Saturday, January 31, 2009

Some Gave All: Ooooh Canada

Sapper Sean David Greenfield is pictured in this undated handout photo. (THE CANADIAN PRESS / DND)

Canadian soldier killed by IED in Afghanistan

Updated Sat. Jan. 31 2009 5:50 PM ET News Staff

A Canadian soldier was killed in Afghanistan Saturday as he participated in a major operation to locate bomb-making factories in Taliban territory.

Sapper Sean David Greenfield, 25, was killed when the armoured vehicle he was riding in struck an improvised explosive device in the Zhari district, west of Kandahar city.

"It is with a heavy heart that I announce that a Canadian soldier was killed today," Brig.-Gen. Denis Thompson, Canada's top military commander in Afghanistan, said in a statement.

Greenfield was killed at the tail end of a joint operation with American and British troops to root out the Taliban's bomb-making abilities.

"The mission in question was meant to go into a zone, the western part of Panjwaii and Zhari districts in order to go after specific Taliban compounds of interest, where we did find. . .bomb-making material and other weapons," Thompson said....

Greenfield was a member of 24 Field Engineer Squadron, 2 Combat Engineer Regiment based out of Petawawa, Ont., serving with the 3rd Battalion of the Royal Canadian Regiment Battle Group.

Thompson described Greenfield as exceptionally fit and said the young soldier recently completed a combat diver's course. He added that Greenfield aspired to join JTF2, Canada's elite and secretive special forces team.

Greenfield was described as having a great sense of humour and someone who loved to sing and play guitar.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper offered his condolences to family, friends and comrades of Greenfield.

"We also wish a full and swift recovery to his four comrades who were injured in the same attack and thank them for their dedicated service," the prime minister's message said.

"The Canadian mission in Afghanistan is a difficult one, but the Canadian Forces are making a difference in the lives of the Afghan people by maintaining security and stability that will allow the country to rebuild and look to the future.( here)

It is with a heavy heart that I ask you to keep all who love this young hero - including his brothers in arms - in your thoughts and prayers.

H/T to Gail for the video

Commander in Cutbacks

I know, I know! President Obama is helping the money flow (all $825b in bailouts. And that's only what we know about.) Yes, ACORN is lined up for their "gimme", and where else is BO going to get the money to redistribute YOUR tax dollars?

Why, he is planning a 10% cut to the military, of course! DUH!

Defense Official: Obama Calling for Defense Budget Cuts

Some overall budget figures are expected to be announced Monday.

The Obama administration has asked the military's Joint Chiefs of Staff to cut the Pentagon's budget request for the fiscal year 2010 by more than 10 percent -- about $55 billion -- a senior U.S. defense official tells FOX News.

Last year's defense budget was $512 billion. Service chiefs and planners will be spending the weekend "burning the midnight oil" looking at ways to cut the budget -- looking especially at weapons programs, the defense official said.

Some overall budget figures are expected to be announced Monday.

Obama met Friday at the White House with a small group of military advisers, including Admiral Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs, Gen. James Cartwright, vice chairman, and Gen. Jim Jones, National Security Council chairman.

FOX News' Jennifer Griffin contributed to this report here.

And you just know the blogosphere is abuzz with that gem. Over at Freepers:

Obama Cuts Military Budget 11%
Environmental Republican ^ | 1/30/09 | Scott

Posted on Friday, January 30, 2009 8:08:14 PM by sswenviron

Yes, he's cutting the military the midst of two wars. Think about that; he is cutting back on supplies, health care, VA funding and everything else while simultaneously pushing a bill that includes $4-billion plus for "neighborhood stabilization"--read ACORN.

Obama needs his base right about now and he'll do anything to get their support, including sentencing our men and women of the military to substandard conditions. That will result in deaths to those who joined to protect our nation...

He'll end both wars even if he kills our troops. ...(source)

I should not have been surprised when I read this story, but I was. This really IS sheer audacity, but I guess after bailing out the Big 3, the banks, ACORN, and let's not forget the politicians' pay raise, there really won't be much change left for our troops.

SHAME on you, Mr President! This is NOT the America I know!


*cross-posted from Monkey in the Middle*

From the Sderot Media Center

Sderot Student, 23, Addresses UN Human
Rights Council in Geneva

Liraz Madmony, 23 of Sderot,
grew up under Palestinian rocket fire for eight years of her life. Although a rocket has never directly hit her home, Liraz has experienced the terror of rocket explosions countless times. "We don't have a bomb shelter in our house," she recently told SMC. "Every time, the Tzeva Adom is set off, our family races to the shower, the only room that is most 'secure' from a rocket attack."

Liraz Madmony with Israeli
representative to the UN.

Liraz is a law student in a Ramat Gan college in central
Israel and is heavily involved with student organizations such as WUJS (World Union of Jewish Students). "Many times I've missed my law classes and student activities because of the rocket attacks. It's almost impossible to lead a normal life when you are forced to live under with warning alerts and raining rockets."

While Liraz admits that balancing life as a college student
and a resident in a war-zone can at times be very difficult, she recently found the time to share her story with the world community.
Thanks to a trip coordinated by UN Watch two weeks ago, Liraz Madmony addressed the UN Human Rights Council Special Session on Gaza in Geneva, on behalf of the European Union of Jewish Students (EUJS) on January 12, 2009.

View at YouTube

"It was a very moving moment for me," says Liraz. "Here I was standing in front of all these people--in Geneva, Switzerland--representing the people of Sderot and all our years of suffering and terror."

Read the rest here.

Liraz is just a normal person, leading a normal life, wanting only the rockets to stop. In the last 8 years dozens of UN resolutions were passed condemning Israel. Not one has ever been passed condemning Hamas. And yet Israel is suppose to accept all the resolutions passed by the UN.

From 90210 to Sderot: Get the Story Right!

I just returned from a two week visit to Israel. I spent
my last weekend in Sderot and the Western Negev. One year out from volunteering in Sderot, I have written this piece on the international media's lack of context in covering the current conflict between Israel and Hamas.

Hundreds of journalists from all over the world just left Sderot and
the surrounding areas covering the current conflict between Israel and Hamas. Where were they one year ago? Where were they four years ago, eight years ago? I spent six weeks volunteering in Sderot exactly one year ago, and I can tell you, the journalists were no where to be found.

Unfortunately for Israel, it took eight years for the international community to understand that innocent civilians in a western democracy live daily under the current threat of rocket fire. During this time, the range of the threat expanded from a tens of thousands to over one million innocent Jewish and Muslim Israeli citizens.

In these eight years, has the UN Security Council ever condemned
nearly a decade of rocket fire on innocent civilians of one of its member
states, Hamas’ use of human shields, and its use of schools, hospitals, and
mosques to store and launch rockets at Israel?

Are you laughing at me for even thinking to ask such a question? Well you should be, because why would anyone assume the international community to be, um, sensible?

Maybe they could be just a little rational? Nah, that’s just too silly!

Furthermore, has any news organization mentioned the fact Israel is the
only western democracy in the entire world that has a significant - let alone
any - part of its population living under the threat of daily rocket fire?...

The truth IS out there. There is a lot more that this young woman has to say, and even if the UN won't really pay attention to the reality, I strongly urge all of YOU to go read the rest of this piece on Monkey in the Middle here.

Thursday, January 29, 2009


Army Sgt. 1st Class James Morton records himself reading a book to his daughter, Emily, at Camp Victory, Iraq, Jan. 27, 2009. U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Frank Vaughn

American Forces Press Service

Reading Program Connects Deployed Soldiers With Their Children

By Army Sgt. Frank Vaughn
Special to American Forces Press Service

CAMP VICTORY, Iraq, Jan. 29, 2009 – A program in Iraq is helping deployed soldiers bond with their children back home through books.

United Through Reading, a nonprofit organization, gives deployed soldiers an opportunity to record themselves reading stories on a DVD that is shipped home for their children to watch.

The program, available worldwide for deployed units, is coordinated here by Army Capt. (Chaplain) Mike Jones, chaplain for the 10th Mountain Division Special Troop Battalion, and his assistant, Army Spc. Annamarie Greenfield.

To participate, soldiers first choose a book from the collection, along with a miniature stuffed animal to help them tell their story. Soldiers may send the book and the furry friend home with the DVD as a keepsake.

“That’s one of the neat things about this program,” Greenfield said. “The book and the animal make a good heirloom for kids, grandkids and so on.”

More than 80 soldiers have participated in the program since its inception here in June.

“We have handed out around 140 DVDs so far,” Greenfield said. “Some soldiers come back to do it again and again.”

Army Sgt. 1st Class James Morton, noncommissioned officer in charge of the battalion’s security section, is one of the program’s repeat customers. He said he enjoys reading books via DVD to his 4-year-old daughter, Emily.

“I first discovered this program when I was deployed to Qatar in 2005,” Morton said. “Since coming to Camp Victory, I’ve done it at least seven or eight times.”

While the United Through Reading program helps soldiers like Morton stay connected with their children and loved ones, the benefit to their families is apparent as well.

“One of the major reasons I do this over and over again is because of the stress relief it gives my wife,” Morton said. “She pops in a DVD of me when my little girl is sad.”
Morton said his daughter is glued to the television when he’s on the screen. “She likes having daddy around,” he said. “She’s definitely a daddy’s girl.”

While the program benefits deployed soldiers with children, it is not limited to parents.

“People can read stories to nieces, nephews, cousins or whomever they choose to do this for,” Greenfield said. “We can even set them up to read to school children they don’t even know if they so desire.”

(Army Sgt. Frank Vaughn serves in Multinational Division Center.) (Defenselink here)


COLONEL'S MARK - An Iraqi Army colonel raises his right hand outside of the Zafraniyah polling site to show his purple index finger, a sign he voted during the “special” voting day of the provincial elections in Baghdad, Iraq, Jan. 28, 2009. The vote took place before the general provincial election, scheduled for Jan. 31, to accommodate Iraqi Security Forces, detainees, hospital patients and other special needs cases. U.S. Army photo by Spc. Douglas York (source)

Read the next post for more on this story.


From the Conservative Underground comes this:

This Is A Day Of Victory! Elections Begin

Posted by Rosemary on January 28, 2009 at 8:30pm

Today is a wonderful day that will be ignored by those in the media who do not care about our men and women in the Armed Forces and the people we have liberated, but the news is available if you only seek outside of the United States! There are a few places within the states that are carrying this story, but they pay the AP for the copy right. Amazingly, they all say the same thing! That's real journalism? LOL.

I admit, after reading these articles, I do not believe I could write a better article than Taipei Times has written. So without further adeiu, here is their article with a little interruption for an image and a quote from ABC News.

Early voting begins in Iraq elections.

Thursday, Jan 29, 2009, Page 4

Iraqi policemen hold up their ink-stained fingers after casting their vote in the country's provincial elections in Baghdad, Iraq, Wednesday, Jan. 28, 2009. The polls opened Wednesday for members of the Iraqi security forces, detainees and hospital patients. General voting is scheduled on Saturday. (Hadi Mizban/AP Photo), courtesy of ABC News

Soldiers, police, prisoners and displaced people began early voting yesterday ahead of Saturday’s provincial election in Iraq, which will determine the political landscape across the country as US forces withdraw.

Iraqis held in detention were also expected to take part in the early voting.

US and Iraqi authorities hoped the election would open the political process to more groups and further erode support for extremist networks....

And this really IS B*N*S*N and you won't have seen this in the msm. But, you can read the rest of this one here.


I know this one doesn't fall in the usual "great news from the sandbox" that B*N*S*N usually shares. However, this really DOES qualify as B*N*S*N in my books.

Read on:

Judge refuses to suspend Guantanamo trial

Judge refuses to suspend Guantanamo trial
AFP/POOL/File – A guard leans on a fencepost as a Guantanamo detainee, left, jogs inside the exercise yard at Camp 5 …

WASHINGTON (AFP) – A military judge at Guantanamo Bay Thursday rejected President Barack Obama's request to suspend the trial of a Saudi accused in the 2000 attack on the USS Cole, the Pentagon said.

"Judge James Pohl denied the motion" put forward by the prosecution at the request of Obama to suspend the trial for 120 days, said Defense Department spokesman J.D. Gordon, confirming a report by The Washington Post.

The October 2000 attack on the Cole left 17 people dead and injured many more.

In his first full day in office last week, Obama ordered the closure of the controversial detention center within a year and for a review of the cases of each of the "war on terror" suspects still held there.

But no decision has yet been made on what to do with the estimated 245 detainees still held at Guantanamo, most of them without charge.

Saudi defendant Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, 43, was due to say whether he pleads guilty or not at a hearing set for February.

See what I mean? Who'd a thunk it? Thanks to CJ for sending me this one.

Letter from a Reserve Soldier

I think my regular readers know that I have often posted pieces written by boots on the ground. It is my belief that we MUST listen when our troops speak; through their words, we learn simple, and yet, great truths.

Today, I find a letter written by a Reserve Soldier of the IDF. I found it on A Soldier's Mother's site.:

An Open Letter to A citizen Of Gaza:
I Am the Soldier Who Slept In Your Home

By: Yishai G (reserve soldier)


While the world watches the ruins in Gaza, you return to your home which remains standing. However, I am sure that it is clear to you that someone was in your home while you were away.
I am that someone....

At a time when the Hamas media machine is trying to tell us that the army that distributed leaflets to warn Gaza citizens of upcoming IDF actions; telephoned citizens to give them prior warning, are murderers of innocents, (sounds familiar to most of us!) it is important for us all to hear the words from this soldier's heart.

At a time when some in the international community try and paint these young patriots as guilty of war crimes, it is vital that we get the truth out to the world.

If you read nothing else today, please go read what this soldier has to say. His words, from his heart, ring so clear and true to me, and you can find them here.

"I wanted to protect the US Marines..."

(photo courtesy of Fox News here)

That photograph is secret documents that the US Consulate in Israel didn't even know they had "lost" until an American living in Israel discovered them long after she had bought office furniture in an auction held three years ago.

Now, Israel National News is running the story, and Fox News also has a story about it. From Israel National News:

US Blunder: Jerusalem Consulate Sold Documents in Auction
by Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu

( The United States Consulate three years ago unknowingly sold documents to a woman from a Jerusalem suburb who bought file cabinets for NIS 166 ($42) plus tax at a U.S. Consulate auction. The documents contain classified information, some of which was labeled secret but not top secret information. The Consulate has been investigating how the blunder occurred.

Some of the thousands of US Consulate documents left in file cabinets which were auctioned off to an Israeli civilian.

Paula, who requested her last name be withheld from publication, said that she discovered the documents in two cabinets after breaking the locks on the drawers, most of which were empty. She explained that she found thousands of papers mostly relating to correspondence, funding and financial information, including social security numbers, of army personnel.

"They are lucky that the information fell into my hands, because someone else could have used them for identify theft," Paula told Israel National News.

That the US Consulate should be angry with this woman is beyond absurd. I guess they are following the old maxim that the best form of defence is attack. Ridiculous. As Paula says: they ARE lucky these documents fell into her hands.

The State Department now says that an "investigation is underway...." They should have kept better track of these documents that contained very personal information in the first place. Just saying. Instead of threatening a woman who was concerned for the safety of OUR Marines, they should be thanking her for her attempts to do the right thing by our troops - which the US apparently could not.

As Paula said, in a private email to me today:

I wanted to protect the US Marines who were stationed here -
from the careless way the US Consulate handled this...and their trying to
blame me doesn't change their mess up.

I just want them to be more careful. They should really be thanking me for
saving those documents...rather than threatening me.

You can read the rest of this story on Israel National News here or Fox News here. Even the Timesonline out of London (the real London...) has this story here.

This is not the first time important government documents have gone missing. I have previously documented such events out of England and Canada. In my opinion this is far too cavalier handling of information that not only could potentially harm our troops, but also aid our common enemies.

I think the US government owes Paula a HUGE debt of gratitude for her care in this matter. I doubt she will get it from them, so I - personally - say THANK YOU!

[AND an addendum to this story. More careless handling of US military information]:

NZ man finds US military files on MP3 player

Posted Mon Jan 26, 2009 8:13pm AEDT

A New Zealand man has found confidential US military files on an MP3 player he bought in an Oklahoma thrift shop, it has been reported.

Chris Ogle, 29, paid $15 for the player and when he plugged it into his computer he found 60 pages of military data, Television One News said.

The files contained the names and personal details of US soldiers, including some who served in Afghanistan and Iraq, as well as information about equipment deployed to bases and a mission briefing.

"The more I look at it, the more I see and the less I think I should be [seeing]," Mr Ogle said.

Although most of the files are dated 2005, TV One said it rang some of the phone numbers and they were answered by the corresponding personnel.

Mr Ogle said the MP3 had never worked as a music player and he would hand it over to the US Defence Department if asked. (here)

Is this insane, or what? Hello? Just WHO is minding the store and watching out for our US troops' interests here?

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Wednesday Hero

This Weeks Post Was Suggested And Written By Cynthia

Sgt James E. Craig
Sgt James E. Craig
27 years old from Hollywood, South Carolina
1st Battalion, 8th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division
January 28, 2008
U.S. Army

James, 27, was killed on January 28, 2008, in Mosul, Iraq, along with four other soldiers when the unit encountered an IED, followed by an ambush from a nearby Mosque. It has been a year since James was killed. I miss him each day.

James was on his third deployment to Iraq. There are so many things about James that I admired. He was 'loud' and funny and articulate and sweet - even calling himself 'Sweet Soldier' - and brave and tough. He was a devout Christian and more comfortable with telling people he was than anyone I ever knew - he had a enviable, easy comfort with this faith. It would be so easy to write and write about James, but let me share some portions of his letters - his long and articulate letters.

"...I am very much looking forward to this war being over. However, I fully support everything that is going on over here ever since I saw first hand what the real situation was. Our media doesn't portray the truth of this operation or the necessity to the people here. They need freedom and desperately cry out for someone to help them. ... I know one thing, God wants me here."

"The war here is stating to come to an end. It will be a slow transition period where the responsibility of the battle space is handed over to the growing Iraqi Army. It all depends on the Iraqis if we are able to leave them with it safely."

" is a tale of my wonderful journey where I made memories I will never forget and stood up for something that I believe in...that sweet taste of freedom when the day is done and the knowledge that I have done something to ensure the positive future of my loved ones. And, you should know that it comforts me the most that what I do protects wonderful people like you."

To read more about Sgt James Craig, go here.

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.
Wednesday Hero Logo

File under: SSDD

Not much leaves me speechless, but this comes close:

Iranian leader demands US apology

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad - 15/1/2009
Mr Ahmadinejad's remarks were the first since Mr Obama took office

Iran's president has responded to an overture by the new US president by demanding an apology for past US "crimes" committed against Iran.

The US "stood against the Iranian people in the past 60 years," Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said during an address in the western region of Khermenshah.

"Those who speak of change must apologise to the Iranian people and try to repair their past crimes," he said.

President Obama has offered to extend a hand if Iran "unclenched its fist".

President Barack Obama discussed the possibility of a softening of US policy towards Iran in an interview recorded with a Saudi-owned Arabic TV network on Monday.

'Strong tirade'

The Iranian president welcomed the possibility of US change, but said: "When they say 'we want to make changes', change can happen in two ways".

"First is a fundamental and effective change... The second ... is a change of tactics. It is very clear that, if the meaning of change is the second one, this will soon be revealed," he said...

There is more, of course, and you can read that here. Now we all get to see if President BHO really means to approach Iran with a clenched fist or an open hand.. Me? I would slap Ahmadinejad up the side of the head with an open hand..Just sayin'.

More of the SSDD.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

An oldie but goodie

This always makes me laugh! Let me see you DANCE!

Mardi Gras is coming to Saratoga - AGAIN!

The Third Annual
Saratoga Springs Mardi Gras Festival!
SUNDAY, APRIL 26, 2009

Set in Saratoga, Mardi Gras is a fundraiser for The Giving Circle. This group does amazing work year round, and they rely on help from the community to help others within the human community. Their most recent projects involve helping in the post Katrina rebuilding. In March, they will be heading down to the area to help yet another family:

Their site says:

Genuine compassion is based not on our own projections and expectations, but rather on the rights of the other: irrespective of whether another person is a close friend or an enemy, as long as that person wishes for peace and happiness and wishes to overcome suffering, then on that basis we develop genuine concern for his or her problem. - The Dali Lama

Their Mission statement reads:

The Giving Circle, Inc. celebrates community and the concept of one person, one community reaching out to another in a cycle of giving. Through our interconnectedness, interdependence, and the expanded power and possibility created by our love, support, compassion, and cooperation, we will make a difference in the quality of people's lives.

Saratoga is the site of a revolutionary battle, and home to a National Cemetary. This 116th National Cemetary is also home to the bell from the USS Saratoga. From its Saratoga base, the Giving Circle reaches out across America, wherever communities are in need. But they cannot do it alone. There are many ways you can get involved. The group is looking for volunteers to join them in March to go rebuild.

If you can go on this trip, or want to discuss it further, contact Mark, one of the founders, at : or by cell at 518-727-8960.

If travelling on this project is not an option, there is always Mardi Gras! There are many ways for people to be involved in this year-round work, and they are listed on The Giving Circle's website:

You must be the change you wish to see in the world. Gandhi

Donate Now Online through the secure portal NetworkForGood. Or Mail in Your Donation with THIS DONATION CARD (PDF | MS Word) to: The Giving Circle, Inc. P.O. Box 3162 Saratoga Springs, NY 1286

In the Area - If you are in the NY State Capital District and would like to help out with a project, or have goods, services or skills that may be helpful, please contact us.

Volunteer - Skilled and unskilled labor is greatly needed to help with rebuilding . Please consider a volunteer work trip. Please contact us if you would like to join a Giving Circle work trip.(here)

America was built on the concept of neighbor helping neighbor, across the land. Please check out The Giving Circle's website here, and see how YOU can help. Thank you!

See you at Mardi Gras!

Monday, January 26, 2009

So how cold is it?

Because everybody needs to laugh! Thanks, Vic!!!

Torture 101

Much has been made about President Obama planning to close GITMO, and his declaring " the US will not torture." Or words to that effect. CJ, over at A Soldiers Perspective gives the reality of the US and torture - the rules the US already follows:

CJ Ensuring Lawful Interrogations

January 24th, 2009 by CJ

I need to reiterate something here because this is going to be a touchy subject. In accordance with AR 360-1, the opinions expressed on A Soldier's Perspective are those of the individual writer and do not reflect the official positions or policies of the Department of Defense, the United States Army, or the United States Government." Theses views are based upon personal experiences, research on the facts, and analysis. This blog is maintained as a citizen of the United States and NOT as a US Soldier. Though the author may be a Soldier, in no way, shape, or form am I writing in that capacity. I write this post on my personal time, using my personal computer, and my personal funds and do so under the guarantees of the United States Constitution, Amendment 1.

Now let's move along to the issue of interrogations and the recent decision regarding interrogations by President Barack Obama.

Much has been made of the fact that President Obama recently signed an Executive Order banning any interrogation methods not expressly covered in FM 2-22.3, Human Intelligence Collector Operations. I will NOT be linking to this regulation, nor will I specifically discuss what is in it. The Executive Branch of our government has already given the enemy enough notice and insight that I do not need to help it along. The following is a hypothetical situation.

In just a few weeks, the United States will experience our annual ritual called the Super Bowl. The teams this year are the Arizona Cardinals versus the Pittsburgh Steelers (I'm rooting for the Cardinals, by the way). It's probably no secret that the Steelers are highly favored to win. They are a superior team. They have a spectacular offense and defense. The NFL Commissioner recently decided that the Steelers were simply TOO good. They use plays that the Cardinals don't even know about. They are highly complex and successful.

To ensure that the odds are evened out a bit, the Commissioner decided the Steelers can only play in the Super Bowl if they use the Cardinals' playbook. Any plays that are not contained within the Cardinals playbook are strictly forbidden. The Steelers are to IMMEDIATELY cease any and all training on all strategies they have successfully used to get to the Super Bowl.

On top of this, if the Steelers wish to use 2 or 3 specific plays in the playbook, the Steelers must request approval from the Commissioner prior to using them. Some of their plays are simply too sneaky and the Steelers can't be trusted to use them unless it can be assured they truly need them to win. The Cardinals may continue to play as they always have and use whatever tricks and options they choose in addition to the standard plays the Steelers are restricted to.

Under these circumstances, what do you think the outcome of the Super Bowl is going to be? Ladies and gentlemen, we're playing the Super Bowl EVERY DAY in this country. Only we're not looking to catch a football down the sidelines or prevent the other team from putting points on the board. We're playing for our very lives. A touchdown by the other team results in dead Soldiers, Civilians, and poor, helpless puppies and sea kittens....

There is more after this great analogy, of course, and you can read it here. I don't really need to add anything else to this one!

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Hannah needs you

"Hannah enjoying rides at the beach" (From Hannah's CaringBridge page here)

I am sure you all remember little Hannah Garman? I just found the following on Michelle Malkin:

Say a prayer for Hannah

By Michelle Malkin • January 25, 2009 10:20 AM

Last month, many of you joined in sending Christmas wishes to little Hannah Garman, the beautiful 4-year-old girl diagnosed with a rare, incurable brain tumor in October. Hannah’s mother died of cancer two years ago. Her community in Ephrata, Pa., spread word of Hannah’s wish to receive as many Christmas cards as possible. The nation responded with an outpouring of love.

Reader Greg, a firefighter in Lancaster, forwarded me an update from Hannah’s aunt, Michelle Reiff. Your prayers are needed again:

My name is Michelle Reiff, but to Hannah Garman, my little 5 year old niece, it is Aunt Shelly. I am writing this email hoping it gets mass emailed as quick as the benefit emails and all the other emails did….so I am asking all of you to please forward on to all your contacts, friends , family, anyone and everyone. You have all proved how amazing you are at coming together for a good cause and I thank each one of you from the bottom of my heart. I am asking just one more simple thing and the most important....

Michelle has more, and you can read it here.

My heart aches for this precious girl and her family. The request they now have is one we CAN do.

An entry on CaringBridge last week from Hannah's dad:

MONDAY, JANUARY 19, 2009 05:09 PM, EST

Well--Very tough writing today. The MRI showed the tumor has grown over the last few weeks, even with the treatments.Even the small areas have shown growth & they were the areas that should have responded first. So, today was Hannah's last treatment. We are going to enjoy the good days we have left with Hannah. Everything is now in God's hands. Please pray for our family & especially for a miracle.


Do as your heart dictates for Hannah. Thank you.

Every Day Heroes

Zabul team combats malnutrition, unsafe water
Capt. Timothy Harrelson (center) and Army Maj. Trevor Nehls discuss care for a young Afghan boy who has a broken leg in Qalat, Afghanistan. Captain Harrelson and Major Nehls are members of the Zabul Provincial Reconstruction Team. (U.S. Air Force photo/ Master Sgt. Keith Brown) (source)

Meet Captain Tim Harrelson:

Feeding Afghan children a formula for peace

Airmen help Afghan children beat hunger

Photo Courtesy of Tim Harrelson
Capt. Tim Harrelson treats a 2-year-old boy for worms last June in Surri, a small village just outside Qalat city, Afghanistan.

Photo by Keith Brown/Courtesy of the U.S. Air Force
Capt. Tim Harrelson treats a 10-month-old boy for malnutrition last year in Surri, a small village just outside Qalat city, Afghanistan.

Photo by Keith Brown/Courtesy of the U.S. Air Force
Capt. James Arnold gives a food supplement to the mother of a malnourished Afghan child in August at the Qalat Hospital in Qalat, Afghanistan. Arnold and Capt. Tim Harrelson developed a nutritional paste that spared Afghan children from starving.

Heading into a 10-month deployment to Afghanistan a year ago, Capt. Tim Harrelson wanted to do something about malnutrition and infant mortality, but figured he would spend most of his time treating trauma and running sick call inside the wire.

By the time he returned to Misawa Air Base in Japan around Christmas, the physician assistant had helped develop a nutritional paste that saved many Afghan children from starving to death. The knowledge was left for local doctors and other provincial reconstruction teams.

"You get involved with a mission that can sometimes seem overwhelming in scope," said Harrelson, 38, of Indian Land, S.C., who was recently awarded a Bronze Star for his deployment efforts.

"It was greatly satisfying. In that situation, you hope you can leave a positive legacy. It doesn’t matter if your name is attached to it or not. What matters is it works and someone else can use it — and you get to where people can be happy and they can be healthy.

"I think that’s what helps establish peace in the region."...

Go read the rest of this story at Stars and Stripes here. This story actually made it to quite a few msm outlets. Just 'google' his name and meet other dedicated servicemen and women, making a difference every single day.

Thank YOU, Captain Harrelson.

Music and Me

Would you hold my hand
If I saw you in Heaven?
Would you help me stand
If I saw you in heaven ?

Beyond the door
There's peace I'm sure.
And I know there'll be no more...
Tears in heaven

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Weekly world news quiz

This is a weekly BBC feature that I sometimes do. Were you paying attention? Check this out:

Weekly world news quiz

It's the end of another week... Just how much do you remember about the headlines from the past seven days?

Test your knowledge of world news events in our quiz.

When you've got your result, why not e-mail the quiz to your friends to see how they measure up?

Question 1
What was in the gift box that Michelle Obama presented to Laura Bush at the White House on inauguration day?
A: A collection of poems
B: A diary and pen
C: A Bible
Question 2
The Iraqi government failed to find a buyer for Saddam Hussein's $30m luxury yacht this week. What did they blame?
A: The global slump
B: The garish interior decor
C: The notoriety of its previous owner

Go here to find the rest of the questions, and see how much you remember!

"I got sunshine on a cloudy day..."

Sunshine on a cloudy day: a full rainbow arches over the Thames from Hurlingham Park in Fulham to Wandsworth Bridge. Rainbows occur when sunlight is refracted through droplets of water in the atmosphere — and there has been no shortage of those this week. Picture: Graham Crouch (Evening Standard's Picture of the Day here)

Just because!

Calling all Angels

Soldiers' Angels hero adoption waiting list is over 900 today. All these heroes waiting to be adopted are currently serving overseas, away from their families and could use some additional support from you. Won't you please consider adopting a hero today? All is takes is the commitment from you to write a letter a week and send one small care package a month during the length of the deployment. To adopt a hero, click here now.

If adoption does not suit you and you would like to get involved with Soldiers' Angels, there are many opportunities for everyone to get involved. Just click here to find out more.

Friday, January 23, 2009

NFL does the right thing!

Remember my post about the NFL and our Marine Colour Guard? Yesterday.

An update from CJ:

CJ NFL Makes Amends

January 23rd, 2009 by CJ

The NFL has come around. I spent every free moment I had today and last night working the phones calling every number I could find for the NFL to find out why they were excluding our troops from remaining in the stadium to watch the game after presenting the colors at the opening ceremonies of the Super Bowl. Well, it finally paid off.

I spoke with NFL spokesman Greg Aiello a little over an hour ago and he assured me that the NFL was going to do the right thing. He then sent me an official statement via email:

After speaking with our military liaison for the color guard, we are going to take care of it. The members of the color guard (12 people) will watch the game in the stadium. The background is this:...

Go read the rest here.


Memo to Michael Sweeney: Do NOT mess with an Angel!

A bully called Michael Sweeney decided to take a swipe at Mary Ann, of Soldiers Angels Germany.

That he is totally uneducated about what Mary Ann - and Soldiers' Angels - actually does, for ALL our troops, is so obvious, Sweeney comes across as a pathetic little creature. I *could* say more, lots more, but two others - both highly qualified to speak about SA - have already done such an admirable job, I'll just share their responses with you.

First up, from Bill and Bob's Excellent Afghanistan Adventure, comes this:

Friday, January 23, 2009

Oh No You Didn't!

First I need to make a couple of things crystal clear. I was not asked to do this. I am pissed, and if you don't want an adrenaline rush, don't read this post.

I'm sure that you are all aware of who Soldiers' Angels are. They are the most magnificent Angels on God's green earth; they are heroes, and I love them. I saw their generosity and love lavished upon many Soldiers in Afghanistan, and I know that they did just as much... more... for the Soldiers in Iraq (there were more Soldiers to be loved there.) Among these Angels are some who do extra extraordinary things. They give of themselves in the most difficult of situations. These Angels spend their time ministering to gravely wounded warriors who find themselves in the fight of their lives, sometimes struggling to live; sometimes losing that fight. When there is no one else to hold their hand as they lay in such peril, there are Angels there with them.

This is in no way a dismissal of what medical personnel do. Our medical personnel are magnificent, too. This is not about them. This is about our Angels, and I will explain that shortly.

These Angels are volunteers. No one makes them do what they do. They do what they do out of patriotism and love and respect. They give; they do not take. Their motto is, "Let no Soldier go unloved."


Right now I am telling you; if you mess with my Angels, you are messing with me, and I am calling on each Soldier, Marine, Sailor, and Airman to say, "Amen," and stand with me in their defense. I am claiming each of them as one of us. They are our Angels. Someone has messed with one of my Angels, and I am about to call him by name.

Many Soldiers' Angels chapters have blogs. They share with the world what they think, some of their experiences, and their patriotism. They call for help and tell stories of inspiration. They summon other Angels. The most powerful experiences will never be shared with anyone, even their own friends, because they are moments of private human intimacy that require great respect. They are moments of incredible pain, shocking life-changing realizations, terrible loss, and moments when life ends. They willingly subject themselves to great pain, and they go in there knowing that it will hurt, but they go anyway. That is bravery. These Angels are strong, strong people. They are, in every sense of the word, Angels. I am a Soldier, and I will call them my own. ...[a brat note here to B & B: and I love you for it :), but I]

You really MUST go and read the rest of this most excellent, articulate smackdown of the 'rocketspaniel' here.

I wonder if Michael Sweeney is capable of learning anything? Meanwhile, Laughing Wolf, from BlackFive dissects Sweeney's ill-informed, bully drivel:

Oh Yes It Did

Posted By Laughing_Wolf

It seems that Michael Sweeney of Leavenworth, WA took it upon itself not merely to castigate MaryAnn of Soldiers' Angels Germany for her blogging, but also to report her to the head of Army PAO operations and members of Congress for allegedly engaging in politics under the guise of charity.

Let's take a look at this impressive missive.


First Mistake: Salutation. For one who is PC, the use of Madam is contraindicated as it implies ownership, as in the person being married. It also has the connotation of an older woman. In terms of general use and connotation, this is most often used in real life by pretentious a******s in restaurants (along with the snap of a finger) to attract the attention of a waitress they feel is improperly ignoring them. It carries the strong connotation of a superior dealing with an errant inferior, and is meant to in that useage. In terms of writing usage, the proper form of respectful address to a female (and in this case lady) who's marital status is unknown to you is Ms. (in American English) and it is no longer even used as a proper mode of address in correspondence in British English, which was obviously not the case here since you failed to sign it "Yours Faithfully" at the bottom. Which pretty much means that you are either woefully ignorant of manners and etiquette or that you (most likely) intended it to be belittling and insulting.

I think the work that you do aiding wounded soldiers and their families at Landstuhl Army Medical Center is commendable, but as a veteran I find the extreme right-wing political slant of your web site to be a disturbing travesty that runs in direct contradiction of the official policy of the United Stated Army which is to always remain above politics . Perhaps you should consider re-registering your entity as a PAC?

How do we count the failures here? Logical fallacies or simply facts? Hmmmm. Let's see. There is the wonderful slam of " commendable, but" right out the gate, a debate tactic used almost exclusively by those either in a weaker position or that are about to proceed into ad hom. Then there is the fallacy of the false appeal to authority in the "as a veteran" part on a subject that has nothing to do with veteran or non-veteran status. Proper usage would be "as a veteran who used it, I find that your story analysis of the MX1000 weapon system was flawed." It becomes a logical fallacy when used as part of an apple-orange comparison as in this case. Especially when the subject of the rather long winded overly adjectified diatribe appears to be the content of the website. To put the whipped cream on this bit of pseudointellectual drivel, Michael Sweeney of Leavenworth WA seems to be also trying to claim that this blog is either an official Army blog or it should operate under what he regards as the proper rules for such a beast. He then further beats a dead horse by implying that Soldiers' Angels is a small entity consisting simply of MaryAnn. The execrable grammatical structure of the sentences makes it very hard to tell exactly what he is demonizing or modifying, or flat out just trying to say.

As for the claim of "extreme right-wing political slant" there is no apparent research on this nor is there any modifier that would indicate that anything is coming to back up this rather outlandish claim. I modify this part by noting that the Soldiers' Angels Germany blog goes to great lengths to be apolitical, and that any rational bit of basic analysis will demonstrate that fact. The same can't be said of what appears to be the source of Michael Sweeney's outrage as noted below.

So, massive failure of fact, grammar, and massive use of logical fallacies. Good job!...

And of course Laughing Wolf doesn't stop there! You can read the rest of HIS missive here.

I am sure my regular readers all know that I am not a military person. Never served in any military, but even I know a most basic fact: Before you put ANYone in the cross-hairs as your target, you really, really should do some actual research.

My regular readers also know I am not an American. However, it is no coincidence that my tagline on SA states: "Every Soldier is one of our own...". This is my belief, and it extends to EVERY Angel who works - as a volunteer. You mess with one of our soldiers, or one of our Angels, and you mess with all of us. It really IS that basic.

Just as I know that our troops in harm's way serve together, regardless of which flag they serve, so, too do our Angels all work together, regardless of where we come from.

Michael Sweeney? Two points for you: First, before you lock and load next time, inform yourself, do your research (as a very famous journalist once told me when I was a neophyte! ) Second: Do not ever attempt to bully an Angel. That truly is a battle you cannot win.

I am done, for now.



HMS Montrose, a Type 23 frigate, performing a series of tight turns (Archive picture)
[Picture: POA(Phot) Mick Storey]

Navy frigate to get new electronic 'brain'

An Equipment and Logistics news article

14 Jan 09

The Royal Navy frigate HMS Montrose is to get a new electronic 'brain' which will help her crew defend the ship against air, surface and underwater threats.

The Type 23 frigate has come into Babcock's dockyard for the £15m upkeep which will see a major capability upgrade for the ship with the first fitting of the Royal Navy's newest command system, DNA(2), which is based on the system being fitted to the Royal Navy's powerful new Type 45 destroyers.

The command system is the ship's 'brain', central to the ship's fighting capability, providing the officers and crew with vital information from sensors and communications, allowing them to direct weapon engagements above, on and below the sea's surface....(read the rest on MoD here)

And a two-fer - just because I can!:

First batch of 'souped-up' combat vehicles delivered

An Equipment and Logistics news article

9 Jan 09

The first delivery of over 100 enhanced light tanks used for scouting out the enemy have arrived at the Army's training units, complete with a state-of-the-art engine cooling system taken from the motorsport industry.

One of the new enhanced combat vehicles

One of the new enhanced combat vehicles
[Picture: MOD]

Under an Urgent Operational Requirement (UOR) contract worth £19million, a number of important upgrades have been carried out to boost the performance and reliability of the British Army's Combat Vehicle Reconnaissance (Tracked) [CVR(T)] vehicles in the demanding conditions of Afghanistan.

Significant changes include:

• Up-powered engine, gearbox and final drives to improve performance in the demanding operational and environmental conditions faced in Afghanistan;

• A new high-efficiency radiator and charge air cooler from the motorsport world - a major improvement on earlier systems.

Lieutenant Colonel Martin Fenn, Environmental Mitigation UOR Team Leader, said:...

To read the rest of this story, go to the MoD here.