Thursday, December 31, 2009
There is also the Lunar New Year coming up on February 14, the year of the iron TIGER. People who are born in the year of the Tiger (as my friend WLC is) find this year to be a dreadful prospect. But you have to hand it to the Asians, who seem to celebrate the Lunar New Year with more circumspection. They don't resolve anything. Their hope is to make it through the year.
I drifted through the things I want to do next year and the things I resolved to do better at, irrespective of the Lunar New Year's drear predictions. (Being born in the Year of the sheep, this year isn't dreadful for me in astrological terms)
1. I want to see my novel published. WHITE POWDER: A Novel of the CIA and the Secret War in Laos is a book whose time has come. So I resolve to help peddle my own book in 2010, not so much for profit as for the vanity of having people read my work and (hopefully) appreciate it.
2. I resolve to complete my next novel, already in the works, in 2010. (Working Title: Penitent Man)
3. I resolve to take more time on vacation/holiday in 2010. (you wouldn't think this one is difficult to keep but it always turns out that way) As life sits now, every meal is a banquet, every paycheck a fortune, every formation a parade - but I don't get away as much as I'd like to.
4. I have no bad habits, but if I discover one, I resolve to consider quitting that bad behavior.
5. I resolve to buy more toys. It's true that (a) he who dies with the most toys wins and (b) the difference between men and boys is the price of their toys.
In my reckless list making and resolving I had resolved to make a longer list, but decided to break that resolution right off the bat to set a trend for the coming year.
Happy New Year 2010
Monday, December 21, 2009
Soon you can order this fine novel from amazon.com or any of a number of fine book sellers. It will also be in some libraries across the US (and Canada, hopefully). ISBN 1449975852
The cover art is complete, the layout is complete and the work is going through a final editing process. In late January, or early February, it will be available. (Yes, WoFat gets a free autographed copy)
In 1961 the Viet Nam war wasn't the lead story on the evening news and wouldn't be for three more years. The developing war in neighboring Laos was never to make a headline. It was a secret war, managed under the auspices of the Central Intelligence Agency. In Laos the only cash crop was opium. Opium grown in Laos was purchased and refined by the Corsican Organized Crime Group known as the Unione Corse. They worked the drug in clandestine laboratories in France and later also in Viet Nam.
Wednesday, December 9, 2009
Barfoot was born on June 15, 1919, in Edinburg, Mississippi. His grandmother was Choctaw, but Barfoot himself is not an official member of the Choctaw Nation. Although he was eligible, his parents had never enrolled him.
After enlisting in the Army from Carthage, Mississippi, in 1940 and completing his training, Barfoot served with the 1st Infantry Division in Louisiana and Puerto Rico. In December 1941, he was promoted to sergeant and re-assigned to the Headquarters Amphibious Force Atlantic Fleet in Quantico, Virginia, where he served until the unit was deactivated in 1943. He next joined the 157th Infantry Regiment, 45th Infantry Division, and was shipped to Europe.
During the Italian Campaign, Barfoot participated in a series of amphibious landings: the Allied invasion of Sicily in July 1943, the invasion of mainland Italy at Salerno in September, and finally the landings at Anzioin late January 1944. His unit pushed inland from Anzio, and by May 1944 had reached the town of Carano. They set up defensive positions and Barfoot conducted patrols to scout the German lines. When his company was ordered to attack on the morning of May 23, Barfoot, now a technical sergeant, asked for permission to lead a squad. Because of the patrols he had made, he knew the terrain and the minefield which lay in front of the German position. He advanced alone through the minefield, following ditches and depressions, until he came within a few yards of a machine gun on the German flank. After taking out the gun with a hand grenade, he entered the German trench and advanced on a second machine gun, killing two soldiers and capturing three others. When he reached a third gun, the entire crew surrendered to him. Others also surrendered and Barfoot captured a total of seventeen German soldiers. He had killed 8.
When the Germans launched an armored counterattack later in the day, Barfoot disabled one tank with a bazooka, then advanced into enemy-held territory and destroyed an abandoned German artillery piece. He returned to his own lines and helped two wounded soldiers from his squad to the rear.
Barfoot was subsequently commissioned as a second lieutenant. His division moved into France and by September was serving in the Rhone valley. Barfoot learned he would be awarded the Medal of Honor and chose to have the presentation ceremony in the field, so that his soldiers could attend. He was formally presented with the medal on September 28, 1944, in Épinal, France, by Lieutenant General Alexander Patch.
Barfoot is one of the country's last living World War II veterans who received the Medal of Honor. He also served in the Korean War and the Vietnam War and earned a Purple Heart. He reached the rank of colonel before retiring from the Army. He currently lives in Henrico County, Virginia, near his daughter. On October 9, 2009, the portion of Mississippi Highway 16 which runs from Carthage through his hometown of Edinburg to the border between Leake and Neshoba counties was named the "Van T. Barfoot Medal Of Honor Highway." (Source: Wikipedia)
Monday, December 7, 2009
When I worked for the government there were EEO awards that were handed out to minorities and women from time to time. I never attended the luncheons where they were bestowed because (a) I didn't find that sort of thing interesting, (b) the food at those suarees is universally bad, (c) there was always something better to do during lunch even if meant watching paint dry.
Back when I was in the US Navy, officers were compelled to attend EEO update training. Keep in mind that there were no minorities in the SEAL Teams. Everyone was "an operator" irrespective of race, national origin, etc. and there were no women at all. The EEO training, I opined, was in the event that they opened up the ranks to the unqualified - who felt the need to participate and were granted leave to do so based upon the demands of "equality".
The EEO people I've encountered in my life have been universally the sort of people who were unqualified to do ANYTHING but be an EEO representative. If you owned a company, you'd never hire them because they'd be dead overhead expense with no compensating productivity. They're the drones of the workplace - the people with no potential in life, no added value to the whole, and for some reason they are now exalted within the California prison system. Go figure.
Friday, November 27, 2009
I watched the HBO Series True Blood, a more contemporary view of vampires living among us in the Southern United States. So I'm not uninformed as to vampire genre.
However, the current flood of vampire television and movies exceeds both my interest and my attention span, should I find myself interested in blood-suckers. Notwithstanding there are allusions to "sparkling vampires" and other versions of vampires in contemporary literature that I can't keep up with.
I personally prefer female vampires because they do have their own sex appeal. Could I (a mere mortal) overcome a fanged female in a fight? Would she have her way with me, or the other way round? These questions underpin the sexuality of fangs.
However the flood of vampire diaries, vampire drama, vampire feature films, vampire television, and vampire HBO (it's not television, its HBO) leave me somewhat drained.
Thursday, November 26, 2009
This is the proclamation which set the precedent for America's national day of Thanksgiving.
According to an April 1, 1864, letter from John Nicolay, one of President Lincoln's secretaries, this document was written by Secretary of State William Seward, and the original was in his handwriting. On October 3, 1863, fellow Cabinet member Gideon Welles recorded in his diary that he complimented Seward on his work. A year later the manuscript was sold to benefit Union troops.
The year that is drawing towards its close, has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added, which are of so extraordinary a nature, that they cannot fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever watchful providence of Almighty God.
In the midst of a civil war of unequaled magnitude and severity, which has sometimes seemed to foreign States to invite and to provoke their aggression, peace has been preserved with all nations, order has been maintained, the laws have been respected and obeyed, and harmony has prevailed everywhere except in the theatre of military conflict; while that theatre has been greatly contracted by the advancing armies and navies of the Union. Needful diversions of wealth and of strength from the fields of peaceful industry to the national defence, have not arrested the plough, the shuttle or the ship; the axe has enlarged the borders of our settlements, and the mines, as well of iron and coal as of the precious metals, have yielded even more abundantly than heretofore. Population has steadily increased, notwithstanding the waste that has been made in the camp, the siege and the battle-field; and the country, rejoicing in the consiousness of augmented strength and vigor, is permitted to expect continuance of years with large increase of freedom. No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy.
It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and one voice by the whole American People. I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens. And I recommend to them that while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings, they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to His tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty Hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquillity and Union.
In testimony whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the Seal of the United States to be affixed.
Done at the City of Washington, this Third day of October, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, and of the Independence of the Unites States the Eighty-eighth.
By the President: Abraham Lincoln
William H. Seward,
Secretary of State
Monday, November 16, 2009
see more Epic Fails
see more Epic Fails
see more Epic Fails
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
The near facist $2 trillion healthcare plan looming combined with a failed program to deal with the economy and Barack Hussein Obama's "Hope & Change" that translates to "Collectivize and Nationalize" is depressing not only for us, but for our posterity as well.
The sad truth is that creating government jobs merely puts a burden on those with non-government jobs who will be taxed more. The $800 billion stimulus package was not designed to stimulate anything. It was a political pay off to the hacks who contributed to Barack Hussein Obama's political victory. Typical Chicago politics...
For independent consultants, like me, it has meant a complete restructuring of the way I do business, how I find and service clients, etc. If I loose work, I am not counted by the bureau of labor statistics toward the official unemployment rate. I simply have to go it alone, uncounted and unmourned by the economy.
The solution to the problem is for the government to shrink in size, put less burden on the people, and allow the marketplace to create jobs. Thus, a victory is a victory without allowing the Federal government to take a bow. And the Washington Bureaucrats won't let that happen.
Sunday, November 8, 2009
I can't get into Jim's mind any more than I can to other friends I've lost to suicide over the years. The instant thought is always, why didn't they come to me? They met their end alone. Then again, had I been there, they wouldn't have met their end at all.
I have worked in bainful professions over the years that are barbed and thorned by problems that plague those who pursue them. Sometimes problems press people to the breaking point and nobody knows where that is until they reach it. Jim M. was different. He wasn't in the goat-rope government and never served in the military. He was almost like a son to me who I watched grow into respectable adulthood. He married, had three children and a successful job. The economic collapse hit him hard and I know there was stress in the marriage because of it. There was family money - quite a bit of it - and I don't know why he didn't turn to his parents. They were always very generous with their kids.
Maybe it wasn't one of the usual things.
Tonight I'm hurting because he's gone, he never said goodbye, and if he would have, I'd have run to where he was and helped him in any way under the Sun. In the last photo he sent me, he was riding on his ATC with his son in his lap.
Wednesday, November 4, 2009
Saturday, October 31, 2009
Shrines to La Santa Muerte or Senora de la Noche "Lady of the Night" can be found in the homes and offices of the attorneys who defend the narco-traffickers. This is the way they explained it to me. They have made a pact with death to extend their mortal lives and to give them power over others in the process. La Santa Muerte (the Saint of Death) is able to grant favors such as causing the death of others who are interested in killing you. Frequently the weapons wielded by both the police and the criminals in Mexico are blessed ritually by the Saint of Death. Worship of the Saint of Holy Death is said to bring fortune to her devotees and the narco-attorneys are all about fortune.
The Saint's Day is celebrated on November 1, August 15 (or both).
For more information about the rituals associated with La Santa Muerte, there is a forum where it is discussed (CLICK HERE ).
A serious religion, fantasy cult, dangerous black magic, or whatever it is, I found it very interesting that highly educated men and women put a lot of effort into worshiping this particular saint.
Wednesday, October 28, 2009
Sunday, October 18, 2009
Sometimes I have to resort to reading what the "best and brightest experts in some areas of life" said, in order to keep everything in its place. Academia (above) is clearly not the place to look for real answers.Neither is the mainstream media - depicted as the small dog. The larger dog (a metaphor only) is Barack Hussein Obama.
The MAINSTREAM MEDIA
"The lie can be maintained only for such time as the State can shield the people from the political, economic and/or military consequences of the lie. It thus becomes vitally important for the State to use all of its powers to repress dissent, for the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension, the truth becomes the greatest enemy of the State." (Dr. Joseph Goebbels)
"Through clever and constant application of propaganda, people can be made to see paradise as hell, and also the other way around, to consider the most wretched sort of life as paradise." (Adolf Hitler)
The democratic process that brought the current US administration to power--
Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch. Liberty is a well-armed lamb contesting the vote! (Benjamin Franklin)
“Civility in the face of evil is no virtue; rage in the face of nihilism is no vice.”(Lindsay Perigo)
Political Correctness Defined - A doctrine fostered by a delusional, illogical socialist minority, and rabidly promoted by an unscrupulous non-enquiring media, which holds forth the proposition that it is entirely possible to pick up a turd by the clean end.
"If you will not fight for your rights when you can easily win without bloodshed -- if you will not fight when your victory will be sure and not too costly -- then you may come to the moment when you will have to fight with all the odds against you and only a small chance of survival. There may even be a worse case: you may have to fight when there is no hope of victory, because it is better to perish than to live as slaves." (Winston Churchill)
AN ARMED SOCIETY
"The laws that forbid the carrying of arms are laws of such a nature. They disarm only those who are neither inclined nor determined to commit crimes....Such laws make things worse for the assaulted and better for the assailants; they serve rather to encourage than to prevent homicides, for an unarmed man may be attacked with greater confidence than an armed man." (Thomas Jefferson's "Commonplace Book," 1774-1776, quoting 18th century criminologist Cesare Beccaria in Chapter 40 of "On Crimes and Punishment", 1764.)
Thursday, October 15, 2009
Wednesday, October 14, 2009
Tuesday, October 13, 2009
Monday, October 12, 2009
I'm not asking former US Vice President to give his Nobel Peace Prize for alerting us to Global Warming back.
It seems that ice at both poles haven't been paying attention to the computer models. The National Snow and Ice Data Center released its summary of summer sea-ice conditions in the Arctic last week and reported a substantial expansion of "second-year ice" — ice thick enough to have persisted through two summers of seasonal melting.
According to the NSIDC, second-year ice this summer made up 32% of the total ice cover on the Arctic Ocean, compared with 21% in 2007 and 9% in 2008. Clearly, Arctic sea ice is not following the consensus touted by Gore and the warm-mongers. (Investors Business Daily)
____________The journal, Geophysical Research Letters published an article last month by Marco Tedesco, a research scientist at the Joint Center for Earth Systems Technology. He reported that "ice melt on Antarctica was the lowest in three decades during the ice-melt season."
Each year, millions of square miles of sea ice melt and refreeze. The amount varies from season to season. Despite pictures taken in summer of floating polar bears, data reported by the University of Illinois' Arctic Climate Research Center at the beginning of this year showed global sea ice levels the same as they were in 1979, when satellite observations began. At the other end of the earth, we are told the Larsen B ice shelf on the western side of Antarctica is collapsing. That part is warming and has been for decades. But it comprises just 2% of the continent. The rest of the continent is cooling.
Friday, October 9, 2009
Saturday, October 3, 2009
My grandson GRIFFIN (CLICK HERE) has been entered in the Baby Gap contest.
- Failed to report a statutory rape of a student. (when Jennings was a teacher in Massachusetts)
- "Radical homosexual druggie" (WorldNetDaily - Erick Rush)
- "Jennings has made extremely radical statements promoting homosexuality in schools." (Washington Times - Editorial)
- Michelle Malkin said that Jennings is a controversial homosexual rights advocate who founded a controversial organization that aggressively pushes sexually explicit books. (Malkin refers to GLSEN - Gay and Lesbian and Straight Education Network)
Wednesday, September 30, 2009
Many terrorism experts believe that key indicators show Al Qaeda and its global jihad are on the decline. The tactics they used have been widely discredited in the Muslim world as being morally wrong or strategically counterproductive. Their leadership has been thinned out ad their operatives are picked off by Hellfire missiles fired by drones or taken out by government agents. Dr. Marc Sageman, a former CIA employee says that the central Al Qaeda leadership threat has been replaced by a generation of "dispersed, aspiring terrorists linked largely by the Internet who still pose a threat but to a lesser degree."
Audrey Kurth Cronin, a professor at the National War College in Washington, cites the arcs of previous violent extremist groups, from the Russian People's Will to the Irish Republican Army, that she studied for her new book, "How Terrorism Ends." "I think Al Qaeda is in the process of imploding," she said. "This is not necessarily the end. But the trends are in a good direction." Yet the question of how much comfort to take from such an assessment, and whether it should change American counterterrorism policy, remain wide open, as shown by the Afghanistan debate and the charges against the Denver man, Najibullah Zazi.
Even counterterrorism officials who agree that Al Qaeda is on the wane, for example, say the organization might well regroup if left unmolested in a lawless region in Pakistan, Afghanistan or Somalia. Moreover, they point out that even a lone terrorist with modest skills can produce mass carnage. Six years before 9/11, with no aid from a sophisticated network, Timothy McVeigh used a simple fertilizer bomb in Oklahoma City to kill 168 people. And the 2001 calamity was the work of, at most, a few dozen plotters. Nevertheless, some government officials do take quiet, if wary, satisfaction in two developments that they say underlie the broad belief that Al Qaeda is on a downhill slope. One is the success of military Special Operations units, the C.I.A. and allies in killing prominent terrorists.
Three days apart in mid-September, American special forces in Somalia firing from helicopters killed Saleh Ali Saleh Nabhan, a leader of a Somalian organization, Al Shabab, which is allied with Al Qaeda, and the police in Indonesia killed the most-wanted terrorist in Southeast Asia, Noordin Muhammad Top, in an assault on a house in Java. In Pakistan, missile strikes from C.I.A. drone aircraft have taken a steady toll on Al Qaeda and its Taliban allies since the Bush administration accelerated these attacks last year. A count of such strikes, compiled by the Center for American Progress in Washington, found a handful in 2006 and 2007, rising rapidly to 36 in 2008, and another 36 so far in 2009, nearly all in Pakistan's tribal areas.
In addition to thinning the ranks of potential plotters, the constant threat of attack from the air makes it far harder for terrorists to move, communicate, and plan, counterterrorism officials say. And while the officials say they worry about a public backlash in response to the civilians killed during the air attacks, those officials also say the strikes may be frightening away potential recruits for terrorism.
The second trend is older and probably more critical. The celebration in many Muslim countries that followed the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks has given way to broad disillusionment with mass killing and the ideology behind it, according to a number of polls. Between 2002 and 2009, the view that suicide bombings are "often or sometimes justified" has declined, according to the Pew Global Attitudes Project, from 43 percent to 12 percent in Jordan; from 26 percent to 13 percent in Indonesia; and from 33 percent to 5 percent in Pakistan (excluding some sparsely populated, embattled areas). Positive ratings for Osama bin Laden have fallen by half or more in most of the countries Pew polled.
Peter Mandaville, a professor of government and Islamic studies at George Mason University, says a series of public recantations by prominent Islamist scholars and militants in recent years have had an effect. But the biggest catalyst has been bombings close to home. "Right after 9/11, people thought, wow, America is not invincible," Mr. Mandaville said. "It was a strike against the U.S., and they were for it." But when large numbers of innocent Muslims fell victim to attacks, "it became more and more difficult to romanticize Al Qaeda as fighting the global hegemons - basically, 'sticking it to the man.' " Support for bombings plummeted in Jordan, for example, after three bombs hit hotels in Amman in November 2005, including one at a wedding party. In Iraq, the slaughter of civilians by the group that called itself Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia prompted Sunni tribal leaders to make common cause with American forces. In Pakistan, proliferating bombings, including the 2007 attack that killed Benazir Bhutto, soured most people of all social classes on Qaeda-style violence.
In addition, Al Qaeda, for all its talk of global religious war, offered no practical solutions for local problems: unemployment, poverty, official corruption and poor education. "People realized bin Laden didn't have anything to offer," Dr. Mandaville said. Weighing the importance of such statistics is tricky, however. Bruce Hoffman, a terrorism expert at Georgetown University who is often consulted by government agencies, is a dissenter from what he acknowledged has become a majority view among counterterrorism specialists about the decline of Al Qaeda. Despite the sinking poll numbers, Mr. Hoffman said, "Al Qaeda's core demographic is young hotheads aged 16 to 28, and I still don't think it's lost its appeal to that demographic." He said many terrorist groups kill their compatriots and become unpopular, but still remain in business. "Terrorism ends, sure," he said. "But with Al Qaeda it may be 50 years, and we're only eight years away from 9/11."
Even those who are convinced Al Qaeda is growing weaker offer a cautious prognosis about what that might mean. They say that what is growing less likely is an attack on American soil with a toll equal to or greater than that of 9/11. But they concede that the example of Al Qaeda will continue to produce copycats: "Bin Laden has given others a narrative, a grand story of struggle, and he's given them tactics as well," Dr. Mandaville said. Dr. Sageman said the United States should approach the threat not with hysteria, but with a careful analysis of the motives and patterns of people drawn into violent plotting. "Terrorism," he added, "is here to stay." The news last week made that crystal clear, but it also made clear a corresponding reality: counterterrorism, too, is here to stay, and is achieving some successes. Al Qaeda has no entirely safe haven today, and the Afghanistan debate is over how to keep it that way. And if the arrest of Mr. Zazi sent a shudder through many Americans, it's worth remembering that it came before any bombs went off.
Sunday, September 27, 2009
Friday, September 25, 2009
There are some who would worship the nameless (or named) God. There are many names for God and depending on your religion, they are also attributes of the Most High.
Thursday, September 24, 2009
Does this qualify as "school prayer"?
Tuesday, September 22, 2009
Monday, September 21, 2009
Sunday, September 20, 2009
AmeriCorps paramilitaries (right) in uniform - a tattoo is encouraged to show your commitment to the cause.