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May 06, 2006

H&I Fires* 6 May

Open post for those with something to share, updated through the day. New, complete posts come in below this one. Note: If trackbacking, please acknowledge this post in your post. That's only polite. You're advertising here, we should get an ad at your place...

This flare-up of gout has about run it's course, and the rain is over, so I have no excuses to not mow and help SWWBO get the flooring laid down.

I'm sure I'll goof off later - but time to get this started so I can go get the rest of the day cranking.

If you're looking for something to read, try Casey and his observations that in order to avoid having the political Right in this country completely implode into a bunch of bumbling buffoons so tied to the trough they are unable to lead (wait - too late!) we need the political Left in this country to become... credible.

I'm dutifully plowing my way through Karpinski's book, too. The things I do for you people... -The Armorer

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If you're looking for something to gabble about - how come the fact that Representative Kennedy is getting such kid-gloves treatment from the Capitol Police isn't generating much of a furor on the left side of the blogosphere... considering the noise that occured over Representative McKinney's treatment? -The Armorer

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Sad news of an Army helicopter down in Afghanistan - all aboard killed. Pray for the families.
H/T to Homefront Six.

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The Hanoi Taxi was retired today, to become an exhibit at the Air Force Museum at Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio. The Denizens care because it was the aircraft that brought back POWs from Hanoi. A particular Denizenne cares because as AFSis (Air Force Sister) her brother was a member of the Hanoi Taxis' final flight crew. Read about it here. -AFSis

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Since it's O! Canada! day here at Castle Argghhh!, let's link to Kat's story that she talks about in the comments. Her coverage is more thorough than the Canadian media's... -The Armorer

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Having just downloaded the latest version of Microsoft Defender (nee Anti-spyware) and not caring for some of the changes - I offer up this review of the product (from a different website). I find the Microsoft spokesman refreshingly direct. WWBS? Will it bring MCart out of the shadows? -The Armorer

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Flash Traffic (extended entry) Follows... »

by Denizens on May 06, 2006 | General Commentary

Project Valour-IT (CA)?

flags2_lg.gif

The Huntress points us to an article in Canada's National Post that mentions Project Valour-IT. I would suggest that if interested Canadians were to contact Soldier's Angels, or perhaps Fuzzybear Lioness (getting famous in her own right, too!) *who made Project Valour-IT a reality* that if they will bring the money to the table, Soldier's Angels would be glad to help out our Allies and Comrades in Arms. Just sayin'. CAPT H, Torch Bearers, Alan, Flea - I think this could go somewhere. Perhaps even under the Banner of the Red Ensign. We could even get in a little of that appreciation that so interests Damian.

I'm serious guys, all the groundwork has been laid, the processes are in place, and rather than start from scratch - all you need to do is raise money retail

Just a thought. I'm sure we can put Maple Leafs on machines. Hopefully, you guys won't have enough casualties to *justify* starting a whole new project on your own, but if you'd like to, Soldier's Angels will pass on the specs, I'm sure.

And I *know* Canadians contributed to Valour-IT, so it's only fair *we* reciprocate.

And after all, it's not like we haven't worked together before...

1st Special Service Force Memorial, National Infantry Museum, Fort Benning, Georgia

Speaking of horrible disappointments...

(The post below is about husbands...)

Imagine being *me*, the Freakin' Armorer for pity's sake, and coming across this in the Smithsonian Museum of American History.

Hosting provided by FotoTime

Egads, what was the point of visiting the place, indeed, what is the *purpose* of the place, if not the National Firearms Study Gallery? I was so looking forward to the Sarah BoxSchumerstein Exhibit! Featuring Senator Feinstein displaying all her skillz in this safety briefing...

Feinstein with her finger on the trigger... ready to draw down on gun ownership

by John on May 06, 2006 | Gun Rights

Feh. Wimmin.

First - go read this. Plus the comments. Then come back. I'll put a totally unrelated picture up as a screensaver.

Early version of the M1957 12 Pounder cannon in the Smithsonian Museum of American History


Heh. So, I wander in with the first-made coffee of the day, and nonchalantly ask, "Okay, what'd I do?"

"Huh?"

"The post, yesterday, what'd I do?"

"Um, er, uh, [time-buying sip of coffee] umm, good, thanks!"

"Uh-uh. You ain't getting off that easy. What amazing act of cluelessness led to that post?"

"Um, I dunno."

"Er?"

"Well, I just don't remember."

"Heh. Memorable enough to slap me in front of the entire freaking world, yesterday, but you.don't.remember."

"It was just something exasperating at the time. I don't remember what it was."

Sometimes, the actions of Henry VII(I) become more explicable... Now *cannon* - them I understand.

by John on May 06, 2006 | I think it's funny!
» basil's blog links with: Picnic 2006-05-06

May 05, 2006

Now hear this.

[This post will be up top all day, because I want to make sure everybody gets a chance to read it. New stuff comes in below here.]

And I mean it, people.

This would be a Cease and Desist order, except it would imply that I gave an "Execute" order.

While SWWBO and I appreciate the loyal support of our readers (and the cautionary advice, as well) there are limits to how I will conduct my blogspat with Debbie Schlussel.

I was bcc'd this note this morning, from someone who is trying to be *supportive* of SWWBO and I in our little blogspat with Ms. Schlussel:

Enjoy your tea today?

Maybe you and Joe Wilson could book passage on a ship for Niger. I hear the cake is yellow, like your spine.

Quit bullying my friends, Deb.

You want a war? You'll get a war. Only I fight by the old rules.

In other words, I always win.

You can take my life, but you'll never take my freedom.

The next time you threaten a lawsuit against one of my friends, your home address goes up on every jihad website from here to Tehran. Along with the Google Maps versions of 8X10 color glossies with circles and arrows and a paragraph on the back explaining each one.

Capiche?

I did *not* ask for this kind of thing, I do *not* endorse this, and I'm telling you if this is how you intend to show support for SWWBO and I...

Don't.

This.isn't.support. While it may have been satisfying to send, and you may think it no lower than dropping the threat of a lawsuit every time a dog barks, as far as I am concerned, it *is* worse than the threat of a lawsuit. I don't fight my fights this way. I like a good rant, and clever invective - but I prefer reasoned argument and don't sink to this level. Sure, we're not as entertaining, but it also keeps the moonbat population down.

It's unacceptable conduct. I have no authority other than moral here - but I am mustering all of that that I have.

Do.not.do.this.again. Any of you. Ever. This is *not* the behavior I have built this space for. I don't tolerate that kind of stuff here, and I will not tolerate it being done in my name. In the post below about Mayor Bostick and his illegal holding on the money of the dead Marine, I told everybody to be polite.

Like this:

If you choose to contact the individuals or city, do so in a polite, civil manner. [Don't bother them, the message has been recieved] The Armorer does not approve of spittle-flecked rantings - especially at people who are only tangentially involved by association, and not direct action. For the record - be polite to the Mayor, too. Even if he does seem to be the villain here.

And later, this:

That doesn't mean we shouldn't gently and politely remind Mr. Mayor Bostick to follow through - and that means we need to follow-up. A gentle heat, that would be "simmer" on your blog-stove.

That is how it is done at Castle Argghhh!!!.

Capiche?

Because what you have really done is kill all the fun I was going to have with it. I had some nice graphics (all original artwork) that was going to play the satire and parody card.

Now they are going into storage. Because that's about the only way *I* have to cut this off at the knees.

For the record - I don't *ever* need that kind of support, and if I change my mind, I'll let you know.

Don't hold your breath.

H&I Fires* 5 May

Open post for those with something to share, updated through the day. New, complete posts come in below this one. Note: If trackbacking, please acknowledge this post in your post. That's only polite. You're advertising here, we should get an ad at your place...

Doncha wish *your* basement looked like this? And that your SO *made* you do it? Neener neener neener! Hi-res here, if you've got the bandwidth. -The Armorer

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Here's a little piece about "tough mothers" in the military. My favorite part?

Switching services brought a slew of challenges for the officer who was unfamiliar with the Army.

“At OBC (Officer’s Basic Course) because I came in a major, the NCOIC (noncommissioned officer in charge) gave me an M-16 rifle and said, ‘Here Ma’am, I bet you can show everyone here how to break this down,” said Shiraishi, laughing. “I was like, all Marines would have to be dead before they gave a Navy nurse a rifle. I had only qualified on a 9-mm pistol.”

Heh. Sounds very chivalrous, but forgive me if I say, dear Marines, if our position is being attacked, please give me a rifle and some grenades before you are dead and we are over run. No way I'm waiting until you all are dead to defend myself or the position because there is no way I'm starring in the next jihadi snuff film.

Speaking of that and information war, the jihadis have decided that they are just not 21st century without their own video game. We have Desert Storm, Ghost Recon, SOCCOM. Jihads have Battle Field2 in reverse. Americans chased by well armed Jihadis. Crude, but effective in the 10 to 16 year old "I wanna be a jihadi" market. -Kat

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Visit neighborhoods near and far at TurnHere, a great collection of short films about places to visit. Check out Seattle's Pike Place Market (yes, you'll see them throw fish) or Reykjavik, Iceland. H/T to GunTrash.
- Barb

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Flash Traffic (extended entry) Follows... »

by Denizens on May 05, 2006 | General Commentary

Levity! That's what we need today!

Two priests died at the same time and met Saint Peter at the Pearly Gates. St. Peter said, "I'd like to get you guys in now, but our computer's down. You'll have to go back to Earth for about a week, but you can't go back as priests. What'll it be?"

The first priest says, "I've always wanted to be an eagle, soaring above the Rocky Mountains."

"So be it," says St. Peter, and off flies the first priest.

The second priest mulls this over for a moment and asks, "Will any of this week 'count', St. Peter?"

"No, I told you the computer's down. There's no way we can keep track of what you're doing."

"In that case," says the second priest, "I've always wanted to be a stud."

"So be it" says St. Peter, and the second priest disappears.

A week goes by, the computer is fixed, and the Lord tells St. Peter to recall the two priests. "Will you have any trouble locating them?" He asks.

"The first one should be easy," says St. Peter. "He's somewhere over the Rockies, flying with the eagles. But the second one could prove to be more difficult."

"Why?" asked the Lord.

"He's on a snow tire, somewhere in North Dakota."

Intimations of Mortality

Despite all the sadness in the world at the moment, it is worth reflecting on last week's passing of someone who made an incalculable contribution to the profession of Wedding Singer.

Larry LaPrise, the man who wrote "The Hokey Pokey" died peacefully at the age of 93. His death was all but unnoticed by the MSM.

The most traumatic part for his family was getting him into the coffin.

They put his left leg in.

And then the trouble started...

Heh. H/t to Doc E.

Your Mileage May Will Vary

I walked out to the end of the driveway at 5:30 yesterday morning to pick up the Daily Fishwrapper and, in the half-light, saw this.

Taiyo

It's a three-year old Japanese tree peony. Nothing that should have stopped me in my tracks except

a. tree peonies around here don't bloom until the end of May, or -- with the cold nights we've been having here -- early June;

b. the previous evening, after I'd wrapped KC in her bedding for the last time and put her next to Boots and Saddles deep in the back garden, I'd passed the thing on the way to the mailbox and it didn't have a thing on it but leaves; and

c. according to the catalog, this particular Taiyo cultivar would bloom *red*, not pink. And at three years of age, this was its first blooming.

The blossom is so heavy, it bent the stem almost to the ground (relax -- I staked it after I took the pic).

Now, I know a dog's got a rather limited view of the color spectrum -- varying shades of yellow, greenish-blue, true blue, white and grey -- but KC knew what *pink* was, and liked it, no matter what the object was or its texture or smell.

Her food dish was pale pink and the old sweatshirt she slept on was hot pink. Visitors were welcomed politely, but visitors who wore pink got the Unmitigated Doggie Dance of Joy. I tried an experiment once: Muffy's food dish is the same make and model as KC's, but Muff's is light beige, so it fell into the same part of the dog-view spectrum as pink. Both were freshly washed and both had the same amount of food in them. I stuck Muffy's dish in front of KC and KC's dish in front of Muffy -- KC scrambled across the kitchen to *her* dish.

So much for background. Start your engines, kids, here's the poser:

Was it a coincidence that a tree peony with a half-inch diameter stem went from having no flower buds to producing an eight-inch diameter bloom overnight (and a chilly night, at that) about a month ahead of its neighbors (there's another one six feet further down the driveway -- *no* buds) and producing a pink flower rather than a red one?

-- Or --

Did Something Who inhabited a small, furry body for less than an eyeblink in Eternity leave a final gift and stroll off with a jaunty grin?

Whichever it was, thank You...

by CW4BillT on May 05, 2006 | Something for the Soul
» The Gun Line links with: For The Scruples...

May 04, 2006

H&I Fires* 4 May

Open post for those with something to share, updated through the day. New, complete posts come in below this one. Note: If trackbacking, please acknowledge this post in your post. That's only polite. You're advertising here, we should get an ad at your place...

I sent Cassie this pic because, well, to be honest folks, her captioners are better than us, in general... and it just begged good captions. Lex will be *so* proud (lazy bum, just doing a repost).

Gout sucks. Especially when you do *everything* the doc told you to, and it *still* flares up. Heh. It would appear the Gout=blogging, however. -The Armorer

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1SG Keith will reach 10,000 today. Will it be you? One of his readers is the proud Mother of a Soldier in Afghanistan. Her daughter's unit has adopted a girl's school in need of school supplies. Drop 1SG Keith an email for details on where to send 'em.

**UPDATE**
Lucky Number 10,000 goes to a referral from Andi's World! Someone from Austin, TX followed the link from Andi's site to 1SG Keith's Milblog Conference AAR, and became lucky #10,000. WHOO HOO!

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On a day of sickness and death 'round these parts, a story of both that inspires more than it saddens... - FbL

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Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr.

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. - A proliferation of phony heroes is prompting such groups as The Congressional Medal of Honor Foundation to lobby for tougher laws to punish the impostors.

The organization reports that there are 113 living recipients of the nation's highest military award, but an FBI agent who tracks the fakes said impostors outnumber the true heroes.

"There are more and more of these impostors, and they are literally stealing the valor and acts of valor of the real guys," said Agent Tom Cottone, who also works on an FBI violent crime squad in West Paterson, N.J.

Full story here. -The Armorer

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What would Conrad do? - FbL

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Reading from the various DoD sites, I noted at Operation Iraqi Freedom the weekly "This Week in Iraq" geared towards the deployed and their families. Sometimes, it's a bit dry and reads like a bad hometown paper, but every once in awhile I see interesting things. There has been talk and talk about whether Iraq is in a civil war or not. Much of it has been a matter of semantics, some of it has been trying to compare the situation to other known civil wars. The military has insisted Iraq is not in a civil war, but, in this PDF weekly they indicate that they are not unaware of the possibility and provide indicators they are watching. They also put to bed the question that continued to arise the last two weeks about alleged mass movements of "internally displaced people". I pulled the graphic from the PDF and you can find it here with some additional analysis of the numbers. In short, the military says, "no civil war" and "no internal refugee problem", but "we are watching". Look for yourself. [Ahem! Sign yer work!]-Kat

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Referencing an excerpt from John's post below,

"Here's hoping a Kerry-clone President will have the will to resist this:

French authorities said Thursday they may eventually press the United States to have Moussaoui serve his life sentence in France under two conventions on the transfer of convicts. They were waiting to hear the conditions of his sentencing."

I suggest the official US answer be: "Nuts!"

Of course, if the respondent is a Kerry-clone, I doubt he would get it...Instapilot

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Flash Traffic (extended entry) Follows... »

Hear hear!

Let's hear it for Judge Brinkema:

The sentencing Judge to Moussaoui: "Mr. Moussaoui, when this proceeding is over, everyone else in this room will leave to see the sun ... hear the birds ... and they can associate with whomever they want," she said.

She went on: "You will spend the rest of your life in a supermax prison. It's absolutely clear who won."

And she said it was proper he will be kept away from outsiders, unable to speak publicly again.

"Mr. Moussaoui, you came here to be a martyr in a great big bang of glory," she said, "but to paraphrase the poet T.S. Eliot, instead you will die with a whimper."

At that point, Moussaoui tried again to interrupt her, but she raised her voice and spoke over him.

"You will never get a chance to speak again and that's an appropriate ending."

Brinkema sentenced Moussaoui to six life terms without the chance of parole.

She informed him of his right to appeal the sentence and said she would ask his court-appointed lawyers to file the required notice as a precaution before relieving them from the case. "I believe it would be an act of futility," she said of an appeal, "but you do have a right."

I still think letting Pvt's Linzie and Graner be his guards would be fun.

Here's hoping a Kerry-clone President will have the will to resist this:

French authorities said Thursday they may eventually press the United States to have Moussaoui serve his life sentence in France under two conventions on the transfer of convicts. They were waiting to hear the conditions of his sentencing.

As for this:

Moussaoui's mother Aicha El Wafi, pressed for her country to intervene. "Now he is going to die in little doses," she said. "He is going to live like a rat in a hole. What for? They are so cruel."

Tough noogies, lady. You can go clean up bone chips at Ground Zero and contemplate the reality of it.

One wonders what the story is in Fort Lupton, Colorado.

Or if it is just as it seems? That Mayor Jim Bostick is an asshat?

The mother of a U.S. Marine was grieving for her dead son when she found that his savings account had been claimed by the director of the funeral home. It was money that he had no right to and despite a court ruling, the funeral director refused to pay. What's even more puzzling is that he's not just any debtor, he's the mayor of the small town and a member of a City Council that has financial responsibility for the city's budget.

Jason's body was returned to Colorado for burial. Records show that the funeral was paid, in full, by the Marines. But after closing out her son's accounts, Jason's mother realized that the probate court had sent the proceeds of Jason's savings account to the funeral home, which is run by Jim Bostick.

In addition to his duties as mayor and member of the Ft. Lupton City Council, [Jim] Bostick also owns two funeral homes. In his role with the city, he is heavily involved in overseeing the finances of the town.

Do take the time to read the *story thus far* which is seedier than it looks.

As the Puddle Pirate (whose tip this is) sez:

OK, milbloggers. Let's close ranks and charge.

City of Fort Lupton
[city data remove based on the update]

Indeed. Let's shine a little light in this corner of Colorado and see what scurries out.

If you choose to contact the individuals or city, do so in a polite, civil manner. [Don't bother them, the message has been recieved] The Armorer does not approve of spittle-flecked rantings - especially at people who are only tangentially involved by association, and not direct action. For the record - be polite to the Mayor, too. Even if he does seem to be the villain here.

Mayor Bostick - I'll be happy to post any reply to this you have that is more substantive than that you gave The Denver Channel's 7NEWS Investigator John Ferrugia (story linked above).

Oops. Immediate update. It seems that shining lights (and not from here, just having hit "post" two minutes ago...) had the mostly intended effect. But I really wish people would quit the whole death threat crap. Besides being criminal, it's just stupid.

FORT LUPTON, Colo. -- The mayor of Fort Lupton, who operates two funeral homes, has been afforded police protection after receiving death threats following a 7NEWS investigation that revealed he has refused to repay money illegally kept from the family of a U.S. Marine who died.

"I've been getting a lot of phone calls from a lot of different people, a lot of threats," said Jim Bostick, the mayor of Fort Lupton.

Bostick is worried about his personal safety and that of his business and he now admits he made a big mistake.

"It's my fault ... I will try to do whatever I can with Mrs. Sepulveda to get this issue put to bed," Bostick said. "As soon as I get the money, it's hers. I mean, fast. Because, you know, I can't keep putting up with the threats against myself and my family."

Well, I know that no Castle Denizens are yet involved in death threats. And none better be. I'll revoke your status.

That doesn't mean we shouldn't gently and politely remind Mr. Mayor Bostick to follow through - and that means we need to follow-up. A gentle heat, that would be "simmer" on your blog-stove.

Why? Because Bostick would appear to be a deadbeat.

While he may be sincere this time, Bostick claims he doesn't have the $7,500 a Weld County court said he owes Elis Sepulveda.

Sepulveda is the mother of a U.S. Marine who was killed in a car accident and brought back to Fort Lupton for burial. Jason Sepuldeva's savings were sent to Bostick's funeral home. It was money Bostick had no right to but he refused to return it.

"He was the person who received the money," said Magistrate Rebecca Koppes Conway. Conway assessed the judgment against Bostick in small claims court but can't force him to pay.

But lay off the City, folks. T'ain't their fault, and if the Mayor won't resign, one can hope the voters will fire him.

Several city officials are urging the Fort Lupton mayor to pay the Sepulvedas as soon as possible, hoping that the firestorm, which has nothing to do with city business, will subside.

As one official put it, "This has nothing to do with the Marines vs. Fort Lupton. This is about how Jim Bostick is doing his private business."

Indeed.

The follow-up story is here.

The Party of Death.

[If Roe vWade and issues like it bore you to tears - scroll down quickly!]

Update: I see that Ramesh noticed the review, and labels me a moderate pro-choicer (in a nice way, mind you). Hmmm. Looked at from his perspective, maybe. I think I'm a *barely-by-the-skin-of-my-teeth* pro-choicer - one of those who can live with 1st trimester and "rape and incest" exceptions. I'm very much anti-POD on the issues of selective abortion, "killing for medicine research" and unplugging inconvenient patients who don't have the grace to get out of the way. You won't find NARAL and NOW and Planned Parenthood on my charitable giving list. Catholic Charities and Catholic Community Services, by contrast, are. And I'm not Catholic. Just sayin'.

A non-expert, non-policy wonk late-to-the-issue guy reviews The Party of Death, a book by Ramesh Ponnuru, senior editor of National Review magazine. This blogging thing has turned up a few perks. I get books for free to review. And I get to keep 'em! I've got to get a lot more before it covers the cost of hosting, however...

Bottom line up front: I liked it.

The MSM has provided plenty of the "pro" sides of the argument about Roe v. Wade, stem cells, and euthanasia. They haven't done a good job presenting the anti-side of Roe (nor has the anti-side always had a very usefully-crafted message). The record on stem cells and euthanasia is more mixed where the MSM is concerned. Many of the anti-side of the argument, especially on Roe, have been so strident as to be repugnant to me (I am, after all, in the great mushy middle). But as someone who has been involved in the taking of life, and the giving of orders to others to do so, I have more than an academic interest in the subject. Along comes The Party of Death.

Sure, it's a polemic. The title alone, leave aside the content, will drive rabid lefties and NOW-types into spittle-flecked, full-goose bozo mode. We're used to that, and the book isn't really aimed at them anyway. It's aimed at the... great mushy middle. The book is written clearly, it's concise and it's footnoted. It's easy to read, and conveys a lot of information and analysis quickly. Make no mistake, it's not "balanced" nor does Ponnuru pretend to be. Ramesh marshals his facts and argues his position. But it *does* provide a useful apothegmatic response to all the pro-death forces.

Part 1 of the book is titled "What Roe Wrought" and covers the rise of Roe, and how the basic underpinnings of the decision leaked out into other areas of life - by essentially establishing a concept of non-personhood for a specimen of homo sapiens, and argues how that has given traction to the elites who now seemingly want to judge the rest of us by our utility and expense, and if they don't like what they see, pull the plug. It includes a discussion of how the 'sanctity' of Roe has been used to develop the tools and procedures for silencing dissent, and how it has twisted the Democratic Party in ways that have contributed to it's decline – I would argue to the detriment of politics in general, not too mention the polarization of the electorate. We need a robust discussion. We need a marketplace-like driver in our politics. Absent that, we get what we have now, the Republicans of ’06, and while casting about wildly for a replacement all there is on offer is the Radical Wing of the Democratic Party. Locally it’s not so bleak.

Ponnuru doesn't spare the extreme right-wing, either, though it simply isn't a prime subject in the book. That is well-covered by the anti-forces, and Ponnuru doesn’t waste space trying to show us what a balanced and hip guy he is. (Though he is…) Unlike this writer, Ponnuru either has a good editor or can keep himself focused.

After establishing the baseline, Ramesh goes on to lay out how Roe and other factors have combined to bring us to Part II, the Bioethics of Death, with the opening chapter of The Doctor Will Kill You Know to the closing chapter of What's So Bad About Infanticide? with Stem cells in between to let you know where Ponnuru stands on the issues involved.

Part III is Life And The Parties, where Ramesh analyzes how the issues have affected the political debate and development of the parties in dealing with the electorate on this issue.

So, I liked the book. Why?

Not because I'm a rabid Pro-Lifer. I'm not. I'm in the mushy middle that can accept a compromise of what the press has told us Roe means - 1st trimester abortions on demand, increasingly more regulation as the pregnancy progresses. Oops. Except that *isn’t* what Roe really means, is it? More honestly, I like the book because it lays out the pro-life position and history of the last 30-odd years in a openly-biased fashion that isn't just incoherent rantings of rage - nor a dense, thick, dry tome suitable for a doorstop - without muddying the water trying to be “balanced.” Sometimes, you just need a clear statement of the position and argument of same, as happens in a debate - vice trying to pretend you are all things to all people.

I remember, back when Roe v. Wade passed in 1973, being mildly relieved. I was 16, in good shape, a brainy-jock, and girls were looking pretty good. The legalization of abortion had exactly the effect on me that has been attributed to it by various opponents.

It lifted a burden about certain aspects of my hopefully-about-to-explode sex life. While my sex life went on to develop in a satisfactory (and generally morally acceptable) fashion, I'm glad to say that no situation ever developed that would have caused me to be earnestly interested in the provisions (and unintended consequences) of Roe.

Then there is that whole 20-odd years in the Army thing, where my focus was that of the Watcher On The Walls. I was focused externally, with the Soviets and other things - I didn't have a huge interest in domestic politics etc, with the exception (d-uh) of 2nd Amendment issues and a general conservative bent.

Our son has not presented us with any surprises, and there is no daughter about whom to be concerned, and while there are the three nephews and two nieces, nothing has happened to make the imminent practical issues of Roe a suddenly burning issue.

I've had two grandparents do the slow dying bit (one was 103 when she finally passed) but none of the drama of the Terri Schiavo situation, much less the ongoing travesty that is the Andrea Clarke furore in Houston.

But I have grown more interested in The Party of Death as my parents age, and I move into that stage of life where the young ones are interested in sex and the elders are shuffling ever closer towards the end of their mortal coil - and as the one in the middle, certain realities are simply mine.

And, as my life and job responsibilities have changed, I've watched with greater and greater unease the ease with which people seem willing to kill, or at least let others die, for seeming ever more selfish reasons. And more and more, that 20-odd years of looking outward, loss of context, has loomed large, leaving the gap in my understanding that it did. The issues are not simple, nor, as the extremes at both ends of the issue believe, are they reducible to black and white stark, easy choices. There's plenty of gray in the margins. For me, the book helped limn things and understand how we found ourselves in this situation. Which will inform my voting, blogging, and politician-gigging.

Readers of this space span the gamut on these issues. We had a mini-meltdown over Terry Schiavo, but we hung together and agreed to disagree. I'll be happy to provide space for anyone who is a regular here who'd like to read the book and whack at it. Heck, I'll entertain input from you lurkers, too.

Just remember the rules. Attack the argument, not the arguer. And no spittle-flecked rants. Ya gotta have *full* posting privileges to do that.

Party of Death, by Ramesh Ponnuru. Copyright 2006, published by Regnery Publishing. 248 pages of text, with another 50 of footnotes and index. $27.95 cover price. Free if yer kewl.

by John on May 04, 2006 | Politics

It seems like there's no good news at the Castle today.

Mrs. Greyhawk sends:

A fellow MilBlogger is in need of our thoughts and prayers. Greg at Greg Note's has recently returned from battle in Iraq, safe and sound. However, he now faces a new battle from within. He has been diagnosed with colon cancer. You can find details on his wife, Sheryl's blog Two Blue Lines. Here's an excerpt from Sheryl: The doctor ordered blood work and a colon scope... to which my husband vehemently opposed, but finally agreed. I made arrangements to farm out the children to the four corners of the earth (no one person wants to keep ALL of them) and I headed to Hattiesburg on Saturday to await the results of the tests. When I arrived in town, Greg told me it was cancer. They found a golfball size mass in his colon that had to be removed immediately. The surgery was scheduled for Monday morning. We both stared at each other trying to soak it in and register what was happening. I am not sure that we have fully gotten there even now.

Monday morning the doctor found that the cancer has spread outside the colon. They removed half of his colon, his appendix and 15 of his lymph nodes. He will have to undergo 9 - 10 months of chemotherapy after he heals from the surgery. The prognosis? 60% chance of survival unless the cancer has spread anywhere else.

...Me? I am still numb and trying to busy myself by dealing with Tricare and the military to make arrangements to bring him home. I am staying here at the hospital until they release him. He will have to stay here in Hattiesburg until the doctor releases him to make the drive back home. We are told that will be 4 -6 weeks.

Greg Anton is in Wesley Medical Center, Room 336, 5001 Hardy St., Hattiesburg, MS 39402.

The support of the MilBlog community has been unmatched any where in the blogoshere and has does wonders in the past. Greg and Sheryl have a long precarious road ahead of them. Lets combine our efforts to keep their spirits high while he battles this newfound enemy.

Thank You,

Mrs G.
MilBlog Ring Manage

Go, lend a brother-in-arms and his family some support. Prayer, cards, letters, whatever.

...and then there were three

Muffy -- call the roll.

>>hzzz.

name kc...

name kc...

name kc...

>>hzzz. bigfoot strike scrup'l name kc from roster.

The Littlest Scruple is now trotting the towpath on a longer trip than the ones we used to take when we walked together, even though it's been a couple of years since she was up to it.

It was a bad week followed by a bad night and a worse morning. This afternoon, she told me it was time. Past time...

The walks were all about the journey, not the destination, back when. Keeping the other two pups from getting overly enthusiastic with the wild things we met in the forest margins. Demonstrating the proper method of greeting small kids with nervous parents. Proving that a small dog with short legs can travel just as far as a big dog with long legs.

This time, the walk is about the destination, Little Bit. Stick to the towpath, follow your nose and listen for the dog-voices from a hundred dog-years ago.

Back then, the destination was always home, regardless of the roundabout ways we took to get there. This time, the walk is one-way...

KC: Sometime in Spring, 1991 -- 3 May, 2006

Now is the time at Castle Argghhh! when we dance sing a soul to the Soft Green Field adjoining Fiddler's Green, where the small sparks of life go when they become embers.

Dreamless sleep, KC. Rest...

May 03, 2006

H&I Fires* 3 May

Open post for those with something to share, updated through the day. New, complete posts come in below this one. Note: If trackbacking, please acknowledge this post in your post. That's only polite. You're advertising here, we should get an ad at your place...

L'Affaire Schlussel is not over. We're doing some learning on copyright law. I don't think La Schlussel will like the Lessons Learned.

I'm gonna go for the cheap thrill and post some Gun Pr0n. Just because I can. The Gunner's view of a Russian/Soviet/Finnish/Castle M1910 Maxim machinegun.

Gunner's view of Max the Maxim

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Fran O'Brien's again: it ain't over.

The DoD noticed the MilBlog Conference (no, I'm not talking about the officer CENTCOM sent) - FbL

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RINO sightings are up! (no, Debbie, I'm *not* some right-wing extremist, especially compared to you, else I wouldn't be a RINO...)

Another group I belong to, The Red Ensign, Bloggers Militant in the Great White North, has their round-up posted. -The Armorer

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Just a reminder: KEEP HYDRATED!!! - BOQ

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Sometimes I really wonder how stupid people think most of us are?
Yes, space is now a critical realm to modern warfare. Some people need to understand and just accept that space has been militarized for close to 40 years, and quit the fear mongery.
But ASAT ground based lasers? You'd have better luck with ultra high power microwave emitters. Come on journos(not you Owen, you're a Mensch), some of us follow this seriously and aren't buying what you're selling today.
ry
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Moussaoui gets life. Some are resigned. Some are vexed. Me? Let him share a cell with Linzie and Graner. -The Armorer

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LIFE??? In light of the start of his sentence. THE MOUSSAOUI ACTION FIGURE is out in the market. (Warning: not PG-17 in sensitive environments) - BOQ

Flash Traffic (extended entry) Follows... »

by Denizens on May 03, 2006 | General Commentary
» Rhymes With Right links with: Where Is Our Generation's Jack Ruby?

Fran O'Brien's

Since I know from personal observation around here that many people read, but don't click through on links, I'm going to be bad and pretty much swipe Fuzzybear Lioness' post on Fran O'Brien's and put it up here - so it *will* get read.

The American Legion has upped the ante on Hilton Corporation, with a two-fer.

1. They offer to pay for half the cost of the installation of an elevator to bring the space into compliance with the ADA.

2. They guilt 'em with Conrad Hilton's own words. American Legionnaire Conrad Hilton.

It Ain't Over... Some interesting things are still going on in the Fran O'Brien's - Hilton saga.

First of all, reportedly there may have been ongoing lawyerly conversations between the parties as late as Tuesday, and more interestingly, an article by Lisa Hoffman last weekend mentioned that the American Legion had offered to help Capital Hilton pay for the installation of a new elevator. The cost of the elevator had been cited as one of the issues in development of a new lease for Fran's, with reports being that it was more than one year's worth of rent. Apparently that wasn't an idle offer by the Legion. On Tuesday morning the following was hand-delivered to Capital Hilton and faxed to the Chief Executive Officer at Hilton's corporate offices (I have a digital copy of it, but can't convert it to a graphic):


May 1, 2006

Mr. Brian Kelleher
General Manager
Capital Hilton Hotel
1001 16th Street, NW
Washington, DC 20036
Dear Mr. Kelleher:

The leasing dispute between The Capital Hilton Hotel and Fran O’Brien’s Stadium Steakhouse has been brought to our attention. We understand the owner’s generously cater to the most severely wounded troops injured in the war on terror by providing them with free weekly steak dinners. We would like to see this tradition continue at Fran O’Brien’s.

While we aren’t privy to all the details, The American Legion would like to make The Hilton Corporation an offer in the best interest of these wounded heroes and their families who frequent the dinners at your hotel.

For two and a half years now, the owners of Fran O’Brien’s have offered up much more than free steak. This venue has become an important element to their long recovery from wounds most will have for the rest of their lives. This environment has provided mental and emotional healing we can’t see or put a price tag on.

We understand that the dispute between the Capital Hilton and Fran O’Brien’s is a monetary one. We will meet you half way [in] ending this dispute for one reason: Our wounded warriors and those who care for them deserve better. All parties involved are in a position to make this happen.

We will match 50 percent of the cost of an elevator to help bring Fran O’Brien’s and the Capital Hilton into ADA compliance (American Disabilities Act).

In the spirit of your founder and namesake Conrad Hilton, we would very much like to end this dispute and work together in a common cause also dear to Mr. Hilton’s heart as you can read from his 1968 statement below when he agreed to be a member of The American Legion’s 50th Anniversary National Prestige Advisory and Entertainment Advisory Committees.


Conrad was a charter member of Post 58 in El Paso, Texas and held continuous membership until his death in 1979.


“I am a charter member of Post 58 at El Paso, Texas, and have always considered it a privilege to belong to an organization which has made so many contributions to the Nation and to the welfare of my fellow veterans. I am proud of the fact that shortly after World War I, I helped organize Post 58 at El Paso, Texas, and have maintained my membership in The American Legion continuously since then. The World War I veterans who founded The American Legion created, not just an organization of veterans, but a vigorous defender of basic American principles of justice, freedom, and equality of opportunity. I am proud to have been a charter member of my Post.”

Conrad N. Hilton

We hope to work with The Hilton Corporation in the interests of those who have paid a heavy price for our continued way of life, and we hope you accepted our offer to release some of the financial burden for both parties and install an elevator in The Capital Hilton.

Sincerely,

THOMAS L. BOCK
National Commander

Copy to:
Stephen F. Bollenback
Chief Executive Officer
The Hilton Corporation


People associated with the Friday Nights at Fran's passed this letter on with with the request that we continue to keep the pressure on Hilton. So, if you haven't yet called or written, this is your chance. Sign the petition here.

Email accounts have been overwhelmed/blocked, but you can use the Hilton Honors address: hhonors@hilton.com. Also, you can reach CEO Stephen F Bollenbach at 310-205-4656 and Director of Communications Lisa Cole at 305-503-6503 or 786-866-7567.

If anyone has any more good contact info, please share it in the comments.


A paradigm shift for an Arab Army - at least since the Brits left the region.

Students at the Iraqi Military Academy Al Rustamiyah conduct drill and ceremony during the April 26 graduation ceremony. <br />
Sgt. 1st Class Rick Brown.  Photo courtesy the US Army


Students at the Iraqi Military Academy Al Rustamiyah conduct drill and ceremony during the April 26 graduation ceremony.
Sgt. 1st Class Rick Brown


Realize it or not - this has the potential to be Revolutionary for the Iraqis. No, silly, not the D&C, this:

"They’ve learned how to use the noncommissioned officer corps, how to delegate authority to the NCOs rather than doing (everything) themselves," said Maj. Joseph Brunetti, senior Coalition advisor.

If it holds - and the seed is planted properly, this is a powerful change for an Arab Army. Truth - it's a double-edged sword, but a needful risk if we're going to break old habits.

New Iraqi army officers make the grade By Sgt. 1st Class Rick Brown

Students at the Iraqi Military Academy Al Rustamiyah conduct drill and ceremony during the April 26 graduation ceremony.
Sgt. 1st Class Rick Brown

BAGHDAD, Iraq (Army News Service, May 1, 2006) – For only the second time at the Iraqi Military Academy Al Rustamiyah, a class of newly commissioned lieutenants graduated the 12-month Officer Basic Course April 26.

The class of 158 Iraqi officers – twice as many as the first class – will now attend specific branch training before being assigned to units throughout the country.

The year-long course included detailed instruction on such basic soldiering skills as weaponry, small-unit tactics, communications and decision-making. The primary goal, according to academy leaders, was to prepare the officers to function effectively as small-unit leaders in the Iraqi army.

That includes a concept Iraqi officers might not have been very familiar with under the former regime.

"They’ve learned how to use the noncommissioned officer corps, how to delegate authority to the NCOs rather than doing (everything) themselves," said Maj. Joseph Brunetti, senior Coalition advisor.

Brunetti said this iteration of the course was taught entirely by Iraqi instructors. Some 400 Iraqi officers and NCOs are involved in providing training and support at the academy. As far as the Coalition role, Brunetti calls himself and the other Coalition members at the academy "mentors" to the team.

"The training mission has moved further away from Coalition staff, to Iraqi staff," he said. "I’m really proud of these guys. I saw them stand up and take charge … they used a lot of initiative … they’re ready to lead."

He said the Iraqi cadre continues to learn, growing more confident and capable each day.

Iraqi Sgt. Maj. Noor, academy sergeant major, said he’s proud of the officers in this class. "This course is hard, but it is beneficial," he said. "They’re stronger now and I love these guys."

Iraqi 2nd lieutenants Haidar and Ali are brothers, and went through the course together. Both believe they’ll make great officers in the Iraqi Army and both are proud of their accomplishments. But not as proud as their father, who attended the graduation ceremony.

"This is a great day to rebuild the Iraqi Army to serve the Iraqi people and the country," the father said through an interpreter. "(My) sons are in the great Iraqi Army and now we can have a good future with a new government."

He cited his preference for the new army over the former regime’s, saying that army officers are now protecting their country, as opposed to waging conflict against their own people.

While Brunetti said the training and building of the Iraqi Army is a work in progress, he also said the latest class of lieutenants is the best quality of new Iraqi officers he’s seen.

"This graduation is another step in fulfilling our exit strategy," Brunetti said. "One hundred fifty-eight new officers will fill the officer ranks of the Iraqi Army ... an officer corps that understands the principles of leadership, human rights and national pride."

(Editor's note: Sgt. 1st Class Rick Brown writes for the Multi-National Security Transition Command-Iraq Public Affairs Office.)

Let's test the Army PAO system.

Let's test the Army.

Read the press release below.

MULTI-NATIONAL DIVISION - NORTH 101ST AIRBORNE DIVISION TIKRIT , IRAQ (FOB SPEICHER) APO AE 09363

May 2, 2006
Release A060502a

Iraqi Army battalion to assume authority in Sinjar

TAL AFAR, Iraq – May 3 will mark a historic day in Western Ninevah Province as 3rd Battalion, 3rd Brigade, 3rd Iraqi Army Division assumes the lead in security operations in and around Sinjar. The ceremony will serve as the latest example of the increased Iraqi Army role in providing security to the people of Iraq .

The 3rd Battalion has proven itself to be a skilled and professional fighting force and is confident in its ability to handle its increased responsibility. After completing a number of successful missions in conjunction with U.S. forces, the battalion recently planned and executed an extensive independent cordon and search operation that demonstrated the capabilities of the battalion.

On behalf of the 3rd Battalion, accredited media representatives are invited to the ceremony. Following the ceremony, media will be provided the opportunity for a brief question and answer session with Iraqi Army leadership.

Please contact the 1st Brigade 1st Armored Division PAO, 1LT Will Bardenwerper, if you are interested in attending. He can be reached at will.bardenwerper@us.army.mil .

If you've got questions, send them to me. I've asked ILT Bardenwerper if he will entertain mail-in questions from bloggers, and of course cc'd his bosses on the request.

I'm guessing the final answer will be "no" - but we gotta ask, don't we? I'll pass the results of this interaction on to the CENTCOM PAO and ask them to add something like this to their burgeoning doctrine and policy development.

Stolen Gun Alert

Okay collectors (if any of you guys still read this space)...

There was a big theft at Ft. Davis, Texas, National Historic Site.
If you see or hear of any of the following guns being offered for sale, contact the following person. :


John R. Heiner Chief of Interpretation Fort Davis National Historic Site National Park Service (432) 426-3224, ext. 23; or(432) 426-3122 (Fax)

Print this out if you're trolling the gun show circuit and if you find nice examples of the following weapons see if any MATCH these descriptions:

ALLEN & THURBER BAR HAMMER PERCUSSION PISTOL .36 cal. Manufactured by Allen & Thurber, Grafton, Ma. -. "319\" stamped upside down, left side of barrel; oval steel triggerguard stamped inside with \"287.\" - Museum number FODA # 4381

COLT MODEL 1849 REVOLVER .31. SN# 62416 - Manufactured by Colt, Hartford, Ct. Pistol encased in mahogany case lined with light brown velveteen. Inside of lid covered with velveteen. Case equipped with powder flask, bullet mold, cap tin, and loose bullets. - FODA #s 4376-4380

COLT MODEL 1851 NAVY REVOLVER .36 cal. SN# 101394 - Manufactured by Colt, Hartford, Ct. - FODA # 174

COLT MODEL 1860 ARMY REVOLVER .44 cal. SN# 112540 - Manufactured by Colt, Hartford, Ct. "K 10CAV", "K2K" on left side of barrel. Weapon cut for shoulder stock. FODA #206

COLT MODEL 1873 SAA REVOLVER .45 SN# 11065 - Manufactured by Colt, Hartford, Ct. Mixed serial numbers: 119999 on triggerguard; 190.illegible on butt. FODA# 12

COLT SAA .44RF SN# 316 - Manufactured by Colt, Hartford, Ct. - Weapon converted to centerfire. Barrel cut-down to 5 ½". FODA # 4374

U.S. MODEL 1842 PERCUSSION PISTOL .54 cal. Manufactured by Ira N. Johnson, Middletown, Ct. Barrel is stamped: U.S./SK/8. - FODA # 51

If you find any of them, be polite, put 'em down, leave, and go find the law enforcers and let *them* deal with it. But be thorough and be right. Why? The guy showing the gun isn't neccessarily the thief, okay? I've been there and done that. Bought a stolen gun from a *storefront dealer, not a pawnshop* (I *always* make a copy of a 3373 I fill out for my own records - which sometimes annoys the dealers) and when I traded it to another dealer - he ran the serial number and found out it was stolen. The first dealer (used to be in North Kansas City, Missouri) is no longer in business. Guess who was out the money? Just me. But the cops talked to me about where the gun came from.

Thanks to our friends pushers at Antique and Collectible Firearms and Militaria Headquarters for passing this info along. John Spangler has personally caused some Ramen nights at Castle Argghhh!!!.

As John observed:

Let's hope that the crooks are promply located, and we can all meet back at the local saloon for whiskey for our men and beer for our horses after dispensing justice to the theiving varmints.
by John on May 03, 2006 | Gun Rights

May 02, 2006

H&I Fires* 2 May

Open post for those with something to share, updated through the day. New, complete posts come in below this one. Note: If trackbacking, please acknowledge this post in your post. That's only polite. You're advertising here, we should get an ad at your place...

In light of Bill's post below... behold - the Salt and Pepper Shakers of the Bar of Argghhh! -The Armorer

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Do you know John Fralish?

“We were on a combat mission that we had to get back to, but John wasn’t just going to sit by and let this girl die.”[snip]

Fralish took off his rank insignia and gave it to the elderly man, along with a note he wrote explaining who he was and what the situation was, so that the girl and her family could be given safe passage to the medical facility at Mehtar Lam.[snip]

John was killed a few days later. Find out what the villagers did when they found out. Chai tea, people, mud huts, villages with no names.

In case you need your morning hero fix, Petty Officer 2nd Class Juan Rubio receives the Silver Star. [Sigh. Kat, will you *please* sign yer work? *exasperated look*]

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Powerline points us to a very interesting new blog at the intersection of politics and psychology.

Two excellent articles on saying goodbye to Fran O'Brien's.

The Uncle J caption contest is still going strong. And the name "Kelleher" makes an appearance in the submissions. - Fuzzybear Lioness

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Boy - This intersection must give The GA Squad alot of Overtime.

Oh and Bill (ret.) - Me thinks, it's time to take Muffy to the Range. BOQ
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Since it is Military Appreciation Month, I will refrain from giving Master of the Castle the Bronx cheer.

And, if the last 101Keebee's Insignia I provided in lieu of the the original is too "Air Forcey" for your tastes, a new "armyish" one is available. -Kat

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Hey, Lex - Here's a street-legal ride for you ... complete with afterburner.
- Barb

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Cassandra's probably had to pour water on her head to keep her hair from catching fire... she's thinking an *awful* lot lately. Prolly to distract herself from other things...

Bad Cat Robot finally scored a Troll! -The Armorer

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I know ya'll read Matt for his military prowness... but what about his Little League coaching skills? Yep. Parenting *is* the Big Leagues. ~AFSis

Flash Traffic (extended entry) Follows... »

by Denizens on May 02, 2006 | General Commentary

La Schlussel

SWWBO is now a recipient of a cease and desist from La Schlussel.

An excerpt:

On 5/2/06, Debbie Schlussel dschlussel@XXXXX.com wrote:

Beth:

I paid for the photo and for the copyright. I own it.

Period.

You can write whatever you want to Joseph Farah, but he does NOT hold the copyright to the photo. Again, you need to fire your ghetto "attorney." "Fair Use" has nothing to do with your nauthorized copyright violation, and it does not
protect you. Remove it by Noon Eastern today. Or see me in court (in Michigan), where will file this. I look forward to doing a creditor's exam of you and your husband, if necessary, and garnishing your wages/bank account, if I have to.

Debbie Schlussel

Heh. "Ghetto attorney"? Class act, Schlussel.

Hey! I just realized - *I* got a cease and desist too, essentially.

Fine. Since La Schlussel dragged me into it...

Here's a fair use of the image as Satire and Parody.

There was a picture here of Debbie's face superimposed on a horse's ass. It was removed under threats from Deborah Schlussel, who is a lawyer in the State of Michigan.

Oh, there's still a portrait of Debbie here. See if you can find it.

A metaphoric spirit photgraph of Debbie Schlussel, who can dish it, but can't take it

Funny thing is - she visits *us* a lot more than we visit her. Snerk.

*Parody — not to be taken seriously, as it represents only a metaphorical reality, and no reasonable person would infer a literal interpretation of same.

**Yeah, it's a dumb blogwar, I admit, but I'm easily amused this way, and we need some levity around here. They *seriously* need some in a small, dark corner of Michigan...

Flash Traffic (extended entry) Follows... »

by John on May 02, 2006 | Media Morons

My Take on Israel Attacking Iran

This is the note I sent Jonah, as part of my additional duties of being one of Jonah Goldberg's "Guys".

Jonah,

Israel is capable of doing it by air but I think we'll all be impressed (but not surprised) by its sophisticated and multifaceted makeup.

This will be a classic four-dimensional operation (land, sea, air and space)...and there's a fifth (sixth?, seventh?, n+1?) dimension I'm sure I'm missing. The first "boom" will, I suspect, not be made by a gravity weapon (free-fall bomb) either. I think we will be surprised by the principal delivery platform, too. That's pure speculation on my part, but this is a mission that will draw heavily on the creativity of some of the wiliest minds in the campaign planning world and I think the results will (rightly) surprise us. One can hope, anyway.

Some of the Iranian vulnerabilities will not be as glaring as one would hope thanks to their Russian and Chinese clients, but Israel has probably factored that in. They safely bet on the Russian, um, flexibility and open-mindedness in its space lift client selection process in reducing, to a degree at least, some of the unknowns.

In any event, I hope they don't do it. It'll be a short-run success.

The only way to truly neutralize this threat is with a strategic campaign in which kinetics play a very minor role. But, given the West's fatigue and the present Administration's ineptitude in waging the information war at home and abroad, our taking that road with any signs of commitment, much less success, is breathtakingly wishful thinking...and the Israelis know that better than anyone.

Your Airpower Guy

What's the Kerfuffle?

Ambrose Burnside at Mardi Gras with Flaming Drink made from an office globe given him by a Confederate Veteran of Antietam

Mebbe I missed it - but people are upset over a drawing of Union General Ambrose Burnside celebrating Mardi Gras?

I mean really.

Who is this?

The Profit?

Or Ambrose?

General Ambrose Burnside

You decide.

I mean, really.

Clearly General Burnside

It's obvious to me. This is clearly a clueless Union General Ambrose Burnside at a post-war Mardi Gras in New Orleans with a flaming drink made from an office globe given him by a Confederate Veteran of Antietam.

Get with the program, people. Sheesh.

Murder in NYC

Moving on to other news... how 'bout that NYT? They did some useful analysis, and must have *hated* writing the story to go with it. They analyzed 1,662 murders in New York City from 2003-2005. Summary chart available here. (if registration is required and you don't want to - go to www.bugmenot.com).

New York Killers, and Those Killed, by Numbers By JO CRAVEN McGINTY Published: April 28, 2006 The oldest killer was 88; he murdered his wife. The youngest was 9; she stabbed her friend. The women were more than twice as likely as men to murder a current spouse or lover. But once the romance was over, only the men killed their exes. The deadliest day was on July 10, 2004, when eight people died in separate homicides.

Five people eliminated a boss; 10 others murdered co-workers. Males who killed favored firearms, while women and girls chose knives as often as guns. More homicides occurred in Brooklyn than in any other borough. More happened on Saturday. And roughly a third are unsolved.

At the end of each year, the New York Police Department reports the number of killings — there were 540 in 2005. Typically, much is made of how the number has fallen in recent years — to totals not seen since the early 1960's. But beyond summarizing the overarching trends, the police spend little time compiling the individual details.

It's really a very useful story - and the Times did a more thorough analysis of the statistics than the NYPD routinely does. Which I understand to a point - the NYPD wants to determine patterns and develop police responses.

The offender and victim were of the same race in more than three-quarters of the killings. And according to Mr. Farrell, they often had something else in common: More than 90 percent of the killers had criminal records; and of those who wound up killed, more than half had them.

I wonder how many New Yorkers take *this next* message away - given how the news is reported, both print and television (this particular story displaying one of the strengths of print journalism, btw, depth and persistence - you can just study it, not have to keep replaying a video...).

"If the average New Yorker is concerned about being murdered in a random crime, the odds of that happening are really remote," Mr. Farrell said. "If you are living apart from a life of crime, your risk is negligible."

I think the piece is really pretty well written, especially for coverage of this particular issue. There is a *screaming* "however," though....

The offender and victim were of the same race in more than three-quarters of the killings. [emphasis mine] And according to Mr. Farrell, they often had something else in common: More than 90 percent of the killers had criminal records; and of those who wound up killed, more than half had them.

That's the only place race is mentioned in the article. If the article is intended to inform, influence, and shape public policy, that would be okay - if race was a neutral data point. Here, however, it isn't. If you want some bang for your policy investment dollar, you need to target it, rather than develop one-size-fits-all templates. One reason drugs are more effective these days (*and* have more side effects it would seem) is because they are more refined, more targeted - in other words, people are different. Having three drugs available for a medical problem quite possibly accounts for differences between people, hence a drug works for you, but I get all the side effects - that other drug works for me. Same it true of one-size-fits-all public policy.

What am I ranting about?

Roger Clegg pegged it on National Review Online's The Corner:

While whites and Asians are underrepresented among murderers and murder victims in New York City, it does not appear to be the case that Latinos are overrepresented; in fact, their murderer/victim rate is the same as their percentage in the general population (about 27 or 28 percent). The overrepresentation is among African Americans, who are 25 percent of the population, but make up 60 and 61 percent of murder victims and killers, respectively.

The NYT skips that unpleasant little bit of analysis. But if you want to target your policy for effectiveness, in NYC at least, this tells you where to place your effort.

And it further highlights the seeming trend that inner-city black america is feeding on itself. Whether it's racism, poverty, the outgrowth of a flawed welfare policy, exacerbated by the effects of the Drug War providing a Prohibition-Style economic incentive, I don't know. It's *all* inter-related, I'm sure. But I strongly suggest that maybe, just maybe, Bill Cosby is right, and Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton are not. While there is much that society can do... the real impetus for change has to come from the sub-culture, aided and abetted in context by the larger culture it nestles in. It's a problem we all share - but ignoring the elephant in the living room isn't going to help it.

But we aren't allowed to say that, are we?

And we can't assume that what might work in NYC will work in San Antonio, Kansas City, Reno, or Los Angeles. Hence, the value of a "federalist" approach, coupled with in depth, honest analysis, vice either an "imposed from Washington" or "let's copy the NYC response" and make this generic template fit brute force approach that hasn't worked in the past...

You'd think the Left would embrace this. The brute force template approach assumes assimilation and acculturation, a concept anathema to them (well, except when it means conformance with their template). But, I'm guessing that's not how they want to work it - because it's just so much easier to use the Federal Government and the Courts to make the world look everywhere like you want it - especially if those hick locals don't want to have a Big Eastern City flavor to their midwestern town.

I have to admit - the big stick *is* appropriate at times. It took the Big Stick to knock apart the structure of Jim Crow. But the Big Stick isn't *always* the answer, and a more subtle and nuanced approach might well produce better results.

The whole story can be read here.

by John on May 02, 2006 | Politics

Stupid Criminal Tricks and a Ripley's Moment.

Seattle, April 26...

A highly improbable shot left an officer's bullet in the cylinder of a gunman's revolver, and police say it's a pretty clear sign that the officers who shot the man faced a deadly threat.

"Physically, it is impossible to conclude anything other than the fact the suspect was pointing directly at the officers," Deputy Chief Clark Kimerer said Wednesday, adding, "I've not seen anything quite like that in my 24 years."

Photos courtesy Seattle PD

Investigators have learned from at least one witness that the man had said earlier in the evening that he would draw his weapon if confronted by police. Police had said earlier that he was recently released from a substance abuse treatment center, but Wednesday Kimerer said he could not confirm that.

Heh. Suicide by cop, then. Effectively. Waste of a life, waste of a nice serviceable Colt pistol, tricked out for target shooting (certainly not a good carry piece). Looking at that, have to wonder if it was stolen. Not your usual choice of weapon of the crimnal class. And probably good center-of-mass shooting by at least one of the cops.

The whole story is here. Well, whole Seattle PI story. There's actually a *lot* of story not covered, but this is the initial report, and their probably won't be a follow on.

But whaddya do with the empties?

The Ma Deuce is a nice weapon and trying to set the headspace and timing on one when you've misplaced the li'l gunner's widget is an interesting way to pass an afternoon.

However, I prefer a round that makes a bang at initiation *and* at termination. One that's also a tad larger than the .50 cal...

Sarge B's scion meets his big brother

Pulling both of those out of your pocket during a Hangar Tour always got the kids' attention. And showing them the gun that fired it and how it was fed always presented a nice opportunity to teach them about gearing ratios, transducers and transformers, voltage regulators and a bit of physics. Heh--and "links" meant something other than "read what this blogger has to say"...

Hey, kids--*this* is linky-love...

Now, an expended 20mm shell casing is a marvelous thing. Large enough to be useful at work, either after a slight modification...

I know a guy who made a handle for his survival knife out of a casing. I asked him how he expected to use it in sub-zero temperatures and he said he'd just find a deer and get it to stick its tongue on the handle...

...or without. Just think artistically...

Okay, so it ain't Rembrandt.

However, the ultimate use for the expended casing was to turn it into something functional in the field, especially something that would enhance certain occasions--such as those al fresco interludes involving you and your MRE...

Heh.

May 01, 2006

H&I Fires* 1 May

Open post for those with something to share, updated through the day. New, complete posts come in below this one. Note: If trackbacking, please acknowledge this post in your post. That's only polite. You're advertising here, we should get an ad at your place...

1 May. There is one thing about May Day I miss. Back in the days of the Soviet Bear, it was always fun to look over the Potemkin Village that was the May Day parade. I waited eagerly for that issue of whichever Jane's magazine carried the pics and analysis.

I suspect I'll find less to like in today's May Day parades around the nation. I've still not settled my thoughts on illegals.

One of the foundation blocks of anti-war protest against the United States in Iraq is civilian casualties, which viscerally represents a country in ruin, a tragic human face on Bush’s warmongering. This perspective, of course, ignores the civilian carnage during the reign of Saddam Hussein (see Fuzzy Moral Math) and instead focuses on the perceived chaos in Iraq today. And this new-found concern for Iraqi civilian life is not only a staple of the anti-war Left, it is a convenient club wielded by mainstream Democrats in Washington, who argue that chaos in Iraq represents failed policy.

The rest is worthy of a read. H/t, CAPT H.

Moving on to some politics...

He [Michael Graham] also mentioned my abridgement of First Amendment rights, i.e. talking about campaign finance reform….I know that money corrupts….I would rather have a clean government than one where quote First Amendment rights are being respected, that has become corrupt. If I had my choice, I'd rather have the clean government."

Heh. Franklin comes to mind. I dunno Senator, how about some tough laws and sending you hosers to jail? Incumbency protection trumps the Constitution in Senator McCain's world. Rather than say to us "Oh! We have no spine and can't resist money - therefore, we're going to restrict your rights to political speech in order to stop us from being bad - *you* peons have to go to jail..."

Watch it for yourself over at Stop The ACLU.

Oh, yeah - Cyber-jihadis... WE STILL BROKE 80K FOR THE MONTH! Neener neener neener! We ain't Wizbang, or Malkin, or Matty O'Blackfive, so we still get excited about this kind of number.

Hee! SWWBO and I are *far right extremists*! Debbie sez so! Snerk! Pot, thy name is kettle. Chortle.

Carnival of the Recipes #89 is up at Desert Light Journal. -The Armorer

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[link fixed]The NY Times holds the highest journalistic standards--for it's society pages. - FbL

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Considering our last conversation information war, I thought everyone should read this "shocking" study: Al Qaeda Wields Press as a Terror Weapon. I wrote a few suggestions after the article and the article discusses suggestions from the study. I'll be looking for the study on line. Best line of the article:

study is a response to "controversies about efforts by the U.S. to influence foreign media coverage of jihadi activities. ... While we deliberate such issues, the jihadis are busy executing a communications and media strategy of their own."
Flash Traffic (extended entry) Follows... »

by Denizens on May 01, 2006 | General Commentary
» Welcome To Andi's World links with: The War Tapes: A MUST SEE

Home-wrecking, er, remodeling of Argghhh!

We're actually done with demolition work and are busy making *enhancements*.

With Supervision, of course.

Here is SWWBO being Admonished by Floor Installation Supervisor Gandalf.

Gandalf Offers Advice and Direction on Floor Installation

The Painting Inspectors were by, too.

But, all in all, things are progressing nicely, I think. If slower than we'd like.

Destruction pic available here.

by John on May 01, 2006 | I think it's funny!
» She Who Will Be Obeyed! links with: workity work work

News too boring for the MSM.

...but important to have a more balanced understanding of what's going on.

Paktika School Opening, photo courtesy CENTCOM Public Affairs

New school opens in Paktika Province

By Army Sgt. Tim Sander, 345th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment

FORWARD OPERATING BASE ORGUN-E, Afghanistan – Soldiers, Afghan officials and Afghan school children celebrated the opening of a new school at a ribbon-cutting ceremony held in Paktika Province on April 23.

The eight-room school, designed to support 150 to 250 students of all ages, is staffed by teachers selected by the government of Afghanistan, said Army Lt. Col. Chris Toner, Task Force Catamount commander.

TF Catamount, comprised of the 2nd Battalion, 87th Infantry Regiment from Fort Drum, N.Y., as well as Airmen and Sailors, participated in the event.

“As a teacher, I am honored to be here today to open a school,” said Army Lt. Col. Janet Loefstedt, Paktika Provincial Reconstruction Team commander, to the local leaders. “I saw your children lining the road as I came into Charbaran and thought this school would get much use.”

The villagers of Charbaran listened attentively to the colonel’s words as they were translated to them.

“It also made me think we have a great deal of unfinished work (because) we do not need just primary schools, but secondary schools, and clearly, we do not need just one school, but many schools,” Loefstedt said. “I tell you this: Every word your children learns to read, every number they learn to add, every bit of knowledge they gain from this school is progress.”

To close her speech, Loefstedt placed her hand over her heart, a local gesture of friendship, and spoke in the language of the villagers surrounding her. “Manana,” she said, which means ‘thank you’ in Pashtu.

Following the speeches and celebratory song and dance, the crowd of Soldiers, elders and children strolled through the peaceful village toward the new school building.

The governor of Paktika Province , Dr. Akram Khpalwak, stood at the entrance of the red brick building holding a pair of scissors in his hand. After a quick “snip,” the school was officially open for learning and a swarm of anxious children surged through the single hall for the first time to inspect their new classrooms.

The Catamount Soldiers handed out notepads, pens and backpacks before beginning the three-hour return journey through the rugged mountain pass back to Forward Operating Base Orgun-E.

“It is my job to support your governor … to enact a vision of reconstruction (in Paktika Province ),” Loefstedt said. “I want to assure you that I will continue to work with your governor and your government to be the best possible provincial reconstruction team for Paktika Province , and I look forward to many more visits to Charbaran.”

The Catamount Soldiers handed out notepads, pens and backpacks before beginning the three-hour return journey through the rugged mountain pass back to Forward Operating Base Orgun-E.

My Rotary Club provided supplies like this to Civil Affairs guys in Iraq. This year, the Junction City club will be coordinating a similar effort involving school kids in the Fort Riley area, to provide these supplies to the soldiers of the Fort Riley brigade deploying to Iraq. While tens of thousands march against the war in NYC and go back to their lattes and internet cafes, tens of thousands across the country do their little bit to try to make it work, spending their time, energy, and money trying to make things better in Iraq and Afghanistan, rather than just abandon it to bloodthirsty brigands.

Canada@War

English/Anglais APD02 5000-146March 15, 2002 Shah-i-Kot Valley, Afghanistan <br />
Soldiers of the 3rd Battalion, Princess Patrica's Canadian Light Infantry (3 PPCLI) Battle Group hike through the mountains east of Gardez at 3,000 metres above sea level, resting frequently to adjust to the oxygen-poor atmosphere. These troops are engaged in Operation ANACONDA, the Canadian Army's first combat mission since the Korean War. The 3 PPCLI Battle Group is deployed in Afghanistan on Operation APOLLO, Canada's military contribution to the international campaign against terrorism. Photo by Cpl Lou Penney, 3 PPCLI BG Photo courtesy Canadian Department of National Defence.

Canada is standing up a Special Operations Regiment - but they are sharply sensitive to the scandal in Somalia that got the Airborne Regiment disbanded:

"We don't want Rambos here," he says during a break in the demanding training regimen this week. "In fact, we're looking to weed out the Rambos. We want quiet professionals."

Lt.-Col. Hammond insists that his new unit is much more than just a battalion of paratroopers. The regiment will all be trained to parachute into action, but he says with a shrug: "That's just another way to get to work."

He wants his soldiers to be more of a cross between elite infantry regiments such as the U.S. Army's vaunted Ranger battalions and special forces units such as Britain's SAS, switching between operating almost as conventional infantry and like special forces commandos depending on their mission.

Just a way to get to work that usually comes with some form of disability compensation...

There's a reason we keep the Rangers and the SOF as separate elements, aside from the obvious reality of we can afford to. One would hope, however, if they are going to train them up as thoroughly and expensively as SOF personnel, they don't get used a lot as conventional high quality infantry - not just a less-than-optimum use of resources (if you need the infantry, you probably also need the SOF) but if you get 'em killed doing grunt work, they aren't there to do SOF work.

I'll stop lecturing them now.

Just to qualify for the gruelling course, the troops had to pass a demanding physical fitness test -- requiring 50 pushups, 50 situps and 10 chinups within a set time period -- a battery of psychological screenings and have an impeccable service record.

The author of the piece, Chris Wattie of the National Post, missed at least one key piece of data: the time limit. And I can't believe there wasn't a running or marching component to the test, too. The Armorer, slug that he now is, can do the pushups and situps right now (huff, puff, wheeze, I just did) though I'm sure I can't do much more than three chin-ups at the moment. All I'm saying is - for that to be a *tough* standard, there's something missing - which perhaps CAPT H can provide.

They're going Joint in their structure, too, as all good SOF units do.

While more than three-quarters of the volunteers for the regiment are from the army, Capt. Doug says he is looking for recruits from across the entire Canadian Forces.

"We have people from the army, the navy and the air force and our experience levels are all across the board, from soldiers with two years in to guys who served in the Airborne," he said, pausing as a team of soldiers fires an M-72 anti-tank rocket at a distant target, which explodes a second later in a cloud of dust.

And, always, there is Somalia hanging over them.

Lt.-Col. Hammond says he is more interested in soldiers with brains than bulging biceps and insists on training his soldiers for any eventuality. "We're not trying to create supermen or superwomen.... We want thinking people," he says.

"We're looking for people who are comfortable with ambiguity; who can deal with things getting crazy, or with the unexpected happening, and get on with the job."

And he is ever mindful of the problems that led to the disbanding of the Airborne Regiment, which came after Master Corporal Clayton Matchee and Corporal Kyle Brown tortured Somali teenager Shidane Arone to death in the Airborne Regiment's camp.

Sigh. I wonder if they need a classic tubby Staff Officer? It sounds like they are taking a more laid-back approach to things of the nature I like.

The whole article is here.

H/t to CAPT H.

April 30, 2006

H&I Fires* 30 April

Open post for those with something to share, updated through the day. New, complete posts come in below this one. Note: If trackbacking, please acknowledge this post in your post. That's only polite. You're advertising here, we should get an ad at your place...

Here's a rare individual, scratch that - unique individual - a serving Medical Service Corps officer with a Combat Infantryman's Badge from Vietnam. Oh, there's that Medal of Honor, too. Salute, Colonel!

Speaking of Colonels still serving... meet Lieutenant Colonel Andrew Lourake.

I was an Iron Soldier once, as was Sanger - only all we had to do was stare at Russians, East Germans, and Czechs.

U.S. Army Pfc. Neil A McKinley provides security in a palm grove near Hit, Iraq, March 25, 2006. McKinley is from Alpha Company, 1st Battalion, 36th Infantry Regiment. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Brian M. Henner) (Released)


U.S. Army Pfc. Neil A McKinley provides security in a palm grove near Hit, Iraq, March 25, 2006. McKinley is from Alpha Company, 1st Battalion, 36th Infantry Regiment. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Brian M. Henner) (Released)

Over to you guys. I've got to go help SWWBO with home-wrecking remodeling. With Supervision (and beer), of course.

Another reason to live in the fly-over. You coasters stay put. I like the elbow room. -The Armorer

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Flash Traffic (extended entry) Follows... »

by Denizens on Apr 30, 2006 | General Commentary

On the Fighting KeeBees.

Bad Cat Robot asks:

I dunno why you think you can't joint the Fighting Keebees, O Armorer -- Baldilocks and a bunch of other retired military have. And I hear we need grunts ;-)

I support what the Fighting KeeBees are doing.

But.

I can't bring myself to embrace the term Chickenhawk for myself... because I don't qualify. Others who wish to, are free to do so, and many have.

I understand the intent of embracing the term. However, it was initially applied to those who never served who yet supported or advocated the war, I'm not in that group.

I served. A long time. And I have been on the distaff side - a Blue Star Son, if you will. I answered the door to get The Telegram. I have been on both sides of the issue. Those who use the term as a derogative impute to the bearers that they are somehow unable to grasp the costs and realities and therefore are unfit to hold an opinion. Obviously, I think the Chickenhawk model inapt and seriously flawed, and the product of callow thought and shallower intellect at best, and venal manipulation at worst. I support the counterattack of embracing it.

However, I get two checks a month that bear witness to my service, the price of it, and which hold me subject to serve again when called. I have volunteered twice for recall - but as yet have no skill so needed as to pull the fat furry disabled guy back into uniform.

The simple fact is - I am *still* a soldier. I am *still* subject to the UCMJ.

Ergo, I'm not a chickenhawk, nor am I willing to support the expansion of the term chickenhawk to mean that only those who oppose (the) war *or* who are *currently* serving overseas can have an opinion.

I'm picky that way.

Just as I don't take communion in church. I haven't declared for any particular faith practice, and it's just my nature to skip that sacrament when offered in church, as I feel it is for those who *have* declared. I don't find my opinions on God or faith impaired by so doing.

I don't vote in Primaries, either, because I have yet to find a party I wish to formally declare for.

I'm stubborn like that, for good or ill.

I'm not a Chickenhawk. I'm not a Summer Soldier. I'm not a Winter Soldier (in the good, Valley Forge, non-Kerry manner).

I'm a Regular, By God! A soldier for all seasons. I'm one of a long line of soldiers of the ilk who so dismayed Major General Phineas Riall of His Britannic Majesty's Army at the Battle of Chippewa. My commission is for life. It does not expire, it ends only upon my resignation or at the President's pleasure. There is a reason a 70-year old 35 year veteran orthopedic surgeon was recalled and served in Afghanistan. I have no delusions that I am needed like that. But, as the recruiting song of the 80's says, "When we were needed, we were there." So too will I be, if I am needed.

You just can't make the term Chickenhawk stick on my armor. There's no place for it to hook into. I have an identification card that says I'm a soldier, still. But most importantly, I simply *am* a soldier, still. That's what I see, when I look at that bearded visage in the mirror in the morning. What I do to put food on the table and guns in the basement is also in support of soldiers. My spare time goes to charity. for those in the community, or, via Rotary, the world, who have not what I have.

I don't want to dilute the pool of those who embrace the title of Chickenhawk, because I am not one.

I am John of Argghhh!, Master of the Castle and Arsenal of Argghhh!, Field Artillery, United States Army, retired. It is enough title for me.

SWWBO has joined the KeeBees, though she, too, has a DD214. While our paths are generally parallel, they don't entirely overlay each other. More power to her, and those of you who choose to man the 'boards.

We are Allies. But I have seen the fields where the Iron Crosses grow.

I am not a Chickenhawk.

But I'll fight the good fight alongside you. I got your six, wingman. Just as I'll fight alongside a Marine, Sailor, Airman, Coastie. Or anyone willing to stand and deliver.

by John on Apr 30, 2006 | Politics

In an effort to totally destroy traffic...

...or make a *big* switch in the orientation of our readers - a Caption Contest!

Oh, sure, you can go to The Right Place for their contest...

Or if you missed it, you could go check the results of SGT Hook's contest...

Better yet, you can go stick your thumb in the eye of Blackfive's Uncle Jimbo and participate in Fuzzybear Lioness' caption contest... or check up on her grumpiness with the Capital Hilton regarding Fran O'Briens.

You could read Cassandra's dart-throwing at Senators...

You could check out SWWBO's finger-in-jihadi-face...

You could get serious for a moment and read Barb's review of United 93...

You *could* go check out the Milblogger Conference pics Sergeant B has posted...

Then, there's the Snarkatron, who has joined the 101st Fighting Keyboardists. Heh. Another insider club I'm not qualified for. Sigh. Oh well, I wouldn't join a club that would have me for a member, anyway.

And yeah, there's the post where AFSis finds Royalty she can like.

or the one where ISG Keith runs into the Nation of Aztlan.

Then there's Kat, who has her own preferred 101st Fighting Keyboardists logo. It's too Air Forcey for my taste, but *is* a lot less Euro looking than the other one. Were I enlisting, I'd go with Kat's.

But if all that didn't interest you, go see where JTG participated in his first Execution recently... one hopes there are more in his future.

Then you could visit Lefty Alan (who has been absent here of late), who observes the passing of John Kenneth Galbraith...

Or, Punctilious has a bad day in shopping-world...

...and Jack is still burned out.

Sure you could do all that. But you know you'd rather jump on this pic and caption it. Jump on the pic, people. Go wash your brains out with soap.

Caption This!

by John on Apr 30, 2006 | Denizen Link-Fest!
» Stop The ACLU links with: Sunday Funnies