"Any society that would give up a little liberty to gain a little security will deserve neither and lose both." ~ Benjamin Franklin

So much to do

>> Thursday, December 30, 2004

So why am I blogging? Probably because I have so much to do and the frustration of trying to do it is making me crazy!!!

My house is basically cleaned for the party tomorrow. Just a bit of vacuuming to do. I have purchased all the goodies, I just have to create them tomorrow. I still have a gaping hole in my bathroom ceiling. I think we are going to use a heavy fabric on the ceiling. A nice, drapey look. As for sewing the curtains & chair covers, I'm getting there. Kind of. So much heavy fabric. And I can't see the design on the back so I'm not sure my line is going to be straight. And that frustrates me.

Brenna is kind of fussy today, so she takes presidence over everything else. And Doug is fighting the cold I had last week.

Ugh. I should stop procrastinating now & just get busy! If I don't get a chance to blog tomorrow- and I really doubt I do- Happy New Year!! Talk to you again in 2005!!!


Act of God vs. Natural Disaster

>> Wednesday, December 29, 2004

Driving home from dinner last night Doug & I were listening to Michael Savage. Michael is on vacation so Curtis Sliwa was hosting.

The topic was, of course, the earthquake and tsunami in central Asia and whether it was an "Act of God" -as many people call it- or a natural disaster. And, if it was an Act of God, why?

Many people called in with the explination of the Original Sin and skewered their way around that, but my first thought was the 10 Plagues of Egypt.

The Plagues were visited upon Egypt because the Pharoah wouldn't release the Jewish slaves. So, according to the Bible, God will punish many for the acts of one.

In my mind, and I'm sure many will argue, the Christian God may be all forgiving but he can be vengeful (remember, he created man in image of Himself).

And lets look at the past year: Locusts swarmed Africa, the terrible hurricanes in the Carribean and Florida, record tornadoes in the US (even Hawaii!), the continuing fear of mad cow disease... Remove the hurricanes and tornadoes and you have 2 of the 10 plagues right there.

So, if this is an Act of God, why?

Now I'm certainly not going to question God but I wonder if it could be because he is under attack? He is being systematically removed from the public eye for fear of offending non-Christians while symbols of other faiths are replacing Him with no complaint. Maybe Christians have taken "turn the other cheek" to a new extreme and we need to fight as hard to keep our beliefs as others fight to keep theirs?

Or maybe this was just a natural disaster...


Recommended domestic policy changes

I started this post a few days ago and I meant to add some commentary. I might do so in the future as the start of the new year and the start of President Bush's second term makes this type of discussion very relavant. However [you had to know that this was coming], with all of the life events going on this holiday season, I'm going to leave you with a handful of links to domestic policy discussions by people who's job it is to know such things. Hopefully I can get around to opinionating soon.

Time for a New Deal on Democrats' Economics

Blue States: Ready for a Less Progressive Tax Code?

What, Me Worry? Reform Foes Get Simple

A Memo to the Hill: Middle America is Getting Fed Up with Federal Spending

More on Federal spending
A Budget Agenda for the 109th Congress


Helping War Vets

A community in Florida knows how to take care of their own

America is a great country. We are the first to help people in need, the first on the scene after a disaster, and stories like the one above makes us wonder how we can do something similar in our own community. Come on, admit it, you know you were thinking how cool it would be to do the same thing in your home town. A couple of weeks ago, several military bloggers put out a request to their readers to send phone cards to Walter Reed Medical Center [the military hospital that a lot of wounded vets get sent to]. The response was so overwhelming that Walter Reed starting sending phone cards to several other military hospitals for the vets to use.

Last fall, a former Marine officer started a campaign to send computers and video equipment to Iraq to start a TV station. He needed $100,000....after several million has been raised, the donations are still coming in. He's branched out to helping rebuild schools and universities, helping Iraqi bloggers get started, and sending sewing machines and toys to various communities around Iraq.

Yes, America is a great country, and by your actions we can make it better still.


Winds of Change

>> Tuesday, December 28, 2004

See their news and political roundup at Winds of War: Dec 27/04

If you are passionate about alternative energy sources like me, see Energy Currents.


Cancel the plumber

My uncle- yes the one who was in the shower- and my brother-in-law cut into the ceiling in our half bath and found the problem. It seems that he spigot into the tub was not properly caulked which was causing water to run back and around the pipes. We didn't notice it because that bathroom is rarely used, except for Brenna's baths.

I dislike new construction. They just toss houses up anymore. No pride in workmanship like you saw 100 years ago. (God, I sound old.)

Anyway, this will only cost us a partial new ceiling in the half bath, a couple dollars for caulk and a few steak dinners. I think we are getting off cheap.

Now that that dilemma is through I need to begin focusing on Friday. Hosting a New Year's Eve bash. I have 2 curtains to make, 2 chairs to make covers for, a menu to plan and carry out and overall cleaning to do. And, of course, Miss Brenna to care for.

I should get on with it.


There once was a guy named Murphy...

>> Monday, December 27, 2004

...and he seems to be visiting us this year. We've done quite a bit of work on this house which was prompted by leaks of one sort or another.

We have almost finished the basement from the spring flooding. A couple of new rooms added (due to the addition of Little Miss) and new flooring. And the landscaping around the house has been bolstered to prevent a recurrence of that problem.

So I thought we were done with house work for a while. And there I go thinking again...

My aunt and uncle are visiting for a few days. My brother and his family will be here will be staying after they leave. And we are having a New Year's Eve party with a few houseguests. So, of course, something must go wrong.

Enter strange dripping sound.

I was doing laundry so my first thought was the washing machine. Oh, how I wish it had been the washing machine! But no! I walk back toward the laundry room and see water coming from the ceiling in our half bath. Which is directly below the bathtub in our guest bathroom. Which my uncle happened to be showering in at that exact moment.

Now, luckily, there is a vent in the ceiling that the water came through. Had it not been there who knows how long it would have been until the leak turned the sheetrock into paste and the whole ceiling came down...

But, I digress. On with the story... I call Doug at work and say "I have bad news." I held the phone down to the splattering water and said, "That is the sound of water coming from the ceiling below the spare bathroom."

"Call the plumber," he says.

So, I have called the plumber who has so kindly fit me in on Wednesday morning. He has told me that at least part of the ceiling will have to come out of the half bath (which they don't fix) and they charge $70/hour. Oh goodie.

In hindsight I guess it's a good thing we didn't buy the new dining room furniture.


What do you mean "Despite"?

USA Today has the poll results of active duty military personnel.

Despite a year of ferocious combat, mounting casualties and frequent deployments, support for the war in Iraq remains very high among the active-duty military, according to a Military Times Poll.
Sixty-three percent of respondents approve of the way President Bush is handling the war, and 60% remain convinced it is a war worth fighting. Support for the war is even greater among those who have served longest in the combat zone: Two-thirds of combat vets say the war is worth fighting.

But the men and women in uniform are under no illusions about how long they will be fighting in Iraq; nearly half say they expect to be there more than five years.

In addition, 87%% say they're satisfied with their jobs and, if given the choice today, only 25% say they'd leave the service.

Compared with last year, the percentages for support for the war and job satisfaction remain essentially unchanged.

A year ago, 77% said they thought the military was stretched too thin to be effective. This year, that number shrank to 66%.

The findings are part of the annual Military Times Poll, which this year included 1,423 active-duty subscribers to Air Force Times, Army Times, Navy Times and Marine Corps Times.

The subscribers were randomly surveyed by mail in late November and early December. The poll has a margin of error of +/—2.6%.

Among the poll's other findings:

•75% oppose a military draft.

•60% blame Congress for the shortage of body armor in the combat zone.

•12% say civilian Pentagon policymakers should be held accountable for abuse at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq.

If you exclude the first sentence, it's a decent story about how our service members think Operation Iraqi Freedom is worth fighting and that they think the President is doing a good job. This, by the people on the ground not only seeing and implementing US policy, but paying the price for it as well.

But how does Robert choose to open the piece? "Despite a year of ferocious combat..." Change the word "Despite" to "After" and the piece comes together nicely.

But Robert forgot that troops were deployed to Afghanistan in 2002 and we're still rotating them in. We're still rotating troops into Kosovo too, which is still considered an Imminent Danger zone. Oh, we're still rotating troops to Korea and after 50 years, it's still considered a combat zone too.

Even excluding Marines on embassy duty, we have troops posted throughout the world. We are stretched pretty thin. One of Rumsfeld's goals was to reconfigure the military so that the administrative/logistical tail wasn't bigger than the maneuver units teeth, in terms of manpower. What that means is having more people in the military in combat arms specialties, rather than supply/logistics or even cooks. What that also means is that the use of contractors goes up, hence the kerfluffle with Haliburton at the beginning of OIF. Of course the ones complaining were the same ones complaining about how slow the reconstruction is going. Slowed partially because of the bidding requirements imposed as a result of that kerfluffle.

So why do the people most affected by American policy agree with the central tenets of the war on terrorists and specifically OIF? Could it be that they see the effects first hand? Could it be that the media screws up the reporting of Iraq? Well yes, but they only show the bad things that happen locally too. Just turn on your local news tonight and count only the positive stories about your local community. Will you even get to 1? But you still go shopping, to work, buy gas because you know that what's reported is the exception rather than the rule. You see positive things every day and may have even recommended your community to someone as a good place to live. Sure bad things happen, sure random acts of terror occur every day in Iraq. However, more people died driving on US roads last year then died due to acts of war in Iraq. Let the Coalition forces loose. Let them kill the terrorists. There are too many politically correct "rules" to abide by as it is. Winning the war is the only answer. Anything less and this battle will only be fought again and again and again...


Year of blogging dangerously

We're newbies on the blogging circuit. I never really paid attention to blogs until the past election kicked me into gear. Glad we did as it certainly was an interesting year. More to come, I'm sure.

Anyway, take a look at TCS's recap of this year's blogging sensations.


The more things change...

The more things change, the more they stay the same. The Five Stages of Anti-Americanism notes that "The kind of attacks encountered today would have been all too familiar in tone to Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin, who had to spend as much time and energy as current leaders proving to Europeans that their country was not inherently bad. Many of the best-known public figures in Europe over the last 240 years simply could not resist bashing America."

Note: Here's some of the newfangled America bashing done mainly by liberal Americans.


New Toy

I come to you today from my new laptop! A shiny, compact thing weighing a mere 5.5 lbs! It's lovely.

Doug & I ventured out yesterday to purchase a new dining room set. Unfortunately, the price had gone up (I thought things went on sale after Christmas) so we passed on that purchase. We were, however, right next to Best Buy so we entered. What a crazy place after Christmas! I have been in need of a new laptop for a while now. Mine has been freezing (requiring restarting), the CD/DVD drive has ceased to work, it restarts itself at will... in other words, it is close to its dying breath. And Best Buy had this lovely laptop on sale. And my husband loves me. And he's a geek, so a new toy in the house is a good thing. :)

I tell myself that, because this is so nice and tiny, it will be easier to tote about & I will do more writing. YES, I WILL!

But now I must depart because Miss Brenna has decided to fill her diaper and make me get back to the really important tasks of mommy-dom.



>> Saturday, December 25, 2004

Jody and I were talking about where we want to go on vacation in 2005. It depends on how Brenna travels of course, but I think that we've narrowed it down to Ireland or a return to London. Jody has priced B&B's in Ireland and that's taking the lead righ now. When, oh when, will we win the Lottery? Then we can do it all! Hmmmm, a summer mannor in Inverness(Scotland), a spring flat in Knightsbridge(London), a fall cottage in County Clare (Ireland), and a winter villa on a the Cyclades Island in Greece.

I've put more pictures of our trip to London in 2003 on the web...


Married Christmas


Happy Second Married Christmas. I love you more than yesterday and not so much as tomorrow. (Sorry for the cliche, it just seemed to fit.)

You have allowed me to begin to truly know myself and to become the wife and mother I never knew that I desperately wished to be.

You support and encourage my secret dreams without making them seem silly.

You don't poke too much fun at me when I watch Friends reruns that I can recite word for word.

You let Toby move in even though the "house isn't set up for a dog"- especially a 100 pound dog.

You eat my cooking- even when it isn't very good.

You love my friends- even the really screwed up ones- as much as I do.

You love me.

In you I have everything I ever need. I love you. Merry Christmas.


Twas the Night Before Christmas

>> Friday, December 24, 2004

If I had any creativity left in me I would create a lovely poem for your enjoyment. I, however, have spent much of the day cleaning the house in preparation for the guests we will have this next week. I'm also fighting a head cold.

We watched "Miracle on 34th Street" this evening. I had actually never seen it before. Shocking, I know. How did I live this long and miss out on such a Christmas tradition?

Tomorrow my brother and his little family fly in from DC. Justin serves in the the National Guard. He served in Baghdad and is finishing his tour in DC. We miss having him here but are happy he is able to have his wife and son with him now. His son was born 4 days before he shipped to Iraq, so he missed those first amazing months.

Our day tomorrow will begin late as I'm sure Doug will want to sleep in. I won't mind that, either. We'll get up, help Miss Brenna open her gifts and I'll make pancakes, eggs and sausage for breakfast. Yummy.

Tomorrow evening is my family Christmas. Everyone will converge upon my sister and brother-in-law's house for food & merriment. Our contributions to the meal will be a Spicy Shrimp Fondue, a shrimp coctail platter, green bean cassarole and mulled cider with cranberry wine.

After dinner will be gift opening and mass chaos. Great fun to be had by all!

So, just in case I don't check in tomorrow, Merry Christmas to all! (Even you PC Happy Holidays people).


Tea in the British Parliament

>> Wednesday, December 22, 2004

I was visiting Boudicca's Voice this morning and she was talking about a great tea shop in her area. It made me remember my best tea time experience. At Parliament. In London. A true story.

Two years ago this coming May I dragged Doug to London with me for a week. OK, I didn't have to drag him, but it did take some convincing to get him to take off work.

It was our 4th day there and we had spent the morning wandering about. We had seen St James Palace, Buckingham Palace, the Mall. And I had planned for us to have afternoon tea at the Orangery at Kensington Palace. Our afternoon took an unexpected, wonderful turn.

We took the tube to the Westminster stop, planning to see Westminster Abbey before heading to Kensington. The Westminster stop actually puts you right outside Parliament and Westminster Hall.

Walking along the sidewalk beside the buliding, we were taking pictures of statues when Doug took a photo of two "bobbies" who were guarding an entrance. They invited me to join them for a photo.

Mike & Gary guarding the entrance

We stayed on for another 20 minutes or so talking about London, art, current events... Doug can talk to anyone about anything. As we were preparing to leave Mike mentioned that it was time for his tea break and would we "like a tour of Parliament?"

I should probably mention that Parliament was not in session at this time and was not open for tours, especially for foreign visitors.

Mike took us in through Westminster Hall.

Westminster Hall

Unfortunately this is the only place we were allowed to take photographs. Mike told us about working there during the lying in state of the Queen Mother and showed us the plaques marking the others who had laid in state there.

Then he gave us a tour of Parliament itself. The House of Commons, where the Queen is not allowed to enter, The House of Lords, lined with large portraits of current and past rulers and their consorts and decorated in gold, the Queen's room, where she prepares for Parliament. And all the back halls, voting rooms, historic documents and secrets he was able. I walked through in shock. Not everyday do you get a personal tour of an ancient building so full of history.

After the tour Mike invited us to join him for tea. We went to the cafeteria. Was it as fancy as the Orangery would have been? Nope. But it was infinately better. How many people can actually say that they had "tea in Parliament"?

Note: Obviously I have shortened this story considerably. If any of you are ever in our neck of the woods and want to see more pictures and hear the full story, let us know. We're always happy to talk about it! :)

UPDATE: For those that are interested, here are almost of the pictures we took in London.


The attack in Mosul

Wretchard analyzes the attack in The Lidless Eye

Captain's Quarters is Remembering That We're At War


TCS postings

Tech Central Station has several posts today that I think are worth pointing out. Be sure to read the articles, I've provided little teasers as an enticement.

Fallujah Flip-Flops?

If a foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, then, one month after our crucial victory in Fallujah, both the Bush Administration and its harshest critics should be counted among history's greatest geniuses. The rationales for and criticisms of our performance in Iraq have flipped and flopped depending on circumstances. So who's right?

Armor vs. Attitude
Look, we all want to see that our military have the best in battle, and from the Civil War soldiers who bought cast iron "body armor" from itinerant vendors to the G.I. tankers who piled sandbags on their poorly armored Sherman tanks back in 1944, frontline guys will always look for more protection however marginal.

But this latest flap puts a false focus on equipment-as-savior, rather than on the alertness, discipline and ass-kicking attitude needed not only to survive but to win against a vicious, implacable foe.

Marching Towards a Democratic Iraq
Few Americans lose sleep when their party doesn't control the White House or Congress. Democrats aren't happy with the re-election of George W. Bush, and who could blame them? But no one with any sense in their head worries about Republican death squads kicking down doors in the night. Liberals won't be frog-marched out of their homes, won't be interned in camps, and certainly won't be machine-gunned into a ditch. It's so easy for us to forget. There are few things less dangerous in the world than losing an election in the United States.


What's going on here?

>> Tuesday, December 21, 2004

This started out as a single post, but then I found another case (thanks WatersBlogged) where traditionally leftist newspapers had something worthy to discuss. What would happen if I can't bash the NY Times?

The Boston Globe reports that instead of running an AnyoneButBush campaign, in 2008 the Democrats should run AnyoneButHillary in Who can lead the Democrats?

Let's see if anyone over there is paying attention...

Second, let's head over to the NY Times and visit David Brooks' Make No Mistake (to bypass the logon, follow the link at Google).
He asks how we got to the place of cautious optimism in the ME in relation to Israel. Egypt is normalizing relations with Israel and asking other ME countries to do the same, the wall has reduced terror acts by 90%, the aggressive posture towards Hamas has minimized their influence. How did that happen? Read the article and find out.

Okay, here are my favorite quotes: " It almost makes you think that Bush understands the situation better than the lot of them." and "We owe this cautiously hopeful moment to a series of unfortunate events - and to a president who disregarded the received wisdom."



I must spend too much time visiting VW at One Happy Dog Speaks. She has the best quizzes! Test your geekiness. Here's mine:

You are 28% geek
You are a geek liaison, which means you go both ways. You can hang out with normal people or you can hang out with geeks which means you often have geeks as friends and/or have a job where you have to mediate between geeks and normal people. This is an important role and one of which you should be proud. In fact, you can make a good deal of money as a translator.

Normal: Tell our geek we need him to work this weekend.

You [to Geek]: We need more than that, Scotty. You'll have to stay until you can squeeze more outta them engines!

Geek [to You]: I'm givin' her all she's got, Captain, but we need more dilithium crystals!

You [to Normal]: He wants to know if he gets overtime.

Take the Polygeek Quiz at Thudfactor.com


New Favorite

I have had my dear husband add a new favorite to my list. Go Fug Yourself is some good humor, especially if you like to see photos of celebrities looking ever so bad. This isn't rocket science but is greatly amusing, mindless fun.


Today's opinion roundup

Disecting Leftism has a very nice roundup

I deem Carnival of the Liberated well worth your time, but only if you want to see a roundup of Iraqi bloggers exerting their new-found freedoms.

Also, be sure to check out The Hyperbole of the Left on why high profile liberal sites get more traffic than high profile conservative sites.

The header on John's site reminded me of liberals favorite misconception. That being that Nazism was a right/conservative government. As John points out, "Nazi" is short for "nationalsozialistische" or "National Socialist" and therefore it's a leftist government related to communism. This should be self-apparent because the first thing Hitler did was nationalize many industries. A conservative leader would sell extraneous industries, not steal them. Hmmm, why does the US government own a train [Amtrack] and a mail service [USPS]?


A very important post

It has a map and everything!


Losing Lottery Ticket

I was visiting VW at One Happy Dog Speaks and found this:

You Are a Losing Lottery Ticket!

Full of hope and promise.
But in the end, a cheap letdown.


Deserter's Mistake

>> Monday, December 20, 2004

A Vietnam era deserter finally is freed by North Korea. Talk about a poor choice! Time Magazine makes sure to point out that the guy wasn't fully stocked upstairs, so I suppose that's an explanation of sorts. I mean when he deserted, the Korean War was only 10 years past. He should have known full well what North Korea was about.

The good thing about this story is the timing. We need personal accounts of the regime so people understand the next potential area of conflict. With the strange stories coming out of NK lately, my pucker-factor indicator is pinging hard. China building amphibious landing craft also causes a less than warm feeling. I don't know what to make of the proposed joint Russian/Chinese military exercises, except that it would provide training for an invasion perhaps...


Getting out PC'd

Right Wing News has read the DU so you don't have to. Check in with them to see why the liberals are in a conundrum. What to do when you can't support schoolchildren singing Christmas carols when the other choice is patriotic songs...


Mom vs Mouse, A Story in 6 Parts; aka Ratmobile

For today's post I am taking you to visit Boudicca's Voice. Enjoy!

Part 1: Discovery and Irrationality

Part 2: Mouse 1, Mom 0

Part 3: Mouse 2, Mom 0

Part 4: Mouse 3, Mom 0

Part 5: It's NOT a mouse!!

The Ratmobile: Conclusion


Happy Holidays

>> Sunday, December 19, 2004

It is officially the end of the first busy weekend of my holiday season. Two more to go.

Thursday Doug emailed me the "reminder" about the FMH bake sale. Funny, I don't recall receiving the initial notice. Doug swears he didn't get one. Since he's good at making sure I get these notices I suppose I will believe him. This time.

So I asked how impressed he wanted his co-workers to be. I received a smirk as a reply. So I decided to make Cinnamon Pull-Apart Bread (2 loaves), Santa Cookies, and Lemon Pound Cakes (6 mini loaves).

Friday we had carpet laid in our basement. Yippee!! We will get to use it again! We haven't had full use of our basement since spring. We were gone for about a week- at that time we received so much rain that our basement flooded. It was a lovely homecoming. But now we have our entertainment room back in service and almost ready for New Year's. I only have to make a couple of curtains and chair covers.

Saturday morning I began baking. The pull-apart loaves went well. The Santa cookies, ummm, not as well. To be exact, the cookies went quite well, the decorating.. not so much. The frosting didn't set up as well as I would have liked which made the decorating difficult. And the Lemon Pound Cakes? I ran out of butter, they had to be postponed. Which turned out to be a good thing as Miss Brenna decided to be fussy.

And today. Today we went to my grandparent's house for the big family Christmas. Lots of people. Aunts, uncles, cousins, husbands, wives, significant others and all the children thereof. Complete insanity. Brenna, of course, was the most popular person there. I had to fight to hold her for present opening.

And when we got home I made a trip to the grocery store, got my butter and finished my baking.

Now I'm gonna cuddle my baby and relax. And have some lemon pound cake- I broke one. It wasn't on purpose. Really.


Falluja from a soldier's perspective

>> Saturday, December 18, 2004

Armor Geddon is writing up his account for the battle for Falluja. What are you doing here, go read it.


Reporting the war

>> Friday, December 17, 2004

Hugh Hewitt pointed out a post asking what if today's media reported during WWII. Be sure to read the comments as they point out other historical finds...


My nominations for the Medal of Honor

The Medal of Honor is the highest military honor that can be awarded to a soldier. It can only be granted to soldiers who exhibit valor in action against an enemy. The Global War on Terrorists has given our troops many opportunities to show their professionalism and courage.

1. Marine Sgt. Rafael Peralta (and here and here). On the morning of November 15, 2004, SGT Peralta was on duty in Fallujah where he and the rest of his battalion were going house to house in search of terrorists. He was the lead Marine through the door when they found 3 terrorists waiting in ambush. SGT Peralta took several rounds and the rest of the squad stepped over him to kill the terrorists, thinking he was already dead. During the fight, the terrorists threw a grenade that landed near SGT Peralta. With his remaining strength and awareness, SGT Peralta pulled the grenade under his body to shield the blast from the rest of his squad. These are the heroes that make up our military.

2. In April 4, 2003, Army Sgt. First Class Paul Ray Smith was assigned to the 11th Engineer Battalion which was ordered to the Bagdad International Airport where:

Smith used an armored combat earthmover to punch through the wall and, while wire was being laid across the corner, one of the squad's two M113s moved toward a gate on the far side of the courtyard. The driver pushed open the gate to open a field of fire, revealing between 50 and 100 enemy soldiers massed to attack. The only way out was the hole the engineers had put in the wall and the gate where the hardcore Iraqis were firing.

What happened next was equal to Audie Murphy's legendary World War II heroism. Iraqi soldiers perched in trees and a nearby tower let loose with a barrage of RPGs and there were snipers on the roof. A mortar round hit the engineers' M-113, seriously wounding three soldiers inside. Smith helped evacuate them to an aid station, which was threatened by the attack as well.

Smith promptly organized the engineers' defense, since the only thing that stood between the Iraqis and the Task Force's headquarters were about 15 to 20 engineers, mortarmen and medics. A second M113 was hit by an RPG, but was still operational. Dozens of Iraqi soldiers were charging from the gate or scaling a section of the wall, jumping into the courtyard.

Smith took over the second APC's .50-caliber machine gun and got the vehicle into a position where he could stop the Iraqis. First Sergeant Tim Campbell realized that they had to knock out the Iraqi position in the tower and after consulting with Smith, led two soldiers to take the tower. Armed only with a light machine-gun, a rifle and a pistol with one magazine, the trio advanced behind the smoke of tall grass that had caught fire from exploding ammunition.

Smith yelled for more ammunition three times during the fight, going through 400 rounds before he was hit in the head. Shortly before taking the tower and gunning down the Iraqis inside, Campbell noticed that the sound of Smith's .50-caliber had also stopped. Campbell figured Smith was just reloading again.

The medics worked on SFC Smith for 30 minutes, but he was dead.

According to the citation, his actions killed 20 to 50 Iraqis, allowing the American wounded to be evacuated, saving the aid station and headquarters (as well as possibly 100 American lives). Fellow soldiers credit Smith with thwarting the advance of well-trained, well-equipped soldiers from the Special Republican Guard, which was headed straight for the 2-7 Task Force's headquarters (Tactical Operations Center), less than a half-mile away. The battle captains, commanders and journalists huddled at the operations center were trying to protect themselves against tank fire and snipers in the nearby woods They had no idea about the possible onslaught of Republican Guard from the nearby complex.

More here and here.

3. Marine Corporal Jason Dunham served with the 3rd Battalion, 7th Marines based at Camp Pendleton, California. He was commanding a checkpoint near Karbala on April 14 when a black-clad Iraqi leaped out of a car and grabbed him around the neck, according to the Marine Corps. As Dunham fought his attacker, he spotted a grenade in the Iraqi's hand. Dunham shouted a warning to other Marines rushing to his aid and covered the device with his helmet – saving two lives. Mortally wounded when grenade fragments pierced his skull, Dunham lingered for six more days before he died at a military hospital in Bethesda, Maryland with his parents at his side. More here.

These may not meet the standards quite as well, but Marine Sergeant Benjamin Edinger and Marine Sergeant Kenneth Conde deserve to be included in this list.

Other sites dedicated to listing other GWOT heroism:
Awardees For Extraordinary Heroism
Faces of Valor


The Left Goes Haywire

Michael Moore thinks Democrats are abused.

The 'Vagina Monologues' get out PC'ed. It seems that there wasn't enough "representation" in last year's performance...

The Kyoto Protocol is dead

The conventional wisdom that it's the United States against the rest of the world in climate change diplomacy has been turned on its head. Instead it turns out that it is the Europeans who are isolated. China, India, and most of the rest of the developing countries have joined forces with the United States to completely reject the idea of future binding GHG emission limits. At the conference here in Buenos Aires, Italy shocked its fellow European Union members when it called for an end to the Kyoto Protocol in 2012.

But what will liberal extremists be forced to use to bash America?


Under-reported Stories

BlackFive reports that a little Iraqi girl saved a convoy from an IED while clutching a teddy bear given to her by American soldiers.

An Iraqi halfway house for former detainees and here. Dagger Six also reports about the battle in Samarra.

al- Zarkawi is planning a terror strike of greater magnitude than the 11 September 2001 attacks. Could it be that he wants to use imaginary WMDs that liberals assume Iraq never had?

The story isn't underreported, but this side of the story is.
More here about my beloved First Infantry Division in Iraq.

Here are some proud Americans showing support to one of our soldiers. Be sure to read the rest of BlackFive's people you should know archives.

Marine Corporal Marc Ryan did two tours in Afghanistan and two in Iraq. He could have returned home after his second Iraq tour, but instead, he volunteered for a third.

"We asked him `Why did you do it?' and he said `My brothers are dying out there, I gotta do something,' " Chris Ryan said. "He would do anything for anybody."

"He fought for his country, he fought a hard fight, and he died doing what he loved," Lauren Ryan said. "Marc, I love you and I will miss you forever and I know you're up there right now saying, `Stop crying.' "

This is why we will win the Global War on Terrorists and bring democracy to the Middle East, even over the complaints and obstruction of the media and liberal extremists. America will remain free as long as there are men and women who are proud of their country, proud to serve, willing to sacrifice, and care about others.

God bless the USA.


Who Needs Reindeer?

>> Thursday, December 16, 2004

During the warmer seasons we have two young boys who clean our yard of "waste". They charge $2 per week. That's a bargain any way you look at it, plus we help a couple of young men (first graders) save money for things they want. One bought a pet rat. We also have a kennel we use exclusively. It's great. She has a large farm that she runs the dogs on. It is about 35 miles away but she charges $10 per day and Toby loves going there.

So, to make a short story long, we are preparing thank you's for their services during the year and I thought a photo of Toby would be a nice addition as they will recognize him more easily than they will my name.

This is the second picture. Let's just say that he wasn't thrilled with the hat...

For those who may wonder, Toby is a St. Bernard/ Great Pyranees mix. He's a runt. I rescued him when he was a puppy.



George Soros

While reading an article about how the ACLU has drifted away from defending American freedoms to promoting liberal causes (to which the usual answer is more regulation, bigger government and more taxes), I came across the following quote from O'Reilly, "But here's something you might not know. Guess who is the ACLU's new best friend? Hey, George Soros, this bud's for you. The radical billionaire has given close to $4 million to the ACLU recently.—That'll buy a lot of stuff." Soros is no stranger to trying to buy elections, here's the official payouts from the 2004 election.

Being the geek I am, I wanted to know what else Soros has been into that doesn't get a lot of play here in the States. Here's a list of companies Soros as registered in the US. The only one that really jumped out at me was Earthlink. Now, I know who not to use as an Internet Service Provider.

From earlier this year, how Soros help overthrow the Georgian government and install a despot. Sounds pretty similar to what he tried to do here in the States. From the article; "It is democracy in a china shop," the New York Times reported on March 28. "A growing number of critics, though, say that the new president is exploiting his popularity to cut legal corners, violate human rights and silence opposition views." "Saakashvili's all-powerful party is getting into the habit of ignoring the law, or changing it, when it does not suit their purpose," reported Agence France-Presse. Yup, sounds exactly like the groups Soros funded during the US campaign season. In all fairness, US policy was to oust petty tyrant Eduard Shevardnadze, but not with one actively and openly being paid by George Soros. More from Pravda. Who knows, maybe a more pro-Western despot will be just what is needed in that area of the world. Who knows, democratic elections may yet prevail in Georgia and make Soros a hero for democracies everywhere. As Aesop (I think he's the source) said, "The horse may yet sing."

Not surprisingly, Soros blames Israel for the root cause of anti-Semitism, even for things that happened before Israel existed as a country.

Leftist groups think Soros' disdain for President Bush has to do with the fact that Bush lets the world know what his aims are. Contrast that with the next breath by the other leftist groups declaring how secretive the Bush administration is supposed to be. While those on the right bash Soros for trying to take down the British and Thai currencies (is the US next?) and for buying political figures left and right in several countries. And let's not forget his involvement the "campaign reform" laws of 2002 and his investments in media.

So, what does George Soros really stand for? Is it really the pursuit of democracy and open societies, as is his stated aim? Or is it just personal political and financial gain? Is it a little of both? There's no doubt that an $11 billion piggy-bank can give you a lot of clout.


Terms Country Folk Use

You may have already seen this, but this is from Jody's grandmum, who still lives on the family farm....

Terms Country Folk Use


Question Authority

>> Wednesday, December 15, 2004

What the media got wrong about Spc. Wilson and Secretary Rumsfeld

It's well worth your time to read the whole article about Iraq, Rumsfeld, media bias and those that complain about not having the "right" equipment in Iraq and also complain about reforming the military supply system.


Household Chores for the House Guest

My best freind from high school and her 2 year old are staying with us for a few days while Pam's Mom is hospitalized. Last night, the unthinkable happened. Right before I left for work, my husband emerged from the bathroom muttering something about needing to call a plumber. Let's just say he had been in the library reading for a while. The ordinary plunger didn't do the trick. He was in NO mood to discuss the issue. Good thing we have 2 1/2 bathrooms!

This morning, I went to Menard's and purchased a handy dandy toilet auger. It sounds just like what it is. I was trying to maneuver the thing myself, and Pam offered to help. So, together we augered the stopped up toilet until it drained. Try to picture two 32 year old chicks who are used to having drinks together doing this job. We should have asked someone to make a video of the event.

Anyway, Pam called my husband at work to let him know WE fixed the problem. She assured him she will show him how it works after I go to work tonight. Another crisis averted by a resourceful housewife (or two).


The Coming Arab Revolt

Austin Bay thinks January will see an Arab revolt by those that are truly revolutionary in that area of the world; the moderates.


Yeah Christmas…..11 days early

>> Tuesday, December 14, 2004

What day is today? At your house, it’s probably just December 14, but at my house it’s Christmas morning. While I was in the shower, my 3 year old ringleader and 2 year old follower unloaded their Christmas stockings and unwrapped some little toys inside. When I came down the stairs, the wrapping paper was strewn all over the floor, but the toys were nowhere to be found.

They knew what they were doing was naughty because the toys were partially hidden beside the couch. I had to ask where the toys were!

I took down the stockings, which were hanging from the wooden stair railing (we don’t have a fireplace), and told the kids they were not going to get the gifts they have already seen. In reality, we will re-wrap them and put the stockings out on Christmas eve.

They both sat down on the couch with huge frowns and hanging heads. They were so sad looking up at me. Guess we won’t even attempt to put any presents under the tree! Maybe next year…..

I found out later today that my friend’s little girl opened gifts under the big tree at Grandma’s house this morning while Mommy was in the shower. And another friend’s daughter opened gifts, but it’s OK because it is Han-kuk-ah. They’re not Jewish. Glad I’m not alone!!!


Happy Holidays!

DING! Fries are done!

The 12 (not work safe) Things My True Love Gave to Me

Got any more you would like to share?


Happy Brenna

Brenna is becoming more interactive. Lots of smiles today. She almost laughed. She's starting to play and respond to toys and people. It is so amazing to see her develop.

We spent about 2 hours at the Chrysler dealership today having a compressor replaced. She was a complete angel, cast her spell on everyone that saw her. Of course...

Happy Baby


When Spam Blockers Go Awry

I have been waiting all day for Jody's invitation to arrive via e-mail so I could blog about my morning. I made Jody send a second invite, since I didn't receive the first one. I even wrote it all up on Word first so I don't make a complete a.s.s. of myself on my first post. Meanwhile, the invitations are stuck in the Spam blocker on my lovely internet host. Jody stopped by this afternoon with Baby Brenna to show her off to a friend, and I suddenly realized the invites might have been caught by the Spam blocker. When I looked at the quarantine report, I had two invitations to BLOG.

Now I am stuck at work and my nicely written piece is at home on the computer. I am sure you will be waiting anxiously for the story. And wait you shall.....


Is it about sex?

Duane takes on the task of explaining Women and Porn.

Feel free to discuss...


New Contributor

I have invited my sister to post with us. She has 2 lovely sons, ages 3 and 2, and some hilarious tales of mishap and mayhem. The one she told me this morning was especially funny, which prompted me to ask her to blog with us.


John Edwards gets a vote

John Edwards recieved one of Minnesota's electoral votes yesterday. He also recieved the electoral vote for VP on the same ballot, so either the elector wanted Johnny to be really busy or they were just confused. However, since they had to hand write the ballot, I don't believe the "elector was confused" argument.

An elector in West Virginia toyed with switching votes from Bush to Kerry, but didn't in the end because "his [President Bush] margin of victory in West Virginia was decisive to the extent that to do otherwise would have been slapping the voters in the face."

North Carolina electors met to award 16 of NC's 15 possible electoral votes to President Bush...err...ummm. I think they meant 15 out of 15 electoral votes...

I'll see if there are any more electoral stories from yesterday....


More DU madness

>> Monday, December 13, 2004

From the Opinion Journal...

Over at DemocraticUnderground.com, a poster called Fescue4u is slowly coming to grips with reality (quoting verbatim):

I had a Thought. What if we really lost??

I don't think for a minute we did.

But imagine how low and how hopeless America would be if Bush actually did win in Ohio?

I mean really, would there be any hope whatsoever if over 50% of American has grown this evil and stupid?

Im quite certain that the recounts will unveal much to the world and maybe even correct the situation, and give Kerry the inauguration that he deserves.

But still. The only thing worse than having the election stolen....would be if we actually lost.

The Los Angeles Times reports on a lawyer named Clifford Arneback, who is petitioning the Ohio Supreme Court to throw out the decision of the voters and declare John Kerry the winner of the Buckeye State's 20 electoral votes. "I can't for the life of me understand why Kerry isn't fighting harder for this," Arneback tells the paper. "Maybe it's some secret Skull and Bones tradition, where you're not supposed to show up the other guy." Yeah, that must be it.

What do you guys think?


More Baby Functions

Doug, being the wonderful Daddy that he is, got up this morning at Brenna's cry, changed her diaper and brought her into bed so I could feed her. In the morning I like to do a relaxed feeding laying in bed.

We're all lounging in bed, relaxed after Brenna has eaten and I've burped her. She made a bit of a sighing noise and proceeded to spit up all over me- and the bed. If anyone is wondering distance, approximately 6 inches.

Doug jumps out of bed like he's been shot- he wasn't even hit- and runs for a spit rag. I improvise and use the blanket she's wrapped in so we are cleaned by the time he returns. No worries.

A few minutes later I'm holding Brenna and Doug leans over to kiss her. Right then she burps, not a girlie burp, but a huge belch any guy would be proud to own. I wish I had video of Doug jumping backwards. I guess he was afraid of after effects from earlier.


Is the war in Iraq Sugarcoated?

>> Saturday, December 11, 2004

Iraq Pundit asks Is the War in Iraq being sugarcoated?

Be sure to read all the way to the bottom to find out why Armor for Humvees isn't a military problem...

Froggy discusses international laws in respect to torture

Counter-Column goes after Contrasting Attitudes

And finally, Chrenkoff's The coalition of the crooked and unfree


Pooing for Distance

>> Friday, December 10, 2004

Disclaimer: Do not read if you have a weak stomach, are currently eating or are offended by baby poo.

Four feet. It’s amazing it can go so far…

The ironic thing about this is that my sister, the mother of 2 boys, had asked me just the other day if I had been pooed on yet or if I had experienced the “fountain of pee”. I told her no, on both counts, but what I was really thinking was “That won’t happen to me. The beautiful Brenna wouldn’t do that.” Damn irony.

So, here’s how it went down. I’m changing Brenna’s diaper and comment to her, as I’m lightly rubbing a rather full tummy, that she didn’t poo all night. I open the wipes container and prepare the next diaper for quick application. I open the diaper she is wearing, notice that she hadn’t pooed yet, wipe her off and lift her feet. Just like aiming a gun in battle- bam! Out it shoots! Hitting the open lid of the container of wipes, the wall, the window bench (which her changing pad is on), the diaper pail and even the floor. Did I mention that my hand was in the direct line of fire? Yep. Covered.

Now, this was quick. Split second timing on Brenna’s part. I removed the top wipes from the container and take a couple of “clean” one from lower down and put them under Brenna. Once I do this the “fountain of pee” begins. Hell, I’ve already got a mess, so I toss a wipe over her to contain the moisture and begin cleaning the pale pink wall and the white window bench before they stain. I then move Brenna to clean & dress her. And finally the floor and the changing pad get cleaned. I highly recommend Spot Shot for any carpet stains you may encounter and the Clorox Bleach Pen for any stains on white cloth you may happen upon.

Of course this means more laundry to do today. I used to do laundry once a week. No more. Brenna, my love, you are a cruel mistress.


Falluja and the aftermath

>> Thursday, December 09, 2004

Via PoliPundit...Fallujah, the Morning After
The torture house and the merry-go-round

It's a good discussion of the aftermath of the Coalition's victory in Falluja.


I've Been Cleared

Amazing as it seems it has been 6 weeks since the beautiful Brenna was born. My postpartum visit was yesterday. I have been given he green light to pursue any activities I wish. Yippee!! I can go to the gym again!

I am very excited about getting back to the gym. They completely remodled while I was pregnant. The new layout is very nice. And spacious. And they have free child care for infants and toddlers. 6 weeks is the youngest they will accept so Brenna is good to go as well.

There is only one thing about my gym that annoys me. Recently I received a mailer from them outlining all their offerings. One of the classes listed was called Baby and Me. Color me interested. So I check out their website. It's down. So I call. The person I spoke to said that she wasn't sure when that class would begin. Umm, OK. So yesterday I stop by the gym to get a tour of the new layout and ask again about the Baby and Me class. It hasn't been scheduled because they don't have an instructor for it. Not only do they not have an instructor, they don't know who they can hire because they don't know the guidelines for hiring for that class.

Now, I should probably mention that my gym is a chain. A BIG chain. The YMCA. I really expected a bit more organization from them. You can bet the main branch is going to hear about this...

Now, because I have been cleared to work out that also means I have been cleared for other activities as well. As my husband would say; Boom-chicky-boom-boom. Umm, yeah. My doctor asked me what I would like to do about birth control. I told him I had better be leaving with a prescription. (My sister's OB, after the birth of her first child, would not give her BC because she was nursing. When her son was 6 months old I received a tearful phone call... Yep, baby #2 was on the way. BTW, he's great, wouldn't trade him for a puppy.) Anyway, I have no desire to experience pregnancy again so soon. If I had I would have had a zipper installed in my abdomen.

So, I am prescribed BC. A low dose that won't suppress lactation. It also won't give me a regular cycle. I may have a period, I may not. It's a crapshoot. It's also only 98% effective. This makes me nervous. Seriously, nothing for months... worry that you are among the "lucky" 2%... then bam! But what if there is no bam! and you just worry? For months. And months.

Poor Doug. :)


So what do you do with your time off?

>> Tuesday, December 07, 2004

Right Wing Duck says dim the lights and cue the music because Recounts - Better than Porno.

Bom-chicky-bom-bom....and that's all I'm going to say about that.


Cognitive Disconnect

I am a prolific reader. There are periods in my life where I can single-handedly keep the Half Price Bookstore supplied. During the election, I switched from books to blogs, trying to keep up with election and war coverage. In August, Jody and I started this blog to add our voices to the chorus of punditry. I’ve recently started reading books again and it’s good to get back into the habit, but I’m still reading many, many editorials and blog essays. Thank God for wireless networks, Jody lets me geek out in the living room.

History is one of my “hot topics.” That’s a warning in case you’re cornered by me and my glass of wine in a social setting; don’t bring up history, the Army or computer programming. Minutes can go by without refreshing your drink and that seriously impedes a good buzz.

Let’s continue with places where the disconnect between facts and rhetoric jumped out at me.


Steven Malanga responds to Thomas Frank’s book with his article also titled What's the Matter With Kansas?. Generally, the article is about how Steve fails to take any economic facts into account and relies on rhetoric like Kansas is "burning on a free-market pyre," as the central point of his thesis. That’s some pretty high standards as Kansas has lower than average unemployment, a good school system, an above average growth rate and a low cost of living (mainly because of a lower tax rate). The kicker is that he sees his hometown of Shawnee as a desolate wasteland. As you can see from the map, it’s sandwiched between some of the wealthiest towns in Kansas, Overland Park, Lenexa, and Bonner Springs.

Forget the dot-com/Y2K bubble, the economy hasn’t done this well since 1960. The only place you can’t see it is in the editorial pages of major newspapers. How many times have you heard about the job loss under President Bush? That simply is not true.

Gitmo and Abu Ghraib:

Two words – “Come on!” How does anyone in the world equate panty-headed prisoners in lewd poses with beatings, beheadings, rapes, and real torture? However, you only have to hear an NPR broadcast or read the Des Moines Register or New York Times to see that supposedly intelligent people do equate the two.

Did a handful of soldiers act inappropriately? Yes, but the difference between us is that we don't do that as a matter of policy, we Court Martial the offenders.

Election Coverage and Results:

Via Best of the Web, we see that Some people still don’t understand the concept of a representative democracy. Read the quotes from the “patients”. Every single one is funnier than the last. It’s as if the only source of news for these people is Al Franken, NPR or CBS.

Blue staters bemone the fact that the "Solid South" is has transitioned from Democrat bastion to a Republican one. It started when Democrats went down the road towards socialism and dictatorship of thought and was greatly accelerated by the likes of Ted Kennedy, Michael Moore, Nancy Pelosi and Al-Gore since losing in 2000.

If Democrats hope to be a national party, then they need to come up with ideas that help America and Americans, not just redistribute wealth back and forth between various interest groups.

“Debacle” in Iraq/WMD’s in Iraq:

Raise your hand if you think that the War in Iraq is a debacle or a fiasco. If you have your hand up, do you feel silly? You should. Americans have a long history of overcoming obstacles and making thinks work in our favor. Iraq is no different. Sure, setbacks get a lot of coverage, but our achievements vastly outweigh them. Chrenkoff is up to #16 in his Good News from Iraq series. Be sure to read them all if you haven’t, then compare the dates with what the media reported at the same time. The media seems to be rather biased in their coverage.

Why is it that US soldiers are labeled as 'war criminals' for doing their job while the terrorists leaving hundreds of dead civilians in their wake generally get a pass?

Was the pre-war intelligence flawed? We've found WMD's and the precursors to WMD's but the media still pretends otherwise (see 'No ties between Saddam and terrorists').



>> Monday, December 06, 2004

Are you freakin' kidding me? How can I be having insomnia? I'm a sleep deprived new mom, for pete's sake. But, here I am, 3:08am, awake and mostly alert. Brenna woke up shortly after 1am to eat and I got her back to bed about an hour later. So why am I still awake?

I am going to blame Cingular. Yes, the wireless company. You see, I had AT&T wireless for, oh, about 10 years. Then they get purchased by Cingular. Now I was initially excited about that as I think the idea of Rollover minutes is genius. If you've been under a rock for the past year, Rollover minutes allow you to "bank" the minutes you don't use for up to one year. Like I said, genius.

Anyway, I digress. I had been having a problem with my phone- the keys weren't working. Especially annoying when trying to place or end a call. So we went in to our friendly neighborhood AT&T- newly converted to Cingular- store. In order to get all the Cingular goodies you must:

A) Switch to Cingular. Umm, ok. But isn't AT&T now Cingular? "Yes, but the plans are different. You have to switch." Ummm, what plans does AT&T have? "None, they are Cingular plans." OK, that explains everything.

B) Buy a new phone. Not a big deal as I need a new one, but I ask anyway... If AT&T is now Cingular and they use the same network why do I need a new phone? "Because the Cingular plan won't work on the AT&T phone." Again, a thorough explanation.

C) Agree to a new contract. Ah, the kicker. I suppose that since you can just up & take your cellular number anywhere the companies need to tie you to them somehow. Need to change your calling plan? New contract. Need to buy a new phone? New contract. Need to talk to an actual person? New contract.

So, I have my new phone. And I can't make it work. I am slowly going through the manual hoping to gain some insight. These instructions are about as clear as an Iowa road during a blizzard.

I just know I am going to be returning to the store so the friendly clerk can show the under-rested crazy woman how to check her voicemail.

And it will bother me until then. Which will affect my sleep. Which is why I am finishing this at 3:35am.


WebLog Awards

>> Saturday, December 04, 2004

VW at 1 Happy Dog Speaks noticed that we and a few of our friends have been nominated on the Weblog Awards.

Boudicca’s Voice – vote at Best of the Top 1000 - 1750

Iowa Geek - vote at New Blog

Right Wing Duck - vote at Best Humor Blog

Instapundit - vote at Best Overall Blog

Pardon My English at Top 100 - 250 Blogs

Vote early and often!


Brenna Meets Santa

We went to the Amana Colonies for their Prelude to Christmas festivities today. Brenna wasn't really sure what to think of the man with the big white beard. Our day stretched to 12 hours - we went shopping on the way home - and she was an angel, garnering compliments left & right. She's an exhausted girl now. So am I.

Brenna Meets Santa


Sergi Zholtok Dies at 31

>> Friday, December 03, 2004

When I lived in St. Paul most nights the Wild had a home game I could be found in the first row behind the player's bench. Yep, I was a die-hard fan. Still am. But with the strike continuing I'm not really paying as much attention as usual.

So when I wandered over to the Minnesota Wild website tonight and saw that Sergi Zholtok had died a month ago I was shocked. He was my favorite player and I mourned when he was traded to Nashville. Now I mourn for his family.

He was a terrific hockey player & he'll be sorely missed.


Look at my little toes!!

Look at my little toes!! By popular demand... pictures of Brenna!! 1 month old. Doug's mom gave us the adorable little dress.

Pretty Brenna. 1 month old.


Moral Values

Liberals can't understand how President Bush was re-elected. Check out My Moral Values and see what they consider to be their moral values. Much of it is hate-filled, some is heartfelt. The few conservative posters have been labeled as racist. That is especially strange considering the rotten history Democrats in relation to race relations.


This is what political quagmire looks like

>> Thursday, December 02, 2004

Highs and lows of Nato's Bosnia mission


The next stage in the War on President Bush

It started with:
AIM Report: The Liberal Plot to Censor the Media - November A

Now we're on...
AIM Report: How the Liberal Media Plan to Bring Down Bush - November B


12 Truths

Stolen from Just a Girl
Twelve Truths

  1. Life is sexually transmitted.

  2. Health is merely the slowest possible rate at which one can die.

  3. Men have two emotions: Hungry and Horny. If you see him without an erection, make him a sandwich!

  4. Give a person a fish and you feed them for a day; teach a person to use the Internet and they won’t bother you for weeks.

  5. Some people are like Slinkies…not really good for anything, but you still can’t help but smile when you see one tumble down the stairs.

  6. Health nuts are going to feel stupid someday, lying in hospitals dying of nothing.

  7. Whenever I feel blue, I start breathing again.

  8. All of us could take a lesson from the weather. It pays no attention to criticism.

  9. Why does a slight tax increase cost you two hundred dollars and a substantial tax cut saves you thirty cents?

  10. In the 60’s, people took acid to make the world weird. Now the world is weird and people take Prozac to make it normal.

  11. Politics is supposed to be the second oldest profession. I have come to realize that it bears a very close resemblance to the first.


Many terrorists come to America legally and hang around on expired visas (some for as long as 10-15 years). At Blockbuster you’re two days late with a video rental and those people are all over you. I think we should put Blockbuster in charge of US immigration


The Media in Iraq

Be sure to check out Kerry's post Telling Error: This is the Wrong Time for the Media to Be in the Wrong Place.

Compare the coverage of paid "journalists" to the blog-world. Here's Greyhawk commenting on A Small and Often Tragic World.

Be sure to check out Hating America, a story of an American that has been living in Europe for 6 years.


Marines in Falluja

>> Wednesday, December 01, 2004

Take a moment and absorb this great post about our military and their superb professionalism and sacrifice in Falluja.


Exploding lava lamp kills Washington man

Yep, retro culture can actually kill you! Beware the 70's!!!

I'm not sure if the Darwin Awards list is out for this year, but this guy might make the cut...

Where are the lawyers? I'm sure this will require a new warning label...

Article from MSNBC


Our bad economy

We've all heard how bad the economy is from Democratic presidential candidates and the media, but why is it that a casual glance around the neighborhood tells a different story?

US economy grows 3.9% in third quarter

I think that one of the reasons, if not the main reason, for a less than 1% rate of inflation is the fact that the minimum wage hasn't changed since 1997. The unemployment rate is well under the historical average for the US. It's also well below European countries, many have twice the rate of unemployment. Why do many news stories still use the throw away line "despite the economic downturn" or something to that effect if the last time the economy the performed this well was in 1960? The only thing I can think is that the root cause for such labeling by the media is because Republicans control the White House and Congress. It's almost as if they are biased in favor of Democrats or something.

Just as a reminder, here's what I said about the economy earlier this year.


Ultra-fringe "Progressives"

The 2nd Annual 10 Worst Quotes From The Democratic Underground For 2004 (via Polipundit).

Notice that I have a link to the DU in the right hand column under the "Here there be Liberals" section. The reason is so that I can get good and mad or laugh at the silly ideas espoused there depending on my mood. The DU isn't the most "Progressive" [rhymes with Marxist] site out there, that would be International ANSWER. Yes, the very same group that organizes and funds anti-war, anti-Bush, anti-capitalist protests. I should add DailyKos and Brad DeLong to that list. They don't have any better ideas, but at least they present them in full complete sentences.


Twas the Night Before Christmas- Military Thank You

I am swiping this from VW at One Happy Dog Speaks.

Christmas will be coming soon and some credit is due to our U.S. service men and women for our being able to celebrate these festivities. Let's try in this small way to pay a tiny bit of what we owe. Make people stop and think of our heroes, living and dead, who sacrificed themselves for us. Please, do your small part to plant this small seed.

The Military Christmas Message:

T'was the night before Christmas. They lived all alone in a one-bedroom house made of plaster and stone. I had come down the chimney with presents to give, and to find out who wanted in this house to live. I looked all about me - a strange sight I did see... no tinsel....no presents...not even a tree.

No stocking by mantle, just boots filled with sand... on the wall hung the pictures of a far distant land. With medals and badges, and awards of all kinds, one sober thought came into my mind...
...because this house was different, it was too dark and too dreary; I'd found the home of a soldier, once I could see clearly. The soldier lie sleeping - silent...alone, curled up on the floor in this one-bedroom home. His face was so gentle - the room ... such disorder! Not at all how I'd pictured a United States soldier.

Was this really the hero of whom I'd just read curled up on a poncho with the floor for his bed? I realized all the families that I saw this night, owed their lives to these soldiers who are willing to fight. And soon, round the world, the children would play, and grownups would celebrate a new, bright Christmas day. They all enjoyed freedom each month of the year... because of each of the soldiers (like the one lying here). And I couldn't help wonder how many others lay alone on a cold Christmas Eve in a land far from home. This very idea brought a tear to my eye... and I dropped to my knees and I started to cry. Then, the soldier awakened and I heard a rough voice, saying, "Santa, don't cry...this life is MY choice; "I fight for freedom, and I don't ask for more - my life is my God, my Country, my Corps." The soldier rolled over and drifted to sleep. I could not control it - I continued to weep. I kept watch for hours......so silent...so still. and the both of us shivered from the long, cold night's chill. I just could not abandon on that long, cold dark night this guardian of honor so willing to fight. Then the soldier rolled over, and, with a voice soft and pure, whispered, "Carry on, Santa -Christmas Day is secure." One look at my watch and I knew he was right. "Merry Christmas, my friend... and to all a good night."

Don't forget our brave men & women this holiday season. There are many groups out there dedicated to this purpose. Here are a few...
Soldier's Angels
Operation Dear Abby
Any Soldier Inc
Operation Military Pride


HaloScan Comments

>> Tuesday, November 30, 2004

I like the HaloScan comments on other sites, so I thought I would try it out here as well. That's why you see two lines of comments.

The first line (to the right of the post author and time) are links to HaloScan comments (marked with HS). On the second line are the links to the Blogger style comments (marked with Blogger).

If enough people like the HaloScan version, I can get all of the old Blogger comments moved over so nothing is lost.

Please use this post to let me know if you like the HaloScan comments, would like me to try another commenting service or would like me to leave the Blogger comments.

Which commenting service do you like best?
HaloScan (HS)
Blogger basic (Blogger)
Other - be sure to tell me in the comments section


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As Brenna Sleeps

Brenna is sitting on the floor beside me in her "bouncy seat". This is a great thing. Basically it is material slung over a frame with a small vibration device, so the entire seat cradles you in soothing vibration. It uses AA batteries, which it goes through quickly as I keep forgetting to turn it off when I remove the baby. It reatils for about $40. The adult model, to be found in any Sharper Image store, sells for $2000. I suppose that if I multiply the number of batteries I expect to buy by the cost of said batteries I would be able to afford the nice big leather chair for myself.

We made it out of the mall alive on Sunday. Then again, we didn't venture into the pit of mayhem to visit Santa. As you may recall, Brenna had her first photos taken. She was an absolute angel... slept through the whole thing. We did manage to get her to open her eyes for a couple of pictures, then right back to sleep. The best photo is actually the last one we had taken. She's laying on a white pillow with a black velvet background. Looks like she's laying on a cloud.

So, since waking up didn't seem to be an option, we decided to skip the Santa visit. Maybe we'll try again another day.

The princess seems to ba waking up... must be time to eat. My body is telling me it's time for her to eat... and has been for a while. :)


Why governments shouldn't be creative

Tech Central Station has a nice post titled Economics in One ($90 Million) Lesson.

It's a gripping tale of how the UK spent US$90 million on a web site that helps users get around Britain using public transportation. There are several problems with this high-minded proposition. The first being that a full-featured private sector web-site already existed prior to starting this project and it only cost $1.8 million to develop. Why not save the $90 million by spending 5 minutes to create a web page that linked to every commercial site that plans and books travel by public transportation? I guess that takes the fun (pork) out of it, now doesn't it? Problems 2, 3, and 4 are how State agencies budget and manage projects (limited functionality, frequent site crashes, incorrect info, and 4 years of development time). The fifth problem is that the State went into direct competition with private enterprise. Why take away from your tax base? Again, why not link to sites that do the booking already?

Tim takes this journey into a mini commercial by pointing out the lessons learned and ending with, "If we take the cost of this scheme, that $90 million, and allocate it per capita across the population of the UK we get something like $1.50 each. That's a once off cost, not a recurring one. Set that cost against the lessons learned, that State action is expensive, slow, inefficient, cannot be relied upon to actually achieve the tasks it sets itself, usually ends in you being told lies and in the process crowds out private companies doing a better job.

A buck and a half each to have those lessons demonstrated for us in the real world? Yup, that's a bargain. I just hope that my fellow Brits take those lessons to heart."

Priceless. Read the whole thing, Tim does a much better job.


Is it that Pat Sajak?

A Hush Over Hollywood

Somewhere in the world, a filmmaker creates a short documentary that chronicles what he perceives as the excesses of anti-abortion activists. An anti-abortion zealot reacts to the film by killing the filmmaker in broad daylight and stabbing anti-abortion tracts onto his body. How does the Hollywood community react to this atrocity? Would there be angry protests? Candlelight vigils? Outraged letters and columns and articles? Awards named in honor of their fallen comrade? Demands for justice? Calls for protection of artistic freedom? It’s a pretty safe bet that there would be all of the above and much more. And all of the anger would be absolutely justified.

So I’m trying to understand the nearly universal lack of outrage coming from Hollywood over the brutal murder of Dutch director, Theo van Gogh, who was shot on the morning of November 2, while bicycling through the streets of Amsterdam. The killer then stabbed his chest with one knife and slit his throat with another.

The presumed murderer, a Dutch-born dual Moroccan-Dutch citizen, attached a 5-page note to van Gogh's body with a knife. In it, he threatened jihad against the West in general, and specifically against five prominent Dutch political figures. Van Gogh’s crime? He created a short film highly critical of the treatment of women in Islamic societies. So, again I ask, where is the outrage from Hollywood’s creative community? I mean, talk about a violation of the right of free speech!

Perhaps they are afraid that their protests would put them in danger. That, at least, is a defensible position. If I were Michael Moore, I would much rather rail against George W. Bush, who is much less likely to have me killed, than van Gogh’s murderer and the threat to creative freedom he brings. Besides, a man of Moore’s size would provide a great deal of “bulletin board” space.

Maybe they think it would be intolerant of them to criticize the murder, because it would put them on the side of someone who criticized a segment of the Arab world. And, after all, we are often reminded that we need to be more tolerant of others, especially if they’re not Christians or Jews.

There’s another possibility; one that seems crazy on the surface, but does provide an explanation for the silence, and is also in keeping with the political climate in Hollywood. Is it just possible that there are those who are reluctant to criticize an act of terror because that might somehow align them with President Bush, who stubbornly clings to the notion that these are evil people who need to be defeated? Could the level of hatred for this President be so great that some people are against anything he is for, and for anything he is against?

As nutty as it sounds, how else can you explain such a muted reaction to an act that so directly impacts creative people everywhere? Can you conceive of a filmmaker being assassinated because of any other subject matter without seeing a resulting explosion of reaction from his fellow artists in America and around the world?

As I said, it’s a nutty-sounding explanation, but we live in nutty times.

An excellent point, but I still hear the deafening sound of silence from the "Hollywood types".


Good News

Protest for President Bush's visit fizzled. Only 39 protestors showed up to two scheduled protests, while being covered by 42 journalists. The picture on the article only shows one protestor, the rest look like bystanders. I guess the liberal dream of moving to Canada may not be a good idea.

In what seems like bad news the New York Times reports that Red Cross Finds Detainee Abuse in Guantánamo.

However, the "abuses" reported include:

  • "The military has intentionally used psychological and sometimes physical coercion 'tantamount to torture'". Does this mean that they don't have TV privileges? Listening to Al Sharpton is 'tantamount to torture' too, what's the NY Times going to do about that.

  • Doctors telling guards and interrogators about prisoner medical problems. Umm, hello, the prisoners are getting medical care! Why shouldn't we use that information?

  • Prisoners not knowing when they will be released may lead to mental problems. Yes, the Red Cross actually listed this as an abuse. Name any other war in which POW's knew when they would be released.

  • "exposure to loud and persistent noise and music and to prolonged cold". Wow, would it compare to a construction worker or someone in a factory? Would it compare to a teenager's stereo? No basis is given.

  • "detainees were subjected to 'some beatings.'" This could be the only troubling item in the list, but no details are offered. You would think that if the Red Cross found this to be true it would be made apparent.

The response from the military? "Asked about the accusations in the report, a Pentagon spokesman provided a statement saying, 'The United States operates a safe, humane and professional detention operation at Guantánamo that is providing valuable information in the war on terrorism.'" And, "I'm satisfied that the detainees here have not been abused, they've not been mistreated, they've not been tortured in any way," he said.

Let's compare this to the fact that al Sadr and al Zakawi treatment of their prisoners. They behead, murder, disembowel, poke out eyes, rape, beat, starve, and cut off hands. Has the Red Cross said anything about that?

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