Thursday, March 31, 2005

We Honor Sergeant First Class Paul R. Smith

Sergeant First Class Paul R. Smith is our first Medal of Honor recipient in the War on Terrorism.

The White House has announced that Sgt. 1st Class Paul R. Smith will be posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor during a White House ceremony on April 4. Sgt. Smith will be the first Soldier to receive the Medal of Honor for actions during the war on terrorism. To learn about Sgt. Smith's exemplary actions during the Battle of Baghdad Airport, and how he exemplifies the Warrior Ethos, please visit:

Here is a section of the Citation, summarizing the effect of his brave actions :
Sgt. 1st Class Smith’s actions saved the lives of at least 100 Soldiers, caused the failure of a deliberate enemy attack hours after 1st Brigade seized the Baghdad Airport, and resulted in an estimated 20-50 enemy soldiers killed. His actions inspired his platoon, his Company, the 11th Engineer Battalion and Task Force 2-7 Infantry.

I suggest that you go there to read the complete details on the heroic actions this fine soldier, learn a bit more about the man as well, by reviewing his profile.

Thanks to Jack Army for providing the links.


John of Castle Argghhh reminds us why we should pray there are no more reasons to award this honor, in An Army of One.

Terri Schiavo : Rest in Peace

Terri Schindler Schiavo died this morning, ending a 14-day ordeal of starvation. Sadly, her parents and other family were not with her at the end.

( - After 14 days without food or water, Terri Schiavo died around 9:50 Thursday morning - shortly after her parents issued an emotional plea to be at her hospice bedside in her final moments of life.

Terri's husband and legal guardian, Michael Schiavo, denied the Schindler family's final request to be with Terri as she took her last breath.

At least her ordeal is over. Our prayers go out to her family.

Words have failed me, here are some worthy thoughts from others I trust ...

"May Spirit touch (and heal) the hearts of all involved."

"...we think the fight needs fighting, and isn't over."

For today, that is enough.

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Speaking of Living Wills

Some updates on the status of Terri's case ...

On the positive side, one effect has been the continuing dialog regarding Living Wills. On the surface, this sounds like something one has to sit down and create for the express purpose of directing medical care. But what about written evidence from other sources??

I found this item in the Seattle Times today of interest, discussing how the recorded words of Pope John Paul II can be used as a Living Will statement by the pontiff ...

A year ago, Pope John Paul II turned Catholic teaching on its head when he declared that it was a moral obligation to provide food and water indefinitely, even to patients in a vegetative state with no hope of recovery.

"The administration of water and food, even when provided by artificial means, always represents a natural means of preserving life, not a medical act," he said at an international conference last March.

Now, with reports that the ailing, 84-year-old pontiff may return to the hospital to have a feeding tube inserted into his stomach, and with the recent spotlight on such issues in light of Terri Schiavo's case, those words are being re-read. John Paul's words may indicate what he wants for his own care and how the Vatican will go about making such decisions.

"The closest thing we have to a living will for John Paul is this document he issued a year ago," said the Rev. Thomas Reese, a Vatican expert and editor of America, a Catholic weekly. "Clearly, it's going to be very difficult to disconnect any fluids or hydration from him because that can be interpreted as his will about how he would want to be treated."

When I scanned the web for information on various forms, I found the distinction between a Living Will and a Medical (or Health Care) Power of Attorney of interest. The Living Will contains a person's statements about specific actions and treatments that they wish to permit, or want to avoid, in their own treatment.

Even with a Living Will, however, problems can occur in interpretation against a specific scenario. Witness the debate over whether a feeding tube does or does not constitute 'medical treatment'. In my view, it does not - but the decision in Terri's case is not in line with my views.

The form with more flexibility, and potential power, than the Living Will is the Durable Medical Power of Attorney. This allows me to specify who I want to make the decisions for me when I can't make them for myself.

More importantly, these two can be used together, as they are not mutually exclusive. I personally will be looking at how to create the best protection for myself, as each of us needs to tailor to our own wishes and situation.

If you search for "Living Wills", you will see tons of resources to search for forms, most of which are organized for specific states. Tip - use these to understand the outlines and basic format, then work with a lawyer to build your documents. This is not a place to play expert by yourself!

Other updates ...

Red Guy in a Blue State has a weird item to consider - check out Is this Ironic or What?

And look who has suddenly made an appearance in the media on this ... Jesse Jackson. Oh good, we were ALL waiting for that, weren't we? Hat tip to Jeff at Digital Brown-Pajamas.

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Links today

Have you ever imagined what would happen when a helicopter meets a wire in flight? As a rare survivor of just such an event, helicopter pilot extraordinaire Chief Bill explains Why he Hates Wires.
... I'm just glad his Guardian Angel keeps close tabs on him!

Lest we forget that there are still activities happening in the Other Sandbox, John has some updates today in his Afghan Bulletin.

Remember SFC McNaughton? If you haven't read his story, review this item from last April on Blackfive. The latest news is that he has graduated from quick runs with the President to complete marathons! Not bad for a soldier with one leg to stand on, eh?

And somebody needs to let Eric of Straight White Guy know that his blog-sitter, Acidman, has been wreaking havoc in his absence! Let's see, he's been attacking Elvis, setting fire to the deck, and evading the law! Word has it he has tried to blame it all on the now tail-less kitty, to boot! Eric - you better get home soon, man!

Monday, March 28, 2005

Change is inevitable

After more than 30 years of flying helicopters for the Army and Guard, Bill the Rotorhead of Castle Argghhh! is talking about retiring. He has compiled a long and impressive resume, which is a joy to read...

While you're there - check out John's Milblogging 101. Some good tips there for all of us, even when OpSec isn't an issue.

I certainly am glad that I don't have to worry about endangering others with what I post. The Milbloggers who manage to do this while both entertaining and informing us certainly have a challenge - and live up to it well, as far as I can see.

For those who no longer serve, Sgt B muses about Echoes Of The Past.

Busy day today, so I'll try to add more later ...

Saturday, March 26, 2005

Interviews and other events

New friend and blogger Frank stopped by to fill the final interview spot yesterday. Frank has been exploring many avenues in the Blogosphere since he started blogging ... Go here to read the Q&A, on Frank's CondiPundit site ... there is even a free joke to demonstrate his fine sense of humor! You should also check out his support for the Military on He That Shall Live This Day, and for general links of interest, scan Poor Frank's Almanac.

Frank asked if he was going to be famous now that he's been interviewed here?
*snicker* Yeah, sure ... I told you he had a great sense of humor... Good one, Frank!!!

This wraps up my interview list. Thanks to everyone who played - John / Argghhh!, name scout, FuzzyBear Lioness, and Phil / Red Guy in a Blue State. I had fun, I hope you did, too!

Meanwhile, we've got anniversaries, birthdays, and other events to celebrate ...

Straight White Guy Eric celebrates 11 years of marital bliss - Happy Anniversary, Eric and Mrs. SWG! Be sure to read the story he wrote for last year's anniversary, it's got a great ending.

Today is my friend Bad Cat Robot's birthday ... HAPPY BIRTHDAY, Bad Cat! I hope your day is full of everything you want :-) Lunch is on me next chance we get!

Hat tip to John at Castle Argghhh, who has been soliciting ideas for gifts! Check out the thoughts for the fine female feline ;-)

Many of us are celebrating Easter today, check out Grayhawk's banner, and read about Easter traditions while you are there.

For a little lighter fare on Easter, Margi Lowry points us to Cap'nWacky's. Click next as often as you dare ;-)

New blog alert!

Check out Shades of Gray, brand new this week. From this post, it looks like we have another former Marine in action. Welcome, Sir!

Friday, March 25, 2005

Interview with the Lioness

My friend FuzzyBear Lioness, another denizen of Castle Argghhh, has agreed to be interviewed here! If you're counting, that makes my fourth interview, so feel free to leave a comment with 'Interview Me' if you want to play the game.

Note : If you have not had occasion to meet FBL at the Castle comment parties, you might enjoy reviewing one or two of them.

Ladies and Gents, and anyone else within range, I give you an Interview with FuzzyBear Lioness...

1) If you could be anyone else in Contemporary History, who would you be? Why?

Well, if I could be anyone else in Contemporary History, it would probably be Condoleeza Rice. Why? She's strong, smart, sexy, confident, powerful ... need I go on? Come to think of it, she must have some Lioness blood in her...

2) What is the most embarrassing moment in your life thus far?

The most embarrassing moment in my life so far would have to be the time I was dragged (unprovoked) tail-first through the castle, extorted, told I "weighed a ton," and tossed into the hot tub. And what happened next... well... I refuse to turn THIS into my most embarrassing moment... Although, hmmm...maybe the Chief was even MORE embarrassed! ;)

3. What is your favorite joke?

The best jokes are the ones we Castle Denizens perpetrate on each other (of course), but I've enjoyed the following recently:

A wealthy old lady goes on a photo safari in Africa, taking her pet poodle along for company.

One day the poodle starts chasing butterflies and before long discovers he is lost. Wandering about, he notices a leopard heading rapidly in his direction with the obvious intention of having lunch. The poodle thinks, "Uh-oh, I'm in deep trouble now!"

Seeing some bones on the ground nearby, he immediately settles down to chew on them with his back to the approaching cat. Just as the leopard is about to leap, the poodle exclaims loudly, "Boy, that was one delicious leopard. I wonder if there are any more around here."

Hearing this, the leopard halts in mid-stride with a look of terror on his face, and slinks away. "Whew,"says the leopard. "That was close! That poodle nearly had me!"

Meanwhile, a monkey who had been watching from a nearby tree figures he can put his knowledge to good use. So, off he goes, following the leopard. But the poodle sees him, and figures that something must be up.

The monkey catches up with the leopard, spills the beans and strikes a deal. The leopard is furious at being made a fool of and says, "Here monkey, hop on my back and see what's going to happen to that conniving canine."

Now the poodle sees the leopard coming with the monkey on his back and thinks, "What am I going to do now?". But instead of running, the dog sits down with his back to his attackers, pretending he hasn't seen them yet. Just when they get close enough to hear, the poodle says.....................

"Where's that damn monkey? I sent him off half an hour ago to bring me another leopard!"

[Of course, I would never fall for something like that. But here's the leopard's eternal problem... in order to make him so fast, God had to keep him lean and light--and grey matter is pretty dense stuff!]

4. What was your favorite toy when you were a kid?

Kid? Kid??!! Now, there may be some confusion about my specific classification, but I am NOT a goat!*Harrumph*

However, I will respond to the intent of your question... That's a hard one, but my favorite toy was probably the out-of-doors. I raced around on my bike, climbed trees, looked under rocks, caught turtles, tadpoles and garter snakes, and laid in the sun in the tall grasses of the backyard. *Purrrrring at the thought of warm sun on my tummy and dry grasses at my back*

5. What is the worst job you've ever held?

I've held a lot of jobs I didn't like, mostly when I was in college, but none of them really stand out. The worst ones usually involved cleaning men's bathrooms. Ugh. "Pigs" doesn't even begin to describe it!

Thanks again for playing, FBL! I hope your day is full of warm sun and happy purrs :-)

Thursday, March 24, 2005

The Armorer Speaks, and the Chief has a headache...

The Armorer of Castle Argghhh!, aka John Donovan, has posted his responses for the Interview game today. Oh, he whined a little about the Rulez, but I think it's just a cry for attention - so go read his answers.

While you're there, check out his update on Terri Schiavo, and keep her family in your thoughts and prayers.

While you are thinking of her, spend some time contemplating those who are tying to help her, such as this young fellow who was arrested for trying to take water to a dying woman. Hat tip to Bunker for this one.


Rachel has a fine rant on the topic of killing Terri at Blue-Eyed Infidel.

Would it be okay if someone walked up to her bed right now and punched Terri in the face? Why not? Why can't someone just physically beat on her until she dies. She can't defend herself any more than she can feed herself. The courts have declared that she is to die, so why not speed it up? Choke her. Put a pillow over her face. You don't even have to be violent about it, just use tape to close off her nostrils and cover her mouth completely. It will only take a few minutes.

If she's a vegetable, she won't know. She's incapable of suffering by starvation, then she's incapable of suffering by suffocation.

So why in holy hell is everyone okay with her taking a week or more to die instead of five minutes? WHY?? Because five minutes would be "murder" and up to two weeks is "respecting Terri's wishes"?

Go read the whole thing - it'll help you build up a nice head of steam as well...

For some good news out of Iraq, which actually made the major news outlets, check out Major K's Another Big Score.... Of course, he also points out the other story that the newsies may have missed.

On the Lighter side ...

Chief Bill the Rotorhead provides some background on how just reading the regs will cause mental anguish. Is it any wonder that pilots are a bit teched??

Finally, you should not leave a Gnome on guard duty when traveling away from your blog! Boudicca explains why here.

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Interviews and Current Events

INTERVIEW 2 of 3 (so far)

I wanted to share the interview responses that I received from my third interview volunteer, 'name scout'. For those of you who are not regular denizens of Castle Argghhh!, Scout is one of the scruples who call the Castle home. They are an active part of the Castle's lively clan, so I was glad to have the chance to ask some questions of Scout for the continuing Interview meme. I also thank Scout for correcting me gently on the misspelling of 'Scruple'. This shouldn't happen again, now that I have taught the spell checker the correct spelling!

Make sure to read the Q&A all the way through, as I have other updates which will tie in below...

Interview with name scout

1. What are Scuples[sic], and where do you come from?

>>hzz. Pretty barb-lady funny. name scout not be scu’pl, be scrup’l. scrup’ls be canidae what hy’umun throw away, sometimes on road. call same pound-puppy. name scout from breeder not want cuz markings not perfect. name kc from interstate 95 ten miles from nearest house. name muffy from farm pless. name jake not know where from. bigfoot say was find in woods when three month old.

2. How did you meet Bigfoot, er ... I mean Chief Bill?

>>hzzz. bigfoot find. [*shrug*] circumstance vary. mostly dumb scrup’l luck.

3. What's your earliest happy memory?

>>hzzz. mother. fur sof’. name muffy say same. name kc say same. name jake say see bigfoot.

4. Besides squirrel/Chocolate-Chip cookies, what is traditional scruple food?

>>hzzzz. scrup’l like crunch food what live in big red-white bag what live in garage pless. not eat chok’lit or squirrel. that rĂ´le-pleh for make hy’umuns laugh. hzzzzz. funny. chase squirrel, though.

5. Can you speak cat? If so, what do the cats at the Castle talk about when Beth and John are away?

>>hzzz. name jake good at cat-thing talk. cat-thing live down road visit, scrup’ls and cat-thing curl up in huge ball and sleep in sun after pleasantries. cat-thing name annie and cat-thing name hal not talk much at castle pless. sometimes talk about get head skritch from pretty lady what give chin tickles. sometimes kibitz chess game because name kc sucker for sacrificial pawn.

>>hzzz. pretty barb-lady nice. name scout give freebie. answer question what not is asked. scrup’l not choose other animal form, choose hy’umun. hy’umun have precious gift, but sometimes forget and not thank for gift. sometimes forget have gift. some hy’umun not believe have gift. scrup’l would cherish and honor gift, cuz not have. reason scrup’l hang around hy’umun is to be close to gift.

gift is name soul.

Scout is a very wise scrup'l, and speaks great truth. Life, as a biological thing, is amazing - but what makes us unique is our humanity ... our compassion ... and yes, our souls. We are more than the sum of our organic components, or we are nothing.

There have been some intense discussions taking place recently at the Castle, and in many other places around the blogosphere, regarding the court ordered removal of Terri Schiavo's feeding tube last Friday.

John Donovan notes that we have passed the 100-hour mark into the starvation of Terri, and I echo his concerns that we need to continue this discussion as a society. For previous discussions, go here, and here.

Some other good reads on the issue :

Mudville : Terri's Update - Denied

Red Guy in a Blue State : Waking People Up

TheRight-Stuff : No Justice for Terri

Digital Brown-Pajamas : Terri Schiavo

Froggy Ruminations : Michael Schiavo has won

IMAO : The Humane Thing to Do ...
** Warning - severe sarcasm alert - your mileage may vary.

... as well as the complete blogroll of Blogs for Terri on the right side of this site.

We need to keep Terri and her family in our thoughts and prayers. We also need to think deeply about what this says about us as a society, and how we want to deal with the helpless in our midst. This topic won't go away, even if we let Terri starve.

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Interview Game - Part 2

All right, in my previous post, I answered the questions put to me by Sgt B. Now it's my turn to be the interviewer!

So far, there are two volunteers who have agreed to respond to my questions. Thanks for playing, Phil of Red Guy / Blue State (love that blog name for some reason!), and John of Castle Argghhh!. Your questions are below, send me the link to your post when you are done. Remember to add the Official Rules in your post as well!



1. How would you describe yourself, and how would this differ from your spouse's description of you?

2. If you had to choose an animal form, what would it be? Why?

3. What is your earliest memory?

4. What book do you read over again and again, and what takes you back to it?

5. When you were a child, what did you want to be when you grew up? Why?


Leave me a comment saying “interview me”. The first five commenters will be the participants.I will respond by asking you five questions.You will update your blog/site with the answers to the questions.You will include this explanation and an offer to interview someone else in the same post.When others comment asking to be interviewed, you will ask them five questions. (Write your own questions or borrow some.)

If you have just wandered in, and would like to play, please feel free to indicate so here in comments Use the same questions and send me the link to your answers!

-- UPDATE --

Check out Phil's responses

The Interview Game - Questions and Answers

Well, I got suckered in by the Interview game, thanks to Sgt B at The Gun Line. What happens is that I will respond to the 5 interview questions posed by the Sarge, and in turn, I'll see if I can convince some other interesting folks to let me interview them. Make sure that you go over to the Sarge's place and check out his interview questions and answers as well !!


Leave me a comment saying “interview me”. The first five commenters will be the participants.I will respond by asking you five questions.You will update your blog/site with the answers to the questions.You will include this explanation and an offer to interview someone else in the same post.When others comment asking to be interviewed, you will ask them five questions. (Write your own questions or borrow some.)

The Questions:

1) If you could be anyone else in Contemporary History, who would you be? Why?

Adm. Grace Hopper , one of the pioneers of modern computing. She did something amazing for anyone, but especially so for a woman, being part of the the creation of the first compiler languages. Many years ago a friend of mine had the pleasure of hearing her speak at a technical symposium, at which she also gave out 'nanoseconds'. These were pieces of wire cut to the length, approx. 1 foot, that a light travels in a nanosecond. She also pulled a 'microsecond' out of her bag to show it off! And heck - how many women do you know with a Guided Missile Destroyer named for them??

2) A benevolent Alien has offered you a ride in its spaceship. Where would you like to go?

I would ask to visit the world(s) that they came from, to see a completely different civilization and culture. I'd also ask to visit any other worlds with life on them, at least to view from orbit.

3) What sound turns you on?

I love the sounds of water falling, pounding and rushing - whether it be waterfalls or waves crashing on the sand. When hiking, I love to find waterfalls and streams. Last year I was hiking back down the Muir Snowfield in Mount Rainier National Park, and I heard the sound of water, but couldn't see where it came from. The snowfield is huge - but there were places where the rocks underneath came through the snow pack. I finally found this stream of rushing ice-cold water emerging from under the snowpack to fall about 35 feet along the rocks, and disappear again under the snow - what a rush!

4) When you arrive at the Pearly Gates, what do you want to hear God say to you?

Welcome - come on inside. The whole gang is here, and they've been waiting for you.

5) What (or who) is your favorite monster? Why?

I don't know that I have an individual favorite - but werewolves are the monsters that fascinate me the most. They are passionate and powerful, and thoroughly in tune with their senses. I love the dual nature of their being, with the wild animal living close under the surface of the human exterior.

There you go, Sarge! Hope you enjoy :-)

Who wants to play next? Just leave me a comment saying "Interview Me" - I'll be gentle ...

Monday, March 21, 2005

Congress and the President act ...

I decided to start a new post to track the current action in the Terri Schiavo case, to highlight the activities of the last 24 hours. There has been progress, but this is merely another notch in the belt, we have a ways to go yet.

Congress pulled a session over the weekend, and managed to pass legislation to pull the case into Federal jurisdiction. John of Argghhh! notes the interesting numbers of those who either did not vote, or who voted against the measure. Take a moment to check on your own legislators, and see if you are happy with their voting.

BlogsForTerri lists the 5 Republicans who voted against the bill, one of whom is from my own state - although not my district. This is his first term - wonder if it will be his last?

There is a hearing set for 3pm eastern regarding a restraining order to reinstate the feeding tube. Seems like this is all moving at a turtle's pace to me.

Mrs. Grayhawk has a comprehensive post over at Mudville Gazette, including an enlightening note that Mr. Schiavo, when interviewed on Larry King Live, was not sure what Terri's wishes would be at all!

This just strengthens my feelings towards erring on the side of life where we don't have specific guidance from a Living Will.

Paul at Whizbang says the Democrats who voted against the bill were "brilliant. For 53 votes, they tar their whole party with the stench of trying to kill this poor woman. They define tone-deaf. "

I'll update this post as I can today...

Sunday, March 20, 2005

Terri Update : Palm Sunday

Updates - Sunday March 20

We are heading into the third day of the court-ordered starvation of Terri Schiavo. There is some hope for the Congress performing at least a holding action:

(Kansas City Star)

"Time is not on Terri Schiavo's side," DeLay said. "The few remaining objecting House Democrats have so far cost Mrs. Schiavo two meals already today."

GOP-led Congress poised to pass bill to keep Florida woman alive

(Miami Herald)

President Bush stood ready at the White House, lawyers stood ready at a Florida courthouse and nurses stood ready at Terri Schiavo's bedside as Congress moved Sunday to the brink of approving a bill that could prolong the brain-damaged woman's life.

At press time, though much remained uncertain, it seemed quite possible that Schiavo could be reconnected to life support overnight or by noon today as a case that has galvanized national and worldwide attention opens another new chapter.

''We hope to get you some water,'' family attorney David Gibbs said he told Schiavo. "We hope to get you some dinner later on.''

President prepared to sign measure

Michelle Malkin has a rundown of the last minute action taking place to save Terri, on this Palm Sunday and first day of Spring.

Gramaugus weighs in on the topic, pointing out that doctors first analysis of a patient is sometimes wrong. In addition, he ponders why this is such a polarizing issue :

I've noticed the reactions across the internet to this case and come to a conclusion about hardcore left wingers: regardless of the subject, they will oppose conservatives to the death simply because conservatives feel strongly about it. The fact that there are thousands of people cheering to starve this woman to death on the basis that "It's what she wanted" without even examining the facts of this case sickens me. They won't even look at the shady, negligent, bullshit going on regarding the care (or lack) of this woman. Never mind that she doesn't have a living will, and her husband stands to get a whole lot of money when she dies. Never mind that her parents want to keep her alive and take over care. Ignore the fact that she's shown that she reacts to stimuli, seemed to try to talk (in fact she got so agitated the cops made everyone leave the room: yeah, that sounds like brain dead, sure), and there are doctors who have stated for the record they have had patients recover (at least partially) from
the same conditions. Disregard the fact that it will take up to two weeks for this woman to slowly dehydrate to death, a process that was described by a woman who recovered from a similar case (she started showing signs of activity that sound alot like what Terri Schiavo has and they re-inserted the feeding tube) as excruciatingly painful.

I am in favor of Living Wills, and if there was one available to tell us what Terri wanted, I would not stand in the way of it being followed. But I have to agree with Grau and others - we should err on the side of Life. It will be so hard to undo the damage after her death.

Updates - Saturday March 19

John Donovan notes that under Florida law ...

you do this to a dog, you go to jail and get fined. Under Florida law, you can't do this to a condemned inmate. It would be considered cruel and unusual punishment.

But you can do it to Terri. ...

Read the rest here. John proposes that Mr. Schiavo should suffer exactly what he is putting Terri through.

A more interesting variation on that theme was proposed a few days ago by another Castle Denizen, Chief Bill (see the comments of my previous post on Terri's plight) :

Scuzzball Husband adamantly refused to provide a physical therapy regimen for Terri on the grounds that trying to teach her to eat again could cause her to choke to death--the courts bought off on it; therapists have testified that, even in her present condition, Terri has a good chance of learning to eat again, yet SH adamantly insists that she be starved to death--and those same courts have bought off on that, too.

I can think of several candidates I would cheerfully place on a provisionless raft and set adrift in the South Atlantic. On second thought, I'd give them a week's supply of canned food...and no can opener.

I like the way he thinks.

Friday March 18 / 9pm eastern

Beth of SWWBO ponders "How can a woman who has harmed no one be put to death by order of her unfaithful husband?"

Fr. Rob describes the medical 'Exit Protocol' - how the doctors plan to treat someone they are starving to death.

Friday, March 18 / 1:45pm eastern

Terri's feeding tube was removed...

Friday, March 18

There is some good news on the Blogs For Terri site today. Many thanks to Chief Bill from Castle Argghhh! for pointing out this item :


The Chairman of the Health, Education, Labor, and Pension (HELP) Committee, Mike Enzi (R-Wyoming) has requested Terri Schiavo to testify before his congressional committee, the DRUDGE REPORT has learned. In so doing it triggers legal or statutory protections for the witness, among those protections is that nothing can be done to cause harm or death to this individual.

A stroke of genius! This should provide time for the House and Senate bills to be worked out. Information on how to contact key members of Congress is found in this post on the Blogs for Terri site today.

Here are some other sites with interesting takes on the issue ...

Corie at Insane Troll Logic has a New Hero : Sen. Mike Enzi, who deserves recognition for doing the right thing.

Fr. Rob at Thrown Back points out that, in contrast, the senior senator from Massachusetts is leading the charge against a Senate bill.

John at Blogotional writes about the political abuse of the power over life and death.

Tim at Blogicus has several worthy items, start at the top and scan down.

Wednesday, March 16

Update from my post here.

I just read that the Florida Dept. of Children and Families (DCF) will not take any further action to intervene in the Terri Schiavo case. The DCF has arrived at the conclusion that "there is insufficient evidence of abuse to proceed."

This is a complete Cop Out - apparently driven by the refusal of the court, specifically Judge Greer, to extend the deadline. Rather than force the issue, they are bowing out, and leaving Terri to her death sentence. Currently the court ordered removal of the feeding tube is planned for Friday, the 18th.

I fail to understand how any agency of the state of Florida can stand by and permit a cold-blooded killing to occur. The concerns of abuse raised by Terri's parents, the incredible denial of all treatment to help Terri herself, and the amount of money that Mr. Schiavo stands to inherit, all add up to foul play. It's happening in slow motion, and we are unwilling witnesses to the action.

From John at Castle Argghhh, here is a list of suggestions for action :

Blog about Terri's plight and these action items. You can join the list of BlogsforTerri here.

Support Florida
House Bill 701 and Senate Bill 2128 by calling your Florida representatives.

Support the Federal Incapacitated Person's Protection Act (
click here) by calling your Federal representatives,

Ask Gov. Jeb Bush to intervene and put Terri in protective custody (
click here)

BlogsforTerri is sponsoring an ongoing campaign to bypass the mainstream media by purchasing advertising (click here).

I don't know how much one more piece of email will help, but I sent one to Governor Bush with my plea ...

Governor Bush,

Please find a way to halt the removal of the feeding tube from Ms. Schiavo this Friday. To permit this helpless woman to starve to death would be a horrible mistake, and would demonstrate a callous disregard for the well-being of individuals with no ability to stand up for themselves.

I beg you to act, to send in some department of the state to take action, and protect this woman from a cruel death. She deserves our protection and treatment, which has been denied to her, to permit her to regain some function. It is apparent from the videos that she is responsive to those around her, and clearly is NOT in a Persistent Vegetative State at all.

Thursday, March 17, 2005

What a relief!

Warning - discussion of bodily functions ahead! Proceed at your own risk ...

A couple of years ago I traveled to Bangalore, India on business, and had my first experience with a culture really different from my own. Many of the differences were expected - food, dress, languages, etc.

I still recall my surprise when I discovered that cows were sharing the road equally with cars, buses, motor scooters, bicycles and autorickshaws on the route from hotel to work. After traveling this route every day for 3 weeks, it became just another common place occurance.

I was, however, unprepared for the realization that large portions of the population had no qualms about relieving themselves in public places. Note that I'm not talking here about stepping behind a tree off the side of the road. No siree - I'm talking about men standing just off the street, beyond what passed for a sidewalk, taking care of business against a handy wall. The street in question was M.G. Road, short for Mahatma Ghandi Road, and was a large thoroughfare, along which sat 5-star hotels and the local shopping district! That's when I really knew I wasn't in Seattle anymore :-)

These memories came back to me as I read this story over at Nothing to see here...
Hat tip to MyView for the link.

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Gun fun...

I'm a little behind in my blog reading - I just scanned SarahK's Links of the Day from yesterday. Naturally, I had to check some of them out, and ended up locating a few fun items for the gun lover in me.

Tyler at 45-caliber Justice has a refresher course on the 2nd Amendment which is both entertaining and meaningful. Here's a sampler:

L. The Second Amendment is in place in case they ignore the others.
M. 64,999,987 firearm owners killed no one yesterday.

At Guns and Glory I found a quick 8-point list on how not to get shot by the US Military.

And finally, if guns alone were not enough, I offer you Boomershoot. An event mixing shooting with explosives, and only a short 5 hour drive from where I live. From the FAQ ...

Q: Shouldn't it be illegal?
A: Only if you are a Puritan and afraid that someone, somewhere is having fun.

Terry Schiavo countdown

Three days and counting ...

Like many others, I have been following the story of Terry Schiavo with grave concerns. While I know what my choices would be, were such a catastrophe to befall me, I can't force my own desires on another person. The only way for any of us to be certain that our wishes are truly followed is to document them in a Living Will or similar legal instrument. Sadly, there is no such document to protect Terri, and so we have her husband's word against her parents for her wishes.

Beyond the lack of clear guidance on her desires, however, I find it sickening that Judge Greer is permitting the removal of a feeding tube, to cause Terri to starve to death. By many accounts, this will be a slow, painful death for this helpless woman, and is worse than the treatment that we give to condemned criminals. As Jeff at DigitalBrownPajamas points out, it is lower than our treatment of a terminally ill dog - at least the dog would be put down with an injection.

Am I advocating a lethal injection for Terri? Of course not, this is simply an illustration of the imbalance and lack of thought evident in this court decision. If nothing else is done to prevent this travesty, Terri's feeding tube will be removed this Friday, and the starvation will begin.

John of Argghhh has some concrete suggestions on how we can help Terri,
And the site Blogs for Terri is a terrific compilation of articles and links - update often.

Sunday, March 13, 2005

If you have a blog, You should read this...

If you run a blog, and link to an item on a political candidate's web site, should that be considered a 'political contribution'?

This sounded silly when I first heard about it - after all, how many links are meant to improve the standing the standing of the linkee in these cases? Quite often, in fact, just the opposite is true - and the link is being used to belittle a viewpoint or heap scorn on the candidate.

However, we can't afford to laugh away the Federal Election Commission, or Judge Kollar-Kotelly :

But last September U.S. District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly overturned the decision, arguing that the "commission's exclusion of Internet communications from the coordinated communications regulation severely undermines" the law's purpose. Interpreting this, Mr. Smith told CNET News that "any coordinated activity over the Internet would need to be regulated, as a minimum." This includes, but is not limited to, blogs and other sources of political news and opinion that might link to a candidate's Web page. (Washington Times / March 4)

There are some big blog names on the petition, from both sides of the political spectrum. This is not a partisan problem - it will affect all of us, unless we speak up now.

If this concerns you, as it does me, then please sign the online petition at The Online Coalition. When I signed it there were around 2360 signatures, and we need to spread the word.

Hat Tip to Bunker Mulligan. Also, take a look at what Cass at Villainous Company has written - as always, she provides much food for thought.

Bunker has more in-depth analysis on the need for Real Reform.
The Big Trunk at Powerline talks about what it is that Reformers really want at the Daily Standard.

Saturday, March 12, 2005

Catching Up

I blew out of the house early this morning to chase little white balls around a golf course, and am just getting caught up!

First and Foremost ... HAPPY BIRTHDAY, BETH! There was a comment party going on today at She Who Would Be Obeyed, in honor of Beth's Natal Day - heck, it may continue through the night! Hat Tip to John of Argghhh!, of course - who else but her husband to make sure the party got rollin'?

Sgt B at The Gun Line has completed his Haloscan upgrades and is back in biz with a great post about getting in touch with his Girlie Side.

Sean from DocInTheBox has been Mudville-lanched over 150,000 hits. His site has a lot of very cool stuff happening - go there to check out the clock at least :-)

And speaking of Grayhawk - help him celebrate 20 years in the service! Grayhawk - Thanks for your service, and that of your family as well.

Plus special thanks for the Milblogs, which bring us the viewpoints and stories of all of our armed service men and women - Job well done!

Finally - go visit Castle Argghhh! and play in the Caption Contest ...

Friday, March 11, 2005

More on the 81st coming home...

I received an email today from Rob, a friend serving with the 81st (see my previous post on the returning Washington National Guard unit). He was letting us know that he expects to be home soon! We are looking forward to having him back after his year in Iraq, and I will have a formal flag return ceremony when he comes back to work.

You see, I've been the keeper of his flag while he has been gone - it's hung on a wall of my cubicle since Independence Day last year, when I decided it should be enjoyed and honored, instead of being hidden in storage. Reading John's post yesterday on the proper treatment of Old Glory gave me a warm glow - and the commenters, as always, educated me as well.


Here's the letter from Rob, letting us know how the process of returning home will run :

Howzit Bra?

We have finally made it to Kuwait and are scheduled to leave for home on the 16th of March, which means I should be in Washington on the 17th. We are the last battalion to come home from the 81st brigade. It is going to be nice to be home.

We finally have some downtime after training and transferring equipment and authority to our replacements of the Hawaiian National Guard (hence the greeting this time). Things are a lot quieter for them and we have built up the place for them so they should have a good year. We convoyed down on the 2nd of March and have been cleaning equipment and getting conexes through Customs.

We are in a transient camp now and things are very sparse and nasty. We are living in a tent with 71 of our closest friends and there are lines whatever limited facilities are here. We had a few sandstorms and it is currently raining, so it looks like we haven’t lost our Northwest mojo. :-)

Things are getting better up in Baghdad. We had a rise in the number of explosions around the elections and just afterwards as the insurgents were venting their frustration, but it is nowhere near the intensity when we first got here and it declined rapidly.

In our time here we were able to run an election for a city council, build a clinic, repair a sewer system and set up a myriad of other contracts for the locals to better their Village. I think our time here was worthwhile.

That being said, I am tired and am happy to be going home. There is a lot of ugliness out here and I will be happy to leave it for the good ol’ USA.

... Thank you everyone for all the support you have given me throughout the year, it has meant a lot. I look forward to seeing you all again in much better circumstances.


Good to hear from you, Rob! We are counting the days until you are back with us :-)

Admin Note

I managed to install the Haloscan Trackback code last night, and was s-o-o-o proud of myself. Until I realized that I blew away all my existing comments in one fell swoop as well.


To any commenters out there, I apologize profusely. I happen to have captured a couple of comments yesterday and stored them, and will be adding them back today. The good news is, having finished the conversion, I don't expect to lose anything from here forward.

Whoo Hoo! Sgt B. has upgraded as well - COMMENT PARTY at FIREBASE ROCKFORD!

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Major K reports on heroism of Iraqi forces

Hat tip to Grayhawk for the link to this item from Major K in Iraq. I've noticed questions in various news reports on the effectiveness and training of the Iraqi Police (IP) and Security Forces (ISF).

The story Major K shares with us is but one counter example to those detractors. Here's a brief segment...

... The IP’s had successfully put themselves between the vehicle and the US convoy. Unable to deter the vehicle from approaching the US convoy or make it pull over, the IP’s fired at the engine of the encroaching vehicle. At this point, the driver detonated the IED inside his vehicle....

Go read the complete account, it's worth your time. Leave a message while you're there, it's a great way to let him know his work and observations are valued!


Some other blogs writing about this ...

Castle Argghhh! : Oh, BTW
The Jawa Report : Why We Shot at Sgrena and Killed Nicola Calipari
Cdr Salamander : Iraqi Police give their lives so American Soldiers will live
Villainous Company : Hearts of Fire

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Money can't buy Happiness, But ...

Gramaugus at Frizzen Sparks poses a great challenge : Respond to the Meme " If money were not an issue, what 5 Really Expensive Toys would I buy for myself?"

They have to be legal to own (at least where I live), and there's no reason for owning them required - except that I Want To!

My Picks --

1. To start with, I want a Hummer - the H1, not the smaller H2, any color but yellow. (MSRP of $137,508)

2. If Sgt B can get an extra Ma Deuce (his list has 4 of them!), I will have item 1 customized to provide a mount for it!

3. Since it will make no sense at all to drive said beast around the Seattle environs, I'd buy a large spread with a few hundred acres, east of the Cascades, with room to spread out and make noise.

4. For the commutes between the country home and the city home, I would get my helicopter license and buy a nice helo big enough to carry me and the Better Half, plus a couple of friends, over the pass between Seattle metro and the country spread. I'm still researching which model - look for an update later!

5. Finally, I need to add an Endless Pool to the house, in its own little sunroom off the back of the house.

Add your list here in comments, or share a link if you blog your list - and make sure to update Gramaugus to close the loop !

... John at Castle Argghhh! has posted his list, complete with pictures. Go check it out!

Wrong again, NY Times...

An editorial in the NY Times today shows again that they will take any anti-US personnel stance possible. This is a follow up to the wounding of Italian reporter Giuliana Sgrena when her rescuers sped towards an Army manned checkpoint, and failed to heed warning fire and signals.

The news of the Italian journalist whose car was sprayed by American gunfire on the way to the Baghdad airport stunned the world. But perhaps the worst thing about the wounding of the reporter, Giuliana Sgrena, and the killing of the Italian intelligence agent who was shielding her is that the attack wasn't unique.
Attack? What attack?

A car approaches a military checkpoint on a dangerous stretch of road, refuses to slow down and continues in the face of warning shots - this is not an 'attack' at all, and it is deliberately misleading for the Times Editorial to present it otherwise.

The procedures for manning checkpoints are no mystery, and placing the blame on the soldiers is a cheap shot. Any changes to these procedures would place our troops in greater danger - and that is completely unacceptable.

Cox and Forkum has a great image to further illustrate just how important it is to hold our line on this issue.

** UPDATE **

Reader CW4BillT provided a great example for enhancing your understanding. Rather than leave it hidden in the comments, I am adding it here for easy reading and comprehension...

Hypothetical situation for you:

1. You and your child are being approached in an alley by a running pit bull.

2. There have been confirmed sightings of a rabid pit bull in the area, but there are other pit bulls in your neighborhood, too.

3. All the neighborhood pit bulls have been trained to "sit" on command, no matter who commands them.

4. You command the approaching pit bull to "sit" and it keeps running toward you.

5. You holler "sit" louder this time and it keeps running toward you.

6. You have a loaded double-barrelled 12-gauge...

... There - does that help?

Others have some great viewpoints on this topic as well - check out :

Monday, March 07, 2005

Blogging the Military and the White House...

First item of consideration today is the approval of the first blogger to be given White House press credentials. As reported today in the NY Times technology section :

Another signal moment for bloggers is to occur this morning, when Garrett M. Graff, who writes a blog about the news media in Washington, is to be ushered into the White House briefing room to attend the daily press "gaggle."

Mr. Graff, 23, may be the first blogger in the short history of the medium to be granted a daily White House pass for the specific purpose of writing a blog, or Web log. A White House spokesman said yesterday that he believed Mr. Graff was the first blogger to be given credentials.

He is being given a press pass as the editor of FishbowlDC , a blog that is published by, which offers networking and services for journalists.


Here is a link to Garrett's first entry, I encourage everyone to add this blog to their BlogRoll, and patronize it well and respectfully to help encourage this brave new venture! Thanks to buddy Max for the hat tip.

MilBlogs in the News

In other blogging news, Matt at Blackfive notes that this week's edition of Army Times will carry a piece on MilBloggers. He includes this link to a preview list of the blogs to be reviewed, which includes some great MilBlogs that I have included on my blogroll, and adds some new ones that will bear checking out :
Some of these bloggers are former military, most are active, and many are currently in Iraq - or have recently returned to their pre-deployment bases. Note that this doesn't always mean the US, as Grayhawk of Mudville Gazette, the Cowboy and Cat from The Questing Cat, and Neil of Armor Geddon are all back in Germany.

If you want to read news from the folks who bring you the freedom of the press, check these sites out. If you want more, scan the MilBlog ring from Mudville Gazette, or roll down Blackfive's sidebar - opportunities abound!

So go read, and leave comments to let them know you've come to visit.

** UPDATE -- Band Of Bloggers on ArmyTimes**

According to Blackfive , the ArmyTimes issue is live online.

Below are the articles on the MilBlogs:
The Blogs Of War (New MilBlogging Article)
A Penny For Their Thoughts (MilBloggers Cash In?)
Learning FromBlogs (Editorial)

Friday, March 04, 2005

Busy Friday

It's a busy Friday, and I don't have bandwidth to blog much, so here are a few links to enlighten and amuse you ...

Dusty at Castle Argghhh discusses a new low for the LA Times - who knew they could sink lower?

Matt at Blackfive has a new story for the Someone You Should Know series. Go here to read about USAR Specialist Jeremy Church, who received a Silver Star for his actions.

Gunner Palace opens this weekend! As John of Argghhh points out, this one is about the troops, a definite must see. John provides links to the clips as well - I am excited!! Of course, those of us in the secondary markets may have to wait a little longer - I'll post an update as soon as I find out when and where to watch it here in the Seattle area.

For the lighter side, John has some tips on upcoming events, and if you need food for partying (virtual or otherwise!), check out the latest edition of the Carnival of the Recipes at Rocketjones - characterized by She Who Would Be Obeyed as a Literary Carnival!

... that is all for now. I'll try to make the rounds and add more later.

Thursday, March 03, 2005

Welcome home, Lt. Suits and the 81st ...

Yesterday's post on Operation Support Our Troops mentioned a rally this weekend for the returning 81st Brigade at Ft. Lewis. What I didn't realize is that the first soldiers of the unit have already returned.

Among the 137 soldiers who returned on Tuesday was Lt. Bryan Suits, a talk show host on the local radio station KVI.

Also meeting her husband was Rachel Suits of Issaquah. She and her husband, Lt. Bryan Suits, a KVI radio talk show host, had married last September when he was home on leave.

Five hours after they were married he was heading back to Iraq, she said.

"We never had a honeymoon,'' she said.

This past year Lt. Suits was able to report several times on the local situation by calling in to talk with Kirby Wilbur on the KVI morning show. While deployed he earned a Purple Heart and a Bronze Star.

The King County Journal story discussed the 81st involvement in Iraq ...
... Many more will be coming in the next three to four weeks as more than 3,500 members of the 81st Brigade come back to civilian life.

The unit's deployment to Iraq was the largest deployment of the state's national guardsmen since World War II.

You can read the entire article online here. Hat tip to Brian Crouch at Sound Politics.

Welcome Home 81st!! Good Job!

Decisions, decisions...

Actually, only one decision is on my mind today. That would be the one handed down recently from the Supreme Court of the United States, regarding the legality of executing minors for committing capitol crimes. You can view/download a PDF of the decision here.

Whether you personally support the death penalty or not, you ought to be concerned about the basis of the court's decision. It lies not in our Constitution, but in the sentiment of various other countries - and this is a dangerous step to take. I feel that the Court has abdicated their responsibility to the whims of the rest of the world, rather than judging this issue in relationship to the Constitution, which is their primary role.

As noted by Cassandra at Villainous Company

"...Although one can easily disagree with the practice of capital punishment, especially when it comes to the execution of minors, the reasoning behind the recent decision in Roper v. Simmons is hard to defend..."

I encourage you to read her takes on the topic here and here.

My question for you is ...

Should we allow the trends in the EU and other countries to dictate to our legal system, or should we demand that the Court follow its core role as the interpreters of the Constitution of this country?

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Rallies for Returning Troops

Listening to the radio today on the way to work, I heard of a Pacific NW group called Operation Support Our Troops. These folks try to provide links and resources on events like welcome home rallies and other events where we can show our support for the troops.

Washington is home to many military installations, so I really look forward to using this resource to stay in touch with local events!


On Friday the USS Shoup and the USS Abraham Lincoln are returning to Everett, at 8am and 10am respectively. Then on Saturday, the 81st Armored Brigade will start returning to Ft. Lewis. There are more details about both events on the Rally information page.

This site performs a great public service - in a brief scan I found other ideas on how to provide support and assistance to the troops and their families. Also, while the site is focused on the Pacific NW, but the links page includes support groups for several regions, as well as groups with broader reach.

From the Tributes page, here's a little Armed Forces Tribute for all the men and women who serve.


*** UPDATE ***

Blackfive beings us an article from Matt Friedman, a radio show host who received a call from a wounded Marine this past December ...

"...there were seven other soldiers that came home with me that day. We flew into JFK, and we were talking on the way back: What's going to happen? What will we be facing? Is it going to be like the Vietnam era, are there going to be people spitting at us?
"We didn't know. We had that much trepidation about it.
"We get into JFK, we step out of the breezeway into the main terminal, and directly in front of us was an elderly gentleman carrying a bag. And he immediately stopped, set his bag down, and the first thing we all thought was, 'Oh, Lord, here we go already.' He just stopped and looked at us for a second, and then tears came to his eyes and he saluted us..."

Go read the whole thing, it's worth it. This is the way it should be.

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

A Dwarf from Washington ...

Instructions from the Armorer today, on behalf of She Who Would Be Obeyed -- go forth and discover what kind of Dungeons & Dragons character I would be.

Never having played D&D, I was curious myself how this would work out, so I took the quiz, and here are the results :

I Am A: Lawful Neutral Dwarf Ranger Fighter

Lawful Neutral characters believe in the triumph of law and order above all else. It does not matter whether the leader is for good or evil; the leader will be followed, because the order they provide is the most important thing.

Dwarves are short and stout, and easily recognizable by their well-cared-for beards. They are hard workers, and adept at stonework and engineering. They tend to live apart from other races; generally in deep, underground excavated systems, and as such tend to be distant from other races.

Primary Class:
Rangers are the defenders of nature and the elements. They are in tune with the Earth, and work to keep it safe and healthy.

Secondary Class:
Fighters are the warriors. They use weapons to accomplish their goals. This isn't to say that they aren't intelligent, but that they do, in fact, believe that violence is frequently the answer.

Silvanus is the True Neutral god of nature. He is also known as the Patron of Druids. His followers believe in the perfect balance of nature, and believe that nature's bounty is preferable to any other 'civilizing' method. They wear leather or metallic scale mail, constructed of leaf-shaped scales. Silvanus's symbol is an oak leaf.

Find out What D&D Character Are You?, courtesy ofNeppyMan (e-mail)

Hmmm - I pictured myself taller, somehow.


Another fun mindless little test from Allan, of Inside Allan's Mind, illuminates Where in the US I have been ...

bold the states you've been to, underline the states you've lived in and italicize the state you're in now...

Alabama / Alaska / Arizona / Arkansas / California / Colorado / Connecticut / Delaware / Florida / Georgia / Hawaii / Idaho / Illinois / Indiana / Iowa / Kansas / Kentucky / Louisiana / Maine / Maryland / Massachusetts / Michigan / Minnesota / Mississippi / Missouri / Montana / Nebraska / Nevada / New Hampshire / New Jersey / New Mexico / New York / North Carolina / North Dakota / Ohio / Oklahoma / Oregon / Pennsylvania / Rhode Island / South Carolina / South Dakota / Tennessee / Texas / Utah / Vermont / Virginia / Washington / West Virginia / Wisconsin / Wyoming / Washington D.C /

Go HERE to have a form generate the HTML for you.

As to John's broad travels outside of the US, no contest. I've been to France, Germany (OK - really only the Frankfurt airport), and spent almost 2 months in India, as well as skiing and golfing in Canada pretty regularly.