Angels' Flight and Horse Sense

Posted: Sep 26, 2007 10:26 AM
Angels' Flight and Horse Sense

Angels' flight

The inevitable end comes to us all, as we were reminded when Congress this week passed a resolution expressing the nation's sincerest appreciation and thanks to members of the 303rd Bombardment Group, also known as the "Hell's Angels" during World War II, upon the occasion of its "final reunion."

"Due to age and the declining health of many of our veterans, the 303rd Bomb Group Association board of directors has made the difficult decision to dissolve the association at the end of 2007," we read on the bomber group's Web site.

There we find historical pages preserving the memory and legacy of the men who served in the 303rd. They were the Eighth Air Force, B-17 Bomber Group stationed in Molesworth, England, and they adopted the motto "Might in Flight" in October 1942, "and lived up to it on each of their record 364 combat missions."

More importantly, the site contains a "taps" list, revealing that the past several months have been a particularly tough time for the surviving men of the 303rd:

Victor N. Shook died Sept. 19; Robert E. Lyda, Sept. 5; Robert E. Galbraith, Aug. 16; Martin E. Plocher, Aug. 3; William E. Olson, July 30; Deane K. Day, July 26; Leroy P. Christenson, July 21; Robert L. Rosier, July 19; Carl K. Shumar, July 13; Richard P. Dubell, May 6; Kenneth G. Hildebrand, April 25; and Burnham E. Shaw Jr., April 8.


So that's it

It's becoming clear why U.S. military-bashing has House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and her fellow Democrats in a state of paralysis.To paraphrase a line from the Tom Cruise film "Jerry Maguire," they've been shown the money.

The National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) points out in a David Letterman-style "Top 20 Reasons Why Nancy Pelosi" has not brought herself to defend Gen. David H. Petraeus that has made substantial contributions of late to Congress' newly elected Democrats:

1. Rep. Christopher S. Murphy of Connecticut: $502,998

2. Rep. Jason Altmire of Pennsylvania: $447,940

3. Rep. Joe Donnelly of Indiana: $378,951

4. Rep. Michael Arcuri of New York: $183,495

5. Rep. Zack Space of Ohio: $170,158

And the list goes on ...

Party's over

"I think it's been hijacked by incompetency. I think that's what has driven the Republican Party right off the cliff. And we are not who we say we are, and that's at best, dishonest."

So a disgruntled Republican Sen. Chuck Hagel of Nebraska complained the other night to HBO's Bill Maher, in the wake of his announcement that he will retire from Congress and not seek the presidency.

Now it's 2008 Republican presidential candidate and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney saying that the Republican Party cannot continue on its present course, with "ethical standards that are a punch line for Jay Leno."

If change is to come to Washington, Mr. Romney said this week, "Republicans have to put our own house in order."

Horse sense

Words President Reagan said to Virginia Sen. John W. Warner while the two rode horseback at the senator's Atoka Estate in Middleburg were recalled by the retiring Republican senator Monday night at an Alexandria fundraiser for Virginia General Assembly candidate Mark Allen.

"Democracy is not a spectator sport," Mr. Warner quoted Mr. Reagan as saying, applauding the Republican Mr. Allen for seeking office in the overwhelmingly Democratic 45th District.

Serving baloney

Responding to the much-publicized Associated Press article promoting fears of rising sea levels in the United States, relying on computer-model predictions of global "warming," Richard S. Courtney, a climate and atmospheric scientist and consultant, tells the minority press blog for the U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works: "Rarely have I read such a collection of unsubstantiated and scare-mongering twaddle."

In closing

This columnist is touched by the many thoughtful cards and letters sent in by readers after genealogists determined that yours truly and former President Bill Clinton are "cousins," sharing an 8th-great-grandmother, Frances Jacocks Champion.

"Many people pay $500 to have their family tree looked up," notes Stan Welli of Aurora, Ill. "Later, they pay $5,000 to have it hushed up."

"My Deepest Sympathies," reads the card from Lorna Gladstone.

"The family resemblance is clear — you and Bill both have great hair," writes famed Washington malpractice lawyer Jack H. Olender, who wonders: "Will this propel you into the White House press secretary slot if Hillary wins?"

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