Each writer has free reign over postings. One writer's views are not necessarily the views of all writers.
30 July 2009
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29 July 2009
Lubna Hussein was among 13 women arrested July 3 in a raid by members of the public order police force on a popular Khartoum cafe for wearing trousers, considered indecent by the strict interpretation of Islamic law adopted by Sudan's Islamic regime. All but three of the women were flogged at a police station two days later.
26 July 2009
Donors raised $115 for IAVA! I would like to thank the following people for their contributions:
Mom and Dad
Your donations mean a lot to me! You will receive an e-mail soon reminding you to donate directly to the website. Thank you again.
Also, now that I've been awake for the past twenty-seven consecutive hours and I have a family reunion and work later today, I am going to go to bed for a few hours.
Currently eating: peanut butter & fluff sandwich
The usage of helicopters caused the average infantryman to see 240 days of combat of 365.
The average age of the infantryman in Vietnam was 22.8 years.
Vietnam War Myths
American officials have expressed concerns that the drug cartel battles plaguing Mexico could spill into the United States with the targeting of U.S. law enforcement officials. [The head of the FBI's San Diego bureau] said investigators aren't ruling out the possibility that Rosas was slain by drug smugglers or even human smugglers.
Whenever I become frustrated with the direction my life is or is not taking, I think of this verse. It reminds me that no matter how many different career paths I wish to pursue, I cannot change God's plans. He has a purpose for me which surpasses any other that I could have devised.
The healthcare system will remain privatized. Nothing is free, not even supposedly free healthcare. Physicians should be able to negotiate with HMOs.
I have grown up defining marriage as a union between one man and one woman. Although I have many heterosexual friends, I believe in marriage as God intended it.
The United States needs to be more self-sufficient. It may be cheaper to mass produce via outsourcing, but returning companies to the states would generate jobs and stimulate the economy. The US should limit imports while maximizing exports.
Supporting America's military in their time of need, we provide "a home away from home" that enables family members to be close to a loved one at the most stressful time -- during hospitalization for an illness, disease or injury.
The possibility of awarding a security contract comes as the Obama administration is sending thousands of more troops into Afghanistan to quell rising violence fueled by a resurgent Taliban. As the number of American forces grow over the next several months, so too does the demand to guard their outposts.
Defense Secretary Robert Gates has said he wants to cut back on the use of contractors that now provide a wide range services to American troops in war zones, including transportation, communications, food service, construction, and maintenance. As recently as February, however, Gates called the use of private security contractors in certain parts of Afghanistan "vital" to supporting U.S. bases. A contract for the work also creates job opportunities for Afghans, he said.
Wars create jobs!
25 July 2009
On December 12, the Panay was sunk and strafed by Japanese aviators.
To promote safety for the residents (of which there had been over 590,000 at the start of the invasion), the International Committee for the Nanjing Safety Zone was created by a group of physicians, missionaries, executives and professors who had not boarded the Panay. The Zone leaders included Nazi John Rabe, surgeon Robert Wilson (the only surgeon in Nanjing), and Professor Wilhelmina "Minnie" Vautrin.
Over the course of the next several weeks, Chinese were killed by live or partial burials, mutiliation, death by fire or ice, partial burial and dog attacks, water treatments, dislocation of joints, extraction of fingernails, electric shock, flogging, cannibalism, and being forced to kneel on sharp instruments.
Women of all ages, from eight to eighty years of age, were raped -- some were raped more than twenty times daily, and often before their families.
The Japanese also conducted scientific experiments via Unit Ei 1644. Prisoners were injected or fed lethal gases, poisons and germs such as acetone, arsenate, cyanide, nitrate prussiate, cobra venom, habu venom and amagasa venom. They were also infected with the bubonic plague and carved open without anesthesia. More than ten people died daily and were incinerated. Unit Ei 1644 was also responsible for spreading germ-carrying fleas, and threw flasks of microbes -- including cholera, dysentery, typhoid and anthrax -- into houses, wells, rivers and reservoirs.
Journalists in Nanjing published stories of the atrocities committed in Nanjing, including the New York Times and Chicago Daily News. Newsreel men for Universal and Fox Movietone filmed the sinking of the Panay. As a result, foreigners were forbidden to enter the city. Committee members were also active in spreading the word. Administrative director George Fitch sent his diary to Shanghai, where it was then forwarded to Time, Reader's Digest and Far Eastern magazine and John Rabe sent a letter to Hitler.
In August of 1945, Japan surrendered. One hundred and twenty air raids and arson had contributed to the burning of one-third of the city and the destruction of three-fourths of the stores. Although the number is disputed, the end of the rape saw approximately 260,000 victims. Statistics range from 38,000-300,000, but some Japanese place the figure at 6,000.
English: My last name is Lee. I am from Korea, but I am American. My family has four people, my father, my mother, my younger sister and me. I like to study Chinese and eat Chinese food. On the weekend I like to read books.
LL: Why did you enlist in the Air Force?
A1C: To serve my country.
LL: Why did you choose the Air Force?
A1C: I felt it would help me accomplish all of my future goals.
LL: How long have you currently served in the Air Force?
A1C: Two plus [years].
LL: How long do you plan on serving in the Air Force?
A1C: Twenty plus [years].
LL: What is your MOS and what does it entail?
A1C: Security Forces, a combination of military police and combat infantry.
LL: What do you like most about the Air Force?
A1C: Not coming home to see my girlfriend that often . . . haha.
LL: What was BMT like?
A1C: Briefer than other branches', though it focuses more on human relations.
LL: What is your work schedule like?
A1C: It changes all the time -- currently four days on, four days off, twelve hour shifts.
I'll add more if I think of more questions.
Photographers send albums to your loved ones overseas.
Adopt a soldier.
Operation Troop Aid
Provide care packages through the revenue generated from concerts.
Send mail to military personnel.
Homes for Troops
Providing homes for disabled troops.
The men and women assigned to the Comfort are providing medical and dental care both on board and on shore. They are also providing engineering assistance at various sites in the host nations by doing everything from repairing school playgrounds, to renovating medical clinics.
They are also trekking through the jungle on foot to help a native Panamanian tribe to build a dam to allow them to gather clean drinking water."
Thank you to Alex and props to his girlfriend, Steph.
The Army race car is from SFC Bills, which he gave me the day I job shadowed him the summer before my Junior year of high school. He also gave me the Army mouse pad. The print-out below the car is a screenshot of the Glenn Beck episode my dad and I attended. The Mary and Joseph statue was a Christmas gift from my parents -- I love it. The three papers in front of the stack of books are Afghani propaganda. I also love my autographed Glenn Beck Show ticket, and there are random bobby pins all over my room. The die-cast HUMMVW was a yard-sale purchase eons ago, but I still love it. And the half-visible woodcut is my grandfather's garage. I'm also obsessed with Post-Its.
Members of the military will receive a wage increase, and on-base housing should be improved. Support and care for veterans should also be improved, and regulations for veterans' hospitals should become more stringent. Combat veterans should also be allowed to purchase alcohol (I'm not sure if that's a law my combat vet friends made up or if it's actually true).
Every law-abiding citizen should have the right to possess a gun if he or she desires. Gun safety classes will be required of anyone who registers a firearm.
I believe that abortion is murder, though can be the woman's choice in the event of rape or incest. However, impregnation by rape or incest rarely occurs. Otherwise, I oppose abortion.
Any person who has completed no less than twelve years of military service or who became a naturalized citizen of the United States of America prior to his or her sixth birthday, and who has attained at least thirty-five years of age shall be eligible for the office of President.
Illegal immigrants shall be deported immediately upon discovery of their status. I believe the security of our nation is vital. However, the immigration interview fee shall also be reduced and/or be made partially refundable if citizenship is not granted. ICE shall also be expanded.
A wall with lasers or a DMZ could also prove helpful, as well as a shantytown constructed along the border and inhabited by gun-clinging rednecks. Also, the military could use the southern border as a training ground. Those drug dealers would be pretty tough targets.
I do not believe in global warming -- Earth's climate changes over time. However, I do believe that humans do impact the environment (though perhaps not to the extent that many believe). We must be responsible for ourselves, and eco-friendly options should be made more readily available.
If border patrol loses effectiveness and aliens continue to cross the border, littering and devastating the southern wildlife and ecosystem, then we might as well start drilling in Alaska.
Speaking of old rations, does anyone know how old this MRE is?
If donations reach $250 by the end of the Blogathon at 9AM EST, I will eat this MRE. It's been setting on my desk as more or less an artifact.
This is Sally, my eight-year-old Golden Retriever. I grew tired of watching the television screen (I've watched part of "The Last of the Mohicans," "The Patriot," and "Home of the Brave"), so we spent part of the afternoon outside. Unfortunately, it was rather humid so we decided to return to the central air.
Another sponsor! Sponsors have pledged a total of $115 to IAVA as of this moment.
The best part is that the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky Int'l airport is not the only one involved. Rev. Eames has also received requests from other airports asking how they can start their own Military Rooms.
Photos taken from Anderson’s U-2, as well as other spy planes, later proved that nuclear missiles were present in Cuba.
Law enforcement agencies were pursuing "a number of leads" in the United States and in Mexico but no one had been arrested or charged with killing Agent Robert Rosas, the FBI said late Friday.
This is why we need a wall. That's all I have to say.
I will always support our troops. Supporting our troops also means supporting their cause, in my opinion.
I believe that this war was declared under completely legitimate circumstances. Based on what my deployed friends tell me, the American military is doing great things for the Iraqi and Afghan peoples. I support what they do, the sacrifices they make.
Many of the men in my family have served in the armed forces. My paternal grandfather was at Pearl Harbor. My maternal grandfather is a Korean War veteran. My dad and uncle both served during the Vietnam War. Burning flags and thanking God for IEDs simply doesn't register in my brain.
Having close friends in a war zone truly changes one's perspective on things. Regardless, I am very proud of all of our men and women serving in the armed forces.
Although I don't talk to him very often (perhaps once every week or two), I now find that the most difficult part is finding things to talk about. I have a million and one questions (which, I suppose, is a good thing since I want to be a war correspondent), but I refrain from asking any of them, partially because I don't think he can answer them anyway, and mostly because I don't want to be callous or too inquisitive. I've learned not to worry too much and not to dwell too much on "what ifs."
I also keep the Kabul time zone clock on my cell phone, so that I can compare times on occasion. It makes the world seem a bit smaller.
As You Were was incredibly helpful in enabling me to better understand what our troops go through in a war zone. As You Were follows several soldiers as they are deployed to the Middle East. I found Miranda Summers' story particularly interesting, as she was a student at a fairly close college. I cried quite a bit while reading it, but the information I gleaned from reading it is invaluable.
Banastre Tarleton was born in Liverpool on August 21, 1754 to a wealthy family. His father died when Tarleton was nineteen, leaving him with an inheritance that he quickly squandered. Penniless (actually, he was in debt), he convinced his mother to purchase him a rank in the cavalry. In 1776, he volunteered to ship out to the Colonies, where he was stationed in New York. Along with New York and Pennsylvania Loyalists, he worked in the Green Dragoons -- their coats were mostly green, not red, as is depicted in "The Patriot" -- and became known as "Bloody Ban" or "The Butcher" following the Waxhaw Massacre.
His ruthless effectiveness earned him a promotion to Major under Gen. Lord Cornwallis, and he was transferred to Col. William Harcourt. On Dec. 13, 1776 Tarleton captured Colonial Gen. Charles Lee, and in 1780 he moved south and captured Charles Towne, SC. On May 29 of the same year, Tarleton butchered 113 of 350 Virginia Continentals at the Battle of Waxhaw. Although 203 were captured, only 53 were able to travel with them -- the rest were left behind. Reports conflict as to whether Tarleton's men began the massacre under his orders or because his horse was shot and pinned him to the ground, leading his men avenge him because they thought he'd been shot under truce. Thereafter, the Patriots were known to refer to "no quarter" as "Tarleton's Quarter."
As is portrayed in "The Patriot," Tarleton did hunt for Francis Marion (Mel Gibon's character Benjamin Martin), and gave Marion the nickname "Swamp Fox."
Following the defeat of the British at Cowpens and then Yorktown, Tarleton returned to England (he wasn't bayoneted through the throat by a vengeful Francis Marion) and held political office in Parliament.
In 1766, the British imposed the Townshend Act, which taxed a great deal of British imports. The Colonists, however, were not represented in England, hence "no taxation without representation." In 1773, frustrated Colonists dressed up as Mohawks and dumped boxes upon boxes of tea (342 chests) into the Boston Harbor. It was repeated in spirit across the country earlier this year.
After a while, Grammy and Papa took me to their house for the rest of the day, and when Mom picked me up after work later that day, I remember crying most of the way home because I was afraid that terrorists would attack us. The fact that I live in an area so rural the likelihood of a plane actually hitting something other than farmland is one billion to one didn't register in my young mind.
I wish I had been older at the time, so that I would have better understood what was happening. I did understand the patriotism and unity that everyone showed, though.
Fort William Henry was featured in the film "The Last of the Mohicans."
Ohio History Central
Travel and History
Ohio History Central
After a bit of conversation and chai at the coffee shop this morning, I picked up B and, following a miscommunication that led to an incredibly stressed return sojourn home, immediately stole the living room television and popped "The Last of the Mohicans" into the DVD player (once D gets here, the guys will most likely take over the television with video games of some sort). I had originally planned to watch a movie pertaining to every major American war (hence "The Last of the Mohicans"), but unfortunately it seems that my plans will be undone. But, I couldn't find a War of 1812 or Korean War movie, anyway.
Time permitting, I hope to post blogs pertaining to military history, interspersed with current news or writing prompts. The blog will have a bit of a different atmosphere for the next twenty-four hours, but I hope you will still find it enjoyable.
It is now 9:00 and I have chai. Although I don't think it's caffeinated. At least it has sugar.
The first battle, though not actually part of the War of 1812, occurred on November 7, 1811 between General Harrison's forces and Tecumseh's forces. It ended with Tecumseh's defeat. The final battle occurred on January 8 in New Orleans.
The "Star Spangled Banner" was also inspired by events during the War of 1812, Napoleon was defeated, and Washington was burned.
The War of 1812
Future Blog Posts: 18
Since I'm strapped down to my laptop, D and Sarah are currently in the kitchen making pizza. Despite the fact that I made a ginormous pot of fried rice earlier this evening, we're all starving.
Dad: Well . . . I'm going to bed -- unlike you!
Me: Thanks, Dad.
Dad: You have my heartfelt support.
24 July 2009
"I'm always worried about using the word 'victory,' because, you know, it invokes this notion of Emperor Hirohito coming down and signing a surrender to MacArthur," Obama told ABC News.
The enemy facing U.S. and Afghan forces isn't so clearly defined, he explained.
"We're not dealing with nation states at this point. We're concerned with Al Qaeda and the Taliban, Al Qaeda's allies," he said. "So when you have a non-state actor, a shadowy operation like Al Qaeda, our goal is to make sure they can't attack the United States."
First of all, I highly suggest reading the article in its entirety. Second of all. . . .
If they're not being sent to win, then don't send them in. When is victory not the goal? Aside from when it pertains to Afghanistan, of course. Why should we be worried about using the word "victory?" "Victory" is simply a word, some organized characters, until they're given meaning. Until we emerge from this war victorious. Regardless of what our government decides, I believe that our troops will emerge victorious. The politicians may lose this war, but our military will not.
23 July 2009
Some translators are in their 60s and 70s and in poor physical condition — and some don’t even speak the right language. . . .
Troops say low-skilled and disgruntled translators are putting U.S. forces at risk.
“Intelligence can save Marines’ lives and give us the advantage on the battlefield,” said Cpl. William Woodall, 26, of Dallas, who works closely with translators. “Instead of looking for quality, the companies are just pushing bodies out here, and once they’re out the door, it’s not their problem anymore." . . .
The company that recruits most U.S. citizen translators, Columbus, Ohio-based Mission Essential Personnel, says it’s difficult to meet the increased demand for linguists to aid the 15,000 U.S. forces being sent to southern, Pashto-speaking provinces this year as part of President Barack Obama’s increased focus on Afghanistan. Only 7,700 Pashto speakers live in the U.S., according to the 2000 census.
Mission Essential’s senior vice president, Marc Peltier, told The Associated Press that the linguists the company deploys to Afghanistan, Iraq and other countries meet government standards. The military sets no age or weight requirements, he said. . . .
How translators come to believe they won’t face danger could originate with recruiters.
“They’re going to tell you whatever it is to get you hired,” Spangler said.
Khalid Nazary, an Afghan-American citizen living in Kabul, called Mission Essential about a job and let an AP reporter listen.
He asked if he would go to “dangerous places.”
“Oh, no, no, no. You’re not a soldier. You’re not a soldier. Not at all,” the recruiter, Tekelia Barnett, said. “You’re not on the battlefield." . . .
“They say you’ll get a shower once a day, have access to Internet and TV, call home six times a week,” Woodall said. “And when the guys get out, they’re completely shell-shocked. They’ve been lied to." . . .
The translators said dozens of linguists quit soon after arriving in Afghanistan in recent weeks. Spangler declined to provide numbers but said “quite a bit” resigned or were fired because they were too old, unfit or couldn’t speak Pashto. . . .
But Gamez said soldiers need translators now, and that some feign sickness to avoid work.
This is insane. Someone teach me Pashto and ship me over there. I'm nineteen years old, so there's no worry about me keeling over from a heart attack (though heat exhaustion might be a problem). I might not be able to keep up with Marines, but I'm stubborn enough to keep trying. And for $210,000 a year and the opportunity to serve my country, you wouldn't have to worry about me quitting (just surviving). I also won't require Internet service (just give me a journal) or phone calls home six times a week -- which seems a bit excessive in a war zone. But as for showers . . . well. I suppose we all have to make sacrifices.
Unemployment, regardless of the means by which it is dealt, still results in the loss of a job, a steady and most likely necessary income. "Distorted."
In preparation for the Blogathon (for which $40 in donations has been pledged to IAVA!), I've been attempting to do some research on military history. So far, I've found some interesting information on the 4080 Strategic Reconnaissance Wing, as well as the U-2, and I've been looking for information on Operation Grasshopper and Operation Quarterback (Vietnam War). I am very much looking forward to twenty-four hours of blogging, and have even recruited a friend to spend most (if not all) of the Blogathon with me.
21 July 2009
The president also said on NBC's "Today" show that he is pushing hard for legislation before Congress's August recess because "if you don't set a deadline in this town, nothing happens. The default in Washington is inaction and inertia."
However, the administration has already proven that even deadlines don't ensure that action is taken -- they've already missed the six-month deadline regarding Guantanamo.
20 July 2009
On July 2, two U.S. officials conceded a soldier had "just walked off" his base near the border with Pakistan with three Afghans after his shift, but wouldn't release details. Four days later, the Taliban claimed "a drunken American soldier had come out of his garrison" and was captured by mujahedeen (FNC).
He said the date was July 14 and that he was captured when he lagged behind on a patrol. It's clear the video was made no earlier than July 14 because Bergdahl repeated an exaggerated Taliban claim about a Ukrainian helicopter that was shot down that day (AP).
So, there are three different accounts of how Bergdahl was captured. The first, that he simply "walked off . . . with three Afghans," would suggest that he was deserting. Who were the Afghans? The second would explain why he was captured, as I doubt a drunk would be much of an opponent, especially were he to forget his weapon. How did he obtain alcohol in a war zone? Why was he careless enough to imbibe in a war zone? The third, a claim made by Bergdahl, states that he "lagged behind on a patrol." That statement doesn't say much for the US Army, if soldiers are letting their comrades lag behind in a war zone and be captured (which I highly doubt they are). However, as I have no combat experience, I have no idea how patrols function, or how one would obtain alcohol, or what Bergdahl was thinking if he strode off the base with the Afghans. Perhaps he was going for a late-night walk.
Political pundit Stephen Colbert could be named, if his petition on IAVA receives 25,000 signatures (there are currently almost 15,000), an Honorary War Vet.
Quite frankly, regardless of how entertaining the man is, he's still an entertainer. He hasn't earned a uniform or taken an oath, and he's not a warrior. To bequeath upon him such a title is to mock the true warriors who fight and bleed and die for us. Colbert is already famous and well-recognized. Despite his tour to Iraq to entertain the troops, I still feel that he isn't worthy of the title.
16 July 2009
Both issues reflect demands on increasingly stressed American forces tasked with fighting two wars.
Defense Secretary Robert Gates' comments came during a short visit to Fort Drum in upstate New York -- an Army post that that he said has deployed more soldiers to battle zones over the last 20 years than any other unit. Two Fort Drum brigades are headed to Iraq later this year, and a third is currently in Afghanistan.
Asked about Afghanistan by one soldier, Gates said: "I think there will not be a significant increase in troop levels in Afghanistan beyond the 68,000, at least probably through the end of the year. Maybe some increase, but not a lot."
So far, the Obama administration has approved sending 68,000 troops to Afghanistan by the end of 2009, including 21,000 that were added this spring.
I would first like to ask how Sec'y Gates intends to increase the Army's size. Though I've not spoken with any recruiters lately or researched any numbers, I'm sure that the Army's size will increase as long as volunteers are willing. Maybe they'll send roving recruitment vans to kidnap young men off of the streets. Secondly, I would like everyone to note the fact that "the Obama administration has approved sending 68,000 troops to Afghanistan by the end of 2009, including 21,000 that were added this spring" (FNC). That's 99,000 troops. Ninety-nine thousand men and women. The end to the
War on Terror Overseas Contingency Plan definitely seems to be in sight.
Republican members of the committee had sought the testimony of Harry C. Alford, an opponent of a climate change bill that narrowly passed in the House.
Alford said in his opening statement that he spoke on behalf of his organization when he argued that the bill would have devastating consequences for small and minority-owned businesses.
But he took offense when Boxer countered his statement by quoting an NAACP resolution that approved the climate change bill and putting it on the record.
Alford believed the statements to be racially condescending, saying that, "'I'm the National Black Chamber of Commerce and you're trying to put up some other black group to pit against me'" (FNC). In response, Boxer protested that, "'There is definitely differing opinions in the black community, just as there are in my community' . . . adding that she was trying to show the diversity of support behind the climate change bill" (FNC).
While the statements may have been relevant, I'm certain that other relevant statements exist that have been made by other racial communities. In my opinion, Alford played into Boxer's use of the race card with her, "differing opinions in the black community, just as there are in my community" statement. If she's not being racially condescending, then she shouldn't have created the line between the two racial communities, in my opinion. On the other hand, no group, regardless of racial, political, or religious affiliation (or any other affiliation, for that matter), always agrees. It should only stand to reason that the NBCC and the NAACP would be at odds from time to time, and the mention of their difference in perspective should only be noted as such -- not as a condescension. I would also like to note that, regardless of how offensive any statement may be, we do live in a country in which its citizens are granted the right to freedom of speech.
15 July 2009
14 July 2009
Also, the convicted students were no mere delinquents. "Ahmed Omar Abu Ali, the school's valedictorian in 1999, was convicted in November 2005 of joining Al Qaeda and plotting to assassinate President Bush" (FNC).
I do not profess to be an expert of Islam or Islamic law (or even vaguely close), but after having studied it last semester, I do agree that sharia law is unconstitutional. Islamic men have rights. Women do not. Non-Muslims do not. And, although Islam recognizes both Jews and Christians as "People of the Book" and thereby protected under dhimmi status, Muslims are also encouraged to kill non-Muslims -- conversion is not considered as a possibility.
While I would like to consider myself a tolerant and accepting person, I also believe that our Founding Fathers would roll in their graves had they known that the nation they envisioned would one day cater to sharia law. My prayers are with VAST, the ten other groups speaking out against the expansion, and the 46 who spoke at the hearing.
Also, while driving home from coffee with the gentlemen this morning, I was driving up a hill about a quarter mile from my home when a man began to pull out of his driveway (the incline was gentle enough that he could see me). Both of his tires were on the road before he finally decided to back into his driveway (I still hadn't crested the hill, and therefore couldn't tell if there was any oncoming traffic). As I passed him, he flipped me the spirit finger.
The moral of the story is that the vast majority of bad/obnoxious drivers that I have encountered over my three years of driving have been men. There was absolutely no reason for him to be so rude to me when I clearly had the right of way. And he wasn't a teenager, either. Also, when I was in a car accident last summer (and by "in," I mean that it wasn't my fault), it was because a nineteen-year-old boy decided it would be smart to cross into my lane to get to a gas station. The lesson learned there would be that even if a car is slowing down to make a turn, it's not smart to cross in front of it. Especially if it's a Jeep.
11 July 2009
Also, Poe of Nevermore is the other blogger supporting IAVA. I have never met her, but she must be fantastically awesome if she's supporting IAVA.
"Explain that to me, because I was in the military." -D.J. (Army veteran) to J.C. (Air Force veteran)
"The way I understood it, the ground pounders went to the Army and the smart guys joined the Air Force." -J.C.
Although I personally do not condone tobacco use, I find it a low blow to add more stress on our deployed military by implementing a smoking ban. Then again, smoking kills.
10 July 2009
Flying the flag upside-down typically represents distress. And, because it is the American flag, I have always understood it to mean that one believes that the nation is in distress . . . not "bankruptcy because the village board refused to grant [Congine Jr.] a liquor license after he spent nearly $200,000 to buy and remodel a downtown building for an Italian supper club" (FNC). Also, I find it unprofessional and completely out of place -- though not illegal -- for Mr. Congine, Jr. to disrespect the flag in a public venue; in my opinion, it would have been different had he decided to fly it on his own private property. However, I can't imagine that it would be good for potential business, especially since the county sheriff's reason for having the flag temporarily removed was because "people were upset and . . . 'It is illegal to cause a disruption'" (FNC). A disruption? People were upset. People tend to upset easily.
09 July 2009
I would like to ask for your help regarding something important -- Blogathon 2009. Blogathon 2009 is a world-wide fundraising event in which participants blog every thirty minutes for twenty-four hours or for as long as possible. In return for the surge of blog posts and lack of sleep, bloggers accept donations toward charities of their choosing. Donations can be collected as a flat sum or per hour directly through the website of the selected charity, ensuring that neither the blogger nor Blogathon profits from donations.
This will be my first year participating. Blogathon 2009 begins at 10:00 AM ET Saturday, July 25th and ends at 10:00 AM ET Sunday, July 26th. I have decided to raise money for Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA), a non-profit organization dedicated to our troops and veterans who are fighting or have fought in Iraq or Afghanistan.
IAVA was founded in 2004 by Iraq and Afghanistan veterans and strives to promote awareness regarding returning veterans and issues that they face. I do not pretend to understand what our troops face each day both on the battlefield and after their homecomings, but I do realize that our nation is not offering them the support that they need and deserve -- support that IAVA can provide.
I realize that money is tight with the economy as it is, but I feel that a small donation is precious little to ask in return for the freedoms that our military personnel fight for and defend, for the sacrifices that they make on a daily basis. However, if you really don't have the extra cash (which is completely understandable), I would also appreciate support in the form of comments and views on July 25th! If you would like to sponsor me and donate to IAVA, please click HERE!
Blogathon 2009 will begin at 9:00 AM EST, not 10:00 AM EST.
07 July 2009
Where are our priorities? Since when have the men and women dying for our country been so far less important than the death of a man ridiculed for his appearance and shunned for allegations in life, only to be mourned passionately in death?
05 July 2009
Major props to John Schupp and the Supportive Education for the Returning Veteran (SERV) Program.
Taliban militants were nowhere in sight as the columns of U.S. Marines walked a third straight day across southern Afghanistan. But the desert heat proved an enemy in its own right, with several troops falling victim Saturday to temperatures topping 100 degrees Fahrenheit.
The Marines carry 50-100 pounds on their backs. But because they are marching through farmland on foot, they can't carry nearly as much water as their thirst demands.
Few even realized the date was July 4, but once word of the holiday spread through the company, several said they knew relatives would be holding lakeside celebrations — a world away from the strenuous task Bravo Company of the 1st Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment was taking on.
04 July 2009
03 July 2009
Ike air wing CMC found dead in stateroom
Staff and wire reports
The command master chief for Carrier Air Wing 7, now deployed aboard the carrier Dwight D. Eisenhower, was found dead Saturday in his stateroom, apparently of natural causes, the Navy announced.
Command Master Chief (AW/SW) Jeffrey Garber, 43, was unresponsive when sailors discovered him at 8:15 a.m. local time Saturday; medical teams responded quickly but he was declared dead eight minutes later, the Navy said.
“Master Chief Garber was one of the finest individuals I have ever had the pleasure of knowing,” said Capt. Calvin Craig, commanding officer of CVW 7. “He was the epitome of what a command master chief should be — at every turn selflessly taking care of the men and women of the air wing and the entire Ike strike group team. To say that he will be sorely missed is an understatement. Our heartfelt thoughts and prayers go out to the Garber family.”
Garber, of Hemingford, Neb., enlisted in the Navy in 1983 and his assignments included time aboard the cruiser Worden; the carrier Nimitz; the dock landing ship Portland; and service as the command master chief of Strike Fighter Squadron 34, the “Blue Blasters.”
A Navy announcement included fond remembrances from several of Garber’s shipmates, including Rear Adm. Kurt W. Tidd, the Eisenhower strike group’s commander; and the carrier’s top enlisted man, Command Master Chief Bryan Exum.
“The impact master chief Garber has had on the Navy is immeasurable,” Exum said. “Our last conversation was about the importance of CPO history and heritage, and it ended with a firm handshake and smile. I will never forget our last handshake. He was the embodiment of a great CMC. He will be missed by the men and women of team Ike.”
02 July 2009
The missiles were fired from the eastern coastal city of Wonsan on Thursday afternoon, a ministry official said on condition of anonymity citing department policy. He did not say what types of missiles were launched, but Yonhap news agency said they were ground-to-ship missiles. . . .
"We had expected that they will fire short-range missiles at any time," South Korea's Foreign Minister Yu Myung-hwan told The Associated Press at a reception held at the US ambassador's residence to mark the US Independence Day, which falls this weekend. "It's not a good sign because they are demonstrating their military power."
The Obama administration seized headlines June 18 when the Defense Department stated that the United States would deploy ground- and sea-based missile-defense assets to protect Hawaii. This was a response to North Korea's threat to launch a long-range missile on July 4 toward the islands. However, new information suggests that the administration is bluffing and our defenses are inadequate to get the job done.
Missile-defense expert Taylor Dinerman told us that the sea-based SM-3 missiles now deployed to "protect" Hawaii are not equipped with adequate software and communications to intercept a missile traveling from North Korea to Hawaii, which would reach a terminal velocity of Mach 23 to 25. The SM-3s are effective only against targets traveling at up to half that speed. It would take about $50 million to upgrade the software to enable a Mach 25 intercept. The Army's Terminal High Altitude Area Defense missile, which also has been activated after successful tests at Barking Sands on Kauai, "doesn't come close" to being effective against this type of threat, Mr. Dinerman said. . . .
The Obama administration's hostility to missile defense is inexplicable. The missile threat is growing, and defensive technology is increasingly effective, yet the Obama team has dug in stubbornly behind a losing strategy that emboldens our enemies and places us in greater danger. No wonder Hawaiians are nervous.
I highly suggest reading the above article in its entirety. It's both frightening and angering.
01 July 2009
Soltan became the icon of protesters in Iran following her bloody shooting June 20, which shocked the conscience of world leaders and millions more who watched videos posted online that showed her slowly bleeding to death.
Soltan's family and those with her at the time of her death said that members of the paramilitary Basij militia drove by on a motorcycle and shot her in an alley near a major protest in Tehran.
But, according to Iran's Press TV, police chief Esmaeil Ahmadi-Moqadam declared Wednesday that the shooting was a "prearranged scenario" — a "premeditated act of murder" that could not have been committed by Iranian police.
After another educational enlightenment at the local coffee shop, Dad and I went groundhog hunting for four and a half hours. Despite the fact that I sometimes try desperately to conceal my small town Central Pennsylvania roots, they always come bursting forth again when I mention things like whistle pigs.
Before anyone complains about killing innocent little animals and girls with guns and all that jazz (but, I suspect if you are the sort of person who would do that, you wouldn't be reading this), I would like to inform you that groundhogs are destructive rodents. They not only eat farmers' soybean crops, but they also dig their holes in fields. Cave-ins can cause tractors to tip and farmers to die. Also, it seems that no matter how many groundhogs my dad and Tim kill, they always multiply the following year.
I shot three groundhogs today, though I fired four shots. I wanted to verify that the third groundhog was dead before I approached it, for fear of it still being alive and running into the brush or its hole with a sucking gun wound (after I shot it, it landed on all fours, and typically that doesn't happen). So, I was upset that I had to take two shots for the same groundhog, but overall my shooting today mostly avenged my horrible shooting on Sunday at the rifle range.
My ranges were 97yds, 87yds and ~50yds with a .222.
At any rate, I love going hunting with my dad. We always have heart-to-heart conversations when we're driving or walking, and it improves my shooting skills, and he always makes me feel good about my shots, even if I'm only shooting at a hundred yards.