Saturday, December 31, 2005

Classics of Conservatism - part XIV - The Screwtape Letters - C.S. Lewis

This month's book recommendation is C.S. Lewis' Screwtape Letters.

first published in 1941

C.S. Lewis presents Christianity in a series of letters from a senior devil to his young apprentice. In this small pocket book, Lewis explains Satan's strategies for separating us from God in countless small ways. In every aspect of our lives, the devil distracts us, tempts us and leads us away from God. Satan does not fight big battles. He fights a series of little ones. Lewis shows the devil's strategy for fighting a different battle in each chapter. After reading this book, I understood my own life much better.

More than 40 years after his death, Lewis remains one of the most powerful figures in modern Christianity. Check here for previous commentary on C.S. Lewis.

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Quote of the day - Thomas Sowell

People who say that the war in Iraq has nothing to do with the war on terror are unaffected by the fact that the terrorists themselves obviously think otherwise, as they converge on Iraq from other countries.

Thomas Sowell

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Friday, December 30, 2005

MSM Lie # 54 of 2005 - 30,000 dead Iraqi civilians

In probably the last major lie of 2005, various MSM/DNC outlets misquoted President Bush as having stated (on December 12, 2005) that 30,000 civilian casualties had occured in Iraq since March 2003. In fact, the President never said "civilian." Bush estimated the total Iraqi deaths. That number includes military deaths and terrorist deaths. The MSM/DNC simply added the word "civilian" to fit their own preconceived ideas.

Rather than acknowledge the mistake, The San Francisco Chronicle simply modified its headline after the blogosphere [e.g. Michelle Malkin] called them on the lie. Had the blogosphere not existed to correct the lie, the 30,000-civilian-death myth would have become part of the official MSM/DNC history of the war.

UPI is repeating the lie as late as today.

Click here for the complete list and check back this weekend for a repost of the list and further analysis.

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Quote of the day - The Cassandra Page

Just as the five years following WWII were the most important in framing the cold war and the post-war world, 2005 will be crucial in framing the post-MSM world. Rathergate was only the beginning.

The Cassandra Page, January 1, 2005

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Thursday, December 29, 2005

Quote of the day - Oriana Fallaci

Look at the school system of the West today. Students do not know history! They don't, for Christ's sake. They don't know who Churchill was! In Italy, they don't even know who Cavour was!

Oriana Fallaci

12/30/05 update - I had an inquiry about Cavour, so I am inserting this button for a biography published in 1914.

I repeat this here in addition to the comment section, because Haloscan deletes all of my comments after a few weeks.

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Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Quote of the day - Joe Sobran

[H]e [Gene McCarthy] never talked down to you, whether you were part of a cheering crowd or a companion at the breakfast table. He was that rare thing, a politician without bombast. After an hour with a man like that, you realize how inflated John McCain’s “straight talk” really is.

Joe Sobran

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Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Quote of the day - Mark Steyn

A Hollywood that's ashamed of one of its few universally acknowledged genuine artistic achievements [the Looney Tunes cartoons] is hardly likely to come up with any new artistic achievements.

Mark Steyn

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Monday, December 26, 2005

Quote of the day - Dinesh D'Souza

Publicly inconsolable about the fact that racism continues, these activists seem privately terrified that it has abated.

--Dinesh D'Souza

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Sunday, December 25, 2005

The War against Christmas

I hate to ruin your Christmas mood, but check out Mark Steyn's column today on the War on Christmas. You have heard most of this before, but Steyn's take is always good.

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Merry Christmas - 2005

I apologize for the light blogging. Click here for last year's greeting.

Quote of the day - C.S. Lewis

Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.

-- C. S. Lewis

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Saturday, December 24, 2005

Quote of the day - G.M. Trevelyan

The gods mercifully gave mankind this little moment of peace between the religious fanaticisms of the past and the fanaticisms of class and race that were speedily to arise and dominate time to come.

-- G. M. Trevelyan

H/T Thomas Sowell

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Friday, December 23, 2005

Quote of the day - Time Magazine

This war was a revolution against the moral basis of civilization. It was conceived by the Nazis in conscious contempt for the life, dignity and freedom of individual man and deliberately prosecuted by means of slavery, starvation and the mass destruction of noncombatants' lives. It was a revolution against the human soul.

--Time, May 14, 1945

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Thursday, December 22, 2005

Quote of the day - Mark Steyn

Well, that old Iraqi quagmire just keeps getting worse and worse, if only for the Democratic Party.

Mark Steyn

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Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Quote of the day - Joe Sobran

Bill Clinton is neither a great man nor a great president. But he is a great politician. He has not only mastered every trick in the book, but added a few chapters of his own. It's an embarrassing specialty for a country that insists on venerating its leaders.

Joe Sobran

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Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Quote of the day - Eric Cartman

"No dude, independent films are those black and white hippie movies. They're always about gay cowboys eating pudding."

-Eric Cartman

H/T forum

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Monday, December 19, 2005

Quote of the day - Mark Steyn

And the point is, even if I was in the mood for a story about two rugged insecure men who find themselves strangely attracted to each other in a dark transgressive relationship that breaks all the rules, who needs Jake Gyllenhaal and Heath Ledger when you've got Howard Dean and Abu Musad al-Zarqawi? Yee-haw!

Mark Steyn

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Sunday, December 18, 2005

Quote of the day - Linda Bowles

The task of weaning various people and groups from the national nipple will not be easy. The sound of whines, bawls, screams and invective will fill the air as the agony of withdrawal pangs finds voice.

--Linda Bowles

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Saturday, December 17, 2005

Quote of the day - William Allen

Certainly, it is a world of scarcity. But the scarcity is not confined to iron ore and arable land. The most constricting scarcities are those of character and personality.

--William R. Allen

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Friday, December 16, 2005

Quote of the day - George Will

"[Eugene] McCarthy's insurgency [the 1968 campaign against Lyndon Johnson], the most luminous memory of many aging liberals, would today be impossible — criminal, actually — thanks to the recent "reform" most cherished by liberals, the McCain-Feingold campaign regulations."

George Will

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Thursday, December 15, 2005

Quote of the day - Garet Garrett

"Americans now are of three kinds, namely: those who are very unhappy about what has happened in one lifetime to their world - to its morals, principles and ways of thinking - and have intuitions of a dire sequel; those who only now begin to read the signs and are seized with premonitions of disaster; and three, those who like it."

Garet Garrett People's Pottage (p. 91)

Click here to vote for the Garet Garrett blog in the Weblog Awards. Today is the last day for voting.

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Wednesday, December 14, 2005

The Barrett Report; Hillary's Wellesley College thesis

Tony Snow makes a good case for the publication of the Barrett Report. H/T Michelle Malkin. While we are speaking of surpressed Clinton documents, we should also press for the publication of Hillary's Wellesley College thesis.


Quote of the day - Garet Garrett

We have crossed the boundary that lies between Republic and Empire. If you ask when, the answer is that you cannot make a single stroke between day and night: the precise moment does not matter. There was no painted sign to say: 'You are now entering Imperium.' Yet it was a very old road and the voice of history was saying: 'Whether you know it or not, the act of crossing may be irreversible.' And now, not far ahead, is a sign that reads: 'No U-turns.'

Garet Garrett (1952), [from The People's Pottage]

Please vote for the Garet Garrett blog at the Weblog Awards.

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Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Weblog Awards - three more days.

There are three more days of voting for the Weblog Awards.

To repeat my previous posts, my favorites are as follows:

My other blog, Garet Garrett, is nominated in the Best of the Rest category.

I think I will achieve my goal of not finishing last. I currently stand as number 13. Numbers 14 and 15 are way behind. I am within three votes of catching number 12.

I endorse a number of other blogs in different categories:

Scrappleface is the best in the humor category. Scrappleface is more than simply a humor site. The Scrappleface posts reveal the MSM/DNC's actual positions/opinions stripped of their hypocrisy. It is that simple. If the MSM/DNC were honest about its goals and beliefs, MSM/DNC statements, arguments and news items would be indistinguishable from Scrappleface posts.

I endorse Right Wing Sparkle in the 1001 - 1750 category.

Please vote for Confederate Yankee in the 251-500 category.

In the Best Conservative Blog category, I support Debbie Schlussel. Debbie's posts provide valuable updates on how the U.S. government coddles and ignores those who pose domestic terror threats.

[Honorable mention to Anti-Idiotarian Rottweiller and LaShawn Barber in the same category.]

Samantha Burns is nominated as the Best Canadian Blog.

[I know I am including photos only of the girls, but can you blame me?]

And finally, please vote for Pamela at Atlas Shrugs for Best New Blog. She is as witty and insightful as she is uncompromising.

Vote for all of these blogs once a day through Thursday. And thanks to Kathleen, Debbie, Samantha and Pamela for giving my readers a reason to linger at my blog.

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Quote of the day - Garet Garrett

There are those who still think they are holding the pass against a revolution that may be coming up the road. But they are gazing in the wrong direction. The revolution is behind them. It went by in the Night of Depression, singing songs to freedom.

Garet Garrett, [from The People's Pottage]

Please vote for the Garet Garrett blog at the Weblog Awards.

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Monday, December 12, 2005

Quote of the day - Absalom Weaver

Today's quote is a repost from February 16, 2005.

One of the main characters, Absalom Weaver, sits listening to a sales pitch for the local farmers to join a marketing cooperative. At the end of the sales pitch, the farmers persuade Weaver to rise and give his opinion:

. . . He had not yet begun to speak, but he was peering about in the grass, stooping here and there to pluck a bit of vegetation. He walked as far as the fence for a bramble leaf. Returning he snapped a twig from the elm above his head and faced them.

"This towering elm," he began, with an admiring look at the tree, "was once a tiny thing. A sheep might have eaten it at one bite. Every living thing around it was hostile and injurious. And it survived. It grew. It took its profit. It became tall and powerful beyond the reach of its enemies. What preserved it - cooperative marketing? What gave it power - a law from Congress? What gave it fullness - the Golden Rule? On what was its strength founded - a fraternal spirit? You know better. Your instincts tell you no. It saved itself. It found its own greatness. How? By fighting. Did you know that plants fight? If you could only see the deadly, ceaseless warfare among plants this lovely landscape would terrify you. It would make you think man's struggles tame."

"I hold up this leaf from the elm. The reason it is flat and thin is that the peaceable work of its life is to gather nourishment for the tree from the air. Therefore it must have as much surface as possible to touch the air with. But it has another work to do. A grisly work. A natural work, all the same. It must fight. For that use it is pointed at the end as you see and has teeth around the edge - these. The first thing the elm plant does is to grow straight up out of the ground with a spear thrust, its leaves rolled tightly together. Its enemies do not notice it. Then suddenly each leaf spreads itself out and with its teeth attacks other plants; it overturns them, holds them out of the sunlight and drowns them. Marvelous, isn't it? Do you wonder why the elm does not overrun the earth? Because other plants fight back, each in its own way. I show you a blade of grass. It has no teeth. How can it fight? Perhaps it lives by love and sweetness. It does not. It grows very fast by stealth, taking up so little room that nothing else minds, until all at once it is tall and strong enough to throw out blades in every direction and fall upon other plants. It smothers them to death. Then the bramble. I care not for the bramble. Not because it fights. For another reason. Here is its weapon. Besides the spear point and the teeth the bramble leaf you see is in five parts, like one's hand. It is a hand in fact, and one very hard to cast off. When it cannot overthrow and kill an enemy as the elm does, it climbs up his back to light and air, and in fact prefers that opportunity, gaining its profit not in natural combat but in shrewd advantage, like the middleman. Another plant I would like to show you. There is one nearby. Unfortunately it would be inconvenient to exhibit him in these circumstances. His familiar name is honeysuckle. He is sleek, suave, brilliantly arrayed, and you would not suspect his nature, which is that of the preying speculator. Once you are in his toils it is hopeless. The way of this plant is to twist itself round and round another and strangle it."

"This awful strife is universal in plant life. There are no exemptions. Among animals it is not so fierce. They can run from one another. Plants must fight it out where they stand. They must live or die on the spot. Among plants of one kind there is rivalry. The weak fall out and die; the better survive. But all plants of one kind fight alike against plants of all other kinds. That is the law of their strength. A race of plants that had wasted its time waiting for Congress to give it light and air, or for a state bureau with hired agents to organize it by the Golden Rule, or had been persuaded that its interests were in common with those of the consumer, would have disappeared from the earth.

"The farmer is like a plant. He cannot run. He is rooted. He shall live or die on the spot. But there is no plant like a farmer. There are nobles, ruffians, drudges, drones, harlots, speculators, bankers, thieves and scalawags, all these among plants, but no idiots, saying 'How much will you give?' and 'What will you take?' Until you fight as the elm fights, take as the elm takes, think as the elm thinks, you will never be powerful and cannot be wise."

Absalom Weaver - as written in Garet Garrett's Satan's Bushel.

Please vote for the Garet Garrett blog at the Weblog Awards.

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Sunday, December 11, 2005

Quote of the day - Will and Ariel Durant

Civilization is not inherited; it has to be learned and earned by each generation anew; if the transmission should be interrupted for one century, civilization would die, and we should be savages again.

--Will and Ariel Durant

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Saturday, December 10, 2005

More Weblog Award recommendations; Atlas Shrugs and Samantha Burns

In a previous post containing Weblog Award recommendations, I neglected to mention two sites that have blogrolled me and have received nominations for awards.

Atlas Shrugs is nominated in the best new blog category. Samantha Burns is nominated in the Best Canadian Blog category. These are excellent blogs and deserve your vote in their respective categories.

I apologize to these bloggers for not mentioning them before.


Quote of the day Joseph A. Schumpeter

The first thing a man will do for his ideals is lie.

--Joseph A. Schumpeter

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Friday, December 09, 2005

Quote of the day - Garet Garrett

He [the intellectual] was neither creative nor inventive; therefore there was no profit for him in the capitalist scheme, and his revenge was to embrace Old World socialism.

Garet Garrett

[Click here to vote for the Garet Garrett blog in Weblog Awards.]

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Thursday, December 08, 2005

C.S. Lewis, The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, Adam Gopnik

Joe Sobran dissects a recent attack on C.S. Lewis by Adam Gopnik in the New Yorker. [I don't have a link to the New Yorker article, and I am inclined to think that it doesn't merit a link.]

The best quote of Sobran's column:
In just his first four paragraphs, Gopnik writes of Lewis’s “conservative religiosity,” his “bullying brand of religiosity,” and his “narrow-hearted religiosity.” Would someone please send this man a thesaurus?

Sobran also provides a brief preview of what we can expect in the movie adaptation of the Narnia tales:
For my part, I can say only that in his quiet way, C.S. Lewis has, like no other writer I’ve ever read, brought home to me some frightening truths — frightening, yet also consoling. And in his Narnia tales, he found a way to convey them to children too.

My own experience with Lewis' works is limited to The Screwtape Letters. I have been a Lewis fan since reading the first brief chapter of that book. I intend to review it here in the coming months and read more of Lewis' works. I also intend to see and promote the movie.

update - 12-31-05 - I add the comments to the main post because Haloscan tends to delete all comments after a few weeks. I found these comments particularly interesting because of their perspective on Lewis and his books.
I am a longtime fan of Lewis's work. If you have only read "The Screwtape Letters," then you have Much Exciting Fun awaiting you...
This is because "The Screwtape Letters" was Lewis's LEAST favorite of all his books. I recommend reading "The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe" if you want a good children's story with excellent philosopy woven throughout, however if you like science fiction, his "Space Trilogy" is awesome. I happened to read it in college while taking a philosophy course and was astounded at the depth of his thought and how it was not readily apparent to the uneducated (meaning that someone who didn't know philosophy wouldn't be bored by it because it was so expertly integrated into the story). The first book in the "Space Trilogy" is "Out of the Silent Planet."
Also, any of his "Theological" books are also a joy to read.

I appreciate your blog and read it daily.

Keep it up!
Stuart Taylor | 12.09.05 - 11:58 am | #


I strongly exhort you to delight yourself with Lewis's other fiction. In particular, you're likely to enjoy The Great Divorce, Lewis's dream-tour of Hell and Heaven, and Till We Have Faces, a retelling of the myth of Cupid and Psyche that's blinding in its originality and evocative power.

He was quite a writer.
Francis W. Porretto | Homepage | 12.10.05 - 7:28 am | #


Ah, what sad choice for your first C.S.Lewis book! You will find each of his others much more readable. Beware- your notions of God and Christianity will be challenged!
reed | 12.14.05 - 10:29 pm | #


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Quote of the day - Garet Garrett

About 1900 began the flowering of that alien graft upon our tree of sapience called the intellectual. He was the precious product of our free, academic world - a social theorist who knew more than anybody else about everything and all about nothing, except how to subvert the traditions and invert the laws.

Garet Garrett

[Click here to vote for the Garet Garrett blog in Weblog Awards.]

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Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Pearl Harbor - 64 year anniversary

I apologize for not having time to post new thoughts on the Pearl Harbor anniversary. Last year's post was pretty good.

December 10, 1941 - USS Arizona three days after the attack. The St. Louis and Baltimore are in the far background.

Also, check out Michelle Malkin's roundup. She is thorough as usual.


Samuel Alito; All Quiet on the Western Front

There has been little discussion of Judge Alito in recent weeks. We should not be deceived by this period of relative calm. The left is preparing its attack at this very moment. The smear campaigns are being readied and should explode on our television screens next month (if not sooner) when the confirmations hearings begin.

We should be readying ourselves for this battle. The Box of Docs research program is one example that worked with the Roberts confirmation and should work with Alito. There is more here on the contrast between our lack of preparedness during the Bork battle and our preparation for the Roberts battle. Let's push for a repeat of the Roberts battle.

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Quote of the day - Garet Garrett

Why do we suffer the censorious opinions of the world to be as sackcloth on our skin and ashes on our forehead? Why must we accept the expectations of other people as the measure of our obligation to them?

Garet Garrett, p. 85, "People's Pottage"

[Click here to vote for the Garet Garrett blog in Weblog Awards.]

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Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Quote of the day - John Kerry

KERRY: There is no reason, Bob, that young American soldiers need to be going into the homes of Iraqis in the dead of night, terrorizing kids and children, you know, women, breaking sort of the customs of the-of-the historical customs, religious customs. Whether you like it or not...


KERRY: Iraqis should be doing that.

h/t 1918

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Monday, December 05, 2005

Quote of the day - Mark Steyn

Now go back to that bland statistic you hear a lot these days: ‘about 10 per cent of France’s population is Muslim’. Give or take a million here, a million there, that’s broadly correct, as far as it goes. But the population spread isn’t even. And when it comes to those living in France aged 20 and under, about 30 per cent are said to be Muslim and in the major urban centres about 45 per cent. If it came down to street-by-street fighting, as Michel Gurfinkiel, the editor of Valeurs Actuelles, points out, ‘the combatant ratio in any ethnic war may thus be one to one’ — already, right now, in 2005. It is not necessary, incidentally, for Islam to become a statistical majority in order to function as one. At the height of its power in the 8th century, the ‘Islamic world’ stretched from Spain to India, yet its population was only minority Muslim.

Mark Steyn

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Sunday, December 04, 2005

What to do with a dead blog; Politickal Animal and Spoons

LaShawn Barber recently posted some advice on the disposition of your blog in the event that you are no longer around.

LaShawn's advice might have come in handy for "Politickal Animal". His blog was linked on my blogroll until very recently. He had written about giving up blogging in recent months. A couple of weeks ago, I noticed that his links were dead. Shortly thereafter, I noticed that his links now lead to some online gambling website. I am sure the gambling site has nothing to do with "Politickal Animal." I suspect that Animal deleted his blog instead of simply letting it linger unattended. Once the blog was deleted, someone snapped up the address in the hope of diverting Animal's traffic to the new site. {I believe that Animal was a "large mammal" or at least a "marauding marsupial" with a fair amount of traffic.] He probably still appears on a lot of blogrolls [but not for long I am sure]. Animal probably did not anticipate that someone would use his former address for these purposes.

I will soon delete him from my own roll (even though I hate to do that). If you really want to give up on blogging, it is better to let your blog linger than to surrender the address to whatever pitchman or spammer will be first to snap it up. Cold Beverage has been dormant for almost a year, but we can still leave messages for him in the hope that he might see our comments.

Spoons has found a much better way of gracefully exiting his blog.


Quote of the day - F. A. Hayek

We shall not grow wiser before we learn that much that we have done was very foolish.

-- F. A. Hayek

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Saturday, December 03, 2005

MSM lie # 53 - Walt Handelsman accuses Bush of smearing Murtha

The truth:

In response to Murtha's demand for the "immediate withdrawal of American troops" -- as The New York Times put it -- President Bush called Murtha a "fine man, a good man" who served with "honor and distinction," who "is a strong supporter of the United States military." He said he knew Murtha's "decision to call for an immediate withdrawal of our troops ... was done in a careful and thoughtful way."

Vice President Dick Cheney called Murtha "a good man, a Marine, a patriot."

Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said Murtha is "a fine man, I know him personally ... and it's perfectly proper to have a debate over these things, and have a public debate."

National Security Adviser Steve Hadley called in his praise for Murtha from South Korea, saying Murtha was "a veteran, a veteran congressman and a great leader in the Congress."

During the House debate on Murtha's insane proposal to withdraw troops in the middle of the war, Rep. Henry Hyde, R-Ill., said Murtha deserved an "A-plus as a truly great American," and Rep. Curt Weldon, R-Pa., said "none of us should think of questioning his motives or desires for American troops."

On the House floor, both Republicans and Democrats repeatedly gave Murtha rousing standing ovations. There was so much praise for Murtha that one of his Democratic colleagues asked him if he still had to attend Murtha's funeral.

What is this? Special Olympics for the Democrats? Can't Republicans disagree with a Democrat who demands that the U.S. surrender in the middle of a war without erecting monuments to him first? What would happen if a Democrat were to propose restoring Saddam Hussein to power? Is that Medal of Freedom territory?

I don't know what Republicans imagine they're getting out of all this love they keep throwing at Democrats.
h/t Ann Coulter (alternate link) emphasis added

Aside from Ann's commentary, the undeniable fact is that Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Hadley, Hyde and Weldon fell all over themselves praising Murtha.

The lie:

Walt Handelsman's cartoon appeared in Newsday and was syndicated around the nation and online. This cartoon first appeared November 23rd. It appeared in my own local newspaper yesterday. Handelsman's defenders will say that it was just a joke. Can a lie be a joke? What is the punch line? Will the MSM/DNC use "humor" as a shield for any lie, no matter how obvious?

Click here for the complete list of MSM lies of 2005.

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Quote of the day - Oliver Wendell Holmes

If I could think that I had sent a spark to those who come after I should be ready to say Goodbye.

--Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes

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Friday, December 02, 2005

Quote of the day - Nicholas Flood Davis can never be happy and dress yourself solely in the glass of other men's approval.

Nicholas Flood Davis

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Thursday, December 01, 2005

Quote of the day - Edmund Burke

There is no safety for honest men but by believing all possible evil of evil men.

--Edmund Burke

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