Monday, January 30, 2006

I've been meaning to write something about Navy Commander Scott Speicher for a while now, and RofaSix gave me the push with his post.

My wife gave me a book called "No One Left Behind: The Lt. Cmdr. Michael Scott Speicher Story" for Christmas. It's a compelling story. Before I go any further, I referred to him as Commander, while he's generally known as Lt. Commander--when his status was changed from KIA to MIA he was promoted to Commander based on time in grade.

Cmdr. Speicher was one of, if not the first, casualty of the first Gulf War. He was flying a strike mission in his F/A-18 when a MIG-25 blew through the formation. There was some confusion and the fighters were not given clearance to fire on the MIG until it was too late. Cmdr. Speicher's aircraft was hit, either by the MIG or possibly by another F/A-18 fireing on the MIG.

The author of the book, Amy Waters Yarsinsky, isn't known to me, but she appears to have the bona fides to write an authorative book. She's a former Naval Intelligence officer and her husband is a retired Naval aviator. She's written several other books, mostly historical. While the book is pretty lightweight and there are very few footnotes, she doesn't appear to be, say, an Eric von Daniken.

What the books claims as fact are that his ejection seat was found intact and separated from the wreckage of the aircraft and that the condition of the canopy, including burn marks from the explosive charges, is consistant with an ejection. Apparently review of satellite photography too long after the fact revealed that someone had constructed, and maintained, distress signals which matched his code letters.

I have my doubts that he is still alive, but we should not stop searching for him until we know for certain.

Friday, January 27, 2006

Years ago a character in the Doonesbury comic strip declared "The president is a lot smarter than you think".

The character was "BD", and he was on his way to fight in Vietnam. He was prickled by one of his friends about the validity of the war and finally blurted out the above.

The premise survives. Whether or not you think George Bush is the brightest guy in the world (as though Gore, Kerry, Harry or Teddy are), as the president he's constantly briefed with the latest findings of the most effective intelligence network in the world. He gets a prepared brief every single morning--seven days a week. And you can bet that when things change, he gets yet another briefing regardless of the time of day. Some things can wait, but unlike a certain dictator when Allied forces landed in France, you can bet that he wants to be aroused when serious events occur.

So, as it turns out, just maybe there is a connection between Iraq and Al Qaeda. For me, the radical Islamist connection is enough--They hate us, they want to kill us--'nough said. But the Cindy Sheehans, etc. would rather suck Islamist d*ck than tolerate a Bush presidency.

Well, just maybe the president is a lot smarter than Teddy thinks. Seems drips and drabs of information are making their way into the press to indicate that there are, indeed, links between Al Qaeda and Saddam's Iraq.

From Deroy Murdoch and the National Review:

Drop by drop, isolated news stories and emerging documents are eroding the popular myth that Saddam Hussein had no connections to Islamofascist terrorists. These revelations undermine war critics’ efforts to whitewash Baghdad’s ancien regime — such as when Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid declared: “There was [sic] no terrorists in Iraq.” Likewise, Sen. Carl Levin (D., Mich.) describes a “nonexistent relationship between al Qaeda and Saddam Hussein.”

There's much more there to read. Just bear in mind that the president is more informed than any of us.

At least locally, the fetal/embryonic stem cell debate is coming to a head. Maryland fancies itself a center of biotechnology, conveniently ignoring that its seriously anti-business environment begs highly mobile industries such as biotech to relocate. There is a biotech corridor in Maryland, due to the proximity to regulating authorities, but that may be coming to an end due to the oppressive business environment.

Anyway, MD has chosen to place itself at the forefront of the stem cell debate.

I think that I've discussed this before, but while looking for another article, I found an essay by a very intelligent guy that backs up what I've been saying. To whit: fetal/embryonic stem cells just don't work.

Supporters claim solid ground in the stem cell debate. Stem cells are like a piece of sheet metal that can be hammered into any shape. It just takes the right conditions to force a stem cell to differentiate into a particular cell, be it cardiac, pancreatic, whatever. BUT--fetal/embryonic stem cells have been a total bust. There have been numerous advancements in medicine related to stem cells, but in every case they have been adult stem cells. Said cells exist in the blood of adults as "peripheral cells" and in adipose (fat) tissue (possibly America's most abundant resource). Additionally, there have been a number of successes in transplanting already differentiated cells from a healthy heart to a diseased heart, a healthy pancreas to a diseased pancreas, etc. I've been a part of some of those projects.

The one and only clinical trial involving fetal/embryonic stem cells was not just a bust, it was a spectacular failure. Cells were injected into the brains of people with Parkinson's, and the result was that no one got better, and a significant number of subjects declined dramatically. They went in with the shakes and emerged as droolers. Nobody knows why, but nobody wants to speculate because to do so is to lend the appearance that you are anti-abortion, a cardinal sin. It goes right up there with the terminated pregnancy/breast cancer link. There is a ton of anecdotal evidence that women who have had terminated pregnancies--be it abortion or just miscarriage--are at higher risk for breast cancer than the general population, but nobody will touch it lest they be cast as anti-abortion.

I sometimes think that the fetal/embryonic stem cell thing is an issue of preserving grants and jobs. Unless they've ignored the literature, they know damn well that their research has yielded nothing, while adult cells are an absolute gold mine. But by casting opponents as stifling research for religious reasons, they're able to stifle those opponents in turn and continue lining their pockets.

There's a tremendous potential in stem cells and cell therapy, but until we stop barking up politically proper trees and limiting ourselves by refusing to admit that fetal/embryonic cells don't work, we're going to spend a lot of money on failed research, all the time feeling so much better because we're being so open minded about stem cells.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

In the latest scandal to hit Capital Hill, apparently Secretary of State Rice slept with Ted Kennedy...

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Sunday, January 22, 2006

One of my big pet peeves is that a lot of people--mostly on the left, of course--see the troops as a bunch of losers. Dumbasses who can't get a real job and who function as automatons for Chimpy Bushitler. A woman whom I care for very deeply would rather gouge out her eyes than see her sons in the military, because they're destined for greater things than military service, you know.

That's why in the past I've linked to movie clips of troops cutting up and whatnot. They actually do have personalities and intellects, not that Hillary would notice. Hell, I once knew a SSG who was a member of Mensa.

By way of Toni's excellent blog, I've come across an incredibly well written blog authored by two treadheads tankers. Enlisted swine, no less.

All that aside, while the entire blog merits continued reading and I'll put it in my list of required reads, Toni specifically links to “A Man of Honor Needs Our Help”. Read it and think about lending support.

Meanwhile, I'm going to try and figure out how they did the sidebar thing with their “racks”. Mine isn't quite as big as SSG Mike Gulf's, but I figure the wings and SF tab lend some weight for me.

Friday, January 20, 2006

The local newspaper is absolutely rife with misspellings, factual errors and the like. I mostly find them amusing, such as the time a columnist wrote about "cream of crap soup" (crab being a local delicacy), but sometimes they annoy me such as when a columnist wrote about the "82nd Engineer Armored Tank Division". Obviously "Armored Tank" is redundant, and there are no Engineer divisions. It took me, an amateur (compared to a paid columnist), all of five minutes to find out that there is a 82nd Engineer Battalion (separate) and that said battalion marries with the facts in the column. I sent a strongly worded email to the editor and, of course, never heard back.

Now I'm seriously annoyed with them. I don't obsess over the obituaries, but I do scan them. At 45 I periodically see the parent of someone I know, and sometimes even a person I know. Last year I read the obituary of a girl I had dated in high school (she was taken down by the "Big C", an unfair disease of there ever was one, and unlike the "Big A", it can happen to anyone). Well, I was scanning them today and it caught my eye that the paper referred to internments.

I'll spare everyone my initial reaction, which turned the air blue. Bodies are not interned. They are interred.

The editor is a big city liberal who presumed to come out here and subject us to his opinions. Ok, fine. But at least exhibit a familiarity with the English language as you do so.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

I see that "Brokeback Mountain" got the top award at the Golden Globe award ceremony (funny, "golden globes" sounds like what a tawny-skinned woman would have under her shirt). I guess it's very artistic and sensitive and all that, but it's still not doing well at the box office.

I guess not all that many people want to watch a movie about two guys who ditch their wives and children so that they can push in each others' stools.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Monday night was a blast.

I ended up sitting in a gravel driveway at 10:30 at night, in January, in the rain, replacing the front brakes on my wife's Explorer.

I'm expecting the Vatican to announce my beatification any day now.
This is just too precious. I posted on the so-called "Fair Share Health Act" a few days ago and managed to get a reply from Blue Shield of California.

They must have had some sort of search bot looking for references to the act, and it then posted a reply to the Blogger reply page, rather than the Haloscan page which is the button labeled "comments".

The reply was to the effect that "I" am glad because the "fare (sic) share health act" will enable more people ot have insurance.

What they meant to say is that it'll mean more money in Blue Cross' coffers.
I can't find the links yet, but I'm told by a very reliable source that Ray Nagin is backpeddaling from his statement that God wants New Orleans to be a chocolate (black) city.

Nagin, who is mostly known for his mishandling of the hurricane Katrina crisis and his blaming of the devastation on the federal government isn't fooling anyone.

I'm told that he backed off of the original "chocolate" statement, saying that "chocolate is a mixture of white milk and chocolate syrup". Nice try, Ray. We all know what you meant the first time.

The fact remains that Nagin dropped the ball big time, and now he's showing his true makeup.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

What on earth is it about that "American Idol" TV show?

Now, I have to profess complete ignorance as I've never seen it. Not even two seconds' worth.

But a couple of summers ago we had a mom on the baseball team who was addicted to the show and would actually become angry and berate her son if a game ran long and started cutting into "her" American Idol time.

Now the Bear called one of her friends about getting together. Turns out they can get together here, but not at the friend's house, because the friend's mom is watching American Idol and can't tolerate the disturbance. And, I have to pick the friend up (not that I mind), because the mom can't tear herself away from the TV for five minutes (yes, it's minutes away, but the road is not a good place for nine-year old girls any more).

Monday, January 16, 2006

Racism is a double edged sword, as Sondra K shows. First, Ray Nagin (the failed mayor of New Orleans who has chosen to hide behind his pigmentation) states that the new New Orleans needs to be a black city. It does? It can't be 50/50? Or whatever? Why can't we just get along?? Sheesh. Can't it just be American?--If you want to play colors we have white, brown, black, red, yellow, tan, ecru--hell, you name it. Imagine Nagin's chagrin if the new New Orleans ended up 49% black. He'd have a fit. What if a white politician had, in some fit of extremis, announced that this was the opportunity for white people to take over a profitable seaport and tourist destination? He'd be denounced in the loudest of terms, yet Nagin's plan for an all-black city meets no denounciation.

Imagine if all cities were all black and all white--none of us would have the foggiest idea that we're not so different. People who call for all-white or all-black cities are a$$holes. So far, though, I've only seen a call for an all-black city.

Saturday, January 14, 2006

I have two rants on hold, but for the time being I'll do another roundup of good pieces at other blogs.

Jack Army notes that an SF soldier was awarded the Silver Star for actions in Afghanistan. Some might recall that while Iraq is in the news, there are still things happening in Afghanistan.

JB comments on the president's speech the other day. Goes back to my own analysis that the left hates Bush more than they love their own country.

Blackfive relates One Marine's View of the war. I liked his first response a lot. His story about the little girl and the Pepsi caused a bit of lachrymal leakage from this big, tough old guy.

Uncle Jimbo posts about the non-scandal of NSA listening to the bad guys. Fact is, that's been NSA's charter from Day One--fifty years ago. Communications eminating from or terminating in other countries are not subject to Constitutional protection. Plain and simple. Add to that the fact that we're listening to people who would do anything to kill us...Fact is, the left hates the right more than they love their own country.

Some Soldier's Mom's sons are all home.

Caelestis puts it pretty bluntly in Makaha Surf Report--Some Democrats want all of us to lose so that they can win. Once again, the left hates the administration more than they love this country.

I'm growing pretty tired of the lazy abuse of the English language myself. Just the other day I had to remind a vice-principal with a Masters' degree that his invitation to me to "hang out with my son and I" was wrong. It's "my son and me". Now, he's a good guy and very smart, but proper English eluded him. It's not at all an uncommon shortcoming. Mauser Girl notes it here, and Murf notes it here.

Friday, January 13, 2006

Maryland moves one step closer to being a socialist (communist) state. The legislature overrode the governor's veto of the "Fair Share Health Care Act", locally known as the "Wal Mart Act".

The act requires employers to spend at least eight percent of their payroll on health insurance. It's called the "Wal Mart Act" because Wal Mart is the one and only employer in the state affected by the act. Sort of a "gotcha" from Democrats who hate others' success.

I'm not a Wal Mart fan by any stretch. I used to hold my nose and go in because John Walton was Special Forces and ran recon with SOG and by all accounts was a genuine hero, though he apparently never had much to say about it himself.

Unfortunately, John is gone now, having crashed in an ultralight, so I have little motivation to navigate the crowded, stinky aisles of a store patronized by 300 pound women wearing stretch pants and dodging motorized carts navigated by obese people being kept alive by cannulas.

Getting that out of the way, I think I've established that I'm not an apologist for Wal Mart. But the act is purely socialist. An employer offers a potential employee a compensation package. That package includes wages, paid time off, insurance and possibly pension. If you don't care for the package, you move on to another employer. Employers, in turn, make themselves attractive to qualified candidates by offering attractive compensation packages.

I haven't the foggiest idea what makes the state legislators think they have any business inserting themselves into the compensation packages of private corporations. On the other hand, check the compensation packages that legislators vote for themselves. I think you'll be shocked.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

I'm going to do something a bit different, as my muse has deserted me, and offer a roundup of links at other sites.

First, Gunn Nutt documents just how classless the left can be--demonstrating in front of a hospital treating wounded GIs, and if that's not bad enough, they callously steal signs asking them not to protest in front of a hospital.

Then Daisy Cutter comments (tongue in cheek) on the 10 Worst Americans Ever.

Texas Music has a nice story about a redtail hawk.

Chin Music has some things to say about Dachau and Auschwitz. I've been to both as well. Dachau is beyond belief. Auschwitz manages to take it to a whole new level past "beyond belief". That's all I'll say now.

Bluto notes that the so-righteous Democrats (led by Klansman Byrd and Girl Drowner Kennedy) got up on their soapboxes and abused Alito to the point where his wife left the hearings in tears. Not that noted misogynist Kennedy gives a damn.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

If hearings for Supreme Court nominees weren't a fairly serious matter, it would almost be funny listening to that bloated reprobate Ted Kennedy harrumphing and pontificating and acting as though he is some sort of arbiter of right and wrong.

Drowned any little girls lately, Teddy?

Monday, January 09, 2006

NOTR floats a pretty damn good idea for military recruiting at ROFASix.

Sunday, January 08, 2006

We've been watching something of a stop-action nature scenario for the last couple of weeks.

Some weeks ago we were walking to the main road to catch the school bus and I noticed a lot of snow and ice thrown across the verge where our road meets the public road. I put it down to an inattentive driver who nearly lost it, then veered back onto the road.

While waiting for the bus, the Bear called my attention to the reason for the snow and ice--someone had struck a deer which landed mere feet "upstream" from our verge. It was quite cold at the time and the deer was frozen in the ignominy of sudden, violent death; its mouth in rictus with the tongue lolling out.

Not long after, the temperature rose. The deer began almost literally melting into the earth. But that would have been a long, unsavory process. Enter the vultures. Black vultures and Turkey vultures descended upon the carcass. As of two days ago there was literally nothing left but a backbone, a rib cage, four legs and skin. Yesterday the rib cage disappeared. I can't account for that...

But all in all, it's been an interesting "circle of life" thing.

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Wow. The left is just frothing at the mouth over Alito. Makes me like the guy more all the time.

They're actually running television ads against the guy. It's the first time I can ever remember seeing a TV spot opposing a Supreme Court nominee. I wonder how many minority Katrina victims they could feed and house for what they're spending on the commercials...

A quick and dirty search revealed a number of anti-Alito web sites as well. One of them makes these absurd claims, things like: Alito will allow discrimination against minorities. Alito will allow discrimination against the disabled...Stuff like that. Broad generalizations that somehow this one guy is going to change the character of an entire country.

Even better, they based the minority discrimination claim on the case Bray v. Marriott. In that case a black woman sued Marriott, claiming that she was denied a position because of her race. The court upheld her claim, with Alito dissenting. It's very clear here, that Alito dissented because he didn't believe she was not selected the position due to her race, but rather the other cadidate was selected simply because she was better qualified for the position. Reading the case notes, I have to agree with Alito. But in the hate-twisted world of the left, saying she wasn't the best qualified candidate equals “allowing discrimination”.

Keep going guys—you're just showing the world just how incredibly hateful the left has become. So much for the “loyal opposition”. You simply hate, with an unreasoning fury. Hate flows through your veins like a venom, literally poisoning you, destroying your ability to reason.

Golda Meier (past Prime Minister of Israel, in case someone from Kos, Nimmo or Willis stops by) once said, “Israel will have peace with the Arabs when they love their children more than they hate us.” I think that there's a lot of truth in that line. Lately, I've taken to borrowing that line and applying it to the left in this country. Frankly, I think we'll get a lot more done around here when the left learns to love this country more than they hate Bush. Right now they're perfectly willing to feed this country into a shredder just to “get” Bush. Witness the “outrage” over the idea of listening in on people who reflexively hate us and will die by droves just so that they can kill anyone not like them (not to mention said monitoring is overwhelmingly supported by the US public).

Keep it up, Howie Dean, Harry Reid, et. al. You're just showing the world what a bunch of low class trolls you really are.

Friday, January 06, 2006

My attendance has been spotty as of late. I've been working on a post, but it's not ready yet.

On the plus side, besides spending much of my time trying to earn the next house payment, I've been caught up in two very gratifying projects.

A group from our scout troop (including my son) is headed off to Philmont this summer where they will spend 12 days hiking some 70+ miles, at times at elevations over 10,000 feet. I had to make the hard decision that I'd be foolish to attempt the hike with my current knees, but I've been spending a lot of time working the admin end of things for them.

Best of all, we now have what's called a Venture Crew. Ventures are the next step in scouting, open to boys and girls from 14 to 21. I've been extremely vociferous in my criticisms of behavior and promotion standards in the troop, so it's justice of a sort that I am on the leadership staff for the new crew. We'll be launching in a few short months and there's a lot to do there. The down side is that I have to get "trained" again, which involves watching a child protection video that literally makes my skin crawl.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Well, I just had to go take the "Which Red Dawn Character are You?" quiz. I guess I should have expected the answer...

The Executioner
Robert Morris...-The Executioner-...You are loyal
and brave(to a fault) but you are also a
psychotic killing-machine. Seek professional
help NOW! ;-)

Which Red Dawn Character Are You?
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