Friday, February 29, 2008

Our House

Over the last few months we have made many references in various posts about our home in the Ozarks. We love it. Set on twenty acres of woodland overlooking the Spring River Valley – about five miles downstream from the source of the river – it has provided a sanctuary in isolated solitude. Inhabited by deer, fox, bob cats, turkey, small animals and bird species too numerous to count, it has proven the ideal setting for us and the dogs. The only challenge was coping with the terrain. The house is a little unusual, but we do so love the property. It's the perfect defensive compound, which will offer protection when the jihadists come roaring up the hill.(Ed.)

Since many of you, in private emails have asked about it; I have included a photo of our little paradise. Enjoy!

Okay, I found the picture on Boortz web site and couldn’t resist sharing it. Forgive me please.

In His abiding love,

Cecil Moon

Ed. note: I usually have the final say as to what goes up here and I try to be tolerant. However, I have no control over his sense of humor.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Troop Surge

Congratulations will be in order when the final successes of the “troop surge” in Iraq come to fruition. It would be inappropriate to offer them at this time. What are required now are prayers of thanksgiving for the immediate progress and for the continued success of this mission.

The results to this point, are stunning, if incomplete. In rough terms, attacks (combat action, IED, etc.) by the enemy (Radical Islam) have diminished by about 65%. The number of coalition troops killed in action has steadily diminished in monthly numbers from a July 2007 figure of 180 to about 35 in December. That’s nearly an 80% reduction in six months. Take a minute and reread these numbers to fully appreciate the success so far.

Obviously, the importance of these statistics is tightly bound to the companion evaluation of the strengthening of the Iraqi government. Viewing the overall progress requires an examination of both. If quantifying the effectiveness of a government was as simple as crunching raw numbers on battle casualties, the entire process would be simple. It is not. Attempting to unify an un-natural collection of tribal interests in a country with little actual record as a nation is a monumental task. Yes, the area has an ancient history (Garden of Eden?) but not as a nation. Statehood was accomplished by a commission of Europeans over half a century ago. Given this lack of national history, overcoming their difficulty uniting the various factions is remarkable. They deserve applause for even making the attempt.

We are besot with a collection of people who for various selfish interests choose to ignore or at least conceal these obvious truths. Mainstream media and powerful politicians (Reid, Pelosi, Biden, Murnah, Dodd, et al) continue to drone endless criticism, mindless of the facts. I can understand the media. They have a commercial interest in promoting tragedy; it’s news. We rarely hear from them about puppies, kitties, playful children, and citizens doing good deeds. Instead, it’s a steady diet of fire, flood, death and mayhem in the streets. They never saw an axe murderer who couldn’t sell more papers or boost ratings. For the most part, their agenda is clear. In their defense, it is apparent that they could not long continue without a willing audience.

The Congress and other politicos are quite another matter. Their childish refusal to acknowledge the progressive success requires probing their deeper motives. They constantly refer to Viet Nam and their successful attempt to affect a withdrawal with the resultant diminishment of respect for America (well deserved) and the ensuing bloodbath of innocents. It is exactly the same template. Their interpretation defines that which they wish for their own ends and certainly not for the good of the United States and, for that matter, the world. To repeat the above, they could not continue to advance their destructive plans without willing voters to support them.

So, in the final analysis, it is we who are at fault. If we are unwilling to staunchly defend those young men and women who put their lives on the line for liberty for all and seek representatives in government who are willing to read the Constitution as written, we will reap the just reward. It is imperative that each American take responsibility for his gift of citizenship. We live in a marvelous country, peopled, thank God, by folks with an inherent sense of goodness and resilience. All we need to do is enhance our awareness and rise to the defense of the nation in our own communities. When God provided His marvelous gifts, did He say we would never have to defend them? No, but even though as individuals we do not have to take up arms, we do have an obligation to share the truth. It is a clear function of stewardship to maintain and carefully preserve that which we have been given.

Before anyone accuses me of partisanship, let me avow that I am not. The word implies blind and determined acceptance of a cause. I have that cause, but I am not blind. I have, with open-eyed wonder, watched my country carefully for a third of its life. From the grief of the Great Depression, WWII, and the widely varying challenges we have faced as a nation, I have seen the goodness of our cause and the sharing with the world; goods, industry, charity, benevolence and general assistance. We have made mistakes and will continue to do so. There is a difference between being “of God” and being God. I believe “we were endowed by our Creator” to be who and what we are. My prayer is that each and every citizen can realize his full potential as a citizen of this great and marvelous country.

In His abiding love,

Cecil Moon

Monday, February 25, 2008

Monday Morning Rant 26

It’s a beautiful day in the Ozarks! There's actually a break in the cloud cover. I find it difficult to find fault and support a “rant” when the promise of spring is in the air. I will do my best even though I am in an exceptionally good frame of mind. Good preachers do that for me.

As a constant critic of government schools and a fulltime endorser of home schooling, my opinions on this next matter are constantly reinforced. I watch Jay Leno, the first twenty minutes at least, nearly every night. As I listen to the nuance in the humor based on the day’s news I deduce trends which I don’t always catch in standard opinion pieces. Careful listening will reveal what is an implied truth and what is just there for the laugh. The humor is not limited to one political party. This is followed by a “feature” segment with headlines, bogus interviews, or my least favorite, “Jay walking” and the “Jaywalk All-Stars.” If you are not familiar with it, he goes down to the open mall in Burbank or another city closeby and interviews folks on the street.

He asks extremely simple questions about history, politics, current events, and holiday themes of a random mixed demographic with no preference for race or gender, but normally fairly young people at least of voting age. The results are astonishing and totally embarrassing. As a general rule, their command of the language is atrocious, their knowledge of rudimentary history is appalling, and even though supplied with broad hints, they still cannot seem to assemble anything close to the actual correct answers.

The other night I listened to three separate people muff the question: “Who lives in the Vatican?” Two of these were college students and one was a CNA (certified nurse assistant.) None were able to place Jefferson Davis and his presidency. Nor were they able to properly identify a picture of John McCain. Obama fared better when one finally was able to put a name with his image. When asked about our opponents in the Revolutionary War, I have yet to hear a proper response. Don’t even ask about questions on the US Constitution, either the ship or the document. It’s not just history, world affairs and politics; they come up with equally inane responses on science, physics, and math.

Granted, the producers no doubt cherry pick the morons for exposure on this weekly feature. However, keep in mind; these are still drawn from a pool of high school graduates and college students. There has only been one golden moment in the last few years of watching this series.

A while back Jay interviewed and questioned a black family, four of them on holiday, and they all blew question after question. He then turned to the gray-haired grandfather who quickly fielded about 8 or 10 toughies in a row on the Federal government with flawless accuracy. I was so happy I almost cried. I was blown away by his immediate and accurate handling of each and every question. To hear an actual informed American with a keen knowledge of his country and government made me proud.

This indictment of our schools is anecdotal. Continued conversation with our young people will reveal, if you take the time for it, more surety of their failures. In fifth grade as a kid, I would have put any routine subscriber to the “Weekly Reader” up against any of these excluding the grandpa. These people vote. God help us all!
It’s pretty hard to plan a ten day bus tour without including at least one Sunday. This creates the necessity of finding a service which is appropriate to the group. This means Catholic for rank and file Milwaukeeans, Lutheran for Germans, Baptist for Northsiders, or whatever the travelers requested. We even scheduled Western trips to be in Salt Lake for mid-week practice of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. As a result I found myself in many denominations’ houses of worship.

I came to enjoy these uncritical experiences and the obvious necessity demonstrated by the participants. Although the traditions and the rituals varied, the spirit of seeking a higher power didn’t alter much. Plus, what congregation wouldn’t welcome a bus load (40 to 44 people) of visitors? We always gave advance notice of our intention to attend and were universally showered with warm welcomes. The additional weight of the collection plates didn’t hurt, either.

Although I don’t drive and plan tours for a living anymore I still enjoy going abroad and experiencing other congregations of believers whether of my specific faith or not. It is rare to come away empty handed (hearted?) with a feeling of disappointment. Having done this in recent months I have managed to pull quite a few jewels from the remarks of some of the preachers manning the pulpits. You have surely noted some I have mentioned. My conclusion is that there are a whole lot of Christians out there and they are, thankfully, working their fingers to the bone to promulgate the word of God. I applaud them for their efforts and wish them well.
One of the really great “big band” leaders, Les Brown, gives us our thought to ponder:

“Live out of your imagination instead of out of your memory.”

It’s easy as we age to rely on experience for our direction. While it has its up side, it also leads to repetition of limited accomplishment and also, not always, mistakes. I would also remind you that as age advances, memory flags and sometimes what we remember might not be exactly the way it was. Maybe imagination is the right way to go.

In His abiding love,

Cecil Moon