“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”

Friday, August 31, 2007

One Year of Wednesday Heroes

(...thanks to Kathi for this wonderful work...)

The Blogroll goes on. There will be more Heroes, fallen and still standing, at home and overseas. Remember them. They are an important reminder of who we really are.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Make No Mistake

Make no mistake. The Liberal left is making sure it’s voice is heard, and it’s efforts to control America’s destiny are very organized. A recent Media Research Center details how the MSM gives almost twice as much coverage to Liberal candidates as conservative ones. Of course the MSM still denies there is any bias report. Meanwhile, as American Thinker clearly shows, demonstrations against the war are well organized and scheduled for maximum impact via the media. Even inoxious companies are involved in shaping and defining the opinions of Americans to this agenda.

Let’s take a small example. There is an organization, called Digital Divide Network. It has some very lofty goals, some of them I even agree with. The mission statement says:

The Digital Divide Network was launched in December 1999 as a response to the National Digital Divide Summit hosted by U.S. President Bill Clinton. Originally developed by the Benton Foundation and the National Urban League, DDN was designed as an online clearinghouse of news and resources regarding the digital divide.
Clearly, the support for this organization is left wing. Additionally, if you go to the Founding editor’s blog, specifically the entry on July 24, 2007, you will discover he is a fan/supporter of Michael Moore. Now, if someone managed to get you into the internet age when you could not do it for yourself, would that influence your decisions? Sure.

The Left is very good at making people believe the Right is doing this to keep people down. How many news reports have we seen about the rich getting more breaks than the poor? The truth is the rich get back the same proportion as the poor, it’s just a higher amount because they paid more. Though overplayed, it has born much fruit. Many on the right are hesitant to seek tax cuts these days. The facts, as revealed in this article are much different. Not to mention there are also the recent news reports of decreasing budget deficits, though these are often short and never dwelt on by the media.

Meanwhile, there is Blogdom. The Right has some strong voices. The power of isolated voices is well known. A lone blogger managed to stop a speech by pro-abortion anne Lamott. But, even with the likes of Michelle malkin and Instapundit, the Left still out performs the Right on the internet. Specialty groups such as Milbloggers are a wonderful thing. But, they cater to a specific audience. Many times, we have to hunt to find them, or know someone else that does. There is a decided lack of prominence.

Meanwhile, Daily Kos has much stronger organization than anything on the right. There is even a concerted effort to boost readership on leftwing blogs that are fading. Several news reports from last fall showed the left out fund raising the right using the internet. Meanwhile, Google, Blogger, Technorati and several other major forces in the internet world are all power players among the Liberal Left.

There are other ares where the Left is outperforming the Right, too. As I reported back in October 2006, the left is out fund raising the right. The New York Times even reported a plan to Manipulate Google data.

The short and sad truth is the right being out voiced. I think the reason is fragmentation. There are hundreds of right wing bloggers and blogrolls. But, there is no real united voice. On the internet, the Right needs something along the lines of Kos. The only way conservatives can regain their position in shaping American opinion is to gain that united voice.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Wednesday Hero

This Weeks Post Was Suggested By Randy Thorsvig

Ken Leonard
Ken Leonard (On The Right)
From High Point, North Carolina

Every once in a while you run across one of those "feel good stories". Those stories that show us just what a person can do when they really want it bad enough. And Ken Leonard has one of those stories.

In 2005, Ken Leonard left his job as a police officer in High Point, North Carolina to go to Iraq to work with a private security firm. In December of that year, Ken, along with five other men in his vehicle and six others in the vehicle behind him, was hit by a roadside bomb outside of Baghdad. "After the bomb went off, I knew exactly what had happened," Leonard recalled. "My feet got jarred, so I knew they were hit." While others in his vehicle were injured, he had received the worst of it. He had lost both his feet.

The vehicle behind them pushed Leonard's to a safer area. But flames were coming out of the air conditioning vents and they had to get out. Leonard crawled from the car and fell to the pavement. "That’s when I saw my feet," he said. "I could tell they were gone. They were still attached, but they were shredded."

On July 19, 2007, Ken Leonard went back to North Carolina to get his job back with the police force. To do that he needed to pass the Police Officers Physical Abilities Test, which, among other things, consisted of a 200-yard run to be finished in under 7 minutes, 20 seconds. And he did just that with 24 seconds to spare.

"Somebody told me one time they said, 'You know, what you've lost is just bone and muscle. You've still got heart, and you've still got, you know, what's up here,'" Leonard said, pointing to his head.

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 Should Not Only Mourn These Men And Women Who Died, We Should Also Thank God That Such People Lived

This post is part of the Wednesday Hero Blogroll. To find out more about Wednesday Hero, you can go here.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

8/28 Morning Report

It was a very slow night at work and for the first time in a while, i was able to do some reading. So, in a recently rare event, I am posting some random thoughts from Blogdom. Enjoy!

Are they really spontaneous anti-war rallies? Take American Thinker’s quiz and see if you know the real truth.
(…thanks to Yankee Mom for the link…)

Flopping Aces had a really good write up on the legal in-and-outs of the NSA wiretapping program. It’s a very interesting read.

And, as if that wasn’t enough, the media is already hard at work discrediting the coming report from Gen. Petraus. Don’t believe me? Check out this breakdown.

Meanwhile, Op-For has discovered that the military is worse about OpSec concerns than milbloggers in uniform.
(…I’m with him…it’s the layers of bureaucracy keeping evil doers safe…oh…sorry…I was thinking of Congress…)

There is a CNN series on religion and America. It’s kind of frightening in the level of denial the left is exercising. Faultline gives his take on it—and some links to a couple of others, too.

And, finally, I will tag off of something Suzanne posted at Big Blue Wave. The radical elements of the left work by intimidation. The goal, as Suzanne makes clear, is to intimidate those who oppose their views into silence. The left has become more and more effective at this in the last few decades. Look at the power very minor sized groups, like the gays and lesbians, hold in our society. There are many known instances where social minority groups have been the more destructive element in confrontations, and they get off by making it about discrimination. And, through uniting their voices, the left has successfully undermined many institutions of society. Islam could very easily do the same thing, as CAIR is demonstrating regularly. The political right must learn to unite its voices in order to overcome and regain influence in general society. If not…

Monday, August 27, 2007

8/27 Morning Report

For those who think you now what Congress or the President can and can’t do about wars, funding, deployments, and the like, you should read this article at the Christian Science Monitor. I’ll be honest, I haven’t researched this one out. So, if you know something different, please post a comment and share your source information.

On the subject of War in Iraq, it seems the extremists are continuing their same old atctics. Innocent people, on their religious pilgrimage, are being attacked. Meanwhile, the governor of the province was also attacked, with the usual roadside bomb. He survived un injured, though two others were killed earlier this month. Of course, security in such a violent area is difficult, at best. But, I loved what U.S. military spokesman Lt. Col. Michael Donnelly told the Associated Press:

"Any civilian casualties are truly regrettable, but it is important to understand that our forces are there to secure the people of Samarra and bring them peace, not bring them harm like the insurgents did,"
(…don’t you wish the liberal lefties would get that message?...)

It will be interesting to see if the Islamic moderates win out in Morocco.
Analysts and diplomats said any Islamist-linked bombings in the run-up to next month's elections would become new ammunition in the ideological war between Islamists and their secular foes, but the vote would not be much influenced by any attacks.
With terrorists not having any concrete agenda, it makes thigns a bit easier. Although, I suspect that, given terrorist ideas about allowing change, it is likely to be noisy, messy and bloody all the same.

Meanwhile, the big news here at home is the Gonzales resignation. Every major news source has it plastered on their web site. And, of course, the focus is the failure of another Bush crony.
Sen. Patrick Leahy of Vermont, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, blamed Gonzales and Bush for "a severe crisis of leadership" at the Justice Department.
Believing in more vindictiveness, Sen. Harry Reid had his own comments:
"This resignation is not the end of the story. Congress must get to the bottom of this mess and follow the facts where they lead, into the White House."
well, If we are going to point at Clinton and his cronies for the malfeasance, we should expect the same treatment from those on the left.
(…hopefully they won’t follow the normal political path of inventing and expanding what only appears to be there…)

Meanwhile, the Dallas Morning News reported this sad news on Saturday:
A Fort Hood soldier from Georgia died in combat in Iraq, the Department of Defense said Saturday.

Pfc. Edgar E. Cardenas, 34, of Lilburn, Ga., died Wednesday in Abu Ghraib from wounds sustained from an improvised explosive device.

He was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 5th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, Fort Hood, Texas.
Pfc Cardenas, at our house we 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.

Friday, August 24, 2007

8/24 Morning Report

It must be due to the weekend arriving. This was a day for strange news. So, I’ll share what I found. You can go find more for yourself, I’m sure.

I generally don’t get deeply involved in the immigration issue. My stance is, simply, if you are here illegally you have broken the law and should be treated as a criminal. If you haven’t, then, of course, nothing should happen. Normally, I state my case, if the subject comes up, and move on. But, the courts have gone WAY over the top on this one. It seems that an appeals court has ruled that while entering the country illegally is a crime, remaining in the country afterwards is not.

(…yeah, I know…the logic doesn’t make sense to me either….but keep reading…)

All of this stemmed from Nicholas Martinez being sentenced to a year in jail after pleading guilty to possession of cocaine and endangering a child. Normally, this would have caused probation. But, since Martinez is an illegal immigrant, he couldn’t go on probation because that would have automatically violated his parole. Sounds logical, even sensible. The case went to appeal (…why did this go to appeal in the first place?... which, of course, generated a ruling

But then an appeals court panel threw out that sentence, saying that while it is illegal to enter the country without permission, it is not necessarily illegal for an illegal alien to remain in the country. In the opinion of that court, Congress has criminalized illegal entry into the U.S., but has not made the "continued presence" of an illegal alien in the country a crime "unless [he or she] has previously been deported."

Because Judge Kitts did not determine whether Martinez had ever been deported, the appeals court ruled she had no legal basis to deny probation.
If I am not mistaken, this court decision may have just rendered the entire current debate over immigration null and void. This court decision, I believe, sets the legal precedent which will allow illegal immigrants to remain in the country without penalty.
(…so much for the need for a fence…saved US taxpayers lots of money…yeah…sure…)

Of course, this is right on par with a $27 million research project over an animal that may not even exist now.
Federal wildlife officials say spending more than $27 million to research the suspected habitat of the ivory-billed woodpecker is worth the cost, despite conflicting views on whether the elusive bird even exists.

"There's enough out there that we've got to keep searching," said Jeff Fleming, a spokesman for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. "It'd be irresponsible not to."

The agency this week released a 85-page draft plan aimed at preventing the extinction of the bird. The draft plan, which is open for public comment until Oct. 22, recommends spending more than $27 million in federal dollars on recovery efforts for the woodpecker.
The bird was thought to be extinct, until a possible sighting in 2004. So, they created a 185-page report? That’s where most of the cost comes from. More people will probably work on that report than will actually search for the bird, even though it is a four state effort.

And, in one final piece of odd news, it seems a wealthy Russian tried to buy a B-52 at a recent air show.
An astounded member of the U.S. delegation said the bomber was not for sale but that it would cost at least $500 million if it were to be sold on the spot.

"That is no problem. It is such a cool machine," the Russian was quoted as saying…
Wouldn’t you just love to have that kind of cash lying around?

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

8/22 Morning Report

There is a lot of media hype about former CIA chief George Tenant’s failures allowing al-Qaeda to accomplish their 9-11 plot. Quoting from the BBC article,

But former CIA analyst Ray McGovern told the BBC the inspector general's criticism was justified.

"... [George Tenet] was too busy schmoozing with foreign leaders and getting sort of swamped with the detail that he forgot that his job was to manage the intelligence community and so the cracks such as existed became wider and wider. He didn't talk to the FBI and 9/11 happened."
I think it’s more important to remember that Tenant was appointed during the Clinton administration. The Clinton modus operendi was to schmooze. The fact that Bush did nothing to change that strategy, does not speak well of Bush. But, I think this is another failure of the Clinton administration being passed on, with the Republicans being blamed by the media.

Media bias against Bush specifically, and the right wing in general, is something well documented—especially among bloggers. Of course the MSM denies it. And the left doesn’t believe reports from the right such as this one from News Busters. One could also look at the list of headlines the MSM ignores, such those listed by Robert at Conservative Thoughts.

Of course, it doesn’t help that liberals read more than conservatives. Pat Schroeder, former Democratic Congresswoman and now president of the American Association of Publishers, had two very revealing remarks about the different groups—as readers. Of the right, she said:
"The Karl Roves of the world have built a generation that just wants a couple slogans: 'No, don't raise my taxes, no new taxes,'" Pat Schroeder, president of the American Association of Publishers, said in a recent interview. "It's pretty hard to write a book saying, 'No new taxes, no new taxes, no new taxes' on every page."
Now, this does not deny the left has it’s own fondness for slogans. Just visit any anit-war rally or web-site to see all the one liners flying around. Still, there is far too much truth in that for many I have observed on the right. Meanwhile, media bias has also helped portray those on the right as unformed and undereducated. Still, Schroeder was equally unflattering about the left:
She said liberals tend to be policy wonks who "can't say anything in less than paragraphs.
Small wonder that speeches by many liberals are so long winded they cause the nap-syndrome to kick in among listeners.

And, here are my personal observations on all this. With liberal control of the media, it is small wonder that the right is always the underdog. One of the problems the right has is a failure to unite. The left has slowly but surely gained control of the media by having a consistent core agenda. They have gathered support. They have focused their efforts. They consistently marshal public opinion. The few times the right has done this in the last 60 years, the right has overwhelmingly taken control of American politics.

A classic example of the left uniting is The Daily Kos. The right has nothing comparable. The amount of control this exerts is amazing. Via efforts of Kos and related websites, the left garnered far more financial support via the internet than the right. The conservative right has demonstrated the ability to do the same thing. Look what was accomplished when the right took to the airwaves, using radio to reach voters! Unless conservatives gain a focused agenda, and a united voice, the liberal left will hold control of both houses, and the White House, and state offices as well.

8/22 Wednesday Hero

This Weeks Post Was Suggested By Kasee

SSgt. John Self
Click Image For Full Size

SSgt. John T. Self
29 years old from Pontotoc, Mississippi
314th Security Forces Squadron
May 14, 2007

A kindhearted patriot. That's how SSgt. John Self was described by those who knew him. "John was a good boy, a good boy who loved his country and who loved Christ and for that he’ll move on to a better place," said Laron Self, Sgt. Self's grandfather, fighting back tears.

SSgt. Self was killed, and three other airmen wounded, when an IED hit the Humvee they were traveling in while on his 79th patrol in Baghdad, Iraq. "John volunteered for this deployment while he was deployed to (Southwest Asia)," said Chief Master Sgt. Keith Morris, 314th SFS security forces manager. "We discussed this deployment via e-mail. He said he made his decision to deploy again to gain experience."

"He could always find the humor in anything regardless of the situation," said Senior Airman Daniel Hunsperger, a member of Self's fire team. "He believed in everything he did. This was obvious to us after learning he had only spent two weeks home between his last deployment and volunteering for this one."

On May 23, SSgt. Self was laid to rest with a crowd of hundreds to pay their respects. People lined both sides of the highway for more than 5 miles waving flags as the hundred-car procession traveled to the burial. Shouts of, "We love you John," and "Thank you, John, could be heard as the train of cars passed by. "That’s a hero," Susan Chambers, one of the many mourners, said to her son as she pointed at Self's casket.

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 Should Not Only Mourn These Men And Women Who Died, We Should Also Thank God That Such People Lived

This post is part of the Wednesday Hero Blogroll. To find out more about Wednesday Hero, you can go here.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Two Test Tickles

(...it's the weekend...so i'm sharing another one from my email box…enjoy…)

There is a factory in Northern Minnesota that makes the "Tickle Me Elmo" toys The toy laughs when you tickle it under the arms. Well, Lena, a slow but very dependable lady is hired at the "Tickle Me Elmo" factory and she reports for her first day promptly at 8 AM.

The next day there is a knock on the Personnel Manager's door. The Foreman throws open the door and begins to rant and rave about the new employee. He complains that she is incredibly slow and the whole line is backing up, putting the entire production line behind schedule. The Personnel Manager decides he should see this for himself. The two men march down to the factory floor.

When they get there, the line is so backed up that "Tickle Me Elmo's" are all over the floor and they are really beginning to pile up. At the end of the line stands Lena surrounded by mountains of "Tickle Me Elmo's". She has a roll of plush red fabric and a huge bag of small marbles. The two men watch in amazement as she cuts a little piece
of fabric, wraps it around two marbles and begins to carefully sew the little package between Elmo's legs.

The Personnel Manager bursts into laughter. After several minutes of hysterics he pulls himself together and approaches Lena. "I'm sorry," he says to her, barely able to keep a straight face, "....but I think you misunderstood the instructions I gave you yesterday. Your job is to give Elmo two test tickles!"

Friday, August 17, 2007

8/17 Morning Report

The digging continues after the massive earthquake hit Peru yesterday. Media reports of 500 dead after the 8.0 quake are expected to go higher.

The Red Cross said it would send planes with tents, blankets and other aid from Panama.

With a major highway ruined, Peruvian rescuers airlifted victims by helicopter and aircraft to hospitals in Lima. Officials appealed for blood donors to come forward so they could treat the injured.
It may not reach the victims of this earthquake, but many will benefit from giving blood. So, if you can, please do so.

A bit further north, Hurricane Dean is roaring into the Caribbean. The first hurricane of the season is shaping up to be a big one.
Computer models showed the hurricane could become an extremely dangerous Category 4 storm as it passed south of Jamaica early next week.
Forcasters had predicted 16 named storms for this season, which began on June 1. On average, there are 10-11 storms a year, and maybe 6 of those actually become hurricanes.
(…let’s see if this year’s forecast is as accurate as last year’s…)

On the subject of hurricanes, the New York Times had an article on the state of repair in new Orleans. In typical media fashion, all it focuses on is how much has not been done. True, it does mention that some work has been done, and progress has been made. But, constantly repeating that the Corps of Engineers plan for completion in 2011 will leave many to vulnerable to the “1 in 100 storm” really shows bias. Of course it will take time. Certain areas will be at some degree of risk probably equal to the risk there was before all the projects were planned or started. That is the nature of disasters. Every positive point was negated in the article. A classic example that all the media can do is find fault.
(…heroes have to be dethroned, slighted and faulted…good works have to be flawed…and they wonder why so many people don’t trust the media these days…)

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

8/15 Wednesday Hero

This Week's Soldier Was Suggested By Kat

Sgt. Michael J. Stokely
Sgt. Michael J. Stokely
23 years old from Sharpsburg, Georgia
1st Battalion, 108th Armor Regiment, 48th Brigade Combat Team
August 16, 2005

Next Saturday, August 25, the town of Peachtree City, Ga. will be holding it's inaugural Ride To Remember for Sgt. Michael Stokely who lost his life two years ago tomorrow in Baghdad, Iraq when an IED detonated near his position. The patrol he was with had stopped and the NCO in charge had everyone take a rest while he walked back down the road with a Corporal to check out something suspicious. Sgt. Stokely refused to to rest, and instead took up a flanking position at the rear of his truck to watch their backs. Which, as a Cav Scout dismount, he saw as his job. The NCO and Corporal heard cracking noises and made their way to the sound when they were hit by an explosion. The NCO was seriously wounded but the Corporal made it through without a scratch. Sgt. Stokely, however, wasn't so lucky.

You can read more about Sgt. Michael Stokely here and here.

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 Should Not Only Mourn These Men And Women Who Died, We Should Also Thank God That Such People Lived

This post is part of the Wednesday Hero Blogroll. To find out more about Wednesday Hero, you can go here.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

8/14 Morning Report

Of course, today’s MSM feeding frenzy is all about Karl Rove’s resignation. But, there are many more pressing problems that should have America’s attention, and western society in general.

Did any one notice the rally in Jakarta calling for a single Islamic caliphate? According to this BBC report, over 100,000 gathered to support the idea. The idea of uniting all the Islamic world into one state is not new. In fact, the organizing group (Hizb ut-Tahrir) was formed in 1953. It is a Sunni organization, strongly anti-Israel. It has also been banned in several Arab and Asian countries. This is a harbinger that western society is not grasping. Here is my question: since we cannot get 100,000 gathered to agree on one thing, how are we going to combat that kind of unity?

Want some implications here in America? How about The Khalil Gibran International Academy in New York City? Or perhaps you should consider this statement by American al Qaeda militant Adam Gadahn:

"The amount of respect we have for your international law is even less than the respect you hold for defined shariah, and our observance of it is comparable to your observance of shariah," he said, referring to Islamic law.
Or, maybe, we should look at the idea that defensive Jihad is considered a viable defense strategy in US courts. (…this time, it was rejected by the judge…but what might that mean for the future…)

The wake up calls keep coming. When will the West answer the phone?

Saturday, August 11, 2007

The Electoral College...And The New York Times

According to the New York Times, the major political parties are trying to divide up the electoral votes in a new and exciting way. The votes will be apportioned by the congressional district, not based on who wins the majority vote of the state. And, many Democrats believe the Republicans started it.

When state Democratic leaders from around the country meet this weekend in Vermont, the California chairman, Art Torres, expects to be peppered with the sort of questions that have been clogging his in-box for weeks.

What is this about Republicans trying to change the way Electoral College votes are allocated in California? Is there a countereffort by Democrats in the works? What does it mean for presidential candidates?
It is interesting to note that, while the Republicans are doing this in California, the Democrats tabled their own attempt at it earlier this summer.
In the North Carolina legislature, Democrats nearly signed off on a similar measure this summer, until the national party chairman, Howard Dean, stepped in to get the issue tabled for the session.
The issue comes down to what decides who gets the electoral votes to be president. And, at least according to the NYT, the Republicans are the real bad guys.

The Electoral College system has always been an indirect system for selecting the President. The idea being, as expressed by several founding fathers, was that popular rule (selection by the popular vote) would not serve the best interests of the country.
They also questioned how the average citizen in one part of the country would know much about a candidate from another part. So they created the "Electoral College" to cast the official, determining votes. These electors are supposedly "eminent men" [keeping in mind that women did not vote until the 1920s], educated and well-informed community leaders.
The idea was that these eminent leaders would gather and debate with possible outcome being changed votes and outcomes. It was not, originally, a winner take all system in the States based on the popular vote of the voters, as it is today. Electors were to be chosen by each state. How they were chosen was left to the States. However, the electors would then cast their votes. But, as originally designed, the system would really only work without political parties and without national campaigns. And, that only lasted through four elections. A couple of key points about that system were:
(1) Each State's Electors were required to meet in their respective States rather than all together in one great meeting. This arrangement, it was thought, would prevent bribery, corruption, secret dealing, and foreign influence.
(2) In order to prevent Electors from voting only for a "favorite son" of their own State, each Elector was required to cast two votes for president, at least one of which had to be for someone outside their home State. The idea, presumably, was that the winner would likely be everyone's second favorite choice.
(3) The person with the most electoral votes, provided that it was an absolute majority (at least one over half of the total), became president. Whoever obtained the next greatest number of electoral votes became vice president - an office which they seem to have invented for the occasion since it had not been mentioned previously in the Constitutional Convention.
Once again, it shows the system was not supposed to be an all-or-nothing system of election.

The 12th amendment changed that system to the casting of a single vote for President and another single vote for Vice-President. It also stipulated that, in cases of ties, the House of Representatives will choose the President and the Senate the Vice president. That amendment did not change any other aspects of the Electoral College. What it accomplished, though, was the solidification of the two party system.

At issue today is the choosing and importance of the electors. Little is done by them that is not already rubber stamped. Which brings up the principle current problem of the system: Should more populous areas have total control of presidential election system? That is what is going on in California and North Carolina, and other states as well. Many feel the Electoral College system is outdated and no longer belongs. I would argue that, as originally designed—with some modifications for the party systems we have in our country—the system is still valid and necessary. I see the efforts to divide up the States electoral votes by districts, and the predominant vote therein, as a return to that system. I also recognize there are problems. Gerrymandering of districts, for example, by both sides is one major roadblock to this type of system.

I invite any reader to weigh in with their comments. Please feel free to cite references if you have them. And, try to be civil. I reserve the right to delete comments if they get too wild and ugly.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

8/9 Morning Report

Well, it’s been a busy week, so I’ll just highlight a couple of things from my RSS feeds and email box from the last couple of days…

Yesterday, the BBC reported that Musharraf and Pakistani tribal elders will not attend a 3-day tribal council for peace taking place in Kabul.

Up to 700 tribal elders, Islamic clerics and leaders of both countries are invited to the council, starting on Thursday, which will discuss terrorism.

The Taleban have not been included, and are calling for a boycott of the event.
This does not indicate good news for stability in the region. Another report, this via Reuters, said President Pervez Musharraf may declare a state of emergency. Musharraf is trying to stay in power after the elections occur next year. And, he does have a lot of obstacles to doing so. Still, the rumor was announced by private Pakistani television channels, which would be the equivalent of our major networks.
(…not denying it could be a true story…but there is an obvious ax being ground here…)

Meanwhile, also yesterday, the UN can’t seem to make up it’s mind…again.
The union believes UN personnel will not be properly protected by US-led forces in the country.

The call comes as UN officials prepare to pass a draft resolution giving the organisation an expanded role in Iraq.
The UN has had a much reduced role in Iraqq since December 2003. Terrorists drove them out. And now, they clamor for the US to do this and that. The US admits it can’t and needs help in some areas. But, the UN talks out of both sides of their moths…again. Of course, with the Shia of Iraq and Iran getting cozier by the day that may all be a dead issue.
(…and, remember…even CNN said it would be a bad thing for the US to just leave Iraq…)

Not to be outdone, Clinton and Obama continue to exchange gaffs. Last week, Obama got zinged for his stance on nuclear weapons and terrorism. Sir Hillary Clinton has made a lot of hay on that, despite the fact that she said the same thing about nukes and Iran last year.
(…it’s so refreshing to see the MSM show the true colors of liberals…)

On the other side of the political aisle, Bush has unveiled a new slate of immigration proposals. I do applaud the ideas. Tougher fines for employers…better record keeping of departing foreign nationals…more gangs automatically denied entry…reduced processing times… These are all wonderful ideas. But, honestly, I don’t see this going farther than the last attempted “reform.”
(…just ask Farmers Branch, Texas…their great work is quickly turning into not worth the effort…)

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Wednesday Hero

This Week's Soldier Was Suggested By Gary

Col. James W. Harrison Jr.
Col. James W. Harrison Jr.
47 years old from Missouri
U.S. Army Command and General Staff College, Combined Forces Command Afghanistan
May 6, 2007

Duty, Honor, Country. Col. James Harrison Jr. embodied that ethos, said his family. He was committed to the mission of the United States in Afghanistan and spoke with great pride about the accomplishments of the men and women with which he served

Col. Harrison was killed on May 6 when a Taliban fighter, dressed as an Afghan police officer, shot him at point blank range at Pul-e-Charkhi prison near Kabul. Also killed along side Col. Harrison was Master Sgt. Wilberto Sabalu Jr. and two other soldiers were wounded. All four men were working as mentors to Afghan troops providing external security for the prison.

Harrison graduated from the U.S. Military Academy in 1981. He also graduated from the Military Police Basic and Advanced courses, the Combined Arms and Services Staff School, the Command and General Staff College, the Army Inspector General Course, and the Industrial College of the Armed Forces. He earned a Master of Business Administration from Syracuse University and a Master of Science degree in national security and strategic studies from the National Defense University. Before going to Afghanistan in December 2006, he was assigned to Fort Leavenworth as director of the School for Command Preparation at the Command and General Staff College.

He is survived by his wife and three sons.

To read a letter from the Afghan general in charge of the detention facility, visit Amy Proctor's site.

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 Should Not Only Mourn These Men And Women Who Died, We Should Also Thank God That Such People Lived

This post is part of the Wednesday Hero Blogroll. To find out more about Wednesday Hero, you can go here.

Friday, August 03, 2007

8/3 Morning Report

Libya is still big in the news. Bulgaria is waiving $57 million in debt! Well, sort of. They are putting the money into a fund for HIV victims in Libya—which means Kadfi gets the money twice! What a reward for falsely accusing and imprisoning people! Meanwhile, France and Libya are doing an arms deal! Isn’t that special? Makes me really feel safe again. But, then again, money does talk…

One deal for 168 million euros was for Milan anti-tank missiles and the other for 128 million euros was for communications systems, the source had said.
(…really makes me think highly of EADS…which after the Airbus problems, isn’t saying much…)

And, not to be outdone, the French even thumbed their noses at the international community.
Rwanda is shocked by a French appeals court ruling that freed two Rwandans indicted by Kigali and an international court over the country's 1994 genocide, and its foreign minister called the decision absurd on Thursday.
The two men were freed on a technicality. It seems the French appeals court believes they can only be arrested if the international court was making a judgment, and in this case it was asking for arrest pending any decision.
(…how utterly compassionate…and stupid…I hope no one epxects they’ll stop bashing Americans after this farce of justice…)

Speaking of legal surprises, and the US, it seems more and more doctors are citing religious reasons for not doing certain procedures or prescribing certain drugs.
More than half the states in the past two years have debated expanding legal protections for health care providers, including pharmacists who refuse to fill prescriptions for the "morning after" pill. Two states have passed them.
I’m sure there are a lot of surprised people reading this article. The media has let us believe there is little or no resistance along these lines. But, more and more often, it is ending up in court.
Most disputes arise out of beginning-of-life and end-of-life issues, such as assisted suicide. No doctor is required to perform particular treatments.

The collision between religious freedom and rules against discrimination occurs when physicians perform procedures selectively, offering them to some patients but withholding them from others, says Jill Morrison, legal counsel to the National Women's Law Center.

This year in a case generating wide interest, the California Supreme Court will hear a first-of-its-kind lawsuit: fertility treatment denied to a lesbian.

In Washington state, a gay man recently settled out of court with a doctor who refused to prescribe him Viagra.
Honestly, I fail to see why these two ended up in court. If this type of sexual life is natural, fertility treatments do not apply since only by intercourse with the opposite sex (ie. male-female, penis-vagina) can procreation take place. It seems more of an argument against the naturality of it than anything else.
(…personally, I just see it as a strong statement about our selfishness as Americans…)

Meanwhile, the legal scene over the Minneapolis bridge collapse is just starting to heat up. No surprise that information about lack of oversight or negligence is suddenly coming to the surface. Recriminations are flying in all directions:
White House press secretary Tony Snow said while the inspection didn't indicate the bridge was at risk of failing, "if an inspection report identifies deficiencies, the state is responsible for taking corrective actions."


Gov. Tim Pawlenty responded Thursday by ordering an immediate inspection of all bridges in the state with similar designs, but said the state was never warned that the bridge needed to be closed or immediately repaired.
And, there are over 70,000 more with an estimated repair price tag of $188 billion.
(…and we wonder why they haven’t all been repaired yet…reminds me of how badly oil refineries need to be upgraded…and the price tag for that…)

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

8/1 Wednesday Hero

This Weeks Soldier Was Suggested By Cynthia

Master Sgt. Michael Wert
Master Sgt. Michael Wert (Left)
35 years old from Saginaw, Michigan
2nd Marine Aircraft Wing
May 5, 2007

Master Sgt. Michael Wert, an intelligence chief for the 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing at Cherry Point in Havelock, N.C., was vacationing on an early May weekend with his family at the beach when he saw two boys struggling in the surf.

His wife, Debbie, said her husband rushed into the water to help while she went to call 911. Their daughter, Katrina, grabbed a boogie board and followed Wert into the water. She managed to help the boys onto the board, but didn't see her dad with them. One of the boys told her that he (Wert) had to let them go and had died.

The rescue team found Wert, brought him to shore and tried to revive him. As they worked, strangers prayed with the family and comforted the Wert children.

Wert was six days shy of celebrating his 36th birthday.

Wert joined the Marines in 1989 after graduating from Alma High School, in Saginaw, MI, where he was a cross-country runner. He served in Operation Desert Storm and supported Operation Iraqi Freedom.

As the 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing intelligence chief, he gracefully accepted the role as the go-to guy for his Marines. He was the one who helped his major’s son build a pinewood derby car while the officer was deployed. He knew when babies were born in the command. He kept up with birthdays and anniversaries. He was the first to greet Marines getting off the plane after a tour in Iraq. "He was always there to help," Lt. Col. William Conley, commander of Marine Wing Headquarters Squadron 2 said at a memorial service for Wert. "Master Sergeant Wert responded to the need for help. As always, he didn’t hesitate — he went to help. He tragically lost his own life in doing so."

"I admired him for his commitment to service and the Marine Corps," said Col. Kathy Tate. "We know he was a hero every day."

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 Should Not Only Mourn These Men And Women Who Died, We Should Also Thank God That Such People Lived

This post is part of the Wednesday Hero Blogroll. To find out more about Wednesday Hero, you can go here.