Friday, December 12, 2008

Balls. Big shiny ones.

Our armed forces are paid to do two things really well: kill people and break things. Oh sure, they do good humanitarian work along the way and sometimes are asked to help out with disasters when Mother Nature gets pissed, but their primary mission is to eliminate threats to this country. Most folks forget that with what Roger Waters calls the "bravery of being out of range".

One group of Special Forces soldiers had bravery but were very clearly in range, and now ten of them are being awarded the Silver Star for their actions in an unbelievable battle in Afghanistan.

A harrowing, nearly seven-hour battle unfolded on that mountainside in Afghanistan's Nuristan province on April 6, as Walton, his team and a few dozen Afghan commandos they had trained took fire from all directions. Outnumbered, the Green Berets fought on even after half of them were wounded — four critically — and managed to subdue an estimated 150 to 200 insurgents, according to interviews with several team members and official citations.

Today, Walton and nine of his teammates from Operational Detachment Alpha 3336 of the 3rd Special Forces Group will receive the Silver Star for their heroism in that battle — the highest number of such awards given to the elite troops for a single engagement since the Vietnam War.


"We were pretty much in the open, there were no trees to hide behind," said Morales, who with Walton pulled Behr back to their position. Morales cut open Behr's fatigues and applied pressure to his bleeding hip, even though Morales himself had been shot in the right thigh. A minute later, Morales was hit again, in the ankle, leaving him struggling to treat himself and his comrade, he said. Absent any cover, Walton moved the body of the dead Afghan interpreter to shield the wounded.


As Ford and Staff Sgt. John Wayne Walding returned fire, Walding was hit below his right knee. Ford turned and saw that the bullet "basically amputated his right leg right there on the battlefield."

Walding, of Groesbeck, Tex., recalled: "I literally grabbed my boot and put it in my crotch, then got the boot laces and tied it to my thigh, so it would not flop around. There was about two inches of meat holding my leg on." He put on a tourniquet, watching the blood flow out the stump to see when it was tight enough.

Un-frigging-believable these guys are. I would have been crying like a little girl with a skinned knee. Damned glad (and proud) we have guys like this on our side.

Monday, December 08, 2008

This is delicious

Sounds like some Lefties have buyer's remorse now with Barack Obama.

Liberals are growing increasingly nervous – and some just flat-out angry – that President-elect Barack Obama seems to be stiffing them on Cabinet jobs and policy choices.

Obama has reversed pledges to immediately repeal tax cuts for the wealthy and take on Big Oil. He’s hedged his call for a quick drawdown in Iraq. And he’s stocking his White House with anything but stalwarts of the left.

Now some are shedding a reluctance to puncture the liberal euphoria at being rid of President George W. Bush to say, in effect, that the new boss looks like the old boss.

“He has confirmed what our suspicions were by surrounding himself with a centrist to right cabinet. But we do hope that before it's all over we can get at least one authentic progressive appointment,” said Tim Carpenter, national director of the Progressive Democrats of America.

OpenLeft blogger Chris Bowers went so far as to issue this plaintive plea: “Isn't there ever a point when we can get an actual Democratic administration?”

Did anyone really believe he (or any candidate for that matter) was going to give you all he said he would? Campaign promises are made from the cheap seats, and once the daily briefings kick in after the general election, the President-elect always gets a sobering wake up call about the state of the nation.

But it is delicious to see this happen, given the euphoria over his election and the near-orgasmic joy that emanated from the liberal media outlets when he was elected.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

In this day and age?

I think it's a total load of crap that the election has been over for nearly a month and there's still no winner in the Coleman/Franken race in Minnesota.

ST. PAUL, Minn. - Democrat Al Franken caught a couple of breaks Tuesday as the recount in Minnesota's U.S. Senate race drew closer to a finish, though not enough to undo Republican Sen. Norm Coleman's persistent lead.

As Ramsey County wrapped up its recount, officials there discovered and tallied 171 ballots that weren't counted on election night. Franken gained 37 votes on Coleman's lead.

Coleman led by 215 votes out of 2.9 million cast before the recount. The lead has bounced up and down since the recount began, but the exact margin is difficult to know because both sides have put thousands of ballots in limbo through challenges. The disputed ballots won't be sorted out until a canvassing board meeting that begins Dec. 16.

Why is it so frigging difficult to computerize and automate the voting process? You can go on the Internet and order black rubber dildos in any quantity you like these days but when it comes to choosing an elected official, you may as well forget it.

We ask ourselves every day why it is that manufacturing and innovation has left this country and gone overseas. Look no further than examples like this for your answer.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Somebody 'splain this to me

Rick Santorum (former Republican U.S. Senator for Pennsylvania) most likely voted for John McCain this past election. The guy lost. We all know this, and there's nothing that anyone can do about that.

And yet, Mr. and Mrs. Santorum's absentee ballots are being challenged on the grounds that they're not actually residents of Penn Hills.

Round two of Vecchio versus Santorum takes place today at the Allegheny County elections offices, with the former senator's Nov. 5 absentee ballot under challenge by a Penn Hills couple determined to prove that he doesn't live there.

In one corner are Rick and Karen Santorum, who list a legal address in Penn Hills but have resided in northern Virginia. The former U.S. senator declines to say precisely where in hopes of warding off his enemies.

In the other corner is Ed Vecchio who, with his wife, Penn Hills Democratic Chairwoman Erin Vecchio, tried two years ago to prevent the Santorums from voting in Penn Hills, saying they don't really reside there and that the home they own in that municipality was rented to another family.

This time the Santorums voted absentee. Ed Vecchio said he paid $10 apiece to challenge each ballot.

As ever, each side has only the warmest of feelings.

"Let him prove it otherwise. The guy's a weasel," said Mr. Vecchio.

And I ask you: so what? What purpose does it serve to remove two votes from an election that can't be re-decided anyway? And is Mr. Vecchio tracking down any other ballots from folks he finds to be undesirable? I'd be willing to bet that I'm right on the answer to that last question.

I think it's pretty plain who the weasel is here. Hope you get your twenty bucks' worth, Ed.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Good enough for the goose

Shook his hand. Had photos taken with him. Presented him with a custom Steeler jersey. But apparently they don't like his policies all that much:

Four Rooney brothers are working on details of an agreement to sell their shares to brother Dan Rooney and his son, Art II, and to get NFL approval by the end of the year.


The brothers want to have a sales agreement and get NFL approval for it by the end of 2008 because of the extra tax consequences they believe will be introduced retroactively to the beginning of 2009 by the new Obama presidential administration and Congress.

This is an odd stance to take now. Where was your anti-tax stance a month ago?

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Another article that seems oddly timed

This article on CNN is oddly timed, just like the last one I reported. Three days ago, it was taboo to talk about Mr. Bush in anything other than a bad light. Now this piece says that maybe, just maybe, he'll be viewed more positively as Obama transitions into the Oval Office.

Again, where was this sort of thing two weeks ago?

And they wonder why we cry "bias!"

Where was this article during the election? I'll tell you where: sitting on someone's desk because it would cast Republicans in general (and McCain in particular) in a positive light. You may think that's crazy but since the Left was busy painting McCain to be George W. Bush's evil twin, this kind of news needed to stay in the desk drawer until it could do no good for anyone.

Headline: Bush admin. makes immigration strides in 2008

WASHINGTON – The U.S. government arrested and deported record numbers of illegal immigrants — nearly 350,000 — in the past year, authorities say. It has also naturalized a record number of new Americans during the same time period, more than 1 million. Bush administration officials consider these to be great accomplishments within a system that President-elect Obama calls "broken and overwhelmed" on his transition Web site.

Had this article seen the light of day two weeks ago, there would have been something else to talk about during the campaign. And that something just might have been good for the Conservative movement. We can't have that, can we?

Friday, October 24, 2008

A company with (Christmas) balls

It's nearing that time of year again - Christmas music playing on the radio and in the stores, halloween decorations being replaced with pilgrims and turkeys and then eventually reindeer and sleighs. As a kid, I lived for these holidays, especially after spending hours drooling over the Sears and JCPenney catalogs.

Now that I'm an adult (opinions vary on that point), Christmas has lost a little of its charm for me. The presents under the tree for me are more practical gifts like pants and socks, and I gave up the catalog daydreams a long time ago. All of the joy in Christmas that really remains for me is the sparkle in my kids' eyes when they open presents on Christmas morning. And I'm okay with that.

However, what I'm not okay with is the annual anti-Christmas movement that goes on all around the country. Companies and organizations have been distancing themselves from the holiday by not using words like Christmas in their ads and events. Never mind the fact that without Christmas, they'd have no holiday shopping rush (who really is out there doing last-minute Kwanzaa or Hanukkah shopping?).

They say it's not inclusive enough. Non-Christians will be offended. I don't really understand this mindset - I was never offended over my Jewish friend's holidays, and Kwanzaa wasn't something I'd ever heard about until the last few years.

But every now and then, something beautiful happens. Something that reminds me that I'm not alone in feeling this way. Something like this:

PATCHOGUE, N.Y. - A famed fireworks company is pulling out of a holiday boat parade because "Christmas" was dropped from the event's name.

Fireworks by Grucci won't lend its sparkle to Patchogue's Nov. 23 parade — decorated yachts on the Patchogue River — because the organizers have renamed it the Patchogue Holiday Boat Parade. It was the Patchogue Christmas Boat Parade last year, when the Grucci company donated $5,000 worth of fireworks.

The company's vice president, Philip Butler, who has criticized the secularization of Christmas in the past, said parade organizers were "using all the themes of Christmas and plagiarizing all those themes."

Bravo, I say. This is a move that puts the lie to the notion of greedy corporate America. Mr. Butler has principles and has made a stand, profit be damned. I doubt you'll hear any liberals complimenting him on it though.

As a consumer, I'm not really a direct customer of a company like Grucci, but if I was on a town committee that organizes fireworks displays, I'd definitely consider throwing them our business.

So this December, have yourself a Merry Christmas, and if that offends you, tough shit. I'll wish it for you anyway.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Static cling to go with my guns and religion

How this asshole keeps getting elected in Pennsylvania is beyond me. Today he tells the Post-Gazette that there's "no question that western Pennsylvania is a racist area".

Of course he apologized later:

(CNN) -- Pennsylvania Rep. John Murtha, a supporter of Barack Obama's presidential bid, apologized Thursday for calling western Pennsylvania "a racist area."

"While we cannot deny that race is a factor in this election, I believe we've been able to look beyond race these past few months, and that voters today are concerned with the policy differences of our two candidates and their vision for the future of our great country," he said in a statement issued by his office.

"Senator Obama has shown sound judgment and has presented us with a change from the failed policies of George Bush and John McCain. I believe he will win both Pennsylvania and the White House."

Murtha represents Pennsylvania's 12th District in the southwest corner of the state.

Murtha's apology came after the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette posted a story on its Web site Wednesday that quotes the veteran Democratic congressman as saying, "no question that western Pennsylvania is a racist area," and predicting that those attitudes could cost the Illinois senator on Election Day.

I don't know if you can really call that an apology, just like I'm not sure you can really call him a human being, even if he decides to apologize to the Marines involved in the Haditha case.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Finding the silver lining

Apparently the current financial crisis does indeed have a bright side.

(CNN) -- The flow of undocumented immigrants into the United States has slowed in the past three years, a major think tank reported Thursday.

The Pew Hispanic Center report cites no statistical reasons for the decreased rate. It notes the U.S. economy has suffered a downturn and greater immigration enforcement measures have been enacted, which a Pew survey "indicates has generated worry among many Hispanics."

That's one way to put the brakes on the illegal alien issue. Set Wall Street afire and the border problem seems to dry up. I wish someone would have thought of this sooner.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Who didn't see this coming?

A teenager in Thailand has killed a taxi driver in an attempt to emulate what he'd see in the Grand Theft Auto video game.

Police said the youth, an obsessive player of "Grand Theft Auto," showed no sign of mental problems during questioning and had confessed to committing the crime because of the game.

"He said he wanted to find out if it was as easy in real life to rob a taxi as it was in the game," chief police investigator Veeravit Pipattanasak told Reuters.

The youth, described by his parents as polite and diligent, was arrested late on Saturday after he was found trying to steer a cab backwards out of a Bangkok street with the severely wounded driver in the back seat, newspapers reported.

I found out pretty quickly that my 2-year-old will mimic anything she sees or hears on TV, so it doesn't surprise me that someone out there would take it this far.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Makes me wanna play with my Wii

I don't have one yet, but makes me want to run out and buy one.

And if I can find one, I'll pick up a Nintendo Wii too.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Unbelievable story of cruelty

If this guy makes it into the justice system, it will prove to me that there is no justice in the system.

TURLOCK, California (AP) -- Police killed a 27-year-old man as he kicked, punched and stomped a toddler to death despite other people's attempts to stop him on a dark, country road, authorities said.

Investigators on Sunday were trying to establish the relationship between the suspect and the child they say he killed Saturday night. The Stanislaus County coroner said the boy appeared to be between 1 and 2 years old based on his size, according to county sheriff's deputy Royjindar Singh.

I've been seeing entirely too many stories about death and injury to small children. I become physically ill and filled with rage when headlines like this come into view.

People who do this sort of thing should not be allowed to draw another breath.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Even more stone age society news

A six-year-old girl, walking a path that is traditionally reserved for a higher class of citizen, was acosted by a teen ager and thrown onto a fire because she didn't deserve to take that path.

(CNN) -- A man, incensed that a six-year-old girl chose to walk through a path reserved for upper caste villagers, pushed her into burning embers, police in north India said Wednesday. She was seriously burned.

The girl is a Dalit, or an "untouchable," according to India's traditional caste system.

India's constitution outlaws caste-based discrimination, and barriers have broken down in large cities. Prejudice, however, persists in some rural areas of the country.

The girl was walking with her mother down a path in the city of Mathura when she was accosted by a man in his late teens, said police superintendent R.K. Chaturvedi.

The sooner we rid the world of silly notions like castes, the happier we'll all be.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

This is what's wrong with America

This week, I have twice had the occasion to hit a fast food restaurant for lunch. In both cases I didn't get what I ordered, and the food was anything but fast. Total time waiting in line for these two trips amounted to almost twenty five minutes. In the first case it was a completely different hamburger, and the second time I received a someone else's order entirely.

This morning, my car pool buddy related a story to me about his attempts to find mudflaps for his new pickup truck. He went to a big-box auto parts store and asked them to look up the mud flaps he needed. The items they sold him were not correct, so he took them back and had them look again. This time they ordered him a set that took two days to arrive. When he picked them up, they were identical to the set he had just returned.

Stories like this in my memory are too numerous to mention. I'm sure you have some as well.

I've done quite a bit of thinking on this recently. In my opinion, what this all amounts to is a total lack of competence by my fellow man. People these days just aren't capable of thinking on their feet, or they aren't interested in trying. There's no reach for excellence, no desire to attain a level of proficiency. Folks are just watching the clock and hoping that they won't have to deal with customers, or are just doing the bare minimum to satisfy the situation and move on. It's as if the entire service industry has ADHD.

For my own situation, I admit that I'm no top expert in my field. I'm a web developer in a large firm that moves slowly and adopts technology a lot later than some of its peers. If I stayed even with that pace, I'd be so far behind the current state of technology that I'd be no better than some of the COBOL programmers I know. To avoid that, I read voraciously, buy books and software continuously and attend classes in new technology, and I do this on my own time and with my own money. Show me the same level of initiative in an employee of any fast-food restaurant or big box department store. I dare you.

Some will argue that this is because those folks are minimum wage earners. That may be part of it, but I would counter with the notion that the minimum wage was never meant to be a life-sustaining level of income. Jobs that pay the minimum were meant to be training positions, occupations that teenagers could work as their first jobs so they could start to build a work ethic and learn the value of a dollar. Nowadays I see a lot of 25 to 40-year-olds working in menial jobs for the bare minimum, and they're no damned good at it.

To make matters worse, the minimum wage keeps going up, which forces companies to hire fewer (and perhaps older and hopefully more dedicated) people. This squeezes the teenagers out, and the work ethic isn't being instilled in them at all. It's become an old joke in America; the boy behind the counter of the burger joint with a glassy-eyed stare and slack jaw.

I've grown tired of it all, and I'm very afraid for the future of my daughter and my unborn son. The empty persons that she will encounter in her lifetime will be far more numerous than they are today. How can I fix that? What can I do to help her understand that she is the only person she can really rely on?

For my part, I am resolved to raise her with a firm but gentle hand. My children will understand that giving a 75% effort in anything is unacceptable. This will be a difficult task because I can't guarantee that their peers won't be the same sort of misfits I'll be warning them about.

But as I see it, this is all I can do.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

The system failed this young man and us

This week, a gunman left six people dead at Northern Illinois University.

DEKALB, Ill. - Steven Kazmierczak's quiet, dependable and fun-loving exterior masked troubling details from his past that emerged as a stunned community struggled to understand what caused the 27-year-old to open fire on a class at Northern Illinois University, leaving six people dead.

A former employee at a Chicago psychiatric treatment center said Kazmierczak was placed there after high school by his parents. She said he used to cut himself, and had resisted taking his medications.

He also had a short-lived stint as a prison guard that ended abruptly when he didn't show up for work. He was in the Army for about six months in 2001-02, but he told a friend he'd gotten a psychological discharge.

The article goes on to indicate that Kazmierczak had a medical discharge from the Army based upon his psychological condition. Reading on we discover the he was still legally permitted to purchase and own firearms. They only did a criminal background check on him and his state-issued firearms permit background check probably didn't uncover any anomalies with his mental history.

My question on that is simply why not?

When I applied for my firearms permit, they did exhaustive checks on me and then called all of my references. I was at my best friend's house when the sheriff's office called to ask him if he felt safe in the knowledge that I might be carrying a gun. That experience made me confident that the Pennsylvania system was at least making the attempt to ensure that guns aren't being carried by complete lunatics.

My beef here is three-fold:

First, a person with a known history of mental problems was still able to purchase and own firearms. I'm a Second Amendment and firearm supporter but I do acknowledge that there are segments of society that should probably not be allowed to possess guns, the mentally infirmed being among them.

Second, incidents like this tend to give the law-abiding gun enthusiasts a black eye, one which we generally seem powerless to prevent. Sure, we have the NRA on our side, but they're already tainted with the perception that they're the front group for a bunch of gun-toting extremists. The end result of this shooting and others like it is that the media will concentrate only on the guns and by extension the rest of us who keep ours in a peaceful and law-abiding manner.

Finally, institutions like this university tend to prohibit firearms anywhere on their campus, and if just one person in the classroom had been lawfully carrying a concealed weapon, there may not be six people dead in Illinois right now. It's the liberal anti-gun establishment that should be required to shoulder at least some of the responsibility for the lack of protection these six young people received.

Monday, February 11, 2008

I work with some strange people

I opened a package of Smarties at work today, and I offered one to a coworker. "Can I have two?" she asked. "Um, sure," I said, being that I was caught totally off guard by the request.

So curiosity gets the best of me and I asked her why she wanted two. Her response was that she always likes to eat two of something that small so that she can chew them on both sides of her mouth and wear her teeth out evenly.

I just don't know what else to say about that. It's funny on multiple levels, and most of them aren't fit to print here.

Friday, February 08, 2008

More lunacy from The Land of Fruits and Nuts

The city of Berkeley is trying to kick the U.S. Marine recruiters out of their city.

(CNN) -- Berkeley, the famously liberal college town in California, has taken aim at Marine recruiters, saying they are "not welcome in our city."

Republican lawmakers in Washington fired back this week, threatening to take back more than $2 million of federal funding to the city as well as money designated for the University of California-Berkeley, the campus that became a haven of protests during the Vietnam War.

The battle erupted after the Berkeley City Council approved a measure last week urging the Marine recruiters to leave their downtown office.

"If recruiters choose to stay, they do so as uninvited and unwelcome intruders," the item says.

These folks are exercising their First Amendment rights to say whatever foolish thing they want to, and that's okay. It's amazing that the very people they're protesting against have been dying on foreign soil for over two hundred years to guarantee their right to sound like complete morons.

Now don't get me wrong. I understand the anti-war movement. Nobody likes war, and if they do, they need to be sent to fight in one immediately so they can see what fun it is. Robert E. Lee said famously that "it is well that war is so terrible - lest we should grow too fond of it." My only point is that beyond the combat that may occur while you're in the service, there's an awful lot of good that will come from military training if you apply yourself. Things like discipline, self respect and leadership skills come to mind.

I think the government should proceed with their plan to deprive Berkeley of every dollar of federal funding that they're currently receiving. And let's make sure every government-sponsored research project at U.C. Berkeley gets reassigned to some other institution.

Miracles do happen, whether you believe they're divine or not

A baby in Tennessee was found alive a hundred yards from the remains of his house after a tornado destroyed it earlier this week.

His mother did not survive the tornado. Nor did fifty five other people who lived in the path of these dangerous storms.

Whether you believe in God or not, you still have to be in awe of whatever circumstances spared the life of this little boy.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

More stone age society news

Fishermen in Bangladesh beat a rare river dolphin to death because they'd never seen an animal like that before.

Scientists believe that hydrogen is numero uno but I've always maintained that stupidity is really the most common element in the universe. Incidents like this only serve to validate my theory.

Let's just hope and pray that the first extraterrestrials visiting Earth don't touch down in that part of the world. Otherwise we really will end up in an interstellar war like all the bad sci-fi movies would lead you to believe.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Stone-age societies still exist on planet Earth

This article is unbelievable!

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia - Two years ago, a knock on Fatima and Mansour al-Timani's door shattered the life they had built together.

It was the police, delivering news that a judge had annulled their marriage in absentia after some of Fatima's relatives sought the divorce on grounds she had married beneath her.

This woman has been forced to live in jail with her two children, all because her relatives decided that her husband wasn't worthy of her.

Hell, I'm sure that goes for 90% of the males on the planet, folks. Myself included. But leave it to the Saudis to make it illegal.

God help us all if that sort of society becomes anything more than a minority in this country.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Don't let the door hit you on the ass on your way out

The world is one gigantic mixed nuts jar for sure, but this asshole must be that large, unidentifiable nut that lives all by itself in every jar (for those of you with a peanut allergy, you can use the analogy that he's the blackened and burnt potato chip in every bag).

(CNN) -- On a videotape released Sunday, American al Qaeda member Adam Yahiye Gadahn renounces his U.S. citizenship, destroys his passport and cites U.S. President Bush's upcoming trip to the Middle East.


"We raise an urgent appeal to our mujahedin brothers in the Muslim Palestine, the Arabian Peninsula in particular, and the region in general, to be prepared to receive the crusader butcher Bush on his visit to Muslim Palestine and the occupied peninsula at the beginning of January," he said. "They should receive him not with roses and applause, but with bombs and booby-traps."

Adam Yahiye Gadahn, also known as Azzam the American, is an American-born muslim raised in (you guessed it) California, or The Land of Fruits and Nuts as I like to refer to it.

But don't take my word for it. Go read his Wikipedia entry and decide for yourself whether this guy is a screwball.

Here's hoping someone finds a way to allow this guy to achieve room temperature just like the rest of his bomb-wearing brethren.