Friday, December 31, 2010
WSJ REVIEW & OUTLOOK
DECEMBER 31, 2010
The Liberal Reckoning of 2010
The year voters saw the left's unvarnished agenda and said no.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid sent out a press release last week headlined "111th Congress Accomplishments." It quoted a couple of Democratic Party cheerleaders calling this the greatest Congress since 1965-66 (Norm Ornstein) or even the New Deal (David Leonhardt), and listed in capital letters no fewer than 30 legislative triumphs: Health Care Reform, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, a Jobs Package (HIRE Act), the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, Food Safety, the Travel Promotion Act, Student Loan Reform, Hate Crimes Prevention, and so much more.
What the release did not mention is the loss of 63 House and six Senate seats, and a mid-December Gallup poll approval rating of 13%. Never has a Congress done so much and been so despised for it.
While this may appear to be a contradiction, it is no accident or even much of a surprise. The liberal wing of the Democratic Party had been waiting since the 1960s for its next great political opening, as we warned in an October 17, 2008 editorial, "A Liberal Supermajority." Critics and some of our readers scored us at the time for exaggerating, but in retrospect we understated the willful nature of that majority.
Democrats achieved 60 Senate votes by an historical accident of prosecutorial abuse (Ted Stevens), a stolen election (Al Franken) and a betrayal (Arlen Specter). They then attempted to do nearly everything we expected, regardless of public opinion, and they only stopped because the clock ran out.
The real story of 2010 is that the voters were finally able to see and judge this liberal agenda in its unvarnished form. For once, there was no Republican President to muddle the message or divide the accountability. The public was able to compare the promise of 8% unemployment if the government spent $812 billion on "stimulus" with the 9.8% jobless result. They stood athwart liberal history in the making and said, "Stop."
Note well, however, that the Democrats still standing on Capitol Hill remain unchastened. In her exit interviews, Speaker Nancy Pelosi has said she would do it all the same way again, and her colleagues have seconded her lack of remorse by keeping her as their leader despite their November thumping. Her consolation to defeated Democrats was not to invite them to the House caucus meeting when she denounced President Obama's tax deal with Republicans.
Note, too, that the organized left and its media allies are also beginning to rewrite the story of the 111th Congress as an historical triumph. The same people who claimed that ObamaCare was a defeat because it lacked a public option are suddenly noting it will put 32 million more Americans on the government health-care dole. It won't be long before liberals and the press are defending the 111th Congress's every achievement as historic.
There is a lesson here both about modern liberalism and for Republicans who will soon have more power in Congress. For today's left, the main goal of politics is not to respond to public opinion. The goal is to impose the dream of an egalitarian entitlement state whether the public likes it or not. Sooner or later, they figure, the anger will subside and Americans will come to like the cozy confines of the cradle-to-grave welfare state.
This is the great Democratic bet with ObamaCare. The assumption is that once the benefits start to flow in 2013 the constituency for "free" health care will grow. As spending and deficits climb, the pressure for higher taxes will become inexorable and the GOP will splinter into its balanced budget and antitax wings. A value-added tax or some other money-machine will pass and guarantee that the government will control 40% to 50% of all economic resources.
If the price of this bet was losing control of the House for a moment in time in 2010, Mrs. Pelosi's view is so be it. You have to break a few Blue Dog careers to build a European welfare state. Liberals figure that as long as President Obama can be re-elected in 2012, their gamble will pay off and the legacy of the 111th Congress will be secure. The cheerleaders will write books about it.
The lesson for Republicans is to understand the nature of their political opponents and this long-term bet. The GOP can achieve all kinds of victories in the next two years, and some of them will be important for economic growth. But the main chance is ObamaCare, which will fundamentally change the balance of power between government and individuals if it is not repealed or replaced.
While repeal will no doubt founder in the Senate in the next two years, Republicans can still use their House platform to frame the debate for 2012. They can hold hearings to educate the public about rising insurance costs and other nasty ObamaCare consequences. And they can use the power of the purse to undermine its implementation.
The difference between the work of the 111th Congress and that of either the Great Society or New Deal is that the latter were bipartisan and in the main popular. This Congress's handiwork is profoundly unpopular and should become more so as its effects become manifest. In 2010, Americans saw liberalism in the raw and rejected it. The challenge for Republicans is to repair the damage before it becomes permanent.
Copyright 2010 Dow Jones & Company, Inc. All Rights Reserved
Identification is defined as " the act of claiming an identity, where an identity is a set of one or more signs signifying a distinct entity. "
Now we have a case of what I call, "self identification", defined as "when someone (a friend, a colleague or a combatant on the battlefield) performs an action, either verbally or otherwise that shows their "true self ". "
So back to Mr. Ezra Kelin, self described wonk, Washington Post staffer and member of the Looney Liberal Left who goes on MSNBC to discuss the occasion of the new House of Representatives beginning their term by taking the action of reading the US Constitution into the record at the start of their first session in the next few days. I feel it is best to let him make the statement as he did live on MSNBC and then afterwards, I will make comment on it. Watch the video, it is about 1 1/2 minutes long....
Hold on - Whiskey-Tango-FOXTROT?? What was that he said??
“.... I mean, you can say two things about it. One, is that it has no binding power on anything. And two, the issue of the Constitution is not that people don’t read the text and think they’re following. The issue of the Constitution is that the text is confusing because it was written more than 100 years ago and what people believe it says differs from person to person and differs depending on what they want to get done.”
Are you kidding me - This is " the Mother of All Self-Identifiers". Ezra not only told us that he has no flippin' clue as to what the US Constitution means, he just walked all over it and wiped his feet on it !
WHAT A HORSE'S ARSE !
He has done us a favor in reality, (like most "self identifiers"), as he has shown us all his true colors....He is what we in the military would call a "domestic enemy" of the US Constitution as he says " that it has no binding power on anything.."
Oh yes it does, you twit. It means the difference between what the USA stands for along with all that millions of Veterans gave their lives to defend.
What an empty headed dilettante....what a self absorbed idijit....
He has told us EXACTLY what he thinks by telling us what he thinks with all but a sneer....
Well, I am glad for one, to highlight him for the idiot he is and make sure that many others know that this is what we are fighting when true Patriots rail against the Lefty Looney Liberals who hate the US Constitution and all that it stands for....Freedom and all that has made us a beacon of Liberty since the US Constitution was ratified.
The Constitution is a well-crafted document meriting a particular interpretive approach: “where the language of the Constitution is specific, it must be obeyed. Where there is demonstrable consensus among the Founders and ratifiers as to a principle stated or implied in the Constitution, it should be followed. Where there is ambiguity as to the precise meaning or reach of a constitutional provision, it should be interpreted and applied in a manner so as to at least not contradict the text of the Constitution itself.” The most interesting debates then, focus on the application of constitutional principles-not on whether these principles exist. This approach does not “remove controversy, or disagreement, but it does cabin it within a principled constitutional tradition that makes real the Rule of Law.”
Take that Ezra Klein...you have shown us your true colors and that you are a loser....and one who should be relegated to the dustbin of history, where we have deposited all others who have tried to take the US Constitution from the people.
" We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America. " - US Constitution Preamble
And just in case a few of you are feeling I have been a little harsh with Mr. Klein, let's read a posting he made on his own blog....again, I feel you will be able to draw your own conclusion.
Nazi Ideas by Ezra Klein
" I'm with Jane Galt on this one: Not everything the Nazis touched was bad. Hitler was a vegetarian. Volkswagen is a perfectly good car company. Universal health care is a perfectly good idea. Indeed, the Nazis actually did a pretty good job increasing economic growth and improving standards of living (they were, many think, the first Keynesians, adopting the strategy even before Keynes had come up with it), pushing Germany out of a depression and back into expansion. Unfortunately, they also set out to conquer Europe and exterminate the Jews. People shouldn't do that. "
Again, all is have to say is " Whiskey-Tango-Foxtrot???"
Thursday, December 30, 2010
Here is an updated list of some of the newer ones out there...heard a few of these when I was out in the AFGHN....pretty damn accurate terminology.
"Back to the taxpayers": Navy slang for where a wrecked aircraft gets sent.
Beltway clerk: A derisive term for a Washington political operative or civilian political hatchet man—in other words, someone who trades on his supposed political connections. May refer to so-calle" "Washington defense exper"s" who have never served in the armed forces.
"Embrace the suck": Translation: The situation is bad, but deal with it.
Fallujah: An Iraqi city. As slang, however, the phrase "another Fallujah" means a screwed-up place crawling with bad guys.
FOB: Forward Operations Base ("the yard"). Protected area for Iraqi or coalition soldiers.
Fobbits: Derogatory term for soldiers who never leave a FOB.
FUBAR: F***** Up Beyond All Recognition. Fake acronym. A World War II term still in use.
FUBIJAR: A play on FUBAR. F***** Up, But I'm Just A Reservist. A sarcastic jab by a reservist at criticism from a regular.
Groundhog Day: Every day of your tour in Iraq. Terms suggests the days never change—always long and hot, and the same events keep recurring. From the Bill Murray movie Groundhog Day.
Hooah: U.S. Army slang. Actually a shout. Signals approval or solidarity. Means most anything except "no."
John Wayne Driving School: Banging up a Humvee in the process of teaching new soldiers to drive it.
LPCs: Leather Personnel Carriers. Better known as boots.
Marineland: Slang for Iraq's Anbar province, which is largely patrolled by U.S. Marines
Mookie: Nickname for Iraqi Shia leader Muqtada al-Sadr. See: Mahdi Militia. ("Hey, the Cav's going back into Najaf. Mookie and the Mookie Army are restless again.")
MOUT: Military Operations in Urban Terrain. A general description for house-to-house searches, raids, and patrols in an urban area.
"Pig looking at a wristwatch": Slang for a dumbfounded look. ("Stop looking at that mop like a pig looking at a wristwatch, and clean the floor.")
Ranger candy (also known as GI M&Ms): An 800-milligram Motrin (ibuprofen) pill.
Semper Fi: U.S. Marines motto, short for "Semper Fidelis," which is Latin for "Always Faithful."
Semper I: Pejorative Marine lingo for being overly concerned with one's own personal interests.
Semper Gumby: Another play on Semper Fi. Means "always flexible."
Semper Knife: Yet another twist on Semper Fi. Means "backstabbing."
Turkey peek: To glance around or over an object or surface, such as a corner or wall. ("Now, once you're in there, do a turkey peek around the wall then move to the next building.")
Excerpted from Embrace the Suck: A Pocket Guide to Milspeak Copyright 2007 by Pamphleteer Press.
Massachusetts Gov. Patrick replaces Veterans' Services Secretary Thomas G. Kelley, Medal of Honor recipient with a hack campaign supporter
Politics as usual....Gov. Patrick shows that he isn't interested in having the best person in a cabinet position. Rather, he shows patronage is alive and well in Massachusetts.
Patrick ousted Veterans' Services Secretary Thomas G. Kelley, a Medal of Honor Recipient and seen as one of the most effective Veterans advocates in the country. So what prompted his ouster? They told Kelley that both the governor and lieutenant governor “want to move the agency in a different direction.”
Now there is a BULL-SHITE answer if there ever was one...Gov. Doofus appointed a parole board that let a career criminal out who killed a cop on the holidays and now he & his hack buddies throw a Medal of Honor Winner under the bus....This is what people voted for - A HACK Governor and a tool of the Unions....pathetic
VFW criticizes Patrick's ouster of veterans' secretary
by Martin Finucane December 29, 2010 04:19 PM
The state Veterans of Foreign Wars organization criticized Governor Deval Patrick today for asking for the resignation of Veterans' Services Secretary Thomas G. Kelley, a Vietnam War hero and Congressional Medal of Honor winner who has served four governors.
The governor's actions in the "unceremonious dismissal" of Kelley "leave a very bad taste in our mouths," the VFW said in a statement. "The Governor owes Secretary Kelley an apology; he owes every recipient of the Medal of Honor an apology."
Patrick on Tuesday called Kelley a "true American hero" and thanked him for his "extensive and selfless service." Kelley told the Globe that he had been notified by Health and Human Services Secretary JudyAnn Bigby that the governor and lieutenant governor wanted to move in a new direction. I'm not part of that new direction," he said.
Kelley, 71, was named commissioner of veterans' services in 1999 and became secretary in August 2003. He served under Republican governors Paul Cellucci, Jane Swift, and Mitt Romney. But his future with the Democratic Patrick administration appeared uncertain when he was excluded from Cabinet meetings, the Globe reports today.
The VFW statement said that Kelley and his staff had made the state "the leader in benefits and entitlements for service members and their families." The organization said that it also looked forward to working with Coleman Nee, the department undersecretary who will replace Kelley in the interim
Undersecretary Coleman Nee, who will replace Kelley previously worked as a director of a public relations firm and has been active in Democratic Party politics, specifically Govenor Patrick's relection campaign.
Wednesday, December 29, 2010
" Embracing the suck" - an excerpt from " Greetings From Afghanistan - Send More Ammo " by Capt. Benjamin Tupper
My newest read is an awesome book called, " Greetings from Afghanistan - Send more Ammo" by Captain Benjamin Tupper, NY Army National Guard. His writing is a tour de force of what he experienced as a member of a ETT or a Embedded Training Team (ETT), a small group of U.S. soldiers tasked with training and mentoring the ramshackle, newly formed Afghan National Army. Each two-man unit gets a company of about 100 Afghan soldiers, about whose language, history, and culture Tupper was—admittedly—entirely clueless. The result is a candid series of snapshots of the challenges he faced, both cultural and military.
Tupper and his machine-gunning partner Ski were in a dozen firefights with Taliban during their year in Afghanistan - a relatively high number - and in those vividly recounted life-and-death gun battles, they were not backed by a platoon of US soldiers with "high-tech commo, weapons, medical skills and evacuation assets." They were barreling along IED-laden roads with no engineer route-clearing teams. As just two US soldiers embedded with the ANA, they were very low on the pecking order for emergency air support or a quick reaction force, meaning Special Forces backup.
Yet Tupper and Ski were a priority target for Taliban fighters.
"The ETTs with their sole Humvee," Tupper says, "were understood to be the nerve center of the operation . . . and we were targeted accordingly."
The ETT program in Afghanistan began a half-decade before Tupper's 2006 arrival in country, its aim to speed up Afghan self-sufficiency in logistics, tactics and combined-arms fights against insurgencies. In short, it's "teach a man to fish" with assault rifles.
Part of what makes his write-up insightful is his NO-SHITE attitude and bravado. This shines through in the first chapter entitled, " Embrace The Suck "
" I first heard the phrase " embrace the suck" in Pittsburgh in 2001. I was in the living room of a college buddy, nursing a hangover, and flipping through a popular national magazine. inside was an unsanitized article about the field conditions of America's newest war: Afghanistan. The list of hardships that the soldiers were experiencing in the heat and dust was described in vivid detail. But the spirits of the American Infantrymen were undeterred. Their Zen-like approach was to "embrace the suck", a strategy of treating hardships as friends, not enemies, and driving on.
Less than two weeks after my arrival in Ghazni, I was baptized in sweat and filth into this brotherhood of suffering and misery. I had just returned from a week long mission in the field with our ANA infantry battalion when I found myself in awe over the degradation of my physical body in such a short time.
Operation desert Lion, as it was called, consisted of a series of sweeps deep into remote corners of Ghazni Province, with overnight bivouacs in various district centers. The operation, my first personal foray into real-world warfare, ended up being quite successful. We captured over a dozen suspected Taliban foot soldiers, and the Afghan National Police (ANP) captured a confirmed al-Qaeda regional commander. No friendly forces were killed or injured.
But Death and Injury are only two of the three facets of physical harm that confront a soldier. After this operation, we all suffered from the third facet of physical harm: the generalized internal and external human deterioration that occurs on long combat missions. This source of misery is perhaps best described simply as " the suck": the dozens of small, needling things that torment and plague the body when it is deprived of sanitation, sleep and proper nourishment..."
He goes into extreme detail regarding your body shutting off it's hunger drive due to heat and quality of food offered (i.e. MREs). The debilitating effect of heat as the temps in the area you are working is well up in to the lower 115-120 degree range when combined with a full combat outfit of kevlar, ballistic vest and all other gear, creates a oven effect similar to being suited up for winter weather. Sleep deprivation is an issue, as all on missions are running at a 20 hour+ tempo (or longer), at a state of total hyper awareness, and not having anywhere decent to sleep. Add into all this a lack of any kind of real sanitation for washing, going to the bathroom (there are NO BATHROOMS) and the overall pure crappiness of places you find yourself in, and you get a good sense of why they call it " The Suck" and " embracing the suck" was the only way of dealing with it.
The overall read of this insightful tome into what our guys are experiencing out there in the SHITEWILDS of AFGHN is awesome...I highly, highly recommend picking this up as while I had somewhat better living conditions most of the time while I was in AFGHN, I remember my time in IRAQ and during that excursion, it was just like he describes in his book.
Great stuff and well worth the cost of picking this up at your local bookseller.
Tuesday, December 28, 2010
A military hospital's all-encompassing mission
By David Brown
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, December 26, 2010
KANDAHAR AIRFIELD, AFGHANISTAN - Most of the time, this war-theater hospital crackles with danger and expertise, its staff members working to keep alive people who would be dead if they ended up almost anywhere else in the world.
But some of the time, often in the morning, it's quiet and almost empty, except for a few recuperating Afghans stoically watched over by family members and, today, a young girl in a pink robe exploring the corridor outside her room in a wheelchair.
The hospital, which opened in May and is owned by NATO, is an odd mix of urgency and relaxation. It features patients whose stays inside its $40 million walls are both shorter and longer than any in contemporary U.S. hospitals.
American soldiers critically injured on the battlefield spend only a day or two here, many unconscious and on ventilators, before being sent to Bagram air base, then to a hospital in Germany and on to the United States.
At the other end of the continuum are the Afghans who make up about half the patients.
They also come aboard medevac helicopters. They get the same immediate treatment as U.S. soldiers. Then they stay, often for weeks, until they are well enough to be transferred to a nearby Afghan hospital or discharged.
Some are Afghan soldiers or members of the national police. Many, however, are civilians or Taliban insurgents. It's often difficult to tell the latter two apart, and to the workers at the hospital, which is run by the U.S. Navy, it's largely irrelevant.
Pediatricians in war zone
About 15 percent of the patients are children. Most are here because of the consequences of war. But there's also a steady trickle of patients who have cerebral malaria, burns from kitchen fires, car accidents, snake bites and obstetrical calamities or have fallen from roofs, where families sleep in hot weather.
"Those are probably the hardest cases, when the kids come in," said Cmdr. Eric Peterson, 40, an emergency nurse. "I don't think people expect that when they come over here."
The Navy did expect it, and planned for it.
"This is the first time the Navy has sent a pediatrician as part of a wartime role," said Capt. Jon Woods, 45, a pediatric intensive care physician. "It is a recognized part of our mission."
'New paradigm' in care
Pediatrics isn't the only addition to what is considered possible and necessary in war-zone medicine. The hospital also has an interventional radiologist, who can snake catheters into bleeding sites that surgeons cannot reach. It has a 64-slice CAT scanner that would be the envy of any radiology department in the United States. It has a neurosurgeon.
"This is a new paradigm, having a neurosurgeon in-theater. But I frankly can't imagine not having this capability," said Cmdr. Steven Cobery, 44, a neurosurgeon who did 120 operations between April and mid-October.
One of the consequences is that some Afghans receive care here and at a sister hospital at Bagram that would be unimaginable elsewhere in Afghanistan. In some cases, it would be rare in the United States.
For example, Woods recently flew to a forward operating base where a newborn had been brought after a difficult delivery. The baby, four hours old, had persistent pulmonary hypertension and meconium aspiration - both life-threatening lung conditions. On the flight back, Woods breathed for the child with a squeeze bag and an endotracheal tube and gave her drugs to keep her out of shock. It was ICU care in a helicopter, delivered by a pediatric intensivist.
The child stayed in the hospital for six days, recovered and went home. The alternative destination - if she had survived to get there - would have been Mirwais hospital in Kandahar City, which has a single ventilator for infants.
Of course, many of the Afghan patients would not need heroic medical treatment if not for the U.S.-led war, now in its ninth year. And much of the time the circumstances of a civilian's wounding are unknown or ambiguous.
To accommodate long-staying patients, the workers at the Kandahar hospital have set aside a room for praying. Relatives are permitted to spend the night in the patient's room. Staff members often get food for the families from the dining hall (and hold it until after sunset during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan). When a patient dies, the face is turned toward Mecca, the big toes are tied together with cloth as prescribed by Islamic law, and someone is called to say the proper prayers.
"We try to be as culturally sensitive as we can, given the mission," said Lt. Cmdr. Timothy Broderick, a nurse who heads the intermediate care ward.
Saving lives, no matter whose
Although the hospital is important to the "hearts and minds" campaign, the military realizes the openness of the doors could compromise the main mission of saving troops' lives. Consequently, if a certain number of beds are filled, the hospital will not take civilians unless they have been injured in combat. Except for the exceptions.
"We always take neurosurgical cases," said Capt. Michael D. McCarten, 58, the commanding officer. "If there is a potential for a life-saving intervention, we'll take them."
In the spring, an Afghan man arrived with his 14-year-old son, who had fallen from a tree. The man had taken the boy to one forward operating base, been turned away and taken him to another. ("Just like in the United States, parents here are very persistent," Woods said as an aside, as Cobery, the neurosurgeon, told the story.)
The boy had a skull fracture. Cobery removed a section of the skull to decompress the swollen brain. He put the skull fragment under the skin of the boy's abdomen, where it would survive until the brain had fully healed. Three months later, the father returned with the child. Cobery put the piece of skull back where it came from. Case closed.
The care and solicitousness extends to Taliban fighters, as well. The only difference is that they are under armed guard until they are handed over to other authorities.
Cobery said, "Not one time has it come into my medical decision-making not to do something for someone because he's a bad guy. To someone, he's a good guy."
Several months ago, the hospital treated a man in his 20s, reportedly a Taliban fighter, who had had one leg amputated very close to the hip joint. The stump had become infected, and the infection had begun invading his pelvic cavity, an ominous development. The doctors told him that they were not sure they could save him.
"He started to cry," Woods recalled. "He said he just wanted to see his wife and kids again."
The orthopedic surgeons mixed bone cement with two antibiotics and fashioned the concoction into small beads. "In the States, this stuff is manufactured. We were our own manufacturing plant here," Woods said. The doctors packed the wound and the pelvic outlet with the beads, then put the patient on extra-high-dose intravenous antibiotics.
Monday, December 27, 2010
Back in August, I posted a bit about HYPOCRISY-
So today's source of HYPOCRISY is no real surprise - POTUS decides that VICK-THE-DOG-KILLER deserves praise along with the Philadelphia Eagles for giving him a 2nd chance.... POTUS has been telling us that we wants only the best and to support the best of America....so why is he pandering politically about a CONVICTED FELON???
We have a President who chastised a Cambridge, MA Police Officer for doing his job last year is now praising a convicted felon because he is an athlete and can throw a football???? And what would happen to YOU if you were the convicted felon??? Nothing, because the President wouldn't give a RAT'S ARSE for you.....He only cares about VICK-THE-DOG-KILLER because he panders to those in the URBAN community who like VICK-THE-DOG-KILLER....pathetic. Pathetic and hypocritical.
This is what POTUS should be saying about VICK-THE-DOG-KILLER - " As President it would be inappropriate for me to comment on Micheal Vick and as someone who has been convicted of a brutal crime against animals, I feel he will need to spend a good part of his adult life atoning for this egredious crime against dogs and our collective sense of what's decent and proper in society." - NOW that would be Presidential. Do you think we would ever hear this from POTUS??
And what does VICK-THE-DOG-KILLER have to say about on wanting to OWN a DOG ??
RIGHT - "It's for the CHILDREN...." ARE YOU F'&*ing kidding me???
Pathetic HYPOCRITES unworthy of anything but condemnation... a Pandering Failed Politician and a Failed Human Being who thinks he can be forgiven simply because he can throw a football.
The dogs that VICK-THE-DOG-KILLER and his crew killed, (including family pets taken out of people's yard for use as bait for his fighting dogs) could not be reached for comment....
December 27, 2010 1:59 PM
Obama Lauds Michael Vick's Second Chance - CBSNEWS
President Obama reportedly approves of the second chance Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Michael Vick is getting this year, just a year removed from serving 18 months in federal prison on charges related to a dog fighting ring.
Peter King of Sports Illustrated and NBC Sports reports that Mr. Obama recently called Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie to praise the team for giving Vick a chance.
Lurie said Mr. Obama told him that "So many people who serve time never get a fair second chance," King reported on SI.com.
Lurie said Mr. Obama was "passionate about it," adding that the president said "it's never a level playing field for prisoners when they get out of jail. And he was happy that we did something on such a national stage that showed our faith in giving someone a second chance after such a major downfall.''
Vick joined the Eagles last year following his release from prison, but didn't play much. But he took the starting quarterback job early this year, and has led the team to the playoffs while compiling numbers some think are worthy of him winning the league's MVP award.
However, he has continued to spark controversy over his past, especially when he recently said in an interview that he would like to own a dog again.
"What happened in my past and what I did in the culture I grew up in doesn't shape and mold me as the person I am now," Vick said in an interview as he seeks to be redeemed in the public's eyes. "I said it before that I wish I can own a dog and I'll continue to say it. I'm not allowed to, but I'm just saying I wish I could because my kids ask me every day. It's more so for them than for me."
VICK-THE-DOG-KILLER should spend the rest of his life cleaning dog kennels...THAT would be justice.
Sunday, December 26, 2010
BRILLIANT !!! The ingenious beer-pouring device that could make " beer lines" a thing of the past....
The ingenious beer-pouring device that could make Beer lines a thing of the past
26th December 2010
For anyone who has been to a music festival, a big gig - or even just a loaded bar full of thirsty punters, there's an invention that will make your life easier... and possibly a little bit drunker.
It should also light up the dollar-signed eyes of bar owners everywhere.
It's an invention that has literally come from the ground up, and uses common-sense technology to fill a plastic beer glass from the bottom.
The technology is relatively simple - a plastic cup with a hole in the bottom is coupled with a magnetic disk that seals the hole after the weight of the fluid is pumped in.
It not only regulates the flow of beer, claims the manufacturers, but does it faster than a regular pour, and apparently leaves a perfect head.
The Bottoms Up pouring machine is the brainchild of GrinOn industries, which has manufactured and marketed the cup/disc concept.
It prides itself on the fact that the machine pours a perfect beer in record time, and its website shows videos of laymen beer pourers dispensing up to more than 50 beers in one minute.
Check out the video.....
It's not yet ready for market - but should catch the eye of any vendor who likes the idea of pouring beer swiftly and consistently.
The GrinOn website, not content with the revolutionary bottom-up pouring technique, also crows about the advertising potential of the magnetic disc - saying that it could carry a logo or phrase that you can take home.
Armageddon : a catastrophically destructive battle; a great and crucial conflict....
So what is happening today on the East Coast can be seen as "Snowageddon" or the crucial battle with SNOW.....here's today's warning from the National Weather Service for the Boston area -
12/26/10 Forecast - BOSTON, MA
Locations... all of eastern Massachusetts except Cape Cod and the islands.
* Hazard types... heavy snow and potentially damaging winds...
with considerable blowing and drifting of snow.
* Accumulations... 12 to 16 inches of snow.
* Timing... light snow will start early this afternoon and become
heavy by evening. Very heavy snow will fall throughout tonight
with up to 2 to 4 inches per hour likely at times. The snow
will taper to flurries early Monday afternoon. Winds will peak
from late this afternoon through much of Monday.
* Impacts... extremely dangerous travel conditions will develop
by this evening. Strong winds will combine with the snow to
create blinding conditions with near zero visibility at times
tonight. Widespread power outages are expected during the
height of the storm tonight from both the strong winds
knocking down power lines and the weight of the heavy snow.
Shoveling should not be done by anyone with heart conditions.
* Winds... north 25 to 35 mph.
Yep, this has people looking to get ready and hunker down....no better place to be than in front of TV watching the NFL
BUT it was nothing compared to the storm that left a impression on all who lived through it.....The Blizzard of 1978....I was a high school student and schools were shut down for three weeks !! Today will be ugly but nothing like the " Storm of the Century" back in February of 1978
The Blizzard of 1978 and the storm that preceded it two weeks before -
On January 20, 1978, 21 inches of snow fell in Boston. The narrow streets of Boston were clogged with snow. It took a few days to dig out, but the city still had mounds of snow everywhere. On February 6 and 7 1978, a then record 27.1 inches of snow fell in Boston. The storm quickly became known as The Blizzard of '78. Along the coast, the tides were devastating. At the height of the blizzard, the ocean storm surge rose 15.2 feet above the normal low tide mark. Many homes in coastal communities in Massachusetts Bay were completely destroyed. Severe flooding occurred in many low-lying towns. The storm strengthened during afternoon rush hour, and people were buried in their cars on the highways surrounding Boston. 99 people tragically lost their lives due to the storm. The value of all property destroyed was about $1.3 billion [or $2.9 billion current dollars].
RTE. 128 IN THE CANTON/BLUE HILLS REGION WITH CARS SNOWED IN PLACE...
Martial law was declared, and vehicular traffic was banned for several days. The National Guard was used to rescue people on the highways, and also using boats in flooded areas. Heavy machinery, dump trucks, and tow trucks were used for days to dig out streets and remove abandoned cars. .....The Blizzard of '78 was the storm of last century. Some of the good that came as a result of the blizzard is mandatory evacuation of coastal areas during storm surges, and a "conditioned response" today by businesses to send people home early in bad weather, or to not open for the day when a large storm is forecasted.
Monday, February 6, 1978 REPORT OF SNOWFALL RECORDED AT START OF
EACH HOUR SINCE 10:30 A.M.
11 AM 0.3 IN.
12 N 2.2 IN.
1 PM 3.8 IN.
2 PM 5.5 IN.
3 PM 7.4 IN.
4 PM 8.8 IN.
5 PM 9.8 IN.
6 PM 11.4 IN.
7 PM 13.0 IN.
8 PM 13.5 IN.
9 PM 14.1 IN.
10 PM 14.5 IN.
11 PM 14.7 IN.
12 M 15.2 IN.
BLIZZARD WARNINGS IN EFFECT AND AT MIDNIGHT WIND GUSTING 35 TO 60
Tuesday, February 7, 1978 REPORT OF SNOWFALL TOTAL AT START OF EACH
HOUR BEGINNING 1:00 A.M.
1 AM 16.0 IN.
2 AM 17.3 IN.
3 AM 18.5 IN.
4 AM 19.4 IN.
5 AM 20.3 IN.
6 AM 21.9 IN.
7 AM 23.6 IN.
8 AM 25.0 IN.
9 AM 26.0 IN.
10 AM 27.1 IN.
11 AM 28.5 IN.
12 N 29.3 IN.
1 PM 29.8 IN.
2 PM 30.5 IN.
3 PM 31.3 IN.
4 PM 31.7 IN.
5 PM 32.2 IN.
6 PM 32.6 IN.
7 PM 32.8 IN.
8 PM 33.0 IN.
9 PM 33.1 IN.
The damage and destruction that was reeked by the stormcaused the region to change how they approach winter weather, and each and every storm in the Boston area is now measured up to this great "Storm of the Century" 32 years ago.....It was the biggest and baddest snow event of all time.
Saturday, December 25, 2010
While most of us were asleep in our beds, awaiting waking up on Christmas morning, 7500 miles away, the war went on without any sign of a truce....The Taliban didn't take a day off as these pictures show soldiers from the US Army repelling an attack on thier outpost near the pakistan border....Not the place you want to be.....they were doing their best to keep themselves and others safe on the holiest of days in our year.
God Bless them and let's hope next year, they can be home with their families.
No truce in Afghanistan: Dramatic pictures capture U.S. troops repelling a Taliban attack on Christmas morning
By Daily Mail Reporter
Last updated at 4:18 PM on 25th December 2010
These stunning images show US troops repelling a Taliban attack on Christmas Day on a combat post ( Or COP) in eastern Afghanistan.
Soldiers from the 2nd Platoon Bravo Company 2-327 return fires upon a sudden assault on Combat Outpost Badel in Kunar province, near the Pakistan border.
The primitive hilltop base overlooks a valley, but stands in the shadows of larger mountains.
Taliban insurgents attack the outpost an average of seven times a week. Quiet days or evenings often erupt with automatic weapons fire and the explosive crash of mortar rounds.
Elsewhere, Afghan and foreign troops killed two men during a raid in downtown Kabul after receiving a 'credible threat' to attack the U.S. Embassy in the capital, the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) said on Saturday.
ISAF confirmed Friday's operation after Afghan security officials had said foreign troops were involved in a night raid that targeted a compound belonging to a private security firm.
The raid came after Afghanistan's National Directorate of Security said this week it had separately detained three people it said had been instructed by the Pakistani Taliban to attack the presidential palace and U.S. embassy in Kabul.
'After receiving a credible threat to attack the U.S. Embassy, ISAF coordinated with Afghan security forces to move on an area of interest,' ISAF said in a statement late on Friday. 'Intelligence reports indicated there were two vehicles parked there that were thought to be loaded with explosives.'
As the troops moved in, they were shot at and during the clash two men, said by Afghan officials to be Afghan security guards, were killed, two wounded and 13 more apprehended, ISAF said.
A high-ranking Afghan National Security Forces commander arrived and took command of the scene. He personally vouched for those detained in the operation and they were subsequently released,' ISAF said.
The coalition said a large number of weapons were found during the operation, but did not say if any explosives were found. It said the target area was near an office building in Kabul, but gave no further details.
A police official in Kabul said the raid targeted a security firm named National Tiger which was responsible for providing security and transport for at least three Afghan businesses.
Afghan Interior Ministry spokesman Zemari Bashary said on Friday the incident was being investigated.
The use of 'night raids' on private homes by foreign troops seeking insurgents has long angered Afghan officials.
Rules governing their use were tightened in 2009 and again this year but it is far less common for raids to be carried out by foreign troops on private security companies.
Under the new rules, raids must be cleared by Afghan authorities first and must involve Afghan troops.
Violence is at its worst in Afghanistan since U.S.-backed Afghan troops ousted the Taliban in 2001, with record deaths on all sides of the near-decade long conflict.
A Massachusetts Soldiers' Father on his son's dedication to duty, “He wanted to go over there and help those people,’’
At the same time, dedicated Massachusetts Guardsmen were at their duty stations at Camp Phoenix, assisting the people of Afghanistan.....While you enjoy your day, think about those in harm's way.
I salute them and understand, fully, the sacrifice they make each day to allow us the freedoms we enjoy...Thanks Guys (and ladies).....you have this retired Seabees humble thanks as I know what it's like to be out there, especially at this time of year.
Afghanistan duty, Christmas spirit
Bay State guardsmen, residents hope to win hearts
Boston Globe - 12/25/10
CAMP PHOENIX, Afghanistan — The Afghan driver of an oil tanker truck squints nervously through the dust as soldiers frisk him. Then they search inside his vehicle.
“What’s this?’’ asks First Lieutenant Alan Molin Jr. of Hardwick, pulling out a rusty canister of white powder.
“Sugar,’’ his translator replies.
“Taste it,’’ Molin tells the driver.
Here at Camp Phoenix, a sprawling, razor-wire-wrapped compound on the outskirts of Kabul that is home to some 2,500 US and NATO soldiers, Molin is one of 170 members of the Massachusetts National Guard, part of the largest deployment of Bay State guardsmen since World War II. Inside the dusty base, it is Christmas. A decorated tree stands on the porch of the chapel. American soldiers sing “Silent Night’’ outside the mess hall. Santa poses for pictures. As their families back home mark the holidays without them, the soldiers try to find small ways to acknowledge Christmas while doing their job.
But the tension is always evident. The Massachusetts soldiers are warned the enemy might like nothing better than to strike Americans on the Christian holiday. The base has been on high alert since last week, when a suicide bomber struck an Afghan National Army convoy nearby. The explosion shook the guard towers and sent up plumes of black smoke. Local children have told soldiers a new suicide bomber might be lurking.
Following Molin’s instruction, the tanker truck driver scoops the white substance into his mouth. He smiles. A crowd of Afghan men in woolen shawls watch from a nearby earthen doorway, murmuring in a language the soldiers don’t understand.
Molin lets the driver and his precious cargo inside the camp.
Across Afghanistan, 689 soldiers from the First Battalion of the 181st Infantry Regiment, including those in the Massachusetts National Guard, man the first line of defense on a dozen bases.
They inspect fuel trucks that arrive each morning, take foot patrols each afternoon, and man the towers 24 hours a day. The war has lasted nine years, and it is easy to forget the everyday mission of thousands of soldiers. A Christmastime view, seen through the eyes of Molin and his fellow soldiers, brings the experience more closely into focus.
It is a view not just of soldiers and guns, but of a gift — many gifts, really — from people across Massachusetts.
Here to help
One day earlier this week, Molin wakes before dawn, as he always does to head down to the fuel depot to inspect the trucks. Half a dozen soldiers are already there.
Specialist Stephen Leon of Chelsea jokes that he would rather be watching his favorite soap opera. He hardly gets a laugh out of Molin, who grabs his clipboard as the squad fans out into the street with their weapons, ready to inspect the first truck.
Molin, a lean, serious 26-year-old, is used to early mornings. He grew up on his family farm in the small town of Hardwick in Western Massachusetts, where his parents still sell fresh meat and eggs out of the front door of the country home that his father built by hand.
Molin commanded his high school Junior ROTC program and received a bachelor’s degree and his officer’s commission at the Massachusetts Maritime Academy. He grew up with a belief that the military should help people, said his mother, Diane Molin. When his unit was deployed during an ice storm two years ago, he threw himself into rescuing the elderly who had no heat. As for Afghanistan, she said, her son expressed bitterness at the Sept. 11 attackers, who were directed by Al Qaeda leaders who used the country as their base. But he felt empathy for typical Afghans. “He wanted to go over there and help those people,’’ she said.
This year, at Easter dinner, Molin told his mother he was going to Afghanistan. She burst into tears.
“Just remember when you are over there that you don’t have to be a hero,’’ his father Alan Molin told him. “The cemetery is full of heroes.’’
Molin, who works as facilities engineer at Equity Office Properties, a Boston-based firm, embraced the mission. He arrived here in October with the rest of his battalion, in his first deployment to Afghanistan.
At Camp Phoenix, he is the company’s executive officer, organizing translators, logistics, and fuel contracts. He also volunteers to help other soldiers collect used clothes from the United States for Operation Outreach Afghanistan, a soldier-run program that distributes hats, sweaters, and mittens to Afghan communities around the base.
A month ago, when his parents were wondering what to send him for Christmas, Molin asked them to send used clothing for Afghans. He sent letters to his friends and colleagues back in Massachusetts with the same request.
At first, the response was slow, his father said. But, more recently, boxes have started pouring in. One from a local elementary school in Hardwick, another from Massachusetts Maritime Academy. Then his mother, a part-time mail carrier, set up a drop-off at a Hardwick post office. Soon, boxes started pouring into Camp Phoenix, helping to fill four 20-foot metal storage containers with some 5,000 pounds of clothes, more than Molin imagined he would muster.
Such humanitarian efforts can be humbling, with success hard to quantify, and far removed from the victory in combat that so many infantrymen dream about.
But Molin thinks efforts like Operation Outreach could make the difference in the long, hard battle for allegiances in Afghanistan.
“You help them, first, because you are human,’’ he says. “But you are also trying to win the war, and the best way to do that is to earn their trust. I feel good, because it shows that people back home care. Let’s be honest: How often does the average person back home think about the war?
Yanks meet Yankees fan
After finishing his duty at the fuel depot, Molin heads out with eight other soldiers to walk the perimeter of the base and ask villagers about rumors of a suicide bomber.
The soldiers fan out, two walking backward to protect their flank. Molin waves to two men washing their hands outside a mosque. One waves back. The other just stares. A little girl in a purple scarf with a baby on her hip runs up to them with her hand out. “Dollar,’’ she says, and then adds: “Chocolate.’’ But none of the soldiers brought chocolate with them because village elders have asked them to stop handing out goods to the children in the street.
Giving gifts in a war-torn nation can cause fights and even riots, so the soldiers have planned more formal missions to give away the donated clothes through schools. This week, Molin has been trying to arrange a clothing delivery to a school for autistic children that a carpet salesman told him about on one of his patrols.
But that project is on hold, because the base is on high alert, so he hasn’t been given permission to do reconnaissance on the school to make sure the soldiers can’t be ambushed when they bring the clothes.
So for now, Molin focuses on the children tagging along in the road behind him, some of whom have been given hats and gloves by previous patrols.
A 14-year-old boy who introduces himself as Johnny Troublemaker wears a black puffy coat that soldiers have given, along with his nickname.
“Happy day to you, guys,’’ he says, giving high-fives all around.
Johnny says he wants to be a US military interpreter when he grows up, a lucrative job in this knot of poor villages.
An old man in a white turban approaches, carrying a sick child on his back. The soldiers try to arrange for a medic. Villagers swarm around them. There is nothing to the rumors of a suicide bomber, they say.
The soldiers walk on, like Pied Pipers, collecting some 50 children who followed behind, who all demand pens, chocolate, money, and attention. Some pick up rocks to throw at the Americans when they are told they won’t receive more gifts. But Johnny Troublemaker shoos them away.
Around a corner, in a desolate industrial area where dust from a marble tile factory covers the streets, the soldiers find an Afghan man sitting alone on a lawn chair, wearing traditional billowy pants and shirt and a black ski hat embroidered with a Yankees logo.
Sergeant Ron Dennison of Waltham stares in disbelief.
“I like New York,’’ the man says, pumping his fists in the air.
“The Red Sox,’’ Dennison barks, and then moves on.
The soldiers return to the base in good spirits. Maybe there was no big threat after all. But the towers still had to be manned at all times, even on Christmas Eve. After all, the Pentagon said 34 soldiers from Massachusetts have died in Afghanistan in hostile and nonhostile circumstances since the war began in 2001. Three Massachusetts men have died in Afghanistan this month.
So Molin bypasses the mess hall, where Santa is giving out hot chocolate and hugs, and doesn’t linger long at the Christmas carols. Instead, he heads to Tower 12, to see Sergeant Gregory McAvoy, a sniper from Ware, who is working a double shift.
Several times a week, McAvoy stares down at the Afghans who occupy the fields beyond Camp Phoenix’s walls. He has never exchanged a word with them, but he has memorized the rhythm of their daily lives. The youth who congregate at the pool hall. The children who play cricket. The farmers who come to pull up their carrots. The old man who relieves himself every day against the walls of the US military base.
Tonight is no different. McAvoy will eat turkey from a foam plate and sit for 16 hours without a radio or a book, waiting for an enemy that might never come. “It’s just a normal night,’’ he said.
But on Christmas Day, when his shift is over, he will return to the barracks, which are decorated with letters that his mother, Bobbie McAvoy, sent in giant care packages from home. She organized 130 neighbors from Ware and other friends to send the missives, Christmas cards, and finger-painted wreaths to the soldiers from Massachusetts. Alongside the letters on the plywood walls are stockings, colored lights, two tiny Christmas trees bulging with ornaments, and a snowman hat.
Soon, the squad will have time to share a meal, open gifts, and celebrate for a short while, before it is time to go back to work.
For now, Molin nods at McAvoy and checks his watch. Molin goes back to his office and turns on a computer. An e-mail crosses the screen. People across Massachusetts are sending another dozen boxes of clothing, for the people of Afghanistan.
Farah Stockman can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
© Copyright 2010 Globe Newspaper Company.
Friday, December 24, 2010
The 1914 Christmas Truce -
This account taken from The Sixth Gordons in France and Flanders
"It is thought possible that the enemy may be contemplating an attack during
Xmas or New Year.
Special vigilance will be maintained
during these periods."
From General Headquarters at St. Omer - to all units
24th December, 1914.
It may be that when he issued this order Sir John French believed that it would stop any fraternisation with the enemy.
On Christmas Day 1914, the first Christmas of The Great War, an amazing cessation of hostilities took place in some sections of the British front-line. Below is the account of the truce in the Sailly - Armentiers sector manned by George Anderson, George Gordon, William Milne, Alexander Pirie and their comrades of 6th Btn, The Gordon Highlanders.
"At Christmas 1914 there took place in some parts of the British line what is still regarded by many as the most remarkable incident of the War - an unofficial truce.
During the winter it was not unusual for little groups of men to gather in a front trench, and there hold impromptu concerts, singing patriotic songs. The Germans, too, did much the same, and on calm evenings the songs from one line floated to the trenches of the other side, and were received with applause, and sometimes with calls for an encore. On quiet nights, at points where the trenches were quite near, remarks shouted from one trench system were audible in the other. Christmas Eve the Germans spent singing carols, and, the night being calm, they informed our men they did not intend to shoot on Christmas Day, asking at the same time that we also should refrain from violence. "No shoot to-night, Jock!, Sing to-night!" was one of the remarks they made on Christmas Eve. Little attention was given to this, but on Christmas morning, when our men were at breakfast, a cry was raised that the Germans had left their trenches. Springing to arms, they could scarcely believe their eyes when they looked over the parapet and saw a number of the enemy standing in the open in front of their trenches, all unarmed. Some of the enemy shouted "No shoot!" and after a little, a number of our men also got out of their trench.
Meanwhile Colonel McLean had come up on his daily tour of inspection, accompanied by the Padre, the Rev J Esslemont Adams, minister of the West United Free Church, Aberdeen. They had just completed a burial service over one of our men behind the line, when the Chaplain, looking up, observed the strange sight at the front trench, and drew the Colonels attention to it. Colonel McLean ran along the front line and ordered our men to come down, but they pointed out that more of our men further along were standing "on the top", and that a number of the enemy were out on their side and gazing peacefully across. The Chaplain, who had followed the Colonel, said to him, "I'm off, sir, to speak to the Germans; maybe we could get a truce to bury the dead in No Man's Land." Coming to a little ditch, which ran along the middle of the field between the lines, he held up his hands and called out, " I want to speak to your Commanding Officer. Does anyone speak English?" Several German officers were standing together, and one of them said, "Yes, come over the ditch." The Chaplain hurried forward, saluted the German Commander, and began to talk to him and his staff. Almost at the same moment a hare burst into view and raced along between the lines. Scots and Germans leapt from their trenches and joined in the eager chase. The hare was captured by the Germans, but more was secured than a hare. The truce of God had been called, and the rest of Christmas Day was filled with peace and goodwill.
Dotted all over the sixty yards separating the lines lay the bodies of the dead. Spades were brought out and soon each side set to work to dig graves for the fallen. The Chaplain had seized his opportunity and had urged both Commanding Officers to agree to a short religious service after the dead had been buried. This was arranged, and about four o'clock that afternoon took place what must remain one of the most memorable Christmas services of all time. One one side of the dividing ditch were British officers, with soldiers in rank behind them ; on the other, German officers with men of their regiments about them ; between them stood the Chaplain, an interpreter, and a German divinity student serving with the Saxons. The Padre read the 23rd Psalm in English, the German student reading it after him in German. Then a short prayer, which the interpreter had translated, was read sentence by sentence by the student after the English form had been recited. At the close the Chaplain stepped forward and saluted the German Commander, who shook hands with him and bade him farewell. It was an impressive sight - officers and men, bitter enemies as they were, uncovered, reverent, and for the moment united in offering to their dead the last offices of homage and honour.
The spirit of friendship and goodwill did not end with Christmas Day. Both sides were only too glad to snatch a brief respite from the discomfort and misery of the mud-filled trenches. A friendly understanding was come to, by which they warned each other of the approach of any of the Brigade or Divisional Staff. On their approach the "truce" seemed to vanish, and trench routine was normal. A few rounds were fired into the air, lest by accident a front-line combatant might come by harm. As soon as the Staff left the line, the truce revived, and friend and foe again swarmed into No Man's Land. The informal character of the truce sometimes created embarrassing situations. During one such visit the Brigadier, passing along the front line, looked over the parapet and saw a German fully exposed. Turning to the nearest rifleman, he ordered him to shoot the German down. The man, wishing to give the enemy a sporting chance, fired high. The German took no notice. The Brigadier became annoyed and ordered the private to shoot again. This time the soldier fired wide, but near enough to cause the German to look up in pained surprise. "Shoot again" ordered the Brigadier. The soldier obeyed, and so near was the bullet that the incautious enemy dived headlong into his trench.
A number of Germans were fluent speakers of English - one said he had been a waiter in the Hotel Cecil - and conversation was always possible. The greatest friendliness prevailed. All kinds of "souvenirs" were exchanged - coins, buttons and pipes ; while quite a busy trade went on in barter. Bully beef and jam were in great demand, and were exchanged for sausage and chocolate ; cigarettes and tobacco were the price of German cigars ; and British rum purchased wine or cognac. In these beverages they pledged each other's health, and to all appearance the War was at an end. Strangest perhaps of all, and most abiding proof of truce, when it was discovered that there were barbers among the enemy, a number of our men were shaved by them in No Man's Land.
A few days of quiet revealed in their own way the national characteristics of the combatants. The 6th Battalion, descended from forefathers for whom thrift and foresight had been a hard necessity and not a virtue, could not conceal its "canny" nature. Knowing that this situation could not last, many of the men took advantage of the "armistice" to fetch from the ruined buildings and fields nearby, supplies of firewood and potatoes against the days when peace and goodwill would be no more. Most of the enemy, though glad to escape the mud and to stretch their limbs in the open, still retained the optimism and truculence of early days of the War, and were confident they would be "Nach London" in three weeks. The few cases of war-weariness only threw into bold relief the confidence of the many. One German, asked by an officer of the 6th whether he was tired of the War, looked up wistfully at his tall questioner and whispered in pathetic English " Home, Sweet, Home !"
The truce lasted from Christmas, 1914, to the 3rd of January 1915. Its end had more formality than its opening. On the afternoon of 3rd January a German officer approached our lines, accompanied by an orderly who acted as interpreter. They asked for an officer. Capt. Dawson of "D" Company, left the British trench and advanced over the open to meet them. The two officers gravely saluted, the German officer informing Capt. Dawson that instructions had been received that the ordinary conditions of warfare must be resumed. After some discussion of the time, watches were compared and were found to differ by nearly two hours ; it was then agreed that the truce would lapse after the expiry of an hour. That day only a few shots were fired, but on the following day, in obedience of orders, volleys were fired all along the line. A "feu de joie" passed from the 2nd Gordons through the 6th to the Guards, rifles being in the proper position, muzzles well in the air. Immediately after, a message passed right along the front, " Pass it along - the Kaiser's dead." The truce was over. "
This account taken from The Sixth Gordons in France and Flanders
Canadian troops gather for special Christmas Eve mass in Kandahar & a reminder the war doesn't stop for the holidays
Until next year, when they can be home and others will be out there to take their place.
Canadian troops gather for special Christmas Eve mass in Kandahar
Kandahar, Afghanistan— The Canadian Press
These being the famed Van Doos from Valcartier, Que., they sang traditional French Christmas carols, such as Peuple fidele and Il est ne le divin enfant.
Maybe for a few minutes they forgot they were so far from home.
Christmas Eve in Kandahar The night before Christmas at Kandahar Airfield in southern Afghanistan was a festive affair, capped by a late-night mass attended by about 100 Canadian troops.
It was a day when soldiers paired desert camouflage fatigues with red Santa hats. The wooden boardwalk was abuzz with last-minute shoppers looking for that perfect gift for colleagues or to send back home — albeit a bit late.
Others packed the Internet cafe to e-mail or call loved ones at home.
Soldiers have been in the Christmas spirit all week. Every corner of the boardwalk was festooned with ornaments and paper signs from various NATO countries. The Canadians hung a sled with a red maple leaf painted on its front. The Americans went with a cardboard mantle and faux fireplace. The British had a Christmas tree.
A gargantuan Christmas tree bedecked in ornaments and lights stood next to the ball-hockey rink at the far corner of the boardwalk. After sundown, the tiny lights strung along wooden beams twinkled like stars.
Down at the Canadian part of the base, troops lined up at Tim Hortons to be served by cashiers sporting Mrs. Claus-inspired pink toques with white trim and pompoms.
Later, as the setting sun set tinged the sky with splashes of red and purple, soldiers from all countries gathered at the boardwalk for a special, multi-denominational mass.
They sang all the usual Christmas carols and prayed together. A small orchestra provided the soundtrack against a backdrop of fighter jets roaring overhead and the thwap-thwap of helicopter rotor blades.
U.S. Navy commander and chaplain Lewis Dolan led the mass. Later, he explained that faith and nationality don't matter when it comes to Christmas in Kandahar.
“We can gather together. We can celebrate Christmas. We know our families are going to be doing it,” Cdr. Dolan said.
“So we did it together, just different parts of the world.”
Troops can look forward to a special military tradition on Christmas Day: being served turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing and all the trimmings by their commanders.
And then it's back to work. The constant drone of aircraft flying overhead is a reminder the war doesn't stop for the holidays.
The New England Patriots Cheerleaders - Supporting our Military and bringing Christmas cheer to all....
The New England Patriots support our military and have made many trips to visit the troops in the Middle East and wherever our troops are deployed.....In line with that, US Navy Jeep and your host Middleboro Jones brings you some Christmas Cheer by sharing the enclosed with you. The Patriots Cheerleaders in their holiday outfits......Merry Christmas from the home of the New England Patriots......and to all a good night !!
Thursday, December 23, 2010
"A great comfort and a little piece of home to our troops.” - The fuzzy strays that make things a little less stressful for Warriors in Afghanistan
Bases Going to the Dogs – and Cats
December 13, 2010
Stars and Stripesby Jon Rabiroff
ARGHANDAB DISTRICT, Afghanistan -- U.S. Soldiers and Marines are smuggling them onto bases across the country.
The military leadership seems to turn a blind eye, though regulations specifically prohibit them.
They go by names like Smoke, Bacon, Mickey Blue Eyes and Butterscotch, and they can be coerced with as little as a pat on the head, a scratch behind the ears or a tasty treat.
They are the stray dogs and cats of Afghanistan who, at many -- if not most -- U.S. bases here are adopted by Soldiers and Marines individually, by squad or platoon, and spoiled as much as any mutts or felines in suburban America.
While no one will say so officially, it appears commanders recognize the value that pet dogs and cats bring to the morale of a base, so they look the other way as long as the animals do not interfere with the mission or present health concerns.
You might call it a policy of don’t bark, don’t smell.
“It is common in both Iraq and Afghanistan for units to adopt local dogs and cats,” said SPCA International spokeswoman Stephanie Scott. “We have been told time and time again that these dogs and cats can be of great comfort and a little piece of home to our troops.”
Spc. Jimmy Labbee, of the 1st Battalion, 66th Armor Regiment’s Company B, based in the Arghandab district of Kandahar province in southern Afghanistan, said: “I can honestly speak for everybody else -- it definitely boosts our morale and gives us another bit of responsibility. It keeps our energy positive, playing with them and spending time with them.”
‘Conduct that is prejudicial’
In 2000, U.S. military General Order 1A was issued, “To identify conduct that is prejudicial to the maintenance of good order and discipline of all forces in” war zones.
More than 20 activities are listed as prohibited, including having sex with a foreign national, drinking alcohol, looking at pornography or removing national treasures. Another prohibited activity -- punishable under the Uniform Code of Military Justice -- is “adopting as pets or mascots, caring for, or feeding any type of domestic or wild animal.”
Despite that, you can close your eyes, pick any U.S. military base in Afghanistan and find yourself a heartwarming pet story worthy of an “Animal Planet” feature.
In a secluded corner of the U.S. Army’s Operational Control Center for the Arghandab district, there is a wooden dog house surrounded by a generous supply of tennis balls that is home to Momma, Bacon and Smoke. Smoke and Bacon have their names written over the entry to the shelter.
“Smoke, he’s our squad dog, but he goes around to all the squads,” Labbee said. “We all pretty much look after the dogs.”
One or more of the dogs goes out on virtually all foot patrols, according to Soldiers at the base.
“When they see us out here getting ready, they usually sit around and wait for us to go [on patrol],” Labbee said. “They usually hang out with the front guy.”
Body armor be damned, the dogs are protective of their military mates.
“They keep a lot of the rambunctious kids away -- the ones who throw rocks and stuff like that,” he said. “Bacon just mostly tries to play with them, and they run off. But Momma, she’ll actually run after them and scare them off.”
At an outpost adjacent to the Afghan National Police headquarters in the Garmsir district of Helmand province, the U.S. Marines in recent months launched a catnapping mission during which two felines were taken from nearby Forward Operating Base Delhi for the purpose of taking care of the outpost’s mice problem.
Weeks later, the mice were gone but the cats remained as the constant objects of affection and, at one point, a spirited discussion among the Marines about which had the more interesting personality traits and habits.
“They’re more like dogs than cats,” one Marine said, as if bragging about his children.
At FOB Edgerton in Kandahar province, Soldiers recently discovered a litter of abandoned kittens and promptly went about spoiling them. Two Canadian servicemembers fashioned a house for the six felines by putting a blanket down and cutting a door into an upside down crate.
As word spread about the kittens, it was not long before a crowd of a dozen Canadian and American Soldiers were standing around cooing at the squirming fuzz balls. By the following day, the kittens had all been given names, including Mickey Blue Eyes, Fear Factor and Butterscotch.
The kittens were never left wanting for attention. They ate eggs, tuna and chocolate milk brought to them from the dining facility; one Soldier made a point of putting drops in their eyes every day to ward off conjunctivitis; and there always seemed to be at least one Soldier sitting with the felines no matter the time of day.
The IED-detecting successes of military working dogs used during the war in Afghanistan have been well-documented. But they are not the only animals in Afghanistan credited with saving the lives of servicemembers.
In February, a suicide bomber reportedly snuck onto a U.S. military base in the Dand Aw Patan district of Paktia province and was headed toward a barracks when three stray dogs attacked him, forcing him to prematurely detonate his explosives, killing himself, one of the dogs and injuring five Soldiers.
The surviving dogs, Target and Rufus, were credited with saving dozens of American lives and subsequently appeared on “Oprah.” They were even adopted by families in the U.S. Unfortunately, Target eventually wandered away from his Arizona home, was picked up and mistakenly euthanized at an animal shelter.
In September, at Combat Outpost Ware in the Arghandab district, stray dogs Thumper and George, who liked to go out on patrol with their two-legged base buddies, were killed when one of them stepped on an IED.
“It’s good that they kept a human from getting injured, but it was also bad because they were our pets,” said Spc. Sean Hutchinson of the 1-66’s Company B. “But better them than a human.”
U.S. military officials in authority were reluctant to talk about stray dogs and cats taken in as pets by their Soldiers and Marines, because it is still against regulations no matter how often it is done.
In fact, when a Stars and Stripes reporter recently started making inquiries about getting photographs of stray dogs accompanying troops on patrol, Soldiers at one base made a point of not taking the animals with them outside the wire. They said they were afraid someone high in the chain of command might order the killing of on-base pets if the widespread practice were publicized.
One official who was willing to address the controversy was Lt. Col. Matthew Reid, commander of the 2nd Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment, who essentially said he has a lot more important things to worry about in the life-and-death world of a war zone than who might be sneaking a puppy or kitten into their bunk at night.
“I really haven’t given it too much thought, to be honest,” he said, adding that he was aware of cats employed on some bases to address rodent concerns. “My focus is usually elsewhere, and my mind is always going 100 miles a minute.
“It’s probably not wise to allow troops to keep indigenous animals as pets, for many reasons. Although, with 50 outposts in my [area of operation], there may be a few violators.”