Wednesday, December 8, 2010

The Sal Guinta Story

It's been a while since President Obama announced the award of the Medal of Honor to Sal Guinta for his actions in Afghanistan.   Sebastian Junger and Tim Hetherington have produced a great clip telling Guinta's story.  It's a bit long (about 15 minutes) but well worth the time to watch.  What is very impressive is Guinta's humility and attitude about receiving the Medal of Honor.  Watch the whole thing.....it's worth it!


The Sal Giunta Story from SebastianJunger/TimHetherington on Vimeo.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Saturday, December 4, 2010

It's a No-Brainer, Folks!

We've all been inundated with news about whether or not Congress should vote to extend the Bush Era tax cuts and keep tax rates at their current levels.  But just to summarize; "the right" wants to keep the tax rates as they are, while "the left" wants to keep tax rates in place for some and let the "temporary" tax cuts expire for those making more than $250,000 a year.  We're not talking about a tax cut at all....despite pundits on both sides that talk about a tax cut....we're talking about whether or not to keep tax rates as they are.  To me, this seems like a no-brainer:  give the taxpaying citizens of this country some certainty and make the "cuts" permanent! 

How can we expect private citizens and businesses to plan for the future, when the future of their tax liability is completely unclear?  How can we expect any job growth or business expansion when employers have no idea what impact taxes may have on their endeavors?  How can we expect to recover from an economic recession when everyone is afraid to spend, because they need to keep a reserve in case their taxes are increased?  Short answer....we can't.  Both private citizens and employers need to have an idea of what their tax liability may be.  Only then will there be a possibility of growth; in the job arena or in the economy. 

Congress needs to act, soon.  Congress needs to make the current rates permanent.  Congress needs to quit posturing and trying to make political points through sound-bites.  The "left" in Congress needs to stop trying to start a class-war by arguing that the current tax rates favor the "rich."  They don't.  The current tax rates won't do much to stimulate job growth or economic recovery....after all these tax rates were in place when the economy tanked.  But raising the tax rates for anyone is economic suicide.  Raising tax rates at any level, will only grow the amount of our money going to the Government to support "pet" projects for politicians and bureaucrats.  Raising taxes is stupid.  Period.  It's a no-brainer.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

"I Fought for You"

This is a wonderful tribute for Veteran's Day.  Watch it with a box of tissue....

Veteran's Day

It's Veteran's Day.  It's a day to both remember and a day to be thankful.  We should take time to remember the young (and some not-so-young) men and women who made the decision to serve.  Serving in the military is not easy.  Those who make the decision to serve do so knowing that they'll encounter a great deal of mental and physical stress.  Most of the time, their service demands separation from family and friends.  Most of the time, their service demands that they master new skills.  Most of the time, their service demands that they place their lives in jeapordy; willingly.  We should be thankful for those who have served and who do serve.  It's not easy.  

We should also take time today to say a prayer of thanksgiving for those who made the decision to serve, and paid "the ultimate price" for that service.   Remember those who did not come home to their family and friends.  Remember their families.  They died that we may enjoy the freedoms and liberties we have. 

Veteran's Day Article from VA Guest Blogger

I don't often have guest bloggers on here....not sure why.....today's an exception.  Kevin Pearia, who blogs at VAbenefitblog.com, has written an information article that is particularly important on Veteran's Day.  Here it is:

VA Home Loans for Veterans Day


Service members should own a home in the country they protect. There’s no better time of the year to make use of the VA loan.

With Veterans Day comes a feeling of appreciation. Restaurants, stores, medical offices and other businesses offer deals and discounts. Civilians volunteer and participate in the festivals and memorials of Veterans Day. Local VA offices encourage the promotion of newer and existing veteran benefits such as the VA loan.

The VA Loan

Many veterans do not know about the VA loan. However, its popularity grows every year. In the past four years, home purchasing in the veteran community rose 63 percent, according to the VA in a Nov. 1 press release.

“Home ownership is one of the foundations of the American dream,” Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki said in the press release. “VA is honored to administer a benefit that for two-thirds of a century has profoundly affected the lives of our Veterans, our military service members and their families.”

There is no better time than now to purchase a home. The VA loan program booms with excellent benefits. The housing market offers super-low mortgage rates. Foreclosure and “serious delinquency rates” were the lowest in the “housing industry” for the “last six quarters,” according to the Mortgage Bankers Association’s National Delinquency Survey.

Benefits

The VA loan is one of the last no down payment programs in existence. Buying a home becomes a tangible reality for active duty and veteran service members due to low mortgage and interest rates.

Eligible members can save up to $300 more every month with the VA loan, as opposed to traditional loans. Why?

•No monthly private mortgage insurance payments

•A stress-free process

•Less stringent credit and income standards than conventional loans

•No prepayment penalties

•Various options such as interest-rate-reduction loans

•A buyer can obtain a loan up to $417,000

Eligibility

Most veterans, active duty military members, Reservists and National Guard members are eligible for a VA loan. Surviving spouses may also be able to apply. Anyone with a dishonorable discharge will not be considered for the loan.

Beginning the Process

It seems scary to start the home buying process. However, veterans need not fear. “During the past decade, VA loan specialists have helped more than 150,000 families hold onto their homes,” the VA press release said.

VA loan specialists guide first time and seasoned veteran home buyers through the process. They find useful avenues that help home buyers to make realistic, affordable and desired decisions.

Monday, November 1, 2010

VOTE!!!

Tomorrow is election day.  Whatever you have to do tomorrow, you should take the time to exercise one of the fundamental rights (and responsibilities) of citizenship:  VOTE!!!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Time Traveler Discovered?

Check out this video from CNN....it's a clip from a 1928 Charlie Chaplin movie where an extra walking in the background appears to be talking on a cell phone....in 1928??? What do you think???


Tuesday, October 26, 2010

What? Double Standards?

OK....so NPR fires commentator Juan Williams for saying that when he sees airline passengers who obviously identify with their Muslim faith, he gets nervous.   Personally, I agree with Mr. Williams and think that his firing was totally unfair.  I also feel that Mr Williams was well within his rights to express an opinion.  He wasn't disrespectful or vulgar, nor did he personally attack anyone.  His firing is an example of "political correctness" gone so very wrong.  I also strongly believe that NPR, with their blatant political bias, should not be funded with any taxpayer money whatsoever. 

Today, we have liberal TV personality Joy Behar from "The View," ranting about a Sharon Angle political ad, and calling Ms Angle a "bitch" on national TV.  Like Mr Williams, she was expressing her opinion; however she went too far when she called Ms Angle a "bitch" and said that Ms Angle is "going to hell, this bitch."  She personally attacked Ms Angle, in a very vulgar and disrespectful way.  Ms Behar is entitled to her opinion about the political ad, and about Ms Angle; but there is no call use the "b-word" in a personal attack.  In my opinion, this goes beyond "political correctness" and into the realm of viciousness.  In my opinion, calling a woman the "b-word" is akin to calling a black person the "n-word."  There is no place for it in civilized society, no matter what your political orientation. 

Now, I wonder, will there be a response to Ms Behar's vicious personal attack?  Or, will she be given a "pass" because of her political leanings?  Will Ms Behar be asked to leave "The View," as Mr Williams was asked to leave NPR?  Somehow, I doubt it....because, after all, she is a liberal.  Double standard?  You bet!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

A Poem

I  have a few friends and relatives who send me those "viral" emails....you know the type of emails that go around and around and around the ether.  Some of them make you think, some make you cry, and some make you mad (the one that make me mad are usually the ones that promise good luck or fortunes or something if you don't "break the chain.")  Anyway, my Aunt sent me one of the "viral" emails that not only made me think, but made me want to cry.  So, instead of sending it out to everyone on my contact list, I thought I'd post it here.  I have no idea who authored this poem, but whoever did, got it right.

A Poem Worth Reading

He was getting old and paunchy
And his hair was falling fast,
And he sat around the Legion,
Telling stories of the past.

Of a war that he once fought in
And the deeds that he had done,
In his exploits with his buddies;
They were heroes, every one.

And 'tho sometimes to his neighbors
His tales became a joke,
All his buddies listened quietly
For they knew where of he spoke.

But we'll hear his tales no longer,
For ol' Sam has passed away,
And the world's a little poorer
For a Soldier died today.

He won't be mourned by many,
Just his children and his wife.
For he lived an ordinary,
Very quiet sort of life.

He held a job and raised a family,
Going quietly on his way;
And the world won't note his passing,
'Tho a Soldier died today.

When politicians leave this earth,
Their bodies lie in state,
While thousands note their passing,
And proclaim that they were great.

Papers tell of their life stories
From the time that they were young
But the passing of a Soldier
Goes unnoticed, and unsung.

Is the greatest contribution
To the welfare of our land,
Some jerk who breaks his promise
And cons his fellow man?

Or the ordinary fellow
Who in times of war and strife,
Goes off to serve his country
And offers up his life?

The politician's stipend
And the style in which he lives,
Are often disproportionate,
To the service that he gives.

While the ordinary Soldier,
Who offered up his all,
Is paid off with a medal
And perhaps a pension, small.

It is not the politicians
With their compromise and ploys,
Who won for us the freedom
That our country now enjoys.

Should you find yourself in danger,
With your enemies at hand,
Would you really want some cop-out,
With his ever waffling stand?

Or would you want a Soldier--
His home, his country, his kin,
Just a common Soldier,
Who would fight until the end.

He was just a common Soldier,
And his ranks are growing thin,
But his presence should remind us
We may need his like again.

For when countries are in conflict,
We find the Soldier's part
Is to clean up all the troubles
That the politicians start.

If we cannot do him honor
While he's here to hear the praise,
Then at least let's give him homage
At the ending of his days.

Perhaps just a simply headline
In the paper that might say:
"OUR COUNTRY IS IN MOURNING,
A SOLDIER DIED TODAY."

h/t Dianne

Monday, October 18, 2010

"Real Housewives"

Patrick Dorinson, who blogs at The Cowboy Libertarian, has a published great piece on "real housewives"  on the  FoxNEWS Opinion website.  He's responding to a rant by comedian (if you like that kind of comedy) Bill Maher.  Apparently the rant started with Vikings quarterback Brett Farve's "sexting," progressed to white men and the women they like, and ended with comments about Sarah Palin and other conservative women.  You can probably tell that I don't find Maher funny, and so I don't watch him.  Anyway, Mr Dorinson's response is wonderful and one of my "must reads." 
Mr. Dorinson talks about the "real housewives of Idaho."  He describes women who
don’t have their own TV show although it would be a helluva lot more interesting than watching the other “real” housewives and definitely better than watching Maher’s weekly ego fest.


They don’t wildly spend money on frivolous things at high-tone stores. They shop at Costco to feed the family and during gathering feed the crew. They are partners with their husbands. Their children are taught the lessons of work, faith and family from the time they can walk and as soon as they can walk they are in the saddle working right alongside their parents.

You don’t hear a lot of whining about how tough their lives are. They know life is tough but they wouldn’t have it any other way.

They don’t have weekends. Saturday and Sunday are just two more days to get the work done.

They don’t stab their female friends in the back when they aren’t around. They pitch-in to help each other and treat each other’s children as if they were their own.

They don’t hang out at Starbucks because they aren’t dumb enough to pay $5 for a cup of coffee and don’t have the time or the inclination to sit around and be neurotic and catty.

And they face adversity everyday and meet it head-on.
Mr Dorinson's piece describes the "real housewives" I know.  These are my neighbors and my best friends.  These "real housewives" are more real that those women who pretend to be real on TV.  These "real women" are the reason I love living in a small town in Flyover Country.   As Mr. Dorinson so eloquently explains,

These are the “mama grizzlies” Sarah Palin is talking about. They identify with her because she is one of them.


I think that Maher belittles them and makes fun of their lifestyle because he is afraid of them and what they represent.

They represent an America that is in resurgence vastly different from his warped and cynical view of the nation and its people. An America that has finally had enough of being ruled by a bunch of elite coastal snobs who push their version of what this country stands for at the expense of traditional values and morals. An America that still prays to God asking for spiritual guidance, unlike Maher who openly mocks religion. Maher better hope he’s right about there being no God or come Judgment Day he is going to be one sorry fella.

It is also an America that is tired of the cattle crap Maher would call entertainment, polluting the minds of their children. And an America that stubbornly believes that the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution are not just meaningless words from our past but meaningful words to guide our future.
Thank God for "real housewives"  who are "real women!"

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Stories

Stories are wonderful things.  I love to read, fiction, non-fiction, biographies....pretty much everything.  Talented authors can create whole new worlds.  They can explore human emotions, and help us understand ourselves and others.  They can help us understand our past; where we come from and where we're going.  Talented authors can make us think.  Books are wonderful things.

But, there are stories in places other than books.  Some people can find stories in the rocks of the earth (something I wish I could read better).  Some people can find stories in their own imaginations.  Yesterday, I was able to find stories in a wonderful friend who took me with him to chase cows.

This friend is an 80-something horseman, cattleman, and gentleman.  He's lived in this valley all his life (except for a 4 year period when he served in the Air Force).  He invited me to go with him to look for some of his cattle on the mountain near our little town.  He, and his family, have grazing leases for his cattle on the National Forest land up there.  The cows, and their calves, graze on the mountain grass all summer; but when the weather starts to get colder, they come down the mountain to the pastures that sit at the base of the mountain and are moved to the desert grazing areas.  Some of the cows need a bit of "encouragement" to leave the mountain....so we took our horses and looked for them to head them down. 

It was a beautiful day; cool and sunny, with a very slight breeze.  It was fantastic to be out on a horse.  I enjoyed the ride, the weather, and the beautiful scenery.  But most of all, I enjoyed the stories my riding partner told.  He told me about growing up in the valley.  He told me how his great-great grandfather drove a herd of cows across the plains as a part of the great-Mormon migration, arriving in the Salt Lake Valley in the 1850s.  He talked about his fascination with cattle brands; and how his family has several generations of registered brands, starting with that great-great grandfather.  We talked about how different it is to run cattle on the mountain in these days of regulation and paperwork.  He told me about his experiences riding the range as a young man and packing what he needed on a horse.  His stories were fascinating, funny, poignant and proud.  I loved those stories. 

We should do everything we can to capture the stories that folks like my cattleman friend can tell.  They're too important to forget, and to wonderful to lose.

Halloween Democrats


Doesn't this say it all......

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Born on the 4th of July

For those of you of my generation, remember the movie "Born on the 4th of July?"  It was one of those "classic" Hollywood movies about veterans....you know the type of movie; the vet returns from war as a victim.  Tom Cruise starred in the movie, which was released in 1989.  The movie is described as a biopic about Ron Kovac, a paraylized Vietnam veteran who came home and became an anti-war activist because he felt "betrayed" by his country.  The movie won 2 Oscars, including one for Oliver Stone as "Best Director."  Well, in these days, we have an interesting contrast to the "vet as victim" mantra that Hollywood and popular culture try to portray. 

I'd like to introduce you to Army Staff Sergeant John Wayne Walding.  He's a real-life veteran, who really was born on the 4th of July.  SSgt Walding just graduated from the Army Sniper school, which is a great accomplishment.  But what makes it even more impressive is that SSgt Walding lost his leg in a 6 1/2 hour fire fight in Afghanistan in April 2008.  Walding and the other members of his Special Forces team were awarded the Silver Star for their actions that day.  Walding was shot in the lower leg and, in an article on the Army website, described how he had to use his boot lace to tie his leg to his thigh to keep it from flapping around.  Walding was determined to stay on active duty, and he's done so.  In fact, many of his classmates in the sniper course did not know he was an amputee.  He passed the extremely tough course without any specal accomodations, scoring well in all the exercises. 

Now compare the two stories.  Granted, SSgt Walding wasn't confined to a wheelchair the way Kovac was; but SSgt Walding never considered himself a "victim" nor did he decide his country had "betrayed" him.  He's made of better stuff.  He decided he wouldn't let the loss of a leg stop him from accomplishing goals he set for himself.  The path may have been more difficult, but he accomplished those goals anyway.  SSgt Walding sees himself as a soldier, not a victim.   Now I ask you.....which is the more healthy point of view? 

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Small Towns and Newspapers

The place where I live is just one of the many things that has changed in my life in the last couple of years.  I left the big city and the beltway and moved to a very small town in the remote county where my mother grew up.  I love it here.  It's home.  It's beautiful.  It's a place where I can be myself and do the things that make me happy.  It's a place where people bond together into a community, and care about each other. 

It's a fantastic place to live for so many reasons; but it is small!  For example, it's so rural that we don't have mail carriers to deliver the mail.  Each small town has a post office and you have to stop there to get your mail.  Now this isn't all bad.  When you stop at the post office, you have a chance to run into a friend or acquaintance that you haven't seen in a while.  When you stop, you can chat with any number of people who have also stopped for their mail.  The post office is somewhat of a social center, particularly when the postmaster is as friendly as our postmistress.  In some ways, it's part of the heartbeat of our community.  You can also tell we're a small rural community by reading our newspaper.  It comes out weekly, and is delivered through the post office.  The newspaper carries stories of interest to the community; things like local sports updates, articles about the farmer's market, and ads from local government candidates, as well as tips on how to deal with an early frost.  Of course there are also the obligatory legal notices and a section of classified advertisements. 

Today, we went to the post office to get our mail.  As we were chatting with the postmistress, I gandered through the paper (to see if there was a story about the football team...there was).  Here's a classified ad that caught my eye, and caused me to laugh out loud:

PAY FOR MY DUI

(name deleted) is asking for donations to help pay his find for a DUI.  On August 21, he came down to see the Rodeo, he slept in the back of his truck at his nephew's sawmill.  The next morning, he couldn't resist doing a couple of doughnuts, the cops were called, and he got a DUI.  You can send donations to:  (address and phone number deleted).  Any help is appreciated.  Thanks.
I was so tickled that I was almost tempted to send a buck....almost, but not quite!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Sauce

I did something today that I've never done before.....I made tomato sauce;  made it with tomatoes that I grew in my own garden.  After I made the tomato sauce, I bottled it (all 3 pints of it, but hey, it's something I did for myself).  It tastes wonderful!  I don't know why garden-grown tomatoes taste so much better than store-bought tomatoes, but they do.  And tomato sauce made from garden-grown tomatoes tastes fantastic!  I just hope the rest of the tomatoes that I have on the vines in my tomato jungle (it really is a jungle....I planted the tomato plants too close) ripen before it frosts.  I want to make more tomato sauce!  The tomato sauce joins the salsa and the spaghetti sauce that I've made from those tomatoes.  So yummy! 

The whole time I was making the sauce, I kept thinking about my grandmother.  She loved tomatoes, and she'd bottle her own sauce.  When we'd come to visit, particularly as she grew older, she'd let us cook.  She'd always send us out to the storehouse to get her tomato sauce if we made spaghetti, or sloppy joes, or anything requiring tomato sauce.  She liked her's better than anything store-bought.  She was right, her's was better.  I guess it's because she raised the tomatoes with love, then cooked and bottled the sauce with more love.  Maybe it's the love that makes homemade sauce taste so good.  Maybe.....

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Marine's Vigil at Rolling Thunder 2010

OK....in keeping with my promise to keep the conversation open, here's a wonderful video from this year's Rolling Thunder in DC. Gotta love those Marines.....




So why does this Marine (who's name is SSgt Chambers) undertake this vigil?  Here's a video (although not a very good video) where he tells the reason he started and continues this vigil. 




h/t Airman Mom

Been Awhile

It's been a while.  I'm not sure why, but I quit blogging for a while.  It wasn't a conscious decision; it just happened.  Sure, I've been extremely busy....but I'm always busy.  I know I thought (a lot) about things I wanted to post in this blog....but I didn't post any of them.  I'm not sure why.  This blog was (is) an outlet for me.  It gives me a chance to have and join conversations about things of importance to me.  I enjoy the thought process that goes into writing posts, and I enjoy the feedback I get from sharing my thoughts.  So, I'm not sure why I stopped blogging for a while....I just did. 

So....I'll do better at blogging.  I promise......

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Angel Flight Song

I heard this song on the radio around Memorial Day.  It's a great song, and shouldn't be limited to Memorial Day.  Check it out....but bring a box of tissue along.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Marine Reenlists

So you're probably wondering why I'm blogging about a Marine reenlisting. After all it's something that happens everyday.   But this Marine, Cpl Matthew Bradford, is special.  He was blinded and lost both legs in 2007 when a roadside bomb exploded right under him.  But being blind and not having legs does not define him.  He's a Marine.  He's done what's necessary to learn to walk on prosthetics and he's done what's necessary to learn to navigate the world he can no longer see.  He's a Marine, and because he's reenlisted for another "hitch," Cpl Bradford is a uniformed Marine.  According to the FOXNews story, he'll be assigned to the Center for the Intrepid, helping other injured Marines to learn how to deal with the anger, depression, and other issues that can come with severe injury.  Good!  It seems to me that if anyone can help other injured warriors, it's this Marine.  As he says, "I'm paving the road for the rest of them who want to stay in but think they can't, I'm ready to get back to work."

What a Marine!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

"Ladies and Gentlemen, You're Looking at a Real American Hero...."



SSgt Timothy Nein tells the story of the action in Iraq that resulted in his Distinguished Service Cross. Good stuff!

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Happy Easter!

I hope that everyone in the "blog-o-sphere" has a very Happy Easter, and that you remember the real reason for Easter....

Monday, March 29, 2010

English to Militareese FAIL

Those of us who have been in the military often have a different language.  Some "militareese" is general to all the services, some is service-specific, and some of the specialized language is specific to a particular career field or job.  (For example, I've been taking a scuba diving class, and the floation vest we wear is called a BCD, short for "Bouancy Control Device."  After spending 23-years as an Air Force judge advocate, I have a hard time not thinking "Bad Conduct Discharge" whenever someone refers to their BCD.)  Often, "militareese" consists of acronyms, but sometimes it's just different meanings for everyday words.  For those who haven't been in the military, sometimes listening to spoken "militareese" can be difficult to follow.....it's like another language.  Sometimes, there is a lack of communication between those who are fluent in "militareese" often with hilarious results. 

AirForceWife, a blogger at "SpouseBuzz" has posted a very funny story about her "verbal faux pas" when speaking "militareese."  Jump over there and read it....you'll laugh out loud! 

Friday, March 26, 2010

Entitlement Programs Must Go!

Cassandra has posted a fabulous analysis of the economic results of the ObamaCare entitlement program on her blog "Villainous Company."  According to Cassandra, if the US economy is to survive, we have to tighten our belts and cut entitlement programs; not add an additional program.  It's scary reading, but her facts and figures make sense.  I'd put it in the "must read" category.  Click on the link and jump on over and read her post......it will make you want to call your Congressman and demand repeal of the ObamaCare law!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Happy Birthday, Sevilla

Today is the birthday of my eldest child, my lovely and extremely talented daughter. She was a beautiful baby, with big, expressive brown eyes. Those eyes are still big, brown and expressive. As a little girl, she would suprise people with her level of intelligence. When she was just 3 years old, a good friend of mine told me that she just loved carrying on an adult conversation with a 3 year old. She's still extremely intelligent, with a mind that can think up a sarcastic comeback, remember music lyrics, or create wonderful stories and poetry. She was a determined teenager, who would set goals for herself and then work hard to achieve them, whether those goals related to school work, dancing, or attending the college of her choice. She is still a very determined young woman. She was determined to be an Air Force helicopter pilot, and she's a good one. She is determined to be a good mother to her daughter, and she's a fantastic one. She was determined to do her part and deploy to Iraq; and she's there, doing what needs doing and doing it well.


I love my daughter very, very much. On this, her birthday, I want to express just how much I admire her. I admire who she is; not only what she does and how she does it, but who she is, inside. She's beautiful, strong, capable, and fun to be around.

So, Happy Birthday, Sevilla. Stay safe and know that you are loved. MOM

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Remember......

Those of us who have loved ones serving overseas honor and respect the choices our loved ones have made.  We're proud that they've chosen to do something difficult, something necessary, and something that serves everyone in this country.  We're proud of the strength they must have to do the kind of work they're asked to do.  We're proud of their dedication.  Nevertheless, we also fear for their safety; they are, after all, people that we love.  We want the best for them.  We want them to come home, safely. 

Unfortunately, the world is a dangerous place and a war zone is one of the most dangerous.  Sometimes bad things happen.  When they do, loved ones at home have to pick up the pieces and go forward.  It's when that happens that our many in our military families show that those who actually wear the uniform are not the only strong and dedicated members of the family.  Our military family members serve this Country, too.  If you don't think so, just read Mrs P's blog post, "I Will Always Be a Marine Wife."  But I warn you, take a whole box of tissues along with you when you do.

Take time today to say a prayer for those who serve, and for their families who wait.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

The Real Tea Party Story: Community Builders vs. Community Organizers

Kelly-Ann Shiver has written a wonderful essay, published on American Thinker, titled, The Real Tea Party Story: Community Builders vs. Community Organizers.  It is a "must read" for those who want a good explanation of the difference between the Tea Party movement and community organizing entities (like Acorn).  Her explanation is simple and eloquent.  Here's a quote:

The real Tea Party story is quite simple and an eloquent tribute to democracy: a genuine movement of ordinary people rising to the demands of their all-American principles. It represents a fundamental difference between those who seek to provide for themselves and those who see government as provider of all material goods. The Tea Party movement is a valiant resistance to decades of profligate entitlement spending, which has had the real effect of worsening every problem it was intended to fix, landing the country, at last, in a sea of impossible debt. Tea Partiers, like the Liberty Boys of 1776, stand steadfast on the principle of equality in the rule of law, not government-ordered equality in material-world goods.

As Ms Shiver sees it, the Tea Party movement is a reaction of those of us who have recognized we can no longer be the "silent majority."  It is a reaction to liberal elites who have counterfeited the American institution of voluntary alturistic organizations and created community organizations to effect an "orderly revolution" designed to usher in a Marxist system of wealth distribution.  It is a reaction to those who have been taught, often by those who express a desire to "help," that the only solution to life's problems lies in government action.  As Ms Shriver says,

From the Stimulus package of political payoffs to the power grab of car companies "too big to fail," to the climate bill rewards for privileged corporate interests, to the health care takeover in the same vein, we see a man dedicated to destroying the very foundations of America's community-builders and replacing them with the grand social-engineers' paradise, which Saul Alinsky -- and Mussolini, Hitler, Marx, Engels, Lenin, Mao, and others -- have envisioned.

I think Ms Shiver has hit on something with her analysis.  It makes sense to me, and explains why the Tea Party movement is so important.  American citizens, those of us who THINK anyway, believe that hard work and self-reliance leads to success.  We believe in limited government and personal freedom.  We believe in helping those who help themselves, not in providing a handout to those who expect it.  So to again quote Ms Shiver,

The real Tea Party story is as simple as this. Genuine community-builders do not wish to be robbed blind and see their children in the shackles of debt so that the modern version of tyranny -- community organizers -- can split up a pie they didn't bake.

Read the article.....it's worth it! 

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Honor

The Sniper, a milblogger, has created a wonderful "motivator" and has given permission for others to post it.  As the old saying goes, "a picture is worth a thousand words."  In this case, the old saying is absolutely right. 

Friday, February 19, 2010

Team Rubicon

Those of you who have been with me from the beginning of this blog will remember that, for quite some time, I followed the exploits of Jake Wood, who blogged on "Jake's World," and linked to his blog from mine. I started following Jake when he was a young Marine in Iraq during the early stages of the "surge." One of my motivations for starting this blog was the desire to join the conversation that was led by people like Jake.

Jake has left the Marine Corps, but he's still making an impact. After the earthquake in Haiti, while many of us were wondering how we could help (beyond sending money), Jake, and seven others, actually did something. They created "Team Rubicon." Team Rubicon, or TR as they call themselves, is a group of former Marines, medical professionals, and first responders who got together, and despite discouragement from the big international aid agencies, went into Haiti in the immediate aftermath of the earthquake and made a difference. Team Rubicon and their efforts in Haiti are highlighted in Foreign Policy magazine. Check it out....it's worth your time. Then head over to Team Rubicon's webpage and get involved by volunteering or donating. These are truly "the good guys."

Hero in Austin

Somewhere amid all the Olympic news came a report that a disgruntled man had flown a small engine plane into the IRS building in Austin, Texas. Fortunately, the suicidal man took only one life besides his own. Disasters of every kind, man-made like this one or naturally occurring, bring stories of heroism and kindness. This disaster at the IRS building is no different. FoxNEWS has a report of one of the heroes present that day: Robin Dehaven. Mr Dehaven is a glass glazer, who just happened to be driving by the IRS building when the small plane hit. Unlike a lot of people, he didn't keep going. He stopped. He saw a situation where he could help, and he took action. As he said, "I immediately drove my truck over there, got the ladder off, went up to the side of the building and I saw people up on the second floor with their heads out the window for air because the room was filled with smoke." Mr Dehaven extended his ladder up the side of the building to try to help people get out of the burning inferno, but the people inside couldn't secure the ladder properly. So he went up the ladder, into the building, helped the people inside to break another window, and secured the ladder the best he could. Even though the ladder "slipped a little bit," he helped five people to get down the ladder, buy going down with them and holding their backs "so they wouldn't fall if they slipped."

Now, in my book, Mr Dehaven is a real hero. He ran to help when help was needed. He didn't have to, but he did. Mr Dehaven's boss wasn't surprised at Mr Dehaven's actions; he thinks it was just a Mr Dehaven's character, to help others. Oh....did I say that Mr Dehaven spent six and a half years as a Combat Engineer in the Army? I'd bet dollars to donuts that Mr Dehaven's Army experience formed a large part of the character he demonstrated at the IRS building. He's a hero.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Dancin'

I want to be like these guys when I grow up!

New Ideas for Congressional Democrats

Last week, Washington DC suffered from the worst snowstorm in decades. The Government was closed, schools closed, roads blocked, power out...so what did Democrats in Congress do when they didn't have to go to work? Well, check it out:

From FoxNews Photo-op....by Greg Detrich from Alabama.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Wanna Go to Afghanistan?

Kentucky Woman, over at "Little Drops....," is going to Afghanistan.....want to join her? I am. It seems that two Air Force journalists are taking a 3o-day swing through the country and documenting their trip. You, too, can sign up for updates and "virtually" tour the country with them. They're posting on Facebook and on the ISAF website. Here's what KyWoman says about the effort:

Now the why... So many of 'Our Guys' and 'Gals' have spent a good portion of their lives in the past 8 years working, fighting and paying the ultimate price with their life for our freedoms in the land called Afghanistan. There are many negative images of the country, people and the reason we're there and what we're doing. This 30 day trip being videoed by these two Airmen will perhaps give everyone who is curious and questioning a better understanding of what our soldiers see everyday. It's like taking a trip without ever leaving your home. Not quite how I like to travel, but sure beats reading the newspapers accounts and opinions.

Now isn't this a great idea, and a wonderful way to support those young men and women who are still serving?

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Flyover Country

I love where I live. It's always been home to me, even though I was a military brat and moved every three years, this place was a constant in my life. My grandparents lived here, and we would try to visit them every summer as I was growing up. After I left home and started my own family, I still tried to come back as often as possible; not only because I wanted to see my grandparents, but because I needed to be here. I wanted my family to love this place as much as I did, because, this is the place where I feel more "in touch" with just about everything. I feel "real" here. This is the place where I feel a spiritual connection that's hard to explain. For me, it's "home" in every meaning of the word.


While this place is home, it is remote. Flyover County, in Flyover Country, is in a high mountain valley (most of the County is above 7,000 feet), about 50 miles from the nearest Walmart. In the last census (2000), the County had 2,509 people, eight small towns (the largest of which has about 550 people), two National Forests, one National Park, and no US highways. It's wonderful! As an example of how wonderful....yesterday, on my way over the mountain pass to the nearest Walmart-town, I saw this:

There he was, just sitting on a rock along side the road, sunning himself and looking around...all majestic and proud. What a beautiful sight! I love Flyover County!

Fun in Flyover Country

I just thought I'd post this to show you one of the many ways we have fun in "Flyover Country."


"A Class Act"

Smiley sent this to me, and I'm posting it just as it appeared in the email....so I have no idea who I'm quoting; but it's a nice thought and a wonderful video:

"I once said, that some people take their football and the fighting for their alma mater way too serious in the "big" picture of life, a game should be a game with good sports, no hard feelings and being an adult. This was sent to me by a friend, and sort of points that out.

Just prior to the start of the Air Force-BYU football game, Sept. 22, 2009, this video was broadcast in the BYU stadium in Provo, Utah. Later, the USAF Academy Superintendent, Lt. Gen Gould, showed this clip to the faculty and staff. He told everyone that BYU ran it minutes before the kickoff at the game. He was clearly moved by it, as were those who watched it. BYU is a class act."

Friday, February 5, 2010

Worldwide Threat Levels

CJ, who blogs on the "You Served" blog, has a wonderful analysis of the rise in current worldwide security levels. Jump on over there and read it....it's not only educational but something that I'd characterize as a "must read!"

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

"The Final Inspection"

Like a lot of people, I get those chain-emails that go around and around the "e-verse". Some of them are laugh-out-loud funny, some of them are silly, and some of them are real tear-jerkers. Unless the email message is really good, or really funny, I usually don't pass them along....at least not since my son told me he really doesn't read "Mom Spam." When I do pass them along, it's only to a select few that I know will appreciate the humor or will be touched by the message.

Having said that....today I got an email from a very good friend. I know I've seen this email before, and was touched by it then. I don't remember if I passed it along, or not, but for some reason I feel compelled to post the email's poem....so here it is:

THE FINAL INSPECTION

The Soldier stood and faced God,
Which must always come to pass.
He hoped his shoes were shining,
Just as brightly as his brass..

'Step forward now,Soldier ,
How shall I deal with you?
Have you always turned the other cheek?
To My Church have you been true?'
The soldier squared his shoulders and said,
'No, Lord, I guess I ain't.
Because those of us who carry guns,
Can't always be a saint.

I've had to work most Sundays,
And at times my talk was tough.
And sometimes I've been violent,
Because the world is awfully rough.

But, I never took a penny,
That wasn't mine to keep...
Though I worked a lot of overtime,
When the bills got just too steep.

And I never passed a cry for help,
Though at times I shook with fear...
And sometimes, God, forgive me,
I've wept unmanly tears.

I know I don't deserve a place,
Among the people here.
They never wanted me around,
Except to calm their fears

If you've a place for me here, Lord,
It needn't be so grand.
I never expected or had too much,
But if you don't, I'll understand.

There was a silence all around the throne,
Where the saints had often trod.
As the Soldier waited quietly,
For the judgment of his God.

'Step forward now, you Soldier,
You've borne your burdens well.
Walk peacefully on Heaven's streets,
You've done your time in Hell.'

Author Unknown~

h/t Mutt & Jeff

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Memorial Bracelets

I grew up in the 1960's and 70's. The Vietnam War was in full swing. It wasn't a "popular" war, and for some people, that unpopularity flowed over onto our military. We've all heard the stories of returning servicemen being spit on, called "baby killers," and treated with disdain. Even though the War and our servicemen and women were "unpopular," the American public still supported those who were missing-in-action or who were prisoners-of-war. We proudly bought and wore our metal POW-MIA bracelets, hoping that the person with the name we wore on our wrists would make it home safely. I had one. "My" serviceman didn't come home. As far as I know, he's still MIA.

Today, while the War against Terrorism might not be popular, it is necessary. I believe the American public knows this. I believe that's why we "support our troops." We all recognize that our fighting men and women stand between us and those who would harm us, our country, and our way of life. It is only fitting that we honor these men and women who give so much for us. There are a number of things we can to do give our military their due; volunteering for Soldier's Angels, sending packages to "Any Soldier," donating to charities that support the families of those who gave their lives, or by simply saying "thank you" to anyone you see in uniform.

My Marine Son has pointed out another way to honor those who have given all; a memorial bracelet. These bracelets are similar to the POW-MIA bracelets of the '70s. Like those bracelets, a memorial bracelet is a simple way to keep the sacrifice of those who "gave all" in the forefront of our minds. They're a way to remember. You can order a memorial bracelet at MemorialBracelets.com. You can order a bracelet with the name of someone you know, someone from your hometown, or home state. You can order a bracelet to memorialize someone who gave their life in Iraq, Afghanistan, or Vietnam; or someone who was the victim of terrorism. It's not hard to order, and wearing the bracelet is another way to show support for our military.

I ordered two bracelets today. I ordered them to remember two young men that I didn't know. I may not have known these young men, but I will honor them forever; not only because they gave their lives for this wonderful country, but because they served with my son. He knew them. He said they were "good kids." He mourns them. So to honor him, and to honor them, my husband and I will proudly wear these bracelets in memory of LCpl Leopold F. Damas of Floral Park, New York, who was 26 years old when he died in Afghanistan on the 17th of August 2009, and for LCpl Javier Olvera of Palmdale, California, who was only 20 years old when he died in Afghanistan on the 8th of August, 2009. May God Bless them both, and may God Bless their families.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Kaboom: He's Back!!!!

I have some fantastic news! For those of you that have read this blog from the beginning, you've heard of LtG (a.k.a. Matt Gallagher) and his "Kaboom" blog. Just to recap, LtG was a blogging as a platoon leader in Iraq, recounting the "adventures" of his unit (which he named the "Gravediggers"), when he was ordered to stop blogging. LtG's posts were pithy, informative, descriptive, sometimes sarcastic, and always entertaining. I, among many, was extremely disappointed when he was forced to shut down the blog.


Well, here's the good news....LtG is back! A book based on his blog and his experiences in Iraq is scheduled for publication on April 1st. (He swears this is not an April Fool's joke.) Based on LtG's blog writing, I'll recommend this new book to you, sight unseen. (You can pre-order it on Amazon.com by clicking this link.) He's also posting on Kaboom, again! Good luck LtG!!!
h/t RedBull Rising

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Cafferty's Got It!

I know a lot of people, including yours truly, question whether CNN is a "real" media outlet, or just another arm of the administration's media apparatus. But it looks like at least one CNN commentator can look at the actions of the Democrat-controlled Congress and it's Empress-wanna-be Speaker and call-it-like-he-sees-it. As far as I'm concerned.....he's got it, and her, nailed! Check it out:




h/t GSmiley

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Everyone's Got an Opinion.....

In light of the Republican victory in gaining the Massachusetts Senate seat, several political pundits have expressed their opinions visually. Here's a couple....




This one is from a guy named Jim Bille from Raleigh, NC. I particularly liked this one, and believes it says it all!












This one was done by Jon Prain of Avon, IL.
I liked it, because it says what I've been saying for a while....those in power just don't have a clue what those of us living in "Flyover Country" think, nor do they really want to know!
If you'd like to see more of these creations, check out the Photo Opinions on FOXNews.

Earthquake Weapon?

OK....so I've heard a number of conspiracy theories in my day; some were entertaining, some were interesting, and some were just plain stupid. It seems Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has a conspiracy theory that is simply crazy. (Now, is that a surprise to anyone?) According to FoxNews, Chavez' state-run media has been reporting that the Haiti earthquake was caused by the US testing an experimental shockwave system that can also cause floods, droughts, and hurricanes. Apparently, the same system is responsible for quakes in California and China. According to Hugo Chavez, we're developing the system to use it as a weapon against Iran, and we caused the Haiti earthquake only to test the system; oh yeah, and to have an excuse to invade and occupy Haiti. WOW! Are we ever powerful...to be able to control the Earth's movements, as well as the Earth's weather! No wonder we're an "empire."

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Happy Birthday, Sweetheart

Twenty-nine years ago, I gave birth to the most beautiful baby girl. From the first moment I saw her, I knew she was special. She was beautiful then, and she's beautiful now. Of course, my first sight of her was this beautiful little being screaming at the top of her lungs as she protested her birth. She still protests against things she thinks wrong or unfair. She quited down quickly, though, and obviously watched everything happening around her; as the nurses did the things nurses do for newborns. She's still focused and aware; from things around her home to issues of National interest. She was a little beautiful blond baby. From my first sight of her, she's had a special place in my heart.

As a child, my daughter was loving, stubborn, intelligent, and beautiful. She's the child that could both charm and exasperate. She was (and is) athletic and intelligent. She can still be stubborn. She is a strong woman, in a family of strong women. I love her.

My daughter is now a mother, with children of her own. She's a fantastic mother. She is raising her children to be respectful and capable. She's got a strong testimony of the gospel of Jesus Christ, and has married a man with an equally strong testimony. Their children have a bright, simple testimony that will only grow as they hear and feel their parents' testimonies. I'm so proud of my daughter's choice of an eternal companion....she couldn't have found anyone more suited to her. My daughter is an example of someone I'd like to be, eventually.

So, Happy Birthday, sweetheart. I hope this next year brings you all the happiness you deserve!

Inevitable? I hope not!

I'm not normally a big Patrick Buchanan fan....but this article in WorldNetDaily titled "Is America's Financial Collapse Inevitable?" asks some serious questions about the economic future of this country. Mr Buchanan quotes some pretty heavy-hitter economic thinkers who think that the current government policies, which have grown the government's deficit, will eventually cause the debt to grow larger than the gross domestic product; leading to the bankruptcy of our government and the collapse of our economy. Scary stuff! Particularly when the political realities, and trying to keep various voting blocks happy, preclude the hard decisions (cutting entitlements or increasing taxes) that will reduce the deficit. Really scary stuff.

I'm not an economist, nor do I fully understand the interplay of forces on our National economy; but I do believe that growing government (consequently growing government salaries) and growing entitlement programs when our National debt is so high violates common sense. It seems as stupid as using one credit card to pay off another credit card. Maybe our current crop of elected officials are too busy trying to please enough special interest groups to ensure their re-election that they've forgotten basic common sense lessons of life.

Air Force Combat Controllers

George Smiley, over at In From the Cold, has a wonderful post paying tribute to the early efforts of our Air Force Combat Controllers to help resolve the post-earthquake chaos in Haiti. I happen to agree with Mr. Smiley; Combat Controllers are often unsung heroes. They are often the force and power behind the scenes in our Nation's response to natural disasters, as well as being a potent force in combat. Read the post....you'll have a new appreciation for the work these highly-trained warriors do.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Health Care and Closed Doors

In writing this blog, I've been pretty silent about the health care debate. I'm retired military and I was a military "brat." So you see, for most of my life, health care has been provided to me by the Federal government, in one form or another. Military medical coverage has good points and bad points; but you are "covered" (mostly). So, I haven't joined the debate about whether "nationalized" health care is a good thing, or whether "universal health coverage" would actually work. I didn't think it was right, since my health care is covered by the Veteran's Administration and by a form of nationalized insurance called Tricare.

Having said that.....I just have to weigh in now that the Democrats have decided to finalize the "look" of the health care bill behind closed doors; involving only a few "highly placed" Democrats. To me, this plan silences the voice of any opposition. It minimizes the voice of those who spoke at the health care town hall meetings held last fall. It ignores the ideas of the elected representatives of a good portion of this Country....those who vote Republican. By meeting behind closed doors, and not allowing any input into the "final" health care bill, it appears that the Democrat bigwigs will pander to their radical base, their fundraisers, and their ivory-tower apologists rather than try to find a way to approach any health care "crisis" from the point of view of a realist. This is not "open government" and it's not the way important issues should be decided! Secret, back-room meetings do nothing to advance the debate....they silence debate!

Check out this article by Max Pappas on the Freedom Works website. He summarizes several newspaper editors that are calling on the Obama administration to honor the "C-Span Promise" he made during his campaign; to have a more "transparent" government. I know that more campaign promises are broken than are kept...but this is one promise that should have been inviolate; especially when considering this health care bill. This is something that will have a profound impact on this country, its economy and its citizens. Those citizens have a right to know how the "final form" of the bill was written, and to know that their interests have been considered. All citizens have that right, even those who vote Republican!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

"Make Mine Freedom" circa 1948

This cartoon, produced in 1948, was going around the web in October 2009. I'm a bit late and just saw it this morning, when a good friend sent it to me via email. (Thanks NoDak Dan!) Nevertheless, I think that it's worth posting here. It's a bit long (almost 10 minutes), but well worth viewing! The interesting thing is that the cartoon was considered "far-fetched" in 1948.....

Friday, January 1, 2010