December 30, 2009

Pic courtesy of the Anchorage Daily News

Putting the Dogs of War on a Short Leash

As I’ve watched the events of the last few days it is clear once again that President Obama is trying to pretend we are not at war. He seems to think if he has a low key response to an attempt to blow up an airliner and kill hundreds of people, we won’t be at war. He seems to think if he gives terrorists the rights of Americans, lets them lawyer up and reads them their Miranda rights, we won’t be at war. He seems to think if we bring the mastermind of 9/11 to New York, give him a lawyer and trial in civilian court, we won’t be at war.

He seems to think if he closes Guantanamo and releases the hard-core al Qaeda trained terrorists still there, we won’t be at war. He seems to think if he gets rid of the words, ‘war on terror,’ we won’t be at war. But we are at war and when President Obama pretends we aren’t, it makes us less safe. Why doesn’t he want to admit we’re at war? It doesn’t fit with the view of the world he brought with him to the Oval Office. It doesn’t fit with what seems to be the goal of his presidency – social transformation—the restructuring of American society. President Obama’s first object and his highest responsibility must be to defend us against an enemy that knows we are at war.

Dick Cheney

December 29, 2009

Flight Contingency Operations

If we take anything away from the latest attempt by radical Musloons to take down an American jetliner it is that once again the last line of defense in the war on terror is every able bodied soul that boards an aircraft. When Janet Napolitano tells us that the system worked and the President calls the incident an alleged act of terror they want us to believe as long as the plane makes a safe landing all is well at Homeland Security. Eventually however the terrorists will perfect the exploding apparel device and the final link in the security chain will tragically fail. Until then passengers need to take an active role in their survival because the rest of the system is obviously just a little bit flaky.

It may be inappropriate for the TSA to profile passengers but the individual traveler is under no such moral constraint. Begin in the boarding area by sizing up your fellow travelers to identify anyone that might fit the profile of a terrorist. Chances are your choice will not be the same as the ones that got the pat down going through security.

I know at this point some are saying to yourselves, "That's so prejudicial you fascist Neanderthal!" To that I say, "Screw you." The first rule of survival is awareness of your surroundings. I haven't heard a statement from the fellow on the Delta flight that climbed over the seats to get to the bomber but the fact that he acted so quickly would indicate that he was already alerted to the threat.

The second is having a contingency plan in the event that your newly profiled friend should actually have plans to land your flight a cornfield short of your intended destination. Preparedness is not paranoia and traveling with a plan to defend yourself is just as prudent as an insurance policy. Spike TV's recent "Surviving Disaster" series showed a realistic response to an aircraft hijacking that gives many tips and tactics that I think you will find useful. Lets hope those charged with our protection get their act together so you never have to use it.

The Original F15 Eagle

The following piece of hanger flying landed in the inbox yesterday.

I went out to plant corn for a bit to finish a field before tomorrow morning and witnessed The Great Battle. A golden eagle - big bastard, with about a six foot wingspan - flew right in front of the tractor. It was being chased by three crows that were continually dive bombing it and pecking at it. The crows do this because the eagles rob their nests when they find them.

At any rate, the eagle banked hard right in one evasive maneuver, then landed in the field about 100 feet from the tractor. This eagle stood about 3 feet tall. The crows all landed too, and took up positions around the eagle at 120 degrees apart, but kept their distance at about 20 feet from the big bird. The eagle would take a couple steps towards one of the crows and they'd hop backwards and forward to keep their distance. Then the reinforcement showed up.

I happened to spot the eagle's mate hurtling down out of the sky at what appeared to be approximately Mach 1.5. Just before impact the eagle on the ground took flight, (obviously a coordinated tactic; probably pre-briefed) and the three crows which were watching the grounded eagle, also took flight thinking they were going to get in some more pecking on the big bird. The first crow being targeted by the diving eagle never stood a snowball's chance in hell. There was a mid-air explosion of black feathers and that crow was done. The diving eagle then banked hard left in what had to be a 9G climbing turn, using the energy it had accumulated in the dive, and hit crow #2 less than two seconds later. Another crow dead.

The grounded eagle, which was now airborne and had an altitude advantage on the remaining crow, which was streaking eastward in full burner, made a short dive then banked hard right when the escaping crow tried to evade the hit. It didn't work - crow #3 bit the dust at about 20 feet AGL.

This aerial battle was better than any air show I've been to, including the war birds show at Oshkosh . The two eagles ripped the crows apart and ate them on the ground, and as I got closer and closer working my way across the field, I passed within 20 feet of one of them as it ate its catch. It stopped and looked at me as I went by and you could see in the look of that bird that it knew who's Boss Of The Sky. What a beautiful bird.

Thanks Fred

December 28, 2009

From the Desk of G.K. Chesterton

There is no fear that a modern king will attempt to override the constitution; it is more likely that he will ignore the constitution and work behind its back; he will take no advantage of his kingly power; it is more likely that he will take advantage of his kingly powerlessness, of the fact that he is free from criticism and publicity. For the king is the most private person of our time. It will not be necessary for any one to fight again against the proposal of a censorship of the press. We do not need a censorship of the press. We have a censorship by the press.

G.K. Chesterton, Orthodoxy

December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas to All

And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed. (And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.) And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem (because he was of the house and lineage of David), to be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being with child.

And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered. And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.

And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And lo, the angel of the Lord come upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, "Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger." And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men."

And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another: "Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this king which is to come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us." And they came with haste, and found Mary and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger. And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child. And all that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds. But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart. And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them.

Luke 2:1

December 22, 2009

Graduation Day

Leave it to the wisdom of a six year old to ground a person that is in need of frequent re-grounding. Last Saturday afternoon we had just returned home after lunch with friends and I assumed my normal position on the family room couch for a much deserved nap. The dog was barking at the back door, six feet from my position of repose, and I called for my littlest Angel, who was in the west wing of Casa de Salmon, to come to my assistance. She huffed to the back door, let the dogs in, and as she stormed past declared, “It may be your special day Dad, but it’s not all about you!” Did I mention that she is only six?

Several years ago I had reached a crossroads in my life. My wife and I had married in February 2002 and soon thereafter we left Alaska when I accepted a short lived job with USA Today in Michigan. Eight months later and severely pregnant we were loading up a truck and moving a second time to Minnesota. Once again I found that I had landed another terrible job in the rapidly dying newspaper industry and a year later I was at a loss as to what to do next. I was torn between finding another newspaper or doing something new which would require some retooling.

I always regretted not going to college but it was not something I remember being stressed in our house as a kid. Instead I elected to enter the Army right after high school. In Uncle Sam’s infinite wisdom I was offered an opportunity to go to West Point shortly after entering basic training. What were they thinking, were they that desperate for officers? I was seventeen, had escaped the grip of high school by the skin of my teeth, and in my current position as grunt trainee was not sure that the military was a career path I was particularly enamored with. In my infinite ignorance I declined. Eventually I served my time, found a trade, dabbled in a few classes at the local community college, but by and large just got on with life until the events described above.

I’m sure that anyone that has contemplated a midlife transition has at some point found himself filled with doubts and fears, I was no different. Fortunately I had unwittingly married an Angel and she suggested that we pack up and return to Iowa where I could attend school full time while she would support us. Little did I realize what “support” would mean.

It would mean her working overtime while I studied and worked part time at near minimum wage. It would mean that she would work miracles with the checkbook so I could spend a week at Oshkosh. It would mean giving moral support, prodding, and the occasional beating to this recalcitrant non-traditional student to keep me focused on the goal that had been set. Essentially it would mean that her Angel like qualities would be tested to their limits.

We finally graduated Saturday and I say we because without the help of my two Angels this dream would not have been realized. Commencement was indeed a special day and the degree an accomplishment that I will always cherish but as my little Angel pointed out, it was certainly not all about me.

December 21, 2009

December 17, 2009

For Our Jewish Friends.

Moved back to the top from Dec. 2007

Thx Adam.

December 14, 2009

Please Donate

I have never sought to promote any particular organization here at the Salmon but every once in a while you come across the work of Angels that just screams out for support. Saturday on a PBS quilting show I found one such cause. This is their story:

The Camo Quilt Project:

The first camouflage quilt was designed and made by Linda Wieck in April of 2006. Her son-in-law, Todd, was being deployed to Iraq and asked her to make him a quilt to take along. His specifications were that it be small, made from camouflage cloth, and it needed to have cotton batting.

While Todd was at Camp Shelby, MS for training prior to being deployed, other soldiers in his unit saw the quilt and wanted to buy one. Todd asked Linda if she could make each of them a quilt and they would pay her for them. She scrambled to finish all 48 before they left for Iraq in July of 2006.

After the local newspaper published an article about her work, one of the readers asked Linda to conduct a workshop to train others to make the quilts. The first one day workshop was held in April of 2007 at a local banquet hall and was fol-lowed by
additional week-long work-shops. Hundreds of volunteers helped at these workshops. All the money needed for materials and supplies were donated so the quilts could be given to the soldiers free of charge.

Amy's Quilts: (Unit Pictured Above)

Before her death in the Fort Hood massacre, SSG Amy Krueger had requested quilts for her entire unit. We were able to complete these quilts, and thanks to a local company they were delivered to Fort Hood before the unit deployed. We received this note of thanks from MAJ Suttinger:

What a wonderful gift. Notice the smiles all around. We are all very touched and astonished at Amy’s wish and the entire dedicated effort it took for the Camo Quilt Project to make this work (along with some help from Johnsonville for delivery!) We leave soon and these will comfort us through the upcoming year. Thank you x 46!!!

MAJ Laura Suttinger

To donate to the Camo Quilt Project, you can send a check payable to:

Franklin Legion Post 387 c/o Steven Bender
N7417 Bittersweet Rd
Plymouth, WI 53073

Thanks, S

December 12, 2009

December 04, 2009

The Tenth Commandment

I ran across this gem from P.J. O'Rourke:
And then there is the Tenth Commandment. 'Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor anything that is thy neighbor's.'

The Ten Commandments are God's basic rules about how we should live — a brief list of sacred obligations and solemn moral precepts.The first nine Commandments concern theological principles and social law. But then, right at the end, is 'Don't envy your buddy's cow.' How did that make the top ten? What's it doing there? Why would God, with just ten things to tell Moses, choose as one of those things jealousy about the starter mansion with in-ground pool next door?

Yet think how important the Tenth Commandment is to a community, to a nation, indeed to a presidential election. If you want a mule, if you want a pot roast, if you want a cleaning lady, don't be a jerk and whine about what the people across the street have — go get your own.

The Tenth Commandment sends a message to all the jerks who want redistribution of wealth, higher taxes, more government programs, more government regulation, more government, less free enterprise, and less freedom. And the message is clear and concise: Go to hell.

December 03, 2009

Obama Riles Alaska Airmen

From FP:
When President Obama spoke to troops at Alaska's Elmendorf Air Force Base last month, the unit there parked a shiny new F-22 fighter plane in the hanger. But according to multiple sources, White House aides demanded the plane be changed to an older F-15 fighter because they didn't want Obama speaking in front of the F-22, a controversial program he fought hard to end.

"White House aides actually made them remove the F-22-said they would not allow POTUS to be pictured with the F-22 in any way, shape, or form," one source close to the unit relayed.

Stephen Lee, a public affairs officer at Elmendorf, confirmed to The Cable that the F-22 was parked in the hanger and then was replaced by an F-15 at the White House's behest.

The airmen there took offense to the Obama aides' demand, sources told The Cable, seeing it as a slight to the folks who are operating the F-22 proudly every day. They also expressed bewilderment that the White House staff would even care so much as to make an issue out of the fact that the F-22 was placed in the hanger with the president.

Obama Afgan Speech in a Nutshell

Obama's Magic No Longer Works
From Der Spiegel

But in this case, (the Afgan speech) the public was more disturbed than entertained. Indeed, one could see the phenomenon in a number of places in recent weeks: Obama's magic no longer works. The allure of his words has grown weaker.

It is not he himself who has changed, but rather the benchmark used to evaluate him. For a president, the unit of measurement is real life. A leader is seen by citizens through the prism of their lives -- their job, their household budget, where they live and suffer. And, in the case of the war on terror, where they sometimes die.

Political dreams and yearnings for the future belong elsewhere. That was where the political charmer Obama was able to successfully capture the imaginations of millions of voters. It is a place where campaigners -- particularly those with a talent for oration -- are fond of taking refuge. It is also where Obama set up his campaign headquarters, in an enormous tent called "Hope."

In his speech on America's new Afghanistan strategy, Obama tried to speak to both places. It was two speeches in one. That is why it felt so false. Both dreamers and realists were left feeling distraught.

The American president doesn't need any opponents at the moment. He's already got himself.
I predicted some time ago that Obama would weigh the political implications and then give McCrystal what he asked for. It looks like I was only 75% right.
Update: I just read that the number is now 35,000 so my accuracty has improved to 85%.
What the caveat laden speech illustrated however is how hard it is to split the baby when you actually have to lead. I don't think I can recall any prior president saying we cant let a war go on too long because we have other programs that need attention. War is not a government program.

On a lighter note:

I was only half paying attention to the speech as it aired live on Tuesday night with the drone of I,I,I and "Bush made me do it" barely registering in the background. We have heard it all before.

Obama then got to the part as he does in every speech where he feels the need to inspire. On the campaign trail this is usually accompanied with a change in pitch and cadence that signals to the crowd that they have gotten to the juicy part. The part where you pour out your adoration and excitement.

It would be inappropriate of course to soar the rhetoric in a speech of such seriousness. So he blathered on about the efforts of great Americans blah blah blah. Then he hit a line that literally jerked my head toward the set. I reached for the rewind button to find that without credit to the author Obama stole a line from the greatest presidential speech ever given by arguably the greatest wartime president that ever lived. Do they allow plagiarism at Haaaverd?

December 02, 2009

Crunch Time

I haven't had much time for posting lately as it is once again that time of year where a multitude of projects runs headlong into the end of the semester. Part of the crunch is of course due to my own dithering. Against my better judgement I took another online course and despite my self made promises to knock it out before Thanksgiving it's completion is still hanging over my head like the Sword of Damocles. Then there are two major papers and the upcoming finals week to contend with. Fortunately the light at the end of this very long tunnel will finally be reached. Graduation is the 19th.