Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Heartbreaking

Every scene is filled with misery and destruction...made worse by looting and mayhem (a cop was shot in the face yesterday) --and it's all unbearable.

But one man in particular keeps haunting me. The Man whose house split in two. He was holding onto his wife, but he watched her be swept away...

"One storm victim who identified himself to television station WKRG in Mobile, Ala., as Harvey Jackson stood shaking in front of the rubble mounds, clinging to his two children. His voice breaking in despair, Jackson said he was searching for his missing wife, Tonette, who had disappeared as his house split in half.

"I tried to hold her tight as I could, but she couldn't hold on," Jackson said. "She told me, 'You can't hold me. Take care of the kids and the grandkids.' I'm lost. It's all I have." (source)

Even the reporter is crying as she speaks with him. He is the "face" of the reality of this for me...

If you feel moved to give: FEMA's LIST of authorized charities.

American Red Cross 1-800-HELP-NOW

Join the Katrina Aid Blogburst:

Instapundit's Roundup
Flood Aid
Hurricane Katrina

Update: We don't even have a casualty count yet and the politics have begun...
The painfully monotone Robert F. Kennedy Jr. has written a column that blames Gov. Haley Barbour and President Bush for the hurricane...

You've Been Flagged....

What the hell is that little "FLAG" button in the right hand corner of every Blogger page now, and am I the last one to notice it there?! You can now "FLAG" other people's sites for content?!

Here's now-Google-owned Blogger's explanation:

"Here's How It Works:

When a person visiting a blog clicks the "Flag?" button in the Blogger Navbar, it means they believe the content of the blog may be potentially offensive or illegal. We track the number of times a blog has been flagged as objectionable and use this information to determine what action is needed. This feature allows the blogging community as a whole to identify content they deem objectionable. Have you read The Wisdom of Crowds? It's sort of like that."


So basically people with opposite political views can go on each other's sites and flag each other? I don't know why but I am incredibly annoyed by this...

Eye of the Beholder.... (lyrics)

Sorry Army Girl...

"Mark Voss, of Crawford, Texas, writes the names of those families who do not want their relatives memorial cross at the campsite for Cindy Sheehan, at a gathering of pro-Bush supporters in Crawford, Saturday, Aug. 27, 2005. The crosses were removed from the makeshift memorials at Camp Casey." (source)

...I KNOW that I shouldn't give Cindy Sheehan any more space on my page or in my thoughts than I already have...

BUT...

Sometimes my head just feels like it will explode and I NEED to just get it out so I can move on.

Looking for the exact quote, but i just heard an audio clip of Cindy saying that she has "figured out Bush's mission"... Are you ready for this prolific wisdom...? Brace yourselves...

"He wants soldiers to die because soldiers have already died."

Dayyyuuum! How profound and insightful...! Now can someone tell me what the hell that means?

Where is all the media coverage on the "Cindy, You Don’t Speak for Me" military family rallies (I had to use a link from Taiwan because that was all I could find)? Where is the media coverage of the mother of a Marine who is currently in Iraq that is requesting a meeting with Ms. Sheehan? You haven't seen it?

Me either.

In the Sandbox...

Rebuilding Iraq, One Province at a Time

"Soldiers from 1st Battalion, 30th Infantry, Task Force Liberty are working with the people of the Diyala Province to build schools, improve the water supply, pave roads and rebuild their local government.

Coalition Soldiers are providing Iraqis with money to improve their way of life and, in order to ensure projects in the Diyala Province are progressing on schedule, Soldiers conduct routine checks of these sites.

The work the Soldiers are doing is helping to rebuild the city services, said 1st Lt. Jeremy Krueger, civil-military operations officer for Task Force 1-30, and native of Pensacola, Fla.

"I think the projects in our [area of operations] are important," said Krueger. "What we are doing is improving the infrastructure for this whole area that has been torn down over the last several years. It’s helping the population immensely. It is providing new schools for them, new roads, new water projects, water supplies that they have never had and also some of the projects are businesses that are going to provide some revenue for the area."

The unit is still working on developing more projects in order to better the area, said Sgt. Maj. Matthew J. West, civil-military operations sergeant major for Task Force 1-30 and a native of Dallas, Texas.

We have 83 projects that have been submitted or are currently underway, West said.

"Out of those, we have a variety of different types of projects. The majority of our projects right now (include) anywhere from 35 to 40 schools that are being rebuilt. We have a lot of water projects through three of our major cities and also sewage projects," he said.

1st Lt. Jeremy Krueger, civil military operations officer for 1-30th, and native of Pensacola, Fla., and his translator observe as Iraqis work to build a school in the Diyala Province. (Photo by Sgt. Jennifer J. Eidson, 22nd Mobile Public Affairs Detachment)

Krueger said he believes they are making progress with the people of the Diyala Province.

"We get a lot of support from cities and even with a lot of the individual residents," he said. "We get a lot of positive feedback when we go out and do some of these projects and inspect them."

Part of the unit’s job is to help local leadership learn how to develop their infrastructure and run operations on their own, Krueger said.

"Every day that we go out and interact with the local governments, [we] try to show them that we are there to help," Krueger said. "At the same time, teach them how to solve problems and provide solutions on their own with less and less of our help."

The democratic government is working well in the area, West said.

"The individuals know they have a right to vote," West said. "They are working on voting registration right now and, with the upcoming elections between the October and December time frame, I think we are going to have a good turn out. People understand that democracy in this area is going to be in the road ahead."

West said he believes they are able to help the Iraqis rebuild their city because they are taking the steps that need to be taken for the province’s future.

"I think the key thing is understanding where these people are and where they need to go," West said. "I think they’re understanding the democratic process and [we are] also ensuring that these projects are being accomplished to benefit the people of the Diyala Province."
-By Sgt. Jennifer J. Eidson
22nd Mobile Public Affairs Detachment (source)

...Army girls...
one, two, three, four, five, six

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Fetal Pain?

A recent article published in the Journal of the American Medicine Association (JAMA) that claimed a fetus "probably" feels no pain, is receiving a lot of backlash. It seems that editors were unaware of apparent conflicts of interest with the authors.

"Critics said the article in Wednesday's JAMA was a politically motivated attack on proposed federal legislation that would require doctors to provide fetal pain information to women seeking abortions when fetuses are at least 20 weeks, and to offer women fetal anesthesia at that stage of the pregnancy. A handful of states have enacted similar measures."

One of the authors is a California abortion doctor and another was a NARAL employee. The Editor in Chief of the publication, Dr. Catherine DeAngelis, said she would have "published the medical student's NARAL connection as a potential conflict of interest had she known about it in advance, but that not mentioning it does not mean that the article or journal are biased."

My two cents is:
I hope to God they are right and the baby doesn't experience pain (I find that a bit hard to believe since PETA has repeatedly said that lobsters and shrimp feel pain and a baby's nervous system is much more intricate) ...but why take the chance? If fetal anesthesia is available...spend the extra money and administer it...it's the LEAST you can do! (source)

*Thanks to Liz for this article*

Thankfully, we are making progress on parental consent and the barbaric practice of late term abortion.

National Thank a SMOKER Day...

I am calling on all smokers to join me in instituting a National Thank a Smoker Day...
Instead of attempting to ostracize and belittle us, all you non-smokers should be grateful to us. Instead of looking to ban smoking from bars (and reading from libraries I guess...), reach out and hug that smoker.
Why you ask? Because daily we take one for the team. We risk lung, mouth and throat cancer to provide you all with your precious social programs with our SIN TAX. In Virginia a carton of Marlboros is $21 and here in PA they are $43.
$20 extra a carton that goes to what?
Don't hate me because I'm funding Pennsylvania...!

Evil Katrina

#1) I hope that with so many Bloggers out there now, all those in the Gulf States would voraciously expose anyone that would attempt to "price gouge" and exploit people who have already been hurt by this horrific storm…

#2) After listening to the news about the storm all day...I couldn't help thinking it is strange that in Louisiana instead of counties and towns they have parishes. Technically there are parishes everywhere, but Non-Catholics rarely know what parish they live in.

But my point is not about Catholicism. I am just shocked the ACLU hasn't come in and sued the State --based on the fact that people are "burdened" with the knowledge that they live in an area named for something that has a religious connotation...

#3) I can’t imagine being without power for a month. I rant and rave if we lose power for more than an hour. Those poor people…

Score Another One for FNC

Well, we did lose Rita Cosby to MSNBC (she got the prime time anchor job that she never would have gotten at Fox -though *I'd* rather have a non-prime time slot with ratings than a prime time slot with none)...

BUT, we just got a big score from CNN. I know this must have added insult to injury after first losing Greta Van Sustren and then Wesley Clark...but now FNC also has stolen away CNN morning show host BILL HEMMER. Complete with Lasik eye surgery (though I found the glasses quite endearing).

I've always had a soft spot for Bill... Glad he came over to the light (or the right)... ;)

OBX Vacay Pics

Forget about reading on the beach once your kids love the ocean...


Looks more like a bubble bath (and was as warm as one)...



Our friend's pool that has salt water instead of chlorine...Yes, believe it or not that's a house. They are selling it for 3.2 if you're interested...



No Jumping from the hot tub...



Industrious ALa devises a way to roast marshmallows in 90 degree heat...



The sunset on the Currituck Sound...


Why didn't I have my good camera...

In the Sandbox...



Present the Evidence
"The leftist propaganda in “A crock of nonsense” (letter, Aug. 9) cannot pass without comment.

Despite respect for the author’s military and civilian service to the U.S., his letter is riddled with errors and half-truths. Can he provide evidence of a single instance of “loss of liberty to security” any American citizen has suffered since the initiation of the war on terror?

Comments regarding “the perceived right of the president to lock up anyone who is deemed an ‘enemy combatant,’” and blathering about the Geneva Convention are standard bleatings of the “hate America/hate Bush” crowd.

I challenge the author to demonstrate how terrorists have eligibility for the protections of the Geneva Convention — since one must be in the armed forces of a signatory nation of the Geneva Convention protocols for eligibility. One must abide by these protocols, which our enemies egregiously fail to do with every terrorist atrocity they commit.

The author rants incoherently about “a whole host of other violations of civilized behavior.” Spare us such baseless comments. Those guilty of putting underwear on the heads of Abu Ghraib terrorists are being tried under the Uniform Code of Military Justice. Contrast that with the murderous thugs who sawed off Nick Berg’s head. Who is committing violations of civilized behavior here?

If you have evidence of illegal acts by U.S. personnel, bring them forward. Making outrageous political statements with no basis in fact is the standard operating procedure of the Democratic/liberal party, but it is unbecoming from a former soldier.

We are performing a mission for our Commander in Chief. We are helping Iraq establish a free nation against vicious thugs who have no respect for human rights, much less democratic forms of government. Try to stick to facts and common sense in utilizing your First Amendment rights, which I note have not been taken away despite your hyperbolic rhetoric."

-Dr. (Maj.) John Harvey
Camp Taji, Iraq (Stars & Stripes: Letters to the Editor)

...girls of the United States Military...
One, Two, Three, Four, Five, Six

Monday, August 29, 2005

The Despicable Rev. Phelps... (Al Gore Democrat...!)

After reading that Phelps and his hateful Westboro Baptist followers protested more soldiers funerals with "god hates fags" signs, I decided to research this man a bit... I found his biography to be fascinating--in a horrifying, deranged sort-of way...

Fred Phelps is 76 years old. He grew up Methodist. His mother died when she was 28 (he was 5) from throat cancer. His aunt (a surrogate mother after his mother died) was killed in a motorcycle accident. In high school, "by Fred's own admission, he never dated, possessing no interest in members of the opposite sex".

Phelps was accepted to West Point, but experienced his 'religious conversion' before his first class and dropped out. This conversion happened at a revival at East End Methodist Church in Meridian, Mississippi. He attended Bob Jones University, but was asked to leave because the administration was scared of him and he wouldn't agree to psychiatric help. He ended up at John Muir College in Pasadena where he received a two-year degree in theology. "Phelps received national attention for the first time when he was featured in an article in Time Magazine for his street-ministry efforts to outlaw kissing on campuses in the Pasadena city limits. Phelps also sought to outlaw profanity, which would become a staple of his sermons in later years."

He was ordained by a Baptist minister (though I can't find anything about him attending Seminary school) and married the family nanny. His first position at the Eastside Baptist Church in Topeka was short lived --"congregants would recall years later, he was a "reverend from Hell," encouraging his congregants to beat their wives and children; he was once forced to bail one of his parishioners out of jail after counseling the man to punch his wife in the face until she became "subjugated." Parishioners of Eastside recall one of Phelps' sermons in particular:
A good left hook makes for a right fine wife. Brethren, they can lock us up, but we'll still do what the Bible tells us to do. Either our wives are going to obey, or we're going to beat them!
Most congregants recall an incident one Sunday morning when Phelps' infant son, Mark, began to cry during his sermon; Phelps responded by walking down from the pulpit, punching the baby in the face, and then returning to continue the sermon, to the horror of his congregants. Phelps' dismissal from the church came when a female congregant admitted that she had committed adultery. The next Sunday, Phelps' sermon revolved around the woman, repeatedly referring to her as a whore and encouraging the congregation to draw up an official "form" declaring her to be damned to Hell and excommunicated from the church. In response, the congregants voted to kick Phelps out of the church."

This makes no sense what-so-ever, but his fellow founders in the Westboro Baptist Church were KKK members, yet Phelps worked as an attorney defending the civil rights of African Americans being discriminated against in Kansas. During that time it is said that he drug and food binged and sent his children door to door selling stolen candy to make money for the family. He was eventually disbarred (signed by every judge in Kansas) for ethical violations.

Two of Phelps' sons, Mark and Nate (he has 13 children), "claim that the church is actually a carefully planned out cult that allows Phelps to see himself as a demigod, wielding absolute control over the lives of his family and congregants, essentially turning them into slaves that he can use for the sole purpose of gratifying his every whim and acting as the structure for his delusion that he is the only righteous man on Earth. In 1995, Mark Phelps wrote a letter to the people of Topeka to this effect; it was run in the Capital Journal newspaper."

And, yes, I saved the best for last... HE'S A DEMOCRAT WHO IS AGAINST THE WAR IN IARQ!!!
"Phelps mourned the fall of Hussein's regime and has consistently criticized the invasion of Iraq, citing, "IRAQ=USA=SODOM" and keeping a toll on his webpage celebrating the death of every American soldier killed and pronouncing loyalty to Iraq."
And, like Oliver Stone, he is Pro-Castro:
"Phelps has also repeatedly championed Fidel Castro for Castro's stance against homosexuality; in 1998 Harper's magazine published a letter Phelps sent to Castro in which he praised Castro and lambasted the US."

THE WESTOBORO COMPOUND WAS THE HOST FOR AL GORE FUNDRAISERS AND ONE OF PHELPS' SONS WAS A CAMPAIGN MANAGER for Mr. Gore's Senate race. HERE are pictures of Gore and Phelps. Phelps was even a DELGATE for Gore at the Democratic National Convention. Phelps and his wife were invited to and attended Clinton's inaugural ball in D.C. He hates George W. Bush. I add this because I know that everyone on the left that sees a 'religious' gay-bashing zealot automatically assumes that he's a republican. Well, they would be wrong -this wife beating, pill popping, gay-bashing, military hating lunatic is a full-fledged lib. (source1, source2, source3, source4)

...perhaps he'll do us all a favor and die.

New Orleans...

Anyone that knows me, knows that New Orleans in the ONE PLACE in these United States that I REALLY want to visit. The Man has already promised to take me for our 10 year anniversary. PLEASE let it still be there...

Good luck to everyone in the Gulf States as they brace for this.

I know I'm Hard on Catholics, but...

"In court papers filed in 1994 but which only recently drew public attention, lawyers for the Catholic Archdiocese of Portland, Ore., challenged a child-support claim against a priest by pointing out the culpability of the mother herself for failing to use birth control (which the church regards a grave sin). The 1994 document came to light when the woman went back to court in July 2005 for an increase in child support, but the court turned her down in deference to Father Arturo Uribe's vow of poverty, although Uribe's ordaining order subsequently volunteered more support. (The man who was archbishop of Portland during the 1994 case recently assumed Pope Benedict's previous job as the Vatican's chief doctrinist.)" (source)

Wow... AND...
I was watching a documentary that followed three men that had been molested by a priest. One of the lawyers was discussing the Priest's Canon --which apparently says that its OK (and even warranted) for them to lie to protect the Catholic church and it's image... How can a Priest's pledge directly contradict the Bible...?

In the Sandbox...

U.S. Army colonel receives Distinguished Service Cross

"BAGHDAD, Iraq – The Distinguished Service Cross – second only to the Medal of Honor in military decorations – has been awarded to U.S. Army Col. James H. Coffman Jr. for his role in leading Iraqi Special Police Commandos through a five-and-a-half hour battle against terrorists trying to overrun an Iraqi police station.

Flanked by the Commando unit Coffman fought with, U.S. Army Gen. George Casey, commander of Multi-National Forces – Iraq, pinned the cross and eagle medal on Coffman’s body armor during an Aug. 24 ceremony at Adnon Palace in Baghdad’s International Zone. Iraq’s Minister of Interior, Bayan Jabr, and a number of other high-ranking Iraqi and Coalition leaders also attended the ceremony.

“It’s humbling to me, to be in the company of heroes,” Casey said, noting Coffman’s extraordinary heroism in the battle that killed 12 Iraqi Commandos and wounded 24. “Such exemplary conduct is a great example to Iraqi Commandos and to all American Soldiers and warriors.”

Coffman, 51, is a senior adviser to Iraqi Special Police Commandos with the Multi-National Security Transition Command – Iraq’s Civilian Police Assistance Training Team. He accompanied a Commando Quick Reaction Force with the 3rd Battalion, 1st Iraqi Special Police Commando Brigade on Nov. 14, 2004 to help a Commando platoon under attack in a Mosul, Iraq police station.

As the QRF approached the station, it was besieged with rocket-propelled grenades, small arms fire and mortar rounds. Coffman and the Commandos fought the terrorists for four hours before help arrived. When the initial firefight killed or seriously wounded all but one of the Commando officers, Coffman rallied the remaining Commandos while trying to radio for assistance, according to his award citation.

“Under heavy fire, he moved from Commando to Commando, looking each in the eye and using hand and arm signals to demonstrate what he wanted done,” the citation said.

When an enemy round shattered his left shooting hand, damaging his M4 rifle in the process, Coffman bandaged it and continued fighting with AK-47 rifles he collected from Commando casualties until each ran out of ammunition. He also passed out ammunition to the uninjured Commandos with the help of the remaining Commando officer; when all that remained were loose rounds, Coffman held magazines between his legs and loaded the rounds with his good hand.

When a second Commando unit arrived four hours after the fight began, Coffman led them to his position and continued to fight, refusing to be evacuated for treatment until the battle was over. Not long after the Commando reinforcements arrived, air support and a Stryker Brigade Quick Reaction Force were on hand to assist in the battle.

Coffman supervised the evacuation of injured Commandos and led another group of Commandos to the police station to make contact with the Iraqi Police inside. Once the additional air and ground support elements began attacking buildings the enemy forces were hiding in, Coffman went back to his initial position to check on the injured Commandos and then agreed to be evacuated for treatment. Twenty-five terrorists were killed and dozens injured.

“Col. Coffman, the blood you shed will never be forgotten,” said Jabr, the Interior Minister. “We, the forces of the [Ministry of Interior] and the [Ministry of Defense] will continue to fight until we defeat terrorism. Right will always defeat wrong.”
(Read the rest of the story @ Centcom)

...girls of the USAF...
1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6

Sunday, August 28, 2005

I'm Back & Catching up on things I've Missed

  • OK, first off, I promised my friend "R" from OBX (who is a PA transplant and not an NC native) that I would ask my Southern visitors a question... We were talking about Charlie Daniels' "Devil Went Down to Georgia" because *I* think the devil won (he disagrees), and then the conversation turned to -what the hell does "Chickens in the breadpan, picking out dough" mean... We figure that it must be a Southern thing. Can anyone help out on this one?


  • Did you hear that the London Zoo has set up a human exhibit? It's supposed to be serious too...
    "The "Human Zoo" is intended to show the basic nature of human beings as they frolick throughout the August bank holiday weekend.
    "We have set up this exhibit to highlight the spread of man as a plague species and to communicate the importance of man's place in the planet's ecosystem," London Zoo said. The scantily-clad volunteers will be treated as animals and kept amused at the central London zoo with games and music." (source)
    They will be wearing fig leaves... Leave it to the Brits...


  • Chris Muir (Day by Day) rocks and it seems that he pitched in to the Project Valour IT effort this week! 10K has been raised so far and twenty laptops purchased!!! GREAT news, but still far from the goal -please keep spreading the news and the DONATION LINK and the BLOG LINK...!!!!


  • Looks like Nimbus finally has his new site up and running --and that he is going to take part of a new weekly music ring: Musical Chairs that a lot of cool people are contributing to.


  • I missed submitting something for the Carnival this week, but it's up at 'Not Exactly Rocket Science' and I'm definitely trying the Maple cake...


  • You HAVE to go check out The Gun Nutt's pictorial post about Friday night down at Walter Reed and the FReepers & Bloggers counter-protest across the street from the Code Pinkos... Desult, I gotta meet you down there one of these Friday nights!!! Much love to the FReeps and the Rolling Thunder boys!!!
  • Clip From This Week...

    Remember being little and getting a pound of sand in the crotch of your bathing suit when you were at the beach? Well, in OBX the sand is not fine grain sand...it's more like tiny little pebbles.
    Justice and my Mom both got VERY sunburned the first day --not realizing that the sun doesn't have the built-in smog-filter that it has in Jersey...making it much stronger. On top of terrible sunburn (yes, I had sun block on him!) he had gotten tons of sand in the mesh underwear thing inside his board shorts and during the course of the day it proceeded to completely rub the skin off the top of his...you know.
    Back at the house (as he was curled in a ball on the floor) I asked if he wanted me to spray Aloe on it...

    "Mom!" (he sits up) "YOU have no idea how this feels because YOU do not have a penis!"

    Where is The Man when you need him...LOL...

    I am a Samurai!!!

    You are a Samurai.
    You are full of honour and value respect. You are not really the stereotypical hero, but you do fight for good. Just in your own way. For you, it is most certainly okay to kill an evil person, if it is for justice and peace. You also don't belive in mourning all the time and
    think that once you've hit a bad stage in life you just have to get up again. It's pointless to concentrate on emotional pain and better to just get on with everything. You also are a down to earth type of person and think before you act. Impulsive people may annoy you
    somewhat.
    Main weapon: Sword
    Quote: "Always do the right thing. This will gratify some people and astonish the rest" -Mark Twain
    Facial expression: Small smile

    What Type of Killer Are You?
    brought to you by Quizilla

    Friday, August 26, 2005

    My Foray into Audio-Blogging

    ...from the beach. In the Outer Banks of North Carolina. With waves crashing in the background. That you can't hear on the post thanks to Nextel.
    I love the South...even if ya'll hate me ;)

    this is an audio post - click to play

    CAFÉ STANDARDS: by Russ

    I grew up on a farm. That means I learned to drive a pickup truck in a pasture at the tender age of 10 or 11. I’ve always enjoyed the versatility of pickup trucks, whether you’re hauling a load of drywall to a construction site, or hauling kegs of Meister Brau to your high school graduation kegger & hog roast. Two years ago, I saw an ad in a local carshopper magazine that caught my eye. A 1972 Chevy C10 pickup, with a lightly tweaked 350 motor, 2WD tranny & a full towing package soon came to live at our house. Two years ago gas was less than $1.50 a gallon, and the 11 miles per gallon “Cowboy” gets on the open road wasn’t a hardship (“Cowboy” comes from the fact that my truck is orange with black trim, with orange & black being the school colors of the Oklahoma State University Cowboys). Fast forward to August 2005, and the $2.50 our local stations are getting for a gallon of ethanol blend (about $0.07 less than straight gas here in Iowa) means that “Cowboy” sees the open road infrequently. It still gets to go down to the hardware store on Saturday, and the dogs still get to ride up front with “the boss” when they get to visit the farm on the weekend, but the days of just hopping in the truck & driving 40 miles to Des Moines on a whim are on hold for the time being.

    I bring this up because the new CAFÉ standards are going to require automakers to increase the average mileage for their fleets over the next few years. I’m not sure if the libertarian in me likes government mandating what its citizens can drive, but I do believe that driving the most efficient vehicle that does the job is smart policy. The only disagreement I could possibly have with the CAFÉ standards is that this smart policy should be consumer-driven instead of government-mandated.

    Much of the current weeping & gnashing of teeth related to gas prices fails to gain any sympathy from my perspective. Unless you live 40 miles off the nearest paved road on the Upper Peninsula, your purchase of a 4x4 Durango or Expedition falls into the category of “caveat emptor” and I. Don’t. Want. To. Hear. About. It.

    Just for “fun” (hey, I’m an engineer – we do these kinds of things on a whim), I ran some numbers for gasoline consumption of the vehicles parked in our driveway. I used gas prices of $2.50/gallon, yearly vehicle use of 12,000 miles/year (6,000 for motorcycles), and no provisions for tires, mechanical expenses, insurance or finance payments – this is strictly the cost of keeping the engine fed. I divided the yearly costs by twelve to obtain the average monthly costs (six for cycles to allow for winter storage).

    1991 Subaru Loyale wagon (beater vehicle for work): 20 mpg – 600 gallons/year - $125/month.

    1972 Chevy C10 pickup (my forbidden love): 10 mpg – 1200 gallons/year - $250/month.

    1998 Subaru Forrester (our “Sunday go-to-meetin’ car”): 25 mpg – 480 gallons/year - $100/month.

    2000 Kawasaki W650 (my everyday motorcycle): 45 mpg – 134 gallons/year - $56/month.

    “The Lovely Janis” drives a state fleet Taurus that runs on E85 (let’s save that discussion for another time), so we don’t have to pay for her work-related expenses.

    My conclusions? I believe that vehicles like my Chevy (oversized SUV’s, tweaked muscle cars, etc.) can only function in an environment of high-priced gas if they have specific functions that a smaller vehicle cannot perform. Trucks, cargo vans & SUV’s owned by businesses need to be what they are to do their jobs, but these vehicles will probably lose ground to “smarter” choices as consumers vote with their pocketbooks. Even when these vehicles stay in service, their owners will drive alternatives whenever they can do so. Eventually, “gas-guzzler” vehicles that don’t serve specific functions will fall out of favor with soccer moms & yuppie dads. The cost differential between cars with “okay” mileage like our beater and “good” mileage like our Forrester is small, so as the average mileage of America’s vehicles increases, the financial incentives to buy vehicles one step higher in the spectrum will decrease. Motorcycles will continue to be mileage leaders, but hybrids will start to move into their territory as technology improves.

    Of course, if gas bottoms out & goes back to $10 a barrel, all this talk is just mental masturbation.
    -Russ from Winterset, House Contributor

    Canadian Pride

    Guest Post: Stalkingcat (a right-leaning Canadian)

    The Snowbirds are the Canadian Forces air aerobatic team. On Wednesday,one of the aircraft crashed during the warm up for an air show (News Release from the Snowbirds):

    Snowbird Pilot Safely Ejects From Jet
    CAS NR - August 24, 2005
    THUNDER BAY , ON . - A Canadian Forces Snowbird pilot safely ejected from his CT-114 Tutor jet Wednesday, August 24 at about 5:25 p.m. in Thunder Bay , Ont., during the warm-up phase before the Thunder in the Air Airshow.
    Captain Andy Mackay, Snowbird 8, sustained some injuries during the ejection. He is receiving medical care at the Thunder Bay Regional Health Services Centre. Next of kin have been notified.
    “Our main focus at the moment is Captain Andy Mackay's well being,” said Major Ian McLean, commanding officer, Canadian Forces Snowbirds.
    Thunder Bay Emergency Medical Services responded immediately and Captain Andy Mackay was recovered within 15 minutes of ejecting from his jet. The site has been secured for a flight safety investigation. Captain Mackay was treated in hospital for undisclosed injuries and released. (source)


    Now the predictable media hand wringing has begun. "Today's Question" on CTV.ca was:
    "After Wednesday's crash, what's your opinion of the Snowbirds
    program?
    -It's still an essential part of the Canadian cultural fabric
    -It's too risky and should be put to rest"

    There is the typical "program remains hanging in the balance" article.

    Every time a mishap happens with anything to do with the Canadian Forces, we must go through the "program remains hanging in the balance" routine with the Canadian media. John Cudahy, the head of the International Council of Air Shows, says what most Canadians think of the Snowbirds, "Cudahy said questions about the team's future seem to be coming from the media, not the public".

    I have seen the Snowbirds fly many times, including five times in the last two years. The skill of these pilots are incredible!. The Canadian Snowbirds are the only team in North America (perhaps the world, but I was unable to establish that fact) to fly a NINE, count 'em, NINE planes in aerobatic formation! I will admit about half the program consists of two solo planes, so there is a mere seven aircraft flying within several feet of one another for about 50% of the performance.

    I had the incredible opportunity to see both the Snowbirds and the US Air Force Thunderbirds perform twice, two days in a row, at Cold Lake, Alberta. The Thunderbirds were AWESOME with their F-16's but they performed about 95% of the show with only FOUR aircraft in formation and two solos. Also, the 45 minute "RAW! RAW! USA!" introduction blaring static noise from cheap speakers before the aircraft even started did not warm the Canadian, mostly military, crowd.

    The elegant conclusion of nine Tutor CT-114 planes soaring through true blue Alberta skies brought many hard Canadian Military personal and contractors their feet, roaring in appreciation. I even saw a CF-188 pilot with tears in his eyes.

    I have not seen the US Navy Blue Angels fly - yet.

    The CT-114 Tutors are old. That is a fact. The last one rolled off the assembly line in 1966. They also get a lot of mechanical attention, though. According to the Snowbirds website, each aircraft is stripped and inspected every 400 hours of flight time.

    The aircraft are safe. There have been five fatal Snowbird accidents since 1972. I cannot find confirmation on this, but the CTV news video indicated a majority of them were due to pilot error. This is a tragic, but affirming, sign that the CT-114 Tutor jet itself is not to blame.

    There is an aircraft that is being looked at to replace the CT-114 Tutor. It is the BAe CT-155 HAWK. This is the current advanced trainer for the Royal Canadian Air Force. I am very familiar with this aircraft and have actually flown it in a CAE Simulator, I have seen it up close in the hanger and I have seen many of them fly. It is basically a subsonic F-16. There are doubts if the CT-155 is capable of a nine aircraft formation as the CT-114 is because of the increased size and capability of the aircraft.

    The media should back off the Snowbirds. They have been flying for 35 years and have brought swelling Canadian pride into the hearts of millions of Canadians. The way the Canadian Liberal Government has trashed this war decorated country in the last 40 years, it is pride that Canadians need more than anything else! If we have any left.

    Stalkingcat's site

    Squalor in New Hampshire

    This picture depicts why I am not (and could not be) a full-fledged Libertarian. There has to be some rule of law and government intervention...not all Americans are sane, upstanding and rational. In New Hampshire there are no laws that restrict someone from "living in squalor".

    Andover Chief Laramie said the Constitution's Fourth Amendment protects against "unreasonable" searches of someone's home. "We can't just go to somebody's house and inspect it," he said.
    "You have security in your own home. If we didn't have that, we could be sitting down to Thanksgiving dinner and someone could say OK, there are too many dogs in this house."
    "This is America, and your home is your castle." (source)

    NH has recently intervened in two cases (one with a house in which the family was living amidst garbage and the excrement from 57 animals, including dogs, pigs, goats and fowl...but he judge probably wouldn't have acted if there hadn't been children involved). I am 100% against the practice of Eminent Domain and a person should be able to do as they wish within the walls of their home. BUT when that lifestyle (or the smell of it) spills into the air that I breathe --or devalues my investment...there has to be recourse.

    In the Sandbox...

    Who’s Protecting Whom?
    "I’m a contractor in Iraq. I’m also a former Marine and veteran of the 1991 Persian Gulf War.

    Too many times I walk around Baghdad International Airport and see contractors carrying weapons. Why is there a necessity to carry them into the dining facilities? Why are they carrying them around in the first place? Are we being overrun?

    Having worked security in Anbar Province and logistics in central Iraq as well, I can tell you firsthand that a majority of the contractors carrying weapons around base aren’t even working in a capacity that requires they carry a weapon. And most of those who do never even leave the base. So why are they carrying weapons?

    Major companies such as Blackwater, Erinys and those that actually do provide a security service for the U.S. government are the exception. I fully support the idea of weapons cards for contractors. Additionally, I support that those personnel should provide proof of training with those weapons and only carry them outside the wire.

    Seriously, are the 20,000 soldiers, Marines, sailors and airmen on BIAP not enough to defend us? Hmmm … I see these guys all the time, walking around with their Wiley-Xs on and their 5.11 cargo pants, and their tactical vests. Just get over yourselves, guys. You’re a joke. And more importantly, you make us other contractors look bad.

    Tell you what. Next time you go outside the wire, bring your weapon with you. But do you really need to arm up to go to the chow hall? Or maybe you think you’re the one protecting all these Marines, soldiers, airmen and sailors every time you go into the chow hall. The reality of it is, boys and girls, they’re protecting you."

    -C. Condon
    Camp Liberty, Iraq (Stars & Stripes: Letters to the Editor)

    ...girls of the US Armed Forces...
    One, Two, Three, Four, Five

    Thursday, August 25, 2005

    Freedom Fighters

    Cindy Sheehan has now COMPLETELY disgraced her son. Yes, I'm saying it and at this point I would say it right to her face...loudly.

    For those of you who don't know, Army Specialist Casey Sheehan was one of the soldiers that was killed in Sadr City waging the fight against Shi'ite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr and his followers. Muqtada al-Sadr urged his followers to "terrorize the enemy" --following that 10 US Servicemen were killed, Casey Sheehan being one of them.

    His mother is now calling Iraq insurgents "freedom fighters". They killed her son -yet they are freedom fighters (I guess that's true if she means they are fighting against freedom, but I don't think that's what she had in mind).

    Ms. Sheehan, George W. Bush didn't kill your son. George W. Bush didn't make your son enlist in the Army FIVE months AFTER the Operation Iraqi Freedom began. George W. Bush didn't pull the trigger that killed him. One of your "freedom fighters" did --and if you were standing in front of them, they wouldn't hesitate to do the same to you.

    Stop! You are disgracing your family and the memory of your son who WANTED to go to Iraq for a cause that he obviously believed in. Enough.

    Don't Tell the Truth!

    The New Hampshire attorney general is investigating a Rochester doctor because a patient complained that he bluntly told her she needed to lose weight." (source)

    This doctor, Dr. Terry Bennett, may now be publicly disciplined for telling someone the truth...that she is obese. Being obese is detrimental to one's health and sex life-- which is what he told her. She, in turn, wrote a letter of complaint to the Board of Medicine, which then made its way to the Attorney General.

    "The Board of Medicine would not comment on the case, but Vice President Kevin Costin said, "Physicians have to be professional with patients and remember everyone is an individual. You should not be inflammatory or degrading to anyone." (source)

    It is a sad state of affairs when a doctor isn't able to give sound, honest medical advice to his patients... I really have a problem with the whole PC/sissy sensitive stuff. How bad will it be by the time our kids are grown?!

    You Other Brothers Can't Deny...

    It looks like advertising is finally taking a bit more realistic trend when portraying women. We don't look like the Olsen twins or Kate Moss. Some speculate that the new advertising, geared toward "real women" (the average American woman wears a size 12), was encouraged by JLo and Beyonce who are not afraid to flaunt their ass-ets.

    "Nike's new ads have women bragging of behinds big enough to be "space heaters in bed," and Dove's new campaign has caused a debate over the use of "real bodies" in advertising." (source)

    Truthfully, the Dove ad girls still look a lot thinner than most of the women that I see on the street, but I guess the Hollywood/Madison Avenue types that are used to looking at all the anorexic models think these girls are chunky. If I had a little girl, I would be happy to see these ads with women that look like they don't snort powdered lunches...

    In the Sandbox...


    Heroes in the Rear Echelon


    "I am a retired Special Forces soldier who spent a lot of time on patrol in Vietnam. At night we felt much more secure outside the wire. Inside the wire we would get mortared and receive sniper fire constantly.

    I am a KBR contractor now and I believe it is the same situation at Camp Anaconda.

    During the battle of Fallujah, I listened for three nights in a row to a steady stream of Chinooks flying in pairs loaded with wounded and dying heroes. I was privileged to help provide housing for coalition medics, nurses and doctors, ambulance crews and other medical personnel.

    One Air Force surgeon was at the operating table 30 hours straight, and I helped carry a 52-year-old Air Force Reserve nurse to his room who had been there 17 hours. He couldn’t walk because of a recent knee operation that had not healed but he kept doing his job in the emergency room until he collapsed.

    I have seen new arrivals run for bunkers while mortars landed around their air-conditioned housing area as they were unloading their bags. I have seen Air Force medics go to work as soon as they got off the bus from the airstrip and before we could even assign them a room.

    No doubt that some of the rear echelon support personnel inside the wire have it a little easier in some ways than the ones outside, but they are no less the heroes in my book. If a movie or an entertainment group takes their minds away from their heroic duties for a few hours, then Morale, Welfare and Recreation needs to provide them with the best."
    -Donald “Pat” Phagan
    Camp Anaconda, Iraq (Stars & Stripes: Letters to the Editor)

    ...Army girls...
    1, 2, 3, 4, 5

    Wednesday, August 24, 2005

    Iraq 1991

    Open the curtain for my Blog Twin:
    GUEST POST by: 91Ghost

    It was 4:59 a.m. and Campbell and his chums had been sleeping off the alcohol for maybe two hours when Sgt. Cole’s voice wafted up to the third floor of the barracks, coming from somewhere down on the first floor. "FIRST CALL! FIRST CALL! WAKE YOUR ASSES UP, THIS IS AN ALERT! LET’S GO—FORMATION OUTSIDE, NOW!!"

    Torrez sat up, angry and annoyed, and called across the room to Campbell’s bunk. "Fuck is this dude? It’s fucking Saturday…we ain’t supposed to be going out to the field for another week dude!" Campbell did not reply, but just sat there taking in Cole’s voice, as it became louder as he made his way onto the second floor.

    James took a dreary look at Campbell and Torrez, grabbed the wastebasket next to his bunk, and promptly vomited.

    As James was wiping off the remaining spew on his mouth, Sgt. Mitch pounded on the locked door. "OPEN THIS DOOR THE FUCK UP NOW!" he ordered.

    "All-fuckin-right man," squawked Torrez, good and pissed.

    Sgt.Mitch seemed pre-occupied with something bigger than the three of them. "Get your asses in your BDUs and get outside now, something’s gone down," he said breathlessly.

    As they slipped on their wrinkled BDUs which had all been discarded on the floor for the weekend, a sense of dread and doom took hold.

    Outside in formation, well over half the battery stood with substantial hang-overs, and the remaining fraction stood with quaking and jittery smiles, eagerly anticipating the news to be had as if they were waiting the results of a little-league baseball tryout.

    As Grange stood with his section with his head hung down and his eyes closed trying with all his might to fend off the nausea, Captain Gary delivered the verdict:

    "Men, because this battalion has the best shooting record of all artillery units in Europe, we have been placed into 7th Corps. We are going to the Middle East."

    The captain droned on, "We will be leaving in about one month...so this is your last weekend off. We have a lot of work to do to get the guns and your-selves combat ready. Do not go anywhere farther than 50 miles this weekend..."

    After the formation, the soldiers all hurried back into the barracks and the partial celebration, partial Irish wake, began in earnest. The best bottles of booze were broken out, no matter that it was six in the morning. Hoots and hollers resounded throughout the hallways.

    The dreamy look on Smith’s face made Torrez feel murderous.

    The most immediate thought Rudesheim had been that he was going to die. People died in wars and his little mantra back in the States when he was home recently on leave for a funeral, came back to him: "I guess if there is a war, we’ll go." Well, they were going so that meant there would probably be a war—that meant he was going to die.

    Rudesheim’s next thought was that he was going AWOL.

    In his room alone, he unlocked his wall locker, reaching for his civilian bag. He frantically shoved his best civilian clothes in the bag along with his shaving kit. Counting his money he found 24 deutschmarks, mostly in coins and a $20 bill. It was only 6:20 a.m., and the bank wouldn’t open on Saturday for more than three-and-a-half hours. Rudesheim realized he would have to wait until at least then to go, as he figured he needed all his cash to get back to the States. He left his bag on the bed and walked to the end of the hallway, turning down tequila from Fat Arkansas, E&J Brandy from Washington, and gin from Grange.

    He knocked loudly on Campbell’s door. Torrez opened it. Campbell lay slumped on his bed, a pillow draped over the back of his head.

    "Now what?" Rudesheim exclaimed. Campbell looked from underneath the pillow at his friend and didn’t say anything. "Don’t any of you have anything to say?!" Rudesheim demanded incredulously. Neither Campbell, Grange nor James had anything to say to him. "Well, I’m getting the fuck out of here! I mean out of this fucking Army! I’m going AWOL as soon as the bank opens."

    Torrez had something to say to that, "Shut up, Rudesheim. You ain’t going anywhere. You’re ass is staying right here with us until they ship us off to Sawdee."

    "Fuck you, Torrez." Rudesheim fired back as he left the room. Campbell figured there was a 50/50 chance Rudesheim would go.

    Twenty minutes later, after calling his cheating girlfriend back in New York from a payphone, Rudesheim returned to their room to find the three privates in almost the same exact positions. Campbell still lay with the pillow over his head, defeated and dead-like. The room had a morbid, stifling air to it.

    Rudesheim sat at Campbell’s desk—which had become the place where anybody in second platoon who had any serious contemplating to do, went—to Campbell’s makeshift desk.

    "I can’t go AWOL."

    Campbell did not respond at first. He considered saying "Why not?" but he knew. For the same reasons he couldn’t go AWOL. Neither one of them had the courage to face the people they knew back home if they went AWOL. Even more than that, deep down, neither one could stomach the thought of abandoning the rest of their friends to the fight ahead. So, instead he said, "I guess you’re right."

    "Well, what are we gonna do about it, though?"

    "Get high," Campbell suggested.

    By noon, after a round trip train ride into Frankfurt and back, room 311 of the Bravo Battery Barracks was converted into a full-fledged hash den.

    Meditation to Heal the World... Oooohhhmmmm...

    David Lynch, Twin Peaks creator, has announced that he has set up a foundation (David Lynch Foundation for Consciousness-Based Education) to raise 7 billion dollars to accomplish world peace through meditation. How does that work you ask? Well, apparently 8,000 Transcendental Meditation practitioners bring world peace by creating a "unified field" of stress-free brain waves over the Earth.
    "It's so possible," Lynch says. "You have education that brings a student to his full potential, and it's so possible to set up peacemaking groups to bring peace to Earth. It's so possible." (source)
    This is my biggest problem with celebrities and obnoxiously rich people in general --they have all this disposable money and they set up useless "foundations" and throw "awareness" concerts instead of actually helping. Take that 7 billion and feed the entire continent of Africa...

    In the Sandbox...

    URGENT NEED:
    OPERATION "UNDERWEAR! and 'JUST THE BASICS"

    Can you imagine not having the basics like toothpaste and a tooth brush, shampoo to wash your hair, or soap to wash your body with? How about no deodorant or sunscreen to protect your body from the 130 degree temperature burning down -- with you in full battle rattle dress? How about not having a PX to shop for these basic items, as well as not being able to purchase new underwear, t-shirts, or socks, etc., and not having laundry detergent to wash what you do have? Setting up a new base camp without the basics is really tough, and the Texas National Guard is doing just that. They are building a new base camp in Afghanistan so the people will be able to vote in their Parliamentary Elections this fall! If you would like to help these OVER 700 Army and Marine troops, they are in desperate need of:

    SOCKS: cotton work or crew socks wool/cotton blend or 100% cotton men's socks in men's size 10-13. Black socks are needed for everyday uniform wear and white socks for P.T.
    UNDERWEAR: Cotton under shirts (t-shirts): Solid dark (olive) green, S/M/L/XL
    men's cotton boxer shorts (solid colors, M/L/XL; ladies underwear,S/M/L/XL.
    SNACK FOODS would be a TREAT –anything that won't melt would be extremely welcomed and consumed by everyone!
    TOILETRIES – all the basics (soap, deodorant, tooth paste/brush, lotion, etc.)
    DETERGENT to wash clothes
    BABY WIPES, SUN SCREEN, etc.

    If you would like to support these awesome 700 men and women (AND still growing), please send your care packages to:

    BASE OPERATIONS
    Attention: Jeanne A. Arnold, LTC AV
    JALALABAD AIRFIELD (JAF)
    APO AE 09354


    ...USMC girls...
    one, two, three, four, five

    Tuesday, August 23, 2005

    BUSH’S TWO PARTY ANIMALS - By Russ

    "I’ve been thinking about the left’s talking points saying that the Global War On Terror will not be legitimate until Barbara & Jenna grab an M4 and start offing jihadis. “Mother Sheehan” even referred to the Bush girls in one of her tirades. I think I can finally put the words down that will summarize my thoughts on the issue.

    The Bush girls are lightning rods, since they were on the verge of adulthood when their dad took his first Presidential Oath of Office. Chelsea Clinton & Amy Carter never had to contend with demands that they drive a tank in Kosovo or refuel helicopters at “Desert One” to justify their fathers’ foreign policies – mainly because they were still in junior high or high school when these things happened. Since the Bush girls are old enough to serve, they appear to be legitimate targets for this type of criticism, until you look at the facts.

    FACT: Both Bush girls are HIGHLY visible in our current 24 hour media cycle. If we can get 587 updates to the Natalee Holloway non-story every freakin’ day (and that’s just on Fox, people), how do you think CNN, MSNBC, Reuters, and Al-Jazeera would cover the service of the Bush girls? Their every move would be broadcast to the world, irregardless of security concerns.

    FACT: Those demanding the conscription of the Bush girls will not be satisfied with anything less then front line infantry service for these two “party animals”. It wouldn’t matter if either of them was the best physical therapist our medical facilities in Germany had ever seen or the best possible supply officer in South Korea or Guam, she would still be called a “chickenhawk” and reviled for taking a spot that “some poor kid could have filled, making that poor kid go to Iraq in her place”. Let’s be frank here – many of the war protesters would cum in their unwashed denims if either of these girls met a grisly end at the hands of some jihadi bomb carrier or sniper. When you hear them say “these girls should SERVE in Iraq”, substitute DIE in that sentence and you’ll get the idea they’re REALLY trying to sell here.

    FACT: The "martial" Bush girls would endanger any soldier serving with them. The media swarm accompanying them would serve as a target for our opposition – after all, why waste your martyrdom on some Marine Reserve MP from Gowrie, Iowa when you can shoot for the fruit of CHIMPY McHITLERBURTON’s loins? By being in any unit, these girls would make that unit a target for insurgents no matter the assignment of that unit. Truck drivers, EOD team, aircraft mechanics, or even intel officers – any unit with a Bush girl serving with them might as well have George Armstrong Custer running the show. This attempt at appeasing the anti-war radicals would more than likely get “Corporal Six-Pack” killed. I suggest that we respond to these demands with simplistic slogans that the Left can understand. NO BLOOD FOR PUBLIC RELATIONS sounds about right.

    Let’s summarize the facts as I see them. No military service by the Bush twins will satisfy their critics on the Left, short of using them for cannon fodder like the Russian "volunteers" at the beginning of "Enemy At the Gates". The presence of the Bush girls with any military unit ANYWHERE in the world would immediately make that unit a prime target for terrorists, and be an unnecessary danger for any troops serving with them.

    Sorry about my recent focus on politics. "The lovely Janis" and I attended the Iowa State Fair on Saturday, and I will send pictures of the adventure to ALa for publication later this week. Let’s just say that consuming half your body weight in deep fried foods SERVED ON A STICK, feeding chunks of your corndog to the ducks at the Dept. of Natural Resources display pond and admiring the "Biggest Boar" in all his enormous-testicular glory is part of the rituals that make America the GREATEST COUNTRY IN THE FREAKIN’ WORLD!"

    -Russ from Winterset, House Contributor

    Stem Cell Resolution?

    "Harvard scientists say they have fused an adult skin cell with an embryonic stem cell in a potentially dramatic development that could lead to the creation of useful stem cells without first having to create and destroy human embryos.

    Preliminary results of the groundbreaking research were disclosed Sunday evening on the Science magazine web site and the Harvard researchers arranged to discuss their findings in more detail on Monday.

    They said they were able to show in their early research that the fused cell "was reprogrammed to its embryonic state." (source)


    Those I know in the medical community have said that stem cell progress was going to be made with adult stem cells. I hope this study continues to produce positive results --and removes this political wedge issue while offering hope to millions that could benefit...

    In the Sandbox...

    Medical outreach visit helps hundreds in Southern Afghanistan

    BAGRAM AIRFIELD, Afghanistan Aug. 9, 2005– Paratroopers and medical personnel assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 503rd Infantry (Airborne) treated more than 600 Afghans, and their farm animals, in the Nawbahar village. The village is located north of Kandahar and is the former homeland of the Taliban.

    The village medical outreach visit, or VMO, treated 616 people. One hundred and four individuals also received dental treatment during the visit. Veterinarians with the group also treated hundreds of farm animals, the most common illness among them being worms.

    The paratroopers also assisted local police forces fix their patrol vehicles and motorcycles and taught several classes to the ANP on the topic of vehicle maintenance.

    "These VMO visits are an excellent way for our forces to interact with Afghans and to show them that we are in Afghanistan to help," said Col (Dr.) Rich Trotta, Combined Joint Task Force-76 surgeon. "This part of Afghanistan was once a stronghold of the Taliban, but now we’re seeing more and more of the people who live there working with our forces and welcoming our presence. Our medical and veterinarian experts are able to help the people and their livestock in many of Afghanistan ’s smaller, remote villages.” (source)

    ...the girls of Bragg...
    1, 2, 3, 4, 5

    Monday, August 22, 2005

    Audi 5000

    My mom called me Sunday night and said (and I quote), "Let's take the boys to Disney World on Tuesday." As in tomorrow. She got a good deal on that huge hotel that's right in the park, but I searched for airfare and because of gas prices -it's too damn expensive. I wouldn't feel right having her foot the bill for all that. I talked her into going down to the Outer Banks instead. I go 3 or 4 times a year and she has still never been. So, spontaneity still lives, and we leave with the boys in tow at 7am tomorrow morning.

    I have asked a few people to do guests posts because I couldn't ask Russ to do five days worth at this short notice. I don't know if anyone will be able to pull something together this quick though ---SO, anyone that feels the spirit move them and has something they have wanted to rant about... EMAIL ME a post.

    Have a great week...I have an eight hour drive so I gotta get some sleep...

    Illegals: The Dilemma Mounts

    On top of the Mexican Government sponsored comic book that illustrates to Mexicans how to illegally cross into our country, they are now funding 'staging area/water stations' to help would-be illegals to complete their invasion. These stations not only provide water but a place for people to haggle with "coyotes" (guides to cross them) and they are "also a place for drug smugglers looking to move marijuana and cocaine into the United States". (source)
    It may be pre-election posturing, but Governor Bill Richards seems to finally be getting serious about this problem. He has demanded that these sites be bulldozed.
    Why don't people (including President Bush it would seem) understand what a threat this is?
    "In April, Grupo Beta worked with the Mexican military and the Sonora State Preventive Police to move would-be illegal aliens out of the desert areas just south of the U.S. border to locations east and west of Naco, Ariz., to avoid the Minuteman Project volunteers holding a vigil on the border.
    A branch of Mexico's National Migration Institute, Grupo Beta also helped pass out fliers warning migrants that the Minuteman volunteers, whom they described as "armed vigilantes," were waiting across the border to hurt them.
    In addition to the aid stations, the Mexican government has distributed more than a million copies of a 32-page handbook advising migrants how to cross into the United States. The book, known as "Guia del Migrante Mexicano," or "Guide for the Mexican Migrant," contains tips on avoiding apprehension by U.S. authorities.
    Aid stations for illegal aliens also exist in the United States, many of them established and supplied by various humanitarian organizations such as Humane Borders, a Tucson faith-based group that targets illegal aliens who the organization said might otherwise die in the desert.
    Humane Borders, established in 2001, has 70 water stations along the U.S. side of the border, each with two 50-gallon tanks next to a 30-foot-mast with a blue flag." (source)

    Someone from the left that reads this site thinks it may be time for a wall similar to the one the Israelis are building. I believe it has also been suggested by others (including The Man). I just can't envision civil rights groups ever allowing it to happen...

    Pro-Life & Pro-Death Penalty Co-Existing

    During my conversation with FreeMom the other night she said something that I keep thinking about... Regarding those who question the validity of one being pro-life AND pro-death penalty. The usual argument would be --the person receiving the death penalty is a depraved killer whereas the child is innocent.
    FreeMom's take went a bit deeper. The convicted killer is afforded tons of safeguards. A trial, court-appointed lawyers, countless appeals, and resources from various civil-rights groups. So can we agree that abortion CAN be legal, BUT the baby should be afforded at least what we bestow upon the dregs of society. Give each fetus a court-appointed lawyer and an ACLU action-alert to prove their innocence before their sentence in executed...
    This isn't meant to provoke the age-old abortion debate...just a bit of thought...

    Caption It

    In the Sandbox...

    New citizen serving his adopted country as a Marine
    "CAMP FALLUJAH, Iraq (Aug. 21, 2005) -- Some people are destined to serve, even if it is in the new country they have adopted. In 1995, as a young teenager growing up in Haiti, Cpl. Berony Nelson remembers seeing U.S. Marines conducting security operations and humanitarian missions there.

    “I remember seeing Marines trying to help out,” said the 24-year-old Marine currently serving in Iraq. “I wanted to join them and be like one of them. I always wanted to be in the military.”

    Today, the Haitian immigrant-turned U.S. Marine and American citizen has spent more time serving in the military of his adopted nation than he has as a civilian living there.

    “I did school for three years [in the states] then I joined the Marine Corps,” said the native of Port-au-Prince, Haiti who joined in 2001. “I’ve been in the Marine Corps longer than I have been as a civilian in the United States.”

    Deployed to the Middle East for the second time with Food Services section, II Marine Expeditionary Force, Headquarters Group, II MEF (FWD), Nelson remembers following his father’s footsteps to America as a young 17-year-old in 1998.

    “I came for a better life,” said the sergeant of the guard of a dining facility here. “Life was hard in Haiti and we wanted to live together as a family.”

    Nelson, his older brother and his mother joined their father and eventually settled in Immokalee, Fla. Not knowing any English, the tall, slim Marine went to Immokalee High School for three years, graduating there in 2001.

    “I had to learn English but it wasn’t too difficult,” said Nelson with traces of a Haitian accent in his speech. “I learned English from other people talking and it has actually improved in the Marine Corps.”

    Nelson mentioned why he joined the Marine Corps. He wanted to travel and meet people from different places throughout the United States and from around the world.

    “There is a lot of stuff you can do in the Corps, said the trained food service specialist. “I wanted to go to different places and deal with people from different cultures, and [as a Marine] you live with people from different places back in the states.”

    A sense of duty was also felt inside the young man when America was attacked on Sept. 11, 2001.

    “I already knew I was going,” said Nelson of deciding to join the Corps. “But after 9/11, [the attacks] did have an affect on me. I wanted to get to [boot camp] quicker and I wanted to do my part in the country I lived in.”

    Nelson went to boot camp at Marine Corps Recruiting Depot, Parris Island, S.C., three months after the attacks. The native of the tropical Caribbean, remembers experiencing the harsh winter and snow for the first time there.

    “The first time I saw snow was in boot camp,” he said. “It was so cold at the rifle range. It was the coldest time I’ve ever experienced.”

    Despite the cold experienced at boot camp and the soaring heat felt in the Middle East, that is what the teenage immigrant who became a Marine and a citizen wanted to do.

    There are no reservations in the speech of this proud American.

    “The Marine Corps was the toughest branch and I wanted to be with the best,” he said. “I like the way Marines carry themselves. If you go anywhere people already know who you are, just by the way you talk, the way you act and how you carry yourself.”Marine Corps News)

    ...girls of the Corps...
    One, Two, Three, Four, Five

    Sunday, August 21, 2005

    Parental-Induced Hangover...

    The Man and I were up until 4:30 am doing a whole 'Trading Spaces' thing with the boys room. He built shelves up to the ceiling and we pained two walls green and two blue (was that my bright idea?) and we corked one wall for all their masterpieces. So, after 4 1/2 hours sleep I am nursing a serious migraine (from paint fumes?) and do have not an ounce of brainpower to do a ‘real’ post...

    So here are some fun Sunday things that require no thinking:
    YOU ARE MOST LIKE: MARGE SIMPSON

    Which Simpson Character are You Most Like?

    Ok, Here are my two questions for you...

    Who is someone that you find yourself attracted to that you are embarrassed about?

    Mine is embarrassing on two levels because I have to tell you the show that he is on too, which is admitting that I've watched it...
    Leland Chapman from (cough) Dog the Bounty Hunter

    And the second is: What is a movie that never 'made it big' that you think people would really like?

    Mine is Duets. I love this movie and no one has ever heard of it. It has Paul Giamatti, Gwenyth Paltrow, Maria Bello, Huey Lewis and Andre Braugher. This is a great movie and I recommend it if you haven't seen it.





    This (above) is one of the coolest videos I have seen. It's a little long but WELL worth the watch. I love time-sequence/consequence stuff. This was posted by Michele over at A Small Victory. Watch it!

    I can't resist leaving you with one little political tidbit...
    "We don't want to debate with people who don't understand our point of view."
    This from someone down at the 'Crawford Peace House'. Doesn't that just sum up that far-left contingent of the Democratic party --in real life and on the blogs...(source)

    Saturday, August 20, 2005

    Things You Shouldn't Miss...and now you won't...

  • MILITARY NEWS
    Blackfive has two great posts (well, lots of great posts, but two in particular). The first is about how Stars & Stripes reports that the Navy is building a new amphibious ship, the USS New York, that will have 10 tons of World Trade Center steel forged into it. It is set for Commission in 2008. Too cool. The second is about Matt Lauer’s Iraq interview:
    "Lauer interviewed a group of soldiers at Camp Liberty in Baghdad, and at one point asked about the state of morale. After getting two responses to the effect that morale was good, Lauer had this to say:

    "Don't get me wrong, I think you're probably telling the truth, but there might be a lot of people at home wondering how that could be possible with the conditions you're facing and with the insurgent attacks you're facing.”

    If Lauer was the advocate for the anti-war case, he then made the cardinal mistake that no advocate should make: asking a question to which you don't know the answer.

    Asked Lauer: "What would you say to those people who are doubtful that morale could be that high?"

    Captain Sherman Powell nailed Lauer, the MSM and the anti-war crowd with this beauty:

    "Well sir, I'd tell you, if I got my news from the newspapers also I'd be pretty depressed as well!"
    Bada-bing! (source)


  • BAD NEWS
    Philadelphia Police believe they have found the remains of Latoyia Figueroa (the pregnant 24-yr. old that was missing). Greta Van Susteren (FNC) has been in Philly this week retracing Latoyia's last known path. Philly bloggers really pulled togheter to get this story out there. This is a sad day -especially for her seven year old daughter. My thoughts and prayers are with her family.


  • CINDY'S SELF PROCLAIMED AGENDA
    For anyone that still has some nagging feeling that Cindy Sheehan's crusade is actually for her son Casey...this is from her daily diary:
    "I used to have doubts about 2006 and the progressive's chances of taking over at least one branch of our government, but now I think it is so possible. We will kick some fat booty in 2006 and we will change America for the better. WE CAN DO IT!!!" Her agenda is political pure and simple...(She is posting on Kos' page) Also, yesterday Susan Estridge completely distanced herself from Sheehan saying those seriously against the war can't align themselves with someone making Anti-Semitic statements.


  • ANTI-POLICE SENTIMENT IN THE BIG CITIES
    Apparently there is a new t-shirt craze (mainly in Philly, Baltimore and NYC for the time being)... T-shirts that have a "don't talk to police" theme. "Stop Snitching", "Don't talk to Police" and "Death before Dishonor". The kid on the street that was interviewed for the piece was saying that "snitching" was the worse crime of all. He said: "I don't want to see anyone that I know get in trouble, so I'm not going to tell on them if they do something wrong". Dear Jesus, please don't let my boys delve into the hip hop culture...
    *note to self: hide Eminem, Run DMC & Beastie Boys CDs ASAP*


  • WRONG TO MARINE RIGHTED
    I was happy to hear that the Marine from Austin, Texas (Cpl. Carl Basham) who was turned down to receive "in state" tuition (because he had been out of state -- serving TWO tours in Iraq) had the situation remedied! Sheesh...


  • ACLU DEFEAT
    Jay, over at Stop the ACLU, has a victory post up detailing how the 8th Circuit Court of appeals smacked down the ACLU and ruled that the Ten Commandments in Plattsmouth, Nebraska may remain in the city park. Nice!
    There is also a post up about how the ACLU is now defending a woman's right to use cocaine while she is pregnant...What commentary can I even add to that?


  • PROJECT VALOUR IT: PROGRESS AND NEEDS
    FBL has posted the progress of Project Valour IT thus far. $7,500 raised and 10 laptops purchased. These are the pressing needs right now:
    1) Graphics for flyers
    2) Tech help at Bethesda/Walter Reed (email FbL to connect with the local volunteer coordinator)
    3) Contacts with a leading military figure or a politician of national stature embraced by both sides that we can show the program to for the purposes of getting an endorsement.

    Can you help? Contact FBL


  • ABLE DANGER
    Over at Pink Flamingo Bar & Grill, Pierre Legrand is annoyed at the Blogosphere and the lack of posting and discussion on ABLE DANGER. He has done a comprehensive round up of the information that is known thus far.


  • CARNIVAL OF THE RECIPES
    This week's carnival of the recipes (the first of Season II) is being hosted by its creator: the lovely Beth of SWWBO. This week there is Guinness Ice Cream for the boys and the start of the NFL season, Marshmellow Brownies, and Cherry Squares. There is lots of stuff, but I seem to craving sweets as I type this...so Go check out all the other good stuff too!
  • What's Your Zodiac Personality?

    Discover your Zodiac Personality
    Discover your Zodiac Personality @ Quiz Me

    Friday, August 19, 2005

    Morale of the Wounded Portrayed on Six Feet Under

    Six Feet Under on HBO is, I must admit, one of my favorite shows. This season has been hard though because (since it's going off the air) the writers haven't missed a chance to get a shot in a Bush, the war and Republicans in general. (Though they made Claire's new boyfriend a Republican and though she berates him for it, he is the only person on the show that has it together, is genuinely caring and isn't mentally ill...I am sure that was an oversight).
    Be Patient, this has a purpose...

    The last episode that I saw had a legless and armless soldier (apparently at a military medical facility) who has his sister bring him Phenobarbital in a syringe and stabs it into his heart to kill himself. The rest of the episode progresses with Sheehan-style tirades from the sister and one of the main characters. It was SO upsetting to watch this episode because I have met many of these boys and this was SO FAR from my experience. This illustrates to me that the writers of this show have never met any of our wounded warriors. The soldier portrayed was exactly how I thought they would be before I had the honor of meeting a group of them. I thought they would be depressed and despondent. I was prepared for that...for anger and regret. The reality was humbling.
    Last July, The Man and I had the great honor and privilege to spend the day with 15 Soldiers and Marines from Walter Reed Army Medical Center.
    Each boy had sustained horrible injuries in OEF or OIF. Missing legs, arms and one with large chunks missing all over his body from an IED and they were all so young... During the course of the day I couldn't help but ask how (and why) they were all so upbeat and their spirits so strong (the only thing they seemed to bitch about was that fact that their superiors wouldn't let them go back overseas!). A handsome 23 year old, with both legs missing from above his knees and a huge cast from soldier to fingertips on his left arm, said to me "Before you deploy you tell all your friends and family that if this (he points to himself) ever happens to me I will kill myself. You can't imagine ever wanting to live like this. But when this happens and you wake up and you're alive... (He pauses) You just can't imagine how happy you are to be alive. I woke up with my foot lying next to my head, but some of my buddies didn't make it. I'm still here and I have a second chance. It's awesome to be here." Wow. At that point I believe I went and bought another round of beers so they didn't tease me for the tears in my eyes...
    The soldier portrayed on Six Feet Under was NOT the reality I encountered when I met these incredible men! I wish the writers would have met some of these guys before they aired that episode...

    Irresistible Headlines...

    Liz sent me links to these two stories with the RE: "Irresistible Headlines" and they are indeed...

    #1)Convicted Child Murderer Wins $50,000 Lawsuit
    Yes, you read that right. He sued Kanawha County in West Virginia when he fell out of the back of a prisoner transport van. This past Monday, "a jury awarded him $30,000 for past mental and physical pain and suffering; $10,000 for annoyance and inconvenience and another $10,000 for loss of enjoyment of life." He was recently convicted of sexual assulat and had been previously convicted of murdering a two-year old, and from escaping from jail. Who the hell was on that jury!? 10K for "loss of enjoyment in life"?! WTF? (source)

    #2)Executed Woman Gets Pardon
    Lena Baker, the only woman ever executed by electric chair in Georgia, has been pardoned...sixty years after the flipped the switch.
    "A black maid, she was convicted for killing a white man she said held her in slavery and threatened her life. After a one-day trial before an all-white, all-male jury, she was sentenced to death.
    The Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles is not finding her innocent of the crime. Instead, the board has decreed that a 1945 decision denying her clemency was a "grievous error" -- saying the case "called out for mercy." (source)