Thursday, September 30, 2004

Happy Anniversary Sweetheart

I can't believe it has been five years!

I love you with all my heart.

Wednesday, September 29, 2004

Great new blog - "Old Patriot's Pen"

To my fellow blog addicts -- my email pal Mike has started a blog called "Old Patriot's Pen". The description under the title is "Personal pontifications of an old geezer born 200 years too late." LOL! I have him listed under "pundits" in my links, but I may move him over to "military". Here's a bit more about him, in his own words:

Judge me on what I write, based on what I know. 26 years' experience as an enlisted member of the US Air Force, retired as MSgt (E-7); experience in mechanized personnel systems, imagery interpretation, management & supervision, document management, security, safety, deployment preparedness, office management, technical training, more. Civilian experience in seismic data processing (3 yrs), small computers & networking (6 yrs), technical training (2 yrs), technical writing (4 yrs).

This is from his post called "Too much Law, too many lawyers"
I consider myself, politically, a Jeffersonian limited anarchist - do whatever you choose to do, as long as you don't infringe on the rights of others to do the same, or cause harm to others or their property. That was the ultimate freedom that the framers of our Constitution wanted to ensure and protect. Laws were primarily designed to establish what would be done to those that failed to accept the corrolary of freedom - responsibility. The chief responsibility of every person was to NOT cause harm to others, or damage to their property, while exercising one's freedom as much as one chose.

He's a really funny, interesting guy. Click on the title above or the link to the right to visit this cool new blog. Enjoy!

Mayor Ed Koch's take on the beheadings

I found this on the National Review website. It goes pretty well with the discussion last week on the beheadings. Click on the title for a link to National Review...

I wish to share with you a letter written by Ed Koch, on September 21, to the New York Times. I don't know whether the Times has published it — I'm not keeping up with the Times much these days.

To the editor:
In today's article reporting the decapitation by terrorists in Iraq of American civilian Eugene Armstrong, the Times reporter wrote, "In the video of the beheading, an insurgent wearing a ski mask and surrounded by four men with assault rifles says the group is killing Mr. Armstrong because the American occupiers and the interim Iraqi government failed to meet the deadline. Much of the man's long speech is addressed to President Bush, who is called a dog at one point."

Please note that the news article omitted an important part of the story, which was the exact phrase uttered by the executioner at the time he cut Armstrong's throat and severed his head from his body. That phrase was, "Oh, you Christian dog, Bush, stop your arrogance."

The reference to President Bush by the terrorist strengthens the belief of many that we are involved in a war of civilizations. Fanatic Islamists believe that Christians and Jews who do not recognize the supremacy of Islam should die. That awful message is part of the story, and the Times erred in not carrying that quote, which many other papers did.

Lee Hamilton, co-chairman of the 9/11 commission, has said in describing Muslim terrorists, "They want to kill us." Why? Because those making up Western civilization and its ideas — which jihad is bent on destroying — are overwhelmingly Christians and Jews. I believe it is President Bush's faith that gives him the strength to stay with and implement the Bush Doctrine, which is, "We will make no distinction between the terrorists who committed these acts and those who harbor them."

Your reporter refers to the spokesman for the murderers as an "insurgent." What would it take for the Times to call someone who has just participated in the beheading of an innocent civilian a terrorist? I am sure the public would like to know.

Nice goin', Mayor.

Monday, September 27, 2004

IF PUFF DADDY CAN DO the blogger formerly known as BigandMean

"BigandMean", aka my Dad, emailed this to me and asked me to post it. :)

When Jen started her blogging about two months ago, one of the first comments entered on her blog was from a Canadian named dponce. He seemed, at least to a father, to be unnecessarily confrontational, so in a moment of fatherly zeal I made a comment using the blog name of “BigandMean”. It seemed to work as he backed off and apologized to her. In fact, he became quite pleasant.

Since then, I’ve blogged as both Jensdad, who I actually am, but mostly as BigandMean, who I definitely am not. I’ve suspected that some who read her blog and see a comment by BigandMean from Texas may make the erroneous assumption that I’m like some character out of a Clint Eastwood western just spoiling for a fight before I steal all the women in town and rape the cattle. I’ve gotten a little tired of exchanges like the following: BigandMean said…….I don’t agree with your premise. Left-leaning Blogger said………..Why you no good horrible mean person who wants to kill old people, starve children, steal elections and start wars based upon lies, how dare you say something mean like that!

So, I’ve decided to retire BigandMean and just go back to being Jensdad. I figure that if Puff Daddy can become P Diddy, then just Shawn “Puffy” Combs and Prince can become *, then the Artist Formerly Known as Prince, I can go back to what I’m more comfortable with and something that will cause fewer bombs to be lobbed my way. Unless, of course, somebody is mean to my little girl, in which case I may have to become something like “BigMeanandFrothingatthemouthwhileloadingmyassaulttrifle”.

Sunday, September 26, 2004

Soldier bloggers detail life at war

This was in the Sunday Houston Chronicle! You can click on the title above for a link to the original story...

Sept. 26, 2004, 1:16AM

Soldier bloggers detail life at war
Controversial practice covers everything from daily happenings to political slants
Associated Press

Spc. Colby Buzzell's squad was on a mission in a poor neighborhood in Mosul when two Iraqi boys ran up carrying old artillery shells. "Give me dollar!" they said.

Another came carrying bullets and demanding money.

"Then, all of a sudden, this really skinny Iraqi kid comes running up to us with a ... HAND GRENADE in his hand," Buzzell wrote on his war blog. " 'Drop the ... hand grenade! Drop it now!' We all started yelling. The little kid, still with this proud smile on his face that said, 'Look what I just found' just dropped the grenade on the ground, and walked over to my squad leader and said, 'Give me money!' "

The grenade didn't go off.

Money for weapons
The squad leader explained to his men that an Army division that had been in the area earlier had paid children for weapons or unexploded ordnance.

For Buzzell, it was grist for his online war diary,, whose fans range from soccer moms and truck drivers to punk band leader Jello Biafra. Before the counter dropped off the site, says Buzzell, he was getting 5,000 hits a day.

Iraq war blogs are as varied as the soldiers who write them. Some sites feature practical news, pictures and advice. Some are overtly political, with more slanting to the right than the left. Some question the war, some cheer it.

Buzzell and a handful of others write unvarnished war reporting. A few of these blogs have been shut down, and Buzzell, an infantryman in an Army Stryker brigade, says he was banned from missions for five days because of the blog and has stopped adding new narrative entries.

Giant camel spiders
For the folks back home, soldier blogs offer details of war that don't make it into most news dispatches: The smell of rotten milk lingering in a poor neighborhood. The shepherd boys standing at the foot of a guard tower yelling requests for toothbrushes and sweets. The giant camel spiders. The tedium of long walks to get anything from a shower to a meal. A burning oil refinery a hundred miles away blocking the sun.

On the blogs, soldiers complain, commiserate and celebrate their victories and ingenuity.

What do you do if the electricity goes out while you're sitting in the latrine, leaving you in complete darkness with a dead flashlight? Blog answer: Reach into your cargo pocket and crack open a Chemlight.

The blogs offer more than war stories — they offer images from Iraq not seen elsewhere, like a sign in an office with no air conditioning: "We're in the desert. The desert is hot. Now quit your whining."

Sean Dustman, a 32-year-old Navy corpsman from Prescott, Ariz., started writing his blog after reading other war blogs.

The 'real news'
"I was entranced with their stories," said Dustman, who recently returned from six months in Iraq. "This was where the real news that mattered to me was coming from, unlike what you saw through the regular media. Reading them (the blogs) helped me and my Marines prepare for the trip."

Dustman started a photo blog, where he'd post pictures of his unit. Relatives visited religiously and let him know when he wasn't getting pictures up fast enough. Other bloggers encouraged him to write more than photo captions, so he did.

In April, Dustman wrote about flying over Baghdad. "At night there's hardly a flight that there's not someone shooting at you. They can't see the aircraft (hopefully), but as soon as they hear one coming, they come out and shoot into the air ... A tracer flies by a window and we're banking and rolling, which is kinda like gambling, they can't see us, we can't see them either, a great game of Battleship in the sky."

• Online war diary: Spc. Colby Buzzell maintains his blog at
• Doc in the box: Sean Dustman, a Navy corpsman, writes his blog at
• Law perspective: Lawyer Eric Magnell's blog,, chronicles his work with the Army as it tries to build a legal system in Iraq.

There's a longer version of the story at yahoo news at

(Will someone please tell me how to make a link inside a story? I'm doing something wrong...)

Saturday, September 25, 2004

One familiar voice, one new one (at least to me) :)

I was reading the comments under my post about the beheadings and came across two that I think deserve to be up here on their own. They are by 91ghost, one of my favorite bloggers, and Carter, who I look forward to reading more from.

At 1:17 PM, 91ghost said...
I'll say it yet again, and again: regardless of whoever occupies the White House, this war will only be resolved by actions that are ugly and savage and yet coupled with a cunning strategy. This is an enemy that knows no bounds, and yet is indeed guided by their own sense of logic (granted that it is a severely twisted and dark logic). These beheadings won't be the last. And the school scene in Russia was a prelude of things to come...on our soil. Today, while glancing over the news, it really donned on me with a cold clarity that we really are in a global war...the glaring hints are in between the Nigeria where Muslims are trying to create a civil war--in the Sudan where they have started a civil war (through their Nazi like campaign of extinguishing all Christians--funny how Dan Rather, Tom Brokaw and company won't tell it like that), in the Philipines, in Indonesia, in parts of India, hhmmm...let's Kosovo and Serbia and Croatia where hundreds of churches have been burned over the last year, by, you guessed it folks--Muslims, and yes, in France where Jews are being attacked on a daily basis by yes, that's right, Muslims...hmmm...the middle east, Africa, the far east, Caucasia, eastern Europe, western Europe--sounds like a global war to me. Time to wake up folks and start fighting this enemy the only way they know and can appreciate: savagely.

At 7:07 PM, Carter said...
This is to Paul. Are you saying that a controlled flow of information to the public is what we need? Then who would control this information? The truth is, events are unfolding everywhere around us. We must know the extent of everything. However we are all drowning in responsibilities of work, schools, hobbies, families, etc.. But these events have been affecting most countries for decades, but we have one attack in our state, and all of a sudden the world is an evil place? No, it's always had it's evil spreading. Granted the terrorists want us to have some fear, but to say that if these videos weren't displayed they'd give up is silly. It will mean that they will find a more tragic means to their end.

I say we find out the true end they want. I bet then we could finish terrorism. Unless you buy into this whole Bush's reason that they are jealous of our liberty. That's silly. They hate us, because we are in their lives, and government. They don't want their governments to be puppets of the US. And yes some want to rule the earth. I don't know, these are educated guesses since we are never told the whole story.

Wednesday, September 22, 2004

The beheadings

Over the weekend the news about the two Americans and the one British hostage was everywhere. I watched their families plead for mercy. But I already knew. The second I heard they had been captured, I knew their fate. I found myself holding my breath when the latest news would come on, closing my eyes and trying to hold off the inevitable confirmation. The first American was killed…and now the second American…and the British captive’s fate remains officially unknown as I type this.

I have not been able to get these men out of my mind.

During one of my breaks at work today, I was reading newspaper articles about Eugene Armstrong and Jack Hensley. I felt like I owed it to these men to learn more about their lives and pray for their families…

During my research today, I did something today I may or may not regret. I’m not sure. I’m still numb about it. And hollow. And nauseous.

I watched the awful video of those animals beheading Eugene Armstrong.

My God.

It is the most vile, awful thing I have ever seen. I haven’t been able to stop crying about it.
It made me throw up my lunch.

I don’t know what to do now. I feel like I should be doing something. Anything. Somebody, please tell me what to do.

Do I regret watching it? Yes and no. What this poor man went through SHOULD be seen. We must know our enemy and what the enemy is capable of.

But I’m so traumatized by what I saw that I may never sleep again.

Pray for their families.

Iranian woman wants only to be beaten once a week

Iranian woman wants only to be beaten once a week
22 Sep 2004 13:07:48 GMT

Source: Reuters

TEHRAN, Sept 22 (Reuters) - An Iranian woman, beaten every day by her husband, asked a court to tell him only to beat her once a week, a newspaper said on Wednesday. Maryam, the middle-age woman, said she did not want to divorce her husband because she loved him, the Aftab-e yazd daily said.

"Just tell him to beat me once a week ... Beating is part of his nature and he cannot stop it," Maryam told the court.

The Tehran court found the man guilty and banned him from beating the wife, the paper said.

"If I do not beat her, she will not be scared enough to obey me," the husband said.

Monday, September 20, 2004

Too little too late

Rather is sorry for his "mistake in judgement"????? Where is the apology to the president for slandering him and trying to affect the election? How can this be legal? "We were misled"?!?!?!??!!? MISLED?!?!?!?! Why does Rather still have a job? Somebody please explain this to me.

Mon Sep 20 2004 11:58:02 ET

Last week, amid increasing questions about the authenticity of documents used in support of a 60 MINUTES WEDNESDAY story about President Bush's time in the Texas Air National Guard, CBS News vowed to re-examine the documents in question—and their source—vigorously. And we promised that we would let the American public know what this examination turned up, whatever the outcome.

Now, after extensive additional interviews, I no longer have the confidence in these documents that would allow us to continue vouching for them journalistically. I find we have been misled on the key question of how our source for the documents came into possession of these papers. That, combined with some of the questions that have been raised in public and in the press, leads me to a point where—if I knew then what I know now—I would not have gone ahead with the story as it was aired, and I certainly would not have used the documents in question.

But we did use the documents. We made a mistake in judgment, and for that I am sorry. It was an error that was made, however, in good faith and in the spirit of trying to carry on a CBS News tradition of investigative reporting without fear or favoritism.

Please know that nothing is more important to us than people's trust in our ability and our commitment to report fairly and truthfully.

Thursday, September 16, 2004

Dubya and Texas Speech patterns -- No rest for the weird

In the late '60's and early 70's, my Great Uncle Landon, one of my grandfather's four brothers, wrote a newspaper column in East Texas. His idol was Mark Twain, and Landon had a similar "folksy" style.

Landon was a quiet observer. He would sit quietly, maybe at a steak house, maybe at a park, and watch people. Every week townspeople would seek out The Newsboy (the local paper) to read Landon's latest story, and see if he had written something about them. He was a town treasure.

Landon was a frail man, who was wounded in WWII and never fully recovered from his injuries. He died tragically in an ambulance accident in January of 1975. After his death, some of his columns were put together in a book. For those of you who live in the Houston area, Landon was big time buddies with Leon Hale, who writes for the Houston Chronicle. Mr. Hale even wrote the forward to Uncle Landon's book.

Why am I bringing up my Uncle? One of the things Uncle Landon found vastly amusing was the way some of his fellow Texans twisted the English language and plunked it on it's head. I can easily imagine him cackling over Dubya's...uhmmmm....interesting words like "uninalienable" or "misunderestimated". Every time Dubya screws up a word, I think of my Uncle Landon.

Landon wrote the following column a long time ago, in a galaxy far far away. It's almost a game, trying to figure out what the heck this lady was really saying. My Uncle loved her. He would have loved President Bush too.

Chapter 21 "East Texas Speech"
from "These people actually lived in East Texas"
By Landon Bradshaw

In gathering as many facts as I could about the old Mark May Veatch lead mine, I called on Mrs. M at her home on a sandy hillside near Week's Chapel.

"I reconciled you as soon as I saw you," she said. "Have a cheer".

Mrs. M speaks a strange mixture of Maliprop and Slurvian which is fairly easy understood once caught on to. This speech is also catching.

Mrs. M is a sweet little old lady though -- sweet as surp. Although she's been around for nearly a sensory, she's still active.

That very morning she'd wrenched out some of her close and waxed her mongolians (which she finds easier to clean than car pits). They she'd gone to the modesty house in Jasper.

But modesties aren't what they used to be. She found weasels in the raisins and had to discord the whole box, because she couldn't use a sanitary one of them.

After she sprinkled her close down, she was as tard as a human bean could get and still live. She just wanted to lean back and collapse for a while. But there was no rest for the weird in a little while she'd have to get up and start arning.

Did she know any stories about early settlers? She certainly did. Her four fathers had come to East Texas from Misery in 1820, signed the decoration of independence and fought in the evolution. Her own grandfather'd been wounded in the Battle of Sandy Center and had to have his leg hyphenated. But he drew a constipation check for the rest of his life.

Of course she'd known Mark May Veatch. He'd married her cousin, Alice Robinson, and his lead business was no fig newton of the imagination. She didn't know where Mark's mind was, but she was sure he had one.

She still holds the mental rites on her place. It seems there art to be something under the ground since there's nothing on top but sand. For a long time, she'd been hoping somebody'd stack oil or something, but she guessed Rome wasn't burned in a day.

Her hope had been reviewed last week when a man from Beaumont came out to her place with his equipment. He brought a goober counter and said he was looking for geraniums.

Transfusions...errr....I mean translations....are available upon request.

Wednesday, September 15, 2004

I'm Irish. Wanna help me plan the invasion?

Jacques Chirac, The French Prime Minister, was sitting in his office wondering what kind of mischief he could perpetrate against the United States when his telephone rang.

"Hallo, Mr. Chirac!", a heavily accented voice said. "This is Paddy down at the Harp Pub in County Sligo, Ireland. I am ringing to inform you that we are officially declaring war on you!"

"Well, Paddy," Chirac replied, "This is indeed important news! How big is your army?"

"Right now," said Paddy, after a moment's calculation, "there is myself, me cousin Sean, me next door neighbor Seamus, and the entire dart team from the pub. That makes eight!"

Chirac paused. "I must tell you, Paddy, that I have one hundred thousand men in my army waiting to move on my command."

"Begorra!" said Paddy. "I'll have to ring you back!" Sure enough, the next day, Paddy called again. "Mr. Chirac, the war is still on. We have managed to get us some infantry equipment!"

"And what equipment would that be, Paddy?" Chirac asked. "Well, we have two combines, a bulldozer, and Murphy's farm tractor."

Chirac sighed, amused. "I must tell you, Paddy, that I have 6,000 tanks and 5,000 armored personnel carriers. Also, I've increased my army to one hundred fifty-thousand since we last spoke."

"Saints preserve us!" said Paddy. "I'll have to get back to you."

Sure enough, Paddy rang again the next day. "Mr. Chirac, the war is still on!" We have managed to get ourselves airborne! We've modified Jackie McLaughlin's ultra-light with a couple of shotguns in the cockpit, and four boys from the Shamrock Pub have joined us as well!"

Chirac was silent for a minute and then cleared his throat. "I must tell you, Paddy, that I have 100 bombers and 200 fighter planes. My military complex is surrounded by laser-guided, surface-to-air missile sites. And since we last spoke, I've increased my army to two hundred thousand!"

"Jesus, Mary, and Joseph!", said Paddy, "I'll have to ring you back."

Sure enough, Paddy called again the next day. "Top o' the mornin', Mr. Chirac! I am sorry to tell you that we have had to call off the war."

"I'm sorry to hear that," said Chirac. "Why the sudden change of heart?"

"Well," said Paddy, "we've all had a long chat over a bunch of pints, and decided there's no foo-kin way we can feed two hundred thousand prisoners.

Tuesday, September 14, 2004

Equal opportunity and change -- Should women be drafted along side men?

Women have proven over the last 40 years that we can do many things just as well as men. Since the passage of The Civil Rights Act of 1964, we can now pursue careers in occupations that were closed to us.

We can be stay at home Moms or have a career or both. We can be doctors, lawyers, business executives, truck drivers and fire fighters if we want rather than being limited to a career as nurses, law clerks, typists, and school teachers.

We are also free to join all branches of the military without being discriminated against because of our gender. We have served honorably (forget the panties on the head prisoner thing) and heroically and advanced up the promotion ladder.

Here’s my question; if we run out of volunteers and reserves and must implement another military draft as we did during the war in Viet Nam, shouldn’t women be subjected to mandatory military service the same as men? If we enjoy an equal opportunity, shouldn’t we share equally in the responsibility?

Are we less than capable than men? Are we too weak physically or emotionally to serve? What if we’re pregnant or become pregnant after being drafted?

What do you think? I especially would like to hear the opinions of men with military experience. Would you be OK with a female CO in a combat situation?

Are you a Democrat, Republican or Southern Republican?

With elections coming up, this is an issue we should all decide. The first question should be, just how can you tell the difference between Democrats, Republicans and Southern Republicans?

The answer can be found by contemplating the following situation: Let's say you're walking down a deserted street with your wife and two small children. Suddenly, a dangerous looking man with a huge knife comes around the corner, locks eyes with you, screams obscenities, raises the knife, and charges towards you. You are carrying a Glock .40, and you are an expert shot. You have mere seconds before he reaches you and your family. What do you do?

Democrat's Answer: Well, there's not enough information to answer the question! Does the man look poor or oppressed? Have I ever done anything to him that would inspire him to attack? Is there a chance we could run away? What does my wife think? What about the kids? Could I possibly swing the gun like a club and knock the knife out of his hand? What does the law say about this situation? Does the Glock have an appropriate safety built into it? Why am I carrying a loaded gun anyway, and what kind of message does this send to society and to my children? Is it possible he'd be happy with just killing me? Does he definitely want to kill me, or would he be content to just wound me? If I were to grab his knees and hold on, could my family get away while he was stabbing me? Should I call 9-1-1? Why is this street so deserted? Do we need to do a study on this street? Maybe we need to raise taxes, have a paint and weed day and make this a happier, healthier street that would discourage such behavior. This is all so confusing! I need to debate this with some friends for a few days, get their input and try to come to a consensus.

Republican's Answer: BANG!

Southern Republican's Answer: BANG! BANG! BANG! BANG! BANG! BANG! BANG! BANG! BANG! click....(sounds of reloading). BANG! BANG! BANG! BANG! BANG! BANG! BANG! BANG! BANG! click

Monday, September 13, 2004

Heard the one about Kerry's sense of humor?

Heard the one about Kerry's sense of humor?
By Jeff Jacoby, Globe Columnist | September 12, 2004

JUST FOR laughs, you want to hear a little joke about shooting the president?

Presidential assassination -- now there's a funny topic. Just ask John Kerry. When the head of the United Mine Workers presented him with a semiautomatic shotgun during a Labor Day campaign stop in West Virginia, Kerry chortled, "I thank you for the gift, but I can't take it to the debate with me." High-larious!

How can you not love a candidate with such a robust sense of humor? The Massachusetts senator brings so much wit to the presidential race. Remember his wisecrack last spring about a bicycle accident that left President Bush with bruises on his face, hands, and knees? "Did the training wheels fall off?" he asked. Or his line in January about the man who is now his running mate? "When I came back from Vietnam in 1969," he said in Iowa, "I don't know if John Edwards was out of diapers then." Oh, that Kerry -- what a stitch!

For some reason people are forever commenting on how dour and stiff Kerry is. But it's a bum rap. As anyone who has followed his career knows, the guy's a regular Jackie Mason.

Take his great quip about Saddam Hussein's military back in 1997, when he was advocating an expansion of the NATO no-fly zone. "The Iraqi Army is in such bad shape now," Kerry said, "even the Italians could kick their butts." Everyone split their sides, they were laughing so hard. Well, almost everyone. For some reason the Massachusetts state auditor, Joseph DeNucci, accused Kerry of a "degrading, disgusting" ethnic slur. And a spokesman for the National Italian American Foundation said, "It was a totally inappropriate comment. What could he have been thinking?" Talk about killjoys. There's no pleasing some people.

A year earlier, when Kerry was running for reelection, he uncorked a priceless rib-tickler about his opponent, Massachusetts Governor Bill Weld. "This guy," he said on Don Imus's radio show, "takes more vacations than the people on welfare." Is that a hoot? And yet, believe it or not, some people didn't think it was funny. "I'm very insulted, very insulted," one welfare recipient told The Boston Globe. She obviously has no appreciation for sophisticated comedy.

Speaking of sophisticated comedy, have you heard the one about the camel and the ass? This must be Kerry's favorite joke, to judge from the frequency with which he told it during last year's primary campaign. Here it is, taken verbatim from his remarks to the Florida Democratic party convention in December:

"A little more than 5,000 years ago, Moses said, `Hitch up your camel, lift up your shovel, mount your ass. I will lead you to the promised land.' Five thousand years later, Franklin Roosevelt said, `Light up a Camel, lay down your shovel, sit on your ass. This is the promised land.' Today, George Bush will outsource your camel, tax your shovel, kick your ass, and tell you there is no promised land."

No doubt there are some grouches who would regard this as excruciatingly unfunny, not to mention an insult to FDR. ("Lay down your shovel, sit on your ass" was not exactly the motto of the Works Progress Administration.) But as any connoisseur of good humor will attest, you can't hear jokes like this even in the best comedy clubs.

Not only is Kerry a very funny fellow, he is a critic of other people's material. He certainly let Bush have it for some dubious gags at the Radio and Television Correspondent's Dinner about the lack of chemical and biological weapons in Iraq. As Bush showed photographs of himself looking under furniture and behind the drapes in the Oval Office, he made comments like "Those weapons of mass destruction have to be somewhere" and "Nope, no weapons over there."

Apparently Bush never learned that some topics are not appropriate fodder for jokes, particularly from someone of national political stature. Kerry firmly set him straight.

"That's supposed to be funny?" Kerry asked. "If George Bush thinks his deceptive rationale for going to war is a laughing matter, then he's even more out of touch than we thought. Unfortunately for the President, this is not a joke." Thank Heaven at least one of the candidates for president knows that certain subjects are too grim to make light of.

Anyway, to get back to Kerry's jest about shooting the president: This isn't a new theme for him. Shortly after the November 1988 presidential election, he made headlines with a similar knee-slapper about incoming Vice President Dan Quayle.

"The Secret Service is under orders," Kerry told a business audience in Lynn, "that if Bush is shot, to shoot Quayle."

And to think that some people don't find him funny.

Jeff Jacoby's e-mail address is

from the Boston Globe

Monday morning jokes


A proposal for a new reality show:

The contestants will start in Dallas, then drive to Waco, Austin, San Antonio, over to Houston and then down to Brownsville. Then they’ll go to Del Rio, Midland (W’s hometown), Odessa, Lubbock, and Amarillo. From there, they’ll go to Abilene, Fort Worth and back to Dallas.

Each will be driving a pink Volvo with bumper stickers that read: “I love the Dixie Chicks and Whoopie Goldberg, I boycott beef, I voted for Al Gore and will vote for Kerry, George Strait sucks, Hillary in 2008 and I’m here to confiscate your guns.

The first one to make it back to Dallas alive wins.
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from Thursday Night September 9
Teresa Heinz Kerry said today that only an idiot would fail to support her husband’s health care plan. See I’m confused. I thought she was John Kerry’s health care plan…and his economic plan…his retirement plan.

John Kerry is saying that the "W” in George W. Bush stands for "wrong”. This still doesn’t explain what John Kerry stands for.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

A woman in a hot air balloon realized she was lost. She lowered altitude and spotted a man in a boat below. She shouted to him, "Excuse me, can you help me? I promised a friend I would meet him an hour ago, but I don't know where I am."

The man consulted his portable GPS and replied, "You're in a hot air balloon approximately 30 feet above a ground elevation of 2346 feet above sea level. You are 31 degrees, 14.97 minutes north latitude and 100 degrees, 49.09 minutes west longitude."

She rolled her eyes and said, "You must be a Republican."

"I am," replied the man. "How did you know?"

"Well," answered the balloonist, "everything you told me is technically correct, but I have no idea what to make of your information, and I'm still lost. Frankly, you've not been much help to me."

The man smiled and responded, "You must be a Democrat."

"I am," replied the balloonist. "How did you know?"

"Well," said the man, "you don't know where you are or where you're going. You've risen to where you are due to a large quantity of hot air. You made a promise that you have no idea how to keep, and you expect ME to solve your problem. You're in EXACTLY the same position you were in before we met, but somehow, now it's MY fault!"

Saturday, September 11, 2004

First hand account from someone who escaped WTC...

Escape from New York

From Saturday's Globe and Mail

UPDATED AT 1:39 AM EDT Saturday, Sep 11, 2004

Three years ago today, Canadian CHRISTINE GILLIES cheated death by fleeing from the 87th floor of the collapsing World Trade Center and stumbling home to her American husband CRAIG DILOUIE. But the fallout from the harrowing event didn't end there. In this dual diary, the couple remembers what they went through on 9/11 and how it so changed both them and the city they loved that they had to leave it behind


That morning, I'd gone to work as usual — I'd been living in New York for more than a year, having married an American. Little did I know that soon my husband and I would need to change all of our plans for our future.

When American Airlines Flight 11 struck Tower One of the World Trade Center, bursting into a fireball upon impact and cutting through Floors 93-99, I was there, on the 87th floor, at my desk. We heard a strange buzzing sound, then the deafening impact. The ceiling was on fire, and had already begun to collapse over the main exit. I remember Fred, a co-worker, swaying drunkenly, trying to keep his balance, as if he were trying to stay upright on a boat in the middle of a storm. The Twin Towers, because of their height, had been built to sway and Tower One swayed now, still feeling the physics of the impact of a plane hitting it at more than 500 kilometres per hour.

Past Fred, I could see clear liquid running down the window. Whether it was water or jet fuel, I never learned. As we crouched under our desks and coughed on the smoke that began to fill the office, we already heard sirens, far down below on the street. We called 911. We called our families, but by then, the phones were all dead.

Surprisingly, I stayed calm, and would remain so throughout the entire ordeal of getting out of the burning tower. Call it survival instinct, or naiveté, I'll never know. We soaked napkins and breathed through them. The smoke became dense as the fire moved toward us.

We decided that help would not arrive in time, and we had to get out.


Later, everybody remarked on how beautiful the weather was. The temperature promised a perfect day, the sky was crystal clear and blue. It turned out to be the worst and the best day of my life.

When the phone rang with bad news that morning, I already knew something was wrong. I could hear the sirens. New Yorkers are used to strange noises; I often joked that the Martians could land in Central Park and nobody would notice. But this sound was dense, a constant wail.

I called Christine's office phone and cellphone, but got a signal on each indicating the line was out of order. I turned on the radio; a newsman reported a gaping hole in the North Tower and I approximated it to be right about where Christine worked. I called 911, and they told me that both towers had now been hit. After I hung up, the phone rang; the calls came flooding in, people asking about Christine, where she was, whether she was okay. I hurried them all off the line. At any second, I hoped, she might call.

I called her again, and again, and again, and got a dead signal.

A man on the radio said people were jumping from the tower to escape the flames, some of them holding hands.

Much of that morning comes to me now as a blur, fragments of indecision, powerlessness and despair as each minute that ticked by without a call from Christine removed a layer of hope. Should I try to get downtown somehow on foot, miles away through crowds and traffic? It would take hours to get there, and if the police let me get close enough to look, would I be able to find my wife? What if she called right after I left our home, and needed me?

It's hard to stay put when your family is in danger. It's even worse when you realize there's absolutely nothing you can do but wait.


We slowly moved down the stairs, stockbrokers and computer technicians, administrators and executives, marketers and technical writers, worried but relieved, almost giddy, as we joined the exodus of thousands on the stairwell. We were doing okay now, although just before, things had been touch and go. We had found a door locked in the first stairwell we had taken (leading to a transfer hallway), and had to go back up to the 83rd floor to cross over to another set of stairs. The fire, meanwhile, had been pursuing us, consuming half the corridor on that floor. A man tried desperately to keep it at bay with a fire extinguisher. Soon, however, we had reached the other stairwell and began the long descent that would take us more than an hour to complete. We had just begun to feel safe.

Hot and sweating, we joked about our situation to keep our spirits up and pass the time as we rounded the stairwell. Several men talked about how they had evacuated the building during the bombing of the World Trade Center in 1993.

We hugged the wall to let the injured pass us, people bleeding from cuts, being carried by men who showed me a few of the dozens of acts of bravery and compassion I saw that day. Several men brought down a disabled woman in an office chair.

But I also saw the absurd side of life; a woman huffed down the stairs carrying an armful of office supplies, intent on bringing them to safety. When we reached the 45th floor, the smoke finally started to clear as irritated businesspeople entered the stairwell complaining about the interruption of their workday.

"Yeah, it's nothing," a man said into his cellphone. He was not aware of how rare getting a connection was. "I'm just heading down the stairs now — so let's schedule Thursday at 10. I'll block you in. Where's convenient for you?"

While my husband and I had no luck reaching each other by phone despite repeated attempts, a few people had received text messages and passed the word that some type of plane had hit the tower. None of us imagined that a passenger plane had been intentionally rammed into our building. None of us knew that the South Tower had been hit, killing hundreds on impact.

A blind man walked by us, guided down the flights of stairs by his dog.

When we reached the 30th floor, we saw the firemen. About 20 of them lumbered up the stairs, each carrying about 90 pounds of gear, holding the handrails, already tired and drenched in sweat. We moved aside to make room for them. They met our eyes as they passed. We thanked them individually as they ascended. Some people broke into applause. The firefighters were headed to the one place we desperately wanted to get away from.

On the 20th floor, a man stood, touching each person's shoulder and telling them to take care and watch their step. People asked him to come with us, and he replied, "The Lord put some of us on this Earth to watch over others. This is my duty, I guess."

Finally, we reached the ground level. We cheered at the sight of daylight, then gasped at the damage to the area. It looked like a war zone. The windows were smashed. A massive sign reading "Welcome to the World Trade Center" hung crookedly from the ceiling. The ceiling sprinklers drenched us in cold water.

One of my co-workers said, "Hey, Christine! Looks like we made it!"

And: A hideous thundering sound, a colossal crack, an eruption, a tidal wind.

I didn't know it at the time, but Tower Two was coming down.

People around me screamed and ran as the roof collapsed onto us and we were caught in a swirling blackness. I fell to the ground, curled into a fetal position and covered my head as chunks of debris rained down on me, choking on the enveloping dust. For the first time that day I started to think about dying.

This is it, I thought. This is where it ends for me. Is this all I get? Twenty-seven years? No fair.

It seemed like an eternity before the crashing stopped. When it did, there was dead silence, then people began to stir. I couldn't see anything. Pitch black. The dust was thick. I could barely breathe. I spat grit. I lay there in the cold water and listened to the people around me coughing and crying for help.


The phone rang; it wasn't Christine. I don't remember who it was, I don't remember what I said to them. I do remember that I returned to my computer, where I had been instant messaging with some of Christine's co-workers who hadn't been in the office when the tower got hit, trying to learn as much as I could. I needed information; information would help me grasp the situation and get some measure of control. But I kept getting scattered, conflicting and wrong information, leaving me frustrated.

One of them typed a message to me. I read: "oh my god the tower collapsed!!!!!" I didn't understand what I had read. The tower collapsed?

When you were on top of the World Trade Center, you felt like you could see the curvature of the Earth. You felt like you were standing on the roof of the world. Your ears popped in the elevator. Few people understand just how high those towers soared into the sky, how big they were. It's hard to imagine. It was equally hard to imagine one of them falling to the ground in an avalanche of dust. I understood it intellectually, but I refused to believe it.

I called Christine, and got a dead signal.

I began to frantically pace the apartment, looking for something I couldn't find.


We crawled in a long human chain, through glass and water and debris and the ever-present dust. We had found each other in the dark, tracking each other's voices. This went on for what seemed like forever, but I felt confident again. We were moving, and as long as we were moving, I had hope that I would get out of this alive.

"Follow my voice! There is an exit over here! Follow my voice!"

We tracked the voice that called to us from a hazy, faint light in the distance. It turned out to be a New York City firefighter. To put it simply, the man saved our lives.

We emerged from the North Tower covered head to toe in white dust. The entire world seemed white. Everything was coated in a foot of dust consisting of papers, file folders and dust-like ash. I kicked off my shoes so that I could run. The dust under my feet felt soft.

What now? I wondered. Who's in charge?

I saw wrecked police cars, frantic police and firefighters. Nobody was in charge. They shouted at us to keep moving, to go north.

Yvette, one of my co-workers, and I were holding hands. Like me, she was barefoot — the forces of the South Tower's collapse had literally blown her shoes off. Together, we ran. We didn't know where we were going, we just wanted to go. We ran north.

Paramedics stopped us and, when they saw we weren't injured, gave us water to wash our eyes, and told us to keep moving. Reporters snapped pictures of us and asked us questions, but we ignored them. Farther on, onlookers burst into tears when they saw us.

As we ran farther north, however, people around us began screaming and we heard the grinding, thunderous sound again in the distance. Behind us, the North Tower, the building where we had worked and exited about 10 minutes ago, had begun to collapse, disintegrating from the top down and cascading to the ground in a colossal cloud.

I watched only for a moment, then turned and kept running.


This is the part where I say I just knew all along that Christine was going to be okay, but that would be lying. I had every reason to fear the worst, and I hadn't heard from her for more than three hours after the attack and an hour and a half since Tower One collapsed. I had spent that time waiting for a phone call that never came and bargaining with God. The towers were dust, and thousands had died, and thousands more had been injured.

I hadn't given up all hope, however. I decided to call all of the area hospitals, then the Red Cross. It was after noon when I started to make these calls. Then the doorbell rang.

My first response was actually rage. I knew the routine by now. I would hope it was Christine, but it wouldn't be. Couldn't be, I thought — Christine had her keys. I would answer the door, and find a neighbour asking if I had heard from her.

I opened the door. A lightning bolt hit me in the forehead. Christine stood there, covered in white dust. We fell to our knees and held each other for a long time.

This was when the worst day of my life became the best day.


I took a long shower while Craig, overjoyed, got an e-mail out to everybody we knew telling them that I was okay. I had made it out without a scratch, in fact. I did, however, inhale a lot of smoke and dust, and later learned that I had fibreglass in my arms. I would cough, spit and sneeze black dust for days afterward.

Craig and I don't watch television and we didn't have a cable subscription at the time. He told me everything he had heard on the radio — that it was a terrorist attack, that both of the Twin Towers and the Pentagon had been hit by planes — and I couldn't believe it. Strangely, in my mind, I was minimizing the entire event, still in survival mode. In my mind, the towers were still there and the world still made sense.

I asked Craig to get rid of everything I had worn and had with me when I was in the World Trade Center. I didn't even want to look at it.

After I had a long talk with my parents and my brother Cameron, who had feared the worst and were overjoyed to hear from me, Craig and I went to a local pub that had television sets. The street had no car traffic and was filled with a river of people who walked, quiet and subdued, in an almost eerie calm, just trying to get home. The World Trade Center seemed far away here, a different city, and yet weighed heavily in everybody's heart.

In the bar, we watched the plane crash into the towers again and again on CNN.

For the first time, it really hit me what had happened. It took Craig and me years to really understand it.


Christine felt restless, so we decided to walk down to Union Square in our old neighbourhood, the border of the East Village and Gramercy. The park was packed with hundreds of people holding a candlelight vigil. At ground zero, rescue crews frantically searched for survivors. Below 14th Street, martial law had been declared, and police, wearing many different uniforms, guarded the southbound arteries that led farther down to the World Trade Center. Christine found the vigil very soothing, and together we lit candles and put them on the ground.

We felt we knew how lucky we were that day, and that no matter what we had experienced, so many people had gone through worse, and were still going through it. We agonized for families all over the city who held onto thinning hopes that their loved ones might be found alive. All of us wanted to know: Why?

At one point, a group of firemen walked by the crowd, still in their uniforms, tired and dusty. Somebody clapped, which quickly turned into a roar of applause and cheers.

We walked north to get home, but were turned back by a flood of people heading south, some literally in their pajamas. A bomb threat had been called in against the Empire State Building, and about 10 square blocks were being evacuated in all directions — thousands of people. The lights in the Empire State Building were out and the building loomed pitch black against the dark sky. As a New Yorker used to seeing the top of that landmark building being brilliantly and colourfully lit every night, this somehow scared me more than the bomb threat did.

If the morning had brought terror, the night brought a thick fear: You felt as if you were swimming in it. It was contagious. As we walked, we talked to people and also heard them speaking to each other and to loved ones on their cellphones. Many people felt certain another attack was coming at any moment, and they would die.

The next day, the winds shifted north, enveloping New York in an oppressive burning smell. People wore surgical masks. Soon, fighter planes began patrolling the skies over the city. We watched them from our roof.


I spent the next two days on the phone talking to friends and family. We dropped by a hospital, swarming with volunteer doctors, so that I could get checked out. Then we went to the Lexington Street Armory to see the missing-person posters.

On Sept. 13, family and friends of the victims began to visit the armory to fill out missing-person reports. The street was closed to car traffic and masses of people had gathered. All of us were struck dumb by the thousands of posters plastered on the walls of the armory. The posters covered the wall around the entire block, from the ground to as high as one could reach, thousands of faces and names. Husbands, wives, mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, relations and friends smiled at us from Xeroxed photos, surrounded by words frantically pleading for any information about whether the person had survived.

So much was unknown at that point. So many pieces had to be found and put together. The sidewalk at the base of the wall was covered with candles and flowers. There are some things you see that actually seem to have a physical weight to them in your mind.

That night, we visited with a couple, friends of ours in the city who lived downtown. The husband had seen the first plane hit Tower One and together he and his wife had stood on their roof with binoculars, close enough to see the looks on the people's faces as they clung to the building. They watched some of these people jump to their deaths.

For weeks, when people on the street heard a loud noise, they flinched. When planes began flying again, people winced at the sound. For weeks, seemingly for no reason, people would stop in the middle of the sidewalk and burst into tears.

From that day until the day we moved to Calgary, New York was never the same.


Christine and I both dealt with the tragedy very differently. She had stayed in survival mode when she needed to survive, and after she got home safe, opened up and cried and talked about her experience often, which helped her understand it. I guess you could say I'm a typical man. I went into survival mode as soon as she got home safe, since I became completely focused on keeping her safe, and went into a state of denial about what happened that lasted almost three years.

When we felt like we were back on our feet, Christine and I visited our neighbourhood firehouse, which had lost many of its firemen, and donated money to their families and other 9/11 charities. The front of the firehouse was heavily decorated with flowers. Christine noticed balloons, anchored by flowers, on which were printed the messages, "We miss you" and "Happy Birthday, Dad."

We wanted to do more. We needed to do more. Everybody felt helpless, and we were itching to do some good. Christine volunteered at the United Way and helped process thousands of Sept. 11 donations; about $30-million was given to the charity. I especially needed action, and besides that, I loved my city and country, and wanted to do something helpful for both.

Christine and I also had to visit the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service as part of the process of getting Christine recognized as a "permanent resident." The INS was located downtown. While waiting in line to get into the building, we smelled the stench of the fires that still smouldered in the rubble of the World Trade Center, while ashes rained down on us like a light flurry of snow. This was in October, more than a month after the attack.

There were army trucks and soldiers on the streets of Manhattan, and soldiers carrying M16 rifles in the subways.

Later, we visited ground zero and saw it up close for the first time since the attack. We marvelled at the emptiness. When you closed your eyes, you could see the towers exactly where they had been. When you opened them, they were gone.

Friday, September 10, 2004

Without the brave, there'd be no land of the free. --former Senator Fred Thompson Posted by Hello

Caddell: Dan Rather May Have Cost Kerry the Election

I know I know. I lasting a whopping 16 hours without posting something political, but who could have predicted this story would blow up.

I don't know what to think about this story yet. What do you guys think really happened??? Could Dan Rather have believed in the lie because he wanted it to be true? Could this be just a killer spin from republicans??? I'm trying to be non-partisan and look at all angles. I don't want to hear dismissive "typical left" or "typical right" comments. Go beyond that and tell me what you think. -Jen


Friday, Sept. 10, 2004 12:59 a.m. EDT
Caddell: Dan Rather May Have Cost Kerry the Election

Longtime Democratic strategist Pat Caddell said Friday that if documents aired by CBS newsman Dan Rather Wednesday night turn out to be forged, as alleged by experts, the presidential race "is over."

"It would be the end of the race," Caddell told Fox News Live. "It would be the end of the race," he repeated.

"[Democratic officials are] so involved in this," the former Carter pollster worried. "They have gotten themselves so involved in this issue [in] the last 24 hours that somebody's going to, if they're not authentic, they're going to be blamed for it. It's incredible to me that they've gotten in this."
Caddell said he wasn't trying to sensationalize the issue, explaining that instead "I'm trying to save my party, you know, by telling the truth."

He said that forfeiting the presidential race would be the least of his party's problems if Democrats are tied to any forgery scandal.

"The race is over – and we've got bigger problems than that," he warned.

Then this bit from an article at
Titles "Anatomy of a forgery"
A CBS producer, who initially tipped off The Prowler about the 60 Minutes story, says that despite seeking professional assurances that the documents were legitimate, there was uncertainty even among the group of producers and researchers working on the story.

"The problem was we had one set of documents from Bush's file that had Killian calling Bush 'an exceptionally fine young officer and pilot.' And someone who Killian said 'performed in an outstanding manner.' Then you have these new documents and the tone and content are so different."

The CBS producer said that some alarms bells went off last week when the signatures and initials of Killian on the documents in hand did not match up with other documents available on the public record, but producers chose to move ahead with the story. "This was too hot not to push. If there were doubts, those people didn't show it," says the producer, who works on a rival CBS News program.

Now, the producer says, there is growing concern inside the building on 57th Street that they may have been suckered by the Kerry campaign. "There is a school of thought here that the Kerry people dumped this in our laps, figuring we'd do the heavy lifting on the story. That maybe they had doubts about these documents but hoped we'd get more information," says the producer. "If that's the case, then we're bigger fools than we already appear to be judging by all the chatter about how these documents could be forgeries."

ABC News' political unit held a conference call at 7:00 p.m. Thursday evening to discuss the memo and its potential ramifications should the documents turn out to be a forgery. That meeting took place around the time that the deceased Killian's son made public statements questioning the documents' authenticity.

According to one ABC News employee, some reporters believe that the Kerry campaign as well as the DNC were parties in duping CBS, but a smaller segment believe that both the DNC and the Kerry campaign were duped by Karl Rove, who would have engineered the flap to embarrass the opposition.

from the AP article titled "Son of Late Officer Questions Bush Memos"
Gary Killian, who served in the Guard with his father and retired as a captain in 1991, said one of the memos, signed by his father, appeared legitimate. But he doubted his father would have written another, unsigned memo which said there was pressure to "sugar coat" Bush's performance review.

"It just wouldn't happen," he said. "The only thing that can happen when you keep secret files like that are bad things. ... No officer in his right mind would write a memo like that."

And another AP article titled "Authenticity of Bush Memos Scrutinized" at
The personnel chief in Killian's unit at the time said he believes the documents are fake.

"They looked to me like forgeries," said Rufus Martin. "I don't think Killian would do that, and I knew him for 17 years." Killian died in 1984.

Independent document examiner Sandra Ramsey Lines said the memos looked like they had been produced on a computer using Microsoft Word software. Lines, a document expert and fellow of the American Academy of Forensic Sciences, pointed to a superscript - a smaller, raised "th" in "111th Fighter Interceptor Squadron" - as evidence indicating forgery.

Microsoft Word automatically inserts superscripts in the same style as the two on the memos obtained by CBS, she said.

"I'm virtually certain these were computer generated," Lines said after reviewing copies of the documents at her office in Paradise Valley, Ariz. She produced a nearly identical document using her computer's Microsoft Word software.

Robert Strong, who worked with Killian at the time the memos are dated, said he did not see anything in the memos that made him think they were forgeries. Strong noted he's not a forensic expert and isn't vouching for the documents.

"I didn't see anything that was inconsistent with how we did business," Strong said. "It looked like the sort of thing that Jerry Killian would have done or said. He was a very professional guy."

Changing the subject -- from politics to a family hero

My grandfather, BigandMean's Dad, was one of five brothers and one sister (Weldon, Orville, Legran (my grandpa, everyone called him Jack), Landon, Marvin and Eloise). Marvin, is the only surviving sibling. I have written briefly about him before. He survived the depression, Pearl Harbor, and multiple tours of duty during WWII.

Uncle Marvin has always been a story teller. He's naughty, funny as heck, a total flirt, and he is gifted with an extraordinary memory. In 1994, at age 73, his kids gave him a tape recorder with a microphone and asked him to record his stories for the family. His sons used the tapes and typed his stories out, word for word, and turned them in to a book. This man is revered in our family. I cannot put in to words how much we all love him.

When you read his words, imagine an adorable southern gentleman with a monstrous twinkle in his eyes. He is also a first class smart ass.

Here's a snippet from one of his non-WWII chapters -

"When Doctor Willoughby began writing down my family history of arthritis and rheumatism, he asked me did anyone in my family ever have it before. I told him that my Uncle William had it so bad he can't hardly get on his horse. Then he asked me how old he was. I answered "He is ninety-two". He turned and started to write it down, then he turned back around and stared at me for a little bit. I think then is when he figured that I might have arthritis, and rheumatism wasn't my only problem."

Smart ass. hehehehee

Before I begin posting his War experiences this weekend, I want to share the last chapter in his book. This is a glimpse in to a very wise man's soul, typed exactly how he said it. ("Jerry" is one of Uncle Marvin's sons.)

"Now since I know what good is, and if I was given a choice of which one I'd rather go back through, WWII or the depression, I would choose the war and take my chances of being killed on the front line, rather than going back through the depression and taking my chances on starving to death. Now Jerry asked me, "If you had your life to live over again, what would you change about it or what would you do different?". First, I would want to grow up on the farm where I could raise something to eat during the depression. And I did. Second I would like for my mother to be a doctor, a nurse, a good cook, have a good sense of humor, a lot of fun to be around, and at the same time be my buddy. And she was. Then I would like to have four brothers that would be a lot of fun to grow up with. And they were. Also I would like to have a baby sister born with a sense of humor like Mamma. And I did. And if the world is at war, I would like to go to war and fight for my country, but at the same time I would want to get back home alive. And I did. Then I would want to get married and have two boys and a girl. And I did. Also I would want a permanent job with a good company that paid high wages and good benefits. And I did. Then I would want to retire and live at least ten years. And I have. Now what else could I ask for? Truly I think I am one of the luckiest persons in the world to have had the type of life that I've had. There are no doubt about it, I have made a lot of mistakes. And probably the biggest mistake is by not getting a better education. But I think if I had my life to live over I would leave everything alone because I am afraid if I started changing things around, I might even make more mistakes than I did. Now making this tape has been a big experience to me. It is surprising how it made me feel at times. There was times when I was depressed, other times I was so lonesome I could cry. There was times when I would laugh and other times when I was sad. There was times when I even got mad at myself for not being able to say what I wanted to say or remember what I wanted to remember. But most of the time I have enjoyed making it. Now I wonder what Weldon and my other brothers would say if they could listen to this tape. Who knows, I might even be promoted from a Peek to a She Coon. Or a Boar Possum hanging by his tail from a persimmon tree on Moles Point, three flights of stairs above heaven."

The Peek/She Coon/Boar Possum part at the end references stories that the five brothers made up when they were growing up. I might explain it some time.

First person account of Pearl Harbor coming up this weekend

Thursday, September 09, 2004

Uncle Marvin, almost 84 years young, riding a 4-wheeler for the first time this summer. Posted by Hello

prayer request

Last night scarlotta62's husband John, who is only 37, was hospitalized. They think he had a heartattack. They are still running tests today. Will you guys please add him to your prayer list? He's such a wonderful guy. I can't believe this is happening.

Tuesday, September 07, 2004

No other word for it but slaughter

More back-up for Ala71's post on the Chechnen school house murders...

Mark Steyn: No other word for it but slaughter


PHOTOGRAPHED from above, the body bags look empty. They seem to lie flat on the ground, and it's only when you peer closer that you realise that that's because the bodies in them are too small to fill the length of the bags. They're children. Row upon row of dead children, more than a hundred of them, 150, more, many of them shot in the back as they tried to flee.

Flee from whom? Let's take three representative responses: "Guerillas", said The New York Times. "Chechen separatists", ventured the BBC, eventually settling for "hostage-takers". "Insurgents", said The Guardian's Isabel Hilton, hyper-rational to a fault: "Today's hostage-taking," she explained, "is more savage, born of the spread of asymmetrical warfare that pits small, weak and irregular forces against powerful military machines. No insurgent lives long if he fights such overwhelming force directly . . . If insurgent bullets cannot penetrate military armour, it makes little sense to shoot in that direction. Soft targets – the unprotected, the innocent, the uninvolved – become targets because they are available."

And then there was Adam Nicolson in London's Daily Telegraph, who filed one of those ornately anguished columns full of elevated, overwritten allusions – each child was "a Pieta, the archetype of pity. Each is a Cordelia carried on at the end of Act V" – and yet in a thousand words he's too busy honing his limpid imagery to confront the fact that this foul deed had perpetrators, never mind the identity of those perpetrators.

Sorry, it won't do. I remember a couple of days after September 11 writing in some column or other that weepy candlelight vigils were a cop-out: the issue wasn't whether you were sad about the dead people but whether you wanted to do something about it. Three years on, that's still the difference. We can all get upset about dead children, but unless you're giving honest thought to what was responsible for the slaughter your tasteful elegies are no use. Nor are the hyper-rationalist theories about "asymmetrical warfare".

For one thing, Hilton is wrong: insurgent bullets can "penetrate military armour". A rabble with a few AKs and a couple of RPGs have managed to pick off a thousand men from the world's most powerful military machine and prompt 75 per cent of Hilton's colleagues in the Western media to declare Iraq a quagmire.

When your asymmetrical warfare strategy depends on gunning down schoolchildren, you're getting way more asymmetrical than you need to be. The reality is that the IRA and ETA and the ANC and any number of secessionist and nationalist movements all the way back to the American revolutionaries could have seized schoolhouses and shot all the children.

But they didn't. Because, if they had, there would have been widespread revulsion within the perpetrators' own communities. To put it at its most tactful, that doesn't seem to be an issue here.

So the particular character of this "insurgency" does not derive from the requirements of "asymmetrical warfare" but from . . . well, let's see, what was the word missing from those three analyses of the Beslan massacre? Here's a clue: half the dead "Chechen separatists" were not Chechens at all, but Arabs. And yet, tastefully tiptoeing round the subject, The New York Times couldn't bring itself to use the words Muslim or Islamist, for fear presumably of offending multicultural sensibilities.

In the 1990s, while the world's leaders slept – or in Bill Clinton's case slept around – thousands of volunteers from across the globe passed through terrorist training camps in Afghanistan and were then dispatched to Indonesia, Kosovo, Sudan . . . and Chechnya. Wealthy Saudis – including members of the royal family – invested millions in setting up mosques and madrassas in what were traditionally spheres of a more accommodationist Islam, from the Balkans to South Asia, and successfully radicalised a generation of young Muslim men. It's the jihadist component – not the asymmetrical one, not the secessionist one – that accounts for the mound of undersized corpses, for the scale of the depravity.

If the Russian children are innocent, the Russian state is not. Its ham-fisted campaign in Chechnya is as brutal as it is ineffectual. The Muslims have a better case in Chechnya than they do in the West Bank, Kashmir or any of the other troublespots where the Islamic world rubs up against the infidels. But that said, as elsewhere, whatever the theoretical merits of the cause, it's been rotted from within by the Islamist psychosis.

I wonder if, as they killed those schoolchildren, they chanted "Allahu Akbar!" – as they did when they hacked the head of Nick Berg, and killed those 12 Nepalese workers, and blew up those Israeli diners in the Passover massacre.

The good news is that the carnage in Beslan was so shocking it prompted a brief appearance by that rare bird, the moderate Muslim. Abdulrahman al-Rashed, the general manager of al-Arabiya Television, wrote a column in Asharq al-Awsat headlined, "The Painful Truth: All The World's Terrorists Are Muslims!" "Our terrorist sons are an end-product of our corrupted culture," he wrote. This is true. But, as with Nicolson's prettified prose in London, the question remains: So what? What are you going to do about it? If you want your religion to be more than a diseased death cult, you're going to have to take a stand.

What happened in one Russian schoolhouse is an abomination that has to be defeated, not merely regretted. But the only guys with any kind of plan are the Bush administration. Last Thursday, the President committed himself yet again to wholesale reform of the Muslim world. This is a dysfunctional region that exports its toxins, to Beslan, Bali and beyond, and is wealthy enough to be able to continue doing so.

You can't turn Saudi Arabia and Yemen into New Hampshire or Sweden (according to taste), but if you could transform them into Singapore or Papua New Guinea or Belize or just about anything else you'd be making an immense improvement. It's a long shot, but, unlike Putin's plan to bomb them Islamists into submission or Chirac's reflexive inclination to buy them off, Bush is at least tackling the "root cause".

If you've got a better idea, let's hear it. Right now, his is the only plan on the table. The ideology and rationale that drove the child-killers in Beslan is the same as that motivating cells in Rome and Manchester and Seattle and Sydney. In this war, you can't hold the line against the next depravity.

Mark Steyn is a columnist for Britain's Telegraph Group and the Chicago Sun-Times.

Saturday, September 04, 2004

Short fuse betrays Kerry

Short fuse betrays Kerry

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Published on: 9/5/04

John Kerry should have slept on it. His midnight outburst following President Bush's rousing success in defining himself, his domestic agenda and the stakes in the war on terrorism reveals a candidate who can be goaded. Not good in a president.

"For the past week, they have attacked my patriotism and even my fitness to serve as commander in chief," said Kerry early Friday in Springfield, Ohio. "Well, here's my answer to them. I will not have my commitment to defend this country questioned by those who refused to serve when they could've and who misled America into Iraq."

Clearly seething with the TV remote control when he was to be relaxing during Republican convention week, Kerry blew at the first opportunity.

Nobody, of course, questioned his patriotism. His policies, yes. His votes during 20 years in the Senate, yes. His apparent inability to make and abide a decision, yes. His commitment to a strong military, yes. His patriotism, no.

It's a revealing outburst. Despite the pounding Kerry took from the partisans, the weeklong break had actually served Kerry's campaign.

The mainstream media, most Democrats and others who don't quite grasp the significance or understand the emotionalism of events of three decades ago are dying to move on to other, more comfortable subjects. So what does he do? Rants and Revives the debate about individual conduct during the Vietnam war.

When this campaign is over -- and barring some disaster, Bush will win -- Democrats would be well advised to re-examine the primary election process that assures candidates of the party's nomination before they are fully known and tested. Four days of a national convention is far too little time to define an unknown, and when, as with Kerry, the carefully orchestrated definition unravels, it's seat-of-the-pants from then on.

The Republican convention, and U.S. Sen. Zell Miller (D-Ga.) and Vice President Dick Cheney in particular, were devastating in filling in the blanks, in defining Kerry's 20-year Senate career. As is now the pattern -- we saw it with his response to the swift-boat veterans -- his approach is to ignore the charges and charge the chargers. They're all liars, conspirators or unworthies daring to question his record. Has he not already told us that he's inoculated against impertinent questions?

This will be a nasty campaign. Kerry's base is angry and insistent that he project their anger to expose George W. Bush so that the whole country can see him as they do.

Their problem is that the country doesn't. He's a likable, modest man, endearing in his humility. He is awed that grieving families offering final farewells to soldiers killed in combat include him in their prayers "to offer encouragement to me."

In expression and demeanor, Bush is the American ideal, the man next door who rises to the occasion, who finds his resolve in our condition. And despite the stress of crisis leadership, he retains a sense of humor about himself. He's not an easy target for angry Democrats who despise him.

Rising to the challenge to address domestic issues, too, Bush laid out an ambitious agenda with a common theme: slowly weaning the country from over-reliance on government by encouraging greater self-reliance and by rewarding individuals for being responsible.

It's an ambitious agenda that, like the war on terrorism, will be completed by his successors. But there's no denying his agenda is the reflection of a vision.

"In all these proposals, we seek to provide not just a government program, but a path, a plan to greater opportunity, more freedom and more control over your own life."

Liberals hear that as conservative jibberish. They're wrong.

It may take it as long as it took to win the Cold War, but George W. Bush has a domestic and a peace agenda as grand as Ronald Reagan's.

•Jim Wooten is associate editorial page editor. His column appears Fridays, Sundays and Tuesdays.

Friday, September 03, 2004

bouncy bouncy bouncy....Boooiiiiiinnnnnngggg!!!!!

Campaign 2004: Bush Opens Double-Digit Lead

If the 2004 election for President were held today, 52% of likely voters surveyed would vote for President George W. Bush, 41% would vote for Democratic nominee John Kerry, and 3% would vote for Ralph Nader, according to a new TIME poll conducted from Aug. 31 to Sept. 2. Poll results are available on and will appear in the upcoming issue of TIME magazine, on newsstands Monday, Sept. 6.

from Time magazine...

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Hot off the press - Newsweek is also reporting an 11 point bounce in their latest poll among registered voters....

"In a three-way trial heat, including Green Party Candidate Ralph Nader, the Bush/Cheney ticket would still win 52 percent to 41 percent for Kerry/Edwards and 3 percent for Nader/Camejo among registered voters. That represents a 13-point margin bounce for Bush/Cheney since an August 5-10 poll conducted by Princeton Survey Research Associates International for the Pew Research Center. "

"In comparing the two presidential candidates, more registered voters think President Bush has strong leadership qualities than Kerry (65% vs. 47%), is more honest and ethical (62% vs. 47%), says what he believes and not just what people want to hear (66% vs. 42%), would trust him to make the right decisions during an international crisis (57% vs. 44%), shares their values (54% vs. 42%), and is personally likeable (67% vs. 59%). In addition, more registered voters think President Bush would do a better job than Sen. Kerry on various issues: terrorism and homeland security (60% vs. 32%), the situation in Iraq (55% vs. 37%), foreign policy (54% vs. 38%), taxes (52% vs. 38%), economy (49% vs. 43%), education (48% vs. 42%), and gay marriage (44% vs. 36%). More people say Sen. Kerry would do a better job than President Bush on healthcare, including Medicare (45% vs. 43%) and the environment (50% vs. 36%)."


The Vietnam Service debate

This is but a small taste of Kat’s brilliant, in-depth analysis of the big Vietnam Service debate. I highly recommend reading her complete post, titled “Sucked In By The Convention - Post Convention brouhaha Conservative Democrat Voting Republican”, located at

Frankly, having read all the information about each persons service, I'm inclined to think that the persons who did or didn't go, in our little political brouhaha, was simply the luck of the draw. Just like the draft.

Bush was in the National Guard. When you are an officer in the Air Force National Guard(hey, I know, my brother is in the Air National Guard and also served active duty), you aren't exactly choosing your station. What happens, when you're an officer, is that certain "slots" are available after your commission. You go before a board that is selecting persons to fill those slots. You take written tests and then present in an oral atmosphere before five or so peers or superiors. You answer their questions and give general answers why you would be the best candidate for that position. You can certainly apply for multiple positions. If there is no position in a combat bound unit, you are taking another position. That doesn't mean that your unit won't get called up (just ask the NG guys currently serving in Afghanistan and Iraq).

In this case, based on the information I have seen, it appears Mr. Bush had a capacity for multi-tasking (contrary to current opposition belief). His test made him eligible and capable of flying the complicated F102 which had some units serving in Vietnam. The slot he was able to attain was with a non-combat unit in the US. Further, upon attaining that slot, he was not eligible for a combat slot until he had a certain number of flying hours. I was trying to look it up, but I couldn't find the original link. Suffice it to say, that the training time and flight hours would take a little more than a year to complete. That is AFTER he completed basic flight school which was over a year and that was AFTER he completed OCS, which was over a year. So, fully two years before he could be actually certified for combat duty.

Basically folks, he was not combat eligible until 1971. Anybody know what happened in 1971? Besides Kerry testifying before the Senate? By this time, the government is already starting to draw down it's forces and plan to hand things back to the South Vietnamese. IE, Bush wouldn't have gone, whether he went National Guard or straight Air Force.

To some, the issue is that Bush went into the National Guard instead of the actual Air Force. News flash for all of you that want to bash him, it wouldn't have mattered. Bush still would not have been combat ready in the regular Air Force at that time. If he signed into the regular Air Force and wasn't sent, would that still make him a "dodger"? Foolish questions.

Basically, Bush was never going to see service in Vietnam. He AND Kerry both received early transfers to "inactive reserve" because the Vietnam military force was being drawn down and the US no longer needed them. This is the military folks, not the enlisted's problem.

And then later about Kerry....

I don't care about Mr. Kerry's Vietnam service either or his medals. They are very nice. But seriously, this guy keeps saying it like it's some sort of talisman. Like he HAS to say it to make himself eligible. Why? Because, as I've been telling you for posts and posts on this subject, his POST Vietnam actions make him a dove or peacenik or an isolationist and he is trying to become a wartime President so he NEEDS that hero status to negate the stupid crap he did the moment he returned from Vietnam and the last 20 years of Congressional service. He needs it badly because his record clearly shows that he believes the US military to be an evil tool of an evil empire seeking country.

Back to Kerry and why his constant "I was a Vietnam Vet" is so offensive to me. Because I know what Kerry did when he came back and how he voted the last 20 years and all his little speeches in Congress. They all have an eerie "anti-military" "anti-defense" pall over them. Because he is now trying to claim his heroism from his Vietnam service after he denied that same heroism to hundreds and thousands of his brother vets by insisting that the military was consistently committing war crimes.

The SBVT thing would have died an easy death had he simply issued his records and said "that's all folks". But he didn't. He actually took some of it of his website in an attempt to keep from having to reframe his stories because they didn't match. And guess what? Now the Navy is investigating his medals because, like all foolish braggarts before him, he wasn't smart enough to stick to the truth of his service. He had to bang it around and ad lib a few times to make it sound really good, when the reality of his service would have been enough if he had anything close to a the kind of voting and congressional record he would need to serve as a war time President.

Please check out the rest of the article's discussion on Cheney and Kerry. The article is well researched, well documented, and well written. Thank you Kat. Fantastic work.


Scary news. Wouldn't wish that awful surgery on anyone. I hope he's ok. -Jen

Friday, Sept. 3, 2004 12:56 p.m. EDT
Bill Clinton Hospitalized with Chest Pains

Former President Bill Clinton was hospitalized in New York on Friday after complaining of chest pains, ABC News, Reuters, NBC and other sources are reporting.

The 42nd president, who turned 58 two weeks ago, is scheduled to undergo quadruple bypass surgery within the next 24 hours at Manhattan's Columbia Presbyterian Hospital.

Thursday, September 02, 2004

Observations and musings on the big finish

Made a date with Tivo, c-span and a bottle of champagne, which I happily kept.

Very exciting to see Rep. Harry Bonilla of Texas stick with the salt-and-pepper-hair-goes-great-with-periwinkle-blue-ties suggestion.

When the podium sank in to the floor by about three feet, I knew the gymnasts were coming out.

Marylou nearly wiped out on the way to the podium. I was glad to see Keri Strug still has fabulous reflexes. It was a great catch. I love that they open with the pledge of allegiance.

Nicole C Mullin gave a pretty, but impossible to sing along with rendition of the National Anthem.

Bishop Keith Butler – He had the deepest voice. The whole time he was talking I kept imagining him as the plant in “Little Shop of Horrors”. It was awesome. “Feed me Seymour…feed me ALL night long….”

Dorothy Hamill and Lynn Swann came out and gave a presentation reminiscent of the bad writing at the Academy Awards show. Awkward back and forth, cheesy lines. Ugh.

Actor Jason Phillips, who is co-chair of the African American Steering Community of Bush Cheney ’04 really got the crowd cheering. “I grew up in a democratic household and the values that were instilled in me then are the same values that I think are in most African American homes -- and I think they are American values – strength, the importance of family, faith, personal responsibility, and this party embodies those values much more than the opposition, and I think when our community really takes a look they’ll come flocking over.”. (and the crowd roared – great moment)

ACK! The Miss America screechers came back. ARGH! Who was that bouncing dude in Ohio!!!??? He looked like he had to go potty REAL BAD. (shout out to scarlotta)

Flipped to Fox…P Diddy on…he has a mohawk now???? I listened, and I liked him. A lot. Cool guy.

More Generals, Major Generals, Brigadier Generals, Admirals, and Rear Admirals than I could count came on stage to introduce retired General Tommy Franks.

“We are going to fight the terrorists. The question is, do we fight them over there, or do we fight them here. I choose to fight them over there.”

“My wife Kathy and I are simply not willing to bet the future of our grand children on the good will of murderers.”. (referring to thinking that if we retreat we’ll be left alone)

“I have looked in to this man’s eyes and I have seen his character.”

“…the courage to stand up to terrorists and the consistency necessary to beat them.”

Gov. Pataki was good. “Hype is on the way.” LOL!
“We’re going to win one for The Gipper, and they are going to lose one with the Flipper!”.

“Senator Kerry says America should go to war not when it wants to go to war, but when it has to go to war. Well Senator, the firefighters and cops who ran in to those burning towers and died on September 11th didn’t want to go to war. They were heros in a war they didn’t know existed. America did not choose this war, but we have a President who chooses to win it!”.

Fred Thompson was great.

And then Dubya came out like a rock star.

Too many fantastic lines to print, but I will end with one near and dear to my heart.

“Some folks look at me and see a certain swagger, which in Texas is called ‘walking.’”.

Great convention. I’m sorry it’s over, but ready to get started.

Wednesday, September 01, 2004

Day 3 convention quotes

I'm in a more serious state of mind this fine eve. I might venture back in to a more irreverent mood tomorrow...

Favorite quotes of the evening -

New Jersey - Christy Todd Whitman said New Jersey was "where Republicans run FOR office and democrats run FROM office". hehehehehehehee

I was annoyed when I watched the "talking heads" after the speeches say that nothing much had been said on the economy. Most of the first two hours focused on the economy and small business owners. GRRRRRRR! It bugs me that they ignored this. I wish I had written down quotes.

The theme was "Land of opportunity", and most of the small business owners that were featured were minorities.

I flipped to "another network" and they were doing a story on protesters being arrested. Lame.

Michael Reagan is such an emotional fellow. I really like him. He spoke about how grateful he was that his birth parents were pro-life, and his adoptive parents were pro-adoption. "I've come tonight to honor my father, not politicize his name". "With the blessing of liberty, we have responsibilities to defend it". He introduced a lovely video tribute to his Dad, that had me bawling like a baby. Worth noting that Nancy Reagan spoke on it. As far as I know this is the first time we have heard her voice in public since the President's death. It was a moving tribute.

Gov. Mitt Romney was really good. Never heard him speak before. "If you want someone who voted for hikes 98 times, send in John Kerry. If you think trial lawyers need more money, our economy needs more lawsuits and malpractice costs should go even higher, then send in John Edwards with him -- and Senator Edwards, if you don't like hearing that, SUE ME!!!!"

And then came Zell. ZELL! ZELL! ZELL! ZELL! Too many good quotes to list. See my previous post for his complete speech. Couldn't pick a fave, but I loved the line about spit balls.

Cheney - "I'm sure glad Zell Miller is on our side" Me too Dick. Me too!!!

"There is a difference between leading a coalition of many nations and submitting to the objections of a few. George W. Bush will never seek a permission slip to defend the American people."

Loved it when the crowd waved flip flops.

"A senator can be wrong for 20 years without consequences to the nation, but a president always casts the deciding vote."

I thought it was a great night.

I'll be silly again tomorrow, I promise.


I was going to post highlights, but there's this was just too good to chop up.
Here is Senator Miller's entire speech.

Since I last stood in this spot, a whole new generation of the Miller Family has been born: Four great grandchildren.

Along with all the other members of our close-knit family, they are my and Shirley's most precious possessions.

And I know that's how you feel about your family also. Like you, I think of their future, the promises and the perils they will face.

Like you, I believe that the next four years will determine what kind of world they will grow up in.

And like you, I ask which leader is it today that has the vision, the willpower and, yes, the backbone to best protect my family?

The clear answer to that question has placed me in this hall with you tonight. For my family is more important than my party.

There is but one man to whom I am willing to entrust their future and that man's name is George Bush (news - web sites).

In the summer of 1940, I was an 8-year-old boy living in a remote little Appalachian valley. Our country was not yet at war, but even we children knew that there were some crazy men across the ocean who would kill us if they could.

President Roosevelt, in his speech that summer, told America "all private plans, all private lives, have been in a sense repealed by an overriding public danger."

In 1940, Wendell Wilkie was the Republican nominee.

And there is no better example of someone repealing their "private plans" than this good man. He gave Roosevelt the critical support he needed for a peacetime draft, an unpopular idea at the time.

And he made it clear that he would rather lose the election than make national security a partisan campaign issue.

Shortly before Wilkie died, he told a friend, that if he could write his own epitaph and had to choose between "here lies a president" or "here lies one who contributed to saving freedom," he would prefer the latter.

Where are such statesmen today?

Where is the bipartisanship in this country when we need it most?

Now, while young Americans are dying in the sands of Iraq (news - web sites) and the mountains of Afghanistan (news - web sites), our nation is being torn apart and made weaker because of the Democrat's manic obsession to bring down our Commander in Chief.

What has happened to the party I've spent my life working in?

I can remember when Democrats believed that it was the duty of America to fight for freedom over tyranny.

It was Democratic President Harry Truman who pushed the Red Army out of Iran, who came to the aid of Greece when Communists threatened to overthrow it, who stared down the Soviet blockade of West Berlin by flying in supplies and saving the city.

Time after time in our history, in the face of great danger, Democrats and Republicans worked together to ensure that freedom would not falter. But not today.

Motivated more by partisan politics than by national security, today's Democratic leaders see America as an occupier, not a liberator.

And nothing makes this Marine madder than someone calling American troops occupiers rather than liberators.

Tell that to the one-half of Europe that was freed because Franklin Roosevelt led an army of liberators, not occupiers.

Tell that to the lower half of the Korean Peninsula that is free because Dwight Eisenhower commanded an army of liberators, not occupiers.

Tell that to the half a billion men, women and children who are free today from the Baltics to the Crimea, from Poland to Siberia, because Ronald Reagan (news - web sites) rebuilt a military of liberators, not occupiers.

Never in the history of the world has any soldier sacrificed more for the freedom and liberty of total strangers than the American soldier. And, our soldiers don't just give freedom abroad, they preserve it for us here at home.

For it has been said so truthfully that it is the soldier, not the reporter, who has given us the freedom of the press. It is the soldier, not the poet, who has given us freedom of speech.

It is the soldier, not the agitator, who has given us the freedom to protest.

It is the soldier who salutes the flag, serves beneath the flag, whose coffin is draped by the flag, who gives that protester the freedom to abuse and burn that flag.

No one should dare to even think about being the Commander in Chief of this country if he doesn't believe with all his heart that our soldiers are liberators abroad and defenders of freedom at home.

But don't waste your breath telling that to the leaders of my party today. In their warped way of thinking America is the problem, not the solution.

They don't believe there is any real danger in the world except that which America brings upon itself through our clumsy and misguided foreign policy.

It is not their patriotism — it is their judgment that has been so sorely lacking. They claimed Carter's pacifism would lead to peace.

They were wrong.

They claimed Reagan's defense buildup would lead to war.

They were wrong.

And, no pair has been more wrong, more loudly, more often than the two Senators from Massachusetts, Ted Kennedy and John Kerry (news - web sites).

Together, Kennedy/Kerry have opposed the very weapons system that won the Cold War and that is now winning the War on Terror.

Listing all the weapon systems that Senator Kerry tried his best to shut down sounds like an auctioneer selling off our national security but Americans need to know the facts.

The B-1 bomber, that Senator Kerry opposed, dropped 40 percent of the bombs in the first six months of Operation Enduring Freedom.

The B-2 bomber, that Senator Kerry opposed, delivered air strikes against the Taliban in Afghanistan and Hussein's command post in Iraq.

The F-14A Tomcats, that Senator Kerry opposed, shot down Khadifi's Libyan MIGs over the Gulf of Sidra. The modernized F-14D, that Senator Kerry opposed, delivered missile strikes against Tora Bora.

The Apache helicopter, that Senator Kerry opposed, took out those Republican Guard tanks in Kuwait in the Gulf War (news - web sites). The F-15 Eagles, that Senator Kerry opposed, flew cover over our Nation's Capital and this very city after 9/11.

I could go on and on and on: against the Patriot Missile that shot down Saddam Hussein (news - web sites)'s scud missiles over Israel; against the Aegis air-defense cruiser; against the Strategic Defense Initiative; against the Trident missile; against, against, against.

This is the man who wants to be the Commander in Chief of our U.S. Armed Forces?

U.S. forces armed with what? Spitballs?

Twenty years of votes can tell you much more about a man than twenty weeks of campaign rhetoric.

Campaign talk tells people who you want them to think you are. How you vote tells people who you really are deep inside.

Senator Kerry has made it clear that he would use military force only if approved by the United Nations (news - web sites).

Kerry would let Paris decide when America needs defending.

I want Bush to decide.

John Kerry, who says he doesn't like outsourcing, wants to outsource our national security.

That's the most dangerous outsourcing of all. This politician wants to be leader of the free world.

Free for how long?

For more than 20 years, on every one of the great issues of freedom and security, John Kerry has been more wrong, more weak and more wobbly than any other national figure.

As a war protester, Kerry blamed our military.

As a Senator, he voted to weaken our military. And nothing shows that more sadly and more clearly than his vote this year to deny protective armor for our troops in harms way, far away.

George Bush understands that we need new strategies to meet new threats.

John Kerry wants to re-fight yesterday's war. George Bush believes we have to fight today's war and be ready for tomorrow's challenges. George Bush is committed to providing the kind of forces it takes to root out terrorists.

No matter what spider hole they may hide in or what rock they crawl under.

George Bush wants to grab terrorists by the throat and not let them go to get a better grip.

From John Kerry, they get a "yes-no-maybe" bowl of mush that can only encourage our enemies and confuse our friends.

I first got to know George Bush when we served as governors together. I admire this man. I am moved by the respect he shows the first lady, his unabashed love for his parents and his daughters, and the fact that he is unashamed of his belief that God is not indifferent to America.

I can identify with someone who has lived that line in "Amazing Grace," "Was blind, but now I see," and I like the fact that he's the same man on Saturday night that he is on Sunday morning.

He is not a slick talker but he is a straight shooter and, where I come from, deeds mean a lot more than words.

I have knocked on the door of this man's soul and found someone home, a God-fearing man with a good heart and a spine of tempered steel.

The man I trust to protect my most precious possession: my family.

This election will change forever the course of history, and that's not any history. It's our family's history.

The only question is how. The answer lies with each of us. And, like many generations before us, we've got some hard choosing to do.

Right now the world just cannot afford an indecisive America. Fainthearted self-indulgence will put at risk all we care about in this world.

In this hour of danger our President has had the courage to stand up. And this Democrat is proud to stand up with him.

Thank you.

God Bless this great country and God Bless George W. Bush.