February 2007


19 Feb 2007 01:05 pm

Our family has had some experience with Walter Reed in the past and it’s disappointing that the hospital hasn’t improved. While it does do some great work our troops deserve better.

Behind the door of Army Spec. Jeremy Duncan’s room, part of the wall is torn and hangs in the air, weighted down with black mold. When the wounded combat engineer stands in his shower and looks up, he can see the bathtub on the floor above through a rotted hole. The entire building, constructed between the world wars, often smells like greasy carry-out. Signs of neglect are everywhere: mouse droppings, belly-up cockroaches, stained carpets, cheap mattresses.

I have never been a fan of Army hospitals. Back in the nineties our daughter was referred by a doctor to Walter Reed to be checked for scoliosis. I will never forget the day she had an xray at Walter Reed. The technician had returned from leave and didn’t seem to know what he was doing. After the xray the doctor asked us if our daughter had had a belt on her hospital robe that could have been tied in a knot.

She was still in the robe and he examined the knot in the belt. He showed us the xray and she appeared to have a tumor. He referred her for a bonescan and an MRI. We had to wait anxiously for over a month to find out that the results were negative. No tumor at all. Just a bad xray. She didn’t have scoliosis either. So Walter Reed was just a bad memory, I thought, until my husband had to be medevacced from Germany for a kidney stone that would not go away.

The doctors at Walter Reed tried to blast the stone away but that didn’t work so he had to have surgery. After the surgery my husband was wheeled into a hallway and just left there. For hours. The attendants told him they were trying to find a room or a bed for him but his bed had been given away during his surgery. (I wasn’t allowed on the med-evac flight so couldn’t be there to help him.) He finally got sick of being there and got off the gurney and walked back to his hotel room which wasn’t in the hospital at all but in a military BOQ up the hill.

The doctor called him in his hotel room that night and asked him why he had left the hospital. My husband answered that they obviously had no room for him in the ward and he wanted to rest. He was tired of lying on a gurney in a hallway.

That Walter Reed hasn’t improved isn’t surprising but something needs to change for our troops. They deserve so much better.

Welcome Sissy Willis Readers!

18 Feb 2007 12:26 pm

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Sabby

Go see more amazing cats at The Pet Garden, the host of the 152nd Carnival of the Cats.

18 Feb 2007 03:35 am

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U.S. Marine Sgt. Kimberly Taylor with Marine Wing Support Squadron 273, plays with an Iraqi child, during an Iraqi Women’s Engagement in Baghdadi, Iraq, Jan. 24, 2007. U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt James R. Richardson.

I still believe in America even when I see all around me many reasons to despair.

The Senate on Saturday narrowly rejected an effort to force debate on a resolution opposing President Bush’s troop buildup in Iraq, but Republican defections emboldened Democrats to promise new attempts to influence the administration’s war policy.

I expected the Democrats to play the part of cowards today and was disappointed but at this point, only slightly surprised to discover that seven Republican Senators had joined the ranks of the Democrats. That, in the inimitable words of Jeff Gordon, NASCAR great, “sucks. I’m mad about that right now.”

Republicans Sens. Chuck Hagel of Nebraska, John Warner of Virginia, Olympia Snowe of Maine, Gordon Smith of Oregon and Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania sided with Democrats in calling for debate to begin, as did the two Republicans already on board, Sens. Norm Coleman, R-Minn., and Susan Collins, R-Maine.”

The anger and disgust I feel for many in the leadership of the Republican Party cannot be assuaged now by anything other than cutting the defeatists loose. We’ll see how much support they’ll get come election time. My husband and I haven’t contributed a penny to any organization in the Republican Party since the last election. Today Newt Gingrich’s GOPAC organization called and I politely told the person on the line that until the Republican Party finds its backbone, we will not contribute a red cent.

Reading Ralph Peter’s piece in the New York Post this morning had me pondering his powerful thoughts all day. His words hit the nail on the head and everything he wrote is true. We all know that what Democrats Pelosi, Murtha and Reid and their fellow cut and runners are doing is treasonous but because they are in the opposition party they appear to believe they can do it without any consequences.

PROVIDING aid and comfort to the enemy in wartime is treason. It’s not “just politics.” It’s treason.

And signaling our enemies that Congress wants them to win isn’t “supporting our troops.”

The “nonbinding resolution” telling the world that we intend to surrender to terrorism and abandon Iraq may be the most disgraceful congressional action since the Democratic Party united to defend slavery.

Peters writes, Nancy Pelosi, have you no shame?

Shame requires a conscience and Pelosi hasn’t given any indication that she has one.

Why, with the shameful lot in our Halls of Congress do I still believe in America? Because our troops are fighting and dying for it.

They will have the last word Nancy Pelosi, not you.

Nor will the perfidious Jack Murtha.

16 Feb 2007 07:23 pm

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Why does Ric Keller spell his name like a girl?

Let me give you an analogy. Imagine that you have a Republican congressman who refuses to vote to support the troops and instead, sides with the democrats against the surge. You have voted for him in every election. The congressman never gave any indication in the last election that he could pull such a cynical stunt. And what is the deal with his obsession with lawnmowers?

Under these circumstances, would you keep voting for him? Would you send even more of your money in support of him? Or, would you say to him, you better start packing your bags, buddy because you are on your way out.

We don’t need any more swishy, defeatest Republicans joining the Democrats in imposing defeat on our troops in this war.

Here are the other sixteen white flag Republicans.

Ian at Hot Air has a post that is somewhat cheering.

16 Feb 2007 01:11 pm

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Captain has always been musically inclined. Here he is ten years ago taking a stroll on the piano.

15 Feb 2007 10:50 pm

It snowed last night and throughout the day little flurries of flakes were flying around. School wasn’t called off, although there were quite a few accidents and slick roads.

It’s obvious our little inch of snow was nothing in comparison to the massive amounts of snow-fall up north.

But that is why it’s called up north. The fuss the MSM is making over the heavy snow throughout the midwest and northeast is just silly. After all, according to the Farmers Almanac, February is the heaviest snow month.

It’s as if they’re all Rip Van Winkles, asleep some twenty years in a global warming cave, waking up to discover that it’s snowing outside and winter is actually doing what winter does.

Someone said, when it snows, you have two choices: shovel, or make snow angels.

We lived in the north throughout most of my husband’s career in the Army but our experience the two years we lived in upstate New York, in the North Country, at Fort Drum, to be specific, was quite a lesson in living where it was always winter and almost never Christmas. I was sort of an innocent when we first moved from a tropical climate (Panama) to the North Country not knowing what it meant when we were issued a snowblower after moving into our on-post housing.

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And of course, it wasn’t long before my husband deployed, first to Florida for Hurricane Andrew and then to Somalia. He was gone before Christmas, (hence, we lost Christmas that year) leaving his family to carry on alone. Snow started in late September of that year (1992) and continued throughout the next six months. We had 224 inches of snow that first winter and it always seemed to snow on the weekends. Our kids schools were never called off and the roads were usually passable. We all learned how to use the snowblower but when the snow was deep, our son, who was a senior in high school at the time, was the only one who could control it.

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My husband uses the snowblower before he departs for Somalia.

We learned a lot of new weather words while we were at Fort Drum: lake effect snow, white-outs and black ice. Once, while driving on post I hit a patch of black ice and my car skidded all the way around and I ended up going in the opposite direction. Naturally, there was an MP around and he actually stopped me and gave me a ticket for making a U-turn.

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Our son drove down to Syracuse one Saturday afternoon to meet a military academy representative for an interview. He made it to Syracuse without a problem but on the way back to Fort Drum there was a white-out resulting in a sixteen car pile up on interstate 81 and his was the sixteenth car.

We learned the scary news when the wrecker driver called to tell us that our son was fine but had been involved in an accident and we needed to go to Syracuse to pick him up. When we got there we found our son sitting in a van with a bunch of thirty something ladies who were on a girl’s night out. They told us that after our son’s car had collided with them he had jumped out to see if they were okay and they invited him to sit with them, not wanting him to be out on the road. They were impressed with him being so solicitous of them and I was happy with the ladies for getting him to sit in safety with them.

As the winter wore on the snow was piled so high we couldn’t see our neighbor’s house across the street. The snowplows on post would build big snow mountains but soon there was no place to put the snow except for the Black River, causing concern that it would flood during the spring thaw.

We had a sort of heat wave the next year…..we only had 192 inches of snow.

Daniel Drezner wonders if Massachusetts has gone soft.

15 Feb 2007 08:24 am

Opinion Journal has a must-read article today on the dead fish the congress calls the non-binding resolution against the surge.

Congress has rarely been distinguished by its moral courage. But even grading on a curve, we can only describe this week’s House debate on a vote of no-confidence in the mission in Iraq as one of the most shameful moments in the institution’s history.

On present course, the Members will vote on Friday to approve a resolution that does nothing to remove American troops from harm’s way in Iraq but that will do substantial damage to their morale and that of their Iraqi allies while emboldening the enemy. The only real question is how many Republicans will also participate in this disgrace in the mistaken belief that their votes will put some distance between themselves and the war most of them voted to authorize in 2002.

That there are any Republicans supporting this madness is disheartening in the extreme.

Instead, they’ll pass this “non-binding resolution,” to be followed soon by attempts at micromanagement that would make the war all but impossible to prosecute–and once again without taking responsibility. Mr. Murtha is already broadcasting his strategy, which the new Politico Web site described yesterday as “a slow-bleed strategy designed to gradually limit the administration’s options.”

In concert with antiwar groups, the story reported, Mr. Murtha’s “goal is crafted to circumvent the biggest political vulnerability of the antiwar movement–the accusation that it is willing to abandon troops in the field.” So instead of cutting off funds, Mr. Murtha will “slow-bleed” the troops with “readiness” restrictions or limits on National Guard forces that will make them all but impossible to deploy. These will be attached to appropriations bills that will also purport to “support the troops.”

“There’s a D-Day coming in here, and it’s going to start with the supplemental and finish with the ‘08 [defense] budget,'’ Congressman Neil Abercrombie (D., Hawaii) told the Web site. He must mean D-Day as in Dunkirk.

So Mr. Murtha plans to slow-bleed the troops? Nice terminology.

However “non-binding,” this is a vote that Republican partisans will long remember.

Oh yes. You can bet we will remember.

Wouldn’t it be nice if Congress simply passed a resolution praising the great work our troops are doing in Iraq and Afghanistan and pledging the congress’ steadfast support of their mission?

That they won’t tells us all we need to know about the kind of men and women we have elected.

Acute Politics writes a heart-rending tale of war and devotion, something the cut and run and now slow-bleeding Murthas of the world will never get.

A list of the 12 Cut and Run Republicans can be found at The Victory Caucus.

Rudy came out strong against the non-binding resolution.

14 Feb 2007 09:02 pm

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Laura and the rest of her third grade class. We were in a mixed 3rd/4th group.

When I was a little girl I loved Valentines Day. One of my favorite Valentines Day memories involved my maternal grandfather. One very snowy, Valentine’s Day he brought over delicious valentine tarts he had purchased from our favorite bakery, The Grand. Some of the tarts were cherry, some were chocolate and some were petit fours. Papaw (which is what we called him) introduced us to Coco Cola and Oreos. He died when I was ten years old so my memories of him are few but vivid.

I remember having a crush on a boy when I was nine or ten and had made a special Valentine to give him but never got up the nerve.

I recall once getting an ugly, hateful Valentine from a boy in my class. He had also given the same mean Valentine to a few other girls in our class. Our teacher took us out of class and had a talk with us. She pointed out that boys of that age usually give negative attention to girls they like. I thought that was odd at the time but she turned out to be right.

The boy later tried to ask me out in high school but , of course, I said no.

I’m lucky with my husband who is my life-long valentine. He starts giving me valentines of some kind a few weeks before the actual day and has been known to write me poetry.

The Anchoress has a Valentines Day Roundup. Go see.

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A valentine from my niece.

14 Feb 2007 07:11 pm

I’m not swooning much over Jim Farber’s 100 Greatest Love Songs and cannot believe some of his selections. Joni Mitchell’s Chelsea Morning? Ughh. Anything by the Jackson Five. Ick. “How Can I Tell You” by Cat Stevens? I don’t think I ever heard that one. Now I did like, Moon Shadow. My sister and I were known as The Fletcher Sisters during our teen years and we sang all the following songs which is why they are some of my favorites. Farber left out my all time favorite love song which is For Your Love by Peaches and Herb. We also sang The Touch of Your Lips by Johnny Rivers although it was on the B side of the record and I don’t think that was the real title. Google can’t even find that one. But it was great and very romantic.

10. “I Can’t Stop Loving You” Ray Charles

4. “I Just Called to Say I Love You” Stevie Wonder

30. “I Got You Babe” Sonny and Cher

31. “My Love” Petula Clark

42. “The Long and Winding Road” The Beatles

98. “Have I Told You Lately” Van Morrison

Hat tip: Betsy’s Page

Mary Katharine Ham has some of the music videos.

13 Feb 2007 02:32 pm

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Senator Hillary Clinton kicks off her New Hampshire campaign at Concord High School in Concord. Clinton is running for the Democratic presidential nomination.

I’m home sick and just woke from a feverish dream. Was checking out Betsy’s Page and saw a link to Mary Katharine Ham’s. MKH has some ideas for a perfect official poster for Hillary. I think I’d rather be back in the nightmare. The thought of Hillary is hard to take, even at 98.6 degrees.

UPDATE: This evening I’m not much better. My husband is so mean. He says that the flu hits blondes really hard.

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