December 28, 2006

Who We Lost In 2006

Dirty Harry at Libertas runs down the list of actors and actresses who passed in this year. They will be missed.

I have a feeling that about thirty years from now we'll be looking at a similar list. And the proportion of those on that list who will truly be missed will be very, very small.

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December 27, 2006

Gerald R. Ford (1913 - 2006)

The 38th President of the United States died yesterday at the ripe old age of 93.

ford.jpg

I was too young to have any real memories of Ford. Unfortunately, my earliest recollections are of either Chevy Chase falling all over himself on SNL or the goofy caricature from the movie "The Pink Panther Strikes Again".

He had a thankless job, succeeding Richard Nixon in the wake of Watergate. And he had been previously chosen for Vice-President in the wake of Spiro Agnew's humiliating resignation. Nixon's choice was driven by the fact that, as a legislator, Ford was a popular and non-controversial guy who would have no problem being confirmed by Congress. He goes down in history as the only President to serve who never received a single vote as either President or Vice-President.

He may or may not have been the ideal person for the job considering the state of the nation at the time. But he did his best. He served his country in WWII and many years in the Congress. And by all accounts he was a really nice guy. He will probably never be ranked in the top ten (or even top thirty) list of past Presidents. But to the people who knew him, he'd rank way up there as a husband, a father, a friend and an American. R.I.P.

That leaves Jimmy Cower Carter as the oldest surviving President. How old is he anyway? Isn't it about time for that miserable failure to take the old dirt nap?

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December 08, 2006

Boy Could We Use Someone Like Her At The U.N. Now

Former U.N. Ambassador Jeanne Kirkpatrick has passed on at the age of 80. What a breath of fresh air she was at Turtle Bay.

jeanne kirkpatrick.jpg

Another Ex-Donkey, Kirkpatrick gave a speech at the 1984 GOP Convention where she coined the term "blame America first" to describe the appeasement movement of squishy self-hating American Liberal Democrats who gathered for their own Convention in San Francisco one month before. A big chunk of that speech is posted at It Shines For All.

Here's a sample:

When our Marines, sent to Lebanon on a multinational peacekeeping mission with the consent of the United States Congress, were murdered in their sleep, the "blame America first crowd" didn't blame the terrorists who murdered the Marines, they blamed the United States.

But then, they always blame America first.

When the Soviet Union walked out of arms control negotiations, and refused even to discuss the issues, the San Francisco Democrats didn't blame Soviet intransigence. They blamed the United States.

But then, they always blame America first.

When Marxist dictators shoot their way to power in Central America, the San Francisco Democrats don't blame the guerrillas and their Soviet allies, they blame United States policies of 100 years ago.

But then, they always blame America first.

The American people know better.

The charge against the Liberal Democrat Party as blaming America first is now a generation old. As a not-yet-registered 17-year old Democrat in 1984, it made me wince. I didn't want to believe that. But the charge has stuck. Why? Because it's true. And it's rare to find anyone nowadays - not even most Democrats - who can credibly deny it.

When America loses such strong advocates for liberty and freedom throughout the world, it becomes a weaker nation unless others stand up to take their places.

R.I.P.

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September 14, 2006

"Ma" Richards (1933-2006)

Former Texas Governor Ann Richards died yesterday in her home in Austin. She succumbed to esophageal cancer. She was 73 years old.

Richards is best remembered nationally as the feisty keynote speaker at the 1988 Democrat Convention in Atlanta who said that "poor George" H.W. Bush was "born with a silver foot in his mouth."

I'd be lying if I said that - back then - I didn't get a good belly laugh out of that one. Unfortunately for Mass. Governor Michael Dukakis, that was the high point of the Democrat's campaign.

From what I've read, she was a terrific lady who was not afraid to speak her mind. No stranger to personal hardships, she always tackled adversity by laughing at it. That's a life lesson we could all stand to learn.

R.I.P.

UPDATE: 1.30PM
Coming as no surprise to me, the President spoke kindly of her today.

"Ann loved Texas, and Texans loved her. As a public servant she earned respect and admiration," Bush said in a statement. "Ann became a national role model, and her charm, wit, and candor brought a refreshing vitality to public life."
Gracious, as always.

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