Pres. Nancy's first full solo meeting and there goes the heirachy. The first order of business for the new regime: get rid of the head table and put the officers at a round table with the rest of us plebs. An unnamed woman at my table remarked: "Leave it to a woman to redecorate!"

Question cards are on the table for members to write down their questions for speakers. Bill Hurley will continue as the question man. Club secretary Deb introduced several guests, both visiting Rotarians and guests of Rotarians. Pres. Nancy has another surprise for us: John St. Pierre introduced a new weekly feature of a two-minute Rotary tidbit. John is a member of the Visioning Committee which thought that it would be helpful to the members to learn about each of the clubs committees and what they do. "In case you're wondering what this two-minute tidbit will be like", John said, "you're experiencing one now". Excellent idea!

Announcements and happy dollars

Bob Davis and Justin Finn are in the home stretch of preparing for the 20th Thunder Chicken road race which is August 2. Please see Rick Page to volunteer or sign up to run...

There were a number of happy dollars today. Lenoard was happy that he had 11 kids from Israel staying with him as part of the friends forever project. Ben gave 20 happy dollars for the birth of his first daughter, Emma Irene Wheeler. Walter gave a happy dollar because his vocational nominee sent a thank you card for her vocational recognition from a few weeks ago. Sandy was happy because she had her convertible top down today. Leo was happy because his parents just celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary. It was nice to see old member John Wheeler returned from Florida to donate 10 happy dollars and thank us for the support of the Tall Ships.

The Program

Program Executive Director Norm Olson (I am not sure if that is his title or if I have just completely made that up, but it sounds good) introduced today's speaker, Frank J Gaffney, President of the Center For Security Policy in Washington, DC. Under Gaffney's leadership, the Center has been nationally and internationally recognized as a resource for timely, informed and penetrating analysis of foreign and defense policy matters. Mr. Gaffney, a former assistant secretary of defense under the Reagan Administration, is also the host of Secure Freedom Radio, a nationally-syndicated radio program heard weeknights throughout the country. The Mr. Gaffney is also the publisher and associate author of Shariah: The Threat to America which provides a comprehensive and articulate second opinion on the official characterizations and assessments of the threat of political Islam as put forward by the government.

Mr. Gaffney's message was that the world is a dangerous place and we don't know how or where it might manifest itself to cause us great harm, so being educated about the threat is essential to survival. Despite the obvious international threats that we see on the news every night, we are seeing drastic cuts to our military and therefore our ability to intervene and prevent terrorism. Maybe as importantly, the significant cuts made to the Defense Department will have an impact on the economy because defense spending is such a huge part of the economy. One might wonder why a nuclear capability for Iran would have a significant impact on the US so far away. A nuclear capability for Iran would result in Iran's ability to create an electromagnetic storm with a nuclear bomb and that electromagnetic storm can wipe out our electric grid, bringing our country to a stand-still. The Muslim Brotherhood is alive and well in the United States and leaders of all major Muslim groups in this country are members of the Muslim Brotherhood. It was amazing to find out that the rules and regulations of the Homeland Security Department require the US to engage those Muslim Brotherhood leaders before we take action against them. That is like having to checking with the KGB before taking steps against them. Ridiculous, according to Gaffney. Gaffney also touched on the Treaty on Nuclear Arms, the so-called "Law of the Sea Treaty". 70% of the world's surface, according to this treaty, should be turned over to the United Nations and that would result in the largest transfer of sovereignty in the history of the United States. Control of the seas, Gaffney feels, is integral to our defense of this country.

Mr. Gaffney responded to a number of questions, one of which is why we are supporting Saudi Arabia. Unfortunately, Gaffney feels, they need us as customers and we need them as the lesser of evils in a strategic area of the world. When asked why the press was not covering these issues, Gaffney surmised that they are not addressing these issues because they think that we are not interested as news consumers.

After just sitting down from asking the questions to the speaker, Bill Hurley got back up and won the $118 raffle. He had no luck with the bonus, however and next week that should be around $1250.