Friday, July 20, 2007

Out of Pocket

I'll be OCONUS for the next couple weeks. In the meantime, enjoy these:


Thursday, July 19, 2007

Stuff Worth Repeating #7

"Those who expect to reap the blessings of freedom must, like men, undergo the fatigue of supporting it."

-Thomas Paine: The American Crisis, No. 4, 1777


Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Metallica + Minigun = Sweet Awesomeness


Quitting the Demon

Originally posted in May 2006... I'm reposting this now after over three years as a quitter!

So, I was sitting in my office a couple years ago and I had my lip full of copenhagen, as per S.O.P. and I was hurtin'. My mouth was a mass of sores, I couldn't brush my teeth without gums bleeding and I was just sick of feeling like a slave to nicotine. So I hopped onto Google and typed in quit dipping... and *POW* I found a website called Quit Smokeless. I immediately recognized that this was my chance to quit... for good.The article here is one that really spoke to me. It begins:
Although we have never met, I know you. You started chewing tobacco around high school. It quickly became part of your personality, part of your behavior, and part of your life. At some point, you developed a bad sore throat and thought, "Oh my God, please do not let it be cancer." You decided to quit for the first time. But your throat got better, and one thing lead to another, and you bought another tin.

Since then, you have tried to quit many, many times. You have blown through countless "quit deadlines," like "I will quit when I graduate," "I will quit when I get a job," "I will quit when I am (20)(25)(30)(35)," "I will quit when the baby is born," "I will quit when my workload lightens up," and "I will quit on New Years." But, when the deadline came, it was never a good time to quit. Or you quit for a while, but then some problem or stress came into your life and you just "had" to go back to the tin (what was that problem?). Or you quit for someone else (wife, girlfriend, etc.), but then they made you angry, so you started to chew again. No one is going to tell you what to do.

At some point, you stopped telling the people around you that you were trying to quit tobacco, because it was just too embarassing when you failed. You covered yourself for years with "I do not want to quit," so that no one knows you're completely addicted. It's not like you are an alcoholic or drug addict, right? For the same reasons, you never asked anyone for their help or support, because you are not some spineless, weak-mind junkie who "needs help." And besides, they would never understand it anyway, because "they" just think it's some stupid or gross "spit" habit.

Ultimately, you just resigned to your addiction. You justified it with "It is my only bad habit," "The risk of getting oral cancer is (small/exaggerated/not real/for heavy users/for hillbillies/for people who don't brush their teeth)," "I need tobacco to (work/write/concentrate/be productive/play ball/live)," "I am happier with tobacco," "If I get cancer, I get cancer. Everyone dies of something," And Now, you have been chewing tobacco for years and years, and you couldn't quit, even if you wanted to.

And then you found this website
WOW! You'll have to read on. One of the great things about it was that you could join an online support group of guys (and gals in some cases) that you could chat with to help you get through. Mr. Matt van Wyk was the man who started and ran the site. As of 14 May 2006 he gave up maintaining this part of the site. A fellow quitter whose handle is Flavius Victor started a mirror site that replaced the online chat forum. God bless him. It's interim site is found here.

If you are a dipper... or know a dipper who is looking to quit. Please direct them to this site. I dipped constantly for twenty years and finally freed myself of addiction. It was hard, really damn hard. It was also the best thing that I have done for myself in my life. Check it out and please let me know what ya'll think and experience.


Saturday, July 14, 2007


Yeah, I know it's old, but it made me laugh.


Friday, July 13, 2007

Pretty Damn Cool


Thursday, July 12, 2007

Failure is Not an Option

The following post is from the Directors of Redstate. It reflects my own thinking... much more eloquently.

The war in Iraq is vital to America’s national security and to the Global War on Terror. It is a fight which we are not currently losing on the ground, and which we will not lose if we commit to victory, rather than taking the path that appears easier, at least in the short term – abandoning yet another battlefield to the enemy.

We live in an age of unparalleled access to information. Little more than a century ago, wars were fought and supported by nations that had no idea of the outcome of battles until well after they were won or lost. Even monarchs and elected leaders often made decisions based on information whose age was measured in months or even years.

Today, the majority of Americans have access to instantaneous reports from Iraq. Yet still they harbor misconceptions, borne out of what we can only assume to be purposeful ignorance. They do so at a moment where these reports, and the story they tell, are vital both to our military success in that country and to the security of our country in the long term.

Al Qaeda, the terrorist organization which attacked us in 1993, in 1998, in 2000, and in 2001 – and numerous other times – has the dual distinction of being both the highest-profile enemy in the War on Terror, and enemy number one in Iraq. Regardless of Speaker of the House Nancy “The Real War on Terror is in Afghanistan” Pelosi’s apparent belief, along with many of her colleagues, that the latter is untrue, the leaders of that terror network have said otherwise, and have done so loudly and repeatedly.

Only last week, Ayman al-Zawahiri (via video) spoke of the vital role that Iraq currently plays as “the centerpiece of [al Qaeda’s] anti-American fight.” It is safe, we think, to suppose that al-Zawahiri may have a bit more knowledge of al Qaeda’s operations than Ms. Pelosi.

Yet since the war’s very beginning, the calls have come – from retired military officers, politicians, and activists – for a change in course in Iraq. And Ms. Pelosi is determined to listen.

Yes, it's our longest ever Directors' post, but please do keep reading . . .

This week, Democrats in Congress will be voting on a resolution (HR 2956) demanding this change of course – despite the fact that only six months ago, the Senate, by unanimous (81-0) vote, confirmed a new military leader who was bringing with him a brand-new strategic approach to the fight in that country.

The majority of Americans seem to have the same misconceptions about the relation between this “new” strategy and the so-called ‘Surge’ now as they did when it was first proposed. Allow us to provide some clarity: The ‘Surge’ – an increase in boots on the ground in Iraq – was never the strategy itself. The increase in troop levels, requested by General Petraeus, was one of many components (or “strategic shifts,” as national security advisor Stephen Hadley called them in a January 29 Washington Post op-ed, in which he even then was attempting to clear up the misconception that the ‘surge’ was the strategy in its entirety) necessary to implement the sweeping new strategy, which radically altered our country’s course in Iraq and sought to solve the problems and shore up the weaknesses which four years of fighting had created and exposed.

In truth, the strategy itself was and is far more intricate and multi-pronged than a simple ‘surge’ in troops. The main focus of the new strategy has been the Baghdad Security Plan – a strategy focused on the capital city of Iraq, which seeks (with increased Iraqi and American forces) to permanently rid neighborhoods of terrorists and extremists and keep them that way, and to secure the population.

The new strategy in Baghdad was to be met with new rules of engagement, set to ensure that Iraqi and U.S. forces could pursue lawbreakers and terrorists regardless of their community or sect, and to be followed by economic assistance and reconstruction aid – including billions of dollars in Iraqi funds – which would combine to offer employment and the prospect of better lives for average citizens.

While this operation has been ongoing since Gen. Petraeus’s appointment in January, troop levels in Iraq have just recently reached the amount necessary to fully implement the BSP and to undertake the other aspects of the new strategy.

Outside of the Baghdad Security Plan, the new strategy stepped up the fight against al Qaeda – the most brutal and violent foe we have in that country, and the one which has the most to lose from the victory of US and Iraqi forces. Beginning in Anbar Province – until six months ago, the most-written-off area of Iraq, and a sanctuary for AQI – US forces have systematically driven al Qaeda from their strongholds, rallying tribes, clans, and groups of all sects to the cause of liberty and of a free Iraq.

Anbar is hardly mentioned in the news media at all today, and Michael Yon recently reported having spent a month there without hearing a shot fired (an amazing development, as gunfire had been as common a background noise in Iraq as traffic horns are in America). The US military is currently wrapping up week three of Operation Arrowhead Ripper, the largest offensive since 2003 and one aimed directly at rooting out and destroying al Qaeda in Baqubah (in Diyala Province just north of Baghdad), one of their final Iraqi strongholds.

Each place that the coalition openly fights against al Qaeda, the citizens and tribesmen join in, standing side by side with Americans – their differences forgotten – and helping to win back their neighborhoods, their cities, and their country. This is the truth about what is happening on the ground – the truth that the American people do not hear, and Ms. Pelosi will not say.

Other aspects of this new strategy included doubling the number of provincial reconstruction teams (PRTs) in Iraq. These civilian-led units have been helping the Iraqi government distribute development aid across the country; this year, 10 new civilian PRTs have been be embedded with U.S. combat brigades. The training of Iraqi security forces has been accelerated, with benchmarks set to track progress, and numerical goals decided upon to best bolster the size and effectiveness of those forces. Contrary to popular belief, training and supporting Iraqi troops has been and will remain our military’s essential and primary mission in that country.

The Iraqi people do by and large want us there – not forever, but until they are secure enough to take over themselves. Taking a shattered state – especially one like Iraq, which, being comprised of people who think of themselves as members of a tribe, sect, clan, or mahalla, has no sense whatsoever of itself – and making it whole again is a long and arduous task. It is doubly so when an effective insurgency is being waged against the rebuilding force – and make no mistake about it: this insurgency is effective.

This is no easy task. It comes with a cost measured in much more than funds or effort – in the cost of young men and women, husbands and wives, brothers and friends. Yet that cost is outweighed by this simple fact: Failure here is not an option.

There is no “Plan B” to success in Iraq. If we fail there, the Iraqi government and its security institutions will almost certainly crumble under the pressure of widespread sectarian violence, ethnic cleansing, and extrajudicial killing. The chaos, which would spread across the country like wildfire, is likely to engulf the entire region. Even if it did not reach that far, our withdrawal would give al Qaeda exactly what they have so often asked for: a base of operations outside of Afghanistan, from which they can carry out attacks on American interests and on our homeland itself.

The American military can win this fight. What is needed is for the American people, and their leaders, to put politics aside in favor of presenting a united front against those who, regardless what concessions we make, will do their utmost to kill us. The effort will take time; all successful counterinsurgencies have. The time that winning the peace in Iraq will take is compounded by the fact that, for the Iraqi people to decide to put their lives on the line and to stand together against their murderous enemies, we must first convince them that we are committed to staying there to support them for as long as it takes.

Their skepticism on the latter is justified. We fled the battlefield in Vietnam, in Beirut, and in Somalia after being hit in the mouth by our adversaries. Furthermore – and more relevantly – we abandoned the Iraqis in 1991, after encouraging them to revolt against Saddam and promising to stand behind them while they did so. It will take far more than three weeks at full strength and a few more months of operations against the insurgency in Iraq to convince the people there that we will stick with them for the long haul; however, without doing so, we cannot succeed.

Giving in and pulling out of Iraq is exactly what al Qaeda and our other enemies have demanded of us. Despite the brief respite that such a decision would appear able to provide our “war-weary” nation and military, such a decision would bring nothing but harm, both to Iraq and, in the long run, to America. We were attacked on September 11th by the same enemy we are now facing in Iraq. Surrendering the field to them would be nonsensical and unacceptable, striking a self-inflicted, fatal blow at our war on terror, and inviting more attacks against ourselves here at home.

Along with the new strategy in Iraq came the author of America’s brand new field manual on counterinsurgency, General David Petraeus. Since his arrival, American and Iraqi forces have made marked and significant progress – and he has given our military confidence in our ability to succeed. But there is simply no rational point to giving such a man the task at hand without the resources or time to see it through. We are not surprised, of course. Perhaps, as some of us expected at the time, that was the plan all along.

So here hangs the balance of our mission, and the goal of a just, free, and peaceful world teeters near the brink. Either Ms. Pelosi has in mind a more ingenious strategy for victory then Gen. Petraeus – her brilliant strategic mind honed on the battlegrounds of late night games of Battleship – or she is unwilling to bear the political penalty with her base, and thus has become an eager fan of American defeat. And the sooner there are images of helicopters skirting away from the tops of buildings, the outstretched hands of the Iraqi people left behind to be devoured by our common foe, the better.

You will forgive us for suspecting the latter.


Wednesday, July 11, 2007

To Be a Liberal

You have to accept the following:

1. You have to believe the AIDS virus is spread by lack of Federal funding.

2. You have to believe that the school system that can't teach a fourth grader how to read is some how the best qualified to teach those same children all about sex.

3. You have to believe that guns, in the hands of law abiding Americans, are more of a threat than U.S. nuclear weapons technology in the hands of Chinese communists.

4. You have to believe there was no art before Federal funding.

5. You have to believe that global temperatures are less affected by cyclical, documented changes in the earth's climate, and more affected by Americans driving SUVs.

6. You have to believe that gender roles are artificial, but being homosexual is natural.

7. You have to be against capital punishment but support abortion on demand.

8. You have to believe that business creates oppression and governments create prosperity.

9. You have to believe that hunters don't care about nature, but loony activists from Seattle do.

10. You have to believe that self-esteem is more important than actually doing something to earn it.

11. You have to believe that the U.S. Military, not evil and tyrannical regimes, start wars.

12. You have to believe the NRA is bad because it supports certain parts of the Constitution, while the ACLU is good because it supports certain parts of the Constitution.

13. You have to believe that taxes are too low, but ATM fees are too high.

14. You have to believe that Margaret Sanger and Gloria Steinem are more important to American history than Thomas Jefferson, General Robert E. Lee, or Thomas Edison.

15. You have to believe that standardized tests are racist, but racial quotas and set-asides are not.

Asshatery at it's clearest.

Cap tip: FS reader


Sunday, July 08, 2007

Just A'picken


Saturday, July 07, 2007

Clearly a Music Phase


Friday, July 06, 2007


As I (ze Fastest Squirrel) see it, Iraq has outdistanced the economy as the number one issue in America, and there is no way the GOP can take this albatross off the political table. Why? Because if the Bush administration fails in Iraq (or is perceived to have failed), the Party has lost one of its most important presumptions: that Republicans are better able, are more competent, and have better ideas at defending this nation than Democrats. Once that presumption is lost, so have our chances for the Presidency and for majorities in Congress in 2008. Who knows how long we would be in the minority after that. The only reason we're not doing worse is because of the well-defined political incompetence of Pelosi and general idiocy of Harry Reid.

The best answer to me, therefore, is for the Bush administration to commit all available resources to turning Iraq around. Folks like Lugar and Domenici and other lukewarm Republicans aren't helping, but you can't fully blame them (though I could be persuaded otherwise). Bush is a failing president and he's lost a huge amount of political capital because of his personnel decisions, his poor ability to communicate, his judgment, his inability to move legislation and his not governing as a conservative. Nevertheless, the success of our party hinges on how Iraq unfolds.

Riddle me this. When was the last time that you saw GWB on TV rallying the troops? When was the last time you received a "personal email" from GWB asking for your support (last election cycle, anyone)? I'm pissed. Waaayyyy too pissed.




Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Doing The Right Thing

Independence Day

My annual post about The Men...

Have you ever wondered what happened to the 56 men who signed the Declaration of Independence?

Five signers were captured by the British as traitors, and
Tortured before they died.

Twelve had their homes ransacked and burned.

Two lost their sons serving in the Revolutionary Army; another had two sons captured.

Nine of the 56 fought and died from wounds or hardships of the Revolutionary War.

They signed and they pledged their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor.

What kind of men were they?

Twenty-four were lawyers and jurists. Eleven were merchants, nine were farmers and large plantation owners; men of means, well educated.
But they signed the Declaration of Independence knowing full well that the penalty would be death if they were captured.

Carter Braxton of Virginia, a wealthy planter and trader, saw his
ships swept from the seas by the British Navy. He sold his home and
properties to pay his debts, and died in rags.

Thomas McKeam was so hounded by the British that he was forced to
move his family almost constantly. He served in the Congress without pay, and his family was kept in hiding. His possessions were taken from him, and poverty was his reward.

Vandals or soldiers looted the properties of Dillery, Hall,
Clymer, Walton, Gwinnett, Heyward, Ruttledge, and Middleton.

At the battle of Yorktown, Thomas Nelson Jr, noted that the British
General Cornwallis had taken over the Nelson home for his headquarters. He quietly urged General George Washington to open fire. The home was
destroyed, and Nelson died bankrupt.

Francis Lewis had his home and properties destroyed. The enemy jailed his wife, and she died within a few months.

John Hart was driven from his wife's bedside as she was dying.
Their 13 children fled for their lives. His fields and his gristmill were laid to waste. For more than a year he lived in forests and caves,
Returning home to find his wife dead and his children vanished. A few weeks later he died from exhaustion and a broken heart.

Norris and Livingston suffered similar fates.

Such were the stories and sacrifices of the American Revolution.
These were not wild-eyed, rabble-rousing ruffians. They were soft-spoken men of means and education. They had security, but they valued liberty more. Standing tall, straight, and unwavering, they pledged: "For the support of this declaration, with firm reliance on the protection of the divine providence, we mutually pledge to each other, our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor."

They gave you and me a free and independent America. The history books never told you a lot about what happened in the Revolutionary War.
We didn't fight just the British. We were British subjects at that time and we fought our own government!

Some of us take these liberties so much for granted, but we
shouldn't. So, take a few minutes while enjoying your 4th of July holiday and silently thank these patriots. It's not much to ask for the price they paid.

Remember: freedom is never free!
Patriotism is NOT a sin, and the Fourth of July has more to it than beer, picnics, and baseball games.

This was from an email a friend sent me years ago...


Monday, July 02, 2007


cap tip to Sexy.