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Thursday, November 29, 2007

A Charlie Brown Christmas

There are some lessons in life that cannot be taught too often. And we are fortunate that there are and were people like Charles M. Schulz who understood this concept and gave us A Charlie Brown Christmas in 1965.

I don’t care who you are, how old you are or how busy your life is… or if you happen to be an aspiring cable news kid from Memphis that burns the candle at both ends trying to make it in the big city: Sit down and watch that great television classic this year as I did the other night with my daughter.

It was my daughter’s first time to see it and perhaps my 20th. Yet it was even more magical and full of meaning for me this year as it was the first time I watched it with my parents lo those many years ago.

I have fond memories of having a “Charlie Brown” Christmas tree many times as a child and I suspect we may be putting one in our daughter’s room this year.

And so to get you in the spirit, let me leave you with my favorite scene when Charlie Brown has brought this poor little tree to the ridicule of his nemesis Lucy. A frustrated Charlie Brown cries out:

“Isn't there anyone out there who can tell me what Christmas is all about? “

And Linus responds:

Sure, Charlie Brown, I can tell you. Lights, please.

"And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the fields, keeping watch over their flocks by night. And lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the lord shone round about them, and they were afraid. And the angel said unto them, Fear not, for behold, I bring unto you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you this day is born in the City of Bethlehem, a Savior, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; you shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel, a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God, and saying, 'Glory to God in the highest, and on Earth peace, good will toward men'". That's what Christmas is all about, Charlie brown.

You’re a good man, Charlie Brown!

Friday, November 16, 2007

The Legacy of the Surge?

At Thursday’s Pentagon Blogger’s Roundtable, I heard some profoundly optimistic and potentially remarkable news coming from the deputy commander of the Multinational Division North (MND-North), Army Brigadier General James Boozer, Sr.

Gen. Boozer’s A/O begins in the Diyala province on the northern outskirts of Baghdad and runs all the way to the northern border of Iraq. Undeniably, there have been numerous accounts of success stories of driving Al Qaeda out and actually keeping them out thanks to the local populations.

But I haven’t heard anything resembling this statement come from the mouths of generals since the surge began – or really in the last few years for that matter.

“This is a turning point… I think in the next 12-15 months, we’re going to make history… we’re going to allow the nation of Iraq to build itself.”

That was his answer to my challenging him on being too “optimistic” in his statements that we were at some “turning point” to the political reconciliation end goal of the surge.

Gen. Boozer also shared with me a story from this past weekend – a meeting he attended in Diyala, a former AQI stronghold.

“The meeting brought together all interested parties – Iraqi security forces, Iraqi Army leaders, Iraqi Police, representatives from the Central Govt, the National Security Director, Sunni Sheiks and Shia Sheiks… all discussing reconciliation.”

If Boozer is correct and this security situation holds that is allowing the necessary breathing room for the political strengthening… we could be seeing the very first indications of the legacy of the surge: One Unified Iraq.

Though I am realist – and know the incredible fragility of this situation. Look no further to the incredible damage the bombing of a mosque in Samarra had on the situation two years ago.

However, it is a remarkable thing to hear a general suggesting that we may actually see “success” where others like retired General Ricardo Sanchez sees “a nightmare with no end in sight.”

And one last thing… Gen. Boozer will promote his own son in Iraq on December 1st to the rank of Sergeant. Here were his words of advice that he offered upon finding out that his own son would soon share the battlefield with him:

“Stay true to yourself and know the work you will do is probably the most important work you’ll ever do… and write your mother every day.”

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Bush Bashing Bridge Babes

If you haven’t already seen this photo – it is the winning women of the U.S. Bridge Team displaying their disapproval of their President at the World Bridge Championship in Shanghai.

The sign reads: WE DID NOT VOTE FOR BUSH.

I’m not sure what to make of this spontaneous protest moment but it has apparently caused an uproar in the Bridge World – as many professional players in the federation were offended and now want an apology – or even some action taken against these women.

Their team captain called it a “moment of levity” and said the intention was in response to “a lot of Anti-Bush feeling” by players from other countries upset about torture claims and the war in Iraq.

My favorite part of this story from the NY Times today is that the French wasted no time offering their solidarity – to the Bush Bashing Bridge Babes.

“You were doing only what women of the world have always tried to do when opposing the folly of men who have lost their perspective of reality,” the French team wrote in an email. (Look out, Sarkozy!)

Now I am of the school of thought that whenever we fine Americans travel abroad, we have a responsibility to put our best face forward. This sort of idiocy is not that face. But we are also a nation of free speech, so I guess if they really felt that strongly about it – so be it.

And if I were Hillary Clinton… I’d be brushing up on my Bridge.

Friday, November 9, 2007

The Real "Rudy" in the Race

He’s currently the driving force behind the movement – perhaps even the ONLY force at the moment, but a Congressional one none-the-less – to IMPEACH DICK CHENEY

He recently admitted to SEEING A UFO on Shirley MacLaine’s balcony back in the 80’s…

And if elected President, he wants to establish the DEPT OF PEACE to end all wars…

But for anyone who’s ever seen the movie “Rudy,” you just can't count Dennis Kucinich OUT after seeing his latest campaign material.

It is a collector’s card, much like a baseball card, with this photo on the front. On the back, it reads:

“At 4’9, 97lbs, Dennis Kucinich, #26, was a third-string varsity quarterback for the 1960 St. John Cantius Jayhawks. He spent a lot of time eating turf.”

Followed by this commentary:

Courage is not simply a single act. It is a lifetime of practice, Of learning early on to fight the odds, to win unwinnable battles, to reach goals some might think impossible. Be strong today, and soon victory will be yours.

Then this tagline at the bottom:

Kucinich for President. Strength through Peace.

Give 'em Hell, #26!!

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

When Cows Fly... or Attempt to Do So!

My friend and producer extraordinaire Holly Cerelli sent me this true story off the wires...

She thinks someone was trying to recreate the John Cleese Castle Scene from Monty Python and the Holy Grail.

I think it was a defiant cow refusing to accept it couldn't fly.

What do you think?

Cow Falls Off Cliff, Crashes Onto Van on Highway
Tuesday, November 06, 2007
MANSON, Wash. — Charles and Linda Everson were driving back to their hotel when their minivan was struck by a falling object — a 600-pound cow.

The Eversons were unhurt but the cow, which had fallen off a cliff, had to be euthanized.

The year-old cow fell about 200 feet from the cliff and landed on the hood of the couple's minivan, causing heavy damage.

A Chelan County fire chief, Arnold Baker, said the couple missed being killed by a matter of inches in the accident Sunday on a highway near Manson. The Eversons, visiting the area from their home in Westland, Mich., to celebrate their first wedding anniversary, were checked at Lake Chelan Community Hospital as a precaution.
Everson, 49, said he didn't see the cow falling and didn't know what happened until afterward. He said he kept repeating: "I don't believe this. I don't believe this."