Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Feedback on Two Excerpts

Feedback on Children's Story

If you have an interest in children's books, I'd appreciate your feedback if you have a chance. I am considering entering a contest and would like your feedback on the following two excerpts (limited to 4,000 characters, including spaces).

First, do either of these excerpts strike you as interesting, do they make you want to read more?
Second, which excerpt do you think is better?
Third, tell me if you think that this effort is or is not worth the nominal fee to enter the contest without major revisions, then tell me what you think revisions should be.

This story stems from stories that I would make up and tell my children at bedtime. They like them so far and I'm wondering if I can write well enough that they might be interesting to other children as well.

Thanks for your help!

Excerpt #1

You see, Grandpa Patrick was a very kind soul who really wanted to live his life in his house with his books. Grandpa--I'll just call him Patrick from now on--was living a peaceful life in Dorn, engaging his students in their history lesson when tragedy struck.

"Class, take out The History of Dorn: Joseph’s Journey and turn to page 16."  Patrick looked at his students over the tops of his wire-rimmed glasses.
"Can anyone tell me who the hero is in Joseph’s Journey?...Anyone?"
His students were quickly turning to the proper page and were looking sheepishly at their desks, the wall, outside--anywhere but at their teacher.

"Am I to understand that no one did their homework to prepare for our discussion today?"
"You don't have to understand it that way, Mr. P!" piped up a voice from the back.
"I think I shall, Jamil, as that seems to be the best explanation for my students' reluctance to participate with me" said Patrick, annoyance creeping into his voice.

"Cathou!" Patrick named the student that stared intently out of the window of the one-room schoolhouse, "Who was the hero in the Legend of Dorn?"
"Anthraks", said the young griffin in a smallish voice.
"Anthraks?...anthraks!?", replied Patrick in disbelief, he was becoming exasperated now. "There was never a mention of Anthraks in this tome—this is history, not myth!”
"Well, aren't Anthraks supposed to be like black beetles with a tail like a scorpion?" asked Cathou, still staring out the window.
"Cathou, we are not talking about Anthraks right now, we are talking about the History of Dorn."

Patrick was somewhat surprised at Cathou's questions, because he was normally a very good student.  "Will you please focus on the lesson?"
"But, Mr. P, don't those look like Anthraks?"  Cathou's eagle-eyes were now big as saucers as he pointed out the window with his talon.
Patrick’s eyes flitted toward the window as he said sternly, “Cathou, your impertinence d--.”
Whatever Patrick was going to say was lost in the thump of the History of Dorn slipping from his grasp and falling loudly to the floor.  Patrick stared out the window-a million thoughts buzzing through his detailed mind.

The children began to crowd around the window.  Sure enough, on the hill outside were what looked like large black beetles the size of cows--and they had long, scorpion-like tails with nasty-looking stingers on the ends.  They appeared to be grazing on the grass, just like the cows that used to be there, except that they scuttled along like overgrown cockroaches, bumping into each other like so many grotesque bumper-cars.
Patrick just could not believe his eyes.  He quickly tried to remember everything that he had read about the Anthraks in fairy tale books.  They were originally Trolls (which are a nasty bunch to begin with) that had betrayed the King of the Trolls in battle against the humans.  The stories said that they were vicious fighters that even the Upper Trolls don't cross. All of this flew through Patrick's mind in a flash.
Now have you ever seen something live that you only read about in books?  Maybe it was a place like the ocean or a beast like a gorilla.  Books are great, but there's nothing like actually seeing it.  Well, this was even better, because these creatures weren't even supposed to exist!  It would be like seeing a three-legged Shcramp walking through...wait, you've probably never heard of...never mind...back to my story.

"Stay here, children!" commanded Patrick as he strode out the door.

Now, a faun striding sounds like a toddler wearing mama's shoes.  Tap, tap, tap went Patrick's hooves on the wooden floor and down the steps.

"Where's he going?" asked a human child.
"I dunno"
"He's running away!"
"No, he's not, he's going over to them!"
"That's dangerous!"
"They're gonna kill ‘im!"
"No, look!" shouted Cathou the griffin, "He's coming back!"

In rushed Patrick to the schoolhouse--tap, tap, tap--"Students, kindly arrange your possessions, we must process immediately."

Excerpt #2

"Hello, Nancy", they were old friends--he had taught her and her sisters when they were young chicks.
"Good morning, Mr. P"

After exchanging dutiful pleasantries about each other's families, Patrick inquired about speaking before the Table of Elders. Nancy frowned—a pitiable look came over her face.

"You haven't made an appointment, Mr. P"
"I know, Nancy, but this concerns an extremely exigent matter."
Nancy didn't know what that meant, but she could tell by the tone of Patrick's voice that something was wrong. She also knew that no one walked into the Table of Elders without a prior appointment.
Patrick saw her hesitation. He grasped her arm.

"Nancy, please...this is a matter that could hold dire consequences for the entire village"

Nancy was shaken to see dear Mr. P in such a state.

"A-Alright, Mr. P" she said, her feathers just a slight bit ruffled, "I will go see if they will see you today."
"Now! Nancy"
"I’ll try."

Nancy walked cautiously toward the meeting room where the dim shouting became clearer and louder.

"I am telling you, a stop sign at the corner of Weatherly and Main will not accomplish what you want!"
"It's not a stop sign, it's a traffic sign!"

She paused, grasping the large brass handle, sweat from her bird-hands making it slippery. The last time she entered this room unannounced, she received a tongue-lashing she didn't soon forget, I can tell you. Taking a deep breath, she pulled open the door. The shouting stopped abruptly. It became grave-dead silent as poor Nancy, with her bird-legs quivering, stood there—a nervous wreck as nine pairs of eyes bored into her.

"Well?" A gruff, impatient voice punched out from the face of a grumpy, wide, stump of a dwarf. The Chief Elder's long beard made his frown look deep and foreboding. The lines on his face looked as if they had been carved there by an ancient, unskilled sculptor.
"I...I...I..." Nancy stuttered. She paused. The stares continued with no encouragement, as if they'd prefer that she just go away.

"I think you really need to talk to Mr. P and it's really important because he has something really important to say!" Nancy shot the words at them so fast they could hardly understand her. She just wanted to say her piece, get Mr. P an audience and go back to her desk to resume the game of solitaire that Mr. P had interrupted.



Then something in Nancy's little bird brain snapped. She didn't care that these bullies threatened her job the last time she interrupted them. She didn't care that they were looking at her as if she were a mosquito buzzing around their ears and wanted to swat her away. All she cared about now was accomplishing her mission.
"You all are just plain rude! I am here telling you that Mr. P needs to speak with you immediately because he has an extremely exergent matter to share with you immediately and now! Just listen to what Mr. P has to say, immediately, and then you'll see that you needn't have been so rude by staring at me like I was some sort of bug! And if you're going to fire me, then fine, because you have to hear immediately what Mr. P has to say, and that's that!

Nancy was flushed with the exhilaration of what she'd just done...told off the elders of the village! No one tells off the elders of the village! She felt wonderful, she felt ecstatic, she felt—cold.
The Chief Elder made a noise. Her heart fell into her stomach, which promptly fell into her feet. The noise was like a grating growl. Nancy cowered in fear, ready to retreat. The growling sound grew and changed into a strange sort of laugh.

"Har, haw, har!" The Chief Elder chortled. "You've got some spirit, Nanc! Send Mr. P in “immediately and now” and we’ll listen to his “exergent” matter!" The rest of the elders gathered around the long table were muttering laughter as well.

"O-Of course...I'll send him right in", Nancy pirouetted and practically ran back to where Patrick was waiting.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Newt's Comments on the Judiciary

People understand that we have three branches of government and that that's a good thing.  But when the three branches act as they ought, they get frustrated because "nothing is getting done!" and accuse the politicians of mudslinging.  This system is set up precisely to those ends--the ensure that no laws are passed in a superficial or covert manner.  This is why the passage of the new health care law was such an affront to our system of government.

Each branch is required to interpret the Constitution.  The Congress, when it passes laws, is doing so because they believe the law to be within their Constitutional authority.  The Executive, when he chooses to sign and/or enforce the law (especially a law effectively "passed" by the judiciary), and of course the judiciary, when it makes judgements about the merits of alleged injury caused by a particular law.

As such, the executive may demonstrate its interpretive authority in a variety of ways.  Refusal to enforce a law is a legitimate, if blunt, tool to use. 

The contention by Andrew Jones that Newt's position challenges Marbury v. Madison is inaccurate.  Newt is not challenging Justice Marshall's contention that it is the "province and duty of the judicial department to say what the law is."  He is merely contending, rightly in my opinion, that it is not the sole province of the judiciary to interpet the Constitution. 

This hyperventilating by Bush's former attorneys-general on talk shows is misplaced.  Mukasey said that this would "reduce the entire judicial system to a spectacle."  What he's saying is that it will make it more political--as if the confirmation hearings haven't done that already.

Also, the mantra of "rule of law" chanted by the left any time the American people disagree and want to do something about SCOTUS decisions that are clearly extra-constitutional is incomplete. The rule of law refers to the body of law being king (Lex ex Rex), not any man -- or group of men.

Our system has a specific and measured way to produce such law.  Newt is reacting to the acquiescence of two of the branches of government allowing one branch to position itself as the sole arbiter of law.  I welcome that long-overdue reaction.

There are, of course, political ramifications, and those are the only valid arguments being leveled, i.e. "what happens when Democrats are in power?"  This is a very real political concern, which justifies Newt's statement (reflecting the Declaration) that these tools wouldn't be used except in extreme circumstances (or after a long train of abuses).  The techniques he is talking about would set up a very real, and very contentious, political argument over the values the nation should hold.

Whatever one may say about the political wisdom of such moves has nothing to do with the legality of them, hence the frantic nature of the comments.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Let's compare...

Is this an unfair comparison?

Monday, August 30, 2010

Brush with Tragedy

Saturday. Beautiful day. Sun-drenched warmth and easy-going attitudes. School starts in a couple days. Nice.

Parents are in town. Healthy and engaging. Joyful and playful. Walks and trips to Cabela's.

Visit to Grandma Elva. Everyone piling in the van. 5 dearly loved passengers in that metal box.

Chattering and laughing. Stopping for gas. Dad leaps out to pump and pay to fill the tank. Grab some breakfast. Kate gets powdered donuts. Yum.

On the road. Driving peacefully. Then...

Tunnel vision. Explosion, Confusion. Yelling.

Did I hit a sign? Dad yells. Can't see.

Realization..."He pulled out in front of me!"

Still moving. Dad yanks the wheel out of my grip. Takes us to the side of the road.

Kids crying. "Are you ok, Dad?" "It hurts." "Are you ok, Mom?" "I think so." Dad says, "I think it's better."

Kate yelling to the kids..."We're all okay! We're all okay!" Elijah crying loudly looking like he's foaming at the mouth because of the powdered donut he was eating.

Doors open. Call 911. Already been reported. Hearing sirens.

Friendly passerby helping. Gives me his name and number.

EMTs arrived. Orderly confusion as we determine to send both parents and kids to the hospital.

Other car is on its side...everyone's ok.

Hospital admittance. Elijah keep pointing to the scab on his ankle that he's been picking for weeks in answer to the question, "Where does it hurt?"

Kids are fine. Parents are fine, if a little banged up.

In-laws arrive. Takes us home.

Processing. What happened? How did I not see him? No one saw him. Missing details recalled.

Emotionally shaken. Hair breadths difference between peace and tragedy.

God is kind.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Quotes from "War" Part II

I decided to post these last quotes separately because, if he is correct, they cast a new light on how I can understand a combat vet's experience:

"Civilians balk at recognizing that one of the most traumatic things about combat is having to give it up. War is so obviously evil and wrong that the idea there could be anything good to it almost feels like a profanity. And yet throughout history, men like Mac and Rice and O'Byrne have come home to find themselves desperately missing what should have been the worst experience of their lives. To a combat vet, the civilian world can seem frivolous and dull, with very little at stake and all the wrong people in power...when men say they miss combat, it's not that they actually miss getting shot at--you'd have to be deranged--it's that they miss being in a world where everything is important and nothing is taken for granted. They miss being in a world where human relations are entirely governed by whether you can trust the other person with your life.

It's such a pure, clean standard that men can completely remake themselves in war. You could be anything back home--shy, ugly, rich, poor, unpopular--and it won't matter because it's of no consequence ina firefight, and therefore of no consequence, period. The only thing that matters is your level of dedication to th erest of the group, and that is almost impossible to fake...

War is a big and sprawling word that brings a lot of human suffering into the conversation, but combat is a different matter. Combat is the smaller game that young men fall in love with, and any solution to the human problem of war will have to take into account the psyches of these young men. For some reason there is a profound and mysterious gratification to the reciprocal agreement to protect another person with your life, and combat is virtually the only situation in which that happens regularly. These hillsides of loose shale and holy treed are where the men feel not most alive--that you can get skydiving--but the most utilized. The most necessary. The most clear and certain and purposeful. If young men could get that feeling at home, no one would ever want to go to war again, but they can't. So here sits Sergeant Brendan O'Byrne, one month before the end of deployment, seriously contemplating signing back up." [bold emphasis mine] -pp. 233-234

"...an irony of combat psychology...the logical downside of heroism. If you're willing to lay down your life for another person, then their death is going to be more upsetting than the prospect of your own" -p. 237

"Combat fog obscures your fate--obscures when and where you might die--and from that unknown is born a desperate bond between the men. That bond is the core experience of combat and the only thing you can absolutely count on...the enemy might kill you, but the shared commitment to safeguard one another's lives is unnegotiable and only deepens with time. The willingness to die for another person is a form of love that even religious fail to inspire, and the experience of it changes a person profoundly. What the Army sociologists...slowly came to understand was that courage was love. In war, neither could exist without the other and that in a sense they were just different ways of saying the same thing." -p. 239

Quotes from "War"

"War" by Sebastian Junger

The idea that there are rules in warfare and that combatants kill each other according to basic concepts of fairness probably ended for good with the machine gun. A man with a machine gun can conceivably hold of a whole battalion, at least for a while, which changes the whole equation of what it means to be brave in battle. In WWI, when automatic weapons came into general use, heavy machine gunners were routinely executed if their position was overrun because they caused so much death. (Regular infantry, who were thought to be "fighting fairly," were often spared.) Machine guns forced infantry to disperse, to camouflage themselves, and to fight in small independent units. All that promoted stealth over honor and squad loyalty over blind obedience.

In a war of that nature soldiers gravitate toward whatever works best with the least risk. At that point combat stops being a grand chess game between generals and becomes a no-holds-barred experiment in pure killing. As a result, much of modern military tactics is geared toward maneuvering the enemy into a position where they can essentially be massacred from safety. It sounds dishonorable only if you imagine that modern war is about honor; it's not. It's about winning, which means killing the enemy on the most unequal terms possible. Anything less simply results in the loss of more of your own men." - p.140

After describing his humvee being hit with an IED and the ensuing firefight, he writes:
"War is a lot of things and it's useless to pretend that exciting isn't one of them. It's insanely exciting. The machinery of war and the sound it makes and the urgency of its use and the consequences of almost everything about it are the most exciting things anyone engaged in war will ever know. Soldiers discuss that fact with each other and eventually with their chaplains and their shrinks and maybe even their spouses, but he public will never hear about it. It's just not something that many people want acknowledged. War is supposed to feel bad because undeniably bad things happen in it, but for a nineteen-year-old at the working end of a .50 cal during a firefight that everyone comes out of okay, war is life multiplied by some number that no one has ever heard of. In some ways twenty minutes of combat is more life than you could scrape together in a lifetime of doing something else. Combat isn't where you might die--though that does happen--it's where you find out whether you get to keep on living. Don't underestimate the power of that revelation. Don't underestimate the things young men will wager in order to play that game one more time." -pp. 144-145

"Society can give its young men almost any job and they'll figure how to do it. They'll suffer for it and die for it and watch their friends die for it, but in the end, it will get done. That only means that society should be careful about what it asks for." -p. 154

"Heroism is hard to study in soldiers because they invariably claim that they acted like any good soldier would have. Among other things, heroism is a negation of the self--you're prepared to lose your own life for the sake of others--so in that sense, talking about how brave you were may be psychologically contradictory...Civilians understand soldiers to have a kind of baseline duty, and that everything above that is considered "bravery." Soldiers see it the other way around: either you're doing your duty or you're a coward. There's no other place to go." -p. 211

Friday, March 19, 2010

My email to my Congressman

Dear Mr. Holden,

Thank you for your stated opposition to the Senate Health Care bill. I understand that there will be a procedural vote held on Sunday. I trust that you will stand firm on behalf of your constituents, even if you feel pressure from those who want to impose a nationalized health insurance system through procedural sleight-of-hand on the American people.

Thank you again for listening to your constituents and I look forward to seeing your "no" vote on Sunday.

Dan Tubbs

Thursday, January 28, 2010

More thinking about the speech

Another thing that came to mind...after referencing Bull Run, Omaha Beach, Black Tuesday and Bloody Sunday...he says this phrase as a preface to the rest of the sentence: "After one of the most difficult years in our history..."

For who? We're not in a Civil War, World War (at least at the same level of participation), Depression or enduring massive Civil Rights struggles. 10 percent unemployment is bad, there are many dangers on the horizon...but I would be hard pressed to put the past year in league with the aforementioned events in our history.

SCOTUS and the President

In regard to the President's opposition to the SCOTUS decision, I agree with Powerline: "Presidents should feel free to criticize important Supreme Court decisions with which they disagree. It's bad form, however, to do so at an event where Justices are in attendance by invitation. And it is unconscionable to do so by ...blatantly misrepresenting what the Court has said."

Sunday, November 1, 2009

For those that are not on FaceBook

For those not on facebook, I've reproduced Vern's essay below:

I've been asked what I think of the Matthew Hoh resignation in particular and the situation in Afghanistan in general. For those of you who know me well, you know that you've now asked for it. Pardon me while I get on my soap box and begin my ramble.

For those who want to read his actual resignation letter, go here; http://www.docstoc.com/docs/13944018/Matthew-Hoh-Resignation-Letter It is a good segway into my own penmanship below...

Well...I know enough to know that this is a very, very complex environment over here and we are missing the boat by #1 not having a coherent, national strategy and #2 by not having a coherent, national strategy...

Are we trying to deny Al Qaeda sanctuary, as many would say we invaded Afghanistan in the first place for? if so, then why aren't we in Pakistan with troops? Al Qaeda has sanctuary there. why aren't we in Yemen? Al Qaeda has sanctuary there. why aren't we in the Horn of Africa (HOA) in more force? Al Qaeda has sanctuary there. Why aren't we bullying our way around spots in western Europe where a good portion of the 9-11 attacks were planned? No...that isn't the reason.

Are we trying to stablize the region? if so, then why don't we stabilze the region by protecting Pakistan's govt instead of trying to rebuild Afghanistan in our own image? After all, everyone knows Pakistan and India hold the nukes we're worried about. India and Pakistan hate one another and they both have nukes. Oh, and both countries have extremist organizations who want to overthrow their governments. Did I mention they both have nukes?

The fact remains that Pakistan doesn't want a stable, unified, pro-western Afghanistan on its western flank. They're pursuing and trying to crush Taliban in their own country (because they pose a threat to their government), while they simultaneously support and protect the Taliban who're fighting us in Afghanistan. Why? They want an unstable, dependent (upon them) Afghanistan on their flank to serve as a nice buffer between them, Iran, and the "Stans" of the former Soviet Union. This also allows them to focus on their troubles with India without worrying over their "back door".

Simultaneously, Iran doesn't want a unified, stable Pro-U.S. government on their eastern flank that can be used as a launching pad for attacks on them. They don't seem to be "heavily" involved in this theater...yet. But it may be only a matter of time if the situation does actually start to improve in our favor here.

So the question remains, why are we investing so much blood and national treasure (which BTW we aren't going to have much treasure at the rate we're going...but that is another subject for another time) in this effort? Why are investing this treasure and placing all our chips on an Afghan central govt that is completely corrupt and only concerned about gaining and maintaining power for itself and their related cronies? Why are we insisting on changing a culture that doesn't understand or truly want a democratic form of government?

Bottom line for me is that I still am a Soldier and a professional. I'll carry out my duty to the best of my ability. If someone ever decides that our strategy is to rebuild Afghanistan and that is the strategy, then I say that GEN MacChrystal is almost right. I'd take a SWAG and say we need at least 60,000 more troops though, instead of 40,000. We need to saturate this austere and compartmentalized country and control and secure the populace. Simultaneously we need to enable the LOCAL governance to take root. The central government doesn't mean anything to the average Afghan. Simultaneously we need to build (double in size) and mentor an Afghan Security Force that is undermanned, under-equipped, under-trained, and has no solid NCO corps on which to build. Did I happen to mention that Afghanistan has no true natural resources to speak of to produce income? Oh, wait a minute, I forgot about the poppie/heroin production...largest in the world. Anyway, I digress...

Afghanistan has not had a stable central government since the monarchy of King Mohammed Zahir Shah who was overthrown in 1973, after which he lived in exile in Italy. In my opinion, our first mistake was in 2002 when, after we had ousted the Taliban, Mohammed Zahir Shah was invited back to participate in a Loya Jurga (Pashto for "grand assembly"). At that time there were open calls for a return to the monarchy. Zahir Shah himself let it be known that he would accept whatever responsibility was placed on him by the Loya Jirga. However he was obliged to publicly step aside at the behest of the good 'ol U.S. of A. because many of delegates to the Loya Jirga were prepared to vote for Zahir Shah (a.k.a. monarchy) and block the US-backed Hamid Karzai...and Karzai was our "man in the bag" to be point for creating a democracy in Afghanistan. Zahir Shah died in 2007.

Question...why didn't we let them have their monarchy again? Why do we insist on instituting democracy on a people and a culture who aren't asking for it? Have we forgotten how our Founding Fathers fought viciously and tenaciously to achieve our own representative democracy? No one can force this form of government on another. You must want it to the point of being willing to die for it. You must have a foundational belief and understanding of the value of the individual man, as created in Jehovah God's image. You must believe and give ascent to a system of law and order that is based upon the Ten Commandments and the value of the individual.

I can tell you that I agree completely with Matthew Hoh when he said in an interview, "I'm not some peacenik, pot-smoking hippie who wants everyone to be in love," Hoh said. Although he said his time in Zabul was the "second-best job I've ever had," his dominant experience is from the Marines, where many of his closest friends still serve. "There are plenty of dudes who need to be killed," he said of al-Qaeda and the Taliban. "I was never more happy than when our Iraq team whacked a bunch of guys."

I can definitely identify with these statements. I've been deeply involved in this conflict for a while now, but my views started to shift early this year. I've had many discussions with my lovely better half on this subject. I also started reading Robert McNamara's book "In Retrospect" to gain some historical perspective on the establishment of our strategic goals and the decisions made to support those goals during the Vietnam War.

Bottom line reference President Obama determining our strategy..."Is situation X (fill in the blank) an actual or ancillary threat to the existence of the United States of America?" We've faced this question many times before and we haven't always answered right.

I ultimately have to answer the question for myself..."why am I continuing to be a part of an effort if I don't think we're going down the right path?" Well, the answer, like the problem, is complicated. I can honestly say that at the root of it all, I'm a military professional that has a skill set that many young men can still benefit from. THAT will always be good enough for me.

If any tidbit of the myriad of advice I give to various commanders, leaders, and Soldiers helps change their thinking or assists them in protecting their men while accomplishing their tactical mission...then I can sleep good at night knowing that I'm doing the right thing. I will continue to give my all every day over here and do my darndest to help win the tactical and operational fight...because that means less body bags being filled by our national treasure...our youth.

...my fear is that we will continue to waffle and spin in circles on a strategic level while no matter what anybody does at the tactical level...those body bags keep on being filled...

Friday, October 30, 2009

Thoughts on Afghanistan...from someone who's been there

As you may or may not know, my brother is an articulate, caring, thoughtful and all-around good guy...and did I mention, you don't want to get on his bad side...particularly if you're plotting the death of Americans in Afghanistan? He's a recently retired Major in the Army Rangers, an elite corps that are among the highest trained fighting units in the world.

He is currently training our soldiers in Afghanistan to ensure the success of their mission.

And...he has some opinions...

"I know enough to know that this is a very, very complex environment over here and we are missing the boat by #1 not having a coherent, national strategy and #2 by not having a coherent, national strategy..."

He goes on to ask the million dollar question...why are we there? In light of Matthew Hoh's resignation, it's about time that someone in the Executive Branch ask this question...and decide. I know the President spoke in Jacksonville on Monday, defending his lack of attention to this matter, maintaining that it's because he's taking it seriously...


We were waging this war prior to his taking office. I'm sure he was fully briefed by the Bush Administration on the strategy at the time. If he was truly contemplating changing strategy...and took it seriously...I would think that this would be high on the priority list once he entered office. In fact, if I recall, he did start deploying troops to Afghanistan...was he doing that absent a strategy? Or was it the wrong strategy? Or did he just not spend enough time on the golf course contemplating the "solemn decision"?

We can see what it is that he takes seriously-- his domestic agenda.

That's fine, I guess, during a time of peace. But, it's unconscionable to place such a light emphasis upon the Constitutional duty to "provide for the common defence" during wartime. Upon his election, we were involved in a war in two major theaters...if it was as important to him as he claims...don't you think he would have taken the time then to deliberate and figure out the best strategy?

This dithering about on the golf course while our men our over there fighting and dying -- waiting for a strategy -- is disheartening at best.

It would be well if more people paid attention to people like Vern...people who are there, have their wits about them and can see the big picture. Read his short essay.

Monday, October 19, 2009

S. 1796

Interesting Reading the Table of Contents...
After creating a massive, mind-numbing bureaucracy, how do the dems propose to pay for it? Have a look...
Subtitle A—Revenue Offset Provisions
Sec. 6001. Excise tax on high cost employer-sponsored health coverage.
Sec. 6002. Inclusion of cost of employer-sponsored health coverage on W–2. (tax)
Sec. 6003. Distributions for medicine qualified only if for prescribed drug or insulin. (ration)
Sec. 6004. Increase in additional tax on distributions from HSAs not used for qualified medical expenses.
Sec. 6005. Limitation on health flexible spending arrangements under cafeteria plans. (ration)
Sec. 6006. Expansion of information reporting requirements.
Sec. 6007. Additional requirements for charitable hospitals.
Sec. 6008. Imposition of annual fee on branded prescription pharmaceutical manufacturers and importers.
Sec. 6009. Imposition of annual fee on medical device manufacturers and importers.
Sec. 6010. Imposition of annual fee on health insurance providers.
Sec. 6011. Study and report of effect on veterans health care. (?)
Sec. 6012. Elimination of deduction for expenses allocable to Medicare Part D subsidy. (tax)
Sec. 6013. Modification of itemized deduction for medical expenses. (tax)
Sec. 6014. Limitation on excessive remuneration paid by certain health insurance providers. (ration)

Let's see...massive tax increases, annual fees, expansion of requirements and rationing. Brilliant. See what happens when the free market fails us? Thanks, Paul.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

School Vouchers

These women ask "why?" One word: unions

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Obama's Friends

...ALL THIS LEADS to one important question. Suppose Obama succeeds in building friendships with Chavez, Castro, Ahmadinejad and the Taliban. What then? Does America still get to feel that it stands for something? Will we still be the beacon of liberty and freedom to the rest of the world, or will we have sold out in the name of political expediency? And do any of us seriously believe that presidential friendship is going to get a megalomaniac like Hugo Chavez to ease up on the levers of power, or are we just feeding his ego by showing him he can be a tyrant and still have a beer with the president of the United States? Will the Iranians really stop enriching uranium through diplomacy rather than economic sanctions?

HT: Drudge

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Hating What's Right

This lecture by Evan Sayet (9/11 conservative convert) was one that explains his concept of how liberals make decisions. This concept subsumes Jew/US hatred under the same umbrella and provides a cogent rationale for the ever-present Jew-hater at the anti-war rallies...Notes and embedded video below-watch it if you have the time:

To the liberal, Indiscriminateness is a moral imperative

However, indiscriminateness of thought does not lead to indiscriminateness of policy...it sides with evil.

Because of the indiscriminateness, there is no justification for anything that is better than anything else, therefore, failure is de facto proof of victimization

A multiculturalist (one that believes that all cultures are equal) must de facto be a supporter of tyranny

Either there is is something exceptional about our culture, or there is nothing special about our culture. It the latter, our success is unjust and our longevity is proof positive that we cheated...among the most unjust in the history of the world.

The multiculturalist can't believe that we are an exceptional culture, therefore we stole our success.

"Objectivity is undesirable if history is to serve a social purpose." - Howard Zinn

Jew hatred goes hand in hand with US hatred...because of the same exact reason

The act of criminality is de facto proof that the criminal has been victimized

To not believe that the terrorists were not provoked is racism

The more heinous the crime, the more victimized the criminal must have been
Seeking the truth is an act of bigotry to the left.

In order for this to make sense, we must elevate the provocation to the level of the crime. Why would Durbin call our troops Nazis? Because the evil he is championing rises to that level.

Liberals have an inability to identify the "better things in life"
--Life is zero sum. If so, the way to prevent poverty is to prevent success
in the "grown-up world" all ships rise with the tide

In order to help people lead better lives, conservatives want to train people in better behaviors, but Liberals attack the behaviors, because they are signs of bigotry.

example: abstinence - this is a good practice for children, look at social statistics apart from any religious consideration. But, Liberals invariably promote destructive behaviors - "F- abstinence" rally.

Once the failure they've promoted takes place, they scream that they must confiscate our money to create a program to deal with the program

This promotion of behavior that lead to failure instead of success...is Orwellian

1. Isolated from consequences of his own beliefs (when you live in a utopia, these ideas don't affect him) musicians and college students, celebrity and academia
2. Stupidity is a luxury...those who are on the left are those that can afford to be

Exceptions in celebrity - Professional athletes...work in a field of objective truth
Exceptions in academia - Hard sciences...

Q & A
The goal of the modern journalist is not objective truth, it is neutrality

Time is not on our side
a. Need to engage in the fight
b. We need to stand up for what is right