Saturday, December 10, 2005

Knights come late in the game

Most of my regular readers and listeners, those who have been regulars to this weblog since we began it last year, doubtless know by now that I am a proud Knight of Columbus. I am a firm believer in the overall Columbian mission of serving God and serving the Catholic Church. The four principles of the Order (Charity, Unity, Fraternity, and Patriotism) are the principles upon which I try to govern my life, and that is why I was so attracted to the Knights in the first place.

When Hurricane Katrina hit and displaced so many people along the Gulf Coast, of course we gave everything we could. When the Diocese of Knoxville asked Catholics to give beyond their normal tithes and offerings to help Catholic Relief Services bring some small measure of peace to the region, of course, we responded with all we were able to put forward. When the Bishop asked us to help dislocated children and their families who were living here with their tuition to Catholic school, of course, we put forth from our meager resources for this cause we felt was right.

Yesterday I finally get a mailer from the Supreme Council saying that Supreme Knight Carl A. Anderson had visited the area and recounted the devastation to Catholic schools, churches, and to Knights of Columbus councils in the area, all terrible (as if we didn't already know this), and begging me for yet more money.

I should point out that I am more than a little partial to any fund drive for hurricane relief that involves the Knights of Columbus because I know that the money I give to such a drive will not only go to families devastated by this terrifying disaster, but that very likely a good portion of my donation might go to help some Brother Knight and his family who are suffering as a result, and as a Knight, I have no greater duty than the care of a Brother Knight. With that in mind, I should have gotten this letter in the post a week after the storm, and I most certainly did not. Instead, I get an appeal for help from the Knights three weeks before Christmas. Needless to say, in this time of disaster, my budget to assist with the catastrophe is nearly exhausted, especially since, like most people impacted by this tragedy, I certainly did not plan for a hurricane in my budget.

Knoxville (and Tennessee in general) has been more heavily impacted by Hurricane Katrina than many communities to our north, since evacuees by the thousands came here, and so many have elected to settle here. They don’t call Tennessee the Volunteer State for nothing: Many of these people were met with offers of housing, jobs, and help of all sorts. The whole community poured out its heart to help. Knoxville, it should be pointed out, has adopted the town of Bay Saint Louis, Mississippi, and a whole lot of people are putting forth resources, personal and corporate, to bring relief.

Nearly four months after the fact, I finally hear something from the Supreme Council of the Knights of Columbus.

Why did the Supreme Council wait so long when other worthy agents of relief were surely going to get to so many Brother Knights before they did?

Friday, December 09, 2005

The weather oddity

It has been said by me and others that East Tennessee is a weather oddity. Knox County and the counties that immediately surround it lay in the Tennessee River Valley, with the Great Smoky Mountains to the east and the well-elevated Cumberland Plateau to the west. Weather systems often slow over the plateau and the mountains, but will speed right through the valley, or even go around it, and thereby avoid gaining forward speed. This "hole effect" usually spares Knoxville any serious snowfall during the course of any given winter.

There is already no small debate developing among the local weathermen as to whether today's atmospheric situation was caused by the speed with which today's weather system raced through the valley, or whether the worst of it just went around us, but while Asheville and Charlottesville have snow today, Knoxville has not a flake.

I am inclined to believe the worst of the system did go around us, because not only do Asheville and Charlottesville have snow, but Interstate 75 is closed from Williamsburg (KY) to Jellico Mountain (for those of you that don't know the area, Jellico Mountain is the Tennessee state line).

The same weather system that just brought us some rain early this morning, brought six inches of snow to Cincinnati, and 7-9 in many parts of Southern Indiana. Washington got dumped on this morning, and reports indicate that the capital has slowed significantly, if not outright stalled this morning. I'd be willing to wager that today's scheduled Congressional session will be delayed, or at least committee hearings will be postponed.

While much of the rest of the east is digging out this morning, life goes on as normal in East Tennessee.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

The Essence of Emeril

Today, there is an important milestone taking place in the rebuilding of New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina: One of three restaurants owned by Emeril Lagasse is re-opening tonight after having been closed since the storm. In a Good Morning America interview this morning, Emeril recounted the pain he felt having to lay off so many of his employees because his restaurants couldn't run. He has re-hired most of his employees, he said, but there are a few who won't be returning, not because he was unwilling to have them back, but because they and their families decided to make a new life somewhere else. Emeril confirmed, however, that he is personally committed to rebuilding New Orleans. What is most interesting is what he had to say about how that was going to be done. "Businesses and business leaders are what is going to rebuild New Orleans," Emeril told Charles Gibson. "Government does not build economies, it doesn't bring recovery, but businesses do." Here at the World, we could not agree with Emeril more.

Photo source

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

The smoggy smoke on Rocky Top

this is an audio post - click to play

Pearl Harbor

this is an audio post - click to play

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Tet Iraq

Rep. John Murtha
Democrat-PA (12)
(Photo: The Hill)

I caught Congressman John Murtha on Today this morning railing against the war. The trouble is that I have terrible trouble not agreeing (or at least sympathizing) with the point of view of this normally-hawkish former Marine. I was one of the few conservatives within my personal circle to have warned of the possible endless futility of the conflict. The trouble, I said at the time, was not that our forces could not win in the field, the problem is that their fighting would not see an end, because the enemy would not acknowledge or accept defeat.

In this sense, the Iraq insurgents are not terribly different from some former enemies of ours, the Viet Cong. Everyone forgets that the VC's surprise 1968 offensive during the Vietnamese New Year (Tet) actually ended in victory for U.S. and South Vietnamese forces. A lot of people blame the press because many say that the press did not accurately portray the fact that the Tet Offensive was an allied win. However, the reality was that American casualties were high during Tet, and despite the costly loss for the Viet Cong, the Communists carried on as if Tet had never happened. The difficulty in Iraq is that our enemies there are carrying things on as if the American march on Baghdad and the fantasic early victories of the war had never even occured at all.

The issue now is that our forces cannot afford to merely withdraw. The enemy expects this, in fact, and they admit that this is what they are fighting towards. If we withdraw, we send the message that America will cut and run when the business gets nasty. So one way or another, we are stuck...Round and round we go, and where we stop nobody knows.

Monday, December 05, 2005

Is Natalee's mother helping?

Today's post is inspired by a very interesting segment I saw this morning on Today about the now-infamous Natalee Holloway case. I will not bore the reader with the details of the case that is now etched, for better or worse in the national psyche. By now, the vast majority of people in North America who may be reading this are very aware of the details of the missing Alabama teenager who missed her flight out of Aruba.

A Vanity Fair reporter (readers will have to forgive me for not remembering this fellow's name) apparently interviewed the Aruban Chief of Police. According to the Chief, Beth Holloway Twitty has, perhaps unbeknownst to herself, done more harm than good into the investigation of Natalee's disappearance, largely because her constant intrusion on to the scene has forbidden the police from following what for them is normal procedure.

Normally, when a tourist goes missing in Aruba, if police have suspects in mind but can't legally keep holding them under Dutch law, they place them under heavy surveillance, and as is the nature of criminals, they eventually rat on themselves. Aruban authorities say that Beth Holloway Twitty's constant intrusion into their work has made it impossible for them to do their jobs. It is worth noting that many business and community leaders on the island who once were staunch allies of the Twitty family have now turned on them, savagely so in some cases.

In fairness to Mrs. Twitty, I am not sure that I would not be reacting in much the same way if it were my daughter who were missing in the way in which Natalee is. However, if Beth Holloway Twitty is doing more harm than good in helping to find Natalee, shouldn't she at least have given the authorities a chance to do their work in the normal fashion, an opportunity that, sadly, may now be lost?

Photo from CNN


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