Friday, March 30, 2007

Pardon the Dust!

I've decided to give the new Blogger template method a try, and downloaded a new template from The Blogger Workshop. I like the three column layout ... now I just have to figure out how to get stuff where I want it.

Expect changes for a day or two (or three) while I tweak.

*** UPDATE ***

The 3-column style rocks, and the Haloscan wizard to update the template for comments worked like a champ. I'm going to tweak the colors for a while, and still have to load up the rest of my blogroll, but it's all good.

Tell me what you think!

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Leadership essentials ... motivation

Jack Army shares a story of how a leader motivates the troops in Iraq, even in the face of the frustrating actions of Congress.

"Know one way to end the debate? Complete the mission! So let's get it done!"

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Another Birthday?!

Oh, fark. First I missed SWWBO's birthday (but the Armorer caught it, natch), and then I forgot Princess Crabby's, and was fired again, for the nth time. And now I realize that I didn't get a post up yesterday for Bad Cat Robot's Natal Day.

Which is funny - since I took her to lunch at Todai yesterday. (Heh. I don't think even the scrupl's managed to track us down.)

In accordance with Denizen gifting tradition, my present to BCR is a personal submarine, as requested to permit her safe exit after tunneling through the earth.

Feel free to add your virtual gifts in the comments!

Monday, March 26, 2007

Special request from Soldiers' Angels

Denizen and Soldiers' Angel Kat highlighted a special need in today's H&I post at Castle Argghhh:

From the Forums: Urgent Need!
In the forums we have an Angel Challenge. An OIF veteran and family are in need of direct, cash assistance to sustain. We are calling for assistance from the greater Angel and military blog community. The challenge is $10.00 (or more) donation from 100 (or more). We have appx 30 in the forum as of this posting.

Part of the story:

SGT O. (age 41) is an E-5 who has a blended family of five children (ages 17, 11, 9, 6, and 2) and his sixth child is due in early August. His wife doesn’t work due to the large family and a high-risk pregnancy (she is 41). SGT O. has been deployed to combat zones four different times (first time was in 1991 for Persian Gulf War, and the last two have been to Iraq). He is being treated for PTSD, Chronic Type,[snip]

He was in situations where he was fired at and had to fire back. He often had to clean blood and human matter out of damaged vehicles, and subsequently developed more serious symptoms

As you might understand, the family is in serious financial straits. We are looking to provide them with enough cash to sustain for at least two months and put a down payment on a vehicle that will carry the entire family.

We need your help.

Please donate to Soldiers' Angels via Pay Pal. Put "Sgt. O" in the note section for your donation.

Or, you can mail a check or money order to Soldiers' Angels at:

Soldiers Angels
1792 E. Washington Blvd
Pasadena, Ca 91104

Note in the memo section: Sgt. O

Soldiers' Angels thanks you for your support.

*** NOTE: I have donated to this worthy cause already. You don't have to put a huge amount in - even $10 will be a big help, if we get enough people involved!

Also - Some of us are not seeing a "Note" field on the PayPal screen. When I received my email notice from Soldiers Angels, I simply replied to request that it be put into the fund for Sgt O.

Thursday, March 22, 2007


It's good to know that there are tributes and memorials to our four-footed troops.

Check out this fascinating look at the evolution of digital media. Hat tip to Amy of GentleWhisper.

Should the military pay income tax? Check out Jack Army's view at VAJoe.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Quick links

I want to highlight the site of Bill Rollins, who is training to run an Ironman, and using the event to raise money for the Fisher House Organization.

"Fisher House provides temporary lodging in a caring environment that allows military and veterans' families to face a medical crisis together. This program has served more than 100,000 families and saved them more than $80 million since it began in 1990."

If you want to keep up with Jack Army these days, you need to check two sites. He is now guest posting at the VAJoe site as well. Check out his post Will We or Won't We?

And here's a site that lets you send a brew to deployed troops ... Six Packs for Soldiers. Heck - this way even a MWD (Military Working Dog) can get in on the donating!

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Way to go, Terry!

It's interesting to find someone you know pictured on the front page of the newspaper. I met Terry Harder last year at one of the bridge support / counter-protest events, to counter the Watada supporters.

Terry is featured on the front page of the Sunday Seattle Times:

Terry Harder of Operation Support Our Troops

Terry Harder: "I had seen the Vietnam War, and I did not like what it did to our country."

Terry Harder was never an activist or politically aware. To this day, he votes for the person, not the party.

But he's always remembered how badly his military friends were treated when they returned from Vietnam — how they were spit on and called baby killers. "It just really sat poorly with me."

Good work, Terry, and everyone at Operation Support our Troops.

Perspective on Walter Reed

Go visit Castle Argghhh, and read the letter from Chaplain (Major) John L. Kallerson - the senior Chaplain at Walter Reed.

I have had enough and am going to give my perspective on the news about Walter Reed Army Medical Center. Please understand that I am speaking for myself and I am responsible for my thoughts alone. The news media and politicians are making it sound like Walter Reed is a terrible place and the staff here has been abusing our brave wounded soldiers; what a bunch of bull!

Go. Read.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Interesting things

No theme, just random links to things that caught my eye.

My blogson explains the parallel between policing the ghetto and being a Marine in Iraq, in Defense of the Defenseless.

@WR shares what would be a joke, except for being the truth.

Check out the letter from Marine SSgt Farrar, posted at He is part of the Semper Fi Society at the Citadel, and needs some help with a project.

In other odd happenings,
... Jack points out the illogic of certain folks regarding Daylight Savings Time.
... Lex takes wicked pleasure in the reaction to the movie "300".
... Bad Cat Robot would be reading Physics Today ... and blogging about it.
... Wayne wants to know if he can have some of your willows.

Finally, John Donovan shows his warrior poet side in memory of his mother, a woman who obviously took great joy in her life and family.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Spreading the word

Who is @WR?

Chuck isn't telling. And you (and I) aren't on the Need To Know list. What you do need to know is that @WR needs to write, and he's serving it up at He's earned the right to speak, even though he has to do it from behind a blog.

Go now. Read. Spread the word.

Friday, March 09, 2007

Good start, Secretary Gates

Among the DoD press releases yesterday, I was glad to see this from Secretary Gates:

Defense Secretary's Message to the Troops: Care for Wounded Soldiers
By Robert M. Gates, Secretary of Defense
Special to American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, March 8, 2007 – When I was nominated to take this post just over three months ago, I said that the patriots who have volunteered to serve in our armed services have no equal in the world. I made a solemn commitment to the Congress, to the nation, and to you to keep the welfare of men and women in uniform uppermost in my mind at all times.
Like most Americans I was dismayed to hear reports about substandard outpatient care and facilities at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center. When you join the military, you become part of a family, and it is unacceptable for any member of our family to be treated this way.

President Bush has since appointed a bi-partisan panel - the Commission on Care for America's Returning Wounded Warriors - that will comprehensively review the treatment our government is providing recovering servicemen and women. The Independent Review Group I established will take a broad look at all of our rehabilitative care and administrative processes at Walter Reed and at the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda. The latter effort has a very short deadline - next month - to make sure we identify additional flaws in the system and fix them as soon as possible.

This Department, however, will not wait for reports by outside panels before taking action on problems that we know about right now. To that end, the Under Secretary of the Army Pete Geren briefed me today on the Army's action plan to deal with Walter Reed outpatient care. I expect to receive progress reports every two weeks.

In addition, Under Secretary for Personnel and Readiness Dr. David Chu and Assistant Secretary for Health Affairs Dr. William Winkenwerder will undertake a comprehensive, department-wide review of military medical care programs, facilities, and procedures.

I have told the senior military and civilian leadership of this Department that money will not be an issue. After the war itself, we have no higher priority than caring properly for our wounded.

We empower leaders with the responsibility, authority, and resources necessary to carry out their mission. With that responsibility comes accountability. As we learn more about these issues, let me be clear: Any individual, regardless of rank - officer or enlisted, military or civilian - will be held accountable when servicemen and women are not treated as they should be.

You deserve no less, as do your families who also serve. It is the family that takes on extra duties at home while servicemen and women are away. The family also suffers when their loved one is injured in battle. And it is the family who is there every step of the way as their wounded soldier, sailor, airman or Marine undertakes what can be long and painful recovery.

The injured troops at Walter Reed and in other military hospitals have paid a high price for putting their lives on the line for America. Like you, they volunteered to serve knowing full well the risks and dangers involved. They deserve our respect and gratitude and the very best that our great country can provide. We owe this to them, and we must deliver. I am totally committed to doing so.

God bless you and your family.

He's talking the talk, and so far he's walking the walk. There is much to accomplish, and I know I'm not alone in concern that some new bright, shiny thing will take the media spotlight off and the bureaucratic machine will take over again.

One suggestion, Mr. Gates. If you haven't done so already, create a panel of wounded soldiers like Chuck who will tell you the real story, and make sure that they are included in the checkpoint process. If you aren't listening to the men and women who have been in the system in the past 4 years, you won't hear all that you need to.

Monday, March 05, 2007

An Inconvenient Chart

Sorry, Al -- the data is in ...

Who is full of Hot Air?

Chart created with this template in Excel 2007.