Monday, February 28, 2005

Combat Awards...and boots...

Jpck20 suggested that I read a milblog that he likes --Armor Geddon. I found this in the comments on the site the other day and thought I'd throw it out there for discussion.
It's been said on numerous occasions that awards were given liberally during and after Vietnam --as opposed to Korea and WWII where they were harder to come by --or to earn. Is the War on Terror producing a higher than usual amount of awards...? Does this happen when it is perceived that the troops don't have the full support of the public....? Just some things I was thinking about after I read this comment:


"Ok, I REALLY hope I don't get in trouble for this, so I will try to tone down my disgust. I think the Close Combat Badge is [lame]. I think it is a token badge for all the non-infantry, combat arms soldiers who want a CIB. The worst part is that support units like transpo guys are ineligible because they do not close with the enemy. But THEY get into so much shit because they are on the road so much and are a juicy target. Now I'm not an infantry lover. Tankers are the shit. Not only can my soldiers tank their asses off, but we do motorized and light infantry stuff in the city streets and palm groves all the time. AND we call for fire. Tankers do it all. But I am a firm believer in tradition. Which is why I wince when I see non-Airborne qualified soldiers wear Jump boots just because they shine nicely for the boards. Or when somebody wears tanker boots because they are cool(which they are). Leave the CIB for the infantry. And step out of my tanker boots." (source)

In the Sandbox...

Marine and his Hummer

"Be an example to your men, in your duty and in private life. Never spare
yourself, and let the troops see that you don't in your endurance of fatigue and privation. Always be tactful and well-mannered and teach your subordinates to do the same. Avoid excessive sharpness or harshness of voice, which usually indicates the man who has shortcomings ofhis own to hide."
~Field Marshall Erwin Rommel

The Chicks:
ROTC
Airborne Radar Tech
Air Force

Sunday, February 27, 2005

LAPD in Trouble Again...

It's 4am. You are a police officer patrolling the streets of L.A. You see a car being driven in an erratic manner. You run the plates and find out it's a stolen car. You pursue the car and attempt to pull it over after the driver runs a red light. It is backing into you and won't stop. You know that three members of the LAPD have been killed my motor vehicles in the past year. It's dark and you can't see into the car. What do you do?

Officer Steve Garcia shot his gun into the car. Probably the same thing I would have done. He fired his gun 10 times into the car that was backing into him...and into the suspected gang member that was driving the stolen vehicle.
...but it wasn't a gang member. It was 13 year old Devin Brown. (source)

There is outrage, once again, in the black community of L.A. over the death of the boy. But my question is --is the rage directed at the right person? No police man should have to allow himself to remain in the presence of immanent danger for 35,000 a year. If a stolen car is speeding at you at four in the morning --you have every right to fire your weapon. Full stop.

Here are my questions...Why was a 13 year old boy in a stolen car? Why was a 13 year old boy out of the house at 4 am? Where was this boy's parents and why are they absolved of responsibility for their son's tragic death? Where is the line where parents are forced to take responsibility?

This was not racially motivated. It was dark. The officer couldn't have known age or race of the driver.

The boy's mother has two felony charges of her own.

This officer will most likely be offered up as a sacrificial lamb for doing what he was trained to do...

It should be Devin Brown's mother that should be facing charges for reckless endangerment --that's obviously what her parenting was...

'Roid Rage...

By now we have all heard the accusations that steroids are used with abandon in professional sports...gee, there's something I would have never suspected with out Jose Canseco's revelations... *sarcasm font*

My reaction...'big deal'...meaning NOT a big deal. I know --a lot of the hard core sports fans are shocked and appalled...crestfallen even. They don't think that it's fair that Barry Bonds, Jason Giambi or Mark McGwire could set new records while on the juice… if people (like Mantel and Ruth) originally set them when they were clean. I have heard said that this is an unfair advantage and will skew the 'realness' of previous record holders. That if these 'roid-boys set records, they should have an asterisk next to their names in the books...

Bryant Gumbel (Real Sports -HBO) had an interesting take on this. Basically he thinks all the hype is unfounded. To the question –how is it fair to have the new hormone-induced players competing for the same records as the all-natural baseball legends….His answer is that it would all even out with modern factors added to the old timers records. Mantel and Ruth didn't have grueling flight schedules and late night games. They played the end of their games against exhausted starters as opposed to strong closers. They didn't play against black and Latino players. This made me wonder what the hardcore sports people would say to this justification…

If you could have taken a shot in the butt in college before midterms that would have enhanced your memory, would you have done it? You would still have to study your ass off, but you'd remember more.

I guess I have never seen the big deal about steroid use. I did a paper on it for a genetics class I took and what I found was --if done in moderation and not stacked for months on end – they weren’t the ball-shrinking horror the media makes them out to be.

…But then again...I like my men the way I like my meat...tough and full of hormones....
(*joking font Courtesy of Retarius*)

In the Sandbox...

Lounging

"The Nation that makes a great distinction between its scholars and its warriors will have its thinking done by cowards and its fighting done by fools."
-Thucydides

Army girls again...

Saturday, February 26, 2005

Biological Gender Differences...
Do They Exsist?

...of course they do!

Harvard University's President, Lawrence Summers, has gotten major heat for some comments that he made regarding this topic.
"Summers said the lack of women in math, science and engineering is due to "issues of intrinsic aptitude" and women's choice not to spend the same amount of time on their careers as men due to the desire to raise a family, not issues of discrimination." (source)
But then he went on to ask students to discuss this --and prove him wrong if they could. Harvard is an institution of higher learning where I thought hypothesis and debate was encouraged --so did Summers. We were both wrong. He has been lambasted by women's groups, professors and the media for looking to provoke discussion. (Yes, notice that I am defending one of CLINTON'S former administration members...)

I'd wager that it's the SAME groups that are defending Ward Churchill's pronouncements (that the victims of 9/11 were not victims at all but deserving of death) that are crusading against Summers. What I am going to say next became cliché during the run up to the election, but it’s true --the LEFT is all for free speech until that speech is something they disagree with... The University of Colorado is a state/government funded school, whereas Harvard is a private University... Churchill made heinous remarks whereas Summers was inciting discussion... The left praises Churchill and shuns Summers....

When did it become wrong to say that there are innate differences between men and women? Men are normally physically stronger. Women are more nurturing. Men are not programmed for monogamy. Women are less prone to physical violence. Men complain a lot when they are sick. Women are smarter. These are all givens right?

AFSister's Quiz...

...what kind of DOG are you?

I wanted to be a PUG...my favorite breed. My late pug was the best dog ever ..."Miss [ALa's] Prized Picasso"...
This pic was taken (by Riceburner) before he died...God I miss him...

MY Pug

BUT...it would seem that I am a COTON DE TULEAR:

Personality: Happy, friendly and intelligent little dog which is devoted to its owners and likes to be in their company. One of its most unusual qualities is that it can walk on its hind legs...

AFSis wants to know what kind of dogs she is hanging with --so Take the Quiz... (Click on 'GAME')

In the Sandbox...

Commo Check

"Everything which the enemy least expects will succeed the best."
~Frederick the Great


Back to the Air Force girls...

Friday, February 25, 2005

Election Reform...

...is a never ending topic in Washington and equally the blogosphere. Many of the articles and blog posts I have read ring more of sour grapes than civic concern. That is not to say that there are not some problems inherent to our voting system (namely Democrats...) Moveon.org is currently circulating emails to its 'members' --(my member name is 'Melinda') asking for signatures on a petition that promotes a bill ("The Count Every Vote Act") proposed by Hillary, Boxer, Tubbs and Kerry.

Reforms Democrats want:
Voting day to be National holiday (which I think is insulting...get your ass to the polls, people have been doing it since voting started and they had to walk 4 miles in 12 inches of snow...uphill...with no coats...)
Felons to vote (Mayor Street of Philadelphia accomplishes this without a new law)
Citizens can register and vote on Election Day (talk about Election Day corruption and confusion...once again, if you want to vote register NOW --I registered to vote when I was 17 and had the GOP rep hold the registration until my birthday...can we say dork?)
Paper ballots for every vote cast at an electronic voting machine

Reforms Republicans want:
In Iraqi fashion --permanent ink on the fingers of voters that have already exercised their right... (See! They are on to you, Mayor Street!)
Present Government issue photo at polling place (seems fair to me...you need ID to do anything else 'official')
You must be alive to vote (That wasn't really on there, but it should be...)

For me, the most glaring blunder in our system is the Primaries. Wagering that most Dems would agree after Iowa and New Hampshire bestowed them with John Kerry. No offense, but two fairly insignificant states get to set the precedent for the rest of the country on whom the nominee will be. This promotes the 'group think' phenomenon that took John Forbes Kerry from a dead campaign to the front runner. The primaries should ALL be held on the same day. Then people can really vote what they believe instead of calculating who has the best chance to win...or what other states did.

One of my brothers is dead set on a run-off election. This is where you would number your choices and if your first choice didn't make it your vote would go to the second on your list and so on. Definitely the brain-child of the MTV generation... I say, make your choice and stand by it...

With the birth of Moveon.org and all the other 527s of its ilk, the 2004 election proved what a miserable failure McCain/Feingold was... Are there any reforms that could be instituted that wouldn't just be circumvented to create a worse election scenario? Is this push just sour grapes from the left --or do we need election reform?

Do Girls Have What it Takes...
to Make it Big in the Blogosphere?!

Washington Monthly did an ARTICLE about the glaring lack of women on the Op-Ed pages around the country. It goes on to point out that the blogosphere seems to be replicating that trend...in the political opinion arena. There are three conservative women in the top 30 blogs and two liberal women in the top 100 (@ #33 & # 48). (These stats were gleaned from TTLB Blogosphere Ecosystem).

"So what's up? There aren't any institutional barriers in the traditional sense of the word, which means either (a) there are fewer female political bloggers and thus fewer in the top 30, or (b) there are plenty of women who blog about politics but they don't get a lot of traffic or links from high-traffic male bloggers. My guess is that it's a bit of both, and the proximate reason is that men are more comfortable with the food fight nature of opinion writing — both writing it and reading it. Since I don't wish to suffer the fate of Larry Summers I'll refrain from speculating on deep causes — it might be social, cultural, genetic, or Martian mind rays for all I know — but I imagine that the fundamental viciousness and self aggrandizement inherent in opinion writing turns off a lot of women." ~Kevin Drum at Washington Monthly(source)

MSN picked up on Kevin's article and joined in with those lambasting him for writing his piece...and Protein Wisdom did a piece about this also (he links many of the political female bloggers...including this site)...

So...a few questions...

To you women out there --bloggers or blog readers -- are you less likely to enter into the political fray...do you get offended quicker than the men if when the dialogue turns nasty?
And to everyone --does the gender of the writer weigh into which blogs you read? Are your favorites male or female run? Why are there so many more male bloggers that have risen in the ranks of the ecosystem? Are women to demure to take it...and is there something wrong with us women that like don't mind when it gets down and dirty?

In the Sandbox...

Big Tent

"The center of gravity is "those characteristics, capabilities, or localities from which a military force derives its freedom of action, physical strength, or will to fight."
-DOD Dictionary of Military and Associated Terms

Changing it up with some NAVY girls...

Thursday, February 24, 2005

No One Left Behind...Well, Maybe One.


The 724th Transportation Company arrived home from Iraq yesterday...and will be returning to their families on Friday. Army Reserve Spc. Keith 'Matt' Maupin wasn't there, but his parents were. They wanted to be there and let the returning troops know how they felt about them and that they didn't blame anyone for what happened to Matt. Two other soldiers did not return with their company --they were killed in combat. (source)

The convoy that Spc. Maupin was traveling with in Iraq was ambushed April 9, 2004. His civilian driver's (and ex-Marine) body was found in January, near the scene of the ambush...but still no word about Matt's whereabouts. (Thomas Hamil was also captured during this ambush, but he would go on to escape on May 2nd). There was a video aired on Al Jazeera on April 16th, that shows Matt (alive) and surrounded by his masked captors.

On the tape, one of the captors can be heard saying: "We are keeping him to be exchanged for some of the prisoners captured by the occupation forces." (source).

On June 28th, 2004 Al Jazeera released a grainy video that shows a man being executed by terrorists --the 'news station' reports that the body is that of Spc. Maupin. This has never been confirmed. Military officials met with the Maupin family two days later. "Congressman (Rob) Portman and the Department of Defense put together the briefing team to tell the Maupin family about the efforts the past couple months to locate and arrange for the release of Spc. Maupin," said Brig. Gen. Michael W. Beasley, commanding general for the U.S. Army's 88th Regional Readiness Command." (source)

In August, Military officials disclosed the analysis of the supposed "Maupin execution tape" was finished and results were still inconclusive. The tape was too dark to verify if the victim was Maupin. "There's nothing in the video that lends you to think it was Matt Maupin, the video is totally inconclusive because it's just too dark and grainy." -Maj. Mark Magalski, casualty assistance officer for the Maupin family. "Magalski added the release of the video on June 28 coincided with the handover of power to an interim Iraqi government, and the video could have been filmed earlier and given to media outlets to overshadow the news of the handover." (source)

Matt's mom wears a charm on her bracelet that reads "Never Give Up", and she hasn't... I pray that the Pentagon hasn't either...

Indoctrination...

PFC Rob Jacobs, who is currently deployed, received letters penned for a social studies assignment from twenty-one 6th graders (approx. 11 yr. olds) in New York. Their teacher, Alex Kunhardt, has declined to reveal whether he read the children's letters before mailing them off to PFC Jacobs.
Some content of the aforementioned letters:

"One girl wrote that she believes Jacobs is "being forced to kill innocent people" and challenged him to name an Iraqi terrorist, concluding, "I know I can't." ***Have the little dear Google "Abu Musab al-Zarqawi****

Another girl wrote, "I strongly feel this war is pointless," while a classmate predicted that because Bush was re-elected, "only 50 or 100 [soldiers] will survive."

A boy accused soldiers of "destroying holy places like mosques." (source)

"One boy who wished soldiers would come home wrote, "From what I see on TV and in the newspaper, I don't think the US is even close to obtaining Iraqi freedom. I'm concerned that George W. Bush is president for four more years, because he doesn't want to get troops out, so you might end up staying longer."

Another boy wrote: "Bush thinks he's brave . . . in his safe little white house with as many guards as he thinks he needs." He concluded with: "By the way, when you shoot someone, is it great or horrible?" (source)

The teacher apologized through a statement from the Department of Education, said he regretted offending PFC Jacobs and admitted blame. He still refused to clarify whether he had told the children that soldiers were 'committing atrocities in Iraq' or if he read the stack of letters before sending them off.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg (D -for all intents and purposes) has been non-committal in his condemnation of this. Giuliani or Koch would not have been so lackadaisical about stating the inappropriateness of this 'assignment's' outcome. Bloomberg defends the letters by reminding New Yorkers that we can't censor what people write...which most of us would agree heartily with --but we can stop the indoctrination of eleven year olds in state/government funded public schools...

“I want to think these letters were coached by the teacher or the parents of these children, It boggles my mind that children could think this stuff.” ~PFC Jacobs (source)

In the Sandbox...

Camo in B&W

"I have just returned from visiting the MARINES at the front, and there is not a finer fighting organization in the world!"
- General Douglas MacArthur


More Air Force Women

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Treason...?

treason: the act of levying war against the United States or adhering to or giving aid and comfort to its enemies by one who owes it allegiance. (source)

Ok, I know those of you on the left think we on the right bandy around the word 'treason' way too much... BUT... Here is my question...Is there such a charge anymore?

Seriously, if Jane Fonda wasn't charged with treason (No, Riceburner...we don't care if she 'apologized'), Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, or John Walker Lindh either --then have we just taken this off the table as a nation?

I realize that there has been less than thirty cases in 228 years, and that the last person charged with treason was Tomoya Kawakita..."a Japanese-American sentenced to death in 1952 for tormenting American prisoners of war during World War II. Even such a clear-cut case created qualms; President Eisenhower commuted Kawakita's sentence to life imprisonment." (source)

Peter Spiro, of New York's Hofstra Law School, has offered a reason for its limited use. "An offense that is inherently political has always been in deep tension with our founding principles of political freedom." Apparently there have been countless Americans who have 'defected' from the Revolutionary War throughout the Cold War --but prosecuting someone for supposed 'political beliefs' has stopped the prosecution under the charge of treason.

This brings us to Ahmed Omar Abu Ali. "Abu Ali faces six counts: conspiracy to provide material support and resources to Al Qaeda; providing material support to Al Qaeda; conspiracy to provide material support to terrorists; providing material support to terrorists; contribution of services to Al Qaeda; and receipt of funds and services from Al Qaeda." (Read the indictment)
"The federal indictment said that in 2002 and 2003 Abu Ali and an unidentified co-conspirator discussed plans for Abu Ali to assassinate Bush. They discussed two scenarios, the indictment said: one in which Abu Ali "would get close enough to the president to shoot him on the street" and, alternatively, "an operation in which Abu Ali would detonate a car bomb." (source)

If Abu Ali isn't charged with treason...then we need to just stop playing, and stop pretending that it's even a viable option... Lefties are now free to jump in with the 'Saudis used torture to get the confession' talking points...

Eminent Domain....What?!

There is a stone farmhouse that's about 20 minutes from my house --it's beautiful. Over the past 15 years the owners have completely restored it (fireplace in each room *sigh*). Each detail of the house looks authentic (the owner has gone to antique sales and flea markets all over the state). Now the state wants to tear down the house to expand the road. Unless they can get the house declared a 'historical property'...they will have no choice in the matter... because of eminent domain they are left without recourse. The state will give them market value, but in NO way can this make up for all the time and work that went into refurbishing this house...
Residents in New London, CT now find themselves in the same situation. The state is claiming eminent domain to kick them from homes they have owned for years.
"Several homeowners filed a lawsuit after city officials announced plans to bulldoze their residences to clear the way for a riverfront hotel, health club and offices. The residents refused to move, arguing it was an unconstitutional taking of their property." (source)
Their case is set to go before the Supreme Court.
I really don't understand this...really... Isn't the right to own property constitutional? It's always pissed me off that if I wanted to build a fort on the sidewalk in front of my house I couldn't...because it's not mine (don't ask why I would want to do that), BUT if someone slips on that same sidewalk because I didn't shovel it --they can sue me... This is worse though... Can you imagine someone coming to your door and saying that they are leveling your house to build a Gold's Gym...?!

Update: FREE's research on Eminent Domain...
Okay, the majority of Eminent law (Shorthand lawyer speak for Eminent Domain Law) has to do with large public works projects like highways, widening of local roads, etc. Big public works, like a new dam for example are also included. The principle being you are never going to get ALL the people who own property it the proposed new reservoir to agree to move, so they must be forced because of the dams overwhelming need. About 20 years ago, the evolution of the case law began to fundamentally change. The two cases that I’m primarily basing my findings on are one evolving Consolidated Freight Ways trucking company who wished to build a terminal in Nashville Tennessee and General Motors Corporation in Detroit Michigan. I will also probably regurgitate some of the stuff the Judge and I spoke about today. So here goes.

What those two cases have proven (as a matter of law proven… that is) is that corporate projects can and often do provide for the greater good much like a public works project conducted by local or federal government can. The idea behind the rulings is that the spirit of Eminent Domain lies with the greater benefit to society, and this can be achieved by both state projects as well as private parties. The Courts have found that not only government can provide for a greater societal good.

The General Motors case is interesting. Back in the 1980’s manufacturing jobs were hemoraging from the Detroit area to America’s southern states at an alarming rate. Unemployment was way up in Detroit and the local economy was failing as a result. Further, the ripples of job loss were being felt state wide.

In steps GM.

General Motors planed a massive new manufacturing facility in the Detroit area. Gigantic in size and scope, it would take up hundreds of square acres. Some of the assembly lines were to be nearly a mile long. There were only a few places in the Detroit area with the right conditions to build such a plant. Near access to highways to facilitate the thousands of vehicles that would be moving in and out of the plant, a location close by a major water source, proper access to the local power grid, area to build a parking lot BIG enough. You get it I’m sure. The local highways leading outside the city at the time weren’t even adequate enough to support the traffic increase of building the plant in a rural area, and certainly a rural power grid could never provide the electricity required. It turned out there was only one place with the right conditions to build the plant. The local Polish Ghetto on the east side of Detroit. The locals in the area had anticipated this need, and when approached by GM, were offering their homes lucky to be worth thirty grand at around a quarter of a million dollars. Obviously even GM could not afford to pay that sum on literally thousands of homes. They opened an Eminent Domain case in Wayne County Circuit Court. The Court’s ruling found that the new plant had the equivalent benefit to the community greatly exceeding that of a new dam or a highway. In fact, it would save Michigan’s economy. The houses were appraised and ordered sold at a value exceeding their original worth, due to the effect the proximity to the new plant would have on property values in the area. In many cases they were sold to GM at 300% the market value had GM not decided to build a plant in that neighborhood. Thousands of jobs were added to the Detroit area, not to mention the benefit felt by the local construction industry. Michigan’s economy was saved.

Now to the Nashville case.

Consolidated Freight Ways (Now bankrupt btw) in the early 1990s was the largest domestic long haul freight carrier in the United States. Nashville at that time (and now) was the fifth fastest growing city in the country. Branching out from the entertainment industry, the city was growing faster than light. Car companies and other manufacturing as well as agriculture, textiles, the Dow Chemical Corporation as well as numerous other business coupled with a centralized geographical location made Nashville prime transportation industry territory. CF planed to build one of the largest trucking hubs in the world in Antioch Tennessee, about nine miles from Nashville city limits. The area at the time was largely small time industrial parks and farm land. The hub ‘obviously’ needed to be in very close proximity to a junction of major highways. The only area around town that fitted the requirements not developed was in Antioch. The local farm owners had no desire to sell their farms so CF could expand its trucking company. Nashville and CF desperately wanted a hub near town. The city’s reason was that to expand further growth in manufacturing and agriculture they required a trucking company capable of moving goods produced. Nashville’s rise would be stalled or stagnated by a lack of adequate transportation. The farmers argued that the hub could be built on property for sale six miles down a two lane road from their location.

An Eminent Domain case was opened in Davidson County Circuit Court. CF’s attorneys argued that CF had to build the hub in the desired location because inadequate roads would force the city to open its own Eminent Domain case against the farmers to expand the two lane road that led to the highway, forcing the farmers out anyway. Further they argued that that proceeding would take such time as to make it unprofitable for CF to build their hub there at all. Their trucks would sit in a massive traffic jam for up to two years instead of move freight, while the farmers argued the same basic case in court, which the farmers would loose. They further argued that that traffic jam which would literally go on 24 hours a day would greatly affect the citizens of Antioch trying to reach the interstate to go to work in the morning. The Court ruled that the greater benefit to Nashville’s citizens was such, that the greater good required the farmers to sell. Their farms were appraised much along the same lines as the homes in Detroit were, and sold much above their normal value.

I agree with these two rulings. My militant libertarian sense of property rights aside, the Framers included Eminent Domain provisions in the 5th Amendment to the Constitution. I agree with the Court’s analogy that these massive corporate ventures were once in a lifetime opportunities. They were unique and required special locations that could never be found without legal intervention. They were indeed equal to a dam or new highway in benefit to citizens.

Mini malls and office buildings however, are in no way the same league.

That is of course my personal opinion. Hotels, health clubs and other such businesses can be built elsewhere, and are certainly NOT one of a kind. I can’t think of a case that could be articulated on grounds that there is only one place on earth you can build an outlet mall. I am however, not prepared to delve into studies on traffic patterns (As I have been doing this on Nashville and Detroit all morning…FUCK!) but I will say this. Case law has shown for the last 200 years or so that property rights can be infringed under certain circumstances. These circumstances are too numerous to completely name here, but obviously we in this country wouldn’t have the awesome highways that we do today had the government not forced some stubborn people to sell their homes. Even their really ‘nice’ homes. So Ala, in this specific case I’d start with the local city counsel or county commission to ascertain the grounds the state government is basing its case on in court. There might be a very sound reason why this home is to be torn down (like a 24 hour a day traffic jam which will soon be imminent) or it could be utter bull shit. Certainly, the local government should pay at least 150% of market value, and Judge McBain stated he’d rule to award compensation for the sweat equity in the home. This would liquidate the property at around 200% of appraised home value. That sounds fair to me. Obviously we are a growing society that needs adequate roads. If the city, state, or federal government could articulate such a need, I might agree. Both the Judge and I wished we’d had expert testimony to hear that showed that need. If the need wasn’t great enough, the government can fuck off in my opinion. As far as private business is concerned, only the CF hubs and GM mega plants show a public benefit as to rate an Eminent Domain victory in my not so humble opinion. Certainly not a mini mall or office complex. There are plenty of places these could be constructed, and don’t require the infringement of a person’s property rights.

What would The Framers of the Constitution think of all this? Well, could they conceive of an eight lane highway? Who knows? This is a problem for the 21st century amenders and legislators to figure out.

In the Sandbox...

Camp Lejuene

"Force is the vital principle and immediate parent of despotism."
- Thomas Jefferson

"The price of freedom is eternal vigilance."
- Thomas Jefferson

"In matters of style swim with the current in matters of principle stand
like a rock."
- Thomas Jefferson


Three more ARMY girls:
82nd Airborne
In Iraq
ROTC

...I'm spoiling you boys!

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

TAPE-GATE...

Is Karl Roe slipping? These phone conversations featuring George W. Bush, taped by 'friend' Mr. WEED, should have been discovered and released before the election. They only strengthen all that has been said about this President on this site and others of its ilk. The President is a decent guy who is the same in his personal life as the guy he presents to the Nation. How many of us could be taped unknowingly and come off exactly the same as we do at our jobs? I'd wager not many... Not me for sure. ...EVEN the New York Times had to admit it...
"The private Mr. Bush sounds remarkably similar in many ways to the public President Bush. Many of the taped comments foreshadow aspects of his presidency, including his opposition to both anti-gay language and recognizing same-sex marriage, his skepticism about the United Nations, his sense of moral purpose and his focus on cultivating conservative Christian voters." (source)

Gay Rights:
"Bush corrected Wead when he said that an evangelical leader said Bush promised not to hire gay men and lesbians."
"No, what I said was I wouldn't fire gays," he said on the tapes. "I'm not going to discriminate against people." (source)

"On one tape, Bush explains that he told one prominent evangelical that he would not "kick gays, because I'm a sinner. How can I differentiate sin?" (source)

"I think he wants me to attack homosexuals," Mr. Bush said after meeting James Robison, a prominent evangelical minister in Texas.

"He read aloud an aide's report from a convention of the Christian Coalition, a conservative political group: "This crowd uses gays as the enemy. It's hard to distinguish between fear of the homosexual political agenda and fear of homosexuality, however."

"This is an issue I have been trying to downplay," Mr. Bush said. "I think it is bad for Republicans to be kicking gays." (source)

Christianity and Laura Bush:
"Preparing to meet Christian leaders in September 1998, Mr. Bush told Mr. Wead, "As you said, there are some code words. There are some proper ways to say things, and some improper ways." He added, "I am going to say that I've accepted Christ into my life. And that's a true statement." (source)

"I have got a great wife. And I read the Bible daily. The Bible is pretty good about keeping your ego in check."

"I'm going to tell them the five turning points in my life," he said. "Accepting Christ. Marrying my wife. Having children. Running for governor. And listening to my mother." (source)

Drug Use:
"I wouldn't answer the marijuana questions," he said, according to the Times. "You know why? Because I don't want some little kid doing what I tried."

""What I saw in George W. Bush is that he purposefully put himself in the shadows by his irresponsible behavior as a young person," Mr. Wead said. That enabled him to come into his own outside the glare of his parents' expectations, Mr. Wead said." (source)


Of course most (97%) of the media headlines (and I looked at 342 of them) say one thing..."President hints at marijuana use"... except for the NYT -who actually listened to and authenticated the tapes --their article was complete, and focused more on Bush's private/public consistency and his very moderate views concerning homosexuality. Wonders never cease...
These tapes have validated my feelings about Bush. They have proved that my 'sense' about him as an honest, straightforward man was correct. He is exactly whom he purports to be...and that is a comforting trait for a President to possess. (I can't help but wonder what tapes of Clinton talking about Hillary would sound like...)

"I believe that, like him or not, he is going to be a huge historical figure," Mr. Wead said. "If I was on the telephone with Churchill or Gandhi, I would tape record them too." Doug Wead, Bush family friend and secret taper of conversations.
(source)

If YOU Were on the Jury...

(Alaska)
Thirty three year old Kim Tran, after fighting with her boyfriend, tied him to their bed to 'engage in sexual relations' then cut off his penis with a kitchen knife and flushed it down the toilet.
A city wastewater utility worker recovered the penis from a toilet drain where the woman had flushed it. It was then re-attached to the forty-four year old man.

Tran was charged with assault, domestic violence and tampering with evidence. (source)

Now we have not been told what the argument was about...but would anything justify this? One example, say your partner had cheated on you and given you an irreversible disease (AIDS/Herpes)... Would women on the jury convict her or would they (you) be thinking 'right on'... The Man thinks this should be a death penalty case...

In the Sandbox...

Wish the pic was closer...

"A piece of paper makes you an officer, a radio makes you a commander."
- General Omar N. Bradley

And more Army girls...

(*Once again, today's Sandbox courtesy of AB*)

Monday, February 21, 2005

Underage Drinking...

The incidence of parents being arrested for allowing their under twenty-one teens to drink at home is rising...
Many parents realize that their teens will drink regardless of what parents' say --so they would rather provide a safe enviroment where the children will be monitored and given rides home. (source)
I am torn with this issue...
Part of me says that I would do they same thing. I have two boys and dread that they will one day be teenage boys (who are notoriously stupid). I know they will drink...on train tracks(?)...and possibly drive(?)...
Aunt Bitchy has a good friend who lost his legs...drinking...on a train track. He climbed a train, stood up on top and 11,000 volts of electricity coursed through his body as his head hit the wires on top of the train. Somehow he lived. Here are pics from after the accident --they are burned in my brain ...they are graphic so you may not want to look at them... (Drinking One, Drinking Two) This was a handsome kid and a sweet kid --and one stupid drunken act changed his life forever... (Thank God he's healed well, and has Even gone skydiving) He has a great sense of humor and the t-shirts at a Beef & Beer Benefit to raise money for his prosthetic legs read: "Got Feet?"

So part of me wants to say...F the law...I want my boys safe and if it means allowing them to party at my house --that's how it will be...
BUT another part of me wonders what message that sends to them. You have to follow rules and laws unless you think you know better --or until it's not convenient for you...?

What do you think?

(All pics taken by AB's Friend Monica Hoover and are the property of her and Brothers From Another)

In the Sandbox...

Broad Boy...

"Our Country won't go on forever, if we stay soft as we are now. There won't
be any AMERICA because some foreign soldiery will invade us and take our
women and breed a hardier race!"
-Lt. Gen. Lewis B. "Chesty" Puller, USMC

...and some ARMY chicks....One, Two, and Three (the tank mechanic)...

*all Sanbox pics were handpicked by AB today*

Sunday, February 20, 2005

Another Blog Quiz...

...Once again, shamelessly stolen from Eric at Straight White Guy...(Tammi at Road Warrior Survival has it up too)...

What’s your favorite kind of cookie?
My pizzelles... I know this sounds conceited, but most people make them too thick or put too much anise...or don't have the right iron...
Who is America’s most overrated actor?
Julia Roberts
Name a guilty pleasure.
Smoking. Yes, I know it will kill me (I plan to stop by 35...), but it really is my last post-children vice. ...and shopping of course...
“Scrubs” or “Everybody Loves Raymond"?
I don't watch either...but I like Patricia Heaton's politics...so if I have to pick, I will go with ELR.
Name two things you can’t live without.
Aside from the obvious like food, air and my family? Nicotine and TV.
You pet’s first name + your mother’s maiden name = your porn star name.
Not saying my mother's maiden name here...So I will do the alternative which is your first pet's name and the name of the first street that you lived on...
Greta Brill is my porn name...I'll keep my day job.
What song are you listenin’ to right now?
Watching Toy Story 2 with Mason...so "You've Got a Friend in Me"... Sad but true...
Name your celebrity crush.
Viggo Mortensen...Aragorn...!!!!
Favorite punchline from a joke.
"...Nothing, apples don't talk..."
Who do you want to pass this [quiz] off to?
Anyone that stops by...

In the Sandbox...

First Navy Boy...

"Don't say it's impossible! Turn your command over to the next officer. If
he can't do it, I'll find someone who can, even if I have to take him from
the ranks!"
~General Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson

Two more cute Air Force chicks....

Saturday, February 19, 2005

The Left Rallies for Terror...(Again)...
Mumia and Soros come to Lynne Stewart's Defense.

Sheik Abdel Rahman (the blind Sheik), who was charged with orchestrating the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center, has been serving a life sentence since 1995. Last week the Sheik's lawyer was arrested, along with three Muslim men, on charges of aiding Rahman by passing communications to Al Qaeda subsidiary -The Islamic Group. (source)

This lawyer, Lynne Stewart, is a controversial/radical 'civil rights' Manhattan lawyer whose clients have included a notorious mafia hit man and a man who shot six NYC police officers. Stewart was Rahman's lawyer during his trial for the WTC bombing until the present. The indictment on which Stewart was arrested alleged that she was "aiding Sheik Abdel Rahman in continuing to direct the terrorist activities of the Islamic Group from his prison cell in the United States". The Sheik was prohibited from communicating with the news media in person or through his attorneys. Lynne Stewart signed an affirmation acknowledging that she would abide by these measures and would be accompanied by translators only to communicate with Sheik Rahman regarding legal matters. (source)

"Among other overt acts, the indictment charges that during a May 2000 visit to Sheik Abdel Rahman, Stewart allowed Yousry to read letters from Ahmed Abdel Sattar regarding whether the Islamic Group should continue to comply with a cease-fire in terrorist activities against Egyptian authorities that had been in place following the shooting and stabbing of 58 tourists and four Egyptians visiting an archeological site in Luxor, Egypt in 1997 - a terrorist attack for which the Islamic Group claimed credit. Following the meeting, and in further violation of the Special Administrative Measures to which she had agreed, Stewart is charged with announcing to the news media that Rahman had withdrawn his support for the cease-fire." (source)



Ms. Stewart has been FOUND GUILTY ON ALL COUNTS...and the left is in an uproar. Who has come out to support her right to aid known terrorists? George Soros, who gave $20,000 to the Lynne Stewart Defense Committee (source) and my personal favorite (*sarcasm font*) Mumia Abu-Jamal (whom Stewart's website refers to as a 'political prisoner'...uh, how about a cop-killing prisoner...). Mumia believes that Stewart is being 'targeted'. Yeah, me too Mumia...targeting for aiding terrorists! (source)

Without 'The Patriot Act' (that I know some of you don't like) it would not have been known that Lynne Stewart was violating Sheik Rahman's gag order and "providing material support for terrorism. "[John Ashcroft] said he was invoking, for the first time, a Justice Department policy allowing officials to monitor attorney-client conversations, if department officials believed the conversations were being used to further terrorism."

This is FINE with me. If it saves American lives...read terrorists’ (and those who would attempt to help them) emails, tap their phones and bug their mother's homes. If they were CONVICTED of terrorist acts against America (as the Sheik was) THEY HAVE NO RIGHTS... Lynne Stewart should be grateful that she wasn't charged with Treason --as she would have been if I were the Attorney General...

In the Sandbox...

Full Gear Soldier

"This will not be a campaign of half measures, and we will accept no outcome
except victory."
- President George Bush

Some Army Girls for the boys...

Friday, February 18, 2005

Abortion Alternatives...

The abortion issue has been talked and argued again and again, but the comments under the 'Parental Notification' post were great -and thought provoking -and civil. The continuation of this is not to rehash the same things...but to attempt something we don't usually do here --talk about viable solutions...

It was girlgrey that was the first to offer a solution -and it was great to see someone searching to solve this rather than battle over it.
She Wrote:
"I'm seriously torn about [abortion], have been since sex-having age.
What if this were the deal: you can induce labor at any time during your pregnancy. If the baby/fetus can survive on life support and all that, it goes to the adoption agency (where babies are a hot commodity). If it cannot survive with all the latest technology, it cannot. Tell me why that is/is not ok." girlgrey, 2/17/05

My problem with this is that babies born prematurely can be kept alive as early as twenty weeks...but this does not mean that they will be healthy. We would be inundated with special needs children (blind, deaf, cerebral palsy, etc) and many families may not want to adopt babies laden with medical problems...in the end this would further tax the welfare system that is already riddled with mismanagement and abuse. That's just my opinion though and I truly respect the fact that she obviously put thought into ending abortion...

Her suggestion reminded me of something that Singlemom always used to say when we were younger...Her abortion solution was:
With all the fertility technology out there, they should be able to find a way to remove a fetus from the mother that doesn't want it and implant it into the mother that does.

What a great concept. There are thousands (millions?) of couples that undergo fertility treatments each year --some of them will spend their life savings and still never conceive. There are people that have been on adoption waiting lists for years. This would not only be a win/win solution for the would-be mother --she would be saved the inevitable grief and remorse of an abortion yet would not be burdened with the child that she was unable to care for. It would also be a dream come true for the infertile couples that experience heartache after heartache on their road to conception. Finally, this would be a new branch of medicine --employing both scientists for the technology and doctors to perform the transfer. Abortion doctors could enlist in continuing education and work to save and create life instead of take it...

Here are two alternatives...what do you think? Can you add any (besides abstinence)?

Update: The Dunkin Donuts Wedding...

Well, they did it. Last Friday Jeff and Margaret got married in a Dunkin Donuts parking lot, under a giant tent decked out in pink and orange, on local television...in South Philly. Since all of you helped make it possible...I thought I'd share some of the pictures...

The Bridal Party
My brother was the Best Man.

The Groomsmen
The Groom (back left) is 6'9 ...size 17 shoe --Just so you don't think everyone else is extra tiny...(the other tall one (Gus) works for The Man).

The pile of doughnuts cake...
(There was a 'real' cake too)

Bride and Groom
Just Married...

Their 15 minutes...
Tons of media was there and they went up to NYC to be on 'Fox and Friends' the next morning.

Congratulations Jeff and Margie --enjoy that Bahamas honeymoon!

In the Sandbox...

LOVING the new Fleece...

Playboy: "What are your feelings about the war at this point?"

Kid Rock: "I won't necessarily always agree with the President, but I'll support him and stand by him. To be honest I'm not educated enough to speak about it, and I don't think any of these other motherfuckers are, either. I'm pretty sure Janeane Garafalo's and that chick from the Dixie Chick's educations don't stretch that far. Look up Condi Rice's or George Bush's education, where they went to school. They've been doing this shit their whole fucking lives, while we've been out dicking around with guitars, entertaining people. Fuckers in Hollywood who want to use the camera to be like, "Guess who I'm fuckin' now?" and "Oh, stop the war!" --all that shit just makes me sick. It really makes my stomach turn."
Playboy Magazine, March 2005 (...see, I really do get it for the articles...)

...and since the boys seem to like the Air Force babes...

Thursday, February 17, 2005

NAMBLA ....Why?!

Seven men were arrested making travel plans to Mexico to have sex with young boys (as young as eight!). Surprise surprise...they were members of NAMBLA (North American Man/Boy Love Association). Two of them were teachers...ugh... (source)

Can someone please explain to me why this 'organization' is allowed to exist...how is the promotion of illegal acts against children protected by free speech and even (of course) defended by the ACLU?!

From their website (which I will NOT link):
"NAMBLA's goal is to end the oppression of men and boys who have mutually
consensual relationships."

They also have 'Entrapment Alert' pages warning members not to talk about swapping videos and pictures via email. I am so disgusted I can't even write anymore. I am willing to give up a bit of the Constitution if it is a document that protects a group like this --a group that shows men how to prey on children but has smart enough lawyers and advisors that they never get caught...

Doesn't the picture on the magazine just say all that needs to be said!? I think I have to go puke now...

Howard Dean Misspeaks #1

"You think the Republican National Committee could get this many people of color in a single room? Only if they had the hotel staff in here." ~Howard Dean 2/11/05 (source)

( I am quite confident this will be a long-running series )

...and to keep things Fair and Balanced...

Alan Keyes called Mary Cheney a 'selfish hedonist' because she is a lesbian (source) and Monday his eighteen year old daughter came out of the closet...oops...(source)

Caption Needed...

I LOVED all the captions that you guys came up with yesterday... I was pleasantly surprised at how many times I got to laugh...and since there is nothing that I like better than someone who can make me laugh...and because I found this picture yesterday and couldn't resist...I figured we would do this again...

Once again...I am making it a link as I can't look at it all day...

Here's The Pic...give it your best shot! (p.s. It's a woman) haha...

Note of Interest: The Man is finally having surgery on his knee today @ 8:30 am...please keep him in your prayers -or well wishes...(for you atheists out there)

In the Sandbox...

Intense!

Playboy: "You went to Iraq and played for the troops, what was that like?"

Kid Rock:
It was all great, very rewarding, one of the best experiences of my life. Flying into Baghdad International Airport and walking through this crowd of 5,000 people and everyone's just screaming --it's the biggest accolade you can get, a bigger scream than we could ever hear in the largest arena in the United States. Think of when you're watching a movie and someone's acting like he's starving. You can't really appreciate it because you're sitting there with a big fucking popcorn and Coke in your hand. You just can't appreciate it enough until you go there and see how these young kids are and how hot and shitty it is, with sand and garbage blowing all over. It's the worst possible fucking place you could be on the face of the earth. Why can't we have a war in Tahiti?"
Playboy Magazine, March 2005

...and an Army Girl stationed in Hawaii for the boys...

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Parental Notification...

I don't understand what the controversy is here. If a MINOR wants an abortion they need to have parental consent. Full stop. A school nurse can not dispense an aspirin to a minor without parental consent. A minor can not go to an R movie, buy cigarettes, get a piercing or a tattoo or be treated by a doctor for an ingrown toe nail without parental consent. Abortion is surgery that has both anesthetic risks and can have serious consequences (bleeding out, etc.) and the thought that someone's thirteen year old daughter could do that without their parent's knowledge is ludicrous.

To date, thirty states have 'parental notification' laws (and polls show that these laws have 80% public approval), but currently children seeking abortions can cross state lines (often to clinics openly recommended by the ones in their state that are prohibited from performing the abortion) and have the procedure anyway. To those of you who would support this --please think about how it would feel if it was your daughter...what if she underwent this with the false notion (that many teens have) that you would disown her --and then died under anesthesia. The thought is unbearable.

"Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) has introduced H.R. 748, the Child Interstate Abortion Notification Act (CIANA), with the bi-partisan support of 108 original cosponsors. This critical legislation makes it a Federal offense to transport a minor across state lines to circumvent that state's abortion parental notification laws. In addition, the bill will require that in a state without a parental notification requirement, abortion providers are required to notify a parent." (source)

There was an interesting documentary on the Discovery channel that claimed that teenagers are only capable of using a very small part of their brains. The scientists and researchers were not sure why that was, but explained how it rendered teenage problem solving skills and rationalizations sorely deficient. Allowing them to make life changing and potentially life threatening decisions with no adult counseling would be an egregious mistake (even, it would seem, in the eyes of science).

*And yes, I believe in the rare (less than 1%) case of pregnancy occurring from rape/incest and when a parent or family member is involved --a judge could over rule the parental notification...


Read about this bill
Encourage your Congressmen/women to support this Bill

Create a Caption...If you can...

I am going to borrow an idea from Cassandra at Villainous Company...(a great site BTW -check it out if you haven't) and post a picture that YOU have to come up with a CAPTION for...

I am going to put it up as a link though...it's not pornographic, but it's...well, disturbing...

CLICK HERE... (P.S. it's a man)

In the Sandbox...

Fly Boy

(This Air Force boy's [friend] came on this site and then told him he wasn't "cute enough" to be in the Sandbox...can we tell him otherwise girls!...)

"Lead me, follow me, or get out of my way."
- General George Patton

Today, I would like to send a special thanks to all the Air Force boys!

(Alright...I'll throw in an Air Force Babe for the boys...)

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

We Need to Defend the Defenders...

"A man who is good enough to shed his blood for his country is good enough to be given a square deal afterwards. More than that no man is entitled, and less than that no man shall have." ~Theodore Roosevelt

Lt. Ilario Pantano is a United States Marine who was working the Sunni Triangle in Iraq, looking for illegal weapons in the midst of rising terrorist attacks. It was April 2004 and Pantano's platoon was sent out on time-sensitive information gleaned from captured terrorists about a terror hideout and weapons cache.

"Their search revealed weapons, ammunition, mortar equipment, bomb-making material and two fleeing terrorists. In an ensuing search of the terrorists’ vehicle... concerned for his safety and the safety of his men shot them both in self defense and then disabled their vehicle so it could not be used in further attacks."

The two Iraqi men that were shot by Pantano had been approaching him. He told them to stop in Arabic and they kept approaching. He had a split decision to contemplate his safety and that of his men.

"He and his men went on to fight with distinction and honor in Falluja and the surrounding areas and, when possible, aided in the reconstruction effort. Months later, the government began an investigation that only now, 10 months after the fact, alleges"... not only murder, but premeditation. (source)

"Criticism is necessary and useful; it is often indispensable; but it can never take the place of action, or be even a poor substitute for it... It is the doer of deeds who actually counts in the battle for life, and not the man who looks on and says how the fight ought to be fought, without himself sharing the stress and the danger."
~Theodore Roosevelt


What are they doing in the Pentagon? First the Fallujah Marine who shot the terrorist --Now this. Lt. Pantano was in the heart of the terror hot bed. He was privy to sights that most of us have never seen --ambushed, roadside bombs, suicide bombers. Two men who were ordered to stop in their language by a US marine holding a weapon and they keep walking toward him... What would you have done? Our troops are leaving their wives, children and mothers to put their lives on the line and then we (most of whom have never played paint ball let alone had real bullets whizzing past our heads) are going to presume to judge combat actions stateside? Is this for real?
Charging a Marine in a combat situation that is engaged with the enemy for premeditated murder (isn't all war premeditated murder?) sets a scary precedent.

"It sets a terrible precedent for Marines, who have to make life-or-death decisions in the field, facing terrorists who follow no rules or laws of war." (source)

Pantano's family has set up a website detailing information about this case and others like it -- I didn't see a petition on the site, but there is a place to donate money...Defend the Defenders.

(Michelle Malkin has a good article on this story...Go read it...)

Wishes...

First, I would like to say HAPPY BIRTHDAY to all the Aquarian bloggers that had B-days this week...It seems that God is like FNC and made it quite Fair and Balanced.
On the 12th...91Ghost, Defiant Heart and LeftyJones...and today, Jericho Brown. Happy Birthday boys! AND...of course the two female Aquarians...Justrose and Punk Ass Bitch --Love Ya girls!

There was a common thread in the Valentine's Day 'wishes' yesterday... The boys openly hoping their purchases would 'pay off' and the girls (silently) hoping their men would give them something worth the 'pay out' that would be expected...LOL... So did you get your wish...or was the day a let down as holidays often are (we girls have a bad habit of expecting too much)?

I was not expecting anything. I am not a girl who expects flowers (give me the $75 and let me spend it on something that won't die in three days...I know not very romantic, but I'm not). The Man and I are grown --so if we want something we buy it ourselves...but this leaves the task of gift-giving a difficult one. He doesn't 'do' cards, but that's OK because he is one of those rare men that tells me how wonderful I am everyday. I did get him a card and Napoleon Dynamite on DVD so he could watch it 15 more times... I EXPLICITLY told him not to get me anything --we are going away over Easter to OBX and I said that was my gift... He never listens and last night gave me this...

I earned it! ;)

...no, I am not complaining...

How I am ruining my boys #243:

"Justice, did you see what Daddy got for me?"
"Yeah, that cool watch..." Grabs my wrist and looks at the watch..., "Wow, I didn't know it was Coach!"
(I guess a six year old boy really shouldn't be able to tell that by looking at something...haha)

So...we already read what FREE got...what did you get?

In the Sandbox...

Colgate Smile!

"You must love soldiers in order to understand them, and understand them in order to lead them."
-Henri Turenne

Monday, February 14, 2005

MWL Calls for Moderation... as CAIR Calls for an Islamic America...

Dr. Abdullah Al-Turki, the Secretary General of the Muslim World League, "called for intensive efforts to inculcate Islam’s moderate teachings and values in the minds of Muslim youth."
"It’s the duty of Muslims to explain to the world the Islamic solutions to human problems."
"Islam, which is a universal religion, can solve the intricate problems of the modern world including drugs, poverty, insecurity and moral degradation."
"Muslims must abide by the true and moderate teachings of Islam and Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) in all walks of their life."
"Islam urges its followers to take a moderate approach in all matters of life. It has prohibited all forms of extremism."
"We have to unify our ranks and work for integration in all our activities, this is essential to protect our Islamic identity and confront international challenges."
"Islamic teachings are relevant to all places and all times."
"The belief of Muslims in the universality of their religion and their application of its teachings in their life and international relations will protect them from the negative effect of globalization."
"He called upon Muslims to promote human and Islamic values and follow the principle of dialogue. However, he insisted that dialogue with others must be based on reforms that come from within and not dictated by others."
(source)

Is it just me, or do others see some mixed messages in this speech...? I want to be able to take it at face value and hope that Muslim leaders are beginning to publicly admonish the fundamentalists within their ranks and call for the moderates of Islam to take control.....

BUT then you read something like this from CAIR's co-founder (Counsel on American-Islamic Relations):

"Those who stay in America should be open to society without melting, keeping Mosques open so anyone can come and learn about Islam. If you choose to live here, you have a responsibility to deliver the message of Islam ...... Islam isn't in America to be equal to any other faiths, but to become dominant. The Koran, the Muslim book of scripture, should be the highest authority in America, and Islam the only accepted religion on Earth." - Omar Ahmad

"I wouldn't want to create the impression that I wouldn't like the government of the United States to be Islamic sometime in the future...But I'm not going to do anything violent to promote that. I'm going to do it through education." Ibrahim Hooper, CAIR Spokesperson

Scary huh...Does anyone else want to tell me I am 'just paranoid'...?

CAIR's Website (now campaigning against TV show '24'?)
Anti-CAIR website

Stated Objectives from The Muslim World League's website:
"Main Objectives of Rabita:
-- To disseminate Islamic Dawah and expound the teachings of Islam.
-- To defend Islamic causes in a manner that safeguards the interests and aspirations of Muslims, solves their problems, refutes false allegations against Islam, and repels inimical trends and dogma which the enemies of Islam seek to exploit in order to destroy the unity of Muslims and to sow seeds of doubt in our Muslim brethren."
(source)

If we have 'accepted' organizations such as CAIR and MWL spreading similar messages to those disseminated by the so-called radicals of the religion -and some are still not recognizing the threat --how do we combat this no-so-hidden agenda?

Update: The Thong Debate...

In light of our extended discussion on the THONG and whether it should be visible or not... I was wondering what the judge that was looking to outlaw it would think of THIS...

Happy Valentines Day Boys --this is your version of the Sandbox today...

In the Sandbox...

Valentine Soldier

YES!, I WILL be your Valentine!

Sunday, February 13, 2005

Sunday Tidbits...

Has a new feature that you may not be aware of....and should be. Put any phone number into the Google search bar (unlisted ones too) and the name and address of the person to whom the number belongs comes right up. Distressing -to me at least. If you click the link above your name you can remove yourself from the directory. (For some reason after the whole Meagan's List thing, this really creeped me out.)

GRAVATARS
You may have noticed small icons appearing next to commenters names throughout the blogosphere...these are called avatars (you chat room junkies already knew that...) It is a globally recognized avatar that follows your email address wherever it goes. If you decide to make one for yourself --it needs to be 80 X 80 --but test it in Photoshop first because they shrink it down to 28 X 28 to fit in Haloscan...and not much looks good that small... Go get a Gravatar... (If your Haloscan isn't showing the squares to host the gravatars email me and I will give you the HTML to put them in).

For all of you fellow Napoleon Dynamite lovers out there... HERE is a ND soundboard of all your favorite quotes from the movie...Enjoy!
"My lips hurt real bad..."

Sunday Cartoon -Thanks to AFSister
Typical Libs

In the Sandbox...

Great Message!

"The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing"
- Edmund Burke

(Believe it or not...thanks to Jericho Brown for this pic)

Saturday, February 12, 2005

Court Mandated Sterilization...

Is it now OK in the south to kill your children if you promise not to have any more? It would seem that way...

Carisa Ashe, 34 year old mother of seven children, shook her 5 week old daughter until her brain swelled and hemorrhaged...and she died. Ashe was charged with murder and facing life in prison. Two days into the trial a deal was reached --she plead guilty to voluntary manslaughter and agreed to undergo a tubal ligation. Medicaid will pickup the tab for the court-ordered sterilization and Ashe has 90 days to comply. (source)

Her other children (ranging from 1 to 16) are with relatives and in foster care. The District attorney said 'there is a chance she could get her children back' if she 'corrects herself'...? I realize that this woman IS a desirable candidate for sterilization --giving her baby-making zeal and propensity to shake children to death...but does that agreement have to mean NO jail time? What message does that send...?

This is not the first case of this nature. In Louisiana, Brenda Shaffer killed her daughter and left her to decompose in a trash bag. She pleaded guilty to negligent homicide and was sentenced to a tubal ligation surgery. "A Kentucky family court judge has also offered tubal ligation in exchange for jail time since 1993 to several women with multiple children who fell behind on child-support payments. For men, the same judge has ordered a choice between a vasectomy and jail time." (source)

Several state Supreme Court rulings have found that when imposed sterilization is agreed to, by the person who will undergo the procedure; it does not violate any Constitutional protection. I would support sterilization for serial impregnators and serial reproducers (who already have more than 3 children 'in the system') --though these most likely would not be voluntary. With these voluntary cases...I worry about the message that it sends. What is the worth of human life? As a society we have made abortion legal (saying life begins at birth), but then we made exception for partial birth abortion (saying life began at viability) --and now we are saying you can kill your baby...but only if you make it medically impossible to have another...

I understand the reasoning of the judge...but I wish he would have thought about the inherent message of his ruling... Am I totally off-base?

In the Sandbox...

(Sorry....I couldn't resist...)

Future Soldier

"A leader is a man who can adapt principles to circumstances."
- General George S. Patton

Friday, February 11, 2005

Desertion & The Firing Squad?

According to Pentagon records, 5,000 military personnel abandoned their duty last year. This number may sound like a lot...but we should put it in context with numbers from the two previous wars. 40,000 during the four years of WWII and in 1971 alone 33,000 deserted during Vietnam. Desertion is a crime that, technically, is still a capitol offense.

Sgt. Charles Jenkins -you remember, the little old man who had fled to North Korea and remained there for 40 years...his sentence was 30 days in jail.
Roughly two-thirds of deserters are caught (most common way: stopped for speeding) and of those returned to military custody only 7% faced court martial.

"Today's deserters typically are young and poorly educated, with histories of delinquency...and they are more apt to flee for personal and financial reasons than moral objection to the mission. Commanders have the latitude to consider the circumstances, usually leading to less-than-honorable discharges, nonjudicial penalties such as cuts in pay or rank --or just a quiet welcome-back for the prodigal."

In 1944 Sgt. Eddie Slovik was charged with two counts of desertion. He was sentenced to be "shot to death with musketry." There were 2,864 deserters tried during WWII -from that group 48 were sentenced to death...and 48 executions were stayed. This would not be the case for Slovik though. On January 31, 1945, in a French village, Slovik was strapped to a post in a courtyard and shrouded in a black hood. His crimes were read -along with his last rites --then 20 soldiers with M-1 rifles took aim from 20 paces back. "Death was pronounced even as rifles were being reloaded."
Eddie Slovik was then buried in a numbered grave -in a section of a French cemetery among 95 American soldiers that had been hung for violent crimes (such as rape and murder).

No one can be sure why it was this 5'6" boy (formerly classified 4-F because of his criminal background before the need for replacements grew) was chosen to be 'the example', but now there are people looking to secure clemency for him. They have petitioned each President with their request from Reagan to Bush 43.

Many of you may have been aware of Sgt. Slovik's story and already have an opinion. Truthfully, I am not sure what I think... a part of me wants to say pardon him. Another part can't help but think about 6,000 members of Pennsylvania's 28th Infantry Division (Slovik's division) that died in the Hurtgen Forest Campaign and the 19,000 that were killed in the Battle of the Bulge --both of which happened while Slovik was refusing to fight....would clemency to him be fair to the families of those who fought and died?

Do those of you in the military want these loose cannons next to you in a fire fight or should be there be a way they can be weeded out --even if it is in theater?

AWOL/Deserters: "The rate has declined to less than 1% in the 1.2 million member armed forces today. The trend is attributable to the volunteer makeup of the military, plus a post-9/11 fervor to fight terrorism."

(source: The Philadelphia Inquirer, "Slovik execution haunts after 60 years" by Oliver Pritchard, 1/30/05 -Thanks to Justrose for bringing me this article...)

The PMS Dilemma...

"Female workers at carmaker Toyota could soon benefit from 12 days paid menstrual leave each year. ...The menstrual leave would be in addition to sick leave. ...A lot of women have terribly bad periods and they are genuinely ill and we simply say that has to be recognized." (source)

Of course, this is not in the US...but in Australia. Now I have a feeling that men will say this isn't fair because they wouldn't be entitled to extra [paid] days off. But I say right on...we women definitely got the raw end of the deal in the reproductive food chain and it's about time we are paid back for it! I, of course, being the ideal female specimen --do not get bad PMS...maybe a bit weepy one day but that's normally the extent of it, but for girls that *ahem* break off screen doors and *ahem* throw rocks at their husbands heads...this may not be a bad idea.
(*When I was living in the UK I heard that PMS can be grounds for defense against murder! Pack your bags girls!*)

What do you think? Is PMS leave a valid proposal?

In the Sandbox...

Oh so cute...

Can I just say... Thank GOD for the INFANTRY boys...Damn...

"The thanks of the infantry, in my opinion, must be treasured more by every artilleryman than all decorations and citations. "
- Colonel Georg Bruchmuller

Thursday, February 10, 2005

The Role of Politics...

...in my life is not what you might think.


Yes, I have a political blog. Yes, I worked tirelessly to get George W. Bush re-elected. Yes, I think a Kerry presidency would have been detrimental to our safety. Yes, I think my vote counts...BUT... No, I don't think that most elections mean much. Did I hear a gasp? Let me explain...

Republican or Democrat, you elect people that are beholden to other people that are way more important than you are...the lobbyist, the big businesses, the Unions, etc. The person you pull the lever for already has their own agenda and regardless of what campaign promises they pledge --it is their own agenda and ambition (and those political promises made to the 'more important people') that will be pursued...

Quite frankly I am SICK of politics. I am sick of the arguing and the name calling. Sick of the condescension (from both sides of the aisle). I can not tell you all how many times my index finger has teetered above the "DELETE THIS BLOG" button. Countless times. The election is over --why is everyone still fighting? Can't we take a two year break before we start fighting over '08? Wouldn't it be awesome if all that energy was used to MAKE the things happen that we all just bitch about? If instead of blogging we all decided to go volunteer at Habitat for a day...or we all decided to call Keystone Soldiers or Adopt a Platoon and ask what we could do to bolster the morale of the troops...

Politics are important to me, not because of the politicians or 'faces' of the party, but because of my core beliefs and values. Politics are part of my life...they are not my life. I can't understand people that would lose a friend over politics ...if you are real friends to begin with -your ideals can't be that far apart and your beliefs are most likely not that different. You might just have different ideas of how to achieve the similar goals. I think many of us fall into that category.

Am I implying that I have never been nasty or condescending because of politics...of course not. I accept my fair share of blame. I hope that I haven't degraded anyone's intentions in my zeal over the election--and if I have I sincerely apologize. My beliefs are important...but my friendships will always come before an election...

My vote may count in the actual tally...but it won't do much for the direction of the country as long as there are lobby groups, PACs and pay-to-play corruption --This is what I remind myself when politics start to creep into my personal relationships. Its flesh and blood and feelings VS. an institution that won't be made or broken with or without me...

Can't we just all get along... (or at least the majority of us that aren't far left or far right...)

The Panty Dilemma...by AFSister

Paris, France

Paris, Kentucky

This falls under the ‘WHAT WERE YOU THINKIN, ELSIE!” file.

I just don’t understand what the big deal is about thongs- I mean, COME ON! It’s a string wedgie, for cryin’ out loud! Why wear anything at all? Go commando, that’s what I say. And why did young women decide that showing off the top of your thong is sexy in the first place? Are these the same young ladies (term used loosely) who led all of those guys to believe that the “show me yer boxers” look is erotic too? Give me a break, people! Don’t EVEN get me started on the overweight chicks showing off their bellies. Look out, fellas- she’s GONNA BLOW!!!!

The State of Virginia is thinking of making scenes like this illegal. According to an AP article published yesterday, “Freshman Norfolk Delegate Algie Howell Jr. introduced the bill at the urging of constituents who are offended by the exposed underwear.
Howell said, "That's why they're called undergarments. They're supposed to be worn under something else." Delegates approved a measure that would allow police to assess a $50 fine on anyone who exposes their below-waist underpants in a ‘lewd or indecent manner.’”

Now this is taking it too far. Obviously, I don’t like looking at stranger’s underwear while at the grocery store any more than the next person does. But illegal? I don’t think so. It’s fine to ban this sort of thing in the schools- dress codes exist for a reason in most cases. What do you think?

In the Sandbox...

Marines Galore

"All right, they're on our left, they're on our right, they're in front of
us, they're behind us...they can't get away this time"
- Major General "Chesty" Puller, USMC

"Take me to the Brig. I want to see the "real Marines".
- Major General "Chesty" Puller, USMC