Witch’s Will For A Sunday In February
Story For A Sunday Morning
Answers To Our Prayers
By Catherine Moore
“Watch out! You nearly broad sided that car!” My father yelled at me. “Can’t you do anything right?”
Those words hurt worse than blows. I turned my head toward the elderly man in the seat beside me, daring me to challenge him. A lump rose in my throat as I averted my eyes. I wasn’t prepared for another battle.
“I saw the car, Dad. Please don’t yell at me when I’m driving.” My voice was measured and steady, sounding far calmer than I really felt.
Dad glared at me, then turned away and settled back. At home I left Dad in front of the television and went outside to collect my thoughts. Dark, heavy clouds hung in the air with a promise of rain. The rumble of distant thunder seemed to echo my inner turmoil. What could I do about him?
Dad had been a lumberjack in Washington and Oregon. He had enjoyed being outdoors and had reveled in pitting his strength against the forces of nature. He had entered grueling lumberjack competitions, and had placed often.
The shelves in his house were filled with trophies that attested to his powers.
The years marched on relentlessly. The first time he couldn’t lift a heavy log, he joked about it; but later that same day I saw him outside alone, straining to lift it. He became irritable whenever anyone teased him about his advancing age, or when he couldn’t do something he had done as a younger man.
Four days after his sixty-seventh birthday, he had a heart attack. At the hospital, Dad was rushed into an operating room. He was lucky; he survived… But something inside Dad died. His zest for life was gone He obstinately refused to follow doctor’s orders. Suggestions and offers of help were turned aside with sarcasm and insults. The number of visitors thinned, then finally stopped altogether. Dad was left alone.
My husband, Dick, and I asked Dad to come live with us on our small farm. We hoped the fresh air and rustic atmosphere would help him adjust.
Within a week after he moved in, I regretted the invitation. It seemed nothing was satisfactory. He criticized everything I did. I became frustrated and moody. Soon I was taking my pent-up anger out on Dick. We began to bicker and argue.
Alarmed, Dick sought out our pastor and explained the situation. The clergyman set up weekly counseling appointments for us. At the close of each session he prayed, asking God to soothe Dad’s troubled mind.
But the months wore on and God was silent. Something had to be done and it was up to me to do it.
The next day I sat down with the phone book and methodically called each of the mental health clinics listed in the Yellow Pages. I explained my problem to each of the sympathetic voices that answered in vain.
Just when I was giving up hope, one of the voices suddenly exclaimed, “I just read something that might help you! Let me go get the article.”
I listened as she read. The article described a study done at a nursing home. All of the patients were under treatment for chronic depression. Yet their attitudes had improved dramatically when they were given responsibility for a dog.
I drove to the animal shelter that afternoon. After I filled out a questionnaire, a uniformed officer led me to the kennels. The odor of disinfectant stung my nostrils as I moved down the row of pens. Each contained five to seven dogs. Long-haired dogs, curly-haired dogs, black dogs, spotted dogs all jumped up, trying to reach me. I studied each one but rejected one after the other for various reasons too big, too small, too much hair.
As I neared the last pen a dog in the shadows of the far corner struggled to his feet, walked to the front of the run and sat down. It was a pointer, one of the dog world’s aristocrats. But this was a caricature of the breed.
Years had etched his face and muzzle with shades of gray. His hip bones jutted out in lopsided triangles. But it was his eyes that caught and held my attention. Calm and clear, they beheld me unwaveringly.
I pointed to the dog “Can you tell me about him?”
The officer looked, then shook his head in puzzlement. “He’s a funny one. Appeared out of nowhere and sat in front of the gate. We brought him in, figuring someone would be right down to claim him. That was two weeks ago and we’ve heard nothing. His time is up tomorrow.” He gestured helplessly.
As the words sank in I turned to the man in horror. “You mean you’re going to kill him?”
“Ma’am,” he said gently, “that’s our policy. We don’t have room for every unclaimed dog.”
I looked at the pointer again. The calm brown eyes awaited my decision. “I’ll take him,” I said.
I drove home with the dog on the front seat beside me. When I reached the house I honked the horn twice. I was helping my prize out of the car when Dad shuffled onto the front porch. “Look what I got for you, Dad!” I said excitedly.
Dad looked, then wrinkled his face in disgust. “If I had wanted a dog I would have gotten one. And I would have picked out a better specimen than that bag of bones. Keep it! I don’t want it” Dad said scornfully and turned back toward the house.
Anger rose inside me , “You’d better get used to him, Dad. He’s staying!”
Dad ignored me. “Did you hear me, Dad?” I screamed.
At those words Dad whirled angrily, his hands clenched at his sides, his eyes narrowed and blazing with hate.
We stood glaring at each other like duelists, when suddenly the pointer pulled free from my grasp. He wobbled toward my dad and sat down in front of him. Then slowly, carefully, he raised his paw.
Dad’s lower jaw trembled as he stared at the uplifted paw. Confusion replaced the anger in his eyes. The pointer waited patiently. Then Dad was on his knees hugging the animal.
It was the beginning of a warm and intimate friendship. Dad named the pointer Cheyenne. Together he and Cheyenne explored the community. They spent long hours walking down dusty lanes. They spent reflective moments on the banks of streams, angling for tasty trout. They even started to attend Sunday services together, Dad sitting in a pew and Cheyenne lying quietly at his feet.
Dad and Cheyenne were inseparable throughout the next three years. Dad’s bitterness faded, and he and Cheyenne made many friends. Then late one night I was startled to feel Cheyenne’s cold nose burrowing through our bed covers. He had never before come into our bedroom at night. I woke Dick, put on my robe and ran into my father’s room. Dad lay in his bed, his face serene. But his spirit had left quietly sometime during the night.
Two days later my shock and grief deepened when I discovered Cheyenne lying dead beside Dad’s bed.. I wrapped his still form in the rag rug he had slept on. As Dick and I buried him near a favorite fishing hole, I silently thanked the dog for the help he had given me in restoring Dad’s peace of mind.
The morning of Dad’s funeral dawned overcast and dreary. This day looks like the way I feel, I thought, as I walked down the aisle to the pews reserved for family. I was surprised to see the many friends Dad and Cheyenne had made filling the church. The pastor began his eulogy. It was a tribute to both Dad and the dog who had changed his life. And then the pastor turned to Hebrews 13:2. “Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by this some have entertained angels without knowing it.”
“I’ve often thanked God for sending that angel,” he said.
For me, the past dropped into place, completing a puzzle that I had not seen before: the sympathetic voice that had just read the right article. Maybe God had answered my prayers after all.
For Best Article This Morning:
Our Foreign Policy Establishment: Looking for Love in all the Wrong Places
By Clarice Feldman
Like the addlepated women who write love letters to an imprisoned murderer in the belief that the love of a good woman will turn him around, the U.S. foreign policy establishment repeatedly acts as though the power of their love and financial generosity will turn foreign thugs into responsible democratic leaders. They did this with the Soviet Union until Reagan upset their game, and now they are doing it with the Islamists.
This week there’s been lots of ink on the disastrous affairs in the Middle East and North Africa and I’ll discuss what I consider the best of the commentary, but if you want a Cliffs Notes on the issue, my friend Cecil Turner offers up something as good as anyone’s:
One of the basic tenets of national policy is to make one’s tactics and operations serve the larger strategy. It’s difficult to discern the strategy with this crew, but unless it’s to foster a resurgence of radical Islam, our operations don’t seem to be supporting it.
The trajectory of the Arab Spring is well known. The revolt against the established regimes began in Tunisia, spread to Egypt, then Libya, Bahrain, Yemen, and Syria. It’s now manifesting itself in Northern Mali, and Nigeria may be next in line as nations fall like dominos. In each case, it appears that the hopes anyone entertained for a new order proved baseless. There simply were no democratic roots in that soil and quickly Islamists took advantage of the upended order to set their stamp on the new regimes. Days ago even Algeria suffered a major attack by Al Qaeda which had penetrated a large gas plant there.
The Tunisian revolt, I admit, looked promising for those who hope for a more open, democratic Moslem world. On January 14, 2011, Tunisia’s kleptocratic dictator Zine El Abidine Ben Ali fled after a massive revolt spurred by an impoverished fruit vendor decrying corruption. Today, violence and intimidation from Tunisian extremists — Salafists and outfits calling themselves Leagues for the Protection of the Revolution — threaten any move toward a free and democratic Tunisia.
Eleven days after Ben Ali fled Tunisia, 18 days of protest began in Egypt’s Tahrir Square. President Obama publicly abandoned support for Hosni Mubarak as he did shortly later for Moammar Gaddafi. Mubarak was tried and imprisoned; Gaddafi was murdered. In Tunisia, the Islamists (Annahda) gained control through the vote, and in Egypt the Islamist Moslem Brotherhood did as well. In Libya they did not. Nor did the Shia revolt in Bahrain prevail against stronger Saudi forces, though the situation remains unstable. Yemen sacked Ali Abdullah Saleh but it remains the site of secessionist movements. Faoud Ajami describes it as follows:
“This is Afghanistan with a coastline, al Qaeda’s new frontier”
About the same time that Ajami was warning about Yemen, Yemeni forces intercepted a ship heading there from Iran carrying explosives and weapons including anti-aircraft missiles.
In Syria, where Democratic Senators like John F Kerry , Nancy Pelosi and Jay Rockefeller once beat a path to curry favor with its leader Assad, and Vogue’s Anna Wintour, Obama fundraiser and almost Ambassadorial nominee, fluffed up the regime’s image, the internal war grows only bloodier.
Other Interesting Articles
I forgot yesterday was Groundhog day. How could that have happened? Since I often forget where I am and why I am going in some direction I think that will suffice as an excuse. If not, remember the rule of doors which I posted some time. I forget when. I must have passed through a lot of doors since then. As far as I can remember.
Groundhog Day Explained
Groundhog King Punxsutawney Phil Predicts Early Spring
The King of the Groundhogs “Punxsutawney Phil” was awoken at the ungodly hour of 7:28 this morning, groggily emerging from his harem filled with lady-groundhogs (“Who are the lady groundhogs, anyway? Us? Are we the lady-groundhogs?”), and did not see his shadow, signaling to the absurdly-dressed array of Pennsylvanians that spring was well on its way.
In the period immediately before the Civil War, the most ferocious rhetoric came out of the mouths of Southern Democrats who were soon known as “fire-eaters.” They got that nickname because of the strength of their rhetoric in support of slavery and their willingness to talk about secession as a response to the possibility of abolitionists gaining influence in Congress, and even winning the White House. The louder and more ferocious speeches they gave, the stronger the abolitionist position seemed to become.
Today, we again have Democratic fire-eaters whose violent rhetoric is strengthening the support enjoyed by their opponents. First it was a statement by Professor Erik Loomis at the University of Rhode Island, saying that he wanted “Wayne LaPierre’s head on a stick.” Okay, maybe that was just hyperbolic rhetoric, intended as a figure of speech. Now, we have a far less figurative statement by Donald Kaul in the Des Moines Register:
Declare the NRA a terrorist organization and make membership illegal. Hey! We did it to the Communist Party, and the NRA has led to the deaths of more of us than American Commies ever did. (I would also raze the organization’s headquarters, clear the rubble and salt the earth, but that’s optional.) Make ownership of unlicensed assault rifles a felony. If some people refused to give up their guns, that “prying the guns from their cold, dead hands” thing works for me.
Is that clear enough for you? He is declaring his desire to see millions of Americans killed to support his goals, while at the same time making membership in a peaceful organization a criminal matter.
Pay No Attention to That Anemic Economy
by Charlie Cook
A scaled-back gun-control bill has a chance of passing Congress, but lawmakers can’t forget about the economy.
Immigration and gun control have dominated the issue agenda for the past few weeks, pushing away, for a time, the previously dominant worries about fiscal issues and their impact on the overall health of the U.S. economy. But Wednesday morning’s news that the economy, as measured by real gross domestic product, had declined in the fourth quarter of 2012 by one-tenth of a percentage point—surprising economists who had expected the economy to grow by 1 percent—brings these issues back to the forefront. In the third quarter of 2012, real GDP grew by 3.1 percent.
The release of numbers showing the economy contracting slightly in the last quarter hardly constitutes a hair-on-fire event, and they could be revised upward next month when the second estimate is released. But Wednesday’s report follows two surveys indicating that consumers have unexpectedly turned pessimistic. On Tuesday, the Conference Board released its preliminary consumer-confidence numbers for January. It pegged confidence at 58.6, far below the consensus estimate by Briefing.com of 65.1. The confidence level in December was 66.7; the recovery’s peak level of 73.1 came in October.
The Conference Board numbers follow on the heels of preliminary January numbers by the Reuters/University of Michigan Index of Consumer Sentiment showing a decline in consumer optimism to far below what economists had forecast. The Reuters/Michigan number for the first half of January was 71.3, down from 72.9 in December and well off the consensus of 75 reported by Briefing.com. The Conference Board and the Reuters/University of Michigan numbers are the most closely watched indicators of consumer sentiment, with the latter considered the less volatile of the two. When both head in the same direction, it’s worth noting.
The lower consumer-confidence numbers for January suggest that the outcome of the year-end fiscal-cliff fight did not leave Americans particularly hopeful and, more important, that they did not appreciate opening their first paycheck of 2013 to find lower take-home pay because of the end of the payroll-tax holiday. Like the GDP figure, these new consumer-confidence numbers don’t significantly change things. They should, however, act as a reminder of just how anemic this economic recovery is and how vulnerable American consumers feel in this new economic world order.
Sen. Robert Menendez under growing scrutiny over ethics questions
Sen. Robert Menendez of New Jersey is under scrutiny over his ties to a Florida doctor under FBI investigation.
WASHINGTON — Sen. Robert Menendez, the powerful New Jersey Democrat who this week was named chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, is facing a Senate ethics probe into whether he accepted inappropriate gifts from a wealthy Florida eye surgeon who is under FBI investigation.
The Senate Ethics Committee is conducting a preliminary investigation of two trips Menendez took to a luxury beach resort in the Dominican Republic in August and September 2010 as a guest of Dr. Salomon Melgen, a longtime friend and political donor.
The review comes on the heels of an FBI raid on Melgen’s medical offices in West Palm Beach, Fla., on Tuesday night and Wednesday as part of an investigation into what sources called possible Medicaid fraud.
“We are aware of the news reports regarding the FBI raid on Dr. Melgen’s office. The Ethics Committee will follow its established procedures in this matter,” Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.), vice chairman of the committee, said in a statement.
Oh-oh, the story is slowly, but surely, creeping out. Calling Martha Raddatz, where the hell were you last Sunday when you interviewed Menendez and never asked about tis? Oh right, kissing liberal ass! Now you have egg all over your face.
For the “are you kidding me file”
In this photo released by the White House, President Barack Obama shoots clay targets on the range at Camp David, Md., Saturday, Aug. 4, 2012. The White House released a photo of Obama firing a gun, two days before he heads to Minnesota to discuss gun control. In a recent interview with The New Republic magazine, Obama said yes when asked if he has ever fired a gun. He said “we do skeet shooting all the time,” except for his daughters, at Camp David. Photo: The White House, Pete Souza
Damn them must be some low-flying skeet he’s shooting. Hope all bystanders were safely ensconced behind him. Talk about Dukakis in a Tank!
An Inadequate Contraception Compromise
Last year’s Supreme Court decision declaring ObamaCare constitutional ensured that the massive expansion of government power would go forward, but it did not remove all legal challenges to the legislation. Religious organizations rightly objected to the bill’s mandate that even those who objected on religious grounds had to pay for services that violated their beliefs. Opponents of the mandate were falsely portrayed last year as taking part in a Republican “war on women” that helped whip up support for President Obama and the Democrats. Yet Church groups and others who opposed being compelled to pay for abortion drugs and contraception services rejected those slurs and challenged the mandate in court with lawsuits that were proceeding with mixed success.
But after today, some of those suits will be dropped after the White House announced a limited retreat on the issue. According to reports, the administration will no longer insist that religious non-profits observe the mandate or be in any way made to pay for services that offend their consciences. This is very good news for church institutions that were not previously exempted. But it is by no means the end of the story.
Under the revised rules, individual business owners—such as those who run the Hobby Lobby store chain—who similarly object on religious grounds, are still liable to ruinous penalties amounting to millions of dollars. This amounts to a cribbed definition of religious freedom that limits its expressions only to non-profits and houses of worship, but forces all others to bend to the dictates of the federal government even at the cost of their right to practice their faith.
How Ed fixed New York
Ed Koch was one of New York’s three great mayors in the 20th century, joining LaGuardia and Giuliani in that hallowed circle. Each faced different problems with unique style, but all turned the city away from disaster and toward prosperity.
That Koch departs in an election year, accompanied by an outpouring of praise and gratitude, is his final gift to the city he loved. The current crop of candidates for City Hall now has before them clear lessons on how he achieved greatness. If Gotham is lucky, one of them will also rise to the occasion.
In Koch’s case, the key was courage. The courage to confront the big problems, even when it meant breaking with some longtime supporters.
Quite honestly I don’t know enough about Ed Koch to form a decent, or fair opinion. Seeing him on the Cavuto show a few times the past few years I never quite made up my mind if I thought he was a great man or an old fool. Michael Goodwin saw him up close in the city that both loved and I will accept his opinion as fact because I respect him as a journalist. Which is more than I can say for the vast majority.
Either way, I hope mayor Koch rests in peace. From all accounts, and all politics aside, he’s earned it.
The South Will Secede Over Guns! Randi Rhodes is Sure Of It!
Talk about being stuck in the ’60s — the 1860s.
With all the certitude of an arrested adolescent, left-wing radio host Randi Rhodes is convinced the South will secede once again, this time over the Second Amendment. (audio clip after page break)
Here she is on her radio show this week, condemning Fox News before veering off on a peculiar rant about secession (audio)
The people they’re serving, the 3 million viewers, and that’s what they have at Fox News, 3 million viewers, sad but it’s true, the 3 million viewers that they are catering to are radical, separatist, uh, survivalist, I don’t even know what to call them anymore. They’re white supremacists who believe that they understand the government, the Constitution, the intention of the Founding Fathers, which in their minds was, we’re going to take this whole country into a war to win our independence from the evil British and then after that we’re going to set up the Articles of Confederation and then when that fails we’ll finally have a Continental Congress and we’ll set up a Constitution whose premise is domestic tranquility and then we’ll lay out the rules of road.
And one of those rules of the road is, you’re all going to get guns so you can kill us, if you don’t like what we’re doing. Really? And those are the people that are being super-served by Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, Fox News, Sean Hannity, the whole, the whole crowd over there, OK?
That’s who’s being served, a bunch of far right, male, mostly Southern, paranoid extremists who are preparing for armed revolution against their government ’cause the South’s gonna do it again. Mark my words! The South is gonna do it again. They are! And you know, this time, I would say, if they wanna go, let’s not stop them. I just don’t think it’s worth it.
There you have it — Rhodes condemning secessionists, to the extent they represent a significant political movement, which they don’t, while she proclaims, come to think of it, secession would be nifty. The contradiction is clearly lost to her.
I tuned into Randi Rhodes show a few times back when I was still a Democrat and she was on Air America. I soon tuned out. I thought she was a lunatic then and nothing has happened since to change my mind except to believe she’s loonier now than she was then. Good lord, do these people really believe the drivel they spout? This critter isn’t properly dressed without her straight jacket!
Why the “Smartest Guy” in Politics Is Worried
The impact of federal policies on California’s budget has Gov. Jerry Brown worried. Obamacare, the Federal Reserve, the EPA — all could hurt the economy.
Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown of California is warning about the negative impact of federal policies on his state’s newly balanced budget, which is a ruefully funny twist. Up to Election Day, Brown was cheerleading loudly for President Barack Obama, architect of the ever-expanding welfare state. Now California’s governor is warning his citizens that it takes lots of dough to satisfy the appetite of a potbellied federal government.
“Great risks and uncertainties lie ahead,” Brown said in a Jan. 24 state of the state address. “The federal government, the courts, or changes in the economy all could cost us billions.”
I’m sure the governor loses sleep over sequestration — the automatic 10% cuts in the federal budget that, given Washington’s political divide, are certain to occur on March 1. Annual state aid of about $83 billion would be trimmed. Brown also has a gnawing concern about Obamacare, which kicks in next year. “The ultimate costs of expanding our health-care system under the Affordable Care Act are unknown. Ignoring such known unknowns would be folly…,” he said.
If Brown is worried about the costs of federal policies, you should be worried, too. After all, Brown is “the smartest guy in American politics,” according to Vice President Joe Biden. This sage governor gazed into the economic future and saw a fog bank. President Obama, it appears, has ushered us into an age of confusing complexity at a potentially enormous cover charge. For example, the 2,000-page Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (an egregious instance of mislabeling that should be investigated by the FDA), has engendered 13,000 pages of rules, according to a GOP estimate. Compliance costs will be substantial. Health experts warn of premium shocks on Oct. 1, when insurers price their new coverages.
How We Can End Our Modern-Day Depression
We must increase investment in education and infrastructure, and enact tax reform
by Mort Zuckerman
If you went out this morning and saw hundreds of people lining up at soup kitchens, you’d think you were in a time machine, transported back to the Great Depression of the ’30s, or the victim of a hallucination incubated by powerful images of those times. In fact, it is the absence of such images that is the illusion. We believe we live in more normal times—and we do not. Millions of people today are experiencing exactly the same struggle as the millions did in the Great Depression. They can’t find work. They depend on government and philanthropy. They live on hope denied.
The big difference: Today millions are assisted by checks from Social Security and by food stamps. Food-stamp enrollment has been rising at the rate of 400,000 per month. More than 47 million Americans now depend on that program, an almost incredible record, for it is 15 percent of the population compared with the 7.9 percent who received food stamps from 1970 to 2000.
Meanwhile, nearly 11 million Americans are now collecting federal disability checks from Social Security, and half have signed on since President Obama came to office. In 1992, there was one person on disability for every 35 workers. Today it is one for every 16. Such an increase simply cannot have been caused by direct disability experienced during employment. This is in effect another unemployment program, one without end. Many of the people on disability would normally be considered unemployed.
Cory Booker’s rough primetime debut
The past few weeks have brought out a different side of Cory Booker.
For years, the Newark, N.J., mayor has expertly managed his national image as big city superhero, burnished by made-for-Hollywood feats: rescuing a neighbor’s daughter from a burning building, saving a shivering dog from the bitter cold.
But since he started exploring a run for U.S. Senate in December, in the face of tougher media scrutiny that was bound to follow, Booker is showing the unmistakable symptoms of glass jaw syndrome.
He’s learning the hard way that a Senate race fought in multiple major media markets is different than a citywide one on his own turf. His sensitivity to perceived slights in news coverage is raising questions about how easily the high-flying mayor can make the transition from the mostly adoring national media coverage he’s received over the years and the friendly confines of his 1.3 million Twitter followers.
“Is he a show horse or a workhorse? Can he be both?” said Doug Muzzio, a Baruch College political science professor who lives in New Jersey.
HBO Catholic Bashing Again
Mea Maxima Culpa is simply an anti-Catholic broadside masquerading as a documentary. It will surely satisfy those with a harbored animus against the Catholic Church who do not care what the facts are. But the film should trouble anyone for whom the word “documentary” signifies something forthcoming, factual, and enlightening.
Worth a Read:
Rep. Gwen Moore: Will Right to Bear Arms Lead to People Owning Submarines?
Wonder if she’s related to Rep. Hank Johnson of Georgia who was concerned that Guam might tip over and capsize. They seem to have about the same I.Q. But then will their supporters notice the lack of intellectual acumen?
Nebraska Lt. Gov. Sheehy resigns from office
Out, out with scumbuckets, from either party, in office. The quicker the better!
Ron Hart: Gun control: Dems never waste a good tragedy
“Arms in the hands of the citizens may be used at individual discretion for the defense of the country, overthrow of tyranny or private self-defense.” – John Adams, founding father
Congratulations to Barack Obama on being named the Gun and Ammunition Salesman of the Year by Smith and Wesson! Maybe he will win a free trip to Hawaii and save us taxpayers $3.6 million.
Quote For A Sunday Morning:
It is not because things are difficult that we do not dare; it is because we do not dare that things are difficult. ~ Seneca