Photo credit: MARELBU
The deeply moving 14th Annual Ariel Avrech Lecture was the anchor for an inspiring weekend that cemented old friendships and introduced me to new friends.
Some of you may remember that, about a week ago, I wrote a post saying that I’d be flying down to L.A. to attend the 14th Annual Ariel Avrech Lecture, which Robert Avrech, of Seraphic Secret, and his wife, Karen, sponsor annually in honor of their dear son Ariel, who died in 2003. That weekend (which I extended into Monday) has now finished and I am home again. It was a very wonderful weekend in so many ways.
To begin with, I got a chance to know my in-laws so much better than before and with greater knowledge comes greater appreciation for what great people they are. I know I’ve boasted for years that I have the best in-laws, but in the past I’ve always seen them in a pack, at mass get-togethers. This time, I stayed with my sister-in-law, her husband, and their son. They could not have been more gracious.
I felt genuinely cared for while I was in my in-laws’ house. As a mother, that’s a rare and wonderful feeling. After all, the normal state of the world is that the mother and homemaker cares for others — which is as it should be. That doesn’t mean, though, that I don’t appreciate a break in the routine.
The fact is that my in-laws are ferociously intelligent, informed people, and conversation with them is as stimulating as it gets. It wasn’t just politics. Both of them are luminaries in their respective fields, and that too made any conversation interesting.
I love their dogs too.
Having that kind of visit with relatives by marriage could have been enough for a wonderful weekend, but there was more.
On Sunday, as I mentioned at the top of this post, I attended the 14th Annual Ariel Avrech Memorial Lecture, at which Daniel Greenfield spoke. Before I get to his talk — which was, as one would expect, brilliant — I want to talk a bit about the entire event. [Read more…]
My friends Bob Owens and Caped Crusader both passed away this past week. I am bereft.
Through my blogging, I’ve met so many people whom I consider very real friends, even if our paths haven’t crossed in the physical world. Two of those people were Second Amendment blogger Bob Owens and the Bookworm Room’s own Caped Crusader. Both of them passed away in the past few days.
Bob Owens became an internet friend a decade or more ago, when I was fortunate enough to find myself on an email list of well-known conservative bloggers. At the time, Bob was blogging at Confederate Yankee. His posts covered a variety of subjects, but it was clear that the issue most dear to him was the Second Amendment. It was no surprise when he ended up at a new website, Bearing Arms, one of the more important Second Amendment outlets in new media.
In his posts, Bob was knowledgeable, incisive, and (as is always true for my favorite writers), pleasantly sardonic. In his emails, he was all those things, in addition to being funny, kind, and supportive.
Yesterday, Bob apparently took his life. I say “apparently” because his body was found on the street, with a gun nearby, dead from a gunshot wound. At the same time that he died, a post appeared on his Facebook account apologizing for being weak. Suicide seems to be the most likely cause of death, although it’s entirely possible (although not probable) that he was killed and that the killer uploaded the Facebook post.
Bob, only 46 when he died, left behind a wife and two young children. I cannot begin to imagine the pain they’re in. There is a GoFundMe page to which you can contribute if you wish.
[UPDATE: My friend Mike McDaniel knew Bob much better than I and has written a beautiful remembrance. Also, events since I wrote this post indicate that Bob’s death was almost certainly suicide. Churchill famously called depression a “black dog” and once wrote “I don’t like standing near the edge of a platform when an express train is passing through. I like to stand right back and if possible get a pillar between me and the train. I don’t like to stand by the side of a ship and look down into the water. A second’s action would end everything. A few drops of desperation.”
Rest in Peace, Bob Owens. I will miss you.
The other person who recently passed away was Caped Crusader, whose wonderful emails to me provided the content for so many of my “illustrated edition” posts. Without violating his family’s privacy, I can tell you a few things about him, culled from his own delightful comments to this blog.
Caped Crusader was in his 80s when he passed away. He had vivid memories of an America in the 1940s and onwards that still had what we conservatives believe are truly American values: strong patriotism, a fighting spirit, a focus on self-reliance, and a moral core. Caped Crusader’s observations were funny, poignant, and invariably made intelligent points directed to the subject of whichever post caught his attention. In his private emails to me, I was the beneficiary of great wisdom and kindness.
The last year of Caped Crusader’s life was bedeviled by a lingering, debilitating illness. He corresponded with me up until a few months before his death. Despite his decline, he never lost his mental edge or his great courage. I know from communications with his beloved wife that this spirit, as well as his deep and abiding faith, were with him to the end.
[UPDATE: Caped Crusader’s wife has given me permission to reveal his identity. Here is the obituary for Bruce Wayne Herndon, Jr., one that shows what a wonderful life he led and explains why he was a man who focused and engaged until the end.]
Rest in Peace, Caped Crusader. I will miss you.
Photo Credit: Rest in Peace, My Love, by Anja Pietsch. Creative Commons license.
One of my blog friends passed away yesterday after a long illness. She was a devout woman and a very good human being. I have absolutely no doubt that, if there’s a Heaven, she’s there, being greeted by those who passed before her, and waiting patiently until it’s time for her loved ones to join her.
While her suffering is over, I think the ones she left behind could use a little spiritual support. They’ve traveled a long, hard road. So a prayer, please, for both my friend and for her family and friends.
I can’t help it. When someone this big links to one of my posts, I have to boast:
I won’t lie — with those recommendations, it’s been a good day at my blog.
Three weeks ago, I told you that my blog friend, Caped Crusader, who kept this blog supplied for a very long time with wonderful posters, has been seriously ill. Despite several medical setbacks, he continues to hang in there and is determined to recover. My blog is most certainly not a controlled study about the power of prayer or healing thoughts, but I nevertheless believe that the collected power of our prayers for him, whether they take the form of actual prayers, wishes for his health, or just good thoughts tucked away in the corners of our minds, can make a difference. So please, in whatever way works best for you, keep Caped Crusader in your thoughts.
And while I’m mentioning it, another of my blog friends is also fighting a very serious health battle. She keeps confounding expectations, but I’ve heard that she’s not feeling at all well now, and I know that she too would appreciate and benefit from whatever good wishes, prayers, or thoughts you can send her way. I realize that I’m giving you very little information about her in order to preserve her privacy, but if the cosmos can help heal people, perhaps they can also figure out where the good energy needs to go.
For a long, long time, when I put up a wonderful series of posters and cartoons, I’ve given a hat tip to a friend who goes by the name of Caped Crusader. I hadn’t heard from him in a while and it reached the point at which I thought, “I need to see what’s going on.”
It turns out that Caped Crusader has been pretty darn ill. He’s recovering now, thank goodness, but it’s never too late to agitate the universe with a little bit of whatever moves you, whether that’s thoughts, prayers, crystal healing, or anything else. I know that he’ll appreciate good wishes in whatever form they come.
Longtime readers may remember ExPreacherman, a fellow blogger. The person behind that blog was a man named John Whiteside “Jack” Weaver. Although we lost touch a few years ago, he and I used to correspond frequently. We came from different places — He, a deeply devout Christian, and I, a vaguely agnostic Jew — but we met in a middle place of loving our country and both respecting and liking each other. I learned today that Jack died at 85 following heart surgery. To the end, his strong faith supported him and in his family.
Jack and his loved ones are in my thoughts. Rest in Peace, my friend.
As you see, below, the Bookworm Room welcomes a new contributor, the Canardvark. He used to blog regularly under his own name at a prestigious site, but the demands of his real-world life made that unsustainable. After a few years of lying fallow, he asked if he could occasionally contribute to the Bookworm Room. I jumped at the offer.
I’m not giving too much away about his super-secret identity when I tell you that the Canardvark is clever (hence the funny, punny name), thoughtful, well-informed, and knowledgeable about national security issues, among other things. I’m absolutely thrilled that he will be writing here occasionally. Indeed, I’ve urged him to ditch the occasional part and write regularly, but I’ll take anything I can get.
I’ve long been a big fan of Chris Muir’s “Day By Day” cartoon. It’s intelligent, witty, and sophisticated. You can imagine, then, how thrilled I am to have inspired his latest cartoon, this one about Ted Cruz:
(If you missed the reference to my blog, check the very bottom of the cartoon panel.)
Honestly, this is so cool.
The post to which Chris refers is this one, which I believe in more now than on the day I wrote it:
Most people, whether Democrat or Republican, agree that Ted Cruz’s planned filibuster in the Senate is doomed. It will do nothing to stop Obamacare’s inexorable path towards implementation. (To understand precisely what the filibuster is about, Ace has a good, short explanation.)
Because Ted Cruz is nobody’s fool, I’m guessing that he too knows that it won’t stop Obamacare from getting fully implemented within the next few months. Why, then, is Cruz engaged in this quixotic effort? I think I have the answer, but you’ll have to bear with me, because it involves taking a little trip back, back in time . . . to the Battle of Thermopylae.
Even now, 2,500 years later, the Spartans’ brave stand at Thermopylae still has the power to inspire us. Victory wasn’t the point. The point was to fight and to educate Greeks about their merciless enemy and its overwhelming drive for power. Leonidas and his men may have died there, but their ghosts led the Greeks to eventual victory.
Which gets me back to Ted Cruz and his buddies in the Senate. They’re not stupid. They know that this filibuster will be futile. But they know two other things as well: Filibusters grab headlines, which gives them a golden opportunity to lift the cone of silence that the mainstream media places between Republicans and voters.
Under the current media regime, Republican arguments and statements get to the voters only if small fry Republicans get arrested, or say something “provocative” about gay marriage or abortion. Other than that, most voters would be hard pressed to know what conservatives politicians and thinkers are saying.
Imagine someone as intelligent and articulate as Ted Cruz – a man who has a knack for clearly stating complex principles – speaking directly to the voters about Obamacare, without the media acting as his “interpretor.” And remember, if he does filibuster, he’ll be speaking to voters who, for the most part, are already beginning to realize that, with Obamacare, they’ve been sold a bill of goods.
Absent a miracle, Cruz will lose on the filibuster. The Republican establishment will start bleating out “I told you so” on every “news” show they can find. And Obamacare will go forward.
But here’s what Cruz also knows: Obamacare will be a disaster. We know that for certain. Indeed, the best evidence you need is Congress’s frantic effort to ward off Obamacare in its own marbled halls. If that’s not enough, look at the diminution in choice, the price increases for the middle class, the lost jobs, the lost insurance coverage, and the downward adjustments in working hours. We, the people, are going to be badly hurt by Obamacare.
Americans aren’t going to learn about the nasty stuff hiding in Obamacare until they experience it first hand. What was an abstract political fight in Washington, D.C. will become a genuine problem in their day-to-day lives. And that’s when Ted Cruz will pop back up again and say (nicely, of course), “Remember me? I tried to warn you and I tried to help. Trust me to have the courage and the wisdom to fix this. But this time, you have to stand with me to win the battle.”
The filibuster is Cruz’s Thermopylae. He knows that, whether he wins or loses, in the long term he will be the victor. When it all falls apart, Ted Cruz will be seen and remembered for coming down on the side of sanity and freedom.
I’ve been up and working since 6 a.m., and now it’s 5, and I’m still trying to finish the must-do tasks before I get to the I-want-to-do tasks. Since I’m stalled, though, I wanted to remind you about two of my favorite blog friends, both of whom are also real world friends. Here are the links so that you can peruse good stuff, from good, smart people:
And of course, you should always consider visiting every member of the Watcher’s Council: