“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”

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Pro Choice And Verizon

Verizon has reversed it’s stand on Pro-Abortion text messaging. At issue was whether it should allow NARAL to use a text messaging program via Verizon systems. It would have been a sign-up program. Verizon originally said no. And, though the article doesn’t say it, they were probably the victim of a lot of pressure.

But, the issue is not that Verizon caved to Naral. In fact, it’s probably a good thing that they did. It opens a wider debate. There is a much deeper issue at play here. Would they, or any other carrier, do the same for Pro-Life groups? The pro-abortion message has no problem getting media presentation. That presentation leaves out a lot of details regarding legal abortions—lack of medical oversight, lack of medical responsibility for errors, deliberate exclusion of parents and guardians, etc. How much will the Pro-choice groups scream when the political realm of texting begins to involve conservative agendas? Will they be as welcoming and tolerant of the process then?

Given their history, I am not counting on it. But, that is the real issue. And, that is what must be fought for.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Personal Note

For those who are once again wondering about the scarcity of posts, I have a pinched nerve in my left arm. I will be having surgery to correct it in about ten days. Until then, aside from work, i will be doing as little typing as possible.

Thanks for your continued reading. And, of course, your prayers.

Wednesday Hero

Lance Cpl. Cory Jamieson
Lance Cpl. Cory Jamieson
Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania
Personal Security Detachment, Headquarters and Support Company, Task Force 1st Battalion, 4th Marine Regiment, attached to Regimental Combat Team 2

Hippocrates once said, "Art is long, life is short".

Cpl. Jeremy David Allbaugh lived a short life. But, he was immortalized recently in acrylics by a Lance Cpl. Jamieson who painted a mural in his honor.
"I feel sad because it is for him, but it makes me happy because I can still do something for him," said Lance Cpl. Jamieson. "I thought about it during the ceremony in the chapel. I looked up at the stained glass windows and I thought 'I should do something like that'".

Along with help from family, a fellow Marine and a Morale, Wefare and Recreation manager, Jamieson had the paint and tools needed.

"I would paint eight or nine hours in the gym and time would fly by," Jamieson said.

Cpl. Jeremy David Allbaugh, 21 years old from Luther, Oklahoma, was killed by a roadside bomb on July 5, 2007 while conducting combat operations in Qaim, Iraq.

"He believed very strongly in what our country's doing," said his mother, Jenifer Allbaugh. "They were doing good things over there, and we don't see that in the news or media. There's a lot of progress being made. I wish more people would talk to our boys who are in it and not our politicians because they see it firsthand".

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. For more information about Wednesday Hero, or if you would like to post it on your blog, you can go here.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

9/19 Wednesday Hero

1st Lt. Forrest P. Ewens
1st Lt. Forrest P. Ewens
26 years old from Tonasket, Washington
1st Battalion, 32nd Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division (Light Infantry)
June 16, 2006

The love of Megan Ewens's life arrived at Arlington National Cemetery on July 7, 2006. His ashes inside a small wooden box, the box inside a coffin, the coffin draped with an American flag and carried on a caisson pulled by six black horses.

Lt. Forrest P. Ewens had shipped out for Afghanistan in March of that same year. His wife, being the same rank in the Army, understood the risks, telling a colonel at Fort Drum, N.Y., that if anything happened to her husband, she didn't want to hear about it from a stranger.

On June 6, 2006 Lt. Ewens and Sgt. Ian T. Sanchez were killed when ATV struck an IED while on combat operation in Pech River Valley, Afghanistan.

A few weeks before his death, Lt. Ewens called his wife from an Afghan mountain to inform her that his unit had been subsisting on melted snow and rations and that he had been writing his impressions down in a notebook he carried.

"This was the love of her life," Megan Ewens's mother said. "They were so well-matched and made such a good team. We couldn't ask for a better son-in-law."

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. For more information about Wednesday Hero, or if you would like to post it on your blog, you can go here.

Friday, September 14, 2007

9/14 Morning Report

Why is everyone so surprised that Bush stated the war in Iraq will stretch beyond his administration? When it all started, he said it would be years before this was completed. Admittedly, he thought it would be around the end of his administration at the time. I seem to recall hearing others who thought it would be longer. Nevertheless, he was up front about it. Our problem, as Americans, is we are so short sighted on the future. We tend to think everything can be solved quickly and efficiently, when in fact the problem really requires a long term fix. I really snorted over the MSM’s idea that Bush is “finally agreeing to troop cuts”. The truth is he is following the directives of the man he put in charge, General Petraeus, just like he promised. You might want to check out Frederick Kagan’s view of how the surge has gone. He is believed to be it’s chief architect.

The assassination of Abdul-Sattar Abu Risha is a blow to Coalition efforts.

On Thursday, Bush spokeswoman Dana Perino said Abu Risha "was one of the first to come forward to want to work with the United States to repel al-Qaeda."

"Remember, al-Qaeda was killing some of the sheiks' children and, in one instance, severed several heads from young children and put them in a cooler to deliver to the sheiks," Perino said. "This is the type of enemy that we're dealing with."

She said that while the death was not a setback to the U.S. efforts in Anbar, U.S. officials would "have to redouble our efforts to work with the local populations to get the support they need to prevent other such murders."
At the same time, it is also a blow to al-Qaeda forces in Iraq. It has seriously damaged al-Qaeda’s efforts to separate Iraqis and Coalition forces. Of course, they haven’t been doing themselves any favors through their murderous deeds among the people. Michael Yon did a great job of documenting some of it—though the rest of the media has not paid nearly enough attention. It has left the American people thinking al-Qaeda is not a major presence in Iraq.
(…but we trust the MSM to tell us everything that matters…right?...yeah, sure whatever…)

The good news of the day is someone is hitting back at MoveOn.org. After their “Betray Us” ad denouncing Petraeus’s as yet unmade Congressional testimony, Freedom's Watch is mounting a multimillion dollar ad campaign against the liberal foul-mouth piece. Democrats as yet have not denounced the campaing, although Sen. John Kerry (?) did cal it “over the top.” And, how is the liberal media reacting?
The Hill reports that presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani, who criticized the ad as "abominable," is asking The Times for the “same heavily discounted rate they gave MoveOn.org” for an ad.

The New York Post has reported that The Times charged MoveOn $65,000 instead of its standard $181,000 for the ad. The Times, according to Reuters, responded that there are many different categories of ads, with varying rates depending on variables such as multiple buys.
(…I’m glad there is no bias in the media…aren’t you?...)

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

9/12 Wednesday Heroes

Staff Sgt. Richard P. Ramey
Staff Sgt. Richard P. Ramey
27 years old from Canton, Ohio
703rd Ordinance Compan, supporting the 82nd Airborne Division
February 8, 2004

Richard Ramey always knew what he was going to be. Once, while in the third grade, his teacher asked him what he wanted to do when he grew up. His response? "I’ll go to war and fight" Concerned by his answer, his teacher called his mother, Julie Ramey. She told her "No, that's my son".

SSgt. Ramey was killed when insurgents attacked his and other convoys in Mahmudiyah, Iraq.

"Richard loved to do his job. No matter where it would take him," said his mother. "He really felt deeply that he wanted to protect people that couldn’t protect themselves"

In a statement released through Fort Knox, the Ramey family said, "He was adventurous and smart, combining both qualities in what he did for the Army. We knew his work was dangerous but also knew he wouldn’t have wanted to do anything else".

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. For more information about Wednesday Hero, or if you would like to post it on your blog, you can go here.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Where Were You...

Everyone is asking each other these days, "Where were you? Do you remember?" AS if we could ever forget....

I was driving into work. I remember it was the day of the week I usually spent the morning in quiet prayer. I wish I could say I was doing some super spiritual thing--praying protection for the president or whatever. But, honestly, I don't remember praying over anything specific before I left the house. Anyway, I was oblivious to what was going on.

I was actually just getting on the highway when something didn't feel right. I noticed there was very little traffic, considering the time of day (late rush-hour). I normally leave the radio off on the way to work and enjoy the quiet. But, I turned it on then. And, my blood froze.

It actually took a few minutes to figure out what was going on. Then, it was everything I could do not to cry, so I could keept seeing well enough to drive. The only thing I could manage was a strangled cry, "Oh, God! Help them!" I just repeated it over and over. I arrived at work and let myself just cry in the parking lot for a bit. I think the south tower fell as I went inside.

Through out the day I alternated the mantra, "Just carry on," in my head, and with the heart cry, "Oh, God! Help them!" The term "Them" kept taking on a different identity--the families of the lost, or the police and firemen, or the survivors. A lot of the time, though, it was just a blind cry to God.

I remember little of work that day. I know I did my job. I remember my wife called me to see if I had heard the news. I remember going by the sales office at one point. They had a TV hooked up. I saw a live picture of the North tower burning, but still standing. I had a recurring flashback all day about my high school graduation dinner. My parents took the family to the restaurant on the top floor of the Trade Center. And, I remember crying when the second tower fell. In fact, I remember crying several times through out the day. I remember barely being able to talk most of the time. And, I remember calling home just to tell my wife I loved her and ask about the kids.

I remember thinking of friends I had in New Jersey, during high school. I hadn't thought of them much over the years. We lost touch and moved around a lot in the years afterwards. But, back in high school, many of them had parents who worked in the City. I cried wondering if any of those I'd known worked their now. And, whether any of them were gone.

But, that's all I can honestly tell you about that day.

The thing I remember most happened at church that evening. Many there had to talk through the hurt and fear and anguish. I just cried quiet tears. Until an ex-Marine (please don't give me an arguement on there being no such thing here, ok) told of being at work--as an air traffic controller. He described the tears as they pulled out the book on how to ground all the planes in the air. He told of how his son, also a Marine, called as he boarded a ship--unable to tell his dad where he was going. The son simply called to say he loved his dad. I thought of my daughter, who had just entered military service. That ex-Marine and I looked at each other and cried.

That's where I was. Sounds pretty mundane. I know a lot of people had a similar day. I know there were many who experienced much worse. But, I also know no one was untouched by it all. I also realize there is a bigger question. And, it's a question that, personally, I don't have an answer for.

Where am I now? Even as I write this, I'm feeling the same deep ache all over again. And, I'm crying those same anguished tears. Yes, it still hurts with an intesity I can't describe. It hurts partly because there's been no closure to it all. It also hurts because the terrorist's goal was achieved. You see, despite my faith in Christ, I am very much afraid it will happen again.

So, where are you now?

9/11 Morning Report

The big news, of course, is General Petraeus’s testimony to Congress.Simply put, the military is achieving it’s objectives via the surge, and that major or total withdrawals should wait until Spring 2008. While the GAO reports that 4 of 18 objectives are actually achieved, Petraeus clearly shows several other military objectives are well in progress. The part that concerned me was:

In Baghdad, Iraqi government spokesman Ali al-Dabbagh responded to Petraeus’ comments by saying that Iraq would be comfortable with a gradual withdrawal of U.S. troops as long as it was first discussed with the Iraqi government.
That statement indicates the Iraqis realize how much they can actually control US decisions. It indicates that Democrats may not be far off the beam when they cry for real measuring points of Iraqi progress, and that the US hold them to it. This is supported by Ambassodor Cocker’s testimony, following Petraeus.
"A secure, stable, democratic Iraq at peace with its neighbors is, in my view, attainable," he said. "The cumulative trajectory of political, economic, and diplomatic developments in Iraq is upwards, although the slope of that line is not steep."

Of course, Democrats in Congress snubbed Gen. Petraeus’s testimony out of hand. Pelosi called his proposals “unacceptable,” including a rather substantial troop withdrawal this year. Rep. Tom Lantos, chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, even called it a “token withdrawal.” Personally, I loved Petraeus’s response:
“What I recommended was a very substantial withdrawal,” the general replied evenly from the witness chair, his uniform adorned by four gleaming general’s stars and nine rows of medals. “Five Army brigade combat teams, a Marine Expeditionary Unit and two Marine battalions represent a very significant force.”
Republicans also called on Democrats to denounce the work of MoveOn.Org in their “Betray Us” campaign. None of them have, although none have endorsed it either.
(…like I really expect them to give up that kind of media benefit to their campaigns…)

In other Iraq news, the US is building a base on the Iran border.
The base will be located about four miles from the Iranian border and will be used for at least two years, according to the report. U.S. officials told the paper it is unclear whether it will be among the small number of facilities that would remain in Iraq after any future large-scale U.S. withdrawal.


Lynch told the paper, “We’ve got a major problem with Iranian munitions streaming into Iraq. This Iranian interference is troubling and we have to stop it.”

U.S. officials accuse Iran of fomenting violence to destabilize Iraq and of seeking to build nuclear weapons under cover of civilian nuclear program, charges Iran denies.
(…wonder what the liberals will make of that…)

Meanwhile, Georgia is increasing its troop commitment to Iraq. And, finally, it seems al-Qaeda wanted Bosnia for a European base.
(…any acknowledgement that there might be some benefit for being in Iraq from the left on this…???...)

Saturday, September 08, 2007

9/8 Morning Report

Spoiling Petraeus’s report yesterday that gains are being made, but they are in a fragile state, come the Osama video. The only surprise was unlike his 2004 video, this one lacks any threats. He made two statements, one of which has no bearing on reality. He called the killing of insurgents and terrorists who murder innocent women and children wrong. The removal of murders is wrong? That’s frightening because he and his followers sincerely believe it. Somewhat more disturbing, and perhaps more realistically possible, he said the way to bring this to an end is for America to convert to Islam.

Meanwhile, as Reuters reports, General Petraus’s report is a mixed bag.

"Up front, my sense is that we have achieved tactical momentum and wrested the initiative from our enemies in a number of areas of Iraq. The result has been progress in the security arena, although it has, as you know, been uneven," Petraeus wrote to coalition forces.

But he said Iraqi politicians had not made the gains hoped for when the Bush administration added 30,000 U.S. troops to the war under the "surge" strategy.
There are, of course, no real surprises in the letter released to the troops in advance of his testimony to Congress. Many sources, mainstream and independent, have been saying this in one form or another. Unfortunately, the Democrats are already set to denounce it.
In advance of Petraeus' appearance, the No. 2 Democrat in the Senate charged the general was part of a Bush administration attempt to mislead the public with manipulated information to show the current strategy a success.

"By carefully manipulating the statistics, the Bush-Petraeus report will try to persuade us that violence in Iraq is decreasing and thus the surge is working," said Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois.
Many liberal officials have been in the news for the last month saying everything has failed and to expect just such a thing as
Durbin described, should we be surprised there has been no change?
(…and they say conservatives have closed minds…)

And, here in the States, Sir Hillary is having legal problems again. Just weeks after suspicions were raised about contributions to her Presidential campaign, a court in California will hear arguments about a possible illegal fundraiser for her Senate campaign in 2000. The principle issue is the inclusion of a video tape where Clinton is acknowledging direct involvement with what would constitute an illegal fundraising act. The judicial panel will consist of two Democrats and one Republican.
(…I’m interested to see where this does…and how much Bush bashing goes on to drown out the whole event…)

Of course, given the political hey made over the Republican campaing contribution scandals, the MSM is soft peddling the damage of Mr. Hsu for Democratic campaigns. After failing to show up in California court again, he was found on a train in Colorado…ill. Despite several felony charges and a long history of questionable activity, the media still paints him as a poor unfortunate—instead of the criminal he is. Meanwhile, Democratic candidates are painted as heroes for offering to give the contributions he gave them to charity.
(…I thought if it was illegal for one, it was illegal for all…must be nice to be Democrat and able to make the laws do what you want…)

And, finally, I missed some sad news reported by Any Soldier on 30 August:
Maj. Henry S. Ofeciar, 37, of Agana, Guam, died Aug. 27 at Forward Operating Base Naray, Afghanistan, from wounds suffered when insurgents attacked their unit during combat operations in Jalalabad, Afghanistan. He was assigned to the 1st Brigade, 1st Infantry Division, Fort Riley, Kan.
Major Ofeciar, 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.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

9/5 Wednesday Hero

Sgt. Willard T. Partridge
Sgt. Willard T. Partridge
35 years old from Ferriday, Louisiana
170th Military Police Company, 504th Military Police Battalion, 42nd Military Police Brigade
August 20, 2005

Sgt. Partridge was killed by an IED that exploded near his vehicle in Baghdad, Iraq.

There isn't that much information about Sgt. Partridge so I though I would share some of the memories that his friends and family have of him.

"I remember Partridge from basic training and AIT. He was a very quiet guy who had a good sense of humor. I remember asking him why he joined, and he told me it was so he could take care of his family and give them a better life. I would have deployed with him any day, he was one of the good guys I graduated with. He will not be forgotten. God Bless."

"Todd was one of the best men I have ever met and I will always have great memories and admiration for him! My thoughts and prayers go out to his family!"

"I will never forget you and those awful eighteen weeks at Fort Leonard Wood. You are in every sense of the term, 'A HERO'"

"Todd was such a quite, solid person. He never demanded the attention of those around him. I remember him always just smiling while everyone else at our LARGE FAMILY get togethers made noise. I could get a hug from him, but I had to ask for it. He never assumed anything. I loved making him hug me.

Todd was a solid, faithful husband, father and man in every respect. He did what had to be done in all areas of his life. He died doing what he knew to be his job in this life. Not that he wanted to die but he wanted to serve whatever the cost might be. He knew that freedom is not free and wanted to pay his part for that freedom for himself, his wife and girls.

I have nothing but love and respect for Todd's memory and will always proudly and thankfully count him among my nephews that adore. His memory will always be honored. I thank God that He brought Todd into our family. He left his mark on it just as he did everywhere he went."

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, September 04, 2007

The Jesus Painting

(...Christian or not...you have to admit this man's work is creative...It was posted about a year ago, but I am encouraged every time I watch it...if you are a Christian, I hope this stirs your faith, as it does mine...)

Monday, September 03, 2007

09/03 Morning Report

What really stinks is that, due to media bias, an announcement had to be made that the British withdrawal is not a defeat. Even stronger language was used at Reuters. Their headline reads ”British Forces Quit Basra”, and is equally off the mark with other media entries. Is the move symbolic? Absolutely. It says much about Iraqi forces becoming ready. Preplanned? Probably. Even the US admits it has plans for troop withdrawals. The end? Not likely. There are still many things that need to come together. The Iraqi government and people have a long road ahead of them.

So do the Lebanese. Despite this weekend’s victory, there is still a lot to do. Militants may have lost the camp, but they are still entrenched, deeply so, in many parts of Lebanon—especially along the Israeli border. Still, you’ve got to love the picture the New York times put with the article.

(…if that doesn’t say what people think of the militants…I mean terrorists…what does?...)

Meanwhile, there’s been a new propaganda ploy by the North Koreans. They claim the US has agreed to take North Korea off the terror list. In fact, most of this article is about what the North Koreans are saying along those lines. Towards the end, it says only two things that matter.

(1) that Pyongyang had agreed to declare and disable all its nuclear facilities by the end of this year.
(2) Mr Hill (chief Washington negotiator) has so far made no mention of Washington considering taking North Korea off its list of countries it believes support terrorism.
I would say those are significantly different from what the Communists are claiming.

In other Washington news, the blame game and one-up-manship continues in the Sen. Larry Craig situation. Democrats (…duh…) are making political hay saying the Republicans are using a double standard. It’s an attempt to compare the Craig and Vittell stories. They even go so far as to say Republicans only act when they know they won’t lose a seat in Congress. The truth is Vittell’s guilt has not been proven, while Craig admitted his. And, while I admit I am taking this remark out of context, it applies becaue it is true. Democratic Senate campaign chief Charles Schumer, speaking on the lack of Republican ethics reform, said:
"What the American people are looking for is not a blame game, but who is trying to clean it up. For six years, there was no ethics reform."
he is, of course, absolutely correct. But, we want it from both parties.
(…and all other politicians for that matter…)

Finally, in an odd news report, a recent study showed psychiatrists are the least religious people in the US. I’m bothered by the fact that someone thought a study needed doing in order to prove that.
(…well, we waste money on far crazier studies than that I guess…)