Saturday, May 26, 2007

Memorial Day

Texas Rainmaker and Dave in Texas remind us what this weekend is SUPPOSED to be about. (Be sure to check out ALL the posts from DiT on Memorial Day, what a wonderful tribute!)

It's not about the BBQs, it's not about the beach, it's not even about the race (which IS where I'll be this weekend, but it's still not about THAT).

It's about the men and women who have 'given all' so that we can have the BBQs, beach outings, and car races without fear of being attacked.

So enjoy your long weekend, but please also take a moment to remember those who have made it possible.

I'll be back on Tuesday with pictures from Indy.

Tags- ,

Read more!

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Welcome Home!

I seldom delve into things religious here, but that's more from a lack of time than anything else. I read this piece today and just wanted to share it- Rome-ward Bound. As a convert to Catholicism myself, I love to see when others 'come home' to Rome!

I especially like how Catholics and Evangelicals are moving beyond branding each other as hell-bound heretics and finding those areas of common ground that make us brothers and sisters in Christ without denying the things that keep us separated.

As he says here-

In short, they [Catholic converts] have more in common theologically with evangelicals than with liberal Catholics, and evangelicals themselves, in many respects, have more in common with traditional Catholics than with mainline Protestants. Especially on social and political issues, there is much room for common cause.

This dovetails nicely into something a friend of mine wrote in her LJ recently about evangelising.

It's all about finding the common ground without forgetting the importance of the things that separate us, and letting our lives be such that others want what we have.

Okay, that makes more sense in my head....hopefully you get what I'm trying to say!

In any case, I also want to open this up to any of my non-Catholic readers as a place to ask questions about Catholicism. So, go ahead...ask away! If I don't know the answer, I'm sure I can find it! ;)


Read more!

Happy Armed Forces Day

Go thank a servicemember for their sacrifice today!


Read more!

Friday, May 18, 2007

The return of Friday Frivolity!

I know, it's feast of famine with me and posting these days, so today it's feast day! ;) Enjoy!

First up, a whole bunch of quizzes!

The Everything Test

There are many different types of tests on the internet today. Personality tests, purity tests, stereotype tests, political tests. But now, there is one test to rule them all.

Traditionally, online tests would ask certain questions about your musical tastes or clothing for a stereotype, your experiences for a purity test, or deep questions for a personality test.We're turning that upside down - all the questions affect all the results, and we've got some innovative results too! Enjoy :-)

You are more logical than emotional, more concerned about others than concerned about self, more religious than atheist, more loner than dependent, more lazy than workaholic, more traditional than rebel, more engineering mind than artistic mind, more idealist than cynical, more leader than follower, and more extroverted than introverted.

As for specific personality traits, you are adventurious (100%), religious (93%), intellectual (67%), romantic (57%).

Young Professional70%
Old Geezer67%
Life Experience

Your political views would best be described as Libertarian, whom you agree with around 73% of the time.
Your attitude toward life best associates you with Middle Class. You make more than 72% of those who have taken this test, and 35% less than the U.S. average.

If your life was a movie, it would be rated PG.
By the way, your hottness rank is 60%, hotter than 48% of other test takers.

brought to you by thatsurveysite

Heh...Libertarian? I guess I can see that...a bit!

What American accent do you have? (Best version so far)


("Midland" is not necessarily the same thing as "Midwest") The default, lowest-common-denominator American accent that newscasters try to imitate. Since it's a neutral accent, just because you have a Midland accent doesn't mean you're from the Midland.

Personality Test Results

Click Here to Take This Quiz
Brought to you by quizzes and personality tests.

Considering I was born in Philly and raised in Illinois, this is certainly me!

How Will I Die Quiz

How Will I Die Quiz

You will die at the age of 91

You will be killed by Mars aliens as they invade earth

Find out how you will die at


I can live with that...or...die with that?

Your Life is Rated PG

Your life is pretty family friendly. The worse someone is going to get from you is brief nudity or toilet humor.

Go figure, my life is PG....yeah, I'm pretty boring most of the time! ;)

and finally, a time waster for you-
Liquid Webtoy is just too much fun! Thanks Tallguy!


Read more!

Where I get my war news

My anonymous commenter a couple of posts back said, "And please don't spout about how the soldiers in Iraq "know" things are going well; you're not the only one with a direct line to soldiers, and no, things are not going well."

I don't get that kind of information from my soldier usually. I understand that any one soldier has a very limited frame of reference, and while things may be going well (or poorly) for him, this is not necessarily indicative of the overall war.

So, for those who care, here's where I read about what's going on over there (in order of importance)-

Operation Iraqi Freedom
Mudville Gazette
Victory Caucus
Michael Yon

I realize that many of the sites I read are more conservative in nature. But the top three, Operation Iraqi Freedom, CENTCOM, and aren't, and neither is Instapundit. Admittedly, I don't look to left leaning sites for my Iraq news, although I do read a good friend's LJ particularly for her friends page, and most of them are Left leaning activist types. I also get the Liberal perspective from my folks and my brother, so I'm not insulated from that point of view, I just disagree with much of it.

So there you have it, the sites I read that show me that there IS progress in Iraq, and that we ARE doing well overall. If you only want to read two sites regularly, I recommend and Operation Iraqi Freedom as they are news/information and not commentary.

What sites to you all read to get your news on the GWOT?


Read more!

Victory in Iraq

What does it mean to 'win' the war in Iraq? What, exactly, is and has been our mission? Initially, it was regime change. Saddam had defied the UN one too many times, and the WMD threat was but ONE of the reasons given for the necessity of his removal. We can debate about the WMDs day and night, but the general world consensus was that he DID have them and he HAD used them on his our countrymen. So, the initial mission was to remove him from power. THAT was the easy victory.

Next hurdle was providing time for a provisional government to be set up, a constitution crafted and ratified, and finally a freely elected government to be installed. Those victories took a little longer, but were also achieved.

Now, the goal is to provide security and training to help the new government as it gets up to speed and is able to support itself and provide adequate security for it's own people. Even here, we are winning. More and more brigades of Iraqi troops are being trained and now leading missions. More Iraqi police are trained and responding to insurgent (and other 'regular') threats in their jurisdictions. Given the time (and support and funding), we WILL win this battle too. After that? We will certainly still have SOME troops stationed in Iraq for the long term. But only because the Iraqi government allows it. Heck we still have troops stationed in Korea, Germany, and Japan for the same reasons...the strategic importance of the areas.

This war has certainly had it's problems, I'm not denying that. Hindsight being 20/20 and all, there were things that should have been done differently in regards to dismantling the old military force, and anticipating the influx of terrorists from Syria and Iran. A greater understanding of the political/religious differences in the Islamic factions by the ground troops would might have made parts of the mission easier too.

This is complicated by the opportunists in both the Sunni and Shia factions who sought to use the inevitable chaos of war to their own political advantage. So, yeah, it's been more difficult than initially anticipated. Add to that the fact that we are constantly adjusting to an entirely new type of urban guerrilla warfare as we go, and you have a war that is just unlike anything we've fought before.

Also, this hasn't been an entirely military endeavor. The diplomacy involved in helping the new government get off on the right foot has been absolutely critical. Getting bitter religious and political enemies to see the necessity of having to work together for the benefit of ALL Iraqis has been a major hurdle. Showing people who have lived for generations under corruption and torture that there IS a better way takes time, and there will be setbacks along the way.

So what will Victory in Iraq look like? It will look much the same as now, but with the IRAQI army and police fending off the terrorists. Heh...I imagine it will look much like Israel in that respect, a sovereign nation that has to fight off terrorists who want to destroy their government and way of life. Defeat in Iraq will only happen if we leave BEFORE the Iraqis can really fend for themselves and the terrorists succeed in overthrowing the government.


Read more!

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Ender's Game or Logan's Run?

James Taranto's Best of the Web in the today starts off with a piece about the Left and the 'problem' of overpopulation-

People on the leftward side of the political spectrum say they want to "keep government out of your bedroom," by which they usually mean they oppose restrictions on abortion. This is a bit of a non sequitur, since few abortionists make house calls. But you can see the logic: Restrictions on abortion may inhibit sexual behavior; hence they are a government intrusion "into the bedroom."

But it's an oddity of today's politics that abortion proponents tend to be allied with environmentalists, and environmentalists want government in every room in your house, from the bathroom (mandatory low-flow toilets) to the kitchen (energy saving appliances) to the garage (fuel-economy standards) to--well, any room with artificial lighting (the bulbs had better be the compact fluorescent variety).

So it turns out the only room in the house these characters want to keep the government out of is the bedroom, and only when the lights are off. And don't count on the bedroom remaining a safe haven, either. For there is, as it turns out, a nexus between abortion and environmentalism. Consider this story from the Australian:

Having large families should be frowned upon as an environmental misdemeanour in the same way as frequent long-haul flights, driving a big car and failing to reuse plastic bags, says a report to be published today by a green think tank.

The paper by the Optimum Population Trust will say that if couples had two children instead of three they could cut their family's carbon dioxide output by the equivalent of 620 return flights a year between London and New York.

John Guillebaud, co-chairman of OPT and emeritus professor of family planning at University College London, said: "The effect on the planet of having one child less is an order of magnitude greater than all these other things we might do, such as switching off lights.

The headline of the story is "Children 'Bad for Planet.' " So the idea is if you want to leave the planet a nice place for your grandchildren, you shouldn't have children.
(emphasis mine)

As usual, James puts it rather succinctly. When this hit the newswire yesterday all I could think of was Orson Scott Card's 1985 novel, Ender's Game. In this book, because of overpopulation concerns families were increasingly taxed for every child they had past the first two, and only the first two received free education and health care. Is that where we're headed? Look at China, and what people there are going through to have more than one child.

I was listening to Michael Medved yesterday talking about this on the radio, and he made the point that the problem (if you believe that we are overpopulating the planet) isn't that people are having too many kids but rather that people aren't dying as young. In many parts of the developed world the birth rate is already well below the rate needed to maintain current populations, to the point that many countries, particularly in Europe are importing more and more people just to keep their infrastructure and standard of living from collapsing.

The thought that the 'problem' is caused not by too many births but by too few deaths lead me to think of another science fiction book, Logan's Run. In this one, the problem of overpopulation is solved by the humane euthanasia of all people who reach a certain age (in the original book, written in 1967, that age was 21!). Looking at assisted suicide advocates, especially in parts of Europe, this seems less and less far fetched.

So, what does this all mean?

If you believe that we are overpopulating and thereby destroying the planet, it shows how a couple of science fiction writers are eerily prescient about the 'solutions' to our current woes. If you believe that because of the already declining birthrate, the higher standard of living worldwide today, and advances in everything form medicine to farming that make it easier to do more with less, then it could just mean that I read too much sci-fi!

(and I didn't even get into the Left's intrusiveness into our bedrooms in this piece!)

Tags- ,

Read more!

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Democrats, the Army, and a rant or two

Just the other day my Dad was musing about whether or not the new, improved vehicles have gotten to Iraq yet. I guess the answer is no-

Armored Vehicles for Iraq Delayed

CAMP FALLUJAH, Iraq - The armored carrier has a grim black slash across its side, burn marks on the door and a web of cracks along the window.

Like most of the Mine Resistant, Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicles in Anbar province, this one has been hit as many as three times by enemy fire and bomb blasts. Yet, to date, no American troops have died while riding in one.

But efforts to buy thousands more carriers - each costing about $1 million - could be delayed if the White House and Congress do not resolve their deadlock over a $124.2 billion war spending bill.


If I hear ANY Democrat decrying the fact that 'our boys are dying over there because they don't have these vehicles', I may well bite my tongue off trying to be civil.

If the Dems REALLY cared about the troops, and about getting them home safely and quickly, they would pass a funding bill TOMORROW with no time line and no extra pork projects. But, as we know, these idiots are more interested in lining their own pockets and in thumbing their nose at anything the President says he needs. I swear, if the President mentioned that the White House is painted white, certain members of the opposition party would denounce him as a racist and demand that the building be repainted (at tax payer expense of course) to reflect the multicultural nature of the country.

It never occurs to them that the fastest way to get our guys home might just be to give them the tools they need to do their job and let them go do it! In that, the Administration does have some culpability. They are the ones who occasionally tie the hands of our troops in the current Rules of Engagement. But at least THAT I can understand, they are trying to do the job AND keep the local population on our side. That's tough in the best of circumstances.

And, lest anyone thing I never have anything bad to say about the Army, I read this piece today as well-

Senator Tells Army to Reconsider M4

It seems that the Army is ordering more M4's, even though they have shown to be less than optimal in the current conflicts, and there are other weapons that ARE available.

Now, admittedly, it could well be that they needed to get this new contract to get something in the works to get more weapons in our soldiers hands more quickly. But even so, at the very least I can hear the liberals already crying out how we don't send out our troops with the best equipment money can buy (never mind the fact that they don't want to PAY for that equipment!).

Sigh. Hopefully they will be looking at these other alternatives as well and coming up with a better general issue weapon in the very near future. But I know these things take time. Maybe some of my military minded readers can let me know their opinions on the other potential weapons being discussed?

Tags- ,

Read more!