July 2008


31 Jul 2008 09:08 pm

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When Ronald Reagan initially walked the halls of the White House he had not yet ascended to the Mount Olympus of conservative love. I remember. I voted for him in 1980.

I know I was very excited and proud when I watched President Reagan deliver his first inaugural address in January, 1981. Then came the news that as the President was speaking the Iranian Hostages were being released. It seemed almost like a dream come true after the four dark years of Jimmy Carter. My family had spent three of the four years of Carter’s term stationed in Augsburg, Germany.

The seventies weren’t a time of great morale for the United States military. Military budgets had been slashed and the post Vietnam Officers Corps had suffered from the loss of the war in Vietnam and the fall of Saigon. There was still an anti-military atmosphere emanating from the Congress, anti-war protesters and the media. John F. Kerry appeared before a Senate committee in 1971 claiming that 200,000 Vietnamese per year were being “murdered by the United States of America.”

In Germany there were terrorist attacks by the left-wing militant group the Baader-Meinhof gang. It was a relief to return home to the states.

I do remember the conditions in the country during the 1980 Presidential election. Jimmy Carter’s policies had brought the nation into a state of malaise and the Iran Hostage Crisis had intensified American’s distrust and disapointment with Carter’s hapless handling of it. Carter had given away the Panama Canal, lusted in his heart, got attacked by a rabbit, cut the budget of the U.S. military and then, there was the Mariel Boatlift.

25,000 of the Cubans ended up being housed at Fort Chaffee, Arkansas, an army post near our city. Apparently Castro had opened up his prisons and mental health facilities and sent his worst kind of criminals to our shores. It wasn’t long before the Cubans were rioting and burning buildings at Chaffee. My brothers (who were and are still National Guardsmen) were called up to help stop the rioting. I happened to be home from Germany at the time and remember sitting up all night with my sister-in-law, worried about my brothers. They didn’t have any ammunition in their weapons because of the Carter administrations’ curb on defense spending. My brothers had to purchase their own ammunition.

Thanks to the troops and the tough people of Barling, Arkansas the riot was put down but not before many Cubans escaped and terrorized the surrounding cities and towns. That situation, by the way, was a contributing factor in Bill Clinton’s first defeat for reelection to the governorship of Arkansas. The Carter administration’s image of poor executive leadership was underscored by its ineptitude in resolving its foreign and domestic crises.

So on the day that President Reagan took the oath of office and the hostages were released, American spirits were lifted like never before. It took several months for the grumbling to begin. There was the Democrat congress with which to deal and compromises made with Tip O’Neill
that Reagan would later regret. Then there was the 1982 recession and a 10% unemployment rate.

In the fullness of time we know that once Reaganomics took hold, our nation recovered from the recession and it did become “Morning in America.”

President Ronald Reagan was a unique and gifted leader who managed to get his administrations’ policies in place by going over the heads of the media and the Democrats.

But there is more to the Reagan Era than the successful implementation of conservative policies. President Reagan made us proud to be Americans again. He lifted the morale of our nation with his optimistic, sunny outlook. He demonstrated grace and humor when he was shot by John Hinckley and when he had to have colon surgery.

Reagan stood up to tyrants and dictators, defying his own aides when he demanded that Gorbachev “tear down that wall.”

He became the nations’ consoler-in-chief when he comforted the families of the Challenger.

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There will never be another Ronald Reagan. He has become our modern times’ King Arthur and heart-sick conservatives yearn for the return of the slumbering President.

Conservatives are now faced with a presidential candidate, Barack Obama who is a younger image of all the things that Jimmy Carter stood for, although the media try to cast him as a Messiah. Obama is something new, fresh and hopeful is what they are telling us, but many of the policies Obama proposes are the same failures we endured during the Carter administration.

First, according to Obama we must talk face to face with our enemies. Carter actually didn’t do so well talking to the Iranians when they took over our embassy. Carter’s castration of the military destroyed any capability of using force to leverage the release of our citizens. Obama wants to have the same dialogue with those who hate the U.S. without any preconditions.

Second, Obama’s proposed policies require more governmental control over the economy via taxation, reworking NAFTA, and providing healthcare for everyone. Many, if not all of these policies were tried by Carter and the results were double digit inflation, and a higher unemployment rate than virtually anytime in our countries’ history.

Third, the use of military force in “police actions” as defined by Harry S. Truman gave us the never ending conflict in Korea, our defeat in Vietnam, and world condemnation for every military action since then. Our actions in Iraq and Afghanistan were approved by the Congress of the United States and the United Nations. In addition, NATO forces from Europe have also allied with us in Afghanistan.

Obama would have us pull out of Iraq, winning or losing and concentrate on Afghanistan. But for how long? How long is he willing to fight a guerilla war in a foreign country? Obama says that he understands the reason we went to Afghanistan but that assertion is questionable. If our military forces are pulled out of Iraq before it is stable the Al-Qaeda forces will return.

When religious extremists hate us they will attack us anyway they can. They do not hate us because they are poor or come from a bad background. They hate us because we are citizens of the greatest country on earth. We can only curb this hatred by becoming less than we are. This is Obama’s solution.


Obama is heir to Jimmy Carter in other ways too. During the fuel crisis of the late seventies President Carter appeared in the oval office in a sweater, urging Americans to turn down their thermostats and wear layers of clothing. He made us drive 55. Obama said recently that in order to save fuel Americans should get tuneups and have their tires inflated. No, he doesn’t propose drilling to bring down the price of gas. He’s actually fine with the high prices, he just didn’t want them to rise so quickly.

There is so much not to love about Barack Obama. I find it unsettling that some conservatives have found nothing to love about Senator John McCain. Being a pragmatist I have found quite a few lovable qualities in the man and his policies.

Senator John McCain is not only running against Barack Obama in this presidential election, he is competing with the memory of Ronald Reagan. Many conservatives (and I count myself as one) are disappointed with McCain’s independent mantle but he’s square on conservative when it comes to national security and supporting the troops.

Obama was willing to visit the troops in Afghanistan during his trip overseas recently but he cancelled a planned trip to see the wounded troops at Landstuhl, Germany when he learned photographers would not be present. What do I take from this?

American troops are valuable only when they provide a photo-op for Obama.

I find it interesting that some so-called conservatives are urging McCain to separate himself from President Bush because he is so despised and I question whether that is, indeed, true.

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One day in the future we may be looking back in awe at the accomplishments of President Bush. In fact, I consider President Bush’s steadfast leadership in the war in Iraq and Afghanistan (and many other places around the world) the reason why we are still living in a country that is free. Senator McCain’s support of the war and his willingness to speak out when he knew we could be doing better is one of the most important reasons why all conservatives should now be casting aside their pet peeves and taking on the role of supporters of John McCain.

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No, John McCain is not Ronald Reagan, neither is he George W. Bush.

He is the Republicans’ nominee for President. By any understanding that we have John McCain is the only choice a serious American can make for President. It’s becoming apparent more every day that Barack Obama believes our country is deeply flawed and has plans to acknowledge that wrong by confiscatory methods…that is, he is a socialist with aspirations to remake our nation by taxation and government infringement on our rights and privacy. It’s becoming obvious that the Obama campaign believes that Americans who plan to vote for McCain instead of Obama are downright racists.

So do I love John McCain? Not in the romantic way but perhaps in Elinor Dashwood’s way before her sense gave way to sensibility….

I do not attempt to deny that I think very highly of him. That I …… greatly esteem him. That I like him.” Elinor said to her sister, Marianne.

The Marianne media is choosing sensibility over sense. Obama is their own John Willoughby.

I am hoping conservatives will come around this November. Hopefully they will choose to vote for John McCain, if not for love, at least for esteem and respect.

The bottom line is, John McCain is definitely not Barack Obama.

29 Jul 2008 03:00 am

Back in the halcyon days when I was a stay at home Mom I had the time to do things that normally would never be done in the hectic workaday world. One time in 1988 I handwrote and drew The Seagull Post for our childrens’ grandparents. Back in the days when we lived at Fort Monroe the kids and I were out for walks all the time. We learned all the history of Fort Monroe, including the legends about ghosts. That naturally piqued the interest of the kids.

Fort Monroe has a lighthouse and the kids and I loved to walk around the seawall to see it. The Hotel Chamberlin was one of our favorite stops. Alas, it is no more.

I joined a Calligraphy Guild when I was at Fort Monroe and learned calligraphy from many of the fine professional calligraphers who would do workshops for our guild. My calligraphy in The Seagull Post is pretty weak and I obviously didn’t bother much with rulers and lines.

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Page One

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Page Two

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Page Three

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27 Jul 2008 02:37 am

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Thank God the cows are fenced in.

Getting out of the car tonight felt like I was stepping into a pre-heated oven. It’s so hot here! We had a big family garage sale at my son and daughter-in-law’s house today. It started early. We had advertised the sale to start at eight A.M. but shoppers were outside waiting when my son opened the garage door at 6:30 in the morning.

Although we had fans blowing in the garage the heat was unbearable. My face stayed red all day and I had to change my clothes later because (I hesitate to mention it being a lady) I was dripping with sweat. My daughter-in-law looked as cool as a cucumber although she is in the early months of her second pregnancy. (Yay!)

I mentioned to her that she was so cool compared to me and she replied, that it takes a lot to make her sweat. I told her that she apparently had something in common with Barack Obama. According to this report he doesn’t sweat. My daughter-in-law grimaced and said, “Yuck.” She was not amused.

Later my sister and I went out to her house in the country to feed her pets. On the way out to Sugar Loaf, Lucy warned me to watch out for deer. Not five minutes later as I drove down the country road a deer appeared in the brush beside it. I slowed down and watched as the deer turned away from the road and went back into the woods.

Out in the country it had been raining but it hadn’t rained in town. Stars were shining but there was lightning around the perimeter of the sky. I drove slowly for the rest of the trip. The closer we got to my sister’s house in the country the more spooked I became. I knew it would be dark. In the country there are no street lights. My sister owns ten acres of wooded land and it is difficult to see the stars unless one is in the clearing where the house sits.

My sister has cats and a few dogs. The leader dog, a beautiful brown lab is appropriately named Arrow. When she unlocked her door the pets ran into the house. She fed them and gave them water. Arrow ran into her bathroom for some quiet time. Outside under the back steps she had a big pot of water for the dogs and cats. Lucy refilled it and put the dogs’ dry food on her front porch. Because the dogs will eat the cats’ food if it is left on the porch, Lucy has come up with an ingenious way to feed the cats.

She has an old Cutless Ciera that has belonged at one point to all of the kids in our family parked on her land. I was driving the Cutless in New York State near West Point one night in October, 1997 when a deer ran out in front of me and I hit it. We were uninjured but the Cutless stayed in New York to be repaired while my daughter and I flew home.

After the Cutless was repaired it safely carried two more of my children and two children of my sister safely throughout the country. The Cutless is now in retirement. Up on the roof of the car, under a sturdy square-like umbrella which is snugly connected to the car, is a large bowl of dry cat food. Even if it rains the food remains dry, the dogs can’t get to it, so the cats don’t go hungry.

We left Sugar Loaf and started back down the country road towards home. It was really dark outside although stars were out. On the way we saw two more deer and I slowed down in order to avoid a collision. The deer stayed out of the road. I am always cautious with deer because of my experience in New York state in 1997.

During the drive home my sister and I were having a conversation about things sisters talk about and somehow managed to spook ourselves even more. (we did that a lot when we were kids) As we were about five minutes from home from out of nowhere appeared an armadillo in the middle of the road. I never swerve to avoid animals, it’s too dangerous but I slowed down and centered the car so the wheels wouldn’t run over the armadillo.

It was still a tragic night for the little creature.

I was feeling very sorry when my sister said, “Why did the chicken cross the road? To prove to armadillos that it can be done.”

As we came around the curve a black and white cat bounded across the road right in front of the car. It made it safely across and I drove very slowly the rest of the way home. We expected something else around every corner but three deer, one armadillo and a cat were our ration of the unexpected tonight.

25 Jul 2008 01:06 pm

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Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church in Berlin, Germany. Bombed in WWII, left as a ruin to show the destruction of war.

When I saw the Kaiser Wilhelm Church in Berlin several years ago, I was appalled that there were no believers who would seek to restore the church but considering the conditions after WW11 it is understandable. Subsequently I did discover there were some Germans who wanted to restore the church but their voices weren’t listened to.

And yet, was there no thought given to the fact that the Germans themselves followed Adolf Hitler as he brought distruction to millions? I was left disheartened when I saw the gaping holes in the church.

Next to the remains of the tower is the new church which was built from 1957-63. It is built in a modern style and is quite ugly.

Why would a people leave a church standing as a ruin to the destruction of war when they brought the war on themselves? Adolf Hitler would not have been able to wreak the havoc on Europe had he not had the consent of the German people. I left the church thinking that the gaping holes in Kaiser Wilhelm Church were more a symptom of the absence of a soul in the German people.

The locals in Berlin call the Kaiser Wilhelm Church a hollow tooth.

Kaiser Wilhelm Church is not far from the Brandenburg Gate and the Victory Monument, the site where Barack Obama delivered his message to the world yesterday.

The Kaiser Wilhelm Church would have been a more appropriate venue for Obama’s speech.

I thought Obama was running for President of the United States but in Berlin yesterday he let Americans know his true purpose. He wants to run the world. He’s ashamed of our country just like his missus.

Barack Obama is a hollow tooth.

Gerard Baker’s got his number.

And it came to pass, in the eighth year of the reign of the evil Bush the Younger (The Ignorant), when the whole land from the Arabian desert to the shores of the Great Lakes had been laid barren, that a Child appeared in the wilderness.

The Child was blessed in looks and intellect. Scion of a simple family, offspring of a miraculous union, grandson of a typical white person and an African peasant. And yea, as he grew, the Child walked in the path of righteousness, with only the occasional detour into the odd weed and a little blow.

When he was twelve years old, they found him in the temple in the City of Chicago, arguing the finer points of community organisation with the Prophet Jeremiah and the Elders. And the Elders were astonished at what they heard and said among themselves: “Verily, who is this Child that he opens our hearts and minds to the audacity of hope?”

In the great Battles of Caucus and Primary he smote the conniving Hillary, wife of the deposed King Bill the Priapic and their barbarian hordes of Working Class Whites.

Read on.

For more on the hollow tooth read this offering from The Anchoress.

23 Jul 2008 05:58 pm

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Like a line of people waiting to get into the theater.

Finally, I have some flowers on the porch. When we renovated our house several years ago, like many people do, we had trouble with our contractor. He would not listen to me.

Our house was transformed from a New Orleans style with balcony to a wide front porch with columns and six new rooms. I loved the basic structure and the change to a front porch that we could actually enjoy but the contractor chose many of the materials and gave us a hassle on every choice we insisted on making.

Then came the driveway.

I wanted a simple sidewalk leading from the driveway to the steps. My husband wanted a parking lot. I regretted it from the moment the driveway was expanded. I at least wanted a circular drive but no one listened to me.

It didn’t take long for my husband to regret not listening to me. It would have saved money too.

Not being at all possessed of a green thumb I was at a loss when envisioning how we could make lemonade out of the lemon but my sister, who never met a plant she couldn’t nurture and grow came to my rescue. The day we picked blueberries we went to a nursery and bought flowers.

Then Lucy showed me how to pot them and I water the flowers twice a day. The porch faces the west so the flowers are exposed to direct sunlight. Most of them are making it.

We don’t have shade on the porch until the afternoon. But the afternoon and evening are the best time anyway.

Real landscaping will happen one of these days but until then at least, I have pots on the porch.

20 Jul 2008 09:58 pm

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My niece, Maine has been a busy girl this year. She just completed her first year of her Masters in Fine Arts at the University of Texas in Austin and has been in Provincetown, MA acting in a play this summer. The name of the play is The Wild Party and Maine plays a flapper. A review is here.

In June she completed a role as a “featured extra” in Terrence Malick’s Tree of Life.

Maine also plays the role of the sister of the female lead in a film called Artois the Goat. Four of the actors in the movie are her classmates. The film looks good. It’s kind of like A Room with a View in Texas.

Artois the goat seems to be the star, or at least an important player.

Then there is the cheese.

19 Jul 2008 02:14 pm

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A beautiful white flower at the baseball park in Bentonville, Arkansas.

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My sister, Lucy with a mural painted on the side of a building in downtown Bentonville, Arkansas. The mural celebrates the pioneers who settled in the rocky land in the far north of Arkansas.

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Confederate Monument in the Bentonville town square.

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Sam Walton’s original store on the town square in Bentonville, Arkansas which now traces the origin and growth of Wal-Mart.

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Display case inside the Walton Museum reveals promotional items and slogans used by Wal-Mart. Yes we can was one such slogan. Uh oh, Barack.

Last weekend I was in Bentonville, Arkansas to attend my nephew, Kevin’s baseball tournament. In between games my sister and I took in the sights, shopped a little, found my great great grandparent’s gravesite in the Bentonville Cemetery and went to Crystal Bridges at the Massey, the fore-runner to Crystal Bridges, a museum of American Art which will open in 2010. The museum is the brain child of Alice Walton, daughter of Sam Walton and will be an amazing and wonderful repository of American art.

Sam and Helen Walton are buried in the same cemetery as were my great great grandparents in a small plot with simple headstones. Sam Walton created massive wealth through his capitalistic endeavors and according to my anecdotal evidence, Wal-Mart doesn’t seem to be suffering from the economic woes of this present day.

My husband and I were at Wal-Mart just last evening to buy a new microwave oven. The store was packed with people. Every cash register was open and there were lines at each one.

Bentonville, Arkansas was once just a little town, the entry to Arkansas from the north but now, it’s the center of the booming northwest area of Arkansas.

All of this growth came from the innovative mind of Sam Walton. Now that his daughter is endeavoring to create a cultural hub in small but wakeful Bentonville, big city art snobs are appalled, calling Alice Walton a hovering culture vulture.

As if great art was only meant to be viewed by urbanites.

I find it appropriate and wonderful news that our little corner of the world will be blessed with an art museum of such significance. My late great Aunt Imy, a wonderful artist, was instrumental along with her husband, my Uncle Eddie in establishing the War Eagle Art Fair and the Bella Vista Art and Crafts Festival as well as the clothesline art fair in Pea Ridge, Arkansas.

Naomi Ruth Ivy Mackey taught art in Rogers, Arkansas and was an inspiration and art mentor to me. The first time I ever had artwork in an exhibition I was fifteen and my art was exhibited in Bella Vista, thanks to my Aunt Imy. I’ve written about my aunt before in this post. If she were with us today she would definitely be involved in the development of Crystal Bridges. Crystal Bridges is named for the small lake that is nearby.

Bentonville and the northwest area of Arkansas have always been a bastion of art and artists. The entire town of Eureka Springs (not far from Bentonville) is on the National Register of Historic Places and is an active artist colony. Yes, there is a lot of country crafts and hillbilly art in Northwest Arkansas but there are also some excellent fine artists. I haven’t yet discovered any artist in Northwest Arkansas who has created a Madonna and Child out of elephant dung however. (Of course, there could be some in Little Rock.)

I will admit there are a lot of great artists in Little Rock. Check out Charlie Palmer.

Come to think of it, the urbanite snobs of New York and Philadelphia might want to get out of the gritty cities and come see the wealth of art that already exists in Northwest Arkansas and Bentonville in particular.

I must study politics and war that my sons may have liberty to study mathematics and philosophy. My sons ought to study mathematics and philosophy, geography, natural history, naval architecture, navigation, commerce, and agriculture, in order to give their children a right to study painting, poetry, music, architecture, statuary, tapestry, and porcelain.
John Adams

18 Jul 2008 04:35 pm

I do.

I love baseball season. I love major league baseball, especially when you can cheer on good guys, not the Alex Rodrigues types (that the New York Yankees might want to consider dumping) but the Derek Jeters and the guys who are always cheering on their fellow players and providing leadership to the teams.

But the best kind of baseball I have found in my life is the hometown kind, the Babe Ruth and American Legion Leagues. One thing I have really appreciated about President Bush was his promotion of baseball for kids.

This past weekend I had the privilege of going to the Northwest Arkansas Babe Ruth State Championship tournament in Bentonville, Arkansas. My nephew, Kevin played for our own Fort Smith Boys Club’s All Star team. He has made the All Stars for the past several years.

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Kevin at Bat

The tournament started last Friday and continued until this past Tuesday. Fort Smith made it to Sunday but then were beat out. Mountain Home won the tournament. But the loss wasn’t what mattered to me, it was the good sportsmanship the kids displayed and the fun they had throughout the weekend. It was fun hanging out with my sister and the parents of the kids. The parents were good sports and enjoyed watching the kids play.

Yes, there were some bad calls by the ump in the last game. He called a ball that had bounced in the dirt a strike but that’s life. Sometimes the umpires will make bad calls. That is something kids need to learn to deal with early on. We don’t always get our way and sometimes we may be cheated but that shouldn’t make us stop doing what we love to do.

The coaches of the Fort Smith team were great examples for the team also. Now there was one team (there’s always at least one) that displayed poor sportsmanship but it was mainly the parents. It didn’t help them to win though.

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Kevin caught it.

It takes good adult role models to teach kids how to handle both victory and defeat. Baseball is a great sport in which to teach kids how to live.

17 Jul 2008 01:42 pm

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Art by Laura Lee Donoho

But life is more than bad weather. Think Snow.

That is…Tony Snow.

WASHINGTON — President Bush and the first lady were among a throng of dignitaries, media members and other mourners who gathered Thursday for the funeral of former White House press secretary and FOX News anchor Tony Snow, who died Saturday after a long, public bout with cancer.

Speaking at the funeral, Bush said Snow had “amassed a rare record of accomplishment.”

“He knew the job of a reporter was vigorous. He understood the profession and always treated it with respect,” Bush said, adding that Snow’s was a life that was “far too brief.”

The services were being held on the campus of Catholic University at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception.

Bush also remarked on Snow’s “wry sense of humor and abundant goodness. We will also remember he was lots of fun.”

And, speaking directly to Snow’s children — Kendall, Robbie and Krisiti — he said he regularly called on Snow over weekends seeking advice to learn that he was spending time with them.

“He loved you a lot,” Bush said. “I hope you know we loved him a lot, too.”

The service, open to the public, was being held at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception near Catholic University in Washington, D.C.

There is more.

Tony pointed the way for all of us in this article in Christianity Today, for through his journey in the depths of the valley of the shadow of death, he came to spiritual terms with this present world and the world to come.

15 Jul 2008 10:56 am

When I learned that Tony Snow had died Saturday morning I was out of town at a baseball tournament so couldn’t immediately acknowledge the death of a quintessential American, a man of faith, family and country. The loss of Tim Russert recently, another happy, confident, American man whose exuberant love of life, family and country was always evident, was a blow to American politics. Tim was from the left but he never left an important question unasked and he did it in an open fashion. You couldn’t help but love someone who remembered from whence he came, Buffalo, New York.

I can’t even remember when Tony Snow came into my view, it seems he was always there on my favorite television channel.

But that’s not true.

For many years before Fox News came into being, Americans were force-fed liberal factoids, nanny news and group think. I learned to use the mute button. Then I discovered the great Rush Limbaugh. American communications became more diverse with the advent of a more conservative outlook and I found some kindred spirits in the optimistic, honest American exceptionalism Rush and others espoused.

Then came Brit Hume, Fred Barnes, Sean Hannity and Tony Snow.

Tony Snow reigned supreme on Fox News Sunday for many years with his good natured and intelligent, common sense outlook. He was a fighter and a conservative but he had a calm, reasonable way of presenting his arguments. It was always a joy to watch him and a lesson for us all in how to disagree without being disagreeable. When Tony left his Sunday gig for his radio show I listened and so did my husband. I wrote a while back about a conversation my husband had with Tony on his radio show.

I send my sincere condolences to Tony’s family and friends. He left us too soon.

Way too soon. Our loss is heavens’ gain.



The Anchoress and Sissy Willis have must-read tributes to Tony.

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