Wednesday, August 31, 2005

The Other Foot

Last night I tossed out for discussion the idea that I might take some of my vacation time to volunteer to go help with disaster relief in the Gulf Coast. TFR quickly disabused me of this idea, since we don't have the money for me to travel and she needs my help with The Lad. I'll have to satisfy myself with giving blood and money.

For the most part I've been heartened by the outpouring of support and compassion shown by so many. My cousin sent me a link to news of her boyfriend's ship being sent as part of the relief efforts. Good friend Vulture Six has a rundown of different government and private relief efforts. There's even a Blogger Relief effort getting under way.

Despite this, I am disturbed to see the looting and a few other incidents of barbarism, and I'm disgusted that some would use this as an opportunity to slam Bush and the United States.

I can't help but wondering. Countries like Germany, whose Green Party leader blames this on Bush, and who was among the countries critical of US relief efforts after the Tsunami, they're already scrambling their navies and air forces to send relief, and their people are holding huge fund-raising drives to help the people of Louisiana, right?


Update (Thanks to reader Filou):

Actually, right.

I stand happily corrected.

Darfur: No More Out of Sight, Out of Mind

I've made my feelings known in the past:

Something needs to be done about the Genocide in Darfur.

This isn't a partisan issue.

The efforts so far are a good start, but need to go further.

The last thing we can afford to do right now is to assume that since the slaughter has abated, everything's just fine. The group agrees, and in an email I received from them today, makes some excellent poits as to why:

The Sudanese government is playing a game, the same one they've played throughout Sudan for 20 years. They claim to want peace, but will try to fix the negotiations to get what they really want - despotic control over the people of Darfur and the power to begin the genocide again anytime the international community looks away.

Only one thing can stop them: a peace agreement that gives real power to the people of Darfur through representation in government and a fair share of Sudan's resources. To get this, the Darfurians need international support - our support.
They then explain that one of their fund-raising efforts is to help raise awareness of the situation and increase the public awarenss, media coverage, and thus negotiating leverage of the people of Darfur.

I think that's an excellent campaign, and I think that we as Bloggers can do more than give them our financial and moral support. I believe we can use our Blogs as a collective Bully Pulpit from which to give Darfur a voice. I have borrowed and modified Pastor Niemoller's quote, but this time the original is more germane. I will not be silent and wait for someone to come for me, I will speak out. Write your congressmen, your local paper, and post to your Blogs. Keep talking about Darfur until even the Sudan listens.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

What Part of "In Harm's Way" Don't You Understand?

(Originally posted at 9:47 AM Aug 29 2005)
Thanks for the Memory to Blogfather Rusty.
A Reuters soundman was killed and another journalist wounded during a firefight in Baghdad. According to accounts, the shots that killed them may have been fired by U.S. Troops. Let's start by saying that the loss of human life, especially when unnecessary, is always tragic. I am not celebrating the death of this man, nor will I argue that he deserved to die.
But let's be clear on something else. While he was not an enemy combatant, neither was he just an innocent bystander suddenly caught in the crossfire. Reports from all sides indicate that he was responding to a possible story, and was seeking out the firefight in which he was killed to cover it. This means he was taking his life in his own hands. Firefights are by their very nature, deadly places. Think about it. Two or more individuals are firing weapons designed to kill, and they are firing them with the intention of killing each other. Death is in the air, and if you drive into such a situation, you have to expect that it just might alight on you. Furthermore, there's no reason to believe (and I expect to see this argument cvome from the fringes of the Left quickly, if not already) that he was targeted specifically because he was a journalist. As Dr. Shackleford points out, possession of camera gear alone is not enough to distinguish you as a non-combatant in Iraq -- the terrorist have their own cameras crews (as if sympathetic western media weren't enough!) tasked with recording suicide attacks and the detonation of IED's among other things. So even assuming that their gear was evident at the time they were shot (and this is still unclear), their status as journalists may not have been.
In short, if you take on the job of war correspondent, and intentionally seek out battles to cover, and are subsequently killed, that is tragic, but in and of itself is neither surprising nor outrageous. If you're not prepared to take that risk, then maybe the local sports beat is more your speed.

UPDATE (8/30/2005):
The more I learn about the incident, the less inclined I am to think of this as a tragic accident and the more inclined I am to think of this as a tragic accident brought on by the stupidity of the actions of the victims. Read on, from Rusty's Blog:

Here is an update on this incident from a reader:

The cameraman in question was
shot by soldiers in my son's unit. First hand reports are that the moron sped
into the middle of a firefight, jumped out of his car and threw up to his
shoulder a TV or Movie camera with a sound boom and telephoto lens.

It was [understandably
considering the circumstances] mistaken for an RPG and the moron quickly became
the late moron.

Incidentally, this crew was
told beforehand NOT to go into the area of the firefight, as it was entirely too

After a post-battle
debriefing and investigation, the soldiers were determined to have adhered
properly to the rules of engagement, and were found innocent of any

Actually, the first hand
report was: "Some dumb b**tard came up to us in a speeding car, jumped out and
pointed his camera at us. We thought it was an RPG and lit him up."

Perhaps Reporters Without Borders should be complaining about Reuters not training their crews to have some common sense instead of seething against the U.S.

Monday, August 29, 2005

Paging Neville Chamberlain

Your Legacy is on Line 1.

Thanks for the Memory to Ace of Spades and Vulture Six.

Supporters of Israel knew this would happen. We knew that the capitulation of Gaza would not bring peace. We knew that it was a mere Lebensraum ploy, and that with each Israeli concession, the demand from the Palestinians would be "more!" We knew that this would not bring peace.

And the Palestinians agreed with us. They said as much. And now they've backed their words with deeds -- dark deeds.

Understand one thing, and be very clear about it. The violence in Israel will not end when the Israelis abandon Gaza. It will not end when there is no Israeli left in The West Bank, in the Golan Heights, or in Jerusalem. The forces carrying out these bloody attacks will not rest until there remains not a single jew in all of what is now the State of Israel. Indeed, many of them will feel the restless itch of the trigger finger, the allure of the Cemtex, so long as there exists any Jewry on the entire planet.

The time for appeasement is at an end. It is time to recognize that no amount of surrender will ever bring real peace.

All We Are Saying is Give Peas a Chance

Saturday The Lad turned 7 months old, and despite playing preemie catch-up developmentally, he's been trying solid foods for several weeks now. I'm not sure which is more entertaining -- watching him gobble up the foods he does like, such as pears, carrots, and apples, or reject the foods he doesn't --which until last night consisted mostly of sweet potatoes.

But last night we tried peas. That was a No Go. And while The Feared Redhead and I have agreed not to express our own personal distaste for any food in his presence, so as to avoid biasing his decision, neither of us like peas, either. In fact, the baby food peas were making TFR sick just trying to serve therm, so when it became obvious he wasn't going to keep them in, it was no skin off our noses.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Pandora's Box

Thanks for the Memory to Ken Summers at It Comes in Pints?

Ken points out an interesting quote regarding assassination. Let's compare.

Who said:

We have the ability to take him out, and I think the time has come that we exercise that ability,"..."We don't need another $200 billion war to get rid of one, you know, strong-arm dictator," ..."It's a whole lot easier to have some of the covert operatives do the job and then get it over with."


That's right, Pat Robertson. Now, who said:

A misplaced moral squeamishness should not stop the president from talking about assassination. ... If we can kill [him], we should. ... What's unlawful and unpopular with the allies is not necessarily immoral. ... The president would no doubt pay a heavy political price if the operation failed but he would be a huge winner if he succeeded.


If you answered "George Stephanopoulis", you win a prize!

Stephanopoulis's comment drew a rebuke in the article from Chris Matthews, but beyond that, I don't recall nearly the furor being raised by that comment that Robertson has caused. In fact, these days, George is one of the Democrats' point man in media circles.

So what's the difference between the two? Some would argue it's Robertson's position as a leader in Evangelical Christian circles, and the bad light in which it casts us. But just doesn't cut it, because Robertson's "fan base" within the Church has been slipping for some time -- for both religious and political reasons. His influence over and position as a voice for Evangelicals isn't nearly what it used to be. But he's still watched like a hawk by those outside the Church, especially the detractors of Evangelicalism. As I stated over at Ken's Blog, I suspect that the reason for this is that as long as they can characterize Robertson as our leader, the media and the left can summarily dismiss all conservative Christians as being as "loony as Robertson", without having to consider our points. As I said, he's a living, breathing, walking, talking straw man.

Furthermore, as I've mentioned before, Robertson was not appealing to religious authority as his reason for espousing the view he did. He was speaking on a practical matter, not a theological one.

And the irony is, in this case, he's absolutely right. And so was Stephanopoulis. Or at least, if he was wrong, it was in that this may not be the time and place to assasinate Chavez. But that doesn't mean it will never be the time and place. Yes, you heard me, I'm saying that I think that in certain specific situations, assassination is a valid strategic weapon. For example, the ambush of Japanese Admiral Yamamoto, or the bombing of Saddam's presidential palace.

There's a story that's part of Churchillian apocrypha -- sometimes related as being told BY Winston, about an anonymous man and an anonymous woman, sometimes in the story Churchill is the man. Either way, the gist of the story is that the man in story asks the woman if she would sleep with him for a million pounds. After a shocked pause, she admits that yes, she supposes she would. He then asks her if she would sleep with him for ONE pound. She indignantly asks him wehat kind of woman he thinks she is! His reply is, "Madame, we have already determined what kind of woman you are. Now we are merely negotiating a price."

The same principle applies to assasination. I believe that in certain situations, the pplication of deadly force, the taking of one or more humann lives to defend other humans, is justifiable. That means a criminal in the act of murdering an innocent victim, that means an enemy soldier aiming at your platoon mate, and that certainly means the commander in chief of an enemy force. In for a penny, in for a pound. That doesn't mean I think assasination should be a commonly used option, nor an easily reached conclusion. Like any decision to take a life, it is not an easy one to make, and must be weighed as carefully as the situation allows against other options. But once you've established that deadly force CAN be justifiable, you cannot summarily rule it out.


I Scooped my Blogfather!

State Politics

There's some irony in the fact that, despite my active interest in national politics AND my love of my home state, I don't know that much about Oregon politics -- the players, etc.

Fortunately, thanks to my fellow Bloggers Coyote, Sailor Republica and Gullyborg, I am getting a look at what other conservative Oregonians think, where I agree and disagree with them, what the state of the party is in this state, and who to keep an eye on.

So when all THREE of them, along with Blogger Daniel support the same candidate, and give some compelling reasons why, I sit up and take notice.

That's why, after reading their comments, I am joining them in supporting Jason Atkinson for Governor.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

It's the Thought That Counts

A while back I set out with the goal of devoting at least one post a week to
my father’s stories from his Navy days. Unfortunately, I have not been
that consistent with those posts, but I plan on doing my best to share at
least one a month.

This is installment #4 in a series.

Among the many ports of call my father had occasion to visit during his time in the Navy, one of the most amusing stories comes from the time his ship made a call on Darwin, Australia. Darwin is a port city on Australia’s northern coast. The town was in a festive mood due to some visit by royalty or some commemorative celebration (my father wasn’t clear on what). I’ve been told by friends who’ve been to Australia on their Navy tours that Australians are skilled masters in the art of hospitality.

Just prior to the arrival of the USS Bausell, a Royal New Zealand Navy ship pulled in to port and had been there several days, and the townsfolk had been showing the Kiwi tars quite a grand time. This high level of attention given to them by their antipodean neighbors quickly waned, however, when the Yanks sailed in to port. From that point on, it was the American sailors who got the attention of the local lasses and the free rounds, and the Kiwis who were left, for the most part, to their own devices. Fortune is a fickle mistress.

This, as may be expected, did not sit well with the New Zealanders. Very soon, my dad and his mates learned that when walking down a Darwin street, it was wise to walk as far from the doorways as possible, because if the door led to a pub, you were likely to receive a cold-cocking from a Kiwi fist.

This went on for several days until one event “turned the tide of history,” so to speak. My father and a buddy were walking back to the ship after spending the day in town, when they came upon an individual wearing the uniform of an officer of the Royal New Zealand Navy, lying in the street, drunk as a… well, as a sailor, appropriately enough. Now, my father was a teetotaler – his father had died an alcoholic, and my father had a lifelong aversion to liquor. So he and his buddy were stone cold sober when they hoisted the Kiwi officer to their shoulders, carried him the few blocks to the HMNZS Whatsitsname, walked him up the gangplank, left him in the gentle care of his shipmates, belatedly saluted the quarterdeck, and marched back down the gangplank and into the darkness. But the New Zealanders didn’t know this. So while my father thought the crew was cheering him for an act of kindness, he learned later that the New Zealanders thought they were cheering the two Yanks who had drunk their XO under the table.

After that and for the remaining time the two ships were in port, there was no further trouble between the crews.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Crazy Is as Crazy Does

Two Bloggers whom I greatly respect and even consider friends both have posted their reactions to Pat Robertson's comments regarding Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez. Normally I agree with Vulture Six and Darth Apathy, but this time I must beg to differ. and while I believe that the Maximum Leader makes some good points regarding freedom of speech, press coverage, and double standards, I'm not as convinced as he that this proves Robertson's stupidity.

Despite being a "Mindless Christian Conservative", I don't watch Robertson daily -- or even on a regular basis. I do watch his show occasionally, and TFR enjoys it a bit more than me, more for the inspirational sections than anything else. And by no means do I agree with much of what Robertson says -- from a theological perspective or from a political. I don't even agree with him on this issue.

And while I think this is a bad idea and that Christians are going to catch flak for this comment, I don't think that a political pundit represents himself as a Christian advocating assassination of one individual for strategic reasons is quite the same as a group of Mullahs advocating Jihad simply because the targets are dirty infidels who don't worship the right god.

Furthermore, I have a question for Scott. Let's agree for the moment that it would be wrong for the United States government to assassinate Chavez simply because we don't like his politics or his foreign policy towards the US. Let's agree that even though he's openly hostile and hateful towards the US, it would be political and diplomatic suicide to assassinate him even if he openly declares himself our enemy. I'll grant you, and even agree with you, that it would be stupid, arrogant, and probably illegal right now to even consider Robertson's advice.

My question is, if it became apparent that Venezuela were actively supporting terrorist groups like Al Quaeda, if it was provable, say (for the sake of argument) to a degree even admissable in a court of law that he was providing aid and comfort to enemies of the United States and actively encouragin them or even supplying them with the resources needed to carry out terrorist attacks on the United States or its citizens, if that were the case, then how would assassinating him be any different than bombing the Presidential Palace in Baghdad in attempt to kill Saddam Hussein?

Child Sacrifices

Thanks for the Memory to Jaybird, cross-posting at Head West, Turn Right.
A couple of weeks ago, Jay commented on his Blog and on the joint Blog at Head West, Turn Right on Oregon's lack of an online Sex Offender database, and the travails of a bill to institute one. As a parent, I was understandably upset. I've gone through the hoops currently required to get a printed list of local sex offenders MAILED to me. For my little town of Springfield, that list is 11 pages long!!!!! You can imagine how thrilled that makes me, and how eager I am to have a more reliable and informative resource for helping me protect my child. But before I posted and ranted on it here, I emailed my local state rep. To give credit where credit is due, my local rep, a staunchly liberal Democrat, not only supported the bill, she AUTHORED it. That placated me a bit, but I was still disturbed that this bill almost died of neglect.
Well, now Jaybird has information on "who might have been behind efforts to kill this bill and why, as well as a companion bill to increase sentences for rape of children. I'm not a resident of the Portland area, so I don't know much about the political machinations that go on there, so I can't comment on the accuracy of the allegations, but I know his source, Lars Larson, and while he's definitely partisan, he also know what he's talking about, and has a lot of ins into Oregon political circles, so I am inclined to believe him. If what he's saying is true, I'm incensed. These are measures that are needed to protect children against predators who would rob them of their innocence, their chilhood, their joy, even their lives. To sacrifice them for political gain, or to appease a powerful supporter, is completely indefensible. If this is true, I can't imagine why anyone, conservative or liberal, other than those who directly benefit from this Machiavellian ploy, would support her.
Jaybird was gracious enough to drop by and comment, and pointed out he had sources other than Larson: Bill O'Reilly, yeah, that Bill O'Reilly, is the journalist/commentator most responsible for breaking this wide open. For months O'Reilly has been on a jihad against politicians who he considers to be light on the issue, and he's systematically going through it state by state and seeing where each state stans on Jessica's law. when he got to Oregon, he discovered Kate Brown. Lars Larson picked the ball up from there. That was made clear in Jaybird's post on his blog, and was my oversight.

Now THAT'S Florida Sunshine!

The other night, The Feared Redhead asked me to fix her an adult beverage. Now, while we are social drinkers, we are not heavy or extremely frequent drinkers, so while there's usually something in the house from which to craft such beverages, there's seldom a large selection from which to choose. Furthermore, given the weather, she required something light and refreshing as well as... relaxing. With these parameters in mind, I set to my task. We had in the refrigerator a pitcher of a blend of orange and ruby red grapefruit juices. This seemed ideally suited to the mission, and with that as a starting point, I created the following:

Electric Screwdriver
1 oz. vodka
1/2 oz. Grand Marnier
3 oz. orange juice
2 oz. ruby red grapefruit juice
1 cup ice

Combine all ingredients in shaker, shake well, serve over ice in an Old Fashioned. Garnish with a lime wedge.

Monday, August 22, 2005

Corrupt Capitalistic Pig

Being the corrupt capitalistic pig the he is, Conservative Christian Brian B. is out today furthering his occupation education so he may further exploit the masses and shamelessly enrich himself and his family at the cost of not feeding poor orphans in the sub-Sahara region. Don’t worry though, he will be back soon to give his RNC Talking Points and to carry out the will of the New World Order. The pig.

Vulture 6

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Insult to Injury

Thanks for the Memory to Vic at Darth Apathy.

Remember the Kelo case? The one in which the Supreme(ly arrogant and stupid) Court ruled that it was just hunky-dory to strip people of their property rights in order to line the pockets of developers?

Well, the winners of that case have decided that that was merely pillaging -- now they've moved on to raping.

All of the residents of the condemned property have received letters informing them that they owe the city back rent for the time they've remained in their homes since the initial evictions which sparked the court battle.

That's right. Not only are they taking these people's homes, paying them a price that I GUARANTEE you will not be what the property's worth (or a SMIDGEN of what it will make the city in income), but they expect these folks to PAY them for the privilege of being treated like chattel!

I want to rant, but this is so infuriating, I don't know where to begin or end. As one of my liberal coworkers just said, "This is the kind of sh!# that makes people start dragging out guns!"

The HMS Pinafore of Blogs

Blessed Are Those Who Mourn, For They

Shall Have Comfort Food

This week I thought I'd share a recipe not of my own making, but one my father came up with (sorry, Rusty, I'll try to keep posting on other issues, but the recipes keep coming).

I'd have to say that my parents are the key influence in my becoming as good a cook as I am. Both my parents had a love of cooking (Mom still does), and they both shared that love with my sister and me. We were allowed to help in the kitchen from an early age, and even allowed to "take over", to do the cooking ourselves, with their "help" (read: guidance and emergency backup). From my mother I learned the technical skills required for cooking -- how to simmer vs. boiling, how to fry, how to check temperature, how to guage and regulate heat, prep, stirring, etc. From my father, I learned how to improvise, how to experiment, and a sense of presentation.

While my ability to develop gourmet dishes has, I believe, far surpassed my father's, the one area in which I believe he was still my superior before his death, and probably would still be today (or at the very least, my equal), is in his ability to throw together simple but tasty comfort food dishes.

Not long before his death, my wife, The Feared Redhead, was treated to one of these dishes, and insisted that he give her the recipe. He complied, and thanks to her, it lives on. Whenever we think of him and miss him, we think of this dish, and the simple joy he got from her delight in it. It's a food that comforts not just in eating it, but in reminiscing upon it. And so I share with you:

Charlie's Potato Soup

2 strips lean bacon
1 small onion
3 stalks celery
4 cups water
1 cup instant mashed potato flakes
1 large carrot
1/2 cup milk

Chop the bacon, celery, and oniond into small pieces. Sautee in a saucepan until the bacon is brown and the onions are caramelized. Add 2 cups of water, bring to a boil, stirring frequently. Reduce heate to a simmer. Mix together 1 cup of instant potato flakes and 2 cups water. Stir the potato mixture into the soup. Peel and grate 1 large carrot, add to soup. Slowly stir in 1/2 cup milk, stir constantly until smooth. Add butter, salt and pepper to taste.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Thanks, everyone

Posted by Vulture Six on behalf of Vic at Darth Apathy.

First of all, I would like to thank everyone for their well-wishes, support, and prayers regarding my sister.

Sadly, they have all been in vain.

After a series of bone scans, CAT scans, and MRI's, we have learned the true extent of the spread of cancer. In addition to the breast cancer and the bone cancer, which we already know about, there have been additional complications. The cancer has spread to the lymphatic system, to the spinal cord, and to the liver. According to the doctors, the prognosis is terminal. At this point, it's just a matter of time.


Unexpected Company

To all the visitors so graciously directed here by LaShawn Barber:

Welcome. Make yourselves at home. Curious about the name? I can explain. Ditto for the mangled Niemoller quote.

While you're here, have a beer and something to eat. Give the place a tour, and feel free to sign the numerous "guest books". I'm a benevolent dictator when it comes to comments -- flames, Trolls, and blatant non sequiturs are likely to be deleted and their posters may be banned, but respectful, well-reasond disagreement with me is welcome.

Separation of Church and War

(Orignally Posted 8/15/05 at 7:22 AM PDT)

While the comments section on my own Blog remains a fairly tame place with few dissenters, let alone trolls, my daily surfing takes me to some Blogs where the discussions can get somewhat heated, shall we say. For this reason, I’ve become fairly familiar with some of the arguments proposed by those whose political views differ from my own in defense of their own beliefs or in rebuttal to mine.

When the discussion turns to the issue of the War in Iraq, or even of war in general, it’s not uncommon to encounter an appeal to my religion, an argument that goes along the lines of “How can you call yourself a Christian and support war? Didn’t Jesus teach you to turn the other cheek?” Often this argument will be coined as a reproach of hypocrisy – “How can you, as a Christian, support/oppose X position, and not oppose war? You hypocrite!”

For the moment I shall actually avoid getting into the details of Christian Pacifism vs. Just War Theology – that’s another post, and one I’m working on. I shall also refrain from an in depth discussion on the differences in kind between the issues raised in comparison and the one at hand. What I wish to explore in this post is another interesting dichotomy posed by this type of discussion, one of which I’m sure my opposites are unaware.

I’ve noted with bemusement that, more often than not, the individuals who, in discussion, will try to convince you that Christians should oppose war on a theological basis are the same individuals who, if a Christian Blogger tries to base their position on any one of a number of other political issues – Abortion, Evolution vs. ID, Gay Marriage, Drugs, Education, etc. – will immediately cry “Separation!” and loose the dogs….

So let me get this straight. When it comes to the issue of war, you are suggesting that I should let my faith (or at least, your interpretation of it) inform my politics. But when it comes to any other issue, if I let my faith inform my politics, I’m suddenly posing some grave threat to the constitution, and must be stopped at all cost? What’s the difference? Does the fact that war is a foreign policy decision somehow exempt it from the same uber-interpretation of the First Amendment that you apply to domestic issues? Or is it, as I suspect, that you apply a different set of rules to each situation in order to give your own position the advantage?

Seriously, if there’s anyone reading this that has made both those arguments to a righty: Oppose war because your faith says you should; Keep your faith out of politics because it’s a personal matter; I’d love to hear from you. Please explain to me why it’s ok to apply my religious beliefs to one issue, but not to the others. I’m sure the explanation’s a good one.


LaShawn Barber yesterday asked her readers an equally intriguing question. And I think the questions have a point in common -- what do you do when two values you hold highly conflict with each other? Which do you really believe in more than the other?

I'm just jealous because she actually has people who are willing to give answering the question a shot.

And Then I Woke Up

Thanks for the memory to the Llama Butchers.

Your Summer Ride is a Jeep

For you, summer is all about having no responsibilities.
You prefer to hang with old friends - and make some new ones.

Of course, that's not what I ACTUALLY drive! The questions don't seem to allow for marital and parental status, and that's the only reason my summer ride isn't "Station Wagon" or "Minivan".

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

One Prayer Down, More to Go

For some time now my good friend Vulture Six has been trying to regain custody of his children from his ex-wife. I won't go into details, but suffice it to say, the woman is not a fit mother and the only way children would be worse off is if they were sent to live at Wonderland. If Scott wants to share details that's up to him.

Well, he just gave me the good news that he finally has a court date - October 13th. Please keep Scott and his kids in your prayers.

And Then There's The Other Side....

Thanks for the Memory to Vulture Six at Vultures Row.
A while back I made it very clear what I thought of those on the Left who claimed to be for peace but failed to speak out against violence by their own side. Time to put my money where my mouth is.
Look, I may disagree with a lot of what Cindy Sheehan and her associates are saying, and the way they are saying it. But violence in response to what is so far a peaceful protest is NOT the way to respond. Had antiwar protestors assaulted this man and he attacked back in self-defense, that would have been one thing. But plowing your pickup into a row of crosses, risking injury to people just standing there, no matter how wrong I think those people may be, is JUST PLAIN WRONG! Not to mention, as Scott points out, the crosses represented Americans killed in service of their country. Regardless of your opinion of the people erecting the memorial or their motives in doing so, you respect the memorial! Judas Jump-Up-and-Kiss-Me Priest, People! Ever heard of the baby and the bathwater! Get a freaking clue. And for God's Holy Sake, if you claim to represent me, damn well represent me in deeds as well as words, or shut your mouth before I shut it for you!

Monday, August 15, 2005

Deeply Hurt

A few days ago, my friend Vic over at Darth Apathy posted an interesting news link. I found it amusing, but also deeply hurtful that he immediately thought of one of our mutual acquaintances, but forgot me, knowing as he does my enthusiasm for quality craft beers.

Regardless, I pass on the news here:

Man Acquited After Prosecutors Fail to Prove that Miller is Beer

I don't think they could have accomplished that task even if the head of Miller himself were a witness for the prosecution!

Bush Lied, (Fewer) People Died

Thanks for the Memory to Demosophist cross-posting at The Jawa Report.

For some time, one argument put forth by those opposing the War in Iraq has been the death toll. They would have us believe that we have unleashed a bloodbath upon what was previously a relatively safe, if not free, country.

The Strategy Page puts lie to that argument with new information indicating that the death rate in Iraq is now lower than it was under Saddam's regime.

Imagine that.

So if you're an Iraqi, you're LESS likely to die in Iraq now than before the invasion, AND you now have the right to vote AND a multi-party slate of candidates to choose from.

But just remember, you're worse off.

Sunday, August 14, 2005

Happy Birthday

Vultures Row wishes a very happy first birthday to Memento Moron: Remember, Thou Art Stupid. It's been a great first year.

Friday, August 12, 2005

Quick Note

To whomever is viewing my Blog from

Welcome. Enjoy your stay. Thank you for your service. You are not unappreciated.

When You're HOT You're Hot

Thanks for the Memory to Martini Pundit.

For the most part, I'm not a big fan of self-promotion as a fashion statement, like T-shirts that say "Princess", etc. The Vanity plate I saw yesterday that said "Cutee" made me want to reply "No, no you're not," regardless of what the driver looked like. But I've just been reminded that there's an exception to every rule. Even this one.

When Kristen Maddox wears a T-shirt that says, "I'm HOT", I have to respond with "Yes, yes you are!" But while Kristin is quite a lovely young woman, that's not what makes her HOT. As the article explains, HOT stands for Helping Our Troops. That's the name of the non-profit she founded to help support our troops by sending care packages to the troops. But what makes her effort special is that her shipments are to specific service personnel who have requested specific items in their care packages.

Damn. This young woman spends almost all her time and money on this effort. she gives of herself, makes sacrifices, to make sure the men and women standing in the thin red line know that someone on the home front has their back. She's not just a pretty face. Along with looks and a brain, she obviously has a heart that's bigger than the entire Golden State. So yes, she's a hot hottie who's HOT.

You can help her be even more HOT, and be HOT yourself, by going to her website and contributing.

See HOT. Be HOT.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

What Lies Beneath... Or Not

Oregon's quarter came out this year, and I've finally had a chance to look at it, even spend it. I'm still disappointed.

Like most Oregonians surveyed, I wanted this design to be chosen:
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But Governor Kulongoski went with this one:

He said this about the process of choosing a quarter design: "This is a unique opportunity for Oregon," said Edwards. "Our quarter will communicate to the nation and the world our values and Oregon´s natural beauty."

I think this one falls short.

I have to admit, in it's final minted form it's a rather pretty design:
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But despite my love for Crater Lake, it really doesn't convey the significance of the Oregon Trail design. The Oregon Trail was the single most defining event in the history of this state, and indeed, one of the most important events in the history of the NATION. It's that significant.

The rationale behind Kulongoski's decision was at least in part a desire to avoid upsetting Native American groups. And while I understand that the colonization and settling of this continent by Europeans is a sore issue for First Peoples, pretending it didn't happen isn't going to make things any better for anyone. There's more to this state than pretty scenery. There's history here, there are stories to be told.

In a way, the image on the quarter itself suffers from the same lack of depth in portraying Crater Lake as it does in portraying the depth of this state. You see a shiny, flat surface to the lake. What it doesn't -- indeed what it CAN'T portray, is the fact that Crater Lake, at over 1,400 feet, is the deepest fresh water in North America. It's also some of the cleanest, clearest, bluest water anywhere in the world.

So come visit this state. When you do, go see Crater Lake -- it's worth the trip, and the quarter doesn't do it justice. The sight will take your breath away.

And while you're at it, see the rest of the state too. Take in all the beauty about which I've blogged. Visit Fort Clatsop, where Lewis and Clark spent their Pacific winter. Visit the Oregon Trail museums (we have 2), and the Brownsville Pioneer Museum. learn about our culture, our history, as well as our scenery. The quarter doesn't do them justice either.

Better Late Than Never

A while back, when I blogged on my Steelhead recipe, I made a suggestion regarding a salad to serve with it. I've refined that recipe a bit since then.

I developed a vinaigrette recipe for a cooking competition I was too late to enter, but thought I'd share the recipe with you anyway.

The ingredients are, again, focused on Oregon flavors. As I've mentioned, we produce almost the entire US crop of filberts (hazelnuts), and are the top berry producing state in the nation -- included in our crop are Blackberries, Marionberries, Strawberries, Raspberries, Blueberries, Boysenberries, Huckleberries *gasp* and cranberries. In addition, an Oregon cheesemaker, Rogue Creamery, is considered one of the best blue cheese makers in the world. Personally, I don't like blue cheese, but TFR loves it and it goes well with this recipe.

Blackberry Vinaigrette

1/4 Cup blackberry wine*
1/4 Cup red wine vinegar
1/3 Cup oil**
1 Tsp. sugar
1 Tsp. minced garlic
Pinch salt
Pinch white pepper (more or less to taste)
1 Tbsp. chopped celery

*You can heat this to cook off the alcohol if you want, but I don’t bother. If you do, let it cool before continuing.
** I use hazelnut oil, which can be hard to find and expensive. Other options include almond oil, sesame oil, or, of course, extra virgin olive oil.

Filbert & Blue Cheese Salad

Dry Ingredients:
6 Cups raw fresh spinach leaves
1/4 Cup chopped filberts
1/4 Cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup blue cheese

Toss all dry ingredients. Drizzle lightly with blackberry vinaigrette, transfer to individual salad bowls. Makes 6 servings.

Sgt. Rusty Taught The Moron to Blog

It was one year ago today that I posted my very first Blog entry.

A lot has changed since then.

The Rathergate scandal (Which resulted in my busiest readership month yet). The candidate I backed won the presidency (not that I'm taking any credit for that). Numerous news events, including the Kelo decision, Terri Schiavo, and of course, daily events in Iraq.

And I've changed. I became a father during this past year. Amazing how it changes your perspective. Even being a PROSPECTIVE father does nothing to prepare you for the sudden and dizzying shift your paradigm makes when you hold a tiny life you helped to create and for whose sustenance and protection and nurturing you are jointly responsible.

I'd like to thank all the people who have helped make Blogging so enjoyable. Starting with the Blogfather who gave me the final nudge, [Update to the Blogmother who gave me such good advice in those early days, to the newsmakers and my family who provided my material, to the other Bloggers (especially Maximum Leader at Naked Villainy) who linked to me, and especially to my readers, the casual perusers and the people who, amazingly enough, make me a regular part of your reading schedule. It still blows my mind that on occasion I manage to write something people think is worth paying attention to. Thatnk you all, and here's to more to come.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

A Call to Arms (Or At Least To Google Bombs)

If you pay attention to the top of my Blog, you've noticed that. like many conservative Bloggers, I'm a big fan of the cartoon Day by Day, by Chris Muir. Chris does a good job of skewering the left, and being funny while he does it. At the same time, he doesn't hesitate to poke fun at conservatives when they don't think before they speak.

Well, today's cartoon, as you can see, has nothing to do with politics. He's asking for help supporting the cancer clinic that is keeping his sister alive. It's simple, really. Click on the link to their site, and it will help their Google ratings. They're running an ad on TV soon, so the combined exposure should help them garner business and keep them operating.

I'm still not savvy enough to know if that's how a Google Bomb works, but if not, I think someone should start one of those too.

Monday, August 08, 2005


Yesterday I went to the local Fred Meyer to pick up the ingredients for dinner. I'd noticed the day before that they had some wild-caught Coho, and while I still prefer steelhead, wild salmon is also excellent in my filbert-encrusted dish. While their, I also noticed they also had fresh buffalo in stock (as the occasionally do), so I picked up some tenderloin. As it turned out, two key ingredients in my salmon dish were unavailable, si I'll have to pick them up today, and went ahead and cooked the buffalo last night.

I made my green beans to go with it, and also cut into four pieces a loaf of potato rosemary artisan bread from the FM bakery department. I buttered thes and toasted them on the grill. The tenderloin I cooked simply -- salt and pepper, and cooked it hot and fast, to avoid drying out the buffalo. I acheived both beautiful grill marks AND medium rare perfection. I complemented the meal with a bottle of Bridgeview's cab-merlot blend.

It was a wonderful way to end the weekend.

Peter Jennings Signs Off

No breaking news here, everyone knows that Peter Jennings died of lung cancer last night.

Over the last couple of years, as the MSM has seemed increasingly adversarial towards the President, up to and including the open hostility displayed by the likes of Helen Thomas, it struck me that, at least from my perception, Peter Jennings made the most admirable effort among the Big 3's anchors to separate his personal opinions from his presentation of the news. I had respect for him due to that.

Furthermore, I was greatly impressed with his candor regarding his illness and the smoking habit that caused it. Especially human and oddly touching was the fact that it was the impact of the 9/11 attacks that caused him to take it up again. No one will ever be the same who witnessed those events, and Jennings' death bears witness to their continued influence on us.

In the end, though I no longer have much regard for the news arms of the old major networks, Jennings always struck me as genuine and personable. His death is tragic and he is to be mourned.

Look at the Bones, Man!

Thank (a lot!) for the Memories to TrekMedic251 for getting me suckered into taking THIS quiz!

Take the quiz: "Which Holy Grail Character Are You?"

The Killer Rabbit of Caerbannog
That's the most foul, cruel, and bad-tempered rodent you ever set eyes on!

Hmmm... interesting results. Not nearly as impressive as being King Arthur, but hey, being unstoppable short of deploying an instrument of Holy wrath against me ain't such a bad gig.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Alton Brown Tells It Like It Is

Be careful what you ask for, Alton. You just might find yourself audited, and NOT by the IRS!

Well Pasta Due

Last night I had a chance to try out a new recipe on TFR, and she heartily approved.
Anyone who knows my eating habits might find this hard to believe, but the one type of side dish I have the most difficulty creating is a starch. I'm great at cooking veggies, not so much at eating any (except a very few -- I'm finicky that way). So last night I had a dilemma.
I was making steak sandwiches, using beef flank steak instead of Buffalo tri-tip this time, and had decided on my green beans as the veggie. But I wanted one more dish, something starchy, maybe cool, and so I decided to try an idea I'd had for turning caprizzi into a pasta salad. This is what I came up with:
Caprizzi di Ferrari
2 cups radiatore pasta
6 ounces fresh mozzarella
4 Roma tomatoes
1 bunch fresh basil leaves
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
¼ cup red wine vinegar
2 cloves minced garlic
Bring 3-4 cups salted water to a boil in a pot over medium heat. When water
reaches a boil, pour in 2 cups radiatore pasta (any smaller pasta, such as
rotini, will do, but I prefer radiatore). Cook 10 minutes or until al dente.
Strain, rinse with cold water until pasta is cooled.
While the pasta is cooking and cooling, cut the mozzarella into ½-inch cubes.
Slice the Roma tomatoes into similarly sized chunks, removing the seeds. Rinse
the basil in cold water and julienne. Combine all three with the now cold pasta
in a glass bowl.
In a small bowl, combine the extra virgin olive oil, red wine vinegar, and
garlic, and mix well. Drizzle over the pasta mix. Salt and pepper to taste (I
like it with more salt & pepper, but that’s up to you), mix gently but
thoroughly. Cover the bowl and refrigerate 1 hour. Makes 4-6 servings.
I gave it that name because of the colors and the fact that radiator translates as radiator (at least, that's what Babelfish tells me). I discovered radiatore by accident and love it. It's a rolled (slightly spiral) square of pasta that's flat on the inside and has wavy ridges on the outside. It's a smaller pasta, but has substance -- you can get it in one bite, and can really sink your teeth into it. Enjoy!

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

What the...???!!!

This is just weird.

I know how my Blog made the Google Search.

I don't WANT to know why someone was looking for "Chinese Miniskirts.

The Devil's Brigade of Blogging

OK, it’s confession time. I have a deep, dark, shameful secret, and it’s time I come clean.

I like Canadians.

I know, I’ve been as guilty as any other American, especially of any other American conservative, of being mildly derisive of Canada. And let’s be honest – every country has its drawbacks, every country on Earth provides the rest of the world with material for jokes. Being next door to Canada, it’s easy to notice the specks in their eyes. I’ve oft repeated the joke that “The tragedy of Canada is that it had a chance to end up with French Cuisine, English Culture, and American Technology, but ended up with English Cuisine, American Culture, and French Technology”. It’s noteworthy that the originator of the quote is purported to be a Canadian.

And I’m no fan, obviously, of their government or its policies.

But on a personal level, I find Canadians to be some of the nicest, most generous, and sincerest people I’ve ever met. The only unpleasant interactions I’ve had with Canadians were work-related, and in my line of work, that’s to be expected. Growing up in the Rural West, there was an attitude that we had more in common culturally with Western Canadians than with East Coast Americans.

And despite the current dismal state of their military, that is in no way a reflection on the quality of the Canadian as a fighting man. Throughout their history, especially in the World Wars, Canadians proved themselves to be brave, fierce soldiers, and good allies to have at your back – although given their enthusiasm, you had to move fast to keep them behind you.

And they have proven particularly adept at fighting alongside us “Yanks”. Case in point is the “Devil’s Brigade” after which this post is named. In Afghanistan, a Canadian Sniper took out a Taliban target at a range of over 1 mile, saving the bacon of American Soldiers.

And so it’s with great admiration and friendship that I commend to you the Red Ensign Standard, a group of politically conservative Canadian Bloggers fighting the good fight in and for their beloved homeland. Go give them a read and your support.

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(Thanks for the Memory to Cameron at Anthroblogogogy for making me aware of our friends, eh)

Monday, August 01, 2005

Wisdom of the Solomons

Over the course of the last two and a half years, as part of the ongoing debate over the Iraq War, one of the arguments put forth by those opposed to the war has been to point out all of the other places in the world in which Democracy is still not the order of the day, including (but not limited to) US allies, and then to ask a rhetorical question usually along the lines of, “Are we going to invade Saudi Arabia (or North Korea, etc.) next?” The logic behind the argument seems to be that if we fail to take the same action against every opponent of democracy that we did against Saddam Hussein, then the argument that the Iraq war was about Democracy is specious at best, and hypocritical at worst.

To begin with, for the sake of this post and any follow-on discussion, I refuse to debate if and when the war is or was about Democracy. Anyone who thinks otherwise is encouraged to go read the prewar 2003 State of the Union Address, then post on their own darned Blogs! For the sake of argument in this particular post, we shall grant that Democracy was indeed one of the goals of the war, and address the question of whether this is a consistent position. I ask that any comments be limited to that topic.

To answer the critics who point out the perceived inconsistency in going to war to, at least in part, establish Democracy in Iraq, but not elsewhere, we must first explore WHY the U.S. would pursue such a course of action.

Let's start by refuting the perception that this is part of some "Holy Crusade" for Democracy. That's just silly. While Democracy is a lofty goal and one that all good people should strive to acheive everywhere, that's not the basic motivation behind executing this war. If it were, I would be as opposed to the war as anyone else, for the stated reason as well as for reasons of constitutionality. The President and Military of the United States took vows to defend America and her constitution, not Democracy Everywhere.

And that actually brings us to the real reason I believe we should be and are fighting to establish Democracy in Iraq. That goal is based on a basic belief held by those who are (often derisively) called "Neocons", a belief that forms a pillar of the Bush Doctrine: It is strategically to the Advantage of the United States to promote Democracy elsewhere in the World. In other words, the freer and happier people in other parts of the world are, the less likely they will pose a threat to US Security. I happen to agree with this particular view. And while this view is certainly open to debate, again, that is not the goal of this post. Suffice it to say that in order to discuss the consistency of US actions in Iraq compared to other places, it is enough to understand that the people making Foreign Policy decisions also share this belief.

Once we have established that Democracy in Iraq, indeed, the promotion of Democracy ANYWHERE outside of the U.S., is a straegic means to an end, and not the end itself, it becomes easier to understand the justification for pursuing the same goal using different methods in different places. In fact, we have a fairly recent (within the last century) example of another strategic campaign, one in which the United States was spectacularly successful, which employs a similar method of picking and choosing ones fight. It's my assertion that the War in Iraq is actually just one battle in a bigger war, and that that war is being fought similarly to the Island-Hopping Campaign in the Pacific in World War II.

Let's Review:

By 1942, the United States and its allies were ready to start fighting back against the Japanese, and to retake the vast swaths of the Western and South Pacific that had been captured by the Empire of the Rising Sun. However, a strategic decision was made NOT to retake every inch of every island back from the enemy in a slow, costly, deadly rollback-style campaign. The allies understood how much time and energy and men would be lost trying to acheive victory by these means. So they chose instead to pursue a campaign that was called Island-Hopping. The Allies would bypass positions that were too heavily defended copmpletely, and attack other islands instead. As the Allies pressed northwards, bypassed islands to the south were cut off from supply from the Japanese homeland, and "withered on the vine", their positions rendered either untenable or strategically insignificant.

In choosing which islands to assault, there were two chief considerations: The relative ease with which the island could be taken, and the strategic importance of the island aside from it merely being the next in line. Priority was placed on islands whose capture either provided the Allies with additional advantages, or denied the Japanese of those same advantages. This usually meant islands with good natural harbors, or more importantly, established Japanese airbases that could be rapidly converted to use by the allies. In a few cases, the strategic advantage of such assets even warranted assaults on islands that were more strongly defended (Tinian and Iwo Jima come readily to mind).

In the end, the strategy worked. By the time of the War's End, when Japan surrendered unconditionally, there were numerous islands still in their control (in contrast with Europem where the Allies had rolled the Nazis back almost everywhere).

Let's take this model and see how it applies to the War on Terror and the War in Iraq. It is well known that there are plenty of countries out there whose dictatorial leaders either oppose Democracy, hate the U.S., and/or provide support for the forces of oppression, terror, and chaos -- whether that support is moral or material. So why "just" pick on Iraq?

Iraq is, I would argue, this war's Guadalcanal, it's Tarawa, it's Iwo Jima. It was chosen as the second "Island" we assaulted, after Afghanistan (and hopefully the last one we have to, though I have my misgivings there), because it was easier to take than other enemy "positions", and because it was strategically useful.

In terms of the relative ease of taking IRaq, I am referring to more than just military strategy and tactics -- I refer to political strategy as well. Because Iraq was ruled by a man openly hostile to the US, who had failed to live up to the expectations of a previous cease fire agreement with the US and the related UN Resolutions, and who had committed atrocities against his own people, it was much easier to convince the US public and Congress to support action against him. I dare say, as vocal as the opposition to this war has been, it's nothing compared to the reaction we'd have engendered by attacking Iran or Saudi Arabia, despite current protests to the contrary.

Furthermore, there is the actual military strategy to consider. Even had a war against another regime been approved, it would have been far more costly and less likely to succeed. Even now, Iraq is a cakewalk compared to what an invasion of Iran or North Korea would have been like.

As for strategic importance, Iraq has that in spades. By liberating Afghanistan and Iraq, we've placed pro-Democracy forces on both sides of Iran, placing a huge elephant in the middle of the Middle East's room. Furthermore, Saddam Hussein's very existence as leader of Iraq weakened US Strategic and diplomatic clout, as he was living proof that the US was all talk. By removing him, we showed we mean business, and increased our position of power from which to negotiate.

As for the final comparison to the Island-Hopping Campaign, the end results, the final verdict isn't in, but early indications are good: The introduction of women's suffrage to Kuwait, multi-party local elections in Saudi Arabia, the events in Lebanon, and Libya's unilateral disarmament of its WMD stockpile, all indicate that the bypassed enemy positions are, indeed, "withering on the vine."

On to Tokyo, as it were.

What Would Teddy have Said Back THEN?

President Bush has appointed John Bolton as US Ambassador to the Unityed Nations using a recess nomination.

Of course, Senator Ted Kennedy (D - Johnny Walker) was critical of the move.

"It's a devious maneuver that evades the constitutional requirement of Senate consent and only further darkens the cloud over Mr. Bolton's credibility at the U.N," Kennedy said."

As my good friend Vulture Six pointed out to me, The Senator's own brother used just such a manuover to put Thurgood Marshall on the SCOTUS bench.

But that's different, right, Ted Old Chap?

Removed Post

I have removed the post entitled Surface Tension until I have had time to review and refine it.