May 2007

19 May 2007 01:10 pm


Today, Saturday, May 19th, 2007 is Armed Forces Day.

The following is an excerpt of Defense Secretary, Robert M. Gates’ Armed Forces Day message.

WASHINGTON, May 17, 2007 – Today’s servicemembers reflect the same determination shown by those who fought for America’s freedom more than 200 years ago, Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates said in a message issued as the annual Armed Forces Day observance approaches.
Armed Forces Day — always the third Saturday in May — is observed May 19 this year.

Gates said many people are familiar with the opening of Thomas Paine’s treatise called “The Crisis,” written in defense of the then-fledgling American Revolution: “These are the times that try men’s souls.”

Less familiar, he said, is a later passage from Paine’s essay: “I love the man that can smile in trouble, that can gather strength from distress, and grow brave by reflection. … He whose heart is firm, and whose conscience approves his conduct, will pursue his principles unto death.”

Paine marched with Gen. George Washington and his men “as they suffered unbroken defeat across much of New Jersey in 1776,” Gates said.

“He felt, first-hand, their lack of supplies needed to wage war or even subsist,” Gates said. “Yet he witnessed many who pursued the cause of liberty unto death.”

How does the left commemorate this day? By bashing President Bush and planning protests.

Send a card to your hometown hero.

Adopt a soldier.

Remember the everyday sacrifices our Armed Forces make.

Read Acute Politics’ account of a trip to Karma.

Check out this article about a community that supports our troops.

There is a renaissance of art on the T-Walls in Baghdad.

Jules Crittenden has a round-up.

There’s more news at the Mudville Gazette.

Continue to pray for all of our troops.

Welcome Cox & Forkum visitors!

19 May 2007 10:40 am


Brought to you by the guys at Sapper Central.

19 May 2007 02:43 am


I am three years old in this picture and still remember that dress. It was red. I always insisted on wearing dresses, my mother tells me. But the star of this photo is the 48′ Chevy in the background..

For as long as I can remember, my Dad had the forty-eight Chevy. Every Sunday afternoon he would load us and our black cocker spaniel, Cookie into the Chevy for a ride to the park. Many times we got ice cream.


Every upstanding little girl must be fashionably dressed while digging worms.


Bathrobes were a must for little girls who were posing in the front yard with their brother and dog but boys will be boys.

We had a fence too, even a gate. At night our Dad would let our horse, Scout, out of the pasture so he could roam around in our yard. Many mornings I would wake up to see Scout’s nose pressed against the window screen. (we didn’t have air conditioning back then but I rarely remember being hot. How is that?) There’s nothing like being awakened by a sneezing horse.


Our Dad went to New Orleans while he was in Louisiana for the Fast Pitch Mens’ Regional Tournament but all my brother got was a cute little stinker teeshirt.

I find myself turning away from the news today, looking through old family pictures on our family’s internet site. My parents are holding on to all the albums of the past, treasuring them like rare jewels. When any of us manage to make off with a photo we have to promise to return it.

I’ve been thinking of our old homeplace for a while now. Like many neighborhoods, apartments were built down the block in the late sixties, nice at first but by the mid-seventies, attracting all the wrong sort. My parents bought another house the year I married but held on to the land and the little house.

This past winter they sold the land. The house had been moved out to the country several years ago.

So now, memories are all that is left of a happy childhood. (and photos) There’s no more picket fence, Scout the horse, or romping through the woods playing cowboys and Army. No more 1948 Chevy. Or bicycle races. The neighborhood has turned ugly, with slummy apartments full of neglected children and drug pushers roaming the streets.

Once we had few neighbors, only open fields, trees and a house on the end of the block with an elderly couple who befriended our parents.

I remember when our Italian neighbors, the Portas, moved into their newly constructed house. We became friends with their four children immediately. Mr. Porta was a generous man who would bring home leftovers from his restaurant to feed the cats, dogs and chickens who lived in our neighborhood. He liked to drive his car with the driver side window open so he could hang his arm out. He did it so often the paint wore off on the side, leaving an imprint of his arm.

When there was a death in our family, Mr. Porta brought over his wonderful hickory smoked beef with his delicious secret recipe barbecue sauce. The Portas were Catholics and through them, I learned about Catholic beliefs and customs. I watched Mrs. Porta pray her rosary faithfully when her son, Butch, was in Vietnam.

One day, my brother and I were invited to go visit the Porta kids’ grandmother, who was an immigrant from Italy. Being a widow, she always wore black and invariably seemed to have her rosary in her hand. Her house was very close to the Immaculate Conception Catholic Church. She had lace curtains in her windows. I liked to listen to her voice; it was low and husky. Grandmother Porta was the wonder behind her four amazing sons, who all had successful restaurants. The aromas in her kitchen were wonderful. It smelled of delectable Italian ingredients: tomatoes, oregano, and garlic.

Mr. Porta’s restaurant was small and people sometimes had to stand in line to get a seat. Mr. Porta had a hand written sign posted on the glass dessert case. It read: “Duncan Hines never ate here. He couldn’t find a seat.”

The neighborhood lives in my memory and it’s sad that many children will never know the fun we had pre-Sesame Street. My sister and I loved to make mud pies. We perfected our “recipe” to the point that our mud cookies looked just like Vanilla Wafers.

One day, we took real Vanilla Wafers outside and were sitting munching on them when Ellen, Mr. Porta’s daughter, came over. We knew she could never resist a cookie so when she asked for one, my sister gave her the matching mud cookie. She took one bite, threw the cookie down, burst into tears and ran home.

Thus began, the Lucy-Ellen feud, which lasted about a week. Between our house and the Porta’s house was a large ditch about the size of a moat. Mr. Porta had hired an Indian man named “Chief” to build a bridge over the ditch. On that bridge, Ellen and Lucy would leave nasty messages to each other until they got tired of it, began to miss each other and made up.

Ellen was a bridesmaid in my wedding and a dear, precious friend. When my brother joined the National Guard, Ellen’s older brother, Mark, did too.

I introduced Mark to my best friend, Janie on our front porch. They’ve been married for thirty six years and have four children.


My cousin, Gary, practicing in our yard. Gary won a baseball scholarship to SMU and played in the minor leagues until his wife convinced him to quit. Next to him is Tommy Across the Street. My youngest brother, Guy is sitting on the ground. Try to find Santa Claus in the photo.

There were other neighborhood kids who joined our gang. One, we called Tommy Across the Street because he lived across the street and his name was Tommy. His mother was a single mom who worked hard at her job and doted on Tommy. He had been struck with cancer when he was three years old and his eye had to be removed. The doctors couldn’t replace his eye with anything because so much tissue had to be removed so he had to wear a patch over his eye. Tommy joined our neighborhood group and spent all of his time playing at our house. He was so comfortable with us he didn’t wear the patch.

When he was twenty-three years old, the cancer struck again. We lost Tommy. I was home from Germany at the time, expecting our second child and was too devastated to go to the funeral. My brothers were pallbearers. Tommy’s mother was so grief-stricken that she moved away. We never heard from her again.

The life we lived as children during the fifties and sixties can’t be replicated now. Too many restraints have been put in place. Families have fractured. Parents seem to have different expectations of their children and not enough time.

Our parents played with us, disciplined us, read to us and prayed with us. They let us run around the neighborhood as long as it was only next door or across the street. They were at every performance at school dressed to the hilt. I remember my mother going to PTA meetings in a dress with a nice necklace on. All the other mothers were dressed the same way.

Perhaps I am romanticizing our childhood but I don’t think so. The liberal culture hates the Ozzie and Harriet era but we lived it and it was good.

16 May 2007 11:19 pm

The Salt Lake Tribune’s reporter, Matthew D. LaPlante took Dr. Laura Schlessinger’s words out of context when he wrote this article, “Dr. Laura to G.I. Wives: No Whining.”

The article caught my attention and I wrote a piece that differed with Dr. Laura based on the reporting.

LaPlante did a hit job on Dr. Laura.

On her blog, Dr. Laura explains the context of the interview and expresses anguish that the military family members she has worked to help and encourage may have been hurt.

Dr. Laura writes…..

I have met Blue, Silver and Gold Star Moms. It is humbling to see them all proud and mutually supportive, even when suffering. I am inspired by family members who lovingly and patriotically sacrifice to support one of their own who volunteered for service to their country and families. Military folks and their families are a breed apart as they live with the threat of death, for the promise of freedom for complete strangers.

We should all be respectful and very grateful.

16 May 2007 10:42 pm


Melinda Doolittle went home tonight on American Idol, leaving Blake and Jordin to fight it out next week. (Musically speaking) I wanted Blake and Melinda in the finals. Jordin is talented and beautiful but Melinda is absolutely fantastic.

I am shocked. I didn’t expect this outcome at all.

I think Blake may end up winning because he is really talented, telegenic, cute and a natural. My favorite musical rendition he’s done so far is Mack the Knife. He’s taken every song he has sung so far and made it his own.

Jordin’s run has been much more spotty. I didn’t care for any of the songs she sang last night and think she needs to mature a little more before she is cast into the spotlight.

I hope we will be seeing a lot more of Melinda Doolittle. She really is a class act.

16 May 2007 06:40 pm

The great George M Cohan, the writer of many songs that helped take us through World War l and ll. The words and music to Over There came to him while travelling by train from New Rochelle to New York shortly after the U.S. had declared war against Germany in April 1917.

Re-reading the Ron Paul nuttiness of last nights’ GOP debate has me questioning why Mr. Looney Tunes was ever allowed into the debates in the first place. Was Paul’s inclusion just a rounding up number to get to ten?

MR. GOLER: Congressman, you don’t think that changed with the 9/11 attacks, sir?

REP. PAUL: What changed?

MR. GOLER: The non-interventionist policies.

REP. PAUL: No. Non-intervention was a major contributing factor. Have you ever read the reasons they attacked us? They attack us because we’ve been over there; we’ve been bombing Iraq for 10 years. We’ve been in the Middle East — I think Reagan was right.

We don’t understand the irrationality of Middle Eastern politics. So right now we’re building an embassy in Iraq that’s bigger than the Vatican. We’re building 14 permanent bases. What would we say here if China was doing this in our country or in the Gulf of Mexico? We would be objecting. We need to look at what we do from the perspective of what would happen if somebody else did it to us. (Applause.)

MR. GOLER: Are you suggesting we invited the 9/11 attack, sir?

REP. PAUL: I’m suggesting that we listen to the people who attacked us and the reason they did it, and they are delighted that we’re over there because Osama bin Laden has said, “I am glad you’re over on our sand because we can target you so much easier.” They have already now since that time — (bell rings) — have killed 3,400 of our men, and I don’t think it was necessary.

MR. GIULIANI: Wendell, may I comment on that? That’s really an extraordinary statement. That’s an extraordinary statement, as someone who lived through the attack of September 11, that we invited the attack because we were attacking Iraq. I don’t think I’ve heard that before, and I’ve heard some pretty absurd explanations for September 11th. (Applause, cheers.)

And I would ask the congressman to withdraw that comment and tell us that he didn’t really mean that. (Applause.)

Thank you, Rudy, for your response. It was succinct, tough and emotional. The look on Rudy Guiliani’s face last night reminded me of my own late father-in-law.

C.C. was an easy going man generally, but if someone crossed the line with him, the expression on his face alone would cause them to make a quick retreat.

That Ron Paul is so uninformed that he could throw out the fallacy that we were bombing Iraq for ten years just for the fun of it, takes him into that strange no-mans-land known as Trutherdom. I believe it was actually a UN mandated no-fly zone to protect the Kurds that had our Air Force flying over Iraq and occasionally dropping a bomb because they were fired on.

“They attacked us because we had been over there.”

Ron Paul had some nerve last night trying to hijack the great George M. Cohan song. Where is the Republican National Committee on Paul’s despicable comments? Why aren’t they demanding that he be disinvited to the debates?

And we won’t come back till it’s over
Over there.

16 May 2007 12:48 am

I was looking forward to settling in tonight to watch the GOP debate but the weather intervened. This afternoon we had a thunderstorm that completely ruined my plans. Our neighborhood lost power for four hours and we didn’t get it back until after the debate was over.

I watched the re-run of the debate out of the corner of my eye as I was catching up with my chores and I dropped the laundry I was folding when I heard Rudy jump into the debate, demanding to give a response to Ron Paul. (who reminds me of what Winnie the Pooh’s friend, Eeyore would look like if he were human) Rudy’s take down of Ron Paul was rich.

Rudy stood out based on that sincere response. Yes, I am pro-life and Rudy’s not as sufficiently pro-life as I. But the most important issue to me in these days is our national security. Rudy understands how important it is that we face the reality of the times. He does.

Rudy’s pro-life in regards to our nation. If we don’t have a strong successor to President Bush who is willing and ready to carry on the fight we all lose.

I had been wavering on Rudy lately, but his performance tonight brought me back.

13 May 2007 11:39 pm

Well, I guess this rules out the rumor that was floated last week about the video store clerk who turned in the Jersey jihadists suspects being a Muslim.

This teenager discovered the real secret of the Ooze.

MOUNT LAUREL, N.J. - It all began on a frigid January day with 10 bearded Muslim men huddled in the parking lot of a Circuit City debating who would go inside to have a copy made of a tape showing them firing guns and praising jihad.

Eventually, the group - who’d been seen standing outside earlier that January 2006 week - selected two men to go inside while the rest waited in the parking lot, an employee who was outside smoking at the time recalled.

Once inside, the two men approached the television section of the electronics store where videos could be transferred to DVD and copies could be made.

They handed the teenage clerk a mini-cassette tape from a camcorder and asked for a $20 transfer to be made to DVD. As they waited, the two men calmly walked around the store looking at televisions, video games and DVDs.

What they didn’t know was that they had sealed their ultimate fate.

When the teen and another employee went into a back room and began the conversion of the tape, they saw a group of bearded men wearing “fundamentalist attire” and shooting “big, f-ing guns,” the teen later told co-workers.

Throughout the 90-minute-long tape, above the booming gunfire at a Pennsylvania target range, the jihadists could be heard screaming “God is great!”

The two employees “freaked out,” their co-worker recalled.

At first, the teenage clerk didn’t know what to do, his pal said.

“Dude, I just saw some really weird s-,” he frantically told his co-worker. “I don’t know what to do. Should I call someone or is that being racist?”

The fellow employee tried to calm his friend and told him that if what he saw terrified him so much, he should tell the police.

The teen first consulted with a manager before making the 911 call.

FBI agents got a copy of the tape from Circuit City, and went to the teen’s house and interviewed him at length.

I can just imagine how shocked the teenager’s parents were. He made the right decision.

That store worker outside smoking was observant enough to add more information for the feds. A smoker and a teenager. Heroes. America.

13 May 2007 10:45 am

An email from Iraq……

Happy Mother’s Day! Hey, thought you might like this. The Major found it:

We ventured to remark, several months ago, that the Administration had shown its entire incompetency to conduct the present war. We regret to be compelled to reiterate this opinion, but the sad experience of every day has not only confirmed it, but demands, in the name of our beloved Union, that the Press of the country speak out and spare not.

It is undeniable that every move our army has made has been a blunder, our naval expeditions proved failures, and our battles resulted in defeats;with the exception of the brilliant little affair at Drainsville–the only bright spot in the dark and bloody panorama before us.

Can any man say that this wicked rebellion is any nearer being crushed out today than nine months ago, although millions upon millions of dollars have been expended and thousands of valuable lives lost in the unnatural conflict. When this rebellion broke out we had the respect and sympathy of the whole world on our side. We could procure loans of money from the great powers of Europe, and buy up, in their markets, any quantity of munitions of war our country might need.

By the bad management of the Administration all these advantages have been upset–we cannot now obtain from Europe a dollar, a cannon, or a pound of saltpetre; and those who we reckoned as friends have been made the allies of our enemies up in arms against us. Canada, our nearest neighbor, that tendered a regiment of lancers to fight in our behalf, have now eighty thousand men who have volunteered to fight against us!

We might overlook–nay, despise–all this and still maintain our self-respect and restore the Union, had not the Administration cast a fire-brand among the combustible material in the country by agitating the negro question in its councils, at a time it had no business there, and thereby driving off its Union friends in the South and border States, and injuriously dividing public sentiment in the North as to the objects of the war.

When we add to all this the peculations, and downright robbery, by officials high and low under this Administration, we have a gloomy picture from the contemplation of which every honest and loyal man must turn with horror and dismay. Public opinion is every day demanding in louder and louder tones that this Administration give up the ghost or the Union is irretrievably lost.

It has shown its incompetency to conduct the war successfully so far, and gives no promise for any better results in the future. We are not alone in expressing these opinions. Honest Republicans do not hesitate to give vent to the same doubts and fears as to the ability of this Administration to conduct the war. The Philadelphia Daily News a rabid Republican paper, says, unless something is done speedily to retrieve it, “the administration of Mr. Lincoln will prove to be the worst failure which the world has ever yet witnessed.”

We republish the article from the Daily News, of Saturday, which taken in connection with the recent speech of HON. THADDEUS STEVENS, to be found in another part of our paper, on the imbecility in the management of the war, indicates pretty plainly that confidence,
in LINCOLN’S Administration, even in its own household, is about expiring.

Mr. STEVENS concludes his remarks by begging “for Heaven’s sake not to go on piling mountains upon mountains of debt and taxation until the nation itself is destroyed in the operations of this war.” No people can, or will longer stand Millions of Taxes and Hundreds of Millions of Debt without some results for the honor and good of the country to show for it.

Valley Spirit, January 8, 1862, p. 4, c. 1

The spirit of defeat and retreat which abounded during the days of the Civil War has now invaded the halls of Congress. It’s always been present in our nations media.

13 May 2007 03:04 am

Laura Schlessinger tells the harsh truth to complaining military wives overwhelmed by their husband’s deployments. It’s true that they aren’t dodging bullets but I would have couched that truth with a little more compassion. But that’s just me.

Radio talk show host “Dr. Laura” Schlessinger is tired of all the complaints she hears from military wives who say they’re lonely and overwhelmed.

“You’re not dodging bullets, so I don’t want to hear any whining — that’s my message to them,” said Schlessinger on a visit to Utah.

Schlessinger broadcast her daily radio program on ethics, morals and values from the Fort Douglas theater here Friday. It’s one of several visits Schlessinger is making across country this year, publicists said.

Schlessinger boasted of once talking a young woman out of marrying a solider, saying “warriors need warrior wives,” and the girl was unprepared.

“It’s very unwise to be married young when you’re going to be alone — everybody has to grow up first to know who they are,” said the talk show host, whose first marriage ended in divorce.

Schlessinger’s son, Deryk, is in the Army. She said his tour of duty has been extended because of disputes in Congress over funding the war. She also said Americans who don’t believe the Iraq war is related to a larger terrorism battle “need eye drops.”

And while she praised fathers who leave home for military service, she wouldn’t answer when asked how she feels about mothers who do the same.

“I’m going to leave that alone,” she said.

I just got home from putting my three year old grandson to bed. I’ve done it several times this week and to me it is a joy. He requires that I read him a book, then he reads that same book through again, with a little assistance from me.

Then, we say a prayer and share a hug and kiss. Afterwards, as I’m leaving his room, he never fails to say, “Mimi, I miss my Daddy.” I answer, “I know. I miss him too.”

I love putting my grandson to bed. It gives my daughter-in-law a little break and spending that time with him just before bed is precious.

My daughter-in-law is a splendid mother who is finishing her education degree while our son is in Iraq. She thought about dropping out when our son got his orders but decided to carry on and she’ll be finished next December. She is up early every day with our grandson and goes to school, keeps house, takes care of her son, the finances, the dog and is managing very well.

If she feels like complaining, we are there to listen. Sometimes it’s good to just vent.

There is nothing wrong with that. The key to getting through a spouse’s deployment is having people around you who care and are willing to step in to help when things seem overwhelming.

I remember the stress of being both mother and father to my children when my husband was deployed to Somalia. He left right before Christmas, leaving me to deal with that everlasting winter. It seemed to snow everyday. I had to learn how to handle the snowblower. The snow was piled so high we couldn’t see the house across the street.

Two weeks after my husband left, our cat, Bugsy died. It devastated our youngest daughter and broke all of our hearts. I really missed my husband’s cheery attitude especially.

Then, there was the worry about whether I made the right decisions with the kids. I let my son, who was a senior in high school, drive our van into Watertown to school in the snow. Today, looking back, I wonder what in the world I was thinking. But, the thing is, New York State takes very good care of their roads and our son never had an accident.

I was in charge of our family support group so was contacted when ever there was a family dispute, or a problem of any kind. The worst day came when I heard the news that my husband’s Executive Officer’s son had been in a terrible accident with his fellow cadets when they were returning from spring break at Disneyworld to West Point.

Two cadets were killed in the accident and my husband’s XO’s son lost his left arm. That was the most heartbreaking “support issue” that I have ever faced. The family was happy their son lived but heartbroken that he had such drastic injuries. West Point allowed him to finish the semester while he was recovering at Walter Reed but he was dismissed after the year was up because of the loss of his arm.

Life always seemed to close in on us when my husband was deployed. On another deployment when we were stationed at Fort Monroe, VA, our youngest daughter took our dog, Sugar on a leash out to the “dogfield” so she could go to the bathroom. It was the first time I had allowed her to take Sugar out, it was usually the job of our son, who was the oldest. But she wanted to do it so I let her.

A neighbor’s german shepherd charged out their back door while she was carrying in groceries and attacked Sugar just as my daughter was rounding the corner to bring her inside. We rushed Sugar to the pet emergency hospital and she died in the night after surgery. The memory of that awful time still brings tears to my eyes.

Yes, wives of soldiers sometimes whine but people like Laura Schlessinger need to realize that life can be overwhelming when the one left behind has to wake up everyday and face it without their spouse. They need people to come alongside and be there for them.

Military wives don’t need lectures, just someone to talk to. I used to call my mother everyday when we lived faraway and would complain about how lonely I was because my husband worked from dawn to dark and my children were little. “Talk to your children.” my mother told me. That was good advice.

I did and I still do.

One of my favorite movies back during the eighties was The Great Santini. I’m not saying that my husband was anything at all like Bull Meechum but when the kids and I watched we all saw some similarities in our families’ life to that of the Meechum family. Trying to fit in to a new community, dealing with school and the demands of Army life.

Trying to get the attention of a Dad who was kept very busy in his career. Staying out of trouble so as to not bring shame upon him. Lining up in formation to present their report cards to him.

But the heart of the Meechum family was Lillian Meechum. She was a true Southern belle, resilient and tough but totally devoted to her husband and children. She faced the realities of military life but stepped in to shield her children from her husband’s occasionally violent wrath.

It takes years to develop a strong spirit like Lillian Meechum’s and some military wives are very new at the game. They need encouragement and praise for enduring the deployments of their husbands.

Welcome Lorie Byrd at Wizbang Readers.

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