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January 07, 2006

H&I Fires for 7 Jan 06

Open post for those with something to share. New, complete posts come in below.

If ya need more posts like this one - i.e., someone doing your aggregating for you - I recommend NIF!

Right Wing News has their Most Annoying Conservatives of 2005. Anyone got someone to add?

As a Kansan, I am *so* proud we won the first "Hormone-driven Teacher of 2006 Award!"

The Right Place has their new Caption Contest up.

Generation Why gives some backstory to the Sago Mine disaster. Note to the Left... it just might *not* be Bush's Fault.

Digger has a wish: "Come chat it up with me and tell me why my wish -- that the blond in Gaius' head was replaced by Boomer in some kinky outfits -- is just plain wrong!" I don't watch Cattlecar Galactica - if you do, you might wanna jump in on this.

Bob Owens, as an aside from his additional duty of scoring me interesting travel opportunities (thanks Bob!) likes to tilt at the New York Times. Easy target, I know, but Bob likes to keep things simple... -The Armorer

by Denizens on Jan 07, 2006 | General Commentary
» NIF links with: Bigger-Better-Faster-More
» Mark in Mexico links with: Common Sense in Britain: RIP
» A Blog For All links with: Gotcha

Murtha's "Semper Fidelis" Moment

It is often said there's no such thing as a "former Marine".

On that point, Jack Murtha seems bound and determined to challenge the conventional wisdom. An enormous controversy was launched recently after he proposed we renege on promises made to Iraq, Afghanistan, and our coalition allies to stay the course. Rep. Murtha wanted the United States to strategically "redeploy" its fighting men and women to a safer location, leaving the people of Iraq and Afghanistan defenseless against brutal terrorists who could, after all, simply take part in the democratic process if all they wanted was a voice in the emerging government. I have a question for Rep. Murtha: what, exactly, makes him think a ruthlessly unprincipled enemy will suddenly stop the killing when the only protectors of the emerging democracy are whisked across the border to safety?

streamers.jpg Rep. Murtha's "plan" was enshrined in the unassailable sanctity of a combat veteran's admirable service to this nation. No one, we were told, could question his motives, or his patriotism. Not even, it appeared, another Marine: one who had the temerity to speak publicly what any Marine with any sense at all was thinking privately: that his "plan" flew in the face of 200 years of proud Marine Corps history. Attend any ceremony where Marines gather and you'll see something special: the Marine Battle Colors. During the color ceremony, you'll watch the Marine flag lowered proudly, as it should be, in deference to the stars and stripes: Old Glory. But if you're lucky, you may also get to see another brave sight flying in the stiff breeze. The Marine battle streamers. One for each engagement the Marines have fought in over their long and glorious history. And on the unofficial Marine emblem appear these words: "These Colors Don't Run".

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Marines take those words seriously. Dead seriously. Because a lot of men - good men - have died to earn the reputation the United States Marine Corps enjoys throughout the world. They are respected, and feared, wherever they go. They command the field.

They do not leave it in the hands of the enemy, despite what Representative Murtha would like to see us do. And despite the waggling fingers of Democrats like Harold Ford, there was absolutely nothing wrong with Colonel Danny Bubp taking a fellow Marine down a peg on the House floor that day. Marines police their own ranks. They have always done so. One Marine is never afraid to take another to task when he thinks honor is at stake. And they all have a stake in the future of their Corps. And their country.

General Peter Pace, USMC, did so again the other day when Rep. Murtha stepped out of line and damaged our recruiting efforts, and rightly so. I commend him for having the courage to speak out. It must have been difficult for him. Military men do not like to involve themselves in matters political. General Pace should not have been placed in that position:

"That's damaging to recruiting," Pace said. "It's damaging to morale of the troops who are deployed, and it's damaging to the morale of their families who believe in what they are doing to serve this country."
Representative Murtha might do well, if he can find a quiet moment when he is not listening to the sound of his own voice, to consider the motto of the Marine Corps:
Semper Fidelis

It is a short one, for Marines are men of few words, preferring deeds to flowery expressions of feelings. It means "Always faithful". A Marine considers it his highest duty to be faithful: to his country, to his Corps, to what is right. Rep. Murtha might ask himself, to what has he demonstrated faithfulness?

His nation has made commitments to its coalition allies and to two nations which are now dependent on us: Iraq, Afghanistan. Whether or not he likes the cost of those commitments, an honorable nation does not shirk its duty once it makes a promise.

The Marine Corps will have a future that extends beyond this war...or perhaps it won't, if he has anything to do with it. Enlistment rates, whether or not the war lasts, have an impact far down the road. If his words have half the impact he hopes they will have, what damage is he doing to the future of the Marine Corps? Does he even care?

Certainly his words are having an impact now. Consider this news item:

Al-Qaida's No. 2, Ayman al-Zawahri, said in a videotape aired Friday that the United States' decision to withdraw some troops from Iraq represented "the victory of Islam" and called on Muslims to attack oil sites.

Al-Zawahri, wearing a white turban and gray robe and seated next to an automatic rifle, waved his finger for emphasis as he spoke in the two-minute excerpt aired by Al-Jazeera.

"I congratulate (the Islamic nation) for the victory of Islam in Iraq," he said.

You remember I told you more than a year ago that the American withdrawal from Iraq is only a matter of time, and here they are now ... negotiating with the mujahedeen," al-Zawahri said.

"Bush was forced at the end of last year to announce that he will pull out his forces from Iraq, but he was giving excuses for his withdrawal that the Iraqi forces have reached a good level."

This news, of course, is very worrisome to many on Capitol Hill. Rep. Murtha is certainly worried. He appears to have finally realized the impact of his words:

Appearing at a town meeting in Arlington, Virginia, with fellow Democratic Rep. James Moran, Murtha said, "A year ago, I said we can't win this militarily, and I got all kinds of criticism." Now, Murtha told the strongly antiwar audience, "I worry about a slow withdrawal which makes it look like there's a victory when I think it should be a redeployment as quickly as possible and let the Iraqis handle the whole thing."
You remember... those would be those Iraqi forces that Murtha says "aren't ready and will never be ready". That's why we need to skedaddle...err...redeploy as soon as possible. And we see what the response of al Qaida is to the withdrawal of our troops.

Attack. Full speed ahead.

It would appear that the question of just who Mr. Murtha is "faithful" to has been definitively answered. Al-Jazeera and Mr. al-Zawahri certainly like what he has to say. It seems, so far, only to be his fellow Marines who disagree with him.
And combat vets who know what it's really like in Iraq and Afghanistan.

by Cassandra on Jan 07, 2006 | Politics
» A Blog For All links with: Murtha's Mess

Happy Anniversary SWWBO!

I've been married for over 20 years now.

Yet this is my *first* 8th Anniversary.

This is why that is so:

Happy Anniversary, Sweetie. I love you.

The *best* posts are always so simple to write.

Everything you ever wanted to know

People are always asking me, "What's John *really* like?"

To which I can honestly answer, "Uhhhhhhhh--huh?"

However, I *do* know what semifrequent commenter and blogger-in-his-own-right Bloodspite is *really* like. And now you can, too.

With pictures...

And FbL continues to explore her thoughts in the Gardens of Stone.

by CW4BillT on Jan 07, 2006 | Denizen Link-Fest!

January 06, 2006

We would be remiss...

If we didn't mention He Who Named Us, and the first Big Blogger to link us, lo, those many visits ago...

- Emperor Darth Misha the First!

On whose Council we sit, and to whom we are - Sir John the Merciless, The Imperial Armorer.

There had to be an Imperium to Arm, no?

The road to one million started with his beneficence!

Heh. I remember when he went over 1 million. Which was 3.4 million visits... ago! The Emperor still rulez! Long Live the Emperor! Long Live the Rottweiler Empire!


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1 Million Served!

Hosting provided by FotoTime

Sadly, the 1,000,000th visitor was a Googler.

Closest referrer however.... LEX! The Sailor referred #999,998!

We have a winnah!

But most importantly, thanks to all of you who visit. Otherwise this would just be me in a closet by myself.

And I *know* I'm not that much fun to be around!

And special thanks to Jonah, Dusty, and Bill... and K-Lo - without you guys, this place would be *months* from this milestone.

by John on Jan 06, 2006 | Shameless Self-Promotion
» Outside The Beltway links with: Beltway Traffic Jam
» Don Surber links with: Best Of The Blogs For Friday
» NIF links with: Bigger-Better-Faster-More
» Target Centermass links with: A Million Congratulations

H&I Fires 6 Jan 06

Open post for those with something to share. New, complete posts come in below.

Hey, John...If one of us is number 1,000,000 do we get to shoot anything we want from your basement???

Oooh - a prize! John - what does the Referrer of the 1,000,000th
visitor win????

The Castle will go over 1 Million Uniques today, absent an implosion of the server or Internet. Already the greedy are circling, hoping to score. Here's your problem - if you are reading this, your visit has been recorded already. So, if you're going to try to manage this to *be* number 1 million, ya got a coupla options. Use two computers, or somehow (depends on how you access the 'net) get another IP all the time... and then ya need to comment when you come in - why? So I can tie the IP to someone. The only way Castle logs can provide an ID to someone is if you post a comment and leave good (vice bogus) personally identifiable info in it - like a comment. I get IPs for comments, and I know who you allege yourself to be. If I can ID Number 1 Million and/or the Referrer, yes, actually, I *do* have a prize...

{snipped as being no longer needed}

Next item - overheard this morning... "Oh, would you please get me some coffee?"

(I was on my way to the pot, just not *that* one)

"Oh, never mind, I can get it myself... "

(seconds pass)

"Ow! My knee hurts sooooooooooo much!"

I went to both pots. -The Armorer


John, just for you: an opportunity to make fun of the Aging Fighter Pilot(TM) and his Amazing Shrinking Uniform(TM)...

[The Armorer sez - Go Read This Post at Lex's. You will regret not doing so. And don't forget the comments!]

Are the new SOCOM Marines "just Marines?" Blackfive leads a discussion.

--Fuzzybear Lioness


Just don’t give him WARM beer. – Punctilious


Some Marines in Iraq have four legs - good thing they don't need uniforms!


D-uh. There's a *reason* I've avoided having jobs that would require a cell phone or pager - and watching SWWBO deal with hers simply adds confimatory anecdotal evidence in support of this article. -The Armorer


by Denizens on Jan 06, 2006 | General Commentary
» CDR Salamander links with: Pushing 1,000,000
» Blog o'RAM links with: Makin' a Cool Million
» Blog o'RAM links with: Makin' a Cool Million

The Veep Speaks at Fort Leavenworth...

...and this milblogger was present and reports out.

First Sergeants.

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1st Sgt. Fidelito Ordonio, first sergeant with Co. A, TF 1-27 INF, stands against a wall with Sahilia elementary school students during the dedication of the school March 3.

Ahh, the First Sergeant. The Spine of the Company/Battery/Troop. Sometimes known as the First Shirt.

This is a story about a 1st Sergeant. In a First Shirt mode.

Top Sergeants are the unit Bearer of Standards. Yes, yes, the officers are supposed to be that way, but a good Top Kick can overcome slovenly officers. The success of my battery level command is testament to that. More importantly, the First Sergeant has ad hoc tools available to him that a prudent officer will avoid.

While normally a First Sergeant is selected from NCO's of requisite caliber in the same branch as the unit they allow their officers to take responsibility for, this is not always the case. This has to do with the requisite quality in a First Sergeant is the ability to capital-L Lead. The duties of the 1SG generally doesn't extend to that of leading the troops around taking bunkers, breaking track, serving the guns. His or her job is to move among the soldiers and make sure that the troops are being taken care of, the NCOs are doing their jobs, and making sure it's all done to standard.

My first unit, Headquarters and Headquarters Battery, 1st Battalion, 22nd Field Artillery Regiment, then assigned to the 1st Armored Division Artillery at Pinder Barracks, Zirndorf, Germany, is an example of a unit that did not have an MOS-related 1SG. 1SG "Z" was a dental technician. Yes. A dental tech. Yet he rode herd on that battery of 250 souls as if he were born to the trade. He did much to teach me how to interact with Sergeants and Soldiers as an officer, and mindful of being a junior officer. A direct support artillery battalion HHB is a large, lumbering monster, with many moving parts, usually not moving in synch. By design. The first 'H', the Headquarters, is just that . The Battalion Commander and his staff, including the battalion Command Sergeant Major, the senior NCO in the battalion. Lots of egos to deal with there. All of 'em prissy and prickly. They are the reason the battery exists. Yet, because this is a DS unit, it also contains the FS Element, which has all the Forward Observers in it, who scatter to the winds to their supported armor and infantry battalions and companies when those units are out training or deployed. The 1SG has to manage all of that in consonance with his commander, and 1SG 'Z' did it well.

I hid the best part of this below the fold, in the Flash Traffic/Extended Entry.

Flash Traffic (extended entry) Follows... »

Whiskey Tango Foxtrot, Over...

Ever since there have been civilizations, there have been military organizations, and there have been military leaders who have been given affectionate nicknames by their men.

Howlin’ Mad Smith.

31-Knot Burke.

Bomber Harris.

And in this time-honored tradition, I, too, have recently been screwed over had a nicknamed bestowed upon me.

Sugar Buttons.

Oh, I’ve had nicks before, but of all the asinine, kick-in-the-nuts, teeth-grinding endearing cutsie-poo bullshit pet names I’ve had stuck up my been tagged with, I must confess that the latest friggin’ sophomoric effort one has frosted my balls touched me the most, since it was given to me by a pack of back-stabbing weaselettes the Denizennes.

Now, about this Sugar Buttons thang. It’s a type of candy that was popular in the 50s and is currently undergoing a resurgence in that popularity--Retro is still alive and well. Although the manufacturer calls ‘em Candy Buttons and they’re known by that moniker world-wide, except, evidently, in São Paulo, Brazil and Cincinnati, Ohio, out of deference to the Denizenne who tagged me, I’ll keep it Sugar Buttons.

They’re the subject of fond memory...

Candy Buttons memories... Candy buttons on the paper card were always a treat for those of us who liked to play "hospital." If I somehow got some of them, I would round up a couple other children - someone always had one of those little plastic "doctor's bags" that contained a play stethoscope, a headband with a funny mirror, and a pretend syringe. We'd stuff the candy buttons in the bag, and the doctor would make rounds.

Heh. Playing “Doctor” without Candy Buttons/Sugar Buttons on hand? Unthinkable...

Rock hard, sweet and they come in three different flavors.

So, I guess I really *am* Sugar Buttons…

Sooooo, now it’s time to name the unit. Something catchy and alliterative, like Merrill’s Marauders, or Kane’s Killers...

...or the Sugar Buttons Brigade.

Presenting the Second Squad of the First Platoon, Delta Company, Third Battalion.

The rest of the Brigade is bivouaced in the Jungle Room--I’ve got a busy training schedule lined up.

Squad--‘Ha-Tennnn-SHUN! Hot Tub Drill---Move out!

Sugar Buttons, eh?

Bite me! Later, y'awl.

by CW4BillT on Jan 06, 2006 | Historical Stuff
» NIF links with: Bigger-Better-Faster-More

January 05, 2006

H&I Fires for 5 Jan 06

Open post for those with something to share. New, complete posts come in below.

Islam is Peace? For those interested in the spread of radical Islam in Europe, I've posted a short essay about Milli Gorus, Germany's largest Islamic association. -


I don't object to recess appointments, and find Democrat angst over them to be tortuous at best, as their side of the aisle has used them before for similar reasons. If the Senate *won't* do it's job of advise and consent by offering up or down votes, but simply uses politics to block nominations without accountable action on the part of individuals *or* parties, then the President should force the issue. Courage is lacking in this group of people, on both sides of the aisle. But then, they are elected to legislate, not lead. That said - Julie Myers, Kansan or no, *still* stinks as a choice, Mr. President.

Someone else notes something I've alluded to before - this war is being fought, on the whole, better than many before it - at the tactical level, at least... leaving fewer situations requiring heroic efforts to overcome the mistakes of others, or just bad luck.

Coming soon... the Cluebat of Argghhh! (basic version)

For the sailors among us - the 'new' the SSGN Ohio completes her sea trials. -The Armorer


For a very different take on the article about battlefield heroics that John links above, see Blackfive.

And another report of self-sacrificial heroism in Iraq...

Lex dissects the New York Times' attempt to justify its publication of secret national security information. Read the comments, too.

- Fuzzybear Lioness

Sarah Dyer, sister of Lance Cpl. Christopher Dyer, is someone I would LOVE to know. Holy cow...... ~AFSis

And now, for a completely pointless helpful hint.


Commissar helps Captain Ed beat down on everyones favorite *cough* Kos, when he attempts to compare Conservative/RINO/Mil Bloggers to Patrick Henry

Last but not least, do you want to do something really nice before the holiday Fire goes out?

Matt of Overtaken by Events and his wife Vicky of Oddfellows Rest are unfortunately having a very serious problem. Seems Vicky has aquired a disease their doctor belives is Mononeuritis Multiplex The result? She has currently limited to no use of both her legs and her right arm since Thanksgiving

Matt is *not* asking for money. What he is asking for is folks to wish his wife Get Well Soon Notes

Think you can help?


Thomas Sowell discusses the Elephant in the Living Room. Iran.

by Denizens on Jan 05, 2006 | General Commentary

Random Historical Observation.

This (or something like it), is what most people think of when they conjure up a mental image of the German Army in WWII.

This is generally more accurate.

That is all.

Customer Loyalty...

I admit, it's tempting to write a Jonah-bait post and shop it out to NRO, to get an NRO-alanche and finally push over 1 million served (997,056 and counting) but I'm not gonna do it. I'd rather you regulars get the shot at being numbah 1 millyun rather than someone drifting in, rarely, if ever, to return. Besides, I *might* be able to ID someone if I'm not getting 800 visits an hour.

So, of course, it will be someone in a raincoat looking for the "Double O" gurl.

Update: At the time of this posting, we're approximately %0.001957 away from the benchmark. Not that I'm counting or anything.

January 04, 2006

H&I Fires for 4 Jan 06

Open post for those with something to share. New, complete posts come in below.

Heh. The 50 emails from the comment party last night knackered posting this morning!

CAPT H sends along this funny-hat-wearing, maple-fortified, polar-bear as the Epitome of Alan's Canadian Man...

He also provides this bit from Colby Cosh about developments in Chavez' Venezuela... where the cautionary tale of the last century is being looked at perhaps as just a failed attempt that should be redone -

It is much too late in history to snicker at the logic of replacing "currency relations" with slips of paper that can be used to buy goods and services--but only at the government store. I will give Chavez supporters the same advice that their Maoist fathers and Stalinist grandfathers ignored: you can save yourselves a couple of decades by being ashamed of yourselves right this minute.

Read the rest here, with a follow-up here.

Cotinuing to mine Master Cosh, we move on to a link to a cautionary tale about good intentions hijacked by people who will take advantage of your generosity - and leave you trapped in trying to extricate yourself from the problem, perhaps. What I never could quite make out from the Spiegel article - do the restaurants make money, or lose it - gross receipts aren't a reliable indicator in that regard.

1989... "It is a Line of Death! You cross it, we die! -The Armorer


"Who's the cat who won't come out
When there's danger all about?

You daaaaamn right!

They say that cat is a baaaad Murtha....
(Shut yo mouf!
You bein' bad!)"

Well folks, he's at it again. Let no one say the Democrat Party is Soft on Terror. Soft-headed perhaps, but tough as nails on the kind of folks who fly planes into buildings... and those who try to protect us from them. Now comes John Murtha, another great American War Hero of the Left in the grand tradition of Gunga John Kerry.

Rep. Murtha can't wait to take the GWOT to al Qaeda in a fashion reminiscent of Tinkie Winkie.

...just keep telling yourself: "They also serve... who refuse to serve."

Fortunately for America, 82% of our all-volunteer military disagree with Jack Murtha about the value of military service, and 70% would re-enlist today if given the chance. Via the invaluable Tom Bevan.
- Cassandra


Good to see that Seattle is cracking down on crime.

- Barb

More on cold Canadians. --Punctilious


A little discussion about whether our military tactics invading and occupying Iraq were mistakes. Frankly, I agree with the author of this post that there are "mistakes" or actions by the enemy that necessarily change the outcome or expectations of your own plans so you "improvise, adapt and over come" or you throw up your hands, admit defeat, take your toys and go home. Of course, I opt for the first, but feel free to add your two cents. (I know, we've discussed this before somewhere, but I think it's good exercise for the military professionals and afficianados to see how many opinions *like certain body parts* everybody has) - Kat

by Denizens on Jan 04, 2006 | General Commentary

There Are Rules...

Although this place may appear to be an anarchist's toolshed at times, it's actually a fairly structured environment. As with pretty much anything involving human beings, there are rules--some written, some unwritten, but rules nonetheless.

The trick lies in discovering the unwritten rules without inadvertently running afoul of them. So, continuing with the Castle's series of Public Service Educational Events, I've decided to level the playing field for one particular sport in which all the rules have been unwritten--until now.

The Rules for Indoor Golf.

1. Each player shall furnish his own equipment for play.

2. Play on a course must be approved by the owner of the hole.

3. Unlike outdoor golf, the object is to get the club in the hole and keep the balls out.

Continued in Flash Traffic. Hey, there are rules, ya know...?

Flash Traffic (extended entry) Follows... »


First - Cosmo needs to get well soon. Those who know, know.

We've gone from this - Teenage Mutant Ninja Squirrel 'Bots... to this:

Get Well Soon, Cosmo!

Second - the Real Reason for the deer population explosion. I blame SchumerBradyStein.

January 03, 2006

H&I Fires 3 Jan 06

Open post for those with something to share. New, complete posts come in below.

Back to work, sigh.

Boudicca sends us this - which is very kewl. A movie of commercial flight activity in the US for one day. What I found fascinating is how you can watch the workday flow across the country.


More Good News that you won't find in the local paper - 10 metric tons of weapons caches uncovered. Excellent work, Marines!

- Barb


From Chinook mechanic's wife HomeFrontSix:

On improving the pilot-mechanic relationship (works for fixed-wing too, I'd imagine), and an explanation of why helicopter pilots get so darn jumpy. Heh. Paging BillT...

More aviation in a jaw-dropping sea story.

-Fuzzybear Lioness


Just in case you missed it when Kat posted it: US Army, 2005 in pictures. -The Armorer


Denizens should continue posting 'above the fold', but I put something beneath the fold.

Too cool for words.

Marion Barry is robbed in his home by gun-toting robbers. His response? Apparently more gun-control is needed... this isn't enough. I'm sure that more regulations than they've already ignored will help. I blame Canada. Their refusal to accept our excess is forcing criminals to use them in the US. On an unrelated note - Barry continues to plan his political career.

He is awaiting sentencing later this month in federal court on his guilty plea to two misdemeanor counts stemming from his failure to file income tax returns in 2000.

Barry vows not to move from his home in Ward Eight, which he represents in the council. But he says he will push for tougher gun control laws.

Note to DC residents... you get the government you deserve. -The Armorer


Representative Murtha back in the news. This one makes me wonder if he's really aware of how his words are being used. I almost pity him.

--Fuzzybear Lioness


Flash Traffic (extended entry) Follows... »

by Denizens on Jan 03, 2006 | General Commentary
» There's One, Only! links with: Cool Site!

Clueless in Eden

It seems appropriate, in light of the recent flurry of feminine snarkiness comments some of the Denizennes have made, to dedicate this cautionary tale to AFSis, Kat-missouri, FbL and Bostonmaggie...

And God created Man, and He called the Man *Adam*...

And God said unto Adam, "Adam, I have a task for thee."

And Adam replied, "Sure thing. What do You want me to do?"

And God said, "Goeth thou down into that valley..."

And Adam said, "What's a valley?"

And God explained it to him...

Then God said, "...then crosseth thee the river..."

And Adam said, "What's a river?"

And God explained it to him...

Then God said, "...then goeth thou over to the hill..."

And Adam said, "What's a hill?"

And God explained it to him...

Then God said, "...and on the other side of the hill wilt thou find a cave."

And Adam said, "What's a cave?"

And God explained it to him...

Then God said, "In the cave, thou wilt find a Woman."

And Adam said, "What's a Woman?"

And God explained it to him...

Then God said, "I want thee to reproduce."

And Adam said, "How do I do that?"

And God said (under his breath), "Aw, geez..."

And God explained it to him...

And Adam betook himself down into the valley, across the river, over the hill, into the cave and found the Woman.

And in about five minutes, he was back.

Then God, his patience wearing thin, sighed mightily and said, "*NOW* what?!?"

And Adam said, "What's a headache?"

--H/t to V29

UPDATE: This just in from a feminist sympathizer. In order to view it, you must either be of legal age and have a sense of humor unimpaired by any preconceived notions that the female of the species is genetically disposed toward nurturing or you can just click on Flash traffic.
Some assembly required, batteries not included.

Flash Traffic (extended entry) Follows... »


A photo to warm the cockles of a Redleg heart...

May 31, 2005  Soldiers from the 82nd Airborne Division fire a gun salute during “All-American Week” at Fort Bragg, N.C. by Tech Sgt Cherie A. Thurlby. This photo appeared on

Starving Chaplains.

Stop The ACLU covers the Chaplain on a hunger strike over not being able to "preach without diluting God to a one-size-fits all deity."

When this story first broke, I made my opinion on this known - if he's leading services, he can preach as he wishes - if he's officiating at an official, mandatory event - I have no objection to "diluting God to a one-size-fits all deity." The chaplain may feel they being oppressed with that restriction, but I disagree. It's part and parcel of being a military chaplain. I've known Catholic chaplains who can run through the jewish death prayer (I can't remember what it's called) as easily as they can the Last Rites. A military chaplain has to understand and acknowledge that his ministry includes people from outside his faith tradition - and if he or she can't deal with that, then a military chaplaincy is perhaps not their calling.

However - it's one thing to tell a chaplain to be generic at a official event (a mandatory function) and quite another to tell him to be generic when holding services, and that appears to be the case here.

Klingenschmitt, an Episcopal priest, says he challenged the policy at the time, saying that Title X of the U.S. Code allows him to pray “according to the manners and form” of his own church. “And that’s been the law since 1860,” he said.

The chaplain says he believes the 1998 Navy policy illegally overrides U.S. Code.

“They called me an immature chaplain because I claimed the right to pray in Jesus’ name,” Klingenschmitt added.

The “immature” label followed Klingenschmitt to his first chaplain post on a Navy ship. Two years later, his commanding officer, Capt. James M. Carr, wrote to the Navy board, saying Klingenschmitt emphasized his own “faith system” when praying and preaching.

The chaplain says the same officer punished him in July 2004 for a sermon he preached at an optional chapel service.

“In the sermon, I said, ‘Jesus is the way to heaven,’” Klingenschmitt noted. He says he was told the next day: “You can’t say that if unbelievers are in the audience because you’re offending people, and that’s not Navy pluralism.”

In March, Klingenschmitt says, Carr asked the Navy board “to end my career. So I filed a complaint.”

Said Klingenschmitt: “It went into the hands of a Navy judge. My career was on the line. They were going to end it after 14 years – out on the street with no retirement.”

Just before his fast began, Klingenschmitt says, “The Navy stripped me of my uniform for all public appearances” that might include praying in Jesus’ name.

The Chaplain feels he should be able to do as he wishes in services, and that doesn't appear to be the case. An unbeliever, attending services? And the Chaplain is to be sensitive to that? So, if a worshiper of Set were attend a Christian service, the Chaplain should perhaps excise God as well? To what purpose and end? On the surface of it, this doesn't seem to make any sense, now that the story is more fully developed.

Anyone have the official Navy position on all this?

Update! Ah, my trolling worked! CDR Salamander to the rescue!

Sapper Sergeant has his own view up, and several links we're missing (and you can go read what he has to say if you'd like to see the links, that seems only fair).

Lastly, speaking of mistreating Chaplains and subsequently regretting it...

January 02, 2006

H&I Fires 2 Jan 06

Open post for those with something to share. New, complete posts come in below.

Calling Neffi: Do you know where your MP40 is? H/t, Larry K.

This is *not* your father's war.

The Right Place offers assistance on the Care and Feeding of Moonbats.

RINO Sightings at Louisiana Libertarian.

A Holiday Carnival of the Recipes at Caterwauling.

Over at Stop the ACLU they've got a list of what they think are the Best New Blogs of 2005.

-The Armorer


La Malkin awards The Farrakhan Prize... Cricket


What Victor Hanson sez. Especially about the demise of history, which we try to do our little bit to combat 'round here. H/t, Mike D. -The Armorer


A visit to the U.S.S. MIDWAY Museum

-Fuzzybear Lioness


CAPT H, eschewing his posting priveleges, preferring to have his assets do that sort of thing - sent along this bit from the NYT - a useful reminder of the fact that the Canadians, while having been beside us in Afghanistan for a long time - are stepping up their commitment, and, accordingly, their risk. Now to see if they can do a better job than we have, and, if they take casualties, will their political/societal nerve hold. I actually hope for a yes on all counts - though it's okay if they don't take casualties if they are getting results!

Then, there's *this* (from our persepctive) contrarian view of events from Pakistan.

Ooo! Oooo! I want! I want! Not that there's any room for it. -The Armorer


by Denizens on Jan 02, 2006 | General Commentary


In response to this article by an active duty Marine in the Washington Post:

The Truth On the Ground

By Ben Connable

Wednesday, December 14, 2005; Page A29

When I told people that I was getting ready to head back to Iraq for my third tour, the usual response was a frown, a somber head shake and even the occasional "I'm sorry." When I told them that I was glad to be going back, the response was awkward disbelief, a fake smile and a change of subject. The common wisdom seems to be that Iraq is an unwinnable war and a quagmire and that the only thing left to decide is how quickly we withdraw. Depending on which poll you believe, about 60 percent of Americans think it's time to pull out of Iraq.

How is it, then, that 64 percent of U.S. military officers think we will succeed if we are allowed to continue our work? Why is there such a dramatic divergence between American public opinion and the upbeat assessment of the men and women doing the fighting?

The whole thing can (and should) be read here.

And this article by the UCLA Professor who found that there *is* bias in the news (and how many jaws dropped to find Fox News listed as being a little lefty?):

Media Bias Is Real, Finds UCLA Political Scientist

Date: December 14, 2005
Contact: [see original article]

While the editorial page of The Wall Street Journal is conservative, the newspaper's news pages are liberal, even more liberal than The New York Times. The Drudge Report may have a right-wing reputation, but it leans left. Coverage by public television and radio is conservative compared to the rest of the mainstream media. Meanwhile, almost all major media outlets tilt to the left.

You can (and should) read the rest of that here.

Comes this bit of analysis from an intel listserv I belong to:

Great article! The principal problem that we face however is that one of our two major parties is now heavily invested in our defeat, and if possible, humiliation; and this investment in defeat and humiliation extends to our news media, 80% of which is composed of self-identified members of that party (as opposed to 2% that self-identify with the other party)*. This investment did not occur by chance; it was inevitable and predictable (and was, in fact, predicted by me in writing, within a week of the terrorist attacks of September 2001).

The principal dynamics driving this investment are of a two-fold nature. First, the party desiring and actively promoting national defeat and humiliation does so because when the US engages in war overseas, any war overseas, that party is at an inherent disadvantage politically. In order for it to be competitive at the national level, the country must be at peace (at least we must not be actively engaged in war with other countries; although they may be engaged in war against us). This is because since the 1930’s, this party has closely identified itself with domestic political causes, especially positioning itself as the champion of the self-perceived domestic disenfranchised and aggrieved (such as media personalities, academicians, civil servants (including public school teachers), union leaders, etc.). Additionally, since the 1960’s, this party has distanced itself from defense and intelligence matters, going so far as to position itself, by the mid-1970’s, as the enemy of our own defense and intelligence communities. Because of this, in times of war (notably the Cold War), national attention and concern is necessarily drawn to this party’s demonstrable weakness; only in times of peace does public attention tend to focus on domestic issues where this party is competitive. If peace overseas can be complemented by discord at home, that gives them more ready-made constituencies, and that much more opportunity to exploit politically. This party therefore thrives on domestic turbulence; but requires isolation from problems overseas. If such isolationism can be reinforced by the memory of perceived or actual military catastrophe (such as followed our surrender of Indo-China to Communism in the 1970’s), so much the better.

The second reason why this party needs our national defeat and humiliation is that the war that has been thrust upon us is correctly perceived as a creature of the other party (the one now in power). The reason that this perception is accurate is because only the other party would (or did) engage in a war for our national interests. Even though this war has been raging since the early 1990’s (some say the late 1970’s), only the other party recognized its existence and react accordingly. The party that needs our defeat and humiliation invariably fears our own power more than that of any enemy; and because of this, can be counted-upon to respond to any provocation with nothing stronger than symbolic gestures of disapproval, such as the dimming of the national Christmas Tree lights (although they are capable of fearlessly bombing targets at random, provided that the targets offer no provocation and have nothing to do with our national interests). Because this war is identified with the other party, its loss and our humiliation would necessarily also be identified with the other party. In this way, sabotaging the war can contribute to the other party being discredited, thereby enhancing the status and influence of the party desiring our national defeat and humiliation.

National interest and the lives and well being of those who would be influenced by such a debacle mean nothing to this party (witness their response to the millions murdered and tens of millions enslaved in Indo-China in the 1970’s). They are only concerned about their partisan political advantage; and they have every reason to believe that our defeat would garner for them such an advantage. Prior to 1972, the ideas embodied in the phrases “Politics stops at the water’s edge” and “Loyal Opposition” restrained such partisanship directed in pursuit of national and international tragedy; but that time has passed, I fear forever. I remain ...

Most Respectfully Yours,

Richard Maltz

* These figures are approximate, and vary over time; but they vary remarkably little. Similar numbers are reported in a large number of surveys of media political identification over the past forty or so years, most notably those conducted by the team of Lichter, Rothman, and Lichter.

I bloviate further in the Flash Traffic/Extended Entry.

Flash Traffic (extended entry) Follows... »

January 01, 2006

H&I Fires for the first day of 2006

Open post for those with something to share. New, complete posts come in below.

Hosting provided by FotoTime

Happy New Year everybody! For those among us who had a hard year last year, The Lord and Master of Argghhh! decrees that this year, you get cuts in line for Good Karma.

I'm moving slow today. Must be because of the long night with Kat. (Checks PG-17). Heh. Not a twitch.

To plan or not to plan. That is the question. --Punctilious


Gazing through the telescopic sight of his M24 rifle, Staff Sgt Jim Gilliland, leader of Shadow sniper team, fixed his eye on the Iraqi insurgent who had just killed an American soldier.

Good shooting, Sergeant! -Armorer, via CAPT H.


Flash Traffic (extended entry) Follows... »

by Denizens on Jan 01, 2006 | General Commentary
» links with: Heroes
» links with: Heroes

The State of the Castle...

So, wondering what you're part of, if you consider yourself a regular visitor or Denizen of Argghhh?

Here's some data -

In 2004, this map shows the nations paying Tribute in the form of Visits to the Castle:

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Oops. North Korea shouldn't be colored in there...

In 2005, our reach had conquered Asia (still less those NKs, dang-it!), and we snuck into Cuba, too. We gained more than we lost in Africa. But we *still* don't own the world...

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Those maps can be made by visiting here. Well, that and some Photoshop action.

While we didn't make our goals this month of being at least 4th in the Weblog Awards (we're doing even worse in the Milbloggies) we did have the best month ever at Castle Argghhh!, thanks mainly to those rain-coated figures in the shadows googling last year's New Years Post. That worked so well, I gave them reason next year to google *this* year's post... But it's important to note that actual visitor (vice voyeur) traffic has shown a steady positive trend - even as links have been declining. Since we quit being all political and ranty, the linkage has dropped, but visits have increased... what's that say about bloggers? The other goal for the month was to break 1 million uniques served... but we'll do that in possibly less than two weeks. We've been over a million absolute visits (not counting bots, etc) for months. In 2004 we had 327,204 unique visits, 650,699 visits overall, not counting the 'bots, etc. In 2005 we had 687,785 uniques, with 1,573,585 visits overall. Most businesses would be satisfied with growth like that. I am, certainly!

We doubled our traffic over the year - actually 2.1 times the traffic of last year. If we can sustain that kinda growth (I'm not sure I want to, nor do I think we will) I may have to take up the blog-ad invitations I have to start paying the freight around here.

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All in all the news is pretty good 'round here, for the Castle as a concept, if not for several of the Denizens who suffered losses this year, whether family, friends, or property. And a job or two, as well. And that counts only those among the readership we know of. At the same time, there has been a lot of fun, and for that, we thank all of you! We've managed to keep this place pretty much Moonbat Free, and our Contrarians are interested in discussion and argument, not spittle-flecked tirades. Which we return in kind.

Our Top 10 Referrers this year are:

National Review's The Corner - Blogfather Jonah and K-Lo!
Hugh Hewitt
Les Jones
Mudville Gazette
Castle Adjutant Barb!
LT. Smash
Michelle Malkin
Kim du Toit

Woo-woo! A *Denizenne* made the Top 10!

Interestingly, aside from the home page, the Gun Rights Archive was the second most popular entry point over the year.

The single most popular post? This one.

But I'd like to take the time to thank you all for coming by - with a *Special Thanks* to those who comment, and share stuff for content. It makes this more fun *and* easier, to do, and keep doing.

Happy New Year!

In keeping with the Castle's policy of posting periodic Public Service Announcements, this will be the first (or the last, depending on how many rocks get thrown my way) in a series of

New Year's Resolutions for Those of You Too Hung Over to Think.

1. For the Kittens: "I resolve to...

a. Stop horking hairballs into the 'ritamatic's intake manifold;

b. Cease leaving comatose partners lying around the Jungle Room where they could become a tripping hazard; and

c. Refrain from using the trebuchet as a scratching post."

2. For the Aviating Denizens: "I resolve to...

a. Shower between taking a fuel sample and showing up at a Comment Party;

b. Insure no Ladies are within range when simulating the *pthbtbtbtbtbtbt* sound of a reciprocating engine at full throttle; and

c. Refrain from using members of the Interior Guard as demonstrators when describing the procedures for shooting a partial-panel ILS."

Succeeding posts will cover such topics as "Fishing hairballs from the 'ritamatic," "Probing for tripping hazards in a lightless room" and "Why aviation fuels are not considered a suitable substitute for after-shave lotion."

This has been a Public Serv

[*thwack!*] Ow!

UPDATE: It has been brought to my attention that 2b could impact 1b under certain circumstances and 1b would then be dependent on just *who* recovered first. Additional topics for future Public Service posts will include "Do's and don't's: Proper use of night viewing devices in the Jungle Room" and "Plastic tarps: they're not just for painting anymore."

*ducking incoming gravel truck*