The California Republican

This blog was created in order to report on a streak of conservatism currently taking hold in California. Recent events, and voting records show much of the same here in California, but the trend is one that is certainly in our favor.

Friday, December 31, 2004

Interesting Photograph

Saw this on The Talkmaster - Neal Boortz's website.



Fair enough, he still deserves help, I just hope he realizes who's side he is really on one day.

Role Models, School Obesity, & Why the Left is Wrong

Ok, since I am in such a facetious mood, and I just finished wiping the tears from my eye after reading a blurb from Michelle Malkin's blog titled: "HEALTH CRISIS ALERT: CALL MICHAEL MOORE," I must admit, there is an obesity gap going on.

First let me bring up the stick which stirred the proverbial soup, (is it soup?, no pudding ya pudding). Preschool Obesity Rises

I submit to you that the left is being anti-humanitarian for propping up overweight people in their party, while at the same time attacking the flaws of others.

  • Michael Moore vs. Arnold Schwarzenegger: Need I say any more?
  • George Bush vs. Bill Clinton: A pro-military ex-rugby player who falls off equipment while outdoors and chokes on the occasional pretzel OR a military-loathing philanderer who only runs when we finds out McDonald's is serving lunch.
  • Rudy Guiliani vs. Teddy Kennedy: Ok, we have dirt on Rudy, but what a guy, he's America's Mayor. Teddy, well, he is "the conservative senator from Mass."
  • Condoleeza Rice vs. Madeline Albright: Man, I don't know where to start here, I already feel bad for making this list.
  • John Ascroft vs. Janet Reno: While true that Janet is more of a man than John will ever be, I'd put my money on John in a marathon.
  • Dick Cheney vs. John Edwards: Ok, here is one for the leftists; however, what 18 year old cannot beat up an almost-64-year-old.
  • Strom Thurmond vs. Robert Byrd: Tough one, while one man's body has passed, the other man's mind has. Coin toss?
  • John Kerry vs. Dennis Hastert: Ok, another one for the leftists; however I would add that windsailing is about as"My name is Biff and my girlfriend is Buffy" as one can get.
  • Chris Dodd vs. Trent Lott: hmm, I only pick on Mr. Dodd since the hypocrisy of the media is as unfair as this list it. Remember, one man propped up Byrd, one Thurmond. One was chastized, the other defended. Dodd is a bit more robust than Mr. Trent Lott (You might have seen him on BET).
Well guys, I apologize in advance for this juvinile display but, well, I was inspired by Michelle Malkin, like any true leftist would do, I blame her.

Global Warming... I'll Post More When I Thaw Out...

I know I know, this is the anti-thesis of post hoc ergo propter hoc; however, I don't have time to construct a reasonable argument except to say... brrrrr!!!

It is New Year's Eve, I will give the leftists a break on their Global Warming Fallacy for today.

Brilliant Op-Ed Piece in 'The Australian'

As linked from Drudge...
From Gerard Baker: (snippets)

"In the past three days I have been impressed by the originality of the latest critiques of the evil Americans. The earthquake and tsunami apparently had something to do with global warming, environmentalists say, caused of course by greedy American motorists. Then there was the rumour that the US military base at Diego Garcia was forewarned of the impending disaster and presumably because of some CIA-approved plot to undermine Islamic movements in Indonesia and Thailand did nothing about it."

"The rising death toll in Southeast Asia seems to mock our pretensions to progress. We may have been to the moon, eradicated smallpox and created eBay, we think, but when the tectonic plates move we are no more secure than were the barefoot citizens of Pompeii."



Link to full article.

Some Points to Ponder Dec 31, 2004






Thursday, December 30, 2004

Frightening Photography From Yahoo, AP, AFP, Reuters...










Awesome Tsunami Help Site

The SEA-EAT blog for short. News and information about resources, aid, donations and volunteer efforts.

I encourage you all to do what you can.

Bush Sends Delegation to South Asia


Bush is sending Colin Powell and Jeb Bush, along with a full delegation, to South Asia in order to set-up and coordinate relief efforts from the Indian Ocean Quake & Tsunamis.

Powell and Bush will be expected to combine their expertise in gathering as much information as possible. Bush is well-known for his skilled management of natural disasters in hurricane-prone Florida. To me, this is a step in the right direction.

A few points worth noting, or at least worthy of consideration:

  • Florida receive over 13 billion in aid this past hurricane season.
  • Bush has an MBA and is well-known for his planning abilities; therefore, it is premature to criticize relief efforts.
  • The U.S., Australia, India, and Japan have set up an aid coalition separate from the UN.
  • Some on the left are claiming that Bush is being stingy and insensitive for only allowing $35 million in aid, and waiting a few days before speaking.
  • UN International Development Secretary Clare Short says that "Bush is undermining the UN with aid coalition." However, the UN just created and fostered the largest fiscal scandal in world history.
  • Democratic strategists are already hitting the talk shows criticizing Bush and his reactions.
  • This is nowhere near the first catastrophe that has occurred recently. History shows that these events dot our history on this earth quite regularly.
I encourage independent thought on all of the above before I address each one individually.

Time for my take:
  • Florida obviously got so much, so fast because it was a critical political moment. I firmly believe Bush would have been as generous no matter what (Kerry, Clinton, anyone else too); however, the haste in government pledges were supplemented by the political atmosphere. What does this mean? Nothing. What it really speaks toward is the American way of life. This is not to say anything good or bad, just a matter of fact. Now, personally, I believe all human life is worth the same. I am one of those who believes that moral issues apply equally to all no matter whom the recipient may be.
  • Bush is a brilliant man, read again: brilliant. If he doesn't awe you with his political abilities, then look at his cabinet. Consider that he is the first American President with an MBA and consider how that might affect his decision making. To me, that shows that he is a planner, and assessor, and an efficiency-orientated individual.
  • The aid coalition Bush has instituted is simply common-sensical. These countries all have vibrant economies, have capable naval capabilities, and all have personnel and money ready to go. They are all coastal countries quite familiar with disaster. I firmly support this, and any other action which distances us from the UN.
  • Some leftists and some journalists are claiming that Bush is insensitive for being on vacation (so was Koffi Annan). They also blast him for spending $40 million on his 2nd inauguration. Well, this is a free country, and those monies come from private donations. He is entitled to spend that money how he likes (I wonder how much Michael Moore and George Soros contributed). Ok I apologize, I don't want to know; however, I do want this baseless criticism to go away.
  • Mrs. Short claims we are subverting the UN? So what. To put it bluntly, who cares. First of all, the UN is not the most capable organization to handle relief and aid. Iraq proves that beyond a reasonable doubt. Secondly, the UN has lost a lot of moral authority even though she claims that the UN is the only body with moral authority. I would really like to know how many (if there were any and I suspect there were) people died due to their administration of the Oil for Food project.
  • Pathetic, politicizing one of the world's worst disasters ever is disgusting and tantamount to evil. I say evil because this puts a select few out in a field all by themselves. This is called hedonistic egoism pure and simple. These guys are saying anything to gain power, the ends justify the means and they pleasure themselves by finding sticks to poke in Bush and America's eye.
  • Bam, Iran, Rwanda, Bangladesh, Iraq, Ethiopia, North Korea... Whether natural disaster or man-made, the world sees suffering on gigantic scales almost constantly. What I see is a good vision: helping everyone who needs help without bias, from the UN; yet, the selective help being given is horrible. The same can be said about almost any country independently as well. We need a new coalition, and I hope this one is permanent. I also hope it is unbiased.

Breaking News: 400,000+Dead?

Red Cross estimates a possible 1,000,000 dead with true figures impossible to ever know.

Indonesia's Ambassador to Malaysia Drs H. Rusdihardjo said:

"The death toll in Acheh, the region worst hit by last Sunday's tsunami, may exceed 400,000 as many affected areas could still not be reached for search and rescue operations."


According to a report found here: Link to story.

Folks, this story just keeps getting worse and worse. Entire islands have vanished according to Indonesian officials, entire cities and village are dead.

Big Snake Rescues Three

What?!?

There is some sad news further down this article; however, this miracle is worth noting...

"The mother shouted, 'please help save my children. Let me be, but please save my children,' Riza recounted, in tears.

As she struggled for her own life and that of the twins, she said a large snake as long as a telephone pole approached her. She and the nine-year-olds rested on the reptile, which was drifting along with the current.

'Thank God, we landed on higher ground where the water level was only about a meter deep. The twins, who were badly injured, were safe.' Riza then slapped her face to make sure she wasn't dreaming."

Link to article


5.55 Inches Rain, Twister, 4ft. Snow, Mudslides.... We Are Lucky

The recent California storms are not getting much news for good reason. Our most drastic weather pales in comparison or trajedy to the victims of the quake and subsequent tsunamis. That said, it is worth noting than California is getting dumped on big time.


I work in the mountains most days and normally live for weather like this, but it is sometimes difficult to love extreme weather when other people suffer.

Let's hope everyone gets through this unscathed.

Record Rainfall
California Twister?!?
7 dead, 2 missing

Tsunami Videos

Cheese and Crackers
Wizbang

These guys are providing an essential service. Good job guys.

Wednesday, December 29, 2004

Mercy Corps - Earthquake/Tidal Wave Relief


I, like most of you, have been looking for ways to help the victims of the Southeast Asian Quake and subsequent tsunamis. I looked quite hard for a place that would get the most "bang for my buck." This search lead me to Mercy Corps.

With Mercy Corps, I have found an organization that is already on scene in the most hard-hit areas. Also, they have a history of handling hundreds of millions of dollars responsibly.

Therefore, I am recommending Mercy Corps as a possible outlet for your donations. There are three big reasons that made them stand out.

  1. They are already there. This means overhead is cut way down. Also, they have long standing relationships with rivaling armies conducting an ongoing civil war and have full access.
  2. They operate efficiently. Currently they show 91% of all funds going toward aid and only 9% overhead.
  3. They were first on scene at the Aceh area, and are reporting comparable figures to that of Yusuf Kalla, Indonesian Vice President. Mercy Corps estimates a possible 70,000 dead in Ache alone while Mr. Kalla predicts a possible 80,000 dead in Aceh alone.
Any aid giving will help, I just thought that this may help some of those on the fence in finding a responsible place to donate.

More Tsunami Information

... for freaks like me....

If you have eben following this site, you will notice how closely we have followed the tsunamis/quake damage.

A fellow blogger has went above and beyond and created an awesome information map.

Unparalleled in my estimation...

Informative map
The Swanky Conservative

A Great Point, Kudos to Bloggers



"I think it's safe to say that bloggers have found yet another niche - the 21st Century equivalent of the 20th Century Ham Radio Operators who were often the only source of information and communication during disasters large and small."



Brilliant!

We Might Have Avoided This Disaster At Least...



Scientists now say we appear to be safe. They claim that the asteroid named "2004MN4" had a 2.7 % chance of striking the earth causing considerable local and regional damage. The rock measured approximately 1/4th mile wide.

"An Earth impact on April 13, 2029 can now be ruled out," read a statement issued Monday evening by asteroid experts Don Yeomans, Steve Chesley and Paul Chodas at NASA (news - web sites)'s Jet Propulsion Laboratory."

Death Toll Soars Past 100,000 As Predicted. *Hits 120,000

Perhaps predicted is not the right word. What I have been doing is compiling official statements based on two things.

  1. Confirmed deaths per country.
  2. Estimated deaths per country.

Currently, the death toll stands at approx. 100,000 confirmed dead.

Estimates based on official statements approximate that there may be an additional 40,000 dead in Ache alone. Combined estimates push the death toll to well over 150,000 dead. I would say that based on what we have seen, the death toll will be between 130,000 and *170,000 dead from the quake/tsunami and direct injuries. If that is not scary enough, the UN, the WHO, and other experts are painting a bleak worst case scenario; they suggest that disease may double the death toll.

Interestingly enough, and my friend at dougpetch.com alerted me to this story; animals seems to have survived unscathed. Story 1, Story 2.

This should be of no surprise really. Animals rely on instinct to survive. I can tell you with great certainty that even a good number of humans "knew" something was going on, even before the shoreline receded 1,000 feet by some estimates. The difference is, acting upon instinct. The fatal blow to humans is their reliance on government and technology. Upon seeing some of the footage being released, it is clear that even those taking video were simply frozen by fear and not knowing how to act in such a situation. I must say, I cannot blame them. No one reacted improperly really, some jus got more lucky than others. I do suspect we will learn of subtle indicators as stories are told.

This is not to say humans are weak because of their dispositions, but most certainly weak(er) in situations like these. Reports of "odd animal behavior" preceding a disaster are a dime a dozen, and it should surprise no one to learn about this. What is surprising however, is the scope of the animal kingdom which headed to high ground. It is as if Mother Nature herself put out a distress signal to beacon the animals to safety.

The worst story of this event is the fact that humans received a beacon as well. Within twenty minutes, the USGS had alerted many nations and organizations to the tsunami threat. We do not know enough to state anything further than that, but it does paint a sad picture.

In other events, Bush has moved toward forming a disaster recovery alliance with Australia, Japan, and India. Some of our closest allies in the world; these nations will lead an effort to help the entire area. This is a very smart move, further distancing the U.S. from the U.N. I support this endeavour 100% and vow to do what I can to support it and inform anyone interested.

Living in a coastal town right on a major fault line and coupled with the fact that I am a natural disaster freak, I have always been quite aware of "remote possibilities." It all started as a child learning and/or watching about Mt. St. Helens, then Pompeii, then Krakatoa etc... I could never turn my head, I just wanted to see more and learn more. This, to my dismay, has caused me to look pretty silly in front of friends at times. Most recently, I took a buddy fishing on the beach for surf perch. It is within walking distance, but I insisted on driving. I told him, "Rich, stay aware of the ground while we fish, the slightest earthquake could bring in enormous tsunamis." I explained that what feels like a 2.0 here, may be an 8.0 somewhere else. I further told him about tsunamis which have hit our specific beaches in the past. Needless to say, I am coined a worry wart, or paranoid. I just call it interested. The reason I write this is to further justify my curiosity and interest in the unfolding events.


WMD!!! Waves of Mass Destruction

Some very weird news coming in that I would like to share with you all. First and foremost, for those following my site for accurate information, I will provide some facts.


Tuesday, December 28, 2004

Quake Details....



Click Here:For great quake info.

Despite My Sorrow, I Bring Great News

I am obligated to report this. Not because it negates the horrors of the Asian devastation, but because we as humans, must find things to enjoy and smile at in order to cope.

I am grinning ear to ear although it is mostly due to pride, not extreme joy or happiness.

BOO-YAH!!! Rams Beat Eagles!




Rams beat the Eagles in a 20-7 upset. Stars of the game were Marc Bulger and rookie Stephen Jackson. Go home team!!!

Devastating Update. *68,000 Dead, Final Estimates Much Higher

68,000 Now confirmed dead.

Indonesia's vice president has been very candidso far, and with 27,000 dead counted in Indonesia, the vice president claims that their nation's death toll could reach 50,000 alone.

This puts the highest estimate at 86,000.
Yusuf Kalla Says Indonesia May Have 50,000 Dead.

Update #1 Death Toll Exceeds 68,000

... highest projected estimates hover just below 95,000 currently...

Update #2 Death Toll Could Exceed 100,000, Experts Say

Some Points to Ponder Dec. 27 2004



With such a busy news cycle, I am resigning myself toward doing some linking. I am doing this because there are so many things I want to cover, but my attention is devoted to the Southeast Asian Crisis.

I am what some might call a natural disaster freak. I actively seek out extreme weather in life, and I am completely enthralled by all natural disasters. I do not take such intrest out of morbid curiosity, or destruction estimates. No, I just have an unrival respect for the power of God and Mother Earth. From supervolcanoes to tornadoes, earthquakes to fires, I am simply amazed by the power of nature.

Therefore I bring you my first ever installment of "Points to Ponder." I suppose I will use this forum whenever news is so abundant that I cannot put things into words myself.

Once Again: Unions Destroying Business

Over the holidays, something major happened. In light of the recent world events, it has not been covered *too much,* but chances are you have heard. US Airline employees conducted an illegal strike which all but crippled their operations. Over 40 destinations were cacelled, thousands were stranded and plans ruined, and countless baggage was lost and/or delayed.


It turns out, employees in a chat-room/message board decided to hurt their company by conducting this illegal strike. They recently voted in a pay cut in order to save their business. I suppose they were angry over that.

Before we get too far, I would remind you of an event that took place in Chicago. Teamsters who belonged to a fairly healthy company "no-showed" in order to support their brethren striking at a competing packing/shipping plant. The resulting strike meant that the company closed and shut down. Sure, poor management resulted in disaster due to one day's strike, but the employees are ultimately responsible for an unannounced strike.

Every single employee without a doctor's note should be fired from US Airlines. Speaking of course of those who called in sick. These people do not deserve jobs, nor are they worth a dime to any employer as far as I am concerned.

In the age of NAFTA, Global Economics, Outsourcing, and Cut-backs, American businesses can not afford to be bullied by union thuggery. What good does it do to strike when it results in you being unemployed?

A big thumbs-down to the unions and employees who decided to call in sick over the holidays.

Now, on top of their devastating illegal strike, the unions are blaming the Airline for not having risk management insurance, and for not being prepared for this strike. Pathetic!

Update #1 US Airways asks employees to work for free.

Another Reason: America, Denounce the U.N.


Despite the fact that as of last night, the U.N had not donated any monies to the relief cause, U.N. Undersecretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Jan Egeland, told reporters than some European countries and the United States were being stingy.

"It is beyond me why are we so stingy, really, Christmastime should remind many Western countries at least, [of] how rich we have become. There are several donors who are less generous than before in a growing world economy, politicians in the United States and Europe believe that they are really burdening the taxpayers too much, and the taxpayers want to give less. It's not true. They want to give more."


What Mr. Egeland does not realize is that the U.S. is already the major source of monies, and that we are already giving monies to the relief cause in Southeast Asia. In 2003, the U.S. donated almost $16 billion dollars to relief efforts. The second source of monies was Japan with almost $9 billion. The UN has asked that all countries agree to donating 0.7% of their GNP in relief aid, and they have been very critical of those nations who do not follow suit.

This brings me to my first question. Why would any nation who is looking to spend their tax dollars wisely donate money to, and/or through, the U.N.? The U.N. is fresh off the largest scandal in world history, the Oil for Food Scandal. Their gross mis-management led to thousands of deaths, and enabled Saddam Hussein and Palestinian terrorism. The U.N. has not earned the right to see my tax dollars in any way.

My next question may seem silly, but it is most pertinent. Why does the U.N. not count private donations? Our nations donates countless billions each year to relief efforts both home and abroad. During 9/11, our citizens donated over $1 billion. There are at least a dozen, US led organizations, in place in Southeast Asia right now operating off of American tax dollars.

In response to Egeland's asinine comments, Secretary of State Colin Powell responded:

"We will do more. I wish that comment hadn't been made. The United States has given more aid in the last four years than any other nation or combination of nations in the world,"


One last bit of info in closing... The U.S. may show a small percentage of GNP in donations, but that does not count private donations as we have already covered. In addition, the US is providing countless billions to disaster prone countries in trade, and the position on a global economy. The indirect sources are never spoken of, for the U.N. is an anti-American organization. That said, I believe the data speaks for itself.

Update: UN Official Backs Down: Rich Nations Not 'Stingy'

Monday, December 27, 2004

Death Toll in Quake/Tsunamis to Exceed *60,000, and Rising...


In an astonishing turn of events, the death toll nearly doubled based on what Indonesian Vice President Yusuf Kalla said on Monday.

"We don't have confirmed data, but I think between 21,000 and 25,000 people (have died in Indonesia)"


If his government's estimates are correct, then the overall death toll could easily exceed 42,000, making it even deadlier than Indonesiai's Krakatoa eruption in the late 1800s.

Also, quoted from The Drudge Report...

Quake May Have Altered Earth's Rotation // May have shortened the day by 3 microseconds, said gravity expert Richard Gross of Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena... On premise a slab slid into core, Gross said he's done calculations 'to see what effect this (earthquake) should have had.' The result: A day shortened... 'We won't know for weeks,' said a geophysicist at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. 'So it's a guess, as of now'...


The New York Times stated today that this disaster was somehow "amoral." I wonder what the true intent of the use of this word was.

www.dictionary.com
a·mor·al ( P ) Pronunciation Key (-môrl, -mr-)
adj.

1. Not admitting of moral distinctions or judgments; neither moral nor immoral.
2. Lacking moral sensibility; not caring about right and wrong.

In any event, disasters which claim this many lives are not uncommon.
  • Bam, Iran, 2003: earthquake (41,000 dead)
  • France, 2003: Heat wave (15,000 dead)
  • Gujarat, India, 2001: earthquake (20,000 dead)
  • Venezuela, 1999: Floods (20,000 dead)
  • Turkey, 1999: earthquake (17,000 dead)
  • Central America, 1998: Hurricane Mitch and floods (12,000 dead)
  • Tashkent, Uzbekistan, 1996: earthquake (15,000 dead)
  • West Africa, 1996: meningitis outbreak (25,000 dead)
  • North Korea, 1995-98: Famine and floods (3,500,000 dead)
  • Latur, India, 1993: earthquake (22,000 dead)
  • Bangladesh, 1991: tsunami (138,000 dead)
  • Gilan and Zanjan, Iran, 1990: 7.7 earthquake (35,000 dead)
  • Armenia, 1988: earthquake (55,000 dead)
  • Ethiopia, 1984: Famine (900,000 dead)
  • Guatemala, 1976: earthquake (23,000 dead)
  • Tangshan, China, 1976: 8.0 earthquake (255,000 dead)
  • Ethiopia, 1974: famine (200,000 dead)
  • Bangladesh, 1974: floods (28,000 dead)
  • Vietnam, 1971: Red River flood (100,000 dead)
  • Bangladesh, 1970: Sea flood (200,000 dead)
  • North Peru, 1970: 7.8 earthquake (66,000 dead)
  • China, 1960: Famine (20,000,000 dead)
  • Worldwide, 1957: Influenza pandemic (1,000,000+ dead)
  • Ashgabat, Turkmenistan, 1948: earthquake (100,000 dead)
  • Erzincan, Turkey, 1939: 7.8 earthquake (33,000 dead)
  • Quetta, Pakistan, 1935: 7.5 earthquake (30,000 dead)
  • Gansu, China, 1932: 7.6 earthquake (70,000 dead)
  • Nanshan, China, 1927: 8.3 earthquake (200,000 dead)
  • Yokohama, Japan, 1923: 8.3 earthquake (143,000 dead)
  • Gansu, China, 1920: 8.6 earthquake (200,000 dead)
  • Worldwide, 1918: Influenza pandemic (25,000,000 dead)
  • Messina, Italy, 1908: 7.5 earthquake (70,000 dead)
  • Chile, 1906: earthquake (20,000 dead)
  • Japan, 1896: Tsunami (27,000 dead)
  • Indonesia, 1883: Tsunami (36,000 dead)
  • France, 1870-71: Smallpox (500,000 dead)
  • Ireland, 1845: famine (1,000,000 dead)
  • London and Paris, 1832: Cholera epidemic (25,000 dead)
  • Iran, 1780: earthquake (200,000 dead)
  • Northamerica, 1775-82: Smallpox (130,000 dead)
  • Bengal (India), 1769: famine (10,000,000 dead)
  • Lisbon, 1755: earthquake and tsunami (30,000 dead)
  • Sevilla, Spain, 1649: Plague (80,000 dead)
  • Shensi, China, 1556: earthquake (800,000 dead)
  • Europe and Asia, 1346-52: Bubonic plague,"black death" (25,000,000+dead)
  • Holland, 1228: sea flood (100,000 dead)
  • Japan, 1181: famine (100,000 dead)
Abbrieviated List Using Google

Please Donate: Earthquake/Tidal Wave Fund

Ok folks, I found a place to donate so that your money specifically goes to help those involved in the Great Christmas Quake.

Current USAID Factbook *.pdf

Save the Children's Earthquake/Tidal Wave Fund

USAID Programs

Details of Quake and Tidal Waves

I will gladly post other links to more charities as I find them.


UPDATE!!
Doug over at www.dougpetch.com has found a wonderful list of aid organizations to which we can contribute to. Thanks again Doug.

Scroll to bottom for list of organizations.

Charitable Giving, Awareness, Participation

Our friend over at www.dougpetch.com has a great piece regarding this issue. He closes with this: "My bottom line in all this? Anything that increases awareness of and participation in charitable giving - whether that giving be of money, time, or talents - can only be considered a good thing."

What struck home about this piece is obviously the season, but also the recent world events.

I would add that anyone living in America should consider themselves lucky. Please give, and give generously.

People, especially those affected by the tsunamis, need our help all over the world.

Thanks Doug for a great article.

Link to original article.

Exclusive: Rumsfeld: Plane Shot Down Over Penn.

"I think all of us have a sense if we imagine the kind of world we would face if the people who bombed the mess hall in Mosul, or the people who did the bombing in Spain, or the people who attacked the United States in New York, shot down the plane over Pennsylvania and attacked the Pentagon, the people who cut off peoples' heads on television to intimidate, to frighten – indeed the word 'terrorized' is just that. Its purpose is to terrorize, to alter behavior, to make people be something other than that which they want to be."


...developing...

Click for full story

Update #1 Rumsfeld Misspoke (or did he?)

2004 - A Year For Change

A brief recap of some 2004 "watershed" events...

  • January 4th - NASA Rovers land on Mars.
  • January 6th - SARS outbreak.
  • January 22nd - Famous "Dean Scream."
  • February 4th - New England wins, Janet slips nip.
  • February 25th - Passion of the Christ hits theatres.
  • March 5th - San Fran. gays marry.
  • March 5th - Martha Stewart is convicted.
  • March 11th - Madrid train bombings.
  • March 15th - Putin wins Russian elections.
  • March 20th - Darfur named world's worst humanitarian crisis.
  • Marth 25th - Cat Cloning for sale.
  • April 5th - Nick Berg beheading.
  • April 22nd - Suspicious explosions in North Korea kill hundreds.
  • April 29th - Abu Ghraib broke.
  • June 11th - President Reagan's funeral.
  • June 17th - F-9/11 hits theatres.
  • June 28th - Iraqis regain soverignty.
  • July 21st - Dan Rather *finally* apologizes for fake Bush docs.
  • July 22nd - 9/11 Commission issues report.
  • July 23rd - Darfur - thousands of blacks die to Islamic fanatics.
  • July 26th - Lance Armstrong wins again.
  • August 13th - Olympics start in Greece
  • August 14th - Hurricane Charley.
  • September 3rd - Beslan school massacre - more Islamic fanatics.
  • September 4th - Hurricane Frances.
  • September 16th - Hurricane Ivan.
  • September 24th - Hurrican Jeanne.
  • October 1st - Mt. St. Helens starts acting up.
  • October 4th - Private spaceship reaches space.
  • October 9th - Afghanistan, and its women, votes.
  • October 22nd - Oil hit $55.45 USD - All time high.
  • October 27th - Boston Red Sox win Wolrd Series - Ends Curse.
  • Novemeber 2nd - Bush wins in a majority-mandate.
  • November 11th - Yassir Arafat dies.
  • November 26th - Fallujah Offensive
  • December 19th - Bush: Time's "Person of the Year."
  • December 26th - Yushinko wins Ukraine election.
  • December - 24,000+ die: Tidal waves/9.0 earthquake, Sumatra.
I will add more as I reflect on the year. Feel free to submit your own ideas.

Sunday, December 26, 2004

Thousands Dead - *9.0 Earthquake - Deadly Tsunamis

I live in an area with a 20% chance of having an 8.0 or greater earthquake in the next 30 years. The fear of this happening is very real for many seaboard residents. The worlds fifth largest ever recorded earthquake struck this morning off the coast of Sumatra. The *9.0 quake caused moderate to large tidal waves, or tsunamis, which caught the entire coastline by suprise. The current death-toll estimates exceed 10,000 people. Chile still has the honors of the world's largest recorded quake with a 9.5, and Alaska had a 9.2, but this is by far more deadly.

This quake comes just three days after an 8.1 struck off Antarctica.

Perhaps we can all pray for these people and their families, and maybe even find some way to send help.

Clink for Earthquake Details




Update #1 White House to Offer Aid
Update #2 Death Tolls Nears 12,000
Update #3 Many Deaths Were Avoidable
Update #4 Governments,Pope, Red Cross Plead for Help
Update #5 Tsunamis Hammer Africa
Update #6 Sri Lanka's Worst Ever Disaaster
Update #7 Bodies Line India's Beaches
Update #8 Quake Upgraded: 9.0
Update #9 Tsunami Warning Center
Update #10 Death Toll Nears 13,000
Update #11 Deadly Tsunamis
Update #13 Death Toll Nears 14,000
Update #14 Devastating Eyewitness Account
Update #15 Another Eyewitness Account
Update #16 Eyewitness - Oprah Regular
Update #17UN Issues Epidemic Warning
Update #18Death Toll Nears 15,000
Update #19 Death Toll Nears 24,000
Update #20 U.S. fills 60% of Red Cross request.

Saturday, December 25, 2004

President's Christmas Message


Good morning. On this Christmas day, as families across the nation gather in our homes to celebrate, Laura and I extend to all Americans our best wishes for the holidays. We hope this Christmas is a time of joy and peace for each of you, and we hope it offers you a chance for rest and reflection as you look forward to the new year ahead.

The Christmas season fills our hearts with gratitude for the many blessings in our lives. And with those blessings comes a responsibility to reach out to others. Many of our fellow Americans still suffer from the effects of illness or poverty, others fight cruel addictions, or cope with division in their families, or grieve the loss of a loved one.

Christmastime reminds each of us that we have a duty to our fellow citizens, that we are called to love our neighbor just as we would like to be loved ourselves. By volunteering our time and talents where they are needed most, we help heal the sick, comfort those who suffer, and bring hope to those who despair, one heart and one soul at a time.

During the holidays, we also keep in our thoughts and prayers the men and women of our Armed Forces, especially those far from home, separated from family and friends by the call of duty. In Afghanistan, Iraq, and elsewhere, these skilled and courageous Americans are fighting the enemies of freedom and protecting our country from danger. By bringing liberty to the oppressed, our troops are helping to win the war on terror, and they are defending the freedom and security of us all. They and their families are making many sacrifices for our nation, and for that, all Americans are deeply grateful.

The times we live in have brought many challenges to our country. And at such times, the story of Christmas brings special comfort and confidence. For 2000 years, Christmas has proclaimed a message of hope: the patient hope of men and women across centuries who listened to the words of prophets and lived in joyful expectation, the hope of Mary who welcomed God's plan with great faith, and the hope of Wise Men who set out on a long journey, guided only by a promise traced in the stars.

Christmas reminds us that the grandest purposes of God can be found in the humblest places, and it gives us hope that all the love and gifts that come to us in this life are the signs and symbols of an even greater love and gift that came on a holy night.

Thank you for listening, and Merry Christmas.

END

Thursday, December 23, 2004

Tracking the Wandering Whale

Since it is so close to Christmas time, and network news has all the "sensational bad news" covered, I thought we would lighten things up a bit today with a fun story about a BIG creature.


While this is just a random mother blue whale and her calf, a blue whale may indeed be the mystery creature. Some of the largest blue whales ever recorded have been 120 feet long and tipped the scales at over 160 tons. That's a biggun alright!

Anyway, let's get to the story...

Click for Story

A blurb to peak your curiosity...


For the past 15 years, the Navy has been eavesdropping on an odd beast that wanders the North Pacific Ocean.

It’s a whale, of the baleen group that includes the humpbacks, and it may be some kind of blue whale. Nobody knows, but he (or she) has an unusual voice, which allows Navy hydrophones to pick it out from all the thousands of other whales in millions of square miles of empty ocean and follow its wanderings.

And wander it does. Passive hydrophone tracking has been used to monitor sea mammals for a long time, but usually the recordings have lasted for minutes, perhaps a few hours.

This whale has been recorded for months at a time.

Not continuously, of course, but the voice is so distinctive that Navy locators are able to fix its position closely enough to reconstruct its path. One year’s track was followed for more than 11,000 kilometers, nearly 6,000 miles.

The whale with a voice but no name is called the “52-Hz Whale” by researchers at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. A research paper on “52-Hz” was published in Deep-Sea Research recently.

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

Just Leave Christmas Alone - By Charles Krauthammer

This is a piece by one of my favorite columnists and political thinkers, Charles Krauthammer.


A blurb to whet your appetite. "It is Christmas time, and what would Christmas be without the usual platoon of annoying pettifoggers rising annually to strip Christmas of any Christian content?" He continues... " The attempts to de-Christianize Christmas are as absurd as they are relentless. The United States today is the most tolerant and diverse society in history. It celebrates all faiths with an open heart and open-mindedness that, compared to even the most advanced countries in Europe, are unique.

Yet more than 80 percent of Americans are Christian, and probably 95 percent of Americans celebrate Christmas. Christmas Day is an official federal holiday, the only day of the entire year when, for example, the Smithsonian museums are closed. Are we to pretend that Christmas is nothing but an orgy of commerce in celebration of . . . what? The winter solstice? "

I highly recommend signing on to read his columns. I know registering can be a pain, especially to the Washington Post, but Charles makes it worth it.

Link to Article

Should He Stay or Should He Go?

I am on record voicing my opinion on this matter almost a year ago. Before I reveal my conclusion on this though, let us discuss the points at hand. I am speaking, of course, about Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld. There are very real benefits and negatives that need weighed. Decisions such as firing someone due to biases or partisan feelings are unethical. This is the first lesson of critical thinking, management, and ethics. Never allow personal feelings to get in the way of a fair decision. Too many of us will not allow that to happen; however, I will present some facts on both sides before revealing my opinion.


First the positives:

1. He is extremely loyal. The administration trusts him to carry out the will of the President. I would not call him a puppet, rather a life-long believer in his convictions, which largely coincide with Bush's beliefs. A president should be able to trust his cabinet. Donald is doing this aspect of his job well.

2. He is strongly pro-military and for making the military more "efficiently lethal." This is another vital duty of the Secretary of Defense. He has a rich history of supporting our troops through both visionary and not so visionary means.

3. He won two wars decidedly. Before Afghanistan, the only thing anyone could talk about is how impossible the Taliban and Al Qeada were to defeat militarily. They would cite Russia as the prime example. We won in weeks, decidedly. We arguably won the Iraq War too fast. We went so fast that we left too much behind. In the "regular-military" aspect, Rumsfeld won two wars.

4. He is qualified. He is probably one of the most qualified, as far as credentials and records go, persons to run the Pentagon in America. He has also served the American public for decades.


Some negatives:

1. Rumsfeld fought Powell for the job of rebuilding Iraq. He won this fight. He was ill prepared for this job, and his shortcomings have indirectly led to many American deaths. Mistakes are made in war. During WWII, and Vietnam, some mistakes led to thousands dead. While the scope of Rumsfeld’s mistakes has not had the same body count, they remain nonetheless.

2. Rumsfeld refuses to accept any blame for anything, anytime, for any reason. He comes across as arrogant, unapologetic, and insensitive to any of his failures. From Abu Ghraib, to the armor issue, to everything in between. Instead of humility, he is rigid. I support most of his actions, but in a time of war, he should either stop giving press conferences, or start trying to relate to the public.

3. He, despite knowing the consequences, failed to publicly oppose the recent security bill. As it originally stated, the military would have lost many intelligence capabilities; thus, the military would have been placed in even more danger. Sometimes his loyalty "cuts off the nose to spite the face."

4. He is rapidly losing the trust of the American people. If the American people do not trust the leader of the war machine, then resolve will quickly dissolve.

5. He is/was on board with embedded journalists. Get the reporters off of the front line. America has a right, and a need to know, but not live, and first hand.


Ok, my conclusion. Rumsfeld, even though we agree with many things, I feel that you are not doing the best job possible. When Americans are dying, we need the best person possible in the job you have. I think you are a capable man and are deserving of more credit than blame. However, I feel we could do better. The biggest reason is that the public is losing faith in you.



Therefore, with all due respect Mr. Secretary, I would like to see you step down after the Iraq elections. I also thank you for all that you have done.


Addendum:
My friend over at www.dougpetch.com raises an excellent point in this blurb: "The California Republican looks at the Pros and Cons of SecDef Rumsfeld and comes to a conclusion. It's a shame that said conclusion centers on the fact that "the public is losing faith" in Rumsfeld. If one were to use the same logic in evaluating the President...."

I would like to respond with a clarification.

Bush just got elected with nearly 52% of the vote. Indicitive of a mandate. Bush's job approval rating is always quite dynamic in a +/- 5 point window. Some extremes exist. This number seems to reside quite comfortably on the national partisan divide of America, with undecideds causing the alterations.

Rumsfed now only has 36% of Americans wanting him to stay. That clearly cuts into the home-field. This means that a lot of republicans have lost faith in him.

In the War on Terror, American resolve and American might are the two most important components needed for victory.

Doug, as always, thanks for keeping us honest.

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

Coincidence, and a tribute to a hero.

I was finishing a college course up yesterday when I IM'd one of my classmates. We started to chat a bit and I mentioned to her that I had a blog. We started talking about the military, and it turns out she had a nephew who was serving in the recent battle for Fallujah.

You may have heard his name before because he was featured on CNN and many Texas local news outlets. This 22 year-old sniper from the 1st Cavalry Division's 2nd Battalion, 7th Cavalry Regiment claims he is no hero at all. In fact, he states that "getting the Purple Heart just means the rocket found me." Kris Clinkscales is his name, and he is indeed a hero.


He explains in the following media clips how he received his Purple Heart.
Clip 1 Clip 2 Clip 3

The injured vet who left Iraq for more surgery did not want to leave his friends behind. In a press conference with other wounded vets, it was repeatedly stated that they did not want to leave their buddies behind.


His aunt, and my classmate, Kimberly Born says that Kris had always wanted to be a sniper. She states "he was hoping to become a police officer after the service utilizing his special services in a swat unit somewhere, but now his right arm is in-mobile because of the shrapnel caused so much nerve damage."

And if that wasn't enough...

He also shared his opinion about his buddies who served and are still serving. "I just hope everybody gives these guys the respect they deserve. Put your personal opinions behind. There are a lot of guys who put a lot on the line and they deserve a lot of people's, everybody's respect. For what they've been doing out here. It's a tough job and a lot of shit happens. There's a lot of guys who are worse than me. They are tough guys and it's an honor to serve with them."

A salute to a true hero, whether he admits it or not, thanks for protecting us Kris.



Overhaulin': FDA edition.


Bill Maher has his new rules.
Bill O'Reilly has his ridiculous items of the day.
I have my overhaulin' section.

Today, Reuters, along with many other news corporations, broke the story about Naproxen. Many of you may know already, but Celebrx, Vioxx, and now Naproxen have come under fire for causing heart disease, and have already led to some deaths. Vioxx has been pulled from the shelf, and Merck & Co. is suffering badly from it. Now, Pfizer looks to be in some trouble with Celebrex.

The reason this story strikes so close to home is two-fold.
1. I do not like my tax-dollars being wasted.
2. My wife takes these medicines just to get by day-to-day.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is tasked with an unbelievably difficult job. Their duty is basically to keep Americans safe by regulating drugs. They use a lot of money to ensure our safety. So, when is failure acceptable? I say we should give everyone a second chance; however, what if they fail four times in a few months..... And counting.

When the flu vaccine debacle was occurring I said "ok, this seems partisan."
When Vioxx occurred I thought "hmm, I'm glad this isn't the drug my wife is taking."
Next came Celebrex and I said "it is almost as if the FDA is corrupt or negligent."
Now Naproxen, which my wife takes every day (until today) and I say "enough is enough."

I need to hear something more than "we're looking into it." While I contemplate writing my congressman, I implore you to consider what the FDA is doing, and to judge them fairly.

Currently, it seems like we are giving arthritis patients an option, feel good and die, or feel bad and die.

It is time to overhaul the FDA!

Monday, December 20, 2004

Good News From Iraq? It Exists!

Time and time again, I flip through the television channels only to hear partisans and sensationalists report nothing but bad news from Iraq. Imagine my suprise when I discovered that there is not only good news, but great news in abundance that never gets reported. I encourage everyone to check out the 16-part-and-counting series titled "Good News From Iraq."

Thanks to Chrenkoff for alerting the public to the the hidden truths.

Link:Good News From Iraq

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

Can Truth be Treason?

Treason, in America, has long-been one of the least prosecuted and toughest-to-convict crimes. It is usually only applied to those who not only commit blatant treason, but the government usually needs backing from both parties to convict. What does America, in general, think of treason though?

  • Are leaked documents which end up in enemy hands treason?
  • When classified plans or orders are published for the enemy to see, is that treason?
  • When someone sells or gives information to the enemy to strengthen the enemy, is that treason?
  • If someone actively fights for the enemy or against America, is that treason?
  • Is directly aiding or abetting the enemy treason?
  • How about indirectly yet knowingly?

I believe that most of the above constitute treason.

In the last four years, liberal democrats have come awfully close to what I consider to be treason. We have seen Kennedy, Kucinich, Kerry, and Baghdad Pete all do or say things which indirectly strengthen the enemy. When our politicians claim that this war was for oil, or that we intentionally target civilians for assassination, what do you think that does for the enemy? It gives them something more important than ammunition, it gives them influence and moral authority amongst the citizenry.

What about journalists? Media stationed in Iraq once received a tip to be at a certain place and at a certain time to see something "big" happen. They did not report it to anyone, and an explosive maimed and almost killed Americans. Was this treason?

How about when a partisan CIA agent leaks classified information in order to sway current events? Is this treason?

What about when journalists post non-contextual photographs which seemingly depict American brutality? Later this picture reveals something quite different. Isn't the damage already done?

I think that we as Americans are long-past-due to start demanding that our leaders and our sources of information start taking responsibility for the repercussions of what they say and do. We are at war, and "loose lips sink ships." I am disgusted at what I see day after day.

One example would be Abu Ghraib. No one gives a rat's you know what about Abu Ghraib. One excursion into any one of America's high-security prisones will reveal corruption and horrors far beyond Abu Ghraib. Yet, Abu Ghraib made the NYT front page many dozens of times. When is the last time Nick Berg was on the front page? Twice maybe?

Where does American media cross the line? Why is it that story after story demonizes America and Americans? Why is it that the media and politicians feel no need to self-censor in order to save troops?

Basically, is it treason when someone knowingly does something which will have a negative affect on America's safety and the safety of our troops?

I, as a citizen who loves my troops. As a citizen who was a troop. As a citizen who respects our traditions, begs the media and our politicians to quit endangering and harming our troops through reckless "win-at-all-cost" political moves. Power is more important to these people than morality or tradition, and that borders treason.


Thursday, December 02, 2004

Media to America; "You will hear what we want you to hear!"

By now, it is of no surprise that most of American print and broadcast media is extremely biased toward the left. The NYT has had to fire individual after individual for lying or creating scandals. Rather was forced to retire because of the letter-writing campaign by millions of Americans who told CBS that they "no longer trusted" Rather. The list of examples is a long one.

Luckily, conservatives have talk radio, and a right-leaning Fox News Channel but why can't we just have a media outlet which states news? I, like most Americans, want to decide issues for myself, not be influenced by subtle words and tones used by Jennings when he explains why 5.5% unemployment was great in 1998, but bad and disappointing in 2004.

Proof of this can be proved by two simple questions I pose to each of you.

How many of you can name two War on Terror villains from the U.S. Military?

Most of us immediately think of Hasan Akbar or Lindy England right?

Now, how many of you can name two War on Terror heroes?

Most of us cannot name one.

Pathetic.

Please, take the time to read up on just a few of our true heroes which the leftist media will not allow reporting on.

Jason Dean Cunningham

Brian R. Chontosh

Joseph B. Perez

References: Home of Heroes