“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, November 30, 2007

11/30 Morning Report...delayed

As expected, the new Australian PM has declared they will be out of Iraq by mid-2008. Kevin Rudd still calls the U.S. our ‘great friend and allay.” But, the liberal Pm has made his stance on Iraq clear :

He has previously described the decision to go to war in Iraq as the "single greatest error" of Australian national security and foreign policy decision-making since the Vietnam war.
The 550 Australian troops are in the south of Iraq, providing much needed security, and training Iraqi forces. Bush is worried their abrupt withdrawal would send the wrong signal to insurgent and terrorist forces.

Meanwhile, the NYTimes finally recognized that Iraqi refugees are trying to return home. Of course, they only recognized after a problem was found! U.S. military officials are worried that no plan exists to re-absorb these people back into society. Over the last few weeks, attacks against military and civilian targets have dropped to the lowest since 2006. The real concern is the influx may spark increased violence.
“All these guys coming back are probably going to find somebody else living in their house,” said Col. William Rapp, a senior aide to Gen. David H. Petraeus, the top American commander in Iraq.
The expectation is that sectarian rifts will flare all over again as, for example, Sunnis or Shiites return to neighborhoods they fled in fear because of actions by the other sect against them. The other guys are still there.

(…this will be a true test of Iraqi government…I hope they can pass it…)

In other Middle East news, if you doubt the power that Iran and it’s lackeys, Hamas and Hezbollah, have in the Middle East peace process, you should read Time’s “Can Iran And Hamas Sink Annapolis.” The article details how Iran and these groups have used violence and intimidation to repeatedly undo the peace process. And, no surprise, the Iranians are still not making any nuclear concessions.

(…still think Ahmadinejad is a pretty nice guy who is just misunderstood?…like most of the media portray him?...)

Closer to home, could the media be talking us into a recession? Some people are wondering. And, it may be worth giving serious thought to the power of the words we use. There is no question that calling a child worthless repeatedly will build that mindset. Well, if all we hear from the media is “recession”, what might happen...simply because we act on what we hear repeatedly? Food for thought.

(…not to mention the liberal agenda the media pushes constantly…are we surprised that liberalism is spreading?...of course, the media thinks we should be…)

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

11/28 Wednesday Hero: Antwan Walker

Sgt. Antwan L. Walker
Sgt. Antwan L. Walker
22 years old from Tampa, Florida
2nd Forward Support Battalion, 2nd Infantry Division
May 18, 2005

Sgt. Antwan Walker was excited about coming home from Iraq to celebrate his 23rd birthday with his family and friends. His mother, Andrea Pringle, was busy planning the party when an Army official unexpectedly came to her house.

She said he told her Thursday that her son was killed the previous day by a bomb blast in Ramadi. The Department of Defense hasn't publicly confirmed his death.

Sgt. Antwan Walker, known as Twan to his friends and family, joined the Army in 2000. Pringle said her son joined to earn money for college.

"Twan had a lot of goals in life," She said. "He was very ambitious and very smart."

Sgt. Walker had been in Iraq for about a year. He called his family often but didn't want to talk about war. Instead, he talked about starting a real estate career and his three children.

"He was such a good dad," his mother said. "All he wanted to do was make a good life for his kids."

In April 2005, Walker wanted to talk about the fighting. He told his mother five soldiers he was traveling with were killed. His phone calls became more frequent after that.

Pringle said she had days when she couldn't eat or sleep because of her worries. But she never forgot to give her son her support.

"I always told him I'm proud and be safe".

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, November 27, 2007

11/27 Morning Report

Isn’t it encouraging that Iran has TWO long range missiles? Modeled after Chinese and North Korean devices, and some modified US weaponry, these rockets can reach targets up to 1250 miles away! Isn’t that exciting!

(…oh, but don’t worry about those nuclear non-compliance issues…Iran has no military ambitions…besides the declared purpose of wiping Israel off the map…)

The White House announced a deal with Iraq to define long term relations issues. That is somewhat god news. Among the issues in the agreement is the legal status of American troops in Iraq, and how local law applies to them. Given recent incidents, such as the Blackwater shootings, having those issues defined is critical. The agreement pledges to extend the UN mandate “one final year.” Politically, this is tough for Maliki since it magnifies belief among some Iraqis that they do not govern their own nation. Still, many Iraqis don’t want American forces to leave, yet. In the agreement, the US pledges continued support to Iraq militarily and economically. The signal of the agreement, though, is that Iraq is stronger, and able to take on more serious matters. And, that is a huge step forward.

(…wonder what kind of hay the lefties will make out of this…I have to admit, even the NY Times wasn’t overly negative about this one…surprise, surprise, surprise…does leave me wondering what else is in it…anyone want to fill in the blanks?...)

Meanwhile, riots have returned to France. Once again, the accidental death of two youths has sparked rioting against police.

Police sources have said that in Sunday's incident, the motorcycle was going at top speed and was not registered for street use, while the two teenagers were not wearing helmets and had been ignoring traffic rules.

The police car was on a routine patrol and the teenagers were not being chased by police at the time, the officials added. But local youths have said the police car's stoved-in bonnet suggests it rammed the teenagers.
A state prosecutor has ordered an investigation. But, after two days of rioting, it appears that police are being specifically ttargeted. And, there is reason to believe outside agitators may even be involved.
(…it couldn’t be the motorcyclist’s fault…no, of course not…after all the police are involved…should we call this a French consipiracy theory?...)

Saturday, November 24, 2007

11/24 Morning Report

Liberal rumblings are being heard in several countries. Australia’s Labor Party is claiming victory in the elections there. Conservatives are split. Prime Minister John Howard says Labor, dominated by trade unionists, would end the economic growth in Australia. That would be bad for Australians, as well as the global economy. But, what would a Labor victory mean for Americans?

[Kevin] Rudd has pledged to withdraw combat troops from Iraq and sign the Kyoto Protocol, further isolating Washington on both. The Mandarin-speaking former diplomat would also be expected to forge closer ties with China and other Asian nations.

Not good news.

The NY Times, meanwhile, feeding a Liberal bias, notes that market bombs spell the end of the lull. Showing that security can be undermined in “safe areas,” terrorists killed 8-13 people in the Ghazil animal market. It’s interesting that the Times puts all blame on the Bush administration. It makes no attempt to place blame on terrorists—those who wantonly kill innocent people for the sake of their desires. US military officials blamed Iran-backed militants. The bomb was packed with ball bearings, according to Rear Adm. Smith.
"In raids overnight, Iraqi and coalition forces were able to identify and detain four members of a militia extremist group we assess as responsible for this horrific act of indiscriminate violence," he said at a news conference. "Based on subsequent confessions, forensics and other intelligence, the bombing was the work of an Iranian-backed special groups cell operating here in Baghdad."

(…so, if Bush is a criminal…what does that make the bombers…or Iran? interestingly, the NYT does not say…)

Unfortunately, in Lebanon, things have become even more precarious. Unable to hold elections, due to actions by Hezbollah and other pro-Syrian opponents, President Emile Lahoud stepped down, appearing to declare a state of emergency. And, he handed power over to the army. His departure has been a long standing goal of anti-Syrian groups, who are trying to gain control of the presidency. In some ways, the hand over is sensible. The army has tried to stay neutral. But, the constitution requires the cabinet to declare any state of emergency. With the boycott of cabinet activities by Shiite/Hezbollah members, the legitimacy of government is on questionable ground. And, that leaves many afraid of violence breaking out on a greater scale.

(…it pointedly states things against Bush…yet against those who thwart the will of the Lebanese people—like Hezbollah--it says nothing…but, of course, there is no media bias…)

Thursday, November 22, 2007

If Dogs Sent Letters To God...

(...something fun for Thanksgiving...remember to say thanks for those who are standing in harm's way for their loved ones and their country somewhere on the earth...but especially our own soldiers...Happy Thanksgiving everyone...)


Dear God: Why do humans smell flowers, but seldom, if ever, smell one another?

Dear God: When we get to heaven, can we sit on your couch? Or is it the same old story?

Dear God: Why are there cars named after the Jaguar, the Cougar, the Mustang, the Colt, the Stingray, and the Rabbit, but not ONE named for a dog? How often do you see a Cougar riding around? We dogs love a nice ride! Would it be so hard to rename the 'Chrysler Eagle' the 'Chrysler Beagle'?

Dear God: If a dog barks his head off in the forest and no human hears him, is he still a bad dog?

Dear God: We dogs can understand human verbal instructions, hand signals, whistles, horns, clickers, beepers, scent IDs, electromagnetic energy fields, and Frisbee flight paths. What do humans understand?

Dear God: More meatballs, less spaghetti, please.

Dear God: When we get to the Pearly Gates, do we have to shake hands to get in?

Dear God: Are there mailmen in Heaven? If there are, will I have to apologize?

Dear God: In Heaven, will I still have to take the blame for people's farts?

Dear God: Let me give you a list of just some of the things I must remember to be a good dog:

1. I will not eat cat's food before they eat it or after they throw it up.

2. I will not roll on dead seagulls, fish, crabs, etc., just because I like the way they smell.

3. I will not munch on "leftovers" in the kitty litter box; although they are tasty, they are not food.

4. The diaper pail is not a cookie jar.

5. The sofa is not a face towel; neither are Mom and dad's laps.

6. The garbage collector is not stealing our stuff.

7. My head does not belong in the refrigerator.

8. I will not bite the officers hand when he reaches in for mom's Drivers License and registration.

9. I will not play tug-of-war with dad's underwear when he's on the toilet.

10. Sticking my nose into someone's crotch is not an acceptable way of saying 'hello.'

11. I do not need to suddenly stand straight up when I'm laying under the coffee table.

12. I must shake the rainwater out of my fur before entering the house.

13. I will not throw up in the car.

14. I will not come in from outside and immediately drag my butt across the carpet.

15. I will not sit in the middle of the living-room and lick my crotch when company is over.

16. The cat is not a squeaky toy; so when I play with him and he makes that noise, it's usually not a good thing.

Dear God: May I have my testicles back?

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Wednesday Hero: Spc. Roger G. Ling

Spc. Roger G. Ling
Spc. Roger G. Ling
20 years old from Douglaston, New York
Company C, 1st Battalion, 34th Armor Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team
February 19, 2004

When Spc. Roger G. Ling's Humvee was struck by a homemade bomb in October of 2003, he survived the attack and he worked to keep his superior officer, Lt. Matt Homa, alive. Spc. Ling was riding in the backseat of the Humvee when it was hit. It destroyed Lt. Homa's door.

"It almost killed me. From what I've been told, Roger helped keep me awake until my medic arrived." said Lt. Homa. "Ling was a good kid. You could count on him to do anything."

Spc. Ling was killed, along with Second Lieutenant Jeffrey C. Graham of Elizabethtown, Kentucky, when their unit came under fire from insurgents in Khalidiyah, Iraq. Only two miles from where he'd survived the attack just four months earlier.

Leona Ling said she was grateful her brother came home in August of 2003 just before leaving for Iraq.

"He had to have his tonsils taken out," she said. "It was a blessing in disguise because we got to see him again."

In phone calls home, the soldier spoke wistfully of returning to New York and going to college. "He wanted to hear about what was going on at home and all the latest family gossip," Leona Ling recalled.

Survivors include his father, Wai Ling, a U.S. Army veteran.

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, November 20, 2007

Media Spin Defined....

OK…First of all, I know this is not true. Visit snopes.com if you want the details. So, second, this is not aimed at passing on muck about Sir…I mean, Madaam… Hillary. She does just fine at generating this stuff on her own. I am posting this because…well…if this isn’t the perfect description of how politicians of all stripes twist things around, I don’t know what is! Besides...it's election time again! So, enjoy!

A professional genealogical researcher,
discovered that Hillary Clinton's great-great uncle,
Remus Rodham, was hanged for horse stealing and train
robbery in Montana in 1889.

The only known photograph of Remus shows him standing
on the gallows. On the back of the picture is this

"Remus Rodham; horse thief, sent to Montana
Territorial Prison 1885, escaped 1887, robbed the
Montana Flyer six times. Caught by Pinkerton
detectives, convicted and publicly hanged in 1889."

Judy e-mailed Hillary Clinton for comments. Hillary's
staff of professional image adjusters sent back the
following biographical sketch:

"Remus Rodham was a famous cowboy in the Montana
Territory. His business empire grew to include
acquisition of valuable equestrian assets and intimate
dealings with the Montana railroad.

Beginning in 1883, he devoted several years of his
life to service at a government facility, finally
taking leave to resume his dealings with the railroad.

In 1887, he was a key player in a vital investigation
run by the renowned Pinkerton Detective Agency. In
1889, Remus passed away during an important civic
function held in his honor when the platform upon
which he was standing collapsed."

Monday, November 19, 2007

11/19 Morning Report

The news from Europe is nothing new. Speaking to Kosovo, EU officials basically said independence is OK…IF…the rest of the world agrees.

European Union countries on Monday urged Serbia's breakaway Kosovo not to rush into a declaration of independence, with its backers insisting any such move should be coordinated internationally.
The EU did a bad job of addressing issues in the 90’s, which is how the US got tied up in the peacekeeping force. The US backs independence, while the EU wants to wait until the UN gives approval. And, of course, the Kosovo Albanians just want independence.
"This is a European challenge. It is not one we can ask the United States to solve for us," British Europe Minister Jim Murphy told reporters.

(…I suppose that’s why our troops are still on peacekeeping duty there…right?...)

Meanwhile, in Iraq, even the NY Times is having to recognize that violence is below 2006 levels.
Data released at a news conference in Baghdad showed that attacks had declined to the lowest level since January 2006. It is the third week in a row that attacks have been at this reduced level.
Having said that, of course, they downplayed it. They also pointedly stated that American data does not effectively measure sectarian violence, and Iraqi people seem to be exhausted by the violence. They notably failed, among other things, to make mention of the Sunni insurgent groups that have come to support the government and coalition forces.

(…maybe I just hope too much for a change from the MSM from just doom and gloom and failure reporting…)

And what do you think of this? King Juan Carlos’s “Shut up” rebuke to Hugo Chavez is a ringtone hit across Spain!
An estimated 500,000 people have downloaded the insult featuring the words "Why don't you shut up?", generating a reported 1.5m euros ($2m).
All kinds of items—mugs, t-shirts, etc—are showing off the row between the two leaders. The ringtone is even being downloaded by protesters in Venezuela! It’s really disgusting that Chavez can get away with being rude and arrogant, but everyone else gets blamed for it.

(…hhhmmm…can I get it downloaded to all the cell phones of the radical lefties without getting arrested for hacking?...just a thought…)

Friday, November 16, 2007

When A Soldier Comes Home

I had a really good post to load up…but my laptop just turned off and I can’t get to it. However, in it’s place, I found an awesome report on MSNBC. If you haven’t read or seen it, be prepared to cry a few tears of joy. And, make sure you watch the video! This is what it means when a soldier comes home.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Enough Said?

Doesn't this make you really love the man?

(...even Sir Hillary has more sense than Barack Hussein Obama...)

Wednesday Hero

Cpl. Jordan M. Moehnle
Cpl. Jordan M. Moehnle
21 years old from Los Angeles, California
Company L, 3rd Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, Regimental Combat Team 6 ("Darkhorse" Battalion)

Cpl. Jordan M. Moehnle takes time out of leading his squad in a patrol through Fallujah's Nazaal district to spend some time interacting with local children. Moehnle, who is on his second tour in Iraq, said the changes he has witnessed since he was last here in 2006 have been dramatic. "The city was like the Wild West, we'd put our heads and and drive down (the middle of Fallujah) and hope not to get shot," he said. "Since we've been here (this year), we can stop and shoot the breeze."

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

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

11/13 Morning Report

While the Turks and the Kurds are busy blowing each other up, the Kurds and the Iraqi government are arguing over the oil. It seems the Kurdistan regional government (KRG) has awarded 12 new exploration contracts, including 6 to foreign companies and 1 to itself.

"It is the first and only constitutionally based legal framework to attract investments to Iraq, which is designed for Iraq-wide revenue sharing, an essential element of future stability in Iraq that the constitution also rightly mandates," Hawrami added, and that the KRG hopes a similar framework will be adopted throughout Iraq.
Baghdad, on the other hand, has continually said such contracts are illegal, pending the ratification of a draft oil law. But, that draft and a resolution on Kurdish status in Kirkuk are still in limbo.

(…given the speed of Iraqi government accomplishments, the Kurds will be rich before it gets settled…then what will Baghdad do?...)

In other Iraq news, the troop surge is being reversed. 3rd Brigade, 1st Cavalry division, is already heading home to Ft. Hood, leaving combat strength at 19 brigades.
Between January and July - on a schedule not yet made public - the force is to shrink further to 15 brigades. The total number of U.S. troops will likely go from 167,000 now to 140,000-145,000 by July, six months before President Bush leaves office and a new commander in chief enters the White House.
True, there had been no timetable for withdrawal. However, the plan had been to put a surge of troops in to provide some stability, and then withdraw. In some areas the plan succeeded, in others it did not, and in others the results are mixed. The best news result is that more and more Sunni insurgents are joining against al-Qaeda, and showing a trust for American forces. It seems Bush has kept his promise, or is at least trying to.

(…I wonder what the lefties will make of all this…I also wonder if this will do anything to help Republican candidates this fall?...probably not since they can’t seem to focus on anything…)

In case you wondered what the lefties would do with the situation…they attack from the left! The WahsPo (…of course…) released this story. Citing such things as higher oil costs and unemployment costs due to veteran related issues, Democrats are saying the real cost of the war will be some $1.5 trillion. This is according to a report by the Democratic staff of Congress's Joint Economic Committee who, according to the WashPo, examines the hidden costs of wars. While Republican members of the committee could not be reached for comment, other experts (…according to Reuters…) say calculating the effect of the war on oil prices is difficult.

(…well…hasn’t stopped the lefties, yet...)

Friday, November 09, 2007

11/9 Morning Report

(...be warned...today I just felt like going on a rant...I've been nice for too long...)

It’s really sad that all the MSM can do is recognize how bad some things are. You would think, somewhere along the way, they would recognize successes. Like the report 3 days ago that IED deaths are down. Some estimates say by about 50%! What does the media report? There was this NY Times article that proclaimed 2007 deadliest year for troops. It is a true statement. However, the Times blames the increase on the surge. Ground commanders say the surge has worked, to a degree. Some independent journalists are saying there has been a significant change among Iraqis that is making a difference. Michael Yon has done a good job of pointing fingers in all directions during the conflict. He was among the first to see a civil war brewing. Now, he reports that various local insurgent groups are joining the government, and American forces, to get rid of al-Qaeda. A month ago, he said something profound in his dispatch Hunting al-Qaeda:
Their end goal still includes getting us ushered out the door: something they are clear about. This means we have further common interests; we want to walk out that door just as fervently, but we don’t want to watch the house full of kids burn down behind us when we leave. Neither do they.
The question for our nation will be did we run away and let the house burn down, or did we make every effort to do right by the Iraqi people? Given the changing political winds in Washington, I suspect that will prove to be THE question that defines the next Administration and the Congress.

(…by the way, if you re not reading Michael Yon, you should be…)

Speaking of things the Liberals should have to answer for: Illegal Immigration. More specifically, they should answer for refusing to control it. 23 were found working at O’Hare Airport. Many in sensitive areas. And, yet, Liberals decry any attempt to control the problem. The claim of discrimination is absurdly placed as an overarching concern, when in fact, it really isn’t the issue in the first place. Certainly, it appears from time to time. And, it should be dealt with accordingly. However, the issue is ILLEGAL immigrants. And, frankly, I don’t see why the one is discriminating against the other.

But, then of course, they would also have to respond to the latest moves of the Liberal darling Hugo Chavez. Portrayed as the benign, loving dictator of Venezuela, his supporters re apparently pretty violent, killing two after the anti-Chavez rally the other day. Funny thing…I didn’t catch much about it in the MSM. Nor do I hear any cries of dictitorialism for his moves to consolidate and perpetuate power. But, here in the US, the Liberals are going after various conservative icons again. With their return to power, they are back after televangelists. Do I believe they live extravagantly? Yeah, they probably do. But, who said they have live in poverty? And where do you draw the line? And…more importantly…why is the line more sharply drawn for Christians and preachers than other groups?

(…now there is a question Liberals should have to answer…think they ever will?...)

And, for those that want to use Yahoo to help our troops, Any Soldier now has a Yahoo toolbar available. When you use it, it helps keep that site alive. They exist because people give to the site, as well as the troops. Do what you can. They are more than worth it.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

11/7 Morning Report

In Georgia, a man was arrested, charged, jailed and convicted by a municipal judge for distributing religious pamphlets. Supposedly, he violated the city’s “parade law” by not getting permission to pass out tracts. In August, the charges were dropped—after the case got to Superior Court. Well, now the issue is in Federal Court in hopes of gaining a preliminary injunction.

Baumann spent two days in jail for violating the parade ordinance. ADF (Alliance Defense Fund) attorneys have since asked for the preliminary injunction, which would allow Baumann and others to share their faith in public without having to gain permission from government authorities.
Maybe I’m just na├»ve, but freedom of religious expression is a constitutional right. It is the responsibility of the Federal Government, since the constitution gives this power to the Feds, to protect religious freedoms—Christian, Muslim, Buddhist, whatever. So, can anyone tell me why I think the Feds will duck this issue?

In another “public safety” item (…this one really is…) Mattel recalled more toys. These toys were made in Mexico. Small parts could break off and create a choking hazard. And, so far, there is only one reported case of a problem in the UK. Meanwhile, Mattel is facing a liable suit from China after the company announced that 85% of those August recalls were caused by a company design problem—not Chinese manufacturers.

Meanwhile, in Iraq, some Shi’ite groups are seeking the same autonomies as the Kurds. For some, that type of government is proving successful. Al-Najaf, for example, is beginning to thrive due to religious pilgrimages, and using the money through local power building. But, that same religious power could create problems among various Islamic groups. The discussion of federalism is a hot issue. Sunnis claim it will lead to an unequal sharing of oil wealth. It will be interesting to see where this goes in the end.

(…personally, I think there will be either separate states, or autonomous regions…your thoughts?...)

And, contrary to the voices of the media, people are returning to Iraq.
"As a result of the improvement of the security situation in the capital Baghdad the total number of Iraqis returning from outside through Iraqi border exit points during October reached 46,030," Baghdad security spokesman Brigadier-General Qassim Moussawi told a news conference.
With civilian deaths for October the lowest in over a year, some are giving credit to the success of the Surge. While not commenting on the figures, because they had not seen them yet, even the International Organization for Migration (IOM) says the numbers of returning Iraqis has been increasing.

(…let’s see what the cut-and-run crowd does with this…)

Wednesday Hero

Army Spc. Eric S. McKinley
Army Spc. Eric S. McKinley
24 years old from Corvallis, Oregon
Company B, 2nd Battalion, 162nd Infantry Regiment, Army National Guard
June 13, 2004

An avid outdoorsman, Spc. McKinley worked as a baker at Alpine Bakery in Corvallis, Ore. Upon his return from Iraq, he hoped to open a juice bar in the college town to provide a drug and alcohol-free environment for young people. Friends and co-workers remember Spc. McKinley as a quiet, caring young man who dyed his hair, sported several tattoos and loved ska and rock music. His senior yearbook picture showed a grinning young man with spiked hair dyed red and green. In other 1998 yearbook pictures, he has purple and blue hair in a mohawk.

Spc. Eric McKinley was killed when a roadside bomb north of Baghdad detonated destroying two vehicles and wounded four other Oregon soldiers. They were identified as Staff Sgt. Phillip Davis, 23, of Albany; Sgt. Matthew Zedwick, 23, of Bend; Cpl. Shane Ward, 23, of Corvallis and Pvt. Richard Olsen, 23, of Independence.

Almost 500 people attended the memorial service for Spc. McKinley at Starker Arts Park in Corvallis. There was a mix of people dressed in either military or punk attire — including McKinley’s six-year-old cousin, who, in tribute, wore his hair in a bright green mohawk.

Coventry Pacheco, McKinley’s fiancee, sat in the first row at his celebration-of-life service. They hadn’t set a wedding date, but were planning to get married.

He was posthumously awarded the Bronze Star for meritorious service, a Purple Heart and the Oregon Distinguished Service Award. U.S. and Oregon flags were presented to his parents, Tom McKinley of Salem and Karen Hilsendager of Philomath.

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, November 06, 2007

11/6 Morning Report

Rugrats and Power Rangers may really be bad TV for children. A recent study showed possible links between violent content and attention lapses. It links these problems to children as much under 3 who watch this type of content. And, the problems can show up as much as 5 years later.

(…and ADD is a biological disease?...right?...what do you want to bet no link is substantiated…)

In related news, Oregon voters will decide on a state funded child healthcare expansion.

"If Oregon votes in the affirmative for this, it will be a shot in the arm," said U.S. Rep. Earl Blumenauer, D-Portland. "It will be harder for some people to ignore what the public sentiment is. Maybe they can ignore the polls, but this would be a signal victory."
As a liberal state, Oregon’s vote could add pressure for a national program, despite recent Presidential vetoes. The proposal would be funded by an increased cigarette tax, which has prompted a $12 million campaign against the tax by Phillip Morris. I am left wondering, on the other hand, what happens when everyone quits smoking? How do you fund these things then? Where will the money come from? Isn’t it interesting that you never hear about those things?

(…I can see an eventual budget shortfall…can you?...)

Meanwhile, more ministries are coming under government scrutiny. A Senate panel is demanding records be delivered within one month. At issue is whether ministry leaders use their tax-exempt status to live lavish lifestyles. I would counter with the question: who said they should live in poverty? Executives of major corporations as big as some ministries get larger salaries. Why shouldn’t these men and women? My second question is why is the Senate doing this? Admittedly there are tax implications. But…seriously…the Senate? The IRS has their own courts for issues such as these.

(…I think the government may be making a move to get more money from the church…which is really kind of dumb…if you give to a church for the tax deduction, I wonder if you are even giving it to God in the first place…)

And, finally, the National ID plan has hit a bunch of snags. Resitsance is ciming from several quarters, now.
One reason is the price tag, estimated at $14.6 billion. Congress has so far appropriated only $40 million and twice this summer voted against additional funding.
This is on top of conservative resistance because of invasion of privacy concerns. And (…are you sitting down?...) event the ACLU has come out against the program, claiming is too watered down to accomplish anything.

(…yeah, I know…they would still go for it…but take the support where you can find it…eh?...)

Sunday, November 04, 2007

11/4 Morning Report

Sounding like most “benevolent dictators” of the past, Gen. Pervez Musharraf suspended Pakistan’s constitution. With troops surrendering to militants in some areas, police raising the jihadist flag, and suicide attacks in major cities, Pakistan is a growing trouble spot. I think former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, recently returned from exile, made the most telling statement:

"I agree with him that we are facing a political crisis, but I believe the problem is dictatorship, I don't believe the solution is dictatorship…The extremists need a dictatorship, and dictatorship needs extremists.”
In this BBC article, another political rival, Imran Khan, is quoted as saying:
"When you stop all legal and constitutional ways of people challenging [the president], then the only ones who challenge him are people with a gun".

(…so…having gained power by military coup…are we surprised that he decides to keep power with the same methods?...I wonder what this will do for the GWOT…)

Meanwhile, in Libya, Islamists joined al-Qaeda. According to an internet audio message, the Fighting Islamic Group has joined bin Laden’s network. Interestingly, the message called for opposition to and the toppling of North African and Palestinian leaders, calling on Fatah to depose President Abbas and branding Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi “an enemy of Islam.” Islamic influence is growing all across the Middle East. Even Azerbaijan is having a resurgence of Islamic influence. Mostly beginning from the vacuum created by the break up of the Soviet Union, Islamic teaching of both Sunni and Shia ideas has been spreading, although under state control. Given the changes in Pakistan, iraq, Libya and other places, it does open the question of how long it will remain such an open society.

Closer to home, a pipe bomb was found at the Palo Verde nuclear plant. It was in the bed of a contractor’s truck, who claimed no knowledge of the device.
The pipe bomb was probably powerful enough to damage the vehicle but not the power plant, Sheriff Joe Arpaio said…."The mystery is how did it get in the truck and how he knew nothing about it. It's all very puzzling,"
In our open society, it would be quite simple to put something in a truck unnoticed. So, the question, on the surface, sounds kind of stupid. But, it does open the subject of social restrictions and searches that will further erode constitutional freedoms and protections—in the name of maintaining social order.

(…maybe one day we can say we are Pakistan!...)

And, in political news, reports from Arizona show that Democrats are out-fundraising republicans again. Through more efficient use of the internet, Democrats raised more cash than Republicans in the last Presidential election. You can visit Act Blue to see just how they are doing this year. Ignoring the political bias of the source, there was a lot of interesting information in today’s NY Times. And, let’s not forget the reported plan to manipulate Google data to bias the elections. Republicans need a focused vision for the future, and a united voice. Republicans and conservatives once took over Congress by successfully using the airwaves of talk radio. Now, the Democrats are showing you have to learn to use the internet to be really successful.

(…I hope conservatives learn this lesson quick…)

Thursday, November 01, 2007

11/1 Morning Report

Think the U.S. is the only country with immigration problems? Think again. British authorities have said for years that migrant workers benefit the economy. But, yeasterday’s news story on more recent information revealed:

More than half of new jobs created under Labour since 1997 have gone to foreign workers, it has emerged.
Among other things, the statistics revealed it is incredibly hard to keep track of people. The government used wrong population data to make their original conclusions. And, then it revised those conclusions twice.

(…and the Democrats on this side of the pond wonder why we don’t trust their version of immigration impact…)

In, another scary report today U.S. officials are ready to say Russians nuclear missiles ”are secure”. Isn’t it wonderful that it’s done two years ahead of schedule? Meanwhile…
On Monday, the Russian military claimed to have conducted more than 20 long-range flights with its aging fleet of strategic nuclear bombers, and said a similar number of flights were planned for this week.
Russia has also taken to broadcasting state-controlled news reports of tests of cruise missiles and powerful conventional weapons, drawing comparisons to American systems and suggesting that the tests are necessary because of threats from the West.
(…Oh…and radiation detectors will be installed along the borders by 2011…does anyone really that that means only four more years of dirty bomb possibilities…very encouraging…)

Still over in Russia, it seems that corporate America, in this case Ford, has gone another step into hyper-political correctness. RFE reports:
Andrei Kurayev, who is a deacon in the Russian Orthodox Church and a professor at the Moscow Theological Academy, was quoted by Interfax as saying on October 30 that the management of the Ford plant in Vsevolozhsk in Leningrad Oblast refused to allow him to tour its premises in clerical attire, Interfax reported. Kurayev added that he is currently giving lectures in that town and was interested in seeing the factory. He said that he was "told that the plant has a multiethnic work force, and it might insult someone if I came in wearing my cassock." He was accordingly told he "should wear ordinary clothes" on his visit. Kurayev stressed that the ban reflects not bureaucratic arbitrariness but an "ideology, a new totalitarian form of censorship in the name of political correctness." He added that there is "a part of this transnational corporation that does not want to take into account the character of our cultural and political climate.... [This shows] disrespect even for its own workers and for the country in which they work."
Meanwhile, another report states that Haloween events are banned in Moscow schools.

(…I guess you can’t have everything…some things are just better than others…)

In other weird news, there was yesterday’s report in the NYT that Iran is hiding art. Billions of dollars worth of art, at that, by artists such as Renoir and van Gogh all the way to Andy Warthol.

(…Sadaam hid lots of cash…maybe the Iranians have a different take on valuables?...)

I think the most concerning thing I’ve read the last few days was this report on Sir Hillary, from yesterday. Supposedly, there are photographs showing she was involved in President Bill’s presidential pardon extravaganza. However, the most frightening thing is not that photos exist which show it may be true. No, it’s the comment threads that follow, demonstrating the politicized apathy of America, that is truly frightening.

(…remember, Halloween never ends…just watch the politicians constantly putting on their new constumes…)

And, in sad news, Any Soldier reports the following:
Spc. Hugo V. Mendoza, 29, of Glendale, AZ, died of wounds sustained when he came in contact with enemy forces using RPG, machine gun, and small arms fire during combat operations on Oct. 25, in Korengal Valley, Afghanistan. He was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 530rd infantry Regimentm 173 Airborne Brigade Combat Team, Vicenza, Italy.
Well, Specialist Mendoza, 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.