Saturday, April 30, 2005

I told you Marvel was Better than DC...

Stan Lee rules... It always pisses me off that the man's name never appears on those "Most Influential" lists. He invented Spiderman for Christ's sake --how many smiles has he been responsible for? Sorry, just had to get that out.

It's the weekend and we could use some good here goes:

"Marvel Comics has created a special comic in support of U.S. troops deployed around the world. The book, "The New Avengers: Guest Starring the Fantastic Four," is written by Brian Michael Bendis with art by Dan Jurgens and Sandu Florea and was unveiled at the Pentagon during a press conference Thursday. In talking with the Dallas News, Bendis said he approached the project as "the equivalent to a USO trip - a nice present for the troops."

"The book is part of the Defense Department's America Supports You Initiative. A two-page center spread inside the book contains a poster with the America Supports You logo surrounded by Marvel superheroes. That logo will also be included on the covers to all Marvel comics for one month according to the Dallas News."

"In a press release issued by the Defense Department, Rob Steffens, Marvel's Senior Vice President for Operations, "announced that Marvel is donating the original artwork to the Fisher House Foundation to auction off and earn money for the foundation's work in support of sick and wounded military members and their families."(source)

This is so awesome --and this definitely ends the argument once and for all about which is better --Marvel or DC Comics...
I mean come on Spidey, The Hulk, WOLVERINE, Professor X VS Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman? You know that Dark Phoenix could kick Wonder Woman's ass! And hello...The Punisher! (...and yes, I am a comic book and video game geek --got a problem with that?!)
I learned how to draw by copying Marvel drawings...which has come in handy now that I have two boys obsessed with superheroes…!
My Drawings:
Spidey and Venom
White Queen

Rock on to Stan Lee and Marvel putting their money where their mouth is and actually supporting the troops!

Friday, April 29, 2005

Higher (?) Education #973...

Apparently it is now perfectly acceptable to teach conspiracy theories for college credits. As if the Bruce Springsteen class wasn't bad enough! Wesleyan College in North Carolina is offering a 'course' taught by Professor Jane Christensen entitled, "9/11: The Road to Tyranny".
Being taught this spring, the course explores the validity of the
government's official 9/11 story, the many alternative theories advanced and the way the war on terrorism has drastically changed American life...We are examining the official story and will analyze it critically. We will consider alternative explanations of what occurred on 9/11 and how it became a catalyst for the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, as well as the attack on civil liberties in the United States."(source)

Sound pretty fair and balanced? Not propaganda at all! The only question that remains unanswered is if Michael Moore will be a guest speaker when they view the required viewing of Fahrenheit 911. I speculate about this because the Professor admits that she will be relying on "eyewitness accounts, alternative news sources and 'documentaries'.
"Some of the required texts and website readings include:
--Michael Collins Piper, "FBI Admits No Evidence Links Hijackers to 911",
American Free Press. FBI Admits: No Evidence
--Michael Parenti, The Terrorism Trap. San Francisco, City Lights Books,
--"Infowars 911 archive", Alex Jones. Alex Jones'
--Michael Chossudovsky, "The Mysterious Breakfast Meeting on Capitol Hill",
Global research, August 4, 2003. Mysterious September 11 Breakfast Meeting on Capitol Hill, Michel Chossudovsky." (source)

What grade will the person that disagrees with Ms. Christensen receive when they submit their 10-12 page final paper that surmises that 9/11 happened because we ignored the growing threat of growing Islamo-fascism? Should be interesting.

(Ironically, as I was searching for a picture to correspond with this post I typed ‘North Carolina Wesleyan College’ into [my top secret search engine] and THIS is one of the pictures that came up...)

Ahhhh...School Projects...

Open Question to Teachers:

Why do you assign projects that are way beyond the capacity of the child charged with completing said project? You know that a parent will end up doing it and most of us have already graduated high school and in many cases college and grad school. We don't really need to make 'About Me' posters and 'Spring Themed Hats'...or do we? Does each generation do it for the younger --making sure we all get our turn to be covered in Paper Mache and getting our fingers stuck together with Crazy Glue?

A Kindergartener can not make a 'theme' hat by themselves. And if they have an anal parent like me they are barely allowed to help --what self respecting parent would let thier six year old parade in front of the whole school in something that they crafted themselves. I know I know, some would --I learned that after looking at the aforementioned 'About Me' posters. Some of them were actually done on a ripped off piece of grocery store brown bag...ripped, not even cut. A piece of poster board is $1 people...and J's school is not a financially challenged one. I get the whole "he made it himself' thing, but you didn't have to tell us...we knew that by looking at it.

Justice said to me this afternoon, "Mom, I think I'm definitely going to win. Remember how crappy the 'About Me' posters were?"

I didn't have the heart to tell him that *I* would be the one winning --or-- that public schools no longer let kids WIN because that would mean that other kids would LOSE and that could damage their psyche forever... Hooray for mandated mediocrity in the public school system of America!

Spring Theme Hat for today's Hat Parade...
The Hat...
(notice the handcrafted popsicle stick picnic table)

**This is a very tongue-in-cheek post...I love doing projects for with Justice, though I could do without the Super Glue binding my middle and index fingers together**

In the Sandbox...

Chillin' on the Hummer...

"The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing."
- Edmund Burke

"For those that will fight for it....Freedom...has a flavor the protected shall never know".
- L/Cpl Edwin L. Craft, B Co. 3rd AT's

"Never in the history of the world has any soldier sacrificed more for the freedom and liberty of total strangers than the American soldier."
- Zell Miller

"For it has been said so truthfully that it is the soldier, not the reporter, who has given us the freedom of the press. It is the soldier, not the poet, who has given us freedom of speech. It is the soldier, not the agitator, who has given us the freedom to protest. It is the soldier who salutes the flag, serves beneath the flag, whose coffin is draped by the flag, who gives that protester the freedom to abuse and burn that flag."
- Zell Miller (Best Quote Ever!)

...the girls...
British Army, Back from Iraq, Just back from Kuwait, Black Hawk Crew Cheif

Thursday, April 28, 2005

Hollywood...and the United Nations...

Hollywood failed in it's efforts to change the outcome of the election, but it has decided to try again...this time focusing efforts on boosting the reputation of the United Nations and prompting the U.S. join the International Criminal Court (that would have the authority to prosecute American military personnel).

This is being done in the medium of film --"The Interpreter" starring; you guessed it, Sean Penn. Nicole Kidman, playing the interpreter who overhears an assassination plot to kill an African dictator, says in the film, ""I believe in this place. I believe in what it's trying to do."
"The film was not only done with the cooperation of the U.N. but the movie's official website features an "Inside the U.N." tour, where you can learn about all the positive things the U.N. has done, such as winning a Nobel Prize for its peacekeeping operations in 1988. Nothing is said about U.N. peacekeepers engaging in sexual abuse and Kofi Annan's failure to stop the genocide in Rwanda when he was director of U.N. peacekeeping."
"Arthur J. Pais, in an account published by, quotes Pollack as saying that he convinced the U.N. to cooperate with the film by telling Shashi Tharoor, the under secretary-general for communications and public information at the U.N., that "the character Nicole Kidman plays is someone passionately committed to diplomacy and believes in the principles of the U.N." Pollack said, "I wanted it to be an argument about the words versus guns." Not surprisingly, Secretary-General Kofi Annan gave his approval. Also not surprisingly, Annan joined Kidman and Penn at the U.S. premier of the film." (source)

The struggle of the film is what to do with this murderous dictator --and the solution is to turn him over to the International Criminal Court (which has no death penalty) because 'we wouldn't want more Anti-American sentiment in the world." It is Sean Penn's character (an FBI agent) that convinces the assassin to 'let the ICC dispense justice'...

"Video clips from "Inside the U.N." show then-First Lady Hillary Clinton saying, "Human rights are women's rights," and British Prime Minster Tony Blair saying, "No nation can opt out of global warming or fence in its own private climate." That's another poke in the eye at the U.S., which refuses to ratify the global warming treaty.
There's also a very short clip of President Reagan saying, "We should not confuse the signing of agreements with the solving of problems." Reagan made those remarks in New York before the United Nations General Assembly Special Session Devoted to Disarmament." (source)

I wonder if Pollack (the producer/writer) or Sean Penn is aware of the Oil for Food Scandal, the debacle of the sanctions, the sex scandals in Africa or the nepotism of Kofi Annan... I guess in their eyes it's OK to mock Bush for a DUI, but excuse the UN for turning its head to the genocide in Rwanda and now in Sudan... I would give anything to pick the brains (?) of these people....

In light of this movie This Movie and the reports that two of Paul Volker's aids quit the UN Oil for Food investigation because they felt as if Kofi Annan unduly influenced TWO investigations into his own conduct -- This begs the question just how much power does Annan and the United Nations actually wield? Now more than ever, we NEED John Bolton!

Handcuffed -Update

When little Jieesha Scott was asked why she began destroying her classroom (the act that set off the chain of events that eventually led to her being flex-cuffed) she answered, "Because I wanted to get out of that school".
As to why she kept hitting the Principle --"She kept following me and wouldn’t leave me alone".
...for those that said she was only five and she didn't know what she was doing, well, it would seem to me she knew exactly what she was doing...

And the lawyer for the mother, *sigh*, talking 'long term effects'...
"The amount is unspecified at this point. We really are going to have to have the girl thoroughly evaluated by professionals to see what long-term damage is going to come of this. Clearly she was traumatized. …She's doing well in her new class. But we're concerned about the long-term effects of this."
He also went on to say, "The educators have available to them a number of resources: special counseling, alternative classes, special education. This girl should have been evaluated. She was identified as having problems. This child shouldn't be in the regular class if there was a problem."
I would argue that educators have no resources --and none of the things that he lists could have stopped the girl from falling off the table she kept climbing on and breaking her leg --at which point the mother would have sued because the child wasn't restrained and allowed to hurt herself. (source)

Great Article about this...

In the Sandbox...

Today's Sandbox is dedicated to Redleg, his boys that are currently in Afghanistan and everyone at Ft. Bragg...
Armed & Dangerous...


I have ridden the skies in great machines,
hooked up and jumped with the best of men.

I have fought long and hard, and when I felt I had no energy left,
I have been fired by the fear that if I stopped fighting, comrades would die.

And when I was in danger, enemy all around,
I heard the thunder from my left and my right, as my life was defended.
I have never been alone.

I live, jump, fight and battle to victory
with the greatest assemblage of men on earth.

Gentlemen, to the BROTHERHOOD of the AIRBORNE.

...To the AIRBORNE !

...the girls...
Ft. Sill
Ft. Hood
Ft. Hood 2
Ft. Bragg

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Bullying...this time it's personal...

We had a pretty intense, and quite interesting discussion on pretty much every aspect of the 5 year old that was handcuffed for destroying her classroom and punching an Asst. Principal. The discussion seemed pretty evenly divided between those that thought the scare of being cuffed would be good for the out-of-control pre-pubescent --and those that urged compassion to bring about more desirable results. No matter which position you took --this one may differ because Jieesha did not harm another child. I have a feeling if she had, some opinions may have been different (especially among those of us with children). So what about the child that doesn't just destroy bulletin boards and hit Assistant Principals, but takes out their anger on other children?

"Those problems are at the heart of a proposed bill in the state legislature that would require each public school in Tennessee to adopt and enforce an anti-bullying policy. The proposal passed the state Senate on Thursday."
"This is not just an issue of 'You stay on this side of the playground and they stay on this side of the playground'," said state Sen. Diane Black, R-Hendersonville, the bill's Senate sponsor. "Children need to be aware of how to treat one another. Teachers need to be aware that if a child comes to them with a complaint, it's something they have to take seriously. Ultimately, we also want to help the bully.'" (source)

This bill will most likely pass through the Senate and be signed into Tennessee law. The question is will it do any good? We have all seen the various video tapes of the brutal school bus beatings (source) and heard the horror stories of kids being jumped after school... Do we show the same compassion to these kids that was advocated for Jieesha? Should other children have to bear the burden of poor parenting, emotional disorders or plain old bad seeds?

The Man and I are going through this right now with Justice. There is a 'bully' in his kindergarten class that pushes all the kids around (and always when the teacher isn't looking)--and even though this kid is tiny (the second smallest boy in the class) the other kids never retaliate. Justice knows that it is wrong to hit and, though The Man wants him to take the kid out, he will do nothing back for fear his teacher and I would be upset with him. I had a chance to see this kid in action at a class bowling party --and he was pushing kids against the wall and pushing, punching and kicking his father. His father is little too and I have a sneaking suspicion that the father may encourage this behavior --maybe he was picked on for being small and doesn't want his son to suffer the same fate. No one may pick on him, but no one likes him either...two weeks ago only one classmate showed up for his birthday party. I didn't even RSVP (which is very unlike me)...but I have no compassion for a child with a Napoleon complex that threatens to ruin my child's outlook on school. (Yes, I have been in to speak with the teacher and told her that if there is a new incident -with Justice or any of the children, I am going straight to the boy's parents...I will SHAME them into action if I have to).

Truthfully I don't think this bill will do anything for the kids that are actually being bullied, but at least the stories are out there and more attention is being brought to the growing problem...

Caption It!

I know, I know...two days in a row, but when I saw this there was really NO WAY to resist...

THIS PICTURE needs a Caption...and I am going to start it with...

"...See Riceburner, you'd never see this on a Harley!..."

OK, this time it is a tie:

Nimbus: "Thanks to Janie's powerful and repetitive flatuence, her husbsand was now averaging over 350 miles per gallon".

Russ:"I guess a "Haulin' Ass" bumper sticker on the back of that bike would be redundant, right?"

In the Sandbox...

Wouldn't want him mad at me...

"Allah is on our side. That is why we will beat the aggressor."
-Saddam Hussein
(...and then again, maybe not...)

"If anyone tells you America's best days are behind her, they're looking the wrong way."
-President George Bush

"Achieving our goals will require sacrifice and time, but we will prevail. Make no mistake about that."
-President George Bush

"The Iraqi forces are conducting the Mother of all Retreats."
-Dick Cheney

...USCG girls...
One, Two, Three, Four, Five

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Frivolous Lawsuits...not just American anymore

A woman in Scotland is suing the hospital (and subsequently the National Health Service) that aborted twins that she was carrying in 2001. One of the twins lived.
"Jayde, the baby who survived, is now three years old and her mother, Stacy Dow, is filing suit for damages. She's seeking the cost she will incur of raising Jayde, an estimated $600,000 plus.

"I have got a child now that I wasn't planning to have and I believe the hospital should take some responsibility for that," Dow told a London newspaper.

The hospital, located in Perth, Scotland, failed to "take reasonable care to establish that the [abortion] had been successful," Dow said." (source)

The simple joys of socialized, not only have UK taxpayers funded the initial abortion, but now they will most likely pay to raise the child that survived. Believe it or not there is precedence for this in the UK. A British woman was awarded $20,000 when one of her twins survived a failed abortion. (source)

I wonder what this woman will end up telling baby Jayde about her origin in this world...about her twin and about the 'money they have' (should she win)...

Caption it!

Ms. Kitty is the winner with Sesame Street presents:
Pimp Yo' Ride! Hosted by Elmo and Lil' Bow Wow

In the Sandbox...Challenge Series

Sgt. B

This story shall the good man teach his son;
And Crispin Crispian shall ne'er go by,
From this day to the ending of the world,
But we in it shall be remember'd;
We few, we happy few, we band of brothers;
For he to-day that sheds his blood with me
Shall be my brother; be he ne'er so vile,
This day shall gentle his condition:
And gentlemen in England now a-bed
Shall think themselves accursed they were not here,
And hold their manhoods cheap whiles any speaks
That fought with us upon Saint Crispin's day.

Passage and pictures kindly sent in by Sgt. B
Sgt. B's site: The Gun Line

Monday, April 25, 2005

Handcuffing Kindergarteners....

My first reaction was no way. What could a five year old possibly do to warrant being handcuffed? I was thinking of one of my little guys in cuffs...and so very scared.

Then I watched the whole video. This little girl (Jieesha -spelling of which I have no idea) is HORRIBLE. An undisciplined abhorrent child, with a “Future Resident of a Women's Correctional Facility" sign practically hanging around her neck. I can't fathom ANY jury having one ounce of compassion for this child...nor should they for the mother. Who raises a child that acts like this? Which one of us would have ever destroyed our classrooms -ripping down and tearing up bulletin boards, then destroyed the Assistant principle's office and then repeatedly punched her like a little wild beast? It would have never even been a possibility in my mind--and nor would it ever be in the minds of my children.

Reporters are saying that the girl "appears to have calmed down", before the police cuffed her. Wrong. The girl sees the police and then sits down. The school called the girl's mother to inform them of the situation, yet the mother couldn't come get her. So what other recourse than to call the police? Teachers can't lay a hand on a child and are scared to death of law suits-- and that is quite apparent from this video as the Asst. Principle allows the girl to punch her over and over keeping her own hands in view of the camera. 30K a year (or whatever paltry salaries teachers are bringing in these days) is NOT worth having to deal with someone else's parenting disaster.

Something else that is not being reported is the police KNOW the five year old already. Upon entering the room, the male officer says, "Jieesha, do you remember me? I'm the one you told your mom put handcuffs on ya." At five she has had previous dealings with the police...where is DHS? Why isn't the mother in handcuffs? Why are the police being penalized for someone else's poor parenting?

This may have been Jieesha's one shot at being 'scared straight' --this may have altered her seemingly apparent path right to lock up. But no, her mother will press charges -further undermining authority (what the hell, she already assaulted a Principle at age 5) and will send the message to her daughter that her behavior was acceptable and the police are people with no real authority. This lesson will carry right through into her teenage years and will grant her the permanent wardrobe of an orange jumpsuit.

As you watch the video and see this girl destroying everything and being violent (the newspapers are saying 'unruly'), you really have to credit this teacher for being dammed patient. There is NO WAY I would have let that little girl destroy my classroom and oh, the temptation to knock her out would have been overwhelming. (and this from someone that doesn't hit her kids...)

My vote is to lock up the mom... Can we get a law that holds parents directly responsible for the actions of kids under 10? If they are acting like that already there must be something real bad going on at home. Unfortunately in Jieesha’s case, it would seem the damage is already done –so we now have to deal with it from here. The question is how.

In the Sandbox...Challenge Series

The G-Man

"...I sit here in my box, my patience being tested. The roommate’s listening or watching some shitty gangsta rap DVD on his new tv/DVD combo he just bought at the PX. We stopped by the PX after having to qualify at the range on paper targets. Qualifying in a combat zone, God help us. Could we possibly do any more admin crap while we’re in a supposed combat zone. We get rodded onto the range for safety, when less than 100 meters outside the FOB there are those that want to kill us. I’ve already had two all night missions this week. God forbid if they give us a few hours of down time. Not sleep time, down time. There’s a difference. Can I have one waking moment not involved in a mission or sleeping? Is that too much to ask? The rap music is trying to overwhelm the music in my headphones. I must escape this place. I have to turn up the volume on my headphones to stay sane. I’m winning the war on what flows through my ears, but my nose is in a losing battle. He’s doing it again. He’s spraying some God-awful cologne or deodorant spray up into the air around him as if to ward off evil spirits.

Take me away Johnny. Sing about God, hurting, killing, whatever, just take me away from this place for just a few moments. I hear a soulful woman’s voice singing with Cash. It’s rapturous, more beautiful than the sweetest smelling rose, lifting me higher, taking me away from this ugly place. It reminds me of being surrounded by dirt and violence and some angel of a girl walking up to me and handing me a rose. God she was precious, and the flower smelled like heaven. What are you doing here little girl? How can something so beautiful exist in such an depraved place? I want to cry out to God to help this girl. I want to protect her. Give her a good life, free of oppression. Rid her and the others of the chains that have forever bound their kind in this land. Protect her and give her peace. Give her a chance. Let her smile forever be. She must be an angel, sent here to remind the sorrowful that there is goodness and beauty on this earth. I hope she stays a long time. I don’t want Him to take her back yet. Don’t leave little girl. You must stay in this place and provide hope. Let her help these people. Give her opportunity. Don’t relegate her to being another field hand, watched over by men who sit idle. Keep her healthy and happy. Let her prosper. Let her dream big and attain them. Send her to school, a scholarship, opportunity. Make her a bright shining light.

Cash’s voice is bringing me back. The awful stench of the cologne has receded. The sleepless night before is behind me. The wasted hours sitting at a traffic circle don’t seem as fruitless anymore. For those hours make this moment that much better. I have three papers in front of me. I need the news. I need to know of something other than this place. They are all days old, but I don’t care. Discarded, they sat on the floor of the PX, with it’s picked through shelves. The Mother’s Day card display is almost empty as well. Only cards for daughters remain. How many people shopping in this shithole have daughters that are mothers? DVD’s, always DVD’s. So many movies, so few that interest me. The magazine rack in the back has been picked through as well. Hundreds of magazines but none with news. I need news, not magazines with girls asses bursting from the cover.

Cash is quoting a passage from Revelation. Take me away, even if it’s Armageddon. Let the Man come around, and I will welcome His embrace. Let the trumpets and multitude of angels sing. Let their voices fill my ears. Let the Man come around, and I will bow down before his throne. Fill this ugly place with your wrath and goodness. Show us your grace. Forgive me...."

(This excerpt taken from my favorite deployed milblogger: Michael @ A Day in Iraq. Post: 'God, Hope and Johnny Cash', 24 April 2005)

G-Man's Site: The Pickle

Sunday, April 24, 2005

I've Been Tagged... RAB (Why Are We Back In Iraq) to answer the following questions...
So here goes...

You're stuck inside Fahrenheit 451. Which book do you want to be?
Wow, that's many to choose from. I think Wuthering Heights (Bronte), but maybe Emma (Austen) --yes, Emma. It has money, deception, honorable men and my favorite pastime...matchmaking. *ahem*

Have you ever had a crush on a fictional character?
Many! Heathcliffe (I picture him to look like Viggo in LOTR), Mr. Knightly (Emma), Lestat (though not looking like Tom Cruise, but more like Wind-in-His-Hair from Dances with Wolves), Richard Chamberlain in The Thorn Birds and now Seth Bullock on Deadwood.

The last book you bought is?
"All's Fair. Love, War and Running for President" By Mary Matalin & James Carville. This is now the 5th (no lie) copy of this I have bought. I keep making the mistake of lending it out and never getting it back...

What are you currently reading?
I am always reading at least 10 things at once...currently on the 'table' are:
"How to Talk to a Liberal -If you Must" (Coulter), I am re-reading "Vanity Fair" (Thackeray), "Jack & Jackie" (Andersen), "Intellectual Morons" (Flynn), "Reds" (Morgan) and various mindless chick-novels...

Five books you would take to a deserted island:
All's Fair (Matalin/Carville)
Pride & Prejudice (Austen)
Jane Eyre (Bronte)
Shopaholic (Kinselle)
Iliad/Odyssey (Homer)
(...of course this list is ever-changing...)

Who are you going to pass this stick to (3 persons) and why?
JustRose (because her last post about the books she likes was callously eaten by Blogger...and it will give her a post...) Redleg (because he has some time on his hands and I am dying to know the 'fictional women' that he has had a crush on) and Nimbus (because I would be interested to hear his answers--and I want to know his crushes as well...). Consider yourselves tagged...sorry...
Everyone can do it in the comments if they want to --or on their sites...or not at all... Whatever you are comfortable with.

What Personality Disorder Are You...?

You May Be a Bit Histrionic ...
"Dramatic and over the top, you crave attention.
And you'll do anything it takes to get noticed.
You love to be seductive, even when it's inappropriate.
If you're ignored, you're easily hurt ... and act out even more!"

What Personality Disorder Are You?

In the Sandbox...

Scope him out...

"Any general who's worth his salt knows that war is not a Nintendo game, war is not something that's fought by robots."
~General Norman Schwarzkopf

"Fear will keep you alive in a war. Fear will keep you alive in business. There's nothing wrong with being afraid at all.
Fear tends to cause you to focus, it tends to cause your adrenaline to run, it tends to cause you to perhaps see things in much, much sharper perspective at that instant."
~General Norman Schwarzkopf

"It's the sense of duty that keeps you going sometimes when things get very, very rough. Somebody's got to do it. And if you don't, who will?"
~General Norman Schwarzkopf

...and the women....
Stationed in Germany
Air Force Medic
Just joined the Army
Moody A.F.B.

Saturday, April 23, 2005

Some Things You Shouldn't Miss...

Over at Redleg's site he has some pictures posted of his Airborne boys and their latest mission. You should really take a look... they're great!

Michael has a new post up at A Day In Iraq called "What's Next" that all you military types may be interested in --I would read it ASAP though because it may be one of those CBFTW-type posts that 'disappears' in a few days....

Jethro has a story posted that is laugh out loud funny. I rarely link to personal-type things, but everyone should read this.

The 36th installation of "Carnival of the Recipes" is up and running. This week the Carnival is being hosted by Be over at There are some really great ones this time...Chianti-poached pears, flan (Yum!), TexMex soup, stove-top taco pie, USED Kitty Litter Cake(!) and TONS more. So go check it out!

I am not a big fan of country music (actually I am not a fan at all), but can I just say that Charlie Daniels is awesome. He works tirelessly for our troops and I am going to buy one of his CDs...

They have dedicated the weight room at Camp Hit in Iraq to Cpl. Michael Lindemuth and now the most popular place in camp bears his name. Too cool.


I am insane about things matching. Ask Justrose or AB --fanatical about it... Even undergarments must match as you never know when you might end up in the back of an ambulance having your favorite shirt carelessly cut from your body.

I like to pretend that everyone uses Netscape and views my page at 1162 X 864, but deep down I know it aint so... Yesterday Netscape was being temperamental so I had to *gulp* use IE for the day --and, oh God, was it depressing. Internet Explorer has decided that it would rather dictate what my template looks like than let me do it. It has somehow overridden the codes that I put in. I was horrified to realize those of you using IE think I have some insane sense of a color scheme in my head. Netscape honors my color and sizing decisions while IE mocks me.

How is this? I know HTML only enough to hack what's there. Those using IE should know that the borders around the 'About Me' picture, the e-mail icon and the 'liberal advisory' SHOULD be orange. Also the sidebar SHOULD NOT be 25" wide. How do I make IE recognize the codes that are there? Damn Bill Gates... I will lose sleep over this!

In the Sandbox...

The Challenge Series will return on Monday with G-Man and Sgt. B... In case you missed anyone that participated in this latest round, here's a recap: AFSis, Alix, JustRose, ALa, AB, CW4BillT, ~Jen~, Desult, and MSG Keith. Great thanks to everyone that has participated. It has been an honor to host the pictures!

Leading the Convoy...

"We made the right decision. I didn't need George Bush to convince me that Saddam Hussein was a threat to the US. John McCain and I wrote the law that made it national policy to change the regime in Baghdad. This man was a homicidal maniac, killed hundreds of thousands of people, did have weapons of mass destruction in the '90s, used them against the Kurdish Iraqis and the Iranians, admitted to the UN he had enough chemical and biological to kill millions of people, supported terrorism, tried to assassinate former President Bush. I repeat: We are safer with Saddam Hussein in prison than in power."
~Senator Joseph Lieberman

"We had good faith differences on the war against Saddam. But I don't know how anybody could say that we're not safer with a homicidal maniac, a brutal dictator, an enemy of the US, a supporter of terrorism, a murderer of hundreds of thousands of his own people in prison instead of in power. To say that we haven't obliterated all terrorism with Saddam in prison is a little bit like saying somehow that we weren't safer after WWII after we defeated Hitler because Stalin and the communists were still in power."
~Senator Joseph Lieberman

...US Army Girls...
1, 2, 3, 4

Friday, April 22, 2005

Congratulations Philadelphia...

...for recently receiving the honor of having one of the three WORST Mayors in the ENTIRE country! I have heard some saying that John Street was voted by Time Magazine (April 25, 2005 Ann Coulter edition) as the THIRD worst Mayor in all of these United States of America...BUT JustRose astutely pointed out that the three worst Mayors are in alphabetical order and not numbered. Therefore Mayor John Street could actually be the worst...which, subsequently, is what I have been saying for years. (A Local NBC10 poll shows that 92% of Philadelphians agree with Time's choice) Street, once again showing his absolute disconnect from reality, claims that there is no way he is one of the worst and if it weren't for the Federal probe he would be one of the best...

"Street didn't invent the political culture that gave Philadelphia a reputation for selling its City Hall to the highest bidder. But he did nothing to curb it before this scandal broke - and precious little after it broke. Instead of getting ahead of the bad news, embracing reform, he's piled the sandbags higher around the fortress." (source)

This is a man that never repaid his student loans, who runs a pay-to-play city, who has surrounded himself with corruption, who is controlled with marionette strings by the labor unions, who plays the race card at ever turn and who looks like 'the Devil' in the 1995 movie 'Tales from the Hood'. But worse news is afoot in The City of Brotherly Love (meaning the brothership of labor unions --there is no love for honest hard-working independents)...the head of Local 98, the Electrician's Union, John Dougherty, has set his sights on the 2007 Mayoral race. At least the bull shit will be right out front. You know it's bad when the puppet masters feel free enough to come out from behind the stage...

"Street won't be running for mayor anymore. But other people will in 2007; some have begun raising money and currying favor already. The city, its budget and its taxpayers simply can't afford to pay four more years of the "graft tax" - the huge, but hidden costs of the favors and deals cut to repay political donors. Philadelphia simply can't afford another insanely expensive mayoral campaign conducted under the current, corruption-friendly rules." (source)

Thank you Mayor Street for this honor you have brought on our deteriorating city...and for carrying on the tradition of the decay of 42 years of Democratic leadership!

In the Sandbox...The Castle Replies

MSG Keith

...Simple rules to live by...

ONE. Give people more than they expect and do it cheerfully.

TWO. Marry a man/woman you love to talk to. As you get older, their
conversational skills will be as important as any other.

THREE. Don't believe all you hear, spend all you have or sleep all you want.

FOUR. When you say, "I love you," mean it.

FIVE. When you say, "I'm sorry," look the person in the eye.

SIX. Be engaged at least six months before you get married.

SEVEN. Believe in love at first sight.

EIGHT. Never laugh at anyone's dreams. People who don't have dreams don't have much.

NINE. Love deeply and passionately. You might get hurt but it's the only way to live life completely.

TEN. In disagreements, fight fairly. No name calling.

ELEVEN. Don't judge people by their relatives.

TWELVE. Talk slowly but think quickly.

THIRTEEN. When someone asks you a question you don't want to answer, smile and ask, "Why do you want to know?"

FOURTEEN. Remember that great love and great achievements involve great risk.

FIFTEEN. Say "bless you" when you hear someone sneeze.

SIXTEEN. When you lose, don't lose the lesson

SEVENTEEN. Remember the three R's: Respect for self; Respect for others; and responsibility for all your actions.

EIGHTEEN. Don't let a little dispute injure a great friendship.

NINETEEN. When you realize you've made a mistake, take immediate steps to correct it.

TWENTY. Smile when picking up the phone. The caller will hear it in your voice.

TWENTY-ONE. Spend some time alone.

Rules and pictures kindly submitted by MSG Keith, who is currently serving in Afghanistan.
Keith Guest Posts at: Castle Argghhh! (and recently had a post linked by National Review!)

Thursday, April 21, 2005

Fonda's Karma...

"A man who had waited [90 minutes]in line at a book-signing in Kansas City for Academy Award-winning actress Jane Fonda spit tobacco juice in her face Tuesday night." (source)

Ms. Fonda is not pressing charges --I think she knows that pressing charges against a Vietnam vet will not help her book sales. Fifty-four year old Michael Smith says that he planed this and does not regret it. Many vets have never forgiven Jane Fonda for her trip to Hanoi. Though she has apologized to veterans she has never apologized to the POWs whose torture was intensified and prolonged by her involvement...
"Because of Jane Fonda, most Vietnam veterans were spit on when we came back," Smith said. "When I came through (the Los Angeles) airport, there were people lined up to spit on us." (source)

U.S. Birth Trends...

"More than 4 million babies are born in the United States each year, and the details of how, when, and where they arrive are constantly shifting. The big news from the latest report on birth trends put out by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is that women and men are waiting longer to start families, and fewer people are having babies -- the U.S. birth rate slid to an all-time low in 2002, the most recent year the CDC examined. (They're compiling data from 2003 now, but the final numbers aren't out yet -- and the big trends haven't changed.)" (source)

The report also states that "teenage pregnancy rates are plummeting", which is always good news.
Here are some interesting baby statistics (in light of the fact that everyone and their mother seems to be pregnant right now...was it something about the election?!)

-Most babies are born on Tuesdays (I was born on a Monday...yes, a "fair of face" baby LOL)
-Most babies are in late summer: July, August, and September (I was July and The Man September, but both of our boys are fall/winter babies)
-Highest birth rates are out west (Arizona, Nevada, Colorado, Utah, Texas, and Wyoming)
-Lowest birth rates were in Maine and Vermont (see conservatives do 'do it' more than liberals! LOL)
-Average age of first-time moms is 25 --it was 21 in the '70's (I was 27)
-Women giving birth between 40 -44 went up 51%
-A record high in unwed mothers...more than 1/3 of babies are born to unwed mothers.
-The median weight gain is 30.5lbs. (I gained 36lbs with both boys)
-99% of babies are still born in hospitals
-C-sections performed at an all time high in U.S. history (this of course if due to medical malpractice and the CYA factor) 26% of births are by C-section
-Premature births also up --though smoking while pregnant is down to 1 in 10 (but I suspect a lot of moms lie about this) (Both of my births were va not C-sections...)
-Boys still outnumber girls (and have for the past 50 years)
-Median age for first time dads is 30 (The Man was 29)

No real point to this...I just thought it was interesting. I'll spare you my feelings on the fall of Social Security and the connection to lower birth rates and a more self-centered America...for now...

In the Sandbox...Challenge Series

Desultory Butterfly (Desult)

"...the worst part about the whole thing was the lack of sleep. 101 hours with no sleep had made Campbell feel drugged. He stood feebly up in the hatch, his hands numb on the .50 cal, his eyes open but his mind bereft of cognition.
The tracers were the FASS-V rolled through the erratic small-arms fire, Campbell's eyes were open but everything was black...he was sleeping standing up behind the .50 cal with his eyes wide open...

The tracers are everywhere now, going over Campbell's head, pinging hard onto the sides of the FASS-V, kicking up sparks and smoke...Campbell notices a muzzle flash to his left flank but he swears that it is a "friendly" and not an Iraqi vehicle...James, almost in a mundane voice with the slightest hint of desperation, mentions to Campbell over the commo-line that they are indeed getting shot at...

Campbell notices muzzle flashes from the right flank as well..."Where the fuck is the rest of the battery!?" is the last thing he screams over the commo line for the time being. A loud crack rings in his ears as a spare .50 cal ammo box flys into his neck and one of the sandbags that had lined the turret opening also slams neatly into his back...Campell buckles and falls down into the turret, smashing his body onto all sorts of pieces of metal, halfway grabbing one of the gun-powder shelves, halfway breaking his fall.

He lies on the muddy floor for a few minutes, going into and out of blackness, his eyes open. He comes to, and in a bird-like panic, checks himself for blood. There is none. The bullets or shrapnel or whatever the fucking flying object was must have hit the ammo-boxes and sandbags and somehow not
him. No miracle at all, just stupid, stupid luck.

Campbell climbs back up behind the .50 cal, and re-connects his tankers' helmet to the commo-line. The shooting is a good ways behind them now, and it seems like they are just floating out into some black sea.
"James, stay up man, you up?" Campbell blurts.
"Yeah, I think so."
After having passed so many burning tanks, so many piles of twisted steel, after so many ragged, half-living skeletons staring up with hollow, yellow eyes, after so many charred corpses, it all just blends into a ceaseless montage. The night sky has again taken on multi-colored hues, splotched with reds and oranges and purples and greens, like some angry, acid laced artist’s canvass, where the colors all swirl together like a kaleidoscope against a black backdrop. Tracers float through the air like nonchalant spacecrafts, going nowhere in particular, just soaring the night sky, looking for any target, because at this point in the slaughter, the ugliest of truths is this: any target will do…any raghead will do…any sandmonkey with a weapon in his hands instead of up in the air will suffice. Better them than me, is what this event has been stripped down to in the raw.

Campbell’s tattered mind simmers. This war is a cakewalk. A “B” movie. A cheap slaughter that is leaving him flat and hollow, and hateful."

(This was written by the incomparable 91Ghost, a veteran of the first Gulf War, who sadly is no longer blogging...)

Desult's Site: Desultory Butterfly

Carnival of Recipes # 36

Shepherd's Pie: UK Style

Brown onions and add ground beef. Add garlic, Beef stock, Worcestershire & Steak sauces and veggies. Salt and Pepper to taste. Make mashed potatoes and set aside (be sure to use plenty of butter so the top gets nice crispy crust on it). Pour dry gravy mix into a bowl with one cup of cold water -mix well and add to ground beef mixture. Stir constantly until gravy thickens. Pour into baking dish and let cool. Once mixture is lukewarm, top with mashed potatoes and bake 200 degrees for 35-45 minutes or until top is browned.
(Best served with Beamish Irish Stout --but good luck finding that in the US...)

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

ACLU Border Tokers Caught on Film...!

The ACLU has been sending 'Legal Observers' to watch over the 'Minutemen Project' at the Arizona/Mexico border...

"The American Civil Liberties Union of Arizona, in its traditional role as a guardian of civil liberties, announced today that it will be providing legal observers throughout the month of April at the site of the Minuteman Project at the Arizona-Mexico Border. Observers will also monitor law enforcement activity and note any infringements on the First Amendment-protected activities of all of the groups."(source -ACLU website)

So, what were these 'Legal Observers' doing while they were monitoring the police and the group of people looking to prevent illegal border activity? It would seem that they were partaking in an illegal activity themselves!
Take a look at pictures taken by SE Arizona Republic Club (who charges that "American Civil Liberties Union activists shadowing the Minuteman Project at the U.S.-Mexican border in Arizona are actively aiding and abetting aliens attempting to enter the country illegally")

The proof is in the pics...
Midnight Toker

Someone commenting over at Free Republic claimed to be one of these 'observers' and says they were only 'rolling cigarettes'. PLeeease. Just stop. I lived in the U.K. for a year, and did in fact roll my own cigarettes... and that's not what they look like --you don't roll cigarettes like fat little joints.
Michelle Malkin is also covering this and writes "I've contacted the ACLU of Arizona for comment. Also am tracking down the person who took the photos. I've been informed that the Cochise County Sheriff's Office has the pictures and has received a complaint, but is unlikely to take action."

If the left-leaning blogs can waste time complaining about Ann Coulter being 'allowed' to grace the Cover of Time Magazine, we on the right can surely take some time to explore the illegal activities of official ACLU representatives...

Hat Tip to Jay777 @ Stop the ACLU.

Border Patrol supports the Minutemen...and says ACLU is exaggerating claims against them...

"The largest local union of Border Patrol agents in the country has declared its support for the Minuteman Project in Arizona, while at the same time slamming both the American Civil Liberties Union and President Bush.

According to its website, the U.S. Border Patrol Local 2544, which covers the Tucson sector of the agency, the volunteers involved in the border-monitoring Minuteman Project have been nothing but supportive.

The group blames the ACLU for setting off ground sensors in the area of the Minutemen activities:

"Reports of [Minutemen] causing 'ground sensors' to go off are exaggerated because most of those are being set off by the ACLU sneaking around trying to find the Minutemen doing something wrong." (source)

Hat tip to TrekMedic251 @ Is This Life?

A Small Plug...

That Dude From Philly has a feature on his site called the Essential Eleven (or E11).
In these Essential Eleven posts, he poses eleven questions (usually tongue-in-cheek) to a fellow blogger who is then charged to answer them in the same fashion.
I agreed to be 'the victim' this week and my first official blog interview is now posted...
...just sayin'.

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Tribute Letter...a fallen Marine

...this letter was given to me yesterday by a United States Marine. It was written, by that Marine, to the parents of Cpl. Michael B. Lindemuth, who recently gave his life in Iraq.
Corporal, I am so sorry for the loss of your friend, the loss to the Corps and the loss to the Country. I can only imagine how much this letter will mean to his parents when they receive it...
Semper Fi...

Mr. and Mrs. Lindemuth,
I called into my drill center in L----, M---- today to get all the good dirt about what was going on around the unit. My Platoon Commander, Sergeant H---- answered the phone. We spoke for a few moments, and then he asked me, “Hey, you were in 3/2 with Mike Lindemuth weren’t you?”

“Oh yeah,” I answered, “he and I were good friends back in Lejeune when I was on active duty before the war.”

“He died in Iraq dude,” said Sergeant H---.

And earlier today, that’s how I found out your son gave his life for our country. At first I was speechless. Too many times over the last two years I’ve heard about a fellow Marine I knew who died. Some I was closer to than others, but never anyone I knew as well as Mike.

I find myself thinking today about young Mike Lindemuth and his first few days in the fleet with us back in 3/2. I remember being very impressed with him. First off he was older than the other new guys. He was more confident, but not in a cocky way, he had a quiet confidence that resonated throughout his demeanor. I liked that when he endured hardship with the rest of the grunts, he’d use his folksy sense of humor to lead and encourage his fellow Marines. He recognized that he was older, and took care of them as best he could. Mike was such a good person.

It didn’t take very long for him to be assigned a team of Marines of his own, and we in CAAT Platoon were impressed with how he handled them. Stress and pressure just made him smile. He wasn’t a yeller, he didn’t lead by intimidation. His Marines followed him because of the example he set and lived by.

But what I remember most about Mike was his character. Now all Marines have character. When you first meet a few jarheads the uninitiated might be shocked at the gruff, profane persona that follows us in our everyday lives. But those same foul mouthed, abrasive grunts would give somebody the shirt off their back if they met a person they knew needed it more than they did. They’re mostly painfully young and innocent. To be an Infantry Marine means to be part of a small, tight knit family that makes up a platoon. Grunts share every hardship and possession, and are more than willing to lay down their lives for their friends. Almost every grunt has that kind of character. That’s more than one can ask out of most people. But Mike had something more.

I was struck by his character and his morality. A lot of guys get to combat and get pretty religious. Mike was devoted to God long before any of us had heard a shot fired in anger. I respected him for practicing what he preached, for being such a moral man. I want you to know he really lived it. I think that his relationship with God was where that quiet confidence came from.

Being both from M---, we made friends quickly. I remember him making the shape of the state with his hand, trying to show me where in the heck P---, M--- is.

I also remember that red truck of his, the one with all the stickers. There were a lot of M--- guys in 3/2, and with our friends who couldn’t get to their own homes for liberty we’d pile into our cars and visit our families. I took more than a few of these trips with your son.

Today I’m thinking about one road trip in particular. I rode home with Mike shortly before our deployment to Okinawa, and we got lost. And had a lot of fun doing it too. Mike was so laid back; he just took that trip in stride. A lot of guys would have been frustrated taking one second longer than necessary to get home. Not Mike. We laughed and joked about our predicament, and found our way. In the 15 hours we spent together in that red truck, we talked about his love for creating things. His (anyone who knew him knows what I mean here) absolute passion for carpentry and working with wood.

We talked about religion. I’m not a particularly religious guy, and it concerned Mike. He wasn’t like many of the other Christians I’ve met in my life. He didn’t preach the gospel to me, but instead showed compassionate concern that I did not enjoy a true relationship with Christ. It downright worried him. His concern wasn’t selling the church to me, but the fate of not only my soul, but my happiness here on earth which he felt I could never have without Jesus.

But I must say his main concern during all these conversations was that I did NOT know how to drive a stick shift. He might not be able to bring me to Christ, but that stick shift problem he was sure he could remedy. For the rest of my life, whenever I drive a manual transmission I will think of your son, because he taught me to drive a stick.

“You’re senior to me, how in the heck can I take orders from a guy who can’t drive a stick!?” And so he taught me how right on the spot. What a “Can do” guy. Things were going fine…until I pulled over for gas in West Virginia. I stalled the truck out getting off a steep off ramp and couldn’t get it started up fast enough. I rolled right into a car behind us. I was of course mortified, but Mike just laughed…and drove the rest of the way to M---. I can’t recall ever seeing him angry. He was such a cheery laid back guy.

The last time I saw him, we were in Djibouti, Africa. Of all the places, it’s a small Corps I guess. I had since long gone from 3/2 and was in a reserve unit deployed to the Horn of Africa. Mike had shipped over to 2/2 to go to war with the MEU. His unit made a long stop in Africa, and one day out of the clear blue sky I ran into him in the chow hall. I saw him first. He was alone, and I greeted him in the manner of salty corporals who haven’t seen each other in a long time. I tackled him right there in the chow hall. We were wrestling and laughing, knocking over tables and chairs. We were so glad to see each other. I was so glad to see him. The first few minutes of conversation were so excited; an outsider could never have understood what we had just said to each other. After a few obligatory head butts and a lot of dirty looks from Air Force personnel, we had dinner and made plans to meet up a few days later at the bombed out E-club on Camp Lemonier.

Mike was most definitely a moral man, but he knew how to have fun too. We succeeded in sneaking away from our units and got really good and drunk. It was a great night. It just so happened it was my 24th birthday, and I was thrilled to celebrate it with an old friend from 3/2. The last time I laid eyes on Mike, we were singing loudly and obnoxiously…stumbling to our respective tents. Shortly after he shipped for Iraq the first time.

When I heard Mike had reenlisted to be I&I in Ohio, I was floored. I figured I’d see him around the battalion at AT or a range. I was excited to see him again.

Sergeant H---, who was a close friend of Mike’s in 2/2 and a fellow Javelin heard and passed on the news to me today.

Mike wasn’t my first buddy to die. There aren’t many of us NCOs around anymore who haven’t lost someone. Let me tell you, this never gets any easier for me. It’s like taking a shot in the gut every time, only that punch to the gut lasts for weeks. I guess the first question I always ask is “Why?” Why Mike and not some other guy? Why not me for that matter?

I look around at our world and sometimes I wonder if the death of a friend like Mike is worth it. Is this whole Global War on Terrorism thing worth the cost? Are the Mikes of the world worth spending so we can eat McDonalds and drive SUVs? It doesn’t seem so. But that of course is the bitter first reaction of someone feeling loss.

I imagine Mike’s flag draped coffin and in my mind’s eye I see the embodiment of Semper Fidelis. I think of Mike, and I am proud to have known a man who was willing to pay the cost so that my wife can live free. So my daughter can grow up. So that my mother and father can vote and worship the way they choose.

I think of the enemy Mike and I’ve fought and what they’d do to my family given the chance and I’m ashamed at myself for doubting Mike’s cause for even one second. Mike died a hero not for the anonymous entity that is “The United States,” but for me and everyone and thing here I know and love. Mike knew from experience what I know, that America is the hope and light of this world and it is worth any cost.

Even more so Mike laid down his life for his friends, his fellow Marines. I wasn’t in Iraq that day. Another Corporal was doing his duty there so I didn’t have to. Somehow that seems so unfair. I feel in my heart I owe Mike and a lot of other grunts my family, my life, and my freedom. I am so proud to have known your son. My only bitter thought is that we who’ve survived must bare the burden, the realization that it should have been us. I’d trade my life for your son’s right now. But then again if that were possible, Mike would trade his for mine right back.

That’s love. Someone taught him how to do that. Someone taught him honor, character, and his defining morality. That was you. I can’t thank you enough for raising your son. This whole country can never pay you back for raising Mike. And there will never be an adequate way to thank him or you enough for your sacrifice.

Like I said, I’m not a very religious guy. But even I know that if there is a Heaven… Mike is there with God.

I can’t imagine or comprehend the absolute devastation you must feel now, I can only say that I am awed by you and don’t have the words to convey my respect. If there is anything I can ever do for you don’t hesitate to ask. It is my honor to be at your service.

--- ----

Cpl. Michael B. Lindemuth, age 27, was killed by mortar fire on April 13th, 2005 in Anbar Province, Iraq.
You can leave a message for his parents HERE...

Monday, April 18, 2005

The Aftermath...

...of the Terri Schiavo case. What will it be?

A new Harris poll show that 55% of the public agreed with how Michael Schiavo handled this matter.
Yet, 58% disapprove how Congress acted
- 54% disapprove President Bush's involvement
- 51% disapprove of how Gov. Jeb Bush entangled himself
- 57% disapprove of the FL legislature that gave the Governor the authority to intervene. (source)

"A poll by CBS News poll also found that 82 percent of Americans objected to the congressional and presidential intrusions in the case." (source)

The Democrats are already salivating at the prospect of using the Schiavo/Schindler case to their advantage. "Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean, who has accused congressional Republicans of "grandstanding" in the Terri Schiavo case, said his party will use it against the GOP in coming elections." (source)
Dean went on to say, "We're going to use Terri Schiavo later on." (LAT)"This is going to be an issue in 2006, and it's going to be an issue in 2008 because we're going to have an ad with a picture of [House Majority Leader] Tom DeLay saying, `Do you want this guy to decide whether you die or not? Or is that going to be up to your loved ones?" (source)

There is also the fact that recently released reports found no abuse relating to Terri Schindler Schiavo.
"In the four years after Michael Schiavo won the right to remove his wife's feeding tube, the state's social welfare agency investigated 89 complaints of abuse but never found that he or anybody else harmed Terri Schiavo" in the 45 pages of documents released Friday by the Department of Children and Families. (source)
"The state Department of Children and Families repeatedly concluded that Michael Schiavo ensured his wife's physical and medical needs were met, provided proper therapy for her and had no control over her money. They also found no evidence that he beat or strangled her, as his detractors have repeatedly charged."
"In at least one case, the caller found the evidence of Terri Schiavo's alleged abuse on the Internet. In January 2004, a female caller reported that Terri Schiavo had an infection on her stomach, at the site of her feeding tube, that was not being treated. But, when questioned, she said she had no first-hand knowledge. She "stated that her information on current infections and lack of treatment was from Yahoo chatline," the report said."source)

So where does this leave us? No abuse found, husband had no monetary control of Terri's money, vast public disapproval at Congressional intervention, plans already in the works by the DNC to 'use' the incident, and people rightly scared that legislators could keep them 'alive' against their wishes...

...I am not sure, but it doesn't look like it will be a good place.

In the Sandbox...The Castle Replies...


My first sandbox was long ago. My colors were Green. It was there that I first learned the Dance.

I dance the sky.

My first role in the Dance was to bring my brothers with me. We partnered with Death, and my role was also to bring my brothers out when She danced too closely.

Or Kissed.

Poets have said that Her Kiss is cold, but in the Dance, the Kiss is full-metal-jacket hot. It is fiery and burns. I felt the heat brush my cheek more than once, but She was insufficiently enamored of me to Kiss me. I was not saddened that she found me unattractive.

Sometimes I entered the Dance alone. At night.

During the day, I learned to be agile. My only armor was air, and air is thin armor indeed…the Kiss brushed my lips often, then…

Later, the song of the Dance changed, and Death tested Her reach. I danced in other sandboxes, and, at times, my brothers who wore the Blue joined the Dance.

My role changed again. This time, when Death danced to closely, or tried to Kiss, I would cut in and distract Her by finding others for Her to Kiss.

My role changed yet again. I taught the new dancers. I made the lessons hard, so the Dance would be easy. My students learned well. They have not yet been Kissed.

My time in the Dance grows short. One day, soon, She will Kiss me.

I will not seek out the burning, but I will not flinch from it when it comes.

She will come soon, but will not come this day.

This day, I will dance only for friends.

Okay, Ladies, a little bit o' poetry, some guns 'n' guys 'n' helicopter pr0n, a lotta dancin' and hot, burnin' kisses'—I think I covered all the chick stuff that you—oooops! I almost forgot. I promised you a full-frontal flight suit shot…


(...Thanks for writing this's wonderful!)
CW4BillT's Site: The Esteemed Castle Argghhh!

Sunday, April 17, 2005

The 9th Circuit Strikes Again...

California's 9th Circuit Court of Appeals is notoriously liberal --and has made some of the worst decisions of any court in the country. They have just made another one. (Thankfully they also have a very high rate of being overturned by the US Supreme Court).

In the latest 9th circuit debacle, the court has overturned a ten-year-old first degree murder charge because the victim’s family had worn buttons in the courtroom with the victim's image on them. The three button wearers also testified so there was no question in the jury’s minds who they were. The convicted murderer, Matthew Musladin, shot his ex-wife's fiancĂ© in the back of the head --was convicted of first degree murder and exhausted ten years of appeals (all of which upheld the murder charge). (source) Enter Judge Stephen Reinhardt (who surprise, surprise is married to Ramona Ripston of Rodney King fame -Executive director of the ACLU!!!) and the 9th Circuit...

What law did they use to overturn a murder conviction of the basis of memorial buttons? None. They made it up as they went along. They claim the decision was based on a the law that states if a defendant comes into the courtroom in a jumpsuit and shackles he will be perceived as dangerous and guilty... The buttons were 3" in diameter and had nothing but the victim's image. (source)

Truly I am speechless... I get the fact that everyone deserves a fair trial and due process and all that --and there are times when the guilty will go free (OJ) in our efforts to ensure these rights, BUT my God, do we really need to give convicted criminals more rights (and loopholes) than law abiding citizens and victims?

In the Sandbox...

American Flag in the Iraqi desert...

"To me, consensus seems to be the process of abandoning all beliefs, principles, values and policies. So it is something in which no one believes and to which no one objects."
~Margaret Thatcher

"You may have to fight a battle more than once to win it."
~Margaret Thatcher

"I owe nothing to Women's Lib."
~Margaret Thatcher

"I seem to smell the stench of appeasement in the air."
~Margaret Thatcher

...USAF girls...
Sassy, Bonfire, Boating, Dimples

Saturday, April 16, 2005

In Case You Have Retained...

...your pre-election stance that the right-wing nut jobs were using an inflated fear of possible terrorism in the United States to win the election...

..the fear is real and becoming more tangible with the detention of the two would-be homicide bombing girls and now with the raid of the home of convicted felon (and US citizen), Rafat Jamal Mawlawi. The FBI was looking for proof of Mawlawi's plot to set up marriages between Moroccan men and Memphis women, but what they found was:

  • A hidden stash of loaded weapons and ammunition clips

  • $34,000 in cash

  • Two pictures of Mawlawi shouldering a rocket-propelled grenade launcher

  • A gruesome videotape of war casualties with Arabic text and voiceover

  • More than 20 passports to Morocco, Syria, Iran, and other Middle Eastern countries

  • "Four Middle Eastern men and six Memphians were indicted last week on federal charges of conspiracy and violation of immigration laws. The Memphians accused of involvement in the sham marriages and engagements include the daughter, grandson, and former daughter-in-law of the Rev. James Netters, a founding member of the Memphis City Council and interim president of Memphis Light Gas and Water in 2004."

    "This is not the first federal immigration case in Memphis with Middle Eastern connections and overtones of violence. In 2002, five Middle Eastern men who came to Memphis from New York were arrested in a scheme to get fake driver's licenses. Katherine Smith, an employee at the driver's license testing station who was also arrested, died five days later in a burning car which was apparently deliberately set on fire. The case was investigated for possible terrorist connections but none were found. The men were held several weeks but eventually released and deported."(source)

    The threat is here and still coming, we just have to decide when we are going to get serious about it...

    (This comment was posted in reference to this article on Free Republic"...It seems that the terrorists have taken a page out of the Soviet playbook. The terrorists are extremely patient in their planning. They definitely plan for the long haul. It also helps them that we are politically correct....")

    In the Sandbox...

    ...the Challenge series will resume on Monday...and I have extended the Challenge to the boys of the Castle --we'll see if they accept!...

    Squid on deck...

    "Part of the challenge the new secretary of Homeland Security is going to have is to merge all of those IT systems in what is likely going to be one of the largest IT integration projects in history. The model that we're looking at is the model of the Navy Marine Corps Internet, because that seems to be working. It works fast, and it's a revolutionary way for the government to work with IT industries. The Navy Marine Corps Internet says the following: All of the computers, all of the PCs, laptops, routers, and servers that the Navy and the Marines own, they give title to the prime contractor. The prime contractor has a five-year contract, renewable, to build and run an intranet for the Navy and Marines. The Navy and Marines are buying a service and will own no hardware and will lease no hardware. What they're buying is a service for 400,000 seats, at $2,800 a seat per year, for five years. It's a very different way for the government to do business. Buying applications, buying services, but not owning and not operating a network."
    ~Richard Clarke

    ...US Navy girls...
    One, Two, Three, Four

    Friday, April 15, 2005

    Prostitution...a free pass for minors...?

    When I first saw these headlines, my immediate response was to balk about it. Trying to get a law to absolve minors of any criminal charges for prostitution...? Do we have no personal accountability in this society anymore...?

    But then I read more and read some of the testimony from former teen prostitutes --and started thinking that punishing them for turning tricks to survive just may be double jeopardy. What if a 13 year old girl is being repeatedly raped/abused by her mother's grimy boyfriend who threatens her/her mom if she ever breathes a word? Life is so unbearable that she leaves. What are her options? She has to find a way to survive somehow...

    "A proposal before the state Assembly [in Albany New York] would protect people under age 18 from criminal prosecution for prostitution. Assemblyman William Scarborough's measure would instead strengthen the safety net for the abused and runaway youngsters who are most at risk for exploitation. "

    "There have been estimates that 200,000 to 300,000 youths nationwide are in the commercial sex exploitation industry, said Rachel Lloyd of Girls Educational & Mentoring Services. It's not unusual for girls as young as 10 to become ensnared; pimps and other child exploiters will troll through places like bus terminals on the lookout for vulnerable girls" (source)

    The bill looks to create a new sector of the family court -PNS (Persons in Need of Supervision) where these girls could receive care, counseling and maybe a chance. These are the kind of 'social programs' that I do support...children should never have to pay for the bad choices of low life parents. I guess I am struggling over the wide net this casts though. What if the teen prostitute is not a hard luck story at all but a rebellious rich kid that is just hooking for a drug habit plain and simple...does she/he get the same breaks/sympathy/free pass as the girl getting her faced smashed in with no recourse? Is it feasible to make these distinctions?

    I just don't know...

    In the Sandbox...Challenge Series

    Aunt Bitchy (AB)

    "It could have been any night of the week, as I sat in one of those loud and casual steak houses that are cropping up all over the country. You know the type --- a bucket of peanuts on the table, shells littering the floor, and bunch of perky college kids racing around with longneck beers and sizzling platters.

    Taking a sip of my iced tea, I studied the crowd over the rim of my glass. I let my gaze linger on a few of the tables next to me, where several uniformed military members were enjoying their meals.

    Smiling sadly, I glanced across my booth to the empty seat where my husband usually sat. Had it had only been a few weeks since we had sat at this very table talking about his upcoming deployment to the Middle East?

    He made me promise to; come back to this restaurant once a month, sit in our booth, and treat myself to a nice dinner. He told me that he would treasure the thought of me there eating a steak and thinking about him until he came home. I fingered the little flag pin I wear on my jacket and wondered where at that moment he was. Was he safe and warm? Was his cold any better? Were any of my letters getting to him? As I pondered all of these things, shrill feminine voices from the next booth broke into my thoughts.

    "I don't know what Bush is thinking invading Iraq. Didn't he learn anything from his father's mistakes? He is an idiot anyway, I can't believe he is even in office. You know he stole the election."

    I cut into my steak and tried not to listen as they began an endless tirade of running down our president. I thought about the last night I was with my husband as he prepared to deploy. He had just returned from getting his smallpox and anthrax shots and the image of him standing in our kitchen packing his gas mask still gave me chills.

    Once again their voices invaded my thoughts.

    "It is all about oil, you know. Our military will go in and rape and pillage and steal all the oil they can in the name of freedom. I wonder how many innocent lives our soldiers will take without a thought? It is just pure greed."

    My chest tightened and I stared at my wedding ring. I could picture how handsome my husband was in his mess dress the day he slipped it on my finger. I wondered what he was wearing at that moment. He probably had on his desert uniform, affectionately dubbed coffee stains, over the top of which he wore a heavy bulletproof vest.

    "We should just leave Iraq alone. I don't think they are hiding any weapons. I think it is all a ploy to increase the president's popularity and pad the budget of our military at the expense of social security and education. We are just asking for another 9-11 and I can't say when it happens again that we didn't deserve it."

    Their words brought to mind the war protesters I had watched gathering outside our base. Did no one appreciate the sacrifice of brave men and women who leave their homes and family to ensure our freedom? I glimpsed at the tables around me and saw the faces of some of those courageous men, looking sad as they listened to the ladies talk.

    "Well, I for one, think it is a travesty to invade Iraq and I am certainly sick of our tax dollars going to train the professional baby killers we call a military."

    Professional baby killers? As I thought about what a wonderful father my husband is and wondered how long it would be before he was able to see his children again, indignation rose up within me.

    Normally reserved, pride in my husband gave me a boldness I had never known. Tonight, one voice would cry out on behalf of the military. One shy woman would stand and let her pride in our troops be known. I made my way to their table, placed my palms flat on it and lowered myself to be eye level with them.

    Smiling I said, "I couldn't help overhearing your conversation. I am sitting over here trying to enjoy my dinner alone. Do you know why I am alone? Because my husband, whom I love dearly, is halfway across the world defending your right to say rotten things about him. You have the right to your opinion, and what you think is none of my business, but what you say in my hearing is and I will not sit by and listen to you run down my country, my president, my husband, and all these other fine men and women in here who put their lives on the line to give you the freedom to complain. Freedom is expensive, ladies, don't let your actions cheapen it."

    I must have been louder than I meant to be, because about that time the manager came over and asked if everything was all right.

    "Yes, thank you." I replied and then turned back to the ladies, "Enjoy the rest of your meal."

    To my surprise, as I sat down to finish my steak, a round of applause broke out in the restaurant.

    Not long after the ladies picked up their check and scurried away, the manager brought me a huge helping of apple cobbler and ice cream, compliments of the table to my left. He told me that the ladies had tried to pay for my dinner, but someone had beaten them to it.

    When I asked who, he said the couple had already left, but that the man had mentioned he was a WWII vet and wanted to take care of the wife of one our boys.

    I turned to thank the soldiers for the cobbler, but they wouldn't hear a word of it, retorting, "Thank you, you said what we wanted to say but weren't allowed."

    As I drove home that night, for the first time in while, I didn't feel quite so alone. My heart was filled with the warmth of all the patrons who had stopped by my table to tell me they too were proud of my husband and that he would be in their prayers. I knew their flags would fly a little higher the next day.

    Perhaps they would look for tangible ways to show their pride in our country and our troops, and maybe, just maybe, the two ladies sitting at that table next to me would pause for a minute to appreciate all the freedom this great country offers and what it costs to maintain.

    As for me, I had learned that one voice can make a difference. Maybe the next time protesters gather outside the gates of the base where I live, I will proudly stand across the street with a sign of my own. A sign that says "Thank you!"..."

    Lori Kimble is a 31 year old teacher and proud military wife. She is a California native currently living in Alabama.
    This was posted by Lordzmom at Keystone Soldiers

    Thursday, April 14, 2005

    Should Felons Vote...?

    ...I know they already do in Philadelphia Mayor Street, but I meant legally...

    Hopefully we all agree that currently incarcerated felons and parolees have lost their right to vote...but the debate rages on as to whether felons that have served their time should have that right restored. The 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals just upheld Florida's lifetime ban on felon voting. The ex-felons that brought the suit plan to take it to the Supreme Court. Jesse Allen, lead attorney for the ex-offenders, said that "the law violated the U.S. Voting Rights Act, was antidemocratic and disproportionally disenfranchised blacks." (source) This argument has never held water with seems quite simple; don't commit a crime and you can vote. And better yet --you won't go to jail. I have managed to go through 33 years of my life with no police involvement.

    The 14th Amendment permits states to deny the vote "for participation in rebellion, or other crime." (source)It would seem to me if you have been convicted of a felony/violent crime -you have broken a pact with civilized society. If you fail to abide by the stipulations of a business transaction, that deal with be null and void and you will not be eligible to reap any future benefits and I believe the same tenet should be upheld on this much larger issue.

    This will become a huge debate before the 2008 Presidential election. The Democrats are playing the race card yet again, claiming this is just another GOP ploy to disenfranchise prospective Black voters. Imagine basing your chances of winning on the dregs of society...I guess they feel the criminals can counter-balance the evangelicals ( about good vs. evil!)