11.30.2005

Governor Schwarzenegger, don't be a "girly-man"

When one person kills another, there is immediate revulsion at the nature of the crime. But in a time so short as to seem indecent to the members of the personal family, the dead person ceases to exist as an identifiable figure. To those individuals in the community of good will and empathy, warmth and compassion, only one of the key actors in the drama remains with whom to commiserate—and that is always the criminal. The dead person ceases to be a part of everyday reality, ceases to exist. She is only a figure in a historic event. We inevitably turn away from the past, toward the ongoing reality. And the ongoing reality is the criminal; trapped, anxious, now helpless, isolated, often badgered and bewildered. He usurps the compassion that is justly his victim’s due. He will steal his victim’s moral constituency along with her life.


- The Killing of Bonnie Garland, by Willard Gaylin



The Los Angeles County District Attorney had this to say about the case:

On February 28, 1979, Stanley Williams murdered Albert Lewis Owens during a robbery of a 7-Eleven convenience store. On March 11, 1979, Stanley Williams murdered Tsai-Shai Yang, Yen-I Yang and Yee-Chen Lin during a robbery at their family run motel, the Brookhaven. In March of 1981, a jury convicted Stanley Williams of the first-degree murder and robbery of Albert Lewis Owens, the first-degree murders of Tsai-Shai Yang, Yen-I Yang and Yee-Chen Lin, and the robbery of Tsai-Shai Yang.

The jury also found true the allegations that Williams personally used a shotgun during the commission of each of the murders and robberies. Finally, the jury found true the special circumstance allegations of robbery-murder and multiple murder.

On April 15, 1981, the trial court, following the jury’s recommendation, sentenced Williams to death. On October 11, 2005, the United States Supreme Court denied Williams’ petition for writ of Certiorari. On October 24, 2005, Williams’ execution date was set for December 13, 2005.

This cold-blooded killer, Stanley Williams, now seeks mercy, the very mercy he so callously denied Albert, Tsai-Shai, Yen-I, and Yee-Chen. Stanley Williams does not deserve this mercy. In fact, despite the overwhelming nature of the evidence against him, and despite the non-existence of any credible defense, Stanley Williams has steadfastly refused to take any responsibility for the brutal, destructive, and murderous acts he committed. Without such responsibility, there can be no redemption, there can be no atonement, and there should be no mercy.

For nearly 25 years, justice has been held in abeyance while Williams took advantage of a legal system designed to protect his rights. His rights have been protected. It is now time for the victims’ voices to be heard. We ask that clemency be denied, and that the ultimate punishment, imposed so many years ago, now be fulfilled.





Can someone explain to me WHY Hollywood is so damned disconnected from the rest of the world? Why on EARTH do celebrities value Tookie Williams life over the lives that he took? How can they sleep at night?

And, aren't these the same people that advocate FOR a women's right to choose? Does that strike any of you as hypocritical??? Why is Tookie Williams worthy of life but a baby is not?

Tookie Williams has been convicted of murdering 4 people in cold blood. He is the co-founder of one of the most notorious and deadly gangs in this country, the Cripps. Growing up in Southern California, I remember watching the gang wars play out on the TV and the streets. His "creation" is responsible for the deaths of hundreds of people, many of them innocents caught in the crossfire.

Like the DA's rebuttal said, this "man" has yet to admit or accept responsibility for the murders he was convicted of committing. He continues to claim his innocence. Yet, if you listen to Snoop Dog, Jamie Foxx, and the other celebrities who are clammoring for Tookie's clemency, not once do THEY refer to him as an innocent man. If they truly believe what Tookie Williams proclaims - that he is innocent - then WHY will they not take a stand and refer to him as an "innocent man"?


Because he is not and they know it.


Tookie Williams has been nominated for the Nobel Prize. BFD. Just about anyone can be nominated. Hell, we awarded the damn thing to YASSER ARAFAT, world-renowned terrorist. Yeah, the nomination means a lot...

Tookie Williams has written childrens' books, urging them to stay away from gangs. How about if Tookie Williams had never started the Crips in the first place? How about if he actually DID something worth noting - opening up to law enforcement about the inner-workings of the Crips, providing details regarding murders that have never been solved, helping law enforcement truly make strides against gangs and the havoc they wreak? But he will not. He doesn't want to be a snitch.

What...is he AFRAID that someone will try to take retribution against him for snitching??? He'll be DEAD - what the hell does it matter? If he had truly renounced his ways as gang leader and truly wanted to help to eliminate gangs from society, he would have done this years ago. But instead, he writes childrens' books and gets himself nominated for the Nobel Prize as ploys to keep himself alive.


From the DA's rebuttal :
Stanley Williams does not deserve the mercy of clemency. The evidence clearly establishes that Stanley Williams shot-gunned Albert Owens, Yen-I Yang, Tsai-Shai Yang, and Yee-Chen Lin to death. These murders were truly horrific.

What man orders another human being to lie face down on the floor and then proceeds to shoot him two times in the back at close range with a shotgun? What man later laughs when he tells his friends how the victim gurgled as he lay dying? Stanley Williams, the admitted cofounder of one of the most violent gangs in existence, is that man. What man, days after shotgunning Albert Owens to death, forces his way into a motel and executes three members of a single family? Stanley Williams is that man.

One can only imagine Albert Owens’ terror as he lay face down on the floor of the storage room at the 7-Eleven and heard the first shotgun blast that was fired into the security monitor. Was he hoping against hope he would not be shot to death? Was he thinking of his two young daughters and whether he would ever see them again, hold them again, tell them how much he loved them again?

Before crossing paths with Stanley Williams, Albert Owens had proudly served in the United States military. He had fathered two beautiful daughters. He had recently moved to Los Angeles to make a better life for him and his family. Stanley Williams took that dream away. He took it away from Albert, his daughters, and his entire family.

Imagine the fear that engulfed Yen-I Yang, Tsai-Shai Yang, and their daughter, Yee-Chin Lin as they experienced their last moments alive. Imagine the terror and despair of Robert Yang, the son of Yen-I and Tsai-Shai Yang and the sister of Yee-Chin Lin. Robert testified at Williams’ trial that he heard the sound of someone breaking into the motel, followed by screaming and gunshots. When Robert entered the motel office he saw all of his family dead or dying as a result of the shots fired by Stanley Williams.

Tsai-Shai Yang came to America in 1973 in search of a better life. Her husband, Yen-I, arrived a short time later. In July 1975, the Yangs purchased the Brookhaven Motel. Tsai-Shai and Yen-I ran the motel with their son Robert. At the time of their murders, in addition to Robert, the Yangs had five other children. They also had ten grandchildren.

Yee-Chin Lin was visiting from Taiwan when Stanley Williams murdered her. Yee-Chin was married with three children, a 10 year old daughter, a 13 year old son, and a 14 year old son. When Stanley Williams shot-gunned Yen-I Yang, Tsai-Shai Yang, and Yee-Chin Lin to death, he not only took their lives, he stole the hopes and aspirations of the entire Yang family. Little did Yee-Chin’s children know that when they said good-bye to their mother as she left Taiwan for a short visit to America, she would never again return home.

In the petition filed in support of Williams’ request for clemency, the claim is made that Stanley Williams is today a different man. Even if that were the case, the jury’s determination that Williams suffer the penalty of death for his crimes was appropriate and should be carried out. Additionally, Williams has never accepted responsibility for the murders of Albert Owens, Yen-I Yang, Tsai-Shai Yang, and Yee-Chen Lin, nor has he accepted responsibility for the devastation of their respective families. Williams claims he cannot accept responsibility for these murders because he is innocent. A thorough review of the evidence simply does not support Williams’ claim of innocence. Additionally, Williams has never accepted his responsibility for his plot to escape from the Los Angeles County Jail while awaiting trial. Does an innocent man, a man who is represented by an experienced attorney of his own choosing, plot to escape from custody prior to his trial? This plot to escape from custody involved the plan to kill two sheriff’s deputies, witness Alfred “Blackie” Coward, and the other inmates on the bus. Moreover, this plot to escape from custody and commit additional murders was proven beyond any possible doubt by Williams’ own words, including “[a]s for Blackie hes (sic) only he (sic) heart beat away from death.”

What must not be forgotten is that Williams’ escape plan also called for using dynamite to blow up the sheriff’s transportation bus after he escaped from custody. Williams’ motive to murder all of his fellow inmates on the bus was to prolong his time to escape. In other words, he hoped to prevent the authorities from quickly discovering who, if anyone, had escaped from custody. In an act so demonstrative of Williams’ willingness to kill, he was going to commit mass murder by dynamite, simply to allow himself more time to escape. These are not the actions of a man of peace. Instead, these are the actions of a cold-blooded predator who puts no value on life, unless it is his own.

The petition for clemency filed on Williams’ behalf further contends that he has turned his back on the gang lifestyle of his younger years. However, Williams’ refusal to debrief proves otherwise. As Vernell Crittendon explained on 60 Minutes, if Williams debriefed it would send a powerful message to those who look up to Williams and seek to emulate him. Williams’ refusal to debrief, and his characterization of the debriefing process as “snitching” clearly shows that Williams has not turned his back on the Crips gang, a gang he co-founded. No doubt Williams could provide substantial, in-depth insight into the history and structure of the Crips gang. Additionally, there can be little doubt that Williams could provide significant information relating to many unsolved crimes, including murders both inside and outside the prison walls. This information would help bring closure and some sense of justice to the families of many, many victims.


In the Killing of Bonnie Garland, Willard Gaylin, a psychiatrist, wrote that when a murder is committed there is an “. . . immediate revulsion at the nature of the crime.” However, as Dr. Gaylin explained, the victim soon “. . . ceases to exist as an identifiable figure.” As time passes “. . . the ongoing reality is the criminal” and ultimately the criminal “. . . usurps the compassion that is justly his victim’s due.”

Governor, do not allow Stanley Williams to usurp the compassion that is due Albert Owens. Do not allow Stanley Williams to usurp the compassion that is due Yen-I Yang. Do not allow Stanley Williams to usurp the compassion that is due Tsai-Shai Yang. And do not allow Stanley Williams to usurp the compassion that is due Yee-Chen Lin. Williams has already taken their lives and devastated their families. Stanley Williams does not deserve your sympathy, leniency, or mercy.

The People respectfully request that the Williams’ petition for clemency be denied and that the death sentence imposed by the jury almost twenty-five years ago, and affirmed by every reviewing court, now be carried out.




I hope that Governor Schwarzenegger sees through this excuse of a human being to the true disgusting creature that dwells inside and allows the verdict and the punishment to be carried out.




Pau.




- hfs


h/t Booker Rising

Andi could use some love

Andi, of Andi's World could use some love today. If you get a chance, head on over and let her know she and her husband are in your thoughts and prayers.




Pau.




- hfs

11.29.2005

Government and You E-News (NMFA)

Each week, NMFA sends out an e-mail titled "Government and You E-News". It's a round up of all of the pertinent issues that NMFA is working on. If you'd like to read the information in its entirety, you may do so HERE.


Here are the headlines :
1. Families Still Waiting For “Families First”: The Military Surface Deployment and Distribution Command (SDDC) has announcing that the Families First Program, DoD’s latest effort to re-engineer the household goods move process, has entered a “strategic pause” and will not be implemented in early 2006 as recently planned. This delay in a program that was originally intended to be implemented by October 2005 means that families must wait longer for an important benefit: full replacement value reimbursement for goods that were lost or damaged in a move. Congress authorized full replacement value reimbursement in the FY 2004 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), but tied its implementation to the roll-out of the Families First re-engineering. Thus, families must wait longer to benefit from something routinely provided in most corporate moves and to Federal civilians. Families First will also feature improved customer service measures.

In announcing the strategic pause, the SDDC noted the difficulties in developing the web-based system that is needed to manage the program. It intends to use this system to provide customers with 24/7 access to personal property shipment information and the ability to contact their movers throughout the move process. The system is intended to allow servicemembers to settle claims directly online with their movers.

An SDDC press release stated: “This pause will allow time to create a more efficient program oversight process, revise our timeline, which will provide ample time for user training while not interfering with peak moving season (May through September).” It also stated the agency “remains committed to launching …Families First.” NMFA has long advocated for the changes to the household goods process that are supposed to be part of the Families First program, especially the implementation of full replacement value reimbursement. We are concerned regarding this latest delay, believing families have waited long enough for the promised improvements to the move process, especially the full replacement value reimbursement. We will continue to press DoD to implement this program as soon as possible. For more information on the Families First program, go to: http://www.sddc.army.mil/Public/Personal%20Property/Families%20First. (Source: http://www.transcom.mil/pa/body.cfm?relnumber=20051118-1)

2. NDAA Goes to Conference: House and Senate Conferees will begin work on reconciling the difference in the House and Senate versions of the FY 2006 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), H.R. 1815 and S.1042. In preparation for the Conference, The Military Coalition (TMC), an umbrella organization of 36 military-related associations of which NMFA is a founding member, sent a letter to Conferees outlining its position on the various issues of contention. In its letter, the TMC indicated its strong support for Senate amendments that would:

* make the recently-increased $100,000 Death Gratuity paid to survivors of combat-related active duty deaths permanent and payable to survivors of all active duty deaths (this was a priority NMFA legislative goal for this year),
* end the Dependency and Indemnity Compensation offset to the Survivor Benefit Plan (SBP) (another NMFA priority),
* immediately implement the paid-up provision for SBP for retirees who have paid premiums for thirty years,
* expand access to TRICARE on a premium basis for all National Guard and Reserve members,
* provide for immediate concurrent receipt of military retired pay and VA disability pay for disabled military retirees who are rated as unemployable, and
* reduce the Guard and Reserve retirement age by three months for each three months mobilized to active duty since Sept. 11, 2001.

The Coalition also urged Conferees to support House provisions to:

* exempt military commissaries from DoD privatization efforts
* require DoD to pay shipping costs of commissary and exchange products overseas rather than passing these costs along to military consumers stationed overseas, and
* increase Permanent Change of Station household goods weight allowances for senior enlisted servicemembers.

The Coalition also referenced its concern about Service end strengths, noting the mission stress currently placed on the force. For more information on The Military Coalition, go to: http://www.themilitarycoalition.org/.

3. Traumatic Injury Protection Added to SGLI: Servicemembers will be enrolled in a new program December 1 that will expand benefits provided through Servicemembers’ Group Life Insurance (SGLI). The Traumatic SGLI benefit provides payouts of up to $100,000 for servicemembers with traumatic injuries. Benefits will be retroactive from October 7, 2001, for servicemembers who have lost limbs, eyesight, or speech or received other traumatic injuries as a direct result of injuries received during operations Iraqi Freedom or Enduring Freedom. The benefit does not apply to servicemembers suffering from disease. Those enrolled in the SGLI program will notice an increase in their premiums when this program goes into effect. The Traumatic SGLI (TSGLI) benefit will be rolled into the basic SGLI program and will cost $1 a month. TSGLI cannot be declined unless the servicemember also declines basic SGLI coverage. For more information on the new program, go to: http://www.insurance.va.gov/sgliSite/legislation/TSGLIFacts.htm.

4. TRICARE Reserve Select Premiums to Increase: DoD recently announced the premiums for TRICARE Reserve Select (TRS) for calendar year 2006. By law, TRS enrollees must pay a set proportion of the cost of their coverage. Premiums will increase by 8.5 percent, to $81 per month for servicemember-only coverage and $253 for servicemember and family coverage. TRICARE Reserve Select is offered for purchase by certain members and former members of the National Guard and Reserve who were called or ordered to active duty, under Title 10, in support of a contingency operation on or after September 11, 2001. They receive one year of TRS eligibility for every 90 days of continuous service. Servicemembers and their unit must agree for the member to stay in the Selected Reserve for one or more whole years to qualify. TRS premiums are adjusted January 1st each year. For more information on TRS, go to: http://tricare.osd.mil/reserve/reserveselect/index.cfm.

5. VA Prescription Co-Pays to Increase by $1.00: Co-payments for outpatient medicines prescribed through Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) medical facilities will increase by $1.00, to $8.00 per 30-day prescription, on January 1, 2006. This is the first change in the VA prescription drug co-payments in four years. The $1.00 increase will not affect Priority Group 1 veterans, those veterans who have an injury or illness connected with their military serviced resulting in a 50% or greater disability. The increase will however have an impact on veterans in Priority Groups 2 through 8.

Priority Groups 2-6—veterans with less-severe service-connected ailments—will see their prescription drug co-pays rise by $1.00, but their annual out-of-pocket expenses for VA medications will remain capped. The cap will rise to $960.00 per year, however, which is an increase of $120.00 over the 2005 cap.

Priority Groups 7 and 8—those veterans with no service-connected illness or injury—will also see their co-payments increase, but there is no cap on annual prescription payments for veterans in these groups. Read more of the specific details about the co-payment increase at: http://www1.va.gov/opa/pressrel/PressArtInternet.cfm?id=1047.

6. Fewer War Wounds Suffered in Iraq are Fatal: The survival rate for U.S. servicemembers wounded in Iraq has reached 90 percent, higher than in any previous war, and 10 points higher than in the 1991 Persian Gulf War. The major reason, says the general in charge of Army medical training, is improved trauma care being delivered moments after injury by medics and a growing number of soldiers trained as combat lifesavers. A few years ago, the Army created the Joint Theater Trauma Registry, a tool to track what occurs for severely wounded patients, from injury through arrival at a stateside medical center. The data confirmed what some trauma experts had been preaching: that the greatest potential for saving more lives was better, more immediate point-of-injury care. That meant enhancing the skills and responsibilities of combat medics, and teaching many other soldiers lifesaving techniques offered through a new Tactical Combat Casualty Course.

The three great threats to body-armored soldiers who receive traumatic wounds are blood loss from damaged limbs, sucking chest wounds and obstructed airways. (Source: http://www.stripesonline.com/articleprint.asp?section=104&article=32212&archive=true)

7. Military Benefits: Which Did You Say is Most Important? Approximately 600 respondents completed NMFA’s recent Military Benefits Survey and told us what they thought were the most important military benefits. Did they choose the same ones that are important to you and your family? Here are a few interesting points from this survey:

* More than 90% of the respondents, including 72% of Guard and Reserve respondents, stated that the commissary and exchanges are important to them.
* 46% of the survey respondents use the commissary weekly or more than once weekly. 28% of the respondents use their exchange benefit at the minimum at least once weekly.
* 80% of the respondents are very satisfied or satisfied with their commissary benefit. Almost 70% of the respondents are very satisfied or satisfied with their exchange benefit. While several respondents mentioned they were often able to find prices lower than the exchange prices at civilian stores, others noted how important exchanges were, especially to servicemembers and families stationed overseas.
* 30% of the Guard and Reserve (G&R), 55% of retirees and 48% of the survivor respondents were not aware of local community retailer discounts for military families.
* 80% of the respondents stated they would shop at stores more often if they did offer discounts to military families. 90% of the G&R respondents stated they would shop there more often and 70% of the retirees and survivor respondents would also shop at those stores more often.
* The fitness center was the top MWR activity choice for respondents, followed by the movie theater and the swimming pool.
* Overall, the top three military benefits selected by respondents in this survey are the Commissary, Exchange and MWR programs.

When asked which military benefit not covered in this survey respondents felt was most important, almost half of the respondents listed the medical/dental/pharmacy benefit. Other important benefits mentioned were Housing/BAH, education programs/schools, and Family Support Centers. When asked what is the most important military benefit not mentioned in this survey, one respondent wrote: DoD Schools. This is the one constant in our children’s' lives. We may move from country to country, but our children always know what to expect when they enter a DoD school. The staff is outstanding and curriculum is standardized. Another respondent stated: All services make a great difference in our lives. Moving from post to post and having all these things available is extremely important.

* Almost 67% of the respondents were military spouses, 10% were retirees, and 13% were servicemembers. 67% are Active Duty and 11% Guard and Reserve affiliated.
* 42% of the respondents were affiliated with the Army, 28% Navy, 15% Air Force and 9% Marine Corps.
* 65% of the respondents are between the ages of 26-45.

Would you have answered the same as these respondents did? Log on to www.nmfa.org/surveys today and look at the survey results. While you’re there, check out our new Quick Polls and tell us what you think! Maybe you would have said this: Being able to spend time with my service member is the MOST valuable benefit that can be offered!

Look for a new survey on Pay and Compensation in January!

8. November is National Adoption Month: Even though it’s the end of the month, it’s never too late to remind folks about adoption opportunities. Military families make great adoptive families and NMFA is working with a variety of organizations to provide more information for military families interested in adopting and thus to help ease the process for them. To learn about the adoption process, familiarize yourself with the National Adoption Information Clearinghouse website (http://naic.acf.hhs.gov/). To learn about the nationwide program promoting the adoption of children out of foster care visit the AdoptUSKids website (http://www.adoptuskids.org/). Finally, to learn about the benefits available to military families who adopt, including a reimbursement for some expenses, access the NMFA fact sheet DoD Adoption Reimbursement Program (www.nmfa.org/site/DocServer/DoD_Adoption_Reimbursement_11-05.pdf?docID=3561). There are even provisions in the House and Senate versions of the FY 2006 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) that address benefits for military families who adopt. One provision would provide a special adoption leave of up to 21 days for servicemembers who have just adopted. Another would expand the types of adoptions eligible for reimbursement of expenses by DoD. NMFA will keep you informed about the disposition of these provisions as the FY 2006 NDAA is passed.

9. Coming Home: The Impact of PTSD on Military and Veteran Families: On Thursday December 8, Representative Lane Evans (D-IL, 17th), the Ranking Member of the House Veterans Affairs Committee, is sponsoring a Congressional briefing and panel discussion to highlight both the pivotal role families play in encouraging a servicemember or veteran to seek treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and how PTSD can affect military families. Invited panelists include representatives from the Department of Veterans Affairs, mental health and family therapy experts, military and veteran service organizations, and the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy. NMFA Director, Government Relations, Joyce Raezer, has been invited to participate in the family to discuss the family perspective on this issue. The briefing will be held at 10:00 a.m. on December 8 in Room 334 of the Cannon House Office Building.


Remember NMFA when Making Your Combined Federal Campaign Contribution: #2113! Thank you for your support!




Pau.




- hfs

11.28.2005

National Military Family Association

I realize that a large portion of the people who read my blog are military spouses. How many of you have griped about the quality of housing? About Tricare? About education for your kids?

I'll admit it - I do. Why do you think I started this blog? But I am not one to merely sit and gripe. Once I have confronted an issue that is bugging me, I try to find a solution. Griping (by itself) gets you nowhere. Acting on an issue does.

For those of you who do have complaints/concerns/issues within military life that you feel need to be addressed (and hey, who doesn't??) what if I were to tell you that there is an organization that exists to act on your concerns?? An organization acting on behalf of military families around the globe that will go to local and state governments, the Department of Defense, and even Congress to alert them to issues affecting the quality of life for military families.

That organization is the National Military Family Association.


Their mission statement:
To serve the families of the seven uniformed services through education, information, advocacy, and programs.

Their goal:
To create an environment that provides for the security of military families; free from financial, physical, and psychological needs.


NMFA is a non-profit organization that is focused solely on quality-of-life issues affecting military families. If you're asking what they DO, here is a good overview:

* The offices of the federal, state, and local governments, as well as DoD, call on NMFA to identify the needs of military families and offer suggestions for solutions.

NMFA is the ONLY organization that puts the military spouse and military family FIRST. NMFA's work benefits ALL military families and future generations of families.

Take a look at the following list of issues that I am sure many of you are familiar with:

* TRICARE for life
* WIC overseas
* Supplemental funding for civilian schools that serve military children
* Increased Famiily Separation Allowance
* Survivor Benefit Plan benefits for the suvivors of active duty deaths

Which of those changes were requested by the DoD?


Not one of them. Each of those items listed above was the result of NMFA's work on the behalf of military families. And that is just the tip of the iceberg.


Go on over to the National Military Family Association website and check them out. and keep checking back here - I'm going to start highlighting some of the news from NMFA on a regular basis.




Pau.




- hfs

A man, a mike, and a barstool

Went to see Lewis Black in concert Sunday. Damn funny man. I'm not sure what was funnier - his thoughts on Hawaii (and his observation that, based on how beautiful it is here, it's no wonder that 1 in 10 teachers are absent from work on any given day) or his belief that, in order to win the war on terror we must elect a DEAD president...namely Ronald Regan (his theory being that, in order to defeat an enemy that is more horrific and terrifying than we've ever encountered, we need to show the terrorists that WE are more insane than they are. What better way to do so than to elect a DEAD president?)

His opening act, John, was funny too. There was a sign language interpreter on stage initerpreting for a deaf woman in the front row and he was messing with her. At one point, he decided to hop down in to the audience and asked the audience, "Aren't the acoustics in here GREAT?!?" The deaf woman signed, "How would *I* know?!?" The rest of audience got it and just about died laughing.

Lewis Black had to deal with 2 hecklers, including a local woman (I assume local based on her accent) who chided him to "say something positive!" Um, honey, have never WATCHED Lewis Black on TV??? She must have been given the tickets or have won them somewhere - I can't imagine she would have paid money for tickets without knowing WHO Lewis Black and expecting a "positive" experience. Duh.

If Lewis Black is headed to your town, I'd encourage you to go see him - he's hilarioius. Just be forewarned that he's NOT positive and there is a plethora of f-bombs to be had in his act.




Pau.




- hfs

11.24.2005

Thankful

Image hosted by Photobucket.com

SparkS is the same person who won the auction for the Chinook print that I put up to benefit Project Valour-IT during the fundraiser (more on that in a minute). He also won a personalized cartoon from Chris Muir who does the Day by Day series.

Thanks SparkS!



Now, to the rest of you...I want to extend my own personal thanks for your support for Project Valour-IT, especially during the fundraiser. The totals were posted and the final tally was jaw-dropping. Go check it out! And remember, our ORIGINAL GOAL was a mere $21,000. You all surpassed that in 3 DAYS. Amazing.




I'm sitting here, babysitting the turkey (and the apple pie, the sweet potato apple casserole, the homemade cranberry relish, the apple cole slaw, and the sparkling cider that is chilling in the fridge) listening to Christmas songs and trying to reconcile all of that with the fact that it is 80 stinking degrees outside. Makes it a bit difficult to get into the "mood". But today is all about being thankful (as is the rest of my life) so here are some things I am most thankful for :

* my family
When we moved to Fort Campbell, it was with the knowledge that MacGyver would be deploying within the year. I did not expect to have him home for the holidays this year. But then we got orders to move to Paradise and we dodged that deployment bullet. I am truly thankful that he is with us again this year. I pray that these holidays go by quietly and quickly for those having to endure them without their loved one.

And, even though we are separated by thousands of miles, our extended family is another huge blessing in our lives. Families are the most amazing things and ours is no different. We have West Point grads, rocket scientists, talented wood-workers, passionate, intelligent people who would give you the shirt off their backs if you needed it, doctors, homemakers, and teachers. What an amazing group of people and what a blessing.


* our health
This year has been one of medical issues but, all in all, we are all healthy and our extended family is doing well. Those that we prayed for throughout this year are holding strong and I am most thankful for that.

* our country
Despite the issues that this country has faced over the past year, this is still the best place on Earth to live. And the men and women who fight for our country and fight to keep us safe and free deserve our utmost thanks and gratitude. Thank you.

* our friends
Despite the nomadic nature of the military lifestyle, we have been blessed with wonderful friends - both military and civilian. I am truly thankful for each and every one of them - without you all, our lives would be bleak. You all add such warmth and vibrance to our lives and I cannot imagine life without you. Thank you.

* our children
Challenging though they may be at times, I cannot imagine my life without them (nor do I want to). Someone once told me that having children was like having a piece of your heart walking around outside of your body and that is incredibly true. I sat and watched my children play at Princess Trouble's school yesterday as we got ready for her Thanksgiving luncheon and I was overcome with such a wonderful feeling of love and pride and thankfulness for these two amazing people I am blessed with in my life.


What a wonderful day. What a wonderful life.




Pau.




- hfs




p.s. Happy Birthday to my brother!!!

11.23.2005

Things that make you go "hmmmm....."

If you're on the staff of the advertising company charged with creating a new ad campaign for Intel, how the HELL do you come up with this ----->

Want incredible entertainment experiences in your lap?



I'm wondering what the PR people at Intel were wondering when they put this advertising campaign together.

If you haven't seen the ads on TV, you can go HERE to view the ad. Click on "Video/Audio" section and then on "Intel Ad Campaign Showcases".


I'm wondering how this made it past the FCC censors...




Pau.




- hfs

11.22.2005

Glimpses of futures

Mudville Gazette points to two articles today that literally scare the hell out of me. Hopefully, they will scare the hell out of you and everyone else in this country too.


NewsBusters takes a look at Congressman Murtha's involvement in the decision to withdraw from Somalia back ini 1993. And, for those of you who do not remember how that move emboldened Osama bin Laden, here's a direct quote from him (via PBS' Frontline interview with him back in May, 1998:

"But your most disgraceful case was in Somalia; where- after vigorous propaganda about the power of the USA and its post cold war leadership of the new world order- you moved tens of thousands of international force, including twenty eight thousands American solders into Somalia. However, when tens of your solders were killed in minor battles and one American Pilot was dragged in the streets of Mogadishu you left the area carrying disappointment, humiliation, defeat and your dead with you. Clinton appeared in front of the whole world threatening and promising revenge , but these threats were merely a preparation for withdrawal. You have been disgraced by Allah and you withdrew; the extent of your impotence and weaknesses became very clear. It was a pleasure for the ‘heart’ of every Muslim and a remedy to the ‘chests’ of believing nations to see you defeated in the three Islamic cities of Beirut , Aden and Mogadishu."



Neptunus Lex follows up on the NewsBusters' piece with his own incredibly insightful and terrifying post, envisioning what would come if this country were to cut and run.

So we leave, the job undone. What happens next?

Jaafari’s government struggles on a while, trying to accommodate the Sunni west. The hard-won victories on the banks of the Euphrates fade away in memory as the fat men consolidate their power. The mayhem continues in the capital, just to keep the funding lines open from Syria, from Saudi. Just to keep the jihadi’s showing up for more. Just to keep the Shia off-balance.

Tit-for-tat murders escalate as blood feuds replace the throttled rule of law. And as always, in that sad, shattered land, fingers wet to sample the prevailing winds. The Iraqi Army fights, dies, fragments, falls apart and is replaced by local militias. The Sadrists take up arms in the east, the Badr Brigades in the south, the pesh merga in the north and the Saddamite Ba’ath in the west. Everywhere, the knives are sharpened.

Jaafari is assassinated, or removed in a coup, and a “unity government,” a triumvirate of Shia, Kurd and Sunni attempt to stop the bleeding. But in the west, the fat men continue to plot, consolidate and butcher. This is their Iraq. The gutters run red, and at night the sound of gunfire and explosions merely set off the continuous ululation of the widowed, maimed and orphaned.

Another coup takes place against the ineffectual central troika. A Shia general takes his place at the palace and the murdering escalates. The Kurds have had enough and take their leave, bringing Mosul with them and all the oil wealth of the north. The Turks eye a nascent Kurdish homeland uneasily, frowning. They draw their own swords and sharpen them. Forced emigration of Arabs from the north, a reverse “Arabization,” fuels the rage in the center. The philosophical middle ground evaporates, leaving the dialogue to be carried out by the most extreme. Baghdad becomes Beirut. The ones that trusted us die in their tens of thousands, and six thousand miles away we cannot pretend we did not know that this would happen. The remorseless eye of international media feeds all of it into our living rooms and we cannot look away. Some of us will blame it all on the man who sent us in. Others will blame it all on those who called for us to leave. Never having lost a fight in battle, our soldiers will feel betrayed - few of the next generation will wish to follow after them.

And all of this will scarcely matter, because while we hurl recriminations upon each other, they will continue to die in industrial quantities. Eventually the south secedes, aligning itself with Islamic Republic of Iran in order to protect itself from the increasingly desperate depredations of the resource-starved Sunnis. The Saudi’s clutch at their robes and put their own fingers to the air, while the worst of their princes expiate their guilt at all the whoring and drinking they have done across the causeway by sending millions more to Wahhabist madrassas throughout south asia. The streets burn in Kuwait.

At this point, although it seems but small beer compared to the anguished cries of a million souls, gas is $5 per gallon and you are bicycling to work, if you still have a job.

The Syrian Ba’ath recognizes that we are done for another twenty years or so, and organizes more clandestine mayhem in Lebanon. Civil strife, bombings and another coup precede a “request for assistance.” The Syrian army returns to their Lebanese barracks. Those who waved flags for the Cedar Revolution offer up their bodies in resistance, certain that the world will come to their aid this time. They die disabused of that notion. Everyone else takes note: Murder bonds are up, freedom bonds are down. Don’t make eye contact.

Once again the rockets begin to fall to earth in the north of Israel. Once again the Israelis shoot back. The Iranians call our bluff, and the reactors go to work re-processing spent Uranium. The jihadis congratulate themselves on having been proved right: They knew we weren’t up to it. Thus gratified, ranks swelling, they go back to planning new devilry, using the tools and infrastructure of relatively modern Arab state.



To me, that's enough to give me an ulcer. You thought 9/11 was bad? It would be NOTHING in comparrison to what could be coming down the pike if we cut and run now.




On a more hopeful note, Uncle Jimbo, posting for Matt at Blackfive gives us a glimpse into the future. The picture at the end of the post is priceless.




Pau.




- hfs

11.21.2005

The spotlight is back

The Lance Armstrong Foundation is my spotlight for this week. Yes, it's not really a blog but it's my blog and I'll do what I want. So there :P


The Lance Armstrong Foundation (LAF) believes that in your battle with cancer, knowledge is power and attitude is everything. From the moment of diagnosis, we provide the practical information and tools you need to live strong. The LAF was founded in 1997 by cancer survivor and champion cyclist Lance Armstrong.


We serve our mission through public health, advocacy, research and education, including creating comprehensive survivorship resources for people living with cancer.


I've been cognizant of LAF since I read his book, It's Not About the Bike and have become even more interested in the Foundation since my BIL was diagnosed (as well as my dad for the second time) with his cancer.

I wear my LiveSTRONG bracelet with pride every day.

Image hosted by Photobucket.com





LiveSTRONG.



Pau.




- hfs

11.19.2005

I see your true colors shining through

So the House Republicans finially grew a spine and found their huevos. Thank goodness. They forced the House Democrats to put up or shut up. The forced a vote in the House on whether or not we (the United States) should pull our troops out of Iraq immediately. The resolution was based on Jack Murtha's assinine demand that we pull our troops out of Iraq and nearby bases within six months.

The final vote was 403 to 3. Four hundred and three of our representatives voted AGAINIST Murtha's proposal. I believe Hugh Hewitt commented that the Democrats were "sound and fury signifying nothing". All bark and no bite.

The left has spent months and months holding marches, holding rallies, holding press conferences and when they were finally called on the carpet to back up their blathering, the only thing they were found to be holding was...well, you know.

Three votes. Three. Pathetic. The three that voted FOR the resolution were : Democrats Cynthia A. McKinney of Georgia, Robert Wexler of Florida and Jose E. Serrano of New York. Way to go y'all. I truly hope, when they come up for re-relection, the voters will send them a strong message that support of our troops is essential to keeping their jobs.

Now that we have cleansed that temper tantrum from our systems, how about we get back to WORK?


Remember...
...cowards cut and run. Marines never do.


And thank God for that.





Pau.




- hfs

11.18.2005

Oh. My. Goodness.

I can't believe what I am watching. I am sitting here, watching our House of Representatives actually debating and voting upon a resolution to withdraw troops from Iraq.


Unbelievable.


There are quite a few blogs that are covering this a lot better than I could :

Michelle Malkin

Stop the ACLU

Hotline

No End But Victory


I'll have more to write after listening to these windbags bloviate. I'm torn between being thrilled that the Republicans finally found their huevos and forced the Democrats to put their money where their mouths are and being appalled that we are actually having to put this to a vote.




Pau.




- hfs

No End But Victory

Sgt. Hook passes along a letter from the mother of a 101st soldier. It's worth a read and it's worth a forward. Pass it on.

My fellow countrymen and women, we are not overseas for our country alone but also another. We are here to spread democracy and freedom to those who KNOW the true taste of it because they fight for it everyday. You can see the desire in their eyes and I am honored to fight alongside them as an Infantryman in the 101st Airborne.

Freedom is not free, but yet it is everyone’s right to have. Ironic isn’t it? That is why we are here. Though you will always have the skeptics, I know that most of our military will agree with this message. Please, at the request of this soldier spread this message to all you know. We are in Operation Iraqi Freedom and that is our goal. It is a cause that I and thousands of others stand ready to pay the ultimate sacrifice for because, Cindy Sheehan, freedom is worth dying for, no matter what country it is! And after the world is free only then can we hope to have peace.



The timing of this letter couldn't be better what, with Congressman Murtha flappinig his gums.

Matt over at Blackfive points to a good website to check out and a good way to counter those Senators whose bloviating undermines the morale and motivation of our troops overseas. Go check out No End But Victory. I firmly believe that it is time for those of us who believe in our mission in the Middle East and want nothing more than to see it succeed to rise up and make our voices heard.

From their mission statement :
Duty. Honor. Country.

I know those words don’t mean much in the halls of the Senate, but they do to a large group of Americans.

Sheepdogs, Rise Up! The time is now.

Harsh words are coming.

Too many would play politics before securing a peace endanger the Iraqis, our troops and us at home. Motivations to withdraw early from Iraq run the gambit of defeatist rhetoric to political protectionism.

The motivations of certain Senators that voted for a withdrawl in Iraq are suspect:

(1) Conservatives and Moderates are playing the polls for the next election because, right now, the President isn’t popular..
and/or
(2) Liberals don’t want the military to meet the expectations of the American people resulting in a political sea change in the states.
or
(3) A few might truly believe that we can meet those expectations and win the war in 2006 and pull our troops out of a safe and democratic Iraq.

Aside for those in category three (idealists or those without cognitive capacity), those who voted for the amendment are putting their own interests ahead of the mission (duty), ahead of everything other than keeping their cushy jobs (honor), ahead of their constituents (country).

Who among you believes that this is NOT politics over country? NOT Senate self-preservation over our soldiers? NOT the fate of their careers over the fate of Iraq?

This is about cutting and running for political cover or gain. Nothing more.

It is entirely possible that, in the end, certain Senators will not be viewed as cowards by their constituents. However…

They will be viewed as cowards by the Iraqis.

Deservedly so.

These demands for withdrawl will be a clarion call to Syria and Iran to keep sending terrorists. It sends a signal to Zarqawi to keep going for just twelve more months. It sends a signal to our allies - particularly Tony Blair who’s been nothing short of miraculous in this fight - that we will always run from adversity because the last forty years has shown that Americans don’t have the stomach for it.

This is our one chance to do it right. To get back on track. To show the world that we mean business.

Sheepdogs, contact your Senators. Contact your congressmen. Call the Congressional switchboard to be connected to any Senate or House office: 202-225-3121.

Write letters to the editor of your hometown papers. Call people. Call your VFW. Call your American Legion. Call your Marine Corps League. Get involved.

Don’t let the politicians hand victory to the terrorists.



To quote Matty O'Blackfive (love that moniker) :
No. End. But. Victory.



That pretty much covers it.




Pau.




- hfs


h/t Blackfive

11.16.2005

Sex Offenders Held Illegally, Judge Rules

Sex Offenders Held Illegally, Judge Rules


"The court is granting convicted sexual predators more rights than law-abiding New Yorkers," Governor Pataki said yesterday in a written statement. "Without question, if this ruling is allowed to stand, it would jeopardize the safety of our children and communities throughout the state."


This is the case across the country. It enrages me that a convicted sex offender has more rights than my 4 year old.

If we applied the death penalty to these monsters upon conviction, we wouldn't have this problem. I don't want to pay for them (via my taxes) to be incarcerated, housed in a mental facility, or potentially rehabilitated (I do not believe that sex offenders can BE rehabilitated). I do not want them released.

MY CHILD deserves better protection than what is currently being afforded to them. This is outrageous and disgusting.




Pau.




- hfs

11.15.2005

This week

I'm down to the wire with the classes I'm taking this term (should be my last one for a while!) and I have several papers and projects due in the next few weeks. Combine that with the fact that the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing is currently taking place and you will notice this week that I may not be around as much as I usually am.

Please do not take it personally. I just about grew roots from my behind into the chair last week (though it was for a good cause...we mananged to raise in excess of $80,000 for Project Valour-IT) and I need a break. That's not to say I won't be around...you know I can't keep my mouth shut that long. But I hope to have other things to do.

So, instead of reading my ramblings, why not venture over to the left side of the page and go visit one of the sites listed there. They aren't there just because they're pretty (though some are!) - they are actually great reads! So go on!

Have a great week!




Pau.




- hfs

11.14.2005

Jarhead

Saturday night was a night out with MacGyver and 2 of his friends from work and their wives. Dinner was great. Then it was time for a movie. Everyone else wanted to see "Jarhead" and since the idea of sitting by myself in the local Starbucks didn't appeal to me, I went along.

That is two hours of my life I will never get back. What a waste of $8.75.

I'm not a Marine nor do I know enough about the Corps to cast aspersions on the movie for that reason so I'll give you the main reasons I thought this movie sucked. But first, let me preface this diatribe with the fact that I did read the book. My impression of Swofford was that he was the biggest whiny Marine (didn't know those two words could ever go together in a sentance) I had ever come across. His mental instability made me wonder how he ever got passed a recruiter and how the Corps managed to think it was a good idea to make this guy a sniper. But I digress...

My biggest complaint about this movie was the way that spouses and significant others were portrayed. Every single one of them (including Swofford's own mother) was portrayed as either a slut or mentally unstable. Now, I will acquiesce to the fact that there are unfaithful and unstable spouses and significant others out there. But not each and every one of us, damnit. That aspect of the movie was rude, unrealistic, and unnecessary.

My second biggest complaint about this movie was the "Highway of Death" scene. Those of us old enough to remember the first Gulf War remember the footage on CNN of this event. For those of you whose recollection is hazy or non-existent, go here. Take a look at the picture about 1/2 way down the page. What do you see? What is different than how this event was portrayed in the movie? That's right - the vehicles you see in the actual news archive are MILITARY vehicles, not civilian. Way to go Hollywood.

The other complaint I have about this movie isn't so much a complaint as it is an observation. I have not seen that much barfing or male nudity since MacGyver was active in his fraternity in college. Good GRIEF! The thing that REALLY floored me was the fact that some movie-goers had their KIDS (i.e. 4 year olds!) with them. There should be a LAW...

Like I said, that was 2 hours of my life I will NEVER get back. Damn. Welcome to the suck...




Pau.




- hfs

11.08.2005

Chinook print auction for Project Valour-IT

I have listed a copy of James R. Morris' print, 'CH-47 "Chinook"' for auction. You can view (and bid on!) the print HERE.

This is the print itself :
Image hosted by Photobucket.com


All proceeds from this auction will go to Project Valour-IT.


The auction ends November 11, 2005 at 5:40pm (EST) so BID HIGH AND BID OFTEN!!! The soldiers are the ones who win here!




Pau.




- hfs

11.07.2005

32

What a wonderful day this must have been, thirty-two years ago.




Happy Birthday MacGyver.

Image hosted by Photobucket.com

moo.




Pau.




- hfs

$5 and your hands

One of the things that MacGyver and I have talked about it how we would handle things should he be injured in the line of duty. It's not a pretty conversation - things like that never are. But I am not a fan of surprises so I'd rather discuss this now, before he deploys.

Those of you who know MacGyver know what type of person he is. He is a very "hands on" type of person. He works a LOT with his hands. He is a mechanic by nature - at the age of 2, he took apart a transistor radio while he sat in his crib. Our 2 car garage is full of his projects - the BMW 2002 that he is restoring, the Yamaha YSR 50cc motorcycle that is his labor of love, the oddball projects that he always seems to have more of than time - and his tools. His hands are strong. Not necessarily big - small, in fact, for someone who is almost six feet tall. But they are powerful hands with scars that show where he has been and what he has done. Each scar has a story. There are the scars that have come from working on our cars (we don't own new cars...). There are the scars that have come from working on helicopters. There are the scars that have come from who-knows-where. It's not uncommon for MacGyver to come in and be bleeding and not know how he got hurt.

We've talked about the different injuries that can be sustained in combat and the one injury that worries him most is the loss of his hands or the loss of the use of his hands. He can deal with spinal cord injuries, shrapnel injuries, leg injuries. But to take his hands away from him would mean taking life away from him. He's a strong man but it would take every ounce of strength he has (and then some) to overcome that.

When CPT Z was injured, it really illustrated how big a challenege it is to function without the use of one's hands. They do SO MUCH over the course of a day - things you don't even THINK about. Here is just a small sampling of the things I did with my hands this past weekend :

rubbed sleep from my eyes
brushed my teeth
washed my hair and body
dried off
buttoned the button on my shorts
brushed and dried my hair
typed e-mails to friends and family
typed a blog entry
chatted on IM
made a few phone calls
put on my makeup
fixed my children waffles for breakfast
brushed my daugther's hair and teeth
tied her shoes
opened my purse
buckled my children in their car seats
started the car
cleaned the laceration on Little Man's toe
bandaged Little Man's toe (three times)
wiped tears from Little Man's face


And the list goes on and on. How many of those things - little things, really - could I have NOT done had I not had the use of my hands?

Think about not being able to do those things AND not being able to be in contact with friends and family across the globe. Let's face it...most of us are (or were) military families and very few of us live close to friends and family. So the phone and the internet are incredibly important to us. Imagine how important those things would become if you were trapped - literally - in a hospital bed on the East Coast...thousands of miles from anyone you know...with a debilitating injury and no way to speak with family and friends without the help of another person.

How helpless and frustrated would you feel?

Tie your hands behind your back for a moment and then try to interact with the world.




Not easy is it. And you're not injured. You're not hurt, scared, or alone in a place you don't know.




There are 4 days left in this fundraiser. Sgt. Hook had a good point - if everyone who reads my blog (I average about 80-100 hits per day) were to donate just a couple of bucks - say $5 - that would just about raise enough money to purchase one fully-loaded laptop computer with software. Five bucks. That's not even lunch money anymore. It's a latte at Starbucks.




The next person that needs that computer could be MacGyver. Or someone close to you. Five bucks is nothing compared to the freedom and independence and healing that computer would provide.




Five bucks.




Pau.




- hfs

11.06.2005

11.04.2005

Your hands

I want you all to do me a favor this weekend. I want you to think about your hands. I would love for all of you to make a list of all of the things you do with your hands this weekend (keep in mind my mother-in-law reads this blog so let's keep it to a PG-13 rating...).

I dare you.

Post your list in the comments section.




Then, think about all of the things in that list that you could not do without your hands. Or your arms. Or your upper body.


You couldn't scratch an itch.


You couldn't button your fly.


You couldn't wipe your own rear end.


You couldn't wipe the tears away from your child's face or your loved one's cheek.


You couldn't dial the phone, type a letter, send an e-mail.




How would you stay connected to the outside world?


Think about THAT for the weekend...



Project Valour-IT - voice activated software and laptop computers for our wounded soldiers. It's the least we can do.

Time to put your money where your mouth is.




I have. Will you?




Pau.




- hfs

Project Valour-IT

I was going to try to put together a nice post about why I feel Project Valour-IT is such a worthwhile project but Sgt. Hook has done it better than I ever could have.

Go HERE to read.

Then go HERE to donate.

Thank you.




Pau.




- hfs

More Hooker Pr0n

This time you have to click on the link to get to it.


HOOKER PORN


Now that I've satisfied THAT craving for you, find that "MAKE A DONATION" button up top and see what you can do to help out our wounded servicemen and women. There is a week left and Project Valour-IT is well on its way to its goal but WE NEED YOUR HELP!! Even if it is just $5. Every little bit helps.

Thanks.




Pau.




- hfs

11.02.2005

GREEN LIGHT!!! GO!!!

BLACKFIVE has the initial post up about Project Valour-IT's fundraising campaign. The battle lines are drawn. Are you dog or are you squid??? Let's show the zoomies, squids, and jarheads who the best are!

Every donor will receive a Soldiers' Angels Coin for their donation. That, alone, is worth it. Not to mention the knowledge that you have contributed to such a wonderfully worthwhile cause.


So let's GO!!!









Pau.




- hfs

11.01.2005

TOMORROW!!!

The Project Valour-IT funraiser starts TOMORROW!!!!


It's Army versus the rest of the military so let's show them our power!!!

I'll post the details as I get them but for now, start setting aside your change (and maybe even a dollar or two...or twenty...).




Pau.




- hfs