I may be beating a dead horse, here…

September 30, 2007

Dead Donkey (or Horse)
Originally uploaded by spursfan_aceAnd I can’t remember the last time I weighed in on a discussion like this…


This whole bit about State Delegate John J. Welch III, a Republican from the Commonwealth’s 21st left me wondering.

I, for one, am not going to put much faith in the bio as posted at congress.org

There’s no such college as “Park Col. of Chiropractic.” There’s a Parker College of Chiropractic in Dallas, Texas. If they can’t get the name of the school right, you expect them to get the designation of the doctorate right? Not on your life.

For the record, Parker offers a B.S. in “Health and Wellness” or in “Anatomy” and a Doctor of Chiropractic, sometimes referred to as a D.C. or, I guess in illiterate circles, as a Ph.D.

Or perhaps Coastie Dad knows his pop history.

Whatever the case, Coastie Dad is correct that both Glenn Miller and Gene Autry served in the military. As a matter of fact, both Mr. Miller and Mr. Autry served in the Army Air Force during the Second World War. Gene Autry actually enlisted on the air during his weekly radio show. I heard this show (rebroadcast, of course) several weeks ago; at first, I thought it was a gimick. But it wasn’t. Mr. Autry enlisted as a Technical Sergeant on July 26, 1942, during his show “Melody Ranch.” Later, he was was commissioned as a pilot. He flew, I believe, transport planes in the Pacific Theatre.

One website notes

In 1942, against the opposition of his studio and facing the loss of a civilian income in the range of $600,000 a year, the 35 year old Autry enlisted in the U.S. Army Air Corps.

The official Gene Autry website states that Mr. Autry,

volunteered his talents as an entertainer for numerous Air Force shows. His weekly radio show Melody Ranch was cut down from its usual half-hour to fifteen minutes and renamed Sergeant Gene Autry.

Gene willingly helped at war bond rallies and recruiting drives, lending his time and talents wherever and whenever it was needed.

At the end of the war, Gene transferred to Special Services at which point he took a USO troupe to the South Pacific. He was honorably discharged from the service in 1946.

I believe I read somewhere that many of the other members of his radio show also enlisted, although perhaps that was just a dream of mine during a recent fitful night’s sleep.

Gene Autry and Glenn Miller were not alone in serving in uniform. Many other “stars” also served, and many of them saw combat.

Aside from Pat Tillman, I can’t think of any other athletes or entertainers who have joined the military during this latest conflict.

Coastie Dad noted in the comment below

Of course they (and Jimmy Stewart, Ted Williams, etc) served, (although the “great communicator” took a pass and made propaganda films in Pasadena) it was a just war. When does Toby Keith report to Paris Island?

Indeed, when?

In his essay, Today’s Troops Follow in Footsteps of Earlier Generations of Heroes, published this past July, Air Force Technical Sergeant Kevin Wallace wrote,

America’s security has always rested on the backs of men and women willing to sacrifice whatever necessary to defend it.

Perhaps those who are willing to sacrifice today are those who don’t have much to start with; they see the military as a way-out of where they are. Those who have much, the Glenn Millers, Gene Autrys, and Jimmy Stewards of today are not willing to sacrifice.

I also think it speaks volumes about public perceptions of the current conflict. Talk is one thing; action is another. Our movie stars and popular musicians and professional athletes are not willing to give up what they have in order to sacrifice.

I asked recently what Glenn Miller and Gene Autry had in common. This is a hint (well, it’s actually half a hint, but it’s something to send you in the right direction).
Wider shot
Originally uploaded by Nicholas ShanksCheck out this website, Globalincidentmap.com and you’ll realize how much you’re missing in the news.

I can see why my good friend Mike is taking his family and moving to western Virginia.

The neo-Nazi who’s been advocating violence recently posted that he advocates lynching if the “justice system fails.”

I’m guessing that he gets to decide when the “justice system fails.”

My stomach turns.

Photo with this post from 100 Photographs That Changed the World

What do Glenn Miller and Gene Autry have in common (aside from the fact they were both musicians), and what do their lives tell us about how today is different from when they lived?
Originally uploaded by zerohour1971I guess pretty soon we’re going to see if Iraqis or Americans actually govern Iraq. See Robert H. Reid’s reporting from the Associated Press

Squirrel Potion # 9
Originally uploaded by Terry_LeaAll the Muse’s readers are invited to the Annual Stinson Halloween Bash; please RSVP

Kool Aid Alert
Originally uploaded by stretchpantsThis, about Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly.

h/t to Jill over at Feministe

Jihad for Dummies
Originally uploaded by theoriginalbmanWell, Wired’s essay yesterday about the government collecting information about our reading habits hit the MSM today. Ellen Nakashima at the Washington Post wrote,

The U.S. government is collecting electronic records on the travel habits of millions of Americans who fly, drive or take cruises abroad, retaining data on the persons with whom they travel or plan to stay, the personal items they carry during their journeys, and even the books that travelers have carried, according to documents obtained by a group of civil liberties advocates and statements by government officials.

The personal travel records are meant to be stored for as long as 15 years, as part of the Department of Homeland Security’s effort to assess the security threat posed by all travelers entering the country. Officials say the records, which are analyzed by the department’s Automated Targeting System, help border officials distinguish potential terrorists from innocent people entering the country.

Comments that include profanity or personal attacks or other inappropriate comments or material will be removed from the site. Additionally, entries that are unsigned or contain “signatures” by someone other than the actual author will be removed. Finally, we will take steps to block users who violate any of our posting standards, terms of use or privacy policies or any other policies governing this site. Please review the full rules governing commentaries and discussions. You are fully responsible for the content that you post.

But new details about the information being retained suggest that the government is monitoring the personal habits of travelers more closely than it has previously acknowledged.

I’m flying to San Diego tomorrow; I’ll be reading Jihad for Dummies through the security line and onto the plane. I wonder how far I’ll get before getting roughed up for my choice of reading materials.

Hitler Wannabe
Originally uploaded by sharkgrrlYesterday, I posted about a neo-Nazi website that published the names and addresses of the Jena-6. Indeed, this was the same person/site that published my name, address, and phone number when I helped spearhead the Rally for Social Justice in Yorktown in 2006.

Anyway, the MSM is reporting that the FBI is looking into this latest posting of information. From Avis Thomas-Lester at the Washington Post

FBI agents are looking into a neo-Nazi Web site, which has listed the home addresses and phone numbers of the six black teenagers charged in the beating of a white schoolmate in Jena, La., a bureau spokeswoman said last night.

The Thursday posting on the site that lists the information also encourages readers to “get in touch, and let them know justice is coming.”

Their hatred runs deep. Yesterday, the owner of the neo-Nazi website wrote what he thought would be “appropriate punishment” for the Jena 6. I’ll not quote him here, but know that it was barbaric and inciting.

Airport Scene
By Mareen FischingerWe are on a long, slippery slope to a place I don’t want to be.

Ryan Singel at Wired reports U.S. Airport Screeners Are Watching What You Read

George Orwell. Max Headroom. It’s not that far off, I’m a afraid.

From above…
Originally uploaded by Λl℮Roda®Earlier this week, Ernest W. Chambers, a state senator in Nebraska, sued God. That’s right, he sued God.

From Nate Jenkins at the Associated Press

Ernie Chambers of Omaha sued God last week seeking a permanent injunction against the Almighty for making terroristic threats, inspiring fear and causing “widespread death, destruction and terrorization of millions upon millions of the Earth’s inhabitants.”

Chambers, a self-proclaimed agnostic who often criticizes Christians, said his filing was triggered by a federal lawsuit he considers frivolous. He said he’s trying to makes the point that anybody can sue anybody.

I guess Mr. Chambers didn’t expect God to make filings in response to his suit.

God’s response

argues that the defendant is immune from some earthly laws and the court lacks jurisdiction.

It adds that blaming God for human oppression and suffering misses an important point.

“I created man and woman with free will and next to the promise of immortal life, free will is my greatest gift to you.”

Wow; God’s something of an existentialist. And, he has attorneys here on earth to handle is legal affairs.

h/t to The Puddle Pirate at Brainshavings. Mr. Puddle posted Mr.
Chambers’ original filing here. I don’t yet see God’s reply on the Internet, but I’m sure it’s here since she is omnipresent.

Originally uploaded by foreversoulsBut sometimes it is.

Hampton Roads blogger Vivian Paige has a thoughtful post, Sad state of affairs. I’d like to say I could have said it better, but I can’t.

While I’m not sure I place the blame so squarely on the mainstream media, I agree there is something wrong with this country that we claim race is the root of all our differences and that racism is the root of all evil.

Ms. Paige wrote,

So it is a sad state of affairs in America today, one in which blacks and whites talk past each other instead of to each other. It is a sad state of affairs when people make assumptions about a person’s beliefs simply on the basis of race. And it is a sad state of affairs when people make excuses for injustice.


I would also suggest that it is the loud, angry voices which cause me the most distress. On one neo-Nazis blog, I found the names and addresses of the Jena Six. On an anti-racism site, I came across a picture of half-a-dozen young white guys holding a flag emblazoned with the words “The South Will Rise Again” and a caption indicating these young men might have had something to do with placing the nooses on the tree (the incident that really started this whole firestorm). That post seeks information so they can be watched. Both of these forums are subtly advocating violence.

Without thoughtful voices of reason, all could spin well out of control. Join Ms. Paige is raising your thoughtful, nonviolent, social justice voices so that the sound becomes a beautiful chorus.

Originally uploaded by pmboyCitizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington has named 22 members of Congress who are “most corrupt.” And two additional members of Congress to “watch.”

From the CREW website

Today, CREW released its third annual report on the most corrupt members of Congress entitled Beyond DeLay: The 22 Most Corrupt Members of Congress (and two to watch). This encyclopedic report on corruption in the 110th Congress documents the egregious, unethical and possibly illegal activities of the most tainted members of Congress. CREW has compiled the members’ transgressions and analyzed them in light of federal laws and congressional rules.

CREW also has re-launched the report’s tandem website, www.beyonddelay.org. The site offers short summaries of each member’s transgressions as well as the full-length profiles and all accompanying exhibits. Over the next couple weeks, Citizens Blogging will profile the members who made the list, although many will continue to show up in our daily posts because they are making news.

Senator Larry Craig is one of the two to “watch.”

Well, thanks for the heads-up, CREW, but I’m not sure I want to watch Senator “Wide Stance” Craig. Frankly, not my cup of tea.


Captain Demi
Originally uploaded by International Talk Like A Pirate DayDon’t forget: Wednesday, September 19th, is INTERNATIONAL TALK LIKE A PIRATE DAY

Schooner Anne
Originally uploaded by pgenglerIf you are interested in sailing or extreme sports or off-beat events or just the plain ol’ interesting, you’ve got to check out this: two people who plan on remaining at sea for 1000 days. Straight. No breaks. No outside supplies. A thousand days on the schooner ANNE.

Check out their blog, 1000 Days Non-Stop at Sea. Their official website is here

Great stuff.

Originally uploaded by mark_66itI’m fairly certain none of my sons would know what this is a picture of.

Pasarelas (footbridges)
Originally uploaded by jdiazpdemadridI’m not sure which is more distressing, the truth, or fiction.

Privacy is dead. Or maybe still alive but dying.

Come on feel the Illinoise
Originally uploaded by Paul MayneRegular readers might remember that some words just sneak up on me. Socialize was a recent word: “We need to socialize that idea so we can make the change next year.”


Today’s word: meme. What the hell is a meme? According to what I’ve been able to find, Richard Dawkins coined the word meme back in 1976. A meme is “a unit of cultural transmission, or a unit of imitation” or “a cultural unit (an idea or value or pattern of behavior) that is passed from one generation to another by non-genetic means (as by imitation); ‘memes are the cultural counterpart of genes.'”

How would we use the word meme? How’s this from Jo(e) at a href=”http://writingasjoe.blogspot.com/”>Writing as Jo(e): “Some of my favourite photo bloggers have been posting pictures of their toothbrushes. Yeah, really. I’m not making it up. I guess it’s that time of year when bloggers run out of stuff to photograph. It’s a weird meme; I liked the sunflower meme much better.”

Okay, everyone, let’s use the word meme at least twice today in conversation…

Originally uploaded by shaedove99You’ve likely heard about the Jena Six case which is heating to beyond boiling.

Turns out, it’s not just the Jena Six. From Earl Ofari Hutchinson we learn Jena Six Case Shows Black Teens Get Short End of Stick. Mr. Hutchinson “examines the way the justice system is weighted against blacks.” More than four years ago, a Louisiana legislative investigating team

found unsurprisingly that black teens were hit with far stiffer sentences than white teens for the same crimes. It made no difference whether the whites had a prior history of criminal or bad behavior and the black teens were altar boys and had a squeaky clean record. The blacks still got harsher sentences. Countless studies show that a black teen is six times more likely to be tried and sentenced to prison than a young white, even when the crimes are similar, or even less severe than those committed by white teens.

Nationally, blacks make up 40 percent of youths tried in adult courts and nearly 60 percent of those sentenced to state prisons.

As Mr. Hutchinson states, “It’s business as usual for black teen offenders and Jena won’t change that. And that’s an even bigger tragedy.”

Watch Behind You!
Originally uploaded by ITLAPDDon’t miss the annual Talk Like a Pirate Day this year. And you can blog like a pirate, too.

Foundation of Our Nation
Originally uploaded by noonespillowI always thought a country’s constitution was above laws and policies. Guess not in Pakistan:

The Election Commission announced a rule change Monday that would apparently allow President Gen. Pervez Musharraf to seek a new, five-year term while still serving as army chief.

Opposition parties insist the U.S.-backed Musharraf is ineligible to run, but the commission said it had changed a rule so that a key article of the constitution no longer applied.

“The chief election commissioner of Pakistan has made the requisite amendment, with the approval of the president,” the commission said in a statement.

Get that: The commission said it had changed a rule so that a key article of the constitution no longer applied. That would be like some small group of people saying that key elements of the United States Constitution no longer applied; say, like, the Fourth Amendment:

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

Oh, wait… er, never mind…

Blackwater Convoy
Originally uploaded by WoodkernHeard this on the radio this morning: Blackwater license being revoked in Iraq. I bet that will kill profits for the Moyock-based private army… er, security company.

From Bassem Mruoue at the Associated Press Writer:

BAGHDAD – The Iraqi government said Monday that it was revoking the license of an American security firm accused of involvement in the deaths of eight civilians in a firefight that followed a car bomb explosion near a State Department motorcade.

The Interior Ministry said it would prosecute any foreign contractors found to have used excessive force in the Sunday shooting. It was the latest accusation against the U.S.-contracted firms that operate with little or no supervision and are widely disliked by Iraqis who resent their speeding motorcades and forceful behavior.

It’ll be interesting to see how this pans out over the next several weeks.

The General’s Retreat
Originally uploaded by bakpackerWhat has this country become?

Gretchen Voss asks, “You’d never buy a car without test-driving it first right? So why settle into a lifelong marriage before trying one on for size?”

I can see the future: marriage is just a thing you do while you feel like it; no commitment; nothing long term.

Not what I want for my future or the future of my sons.

Pretty much says more than words.

h/t to Grumpy Gripes

Hillary Clinton
Originally uploaded by ickiOr so suggests the markets at Inkling. There are at least two markets running about the Democratic nomination for president. One has Senator Clinton at 62.51and the other has her at 63.17.

What does this mean, if anything? Well, it means that the people who play Inkling think that Senator Clinton has about a 63% chance of capturing the nomination. It’s not that the Inkling players want her to, but that they think she will.

On the home page, Inkling notes,

Capturing the collective intelligence of a diverse group of people to give you insight about what may happen in the future vs. relying solely on individual experts is a very powerful phenomena many organizations and individuals are increasingly taking advantage of.

I find it interesting that both markets are about the same, at least with Senator Clinton.

This whole thing that Inkling provides is fascinating. I recommend checking out their home page and reading about the company and what it can do.

By the way, I made a killing on Tiger Woods for Who will win the Fed Ex cup?

VA State Capital
Originally uploaded by Steven CInkling asks, “How many seats will the Democratic Party hold in the Virginia House of Delegates after the General Election in 2007?” Perhaps you can buy in on this prediction. At the moment, the prediction is 48.

Guided Missile Cruiser Leyte Gulf
Originally uploaded by jimfrazierMy son says to me, “Did you hear about the Navy ship that blew up in Norfolk?”

Well, that’s not quite what happened, but… From Katie Collett at WAVY TV, we learn

Fire on Naval Ship Sends Five to Sentara Norfolk

Sep 15, 2007 11:46 AM

A Naval ship in for repairs in Norfolk caught fire this morning sending five civilian contractors to the hospital. Norfolk Fire Battalion Chief Bruce Evans tells 10 On Your Side a small fire broke out on the second deck of the Leyte Gulf around 9:25am in the BAE Systems Shipyard. Evans says the fire was quickly extinguished.

The fire began in a birthing area, or sleeping quarters, for sailors. Workers were welding an area when the fire broke out, but it’s unclear if the welding is what sparked the fire. Evans emphasizes, this is not an act of terrorism.

BAE workers were sent home early from their shifts. One worker tells 10 On Your Side he was on the Leyte Gulf this morning when he felt an explosion rock the ship. When he went onto the main deck, he says he saw several of the contractors being taken away on stretchers.

Appears from the report, and the lack of breaking news on other sites and from other MSM outlets, just an industrial accident.

No terror hit on US soil today.

Check out this Inkling Market you can play (like a stock market, although it’s free): Will Al-Qaeda successfully complete a major terror attack within the United States during 2007? The current price is $15.98; that’s in Inkling dollars, not US dollars. Sign up for an Inkling account and get $5,000 (Inkling $) to play the various markets, including this market about Al-Qaeda.

h/t to Ben McConnell at Church of the Customer Blog: Be true to your culture.
Signs 008
Originally uploaded by GlennthebenTry a few of these on for size:

The Reason JFK Jr Was Murdered

The Gemstone Files: A Skeleton Key to the Gemstone Files

Is USAF Stand Down To Find A Missing Nuke? Someone, operating under a special chain of command within the United States Air Force, just stole a nuclear weapon.

American Patriot Fax Network

Oh, this looks promising: Vacuum bombs: Russia ahead of the U.S.

As Luboš Motl Pilsen notes,

The Russian general in the video also explains that their new bomb is absolutely environmentally friendly and creates no pollution. It is also fully compatible with all international treaties. Because the bomb also whitens you teeth and is carbon-neutral (once you include the negative corrections from the destroyed enemies’ fuel consumption), it can be safely used at any place of the Earth. 😉

Whitens teeth! Amazing; what will we think of next?A moving slide show… but do I really want to put myself through this wringer?

h/t to John at the Brown Hound

Great slide show from Badgers Forward…
Originally uploaded by Tidewater MuseThis tells me something, but I’m not sure what…

Linescale Survey Results: the First Vote on the American Agenda

Pint of Bitter at the Turf
Originally uploaded by roddhWhat would I have done otherwise?

Reprieve for the Pint and the Ounce

I’m not sure I want a piece of it.

View Larger Map

From Meghan Hoyer at the Virginian-Pilot, Stand-alone Starbucks to be Portsmouth’s first

The only South Hampton Roads municipality without a stand-alone Starbucks, Portsmouth will soon be getting its own downtown outlet of the coffee chain.

The City Council on Tuesday approved plans to build a Starbucks on a vacant lot at 361 Effingham St. The property, at the corner of North Street, is on the edge of Olde Towne and on the way to the Naval Medical Center. It will feature indoor and outdoor seating, plus a drive-up window.

Starbucks will use about a half-acre of the property; the rest of the land will be used for a small, four-unit condominium, developers said in a written proposal.

Portsmouth ‘s only Starbucks is inside a Farm Fresh store in Victory Crossing Shopping Center.

Once it opens next spring, the Starbucks will generate about $120,000 in tax revenues, mostly through food and beverage taxes, city officials estimated. The adjacent condos will generate about $14,000 in real estate taxes.

The end of civilization as we know it.
Venezuela’s President Hugo Chávez
Originally uploaded by MacambaThis was an interesting piece in the news earlier this week… From Christopher Toothaker of the Associated Press, we learn that Venezuela’s President Hugo Chávez says he could govern until 2027.

President Hugo Chavez said Sunday he could continue governing until 2027 if voters do away with re-election limits because he needs more time in office to establish a socialist economic model in Venezuela.

He has previously said he could stay on as president until 2021 if his proposed constitutional reforms — which among other changes would eliminate presidential term limits, letting him run as many more times as he wants — are approved.

Let’s hope there are no calls to do away with re-election limits here in the USA to finish the “War on Terror.”
It all makes sense now.

‘Gays Too Precious To Risk In Combat,’ Says General

Originally uploaded by crimesceneblogThis is interesting: self-labeled pedophile Jack McClellan is tracked by bloggers across the country.

From Tomas Alex Tizon at the Los Angeles Times

Jack McClellan, the self-labeled pedophile who was hounded out of Southern California last month, has eluded criminal prosecution, but he has not been able to shake off the public’s watchful eye.

A nationwide web of bloggers who have been tracking his movements told police this week that McClellan had moved to the Portland, Ore., area. The 45-year-old is a native of Arlington, Wash.

This guy has never been charged with a sex crime and has no known criminal history, but he’s definitely off-center. He’s quoted as telling the Bellingham Herald, “I think I’m just the tip of the iceberg of this thing. I think there are a lot of men that have this attraction to little girls.

Let’s hope not.

Originally uploaded by DiscoWeaselI’m not surprised at the headlines today: F.B.I. Data Mining Reached Beyond Target Suspects.

The F.B.I. cast a much wider net in its terrorism investigations than it has previously acknowledged by relying on telecommunications companies to analyze phone-call and e-mail patterns of the associates of Americans who had come under suspicion, according to newly obtained bureau records.

The documents indicate that the Federal Bureau of Investigation used secret demands for records to obtain data not only on individuals it saw as targets but also details on their “community of interest” — the network of people that the target in turn was in contact with.

And we needed more incentives to mandate the Executive Branch actually get a warrant? This just goes to show that over-reach is going to happen. We need that balance within the government that the Constitution demands.

Originally uploaded by myglesiasThe President is alleged to have said to Australia Deputy Prime Minister Mark Vaile recently, “We’re kicking ass,” in reference to military performance in Iraq.

Hmmmm… usually when “kicking ass” you don’t get much of a bloody nose. I’d say we’re getting more than a bloody nose in Iraq. When “kicking ass” the other person generally doesn’t get a chance to hurt back; again, not so in Iraq.

David, thanks for the link. Somehow I missed the quote.

patriot act and libraries
Originally uploaded by library_mistressIt’s about time.

Dan Eggen from the Washington Post says,

A federal judge today struck down portions of the USA Patriot Act as unconstitutional, ordering the FBI to stop issuing “national security letters” that secretly demand customer information from Internet service providers and other businesses.

U.S. District Judge Victor Marrero in New York ruled that the landmark anti-terrorism law violates the First Amendment and the Constitution’s separation of powers provisions because it effectively prohibits recipients of the FBI letters (NSLs) from revealing their existence and does not provide adequate judicial oversight of the process….

He ruled that only some of the NSL provisions were unconstitutional, but found that it was impossible to separate those provisions from other parts of the law. He therefore struck down the FBI’s ability to issue NSLs altogether.

Marrero delayed enforcement of his order for 90 days to give the government a chance to appeal. Justice spokesman Dean Boyd said the department is “reviewing the decision and considering our options.”

Options? They can start visiting a judge to get warrants. Like the Constitution requires.

Time travel is easy
Originally uploaded by jahdakinePresident Bush has targeted dissent reporters and academics by creating a no-fly and watch lists?

During one preboarding search, a TSA agent told [feminist author and political activist Naomi Wolf ] “You’re on the list” and Wolf learned it is not a list of suspected terrorists but of journalists, academics, activists, and politicians “who have criticized the White House.”

President Bush knew for certain there were no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq?

[Said one former senior CIA officer,] “The fact is there was nothing there, no threat. But Bush wanted to hear what he wanted to hear.”

Oh, say it ain’t so, please.

Aviation A-Z : B is for B-52 Take-off
Originally uploaded by stonefactionHere’s a story one doesn’t see often. From Barbara Starr at CNN:

Six nuclear warheads on cruise missiles were mistakenly carried on a flight from North Dakota to Louisiana last week, prompting a major investigation, military officials have confirmed.

My favorite part of the story?

The crew was unaware that the plane was carrying nuclear weapons, the officials said, speaking on condition of anonymity because of the extraordinary sensitivity and security surrounding the case.

The mistake was discovered after the plane’s flight to Louisiana.

Er, they’re flying and they don’t know they have nukes onboard? That’s a gaff…

Reminds me of John Woo’s blow-em-up movie, Broken Arrow

Would this have been a Dull Sword event?

Perhaps this is the answer to all my perceived problems…

h/t to NYC Educator

Odd story I first came across in a post by IB, a math teacher in Minnesota. And it is not about math or teaching or schools or education. It’s about a young woman who was kicked off a Southwest Airlines flight because “her clothing was inappropriate.”

Huh? Check out the picture to left. This 23-year old Kyla Ebbert was wearing when she was escorted off the flight.

I think Gerry Braun at the San Diego Union-Tribune first broke the story

Southwest explained its treatment of Ebbert in a letter to her mother, saying it could remove any passenger “whose clothing is lewd, obscene or patently offensive” to ensure the comfort of children and “adults with heightened sensitivities.”

Her attire was lewd or obscene or patently offensive?

Oh, come on. What BS. I see skimpier clothing on, well, nearly all young women today.

Wrote Mr. Braun,

A Supreme Court justice famously could not define “obscene,” and declaring a thing “lewd” imputes motive. Did Kyla Ebbert intend to excite sexual desire on that flight to Tucson? I doubt it, just as I doubt that flight attendants are proper judges of such matters.

But neither am I. So when I arranged to see Ebbert in the notorious outfit, I brought along my fashion advisers, writer Nina Garin and photojournalist Crissy Pascual, who for years collaborated on a feature in this newspaper called “Seen on the Street.”

The three of us met Ebbert and her mother for lunch at Nordstrom Cafe. Ebbert, who is 5-foot-5 and has green eyes, is pretty enough to be a model.

Yet even wearing the clothes that scandalized Southwest, she did not attract attention beyond some lingering glances.

My fashion advisers were baffled, saying they saw nothing you don’t see on a college campus or in Pacific Beach.

“I was expecting to be shocked, and I was shocked the other way,” Pascual told me.

“It wasn’t a big deal,” Garin said. “Her skirt was a bit short, which was only accented by her heels. If she had been wearing flip-flops it wouldn’t have mattered.”

Garin wondered if a jealous woman may have complained about Ebbert’s outfit. I asked her what she would have said had she been on the plane.

“ ‘I hope she’s not sitting next to my husband,’ ” Garin replied. “She’s pretty. She wears her clothes well. But I wouldn’t complain about it.”

Pascual detected sexism in the way Ebbert was treated, wondering if a man would have been asked to change clothes. Do men dress inappropriately? “I see butt cracks, a lot of butt cracks,” she said.

In its letter, Southwest said “there were concerns about the revealing nature of her outfit.”

I called Hollye Chacón, the Southwest customer relations representative who wrote the letter, to see if we were talking about the same outfit.

“What exactly was being revealed?” I asked.

She said yesterday she’d call back, but never did. That’s pretty revealing in itself.

Yeh; I think Southwest went over the top on this one. They ought to give Ms. Ebbert a round-trip ticket or a year’s pass in return for her not taking them to court.

As to public reaction, well, the blogosphere is all a twitter, and I love the comments posted at this site

  • I’ve flown Southwest for 30+ years, and their stewardesses used to wear much more revealing clothing than that.
  • The girl seems overdressed by today’s standards.
  • She can sit next to me. Heck, if they run out of seats, I’ll generously offer my lap…
  • In the interests of saving those “adults with heightened sensibilities”, I’ll sit next to her. I do it not for myself, but for all mankind.
  • Finally, a middle-aged man willing to stand up for the rights of beautiful, scantily-clad blondes! Way to go, Gerry!

The good news is that Ms. Ebbert was allowed back on the plane, and she was able to make her doctor’s appointment in Tucson.
Originally uploaded by soldiersmediacenterThe U.S. Army recently announced that it had exceeded its recruiting numbers for August, enlisting 528 more recruits than the goal of 9,600. How’d they rack up those impressive numbers during a time that Josh White from the Washington Post calls “one of the most difficult recruiting environments in the history of the all-volunteer Army”?

Bucks. Plain and simple. Since late July, the Army has been offering recruits $20K to “ship quick” to basic training.

To exceed make the numbers, the Army spent $10,560,000 for the 528 men and women. If all of August’s recruits took the quick-ship bonus, the Army spent $202,560,000 on bonuses alone.

That’s a big piece of change. We seem to be spending a sh**-load of money on Iraq, a military excursion which we weren’t backed into but rather chose.

I’m not sure I can stomach it.

The best reason to come back in the States…
Originally uploaded by HeartAttackGrillOkay, not here in Hampton Roads, but in Phoenix, Arizona
If ever there was a time to use “bullets” in writing, even a formal letter, it was Paul Bremer back in May 2003.

The dissolution of his chosen instrument of political domination, the Baath Party, has been very well received. Several Iraqis have told me, literally with tears in their eyes, that they have waited 30 years for this moment. While the resulting dismissal of public servants has caused some inefficiencies and griping, in most cases younger civil servants have expressed pleasure, even joy, at the measure. (At a minimum they are attracted to the prospect of promotion opportunities.) I will parallel this step with an even more robust measure dissolving Saddam’s military and intelligence structures to emphasize that we mean business. We are seeing signs that the outlawed organizations are behind some of the street violence here.

It seems that President Bush missed the bit about dissolving the Iraqi military.

In an interview with Robert Draper, author of the new book, “Dead Certain,” Mr. Bush sounded as if he had been taken aback by the decision, or at least by the need to abandon the original plan to keep the army together.

“The policy had been to keep the army intact; didn’t happen,” Mr. Bush told the interviewer. When Mr. Draper asked the president how he had reacted when he learned that the policy was being reversed, Mr. Bush replied, “Yeah, I can’t remember, I’m sure I said, “This is the policy, what happened?’”

And this is the same book that quotes the President as saying he plans on making a slew of speeches to replenish the coffers.

Jimmy Carter has dedicated his life after the White House to conflict resolution around the world. Presidents George Bush the elder and Bill Clinton have campaigned together on behalf of communities devastated by Hurricane Katrina. So how does President George Bush junior imagine spending his retirement years?

“I can just envision getting in the car, getting bored, going down to the ranch,” he says. He also has big plans for making money. “I’ll give some speeches, to replenish the ol’ coffers,” says Mr Bush, who is already estimated to be worth $20m. “I don’t know what my dad gets – it’s more than 50-75 [thousand dollars a speech], and “Clinton’s making a lot of money”.

Glad to see he has his eye on the ball still.