paved corner of First and Main. This placed the Heath family at the lower, seaside edge of town, about 250 yards from the water’s edge and about 100 yards from the gravel airstrip that ran parallel to Main Street. The owner of the house, Elmer Rasmusen, was the son of Swedish missionary immigrants who found spectacular success as pioneers of banking in the Alaska territory. Elmer had grown Continue reading

Cut from the Palin Book – Part 1

As is often the case with books (and movies) a lot of stuff got cut in the final edit. The publisher had a specific word-count target in mind so after a frenzy of writing came the frenzy of cutting.

I wrote probably 7,000 to 8.000 words that didn’t end up in the book. In order to keep that writing from going completely to waste, I thought I would post some of it here. Here’s a snippet about Sarah Palin’s early childhood.

Sarah Palin first entered Skagway, Alaska, cradled tightly in her mother’s arms. Sally Heath, her two toddlers, and her mother were each belted tightly into the seat of a World War II-vintage Grumman Goose as it bounced, lurched and shuddered its way down through a patchy layer of thick clouds toward the implausibly blue-green waters of Skagway harbor. An anxious husband and father, Chuck Heath, paced the dock below, scanning the clouds for signs of his little tribe’s approach. He had driven ahead in the family’s old Rambler, traveling by road and ferry to secure a home before the rest arrived. Finally, he sees the descending plane and knows that the pilot is scanning the harbor for a section of water free enough of fishing vessels to allow a landing.

It is early June and winter has finally and fully released its icy grip on Alaska’s southeastern coast. Stepping out of the Grumman and onto the wooden dock, Sally Heath and her entourage would have been greeted by the thick, organic smell of salt air and sea life tinged with traces of spruce, alder and wood smoke. Looking around they would have noted evergreen covered foothills Continue reading

"Struggle": The Dead-Give-Away Word

struggleIn his youth, Chris Coons, the guy running for the Delaware Senate seat against the widely hated and mocked Christine O’Donnell once referred to himself as “a bearded Marxist.” He has since, for obvious reasons, tried to distance himself from that self-designation.

It’s understandable. Heck, even Karl Marx famously denied being a Marxist.

Today’s Marxists-at-heart usually do a pretty good job of disguising their true anti-Capitalist stripes. They build a nice veneer of words like “progressive” and “justice” and “working Americans” and “the working poor” and “corporate greed.”

But there is one piece of vocabulary, however, that gives them away every time. Anyone who in their college years has imbibed deeply of the typical university neo-Marxist, multi-culti, America-is-the-locus-of-all-evil claptrap can’t help using this word as a noun:

one-struggle“Struggle.”

Marxist ideology is all about “struggle.” Not “battle.” Not “conflict.” Not “resistance.” Struggle.

Class struggle. Race struggle. Intestinal struggle. (Write or say the word a few times and it really starts looking and sounding weird, doesn’t it?)

Here are a couple of examples of this tell-tale word usage I came across just today.

I noticed an item over at the blog of Vox Day mentioning a horrifying untold story unfolding in the West Bank:

Two activists have exposed a disturbing phenomenon that they say is an open secret within the “peace camp”: female “peace” activists are routinely harassed and raped by the Arabs of Judea and Samaria with whom they have come to identify. They say the phenomenon has gotten worse lately and that many foreign women end up as wives of local Arabs against their will, but cannot escape their new homes….

Aloni-Sedovnik cites two specific cases which she has knowledge of – one is a case of rape and another is “severe sexual harassment.” The attackers in both cases, she stresses, were familiar with the victims and knew that they were “peace activists.” The rape occurred several months ago in the village of Umm Salmona, near Bethlehem. The victim, an American activist, wanted to press charges but leftist activists put pressure on her not to do so, so as not to damage the struggle against the ‘occupation.’

There is much I could say about this story, but for now just note the appearance of our special term in the last sentence of that excerpt. It is precisely the kind of language “peace activists” would use.

My radar is pretty finely attuned to the S-word coming from the mouths of liberal politicians, pundits and academics. For example, Nancy Pelosi uses it all the time.

struggle1There is a two-fer in a Q&A Speaker Pelosi did a couple of months ago with a journalism student at a Mills College. Mills is a womens’ college in California that, based upon a little time poking around in the online school newspaper, is fully marinated in the ridiculous, pretentious Women’s Studies, Postmodern, deconstructivist juices you would expect. Here the student asked Madam Speaker about the health care debate:

STUDENT: Could you speak more on why this particular struggle was so important to address at this time?

PELOSI: This particular struggle has been long overdue.

Ah, yes.

Well, I leave you with an excerpt from presidential candidate Barack Obama, speaking at a church in Atlanta on January 20, 2008:

Brothers and sisters, we cannot walk alone.
In the struggle for peace and justice, we cannot walk alone.
In the struggle for opportunity and equality, we cannot walk alone.
In the struggle to heal this nation and repair this world, we cannot walk alone.

Goodnight.

songsofstruggle

Double Rainbow Tuesday

double_rainbow2

Well I spent the day yesterday yammering on Facebook and Twitter and other Intertubes about the Sarah Palin book. My apologies to everyone in my social network who grew weary of hearing about it. But it was a pretty cool day around here.

We’ve had a challenging and frequently disheartening year-and-a-half. It was great to have something to celebrate. In the spirit of celebration, Tracy brought home a couple of ribeyes and some fresh ears of corn to grill.

In our new place, the grill is actually up on a rooftop terrace, so I was up there doing my grillmaster thing when some dark, rain-filled clouds began to move in from the East. This happened just as the sun was getting ready to set in the west.

So guess what I saw from my rooftop vantage point? Yep.

Double Rainbow!

Now if the “double rainbow” meme doesn’t mean anything to you, it means you haven’t seen this video on YouTube which, as of this writing, has been viewed almost 16 million times.

Much of my caterwauling during the day had to do with letting folks know that my co-author and friend, Stephen Mansfield, would scheduled to be on Sean Hannity’s show last night.

If you were one of the ones who tuned last night, you know that it didn’t air.

That afternoon Stephen taped an interview with Sean on his set immediately after Delaware Senate candidate Christine O’Donnell taped hers. But apparently, when the editors started putting the show together, a decision was made to move the interview Stephen to another night this week. I’ll let you know when I hear which night.

In the meantime . . . DOUBLE RAINBOW!

It was a sign. A sign of good things to come. Indeed, those of us who take the Bible seriously know that it is precisely that. A covenant reminder. From a covenant-keeping God.

Launch Day

Today The Faith of Values of Sarah Palin officially launches. My co-author and friend, Stephen Mansfield, is in New York today doing some radio interviews and will be on Sean Hannity’s program tonight, as well as Fox & Friends tomorrow morning.

Of course, the readers of this blog who truly love me and care about my family have already ordered and received a copy of the book and will be writing a short but glowing endorsement over at the appropriate Amazon page any moment now. Others who are just merely fond of us will be doing so over the next few days. (I kid!)

Seriously though, I may be calling on a few friends in the coming weeks to volunteer a little help with some social media marketing I’m doing. Stand by for blegging. (That’s begging through a blog.)

In the meantime, here is the first of three videos Stephen and I did to help promote the book:

Friend and colleague Jon Simpson made these videos happen for me with the kind assistance of Michael Barton over at Barton Productions.

Love, Duty, Honor and Remembrance

Awakened at 5:40 a.m. Wednesday by a phone call. My sister. A problem at Mom and Dad’s.

“I’m on my way.”

As I mentioned in the post below, Dad’s Alzheimer’s symptoms have gotten dramatically worse in the last month. I met Mom and my sister at a hospital in Henryetta, Oklahoma. He’ll spend a couple of weeks there. After that . . . well, we’re not sure. As a I said below, a season of hard decisions is upon us.

I took Mom home where she spent the first of what will almost certainly be many nights without her husband beside her.

The next day I drove her car into town to wash and service it. At the same do-it-yourself car wash I used back in high school 35 years ago, I dropped some quarters into the vacuum and went to work on the mats and carpet. While cleaning the passenger side floor, I noticed the ragged edge of a slip of paper sticking up from a crack between the carpet and the plastic door sill.

I gently teased it out of its hiding place and unfolded it. Here it is:

card

The camera phone picture quality is poor but the tattered card bears the words, “Army of the United States.” Puzzled by what I was holding, I looked more closely and saw my father’s name and a number typed in faded ink. The light came on for me when I saw these words at the top of the card:

Certificate of Service

This was Dad’s honorable discharge card. I flipped the card over and saw:

Period of Active Service

From: 29 Jan 51

To: 6 Jan 53

With the mystery of what I was holding solved, I turned to the bigger puzzle. What was a piece of paper issued to my father back in the Truman Administration doing wedged in the floorboard of a Buick my parents have only owned one year.

I showed it to Mom. She sighed and said it probably fell out of his wallet. But I can’t imagine that Dad has been carrying around his honorable discharge card for the last 57 years.

No, he put it in there recently. Of course he has been doing lots of unusual things recently. Over the course of the last year he has surrounded his favorite chair and his bedside with an astonishing assortment of family photos and memorabilia. He rummaged through the drawers of his old roll-top desk and retrieved long-buried photos and mementos, placing them around him

It is obvious what Dad has been doing. He has been fighting. Fighting to hold on to what he knows. Fighting to hold on to what he remembers. Fighting to preserve a sense of who he is. Or was.

At some point he came across that discharge card in a drawer and placed it in his wallet or pocket. And at some point, it fell out–which is an apt metaphor for what this hell-spawned disease has been doing to him for almost 10 years now.

Stuff he always carried around in his head or heart keeps falling out.

There has been another very telling aspect of this decline–one that has become more pronounced as the decline has accelerated.

On a daily basis Mom receives phone calls from concerned friends at church or from relatives. They are checking in on her and asking for a report on how Dad is doing. The problem is that, if she answers honestly, she must reveal some embarrassing things about Dad’s behavior or health problems, and when he hears her sharing this information, he gets very upset.

In recent weeks I learned to call when I knew Dad would be sleeping so Mom could speak freely about the struggles he’d been having. Otherwise, he would get very upset with her if she revealed anything about him.

There is a profound truth to be harvested in this field of blooming sadness.

All the marriage enrichment folks consistently claim that a man’s highest need–greater than even the core need for sexual fulfillment–is a hunger for honor . . . to be admired and respected by those he loves most.

I have always suspected this was correct, but now I am certain of it. Why?

Because as, piece by piece, most of what has made my father who he is has been stripped away–his gentleness, his calm, his good humor, his patience, his inclination to trust–one thing remains firmly intact. His need for honor.

Which brings us back to that faded, time-worn card, doesn’t it?

It is no accident that from among the hundreds of little cards and papers he could have selected,  he chose to carry one that said the following:

THIS IS TO CERTIFY THAT

JOHN F HOLLAND  US 54 007 570 Cpl

HONORABLY SERVED ON ACTIVE DUTY

Yes. Yes he did.

Period of active service: One lifetime.

Welcome to Rambling Update Theater . . .

I’m your host, Dave Sparseposter.

Here at Holland House, we’re adjusting to the rhythms and requirements of autumn with two fewer offspring in the mix. Now, with a senior back at Baylor and a Freshman freshly launched at the University of Oklahoma, we’re left with only one still at home on whom to focus all our parenting energies. You should probably pray for her.

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The official launch of the Sarah Palin book is still a week away but it’s been available online for a couple of weeks and it’s now showing up at bookstores. On the night of the launch, Sept. 21, my co-author, Stephen, will be on Sean Hannity’s show to talk about the book.

No, I wasn’t invited. That’s understandable and that’s okay. Stephen is a regular on Sean’s program and no one has heard of me. My hope is that I will be given some opportunities to do some media with this book and that I can translate those opportunities into a deal for my next book. Otherwise, I may need to find another line of work.

Here in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, the local Mardel’s store will be hosting a launch party for the book where I’ll be available to sign copies, answer questions, and just be generally charming and witty. It’s Saturday, October 2 at 1:00 p.m.. (details here) That happens to be the precise time of the kickoff of the OU-Texas game, so it will be embarrassing if my wife is the only one there. Super-embarrassing if she’s not there either.

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Things are not good with my folks. My father’s Alzheimer’s symptoms got dramatically worse after having an outpatient cancer procedure last month. He has really become more than my mother can handle as a care-giver. Some difficult decisions are upon us and I see no good options on the table–only bad ones and somewhat-less-bad.

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Speaking of hoping people will show up for something I’m doing . . . I will be teaching the “Prayer Tools” class at Gateway Church Sunday morning, October 3, at 9:00 a.m. in the big upstairs classroom. Come if you can. I’ll be signing copies of the Bible.