“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”

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

01/31 Wednesday Hero

Wednesday Hero will on top of all other posts today.
To see other postings today, scroll down.

This Weeks Hero Was Submitted By Mark Bell

LCpl. Nicholas J. Manoukian
LCpl. Nicholas J. Manoukian
22 years old from Lathrup, Michigan
1st Marines 6th Batallion 2nd Marine Division
Oct 21, 2006

is a website that LCpl. Manoukian's mother set up for her son after he lost his life in Ramadi.

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.
It Is Foolish And Wrong To Mourn The Men Who Died. Rather We Should Thank God That Such Men Lived

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.

01/31 Morning Report

Consumer spending is still driving the economy up. The Democrats and leftists will probably want to claim it’s because of the changes in Congressional leadership. However, even allowing for it to have radically affected the fourth quarter, that doesn’t account for an increased GDP for the entire year. Nor does it account for the deficit decreases for the last two quarters.
(…and they say trickle down economics doesn’t work…it just takes longer than our short term attention spans want to tolerate…)

“Cheney did this.” “Rove did that.” And, in the end, Miller can’t remember who the source was for the Plame leak. )…can I be not surprised?...Oh! But I forgot! Didn’t someone else already admit to spilling the beans before folks at the White House?...)

California strikes again! In a new energy conservation measure, Democrats are going to ban traditional incandescent light bulbs!
(…don’t get me wrong…energy conservation is a good thing…but isn’t there better “low hanging fruit” to go after…)

Speaking of Left Wing insanity, did anyone see this?

This was the cover of "D Magazine", Dallas's premier magazine about the area. With Texas on the front lines of ILLEGAL immigration troubles, this headline is incredibly disturbing--to say the least. You should probably go read the whole article.

Speaking of Left Wing political moves, Chavez upped his. As expected, the rubber stamp assembly in Venezuela has approved new powers that will allow Chavez to “transform the country.” With the government merely fronting for a more and more dictatorial power structure, he has been given near-total legislative control for 18 months.

Mr Chavez has said the legislation will transform the country into a socialist society. Opponents describe the new law as an abuse of power….According to the so-called enabling law, the president can remake laws for "the construction of a new, sustainable economic and social model" to achieve an equal distribution of wealth.
Yes, indeed. Chavez has solidified his control
(…can you imagine what would happen if a US president tried to do this?...no matter what the lDems say about Bush, no Republicans in this country aren’t this bad…)

Meanwhile, in Iraq, Admiral Fallon reiterated statements of others in the past about Iraq’s future.
"The likelihood that Iraq is suddenly going to turn into something that looks close to what we enjoy here in this country is going to be a long time coming," he said.
From the beginning, Bush said it would be a long War on Terror. Numerous officials have said it would be years before Iraq could stand on its own. These are not new assertions, or sudden turns of event against the administration—as some MSM outlets would have us believe.
(…but watch how these statements will be portrayed…and opinion shaped…the left complains about government abuses…who’s watching the media?...)

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

01/30 Morning Report

Today will be a bit different, for those who are regulars here.

I know this gets covered a lot in Blogdom. Still, lest we forget too quickly, MSNBC posted an interactive map of Sunni and Shiite regions. Iran is almost entirely Shia. As the Saudi's are saying--and have been acting on since the wahabbists rose to power, Iran's interest is in exporting its version of Islam. So, we must remember that when Iran says it wants to support "the people of Iraq", the truth is pretty clear they are only interested in supporting other Shia. The same would apply to Lebanon.

There were apparently two terrorist groups behind the bombing yesterday in Israel. USA Today posted this information in their side bar on the situation today:

Two Palestinian militant groups, Islamic Jihad and the Al Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades, claimed joint responsibility for Monday's suicide bombing in the southern Israeli resort town of Eilat, the first suicide bombing in Israel in nine months and the first ever to hit Eilat, Israel's southernmost city:

Islamic Jihad, a radical group backed by Iran and Syria, has been behind most of the Palestinian attacks against Israel since the sides declared a truce in February 2005. It says the violence is a legitimate response to an Israeli crackdown on its members.

Islamic Jihad has claimed responsibility for nine of ten suicide attacks in Israel and the West Bank since the cease-fire declaration, and its militants in Gaza continue to fire homemade rockets at Israel on a daily basis.

The group is believed to have at least 7,000 militants in Gaza, with hundreds more in the West Bank, armed with M-16 and AK-47 automatic rifles, grenades and anti-tank weapons. It considers the 1979 Iranian Revolution to be the beginning of a new era for the Muslim world and wants to turn all of Israel, the West Bank and Gaza into an Islamic state. It rules out compromise with Israel.

The Al Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades, affiliated with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah movement, is considered more moderate but has also carried out numerous suicide attacks against Israelis.

It has at least about 20,000 members, many of whom are also part of the official Palestinians security services. The group has a large weaponry arsenal that includes homemade rockets, mortars, rocket-propelled grenades, land mines, heavy machine guns and a bevy of automatic rifles. The group does not have a central command, and its members often carry out rogue attacks.
Did anyone notice the groups are tied to Iran? Perhaps not. A bit of history...The PLO split into two main factions: Fatah and Hamas. The principle difference between the two groups is Fatah is more secular. Arafat and Abbas are from Fatah, which means they were more willing to use secular means of attaining their goals. Hamas is more religiously based. that means they are more prone to use the violence of Islam in attaining their ends. But, the important point is the PLO was primarily a Sunni group.

(...if all that does not make you wonder about Iranian intentions in Iraq, what would?...)

Monday, January 29, 2007

A Reminder Of Our Own Insanity...

I know this is probably bunk so don't send me the Snoops stuff. Its a good story. Deal with it.


Charlotte, North Carolina.

A lawyer purchased a box of very rare and expensive cigars, then insured them against, among other things, fire. Within a month, having smoked his entire stockpile of these great cigars and without yet having made even his first premium payment on the policy the lawyer filed a claim against the insurance company. In his claim, the lawyer stated the cigars were lost "in a series of small fires."

The insurance company refused to pay, citing the obvious reason, that the man had consumed the cigars in the normal fashion. The lawyer sued... and WON!

(...stay with me...)

Delivering the ruling, the judge agreed with the insurance company that the claim was frivolous. The judge stated nevertheless, that the lawyer held a policy from the company, which it had warranted that the cigars were insurable and also guaranteed that it would insure them against fire, without defining what is considered to be unacceptable fire" and was obligated to pay the claim. Rather than endure lengthy and costly appeal process, the insurance company accepted the ruling and paid $15,000 to the lawyer for his loss of the cigars lost in the "fires".


After the lawyer cashed the check, the insurance company had him arrested on 24 counts of ARSON! With his own insurance claim and testimony from the previous case being used against him, the lawyer was convicted of intentionally burning his insured property and was sentenced to 24 months in jail and a $24,000 fine.

This is a true story and was the First Place winner in the recent Criminal Lawyers Award Contest.


(...no wonder third world countries think we're nuts...)

01/29 Morning Report

The Iranians are planning to expand their role in Iraq. Well, I guess it was inevitable. They have long been supplying weapons to the insurgents and Shiites. No one should be surprised they want some economic and military ties within Iraq. The frightening comment was when the ambassador said:

“We have experience of reconstruction after war,” Mr. Qumi said, referring to the Iran-Iraq war in the 1980s. “We are ready to transfer this experience in terms of reconstruction to the Iraqis.”
(…does any one else hear the undertones of someone trying to put spin on this?...)

Meanwhile, an Iraqi cult leader is dead along with many followers—including women and children. For the record, I’m not happy about that. But, I am also realistic enough to know that if you stand around someone proposing violence, you can get hurt pretty bad if not killed.
(…watch how the media turns the blame on the Iraqi government and US forces, instead of those who were advocating the violence…even now, you can read it between the lines of this article…)

With a death toll of nearly 30 people, even the local Palestinians are calling it civil war. And, it all got wound up because of the call for new elections.
So, what kind of solution did the Palestinians come up with? Sending more suicide bombers against Israel. The first suicide bombing in 9 months killed three Israelis. The one thing the terrorist groups in Lebanon and Gaza have been consistent about is killing Israelis. We can’t trust them to govern their affairs. But, we can trust them to kill others.
(…and the Israelis are to blame, of course…)

Democrats from Congress, lead by Pelosi, are touring Afghanistan. (…should they be there?...that’s up for real debate…members of Congress have gone on “fact finding missions” for years...will it become political mud?...well…why are we bothering to even ask the question?...) To be honest, the visit itself does not bother me. However, the fact that Democrats and Republicans are spending so much time worrying about who crosses the Pakistani and Iranian borders while refusing to defend our own really upsets me.

Here at home, the immigration political fight is heating up again. Hearings are about to start over National Guardsmen withdrawing while Mexican gunmen approached.
The encounter has broader border security implications because armed people will know the National Guard will retreat, said state Rep. Warde Nichols, the committee's chairman.
Democrats rightly expect the anti-ILLEGAL immigration crowd to make a big deal out of this. They also seem to expect the effort to fail. Well, Democrats should have to answer to why American citizens—even the military—have to allow these kinds of incursions and activities.
(…they probably won’t…the media probably won’t say a word about it, either…other than to blame the right for being so intolerant…)

Sunday, January 28, 2007

In Gaza, Fatah and Hamas gunmen are at it again. I thought this bit of information was chillingly familiar:

Hamas spokesman Ayman Taha accused Fatah loyalists of storming a mosque near the security headquarters Friday and executing a senior Hamas activist inside while he was reading the Quran, the Muslim holy book. On Saturday, blood stains were still visible on the mosque's carpet and the bathroom tiles. Fatah denied it had stormed the mosque, but said Hamas gunmen had used the building as a base for attacking the security service compound.
.(…nice to know they use it against each other…not just the Israelis and Americans…)

Even for the BBC, this was a pretty accurate summary of life under Hamas for the Palestinians. The article makes it pretty plain that Hamas is the more militant of the two factions, and will do almost anything to remain in power. However, the undertones of blame for US instigated sanctions and Israeli military actions make it plain the BBC is sympathetic towards the Arabs.
(…I would really like to see the MSM get a grip on realities beyond their political spectrum…)

Here in the States, thousands protested against the war on both coasts. Sadly, the prevailing cry is for immediate pullout. I do not believe that is a viable option for political and military reasons. The media, however, continues to fuel the fire of protest—with no regard for what it does to the anti-government and insurgent forces in Iraq, and other places in the world. The message becomes painfully clear to the world that America does not have the stomach to finish what it starts if there is a problem doing it. Snoop had a really good breakdown on the whole protest deal.
(…I’m with him…where are the protesters the rest of the time…it’s all about political convenience…)

The MSM is sort of discovering that Iran is a problem in Iraq. Despite months of warnings from the military, the MSM has ignored the threat of Iranian influence and weapons moving into Iraq. Now, as if by magic, Iran is a problem.
(…but, it’s still all because Bush is singling out Iranians…)

Meanwhile, in the process of bashing Bush policies, Sir Hillary accepted responsibility for her role in going to Iraq. Past that, no big surprise, there wasn’t much but election commentary between her and Obama. Hillary would like us to think her husband will have only a partial role—of some sort—in her presidency.
(…God, I hope not…he’s been enough trouble…of course, if he turns out to be like Kerry, it might be fun…but he’s too much of a used car salesman to do that…)

Sadly, the Ft. Worth Star Telegram reported the following sad news:
A soldier from New York based at Fort Hood has died in Iraq, the Department of Defense announced Saturday. Pfc. Nathan P. Fairlie, 21, of Candor, N.Y., died Friday in Baqubah when an improvised explosive device detonated near his Bradley Fighting Vehicle. Fairlie was assigned to the 6th Squadron, 9th Cavalry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division at Fort Hood.
We at our house remember your cry—the cry of all warriors:
"Tell them of us and say,
For their tomorrow, we gave our today."
--The Kohima Epitaph--
We remember what you have given. 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, January 27, 2007

Hockey Thoughts

Well, given my distaste for this year’s All-Star Game, I loved this write up.

Meanwhile, Bettman is saying the NHL needs to ”complete the experiment” with the current schedule format. But, personally, I agree with Scott Burnside. It shows a serious lack of direction. I would go even farther and say it shows a serious lack of decision making. It’s certainly not going to do anything to solve the attendance problems going on league wide.
(…but what would you expect from the guys that Forbes named among the worst managers in the country back in 2005…)

So, what is Forsberg going to do? There are a lot of options on the surface. Playing for the worst team in the league—by a huge margin—has got to be tough for the 10 year veteran. But, with him trying to get through his foot problems, and salary issues in the league. Can he find a new home? Given his performance so far this year…I doubt it.

After getting his lawsuit dismissed for venue issues by US District Court, an inquiry is being done on Saskin’s hiring to lead the NHLPA. The problem? It’s being reviewed and investigated by the Chelios group’s lawyer.

One player close to the Chelios group said the ultimate goal of the review was not to unseat Saskin, but to restore a bottom-up decision-making process to the union which some think began to erode in the late 1990s under Goodenow's leadership.
Is that believable? Well, since they have forced another vote and filed more legal papers…I would have to say I doubt this too.

And, once again, here are the lists of inuries from The Hockey News. Here is the Eastern Conference. And, here is the Western Conference.

What talent is available for the discriminating shopper? Here is an interesting read on who’s worth the bucks.

01/27 Morning Report

I’m catching up with my reading these days. I spent the morning over at Blackfive. I enjoyed the depth…and the links…to this analysis of where things are going in Iraq.
(…go read this while you’re there…who says milbloggers don’t have a clear view of what’s going on?...)

In other Middle East news, apparently, the Iranians don’t like the US goal of taking out Iranian agent provocateurs in Iraq. What a shock! Iran doesn’t like not getting it’s way? I’m still waiting for Iran to be held responsible for them being there in the first place.
(…like the MSM will really get to that point…they still haven’t figured out their liberal rhetoric emboldens US opponents…pit that’s not treasons anymore…)

Even the Saudis are speaking out against Iran. Of course, that’s all about who gets to proselytize their religion.
(…makes you wonder just how widespread the sectarian violence might become…doesn’t it?...)

On the subject of nations causing other nations trouble, here was a surprising news item. It seems the EU has serious problems with ILLEGAL immigration problems. Frontex, the EU version of a border patrol, can’t even get enough applicants to fill vacancies. There was an earlier article on thisSeptember 10.
(…doesn’t seem like they are making any forward progress…are they taking lessons from Mexico and American Liberals?…)

Here at home, it seems immigration enforcement is, once again, just a tactic to inhibit union activity. Even the NY Time says those arrested were in the country illegally. But, the focus of the articlke revolves around statements by union organizers:

Gene Bruskin, an organizer for the union, said the company had started to cooperate closely with immigration authorities after a walkout by immigrant workers last summer. “My concern is the company is using the immigration issue to manipulate this long fight over workers’ rights,” Mr. Bruskin said.
I did like this closing statement by the Times:
Stepping up enforcement actions nationwide, the immigration agency also deported more than 750 immigrants this week who were arrested in roundups in Los Angeles. More than 150 of the immigrants were fugitives from deportation proceedings, officials said.
Imagine! Illegal immigrants, running from law enforcement…and still getting caught!
(…frankly, I don’t see anything wrong with this picture…)

On a personal note, and before I forget any longer, I want to say “THANKS!” to JR over at A Keyboard And A .45. He was gracious enough to give my boys some range time so they could learn the realities of what weapons can do. We live near each other, and I asked if he knew somewhere I could take my guys for some gun safety lessons and experience. He graciously offered to let us spend a day with him, and even provided the ammunition. He posted his take on the day. I’m still trying to get my boys to write up theirs. I’ll post it when they do. Meanwhile, JR always has a good read or two. I recommend you keep him on your list of regular visits.

Friday, January 26, 2007

01/26 Morning Report

In Lebanon, soldiers are deploying to quell the violence between Hezbollah and the western-backed government. Hezbollah officials are worried enough that they agreed to a curfew.

Yet all sides recognized that the country could be stumbling dangerously in the direction of civil war. Government officials and Hezbollah's leader, Hassan Nasrallah, appealed for calm and allowed security forces to enforce the first blanket curfew in the Lebanese capital in 11 years.
The last civil war was Muslim versus Christian. This one would be Sunni versus Shiite. No matter what, the prospect is not good.

On the subject of Muslim and Palestinian violence, go read what Linda had to say over at Something…And a Half of Something. It will give you another viewpoint on things in Iraq. It’s also well worth your effort.

There is an interesting trend, that has some pretty ugly consequences for national governments. World courts are now taking up legal issues that should be decided by the nations themselves. Russians and Americans have directly run afoul of this trend. There are even instances of other governments trying this tactic. The French tired to get the UN to go after Rwanda’s President because French law didn’t allow the French to do anything. It’s a bad trend.
(…can anyone say “New World Order”?...even on a secular level this doesn’t look encouraging…)

In the Senate, Republicans are refusing to compromise with Democrats on an anti-Iraq resolution. In fact, the appearance of several such resolutions reveals a lot about how divided the Senate is on the subject. This will take some time to play out. But, watch the political positioning going on to prepare for the 2008 elections—on both sides. The key in ’08 will be the moderate voters again. And, whoever can be seen as the more moderate camp will win.
(…the situation is much more up for grabs than the media will EVER let on…the right must pull together and organize…as the left did after Clinton left office…)

And, lastly...something really...well...

Thursday, January 25, 2007

01/25 Morning Report

I thought this piece of media analysis was interesting. It goes through the media economic reporting trend for 2006. What I find most interesting is the focus has been basically the same since Clinton left office. Why is they never said these things during Clinton’s last few years in office? The economy was on a slide through that time frame leading up to Bush first inauguration. Meanwhile, the CBO predicts another drop in the deficit for 2007.
(…oh…but I forgot…there is no media bias…)

On the subject of partisan politics, the Democrats are now looking
For Republican support for their Iraq Resolution. The great victory—kind of like the deficit—over Bush plans seems to be a little short on backing. Whether it stays that way as everyone postures and positions themselves politically for the coming election season, and the aftermath, remains to be seen.

The border fence is going up--finally. Given the politics of the whole thing, thought the emphasis of this article started properly:

Construction began Wednesday on vehicle barriers that will be part of a mix of fencing along the Arizona-Mexico border to discourage illegal border crossings.
As with all things Washington, the goal is not to really accomplish something. It is merely to discourage something Americans find offensive. This is the source of the legal climate that stymies efforts to uphold existing laws. There were two quotes in that article that really had meaning. City Councilman O’Hare said:
“People are upset that the law is not being upheld,” Mr. O’Hare said.
“They’re trying to send a message that minorities aren’t welcome,” said Ms. Villafranca, adding that she had been told to “go back to Mexico,” even though she was born in the United States.
The problem is both positions are right. But, the media only looks at the one. We cannot assume that someone is an ILLEGAL immigrant because of their skin tone. However, we also cannot ignore the ILLEGAL immigration problem.

In a tangent article, though sort of related to ILLEGAL immigration, one of the 2002 Bali bombers has been wounded was traced to the Philippines. That alone says a lot about how well terrorists are tracked—alternatively how good security measures are. And, that’s not to mention the arrest of a Russian uranium smuggler.
(…I wonder what kind of legislation on privacy rights will come out of all this…)

In other disturbing foreign news, it seems the North Koreans are helping the Iranians with nuclear testing.
(I missed this. So, go read Op-For’s breakdown on it.)

On the subject of military technology, El Capitan has a good write up on the new “Trojan Suit.” Should work really well with the new heat ray gun.
(…does this article seem to put the focus on crowd control or what…)

On the subject of media effectiveness, there is a continuing series on 5th Generation Warfare over at Fix4RSO. His latest post is on the subject o military planning, development and the need for media involvement. GO READ THIS!!!

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

01/24 Wednesday Hero

Wednesday Hero will on top of all other posts today.
To see other postings today, scroll down.

This Weeks Hero Was Suggested By Kathi

Lt. Col. Michael E. McLaughlin
Lt. Col. Michael E. McLaughlin
44 years old from Mercer, Pennsylvania
2nd Brigade Combat Team, 28th Infantry Division, Pennsylvania Army National Guard
January 4, 2006

Sitting in the car with Lt. Col. Michael E. McLaughlin's 18-year-old daughter, her father's friend of 21 years had just broken the news of his death.

During years of friendship and service in the Pennsylvania Army National Guard, Lt. Col. McLauglin and retired Capt. Brad Mifsud had a bond so close that they promised each other if something were ever to happen to either one of them, they would be there for the other's family.

Lt. Col. McLaughlin died when a suicide bomber rushed through a crowd of Iraqi police recruits in Ramadi and detonated a bomb that also killed a Marine and nearly 80 Iraqis. The day before the attack, Lt. Col. McLaughlin said he was fully confident that Ramadi had finally turned a corner in the insurgency. As hundreds of local men streamed into the Ramadi Glass Factory on Wednesday to join the city’s long-defunct police force, a wide grin spread over a pinch of tobacco stuffed into the 44-year-old’s lower lip.

"This may not look like much, but it's history," McLaughlin told a reporter. "We're making history right here."

With a significant wound to the back of his head, Lt. Col. McLaughlin turned to his injured personal security detail officers and inquired about their well-being. Waving off medical attention, he asked them to check on the soldiers under his command.

"In an act of extreme selflessness, he stated that he was OK, but to concentrate on saving the lives of his men," said Col. Grey Berrier, a close friend of Lt. Col. McLaughlin.

Lt. Col. McLaughlin died shortly after giving that instruction, according to the Guard.

A long-time artillery officer in the Pennsylvania Army National Guard, McLaughlin was assigned to Task Force 2-222 Field Artillery and was the primary liaison between the 2-28 Brigade Combat Team and local tribal and government leaders in Ramadi. His efforts were instrumental in getting local sheikhs to support the recruitment drive and encourage more than 1,000 area men to volunteer for the force, commanders said.

"Mike is a true hero in every sense of the word, and he died while doing his job the only way he knew how - out front and with great enthusiasm and courage," said Col. John L. Gronski, commander of the 2-28 BCT. "This loss only strengthens our resolve to carry on and complete the mission in order to honor his memory."

A gregarious wisecracker, McLaughlin said his hope was to one day return to a peaceful Iraq, where he planned to walk the streets of Ramadi in a traditional Arab "man dress," or dishdasha, and sip coffee and chai with those sheikhs he had met during the war. McLaughlin said that one particular tribal leader he had developed a close relationship with dubbed him "The Sheikh of Sheikhs" - a nickname that was soon picked up by fellow officers in the brigade.

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.
It Is Foolish And Wrong To Mourn The Men Who Died. Rather We Should Thank God That Such Men Lived

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.

01/24 Morning Report

Well, I had to work last night, and did not get to see the President’s speech. To be honest, I wanted to be physically ill as I contemplated reading today’s news reports. I had a pretty good of what the liberal media would be doing. And, today’s news is actually a mixed bag of stuff…The BBC had a relatively mild take on the speech. While I’m there, here is their link to the entire speech…I’ll be reading it later…I have a lot of homework for my management class to do.

The Hispanic political groups aren’t sure what to make of Bush’s immigration plans. I doubt it will end up being anything new. He has put this issue up for reform every year, with varying degrees of importance. Congress will have to act in order for anything to change. And, I doubt they will do anything new—perhaps a reenactment of another amnesty program, but nothing substantial beyond that.

In terms of wages, the Democrats and Republicans are still divided along traditional lines. No minimum wage increase without small business tax relief. Is that a surprise? I doubt it..or at least I don’t think it should be. It goes right along with the raging debate about how to balance the budget.
(…of course, that isn’t taking into account the fact that the deficit is already decreasing…the media wouldn’t want you to remember that little fact…not while trying to bolster liberal standards and trends…)

In another “no-big-surprise” move, the Democrat-controlled Foreign Relations Committee said ”no more troops” for Iraq. I think it’s a bad move overall. More troops, with a well defined mission and goal could easily be a great short term measure towards success. My great fear is this decision may precipitate a sudden move to pull out completely. That, I am certain, would be disasterous.
(…rule by popularity is a very bad thing…I see the Democrats being more interested in making popular decisions than doing the tough, but right thing…of course, the Republicans did the same thing in the 90s…which is why the Democrats made such gains recently…)

To be honest, I’m not sure if Kerry’s exit will be a good thing or a bad thing. From a Republican standpoint, I think it would have created more of a divide in the Left.
(…from a personal standpoint, the amusement he procides with his gaffs would have been well worth the expense of his campaign…)

Lastly, there were two sad announcements today. From the Ft. Worth Star Telegramyesterday:

A 20-year-old Army private from Alabama was among five U.S. troops killed in a reported ambush in Iraq, according to his family.
Jonathan Millican, a 2005 graduate of Locust Fork High School, died in the attack along with three other soldiers and a Marine, the soldier's father, Mitchell Millican, told Birmingham television station WBRC.

Also from the Star Telegram:
A Marine from northern Wisconsin has been killed in Iraq, family members said.
Lance Cpl. Andrew Matus, 19, graduated in 2005 from Weyerhaeuser High School and had already signed up to be a Marine before that, his father Gary Matus of Chetek said when contacted Monday evening.
He said he had been told his son was shot in Anbar Province.
We at our house remember your cry—the cry of all warriors:
"Tell them of us and say,
For their tomorrow, we gave our today."
--The Kohima Epitaph--
We remember what you have given. 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.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Hockey And The Troops

For those who may have missed this, I am posting the ESPN article unedited.

All-Stars welcome U.S. troops home at airport

GRAPEVINE, Texas -- Army Spc. Cody Anderson was certainly expecting a more routine layover when he and about 100 other military members stopped in Texas on Tuesday.

Anderson, a hockey fan from Michigan who's beginning a two-week break from his duties in Iraq, was stunned when he saw former Michigan State goalie and current Buffalo Sabres All-Star Ryan Miller waiting for him in a reception line.

"It was awesome," said Anderson, who stopped when he saw Miller walk over to shake his hand. "It's a good welcome-home greeting."

Joining Miller in the military reception area of the Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport were New Jersey Devils defenseman Brian Rafalski -- also in town for Wednesday's NHL All-Star Game -- five NHL mascots and dozens of other volunteers to greet service members taking a break from overseas duty.

"I just wanted to show my appreciation," Miller said. "It's just something we wanted to do, and I'm proud to be a part of it."

Rafalski, who like Miller was wearing his game jersey, said he was honored to make the appearance.

"They do so much for us, this is just something that we can do for them," Rafalski said. "We're here to support them."

Miller presented U.S. Army Major Patrick McAfee with a stack of tickets for Wednesday's All-Star Game that will be distributed to the soldiers.

"It means a lot to them knowing that we're being supported back home," McAfee said.

Also on display Tuesday were two custom-made goalie masks honoring U.S. and Canadian troops. The masks were designed by renowned sports artist David Arrigo, and Miller will wear one when he starts for the Eastern Conference.

Following the game, the masks will be auctioned online, with the proceeds going to the Dallas branch of the United Services Organization as well as the Canadian Forces Personnel Support Agency and The Sapper Mike McTeague Wounded Warrior Fund.

"Hopefully it fits right because it's not the same company I'm used to," joked Miller. "But I'm willing to take a few pucks with it. It's unique and a one-of-a-kind piece, so hopefully it does a lot to raise money."

After landing at DFW, the troops were scattering around the country for their rest-and-relaxation visits.

DFW and Atlanta's Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport are the two designated entry points for military R&R flights that take thousands of soldiers home from Iraq, Afghanistan and Kuwait for two-week breaks.

Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press

Now THAT is what honor is all about!

01/23 Morning Report

I was really wondering how much longer it would take before private money bought financed elections again. Sir Hillary announced she would ”forgo” public funding of her campaign.

People involved in the Republican primary campaign of Senator John McCain of Arizona say he, too, is beginning to seek private donations for the primary and general elections, albeit with the option of returning them. A longtime proponent of campaign finance change, Mr. McCain has recently removed his name as a co-sponsor of a bill to expand the presidential public financing program.
Former Gov. Mitt Romney of Massachusetts, another Republican primary contender, has already decided to forgo public financing for the primaries. Senator Barack Obama of Illinois, a rival to Mrs. Clinton for the Democratic nomination, declined to comment, as did spokesmen for several other candidates.
It is interesting that Sir Hillary gets the headline on this, since others have already beaten her to the step—all Republicans, apparently. Still, without revealing who and how, it says a lot about her backing. The Times says it places her adversaries at a disadvantage. Given the right “spin,” I’m not so sure. Do we want a President paid for by private interests or public backing? How that gets presented in the media could make all the difference in the 2008 elections.
(…of course, with over $500 million needed to run a campaign all the way to the election, we already know it’s a private interest bought and paid for deal anyway…)

On the other side of the world, given yesterday’s announcement of no unity agreement among the Palestinians, was anyone really surprised by the explosion of violence today in Lebanon? It does seem to go in cycles—like they play off of each other or something.
What had been planned as a peaceful work-stoppage around the country turned into the worst violence since the pro-Syrian Shiite Hezbollah movement and its allies launched its campaign two months ago to oust the government.
And, once again, as Hamas in Palestine, so is Hezbollah in Lebanon. Neither one is willing to allow the other side to have their portion.

Still further over, on the really other side of the world, China confirms destroying a sattelite with an anti-sattelite missile. The fact that the Chinese have developed this while here in the US such defense oriented programs cannot get funding because “it’s not possible” is really frightening. 20 years after the last known test by anyone, the Chinese made it work. Of course, this isn’t really new news, milbloggers and others have been reporting on this for a week. But, suddenly, the MSM is jumping up saying this is a regional political problem:
Several countries, including Japan, Australia and the US, have expressed concern at the test, amid worries it could trigger a space arms race.
(…really?…like it didn’t matter before?...I’m so relieved…)

Monday, January 22, 2007

01/22 Morning Report

So, Hamas and PM Abbas can’t agree on a unity agreement? What a surprise.
(…is anyone surprised?...)

In other foreign government news, Chavez is throwing another anti-US tantrum. This comes amid expectations of increases to his dictatorial power. And, in usual fashion for left wing dictators, he is using the US as his whipping boy to keep attention from problems in his own nation. Of course, he doesn’t help his cause by bringing on the silence of opposing voices. The WashPo even called it reminiscent of right-wing dictatorships of old.
(…and the lefties see nothing wrong with him…makes you wonder about who supports dictatorships…doesn’t it?...)

The recent change in Maliki’s attitude towards al-Sadr comes after the US finally convinced him the Shiite militia was rife with death squads.
(…I, personally, would normally ask why it took so long…but I understand the Islamic outlook towards admitting being wrong…)

And, somehow, the Washington Post has concluded that American policy is now solely focused on containing Iran, rather than solving the problems in Iraq. According to their take on the issue, that’s all the Arab nations and peoples see, too. I think many media writers have lost sight of a couple of things. In oppressive regimes—especially in developing and third world nations (historically speaking)—power changes have always been violent. It’s not that they have to be. But, they are. The oppressed (Shiites) become oppressors (aka al-Sadr)—perhaps trying to make up for what they were denied. The former oppressors (the Sunnis) refuse to give up power. And, the people suffer. The lawless (aka insurgents, or the mobs in the US) take advantage and encourage social disruption. The US is simply a good target. Unfortunately, the US has made enough mistakes it would be hard not to make some of this mud stick.
(…it’s really interesting, though, that no one seems to take note that more and more of Iraq is being taken care of primarily by Iraqis…)

Sunday, January 21, 2007

01/21 Morning Report

The Serbs are electing a new parliament. Kosovo and war crimes have trumped the issues of the economy and corruption. But, as Uncle Mac posted in his 8 part series on Serbia, there are a lot of things that haven’t been done or were hidden by authorities.

In other news, the Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr says his forces will end their boycott of Parliament. It seems to me he made this deal before. And then bailed on it when he didn’t get what he wanted. How do we know he will not do the same again?

And, the Kenyans turned over Somali Islamists. The suspected Islamic fighters included one Canadian, and some of the leaders of the Somalia Islamic Courts Council.
(…too bad about the Canadian…well, there are Islamists in every nation…I guess it was just a matter of time…)

In another “not surprise” announcement, Iran has thumbed it’s nose at the UN. Sadaam set a bad precedent—or at least continued one—in defying the international “authority”. Why so many put their trust in an institution that has accomplished very little, enforces nothing, and is rampant with unaddressed corruption (aka Kofi), I have no idea. Iran is even planning war games around short range missile tests.
(…I hate to say it, but I think I’m glad it doesn’t have any real power…)

In immigration news here at home, Bush is considering a pardon for border patrol agents currently in prison for shooting—but not killing—a Mexican drug runner. Among other things that bother me about this case, in exchange for his testimony against the border agents, the drug runner got immunity—after admitting he was transported hundreds of pounds of illegal drugs.
(…like there couldn’t have been a real reason to get the guy?...)

Meanwhile, in Massachusetts, Gov. Romney signed legislation that allows state troopers to detain illegal aliens they discover in the course of their regular duties. Can someone explain why we needed this law? Can our police and law enforcement officers not arrest…excuse me…detain those they find that have broken the laws? But, given the latest coalition to get more immigrants into the country, I can’t say that I blame him.
(…that it needed to be done is a terrible commentary on the state of our nation…not to mention just so much political grandstanding and election posturing…)

Finally, I thought this comment by the NY Times was a bit strange. Speaking on the President’s planned State of the Union address, and his health care plans, the Times said:

White House officials say the health tax plan would neither increase spending nor reduce tax revenues. Supporters say it would expand coverage to some of the 47 million uninsured. But critics say it would, in effect, tax people with insurance to provide coverage to those without it.
So, is their complaint that the government wouldn’t be in control of this plan? It strikes me as something close to the end results of the Clinton Plan of the 90s.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

01/20 Morning Report

Though not unexpected, the BAD news of the day is Sir Hillary…uuummm…Her Highness…I mean…Senator Clinton will announce her candidacy for President. While I couldn’t link the article, but I loved the headline on the January 1 issue of Newsweek about Obama and Clinton: “Is America Ready For Either One?”
(…great question…I think the answer is “No”…but have enough others figured that out, yet?…)

In better news, Mexico is extraditing drug smugglers to the US! In another step that seems to lead credence to President Calderon’s claim to crackdown on smugglers and drug lords, 11 suspects were handed over, including one leader of a powerful cartel. This comes after sending several thousand troops into border areas.
(…now if he would just do something about ILLEGAL immigration…)

There was also some good news on the terrorism front. The Phillipino government reported the death of rebel leader Khaddafy Janjalani, head of Abu Sayyaf. Admittedly it is a small group of terrorists. However, it is linked with al-Qaeda and has been responsible for several deaths and kidnappings.

And, the Iraqis may actually reach an agreement on oil revenue control. It actually looks like they might reach a deal for keeping control of it in the central government. I can still see a fight brewing over the distribution of those funds. It will be interesting to see how the various groups reach agreement on that. But, this is an encouraging step for the fledgling government.

On the subject of Iraq, the Pelosi-Bush War is heating up. Of course, it’s mostly just partisan stuff leading up to the State of the Union address. As one commenter on this article put it:

…what is worse, Bush getting us in Iraq or the Democrats pandering for your votes to get us out? They knew going into the election that their is nothing they can do about it except use it as a political football to get their power back.
I thought that was a really accurate statement.
(…the problem is everyone is still jumping on the Democrats bandwagon…)

McCain-Feingold is being revisited by the Supreme Court. Basically, the issue is what constitutes candidate endorsement and what is merely issues based. What the court will do is something of an open issue. The majority opinion when this was last reviewed (2002) was Sandra Day O’Conner. She has been replaced by Samuel Alito.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Understanding The Democrats Tax Plan

I don't do this often, but this hit my email box last night and I thought it was amusing enough to share. I have no idea where the original source is. If you do, let me know so I can give credit where credit is due…Enjoy!

If you don't understand the Democrats' version of tax refunds, maybe this will help explain it:

50,000 people go to a baseball game, but the game was rained out. A refund was then due. The team was about to mail refunds when a group of Congressional Democrats stopped them and suggested that they send out the ticket refunds based on the Democrat National Committee's interpretation of fairness.

Originally the refunds were to be paid based on the price each person had paid for the tickets. Unfortunately that meant most of the refund money would be going to the ticket holders that had purchased the most expensive tickets. This, according to the DNC, is considered totally unfair.

A decision was therefore made to pay out the refunds in this manner: People in the $10 seats will get back $15. After all, they have less money to spend on tickets to begin with. Call it an "Earned Income Ticket Credit." Persons "earn" it by having few skills, poor work habits, and low ambition, thus keeping them at entry-level wages.

People in the $25 seats will get back $25, because it "seems fair."

People in the $50 seats will get back $1, because they already make a lot of money and don't need a refund. After all, if they can afford a $50 ticket, they must not be paying enough taxes.

People in the $75 luxury box seats will each have to pay an additional $25 because it's the "right thing to do."

People walking past the stadium that couldn't afford to buy a ticket for the game each will get a $10 refund, even though they didn't pay anything for the tickets. They need the most help. Sometimes this is known as Affirmative Action.

Now do you understand? If not, contact Representative Nancy Pelosi, Senator Ted Kennedy, Senator John Kerry or Senator Hillary Clinton for assistance.

01/19 Morning Report

The crowing has begun in earnest. Social barriers could be broken in 2008 election. In their continued rush to get a socialist agenda totally established in government, the media is doing all it can to distract the people from the real issues. A fear of government by conservatives will end up ushering in a different kind of rulership. (…I hope people wake up to themselves before it is too late…)

The Democrats are still working on getting their “resolution” passed. Among other things, it bases conducting a war on public opinion. With our fickle society and short term agenda on everything from the stock market to our attention spans, we are going to base foreign policy on it now? I could say a lot more, but I think Chickenhawk wrote one better than I could have thought up.

On the subject of useless government, normally, I would classify this as a frivolous lawsuit. But, since the police refuse to do anything about it, I’m with the shop owner—except for the damages part. Suing homeless people for millions is way over the top.

In most communist socialist countries, the Parliamentary body becomes a rubber stamp operation. One more piece of evidence to that in Venezuala is Chavez new power to rule by decree. Does anyone really believe he will give it up in 18 months? Seriously believe?

In more strange news today, a court convicted a right wing government leader of "disputing a crime against humanity". The official was denying, or at least questioning, the gassing of Jews during the Holocaust. Even so, who thought up a cockamamie charge like that? (…well, it did happen in France…maybe we should give the benefit of the doubt…nnnaaahhhh…)

Thursday, January 18, 2007

01/18 Morning Report

No More Domestic Spying. Bush has decided not to renew electronic surveillance regulations. The official statement says the secret court, established by Congress will be able to get the job done. Personally, I don’t think an added level of bureaucracy is a solution. I it will probably end up accomplishing nothing. The criticism of the Bush administration over this has not been well founded. Congressional oversight was in place from the beginning. Congress new what was going on all along. The “civil liberty protectors” have placed this way above the importance of public safety.

The BBC is making hay with the “announcement” that Bush snubbed their offer back in 2003. Can I say “Good!” The offers from Iran and Syria, and now even the threat from the Saudis, are not solutions. I think the sectarian violence would escalate even farther under Iranian control—as do many others. Iraq belongs to the Iraqis. Maybe it does need to be broken out into autonomous regions. That is still a very likely scenario. But, the Iraqis need to decide that.

Meanwhile, the NY Times had this article on what remains of Iraqi factories. I don’t buy the repeated statement of “last hope”. There are many signs of hope in Iraq. However, I do agree that a strong industry—even the beginnings of one—would be huge.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Wednesdays Hero

Wednesday Hero will on top of all other posts today.
To see other postings today, scroll down.

This Weeks Heroes Were Suggested By CavMom

This week I have three people to talk about. Roy Velez and his two sons, Jose and Andrew. One who was lost in Iraq and another who lost his life in Afghanistan.

It happens almost daily. A stranger reaches out to comfort Roy Velez, unintended symbol of unspeakable loss and grief.

Today it's a woman who approaches as he's halfway through breakfast at Montelongo's Mexican restaurant.

"My brother told me about you and your sons," she says, extending her hand.

He takes her small hand between his - this sturdy man who has buried two boys who went off to war - and listens gently as her own story of sorrow spills forth. Her 8-year-old daughter, a traffic accident, her son at the wheel.

As waiters bustle about with trays of huevos rancheros and barbacoa plates, Mr. Velez does what he does best: offers up a soft prayer to help this mother endure her emptiness.

Strangers learn about Mr. Velez from newspapers and TV. They come to him to share their gratitude or their grief. They come to thank him and console him, tearfully, for his family's sacrifice.

This is how Mr. Velez chooses to live after losing two sons in two years, not riven with anger or paralyzed with sadness. But as someone ready for those who might slip into the darkness of despair.

For his strength for others, compassion and grace - and for serving as inspiration for anyone who knows his story - Mr. Velez is the 2006 Dallas Morning News Texan of the Year.

Because this story is so long, I've linked to the article which you can read in it's entirety.

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.

The Latest From Michael Yon

I know it’s been out for about a week, but I thought I would comment briefly on Michael Yon’s Walking The Line 2007 Part 2. I have read a lot about Iraq from many sources. Most of it is little more than political hash and has nothing to do with reality. I think Michael has the best statement on how the media covers things:

This does not look like a big or intense war to people at home. It doesn’t look like that because we have so few troops actually in combat. But for those who are truly fighting, this is a brutal death match where every mistake can get them killed, or make worldwide headlines. Yet when the enemy drills out eyes or tortures people with acid, it never resonates.
The thing I like about Yon’s writing is his focus is not on what is right or wrong for Americans. In fact, he correctly noted the downward spiral of the sectarian violence before the MSM was commenting on it. But, he has always been about revealing the resolve of those who are there. The MSM has not. Just like it does not report the capture of more and more Iranians and Iranian devices as the struggle continues.

Michael made one other comment in part 2 which I will share:
People at home probably have no idea how much their little cards, letters, and goodie bags boost morale. Countless walls around Iraq are practically wallpapered with cards and letters. And soldiers and Marines do stop to read them. They especially love the cards from kids. There is nothing more uplifting over here than reading two dozen cards from kids who can barely hold a crayon, much less one of those fat pencils. If a kid sends a card, rest assured that card will be stuck on some wall somewhere and it will bring a smile to many a soldier and Marine.
There is a list of links to help support our troops at the top of my blog page. All are worthy programs. My personal favorite is Any Soldier. Go do something to let a soldier know they are remembered and appreciated. Then, go read the rest of Michael Yon’s article. It's well worth your time.

01/17 Morning Report

Of course, the big news in our area is SNOW! Yup. I woke up this morning to a white horizon…yard…car…neighborhood…well, you get the idea.
(…hopefully this does not mean North Texas has had it’s two weeks of Winter for the year…personally, I need a little more than that…)

Speaking of snow jobs, in Washington, Congress—specifically the Senate—is expanding the role of opinion polls in establishing legislation. Making the assumption that the American people’s fickle happiness and short term focus will be a good measure of military and foreign policy, Democrats are drafting a resolution.

The resolution also would put the Senate on record as saying the U.S. commitment in Iraq "can only be sustained" with popular support among the American public and in Congress, according to an official familiar with the draft.
(…I thought the whole point of government, as envisioned by the founders of America, was the government being guided by and for the people, but making decisions for the betterment of all—and not based merely on public opinion? My, how far we have fallen from our beginnings…)

Flopping Aces has the info on the Democrats coming tax hike.
(…did anyone really believe the line that they could accomplish their agenda without tax hikes?...it went right along with the line that Bush was bankrupting government—even though the deficit is going back into decline…sheesh…)

As strange—despite it’s normality--as that behavior may be, this was actually worse.
(…animal protection has reached a whole new level of stupidity with this one…and these folks are in the government!...)

Back to the subject of Iraq, it seems the Saudis are ready to send in troops. Saudi Arabia is threatening to send in troops if the situation continues to destabilize. It isn’t just Iran and Syria anymore.
(…H/T to the Castle Denizens for today’s post. Go check out the rest of today’s info…uumm…latest intel…)

Finally, there was a sad announcement from The Dallas Morning News:
A Texan stationed at Fort Drum, N.Y., has been killed in Iraq.
The Department of Defense said Sgt. Paul T. Sanchez, 32, of Irving, died Sunday when an improvised explosive device detonated near his vehicle.
Sanchez was assigned to the 543rd Military Police Company, 91st Military Police Battalion, 10th Sustainment Brigade, 10th Mountain Division at Fort Drum.
You see, we at our house remember your cry, Sgt. Sanchez—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. 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.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

01/16 Morning Report

Such as it is, this article onILLEGAL immigration is a great illustration of the problems. The article does a good job of pointing out both sides of the issues. Then, it makes racism the focus of all efforts to control ILLEGAL immigration. Why is it racist to want the laws—existing laws—enforced? Why can I, a non-Hispanic, really have a problem with Illegal immigration without having a problem with non-Illegal Hispanics? Taking this from another angle, do we enforce immigration laws differently for those from Latin America than we do for those from say Nigeria? I work with two people from the African continent. They tell me there is a difference. So, why should Mexicans, or El Savadorans, or whoever be treated any differently? And, why am I branded a racist for wanting that?
(…aren’t we thankful for no media bias on such issues…)

Of course, that just goes right along with the Mexican government plan to give GPS units to migrants--just in case they need help from the border patrol.

The locators would be given to migrants who are thinking of crossing the border, and would give U.S. border patrol agents the location of those in trouble. The U.S. government has yet to sign off on the project, which is still in the planning stages.
(…sure…the Mexican government wants to help us fight ILLEGAL immigration…right…)

And, of course, we are always told the truth, right? In a surprising announcement, it seems that low levels of “bad” cholesterol may be bad for you. There seems to be a link with Parkinson’s disease.
(…this is becoming like eggs many years ago…first they are bad…then they are not…then they are…then…so where do you think “bad” choloestorl will end up?...)

Speaking of health issues, the BBC has an interesting map of the spread of bird flu. This along with the news of a fresh outbreak in Japan and two women dying in Indonesia just a few days ago. There is a high risk with this disease—if it truly crosses over to humans. The similarities between this flu strain and the flu strain that decimated populations at the end of WWI are striking.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Hockey News...and a rant...

First...the rant...

What can we say about the All Star Game?... It’s a lot of hoopla for very little punch. And…well…that about sums it up. I actually live in Dallas, and cannot go because of the scheduling.

Played during the week, instead of on the weekend, means there will be an attendance drop. And, attendance drops are not what the greatest game on earth needs right now. Better television coverage—which could be done with the higher definition cameras used by the NFL and etc.—would be a big plus. But, cutting back on audience appeal isn’t the way to do it.

The scheduling as bad enough this year as it was last year. I would love to see some Eastern Conference games. I would even settle for seeing some Eastern games on TV in the NBC coverage this year. I won’t. What coverage there is all regional. So, I get to see the same teams—again. It’s boring seeing the same teams all year long.

I’m all for cutting travel costs. I understand the logic of the schedule. But, from an audience appeal standpoint, it’s suicide. The lockout was bad enough in terms of ruining people’s opinion of the game. The same thing happened to the NBA, MLB and so on. It was a given. And, while the new CBA has helped in terms of the bottom line, it is killing the game in terms of attendance. And, as the Dodge commercial said…”Now that can’t be good!”

OK…I’ll let my rant subside…for now…

In other league ruining events, the Blackhawks are screaming that they want video review after losing in a shootout. I bet Buffalo is still upset about the overtime goal that gave the Stars the Cup, too. The problem is how that would slow down the game. The speed, scoring and checking are what make the game appealing. Yeah, sure there are calls that should go the other way. There probably always will be, too. But video review? PLLLEEEAASSSSE! NNNNOOOO!!!

This has really been an injury filled year. The Hockey News has the lists of who is out in the East and the West.

On the subject of injuries, do the Stars still have anyone left to play? Here is a rundown on their rookie lineup. It’s a pretty good crop. Of course, the Stars have always been good at drafting new talent. They just always seem to trade it away for current hopes. Well, they are finally having to rely on that talent. The problem is, with all the injuries, they may face the same salary and free agent issues Pittsburgh did with their young players.

Meanwhile, in the ECAC, Norwich Coach Mike McShane got suspended for complaining about the officiating. From what I’ve read, he may actually have been right! I’ve been there. I actually got fired as a volunteer coach for the way I reacted after some of my players got hurt and nothing was done. At the same time, I’ve been an official in the local men’s leagues. Having been on both sides, I take a much different stance towards coaches now. I also coach much differently. My advice to McShane? Go ref for a while in the local leagues. You’ll see the game a lot differently from behind the bench.

01/15 Morning Report

Two Sadaam aids were hung today in Baghdad. His half-brother even had his head come off.
(…I have to admit I like the idea of speedy justice once a sentence has been handed down…)

IN a related gruesome report, it seems that several children in various countries including the US died while trying to re-enact Sadaam’s hanging.
(…boy, if that’s not an incentive to limit gross and pornographic material on the internet…I don’t know what is…)

In another example of tolerance of Islam, journalists were fined for publishing jokes involving religion, sex and politics. The newspaper was shut down for two months, as well. Jihad Watch had this write up, with the original article, a few days ago.
(…any one think Western media will wake up to this threat before…well, you know…)

In Russia, there are tough new laws limiting job opportunities for immigrants.

Police raid the country's markets on a daily basis, enforcing quotas on the number of foreign workers - mainly from central Asia and the Caucasus.
Can’t you just hear the hew and cry if that was attempted here? Of course, it sort of was back in the days of Herbert Hoover, and agin during the Eisenhower administration. In case you missed it, Here is a post on that historical fact.

Meanwhile, in another Russia update, over 500 Chechnyan rebels have surrendered as part of the amnesty deal that expired at midnight.
(…nice to see some measure of success in that area…)

Would you believe a Chinese ban on motorcycles? It’s true. Too many purses are being stolen by their riders in the most prosperous city in China. So, officials banned motor bikes.
(…hhhmmmm…”we can’t control what owners do with them, so we’ll ban them"…sounds like a second cousin to the anti-gun lobby here in the States…)

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Odd Items Worth Reading

For those of you just catching up on the latest attempt by Congress to limit the voice of the people, go read the linked articles. Then take action and make your voice heard. It may be the Christian Right making the effort, but this is for everyone—Left andRight.

Beth shared a really sad tale. It seems that Public Storage sold off a deployed soldier’s stuff. Now, for those who don’t know it, according to most storage facility policies, if you don’t pay our bill—generally within 15 days of the due date, regardless of the reason--they have the right to sell your stuff. The policy sucks, and this is a great example of why.
(…I think a letter/email campaign is in order…we bloggers should be able to bring a lot of pressure to bear on this company and the industry in general…)

There was a well written explanation of how words are used to control PC attitudes. The definitions are most intriguing. It’s more than worth the read.

And, on a more amusing note, Taco Bell shares another great memory from yester year on the evils of drink…This one is a little on the dark side.

And, someone at work found an article in the January 7 Wall Street Journal. Being stockbrokers, we all thought these market term definitions were fun. Here’s a few for your amusement.

Correction—a major market crash made to sound like a minor mistake.

Technical factors--Alternative, all purpose explanation for why the market went down. Also useful for explaining why the market went up…or sideways…

Financial journalists--folks who wanted to be sports writers, but didn’t make the cut.

Commodities--pigs with lipstick.

Short Sellers--Investors who seek to profit from stock prices going south. As children, enjoyed pulling legs off spiders.

01/14 Morning Report

Is it any surprise that the ”Iranian diplomats have been arming insurgents? Of course, Syria and Iran say claims they support insurgents are false.
(…perhaps they would like to explain how so many are allowed to get to Iraq through their borders…with their money…and their weapons…)

The Red Cross and the Red Crescent have been under one banner. Now, Israeli relief forces are part of the fold. Islam continues to expand it’s influence and control, but no one seems to recognize it. Even Israel is giving it ground—subtle though it may be.
(…remember, Islam never gives it only takes…and what it loses it is obligated to regain by any means…take a historical look…it’s not pretty…)

Meanwhile, the Germans are trying to integrate Muslims. I applaud the idea—even the heartfelt desire to be inclusive and tolerant. But, once again, historically, wherever Islam is allowed to gain influence or control, even when it is highly secularized, it forces all others to become subservient to it.

The source of this report was a surprise. The news was encouraging. Egypt arrested an al-Jezeera reporter for fabricating torture videos. Apparently, al-Jezeera turned the reporter in.

Al-Jazeera said the tapes showed a "documentary reconstruction" by actors.
Meanwhile, the media and it’s “sources” are taking the leftist line:
Human rights groups say it is not unusual for suspects to be tortured in Egyptian police stations.

In his weekly address, President Bush hit back at his critics.
Mr Bush said members of Congress had a right to their views, but to oppose everything and propose nothing was irresponsible.
Commenting on Rice’s visit to the Middle East, it’s noted that Arab leaders want the US to do more against Israel in exchange for support. I think it needs to be the other way around. It’s time for Islam to reign in the terrorists in exchange for US support.

And, in the continuing boondoggle in North Carolina, the state is taking over the Duke Lacrosse rape case. Despite the testimony of witnesses—even the victim—that refutes all charges, there will continue to be criminal investigations. The former prosecutor has bailed on the case after all the scandals hit him. But, the State Attorney General is taking the case.
(…what a continuing waste of money, effort, and media attention…)

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Afternoon Musings

And, now for some odd blurbs from around the Blogosphere…

It seems there is a contest going on for Mil-bloggers. Op-For has the details. I love the idea. I wish more companies would do things like this!

In “fun things” military, Jarhead John shared these amusing conversations.
(…hard to believe Gunnies can be amusing…aint it?...)

El Capitan had a really good read, and some good links on the F-22. On a less than amusing note, El Capitan also reported on what our Militray Academies are turning out.
(…this is not good…this is not good at all…)

Finishing off on a much more solemn note, Thursday, these updates on two contacts were posted at Any Soldier:

Major Michael L. Mundell, 47, of Brandenburg, Ky, died January 5 in Fallujah, Iraq, of wounds suffered when an IED detonated near his vehicle during combat operations. Major Mundell was assigned to the 1st Brigade, 108th Division (Institutional Training), Spartanburg, SC.

Sgt. Aron C Blum, 22, of Tuscon, AZ, died December 28 at Naval Medical Center, San Diego, CA, of a non-hostile cause after being evacuated from al-Anbar Province, Iraq, December 8. Sgt. Blum was assigned to Marine Air Refueler Squadron 532. Marine Aircraft Group 11, 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing, I Marine Expeditionary Forde, Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, CA.
Our family joins Any Soldier in sending our prayers out for his families.

You see, we at our house remember your cry, Sgt. Vandling—the cry of all warriors:
"Tell them of us and say,
For their tomorrow, we gave our today."
--The Kohima Epitaph--
We remember what you have given. 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.

01/13 Morning Report

With the Democrats and some Republicans already saying “No” to President Bush’s plan for Iraq, al-Qaeda linked groups are calling the new plan a US defeat.

"What we hear in the media about a so-called security plan in Baghdad and Bush's new strategy, will not change anything. They are tasting the bitterness of defeat after announcing to limit their troops to Baghdad instead of all around Iraq," the so-called Islamic state in Iraq group said in the Web posting.
Exactly how limiting troop deployments to only around Baghdad amounts to a defeat is not clear. But, given the media habit of only reporting negative news this will probably go far. One really interesting note in the article was:
Last week, the group urged its followers to confront a U.S.-backed security plan in Baghdad announced by Iraq's Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, saying it was an Iranian ploy to hit Sunni Muslims.
The group really needs to make up its mind. Either it’s a US defeat or an Iranian plot to kill Sunnis. But, it can’t be both.
(…more trustworthy and accurate Muslim propaganda…and it’s Bush’s fault, of course…)

There was an anti-Bush media explosion yesterday after the raid on Iranian offices in Irbil. Rampant claims of having “broken into diplomatic facilities” were widely thrown around. Interestingly, today’s news is a little different. First, Bush authorized this policy a few months ago. So, it was not a knee jerk action. And, second, just as the US claimed yesterday, the Iranians are now saying it was not an established diplomatic office.
Iranian and U.S. officials say the office did not have formal diplomatic status, although Iran says it was a liaison office representing the interests of the Tehran government and is seeking the release of the five Iranians.
(…I wonder how much play the truth will get in the MSM today…or any day, for that matter…)

Meanwhile, back at home, I liked what McCain had to say about the policy of pulling out of Iraq.
…those advocating the start of a troop withdrawal, which includes many Democrats, "have a responsibility to tell us what they believe are the consequences of withdrawal in Iraq. If we walk away from Iraq, we'll be back, possibly in the context of a wider war in the world's most volatile region."
(…of course, expecting responsibility from Congress is probably like expecting the Pope not to be Catholic…but…Hey!...stranger things have happened…)

If nothing else, this report by the NY Times should make you wonder why lawyers take certain cases.
…lawyers at many of the nation’s top firms were representing prisoners at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba…
They can’t be doing it for the money. You can’t recover from the US government. The only reason I can think of is the PR. (…lawyers do predominantly back Democrats and liberals…) Needless to say there was an outcry from lawyers and related groups. Pentagon officials, and even an editorial in the WSJ, are saying that corporations who use these firms should reconsider whether supporters of terrorists should be retained. I think the comment by Michael Ratner, who heads the Center for Constitutional Rights, a New York-based human rights group, sums it up nicely:
“It’s not clear, is it? Some will maintain that they are doing it out of the goodness of their heart, that they’re doing it pro bono, and I suspect they are; others are receiving moneys from who knows where, and I’d be curious to have them explain that.”
(…and the lawyers got mad about that comment, too…)

Friday, January 12, 2007

I Am Now A Tag Victim

We Bloggers tend to get way to serious. Every so often , you have to just do something completely different. If you’ve been following this blog during it’s short history, you are well aware that I take a strange turn from time to time. Well…it’s time for another one!

I have seen this floating around the various Blogs I visit. I thought I was escaping under the radar. BUT NO!!! Flag Gazer tagged me for the Five Things Meme today. I have to tell 5 things readers may not know about me. Then…I get to tag others to play along…(…heh heh heh heh…)

So… and after dubious consideration…

1. I have lived out of my car, and in a homeless shelter.

2. I nearly drowned twice in my pre-teen years—while canoeing in flood season in the Missouri Ozarks.

3. My favorite winter was right after we moved to New Jersey. There was a massive wall of snow along the hedge after the plows cleared to massive snowstorms—three weeks apart. We dug a foxhole at the corner of the driveway and used it to snowball cars—and other passersby. The drivers invariably stopped—sliding all over the street—got out of the car and went to the drive way to which way we ran away. The hard part was being silent until they drove off!

4. My most stunning realization—and great fun for my overactive imagination--was at the age of thirteen (1974), while reloading shotgun shells. I figured out how to turn Estes model rockets into weapons.
(…so how come it took a government commission to figure it out and not accomplish anything except making people more afraid…)

5. I can write music. I can build a house. I can shoot guns. But I know next to nothing about cars.

And, in return for the favor from Flag Gazer, and after checking to see who’s already been tagged, I’m tagging…Hub, Savannah Day Dreamin’, and A Keyboard And A .45.

It’s good to share the fun with friends…although how long friendship lasts after this…I wonder if they’ll still let me visit…???

01/12 Morning Report

The US couldn’t do it. The UN couldn’t do it. But, apparently, the reestablished Somali government thinks it can. It seems the Somali warlords have agreed to disarm. Still, after 13 attempts since 1991, we’ll just have to see how this one holds up. There is a lot going against it—large amounts of military weapons and Islamic fighters just to name two big ones.

One by one, American allies in the GWOT are sidestepping. Pakistan is now upset about Negroponte’s remarks on al-Qaeda operations there. Despite admissions that al-Qaeda operatives and leaders are operating along the border, Pakistan is taking issue with claims by the US that actual leadership elements are operating there as well. Specifically, the issue is where the “center of operations” lies.
(…does it really matter…if the operatives and leaders are in the area, go get them…seems pretty easy to me…)

Given today’s attack on the US embassy in Greece, I thought this was an interesting article. There was also this on terrorist actions in Greece.
(…it’s good to know your history…)

Meanwhile, another terroristic regime is back in the news. It seems the North Koreans are in the market for rabbits. A German breeder of a 23 lb rabbit has been contacted in hopes of bringing some relief to the food shortage.
(…I don’t know about you…but a rabbit the size of a dog kind of worries me…)

And, at home, the Democrats got their first agenda item passed in the House. Embryonic stem cell reserach passed by a vote of 253 to 174.

"Today, by passing legislation to expand stem cell research, the House gave voice to the hopes of more than 100 million Americans and their families," said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
Pelosi and the rest of them need to examine some facts. NO cures—zero, zilch nada—have been developed from embryonic stem cells. All cures have come from adult cells. The hope offered here is a false hope.
(…something the Democrats are pretty good at offering…)

In other medical news, Right Wing and Right Minded has this report…well several reports really…on “universal health care.” There really isn’t all that much new in it, just more recent headlines on the problems with it. In light of Ted Kennedy’s recent proposals and Sir Hillary’s previous attempts, we Americans need to be very aware of what’s really involved in this socialist pogram…uummm…program

And, in news only a Democrat could instigate, Beware of the Klingons! I loved the original post and video over at Hot Air. But, Beth had the best commentary.

I don’t buy into everything that Freepers espouse. But, I think I can back them on this one. There is a concerted liberal effort being organized to place limits on what conservatives can and cannot say. It matters not, as usual, that liberal speakers and groups can use these same tactics without consequence. It only matters that conservatives should not be allowed to do so.
(…in a continuing reminder of Who Really Controls The Internet, CW4Bill at the Castle notes:
The Lefties have opened with a BlogSwarm and the Right is countering with a FaxSwarm.
The Left is far more organized on the net than the Right. My thought is that,, unless that changes, the Right will lose big in 2008…)