Frank Bruni: The Real Threat to Hillary Clinton

Bruni is not one of my favorites. But he sure gets it on this particular issue. Good for him. Let’s hope the Repubs wake up. See what you think.

In the eyes of many disapproving conservatives, “[Kasich’s] the one Republican in the field that not only embraced Obamacare, but took it out in his dad’s station wagon and made out with it,” as the Republican strategist Rick Wilson told Caitlin Huey-Burns of Real Clear Politics.

There’s no reason to think he’ll do well in early primary contests in Iowa, South Carolina and Nevada. That puts do-or-die pressure on New Hampshire.

He’s known to have attention problems and a mean streak. His congressional career links him to the disastrous mid-1990s effort to shut down the government. And after Congress, he worked as an investment banker with Lehman Brothers, the Wall Street firm. That’s a résumé line out of sync with the electorate’s mood.

But he has made the best of it, portraying it as an inside look at a vital part of the economy, a fruitful research mission. He’s dexterous that way. And Democrats, trust me, have noticed, enough to hope that Republican primary voters don’t wake up to the same realization.

Read it all.

Richard Cohen: Why ISIS Trumps Freedom

A brilliant and spot-on analysis worthy of your serious reflection. Human history is littered with failed attempts to provide for our own meaning, purpose, and happiness. Look around. How’s that working out? See what you think.

Western societies have been going ever further in freeing their citizens’ choices — in releasing them from ties of tradition or religion, in allowing people to marry whom they want and divorce as often as they want, have sex with whom they want, die when they want and generally do what they want. There are few, if any, moral boundaries left.

In this context, radical Islam offers salvation, or at least purpose, in the form of a life whose moral parameters are strictly set, whose daily habits are prescribed, whose satisfaction of everyday needs is assured and whose rejection of freedom is unequivocal. By taking away freedom, the Islamic State lifts a psychological weight on its young followers adrift on the margins of European society.

Read and reflect on it all.

Some Thoughts on Saturday

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I don’t usually post stuff like this because I am a pretty private person. But this is just too good not to share. On Saturday at Bridget’s and Brian’s wedding reception, it came time for me to dance with my daughter. Despite all the things that can sometimes separate us, she picked the song, In My Life, by the Beatles, one of my all-time personal favorites.

In doing so, she honored the connection we had when she was a little girl and loved listening to the Beatles with me. She honored the times we played together and read stories together and watched Disney videos together. She honored the family from which she came. She honored my love of history and the importance I attach to keeping important family traditions alive. She honored all the times she enjoyed with her grandparents Maney. And in doing all those things (among others), she told me loudly and clearly that she loves me and that I still matter to her. That’s pretty important to a dad who has just given his daughter away in marriage (a good and wonderful thing). I am really proud of my daughter and happy for her as she begins her new life together with her husband. For those reasons and much more, I am still basking in that dance with her. God is good. Thanks be to God.

And on a Personal Note

On this date in 2010 at First United Methodist Church in Van Wert, OH we debuted the anthem commissioned in my mother’s memory, Longing to Draw Near by Craig Courtney. My grandparents Maney were married on this date in 1917, my dad participated in D-Day on this date in 1944, I graduated from high school on this date in 1971, and my daughter Bridget graduated from high school on this date in 2008. June 6 has been a big day for the Maney family!

Times Bulletin: (Van Wert) Peony Festival Steps Into 40th Year

Nice. My dad chaired this at one time and believe me, it was a BIG deal for a little town. Floats would come from the Indy 500 to be part of the parade and of course my grandpa Shaffer, who was county truant officer at the time, kept an eye on all the kiddies (you know who you are). Heh. I even have old home movies of a couple of the parades. It was pretty impressive.

116048VAN WERT — The Peony Festival will celebrate its 40th year this weekend, June 5-7, with the theme “Blooming Colors for 40 Years.”

Van Wert was known as the peony capital of the world in the early 1900s with many local gardeners growing fields of the flower. The first Sunday in June beginning in 1902 was designated as Peony Sunday.

The community held the first Peony Festival in 1932 and continued until 1960 with some missed years during World War II and the 1950s. In 1992, the Peony Festival returned and has been celebrated each year since its resurrection.

In the early years, the festival highlight was not one, but two parades, which brought in crowds of nearly 100,000 people.

Now the festival spans three days, runs in conjunction with ArtRageous on Friday and Saturday, and offers various events that draw crowds all weekend.

Read it all.

Traditional Memorial Day

iuToday is the traditional day for Memorial Day, originally called “Decoration Day.” Up until the 1971 it was always celebrated today. But afterward it has become a movable federal holiday. You can read about its history here, and I hope you will take the time to do so. On a personal note, my grandparents Shaffer were married on this day in 1917. Cool.

Take a moment today to remember again those who have given their lives so that we might enjoy the freedom we have. Take time to remember the current members of our armed forces as well and give thanks that God continues to raise up brave men and women to serve our country in a very dangerous world.

Thank you veterans, past and present, for your service to our country. May God bless you and yours.

Participate in the LOC’s Veteran’s History Project

This is a great way to honor the veterans in your family, living or dead, and preserve their memory in our national record. Both my mom and dad are part of this project and it was a wonderful way to connect with them. Check it out and get to work.

From the Veterans’ Project page at the Library of Congress:

The Veterans History Project of the American Folklife Center collects, preserves, and makes accessible the personal accounts of American war veterans so that future generations may hear directly from veterans and better understand the realities of war.

Stories can be told through personal narrative, correspondence, and visual materials
The Project collects first-hand accounts of
U.S. Veterans from the following wars:

  • World War I (1914-1920)
  • World War II (1939-1946)
  • Korean War (1950-1955)
  • Vietnam War (1961-1975)
  • Persian Gulf War (1990-1995)
  • Afghanistan and Iraq conflicts (2001-present)

In addition, those U.S. citizen civilians who were actively involved in supporting war efforts (such as war industry workers, USO workers, flight instructors, medical volunteers, etc.) are also invited to share their valuable stories.