Monday, March 20, 2006

I Amaze Myself Sometimes

Back in August when Cindy Sheehan was the media darling with her little camp in Crawford Texas, I predicted she would get a movie deal and Susan Sarandon would play the part of Mother Sheehan. Dang I'm good. I bet Fitch didn't even see that one coming.

Monday, March 13, 2006

Afternoon of Geocaching and History

The weather was fantastic this weekend. The first really nice weekend of the year. Everyone was out jogging and riding their bikes. I decided to do some geocaching. So I did some research on the internet. Plugged some coordinates into my GPS and off I went.

Near my house, about 4 miles away, there is a cache called "From The Fields of Valley Forge". A virtual cache is a place where there is no buried treasure. It's just a place that someone wants to draw your attention to. Usually they are historically significant. I was expecting this cache to be located at Valley Forge National Historical Park which is about 3 miles south of my house. Much to my surprise, when I plugged in the coordinates for the cache it pointed north. So I followed route 23 north and came up on the site just north of Phoenixville, PA. Unfortunately, blogger is not cooperating with loading the pictures. I will try again on another post.

It was a modest grave site right along the side of the road. If you were in your car you would drive past it without thinking twice. Buried at this site are twenty-two soldiers from the Revolutionary War. There is a church across the street from this site that served as a hospital while the Continental Army was camped at Valley Forge in the winter of 1777-1778. I probably stood there for fifteen minutes reflecting on these brave men. They died hundreds of miles from their homes with nobody to comfort them. Their families probably didn't know they had died for weeks. Yellow fever was rampant throughout the camp, so these men were probably infected and removed from the camp to isolate them from the army. They were probably cold and hungry. They weren't getting paid since the Continental Congress had no money. They were fighting for a belief. A dream that they would not live to see come to a realization. These were great men who should never be forgotten.

After paying my respects I headed south to Valley Forge. I had planned on visiting some of my favorite monuments while I was there looking for the cache. Since the cache was unexpectedly offsite, I was disappointed. So I drove down to the park to take a look anyway. One of my favorite monuments in the park is the Site of the Marquee. Once again Blogger is not cooperating with pictures. I'll try to upload it later on another post. It's a small attraction when compared to the National Monument Arch and Washington's Memorial Church. Picture a modest sized stone monument standing about eight feet tall. Almost like an obelisk without the point on top. It's sitting on the slope of a small hill in between a road and a bike path. Across the street from the monument are some woods. The tall trees dwarf the monument making it almost indistinguishable from the dozens of monuments throughout the park remembering the various regiments from the different states. But when you get up close, you can see this monument is different. Engraved on the monument is the following:

Site of the Marquee

On this spot General Washington erected his campaign tent (Marquee) when he entered Valley Forge December 19, 1777. He occupied this tent until December 24, 1777 when he moved his headquarters to the Potts house at the junction of Valley Creek and Schuylkill River.

This site always provides me with powerful images in my mind. Imagine General Washington leading his troops to Valley Forge on a cold December night in 1777. They had just suffered a loss to the British in Brandywine giving Philadelphia to Lord Cornwallis in September. They tried an offensive attack in October against the British at Germantown and again were pushed back. The army was defeated and demoralized. Winter was setting in. The men were naked, cold and starving. Many had come down with the fever. It was time to set up winter quarters. The men were ordered to build their own huts in four inches of snow with no shoes. The huts were drafty and cold with a blanket for a door. The roads were a quagmire of mud making it impossible to get supplies in. The men were forced to live off the land and forage for food. The winter of 1777 would be a harsh one. I can only imagine the despair in Washington's eyes as he set up his tent and saw the men he loved so much suffering just to survive against the elements.

Every time I stand at that monument and look out over the fields of Valley Forge I am filled with a sense of history and pride. I am astounded and in awe that I am standing in the footsteps of General Washington. Sometimes I wonder about the people who seemingly walk or ride past this monument to get their exercise. I wonder if they ever stop to read this great tribute. I wonder if they realize the significance of the place they let their dogs relieve themselves. I wonder if they care.

We must never forget.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

South Dakota Bans Killing Babies

Last week the South Dakota legislature passed and bill and the Governor signed it into law banning all abortions except in cases where the mother's life is in jeopardy. There is no doubt this law will be challenged in court since it clearly goes against Roe v. Wade.

What's funny is both sides of the political aisle are jumping up and down with excitement over this. Conservatives are hopeful their new additions of Roberts and Alito to the Supreme Court will overturn Roe. Liberals are hopeful this will put a final nail in the coffin to the pro-life movement by cementing Roe even further. The truth is we can't tell how this is going to play out. It will probably be three or four years of court battles, decisions, and appeals before this comes before the Supreme Court. A lot can happen in that time.

Justice Ginsburg can barely stay awake on the bench these days. Rumor has it her health and the health of her husband are not that great. And as Ann Coulter puts it, Justice Kennedy is one bad EKG away from stepping down. I could see Ginsburg staying on the court until she dies or until the democrats gain control of the Presidency or the Senate. Being a former attourney for the ACLU, Roe is near and dear to her heart. But the other liberal Justices, namely Kennedy, Stevens and Souter, I don't suspect harbor the same passion for Roe as Ginsburg does. I think these men are capable of walking away at any time and not really caring what happens in the world of politics. It's possible that in the next few years Bush may have one or even two more justices to appoint before the South Dakota law reaches the court.

The danger in all of this is if the Supreme Court should happen to overturn Roe, the shock waves will be damaging to the country. The court will be viewed even more political than it already is. The precident will be set that Roe will be in or out of effect based on which party holds power and makes the nominations to the Supreme Court. The only thing that will rid us of Roe forever will be a Constitutional Amendment.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Can We Please Change the Subject?

I know I haven't been blogging much lately. Truth is I'm losing interest. The media has worn me down. I don't like reading the news or listening to talk radio anymore. It's all about Katrina, the NSA, high school geography teachers calling Bush "Hitler", gay cowboys, Arabs buying ports, Yale admitting terrorists, and the latest Iraq car bomb with some Gitmo mixed in. I'm tired of it.

The media in this country used to drive visions. They used to be the forum in which we debated the meaningful topics of the day. We used the media to form a vision and move forward as a country. Now all the media does is look to the past. I'm sick of it.

So I have some writers block. I can't get excited about what's in the media. And I don't feel like debating topics that nobody is paying attention to at the moment and I have already debated a hundred times. Where do I go from here?

Kudos to Dennis for his in depth three part series on the Kyoto Treaty. Check it out.
Part I
Part II
Part III

At least someone has the will to keep fighting the fight.
And here are my own thoughts on global warming.

Monday, March 06, 2006

Talking Sports

Although we are a month removed from the Superbowl, the NFL is still dominating the sports world. The collective bargaining agreement between the players association and the owners is due to expire, and no extension has been signed. The heart of the issue is the players want more money.

Under the current CBA, teams split the revenue from ticket sales and television. That money is split evenly and applied to player salaries. Each team has a limit, called a "salary cap", they can spend on those salaries to keep the league competitive. But teams have found ways of making money without having to share it with the rest of the league, like parking fees and naming rights for the stadiums. The players are asking for a bigger piece of the pie to get some of that money. That is the hangup.

Seems to me they should be able to fairly split up the billions of dollars the NFL bring in every year in a way where everyone can make money. I have no sympathy for multi-million dollar athletes crying poverty. Sure, they are the ones who break their backs putting on the show, but it's the owners who put up the cash to fund the league. They take the risk with their money, and they deserve to profit from it. You play a game for a living and get to retire when you're 35 and I have to fund it. Shuddup! Just another example of how labor unions are destroying this country.

The other big story in the sports world is the World Baseball Classic. Unless you are a diehard baseball fan, you probably have no idea what I'm talking about, so I will explain. Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud "The Devil" Selig has this grand vision of baseball being a global sport. So he dreamed up this tournament that would host teams from all the nations of the world. The problem is that MLB owners aren't too thrilled with their multi-million dollar assets going off to play in a preseason tournment with no meaning.

If the thought of your favorite player getting hurt in spring training bothers you, let me tell you don't worry. The WBC won't be around for long. Americans won't care. Sure, it will be big in Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, Japan, and Venezuela. But those countries won't fund it. America has to fund it. In order to do that, there has to be interest. And unless the American team does extremely well and wins it in the first year, America isn't going to care. Americans don't like international sporting events unless we win and dominate. I enter the television ratings on the winter olympics as exhibit A. Give the WBC two years. Two years of losing money and big named pitchers throwing out their arms and this whole thing will go away.