Monday, November 26, 2007

What the SCOTUS Justices have to decide...

here's a very weighty matter...via scotusblog:

Docket: 07-284Case name:
Maryland v. PaulinoIssue: Whether the Fourth Amendment permits police to search for drugs hidden between a suspect’s buttocks cheeks during an arrest.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Constitutional Originalism

I consistently talk about the importance of proper Constitutional interpretation. In this essay, I attempt to address one argument against originalism...that this philosophy of interpretation led to the persistence of slavery in America.

I'll be writing an ongoing series of posts discussing the importance of this philosophy of interpretation.

Well that settles it!

NY Times Corrections --

A headline last Sunday about a Muslim man and an Orthodox Jewish woman who are partners in two Dunkin’ Donuts stores described their religions incorrectly. The two faiths worship the same God — not different ones.

I'm so glad the NY Times editors corrected themselves...for a minute I thought they were making some sort of distinction between religions when we all know that religious fundamentalists are all the same!

Saturday, November 24, 2007

In case you missed it...

there is a very interesting development in that SCOTUS has agreed to hear District of Columbia v. Heller. This is a case where an individual is suing for his right to "keep and bear arms" in the District, contending the DC's ban on gun ownership is unconstitutional.

The fact that the high court has agreed to hear the case is an indication that they are willing to make a statement on the interpretation of this highly contested amendment--something that hasn't been done for 68 years.

I don't think that a ruling will be clear-cut unless the Justices make it clear that they believe that their decision applies not only the District alone (which is under federal jurisdiction), but also to the states.

The key interpretive question at stake here is: "does the Second Amendment guarantee an individual right to have a gun for private use, or does it only guarantee a collective right to have guns in an organized military force such as a state National Guard unit?"

I am confident it will be a divided decision (unless they limit their answer to federal jurisdiction), but I don't think anyone has a clue as to which way it will fall.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Fall Pictures

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As we approach the Thanksgiving holiday, take some time to acquaint yourself with David Barton at WallBuilders. He has gathered loads of evidence of the faith that undergirded our founding. This presentation for American Solutions takes you through the faith of our fathers and touches on separation of church and state, and ends with some suggestions for bringing faith back into the public sphere.

I'll be talking more about this in future posts.

Also, check out the Patriot Post's Special Thanksgiving edition. Mark Alexander provides a short and sweet summary of the Thanksgiving tradition.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

The latest...(with apologies to Theodore Geisel)

You're unique, original, wonderful, strange!
We've done every test and poked every veinge,

We've questioned and searched,
And we've poked and we've prodded,
We've looked at your heart, your head and carotid!

Why are you here? You're making me crazy!
I'm not stupid or dumb or extrem-ely lazy!

I can't figure it out, each test comes back clean,
You are too young, you know what I mean?

Who do I talk to, where do I look?
I look in the book...I look and I look,
but I still cannot pinpoint the gook in your nook.

We have stacks and stacks of schnacks and scracks,
We've looked in the cracks on the backs of the Gracks,
I've never seen this, no never no never!
Why did you do you can seem clever?

I'm sorry, I take it all backs,
I'm reading your chart and see what it lacks,
An impossible, improbable, last diagnosis
As I'm looking down over my wizened proboscis,

You must take an MRI to determine the facts,
But it might be, it could be ... the syndrome Susac's.
As an aside, contrary to what you might think by reading my posts, I have not presented in any of the encephalopic symptoms except for headaches. From the link above:
Some of [the patients diagnosed with Susac's] have had tinnitus, vertigo and hearing loss but no neurological involvement.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

What I've learned so far...

My experience since I've moved to PA has been one of learning. Every experience has something to teach, and one ought to be vigilant and intentional to learn the lessons. This past week has brought a lot of good words of advice from friends that understand this. Many of you sent offerings of help, prayers and focused attention. I am grateful.

Here is a sampling, that you may be edified along with me:

  • God is good all the time and all the time God is good. My Grandpa used to say that at the start of every service he would say "God is good" and the good old pentecostals would reply "all the time" :)
  • I would invite you to pray, offering up all these painful things to the crucified Christ, Whose own sufferings for our sins cannot be repaid at any price. In this way you associate yourself closely with Him and participate in your own way in His Passion. So too it is possible to grasp the full meaning of personal suffering from the Fall to the supreme act of Christ’s redemption.
  • God is good, and there are no accidents. "I will lie down and sleep in peace, for you alone, O LORD, make me dwell in safety" (Psalm 4:8).
  • With as many times as God (through Paul) repeats, "Grace and peace to you," He must really mean it.
  • I am thinking of Jehosophat standing in front of that vast army and saying to God..."we don't know what to do" and God answered him Trust Me, this battle is not yours but Mine.

Friday, November 16, 2007


Doc came in at 1:30 this afternoon, said my INR levels are therapeutic (I have enough rat poison in my veins to thin the blood, but not too much), and said I was going home today.

My wife came and picked me up, and I hightailed it out of there. It is a very nice hospital...but not a place I want to spend one second more than I have to...

Has anything been resolved? No. We are back where we started. We are going to pursue this until we identify the cause, starting with Wills Eye and Penn for hematology. I am going to do what I can to avoid a life sentence of taking rat poison.

Thank you all for your thoughts and prayers. God is sovereign and good. I pray that He used this week to continue the process of sanctification in all our lives since you have intertwined your life with mine in prayer.

My Favorite Justice

Clarence Thomas spoke at the Heritage Foundation and showed some of judicial philosophy and a lot of what formed him growing up.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Test Results

MRA - Normal
Angiogram - possible dissection in left carotid artery
CT Scan - Normal
Echocardiogram - Normal
Transesophageal Echocardiogram - Normal
Blood Work from here to Djibouti - Normal
Blood work for a genetic hypercoagulative blood disorder - Not yet complete

One might deduce from the results of these tests that I am mostly normal...I suppose that is up for debate.

Dr. Singh is incredibly humble and resolute. He is determined to find the cause of my vision loss. He submitted the photos from the angio to several other doctors, and all have deduced that the perceived dissection on the picture is either not a dissection, or if it is, is not large enough to do what has been happening to my eyes. Either way, they would not recommend surgery. As you can imagine, this is a great relief as I don't think I'd enjoy people tinkering around inside my head.

Oh, hello Square 1, how are you? We've got to stop meeting like this!

Tomorrow we are going to arrange to visit a doctor at Wills Eye to rule out what might be happening as originating in and around the eye. Dr. Singh said that it is very strange that each event (I've had a total of 5 retinal occlusions) has presented in the eye. He can come up with no explanation, but will be working with me to ensure that I get to see who I need to see.

After that, it's off to U of Penn to see a hematologist. At each stop, I'm going to pick up a friend and we're all going to head off to the city where I hear there's a wizard who can do anything (except pronounce the word "audience")!

Democrat Debate

Just as John Podhoretz said, Hillary turned in a decent performance and everyone is saying that she's back when she never left in the first place.

These debates are not debates...they are a game that diminish the stature of the office they are attempting to attain. Newt has it right on this one when he said, referring to a Republican debate:

The debates recently were ludicrous. I mean, first of all it's ludicrous to say -- in the debate the other night, the Republicans averaged seven minutes and 20 seconds apiece split up into 25 to 30-second answers. The television celebrities are the kings. The television celebrities dominate these things. They cut people off. They treat them with disrespect. The potential president of the United States, the most powerful governing office in the world, shrinks with each appearance in these shows, and we don't have a national discussion.
I'm not even talking about some of the preposterous assertions made by the candidates, I'm talking about the format that resembles the Farm Show with the prize-winning horses up for display, and everyone's looking to see which one trips.

Newt has proposed "Nine Nineties in Nine" in which the two remaining candidates after the primaries would take the following pledge:
"If I receive my party's nomination for President of the United States, I pledge to participate in nine, ninety-minute dialogues in the nine weeks before the general election with my opponent. In the Lincoln-Douglas style, I will agree to debate my opponent with only a time-keeper, and to insist upon no rules. I understand it will be just me and my solutions and my opponent with theirs."
Newt goes on to say that,
Americans deserve the chance to see the candidates in an unfiltered dialogue. They deserve to be persuaded with solutions that stem from core beliefs. Most of all, they deserve a presidential election process worthy of choosing the man or woman who will occupy the Oval Office and assume the mantle of leader of the free world.
Well said.

Which Repub? Part II

John Hinderacker from Powerline makes the case for John McCain:

He is a life-long and thorough-going conservative, a man who has grappled publicly with every important issue of our time, a man whose courage, dedication and intelligence are beyond question. He took a wrong turn, I believe, on a couple of major issues. McCain will always disagree with most Republicans on campaign finance reform, but that's not a deal-breaker for me. He got on the wrong side of the illegal immigration issue, along with President Bush and others, but has since moved back toward the Republican center, arguing that while a comprehensive solution is ultimately necessary, the American people have made it clear that they want enforcement of the borders and of our existing laws first. And I think that McCain has an excellent chance to beat Hillary Clinton or any other Democratic nominee.
All good points. One point that especially bothers me is his seeming disregard for free speech as shown by the campaign finance reform debacle which produced a much worse system. We ought to allow any individual to support any candidate for any amount, the only requirement would be full disclosure of all donations on a daily basis.

However, much of what I read (this article, for example) about John McCain mentions his character. I think this is an element that must be of great importance. We've started a leadership initiative at The King's Academy this year which centers upon a phrase in our mission statement: "knowledge, wisdom and godly character." These are elements of a true leader and should be seen in any person vying to lead this great nation.

Then, there is "electability", which seems to be holding much more sway this year because of the haunting specter of another President Clinton. William Murray comments on this phenomenon:
Why is the social conservative movement in the United States committing suicide? The answer is power politics. Evangelical conservative leaders are backing candidates they think will win rather than those who have been consistent social conservatives with 100% pro-life records...The assumption is that the GOP must choose a “centrist” presidential candidate or Hillary will win. The logic goes, “We need a New York liberal to beat their New York liberal.” By that logic Ronald Reagan would not have gotten the GOP presidential nomination.
Electability must be considered since we are dealing with the worst form of government (except for all the others). However, I am disconcerted by how these individuals and groups are rationalizing their decisions because of fear. It's 82 days until Super Tuesday. Now is the time to be purists in who we vote for. After we settle our family disputes here, then we go out and vote for the candidate with the strongest character, depth of knowledge and cunning wisdom and lines up most closely with our conservative principles and God-given sense of justice.

At the same time I disagree with evangelicals (such as Mark Noll in 2004) who refuse to vote in the general elections because none of the candidates line up with the ideal. That, I think, is politically obtuse, refusing the good to wait for the perfect while ushering in the worse.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Vision Loss Redux Part IV - TEE

I'm getting used to this fasting thing...whenever hunger pangs strike, you pray. Pretty simple and a good reminder. I had two tests today, didn't study at all and I got perfect scores! Not sure why things didn't work that way when I was in college algebra...

The first test was an echocardiogram -- ultrasound. Exactly what Kate had done during her pregnancy, except that heart valves are much easier identify than tiny fetal unmentionables. The technician was knowledgeable and garrulous so that made for an interesting learning experience. He was talking about mitro valves and atriums and all sort of words that I may have heard before.

There's something about the movement of the heart that is compelling. Contrasted with the precise, rigid movement of a machine, the heart has a fluidity and unpredictability to it that reflects the essence of life.

Talking with some friends today about this unpredictability, I recalled teaching my Psych 101 class at Strayer, and my attempt to show the students that Psychology is not a science, no matter how rigorous the method, because of the human subject. Although humans are generally predictable (look at our marketing and popular movie scripts), there is always the element of spontaneity inherent in the soul that can send an explosion of creativity or boldness or courage out of the most mundane, seemingly predictable being. We are not machines.

Anyway, the most interesting scene, I think, was watching the Mercedes-Benz valve (otherwise known as aortic valve) open and close to the thumping rhythm.

The next and final test was the TEE. I wrote a letter to my new best friends and thought I'd let you read it.

Dear Helena, Linda, Michelle, Chris and Steve,

Thanks for the care that you gave me today as I came down for my transesophageal echocardiogram. You were very nice, but you seemed to become even nicer as that thick, white fluid began flowing into my hand. You asked me questions, and I sure enjoyed answering them! I didn't mean to ignore you, but I had to check the backs of my eyelids for a bit just to make sure they were ok.

Then I heard everyone laughing and wanted to get in on the fun. I had something very witty to say, but for some reason there was a garden hose down my throat. I hope you are not offended that I didn't join in the repartee but I sure did try! What I was trying to say was, "I'm back!" (which upon reflection doesn't seem terribly witty), but it came out as "uuuggg uh uungg." I hope you understand that was not intentional.

So, thanks for being such good friends and brightening my day. Let's do it again sometime...just without the garden hose.


Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Vision Loss Redux Part III - The Plot Thickens

The Scene: Hospital Room

Act 1, Scene 1

6 AM

Woman A enters a dark hospital room. Patient is lying on the bed, appearing to be asleep.

Woman A: DRACULA'S HERE!!! I NEED TO TAKE SOME BLOOD! (in a sing-song voice).

Patient: Aren't you supposed to come at 7?


Woman A exits, leaving the door wide open. Patient tosses and turns for a couple minutes, then decides to face the inevitable and get out of bed.

Act 1, Scene 2

7 AM

Woman A Re-enters the room, Patient sitting in a chair with his back to the window, reading his e-mail.


Patient greets her and offers his arm to her ravaging needle. Woman A "sticks" the patient. He breathes through it.

Woman A: Oh my, I'm not getting any blood...that's a good should work, let me try some more!

Woman A does not remove the needle but adjusts and pushes further in. Patient is not stoic, he winces and wants to cry like a baby. He preserves his dignity by saying nothing. Woman A finally gives up and punctures another vein. She takes her vial of blood and flutters out of the room with a hearty, "HAVE A GOOD DAY!" Patient utters a wounded "you too" and goes back to his e-mail. [moral: never trust an eager phlebotomist]

Act 1, Scene 3

8 AM

Dr. A enters the hospital room: Well, Daniel, the radiologist is not convinced that the angiogram pictures show that there is a dissection in your carotid.

Patient: Hmmm

Dr. A: We will get the CT scan and the TEE today.

Patient: What time?

Dr. A: It'll be later this afternoon.

Patient: I haven't eaten breakfast yet, can I have something?

Dr. A: You may sip water.

Patient: (on the inside) AAAAAARRGH! (on the outside) ok

Dr. exits room, patient defiantly stuffs a piece of pumpkin bread in his mouth and smiles with satisfaction.

Act 1 Scene 4

10 AM

Patient sitting in a chair, reading

Woman B enters the room.

Woman B: Housekeeping!

Patient: Sorry that the bathroom is such a mess.

Patient recalls that the bathroom/shower room has a drain, but no slope toward said drain, thus the half-inch of water covering the floor where his waffle-sized towels sat soaking up said water.

Act 1, Scene 5

1:30 PM

Patient sitting in same chair, writing a blog post, weak from hunger.
Man A enters the room.

Man A: I'm here to stick you! (cheerfully). You're my last one...I'm glad it's the end of my shift!

Patient: I just want you to know that this vein was tried this morning and it did not give up any blood. She ended up taking from this vein. This particular vein has enough track marks to convict me as a heroine addict. So, please be gentle.

Man A: Well, this vein (vein #1) looks good, I'm sure that there is blood in there. She just must not have done it right. I'm not going to hurt you!

Patient: But...

Man A: Oh my! I guess I have to eat my words, there's no blood! I'm not going to take it's right there...if I...can...just (as he repositions needle within patient's arm and drives in further). Well, I'm sorry, I'm going to have to put it in the other vein.

As Man A finishes with the drawing, Patient sees room begin to tilt.

Patient: I think I'm going to pass out...

Man A: Nurse!! Where is that nurse?

Patient: Could you please get me a drink of water.

Man A: Here you go...Nurse!!

Patient recovers without passing out, and hears Man A leaving say jokingly, "I'm not coming back to work again!"

[Moral: Never trust an overconfident phlebotomist anxious to go home]

Act 1, Scene 6

6 PM

Patient sitting talking with a visitor.

Woman C enters the room.

Woman C: I'm here to draw your blood

Patient: See this arm? The middle vein does not give up blood, and the other one looks like a railroad track. May I suggest a butterfly needle?

Woman C: Well, let me take a look. Nope, this is a good vein (vein #1), they just weren't doing it right. They just need to go higher. Straighten your arm like this...

Patient meekly, yet stupidly, obeys, mostly because he wants to see if she can, indeed, get blood from this previously reluctant vein.

Woman C jabs the needle in and, surprisingly, the vein produces its bounty.

Womans C (triumphantly): See, you just have to do it right!

Patients nods weakly as the area around the puncture begins to bruise.

[Moral: 3 out of 3 phlebotomists agree, all the other phlebotomists don't know what they're doing!]

Act 1, Final Scene

11:30 pm

Patient taps away on his laptop as he records some of the events of the day. There were more, much more important conversations and discussions that took place that has left him feeling drained, but he now feels a sort of cathartic release as he relives the bizarre happenings that took place in this small room.

He contemplates waiting another 28 minutes to eat since he can't eat after midnight. The TEE will be tomorrow. He closes his laptop, eats the rest of the pumpkin bread and drifts off to sleep.

Vision Loss Redux Part II

I always like to check out the FAQ section of websites, just to see which questions I should be asking if I haven't asked them already.

Why are you in the hospital? See Here

So, what exactly "is back?" Two years ago, I experienced partial vision loss from a branch retinal artery occlusions in my right eye, then several months later, in my left eye. Now, it has occurred again in my left eye.

What is an arterial occlusion??
If you look at the picture (click to enlarge), you will see a retina (not mine). The picture has been taken after dye was injected. The dye has caused the arteries to show up dark. The lower right arrow is pointing to a blood clot (embolism) that became lodged in the artery. The three arrows to the left are pointing to an artery that is completely blocked as a result of the clot. The "Retina Whitening" area is where the retina is becoming swollen.

That blocked artery has deprived the retina of oxygen, resulting in almost immediate vision loss along the that portion of the retina. So, the vision loss (at least in my case) imitates the shape of the artery at first, then it takes on the image of the blotch where the retina is swollen.

Interestingly, when I looked at pictures of my retina from the first incident, the shape was identical to what I saw on the blank wall I used to identify my vision loss.

What is the vision loss like?
Have you ever tried to find your blind spot? It's something like that. It's not as if I have black spots in my vision, rather it's more like a gray smudge. Like if you wear your glasses for too long without cleaning them. When I take the vision test, I have great vision in my right eye, I just can't look directly at the letters because the original blind spot will cover them up.

What is causing the arterial occlusions?
The presumed culprits are dissections in my carotid arteries.

What is causing the dissections?
That's the million dollar question

Aren't you too young/healthy for this?
Evidently not. Though I am healthy in every other respect.

What tests have you undergone?
Since I've been here, I've had an MRA (lots of gremlins in a big machine hammering and banging six inches from my face), an angiogram (I got to see a picture of the catheter in my chest - very cool) and a CT Scan [picture] (ever see Stargate? something like that except that there was no alien species on the other side). I am yet to undergo a TEE tomorrow.

Do you have these genetic characteristics in your family?
Not that I know of. Although William was not the luckiest man, there has been no mention of vascular disease.

Do you need a haircut?

If you have more questions, please e-mail and I'll post them if I know the answers.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Remember our "gentle heroes"

“We’re gathered today, just as we have gathered before, to remember those who served, those who fought, those still missing, and those who gave their last full measure of devotion for our country... One of those who fell wrote, shortly before his death, these words: ‘Take what they have left and what they have taught you with their dying and keep it with your own. And take one moment to embrace those gentle heroes you left behind.’ Well, today, Veterans Day, as we do every year, we take that moment to embrace the gentle heroes of Vietnam and of all our wars. We remember those who were called upon to give all a person can give, and we remember those who were prepared to make that sacrifice if it were demanded of them in the line of duty, though it never was. Most of all, we remember the devotion and gallantry with which all of them ennobled their nation as they became champions of a noble cause... Our liberties, our values, all for which America stands is safe today because brave men and women have been ready to face the fire at freedom’s front. And we thank God for them.” —Ronald Reagan

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Vision Loss Redux

So there I was, sitting down to lunch with my beautiful family, enjoying meatballs. Trying to make sure Elijah eats instead of being totally goofy the whole time while Madelyn was making him laugh. I was working on my second sandwich when I got that old sensation there was something...and indistinguishable shadow on the bottom edge of my vision. Without thinking, I started squinting to see if blinking or screwing up my eyes would make it go away. After trying that a couple times, I was pretty sure it was back...

When Kate asked what was wrong, I couldn't lie (never have, never will) to her, and I saw that sick look come over her face again. So, I got up and did the eye test and after some doing, finally figured out that I had indeed lost another slice of my vision.

Call to the doctor, visit to the ER, admitted to the hospital and here I sit, watching the Chargers play the Colts from the relaxing vantage point of an adjustable bed, nurses caring for my needs, wireless access...the works. The only thing ruining the pleasant environment is the IV in my hand and the constant hum of the ventilation overhead. The only pain I feel is the emotional unrest of my family...and the needles, can't forget the needles.

God is good all the time.

Thursday, November 8, 2007


--The Goldwater Doctrine

"I have little interest in streamlining government or in making it more efficient, for I mean to reduce its size. I do not undertake to promote welfare, for I propose to extend freedom. My aim is not to pass laws, but to repeal them. It is not to inaugurate new programs, but to cancel old ones that do violence to the Constitution, or that have failed in their purpose, or that impose on the people an unwarranted financial burden. I will not attempt to discover whether legislation is 'needed' before I have first determined whether it is constitutionally permissible. And if I should later be attacked for neglecting my constituents' interests, I shall reply that I was informed their main interest is liberty and that in that cause I am doing the very best I can."

- Former Sen. Barry Goldwater (R-Ariz.), "The Conscience of a Conservative"

Another Success Story

Good news continues to pile up in Iraq while being studiously ignored by the major news networks...

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Light Reading

I was excited to see my latest copy of Hillsdale's Imprimis featured my favorite Supreme Court Justice. Reading through this interview, Thomas demonstrates his clear thinking and straightforward manner which has garnered him many enemies.

Thomas answers the question, "What is your purpose in writing your opinions?"

My job is to apply the Constitution. And here’s a useful lesson: You hear people talk all the time about the Bill of Rights. But you should always keep in mind that the Bill of Rights was an afterthought. That’s why it’s made up of what are called amendments. It was not in the original Constitution. The rights in the Bill of Rights were originally assumed as natural rights, and some people at the time thought that writing them into the Constitution was redundant. Read the Declaration of Independence. We should always start, when we read the Constitution, by reading the Declaration, because it gives us the reasons why the structure of the Constitution was designed the way it was. And with the Constitution, it was the structure of the government that was supposed to protect our liberty. And what has happened through the years is that the protections afforded by that structure have been dissipated. So my opinions are often about the undermining of those structural protections.

People need to know about that. Many might say, “Well, they are writing about the Commerce Clause, and nobody cares about that.” But they should care about it. The same is true of the doctrine of incorporation. The same is true of substantive due process. People should care about these things. And I try to explain why clearly in my opinions.

This sounds pretty straightforward and commonsensical, does it not? The preceding paragraphs encapsulate why he is hated by those who would see their brand of justice enforced by the mighty arm of the federal government.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Osh-Kosh Out

Sadly, instead of running over Stanford, my favorite competitor TerraMax tried to run over a building...hmmm. Well, I still like the attitude of this team over the others because they stuck with the truck even though it presents a greater challenge because of the direct correlation to military needs. Although, Carnegie Mellon's Chevy Tahoe might meet those same needs...

Overall, pretty cool stuff.

Friday, November 2, 2007


The DARPA Urban Challenge is tomorrow! The Defense Advanced Research Products Agency, inventors of the internet, (the super-moralistic and hyper-intelligent Al Gore notwithstanding) is hosting an exciting event:

The teams will attempt to complete a complex 60-mile urban course with live traffic in less than six hours. The finalists will operate on the course roads with approximately 50 human-driven traffic vehicles. Speed is not the only factor in determining the winners, as vehicles must also meet the same standards required to pass the California DMV road test.

Doesn't sound too difficult, right? Well, it gets a little more difficult when you require that the vehicles may not have any humans in them. It's an "autonomous vehicle competition."

I was thinking I would root for team Franklin, because they're local. However, in deference to Andrew Bernard ("I graduated anger management training just like I graduated from Cornell...on time!"), I was thinking Team Cornell.

Then I saw this beast...

If those twerps from Stanford think they can waltz in and win this competition too...Team OshKosh is just gonna run 'em over!

Putting the "Fun" in Fundamentalism

If you're familiar with the old style fundamentalist, this is a hoot! Good ole' Al would've been proud...(inside joke for FBCA alums)

Al Qaeda in Iraq is defeated

If you're not a regular reader of Michael Yon, this statement would come as a surprise due to the dearth of news, of any kind, from Iraq recently on the mainstream radar.

So says an influential Iraqi:

“Al Qaeda in Iraq is defeated,” according to Sheik Omar Jabouri, spokesman for the Iraqi Islamic Party and a member of the widespread and influential Jabouri Tribe. Speaking through an interpreter at a 31 October meeting at the Iraqi Islamic Party headquarters in downtown Baghdad, Sheik Omar said that al Qaeda had been “defeated mentally, and therefore is defeated physically,” referring to how clear it has become that the terrorist group’s tactics have backfired. Operatives who could once disappear back into the crowd after committing an increasingly atrocious attack no longer find safe haven among the Iraqis who live in the southern part of Baghdad. They are being hunted down and killed. Or, if they are lucky, captured by Americans.

Things are very positive in Iraq, so much so, in fact, that Michael is considering heading back over to Afghanistan soon, because things are heating up over there.

Jeff Emanuel makes the case that we need to continue the strong presence to continue to be successful. He is not declaring victory as some would like. He concludes a long, interesting article,

To make any less than our best, most concerted, most unified attempt at victory would be to endanger America’s own security and reputation – which, after Vietnam, Beirut, Mogadishu, and the abandonment of the Iraqis whom we told to rise up after the first Gulf War, cannot afford another high-profile blow – as well as to break faith with the diverse, threatened, and disadvantaged Iraqi people, to whom we once presented ourselves as liberators, and to whom we now serve as the one and only chance at a better life, if not at life itself.
Here's a taste of what our soldiers are facing. This has been up for awhile, but it gives a graphic visual of the unseen danger.

Bravery & Heroism

Our soldiers continue to exhibit uncommon valor in facing the enemies of this nation. The best among us fight with a singular passion when faced with overwhelming odds. Jeff Emanuel chronicles one such story in The Longest Morning. Read it.