Monday, February 19, 2007

The inspirational story of Team Hoyt...

Grab the tissues. Wow:

From SI writer Rick Reilly, courtesy of the wonderful folks at All Pro Dad:
I try to be a good father. Give my kids mulligans. Work nights to pay for their text messaging. But compared with Dick Hoyt, I stink.

Eighty-five times he's pushed his disabled son, Rick, 26.2 miles in Marathons. Eight times he's not only pushed him 26.2 miles in a wheelchair but also towed him 2.4 miles in a dinghy while swimming and pedaled him 112 miles in a seat on the handlebars - all in the same day.

Dick's also pulled him cross-country skiing, taken him on his back mountain climbing and once hauled him across the U.S. On a bike. Makes taking your son bowling look a little lame, right?

And what has Rick done for his father? Not much - - except save his life. This love story began in Winchester , Mass., 43 years ago, when Rick was strangled by the umbilical cord during birth, leaving him brain-damaged and unable to control his limbs.

"He'll be a vegetable the rest of his life;" Dick says doctors told him and his wife, Judy, when Rick was nine months old. "Put him in an Institution."

But the Hoyts weren't buying it. They noticed the way Rick's eyes followed them around the room. When Rick was 11 they took him to the Engineering department at Tufts University and asked if there was anything to help the boy communicate. "No way," Dick was told. "There's nothing going on in his brain."

"Tell him a joke," Dick countered. They did. Rick laughed. Turns out a lot was going on in his brain.

Rigged up with a computer that allowed him to control the cursor by touching a switch with the side of his head, Rick was finally able to communicate. First words? "Go Bruins!" And after a high school classmate was paralyzed in an accident and the school organized a charity run for him, Rick pecked out, "Dad, I want to do that."

Yeah, right. How was Dick, a self-described "porker" who never ran more than a mile at a time, going to push his son five miles? Still, he tried. "Then it was me who was handicapped," Dick says. "I was sore for two weeks."

That day changed Rick's life. "Dad," he typed, "when we were running, it felt like I wasn't disabled anymore!"

And that sentence changed Dick's life. He became obsessed with giving Rick that feeling as often as he could. He got into such hard-belly shape that he and Rick were ready to try the 1979 Boston Marathon.

"No way," Dick was told by a race official. The Hoyts weren't quite a single runner, and they weren't quite a wheelchair competitor. For a few years Dick and Rick just joined the massive field and ran anyway, then they found a way to get into the race officially: In 1983 they ran another marathon so fast they made the qualifying time for Boston the following year.

Then somebody said, "Hey, Dick, why not a triathlon?"

How's a guy who never learned to swim and hadn't ridden a bike since he was six going to haul his 110-pound kid through a triathlon? Still, Dick tried.

Now they've done 212 triathlons, including four grueling 15-hour Ironmans in Hawaii. It must be a buzz-kill to be a 25-year-old stud getting passed by an old guy towing a grown man in a dinghy, don't you think?

Hey, Dick, why not see how you'd do on your own? "No way," he says. Dick does it purely for "the awesome feeling" he gets seeing Rick with a cantaloupe smile as they run, swim and ride together.

This year, at ages 65 and 43, Dick and Rick finished their 24th Boston Marathon, in 5,083rd place out of more than 20,000 starters. Their best time? Two hours, 40 minutes in 1992--only 35 minutes off the world record, which, in case you don't keep track of these things, happens to be held by a guy who was not pushing another man in a wheelchair at the time.

"No question about it," Rick types. "My dad is the Father of the Century."

And Dick got something else out of all this too. Two years ago he had a mild heart attack during a race. Doctors found that one of his arteries was 95% clogged. "If you hadn't been in such great shape," one doctor told him, "you probably would've died 15 years ago." So, in a way, Dick and Rick saved each other's life.

Rick, who has his own apartment (he gets home care) and works in Boston, and Dick, retired from the military and living in Holland, Mass., always find ways to be together. They give speeches around the country and compete in some backbreaking race every weekend, including this Father's Day.

That night, Rick will buy his dad dinner, but the thing he really wants to give him is a gift he can never buy.

"The thing I'd most like," Rick types, "is that my dad sit in the chair and I push him once."
Learn more about Team Hoyt on their website, and on wikipedia.

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Thursday, February 15, 2007

A lesson from Hillary on political expediency... (updated)

HotAir VideoClick the image to the right (or here) for a great montage of Hillary's position on the war in Iraq... then and now. I'd say unbelievable, but it's all-too-believable.

Also, the Dems have settled on a "slow bleed" political strategy regarding Iraq... to surrender without responsibility. I agree with Bryan over at HotAir... a new disgusting low. It's hard not to hate them for this.

Update: More on the slow bleed strategy from Bryan here at HotAir.
... They know that they can’t defund the war outright, yet. But by hamstringing the president’s options, they can make victory impossible. Having then forced on defeat, they can claim victory over Bush and defeat in Iraq, and then they can defund the war. That’s where we’re headed, under shadow Commander in Chief Jack Murtha.

How do you ask a man to be the last man to die for a political party’s cynicism, cowardice, irresponsibility and narcissism? Ask Jack Murtha, because that’s exactly what he’s asking of our troops fighting in Iraq.
Spot on.

Vent's Hillary Mashup:

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Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Mac Johnson on Obama's 'audacity of hype'... (Updated)

WHYGRR - DNC Unleashes Unstoppable Super-Candidate: Oprack Winframa (Click the image to the right and check out WHYGRR's "Oprack Winframa")

Mac Johnson discusses Barack Obama... The Human Rorschach Blot:
... He's a moderate. He's a third way. He's demographic fusion cuisine. He's a floor wax. He's a desert topping. He’s everything you'd hoped for and whatever you need. That's the beauty of being unknown. ...

... If any of the fawning were asked to name his greatest accomplishment, could they name an accomplishment? Other than being elected to the Senate just two and a half years ago, and being simultaneously black and yet likeable to white folks, I mean.

For emphasis, let's examine a list of Obama’s major accomplishments (so far):

  • Simultaneously black and yet likeable to white folks
  • Made the initials "B.O." cool again
  • Good oral hygiene

    That's it. He's the Wayne Brady of politics - everything white folks had been hoping for in at least one black person, the big payoff for all that tolerance and diversity babble. That may not be the politically correct thing to say, but it is an honest assessment of exactly what pent-up desire is fueling Obamamania among his white, liberal fan base. ...
  • For a related read, try John Hawkins on Racist Democrats vs. Colorblind Republicans:
    Here's the reality: there are racists in both parties. But, there are a lot more of them in the Democratic Party and there always have been. But ironically, Democrats have managed to use the GOP's belief in a colorblind America against us. Because so many Democrats have no problem with using racial discrimination for political purposes, they'll support policies like reparations, Affirmative Action, and racial quotas that Republicans simply won't. Then they deftly distort and exploit incidents like the Katrina rescue efforts and Bill Bennett's condemnation of the idea that black babies could be aborted to reduce the crime rate to convince black Americans that the GOP hates black Americans.

    This is all despite the fact that for a large number of black Americans, the GOP is a much better fit than the Democratic Party. The GOP is the party that's friendly to religion, anti-abortion, against gay marriage, tough on crime, and for low taxes and school vouchers. Yet, so many black Americans have been deceived into sticking with the Democrats even though the Dems do so many things that are harmful to our country as a whole and to black Americans in particular.

    That's why if you're a black American who thinks the GOP better represents your views than the Democratic Party, then it's time to join the Republican Party. Don't let the Democrats lie to you and tell you that the GOP is full of racists, especially when there are so many distinguished black Americans out there who can tell you otherwise. Look to Condi Rice, Colin Powell, Rod Paige, Thomas Sowell, Walter Williams, Larry Elder, J.C. Watts, Michael Steele, Ken Blackwell, Lynn Swann -- and you'll see that the GOP judges people not "by the color of their skin but by the content of their character."
    Finally, take the latest (8th) GOP Straw Poll from GOP Bloggers.

    Update: SNL - Reverend Al and Jessie J. rate Obama on the blackness scale...

    Update: Ann Coulter...
    If Obama's biggest asset is his inexperience, then if by the slightest chance he were elected and were to run for a second term, he will have to claim he didn't learn anything the first four years.

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    Monday, February 12, 2007

    Newt's 'Action Agenda to Promote the English Language'...

    It's time to put English firstIt's time to put English first.
    What can we do to make English the language of government and civic discourse? Three action items top the list:

    1. President Bush should end multilingualism in federal documents. The requirement that federal documents be printed in different languages was created by executive order. President Bush should repeal this executive order.

    2. Make English the language of U.S. citizenship. Return to English language ballots, to a focus on English language literacy as a prerequisite of citizenship, and to an insistence that U.S. dual citizens vote only in the United States and give up voting in their birth nations. These were principles widely understood and accepted for most of American history, and they enabled us to absorb millions of immigrants and assimilate them and their children into an American civilization.

    3. Replace bilingual education with intensive English instruction. We should have a National Program for Intensive English Instruction that would provide highly intensive English and U.S. history and civics training for new immigrants so that they can have the practical skills to become successful U.S. citizens.

    It's the Right Thing to Do.
    Amen Mr. Gingrich. At least Australia is moving in the right direction.

    Read it all at Human Events.

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    Saturday, February 10, 2007

    'For the Left, inequality is the ultimate evil'...

    Dennis Prager ArchiveThe topic was the appointment of Samuel Alito to the Supreme Court and the time was early last year, but this first paragraph stuck in my memory. Dennis Prager nails it...
    To understand any political ideology, one must understand what most animates it. For the Left, it is hatred of inequality. As noted in a previous column, the Left hates inequality even more than it hates evil. Or perhaps more accurately, for the Left, inequality is the ultimate evil.
    Here's the original article titled the left hates inequality, not evil...
    ... [T]he inability to acknowledge the greatest evils, let alone to join in fighting them, is the defining characteristic of the Left. That is why former Vice President Al Gore just announced that global warming was a worse threat to humanity than terrorism. He really believes that. As do the great many people on the Left whose moral passion focuses more on gasoline prices, drug prices, health care prices, and other expressions of material inequality than on people and movements dedicated to murder. That is why Robert Redford and friends from Hollywood can celebrate Fidel Castro. Castro may imprison political opponents, and most Cubans may have no right of dissent, but they are economically equal.
    Bang on.

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    Random weekend thoughts...

    Caption This!
  • Funny pictures are worth a thousand funny words. (now to the more serious stuff)

  • The War on Terror in Iraq is imminently win-able, and the primary obstacle to winning would be our own lack of resolve. We must not surrender.

  • A core challenge in the liberal vs. conservative debate is that it's essentially an emotional, short-term-based, feeling-oriented (liberal) argument vs. a logical, reason-based, consequence-focused (conservative) one. (A good example here)

  • Women and men are not created equal. Same-sex couples/parents should not be endorsed by society as equivalent to married men and women.

  • The Left wants Socialism, with an equal lower-class status for all. Understand that.

  • Conservatism needs leadership from strategic visionaries. Newt Gingrich is that. It also needs leadership from operational tacticians. Rudy Guiliani may be that guy.

  • It's not flip-flopping if you don't have a history of belief changes for political expediency.

  • The Republican Party is circling the drain. If internal, reform-oriented leadership can't pull it out, conservatives will need to find a new home before Hillary seeks a second term in 2012.


  • Tuesday, February 06, 2007

    Documentary: Outside the Wire

    Outside the WireThis is the Iraq War you won't see on the evening news.

    Former Marine and television news producer JD Johannes traveled to Iraq with
    his old Marine Corps unit to produce syndicated TV news reports for local

    From those reports comes a view of the war that only the grunts who operate
    outside the wire experience.

    From a dust-up with Al Qaida outside Abu Ghriab, to a night raid on the home
    of an insurgent leader, you will see what the Marines saw and hear the story
    in their own words of why they joined, volunteered for the deployment, why
    they fight and what it is like to go outside the wire and into combat.

    Watch the trailer. Meet the Marines. Buy the movie.

    Thanks to Michelle for the tip.

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    Is 'marriage' a thing of the past? It depends on what your definition of 'women' is... (Updated)

    All the 'News'?"All the News That's Fit to Print" "Manufacturing News to Fit an Ideology."

    Thomas Sowell elaborates:
    ...What was the point? To show that marriage is a thing of the past. As a headline in the San Francisco Chronicle put it: "Women See Less Need for Ol' Ball and Chain."

    In other words, marriage is like a prison sentence, complete with the old-fashioned leg irons with a chain connected to a heavy metal ball, so that the prisoner cannot escape.

    This picture of marriage and a family as a burden is not peculiar to the New York Times or the San Francisco Chronicle. It is common among the intelligentsia of the left.

    All the 'News'?Negative depictions of marriage and family are common not only in our newspapers but also wherever the left is concentrated, whether in our schools and colleges or on television or in the movies - most famously, in the "Murphy Brown" TV program that Vice President Dan Quayle criticized, provoking a fierce counterattack from the left.

    The New York Times was not the first outlet of the left to play fast and loose with statistics in order to depict marriage as a relic of the past. Innumerable sources have quoted a statistic that half of all marriages end in divorce - another conclusion based on creative manipulation of words, rather than on hard facts. ...
    Read it all.

    Update: The NY Times Ombudsman speaks.

    Also, covers the price of publishing leaks. Thanks NY Times.

    Update: Ben Shapiro discusses the homosexual assault on traditional marriage:
    ... If gender is meaningless, children do not need both mother and father; a father and a father, two mothers, six fathers and a mother -- any or all may suffice. To homosexual marriage proponents, the fact that only the sexual union between men and women produces children is an unfortunate accident of nature. Would that nature had made mankind completely androgynous, so as to demonstrate the complete and utter homogeneity of all people!

    Gender is not meaningless, of course. The radical individualism that denies all distinction between men and women is deeply pernicious. It denies the spiritual in mankind. It denies the obvious physical and spiritual bounty springing from traditional marriage. It also denies to children the benefits of a mother and father.

    In one sense, Washington's same-sex advocates do us a favor: They make clear that in order to deny homosexual marriage, we must uphold the beautiful and natural distinctions between men and women. They also make clear that we must uphold the value of heterosexuality over homosexuality. We must take up the gauntlet and, in doing so, vindicate the possibility of a higher spiritual elevation through the deepest possible human relationship.
    The old/main-stream media and the homosexual movement are focused on undermining traditional marriage to suit their ideology. Do not underestimate the degree to which they are succeeding.

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    Monday, February 05, 2007

    Newt Gingrich has more important things to do than run for President...

    American SolutionsNewt announces his new organization - American Solutions:
    I went home to Atlanta this week to speak at the Buckhead Coalition, a group of Georgia business men and women and community leaders. I saw friends, supporters and even a few political rivals who I've known for decades. It was a wonderful homecoming.

    More than a few people asked me whether or not I'm running for President. My answer is always the same: My focus right now is not on the presidency.

    I know this answer confuses the political consultants and reporters who preoccupy themselves over the minutiae of the presidential campaign horse race. But for now, I'm not focused on Nov. 4, 2008. I'm focused on Sept. 27, 2007. Because on that day - the 13th anniversary of the unveiling of the Contract With America - the new organization that I've founded, American Solutions, will do something more urgently needed than presidential posturing.

    On September 27, American Solutions will reach out across the country to all 511,000-plus elected office holders in America, their staff, and the citizens who are serving or seeking to serve in these offices. Our goal is to create a wave of change that meets America's challenges, seizes our opportunities and builds a better future for all Americans.

    I don't know about you, but that sounds like enough to keep anyone busy for the next seven months. And it sounds a lot better than spending that time watching the polls, endlessly fundraising and otherwise navigating the trivial and tortuous two-year march that we have made of our presidential election process. ...

    Our goal is to create a wave of change

    ... American Solutions will highlight how American virtues, habits and principles that we know work can help address the challenges that confront our country. It is simply a matter of applying what we already know works.

    This Level of Change Cannot be Created From the Oval Office

    So we have our work cut out for us. We will spend the next seven months developing an entire new generation of solutions, making sure they are understandable to the American people and that they are supportable by the American people.

    Then, on September 27, we will use the power of the Internet to start to make these solutions available to every candidate from both parties in every elected office in the country.

    The goals we have set for American Solutions are a lot more difficult and less conventional than running for President. But I believe they are also a lot more important.

    If we can move the entire system - if we can have school board members committed to incentives, hospital board members exploiting new technology, and state legislators who understand how to bring market principles to public problems - this country can and will fix itself. This is a level of change that cannot be created from the Oval Office. This level of change has to be brought about by people who care at the local level and want to do common-sense, practical things to make life better for their communities.

    Our hope is to reach out across the country and create such a wave of change on a nonpartisan basis that anybody of any background who wants to use science, who wants to use the power of productivity, who wants to revitalize American virtues that work, has the tools to do so and to help others realize their potential as well.

    If we can do that, we won't need to fear economic competition from China or India. We won't even need to fear the threats to our survival from rogue dictatorships and their varying alliances with the irreconcilable wing of Islam. And we won't be waiting on Washington politicians to solve our problems.

    The liberated energies of 300 million Americans are a dramatically more potent force for good then anyone's force for evil. And I can't think of a more important way to spend the next seven months than helping unleashing that potential. I hope you'll join our effort at American Solutions where you can make a difference.
    Newt is stepping up in a big way. Let whatever baggage you perceive him to have go... the man is on a mission, and his message is strong, thoughtful and right.

    Newt's PhilosophyPaul Weyrich recently discussed Newt's Philosophy:
    ...Gingrich's issue-driven philosophy, which brought the Republicans to power for the first time in 40 years, was and remains the right way to go. I mention all of this because Gingrich, while not running for President, is pushing various issues and issue clusters, which are right on.

    I don't know how Gingrich would perform if he were elected to the highest office in the land but these days he is responsible in that each time I read one of his policy initiatives I want to stand up and cheer. ...
    Cheer for Newt. Read more about his ideas to win the future.

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    Will Washington please get their heads out their collective asses and control our borders! (Updated)

    Glenn Beck gets it:

    (thanks to protocol66 for the video)

    Preach brother Glenn, preach.

    Update: Watch Roy Beck's Immigration by the Numbers if you haven't before:

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    Thursday, February 01, 2007

    A gloomy prognosis for the GOP from Frank Luntz... (updated)

    Luntz: Words That WorkI didn't know much about him before, but I watched Luntz in an interview recently on Book TV. Watch it here if you have some time.

    Bob Novak chimes in with his latest titled "The GOP's Cassandra":
    ... Like Cassandra of ancient Troy, Luntz's prophecies of impending disaster have been both accurate and disregarded. Republicans never have been that comfortable hearing critics in closed conferences. He is not invited to such meetings today. "They do not want to hear the truth," Luntz told me. While truth-telling is celebrated by Republican reformers who include presidential front-runner John McCain, it is a decidedly minority view in the GOP.

    Luntz's truth is summarized in a 10-page "addendum," inspired by the 2006 election fiasco, to his new book, "Words that Work" (about political use of language). He delayed publication and lost Christmas sales in order to deliver a wakeup call to his party.

    "The Republican Party that lost those historic elections was a tired, cranky shell of the articulate reformist, forward-thinking movement that was swept into office in 1994 on a wave of positive change," Luntz wrote. He went on to say that the Republicans of 2006 "were an ethical morass, more interested in protecting their jobs than protecting the people they served. The 1994 Republicans came to 'revolutionize' Washington. Washington won." ...

    Libertarian PartyIf the Republicans continue to flounder, the Libertarian Party may have an opportunity.

    Mac Johnson's latest called "Libertarians on Drugs" points to a serious problem though:
    ... This debate would be just an intellectual exercise except for the fact that many of the intellectual lights of the libertarian movement waste considerable breath and ink decrying the prohibition of drugs, and that one of the nonstarters of the libertarian party growing into a real movement is people’s correct perception that libertarian control of drug laws will result in drive-thru drug-marts popping up at the state line. As much as many small government fans would like to see a viable third party arise, it cannot be one that thinks that free will and reason can govern the use of mind-altering addictive drugs.

    On some issues, libertarians make perfect sense. But libertarians on drugs are simply irrational. Biochemistry trumps free will every time.
    Constitution Party anyone?

    Update: From Mark Alexander - Wanted: Another Reagan...
    Like Ronald Reagan's foes on both sides of the Berlin Wall, these Republican leaders seem all too willing, all too often, to expand the state at the expense of liberty. With candidates aplenty and the 2008 election just around the corner, let's hope and pray that a true conservative -- a Reagan conservative -- will soon emerge.
    Update: Ann Coulter fires a different kind of warning shot in her latest...
    If you won't defend your own champions, conservatives, then don't sit back and wonder why so few people want to be your champions.
    Tony Snow doesn't... damn.

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