Saturday, January 28, 2006

The Churchill Series - Jan. 29, 2006

(One of a series of daily posts on the life of Winston S. Churchill.)

Churchill's autobiography, My Early Life , published in 1930, ends with the words: "...until September, 1908, when I married and lived happily ever afterwards."

That Clementine and Winston loved one another, there's no doubt. But "happily ever after?" Not always.

For instance, in 1909 the recently married Clementine tried to get her husband to pay attention to bills that were mounting. There wasn't money to pay them. They were living beyond their means. They needed to talk.

Churchill paid no attention.

Finally, a desperate Clementine took a diamond necklace Churchill's aunt had given her as wedding present and pawned it to pay some bills.

That got Churchill's attention. He rushed to the shop to retrieve it, but he was too late. Someone had already purchased it.

There were other problems. Churchill gambled all his life. Clementine worried about that for years.

Clementine was "early to bed and early to rise." He kept Churchill hours.

She would often get a message telling her Churchill was bringing friends home in an hour or so for dinner. He didn't understand why the short notice should be a problem. All Clementine had to do was "put plenty of onions in an Irish stew."

In future posts, we'll talk more about their marriage.

Meanwhile, this understatement: Clementine was a remarkable woman without whom Churchill would never have been the Churchill we know.
William Manchester, The Last Lion: Winston Spencer Churchill, Visions of Glory (pgs. 395-403)

Kerry for President

of Switzerland.

Maureen Dowd victim of truth attack

New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd was in the middle of explaining how when former President Clinton told a lie it wasn't really a lie because we all knew it was a lie whereas when President Bush ....

Well, you get where Dowd was going.

In the midst of Maureen's - "All my best, Bill" - she got hit with a truth attack. Her own words were fired at her. Ouch!

Michelle Malkin did it in a post here. Don't miss it.

Malkin has the video of MoDo and then flings Dowd's own words back at her.

Raleigh N&O silent on Hillary's poll numbers

Most MSM news organizations aren't giving much attention to recent Gallup poll results concerning how Americans feel about Sen. Hillary Clinton's becoming President. Here in North Carolina, the liberal trending left Raleigh News & Observer has been totally silent on the results.

So you're telling yourself the results were bad for Hillary. You're right.

Here's some of what the Jan. 25 New York Post reported:

Most American voters now say there's no way they'd vote for Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton if she runs for president in 2008 — while just 16 percent are firmly in her camp, a stunning new poll shows.

The Gallup/CNN poll found that 51 percent say they definitely won't vote for Clinton (D-N.Y.) in 2008, another 32 percent might consider it, and only 16 percent vow to back her.

That means committed anti-Hillary voters outnumber pro-Hillary voters by 3-1.
There's more here.

The results are indeed stunning. They were surely noticed and talked about by the Democrats who make the news decisions at The N&O.

The N&O's decision to date to tell readers nothing about Clinton's disastrous poll numbers is understandable given the papers political orientation.

And I would accept that if the paper admitted in was essentially a Democratic Party paper or an opinion journal.

But The N&O continues to tell readers and advertisers it's a fair and accurate newspaper that just wants to bring readers information so they can be better informed citizens. Exec. editor for news, Melanie Sill, claims the paper is free of news bias.

Really? The paper still hasn't told readers about Sen. Ted Kennedy's more than half-century long membership in The Owl Club, which denies women membership.

Kennedy held Owl membership even as he railed and berated Judge Samuel Alito for joining for a brief period while a student at Princeton a club Kennedy feels didn't respect women the way the way he feels a club should. Or something like that.

I find it impossible to believe The N&O is what it says it is: fair and accurate.

Friday, January 27, 2006

The Churchill Series - Jan. 27, 2006

(One of a series of daily posts on the life of Winston S. Churchill.)

It's an amusing exchange. I bet you know of it:

George Bernard Shaw telegrammed Winston Churchill just prior to the opening of his latest play: "Have reserved two tickets for first night. Come and bring a friend if you have one."

Churchill wired back, "Impossible to come to first night. Will come to second night, if you have one."
Amusing, yes, but I'm not sure it ever really happened. A number of reliable sources don't mention it, while most unreliable sources do.

But I do have confidence in what follows.

The cartoonist David Low said:
"Churchill is one of the few men I have met who... give me the impression of genius. Shaw is another. It is amusing to know that each thinks the other is much overrated!"
By October, 1950 Shaw and Churchill would no doubt have agreed that the public was low rating them both. Shaw was then often ridiculed by critics while Churchill was struggling to regain enough public confidence to assure him a return to the Prime Minister's office.

In those circumstances, Churchill learned that Shaw had been hospitalized. He sent him flowers and a warm note. Shaw sent back a copy of his newest book, Sixteen Half Sketches, along with a note in which he said:
You need only read (a bit of it) as you and I are officially classed as ignoramuses."
For the Low quote see The Churchill Centre, Contemporaries. (Here and scroll down)

For the exchange of notes ending with "ignoramuses" see Randolph S. Churchill, Winston S. Churhcill: Young Stateman. (p. 1)

Here's Al Gore on Canada's election and new PM

Americans have grown used to former Vice President Al Gore’s long, rambling, venomous speeches attacking people and organizations he doesn’t like. Typically, Gore begins by calling someone “dishonest” or “dangerous.” Then it gets worse.

While Gore remains popular with the “Democratic base,” most Americans have tuned him out. Even liberal MSM news organizations now pretty much ignore him.

That may help explain why Gore decided his latest screed would include an attack on the recent Canadian election process and warnings to our Canadian neighbors about their new prime minister, Stephen Harper.

Gore may have reasoned that Canadians, not as familiar with him as Americans, would be more likely to listen to him instead of rolling their eyes and clicking the remote.

Anyway, here's some of his latest, Gore accuses big oil of bankrolling Tories:

Former U.S. vice-president Al Gore has accused the oil industry of financially backing the Tories and their "ultra-conservative leader" to protect its stake in Alberta's lucrative oilsands.

Canadians, Gore said, should vigilantly keep watch over prime minister-designate Stephen Harper because he has a pro-oil agenda and wants to pull out of the Kyoto accord -- an international agreement to combat climate change.

"The election in Canada was partly about the tar sands projects in Alberta," Gore said Wednesday while attending the Sundance Film Festival in Utah.

"And the financial interests behind the tar sands project poured a lot of money and support behind an ultra-conservative leader in order to win the election . . . and to protect their interests."
You can read the rest here.

Every time I hear Gore I’m reminded how glad I am he lost the Florida election. Imagine him in the White House!

Charles Krauthammer: "Marcel, My Brother"

Most of us know Charles Krauthammer as an informed, clear-thinking Washington pundit whose columns help us separate political chaff and wheat.

Today, Krauthammer provides something different: a beautifully written, poignant memorial to his brother, Marcel.

Hat Tip:

Thursday, January 26, 2006

The Churchill Series - Jan. 26, 2006

(One of a series of daily posts on the life of Winston S. Churchill.)

Some recent posts have been long or dealt with the sad years of Churchill's decline.

Tonight's post is brief and concerns only trivia.

But it's trivia interested people often ask about.

His favorite whiskey? Johnnie Walker Red.

Brandy? Hine.

Champagne? Pol Roger.


O dear, look what Republicans are doing now

An Associated Press story carries this headline:

Senate GOP Seeks to Force Vote on Alito
The AP’s story makes clear the headline isn’t just another of those “tabloid grabs” most MSM newspapers are using as part of their campaigns to win back former readers who’ve moved on to other news sources.

The AP provides plenty of information to help us realize Senate Republicans are driving to "force (a) vote" on Judge Samuel Alito’s nomination despite the opposition of many Senate Democrats to such a vote.

The AP tells us, for example, of Sen. Ted Kennedy’s efforts to convince his Democratic colleagues to support a filibuster. We're told Senators such as Durbin and Sarbanes support a filibuster. And there's more.

But for all of that, The AP never tells us why Republicans want to, as The AP puts it, "Force (a) Vote on Alito."

Without information from The AP, I'm left to rely on my own news sources. They claim Republicans are basing their drive for a vote on portions of a document called The Constitution.

There's no word yet on whether or not Sen. Kennedy would drop his plans for a filabuster in exchange for the Bush administration agreeing to make public a copy of The Constitution.

Kennedy is said to be considering the matter "while relaxing with friends at the Cape."

NY Times' earnings drop

The Associated Press reports on the latest earnings figures for The New York Times Co.

The New York Times Co. said Tuesday its fourth-quarter earnings fell 41 percent from the same period a year ago, weighed down by charges for staff reductions and an accounting change.

The Times, which also publishes The Boston Globe and the International Herald Tribune, earned $64.8 million or 45 cents per share in the three months ending in December, compared to $110.2 million or 75 cents per share a year ago.
The “staff reductions and an accounting change” explanations were highlighted by The Times Co.

But if you read further into the story, you learn there were also very significant advertising revenue drops in major areas of The Times' media empire.

The revenue drops deserved more attention than The AP gave them. They’re certainly getting attention on Wall Street, where The Times Co (sym. – NYT ) stock price has fallen more than 30% in the last year. See, for example, a article, "Gurus Dump Gray Lady, Buy Energy Spider".

After chocolate, Mayor Nagin has a whine

Betsy Newmark posts on New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin’s recent whine over criticism he’s received for a string of - to put it kindly - “foot in mouth” comments. Nagin’s whine includes:

"I don't get what all the fuss was about when I talked about New Orleans being a chocolate city. I mean, I understand the frustration with my 'God' comments. Maybe I went a little overboard. But Chocolate City? Come on."
The post contains a number of “The Best of Mayor Nagin” quotes. She ends with an excellent question.

Take a look at Betsy's post here, and decide how you’d answer her question

Steyn’s take on Canada’s next prime minister

In today’s Wall Street Journal Mark Steyn discusses Monday’s Canadian election and offers his take on where he thinks the new prime minister, Stephen Harper, will lead the country. Here some of what he says:

Mr. Harper, the incoming prime minister, will not be "George Bush's new best friend" -- that's a more competitive field than John Kerry and Jimmy Carter think. But at the very least a Harper government won't rely on reflexive anti-Americanism as the defining element of Canadian identity.

Stephen Harper (will) move the country incrementally. On the environment, his views are compatible with Mr. Bush, John Howard and now Tony Blair: That's to say, if "climate change" is a problem, Kyoto's not the answer to it.

On missile defense, the Conservatives will string along with Washington because it's the easy option and we'll be covered by it anyway: Even Canadians aren't prepared to argue that, if there's something headed toward Winnipeg or Montreal, we'd rather the Americans minded their own bloody business and didn't tell us about it.

But it's a good gauge of the deterioration in U.S.-Canadian relations that a quintessential piece of postmodern, humbug multilateralism -- an issue that required Canada to be minimally supportive without being helpful, at no political cost and in return for some lucrative contracts for northern defense contractors -- was whooped up by the Liberals into a big scare about Washington's plans for the "weaponization of space."

On missile defense, Mr. Harper will be more down to earth in every sense.
There’s much more, all of it here and laced with Steyn’s wry humor.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

The Churchill Series - Jan. 25, 2006

(One of a series of daily posts on the life of Winston S. Churchill.)

A previous post described the April 9, 1963, White House ceremony at which Churchill was awarded honorary American citizenship. Age and ill health forced Churchill to remain at his London home, but he watched the ceremony via live satellite transmission.

The following day Prime Minister Harold Macmillan, a friend and colleague who had served in both of Churchill governments, sent him this warm and revealing letter:

Dear Winston,

I gave a dinner last night for General Lemnitzer. He used to be American Deputy to Field Marshal Alexander in the Mediterranean Campaign and is now the Supreme Allied Commander in Europe. Field Marshals Alexander and Harding, Lord Mountbatten and General Strong all came.

We and others present unanimously agreed to send you a message recalling the days when we worked together under your leadership.

We wished also to express our delight at your versatility, which allows you to combine being a loyal British subject with being a good United States’ citizen.

Yours ever,

Harold Macmillan
It’s well known that in his last years Churchill’s memory faded and he lost interest in current events. Nonetheless, its jarring as well as poignant to realize Macmillian felt he needed to tell Churchill who was “now the Supreme Allied Commander in Europe.”

We’ve also been told that until near the very end Churchill held on to much of what had always been one of his greatest strengths: a sense of humor. Macmillan’s closing sentence indicates he agreed with that assessment.

Blogger will shut down. Posting light tonight


The Blogger system will shut down for "repairs" at 4 PM Pacific time. They say just a little while, but one never knows. Also, sometimes when Blogger repairs things get worse for a while.

I'll plan to try to post The Chruchill Series tonight before midnight. Otherwise, no posting until tomorrow.

But there's a lot in the pipe so come back tomorrow afternoon.


Tuesday, January 24, 2006

How did The Washington Post miss all those Canadians?

Yesterday's Canadian election confirmed what polls and pundits had been reporting: Millions of voters strongly favored the Conservatives and were disgusted by the Liberal's stumbling social policies and massive corruption.

But The Washington Post apparently couldn't locate any of those voters. At least, none were quoted in its post-election story, "Canadians Move Right, Elect New Leadership."

The Post only quoted one person who even claimed to have voted Conservative. And it told its readers said she did so “reluctantly:”

"I think we have to give it a try. But I am very afraid that it will be too far right," said Florence Koven, 72, emerging from the polls after voting -- reluctantly, she said -- for the Conservative Party. "The unknown always concerns you. Mr. Harper (the Conservative leader) says he is a changed man; we'll see how much he has changed."
Yes indeed, all of us on both sides of the border need to be sooo careful about voting for Conservatives. And if they win, we must always hope they change once in office.

The Post's management continues to insist the paper doesn't have a liberal bias. What's more, the editors tell us that when covering an election, their reporters find out what voters are saying and tell us.

Well, if that's the case, how did The Post miss all the Canadians who would have been happy to tell its reporters: "We're sick and tired of the Liberals and glad the Conservatives are going in?"

The Churchill Series - Jan. 24, 2006

(One of a series of daily posts on the life of Winston S. Churchill.)

On January 24, 1965, Churchill died after having suffered a massive stroke twelve days before.

When he heard the news, France's President Charles de Gaulle wrote a condolence letter to the Queen. Of the man with whom he had frequently quarreled during the war, de Gaulle said:

In the great drama he was the greatest of all.
Clement Attlee, as leader of Labour, and Churchill, as leader of the Conservatives, had often sparred across the Commons aisle. Churchill once called Attlee a "sheep in sheep's clothing;" another time, "a modest man with much to be modest about." Attlee had bested Churchill in the 1945 General Election, and succeeded him as Prime Minister.

Now Earl Attlee, he spoke in the House of Lords of the man who had been his friend as well as political foe:
My Lords, we have lost the greatest Englishman of our time - I think the greatest citizen of the world of our time.
Thirty-five years on, as the 20th century drew to a close, the distinguished commentator Charles Krauthammer considered its horrors and the times when many reasonable people thought it certain that Nazis or Communists would dominate the world. But they were prevented from doing so. Krauthammer asked who had stopped them:
The originality of the 20th surely lay in its politics. It invented the police state and the command economy, mass mobilization and mass propaganda, mechanized murder and routinized terror--a breathtaking catalog of political creativity.

And who is the hero of that story? Who slew the dragon?

Yes, it was the ordinary man, the taxpayer, the grunt who fought and won the wars. Yes, it was America and its allies. Yes, it was the great leaders: Roosevelt, de Gaulle, Adenauer, Truman, John Paul II, Margaret Thatcher, Ronald Reagan. But above all, victory required one man without whom the fight would have been lost at the beginning. It required Winston Churchill.
Winston S. Churchill, RIP
The de Gaulle and Attlee quotes are from Martin Gilbert, Never Despair. (pgs. 1360-1361)

The Krauthammer commentary can be found at The Churchill Centre's Personality of the Century page( Here and then scroll to near the bottom.)

Monday, January 23, 2006

The Chruchill Series - Jan. 23, 2006

(One of a series of daily posts on the life of Winston S. Churchill.)

Sir Winston S. Churchill died January 24, 1965 at his home in Hyde Park Gate, London, following a massive stroke on January 12. He was age 90. At his bedside were Lady Clementine Churchill and his youngest daughter, Mary.

Almost two year before, on April 9, 1963 at a White House ceremony, President John F. Kennedy read a proclamation granting Churchill honorary American citizenship. Only one other person, the Marquis de Lafayette, had previously been so honored.

Age and ill health prevented Churchill from attending, but special arrangements were made for a live satellite broadcast direct to his home where he watched the ceremony.

Kennedy first read the proclamation a unanimous Congress had authorized. The president then spoke some words of his own. They were brief, graceful, and left no doubt Churchill deserved the honor he'd just been awarded.

Churchill's son, Randolph, then read a statement on his father's behalf. It too was brief and graceful. And it left no doubt that, even in the winter of his life, Churchill was strong for the things he had always valued and fought for.

Below, courtesy of The Churchill Centre, are the full texts of the citizenship proclamation and President Kennedy and the former Prime Minister's remarks.

At the end of the post you find a link to a Library of Congress online version of its recent exhibit concerning Churchill's many connections to America.


WHEREAS Sir Winston Churchill, a son of America though a subject of Britain, has been throughout his life a firm and steadfast friend of the American people and the American nation; and

WHEREAS he has freely offered his hand and his faith in days of adversity as well as triumph; and

WHEREAS his bravery, charity and valor, both in war and in peace, have been a flame of inspiration in freedom's darkest hour; and

WHEREAS his life has shown that no adversary can overcome, and no feat can deter, free men in the defense of their freedom; and

WHEREAS he has by his art as an historian and his judgment as a statesman made the past the servant of the future;

NOW, THEREFORE, I, JOHN F. KENNEDY, President of the United States of America, under the authority contained in an Act of the 88th Congress, do hereby declare Sir Winston Churchill an honorary citizen of the United States of America.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the Seal of the United States of America to be affixed.

DONE at the City of Washington this ninth day of April, in the year of our Lord nineteen hundred and sixty-three, and of the Independence of the United States of America the one hundred and eighty-seventh.


Remarks by President John F. Kennedy at
The White House, Washington D.C., April 9, 1963

We meet to honor a man whose honor requires no meeting -- for he is the most honored and honorable man to walk the stage of human history in the time in which we live.

Whenever and wherever tyranny threatened, he has always championed liberty.

Facing firmly toward the future, he has never forgotten the past.

Serving six monarchs of his native Great Britain, he has served all men's freedom and dignity.

In the dark days and darker nights when Britain stood alone -- and most men save Englishmen despaired of England's life -- he mobilized the English language and sent it into battle. The incandescent quality of his words illuminated the courage of his countrymen.

Given unlimited powers by his citizens, he was ever vigilant to protect their rights.

Indifferent himself to danger, he wept over the sorrows of others.

A child of the House of Commons, he became in time its father.

Accustomed to the hardships of battle, he has no distaste for pleasure.

Now his stately Ship of Life, having weathered the severest storms of a troubled century, is anchored in tranquil waters, proof that courage and faith and the zest for freedom are truly indestructible. The record of his triumphant passage will inspire free hearts for all time.

By adding his name to our rolls, we mean to honor him -- but his acceptance honors us far more. For no statement or proclamation can enrich his name -- the name Sir Winston Churchill is already legend.

Sir Winston's response
28 Hyde Park Gate, London, April 6, 1963

As read at the White House
by Randolph S. Churchill, April 9, 1963

Mr. President,

I have been informed by Mr. David Bruce that it is your intention to sign a Bill conferring upon me Honorary Citizenship of the United States.

I have received many kindnesses from the United States of America, but the honour which you now accord me is without parallel. I accept it with deep gratitude and affection.

I am also most sensible of the warm-hearted action of the individual States who accorded me the great compliment of their own honorary citizenships as a prelude to this Act of Congress.

It is a remarkable comment on our affairs that the former Prime Minister of a great sovereign state should thus be received as an honorary citizen of another. I say "great sovereign state" with design and emphasis, for I reject the view that Britain and the Commonwealth should now be relegated to a tame and minor role in the world. Our past is the key to our future, which I firmly trust and believe will be no less fertile and glorious. Let no man underrate our energies, our potentialities and our abiding power for good.

I am, as you know, half American by blood, and the story of my association with that mighty and benevolent nation goes back nearly ninety years to the day of my Father's marriage. In this century of storm and tragedy I contemplate with high satisfaction the constant factor of the interwoven and upward progress of our peoples. Our comradeship and our brotherhood in war were unexampled. We stood together, and because of that fact the free world now stands. Nor has our partnership any exclusive nature: the Atlantic community is a dream that can well be fulfilled to the detriment of none and to the enduring benefit and honour of the great democracies.

Mr. President, your action illuminates the theme of unity of the English-speaking peoples, to which I have devoted a large part of my life. I would ask you to accept yourself, and to convey to both Houses of Congress, and through them to the American people, my solemn and heartfelt thanks for this unique distinction, which will always be proudly remembered by my descendants.


The Library of Congress exhibit online, Churchill and the Great Republic may be viewed here. You may want to set aside a few hours for viewing. It's extraordinary.

Is Europe's cold weather anyone's fault?

Today from the Associated Press :

Freezing Cold Spreads to Much of Europe

The bitter cold seizing Russia retained its icy grip Monday and severe freezing temperatures spread westward into much of Europe.

More than 50 people have been reported killed by the cold wave in Russia, and scores of victims were recorded elsewhere in Europe over the weekend.
I'm sorry for the bitter cold and deaths. I hope the weather moderates.

But extreme cold in Europe is nothing new. Europe’s experienced extreme cold weather about as often as it's experienced extreme hot weather. Both have contributed to deaths there.

Until a few years ago, nothing I've just said would have provoked any comment other than perhaps: "Why is John saying the obvious?"

I'm saying it for the reason many of you have already guessed: There are "scientists" and "climatologists" as well as "officials in Brussels" and surely a "spokesperson at the Democratic National Committee "who'll blame President Bush for this latest weather extreme.

Do any of you doubt that most MSM news organizations will report what the "scientists'" and others' say as if it were all true?

Unless we keep saying "Wrong" to obvious misstatements, pretty soon even sensible people will start believing them.

Intolerance on the Internet

Ed Morrissey at Captain’s Quarters posts on a recent form of intolerance that seems to be used mostly by Leftists

One of the least-welcome developments of the Internet has been the rise of e-graffiti, especially at places like, where the victims overwhelmingly have been conservative writers.
It appears that those who oppose conservative thought have little love for free speech when practiced by those who disagree with them, and their only intellectual recourse is to deface websites that sell the books written by conservatives.
Morrissey has a lot more to say here.

Serious Michael Moore will get Canadians laughing

The French news agency, AFP, is reporting:

Controversial American documentary filmmaker Michael Moore bemoaned an apparent right turn by liberal northern neighbor Canada in its upcoming general election.

"Oh, Canada -- you're not really going to elect a Conservative majority on Monday, are you? That's a joke, right? I know you have a great sense of humor, ... but this is no longer funny," Moore complained in a commentary on his website.

"First, you have the courage to stand against the war in Iraq -- and then you elect a prime minister who's for it. You declare gay people have equal rights -- and then you elect a man who says they don't," Moore moaned.
What is it about Moore and his fellow leftists. They're always saying they want "the people" to decide. And when "the people" decide, the leftists get upset. There's just no pleasing some people.

Moore even tries what he thinks will scare Canadians
"A man running the nation to the south of you is hoping you can lend him a hand by picking Stephen Harper, because he's a man who shares his world view. Do you want to help George Bush by turning Canada into his latest conquest?" Moore asked.
Moore ends by telling Canadians he isn't suggesting what he's suggesting
"Far be it from me, as an American, to suggest what you should do," he added. "I hope you don't feel this appeal of mine is too intrusive, but I just couldn't sit by, as your friend, and say nothing."
Rarely has Michael Moore been so entertaining. I think Canadians will laugh all the way to the polls.

Ed at Captain's Quarters "will start live-blogging the election starting at 6 pm Central Time this evening, with frequent updates as information "crosses my desk", so to speak"

Sunday, January 22, 2006

The Churchill Series - Jan. 22, 2006

(One of a series of daily posts on the life of Winston S. Churchill.)

We don’t pay enough attention and respect to Clementine Churchill. Tonight, let’s start to balance the books a bit.

It’s April, 1941.

There’s no Eastern front. Germany won’t attack Russia for another three months. France collapsed in June, 1940. The United States won’t enter the war until attacked by Japan on Dec. 7, 1941.

If you bought German government bonds then, you’d get a very low interest rate. That was "the price" paid by serious investors who wanted to collect their principal at maturity.

British government bonds? You were buying in on "the losing side."

Still, Britain, the Commonwealth, and Empire fought on wherever they could.

On the home island, the fight involved a mostly defensive battle against German bombing raids. The Royal Air Force destroyed many attacking bombers but others got through and did their worst.

Bristol was hard hit during a nighttime raid that April.

The following morning, Churchill and Clementine left London for Bristol to view the damage and comfort victims. A small party accompanied them. It included an American, Averell Harriman, then in England as a representative of President Roosevelt.

Everyone was moved by the damage they witnessed and the "pluck" of the survivors.

That evening, Harriman arranged to make a large, anonymous donation to a relief fund for the bombing victims.

Clementine learned of his gesture. She sent him the following letter:

Tuesday, April the 15th. 1941

My dear Mr. Harriman:

I am sending your generous present to the Lord Mayor of Bristol & although I shall respect your wish that it shall be anonymous, I shall tell him how moved the giver was by the sufferings and bearing of the people of Bristol.

I feel it is the fervent hope and prayer of many of us that all this pain and grief, some of which we have perhaps deserved by our blindness and negligence, may bring our two countries permanently together & that they may grow to understand each other.

Anyhow, whatever happens we do not feel alone any more.

Yours very sincerely,

Clementine S. Churchill
We often forget that in Freedom's great struggle,there were two Churchills who used the English language to touch, sustain, and inspire.
Lady Churchill's letter was included in a Library of Congress exhibit: Churchill and the Great Republic. A transcript of the letter may be viewed here.

Blogging update - Jan. 22, 2006

I'm involved with child care.

It's not hard. In fact, it's fun watching three young grandchildren.

But it does interfere with blogging.

So, except for tonight's Churchill Series post, no new posts until tomorrow about noon Eastern.

The Churchill Series post will go up about midnight.

Thanks for understanding.


Jeff Jacoby on Muslim allies we need to win

Abdurrahman Wahid? I couldn’t recall the name.

But Jeff Jacoby in his Boston Globe column today reminded me:

With 200 million residents, Indonesia is the world's largest Muslim nation, and Wahid -- popularly known as Gus Dur -- was not only its first democratically elected president but the longtime chairman of its largest Muslim organization, the 35 million-member Nadhlatul Ulama.

A revered religious scholar who studied in Cairo and Baghdad, Wahid is a longtime champion of a moderate, progressive, and nonpolitical Islam. As a result, he has frequently clashed with militant fundamentalists whose growing influence, fueled by Arab/Wahhabi oil money, is undermining Indonesia's traditional religious pluralism.
Jacoby reports on actions Wahid has taken to oppose Muslim extremists. Last year, for example
Wahid spearheaded the opposition to a series of 11 reactionary fatwas, or religious decrees, issued by a high-ranking council of Indonesian Muslim clerics.

The fatwas condemned any Islamic teaching based on liberalism and secularism, banned interfaith prayers not led by a Muslim, and even prohibited the answering of ''amen" to a non-Muslim prayer. Wahid and LibForAll promptly organized a group of religious leaders into an ''Alliance Toward a Civil Society," which denounced the fatwas as unworthy of decent Muslims and improper under Indonesia's constitution.
Jacoby says much more before he ends with:
Muslims no less than non-Muslims have a great deal riding on the defeat of the Islamofascists, (and) we will not win the war against radical Islam without Muslim allies like Wahid.
Jacoby’s column offers a look at the vast and critical struggle going on within Islam between the fundamentalists and those seeking a peaceful, democratic way to exist and partner with the West.

It’s hard for Americans to understand and gauge the direction of that struggle. Our media gives undue attention to the anti-Americanism and violence of Muslim fundamentalists while largely underreporting opposition to the fundamentalists from leaders like Wahid and organizations like Nadhlatul Ulama.

Three hundred zealots burning a flag and shouting “Death to America” will make the evening news. So will most any Imam screaming “Destroy the Great Satan.” It doesn’t matter how many times we’ve seen and heard it all before, MSM makes sure we see it again.

But when three hundred young men and woman gather in Jakarta before flying to America to pursue graduate studies and become engineers, physicians, and teachers: any interviews? Their thoughts? How do their families feel?

Nah, that’s not a story. Get the clip of those guys burning the flag.

And Wahid? Sure, he's important. Tell him if he changes his mind and decides to declare a fatwa against America, Bill Moyers or Ted Koppel will do a split screen interview with him. And Letterman will want to have him on.

Don't miss Jacoby's column here.