Several years ago, my youngest son and I were watching a program on the History Channel when the program’s narrator mentioned the capture of a Naval vessel by Communist North Korea back in 1968.
“That didn’t really happen, did it, Dad?” my son asked me. When I replied that it had, he was stunned. “Do you mean to tell me that North Korea seized one of our ships, beat and tortured the crew for most of a year, and we didn’t do anything about it?”
On April 20, Pope Benedict XVI, the spiritual leader of the world’s 1.1 billion Catholics, concluded a six-day visit to the United States, home to 67.5 million of his flock. In between the pope’s April 15 arrival and his farewell ceremony, the pontiff took part in a whirlwind round of ceremonies.
Georg Steller thought he was seeing a mirage. After weeks at sea on the frigid, storm-tossed waters of the north Pacific, Steller, along with his 70-odd shipmates on the Russian exploratory vessel the St. Peter, was beginning to despair of finding land. Weeks earlier, after years of arduous preparation that included the transport of men and equipment across the Siberian wilderness, the St. Peter, along with her sister ship, the St. Paul, had at last set off, under the direction of Danish captain Vitus Bering, from the Kamchatka Peninsula in Russia’s almost-unexplored Far East in search of the northwestern coast of the American continent. Days earlier the two ships had become separated in bad weather and the St. Peter, low on water, food, and morale, had continued northeast into the unknown ocean.
"Yesterday," MSNBC reported on November 6, "Ron Paul’s campaign raised more than $4 million in a grassroots push tied to the Guy Fawkes plot to blow up the British Parliament in the 17th Century." The record online campaign haul that day stemmed from an effort developed by Paul’s always energetic grassroots supporters rather than by the campaign itself. As Paul pointed out on his Website two days later, the historic fundraising "event was created, organized, and run by volunteers."
For a brief period in January, the Internet and talk shows were abuzz with chatter about public schools: “Did Oprah Winfrey really imply that students aren’t learning because they don’t want to learn”; “Is it true Oprah is building a $40 million school in South Africa, and she refuses to build one in the United States?”
The contrasts could hardly have been more striking. On one side were families — including many young children in strollers and backpacks, as well as elderly grandparents — marching peacefully, praying, and singing. Facing off against them: a seething, aggressive mob of mostly 20- and 30-somethings screaming profanities and political slogans through bullhorns and loudspeakers — egged on by the mayor and other city officials. After subjecting the estimated 8,000 marchers to a mile-long gauntlet of deafening taunts and threats, the militant mob surged through thin police lines and blocked the street, defying police orders to disperse. The pro-life march came to a halt, trapped in tight streets crowded with demonstrators, bystanders, and tourists.