August 31, 2005


I read this story of the quest to appropriate a white cross from Cindy Sheehan's circus. It sounds like things have gotten a little more complicated in Crawford since a few weeks ago when Mrs. Sims' friend uprooted CPT Sims' cross; I guess the police are involved now in order to keep the peace at the peace protest. I love the irony in that one.

But something in this blog post really caught my eye:

Once the details were taken care of, we were given a tour of Camp Reality. There is one father who is trying to raise money to get a bronze statue (of the rifle, boots, and helmet) placed in the hometown of each fallen soldier.

Has anyone heard anything else about this idea? I think it's a beautiful goal, and I'd be interested in donating and advertising this fundraiser. Any chance any of you know more about this man? Google wasn't much help.

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August 29, 2005


We got a very good deal by buying our dog here in Germany: normally in the US a Tibetan runs around $1200. I don't know if we'll ever be able to afford one again! However, I really wish we were in the US for veterinary services. So far Charlie has been to the vet twice, at two different places, and he needs a third visit at a third doctor. Our on-post clinic is closed because the vets are deploying, so I have to find a German vet to get Charlie his last set of shots. I called some places today and had a hard time communicating. It's frustrating dealing with something very important and new to me -- caring for a living creature -- without having one consistent vet I feel comfortable turning to for advice and services.

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Stop the presses -- there's a draft going on in the military!!!!

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August 28, 2005


I honestly thought that nothing the PC crowd could do would shock me anymore.

I was wrong.

Millions of Lutherans will be able to sing a new song -- actually some 300 new songs -- to the Lord in an updated worship book that offers more options for contemporary worship and less emphasis on exclusively masculine images of God. [emphasis mine]


Denise Leslie, a delegate from Hope Lutheran Church in Cleveland Heights, said using language for God that includes women is important because "when you hear gender-neutral, things suddenly become more clear and comfortable."

Ho.Ly.Crap. Church has gone politically correct.

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The 94th Engineer Combat Battalion from our post is battling their second summer in Iraq. They were the first unit to stay a full 365 days for OIF I, and now they're back again for OIF III. I am friends with a few of 94th's wives, and I have been so impressed with their fortitude and optimism. They say that the second year is easier than the first...

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August 27, 2005


Michael Yon's account of Mosul kept me on the edge of my seat. Mama, you gotta read this one.

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Wow, I didn't know anyone had been following Mariam Sobh. I met her, as a friend of a friend, when I was at University of Illinois; we had a pleasant, if superficial, lunch one day. After I graduated, I continued to follow the Daily Illini newspaper and check on Mariam's columns from time to time. I know once she wrote that the hijab is an honored tradition dating back to the Koran. I emailed her and politely pointed out an article by Amir Taheri about how the hijab was actually introduced in the 70's in Iran. She wrote back and politely told me that Amir Taheri is a well-known liar and that I shouldn't believe what he says. I basically blew the whole thing off and forgot about it until now. Hmm, who's the well-known liar now?

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August 26, 2005


The dog was acting really ornery, so I decided he needed some time outside. He was so hyper, and we were playing and having fun when he made a sudden jerk and pulled the leash out of my hands...and ran into the street in front of a car. I nearly had a heart attack. Luckily the car slowed down and I managed to chase Charlie back to the grass and grab him. We're never going outside again.

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We hear a lot about the Army not meeting its recruiting goals this year, but here's something I hadn't heard yet anywhere:

The active Army’s fiscal 2005 recruiting goal is 80,000, but Schoomaker said he and his generals are predicting that the service will be “a couple of thousand short” when the fiscal year ends Sept. 30.

That shortfall can be absorbed without affecting the ArmyÂ’s operations, Schoomaker said, because it only takes 72,000 new recruits to sustain the force.

“What this really means is that we’re not building the 30,000 [increase] as fast as I’d like, Schoomaker said, referring to the Army’s ongoing effort to boost its end-strength from 480,000 to 510,000 by 2007.

So the goal is set higher than what they need. It's not good to be short, but it's not the end of the world, as some would like us to believe. Schoomaker continues:

But when it comes to judging the Army’s health, it is the Army’s continuing success at keeping soldiers, not bringing in new ones, that is the service’s true “report card,” Schoomaker said.

All 10 of the active ArmyÂ’s divisions have met 100 percent or more of their retention goals, Schoomaker said, with the highest re-enlistments posted by units either in combat or freshly home from Iraq or Afghanistan.

Outstanding news.

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August 25, 2005


Some Thoughts on Casualties in Times of War and Peace

The media's breathless tabulation of casualties in Iraq--now, over 1,800 deaths--is generally devoid of context. Here's some context: between 1983 and 1996, 18,006 American military personnel died accidentally in the service of their country. That death rate of 1,286 per year exceeds the rate of combat deaths in Iraq by a ratio of nearly two to one.

The Grunts...and The Press...

The Grunts aren't Rhodes Scholars, but they have seen the press show its ass. Their jobs have been made harder because some idiot with a typewriter decided that his right to shout "Fire!" in a crowded theater overrode the simple human decency of restraint.

Col. Thomas Spoehr is annoyed

Spoehr is the director of materiel on the Army staff. He had a good news story to tell [reporter Michael] Moss, which Moss converted into a bad news story.

Most of these links are taken from or found via Conservative Grapevine. You really should check it out every day; John Hawkins consistently finds gems on blogs I've never even heard of.

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Now that everyone and his dog has a blog, I do so understand this feeling.

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My husbandÂ’s roommate in college came to the US from Poland. He was going to try to make his fortune in New York City, but there was a better deal for flights to Chicago at that time. He left with only the money in his pocket to make a new life for himself. He worked three part-time jobs while he was at college with us; I honestly canÂ’t remember ever seeing him sleep in the entire time IÂ’ve known him. I remember laughing when he finally saved enough to buy a piece of crap car on eBay, and my husband still sometimes brings up the moneysaving kitchen tips he learned from his roommate.

I talked to him this morning, and I can’t erase the huge grin from my face. He has a good job in the cellphone industry now, he’s working on his MBA, and he just bought his second house, one for him to live in and another to “rent out and build some equity.” I laughingly told him that he’s finally living the American Dream; he replied that he is doing so well that he’s actually getting fat. I am so happy for him.

I need to check on our other friend, a Bulgarian who I swear wore the same shirt and pants every day when I first met him. HeÂ’s just finishing up his internship in med school.

What a wonderful country ours is.

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Pixy Misa, he's our man
if he can't do it, no one can!

I got quite a shock yesterday to find that my website was gone. Naturally I haven't saved anything I've written, so I dealt with the imaginary trauma that everything was gone. I guess I'd better begin backing things up.

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August 23, 2005


Hilarious Dilbert cartoon via CaliValleyGirl

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August 21, 2005


For many soldiers, this is the face of Iraq...


This is their experience and what they remember from their time in Iraq. But reader Tanker sent me a link to another face of war. It's another very real aspect of Iraq these days...


The difficulty with the war in Iraq is the differing missions. One soldier's experience could be mighty different from another's, and when both write home and tell friends and family what "war" is like, they're going to paint a very different picture. That's how my favorite reservist ended up in a conversation where someone said, "You guys just stayed in camp and took pictures, right?", when in fact over half of the soldiers in his unit saw major action and are suffering from PTSD. FOB Anaconda has a Baskin Robbins and salsa dancing night; my husband and his platoon spent 87 days living IN Iraq, outside the safe confines of an American FOB. If your daughter is lying around in a bikini in Iraq, you'll have a vastly different view on the uptempo of the war than the Marlboro Man's mom does.

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August 20, 2005


I started thinking today about lies. Why is it that we seem to have an endless parade of adults charging liar-liar-pants-on-fire?

Just because you're ignorant doesn't mean the other person is a liar. That was the case when we played Scattergories: people had never heard of the German city we used, and so they called us liars. Moreover, just because you want something to be false doesn't mean the other person is a liar. That was the case with Grey Eagle, where she and her other commenters insisted that I am a liar, even when I gave proof (in the form of URLs to slutty websites that female soldiers were running). And just because someone turned out to be wrong, doesn't mean he's a liar. That's the charge that President Bush faces every day: googling Bush lies brings 7.5 million hits, even when the Clinton administration was also convinced there were WMDs.

What is the problem here? Why are grown-ups running around with less class and manners than the 7th graders I taught? Why is civility dead?

Maybe calling someone a liar makes these people feel better about themselves and their shaky hold on truth. As Pirsig said, people are typically only zealous about things that are uncertain. But I get so sick and tired of the liar charge. Can't we all try to behave like adults?

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August 17, 2005


This website (via Sully) made me laugh simply because it reminded me of my husband and his old roommate. They used to make up stuff like this about the opposing baseball team's players, such as "I heard Benny Agbayani once ran over a puppy and instead of stopping to notify the family, he backed up and ran over it again." The more absurd, the better. They used to have me in stitches with this stuff.

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Our lazy, lazy puppy.


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I read the book Bias in two days; I couldn't put it down. Goldberg's argument is that the media skews left not because of some conspiracy but because those in the media don't recognize their worldview as being liberal; they simply see themselves as rational and reasonable. The problem is that a big chunk of America doesn't see the world the way they do.

My husband and I saw a good example of this subtle liberalism in the media on our vacation. We were watching Dateline in the hotel, a segment on gay adoption. The story of two lesbians opened with "It was a fairy tale romance..." My husband guffawed, "I don't know what fairy tales they've been reading!" I personally don't have any problem with homosexuals, and in select cases I don't have a problem with gay adoption, but I do raise my eyebrows at lesbian romance being called "fairy tale". Who wrote that line? And how many people let it slide? Did no one see how odd it sounds? Roughly half of the US population doesn't support gay adoption and probably doesn't consider lesbians to be the stuff of tales and legends. But to the liberals in the media, this statement was unobjectionable.

Yesterday I saw a Law & Order: SVU that made me cringe. The episode, called "Hate", featured the death of two Muslims. Guess who did it? Yep, some crazy white kid. Oh, and not like sleeper-cell Muslims; these two were members of an organization where Muslims and Jews work together in harmony. So this white kid kills two of the most sympathetic Muslims in NYC, and then in his uncontrolable rage he stomps to death another Arab in his holding cell. See how racist white people are?

And then the kicker. The DA's office is discussing whether they should charge this guy under hate crime laws. The police captain says that they should because obviously this man "acted out of hate, that matters." The ADA balked, saying that she hesitates to invoke the hate crime legislation too often because of the slippery slope effect. "What if a black man kills a klansman or a gay man kills a homophobe -- where do we draw the line?"

Come again?

Obviously I'm not as rational and reasonable as the show's liberal writers. I personally subscribe to the South Park school of thought when it comes to hate crime laws, but if we're going to have them, then of course I think a black man killing a klansman or a gay man killing a homophobe should count. The underlying message this ADA was sending was that there's a right and wrong way to hate: if a klansman kills a black man, well that's atrocious, but if the black man kills the klansman, well that's justified. What a bunch of BS.

Things like this are the subtle liberal ideas that pervade our media. It is accepted as a given that lesbians live happily ever after and black men should be given some leeway if they kill a racist. Those are the little digs that make me want to shut the TV off and stand barefoot in the kitchen.

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August 16, 2005


Our president grieves.

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