Tuesday, May 31, 2011

We Haven't Run Out of Heroes

This is not the type of story that the legacy media would embrace, but columnist Bob Lonsberry ran with it:


(This column was written in January, 2010. Yesterday [30 May 2011], at the post office in Hornell, they dedicated a stone which will memorialize this young Marine. My family and I had the honor of being in attendance.)

HORNELL, NY – I spent two hours last night in the cold outside Dagon Funeral Home. There were three or four hundred people ahead of me, two retired schoolteachers behind me, and a congressman about a dozen people back.

When I left, in the cold dark, the line still stretched out the front door, left down the sidewalk, around the corner, and back for two blocks.

That’s how it is when a hero dies.

That’s how it is when a small town loses its first such hero. The first since Vietnam.

Lance Corporal Zack Smith was 19.

His high school sweetheart will be a widow on their first anniversary.

And the price of freedom will never be clearer than it was last night in the cold.

The pictures inside showed a young man who could be a model of what a young American man should be. Strong, robust, smiling, obviously full of joy. Ready to tackle the world and whatever it had to offer. In a football uniform, on the golf course, in the arms of his family, in the arms of his bride. In the uniform of the United States Marine Corps. You felt a shiver as you saw and thought.

This is the fruit of America, this is the best we produce, this is the salt of the earth and the foundation of the future. This is what was lost in the south of Afghanistan in the fight to keep the war over there and the peace over here.

On January 31 an explosive went off and three Marines were dead. Eight years at war and thousands lost and this is the price you pay.

Only the odds are you don’t pay it. And neither do I. Odds are it is paid by all-American families from every corner of this country, mothers and fathers and sisters and brothers. Hearts broken, dreams shattered, loves lost.

He was a great kid, a good son, an American patriot....

Scary! Read About "Oxi," the Poor Man's Crack Cocaine

Normally we don't link to articles from the Guardian.co.uk, but this news item is too alarming to ignore.

Oxi, or oxidado – "rust" – is the latest drug to surface in the Amazon. It is reputedly twice as powerful as crack cocaine and just a fifth of the price.

"It is terrifying," said Alvaro Mendes, an outreach worker in Rio Branco from the state of Acre's Harm Reduction Association, the NGO that first detected the drug. "The majority of first-time users become addicted on their first contact with the drug. Most of them go seven to 10 days without sleeping, without eating. They start to go into a process of degeneration. After months of use … they go into a state where they look like zombies, wandering … in search of pleasure." [Other symptoms include paranoia, hallucinations, extreme weight loss caused by neglecting to eat, and loss of teeth. "Oxi" is a highly addictive and hallucinogenic blend of cocaine paste, gasoline, kerosene and quicklime (calcium oxide).]

Described as a cheaper and deadlier successor to crack, oxi sells for about R$2 (75p) a rock and is smoked in pipes improvised from cans, pieces of piping and metal taps. According to Mendes, whose support group works with slum-dwellers, prostitutes, transvestites and homeless people who are hooked on the drug, oxi can kill within a year....

National Guard Builds Field Hospital for Joplin, MO

The Pulaski County Daily reports that Soldiers of the Missouri National Guard, seeing an immediate need for a facility to temporarily compensate for the loss of St. John's Hospital, set up an emergency field hospital in only 4 hours (instead of the usual 12).

Monday, May 30, 2011

To Help You Support Surviving Manufacturers in Our Own Country

Did you know that there are Web sites to help you find products made in the USA?


Made in America Store




MIlitary Personnel, Veterans, Give Obama Lower Score

A Gallup Poll of veterans and active-duty service members in the United States polled between January 2010 and April 2011 yielded the following result:

Entrepreneur Sets Up Scholarship to Pay People for NOT Attending College

Townhall.com has the story:

Peter Thiel is rocking the boat of higher education. The libertarian entrepreneur, venture capitalist, and co-founder of PayPal is sending liberal college administrators into a tizzy with his latest push to encourage young innovators to ditch college for two years and pursue entrepreneurship.

Last week, Thiel awarded 20 young people with “20 Under 20” Thiel Fellowships: $100,000 and two years of mentorship to develop entrepreneurial ventures in science and technology....

Imagine...World War II Without Nazis

In the article, "Achtung! The Eagle has landed again despite Second World War re-enactment threat to ban the Nazi uniforms," the Daily Mail reports that 10,000 people showed up for one of the largest World War II re-enactments in the U.K., in the face of the possibility that its organizers would ban Nazi uniforms for fear of offending Holocaust survivors. The event took place in East Lancashire with both sides being represented.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

We Pay a High Price for Ignorance of History

"Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it." - George Santayana

The ever erudite and eloquent Victor Davis Hanson has some choice words for his colleagues in academia who cling to the illusion that they can promote peace by suppressing the study of war. (Pop quiz: in 200 words or less, describe any graduates of peace studies programs who have resolved any conflicts anywhere in the world. Sarcasm is authorized.)

"A wartime public illiterate about the conflicts of the past can easily find itself paralyzed in the acrimony of the present. Without standards of historical comparison, it will prove ill equipped to make informed judgments. Neither our politicians nor most of our citizens seem to recall the incompetence and terrible decisions that, in December 1777, December 1941, and November 1950, led to massive American casualties and, for a time, public despair...."

UPDATE: And now a word from someone who didn't write about history, but had a part in making history as a member of the Marine Corps deployed to Iraq. Andrew Kirkland in American Thinker has written "A Thank-You to Islamic Extremists" that is timely reading for the Memorial Day weekend.

While Other Churches Send Volunteers and Relief Supplies to Joplin, MO...

Yep, another story from Gather.com about how the hate-filled members of Westboro "Baptist Church" have been using the Facebook pages of missing tornado victims to post venomous comments.

NOTE TO UNBELIEVERS: We ask you to refrain from using incidents such as these to judge all Christians. In every other instance you would consider it unfair to condemn an entire group of people based on their worst examples. All those who worship the Father in spirit and in truth have enough discernment to steer clear of any organization that promotes hatred and contention, which are of the devil.

Another Non-News Item: "Unchecked Incompetence" at VA

MSNBC has joined many other sources om pointing out that the armed services and the Dept. of Veterans Affairs need to do more for Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines returning home from war. We don't want our newest combat veterans to suffer the same fate as Vietnam veterans! It is irresponsible for the government to dump these individuals on the civilian world when we know that the sooner one is treated for PTSD, depression, or any other mental disorder, the better one's prospects for recovery.

Friday, May 27, 2011

More Gut-Wrenching Pictures of the Joplin Missouri Tornado

The Daily Mail (U.K.) has quite a compilation of before-and-after photos of the tornado that struck Joplin, MO. The same source has a touching story about a man who sacrificed his life to save his wife's. Since many of the photos are copyrighted by Associated Press (AP), we are constrained from posting them on this blog.

How Could You Tell Obama Was Lying? His Lips Were Moving!

Redstate.com contends that unions, among the major pillars of support for the Democratic Party, had to lie to their members to make serial gun-grabber Barack Obama palatable to their members. The article ends with these words: "It’s pretty clear that the Barack Obama has an agenda that involves restricting Americans’ Second Amendment rights. However, what is not clear is whether union bosses will try to mislead their members again by trying to convince their members that Obama is anything but pro-gun control."

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Subway Chain Opening Upscale Cafes

This Delish.com article got my attention:

Anxious about where to meet for that first date? Want somewhere cozy and warm? How about reliable food? What about a romantic fireplace? And of course, this all has to be at a reasonable price. Well, have we got the perfect place for you. No, it's not the neighborhood café, it's Subway. Nation's Restaurant News reports that Subway will be following in the latest fast food trend and going upscale - and we weren't joking about the fireplace.

It's a far cry from the bare bones sandwich chain known for taking Jared down a few sizes. The new Subway Café will be a coffee bar/sandwich shop hybrid. Along with the standard Subway fare, the cafés will also serve hot and cold espresso drinks from Seattle's Best, plus frozen blended beverages and teas. The menus will also include more elaborate items that will vary location to location.

And speaking of locations, these Subway Cafés won't be found on just any corner. The company implemented this concept not only to compete with a growing field of upscale chain competition, but also to appeal to office building and high-end venues as a valuable business to include in the complex. Fifteen Subway Cafés have opened so far, and the company will be adding ten more by the end of the year

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Over One-Fifth of Vets' Claims Processed Incorrectly

Military.com ran a story that should come as no surprise to anyone following VA claims.

In a recent audit of the VA Dis­abil­ity Com­pen­sa­tion Sys­tem at 16 Regional Offices, the VA Office of the Inspec­tor Gen­eral esti­mates that the rat­ing staff incor­rectly processed 23 per­cent of the 45,000 claims inspected....

UPDATE: Finally, a New York Times editorial I agree with!!!!! Whether it translates to more and better suicide prevention programs remains to be seen, but it's a sign of progress.

A Victory for Veterans

Published: May 18, 2011

The United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ordered an overhaul of mental health care for veterans, who are killing themselves by the thousands each year because of what the court called the “unchecked incompetence” of the Department of Veterans Affairs.

In a scathing 2-to-1 ruling on May 10, the judges said delays in treating post-traumatic stress disorder and other combat-related mental injuries violated veterans’ constitutional rights. The delays are getting worse as more troops return from Afghanistan and Iraq, the judges said. About 18 veterans commit suicide on an average day....

Evidence that High Self-Esteem Is Way Over-Rated

"I feel that my role as a former president is probably superior to that of other presidents. Primarily because of the activism and the injection of working at the Carter Center and in international affairs, and to some degree, domestic affairs, on energy conservation, on environment, and things of that kind. ... And the Carter Center has decided, under my leadership, to fill the vacuums in the world." ~ Jimmy Carter

Word of the Recession Has Not Reached Everyone Yet

KTNV News in Las Vegas, Nevada provides yet another illustration as to why just becomes something is possible, it does not necessarily follow that it's appropriate.

More than $1 million in just six months: That's what the Clark County School District has spent buying iPads, all at a time of massive budget cuts that will likely result in more than 1,800 layoffs, crowded classes, and students without enough basic supplies.

So is this technological luxury helping kids or killing budgets? You decide because you paid for it....

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Israeli Prime Minister Takes Obama to School

The Smartest Man in the Room, President Barack Obama, is not exaggerating when he says, "Like any politician at this level, I've got a healthy ego." But, as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu informed him on his latest visit to the White House, a leader needs more, much more, to be an effective instrument of foreign policy.

Here are excerpts from an Investor's Business Daily editorial:

Netanyahu, keenly aware that his nation's survival is in the balance, stated that "a peace based on illusions will crash eventually on the rocks of Middle Eastern reality." He said that "while Israel is prepared to make generous compromises for peace, it cannot go back to the 1967 lines, because these lines are indefensible."

That's because "before 1967, Israel was all of nine miles wide — half the width of the Washington Beltway. And these were not the boundaries of peace; they were the boundaries of repeated wars, because the attack on Israel was so attractive from them."

The spectacle harks back to Margaret Thatcher's public scolding over 30 years ago of another president sporting an oversized ego: Jimmy Carter....

Tornado Slams Joplin, Missouri

An exceptionally severe tornado has struck Joplin, MO, according to an AP/Yahoo news item. The death toll has risen to 116 so far, with many more injured. The one type of building this city desperately needed at a time likes this was particularly hard hit (see picture of hospital above).

Friday, May 20, 2011

Crackpot Predicts End of World, Again

FOX News ran a story about Christian radio broadcaster Harold Camping, who announced that Saturday, 21 May is Judgment Day. It is unclear as to how he could find a way around Matthew 24:36 and other scriptures, but in my case, the only possible catastrophe that could take place on that date is if my comedy act bombed at the DBSA (Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance) national conference in Houston, TX, and I am determined to prevent that from happening. Doug Ross @ Journal has a few choice words to say about this diversion from more serious matters.
UPDATE: In addition to the cartoon above, I am pleased to say that we knew the world wouldn't come to an end when our comedy night (Sat. 21 May) DID NOT BOMB! We are referring to the American English meaning: flop, failure, disaster.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

A Letter to AARP by Walt and Cyndy Miller

This letter, written in August 2009, has been widely circulated and can be found on the Miller Farms Equine Transport Web site:

Dear Mr. Rand,

Recently you sent us a letter encouraging us to renew our lapsed membership in AARP by the requested date.

I know it is not what you were looking for, but this is the most honest response I can give you. Our gap in coverage is merely a microscopic symptom of the real problem, a deepening lack of faith.

While we have proudly maintained our membership for several years and have long admired the AARP goal and principles, regrettably we can no longer endorse it’s abdication of our values. Your letter specifically stated that we can count on AARP to speak up for our rights, yet the voice we hear is not ours. Your offer of being kept up to date on important issues through DIVIDED WE FAIL, presents neither an impartial view we have come to embrace. We do believe that when 2 parties agree all the time on everything presented to them, one is probably not necessary. But, when the opinions and long term goals are diametrically opposed, the divorce is imminent. This is the philosophy which spawned our 200 years of government.

Once upon a time we looked forward to being part of the senior demographic. We also looked to AARP to provide certain benefits and give our voice a power we could not possibly hope to achieve on our own. AARP gave us a sense of belonging which we no longer enjoy.

The Socialist politics practiced by the Obama administration and empowered by AARP serves only to raise the blood pressure my medical insurance strives to contain. Clearly a conflict of interest there!

We do not understand the AARP posture, feel greatly betrayed by the guiding forces that we expected to map out our senior years and leave your ranks with a great sense of regret. We mitigate that disappointment with the relief of knowing we are not contributing to the problem any more by renewing our membership. There are other organizations which offer discounts without threatening our way of life or offending our sensibilities.

This presidential administration scares the living daylights out of us. Not just for our selves, but for our proud and bloodstained heritage. Even more importantly for our children and grandchildren.

Washington has rendered Soylent Green a prophetic cautionary tale rather than a nonfiction scare tactic. I have never in my life endorsed any militant or radical groups, but now I find myself listening to them. I don’t have to agree with them to appreciate the fear which spawned their existence. Their borderline insanity presents little more than a balance to the voice of the Socialist mindset in power.

Perhaps I became American by a great stroke of luck in some cosmic uterine lottery, but in my adulthood I CHOOSE to embrace it and nurture the freedoms it represents as well as the responsibilities it requires.

Your website generously offers the opportunity to receive all communication in Spanish. ARE YOU KIDDING???? Someone has broken into our ‘house’ invaded our home without our invitation or consent.

This president has insisted we keep the perpetrator in comfort and learn the perp language sp we can communicate our reluctant welcome to them.

I DON’T choose to welcome them.

I DON’T choose to support them.

I DON’T choose to educate them.

I DON’T choose to medicate them, pay for their food or clothing.

American home invaders get arrested. Please explain to me why foreign lawbreakers can enjoy privileges on American soil that Americans do not get? Why do some immigrants have to ‘play the game’ to be welcomed and others just have to break and enter to be welcomed?

We travel for a living. Walt hauls horses all over this great country averaging over 10,000 miles a month when he is out there. He meets more people than a politician on caffeine overdose. Of all the many good folks he enjoyed on this last 10,000 miles this trip yielded only ONE supporter of this current administration. One of us is out of touch with mainstream America. Since our poll is conducted without funding, I have more faith in it than one which is power driven.

We have decided to forward this to everyone on our mailing list, and will encourage them to do the same. With several hundred in my address book, I have every faith that the eventual exponential factor will make a credible statement to you.

I am disappointed as hell

I am scared as hell

I am MAD as hell, and I’m NOT gonna take it anymore!

Walt & Cyndy
Miller Farms Equine Transport

Has Newt Lost It?

As I prepare for a trip to Houston, TX that will take about a week and probably limit my blogging activity, you can read what Real Clear Politics has to say about ex-Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich's latest gaffe. Many conservatives have assailed him for criticizing Rep. Paul Ryan's budget plan. At least Rep. Ryan is trying to offer some concrete proposals for taming runaway spending instead of merely circling the wagons, and the best move we can make is to present a UNITED FRONT against the expected attacks.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Army Revamping the PT Test

Maintaining your body in top physical condition is a basic requirement for employment in the military, so any news about changes to physical fitness testing is bound to attract the attention of former and retired military members, as well as those on active duty. Military.com describes how the Army is using Soldiers at Ft. Benning, GA to establish standards for the new test.

The new APRT includes five events: a 60-yard shuttle run, one minute of the rower (a modified crunch), the standing long jump, one minute of push-ups and a 1.5-mile run.

Master Sgt. Robert Hoskins, chief training manager at the APFS, said the current Army Physical Fitness Test, developed in the 1980s, is outdated.

"Science has changed since then," Hoskins said. "Science has matured, and we now know that there are better ways to give a commander an indication of a Soldier's physical abilities...."

Iran Building Missile Site in Venezuela

The Washington Times relayed an article in Die Welt (in German) about suspicious construction activity on the Paraguaná Peninsula, which is on the coast of Venezuela about 75 miles from Colombia.

When completed, it will be equipped with the following missiles: Shahab 3s (1300-1500 km range), Scud-Bs (285-330 km) and Scud-Cs (300, 500 and 700 km). Because of international sanctions, Russia cannot sell the S-300PMU-1 air defense system directly to Iran, but there is no restriction on selling the system to Venezuela. It is believed that neither Venezuela or Iran have nuclear weapons yet, but are still working on that project, and Iran is trying to develop longer-range missiles (2000 km and up) to hit targets in the United States.

You Are Only as Sick as Your Secrets

CNN and many other news sources report that former California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger had a love child by a household staffer over 10 years ago, and that this was a major cause of separation from his wife, Maria Shriver.

Totally Cool Space Shuttle Endeavour Crew Poster

Monday, May 16, 2011

Another Non-News Item: Young New Yorkers Voting With Their Feet

Investor's Business Daily only confirms what we have suspected for years:

A survey finds that young New Yorkers are planning to leave the state. Meanwhile, a group agitates for a state millionaires tax. Is it possible these items are linked?

According to a Marist College poll, 36% of New Yorkers under 30 have plans to quit the state within the next five years.

More than three in five (62%) who plan to leave say they are being driven out for economic reasons.

Cost of living, an everlasting issue in much of New York, is the top problem. But taxes and scarce job opportunities were cited as the No. 2 and 3 factors. And they are knots that policymakers can unravel....

Another Way We Benefit from the Wisdom of the Founding Fathers

"In a diverse society, you will very likely be offended. Being offended is not the same as being oppressed." – Irshad Manji (Canadian Muslim woman)

The framers of the United States Constitution were wise in not naming the freedom from being offended as a basic human right - otherwise the number of cases involving what one person perceives as being offensive would overwhelm the court system and it would have no time for any other business.

Now Selwyn Duke at American Thinker has brought up an incident at the Butterfield Elementary in Orange, Massachusetts, where a teacher told an eleven-year-old boy that he may not hang his depiction of Old Glory because it might "offend" another student.

The boy, Frankie Girard, had drawn the picture in art class but then found that his teacher didn't share his patriotism. Says his father, John, "He was denied hanging the flag up. And he asked if he could just even hang it on his desk, and he was told no. He could take the picture that he drew and take it home and be proud of it there...."

EDITORIAL NOTE: Even reading the full article & reader comments doesn't answer all the questions concerning First Amendments rights, school discipline, and radical indoctrination in the public schools that can possibly be raised. That's why this story deserves the "Can-o-Worms Award."

More Evidence That Unions Are Legalized Extortion Rackets

Shortly after the union-friendly NLRB condemned Boeing for desiring to move its 787 Dreamliner production from Washington state to South Carolina (a right-to-work state), the New York Daily News ran this atrocity story about two brave telephone company employees who dared to expose corruption in the Communications Workers of America Local 1101.

Unionized phone company employees say they were beaten or threatened after they accused their labor bosses of looting their coffers through various scams.

One member of Communications Workers of America Local 1101 said that after he reported a time-sheet padding scheme, a thug beat him so badly his spine was injured.

Another says he found a dead rat in his locker, while a third said a union officer warned that suspected informants should be brought off company property and "taken care of."

The threats come to light as the U.S. Labor Department is probing charges that union bosses lined their pockets at the rank-and-file's expense.

Accusations include an unauthorized 401(k) plan union officers gave themselves funded with members' dues, along with hefty weekly allowances, lavish expense accounts and six-figure salaries, union documents show.

The feds are also looking into allegations that double-dipping union bosses illegally received pay from Verizon and the local for the same hours, sources said....

Gov. Huckabee Decides NOT to Run for President

Read all about it in Townhall.com.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Something Good Comes Out of UC-Berkeley!!!

ABC News ran a heartwarming story about how Austin Whitney, who became paralyzed during a drunken-driving accident, walked across the stage during his graduation ceremony, thanks to a high-tech exoskeleton developed by researchers at the University of California at Berkeley. By liberating himself from his wheelchair for a few minutes, he proved doubters wrong, the people who predicted that he would never walk again.

Friday, May 13, 2011

VA Hires Biggest Critic to Be Official Blogger

Source: The Retired Enlisted Association (TREA) Washington Update

VA Hires Biggest Critic to Spur Change From Within the Bureaucracy-VA Hires Biggest Critic to Spur Change From Within the Bureaucracy-The VA has hired Alex Horton, a blogger from Austin, TX, who began ranting about the VA on his war blog in 2009. He was in his fourth semester at community college, and VA was holding up money he needed for rent and schoolbooks under the new GI Bill.

He wrote on his blog, “Army of Dude” that his VA counselor “provides the same level of care you would expect from a Tijuana back alley vasectomy.” That’s not how most people go about catching a prospective employer’s attention.

Horton’s new blog is called VAntage Point. It launched last Veterans Day. It has taken on some fundamental issues: The claims backlog, VA’s paper-driven culture, the wave of mental health problems confronting returning troops, access to health care, how civilians should talk to veterans, suicide and homelessness.

The goal is not just to answer veterans’ questions faster and in real time but also to open the bureaucracy to scrutiny. Although they’ve gotten a slower start than the private sector, federal agencies are interacting with citizens on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, a big change for many used to more-controlled communication.

For more information, read the article here:


Bought and Paid For

Dan Gainor at FOX News asks the rhetorical question,"Why Don't We Hear About Soros' Ties to Over 30 Major News Organizations?"

When liberal investor George Soros gave $1.8 million to National Public Radio , it became part of the firestorm of controversy that jeopardized NPR’s federal funding. But that gift only hints at the widespread influence the controversial billionaire has on the mainstream media. Soros, who spent $27 million trying to defeat President Bush in 2004, has ties to more than 30 mainstream news outlets – including The New York Times, Washington Post, the Associated Press, NBC and ABC....

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Space Shuttle Crew Is Ready to Go, Hope Spacecraft is Ready Also

FOX News has the story of the upcoming launch, scheduled for Monday the 16th.

UPDATE: The shuttle launch took place exactly on schedule at 8:56 a.m. on the 16th, according to an MSNBC article.

Is Pakistan Being Rewarded After Harboring Osama?

MSNBC has a disturbing article about Pakistan collecting $300 million AFTER Osama bin Laden was found hiding out in Abbotabad:

Pakistan is likely to get $300 million from the United States for costs incurred in fighting militants, officials said on Thursday, at a time U.S. legislators have been questioning aid to Pakistan after Osama bin Laden was found there.

The funds are part of a so-called Coalition Support Fund (CSF), a U.S. program to reimburse countries that have incurred costs supporting counter-terrorism and counter-insurgency operations....

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

"I'm In!" Tweets Newt

Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich announced today on Twitter: "Today I am announcing my candidacy for President of the United States." USA Today has a short video on this news item. Also, Townhall.com did a feature article on him.

Rumblings of Secession in "Baja Arizona"

A Yahoo/Reuters article describes the liberal stronghold of Pima County, AZ (which includes the city of Tucson), and how a group of lawyers has been spearheading a campaign to break away from the predominantly conservative state of Arizona.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Part of the Money You Spent on That Glock Went to a Worthy Cause

Ammoland.com has run a story that's unlikely to be covered by the liberal media: GLOCK, Inc. will make a $100,000 donation to the Special Operations Warrior Foundation (SOWF) during the Special Operations Forces Industry Conference (SOFIC) held in Tampa, FL, May 17-19. GLOCK, Inc. Vice President Josh Dorsey will make the presentation to SOWF. This is just part of the $500,000/year that Glock puts up to cover the cost of scholarships to the surviving children of Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps special operations personnel killed in combat or training.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Another Case of People Overdosing on Stupid Pills

A hotair.com article reports that Rosie O'Donnell, always eager to keep her name in the limelight, is echoing the U.N. position that the late Osama bin Laden failed to receive due process. You can hear the crickets chirping when the question arises as to what kind of due process his many victims received from him.

UPDATE: Howard Nemerov on Pajamas Media describes how the Obama administration is adding to its reputation as The Most Corrupt Presidency Ever by restricting the right of law-abiding citizens to bear arms while turning a blind eye to career criminals and cartels.

Happy Birthday, Israel!

The State of Israel has just turned 63 (my own 63rd birthday falls on Sunday the 22nd, leaving you just 11 shopping days). Haaretz.com ran an article in which "Knesset speaker Reuven Rivlin kicks off 63rd Independence Day ceremony in Jerusalem; the theme of this year's ceremony is 'Looking after one another – the year of mutual care.'" The Jerusalem Post also recognized this anniversary.

Once Again, Michelle Malkin Is On Target

Her latest column, "The Fog of Fog," describes to a T the Obama administration's propensity to bungle even a world-class propaganda coup such as the elimination of Osama bin Laden.

UPDATE: Washington Times editor emeritus Wesley Pruden has found the right words to sum up the situation:

"The White House converted a picture-perfect military operation into a public-relations disaster that will be cited as what not to do and how not to do it in flackery textbooks for a hundred years. Days after the raid on Osama bin Laden's 'mansion' they still can't get the 'fact pattern,' in the language of the White House, even close to straight. Even that ubiquitous photograph of the president, the secretary of state and assorted minions bravely watching the operation in 'real time' looks now to have been a 'photo-op' taken after the fact. ... The real offense of the Washington wimpery is pushing a weakling's canard against the military, asserting that the photograph [of Osama's dead body] can't be shown because it would make Muslim terrorists cross at us. But surely the Army and the Navy can take care of themselves; soldiers, sailors and Marines aren't Campfire Girls. Can anyone imagine FDR and his generals canceling D-Day because an invasion might infuriate the Germans? Or that a Muslim terrorist will now salute an American soldier in Afghanistan and put down his rifle and grenade launcher, telling him 'we really appreciate your president's keeping that ugly photograph to himself.' Americans come from Mars, so the witticism goes, and Europeans are from Venus. But that doesn't include this president and his bungling minions. They're weepy refugees from Pluto."

Sometimes the Government Gets It Right

The Alan Thierer: Technologies of Freedom blog celebrates what he terms "the greatest of all Internet laws."

The law is an obscure provision of the Telecommunications Act of 1996: 47 U.S.C. §230, otherwise known as “Section 230” and it helped foster the abundance of informational riches that lies at our fingertips today:

• Message boards and specialized websites exist for practically every hobby or interest under the sun.

• Community forums help us connect with local schools, churches, or civic organizations.

• There are shopping sites, auction services, and online classifieds to satisfy our every desire.

• Social networking sites and messaging services allow us to keep up with friends and family or network with others.

• Finally, there exists a seemingly endless array of blogs and news sites delivering a daily deluge of information to us that has become overwhelming, but search engines help us sort through it.

There are many technological and economic reasons for this unprecedented explosion of speech and human interaction, but the primary legal reason lies with Sec. 230. If not for the immunities granted [to "interactive computer services"] by Sec. 230, online speech and commerce would have been severely stifled because of the threat of legal action....

Sunday, May 8, 2011

This Is a Prison?

The Daily Mail (U.K.) has a fascinating article about a prison on Bastoy Island in Norway which has the lowest recidivism rate in Europe.

...It is a curious place. There are no secluded holiday homes or elegant hotels with moorings for passing yachts. The 120 people who live there never visit the mainland, but then why would they?

They spend their days happily winding around the network of paths that snake through the pine forests, or swimming and fishing along the five miles of pebble beaches, or playing on the tennis courts and football pitch; and recuperating later on sunbeds and in a sauna, a cinema room, a band rehearsal room and expansive library.

Their commune has handsomely furnished bungalows with cable TV. The residents eat together in an attractively spacious canteen thoughtfully decorated with Norwegian art. The centrepiece is a striking 10ft long model of a Norwegian merchant ship....an extensive new study undertaken by researchers across all the Nordic countries reveals that the reoffending average across Europe is about 70-75 per cent. In Denmark, Sweden and Finland, the average is 30 per cent. In Norway it is 20 per cent. Thus Bastoy, at just 16 per cent, has the lowest reoffending rate in Europe.

...'Both society and the individual simply have to put aside their desire for revenge, and stop focusing on prisons as places of punishment and pain. Depriving a person of their freedom for a period of time is sufficient punishment in itself without any need whatsoever for harsh prison conditions.

'Bastoy takes the opposite approach to a conventional prison where prisoners are given no responsibility, locked up, fed and treated like animals and eventually end up behaving like animals.

'Here you are given personal responsibility and a job and asked to deal with all the challenges that entails. It is an arena in which the mind can heal, allowing prisoners to gain self-confidence, establish respect for themselves and in so doing respect for others too,' [says prison governor Arne Kvernvik Nilsen]...

With 120 inmates and 70 staff (35 of whom are guards) Bastoy is Norway's largest low-security prison but it is one of four others dotted around the country. The governor claims that it is his goal of self-sufficiency that both creates jobs for prisoners and provides them with a common purpose.

'The prison is self-sustaining and as green as possible in terms of recycling, solar panels and using horses instead of cars. It means that the inmates have plenty to do and plenty of contact with nature - the farm animals, wildlife, the fresh air and sea. We try to teach inmates that they are part of their environment and that if you harm nature or your fellow man it comes back to you.'

He adds that a significant advantage of the ecological approach is that due to low staffing levels and producing their own food and fuel, Bastoy is actually the cheapest prison to run in the whole of Norway.

'We have a price for each prison bed in this country and we are much cheaper to run than a conventional closed prison....'

EDITORIAL NOTE: Perhaps this could serve as a model for a humane psychiatric facility. We have seen how the criminalization of mental illness didn't work 250 years ago, and does nothing for the patient today. Expect spirited resistance from the prison-industrial complex, which regards the inmate population as a revenue stream and has a vested interest in growing that population by any means possible.

Knowing One's Environmental Footprint May Be Counterproductive

Here's an interesting observation from Miller-McCune:

Measuring a person’s ecological footprint or carbon footprint is a popular tool among environmentalists. Many see it as a way to educate people about the damage they inflict on the environment on an everyday basis — information that may prompt them to change their behavior.

But newly published research suggests that for many people — perhaps most — the receipt of such data may produce the opposite result.

In an experiment described in the journal Social Influence, “Only people who had invested their self-esteem in environmentalism — a strong form of commitment — reacted to negative environmental-footprint feedback by engaging in a pro-environment behavior,” writes Santa Clara University psychologist Amara Brook. “Others were less likely to engage in a pro-environmental behavior after negative feedback....”

Stop the Witch Hunt, Says Cheney

FOX News has the following story about Dick Cheney:

Former Vice President Dick Cheney said Sunday it's an "outrage" the Obama administration continues to investigate CIA agents who interrogated terror suspects, claiming they did nothing wrong and expressing concern about the precedent it sets.

Cheney weighed in on the probe after several Republicans and other ex-officials have renewed their call for the Justice Department to drop the investigation -- launched nearly two years ago by Attorney General Eric Holder -- in light of the killing of Usama bin Laden.

Though it's unclear what role so-called enhanced interrogation played in finding bin Laden, Cheney told "Fox News Sunday" the techniques probably "contributed" and suggested the circumstances make the Justice probe all the more unsettling.

"It's unfortunate," Cheney said. "These men deserve to be decorated. They don't deserve to be prosecuted...."

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Master Musician Robert Johnson Turns 100

Admired as a genius by guitarists such as Eric Clapton and Keith Richard. Robert Johnson lived only 27 years on this earth, but perfected techniques that have been widely borrowed by jazz, blues, and rock musicians everywhere. The Denver Post ran an Associated Press article about his life and career. Here's an excerpt:

Eric Clapton described the power of Johnson's music in his autobiography.

"At first the music almost repelled me, it was so intense, and this man made no attempt to sugarcoat what he was trying to say or play. It was hard-core, more than anything I had ever heard. After a few listenings, I realized that on some level, I had found the master, and that following this man's example would be my life's work."

The Rolling Stones' Keith Richard told The Associated Press in 2008 that Johnson was so deft that when he first heard the bluesman's solo guitar work, he thought two people were playing.

LaVere credits Johnson's talent not to a soul-selling crossroads deal, but to a self-imposed apprenticeship under another little-known musician, Ike Zimmerman....

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Feds Pick an Easy Target

The Washington Times has this to say:

A yearlong sting operation, including aliases, a 5 a.m. surprise inspection and surreptitious purchases from an Amish farm in Pennsylvania, culminated in the federal government announcing this week that it has gone to court to stop Rainbow Acres Farm from selling its contraband to willing customers in the Washington area.

The product in question: unpasteurized milk....

Meanwhile, who is investigating the fact that our federal government is borrowing 188 million dollars EVERY HOUR?

How One Man Reenacted Osama Bin Laden's Burial at Sea

UPDATE1: CNN reports that 61% of Americans believe Osama bin Laden has gone to hell.

UPDATE2: The FBI has issued a warning to beware of scammers and hackers trying to take advantage of public curiosity about the death of Osama bin Laden. FOX News has the story.

UPDATE3: J.R. Dunn at American Thinker explains why President Obama is unlikely to gain maximum advantage from the elimination of Osama bin Laden.

"Girls Gone Wild" Caper Hits Raw Nerve

This blog is normally friendly to police officers, but not to rogue cops who give the force a bad name. The following are two letters to the editor of the Colorado Springs Gazette:

More than angry about it

Did my eyes deceive me in reading that in 3 1/2 hours, seven detectives spent approximately $700 on drinks, tips etc. at PT’s Showclub and one detective admitted to being “wasted” and belligerent?

Seven hundred dollars of whose money? My tax dollars? This averages out to $200 per hour.

Just how many street lights would that money have lit for a year? How many pot holes filled? How many trash cans emptied?

And yet, we are consistently being asked for tax increases to fund, among other things, our police department.

This sting was a gross misuse of tax dollars and I am more than angry about it.

While I have no qualms with keeping tabs on selling liquor to under aged persons or the visibly intoxicated, I do have an issue with how this sting was handled.

When I reported an attempted theft, officers could not be sent to file a report, due to budget cuts.

To all of you elected officials, remember this: The taxpayers are not going to approve tax increases when this is how our hard earned dollars are spent.

Judith Nelson

Colorado Springs

Severe distortion of priorities

I am a foreman for a large landscaping company. A little less than two years ago I was working on the University Village Shopping Center project on North Nevada Ave. in Colorado Springs. Upon arriving at work one morning, my crew discovered that our storage container had been broken into and a Jumping Jack compactor had been stolen. This is not a cheap piece of machinery. I called the Colorado Springs Police Department to report the theft. The officer I talked to would not even come out to the site, instead taking a short report over the phone, citing the extreme workload that the department was under. He did, however have time to spend 30 minutes basically giving me a lecture, (fundraising campaign speech), on why it is so important for citizens to vote for tax increases. Ironically, I live in unincorporated El Paso County, so I cannot vote for city issues.

Around the same time my wife and I went to a “community meeting” for the Security/Widefield area which was being conducted by the El Paso county Sheriff’s Department. Much to our dismay this was also nothing but a lecture on how the Sheriff’s Department is grossly under-funded, and therefore understaffed.

If memory serves me correctly this was also around the same time frame that “Girls Gone Wild” was in the Springs, and the Police Department felt the need to “investigate.” What they found, (surprise!), was willing women were flashing their breasts to men who eagerly and willingly wanted to see them.

Now a story comes out that Springs Police spent $700 recently at P.T’s Showclub trying to get to the bottom of serious offenses there. One officer deliberately got visibly drunk and acted obnoxious to ascertain that he would continue to be served. I must admit, I respect the integrity and dedication of this officer who was willing to subject himself to a night of drinking and watching naked women dance, solely for the sake of “protecting and serving” the community. Basically what they found was that people get drunk at a bar, and the dancers are not prostitutes.

Is it just me, or does it seem like there is a severe distortion of priorities evidenced here?

James West


Tuesday, May 3, 2011

You Knew This Was Going to Happen

The Hot Air blog has this article:

Media rush to measure Obama’s “Osama bounce”

posted at 8:15 pm on May 3, 2011 by Karl

Crass, but inevitable. In the wake of the killing of Osama bin Laden, media and pollsters rushed into the field to insta-poll public reaction. Taken together, Pres. Obama is seeing a significant boost in numbers on handling terrorism and the situation in Afghanistan. However, the overall “Osama bounce” for his general job approval numbers looks below average so far....

The article goes on to mention how President George H.W. Bush enjoyed a bounce when the coalition he put together drove Saddam Hussein's Iraqi army out of Kuwait, but that it was not sufficient for him to win re-election in 1992.

The Problems of American Education Cannot Be Solved by Throwing More Money at Schools

In a NetRightDaily article, "Are You Getting Your Money’s Worth Out of Public Education?" Rebekah Rast writes:

If you find an investment no longer meets your needs, you quit investing in it and find a worthy substitution.

That is exactly what is happening within the public school system. Taxpayers are becoming increasingly dissatisfied with their return on their public school education investment, so they are finding other solutions.

A recent Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey found that 72 percent of taxpayers say they are not getting their money’s worth from public schools. How much money are they referring to? Well, the nation as a whole spends about $9,000 per student on the public education system. Of course that number varies state by state.

But what’s more interesting from the poll is that only one in three voters thought that sending more money towards the education system would aid student performance....

Raid on Bin Laden's Compound Yields Mother Lode of Intelligence

Politico reports that the Navy SEALs who cornered and killed Osama bin Laden took with them computer hard drives, papers, and CDs/DVDs with information of intelligence value that a leader who planned terrorist attacks throughout the world would be expected to have. All this information may take months, even years, to exploit.

...The material is being examined at a secret location in Afghanistan.

“Hundreds of people are going through it now,” an official said, adding that intelligence operatives back in Washington are very excited to find out what they have.

“It’s going to be great even if only 10 percent of it is actionable,” the official said.

Monday, May 2, 2011

"Teacher Who Vowed Not to Shave Until bin Laden Was Caught or Killed Finally Shaves"

A teacher who vowed nearly 10 years ago not to cut his beard until Osama bin Laden was captured or proven dead said he cried Sunday night upon hearing of the terrorist's death.

"I spent my first five minutes crying and then I couldn't get it off fast enough," said Gary Weddle, 50, who lives in East Wenatchee but teaches middle school science in Ephrata.

Weddle has wanted to cut his beard for years. His wife, Donita, has wanted him to cut it, too. But for Weddle a vow is a vow and so he hadn't even trimmed it until Sunday night....

Source: The Daily Astorian, 2 May 2011

Making Good Money as a Prison Guard

FOX News has taken up a Wall Street Journal article about how being a prison guard (they used the example of California) beats going to Harvard. The state PAYS you for attending their training academy, and many a veteran can realize a six-figure annual income and look forward to generous retirement terms. The downside of this occupation is the stress caused by seeing humanity at its worst, and the constant need to be vigilant and maintain control over your inmates.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Breaking News: Osama bin Laden Killed!

CBS News reports that al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden has been killed, and his body is now in U.S. hands. President Obama announced that he would make a statement tonight, but few other details are available at this time. Now to play "Ding-Dong, the [Wicked] Witch Is Dead!" from "The Wizard of Oz."

UPDATE1: Here's the transcript of President Obama's speech on Sunday night.

UPDATE2: FOX News offers more details surrounding Osama's last stand.

UPDATE3: Time to revise a joke that's made the rounds before:

Osama bin Laden and the 72 Virgins

After getting killed at his mansion in Pakistan, Osama made his way to the pearly gates. There, George Washington greets him: "How dare you attack the nation I helped conceive!" yells Gen. Washington, slapping Osama in the face.

Patrick Henry comes up from behind. "You wanted to end the Americans' liberty, so they gave you death!" Henry punches Osama on the nose.

James Madison comes up next, and says, "This is why I allowed the Federal government to provide for the common defense!" He drops a large weight on Osama's knee.

Osama is subject to similar beatings from John Randolph of Roanoke, James Monroe, and 66 other people who have the same love for liberty and America.

As he writhes on the ground, Thomas Jefferson picks him up to hurl him back toward the gate where he is to be judged.

As Osama awaits his journey to his final very hot destination, he screams, "This is not what I was promised!"

An angel replies, "I told you there would be 72 VIRGINIANS waiting for you, Dumbass! What did you think I said?"

A Truly Remarkable Feat: Finding a Black Box to Air France Flight 447

France 24 reports that the flight data recorder to the ill-fated Rio de Janeiro-Paris flight that went down in June 2009 has been located. This is one of the results of a long, costly, and difficult search that succeeded in locating what was left of the plane.