“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, February 25, 2009

Wednesday Hero - Spc. Ross A. McGinnis

Spc. Ross A. McGinnis
Spc. Ross A. McGinnis
19 years old from Knox, Pennsylvania
1st Battalion, 26th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division
December 4, 2006
U.S. Army

His mission was to patrol the streets of Adhamiyah in northeast Baghdad and find a place to put a 250-kilowatt generator that would provide electricity for more than 100 homes. But it's a mission he wasn't able to accomplish.

Shortly after Pfc. McGinnis's convoy left the compound, and less than a mile from FOB Apache, an insurgent standing on a nearby rooftop threw a grenade into the sixth, and last, Humvee. "Grenade!" yelled McGinnis, who was manning the vehicle's M2 .50-caliber machine gun. He tried to deflect the grenade but it fell into the Humvee and lodged between the radios.

"McGinnis turned and looked down and realized no one in the truck knew where the grenade was," said Capt. Michael Baka, his company commander. "He knew everyone had their doors combat-locked and they wouldn't be able to get out."

Instead of jumping out of the truck to save his own life, like he had been trained to do, McGinnis threw his back against the radio mount, smothering the explosive with his body. The grenade exploded just as Pfc. McGinnis covered it. The blast filled the vehicle with black smoke and debris and blew the driver's door and right passenger's door wide open and blew the machine gun off its mount. The explosion hit McGinnis on his sides and his lower back, under his vest. He was killed instantly.

The other four soldiers in the Humvee suffered relatively minor injuries.

On the morning of December 4, 2006, before his convoy had left, Cpt. Baka has signed a waver promoting Pfc. McGinnis to Specialist and he was posthumously promoted to E-4.

For his heroic actions on that day, McGinnis was awarded the Silver Star and was nominated for a Medal of Honor which he received on June 2, 2008.

All Information Was Found On And Copied From MilitaryCity.com

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.
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Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Is It Islam...or Money?

MSNBC has made another massive gaff. Friday, the “news source” once again demonstrated it lack of understanding of things Islamic by saying that capitalism not religion defines roles for women in that culture.

O'Donnell then turned to Sally Quinn of the Washington Post, who wrote about the theory on the newspaper's On Faith blog: "This is a hot topic, Sally. Do you believe that oil is behind sexism in the Middle East?" Quinn replied: "Well, I do think that it has a lot to do with it...when you have an oil-rich country, there's much less manufacturing, so that there are fewer jobs for women. But also because the country is so rich that women don't need to work and therefore they're comfortable and they stay home."
How anyone can say that is a mystery to me. The role of women has not changed, per se, in traditional Islamic cultures for hundreds of years. The roles were defined before the oil wealth existed there, and they permeate the culture from the bottom to the top. These kinds of determinations are just perfect examples of Liberalism trying to make things what they appear, not what they really are. And, unfortunately, people believe them rather than question them.

On the subject of things Islamic, the US is reportedly planning to send $900 million in aid to Gaza.
The aid would go to nongovernmental and UN organisations, with some going to the Palestinian Authority, the official said.
Given the UN track record of keeping tabs on and controlling Hamas activities—such as those recently missing explosives--I am not holding my breath over any aid not going to the terrorists.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

NEW US Healthcare Initiatives (...yeah...right...)

There is now another healthcare plan being proposed. The center point of this plan is to keep the government from totally controlling healthcare. This plan uses the availability of a government plan as well as private insurance. But, there is one small detail…

Every American would be required to have some form of public or private health insurance, and one choice would be a new nationwide government program for anyone under 65, the age when eligibility for the existing Medicare program begins.
Can someone please tell me the difference? Either way, the government is in control and be in the insurance business, making it one more Nationalized industry.

Speaking of which, did anyone else notice the report about exceptions allowing the sale of your medical records included in the Stimulus Bill?
Though the legislation says there is a “prohibition on sale of electronic health records or protected health information,” there are five pages of exceptions to the prohibition that include research, treatment of an individual, or a decision by the Secretary of Health and Human Services to waive the prohibition.
Now, I understand the need for combining data for research and so forth. But, since when does that involve SALE of data? And, since when has that involved the inclusion of personal and private information?

(…does anyone still believe the government respects your rights of privacy?...)

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

The Middle East And Middle America

How can anyone believe that the Arab world really wants a peaceful settlement in the Middle East? The Turish Prime Minister walked out (stormed was the word used by the BBC) of meetings in Davos over the Gaza situation. Then, in a meeting in Instanbul, Sunni sheiks and scholars called for a new jihad.

Mohammed Nazzal, a senior Hamas leader based in Damascus, challenged Arab governments to "open their borders and allow the fighters to come."

Delegates from all over the Middle East, and from Somalia, Sudan, Pakistan and Indonesia applauded as he stabbed the air with a raised finger and declared: "There will be no agreement with Israel... only weapons will bring respect."

Mr Nazzal told his audience: "Don't worry about casualties."
The Arabs do not want, and have never really wanted, peace with Israel. Consider, for example, missing explosives, under Hamas guard, waiting UN disposal that are now missing. Does it really surprise anyone that Israel is blaming Hamas for sneaking the weapons off. And, in normal anti-Israel media fashion, no one seems to be commenting on Hamas’ silence over the situation. And, then, there was John Kerry’s comment about the peace process. Speaking about relations with Syria Rueters reports:
On the possibility of improved relations with Israel following recent elections there, he said: "Betting on the Israeli government is a waste of time."
(…nope…no bias in this administration…)

Meanwhile, at home, the Obama Administration is figuring out how to limit executive compensation. A Reuters news report said something stunning:
Many analysts say the government's activities in pumping massive amounts of capital into banks and setting rules for executive pay for those receiving funds represents the greatest intrusion of government into the private sector in decades.
Is there really any question on this issue? The government is nationalizing banks, and perhaps other industries. It is deciding what employees (executive or otherwise) can and cannot be paid. And, nothing of this scope has been done in America since the 1930s. The Stimulus Plan does not “represent” the biggest move of government into the private sector. It IS the biggest such move in America. And, it certainly is not what America’s founding fathers had in mind when they strove to create limited government and maximum personal freedom.
I predict future happiness for Americans if they can prevent the government from wasting the labors of the people under the pretense of taking care of them.
Thomas Jefferson
(...you might also want to go read The Mind of the Obama Follower does not understand that Tax and Wage Increases on Business Hurts The Middle Class...well worth it...)

Wednesday Hero - Sgt. Kelly Keck

Sgt. Kelly Keck
Sgt. Kelly Keck
34 years old from West Liberty, Kentucky
U.S. Army

Secretary of the Army Pete Geren congratulates Sgt. Kelly Keck after presenting him the Purple Heart.

On September 13, 2008, Sgt. Kelly Keck, a combat medic serving in Afghanistan, was wounded while trying to aid his fellow soldiers who's truck had just been struck by an IED. "I stepped off the road to try to get to the side of the truck, and the next thing I know I hear a loud boom, and I'm laying on the ground," he said. Sgt. Kelly had stepped on a land mine. He was flown to a field hospital in Jalalabad where he ended up loosing three fingers on his left hand and his right leg below the knee. "It was quite an ordeal," the soft-spoken soldier said.

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.
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Sunday, February 15, 2009

02/15 Obama, Healthcare, and the Lack of Debate

There were three news reports from Friday that I found VERY interesting. They all revolve around the Stimulus package that many expect to rejuvenate the economy. All are from CNSNews. You can claim bias all you want to…but the reports should be disturbing to everyone…

First, a Democrat says no one will have time to even read the Stimulus Bill before it has to be voted on.

The first PDF was 424 pages long and the second PDF was 575 pages long, making the total bill 999 pages long. The House is expected to vote on this 999-page bill Friday, and the Senate either later Friday or Saturday. [Editor's note: The first PDF, as posted on the House Appropriations Committee website as of 8:20 AM Friday morning, had grown by 72 pages to 496 pages, increasing the length of the total document to 1,071 pages.]
If you had any illusions that there would be reasonable debate, discussion or even understanding of the whole thing, you were sadly mistaken.

Second, we now have a new government agency that will have possession and control of all medical records. This was slipped into the bill without debate. And, although Bloomberg News reported on this agency that will have a budget bigger than the US military, no one raised a fuss or demanded explanation. It’s amazing that the American people would scream and shout over the excesses of the Bush administration, without oversight, but say nothing of such an expensive agency.

And, that brings us to the third report. It seems that The Guardian is reporting the British centralized records system isn’t working like it should.
An NHS hospital boss criticised the new computerised medical records system today, saying it had cost his trust an extra £10m and meant fewer patients could be seen.

Andrew Way, chief executive of Hampstead's Royal Free hospital, in north-west London, said his staff were "incredibly disappointed" with the IT upgrade on trial at the hospital since last summer.

The National Programme for IT (NPfIT) aims to create a centralised medical records system for 50 million patients in England at a cost of more than £12bn.
The article goes on to cite some very strong privacy concerns, since pharmacists would be able to see the entire record—not just doctors.

So, for everyone who thinks this is the best thing since sliced bread…maybe you should reconsider. Are the expected benefits of an agency that will have the authority, in the future if not now, to control healthcare access and spending really going to be worth it? Maybe taking subsidies away from drug manufacturers and no longer propping them up by restricting alternative medical means would accomplish more to reduce costs. Which, of course, begs the question since government subsidizes so much of healthcare technology and drug research…why are costs rising so sharply?

(…either way…government has near total control of medicine…I hope everyone is happy with it…)

Thursday, February 12, 2009

02/12 Obama's Stimulus "Victory"

Well…the “Stimulus Plan” is one step closer to passing. It made it through the Senate yesterday. But, that wasn’t really a surprise to anyone. After all,

Senator Charles E. Grassley, Republican of Iowa, complained that despite Mr. Obama’s call for bipartisan cooperation, Republicans had largely been shut out. “We didn’t have a chance to negotiate,” Mr. Grassley said.
It is very difficult to get much disagreement when, having the majority and needing little help from opponents (3 Republicnas), you can shut off input and debate.

In the same article, I found something else that was quite frightening.
The White House is considering a prime-time bill signing ceremony, and on Wednesday asked the television networks if they would air the event.
Obama is running government on public opinion like no one has before him. As we all know, polls and opinions are fickle. They change on a whim. More than one government has been established on setting, controlling, or living by public opinion. And, they have all failed, leaving their nations in worse state than they were before. The design of the Constitution was such that public opinion would be separated, as much as possible, from the legislative process to allow careful deliberation and appropriate action. I still very much want to remind people of my comments yesterday. Government, by design, is supposed to move slowly—not taking immediate action on every whim of the people. We see all the ramifications of rapid changes and actions taken by the Bush administration. Do we really believe the same speed of action by the Obama administration will produce better results? I think we are going to get much more than we bargained for from this President who runs on Charisma and persona rather than decision making skill.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

02/11 Wednesday Hero - Sgt. Patrick Tanish

This Weeks Post Was Suggested And Written By Brat

Sgt. Patrick Tanish
Sgt. Patrick Tainsh
33 years old from Oceanside, California
Troop E, 2nd Squadron, 2nd Armored Cavalry Regiment
February 11, 2004
U.S. Army

Five years ago today, Sgt. Patrick Tainsh sacrificed all as the mounted unit he
was part of was hit by an IED in Baghdad. He was posthumously awarded the Bronze and Sliver Stars saving the lives of his commanding officer and other soldiers before succumbing to his own wounds. Also killed in the attack was Pfc. William C. Ramirez from Portland, Oregon.

On Veteran’s Day, 2007, Deborah Tainsh, Sgt. Tainsh's mother, attended a school in Columbia, Georgia, and shared a story she had written called "A Boy Named Patrick."

Here is part of the story :

…a little boy named Patrick who loved football, beaches, surfing, and
skateboarding, and especially reading. Patrick watched his dad be a Marine for
over twenty years. During this time Patrick kept reading not only surfing and
skateboarding magazines, but history books, too. One day when Patrick was a man, he told his dad and best friend, “I want to do something that will make a
difference in the world, I’m going to be a soldier.” And so he did. And in 1999
he went to Fort Knox, Kentucky for boot camp and then went to Fort Polk,
Louisiana where he worked and trained hard to become a United States Army
Cavalry Scout. Then in 2003 Patrick had to say good bye to his mom and dad
because he had to go fight a war in Iraq to protect his country, friends, and
family from terrorists and to help fight for the freedoms of the boys and girls
in that country where they and their families were treated very badly by their
country’s leader. Patrick once wrote a letter to his mom and dad telling them
that he cried for the children because they were hungry and he didn’t have food
to give them. He said he couldn’t understand how a country’s leader could treat
the people so badly and make them live in such dirty conditions with trash and
wild dogs everywhere. And so Patrick's mom and dad keep a photo in their living
room of Patrick surrounded by Iraqi children.

You can read the story in it's entirety here.

Sgt Tainsh came to the military later than some, but rose through the ranks fast. In his last letter to his parents, Sgt Tainsh shared his thoughts about his mission. And in 2006, Sgt. Tainsh's mother wrote a book called Heart Of A Hawk about her son's life and her and her husband's struggles since their son was killed.

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.
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Indecisive Leadership

Should we be surprised at the "Stimulus Package" announcement? Not really. Geitner's announcement was so full of vague there was no substance to it at all. It was almost as if the administration was trying to see what would public opinion might be, rather than making a statement of policy. Of course, this is nothing new for Obama. The signs of this style of decision making were all there during the Presidential Election Debates. When asked a question that required a direct answer, Obama never gave one unless someone else did first. Not so McCain. Even if the answer was not popular, McCain spoke directly to almost every question. Obama ALWAYS spoke in generalities first, specifics later. Yet he demands swift passage of his plan...which still lacks details. That smacks of everything the Democrats were complaining about during the Bush years. I guess somethings don't change.

The lesson of the Bush administration should be to act with consideration and restraint. That is, by the way, the function of government. It is, by design, slow to accomplish anything. Swift change is dangerous for government to enact. Consider the billions released during the closing years of the Bush presidency that are unaccounted for. As much as we would like to blame Bush for everything, Congress is equally at fault for not providing oversight of the money. It was a knee jerk reaction to a crisis, which is understandable. Mistakes in things done that quickly should be unstandable as well. But, now we are angry at the consequences--while looking for someone to blame. And, of course, Bush is an easy target. But so are the Democrats that continue to chair the financial committes in Congress but haven't done their jobs.

Meanwhile, we have Congress wrangling over passage of the Stimulus package. Why? Maybe it's because they are trying to create something the American people can actually live with. Maybe the creation of some a new super agency, with more funding than the military, to monitor and control healthcare access. If nothing else, maybe there are enough Senators and Congressmen who aren't sure where the money for that will come from to pay for that. But, since it was put on the Stimulus Package without disagreement by either party, that's probably not true.

It's been said that it takes anywhere from 5-8 years for Presidential policies to take full effect. If true, that would actually mean that most of the economic success attributed to Clinton was actually the result of the Reagan-Bush policies. It would also mean that, taking the Iraq and Afghanistan expenses out, the economic failures of the W years were actually Clinton's fault. Not too far fetched since the economy was already strating to slide during Clinton's last two years in office.

So, now we have Congress dragging it's feet in tackling the economy, just as it did during the Bush years. And, we have a President who demands things change immediately, while threatening to use Presidential Orders to accomplish his goals--just like Bush did, and Clinton. Some things just don't change--even though party affiliations do.