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

--Robert Ricciardelli”

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

01/30 Wednesday Hero: SSgt Justin Whiting

SSgt. Justin R. Whiting
SSgt. Justing R. Whiting
27 years old from Hancock, New York
3rd Battalion, 5th Special Forces Group (Airborne)
January 19, 2008

Staff Sgt. Justin R. Whiting, a Special Forces medical sergeant sustained fatal wounds when his vehicle was struck by an improvised explosive devise 16 kilometers south of Mosul, Iraq.

He is survived by his mother, Estelline, of Colorado Springs, Colo., father, Randall, of Hancock, N.Y., sister, Amanda, of DuPont, Wash., and brother Nathan of Dover, Tenn.

For more information on SSgt. Justin Whiting, you can download this PDF file.

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 site, you can go here.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

01/27 Hockey Notes

Well, the NHL decided to extend the broadcast contract with Versus. One of the better analyses of the NHL/Versus broadcast deal came out the other day at Sports Business News. Living in one of those areas where I can’t get Versus, as an old time hockey fan, is really bad. What would be nice is to believe the league will come to it’s senses and get a new deal—even if it’s crawling to ESPN.

(…I suspect that is something along the lines of pigs growing wings, though…)

The NHL also announced next season would open with two games in Europe. But, as usual, the Lords of the Rink didn’t involve everyone in the discussions. The NHLPA is pretty hot about being left out.

Paul Kelly, the NHLPA’s executive director, said he was aware of the European games but warned the league not to make a firm announcement until the two sides worked out all details.

“If they want the Players’ Association to be a true business partner, then they have to include us in discussions about these matters at the earliest stages,” Kelly said. “We shouldn’t read about it in the press and we shouldn’t find about it after the fact.”
Bettman, it seems, still deserves his place on Forbes list of worst managers.

Cheers! The League seems to have awakened from their slumber last year—scheduling the All Star game for a week night. Jeers! This year’s game will be televised on Versus, instead of a network.

(…but, I digress, and repeat myself…)

The Rangers will retired Brian Leetch’s No. 2 before Thursday’s game. He played a long career, quietly, and deserves the honor.
"I always say, if anybody remembers me as years go by, if they say, 'Didn't you play for the Rangers?' That's good enough for me. If I played long enough and had enough of an impact that someone can at least remember that I wore the uniform that I played in for all those years."
(…a great statement on what sportsmanship and teamwork should be…)

Friday, January 25, 2008

01/25 Morning Report

There are more donation scandal problems facing Democrats. This time, it’s about Obama, the apparent closet Muslim. Along with taking donations from Antoin "Tony" Rezko, who is now under investigation by federal authorites on corruption charges, Obama also bought a piece of real estate from him while Rezko was under grand jury investigation. Obama claims everything was above board. But, even considering he gave all the campaign donations to charity, those are not actions that speak well of anyone running for the presidency.

Indiana’s voter identification law is being reviewed by the Supreme Court. Sure, the rules should not violate the constitution. But, without identification rules, what proof is there that someone really is the voter in question? Or is even a real citizen and entitled to vote at all? The AP does the usual media hack job of citing a couple of special cases, which do need to be addressed. Several solutions are avaialbe like states where

…voters can present other forms of ID - such as a Social Security card, a utility bill or a student ID bearing a photograph- or they can sign an affidavit affirming their identity.
But, in conjunction with “voter’s rights” groups, the writer, and MSM in general, totally ignores the larger issue. And, as usual, the fight breaks down along party lines. It’s pretty obvious this is going to get uglier as time goes on.

And, for those who think the sub-prime mortgage problem has been bad, it could get worse. Officials are now worried about bond insurer failures.
Regulators fear a possible chain of events in which the troubled bond insurers, MBIA and Ambac, might be unable to keep their promise to pay investors if borrowers default on their debt.
That could leave nearly $1 trillion in bonds, and their holders, uncovered in case of corporate default.

(…bet the Feds can’t cover that much with a bailout…time to get over our belief that government can solve all our problems…and regulate morality…)

On the subject of investing, have you ever wondered why the securities industry is the most regulated group behind nuclear power? Well, you could ask French bank Societe Generale. They just uncovered a massive fraud problem, supposedly caused by one man. The damage is approximately $7.1 billion. The suspected individual dealt in futures for the bank. The scariest part of the announcement?
Speaking to the BBC, [Nick] Leeson, [the rogue trader that brought down Barings Bank], said he was not shocked that the latest fraud had taken place - only its scale.

"Rogue trading is probably a daily occurrence within the financial markets," he said.

"What shocked me was the size. I never for one moment believed it would get to this degree of magnitude, this degree of loss."
(…that just fills you with confidence in the financial markets…doesn’t it?…)

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

01/23 Wednesday Hero: Capt. Lyle L. Gordon

Capt. Lyle L. Gordon

Airmen from the 816th Expeditionary Airlift Squadron at an air base in Southwest Asia prepare a C-17 Globemaster III for an airdrop mission Jan. 14 to deliver humanitarian supplies to coalition forces in Afghanistan

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 site, you can go here.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

01/22 Morning Report

What happened to religious freedom in America? It seems to be a right for some, but not others. I’llyou’re you think I’m about to bash christian groups. I’m not. It appears that Athiests, Wiccans and Agnostics have more rights and priviledges than Christians in the military. If that’s true of the military, and it is usually the last of social institutions to reflect such changes, what does that say about the rest of America?

Then again, pro-abortioists outright lie and no one seems to care--even when they admit it. Check out the link for the video.

(…let’s see that in mainstream media…)

But, that would be the quivalent of the media suddenly denouncing Hugo Chavez. In his latest move, Chavez is threatening to seize farms. Chavez says he is doing it to alleviate food shortages. Low food prices let even the poorest get food to eat. But, Chavez’s price controls are apparently bankrupting farmers, who are selling their produce to other countries for the money.

In the show, called "Hello President", he said this would happen no matter who the owner was.

He went on: "If the army must be brought in, you bring in the army.

"A government cannot allow itself to be slapped and do nothing."
He also announced plans to nationalize the banks that did not give low interest loans to farmers.

(…am I missing something…farmers are going to lose their farms for trying to pay their bills…and his solution is to put farmers farther in debt…what a great plan!...)

On the subject of high costs, do think you pay a lot for gasoline? In Israel, it is selling for over $6 per gallon. One solution to that cost is electric cars! This one, built by a partnership between an entrepreneur, Rennault, and Nissan, will run on lithium-ion batteries, going about 124 miles per charge.

(…going green just took another BIG step…)

Thursday, January 17, 2008

01/18 Hockey Notes

The NHL is starting to limit the number of international players. The problem is most fo them end up in the minors.

According to the IIHF, out of the 59 European players who were signed by NHL clubs prior to the 2007-2008 season only six are on NHL rosters, 46 were assigned to the minor leagues and seven returned to their European clubs.
The Russian Ice Hockey Federation, which had refused the current two year agreement, is now being joined by other nations who want a better deal for their players. Whether an agreement can be made between the NHL and the IIHF, thought, depends on whether NHLPA allows the CBA to be modified.

If you haven’t kept up with it, the NHL All Star Game rosters are finalized. You can find them here:
Eastern Conference
Western Conference

There’s a new face to the ugly side of hockey. Fighting has been a well known part of the game for a long time. But, recently, it has expanded to abusing officials, too.
One involved an 18-year-old, top-rated female referee who was slugged by a midget player. Another saw a 21-year-old official suffer a broken jaw after being punched by a player. A third ref was hit so hard his glasses broke under his visor. And the fourth involved a linesman being thrown aside as he tried to protect a referee.


Statistics from the Ottawa District Hockey Association show incidents involving abuse of officials have almost tripled from 2005-06 to 2006-07 and there are indications that numbers this season may be as bad or worse.

In 2005-06, there were 15 incidents of physical abuse of officials at the minor level and four more at the junior level. Those numbers skyrocketed last season to 43 at the minor level and eight in junior, with two involving police investigations.
I know officials never call everything. And, I know tempers run hot over it sometimes. But this is a total lack of respect. Lack of respect for authority is never a good thing. It’s time for coaches to reign in their players, or leagues to dish out stiff enough penalties to bring this to a halt.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

01/16 Wednesday Hero: Cpl. Phillip E. Baucus

Cpl. Phillip E. Baucus
Cpl. Phillip E. Baucus
28 years old from Wolf Creek, Montana
3rd Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion, 1st Marine Division, I Marine Expeditionary Force
July 29, 2006

Marine Cpl. Phillip E. Baucus was the nephew of Montana Senator Max Baucus. He joined the corps in 2002 and was sent to Iraq in March of 2005.

Cpl. Baucus was killed alongside fellow Marines Sgt. Christian Williams, 27 yrs old from Winter Haven, Fla. and Lance Cpl. Anthony E. Butterfield, 19 yrs old from Clovis, Calif. during combat operations in Al Anbar province.

"Phillip was an incredible person, a dedicated Marine, a loving son and husband, and a proud Montanan and American," Sen. Baucus said. "He heroically served the country he loved and he gave it his all."

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 site, you can go here.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

01/08 Wednesday Hero: Sgt. Frank T. Carvill

Sgt. Frank T. Carvill
Sgt. Frank T. Carvill
51 years old from Carlstadt, New Jersey
3rd Battalion, 112th Field Artillery
June 04, 2004

When Frank T. Carvill told his sister he had been called up to go to Iraq, she was stunned. "Gee, Frank, are you going to be part of the AARP battalion?" she teased.

Carvill joined the Guard in the 80's out of a sense of patriotism. He was a devoted big brother to Peggy Liguori, who still remembers how as kids, he took her to see “Blue Hawaii” and “Born Free” at the movies. He was the longtime pal to Rick Rancitelli who admired Carvill’s “million-dollar vocabulary” and his writing and public speaking skills. In 1993. Sgt. Carvill was working in the WTC as a paralegal when it was attacked. He helped a co-worker down 54 floors to safety. In 2001, he was still working at the WTC. He had just left the North Tower moments before the first plane hit.

Sgt. Carvill was killed when his convoy was attacked outside of Baghdad.

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, January 08, 2008

01/08 Morning Report

Iran is playing games in the Gulf, again. I realize that 5 armed speedboats are no match in open waters for 3 navy warships. But, the significance cannot be overlooked. Attention getting is one thing. Deliberately sparking an international incident is something altogether different.

The commander of the Hopper, a guided-missile destroyer, was “very close to giving the order to fire,” said one of the officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak for attribution. “We were perilously close to an incident where we would have taken out at least one of the Iranian small boats.”
The were apparently manned or commanded by Revolutionary Guard troops. And, yet, it seems that media darling Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is still above reproach in the MSM.

Another media darling, CAIR, has issued a “media guide”. Many conservative groups seem to think it is little more than a propaganda leaflet full of disinformation. There is even some question as to whether they are picking and choosing who will receive one.
"Now the interesting thing about that was I asked for a copy of that," the journalist continues. "I sent CAIR an e-mail asking for a copy of it, and they haven't even answered my e-mail. I don't think they want anybody to see it who might actually scrutinize it."
Whether the no-response is deliberate or not is open for discussion. But, it does raise interesting questions.

Meanwhile, on to the environment. Presenting: THE $2500 CAR!
“The downside is a car that would most likely fail emission and safety standards on any Western road, and, perhaps, in India in a few years, when the country imposes tougher environmental standards.”
So why bother? Is the UN/Kyoto group willing to allow this, in the name of economic growth? If economic growth is the goal, then why force industrialized nations to stagnate their growth by meeting standards no one else is accountable to?

Blu-Ray! Blu Ray! that’s right. Warner Brothers announced their support of the formatting system, possibly tipping things to that format.
“The battle between HD DVD and Blu-ray has echoes of the rivalry between Betamax and VHS in the 1980s.

The cheaper format, VHS, prevailed while 20 years on it seems as though Blu-ray, the more expensive system, is winning the race. “
So much for market economy rules of price and supply. Better get ready to have to buy more than new TVs.

Saturday, January 05, 2008

1/6 Morning Report

I've been hit by the flu, so I thought I would do something light today. My 12 year old sent this to me the other day. In this time of political bruhaha, I thought this was appropriate to share. Meet Gollum...I mean, Hillary...I mean...well, you decide.

Friday, January 04, 2008

1/4 Morning Evening Report

I saw one little political tidbit that really caught my attention. It seems that Islamic organizations are
politically pressuring the Pentagon
about how they counter the war on terror. Aside from the special interest argument, do we really want special interest groups deciding how the military does it’s job? Hasn’t that been the argument against several contractors over the years?

(…not mention the separation of church and state argument…oh…I forgot…Muslim organizations are exempt from that restriction…)

Finally! It seems that Domestic issues pushing past Iraq war.

Even though polls show that Iowa Democrats still consider the war in Iraq the top issue facing the country, the war is becoming a less defining issue among Democrats nationally, and it has moved to the back of the stage in the rush of campaign rallies, town hall meetings and speeches that are bringing the caucus competition to an end. Instead, candidates are being asked about, and are increasingly talking about, the mortgage crisis, rising gas costs, health care, immigration, the environment and taxes.


Part of the shift appears to stem from the reduction in violence in Iraq after President Bush’s decision to send more troops there last year.
I liked that last part. The MSM is grudgingly giving credit to the administration, and the military, for something that worked.

(…wonders never cease…)

Speaking of wonders, would you believe Global warming is natural?
There's a natural cause that may account for much of the Arctic warming, which has melted sea ice, ice sheets and glaciers, according to a study published Thursday in the journal Nature. New research points a finger at a natural and cyclical increase in the amount of energy in the atmosphere that moves from south to north around the Arctic Circle.
Of course, the blame still falls on pollution. Study authors also say the combined effect is the “killer punch.”

(…I’ve been waiting for someone to explain why the increase in temps the graphs show also appears before industry and pollution showed up…like prior to the last ice age…according to a PBS special I saw a few months ago…)

EPA is being sued
over a stricter state law dispute. It seems states don’t like the fact that the Federal government set a standard for the whole country. The states want authority to make manufacturers (automotive in this case) possibly subject to 50 different standards.
In an emailed statement, EPA spokesman Jonathan Shradar said the federal Energy Independence and Security Act "is a more beneficial national approach to a national problem, which establishes an aggressive standard for all 50 states - as opposed to a lower standard in California and a patchwork of other states."
California officials contend their 2004 law is tougher than the new national standard. It would have required the auto industry to cut emissions by one-third in new vehicles by 2016 or reach an average of 36.8 mpg.
Twelve other states - Connecticut, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington - have adopted the California emissions standards.
The governors of Arizona, Colorado, Florida and Utah have said they also plan to adopt them. The rules also are under consideration in Iowa.
While I see the need for tougher standards (i.e. oil at $100), I fail to see why a tougher standard makes it more acceptable for a state to make the rule for all states. The argument is over who sets the standards for the nation—the Feds or the states.

(…not that that has ever stopped California before…)

Finally, Any Soldier reports the following:
Sgt. Reno S. Lacerna, 44, of Waipahu, Hawaii, died Dec. 31, 2007 in Al Qayyarah, Iraq, of a non-combat related illness. He was assigned to the 87th Corps Support Battalion, 3rd Sustainment Brigade, 3rd Infantry Division, Fort Stewart, Ga.
Well, Sgt. Lacerna, 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, January 02, 2008

Wednesday Hero: 1st Sgt. Eric Crayton

1st Sgt. Eric Crayton
1st Sgt. Eric Crayton
From Sparta, Georgia

Sgt. Eric Crayton, the first sergeant for the Extension Detachment, Company C, Special Troops Battalion, 4th Infantry Division, serving Christmas dinner to Soldiers at the Pegasus Dining Facility at Camp Liberty, Iraq.

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.

01/01 Hockey News

Happy New Year, everyone. And, as much as I like poking fun at the media, this year I have ignored my real passion…Ice Hockey!

For me, yesterday’s highlight was the NHL Classic. It’s been years since I have seen an outdoor game. I loved it. For me the best part was seeing all the finesse players struggle through the puck through the snow! Over 70,000 fans showed up to watch! It even ended with a great shoot out! How cool is that?

Actually…most of the time…I’m not a real fan of shootouts. I think they artificially change the standings. They can put teams in the playoffs that don’t really belong there…like the Dallas Stars last season, where 20 games went to OT and 12 of those were decided by a shoot out. You can’t make it in the playoffs if you can’t finish a game in real play, as Dallas proved against the Vancouver Canucks who had 24 games go to OT, but only 9 end in shoot outs.

(…I did notice that the NHL Stats Machine doesn’t track shootout games…if you know someplace that does, let me know…)

A lot of folks, my self included, would like to see the outdoor game become a regular event. But, not Scott Burnside at ESPN. I have to admit, I agree with his comment these events should not be entered into lightly. And, I don’t think there should be a lot of outdoor games. That is an invitation to injuries that could cripple the sport. On the other hand, I think the challenge players face from outdoor conditions would increase the interest in the sport. A good thing since the NHL is still trying to recover fan appeal after the lockout.

Meanwhile, the NHL announced the three stars of the week. More surprising, though, was the announcement the Darren McCarty wants to make a comeback—in the IHL. Not many who weren’t picked up after the lockout have returned to the game. Maybe McCarty will be successful.