November 2006


24 Nov 2006 01:41 pm

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“You have shown yourself to have no respect for life, liberty or any civilized value. You have shown yourself to be unworthy of your office, to be unworthy of the trust of civilized men and women,” Litvinenko said in the statement.

You may succeed in silencing one man but the howl of protest from around the world will reverberate, Mr. Putin, in your ears for the rest of your life,” Goldfarb read.

***

Someone wanted Mr. Litvinenko dead, very dead. Someone wanted Litvinenko to stop investigating the murder of Putin critic Anna Politkovskaya. Litvinenko had his suspicions, directing his last words to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

A highly radioactive material called Polonium 210 was found in the body of dead ex-Russian spy Alexander Litvinenko, Sky News reported Friday, as London investigators searched for residual radioactive material in a variety of locations including Litvinenko’s house.

Health Protection Agency chief executive, Pat Troop, said that the high level indicated “he would either have to eaten it, inhaled it or taken it in through a wound.”

“We know he had a major dose,” she said.

“I’ve been in radiation sciences for 30-odd years and I’m not aware of any such incident,” said Roger Cox, director of the agency’s center for radiation, chemicals and environmental hazards.

Litvinenko accused Russian president Vladimir Putin of poisoning him in a statement prepared before his death Thursday that was read aloud Friday by a friend outside the hospital in which he died.

In his first statement on illness and death of the spy, Putin brushed off the accusation, saying that the Alexander Litvinenko’s death was a tragedy but that he didn’t see proof that it was a “violent death.”

“It’s extremely regrettable that such a tragic event as death is being used for political provocations,” he said. “I think our British colleagues realize the measure of their responsibility for security of citizens living on their territory, including Russian citizens, no matter what their political views are. I hope that they won’t help fanning political scandals which have no grounds

***

No proof it was a violent death? The understatement of the year. Vladimir Putin’s response was cold, evasive and very curious.

***

Polonium, also called “Radium F” is an element discovered by Maria Skłodowska-Curie and her husband Pierre.

Polonium is a highly radioactive and toxic element and is dangerous to handle. Even in milligram or microgram amounts, handling polonium-210 is very dangerous and requires special equipment used with strict procedures. Direct damage occurs from energy absorption into tissues from alpha particles.

***

Our cat, Sabby was treated five weeks ago at the Regional Feline Radio-Iodine Center for a thyroid tumor. He just recently came out of quarantine. He stayed at the Radio-Iodine clinic for a week, then spent two weeks in isolation at our home in an empty bathroom we had prepared for him. We had very specific directions from the clinic for Sabby’s care and had to treat his urine, feces and saliva as if they were wet paint….we were warned not to get any of it on ourselves or our clothing.

We had to use exam gloves and put all of the detritus of the two week house quarantine into a metal can for 90 days. If we should attempt to discard the waste before the ninety day period is over it would set off alarms at the landfill and we would be subject to a major fine. Of course we are being very careful.

We were also warned not to use bleach when cleaning the room where Sabby stayed as bleach is an agent which will release the radiation into the air. I’m wondering what the effects bleach on polonium-210 would have?

The above steps are based on the fact that tiny amounts of I-131 radio-iodine will be in the cat’s urine, feces, and saliva during this 14 day quarantine period. Therefore, we had to be very careful and use a fresh set of exam gloves each time we entered into his room. We had to keep Sabby at arms length. All went well and the careful steps we took should have taken care of any Beta radiation issues. Everything in the room with Sabby went into the ninety day metal can which has a radioactive warning sticker on it.

I-131 also emits gamma radation. But by the time Sabby’s 14 day quarantine period was over the levels were to be significantly reduced. We didn’t have any children under 18 or pregnant or nursing mothers over our house during that period.

If we had to go to such lengths to handle our pet because of the radiation issues this must be a living nightmare for those who were near or around Alexander Litvinenko during the time period he was exposed to Polonium 210 and thereafter.

The thought that Polonium 210 was possibly in and around London, England or possibly in the United States is chilling.

John Hinderaker of Powerline writes…..

When we’re done worrying about Iran, we’d better start worrying about Russia.

24 Nov 2006 02:27 am

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American Daughter has a fine post about the traditional songs and hymns that American children used to sing in American public schools. Hat tip: Kim Priestap of Wizbang

I found in one of my late great Aunt Dorothy’s photo albums recently The Mountaineer Song Book for Rogers, Arkansas High School, 1937. Thumbing through it brought back memories of singing some of the very songs in my elementary school days.

Onward Christian Soldiers is anathema in public schools now. Even the Methodists won’t sing it as written.

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High School students used to be permitted to sing songs about patriotism and faith. Songs like the following were likely in 1937 to be part of the foundation of love of country that sent thousands of men to war just a few years later.

The Index includes the following songs…….. (some of the links have poor versions of the tunes.)

America

America the Beautiful

Arkansas

Battle Hymn of the Republic

Blest Be the Tie

Captains We Are Loyal

Clementine

Daring Young Mountaineers

Dixie Land

Down by the Old Mill Stream

Faith of Our Fathers

For He’s a Jolly Good Fellow

Go Rogers

Good Night Ladies

Hail! Hail!

Hail to Our Hero

High School Song R. H. S.

Home On The Range

It Isn’t Any Trouble to Smile

Jingle Bells

Kick-Off Song

Let Me Call Your Sweetheart

Let The Rest of the World Go By

Levee Song

Mountaineers

My Wild Irish Rose

My Bonnie

Onward Christian Soldiers

Pack Up Your Troubles

Put On Your Old Gray Bonnet

Reuben and Rachael

Row Your Boat

Scotland’s Burning

She’ll Be Coming ‘Round the Mountain

Silent Night

Sing-A-Ling-A-Ling

Smiles

Solomon Levi

Sweet Adeline

The Star Spangled Banner

There’s Something About a Mountaineer

The Spanish Cavalier

The Old Gray Mare

The Mummy Song

The Sidewalks of New York

Three Blind Mice

The Little Brown Jug

The Little Brown Church in the Vale

Work For the Night Is Coming

23 Nov 2006 05:41 pm

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The troops celebrated Thanksgiving in style.

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An army of warriors and Martha Stewarts.

May God bless our troops.

OperationGratitude is sending packages of cheer to our troops. Check them out. Send some gratitude their way. Hat tip: Lucianne

22 Nov 2006 12:49 am

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On Thanksgiving Day our family will be sitting down together to give thanks for all of our blessings. We are blessed to have each other but we are going to be missing two very important members this year.

When I was a little girl we usually spent Thanksgiving at my paternal grandparents’ house. We celebrated Thanksgiving at my maternal grandparents’ house only once that I remember and that was when I was very young. The above photo is of my mother and her father. My paternal grandfather, Guy Smith Webster, died when I was ten years old but I still miss him today as I do all my grandparents and other dear family members who are gone.

Thanksgiving at my father’s parents house was always a joyous occasion. Our grandparents’ house was full of children, grandchildren, great grandmothers and the friends my grandmother always included. The kids ate in the kitchen and the adults in the dining room. That was okay with us because we were closer to the food. I remember my Uncle Max telling funny jokes and doing tricks with his cigarettes. On a few occasions he played the violin for us.

My great-grandmother, Kate made the very best pies in the world. She also told great stories. I remember sitting at her feet as she told us about her Confederate father’s experiences in the Civil War. Once when he was home recovering from an illness his sisters had to hide him from Bushwackers in a near by cave.

My maternal grandmother, Hazel Alabama Whitmarsh Webster, always spent Thanksgiving with us after my grandfather died and she supplied her homegrown sage for the dressing.

My sister and three female cousins loved to go into the “girl’s” bedroom to try on my grandmother’s old hats and fancy dresses. She had all kinds of old jewelry we loved to try on. My two brothers and cousin, Gary spent their time committing mischief in the bedroom next to ours. One Thanksgiving for some ungodly reason the boys took the church hymnal back into their bedroom and started to sing the hymns really loud and out of key.

I miss those precious days when we were all together and the warmth and love in my grandparents’ house was as comforting as the delicious food.

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A few years ago before I starting blogging I wrote a remembrance of Thanksgivings past for our family website. I will link it again this year and add a few new recipes.

Title: Sage-Cornbread Dressing

Description:
Very old fashioned and good tasting. As good as Mama Wera’s. I usually double all the ingredients to make a lot. It will take two 13×9x2-inch baking dishes when doubled.

Ingredients:
3 cups crumbled cornbread
2 cups coarsely crumbled day-old bread
2 cups chicken broth
2 hard-cooked eggs, chopped
2 large onions, finely chopped
1 cup finely chopped celery
1/2 cup butter or margarine, melted
1 tablespoon dried whole sage, crushed

Directions:
Combine all ingredients; stir well. Spoon mixture into a lightly greased 13×9x2-inch baking dish. Bake, uncovered, at 325 degrees for 1 hour or until golden brown.

Number Of Servings:8 to 10 servings

Preparation Time:1 hour

Title: Scalloped Corn Casserole

Description:
A rich colorful vegetable casserole.

Ingredients:
4 cans whole kernel corn(or 2 packages (10 ounces) frozen whole kernel corn, cooked and drained, or 8 ears fresh corn
1/2 cup chopped onion
4 tablespoons butter or margarine
4 tablespoons flour
3/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese
2 teaspoons salt
1teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
dash pepper
1 1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs, slightly beaten
1 cup cracker crumbs
2 tablespoons butter or margarine, melted

Directions:
If using fresh corn, prepare and cook ears, cut enough kernels from ears to measure 4 cups. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Cook and stir onion in 4 tablespoons butter until onion is tender. Remove from heat. Stir in flour and seasonings. Cook over low heat, stirring until mixture is bubbly. Remove from heat. Gradually stir in milk. Heat to boiling, stirring constantly. Boil and stir 1 minute. Fold in shredded cheddar cheese and stir until it is melted. Set away from heat. Stir in corn and egg and 1/2 cup sugar. Pour into ungreased 13×9 inch casserole dish. Combine cracker crumbs and the 2 tablespoon melted butter; sprinkle evenly over corn mixture. Bake uncovered 30 to 35 minutes.

Number Of Servings:8 servings

Preparation Time:30 to 35 minutes

Title: Kentucky Derby Pie

Description: My husband demands this pie every Thanksgiving.

Ingredients:
3 eggs
2/3 c. sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
1 c. white Karo
1/3 c. melted butter
1 tsp. vanilla
1 c. pecans
1/2 c. chocolate chips

Directions:
Mix together. Pour into unbaked pie crust and bake at 350 degrees for 60 minutes.

21 Nov 2006 11:17 pm

While we’re all distracted by Thanksgiving preparations very ominous things are happening in Beirut, Lebanon.

He’s mad that trusts in the tameness of a wolf.

BEIRUT, Lebanon — Prominent anti-Syrian Christian politician Pierre Gemayel was assassinated in a suburb of Beirut on Tuesday, increasing tensions in Lebanon amid a showdown between opponents and allies of Damascus that threatens to topple the government.

Anti-Syrian politicians quickly accused Damascus in the shooting, as they have in previous assassinations of Lebanese opponents of its larger neighbor. Gemayel, the industry minister, was the fifth anti-Syrian figure to be killed in the past two years and the first member of the government of Prime Minister Fuad Saniora to be slain

Gateway Pundit has much more including some heart breaking photos.

20 Nov 2006 01:30 am

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Sgt. Maj. Benny Hubbard, from the Army Corps of Engineers, greets an Iraqi child prior to a ribbon cutting ceremony for a new elementary school in Afak. This photo appeared on www.army.mil.

John Kerry, eat your heart out.

Soldiers with the Arkansas National Guard are in Baghdad, patrolling roads and looking for enemy activity — and 40/29’s Doug Grindle recently spent time with them in Iraq.

Insurgents often put bombs alongside a road near a highway just west of Baghdad. They also fire at passing convoys. Soldiers from Northwest Arkansas are trying to put a stop to that, and it’s a job they said they enjoy.

“We are hardcore. We dont mind going out … I get a kick out of going out. I’d rather go out than stay on this place — I’d get bored,” said PFC Daniel Wilkerson of Pea Ridge.

“It’s an adrenaline rush. People might think I’m crazy, but I think it’s fun. I have fun doing it,” said Pvt. Johnny Mitchell of Greenwood.

Soldiers told Grindle that most roadside bombs are found and that the engineering units patrolling Baghdad roads are well protected in their vehicles. The attacks are intermittent, and the unit from Northwest Arkansas has spent more than a month patrolling these roads.

However, the work is dangerous, and the local soldiers will be here for a year. Soldiers said the daily routine associated with patrolling these roads makes the task less frightening.

“I get worried. I pray for the Lord to keep me safe. You get used to it. Before you get here, you’re scared. But, when you get here, it’s a routine,” Wilkerson said.

May God bless and protect these troops. And like President Bush said, We’ll succeed, unless we quit.

Hat tip: sisu

The Democrats and the Syrians seem to be in agreement in calling for a timetable for withdrawal. They do our troops no good service.

19 Nov 2006 11:33 pm

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Cobweb and Puck

We went up to Fayetteville this afternoon to see our niece, Maine play the role of Cobweb in A Midsummer Night’s Dream at the University of Arkansas. It was a fantastically, magical performance. Funny too. Maine was luminous as Cobweb, the fairy.

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Nick Bottom was hilarious playing the dying Pyramus in the play within the play.

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I love the passion and humor of William Shakespeare. ‘Twas a lovely afternoon.

18 Nov 2006 01:04 pm

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Army General John Abizaid spoke at a forum at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government yesterday. (David Kamerman/ Globe Staff)

Greyhawk of Mudville Gazette watched the full four and a half hours of General Abizaid’s appearance before the Senate Armed Services Committee this week and has the link to the video. He writes…..

More troops? “We do need more troops - and the troops we need are Iraqis.”

Less troops? “Under the current circumstances I would not recommend troop withdrawals.”

Both comments delivered to the Senate this week by CENTCOM commander General John Abizaid.

***

The media has made much of Gen Abizaid’s comments at this meeting - and they are of obvious importance. But what really matters here are what the Senators asked, and how they responded to his answers.

***

So it’s the Senators vs. the generals. With McCain vs. Abizaid perhaps it was more like the old Army vs. Navy rivalry.

I received an email from my son (he’s definitely for Army to beat Navy) and here are his thoughts about Abizaid, Clinton, McCain and Lou Dobbs. He doesn’t hold back….

I saw McCain and Clinton both beat up on General Abizaid. They are BOTH
worthless. Abizaid basically said, hey this is what we are doing given
the constraints you put us under, sure we could use more troops but we
can’t send more given the military’s force structure (ie we don’t need
more troops in Iraq, we need a bigger military period, I guess McCain
thinks the Pentagon can arbitrarily make the military bigger whenever
there is a need). I just saw Lou Dobbs ranting, Well what is West Point
producing nowadays, Generals like Abizaid look like politicians.
Another idiot who needs to pull his head out of his ass and figure out
what he’s talking about.

The troops are, indeed, watching to see what the media is reporting about them and whether those in Congress are supporting them. Even with all the negativity coming out of their own country the morale of the troops in Iraq is great.

As General Abizaid stated to Senator Clinton, “When I come to Washington, I feel despair. When I’m in Iraq with my commanders, when I talk to my soldiers and Iraqi leadership, they are not despairing,” said General John Abizaid, the head of US Army’s Central Command or CENTCOM.

It wasn’t surprising that Senator Hillary patronized General Abizaid but it was disappointing that Senator McCain also had to get in his jabs. Is it any wonder that Senator John McCain, former POW, doesn’t have a large following in the military or the Republican Party? The elephant is the symbol of our party of course and we don’t forget.

We remember the countless times John McCain could have shown vigorous support for Bush administration policies but chose not to. When he did step in and support the president the endorsement was tepid at most. I respect McCain’s military service but that doesn’t automatically make him a military strategist or tactician. (or a future President of our country.)

Many of us were offended by the treatment of Abizaid at the Senators Armed Services Committee. He was treated by the senators like someone who parks their cars or shines their shoes.

Abizaid was representing those who are fighting for our country!

Hat tip: Instapundit

It’s telling that General Abizaid got a better reception at, of all places, Harvard University.

“Think of it as a chance to confront fascism in 1920, if we had only had the guts to do it,” Abizaid said.

The gutsy Abizaid appeared at a forum at Harvard University on Friday.

The war in Iraq and the wider war against extremists in the Middle East is the defining conflict of the generation, and one the United States and its allies cannot afford to walk away from, the top U.S. commander for the Middle East told a Harvard University forum Friday.

***

Sarah Sewall, director of the Carr Center for Human Rights Policy, which sponsored the talk, introduced the general. She described Abizaid’s “uniquely valuable perspective” and cautioned against blaming military leaders for executing decisions made by political leaders.

Referring to the way the Vietnam War polarized the country and crippled the military, she said: “We have been down that road before.”

***

At his address at the Kennedy School forum, Abizaid was asked on several occasions why American public opinion had turned so decidedly against the war, and he consistently said that the despair he felt in Washington was not reflected in the field among American or Iraqi soldiers and officials.

He pointedly blamed the American media for its criticism of the US military in Iraq and said coverage of the war had led to the perception of a failed policy.

“We can’t worry about the 24-hour news cycle; we’ve got to worry about where we come out in history,” he said.

“We absolutely are in the stage where we have got to make this work,” he said. “We need to start having better effect against the sectarian violence within six months.”

Abizaid said the stakes were high in Iraq and in the global struggle against the rise of violent Islamic extremism, which he has dubbed “the long war.”

“I believe our failure to address the major problems of extremism can lead to World War III,” he said.

Abizaid gets it. Now,perhaps some at Harvard University have a better understanding of the actual facts.

Yes, the game between Ohio State vs. Michigan looks to be an exciting game that I will not miss.

But for Army vs. Navy football fans, check out these Plays of the Day between Army vs. Navy.

17 Nov 2006 12:51 pm

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I came home for a few minutes and caught Captain napping. I started singing, “Lazy bones, sleeping all the day. Sleeping all your cares away. Away.”

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He couldn’t take it and got up.

The 2006 Mid-Term Cat Election Poll is still open.

See a lot of awake and sleeping cats at the Modulator’s Friday Ark #113.

17 Nov 2006 01:11 am

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Turkey Symmetry

Sissy Willis does.

Go see her wonderful preparations for a special Thanksgiving celebration. Sissy’s sub rosa group of bloggers will be breaking bread together.

I have turkey papercuttings in my windows at school but no turkey in the fridge. Gotta do something about that soon. Very soon. We are having a smaller celebration this year. Two very important members will be having their turkeys in a war zone. (both tell me the food in the mess halls is pretty good)

Yum. The Anchoress is stirring up a delicious dessert.

The turkey of the day.

Sissy Willis requested directions for the symmetrical turkey in the comments so I am going to attempt to provide them below.

Materials for Scherenschnitte Turkey:

Black or dark colored paper
White or light colored paper for background
(A finer craft paper, such as origami paper, will work better than construction paper for this craft. A roll of solid-colored heavy gift-wrapping paper would also work.

pencils
sharp scissors

Get a 9×12″ piece of paper. Fold in half. With a pencil, draw half of the turkey or copy the design below.

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Cut along all the pencil lines. When cutting inside the paper simply fold the paper in order to insert the scissors inside. Be sure to keep the paper folded and cut on every pencil line. After cutting unfold the turkey to see your result.

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The black turkey can be hung in a window or can be placed on a yellow or orange backing.

If cut out of 12″x18″ paper and laminated they can make cute placemats.

Welcome Lorie Byrd at Wizbang readers! Happy Thanksgiving!

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