The Slow Man

I just watched a video that I thought was very good and wondered how I’d missed it. I watch quite a bit of his videos but they are few and far between, unfortunately. 

Back during the campaign for the 2016 presidential election, I picked my guy. It wasn’t Donald Trump – not originally. I liked Mike Huckabee first; he was unabashedly Christian (he would never say like Obama did, that America is NOT a Christian country), he had experience in government, he was a smart guy, and he had a good personality. But I did some research on another man, Ben Carson. My thinking was, “Well, ok – we’ve just had a terrible black president, maybe this guy could be the best black president.” He still wasn’t ‘my guy’ but I was really curious about him and was really excited to see him in the first public debate.


We live in a world of instant gratification – we expect everything instantly. Remember when faxes were ‘so fast’? Instant coffee, scratch-off tickets instant pay-off, instant connection to the world via the internet. The people we tend to listen to and pay attention to, speak quickly and articulately and we like speed. Faster and faster – that’s how Americans like it; we don’t have time to sit around and wait for an answer or a reveal or a thought to reach its maturity. We want everything now – and if you can do it faster than that, we’d appreciate it.

So the first public debate aired – popcorn and soda time; this was going to be good. And it was. I thought Huckabee did well. I thought all the candidates did well. Except for Carson; too slow, not ‘quick on his feet’, so slow it made me wonder about his ‘soundness of mind’. Scratched him off my ‘maybe’ list. We tend to think speed = smart. Not necessarily. But who knew?

We all know how the election turned out and I’m proud I voted for then candidate Trump. I’m proud of what he’s accomplished and will continue to accomplish if the ‘usual suspects’ will get out of his way. But every once in a while, I have to admit to wondering about Mr. Carson. Maybe slow and steady does win races.

One of the sad things about that equation, speed = smart, is that we don’t get a lot of opportunities to hear from Mr. Carson. You rarely see him interviewed on the networks – because he speaks so slowly. He’s worth listening to, he’s a solid conservative and has a deliberate way about him and carries a sort of dignity within himself. I think he’s an admirable person and I do listen when he speaks – regardless of how slow that may be.

If the Island has Electric

There’s an old game if it can be called that, that people like to play. It generally starts with, “If you were stranded on a desert island, what five (or ten, depending on who’s playing) five books would you want with you?” The sister question is, “If you were stranded on a desert island, what five (or 10) movies would you want with you?”

As far as books go, my list seems to change over the years; that only makes sense – more exposure, wider scope. Not so with my movie list; that list seems to stay fairly static. There are a number of movies on my list that still hold the same thrill for me now as when I first viewed them. I’d like to discuss one of them especially.

I just finished watching, for the umpteenth time, the movie Gandhi. It was released in February of 1983 but I didn’t see it until many years later. Neither of my husbands (ex and present) are movie people and it’s not much fun going to the movies by yourself. Movies are really a social thing, I think; we like to have someone with us to share the scares or the laughter or the tears that movies produce. As it turns out, I prefer to watch Gandhi alone, that way I can give it my undivided attention – something I think the movie deserves.

I am not, as you know, an adept student of history but certain stories having to do with history are favorites. I had, of course, heard about the real Gandhi and have seen old news clips of him but I didn’t know the person until watching the movie. It’s like the perfect storm of bad things coming together – a very bad phase in British history, a very sad phase of India’s history, and a haunting phase in the history of multiple religions trying to live in close proximity. And Gandhi is in the middle, the eye of the storm.

There are memorable quotes from the movie, such as Gandhi telling a clergy friend that he’d read the Bible and saying, “It’s too bad Christians don’t believe it.” Here is a very moving clip. Gandhi is fasting (his last fast) for peace between the Hindus and the Muslims Another clip I like is Gandhi speaking to a journalist he became friendly with while he was in South Africa (can’t help but wonder what Gandhi would think of today’s journalist – and South Africa, for that matter) Here is another good clip

It’s a long movie, three hours and eleven minutes. There are no boring parts, no slow parts, no bad photography; indeed, the movie displays what is beautiful about India – and what is abysmal. I can think of lots less uplifting ways to spend three hours. I hope you’ll take the time to watch it. This movie is Ben Kingsley’s crowning achievement; he plays Gandhi as if he was Gandhi. Riveting.

So, yes – Gandhi is on my list of movies – if the island has electric.


Is it real?

There are few books that have captured my imagination in the way that The Harbinger has. When I purchased it, I read it twice; the original reading and the re-read it immediately after! It has to be a pretty good read to make a reader go from reading the last page of the story to turning to the front of the book and reading it again.

In hopes of not giving too much away about the story, here is part of the Wikipedia synopsis:


The author says that The Harbinger is a fictional story which is nevertheless concerned with a real-life connection: a prophecy about ancient Israel that was eventually fulfilled in the eighth century BC when Israel was destroyed, and certain events and facts related to the 9/11 terror attacks against the U.S. in 2001. Cahn calls these events and facts “harbingers,” and argues that they show a connection between ancient Israel’s destruction and a possible coming destruction of the present-day United States. He also says that ancient Israel received a warning before being destroyed, and that the 9/11 harbingers form a similar warning from God to America.[4]

The author argues that America was founded similar to ancient Israel and the Founding Fathers envisioned a country based on the rules of God and a Light Unto the Nations. The author lists a series of warnings or harbingers that were given to ancient Israel before its final destruction by the Assyrians and makes a parallel between each and the events of 9/11.

It’s not a long book – most could probably read it in an afternoon. But it is a powerful book. Easy to read, instantly grips the reader’s attention, and a logical progression of a series of events, ancient and recent, that makes the reader put the book down for a moment and reflect.

It isn’t just that the writing style is precise and devoid of excess verbiage – although there is that; and it isn’t just that the characters are interesting and recognizable – although it has that going for it, too. No, it’s the footnotes, a ton of them, supporting the theme and point of the story. Footnotes taken from history you don’t have to be very old to remember. I traced them; they are accurate.

I have The Harbinger, by Jonathan Cahn, on my tablet to read at any time. Good thing, too! I also bought the book and loaned it a lady at church; yeah, I’ll never see That book again. I also sent the book to my son in Texas. I received a call from him shortly after he finished reading it. He said, “Mom! Is it real?”

I suspect that’s what we all have to decide.

(The Amazon link

The Strange Death of Europe

It’s probably safe to assume that many of you have heard of Douglas Murray’s The Strange Death of Europe. Murray is an Associate Editor of The Spectator and the author of The Madness of Crowds as well. It’s another one of those splendid interviews we have come to expect from Peter Robinson and The Hoover Institution.

There’s little to add to this, it’s his view, and it is a valid view, and in fact, it is very close to my own view, just better expressed. Except perhaps to wonder whether the United States can survive the death of our parent society.

And in an endnote of sorts, Chik Fil A announced yesterday that its charitable arm will no longer support the Salvation Army. That’s well within its purview so I’ll make no comment on it. What is within my purview is what I spend my money on, and it will not be with a hypocritical so-called Christian business who does not support the most effective Christian charity in the world. I find few things more irritating than hypocrisy, especially in favor of perhaps 1% of the population, whom the Sally Army already helps as necessary.

The Salvation Army is the only national/international charity that I find worthy of my money, and as such, for a Christian charity to not support it is beyond my personal pale.

Eat Mor Beef.

That does not mean I’m calling for a boycott or any other action. I’m merely stating what I will do. You do what you think is right.

The Seven Gifts within us

As most of you’ll know, I rarely do book reviews or even recommendations. Part of the reason for that is that much of what I read are specialist writing,   often historical in nature, and too often written in dry academic prose. It’s fine if one is after information, but it can be a trial to stay awake long enough to read.

This is not one of those, it is written by ‘The Sailor, whom I am proud to call a friend and a fellow commenter at The Conservative Woman, and got to me by a review by a fellow commenter contributor and occasional commenter here, and a dear friend, Audre  Myer. She wrote yesterday:

The blurb says it much better than I: ‘In the Earth, Seven Gifts were sown. Then the rain came . . . as a young boy taking on a profound and insane journey through strange, interwoven worlds to find and germinate the Gifts. He is aided by some of the most bizarre and memorable characters that have ever appeared in a book. From reject rock star to a lonely white dolphin, each shows the boy the way of each Gift. And with the guidance of an Angel in a mysterious garden, the boy awakens the Seven Gifts; and the Seven Gifts awaken us.’

When I finished reading the book – and let it sit awhile in my thoughts – I realised I had read something completely new. There is no other in likeness to this book. It is a ‘great’ book, in the manner in which ‘great’ books can transform your thinking by presenting things to you in a new way. It is a great book in the manner of being easy to read, well written, beautifully crafted, always pointing to the final chapter. It never loses itself in flowery words, over-abundance of description, extended character conversation. The book has a story to tell and lets that be its impetus.

Keep reading at A different kind of read. I bought it and read it yesterday, and all that she says is true. And yet, and yet, there is nothing here that many of us haven’t known for a couple of thousand years at least. But the Sailor presents it in a wholly new way, and so the story is fresh and alive and new.

As befits a man who calls himself the Sailor, and is a former commercial fisherman, yacht captain, as well as a Royal Navy officer there are a bit of the legends of seafarers here. It is woven skillfully into the story. It fits the story and adds much to it, perhaps because while everything about his life is different from mine, we are both technical people who deal with the real world up close and personal. Our perspective is not that different really

My reactions varied from a smile to a few chuckles, and yes, some tears. It moved me deeply, and will, I think, tend to haunt me. And that is a good thing.

He says this in the About the author on Amazon:

My Editor loved this book but was prevented from publishing it by the accountants who could not categorise it. She said it was “A most unusual and beautiful story”. They said it was so unusual that it “could sell millions, or one to his mother.” So far the latter is nearer the mark.

That too is easily believable. I think we’ve all met people like that accountant, who can’t see real things that don’t fit the pigeonholes beyond their green eyeshades. Too bad, it deserves to sell millions.

You can and you should get it here: The Seven Gifts within us, Amazon UK.*

I’m not going to give stars, if you need them to decide, go out tonight and look at the sky and count, that’s how many.

The only problem I see with this book is that those who need it most either won’t read it or will not ( or claim not to) understand

Bravo Zulu, Sailor and Audre

  • I’m not an Amazon affiliate so no disclaimers are needed.

America Goes to War

We all, if we are old enough, remember the horror we felt 18 years ago this morning. I happened to be home and watching the morning news, never, not once in my life have I been so shocked, and yes, angered. But we all were, I still remember the picture of a German destroyer coming alongside one of our warships on a NATO exercise,  rails manned, stars and stripes at the foretruck, and a homemade sign on the bridge, “We are with you”, it said.

We talk of this every year, as our parents and grandparents talked of Pearl Harbor, and it was the same kind of thing, out of the blue, mass casualties, and a coming together. Sadly that last didn’t last very long. My remembrance of the day is here, and I’ve spoken of the heroes of the day before as well, here. Both are, I think, worth rereading.

But we are continually learning more, and seeing people in a new light. Garrett M. Graff published in Politico last week an excerpt of his book: The Only Plane in the Sky: An Oral History of 9/11. Even the excerpt moved me to tears and a huge respect for all those mentioned in it. I’m not sure how ‘fair use’ plays out here, but I think we should be all right with his chosen excerpt, and perhaps a couple pictures. I hope so, I want you to read this.

Gary Walters, chief usher, White House: It was a little bit before 9 a.m. when Mrs. Bush came downstairs—I met her at the elevator. As we were walking out, I remember we were talking about Christmas decorations.

Laura Bush, first lady: My Secret Service agent, the head of my detail, Ron Sprinkle, leaned over to me as I got into the car and said, “A plane has hit the World Trade Center.”

Condoleezza Rice, national security adviser, White House: I thought, Well, that’s a strange accident. I called the president. We talked about how odd it was. Then I went down for my staff meeting.

Matthew Waxman, National Security Council, White House: I had started about six weeks earlier as Condi Rice’s executive assistant. At about 9:00 o’clock, we would have a daily Situation Room meeting for the national security adviser and all the senior directors. It was during that meeting that the second plane hit.

Mary Matalin, aide to Vice President Dick Cheney: I was with the Vice President when the second plane hit, and we knew instantly that this was not an accident.

Condoleezza Rice: It was the moment that changed everything.

Matthew Waxman: We went into full crisis response mode.

Mary Matalin: We went right into work mode. While we were in his office making calls to New York, making calls to the president, making calls wherever they needed to be made, the Secret Service barged into his office.

Dick Cheney, vice president: Radar caught sight of an airliner heading toward the White House at 500 miles an hour.

Lewis “Scooter” Libby, chief of staff to Vice President Dick Cheney: We learn that a plane is five miles out and has dropped below 500 feet and can’t be found; it’s missing. You look at your watch and think, Hmmm, five miles out, 500 miles an hour. Tick, tick, tick.

Dick Cheney: My Secret Service agent said, “Sir, we have to leave now.” He grabbed me and propelled me out of my office, down the hall and into the underground shelter in the White House.

Mary Matalin: My jaw dropped and the jaws of my colleagues dropped because we had never seen anything like that.

Condoleezza Rice: The Secret Service came in and they said, “You have got to go to the bunker.” I remember being driven along, almost propelled along. We had no idea where it was safe and where it wasn’t. We didn’t think the bunker of the White House was safe at that point.

Dick Cheney: They practice this—you move, whether you want to be moved or not, you’re going.

Gary Walters: The Secret Service officers started yelling, “Get out, get out, everybody get out of the White House grounds.” I remember early on, the chaos. People running, screaming. Fear was in my mind.

Christine Limerick, housekeeper, White House: The look on the faces of the Secret Service agents who were told that they had to stay—I will never forget that because we had at least the opportunity to flee.

Ian Rifield, special agent, U.S. Secret Service: We were fairly confident that plane was going to hit us. The supervisor in the [Secret Service’s] Joint Operations Center basically said, “Anybody who survives the impact, we’ll go to an alternate center, and we’ll continue.” It wasn’t a joke.

Dick Cheney: A few moments later, I found myself in a fortified White House command post somewhere down below.

Commander Anthony Barnes, deputy director, Presidential Contingency Programs, White House: Vice President Cheney arrived in the bunker, along with his wife. The PEOC is not a single chamber; there are three or four rooms. The operations chamber is where my watch team was fielding phone calls. Then there’s the conference room area where Mr. Cheney and Condi Rice were—that’s the space that had the TV monitors, telephones, and whatever else.

Mary Matalin: It took a while for everybody to actually get to that area. It hadn’t been used for its intended purpose—which was to be a bomb shelter—since its inception.

Commander Anthony Barnes: Shortly thereafter, I looked around and there was Condi Rice, there was Karen Hughes, there was Mary Matalin, there was [Transportation Secretary] Norm Mineta. Mr. Mineta put up on one of the TV monitors a feed of where every airplane across the entire nation was. We looked at that thing—there must have been thousands of little airplane symbols on it.

Mary Matalin: The vice president was squarely seated in the center. It was emotional, but it was really work, work, work. We were trying to locate first and foremost all the planes. Identify the planes. Ground all the planes.

Commander Anthony Barnes: That first hour was mass confusion because there was so much erroneous information. It was hard to tell what was fact and what wasn’t. We couldn’t confirm much of this stuff, so we had to take it on face value until proven otherwise.

At 9:59 a.m., those inside the bunker—as well as millions more glued to TV screens around the country—watched in horror as the South Tower fell.

Mary Matalin: We saw the building collapse.

Commander Anthony Barnes: There was a deafening silence, and a lot of gasping and “Oh my god” and that kind of thing.

Mary Matalin: Disbelief.

Commander Anthony Barnes: There are four or five very large, 55-inch television screens in the PEOC. We would put the different news stations—ABC, CBS, Fox, NBC—on those monitors. I remember Cheney being as flabbergasted as the rest of us were sitting there watching on these monitors. Back in those days, a 55-inch TV monitor was a really big TV. It was almost bigger than life as the towers collapsed.

Dick Cheney: In the years since, I’ve heard speculation that I’m a different man after 9/11. I wouldn’t say that. But I’ll freely admit that watching a coordinated, devastating attack on our country from an underground bunker at the White House can affect how you view your responsibilities.

Mary Matalin: We had to go right back to work.

Richard Clarke, counterterrorism advisor, White House: Many of us thought that we might not leave the White House alive.

Matthew Waxman: One of the things we were all very conscious of down in the PEOC was that the White House Situation Room was staffed with our close colleagues and friends who were staying in those spots despite a clear danger. The Situation Room, which is only half-a-floor below ground, was abuzz with activity, from people who wouldn’t normally be posted there, but who felt duty bound to stay there to help manage the crisis. Especially early in the day, there was a palpable sense that close friends and colleagues might be in some significant danger.

Ian Rifield: There was a sense of frustration too, because we were sitting there. Everybody wanted to fight back. We’re trained to go to the problem, and we were sitting there. There was a lot of tension in that regard. You wanted to do something to protect the complex and the office of the president even better than we were, but we were doing the best we could with what we had. […]

Commander Anthony Barnes: I was running liaison between the ops guys who had Pentagon officials on the phone and the conference room [in the PEOC] where the principals were. The Pentagon thought there was another hijacked airplane, and they were asking for permission to shoot down an identified hijacked commercial aircraft. I asked the vice president that question and he answered it in the affirmative. I asked again to be sure. “Sir, I am confirming that you have given permission?” For me, being a military member and an aviator—understanding the absolute depth of what that question was and what that answer was—I wanted to make sure that there was no mistake whatsoever about what was being asked. Without hesitation, in the affirmative, he said any confirmed hijacked airplane may be engaged and shot down.

Col. Matthew Klimow, executive assistant to the Vice Chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Richard Myers, Pentagon: No one had ever contemplated the need to shoot down a civilian airliner.

Major General Larry Arnold: I told Rick Findley in Colorado Springs [at NORAD’s headquarters], “Rick, we have to have permission. We may have to shoot down this aircraft that is coming toward Washington, D.C. We need presidential authority.”

Major Dan Caine, F-16 pilot, D.C. Air National Guard, Andrews Air Force Base, Maryland: I handed our wing commander the phone to talk to the high levels of government to get the rules of engagement.[…]

Col. Matthew Klimow: It was a very painful discussion for all of us. We didn’t want the burden of shooting down the airliner to be on the shoulders of a single fighter pilot, but we also didn’t want to have that pilot go all the way up the chain of command to get permission to shoot. It was decided the pilots should do their best to try to wave the airplane off, and if it’s clear the airplane is headed into a heavily populated area, the authority to shoot can be given to a regional commander.


Lt. Heather “Lucky” Penney, F-16 pilot, D.C. Air National Guard: This sounds counterintuitive, but when the magnitude of the situation hit me, I really lost all emotion. It was really much more focused on, What are the things I need to do to enable us to protect our capital? What are the things I need to do to facilitate us getting airborne?

Brigadier General David Wherley, commander, D.C. Air National Guard, Andrews Air Force Base, Maryland: My translation of the rules to Sass was, “You have weapons-free flight-lead control.” I said, “Do you understand what I’m asking you to do?” [Sasseville and Penney] both said yes. I told them to be careful.

Lt. Col. Marc Sasseville, F-16 pilot, U.S. Air Force: As we’re going out to the jets, Lucky and I had a quick conversation about what it is that we were going to do and how we were basically going to do the unthinkable if we had to.

Lt. Heather “Lucky” Penney: We would be ramming the aircraft. We didn’t have [missiles] on board to shoot the airplane down. As we were putting on our flight gear in the life support shop, Sass looked at me and said, “I’ll ram the cockpit.” I made the decision I would take the tail off the aircraft.

Lt. Col. Marc Sasseville: We didn’t have a whole lot of options.

Lt. Heather “Lucky” Penney: I had never been trained to scramble [mobilize] the aircraft. It would typically take about 20 minutes to start the jets, get the avionics systems going, go through all the preflight checks to make sure the systems were operating properly, program the computers in the aircraft. That’s not even including the time to look at the forms, do the walk-around of the airplane, and whatnot. We usually planned about half-an-hour to 40 minutes from the time you walked out the door to the time that you actually took off.

Col. George Degnon, vice commander, 113th Wing, Andrews Air Force Base: We did everything humanly possible to get the aircraft in the air.

Major General Larry Arnold, commander of the 1st Air Force, the Continental United States North American Aerospace Defense Command, Tyndall Air Force Base, Florida: Bob Marr quotes me as saying that I told him that we would “take lives in the air to save lives on the ground.”

Lt. Heather “Lucky” Penney, F-16 pilot, D.C. Air National Guard: Seeing the Pentagon was surreal. It was totally surreal to see this billowing black smoke. We didn’t get high. We were at about 3,000 feet. We never got above 3,000 feet, at least on that first sweep out.

Lt. Col. Marc Sasseville: There was all this smoke in my cockpit. It made me nauseous to be honest with you—not from an Ugh, this stinks, it was more from an Oh my God, we’ve been hit on our own soil and we’ve been hit big. I couldn’t believe they had gotten through and they managed to pull off this attack.

Lt. Heather “Lucky” Penney: The real heroes are the passengers on Flight 93 who were willing to sacrifice themselves.

Lt. Col. Marc Sasseville: They made the decision we didn’t have to make.

There is much more at Politico and  I really want you to read it all. It includes the transcripts and remembrances of the phone calls and cockpit voice recorder from Flight 93.

Too often we talk about heroes, and often we exaggerate. We don’t here, from Vice President Cheney right down to the passengers and crew that took down flight 93, we can truly say,  The soul of the United States of America in action.

Thus ended the first day, many would follow.


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