Saturday, February 28, 2009
Chaos at the Heart of OrionNASA's Spitzer and Hubble Space Telescopes teamed up to expose the chaos that baby stars are creating 1,500 light years away in a cosmic cloud called the Orion nebula. This striking composite indicates that four monstrously massive stars, collectively called the "Trapezium," at the center of the cloud may be the main culprits in the Orion constellation, a familiar sight in the fall and winter night sky in the northern hemisphere. Their community can be identified as the yellow smudge near the center of the image.
Swirls of green in Hubble's ultraviolet and visible-light view reveal hydrogen and sulfur gas that have been heated and ionized by intense ultraviolet radiation from the Trapezium's stars. Meanwhile, Spitzer's infrared view exposes carbon-rich molecules called polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in the cloud. These organic molecules have been illuminated by the Trapezium's stars, and are shown in the composite as wisps of red and orange. On Earth, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons are found on burnt toast and in automobile exhaust.
Stellar winds from clusters of newborn stars scattered throughout the cloud etched all of the well-defined ridges and cavities in Orion. The large cavity near the right of the image was most likely carved by winds from the Trapezium's stars. Located 1,500 light-years away from Earth, the Orion nebula is the brightest spot in the sword of the Orion, or the "Hunter" constellation. The cosmic cloud is also our closest massive star-formation factory, and astronomers believe it contains more than 1,000 young stars.
Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/STScI (NASA here)
H/T Little Green Footballs here.
Friday, February 27, 2009
Veteran Marine Pushes Wounded Warrior (in his wheelchair) In Marathon
Navy veteran Michael Kuhn of Ocala, Florida, is brain injured and receives care at the VA medical facility in Tampa, Florida. He will participate in the Tampa Gasparilla Marathon on Sunday March 1, 2009 as an ambassador for the AFF and the WWP. Marc Reed (Veteran USMC) from SRI St. Petersburg will push Michael, in his wheelchair, all the way to the finish line to help raise awareness for America’s veterans.
There will be a bunch of troop supporters at the finish line cheering these guys on with their accomplishment. Please get the word out to your organizations, families, and friends if they can be there or are nearby. I know it’s short notice. If you’d like more information about linking up, contact Tampa Area Marine Parents Assoc., Inc. President and Executive Director Cyd Deathe at www.usmcfamilysupport.org. Cyd is also the mother of a wounded warrior herself.
Any questions? Go ask CJ on here.
Not for any specific reason, I am sharing it here:
Date: Fri, 27 Feb 2009 06:09:23 +0100 From: FBI Director Robert Mueller To: Undisclosed Recipients Subject: PAYMENT APPROVAL NOTICE
Quoting FBI Director Robert Mueller
Funds Monitory Crimes Division.
Federal Bureau Of Investigation.
J. Edgar. Hoover Building,
Payment Code: GY109177L
Reg No: 100731667
Date: February 26, 2009
This is to Officially inform you that it has come to our notice and we have
thoroughly completed and Investigated with the help of our Intelligence
Monitoring Network System that you are having a transaction with Impostors
claiming to be officials of the Central Bank Of Nigeria.
During our Investigation, it came to our notice that the reason why you have
not received your payment is because you have not fulfilled your Financial
Obligation given to you in respect of your National Lottery Prize Award from
the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
Therefore, we have contacted the Federal Ministry Of Finance on your behalf
and they have brought a solution to your problem by coordinating your payment
in the total amount of $6,500,000.00 ( Six Million Five Hundred Thousand
United State Dollars) which has been creditted to File Number
CN-TTX/0902R/08, You now have the lawful right to claim your funds from the
Central Bank of Nigeria by contacting the Foreign Operation Department for
the Transfer of your funds to either via Bank Wire Transfer or certified Bank
Since the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Federal Ministry Of Finance
(Nigeria) has been involved in this transaction, you are to be rest assured
that this transaction is legitimate and completely risk-free as it is our
duty to Protect and Serve citizens.
All you have to do is to contact the Foreign Operation Department of the
Central Bank of Nigeria via E-mail or telephone for instructions on how to
procure an Affidavit of Claims from the Federal High Court which must be
subnitted to the transfering bank in Lagos - Nigeria or to their
Correspondent bank Citizens Bank United State before the Release or transfer
of your funds can be made by the bank to you.
We have confirmed that the amount required to procure the Affidavit of Claims
from the Federal High Court it will only cost you a total sum of $350.00 USD
(Three Hundred and Fifty United State Dollars) to be paid via Western Union
Money Transfer / MoneyGram with the payment information that will be provided
to you by the Foreign Operation Department of the Central Bank of Nigeria for
the procuremnt of the requested document for he release of yur funds to you.
Below, is the contact details of the Bank Official whom will process your
NAME: Michael Woodgate
Tel: +(234) 1 7432001
You are to contact Mr. Michael Woodgate and provide him with the following
information for him to proceed with your transaction:
Upon the receipt of your email to the Foerign Operation Department of the
Central Bank of Nigeria, you will be provided with information on your funds
release and instructions on how to send the payment of $350.00 USD for the
procurement of the Affidavit of Claims after which he will proceed with the
transfer of your funds to you without no further delay, You have hereby been
authorized/guaranteed by the Federal Bureau Of Investigation to commence
towards completing this transaction, as there shall be NO delay once payment
for the Affidavit of Claims has been made to the authorized office.
FBI Director Robert Mueller.
SHOW ME THE MONEY - or NOT!!!
Back to regular programming.
Combat Camera Troops Record History
Thursday, 26 February 2009
SATHER AIR BASE — When thinking of the word combat, many have visions of fire fights, violent conflicts and warfare. For a few Airmen and Soldiers, the word combat means being armed with a camera.
For these members of the Multi-National Corps - Iraq C39 Joint Combat Camera (ComCam) team, based out of Baghdad, taking still and motion imagery isn’t just a hobby … it is their mission.
“My job documents history in the making and shows folks at home what’s going on here,” said Staff Sgt. Joann Makinano, MNC-I combat photojournalist. “We are unfiltered and unbiased. What we see is what you get.”
“Our job brings the mission home to people around the world,” added Tech. Sgt. Adrienne Brammer, MNC-I combat videographer and member of the 1st Combat Camera Squadron at Charleston Air Force Base, S.C. “It makes it accessible to people. Plus, a combat camera team gets to go where a lot of people don’t get to go.”
Many people have probably seen imagery from the war in a magazine, newspaper, online or on television, but may have failed to realize that behind every great photo, behind every great video, stands a person behind a lens.
“After seven years with ComCam and this being my third deployment, it’s become second nature,” said Makinano, who is also deployed from the 1st CCS at Charleston AFB. “Most of the units I’ve gone out with think we’re crazy, but we are Airmen and Soldiers first. And being a member of a team means that protecting your battle buddies is a higher priority, regardless of the job.”...
(By Staff Sgt. Tim Beckham, U.S. Air Forces Central) (Go read the rest of this B*N*S*N here : source MNF-1)
My regular readers know I have always had a soft spot for combat photographers. I wish we saw more of their contribution in the msm ~ but I am happy to highlight their stories here.
SATTAHIP, Thailand-U.S. Marine Staff Sgt. James Stinnett, 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit civil affairs specialist, writes his name in English for a student at Ban Khao By Si School as her fellow students wait their turn to get Stinnett’s “autograph.” More than 150 31st MEU Marines and sailors gathered here and at nearby Wat Som Nak Katon School to offer their time, friendship and more than 80 boxes of clothing, backpacks and toys during a community relations event held in conjunction with Exercise Cobra Gold 2009.,
Cpl. Cory Yenter, 2/20/2009 11:41 AM
31st MEU Marines, sailors help Thai school children
2/24/2009 By Staff Sgt. Michael Freeman , 31st MEUSATTAHIP, Thailand —
SATTAHIP, Thailand —After 10 days at sea, followed by 10 days of hard work and tough training with Royal Kingdom of Thailand service members, Marines and sailors with the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit were granted a well-deserved break and released for four days of rest and relaxation in Pattaya, Thailand. While many soaked up every moment of available fun in the sun, more than 150 MEU members sacrificed a few hours of their personal time to continue working alongside their Thai counterparts to serve the people of Thailand one last time before departing the tropical nation.
The men and women of the MEU joined forces with members of the Royal Thai Navy and Marine Corps to help more than 550 elementary school children attending two schools in Thailand by donating more than 100 boxes of clothing, backpacks, toys, teaching English, playing soccer, and sharing smiles.
U.S. Navy Lt. Cmdr. Ray Bailey, the 31st MEU command element chaplain, said it was time well-spent for the U.S. service members and an important aspect of a grass roots international community relations project known as Operation Good Will.
“The purpose is really three-fold,” said Bailey. “The highest priority is to serve as ambassadors for the U.S. Naval services and enhance international relationships between the U.S. and Thailand. It also allows the Marines and sailors a chance to serve unselfishly to help out those in need, while they themselves are blessed and encouraged by it.”...
Coming to an msm front page near you! Okay, just kidding ~ but you can read the rest of this great B*N*S*N story here.
VILSECK, Germany -- One day after Christmas 1945, "Cobra King" battled its way into World War II history. One day before Christmas 2008, it officially began a new journey to its rightful place as part of the Army's heritage.
Today Cobra King sits overlooking the back gate of Rose Barracks here, a nearly forgotten silent steel hulk. But on Dec. 26, 1945, the same Sherman "Jumbo" tank and its crew led a combined infantry and armor column that relieved Soldiers of the 101st Airborne Division surrounded by the enemy in Bastogne, Belgium, during the Battle of the Bulge.
The tank's moniker comes from the tank corps tradition of naming vehicles with the first letter of their companies' designations. Cobra King went into battle with tankers from Company C, 37th Tank Battalion.
One longtime U.S. Army Garrison Grafenwoehr civilian employee said the tank has been in place at Rose Barracks for at least 10 years.
Sgt. Brian Stigall of the 5th Battalion, 7th Air Defense Artillery, said he drove past the tank many times while training on Rose Barracks, but normally paid little attention to it. But after Stigall attended a historical reenactment of the Battle of the Bulge re-enactment, the Jumbo by the base's back gate suddenly stood out in his mind.
A historical marker outside a still-standing bunker on the outskirts of Bastogne displays images of Cobra King that reminded the air defense artilleryman of the tank in Vilseck.
After a tour of duty at Fort Bliss, Texas, Stigall said, he returned to Germany and began a mission to track down the vehicle's history.
He started his quest with Steven Ruhnke, the 1st Armored Division museum curator in Baumholder, Germany, who introduced him to U.S. Army Europe staff curator Gabriele E. Torony.
Torony knew just who to enlist to get to the bottom of Cobra King's identity -- Charles Lemons, curator for the Patton Museum at Fort Knox, Ky. Lemons is considered the Army's top authority on tanks, she said.
Lemons' research and expertise shed more light on the background of the Army's Shermans and unveiled details that suggested the tank in Vilseck might indeed be Cobra King.
Cobra King is one of only 254 M4A3E2 Jumbos built by the Fisher Tank Arsenal, starting in June 1944. The first versions of the 42-ton Jumbos carried a 75mm main gun, two 50-caliber and one 30-caliber machine guns. Cobra King was later upgraded to 76mm in 1945, according to Lemons' findings. The upgrade was ordered by 3rd Army commander Gen. George S. Patton to make Cobra King a more effective anti-tank weapon, Lemons said.
"The tank was simply 'up-gunned' -- a simple process that was done at the order of Gen. Patton in March to April 1945," Lemons wrote in an e-mail to USAREUR historians....
Go read the rest of this very interesting B*N*S*N story here.
Bala Baluk, Afghanistan - Illinois Army National Guard Spc. Whitney Meyers writes down vital information on the dressing applied to a 16-year-old truck driver of Herat city, during treatment for an injury he sustained to his foot. The Afghan National Police of the area brought Berza to the base where he was stabilized then medically evacuated to the Provincial Reconstruction Team in Farah where he was treated by U.S. surgeons. (ISAF photo)
Illinois medics treat injured Afghan civilian
Story courtesy of the International Security Assistance Force - Afghanistan
KABUL, Afghanistan (2/25/09) — When an Afghan civilian is injured in a remote area of Afghanistan, there is little chance of receiving proper medical treatment.
But not when it happens right outside the gate of the joint Forward Operating Base (FOB) in Bala Baluk.
A 16-year-old truck driver from Herat, was working on his semi when it rolled backward over his foot, tearing the skin from his toes to his ankle. The Afghan National Police (ANP) officers, who witnessed the event, reacted quickly and brought Berza into the FOB to see the military medics.
In the Afghan Regional Security Integration Command-West (ARSIC-W) medical facility, Illinois Army National Guard Medics, Spc. Dennis Deuth and Spc. Whitney Meyers were on scene along with an ISAF doctor, Italian Army 1st Lieutenant Andrea Carbonara to treat the injured civilian.
“There was a six-inch laceration on the top of the patient’s foot,” said Meyers. “We wrapped it up to try to control the bleeding and padded it with a splint for protection. Finally, we gave him a pain killer and an antibiotic and got him evacuated to a hospital.”...
Go read the rest of this B*N*S*N story here.
Thursday, February 26, 2009
Honoring Staff Sgt May Jr. KIA 3/25/03
On September 5, 2009 the 1st Marine Division Association and Chapter 785 of the Vietnam Veterans of America will be holding the first annual "American Honor Run" to raise money for the Construction of a Fisher House, Support of the Intrepid Foundation and to provide scholarships for the son’s and daughter’s of those who have given everything for our freedom. For more information contact email@example.com or visit www.thehonorrun.orgThis month’s featured hero is the fine young Marine in the photo [above]. The run will be dedicated to the memory of one new hero every month to insure we remember all they have given for all of us.Donald C. May Jr. always wanted to be a Marine.His mother, Brenda R. May, of Chesterfield County, was a Marine. His father, Donald C. May Sr., was awarded a Bronze Star, two Purple Hearts and the Navy Cross for his service as a Marine in Vietnam.Staff Sergeant May, United States Marine Corps, Unit: 1st Marine Division was 31 years of age when he died defending our freedom. The tank he was commanding plunged off a bridge as it was crossing the Euphrates River. It was later found upside down and under water. According to his mother, another proud Marine, her son and his crew disappeared during a sandstorm that swept over Iraq as U.S. forces advanced toward Baghdad. SSGT May's Memorial Web page can be found atStaff Sgt May left behind a wife and three beautiful children.THIS IS YOUR OPPORTUNITY TO INSURE THAT THIS FINE YOUNG AMERICAN IS NEVER FORGOTTEN FOR WHAT HE GAVE IN DEFENSE OF OUR FREEDOM. IT IS ALSO YOUR CHANCE TO LET HIS WIFE AND CHILDREN KNOW HOW HIGH WE ALL HOLD HIS GALLANT SERVICE AND WHAT A HERO HE AND SO MANY OTHERS HAVE BEEN.Please make a donation NOW to help us honor the memory of Staff Sgt May Jr. and to show his family how much you care. His legacy of service will continue forever helping those members of our armed forces who so desperately need our support. Join us on 5 September 2009, in Oceanside, California, for the California Honor Run, dedicated to the memory of Staff Sgt. Donald May Jr.: a fine example of "The Few, the Proud, The Marines."
Donating through this website is simple, fast and totally secure. It is also the most efficient way to support my fundraising efforts.
Many thanks for your support and Semper Fi. (here)
This is such an important project, which only goes some small way to showing our heroes - and their precious families - that we support them. Don's wife, Deb, is raising their three children:
JACKSONVILLE, N.C. — In a Marine bar near Camp Lejeune, a blond woman handed a beer to the man drinking black coffee. She liked his Irish accent, which he admitted was phony, and his smile, which was genuine. It was the same big grin that blazed out of so many childhood photographs in which the crew-cut youth dressed like the Marine he since had become.
The love affair of Deborah and Donald May began in September 1999 as a happy collision of two hearts. It ended March 25, 2003, during the first days of the Iraq war, when the tank commanded by Staff Sgt. May, 31, plunged into the Euphrates River and sank to the bottom. He and his three tankmates drowned, trapped inside.
In less than four years together, the Mays had married, moved to the Marine base at Twentynine Palms, Calif., had two sons and were raising Deborah's daughter from her first marriage. Their talk, their letters, were filled with life and love....(USA Today here)
Don has three beautiful children--- Mariah, Jack, and Will. Mariah has so many memories of Don...he would walk her to the bus stop every chance he got, he would tease her endlessly, and tuck her into bed using his special "Daddy" technique. She talks about him with a big smile on her face, "Remember when Daddy......" Jack is a Mini-May. So very much like Don in his easy going nature. And he has that same "I can smile and get away with anything" attitude. And Will....never seen by Don here on Earth....has Don's eyes. He is the only one of the children that has Don's beautiful blue-green eyes. The children will forever be a reminder of Don and his easy-going spirit and love. We love you too much Don.... (source)
In the photos are Staff Sgt. May's three children: Mariah, Jack, and Will (who was born two months after his father's death.) (photos courtesy Fallen Heroes Memorial here)
Please check out the links to the American Honor Run and do whatever you can to support Staff Sgt May's family. Thank you.
Semper Fi, Marine.
Thursday, February 26, 2009
By Barbara Sowell
The escalating border violence has prompted Texas Governor Rick Perry to ask for troops to guard the border. This week Juárez Mayor Jose Reyes Ferriz moved his family to El Paso for safety.
Yesterday the El Paso Times reported that Texas Governor Rick Perry is asking for 1,000 troops to guard the Texas-Mexico border. Perry is also asking the Texas state legislature for $135 million for border security.
The Mexican National Commission of Human Rights has reported that organized crime has killed more than 10,000 people in Mexico since 2007!...
Wednesday, February 25, 2009
I am referring to that very English ritual of afternoon tea, and yes, this mum has uttered those words.
Seems to me a LOT of tea is being poured these days across the US, as impromptu "Tea Parties" are being held to display displeasure with the current administration's "stimulus" economic fixes.
There is an interesting history of tea (work with me here.)
Back in the 1640s England was involved in a Civil War, which ended in the beheading of their King, Charles I, in 1649. Oliver Cromwell became Lord Protectorate of Britain and his brand of violent Puritanism swept over the country. In 1658, tea was first introduced to Britain, but it didn’t become very popular then. People had too many other things on their minds. Cromwell died in that year and the country was wondering what to do next. The monarchy was returned to Britain in 1660 in the form of Charles II, son of the beheaded former King. In 1663, Charles II married Catherine of Braganza. Part of her dowry was large chests of tea. Tea drinking then became popular at Court. Tea was very expensive, and not easy to obtain, so was kept in locked chests which are now prized and very treasured antiques. If you watch the British Antiques Roadshow, you often see tea chests of great value. The tea clipper ships began to run between England and the Orient to bring tea to the British people....By the early 1800s, George III had lost the American colonies, where tea had been thrown into the sea rather than having high taxes paid on it without representation in the British Parliament. He had suffered bouts of madness and his son, George, had been declared Prince Regent. [make a cup of tea, and go read the rest here]
And the Boston Tea Party was born:
Victory in the French and Indian War was costly for the British. At the war's conclusion in 1763, King George III and his government looked to taxing the American colonies as a way of recouping their war costs. They were also looking for ways to reestablish control over the colonial governments that had become increasingly independent while the Crown was distracted by the war. Royal ineptitude compounded the problem. A series of actions including the Stamp Act (1765), the Townsend Acts (1767) and the Boston Massacre (1770) agitated the colonists, straining relations with the mother country. But it was the Crown's attempt to tax tea that spurred the colonists to action and laid the groundwork
for the American Revolution.
(great article here)
This all brings us to today, and across America, impromptu "Tea Party" groups are gathering at legislatures to voice their disapproval of the current "stimulus" economic fixes.
All over the internet, regular Americans are coordinating protests against the humungous pork stuffed into the very IRregular approach to America's financial woes. The grassroots movement is spreading so fast, even the pigs don't have time to keep up. And yes, pork IS being served at some of the demonstrations. Michelle Malkin has ongoing updates as more Americans discover they CAN make their voices heard. Her latest update, with more venues is here. And be sure and read the comments for MORE tea parties.
Wake Up America has a great round up today of many of the "tea parties" scheduled:
Wednesday, February 25, 2009
Late on this one but the "Anti-stimulus "Tea Party" movement seems to have grown considerably since I first heard of it, so, without further ado, let us take a look at what is going on around the country.Last week you may have seen or perhaps heard about CNBC’s Rick Santelli and his report from the floor of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, ground zero for American capitalism and free market commerce, where he called for a “Taxpayer Tea Party” in the wake of efforts to enact a new, multi-billion dollar taxpayer funded housing bailout.
I received yet another email today, referring to the "Tea Party", so to explain concisely, here is a bit of that email:
If you are like me, you stood up and cheered.
Rick was channeling what so many limited government advocates have been feeling now for a long time when it comes to out-of-control spending on the backs of hardworking U.S. taxpayers to reward the irresponsible and the corrupt: enough is enough!...
No one has said it better than Rick Santelli of CNBC when, on the floor of the Chicago Exchange, ground zero for American capitalism and free market commerce, he called for a “Taxpayer Tea Party” in the wake of efforts to enact a new, multi-billion dollar taxpayer funded housing bailout.
In the new Obama Administration the bailout train continues to run full steam towards the destruction of our American capitalist system and ultimately to outright socialism. It must be stopped!
FreedomWorks and others in the limited government community stand with Rick and want to make this modern day taxpayer revolt a reality. Will you join us? Sign up for this event using the form below. If you would like help organizing a protest in a city that is not listed, please contact us.
The interesting part about that site is the amount of locations you can sign up for, and the encouragement for more people to have their own "Tea Party."
Fort Myers, FL - Feb. 27, 11:00am - 1:30pm, Bowditch Point Park
Denver, CO - Feb. 27, 10:00am, Colorado State Capitol Building - 200 E. Colfax Ave, EAST side steps
Saint Louis, MO - Friday, February 27th, 11:00am - 12:00pm, The Steps of the Arch on Wharf Street
Los Angeles, CA - Saturday, July 4th, Santa Monica Pier, 7:00am-12:00pm
Boston, MA - Saturday, July 4th, 12:00pm, Griffin Harbor
Chicago, IL - July 4th, 7:00pm, Belmont Harbor, Lakeshore Drive
Vancouver, WA - April 18th, Lawn of Clark County Courthouse, 11am to 1pm
Kansas City, MO - Saturday, Feb. 28th, 10:00am - 2:00pm, J.C. Nichols Foundation, 47th and J.C. Nichols Parkway...
There follows a long list of venues, plus links to sites that give you step by step help in how to set up your own neighbourhood "Tea Party." Go here to get informed.
The people ARE speaking! Speak LOUDER, all the way to the halls of Congress and the White House.
And yes, you CAN be mum! Just get pouring on the noise.
As you all know, Obama's administration crowed about bipartisan support for this gazillion dollars' travesty. However, not all politicians are swallowing the bait, hook line or sinker.
From reader Vic comes a speech that Senator Tom Coburn (R) that should be required reading by every American (maybe as a companion piece to the actual stimulus bill - all 1000+ pages.)
THE STIMULUS IS A STEP TOWARDS A SOVIET AMERICA
| || |
|Written by Senator Tom Coburn|
|Tuesday, 10 February 2009|
[Senator Coburn recently gave this speech on the floor of the Senate]
We are going in exactly the wrong direction. We ought to be standing on the principles that made this country great.
There ought to be a review of every program in the Federal Government that is not effective, that is not efficient, that is wasteful or fraudulent, and we ought to get rid of it right now. We ought to say, Gone, to be able to pay for a real stimulus plan that might, in fact, have some impact.
I would be remiss if I didn't remind everybody that next week we are going to hear from the Obama administration wanting another $500 billion. Outside of this ["stimulus" bill], they are going to want another $500 billion to handle the banking system.
I want to make sure the American people know what is in this Stimulus bill. I think once they know what is in this bill, they are going to reject it out of hand. Let me read for my colleagues some of the things that are in this bill.
The biggest earmark in history is in this bill. There is $2 billion in this bill to build a coal plant with zero emissions. That would be great, maybe, if we had the technology, but the greatest brains in the world sitting at MIT say we don't have the technology yet to do that.
Why would we build a $2 billion powerplant we don't have the technology for that we know will come back and ask for another $2 billion and another $2 billion and another $2 billion when we could build a demonstration project that might cost $150 million or $200 million? There is nothing wrong with having coal-fired plants that don't produce pollution; I am not against that. Even the Washington Post said the technology isn't there. It is a boondoggle. Why would we do that?
We eliminated tonight a $246 million payback for the large movie studios in Hollywood.
We are going to spend $88 million to study whether we ought to buy a new ice breaker for the Coast Guard. You know what. The Coast Guard needs a new ice breaker. Why do we need to spend $88 million? They have two ice breakers now that they could retrofit and fix and come up with equivalent to what they needed to and not spend the $1 billion they are going to come back and ask for, for another ice breaker, so why would we spend $88 million doing that?
We are going to spend $448 million to build the Department of Homeland Security a new building. We have $1.3 trillion worth of empty buildings right now, and because it has been blocked in Congress we can't sell them, we can't raze them, we can't do anything, but we are going to spend money on a new building here in Washington.
We are going to spend another $248 million for new furniture for that building; a quarter of a billion dollars for new furniture. What about the furniture the Department of Homeland Security has now? These are tough times. Should we be buying new furniture? How about using what we have? That is what a family would do. They would use what they have. They wouldn't go out and spend $248 million on furniture.
How about buying $600 million worth of hybrid vehicles? Do you know what I would say? Right now times are tough; I would rather Americans have new cars than Federal employees have new cars. What is wrong with the cars we have? Dumping $600 million worth of used vehicles on the used vehicle market right now is one of the worst things we could do. Instead, we are going to spend $600 million buying new cars for Federal employees.
There is $400 million in here to prevent STDs. I have a lot of experience on that. I have delivered 4,000 babies. We don't need to spend $400 million on STDs. What we need to do is properly educate about the infection rates and the effectiveness of methods of prevention. That doesn't take a penny more. You can write that on one piece of paper and teach every kid in this country, but we don't need to spend $400 million on it. It is not a priority....
The Senator had a LOT more to say, and I found it on the internet. GO, now and read it all. You can find it here.
Sounds like common sense to me, for a change. Do I dare hope that common sense might break out in the political back rooms of America? Naaaaah, I didn't think so. But this piece shows there is at LEAST one voice of reason being raised. Keep speaking up, Senator Coburn. Louder!!
19 years old from Knox, Pennsylvania
1st Battalion, 26th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division
December 4, 2006
His mission was to patrol the streets of Adhamiyah in northeast Baghdad and find a place to put a 250-kilowatt generator that would provide electricity for more than 100 homes. But it's a mission he wasn't able to accomplish.
Shortly after Pfc. McGinnis's convoy left the compound, and less than a mile from FOB Apache, an insurgent standing on a nearby rooftop threw a grenade into the sixth, and last, Humvee. "Grenade!" yelled McGinnis, who was manning the vehicle's M2 .50-caliber machine gun. He tried to deflect the grenade but it fell into the Humvee and lodged between the radios.
"McGinnis turned and looked down and realized no one in the truck knew where the grenade was," said Capt. Michael Baka, his company commander. "He knew everyone had their doors combat-locked and they wouldn't be able to get out."
Instead of jumping out of the truck to save his own life, like he had been trained to do, McGinnis threw his back against the radio mount, smothering the explosive with his body. The grenade exploded just as Pfc. McGinnis covered it. The blast filled the vehicle with black smoke and debris and blew the driver's door and right passenger's door wide open and blew the machine gun off its mount. The explosion hit McGinnis on his sides and his lower back, under his vest. He was killed instantly.
The other four soldiers in the Humvee suffered relatively minor injuries.
On the morning of December 4, 2006, before his convoy had left, Cpt. Baka has signed a waver promoting Pfc. McGinnis to Specialist and he was posthumously promoted to E-4.
For his heroic actions on that day, McGinnis was awarded the Silver Star and was nominated for a Medal of Honor which he received on June 2, 2008.
All Information Was Found On And Copied From MilitaryCity.com
These brave men and women sacrifice so much in their lives so that others may enjoy the freedoms we get to enjoy everyday. For that, I am proud to call them Hero.
We Should Not Only Mourn These Men And Women Who Died, We Should Also Thank God That Such People Lived
This post is part of the Wednesday Hero Blogroll. For more information about Wednesday Hero, or if you would like to post it on your site, you can go here.
What do you think? Can he get the Republicans "walking the walk"?????
AND!!!! Here is CJ's response:
The President’s Address to Congress
The first thing that perked the hairs on the back of my neck was within 30 seconds of the start of President Obama’s address to the nation. It didn’t take him long to mention the “crisis” this nation is in and I immediately braced myself for another letdown by the President. I’ve become so sick of the negative tone of Obama that he has communicated time and time again. But then, a bright side that gave me hope:
We will rebuild, we will recover, and the United States of America will emerge stronger than before.
I thought, THERE is the President I was hoping to hear tonight. The President of the United States holds a lot of power to sway the opinions of Americans. If he conveys a negative tone, the country will imitate that and act accordingly. However, if the President is positive in his language and seeks to persuade the country that we will get through this, the country will also be positive and act accordingly.
Unfortunately, immediately after saying those glorious, he delved right back into “crisis” mode. The next sentence caused me to cringe again: “The weight of this crisis will not determine the destiny of this nation.” Can’t this man JUST ONCE spin things away from the crisis. It’s called intentional diversion. It isn’t a lie to simply try and get Americans to forget and move on. But the Pessimist in Chief was out in full force...
Go read the rest of CJ's thoughtful response here. (Hint: It gets even better)
Tuesday, February 24, 2009
I chose NOT to watch or listen to the campaign speech that President Obama gave tonight. I WAS following the comment threads on a couple of blogs, which sounds like it was more entertaining than the speech.
Then I caught Governor Jindal's response. Wow!~ In case you missed it, read on:
Americans Can Do Anything
"Good evening. I'm Bobby Jindal, Governor of Louisiana.
Tonight, we witnessed a great moment in the history of our Republic. In the very chamber where Congress once voted to abolish slavery, our first African-American President stepped forward to address the state of our union. With his speech tonight, the President completed a redemptive journey that took our nation from Independence Hall . to Gettysburg . to the lunch counter . and now, finally, the Oval Office.
Regardless of party, all Americans are moved by the President's personal story -- the son of an American mother and a Kenyan father, who grew up to become leader of the free world. Like the President's father, my parents came to this country from a distant land. When they arrived in Baton Rouge, my mother was already 4 ½ months pregnant. I was what folks in the insurance industry now call a 'pre-existing condition.'
To find work, my dad picked up the yellow pages and started calling local businesses. Even after landing a job, he could still not afford to pay for my delivery -- so he worked out an installment plan with the doctor. Fortunately for me, he never missed a payment.
As I grew up, my mom and dad taught me the values that attracted them to this country -- and they instilled in me an immigrant's wonder at the greatness of America. As a child, I remember going to the grocery store with my dad. Growing up in India, he had seen extreme poverty. And as we walked through the aisles, looking at the endless variety on the shelves, he would tell me: 'Bobby, Americans can do anything.'
I still believe that to this day. Americans can do anything. When we pull together, there is no challenge we cannot overcome.
As the President made clear this evening, we are now in a time of challenge. Many of you listening tonight have lost jobs. Others have seen your college and retirement savings dwindle. Many of....
...you are worried about losing your health care and your homes. And you are looking to your elected leaders in Washington for solutions.
Republicans are ready to work with the new President to provide those solutions. Here in my state of Louisiana, we don't care what party you belong to if you have good ideas to make life better for our people. We need more of that attitude from both Democrats and Republicans in our nation's capital.
All of us want our economy to recover and our nation to prosper. So where we agree, Republicans must be the President's strongest partners. And where we disagree, Republicans have a responsibility to be candid and offer better ideas for a path forward.
Today in Washington, some are promising that government will rescue us from the economic storms raging all around us. Those of us who lived through Hurricane Katrina, we have our doubts. ...
There is more. As you all know, I am not an American, but I have to tell you, when I read the words of what Gov. Jindal said? I feel my great optimism for America invigorated. Truly, I do. Huge doses of common sense, and I have to wonder, how DID the Republicans lose this last election? Oh wait, that was a rhetorical question. From where I sit, I know one of the many reasons why: Republicans such as this Governor were unable to bridge the chasm that the msm helped to forge. That chasm meant that millions of Americans didn't get to hear, or understand, the most fundamental philosophical differences between the two options offered at the ballot box.
...The strength of America is not found in our government. It is found in the compassionate hearts and enterprising spirit of our citizens...
...To solve our current problems, Washington must lead. But the way to lead is not to raise taxes and put more money and power in hands of Washington politicians. The way to lead is by empowering you -- the American people. Because we believe that Americans can do anything. ...
...Democratic leaders say their legislation will grow the economy. What it will do is grow the government, increase our taxes down the line and saddle future generations with debt.
Who among us would ask our children for a loan, so we could spend money we do not have, on things we do not need? That is precisely what the Democrats in Congress just did. It's irresponsible. And it's no way to strengthen our economy, create jobs or build a prosperous future for our children....
To strengthen our economy, we must promote confidence in America by ensuring ours is the most ethical and transparent system in the world. In my home state, there used to be saying: At any given time, half of Louisiana is under water -- and the other half is under indictment.No one says that anymore....We need to bring transparency to Washington, DC -- so we can rid our Capitol of corruption and ensure we never see the passage of another trillion dollar spending bill that Congress has not even read and the American people haven't even seen...
...we must remember for all our troubles at home, dangerous enemies still seek our destruction. Now is no time to dismantle the defenses that have protected this country for hundreds of years, or make deep cuts in funding for our troops.
America's fighting men and women can do anything. And if we give them the resources they need, they will stay on the offensive, defeat our enemies and protect us from harm....
The American spirit has triumphed over almost every form of adversity known to man -- and the American spirit will triumph again. ...
My fellow citizens, never forget: We are Americans. And like my Dad said years ago, Americans can do anything. ...
That's just snippets of what this Governor said, and I have to tell you, I feel 'stimulated' by his words. You can read the complete text, and I urge you to do that here.
Gov. Jindal is not into the whole "the sky is falling" rhetoric. This speech proves he can talk the talk needed to engage/inspire those disenfranchised Americans that I have been hearing from. However, as we all know, talk IS cheap. Now we need to see Gov Jindal and ALL Republicans walk the walk.
I believe: Americans can do anything.
February 23, 2009 By CJ
Posted in Uncategorized
But not for the reasons you may think. I’m tired of all the whining Soldiers who haven’t yet received what the media wants you to think are “tour bonuses“. That’s what they’re calling them these days because stop loss money just doesn’t sound cool enough.
The Pentagon has not started complying with a law requiring the payment of monthly bonuses of up to $500 to soldiers forced to remain on active duty beyond their enlistment period, military officials said.
First of all, these Soldiers aren’t being “forced” to stay on active duty. EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THEM signed a contract promising an eight year commitment. Let me repeat that because I don’t think the all caps is enough. EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THEM committed to eight years.
10. MILITARY SERVICE OBLIGATION FOR ALL MEMBERS OF THE ACTIVE AND RESERVE COMPONENTS, INCLUDING THE NATIONAL GUARD.
a. FOR ALL ENLISTEES: If this is my initial enlistment, I must serve a total of eight (8) years. Any part of that service not served on active duty must be served in a Reserve Component unless I am sooner discharged....
Go read the rest here. Any questions? I didn't think so.
Binyam Mohamed (BBC picture)
At 9am today, I got an email from Family Security Matters. It was an "action alert":
Binyam Mohamed said he wasn't planning on attacking the U.S., but if it waddles like a duck and quacks like a duck, it's probably a duck.Several weeks after issuing the executive order that will close Guantanamo Bay by the beginning of 2010, it looks as though President Obama may be intent on emptying it well before the shut down date.This week, he is expected to authorize the release of UK national Binyam Mohamed, who will return to the UK once the two governments have reached an agreement. Mohmed, who was captured in Pakistan in 2004, claims to have been tortured while in U.S. custody.The media is all over his release and his allegations of torture while at Gitmo. However, they seem to be forgetting the reasons why he was taken into custody in the first place. Thomas Joscelyn, writing for the Weekly Standard, reminds us:1. The detainee is an Ethiopian who lived in the United States from 1992 to 1994, and in London, United Kingdom, until he departed for Pakistan in 2001.2. The detainee arrived in Islamabad, Pakistan, in June 2001, and traveled to the al Farouq training camp in Afghanistan, to receive paramilitary training.3. At the al Farouq camp, the detainee received 40 days of training in light arms handling, explosives, and principles of topography.4. The detainee was taught to falsify documents, and received instruction from a senior al Qaeda operative on how to encode telephone numbers before passing them to another individual.At a minimum, therefore, we know that Mohamed has admitted being an al Qaeda-trained operative....Commander Kirk S. Lippold (Ret.), former Commanding Officer of the USS Cole and Senior Military Fellow for Military Families United, released a statement about the pending release of Mohamed:This unprecedented release of an enemy combatant, who has already targeted the United States, clearly shows that despite the promises that President Obama made to keep this country safe, he may be putting political promises ahead of our national security. The laundry list of charges against Binyam Mohamed, many of which he has admitted to, makes it blatantly clear that it is not if he will attack the United States, but only when his attack will happen.By Mohamed’s classification as an “enemy combatant,” the United States is aware that he poses a threat to our country and allies. Instead of maintaining him in custody where justice can be served, President Obama is allowing him to be released to the United Kingdom without condition. This presents a danger that he may rejoin the fight to kill innocent civilians. This potential release is dangerous and must be reconsidered....
They do have more, which you can read here. Then they end with this:
Contact the White House
However, this is all a moot point, because about the time I was reading this call to action, I find this on the BBC site:
Freed detainee arrives back in UK[video of him stepping off the plane in England here]
A British resident detained at Guantanamo Bay for more than four years has arrived back in the UK.
Ethiopian-born Binyam Mohamed, 30, landed at RAF Northolt in London on Monday afternoon, accompanied by Metropolitan Police officers.
Mr Mohamed says he was tortured while in custody on suspicion of terrorism.
He said in a statement the worst moment of his captivity was when he realised his alleged torturers were receiving material from UK intelligence agents.
I am not asking for vengeance; only that the truth should be made known so that nobody in the future should have to endure what I have endured
Foreign Secretary David Miliband said his release was the first step towards the goal of closing down the Guantanamo Bay detention camp.
After he landed at 1300 GMT and walked to the terminal building surrounded by officials, he was questioned and released more than four hours later.
UK Border Agency officials are interviewing him about his resident status and he will have to apply for leave to enter the UK.
The Home Office said he would be given temporary admission until a decision is made.
You KNOW there is more, and lots of other aspects of the stories here.
So many troubling facets here. To read the BBC stories is to believe that Binyam Mohamed has been wrongly maligned, and was never an 'enemy combatant'. There is a precedent for this within Canada. Maher Arar is a Canadian who was stopped during a layover in JFK in 2002:
Arar was detained during a layover at John F. Kennedy International Airport in September 2002 on his way home to Canada from a family vacation in Tunis. He was held in solitary confinement in the U.S. for nearly two weeks, questioned, and denied meaningful access to a lawyer. The U.S. Government suspected him of being a member of Al Qaeda and deported him, not to Canada, his current home, but to his native Syria, even though the nation is known to use torture on suspects. He was detained in Syria for almost a year, during which time he was tortured, according to the findings of the Arar Commission, until his release to Canada.
The Government of Canada ordered a commission of inquiry which concluded that he was tortured based upon interviews with Arar and others. The commission of inquiry publicly cleared Arar of any links to terrorism, and gave him a C$10.5 million settlement. The Syrian government reports it knows of no links of Arar to terrorism.
Despite the Canadian court ruling, the United States government has not exonerated Arar and, on the contrary, has made public statements to state their belief that Mr. Arar is affiliated with members of terrorist organizations. As of February 2009, Mr. Arar and his family remain on a watchlist. ...(Wiki here)
Be that as it may, Binyam Mohamed and his almost clandestine removal from Gitmo, and arrival in Britain raises other issues. Just recently President Obama met with 9/11 and USS Cole families. Reports suggest that the president told them that he would proceed cautiously. He has in fact said that all options relating to the release of the Gitmo residents would be carefully and prudently examined.
Seems to me that there is nothing prudent about shipping this man off to Britain. If nothing else, it appears that Britain will now be embroiled - at the least - in ongoing demands for full public enquiries into their roles into this man's detention. His release to Britain (notice I do not say to his home country!) confirms that this US administration cares not at all for American public opinion in their rush to close Gitmo.
The FSM article says "if it walks like a duck..." Looks to me that the Obama administration is waddling and quacking like a duck at a breakneck speed. I forsee many more of the Gitmo residents quietly and rapidly shipped off to freedom. Is this the open and transparent justice Americans voted for?