Thursday, June 30, 2005

LA Times: Iraq has an air pollution problem

The people may be free, they may have hope and a future. They may be fighting a battle for their lives and their families, much like this country fought two centuries ago. They may be holding elections and holding back Islamic thugs and Ba'athst goons, but, as the LA Times helpfully points out, they are damaging the environment!!!! (login required...use bugmenot)
A massive generator outside the Ministry of the Environment belches smoke, drips oil and roars above the noise of traffic, glaring testimony to the low priority given to protecting air quality in the warravaged Iraqi capital.

Gas flare-offs from oil fields, smoldering fires along sabotaged pipelines, groaning generators on every street corner have spread a gray haze over much of Iraq, aggravating respiratory problems and threatening caustic inversions as people brace for the dreaded heat of summer when temperatures climb past the 120-degree mark.


Adding to the noxious cloud hovering over Baghdad is the swelling fleet of aging vehicles and their emissions. More than 1 million cars have been imported in the last two years, many of them older models that fail to meet current licensing standards in Europe.

These horrors are obviously the fault of the President of the United States. If he hadn't ordered the invasion, Saddam would surely have cleaned up these problems. He would have let only approved Ba'athists have cars, he would have kept the sale of generators to a minimum so that he would be able to keep whole regions in check by cutting off electricity, and he certainly wouldn't have let his cronies blow up oil wells and gas lines!

Oh, and this is a picture of the al Dura power plant. The request for routine maintenance was considered tantamount to disloyalty, punishable by loss of your job, the rape of your daughter, or the loss of your life. So now engineers face bombs and terrorists trying to fix thirty years of Saddam's neglect and his manifest concern for the environment. Here is a picture of one of the turbines. Note the broken and cut vanes.

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Interesting reading

For future reference, a story about smoking and one about sex.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Michael Yon again

Yeah. I know, everyone is already reading it. But for my own future refernce, plus the few people who may not have heard of him, here is a link to his blog. Well worth the read.

NPR watch

It has been almost 6 months since the 'impossible' elections and a year since the 'doomed' turn-over of power in Iraq. So NPR, naturally, had a series of stories on how bad things are in Iraq. They never mentioned their dire and inaccurate predictions of disaster last year this time. They didn't talk about their failure to predict the 8 million Iraqis voting with their lives. They did talk about the failure of the US to halt all suicide attackers. In the most telling part, they twisted the news more than I ever remember them doing in the past. Starting with a discussion of suicide attackers, they moved, without transition, to a discussion of the Sunni dissatisfaction and loss of power. Then they outright stated that this was what was causing so many suicide attackers. However, this fails to explain why the vast, vast majority of suicide attackers we have caught or identified are foreign, not Iraqi. They also neglected to talk about the lack of Shiite retaliation against their oppressors of over 3 decades. Their perpetual hope for Iraqi societal collapse unfulfilled, they then had a commentary about how dangerous the "President's plan for unfettered democracy" was, not just in Iraq, but in the whole region and even the world.

It is interesting how much play they gave the sham Iranian elections, especially compared with the real Afghani elections. No wonder trust in the media is down…

Monday, June 27, 2005

Counter to the Protesters

There is a lot in the news about Iraq. For some reason, most of the stories are bylined either Baghdad (reporters refuse to leave the comfort of their hotel) or Washington DC (brutal combat in Congress! Kennedy and Hunter Clash over Rusmfeld!). Here are a couple of great reads, that show the glory of war, along with its terror, for war is truly terrible, but the most terrible of times present unequaled opportunity to rise above our usual selfish and ordinary selves. A hero needs a menace, and without a chance to die, it is impossible to truly love life. Never have I felt such vitality as when death has passed close by, but passed: A plane crash, a helo crash, a massive car bomb in Baghdad at the Assasin's Gate, a close miss with a missile over Afghanistan, my car t-boned by a guy doing 80, the crack of a large caliber bullet passing by my ear all served to remind me that live is short, but it is also sweet. The Lord of All gives life, and takes it when He desires, and He preserves it unto that day.

Does this mean that I love war, or think it is a good thing? No, rather, war is something that can cause us to consider that there is something more important than life, comfort and safety. That something, greater that ourselves, worth fighting for, worth living for, and worth dying for, is freedom. In this life, that freedom is the freedom from tyranny and oppression. Freedom to live and dream and hope and try and fail, and try again. In this life, regardless of physical freedom, we have a chance to choose eternal freedom, the freedom from fear of death, the freedom to live.

Anyway, here are some stories about those who have come through the fire (much, much more than I) and will have ghosts and fears, but also a new appreciation for life. First, a Sniper:

Boyish-looking and Midwestern to the core, John Ethan Place loves football games in the fall and traipsing through the woods hunting quail and deer with his dad, a retired school administrator.

Back home in Lake St. Louis, Mo., he's a regular at the nearby Baptist church.

He's also an expert at one of the most difficult aspects of warfare. He's a sniper, able to kill an enemy at 1,000 yards or more with a single shot.

On Friday, the 22-year-old sergeant received the Silver Star, the military's third-highest honor for bravery in combat.

In the battle for Fallouja, Iraq, in April 2004, Place had 32 confirmed kills, from April 11 to April 24, of insurgents who were trying to sneak into position to attack Marines from Echo Company of the 2nd Battalion, 1st Regiment.

And then, a fight in the trenches:
The two soldiers crept along the trench line, bullets thumping into the dirt around them. One was a lanky family man, 36, with two young sons and a 15-year career at International Paper Co. The other was a petite, single woman, 23, the floor manager at a Nashville shoe store.

Sgt. Leigh Ann Hester handed Staff Sgt. Timothy Nein a grenade. He had the better arm. Nein hurled it at the insurgents, who were crouched in the same trench, firing their AK-47 rifles at the Americans in the early afternoon.

Hester and Nein inched forward, the two recalled, Hester firing her black M-4 assault rifle next to Nein's ear. By the time the soldiers climbed out of the trench, their lips were chapped from the heat, their faces smeared with dirt, and four insurgents lay dead or dying nearby.

Protest of the Day

It's Monday! And that means it is time for the tin foil hatted protesters to come out and play. The group of about 10 this morning had the usual signs, plus one. Standing next to the four letter word I wrote about last week, a guy had labored long and hard to add another four letter word to a 8.5 by 11 inch piece of paper. The result? A pair of signs that read:


I could say something about unwashed hippies...

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Is that how it works?

It seems researchers in Israel have made a startling discovery: more sex = more chance of conception:
And those who think men should abstain from sex so they can store up more or better sperm to coincide with their partner's ovulation might like to think again.

Dr Elyaho Levitas of the University of the Negev, Israel, analysed sperm samples collected for fertility treatments and found that abstinence in donors for more than three days "is doing some harm to the semen".

"People sometimes abstain from sex for weeks, thinking they are doing good, but I think probably they would be better to have sex every two days, rather than every two weeks," he said.

Other startling news in the article include the finding that older men and older women have a harder time conceiving children. However, the article does have some interesting "new" information: soy products also may reduce chances of conception.

But that is not the only interesting nugget about sex today. Thanks to NPR, I found this little tidbit:

Women living with a male partner are more likely to give birth to boys than women who live alone, suggests a study of 86,000 US births. The finding hints that higher numbers of single mothers could explain a recent drop in the birth rate of boys in some developed countries.
Hmmmm. Roe effect, plus soya effect, plus partner effect…pretty soon you have some drastic red-state blue-state differences! It won't be long until someone notices...

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Gratuitous Kofi Propaganda

UN Grafter-in-Chief Annan was burnishing public opinion on PBS this morning. I'll let an e-mail from Tams tell the story:
Kofi Annan is on Sesame Street this morning. He’s singing the ABC’s with a group of fuzzy monsters. They all want to give him a big hug and kiss, so they are fighting amongst themselves. Then they say “wait a minute, why don’t we solve this the United Nations way and all hug together?” Not exactly the way it works…
Interestingly, it is either a re-run or Kofi really likes hanging out with puppets. I wonder if it has anything to do with the infamous Sesame Street Memo?

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

She also gets it!

Seventy-two years after prohibition was repealed, one lawmaker member suggested Tuesday that alcohol once again be off limits in the bars and restaurants of the nation's capital.

Councilwoman Carol Schwartz, R-At Large, introduced her bill in response to a proposed ban on smoking in those same establishments. Her proposal imitates the arguments for a smoking ban, citing health concerns, worker safety and the nuisance of drinkers. "I never thought I could ban drinking just because I didn't like it, but now I know I can," Schwartz said. "The impending smoking ban has empowered me."

Several hours later, Schwartz pulled the bill, saying she had made her point. She hoped the incident would serve as a "wake-up call that once you start toying with people's liberties, you never know where it might end."


Schwartz said she wouldn't allow the smoking legislation out of her committee unless there's a compromise. She argued that "if government is going to start banning legal substances" there's a whole list of things to ban -- starting with alcohol. "Let's be honest, people are dying," Schwartz said, mocking arguments from other council members on the smoking ban. "Pure and simple, drinking kills."


"People are still free to drink at home -- for now," Schwartz said. But she said beverages at bars and restaurants should be limited to "tea, sodas and milk.

Once again, though I have not met her, I like her...

It continues

Howard Dean can call Republicans evil, liars, corrupt and brain dead, and it is just politics. He manages to insinuate that all Christians are racist, and so are Republicans, and that any person of color associated with them is stupid, and it is "taken out of context." Sen. Durbin can liken the military to Nazis, Pol Pot, Soviets and others, and it is "misinterpreted", since he really meant to compare the US to those regimes. Democratic leaders say "questions remain" about US soldiers actions, and accuse Rove of somehow causing the resulting kerfluffle. But when a Republican says something similar about Democrats, the resulting noise forces him to retract the comment within half an hour.
The rhetorical warfare came as the House considered a proposal by Rep. David Obey, D-Wis., to put Congress on record against "coercive and abusive religious proselytizing" at the U.S. Air Force Academy.

Rep. John Hostettler, R-Ind., criticized Obey and Steve Israel, D-N.Y., who offered a similar condemnation of academy officials earlier this year on another bill.

"Like a moth to a flame, Democrats can't help themselves when it comes to denigrating and demonizing Christians," Hostettler said.

Democrats leapt to their feet and demanded Hostettler be censured for his remarks. After a half-hour's worth of wrangling, Hostettler retracted his comments.

Democrats criticized Hostettler's remarks, which began, "The long war on Christianity in America continues today on the floor of the United States House of Representatives."

Obey said Hostettler's "outburst ... is perhaps the perfect example of why we need to pass the language in my amendment."

Once again, I wonder who is more dangerous to have running around in the military, much less in society: followers of a man who said, "Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you" or one who said of the Jews and other non-believers, " seize them and kill them wherever you find them, and take not from among them a friend or a helper".

Something is upside-down here...

The Enemy is...

A well-written piece this weekend in the WSJ, by Vincent Carroll:
The U.S. Air Force, which prides itself on its ability to strike with quick and devastating effect, intends to root out religious intolerance at its academy in Colorado Springs -- "if everything goes well," the superintendent says -- in six years. Or eight, if the enemy proves stubborn.

The enemy, in this case, is Christian evangelicals who, it is alleged, proselytize Air Force cadets and bully those who do not share their faith. Why such a long timetable? According to superintendent Lt. Gen. John W. Rosa, a poisonous, self-centered atmosphere pervades the place. Thus he has embraced a policy of therapeutic "culture change." Today's young people, he says -- even academy cadets, who are willing to die for their country -- "don't respect themselves. They don't respect others."

What is surprising about this assessment is that the academy's religion problem, such as it exists, seems to derive mostly from staff and staff-instigated conduct. Unless Gen. Rosa is beset by insubordination, it is hard to see why his mission cannot be accomplished a lot faster.

Even so, some critics seem to possess a larger agenda that involves stifling innocuous expressions of faith, too. Gen. Weida, for example, has come under attack for an email in which he said, "Remember, you are accountable first to your God, this great nation, our great Air Force," even though he never stipulated who or what "your God" might be. Americans United makes much of the fact that some faculty members used to buy a Christmastime ad in the school newspaper proclaiming their belief in Jesus and offering to discuss Jesus with interested readers -- "directed cadets to contact them" is how Americans United misleadingly puts it. Such an indirect appeal is not remotely comparable to proselytizing in a classroom.

Also possibly overdrawn is Americans United's description of how cadets who "declined to attend chapel after dinner" in basic training "were made to suffer humiliation by being placed by upper-class cadet staff into a 'Heathen Flight' and marched back to their dormitories." Cadets are, in fact, marched all over the academy and would have been marched back to their dorms no matter what the formation was called. An academy spokesman says that the unauthorized moniker was a joke.

How many Americans have these evil 'evangelical Christians' killed? And how many Americans have fundamentalist Muslims killed? Who is the enemy here? How far we have moved from Sept 11! In some ways, this is a good sign.

We have returned to our usual bickering and squabbling. Like children in a besieged town, we rest in our trust of the violent watchkeepers, content to play our silly games and mock the seriousness of those who stand guard at night against the terrors too scary for us to contemplate. But when that mocking becomes stones, and when those children begin to question the need for a watch, when the terrors of the night are forgotten because they have been kept at bay so long, that is the time for the village to fear.

Too funny!

Sometimes the news makes you laugh. Like the NYT correcting a correction, incorrectly. This week, my MSM chuckle comes to me via the WaPost. It seems that the police chief had his car stolen. That is funny. But it gets better…
"There is not a whole lot to add to it," Ramsey said. "The car was taken, and there was nothing of real value in it. Cars are getting stolen every day." … Ramsey and other police officials said the theft of the car is not indicative of crime trends, which show auto theft dropping substantially in the city. Through mid-June, police recorded 2,759 auto thefts, down 29 percent from the 3,880 tallied during the same period last year. In all of last year, 8,136 cars were stolen in the District -- a decrease of almost 15 percent from the 9,549 car thefts recorded in 2003, according to FBI statistics. Ramsey is not the area's only top law enforcement official to have a car stolen in recent years. The van of Prince George's County State's Attorney Glenn F. Ivey was stolen from in front of his house in 2002. The county's auto theft rate has almost doubled in the past five years, with 18,485 cars reported stolen in 2004
If 'cars are getting stolen every day', that seems to me to be a trend. Especially when it is averaging about 16 per day, in the nation's capitol. And that doesn't include the area around DC!

Protest of the week

The protesters have grown! This week there were about 8 standing along the protest fence. They had a new kid with them, a girl who looked to be about 11, holding a sign that said


The sign was almost as tall as she was. As I walked by, I heard them talking about the high Salvadoran population in DC, due to the secret government programs in the 80's aimed at overthrowing the progressive government there. Time to bring out the tinfoil hats, I guess.

I didn't get around to writing about last week, but there was one amusing part of the protest. The Stand up for peace sign was back, and sure enough, one of the protesters was sitting down next to it. I actually laughed out loud…

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

More adventures in slugging

Last week was a bang-up week for slug adventures. For the first time, I ended up riding home with the same person I rode in with. And to make things more interesting, I rode with him the day before. Naturally, he had no really nice car, just a 4-Runner. But he kept the windows down, and I liked that. He drove the speed limit, in the left lane, and I completely disapprove of that. One biker that passed us was pretty peeved. Understandably...

Then there was the limo. It was hot, hot day, and the guy next to me in line was griping about the heat, the long line, the lack of cars, the sun, everything. We waited a little longer than usual, about 10 minutes, before a car showed up. The Indian driver was quite nice, had great AC blasting and gosh! I had no idea a Lincoln was such a smooth ride! As we got out, the grumbler, with a smile, admitted that it was worth the wait.

Jamie Lee Curtis also gave me a ride. Well, not her, but a lady that talked just like her. And I mean talked. I am working my way though Chesterton's Eternal Man, and I got about 2 sentences read on the whole trip home. But, since I was paying nothing for the gas, I guess it was the least I could do to nod occasionally and grunt affirmation about whatever interesting sports events she was excited about.

This morning it was a woman who wanted advice. She was driving a newish Mercedes SUV, but had not really figured out the radio. I helped with that, but when she asked if she should get off early to avoid the accident the radio said was near Exit 4, I was stumped. We stayed on the HOV (my best guess) and it took about an hour and a half to get to the Pentagon. Oh well.

Then this afternoon, I got a ride home in a Lexus. Oh am I fond of Lexus! Not much reading got done, since sleep called. Leather seats, AC and a smooth ride make for quite a nap!

My final slug adventure had nothing to do with transportation. I finally got tired of goo in my sandals and took the box of salt out front to deal with the pests in the flowers as they came out for their evening romp. (Do slugs romp?) After a half box of salt and three score of kills to my tally, I called it a day. Ugh! I'll have to hose off the flower patch tomorrow, and wash their shriveled little corpses away. Yech!

Thursday, June 09, 2005

You can't see me 4 - You Don't Bother Me, Black Fly, Say Fans Of 'Jaws on Wings' - You Don't Bother Me, Black Fly, Say Fans Of 'Jaws on Wings':
"Of the 255 types of black flies in North America, most are only a few millimeters in length, smaller than the common house fly. Five or six biting varieties are virulent in northern New England, upstate New York and eastern Canada, which abound in the clean, running water that the flies need for food and egg-laying. This year's black-fly season came late because of cold weather, but it is shaping up as an unusually bad one, insect experts say, because of big runoffs from heavy snowfall and recent rains.

Naturalists suspect the black-fly problem is growing because the water is getting cleaner."

I don't even know what to say...late because of global warming, but bad because of the cleaner environment. Hmmm...

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

This woman gets it...

I have never met Pam Hearne, but I like her a lot already. Her reaction to parts of a body falling in her yard and damaging her house was not to call her lawyer to see whom she could sue. Instead:
Hearne, a special education teacher, said that when she first saw the leg in the grass, "it didn't look real." "But I am very glad that I live where I do," she said, "so I don't have to run for my life like this man probably was doing."
Amen. Pam, you are a great American.


Another quote:

Pam Hearne: "The thought that keeps on running through my head 'but by the grace of God go I' - this someone from another country who wanted to find his or her freedom and he or she didn't make it."
and another:
"The saying that keeps going over and over again in my head is, but by the grace of God go I," she said, adding that the man who sought a free ride was likely desperate. "Some poor soul decided to look for his freedom and it didn't work out for him," she said, standing in front of her home as investigators surveyed the area.
Interesting accuracy in reporting, btw...

Like this:

''The saying that keeps going over and over again in my head is, [There] but by the grace of God go I,'' she said, adding that the man who sought a free ride was likely desperate. ''Some poor soul decided to look for his freedom, and it didn't work out for him,'' she said, standing in front of her home as investigators surveyed the area.
and this:
"I guess it was some poor soul who dreamed to look for his freedom," Hearne said. "I'm hoping he wasn't in much pain."

details, details

No point to this, but amusing none the less:

New York Times June 8, 2005 Corrections: For The Record An article on Sunday about training exercises at Fort Lewis, Wash., that help troops confront situations they might encounter while guarding detainees in places like Abu Ghraib gave incorrect dimensions in some copies for an outdoor compound used at the base. Because of an editing error, a correction in this space yesterday also misstated the size. The compound is 200 feet square - not 200 square feet or 200 yards square.

Monday, June 06, 2005

Early to bed...early to rise...

It is always the fault of the school...
The early start to classes causes American teenagers to lose much needed sleep that puts them at risk of becoming moody and performing poorly in school, researchers said on Monday.

A survey of students aged 12 to 15 years old found they lost an average of two hours of sleep on the nights before a school day, affecting their work and alertness in class.

So, what happened to 'going to bed earlier'?

Social Security Solution

You just know there is talking point in here somewhere:
Authorities arrested [80 year old] Vera Tursi last month during a sting operation to crack down on prostitution rings posing as legal escort services. Police say Tursi ran the business from her two-bedroom apartment, taking $60 of every $160 she charged clients for one hour with a call girl.

Law enforcement officials say Tursi admitted her role in the business, saying she took it over a few years ago from her daughter, who had died. Police say Tursi told them she needed money to subsidize her Social Security checks.

A religious fight

Few things delve as deeply into our souls, our very beings, as religion. If you are an evolutionist, you probably believe that religion evolved over the eons to meet the growing needs of a growing consciousness (after all, we are the only animals that 'worship'). As such, it has become a part of us as much as breathing or eating--it is vital. If you are of a different religious bent, you probably believe that religion answers the questions that God (or whoever, whatever) placed in us at creation, inception, reincarnation or the big bang. Again, it is vital to who we are and how we act. Either way, that belief is held by faith.

When something is taken as a matter of faith, not direct, demonstratable fact, the belief is held more strongly and thus defended more viscously. Seldom will you see someone in a violent confrontation over gravity. I can't remember the last time I heard someone scream obscenities about the flatness of the earth or the origins of a chicken egg. Yet, evolution, Islam, abortion, freedom, and war all bring out deep and strong feelings. These are not Republican or Democrat issues. To those who debate them, on both sides, they are more important than politics. Often, they are more important than life or death. These are the outgrowths of religion.

We in our 'progressive' society, are often far removed from the hard facts of life and death. We translate that distance into a faux dispassion for all things so simplistic. All is a shade of gray. Yet even that we take on faith, while denying the existence of such a motive. "Faith" becomes a pejorative term for religion. Skepticism is the religion of our society, and we defend it as fiercely as a Dervish, Jesuit or Wahabbist. We are certain that there can be no certainty, and are devout in our impiety. It is a trite saying, but our motto is that there are absolutely no absolutes. And yet, we find ourselves involved in a religious clash.

When a fight involves religion, on either side, it is a religious war, even if the other side refuses to admit it. Saying 'it ain't so' doesn't work. Witness the build up to WW2 (nazism) and the Cold War (communism), both religions we refused to acknowledge until the fate of millions hung in the balance. Our current war is the same. Until we are willing to attack not merely the physical enemy but his ideology as well, we will not have the moral foundation for a successful campaign. That ideology, spreading like fascism, nazism, communism and colonialism all have at various times, is a form of Islam, much like 'national socialism' was a form of a bigger ideology, socialism. Just because one form appears benign right now does not mean we should forswear the fight with another.

All this brings me to several articles by Pam Zubeck of the Colorado Springs Gazette. Her articles all have the sound of desperation, fear and loathing in them. But of what? It seems to me she loathes the military most of all. The standing joke when I was at the Academy was that she had been stood up by her date for the Ring Dance, and, as a woman scorned, had sworn her fury on all those associated with that terrible slight. True? I really doubt it. But it was a good story. There is a fair amount of anti-male bias in her reporting, and certainly a lot of anti-established religion. Her reporting, I think, goes beyond the usual reporter's skepticism and into the realm of activism.

So, after reading one of her articles, here was my initial response:

Since when is the MOST IMPORTANT document in the history of the world not a viable source of quotations? There is no other document, no other collection of sayings by any person or leader or group that has had as profound an impact. To disqualify it as quotable on leadership and morality merely because it happens to be considered a holy text by two of the oldest major religions in the world is absolutely absurd. The book that inspired the Magna Carta, much of Shakespeare, the Pilgrims establishment of colonies in the New World, the Declaration of Independence and Constitution, and has been cited by EVERY President and BOTH POLITICAL PARTIES is not a viable text from which to pull quotes on leadership and morality? ON WHAT PLANET DO YOU LIVE, WOMAN?????

As we move more into the morass of moral fluctuation and situational morality, are we to always be judged by the present and changing FEELINGS evinced by those who have a motive to tear down what our forefathers wrought out of pain, suffering and wilderness? On what basis is leadership promoted, if not a moral claim of knowledge of right? A leader who says "any way is the right way" is, by definition, not leading. If religion has no place in the public square, if debate over right and wrong is to be banished, then what is the point of both the "free exercise" and "establishment" clauses coupled with the "free speech" clause? If a leader is a good leader, don't those who look up to him deserve to hear why he does what he does? Imagine a CEO of a successful company telling his senior managers, "I'd love to tell you how I have made this company successful, but I won't." He'd be considered selfish, secretive and worthless. A good leader grows others to fill his place and lead. A good leader teaches, mentors and prepares others. How can he do that if he is prevented from talking about a part of what drives him to be, know and do right? This is absolutely the most asinine article from Pam that I have seen to date. She has such an obvious contempt for both the military and religion, I wonder that she is allowed to right about either. Further, since she seems to have NO understanding of the discipline and leadership it takes to send men and women into battle, to lead them to kill, and maybe be killed, I suggest she spend a little time with the families of those who have lost their sons and daughters in the cause of freedom.

Pam, go and ask them if religion has no place in leadership. Go to Iraq and ask those who may be dead tomorrow if they are offended today when their commanders, who may die with them, talk about the possibility of "mounting up with wings as eagles". Ask the Marine who just dragged his bleeding and dying bunkmate from the debris-strewn street if he is offended by the concept of "bearing on another's burdens". Stand with the unit who has lost brothers, as they gaze on the empty boots, upturned rifles and bloodied helmets, listening to the comforting words of scripture. I dare to you to challenge them at that moment that these words they hear from their commander are a "misuse of office".

It is only in the safety and comfort of a country whose freedom has been purchased with the blood of patriots, a country that stands safe from attack because of the noble sacrifice of thousands upon hundreds of thousands, that you are able to contend that this is wrong. And it is your right to pen those filthy and degrading words, words that show you to be a craven coward, weak enough in your own beliefs that you can't stand the idea of others having beliefs strong enough to fight and die for. Freedom, love, honor, faith, hope, courage. These are words that drive us on when we have no more strength. They are words of both religion and leadership. They are the words that stirred hearts to make this a country where you can debase the sacrifice made by those who went before. And they are words by which we in the military live, AND DIE.

And that blood, Pam, and those words, give me the right to say that YOU ARE A [deleted] MORON!

More later on the correlation between religion and leadership, and also the current religious climate in the workplace (military) and the weakness of any religion that can't stand to have its views even questioned a little…but for now I have to go for a run and enjoy the hot weather.




Michelle Malkin has a link to the WAPO editorial (I missed it) and to a couple of excellent pieces by a former teacher of mine, Ken Masugi. Naturally, he says it a lot better than I do. But I am still working on a letter to the editor...

Protest of the week

OK, so there was a protest last week, and I didn't write about it. Sorry. But to make up for it, I have a couple of new signs from last week and this week. Last week:

Stand up for Peace

Now, I assume that they felt good support from the passing masses, since there was no one (that I saw, anyway) who walked by and sat down. Everyone remained standing or walking, ergo, they are all for peace!

This week, kudos to the most creative sign yet. In big letters, angling from top left to bottom right, with each word clipped by pictures of atomic explosions:




I just had to smile.

State Extortion

It seems that states, 43 of them, feel they are not taking enough of their our money, and now they want a cut of everything that happens on the internet:

9News has learned that 43 states have joined together in a coalition to collect sales tax on all Internet purchases. You already pay sales tax when you go online to buy from an established business like Eddie Bauer or Wal-Mart. But a lot of small Internet businesses and individual transactions float under the radar. The coalition is seeking expertise from Colorado's high tech industry to get the tax collection done electronically.

Of course the is voluntary. Or is it?

The proposal is for the new system to initially be voluntary. "So (unless) Congress were to act and make this mandatory, there would be no penalties," says Peterson. But there's a plus for businesses who do adopt the software. The states say the electronic system is so good, they'll designate participating businesses "audit proof."

Interesting way to put a positive spin on it. Let me get this straight. You can choose to use the approved software (no kickbacks there, I'm sure), and you will not be audited, or you can go on your merry way and deal with the consequences, which we, the state, have no control over…

Last I checked, protection rackets, although 'voluntary', are illegal.

Friday, June 03, 2005

Art or Abuse


The links in this post are not for the faint of heart. Seriously.


Ok, so let me get this straight, this is art and should be awarded taxpayer's hard earned money, but this is abuse? Ummmm...

Just which religion is it that seems to be the peacemaker?

French Fighter Jets Forced To Land In N.J.

In the 'Don't leave home without it' side of things...:
Nine French fighter jets and a radar plane stayed overnight at Atlantic City International Airport after bad weather prevented them from returning to their aircraft carrier off the Virginia coast, authorities said Friday."

There was a further complication, according to a broadcast report. One of the pilots tried to buy fuel Thursday and couldn't because he didn't have the available funds on his credit card, according to Philadelphia television station WPVI-TV.

Ah hah hah hah...Maybe it is just Friday night, but this is funny!