December 31, 2004

Evolve or Die -- Victor Davis Hanson tells the Left what's up.

* Quit idolizing Europe. It was a far larger arms merchant to Saddam than was the United States; it supplied most of Dr. Khan’s nuclear laboratory; it financed much of the Oil-for-Food scandal; and it helped to create and tolerate the Balkans genocide. It has never freed any country or intervened to remove fascism and leave behind democracy — silly American notions that are to be caricatured except when it is a matter of saving Europeans.

* Stop seeing an all-powerful United States behind every global problem. China is on the move and far more likely to disrupt environmental protocols, cheat on trade accords, and bully neighbors. The newly expanded Europe has a larger population and aggregate economy, stronger currency, and far less in trade and budget debts than does the United States — and is already using that economic clout for its own interests, not global freedom from dictators and autocrats.

* Don’t believe much of what the U.N. says anymore. Its secretary general is guilty of either malfeasance or incompetence, its soldiers are often hired thugs who terrorize those they are supposed to protect, and its resolutions are likely to be anti-democratic and anti-Semitic. Its members include dozens of nations whose odious representatives we would not let walk inside the doors of the U.S. Congress. The old idea of a United Nations was inspiring, the current reality chilling.

Absolutely read the whole article here.

Hat tip: Charles (as if he needs any more traffic)

Posted by Kyer at 11:51 AM | Comments (0)

Who said Martha got off easy?

Report: Stewart Loses Contest in Prison (AP)

NEW YORK - Martha Stewart, who built a billion-dollar media empire based on her holiday and home decorating tips, was unable to lead her team to victory in a prison decoration contest, a magazine reported.

Stewart and a team of fellow inmates at a federal prison camp in Alderson, W.Va., crafted paper cranes to be hung from the ceiling, People magazine reported in an article posted on its Web site Wednesday. They lost out to a competing team that built a nativity scene showing "pictures of snow-covered hills and sleds and clouds on the wall," the magazine quoted an inmate as saying.

Each team was given $25 worth of glitter, ribbons, construction paper and glue to build a display based on the theme "Peace on Earth," the magazine said.

"This is a news story that I truly treasure."

Posted by Kyer at 11:24 AM | Comments (0)

December 29, 2004

East Coast could become the Least Coast

US also faces tsunami threat
27/12/2004 08:16 - (SA)

Paris - Cities on the US East Coast and in the Caribbean could be wrecked by a tsunami unleashed by the collapse of a volcanic island in the eastern Atlantic, British scientists believe.

A massive chunk of La Palma, the most volcanically active island in the Canaries archipelago, is unstable, says Simon Day, of the Benfield Grieg Hazard Research Centre at University College London.

He calculates that its flank could collapse the next time the volcano, Cumbre Vieja, erupts.

If so, that would send a dome-shaped wall of water up to 100 metres high racing across the Atlantic at 800 kilometres per hour, hitting the western coast of Africa and southern coast of England within a few hours.

Some eight hours after the collapse, the US East Coast and Caribbean would bear the brunt.

Cities from Miami to New York would get swamped by waves up to 50 metres high, capable of surging up to 20 kilometres inland, according to Day's research.

Posted by Kyer at 11:11 AM | Comments (0)

December 28, 2004

Susan Sontag bites the dust

"I believe in the soul, the small of a woman's back, the hanging curve ball, high fiber, good scotch, [and] that the novels of Susan Sontag are self-indulgent, overrated crap."
-- Kevin Costner, Bull Durham

And that's all I gotta say on that...

Posted by Kyer at 11:58 PM | Comments (0)

Poll shows most troops support the war (even if you don't)

Poll shows troops in support of war
Mon Dec 27, 8:27 AM ET
By Robert Hodierne, Army Times

Despite a year of ferocious combat, mounting casualties and frequent deployments, support for the war in Iraq remains very high among the active-duty military, according to a Military Times Poll.

Sixty-three percent of respondents approve of the way President Bush is handling the war, and 60% remain convinced it is a war worth fighting. Support for the war is even greater among those who have served longest in the combat zone: Two-thirds of combat vets say the war is worth fighting.

But the men and women in uniform are under no illusions about how long they will be fighting in Iraq; nearly half say they expect to be there more than five years.

In addition, 87%% say they're satisfied with their jobs and, if given the choice today, only 25% say they'd leave the service.

Compared with last year, the percentages for support for the war and job satisfaction remain essentially unchanged.

A year ago, 77% said they thought the military was stretched too thin to be effective. This year, that number shrank to 66%.

The findings are part of the annual Military Times Poll, which this year included 1,423 active-duty subscribers to Air Force Times, Army Times, Navy Times and Marine Corps Times.

The subscribers were randomly surveyed by mail in late November and early December. The poll has a margin of error of +/-2.6%.

Among the poll's other findings:

• 75% oppose a military draft.

• 60% blame Congress for the shortage of body armor in the combat zone.

• 12% say civilian Pentagon (news - web sites) policymakers should be held accountable for abuse at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq.

Source: Army Times

Posted by Kyer at 12:57 PM | Comments (0)

December 24, 2004

Merry Christmas

Shamelessly taken from Jim, because he said it best:

Why Is It Merry?
Posted by Jim Price - 12/24/2004 2:02:52 AM

As I sat here in the early morning hours of Christmas Eve, I began to wonder if anyone that happened across this blog might wonder why Christmas should be a Merry event.

- Because Santa Clause brings us presents?

- How about getting to see all of the family we seem to drift away from through the course of life each year?

- I know! It's the relief brought about by a few much-needed days off from work...right?

All perfectly valid and good reasons to be merry, but is there something else?

Yes! Read on:

John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

Ever heard the phrase, "Jesus Is The Reason For The Season"? It's true. Christians are especially merry at Christmas time, not just because of the family, the food, fun, presents, and vacation we enjoy- we know that Christmas is the hallmark of joy. It is the celebration of the most signifigant turning point in Earth's history. You see, God loves us, and although He cannot tolerate our sin, He found a way to redeem us, and bring us back into fellowship with Him.

He sent His son Jesus to earth, to be born as a man; to grow up as we do; to fully experience life in all of its wonders, amazement, and yes, even temptation. But unlike us, Jesus did not give into temptation- ever. Not once did He ever sin. That is why He was able to become the perfect sacrifice on the cross for our sins. He took our guilt upon Himself, willingly, and died to make us free.

And that is why we celebrate His birth. Furthermore, that is the real reason why Christmas is merry!

Merry Christmas to you! Enjoy this holiday season; slow down and get to know your family and friends again. Most importantly, if you don't know Jesus as your personal Lord and Saviour, you won't have to look far to find Him. He's patiently waiting for you to notice that He's already found you. But only you can decide to let Him in.

Merry CHRISTmas everyone!

Posted by Kyer at 04:51 PM | Comments (0)

December 23, 2004

U.N. Peacekeepers involved in rampant sex scandal in the Congo

Straight from a...British source?
(all emphasis mine)

Sex scandal in Congo threatens to engulf UN's peacekeepers
By Jonathan Clayton and James Bone
They should be rebuilding the country, but foreign workers face serious accusations

HOME-MADE pornographic videos shot by a United Nations logistics expert in the Democratic Republic of Congo have sparked a sex scandal that threatens to become the UN’s Abu Ghraib.

The expert was a Frenchman who worked at Goma airport as part of the UN’s $700 million-a-year effort to rebuild the war-shattered country. When police raided his home they discovered that he had turned his bedroom into a studio for videotaping and photographing sex sessions with young girls.

The bed was surrounded by large mirrors on three sides, according to a senior Congolese police officer. On the fourth side was a camera that he could operate from the bed with a remote control.

When the police arrived the man was allegedly about to rape a 12-year-old girl sent to him in a sting operation. Three home-made porn videos and more than 50 photographs were found.

The case has highlighted the apparently rampant sexual exploitation of Congolese girls and women by the UN’s 11,000 peacekeepers and 1,000 civilians at a time when the UN is facing many problems, including the Iraqi “oil-for-food” scandal and accusations of sexual harassment by senior UN staff in Geneva and New York.

The prospect of the pornographic videos and photographs — now on sale in Congo — becoming public worries senior UN officials, who fear a UN version of the scandal at the American-run Abu Ghraib jail in Iraq. “It would be a pretty big problem for the UN if these pictures come out,” one senior official said. (You mean, when they come out!--ed.)

Investigations have already turned up 150 allegations of sexual misconduct by peacekeepers and UN staff despite the UN’s official policy of “zero-tolerance”. One found 68 allegations of misconduct in the town of Bunia alone.

UN insiders told The Times that two Russian pilots based in Mbandaka paid young girls with jars of mayonnaise and jam to have sex with them.

They filmed the sessions and sent the tapes to Russia. But the men were tipped off and left the area before UN investigators arrived.

The Moroccan peacekeeping contingent based in Kisangani — a town on the Congo River with no road links to the outside world — had one of the worst reputations. A soldier accused of rape was apparently hidden in the barracks for a year.

In July 2002 the rebel commander Major-General Jean Pierre Ondekane, who subsequently became Minister of Defence in a postwar transitional government, told a top UN official that all that Monuc (the United Nations Mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo) would be remembered for in Kisangani was “for running after little girls”.

An international organisation examining the sex trade between Monuc and local women found that in March there were 82 women and girls who had been made pregnant by Moroccan men and 59 more by Uruguayan men.

According to UN insiders, at least two UN officials — a Ukrainian and a Canadian — have had to leave the country after getting local women pregnant.

Jordan’s Prince Zeid Raad Al Hussein, a special adviser to the UN Secretary-General, who led one investigative team, said in a confidential report obtained by The Times: “The situation appears to be one of ‘zero-compliance with zero- tolerance’ throughout the mission.”

Sexual exploitation and abuse mostly involves the exchange of sex for money (on average between $1 — 52p — and $3), for food — for immediate consumption or to barter — or for jobs, especially affecting daily workers, the prince’s report said.

In addition, victims spoke of incidents of rape, as well as “rape disguised as prostitution” where a girl was raped and then given money or food afterwards to give the appearance of a transaction having taken place.

Three civilian UN staff have already been suspended.

A man who worked for the UN’s investigative arm in Kinshasa has resigned after being accused of consorting with a prostitute.

The Frenchman with the homemade pornography accused of paedophilia was sent back to France in October and is in jail facing charges of sexually assaulting a minor.

“The fact that these things happened is a blot on us. It’s awful,” Jean-Marie Guehenno, the UN’s under-secretary-general for peacekeeping, said.

“What is important is to get to the bottom of it and fight it and make sure that people who do that pay for what they have done.” (riiiiiight...pardon me if I don't hold me breath.--ed.)

The UN has now plastered its code of conduct on UN premises in Congo. The code forbids sex with prostitutes or women under the age of 18 — even though the Congolese age of consent is 14.

But the UN continues to hand out free condoms to peacekeepers because of the fear of Aids. (Oh yes, because it would be just terrible if one of the U.N. peacekeepers contracted AIDS from a 14 year-old, wouldn't it???--ed.)

A second internal UN report, also obtained by The Times, detailed the extent of prostitution by “street girls” and “girlfriends” in Kisangani.

“One strategy is to find another UN staffer with a ‘girl friend’ and ask the girl if she knows a friend. She will usually be only too happy to comply and a more or less suitable candidate will be dispatched to the staff member’s house,” the report said.

Mireille Byongo, 20, a prostitute from Goma, said that she had had no problem gaining admission to the town’s UN barracks.

“The guys on duty at the entrance know why we have come,” she said. She said she had once gone to the tent of her Moroccan “boyfriend” and found him with a young girl aged “anything from 10 to 12”. Disgusted, she left.

“Never forget this is Heart of Darkness country. People do things here just because they can,” one female UN employee said, in a reference to Joseph Conrad’s novel about the abuses of the former Belgian Congo.

Source: The Times (UK)

Posted by Kyer at 06:00 PM | Comments (0)

Which member of the

Which member of the JLA are you?


Rocketed to earth by his parents to escape thier doomed planet Krypton. Kal-El(Clark Kent)'s contact with the Earth's yellow sun gives him amazing abilities that he uses to fight for truth, justice, and the American way. He fills the role of leader in the JLA.

Personality Test Results

Click Here to Take This Quiz
Brought to you by quizzes and personality tests.

Posted by Kyer at 05:54 PM | Comments (0)

December 22, 2004

When inherent Qur'anic "truths" run wild...

Naysayers of Christianity often scoff, "Bah..I can't believe you actually take the Bible literally"

Well, I hope those same people at least take the Qur'an seriously.


[...] When during the trial Scot began to read Qur’anic verses that discriminate against women, a lawyer for the Islamic Council of Victoria, the organization that brought the suit, stopped him: reading the verses aloud, she said, would in itself be religious vilification. Dismayed, Scot replied:

"How can it be vilifying to Muslims in the room when I am just reading from the Qur’an?

Want more?
I've got the goods here-->Persecution in Courts Down Under

Posted by Kyer at 06:34 PM | Comments (0)

December 21, 2004

Definition of the American Spirit

BRUNSWICK, Ga. - With the Battle of the Bulge raging in western Europe during World War II, workers at a Brunswick shipyard were determined to deliver one more ship by year's end. To get the job done, laborers were needed around the clock on Christmas Day. About 1,500 volunteered — and they worked for free.

If only Americans today pulled together for the good of the troops like these patriots did many years ago.

But hey, I spent my $2.50 like everyone else on my large magnetic yellow "Support Our Troops" car ribbon. Don't tell me I don't support the war effort.

(A dull butter knife to slice the sarcasm can be found in the 2nd drawer on the left of the dishwasher.--ed.)

(Read and Learn)

Posted by Kyer at 01:50 AM | Comments (0)

Imperialist MTV colonizes African televisions

[...] MTV Networks will reach a milestone in February when the turn of a switch starts an MTV outlet in Africa, the company's 100th channel worldwide and first based on that continent.

Most of its American audience is probably unaware of the extent to which MTV and its sister networks have blanketed the world in an aggressive expansion drive. That may soon change.

In other African news, over 200,000 Sudanese refugees from the violence wrought Darfur region have fled to neighboring Chad, increasing civil and ethnic tension and resulting in fierce competition with the native population over an already scarce water and food supply.

[...] MTV Indonesia includes a regular call to prayer for its Islamic audience.

Meanwhile, in a weapons-laden mosque in Najaf, Ludacris is reminding hip young urban Muslims that it is time to pray before the next episode of "Pimp Mah Prayer Mat."

(Pimp mah Intanet, beyotch!)

Posted by Kyer at 01:34 AM | Comments (0)

Russian Regression...

MOSCOW - Russia has restricted rights to such an extent that it has joined the countries that are not free for the first time since the 1991 fall of the Soviet Union, Freedom House said Monday, marking Moscow's march away from the Western democracies it has embraced as diplomatic partners.


"Russia's step backward into the 'Not Free' category is the culmination of a growing trend under President Vladimir Putin to concentrate political authority, harass and intimidate the media, and politicize the country's law-enforcement system," Executive Director Jennifer Windsor said in a statement.

"These moves mark a dangerous and disturbing drift toward authoritarianism in Russia, made more worrisome by President Putin's recent heavy-handed meddling in political developments in neighboring countries, such as Ukraine."

(Towards a Stalinist Democracy?)

Posted by Kyer at 01:29 AM | Comments (0)

When Jesus slept with men...

LONDON, England (Reuters) -- A group of Christian protesters in Scotland has called on police to prosecute a theater company for blasphemy because it is putting on a play about a gay Jesus.

5 bucks says not a single thespian involved in the production will be gunned down or beheaded for this blasphemy.

It's just not our style.

Posted by Kyer at 01:16 AM | Comments (0)

Oh, how sweet it is!

"Conservatives have been waiting for 25 years to have all the stars aligned," says Stephen Moore, president of the Club for Growth, which favors less government. "We have very high expectations because we now feel that Republicans have all the levers of power."

I just love the sound of that....

Gimme mo mo mo!

Posted by Kyer at 01:15 AM | Comments (0)


Eagles' Practice Quarterback
Faces DUI, Assault Charges

Andy Hall, you IDIOT.

Posted by Kyer at 01:15 AM | Comments (0)

December 20, 2004

December 17, 2004

"Internet Porn: Worse Than Crack?"

"The internet is a perfect drug delivery system because you are anonymous, aroused and have role models for these behaviors," Layden said. "To have drug pumped into your house 24/7, free, and children know how to use it better than grown-ups know how to use it -- it's a perfect delivery system if we want to have a whole generation of young addicts who will never have the drug out of their mind."

Posted by Kyer at 05:53 PM | Comments (0)

December 15, 2004

Burying war dead--the PC way

I know this is a long one, but trust me, it is worth reading. It saddens me to no end that we have to satisfy the PC crowd when honoring our fallen heroes.

(On a side note, does anyone know how to do that "click here for more" code where it compresses the post but then instantly expands it when you click? Ahem. Patrick. Ahem.)

Divisions over Iraq war delay a soldier's tribute
By Rick Hampson, USA TODAY

The young soldier tried to sound brave, but his mother could hear the fear in his voice all the way from Iraq (news - web sites). Before the satellite phone cut out, he made a request - the prayer of every soldier in peril: "Just don't forget me."

Those were the last words Regina Gilbert ever heard spoken by her only child. Three weeks later, Pfc. Kyle Gilbert was killed in Baghdad, leaving his parents and community the sad but seemingly simple task of granting his final wish.

In a town divided by the war, there was a symbolic solution: Name a bridge - a span between opposite sides - for Kyle Charles Gilbert (1983-2003).

It seemed an idea everyone could embrace. But not, as it turned out, if Kyle's marker bore the likeness of an American eagle. Or the slogan "Freedom isn't free." Or the name "Operation Iraqi Freedom."

In the end, it took a year to honor Kyle Gilbert. "We just wanted to remember Kyle," his mother says. "But things got politicized."

Brattleboro's struggle to remember its fallen son illustrates how the Iraq war can divide people, even when they're merely trying to honor the dead, even when they try to do so without offending anyone.

The U.S. military death toll in Iraq has risen from about 255 when Kyle Gilbert was shot to 1,286 as of Sunday. More and more communities face the same challenge: To remember the warriors without necessarily endorsing the war.

Kyle Gilbert's parents never imagined that memorializing their son could be such an ordeal. But he had never asked for much, besides pizza, and so they resolved to do whatever it took to grant his last wish.

Gilbert joined a peacetime military with no intention of killing or dying. When he enlisted shortly after graduation from high school in 2001, he wanted to develop his interest in electronics, earn money for college and learn to jump out of airplanes as his father had in Army Special Forces a quarter-century earlier.

He was in jump school at Fort Benning, Ga., with the Army's 82nd Airborne Division on Sept. 11, 2001. "Kyle knew what that meant," his mother says. "He knew there was going to be a war."

At jump school graduation, according to tradition, father and son exchanged their silver wings pins, and Bob pinned his to Kyle's chest.

Eighteen months later, the 82nd Airborne marched into Baghdad. Saddam Hussein (news - web sites)'s statue fell, and President Bush (news - web sites) flew onto an aircraft carrier in the Pacific and declared major combat over. Kyle and his buddies made friends with local kids and went swimming at one of Saddam's palaces.

A town's twin cultures

In Brattleboro, which has been called a college town without the college, the war was more complicated. The community has two cultures: One traces its origins to communes that sprouted here in the 1960s; the other is rooted in traditional, conservative, rural Vermont. The first group was most concerned with opposing the war, the second with supporting the troops.

The town commons was the site of many anti-war demonstrations. One attracted about 1,000 people. Given Brattleboro's population of 12,000, it was one of the nation's largest demonstrations per capita.

There also were demonstrations in support of the troops, some of which coincided with war protests. The Gilberts sent Kyle photos of the former.

Early on, he mailed them a makeshift postcard on a piece of ripped cardboard with Arabic lettering at the edges. "I'm OK," he wrote. "You might have seen the 82nd Airborne on TV. ... Don't worry about me. I'll keep my head lower than my ass. ... I should be home by Halloween."

But as the months passed, the fighting never really stopped. Dates for coming home were pushed back. He was lonely, and increasingly he was scared.

"I could kinda tell, just from his voice, that things were changing," Regina says. "You just know your own son's voice."

Later, someone in Kyle's unit sent the Gilberts photos taken during the summer of 2003. In them he looks, his mother thinks, "like a different person" - thinner, older. "He doesn't look 20," she says.

When Kyle called home July 18, Regina greeted him by his baby name: "Hey, Bud-Bud!"

That seemed to get to him. After they'd talked for a while, he said, "Just don't forget me."

"You're my only baby!" she cried. "That's not gonna happen." Then the satellite phone connection, always delayed and tenuous, was cut off.

Hit by a sniper

On Aug. 5, one of Kyle's buddies in the 82nd Airborne called his mother, who also lived in Brattleboro. The next morning, the mother called Regina and told her "they're doing fine."

There had been no U.S. military deaths in Iraq for four days. Commanders had begun to hope that their campaign against guerrilla leaders had worked and that U.S. troops could begin to concentrate more on building goodwill among the Iraqi people.

That night Kyle was riding in a Humvee at the front of a patrol convoy in west Baghdad when a sniper opened fire. One shot hit a soldier in the back of the vehicle, knocking him out onto the road. Kyle and a sergeant leapt out to get him. There was more sniper fire, and both men were hit.

In Kyle's pocket was his last will and testament and a handwritten note. It began, "Dear Mom and Dad, By the time you read this I will have died for my country. Please don't be sad."

On Aug. 8, Regina was sitting at her desk at a food wholesaler reading USA TODAY, which she'd begun to buy for the war news. Two soldiers had been killed Aug. 6 in Baghdad. One was identified as Staff Sgt Brian Hellerman of C Company, 2nd Battalion, 235th Parachute Infantry Regiment of the 82nd Airborne Division from Fort Bragg in North Carolina. Kyle's unit.

"The name of the other solider had not been released," the article said.

"I don't feel so good about this," she told a co-worker. Then the phone rang. It was Bob. An Army officer was in town, looking for them. Bob didn't know any officers, so he had an idea what he wanted.

Kyle Gilbert was the first person from Brattleboro to die in Iraq. On Aug. 12, five months after he went to Iraq, he came home to a welcome unlike any the town had seen in many years. When the hearse got off Interstate 91, people had been waiting at the exit for hours. Unbidden, they lined the route into town, often four and five deep. Some followed the hearse on foot toward the funeral home.

The procession moved slowly through Brattleboro, past Kyle's high school, the hospital where he was born, the neighborhood where he grew up. Past the alignment shop and the car wash where he earned the $4,000 for big rims and tires for his souped-up red 1969 Chevelle.

Everyone was struck by the silence, broken only by the slow pounding of a single bass drum. Waiting at the funeral home, Regina heard the drum get louder and louder, and knew her son was coming.

Sam Haskins, a local Vietnam veteran, wondered how members of the 82nd Airborne who came to town for the funeral would react to anti-war demonstrators. A sergeant told him not to worry: "We're fighting so they have the right to do that."

Honoring sacrifice

On Veterans Day 2003, a local writer named Judy Gorman saw President Bush laying a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknowns at Arlington National Cemetery. It prompted her to write an op-ed column for the Brattleboro Reformer in which she argued that Bush had been "remarkably reticent in honoring the sacrifices made by the known soldiers" in Iraq. (Story: Memorial efforts across the U.S.)

"Let's do it for him," she wrote. Gilbert was Brattleboro's "hometown hero," so why not give his name to the newly reconstructed bridge that carries Main Street over Whetstone Brook?

She didn't expect anything to come of it. But a reader sent a $100 check to the newspaper. Other donations followed. In January, the town council voted to name the bridge for Gilbert. Residents, many of them moved by memories of his homecoming, raised more than $10,000 for a memorial at the bridge.

Choice of words

As devised by the town manager, the Gilberts and a group of veterans, the design called for a granite monument 4 feet high. The face bore the likeness of an American eagle with a scroll in its talons. On the scroll was "FREEDOM IS NOT FREE" and below it: "BRATTLEBORO SUPPORTS ALL THE BRAVE MEN AND WOMEN WHO SERVED OUR NATION OR MADE THE SUPREME SACRIFICE DURING OPERATION IRAQI FREEDOM."

But after the design was circulated among town officials, Sam Haskins, the Vietnam vet, got a call from Jerry Remillard, the town manager. "He said, 'We have to change this to make people happy,' " Haskins says.

Some people considered the eagle to be jingoistic, "Freedom isn't free" to be a pro-war slogan, and "Operation Iraqi Freedom" to be Pentagon (news - web sites) propaganda. Even the word "supports" was seen by some as condoning the war.

Pat DeAngelo, a council member, threatened to disclaim responsibility for the memorial unless the language was changed. "This was supposed to be an apolitical statement," she told the Reformer." 'Operation Iraqi Freedom' definitely is not."

Gorman, the writer who'd started it all, called the wording "bellicose."

Regina Gilbert was stunned. Freedom wasn't free. Didn't everyone support the troops, if not the war? She wasn't political; at 41, she'd never even voted.

"They said they didn't want a war memorial, but we weren't promoting a war," Bob says.

But the Gilberts agreed to change the wording. "We couldn't let people forget Kyle," Regina says. "We kept going for Kyle."

The bridge was named on a cold Veterans Day morning last month. The memorial reads: BRATTLEBORO REMEMBERS ALL THE BRAVE MEN AND WOMEN WHO SERVED OUR COUNTRY OR MADE THE SUPREME SACRIFICE IN IRAQ.

Above those words is the inscription: AS KYLE SAID, 'JUST DON'T FORGET ME.'

"Now I know we'll never forget him," Bob Gilbert told a crowd of several hundred, "and I think you won't, either."

Five anti-war protesters stood silently across the street, holding signs: "We Mourn All Victims of War" and "Honor Vets by Ending the War." One protester was Bob Bady, who took an hour off from work to be there. He felt the memorial's presence glorified the war, however inadvertently, and ignored Iraqi victims.

"We did something that needed to be out there," he later said of the protest. "I don't think we caused a whole lot of discomfort."

Pain persists

Sixteen months after Kyle's death, the Gilberts have not been able to bring themselves to go through the five containers of his personal items shipped from Fort Bragg. "You send off your son," Regina muses, "and everything comes back in a box."

She's bitter about the war - on Nov. 2, she voted for the first time - but not about how the memorial turned out.

"No matter how divided the community, we couldn't have done it without them," she says. "We can't hate the protesters. We need to keep that freedom of speech."

The Reformer concluded that the compromise wording seemed "palatable to all." Remillard, the town manager, says that although the Gilberts "would have preferred something more direct," even the substitution of "remembers" for "supports" made sense: "It speaks to the future more than the present."

In the days after the memorial's dedication, pedestrians frequently would stop and touch the fine, smooth Vermont granite. But now more and more pass by. It is becoming part of the landscape.

Will Kyle Gilbert's simplest, most urgent wish - "Don't forget me" - ultimately be the hardest to grant?


Pfc. Kyle Gilbert, you will not be forgotten.

Posted by Kyer at 07:54 PM | Comments (0)

Myanmar continues to hold Suu Kyi under house arrest

From Dec. 6 2004

KUALA LUMPUR (Reuters) - Myanmar has extended Aung San Suu Kyi's detention, Malaysia's foreign minister said Monday, confirming recent reports from Yangon that the junta had decided to keep her in isolation.

"It is confirmed," Syed Hamid Albar told reporters. "But we don't even know if there is an end-date. They only say they have not released her...(she is) going to continue to be placed under house arrest."

Syed Hamid earlier hosted a meeting a conference of officials and diplomats from East Asian nations, attended by Myanmar Foreign Minister Nyan Win and several of their Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) colleagues. Nyan Win declined comment.

Suu Kyi, 59, is the 1991 winner of the Nobel Peace Prize. She has spent most of the past 15 years confined to her home in Yangon, with no telephone and requiring official permission to have visitors.

Her National League for Democracy said last Wednesday that Myanmar's rulers would extend Suu Kyi's isolation until at least Nov. 27 next year. There had been no official word from Yangon.

Syed Hamid said Myanmar should heed world opinion and release Suu Kyi to help national reconciliation and boost the junta's credibility.

"I think they should look at their roadmap so that it has got credibility and it is believed by the international community they are going to proceed as they have promised," he said.

"I think it should include finally the release of Aung San Suu Kyi if we talk about democracy," he said.

Myanmar's fellow ASEAN members have urged Yangon to release Suu Kyi, whose continued detention has proved an embarrassment to the forum in its dealings with Europe and the United States.

ASEAN, comprising Indonesia, Malaysia, Brunei, Thailand, the Philippines, Laos, Singapore, Vietnam, Cambodia and Myanmar, has a long-held policy of not interfering in its members' internal affairs.

Washington, which has condemned Syu Kyi's detention and imposed sanctions on Myanmar, has said it will have to think about whether to deal with ASEAN at a senior level when Myanmar chairs the group in 2006, after Malaysia's turn in 2005.

Despite mounting international pressure, Myanmar has refused to budge, instead issuing assurances it is committed to moving toward democracy at its own pace.

Posted by Kyer at 07:34 PM | Comments (0)

Kim Jong Ill forgets he is 3 feet tall (4 with the hair)

"If sanctions are applied against the DPRK (North Korea)..., we will regard it as a declaration of war against our country and promptly react to the action by an effective physical method," the unidentified spokesman said in a statement carried by the official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA).

Japan swiftly shrugged off the North Korean warning (emp. mine--ed.), with Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi suggesting the threat of an "effective physical" response might be part of a political strategy by Pyongyang.


Nothing like emasculating a crazed 3rd World commie-crackhead nation by calling their bluff and shrugging off the threat of force.

Posted by Kyer at 07:25 PM | Comments (0)

(Non-corrupt) food for (non-corrupt) thought

Here's everything we need to know about the moral decrepitude of the United Nations:

The United Nations flag in front of the building in NY was flown at half-mast for the death of Arafat, but NOTfor the death of Ronald Reagan.

Posted by Kyer at 07:06 PM | Comments (0)

"Marine Chooses Wedding Ring Over Finger"

VICTORVILLE, Calif. - When Marine Lance Cpl. David Battle learned he'd either have to sacrifice his ring finger or the wedding band he wore, he told doctors at a field hospital in Iraq to cut off the finger.

The 19-year-old former high school football star suffered a mangled left hand and serious wounds to his legs in a Nov. 13 fire fight in Fallujah. Battle, who is recovering at his parents' home in this desert city 80 miles northeast of Los Angeles, came under attack as he and fellow Marines entered a building. Eleven other Marines were wounded.

Doctors were preparing to cut off Battle's ring to save as much of his finger as they could.

"But that would mean destroying my wedding ring," he said. "My wife is the strongest woman I know. She's basically running two people's lives since I've been gone. I don't think I could ever repay her or show her how grateful ... how much I love my wife, my soul mate."

With his approval, doctors severed his finger, but somehow in the chaos that followed, they lost his ring.(Idiots...--ed.)

Although Battle was disappointed, his wife, Devon, said she was honored.

"I can't believe he did that," she said. "At first I was mad when he told me, but then I realized how lucky I am to have him in my life."

The couple, who met in the eighth grade, were married in June, just two weeks before Battle left for Iraq. He hopes to eventually return to the Marines, and to replace his wedding ring, but that will have to wait until he recovers.

In the meanwhile, Battle's high school has planned a banquet in his honor next week.

"We need to make more David Battles," said Daniel Pierce, the school's assistant head coach. "He is one amazing guy."


Posted by Kyer at 07:04 PM | Comments (0)

December 13, 2004

1 year ago...

...I was born again by the redeeming blood of Christ, my Lord and Savior.

1 Peter 1:3-4
"Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade–kept in heaven for you..."

John 3:16
“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life."

Job 8:13

"Such is the destiny of all who forget God; so perishes the hope of the godless."

Posted by Kyer at 08:10 PM | Comments (0)

O.J. TV coverage upstaged; Connor "the Fetus" vindicated

In arguing for death last week, prosecutors called Peterson "the worst kind of monster" and said he was undeserving of sympathy. Geragos begged of jurors: "Just don't kill him. That's all I am asking of you. End this cycle."

The...endless cycle of... 2 executions in the state of California since the death penalty was re-instated in the 70's?

The death sentence came almost two years to the date after the disappearance of Laci Peterson, a 27-year-old substitute teacher who married her college sweetheart and was soon to be the proud mother of a baby boy named Conner. [...]

The remains of Laci and the fetus washed ashore about four months later, just a few miles from where Peterson said he was fishing in the San Francisco Bay. The case went to trial in June, and the jury of six men and six women convicted Peterson last month of two counts of murder.

In the tradition of appearing "fair and balanced" like their betters in the media business, the Associated Press first refers to Connor as a baby boy and a fetus within 1 sentence.


Posted by Kyer at 07:50 PM | Comments (0)

December 11, 2004

"Day trips and X-rays and Brooklyn--Oh my!"

Alright kids, two orders of business.

Today, Saturday, December 11 2004, Ash and I are taking a much needed mental-health day trip to what is probably the most mentally taxing city in the country--New Yoik City (Brooklyn and Manhattan to be more precise). I'm takin' the lil' lady to see "the big Christmas tree" at Rockafella' Centa and stroll down (actually up, since we're coming from Brooklyn) 5th Ave.

Also of newsworthy notoriety, yesterday, Friday, December 12 2004, I called my local medical imaging/deli and found out the cost of a c-spine x-ray and was told it was a brisk $165.

Being a rather unemployed college graduate at the time--I think I might wait a few weeks until that nice 9-5 job with med benefits falls in my lap (or when Big Guy helps me get off the couch).

So no more telling me not to be stubborn! Now it's just a matter of getting the dough.

P.S. If I see the advertising promo for the Ben Franklin documentary on the History Channel where they reveal he was not only a patriot and an inventor but a "playboy" ONE MORE TIME--I'm going to scream.

P.P.S. Personal comp. health insurance plans suck.

Posted by Kyer at 01:30 AM | Comments (0)

December 10, 2004

Kerik removes name from consideration for top DHS job

From the AP:

[...] Kerik said the problematic issue arose as he was completing documents required for Senate confirmation. "I uncovered information that now leads me to question the immigration status of a person who had been in my employ as a housekeeper and nanny. It has also been brought to my attention that for a period of time during such employment required tax payments and related filings had not been made."

Kerik said he feared that the disclosure of the issue would generate intense scrutiny that would "only serve as a significant and unnecessary distraction to the vital efforts of the Department of Homeland Security."

This is definitely a shame. The DHS needed a tough guy to follow a tough act upon Ridge's departure... and Bernard Kerik was really somethin'.

We can only hope Bush doesn't merely promote Asa "what wide-open southern border?" Hutchinson to the top post.

Posted by Kyer at 11:42 PM | Comments (0)

The President That You

The President That You Never Hear About

proppage: Matthew @ Blackfive

hyperlinks are easy on the hands to post, ja?

Posted by Kyer at 01:14 AM | Comments (0)

December 09, 2004

Health Hiatus

The past few months (perhaps, since the summer)--I have been slowly losing the dexterity and strength in my hands. I have also been exhibiting elbow pain and a general "heavy" feeling in my left arm as well as pain in my right hand.

Having seen my physician, the possibility of carpal tunnel syndrom (spelling?) has been raised. The doc also ordered a neck/spine x-ray as well for good measure. Now I just have to get past my stubborness and actually get them taken.

Point being, I have since realized this morning that it is no longer a matter of blogathy (blog apathy) that I have been struggling with post-November 2, rather it has been a fatigue of a different sort. I've found myself dreading simply copying and pasting the table code I often use for my various news topics, let alone commenting on newsworthy items. Laziness, possibly, but I find now it is rather a matter of the aforementioned concern.

So bear with me fellow readers and bloggers alike. I have about a dozen topics (several of them which will be a bit dated, but I will still post nonetheless) in queue. Posts may trickle in as energy and strength (and time!) permits.

Thank you.

Posted by Kyer at 11:58 AM | Comments (0)

December 08, 2004

ETA estalló siete bombas a través de España

MADRID. - (el mundo) Dos llamadas en nombre de ETA han avisado al diario 'Gara' de la colocación de siete artefactos en Ávila, Valladolid, León, Santillana del Mar (Cantabria), Málaga, Ciudad Real y Alicante. Los comunicantes advirtieron de que harían explosión de forma simultánea a las 13.30 horas, tal y como ha ocurrido. Los siete lugares habían sido acordonados y desalojados aunque ha habido cierta confusión con algunos de ellos. Diez personas han sido atendidas en Santillana aunque sólo una de ellas, una niña, ha resultado herida leve.

Las Fuerzas de Seguridad, que se encontraban en estado de alerta, acordonaron y desalojaron las zonas, aunque algunos de los artefactos no estallaron exactamente donde se había señalado. Todos ellos estallaron con apenas unos minutos de diferencia.

Casi todos los explosivos estaban situados en lugares que en su denominación incluyen la palabra España [...] - R. BÉCARES, A. FIGUERAS, A. BUENO, V. HERNÁNDEZ

My rough translation:
Two calls made in the name of ETA notified the daily 'Gara' of the placement of seven explosive devices in Ávila, Valladolid, León, Santillana del Mar (Cantabria), Málaga, Ciudad Real and Alicante. The callers explained that they would detonate the explosives in a simultaneous fashion at approximately 1:30PM, just as it has occurred. The seven places had been cordoned off and evacuated although there has been confusion in some of the areas. Ten people have been attended to in Santillana although only one of them, a girl, has turned out to be slightly injured.

The security forces, on the alert, cordoned off and evacuated the zones, although some of the explosive devices did not explode exactly where they had been indicated. All of them exploded within close proximity to one another.

Almost all the explosives were situated in places that in their denomination included the word "Spain" [...]

[...] In the same vein of reasoning, al-Reuters reported the following as the reason for the blasts:
"Monday [was] a public holiday in Spain to celebrate the 1978 constitution, bitterly opposed by ETA for enshrining the Basque region as part of Spain. Police had warned of a possible ETA attack."
Spain is definitely wrestling with domestic (ETA, among others) and Islamic terrorism in their own way (this instance, as well as the March 11 train bombings by al-Qaeda). And to think I was in Madrid only a month before it all went down. It was a weird feeling hearing about the attacks on the news last March.

Wikipedia has a fairly decent write up on ETA.

Posted by Kyer at 12:00 AM | Comments (0)

December 06, 2004

Bliggity Bloggity Bam!

not feeling like bloggin' today--but tonight/tomorrow expect posts on the Tillman story, the (rightfully just) defrocking of a lesbian Methodist "pastor", the ETA bombings in Spain (ay Dios mio...) and more blogtastic fashizzle for all 2 of you to read!

Posted by Kyer at 10:41 AM | Comments (0)

December 04, 2004

Tommy Thompson reveals America's Achilles' heal...

WASHINGTON - Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson resigned Friday, warning of a potential global outbreak of the flu and health-related terrorist attacks. “For the life of me, I cannot understand why the terrorists have not attacked our food supply because it is so easy to do,” he said.

Talk about a freebie.

"Hey! Want a hint? If you poison our major water supplies and spit in our agricultural smorgasbord then we will be SERIOUSLY s.o.l., Mr. Al-Qaeda operative, sir!"

Posted by Kyer at 02:15 AM | Comments (0)

U.N. = Unbelievable

International Anti-Corruption Day on 9 December marks one year since the signing conference for the United Nations Convention against Corruption was held in Mérida, Mexico.

In the last year, over 110 countries have signed on to the Convention and nine have ratified it. Ratificiation by 30 Member States is necessary for the Convention to enter into force.

Ohhhh the irony...

Reread the last line. -- ratification is requried by 30 members states and only 9 have signed...

Thus...the reason why or two members of the Security Council were BOUGHT OFF by a murderously corrupt dictator in exchange for a veto?

If you ask me. Kofi better work on those remaining 21 ratifying nations so the United Nations Convention against Corruption doesn't become just a nother useless resolution from an already useless organization.

Posted by Kyer at 02:15 AM | Comments (0)

Brits bomb the memory of a million victims...

LONDON (AFP) - Nearly half of Britons have never heard of the Nazi concentration camp of Auschwitz in southern Poland, according to a BBC television poll that was conducted just ahead of the 60th anniversary of the camp's liberation.

Forty-five percent of the 4,000 people questioned for the survey by BBC Two said they had never heard of the Auschwitz-Birkenau camp, the television channel said Thursday.

Y'know what? Maybe somebody should remind them of the Nazi bombs that were dropped over London sixty-somethin' years ago.

Wait. Battle of Britain? I've never heard of it.

Posted by Kyer at 01:51 AM | Comments (0)