Saturday, May 31, 2008

Interesting Cartoons

One possible explanation as to why Big Oil doesn't always have its way.

Mixed Marriage

Shoots self in foot.

The Real Reasons Why Scott McClellan Betrayed Bush

There has been much speculation about McClellan's sell-out, but Frank J. of has his number. This is far from being an exhaustive list - one reader offered the following compelling explanation: "Looks like 'ol George gave Scott one too many noogies back in the day."

May 30, 2008
Scott McClellan's Bad Stuff 'Bout Bush

Posted by Frank J. at 10:05 AM
View blog reactions Comments (29)

Scott McClellan has a new book out called Bad Stuff 'Bout Bush or something similar that is an unflattering tell all about the Bush administration. Being an important blogger, I already got a copy and here are some of the more damaging allegations in it:

* President Bush mislead the country about Iraq.
* He would often give people unflattering nicknames, like how he called Scott McClellan "Tubby Tubberson Who Is Tubby and I Hate Him".
* Was insensitive about the hurricane Katrina tragedy.
* Put dead fish in Scott McClellan's car.
* Used Scott McClellan to lie about the outing of Valerie Plame.
* On numerous occasions put Scott McClellan in a trash can and rolled him down a hill.
* Had political opponents disappeared.
* Once used a permanent marker to put a mustache on Scott McClellan while he was napping just before a press conference.
* Plotted to blow up an orphanage on the behest of big oil.
* Kept tying Scott McClellan shoe laces together.
* Talked about going to the National Archive and destroying the Constitution so no one would no whether or not he was violating it.
* Always made fun of Scott McClellan's tie.
* Razed a village in South America to make way for condos he never ended up building.
* Whenever he got bored, he'd order his Secret Service to "beat up Scott McClellan for being fat."
* Wasted a month of his administration seeking the lost city of gold.
* Would often spray Scott McClellan's path with a water bottle to make it look like he wet himself.
* Thought of selling America to buy another baseball franchise.
* Kept eating Scott McClellan's lunch even though it was clearly marked.
This all certainly looks bad for the Bush Administration, and President Bush has dismissed the charges in the book as "stuff written by a fat guy that everyone hates."

Friday, May 30, 2008

How About a Three-Year Moratorium on Advertising Prescription Drugs?

Consumers Union, publisher of Consumer Reports magazine, has started a campaign to ban advertising of new prescription drugs for the first three years, when most harmful side effects are still in process of being discovered.

TV drug ads - Now Congress considers a ban!

Your petition signatures, emails and personal frustrations with TV drug advertising are really getting noticed!

A bill was just introduced in the House [H.R. 6151] banning advertising of new drugs and devices for the first three years on the market. It also requires TV drug and device ads include a toll-free number, so we can easily report serious side effects to the FDA.

This bill will really improve the safety of prescription drugs. The first few years a drug is on the market is when harmful side effects are likely to emerge. Banning ad campaigns will keep a new drug from being overused until its risks are better known.

And telling us how to report serious side effects in TV ads will get important safety information to the FDA more quickly.

Tell your member of Congress to support this important bill now. The momentum is growing to do something about TV drug and device ads thanks to you!

Bob Dole's Scathing Put-Down of Scott McClellan published the following e-mail by the former Senator and presidential candidate from Kansas:

"There are miserable creatures like you in every administration who don’t have the guts to speak up or quit if there are disagreements with the boss or colleagues," Dole wrote in a message sent yesterday morning. "No, your type soaks up the benefits of power, revels in the limelight for years, then quits, and spurred on by greed, cashes in with a scathing critique."

Michael Marshall, Dole's spokesman and colleague at the Alston Bird law firm, confirms the message came from the former senator and presidential candidate. "Yes, it is authentic," Marshall wrote in an email."

In my nearly 36 years of public service I've known of a few like you," Dole writes, recounting his years representing Kansas in the House and Senate. "No doubt you will 'clean up' as the liberal anti-Bush press will promote your belated concerns with wild enthusiasm. When the money starts rolling in you should donate it to a worthy cause, something like, 'Biting The Hand That Fed Me.' Another thought is to weasel your way back into the White House if a Democrat is elected. That would provide a good set up for a second book deal in a few years"

Dole assures McClellan that he won't read the book -- "because if all these awful things were happening, and perhaps some may have been, you should have spoken up publicly like a man, or quit your cushy, high profile job"

"That would have taken integrity and courage but then you would have had credibility and your complaints could have been aired objectively," Dole concludes. "You’re a hot ticket now but don’t you, deep down, feel like a total ingrate?"


Democrats Cry "Recession" to Confuse the Public and Harvest Votes

Ever since President Bush took over as President, Democrats have been crying "recession" or "depression" more often than the little boy who cried wolf. They would have you believe that the best way to revive our economy is to vote for Obama or Hillary, but all they promise are policies that will bring back the good old days of Jimmy Carter: higher taxes, going after Big Oil instead of seeking their cooperation, etc. The day a Democrat is elected President, the Big Media will back off trying to stir up panic over the economy - at a time when we should really start worrying.

Donald Lambro, in his article, "Dems' Recession Obsession a Mistaken Impression," quotes President Reagan's witty rebuttal of Democrat charges that he didn't understand the meaning of the word depression. "Well, if it's a definition he wants, I'll give him one. A recession is when your neighbor loses his job. A depression is when you lose yours. Recovery is when Jimmy Carter loses his."

Lambro makes the following summary of the situation:

"Democrats want us to believe the economy is in crisis, but it isn't. We are in a sharp slowdown, one of many our country has experienced and overcome many times before. It is instructive to recall the economic upturn in the second half of 2003 in response to the Fed's deep rate cuts when "stocks, bond yields and the economy all soared," Malpass notes. At this point, there are glimmers of recovery that suggest this downturn may be shorter and shallower than anyone predicted. Americans are understandably pessimistic, in part by what is going on in their states and communities, but also due to a drumbeat of negative stories on the nightly television news, a gloomy oracle that sees nothing but doom ahead.

"Yet through it all, we remain the largest economy in the world, producing $14 trillion worth of goods and services each year, selling $1.4 trillion of stuff abroad in a vigorous global economy running flat-out on trade. We got whacked hard by the housing collapse and credit crunch, but it's good to remember that we have a very resilient economy that has pulled us out of innumerable panics, recessions and depressions."

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Follow the Money, and It Will Lead You to the Truth

Who offered ex-presidential press secretary Scott McClellan the 30 pieces of silver to write a book slamming the Bush Administration? Little Green Footballs provided the first clue that George Soros may be behind it all, and Rush Limbaugh seconded the charge on his radio show today.

NewsBusters described the following missed opportunity:

Vieira Punts on Possible McClellan-Soros Connection

By Mark Finkelstein May 29, 2008 - 09:03 ET

Was George Soros behind the publication of Scott McClellan's book? Meredith Vieira had the perfect opportunity this morning to find out—but chose to punt. The Today co-anchor certainly had the time: her much-touted exclusive interview with the author of What Happened ranged over the show's first two half-hours. But even when McClellan himself put the issue on the table—citing his publisher by name and alluding to its philosophy—Vieira failed to pursue a line of questioning that could have put matters in an explosive new light.

As MRC's Brent Baker has detailed, McClellan's publisher, PublicAffairs:

is part of the Perseus Books Group, which also owns Nation Books, “a project of The Nation Institute” which publishes the magazine of the same name, and Vanguard Press, whose home page now features The Prosecution of George W. Bush for Murder, a new book by Vincent Bugliosi that “presents a tight, meticulously researched legal case that puts George W. Bush on trial in an American courtroom for the murder of nearly 4,000 American soldiers fighting the war in Iraq.”

Baker also notes that PublicAffairs is the publisher of no fewer than six books by Soros himself, and that McClellan's editor, Peter Osnos, who acknowledges having "worked very closely" with the author, is a liberal pundit in his own right.

Finally, Little Green Footballs has documented that there are several Perseus companies that actually include "Soros" as part of their name, as in Perseus-Soros Management, LLC.

Put it all together, and there's every reason to wonder whether Soros isn't behind McClellan's manifesto. But given the golden opportunity to pursue the matter, Meredith chose to move on....

News from the Toilet

No self-respecting blog dedicated to bathroom/outhouse lore can overlook the latest trial of the astronauts manning the International Space Station: a malfunctioning toilet! NASA plans on sending a special pump to get the $19 million Russian-made toilet to work again by next week.

The following factoid came from a New York Times article: Of all the technological achievements of space travel, none has captured the popular imagination as much as bathroom physics. Mike Mullane, a former astronaut and professional speaker, said questions about the operations of space toilets are the most popular questions from audiences by “more than ten to one” over such questions as “have I seen any aliens” and “did we fake the moon landing.”

Sen. Larry Craig of Idaho is planning to publish a book next year on energy, his political career, and that embarrassing incident at the Minneapolis-St. Paul airport, where he tried to solicit gay sex from an undercover officer.

In a related development, Al Gore's "An Inconvenient Truth" will be set to music and performed as an opera at La Scala in Milan in 2011.
UPDATE: The Space Shuttle Discovery arrived at the International Space Station today (2 June) to deliver the much-needed part for the toilet, and also to attach the Japanese-made Kibo lab.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

What Made You Go Over to the Dark Side? They Found My Price!

From the NT Daily News:
Former White House press secretary Scott McClellan has blasted his old boss, saying President Bush failed to be "open and forthright on Iraq" and relied on "propaganda" to sell the war.
McClellan's take on the Bush administration comes in a surprisingly scathing tell-all memoir, "What Happened: Inside the Bush White House and Washington's Culture of Deception," to be published next week, reports.

From Mike Allen at the Politico:
Former White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan writes in a surprisingly scathing memoir to be published next week that President Bush "veered terribly off course," was not “open and forthright on Iraq,” and took a "permanent campaign approach" to governing at the expense of candor and competence.


Monday, May 26, 2008

The Nightmare Ticket

Count on to combine the worst features of the 3 surviving major candidates - by having them run together for President!! Here are some excerpts describing the bipartisan compromise that they have developed:

"No other ticket is capable of rallying this nation around a clearer, more unified message of chaos and hopelessness," the candidates said in unison from three separate podiums, each adorned with its own American flag arrangement and personal message. "Together, we will lead this nation into the future—a future where absolute deadlock over even the most minute decisions and total inefficiency on matters of the war, the economy, and the environment will launch a bold new age of confusion and social decay...."

The candidates said they had not yet decided who would fill the offices of president, vice president, and a new post the nominees are calling "the middle president." They did, however, confirm that each would choose his or her own full cabinet, would be able to veto any bills the others sign into law, and would reserve the right to cast the tie-breaking, tie-making, and tie-rebreaking votes in the Senate.

Aides to Sen. Clinton also confirmed that the trio plans to create two separate federal governments—one large and one small—which would be instituted within the first 100 days of the Clinton/McCain/Obama White House or, according to Obama chief strategist David Axelrod, the Obama/McCain/Clinton White House.

A CBS News/New York Times poll taken after the announcement revealed that the nightmare ticket has invigorated almost all voters, inspiring blacks, whites, senior citizens, college graduates, liberals, conservatives, both blue-collar and white-collar workers, and military veterans alike to remain at home by the millions this November, exercising their American right not to vote.

Is Nothing Sacred???

Now it's official: along with other traditions, the humble bratwurst is under attack. The Johnsonville World's Largest Brat Fest in Madison, Wisconsin has been challenged by the Veggie Brat Fest featuring tofukey beer brats. How gross!
Brats made from real meat, cooking on a charcoal grill, fulfilling the measure of their creation.

All That Anti-Bush Propaganda Worked!

President George W. Bush, one of the most vilified of all American presidents, did very poorly in an online poll of U.S. News and World Report readers. He may have to wait a long time for the final verdict of history to vindicate him.

From the poll: What do you think? We want your votes on the worst presidents in American history. You may select up to three [only presidents with 1% or more of the votes are included].

• George W. Bush
69% of voters
• Richard Nixon
21% of voters
• Jimmy Carter
20% of voters
• Bill Clinton
17% of voters
• Ronald Reagan
14% of voters
• George H. W. Bush
13% of voters
• Warren Harding
11% of voters
• James Buchanan
10% of voters
• Herbert Hoover
10% of voters
• Abraham Lincoln
10% of voters
• Lyndon B. Johnson
9% of voters
• Andrew Johnson
6% of voters
• Ulysses S. Grant
5% of voters
• Franklin D. Roosevelt
4% of voters
• John Kennedy
3% of voters
• Woodrow Wilson
2% of voters
• Andrew Jackson
2% of voters
• Gerald Ford
2% of voters
• Franklin Pierce
2% of voters
• John Tyler
2% of voters
• Millard Fillmore
2% of voters
• Calvin Coolidge
1% of voters
• George Washington
1% of voters
• William Henry Harrison
1% of voters
• Harry S. Truman
1% of voters
• Zachary Taylor
1% of voters
• William Howard Taft
1% of voters
• Dwight Eisenhower
1% of voters
• Martin Van Buren
1% of voters
• Chester Arthur
1% of voters

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Thanks to Our Veterans

This letter was published on Veterans Day 2007, but is appropriate for Memorial Day 2008.

An Open Letter of Thanks to Veterans

By Kyle-Anne Shiver
Source: American Thinker,

In my opinion, our American military veterans have really gotten the public shaft for nearly 40 years. So, I'm determined to put in my two cents' worth for anyone who cares to read it.

Let me start by simply saying, "Thank you."
To every man and woman who preserved my liberty this year, and for all of you who have ever proudly worn our Nation's uniform, I say, "Thank you!"

Today I read a book, which I bought from a bookstore a mile from my home. There are more books in that Barnes & Noble than once filled an entire library, and they represent the independent thought and ideas of thousands and thousands of people living free. For this weighty privilege, I say, "Thank you!"

Last Sunday, I attended mass with my family. We worshiped God in the exact manner of our own choosing. And I am sadly reminded that there are millions of other people still suffering dire religious persecution, even death, doled out by governments that do not respect this inalienable right. To all my American soldiers, past and present, I say, "Thank you!"

Our daughter went to college classes today. There she studies and argues with her professors. She is hammering out her own view of the world in safety, and with the dignity of a free woman in charge of her own destiny. To all of you veterans, wherever you are, she and I say, "Thank you!"

For the dozens of freedoms that we ordinary citizens have enjoyed every single day of our lives in America, we are grateful to you. We take it all for granted, you know, and only express our thanks one day a year. I'm ashamed of that, truly ashamed.

We hardly ever stop to even consider the sacrifices you have made and are making this very day in far away places, with scant comfort, if any at all, and yet you don't complain. You just continue to serve and give and demonstrate genuine love for us every day. Day in and day out. In danger. In fatigue. In strange places all over the world. We are more indebted to you than we will ever even comprehend.

I am ashamed of my Countrymen who denounce you, who call you despicable names, who tell the world you are criminals. These scoundrels don't deserve the freedom for which you risk your lives. But the truth is that none of us deserves what you do.

And it is also true, that unless one has been in battle, one does not truly understand the depth of your passion for liberty.
To families that have borne no soldiers, you are an enigma.
To cowards, you are a shaming presence, a constant reminder of their weakness.
To your parents, you represent both the mountaintop of pride, and the deepest valley of concern that mothers and fathers can ever know.
And to most of us ordinary citizens, you are the unseen, under-appreciated protectors of all that we hold dear.

I have lived in America all my life, for 56 years now, and every single night when I have laid my head upon my pillow, you were somewhere watching over my safety. For every single one of those nights of peaceful rest, I simply say, "Thank you!"

You serve and fight for the greatest Nation in the history of civilization.
There has never been a grievous wrong that good Americans have not sought to rectify.
There has never been a just cause on which America has turned her back for long.
You, our soldiers, have been and continue to be, the greatest force for freedom and human rights ever gathered.
You have raised our flag around the world, not for domination, but to bring greater liberty and a better way of life.
You are the reason America remains a beacon of hope to the entire world.

You seek neither glory nor riches, nor even fame. You are our best, our brightest, our bravest.
Please always know that even when we don't show it, we love you. We appreciate you. We thank you. And we will never forget you or forsake you.

Kyle-Anne Shiver is a frequent contributor to American Thinker.

McCain Drags Obama to School

Right Wing News documents the latest exchange between Senators Obama and McCain. The first salvo came from Barack Obama:

"I respect Sen. John McCain's service to our country," Obama said on the Senate floor this morning. "He is one of those heroes of which I speak. But I can't understand why he would line up behind the president in opposition to this GI Bill. I can't believe why he believes it is too generous to our veterans. I could not disagree with him and the president more on this issue."

He's referencing Sen. Webb's GI bill, which passed with a majority of 75 - 22.
McCain wasted no time in firing back:

"It is typical, but no less offensive that Sen. Obama uses the Senate floor to take cheap shots at an opponent and easy advantage of an issue he has less than zero understanding of," McCain said in the statement. "Let me say first in response to Sen. Obama, running for president is different than serving as president. The office comes with responsibilities so serious that the occupant can't always take the politically easy route without hurting the country he is sworn to defend. Unlike Sen. Obama, my admiration, respect and deep gratitude for America's veterans is something more than a convenient campaign pledge. I think I have earned the right to make that claim."

...[I] take a backseat to no one in my affection, respect and devotion to veterans. And I will not accept from Senator Obama, who did not feel it was his responsibility to serve our country in uniform, any lectures on my regard for those who did.

..."Perhaps, if Senator Obama would take the time and trouble to understand this issue he would learn to debate an honest disagreement respectfully. But, as he always does, he prefers impugning the motives of his opponent, and exploiting a thoughtful difference of opinion to advance his own ambitions. If that is how he would behave as President, the country would regret his election."

Oh, No! Rep. Maxine Waters Wants to Nationalize the Oil Industry

Read all about on Gold-Plated Witch on Wheels. This story is also covered on

An excerpt:

The outrageous part of the exchange came when Maxine Waters, in full don't-you-tell-me-I'm-the-one-in-charge mode, threatens to nationalize the oil industry, even though she can't come up with the right word for it.

"And guess what this liberal will be all about?" she snapped. "This liberal will be all about socializing--uh, uh, will be about (pause) basically taking over and the government running all of your companies."

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Upbeat Story: High School Diplomas for Veterans Who Were Busy Fighting Our Country's Wars

Dennis Collins, 60, a former Craig resident who now lives in Grand Junction, will be among the Moffat County High School students earning their high school diplomas today during commencement services. Collins, originally a member of the 1966 MCHS class, went to Vietnam in 1964 and wasn’t able to graduate with his class. He is honored with his diploma through Operation Recognition, which allows veterans from World War II, Korea and Vietnam to receive diplomas. - Emily Anderson/Grand Junction Free Press - See article in Steamboat Pilot for more details.

Ignorance + Member of Congress = Menace to Society

Antiwar Liberal Democrat Attacks Troops Visiting Capital Hill
This was posted by DM at the Power Line Forum:20 May 2008 -

A class of senior Army War College officers (all of whom are either Iraq or Afghanistan combat veterans with multiple deployments) were taking part on a tour of Congress. All of this was officially approved and part of the Army War College curriculum. The officers observing Congress hold multiple bronze stars between them; and other citations too numerous to mention. Congressman Pete Stark observed them in the gallery, and below is his official letter of outrage. Below is the text of a letter sent today to Secretary of Defense Robert Gates by Representative Pete Stark (D-CA), regarding the possible abuse of military officers’ time.

May 16, 2008
The Honorable Robert Gates
Secretary of Defense
1000 Defense Pentagon
Washington, DC 20301
Dear Secretary Gates:
Yesterday, while voting on the war supplemental spending bill in the House of Representatives, I couldn’t help but notice a contingent of approximately 20 flag rank Army officers sitting in the House Gallery watching the debate and vote for a couple of hours. I was looking from below so I thought they were Army, but there could have been other branches present.
It’s possible they were on leave time or vacation. If so, I obviously have no concern. However, if they were doing this on military time, I want an explanation of why they were there.
At a time when our nation is at war, our troops are over-extended, and the Administration is literally asking for emergency military spending, what good to the “war on terror” is having US Generals and other top ranked officers - who were likely accompanied by staff and escorted by their chauffeurs - spending hours sitting in the gallery of the House of Representatives?
Please provide for me the name, rank, branch, and duties of each of these officers, as well as the number of additional staff and drivers that were used to facilitate their attendance yesterday. I would like this information by Monday, May 19th.
If they were here on official duty, this was an abhorrent misallocation of our military resources at a time of war.
Pete Stark
CC: The Honorable Ike Skelton, Chairman, Committee on Armed Services
CC: The Honorable Jack Murtha, Chairman, Committee on Appropriations, Subcommittee on Defense
Rep. Pete Stark (D-CA) is the same liberal democrat who said that:"US soldiers were getting their heads blown off for the President's amusement."
see video of that at:

UPDATE: Jordan has a great comment below on Stark's rank ignorance of military missions, priorities, and the duties of officers.

8:26 AM jordan said... Good God. Who are these people and what are they doing in my government. He says they were all flag rank. Was it twenty Generals?

This letter reveals Stark's rank ignorance of military missions, priorities, and the duties of officers, yes, in this tumultuous time of war. Of COURSE they would visit the Congress as part of an Army War College course or symposium. Military aides and attaches serve in embassies around the world, and are often assigned to Congressmen and Senators as aides and liaison officers. Part of their training MUST include learning the mechanics, the nuts and bolts, of the military-political process.

I can't think of a more appropriate, more fitting occasion to observe this process in action than than the voting on the war funding bill. In fact, I would see it as negligent had an Army War College course for flag officers NOT included such a tour.

I don't know what committees Stark has served on, but individual officers are posted to their assignments according to what meets national requirements, and adjusted to their time in rank, military occupation (MOS), etc... These officers were assigned to the War College as part of DoD's careful maintenance of warfighting and national security responsibilities.

Stark seems to think you can just take 20 flag officers out of the visitor's gallery and plop them down into Iraq. Is he daffy?

That's not how it works. Leaders with knowledge and expertise in the upper levels of government have to be in the pipeline, and this is what courses and tours like these are -- the pipeline.

Generals don't live forever, they have to be replaced every once in a while. You want to prepare them for the duties and missions they might be assigned across the spectrum of military jobs -- from the political inside-the-beltway, to field command.

Stark's letter shows the danger of handing our government and national security policies over to the control of the Democrats. These people have no clue, and are led around by their rabid emotions.

This reflexive hatred of all this military (until you need them, of course) is insane, backwards, and self-destructive. But then, logic has never played a big part in the Dem Party's view of national security. This is excellent fodder for campaigning against the Democrats this fall. Thanks, Pete Stark. You really stepped into it this time, and can blame no one but yourself.

I'd like to see how many earmarks, wasteful trips and wasted taxpayer time and money Pete Stark has overseen during his years "in service."
It only took a few hours for the man to look like an ass:
Stark’s office released that letter around noon Friday. About four-and-a-half hours later came a shorter release in which Stark said he’d been informed that the onlookers weren’t generals, but a class from the war college in Carlisle, Pa.

Readers, I know this story left a bitter taste in the mouth, so I'll attach the following joke I saw in the "Daily Inbox," which is e-mailed to me on a regular basis:

An elderly couple had been shopping at a grocery store, and the wife decided to steal a can of peaches. The inevitable happened and she was caught. Upon her court date, the judge asked her what she had stolen.

"Your Honor, I stole a can of peaches."

The judge replied, "How many peaches were in the can?"

She said, "Six."

The judge then said, "I will sentence you to six days in jail."

Her husband stood up behind her and replied, "Your Honor, she also stole a can of peas."

--Eric Thompson

What Was She Thinking?

Right Wing Nut House covers the incredible story of Hillary playing the assassination card on Sen. Obama:

"This is the gaffe of gaffes, the Mother of all campaign faux pas. There’s no taking it back at this point. The statement is out there, hanging like a rapidly decomposing side of beef in the hot sun. To suggest that you should hang around and stay in the campaign 'just in case' the unthinkable occurs is beyond anything yet seen in this campaign. And considering all the race and gender cards that have been flying around, the assassination card tops them all.

"What is even more curious is that her statement comes on a day when rumors have been flying all over the internet and the national media about the Obama and Clinton campaigns having serious discussions about orchestrating her exit from the race with some reports even speculating that the Clintonites are pushing her for the vice president slot." [In my humble opinion, Barack Obama has nothing to gain by selecting Hillary Clinton as his running mate.]

Discussion on Polygamy, Revived

Ann Althouse, on her blog, brings up the case of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (FLDS) vs. the state of Texas, which has been shaky of late because of repeated challenges by anxious parents trying to reclaim over 400 children from the state. The Third Court of Appeals declared that the children were kept in state custody improperly, and the case was immediately appealed to the Texas Supreme Court.

The turbulent experience of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church or Mormons) vs. the United States was fought all the way to the Supreme Court, and not even an elaborate system of safeguards designed to prevent the abuses taking place in the FLDS Church, or wrapping themselves in the First Amendment guarantee of freedom of religion was enough to protect the LDS church from persecution culminating in the end of plural marriage. The tipping point was when the Supreme Court declared that having more than one wife was contrary to generally accepted social standards (a criterion that may not have as much force in our own time) combined with coercion (i.e., when the federal government threatened to confiscate all church assets).

Ann Althouse quotes the opinion in the 1878 Supreme Court case — Reynolds v. United States — that upheld the criminalization of polygamy:

"[T]he accused, proved that, at the time of his alleged second marriage, he was, and for many years before had been, a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, commonly called the Mormon Church, and a believer in its doctrines; that it was an accepted doctrine of that church "that it was the duty of male members of said church, circumstances permitting, to practise polygamy; . . . that this duty was enjoined by different books which the members of said church believed to be of divine origin, and, among others, the Holy Bible, and also that the members of the church believed that the practice of polygamy was directly enjoined upon the male members thereof by the Almighty God, in a revelation to Joseph Smith, the founder and prophet of said church; that the failing or refusing to practise polygamy by such male members of said church, when circumstances would admit, would be punished, and that the penalty for such failure and refusal would be damnation in the life to come."

Friday, May 23, 2008

Tornado Strikes Weld County, Colorado

The entire state of Colorado is closely following developments in Greeley and Windsor. A tornado which touched down around noon yesterday claimed the life of one man in a Greeley campground/trailer park who was trying to escape in an RV, but people are relieved, because the number of casualties could have been higher.

Quick thinking on the part of employees at Windmill Child Enrichment Center and the nearby Bank of Choice ensured that none of the children, workers, and bank employees were injured, according to a Denver Post story. The children were rounded up and stayed in their own building, while bank employees secured their customers as well as themselves in the vault. Providentially, the bank and daycare center were spared from the full force of the tornado.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

United Nations to the Rescue! (/sarcasm)

Yes, there is more than a touch of irony in this news report from Myanmar, where hundreds of thousands of people are worried about feeding their families and rebuilding their homes. There is a News 24 article that describes how the UN has seen fit to send 220,000 condoms "to help needy survivors with no access to contraceptives."

Not for the Thin-Skinned

Sen. Obama has been stirring up a lot of resentment by declaring so many aspects of his presidential campaign off-limits. Reality check: when your spouse is busy giving speeches all over the land, expect him or her to become fair game if the content is offensive to most citizens. Also, even your supporters are going to wonder if you can stand up to Osama bin Laden and other bad guys if you can't even tolerate a little criticism. What I've heard about Obama to date pales in comparison to the raging torrent of vile invective that has been leveled at George W. Bush for nearly 8 years.

Michael Reagan has a few choice words in
Here is El Rushbo's take on the same subject.
Robert Novak portrays John McCain as a wise old general who refuses to be lured into a fight on terrain favorable to the enemy, continuously probes for weaknesses, and is waiting for the right time to call in air and artillery strikes.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Sen. Kennedy Released from Hospital

Senator Edward Kennedy (D-MA), who shocked an entire nation by coming down with a cancerous brain tumor [malignant glioma] rather than cirrhosis of the liver, returned to the family compound in Hyannis Port this morning from Massachusetts General Hospital, where he had been kept since last weekend. He plans to race his schooner Mya this coming weekend.

Dr. Sanjay Gupta wrote this detailed report of Sen. Kennedy's status for CNN.
UPDATE: FrontPage Magazine has an article about how gracious most conservatives are in reacting to news of Sen. Kennedy's brain tumor.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Is Bush Planning to Attack Iran?

A Newsmax article raises the interesting possibility that President Bush could order a strike on Iran before his second term ends. Israel's Army Radio is speculating that Bush and Cheney recently visited the Middle East to set the stage for such an operation. Apparently there are signs of a military buildup taking place in the region, but I believe the chances of such action taking place by the end of this year is small.

Reasons against:
1. Our forces are stretched to the limit.
2. Time is running out for the Bush administration, and such plans always end up costing more and taking longer than originally planned.
3. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Secretary of Defense Robert Gates are said to be opposed to military action at this time.

Reasons for:
1. We have Iran surrounded, and the encirclement may not be so complete if the next President reduces or completely withdraws our forces from Iraq.
2. To reassure Israel that we are willing to do whatever it takes to help protect them.
3. The Iranians may be able to produce nuclear bombs as early as 2009. describes how skeptical bloggers are of this report:

Mother Jones' national-security correspondent Laura Rozen is skeptical at MoJo Blog: "This is the Jerusalem Post quoting Israel Radio, e.g. they didn't even report it themselves … citing an unnamed Israeli official quoting an again unnamed 'senior member of Bush's entourage' which includes a universe of people that could be say the spouse of a businessperson which was part of the delegation. … Something in the realm of idle gossip." [It's not every day I find myself nodding in agreement with Mother Jones, but this appears to be the best summary available.]

Monday, May 19, 2008

Doom-and-Gloom in Conservative Circles

"Roger's Rules," part of the Pajamas Media blog site. does a quick but insightful survey of the atmosphere of despair that has overtaken conservatives. An excerpt:

"Conservatives also tend to enjoy a more active and enabling sense of humor. The English essayist Walter Bagehot once observed that 'the essence of Toryism is enjoyment.' What he meant, I think, was summed up by the author of Genesis when that sage observed that 'God made the world and saw that it was good.' Conservatives differ from progressives in many ways, but one important way is in the quota of cheerfulness and humor they deploy. Not that their assessment of their fellows is more sanguine. On the contrary. Conservatives tend to be cheerful because they do not regard imperfection as a personal moral affront. Being realistic about mankind’s susceptibility to improvement, they are as suspicious of utopian schemes as they are appreciative of present blessings. This is why the miasmic gloominess emanating from many conservative circles today is so dispiriting...." - Roger Kimball

Chuck Norris to the Rescue, Again

Check out his WorldNetDaily editorial, "If I Am Elected Vice President."

The Blame Game: Fat People Contribute to Global Warming!

Even though we are skeptical about the climate change theory being pushed as dogma these days, we can still have a little fun with the subject. This story has appeared in a number of places, including the L.A. Times Blog:

That pesky obesity thing. First it forced Disneyland to increase the sizes of its theme-park costumes, and hospitals to buy larger hoists and beds. Now, in a letter published Friday in the medical journal Lancet, two scientists write that obese people are disproportionately responsible for high food prices and greenhouse gas emissions because they consume 18% more food energy due to their greater body mass -- and require increased quantities of fuel to transport themselves and the food they eat. "Promotion of a normal distribution of BMI would reduce the global demand for, and thus the price of, food," write the authors, Phil Edwards and Ian Roberts of the evocatively named London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine....

Declares Kelly Brownell, director of the university's Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity, "Saying that obese people are contributing to climate change is highly stigmatizing and assigns blame to the individuals who are obese rather than the conditions driving the obesity in the first place." Things, he says, like junk food marketing aimed at children, the demise of P.E. programs, behemoth portions offered up in restaurants, more....

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Don't Hold Your Breath

The following e-mailed article should make the current Republican leadership stand up and pay attention, but sadly, it is human nature for entrenched politicians to hang on to their offices, even after they have outlived their usefulness.

Viguerie: Republican Leaders Must Resign

'The Republican Party must replace its leadership or conservatives will continue to withhold support and the GOP will face “disaster” in November, leading conservative activist Richard A. Viguerie declared.

“Republican Party leaders must resign,” said Viguerie, publisher of and the pioneer of political direct mail.

“Leaders in the White House, the Congress, and the Republican National Committee and its affiliates, along with most Republican leaders at the state level, have failed — or outright betrayed — the conservative voters who put them in their positions.

“The result is that the Republican Party’s brand has become a negative to an extent greater than in the Watergate era, perhaps even worse than in the days of Herbert Hoover.”

Viguerie made these points:

*The number of new Republican voters is flat while Democratic voter registration is soaring.
*Contributions to Republican candidates and committees are way off, while donations to Democrats are "setting records."
*In this year’s primaries, votes for GOP candidates at all levels are running far behind the Democrats.
*In recent special elections, Republicans lost House seats in Illinois, Louisiana, and Mississippi that had long been in GOP hands — all in districts carried overwhelmingly by President Bush. A single election can be a fluke, but when Republicans lose three seemingly safe seats in a row, “disaster is looming.”

“The hard work of the last 50 years by millions of conservative campaign workers, donors, candidates, writers, intellectuals, and activists has been trashed,” he said.

“The conservative movement has been set back 10 to 20 years — possibly even permanently — by politicians consumed by power.”

He named a number of prominent Republicans, including President Bush, Karl Rove, party chairman Mike Duncan, House Minority Leader John Boehner, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, former Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott, and House Minority Whip Roy Blunt.

“Some deserve more of the blame than others, but they are all part of an establishment that has brought the Republican Party down,” added Viguerie, whose latest book is “Conservatives Betrayed: How George W. Bush and Other Big-Government Republicans Hijacked the Conservative Cause.”

“For things to change, for conservatives to be justified in once again giving our contributions, our volunteer efforts, our energy, and votes to the GOP, the party must clean house. The party leadership should resign immediately.

“Republicans are doomed to wander in the political wilderness until this generation of weak-kneed, no-vision, inarticulate, afraid-of-the-liberal-media politicians are replaced with principled conservatives in the mold of Bill Buckley, Barry Goldwater, and Ronald Reagan.”

Viguerie has this message for the current GOP leadership: “For the future of the Republican Party, for America, and the cause of freedom: Go!”

UPDATE: Victor Davis Hanson has a few constructive suggestions for the Republican Party.

Military Families Are a Menace, Says Sen. Harkin

This statement in Right Wing News was directed at Sen. McCain, but ends up delivering a slap in the face to all Americans who are, or ever served in the military:

Republican presidential candidate John McCain’s family background as the son and grandson of admirals has given him a worldview shaped by the military, “and he has a hard time thinking beyond that,” Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Ia., said Friday.

“I think he’s trapped in that,” Harkin said in a conference call with Iowa reporters. “Everything is looked at from his life experiences, from always having been in the military, and I think that can be pretty dangerous.”

Harkin said that “it’s one thing to have been drafted and served, but another thing when you come from generations of military people and that’s just how you’re steeped, how you’ve learned, how you’ve grown up.”

A McCain spokesman said Harkin’s remarks were offensive and showed that Democrats are out of touch with Americans’ values.

“Senator Harkin’s comments are an affront to the many thousands of Iowans who have served our country so valiantly for generations,” said spokesman Jeff Sadosky. “This sort of attack shows just how out of touch Democratic leadership has become with the values that have made our country so great.”

Friday, May 16, 2008

Making Fun of Hillary While We Can

It's unusual for me to post even jokes without attribution, but this one was too good to pass up:

Dear Abby,

I am a 60-year-old woman who is married to a man who acts like he hates me. In public, he pretends he loves me and talks about how wonderful I am. But in private, he shakes his finger in my face and calls me the "B" word. He constantly tells me how ugly I am without make-up. I've tried everything, including a face-lift, botox treatments, and a chin tuck. I even went on a diet and lost 20 pounds.

He lost his job a few years ago after having an affair with a woman in his office. He hasn't even looked for another job. We haven't slept together since I confronted him about the affair. He denied it, of course, but everybody knew it. It was humiliating. I believe he is still messing around.

While we both want to sell this house, we argue constantly about when to put it on the market. The house we want will be available in a few months. My husband wants to put our house on the market now. I think we should wait a while. He has already started collecting boxes and packing up his stuff. Do you think he is planning to leave me?

Worried in NY

Dear Worried in NY:

I doubt it. He wants to move back into the White House as much as you do.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Not News: Myanmar Junta Diverting Cyclone Aid

The following International Herald Tribune article is dropping hints as to why the military dictatorship in Myanmar is acting as though it has something to hide. Here are some excerpts:

YANGON, Myanmar: Amid signs that a second cyclone may be headed toward the Irrawaddy Delta, the directors of several relief organizations in Myanmar said Wednesday that some of the international aid coming into the country for the victims of Cyclone Nargis was being stolen, diverted or warehoused by the military.

The aid directors declined to be quoted directly on their concerns for fear of angering the ruling junta and jeopardizing their operations, although Marcel Wagner, country director of the Adventist Development and Relief Agency, confirmed that aid was being diverted by the army.
He also said it was going to be a growing problem, though he declined to give any further details because of the sensitivity of the situation.

Prime Minister Sundaravej of Thailand told The AP that Myanmar's rulers did not want any foreign aid workers because they "have their own team to cope with the situation."

EDITORIAL NOTE: Even those who sincerely want to help the hundreds of thousands of cyclone victims are overwhelmed by the immensity of the task, lack of vehicles, manpower, and aircraft, bureaucratic red tape, and destruction of numerous roads and bridges.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

"A Free Market Solution to White Guilt"

James Lewis makes reference to a "Certificate of Absolution for White Guilt," signed by Ken Hamblin:

"I'm a big fan of black radio personalities Ken Hamblin and Larry Elder. Ken Hamblin called himself 'the Black Avenger,' not because he hates anybody, but because he was so enraged by the con artists who have taken over so much of the 'racial Left,' leaving devastation in their wake. Because the race industry is fueled by White Guilt, Hamblin decided to hand out absolution certificates -- he's a black guy, after all, and therefore naturally authorized to forgive white folks, just as much as the Three Revs (Jesse, Al, and Jeremiah). Hamblin still has his official Certificate of Absolution for White Guilt on the web. You can print it out, signed by Mr. Hamblin, and post it on your wall. Look at it whenever you feel that dreaded clutch of guilt. It's free. "

Monday, May 12, 2008

A Conspiracy Theory That Can't Be Ignored

Sen. John McCain may have beaten out his rivals for the Republican presidential nomination, but he hasn't driven a stake through the heart of Ron Paul's campaign, as this L.A. Times Blog article reminds us. We have seen how fanatical Dr. Paul's supporters have been, so we cannot dismiss them out of hand.

"But in the meantime, quietly, largely under the radar of most people, the forces of Rep. Ron Paul have been organizing across the country to stage an embarrassing public revolt against Sen. John McCain when Republicans gather for their national convention in Minnesota at the beginning of September....

"...But what's been largely overlooked is Paul's candidacy as a reflection of a powerful lingering dissatisfaction with the Arizona senator among the party's most conservative conservatives. As anticipated in late March in The Ticket, that situation could be exacerbated by today's expected announcement from former Republican Rep. Bob Barr of Georgia for the Libertarian Party's presidential nod, a slot held by Paul in 1988....

"According to a recent Boston Globe tally, Paul has a grand total of 19 Republican delegates to Romney's 260, Huckabee's 286 and McCain's 1,413.

"In the last three months, Paul's forces, who donated $34.5 million to his White House effort and upward of a million total votes, have, as The Ticket has noted, been fighting a series of guerrilla battles with party establishment officials at county and state conventions from Washington and Missouri to Maine and Mississippi. Their goal: to take control of local committees, boost their delegate totals and influence platform debates.

"Paul, for instance, favors a drastically reduced federal government, abolishing the Federal Reserve, ending the Iraq war immediately and withdrawing U.S. troops from abroad.

"They hope to demonstrate their disagreements with McCain vocally at the convention through platform fights and an attempt to get Paul a prominent speaking slot. Paul, who's running unopposed in his home Texas district for an 11th House term, still has some $5 million in war funds and has instructed his followers that their struggle is not about a single election, but a long-term revolution for control of the Republican Party.

"So eager are they to follow their leader's words, that Paul's supporters have driven his new book, "The Revolution: A Manifesto," to the top of several bestseller lists."

Here's an article about former Rep. Bob Barr's announcement that he will be the Libertarian Party's candidate for President.

A Newsmax article says that Gov. Mike Huckabee is on the top of McCain's list of potential running mates. Despite the objections that have been raised to such a pairing, the fact remains that Huckabee did very well in the South, a region that Sen. McCain absolutely needs to hold on to, so he could have a chance of winning the November election.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Indulging in Self-Pity

Allow me to wallow in self-pity just this once: for the first time ever, this weekend, I had two flat tires in two consecutive days!!! Was it because I learned how to drive from Mr. Magoo [picture on left]? Not really, but just for the heck of it I decided to use this cartoon because it looked cool. Was it because of bad luck? Heck, like the song in "Hee Haw," if it weren't for bad luck, I'd have no luck at all! Thank you for letting me vent.

UPDATE: This morning (Monday, 12 May) things took a turn for the better, as Big O Tires honored its warranty and replaced the ruined left rear tire for free.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Sick Puppy of the Year

I didn't want to touch this disgusting story, but the Wall Street Journal sums up a London Daily Telegraph report for us:

Father of the Year

An Austrian man named Josef Fritzl "fathered seven children with his daughter while keeping her imprisoned in his cellar," London's Daily Telegraph reports:

Fritzl . . . has complained of receiving a bad press and not being given credit for keeping his dungeon family alive for more than two decades.

Fritzl, 73 claimed that media coverage was "unfair" and "entirely one-dimensional", given the fact that he did not kill his daughter and the children he produced with her during 24 years of sexual abuse in a subterranean bunker in Amstetten.

"I am no monster," Fritzl said though his lawyer Rudolf Mayer, according to the German tabloid newspaper Bild.

"I could have killed all of them, and no one would have known. No one would have ever found about it."

This is a rather unpersuasive defense. In fact, it reminds us of that joke about the definition of chutzpah: a man who kills his parents, than pleads for mercy because the media failed to report that he's an orphan.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Their Power Lies in the Ability to Cause Stampedes

Check out this IBD Editorial about environmental doomsayers, dated 6 May 2008:

Environmentalists Still Can't Get It Right

Now that another Earth Day has come and gone, let's look at some environmentalist predictions they would prefer we forget.

At the first Earth Day celebration, in 1969, environmentalist Nigel Calder warned, "The threat of a new ice age must now stand alongside nuclear war as a likely source of wholesale death and misery for mankind."

C.C. Wallen of the World Meteorological Organization said, "The cooling since 1940 has been large enough and consistent enough that it will not soon be reversed."

In 1968, professor Paul Ehrlich, former Vice President Al Gore's hero and mentor, predicted that there would be a major food shortage in the U.S. and "in the 1970s . . . hundreds of millions of people are going to starve to death."

Ehrlich forecast that 65 million Americans would die of starvation between 1980 and 1989, and that by 1999 the U.S. population would have declined to 22.6 million.

Ehrlich's predictions about England were gloomier: "If I were a gambler, I would take even money that England will not exist in the year 2000."

In 1972, a report was written for the Club of Rome warning that the world would run out of gold by 1981, mercury and silver by 1985, tin by 1987 and petroleum, copper, lead and natural gas by 1992.

Gordon Taylor, in his 1970 book "The Doomsday Book," said Americans were using 50% of the world's resources and "by 2000 they (Americans) will, if permitted, be using all of them."
In 1975, the Environmental Fund took out full-page ads warning, "The World as we know it will likely be ruined by the year 2000."

Harvard biologist George Wald in 1970 warned, "Civilization will end within 15 or 30 years unless immediate action is taken against problems facing mankind." That was the same year that Sen. Gaylord Nelson warned, in Look magazine, that by 1995 "somewhere between 75% and 85% of all the species of living animals will be extinct."

It's not just latter-day doomsayers who have been wrong; doomsayers have always been wrong.

In 1885, the U.S. Geological Survey announced that there was "little or no chance" of oil being discovered in California, and a few years later they said the same about Kansas and Texas.

In 1939, the U.S. Department of the Interior said American oil supplies would last only another 13 years. In 1949, the secretary of the interior said the end of U.S. oil supplies was in sight. Having learned nothing from its earlier erroneous claims, in 1974 the U.S. Geological Survey advised us that the U.S. had only a 10-year supply of natural gas. The fact of the matter, according to the American Gas Association: There's a 1,000- to 2,500- year supply.... [for the rest of the article, click here.]

UPDATE: This just in from H.L. Mencken, who's been dead for 52 years, but whose words are still applicable today:

“The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.”

Monday, May 5, 2008

What About Tomorrow's Indiana and North Carolina Primaries?

What more is there to say? We can only surmise that Barack Obama is bitterly disappointed because he couldn't finish off Hillary in Pennsylvania, and I agree with the conventional wisdom that he is favored to win in North Carolina, and that Sen. Clinton appears to be ahead in Indiana. When push comes to shove, the two leading Democratic candidates are not too far apart on the issues. If Obama wins the presidency, he would be the most idealistic President since Jimmy Carter, maybe even Woodrow Wilson. Word to the wise: idealism counts for nothing if your enemies are eating you alive.

Elizabeth Kolbert sums up the situation nicely in her New Yorker article.

UPDATE: Former Sen. McGovern and other well-known Democrats are hinting to Hillary that her run for the presidency this year is over, and that she should yield to Obama.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

I'm Not a Beer-Drinker, but...

The St. Petersburg (Florida) Times had this little gem of an article:

The world's 10 most disgusting beers
By Joey Redner, tbt* columnist In print: Friday, May 2, 2008

Good beer is increasingly easy to find in America, and that is good news. However, there are still plenty of gag-reflex-triggering beers on the shelves, and it is time these offenders of good taste were called out.

Here are my picks for the 10 worst beers in the world.

10. Coors Aspen Edge If giving up carbs means giving up any semblance of body or flavor, as is the case with this "beer," it is probably better to carry a few extra pounds.
9. Milwaukee's Best I understand this is a sentimental favorite of many, as it takes them back to the old days. Well, human sacrifice harkens to a simpler time, too. If you want to kill your taste buds, try battery acid — it probably tastes better.
8. Sleeman Clear Lager Another low-carb entry, though here the delicate and nuanced notes of lighter fluid and Dumpster drippings on a blistering August day achieves heretofore unknown lows.
7. Cave Creek Chili Beer This is the perfect beer for people who hate themselves and desire punishment. This unholy union of a whole chili pepper and a fiendishly nasty pale lager will get medieval on your tongue.
6. Winter Park Beer While Orlando Brewing makes many fine ales and lagers, they also make this vitamin-infused blasphemy. Generally, when people say things like, "Fruit doesn't belong in beer," I think of the many excellent fruit Lambics and disagree. But, vitamins? Vitamin flavor doesn't belong in beer! Heck, it doesn't even belong in vitamins — it's just that the vitamin companies haven't found a way to make vitamins palatable. And neither have the brewers of this beer.
5. Bootie U95 I thought with a name like Bootie, the makers of this brew were attempting to position it as a dance club beer. Turns out, it simply describes the aroma. Tallahassee member Aurelius sums up the Bootie this way: "The name sounds like some sort of nuclear isotope in a barium enema, and it delivers all the flavor the name suggests."
4. Hurricane High Gravity Lager This malt liquor is to beer what Carlos Mencia is to comedy: crass and phony. The unfettered use of cheap ingredients, designed solely to supply alcohol on the cheap, imparts the aroma of acetone and chemical solvents. Yummy. Safety Harbor member Ibrew2or3 has this to say: "Should I be drinking something that smells like an auto shop?"
3. Chapeau Exotic This Lambic is proof that rare Belgian beers are capable of great suckitude. Writes Orlando member Boboski: "One sip leads to a joyful drain pour. I hope it doesn't ruin my sink."
2. Camo Genuine Ale The can has 5 X's on it, but all are missing the little skulls that would inform people of what is really inside Camo cans. If lethal doses of corn sugar and nail polish are your thing, Camo is your beer.
1. Busch NA Non-alcoholic beers are bad by nature. Remove alcohol, remove flavor. But Busch NA seems to have gotten around the alcohol part of the beer by steeping corn husks in seltzer water to make a tea that Andrew Zimmern wouldn't drink.

— Joey Redner is a Tampa resident and world beer traveler.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Another Tale of Heroism from Afghanistan

The following story is excerpted from the Fayetteville (NC) Observer:

Medic gets Distinguished Service Cross
By Henry Cuningham, Military editor

Master Sgt. Brendan O’Connor on Wednesday received the Distinguished Service Cross, the Army’s second-highest valor award, for his actions during a 17-hour battle in Afghanistan.

The 47-year-old Special Forces medical sergeant, who resigned his commission as an officer and then took the rigorous training to become a Special Forces medical sergeant, spoke with humor and humility after the medal was pinned on his uniform in a ceremony at Bank Hall on Fort Bragg.

“My word!” O’Connor said, reacting to praise by a three-star Army general and a four-star Navy admiral. “My name is Brendan O’Connor, and I didn’t fully approve that message.”

In his self-effacing remarks, O’Connor apologized to his children for missing birthdays and thanked his wife, Margaret, for what she has done in raising their family in his absence.

O’Connor led a quick reaction force June 24, 2006, in Kandahar province’s Panjwai District, described by Special Forces as one of the most hotly contested areas of southern Afghanistan.

He maneuvered his force through Taliban positions and crawled alone through enemy machine-gun fire to reach two wounded soldiers, the citation said. He tied a signal cloth to his back to identify himself to aircraft overhead. While under fire, he provided medical care and carried a wounded soldier more than 150 yards across open ground. He climbed over a wall three times under enemy fire to help wounded soldiers seek cover. Then he took over as the operations sergeant and rallied, motivated and led his team.

“Thank God for men like Master Sgt. O’Connor,” said Lt. Gen. Robert Wagner, commander of U.S. Army Special Operations Command at Fort Bragg.

Maj. Sheffield Ford said after the ceremony that O’Connor picked up Sgt. Joseph Fuerst and carried him over his shoulder and ran while under fire.

“Knowing that bullets were coming in all around him, he didn’t hesitate,” Ford said. “He continued to get up and move because he knew he had to get Joe back if he was going to have a chance to try to save him.” Fuerst died, and Staff Sgt. Matthew Binney survived, Ford said.

Staff Sgt. Brandon Pechette remembers O’Connor being “calm and cool and very intelligently funny while we were there, keeping the morale high, which is very important because we were such a small force against overwhelming odds.”

The award came 40 years after O’Connor’s father was killed in Vietnam.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Let's See How This Pans Out

Here are the first three paragraphs of an article I saw in Science Blog:

The Defense Department will change a question on its long-standing security clearance form referencing an applicant’s mental health history because officials believe it is needlessly preventing some people from seeking counseling.

The Standard Form 86, Questionnaire for National Security Positions, asks the applicant to acknowledge mental health care in the past seven years. It does not ask for treatment details if the care involved only marital, family, or grief counseling, not related to violence by the applicant, unless the treatment was court-ordered.

Officials said surveys have shown that troops feel if they answer “yes” to the question, they could jeopardize their security clearances, required for many occupations in the military....