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Still Alive and Well

Notice… this is not a dead post. Do not unplug the life support unit. There will be more posts somewhere, somehow. Motivation will return.  In the meantime, enjoy this picture of our puppy.  Her name is Puddles. She will enjoy the attention.



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Honoring our Heroes on Memorial Day

Part of the routine Army training is learning how to take a house. It’s mostly the infantry who does this, but the rest of us learn it also, just in case. One guy kicks in the front door, and the soldiers rush in, single file, to clear each room an subdue any bad guys. My initial training, was with a bunch of other first-timers in  a model city with paintball guns, with instructors playing the bad guys. Our leader kicked the door in on cue, and our lead guy froze, just outside the open door, holding us all back. The cadre came stomping over, wanting to know what his problem was. Of course, it was that there was probably a guy on the other side ready to shoot him.

Get this straight, we were told. If  you’re the first guy into an armed house, you’re going to die. Get used to it. Do the job right, and your buddie behind you has a chance. Wetried it again. He moved to slow, and got a paintball in the chest. I followed, and got two in the neck (I had a giant hickey-looking thing there for a week).

I’ve always been in awe of our Infantry guys. They go house to house every day, knowing what they’re getting into. Every morning  downrange, these guys wake up,and are instructed to get in a humvee and go into town, knowing the road is probably booby-traped with roadside bombs and ambushes, and the town is populated with people who will try to kill them when they get there.  And our guys say good, let’s roll.

By all means, they aren’t the only ones taking risks or losing people. Far from it. But they step up and roll out every day with a target on their chest, so the rest of us don’t have to.

So far, more than 4,400 American troops have lost their lives in Iraq, and another 1,000 in Afghanistan. That doesn’t count the soldiers from other coalition coutries. And more are adding to the list as we speak.  And that doesn’t count Whatever you may think about this war, take a minute out of your day and give a quick thanks to these men and women who gave their life for their country. They joined up to fight for something greater than themselves, to give their families and friends a better life.  


by  Charles M. Province

It is the Soldier, not the minister
Who has given us freedom of religion.

It is the Soldier, not the reporter
Who has given us freedom of the press.

It is the Soldier, not the poet
Who has given us freedom of speech.

It is the Soldier, not the campus organizer
Who has given us freedom to protest.

It is the Soldier, not the lawyer
Who has given us the right to a fair trial.

It is the Soldier, not the politician
Who has given us the right to vote.

It is the Soldier who salutes the flag,
Who serves beneath the flag,
And whose coffin is draped by the flag,
Who allows the protester to burn the flag.

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RIP Dennis Hopper

For all he’s accomplished in his career (his 1995 Nike commercial being among the his best work ),  I still am fondest of 1969’s Easy Rider, which still stands tall after 40 years. More than any other movie, it captured America’s societal landscape (I stole that phrase from Wikipedia) during the  6o’s. I’m going to have to dig up a copy and watch it again this weekend.

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Road Sign Hackers Are My New Heroes



I don’t know who the first genius was that has the bright idea to hack into electronic road signs, but he/she and all that follow deserve credit for making traffic jams suck just a little bit less….

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Dear Auntie M:

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Are You Lost?

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Rand Paul, Litmus Test

Rand Paul, Candidate for U.S. Senate (Kentucky) and son of the world’s most famous Libertarian, has spent the past couple of weeks bucking for the title. He claimed King of the Hill last week, when the entire country went agog over his belief that the federal government should not have the power to prohibit private businesses from denying service to people based on race (or gender, or religious belief, or hair color, or height).

Rand Paul, newly minted political litmus test

After sacrificing his chances for election to Rachel Maddow, America went into it’s expected tizzy. Depending on which television talking head was wailing, Paul is either a fool, a diehard racist, or even a wimp for backtracking on his statements.

Yet in the zeal of the political left to capitalize on an opportunity, and the media to put on a rating-grabbing show, we’re missing the chance to take advantage of the moment to have a serious political debate.

Although Paul is running as a Republican, his views are classic Libertarianism. More than 15 percent of Americnas identified themselves as Libertarians in 2006, and it’s easy to believe that number has risen significantly since the economy tanked two years ago. More and more citizens want the government’s hands off their money, their health care, their businesses, and their daily living. The political left risks ridiculing Paul at their own elective peril.

But Paul sees the issue in strict terms of individual liberty – if you own a business, you should be able to serve who you want. It’s an attractive argument until you follow it to its natural conclusion. Allowing private discrimination on such a level would drag us back to the late 60’s race riots. The Civil Rights Act was passed in our lifetime, and people wronged have a long memory. Pasting a “Whites Only’ sign on a restaurant now would be like waving a red flag before a bull (or possibly yelling ‘Fire!’ in a crowded theatre).

The question to be asked isn’t whether Rand is a racist, The question is at what point are individual liberties outweighed for collective order and safety, or even by the simple need to compel some people to do what’s right? It’s a question with no simple answer, and a question everybody’s to busy grandstanding to even ask.  

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