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RAPID RESPONSE (Archives)...Daily Commentary on News of the Day
This is a new section.  It will offer fresh, quick reactions by myself to news and events of the day, day by day, in this rapid-fire world of ours.  Of course, as in military campaigns, a rapid response in one direction may occasionally have to be followed by a "strategic withdrawal" in another direction.  Charge that to "the fog of war", and to the necessary flexibility any mental or military campaign must maintain to be effective.  But the mission will always be the same: common sense, based upon facts and "real politick", supported by a visceral sense of Justice and a commitment to be pro-active.  That's all I promise.
GS

Click here to return to the current Rapid Response list

MONDAY and TUESDAY, JUNE 29 and 30, 2009

Recently  Michelle Obama went to serve food to the homeless at a  government funded soup kitchen

Cost  of a bowl of soup at homeless shelter $0.00 dollars

Having  Michelle Obama serve your soup $0.00 dollars



A homeless person who is receiving government funded meals while taking a picture of the first lady using his $500 Black Berry cell phone...  Priceless

FRIDAY through SUNDAY
, JUNE 26 through 28, 2009

Here's another episode of "Around The World In...."
And now, on the domestic front:
GS


THURSDAY, JUNE 25, 2009

==================================================
ZENIT, The world seen from Rome
News Agency
==================================================

Obama Sacks Bioethicists From Bush Years
Wants More Policy, Less Philosophy

WASHINGTON, D.C., JUNE 25, 2009 (Zenit.org).- U.S. President Barack Obama gave an early termination notice to bioethicists picked by his predecessor for an advisory board.

According to a New York Times report from last week, Obama wants the committee to focus more on "practical policy," rather than discussion of issues.

He thus ended the bioethicists' terms a few months early (they were originally to serve in the position until September), and will appoint new members to the board.

According to ethicist E. Christian Brugger, the "push to get practical in bioethical discourse is a bad sign."

Writing for the Culture of Life Foundation, Brugger said this shift "signals a turn away from urgent questions such as whether human embryos deserve full moral respect or whether 'human dignity' means that all persons, even the disabled and dying, possess equal value."

"It turns discourse from the question of 'should' to the question of 'how,'" he lamented.

Brugger contended that the chief virtue of the Bush appointees was "a willingness and ability to formulate and struggle with ethical questions."

He noted that their conclusions sometimes differed from the Catholic view, but that "the commission in general took seriously the kind of people we become as a result of asking the questions. It knew that scientific advancement doesn't always translate into good moral options."

Bush appointed the council in 2001. U.S. presidents since Jimmy Carter have had a bioethics advisory council, but their leanings depend on the personal outlooks of the president.


WEDNESDAY, JUNE 24, 2009

I hope you missed my observations...and fulminations...just a bit during this long interval.  I spent a fine week in Hawai'i with my son and his family.  Then back to work. 
GS


TUESDAY through TUESDAY, JUNE 10 through 23, 2009

A CRY...AND A CREED.  GS

For many years Ben Stein has written a biweekly column called 'Monday Night At Morton's.' (Morton's is a famous chain of Steakhouses known to be frequented by movie stars and famous people from around the globe..) Now, Ben is terminating the column to move on to other things in his life.

Ben Stein's Last Column...

============================================
How Can Someone Who Lives in Insane Luxury Be a Star in Today's World?

As I begin to write this, I 'slug' it, as we writers say, which means I put a heading on top of the document to identify it. This heading is 'eonlineFINAL,' and it gives me a shiver to write it. I have been doing this column for so long that I cannot even recall when I started. I loved writing this column so much for so long I came to believe it would never end..

It worked well for a long time, but gradually, my changing as a person and the world's change have overtaken it. On a small scale, Morton's, while better than ever, no longer attracts as many stars as it used to. It still brings in the rich people in droves and definitely some stars. I saw Samuel L. Jackson there a few days ago, and we had a nice visit, and right before that, I saw and had a splendid talk with Warren Beatty in an elevator, in which we agreed that Splendor in the Grass was a super movie. But Morton's is not the star galaxy it once was, though it probably will be again..

Beyond that, a bigger change has happened. I no longer think Hollywood stars are terribly important. They are uniformly pleasant, friendly people, and they treat me better than I deserve to be treated. But a man or woman who makes a huge wage for memorizing lines and reciting them in front of a camera is no longer my idea of a shining star we should all look up to.

How can a man or woman who makes an eight-figure wage and lives in insane luxury really be a star in today's world, if by a 'star' we mean someone bright and powerful and attractive as a role model? Real stars are not riding around in the backs of limousines or in Porsches or getting trained in yoga or Pilates and eating only raw fruit while they have Vietnamese girls do their nails.

They can be interesting, nice people, but they are not heroes to me any longer. A real star is the soldier of the 4th Infantry Division who poked his head into a hole on a farm near Tikrit , Iraq . He could have been met by a bomb or a hail of AK-47 bullets. Instead, he faced an abject Saddam Hussein and the gratitude of all of the decent people of the world..

A real star is the U.S. soldier who was sent to disarm a bomb next to a road north of Baghdad . He approached it, and the bomb went off and killed him.

A real star, the kind who haunts my memory night and day, is the U.S. soldier in Baghdad who saw a little girl playing with a piece of unexploded ordinance on a street near where he was guarding a station. He pushed her aside and threw himself on it just as it exploded.. He left a family desolate in California and a little girl alive in Baghdad

The stars who deserve media attention are not the ones who have lavish weddings on TV but the ones who patrol the streets of Mosul even after two of their buddies were murdered and their bodies battered and stripped for the sin of trying to protect Iraqis from terrorists.

We put couples with incomes of $100 million a year on the covers of our magazines. The noncoms and officers who barely scrape by on military pay but stand on guard in Afghanistan and Iraq and on ships and in submarines and near the Arctic Circle are anonymous as they live and die.

I am no longer comfortable being a part of the system that has such poor values, and I do not want to perpetuate those values by pretending that who is eating at Morton's is a big subject.

There are plenty of other stars in the American firmament...the policemen and women who go off on patrol in South Central and have no idea if they will return alive; the orderlies and paramedics who bring in people who have been in terrible accidents and prepare them for surgery; the teachers and nurses who throw their whole spirits into caring for autistic children; the kind men and women who work in hospices and in cancer wards.

Think of each and every fireman who was running up the stairs at the World Trade Center as the towers began to collapse. Now you have my idea of a real hero.

I came to realize that life lived to help others is the only one that matters. This is my highest and best use as a human. I can put it another way. Years ago, I realized I could never be as great an actor as Olivier or as good a comic as Steve Martin...or Martin Mull or Fred Willard--or as good an economist as Samuelson or Friedman or as good a writer as Fitzgerald Or even remotely close to any of them.

But I could be a devoted father to my son, husband to my wife and, above all, a good son to the parents who had done so much for me. This came to be my main task in life. I did it moderately well with my son, pretty well with my wife and well indeed with my parents (with my sister's help). I cared for and paid attention to them in their declining years. I stayed with my father as he got sick, went into extremis and then into a coma and then entered immortality with my sister and me reading him the Psalms.

This was the only point at which my life touched the lives of the soldiers in Iraq or the firefighters in New York . I came to realize that life lived to help others is the only one that matters and that it is my duty, in return for the lavish life God has devolved upon me, to help others He has placed in my path. This is my highest and best use as a human.

Faith is no t believing that God can. It is knowing that God will.

By Ben Stein


TUESDAY, JUNE 9, 2009

Back to the Future...
 
It is not often that, sitting in church at Sunday Mass, we can read and be reminded of the real basis for some of the most intractible problems facing humanity today.  The Readings of recent weeks, those of St Paul and from the Acts of the Apostles, teach that...following the esablishment of a new Covenant between God and his highest creation through the death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ... salvation was available not only to Jews but also to Gentiles - indeed, to the entire world.  In today's Gospel from Matthew (28:16-20), we read that Jesus said to his followers: "Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age."  This is the  Word  for Christians, and is also partly the basis of the Religion of Islam, which accepts Abraham and Jesus as  Prophets, although not accepting the Divinity of Jesus.  This makes us all brothers in God. 
But then we are reminded that Judaism accepts nothing of the New Testament, and only accepts the teachings of the Old Testament.  In the first reading for June 7, from Deuteronomy (4:32-34, 39-40), we read that Moses enjoined his people to "...keep his statutes and commandments...that you and your children after you may prosper, and that you may have long life on the land which the Lord, your God, is giving you forever." 
Any wonder, then, that religious Jews view themselves as the only chosen people of God, and the only rightful occupants of the Israel of the Bible?   
 
As we have noted elsewhere, there is the possibility of salvation of God-fearing people outside of belief in Jesus.  That is not the issue here.  The issue is whether the  perpetual battle between Jews and their neighbors in the Middle East can ever be resolved short of conversion of the Jews.  Neither the end of the battle nor such a conversion appear likely.  Our only hope is that with God, everything is possible.

GS

MONDAY, JUNE 8, 2009

Remembering D-Day: President Reagan at Normandy.  GS

You can watch the video or read the text.  Whichever you decide to do, please take a moment or two  and remember D-Day and our men and women who served then and serve now.  God Bless.

Click here to watch the speech... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rBeyZAmmJNg

President Ronald Reagan’s remarks at the Ceremony Commemorating the 40th Anniversary of the Normandy Invasion - Delivered on June 6th, 1984
We’re here to mark that day in history when the Allied armies joined in battle to reclaim this continent to liberty. For 4 long years, much of Europe had been under a terrible shadow. Free nations had fallen, Jews cried out in the camps, millions cried out for liberation. Europe was enslaved, and the world prayed for its rescue. Here in Normandy the rescue began. Here the Allies stood and fought against tyranny in a giant undertaking unparalleled in human history.
We stand on a lonely, windswept point on the northern shore of France. The air is soft, but 40 years ago at this moment, the air was dense with smoke and the cries of men, and the air was filled with the crack of rifle fire and the roar of cannon. At dawn, on the morning of the 6th of June, 1944, 225 Rangers jumped off the British landing craft and ran to the bottom of these cliffs. Their mission was one of the most difficult and daring of the invasion: to climb these sheer and desolate cliffs and take out the enemy guns. The Allies had been told that some of the mightiest of these guns were here and they would be trained on the beaches to stop the Allied advance.
The Rangers looked up and saw the enemy soldiers — the edge of the cliffs shooting down at them with machine guns and throwing grenades. And the American Rangers began to climb. They shot rope ladders over the face of these cliffs and began to pull themselves up. When one Ranger fell, another would take his place. When one rope was cut, a Ranger would grab another and begin his climb again. They climbed, shot back, and held their footing. Soon, one by one, the Rangers pulled themselves over the top, and in seizing the firm land at the top of these cliffs, they began to seize back the continent of Europe. Two hundred and twenty-five came here. After 2 days of fighting, only 90 could still bear arms.
Behind me is a memorial that symbolizes the Ranger daggers that were thrust into the top of these cliffs. And before me are the men who put them there.
These are the boys of Pointe du Hoc. These are the men who took the cliffs. These are the champions who helped free a continent. These are the heroes who helped end a war…
Gentlemen, I look at you and I think of the words of Stephen Spender’s poem. You are men who in your “lives fought for life . . . And left the vivid air signed with your honor.”
I think I know what you may be thinking right now — thinking “we were just part of a bigger effort; everyone was brave that day.” Well, everyone was. Do you remember the story of Bill Millin of the 51st Highlanders? Forty years ago today, British troops were pinned down near a bridge, waiting desperately for help. Suddenly, they heard the sound of bagpipes, and some thought they were dreaming. Well, they weren’t. They looked up and saw Bill Millin with his bagpipes, leading the reinforcements and ignoring the smack of the bullets into the ground around him.
Lord Lovat was with him — Lord Lovat of Scotland, who calmly announced when he got to the bridge, “Sorry I’m a few minutes late,” as if he’d been delayed by a traffic jam, when in truth he’d just come from the bloody fighting on Sword Beach, which he and his men had just taken.
There was the impossible valor of the Poles who threw themselves between the enemy and the rest of Europe as the invasion took hold, and the unsurpassed courage of the Canadians who had already seen the horrors of war on this coast. They knew what awaited them there, but they would not be deterred. And once they hit Juno Beach, they never looked back.
All of these men were part of a roll call of honor with names that spoke of a pride as bright as the colors they bore: the Royal Winnipeg Rifles, Poland’s 24th Lancers, the Royal Scots Fusiliers, the Screaming Eagles, the Yeomen of England’s armored divisions, the forces of Free France, the Coast Guard’s “Matchbox Fleet” and you, the American Rangers.
Forty summers have passed since the battle that you fought here. You were young the day you took these cliffs; some of you were hardly more than boys, with the deepest joys of life before you. Yet, you risked everything here. Why? Why did you do it? What impelled you to put aside the instinct for self-preservation and risk your lives to take these cliffs? What inspired all the men of the armies that met here? We look at you, and somehow we know the answer. It was faith and belief; it was loyalty and love.
The men of Normandy had faith that what they were doing was right, faith that they fought for all humanity, faith that a just God would grant them mercy on this beachhead or on the next. It was the deep knowledge — and pray God we have not lost it — that there is a profound, moral difference between the use of force for liberation and the use of force for conquest. You were here to liberate, not to conquer, and so you and those others did not doubt your cause. And you were right not to doubt.
You all knew that some things are worth dying for. One’s country is worth dying for, and democracy is worth dying for, because it’s the most deeply honorable form of government ever devised by man. All of you loved liberty. All of you were willing to fight tyranny, and you knew the people of your countries were behind you.
The Americans who fought here that morning knew word of the invasion was spreading through the darkness back home. They fought — or felt in their hearts, though they couldn’t know in fact, that in Georgia they were filling the churches at 4 a.m., in Kansas they were kneeling on their porches and praying, and in Philadelphia they were ringing the Liberty Bell.
Something else helped the men of D-day: their rock hard belief that Providence would have a great hand in the events that would unfold here; that God was an ally in this great cause. And so, the night before the invasion, when Colonel Wolverton asked his parachute troops to kneel with him in prayer he told them: Do not bow your heads, but look up so you can see God and ask His blessing in what we’re about to do. Also that night, General Matthew Ridgway on his cot, listening in the darkness for the promise God made to Joshua: “I will not fail thee nor forsake thee.”
These are the things that impelled them; these are the things that shaped the unity of the Allies.
When the war was over, there were lives to be rebuilt and governments to be returned to the people. There were nations to be reborn. Above all, there was a new peace to be assured. These were huge and daunting tasks. But the Allies summoned strength from the faith, belief, loyalty, and love of those who fell here. They rebuilt a new Europe together.
There was first a great reconciliation among those who had been enemies, all of whom had suffered so greatly. The United States did its part, creating the Marshall plan to help rebuild our allies and our former enemies. The Marshall plan led to the Atlantic alliance — a great alliance that serves to this day as our shield for freedom, for prosperity, and for peace.
In spite of our great efforts and successes, not all that followed the end of the war was happy or planned. Some liberated countries were lost. The great sadness of this loss echoes down to our own time in the streets of Warsaw, Prague, and East Berlin. Soviet troops that came to the center of this continent did not leave when peace came. They’re still there, uninvited, unwanted, unyielding, almost 40 years after the war. Because of this, allied forces still stand on this continent. Today, as 40 years ago, our armies are here for only one purpose — to protect and defend democracy. The only territories we hold are memorials like this one and graveyards where our heroes rest.
We in America have learned bitter lessons from two World Wars: It is better to be here ready to protect the peace, than to take blind shelter across the sea, rushing to respond only after freedom is lost. We’ve learned that isolationism never was and never will be an acceptable response to tyrannical governments with an expansionist intent.
But we try always to be prepared for peace; prepared to deter aggression; prepared to negotiate the reduction of arms; and, yes, prepared to reach out again in the spirit of reconciliation. In truth, there is no reconciliation we would welcome more than a reconciliation with the Soviet Union, so, together, we can lessen the risks of war, now and forever.
It’s fitting to remember here the great losses also suffered by the Russian people during World War II: 20 million perished, a terrible price that testifies to all the world the necessity of ending war. I tell you from my heart that we in the United States do not want war. We want to wipe from the face of the Earth the terrible weapons that man now has in his hands. And I tell you, we are ready to seize that beachhead. We look for some sign from the Soviet Union that they are willing to move forward, that they share our desire and love for peace, and that they will give up the ways of conquest. There must be a changing there that will allow us to turn our hope into action.
We will pray forever that some day that changing will come. But for now, particularly today, it is good and fitting to renew our commitment to each other, to our freedom, and to the alliance that protects it.
We are bound today by what bound us 40 years ago, the same loyalties, traditions, and beliefs. We’re bound by reality. The strength of America’s allies is vital to the United States, and the American security guarantee is essential to the continued freedom of Europe’s democracies. We were with you then; we are with you now. Your hopes are our hopes, and your destiny is our destiny.
Here, in this place where the West held together, let us make a vow to our dead. Let us show them by our actions that we understand what they died for. Let our actions say to them the words for which Matthew Ridgway listened: “I will not fail thee nor forsake thee.”
Strengthened by their courage, heartened by their value [valor], and borne by their memory, let us continue to stand for the ideals for which they lived and died.
Thank you very much, and God bless you all.


SUNDAY, JUNE 7, 2009

Ah . . Sorry to bother you, Mr. Obama, Sir...

Excuse me Mr. Obama, I mean President Obama, Sir. Um . . I know you're busy, and important and stuff. I mean running the county is very important and -- ah -- I hate to bother you Sir. I will only take a minute. Ok Sir?
See, I have these missing pieces that are holding me up, and I was wondering Sir, if you could take time out of your busy schedule and help me out. You know, no big deal, just some loose ends and things.
Well, listen, I can't seem to get some information I need to wrap this up. These things seem to either be "Not released" or "Not available." I'm sure it's just an oversight or glitch or something, so if you could you tell me where these things are -- I -- I have them written down here somewhere -- oh wait. Sorry about the smears. It was raining out. I'll just read it to you.

Could you please help me find these things Sir?
 
1. Occidental College records -- Not released...
2. Columbia College records -- Not released...
3. Columbia Thesis paper -- "Not available"...
4. Harvard College records -- Not released...
5. Selective Service Registration -- Not released...
6. Medical records -- Not released...
7. Illinois State Senate schedule -- Not available...
8. Your Illinois State Senate records -- Not available...
9. Law practice client list -- Not released...
10. Certified Copy of original Birth certificate -- Not released...
11. Embossed, signed paper Certification of Live Birth -- Not released...
12. Record of your baptism -- Not available...

Oh, and one more thing Senator, I can't seem to find any articles you published as editor of the Harvard Law Review, or as a Professor at the University of Chicago. Can you explain that to me Sir?
Oh but, hey -- listen, I know you're busy! If this is too much for you right now -- I mean -- tell you what. I'll come back tomorrow. Give you some time to get these things together, you know? I mean, I know you're busy. I'll just let myself out. I'll be back tomorrow. And the day after. .
What's that Mr. President? Who wants to know these things? We the People of the United States of America! You know, the ones that vote.


SATURDAY, JUNE 6, 2009

Am I being too tough on President Obama? 
He certainly continues to present himself well through the doting liberal media.  But how much is staged...or rather, how much is not staged?  Take his recent interview with Tom Brokaw, or his two hours (many more, actually) with Brian Williams.  Very smooth, even impressive.  Yet, to me he continues to be the "stealth candidate", now President.  When will we see the real Barack Obama?  Perhaps when he discovers his true self, after a few real tests.  And who will that be?
 
And now, a few more thoughts about Health Care Reform.  Consider the following; and see how often these vital issues are discussed by the self-proclaimed experts:
Only when the above start getting discussed seriously will Washington become a source of help, instead of a source of dangerous problems.

GS


FRIDAY, JUNE 5, 2009

Tough to watch.  And then our "Supreme Leader" goes to the lands of Islam and tells the world that "Iraq was a war of choice"...instead of a war of pre-emptive self-defense following the attack of 9/11.  What a disgrace, for him and for all those who enabled him and his deluded leftists to represent this country. 
"Lest we forget" next time.  GS

>
> A 15 year old girl made this.
>
> This puts to shame the output of a number of Hollywood producers and/or
> directors.
>
> It is the hottest thing on the internet and on Fox News today.
>
> Lizzie Palmer who put this YouTube program together, is 15 years old.
>
> There have been over 3,000,000 hits as of this morning. In case you missed
> it, here it is.
>
> Watch all of it.......and, pass it on!!
>
> http://www.youtube.com/v/ervaMPt4Ha0&autoplay=1


MONDAY through THURSDAY, JUNE 1 through 4, 2009

Time for another pot pourri: around the globe in a few words. 
GS



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