“The real problem is not that we are different, nor that we disagree and have conflict. It's that most of us automatically view conflict as something negative rather than as a tool God can use to help us better understand ourselves and one another.

--Robert Ricciardelli”

Sunday, December 31, 2006

What Do You Preach?

For my final post of 2006, and my first post for 2007, I thought I would share some thoughts from a friend of mine. First, I’ll give you a little more background on him. He was my pastor while living and working in a street shelter. He was my boss while working in a Cajun restaurant. I have lived in his home while searching for an apartment. And, he stood as a groomsman at my wedding.

His article is aimed at Christians. But, you know what? Everyone has a purpose in this life. What we do with it, and how we live it out, is up to us. We are all preachers of something. We can proclaim fault and point fingers—which is nothing more always looking at the past. Or we can proclaim what could be and point the way to a better future. It is our choice.

Which way are you pointing?

Preachers: Worth or Worthless?
Larry R Taylor
Dec 4, 2006
§ We are not entertainers
§ We are not politicians
§ We are not businessmen
§ We are not educators
§ We are preachers!

Romans 10:14 " How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? Romans 10:15 " And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!"

I have lost track of the number of times I have heard people misquote Saint Francis recently; "Preach the gospel at all times—when necessary use words." Like most religious traditions of men, it sounds good at first. The only problem with this well meaning and high sounding quote is that it promotes a totally unbiblical view of preaching. Scripture commands that we preach the gospel. (Mk. 16:15) The "foolishness" of preaching is the means God ordained to save the lost. (1 Cor. 1:21). Preaching is the method chosen to correct false teaching and heresy. (2 Tim. 4:2) Preaching is the conduit for imparting the wisdom of God in contrast to the teachings of men. (Col. 1:28) Proclamation of the word of God produces faith. (Rom. 10:17) The preaching of the word releases signs, wonders and miracles. (Mk. 16:20) The word "preach" by definition means that we speak words.

Why the trendy attack on the act of preaching? I believe that the ambivalence toward preaching is due primarily to feelings that have developed towards preachers. Those that occupy the pulpits (TV monitors) of America have left many feeling manipulated, ripped off and used. I would like to suggest that it is not preaching with which we have the real problem. Our problem is with those who have failed our expectations as preachers.

I suppose everyone has anomalies in their family history that helps to shape their thinking and behavior. Mine is no exception. On one side of the family tree preachers were held in the highest regard. My great grandfather was the pastor of First Baptist Church Groveton, Texas for over 32 years. His daughter (my grandmother) was the organist at the same church for over 30 years and her husband a deacon. Pastors were treated with respect and admiration. On the other side I had a several uncles and cousins that felt, or at least expressed feelings, that seemed to indicate that preachers were a specialized group of leeches on society worthy only of the highest contempt.

Here was my dilemma. As a young boy who felt "the call to ministry" at 8 years old, I had to agree with both sides. The pastors that my uncles were personally exposed to and acquainted with seemed to qualify for that position primarily by not being qualified for any other position. Whenever they got in debt, or had a business failure, or lost a job these particular backwoods country pastors would always "go back to preach'n". Sometimes they even quit drinking and chasing women.

It seems to me that at this juncture of Church history that we are faced with similar conflicting views on the role of preachers in general and pastors to be more specific. Some are crying for the overthrow of the current pastoral system based on the behavior of those who have embarrassed themselves and the people they serve with acts of immorality and the "unforgivable sin" of modern secular thinkers: hypocrisy. At the other extreme are groups elevating the pastor to near god status through "touch not the anointed" teachings and honoring their leaders by giving them titles of royalty (Your Highness, Your Majesty, etc. My thinking is this, if they really wanted to honor their spiritual leaders they would call them what they are- Pastor, Prophet, Evangelist, Teacher, Apostle-not by giving them degrading titles of earthly royalty. To be a King or Prince or Queen would, in my estimation, be a step down.)

I have nothing against world rulers, or entertainers or businessmen or educators. My point is simply this—to be called to preach the gospel is not a shameful condition. To be identified as a preacher is not a reproach, but an honor. Biblically there is no alternative in the body of Christ but to make room for the men and women of God who have been called and sent to minister the good news.

Before you hastily hit reply and send me a corrective email, let me be the first to acknowledge that all Christians have been called to preach the good news. All believers have the capability of prophesying and ministering in the anointing of God. However, at the same time, I hope that you can recognize that there are clearly those in the New Testament Church who were called to be given wholly to the ministry of the Word and derive their primary source of income from that ministry. (1Corinthians 9:14 "Even so hath the Lord ordained that they which preach the gospel should live of the gospel.")

In this season of shifting paradigms, apostolic reformation, new wineskins and structural innovations, we should be careful not to throw out the biblical baby with the dirty bathwater of exposed carnality and immorality. Rather than adopt a world system model from which to derive our identity, we should instead boldly stand up and be the real thing: Preachers of the Gospel.
You can find Larry at Go In Ministries.

Have a blessed New Year! See you in 2007.

12/31 Morning Report

Friday’s announcement that the Taleban said, "N0" to cross border talks likely came as no surprise to anyone.

”No Muslim will participate in something... created by the aggressors and puppets," he (fugitive Taleban leader Mullah Omar) said.
Holding the traditional line that no one outside of the Taleban—or other approved Islamists—shall decide what is right, Omar condemned the region to more violence and bloodshed.
(…what a New Year’s gift to the war torn region…and families…)

Of course, a discussion of the Taleban and al-Qaeda eventually leads to Iraq. I liked this post, and the links, on ”escalation”. Personally, I think the idea of massive US troop build-ups (aka Vietnamization) is the wrong way to go. The Iraqis must understand they have to step up to the plate. Beyond that, I think the Op-For gang is right on target with this assessment.
(…you should also check out this report from Michael Yon…)

The good news from the Middle East this morning? Claiming a change in the Israeli position, Hamas says they may free the hostage Israeli soldier. The bad news? The Israelis still have to give up 1,000 prisoners—mostly terrorists.
(…as much as I would love to see a missing man come home…that kind of blackmail isn’t worth paying…the long term price is worse than getting one man back…I’m just saying…)

Then, there was this announcement from the Prime Minister of Somalia:
he suspects in the 1998 bombings of two U.S. embassies in east Africa are sheltering in the stronghold of his country's militant Islamic movement.
"If we capture them alive we will hand them over to the United States," Prime Minister Ali Mohamed Gedi told The Associated Press.
I have to ask: is any one surprised by the announcement of the terrorists’ where abouts? And that begs another question: does anyone really buy the claim by Islamist militants in Somalia that they are not tied to al-Qaeda? It is, after all, one of the early building bases for Osama bin Laden’s group.
(…but the world will let these terrorist supporters and destroyers of their own country have “delegates” at peace talks…giving them official recognition and status…God help us…PLEASE!!!...)

Meanwhile, in the Far East,
China has announced plans to upgrade its military, highlighting its dispute with Taiwan as one of several regional security threats.
And, again no surprises from the BBC, it’s all because of America’s support of Japan and Taiwan—as well as the situation with North Korea.
(…imagine…a repressive government not happy with one that supports it’s regional rivals…hhhmmm…who would have thunk it…)

Speaking of US politics, Reuters asked a tough question: Will the Democratic Congress actually deliver anything? The big nugget of truth was this:
"House Democrats have complained for the last 12 years that they have been shut out of the legislative process," said Paul Miller, a veteran Capitol Hill lobbyist. "I find it hard to believe that most Democrats are now going to let bygones be bygones. It may be payback time."
(…we’ll just have to see how much blood the Dems actually go after…personally, I suspect it will be a lot less than many over at Kos are screaming for…)

Finally, In yesterday’s news, I was remiss to give remembrance to a fallen soldier. The BBC announced:
The British soldier killed by a bomb in Iraq has been named as Sgt Graham Hesketh by the Ministry of Defence.
The 35-year-old soldier, from the 2nd Battalion, The Duke of Lancaster's Regiment, was killed while taking part in a routine patrol in Basra City.
Regardless of the nationality, we at our house remember your cry—the cry of all fallen warriors:
"Tell them of us and say,
For their tomorrow, we gave our today."
(--The Kohima Epitaph--)
We remember what you have given, Sgt. Hesketh. And we say thank you for the tomorrows you have given others. May God give back to your family more than they have sacrificed and lost.

And, now, we dance In Memoriam.

Saturday, December 30, 2006

12/30 Morning Report

I thought this idea was a real twist on gun related litigation. I really love the idea, too. The Government should reimburse victims of violent crime because said victims could not carry arms in their own defense.
(…hey…even I’ll admit that’s a reach…but it’s no crazier than a lot of left wing schemes that have succeeded…)
Meanwhile, JR gives a breakdown of two gun related news reports. It’s some common sense worth reading.

I also happened to like this report by the NY Times. The prosecutor in the Duke rape case is facing ethics charges! The kicker is the State Bar Association is lodging the complaint! But, in light of this evidence:

In perhaps the most serious accusation, the bar also said Mr. Nifong had engaged in “dishonesty, fraud, deceit or misrepresentation” by suggesting to reporters that a condom was used in the alleged attack when he had in his possession a sexual assault examination report that indicated otherwise.
I want to know why he isn’t being arrested for perjury, slander, and a host of other charges.

I’m sure most everyone caught what the MSM said about Ford speaking out on Iraq. The MSM would have you believe that former President Gerald Ford said he thought the war in Iraq was a mistake. Well, John has the info the MSM left out.

Speaking of the Middle East, the unofficial official announcement is that Saddam MAY hang Saturday. (…stay tuned for more officially unofficial updates…)
Well…what do you know…they actually did it on Saturday.
(...I’m with many others, I think it will bring some needed closure to a lot of families. But, I don’t think it will actually change anything in terms of the current situation...)

There was an important nugget of truth in the BBC announcement of Ethiopian backed government forces entering Mogadishu.
Almost all Somalis are Muslim and after years of lawlessness, many were happy to have some kind of law and order under the UIC.
But some are wary of the hardline elements among the UIC.
Can we all not be surprised that this is actually just another instance of sectarian violence? It’s all been about religious control, after all. And, even though UIC “delegates” (…if you can use that term for religious vigilantes…), there was a possible hint of good news, though.
the BBC's Africa analyst David Bamford says despite hints of a guerrilla war, the movement has been severely weakened.

Meanwhile, this BBC report on Israel just made me mad. Israeli security forces have killed three times as many Palestinians as they did last year. It couldn’t have anything to do with there being open conflict between the two sides…could it? Instances of women trying to aid trapped Palestinian gunmen or civilians who surround terrorist strongholds couldn’t be just isolated instances…could they?
(…now, I’m smart enough to know that Israel has its faults. But, I’m also smart enough to know when only one side of the story is being told—and it’s greatly exaggerated—by twisting real facts…)

Friday, December 29, 2006

12/29 Morning Report

Hello, again!

Well, Christmas is over. I’ve played video games with the kids and visited friends and eaten I don’t want to think about how much food…

In return, I’ve been saddled with a problem in the latest version of Mozilla Firefox. I’m still trying to get it to work right…So, I am struggling along on IE for another couple of days because…IT’S BACK TO WORK TONIGHT. Yeah, it’s moments like this I don’t like working weekend nights.

Meanwhile…through it all I’ve…mostly…ignored the news.

I caught a few things. Our family is praying for the family of former President Gerald Ford, of course. Politics aside, he was the Commander In Chief—which for all intents and purposes makes him a warrior. (…yes…for those who are wondering…I would say the same things about Clinton…I may not like him, his policies, or his politics…but he was CIC…)

We are also praying for the Taiwanese, after the earthquake there. And, for Denver to be spared another mighty storm. (…one comment…I noticed on the evening news that the city has hired a consultant to make sure they are better prepared…after having done everything they could in the first place, as I understand it…wweelll…just another case of us making the government rescue us from trouble rather than have to deal with it ourselves…also known as entitlement…we have fallen a long way…)

I to admit it, but I have paid absolutely no attention to Iraq…Congress… Latin or South America…or Israel. I’m feeling like I’ve been under a rock for WAY TOO LONG because of it. But, rest assured, I will be back at it now…and hopefully through the New Year’s weekend, too. (…I hope you’re not holding your breath…I refuse to promise on this one, either…)

As I said before, I hope your Christmas was wonderful. I hope your New Year is more blessed than any before. But, most of all, I pray the grace and peace of the Lord, Jesus Christ, is always increasing in your lives and families though the knowledge of Him. And, may God establish His throne of righteousness and judgment—from which flows the river of His forgiveness and mercy—in our nation.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

12/27 Wednesday Heroes

Every once and awhile I'll do a Wednesday Hero that doesn't profile a single soldier. Sometimes it's been two or three from the same unit, sometimes it's been an entire group of soldiers like the Navajo Code Talkers. I even did an organization once, Operation Iraqi Children. This weeks Wednesday Hero is one of those sometimes. This weeks Wednesday Heroes are the parents of soldiers.

These people sacrifice just as much, if not more, than the soldiers themselves. They, in many cases, are having their babies leave home for the first time in their lives. While most parents only have to adjust to them moving a few miles away or going off to college, these Blue Star Parents have to watch their children go off to a very dangerous situation and can only hope and pray that everything will turn out okay. I don't have children of my own, so I can't even imagine what that is like. We have a few Blue Star Parents in the blogroll, so to them, and every parent of a Hero, I tell you we all stand with and support you and your family.

There's a site that everyone should check out if they haven't already. Blue Star Mothers Of America.

These brave men and women sacrifice so much in their lives so that others may enjoy the freedoms we get to enjoy everyday. For that, I am proud to call them Hero.
We Have Every Right To Dream Heroic Dreams.
Those Who Say That We're In A Time When There Are No Heroes, They Just Don't Know Where To Look

This post is part of the Wednesday Hero Blogroll. If you would like to participate in honoring the brave men and women who serve this great country, you can find out how by clicking here.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Merry Christmas

Like many bloggers, I’ll be taking Christmas off. So, instead of the usual Morning Report, I thought I would share some links to people’s Christmas stories, memories, thoughts and expectations.

JR shared an timeless tale at A Keyboard And A .45
The denizens of Castle Argghhh had a story, too.
There was a wonderful photo Op of Santa in Iraq from BLACKFIVE
RWA had his Thoughts From The Heart of Dixie
Gazer posted this at Gazing at the Flag
(…be sure to take the Reindeer Quiz…by the way, I’m a Blitzen…see my previous post…)
LilFeathers2000 posted this thoughtful rhyme at This That And Froghair 2.
Andi spoke up from Andi’s World
And, Taco Bell sent a Sandgram

And, finally, here is my Christmas memory.
Back in 1988, I was living in a street shelter, in Lufkin, Texas, doing day labor jobs, trying to get back on me feet. A couple weeks before Christmas, three of us got a week long job clearing brush on some land. We got to stay in a cabin there. We did have to cut our own wood to keep the fire going and be able to cook, though. The first day, I unpacked groceries and got the stove/heater going, while the other two went to gather wood. I finished before they got back and started playing around on my guitar—wondering what Christmas really means to me. I started singing, and, much to my surprise, out came the answer.

To remember what Christmas really is, I simply let my mind wander back to that cabin in East Texas. You see, in reality, Christmas comes every day.
(...the lyrics for the song is in the comments...sorry, I couldn't get the audio file to load right...)

It’s really amazing how simple things become when you have nothing—or at least not much. It’s also much easier to know what you really believe. Since that week in the brush, I’ve gotten married. We now have four children. We’ve struggled through some pretty tough medical situations. And, now, I’m launching out into a second career. With all that, it would be easy to get caught up in the rush, bustle and commercialism of Christmas. Instead, I remember. I hope you have a memory that helps keep you focused on the real meaning of Christmas.

I hope your holidays are wonderful. I hope your Christmas is awesome. And, I hope your new year is blessed beyond belief. But, most of all, I pray that the grace and peace of the Lord, Jesus Christ, is always increasing in your hearts and lives through the knowledge of Him.

The Reindeer Quiz

You Are Blitzen

Always in good spirits, you're the reindeer who loves to party down with Santa.

Why You're Naughty: You're always blitzed on Christmas Eve, while flying!

Why You're Nice: You mix up a mean eggnog martini.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

12/23 Morning Report

Here was my BIG surprise for the day: The 9th Circuit Court reduced the damage award in the Exxon Valdez case. I’m stunned. The most liberal court in America is letting Big Business off the hook? Well…not that it will matter all that much. Exxon won’t be getting their checkbook out any time soon on this one. It’s only been 13 years, so far. Still…the 9th!!!!!
(…who’d a thunk it…)

Speaking of liberal surprises…this wasn’t one of them—although the source sort of it was. The NY Times is reporting there will be little if any change to “earmarks”. Senators Byrd and Obey declared a moratorium until a reformed process is put in place—but only for unfinished spending bills in 2007. In spite of the Democratic outcry, spawned mostly because of Republican scandals, there won’t be any real change.

…many if not most earmarks are recurring items, like money for a university research program or a public works project that Congressional sponsors insert each year. No Democrats have suggested any plan to cut or redirect that money.
But, keep an eye on defense spending! The only reason it didn’t “lose” any earmark money was that bill was finished before adjournment.

In another article, the Times called on Bush to admonish Representative Goode Jr. The Times isn’t the only voice raised against the Congressman. I personally, as I’ve said before, don’t have a problem with a Muslim taking the oath on the Qu’ran. And, I say that as a Christian. Our country was founded on the principle of religious freedom. On that principle, Keith Ellison has the right, and privilege, to be sworn in using the Qu’ran if he so choses. My faith in Christ is not changed by his belief in another god. What does matter is how Ellison, or any official who adheres to the Muslim faith, will apply the standards of Islam to the rest of America. Will he stand for fairness and equality? Or, will he apply the standards of Islam which dictate that those who are not Muslim are second rate? That kind of discrimination is deeply rooted in Islamic belief—and drives fairness and equality to the proverbial backseat. And, that discrimination is just as un-American as demanding everyone use a Bible—even if they are non-Christian.

Meanwhile, in the continuing saga of AWB, the Australian wheat exporter,
Iraqi citizens filed a $200 million lawsuit Friday against a prominent European bank and an Australian wheat exporter, saying they were cheated out of humanitarian goods when the companies permitted the U.N. oil-for-food program to be corrupted.
And, amazingly not one word about how the US pulled the plug on this scheme, instead of the UN—who was supposedly overseeing and administering the program. Mr. Annan gets to leave the Secretary-Generalship, and will face no penalty it seems.
(…wonders never cease…do they?...)

And, in the latest escalation in Somalia, the Islamic militia says it’s ready to fight Ethiopians.
"Special forces who are highly trained in guerrilla warfare are now ready to attack Ethiopians, wherever they are in Somalia," Sheik Ibrahim Shukri Abuu-Zeynab, a spokesman for the Islamic movement, told The Associated Press. Late Friday, Ethiopia accused the Islamic movement of crossing into its territory. "The situation in Somalia has turned from bad to worse," the statement said. "Ethiopia has been patient so far but there is a limit to this." Ethiopia denies its forces are fighting, but says it has deployed several hundred military trainers in support of Somalia's U.N.-backed transitional government.
It’s obvious there are Ethopian troops in Somalia. However, the range of discrepancy in the numbers—Islamic reported, Ethopian reported, Somali government reported, and MS reported--is so wide, any or all claims could be false. Irregardless, what is obvious is that Islamic forces are once again refusing to abide by any one else’s rules—including the UN. Does any one find it hard to believe that they are being allowed to get away with it?

And, in one last surprise, a U.S. District Judge has ruled that Iran is responsible for a terrorist attack.
The Iranian government is partly to blame for a 1996 terrorist attack that killed 19 Americans in Saudi Arabia, a federal judge ruled Friday.
Though intelligence officials have suspected a link between the Tehran government and the Saudi wing of Hezbollah, which the FBI has accused of carrying out the bombing, Friday's ruling is the first time a branch of the U.S. government has officially blamed Iran for the deaths of Americans in the bombings.
Two Iranian government security agencies and senior members of the Iranian government itself provided funding, training and logistical help to terrorists who carried out the attack on a dormitory that housed U.S. Air Force pilots and staff in Saudi Arabia, former FBI Director Freeh testified.
I don’t know if the families will ever collect any of the $254 million in they are seeking damages—any more than the hostages of the Carter administration ever got theirs. But, the ruling is significant.
(…I wonder what will grow out of it…)

Friday, December 22, 2006

Afternoon Rantings Ramblings

Want to know what gives Liberals fuel for their agenda? Conservatives who don’t follow the rules. I’ll give the benefit of the doubt to this writer. He documents all of this very well. I also know there are many instances of leftists doing exactly the same thing. So, I’m asking readers here at MWT to post their comments of specific instances! If the Left wants to hold the Right to that standard, they won’t mind if we do the same.

Here is one, though it isn’t directed at politicians, Orson Scott Card wrote an awesome editorial on honor and respect…and free speech.

Just remember that the essence of civil disobedience is that you accept the lawful punishment for your crime. Egg the hearse, if you must -- but then do your time in jail. Whatever you might think of the choices of the dead soldier, he accepted the consequences of his choices, and so must his family; have the spine to do the same with your choices.
Sounds like the America I knew before Political Correctness was demanded of citizens.

I have to admit, this post on a possible Shia insurgency gave me a large moment of pause. The writer makes several good points about dangers. Yet, the point of our remaining in Iraq is not the removal of al-Sadr. The point is preparing the Iraqis to do it themselves if need be. Our goal now is to help the Iraqis establish order and help provide security along the way. And, that goal is proceeding. On Wednesday, Najaf became the third province in Iraq given over to Iraqis to secure.

On the subject of Shia initiated violence, let’s turn our attention to Iran. Roxie wrote an amazing recent history of Iran and President Ahmadinejad . Democrats saturated the airwaves with ads saying Republicans were using “the politics of fear” during the last election. Really? In her opening paragraph, Roxie boldly says:
Democrats have used the term “Politics of Fear” as a campaign sword while clinging to false beliefs about the origins of terrorism, the spread of terrorism and the actual threats which terrorist organizations and terrorist governments pose to this nation. America’s actions are in no way responsible for world-wide terrorism and such a belief buys into terrorist propaganda. America is NOT in the Sudan yet terrorism exists in Sudan. American is not in many of the places where terrorism exists in the world.
The Left wants the US to treat with Iran. Given the Iranian agenda and history, why should we?
(…it’s the beginning of a series…stop by and keep up with it…)

Meanwhile, the CIA reported there were lines out the door to get the jobs of ILLEGAL immigrants working at Swift & Co., after the federal raids.
Not “guest workers”. Not “migrant workers”. Not “undocumented workers” as the story in its oh-so-politically-correct manner calls them. ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS ALIENS invading criminals that were holding down jobs that AMERICANS are now standing in line to get.
Isn’t that interesting? Check out the whole story in The Rocky Mountain News.

And, lastly, to break up the seriousness of this post, I’m sharing this amusing snowglobe. It came to our email box from a friend. Make sure you have your sound on! It’s a hoot!
(…h/t to Jerri…)

12/22 Morning Report

How’s this for aggressive law enforcement? The crackdown on drunk drivers is the most successful, in terms of results, in the entire country.

While police say the four-year-old crackdown has yielded a dramatic drop in deadly car accidents, bars and restaurants complain it is hurting business and putting a damper on Fresno's nightlife. And defense attorneys and civil liberties advocates warn that the city of 461,000 has gone too far.
Figures, doesn’t it? Seems like every time the police start to do their job, someone complains, the civil rights groups start suing—all because business is suffering.
(…kind of takes the ho-ho-ho out of the season…doesn’t it?...sure wish we could do that with terrorist and other criminals…)

In another move to limit law enforcement efforts, a Texas Democrat wants to limit use of stun guns to ”deadly force situations only”. The point of using stun guns—the Taser—is to avoid being in a deadly force only situation. While I admit there are problems with the devices, and some have died as a result of their use, statistically that those event are not out of the normal range.

Bush made it official yesterday: No aid to Hamas until they give up their violent agenda—specifically against Israel.
The United States, the European Union and others regard Hamas as a terrorist group and have already cut off direct aid to the government. Hamas rose to power in parliament after defeating the Fatah party in January…The United States and others have demanded Hamas agree to past Israeli-Palestinian accords, renounce violence and recognize Israel before ending the boycott.
Will anyone be surprised by the anti-American sentiment this will draw? Will it matter that it is the US AND the EU AND other nations? Probably not.
(…remember?...everything is Bush’s fault…)

Did anyone catch the latest on Illegal immigration crackdowns? It’s not just businesses complaining about the law being upheld anymore. Hispanic groups have reached a new high…uummm…level. The latest outcry is for a moratorium on workplace raids
U.S. Hispanic groups and activists on Thursday called for a moratorium on workplace raids to round up illegal immigrants, saying they were reminiscent of Nazi crackdowns on Jews in the 1930s.
Talk about SPIN! This has enough rotation to maintain a stable orbit. Since when is finding and arresting ILLEGAL immigrants—who broke the laws of at least two nations--the same as terrorizing LEGAL citizens who have broken no law?

Finally, it is with regret that I pass on this report from the Dallas Morning News:
A Texas soldier from Fort Hood has died in Iraq, the Defense Department said Wednesday. Staff Sgt. Brian L. Mintzlaff, 34, of Fort Worth, died Monday in Taji from injuries suffered when his Bradley Fighting Vehicle rolled over.
We at our house remember your cry—the cry of all fallen warriors:
"Tell them of us and say,
For their tomorrow, we gave our today."
(--The Kohima Epitaph--)
We remember what you have given, SSgt Mintzlaff. And we say thank you for the tomorrows you have given others. May God give back to your family more than they have sacrificed and lost.

And, now, we dance In Memoriam.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

12/21 Morning Report

After more than a year of questions, AWB was suspended from Iraq contracts over oil-for-food contract corruption. But, it wasn’t the UN that disciplined AWB. It was the US.
(…another shining example of the UN’s…oh…never mind…)

The Hamas-Fatah truce is holding.

And, as expected, refusal to give in on banking issues broke negotiations with North Korea.

"North Korea's position on the financial issue is rigid and we don't see any flexibility. This is the biggest cause of difficulty," Sasae (Japan’s chief envoy) told reporters. "There is no change in the basic structure of conflict."
(…WOW!...North Korea refuses to held accountable for what it has done wrong?...What a surprise!...)

Chavez says “Drug smuggling is not up in my country”. But, at the same time, Chavez blames US drug consumption for the problem.
(…and someone else’s problem makes it ok to ignore your part in it?...)

And, who would have thought…Coca leaf salads! So says Peru’s President, Alan Garcia.
Peru is the world's second largest producer of cocaine behind Colombia.
(...could he just be looking for a way to increase the legal GDP of Peru?...)

Reading about the medics condemned in Libya? Here is the whole warped history of the injustice. It appears to be nothing more than another dictator trying to blackmail other nations to get ahead.
(…what do you want to bet someone gives in and pays a ransom…)

Time Magazine actually supporteded privately run public schools? Well, yes and no. The Business and Media Institute worked through the things they did and did not say.
(…Here is the link to the original report…)

Even as soldiers call for more troops in iraq, there was an interesting read on the changing face of war. It seems we are moving on to the 5th generation of warfare!

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

12/20 Wednesday's Hero

Wednesday's Hero will pre-empt all other entries. Scroll down for the other daily posts.

Sgt. Roy A. Wood

Sgt. Roy A. Wood
47 years old from Alva, Florida
ODA 2092, Company C, 3rd Battalion, 20th Special Forces Group
January 26, 2005

Sgt. Roy A. Wood, a Special Forces medical sergeant, was fatally
injured when the vehicle he was riding in was involved in a traffic accident
near Kabul, Afghanistan, during a return convoy from Qalat to Bagram
Air Base.

His 24-year military career with the Army Reserve and Army National
Guard was distinguished and unique. After receiving a commission as a
second lieutenant in 1979, he was first assigned to the Army Reserve’s
421st Quartermaster Company (Light Airdrop Supply).

While assigned to the 421st, he received training as a quartermaster
officer, a parachute rigger, and participated in both basic airborne and
jumpmaster courses.

In January 1982, he left the 421st to begin an association with U.S.
Army Special Forces that would last until, and beyond, his death.

His first SF assignment was to the Army Reserve's 11th Special Forces
Group (Airborne) at Fort Meade, Md., where he served in the 3rd
Battalion’s Company A as the detachment executive officer for Operational
Detachment-A 1175.

In May 1983, he became Detachment Commander for ODA 1175 after
returning from the Special Forces Detachment Officer Qualification Course.

In October 1984, he left ODA 1175 to become the Company Logistics

He served in a variety of positions at the 11th SFG over the next 11
years, including operations officer and support company commander.

After four years at USSOCOM, he served a year with the Army Reserve’s
73rd Field Hospital in St. Petersburg, Fla., before switching from the
Reserve to the Army National Guard and renewing his association with
Special Forces.

He was assigned to 3rd Bn., 20th SFG in December 2001, where he served
for a year as the Battalion Surgeon, supervising medical coverage of
three Special Forces companies and one support company.

In December 2002, he resigned his commission to become a Special Forces
medical sergeant on Operational Detachment-A 2092, Co. C, 3rd Bn., 20th

He, with ODA 2092, was mobilized in July 2003 in support of Operation
Enduring Freedom.

At the time of his death, he was pending appointment as a Special
Forces warrant officer, a position in which he would have served his team as
an assistant detachment commander.

During his service, he received the Army Commendation Medal, the Army
Achievement Medal, the Army Reserve Achievement Medal with Silver
Hourglass device, the National Defense Service Medal, the Army Service
Ribbon, the Basic Parachutist badge, the Parachute Rigger badge, the Ranger
tab and the Special Forces tab.

Sgt. Roy Wood leaves behind a wife and two children.

These brave men and women have given their lives so that others may
enjoy the freedoms we get to enjoy everyday. For that, I am proud to call
them Hero.
We Have Every Right To Dream Heroic
Those Who Say That We're In A Time When There Are No Heroes, They Just
Don't Know Where To Look

This post is part of the Wednesday Hero Blogroll. If you would like
to participate in honoring the brave men and women who serve this great
country, you can find out how by clicking href="http://rightwingrightminded.blogspot.com/2006/08/wednesday-hero-blogroll.html">here.

Blogs Partcipating In Wednesday Hero

target="_blank">Right-Wing & Right Minded
Hooah Wife &

Yankee Mom
Bear Creek

target="_blank">Mail Call! Supporting The Troops
Right, Whatever

At The Flag

Military Reserve

target="_blank">DeMediacratic Nation
My Point
A Day In The
Life Of.....

Blue Star

Pet's Garden

Pictures From
My World

GUNZ, Glory and EBYJO

Gunz Up
Say No To
Politically Correct B.S.

target="_blank">Did You Ever Get The Feeling
A Rose By
Any Other Name

Weekly Thoughts


Trying My Best
To Support The Troops

American And

Not Ready For My

Perry Nelson's

Fresh Start

Right On!


target="_blank">Soldiers' Angels New York
Republican Blog

Evening Venting

After an evening intense cyber-combat, trying to get through some install problems on the latest version of Firefox…I decided the evening post would be something snarky. And…


Now, I know this video clip has been making the rounds of right-wing blogdom. I found it twice...But, you know what? It’s just too funny not to pass along!

OK…enough snickers and groans. I was going to stop there. But, I went poking around on a few favorite reads. I found something on a more serious note. Flag Gazer had a great post on what we need to pass on to our children.
Remember - Honor - Teach
Remember the Fallen
Honor Those Who Serve
Teach Our Children the Value of Freedom
Awesome words. Let us back them up with deeds.

12/20 Morning Report

Yesterday, the US said it was conceding nothing on N. Korean finance issues. The North Koreans want their assets unfrozen before they will talk about nuclear issues.

U.S. officials said the bank, now in receivership, failed to exercise "due diligence" by handling accounts linked to Pyongyang's drug trafficking, money-laundering and U.S. dollar counterfeiting activities.

North Korea cited the U.S.-led financial crackdown as a reason for its year-long boycott of six-country negotiations aimed at persuading the communist state to give up its nuclear weapons programs.
Typical dictator/terrorist negotiating tactics. Give me what I want, then I’ll talk about what you want. Then, today, the US announced possible forward progress in the nuclear talks—without giving ground on the financial issues.
(…given the liberal/Democratic declarations that we should treat Islamic terrorist groups that way…is it any wonder Kim Il Jong thinks he can get away with his current tactics…if he can hold out for two more years and the Dems get the White House…it just might work…)

A truce between Hamas and Fatah? Could be. Even PM Haniya, of Hamas, has suggested a long term truce with Israel—and separate states. The violence escalated after rumors of Abbas’ call for new elections began circulating. The violence exploded when the rumor became true on Saturday. Yet, despite the rumor of a truce, Hamas announced it will boycott early elections.
(…some truce. They are still refusing to get along…)

Shiite militia leader Moktada al-Sadr may back a proposed coalition. The report also includes rumors that the Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani may also be giving this his blessing.

In related news, maybe it’s just conservatives hanging together, but even Tony Blair says Middle Eastern nations need to reign in Iran. The recognized terror funding nation has been stirring trouble behind the scenes for years. Tony Blair has raised his voice to say the other nations in the region must take a stand in order to bring it to a halt. In a piece of good news, though, US captured al-Qaeda leader. Now, if the Iraqi factions can chose to put aside their factional differences, and the violence behind them, maybe…Meanwhile, the third Iraqi province has been given over to Iraqi forces to secure and control. The handover ceremony for security of Najaf Province is one more sign of progress in the War in Iraq. For a longer list, go back and read this one from the Tanker Brothers. Or even this one from Chickenhawk.
(…but…will the liberals and the media see it for what it is…)

Meanwhile, on the subject of our troops in Iraq, it is the Christmas season. For some reason, I haven’t been feeling all that “Christmasee” this year. So, in a moment of…well…just go see this at Blackfive. It is both amusing and heartwarming.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Evening Outlook…

Rick Moran, over at The Wide Awakes had an interesting post about the Joint Chiefs of Staff article in the Washington Post.

But if you read the entire article you realize that, in fact, the Chiefs are worried about how to define the mission as well as placing a time limit on their deployment - not on whether or not the troops should be dispatched.
It’s a bit of a long read. But, it is very interesting.
(…it never ceases to amaze me how two sides can find such vastly different conclusions from the same thing…)

In another interesting post, Brad shares his thoughts on how many are needed to rule. It’s interesting thought. I don’t garee with his conclusions that American troops are the only reason the Iraqis haven’t formed a government, or that the Sunni-Shia conflict was set off by the US/Colaition throwing everyone into one group. History shows that the Sunnis took power violently—although perhaps not religiously—and initiated much of the sectarian violence in an attempt to avoid sharing power. Still, it is interesting thought.

Meanwhile, MSNBC is reporting that Cheney will testify in the CIA leak trial. Forgive me, but I thought it had all been settled that an administration official had not leaked the information about Plame? Have the liberals and Democrats decided to waste more time and money rather than just let it go? And, while we proceed to waste time and energy on such things (…not to mention money…), Islamic nations and peoples get to practice their own pretty sever form of Apartheid. Amil Imani did a very extensive breakdown of things. It is well worth the reading.
(…I’m waiting for the day the Liberals go after this Islamic practice the way they went after it in South Africa…but, I’m not holding my breath…)

Speaking of Leftist attempts to ignore racism, Rotty Pup had two really good posts about it. There was a post on The New Hate: Same As The Old Hate. And, today, after receiving a response from Bob Piper in the comments, Rotty does a scathing breakdown of how Bob ignores the real offense.
(…it must really hurt to find your feet in these kind of shoes, Bob…admitting you were wrong and taking action accordingly isn’t really all that bad…)

12/19 Morning Report

Today, it's time for something completely different...

As you give thought to your holiday celebrations, whatever your faith...:

I couldn't find any thing that said all of this better than the cartoonists at The Jewish World Review Enjoy the humor!

Monday, December 18, 2006

Evening Stuff

In a carry over from the 12/12 Morning Report, Part-time Pundit brings in more detail on Stem cell harvesting…from living babies…, along with a couple of other interesting links.

There were also two very odd, and disturbing news reports. First, it was reported that Israel satellite TV dropped BBC World for al-Jazeera! Meanwhile, German gov't considers jail time for video gamers.

Proposed legislation targets pixelated mayhem and virtual violence; legislators consider acts of cruelty against "human-looking characters" as reason enough to fine, imprison.
I agree that violence has gotten way out of hand in many games. But, this is not the way to solve the issue.
(h/t to Right-Wing & Right Minded: In Case You Missed It)

Yankee Mom gives her account of a protest of the protesters. Don’t forget to read the article linked at the end…

Have you been wondering what is going on in Iraq? What have we been accomplishing? Check out these updates from Tanker Brothers.

12/18 Morning Report

Brad had a somewhat pragmatic review of the Democratic front runners for President. It’s an interesting comparison between Hillary and Obama. Meanwhile, over at the Daly Kos, some one asked the question Can Hillary win? Interesting comments…check out the poll results, too

Another Kos writer asked the question: Has America’s “militarism” weakened our position in the world? It’s the old argument that America is proclaiming “might makes right.” It also has the usual liberal stance of a strong military only fosters distrust and fear among others who are weaker than you are.

I guess that would be the writer’s reason why

North Korea says it will not consider halting its nuclear programme unless UN sanctions imposed after it tested a nuclear device in October are lifted.
Let me se if I have this straight…North Korea breaks its treaties, suffers UN sanctions for it, and throws a temper tantrum to get its way. And, it must be America’s fault—I guess…
(…sounds like someone is taking lessons from Saddam Hussein…”who cares about those stinking resolutions!...)

With conflicting reports about American political goals regarding Iraq, is it any wonder people don’t really know what is going on beyond their own political view? We all cling to our own. This report by the BBC, regarding Colin Powell’s statements reveals several classics. For example, sending more troops was an alternative—short term—mentioned in the ISG report. Now, suddenly, it is another Bush strategy leading to failure.
(…talk about not getting the story straight…)

And, as, I originally reported on November 12, there has been a liberal plan to impeach Bush. The plan proposed then was how to force Congress into impeachment proceedings. But, now there is a new idea. Don’t impeach Bush, go for his underlings…. It just goes to show there are no limits to political vindictiveness—on either side.

Speaking of things Middle Eastern, militants or Islamic extremists seem determined to destroy any thing that might help. The Red Crescent is the latest source of aid and support to be victimized. You can bet it was sectarian in nature, too.
(…did anyone else notice that the Red Crescent and the Red Cross suddenly seem to be the same organization…)

Euphoric Reality has a great summary of Israel’s contribution to the world…compared to the Arab world:
We would replace the vision, ingenuity, success, advancements, and invention of the Israelis with the crime, poverty, terrorism, internecine murder, and barbarism of millions of Third World, 7th century Muslims. Not exactly a good trade, no matter how you look at it.
It’s a really good read.

Finally, on the lighter side of things, her are some strange coincidences someone at work shared with me.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

12/17 Morning Report

There are a few facts to be considered by those who think Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s Holocaust Conference was a great open forum. For starters, only those who believe the Holocaust is a hoax were invited to attend.
(…still think it was a fair and open debate?...)

The Pakistan Supreme Court once again blocked establishment of Taliban law. It was a watered down version of what the Court knocked down last year.

NWFP Information Minister Asif Iqbal Daudzai, a member of the ruling alliance of religious parties, accused the government of being undemocratic.
Undemocratic? Allowing other groups to have a voice, without the stringent requirements of Sharia law is undemocratic?
(…like most Islamic groups, this one thinks everything is undemocratic or discriminatory if they do not get their way…why do the liberals let them get away with it?...such a contradiction…)

Computerized healthcare records are about to be required for patients in the UK. The greatest concern seems to be the doctor-patient relationship. But, it’s important to remember that privacy concerns are different in Europe than the US. Where we Americans fear government intrusion, and let companies do what they want, it is the reverse in Europe. Interestingly,
A poll of over 1,000 GPs [i.e. General Practicioners] by the Guardian newspaper last month found half would consider refusing to put patient records automatically on to a new national database. Many said they doubted the security of the new system.
Well, there is some encouragement at least. Watch for this movement to grow here in the US.
(…it is part of the Democratic and government agenda…believe it or not…)

On the subject of things that need more scrutiny, Faultline has a good series going on the E-coli situation. There is a lot of wild speculation going on regarding these events. Was it onions or lettuce? Was it human born or another source? And this doesn’t even touch the security issues that can get involved. Follow the links. It’s some very interesting reading.

Democrats are proposing new legislation for increased railroad security. The legislation will include more reporting and inspection requirements. While this would be a great thing—and is necessary—I have one HUGE concern. One thing no one has answered is where the money is coming from.
(…can you say “more taxes”…oh goodie…)

A ”Credit Crunch” is coming, say some experts. With the housing market slowing, the subprime lenders may be in serious trouble. And, with home prices falling, consumers may not be able to afford their homes. It is expected to have a major impact on car markets, and available credit in general.
(…but…credit card debt is good…right?...sure it is…but…yeah…right…)

Lastly, the Ft. Worth Star Telegram reported this sad news:
Pfc. Paul Balint Jr., 22, of Willow Park died Friday in Ar Ramadi, Iraq, after he was injured when his unit came under attack during combat operations.
We at our house remember your cry—the cry of all fallen warriors:
"Tell them of us and say,
For their tomorrow, we gave our today."
(--The Kohima Epitaph--)
We remember what you have given, Pfc Balint. And we say thank you for the tomorrows you have given others. May God give back to your family more than they have sacrificed and lost.

And, now, we dance In Memoriam.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Hockey News

The Pittsburgh Penguins are back on the market…again. For unspecified reason, Canadian businessman Jim Balsillie has withdrawn his offer—presumably because of problems with the NHL. Although,

"The Penguins organization will reevaluate our situation after the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board makes the decision on the awarding of the Pittsburgh gaming license," he said.
The gaming license issue will have a lot of impact on whether a new arena can be built. Without a new arena deal, the Penguins are free to relocate after June. So, it still does not look good for keeping them in Pittsburgh.

Meanwhile, in an attempt to get off the basement steps, Phoenix has experimented extensively with different line combinations. What they have created has been dubbed the “OMG” Line by the media. Personally, I’m with Laraque…
"But the Oh My God line? Of all things."

I think the Flyers are starting to rearrange their roster. Being just one game out of the basement, and only winning 3 of their last 10, the Flyers have to do something. With the season just over a third of the way gone, look for some more moves pretty soon.

The NHL is still fighting major attendance problems. Small wonder. I was writing some thoughts on this a couple weeks ago and got a comment that made a lot of sense:
A major drawback to televised hockey is the poor image. The cameras are of a much higher quality for the NFL, which plays less than a dozen games per year in each stadium, than they are for the NHL with almost four times as many games. I am glad that they are at least working on improving the television viewing experience for hockey games.
All I know is they need to do something to improve audience appeal or a lot of small market teams will still fail financially.
(…revenue sharing and all that is wonderful, if there is enough revenue to share…)

And, sadly, one of the minority owners of the Washington Capitals, Joshua M. Freeman, 42, of Gaithersburg, Md., was killed Friday along with the pilot in a helicopter crash. The thoughts and prayers of our household go out to their families.

12/16 Morning Report

Between preparing for a promotion interview, and trying to get a paper done for school, I never had time to put posts together yesterday. For those of you who are regulars…I apologize. BUT!...the interview went well, and the paper got done. I’ll let you know the results when I have them…And, so…

First it was Taco Bell, now it’s Olive Garden. Next…
(…employees with flu-like symptoms?...sure…)

Meanwhile, the government and the IRS can’t seem to track illegal money. Between Congress, the ACLU, and related groups saying this or that should not be done because it could be discriminatory (aka wiretapping), it’s a wonder they can track anything.
(…want to bet there’s an outcry over this?…”no profiling allowed”…remember?...)

And, CAIR shut down a blogger claiming “hate speech”. It’s amazing how one sided this “hate speech” thing really is. Muslims can say what they want. Liberals can say what they want. Either can initiate whatever violence they want in terms of protest. So, the rest of America is supposed to feel sorry for them and let them off the hook, while suffering for calling them to account? Get real!
(…I will not get into a rant…I will not get into a rant…I will not..well, maybe this once…)
(…h/t to Wild Bill for the link…)

In the Middle East, Israel may be assessed damages by the UN. It will be based on the investigation of disruptions caused by the wall built to keep out suicide bombers.

Israel's U.N. Ambassador Dan Gillerman said Israel already has a mechanism for Palestinians to register claims for compensations related to the barrier's construction. He said 140 cases have already been reviewed and more than $1.5 million has been paid to Palestinians.
(…reminds me of a fence…near Mexico, I think…)
(…and people think the UN judgments will be fair because….why?...)

Things continue their downward spiral in Gaza. Hamas and Fatah are violently arguing over control of the Palestinian nation. Each one is blaming the other for something—and it all relates back to Fatah calling for new elections in hopes of bringing stability. There have been attempts on Fatah ministers, including their children, and today an attempt was made against Prime Minister Ismail Haniya--a Hamas linked official.
(…I bet the world leftists try to blame it on Israel, too…)

A glimmer of good news is that Iraqi factions are going to talk. What may be decided is probably up for grabs. But, at least they are willing to get together and talk. It goes very well with yesterday’s report thatIraqi forces are taking over security in Nejaf Province, too.

Speaking of security in Iraq, I found the link to this story from the Armorer--who got it from Cassandra.
(…and you thought Hobbits were make believe…didn’t you?...)

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Evening News...Stuff...

I loved this report from the BBC. Asia greenhouse gasses will triple in 25 years. Isn’t this what opponents of the Kyoto accords said? This goes nicely with another British report that the UN is downgrading mankinds impact on climate change.
(…this must be why Asian countries were exempt from the protocols…and why it’s all Bush’s fault…)

I have to admit I enjoyed this BBC report, too. It seems that…well…read it yourself:

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is expected to become the target of a lawsuit which accuses him of inciting genocide against Israel.
. All I can say is, I love it. I doubt anything will come of it. But, I love it.

Closer to home, the ACLU is being subpoenaed by the government! It seems the feds want all copies of a leaked document. While there is some discussion of why, it is noted that there is nothing improper in the request. I find the possible legal precedent to this very interesting. Could this be a way to reign in snitch…I mean…source…confidentiality in the media?

Meanwhile, from Blogdom, Basil had a series of links on today’s news. One thing I missed that he found was that Harvard is dropping the religious studies requirement. Oh, there is one detail…There is still requirement for Islamic studies on the books.

SC&A brought out a great point. When the discussion turns to Israel, Jews, the Jewish State, and “Zionism”, not many people really know what the differences are (if any) or what all of it means. Read this. It’s kind of long…but well worth it.

Meanwhile, Cassandra opened a can of worms with her ”Idiot…” post. But, it spawned a great piece of writing. She really gets into what real tolerance means in her follow up. And got almost as many comments, too.

Lastly, some humor is required today. Prying1 is sharing the cartoons of his favorite to win the best Weblog Cartoon Award.

I have to admit, this is pretty good. Check it out!

12/14 Morning Report

Yesterday, John passed on something I didn’t know. The National Guard is 370 years old! It’s a great post, with lots of cool information. Check it out!

On the subject of weapons, the Danes have banned IPSCbecause of safety concerns. That wouldn’t be such a surprise—except that all the testimony (including their own justice department experts) shows there is no such risk.
(…won’t stand up for the press because of cartoons…won’t stand up for the truth regarding safety…this does not look god for the EU and it’s neighbors…)
(…oh…h/t tip to JR for the link…)

Meanwhile, “Wake Up America” had an interesting post. It seems a finally said what we all knew. It’s worth checking out…

On the political front, the Democrats are coming face to face with how thin their majority really is.

Senator Tim Johnson, a Democrat from South Dakota, was in intensive care today after undergoing surgery late Wednesday night for a brain hemorrhage…
The news is sad for Senator Johnson, and his family. Fortunately, surgery went well and hopefully he will recover. On the political side of it, the “mandate” claimed by the Democrats and the media is very small—certainly smaller than the majority gained by Republicans back in ’94, when the media and Democrats didn’t even acknowledge it as a mandate. This sad situation does, however, leave us with the question of what happens if the balance changes? As bitterly divided as Democrats and Republicans, Conservatives and Liberals, are now, what would Washington “gridlock” look like with an evenly divided Senate?

Chickenhawk had a good post on Sen. Bill Nelson of Florida’s trip to the Middle East. He did not respond to suggestions he was going around presidential authority by making diplomatic visits. Too bad. That is exactly what his group is doing. The Constitution gives the Executive branch authority for these types of things—not Congress. It would be nice if Democrats, as they so often accuse Bush and company of not doing—actually obeyed the rules instead of making them up as they go along.

By the way, if you’re looking for information on things Iraq or Middle East, Savannah Daydreamin’ posted this rather extensive list! He got the list from Global Security. Go check it out.

It’s official: Onions are safe! (…my wife is rolling her eyes…) LETTUCE was the culprit at Taco Bell. However…
…none of the other ingredients used at Taco Bell appeared to be associated with the outbreak, Acheson said adding no ingredients have tested positive for the E.coli strain blamed for the outbreak.
(…so…the source is…what, exactly?....)

Blogger News Network had a short article on privacy and free speech. He was writing in response to the ACLU’s discontent over too many cameras being put up in public. I happen to agree with his stance towards this. And, I’ll repeat the question: how do you limit free speech with a camera?

Since we are heading into Christmas, speaking of the ACLU, I thought this article by Business & Media Institute was interesting. While it does point out problems with how Christmas is viewed in our culture, it makes an excellent point about how what the media says affects and shapes our views—no matter what we believe.
(…but…there’s no media bias…nnnooooo…)

And, jarhead John reminds us that there is a lot of mis-information out there on the internet regarding sending support to troops. Now, i will admit there probably are units and individuals out there who get swamped with support stuff. In my experience this is not the norm. At the top of this blog, there is a list of several sites and programs to get support and encouragement to our troops. Simply put, they would not exist if the need was not there. Still don’t believe in the need? Re-read John’s post from yesterday. Then start visiting the sites of current and former soldiers. Drop them an e-mail. See what they say about their days away from home and the need for encouragement. Then go send something to one of our servicemen deployed to the Middle East…or Kosovo…or the Phillipines…or…

(...more to come on this subject...)

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

12/13 Wednesday Hero

Wednesday Hero will pre-empt all other entries. Scroll down for the other daily posts.

Navy Hospital Corpsman 3rd Class Travis L. Youngblood
Navy Hospital Corpsman 3rd Class Travis L. Youngblood
26 years old from Surrency, Georgia
Regimental Combat Team 2, 2nd Marine Division, 2nd Marine Expeditionary Force (Forward)
July 21, 2005

Elmer "Mo" Youngblood wasn't sure why his sailor son wanted to leave relatively safe duty aboard a ship to be a combat medic in Iraq.

"For some reason or another, he wanted to be a corpsman," Youngblood said of his son, Petty Officer 3rd Class Travis Levy Youngblood.

He was a medic with a Marine unit in the Iraqi town of Hit when he was hit by an IED.

"I was tickled to death with him being in the Navy," Elmer Youngblood, a former Navy man, said from his home in Surrency, in southeast Georgia. "I wasn’t too happy when he basically volunteered to go over there, but it was his choice."

Travis Youngblood grew up mostly in Virginia. He attended Appling County High School after his father moved there in the 1990s. Surrency is listed as his hometown on his Navy enlistment papers and he and his father enjoyed fishing and hunting together there.

His wife, Laura, also served in the Navy. She left the service and lives in Long Beach, N.Y.

The couple has a four-year-old, now five, son, Hunter Youngblood, and Laura Youngblood was pregnant with the couple's second child at the time of his death.

These brave men and women have given their lives so that others may enjoy the freedoms we get to enjoy everyday. For that, I am proud to call them Hero.
We Have Every Right To Dream Heroic Dreams.
Those Who Say That We're In A Time When There Are No Heroes, They Just Don't Know Where To Look

This post is part of the Wednesday Hero Blogroll. If you would like to participate in honoring the brave men and women who serve this great country, you can find out how by clicking here.

Blogs Partcipating In Wednesday Hero

12/13 Evening Thoughts

Jules mourns the loss of an AP newsman, killed while doing his job. It seems the insurgents only tolerate those who do what they want.
(…can you say “Bilal Hussein”…)

In my continuing cursory examination of Islam, I’ve always kind of known that churches have been turned into mosques many times. Petrus has a pretty good post, related to the sale of a Catholic church to Muslims. But, he makes an interesting point: no mosques have been surrendered, sold or otherwise given over to non-Muslims.

Meanwhile, Mac has been having some issues lately. His doctor told him to relax and stay off the coffee. So what did mac do? He created a new blog, of course—an evil version of old one. On the other hand, he had a pretty unbelievable post on what the ORTHODOX JEWS were saying at Iran’s anti-Holocaust conference.

One of the problems with the situation in Iraq is we Americans do not see the face of Iraqis themselves. Well, Pettifog found a video that helps erase this problem. Check out…

(…and, check out the Any Soldier Video as well, to see the faces of our soldiers who are helping the Iraqis…)

12/13 Morning Report

Yesterday’s Ft. Worth Star Telegram had an awesome article on the Patriot Riders. Specifically, the article was about a 19 year old rider.

Haley and her mom, Karen Berry, have attended more than 30 funerals of fallen soldiers in the past year. When Haley's brother, Bryan, 22, was deployed to Iraq last year, the two joined the Patriot Guard Riders -- a group of leather-wearing motorcycle riders who escort families to funerals.

Services can be draining. Haley has a rare genetic disease called tuberous sclerosis, which causes seizures, mental retardation and tumors on the brain and other organs. Her left arm doesn't work, and her left leg drags.

But she shows up when it's 105 degrees or pouring rain. She carries the American flag and stands for hours, hands out bottled water and does whatever she can.

"She never stops smiling," said E.R. Stroud, a Vietnam veteran and Patriot Guard Rider. "Some of us old guys have a hard time at these funerals, and Haley makes us feel better."
If you needed something to give you renewed hope in the next generation, go read the rest of this!

In other news, nearly 1300 arrests were made by Immigration.
(…it would be nice if that was the norm…)

Meanwhile, in the Middle East, concerns of civil war in Gaza got worse after a a Hamas judge was killed today. Not that this development is such a surprise. With Fatah officials being shot at, it was a matter of time before the opposition became targets. Ther real concern will be what elements end up with control in Gaza.
(…it could be something worse than either Fatah or Hamas…then what will Israel do?...)

And, in similar news, Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai is accusing Pakistan of trying to enslave the Afghan people.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

This And That...

I’ve been collecting various news blurbs for the last few days. Between studying and preparing for a possible promotion, I have found much more than I have been able to write about. So, for the late day post today, I thought I would do a little catch up.

This wasn’t very encouraging. I guess boycotts aren’t enough anymore. GLSEN says “Rebel” against non-supporters. Several studies have shown that the gays and lesbians tend to initiate the violence and arguments at protests and marches. Unfortunately, it just looks like it’s going to get worse.
(…are they taking a cue from the Muslims?...make enough noise to force others to give you your way?...)

Meanwhile, just exactly what did the DEMOCRATS know about Foley? Flopping Aces had this report. And, Wild Bill had his two or three cents worth.
(…looks like the Republicans weren’t the only ones…what a surprise…but, ws it just election year politics?...)

Speaking of Democrats and politics, it looks like it may be all up to Hillary.
(…I’m still waiting to see who the Republicans can field to stand against either Sir Hillary or Osama Obama…)

Speaking of Liberal/Leftist crap...Want a little detail on the global warming bias and research tricks? Check out this post from Neo-Contastic

So what’s the deal with insurance and lawsuits anyway?
(…be honest…when was the last time you thought it out like this?...)

Have you ever wondered what Sharia law would look like? Well, here is a BBC report from Aceh—in Indonesia—that will give you a really good picture.

Now, here was something pretty novel. The government is Googling for intelligence information. Apparently it’s even been effective!
(…so, how long do you think that will last before the left rises up in indignation?…)

Finally, there was a post today at MilBlogs. There is someone special you should know about: Private First Class Ross A. McGinnis. Awarded the Silver Star, and submitted for the Medal of Honor, Pfc McGinnis gave his life to protect the other men in his vehicle on 04 December. A hero in every sense of the word.

Well, we at our house remember your cry—the cry of all fallen warriors:

"Tell them of us and say,
For their tomorrow, we gave our today."
--The Kohima Epitaph--
We remember what you have given, Pfc McGinnis. And we say thank you for the tomorrows you have given others. May God give back to your families more than they have sacrificed and lost.

And, now, we dance In Memoriam.

12/12 Morning Report

The headline was encouraging. The NY Times is reporting that Iraqis are trying to cut al-Sadr’s power.

The talks are taking place among the two main Kurdish groups, the most influential Sunni Arab party and an Iranian-backed Shiite party that has long sought to lead the government.
Maliki has consistently refused to reign in the cleric. Maybe these talks will accomplish something.
(…I hate to say it, because of the bloodshed it would entail…but maybe armed conflict will cause the Iraqis to turn away from al-Sadr…hopefully it won’t come to that, though…)

And, continuing on from yesterday’s post, even though they claimed to be un-involved in the recent shootings and attacks on Fatah officials, Hamas gunmen fired on a Fatah protest in Gaza. Reuters filed this report on it as well. This latest escalation came about because President Abbas wanted new election in hopes of stabilizing the country.
(…why would Hamas want to keep the area destabilized…couldn’t be about power, could it?...)

Then, according to this AP report, North Korea is saying, basically, ”pay me, and I’ll be nice”. South Korean negotiators report that, given the right economic incentives, the North Koreans might disarm. While I admit that would be wonderful, someone please name one time in history a dictator has done such a thing? Then, given Kim Il Jung’s history, tell me why I should believe he would do this?

Speaking of power, there was a lot of hope for capitalism, and free enterprise in Russia. But, shell, and a lot of other companies, is learning that the state is still in control. The Russian culture has always been about state power and control and wealth. It was true of the Tsars. It was true under the communists. And, it is true now.
(…I wonder what will happen among foreign investors now…)

Then there was this report from the BBC. It seems new born babies are being killed in the Ukraine to feed a growing international trade in stem cells. It is important to remember that, while successful treatments for a couple dozen diseases have been developed through adult stem cell research, not one cure has been found using embryonic stem cells.

Closer to home, could this really be good news for the US? Mexico is sending troops to fight the drug cartels. Given the level of corruption in Mexico, it is doubtful. But…