November 30, 2009

Kissing, yes - bowing, no.

I am not very technically oriented - and it is driving me nuts that I can't embed this video.  Liberal idiots have been posting a still photo claiming that President Bush bowed to the Saudi king just like BHO did.  The taken-out-of-context photo is from video footage of Bush receiving an award.  I can't figure out how to put it here, so you can go look for yourselves and, if you are smarter than me, figure out how to post it and shut up the blithering herd.

Go here and if you enter the search terms Bush Saudi King, the first video that comes up is the one.  You are looking for the January 14, 2008 footage.

The cost of Christmas

If you were to purchase all of the items in the "Twelve Days of Christmas" song, it would set you back $87,403 this year.

Details found in this video. If you can get past the ridiculous costumes and apparent use of family members instead of actors, there is a wealth of economic information in terms that anyone can understand. 

Back home

Just in from a quick weekend trip to Kansas.  Sheesh, I feel like I have been sheltered from the harsh realities of our economy.  Sure, I have friends and family that have lost jobs or have had to cut back on spending - but what is happening outside of Texas came as a shock.  The one shining star bucking the economy seems to be Native American gambling ventures, with casinos dotting the I-35 landscape for hundreds of miles.  Beyond that, there sure are a lot of depressed folks occupying flyover country.  I think that hope and change thing has lost its luster for many - at least it has in the Sunflower State.

I'm going to regroup and unpack and get back to this later...

November 26, 2009

Homer Simpson's Thanksgiving Prayer

“And Lord, we’re especially thankful for nuclear power, the cleanest safest energy source there is. Except for solar, which is just a pipe dream.  Anyway, we’d like to thank you for the occasional moments of peace and love our family’s experienced.  Well, not today, you saw what happened! Oh Lord, be honest, are we the most pathetic family in the universe or what?”

November 25, 2009

Signs of the Apocalypse

Thanksgiving Eve and I am just not feeling it.  What the hell is this world coming to?

Political correctness gone wild as Best Buy ad touts Muslim holiday - and in the same ad circular refers to Christmas as "this holiday".

"America's Team" (and I use that term loosely) can't seem to find room in JerryWorld for an American flag.  The single flag on a pole outside and the "virtual flag" on Jerry's big TV should be enough.  Yeah, Jerry, we get your "virtual patriotism".

Navy SEALs capture a terrorist and now face an admiral's mast because the S.O.B. ended up with a bloody lip.  WTF?

Then this:
A paralympic champion dragged himself through an airport after a budget airline made him check in his wheelchair. The Australian budget airline offered him its own wheelchair, specially designed for planes, but told Fearnley he would have to be pushed by airline staff...Fearnley, who won marathon gold in the Beijing and Athens Paralympics, was insulted at being asked to give up his independence...He said the equivalent for an able-bodied person "would be having your legs tied together, your pants pulled down and be carried or pushed through an airport."
 And then, of course, there is this:
President Obama has shattered the budget record for first-year presidents -- spending nearly double what his predecessor did when he came into office and far exceeding the first-year tabs for any other U.S. president in history. 
Thank God for health, family, friends and term limits.

November 24, 2009

Guilty and Insane

It comes as no surprise that the Fort Hood shooter, Hasan, is likely to plead not guilty and his attorney has said that they may pursue an insanity defense.
The Uniform Code of Military Justice allows for a defense of "lack of mental responsibility".  The UCMJ states that, "It is an affirmative defense in a trial by court-martial that, at the time of the commission of the acts constituting the offense, the accused, as a result of a severe mental disease or defect, was unable to appreciate the nature and quality or the wrongfulness of the acts. Mental disease or defect does not otherwise constitute a defense.
It has long been my belief that insanity defenses were superfluous.  Mothers who dismember or drown their children, trying to get Jodie Foster's attention by attempted assassination and premeditated mass shootings are not the actions of sane people.  I have never had any intimate knowledge of a case that used an insanity defense, so maybe I am dead wrong, but I can't imagine a scenario in which I would support treatment and release over lifelong incarceration for acts of murder - regardless of the mental capacity of the person who committed the crimes.  But that is neither here nor there.
What really bothers me is the definition of insanity used.  "...unable to appreciate the quality or wrongness of the acts."  I can't legitimize an insanity defense used in a case based on one acting in concert with their religious beliefs.  Hasan and his radical Islamic brethren believe they are committing holy acts when they murder non-muslims.  Sure, I think they are nutso, but they think it is the most sane thing they can do for their religion.  How can you separate religious fanaticism from mental illness?  Is there a difference?   
Doesn't every "religion" have tenets that other people view as being a bit wacko? Can anyone explain the Holy Trinity to a non-Christian in a way that doesn't make Christians sound like blithering lunatics?    I am acquainted with a Mormon family - lovely people, they seem sane and normal - could they explain the gold plates thing to me in terms I could accept?  Doubt it.  I could hear them out and accept that they believe it.  Doesn't mean I have to believe it, nor does it mean it is either true or false.  Possession and exorcism make for good movies in my book, but they are very real beliefs for some.  Intercession/prayer are at the root of most religions, but for some, that is just talking to air.  Jesus' face in a grilled cheese sandwich?  Statue of Mary crying tears of blood?  Religious belief or extremism?  In the case of radical Islam, I don't think there is a distinction - but I hope that the military legal system and the psychiatrists assigned to the case see it differently.  Hasan should not be allowed to hide behind a diagnosis of mental illness.
I wasn't there, but I have no doubt that Hasan is a murderer.  I do care that 14 lives were lost at his hand and that he is held accountable for it.  Not "treated" for his "condition", but PUNISHED for his CRIME.  I think it is an unspeakable insult to the families of those 14, as well as every other person who was witness to, or affected by, his shooting spree, to allow him to enter a not guilty plea.  That equates to telling three hundred people that they didn't see what they thought they saw.  

November 23, 2009

Why it's not too early

I read an entertaining analogy that refutes the arguments that claim it is too early in his presidency to judge Obama's actions.  The author points out that the reasons many people despised Bush, are the very same reasons that we should/could dislike the current POTUS.  Here's the analogy, but go read the entire post at The Humble Libertarian.
Imagine that America is a house and for eight days, George W. Bush threw a wild and reckless party, trashing the entire property. If after one day of picking up litter and mopping away refuse, Barack Obama had a lot of straightening up left to do to make the house presentable again, he could be forgiven...

In fact, what has happened is that the house's new resident has thrown an even wilder, more reckless party and trashed the place in much the same way its previous resident had- and astonishingly, has managed to do a comparable amount of "trashing" in a relatively much shorter period of time. In the end, I am not criticizing President Obama for "not doing enough good" in such a short period of time, but for somehow managing to "do so much bad" in a remarkably brief space.

November 21, 2009

Suspension of Disbelief

I don't often have time to read the morning newspaper cover to cover, relying on my kids to point out funny comics to me. Today I was up early and decided to indulge in a complete reading.   This must be exactly the mindset of the current administration and the mechanism by which they come up with their job creation and stimulus press releases:
Prickly City
Prickly City 11/21/09
And this one made me laugh out loud:

Pearls Before Swine
Pearls Before Swine 11/21/09

November 19, 2009

libertarian, me?

I think my friend Whited might be surprised to know that this quiz says I am a libertarian.  Actually, it is worded to say that the political party that agrees with me the most is libertarian.  I like that, it makes it sound as if I am the one with the ideas and ideals and they agree with me, rather than me subscribing to their school of thought. 

I scored 70% on Personal Issues and 100% on Economic Issues.

Oklahoma Exodus

I have been in Texas for 25 years, I consider myself a Texan. I would get one of those "I wasn't born in Texas but I got here as fast as I could" bumper stickers, but I don't like to draw attention to the fact that I am not a 'native' Texan.
Most of my family is from Kansas, the state where I was born and returned to after my father's military/Vietnam service ended. Moving to Texas as a teenager was traumatic for about 15 minutes, until I realized the beauty and superiority of all things Texan. Like most Texans, I considered that state in between Kansas and Texas a mere punchline and 3 hours of drive-time between the Kansas state line and the Red River.
The punchline seems to be shifting south.
On November 1, 2007, Oklahoma's House Bill 1804, the Oklahoma Taxpayer and Citizen Protection Act of 2007, took effect. It is arguably the strictest anti-illegal immigration law in the country. The measure terminates public assistance benefits to illegals, punishes employers who knowingly hire illegal aliens and empowers state and local police to enforce federal immigration laws. Two years later, the courts have upheld all but three of the fourteen measures of the law. I am not sure how one would quantify the bill's success or failure, but it is a fact that illegals are leaving Oklahoma and Texas has felt the effects (please ignore the 15 second commercial prior to the video):

"The laws are better here", the man says, referring to Texas immigration laws. Easier to break? Easier to avoid enforcement?  I haven't vetted every statistic on this page, but the sources seem reliable on the surface and coincide with other data I have seen - and all are staggering.
I am not anti-immigration, I am anti-ILLEGAL immigration. If you don't agree with our laws, come here legally and work to reform them.  Respect for our laws and understanding how a representative government is supposed to work should be the first precursor to citizenship

November 18, 2009

Maybe they should start with math

An article in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram this week detailed the move toward "digital textbooks" in Texas schools. Schools could have the first open-source textbooks and other materials online by next fall.  The 'pros' are easy; online material is easy to update, can be customized to fit students’ needs and easily integrates textbooks with other technology, like video and software. 
One "con" that seems important - there is still a significant portion of the population that does not have a computer and/or Internet access at home, and there are schools that do not have the appropriate number and type of computers that would allow for every student to have access as needed.  The article pointed out that,  "Students who want a printed copy can print one out for about $20 per copy."  That's nice, though it somewhat negates the "pros" of integrating other computer-based technologies.
I have to say that I, personally, like the printed page.  I am a book person - no Kindle for me.  I like the heft of a good, thick book.  I like the smell of old paper.  I like to make notes in the margin.  Books can be read by candlelight, they aren't dependent on electricity or Internet connectivity.  But, that is not the point I set out to make...
Tucked into the article was this statistic:
As many as 63,447 books were replaced during the 2008-09 school year due to wear, loss, damage or destruction, at a cost of $264 million.
I read that three times.  I called my teenager over and asked her if she saw anything of concern.  We got a pencil.  $264 million for 63,447 textbooks equals $4,160.95 per textbook. How, on God's green earth, did Texas school districts manage to budget and pay an average of $4k per textbook without anyone noticing?  These are our tax dollars!  I know recent college graduates - with Master's degrees - that didn't spend that much on textbooks during their entire college career.  I have actually had to purchase high school textbooks because the school didn't have enough for every kid to take one home, and I was tired of taking my kid to school early so she could do her homework.  Who is getting these $4k textbooks?  What does one look like?  All I have seen is ratty, dogeared books that had numerous previous 'owners' listed inside the front cover.  I feel like I should get some savvy shopper reward for finding a textbook that was discounted $4,120 off the price the school pays.  Heck, I should get some compensation since I donated the book to the school at the end of the year.  Not holding my breath.

November 17, 2009

Turtle Ralph

As this video and this one go viral, and Kerrcarto posts sweet photos of his dog, mine leave another carpet gift for me.

I will spare you photos, mostly because I was in such an epic battle to overcome my gag reflex that I didn't take any.  It did occur to me at one point, that I needed to document this epic instance of dog vomitus, but I was gloved up and elbow deep in it by that time.

I am not sure which dog to blame...I heard the retching and found both looking guilty and in the vicinity.

At first, I guessed that the dogs had somehow gotten into some trash and thought I was looking at regurgitated pasta of some sort.  It was very dark and thick, though, warranting closer inspection.  I saw a green-brown pattern of sorts mixed among the many long, round, noodle-shaped pieces.  I then decided I was dealing with a nest of young snakes that had met at early demise by canine.  It smelled really bad.  Really.  Bad.

I pilfered a couple of gloves out of my son's Boy Scout First Aid kit, got out the steam cleaner and filled up the water reservoir so it could heat up while I worked on the debris field, grabbed a new roll of paper towels and a triple grocery bag set-up.

The first handful yielded large pieces of something that seemed to be plastic.  They were pretty hard and obviously didn't chew up very well.  I went back to thinking this was a dumpster-diving foray.

The second handful did me in.

What I had alternately thought to be small snakes or pasta turned out to be intestines.  Lots of them tangled around the neck and head of, what used to be, a rather large turtle.  There was no end to them, and it required both hands to gather up the errant strands and get them into the trash bag.  Gag.  The 'plastic' pieces, upon closer inspection, were the scutes of the plastron - pieces of the underbelly.  Ugh.

By this time I was cussing; loud, severe, make-a-sailor-blush, swearing.  I cussed dogs, turtles, the failures of Scotchguard, the smell of turtle and dog bile, my construction contractor and the absence of any other family members to share in the horror and disgust of the task at hand.

Gus and/or Woody seemed to be instantly recovered but there is still a faint turtle blood/bile/innard stain on my dining room carpet that serves as a constant reminder and a constant cleaning task.  Carpet that wouldn't even be there had my builder gotten the hardwood installed like he was supposed to (hence his inclusion in the cussing fit).  Needless to say, I can't look at turtles or pasta anytime soon.  For some crazy reason we are thinking of getting another dog and a cat right after Christmas...someone talk me off the ledge.

November 15, 2009

A health care proposal:

I've gotten this e-mail a couple of times this week:

I am sure you have heard the ideas that if you're a senior you need to suck it up and give up the idea that you need any health care.  A new hip?  Unheard of.  We simply can't afford to take care of you anymore.  You don't need any medications for your high blood pressure, diabetes, heart problems, etc.  Let's take care of the young people.   After all, they will be ruling the world very soon.
So here is the solution.  When you turn 70, you get a gun and 3 bullets  You are allowed to shoot one senator and 2 representatives.  Of course, you will be sent to prison where you will get 3 meals a day, a roof over your head and all he health care you need!  New teeth, great!  Need  glasses, no problem!  New hip, knee, kidney, lung,  heart?  Well bring it on.  And who will be paying for all of this? The same government that just told you that you are too old for health care.  And, since you are a prisoner, you don't have to pay any income tax.

November 14, 2009

As you plan your Thanksgiving menu...

How pumpkin pies are made:

November 12, 2009

Passing the buck. Not so great in hindsight.

Here are the names of six gentlemen who probably aren't getting much sleep at night:
John Bradley, chief of psychiatry at Walter Reed
Robert Ursano, chairman of the Psychiatry Department at USUHS
Charles Engel, assistant chair of the Psychiatry Department and director of Hasan's psychiatry fellowship
Dr. David Benedek, another assistant chairman of psychiatry at USUHS
Carroll J. Diebold, psychiatrist
Scott Moran, director of the psychiatric residency program at Walter Reed

 These men make up the group of 'key officials' who expressed concern about (Fort Hood Shooter/terrorist) Hasan's mental stability and ability to serve in the military and chose to ship him off to Fort Hood, where the staffing levels were such that others would be able to pick up his slack and monitor his behavior.  If I were his Fort Hood superiors, I would be screaming bloody murder right about now.  From NPR:

When a group of key officials gathered in the spring of 2008 for their monthly meeting in a Bethesda, Md., office, one of the leading — and most perplexing — items on their agenda was: What should we do about Hasan?

Hasan had been a trouble spot on officials' radar since he started training at Walter Reed, six years earlier. Several officials confirm that supervisors had repeatedly given him poor evaluations and warned him that he was doing substandard work.

Both fellow students and faculty were deeply troubled by Hasan's behavior — which they variously called disconnected, aloof, paranoid, belligerent, and schizoid. The officials say he antagonized some students and faculty by espousing what they perceived to be extremist Islamic views. His supervisors at Walter Reed had even reprimanded him for telling at least one patient that "Islam can save your soul."

One official involved in the conversations had reportedly told colleagues that he worried that if Hasan deployed to Iraq or Afghanistan, he might leak secret military information to Islamic extremists. Another official reportedly wondered aloud to colleagues whether Hasan might be capable of committing fratricide, like the Muslim U.S. Army sergeant who, in 2003, killed two fellow soldiers and injured 14 others by setting off grenades at a base in Kuwait.

 Here is the quote, that, when uttered about anyone in uniform, indicates an immediate need to relieve said person of duty:

"Put it this way," says one official familiar with the conversations that took place. "Everybody felt that if you were deployed to Iraq or Afghanistan, you would not want Nidal Hasan in your foxhole."

Then he shouldn't have been in the military. Period.

November 11, 2009

Thank You

Today I remember those we have lost and thank those who dedicate their lives to protecting our freedoms. Thank you, we will never forget.

November 10, 2009

Esprit de Corps

A few weeks ago one of my kids got to meet the Blue Angels at the Fort Worth Alliance Air Show, as the end-reward for completing the Boy Scout Aviation Merit Badge.  I am not sure who to credit for the program, but apparently, each year, someone coordinates a group of pilots to teach the requirements of the Aviation merit badge a week or two before the airshow, and then whichever demonstration team (Blue Angels or Thunderbirds) is performing at the air show meets the boys for a photo op.  It makes quite an impression on the boys.
Another of my kids volunteered that same weekend at Sky Ball, which is a fundraiser for organizations that support the military and their families.  Both the Fort Worth Air Power Foundation and American Airlines' Snowball Express benefit from the event.  My daughter was impressed by two things at the event; the military members that she met and the grog bowl ceremony - she couldn't believe anyone could drink all of that alcohol mixed together.
Bottom line is that my entire family had several opportunities to interact with active military members, something we do much too little of since becoming a civilian family - an occasion that made the events at Fort Hood last week all the more poignant.  We made a point of thanking each and every one of the service members for their service - yes, even and especially those who are here making the rounds on the public relations circuit.  My daughter had never wavered in her future career plans...until that weekend.  Now she is considering service to her country as a path to her career, something she had never seriously entertained before.  I was more than a little proud to hear her tell of the soldiers that she was most impressed by , the ones that were present to showcase their specialized wheelchairs and mobility devices, that had been funded by the Air Power Foundation.  You wouldn't think that 'foot' soldiers who have lost limbs and been disfigured by their injuries would encourage a teenager to consider a military career - more so than the polished and daring Blue Angels.
The military, especially the Army, is going to take a hit for what happened last week at Fort Hood.  Today's Fort Worth Star-Telegram led with a story about Hasan being investigated for terrorist ties, just last year.  Hasan is to be tried on military charges, and how this case is handled will set the course for the ability of the Army to staff and maintain it's fighting forces for years to come.  It is time to lift the veil of political over-correctness, take off the kid gloves, and, for God's sake, forget about an insanity defense.  The men and women who lost their lives deserve justice and the future of our military depends on it.

P.S. Happy 234th Birthday, Marine Corps!

November 9, 2009

The Barack Wall

As he ignores the anniversary of Berlin Wall coming down...a wall that would still stand today, were it not for the American military:
Massive security perimeter erected at Fort Hood - A makeshift, three-story security barrier has been erected at Fort Hood in advance of Tuesday's memorial service that will be attended by President Obama.
I think you should be able to hit this video link without registering for a day or two.

They have stacked 'containers', like what semis haul, to make a fence.  Around here they often do the same thing around gas well sites.  They are stacking them three-high around III Corps Headquarters where the memorial is being held.  Incidentally, the III Corps building is next to Darnall Hospital, birthplace of my oldest and duty station of the nutjob Islamic terrorist.

I can't even think of words to describe how insulting I think it is, to erect an ugly, three-story barrier around one of the most picturesque buildings at Fort Hood, to protect a president who is coming to memorialize soldiers and civilians who put their lives on the line - in front of God and everybody - each and every day.  It is further insulting and infuriating that the Army has had to devote time and manpower, on a 24 hour schedule, to building this wall.  The soldiers on this post want to do the jobs they signed up for, not jump through hoops so BHO and his uppity wife can attempt to appear sorrowful in front of TV cameras at a memorial that is meant for people who believe in the freedoms and ideals that these soldiers fight for.  God Bless the thirteen fourteen that have made the ultimate sacrifice for our country (yes, I am counting the unborn baby carried by PVT Velez).  No way BHO has the balls to mention the word 'terrorism' in his comments at the memorial.

The wall really isn't for security, it is the only thing they could think of that would make Michelle's ass look smaller on TV.

Update: You probably didn't hear about this on the news:  "Bush and his wife Laura secretly visited Fort Hood after the shooting and spent time consoling those who were wounded in the shooting spree.  The Bushes, who have a 1,600-acre property known as Prairie Chapel Ranch less than 30 miles from Fort Hood in central Texas, spent between one and two hours visiting the wounded and their families."  

Cleaning for a Reason

This organization started locally here in the Fort Worth/Dallas area, but serves women nationwide.  If you know of a woman being treated for cancer, pass this information along.

Cleaning For a Reason is a cleaning service that provides FREE housecleaning for women going through cancer treatment.  They will clean her house 1 time per month for 4 months while she is in treatment.

All she has to do is sign up and have her doctor fax a note confirming the treatment.

Cleaning for a Reason will have a participating maid service in her zip code area arrange for the service.

November 7, 2009

An Act of Islamic Terrorism

Luckily for him, LTC (R) Ralph Peters has completed his military career.  Speaking the truth this openly would have ended his career, otherwise.  Here are his views in text form:

Call this horror by its name: Islamist terror
From the NY Post

On Thursday afternoon, a radicalized Muslim US Army officer shouting, "Allahu akbar!" ("God is great!") committed the worst act of terror on American soil since 9/11. And no one wants to call it an act of terror or associate it with Islam.

Allah does NOT translate to God.  He shouted "Allah is great".

What cowards we are. Political correctness killed those patriotic Americans at Fort Hood as surely as the Islamist gunman did. And the media treat it like a case of nondenominational shoplifting.

This was a terrorist act. When an extremist plans and executes a murderous plot against our unarmed soldiers to protest our efforts to counter Islamist fanatics, it's an act of terror. Period.

When the terrorist posts anti-American hate speech on the Web; apparently praises suicide bombers and uses his own name; loudly criticizes US policies; argues (as a psychiatrist, no less) with his military patients over the worth of their sacrifices; refuses, in the name of Islam, to be photographed with female colleagues; lists his nationality as "Palestinian" in a Muslim spouse-matching program and parades around central Texas in a fundamentalist playsuit -- well, it only seems fair to call this terrorist an "Islamist terrorist."

But the president won't. Despite his promise to get to all the facts. Because there's no such thing as "Islamist terrorism" in ObamaWorld.

And the Army won't. Because its senior leaders are so sick with political correctness that pandering to America haters is safer than calling terrorism "terrorism."

And the media won't. Because they have more interest in the shooter than in our troops -- despite their crocodile tears.

Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan planned this terrorist attack and executed it in cold blood. The resulting massacre was the first tragedy. The second was that he wasn't killed on the spot.

Hasan survived. Now the rest of us will have to foot his massive medical bills. Activist lawyers will get involved, claiming "harassment" drove him temporarily insane. There'll be no end of trial delays. At best, taxpayer dollars will fund his prison lifestyle for decades to come, since our politically correct Army leadership wouldn't dare pursue or carry out the death penalty.

I think the Army will pursue the death penalty.  Unfortunately, they haven't put anyone to death since 1961.  It would be better to try and convict Hasan in a Texas civilian court.  Here in Texas, we have no issues with carrying out execution orders.

Maj. Hasan will be a hero to Islamist terrorists abroad and their sympathizers here. While US Muslim organizations decry his acts publicly, Hasan will be praised privately. And he'll have the last laugh.

But Hasan isn't the sole guilty party. The US Army's unforgivable political correctness is also to blame for the casualties at Fort Hood.

Yes, beginning with the Commander in Chief.

Given the myriad warning signs, it's appalling that no action was taken against a man apparently known to praise suicide bombers and openly damn US policy. But no officer in his chain of command, either at Walter Reed Army Medical Center or at Fort Hood, had the guts to take meaningful action against a dysfunctional soldier and an incompetent doctor.

Happens every day in the Army, just not as blatantly, and hopefully, not with soldiers who are as dangerously evil.  I know abusers, pedophiles, alcoholics, addicts of every stripe and conscientious objectors who are still in uniform.  Their commanders are aware of their issues and choose to continue to allow them to serve.

Had Hasan been a Lutheran or a Methodist, he would've been gone with the simoom. But officers fear charges of discrimination when faced with misconduct among protected minorities.

Disagree, see above.

Now 12 soldiers and a security guard lie dead. At least 38 people were wounded, 28 of them seriously. If heads don't roll in this maggot's chain of command, the Army will have shamed itself beyond moral redemption.

Heads will roll, but it isn't likely that things will change.

There's another important issue, too. How could the Army allow an obviously incompetent and dysfunctional psychiatrist to treat our troubled soldiers returning from war? An Islamist wacko is counseled for arguing with veterans who've been assigned to his care? And he's not removed from duty? What planet does the Army live on?

For the first time since I joined the Army in 1976, I'm ashamed of its dereliction of duty. The chain of command protected a budding terrorist who was waving one red flag after another. Because it was safer for careers than doing something about him.
There's the money quote.

Get ready for the apologies. We've already heard from the terrorist's family that "he's a good American." In their world, maybe he is.
But when do we, the American public, knock off the PC nonsense?
A disgruntled Muslim soldier murdered his officers way back in 2003, in Kuwait, on the eve of Operation Iraqi Freedom. Recently? An American mullah shoots it out with the feds in Detroit. A Muslim fanatic attacks an Arkansas recruiting station. A Muslim media owner, after playing the peace card, beheads his wife. A Muslim father runs over his daughter because she's becoming too Westernized.
Locally, Sara and Amina Said were killed by their father for their 'Western' ways.  Yaser Said is believed to have fled to Egypt where he will, undoubtedly, live out his life, never facing charges for murdering his children.

Muslim terrorist wannabes are busted again and again. And we're assured that "Islam's a religion of peace."

I guarantee you that the Obama administration's nonresponse to the Fort Hood attack will mock the memory of our dead.

November 5, 2009

God Bless Fort Hood Texas

Ridin' that train

Yesterday I had the privilege of taking a short trip on a Union Pacific Heritage Train.  This event was coordinated by Union Pacific and Operation Lifesaver, a rail safety organization.  Our trip was from Denton, Texas to Fort Worth, Texas and back again.

DRC/Barron Ludlum

The train had locomotives on each end, so it was a 'push-pull', meaning we didn't have to turn around, we just reversed direction.  Between the two locomotives were three 1950's era passenger cars that have been fully restored.  Two of the cars were "Dome Coaches", with seats downstairs and a windowed viewing area upstairs.  These were the 'Columbine' and the 'Challenger'.

The third car was the 'Cheyenne', a "Business Car", a five-bedroom car with a kitchen and a redwood paneled lounge.  One of the Operation Lifesaver volunteers actually lives in this car for weeks at a time during these events, as they take the train around the region.

An upper berth folds down from the wall above the bed.
What fun!  We had actual conductors and engineers on board that presented the Operation Lifesaver safety information, as well as sharing their personal experiences and answering our questions.
I live quite close to the tracks, and we have to cross them to get anywhere outside of our neighborhood.  I have tried to raise my kids to have a healthy fear, appreciation and respect of trains.  Unfortunately, nearly everyday we see someone who challenges the crossings or races a train.  I had no idea of some of the other issues that train personnel face each day on the job.  Suicidal people, people pretending to be committing suicide that jump away at the last minute as a joke, livestock on tracks and people that throw things at trains.  Good grief!  Talk about a stressful job.  These challenges are in addition to the hundreds of minute details that train personnel have to track, document and deal with during their work hours.
Everyone on the trip yesterday remarked about how enjoyable it was to travel by train.  We made several stops along the way, as we were on a single track and had to accommodate directional traffic and rail maintenance.  At each stop, we had many onlookers, picture takers and even some people that approached the train wanting to get a better look.  All of our facilitators made mention of the vast and varied groups of train enthusiasts and memorabilia collectors.  I would like to believe that there could, one day soon, be a return to a slower era, maybe a future generation that will appreciate the trip and not just the destination.  Wishful thinking, I know. 

November 4, 2009

Election Day Post Mortem

Election commentary from Texas State Senator Dan Patrick:

One year from tonight I will look back at this review and compare notes. A week is a lifetime in politics and a year is forever. Looking back one year ago Obama won and the pundits were writing off conservatives. Things have changed since then. What does tonight mean ? Let's look at the national picture first:

It is incredible that a Republican won the NJ Governors race. That state is a deep blue state controlled by unions and a political machine. The Dem spent over 100 million of his own money and still lost. This is significant news

Virginia Republican won easily, 18 pts. Plus all of the other key statewide Republicans won. 3 Congressional seats won by freshman Dems last time all went for the Rep Governor over 60% Are they now going to vote for the liberal healthcare plan? Republicans need to get this state back in their column.

NY 23 People are disappointed that the conservative lost. They should not be. He only lost by a few points. Considering no one really knew him 3 weeks ago and he ran as an independent. He came a long way in a few weeks. The Republican liberal stayed in and because of her he lost. This race still sent a huge message that we want conservatives to represent us.

Little known-Pennsylvania was carried by Republicans in almost all state races. This is another state Rs need to capture in 2012

Maine voted to overturn same sex marriage by about 52-48. Maine is a moderate to liberal state. Proves America still supports marriage between a man and a woman.

Conclusion: Republicans should gain at least 24-30 seats in Congress next year. They need 41 to take back Congress and oust Pelosi. If Dems keep this radical agenda moving forward and if the economy does not improve Republicans could win it back. Additionally more states may trend Republican next year in Governor and state races helping defeat Obama in 2012.

Texas Constitutional Amendments: All 11 passed, most by a 2-1 margin. The mis-information that was sent out on several of them did not work.

November 3, 2009

Don't touch that

If you have a friend who happens to be a pilot for South Africa's Air Force demonstration team, he should be smart enough to tell you where NOT to grab on to during flight.
The man, a civilian joyriding with his air force pilot friend, accidentally grabbed the eject lever while trying to brace himself.

He was instantly fired through the aircraft's perspex canopy and blasted 320ft (100m) into the sky by the rocket-powered chair.
The full story is here.

Obviously someone (the pilot) is in a whole lot of trouble, the seat and plane canopy have to be replaced and there is certainly a lengthily and expensive inspection and maintenance process that the plane must undergo before being placed back into service.

Being that an untrained - both physically and mentally - civilian experienced this with no warning:

"He would have experienced 20G of acceleration - about four times the amount a Formula One driver experiences when breaking heavily - while leaving the plane."
And maybe because I am female and tend to get stuck with the gross tasks related to my family and pets, my one question begging to be answered is this; who got to peel off his excrement-filled flight suit and who had to clean up the rescue helicopter?

November 2, 2009

Project Valour-IT

My friend GOC posts this link each year, to a great military charity, Soldier's Angels, that assists injured soldiers with technology, such as voice-controlled laptops, Wii consoles for physical therapy and hand-held GPS devices for short term memory loss patients.  The fundraiser is set up as a contest between the different military branches.  Being a former Air Force brat and Army wife - and possibly a future Navy mom, my allegiances are far flung.  Visit the GOC to donate to the Navy team, or visit the SA site for other options, including auctions and items to purchase that support their cause.