February 28, 2006
Young son has made it back to the base at Giebelstadt. Calivalleygirl was there because her boyfriend came back on the same flight. I suppose the odds aren't too bad on that one for a unit that size. She got a chance to say hello to him and she took some pics. She said she was going to post some at her place so, I'll wait to see if she can get blogger to load them for her.
It's been a long year. Although we're still waiting for the rest of the unit to get back. About half the guys remain over there and some were still flying at last report. So, there is a waiting game going on, but it just got a little bit better.
February 27, 2006
Not enough Jack Bauer in this episode.
I was wondering if the Hobbit thought he could run CTU all by his lonesome self.
I want Chloe out there with Jack, blowing up things and shooting at the bad guys. She's wasted sitting in CTU giving sneering looks to anyone who talks to her. Let's channel that anger.
The dude sitting with the President for most of the show... can't remember his name. Looks more and more like he could be the second mole in the administration.
And what makes Mr. Wimpy President think that just because he lets the terrorists kill a few people - that they will then stop and become model citizens? Does he think they would turn in the nerve gas and lead quiet humble little lives once they've wiped out a shopping mall and assassinated the Russian President and his entourage? Just wondered.
So far the man has been willing to risk lots of lives. On what? First the assurance of 100% certainty in finding the rest of the cannisters - an assurance that no one could make as it would only be 100% IF they found the cannisters. Then the terrorist promises to only kill the Russian President... and why should the President believe they would stop at that? Oh - that's right... because they SAID SO! How could I have forgotten that! D'oh!
February 25, 2006
The Boeing CH-47 Chinook helicopter is air transportable. When available, and for a modest fee (about $500,000 per one way trip in year 2001 tax dollars), a United States Air Force C5 Galaxy aircraft can move a CH-47 from any large airport to any other large airport - anywhere in the world. Some disassembly, about 60 personnel, and 18 hours for the upload was required.
Head on over there for a picture of one being loaded into a plane.
Needing special planes to carry them (I'm not sure how current that info is on the type of plane needed) they have to await availability... and waiting is never an easy thing, especially when you've been in Afghanistan for an entire year - away from your family and modern life. It wouldn't be so bad if the Air Force gave them a date and stuck to it. The problem is, they are given a date and time - they head over to the airport - only to find it's all been cancelled and rescheduled. This has happend to them several times.
It's gotten to the point where a date and time are given - and we're all saying... yeah sure. So far tomorrow is the next date in line to be cancelled. We'll see what happens.
*** Note to self - when proof reading it's a good thing to note whether or not you've included all your links... geeze.
Last night however, I actually got a full night sleep - it's a wonderful thing. I've been in one of those annoying jags of broken sleep for the last few weeks. Waking up every 2 hours for no discernible reason. This does not help get one through the day without dragging and plays havoc with concentration.
Yesterday I wanted to blog about the Blackberry thing. There has been an ongoing patent battle involving Blackberry software and yesterday was a big day.
FEBRUARY 24, 2006 (REUTERS) - RICHMOND, Va. -- A U.S. judge today stopped short of ordering an immediate shutdown of millions of BlackBerry portable e-mail devices, but reminded manufacturer Research In Motion Ltd. that it had already been found to have infringed the patents of NTP Inc.
When this decision was handed down - I got 6 emails within 5 minutes from the WSJ, Cnet, Zdnet, Computerworld, and a couple of other mailings. This was big stuff.
I've never used a Blackberry - I've never had a job where I needed something of that sort. Right now that makes me very happy. Because I would not only be worried about losing my service - I'd have to wear mega-bifocals just to see the screen! Nothing makes me feel older than looking at one of those little bitty screens and realizing I can't read a word on it! Anyhow, to the Blackberry users caught in the middle - I hope things go your way and you can retain your services.
Yesterday was also the day for gathering at Danish Embassies around the country and showing our support for the unfairly maligned country and for free speech everywhere. Sissy Willis has a lovely post with her method of support and some great links to other posts about the gatherings. (Boston does not have a Danish Embassy - New York covers this area).
Even as he gives a pass to our Blueberry Light 'n Fit Dannon yogurt, Baby shows sammenhold -- the Danish word for solidarity, reports Michelle Malkin -- by going for the jugular of our grilled Havarti and Majestic Danish ham sandwich. Mmmmm. What a delicious way to show support for our freedom-loving Scandinavian friends.
Check out the great picture - cute kitty - and Sissy's inimitable way of making her point.
The executive producer of CBS’ "48 Hours Mystery" has apologized for airing an altered image of the front page of the Tribune in an episode about the murder trial of Ryan Ferguson that aired Saturday night.
They, of course, blame it on a freelancer (isn't thas such a wonderfully easy thing to do!)... but this is once again why you can never trust them when there is no way to double check. This was such a tiny change - looks like it shouldn't mean much. But it begs the question - What else do they change when presenting their stories? This was one change that was caught and protested by someone with a voice. How many changes are made that we never hear about?
One single change in a sentence attributed to a witness, one single photoshop of a picture, one little twist of words describing an event - and the entire story changes. People are certainly swayed by these things to believe something or disbelieve it. In the case of CBS, everything that comes from their "news" department must be suspect until proven otherwise. So, what's the point of watching any of their news shows?
Last of all - I did watch the women's figure skating the other night. After Matt let us all know that Sasha Cohen is a huge supporter of Soldier's Angels. So naturally I had to lend my support to such a wonderful young woman. She's taken so much heat from sports desk morons who think that they have every right to blast her to smithereens for not being 100% perfect. I've heard some truly disgusting things being said. So I just want to say..
Congratulations Sasha - I persevered through NBC's remarkably awful coverage (the last skaters were on at nearly midnight here on the East Coast) and you skated beautifully. Okay, the falls weren't so great - but the fact that you hung in there and didn't let them rattle you was remarkable. That you can sit there with a camera doing extreme closeups while you wait for scores - and be so unflappable just blows me away! You showed the very best of American spirit and it was worth waiting to see you skate!
February 22, 2006
The NY Sun has the following observation...
The answer got a lot clearer yesterday afternoon when the International Longshoremen's Association, the AFL-CIO-affiliated union that represents workers at the six ports that would be affected by the Dubai deal, issued a statement praising the politicians complaining about the deal. The union's statement expressed "great concern" about the transaction. From there, it's easy to just follow the money - documented by The New York Sun's examination of Federal Election Commission records - from the political action committee of the International Longshoremen's Association into the pockets of the protesting politicians.
Not surprising that those with a vested monetary interest in this, might do all in their power to stop the change over if they thought they would lose out on the deal. Always follow the money - and when you talk big union.... you're talking big money and lots of corruption.
The Opinion Journal is in favor of the deal.
Some of us are scratching our heads all right, but we're wondering why Mr. Graham and others believe Dubai Ports World has been insufficiently vetted for the task at hand. So far, none of the critics have provided any evidence that the Administration hasn't done its due diligence. The deal has been blessed by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States, a multiagency panel that includes representatives from the departments of Treasury, Defense and Homeland Security.
Yes, some of the 9/11 hijackers were UAE citizens. But then the London subway bombings last year were perpetrated by citizens of Britain, home to the company (P&O) that currently manages the ports that Dubai Ports World would take over. Which tells us three things: First, this work is already being outsourced to "a foreign-based company"; second, discriminating against a Mideast company offers no security guarantees because attacks are sometimes homegrown; and third, Mr. Graham likes to talk first and ask questions later.
Besides, the notion that the Bush Administration is farming out port "security" to hostile Arab nations is alarmist nonsense. Dubai Ports World would be managing the commercial activities of these U.S. ports, not securing them. There's a difference. Port security falls to Coast Guard and U.S. Customs officials. "Nothing changes with respect to security under the contract," Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said yesterday. "The Coast Guard is in charge of security, not the corporation."[emph mine --ed]
Interesting... whatever corporation is in charge of running the commercial aspects of the ports, is not the entity in charge of security. That's a helpful little piece of information that seems to be left out of most talking points I'm seeing around the blogs and in news stories. Seems to be a salient point to me - but I don't know how ports are run, therefore I lack vital data as to how important this is in the grand scheme of things.
Currently the operations are being run by a London based company. I haven't heard a single word about that - even in connection with the current story. If I'm going to object to a foreign company running the commercial operations - I will object to ANY foreign company - not just some select few. Why does anyone think that the London based company is any more secure than the Dubai based company? Because Great Britain likes us? It's stupid to assume that having good relations with a government, completely carries over to a privately owned company.
Now here are a few of my problems with this. First off - as the Opinion Journal argues, the Dubai company has been thoroughly vetted to be sure they're okay. Treasury likes them... I have no idea what kind of security analysis they conduct. Defense likes them... they might have the best idea of the fitness of this company securitywise. Homeland Security... *giggling madly* um - sorry - this is the group who can't even secure their own computers. They haven't gotten anything else working in a timely manner, and are still having trouble making various agencies talk to each other. Why should I think things are any better in this case? A Homeland Security okay is the least likely to persuade me that this is good.
After all that - the thing that most forcibly jumps to mind... What in the world is the Bush administration thinking? They've spent the last 4 years trying desperately to convince the American people that we are at war with mostly Arabic Islamo-fascists. Why weren't they ready with some of the best PR they've ever devised when this story went public? After all, these are Arabs, and I would imagine they are mostly Muslim. You've GOT to have a really really good PR campaign to make them presentable to the American people or they start thinking things like - this would be akin to giving a Japanese company access to the West Coast ports during WW2.
Then there is the huge red flag which is Jimmy Carter. He has endorsed the deal. Anytime Jimmy voices his approval of something, I automatically become suspicious. Being the man most likely to speak out against US interests, this makes the UAE deal look very shady. Or it could just be that they were a huge contributor to the Jimmy Carter library and he wants to talk them up as good guys.
Of course, the funniest thing I'm seeing are all the Dems who oppose the deal. These are the people who've been screaming at us for the last 4 years that this entire war thing is wrong. We must try to "understand" the enemy. We must try to get along with them. We must make concessions. The fact that they don't like the deal is actually a huge green flag making me think we should go ahead and let the deal go through.
I have nothing against the UAE at all or this company in particular. I have no idea if they would be good or bad at the job of operations. Nor do I have any idea if the company running things has any ties to terrorists or is clean. Or if they could significantly impede security operations and allow terrorists to bring bad things into the country. And that's the problem. The entire thing is a whacking big question mark. And yes - I blame Bush for this one.
No matter how good the deal might be - you need communication. That is the key to making people understand what is going on. Basically there is none.
What we have is a complete muddle and I don't know how we can sort it out. Frankly I'm tired of listening to people make excuses for the lack of information from the President or worse yet, those trying to guess what he might be thinking. We won't even mention those who make up outright lies. Can't he just tell the omnipresent vaunted (at least in their own minds) White House Press Corp what is going on and why they want this deal? It seems as if Mr. Bush hasn't even gotten his own party behind him.
I fully support Mr. Bush in the War on Terror. But I am tired of his complete want of interest in little things like communication with us peons out here. He's got the Presidency - he can get a news conference any time. I don't want to sit here guessing about something so important to the security of our country. If he thinks it's okay - I want to know why. After all it's my country and my way of life involved and at risk. So, let's shed some light on this issue.
February 21, 2006
Sieg has been posting occassionally, although he has lost his high speed connection so at last word he had moved 20 ft closer to home.
Young son emails today...
...chalk 4 left yesterday and I'm on six to get out of here. 5 and 6 just got pushed right 48 hours .....but what's another 48 hours compared to the 371 days I already have here....
I can't wait to hear that all of the Big Windy crew are safe back in Germany.
February 20, 2006
1: Black and White or Color; how do you prefer your movies?
There are movies I love from both types. Although generally the dialog is far better in the black and white movies. And I'd love to take up residence in the Thin Man movie.
2: What is the one single subject that bores you to near-death?
The "up close and personal" stories of Olympic Athletes. I don't care how you got there - just do your thing and do it well. And show me the EVENTS not a pathetic soap opera about the athlete competing.
3: MP3s, CDs, Tapes or Records: what is your favorite medium for prerecorded music?
CD's - we no longer have a working turntable or tape player for that matter and I don't have an MP3 player... default is easy ;-)
4: You are handed one first class trip plane ticket to anywhere in the world and ten million dollars cash. All of this is yours provided that you leave and not tell anyone where you are going ... ever. This includes family, friends, everyone. Would you take the money and ticket and run?
NO - not without my husband. Sorry keep the money.
5: Seriously, what do you consider the world's most pressing issue now?
Making liberals understand we're at War with people who want to end our civilization. If we could make them understand that - many side issues would be much easier to resolve.
6: How would you rectify the world's most pressing issue?
I have no idea - most of them seem to be too stupid to grasp the danger and keep bleating for understanding the enemy. It beats me - even a major strike at America didn't seem to make a dent.
7: You are given the chance to go back and change one thing in your life; what would that be?
Wouldn't - thank you. Everything happens for a reason and I am who I am because of the good and the bad things that have happened. Worse yet, one little change might mean I would miss meeting my husband... nope can't do that.
8: You are given the chance to go back and change one event in world history, what would that be?
Once again - things happen for a reason. How do I know that changing that one thing might not have disasterous consequences. I think I'll let God play God - he's got the job for a reason.
9: A night at the opera, or a night at the Grand Ole' Opry --Which do you choose?
I think a night at the opera. I'd love to see The Magic Flute sometime.
10: What is the one great unsolved crime of all time you'd like to solve?
I don't know... maybe who really was Jack the Ripper.
11: One famous author can come to dinner with you. Who would that be, and what would you serve for the meal?
I'm gonna fudge this one because I have always wanted to have dinner with Winston Churchill. And yes he was famous and an author... that's the fudge. I think he'd be a hoot. I would find out his favorite meal and either prepare it or have it catered. (catered would probably be much better!)
12: You discover that John Lennon was right, that there is no hell below us, and above us there is only sky -- what's the first immoral thing you might do to celebrate this fact?
I probably wouldn't do anything. Because most immoral things tend to hurt other people and I can't bring myself to do that intentionally... so I'd continue as I am.
February 17, 2006
And finally tonight, the Winter Games. Count me among those that don't like 'em and won't watch 'em. In fact, I figure when Thomas Paine said, "These are the times that try men's souls," he must have been talking about the start of another Winter Olympics.
Because they are so trying, maybe over the next three weeks we should all try too. Like try not to be incredulous when someone tries to link these games to those of the ancient Greeks who never heard of skating or skiing.
So try not to laugh when someone says these are the world's greatest athletes, despite a paucity of blacks that makes the Winter Games look like a GOP convention.
Try not to point out that something's not really a sport if a pseudo-athlete waits in what's called a "kiss and cry area" while some panel of subjective judges decides who won.
And try to blot out all logic when announcers and sports writers pretend to care about the luge, the skeleton, the biathlon, and all those other events they don't understand and totally ignore for all but three weeks every four years.
Face it, these Olympics are little more than a marketing plan to fill space and sell time during the dreary days of February. So, if only to hasten the arrival of the day they're done, and we can move on to March Madness, for God's sake, let the Games begin. [emph. mine --ed]
Funny - the Chicago Tribune blog - where I got this story, notes..
...the transcript is no longer on the HBO site
How many white men have lost their jobs for comments of this type? Had their names smeared all over the front pages of the papers? Have been completely trashed by the media for making similar comments about black people? As it stands - every white man I know about - has been mercilessly torn to shreds by a media completely intolerant of anyone who makes a "bigoted" remark in regard to black people.
Bryant Gumbel - OTOH has barely made a ripple in the fabric of the news. It's only today that I find out about this while listening to Dale and Holley. When I google - I get TWELVE hits for major news storys... and a good portion of those 12 are blogs! Unbelievable!
Dale was not on the show today. But Michael Holley was nearly jumping out of his chair telling people that it's the "management" at these places that make the decision over whether or not to fire/suspend people over on air remarks.
This is very true, but he has failed to realize that this means - every management team in every venue where this has happened - has managed to deal extremely harshly with the culprit - if the culprit is a white man. When the culprit is a black man - he gets a pass. That is bigotry in my book.
Like everyone else who has made stupid remarks of this sort - he should be facing consequences. Since he's not - and since the news media as a whole has decided to give him a pass... I think we can safely assume that if you are a black man and make a racist statement - you will only get a shrug of the shoulders. If you're white - your life is over as you know it.
As far as I'm concerned - racists statements have no place on the air. And since the history of dealing with them has been to fire the person making the statement - Gumbel should be gone. Not only that - he should have to make a grovelling apology to everyone and he should be characterized as the lowest of the low.
Until then - I'm calling the media out - I'm calling them bigots.
February 16, 2006
As I write this Chalk 1 from big windy should be on short final for landing in Germany. We sent a hook and some BW people out today for their long awaited journey back home to Gieb.
Congratulations Big Windy on a job VERY WELL DONE! Can't wait to hear that you are all back safe and sound.
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