Thursday, December 30, 2010

The Intellectual Midgets just can't give it a rest

Sad little men and their perverted need for a boogeyman. And to think, they call other people anti-American....

A Cleveland Community Hero of 2010

On Nov. 7, 2009, four people were killed in a fire at a boarding house on West 32nd Street. Neighbors credited Ray Vivier with alerting his fellow tenants, enabling five to escape, before he fell victim to the blaze and later died. Investigators determined the fire was caused by arson and three Cleveland men were subsequently charged and convicted in connection with it.
Haraz Ghanbari heard about Vivier's death from Ernie Fesco, Ghanbari's best friend from their days at Kent State University. Fesco and his wife, Jody, had befriended Vivier while volunteering at a local soup kitchen, and invited him to their wedding. 

Ghanbari, 29, briefly met Vivier at the wedding and discovered that the 61-year-old had been a Marine. "We kind of hit it off," recalled Ghanbari, formerly of Bay Village. 

Ghanbari, a former sergeant in the Ohio Army National Guard and currently a Navy Reserve ensign, decided he wasn't going to let that happen. 

"I just felt it was important to honor Ray, number one for his service to our country, and his heroic act of going back into a burning house to try to save his friends," Ghanbari recently said. "I lost a lot of sleep thinking there has got to be something I could do for this guy." 

So he did. 

For the next two months Ghanbari tracked down members of Vivier's family living in other states, obtained the man's military service records, got the family's permission for cremation and arranged the details, set up a funeral and burial with full military honors for Vivier at Arlington National Cemetery, asked Cleveland police to keep the family posted about the arson investigation, was able to get a last-minute flight for one of Vivier's five children in Arizona so he could attend the funeral and finally . . . 

On Jan. 22, formally presented Vivier's memorial U.S. flag to his daughter during ceremonies at Arlington in what he would later describe as "one of the most exhausting, emotional and rewarding days of my life." 

Spinning Wheels and Tilting Windmills

I've been contributing to some other venues on this topic, so I thought I would add some paraphrased thoughts from that, here as well.

The WE [ISAF] are HERE [Afghanistan] and THEY [Al Qaeda] are THERE [not Afghanistan] aspect is absolutely essential in this conflict. If we are not allowed to pervasively enter Pakistan to engage Al Qaeda where they reside [at least in that region], then we are spinning our wheels in Afghanistan. Kinetically engaging transnational terror groups is akin to whack-a-mole as it is...if we consistently fail to even try to whack, then the entire process is an exercise in futility.

I desire as much if not more than the average person to engage and avenge Al Qaeda for the acts of 9/11. But reality has to trump vague idealism. We have to acknowledge that our actions both kinetic and non-kinetic, have distinct probabilities of creating more supporters of the Afghan insurgency, if not insurgents themselves. We have to realistically weigh the tangible threat posed by the various Taliban-esque [Quetta, Haqqani, HiG] groups with the desire to eliminate the entity that attacked us, meaning Al Qaeda. The media and two Administrations have diluted the discourse down to the point where the average American believes we're really taking it to the terrorists, when in fact we are mired fighting a sub-regional Islamic coalition that by and large merely wants their country back. Now, those Taliban elements are an anathema to our culture, but it appears to be a foregone conclusion by this point that we will be forced to either simply negotiate with them for a cessation of hostilities, or welcome them into a coalition government in Kabul. The ideological premise of merely withdrawing "without finishing the job" or some other such bumper sticker phrase, pales in comparison to again aligning with the people who were trying to kill you the previous day. [I say again, as we instituted the same paradigm in Iraq with the 1920 Brigade and other Sunni militia's].

Al Qaeda members have been targeted within the confines of Afghanistan over the last few years, but the number and scale of individual conflicts pales with those involving Taliban forces. Additionally, more Al Qaeda operatives have been engaged within Pakistan using cross-border deniable operations. But the number of AQ who have realistically been captured or [mostly] killed are not in any form of math, equal to the effort, resources and most importantly, lives that have been lost occupying Afghanistan. It's no stretch to state that the occupation, nor many of the tenets of a successful COIN campaign are not going so well.....after 10 years.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

What causes Homosexuality?

Part of a rather lengthy discussion I'm having regarding the repeal of DADT over at Lightfighter has shifted to the cause of Homosexuality...specifically is one born that way, or is it s a choice?

A far more learned member than myself stated:
Ask a closeted gay teenager if they're terrified of coming out of the closet at high school, and if their decision to find the same sex attractive is a conscious decision.

2. Look at an assortment of gay females and sometimes you can see a definite difference in physical appearance, bone structure, and body type from their peers.

As a straight scientist, I firmly believe that there is a genetic biological component to homosexuality and we just haven't mapped it out yet.
My layman's corollary to that:
Homosexuality is far more than the sexual act. Just as is heterosexuality. It is the chemical/emotional attraction to the specific gender.

The very definition of choice implies that one could feasibly go in either direction. In other words, those here who state unequivocally that it is a choice, must then posit [to be logically consistent] that they at a certain age decided that they would be more attracted to women than men. Being a choice, they can then decide to be chemically and emotionally attracted to men at any other time in their life.

I don't know about anyone else, but I've always been emotionally and physically attracted to women. There was never a choice in the matter for me.
What do you think...and why?

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Not all who inspire are in the spotlight........Go Ducks!

A highly recruited player who spurned Utah and Boise State for Oregon, Costa epitomized a team leader: admired for his achievements, an inspiration for his hard work, embraced by a community he helped cultivate.

Five years later, with the Ducks football team riding into the BCS Championship game against Auburn on Jan.10, Costa has become a tragic figure. Not one, not two, but three knee injuries have conspired to nearly erase his college career -- one striking just a month ago, with Oregon heading for its first 12-0 season.

But something remarkable happened as Costa absorbed blow after blow. He kept attending practices and meetings. He lifted and rehabbed. He mentored younger teammates.

As Costa endured one of the most star-crossed careers in program history, others admired his achievement, found inspiration in his hard work and embraced his community spirit. The ripples of his courage are still spreading. 

And before the Ducks' Nov. 26 game against Arizona, as Oregon prepared to honor its senior players, Costa stood with crutches next to his parents in the tunnel of Autzen Stadium.

Costa's name was announced and the three strode into a crush of cheers and hugs from coach Chip Kelly and Gary Campbell, the assistant who recruited Costa. Former Oregon star Joey Harrington, tears in his eyes, embraced Costa as fans roared. Shawn was awestruck by the joyous noise for the onetime high school star who had started one college game.

"I knew that they loved him and that they supported him, but I had no idea to that extent," she said. "It was beautiful."

Costa's story is not a tragedy after all. It is a triumph. His goal was to contribute to the football program and help the team win, and he has. He has come to see overcoming misfortune as his fate, something not measurable on a stat sheet but just as meaningful and enduring.

"Just the other day, I was walking to Albertson's and wasn't even in the door yet when this woman pulls up in her car and says, 'Hey, you're Nate,'" Costa recalled. "I was like, 'Yeah.' And she told me about how I'm such an inspiration to her son, Thank you for being such a good role model.

"And that's the stuff that... all this stuff that I went through, all the injuries, every weight that I've lifted, every lap that I've run, it's all worth it." 
Read the rest

Monday, December 27, 2010

Interesting stuff....

Just looking through the family tree that my Uncle Bob and Cousin Mike have been diligently updating, and realized that my Great-Grandfather had lived in Deadwood for 5 years.....yes...that Deadwood!

Friday, December 24, 2010

A great column by "Hooligan Libertarian"

As a libertarian, I’m accustomed to being misunderstood. It goes with the territory. So many times commenters think they are being clever and have caught an error in libertarianism, only to reveal they didn’t read or hear what was being said.

Case in point: a while ago, in a comment posted to an article in the Clovis News Journal about the election day failure of the bond issues for the local punishment industry, I observed that the justice system would be much cheaper and better if counterfeit laws were not being enforced. Those are the “laws” that have no specific, individual victims; are expressions of self-ownership; or are consensual acts between responsible individuals that are no one’s business except those involved.

Drug use, gun possession, most traffic laws, prostitution and things of this nature should never have been made into things the state seeks to regulate, prohibit or control. Things that are actually wrong, such as theft or fraud, rape, kidnapping, assault and murder would still be subject to punishment or, better yet, restitution.
No one has a right to control your private life unless you violate the identical rights of others by infringing on their life or property.

However, if your drug use, your religious beliefs, your job or anything else is used as an excuse for committing harmful acts such as theft or assault, you are liable for the harm you caused and your rationale is meaningless. Wrong is wrong.

One reply to my comment sarcastically stated something to the effect that of course the crime rate would go down if assault and robbery were made legal. That the commenter completely missed my entire point was obvious. This is a source of frustration, not those people who read and understand, yet disagree. They may be wrong, in my opinion, but their wrongness is at least based upon their principles and value system, which I think are flawed and inconsistent.

The intellectual irrelevance and damaging effect of political parties

Academically, I don't believe parties to be necessary whatsoever. But I realize that it's easier; it's lazy and it's ultimately become the American way to rely not on the specific positions of a candidate or your own views as a voter, but on the party you support. Politics has increasingly morphed into less about ideas and more about ideological warfare. Politicians and voters alike with the frequency of drawing breath, will undermine and intellectually circumvent their own solid position on an issue, merely to prevent the other party from reaping a reward. We see the damage done across the spectrum in the media and the punditocracy; whatever the issue, one resorts to using a political or ideological label as a pejorative and/or invective.

The two major parties spend more time, money and effort on gaining or maintaining power in Washington [or their respective state capitols] than they exert moving the nation forward.They uniformly exert that effort on entities other than the American citizen in pursuit of that political power. In short, political parties are far more damaging to the sense of the Republic than they are beneficial. I understand how they emerged and why they are the overwhelming force in politics......people are by and large lazy and intellectually un-evolved. The draw of group think/herd mentality, the desire to belong to something larger than oneself and the need to have a 'them' intrudes on all facets of life where there is conflict. It's too difficult and time consuming for most Americans to research a pool of candidates and decide which is the best to represent their views. It's far easier to look at the label. Of course, the way the system has been organized, most voters realistically have only the choice between candidate R and candidate D, so they become even further intellectually bankrupt.

Is there a solution? Perhaps. At the very least, reform the electoral system and the media landscape to allow participation of more political parties. This may appear to be contradictory to some, but the infusion of idea's beyond what Party R and Party D espouse will at the minimum expose choices to the voter and dilution of the party hegemony. Parties won't go away, they've become part of human nature, but the damaging effect can be mitigated somewhat.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Holiday tips for the Zombie Apocalypse

posted over at Blackfive

Phrase of the Day

From my not-so-recent past, when I fell out of semi-mechanically sound airplanes.

LGOP: Little Group of Paratroopers.

A small group of "peeved-off American paratroopers" who are well trained, armed to the teeth, and lack serious supervision. They collectively remember the commander's intent as, "March to the sound of guns, and kill anyone who isn't dressed like you ..."

My assessment on Afghanistan recieves some serious agreement

I've long said that any success in Afghanistan hinged on the relationship between India and Pakistan [no seriously....look through the archives!] Not that I believe we should be expending blood and treasure fighting the Taliban. I'm an odd sort of patriot in that I think we should be taking the fight and faceshooting the people who actually attacked us, and are a threat to our national security.

Fred Kaplan comments on the recent White House report on the 'progress' in Afghanistan:
The Obama administration's long-awaited review of its Afghanistan war strategy—or at least the unclassified five-page summary of it released Thursday—is a bleaker document than it may seem at first glance.

On the one hand, it contains much talk of "significant progress" and "notable" gains in U.S. and NATO military operations. On the other hand, there's at least as much mention of the remaining "challenges" and the fact that even the gains are "fragile and reversible."

However, the fact remains, at least for the moment, that the Pakistani political and military leaders are not likely to change much more on this front, for the simple reason that they view India—not the Taliban—as the main threat to their existence.

This has two implications for the war in Afghanistan. First, the Pakistani army will insist on keeping the bulk of its troops on the eastern border with India at the expense of dealing with the Taliban safe havens on the western border with Afghanistan.

Second, the Pakistanis want—in their eyes, they need—to maintain influence inside Afghanistan, as a way to counter India's quite active attempt to gain influence inside Afghanistan (which India is pursuing mainly as a way to encircle Pakistan). And the way that Pakistan maintains this influence is through certain factions of the Taliban.

Earlier this year, Dexter Filkins reported in the New York Times that Pakistan had arrested more than 20 Taliban leaders who were in the process of negotiating peace deals with the Afghan government because they were doing so without involving Pakistan.

In short, U.S. officials may have lectured Pakistanis about the links between the Afghan Taliban and the al-Qaida militants who threaten Pakistan's government. But the Pakistanis see the two as distinct—and, in fact, regard some of the Afghan-based Taliban as their allies or even agents.

Thank Gawd we have Fox News!

If you're a Republican........

"Fair and Balanced" my ass. The best propaganda outlet political money can buy.

h/t Joe.My.God

John McCain supports Veterans........

In 2008, a young sergeant named Coleman S. Bean took his life. After completing his first tour of duty in Iraq, he had come home and been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Nevertheless, he was deployed to Iraq a second time. Bean had sought treatment for PTSD but as a member of the Individual Ready Reserve (IRR), he found fewer resources available to him than to veterans and active-duty members.
In April, Rep. Rush Holt (D-N.J.) introduced legislation named after the late soldier meant to provide more resources for suicide prevention to Reserve members. The House in May incorporated it into the National Defense Authorization Act for 2011, but it was stripped from the final version, and Holt is pointing the finger at the lead Republican negotiator on the Senate legislation, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.).

"Twice now, the Senate has stripped this legislation from our defense bill," Holt told The Huffington Post Tuesday. "It's hard to understand why. I know for a fact, because he told me, that Sen. McCain doesn't support it. Whether he's the only one, I don't know. But there was no effort to try to improve the language or negotiate changes; it was just rejected, and I think that is not only bad policy, but it's cruel. It's cruel to the families that are struggling with catastrophic mental health problems."

"He [McCain] said having these counselors check in with the Reservists every few months this way overreaching," continued Holt, relaying a phone conversation he had had with the senator. "I asked him in what sense it was overreaching. Surely he didn't think there wasn't a problem, did he? I must say I don't understand it."

Dissent is Criminal?

The FBI on Tuesday added four more names to the list of antiwar activists subpoenaed to testify before a grand jury as part of an investigation into whether members of the peace movement provided "material support" for terrorism. 

In all, 23 people have been subpoenaed since September 24, when the FBI raided the offices and homes of prominent activists in Chicago and Minneapolis. None has been charged with a crime. Several have also refused to testify in what they say is a witch hunt aimed more at intimidating those who dare speak out against U.S. foreign policy than uncovering actual ties to terrorists. And they're probably right.
Thanks to a Supreme Court ruling this past June, the definition of "material support" for terrorism is now so broad as to include any sort of "advice" to a State Department-designated terrorist group, even if that advice is "stop engaging in terrorism and embrace nonviolence." Former President Jimmy Carter and groups such as the ACLU and Human Rights Watch have spoken out against the ruling.

Because the definition is so broad, though, it provides the perfect legal basis for the government to go after those opposed to its policies abroad. And as the Bush administration ably demonstrated, there are plenty of people in government who would be all too happy to equate opposition to the U.S. wars in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Yemen - just to name a few - as de facto support for terrorism.


Looks like some prominent Republicans just violated the SCOTUS ruling:

A group of prominent U.S. Republicans associated with homeland security told a forum of cheering Iranian exiles here Wednesday that President Obama's policy toward Iran amounts to futile appeasement that will never persuade Tehran to abandon its nuclear projects. 

The Americans - former New York mayor Rudolph Giuliani, former secretary of homeland security Tom Ridge, former White House homeland security adviser Frances Fragos Townsend and former attorney general Michael Mukasey - demanded that Obama instead take the controversial Mujaheddin-e Khalq (MEK) opposition group off the U.S. list of foreign terrorist organizations and incorporate it into efforts to overturn the mullah-led government in Tehran.


In a case that weighed free speech against national security, the court voted 6 to 3 to uphold a federal law banning “material support” to foreign terrorist organizations. That ban holds, the court said, even when the offerings are not money or weapons but things such as “expert advice or assistance” or “training” intended to instruct in international law or appeals to the United Nations.

BBC skit on 'Electronic Fruit'!

Very appropriate today given that my Blackberry likes to freeze up.

Final thoughts on DADT

....well probably not...but this sums up what opponents have never focused on, to their shame.

Military members can have their immediate family visit them at Walter Reed and Bethesda after being maimed in theater; military members can have the support of their spouse, and bring them to unit functions and Family Readiness Group meeting; military members can openly date in attempts to find the person they want to spend the rest of their life with in a committed, loving relationship.

Only if they're straight.

Real patriots don't deny these rights and privileges to their fellow American citizens based on the chemical attraction between consenting adults. Real patriots sack up and act like men and women.....instead of children.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Because everybody's supposed to be a Christian......right? Part II

Wow....."Don't like religion in the workplace....convert to Catholicism!" Very Christian of Bill Donohue.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Philanthropy for Vets with TBI

Bobby McKinney, 29, watches his favorite horse Bandit, right, run at the Chastain Horse Park in Atlanta. Members of the Project Share Program visit the park weekly to ride and groom horses, or just hang out. Bobby has been medically retired from the Marines with TBI, PTSD, PCSD and back problems after suffering multiple concussions while serving in Iraq. (John W. Poole/NPR/Redux)
To see what cognitive therapy looked like, ProPublica and NPR spent several days with McKinney and fellow soldiers and veterans at Project Share, a charity to help brain-damaged soldiers. The program is based out of the Shepherd Center for Brain and Spinal Cord Injury in Atlanta, a nationally recognized hospital for head injuries. 

Former Home Depot magnate and philanthropist Bernie Marcus founded Project Share in January 2008 to fill the gaps left by Tricare and military and veterans hospitals, which often lack the expertise and staffing to provide a full-scale program of cognitive rehabilitation therapy. 

Cognitive rehabilitation is "very time consuming. It's not an easy deal," said Marcus. "Isn't this worthwhile? Isn't this something we should all be concerned about? Whatever it takes is what we should give them."

Fareed Zakaria bitchslaps Glenn Beck

You've come a lomg way Oregon.....

Of the 26 teams to play in the Bowl Championship Series title game since the contest began in 1998, most are classic college football behemoths.

All but two -- Virginia Tech and Oregon -- had won a previous national title.

Almost all built their teams with a majority of in-state players; the Oregon Ducks have just 26 from Oregon and one in the starting lineup.

All but Oregon have stadiums that hold at least 66,000 fans -- some more than 100,000.

In short, Oregon is the outlier in the landscape of college football contenders.

And yet here are the Ducks, preparing to play Auburn on Jan. 10. Using ingenuity, continuity and a huge cash infusion from Nike co-founder Phil Knight, Oregon has shown what it takes for those without a championship history, massive fan base or large pool of local talent to reach the title game.

Superior players and coaching are givens when it comes to crafting a national championship season. But outside factors can weigh heavily in building a program capable of reaching the title game. They don't automatically make a contender, but it's much rarer to contend without them. 

What's wrong with this picture?

Already covered well by my friends on Lightfghter.....can you spot the logical disparity in this picture?

Showing her Georgia Power bills in the one warm room of her home, Raymeica Kelly explains how her mother, sister and herself were turned away from the Energy Assistance Program on Wednesday morning after standing in line for four hours. All three complained that the system the Macon-Bibb County Economic Opportunity Council uses to give out the assistance needs improving.

Read more:
I'll help you out.......

Sunday, December 19, 2010

DADT and the fallacies that surround it

Bottom line up front, I know that there will likely be some growing pains and serious incidents involving the repeal of DADT and the ability for gays to serve openly in our military. But unless the faith in this nation is waning, and we're not really that exceptional after all....we can look to other western, industrialized nations who have gone through this and survived quite well. It is the right thing to do.

Anyone who professes a belief in the sovereignty of the individual has to support equal rights for homosexuals or they are a hypocrite. The conservative value of supremacy of the individual over that of the collective cannot be subject only to a protected class, or we're not talking about a Republic anymore. If a basis of discrimination is founded on a biblical belief, fine. The deep personal relationship between you and whatever you think created you is just that. It's not a basis for governing over your fellow citizens unless it also has secular value. Discrimination in this case does not meet that test. Feel like quoting Leviticus? I'll come right back at you with a bushel full of other excerpts from the bible that haven't found their way into law for some very evident reasons. So if you profess your faith in a 2000 yr old tome, as the word of god....don't be picking and choosing only those tenets that you want to live with.

Whenever a debate is had between myself [or other supports of individual rights] and fierce opponents of gay marriage, DADT, gays in general, etc...the opposition argument always centers on the sexual act. They do this in an attempt to elicit an emotional response towards the conditioning that we've all grown up laboring under. The meme is that two guys together sexually is...icky. Well the mental image doesn't exactly get my motor running, but I note my own hypocrisy where it pertains to two women in a similar situation. And by looking at sales of pornography....I'm hardly alone.

The debate from the oppositions side never addresses the fact that gay men and women are chemically and biologically attracted to another consenting adult It merely happens to be of the same sex. The idea of dating to find the right person to spend the rest of your life with in a committed relationship seems to be lost on these opponents. Admittedly, many spectacles of Pride Parades and such haven't helped their image, but these are a minority, no matter how often the Allegedly Liberal Media replays them.

In the military specifically, DADT ran counter to the core values that the military espouses. The focus of repeal is centered on hypotheses of increased casualties, plummeting morale and incidents of violence. What is almost never inserted is the fact that all of the above would be instigated by straight soldiers. So opponents would have you believe that the military would suffer [even herald the end of our nation if you listen to some prominent religious homophobes], but the fact that the immaturity, bigotry and sedition of straight soldiers at the core of all of these hypotheses are conveniently left out. Sort of like the battered women syndrome....sure I beat her...but she was asking for it, she didn't know her place.

I debate this quite often on a few MIL/LEO discussion forums, and though there are few voices of reason, the general meme is what I laid out above. Few are armed with logic or reason, but emotion abounds.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

DADT is finally repealed.......And the Bigots speak.......

"The armies of other nations have allowed gays to serve openly in the military. The reason they could afford to do this is simple: they could allow homosexuals to serve in their military because we didn’t allow them to serve in ours. They knew they could count on the strength, might, power, and cohesion of the U.S. military to intervene whenever and wherever necessary to pull their fannies out of the fire and squash the forces of tyranny wherever they raised their ugly heads around the world.

"Those days are now gone. We will no longer be able to bail out these other emasculated armies because ours will now be feminized and neutered beyond repair, and there is no one left to bail us out. We have been permanently weakened as a military and as a nation by these misguided and treasonous Republican senators, and the world is now a more dangerous place for us all." - American Family Association hate group radio host Byran Fischer.

"Today is a tragic day for our armed forces. The American military exists for only one purpose - to fight and win wars. Yet it has now been hijacked and turned into a tool for imposing on the country a radical social agenda. This may advance the cause of reshaping social attitudes regarding human sexuality, but it will only do harm to the military's ability to fulfill its mission.

"It is shameful that the Democratic leadership, aided by Republican Senators, has forced through such a radical change in a lame-duck session of Congress. The 1993 law which is to be repealed was adopted only after months of debate and at least a dozen Congressional hearings. The repeal has been forced through only eighteen days after the Pentagon released a massive report, which raised more questions than it answered on the impact the overturning of this policy will have on our nation's military." - Family Research Council head douchenozzle Tony Perkins, riding in the DADT waambulance.

Because everybody's supposed to be a Christian......right?

I'll be here waiting for anyone to explain to me how a lack of proselytizing affects ones deep, personal relationship with what they believe to be their creator. Seriously....are there merit badges for fighting for prayer in public school, nativity scenes on public grounds or a store chain saying Merry Christmas instead of Happy Holidays?

Except for prayer in school, I really don't give a dam about the rest, I merely find it odd that some people feel persecuted when their majority religion isn't held up as the patriotic path in life for all Americans. At least they always have the Baby Jesus Fan Club in Fox & Clowns Friends:

Friday, December 17, 2010

Hope and Change......or still Hoping for Change?

 In a series of debates on Lawfare, Jack Goldsmith engages The New Republic's David Cole. My recommended reading for the week.

In late January 2009, the conventional wisdom was that Barack Obama had, as Dana Priest put it, “effectively declared an end to the ‘war on terror’ as President George W. Bush had defined it.”  Very few at the time could have imagined that Obama would go on to commit himself to the war (as opposed to crime) framework; continue military detention without trial; continue military commissions; embrace the Bush administration conception of the state secrets doctrine, even in the very cases Bush asserted it; oppose the extension of habeas corpus beyond GTMO; dramatically expand targeted killing outside Iraq and Afghanistan, and include a U.S. citizen target; reaffirm the Bush administration legal standard on rendition; continue the same surveillance practices as Bush; oppose efforts to expand presidential notification duties to the intelligence committees; continue signing statements with Article II power carve-outs; and other Bush-mimicking practices.
Professor Goldsmith served as Assistant Attorney General, Office of Legal Counsel from 2003-2004, and Special Counsel to the Department of Defense from 2002-2003.

An Educated look at school Medication

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Silly Marines....Core values are for everybody!

"When your life hangs on the line," said Gen. James F. Amos, the commandant of the Marine Corps, "you don't want anything distracting. . . . Mistakes and inattention or distractions cost Marines' lives."
USMC Commandant Gen. James F. Amos on repealing DADT.

The Washington Post's Jonathan Capehart takes it to the good General:

Look, I know the Marines consider themselves the bad-ass branch of the armed forces. But the obsession of Gen. James F. Amos, commandant of the Marine Corps, with the presumed negative impacts of allowing gay men and lesbians to serve openly in the military is getting out of hand. The Post's Craig Whitlock reports that Amos suggested that dropping don't ask don't tell could result in more casualties because their presence on the battlefield would pose "a distraction."

To listen to Amos, you'd think letting gay men and lesbians serve openly would turn his barracks into the set for the third season of RuPaul's Drag Race. Ridiculous, right? Marines who can't handle serving alongside someone who was closeted on Monday and then comes out on Tuesday are the one Amos should be worried about. They are the ones who will lack discipline. They are the ones who will wreck unit cohesion. They are the ones who will harm morale.

OMG! The End of America!!!!!!

To my friend who said that history would judge us poorly, I would submit if you would look thoroughly at history -- and I'm not saying it's cause and effect -- but when militaries throughout history of the greatest nations in the world have adopted the policy that "fine for homosexuality to be overt" -- you can keep it private and control your hormones fine, if you can't, that's fine too -- they're toward the end of their existence as a great nation.
Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas)

Damn Louie.....hyperventilate much? Notice how he didn't provide any substantiation for his little tirade....

In related news:

The Senate has at least 62 votes to repeal the military's Don't Ask, Don't Tell policy, Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) said Thursday morning. "I have to give Joe Lieberman credit. We were told, Steny Hoyer was told by the Senate leadership, and particularly by Senator Lieberman -- Senator Collins and I will give her credit too, she has been good on this from our standpoint -- that if we passed it as a separate bill that would help," Frank said on the Sirius XM Satellite Radio show "POTUS." "There are at least 62 senators -- more than the 60 that is needed under that outrageous filibuster rule, but at least we have even met that -- who are committed to repealing 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell.' It was tied up with other things and they said they couldn't do it until they got a tax bill worked out, until they got the spending bill. All the obstacles that people have said existed to a straight up-or-down vote have now been met. And unless there are some liars in the Senate, we are going to get this done."

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Apperently, the halls of Congress are a battleground in the invented/fake/alleged 'war on Christmas'

“I hate to report all this to you,” Mr. Reid told reporters at a news conference at the Capitol, “but you know, there’s still Congress after Christmas. So if the Republicans think that they can stall and stall and stall that we take a break, we’re through, we’re not through. Congress ends on January 4th. So we’re going to continue working on this stuff until we get it done, or we have up-and-down votes and find that it can’t happen that way.”
True statement......we're paying their salary to work, not to sit on their asses and drink eggnog for twleve days of Christmas. But wait....

Mr. Kyl added, “ It is impossible to do all of the things that the majority leader laid out without doing — frankly, without disrespecting the institution and without disrespecting one of the two holiest of holidays for Christians and the families of all of the Senate, not just the senators themselves but all of the staff.” 
Is your holiday [which is a made up date based on Pagan solstice rituals anyway] on the 25th or not? That's the only day I get off from work.....

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Next Stop......


Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Leadership and how to honor it.

The pair, along with filmmaker Tim Gray and baseball great Curt Schilling, are trying to raise enough money to build a statue of their commanding officer, Major Dick Winters, at Utah Beach in Normandy. It was there that E Company, under Winters’ leadership, parachuted behind German lines and captured four big German guns above the beach, saving many lives.

The statue of Winters will be a tribute to leadership on D-Day.

Winters pulled off the attack with only about a dozen men, famously calling “Follow me!” as he led the assault. Winters, who lives now on a farm in Lebanon County, Pennsylvania, is in failing health.

“That attack was so good, it was, it’s taught today at West Point,” says Guarnere. Winters “deserves it [the statue]. I think he deserves something before he dies. I don’t think he’ll be here next year, I doubt it.”

If you’d like to donate to the statue project and accompanying documentary about Winters, you can go to this website:


I hear a lot of venting on how we should have/could have stopped this [here and in many other places]...but the question that still remains how?

Rep. King (R-NY) wants to label Wikileaks a Foreign Terrorist Organization. That sounds great at first glance, except an actual link with terrorism has to have been established for that to transpire.

An option might be to invoke the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA). This requires the President to declare a national emergency with respect to a foreign threat, and Treasury can take it from there.

FISA could come into play, but this is usually reserved for state entities, with exceptions for terrorism.

Wikileaks is a non-state foreign group not engaged in terrorism, so the legal recourse is murky. And as much as we have to maintain some level of secrecy, transparency is paramount for a democracy, so this event brings up an interesting academic discussion that otherwise wouldn't have taken place.

Friday, November 26, 2010

PAC-10 Champions!!!

I won't post the traditional Rose Bowl symbol, since a win against our in-state rivals Oregon State, sends us to the National Championship!

The next time you feel like whining about working out........

Think of Dan [Rene-]Gade:

On Jan. 10, 2005, Capt. Gade was hit by a roadside bomb in Iraq and was severely wounded. A week later, doctors were forced to amputate his right leg at the hip.

While it changed the course of his life, Gade refuses to be defined by his limb loss.
Instead, he chooses to label himself in other ways. As a father, son, brother, husband and a soldier.
And in the last year, he's acquired another title: Triathlete.

Today, Gade will compete in the Nautica New York City Triathlon, his seventh triathlon this year and the ParaTriathlon National Championship.

"It shows that his personality is just thriving," said his wife, Wendy. "While he's lost his leg, he didn't lose the heart of who he is - being a competitor and finding challenges for himself."

Congratulations to the Empire

We've now been in Afghanistan as long as the Soviet Union was. How's that working out for us.......

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Mental midget can't stop riding her one trick pony.....

You have to understand that we’re in a war. We are at war now. It’s not coming. It’s not around the corner. We’re at war now. The GZM is the second wave of the 9/11 attack.…We are under attack. Obviously, the violent jihad, the academic jihad, the sociological jihad, the cultural jihad, the academic jihad, we have been infiltrated at the senior level of the DOD. …This is not a conventional war. Each one of you must fight this war…you’re each activated….We have not yet recovered the bodies from 9/11 and we’re under attack with ground zero mega mosque. And make no mistake, Cordoba, iconic of Islam’s conquering of the West, it’s quite deliberate….Its a triumphal mosque. Because one shmuck in New York says “it’s a mosque of healing” doesn’t make it so. It’s ridiculous, its insulting.

Pamela Geller

Meat Porn.

Taliban and Al Qaeda, kissing cousins or marriage of convenience?

Regarding the relationship between Al Qaeda and the Taliban factions, John Mueller write in Foreign Affairs last year:
President Barack Obama insists that the U.S. mission in Afghanistan is about "making sure that al Qaeda cannot attack the U.S. homeland and U.S. interests and our allies" or "project violence against" American citizens. The reasoning is that if the Taliban win in Afghanistan, al Qaeda will once again be able to set up shop there to carry out its dirty work. As the president puts it, Afghanistan would "again be a base for terrorists who want to kill as many of our people as they possibly can." This argument is constantly repeated but rarely examined; given the costs and risks associated with the Obama administration’s plans for the region, it is time such statements be given the scrutiny they deserve.

Multiple sources, including Lawrence Wright's book The Looming Tower, make clear that the Taliban was a reluctant host to al Qaeda in the 1990s and felt betrayed when the terrorist group repeatedly violated agreements to refrain from issuing inflammatory statements and fomenting violence abroad. Then the al Qaeda-sponsored 9/11 attacks -- which the Taliban had nothing to do with -- led to the toppling of the Taliban’s regime. Given the Taliban’s limited interest in issues outside the "AfPak" region, if they came to power again now, they would be highly unlikely to host provocative terrorist groups whose actions could lead to another outside intervention. And even if al Qaeda were able to relocate to Afghanistan after a Taliban victory there, it would still have to operate under the same siege situation it presently enjoys in what Obama calls its "safe haven" in Pakistan.

The very notion that al Qaeda needs a secure geographic base to carry out its terrorist operations, moreover, is questionable. After all, the operational base for 9/11 was in Hamburg, Germany. Conspiracies involving small numbers of people require communication, money, and planning -- but not a major protected base camp.
Eric Martin [another Foreign Affairs alum] of American Footprints writes of another knowledgeable author:
In addition to Lawrence Wright, Steve Coll makes the same argument in The Bin Ladens: namely, that the Taliban and al-Qaeda were not natural allies, willing to support each primarily out of a religious or ideological affinity. On the contrary, Osama bin Laden had to lavish enormous amounts of money on Taliban leaders in order to stay in their good graces. In addition to other tributes, Osama employed his construction know-how to build palaces, homes and other facilities for Taliban leaders. Without those sweeteners, it is unlikely that the Taliban would have long tolerated what was, essentially, a band of problematic interlopers with an agenda that was irrelevant to the inwardly directed Afghans.

Now that the Taliban has been made aware of the sizable costs that they could and would incur should they decide to reprise their previous landlord/tenant relationship with al-Qaeda in Afghanistan, it is less likely that they would be so inclined. And now that the US and other nations have are taking the task of disrupting al-Qaeda's financing networks seriously (with time, money and other resources dedicated to the cause), it would be harder for Osama and others to generate the funds needed to buy their way in.

And, again, even if al-Qaeda succeeded in finding a foothold in Afghanistan despite these obstacles, such bases aren't the sine qua non of successful terrorist attacks. Not by a long shot.
Additionally, another good read is Are Theological Tensions Distancing Taliban From Al-Qaeda?
To this day, that relationship endures. But will it last? Rifts and tensions between the Taliban and Arab Al-Qaeda, as well as vastly different Islamic traditions, suggest that a basis for separation exists. Whether it occurs could determine whether peace negotiations between the government of Afghan President Hamid Karzai and his Taliban foes ever get off the ground.

Afghan Muslim traditions, including the Taliban, are culturally and historically distinct from Al-Qaeda's Saudi-rooted Salafist Islam, says Francesco Zannini, an expert on modern Islam. In that sense, the two Sunni movements have always been awkward bedfellows.
A similar read with different sources, Hawks still link Taliban to al-Qaeda:
But John McCreary, formerly a senior analyst at the Defense Intelligence Agency, wrote last week on NightWatch, an online news analysis service, that the history of Taliban-al-Qaeda relations suggests a very different conclusion. After being ousted from power in 2001, he wrote, the Taliban "openly derided the Arabs of al-Qaeda and blamed them for the Taliban's misfortunes".
The Taliban leaders "vowed never to allow the foreigners - especially the haughty, insensitive Arabs - back into Afghanistan", wrote McCreary. "In December 2001, [Taliban leader Mullah] Omar was ridiculed in public by his own commanders for inviting the 'Arabs' and other foreigners, which led to their flight to Pakistan."

McCreary concluded, "The premise that Afghanistan would become an al-Qaeda safe haven under any future government is alarmist and bespeaks a lack of understanding of the Pashtuns on this issue and a superficial knowledge of recent Afghan history."
There's even discussion in jihadi circles about the tense relationship, Jihadis Debate Growing Rift Between al-Qaeda and the Taliban

And finally, Blood Brothers or a Marriage of Convenience? The Ideological Relationship between al-Qaida and the Taliban

So once again...we're in Afghanistan why? Don't be duped...question the official response!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Approaching a Decade....the "war on terror" keeps rolling along.....

Has the "GWOT" been at all effective in defeating Al Qaeda? By what measurement?

We have allowed Al Qaeda to morph from an entity who was comfortably ensconced in a semi-autonomous failed state, more or less coalesced in a general area.....into an entity that has proliferated and bounded outside our scope of observation and span of influence. When Al Qaeda planned the 9/11 attacks, they knew that we would retaliate in some form or fashion by kinetic means. We knew that the cadre was located, by and large, in Afghanistan. And they knew that we knew.

So Al Qaeda, knowing that we could not resist the temptation to bring our military to bear in a tantrum of massive and overwhelming force, made their comfortable accommodations known to us. The serious minded of us know that terrorist cells need only a collection of safe-houses and primitive communications systems in which to plan and operate. Terrorists know that we can interdict satellite phone transmissions at will. So my premise has been, and remains, that Al Qaeda knowingly lured us into a massive military undertaking in Afghanistan. That's really the only way to grind down a superpower. No amount of tactical attacks against the soft underbelly of American culture will succeed, it will only further erode the concept of liberty for it's we are seeing daily; which in turn is a peripheral victory in the campaign.

By the time of the Tora Bora campaign, a relative few Al Qaeda cadre remained behind to propagate the myth that they could be militarily surrounded and defeated. Those few have now vanished and established cells and support structures in countless nations in the region, leaving us to spend a generation in futile combat against the hapless and unwitting Taliban. We are left struggling to compose public relations friendly faux-victories in the form of killing the revolving and apparently least enviable job in AQ - the #3 man.

Meanwhile our over-reliance on long distance technology gives us daily updates by breathless newsbabes, reporting that XX 'suspected militants' were vaporized by another drone attack. More often than not, the suspected militants were real civilians...thus justifying Al Qaeda's propaganda messages.

So the measurements for any sort of success can be summed up in about three metrics:

1: Are we more or less safe now than before 9/11? The answer if you listen to government is apparently less safe. Unless we purchase the next greatest technology from a corporation that will turn our tax dollars into more profit, we cannot hope to be kept safe from the terrifying menace. Unless we give up just a bit more individual sovereignty...our library checkout lists.....every meter reader an informant....our e-mails and phone conversations subject to surveillance...we apparently cannot hope to be kept safe from the cave dwelling offspring of goat herders.

2: Our military, after the aforementioned tantrum of muscle flexing, now stands mired in two occupied nations, unable to maintain a rapid reflexive and responsive posture to combat any future threat or any actionable intelligence. We remain engaged in a generational conflict against a host of entities who not only had not attacked us, nor maintained the means to do so...are unable to proliferate a threat outside of the borders they inhabit. Ironically, the patriotism has been and remains in question of those who bring these fact to light.

3: Is Al Qaeda diminished since 9/11? While people like to state that we've had no additional attacks on the homeland or that Al Qaeda is not capable of large scale attacks after our 'relentless pursuit' of them. But we know from captured documents and laptops since around 2003, that Al Qaeda is not interested in successive large scale attacks. The cost-benefit analysis isn't in their favor. What works, as we have witnessed, are peripheral attacks against allies and targets outside the US span of direct influence. The information war is far more profitable to Al Qaeda's goals than the kinetic war.

What significant alterations can we make in our strategic plan to combat terrorism?

We must remove the benefits of and the moral arguments for supporting terrorist groups. It goes deeper than the religious aspect. Religion has been merely a vehicle for the cause. The root causes of terrorist success are far more connected to poverty, education and despotic regimes who enable both. Balancing meaningful alliances with nations in the middle east that can combat those root problems with a tempering of alliances and military aid to major protagonists [Israel] will be more profitable than military invasions of minor annoyances and proxies.

Law enforcement interdiction and intelligence sharing agreements with those nations, and a retooling of our special operations forces to meet the threat are another logical step.

What is the metric for success? Or are we consigned to a forever war...ala...."we've always been at war with Eastasia Al Qaeda"?

Al Qaeda is a trans-national terrorist organization, a product of the market comparisons to previous models, or especially state based regimes such as the Khmer Rouge are inapt. We don't yet know what the metric for victory can look like. We know what defeat looks like, we're seeing the precursors to that this very day. One simple fact of the matter is that perpetual war is profitable. Not for you and I, but for consolidation of state power and the careers of administrative and military officials and advocacy organizations. The post government careers of those who make a living hyping the tangible threat of terrorism to obscene proportions is immeasurable. The John Bolton's, Frank Gaffney's and Liz Cheney's among us wouldn't be a blip on the national radar were it not for the hyped threat.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Vote for Taryn

Read. Vote. Here.

Just another way to keep the Scotsman down!

The Scottish Tartans Authority has decreed that refusing to put on underwear beneath a kilt is "childish and unhygienic". 
It also warned that "going commando" flies in the face of decency. 
Tartans Authority director Brian Wilton said kilt wearers should have the "common sense" to realise they should wear underwear beneath their country's national dress. 

But Scotland's kilt wearers condemned the advice. Former Formula One racing driver David Coulthard, 39, of Twynholm, Kirkcudbrightshire, said: "Kilts are from the past and so is the tradition of not wearing any underwear. I'm proud to be a true Scotsman. It's a tradition that should be left alone. 
"I've been wearing kilts since I was a little boy and will continue to wear my kilts in the time-honoured fashion. There is nothing childish or unhygienic about it." 

Inverness-based kilt maker Ian Chisholm, a spokesman for the Scottish Kilt Makers' Association, said: "The tradition of no underwear being worn was a stipulation of Scottish military regulation.
"To say it is unhygienic is wrong. The freedom of movement is healthy. We always tell customers to wear nothing under the kilt if everything is in good working order." 
The Telegraph

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

The only way to slow down the Duck Offense

This idiot was actually elected.....

I guess we get the government we deserve.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Decorum prevents me from calling this guy what he is.

The Medal of Honor will be awarded this afternoon to Army Staff Sgt. Salvatore Giunta for his heroism in Afghanistan, and deservedly so. He took a bullet in his protective vest as he pulled one soldier to safety, and then rescued the sergeant who was walking point and had been taken captive by two Taliban, whom Sgt. Giunta shot to free his comrade-in-arms.
This is just the eighth Medal of Honor awarded during our wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and Sgt. Giunta is the only one who lived long enough to receive his medal in person.
But I have noticed a disturbing trend in the awarding of these medals, which few others seem to have recognized.
We have feminized the Medal of Honor.
According to Bill McGurn of the Wall Street Journal, every Medal of Honor awarded during these two conflicts has been awarded for saving life. Not one has been awarded for inflicting casualties on the enemy. Not one.
When we think of heroism in battle, we used the think of our boys storming the beaches of Normandy under withering fire, climbing the cliffs of Pointe do Hoc while enemy soldiers fired straight down on them, and tossing grenades into pill boxes to take out gun emplacements.
That kind of heroism has apparently become passe when it comes to awarding the Medal of Honor. We now award it only for preventing casualties, not for inflicting them.
So the question is this: when are we going to start awarding the Medal of Honor once again for soldiers who kill people and break things so our families can sleep safely at night?
I would suggest our culture has become so feminized that we have become squeamish at the thought of the valor that is expressed in killing enemy soldiers through acts of bravery. We know instinctively that we should honor courage, but shy away from honoring courage if it results in the taking of life rather than in just the saving of life. So we find it safe to honor those who throw themselves on a grenade to save their buddies.

Suggest all you want about heroism you pathetic shit stain. What do you know of killing enemy soldiers? What do you know of heroism?

Another fallen soldier...but not who or how you'd think

“Target,” a dog praised as a hero for saving U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan from a suicide bomber, died Monday after an Animal Care & Control employee accidentally euthanized the wrong dog.
On Friday, Pinal County Animal Care and Control picked up a stray dog in the San Tan Valley area and brought it back to the shelter for the weekend. Monday morning, the dog the employee grabbed was not scheduled to be euthanized.

"I am heartsick over this,” said Animal Care and Control Director Ruth Stalter. “I had to personally deliver the news to the dog's owner and he and his family are understandably distraught. We work hard to get strays reunited with their owners. When it comes to euthanizing an animal, there are some clear-cut procedures to follow. Based on my preliminary investigation, our employee did not follow those procedures."

Target recently appeared on The Oprah Winfrey Show . According to the show’s website, Target was one of three dogs that woke up soldiers in Afghanistan when an alleged suicide bomber tried to bring explosives into the barracks. The dogs reportedly bit the intruder as well, according to the site.
“An investigation in underway and we will cooperate fully,” Stalter said. “We will also thoroughly review procedures to ensure that something like this does not happen again.”

The Pinal County employee has been placed on administrative leave. 

YouTube video about Target

h/t coffeypot

Monday, November 15, 2010

Sunday, November 14, 2010

I Honor Back

Posted by MCQ at Blackfive:

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Just remembering

that the greatest people in your life are never around as long as you'd like.


Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Great job tea're already selling out!

Faux Libertarian Rand Paul in February:
Rand Paul appreciates Republican Senator Jim DeMint introducing today a one-year ban on earmark spending and a balanced-budget amendment. Rand strongly supports both initiatives and has made them centerpieces of his campaign for limited government, including his signing of the Citizens Against Government Waste “No pork pledge.”
“The Tea Party movement is an effort to get government under control,” Rand said. “I’m running to represent Kentuckians and to dismantle the culture of professional politicians in Washington. Leadership isn’t photo-ops with oversized fake cardboard checks. That kind of thinking is bankrupting our nation. Senator DeMint understands that and has taken action to stop it.”
 Now after the election:
In a bigger shift from his campaign pledge to end earmarks, he tells me that they are a bad “symbol” of easy spending but that he will fight for Kentucky’s share of earmarks and federal pork, as long as it’s doled out transparently at the committee level and not parachuted in in the dead of night. “I will advocate for Kentucky’s interests,” he says.
National Review

Monday, November 8, 2010

Religions of the world.....

and shit.

  • Taoism: Shit Happens
  • Hinduism: This Shit Happened Before
  • Islam: If Shit Happens, Take A Hostage
  • Buddhism: When Shit Happens Is It Really Shit?
  • Seventh Day Adventist: Shit Happens On Saturday
  • Protestantism: Shit Won't Happen If I Work Harder
  • Catholicism: If Shit Happens, I Deserve It
  • Jehovah's Witness: Knock, Knock, "Shit Happens"
  • Judaism: Why Does Shit Always Happen To Me?
  • Hare Krishna: Shit Happens Rama Rama Ding Dong
  • Atheism: No Shit
  • T.V. Evangelism: Send More Shit
  • Rastafarianism: Let's Smoke This Shit

From Skepticaleye

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Hah! Better watch what you ask for.....

It looks like voters in Oklahoma just ratified the law of unintended consequences.
Lawmakers in the Sooner State put a constitutional amendment banning the application of Islamic law by Oklahoma courts on the ballot for Tuesday's election.

But the amendment, which also banned the use of international law in judicial decision-making, might force Oklahoma judges to ignore all laws that were conceived on foreign soil, including the 10 Commandments.

"I would like to see Oklahoma politicians explain if this means that the courts can no longer consider the Ten Commandments. Isn't that a precept of another culture and another nation?" said a University of Oklahoma law professor. "The result of this is that judges aren't going to know when and how they can look at sources of American law that were international law in origin. Many of us who understand the law are scratching our heads this morning, laughing so we don't cry."

The measure was overwhelmingly approved, despite months of resistance from legal experts who argued that it blatantly violates the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment and, oh yeah, sharia law has never once been applied by an Oklahoma judge.

The amendment's principal author argued that the state needed to make a "pre-emptive strike" against the dangers of Islamic theocracy.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Guns and Coffee

Remember six months ago when the anti-gun Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence and Washington CeaseFire were aghast that Seattle coffee giant Starbucks would not become their political surrogate and ban armed customers from their shops?

   This column wrote about it here and here. The campaign against Starbucks had kicked off down in California (where else?) and the gun prohibition lobby tried to spread it nationally, but quickly lost traction when Starbucks did the responsible thing and merely announced that it was in compliance with, and would do business under all state and local laws. Almost immediately, the Open Carry crowd declared it would spend more time and money with their local Starbucks franchises like they did in October at a Spanaway coffee shop following a confrontation between a legally-armed citizen and an allegedly over-zealous Pierce County sheriff's deputy. We discussed that case here.

   Now comes the news that Starbucks is reporting big earnings during the third quarter. The coffee giant reported yesterday that earnings had risen to $278.9 million, or 37 cents per share. That’s up significantly over last year’s third quarter earnings report of $150 million and 20 cents a share.

Peggy Noonan on Sarah Palin

Conservatives talked a lot about Ronald Reagan this year, but they have to take him more to heart, because his example here is a guide. All this seemed lost last week on Sarah Palin, who called him, on Fox, "an actor." She was defending her form of political celebrity—reality show, "Dancing With the Stars," etc. This is how she did it: "Wasn't Ronald Reagan an actor? Wasn't he in 'Bedtime for Bonzo,' Bozo, something? Ronald Reagan was an actor."

Excuse me, but this was ignorant even for Mrs. Palin. Reagan people quietly flipped their lids, but I'll voice their consternation to make a larger point. Ronald Reagan was an artist who willed himself into leadership as president of a major American labor union (Screen Actors Guild, seven terms, 1947-59.) He led that union successfully through major upheavals (the Hollywood communist wars, labor-management struggles); discovered and honed his ability to speak persuasively by talking to workers on the line at General Electric for eight years; was elected to and completed two full terms as governor of California; challenged and almost unseated an incumbent president of his own party; and went on to popularize modern conservative political philosophy without the help of a conservative infrastructure. Then he was elected president.
The point is not "He was a great man and you are a nincompoop," though that is true. The point is that Reagan's career is a guide, not only for the tea party but for all in politics. He brought his fully mature, fully seasoned self into politics with him. He wasn't in search of a life when he ran for office, and he wasn't in search of fame; he'd already lived a life, he was already well known, he'd accomplished things in the world.
Here is an old tradition badly in need of return: You have to earn your way into politics. You should go have a life, build a string of accomplishments, then enter public service. And you need actual talent: You have to be able to bring people in and along. You can't just bully them, you can't just assert and taunt, you have to be able to persuade.

Americans don't want, as their representatives, people who seem empty or crazy. They'll vote no on that.
It's not just the message, it's the messenger.


Friday, November 5, 2010

Your allegedly liberal media at work again.....

From Disaffected and it Feels So Good:

Whenever the Republicans need to attack they employ one of their Wicked Witches, in this case Michele Bachmann, to do the dirty work. Republicans feel using a woman to slander and lie provides them cover and they have a stable of Phyllis Schlafly clones more than willing to engage in slash-and-burn rhetoric. The latest lie Bachmann has been sent forth to push into the political debate is President Obama's diplomatic trip to India is going to cost 200 million USC per day. 200 Million. And when confronted with her complete fabrication Bachmann doesn't bat one of those mesmerizing eyes of hers, "Well these are the numbers that have been coming out in the press," she drones. Additionally, besides the deranged lying Michele Bachmann, R. Limbaugh, Fox News, and conservative bloggers are claiming 34 Naval vessels (the equivalent of 3 Carrier Groups) are tasked, 870 rooms are being rented, and 3000 people are going at a total cost of over 2 Billion USC.

Republicans push a complete lie into the Media and when the Media starts discussing it, Republicans point out the Media is discussing the lie so it must actually be true. Yeah, that is your Liberal Media at work. And, don't claim developmentally disabled Michele Bachmann is insane because whenever someone dares to point out the imbecilic insanity which comes beaming forth hypnotically from Michele Bachmann's giant tarsir like eyes the Very Serious People in the Liberal Media get upset (with criticism of Republicans).

While the lies are utterly ridiculous and have been easily disproved, the DoD has said no Carriers will be in the area, the Hotel President Obama and his staff are staying at has around 560 rooms, the Secret Service states it's a wild exaggeration, it doesn't matter. Such is the utter lack of shame of Republicans and the sad state of the battered conservative voter.
 More from USA Today

"Remember, remember, the fifth of November, The Gunpowder Treason and plot. I know of no reason why the Gunpowder Treason should ever be forgot."

President, Congress, t'was their intent, To violate rights; our money they spent.

Thousands of laws, each a new crime; Liberty, it seems, had run out of time.

Elections were held to pacify some,A new batch of scoundrels to Washington come.

Wake up, wake up, your life is your own! Wake up, wake up, YOU sit on the throne!

And how shall we live? In true liberty!

 Just sayin'......

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

I think the election turned out as anyone could have predicted.

The best angle [no pun intended] to come out of last night is Gridlock!

As Libertarian who places freedom and liberty over party identification and rhetoric, I'm fairly disappointed after every election. But in the case of legislative dominance by the GOP and the Democrats: the Congress that governs least is the Congress that governs best.

With any luck, each party will be so hell bent on continuing to malign each other that they won't steal away any more of my money or my liberty.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

I'm always fond of H.L. Mencken around election time

"There's really no point in voting. If it made any difference, it would probably be illegal."


"Under democracy one party always devotes its chief energies to trying to prove that the other party is unfit to rule – and both commonly succeed, and are right."

Something to think about this Election Day

If you disagree in equal part with the Republicans and the Democrats; if you don't want to be shoehorned into voting for one of the two institutions with a clothespin on your nose.....remember, there are more than two parties.

There is a wider range of views and methodologies than the media wants to acknowledge.

You're only throwing your vote away if you vote for a candidate who will work harder to to push party ideology than good governance.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Charlie Chaplin on Humanity

I'm pretty sure this is the first time I've even heard his voice. But what a powerful oration....

h/t Militant Libertarian

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Closing speech from the Rally to Restore Sanity

“I can’t control what people think this was.  I can only tell you my intentions.   This was not a rally to ridicule people of faith or people of activism or to look down our noses at the heartland or passionate argument or to suggest that times are not difficult and that we have nothing to fear.  They are and we do.  But we live now in hard times, not end times.  And we can have animus and not be enemies.

But unfortunately one of our main tools in delineating the two broke.  The country’s 24 hour political pundit perpetual panic conflictinator did not cause our problems but its existence makes solving them that much harder.  The press can hold its magnifying up to our problems bringing them into focus, illuminating issues heretofore unseen or they can use that magnifying glass to light ants on fire and then perhaps host a week of shows on the sudden, unexpected dangerous flaming ant epidemic.

If we amplify everything we hear nothing.  There are terrorists and racists and Stalinists and theocrats but those are titles that must be earned.  You must have the resume.  Not being able to distinguish between real racists and Tea Partiers or real bigots and Juan Williams and Rick Sanchez is an insult, not only to those people but to the racists themselves who have put in the exhausting effort it takes to hate--just as the inability to distinguish terrorists from Muslims makes us less safe not more.  The press is our immune system.  If we overreact to everything we actually get sicker--and perhaps eczema.

And yet, with that being said, I feel good—strangely, calmly good.  Because the image of Americans that is reflected back to us by our political and media process is false.  It is us through a fun house mirror, and not the good kind that makes you look slim in the waist and maybe taller, but the kind where you have a giant forehead and an ass shaped like a month old pumpkin and one eyeball.

So, why would we work together?  Why would you reach across the aisle to a pumpkin assed forehead eyeball monster?  If the picture of us were true, of course, our inability to solve problems would actually be quite sane and reasonable.  Why would you work with Marxists actively subverting our Constitution or racists and homophobes who see no one’s humanity but their own?  We hear every damn day about how fragile our country is—on the brink of catastrophe—torn by polarizing hate and how it’s a shame that we can’t work together to get things done, but the truth is we do.  We work together to get things done every damn day!

The only place we don’t is here or on cable TV.  But Americans don’t live here or on cable TV.  Where we live our values and principles form the foundations that sustains us while we get things done, not the barriers that prevent us from getting things done.  Most Americans don’t live their lives solely as Democrats, Republicans, liberals or conservatives.  Americans live their lives more as people that are just a little bit late for something they have to do—often something that they do not want to do—but they do it--impossible things every day that are only made possible by the little reasonable compromises that we all make.

Look on the screen. This is where we are. This is who we are.  (points to the Jumbotron screen which show traffic merging into a tunnel).  These cars—that’s a schoolteacher who probably thinks his taxes are too high.  He’s going to work.  There’s another car-a woman with two small kids who can’t really think about anything else right now.  There’s another car, swinging, I don’t even know if you can see it—the lady’s in the NRA and she loves Oprah.  There’s another car—an investment banker, gay, also likes Oprah.  Another car’s a Latino carpenter.  Another car a fundamentalist vacuum salesman.  Atheist obstetrician.  Mormon Jay-Z fan.  But this is us.  Every one of the cars that you see is filled with individuals of strong belief and principles they hold dear—often principles and beliefs in direct opposition to their fellow travelers.

And yet these millions of cars must somehow find a way to squeeze one by one into a mile long 30 foot wide tunnel carved underneath a mighty river.  Carved, by the way, by people who I’m sure had their differences.  And they do it.  Concession by conscession.  You go.  Then I’ll go.  You go. Then I’ll go.  You go then I’ll go. Oh my God, is that an NRA sticker on your car?  Is that an Obama sticker on your car? Well, that’s okay—you go and then I’ll go.

And sure, at some point there will be a selfish jerk who zips up the shoulder and cuts in at the last minute, but that individual is rare and he is scorned and not hired as an analyst.

Because we know instinctively as a people that if we are to get through the darkness and back into the light we have to work together. And the truth is, there will always be darkness.  And sometimes the light at the end of the tunnel isn’t the promised land. Sometimes it’s just New Jersey.  But we do it anyway, together.

If you want to know why I’m here and want I want from you, I can only assure you this: you have already given it to me.  Your presence was what I wanted.

Sanity will always be and has always been in the eye of the beholder.  To see you here today and the kind of people that you are has restored mine.  Thank you."

- Jon Stewart

Friday, October 29, 2010

Even though she makes some really good points....

I have a sneaking suspicion that I would watch her talk for hours on about early Estonian poetry.