Thursday, November 25, 2004

Here's something to be thankful for

Not only am I thankful for the people who have given their live, but in reading this, I am also thankful that there are service members who will push it to the limits to care for those who have given their lives. The linked article is from a USAF Reserve pilot who brought home some Marines. You will most likely be saddened and encouraged, at the same time, while reading this article. In reference to my post on being "by the book," this Air Force officer is to be commended for knowing the book existed and cracking it open, in order to render honors to the dead.

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

Thanksgiving, oh, and opinions.

It's been a busy time setting up to get away for a few days. I have not been here for a few days, and won't be for a few more. I thought it would calm down after the election, but it's getting exciting again. I'm once again becoming a little irritated reading people's opinions. It's not that we shouldn't have ours, but it sure would be nice if we could manage to know what we don't know and not open our mouths, or click our mice, when we are under (or un) educated to make a coherent decision on how we should naswer a "survey." This topic has been rattling around in the pile of chaotic thoughts and hasn't made it to the top of the heap. As a quick wondow into my one day forthcoming thoughts: I never saw a survey/opinion poll that asked the persons on the street whether the doctors did President Clinton's bypass surgery correctly. "We" have asked about every question imaginable about President Bush and every decision made by any one in the entire government. There's rich soil in this topic to plow... In the meantime, I'm headed north a few states to spend tomorrow with family. For all of you who can read this, I know you know you are thankful that 1) you are enabled through an education, 2) you have been blessed by enough finacnial resources to have access to a computer and the Internet and 3) that many have gone before us, in every place in our lives to allow us to be here. Have a wonderful holiday and make a special effort to get in touch with those in your family that are a not in your regular contact cycle.

Thursday, November 18, 2004

By the Book? Yes, I am....

Yes, I’ll admit it. I’m a “by the book” kind of guy. After many years of being around organizations big and small, I believe I’ve finally figured out why I have chosen to read “the book.” Usually, when someone accused me of being “by the book” (let’s make the BTB from here on out), it was because they thought it was a bad thing. I challenge you to think of it this way: I was just lazy. When someone in the military remarks that someone is BTB, it’s most often spoken in such tones that you cannot possibly miss the negative connotation it carries with it. Books in business or governmental settings are horribly dry reading. Full of blah, blah, blah and…. What people found out about how to do it the easy way through their mistakes. In the military arena, it is often said the books are written in blood. I’d be willing to bet the NAVSHIPSTECHMAN on the proper preparation of a steel surface for priming and painting had little or no blood on its pages, but the tactical doctrine to fight against anti-ship cruise missile attack had the blood of the crews of the USS STARK (FFG-31) and the HMS SHEFFIELD on them. So, if you have the ability to keep your eyes open and you get rewarded with explanations of why things are done the way they are done. This can provide you with reduced levels of tension, cure migraines and generally make you have a kinder and gentler disposition, now that you “know” why they did it like that. In addition to this basic information, you will be able to see when it is appropriate to lobby for a change. Maybe the old way was tied to manual methods that have become superceded by automation, yet no one has updated the procedures. There is, how ever, a dichotomy inherent in all of this: On one hand people dislike it when someone tells them to do it like the book, but they certainly don’t hesitate to tell you they are doing it “this way” because “that’s how we do it.” I came to look at the study of documents on policy and procedure as a method to also determine what were the circumstances under which these procedures were to he carried out (the “normal” cases) and, by derivation, when you rightfully needed to come up with your own plan. It’s one thing to think you’re out of the box, it’s another to know you most certainly are. When you find yourself out of the box, your hard earned BTB information provides you with a foundation of knowledge to work with, while you rapidly work to get the chaos under control., rather than standing dumbfounded. See how it’s all about lazy? I’d rather let someone else make the mistakes, and therefore, I lessen the opportunity to repeat them, thinking that my stupidity is something original. Another angle to take on the BTB philosophy is that of the fiscal one. If you do things the way someone figured them out already, you should be able to be more efficient. Now, unless you have a “make the work expand to fit the remaining time” type of boss, then you have the option of bagging out sooner, an opportunity to get in some afternoon golf. The other side of the financial stuff here is if you read the book, and see the “procedure” is just plain wasteful, and you choose not to take the time to fix it, then you are not being very responsible with the dollars of whoever is putting money in your hand on payday. So, there’s my chaotic thoughts on being “by the book.”

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

Yep, I'm still here...

I am hoping to attract a readership, and I see there are some people who come around, and I know I haven't posted stuff in a few days. I'll just say the last two nights were spent "comment-sparring" with Zippo over on Chap's blog. I'm not sure if it will do anyone else any good, but it helps me vent a little frustration with those who somehow cannot face much (if any) truth. There are things you just have to grasp. I skydived for a long time. One of the T's that showed up sometimes, which was a rip-off from the physicists said: "Gravity, it's not just a good idea, it's the law!" In case you'r the least bit interested in a good piece Chap wrote on why the Left doesn't get the military use thing, go here. (PSST!: Read the comments, too and see what Zippo thinks!) I've got a few posts ruminating around....please come back and see what "random thoughts I come up with....

Saturday, November 13, 2004

You have to smile sometime....

Once again, I link you to the conservatively creative team of Frank and Scott, in their continuing effort to bring instructive OnStar recordings to you.

Another letter with no agenda

Through following links to places such as this, I have found some wonderfully detailed first person letters and emails. They aren't written in order to further anyone, they are just a slice of life, written by those who are on the front lines, in peaceful and not so peaceful places. The link here says at least two things: The writer is a person who can stop, put aside his inital reaction and focus on what it really happening. Secondly, it is a reminder that the world see us through the filter of such men and women who wear a uniform and come to their aid, and also, let us not forget to deal in that issue of justice. What does this mean to us? - We owe it to ourselves to send the very best, and make sure they are supported. Their actions leave a lasting impression on those who see them. - We owe it to the world to send the military abroad for the right reasons. Some will consider they are now in Iraq for some wrapped idea we have become neo-colonialist, but the truth is our daily, long term security is intimately linked with the ability of others to live, knowing a basic respect for their humanity. In a conversation last night, someone told me President Bush remarked that after WWII, the thought of making a democracy of Japan was completely written off. Look at the result of sticking to a dream to make a peaceful nation, then come back and tell me us being in Iraq now is a bad thnig. Also, consider this: Permission to use nuclear weapons has been given to Osama bin Laden. for those who would like to sit, safe in their home, believing it's all about Haliburton filling the pockets of Dick Cheny, HELLO, McFly! You're in a new world now. You can choose to pretend it won't happen, or you can figure out how you can best secure the lives of many, now and in the future.

Thursday, November 11, 2004

News on the Stolen Election

Frank J of IMAO has done a great service for us. Concerned about the possibility of a conspiracy to throw the Presidential election, he went straight to the top. Here's the transcript of his conversation with the main VRWC office. If you care about this country and where it's headed, READ THIS POST!

Veterans Day Reading

Charles of Little Green Footballs just stuck a short post up, announcing today as Veterans' Day. As of a few minutes ago, there were 489 comments. The amazing cross section of stories and the back grounds of those contributing is nothing short of spectacular. Tribute is paid to many, names of those who have given us this freedom are mentioned, names that were, nor probably ever be the ones to make the page of a paper, other than the obits, are there. People who have served, people who knew people who have served, foreigners who saw what American did and do for them, and the list goes on. Please allow yourself to be blessed by this collection of honor, saddness, humor, and just plain statements of facts.

Thank you from a Vet

On this Veterans Day in 2004, I just thought I'd take a minute to say to those of you who have paid taxes anytime between August 1972 through now. For those of you who will be doing that for the next maybe 20 years, you have my thanks in advance for honoring my service with your income taxes. I sincerely appreciate the money you entrusted to the Federal coffers that was a main paycheck for a career, and is now a retirement one. Over the course of 24 years of time spent making a commitment to actively support and defend the Constitution of these United States, you have gracefully allowed me to: Sail the oceans of the world, somethimes in fast combatants, sometimes in supply ships and once on an aircraft carrier; Cavort with the clouds in jet fighters; Fine tune my skills as an expert rifleman and pistol shot; Jump out of "perfectly good" military aircraft for fun; Play with things that go "WHOOSH!" and "BANG!" way better than that stuff you get to play with from the corner fireworks stand; Study for one bachelor and two masters degrees; Mediate on the wonders of nature in the starry skies at night, far from city lights, and to watch the dolphins gracefully play on the bow waves of warships, far out to sea; Serve under incredible leadership; Lead this country's youth (and sometimes not so young, but "my" sailors none the less); Meet people from all continents and represent you as Americans. On my spare time, I have benefited from many facilities around the country, where I and my family could relax and enjoy life while on vacation. The pay wasn't enough to get me on the list next to Bill Gates, but it afforded a family of four with a comfortable lifestyle, with some left over. People have expressed their thanks and gratitude for my service, but I am equally taken that this nation is still full of those who will continue to support a Military worthy of itself. Yes, it was hard some days. Yes, the family suffered. Yes, my life and theirs was enriched by the opportunities. Yes, I'd not trade the experienences for anything. Yes, it's not lost on me that some paid those taxes, and would have preferred I wasn't employed in that manner, but they gave the money to the Government anyhow. So, in return, I humbly appreciate your service to me. Thank you!

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

229 Years of Dedicated Heroism - The Marines!

Happy Birthday, Marines, those on duty, those who have done their duty and those chomping at the bit for their slot at PI or MCRD to open up! I have been struck by the number of Seagulls on Beachballs emblems on so many cars. Once in a while you see some Ranger/Airborne Tabs, sometimes a USAF, once in a while, Navy bumper stickers, but the Eagle and Anchor are all around. More often than not, when you have the opportunity to ask the driver when they were in, it was from several to many years ago, and in lots of cases, for one enlistment. Find a car with that emblem and thank a Marine today! You just have to love an institution that breeds a loyalty with humility, and a strength with purpose, that then has benefited this Nation and all who have come in contact with these remarkable few and proud people. Thank you and you Marines have my respect! CDR, USN (Ret)

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

Need a laugh?

We're Not Sorry is a counter to some very strange people with some belief that they have the permission of the American public to make an apology for those of us who prefer life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness over "Religitics" (that's my original word, but feel free to use it, unless it's mirror, "Poligion" is more suitable (my word, too)), a return to the past, mass cults of personality (pass the Mohammed-Aid, please), and the general subsugation of any normal human interactions. These people are located at this site.

How can they think it, let alone say it?

I tend to be pretty much at peace with life, but I had a small departure from "calmness" this afternoon while having a phone conversation. I did raise my voice, but the tone was purposefully deliberate, without personal attacks, or profanity. Anger? Yes. No thought of physically harming anyone, only to make apoint so points of view are focused on the truth, not some fairy tale world view. Me: "John Ashcroft resigned." They: "Why?" Me: "I heard them say the other day some people were going, some 'burn out.'" They: "Well, George Bush made it hard." Screen play version follows: He begins to seeth, mental images of bodies falling from buildings, fireballs from jet fuel, toppling towers surge through his mind in rapid succession, but he recovers from the shock of such an incoherent and obviously STUPID (yes, and I mean it in the most complete sense of the word) statement having been uttered from the mouth of a 54 year old American citizen by birth. Me: "How can you say that? It's hard because we have been at war! Hard because John Aschroft and the FBI, and the DIA and the, oh, yeah, don't forget the CIA, lead by a Clinton appointee, had to completely change how they did things to protect us from more attacks. Are you saying George Bush made it hard on those almost 3000 people that died?" They: (not to draw this out) Unstammering comments to try to tell me it was the President's fault, with no recognition of what came to the world on the morning of September 11, 2001. My God, how can anyone with a brain their head (but, I hate to sound mean spirited, but maybe that's the case, they don't have one) even try to make this about George Bush. Comments about how "we are still headed in the wrong direction (re: Iraq)", "Kerry didn't have the advantage of being Presiedent, so how could you expect him to come up with a plan for the war?" Response: "He had access to essentially the same intelligence as the President, but FAILED TO ATTEND THE MEETINGS, so he is culpable in that he didn't make use of what he should have known." "Well, I bet there are other senators who don't got tho their meetings!" AAAAAAUUUGGGHHHHH!!!!! SO WHAT!!!!! They aren't the ones running for President! "well, people's records get uncovered when they run for office." "Tell me where you read that George Bush was an 'absentee' govenor?" (no reposnse). Standard tactic of one who has no ammunition to expend: Try to focus attention elsewhere. I did pose the question: "How can you be so cavalier about those who died when we were attacked?" I'm not sure if I didn't wait for an answer, or after a half a word forming, realized the answer forthcoming would be wrong, so I don't think that came to closure, before I cut her off. Some background: A woman with a good vocabulary, who runs her own business, sells jewelry on weekends for fun and the interaction and a little extra money, owns two cars, one that is never driven in the rain, or the winter weather, owns not only one house, but a second on a prime piece of waterfront property. Point: This person has the advantage of every American citizen to do as she pleases, and has benefited from the advantage of being a woman in a society that, despite it's faults, provides a tremendous degree of equality and respect for women. Response to being "pampered" by the United States legacy of freedom: Denigrate someone who stepped up to the plate and took the fight to a determined enemy. Forget to consider, while we are all in it together, there are many hard working people in the Government striving to keep us safe, and this isn't something that happened at the drop of a hat, but has been something brewing for some time, transcending several presidencies.....but, it's gotta be that arrogant "W"s personal agenda that has brought us here. Coming from a 2 year old, I may be able to accept it (while thinking of having a serious talk with the parents), but from a full grown adult with normal functioning mental capabilities? I'm still incredulous, several hours later, and I suppose I will be for life. I commented: John Kennedy rose to the challenge on dark night in the Pacific and provided the leadership necessary for his men. "Oh, that's what eanone would do." Really? Yep, jfK ran and hid from combat, but I guess he's the better man. John Kennedy unilaterally blockaded Cuba. "Wasn't that the Bay of Pigs?" "No, that was us unilaterally invading another soverign nation. Blockading Cuba was another time." "That was economic, wasn't it?" (Wow, what an opening, a President unilaterally blockades a nation with a Naval Force over money and trade....grand idea.) "NO, that was because the Soviets were putting nuclear missiles into Cuba and the THREATENED US!" I don't think it sunk in. History, yes, pretty boring and who cares anyhow, when we can suck up the benefits and just listen to some drivel from a couple of multi-millionaires (Soros and Moore) telling us things that are proven false within about 22 seconds of any serious study. Where is the indignation that a handful of people with millions of dollars of pocket change to burn showing up and, in the case of one, blatantly telling us he was going to buy the president out of office? I think any citizen should sit back for a moment and think: "Let me get this straight. You don't like him and you will show up and distribute dollars and make an attempt to override my blood bought right to vote for who I want? Ok, so maybe I agree that I don't like George Bush, but what if in '08, I don't agree with you?" Duh....that's it. If he'll buy votes against the one you don't like, he can buy votes next time against the one you like. What say you now? Kinda like the Catholics and Christians who were fine with the Jewish neighbors being hauled off in Nazi Germany. How would you respond when it was your turn? Yep, kinda hard to get a right back that you let go of, because it didn't affect your over-privledged position in life. Yes, it got my blood pressure up. After hanging up, the recollection of standing the mid-watch on pitch black nights, 35 hours laying over the reduction gear for major reapairs at sea, standing into port in many foreign lands, dressed in whites, knowing all eyes were on the handling of the ship bearing the Stars and Stripes and the action of every crewman, while my wife handled family matters alone in the States, standing over charts, rapidly scanning radio reports, hard copy intellegence, desperately trying to figure where the enemy submarines were, so we could order ASW assets into positions to protect the carriers and supply ships, and so many other things. While I never had the oppotunity to serve in any combat other than being at sea for Operation Prarie Fire off Libya in '86, I steamed the waters of the World's oceans so a conversation like this could happen. I cannot regret my service for the stupidity of one person, who has heard many of my stories and knows of my service, and through links I send her, many of the stories of those who serve her now, but it sure felt easy to consider "going there." I feel better now. She just provided a catalyst for all the insanity that has followed this election. In her case, I had an opprotunity to present another point. Enough. Maybe one day she'll even stop here and read this.....and post her side of the story (that should be a classic read...:) )

Encapsulation of what happened 11/02/2004

Talk show host Dennis Prager had a succient statement on just what happened on the election day this year. In about a ten minute portion quoted on Focus on the Family on 11/04/2004, Dennis skillfully lays it out. Listen to the 11/04/04 broadcast on the page. It's worth your time and may help you have intelligent discussions with others, if you haven't been able to summarize what the American Citizens said.

Monday, November 08, 2004

Somehow we got doomed to live in interesting times....

If you've never heard that line before, it's an ancient Chinese curse to be told "May you live in interesting times." I'll post two links that should send a shiver up your spine by their very implications. It's not that someone has a difference of opinion, but that one side wantss hte other to be completely disallowed from their beliefs. Hello, McFly! This is the nation with the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution and Bill of Rights that other yearn to live under, until recently, when it seems some have come to work to remove it in the long run. The long term implication is that the "popular" vote may well be used to turn this country into a theocratic state. Not tomorrow, or in 2008, but with persistance, down the road sometime this century (my guess, for what it's worth). Once enough Muslims, which I use here because it is the fastest growing religion (in terms of numbers of converts) in both the World, and here in the United States. Not hard to figure out once you have enough of a "directed" block vote, as they preach in the mosques popping up all over, then it's off to the polls and the institution of Sharia Law, and other cultural changes associated with the Islamic faith become the law of the land. Here goes, read them for yourselves and be forewarned of the coming wave of change, assisted by misguided youth, as well as puposeful adults: Some college students, who happen to be Republicans, held a rally at San Francisco State University. Here's what happened to them. At least 45,000 Muslims have signed a petition, demanding removal of the book "Prophet of Doom" from public circulation. Let me pose a rheotrical question: When was the last time you saw documented evidence of a Christian, Catholic, or Jewish group (You know, those evil people) trying to censor any magazine, or book, or movie by demanding it's complete removal from any viewing by private citizens? This conjures up images of only being one step from book burnings in Nazi Germany, doesn't it? That being the case, why is President Bush, an unashamed Christian, compared to Hitler on a regular basis around the world, while Muslims are lifted up as some loving religion? Leaving the States, and the protection of a written set of basic rules for our society, we next take a virtual flight to the Netherlands, where Theo van Gogh was brutally murdered and a note explaining the reason he was killed was left "attached" to his body with a knife. You guesed it, he exposed the mis-treatment of women in the Islamic faith. Plenty of reason to die: Exposing the truth. This entire story gets better: Talk about intolerance!. No wonder there are those who want the Ten Commandments removed, then they can have those arrested for stating natural law (see "Mere Christianity," C.S. Lewis, for a solid discussion of what natural law is). Oh, and now it's got legs! Here's some "counterbattery" as a result. This certainly will evoke a respose in return. The term "escalation" comes to mind. From here, it sure looks like this mess is headed for that place of "out of control" and that means innocents and beligerants both end up suffering. I'm at a loss as how to wrap this up, which is probably why I'm not a writer by profession, but just someone with an opinion. Maybe it's time to read Habakuk again, then take my place on the wall....

Saturday, November 06, 2004

Real words from a real Marine near Fallujah 11-03-04

I followed a link to The Green Side and found an email sent from a Marine to his father. This Marine Officer makes some powerful points, and gives you a ringside seat to his emotions, and the things he has seen. Yes, it's filtered through the eyes of a Marine, but he writes eloquently about the experience his fellow Marines and he will more than likely face very soon. He displays a degree of compassion the MSM would not allow you to believe is in our front line war fighters. Thank God he's there. For those of you who have been there, done that and have the T-shirt, thank you. For those who are about to enter that close quarters battle environment, my prayers are with you, as is my admiration for your drive to do the hard work of democracy. Keep your focus, Dave and bring your boys home....

Wrong place, wrong time....

This home grown movie is a seemingly real story of someone who missed the warning signs... Apparently it came out a few years ago, but it should make you smile, if not laugh out loud. I guess two guys laboriously filmed sections of I-405, when they saw they were empty, then pieced them together to make it appear as though no one was on one side of that Interstate (short the driver of the Jeep). The plot is compeling, the acting fantastic, the story, well, maybe plausible, but if you need a chuckle, click up there....(and it's not long...)

Thursday, November 04, 2004

There are those who know the value of democracy

Interesting post from some real, live people in Iran (/sarcasm on: go figure!/sarcasm off) who are celebrating the victory for our President. One could certainly believe from the last several months of reading and listening to "regular" news, that we had maybe 2.7 people outside the borders of this country that maybe, sort of, under threat of torture, might say they liked America.

Veterans' Day is early this year

I'm swiping poetry of Russ Vaughn's, Army Vietnam Vet with a real talent for coherent writing, from Matt. Published here for the record. Today Is Veterans' Day On September 8th, I posted that Election Day would be Veterans' Day.... Here's something to commemorate the day by the MilBlog Poet Laureate (and fellow paratrooper), Russ Vaughn: Their Veterans’ Day Some said let you apologize But that wouldn’t do it in our eyes. A man astride of each position Could we believe your true contrition? And on deaf ears your words would fall To those whose names are on that Wall The vindication they now accept In settling up this long-held debt, Is that for them we gave our best And denied you, John, your lifelong quest. We fought for them, fought for our own, To make you reap what you had sown. Listen carefully John to what we say, November 2d was their Veterans’ Day. Russ Vaughn 2d Bn, 327th Parachute Infantry Regiment 101st Airborne Division Vietnam 65-66

Sgt Joseph Bozik could use your help

Sgt Joseph was horribly wounded in Iraq and is now at Walter Reed Hospital in Washington, DC. The Army can only bring 2 of his family members (from Ft. Bragg, NC), any others coming there are doing so out of pocket. Sgt Bozik's wounds are terrible, he has lost both legs and an arm and is in a coma. As any of you know, the cost of hotels in the DC area are very high and we know soldier's pay isn't that great. Transportation and living expenses are needed to allow his family to be with him. There is a way to help out in the link above, if you feel so inclinced. In this other post, there are pictures of Sgt Bozik, sent by his mother. What struck me was the life in his eyes in those two pictures. While it is a cruel set of circumstances that did this, his look seems to say there lots of life left in this young man. Please pass the word on, and don't forget there are others like Joseph Bozik who we owe much to.

Need something heart warming? Read this...

Matt at Black Five has more great stuff. This article is about a German woman who has been a real supporter of the wounded Soldiers in the hospital in Landsthul, Germany. It's nice to know someone is giving of themselves to show our wounded youth, serving the cause of freedom around the world some real love. The are connected to Soldier's Angels, which is a non-profit organization, where you can see how to lend a hand to those who protect us with their own lives.

So how do we believe Osama bin Laden when this happens?

I vote to not trust Osma bin Laden's promise to not attack those who vote the way he wants. The below link takes you to a post regarding a planned attack on a "football" (soccer to us 'Mericans) stadium in Madrid. I thought the al-Queda had subdued the Spanish with the train station bombing, but it seems like they are just bent on killing more and saying "JUST KIDDING!" to the people of Spain, after they voted the "right" one in and the troops were withdrawn. Thank God the Spanish law enforcement and judicary is still hard at work preventing murder for some unholy reason.