Tuesday, February 28, 2012

God help them if they ever pull this on my daughters or myself.....

A father is demanding answers from police after he was arrested because his four-year-old daughter drew a picture of a handgun in class. 
Jessie Sansone, 26, arrived to Forest Hills public school in Waterloo, Ontario to pick up his daughter, Neaveh, when he was hauled to a station and strip-searched. 
No charges were filed, however, a voluntary search of the family home uncovered no more than a plastic toy gun.
Waterloo Regional Police Inspector Kevin Thaler told TheRecord.com a staff member at the school issued a complaint that 'a firearm was in a residence and children had access to it.'
According to the website, school officials were concerned not only about the drawing, which depicted a man holding a gun, but of the girl's remarks when quizzed by a teacher about who the man was.
'That’s my daddy’s. He uses it to shoot bad guys and monsters,' she was quoted as saying. 
Mr Sansone told the website he was called into the principal's office when he arrived to pick up Neaveh and her two siblings last Wednesday. 
Three officers were present, and he was handcuffed and taken into custody for possession of a firearm.
Mr Sansone while in custody was asked to remove his clothing for a strip search for 'officer safety', according to Thaler. 
He was given a blanket and told he would appear before a judge the next morning. But after several hours, he was released without charges.
It was not until then he was told about the picture his daughter had drawn, and how it led to his arrest. After Mr Sansone's release, he gave police permission to search his home, where all they found, according to Ms Squires, was a clear plastic toy gun.
Only in Canada, eh? I hope so.....

Monday, February 27, 2012

I'm not even near a lake.......

and I want one of these!

This is PT-728, a 66 1/2 year-old restored Patrol Torpedo Boat from World War II. With a keel laid on August 10, 1945, she is one of 12 remaining PT boats in the world. She is "armed" (all weapons are deactivated) with a single .50- and two twin .50-caliber Browning machine gun stations, an aft 20mm Oerlikon cannon, four tubes that each housed a Mark VIII torpedo, and two depth charge launchers. Built in the Annapolis Yacht Yard using a 72' British Vosper design, her hard-chined, triple-ply mahogany hull is nearly flat at the stern, allowing her to "plane" on top of the water at speeds up to 42 knots, a necessity for quick getaways after a torpedo run. So compelling was a PT boat's performance that Nelson Rockefeller converted one into a high-speed yacht for commutes between Albany and New York City. Updated with modern electronics, radar, and two turbo-charged diesel engines providing 1,100 total horsepower, she is the only PT boat in existence licensed by the U.S. Coast Guard for carrying passengers. Special conditions and guarantee limitations apply. Please call 1-800-227-3528 for details. 72' L x 18' W x 7' 4" H. (45 tons) 

If this is true.....

Then Elvis has officially left the building and we are long past the time to completely withdraw:
NATO officials promised to meet Afghan nation’s demand of bringing to justice, through an open trial, those responsible for the incident and it was agreed that the perpetrators of the crime be brought to justice as soon as possible. - AFG GMIC
I don't take what the Afghan government says at face value, ever. But if NATO has agreed to such an act, it is a shameful day for the coalition.

Defining the Surge rhetoric

If you follow the story of the Iraq Surge, and it's aftermath, you quickly realize that there is an official story...one dutifully endorsed by the media. A story where the increase of US forces quelled the insurgency. A similar meme exists where Obama somehow 'lost the peace'....but I digress.

Doug Ollivant of the New America Foundation penned a piece last summer regrading this 'new orthodoxy', that I somehow missed until now; but found thanks to Musings on Iraq. He lays a fair amount of blame at the feet of President Obama for institutional ambiguity on Iraq and Afghanistan, while laying out a pretty solid counter-argument to the generally accepted dogma of how the violence in Iraq decreased, somewhat.

Countering the New Orthodoxy: Reinterpreting Counterinsurgency in Iraq

Fox chyron of the day

"Is the President bowing to terrorists?"

Fair and balanced?

Did Fox run the same when Bush apologized over Soldiers mistreating the Koran in Iraq?

Aren't we all Americans?

I’m trying to figure out if this is something had occurred gradually without my notice, or if there was a significant event that escaped my attention….or possibly, this is a phenomenon that has existed throughout the history of American politics, and I’m only now sufficiently jaded and cynical to accept that it exists?

When did we stop being Americans who could disagree politically and become militant enemies?

When did advocating for a more Conservative or more Liberal policy morph into one being labeled anti-American? Our political landscape has consisted of methodical push and pull between the two major parties for at least the last century, and both ideologies have contributed to the growth and strength of our nation.

It simply appears to me that the current and the last few campaign cycles has witnessed a growing effort to attempt to rewrite what the Founding Fathers meant, to decry the opposition as un-American, or some sort of ‘other’……or to portray the equally mainstream opposition party as a fringe, extremist movement, even when obvious cross-party comparisons are painfully evident.

If you have to use hysterical rhetoric, bombastic hyperbole, or just outright invent defamatory tautology…………..what does that really say for the validity of your ideological position in the first place?

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Watch what you wish for.....unless you're just a big ol' hypocrite

"I don't believe in an America where the separation of church and state are absolute, the idea that the church can have no influence or no involvement in the operation of the state is absolutely antithetical to the objectives and vision of our country...to say that people of faith have no role in the public square? You bet that makes me want to throw up." - Rick Santorum
If the Church can have influence in the affairs of the State, then the State should by all rights expect a role in the affairs of the Church. Goodbye tax exempt status.

It's almost painful to witness the demise of the GOP.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

What could have been.....

The only GOP primary candidate that I could have voted for.
Former presidential candidate and Romney-backer Jon Huntsman on Thursday pushed for a third party candidate in the next election, which he said would address the issues the "broken" Republican Party has ignored. He also said that he is "not a surrogate for anybody." 
Huntsman, who endorsed Mitt Romney after he dropped out of the presidential race, went on the attack against the Republican Party and the debate process on MSNBC’s Morning Joe. However, he expressly said that he would not run as a third-party candidate. 
“I'm not a surrogate for anybody,” he said. “All I can say is I'm looking at the political marketplace. And I'm saying this duopoly is tired and we're stuck in a rut. We're not having the discussions in this country that we need to have.”

Friday, February 24, 2012

Resolving Insurgencies

A pretty good study out of the Strategic Studies Institute from June of last year by Thomas R. Mockaitis, on best approaches to resolve insurgencies based on historical examples and an analysis of current strategy. Two points that stood out, one from the author and another quoted statement:
The United States adopted the correct strategy for that war only in 2009, long after the conflict had become a chronic insurgency in which the Taliban fund their operations through the opium trade and exercise shadow governance over much of the country. Under these circumstances, the chances of a clear-cut victory are remote. Even achieving a compromise peace through co-option will be difficult. The United States must consider that it might have to withdraw without a satisfactory resolution to the insurgency. In that case, it will need to engage whoever governs Afghanistan to hold them accountable for terrorism launched from Afghan territory. 
"The West came into Afghanistan under the mantra of freedom is on the march,” observed Masood Farviar, manager of an Afghan radio network in a December 2010 interview with National Public Radio, “and elections are the cure-all for all the problems, without realizing that the last thing Afghans needed at the time was elections. And the first thing Afghans needed at the time was security.”22 In its rush to get a government in place—any government—the United States got one with little legitimacy or real power. A popular joke in Afghanistan has it that Hamid Karzai is supposed to be president but is really no more than the mayor of Kabul, and even that only until it is dark."

Today's Reality Check

Posted over at MSgt B's site.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

I thought New York'ers had a sense of humor?

Prostitution-themed Wódka vodka billboard near Hunts Point is removed after a barrage of complaints from offended Bronx residents

Community leaders charged sign hurt their efforts to improve the neighborhood's image.

The next slide in the deck

Following on the heels of the Infantry slide:

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

American Freedoms

Over at Western Hero, Silverfiddle compiles an excellent collection of reasons detailing the fact that we're not as free as we used to be.

A specific example:

In America today, you do not have the right to say whatever you want. If you say the wrong thing on a blog or a website it can have dramatic consequences.
In America today, you do not have the right to raise your own children as you see fit.
In America today, you do not have the right to grow whatever food you want and you do not have the right to eat whatever food you do grow.
In America today, you do not have the right to be free from unreasonable search and seizure.
In America today, you do not have a right to privacy. In fact, you should expect that everything that you do is watched, tracked, monitored and recorded.

The Slow Suicide of the GOP

Bottom line up front, an assessment by your truly, is that if the GOP wants to stay relevant and keep each election cycle from being a near death experience, the party needs to OWN civil liberties. Not pander to them in front of certain audiences, but OWN the issue.

Liberals care little for individual liberty as a rule, but Republicans illustrate the same lack of care for the concept, in practice. Note that I use Republicans rather than Conservatives. I’m still hanging on to the label as a political descriptor of what I believe in, but it’s time may be short. Around a decade ago, I had to leave the GOP and become a card carrying Libertarian, since the combination of fiscal discipline, individual liberty, accountability and responsibility seemed to only be convenient slogans for the Grand Old Party.

Enter the likes of Rick Santorum. I don’t hate Rick…..I’m quite sure that he’s an amiable and sincere guy who respectably has very solid, core beliefs. Where I fear his ascendancy to national office literally just as much as another term of Obama, is his desire to see this nation guided not by reason and freedom, but by the edicts of what can rationally be described as a fairy tale. And with that mindset, comes the obligatory rhetoric that has little to no basis in fact. Whether it’s railing on about the alleged ‘war on religion’ or against the ability for some American citizens to enjoy the same privileges as the majority…..the rhetoric is flailed about with virtually no push back for definition by the media.

That of course, is another staple of the right, the perpetual victimhood by an allegedly liberal media. It’s a sad twist of irony that these people don’t include the cable news outlet with the largest market share in their label of ‘lamestream media’. But I digress.

I cannot reconcile social conservatism with individual liberty. Now ‘secular’ has been turned into a dirty word, but any restriction or regulation on our freedoms that does not have a secular value, is utter incompatible with liberty. Politicians such as Santorum and the slew of Dominionists and Christian Nationalists are quite free to live their own lives by their values…..but they aren’t content with a span of control so limited. They crave power. They crave their worldview to be instituted as law. Santorum derided Obama as pursuing an agenda that was not ‘biblically based’, but secular. He says this as if establishing a code of laws and rights which values the freedom to worship or not to, is a bad thing.

What I really don’t understand, Santorum aside, is why so many theoretically intelligent citizens on the right believe and regurgitate obvious falsehoods in the invented struggle? Why would they on one hand decry government intrusion, yet on the other, advocate for it?

School prayer - I always illicit a definition or some amount of substance for incredibly ignorant rantings such as “our children can’t pray in school”. Children can pray in school as often as they wish, as long as it does not interfere with the learning environment. Fundamentalists do not wish for students to be allowed prayer in school, they want overt and organized recognition of their faith in the public school. Where is the fundamental educational value in this activity?

Same sex marriage – I’m forever told that the extension of this privilege to homosexuals, a privilege enjoyed by their fellow hetero citizens, will damage, harm, delegitimize, cheapen, weaken or somehow destroy my own marriage or those of heteros in general. Excuse me? Nobody else’s relationship or sexuality status has any impact on my marriage. It seems truly telling as to the status of some people’s commitment that they would believe or allow this issue to have an effect on their relationship. If stable family environments are truly beneficial to society, then legitimize the relationship between citizens who are biologically attracted to another consenting adult.

Contraceptives – Yes, I understand that one party in the recent kerfuffle views this as an attack, not on contraceptives, but on the rights of religion. But where in our set of laws and societal norms do we advocate that a business operated by a particular faith, but 1) employing  persons of that, other or no faith 2) providing a service not specific to that faith, but of the community….be exempt or allowed to choose which generally applicable laws they wish to adhere to? One may not like the health care reform bill, but it is law. Your choice as a citizen or collection of citizens is to either abide by said law, or work diligently to change it. Make no mistake, the law of unintended consequences can come back and bite the Catholic Church right in the vestments. If laws can be abided by based on a moral belief, then Christians can be denied services and discriminated against, just as they desire to do towards those who are not living in alignment with the bible.
Religious fundamentalists are not going to defect to the Democratic Party.

The GOP can not only afford to, but for its survival, must balance the freedom of religious worship with extending the liberties and privileges to all citizens irrespective of a religious value system. To do anything less is a blight upon their platform of individual liberty and restrained government.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Can I get a damn Hooah?

From Blackfive:

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Bachmann lies....again

“Before President Obama was elected, no one had ever heard of a United States president saying to the world that the United States is not a Judeo-Christian nation.”
Michelle Bachmann, 9 Feb 2012

I would invite the failed Presidential candidate to learn the words of the Founding Fathers.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

"Why I chose a gun"

Another great TED speech.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Hypocrisy, thy name is Pat

I suppose I could be generous and give him kudos for just being flat out ballsy. But this self righteous politicization of religion is the epitome of Un-American.

Pat Robertson speaking to a reporter from CBN:

Watts: Gerald says, ‘Pat, earlier today you ran a report about Muslims in Spain. The reporter mentioned that seven out of ten Muslims there consider themselves to be Muslims first, rather than Spanish. It was presented as if it’s a bad thing. But is it wrong that they put their religion before their nationality? After all, do you consider yourself to be a Christian first, or an American?’
Robertson: That’s a good, good question. Of course I consider myself to be Christian first, American second. But this Muslim thing is a cultural matter. I don’t want to go force women to wear certain kinds of dress and to have certain dietary laws and to marry a certain way, I don’t believe in controlling people. I think good citizenship says if I’m a good Christian I’ll also be a good citizen. But if I am under control of a foreign power that’s a whole different matter and that’s what we’re talking about here; are they under the control of the domination mentally of the thought processes that come out of Mecca? If that’s the case they’re not going to be good citizens of Spain so, no being a good Christian ahead of being America is not a bad thing.
What do you expect from a fundamentalist cult who cherry picks edicts to follow from that dusty book, which is the alleged "word of God"?

700 Club

Saturday, February 4, 2012

That's a damn good question......

Our fallen comrades deserve better than the snails pace this investigation is proceeding along.
Members of Congress on Friday questioned why nobody has been prosecuted as part of a criminal investigation of mismanagement at Arlington National Cemetery, nearly three years after reports of problems that included misidentified graves first surfaced in the press.
"We are years into this and to my knowledge not a single person has been punished in any way" for one of the worst scandals in the nearly 150-year history of the cemetery, said Rep. Jim Cooper, D-Tenn., at Friday's hearing.
Following published reports in 2009 of misidentified graves and a scathing Army audit in 2010, the cemetery's two top officials, Superintendent John Metzler and deputy Thurman Higginbotham, were forced out. The new management team, under Executive Director Kathryn Condon and Superintendent Patrick Hallinan, is in the midst of a painstaking, grave-by-grave review of the nearly 260,000 sites and markers to ensure that the dead are properly accounted for.