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Guest Bloggers

12 Nov



Proposal for Action by Conservative Organizations

November 12, 2008 | By | 4 Comments

obama_cnn_malkin_credit.jpgConservatives are giving voice to moving ideas to govern. Heidi Brennan developed this article which deserves a wide audience.

Obama: Did we elect a president?

or a logo?

A man?

or a Brand?

Proposal for Action by Conservative Organizations

By Heidi L. Brennan

The results of last week’s national election are being endlessly dissected and discussed in news rooms, board rooms, and living rooms, but the following should be clear:

The loss of the White House and substantial losses in both houses of Congress are NOT due to a failure of conservative policy. They are the failure of those in the Republican Party who neutralized, ignored, and/or fought every conservative principle over the past eight years.

The Democratic Party outspent and outmaneuvered Republicans, especially at the grassroots level and in sophisticated internet communications strategy.

The two most interesting people to emerge in this campaign are: Sarah Palin and Joe the Plumber.

The current collapse of our economy is shrinking everyone’s budget, and the consequences will include reduction of donations to non-profit advocacy institutions, including those promoting conservative values. Though funding will lessen (initially), a strong conservative values base continues to exist and will make every effort to contribute to dynamic advocacy. Conservative voters are poised to become new community activists. They may rightfully expect new ideas and strategies for promoting enduring principles. Education and policy organizations must find ways to engage these grassroots conservative values advocates with new resources, developing simplified ways to deliver timely political information along with easily usable policy research information.

Palin and the Plumber captured the enthusiastic support of voters because they transcended debate by doing more than espousing basic conservative principles. They told their personal stories in an authentic, simple manner effectively linked to election debate. There were no gimmicks, and no controlled published biographies in advance. Today’s most successful public relations and marketing plans tell a story, engaging the targeted consumer, voter, or client so that they are motivated to act.

Conservative organizations should consider the following:

· Prepare stories and recruit/prepare effective storytellers to reflect their mission/values.

Assess current databases and develop others, especially directed at grassroots conservative activism.

Increase the use of internet-based media/information-sharing tools.

Expand leadership training opportunities beyond the college age population, to include high school and middle school students.

Recognizing that all parents are their children’s primary teachers, especially of moral and civic values, develop easily-accessible internet-based materials for parents to utilize within their families.

Conservatives cannot afford to wait until January’s inauguration of our next President and Congress to implement new thinking and approaches. Organization development should begin now.

more at the jump

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Laptop Loss Leader

November 25, 2005 | By | One Comment

Cross Posted at Jack Yoest


Today is Commerce Day, which is celebrated on the Friday following Thanksgiving Thursday. The day was instituted to satisfy pent-up demand that accumulated over the mid-week consumer diversion to Sam’s Club (for food-stuffs), away from Wal-Mart (for all other-stuffs).

So [I] pull up Drudge and relate how AP reports:

At a Best Buy Co. Inc. store at CambridgeSide Galleria, in Cambridge, Mass., the line of about 400 shoppers snaked through the indoor mall for the 5 a.m. store opening, a scene that was played out across the country.

Que-ed consumers were:

…enticed by deals such as a Toshiba Corp. laptop computer, with a 15-inch screen, that was $379.99

Sales ends at noon. We’re outta here.

Happy Commerce Day to you and yours!


Was this helpful? Do comment.

Consider a bookmark for this site.

Thank you (foot)notes:

Revenue Magazine has Shop ‘Til You Drop.

Challies has Black Friday.

Basil’s Blog has dessert.

The Big Picture has Mixed Confidence (and big spending today).

Don Suber After Hours (new name as line extension) has Tide Lifting and is working today.

Stop the ACLU has Thankful List from Real Teen.

Grow a Brain has Thanksgiving Everybody and good time management advice.

Sister Toldjah has Thanksgiving — check out sale items from her commenters. Wal-Mart always has deals.

16 Jun



USS Bonefish, Lost June 18, 1945

June 16, 2005 | By | 6 Comments

Sixty years ago on Saturday, June 18th, 1945, the Japanese sunk the USS Bonefish, with the loss of all hands. A young torpedo-man, John Yoest, received transfer papers some time prior to her last voyage, and walked off the submarine, safely. His son, John Yoest, Jr. is my husband . . . and the following is a tribute Jack wrote several years ago to the men of the Bonefish. This piece was originally published by The Virginian Pilot and the Courier Post.


My father, then only a teen-ager from Jersey, left high school, went to war and was assigned to the submarine, USS Bonefish. Just before the final mission of the Bonefish, my father walked off the gangplank – transferred to another assignment. Another man took his place.


USS Bonefish,

Returning from her 4th patrol.

Sailors, rest your oars.

On its eighth mission, on June 18, 1945, the Bonefish was lost fighting the enemy in the Sea of Japan, with the loss of all 53 officers and men. It was the last U.S. submarine sunk in World War II. Dad eventually went back to high school and married my mother. The other man is “on eternal patrol,” as the veterans say.

A half-century later, after fighting in and surviving two wars, my father was buried in Arlington Cemetery. He had the chance to raise a family and devote 30 years to the armed services, and pin second lieutenant bars on my shoulders. He didn’t talk much about the Bonefish or the man who replaced him. Still, I imagine in some Navy Valhalla my dad and this other sailor linked up together and asked the Creator, “Why?”

“Why him? Why me?”


John Sr. with John Jr.

War forces these questions on us, and they echo for generations. My father had me, and I now have a 4-year-old son, John, who carries his grandfather’s name and his love of battle and discipline.


John III with John Jr. (Jack)

John, like all children, often asks, “Why?” Like all fathers, I struggle to answer. But there are questions mere human reason cannot fathom.

Why was my father not on that submarine that fateful day?

And the answer does not come. Only that John now lives. With a purpose and a destiny still unknown.

When my wife was pregnant with our first child, someone asked her, “What is your greatest fear?” She answered that it was losing her husband; she feared the possibility of facing the awesome responsibility of motherhood alone. But now, several children later, as I reflect on that same question, my fear is not of losing her, or even one of our daughters. I fear losing my son. In my masculine pride, I believe I can protect my wife and girls, but in my heart lurks the dread possibility that I must one day send my son to war.

My boy loves my cavalry saber and my dad’s medals. Wearing a military uniform and military service runs in our family. My son’s bloodline is traced through the Civil War and the Revolutionary War to William Penn to Charlemagne of ninth century France. His great-grandfather helped build Virginia Military Institute. I pray the time never comes, but if it does, I expect that he will fight for God and country like his fathers before him.

Buried at sea, there are no headstones. I cannot mark the grave of the man who took my father’s place, so I mark the date. I pay silent homage in remembrance of June 18, 1945, when the sea smashed through the bulkheads and turned a warship into a coffin. There have been many such coffins, and if history is any teacher there are many yet to come.

When I think of future wars, I pray that a doomed high-tech Bonefish will not carry my John. The fear of this nearly unendurable loss humbles me. That young man who walked on the Bonefish to take my father’s place was another man’s son. Another man’s dreams lost at sea. War turns civilization on its head. In peace, sons bury fathers. In war, fathers bury sons.

It is a weighty debt. A debt of honor due. I expect to instill in my son a sense of history, of purpose, of his mission. That his body is not entirely his own, that he has a high calling. I hope that I can teach him the lessons of his forefathers, those men now called the Greatest Generation.

It is my prayer that instilling this sense of mission will drive out the distractions, temptations and destructions of his growing generation. That drugs will not cloud his ambition. That he will see the hand of divine providence moving in his life. That he will know he has so much to be thankful for. Like his fathers before him.

I pray he will be grateful, like his grandfather. It is my charge to tell my son that another man took his grandfather’s place. My son has the duty, and like me, the obligation to his family and to that other man, to live with a sense of purpose and awe. To live with a sense of respect to the tomb of that other young submariner.

This June 18, I want to salute the man who died for me and the men who died for us all. I want my son to know his debt of honor. And, God willing, my son will bury me.

# # #

Since this was first published a few years ago, we’ve been honored to hear from other veterans who served on the Bonefish and naval historians. There were actually 85 men lost aboard the Bonefish and another boat holds the distinction of last sub lost in the war.

And, since this piece was written, we’ve added John’s brother James to the family — here he is in the same sailor suit that Jack’s dad sewed by hand while at sea.


James and Jack

See here for our recent visit to Arlington Cemetery.

Thank you for the inter-service support to Mudville Gazette on Open Post

Guest Blogger: Go see Cinderella Man. . .

June 6, 2005 | By | No Comments


Go see Cinderella Man. Quickly. It’s a great movie, so says the Chairman in the movie review below. You may beat me there, so please enjoy it doubly.

But it’s not just about enjoyment . . . this is, after all “Politics in Real Life” here at Reasoned Audacity, so you knew I was going to sneak in the political subtext. Oh, yes.

The Chairman reports that this is a wonderful movie that celebrates family, doesn’t mock people of faith, and is for grown-ups, as well as the coveted teenage boys market. Nice for a change. But according to Box Office Mojo, the movie had a “disappointing” opening:

Director Ron Howard’s $88 million Depression-era drama starring Russell Crowe as boxer James J. Braddock got off to a wobbly start, delivering an estimated $18.6 million at 2,812 venues in fourth place.

So those of us who would like Hollywood to make movies that are inspiring and uplifting need to support this one — we need to send the message that positive, wholesome movies sell theatre tickets.

The following from the Chairman . . .

* * *

“You want to go see what?” I said.

Cinderella Man,” she said.

“But that’s a boxing movie,” I said.

“I know. What time shall I reserve the tickets for?” she said.

Hey, if the birthday girl says she wants to go see a Depression-era boxing movie, I’m gonna take her to see it even if it does star bad boy Russell Crowe who doesn’t do much for me. Well, okay, Gladiator wasn’t bad but . . .

I can’t pinpoint the moment when my reservations about the flick began to fade away. It didn’t have a lot to do with the chemistry between Crowe and Zellweger; she isn’t my cup of tea either. Mostly it had to do with the fact that Crowe played Jim Braddock not as some swaggeringly tough fighter, but as the quintessentially good family man . . . from start to finish . . . without a blemish. This fact alone is probably what allowed me to care about him and his wife and his children.

He made me care because he was just so decent. It left me wondering how a man could be so decent and yet be such a slugger in the ring. He was a ferocious fighter, but I never got the sense that he had any malicious feelings toward his opponents . . . well, maybe Max Baer was the exception.

Boxing was just Braddock’s talent, his profession. Most importantly, it was a means of providing for his family. It never became his life. Braddock’s family was his life.

I understand how his comeback after a year out of the ring earned him the moniker “Cinderella Man,” but given the story told by this movie, it might more aptly have been titled, The Passion of the Family Man. At the outset we are shown how injury and the Depression stripped Braddock of nearly everything: his career, his home, everything but his character and values. We see the family’s desperate fight to survive and stay together during the depression . . . and their decency remains intact when everything else lies in ruin. And we care about them.

I became so gripped by the story that I lost sight of what the actors were doing. The cast was totally believable so they never got in the way of the story — some of the credit for this goes to the director, Ron Howard. I would never have believed that Russell Crowe could have acted the role of Braddock with such a low-keyed, self-effacing dignity.

There are several great scenes in this movie that will always stick with me. But one scene is particularly powerful. On the comeback trail, Braddock is asked by a reporter: “What are you fighting for?”

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Guest Blog: Just Another Hour. . .

April 15, 2005 | By | No Comments

The question of “time,” and the pain we feel at our futile attempts to slow its rapid passage, always reminds me of C. S. Lewis’ observation that our discomfort in the temporal is proof of our reality as eternal beings. He wrote in a letter to Sheldon Vanauken in 1950:

Do fish complain of the sea for being wet? Or if they did, would that fact itself not strongly suggest that they had not always, or would not always be, purely aquatic creatures? Notice how we are perpetually surprised at Time. (“How time flies! Fancy John being grown-up and married! I can hardly believe it!”) In heaven’s name, why? Unless, indeed, there is something about us that is not temporal.

With that as introduction, here is a guest blog from the Chairman of the Board that expresses the problem of time just beautifully.

Just Another Hour

If I could take the hours

That once I spent with you

And mint them into coins of gold

What would I buy

That equaled their full worth?

Ah, love, another hour with thee.

– Ailene Gilbert Crouse

Lovers measure time by the hours they are apart. When they are together . . . they do not know time.

Mothers and fathers measure time by the brief moments of relief while the baby sleeps, by the treasured fleeting days of a child’s innocence, by the cycle of outgrown shoes, of the school year.

jamesat chapel.jpg
Ailene’s Great-Grandson, and her husband’s namesake. . .

Grandmothers and grandfathers measure time-present by the intervals remembered of time-past. From birth to graduation to marriage, all now yesterday, passed in a moment . . . but, if God be pleased, again from birth to graduation . . .

Humanity measures time by the cycle from Spring to blossoming Spring . . . and from the progress of the grass and trees reclaiming yesterday’s shrieking battlefields and silent cemeteries.

And what of the God of the “eternal now?” The Word compared Him to a father waiting longingly, hopefully, relentlessly, for his wayward son to come to his senses . . . and home to the father’s love.

And now abides faith, hope, and love, which do not know time . . . but the greatest of these is love.

02 Apr


Guest: Consider the robin. . .

April 2, 2005 | By |

This just in from the Chairman of the Board, a guest blogger who wishes to remain anonymous. It meant a lot to me, so I share it with you:

This morning I saw a familiar sight walking from the train station to my office: a robin searching for worms. Not just searching, but finding. As I watched the bird pulling a very large worm out of the ground, my first thought was what an amazing feat of hearing by the little bird to be able to detect the worm’s presence.

Then as I continued walking I became aware of all of the ambient noise of city life the robin had to filter out. It was a little past the peak of rush-hour traffic, but still a considerable number of vehicles passed up and down Constitution Avenue, less than 50 yards from where the bird searched for its breakfast. This realization made the robin’s feat seem all the more amazing.

And then . . . then I thought of the awesome inventiveness of the One who created the robin with such incredible hearing.

Like the bird, I have to cope with filtering out a lot of distractions in order to focus on the task God has laid before me. And I have to let go of the empty goals my pride and ambition drive me toward, and instead value the opportunity I have to do the garden-variety, common and ordinary stuff that I do have enough talent to accomplish.

By the time I neared the office, the phrase “consider the lilies of the field” was echoing through my mind.

Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what you shall eat, or what you shall drink; nor yet for your body, what you shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment? Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are you not much better than they?

Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature? And why take you thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is cast into the oven, [shall he] not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith?

Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that you have need of all these things.

But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.

-Matthew 6:25-34

** Editorial note: see here, for interesting discussion of the robin’s ability to hear earthworms! Although the abstract emphasizes sight hunting, the text and conclusion also underscores the importance of hearing.