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Thursday, May 24, 2007


I don't watch American Idol. Never have, never will. But I saw an interview with this year's Idol- Jordin Sparks, and I think I like her. She's got a great voice, and she seems pretty grounded.

Case in point- someone e-mailed in a question, asking her about the ring she wears on her left ring finger. She explained that she's not married (she's only 17), and that it's her "True Love Waits" ring. She then explained that she has made the decision to wait until marriage for "well... you know" (her words).

It's one thing to make that decision personally (and I applaud her for that). It's another thing to announce it on national (or international) television. That's a awesome statement, and a great witness. (TLW is a Christian ministry.)

Good luck, Jordin. I hope you break the "curse" and have an amazing career.

Buckle Up

"I'm New Jersey Gov. Jon Corzine, and I should be dead."
Wow. That's an interesting way to start a PSA designed to encourage seat belt use. But I guess if there was anyone who knows first hand what happens when you don't wear a seat belt, it would be him. (Can he do a PSA about how you shouldn't ask your driver to break the law and go almost 30 miles per hour over the speed limit if it isn't an emergency next?)

I guess I shouldn't be so cynical. He almost died, and maybe he really did have an epiphany about safety. And, yes, I'm pretty sure he'll be wearing his seatbelt... for a while, at least. We can only hope he has become a physics lesson for those who think that seatbelts aren't necessary.

Gun Control

I got this from Texas Fred. Very interesting...
Gun Control...

In 1929, the Soviet Union established gun control. From 1929 to 1953, about 20 million dissidents, unable to defend themselves, were rounded up and exterminated.
In 1911, Turkey established gun control. From 1915 to 1917, 1.5 million Armenians, unable to defend themselves, were rounded up and exterminated.
Germany established gun control in 1938 and from 1939 to 1945, a total of 13 million Jews and others who were unable to defend themselves were rounded up and exterminated
China established gun control in 1935. From 1948 to 1952, 20 million political dissidents, unable to defend themselves, were rounded up and exterminated.
Guatemala established gun control in 1964. From 1964 to 1981, 100,000 Mayan Indians, unable to defend themselves, were rounded up and exterminated.
Uganda established gun control in 1970. From 1971 to 1979, 300,000 Christians, unable to defend themselves, were rounded up and exterminated.
Cambodia established gun control in 1956. From 1975 to 1977, one million 'educated' people, unable to defend themselves, were rounded up and exterminated.
Defenseless people rounded up and exterminated in the 20th Century because of gun control: 56 million.
It has now been 12 months since gun owners in Australia were forced by new law to surrender 640,381 personal firearms to be destroyed by their own government, a program costing Australia taxpayers more than $500 million dollars. The first year results are now in:

List of 7 items:
Australia-wide, homicides are up 3.2 percent
Australia-wide, assaults are up 8.6 percent
Australia-wide, armed robberies are up 44 percent (yes, 44 percent)!

In the state of Victoria alone, homicides with firearms are now up 300 percent. Note that while the law-abiding citizens turned them in, the criminals did not, and criminals still possess their guns!

While figures over the previous 25 years showed a steady decrease in armed robbery with firearms, this has changed drastically upward in the past 12 months, since criminals now are guaranteed that their prey is unarmed.

There has also been a dramatic increase in break-ins and assaults of the ELDERLY. Australian politicians are at a loss to explain how public safety has decreased, after such monumental effort and expense was expended in successfully ridding Australian society of guns. The Australian experience and the other historical facts above prove it.

You won't see this data on the US evening news, or hear politicians disseminating this information.

Guns in the hands of honest citizens save lives and property and, yes, gun-control laws adversely affect only the law-abiding citizens.

Take note my fellow Americans, before it's too late!

The next time someone talks in favor of gun control, please remind them of this history lesson.

With guns, we are 'citizens'.
Without them, we are 'subjects'.

During WWII the Japanese decided not to invade America because they knew most Americans were ARMED!

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Wednesday's Hero

Pfc. Joseph Allen Jeffries
Pfc. Joseph Allen Jeffries
21 years old from Beaverton, Oregon
Army Reserve’s 320th Psychological Operations Company
May 29, 2004

Below is all the information that could be found on Pfc. Joseph Jeffries.

Pfc. Jeffries was killed with two fellow soldiers, Capt. Daniel W. Eggers and Sgt. 1st Class Robert J. Mogensen, and an unnamed sailor, when their vehicle drove over an IED in Kandahar, Afghanistan. All four service members were attached to the Combined Joint Special Operations Task Force – Afghanistan. He is survived by his wife, Betsy, and his parents Mark and Linda Jeffries.

These brave men and women sacrifice so much in their lives so that others may enjoy the freedoms we get to enjoy everyday. For that, I am proud to call them Hero.
We Should Not Only Mourn These Men And Women Who Died, We Should Also Thank God That Such People Lived

This post is part of the Wednesday Hero Blogroll. To find out more about Wednesay Hero, you can go here.

Something To Ponder

Neal Boortz asked an interesting question of one of his callers this morning.
If you were benevolent dictator of the US for one minute, and anything you ordered in that one minute would not be repealed when the minute was up, what would you do?
Hmm... what would I do? Let's see... build a fence along our southern border, and maybe along the northern. Order immediate construction of enough nuclear power plants to produce at least 75% of our electricity needs. Tell the EPA that we only need 4 fuel blends. Give tax breaks to oil companies to build more refineries. Defund the Arts. Institute a 17% flat tax. Mandate school vouchers. Give the military the authority to kick butt (don't bother taking names- I don't care what the jihadis are called) in Iraq and Afghanistan and everywhere else terrorists are hanging out. Pull foreign aid from everyone, and hand it out, sparingly, to countries who have consistently shown their friendship and loyalty to us (that would be... Australia... Israel... England... that's about it)- if anyone else wants our money, they'll need to earn it.

There. I should even have time left over.

What would you do?

No Joy at Graduation

Recently, Indianapolis Public Schools Superintendent Eugene White sent letters home to the families of graduating students, letting them know that they wanted a solemn graduation ceremony, and cheering for individual students would not be allowed. We've all heard that before- "please hold your applause until the end of the graduation." A few people cheer anyway, and it's all good. Right?

Wrong. When people started cheering for individual students, the Superintendent had them tossed from the graduation.
White was at yesterday's graduation ceremonies at Northwest High School. He interrupted the reading of the names of graduates to tell police to remove a woman. His calls for quiet brought both boos and cheers.

Parents can still cheer for graduates when they enter and exit the graduation ceremony, but some say the new policy takes the fun out of graduation.

I saw the video of this. It was ridiculous. If it had been in a church or a military academy or something like that, I'd almost buy it. Almost. But this was in a high school gym. That's what you do in gyms- you cheer.

High school graduations aren't funerals- they're celebrations. I'd be willing to bet that some of those parents were holding their breaths and saying a lot prayers until they heard their child's name announced. Surviving all the goofy hoops school districts make kids go through to graduate is worth a little yelling.

Yes, there is something to be said for respect and decorum. I'm all about behaving properly for the situation. And I didn't see the part of the video where it shows exactly how the family members were cheering. Maybe they were overly exuberant. I kind of doubt it, though. Showing your pride in your child's accomplishment is proper behavior. I imagine that I'd probably have to sit on my hands and tape my mouth shut to keep from cheering for the boys. It's a mom thing, ya know?

As long as it isn't excessive or rude, let them cheer.

Alcohol Abuse

A train derailed in Denver earlier today. Three tankers were damaged, and beer was spilled.
Three glass-lined tank cars carrying Coors beer were damaged and beer leaked from at least one of the cars onto the ground. The beer was headed from the Coors plant in Golden to its plant in Virginia.
No matter your opinion of Coors beer, that's still alcohol abuse.

You know... they really shouldn't have announced this to the public. Now, around the country, frat guys are plotting to hijack trains in order to grab the "super kegs." Just sayin'...

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

All The News That's Fit To... Surf For?

Here's my look at today's headlines:


It's a Hard Knock Life

The house is on the market. I feel pretty good about it (We're using a great realtor, so...) I'd feel even better about it if the house across the street and 2 doors down didn't just go on the market a week or so ago (same floor plan, no island in the kitchen, and ceramic tile throughout the first floor). Everyone (meaning neighbors, the Realtor, friends) keep telling me it will sell fast. Yeah... I've heard that one before.

We'll see.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

The Generosity of Geeks

Austin has never been known as a conservative town, or as a town who's been behind the military 100%. Oh, sure, they say they support the troops, but it's in the "support the troops- bring them home", Code Pink kind of way. A blue island in a red ocean, as it were. So, this story (sorry, no links- it's all hearsay in the gaming community) made me smile.
When some people in Austin found out about the Ziggurat Con, they decided to do something about it. They put tip jars in the area's 3 game stores, and they asked for the owner's help in getting the word out. By the end of their fund-raiser, they had well over $500 in cash, but another $200+ in donated items. After the money was spent, the items to be shipped weighed in at over 100 pounds. The comments from the store managers included such things as "once the customers found out what it was about, they were excited to help out" and "is there anything else we can do for the soldiers?"
Not bad. Not bad at all.

Who Decides What's Fair?

Long ago (before I cared about talk radio), there was something called the Fairness Doctrine. In a nutshell, if someone on a radio station criticized someone, the criticized person had the "right" to demand time on said radio station for rebuttal. Because of all of the time and hassle that would require, no one allowed much pontification on the airwaves as a result.

Thanks to President Reagan, the Fairness Doctrine went the way of the do-do, and talk radio in its current incarnation was born (all hail the Godfather, Rush Limbaugh).Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Now, let's be honest. The airwaves are open to everyone. Anyone who has the cash can get a license, buy a station, and say what they want (within the bounds of decency). There are talk radio stations in every market (some with more than one station). If you don't succeed (Air America), it's because no one wants to hear what you're saying, not because it's not "fair."

Rational people can figure it out. Which explains why Nancy Pelosi and Steny Hoyer don't have a clue.
According to two members of the House Democrat Caucus, Reps. Nancy Pelosi and Steny Hoyer have informed them that they will "aggressively pursue" reinstatement of the so-called Fairness Doctrine over the next six months. In January, Democrat presidential candidate Rep. Dennis Kucinich announced that he was going to pursue the Fairness Doctrine through his Government Reform subcommittee. That announcement was greeted with silence. But now, Pelosi has moved things to the front burner.

...The decision to press for re-establishment of the Fairness Doctrine now seems to have developed for two reasons. "First, [Democrats] failed on the radio airwaves with Air America, no one wanted to listen," says a senior adviser to Pelosi. "Conservative radio is a huge threat and political advantage for Republicans and we have had to find a way to limit it. Second, it looks like the Republicans are going to have someone in the presidential race who has access to media in ways our folks don't want, so we want to make sure the GOP has no advantages going into 2008."
So, because y'all are as exciting on the radio as watching paint dry, you want to "level the playing field." How... "fair" of you.

If you read the entire article, you'll see that the Democrats want to (somehow) limit the exposure of Fred Thompson if he runs for the White House. (How are they going to do that? He's been on television for years. They can't go back in time and put Obama on a couple of sitcoms or something.) Their other target is the Maha Rushie. Good luck with that one.

Here's what Senator Mitch McConnell had to say about it:
Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell made the following statement regarding attempts by Congressional Democrats to revive the misnamed “fairness doctrine”:

“Our Founding Fathers understood free speech is fundamental to our nation and sought to protect it with the First Amendment. As a strong supporter of First Amendment freedoms for all Americans, I will continue to work to prevent government limitations on speech.

“The latest attempt by House Democrats to revive the misnamed ‘fairness doctrine’ will silence active political voices and limit the free flow of information. Government is not the speech police and I will not support these efforts to restrict free speech.

“Political debate is among the most important democratic traditions of our nation and a hallmark of free society. We must continue to preserve the right of all Americans to express their views.”
Uh... yeah... what he said. All in caps.

Last time I checked, the First Amendment was put in the Bill of Rights to protect (above all else) political speech. Not pornography or cuss words or "art"- political speech, which is (shall we say?) stifled in other countries. The right to stand up and speak (protest on the court house steps, rant into a microphone, or frantically type on a keyboard) is one of the BIG things that put the United States in a league of its own. It's one of the reasons why millions upon millions have risked life and limb to get here over the past two hundred years.

But that's where the Liberals get confused. It's the right to free speech, not the right to be listened to. You can yell into the wind all you want. If you don't have a message worth hearing, no one has to stand there and be force-fed your opinion. Yet another beauty of the freedoms found in America.

There's no need for a "Fairness Doctrine." It's already there, in the BIll of Rights. But, I guess if you can't compete in a free market of ideas, the only thing you can do is silence the competition, right?

Monday, May 14, 2007

The Loss of Nowhere

When we moved 8 years ago, it seemed like our new home was in the middle of nowhere. I know it really wasn't, but it felt that way. Sure, it was in a neighborhood (complete with houses far too close together), and the school was just down the street. We could get groceries by driving a mere 5 minutes or so.

But that was it. It was an eight mile drive to the highway on a road with nothing but cactus, cedar trees, buffalo grass, and cows. When you drove after dark, you needed to watch out for deer in the road. If you wanted to go to a restaurant (other than a Mom & Pop joint or two or Mickey D's), you had to "head into town" ("town" being Round Rock or Austin). Doctors' offices were located in other zip codes. Wal-Mart was even a (short) trek. Target and other chains were even further.

And I liked it. We were close enough to Austin to have all the benefits of a big town. We were close enough to have access to what we needed (or just wanted), but far enough away to be out of the hustle and bustle. Having to drive more than a couple of blocks to get to a good restaurant kept the out-to-eat budget in check (and honed my cooking skills). No traffic jams, no city chaos. It was quiet and peaceful.

I guess it couldn't last. First they added on a new section to our neighborhood (not a big deal, but traffic did increase a bit). Then they decided to put a Wal-Mart in a field across from the grocery store (I love Wal-Mart- I just knew how much traffic it would bring). Then the 8-mile road to the highway started to lose its cattle and gain more subdivisions, and then a Home Depot and another grocery store and a strip mall and... well, you get the point. More and more buildings, less and less nowhere.

Then finally, they put in the toll road. Just opened a month or so ago, it provides a smooth, 70 mph route to the west half of Austin (as opposed to the original 45 mph, stop light strewn route). This toll road connects with other toll roads in the Austin area to provide some much needed relief to the traffic congestion that was getting completely out of hand. (The city of Austin alone is experiencing a 19,000 person increase in population annually, and the majority of the area's growth is actually in the surrounding areas).

Now, thanks in part to the new toll road, more stores and cookie-cutter neighborhoods are springing up all around what used to be the middle of nowhere. Now, don't get me wrong- I love capitalism and growth. People need to live somewhere, and housing needs to be build. Along with that come all of the services that go with living. Convenience is a huge part of our economy, and some investors are taking full advantage of the situation and making a bundle in the process. Works for me. It's the American way, right?

But with all of this growth, there is a downside. More concrete, less grass. More stores, fewer barns. More utility poles, fewer trees (even if they are evil cedar trees). More stray cats, fewer stray deer. High-speed internet, but low-speed car rides.

I guess I just miss my little piece of nowhere.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Wednesday's Hero

Spc. Josiah H. Vandertulip
Spc. Josiah H. Vandertulip
21 years old from Irving, Texas
2nd Battalion, 7th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Cavalry Division
October 14, 2004

Louise Vandertulip fussed at her son about his spending. He bought wild, overpriced hats that had flames on them or horns coming out of the top, she said.

While in Army basic training, he bought portraits of himself. His mother told him to save his money.

She's glad he didn't listen.

The hats and the pictures are all a part of her memories now.

Spc. Josiah H. Vandertulip was killed in Baghdad when his patrol came under small arms fire.

Josiah Vandertulip joined the Army right after his graduation from Irving High School in 2002. He spent a year in South Korea before being stationed at Texas' Fort Hood in February. Against his mother's advice, he volunteered to go to Iraq. She told him to wait, to go to college.

"When he was determined to do something in his heart, he would do it and hell or high water couldn't keep him from it," she said

By going, he knew someone else with a young family could be saved from serving, relatives said.

He always had the important things right, Louise Vandertulip said.

"There's a lot of rest in knowing that he died doing what he believed in and doing what he thought was right," she said.

"We have a much more real sense of the cost for the freedom that we enjoy now," said his father, Robert Vandertulip.

"Josiah was the first brand new soldiers I recieved as a dismounted team leader in Korea. He was one of the Best soldiers I have had the honor to train and work with. He loved being a soldier as much as any guy I have met. He was a great leader in the absence of his superiors. I could always count on him to make sure the mission was accomplished. I watched him change over the year I had him from a goofy kid, to a hard charging soldier."
Sgt. Nickolas Faul

These brave men and women sacrifice so much in their lives so that others may enjoy the freedoms we get to enjoy everyday. For that, I am proud to call them Hero.
We Should Not Only Mourn These Men And Women Who Died, We Should Also Thank God That Such People Lived

This post is part of the Wednesday Hero Blogroll. To find out more about Wednesay Hero, you can go here.

This Could Be Interesting

Today, Christian evangelists and atheists are going to meet up on the ABC news website for a debate on the existence of God.
Two Christian evangelists and two atheist activists are squaring off in a 90-minute debate about whether God really exists - in a program to be shown on the ABC News website Wednesday afternoon, and an abbreviated version of the event will be broadcast during that evening's edition of the network's "Nightline" series.

"We are very grateful to ABC for taking this courageous step," said Ray Comfort of the "Way of the Master" ministry in a news release regarding the first "Nightline Face Off," which was recorded before a live audience of about 100 people in New York City on Saturday. "As far as we know, nothing like this has ever been done before."
I hate to admit it, but when I saw the article's headline, I was a little worried. You see, I haven't heard many evangelists use logic and reason when it comes to the existence of God. It usually comes down to "I feel" and "I believe", which, while completely true and valid, don't do well in a debate format. (Sorry, but that's just the way it is.)

Then I saw that it was Ray Comfort. My worries were unfounded. Sure, he believes in God with all of his heart, but that's irrelevant to the argument- he proves the existence of God scientifically, with no talk of "belief" or "faith" or anything else intangible.

This could be very interesting. Very, very interesting.

Monday, May 07, 2007

A New Bill of Rights

I found this at Strange Cosmos. I think these just about sum it all up.
A New Bill Of Rights

"We the sensible people of the United States, in an attempt to help everyone get along, restore some semblance of justice, avoid more riots, keep our nation safe, promote positive behavior, and secure the blessings of debt free liberty to ourselves and our great-great-great-grandchildren, hereby try one more time to ordain and establish some common sense guidelines for the terminally whiny, guilt ridden, delusional, and other liberal bed-wetters.

We hold these truths to be self evident: that a whole lot of people are confused by the Bill of Rights and are so dim they require a Bill of NON-Rights."

ARTICLE I: You do not have the right to a new car, big screen TV, or any other form of wealth. More power to you if you can legally acquire them, but no one is guaranteeing anything.

ARTICLE II: You do not have the right to never be offended. This country is based on freedom, and that means freedom for everyone -- not just you! You may leave the room, turn the channel, express a different opinion, etc.; but the world is full of idiots, and probably always will be.

ARTICLE III: You do not have the right to be free from harm. If you stick a screwdriver in your eye, learn to be more careful, do not expect the tool manufacturer to make you and all your relatives independently wealthy.

ARTICLE IV: You do not have the right to free food and housing. Americans are the most charitable people to be found, and will gladly help anyone in need, but we are quickly growing weary of subsidizing generation after generation of professional couch potatoes who achieve nothing more than the creation of another generation of professional couch potatoes.

ARTICLE V: You do not have the right to free health care. That would be nice, but from the looks of public housing, we're just not interested in public health care.

ARTICLE VI: You do not have the right to physically harm other people. If you kidnap, rape, intentionally maim, or kill someone, don't be surprised if the rest of us want to see you fry in the electric chair.

ARTICLE VII: You do not have the right to the possessions of others. If you rob, cheat, or coerce away the goods or services of other citizens, don't be surprised if the rest of us get together and lock you away in a place where you still won't have the right to a big screen color TV or a life of leisure.

ARTICLE VIII: You do not have the right to a job. All of us sure want you to have a job, and will gladly help you along in hard times, but we expect you to take advantage of the opportunities of education and vocational training laid before you to make yourself useful.

ARTICLE IX: You do not have the right to happiness. Being an American means that you have the right to PURSUE happiness, which by the way, is a lot easier if you are unencumbered by an over abundance of idiotic laws created by those of you who were confused by the Bill of Rights.

ARTICLE X: This is an English speaking country. We don't care where you are from, English is our language. Learn it or go back to wherever you came from! (lastly....) NOW..

ARTICLE XI: You do not have the right to change our country's history or heritage. This country was founded on the belief in one true God. And yet, you are given the freedom to believe in any religion, any faith, or no faith at all; with no fear of persecution. The phrase IN GOD WE TRUST is part of our heritage and history, and if you are uncomfortable with it, TOUGH!!!!

Thursday, May 03, 2007

I'm Still Here... Really

Yeah, I'm still here. I'm still fighting this bug that T1 gave me. It's hanging on, but I think I've finally gotten the upper hand. I'm just not real happy with the fact that my 12-hour cough medicine wears off after 5 or 6 hours. Not happy with that at all.

Real blogging will continue soon. I promise.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Wednesday's Hero

This Weeks Soldier Was Suggested By Echo9er

Hospitalman Luis E. Fonseca Jr.
Hospitalman Luis E. Fonseca Jr.

On August 11, 2004, Navel Hospitalman Luis E. Fonseca, Jr. was awarded the Navy's second highest decoration. The Navy Cross, which is awarded for extraordinary heroism while engaged in an action against an enemy of the United States and must be performed in the presence of great danger or at great personal risk, was awarded for his actions while serving with Amphibious Assault Vehicle Platoon, Company C, 1st Battalion, 2nd Marines, Task Force Tarawa, II Marine Expeditionary Force.

On March 23, 2004, Fonseca, Jr.'s unit were trying to take the Saddam Canal Bridge. Five Marines were injured when their vehicle was hit by an RPG. Fonseca, while still being fired upon by machine guns and RPG's, pulled the Marines to safety and established a casualty collection unit inside his own medical evacuation vehicle. After his vehicle was hit once again, Fonseca organized litter teams and directed the movement of four of the Marines, while personally carrying one wounded Marine over open ground to another vehicle. On November 15, 2004, Seaman Fonseca was awarded the "Grateful Nation Award" from the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs for his actions.

"I was doing my job," said Fonseca. "I wish I could have done more."

These brave men and women sacrifice so much in their lives so that others may enjoy the freedoms we get to enjoy everyday. For that, I am proud to call them Hero.
We Should Not Only Mourn These Men And Women Who Died, We Should Also Thank God That Such People Lived

This post is part of the Wednesday Hero Blogroll. If you would like to participate in honoring the brave men and women who serve this great country, you can find out how by going here.

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