6.30.2005

Relief

Even though I knew - intellectually - that BIL was ok, relief did not come until this evening when I checked my e-mail. And there, waiting for me, was a short note saying all is well.


And yet, my heart is still heavy for the families of those whose loved ones were lost. I cannot imagine...




Pau.




- hfs

6.29.2005

No news is good news

or so they say.


I have not heard anything other than what the news is reporting. Right now, it looks like it was an MH-47, a Special Ops bird. I have it from a good source that it was not a Big Windy (Germany) bird.

Still no word from BIL but again, no news is good news. I wish they would get the details out so I could stop worrying. Even without worrying about BIL, I still worry...the Chinook community is so small. I'm bracing for the list of names to be released - that damn two degrees of separation sucks. Chances are, we either know the pilots/crew or know someone who knows them.

Either way, 17 families could use some prayers right about now. As relieved as I am that it is not OUR family, my heart aches for theirs.




And just when the scab was healing, it gets torn open again.




Pau.




- hfs

6.28.2005

U.S. Chopper Down in Afghanistan

Chinook Down



Watching, waiting, and praying. Please, God, let them all be ok. And let my BIL be as far away from there as possible.




Pau.




- hfs

6.27.2005

When I'm wrong, I say I'm wrong

I got bad information about CPT Z and the IED. He did NOT pick it up to fling it into a canal.


My bad.


Here's the full story : From My Position


Or here : Two Babes and a Brain



Regardless, Chuck is a hero and we are all praying that he makes a speedy and complete recovery. I'm sorry for the mistake Chuck (and Carren!).




Pau.




- hfs

6.25.2005

A Few Updates

I have been a little remiss in updating you all on the status of both CPT Charles Ziegenfuss (a milblogger that I just recently found at TCOverride) and John Michael, the teenager with AML (a form of cancer).

First, CPT Z...

He is on his way to Walter Reed for treatment and recovery. You can read more about his condition HERE and HERE.

And should any member of the Left decide they actually want to invest in some cojones...maybe they should look to CPT Z. The man picked up the IED and tried to throw it into the canal in order to save his soldiers. THAT is a hero.




As for John Michael...

After the tube came out, Pops set up the CD player and the boy came out and danced. He earned lots of hoots (and even a dollar) from the nurses and staff. He definitely showed his personality with choice of song and moves. He wants them to play the Bee Gees "Stayin' Alive" when he leaves... is he a crack up or what?


The boy is now DANCING IN THE HALLWAY...not bad for someone who was so near death not more than 2 weeks ago. Amazing. Simply amazing. He and his family still have some concerns and could most definitely use your prayers, good thoughts, and Marriott Miles (or any other donation you feel compelled to make). But he's doing SO much better. Thank God.




Anytime anyone tells me there are no more heroes, no more real men, on this Earth - I'll just point these two men out to them and leave it at that.




Pau.




- hfs

Things I don't get

I've been tagged By Lorelie at An American in Italy with another MeMe. So here are :


Five things I don't get...


1. The Supreme Court -

They seem to have lost their collective mind. Some of the decisions that have been passed down of late make me wonder if Mad Cow disease has infected their brains.



2. Paris Hilton -

She's not attractive. She's not intelligent. She has no class nor tact. So why are people so fascinated with her??


3. Stupid "reality" TV shows -

What? Like life itself isn't weird enough as it is? We have to pay people to make these kinds of shows? I'd rather just watch "The Daily Show" - it's more entertaining.


4. Low-rise pants and a pooch

I didn't put a picture up here because I hate seeing people who have no business wearing low-rise pants and bearing a belly that should NOT be seen. When you can HEAR the material stretching, that's your cue that you might want to drop a few pounds...


5. The obsession with Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes -


WHO CARES????? I sure as hell don't. Good for them. Now go away.





Ok - who to tag...

I'm going to have to think about this one for a bit. I'll edit this post and add my tags when I have a chance. But right now, dinner is calling.




Pau.




- hfs

6.24.2005

Gosh, I'm old...hehe

Happy Birthday to me
Happy Birthday to me
I feel like I'm 80
But I'm only 33...




Just remember : Growing OLD is mandatory. Growing UP is optional.




Pau.




- hfs

More on Lawerence v Kelo

The Unalienable Right had bit on the Lawerence v Kelo decision by the Supreme Court and there was one bit in there that I wanted to add my $0.02 to (because you all know I cannot keep my mouth shut for long).



Now just a thought to tie this decision to the general trends in Supreme Court jurisprudence - It’s ironic that the same court that bent over backwards (no pun intended) to find a right to buggery in the Constitution, couldn’t find a presumptive right to one’s own property in the Constitution.

So we have a right to do what we want in our own bedrooms, but we don’t have a right to own our bedrooms. The Lawrence and Kelo decisions seem to be at opposite ends of the “federalism” spectrum, which is odd given that property rights are an explicit part of the fifth amendment, and “sexual behavior” rights aren’t mentioned anywhere in the Constitution. It seems usually the courts are just making it up as they go along.



I don't think they are just making it up, I think they are pulling it out of their @$$es. Like I read elsewhere, while everyone had their panties in a wad over the Patriot Act, the Supreme Court yanked their houses out from under them. So your library records are safe but you're homeless. Gee, thanks.

Posted in Open Post at Mudville Gazette




Pau.




- hfs

6.23.2005

Things that make you go...WTF????

Seems today is a day of acronyms. Actually, being a military wife, my LIFE is one of acronyms. But I digress...


Today, our acronym is WTF??? And "WTF" stand for "What the..." I'll let you fill in the last word. Here is what is causing my head to hurt today...


Supreme Court Rules Cities May Sieze Homes

WASHINGTON - Cities may bulldoze people's homes to make way for shopping malls or other private development, a divided Supreme Court ruled Thursday, giving local governments broad power to seize private property to generate tax revenue.

...

"Promoting economic development is a traditional and long accepted function of government," Stevens wrote, adding that local officials are better positioned than federal judges to decide what's best for a community.



I realize that this really is nothing new - that eminent domain has been around for a long time. But to have the Supreme Court rule that a municipal government can basically come in and evict you our of your own home in order to put in a Starbucks because the tax revenue from Starbucks is higher scares the CRAP out of me.

What this does is put property owners at the mercy of their local governments - either vote in favor of an increase in property taxes or they'll boot you out of your own home and put in a strip mall!

Scary.


WTF??? I think the Supreme Court has lost its collective mind.

ETA = If you are curious (like me) and want an in-depth analysis of the decision AND its implications (including implications for properties protected under the Religious and Institutionalized Persons Land Use Act GO HERE

Hat Tip : Michelle Malkin.


Dems Say Rove Should Apologize or Resign

WASHINGTON - Democrats said Thursday that White House adviser Karl Rove should either apologize or resign for accusing liberals of wanting "therapy and understanding" for the Sept. 11 attackers, escalating partisan rancor that threatens to consume Washington.

...

Schumer said Rove's comments might have been made in the heat of the moment and he was willing to accept an apology. But "if they try to stonewall," he said, "then I think resignation would be called for."



You have to be KIDDING ME!!! The Democrats got their panties in a wad over being called SOFT? I need Excedrin and I need it NOW.

Sure - Rove can apologize...I think it will look something like this :

"To those whom my comments offended...kiss off. When you find your spine and your testicles, let me know. Until then, sit down and shut up."


I should be a Washington speechwriter!



WTF??? Stop the world - I want off!!!




Pau.




- hfs

WFHM

No - it's not a radio station...it's my abbreviation for "Work From Home Mom".




That's right - I. Have. A. Job.




Not only a job, a work-from-home-choose-your-own-hours-really-great-pay job!!! And, no, I'm not selling Mary Kay cosmetics (not that I have anything against home-based sales...I am still involved with Discovery Toys and plan to get back into the scrapbooking business eventually).

I just landed a job as a Domestic Relocation Consultant. Basically, I get to use all that I've learned in my 7+ years as a military spouse (and through our 4 moves) and help get others settled here. Right now, I am working on a project involving about 100+ contract employees who will be coming to the island to work for a component of the military for about a year.

I was hired yesterday. I've already logged about 10 hours and my first face-to-face with the VIPs from the company takes place NEXT WEEK. ACK! Trying to track down housing possibilities for 100+ people (not ALL at once but within a 2-3 month time frame) is hard enough but when you try to do that in a housing market such as the one here on Oahu, things get interesting.

To give you an idea of what it's like here, you can check out the article in the Honolulu Advertiser. The title should give you a good idea what renters here are facing : Rental Anguish.

Add to that the fact that my company's client has yet to give a solid timeframe for when the contract workers are to start arriving or how many of them will come at one time or when to expect the different groups. Um, yeah, that helps.

It's all good though. For what they are paying me to do this, they can all live here! Well, maybe not but if this were a full-time gig, I could buy a pretty big house to house them in!




So, should I seem to disappear for a week or so at a time, don't take it personally. It just means that I'm out earning my keep!!!




Pau.




- hfs

6.22.2005

Good news and bad news

The bad news is that CPT Charles Ziegenfuss (a milblogger that I just recently found at TCOverride) was injured in an IED explosion (See HERE).

The GOOD news is that none of the injuries are life threatening. Serious, yes (see HERE) but not life threatening.


If I were in his wife's shoes, I know I would love to hear from you. Stop by and offer both of them your support.


Hat tip : Greyhawk


Pau.



- hfs

A day late and a dollar short

It finally dawned on DICK Durbin that his "parallel" between our soldiers down at Gitmo and the Nazis/Pol Pot/Russian gulags was wrong.



Oh, wait. No...it didn't occur to him that it was wrong. He realized that he offended people with his statements. Totally different.


"Some may believe that my remarks crossed the line," the Illinois Democrat said. "To them I extend my heartfelt apologies."


If you DIDN'T believe his remarks crossed the line, then he's not sorry.


So, what this "apology" boils down to is the fact that the Senator realized that he said something that - while believed wholeheartedly by himself and the Democratic party (since very few Dems have come out to condem what he said) - negatively affected his image and therefore his possibility for reelection.


Oh, and the tears? Yeah, my 3 year old does the same thing - they're called "Crocodile Tears" and it seems that the Senator is just as good at them as Princess Trouble.


You REALLY want to see the Senator cry?? Kick his @$$ out of Congress.




Oh, and Seantor...as a military spouse and one of the people you DID offend, your apology was BS and I don't accept it.




Pau.




- hfs

6.21.2005

How to be my friend

1. Call me for a reason OTHER than to ask me to watch one (or two, or three, or four) of your kids.

2. When calling me to ask me to watch one (or two, or three, or four) of your kids, do so MORE than 24 hours ahead of time.

3. Do NOT call me to ask me to watch one (or two, or three, or four) of your kids 3 times in two weeks.

4. When I do agree to watch one of your children, don't tell me "this won't take long" and then not come back for SIX hours. I understand it was a doctor's appointment and you ahd 2 kids that needed to be seen but it would have been nice to KNOW that ahead of time.

5. When I tell you I can't watch one (or two, or three, or four) of your kids because I HAVE PLANS (and you're calling with less than 24 hours' notice) DON'T sound like I am denying you food and water.



I have a LIFE! Just because I am a stay-at-home-mom does NOT mean I sit on my ass all day long, eating bon-bons and watching Young and the Restless! I am not a babysitter or a day care center!!!


/rant




I feel better now but I suspect I have lost a friend. That's too bad.




Pau.




- hfs

6.18.2005

More on DICK Durbin and his ignorance

Rather than copy certain quotes from Sentaor Durbin's "statement" to the Senate, I have chosen to paste the entire statement here and then rip it to shreds, piece by piece. I have added "footnotes" to his speech to help you (and me) understand which point I am referencing.



U.S. Senate Floor Statement by Sen. Dick Durbin on Guantanamo Bay

June 14, 2005

Mr. President, there has been a lot of discussion in recent days about whether to close the detention center at Guantanamo Bay. This debate misses the point. It is not a question of whether detainees are held at Guantanamo Bay or some other location. The question is how we should treat those who have been detained there. Whether we treat them according to the law or not does not depend on their address. It depends on our policy as a nation.

How should we treat them? This is not a new question. We are not writing on a blank slate. We have entered into treaties over the years, saying this is how we will treat wartime detainees. The United States has ratified these treaties. They are the law of the land as much as any statute we passed. They have served our country well in past wars. We have held ourselves to be a civilized country, willing to play by the rules, even in time of war.

Unfortunately, without even consulting Congress, the Bush administration unilaterally decided to set aside these treaties and create their own rules about the treatment of prisoners.

Frankly, this Congress has failed to hold the administration accountable for its failure to follow the law of the land when it comes to the torture and mistreatment of prisoners and detainees. (1)

I am a member of the Judiciary Committee. For two years, I have asked for hearings on this issue. I am glad Chairman Specter will hold a hearing on wartime detention policies tomorrow. I thank him for taking this step. I wish other members of his party would be willing to hold this administration accountable as well. (2)

It is worth reflecting for a moment about how we have reached this point. Many people who read history remember, as World War II began with the attack on Pearl Harbor (3), a country in fear after being attacked decided one way to protect America was to gather together Japanese Americans and literally imprison them, put them in internment camps for fear they would be traitors and turn on the United States. We did that. Thousands of lives were changed. Thousands of businesses destroyed. Thousands of people, good American citizens, who happened to be of Japanese ancestry, were treated like common criminals.

It took almost 40 years for us to acknowledge that we were wrong, to admit that these people should never have been imprisoned. It was a shameful period in American history and one that very few, if any, try to defend today.

I believe the torture techniques that have been used at Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo and other places fall into that same category. I am confident, sadly confident, as I stand here, that decades from now people will look back and say: What were they thinking? America, this great, kind leader of a nation, treated people who were detained and imprisoned, interrogated people in the crudest way? (4) I am afraid this is going to be one of the bitter legacies of the invasion of Iraq.

We were attacked on September 11, 2001. We were clearly at war. (5)

We have held prisoners in every armed conflict in which we have engaged. The law was clear, but some of the President's top advisers questioned whether we should follow it or whether we should write new standards.

Alberto Gonzales, then-White House chief counsel, recommended to the President the Geneva Convention should not apply to the war on terrorism. (6)

Colin Powell, who was then Secretary of State, objected strenuously to Alberto Gonzales' conclusions. I give him credit. Colin Powell argued that we could effectively fight the war on terrorism and still follow the law, still comply with the Geneva Conventions. In a memo to Alberto Gonzales, Secretary Powell pointed out the Geneva Conventions would not limit our ability to question the detainees or hold them even indefinitely. He pointed out that under Geneva Conventions, members of al-Qaida and other terrorists would not be considered prisoners of war.

There is a lot of confusion about that so let me repeat it. The Geneva Conventions do not give POW status to terrorists.

In his memo to Gonzales, Secretary Powell went on to say setting aside the Geneva Conventions "will reverse over a century of U.S. policy and practice... and undermine the protections of the law of war for our own troops... It will undermine public support among critical allies, making military cooperation more difficult to sustain."

When you look at the negative publicity about Guantanamo, Secretary Colin Powell was prophetic.

Unfortunately, the President rejected Secretary Powell's wise counsel, and instead accepted Alberto Gonzales' recommendation, issuing a memo setting aside the Geneva Conventions and concluding that we needed "new thinking in the law of war."

After the President decided to ignore Geneva Conventions, the administration unilaterally created a new detention policy. They claim the right to seize anyone, including even American citizens, anywhere in the world, including in the United States, and hold them until the end of the war on terrorism, whenever that may be.

For example, they have even argued in court they have the right to indefinitely detain an elderly lady from Switzerland who writes checks to what she thinks is a charity that helps orphans but actually is a front that finances terrorism.

They claim a person detained in the war on terrorism has no legal rights -- no right to a lawyer, no right to see the evidence against them, no right to challenge their detention. In fact, the Government has claimed detainees have no right to challenge their detention, even if they claim they were being tortured or executed. (7)

This violates the Geneva Conventions, which protect everyone captured during wartime. The official commentary on the convention states: "Nobody in enemy hands can fall outside the law."

That is clear as it can be. But it was clearly rejected by the Bush administration when Alberto Gonzales as White House counsel recommended otherwise.

U.S. military lawyers called this detention system "a legal black hole." The Red Cross concluded, "U.S. authorities have placed the internees in Guantanamo beyond the law."

Using their new detention policy, the administration has detained thousands of individuals in secret detention centers all around the world, some of them unknown to Members of Congress. While it is the most well-known, Guantanamo Bay is only one of them. Most have been captured in Afghanistan and Iraq, but some people who never raised arms against us have been taken prisoner far from the battlefield. (8)

Who are the Guantanamo detainees? Back in 2002, Secretary Rumsfeld described them as "the hardest of the hard core." However, the administration has since released many of them, and it has now become clear that Secretary Rumsfeld's assertion was not completely true. (9)

Military sources, according to the media, indicate that many detainees have no connection to al-Qaida or the Taliban and were sent to Guantanamo over the objections of intelligence personnel who recommended their release. One military officer said: "We're basically condemning these guys to a long-term imprisonment. If they weren't terrorists before, they certainly could be now." (10)

Last year, in two landmark decisions, the Supreme Court rejected the administration's detention policy. The Court held that the detainees' claims that they were detained for over two years without charge and without access to counsel "unquestionably describe custody in violation of the Constitution, or laws or treaties of the United States."

The Court also held that an American citizen held as an enemy combatant must be told the basis for his detention and have a fair opportunity to challenge the Government's claims. Justice Sandra Day O'Connor wrote for the majority: "A state of war is not a blank check for the President when it comes to the rights of the Nation's citizens."

You would think that would be obvious, wouldn't you? But yet, this administration, in this war, has viewed it much differently.

I had hoped the Supreme Court decision would change the administration policy. Unfortunately, the administration has resisted complying with the Supreme Court's decision. (11)

The administration acknowledges detainees can challenge their detention in court, but it still claims that once they get to court, they have no legal rights. In other words, the administration believes a detainee can get to the courthouse door but cannot come inside.

A Federal court has already held the administration has failed to comply with the Supreme Court's rulings. The court concluded that the detainees do have legal rights, and the administration's policies "deprive the detainees of sufficient notice of the factual bases for their detention and deny them a fair opportunity to challenge their incarceration."

The administration also established a new interrogation policy that allows cruel and inhuman interrogation techniques.

Remember what Secretary of State Colin Powell said? It is not a matter of following the law because we said we would, it is a matter of how our troops will be treated in the future. That is something often overlooked here. If we want standards of civilized conduct to be applied to Americans captured in a warlike situation, we have to extend the same manner and type of treatment to those whom we detain, our prisoners. (12)

Secretary Rumsfeld approved numerous abusive interrogation tactics against prisoners in Guantanamo. The Red Cross concluded that the use of those methods was "a form of torture."

The United States, which each year issues a human rights report, holding the world accountable for outrageous conduct, is engaged in the same outrageous conduct when it comes to these prisoners.

Numerous FBI agents who observed interrogations at Guantanamo Bay complained to their supervisors. In one e-mail that has been made public, an FBI agent complained that interrogators were using "torture techniques."

That phrase did not come from a reporter or politician. It came from an FBI agent describing what Americans were doing to these prisoners. (13)

With no input from Congress, the administration set aside our treaty obligations and secretly created new rules for detention and interrogation. They claim the courts have no right to review these rules. But under our Constitution, it is Congress's job to make the laws, and the court's job to judge whether they are constitutional.

This administration wants all the power: legislator, executive, and judge. Our founding father were warned us about the dangers of the Executive Branch violating the separation of powers during wartime. James Madison wrote: "The accumulation of all powers, legislative, executive, and judiciary, in the same hands may justly be pronounced the very definition of tyranny."

Other Presidents have overreached during times of war, claiming legislative powers, but the courts have reined them back in. During the Korean war, President Truman, faced with a steel strike, issued an Executive order to seize and operate the Nation's steel mills. The Supreme Court found that the seizure was an unconstitutional infringement on the Congress's lawmaking power. Justice Hugo Black, writing for the majority, said: "The Constitution is neither silent nor equivocal about who shall make the laws which the President is to execute ... The Founders of this Nation entrusted the lawmaking power to the Congress alone in both good times and bad."

To win the war on terrorism, we must remain true to the principles upon which our country was founded. (14) This Administration's detention and interrogation policies are placing our troops at risk and making it harder to combat terrorism.

Former Congressman Pete Peterson of Florida, a man I call a good friend and a man I served with in the House of Representatives, is a unique individual. He is one of the most cheerful people you would ever want to meet. You would never know, when you meet him, he was an Air Force pilot taken prisoner of war in Vietnam and spent 6 1/2 years in a Vietnamese prison. Here is what he said about this issue in a letter that he sent to me. Pete Peterson wrote:

>From my 6 1/2 years of captivity in Vietnam, I know what life in a foreign prison is like. To a large degree, I credit the Geneva Conventions for my survival....This is one reason the United States has led the world in upholding treaties governing the status and care of enemy prisoners: because these standards also protect us....We need absolute clarity that America will continue to set the gold standard in the treatment of prisoners in wartime.

Abusive detention and interrogation policies make it much more difficult to win the support of people around the world, particularly those in the Muslim world. The war on terrorism is not a popularity contest, but anti-American sentiment breeds sympathy for anti-American terrorist organizations and makes it far easier for them to recruit young terrorists.

Polls show that Muslims have positive attitudes toward the American people and our values. However, overall, favorable ratings toward the United States and its Government are very low. This is driven largely by the negative attitudes toward the policies of this administration. (15)

Muslims respect our values, but we must convince them that our actions reflect these values. That's why the 9/11 Commission recommended: "We should offer an example of moral leadership in the world, committed to treat people humanely, abide by the rule of law, and be generous and caring to our neighbors."

What should we do? Imagine if the President had followed Colin Powell's advice and respected our treaty obligations. How would things have been different?

We still would have the ability to hold detainees and to interrogate them aggressively. Members of al-Qaida would not be prisoners of war. We would be able to do everything we need to do to keep our country safe. The difference is, we would not have damaged our reputation in the international community in the process. (16)

When you read some of the graphic descriptions of what has occurred here -- I almost hesitate to put them in the record, and yet they have to be added to this debate. Let me read to you what one FBI agent saw. And I quote from his report:

On a couple of occasions, I entered interview rooms to find a detainee chained hand and foot in a fetal position to the floor, with no chair, food or water. Most times they urinated or defecated on themselves, and had been left there for 18-24 hours or more. On one occasion, the air conditioning had been turned down so far and the temperature was so cold in the room, that the barefooted detainee was shaking with cold....On another occasion, the [air conditioner] had been turned off, making the temperature in the unventilated room well over 100 degrees. The detainee was almost unconscious on the floor, with a pile of hair next to him. He had apparently been literally pulling his hair out throughout the night. On another occasion, not only was the temperature unbearably hot, but extremely loud rap music was being played in the room, and had been since the day before, with the detainee chained hand and foot in the fetal position on the tile floor.

If I read this to you and did not tell you that it was an FBI agent describing what Americans had done to prisoners in their control, you would most certainly believe this must have been done by Nazis, Soviets in their gulags, or some mad regime -- Pol Pot or others -- that had no concern for human beings. Sadly, that is not the case. This was the action of Americans in the treatment of their prisoners. (17)

It is not too late. I hope we will learn from history. I hope we will change course.

The President could declare the United States will apply the Geneva Conventions to the war on terrorism. He could declare, as he should, that the United States will not, under any circumstances, subject any detainee to torture, or cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment. The administration could give all detainees a meaningful opportunity to challenge their detention before a neutral decisionmaker. (18)

Such a change of course would dramatically improve our image and it would make us safer. I hope this administration will choose that course. If they do not, Congress must step in.

The issue debated in the press today misses the point. The issue is not about closing Guantanamo Bay. It is not a question of the address of these prisoners. It is a question of how we treat these prisoners. To close down Guantanamo and ship these prisoners off to undisclosed locations in other countries, beyond the reach of publicity, beyond the reach of any surveillance, is to give up on the most basic and fundamental commitment to justice and fairness, a commitment we made when we signed the Geneva Convention and said the United States accepts it as the law of the land, a commitment which we have made over and over again when it comes to the issue of torture. To criticize the rest of the world for using torture and to turn a blind eye to what we are doing in this war is wrong, and it is not American. (19)

During the Civil War, President Lincoln, one of our greatest presidents, suspended habeas corpus, which gives prisoners the right to challenge their detention. The Supreme Court stood up to the President and said prisoners have the right to judicial review even during war.

Let me read what that Court said:

The Constitution of the United States is a law for rulers and people, equally in war and in peace, and covers with the shield of its protection all classes of men, at all times, and under all circumstances. No doctrine, involving more pernicious consequences, was ever invented by the wit of man than that any of its provisions could be suspended during any of the great exigencies of government. Such a doctrine leads directly to anarchy or despotism.

Mr. President, those words still ring true today. The Constitution is a law for this administration, equally in war and in peace. If the Constitution could withstand the Civil War, when our nation was literally divided against itself, surely it will withstand the war on terrorism.

I yield the floor.





1.) The Geneva Conventions apply to UNIFORMED members of a military entity. NOT to UN-uniform combatants. Therefore the GC do not apply to these people. Additionally, had these unlawful combatants (so named because they chose to fight in civilian clothing rather than a military uniform) been in uniform, the GC still would only have applied to them had they been citizens of a country that signed the GC in the first place. The GC does NOT require us, as a country, to recognize or accomodate religious practices and dietary concerns (both of which we HAVE been doing).


2.) Did it occur to you that the reason no hearings have been held is the fact that there is no NEED for them and most people recognize this fact? The only reason that Arlen Specter is holding them is he's the new head of the Judiciary Committee and feels the need to establish his authority.


(3) Ok - time for a history lesson. You would think you would have learned this in school - I know *I* did...World War II began BEFORE Pearl Harbor. The war was going on for years prior to December 7, 1941. That's just the date WE chose to get involved. Idiot.


(4) Regarding our interrogation tactics...does the Senator have a better method of interrogation?? If so, would he be willing to share it with our intelligence community? I'm sure they are always interested in new techniques. Interrogation is NOT a fun thing. It's not supposed to be. We are not stringing these people up by their genitals or applying electroshock therapy in order to get information that may protect our country and its citizens. No - we are altering the temperature of the rooms they are in and making them listen to Tupac Shakur. Oh. My. Goodness.


(5) WERE????? We WERE at war? When did it end?? Did I miss something? I hate to break the news to the Senator, but we are STILL at war. Nothing has changed.

(6) Again, the Geneva Conventions apply only to those nations who SIGNED it. Iraq and Afghanistan did not. Therefore the GC technically do not apply to them. Go back to History class Dick.

(7) How does one "...claim they were being executed."??? Senator Durbin is talking in circles here. Cold floors, hot rooms, and loud rap music are NOT - and I repeat ARE NOT - torture. We are not torturing the detainees/prisoners/unlawful combatants that we are holding down in Cuba. We are holding them and interrogating them in order to protect our national security against a threat - the same basic threat that brought upon the first World Trade Center bombing, the attack on the USS Cole, and September 11, 2001.

(8) You don't have to carry a gun in order to be a threat to the security of the United States. Muhammed Atta did not carry a weapon.

(9) Ok - which IS it? First you complain that we're holding these people and now you're griping that we've let them go? Pick a side here, Dick.

(10) WE do not "make" terrorists. Our actions at Gitmo do not influence whether a person becomes a terrorist or not. To think so is another example of the arrogance that has so offended the "rest of the world". We are hated by Islamic radicals, no matter what we do. If Gitmo did not exist, they would still hate us. If we did not take 1 prisoner, they would still hate us and want to see us wiped off the face of the planet. Our actions regarding detainees/POWs/unlawful combatants has NO BEARING ON THEIR OPINION OF US. What does the Senator think? That, if we close up Gitmo and send those people back where they came from, the War on Terror would be over? That Osama bin Ladin and al Zarquawi would call it a day and go home?

(11) Because the SC ruling has no bearing on the situation at Gitmo. Are we holding any American citizens there? I don't think so. And, if they are working in any way with those entities that want to see the destruction of the United States, I don't think they should be considered citizens. If they are, then they have committed treason and should be put to death. I believe the Constitution would uphold that one, Dick.

(12) And that has worked SO well in the past - think Vietnam. Enemy forces treat our soldiers, when captured, like dirt because they know they can. They know that - if WE capture them - they will be treated humanely, regardless of how their country treats us. I'm not advocating the use of torture but to believe that they'll play nice if we play nice is dangeriously ignorant.

The truth here is that our troops are put more at risk by the Senator's assertations that we are committing acts of torture down at Gitmo than by anything that actually conspires there. Our troops are put more at risk by the MSM and stories such as the one in Newsweek about the supposed treatment of the Quaran and not by what actually goes on there. But the Senator doesn't understand that.

(13) Since when does the Red Cross decide what constitutes torture? And who was the "FBI agent" who complained? What training does he/she have in interrogation and the Geneva Conventions?? You can't just say that "So-and-So said it was torture" and not back it up. Otherwise, it's just BS.

(14) No Senator, to win the War on Terrorism we must kill them all before they kill us. THAT is the only way to "win" this war. You will not win the war by handing out goodie bags and asking everyone to play nice.

(15) They have hated us a lot longer than George W. Bush has been in office. A LOT longer. Their hatred for America and Americans has NOTHING to do with the current adminstration's policies. It has to do with the fact that they see us as the antithesis of everything they believe in. We are what they hate and the person in the Oval Office has NOTHING to do with that.

(16) When are these people going to learn that THIS IS NOT A POPULARITY CONTEST????? It has nothing to do with whether or not they "like us" or "respect us". Are people really that DUMB???

(17) You're joking me. I almost do not have words for this one. HOW DARE YOU??? How dare you equate my husband and the husbands of my fellow military wives to humans as low as Nazis?? You have no RIGHT. The treatment of the people down at Gitmo - or wherever else we are holding these subhumans - is better than any kind of treatment a Jewish person received at the hands of their captors. Our soldiers would never - NEVER - cause harm to a detainee like the Nazis did to the Jews. You ignorant, self-absorbed, windbag.

The fact that you are a United States Senator and you are standing there, on the floor of the Senate, equating the behavior of our men and women in uniform to the behavior of those who followed Hitler, Pol- Pot, or the leaders of the gulags MAKES ME SICK.

(18) And who would THAT be? France??? There are NO neutral decision-makers in this one. And what would be the end result?? What would happen if the President made those declarations?? Would members of alQueada lay down their weapons and raise a white flag? Would bin Laden and al Zarquawi come out of hiding and sit down at the peace table? Doubt it.

(19) We're not even going to get into the "un-American" debate because any time anyone throws that one out there, someone goes home crying.








Here is what it comes down to :

The detainees at Gitmo are treated better than we treat some of our own citizens on our own soil who have NOT particpated in treasonous acts. They get better care than we give some of our own prisoners, our homeless, and some of our own veterans.

Senator Durbin has never been to Gitmo. He has never seen firsthand how these people are treated. Maybe if he had, he would change his tune a bit. Then again, maybe not. His ignorance and arrogance seem to be rather firmly entrenched.

We will not "win the War on Terror" by being nice. We will "win the War on Terror" by being strong and we cannot be strong with people such as Senator Durbin using up oxygen on the Senate floor by bitching and moaning about uncomfortable temperatures and loud rap music.

Senator Durbin deserves to be removed from his post as the whip and face censure. Some have suggested one or the other. I believe his infraction - bordering on treason - deserves BOTH consequences. He aided the enemy. He belongs in the same category as Jane Fonda and John Kerry.

Shame on you Senator. SHAME ON YOU.

Linked to Mudville Gazette's open post.


Pau.




- hfs

More support for my theory

Chilling List Could Lead To Biggest Molest Case Ever


Again, there would be no problems with recidivism or how to rehablitate these "people" or where they can and cannot live if we would just apply the death penalty to anyone convicted of committing a crime such as this against a child under the age of 12.


End them. We need to take a stand for our children. The world is not safe for them and it needs to be.


Pau.



- hfs

My blood pressure is up

This week has been busy. Busybusybusy. But that's ok - it keeps me out of trouble. And it prevents me from posting about things when the bulk of my words are not really fit to print.

There have been several things that have happend this week that have just about sent me over the edge. What IS it with politicians? Is there a competition that puts the DUMBEST one up there in the political arena?? I am still so flabbergasted and appalled at some of the things that have transpired this week that I can barely articulate my feelings. But, since I know all three of you are DYING to know my thoughts on these things, I'll make an attempt.


First : Disgraceful Dick Durbin

Excuse me? Since when does altering the temperature of a room or turning on music that a person may not like constitute torture? Let alone torture along the lines of the Nazis or Pol Pot??? If that's the case, then 1/2 of my college career was torture - my dorm room was never the right temperature and my neighbors were constantly blasting music I didn't want to hear.


Senator Durbin...sit down and SHUT UP.


And, in case you wish to tell the Senator as much, his contact information is as follows :

Washington, DC
332 Dirksen Senate Bldg.
Washington, DC 20510
(202) 224-2152
(202) 228-0400 - fax

Chicago
230 South Dearborn St.
Suite 3892
Chicago, IL 60604
(312) 353-4952
(312) 353-0150 - fax

Springfield
525 South 8th St.
Springfield, IL 62703
(217 ) 492-4062
(217) 492-4382 - fax

Marion
701 N. Court St.
Marion, IL 62959
(618) 998-8812
(618) 997-0176 - fax


I'm sure they will be thrilled to hear from you. They sure were thrilled to talk to ME!



Second : The Funeral of Cpl. Carrie French


I have nothing to say about Fred Phelps and his kind other than I hope they meet their maker soon.




And third : Iowa Gov. to Restore Felons' Voting Rights

hat tip : Andi's World


Ralph Rosenberg of the Iowa Civil Rights Commission emphasized the order wouldn't erase felons' records. "We're not dismissing the crime," he said.



No, you're just dismissing the CONSEQUENCES. Dumbass (sorry - it slipped).







There was more that got my blood pressure boiling but these are the top three for the week. I've literally stopped watching the news because I may just have an aneurysm one of these days and I'm a bit young for that.


I'm off to blow off some steam. Have a good weekend. And, if you get a chance, click over to Blackfive and check him out - it's his 2nd anniversary (Happy Anniversary!).




Pau.




- hfs

6.14.2005

Tsunami Advisory

TSUNAMI BULLETIN NUMBER 001
PACIFIC TSUNAMI WARNING CENTER
0500 PM HST 14 JUN 2005

TO - CIVIL DEFENSE IN THE STATE OF HAWAII

SUBJECT - TSUNAMI ADVISORY BULLETIN

A TSUNAMI ADVISORY IS ISSUED FOR THE STATE OF HAWAII EFFECTIVE
AT 0500 PM HST.

AN EARTHQUAKE HAS OCCURRED WITH THESE PRELIMINARY PARAMETERS

ORIGIN TIME - 0451 PM HST 14 JUN 2005
COORDINATES - 41.3 NORTH 125.7 WEST
LOCATION - OFF COAST OF NORTHERN CALIFORNIA
MAGNITUDE - 7.4 MOMENT

EVALUATION

THE WEST COAST - ALASKA TSUNAMI WARNING CENTER HAS ISSUED A
REGIONAL TSUNAMI WARNING AND WATCH FOR OTHER PARTS OF THE
PACIFIC. BASED ON ALL AVAILABLE DATA THERE IS NO DESTRUCTIVE
TSUNAMI THREAT TO HAWAII.

HOWEVER SOME COASTAL AREAS IN HAWAII COULD EXPERIENCE SMALL SEA
LEVEL CHANGES AND STRONG OR UNUSUAL CURRENTS LASTING UP TO
SEVERAL HOURS. THE ESTIMATED TIME SUCH EFFECTS MIGHT BEGIN IS

0929 PM HST 14 JUN 2005

BULLETINS WILL BE ISSUED HOURLY OR SOONER AS CONDITIONS WARRANT.



I'm so glad we live in the center of the island. And I'm also glad the earthquake was offshore and that it doesn't seem to be a big deal in California.




Pau.


- hfs

A breeze!

I don't know where the trade winds took off to over the past few days but it has been hot and sticky. And, given the fact that we are trying to slash our electric bill in half, it's been hot and sticky inside our house as well. Blech.

But today is better - there is a slight breeze, more clouds, and it's a few degrees cooler. Thank goodness.

I called the hospital to discuss the bill with them and Tricare (after having forwarded the claim from one processing center to another...I sent it to the wrong place - we were in the middle of a move...I didn't know where I was supposed to send it. Sue me.) had already called them and let them know that the claim was being processed. Holy Cow! The hospital is now off my back. Now I just need to call Tricare and find out why they aren't responding to the claim from the lab. Funfunfun!


I think we've tracked down a decent fare to get us to California for Uncle R's wedding. It's about $200 less than anything I've found on line. So we're good to go there. I think, while we're there, we'll be leaving the kiddos with the grandparents and taking off up to the local mountains where the in-laws have a cabin. Our anniversary is about a week before the wedding so this will be a nice anniversary getaway.


I miss the mountains. I've come to the conclusion that I am a mountain girl. Don't get me wrong - I like the beach. But I don't love it. Not like I love the mountains. I miss the crisp, cool air. The trees, the hiking, the snow, all of it.


If the "powers that be" are reading my blog (yeah, right) it would be nice if someone at DA would get off their duff and act on the rumor that has been going around for while - you know, the one that teases us with the possibility of an active duty Chinook unit being established there?? Yeah, that one. I'd kill to PCS to Fort Carson. I have a friend of mine who is probably rolling her eyes at me on that one but to each, their own.


I don't "yearn" for much but I yearn to get back to Colorado. That is where McGyver and I want to retire when he is done "playing Army". We both miss it terribly.


If Carson isn't an option when our time here is up, McGyver thinks he may push to get us back to Alaska. I know - some of you out there must think we are out of our minds but we miss it too. More than I ever thought possible. Yes, the winters are long, cold, and dark. But the scenery is amazing - awesome, even.

The people are incredible - hearty, self-sufficient, and helpful. And the mission up there for the unit is one that McGyver truly loved. Add to that the fact that, if and when we do head back up that way, Little Man will be entering school about that time which means I can consider going back to work. And, having already taught in that district, I have a foot in the door.

And in that environment, having a job is key to mental health. Getting out of the house - whether it is for a job, a hobby, meeting up with friends - is vital. Had it not been for my teaching and coaching jobs, I probably would have gone insane. But I didn't and I miss it more than I ever thought I would.

We went back up in September of last year and the moment we stepped off the plane, we were happy. The crisp air, the flurries of snow, the remnants of the 2 week fall...it felt SO good.

Like I said, Colorado is #1 on my list but if we can't get there, Alaska is right up there too. In the meantime, we will enjoy our time here and all that Hawaii has to offer. I'm headed out back to play with the kids in the sprinkler!

Pau.




- hfs

6.13.2005

Monday monday monday

I didn't rassle with Tricare today - too damn hot to get all worked up on the phone. I got a letter from them saying that I had sent my claim to the wrong service center and that it had been forwarded. Whatever. Maybe tomorrow after hitting the library I'll turn on the a/c again and try to straighten this mess out.


Got my grades today - I didn't do as well as I had hoped but, given the circumstances of the term, I did ok.

Accounting (4 credits) - C (missed a B by 2 flipping percent...grr...)
Nutrition (3 credits) - B (missed an A by 4 percent)
Drugs and Society (5 credits) - A (this was the class I pounded out in a weekend pretty much)


A 3.1 GPA for the term. Eh, not bad. McGyver just laughs at me for getting bothered by the fact that I missed a B in accounting by so little. Such is life.




The "Child Development Center" (aka CDC) on post is hosting a "Parents' Night Out" next Saturday - 5 hours to ourselves.




I have NO idea what we will do...but I'm sure we can come up with SOMETHING...




We finally got bookshelves for the office as well as a piece of wood to make the desktop so the office is now coming together. Once I get the office together, I can tackle the garage. The kids have an appointment at the CDC for a few hours of "play time" and I plan to attack the garage then. Four hours should give me enough time to make a decent dent. We'll see.


Pau.




- hfs

6.10.2005

Aloha Friday

That's what they call Fridays here. Gives them an excuse to end the workday at 3pm. Gotta love that. This week has been hectic - Princess Trouble had Vacation Bible School in the evenings and that made for a crazy week. But tonight is the last night and life should get back to something that resembles normal.

The gods conspired against MY Aloha Friday today though. If you recall, while we were in the middle of our move from there to here, all of us got sick. I wound up in the ER in the middle of the night and Little Man wound up at the doc's office after a big hassle with Tricare (recap here if you don't remember) with a rash that looked like the Measles. That was 4 months ago. Seems that Tricare isn't responding to the hospital and doc's requests for payment. Surprise, surprise, surprise.

Today in the mail, here is what I received :

- a bill from the water company (not really a big deal but after the ELECTRIC BILL that came yesterday, my poor heart could barely handle this one)

- a package from McGyver's parents that contained a bill from the doc and a "pay up or die" letter from the hospital (of course, me dying kind of defeats the purpose - they are more likely to get their money from me if I'm ALIVE)

- an e-mail from my mom regarding an account that I thought was settled YEARS ago - literally. This account has been around for 12 years. They lost track of me and I lost track of them for several years. Finally, upon inspecting my credit report, I realized that the account was delinquent. I made several attempts to settle up but the company never sent me the information I requested. So I let it go and eventually it no longer showed up on my credit report. Now, they are back. Morons. I'll send them their money - that's no problem. But not until I get - IN WRITING - that they will clear any and all negative comments from my credit report upon receipt of my payment.


So I guess it was "dump the bills on HFS" day today. Must have missed that memo. The money isn't really an issue - it is but it's not a hardship - it just seems that this all happens at once. Blech.

I'm off to try to seek out cheap plane tickets to the mainland. Uncle R is getting married - in August. I'm thrilled but summer travel from here tends to be a bit...pricey. And there is NO way I am travelling with Little Man on my lap for 6 hours. I'll fork over the money to get him his own seat...I think. Not if they are $600 like they were when I looked last week. Maybe we could buy a boat and sail to California...

I'll be calling Tricare Monday to rassle with them about the bills. Maybe I can slip our electric bill in there too...


Have a good weekend!


- hfs

6.09.2005

What IS it with Florida???

Grandfather Arrested on Child Porn Charges


Now, not only does Florida seem to have a problem with the sex offenders that are legal residents of that state, perverts from OTHER states are now heading there to commit their crimes. Is it something in the water?? Good grief.


Child molestation is bad enough but when you add to it the fact that it was committed by a family member, it's like adding salt to a wound.


I still stand by my belief that people (and I use that term loosely) like this cannot be rehabilitated and should face the death penalty. End him. Let God deal with him.


- hfs

Another update on John Michael

What an amazing turn-around...I'm literally speechless as I sit here and read the latest update (and those of you who know me know how big of a deal THAT is...).


Go check it out and please continue to hold this family in your thoughts and prayers.


FIGHT, JOHN MICHAEL, FIGHT!


- hfs

6.07.2005

Raich v. Ashcroft - Supreme Court decision

You all might want to visit the restroom and pour a cup of coffee before you read this one - it's going to be a bit, um, wordy. As conservative as I may be in some areas, the issue of legalizing marijuana - for medicinal purposes OR recreational purposes - is NOT one of them.

Let me make one thing clear : I do not smoke marijuana. I don't smoke at all. However, I do not believe that marijuana should be illegal. Aside from the fact that marijuana has true medicinal purposes, it is not worthy of being banned. Marijuana is not physically addictive. It may be psychologically addictive but so is sex for some people - are we going to ban that too?? (don't answer that question)

From an anti-hypocritical standpoint, nicotine is one of the most addictive substances known to man. Cigarettes are responsible for a variety of diseases and cost our economy billions of dollars and hundreds of thousands of lives every year. They serve NO medicinal purposes whatsoever and yet they are legal. Alcohol is too. Alcohol results in thousands of lives lost each year due to impaired driving and domestic violence. It, too, is physically addictive and alcoholism and alcohol abuse cost our economy millions of dollars every year as well. Yet it is legal.

If you're going to outlaw marijuana then let's get off of our hypocritical podium and ban these two drugs as well. Like I read in the comments section of another blog, "Any nation with thriving alcohol and tobacco industries has no rationale for cannabis prohibition. Medicinal or otherwise."

But I digress.




First, a little history, brought to you by Pete Guither at DrugWarRant.com .



Introduction: The Case

In case you haven't been following this case at all, here it is in outline:

California is one of the eleven states (most recently with Montana) currently that allows some kind of medical marijuana by law, (in this case, through the mechanism of Proposition 215).

Federal law, through the Controlled Substances Act, does not recognize medical marijuana

The federal government was so opposed to medical marijuana that they regularly sent armed squads of federal agents into California to break up medical marijuana coops, and seize their assets and medicine, claiming that federal law trumped state law. (Read about one of those raids here.)

The federal government felt it important enough to divert resources that could have been used to fight terrorism or go after violent traffickers, in order to arrest sick people

Angel Raich of Oakland, CA (who was also raided), and Diane Monson Monson of Oroville, CA along with two anonymous caregivers sued the federal government on October 9, 2002 to prevent the feds from interfering with their right to use medical marijuana. Read Angel's own statement about the case and her use of medical marijuana.

Three factors add particular interest to this case.
What the respondents are doing is completely legal under state and local law.
It is asserted by Angel Raich and her doctors that she would die without marijuana, and that has not been disputed.
Their marijuana was grown as part of a cooperative of patients and no money changed hands. Therefore it had no direct impact on interstate activity or commerce. (see Commerce Clause below)

On December 16, 2003, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals granted a prelimary injunction to stop the federal government based in part on this ruling:
We find that the appellants have demonstrated a strong likelihood of success on their claim that, as applied to them, the CSA is an unconstitutional exercise of Congress' Commerce Clause authority.
On April 20, 2004, the Federal government appealed the decision to the Supreme Court. Oral arguments were heard on November 29, 2004 and the case will be decided some time in the Spring of 2005.

The Commerce Clause

The Constitution of the United States specifically does not give police powers to the federal government. That kind of power was considered a state function. However, there is one clause in the constitution which gives the government the following "limited" power...
to regulate commerce with foreign nations, and among the several states, and with the Indian tribes;

This is generally known as the commerce clause. As intended, in the early years of this country's history, the commerce clause allowed only minimal instrusion on the activities within states. For example, federal alcohol prohibition was not considered constitutionally possible without an amendment because of the commerce clause, and judges also regularly placed the tenth amendment in the path of congressional regulation of "local" affairs.

However, over the course of years, the commerce clause was consistently weakened, giving federal government more leeway in regulating and enforcing federal laws within the states.

It was a gradual expansion, from limited border functions, to accepting that interstate commerce can be regulated as it travels through the states, to expanding it to include transactions that affect interstate commerce, to almost meaning anything that Congress decides is interstate commerce.

There is no doubt that Raich is a commerce clause case. And a big one. The decision will have ramifications that extend beyond medical marijuana.

Many cases that go to the Supreme Court are complex in terms of the specific facts. The nice thing about Raich is that it's really quite pure. Nothing was sold. Every part of the activity was in-state, so there's no direct activity that is in any way "interstate" or "commerce." Angel Raich is a sympathetic character, especially since her life may depend on the use of marijuana (it's hard to imagine any kind of compelling interest for the federal government to want her to die), and her activity was both recommended by her doctors and allowed by state and local laws. This means that the court will not easily be able to rule based on some complication of the actual case. They will be pressed to decide whether Raich's medical marijuana use is interstate commerce (in which case it's hard to imagine anything that isn't, and you can throw away states' rights) or whether the federal government has to let the states handle medical marijuana as they see fit.


There are two things that stick out in my mind in the above text :


* the fact that NO MONEY CHANGED HANDS. This marijuana was grown by the users for their own use.

* the fact that growing and using marijuana for medicinal purposes (which this was - there was a prescription for it) is LEGAL according to state and local law.


If no money changed hands and the product was not transported for sale (or to be given as a gift(?) since no money was exchanged) across state borders, I fail to see how the Commerce Clause applies here.

What bothers me even more than the decision itself is the implication of the decision. This decision gives the federal government the power to usurp states' rights. I agree with Justice Thomas on this point :

Respondents Diane Monson and Angel Raich use marijuana that has never been bought or sold, that has never crossed state lines, and that has had no demonstrable effect on the national market for marijuana. If Congress can regulate this under the Commerce Clause, then it can regulate virtually anything—and the Federal Government is no longer one of limited and enumerated powers.


That means that Bunco games, scrapbooking clubs, and babysitting co-ops are now fair game for regulation. God, help us.


In sum, neither in enacting the CSA nor in defending its application to respondents has the Government offered any obvious reason why banning medical marijuana use is necessary to stem the tide of interstate drug trafficking. Congress' goal of curtailing the interstate drug trade would not plainly be thwarted if it could not apply the CSA [Controlled Substances Act] to patients like Monson and Raich. That is, unless Congress' aim is really to exercise police power of the sort reserved to the States in order to eliminate even the intrastate possession and use of marijuana.

Even assuming the CSA's ban on locally cultivated and consumed marijuana is "necessary," that does not mean it is also "proper." The means selected by Congress to regulate interstate commerce cannot be "prohibited" by, or inconsistent with the "letter and spirit" of, the Constitution.



This decision boils down to 2 things :

* it allows Congress to not only regulate INTERstate commerce (commerce between the states) but also INTRAstate commerce - commerce within a state. It gives Congress the power to tell the states how to govern their own people.

* it ignores the fact that this case failed to meet the requirements of the sustantial effects test (look it up, people) or the Necessary and Proper Clause.

Basically it ignored the Constitution. God, help us.


My hope is this : that eventually this issue will be back before the Supreme Court but in a different structure - that of The State of California v. Congress. I think it's about time Congress be put in its place.


Just another reason I like the Libertarian party - Congress can't abuse power it DOESN'T have...


- hfs

6.05.2005

Fight, John Michael, FIGHT

Praying...

John Michael


- hfs

6.04.2005

An update on John Michael

Dr. Haight greeted John Michael this morning with, "Good Morning Sunshine! You look great today and I don't hand out compliements lightly!" She went on to tell us that while they are still very cautious about his prognosis, he could not have done any better than he has to improve from his condition on Monday!!!! Thank you God!

They believe that his condition has stabilized!!! Some of his numbers are better and some aren't, but on the overall picture, we are encouraged. We also saw his white blood cell count grow to 1.1 today! He went over 24 hours with no blood transfusions! Dr. Haight thought that was remarkable considering the fact that he is on the CVVH machine. He was getting a platelet transfusion before we left, but still doing great! He might be able to be extabated by Wednesday! It will be so good to be able to see him regain consciousness and begin to talk again. I can't wait to hear his voice.



Please keep praying - their is a list of specific things that John Michael's family is praying for on their website HERE. This is wonderful news and I'm sure they could use more in the days to come.

Thank you.


- hfs

6.03.2005

One of my favorites

If you look to your left, you'll see a link for My War. CB (Colby Buzzell) has been one of my favorite reads for a while and now he's coming out with a BOOK. I've already pre-ordered mine.




Go order yours.




Now.




Damn, October isn't going to come soon enough. Way to go, CB, way to go.







hat tip : Greyhawk

The commissary is your friend

Katy asked me how I managed to get 2 weeks of groceries for $161. First, let me give you our menus for the next 2 weeks. Usually, I plan a certain meal for a certain day but - like my FrugalFood! friend suggested - this time I just planned out 14 meals (I put them in 2 categories - those with fresh ingredients and those that can wait until the 2nd week to be prepared).

Category 1:
scallops provecal and couscous and salad
baked ziti with hidden zucchini, salad, rolls
pot roast, mashed potatoes, peas
tortilla black bean casserole, salad
Olive Garden's minestrone soup, bread, salad
stuffed french bread pizza and salad
garlic dijon dump chicken and strawberry-spinach salad (I'll make 2 and freeze one for later)

Category 2:
turkey-apple meatloaf and sweet potatoes
bbq pork ribs, corn on the cob, cornbread
italian parmesan chicken, green beans, salad
teriyaki salmon and sweet potatoes and rolls
pasta salad with tuna, broccoli, rolls
spaghetti, salad, bread
scrounge (leftovers)
breakfast (eggs, pancakes, fruit, bacon if we have it)


Now, I had several things already on hand (the pasta salad stuff, black beans, pancake mix, bacon, etc.) so that helped. And I only used 4 coupons for a total savings of $1.80 (which is unusual for me - I usually save about 10% but my coupon supplies are running low). So here's the list :

pasta .83
Product 19 cereal 3.51
angel hair pasta .79
life cereal (loss leader) 1.99
life cereal honey (loss leader) 1.99
nilla wafers 2.00
bread 2.04
english muffins 1.95
eggs 1.01
peanut m&ms 1.99(coupon)
plain m&ms 2.49 (coupon)
corn muffin mix .59
shredded wheat cereal 3.07
lime juice .69
yeast.99
oreos 3.07
flour 1.71
pinenuts 1.85
shredded cheese 1.29 (coupon)
shredded mozzerella 2.79 (coupon)
bag of teddy grahams (on sale) 1.00
bag of mini oreos (sale) 1.00
bag nutter butters (sale) 1.00
bag animal cookies (sale) 1.00
dried fruit bits 1.89
corn tortillas .96
corn on cob 1.59
chopped onions .69
cut green beans 1.49
bag chicken breasts frozen 5.99 (2.5# bag - I think I can get it cheaper at Costco)
half and half 1.16
frozen spinach .58
monterey jack cheese 1.49
breadstick dough x 2 @1.29 each
dinner roll dough x 2 @ 1.29
bay scallops (frozen) 3.19
butter salted 2.75
butter unsalted 2.19
ricotta cheese 2.21
frozen green beans with almonds x 2 @1.20
roast 4.29 (2.20 per #)
pepperoni 1.66
salmon 9.55
sweet sausage 2.79
pork country ribs 4.12
ground turkey 2.63
baked beans .86
bbq sauce (loss leader and my coup of the day) .35!!!!! I bought 3. Would have bought more if I had more room.
baking powder 1.30
pasta sauce 1.75
great northern beans .52
mandarin oranges x 2 @ .79
dijon mustard 3.36
picante sauce 1.85
apple cider 2.79
spaghettios x 2 @.89 each
diced tomatoes x 2 @.78 each
kidney beans .62
prune juice 2.41
canteloupe 2.70
zucchini .62
broccoli .36
cauliflower 2.07
strawberries 1# 3.33
sweet potatoes 2.70
apples .72
lemons x 2 .60
carrots .63
salad 1.99
parsley .43
cilantro (gonna start growing this myself) .61
potatoes 1.08
shallots .23
bagged spinach 2.09
green pepper .34
joy dishwashing liquid on sale @ 1.29 (and a coupon)
2 bags birdseed @ 1.56 each
paper towels 1.59
diapers 7.49


Now I will have to go back for milk but we're good on that at least through the weekend. And I'll probably have to grab salad again as well as diapers and PullUps (maybe...dd is down to only wearing them at night). And I'll make a Sam's/Costco run at some point too although there is nothing we NEED from either place.

So $161 for a 2 week span. Once I get my coupon stash back up to where it should be, I can probably knock that down another 10%. I also ordered 2 books that my FrugalFood! friend recommended : Frugal Living for Dummies and Feed Your Family for $12 a Day and hopefully those will help me cut a little more off the food bill.

Around here, the commissary is ESSENTIAL. The Star supermarket that I popped into last week was selling milk for $7.59 a GALLON! I almost had a heart attack right there in the dairy section! On post, milk is $3.25 a gallon for skim and about $4.00 for soy for the kids. We've cut back to drinking it only with breakfast and sometimes dinner and we now drink a LOT more water. We have incorporated at least 2 vegetarian meals in to each week's meals which helps cut down on the grocery cost.

And once we get the garage in order, I'll have shelves on which I can store extras - stuff I find on sale (like bbq sauce for 35 cents a bottle!) or things I buy in bulk at Sam's/Costco. We're also planning on buying a chest freezer so I can stock up on meats and frozen veggies. I also plan to start preparing meals ahead of time and freezing them. "Dump Chicken" is a good example. This week, when I prep 1 meal of dump chicken, I'll prep another and freeze it. Then, all I have to do is yank it out, defrost it, and bake it. Luckily, my family loves chicken.

So there you have it. Probably more than you ever wanted to know.


- hfs

DONEDONEDONE!!!

I just posted my final assignment - my term paper (topic : Low Carb Diets and Sport Performance). I mail off the assignments for my Substance Abuse class tomorrow (they are done, just sitting here waiting to be mailed). WOOHOO!!!!!!

I honestly did not think this term would ever end. Ever. Especially this week. But it's OVER!!! I am not all that proud of the grades I will receive (damn accounting class...) but I *AM* proud of the fact that I completed the term and didn't give up about 6 weeks ago.

Naw, MAYBE, I can really tackle life. There are SO many things on my "TO DO" list, I don't even know where to begin. Tomorrow, I plan to take my kids to the playground and really enjoy their laughter. This hasn't been the best of weeks in this house and I think we need to end things on a high note. So we'll find a nice playground and just enjoy the day.

This weekend, I plan to look - in earnest - for office furniture and start getting that room put together which will then allow me to tackle the garage.

Brunch on the Beach is going off again this weekend - I think that is a glorious way to start the summer and the weekend. We'll be there. I may even be first in line for Belgian Waffles.

It's going to be so nice to wake up tomorrow morning and the only thing I HAVE to do is hit the post office to drop off my assignments. That's it. Nothing else. Bills are paid for this half of the month. Groceries are bought ($161 for 2 weeks worth of meals and snacks! INCLUDING diapers, birdseed - more on that later - and paper products...I'm taking notes from my FrugalFood! friend...).


Life.


Is.


Good.


And I'm going to bed.


- hfs


p.s. FIGHT, JOHN MICHAEL, FIGHT!!!

6.02.2005

Every little bit helps

I'm not one to wear my spiritual beliefs on my sleeve - those of you who know me personally can attest to that. But I am a firm believer in the power of prayer and positive thoughts and THIS young man and his family could truly use some right about now.

Please, PLEASE take a moment to visit the site and let them know you are thinking of them. If you have Marriott rewards you can donate, I'm sure they would appreciate that. I have about 750 or so that I'll be sending them.

Please keep this young man in your thoughts.

John Michael


- hfs

6.01.2005

new posts and pictures

about the rugrats for anyone interested.

Click on the "A Princess and A Little Man" link to your left.

I'll have more to post once I figure out what my husband did with the rest of them...(note frustration in "voice")

- hfs

And another thing...

Rhianna posted a comment that gave me a kick in the brain. Along with everything listed in the previous post, you will need copies of orders, marriage certificates, divorce decrees (if applicable), birth certificates for all dependents, AND MAKE SURE YOUR MILITARY ID WILL NOT EXPIRE WHILE YOUR SPOUSE IS DEPLOYED!! I'm sure there is a way to get your ID renewed while your spouse is deployed but I'm also sure it's a major PITA. Much easier to do if your "sponsor" (Gosh, I hate that term - makes me sound like I'm in a 12-step program...) is able to go with you.

Anyway, Rhianna's comment reminded me about POAs...Power of Attorney. There are several different kinds that JAG can draw up for you or you can be like me and have them write one specifically for you. Sometimes JAG is a little less than willing to draw up the kind of POA I ask for - I suppose too many spouses have abused the power that is granted in said POA and taken advantage of their soldier (and their finances) while they are deployed. My mother raised me better than that (I actually made that comment to a JAG employee that was drawing up my POA and he laughed). The POA that I have grants me the ability to pretty much do anything - essentially, I can do everything except have McGyver's wisdom teeth removed without him being present. I can open banking accounts, establish investments, take out loans, accept housing and delivery of household goods, schedule pick up of household goods, buy and sell cars in his name, buy and sell a house in his name...you name it.

Now, POAs do not HAVE to be accepted by any financial institution (and I've run into a few that will not - they no longer get my business) but you're better off having one. They also are necessary when dealing with Finance in case there is an issue with pay while the spouse is deployed.

I think my POA (and my military ID) is one of the most valuable pieces of paperwork I have in my possession.

Just my $.02...


- hfs