a Someone should care, maybe not you....: January 2006 .comment-link {margin-left:.6em;}

Someone should care, maybe not you....

My thoughts on many things including the army, war, politics, the military corrections system, chaos, life, books, movies, and why there is no blue food. Feel free to comment on what I say. Feedback is nice.

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40+ year old former teacher, linguist, interrogator, soldier, and lastly convict. We all do stupid things every once and awhile. I am an economic conservative and a firm believer in civil rights. Starting a new life now and frankly not sure what I am going to be doing.

31 January 2006

Hail Hail, the gangs all here

Well, really no one is here but it made a good title. Last night I saw sitting watching the TV and the lightning flashing outside when I heard a series of rattles and thumps and realized that hail was falling on my house. And on my car. I quickly donned a jacket and ran outside to move my vehicle to some shelter under the spreading boughs of a mighty oak and ran back to the house. Along the way I picked up the whole ravening dog pack which was uniformly unhappy about thunder, lightning, and ice falling from the sky. They came in with me. There was much rejoicing (except among the cats). I gathered some of the hail and took a picture.

It isn't huge golf ball sized hail but it was interesting.

On a different topic, 3score did a very interesting bit of research into the whole domestic spying/wiretapping thing. Go and read and join the conversation.
There is some interesting conversation going on about the Hamas election victory over at United We Lay.
And theZombieslayer is making an impassioned plea for people to spank their unruly children.

Hey, my post may not be substantive, but I can at least refer you to something good.

30 January 2006


Tonight Neal Boortz, one of the few talk radio people I can stand to listen to, is going to be on Larry King. I won't see it because I live a cableless existence right now but it should be interesting. I suspect Boortz is going to talk about the "Fair Tax". It is an interesting Idea that I won't go into a lot now but will later if people wish. (Note: It is not an idea I think will work in quite the way it is portrayed but it is interesting.)
At any rate, it should be interesting TV.
Of course it is on opposite 24 so only the inveterate CNN watchers will be on line to see it.

Why I like Boortz more than any of the others out there can be summed up from this quote from his webpage which re repeats often on the air.
Don't believe anything you read on this web page, or, for that matter, anything you hear on The Neal Boortz Show, unless it is consistent with what you already know to be true, or unless you have taken the time to research the matter to prove its accuracy to your satisfaction. This is known as "doing your homework."

I doubt any of you have been going back and reading the comments in some of the old posts but there have been some interesting ones on my latest Ray Nagin post and way back on a post in October on the Lord's Resitance Army.

26 January 2006

Questions that shouldn't be asked

The University of Florida has instituted a new benefits package where "domestic partners" can be covered by an employees insurance plan. So if two people are living together they can get insurance. This is a good thing. The thing that was WRONG is that when filling out the forms for this you were required to affirm that they are in a "non platonic" relationship. In other words, they had to affirm that they are having sex. Now I understand that they want to avoid fraud and people just deciding to be roommates so that one of them can get insurance on the others policy but still, it is non of the systems business who is having sex. For one thing it would open them up to all sorts of potential discrimination lawsuits unless they started asking married couples if they are "non-platonic" too. Not to mention the privacy violations that would erupt all over the place if they ever actually started to try to police or verify these claims.
But hey, it is all for naught because UF has dropped the pledge after the controversy surfaced earlier this week. IN fact a university spokesman denies that "non-platonic" means a sexual relationship at all. (Proving he has a weak grasp of the English language.)
But no, it hasn't gone away because this is still in use at other institutions like Shands Healthcare, a hospital system affiliated with the University requires such a pledge of it's employees. No telling who else is out there doing the same thing.

For more info:
Report 1
Report 2

23 January 2006

Things in the yard.....

A few nights ago, I heard the ravening dog pack (hah) that live at my house making a grand commotion in the front yard. I got up and went out to see if they were actually barking at something or, as is often their wont, just barking. This time, sure enough they had something. The little fellow seen above (go ahead, click on the picture and get a better view) was lying near one of the cars with the three beasts standing around him. I called them into the house and went to see if the critter had been eaten or what. Now I will grant you, from this picture he looks pretty darn dead. Add in the fact that his fur was wet from drool where at least one of the critters had picked him up to shake him, bite him, or just carry him around playing keep away from the others. (a common game amongst the three of them)
I took a quick picture (having recently found my digital camera again)and went inside. About an hour later I looked out the door and presto,

The little bugger was up. Not looking very happy with life but hey, it beat the alternatives. He sat there by the car for a couple of hours at least but wandered away before morning.
So you see, possums really do play dead and get resurrected later.

Note: the light difference is due to standing over the critter and standing on the porch in the second pic. Flahes only carry so farr. (which is why I am amused by people who use them in stadiums)

19 January 2006

Two more seconds......

Two more seconds, or the closest I came to killing someone while deployed. This took place the day after the gas scare I wrote about earlier. Let me set the scene here. The gate at Udari had two lanes, an inbound and an outbound lane. The inbound lane usually has a long line of local national trucks bringing supplies lined up waiting to be searched and processed to enter the post. It also often had convoys of American troops inbound which had to stop and clear their weapons before entering the camp. The outbound lane had vehicles lined up waiting to leave and go to wherever. The two lanes were separated by big tall Jersey barriers. It wasn’t a solid barrier; they were spaced out so that people or vehicles could cross between lanes. In addition about 100 feet back from the gate there was a 5 ton truck that was the emergency stopper. If someone crashed the gate there was as soldier sitting in that truck whose sole job was to block the inbound lane by ramming the charging vehicle. (Not a happy job if the incoming vehicle was a potential vehicle borne IED. )
Usually shortly after dawn there would be a lot of vehicles leaving, people liked to leave when it was light enough to see but not yet flaming hot. On this day there was a long line extending both ways. It was shift change; the new shift was moving in and taking over the positions of my guys. I was talking with the new shift leader, an infantry E-5 who coincidentally enough was also from the same battalion I had deployed with. (Actually not straight infantry, LRSA, Ranger trained for long range surveillance) At any rate, it is dawn, there are vehicles lined up in and out waiting for the new guards to get the traffic moving. As I am filling the new guy in on what had gone on during the night a vehicle suddenly pulls out of the outbound lane of traffic, into the inbound land and began accelerating towards the gate. The vehicle was a local national vehicle, a fuel truck, and it was accelerating very quickly towards my guard post. The first thought is that someone is either trying to escape the base without getting checked or was planning on blowing us all up. Me and the other NCO both brought our weapons up and trained them on the cab of the accelerating vehicle. The nice thing about an M-16 is that it is light enough that you can aim and fire it (with reasonable accuracy at close range) with one hand whileh using the other hand to gesture. In this case to hold a hand up while screaming “Halt!” loudly. The other NCO was yelling something like “Stop or I’ll shoot!” Other soldiers there began to notice us pretty quick and raise their weapons too.
Suddenly the driver of vehicle saw us, I could see him. I could see his eyes go HUGE as he threw his hands into the air and slammed on the brakes of his vehicle at the same time. I ran towards the passenger side door while the other NCO took the driver’s side. I pulled the door open, reached in and grabbed the passenger and drug him out of the vehicle. It was an American soldier, the local national vehicle’s escort. He had no clue how close he had just come to dying. I was screaming “What the fuck do you think you were doing?” at him. He obviously hadn’t seen us almost shoot him. When the driver slammed on the brakes he had been bounced off the dashboard and was still disoriented when I dragged him from the vehicle at gunpoint. His NCO who happened to be near by came by and collected him which was good because I was about to stomp him.
It turns out that the vehicle was going around refueling the generators.
The escort had gotten tired of sitting in the line and told the driver to pull around and to hurry in case a vehicle came in the gate. He was too lazy to get out and walk with the vehicle (escorting it). As a result he and an innocent driver nearly got killed. How close were they to death? Both of us had locked and loaded a round, were off safe and had fingers on the trigger. All it would have taken was a little more pressure and I would have killed an American soldier because he was too impatient to wait, and too lazy to walk. I was a tad twitchy for the rest of the day.

17 January 2006

Ray Nagin joins the the "God is mad" crowd

Well, that fine example of effective leadership, Mayor Ray Nagin of New Orleans has joined Pat Robertson in telling us that God is punishing us. Of course when Pat said it God was punishing New Orleans for being an evil and sinful city. Now, according to Mr. Nagin God is sending Hurricanes to punish the whole US because we are in Iraq. He also adds that god is unhappy with Black America because there are too many single parent households.

Also in the speech he said that new Orleans would be a chocolate city. It will be majority African American because that is how God wants it. It is good to know that MR. Nagin has God's ear on this issue. I am trying to imagine what kind of chaos would erupt if the mayor of some other city were to declare that his/her city would be majority white because it was God's will.

Well, what can I say?

12 January 2006

A break through????

According to The NewYork Times it seems that the Iraqi insurgents are getting fed up with the Al Queda foreign fighters. (For reference on some of the different groups involved Who are the bad guys?")
In interviews with self-identified insurgents NYT reporters have found out that there have been several large battles between indigenous insurgent groups and the Al Queda fighters. On Oct 23 there was a large fight on the outskirts of Taji, a town north of Baghdad. This took place a few days after an angry meeting between the two groups about 2 men the Al Queda fighters had killed. Insurgent fighter "Abu Lil" is quoted saying "They repeatedly kill our people."

This split coincides with the new desire the Sunnis have to participate in the governmental process in Iraq. Many Iraqis feel that the Al Queda fighters are a "foreign-led force, whose extreme religious goals and desires for sectarian war against Iraq's Shiite majority override Iraqi tribal and nationalist traditions."
In an interesting three way confirmation with information from US and Iraqi intelligence officials and from inurgent fighters it appears that fighting has broken out between the Al Queda and the local insurgents in several towns including Ramadi, Husayba, and Karmah. One Sunni tribe in Samarra tried and executed Al Queda fighters after they assassinated the tribal Sheik.

Further disputes arise over Al Queda's bloody bombing tactics. They are very unhappy about the massive civilian casualties that are being inflicted by Al Queda.
In the town of Dhuluiya the residents went tot eh local insurgents and said they wanted to aprticipate in the elections lest "the government be lost". The insurgents agreed. Al Queda came in and put up posters threatening to kill anyone who voted and confronted a local Iman who told them it was none of their business. A collection of 5 local Imans then proceeded to tear down the Al Queda posters and the election went as scheduled. Under the protection of the local insurgent forces.

Another insurgent tells of how a relative of his, a Shiite was kidnapped by some Al Queda fighters. He went in search of his relative and eventually found him. IN the morgue where "His legs bore drill holes revealing bone. His jaw had slid off to one side of his head, and his nose was broken. Burns marked his body. His knees were raw, as if he had been dragged." This Iraqi insurgent then went and gathered the members of his cell and went and ambushed and killed the two Syrian Al Queda men who had been behind the kidnapping.

One last insurgent, Abu Omar, in Baghdad, says that it is against his beliefs to help the Americans. But he admits that he allows himself a small celebration whenever an Al Queda fighter is killed by them. "I feel happy when the Americans kill them,"

This opens many interesting possibilities in the future in Iraq.

08 January 2006

Potential for Chaos

AS if things in the middle east aren't unstable enough right now with a war in Iraq, the eternal Israeli/Palestinian thing (about to get interesting with Sharon's problems), Lebanon's reawakening, now we have an invitation for more.
Abdul Halim Khaddam the former vice president of Syria is calling for a revolution to overthrow the government of Bashar Al Assad. He resigned as VP in June 2005 and fled the country. He now lives in Paris "under protection". He has also openly accused Assad of being involved in the Hariri assassination in Lebanon.
Khaddam states that he is not asking for the support of any other country and no country has approached him to make this call. He also says he does not want to rule Syria after the revolution. He believes that democratic elections would be the "natural course".

If people think we are having problems now just imagine how bad things will get if Syria falls into chaos. Even if, as is commonly supposed, Syria is backhandedly supporting the insurgents in Iraq,(and they are for various reasons although probably not "officially") that is better than another war torn wasteland for armed gangs to roam around in.
Things could get interesting if there is any response to this call.

BBC Link

07 January 2006

a movie to watch

Ok, I don't often do movie reviews. But I found a good one on DVD last night. I will give you advance warning. It is French. In French. ( I don't know if there was an English language track or not, I just went with the subtitles.
It is called Empire of the Wolves, it has Jean Reno as a VERY VERY bad cop (the guys on The Shield don't hold a candle, Jocelyn Quivrin plays a good cop, Arly Jover plays an amnesiac with a secret. Despite all of the requisite French art film bit it is an EXCELLENT movie. NO, I am not going to review the plot for you, it is better to go see if for yourself. It has more twists than a mountain goat trail.

On a totally different topic, here is the entry of a soldier in Iraq that EVERYONE MUST read. Pro war, anti war, it doens't matter. It shows a bit of the mental moment that that soldiers have in war. READ.
Welcome to the warII

06 January 2006

Cool stuff again........

A friend sent me a link today. The Air Force is developing a non lethal laser weapon to "dazzle" opponents. Disorient them and temporarily blind them. Cool.
It looks like this.

It is called a Personal Halting and Stimulation Response weapon. Or a PHASR.

Star Trek, here we come.......


04 January 2006

Not a war story......

Yeah, I know I promised one but hey, I actually said "probably". Last night I was up late because I decided to watch the end of the FSU/Penn State game and it's end drug on for quite some time as each team made a serious effort to let the other guy win. Then, there was a thing on Reagan on PBS which I was watching during commercials on the football game and it kept going after the game finally ended.

As an aside, I really like Reagan. I didn't at first although I voted for him. But he turned out pretty good. I know a lot of people rage about how much money he spent in the government and about Iran-contra, and the Contras in general and all sorts of other things. But I liked him. Still do. I think he was an excellent president.

But back tot he main thought, it was about 0130 by this point and I decided to step outside for a bit because there is a meteor shower that goes on this time of the year. I wanted to see some shooting stars. It was clear and cool. The sky was brilliant and I could see Orion, the Pleiades, Mars, and all the other stars, constellations, etc hanging there in the sky above me. I can sit and stare at that show for a LONG time, even if it was cold. I could hear the night birds, and (believe it or not) a frog. (Now really, that just seems wrong to me to be hearing frogs in January.) But there it was. It wasn't the best location for star gazing that I have ever been in. The mountains of south east Afghanistan are fantastic, and an interstate across Arizona at about 2-3 am is so good it can cause you to wreck your car.*
but the sky was good. I stayed out for about 20 minutes, saw a couple of falling stars (including one that calved, or split in two as it came down) It was well worth being up late for. A night well spent.

* Once several years about (1990) I was driving from Georgia to California at this same time of the year and was in Arizona at 2-3 am on the interstate. The road was EMPTY. There were no lights at all except my headlights and the stars and the meteors. I am lucky the road ran straight because I was staring up at the sky more than I was watching the road. I saw an immensely bright meteor streak straight through the sky going east to west, as it faded out on the western sky just where it vanished there was a bloom of light. I was sure I had just seen the meteor hit and a new crater had been made. I was SO excited. I was braking to prepare for the shockwave that was sure to be coming when the light ahead faded and turned into a set of headlight several miles ahead that had crested a hill at just the right moment. It was quite a let down. But still, it was a most exciting and thrilling feeling when I thought I had seen something probably never seen before here. Sigh.....

03 January 2006


Merry Christmas to me from all of you. I made $20 on my google ads last month. Thank you very much! Overall hits last month were down to 161. That is mostly my fault I suppose because I haven't been posting as much. (something about not living where the DSL connection is I suppose.) Best day of December was the 2nd. 22 hits that day. Fridays were the best day of the week with 19% of my hits coming on that day. But I had more pages read on Mondays.

In other news, the Georgia National Guard has the dubious distinction of having lost more soldiers than any other state's Guard in Iraq. Most of them came from the 48th Brigade Combat Team's ongoing tour. One of them came from the unit I initially deployed with who died when his Hummer hit a landmine at the Baghdad airport. (This took place after I had left Iraq/Kuwait and been moved over to Afghanistan.) The 48th BCT has also engaged in that habit of vicious oppressors throughout history of arranging for sick children to be sent out of Iraq to the US for desperately needed surgery to repair birth defects. (Spina Biffida {did I spell that right?} in this case)Darn us and our evil oppression of the people of Iraq. Interestingly in this case the soldiers had raided the house and were searching it when the child's grandmother picked her up and carried her to the soldiers and basically thrust her into their arms while pointing out the defect. Guess she really hates and fears us so much.

Well, enough for today. Longer post upcoming and It'll probably be another war story.