Thursday, September 30, 2004

Insurrection In Iran

There are emails and faxes coming from Iranian citizens that describe widespread violence .. throughout the country, not just in Tehran.

Here are some Iranian Resistance sites that you might find interesting:

Free Iran News (the latest Iranian Resistance news)

Free Iran Forums

National Council Of Resistance Of Iran

Maryam Rajavi, President-elect, Iranian Resistance (she rocks!)

I intend to write about Iran in the near future -- similar to the piece I did on Korea.

For now, since Old Media will not be covering it for at least another 10 days, if ever, here's what's happening.

The Iranian people are basically fed up with the mullahs who run the country. For months now, dissidents (mostly young people) have demonstrated against the mullahs. The mullahs have reacted as mullahs do .. they've jailed and executed as many of the dissident leaders as they can identify.

Over the past 48 hours, several major cities in Iran have experienced demonstrations led by the resistance. The Iranian military and secret police are firing on the dissidents and the dissidents are firing back.

This is what makes it different from past demonstrations. It is, in my opinion, the early stages of the 2nd Iranian revolution. It may take months to come to fruition, but this is the start. Unlike the 1979 revolution, this revolution is about freedom.

Nothing good came from the 1979 Iranian revolution (Thank you, former President Jimmy "Gooberhead" Carter who thought it would be swell for the Ayatollah to come out of exile in France .. and yes, the French have a long history of coddling madmen).

Iran has since been a hellhole for people who want freedom. The same is true for a lot of countries in the Middle East, notably Saudi Arabia, Syria and Egypt.

What sets Iran apart from the rest of the Middle East is their culture. They are Persians, not Arabs. What they have in common with the Arabs is religion. Of course the Arab countries think so much of the Iranian brand of Islam (Shi'ite) that they supported Iraq in its 8 year war against Iran.

So did we, but that was after the Iranian revolution that brought Ayatollah Khomeini out of exile from France (thank you again, Gooberhead, for not supporting the Shah) and after the takeover of our embassy and holding our embassy personnel hostage for 444 days.

At any rate, whether Shi'ite or Sunni; Persian or Arab, mullahs don't much like freedom for the people.

That's why the religious police will take a big, long stick to any woman who gets out of line by doing something like showing her ankles in public. It's Freudian. It really is. But they will beat that woman with a stick and I don't mean friendly reminder taps. I mean whup hell outta her. Or depending on the personal interpretation of Islamic law by any said mullah, they will whup hell outta her, then throw her AND her family in jail.

After 25 years of this crap, Iranians are starting to fight back.

But mostly what the Iranian mullahs specialize in is exporting Islam and terrorism. They have long been active in Eastern Europe and the Balkans .. attempting to "save" those beer-drinking muslims.

Since 1979, Iran's fingerprints have been all over numerous terrorist acts worldwide, most directed at the United States and Israel. And by the way, the infamous Hizbollah terrorist organization is an arm of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards, though don't say that in the polite company of dithering diplomats at the State Department.

Many intelligence analysts in the U.S. Intelligence Community (the alphabet soup agencies CIA, DIA, NSA, etc) believe Iran has aided al-Qaeda from the beginning. They specifically believe the Iranian government aided al-Qaeda in the 1996 Khobar Towers bombing which killed 19 of our Air Force personnel in Saudi Arabia; the 1998 bombings of our embassies in Tanzania and Kenya which killed over 220 people including 12 Americans; and the 2000 attack on the U.S.S. Cole which killed 17 of our sailors.

Since September 11, 2001, Iran continues to harbor and give safe passage to al-Qaeda members. Now these same peckerwoods, the Iranian mullahs, are pursuing nuclear weapons (If we'll just let Israel be Israel, the Israeli Defense Forces will rid the world of that particular concern).

President Bush didn't name Iran as part of the Axis Of Evil for nothing.

The mullahs presently find themselves sandwiched between American forces in Afghanistan and Iraq. I don't think this military posture has been lost on the young Iranian dissidents.

Anyway, there's a lot more to the story on Iran and I'll try to share it in an interesting way in the coming days.

Wednesday, September 29, 2004

Coward Cornwell Charged


The Coward in orange

(matches John Kerry's new tan, huh?)

Brent "The Coward" Cornwell has been charged with second degree assault for his cowardly, vicious attack on PFC Foster Barton in the parking lot of the Germain Amphitheater after a Toby Keith concert two weeks ago.

The 1st Cavalry Division soldier suffered a concussion and a broken nose when he was beaten and kicked several times, then left unconscious in the parking lot.

Eyewitnesses said Barton did nothing to provoke the attack, other than wear an Operation Iraqi Freedom shirt.

PFC Barton had been home on R&R, recovering from wounds he received in Iraq. PFC Barton almost lost his leg when the Humvee he was riding in was hit by a roadside Improvised Explosive Device (IED). The Army awarded him the Purple Heart.

WBNS-10TV reports:

On Tuesday evening, Columbus Police nabbed a suspect. They indicated from the start that Barton’s military service may have played some sort of role in his attack.

"(Tuesday) at approximately 5:30 pm, Mr. Brent Cornwell of Columbus was arrested at his home by CPD. Because several witnesses still need to be interviewed, a photo will not be released until (Wednesday) evening," said Sgt Brent Mull, spokesman for the Columbus Police Department.

Sgt. Mull indicated that Cornwell was cooperating with authorities, but he did not say to what extent. Mull also said Cornwell’s family had been helpful in the investigation.

Cornwell is charged with second-degree assault in Delaware Municipal Court.

NBC4i reports:

"The witnesses said that the beating and kicking continued even after Mr. Barton was on the ground," Delaware County Prosecutor Dave Yost said. "Anytime you've got somebody kicking at somebody who is on the ground, you've got a very dangerous situation. One well-placed kick can end up being fatal."

When asked by the judge if he had anything to say, Cornwell said, "No, I just can't wait until Mr. Yost hears my side of the story."

The judge set bond at $15,000 and ordered Coward Cornwell to be on house arrest.

Memo For Mr/Mrs/Ms Undecided

The first Campaign 2004 Presidential Debate will be held Thursday (8pm Central) in Miami, Florida. The theme of this debate will be foreign policy.

These debates are not for the candidates' supporters. Nothing that is said, nothing that will happen will change the way we will vote in November.

So who are they for? Yes, that's right -- you -- the great unwashed, willy-nilly, namby-pamby undecideds.

You make me ill.

What on earth is there to be undecided about in these post-9/11 times?
What part of the twin towers crashing down did you not understand?
Are you ignorant or apathetic? Or both?
Have you been living under a rock these past several years?
Do you not give a damn about your country?
Have you been living under a rock, plus don't give a damn?

Do you always have that pig-staring-at-a-wristwatch look?

Let me put it this way --

Do you want the police officer answering your call about a prowler to be undecided?
Do you want the EMT responding to your traffic accident to be undecided?
How about the fire fighters responding to your house fire?
How about the doctor who is performing your emergency appendectomy?

Hmmmmm?

So why is it that you think it's OK to be undecided about the fate of this nation?

If you haven't figured it out yet, Mr/Mrs/Ms Undecided, I don't have much respect for you -- not with all that has happened, not with all the information that is available today.

But yes, these debates are for you. Happy?

Immediately after each debate, Frank Luntz will be with a room full of your fellow mushheads relating how they reacted to the debates and whether the debates have helped them make up their minds.

Puh-leeeeeeeeeeeez.

Do you people have no shame?

Does the fate of our nation rest with such people as you?

It is a sickening thing to contemplate.











What was that?

Oh.

I apologize. I forgot you were there. You may go now.

Tuesday, September 28, 2004

Coward Arrested!

Columbus police arrested Brent Cornwell tonight according to Ohio NBC affiliate NBC4i.com.

Investigators said Cornwell will be charged for attacking PFC Foster Barton, a 1st Cavalry Division soldier who was home on R&R (rest and relaxation) from Iraq.

PFC Barton had recently had major surgery for wounds he received in Iraq when his Humvee was hit by a roadside Improvised Explosive Device (IED).

Police said witnesses at the scene and the suspect's own family helped police make an arrest, according to NBC4i.com.

As Matt Drudge says:

Developing . . .

Sunday, September 26, 2004

Veterans React

What happened to PFC Foster Barton of the 1st Cavalry Division has a lot of veterans riled up.

Men's News Daily has a good article by Thomas Segel.

Old Media's utter lack of coverage on this incident is fast becoming a scandal within the veterans' community. While Old Media hardly dispute their preference for Kerry and his "stole-it-from-nutcase-Howard-Dean" antiwar position, this should not be about that, but it is.

Coverage of PFC Foster Barton hurts John Kerry. There is no other way to put it. Just as Rush Limbaugh has said for months: Success in the War on Terror hurts Democrats, failure helps them.

There are many decent Democrats who must be wondering: What has befallen the party of John F. Kennedy, Scoop Jackson, Sam Nunn, Zell Miller and John Breaux?!

Whatever it is, it is rotten to the core.

At any rate, the story of PFC Foster Barton is not going away.

Really, it has just begun.

Saturday, September 25, 2004

Foster Barton Update

Five days have gone by with nary a peep from major news outlets.

A Google News search for foster + barton returns just 4 results.

F-O-U-R. 1 .. 2 .. 3 .. 4. The non-coverage is just stupefying.

2 of these are from local television stations. 1 in Ohio, 1 in Florida. The other 2 are from conservative news sites.

What is up with that?

This is a compelling story: soldier who defends 1st amendment rights attacked by antiwar protestor.

Ack! Who am I kidding? The storyline would need to be "soldier cowardly attacks antiwar protestor".

Now that would get coverage, right? Silly me.

Although "man bites dog" is the preferred angle for news media (especially broadcast media), I don't buy that the non-coverage is because this is a "dog bites man" story.

They just don't give a damn .. not even, apparently, FOXNews.

If not for us bloggers, this story would have died at the local level .. and within a day at that.

PFC Barton is doing well. He has since had two doctor appointments and has fielded dozens of emails and phone calls, to include a call from Toby Keith's manager to coordinate a time that Keith and PFC Barton can talk.

For Toby Keith this is personal. Anyone who knows anything about Toby Keith knows that if he had been in that parking lot, PFC Barton's attacker would now be receiving his meals through a straw.

Still no word on the attacker, although police interviewed a woman who witnesses said was with the coward at the time the attack took place. The woman denies knowing the coward.

Wednesday, September 22, 2004

Courage & Cowardice

Private First Class Foster Barton, of Grove City, Ohio, is a proud member of the 1st Cavalry Division, based at Fort Hood, Texas and currently deployed to Iraq.


1st Cavalry Division
America's First Team

To: PV2 Foster Barton and All Military
From: Mom and Dad and Family in Ohio
Prayer for Those in the Service: Almighty God, we stand before You asking for Your divine mercy and protection. Embrace with Your invincible armour our loved ones in all branches of the service. Give them courage and strength against enemies both spiritual and physical and hasten their safe journey back to their homes and families. Amen. Foster we love and miss you, you are in our thoughts and prayers.

To: PV2 Foster Barton
From: Mom, Dad & Jess in OHIO
Dear Foster and ALL MILITARY members! God Bless you all! We are so PROUD OF ALL OF YOU and appreciate all the sacrifices you are making to provide us with our freedom! We love and miss you all and pray for a QUICK and SAFE RETURN HOME!! God Bless you all. YOU ARE IN OUR THOUGHTS AND PRAYERS! Chin up. Keep up the great work!!! Love Mom


Last month PFC Barton, 19, almost lost his leg when the Humvee he was riding in ran over a landmine. PFC Barton was awarded the Purple Heart.

To: PFC FOSTER C. BARTON
From: Your Big Sis in Grove City, OH
Foster, I want you to know how very proud we are of you and all the other soldiers that are sacrificing the same things you are. We are praying really hard for you that you fully recover and come home to us safe and sound. Keep the faith and remember how much we love you! Stay strong! We hope to see you soon! Love always, Your Big Sis!


Last Friday night, PFC Barton was brutally beaten in the parking lot of the Germain Amphitheater in Columbus, Ohio as he was leaving the Toby Keith concert.

To: Foster Barton
From: Becky Davis and Family in Ohio
Hi Foster. I just wanted to say how sorry we are to hear of your experience at Germain, and thank you for everything you're doing to keep my family free and safe from harm. We'll be praying for you each and every day here in Columbus. God Bless You son, you're making us proud to be Americans.


"I don't remember getting hit at all, really," said PFC Barton. "He hit me in the back of the head. I fell and hit the ground. I was knocked unconscious and he continued to punch and kick me on the ground."

He and his family say he was attacked because he was wearing an Operation Iraqi Freedom t-shirt.

According to the Columbus police, six witnesses who didn't know Barton said the person who beat him up was screaming profanities and making crude remarks about U.S. soldiers.

PFC Barton was beaten so badly that he can't go back to Iraq as scheduled. He had been on a 2-week leave from Iraq when the incident happened.


PFC Foster Barton

PFC Barton said he wants to go back as soon as possible because his unit was just attacked.

Barton's mother said she has a message for her son's attacker, who police said ran into the crowd after the incident and was not arrested.

"He needs our prayers, just like the insurgents, because he's a coward," Cindy Barton said.

Yes ma'am, he's a coward, but no ma'am, I don't think I'll be praying for him. What he needs is his ass kicked. And I will volunteer to kick his ass all the way to Fort Benning, Home of the Infantry, where I will persuade him that it truly is in his best interest to sign up for Basic Combat Training.

And maybe after a few weeks of attitude adjustment, compliments of the Drill Sergeants in Basic Combat Training and Advanced Individual Training, he can be assigned to a combat unit in Iraq (forget about the 1st Cavalry Division .. he would never last).

A bit of wishful thinking, but that would be justice in my book.

This one makes my blood boil. I cannot be and do not wish to be objective. While separated by a stretch of years, PFC Barton and I share a bond .. we are both 1st Cavalry Division combat veterans .. and few bonds are stronger than that.

I hope Toby Keith learns of this .. maybe he'll write a song about it. Which now that I think about it -- what the hell was that coward who attacked PFC Barton doing at a Toby Keith concert if not looking for trouble?

The larger story is troubling and it is this: the angry anti-war rhetoric coming from leftists in this country -- yes, that includes John Kerry, Howard Dean, moveon.org et al -- has reached a point where it is no longer distinguishable from the propaganda of our enemy .. and it is inciting the type of actions last Friday night at the Germain Amphitheater.

Or do you think the cowardly attacker is a W supporter?

Decorated Soldier Attacked At Concert

NOTE: You can find the messages to PFC Barton, quoted above, at To Our Soldiers. It's a great resource for our soldiers and their families and friends. Check it out.

Tuesday, September 21, 2004

What's The Frequency, Kenneth?

From today's Chicago Tribune (Link requires registration):

In an interview Monday evening, a repentant Rather conceded it had been a mistake to broadcast the documents. But even though he could not vouch for their authenticity, he said he still did not believe that they were fakes.

"Do I think they're forged? No," Rather said. "But it's not good enough to use the documents on the air if we can't vouch for them, and we can't vouch for them."

Rather said he had no regrets for his defense of the story.


If you haven't contacted your local CBS affiliate yet, this is more ammunition.

Power Line cross-examines CBS with a powerful series of prosecutorial questions.

By the way, if you missed it -- Power Line's John Hinderaker & Scott Johnson teamed with Ed Morrissey of Captain's Quarters for two OP-ED columns in the New York Post:

Antiwar Activist

The Mysteries of John Kerry's War Record

Who is Lucy Ramirez?

Bill Burkett, an ex-lieutenant colonel in the Texas Guard who provided CBS and USA TODAY with documents critical of President Bush's National Guard service, now tells USA TODAY that he is not the original source.

In interviews in recent days with USA TODAY, both in person and on the phone, Burkett said he had merely been a conduit for the records purported to be from the private files of Lt. Col. Jerry Killian, one of Bush's former Guard commanders, who died in 1984. Burkett admitted lying to USA TODAY about the source of the documents but said he did not fabricate the papers.

In earlier conversations with USA TODAY, Burkett had identified the source of the documents as George Conn, a former Texas National Guard colleague who works for the U.S. Army in Europe. Burkett now says he made up the story about Conn's involvement to divert attention from himself and the woman he now says provided him with the documents. He told USA TODAY that he also lied to CBS.

Burkett now maintains that the source of the papers was Lucy Ramirez, who he says phoned him from Houston in March to offer the documents. USA TODAY has been unable to locate Ramirez.


As might be expected, there are multiple phone listings (about 20 from internet directories) for Lucy Ramirez in Texas.

A Google search, as of 3:30am Central, turned up the following results:
search term: lucy + ramirez, hits: 447 (betcha that changes after today)
search term: lucy + ramirez + texas, hits: 58 (betcha that changes, too)
search term: lucy + ramirez + burkett, hits: 2 (different burkett)
search term: lucy + ramirez + killian, hits: 2 (different killian)

The USA TODAY article goes on to say:

Burkett said Ramirez told him she had seen him the previous month in an appearance on the MSNBC program Hardball, discussing the controversy over whether Bush fulfilled all his obligations for service in the Texas Air Guard during the early 1970s. "There is something I have that I want to make sure gets out," he quoted her as saying.

He said Ramirez claimed to possess Killian's "correspondence file," which would prove Burkett's allegations that Bush had problems as a Guard fighter pilot.

Burkett said he arranged to get the documents during a trip to Houston for a livestock show in March. But instead of being met at the show by Ramirez, he was approached by a man who asked for Burkett, handed him an envelope and quickly left, Burkett recounted.


You really need to read the entire article. It is very entertaining, especially the Burkett quotes. CBS's "unimpeachable" source is not only a Bush-hating nutjob, he's a typical liberal wuss.

To quote one of my all-time favorite movie characters: "It would appear that the strain was more than he could bear."

Be sure not to miss Captain Ed's commentary on this pathetic tale.

The question remains. Who is Lucy Ramirez? There's at least one who is connected with a Democrat U.S. Congressman from south Texas. Lucy, is that you?

If (big IF) there really is a Lucy, she will not be able to hide for long.

Monday, September 20, 2004

CBS News-Kerry Campaign Linked

The CBS document forgery is no longer just a scandal for a media organization. As some in the Blogosphere predicted, it now involves the Kerry campaign and criminal activity.

How long before the US Justice Department becomes involved?

Associated Press: Kerry Aide Talked to Retired Guard Officer

NEW YORK - At the behest of CBS, an adviser to John Kerry said he talked to a central figure in the controversy over President Bush's National Guard service shortly before disputed documents were released.

Joe Lockhart denied any connection between the presidential campaign and the papers. Lockhart, the second Kerry ally to confirm contact with retired Texas National Guard officer Bill Burkett, said he made the call at the suggestion of CBS producer Mary Mapes.

"He had some advice on how to deal with the Vietnam issue and the Swift boat" allegations, Lockhart said Monday, referring to GOP-fueled accusations that Kerry exaggerated his Vietnam War record. "He said these guys play tough and we have to put the Vietnam experience into context and have Kerry talk about it more."

Lockhart said he thanked Burkett for his advice after a three to four minute call.

Lockhart said he does not recall talking to Burkett about Bush's Guard records. "It's baseless to say the Kerry campaign had anything to do with this," he said.

CBS News apologized Monday for a "mistake in judgment" in its story questioning Bush's Guard service, claiming it was misled by the source of documents that several experts have dismissed as fakes.

Burkett admitted this weekend to CBS that he lied about obtaining the documents from another former National Guard member, the network said. CBS hasn't been able to conclusively tell how he got them, or even whether they're fakes or not.

Kerry ally Max Cleland, a former Georgia senator, also said he had a brief conversation last month with Burkett, who told him he had information about Bush to counter charges against Kerry's Vietnam War service. Cleland said he gave Burkett's name and phone number to the campaign's research department.

Kerry spokesman David Ginsberg said nobody in the campaign's research department followed up on Burkett's offer of information.

Lockhart said Mapes asked him the weekend before the story broke to call Burkett. "She basically said there's a guy who is being helpful on the story who wants to talk to you," Lockhart said, adding that it was common knowledge that CBS was working on a story raising questions about Bush's Guard service. Mapes told him there were some records "that might move the story forward. She didn't tell me what they said."


These people have brass. I'll give them that. Not only do they not see anything wrong with a major news network and a political campaign coordinating an attack on the opposition, they speak of it as if it's just business as usual.

Maybe so. But it's crooked .. in a felony sort of way.

I don't know about the rest of you, but this is just breathtaking .. in a Banana Republic sort of way.

World EXCLUSIVE!

Dan Rather's handwritten draft statement (2 pages) that he had planned to deliver on tonight's CBS Evening News.

Unfortunately, MerryMadMonk cannot vouch for the authenticity of these documents, but sources say they feel the documents accurately portray Dan Rather's thoughts.

CLICK on photos to enlarge.


EXCLUSIVE Rather Draft Memo Page 1


EXCLUSIVE Rather Draft Memo Page 2

FLASH NEWS! from CBS

Grave doubt about authenticity of Texas National Guard documents.

The officials, who asked not to be identified, said CBS News would most likely make an announcement as early as today that . . .

What was that you just said?

Oh.

You mean you knew those documents were fake 11 days ago?

Hmmmmm.

And you have no doubts, grave or otherwise?

I see.

How many top document experts did you say declared them as forgeries?

Dozens, plus your 10 year old son?

What do you mean you first heard about it from bloggers? Aren't those just a bunch of guys in pajamas sitting at their computers?

Well, I wouldn't say they're kicking CBS's ass.

You would?

I see.

CBS is saying they were misled about the documents' origin. Well, they're not actually saying that yet, but they're floating the idea to see if it sells.

No. I'm not interested in buying land in Florida. Why do you ask?

CBS may even start an internal investigation to find the source of the documents.

Why do you keep laughing?

What's that again? Why did you give me these addresses?

Post Office Box 77247
Suite 700
Washington, DC 20003

430 S. Capitol St. SE
Washington, DC 20003

You say it'll save CBS and the nation time?

What's the first address?

John Kerry's National Campaign Headquarters?

Hmmmmm. And what about the second address?

Democrat National Committee?

But how do you know it's them?

Hmmm .. because they're as stupid as they are sleazy? Now that you've put it like that . . .

What was that? And you think Dan Rather was in on it?

Well, yes I suppose a bear does do it in the woods.

OK, sorry I bothered you.

Death by Boomerangulation

Bill Clinton had triangulation: measuring the mood of the country through polls, then attempting to put himself somewhere above the two extremes of left and right.

Boomerangulation is the name I've given to John Kerry's campaign strategy.

boo mer an gu la tion
Pronunciation: boo mër äng' gyoo lA' shun
Etymology: Early 21st Century Alabama. Coined by MerryMadMonk from the noun boomerang.
Function: noun
1 : stating your position on an issue only to have your past statements and actions and your record on that issue come back at you
2 : slinging sh*t at the opposition hoping that some of it sticks, only to have it splash back on you


Kerry is perfecting the art of boomerangulation:

Kerry makes his service in Vietnam central to his campaign.
BOOMERANG: Kerry's 1971 Senate testimony. Swift Boat Veterans For The Truth.

Kerry is against the Iraq War.
BOOMERANG: He voted for it.

Kerry constantly complains about the Iraq war.
BOOMERANG: In March 2003, Kerry said he will cease his complaints once the shooting starts. "It's what you owe the troops."

Kerry believes President Bush is mishandling the Iraq war.
BOOMERANG: Kerry gave his full support to President Bush in January 2004 debates.

Kerry says the President's father, George H.W. Bush, handled the 1991 Gulf War brilliantly.
BOOMERANG: In 1991 Kerry voted against the war and said he was convinced that then-President Bush was going about it the wrong way.

Kerry says he'll do a better job than President Bush as commander-in-chief.
BOOMERANG: Kerry voted against 87 Billion dollars in support to our troops.
BOOMERANG: Kerry voted against the B-1 bomber, B-2 bomber, F-14A, F-14D, F-15E, Patriot missile, Aegis air defense cruiser, Trident missle, Strategic Defense Initiative ... as Zell Miller said: against, against, against.
BOOMERANG: Kerry refuses to repudiate or apologize for his 1971 Senate testimony in which he described all who served and were currently serving in Vietnam as war criminals.
BOOMERANG: Kerry met with our enemy in 1971. His picture is on display in communist Vietnam's war musuem as someone who aided their war effort.

John Kerry's latest strategy, to attack President Bush on Iraq, will be the BOOMERANG blow that knocks him out for the count. (That is, if he isn't already out cold from another BOOMERANG, the CBS forgery scandal .. some in the Blogosphere believe there will soon be definitive linkage of those forgeries with the Kerry campaign and the DNC. If so, someone could be trading in their pinstripes for prison stripes).

A part of Kerry's new strategy is to use mothers and other family members of troops who have been killed in Iraq to go after President Bush. It will have just the opposite of its intended effect. People will empathize with President Bush and scorn Kerry. If he proceeds with that plan (a despicable new low), the thud from the BOOMERANG will be heard from coast to coast.

What sissyboy came up with that idea?!

It shows a complete misunderstanding of our All-American, All-Volunteer military. Training for war and conducting war is what they do. War means fighting, killing and dying. It is a brutal, bloody, dirty, and often thankless (see the Dems on that one) task. The beauty of the All-Volunteer military is no one is forced to do it. Oh you mean they signed up for college tuition only? MUU-HAHAHAHAHAHA!

Let's get real. The vast majority of people in our Armed Forces are professionals who know only too well what it's all about. They are patriots who make more sacrifices in a year than most people make in a lifetime. They are happy warriors. They are samurai.

Please let's not dishonor their service by having public wailing and gnashing of teeth. Only girly-men could come up with this as part of a campaign strategy.

So Johnnie, fling that thing and enjoy its flight . . . but don't be surprised when this BOOMERANG hits back hard enough to make YOU the wailer and gnasher of teeth.

Thursday, September 16, 2004

Ivan: Aftermath

First, our prayers are with those who lost loved ones .. and we pray for the people in Pensacola and Escambia County, Florida. Pensacola was hit very hard by the "Beast from the East" phenomenon of Gulf hurricanes. County officials fear that the death toll will rise. Damage and destruction is widespread and is beyond anything Pensacola and Escambia County have ever experienced.

For two days all the National Hurricane Center computer models, along with reports from the U.S. Air Force Hurricane Hunter aircraft, showed Ivan on track to go right up Mobile Bay. Ivan changed course just a couple of hours before he made landfall. Mobile was spared from potentially catastrophic 12-16 foot storm surges.

Of course, that same shift meant a direct hit on Baldwin County. And what a hit it was. No, hit is not adequately descriptive. It was 12 hours of constant battering by a howling, shrieking monster of a storm. By midnight, winds were 120mph 40 miles inland.

When Ivan's eye passed over us at about 2:00am Central, it was a welcome, hour-long reprieve. Then the trailing system came -- more battering winds .. this time from the west.

The major damage in Baldwin County occurred at Dauphin Island, Orange Beach, and Gulf Shores, where Ivan made landfall. All three communities suffered catastrophic damage to homes and businesses. Additionally, storm surge inundated Gulf Shores. Early reports did not indicate such extensive damage, but by early afternoon the results of Ivan's destructive force became clear.

The morning-after scene in the rest of Baldwin County was one of felled trees and downed powerlines. There was hardly a street or road that wasn't blocked or partially blocked by huge, fallen oak, pecan, and pine trees. Damage to residences and businesses was, remarkably, light to moderate.

By Thursday, 8pm Central, Alabama Power & Light and Riviera Utilities had restored power to a large part of Baldwin County .. a feat that was met with gratitude and not a little awe. We had been told it could be a couple of weeks .. several days at best. After experiencing the raw power of Ivan, it is nothing less than amazing that electricity was restored so quickly.

Whatever the utility companies are doing, they're doing it right. They deserve praise for their herculean efforts .. and not a few linesmen deserve pay raises. The same can be said for all of the emergency workers.

All you yankees who hauled ass in a manner that would make the French proud, please don't come back. Your actions in the face of Ivan have earned you the Shield of Shame.

And lastly, one of the most surprising aspects of Ivan is a report that 70,000 people in Mississippi are without power. We didn't realize so many Mississippians had electricity.

Wednesday, September 15, 2004

Ivan: Updates

UPDATE 16 (Wednesday, 7:45pm Central):

Oh by the way, how do cats know what they know? .. also I think it is safe to say that we have now exceeded Category 5 on the Murphy-Mazda Scale.

USAF Hurricane Hunter just reported that Ivan is gaining strength.

=========
UPDATE 15 (Wednesday, 7:40pm Central):

Every indication is that Ivan will not lessen in strength before it makes landfall. Category 4 landfall with 135+ winds is almost certain.

Category Four Hurricane:
Winds 131-155 mph (114-135 kt or 210-249 km/hr). Storm surge generally 13-18 ft above normal. More extensive curtainwall failures with some complete roof structure failures on small residences. Shrubs, trees, and all signs are blown down. Complete destruction of mobile homes. Extensive damage to doors and windows. Low-lying escape routes may be cut by rising water 3-5 hours before arrival of the center of the hurricane. Major damage to lower floors of structures near the shore. Terrain lower than 10 ft above sea level may be flooded requiring massive evacuation of residential areas as far inland as 6 miles (10 km).


Over 9,000 in southern Mobile County without power.

=========
UPDATE 14 (Wednesday, 7:30pm Central):

Let's just skip that # after 12.

No longer safe to step outside .. the gusts are wicked.

Can see electrical storm in the distance to the south .. moving this way, so may not have power much longer.

=========
UPDATE 12 (Wednesday, 7:05pm Central):

The Sound: a pulsating baritone howl .. a bit unnerving .. considering hurricane force winds have not reached this far yet.

Lights starting to flicker regularly. TV signals are intermittent. Wind gusts picking up and becoming more frequent .. about a 30-second cycle for gusts.

Ivan is about 90 miles due south of Mobile .. moving 15mph .. due north track.

Maximum sustained winds are about 135mph with higher gusts.

Landfall projection: Thursday, 1:00am Central at Mobile.

Hurricane force winds will extend to I-10 by 9:30-10:00pm Central.

Tropical storm force winds extend out to 290 miles.

Dauphin Island is experiencing 70+mph wind gusts.

Weather conditions in Baldwin County south of I-10:

Rain: moderate/heavy
Wind: 35mph (45-50mph gusts) from East/Northeast
Temp: 77°
Humidity: 89%

=========
UPDATE 11 (Wednesday, 6:15pm Central):

No significant change, except for the wind gusts. They're something else. Even though the gusts are still below 50mph, they pack a shocking force. Like a free safety blitz around the right end or a southpaw delivering a right hook/roundhouse.

In about 2 hours initial hurricane force winds will be felt below I-10.

=========
UPDATE 10 (Wednesday, 5:15pm Central):

Wind gusts increasing in frequency .. average gust about 40mph at this hour, 40 miles inland.

Ivan is about 125 miles due south of Mobile and is moving 15mph on a due north track.

This could put landfall as early as 1:00am Central. Big change from previous estimates.

Maximum sustained winds are about 135mph with higher gusts.

Hurricane force winds extend 105 miles outward .. which means the coast will start getting hammered with those winds in another hour or so.

Tropical storm force winds extend out to 290 miles.

A buoy about 75 miles south of Dauphin Island recorded 50-ft seas at about 4pm Central.

Weather conditions in Baldwin County south of I-10:

Rain: light/moderate
Wind: 30mph (40-45mph gusts) from East/Northeast
Temp: 77°
Humidity: 89%

=========
UPDATE 9 (Wednesday, 4:05pm Central):

Lights have not flickered since earlier.

The tropical storm force winds are extending 35-40 miles inland. The gusts are about 40-45mph and cyclic, of course. Average time between gusts is about 3 minutes.

These are the type of winds that effortlessly blow away lawn furniture, to include the yardbird flamingos and other yard knicknacks that one of my neighbors proudly put on display .. no doubt competing for redneck-yard-of-the-month. Good riddance . . . And thank you, Ivan.

Rain: light/moderate
Wind: 30mph (40mph gusts) from East/Northeast
Temp: 76°
Humidity: 94%

=========
UPDATE 8 (Wednesday, 2:50pm Central):

Lights flickered for the first time. There's little doubt that we will eventually suffer total power failure. I'll continue to blog until Ivan shuts me down.

Ivan is due to make landfall Thursday, about 4-5am Central. National Weather Service is still predicting Ivan will be Category 4 at landfall. Hurricane force winds could extend as far north as Montgomery, Alabama.

All other conditions same as UPDATE 7.

=========
UPDATE 7 (Wednesday, 1:45pm Central):

Ivan is 170 miles due south of the Alabama coastline Dauphin Island (to be more specific).

Tornado Warning in effect until 2:30pm Central for south Baldwin County.

Tornado Watch in effect until 10:pm Central for south Baldwin County.

Ivan continues to be a Category 4 hurricane with 135mph maximum sustained winds.

Tropical storm force winds continue to hit the coast and extend inland for approximately 20 miles.

Hurricane force winds will hit coast today, beginning 8pm Central.

Weather conditions in Baldwin County south of I-10:

Rain: light/moderate
Wind: 30mph (35mph gusts) from East/Northeast
Temp: 79°
Humidity: 83%

=========
UPDATE 6 (Wednesday, 12:05pm Central):

Ivan is 220 miles due south of Mobile and is on a due north track.

Ivan continues to be a Category 4 hurricane with 135mph maximum sustained winds.

Tropical storm force winds are hitting the coast at this hour, beginning to extend inland.

Hurricane force winds will hit coast today, beginning 8pm Central

Weather conditions in Baldwin County south of I-10:

Rain: light/moderate
Wind: 25mph (30mph gusts) from East
Temp: 79°
Humidity: 83%

=========
UPDATE 5 (Wednesday, 9:11am Central):

Ivan is 250 miles South of Mobile. Landfall is expected Thursday, 4:30-5:00am.

Ivan is still at Category 4. His winds have decreased to about 130mph.

As Ivan hits a band of warm water -- 87° -- about 90 miles off the coast, he will probably gain about 5mph windspeed.

Hurricane force winds will start hitting the Mobile area by 9pm tonight.

Tropical storm force winds should hit the area in the next 2-3 hours.

Storm surge is expected to be 10-14 feet above normal tide.

Current situation in south Baldwin County: Cloudy, Windspeed: 15-25mph


=========
UPDATE 4 (Tuesday, 9:45pm Central):

Ivan is now 380 miles SE of Mobile and has increased his forward speed from 9mph to 12mph. That would put landfall at about 5:00am Central, Thursday .. hours earlier than previously forecasted.

Tropical storm force winds by 1:00pm Central, Wednesday.

Hurricane force winds by 9:00pm Central, Wednesday.

Subject to change, but that's the current situation.


=========
UPDATE 3 (Tuesday, 9:00pm Central):

It's eerily quiet .. only the sound of crickets. Not a leaf rustling. The mandatory evacuation continues at an achingly slow pace, but now with more method and less chaos.

Local radio stations are doing pretty good storm tracking/traffic tracking. Local officials are urging people to pay attention to what they're doing. When in slow traffic, it's too easy to become distracted by talking on cell phones, fiddling with the radio, etc. Seems to have been a lot of that today as evidenced by the number of traffic accidents.

It's a good time to point out the necessity of having a plan(s). True, the best plans often don't survive reality, but at least you've put some thought into it and you can readily make adjustments based on the current situation.

What we saw earlier today -- feverish flight and the attending chaotic, congested roads -- was brought on by people without a plan. They did what comes natural to a lot of people when faced with uncertainty .. they panicked.

Harry and Ethel left so fast that it's no telling what they left behind or forgot to turn off. They weren't even sure where they were going or what they would do when they got there. After 6 hours in bumper-to-bumper traffic on a path from which there is no turning back, it dawns on Harry and Ethel that something is amiss. It's too quiet inside the car. Why by this time, Jip should've barked at least once. Well, Jip is barking, but he's about 30 miles south wondering why he's been left to fend for himself.

OK. So Harry and Ethel (and Jip) are fictitious, but you get the picture.

In this day and age of terrorism, everyone should have a plan. A good place to start is Ready.gov -- the information there can save you a lot of hassle and it might even save your life.

=========
UPDATE 2 (Tuesday, 5:55pm Central):

We are in the proverbial "calm before the storm" phase .. it's very still, warm and humid outside.

Ivan is currently ranked as a Category 4 hurricane. That's a change from this morning when his winds were blowing at 160mph, but brings little comfort as his winds are "only" 140mph with higher gusts.

Hurricane force winds are now extending 105 miles out from the center of Ivan. Tropical storm force winds extend out to 260 miles.

Ivan is still on a track to make landfall at Mobile. Of course, that is subject to change. Ultimately, Ivan will go wherever he damn well pleases. Even if he starts tracking more to the Northwest and misses Mobile, we are still in danger as that will put us to the east .. which means we will be subject to coastal storm surge flooding 10-15 feet above normal and to large and dangerous battering waves.

Then there's the rainfall and tornadoes that will spin off Ivan.

No knocks on the door .. yet.

Traffic situation is still congested and chaotic. I judge it safer to stay put for awhile longer. I'd rather suffer through the initial winds than risk colliding with someone who is so panicked that they're not paying attention to the road.

=========
UPDATE 1 (Tuesday, 2:50pm Central):

The National Weather Service is telling the Mobile area to expect 10 hours of hurricane force winds starting Wednesday evening.

The governor of Alabama has ordered evacuation of Baldwin County south of I-10.

Traffic, at this hour, is still two-way. Major roads leading out of the area are a parking lot. As far north as Birmingham, I-65 is backed up for 15-20 miles. That must be the yankees who went into full panic mode this morning.

I'll continue blogging today until an official knocks on my door and tells me to leave. Otherwise, I'm sticking around until at least Wednesday.

Tuesday, September 14, 2004

Ivan The Terrible

If I'm not blogging Thursday, blame Ivan.

Ivan is a Category 5 hurricane with a bad attitude.

Hurricanes and tropical storms are a part of life down here, but rarely does a hurricane pack as much sheer strength and ferocity as Ivan.

Earlier, Ivan flexed his muscles as he lashed the western tip of Cuba with 160mph winds. He is sending hurricane force winds 100 miles out from his center and tropical storm force winds 200 miles out.

Ivan's minimum central pressure and winds are displacing Andrew as the 3rd most intense U.S. hurricane in the last 100 years. Camille (1969) holds second place. An un-named hurricane (1935) ranks first.

In other words, Ivan is terrible indeed and he's on track to make landfall Thursday morning -- right about where I'm currently sitting. It could get ugly here as early as Wednesday because of Ivan's extended reach.

The National Hurricane Center has a lot of good folks working the predictions. They use the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale to categorize hurricanes -- which is more complicated than the Murphy-Mazda Scale, named after my late best friend and birddog, who, like most dogs, loved to ride in the car with his head out the window.

Category 5 on the Murphy-Mazda Scale was about 35mph -- characterized by wildly flapping ears, wildly flapping tongue, full exposure of all teeth and gums, and dog slobber splashback.

So just think of the Murphy-Mazda Scale and then think 160mph and you'll get a good, if not wholly scientific, measure of the punch that Ivan is delivering.

Will update as situation changes.

Monday, September 13, 2004

Korea: The Unfinished War

A tremendous explosion and mushroom cloud in North Korea on September 9, near their border with China, has caused some South Korean officials to fear that the North is testing nuclear weapons. Witnesses reported seeing a mushroom cloud as high as 2 miles.

Yesterday, Secretary of State Colin Powell told ABC's This Week, "We have no indication that was a nuclear event of any kind. Exactly what it was we're not sure."

North Korea claims that the explosion was part of the demolition of a mountain for a hydro-electric project.

It's a good time to review the situation on the Korean peninsula where we have over 37,000 troops stationed.

Korean War 1950-53 Casualties:

United States
54,246 killed
103,284 wounded
4,245 missing

Republic of Korea (South Korea)
58,127 killed
175,743 wounded

Democratic People's Republic Of Korea (North Korea)
520,000 casualties (estimated)

China
900,000 casualties (estimated)

In addition, the two Koreas each suffered estimated casualties of one million civilians.


The Korean peninsula is a heavily militarized powderkeg. South Korea's neighbor to the north, North Korea, is one of the most hostile and unpredictable regimes on the face of the earth.

Legally, North Korea and South Korea are still at war. The 1953 Armistice Agreement is not a peace agreement. It is an agreement to cease hostilities.

North Korea has consistently and blatantly violated the Armistice Agreement from the time it went into effect until the present. The violations of the Armistice Agreement have included dozens of hostile incidents on the part of North Korea to include infiltration, sabotage and direct combat.

North Korea has the capability of instantly striking Seoul with long-range artillery, rockets and missiles. North Korea has many rockets and missiles that can reach anywhere on the Korean peninsula and beyond.


Click on photo to enlarge

Seoul is a city of over 10 million people. No one can know the exact effects on that population if they should be hit with conventional (or even worse, chemical) strikes; but there are few who would disagree that it would be devastating.

Evacuation of family members and civilians is planned for and controlled by the U.S. State Department in the event hostilities commence or the State Department judges that conditions warrant evacuation.

This assumes that the State Department will have the time and ability to execute their emergency action plan. In the event of hostilities, North Korean targets would very likely include airports and seaports to prevent or slow re-inforcements to the peninsula. In other words, the very facilities needed by the State Department to evacuate American civilians and family members are potential North Korean targets.

In the Cold War, weapons of mass destruction were considered weapons of last resort whose use risked the destruction of those who used them. Today, our enemies see weapons of mass destruction as weapons of choice. For rogue states these weapons are tools of intimidation and military aggression against their neighbors. -- from US National Security Strategy, 2002



Below are excerpts from recent, official assessments.

From Testimony of Director of Central Intelligence before Senate Select Committee on Intelligence (February 11, 2003):

"Mr. Chairman, I turn now to countries of particular concern, beginning, as you might expect, with North Korea."

"The recent behavior of North Korea regarding its longstanding nuclear weapons program makes apparent to all the dangers Pyongyang poses to its region and to the world. This includes developing the capability to enrich uranium, ending the freeze on its plutonium production facilities, and withdrawing from the Nonproliferation Treaty. If, as seems likely, Pyongyang moves to reprocess spent fuel at the facilities where it recently abrogated the 1994 IAEA-monitored freeze, we assess it could recover sufficient plutonium for several additional weapons."

=============================

From Testimony of Director of Central Intelligence before the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence (24 February 2004):

"The North Korean regime continues to threaten a range of US, regional, and global security interests. As I've noted earlier, Pyongyang is pursuing its nuclear weapons program and nuclear-capable delivery systems. It continues to build its missile forces, which can now reach all of South Korea and Japan, and to develop longer-range missiles that could threaten the United States."

"Moreover, the forward-deployed posture of North Korea's armed forces remains a near-term threat to South Korea and to the 37,000 US troops stationed there."

=============================

From Testimony of Admiral Thomas B. Fargo, Commander of U.S. Pacific Command before the House Armed Services Committee (March 31, 2004):

"The stakes posed by the North Korean conventional threat remain high, and are even higher if North Korea continues its pursuit of nuclear programs."

"North Korean missile and missile technology exports pose a grave proliferation concern. Its missile inventory includes over 500 short-range SCUD missiles and medium range NO DONG missiles capable of delivering conventional or chemical payloads well beyond the peninsula."

=============================

From Testimony of General Leon J. LaPorte, Commander United States Forces in Korea, before the House Armed Services Committee (March 31, 2004):

"Last year, North Korea posed renewed threats to global security by acknowledging its pursuit of nuclear weapons, and withdrawal from the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and other related international agreements."

"North Korea's efforts to strengthen its military, in light of its bellicose rhetoric and history of provocation, remain the most substantial threat to regional peace."

"North Korea has the fifth largest armed force in the world. The ground force has almost one million active duty soldiers."

"About 70 percent of the North Korean Army is deployed south of Pyongyang, where they are capable of attacking with little tactical warning."

"A large number of North Korean long-range artillery systems can strike Seoul from their current locations."

"The size, firepower, and proximity of North Korea's conventional forces to Seoul – coupled with their lethal asymmetric threats – give North Korea the capability to inflict great destruction and casualties if they chose to attack."

"The North Korean ballistic missile inventory includes over 500 SCUD missiles that can deliver conventional or chemical weapons across the entire peninsula."

"North Korea has an assessed significant chemical agent stockpile that includes blood, blister, choking, and nerve agents. These weapons threaten both our military forces and civilians in the Republic of Korea and Japan."

"We also assess Pyongyang has an active biological weapons research program, with an inventory that may include anthrax, botulism, cholera, hemorrhagic fever, plague, smallpox, typhoid and yellow fever."

"North Korea’s abandonment of the 1994 Agreed Framework and International Atomic Energy Safeguards Agreement, withdrawal from the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, restart of the Yongbyon nuclear reactor, and declarations they have reprocessed 8,000 spent nuclear fuel rods indicate they are following a path that may lead to additional nuclear weapon production."

"The intelligence community assesses North Korea already has one or two nuclear weapons, and that they have the potential to make several additional nuclear devices."

"North Korea poses a dangerous and complex threat to peace and security in the region and throughout the world."

"They maintain a massive, offensively postured, conventional force that far exceeds the requirements to defend their country."

"Their continuing weapons of mass destruction programs constitute a substantial threat to Northeast Asia and the world."

"The Korean People's Army continues to invest heavily in military programs designed to offset our operational superiority. We see no indications the Kim regime will change its "Military First" policy, brinkmanship, nuclear challenges, missile proliferation, and illegal activities that ensure regime survival."

=============================

As I mentioned before, the Korean peninsula is a powderkeg. It has been that way for over 50 years. The biggest change came last year when North Korea acknowledged their nuclear weapons program.

Every day that goes by without intervention is a day that North Korea increases its nuclear strength. It is a very bad situation. We may well be forced to finally finish the Korean War with nuclear weapons of our own.

Friday, September 10, 2004

Rather Desperate

(see Updates below)

Remember Mohammed Saeed al-Sahaf, aka Baghdad Bob, Iraqi Minister of Information back in Spring 2003? If not, maybe these quotes will refresh your memory:

"There are no American infidels in Baghdad. Never!"

"Be assured. Baghdad is safe, protected."

"I triple guarantee you, there are no American soldiers in Baghdad."

"They are trapped in Umm Qasr. They are trapped near Basra. They are trapped near Nasiriyah. They are trapped near Najaf. They are trapped everywhere."

"They are nowhere near the airport ..they are lost in the desert...they can not read a compass...they are retarded."

"They are not in Baghdad. They are not in control of any airport. I tell you this. It is all a lie. They lie. It is a hollywood movie. You do not believe them."

And my favorite, spoken to NY Times reporter John Burns (a fine reporter, by the way; a gem in the rough, to be sure) on April 9, 2003, was the last quote we heard from Baghdad Bob as the Minister of Information:

"I NOW INFORM YOU THAT YOU ARE TOO FAR FROM REALITY!"

Pretty funny, huh? Now read it again, but this time think of Dan Rather as Baghdad Bob, bloggers as the soldiers of the 3rd Infantry Division and Old Media as Baghdad.

Even funnier, huh? The truth is Dan Rather is really not much better than Baghdad Bob. Neither are most of his comrades at CBS and the other networks (Fox and C-SPAN excepted).

They long ago cast aside journalistic integrity in favor of promoting their liberal view of the world. At times their propaganda is so blatant it would make even Baghdad Bob blush. Visit the Media Research Center if you think I'm being too harsh. MRC has spent years documenting Old Media's twisting of the facts, slanting of the stories and outright fabrications.

In the latest example of Old Media dishonesty, Dan Rather and CBS were so desperate to do a hit piece (see here and here) on President Bush that they used forged documents as their evidence -- forged documents that were easily verfied as fakes.

The Blogosphere, led by the shock troops at Power Line, discredited CBS's story in less time than it took the Iraqi people to topple Saddam's statue.

That flushing sound you hear is the credibility of CBS going down the toilet -- not that there was much to flush, mind you.

That rumbling sound you hear is the approach of New Media's army of liberation, armored with truth and integrity. The cause is just. The advance, unstoppable.

As Faith Hill so beautifully sings, "There will come a day".

When that day comes I wonder if we'll hear Dan Rather say:
"I NOW INFORM YOU THAT YOU ARE TOO FAR FROM REALITY!"

===============
UPDATE 4:

This is just too good. Thanks go to Kathryn Jean Lopez at The Corner of National Review. (Click on photo to Enlarge)


It was bound to happen

UPDATE 3:

CBS News has issued the following statement:

This report was not based solely on recovered documents, but rather on a preponderance of evidence, including documents that were provided by unimpeachable sources, interviews with former Texas National Guard officials and individuals who worked closely back in the early 1970s with Colonel Jerry Killian and were well acquainted with his procedures, his character and his thinking.

In addition, the documents are backed up not only by independent handwriting and forensic document experts but by sources familiar with their content. Contrary to some rumors, no internal investigation is underway at CBS News nor is one planned.


[MerryMadMonk comment: "Be assured. Baghdad is safe, protected."]

UPDATE 2:

Dan Rather on CNN: I know that this story is true. I believe that the witnesses and the documents are authentic. We wouldn't have gone to air if they would not have been. There isn't going to be -- there's no -- what you're saying apology?

CNN QUESTION: Apology or any kind of retraction or...

RATHER: Not even discussed, nor should it be. I want to make clear to you, I want to make clear to you if I have not made clear to you, that this story is true, and that more important questions than how we got the story, which is where those who don't like the story like to put the emphasis, the more important question is what are the answers to the questions raised in the story, which I just gave you earlier.

[MerryMadMonk comment: "They are nowhere near the airport ..they are lost in the desert...they can not read a compass...they are retarded."]

UPDATE 1:

Below is a perfect demonstration of not only how outdated Old Media are, but how biased and dishonest they are.

The first image is from today's print edition of the Washington Post in which the discredited CBS story is run on the front page, above the fold.

The second image is from a screen shot of the Washington Post website. The headline on their website is so ambiguous as to be misleading .. and dishonest.


Washington Post Front Page (Print Edition)

Click on Photos to enlarge


washingtonpost.com Website

Thursday, September 09, 2004

Uncle Henry

The Conscience of Mobile

(Uncle Henry can be heard weekdays from 2pm-3pm (U.S. Central Time) on WPMI-AM NewsRadio 710. His show is also streamed
live on the internet
)

What makes me spend an hour every weekday listening to Uncle Henry?

Well, for one he's old as dirt. No one really knows how old, but it's a safe bet that Uncle Henry was getting the senior citizen discount at the local restaurants long before there was a "Wide World Web", as he calls it.
naw, I shouldn't say that.

He is as wise as an owl -- and he's a hoot.

Uncle Henry discusses issues near and dear to Mobilians and the surrounding communities. Yet, you would be mistaken if you thought his knowledge and wisdom spanned only the local area. He is just as comfortable and informative discussing national and world issues. Even his take on local issues will resonate with listeners in other parts of the country.

I listen to Uncle Henry because he makes me think. He makes me laugh too, especially when he is skewering Mayor Mike Dowd and the Mobile city council.

He comes at things from different angles than most folks. For example, when the city of Mobile bought new robotic garbage trucks, Uncle Henry wondered how the robot would not mistakenly snatch up some little old lady as it made its rounds. How does that robot know what to do? And why in tarnation does Mobile need them? And what happened to the people that did that job before the robots took over. And why haven't the robots saved money and made life easier for the people of Mobile (I think Uncle Henry would enjoy I, Robot, except for the cussing).

He is unfailingly polite to his callers (well .. most of the time). Uncle Henry doesn't cotton to the tinfoil hat crowd that feel compelled to call in, but he's not beyond encouraging them in their delusions. A few months ago, various callers reported hearing morse code being transmitted over the airwaves during the Uncle Henry show (for the record, I also heard the tones). Of course, this brought the conspiracy theorists out in full force. Some claimed that Uncle Henry was sending subliminal messages out to his audience. He did not discourage that belief.

Sometimes, I think Uncle Henry is at his best when quoting Bible verses as he chastises Leeanna, his call-screener, for her manner of dress (mini skirts and t-shirts) or her taste in music (Jimi Hendrix). At least chastisement is what Uncle Henry calls it. I rather think Uncle Henry turns to his Bible to steel himself against the charm of his impish assistant.

In fact, it's worth tuning in to Uncle Henry just to hear Leeanna's sultry, southern accent. Her voice could melt the horns off a billygoat. She's also pretty. If she didn't have a husband, half the men in Mobile and Baldwin counties would be knocking on her door. The other half would be busy filing divorce papers.

Uncle Henry is from another era .. an era when Buddy Holly was singing about Peggy Sue on the radio of a '57 Chevy as its driver pulled into the local drive-in to flirt with the pony-tailed carhops; when RC Cola and Moon Pies were as popular as Starbucks and Krispy Kreme -- when it was safe to leave your house unlocked and go for a walk at night.

Uncle Henry usually ends his show by reminding us to pray -- to pray for Mobile, our president, our troops . . . and not infrequently, Leeanna.

So I'll end this post by saying: pray for Uncle Henry. We're blessed to have him among us.

========================================
Who is he? Uncle Henry in his own words:

"I love Jesus. I love George Bush. I think the liberal news media is destroying our nation. I love Rush Limbaugh and his show. I think children should be quiet. I have no use for the new-fangled philosophies, fads, trends and technologies that infect the modern life with satanic rot. I enjoy watching Walker Texas Ranger, Mama's Family, Bonanza, Hee Haw and other such entertainment programs. Do not make noise near my house after 10PM Central time or I will call the Daphne police department on you and you will go to jail. Do not call me on the phone after 8PM unless there is a death in my family. I like growing vegetables and fruits instead of flowers because you can't eat flowers."

Wednesday, September 08, 2004

Expect The Unexpected

It's a huge game for the two Big 12 opponents and the near-capacity crowd of 83,000 rowdy fans are rocking Texas Memorial Stadium in Austin, Texas on this beautiful, crisp Autumn evening.

It's late in the 4th quarter and Texas has just returned the kickoff for a touchdown bringing the crowd to its feet. The point-after kick is good and Texas has tied the game. Texas 28 Missouri 28. The ESPN crew informs the national audience that they have just witnessed a new school record for Texas. No Texas team has ever . . .

The explosion cuts them off in midsentence. The broadcasters, stunned and confused, report that a bomb has evidently gone off in the stadium and that it appeared to . . .

Before they can say another word . . .

The television audience sees and hears another explosion in another part of the stadium, followed by yet another explosion on the football field. This explosion is followed by two more explosions elsewhere in the stadium.

There is death and destruction in Texas Memorial.

Stunned and numbed, we spend the rest of our evening in front of the television listening to the live news reports.

As he sat in the bed of his pickup truck and set the correct elevation for the mortar tube, Ahmad kept one eye on the I-35 traffic zipping past. He had pulled his truck onto the shoulder and popped the hood. No one is supicious of someone having a little car trouble. He would wave on anyone who slowed or stopped. Of course, that might not work for a highway patrolman. He reflexively checked the shotgun at his feet. Ahmad was optimistic. He needed only 3 minutes to execute his mission. Khalid, his cell leader, had trained him well, but still . . .

He had started his reconnaissance months ago on the internet when he downloaded high-resolution imagery of Austin and Texas Memorial Stadium and various other targets. In the past two weeks, since he had arrived in Austin, he had used a Global Positioning Satellite (GPS) receiver to input the coordinates of the stadium and various firing positions. He had plenty of firing positions to choose from -- his small, lightweight, 60mm mortar had an effective range of over 2 kilometers and a high-angle trajectory. Khalid had been right afterall. The riskiest part of this operation had been smuggling the mortar and its ammunition across the Mexican border, but even that was easier than they had imagined.

As he dropped the first mortar round down the tube, he shouted, "Allah Akbar!". There was a satisfying pfluuunk! as the mortar round exited the tube. Seconds later he saw, then heard the spectacular explosion in the stadium and he shouted, "Allah Akbar!" even louder. He continued dropping rounds down the tube, each time praising Allah for his blessings.

He saw the lights of a car -- or was it another truck like his; it was hard to tell -- veer toward him as he dropped the fifth round down the tube. He might have time to fire one more if he was quick enough.

Robert had not been able to get off work to go to the game, but he was listening to it on the radio as he headed home. Even now he could see the bright lights of the stadium -- and something else up ahead on the shoulder. Shit! What the hell is that guy doing?! And then he saw the flash of an explosion in the stadium and instantly answered his own question. Without another thought he plowed into the back of the small pickup truck with all the speed he could gun from the Dodge Ram V-8.

Now that I have your attention . . .

What we experienced 3 years ago was one method of attack. We've seen other methods of attack in Bali, Madrid, and just a few days ago, Beslan. The vignette above is yet another -- there are many more. Most don't require any special equipment or resources -- only a will to kill.

How hard would it be for a terrorist(s) to hotwire an 18-wheeler sitting outside a truckstop. Now imagine the rig is a fuel tanker and the truckstop is only 2 minutes from, say, the Mobile Bay tunnel.

Or imagine a service station near a busy cloverleaf -- pick the city. How hard would it be to kill the attendant and ignite the underground tanks.

Maybe you work at a place with a multi-storied, guarded parking garage. How hard would it be for someone to follow an employee home and later that night, pop the trunk and place a C-4 satchel in it -- then when morning comes, as the employee pulls into a parking space, the device is remotely detonated, bringing down the garage. (Substitute any building or structure for garage).

How hard would it be for a team of terrorists to shoot their way into a chemical processing plant or oil refinery, say, in Baton Rouge; then throw their satchel charges at the huge storage tanks -- targets that they had studied for months on the internet and had surveyed from nearby roadways.

Now imagine many instances of the above scenarios happening nearly simultaneously. Imagine that happening over the course of days or weeks across the country.

Attack methods need not be as exotic as something you might read about in a Tom Clancy novel. It's not cloak & dagger stuff .. it's studying targets, considering the desired effects, and planning courses of action to get at those targets.

Now that's not to say that it can't be something on the level of a Clancy novel. Does anyone seriously doubt that al-Qaeda will not hesitate to use nuclear, radiological, biological or chemical weapons if they can aqcuire the capability. Do any of us doubt that Osama would rejoice at the death of tens of thousands of Americans?

The enemy are among us. Have no doubt about that. They operate in independent cells and are loosely controlled by Osama. The cells might come up with any number of plans to execute, waiting for the day that Osama (or if not him, another al-Qaeda leader) gives them the greenlight.

Our federal law enforcement and intelligence agencies have worked non-stop since 9/11. I don't doubt they have foiled a number of attacks since that day. But I realize that they, along with local law enforcement, can only do so much.

We can all help in some way. For one, we can practice being more aware of our surroundings and not be shy about reporting persons and/or activities that seem out of place. That uneasy feeling you get about a person might just be the final piece of a puzzle that a bunch of intelligence analysts have been laboring over for days or weeks.

It might mean the difference between just another school day and a Beslan of our own.

There's a lot of speculation about possible attacks between now and election day. Truth is it could happen on any day for the forseeable future. I'm among those who believe we are in the early stages of World War IV (the Cold War being WW III). I respect the opinion of those who disagree with that, but what is beyond question is that we are currently fighting a war for our very survival.

One of the most important things we can do is be strong. No matter what happens, hang tough.

The words of Sir Winston Churchill still ring true today:

"One ought never to turn one's back on a threatened danger and try to run away from it. If you do that, you will double the danger. But if you meet it promptly and without flinching, you will reduce the danger by half."

Monday, September 06, 2004

Slaughter Of The Innocents

Ruthless savages fell upon a schoolhouse in Beslan, a town in North Ossetia.

Over 150 school children were slaughtered by Islamic terrorists. Total dead so far: 338. That number is expected to rise. The latest speculation out of Russia: it could rise as high as 600.

When the terrorists took over the schoolhouse, they gathered all the children, teachers, and other employees (about 1000) into the gymnasium. They rigged the gym with explosives. They denied food and water to their hostages for days.

The situation went from bad to horrendous in the time it takes to trigger a detonator. Details are unclear and may remain so for some time. Early reports said that the children tried to escape and the terrorists set off the high explosive bombs they had rigged. Other reports say that the terrorists set off the bombs when Russian Special Forces stormed the building.

One thing is clear though. When the massacre started, it included not only detonations inside the gym, it featured Islamic animals machinegunning fleeing children. The aftermath is horrific. One need not know the ballistic effects of 7.62mm projectiles to imagine the slaughter that took place.

Another thing is equally clear. Islamic barbarians are responsible for the savagery -- not the Russian military who died while trying to do good, not the Russian children who died with an innocence that is heartbreaking, not the Russian Duma, not President Putin, not the Russian people.

We are haunted by our thoughts of Beslan; haunted by what those children experienced as they went without food and water ... as they ran for their lives ... as they lay dying.

And we are haunted by the certain knowledge, born of another fateful September day, that the same thing could happen to our loved ones, to our children -- in our towns -- at our schools, stadiums, amusement parks, shopping malls . . .

Homeland Security cannot protect every single place in our country. That is why we must be relentless as we continue to take the fight to these monsters. They are not impressed by the nebulous notion of nuance, nor the defeatist dithering of diplomats at the U.N.

We must never forget that we are in an epic battle between good and evil -- a battle that knows no holiday, an evil that shows no mercy ... not even to our children.

Beslan, you are in our hearts.

Saturday, September 04, 2004

Life In The Fast Lane

Major General Barbara Fast was due to take command, this summer, of the U.S. Army Intelligence Center at Fort Huachuca, Arizona.

She had previously served as the deputy commander of the Intelligence Center and had been selected to become its commander before she was called to Iraq in July 2003. She is now back from Iraq, but her command has been put on hold.

General Fast, as some of you may know, has been in the news lately. She was the senior Army intelligence officer in Iraq at the time of the Abu Ghraib prison abuses. Although she was not directly involved in the operations of Abu Ghraib, her career may be finished -- that is, if the Army bows to Senator John McCain.

A little background is necessary at this point.

When major ground combat operations concluded in Iraq, the Army reorganized its forces. Some units went home. Other units were swapped out with stateside units.

The headquarters in charge of ground forces also underwent some significant changes. Its mission changed for one. It was no longer directing a major ground campaign; now it was responsibile for stabilizing Iraq and providing support to the Coalition Provisional Authority.

By June 2003, a major insurgency was underway by Saddam loyalists and Saddam sympathizers from other Arab countries such as Syria, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Jordan -- to include al-Qaeda operatives.

It soon became apparent that the scope of the mission had expanded. The Army's ground headquarters needed to be augmented -- most especially with additional intelligence support.

The Army sent in Major General Barbara Fast.

When she arrived in Iraq in July 2003, General Fast immediately made an assessment of the intelligence architecture that would be needed to support the expanded mission. She then organized various intelligence cells, equipping them with communications and computers that could "reach back" to national intelligence databases in the United States. She recognized that technical intelligence, alone, would not be enough so she set up Human Intelligence (HUMINT) operations, i.e. a system of spies and informants.

The intelligence operations that she set up led to the capture of key members of the the former Iraqi regime -- to include the capture of Saddam Hussein himself. Her hard work also saved the lives of our soldiers, coalition partners and Iraqi civilians.

During the time period of the Abu Ghraib abuses, the intelligence focus was on Saddam Hussein's capture and large scale enemy activity at Fallujah and Najaf. This consumed the time of General Fast and her intelligence staff. The responsibility for intelligence interrogations was entrusted to the commander in the field, Colonel Thomas Pappas, who commanded the 205th Military Intelligence Brigade.

The final report on Abu Ghraib praises Major General Fast for her intelligence successes, yet it also criticizes her for not closely supervising Colonel Pappas.

In my opinion, two things are wrong with that:

1. Colonel Pappas's immediate commander was Major General Wojdakowski, the deputy commander of ground forces, not Major General Fast. Major General Fast was a staff officer, not a commander.

2. The day that a Colonel in the United States Army needs to be closely supervised is the day that that Colonel needs to be fired. Yet Major General Wojdakowski did nothing.

That's how I see it, but I admit I can't be completely objective.

I've known Barbara Fast for some time. She and her husband, Paul (a retired Lieutenant Colonel), and I served together. We were also neighbors for two years. They are two of the most decent people I know.

Barbara has had an extraordinary Army career -- one that has found her, time and again, where the rubber meets the road, i.e. serving with troops. She could have been just as successful taking the easy jobs, but she didn't. Those of us who know her never doubted that she would one day be a general -- one star, two stars, three, four. She is that good.

I would trust her with my son in combat and that's the highest compliment I can give anyone.

Senator McCain has said that Barbara Fast should not be placed in command of the Intelligence Center. He is a powerful member of the Senate Armed Services Committee.

He is also a media darling -- and a pompous horse's ass who has a history of going off half-cocked on any number of issues. While that may endear him to the media and keep his name in the spotlight, it is also why the very people who know him best, his Senate colleagues, overwhelmingly supported George W. Bush in the 2000 Presidential primary.

McCain being an ex-P.O.W. should not inoculate him from criticism, nor should it give him undue deference within the walls of the Pentagon. But it often does. I'm hoping it won't this time.

I know that whatever the Army's ultimate decision, Barbara Fast will salute and move on. If the decision goes against her, it'll be a significant loss to the soldiers, the Army and the nation.

==================

UPDATE:
Some of you have confused

Major General Barbara Fast (U.S. Army - Military Intelligence)

with

Brigadier General Janis Karpinski (U.S. Army Reserve - Commander of Military Police at Abu Ghraib)

(MerryMadMonk shudders at the thought)

Hopefully, the pictures below will help:


Major General Barbara Fast


Brigadier General Janis Karpinski

Friday, September 03, 2004

Texas Walking

"Like generations before us, we have a calling from beyond the stars to stand for freedom. This is the everlasting dream of America — and tonight, in this place, that dream is renewed."

Last night, President Bush delivered.

It's as much a part of his character as his "they call it walking in Texas" swagger.

He spoke of hope and opportunity; liberty and freedom; courage and bravery; and he presented the nation with a detailed vision of what 4 more years of his leadership would mean.

Ignoring the thinly veiled threats of Old Media and the liberal Democrats (pardon the redundancy), he made 9/11 and the War on Terrorism central campaign issues.

The Left were in full panic mode after Zell Miller's speech. They will probably require straitjackets after this -- which is not a bad idea, by the way, given the loonies that are now in the mainstream of their party.

And exactly why is it that, since about October 2001, we have not seen Old Media show images of that September day when our nation was attacked?

Isn't it peculiar that Old Media covered O.J. Simpson for years, but do not see fit to occasionally show clips of 9/11?

They went on for weeks, months and years deluging us with Anita Hill, Rodney King, Chandry Levy, Tonya Harding, Nancy Kerrigan; and now Scott Peterson and Kobe Bryant .. on and on and on.

Yet, only a few weeks after 9/11, all images and video from that day seemed to have vanished from the newsrooms of Old Media.

The television networks, especially, owe the American people an explanation about their decision not to, apparently, ever again show the death and destruction of 9/11.

Congress gave them slices of the electromagnetic spectrum, worth billions of dollars, for free -- in return for carrying broadcasts in the interests of the public good.

So let's see if I have this straight: Reminding us, ad nauseam, of the trials and tribulations of O.J., Scott Peterson, Kobe Bryant, et al, is in the interests of the public good. Occasionally reminding us of the savagery of our enemy is not?

It's something to keep in mind in the coming weeks as Old Media go all out to try to put John Kerry in the White House.

Thursday, September 02, 2004

Zell "Daisy Cutter" Miller

The U.S. Air Force's BLU-82B, nicknamed Daisy Cutter, is a 15,000 pound bomb dropped from high altitude. It is a fearsome weapon with a very large lethal radius. When it explodes, the flash can be seen, the sound heard and the concussion felt for miles. It is one of the most intimidating weapons in our arsenal.

Last night the Republican National Convention dropped its own version of the Daisy Cutter on John F. Kerry. It came in the form of U.S. Senator Zell Miller, Democrat from Georgia, and when it was unleashed, the effects of that weapon were no less dramatic than the Air Force version.

Zell Miller absolutely shredded John Kerry's record:

"Listing all the weapon systems that Senator Kerry tried his best to shut down sounds like an auctioneer selling off our national security but Americans need to know the facts."

"The B-1 bomber, that Senator Kerry opposed, dropped 40 percent of the bombs in the first six months of Operation Enduring Freedom. "

"The B-2 bomber, that Senator Kerry opposed, delivered air strikes against the Taliban in Afghanistan and Hussein's command post in Iraq."

"The F-14A Tomcats, that Senator Kerry opposed, shot down Khadifi's Libyan MIGs over the Gulf of Sidra. The modernized F-14D, that Senator Kerry opposed, delivered missile strikes against Tora Bora."

"The Apache helicopter, that Senator Kerry opposed, took out those Republican Guard tanks in Kuwait in the Gulf War. The F-15 Eagles, that Senator Kerry opposed, flew cover over our Nation's Capital and this very city after 9/11."

"I could go on and on and on: against the Patriot Missile that shot down Saddam Hussein's scud missiles over Israel; against the Aegis air-defense cruiser; against the Strategic Defense Initiative; against the Trident missile; against, against, against."

"This is the man who wants to be the Commander in Chief of our U.S. Armed Forces?"

"U.S. forces armed with what? Spitballs?"

If you missed it, go to C-SPAN and watch. You will not be disappointed. You can also google the text version which is great reading, but the fun is in watching Zell Miller deliver it.

Wednesday, September 01, 2004

Old Media's Last Stand

We are witnessing the end of Old Media as we know it.

This will be the last presidential election cycle in which Old Media dominate and more of them sense it than will admit it.

Old Media's fall will be traced back to the birth of two powerful phenomena: conservative talk radio and the internet.

The first was spearheaded by Rush Limbaugh (there is no one more deserving of the Presidential Medal of Freedom). For his first couple of years, he was essentially a lone voice in the wilderness, but soon his success spawned hundreds of national, regional, and local talk shows. And thus, an entire industry (AM Radio) was plucked from the jaws of death.

How did Mr. Limbaugh do that? He covered news that Old Media smothered. He offered startingly fresh commentary. He exposed the duplicity of network anchors and newspaper editors. And he said out loud what many Americans had been thinking for years. The rest, as they say, is history.

The second phenomenon, the internet, connected us as never before. The early days saw electronic bulletin boards, electronic mail and internet relay chat -- the foundations for an information super highway (just ask algore). The growth of the internet was spurred by the microchip which made it possible for each of us to own a home computer; by easy-to-use Operating Systems such as MacIntosh and Windows; and by ever-increasing bandwidth.

Hypertext Markup Language (HTML) gave us the World Wide Web and the opportunity for each one of us to be desktop publishers to the world. Old Media staked out homes on the web, but now they had the beginnings of true competition.

That competition began to mature with the advent of Web Logs or Blogs.

The Blogosphere is Old Media's worst nightmare. Bloggers leave no stone unturned, no story untold. The Blogosphere is putting Old Media to shame and, ultimately, out to pasture. Bloggers were tearing into the compelling story of the Swift Boat Veterans 10 days before anyone in Old Media would touch it. In fact, the power of the Blogosphere forced Old Media's hand.

When Old Media knew they could no longer smother the story, they did what comes natural for them: they slanted the story and slandered and libeled the Swifties. But it was too late. The cat was out of the bag ... thanks to bloggers.

Hugh Hewitt, InstaPundit's Glenn Reynolds, and the guys over at Powerline, to name just a few, demonstrate more journalistic integrity in the time it takes to hit a few keystrokes than do the Old Media in an entire news cycle.

They are the leaders of New Media -- one in which we all may and can actively participate.

And that last point is causing much handwringing at Old Media, not unlike the kind that took place aboard the Titanic.