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November 11, 2008

Laura Ingalls Wilder on Courage, Self-Reliance and Integrity

I've always been a fan of the Little House series by Laura Ingalls Wilder - so much so that I even have books with other writings by both Laura and her daughter, Rose Wilder Lane. During her lifetime, Rose was an internationally-known journalist and writer, and it was due to her influence and support that her mother wrote her landmark children's series.

One of these books, titled A Little House Sampler (University of Nebraska Press, 1988, edited by William T. Anderson) features short stories, poems, and speeches by both women, and it's a speech titled "My Work" by Laura - first delivered to the Mountain Grove Sorosis Club in the early 1930s - that I would like to share with you. The speech focused on her new career, embarked upon in her 60s, as a children's writer.

No, I won't share the entire speech here; that would violate copyright law...but this one particular passage that, in the wake of the election of a man whose past statements and actions show him to be a socialist, is particularly poignant as it speaks to how America used to face crisis and hard times (page 180):

"There is still one thing more the writing of these books has shown me.

Running through all of the stories, like a golden thread, is the same thought of the values of life. They were courage, self reliance, independence, integrity and helpfulness. Cheerfulness and humor were handmaids to courage.

In the depression following the Civil War my parents, as so many others, lost all their savings in a bank failure. They farmed the rough land on the edge of the Big Woods in Wisconsin. They struggled with the climate and fear of Indians in the Indian Territory. For two years in succession they lost their crops to the grasshoppers on the Banks of Plum Creek. They suffered cold and heat, hard work and privation as did others of their time. When possible they turned bad into good. If not possible, they endured it. Neither they nor their neighbors begged for help. No other person, nor the government, owed them a living. They owed that to themselves and in some way they paid the debt. And they found their own way.

Their old fashioned character values are worth as much today as they ever were to help us over the rough places. We need today courage, self reliance and integrity.

When we remember that our hardest times would have been easy times for our forefathers it should help us to be of good courage, as they were, even if things are not all as we would like them to be."

Wise words. Where are the Laura Ingalls Wilders of today? Have they all succumbed to the "gimme" culture being pushed by big government advocates?


Where have all the traditional values of self-reliance and integrity gone?

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Posted by Pam Meister at 01:42 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack (0) | History

January 17, 2008

Happy Anniversary! The Lewinsky Scandal Celebrates 10 Years of Infamy

I put this under my History category because it's one for the books.

Ten years ago today, the Clinton/Lewinsky scandal erupted with a little nugget posted on the Drudge Report. Against Hillary Clinton has a recap:

On the evening of Saturday January 17, 1998, the internet gossip merchant Matt Drudge posted a story that opened the most sensational scandal season in the history of the American presidency. He reported that Newsweek magazine had killed a story about President Clinton’s sexual relationship with a former intern. The next day he had her name: Monica Lewinsky.

The mainstream media were slow to catch up, but by the following Tuesday they were reporting that Clinton was being investigated for encouraging others to lie to cover up the affair.

For the next year the story dominated the headlines as Clinton was investigated, impeached and eventually found not guilty of high crimes and misdemeanours in a Senate trial.

Ten years on we know what happened to Bill Clinton. He is campaigning tirelessly for his wife as she seeks to win the second Clinton presidency. It is a curious twist of fate, and an indication of how deep were the repercussions of the scandal, that her campaign might not be happening if it weren’t for Monica Lewinsky.

For it was in the wake of the scandal, in which Hillary was seen as the wronged wife, that she decided to run for the Senate from New York. Her shamed husband, anxious to try to make things up to her, eagerly threw his weight behind the move. A wave of sympathy helped to sweep her to victory. As soon as she was elected, talk began about her running for president.

There's much more; be sure to check it out. You may want to shower afterward.

People talk about how President Bush has disgraced the Oval Office and makes America look bad with his policies. Yet Bill Clinton seduces a young intern (and we knew of his many instances of sexual misconduct before this), conducts his affair in the White House, lies about it before a grand jury, gets caught in the lie and has to 'fess up, is impeached (but not removed from office) and disbarred as a lawyer, makes Lewinsky a national laughingstock, but is considered the guy who kept America's international moral authority intact? What am I missing here?

Anyway, happy anniversary, Bill...thanks for nothing.

h/t: Commenters at Hot Air

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Posted by Pam Meister at 11:32 AM | Comments (35) | TrackBack (0) | History

December 07, 2007

Today is Pearl Harbor Day

It was 66 years ago today, on a peaceful Sunday morning, that a surprise Japanese airstrike decimated the American naval fleet at Pearl Harbor, killing over 2,400 Americans. It was this act that brought America into the raging battles of World War II. You can read more about that fateful day here.

Franklin D. Roosevelt, limousine liberal though he was, was a true American patriot and a strong leader when we needed it most. Here is the full text one of his most famous speeches, given the day after the attack, asking Congress to declare war on Japan:

Mr. Vice President, Mr. Speaker, members of the Senate and of the House of Representatives: yesterday, December 7th, 1941 - a date which will live in infamy - the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan.
The United States was at peace with that nation, and, at the solicitation of Japan, was still in conversation with its Government and its Emperor looking toward the maintenance of peace in the Pacific. Indeed, one hour after Japanese air squadrons had commenced bombing in the American island of Oahu, the Japanese Ambassador to the United States and his colleague delivered to our Secretary of State a formal reply to a recent American message. And while this reply stated that it seemed useless to continue the existing diplomatic negotiations, it contained no threat or hint of war or of armed attack.

It will be recorded that the distance of Hawaii from Japan makes it obvious that the attack was deliberately planned many days or even weeks ago. During the intervening time the Japanese Government has deliberately sought to deceive the United States by false statements and expressions of hope for continued peace.

The attack yesterday on the Hawaiian Islands has caused severe damage to American naval and military forces. I regret to tell you that very many American lives have been lost. In addition American ships have been reported torpedoed on the high seas between San Francisco and Honolulu.

Yesterday the Japanese Government also launched an attack against Malaya.

Last night Japanese forces attacked Hong Kong.

Last night Japanese forces attacked Guam.

Last night Japanese forces attacked the Philippine Islands.

Last night the Japanese attacked Wake Island.

And this morning the Japanese attacked Midway Island.

Japan has, therefore, undertaken a surprise offensive extending throughout the Pacific area. The facts of yesterday and today speak for themselves. The people of the United States have already formed their opinions and well understand the implications to the very life and safety of our nation.

As Commander-in-Chief of the Army and Navy, I have directed that all measures be taken for our defense.

But always will our whole nation remember the character of the onslaught against us. No matter how long it may take us to overcome this premeditated invasion, the American people in their righteous might will win through to absolute victory.

I believe that I interpret the will of the Congress and of the people when I assert that we will not only defend ourselves to the uttermost but will make it very certain that this form of treachery shall never again endanger us.

Hostilities exist. There is no blinking at the fact that our people, our territory and our interests are in grave danger.

With confidence in our armed forces - with the unbounding determination of our people - we will gain the inevitable triumph - so help us God.

I ask that the Congress declare that since the unprovoked and dastardly attack by Japan on Sunday, December 7th, 1941, a state of war has existed between the United States and the Japanese Empire.


The Greatest Generation indeed. This generation could learn a thing or two from them: resourcefulness, pride and love of country, bravery and self-sacrifice.

Never forget.

Others marking the day: Charles, Wyatt, ThirdWaveDave, Andrea, Reverse Vampyr, Gayle, Jenn...


The USS Arizona during the Pearl Harbor attack


The USS Arizona Memorial today

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Posted by Pam Meister at 09:00 AM | Comments (8) | TrackBack (0) | History

February 12, 2007

Today is Abraham Lincoln's Birthday

Yes, before there was the generic President's Day holiday, we used to honor two of our greatest presidents separately in February: Abraham Lincoln and George Washington. Now, we get only one day off in which to head to the mall for those terrific specials on mattresses, La-Z-Boys and lingerie. (You'll all have to go without me, though, as my company does not give that day off.)

For those of you interested in actual history, With Malice Toward None has a great tribute post with some of Lincoln's wise words up today.

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Posted by Pam Meister at 10:08 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0) | History

January 30, 2007

On Our Violent History

James Lewis has written a must-read essay for The American Thinker today on why sugarcoating man's violent past is a mistake.

Acknowledging human violence is not the same as excusing it. Just the opposite --- precisely because we have the capacity to destroy, we must be taught to act morally. That is the basic view of Western Civilization going back to the Code of Hammurabi. Civilized armed forces like the United States insist on high levels of restraint in their warfighters, even in the face of direct personal danger. But the civilized world is constantly faced with aggressive enemies willing to kill and die for some bizarre cause, from the heavenly glory of the Emperor to some Mullah's weird obsession with hanging sixteen year old girls who fall in love. Not to mention yet another Marxist scam to create a perfectly egalitarian paradise on earth, as is underway in Venezuela today.

Be sure to read the whole thing.

Peace activists either don't realize or conveniently forget that there is always someone lurking in the shadows, waiting for an opportune time to use violence as a means to attain power. (Genghis Khan, Hitler, Lenin, Stalin, and Pol Pot all come to mind.) The history of man is a bloody one, and it's essential that we not only come to terms with the fact, but realize that the use of force to prevent such people from gaining too much power is a necessary downside of civilization.

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Posted by Pam Meister at 09:37 AM | Comments (85) | TrackBack (0) | History

December 07, 2006

Remember Pearl Harbor Day

It was 65 years ago today, early on a Sunday morning, that Japanese aircraft bombed the US fleet in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. The attack, which lasted an hour, killed 2,388 people. It was this unprovoked attack that triggered the United States' entrance into World War II. (Unprovoked attack...why does that phrase sound so modern?)

There are plenty of stories on the web today. Click here, here, and here for a few of them.

We had the Greatest Generation both fighting in that deadly war and supporting the troops at home. Today, we have the Lamest Generation trying desperately to duck its collective head into the sand as they take potshots at our military. As we remember the sacrifices made by our WWII veterans, let's also take a moment to remember what they fought for, and think about our own commitment to the different, but no less deadly, dangers we face today.

UPDATE: Victor Hansen has written a must-read article about Pearl Harbor and how it relates to today's GWOT. This passage jumped out at me:

But there are significant differences between the “global war on terror” and World War II that do explain why victory is taking so much longer this time.

The most obvious is that, against Japan and Germany, we faced easily identifiable nation states with conventional militaries. Today’s terrorists blend in with civilians, and it’s hard to tie them to their patron governments or enablers in Iran, Saudi Arabia, Syria and Pakistan, who all deny any culpability. We also tread carefully in an age of ubiquitous frightening weapons, when any war at any time might without much warning bring in a nuclear, non-democratic belligerent.

Powerline and
The Radio Patriots have more.

Remembering Pearl Harbor.

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Posted by Pam Meister at 09:04 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0) | History

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