Monday, May 21, 2007

Seriously, why are you still here?

Please visit Mamanista! for chic, practical, and essential baby products for new parents. It is my new project and I would love you to check it out.

Or try Mama Saga to find out about my life as a Mama.

Or An Army Wife's Life or SpouseBUZZ for military spouse whatnot.


Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Why Are You Still Here?

You should go to my other, now frequently updated blog: An Army Wife's Life. I will have almost daily updates on life as an Army Wife with a deployed husband. I promise to also throw in a little politics for fun.

If you are really missing the politics, I suggest checking out Sandmonkey.

Here's an Arab Muslim blogger who LIKES freedom, democracy, and the U.S....he even organizes anti-terrorism vigils in Egypt, in defiance of the police. He's also funny. I read Sandmonkey pretty much every day.

Please consider voting for him in the Best of the Middle East or Africa category in the 2005 Weblog Awards.

Dear everybody,

My blog was nominated yesterday for the 2005 Weblog award in the best middle-east or Africa blog category, and let's just say that the competition is stiff ( i.e. I am getting my butt-kicked). This is why I need you to go there and vote for me, and not for any of the other blogs on that list. You shouldn't vote for them anyway, because not a single one of them is as informative or as funny as my blog. Not to mention, I have it on good authority* that they are all boogerfaces and have cooties, oh yeah, and hate freedom, motherhood and apple pie. I don't. I support all of those things. Do you? Show it by voting for me. Not convinced? Well, I didn't want to say this, but they also eat babies for breakfast, admire Hitler and like to kidnap and molest dolphins. Not to mention they talked shit about your Mama. You gonna let them get away with that? I didn't. I defended her as the nice virtious lady that she is! See, I care for you! I got your back. So show that you got mine and vote for me. It will only take you a second, but it will mean the world to me. Really. I swear. Now do it already! It's what your mama would want you to do!

The Sandmonkey

Friday, September 16, 2005

Kill the Blog

So, I'm considering killing this blog.

Like every other blogger at one point or another, I'm questioning whether or not it is worthwhile for me or for others.

I think I created this blog because I love a good debate...but most who have come here probably agree with me. Well, at least those who were actually looking for something along the lines of this blog--there are plenty who came here through some amazingly random searches.

I'm guessing that is why comments are few and far between even though I know people are visiting and some are even returning. While I appreciate that some are interested in reading how I phrase my thoughts, that doesn't fulfill my original goal and others with similar opinions have more time to research and polish their prose.

I don't believe this blog is making a unique contribution. I have no connections to "highly placed sources"...or rather I have one or two but I wouldn't exploit them and they wouldn't let me. If I feel the need to comment on world events, I could always visit some of my favorite political blogs or post on the news section of the military spouse support board I read.

If I stop this blog, I can concentrate on my other blog, An Army Wife's Life, and, life, things like that. I'd really like to get the military blog up to date and start posting more daily experiences as an officer's wife.

Any thoughts???

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Like Sausages, Indeed...

I can't stand watching the hearings re-runs anymore. It is all just an excuse for Senators (on both sides of the aisle) to talk. I think I'm better off not watching.

Okay, I'm Being Good and Watching the Roberts Hearings (For Now)

Kennedy is up...boy is he fun...

Is he asking a question or making a speech?

Roberts is waiting so patiently and Kennedy seems not at all interested in his answer.

This whole intent/effects test thing is interesting...not something with which I was really acquainted.

Kennedy is just not letting him answer.

Roberts is being quite frank with Kennedy and Kennedy just does not want to hear it.

The way I'm understanding all of this is that certain sections of the Voting Rights Act, which was renewed during the Reagan administration, say that it is the intent that determines discrimination and other sections (referring to areas that have previous gross examples of discrimination) require only that the effect is discriminatory.

Roberts is saying that, over two decades ago, he supported his bosses' position that the Act should be renewed but the "effects" test should not be extended to other sections of the Act.

Kennedy did.

Kennedy is still pissed. Roberts seems to accept that he and Kennedy disagree.

Am I understanding this correctly?

Roberts Hearings or...

So, should I watch the Roberts Hearings on C-Span, Queer Eye, check out more Foamy the Squirrel, or read the Onion?

I need something to distract me.

My kitty is not feeling well after getting her booster shots today. The vet said she is probably just fine but I'm still nervous.

So, I turned on the Roberts Hearings. So far it looks like a bunch of giggling schoolgirls. Nothing surprising or aggressive...if it continues to be dull I guess it will be Queer Eye time.

The ACLU and Dress Codes: Are Thongs Protected Speech?

Custom-made fit for school: Dress codes, student uniforms back in style

...critics dispute the benefits and argue dress codes and school uniforms restrict students' free speech.

Justin Taylor, a 10th-grader at Alabama's Fayette County High School, which doesn't have a strict dress code, says any move toward uniforms would take choices out of his hands.

"I wouldn't like it. I just wouldn't like wearing the same things over and over again every day," Justin says. "I would rather wear what I wanted."

Boo, hoo...and I'd rather be independently wealthy.

"I would rather wear what I wanted" hardly rises to the level of protected speech.

In 2004, Timothy Gies, a senior at Bay City Central High School in Michigan, was suspended several times for wearing shirts and sweat shirts with anarchy symbols, peace signs, upside-down American flags and an anti-war quote from Albert Einstein.

Alright, this is political speech and therefore protected...unless it significantly disrupts the educational mission. The upside-down flag may very well be inflamatory and disruptive in that community. On the other hand, suspending someone for an Einstein quote was probably a mistake.

This all depends on the dress code, though. If the code says, "plain white shirts, plain blue sweaters, no slogans, quotes, or political symbols" then he broke the dress code. I can't tell from this or other articles...anyone know?

The mission of the district and the standards of the community trump the allegedly symbolic speech of the clothing.

As far as I know, education has long been a community issue--and the community is well within its rights to enforce its own community standards in schools, as long as they do so consistently and without discrimination against race, religion, or specific forms of speech.

Of course, that doesn't stop the ACLU from butting in...

"ACLU opposes dress codes -- we believe students have a right of free expression, a part of which is expressing their individuality through the clothes that they wear," Steinberg says. "And parents can control the clothes their children wear, but it should not be a matter that the state dictates."

So, would a thong be protected speech?

If the federal governement or even the state government tried to impose a dress code, I'd say they were overstepping their bounds...for a community, that's fine by me and, I believe, the Constitution.


Good News - Iraq: Economic Progress

Economic Hopes Soar in Ninawa Province

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) is working hard to assist Ninawa Province in becoming a major commercial center in northern Iraq.

I actually have mixed feelings about this one. Because the area is not yet quite ready, they are using a Turkish company and Turkish workers. Ideally, even the construction would be bringing jobs and money to the area. However, the airport should bring in more investment which will hopefully eventually mean an improvement in the local eonomy.

Monday, September 12, 2005

Foamy the Squirrel Speaks the Truth About Hurrican Katrina

I love this because:

A) It says everything I would like to say.


B) I've always been a big fan of squirrels.

Foamy the Squirrel

Do not click if there are small children or co-workers/bosses around.

Have fun!

I NEED a cartoon alter ego.

Sunday, September 11, 2005

New York Times Katrina Coverage: Abandoning Any Semblance of Objectivity?

Here's the Headline:

Breakdowns Marked Path From Hurricane to Anarchy

Here's the summary on the digital "front page":

An initial examination of Katrina's aftermath demonstrates the extent to which the federal government failed to face domestic threats as a unified, seamless force.

Wow. That is a very serious accusation directed solely at the federal government. They must have solid proof, right?

State and federal officials had spent two years working on a disaster plan to prepare for a massive storm, but it was incomplete and had failed to deal with two issues that proved most critical: transporting evacuees and imposing law and order.

Wow. I wonder whose responsibility those two issues should be?

The Louisiana National Guard, already stretched by the deployment of more than 3,000 troops to Iraq, was hampered when its New Orleans barracks flooded.

The NG had plenty of troops on hand. If they had been used effectively by the Governor, they could have provided more immediate relief.

Partly because of the shortage of troops, violence raged inside the New Orleans convention center, which interviews show was even worse than previously described. Police SWAT team members found themselves plunging into the darkness, guided by the muzzle flashes of thugs' handguns, said Capt. Jeffrey Winn.

So, is law enforcement the job of the federal government or these guys:

"In 20 years as a cop, doing mostly tactical work, I have never seen anything like it," said Captain Winn. Three of his officers quit, he said, and another simply disappeared.

They just quit. States all over the country lent their police, who proudly arrived to help keep order. These guys cut and ran in their own neighborhoods. Some quit, some disappeared, and some even looted.

Those who did their job and stayed are getting free vacations so that others can do their jobs...and New Orleans wants MORE federal money???

As the city become paralyzed both by water and by lawlessness, so did the response by government. The fractured division of responsibility - Governor Blanco controlled state agencies and the National Guard, Mayor Nagin directed city workers and Mr. Brown, the head of FEMA, served as the point man for the federal government - meant no one person was in charge.

Americans watching on television saw the often-haggard governor, the voluble mayor and the usually upbeat FEMA chief appear at competing daily news briefings and interviews.
The power-sharing arrangement was by design, and as the days wore on, it would prove disastrous. Under the Bush administration, FEMA redefined its role, offering assistance but remaining subordinate to state and local governments. "Our typical role is to work with the state in support of local and state agencies," said David Passey, a FEMA spokesman.

With Hurricane Katrina, that meant the agency most experienced in dealing with disasters and with access to the greatest resources followed, rather than led.

Obviously these authors never heard of a little thing called the Constitution. Oh, wait...they have...they just don't care:

As New Orleans descended into near-anarchy, the White House considered sending active-duty troops to impose order. The Pentagon was not eager to have combat troops take on a domestic lawkeeping role. "The way it's arranged under our Constitution," Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld noted at a news briefing last week, "state and local officials are the first responders."

Pentagon, White House and Justice officials debated for two days whether the president should seize control of the relief mission from Governor Blanco. But they worried about the political fallout of stepping on the state's authority, according to the officials involved in the discussions. They ultimately rejected the idea and instead decided to try to speed the arrival of National Guard forces, including many trained as military police.

Paul McHale, the assistant secretary of defense for homeland security, explained that decision in an interview this week. "Could we have physically moved combat forces into an American city, without the governor's consent, for purposes of using those forces - untrained at that point in law enforcement - for law enforcement duties? Yes."

But, he asked, "Would you have wanted that on your conscience?"

I can just see the headlines now--Dictator Bush Invades American City.

There are others who have done a much better job researching what was and was not done. I just wanted to note that the New York Times is unabashedly publishing editorials under the guise of "news." I strongly suggest everyone check out:

Right Wing Nut House: Katrina Response Timeline

Red Cross was blocked from delivering supplies

Balloon Juice: Calm Down and Let's Get this Right

September 11, 2001

My husband was on his way to work in downtown Manhattan on the Day the Earth Stood Still.

You can check out that link to see what we did that day.

Our little family was very lucky--a close family friend of DH's worked for Cantor Fitagerald and was late for the first time that day to vote in the Democratic Primaries.

Other friends had similarly eerie luck.

Many others were not so lucky and perished that day.

We must never forget them.

Saturday, September 10, 2005

Red Crescent to be Memorial for Terrorist Victims

Someone sent me this story about the Memorial for Flight 93 and I looked at the picture and my jaw dropped.

I understand that the red crescent is not in and of itself a violent symbol...but considering that the hijackers were killing in the name of Islam, this seems a bit insensitive.

The wierd thing is I couldn't find any mention of controversy in the article.

Real Clear Politics is not as silent on the subject.

Friday, September 09, 2005

Rockers, Benefit Concerts, and the Hurricane

So now we're having an aid concert.

I get that concerts and other events can raise awareness while raising money. There are somethings plaguing society that do not get enough attention.

I think we are all aware of the Hurricane and the people it has displaced and the lives it has ruined.

Why not just donate the money? Or fill up one of your mansions with some of these families? Or just go to a shelter and read to some children or hold an infant while its mother gets a few hours rest?

I guess that doesn't make for big publicity, though.

You know when they should have a benefit concert? Next year.

Let's have a concert when everyone else in LA has forgotten about the hurricane but children still have nightmares, families are still struggling to make ends meet, some communities are still trying to rebuild, and others are stretching their already limited resources to welcome these additional residents.

That's when awareness will need to be raised--when this round of donations and support dries up.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Good News: Iraq: Troops Donate Supplies to Iraqi School Children

Donations Kick Off School Days for Iraqi Kids

"We never saw anything like this under the old regime," said Nadhera Abbood Mohammed, a sports teacher at the school.

"Under Saddam, they had many meetings about getting supplies but were told by the government that they would have to get it themselves."

'nuff said.

Katrina: Racism?

I thought this was a great link. The title is "tongue in cheek" because it actually shows how everyone ignored race to help others during the Hurricane.

I'm not saying there isn't racism today because there is...but I do think that in addition to exposing failures we have to draw attention to successes and hold up positive ideals to the public. Both are necessary to combat problems.

American Racism: The Slideshow

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Sharing the Burden

So, I've read some left of center bloggers and pundits saying, "Why doesn't Bush sign up his twins for Iraq if the war is so important and so just?"

I also just spotted an article from the Washington Post on the topic.

Obviously, on its face that is ridiculous--you don't sign your adult children up for military service, they sign-up themselves.

Barbara Bush is volunteering in the Cape Town Red Cross War Memorial Children's Hospital (in South Africa) and Jenna is currently teaching public school in Washington, D.C. ... I think those are certainly valid contributions. By the way, good for the White House for not exploiting these marvelous choices.

Why any one politician's children aren't in the military really isn't the issue, anyway.

While children often share the values (or lack thereof) of their parents, those values may not manifest themselves in the way the parent wishes. Besides, not everyone is suited for today's military. I would make a terrible soldier, personally.

What is the problem is that the burden of serving and protecting the country is not even close to evenly shared among the classes in our nation.

Of course, one could point to all the educated elites with that accusation, including the liberal professional class.

Even more directly, the drop in prestige in military service could be traced to the radical left's hatred of the military during and immediately following the Vietnam War.

After all, it was those liberal elites that forced ROTC off of the top college campuses in the late 1960s.

My DH and I went to Yale. Students who wished to complete the ROTC program had to drive an hour and a half each way to UCONN, almost completely eliminating their ability to take classes two days a week.

The military is even barred from recruiting on many campuses.

They would have you believe it is a result of discriminatory policies--that is a post-facto rationalization. Yes, that policy should change, but the answer is not complete withdrawal of the nation's educated elite from national defense.

Despite this, a few of our fellow graduates still claimed interest in serving the country after college. Yet, they were reluctant to lose the time and income relative to their peers. That is not an excuse but it is somewhat understandable and needs to be addressed if we want the military to reflect the society.

On Blogs for Bush, Matt argues that there are many ways to show support. This is true. Not everyone is suited or eligible for military service. Still, I do think it is a problem that so few contribute service to the country. Service does more than help others, it helps those who serve as well.

So, what is the solution?

All Americans should give two years of service to their country. They should be allowed to choose the form--AmeriCorps, teaching in disadvantaged areas, or enlisting in the military. Those who wish to complete their service by becoming officers should have to give an additional year to compensate and allow for the extra training. An auxiliary program should also be established for those who wish to share their talents with the military at home but may not have the physical toughness required for combat, thus freeing others for combat.

This will build unity, improve our nation, and ensure that everyone shares the burden. The wealthy will learn about living off of a smaller paycheck (although Daddy and Mommy will no doubt help...but I don't think there is any way around that) and others will perhaps discover a career with a steady paycheck, health care, and self-respect.

Those who are pacifists will have the opportunity to serve in other ways. Those who wish to serve in the military will be able to do so without fear of losing ground to their peers.

Of course, this would be very difficult to establish--political dynamite.

Still, it helps to imagine the world as it should be and then take steps towards that. We are a society that is justifiably and rightly concerned about instead of coercing people we can persuade.

We could begin by rebuilding the prestige around service. Allow ROTC and recruiters back onto the elite campuses.

Currently veterans are given preference for government jobs. Let's establish gradual programs that build upon that and include other forms of service.

Everywhere the government holds any influence, national service should be made a priority.

And gentlemen in England now a-bed
Shall think themselves accursed they were not here,
And hold their manhoods cheap whiles any speaks
That fought with us upon Saint Crispin's day.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Bush's Efforts to Help Katrina Victims

UPDATE 9/7: Right Wing Nut House has a much better Katrina Response Timeline/. If you have any questions about what was and was not done, this will go a long way towards answering them.

UPDATE: Captain's Quarters has a CNN interview with GHWB and Clinton, both of whom defend President Bush's handling of the Hurricane. And isn't ridiculous that two former presidents have to waste their time doing this because the media wants to blame Bush for everything?

Here is some information about what the federal government has been doing to help Katrina.

It is pretty much verbatim from and it is surely incomplete. I would spend more time on this but I'd rather be actually helping people.

Still, I thought there needed to be some antidote to the vitriol out there.

Before I launch into things, I would also like to add that Lifelike Pundits notes that some nations are offering their condolences and Junk Yard Blog notes some (albeit few) are even offering aid (although Michelle Malkin is underwhelmed.

Condolences from leaders are free. Just try not to smirk too much or let the cameras see your crossed fingers.

What I would like to see is the outpouring of support from the PEOPLE of these's nice (and I suppose a little more oil wouldn't hurt, either) but it is the thought that counts.

Where are the vigils, the prayers, and the love?

Anyway, on to my main point...

Below you'll find a summary of the federal efforts to date to help Katrina victims and, below that, you'll find a brief timeline of federal efforts:

Task Force Response
The National Response Plan (NRP) fully mobilizes the resources of the entire federal government
to support response and recovery efforts for state and local authorities…Secretary Chertoff has declared the devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina an incident of national significance - the first-ever use of this designation.

FEMA Is Moving Resources And Supplies Into The Hardest Hit Areas As Quickly As Possible. To date, (FEMA) has deployed more than 50 Disaster Medical Assistance Teams, more than 25 Urban Search and Rescue task forces, eight swift water rescue teams, and two Incident Support Teams. FEMA is also working to deliver water, ice, meals, medical supplies, generators, tents, and tarps. There are currently more than 1,700 trucks which have been mobilized to move these supplies into position.

FEMA And The Army Corps of Engineers Are Working With Louisiana Officials To Repair The Breaches In The Levees To Stop The Flooding In New Orleans.

The Federal Government Is Working To Help Relocate Those Displaced By The Hurricane. Those in …the Superdome are being moved to the Astrodome in Houston, and FEMA is working to provide tents and shelter. In addition, the Departments of Housing and Urban Development, Agriculture, and Health and Human Services (HHS) are working with local communities to provide help to those who have been displaced from their homes.

This Morning, Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman Announced That The Strategic Petroleum Reserve Will Be Used To Help Fulfill Demand For Oil.

The Energy Department Is Working To Restore Electricity To Affected Areas.

EPA Has Issued Fuel Waivers To Expedite Relief and Recovery.

The Department Of Defense Is Moving Military Resources Into The Gulf States To Aid In Rescue And Recovery. Eight Navy ships have moved into the area with water, food, medicine, hospital facilities, berthing, and more. DOD has responded to all FEMA requests and is providing logistical help, including helicopters, activation of air stations in strategic areas, and strategic lift support.

The United States Coast Guard Is Conducting Search And Rescue….its efforts will continue until all those at risk are safe.

Health And Human Services Secretary Mike Leavitt Has Declared A Public Health Emergency, Which Facilitates Provision Of Medical Services In The Affected Region. HHS has delivered requested medical supplies to Louisiana, including basic first aid materials, blankets and patient clothing, suture kits, sterile gloves, stethoscopes, blood pressure measuring kits, and portable oxygen tanks.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is working to address the risk of disease caused by Hurricane Katrina. HHS has placed 415 Public Health Service Officers on stand-by for deployment to support medical response in the affected states. HHS and CDC are working with local officials to identify hospital facilities, distribute medical supplies, and execute a public health plan to control disease and other risks to public health.

A Timeline

August 26
President Bush declares an emergency exists in the State of Louisiana and orders Federal aid to supplement state and local response efforts in the parishes located in the path of Hurricane Katrina; authorizes the Department of Homeland Security, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), to coordinate all disaster relief efforts which have the purpose of alleviating the hardship and suffering caused by the emergency on the local population, and to provide appropriate assistance for required emergency measures, authorized under Title V of the Stafford Act, to save lives, protect property and public health and safety, or to lessen or avert the threat of a catastrophe

August 27
President Discusses Hurricane Katrina

THE PRESIDENT: This morning I spoke with FEMA Undersecretary Mike Brown and emergency management teams not only at the federal level but at the state level about the -- Hurricane Katrina. I've also spoken to Governor Blanco of Louisiana, Governor Barbour of Mississippi, Governor Bush of Florida, and Governor Riley of Alabama. I want to thank all the folks at the federal level and the state level and the local level who have taken this storm seriously. I appreciate the efforts of the governors to prepare their citizenry for this upcoming storm.

Yesterday, I signed a disaster declaration for the state of Louisiana, and this morning I signed a disaster declaration for the state of Mississippi. These declarations will allow federal agencies to coordinate all disaster relief efforts with state and local officials. We will do everything in our power to help the people in the communities affected by this storm.

Hurricane Katrina is now designated a category five hurricane. We cannot stress enough the danger this hurricane poses to Gulf Coast communities. I urge all citizens to put their own safety and the safety of their families first by moving to safe ground. Please listen carefully to instructions provided by state and local officials.

August 28
National Weather Service issued a bulletin predicting "devastating" damage rivaling the intensity of Hurricane Camille.

Katrina upgraded to Category 5; New Orleans mayor C. Ray Nagin, orders mandatory evacuation; establishes several "refuges of last resort," including Superdome, with 550 National Guard troops; mandatory evacuations were also ordered for other areas in Louisiana, Alabama, and Mississippi

August 29
The President today declared a major disaster exists in the State of Louisiana and ordered Federal aid to supplement State and local recovery efforts in the area struck by Hurricane Katrina beginning on August 29, 2005, and continuing.

For a period of up to 72 hours, Federal funding is available at 100 percent of the total eligible costs for emergency protective measures, including direct Federal assistance. The period of up to 72 hours at 100 percent excludes debris removal.

August 30
Secretary Of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff Activated The National Response Plan To Ensure That Help Gets To Those Most In Need.

August 31
President Bush convenes a Cabinet-level task force on Hurricane Katrina response and recovery

Cutting short his working vacation, he flies over Gulf States on the way to D.C.

Superdome Update

I guess they didn't do as thorough of a job searching for guns as I had heard.

Still, the idea that a group of people watched a young girl get raped and did nothing--that still disgusts me.

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Rapes in the Superdome?

I really feel for the people who either could not or did not leave. I think we should get aid to them as quickly as possible.

I've been reading the articles like many of y'all and this just really upset me:

Several residents said they had heard of young children being raped, though it was not clear whether anyone reported such incidents, and no officials could be found who could confirm the accounts.

Darcel Monroe, 21, a cashier in a bakery, stammered hysterically as she recounted seeing two young girls being raped in one of the women's bathrooms. "A lot of people saw it but they were afraid to do anything," she said. "He ran out past all of us."

This seems to just be rumor to me and I'm hoping that's the case.

Even if they hadn't checked everyone for weapons, and even if there weren't authorities present to keep order and take reports of crimes, WHY ON EARTH wouldn't SOMEONE in a crowded stadium stop a rapist?

There is no way I would stand idly by, let alone with an entire group of adults, and allow some beast, let alone an unarmed man, to rape a girl.

Personally, I would scream so loud and start kicking. I've been attacked before so, before anyone asks, yes, I know how I would react. I know if my husband had been there, he would have killed the beast with his own two hands.

I'm really hoping this did not happen.

Katrina: Aid in Temple, TX

I just got off the phone with the Salvation Army. Some families fleeing Katrina are coming to Temple, TX. Some of them need blankets, food (especially baby food), clothing (especially baby clothing), and personal hygiene items.

I'm working with the Junior League of Bell County to get some of these items to them. If you are in the area, please consider helping.

The Temple Salvation Army office is at 2604 West Avenue M.

If you are not anywhere near the areas that were hit, you can still help. Michael at A Word From the Right has a list of organizations who are helping to provide relief.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Education: The Good Fight

As an educator and as a former teacher, I've had numerous occasions to be horrified by declining standards and P.C. nonsense.

Well, here is some good news. I've been working on a Renaissance Art lesson plan for high-risk students in an urban district and I gave my employer an option: Students can base their project around Renaissance Values (humanism, for example) or they can base it around artists.

Obviously, it is a lot easier to research an artist and identify paintings by that artist than to research a "value" and identify paintings that reflect that value.

Well, my employer chose the values. In my opinion, this is cause for celebration because:

(A) it is the more challenging lesson plan.


(B) it emphasizes core Renaissance values that form part of the foundations of Western Civilization.

See? I don't just complain!

Monday, August 29, 2005

Good News in Afghanistan: Afghan Army Leads Demining Operation

Afghan Army Leads Demining Operation

The Afghan National Army recently put their training to use as they successfully conducted the first ANA-led demining operation in Afghanistan. The mission highlighted not only the expanding military capabilities of the ANA, but the government's commitment to achieve a mine-free Afghanistan for future generations.

The French Army helped with this one... proving that, once again, the West is actually trying to help Muslims and, shockingly, that the French aren't totally useless.

So, let's review... The "infidels" bring you democracy, human rights, health care, and demining. The terrorists bring you death, destruction, kidnapping, and oppression.

And this is a difficult choice?

Friday, August 26, 2005

Good News: Commander Says North-Central Iraq Ready for Elections

Not much to comment on... just more positive news that you probably won't see in the MSM.

I suppose it is not technically "news" since nothing actually happened, but it is a welcome perspective to counteract the impression in the media that" everything is doomed and it is all going to fall apart and everyone thinks so."

Election Preparations Not Disrupted in North-Central Iraq

WASHINGTON, Aug. 26, 2005 – Despite continued efforts, insurgents have been unable impact preparations for elections in the north-central region of Iraq, and that region has a strong plan in place for security during elections scheduled in Iraq in October and December, the commander of U.S. operations in the area said today.

Iraqi leaders in the area are confident about the elections, mainly because they remember the success they had in the Jan. 30 elections, Taluto said. Confidence is also derived from the better equipped and trained Iraqi security forces, a stronger independent electoral commission, and the growing sense of support for the elections among Iraqi citizens, he added.

As the elections draw nearer, insurgent attacks most likely will increase, Taluto said, but U.S. and Iraqi forces are capable of responding and keeping the area secure.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Anti-War Protestors' Disgusting Display at Army Hospital

Anti-War Protests Target Wounded at Army Hospital

Washington ( - The Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C., the current home of hundreds of wounded veterans from the war in Iraq, has been the target of weekly anti-war demonstrations since March. The protesters hold signs that read "Maimed for Lies" and "Enlist here and die for Halliburton."

...Among the props used by the protesters are mock caskets, lined up on the sidewalk to represent the death toll in Iraq

Wow. How offensive can you get? Harassing wounded heroes.

...Kevin Pannell, who was recently treated at Walter Reed and had both legs amputated after an ambush grenade attack near Baghdad in 2004, considers the presence of the anti-war protesters in front of the hospital "distasteful."

...We went by there one day and I drove by and [the anti-war protesters] had a bunch of flag-draped coffins laid out on the sidewalk. That, I thought, was probably the most distasteful thing I had ever seen. Ever," Pannell, a member of the Army's First Cavalry Division, told Cybercast News Service.

The anti-war protesters claim their presence at the hospital is necessary to publicize the arrivals of newly wounded soldiers from Iraq, who the protesters allege are being smuggled in at night by the Pentagon to avoid media scrutiny. The protesters also argue that the military hospital is the most appropriate place for the demonstrations and that the vigils are designed to ultimately help the wounded veterans.

"If I went to war and lost a leg and then found out from my hospital bed that I had been lied to, that the weapons I was sent to search for never existed, that the person who sent me to war had no plan but to exploit me, exploit the country I was sent to, I would be pretty angry," Luke told Cybercast News Service.

"I would want people to do something about it and if I couldn't get out of my bed and protest myself, I would want someone else to do it in my name," he added.

How paternalistic... "These ignorant soldiers don't know their own minds so we're here to tell them."

Idiot. It doesn't matter how YOU feel. You never would have volunteered to defend your country anyway. You are too busy criticizing this country using the freedom that these brave men and others have protected for you.

It matters how these veterans feel. The fact that you can't see this means you lack even the one redeeming feature liberal moonbats allegedly have--empathy.

...Luke and the other anti-war protesters dismissed the message of the counter demonstrators. "We know most of the George Bush supporters have never spent a day in uniform, have never been closer to a battlefield than seeing it through the television screen," Luke said.

Ummm... and you (or most war protestors) have?

Okey, dokey... Lies, damn lies, and statistics...

Of course MOST Bush supporters aren't veterans. Only 13 percent of the U.S. population 18 and over are veterans. Even if 100% of the U.S. populations supported Bush, MOST of his supporters would not be veterans.

However, MOST veterans do support Bush. Since this dork is throwing around words like "most," check out these numbers.

Good News in Iraq: Iraqi, U.S. Soldiers Keeping Sadr Streets Safe

Iraqi, U.S. Soldiers Keeping Sadr Streets Safe

Travelling through the streets and alleys of Sadr City, U.S. troops search for signs of terrorist groups, and get acquainted with the neighborhoods.

SADR CITY, Iraq, Aug. 24, 2005 – U.S. and Iraqi Army soldiers now patrol Sadr City, and the result is safer streets in what was once a hotly-contested area.

"The people we talk to in the neighborhood have been pretty helpful and want things to get better in Sadr," said U.S. Army Sgt. Lee Minyard. "They're starting to realize we're here to help them."

"We tell people that it's up to them to make a difference in their communities," said U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Christopher Brisley, a section leader. "They're so used to relying on one leader to make all the decisions, but they’re gradually taking the initiative."

Along Sadr's dusty streets, Brisley remarked that the streets had rivers of sewage running through them six months ago.

"People see the improvements, and it makes them happier to see us (now) than they were when we (first) arrived in Iraq," said Brisley.

It takes time to build something worthwhile...but democracy and security in Iraq is not an impossible dream.

Now, more than ever, we have to show our commitment to this goal.

If we let democracy collapse, we will just be back in another ten years. We need to work with the Iraqi people to do it now and do it right.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Gary Qualls Challenges Cindy Sheehan to a Debate

I just saw a commercial featuring Gary Qualls. The father of a fallen marine would like to challenge Cindy Sheehan to a debate.

This is allegedly the letter he wrote to Cindy Sheehan. (I don't doubt it, I just don't know if it is verified.)

Here is an article on the topic:

Bush supporters create opposing camp
'Fort Qualls' built in Crawford to counter protesters' 'Camp Casey'

CRAWFORD, Texas (AP) -- A pro-Bush camp with a "God Bless Our President!" banner sprung up downtown Saturday, countering the anti-war demonstration started by a fallen soldier's mother two weeks ago near President Bush's ranch.


Qualls' frustration with the anti-war demonstrators erupted last week when he removed a cross bearing his son's name...

Qualls called the protesters' views disrespectful to soldiers, and said he had to yank out two more crosses after protesters kept replacing them.

He and others at "Fort Qualls" have asked for a debate with those at the Crawford Peace House, which is helping Sheehan.

It's unclear if that will happen. But a member of Gold Star Families for Peace, co-founded by Sheehan and made up of relatives of fallen soldiers, said her group would not participate.

"We're asking for a meeting with the president, period," said Michelle DeFord, whose 37-year-old son, Sgt. David W. Johnson, was in the Army National Guard from Oregon when he was killed in Iraq last fall. "We don't want to debate with people who don't understand our point of view."

First, it is awful that they are using the names of dead soldiers without even their implied consent. Unless a soldier has said otherwise, I would assume that he chose to be in the military knowing about the war and, even if he doesn't support the war, doesn't consider terrorists to be freedom fighters.

Second, it is even worse when the family of that fallen hero has asked them to stop and they won't.

As for the debate, DeFord's comments seem to make clear that they are not trying to have a "dialogue" or "ask questions," as the group asserted when Utah refused to air their anti-war commercial.

This is just a manipulative publicity stunt.

Mothers who hate Bush and have fallen sons must be heard but fathers who have fallen sons who support the word are not relevant.

Part of me wishes Bush would just meet with her to end their ridiculous charade.

Then I realize, though, that she would just claim he has to meet with her every time she changes her mind again or every parent who, mad with grief or with a political agenda, wants to demand multiple meetings.

The President's schedule should not be held hostage to this sort of thing.

I am sorry for Cindy Sheehan's tragic loss... but she is exploiting the ghost of a hero. I hope that one day she does not hate herself for what she has done in the grip of the terrible grief she must be feeling.

Britain is *gasp* defending itself...

Britain Spells Out Rules for Barring Militants

LONDON, Aug. 24 - Home Secretary Charles Clarke published a catalogue of terrorism-related offenses today setting the ground rules for Britain to ban or deport foreign militants accused of fomenting hatred, violence and extremism.

Makes sense, right? You take someone who is a guest in your country and yet urges destruction of your country and your people and you send him home. That would be logical, right? Right?

Some civil rights groups challenged the measures.

Gee, what a surprise!

"Today's announcement fails to answer the fundamental question: Will the government's deportation plans result in suspects being sent to countries with a known record of torture?" said James Welch, the legal director of a civil rights group called Liberty. "What has always separated us from the terrorists is that we do not torture people or send them to be tortured - that is the standard we need to maintain."

Oh, no! Britain is sending people who hate freedom and civil liberties and human rights, and urge the violent restriction of freedoms and violation of rights for others, back to their home country where there are no freedoms, civil liberties, or human rights. The horror. The horror.

It is not like Britain is intentionally outsourcing them to be tortured in a random country where they know that will happen. Britain is sending these ingrates home.

Why? Because Britain has the gall to think it has the right to protect itself and its people against those who vow to bring destruction.

If immigrants want to stay in the West, they should play by the rules. Don't bite the hand that feeds ya.

Good News... Iraq and Afghanistan

Military Doctor Gives Afghan Girl Gift of Life

U.S. Troops Teach Iraqi Soldiers Medical Skills: The course has now shifted to the "train the trainers" phase--instructing qualified Iraqi soldiers to teach their own forces.

Yeah, we must be there because we hate Muslims. That's it.

Spread the good news. Be part of the solution.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Disappointed in Jon Stewart - Cindy Sheehan

So, I was very disappointed with Jon Stewart's monologue about Cindy Sheehan last night. I know that he leans left (if by leaning, one means already knocked over) but he is usually an equal opportunity mocker.

What I really object to is his statement that Bush refuses to meet with Cindy. Although he is clearly refering to her recent emcampment outside Bush's ranch, this is disingenuous given that Bush has met with Sheehan.

I like Stewart so much that I'm sure I'll get over it... but I'm still fuming this evening.

I wonder if Stewart is bold enough to look at the issues from another side.

As far as Sheehan, my opinion remains the same.

Friday, August 12, 2005

Tip Leads to IEDs; Stolen Child Rescued

Tip Leads to IEDs; Stolen Child Rescued

WASHINGTON, Aug. 12, 2005 — Iraqi citizens tipped off U.S. soldiers patrolling the northwest part of Baghdad about the whereabouts of two roadside bombs Aug. 10. On Aug. 9, Iraqi police and U.S. soldiers teamed up to capture two kidnappers and return a 2-year-old child to his parents in the Bayaa district of south Baghdad.

Hmmm... to whom do you give your support? The people who kidnapped your child or the people who found your child and returned him safely to you?

Come on Iraqi people, the clock is running out. Make your choice.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Pirro, Again

Okay, I'm going to be cynical for a second... even IF Pirro really has no chance (which I am not willing to admit as of yet), she can do the best job of weakening Clinton before the Presidential election.

Remember when Lazio tried to get aggressive with Clinton?

Never send a man to do a woman's job.

This post got my attention because I was quoted in it and some people are visiting as a result.

Pirro's Political Prowess

Pirro knows what has to be done to get elected and stay elected: the little things, all the time. She is clearly a skilled politician, and we (ok, "I") shouldn't dismiss what that can accomplish in and of itself.

Much can be said for political skill over substance. Pirro is pretty much identical to Hillary on the issues...

My thoughts are:

Maybe Pirro shows up to these events, at least in part, because she actually gives a gosh darn about a county for which she has worked so hard? Maybe she actually cares about the futures of New Yorkers?

Obviously she is a politician and thinks about the benefits and consequences of each action. Obviously spending time with kids might have some small unforeseen benefit a long way down the road.

However, considering this happened in 1999 and she spent a full hour treating pre-teens as equals, seems a pretty high price to pay on the off chance someone might remember it and maintain goodwill towards her when she goes for a more ambitious office seven years later.

Another thought--maybe HILLARY RESEMBLES PIRRO because she knows that is the way to get elected in New York. She moved to the right on the correct issues and stayed to the left on the others.

...but she didn't move far enough. Pirro is more fiscally conservative and even liberal moonbat Manhattanites want someone who will keep them safe from things that go bump in the night. Pirro is tough on crime. Hillary IS something that goes bump in the night. Okay, that was a cheap shot, but I couldn't resist!!!

Maybe a lot of the New Yorkers who voted for Hillary because Lazio was an unknown or liked her positions despite a distaste for her might consider voting for Pirro if she does a good job campaigning.

Again, I'm no NY operative but just a possibility or two.