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Wednesday, August 31, 2005

A Rescue Line

I'm not sure if this will help anyone or not, but... it doesn't hurt to try...
State OES has learned that trapped victims on the Gulf Coast are calling

family, friends, loved-ones, or anyone they can get a call out to in

California asking for someone to rescue them. These requests need to go

immediately to the US Coast Guard's Rescue Line at 800-323-7233 and

immediate assistance will be sent.

Please distribute this information as widely as possible.
Also, for non-emergency assistance for victims, they can call (800)SAL-ARMY.

I Guess They Had To Find Out Sooner or Later

(h/t to Ace) Well... someone thinks they finally figured W out. Their conclusion? He's the Anti-Christ. (Here's the cached page with all the info.)
He snorted cocaine ... He dodged the draft....His friends knew him as an alcoholic womanizer with a bad temper....a complete failure at business until his wealthy friends rescued him. Yet within a few short years he was elected Governor of Texas, and quickly catapulted into the White House in spite of losing the popular vote. Then he was re-elected with last minute help from Osama Bin Laden, in spite of high disapproval ratings. He still couldn't think his way out of a wet paper bag without the advice of his staff .....and yet he's been able to declare an endless war and institute some of the most radical changes in American history ....

....... How has He done it?

I submit to you that George Walker Bush is the ANTI-CHRIST. The violence and destruction that began when Bush first entered office, is now certain to culminate in the apocalypse, as predicted in the Bible over 2,000 years ago.
This person then uses questionable numerology and a unique view of prophesy to "prove" that W is the Anti-Christ. (We won't even go into the whole "he's not flashing the Longhorn sign" argument- I live near Austin, and I'm surrounded by burnt orange devotees. That is DEFINITELY the UT sign.)

I remember back in the 80s and early 90s that Gorbachev was the Anti-Christ. Then it was John Paul II and Sun Myung Moon. And we can't forget Prince Charles, Juan Carlos, Kofi Annon, Bill Clinton and Vlad Putin.

There may be people who disagree with me (and feel free to keep it civil in the comments), but I think that it's more important to be looking for the return of Christ, rather than the rise of the Anti-Christ. Besides, I read the end of The Book... I know Who wins.

Getting Ready to Boycott Jack In The Box

This is going to sound jingoistic... and I don't think I care.

Lately on several cable stations, I've been seeing a couple of Jack in the Box commercials, and they are driving me NUTS. There's only one thing out of the ordinary about them is the fact that they are in SPANISH. Which wouldn't be a bad thing on a Spanish-speaking channel, but these are on English language channels.

This confuses me. Obviously, if they're watching Food TV, then the Spanish speaker can also speak English (I don't think FTV has a SAP channel). So... that commercial is targeting a very specific market and alienating the vast majority of viewers. Does that make sense to anyone?

I've already got a problem with legal immigrants coming to the US and not learning English (and, no, I'm not picking on Spanish speakers. Other nationalities do it, too). To cater to them just makes it worse. I guess Jack just lost himself a customer.

Lest They Be Forgotten

Sarah asked for information on the memorials I mentioned in this post. I noticed that someone had posted this link in her comments, but I wanted to pass it along (as well as this link to their sister site) to everyone else, in case you'd like more information.

Here is their mission statement:
Our mission is to create, establish, and help maintain hometown memorials in honor of the brave men and women who have lost their lives defending the United States of America in the war against terrorism.
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I think this is a wonderful way to honor their service and sacrifice.

A Good Head on His Shoulders

The number one high school football player in the country is going to sign a letter of intention today, and the announcement is going to be made live on ESPN. And Myron Rolle is number one for a reason- excells at any position he's asked to play, faster than other players his size, stronger than players larger than him.

This fanfare is nothing new. It happens every year (although there seems to be more and more hype each year). What is new is that this kid seems to have a good head on his shoulders. What do I mean? Well, Myron Rolle has a 4.0 GPA at a prestigious Ivy League prep school in New Jersey, and he has plans for his future. Yes, the NFL is part of those plans (after hopefully graduating from college in 3 years- he's taking college level courses in high school now) , but those are far from the only dreams he has. Once his football career is over, he wants to go to medical school and become a doctor.

And, that's not all. Like Marvin Williams, Myron is a Believer who isn't afraid to talk about it.
Rolle has time and again expressed his love for God and family with an amazing sense of thankfulness and humility towards all the media attention around him. In a day and age when respect, honor and integrity appear to be lacking so greatly in young America, Myron Rolle bucks the trend with the footprints of an emerging titan.
I'm not sure I agree with the writer's contention that respect, honor and integrity are lacking in young America. I will agree that those character traits are not as common as they once were, but I believe that they are more common in this group of kids than in their immediate elders. In the same way that the youth of America are more conservative than the Gen Xers, they are also more polite and respectful. I think one leads to the other. And with young people like Myron Rolle and Marvin Williams providing positive examples, they can only get better.

I wish Myron Rolle all the best in everything- his academic pursuits, his college (and hopefully NFL) career, and his personal and spiritual life. I will definitely be watching his career. When I read stories like his, I can't help but smile and think "that kid's alright."

Sunspots, Hurricanes, and Lending a Hand

Well, the blame game has begun. Hurricane Katrina was the fault of the GOP or global warming (or both), or maybe even God's wrath, depending on which political hack you listen to. I guess they spend so much time studying environmental science that they ignore atronomy. You see, if you combine the two, you find out that hurricanes follow a cycle of ocean temperatures (and we're at the peak of the cycle right now) AND that ocean temperatures mirror sunspot activity (more sunspots, warmer water), AND that sunspot activity has hit a 1000 year high. That might explain Katrina. Just maybe...

But that's not why I'm posting this. Tomorrow TTLB is having Katrina Relief: Blog for Relief Day tomorrow. Over a hundred bloggers (as of right now) have signed up to participate (including many members of The Cotillion).

mmm... coffee...

When I was a little girl (we're talking 4 or 5 years old, I think), waitresses would give my parents funny looks when I would order a cup of coffee with my breakfast. Come to find out, my parents and I might have been onto something.
That morning cup of coffee may do more than just perk you up. A new study shows that coffee is the primary source of antioxidants for Americans.

This finding may come as a surprise to some since scientists and nutrition experts usually tout fruits and vegetables as the best source of antioxidants – chemicals that prevent cellular damage. But, this study shows for the first time that Americans get most of their antioxidants from their daily fix of java.
Researchers say that one to two cups of coffee should be beneficial. There have been other studies that show that coffee can reduce bad cholesterol levels, fight Parkinson's and Alzheimer's diseases, and who knows what else.

Sounds like the perfect health drink to me. Image hosted by

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Road Trip Photos

For some reason, we have no pics of R... maybe because she's the one who had the camera. But... here are some shots she took at Camp Reality (she didn't get any of Camp Casey... I wonder why...)

These first three are from the thank you display that Akef Tayem created.

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Here's one of Camp Reality:

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This next one is of Lt. Sid Franklin and one of the incredibly nice women from Camp Reality. And... someone else... don't know how she got in that shot...

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Very interesting road trip...

One More Observation about Camp Casey

Last weekend, some people from Stormfront (if you don't know who they are, think David Duke with a bad attitude) decided to go to Crawford to "reclaim" the anti-war message. (Don't ask- trying to figure them out gives me a headache). Anyway, this was part of their "come and join us" message:
The facilities at the Crawford Ranch Camp Casey are excellent: good food, shade, tents,
water, toilets, parking, and all basic necessities are there in ample supply. Most
supplies are free. All you need to bring is yourself, a good shade hat, and a
long-sleeved shirt.
The gang from Camp Casey who are posting online confirm this. They were joking (on that thread) that, yes, that's all true, but the Stormfront thugs wouldn't get any of it.

In my post about our trip yesterday, I mentioned that the folks at Camp Casey seemed... organized... professional... there are quite a few of them who are camping there for the duration... good food and supplies... now Mother Sheehan's Mystery Bus Tour...

How many tens of thousands of dollars are being spent in that small town in Texas? And who's paying for it? And why?

The longer this goes on, the more it becomes less about a mother's grief and more about discrediting the President. Then again, I'm not sure it was ever about a mother's grief.

The Quest

Yesterday morning, I picked up R, and we headed north. We weren't exactly sure how to get where we were going, but I had the general directions- 35 North to Moody, hang a left, and then turn right on 317 and go north until you get to Crawford. Look for the Yellow Rose downtown- they would give us more detailed directions.

You read right... we drove up to Crawford. I'd love to say that we had a special invite to have bbq at the Western White House, but that's not quite right. We were there to...well, like I said yesterday, we went to reclaim something that was being used by someone who had no right to it.

Many of you remember the story of R's brother's death a couple of months ago. Needless to say, her family was not very happy with the idea that protesters might have his name on a cross in a ditch to further their political agenda. (The final straw, I think, was when you-know-who said that the fallen soldiers were supporting her in the afterlife.) So... our road trip had one purpose- to remove his name (and/or photo) from any display at Camp Casey.

I'm serious when I said that those were the directions I had. I looked up Crawford on Mapquest, and I had figured out from the news reports where Camp Qualls was located (downtown next to the Yellow Rose, which is on the corner of the only intersection in town with a stop light.) Can't be that difficult, right? Really, it wasn't- you roll into town, and there's the Yellow Rose. You really can't miss it.

We pulled in, and there were two people sitting under a canopy at Camp Qualls. We asked how to go about getting the cross. "Go down this road, and turn right at the Lutheran Church. Follow the road down until you get to Camp Casey. Talk to the McLellan County Sheriff's deputy there." uh... ok...

Driving the five miles out to Camp Casey, we saw plenty of signs. Not a single one said anything bad about the President or the War on Terror. You really get the idea that the people of Crawford kind of like their new neighbor. (Might have been the signs that said, "YOU are a guest. The President is our neighbor.")

You start around this corner, and you can see the crosses on the left side of the road, dying flowers attached to each one, some with trinkets and momentos on them. We started to try to read them, seeing if we could see Mark's name. That wasn't going to work, so we decided to park and walk. Then we saw Camp Casey (part of it at least) on one side of the road (a bunch of tents, large signs, canopies, and a bus), and "Camp Reality" on the other side of the road (a few signs, a few canopies, and some displays), with Lt. Sid Franklin's Sheriff's SUV in the island in between them. We parked, and walked over to some of the folks at Camp Reality.

R asked one of the men there if she could go find her brother's cross and take it. He said no, and said that we needed to talk to Lt. Sid and find out how to do it. About that time, this very sweet woman came up and asked us if we had lost someone. R said, "my brother" and she got wrapped up in the biggest hug you could imagine. It was just a little emotional. After a few minutes (I wrote down Mark's and Kyle's names for the people there so they could keep track), they walked us over to Lt. Sid, and he officially took down R's information. (Since I'm not a relative, I couldn't request that Kyle's name be removed, but I now have the information on how his family can request it.)

Evidently, when the crosses were first put up, family could just go and take them (those are the ones that are now at Camp Qualls). I don't know if there were altercations or what, but that has been stopped. Now, families give the information to the Sheriff's representative, and he takes care of it. Also, they are trying to keep the Camp Casey and the Camp Reality people separated as much as possible.

Once the details were taken care of, we were given a tour of Camp Reality. There is one father who is trying to raise money to get a bronze statue (of the rifle, boots, and helmet) placed in the hometown of each fallen soldier. There is also a thank you tribute to the President and the military from the Iraqi men, women, and children who weren't killed by Saddam's thugs thanks to the invasion.

Before we left, a reporter asked R if he could ask her a few questions (and, I think if he hadn't been holding a video camera at the time, she might have said yes). Then, we briefly spoke to a couple of the protesters who were over on the Camp Reality side. They were very nice, and very sympathetic towards R. One of them even asked if she could give us a hug. Then we were given cold water and wished a safe trip home.

We got into a van, and I asked R if she wanted to go down to the other section (I'm guessing that's where the media circus was located). She said no, that she was just going to trust that Lt. Sid would take care of everything. Personally, I think she was just afraid that one of us would end up cuffed and in the back of Lt. Sid's SUV.

So... that's what we did... Now... Here are my impressions...

First (and this one is the one that's probably going to get me in trouble with someone), I think I know why there are more protesters than counter-protesters. It's not that there are fewer people that actually support the President (the election from less than a year ago kind of sheds some light on that one)- it's just that they have jobs. I know it sounds horrible, but it makes sense. The protesters' ages ran from retiree to 20-something. On the Camp Reality side, the people were (I hate trying to guess people's ages, but... ) more toward the retiree end (evidently there are a lot more counter-protesters on the weekends). I couldn't help but wonder how all of the protesters could camp out on the side of the road for 5 weeks... Don't they have jobs, responsibilities, lives?

Second, it's not that Camp Casey looks more "organized", per say... but they do look like they've done this a time or two. Professionally printed signs, flyers, a shuttle... Camp Reality (and Camp Qualls) was more of a gut response to what they viewed as a dishonor- homemade signs, no central organization. Perhaps it's because of my own personal bias, but... the Left has a ready-made protest organization, ready and willing to jump in at a moment's notice. The Right, for the most part, doesn't protest- we're not angry all the time.

Next, the people at Camp Reality (and Camp Qualls in town) were awesome- so helpful, so compassionate. They each had their reasons for being there (a son or brother who is active duty right now... a Viet Nam vet who doesn't want what happened to them to happen to anyone else... a son who was lost in Iraq... people who just want to stand for what they believe in), but R and I were grateful that they were there to help us out. Some of them are out there every day in the heat, and they're doing a great job.

Someone recently asked me why more pro-WoT Gold Star Families don't speak up (against the group at Camp Casey, and against the anti-war protesters in general). I've been thinking about it, and (though R hasn't confirmed it) I think I have an idea. Most Gold Star Families, the ones who believe in what their children/spouses were doing with their lives, just want to be left in peace to mourn. They have faith in our country, and in the mission their family member was on. They don't want to be part of a movement. If pushed, they will take a stand (as we saw this past weekend with the "You Don't Speak For Me, Cindy" tour), but they would prefer solitude to grieve and heal.

Finally, the people of Crawford are awesome. It's a cute town, with beautiful country all around it. It's such a small town, and they seem to be holding up well under the deluge of humanity that descends on them everytime the President comes back to the ranch. The poor woman at city hall seemed a little frazzled, but that only makes sense, considering the weekend they just went through.

I'm glad we took the drive. I'm sad that it was necessary (first, that Mark died, and then that some people decided to use the names of the Fallen for their own political gain), but I'm glad that we could go. It wasn't some great protest, it wasn't some grand gesture. It was just... doing what had to be done.

You know, one of the signs at Camp Reality was right- "Camp Reality- and, yes, sometimes it bites."

Monday, August 29, 2005

A Quest

This morning, I am off on a quest... a quest to retake something that is being used by someone who had no right to claim it.

I'll explain later.

Saturday, August 27, 2005

Almost Makes Me Want to Watch Basketball

Almost, but not quite.

As competitors from around the country took turns exposing Mr. (Marvin) Williams' (selected No. 2 overall in last month's NBA draft- ed) virtual shortcomings, the soft-spoken 19-year-old demonstrated restraint beyond his years. "Golly," he finally blurted after someone named Dominique in Arizona scored for the umpteenth time. Several ensuing outbursts proved no more objectionable.

Mr. Williams' "yes sir, no sir" respect in addressing reporters confirmed an uncommon discipline neatly folded within his personality. More than mere country manners, this public display was intentional. "Somebody's always going to be looking at you, so you can always affect somebody's life whether it's just being nice to somebody or helping somebody out," he told WORLD.

Since dominating local courts in the small naval town of Bremerton, Wash., Mr. Williams has understood his power to influence. While helping the University of North Carolina Tar Heels claim a national championship this past March, he joined several teammates in offering regular pre-game prayers. Millions of dollars later, nothing seems to have changed. "God blesses us all everyday," Mr. Williams said. "Without Him, none of this would be possible, so you've definitely got to give Him the glory."

There's a young man with his head on his shoulders. I wish him all the best in his new career, and I pray he has a good (IOW, not a sheister) financial advisor.

Happy Birthday, Mom!

OK, everyone! Let's sing the Birthday Song!!!

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Hippo Birdie 2 Ewes
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Hippo Birdie 2 Ewes
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Hippo Birdie Deer Ewe
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Hippo Birdie 2 Ewes

Happy Birthday, Mom! Hope you liked your presents!

Okay, Gang... Give Mugga some love! (But, keep it clean, ok? Please?)

Friday, August 26, 2005

Only 70%????

Got this from Denita...
More Emotional

You have:
The graph on the right represents your place in Intuition 2-Space. As you can see, you scored well above average on emotional intuition and above average on scientific intuition.Your emotional intuition is stronger than your scientific intuition.

Your Emotional Intuition
score is a measure of how well you understand people, especially their
unspoken needs and sympathies. A high score score usually indicates
social grace and persuasiveness. A low score usually means you're good
at Quake.

Your Scientific Intuition
score tells you how in tune you are with the world around you; how well
you understand your physical and intellectual environment. People with
high scores here are apt to succeed in business and, of course, the

My test tracked 2 variables How you compared to other people your age and gender:
free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 53% on Scientific
free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 84% on Interpersonal
Link: The 2-Variable Intuition Test written by jason_bateman on OkCupid Free Online Dating

Image hosted by Emotional? Who, me? Why, I never... how DARE they!!! I'm... a bit overwhelmed right now... it's just so unfair... excuse me... I need a moment alone now... Image hosted by

What's New at the London Zoo?

You aren't going to believe this one...
London Zoo has unveiled a new exhibition - eight humans prowling around wearing little more than fig leaves.

The 'Human Zoo' is intended to show the basic nature of human beings, over the bank holiday weekend.

"We have set up this exhibit to highlight the spread of man as a plague species and to communicate the importance of man's place in the planet's ecosystem," a London Zoo spokesman said.
Well... if you believe that man is no more than an animal, then I guess it makes sense to put some of them in an exhibit at the zoo. (And... they are wearing more than fig leaves... sorry, guys.) And I guess it would be easy to buy into the idea that we are nothing but a plague on this planet.

Me? I think it's just goofy, and a waste of money.

There She Goes... RIGHT Off the Deep End

Yes, we can all sympathize with the fact that Cindy Sheehan's son died at the hands of terrorists (no, Cindy, NOT just someone who wants the US out of their country- these people want the US to disappear all together). We can never understand what she and her family have gone through, because most of us have never gone through something like that.

That being said... this woman has officially taken a nose dive off the deep end.
Anti-war activist Cindy Sheehan is now purportedly "channeling" her slain son, Casey, from heaven, suggesting he's calling President Bush "an idiot," and she claims to have "tens of thousands of angels" supporting her cause to bring home immediately American troops serving in Iraq.

"When I get up [to heaven], he's gonna say, 'Good job, mom,'" the California woman said in a speech last night upon her return to Crawford, Texas. "He's not going to say, 'Why'd you make me spin in my grave?' you know. And I can just hear him saying, 'George Bush, you are really an idiot. You didn't know what you were doing when you killed me. You didn't know what you were getting into.'"

She publicly thanked her son and others who died in the Iraq War, and claimed to have the backing of Casey and his fellow fallen soldiers in the afterlife.
I'm not going to take this apart theologically (from my belief system... well... it ain't happening...) She can believe that she's talking to her dead son, and that he's telling her that the moon is made of cheese for all I care. (Okay... I think she needs massive amounts of grief counseling. She's losing what's left of her family because she cannot accept that people who hate our way of life killed her son, and she's placing the blame on people who do not deserve it.) She can have attention-seekers join her. She can have her little protest, and take her bus trip to DC. Let her be the media's darling for a while. That's fine. It's not helping her cause, but that's fine. She's got to do what she's got to do.

My problem with her "channeling" her son is that she says that "his fellow fallen soldiers" are backing her. (We won't even get into the fact that she's the only person who has said that Casey was against the war, but wanted to do his duty. This doesn't sound like someone who was just doing his duty.) It was bad enough when her followers placed crosses with the names of fallen soldiers on the side of the road (without permission from their families). Now she says that those fallen, those who gave their lives for freedom, are backing her. THAT, in and of itself, is proof that she's not "channeling" Casey or any other fallen soldier, because I know of at least one of those fallen who would NOT have backed her. (If any of his family is reading this and disagrees, let me know... but... for some reason, I don't think that will be the case.)

Many of the men and women who have given their lives in service to the US in the last 4 years stood behind their Commander in Chief, and they gladly served. Yes, there were some who disagreed with the policy, and they chose to do their duty, anyway. No, they didn't want to die. They understood the risk, and they signed on the dotted line, knowing that one day they might have to lay down their lives so that others might live.

Ms. Sheehan, if you feel like dishonoring your son's life and service, that's one thing. It just shows you to be more concerned about your personal agenda than his memory. It's another thing to dishonor the memory of others who voluntarily entered the military and gave their lives for (what one day I feel will be looked at as) a noble and just cause.

Oh, Great! Now She's Got a Commercial!

I just saw Cindy Sheehan's commercial on, of all places, FoxNews. Same whining, new format.

Ms. Sheehan, do you really think that President Bush doesn't know how you feel about him and this war? Do you really think that Casey's friends, the ones who are still in the military, still fighting for freedom, don't know what you think of them and that you think that Casey's killers are freedom fighters?

As for the commercial itself... it's not going to sway anyone. If they're anti-war, I'm sure it will pump them up. If they're pro-Iraqi freedom, then it will probably pump them up, too. And, well... this is going to sound incredibly cruel, but as someone who has to pay attention to camera shots once in a while, they got a little too close with the close-up on Ms. Sheehan. Reminded me of the quote from Tootsie... "How do you feel about Cleveland?" (if you've seen the movie, you'll get it... if you haven't, I'm not going to explain it... and, no... it has nothing to do with her physical appearance- it has to do with the camera work... nothing more... nothing less...)

Thursday, August 25, 2005

I Knew Something Didn't Sound Right...

Recently, a study came out that said that fetuses do not feel pain until the third trimester. That seemed so cut and dry (and not what I remember hearing in earlier studies) that I got the impression that something smelled... fishy...

Come to find out (first by listening to Laura Ingraham today, then checking into it a little more), I was right.
But their seven-page article has a weakness: It does not mention that one author is an abortion clinic director, while the lead author - Susan J. Lee, a medical student - once worked for NARAL Pro-Choice America.

JAMA editor-in-chief Catherine D. DeAngelis said she was unaware of this, and acknowledged it might create an appearance of bias that could hurt the journal's credibility. "This is the first I've heard about it," she said. "We ask them to reveal any conflict of interest. I would have published" the disclosure if it had been made.

UCSF obstetrician-gynecologist Eleanor A. Drey, medical director of the abortion clinic at San Francisco General Hospital, said: "We thought it was critical to include an expert in abortion among the authors. I think my presence... should not serve to politicize a scholarly report."
Hmmm... so the researchers did not think that being the director of an abortion clinic who could benefit from this research's "findings" constituted a conflict of interest? It doesn't "politicize a scholarly report"? If a tobacco company pays for research, it's automatically suspect. If a pharmacutical company pays for outside research, it's suspect. If a chemical company pays for research, it's suspect. If a group wanting to prevent doctors from having to explain to their patients that their baby might just be in pain as the doctor sucks it out of her womb stacks the deck with people who provide and promote abortions, I think that's just a little suspect.

But I'm just cynical that way.

Protesting at Walter Reed

Here's the CNS piece that I mentioned last night.
The Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C., the current home of hundreds of wounded veterans from the war in Iraq, has been the target of weekly anti-war demonstrations since March. The protesters hold signs that read "Maimed for Lies" and "Enlist here and die for Halliburton."

The anti-war demonstrators, who obtain their protest permits from the Washington, D.C., police department, position themselves directly in front of the main entrance to the Army Medical Center, which is located in northwest D.C., about five miles from the White House.

Among the props used by the protesters are mock caskets, lined up on the sidewalk to represent the death toll in Iraq.... Kevin Pannell, who was recently treated at Walter Reed and had both legs amputated after an ambush grenade attack near Baghdad in 2004, considers the presence of the anti-war protesters in front of the hospital "distasteful."

When he was a patient at the hospital, Pannell said he initially tried to ignore the anti-war activists camped out in front of Walter Reed, until witnessing something that enraged him.

"We went by there one day and I drove by and [the anti-war protesters] had a bunch of flag-draped coffins laid out on the sidewalk. That, I thought, was probably the most distasteful thing I had ever seen. Ever," Pannell, a member of the Army's First Cavalry Division, told Cybercast News Service.

"You know that 95 percent of the guys in the hospital bed lost guys whenever they got hurt and survivors' guilt is the worst thing you can deal with," Pannell said, adding that other veterans recovering from wounds at Walter Reed share his resentment for the anti-war protesters.

"We don't like them and we don't like the fact that they can hang their signs and stuff on the fence at Walter Reed," he said. "[The wounded veterans] are there to recuperate. Once they get out in the real world, then they can start seeing that stuff (anti-war protests). I mean Walter Reed is a sheltered environment and it needs to stay that way."

McCarron said he dislikes having to resort to such controversial tactics, "but this stuff can't be hidden," he insisted. "The real cost of this war cannot be kept from the American public."
They also think that the wounded are being smuggled in under the cover of darkness to avoid the media . No... they come in at night so that there is more room to work at the hospital (without a bunch of out-patients and visitors walking around). And if the media thought it would bring in readers or viewers, they'd be there in a heartbeat. Especially if it would make President Bush look bad.

If you're not happy with the war, it is your right to protest. But... protesting at a hospital, where brave men and women are trying to put their lives (and their bodies) back together and can do nothing to change policy, is pointless and cruel. They were willing to give it all (and some of their friends did) for these people's right to protest. They should honor the veterans, not drag them down.

This is Just Not Right

Sami Habbas came to the United States with his parents when he was three years old. He became a citizen, served in the military during the Vietnam War, and is now a grocer.

Imagine how he must have felt when he went to check his mail the other day and received a credit card offer addressed to "Palestinian Bomber." What makes matters even worse is that two operators at Chase greeted him with, "Hello, Mr. Bomber. What can we do for you?"

How about proof-reading the contact lists that you buy from a vendor? (Better yet, quit buying the dang lists! Even those of us whose names you don't get wrong are getting sick and tired of getting all of those "offers" in the mail.)

Mallard Makes Sense

I start every morning hitting several sites. The boys and I listen to Ken Davis, I play a couple of brainy-ish games, I check my e-mail, and I read some comics (BC, Prickly City, Pardon My Planet, Day by Day, and Mallard Fillmore).

I love Mallard. Why? Stuff like this:Image hosted by
(courtesy of the Seattle PI)

'Nuf said!

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

A New Low...

Just when you think the anti-war protesters can't sink any lower...

Drudge has his siren out (and I'm not going to link to it until there's an outside link- he's flashing it, which means it will disappear), and I'll copy the whole thing.
Wed Aug 2005 24 21:20:05 ET

Anti-war protestors besieged wounded and disabled soldiers at Walter Reed Hospital in Washington, D.C, a new web report will claim! is planning to run an expose featuring interviews with both protestors and veterans, as well as shots of protest signs with slogans like “Maimed for a Lie.”

The conservative outlet will post video evidence of the wounded veterans being taunted by protesters, the DRUDGE REPORT has learned.

Developing late...
Like I said... this is beyond low. These soldiers were wounded protecting these people (and trying to give other people a better life), and this is the thanks they get?

Now is a good time to direct y'all to people who want to support the troops:
Soldiers' Angels which has a whole bunch of links to other sites
America Supports You

I'll post more as I find out more.

But Wait! There's More: In Seattle, evidently the way to welcome home veterans is to severely beat them.
Two soldiers who just returned from a year in Iraq were badly beaten in an attack outside Pioneer Square.... Police say the victims were with two women who'd been groped by the suspects. One of the women threw a hot dog at the suspects and walked away.

They didn't get very far. The three suspects ran after them and began attacking the two men -- two soldiers who'd come home from the war.

The graphic videotape shows both victims getting beaten over and over again, and then after one of the victims loses consciousness, a suspect starts stomping on his head.... Both victims suffered broken jaws, while one suffered a broken arm and both had other broken bones and several bruises.
So maybe they didn't know that the guys were soldiers. Maybe they were just upset because the guys' girlfriends didn't like their come-ons. Either way... just too much...

Another Story from Iraq You Won't Hear About

It's become abundantly clear that the MSM won't cover any feel good stories from Iraq, so it's up to the bloggers. And I'm happy to oblige.

Today's story comes from Ali Base, where US and Iraqi air crews worked together to get an 8 year-old boy the heart surgery he desperately needs.
Although 8-year-old Baher looks happy and healthy, Iraqi and U.S. Air Force C-130 crewmembers knew his true condition when they gave him the ride of his life Aug. 22.

Baher and his mother, Afaf, were headed to New Orleans to repair a hole in his heart via a new program called Operation Mend a Heart. Airmen and Soldiers were glad to get the healing process underway.

“I was very happy to (be a part of the aircrew to) help him,” said Iraqi air force navigator Atiya from Squadron 23 (Transport). His full name is not used because of personal security. Atiya was one of the C-130 crewmembers who flew Baher from Baghdad International Airport to Basra Air Station on the first leg of his journey....

From Basra, Soldiers from Humanitarian Operation Center Army Civil Affairs were waiting to whisk the family to Kuwait to obtain the proper visas and paperwork they would need for their ultimate destination -- Tulane University and Hospital Clinic in New Orleans where Baher will receive surgery to correct his congenital heart defect.

The $100,000 surgery, which is donated by Tulane, was facilitated through Operation Mend a Heart -- a joint effort among Tulane, the U.S. military and coalition forces. More than 10 different U.S. and coalition military and civilian agencies are involved in the effort.
For more information about Operation Mend a Heart, check out the Tulane web site.

The US military has provided medical transport for civilian patients for decades (Scott AFB, near where I grew up, provided layover care for patients being transported cross-country for care.) I like the fact that they are extending that to the Iraqi and Afghani theaters of operation. Not that I ever doubted it, but some people need to be reminded (constantly) that we're not the bad guys.

Doctor in Trouble for Telling The Truth

A woman has filed a complaint against her doctor. Why? Did he proposition her? Did he grope her? Was he negligent in his care of her medical needs?

Nope. He told her she was fat. Obese, to be exact.
The New Hampshire attorney general is investigating a Rochester doctor because a patient complained that he bluntly told her she needed to lose weight.

Dr. Terry Bennett said that he's outraged by what he calls a baseless complaint. A patient was apparently insulted when Bennett told her that she was obese and could only get healthier by losing weight....

Bennett said that it's a lecture he gives to many of his overweight patients.

"It's your weight, ... and there's dozens of programs," Bennett said. "You don't have to come in here. You can join Jenny Craig. You can go see Weight Watchers."

Bennett said he tells obese patients that their weight is bad for their health and their love lives. But the lecture drove one patient to write a letter to the Board of Medicine, which has passed on the complaint to the Attorney General's Office....

Bennett said that the Attorney General's Office tried to get him to settle the matter by agreeing to attend a medical education course, which he refused.

"I'm sorry," Bennett said. "If she's watching, I'm devoutly sorry to have offended you. I didn't mean to offend you. I meant to tell you the truth. And that's what I tried to do."

The Board of Medicine would not comment on the case, but Vice President Kevin Costin said, "Physicians have to be professional with patients and remember everyone is an individual. You should not be inflammatory or degrading to anyone."

Bennett said that he thinks his apology should be enough.
Truth hurts, doesn't it, Lady? (and, yes... I can say that because I have heard from my doctor that I would be a lot healthier if I dropped some weight. And I'm trying.)

Granted, the AG has to investigate every complaint that comes into the office. But... a "medical education" class? MORE doctors need to be willing to say "look, you are engaging in unhealthy behavior. If you want to feel better, put down the doughnut and put on your walking shoes."

Some people can be swayed by gentle encouragement. For everyone else? To quote an old friend of mine- "Some people need to be offended."

Teenagers and Subtlety Don't Mix

Yesterday, I commented on the pregnancy problems at one Canton high school. Now we find out the name of the school's sports teams. The Canton Timkin TROJANS.

That would be funny... if the rest of the story wasn't so sad.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

What Are They Teaching At That School?

Obviously, the kids understand. Maybe the officials need to sit through a Health class or two.
There are 490 female students at Timken High School, and 65 are pregnant, according to a recent report in the Canton Repository.

The article reported that some would say that movies, TV, videogames, lazy parents and lax discipline may all be to blame.

School officials are not sure what has caused so many pregnancies (emphasis mine- B), but in response to them, the school is launching a three-prong educational program to address pregnancy, prevention and parenting.
Videogames cause pregnancy? Wow... that's news to me. Maybe they need to teach a few of those girls to keep their knees together. What do you want to bet they're not teaching an abstinance-based program at that school.

Public schools scare me some days... and some days more than others.

Latest in Fall Fashion

So... earlier today, I mentioned the Dolce & Gabbana pants that are sure to be all the rage... nowhere. But... wandering over to The Corner, I found one disturbing fashion trend that is catching on... in Gaza.
Hamas revealed over the weekend that dozens of women in the Gaza Strip have joined its armed wing, Izzaddin Kassam, and were preparing to carry out attacks on Israel.

Pictures posted on the Hamas-affiliated Palestine Information Center Web site showed masked women, dressed in military fatigues and armed with Kalashnikov rifles and pistols, receiving training at a secret location in the Gaza Strip.

According to Hamas, the women were being trained in planting roadside bombs, firing rockets and mortars and infiltrating Jewish settlements.
Image hosted by
You'll notice how the black hijab accentuates the camouflage of the abaya. The headband provides the perfect final touch for the well dressed terrorist.

And, so, as the properly accessorized Islamofascist strolls through Gaza on her way to Israeli towns, we're left to wonder what in the WORLD Sharon was thinking. They shouldn't have moved the settlers out, they should have moved more soldiers in.

Anything Interesting in the News?

Eh... not overly exciting, but... here are a few tidbits:
OK... that's it. Later!

Monday, August 22, 2005

Bob Costas Is My Hero!

While some cable TV hosts are making their living off the Natalee Holloway case this summer, Bob Costas is having none of it.

Costas, hired by CNN as an occasional fill-in on "Larry King Live," refused to anchor Thursday's show because it was primarily about the Alabama teenager who went missing in Aruba. Chris Pixley filled in at the last minute.

"I didn't think the subject matter of Thursday's show was the kind of broadcast I should be doing," Costas said in a statement. "I suggested some alternatives but the producers preferred the topics they had chosen. I was fine with that, and respectfully declined to participate."
Don't take this the wrong way, but I am getting sick and tired of the Natalee Holloway story. I cannot begin to imagine what her family is going through, and I know that there can be no closure until she is found (alive or dead). Does her story have to be on every night on Greta's show? (I don't usually watch other news channels, so I don't know how it's playing over there.) I realize that it's August now, and there is NO news in August for the most part. But, dang... this isn't helping anyone find her- it's just making the people in Aruba angry and making those of us Stateside who watch the news get... well... bored.

Thank you, Bob. There has to be something else to talk about than Natalee.

Oh, no! The Frogs are Invading!

No... the French aren't invading anything (this is a non-fiction piece, after all). The French are being invaded, however... by FROGS.
A campaign in France to exterminate frogs may sound like the beginning of a civil war, but these are no ordinary frogs.

Hunters working for the government's wildlife agency will be stalking ponds in south-west France this weekend, aimed with flash-lights, rifles, silencers and night-vision sights.

They have been mobilised for the most intensive effort so far to terminate a plague of giant Californian bullfrogs which is threatening to disrupt the ecology of the Gironde, Dordogne and several other départements.

The aggressive and voracious bullfrog (Rana catesbeiana), introduced illegally 37 years ago, can grow to more than 4lbs in weight and almost 2ft long. It consumes other frogs, fish, lizards and even small birds.

Since the frogs were first released, as a joke, on a private pond near Libourne in 1968, they have colonised ponds, lakes, marshes and gravel pits all over the département of the Gironde. They have been found in the Landes area to the south and in the Dordogne, Lot-et-Garonne and Loir-et-Cher départements, further north....

Destroying the frogs is not easy, however. The Gironde fisheries protection association attacked a pond full of bullfrogs with electricity a few years ago. The frogs fought back. The hunters battled with them for two hours. They killed just one frog before they gave up. Assaults on the frogs have also been made with nets and by draining ponds, to little effect.

Game-keepers and volunteers working for the Office National de la Chasse et de la Faune Sauvage (National Hunting and Wild-life Agency) have now developed night-fighting techniques. The frogs are easier to locate at night because their eyes reflect torchlight...

Even so, experimental attacks on ponds and lakes over the past 11 months have killed only 120 frogs. A much bigger offensive, starting this weekend, aims to exterminate all the bullfrogs in France within five to 10 years.

There is just something funny about the Frogs being invaded (and beaten, up until now) by a bunch of, well... frogs! What they to do is hire a few good ole boys from somewhere deep in the South and have them teach their "frog hunters" the finer points of giggin' frogs.

Oh, wait... no self-respecting Southern Boy would lift his pinkie toe to help the the French. Oh, well... Happy Hunting, Jaques!

Defining the Terms

This one should be easy. "Expert". Let's go to the dictionary:
1. A person with a high degree of skill in or knowledge of a certain subject.
Why am I bringing up this easily defined term? Because people seem to have a problem not with the term, but in recognizing one when you see one.

Case in point. This morning on FoxNews, two former Congress Critters (one Republican, one Democrat- this is the fair and balanced channel, after all) were talking about the comparison that Chuck Hagel (RINO, Nebraska) made between Iraq and Viet Nam.
A leading Republican senator (the only people who think he's a leading Republican are the senator himself and the media- B) and prospective presidential candidate (as if he has a snowball's chance- B) said Sunday that the war in Iraq has destabilized the Middle East and is looking more like the Vietnam conflict from a generation ago.

Nebraska Sen. Chuck Hagel (RINO, Nebraska), who received two Purple Hearts and other military honors for his service in Vietnam, reiterated his position that the United States needs to develop a strategy to leave Iraq. Hagel scoffed at the idea that U.S. troops could be in Iraq four years from now at levels above 100,000, a contingency for which the Pentagon is preparing.

"We should start figuring out how we get out of there," Hagel said on "This Week" on ABC. "But with this understanding, we cannot leave a vacuum that further destabilizes the Middle East. I think our involvement there has destabilized the Middle East. And the longer we stay there, I think the further destabilization will occur."
And what makes Senator Hagel an expert on this? That would be his two Purple Hears and other military honors he received in Viet Nam. No, seriously. The Democratic pundit on the show actually said, "I think we should listen to him, because he's a decorate Viet Nam veteran."

At what point does "Been there, done that, got the t-shirt" make you a military expert? I have nothing but respect for Viet Nam veterans. They deserve our honor and gratitude. And, yes, some of them have gone on to become military experts. Most of them, however, did their job and came home, leaving military strategy behind. And, then there are those who did their job, were honored for their service, and then used that service for their own political gain.

Chuck Hagel was Deputy Administrator of the VA under President Reagan. I would be willing to at least call him "knowledgeable" if not an expert in the area of veterans affairs. Military strategy? uh... no.

Saturday, August 20, 2005

This is NOT a CatBlog...

... but I couldn't help myself...
A stalking foray atop a power pole left a lucky feline jolted, frizzled and dazed but otherwise OK after he fell off the 40-foot pole and sparked a fire outside a fire house.

The frazzled cat was discovered when paramedic-firefighters Andrew Chrzanowski and Jeremy Hall responded to the fire Wednesday morning after the lights went out at the Topaz Ranch Estates fire house.
They originally thought the little guy was dead, but they did first aid on him when they discovered he was breathing.
"We both thought that with the amount of burns he had he wasn't going to make it, but then we started to look more closely and we saw it was all superficial," Hall said. "The fire just burned all his hair off."

"The doctor said it looks like he was in a flash fire and got singed from head to toe," Duzan said.

The cat will be put up for adoption if it is not claimed by its owner, she said.
You know, I think I might just stock up on Benedryl for a little fighter like that.

The Cost of Human Life...

... is evidently $24,000,000.
A Texas jury found pharmaceutical giant Merck & Co. liable Friday for the death of a man who took the once-popular painkiller Vioxx, awarding his widow $253.4 million in damages in the first of thousands of lawsuits pending across the country....The jury awarded $450,000 in economic damages for Robert Ernst's lost pay, $24 million for mental anguish and loss of companionship and $229 million in punitive damages.
Granted, those numbers will drop because of Texas law (the widow will get no more than $26.1 million). But, according to this jury, Ernst's life was worth $24 million (because that was the "loss of companionship and mental anguish amount- that's the dollar amount on his widow's pain). I hadn't realized you could put a price tag on pain, on suffering... on life.

Let me make my position clear. If a company is guilty of intentional negligence, then they should be sued. For damages, and yes, for pain and suffering. If they did wrong, they should be held accountable. So, I guess I'm ok with the $26.1 million. I just know that no amount of money will bring her husband back. (No, I have NO idea how I would react in this situation. I can only guess.)

My problem is with juries who have a "we'll show them!" mentality. $229 million in punative damages? They want to punish people (the stockholders) who had nothing to do with the decisions that were made. Oh, yeah, that makes sense.

TORT reform... it's a beautiful thing...

Out of Control Judiciary (a continuing series)

An Arizona ranch once owned by a member of an armed group accused of terrorizing illegal immigrants has been turned over to two of the very people the owner had tried keep out of the country.
That is the only time in the entire news piece that you'll hear Edwin Alfredo Mancia Gonzales and Fatima del Socorro Leiva Medina referred to as "illegal immigrants". The rest of the time, they're called "immigrants" or not referred to at all. And I think that's important in this debate.

What Casey Nethercott was accused of doing was wrong, no doubt about that (although I do find it interesting that the jury deadlocked on whether or not he actually assaulted the men, but convicted him on a weapons charge). Violence is not a way to solve this particular problem.

That being said, there is something fundamentally wrong with people who were breaking the law being awarded money because someone broke the law in order to stop them from breaking the law. If I was the judge, I'd call them even. Deport Medina and Gonzales back to El Salvador and plop Nethercott in jail for the weapons charge. Don't encourage them.

Proud Conservative Mommy Moment

So, last night, T1 asks me what I'm reading. I told him that the book was titled Exodus , and it was about how Christians are leaving liberal denominations and flocking to more conservative churches. I could see the gears grinding...

"Mom, what's a liberal? And what's a conservative?"
"In religion? In politics? In general?"
"Start with in general."

That led to a brief conversation, which ended with, "So, Mom... you're a conservative, right?"
"What do liberal Christians believe?" So... I went through some of the things that separate the liberal and conservative churches [homosexuals in ministry and leadership, Divinity of Christ, literal Resurrection, existence of God (in some extreme cases)].

T1 looked at me, picked up the Bible that was sitting nearby, and said, "So... they believe that this doesn't say what it says? Or they think it means something that it doesn't mean?"
"Idiots." And then he walked off.

Yeah... it was a proud Mama moment...

Friday, August 19, 2005

Short Trip Around The News

Here are a few things that caught my eye:
That's about it for now...

This Is Going To Be Funny

A new comic book mini series is scheduled for release in October of this year, and the creator has already received two death threats and one suggestion that he off himself. And it's only going to get worse.

What's the big deal? Well, the series is set in 2021, and liberals have taken over the United States. Osama bin Laden is Afghani ambassador to the UN, and Chelsea Clinton is the US President (with Mikey the Moron as her VP). The heroes in this little nightmare? G. Gordon Liddy, Ollie North, and Sean Hannity (complete with mechanical enhancements created by Oscar, a "peaceful Muslim").
In 2004, Muslim terrorists stopped viewing the weakened American government as a threat; instead they set their sights on their true enemies, vocal American conservatives. On one dark day, in 2006, many conservative voices went forever silent at the hands of terrorist assassins. Those which survived joined forces and formed a powerful covert conservative organization called “The Freedom of Information League”, aka F.O.I.L. ...The F.O.I.L. Organization is forced underground by the “Coulter Laws” of 2007; these hate speech legislations have made right-wing talk shows, and conservative-slanted media, illegal. Our weakened government has willingly handed the reins of our once great country to the corrupt United Nations. The Department of Political-Correctness is required to assist U.N. monitors to properly edit all print and broadcast media. Live broadcasts are a thing of the past; all transmissions are monitored by the U.N. and any ‘offensive’ material is dumped.
Do you even have to ask if I'm going to get these? I don't even really like comic books, and I'm going to read these, if for no other reason than this quote from the series' creator:
If he's successful in duplicating that experience, "comic shops nationwide will be rushed harder than a Ted Kennedy assault on a Liquor Barn grand opening!"

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Media Bias and Justice Sunday II

One final note about Justice Sunday II. One thing that struck me was the blatant bias of the media. I was there. I heard just about everything. And, yet, reading the MSM accounts, I have to think they were somewhere else. Or were napping during the entire thing.

First, there's the whole bit about Senator Frist "not being invited." Here's what one media source wrote (but they were all pretty much the same):
Frist, a surgeon, wasn't invited to address "Justice Sunday II" because he angered the events' organizers by voicing his support for expanded human embryonic stem cell research.
I guess it doesn't matter that Tony Perkins, the president of Family Research Council, explained, in detail, that Senator Frist has already spoken at two events, and they were trying to get as many voices as possible, AND that the speaker's list was completed prior to Senator Frist's announcement in favor of some stem cell research. I guess it's the MSM's SOP to ignore what people say and just write whatever you want.

Then there's the protesters.
Protesters were also vocal, both outside Two Rivers Baptist Church, where the rally was held, and across town, where a group of religious leaders held a rally to counter what they saw as an extremist message.

“This is so Americans can see the ’Justice Sunday’ sponsors and Tom DeLay don’t have any exclusive hold on religion,” said Glenn Smith, an organizer of “Community of Faith and Unity Gathering.”

Rita Nakashima Brock, founder of Faith Voices for the Common Good, said “Justice Sunday II” was calling for a theocracy instead of democracy.

“Those people meeting with Tom DeLay, Chuck Colson and Jim Dobson think they own the Bible and that God speaks only to them,” Brock said.
Like other bloggers, I listened intently, and I never once heard the speakers call for a theocracy. In fact, they went out of their way to say that they do not want to impose their views, just add their voices to the debate. But I did hear the protesters yell slurs at the cars pulling into the parking lot at the church (my favorite, while not vulger in the least, was at least almost funny. One woman would yell "Sheep!" at every car that turned into the lot. I bet she was hoarse by the end of the evening.) I guess it's what the protester's spokespeople say that really matters.

Then there were the reporters who somehow managed to listen to the entire event and still get their reports in before it was over. (If you'll notice, the first one was posted to the wire before the event even started.)

I have to give credit where credit is due. Jeannine F. Hunter, the religion writer for the Tennessean, wrote a very good piece about the event. It was all fact, no hype. She reported simply what was. (I met Ms. Hunter while I was there... she's a very nice person.)

I know I shouldn't be surprised when the MSM acts with bias. It's what they do. I guess I've just never seen it in something I witnessed personally.

Fences Make Good Neighbors

A lawmaker in Arizona might be on to something.
A state lawmaker believes Arizonans are so frustrated with illegal immigration that they're willing to raise fees -- and possibly tax themselves -- to build a fence along the state's southern border. Rep. Russell Pearce, R-Mesa, is crafting a measure to ask voters next year to spend the money to erect a climb-proof fence wherever possible from Yuma to east of Douglas.
I'd go one step further and and delete the word "wherever", but that's just me. I think that a vast majority of Americans living in ALL border states would be willing to chip in for a fence (with seismic activity sensors to detect when someone's trying to tunnel under it).

Of course, not everyone agrees (go figure!).
But Yuma County Supervisor Tony Reyes called the idea "stupid."

Even assuming some landowners would allow a fence to be erected, Reyes said all that will do is move illegal crossing to another location. He said that's what happened when fences and increased patrols in California and Texas, as well as along a few spots along the Arizona border, pushed people out into the more dangerous desert.
Not if it covers the entire southern border. Harsh? No, not really. If you can span the entire border, then people wouldn't be able to get to the more dangerous desert.

I realize that many of these people just want a better life. I get that. I'm not lacking compassion here. Unfortunately, along with these people of good will (who don't pay taxes and still take advantage of healthcare and school and heaven knows what else), vermin with less honorable intentions are crossing the border with them. These miscreants are bringing drugs with them; they're robbing people along the border; they're destroying crops and livestock; they're killing people who get in their way.

There are legal ways to get into the country if you just want to get a job. I'd like to limit the criminals ability to get here.

Protecting the Victims

A new North Carolina law will require that domestic abuse victims be informed by the court how to apply for concealed weapon.
“We’re not interested in them shooting their abusers,” said Paul Valone, president of Grass Roots North Carolina. “We’re interested in delivering a message: When police can’t protect these people, they are capable of protecting themselves.”

The measure becomes law Oct. 1 unless Gov. Mike Easley decides to veto it. His office declined Wednesday to comment on his plans.

The bill, which passed overwhelmingly in both houses of the legislature, would also add protective orders to the evidence a sheriff can consider when determining whether to issue an emergency permit to carry a concealed weapon. Normally, an applicant must wait 90 days for such a permit.
How often are battered spouses murdered after being granted a restraining order? Law enforcement personnel can't be everywhere all the time. There has to be a way for these victims to protect themselves. The mere fact that their spouse just might have a gun might keep one of these goons from attacking the "love of their life" again.

Different Sides of the Story

This morning on Fox & Friends, I listened as they interviewed Carl Basham, a Marine who has been denied in-state tuition by Austin Community College.
Despite being a Texas native, a registered voter and holder of a state driver's license, a decorated Marine has been denied lower in-state tuition at a community college because he spent too much time out of the state while serving two tours of duty in Iraq.

Carl Basham says he was shocked when personnel at Austin Community College told him a few weeks ago that he didn't qualify as a Texas resident "for tuition purposes." Basham was born in Beeville, Texas, registered to vote in Travis County in 1998, holds a Texas driver's license and does his banking in Austin, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported.
Sounds terrible, right? Everyone should be outraged, right? I mean... this guys served two tours of duty in Iraq, and the mean school said that he can't have in-state tuition because he was out of the state- fighting a war.

Well... let's see what ACC has to say:
First, this is not a widespread problem applicable to all who have served their country. This is an individual situation involving one person who lived in another state before entering the military and who listed the other state – not Texas – as his permanent address in military records.

Texas residency is guided by state law, as reflected in the Texas Education Code. As a taxpayer-funded college, ACC is not able to pick the laws with which it complies. Additionally, this type of situation is complicated when a resident moves out of Texas for several years prior to entering the military, enlists in the military in another state, and lists that state as a home of record and permanent address in all military papers.

Contrary to some reports, ACC has assisted the student with his fall enrollment. Yet again, we are not able to ignore the state law which guides residency designation. The law mandates we treat all applicants equally. ACC has applied the current state residency law to the student in question, made many calls on his behalf to ensure that any documentation needed to comply with the law was understood, and confirmed with him his eligibility to receive Pell Grant and VA educational assistance. If public elected officials choose to change Texas’ public policy on residency to make it even more flexible for those who serve their country in the military, ACC would certainly be supportive.
Uh... if ACC has its facts straight, then Basham is the one who goofed. If he was planning on returning to Texas after his time in the military, he should have put that down as his HOR. I know it's harsh, but ACC has to follow the rules. Basham is the one who filled out his paperwork- they have to proceed according to the law. If he doesn't like it, he should talk to his Congress critter and have the law changed.

On the other hand, if ACC is just trying to cover their backsides, then Basham should fight it. I mean... it is Austin, after all. I can't say that I wouldn't put it past them.

All I ask is that the media gets its facts straight before it bashes either side. Yeah... I know... too much to ask, I'm sure...

Watching the Sadness

I'm sitting here, watching FoxNews as they broadcast the withdrawal of settlers from Gaza.

I'll admit it- I'm somewhat conflicted about it. I'm against Israel making any deals that will lessen their ability to protect themselves, and I do not believe that the group of people who call themselves Palistineans have any right to the area (and, even as the Israelis are making these concessions, some PA people are saying there will be no rest until they have all of Israel). And my heart goes out to the Jewish settlers who have lived there for decades (and were welcomed at first, in some cases). I don't think that this is a good thing at all.

Yesterday, I watched as Israeli soldiers broke their way in to homes, let the people have their say (usually calling the soldiers horrific names), then gently carried them away. Many of the soldiers disagreed with what they were told to do, but they believed (well, hoped, at least) that their commanding officers and government officials are doing what they think is best for the future of Israel.

But now, here is what the AP had to stay about the "seige" of the synagogue at Kfar Darom.
Israeli forces stormed the main synagogue of Neve Dekalim Thursday, one of the last bastions of resistance to the Gaza pullout, to remove about 1,500 protesters inside.

In nearby Kfar Darom (the oldest settlement- mentioned in the Talmud- held off the Egyptians during the war in 1967- ed), riot police with helmets and shields broke open the door of the synagogue where protesters had barricaded themselves, fired water cannons on the crowd and began removing the protesters.

As forces cut through the barbed wire to reach the roof, protesters threw sand and a blue liquid at them and also sprayed them with foam. Some used sticks to try to push away the ladders used by security forces to reach the roof.
Today, I saw what seemed to start as unarmed civil disobedience- men and women barracaded into synagogues. When the soldiers finally broke into the women's section of the synagogue, the women hugged the soldiers before they got onto the buses that would take them away. It was peaceful. They had made their statement of protest.

Then, the men's side was invaded. The men dumped oil all over the steps leading up to the synagogue, and then they went up to the roof. They threw paint balls at the soldiers, then sand, then water , possible some kind of acid, and some sort of oil. They kicked and punched and jabbed at the soldiers with wooden sticks. It ceased being civil disobedience and became something ugly.

I have no idea what these people are going through. I won't pretend that I do. It seems like they broke their own rules, though... by their actions, they caused several of their Jewish brothers (I don't think any of the female soldiers were involved) to be injured (mostly by the oil on the ground). Violence against fellow Israelis is divisive, not helpful.

Not only is Israel being attacked on most sides by Islamic fanatics (and don't tell me that they're not fanatics- we all know better), now there is a bitter struggle between Israelis. That may do even more damage to the People that God Loves than anything their enemies could ever do.

I pray for the peace of Israel, both from outside, and within.

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