Saturday, December 31, 2005

Another Complaint Against Bush...


It's no wonder the man has gone completely gray... He's the "dumb chimp", he's the "evil mastermind", he's the "Rove/Cheney puppet" and he's the "worst terrorist in the world"... a complete oxymoron when put together...

Now there's another paradox to add to the list:
He's "King George" *yet* he isn't fully using all his Presidential powers. Confused? You should be.

Okay, he's being called "King George" because the eavesdropping/NSA deal. Funny, I've been waiting to hear demands of a leak investigation from the likes of The Huffington Post, Kos and Atrios, but they haven't been forthcoming. Imagine that. There has been a probe launched into the leak --and, no shocker, the ACLU wants it called off!

Now, (are you ready?) he is being criticized for NOT using his Presidential powers enough. Apparently he has not PARDONED enough GUILTY CONVICTED people for the left's liking. So he gets slammed for trying to KEEP people from committing crimes and slammed for NOT LETTING PEOPLE OFF that have been found guilty by our judicial system. I'll never get it.

"Some legal analysts say Bush's infrequent use of the authority given to him by the Constitution is a missed opportunity. He has not used clemency to signal displeasure with long mandatory-minimum sentences or to highlight the rehabilitation of people who emerged from prison to contribute to their communities.

"He's being careful to the point of trivializing his pardon power," says Margaret Colgate Love, the federal pardons attorney from 1990 to 1997. "If he did absolutely nothing, he would be criticized as being stingy." The pardons he has granted for old, innocuous cases, she says, are "the least he can do. They say nothing." (source)


One could get whiplash from watching these people go back and forth...

Inner Children & 80's Trivia

Your Inner Child Is Angry

You're not an angry person.
But when you don't get your way, watch out.
Like a very manipulative kid, you will get what you want.
Even if it takes a little kicking and screaming.






You Scored 40% Correct









You know some 80s stuff

Like that Paula Abdul was a star back then

But you're not sure who Suzie Q was

And you don't know what Samantha Fox was really famous for!


Carnival of Recipes #72

Lattice-Top Apple Pie



What You Need:
Your favorite Pie crust recipe -or- (3) Pillsbury Ready crusts
(10) apples (Gala, McIntosh, Granny Smith -the more variety the better the pie)
Lemon juice (or orange juice)
(1) cup sugar (or a little less)
(2) Tsp. Cinnamon
(1/4) Tsp. Nutmeg
(1) lg. egg yolk

What You Do:
-Peel and slice apples
-Sprinkle apples in lemon (or orange) juice and mix with sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg
-Cook apples in frying pan until sugar turns syrupy (not more than 6 minutes)
-Line pie dish with one crust and fill with apples
-Slice second crust into 3/4" strips and criss-cross on a piece of wax paper
-Flip the crust onto the pie
-Rip ends and seal
-Use excess crust to cut out leaves & apples
-Mix egg yolk with (2) tablespoons of water and paint entire crust
-Bake at 450° for 15 minutes -then reduce heat to 350° and bake for an additional 45 minutes.

*Warning - It's very hard to actually cut this beauty up and let people eat it! ;)

Friday, December 30, 2005

FINALLY! ...An Uplifting Story.

Thanks to Tater for sending this story to me. I knew some of our wounded warriors from Walter Reed had made the trip to the Army-Navy Game here in Philly (because 92alpha and many of the other Philly cops and fireman had the honor of saluting them on their way in to the stadium), but I didn't know the story behind how they got there. I assumed it was Ollie North that brought them --he's been known to do that.

Actually it was Bennett and Vivian Levin (Bennett was former commissioner of L&I, Philly boy and self-made millionaire). They transported the guys on a first class train (their own) complete with gourmet meals, gifts from tons of stores and the invite to bring guests. The Marines denied the offer to bring guests so they could bring more Marines.

You should read the whole article, but here are some of the highlights. I'm not ashamed to say I choked up a bit...

"The Levins could think of no better passengers to reinstate the ceremonial ride than the wounded men and women recovering at Walter Reed in D.C. and Bethesda, in Maryland.
"We wanted to give them a first-class experience," says Bennett. "Gourmet meals on board, private transportation from the train to the stadium, perfect seats - real hero treatment."
Through the Army War College Foundation, of which he is a trustee, Bennett met with Walter Reed's commanding general, who loved the idea.
But Bennett had some ground rules first, all designed to keep the focus on the troops alone:
No press on the trip, lest the soldiers' day of pampering devolve into a media circus.
No politicians either, because, says Bennett, "I didn't want some idiot making this trip into a campaign photo op."
And no Pentagon suits on board, otherwise the soldiers would be too busy saluting superiors to relax.
The general agreed to the conditions, and Bennett realized he had a problem on his hands.
"I had to actually make this thing happen," he laughs.
Bennett's an emotional guy, so he was worried about how he'd react to meeting the 88 troops and guests at D.C.'s Union Station, where the trip originated. Some GIs were missing limbs. Others were wheelchair-bound or accompanied by medical personnel for the day.

"They made it easy to be with them," he says. "They were all smiles on the ride to Philly. Not an ounce of self-pity from any of them. They're so full of life and determination."
At the stadium, the troops reveled in the game, recalls Bennett. Not even Army's lopsided loss to Navy could deflate the group's rollicking mood.
Afterward, it was back to the train and yet another gourmet meal - heroes get hungry, says Levin - before returning to Walter Reed and Bethesda.

"The day was spectacular," says Levin. "It was all about these kids. It was awesome to be part of it."
The most poignant moment for the Levins was when 11 Marines hugged them goodbye, then sang them the Marine Hymn on the platform at Union Station.

"One of the guys was blind, but he said, 'I can't see you, but man, you must be f---ing beautiful!' " says Bennett. "I got a lump so big in my throat, I couldn't even answer him."

It's been three weeks, but the Levins and their guests are still feeling the day's love.
"My Christmas came early," says Levin, who is Jewish and who loves the Christmas season. "I can't describe the feeling in the air."
Maybe it was hope.
As one guest wrote in a thank-you note to Bennett and Vivian, "The fond memories generated last Saturday will sustain us all - whatever the future may bring."

God bless the Levins.
And bless the troops, every one." (Philly.com)

Something to Think About --

...When you have to soldier through the "Bush still hasn't caught Bin Laden" discussions at family functions:

Afghanistan is a very large country that's rife with every terrain conducive to avoiding capture. If you transposed Afghanistan over the US it would span from Cincinnati to Atlanta --and DC to New Orleans...as illustrated by my handy little map.



Of course this "Bush hasn't caught Bin Laden" line of thinking pisses me off anyway because Bush isn't over there scaling treacherous mountains looking for Bin Laden --or inoculating children in rural warlord lands to ingratiate himself and glean information. Our troops are doing that -and this argument and line of thinking degrades them and their efforts.

Hollywood's PC Portrayal of Terrorism



Oliver Stone is set to do the first movie about 9/11, starring Nick Cage in a leading role. I cringe at the thought of how that's going to play out...

Being released right now are Spielberg’s Munich, Clooney's Syriana and Jodie Foster's Flightplan.

"When terrorism goes to the movies in the post-Sept. 11 world, we might expect the plots, characters and themes to reflect some sort of believable reality. But in Hollywood, the politically correct impulse now overrides all else. Even the spectacular pyrotechnics, beautiful people and accomplished acting cannot hide it.

Instead, moviegoers can anticipate before the opening credits that those characters that work for the American government or are at war with terrorists will likely be portrayed as criminals, incompetents or people existing on the same moral plane as killers." (source)

What do we know about these films...
Munich :

Israeli agents that were sent to hunt down the Muslim terrorists that murdered innocent Israeli athletes are set on equal ground with the killers.
Syriana:
Typical Hollywood villianization of "big oil" --How about Hollywood complaining about "greedy" big oil as they make $6 million per film. Movies don't heat houses.
Flightplan:
This one sounds the worst... The U.S. Marshals turn out to be the terrorists and the four Muslim men save the day. Really.

So this begs the question... Is it possible to be richer than God (therefore surrounded by "yes men" (and women) and retain an OUNCE of reality? Apparently not.

Plame-Gate Continues...

Do you think the LEFT will seek to press charges...?

Plame outted again...

"The Washington couple at the heart of the CIA leak investigation had their cover blown by their small son as they tried to sneak away on vacation on Thursday.

"My daddy's famous, my mommy's a secret spy," declared the 5-year-old of his parents, former diplomat Joe Wilson and retired CIA operative Valerie Plame."

Call the special prosecutor!

100 Records...


Updated:
SLAYER - Seasons of the Abyss

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Newsweek "sat" on the "eavesdropping" story...

According to Justin H. the "Eavesdropping" story was leaked to both Newsweek and the NYT by a government insider, but Newsweek felt running it would compromise national security. It's no surprise that the NYT didn't have the same concerns...

I guess Newsweek didn't want to take any chances after their erroneous Qur'an flushing story that got people killed...

Here's the thing, the fact that the NYT (or other publications) never "outted" Clinton or any other President that employed this tactic with their NSAs --makes the whole thing reek as revenge...

Unfortunately for the MSM, a new poll shows that the majority of Americans believes that Bush has the power and should be listening in to terrorists. The Rasmussen poll shows that "64% believe that the National Security Agency should be allowed to eavesdrop on potential terrorists.

The Rasmussen poll results further showed that the 64% also believe that the NSA should be able to conduct surveillance (including wiretaps) between people in foreign countries and those living in the US. 23% of those polled did not agree." (source)

Unlike most events, this "scandal" seems to be one the American public is following closely. "68 percent of those surveyed [in Rasmussen's Poll] said they are following news reports about the NSA somewhat or very closely." (source)

Poll Results: NSA

Damn Crackers!

This is the best story...

Apparently, four white employees were fired from their jobs with the Philadelphia school district for "racial reasons". This may be hard to understand for those of you in other parts of the country, but Philly is a pay-to-play city wrought with nepotism and racism (or should I say reverse-racism?).

They sued the school district and won (now that's the surprise!) three million dollars.

The lead attorney for the Philadelphia school district (who remember is arguing against racism) proceeded to call the Caucasian jurors "crackers".

Personally I am not in the least offended by this term. Maybe because here in the Northeast we don't really hear it, so when we do it's more funny than anything else. Honky doesn't bother me either --mainly because I've never really understood what it means? We honk impatiently as pedestrians meander in front of our cars....? I guess I subscribe to the "sticks & stones" theory.

Anyway, I wish people would realize that quotas and such cause racism and don't solve it. I am glad to see Philly fighting back. People should get jobs because they deserve them --not for who their father is or what ship their grandparents came over on...

H/T: Liz

What does Honky mean? "Honky comes from bohunk and hunky, derogatory terms for Bohemian, Hungarian, and Polish immigrants that came into use around the turn of the century. According to Robert Hendrickson, author of the Encyclopedia of Word and Phrase Origins, black workers in Chicago meat-packing plants picked up the term from white workers and began applying it indiscriminately to all Caucasians. Probably thought they all looked alike."

"Your source for the origin of honky only gave you half the story. Another probable etymon for honky, cited by David Dalby in his "African Element in American English" (to be found in my Rappin' and Stylin' Out: Communication in Urban Black America) is the Wolof term honq, "red, pink," a term frequently used in to describe white men in African languages. --Tom Kochman, professor of communication, University of Illinois at Chicago." (source)

Black History Month...

In a recent interview, Morgan Freeman said some things that upset a portion of the Black community --but made me respect him even more...

"Morgan Freeman says the concept of a month dedicated to black history is "ridiculous."
"You're going to relegate my history to a month?" the 68-year-old actor says in an interview on CBS' "60 Minutes". "I don't want a black history month. Black history is American history."
Freeman notes there is no "white history month," and says the only way to get rid of racism is to "stop talking about it."
The actor says he believes the labels "black" and "white" are an obstacle to beating racism.
"I am going to stop calling you a white man and I'm going to ask you to stop calling me a black man," Freeman says.(source)

Amen!

I have said before that I thought the one "good effect" of 9/11 would be a coming together a "Americans" --that we would finally leave the hyphens behind us and concentrate on those trying to kill us regardless of our skin color or ancestry. Sadly, this was only the case for a few weeks and we went right back to the hyphenated-Americans we were pre-9/11.

Caption It!

Go To Best Buy...NOW!



Way too many of you are viewing this site (and therefore all others online) in 800 X 600 resolution on your monitor (13%!). This is a bad thing...it means you have to scroll to see the whole page. This means that your monitor is WAY too old... Go get a new monitor --it will change your life, I promise!

17" LCD Flatscreen - $249

Just sayin'... ;)

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

McCainia?

I am pretty sure we've already had McCain discussions. Is he a good politician or just a good person... Could he ever get the '08 nomination... Are conservatives completely fed up with him... Is he just an Arlen Specter RINO...

There is an interesting article in Newsmax about the possibility of a run for McCain in the primaries and what Republicans and conservatives think of the possibility. McCain says he hasn't made up his mind if he'll run, but he's already started making nice with Jerry Falwell, who he previously declared an "agent of intolerance” who exerts an "evil influence” on the Republican Party. ...Guess he has lots of ass kissing to do to make up for that one.

One thing in the article that stood out for me was Falwell says McCain is pro-life. I thought the problem many conservatives have with him is that he wasn't pro-life (or he was one of those "I don't believe in abortion, but I am too spineless to run on that view" people). So, I went looking and found this which seems to back up Falwell's claims. It seems other than rape and incest (less than 1%) McCain is pro-life.

A more-shallow plus is that his wife is very cute. Edwards and Kerry found out that a dumpy wife can hurt you.

That doesn't change things for me as far as voting for him in the primaries. One poll shows him ahead of all potentials except for Rudy Giuliani, but another shows George Allen in the lead with McCain second. Of course, I'm not sure if my candidate, Fred Thompson, was thrown into the mix...

"Many conservatives don’t want to trust [McCain] with the Oval Office,” the National Journal concluded.

But McCain could conceivably win the GOP nomination without widespread support from staunch conservatives, according to Republican pollster Whit Ayres.

"He will never win the very conservatives, but he does have to do reasonably well among the somewhat conservative voters,” Ayres told the Star.

"It’s an open case right now whether he’ll be able to do that.” McCain has already sought to mend fences with Jerry Falwell, who met with the senator in his office two months ago.

"I would have very little difficulty supporting John McCain,” Falwell said afterward.

"When it comes down to Hillary Clinton and a pro-life, pro-family American hero with whom there may be some minor disagreements, I think John McCain will get an enthusiastic backing.” (source)


That may very well be the case in the general election, but I don't think he could weather the primaries... I think this "torture bill" was the final nail in the Oval Office coffin for McCain.

Impeachment History

Apparently, Clinton's impeachment has made the history books. God, I would love to be in a class while that was being taught...

"Seven years after he was impeached in a scandal of sex, perjury and bitter politics, Clinton has become a fixture in major high school texts.

The impeachment is portrayed in the context of his two-term tenure, a milestone event, but not one that overshadows how Clinton handled the economy, crime and health care.

The most commonly used texts give straightforward recaps of Clinton's toughest days, with some flavor of how it affected the nation. Absent are any the lurid details of his relationship with Monica Lewinksy that spiced up daily news reports and late-night talk shows as the scandal and impeachment played out in 1998 and early 1999.

"It should not be in the book for titillating purposes or settling scores," said Alan Brinkley, the Columbia University provost who has written or contributed to several history text books. "It should be in the book because of its significance to our recent history." (source)

I read an article a while back that said Clinton was also being discussed in health classes as teachers sought to dispel the myth that "oral sex wasn't sex"...

Truthfully I'm not bringing this to your attention to bash Clinton...I find how "history" is recorded quite fascinating. How long things take to make the texts, whose perspective it's told from, how the teachers approach the subject. It makes you wonder about this war and what will be said --especially if Democracy is brought to fruition and Bush is given credit.

How Embarrassing...

...I guess it's a good thing I have to take A&P I & II, Micro and Chemistry this year. I haven't had a science class in forever.

You Failed 8th Grade Science

Sorry, you only got 4/8 correct!

In the Sandbox...



‘Women Are Not Infantry’
I was shocked when I read Anita Powell’s “Women on a mission” (article, Stars and Stripes, Dec. 21). You need to be sure to differentiate between fact and fiction.

As soldiers or reporters, you cannot blow things out of proportion. These women are not infantry because they traveled with infantry soldiers outside the forward operating base. Being an infantryman is not some Velcro label that you can attach to just any soldier — it belongs to the men who signed on the dotted line to “close with and destroy the enemy.” It is a lifestyle taken seriously by those who proudly wear the blue cord and who answer the call “Follow me” without hesitation and with complete disregard for their own safety.

I understand that people are performing duties outside their primary military occupational specialty, duties that may be considered regular infantry-type missions, but let’s be clear — this does not make them infantry. I have soldiers who work on their vehicles in the motor pool — they do not call themselves mechanics.

Powell’s article was very vague when it came to describing the events in which these two female soldiers were nominated for the Combat Infantryman Badge. What did they experience? What happened? Without any details, it appears to me they have been put in for the CAB just because they left the wire.

De’Cassalyn Sanford even said, “It’s not like I went out and did anything special.” Maybe she is just being humble. Maybe she killed three insurgents — great, but I need more information. Why didn’t she include quotes from other infantry soldiers — their silence speaks volumes.

Phillisha Darby’s quote, “I think every female and everybody should get a chance to get that experience” implies that the infantryman’s job is a game or some type of field trip. It is not for enjoyment that we perform our duties — it is due to a deep sense of honor that we willfully go into harm’s way.
-Sgt. Michael Reed, Baghdad (Stars & Stripes: Letters to the Editor)

...the girls at Ft. Hood...
one, two, three, four, five, six

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Turning the Other Cheek...

Many people (including those that don't believe in the divine aspect of Jesus) consistently --and quite predictable-- use the "turn the other cheek" part of His message, but they seem to forget the violent and very proactive throwing of the Pharisees from the temple (His actions as opposed to words)... (This is a preemptive strike at the arguments that will inevitable appear in the comments).

Martin Luther King, Gandhi and Nelson Mandela all men to be respected and all men that affected change...but slower than a crippled turtle. Personally I hate to even add MLK to this list of "pacifists" because he knew that the only way to facilitate change was peacefully --as any other way would have only fed into the stereotypes he sought to abolish. I don't believe that he would have wanted to turn the other cheek to Osama Bin Laden...but that's just my opinion.

An article on The Huffington Post says we should have turned the other cheek to Osama and the Taliban. It insinuates that this would have somehow made America stronger:

"Is America that brave? Is America that courageous? Is America that heroic?
We got hit on September 11th. And what was our reaction? Courage under fire? Grace through trying times? No, blind, angry, purposeless vengeance. Not just at our enemy, but at ourselves.
What would have taken courage is a measured, just response. What took easy cowardice was fire in all directions. For the love of God, we attacked the wrong Middle Eastern country – and we’re not even sorry." (source)

This article seeks to somehow tie together a pacifist message with one of brave tales of the past (the just wars) and Bush's eavesdropping "scandal"... of course failing to address all the other war time Presidents that instituted the SAME measures.

What would the pacifists do about North Korea if they launch a missile that could hit the left coast? Or Iran that claims: “We do not accept global nuclear ’apartheid’ and scientific ’apartheid’"? (source)

Truthfully all the discussion in the world will never enlighten me to the pacifist’s views... I use real life as a model to all my beliefs (and common sense of course). People that allow others to walk on them get walked on. People that allow others to bully them get bullied. Parents that constantly threaten discipline and never follow through have horrible, unruly children. All the same things would be true of a pacifist nation.

What Will They Think of Next?

The Man and I know we're old because we love having this conversation. What could "kids these days" possibly do that Gen X didn't do? Piercings, tattoos, Mohawks, fake blood, split tongues, spacers and evil contacts...what else is there?

I thought maybe they would come up with a pill that would change your skin color for a few days -- blue today, green next week --which would help obliterate racial considerations.

What they did was make a feline anesthesia a rave drug (Special K) and now they have embraced the experience of near-death asphyxiation.

Stepford Elementary sent letters home over "Winter Break" that details this new craze. "The Choking Game" or the "Seven Second Pass Out Game" (popular with kids ages 10 - 16) provides a lack of oxygen that gives a brief euphoric state.

Parents can learn more at Stop the Choking Game.com.
Some signs to look for in your kids:
-Severe headaches
-Marks on the Neck
-Bloodshot/Red eyes
-Raspy breath

Some online search words that should raise red flags:
-Passout
-Blackout
-Space Monkey
-Space Cowboy
-Knockout
-Gasp
-Rising Sun

Unlike most of the Gen X fads that we participated in...this one can (and has been) be fatal... It's no surprise to me that the long list of fatalities looks t be mostly boys, but there are a few girls. I know this activity has been around in some form or another for decades (I read once that it was first brought to attention when criminals that were hung would die with an erection), but it has gained popularity in teens.

I hate to see what will be in vogue by the time my guys are old enough to engage...

Night Nurses Beware...

I have told ALa/ABMOM to switch to a daytime shift (she's currently 7pm -7am in the ICU) because of the elevated rates for cancer in night-shift nurses. It seems that it's the artificial lights suppressing melatonin that causes the problem --so I would assume this is true of any night-shift occupation.

"The risk of developing breast cancer is about five times higher in industrialized nations than it is in underdeveloped countries. These results suggest that the increasing nighttime use of electric lighting, both at home and in the workplace, may be a significant factor."
In a press release, NIEHS noted that previous research has found that artificial light suppresses the production of melatonin, a hormone that helps regulate a person's sleeping and waking cycles.
The federal institute says this new study "shows that melatonin also plays a key role in [preventing] the development of cancerous tumors." (source)

The one thing about the linked study that doesn't make sense to me is that fact that most night-workers sleep all day, so doesn't the amount of light they encounter even out?

When it comes to artificial light, I think I am in the clear. The Man and I HATE lights. If you come to the House of Sage prepare for low light vision --and remember that parka....

New Tunes...



Just to let you know...

100 Records has been updated --

Tool - Aenima

Monday, December 26, 2005

Bah-Humbug Sierra Club...

I have never been a Sierra Club supporter, but this will take my tree-hugger mocking to a whole new level...

They want people to abandon the tradition of Christmas trees and "decorate a piece of DRIFTWOOD or a STORM-FELLED BRANCH". (source)

Wow! What gorgeous Lenox ornaments you have on that rather large piece of driftwood...

I am at a loss on this one, if you are experiencing discomfort over the untimely death of the Christmas pine trees --buy a fake tree or a potted tree from Ikea. A "storm-felled branch"? Apparently even a fake tree offends these environmentalists:

"Environmental activists also appear to be struggling over which type of Christmas tree to condemn the most.

"The choice between real and not real is especially painful for some environmentalists. Either they desecrate the Earth and chop down a tree or buy a fake one that's full of landfill-clogging polyvinyl chloride, which is kryptonite to greenies," stated an article in the San Francisco Chronicle on Dec. 15, titled "Choosing a Christmas tree can be an ethical quagmire for environmentalists." (source)

But not only that --they seem to not want Christmas celebrated at all:
"Eric Antebi, the Sierra Club's national secretary, also suggested that people consider celebrating Chanukah instead of Christmas because Hanukah is a more earth-friendly celebration." (source)

This was the statement that sums up the movement for me though:
"I'm a forest activist and there's a dead tree in the middle of my house," Vance told the San Francisco Chronicle earlier this month. "Geez, if I have a tree, why not nail the last snow leopard to the wall, too?" she said, referring to her concern for endangered species." (source)

Yeah, that's comparable... I guess I shouldn't be surprised coming from a movement that has declared a "war on diapers" and condones only diaper-free babies.
I have to bang my head on the wall now.

Someone Giving Bush Some Credit?

It has been colder than normal, so maybe hell has indeed frozen over...

Freedom House, a Human rights organization, has acknowledged an increase of personal and political rights throughout the Middle East.

"Reports of increased freedom emerged from Lebanon, Iraq, Afghanistan, Egypt, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, and the Palestinian territories, and observers attributed the results to the Bush administration's support of fledgling democracies worldwide.

The findings were released yesterday as part of Freedom House's Freedom in the World 2006 report, a global survey of political rights and civil liberties published annually by the organization since 1972. The report evaluates countries based largely on criteria drawn from the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and rates countries under the categories "political rights" and "civil liberties" on a scale of 1 to 7, with 1 indicating the greatest level of freedom."

The president of the Reform Party of Syria, Farid Ghadry, too, linked the surging tide of freedom in the Middle East to Mr. Bush's policies and public support for international democracy.

"He's the driving force behind the freedom ... and he has the dictatorships running for cover," Mr. Ghadry said.

The opposition leader also discounted naysayers dismissive of the president's accomplishments. "We've even heard people saying that people in the Middle East don't understand democracy, they don't need it, they don't deserve it," Mr. Ghadry said. "But it's absolutely not true. ... The movement is too fast, the movement is too strong. The results are there for people to see and hear."
(source)

I'm glad Bush had the courage to undertake this in light of the political consequences...but if and when Democracy succeeds in Iraq and the Middle East, it will be the Marines, Soldiers, Sailors and Airmen that deserve the lion's share of the thanks...

In the Sandbox...



Pagan Roots a Fallacy
"In response to “Real reason for the season” (letter, Dec. 21), the fallacy that Christmas started as a pagan celebration is common.

According to an article by Gene Veith in the Dec. 10 World Magazine, Christmas is celebrated on Dec. 25 because of an “ancient belief that God appointed for the great prophets an ‘integral age,’ meaning that they died on the same day as either their birth or their conception.” By following that belief, and knowing that Christ died at the time of the Passover, either his birth or conception occurred in March. In the early second century, consensus arose to celebrate Christ’s conception on March 25 as the Feast of the Annunciation, which placed the celebration of his birth on Dec. 25, nine months later.

On the other hand, Roman religions in the early second century had no winter solstice festival. This festival was started by Emperor Aurelian on Dec. 25, 274, to mark the time of year when the length of daylight began to increase. He started this festival in an attempt to breathe new life into declining paganism that, according to Veith, “was almost certainly an attempt to create a pagan alternative to a date that was already of some significance to Roman Christians.”

Thus, the pagan winter solstice celebration was in imitation of the already-established Christian celebration of Christmas. So, the writer of “Real reason for the season” is welcome to celebrate a very happy winter solstice, while I will happily celebrate (and wish for everyone else) a very Merry Christmas and celebration of Christ’s birth, the true “real reason for the season.”"
-Col. John Ekstrand, Baghdad (Stars & Stripes: Letters to the Editor)

...US Navy girls...
one, two, three, four, five, six

Friday, December 23, 2005

Bad Turns Worse for OIF Veteran

Lost in Lima has posted a disturbing update to the Kelsey Briggs story complete with a video link that tells the whole depraved story.
There have still been no charges filed against Kelsey's mother and Kelsey's murderer has been released from jail on a 1 million dollar bond.

I can't imagine how the family feels hearing new reports of vaginal, intestinal and anal tearing inflicted on that beautiful little two-year-old.
The judge that returned Kelsey to her mother's custody after documented abuse defended his decision (Why hasn't O'Reilly talked about this?!):

"Associate District Judge Craig Key spoke out after a new report revealed he went against a recommendation from the state Department of Human Services.
The case has prompted calls for judicial and Department of Human Services reforms.

The judge said, “When there is no evidence to show the child is in imminent danger and a parent completes all their obligations under DHS’s treatment plan, I’m required by law to return the child to the parents.

“That’s exactly what I did - followed the letter of the law.” (source)

I know it won't absolve Lance Briggs' pain, but my Christmas wish is that Michael Porter and Raye Dawn Porter spend the rest of their lives behind bars (and Michael Porter in general population...)

Returning Troops: Some Good News...



It has been depressing reading all the bad news stories about returning troops over the past few months. How horrible to make it through a year in hell only to come back and go through hell here.

Speaking of going to hell... Monique Berkley has confessed to killing her husband in a plot to take his insurance money for her and her 18 year old Nubian lover. Note to parents: I have never met a woman named Monique that wasn't a total ho-bag. Refrain from the use of stripper names for your little girls.

I searched around trying to find some GOOD NEWS about our returning boys (and girls) and came across these stories...

A 27 year old soldier just back from Iraq (name hasn't been released) found a man thanking him for his service by trying to steal his car three days before Christmas. When Jose Ruiz Gomez saw the soldier coming towards him he then decided to lunge at the soldier with a screwdriver. What Jose Ruiz Gomez obviously didn't learn yet is that it's a bit silly to bring a Craftsman screwdriver to a gun fight. The soldier shot the offender in the leg and will now enjoy his Christmas with his car intact. Right on!

Another story, that I saw on local news last night but can't seem to find online, is about Sgt. Robert Nelson who is on medical leave from Iraq. A local school found out about him and, though they had never met him or his family, hosted a huge party for him in complete with tons of gifts for his family and a limo to pick them all up. It was very sweet and Nelson's very young son said, "It makes me so happy that other people are so proud of my daddy". Now that's the welcome home I wish all the troops received!

Another bit of good news was released by Rummy yesterday:
"At the recommendation of our military commanders and in consultation with our coalition partners and with the Iraqi government, President Bush has authorized an adjustment in U.S. combat brigades in Iraq from 17 to 15," Rumsfeld told about 500 U.S. troops at a town hall meeting in Baghdad. (source)

Another Christmas Blessing...



First Mary appeared in Grilled Cheese (or was it French Toast?) and now Jesus has shown himself in, what else, a nacho tray...

That's right, at the Stadium Club in Jacksonville, Florida workers have seen Jesus' image in a warming tray. Needless to say they are retiring the pan and feel “blessed” to have been given this “holy image”. (source)

This makes perfect sense ya know, because if I had died to redeem the entire human race I would definitely reveal myself after thousands of years in a tortilla pan.

UBL's Niece...



Wafah Dufour, is a model that will appear in the January issue of GQ. Needless to say she changed her last name after 9/11. Wafah is a struggling musician who says she's never met her infamous uncle and doesn't want to be "tarred" by him. (source)
She's pretty, but I think it's safe to assume she will be "tarred" by this relation for a long time. We all have our family burdens to bear...

Holiday Tipping:


You are all in trouble... For Christmas I asked for the new Emily Post (updated) "Etiquette" book. I can now spread the word of what should be done in certain situations, because I've realized people just have no clue...
More on that after I open it on Christmas, but in the meantime (not to stress you out or anything), here is the Holiday Tipping Guide:

Baby sitter:
* One evening's pay, plus a small gift from your child

Barber:
* Cost of one haircut and/or a gift

Beauty salon staff:
* $10 to $60 each

Child's teacher:
* Check school policy first
* A gift, not cash

Day-care providers:
* $25 to $70 each, plus small gift from child

Fitness trainer, massage therapist:
* Cost of one session

Garage attendants:
* $10 to $30 each

Housekeeper/cleaner:
* One day's pay

Mail carrier:
* Gift valued at up to $20

Nanny:
* One week's to one month's salary, plus small gift from child

Newspaper deliverer:
* $10 to $30

Nursing home employees, private nurse:
* A gift, not cash

Personal caregiver:
* One week's salary plus small gift

Residential building personnel:
* Superintendent, $25 to $100
* Doorman, $10 to $80
* Elevator operator, $15 to $40
* Handyman, $15 to $40

Trash, recycling collectors:
* Check local regulations for municipal workers
* $10 to $30 each for private service

Yard or garden worker:
* $20 to $50

As if this time of year isn't stressfull enough...
(source: Emily Post Institute)

(H/T: Liz)

Thursday, December 22, 2005

McCain Opened the Floodgates...



...With his bill that "bans U.S. interrogators from using "cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment" of detainees in the War on Terror."

What is cruel? I feel it would be cruel to make me wear white sneakers or watch golf for an entire day. What's inhumane or degrading? Unclogging other people's toilets or picking through their trash? People get paid to do those things here....? I'm not being facetious --these are completely subjective terms. The left felt the "panties" were bad... I didn't blink an eye. Things people do on Fear Factor have been way worse than anything I saw at Abu Garib...

But, now even evil murdering dictators that have been getting fat on Cheetos since capture can claim that US soldiers have tortured them.

Thanks McCain. I hope you had no 2008 aspirations...The fact that you wrote this bill implies our troops WERE TORTURING PEOPLE, YOU ASS.

Sailor Home for Christmas Was Murdered...


I hate reading and writing about stories like this one. A sailor, Paul Berkley, (and fellow blogger) home for a short time to spend Christmas with his family was murdered....(allegedly) by his wife's teenage boytoy that have moved into the marital home after Paul deployed and Paul's teenage daughter's boyfriend. Sickening --and heartbreaking to see that his blog had a countdown to when he got home and talked of how excited he was to spend time with his family. And eerie that this was his last entry about his daughter:

"Last night Becky and I watched Hindi movies and ate pizza. She had never seen any Hindi movies and was really amused...we started dancing and doing the melodramatic moves they do in the movies, cracking ourselves up in the process. We also did a sentry training program called "shoot don't shoot" which gives you scenarios and asks you if you would shoot the person or not. Becky didn't shoot anyone, preferring to give them the benefit of the doubt, and she was blown up or shot a few times. I had to do four of them, and knew the correct answers, so it was fun seeing the scenario play out after she decided the best course of action was "verbal command" or "wait and see". (Paul's Blog: Far From Home in a Strange, Hot Land)

Daughter Becky also has a Xanga blog --last I looked people were leaving some "not nice" comments in the guest book. They haven't said whether she was involved, but it's hard to imagine she wasn't...or didn't know something...or didn't tell her dad that his wife had moved some kid into their house that she was having sex with. Though, in her defense, maybe the other dude wasn't her boyfriend as her site is pretty covered with rainbows and gay marriage banners... If she was involved I hope she is made to listen to the call recording on which her father's "gurgling, tortured breathing could clearly be heard on a 15-minute 911 tape".

"Home for Christmas after nearly a year in the Middle East, Navy Reservist Paul Berkley was making up for lost time with his family.

By Sunday, the 46-year-old sailor was dead, shot once in the head during a walk in the park with his wife, Monique. She now stands charged with his slaying, along with two men -- her alleged teenage lover and her stepdaughter Becky's boyfriend." (source)

In Honor and Memoriam: Paul Berkley, US Navy

H/T: Keystone Soldiers

Not to Beat a Dead Inflatable Rat or Anything...

The good news is that the Union leaders facilitating the transit strike in NYC may be on their way to jail...

Here's the thing --and if this doesn't shame anyone in a labor union I guess nothing will:
The Union says they will end the strike if Pensions aren't moved to 62 year old -they want them at 55. 55? Didn't FDR make SS available the year after the life expectancy at the time?
Also they want an 8% raise, BUT they will take a 6% raise if DISCIPLINARY ACTIONS ARE CUT BY 26%. Yes, you read that right...and if you aren't shaking your head in disgust your didn't fully grasp it. Do you know how hard it is to get in trouble when your part of a group that gets paid to barley work at the lowest possible standards? So now shop/business are forced to go Union and then let the Union destroy them? Workers can screw up but can't be called on it? Arggghhhh! Why am I surprised?!

And in other Union A-hole news...
"Statement on Union Leader Santa and Elf Demonstration at Florida Wal-Mart Store
Union Leader Santa and Elf Demonstration at Florida Wal-Mart Store
“Unfortunately, this union leader campaign stunt went too far,” said Bob McAdam, vice president for corporate communications at Wal-Mart. “Union demonstrators dressed as Santa and his elves entered a Wal-Mart and began presenting some of the children in the store with wrapped boxes. The children became excited and started saying things like, ‘Let me have the big one.’ But when the children opened the boxes, they found that the boxes were empty. Needless to say, the children were upset and some began crying.
“When asked to leave, the demonstrators became argumentative. They claimed that they had permission from the Wal-Mart home office to demonstrate, but, in fact, they did not. Soon the demonstrators began pushing and shoving Wal-Mart associates. The Broward County Sheriff’s office was alerted and deputies arrested two demonstrators for battery and gave fifteen other demonstrators trespassing warnings.
“This just goes to show that the union leadership will stop at nothing – even upsetting children with fake Christmas gifts and resorting to physical confrontation with our associates. We have tolerated numerous union demonstrations and disruptions in our stores, but we cannot tolerate attacks that become physical. We ask for the union leadership to publicly apologize to our associates, these children, their parents and the customers who were in our store and pledge that any future demonstrations will be peaceful and non-violent."

Caption It...



and...The Reason for the Season...

Test your Biblical knowledge (or New Testament knowledge) of the Christmas holiday.

MilBloggies 2005 - I'm in the Running...?

Who knew...? There is a "civilian" section on the Milbloggies voting page and I'm on it. Cool. I have no votes, but that's OK, it's just cool to be in there with all the kickass milblogs.

Along with the Civilian blogs there are categories for each branch of the service and Iraq and Afghanistan frontlines. The winners will be published in GX: The Guard Experience Magazine in 2006 (and on their website).

If you haven't already, go register and vote for all your favorites at Milblogging.com. You have until December 31st to get your votes in!

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Hijacker Released...

In June of 1985 a TWA flight going from Athens to Rome was hijacked. Thirty-nine Americans were held hostage by terrorists 17 days, but one American, a Navy diver, was beaten and killed. Robert Dean Stethem's body was then thrown to the tarmac. He was 23 years old.

Mohammed Ali Hamadi, one of those hijackers that killed an American service member, was released from a German prison this week and has returned to lovely Beirut where he is a known member of Hezbollah.

"U.S. authorities had requested his extradition so he could stand trial in the United States, but the Germans, who have no death penalty, insisted on prosecuting Hamadi.

German Foreign Ministry spokesman Martin Jaeger said there was no connection between Hamadi's release and the recent freeing of former hostage Susanne Osthoff, a German woman released over the weekend after spending more than three weeks as a captive in Iraq." (source)

So the Germans insist on keeping and trying him (even though he killed an American and not a German) and then let him go right back into Hezbollah's open arms? Lest you think that the hijacking was a one-shot deal for Mohammed, the reason that he was in German custody to begin with was he was caught in an airport with explosives.

"Stethem family members said they learned of Hamadi's release Friday from federal investigators who had worked on the case. Stethem's brother, Kenneth, blamed the U.S. government for not doing enough to keep Hamadi imprisoned.

"Rob gave his life. He gave his full measure and I haven't seen anybody give as much to securing his killer as he did in life defending his country," Kenneth Stethem said.

The family now hopes the Bush administration will pressure Lebanon to extradite Hamadi so he can be tried in a U.S. court." (source)

H/T: 91Ghost

Time Magazine --A Safe, Boring Pick This Year



Bono & The Gates'? Time's People of the year?

Ok, here's the thing, it's great that these richer-than-God people give lots of their non-hard-earned cash to charities. It really is...but so what? If you have three billion dollars would you ever miss a few hundred thousand -a million even? If I give you a $1,000 suit that I wore once but doesn't fit me anymore -does that make me a great person? It’s an expensive, killer suit but I couldn't have worn it anyway. I would never miss it.

I know so many people that give so much and have nothing... people that eat Raman noodles because they donated thier last $50. THESE people should be on the cover as the Person of the Year. If Time wanted to focus on charities they should have acknowledged REAL people who gave until it hurt -who sacrificed.

I'm glad celebrities donate large amounts of money instead of MC Hammering it all away, but they should...they get paid millions of dollars to cry on cue, but the fact that they constantly publicize the dollars they give cheapens it. If they gave until they were down to one mansion and one car --then maybe I'll be impressed…

The NRA Ripped Me Off!



They're lucky they're all packing or I might have to go kick some ass! LOL

Seriously though, The Man's friend called yesterday to tell us that his most recent NRA newsletter had a new feature called IN THE SANDBOX that showcased pictures of Marines. Now I realize that the military boys call Iraq "the sandbox" which is why I called my feature that...but come on. To call it "In the Sandbox" with beefcakey pics is MINE I tell you and I have been doing it for close to a year now.

I'm expecting my kickback...a job offer...something. ...damn copycats.

In the Sandbox...



An Apology and A Cowbell

"I was one of those “young officers” who rushed blindly to support the president (“Justified on a technicality,” letter, Dec. 11).

The letter writer is right. I am wrong. I apologize for blindly supporting “Chimpy McHalliburton” and his “Axis of Destruction.” I apologize for thinking the follow-up to Resolution 1441 (which promised “serious consequences”) was political cover for Tony Blair to push the war against Saddam Hussein past his back benchers and triangulate the Lib Dems. I apologize for recalling that then French Foreign Minister Dominique de Villepin sandbagged Secretary of State Colin Powell in January 2003 at the U.N. anti-terrorism conference, implying that France would veto the second resolution.

I apologize for reading subsequent Volcker Commission reports credibly implicating sundry French politicians, members of the Russian Office of the President, George Galloway, Father Benjamin, and others, in accepting oil vouchers (to say bribes would be gauche) from Saddam.

I apologize for believing in cause and effect. I apologize for not believing that the democratic, free United States should submit to that great and good deliberative body that is the United Nations, where Cuba, Sudan, North Korea, Saudi Arabia and Liechtenstein are in good standing. I apologize for thinking that the United Nations is hamstrung by national, corrupting influences.

I apologize for thinking China’s security relationship with, and investments in the oil sector of, Sudan essentially block any action against the Janjaweed (Sudan militia). Anyway, they’re not my people. While I’m at it, I apologize for the Kyoto Treaty being unsigned by the “Toxic Texan.” I apologize for our emissions going down, while Canada’s go up, and the European Union does nothing. It’s better to feel good than do good.

Most of all, I apologize for not believing that this world is governed by an enlightened, humanitarian impulse, with only the actions of that rogue Great Satan, marring global harmony, peace and social justice.

Can I have a cowbell, now?

My apology and $2.50 ought to get you a cup of coffee."
-Capt. F. Cameron Jackson (I think I'm in love), Bagram Air Base, Afghanistan (Stars & Stripes: Letters to the Editor)

*Everyone say hi to the Marine Snipers... Love you guys and welcome to The Sandbox (keep the pics coming by the way!)


...Active Duty girls...
1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6

**100 Records has been updated...Pantera**

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

More on the Whole "Eavesdropping" Thing...

Kat astutely pointed out yesterday a major factor in this eavesdropping outcry by the NYT and the left... this measure has been used throughout America's history in times of war. ("...such claims have a long history. Presidents going back to Franklin D. Roosevelt either acted as if they had such power, or openly asserted it." source)

Even the beloved Clinton and his NSA used it in 2000. "The Clinton administration claimed inherent authority to conduct such "black bag" jobs, including searches of CIA turncoat Aldrich Ames's house that turned up evidence of his spying for Russia. But it later sought amendments to FISA that brought physical searches under the FISA framework." (source) Where was the outcry then? Will the left howl as loud for an investigation into this leak as they did for Plamegate? I bet after all they said about "the DISGRACE" of that leak -they feel this one (this one that gives the terrorists a heads-up) is justified...

Not only has this measure been repeatedly approved by a judge, it has been approved by Congress who was "briefed more than a dozen times on this program" (source). This was no secret.

Now, to those of you on the left... YOU CAN'T HAVE IT BOTH WAYS. Either Bush is a stupid little chimp with no brain to speak of OR he is an evil maniacle man with a grand plan and huge plot to take over the US for the good of all his Big Oil cronies. It doesn't really work both ways.

I guess, at this juncture in time, you have to decide what's more important to you Liberty or civil liberties.

Christmas is a Federal Holiday...If Nothing Else

If the War on Christmas is real (an organized plot effort by the ACLU and their ilk) and if kids aren't allowed to sing Christmas carols or bring red and green plates to school parties...
Is the next step to take away the federal holiday? Post offices, government offices, etc. are not closed for Chanukah, Ramadan or whatever the Muslim holiday is. They are closed for Christmas. If the school is closed for CHRISTMAS, shouldn't you be able to say CHRISTMAS?
Is this just a blue-state problem in the public schools?

Another Unpaid Advertisement...


The Great Raid is released on DVD today. GO BUY IT. Unfortunately, this movie didn't get much press for its theater release. It was a great movie both on an entertainment level AND a historical level with real footage before and after the movie.
This would make a great Christmas present for me for the History/Military Channel enthusiast in your life (but even if you’re not into "war movies", I guarantee you'll still like this one)


...Speaking of the military, I normally find WWE Wrestling incredibly silly (even if John Cena is kinda cute), but it was REALLY cool that they all took the time and went over to Afghanistan and to Walter Reed. They didn't just go perform, but went all over the country visiting with as many troops as they could. So, I have to give them props for that.

How Evil (or not) Are You?


How evil are you?


H/T: MJ at Moving Cars

Monday, December 19, 2005

How Safe Are We Now?

I'm so confused.

As I understood it the 9/11 Commission concluded that one of the MAIN reasons that the 9/11 hijacking plot wasn't uncovered before that fateful day was because of the restrictions imposed by Jamie Gorelick's "Wall".

As I also understood the Patriot Act removed that wall. The 9/11 Commission said that with the wall down we were "safer" but another attack was still likely.

Now it seems the Senate is going to let this expire and the wall will go back up --in addition to some other very important measures. We haven't been hit since 9/11. Many other countries have. Why would you mess with success and make us even more venerable...?

As for the "eavesdropping" that people are getting so bent out of shape over. Please. Do you really think that government cares about your silly conversations? You have to know from watching even a few Law & Orders that the "probable cause" would have to stand up in court later. This measure was meant for a scenario such as this: The G-Men have a court order to be able to listen to one "suspected terrorist" and a "suspected accomplice". They hear a phone call that contains time sensitive/incriminating information. The suspect makes another call and you have no time to get another order to listen to said call. Makes sense to me.

It pisses me off that people looking to make political points are flirting with the paltry protections in place...

Webcams - I've Always Said They Were Shady...

...and this story just solidifies my opinion. I love technology --I couldn't live without my computer, but there are downfalls. The software that can transform an 18 year old girl to look like and 8 year old, so pedophiles can enjoy "legal" kiddy-porn, NAMBLA, felons and sex offenders setting up on dating pages and chat rooms (getting the internet for free while out troops have to pay for it by the hour in some places). These are some of the detrimental things, but I think the webcam is another.

Yeah, yeah...some people will say they use it to show their kids to their parents that live across the country. Maybe they do, but what do you think the majority of webcams are used for?

"Minors, often under the online tutelage of adults, are opening for-pay pornography sites featuring their own images sent onto the Internet by inexpensive Webcams. And they perform from the privacy of home, while parents are nearby, beyond their children's closed bedroom doors.

The business has created youthful Internet pornography stars - with nicknames like Riotboyy, Miss Honey and Gigglez - whose images are traded online long after their sites have vanished. In this world, adolescents announce schedules of their next masturbation for customers who pay fees for the performance or monthly subscription charges. Eager customers can even buy "private shows," in which teenagers sexually perform while following real-time instructions." (source)

Not just child porn though. I say be wary if your spouse has a webcam and, of course, if they play on a bar softball league... Like Chris Rock says..."Men are as faithful as their options". ...Just my two cents.