July 31, 2006

Israeli resolve

"We are determined to succeed in this struggle.

We will not give up on our goal to live a life free of terror."

Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert

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July 29, 2006

Saturday Scripture: Isaiah 40:8

"The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of our God stands forever."
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July 27, 2006

IQ: Iraqi forces shift mission objective to free abducted, beaten citizen

Iraqi Forces Divert Mission to Aid Citizen in Distress

BALAD – During a pre-dawn raid in Baghdad on July 26 to capture a ‘death squad’ member, Iraqi forces diverted their mission to free an Iraqi citizen who was abducted and being beaten by two unknown assailants.

As the Iraqi forces moved toward their original objective in the Abu Ghurayb area of Baghdad, they discovered an Iraqi citizen who was bound and being beaten by two men while he lay on the ground.

The Iraqi assault force surprised the kidnappers and an exchange of gunfire ensued. During the gun fight, one of the kidnappers and the hostage were wounded while the second kidnapper fled the scene. Both were treated on the scene by a U.S. Army Special Forces medic who was with the Iraqi forces in an advisory capacity.

The hostage and the kidnapper were evacuated immediately to a nearby U.S. military medical facility for emergency treatment. Both are expected to recover.

The hostage was abducted at approximately 10 p.m. on July 25 as he returned home from work.

No Iraqi or coalition forces were injured during this operation.

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al-Zawahri: "Until Islam prevails... from Spain to Iraq."

If this doesn't convince you dhimmis out there we need to remain the Superbad Anti-Jihad Machine* that we are, I don't know what will.

Al-Qaida Calls for Holy War Against Israel.

CAIRO, Egypt (AP) - Al-Qaida's No. 2 leader issued a worldwide call in a new videotape released Thursday for Muslims to rise up in a holy war against Israel and join the fighting in Lebanon and Gaza until Islam reigns from "Spain to Iraq."

In the message broadcast by Al-Jazeera television, Ayman al-Zawahri, second in command to Osama bin Laden, said that al-Qaida now views "all the world as a battlefield open in front of us."

The Egyptian-born physician said that the fighting between Israel and Hezbollah and Palestinian militants would not be ended with "cease-fires or agreements."

"It is a Jihad for the sake of God and will last until (our) religion prevails ... from Spain to Iraq," al-Zawahri said. "We will attack everywhere." Spain was controlled by Arab Muslims until they were driven from power at the turn of the 16th century.

* coined by Patrick @ C&R

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IQ: Iraqi Forces take it to the enemy; Citizens offer intel

AFPS: Iraqis Continue to Take Lead in Fighting Terrorists, Officials Say

WASHINGTON, July 23, 2006 – Better-trained and more confident Iraqi troops increasingly are taking the fight to the terrorists, and U.S. troops are securing better and more actionable intelligence, thanks to their daily, long-standing efforts on behalf of the Iraqi people, U.S. military officials reported this week.

Soldiers from the 2nd Battalion, 4th Brigade, 6th Iraqi Army Division, killed five terrorists, wounded 13, and detained 47 during a two-hour firefight in Mahmudiyah South on July 21.

The 6th IA soldiers received a report from an Iraqi citizen that 10 to 15 men were attacking a house in Hayy Al Shuhada. The IA soldiers tracked the gunmen to the Hayy Al Askery neighborhood, where a small-arms battle ensued in which five terrorists were killed and the remainder fled the scene in a white truck.

The Iraqi soldiers followed the terrorists to a residence, whereupon the terrorists abandoned their vehicle. Attack helicopter aviators from Multinational Division Baghdad destroyed the vehicle. Iraqi soldiers detained six suspects who were hiding in a nearby canal and another three who were found by the crew of another military vehicle.

A total of 47 suspects were detained during the operation. Iraqi soldiers also confiscated five PKC machine guns, 16 AK-47s and more than 300 rounds of ammunition. Three Iraqi soldiers and three Iraqi policemen were killed during the engagements.

"This was an Iraqi Army action that clearly demonstrates the professionalism and capability of the IA," said U.S. Army Lt. Col. Thomas Kunk, commander, 1st Battalion, 502nd Infantry Regiment. "They heard the cry for help from the Iraqi citizens and went to the sound of the guns. They are fighting for the Iraqi people and their country."

Way to bring it to 'em, fellas!

They just keep getting better and better...

Read the rest of the article to learn more about the recent successes of the Iraqi Army.

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AF: Afghan Forces fighting for a brighter future

AFPS: Afghan Security Forces Gaining Capability, Spokesman Says

WASHINGTON, July 25, 2006: While the enemy will continue to resist the will of the government and more violence is expected, the Afghan National Army and National Police are gaining capability by the day, a Combined Forces Command Afghanistan spokesman said today.

At a news conference in the Afghan capital of Kabul, Army Col. Thomas Collins said Afghan and coalition forces are working with the local government and international aid organizations. The combined forces "continue their efforts to enable the Afghan people with opportunities for a brighter future despite the enemy's futile attempts to stop the march of progress," he said.

[...] "Those responsible for these violent acts are conducting a simultaneous assault on Afghan security forces, the coalition, all symbols of governance and development, and the Afghan people," the colonel told reporters. "In fact, the majority of victims of these attacks are innocent Afghan bystanders."

Progress continues unrelentingly despite the enemy's efforts to thwart progress in Afghanistan, Collins said.

"Although the enemy's aim is to disrupt progress and good governance, they are not succeeding," he said. "Every day, more and more police officers are trained, and the Afghanistan National Army continues to grow. Every day, the coalition and international community builds new roads, schools and infrastructure for the Afghan people.

"Our message is progress," he continued. "The only message the terrorists and extremists can use is violence [...]"

Please continue to spead a message of hope --- for the Afghan people, and the world.

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July 26, 2006

IQ: Iraqi soldiers, US Marines conduct successful rescue op.

Iraqi Soldiers, Marines Rescue Three Hostages, Recover Large Weapons Cache

CAMP FALLUJAH, Iraq – Marines from Regimental Combat Team 5’s, 1st Battalion, 25th Marine Regiment, and soldiers from 2nd and 4th Brigade, 1st Iraqi Army Division, rescued three Iraqi hostages in an intelligence-driven operation July 23.

The three were personal assistants and bodyguards to Dr. Rafa Hayid Chiad Al-Isaw, an Iraqi government official in Baghdad.

"We are extremely pleased we were able to recover these three Iraqi citizens," said Col. Larry D. Nicholson, commanding officer for RCT-5. "The safety of Iraqi citizens to move freely about their own country without fear is a priority for U.S and Iraqi forces and we will continue to assist the Iraqi Army and Iraqi Police in ensuring their citizens have a future that is free of terrorism."

The three were held captive by al-Qaeda insurgents in a spiderhole complex for 27 days. The hostages were beaten with electrical cords, bitten and threatened with their lives at gunpoint by their captors. They were treated by Coalition Forces medical personnel.

The three were taken hostage by al-Qaeda insurgents west of Zaidon, a rural area south of Fallujah. They were rescued near Fuhaylat, southwest of Fallujah.

Also recovered nearby was a significant weapons cache, including a fully-assembled suicide vehicle-borne improvised explosive device. Marines also recovered IEDs and IED-making material, mortar tubes and round, artillery rounds, machine guns, bulk explosives, anti-tank mines, rocket-propelled grenades and launchers, AK-47 assault rifles, small-arms ammunition and video cameras.

Regimental Combat Team 5, partnered with Iraqi Security Force units, is currently conducting counter-insurgency and security operations in the greater Fallujah area.

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AF: Coalition patrol win firefight with terrorists

Enemy Fighters Attack Coalition Unit, Seven Extremists Killed

Extremists? I believe they mean, "terrorists".

BAGRAM AIRFIELD, Afghanistan – A Coalition patrol killed seven extremists on July 25 after they attacked Coalition forces in the Garmser District of Helmand Province.

There were no Coalition casualties in the fight. The Coalition unit received small arms, rocket-propelled grenade, machine gun and sniper fire from a group of extremists. The Coalition force returned fire, killing five insurgents

Later in the same area, insurgents fired small arms at an Afghan National Army mortar team, with a Coalition embedded tactical training team attached. The combined unit responded with machine gun fire and killed the remaining two insurgents.

"If enemy extremists fire upon Coalition forces, we will respond with deadly accuracy," said Lt. Col. Paul Fitzpatrick, Combined Joint Task Force -76 spokesman. "If they attack Afghan civilians, we will respond just as forcefully. We remain committed to engaging any threats to the peaceful future of the Afghan people."

Afghan National Security forces continue to maintain a strong presence in the area of Garmser and provide security that will enable reconstruction and humanitarian aid projects to be delivered that will improve the lives of the Afghan people.

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July 24, 2006

The Rescue Air Mobility Squad: Combat Firefighters

RAM squad exercises ability to rescue coalition forces

By Master Sgt. Andrew Gates
407th Air Expeditionary Group Public Affairs

ALI BASE, Iraq - Firefighting, in and of itself, tends to be a strenuous and dangerous job, requiring its practitioners to place themselves in harm’s way to save lives and property.

A team of 20 Air National Guard firefighters at Ali Base have volunteered to increase both the danger and the strenuousness of their job, working on the Rescue Air Mobility Squad.

RAMS members are combat firefighters who travel "outside the wire" – outside the protection of the military base – to rapidly extricate victims from vehicles, said Senior Master Sgt. Roy Moore, 407th Expeditionary Civil Engineer Squadron firefighter and one of two team leaders for the RAMS. This includes crashed vehicles or vehicles affected by an improvised explosive device.

The 20 volunteers are split into two shifts. These two shifts are divided into three three-person squads each, with the two team leaders on each shift assigned to the RAMS mission to provide consistency. That means that each squad is ‘on-call’ every three weeks

"Military firefighters normally work 24 hours on and 24 hours off," he said. "Our volunteers for RAMS work their 24 hours as firefighters, and then are ‘on-call’ for RAMS during their next 24-hour period – and then go back to their firefighting duty. For the week they work RAMS, they are really working a week straight."

I highly encourage you to read the whole story about these extraordinary volunteers.


MSgt (ret.) Tom Schipper had this to say about fallen Air Force SSgt. Ray Rangel, a member of a RAMS team who died on February 13, 2005:

"I want Ray's wife to know how special Ray was to our team in Iraq. As you know, I was in charge of the RAMS Team and personally picked Ray to go on that mission that morning. He had just arrived a few days before and was ready and willing to do the mission that we had at Balad. I remember asking Ray if he was ready to go just before the chopper landed to take them to the scene. He gave me a huge smile and a confident nod and told me he was ready to go. I want you and everybody out there to know that Ray Rangel was a true Hero and that he died doing what we all loved to do. We were firefighters in the US Air Force committed to saving the lives of our fellow man. Ray Rangel gave the ultimate sacrafice in trying to save three Army personnel from a overturned HUMVEE in the middle of a canal. I will never forget him and the hero that he was to me and all the members of the first ever Air Force Rescue Air Mobility Squad to serve in Iraq."

MSgt (retired) Tom Schipper of Phoenix, Arizona

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Iraqis, US Army CoE working hard to secure western border

This effort should prove critical to securing Iraq's borders from foreign terrorists.

Iraq’s Western Border Becoming More Secure

by Norris Jones
Gulf Region Central District
US Army Corps of Engineers

Al Asad, Iraq— Iraq’s western border with Syria, Jordan and Saudi Arabia will now be more secure thanks to a continuous line of outposts that will be completed this month.

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Gulf Region Central District (GRC) was responsible for overseeing that work which included 23 border forts overlooking nearly 600 kilometers of Iraq’s remote western frontier. The final fort, Border Fort 32, located along the Saudi Arabian border, was recently completed.

Each of those castle-like, one-story structures, built by a crew of about 20 Iraqis, measures 24.25 meters by 19.5 meters. They are reinforced concrete masonry buildings with a raised center clerestory. Each features a dormitory area, kitchen, armory, observation posts, perimeter security lighting, berms, offices, showers, as well as electrical and plumbing services provided by on-site twin 50kV generators and six 250-gallon water tanks. Each facility is manned by 20 to 40 Border Police at all times.

"Border security is extremely important," said Lt. Commander Damon Lilly, Officer in Charge of GRC’s Al Asad Resident Office in Al Anbar Province, who worked with the Iraqi contractors to ensure the border forts were completed. "Those facilities offer a secure environment for border police who have a very difficult job in some of the most hostile, desolate areas of Iraq. The 590 kilometers of border terrain is an arid desert with temperatures rising to over 130 degrees Fahrenheit in the summer. It was a difficult challenge"

The forts are located about every 20 kilometers and cost approximately $250,000 each. "The whole purpose of these outposts is to enhance border patrol effectiveness in stopping unauthorized travel and supplies," Lilly explained.

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Iraqi Airmen learn to battle blazing sun AND fire

U.S. Airmen Teach Iraqi Volunteers to Battle Blazes

By SSGT Stacy Fowler
506th Air Expeditionary Group

KIRKUK AIR BASE, Iraq (AFPN) — Iraqi Air Force maintenance people are putting down their wrenches and picking up fire hoses. They are under the experienced eyes of Kirkuk Air Base's 506th Expeditionary Civil Engineer Squadron firefighters here.

For firefighters of the Iraqi Air Force, walking into an inferno on an already warm day is an experience still rather new.

"The majority of the Iraqi firefighters have never been to a formal fire academy and have never been part of a fire department," said Staff Sgt. Carlos Bosch, a 506th ECES firefighter. "We are here to ease their transition and help them enhance their job knowledge and professional skills."

The Iraqi firefighters' training began in April with basic principles of fire and fire behavior training, along with rudimentary fire attack procedures to fight the flames, Sergeant Bosch said.

There's more -- read on!

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July 21, 2006

Iraqi-led raids in Baghdad nab 4 "death squad" insurgents

Two Iraqi Force Raids in Baghdad Net Four Insurgents

BALAD – Iraqi security forces conducted two separate operations in Baghdad on July 20, capturing four insurgents who may be involved in ‘extra judicial killing,’ or EJK cells. [aka "death squads" --ed.]

The first operation by Iraqi security forces, a raid on back-to-back objectives in southwest Baghdad, netted three primary targets. The first individual was a key insurgent leader believed to plan and coordinate insurgent operations in Baghdad. The second is allegedly involved in financing operations and supplying weapons to insurgents. And the third is believed to be involved in kidnapping Iraqi citizens, Iraqi police and Iraqi soldiers for ransom to finance insurgent activities. He is also allegedly involved in murdering kidnapping victims and participating in attacks against coalition forces.

Iraqi forces also seized three AK-47 assault rifles and three nine millimeter pistols. During a second raid in southern Baghdad, Iraqi Army forces captured an individual known to deal improvised explosive devices, or IEDs and small arms to insurgent groups.

Coalition force advisers were on hand during both operations, and both occurred without incident.

No Iraqi or coalition forces were injured during the operation.

Great job by the Iraqi security forces!

I wish there was a way we could directly encourage the Iraqi Sec. Forces in their efforts, but for now, publishing their accomplishments like this one will have to be a start.

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Julie Banderas destroys Shirley "God hates you" Phelps-Roper

I know this has been around the net for almost a week now but I'm just posting this for those who have not seen it, and also for my own personal enjoyment.

Ms. Banderas really tears that hatemongering witch to shreds on national television with, get this, HOLY SCRIPTURE!

Simply excellent:

"You Wanna Preach? Let's Preach!"

I'm sure I am not the only viewer who almost half-expected to hear that sentence end with "...bitch!" -- but Julie kept her cool. I was amazed at how well she kept her composure while still running off Bible verses to counter this lunatic.

Banderas demonstrated a degree of integrity, and, well, a spine, that I have not seen very often in the news media.

God bless her.

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July 20, 2006

Iraqi, MND Forces target al-Qaeda terror cells in Gaugamela

Iraqi Army, MND-N Soldiers Launch Operation Gaugamela

KIRKUK, Iraq (July 20, 2006) – Thursday morning, Soldiers from the 2nd Brigade, 4th Iraqi Army Division and Bastogne Soldiers of the 1st Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division simultaneously surrounded and entered the cities of Hawija and Riyadh, just west of Kirkuk, searching for suspected al-Qaeda terrorists as combined Operation Gaugamela (gaw'guh-MEE-luh), gets underway.

The ongoing operation, requested by local Sunni Arab leaders, follows a series of terror attacks in the area, and comes as there are reports indicating the presence of al-Qaeda terror cells in the area. In the past five weeks, 31 Iraqi soldiers have been killed in terrorist attacks in the region and just three days ago six policemen were killed in Hawija.

In Hawija, Bastogne Soldiers and Iraqi Security Forces surrounded the city, blocking off escape routes, as another combined force air assaulted into the market in the heart of the city. The units are cordoning off the area and searching for terrorist forces. Meanwhile, Iraqi Security and Coalition Forces surrounded the village of Riyadh, approximately 10 miles away, and are also searching that city.

Operation Gaugamela is named for the battle in which Alexander drove the Persian army from the city of Gaugamela.

For more information concerning this release, contact Major Greg Bishop, gregory.bishop@campbell.army.mil
Give 'em hell, fellas.

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Coalition seize $3million in opium in Afghanistan

Extremists linked to drug trade in Afghanistan:

KABUL , Afghanistan – Coalition Soldiers have seized an estimated $3 million in opium from an extremist compound July 13 after a Coalition patrol held off more than two dozen fighters until additional firepower arrived.

Following the engagement, the Soldiers found five dead extremists, but believe many more were killed.

A search of the compound found 70 kilograms of opium paste, a rocket propelled grenade launcher, four rockets, an AK-47 and ammunition, a passport and other documents.

"Recovering these weapons and drugs increases the safety and security of Afghans, and reduces the danger posed by criminals and extremists who might use those munitions indiscriminately to cause harm on the Afghan people, Afghan security forces or Coalition forces ," said Col. Thomas Collins, Coalition spokesman. "This engagement also confirms with physical evidence that the extremists are linked to the drug trade in southern Afghanistan ."

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Gender-Bender Guppies

Remember, ladies, gentlemen, and uh.. genties, it's all about choice these days.

Third of male fish in rivers are changing sex:

A third of male fish in English rivers are changing sex due to 'gender-bending' pollution, alarming research shows.

Experts say female hormones from the contraceptive pill and HRT are being washed into our rivers and causing male fish to produce eggs.

The problem - which is country-wide - has raised fears that the pollutants could also be contaminating our drinking water - and even be affecting the fertility of men.

Yea, and Mountain Dew kills your guys...

Reader Gerald Jacobs of NYC chimes in,

I spoke to the fish. They had no choice. The men's lavatory was closed.
I can hear it now...
See! Homosexuality/transgenderness/whatever is natural because it's found in...uh...nature! Even monkeys are doing it!

Transgendered goldfish, coming to an aquarium near you...

c/p'd @ Vinnie's

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July 19, 2006

Coalition, Iraqis building new vocational school in Tikrit

Tikrit, known as the birthplace of a murderous dictator and as the northern axis of the "Triangle of Death", will soon be known as a hub for producing an exceptionally well-trained workforce.

New Vocational School and Textile Mill Boost Economy in Tikrit

By Sgt. Waine D. Haley
133rd Mobile Public Affairs Detachment
July 14, 2006

TIKRIT, Iraq - The seeds of trade and industry are taking root and springing to life as Coalition Forces and Iraqi leaders dig in and try to bring new life to Iraq's economy.

Captain Daniel Cederman, Projects Officer for the 402nd Civil Affairs Detachment and Kadhin Nori Abid, Ph.D., expert in vocational education representing the government of Salah Ah Din province, are working together to build a self-sustaining economy in Tikrit and the surrounding areas of Iraq.

One of the many projects they are working on with other officials is building an industrial vocational school in the Tikrit area. The school will teach local people skills in different fields of technology, helping to build and improve Iraq 's economic stability.

The schools curriculum will educate men and women in multiple occupational fields such as the production of high-tech products, plastic production technology, masonry, carpentry, petroleum equipment maintenance and repair, farm machinery and automotive repair.

This self-supporting educational institution estimates the graduating students will work in jobs ranging from the oilfields in Bayji to textile mills that will produce uniforms for the Iraqi Army and Police. This will help with local jobs and national oil production, in turn helping the local and national economy.

The school owns a textile mill where many of the graduates will work producing uniforms. The mill is scheduled to begin producing and selling products within the year, with the profits from the mill going to fund the school.

The vocational school's operation, support and funding are modeled after a system South Korea used in another part of Iraq. The curriculum is being co-sponsored by companies in the United States who provide donations and educate Iraqi instructors. The school will also have an internet center so students have access to different types of educational resources from around the world.

"The computer and internet center is especially important because it will supply people with different learning facets, including scientific education, social education, and historical education," Abid said. "I feel it's important this center can educate people how free and democratic countries around the world operate and how [their] people live."

Abid says the school will employ about 50 instructors and the textile mill will employ 100 workers and 50 administrative personnel.

Cederman explains that the building of a stabile economy in Iraq is a key step to Coalition Forces pulling out of Iraq.

"The Coalition Forces will be stepping back from the governing and economics pieces and letting the PRT [Provincial Reconstruction Team] step up and take the advisory roll and now you have a civilian face," Cederman said. "Now you have the civilian State Department face and no longer the military face; we'll just be in the back ground. Eventually we'll step all the way out of the picture and there will only be a civilian face. Then they will step out of the picture and you'll only have a fully functional Iraqi ... so is the plan."

I don't know about you, but I get excited when I read about things like this.

These kinds of schools, along with other such operations, will play a critical role in stabilizing the national economy and jump-starting Iraqi industry.


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I completely forgot my 2nd blogiversary was 1 week ago today (the 12th).

Getting old in the Blogosphere is starting to take its toll on my memory I guess. heh.

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July 17, 2006

I have the strangest desire to play...

Whatsakyer? is Nerd Central.

I know.

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Olmert: Stop the attacks, or we'll bring the pain

One reason I support Israel is because when they say something like this, they back it up.

Olmert: We'll fight on until attacks end, soldiers returned

"Citizens of Israel, there are moments in the life of a nation, when it is compelled to look directly into the face of reality and say: no more," he said.

"And I say to everyone: no more. Israel will not be held hostage - not by terror gangs or by a terrorist authority or by any sovereign state,"

"There is nothing we want more than peace on all of our borders," Olmert told the Knesset. But he said, "Israel will not agree to live with rockets fired on its citizens, he added. "Only a nation that can protect its freedom deserves it," he stated.


I have a feeling Olmert's speech may go into the history books.

"Those who expect to reap the blessings of freedom must, like men, undergo the fatigue of supporting it." -- Thomas Paine
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Reports of GITMO-esque torture techniques in Sydney, Australia

Kyer AND Australians upset over loud Manilow music

SYDNEY, Australia - It could be magic for some, but the use of loud Barry Manilow music to drive away late-night revelers from a suburban Sydney park is getting on the nerves of nearby residents.

In a move reminiscent of U.S. efforts to drive former Panama strongman Manuel Noriega from the Vatican Embassy where he took refuge in 1989, the local council in Rockdale, in Sydney's southern suburbs, started a six-month trial of high-volume hits by Manilow and Doris Day to chase away car enthusiasts who were gathering on weekend nights at Cook Park Reserve.

"Barry's our secret weapon," Rockdale Deputy Mayor Bill Saravinovski told The Daily Telegraph newspaper, four weeks after the start of the effort. "It seems to be working."

But some people living near the park are less than enthralled. They say the barrage of "Copacabana," "Could It Be Magic" and "Que Sera Sera," blasting from 9 p.m. to midnight every Friday, Saturday and Sunday is driving them crazy.

"I don't know how I will cope," said Moya Dunn, describing how the songs have invaded her house. "I just can't sleep when it's on, and to think there's going to be another six months of this."

Convene the Security Council, folks, we've got signs of torture in ROCKDALE, AUSTRALIA!

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Clinton would have taken up arms for Israel, eh?

Drudge posted a link to this rather um... interesting "flashback"... Clinton says he would have died for Israel

WASHINGTON: Former US President Bill Clinton who many Arab thoughts was more even-handed on the Palestine question than his predecessors shocked many when he asserted in Toronto last week that had Israel been attacked by Iraq or Iran during his presidency, he would have been ready to "grab a rifle, get in a ditch and fight and die."

"The Israelis know that if the Iraqi or the Iranian army came across the Jordan River, I would personally grab a rifle, get in a ditch, and fight and die," Clinton told the crowd at a fund-raising event for a Toronto Jewish charity Monday.

Say what?

Weird-city, man.

What an unusual thing to say, especially for a former POTUS.

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This is really really sad...

It's pretty sad when MC Hammer's blog gets more comments on a daily basis than I do...

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July 14, 2006

Lt. Smash takes a walk in the park

Lt. Smash, on assignment in D.C., brings us this gem:

AT LUNCH TIME, I decided to go for the stroll around the neighborhood. In Lafayette Park, I ran into a colony of Code Pink hunger strikers. I had run into the same group when I first checked in on Friday; they had been standing immediately across the street from the White House.

On that day I was in my uniform, and there was no way to avoid them without going far out of my way. So I kept my eyes looking straight forward and plowed ahead, determined not to grin or grimace at the protestors. Most of the ladies remained silent as I walked by in my white polyester splendor, but the token man with them tried to engage me in conversation. "We're on day four of a hunger strike; we want to bring you guys home."

I couldn't resist. "I am home." I kept walking, without so much as turning my head to further acknowledge their presence.

BUT TODAY was different. For one thing, I wasn't in uniform (I only have to wear it for ceremonies), so maintaining strict military bearing wasn't an issue. Also, a heavy blanket of humidity had descended on D.C., so the half-dozen or so remaining hunger strikers had retreated deeper into the park, laying in the shade of a couple of magnolia trees. Their banners were strewn across the grass alongside one of the brick walkways. They didn't appear to be holding up very well with the hunger and the heat.

The same man from Friday saw me approaching, and staggered his way over to engage me. If he recognized me from before, he showed no sign.

I paused in front of the banners, and pulled a big juicy apple out of my lunch bag.

"Day seven of a hunger strike..." the man muttered.

I looked him in the eye, took a bite of my apple, and shrugged.

He turned away, and retreated back to the shade of the magnolia. I took another couple bites out of my apple before continuing my stroll around the park.

I give 'em about a week before they break camp.

Classic. ;)

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Verse of the Day: Isaiah 1:18

Isaiah 1:18 "Come now, let us reason together," says the LORD. "Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool.
Posted by Kyer at 11:20 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

The Trial of Zidane v Materazzi

Zidane would not want me on his jury.

BBC: Zidane - victim or villain?

All rise in the people's court of football fairness to hear the case of Zidane v Materazzi.

Ladies and Gentlemen of the jury, your task is to decide who is the guilty party, and who is the victim.

You will hear evidence from both sides. There is an impressive array of character witnesses forming behind Zidane, while perhaps surprisingly for someone who was the victim of a vicious assault, support for Materazzi is thin.

Does that mark out the real villain, or is it more a case of Zidane getting his retaliation in first?

Zidane is beginning to emerge from this episode with his reputation not only intact, but enhanced. The last villain to enjoy such a good press was Robin Hood.

Considering his act of folly handicapped his team as effectively as tying their legs together, France has cast Zizou in the role of Prodigal Son.

Read the rest of the trial proceedings here.

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Some nations name their own wars...

High Desert Wanderer, commenting on this thread at Vinnie's about Israel's ability to "beat the snot out of" Fezbolla and Hahamas:

Never piss off a country that likes to name their wars by the number of days it took to pound the crap out of their enemies.
Point well taken.

Posted by Kyer at 08:25 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 13, 2006

West, Central African nations sign multilateral accord against trafficking

Via: Fleshploitation

West And Central African Nations Join Forces To End Child Trafficking

A multilateral accord against the trafficking of women and children was signed here yesterday, as UNICEF and its partners spearheaded a joint ministerial conference of 26 West and Central African countries, representatives of European governments and the International Labour Organization.

"No country in West and Central Africa can claim not to face the problem of human trafficking," said UNICEF's director for the region, Esther Guluma, at the opening of the two-day conference.

"Only a holistic approach can successfully stop this exploitation of children that is a violation of their human rights, dignity and freedom of movement," she added. "One of the most efficient ways is the connection of a regional partnership. This conference is a milestone in building this collaboration."


Children exploited and abused

Each year, hundreds of thousands of children are trafficked across porous borders throughout West and Central Africa. In Nigeria, for example, where the borders with Benin and Cameroon are 773 km and 1,690 km long, respectively, it is difficult to control trafficking.

Now widely considered a form of modern-day slavery, this practice has its roots in an old tradition based on the quest for a better life. Children would be placed with relatives in cities to receive an education, in return for helping out in the home.

Often, parents don't know - or don't want to know - what happens to their children who end up being exploited, physically and mentally abused as domestic workers or forced into prostitution.

An end to trafficking

"You are not a human being if you do that to your own children. People have to take responsibility for these crimes. It has to be punished," said UNICEF Child Protection Officer Alassane Biga.

[...] Financial assistance for the poorest families and other initiatives - like mobile cinemas that screen educational films for people living in remote villages - help to inform vulnerable families about the reality of child trafficking. There's hope that the joint ministerial conference now wrapping up in Abuja can go one step further toward putting an end to this illicit and dehumanizing practice.

Let's hope this is more than just ink on paper.

And that no more children become the property of this surrogate father.

Posted by Kyer at 03:13 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Iraqi Sec. Forces take full control of Muthanna Province

Very good news indeed.

Joint Statement by
Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad and Gen. George Casey
On the Transfer of Security Responsibility in
Muthanna Province

July 13, 2006

BAGHDAD – Iraq witnessed a historic event today with the transfer of security responsibility in Muthanna Province from the Multi-National Force - Iraq (MNF-I) to the Provincial Governor and civilian-controlled Iraqi Security Forces. The handover represents a milestone in the successful development of Iraq’s capability to govern and protect itself as a sovereign and democratic nation. Muthanna is the first of Iraq’s 18 provinces to be designated for such a transition.

As Prime Minister Maliki announced on June 19, 2006, the joint decision between the Iraqi government and MNF-I to hand over security responsibility is the result of Muthanna’s demonstrated abilities to take the lead in managing its own security and governance duties at the provincial level. The transition decision also reflects a joint assessment of the overall threat situation in Muthanna, the capabilities of the ISF there and the provincial leadership’s ability to coordinate security. Transition teams are in place to smooth the transfer process and multi-national forces will stand ready to provide assistance if needed.

With this first transition of security responsibility, Muthanna demonstrates the progress Iraq is making toward self-governance. Several other provinces are close to meeting the criteria necessary to assume security independence. The Iraqi government and the Multi-National Force will continue to transfer security responsibilities in other provinces in Iraq as conditions are achieved.

Australian, Japanese, and the United Kingdom forces have assisted Muthanna authorities as models of international cooperation, providing economic and humanitarian assistance as well as security and stability. As Iraq develops and its needs continue to evolve, so too will the nature of international assistance to Iraq in Muthanna and elsewhere.

The United States will provide $10 million in order to enhance the quality of life for the citizens of Muthanna as they take a bold and courageous step forward in the country’s movement toward an independent and secure nation. This event represents significant progress by the Government of Iraq to achieve a constitutional, democratic, and pluralistic Iraq which guarantees the rights of all citizens.

May God bless the citizens of Muthanna and the Iraqi Security Forces who defend them.

UPDATE: Gatewaypundit has pictures.

Posted by Kyer at 01:17 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 12, 2006

Right on!

I NEVER do these things, but I'm less than stimulated right now at the moment so I says to myself, "What the heck?"

You are Superman

You are mild-mannered, good, strong and you love to help others.

Click here to take the "Which Superhero am I?" quiz...

Via: Pixy

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Zidane: Man-goat couldn't take digs on his mom, sister.

People talk trash on the pitch. It's just the way it is in football. It's neither classy nor sportsmanlike, but it's a reality of the game.

You'd think after such an illustrious career, Zidane would realize this.

Instead, he acts like a chump over Materazzi's alleged insults directed at Z's mother and sister.

Get a thick skin, man. Your reaction was equally childish.

Materazzi insulted mother and sister: Zidane

PARIS (Reuters) - Zinedine Zidane said on Wednesday that Italian defender Marco Materazzi insulted his mother and his sister during the World Cup final against Italy.

The French captain reacted to the insult by head-butting Materazzi's chest in the second period of extra time of the match. He was sent off.

"He (Materazzi) pronounced very tough words about my mother and my sister. I tried not to listen to him but he kept repeating them," Zidane said in a live interview on French television channel Canal Plus.

Zidane offered an apology to all children and to all fans for his behavior but he said he did not regret it.

"This was not something to do. I want to make it clear because it was watched by two billion people and by millions of kids," Zidane said.

"I want to apologize to them but I can't regret what I did because it would mean that he (Materazzi) was right to say what he said."

What a half-ass non-apology.

Man up, Z! Drop the arrogant Frenchman routine and demonstrate to the "millions of kids" around the world what it takes to own up to a mistake, especially an idiotically violent one.


Posted by Kyer at 01:47 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Them's fightin' words...

IDF issuing callup orders for reservists

The IDF began calling up reservists on Wednesday afternoon following Hizbullah attacks on IDF forces along the northern border.

Israel rejected a cease-fire request made by the Lebanese government, via the UN, after IDF troops entered its territory to rescue two soldiers captured by Hizbullah Wednesday morning.

A very high ranking military officer said that if the soldiers were not returned in good condition, Israel would turn Lebanon back 20 years by striking its vital infrastructure.

That reads to me like the old taunt, "I'm gonna kick your ass so bad your ancestors are gonna feel it."

And I don't doubt for even a moment that Israel could do it.

Posted by Kyer at 10:58 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 11, 2006

Ralph Peters: Make every terrorist mission a suicide mission

I've always liked this guy.

Ralph Peters: Kill, Don't Capture; How to Solve Our Prisoner Problem

Violent Islamist extremists must be killed on the battlefield. Only in the rarest cases should they be taken prisoner. Few have serious intelligence value. And, once captured, there's no way to dispose of them.

Consider today's norm: A terrorist in civilian clothes can explode an IED, killing and maiming American troops or innocent civilians, then demand humane treatment if captured - and the media will step in as his champion. A disguised insurgent can shoot his rockets, throw his grenades, empty his magazines, kill and wound our troops, then, out of ammo, raise his hands and demand three hots and a cot while he invents tales of abuse.

Isn't it time we gave our critics what they're asking for? Let's solve the "unjust" imprisonment problem, once and for all. No more Guantanamos! Every terrorist mission should be a suicide mission. With our help.

[...] This isn't an argument for a murderous rampage, but its opposite. We must kill our enemies with discrimination. But we do need to kill them. A corpse is a corpse: The media's rage dissipates with the stench. But an imprisoned terrorist is a strategic liability.

A good read.

Related: U.S. will give detainees Geneva rights

[...] all detainees at Guantanamo Bay and in U.S. military custody everywhere are entitled to protections under the Geneva Conventions.
The rest of the article is a jumbled mess, with Snow saying something about the Supreme Court decision being "complex" so everything is not cut and dry. Whatever.

No quarter for jihadi.

Posted by Kyer at 12:38 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Bush: Georgia on his mind, freedom in his soul

An excerpt from President Bush's meeting with President Saakashvili of Georgia:

Q Mr. President, as you mentioned, you've faced a lot of important challenges in many places, like Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan and North Korea. And at the same time, the whole world recognizes your personal role in promoting democracy and freedom all around. And how do you think, is there any chance that Georgia's aspiration to build free and democracy country may be left off of your agenda?

PRESIDENT BUSH: Freedom -- I believe freedom is universal. And I believe the spread of liberty is important for peace. And therefore, the freedom agenda will be at the heart of everything I do. The freedom agenda is ingrained in my -- it's not only ingrained in my policy, it's ingrained in my soul. I believe it strongly. And I believe the United States has an obligation to work with others to help them secure their liberty.

I understand that elections are only the beginning of the freedom agenda, and that there's work needed to be done around the world, including our own country, to continue to build strong institutions and build the organizations necessary for a civil society to develop. Remember, ours was a country that wrote a great Constitution but enslaved people for a hundred years. It takes time. And so I understand that. And I want to work with our friends that ask. Georgia is a sovereign government, and when governments say, will you help, America must always listen to requests for help, and specifically to Georgia.

One of the signature pieces of policy in my administration has been the Millennium Challenge Account. It's a foreign funding mechanism that recognizes countries that fight corruption, support rule of law, invest in the health and education of their people, and adopt open markets. And one of the most robust Millennium Challenge Account projects is with Georgia. It's a sign -- should be a sign to the people of Georgia, and people in the neighborhood, that the United States respects the decisions this government has made, and wants to work closely with the people of Georgia to help Georgia succeed, to help create the conditions for success.

And so to answer your question, yes, I've got a lot that comes to my desk here, absolutely. I've got a lot to think about. But my friend, the President, wouldn't be sitting here if I didn't have Georgia on my mind.


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July 10, 2006

Cannavaro zings Zidane

Like winning the "Best Laugh" superlative in your senior high yearbook:
Zidane Wins World Cup's Best Player Award

France captain Zinedine Zidane, sent off for headbutting Marco Materazzi late in Sunday's World Cup final loss to Italy, won the Golden Ball award for the tournament's best player.

[...] Zidane polled 2012 points in the vote by journalists covering the tournament, beating Italians Fabio Cannavaro (1977 points) and Andrea Pirlo (715 points) in the ballot.

[...] Italy captain Cannavaro could be considered unlucky in the voting.

He led an Italian defense that conceded only two goals in the tournament: an own-goal against the United States and Zidane's penalty.

The final was his 100th cap for Italy.

"I got my award, that's it right there," Cannavaro said, gesturing toward the World Cup trophy sitting on the table in front of him. "I'm extremely pleased with what I have."

I think Cannavaro has the best laugh now.

Quite unlucky, indeed.


Posted by Kyer at 08:34 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Basayev terminated?

Looks like Putin has bagged his own Zarqawi.

If this is true, it is very good news: Russia: Most-wanted warlord has been killed

MOSCOW - Chechen warlord Shamil Basayev, the purported author of modern Russia’s worst terrorist attacks, has been killed, the head of the Federal Security Service said Monday.

FSB head Nikolai Patrushev told President Vladimir Putin that Basayev had been killed overnight in Ingushetia. Patrushev’s meeting was Putin was shown on Russian state television.

Basayev, 41, claimed responsibility for some of Russia’s worst terror attacks, including the seizure of some 800 hostages in a Moscow theater in 2002, the 2004 school hostage taking in Beslan that killed 331, and the seizure of about 1,000 hostages at a hospital in Budyonnovsk that killed about 100.

So long, scumbag.

Posted by Kyer at 08:14 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 09, 2006


Congratulations to Italy... I will not have to call in sick to work tommorrow because France and that dirtbag Zidane pulled off a victory. Nope. It's gonna be allllll smiles in the morning...

AP Jasper Juinen
Cup final will be remembered for ugliness:
Zinedine Zidane ended his long and glorious career Sunday by being ejected in extra time, arguably costing France the Cup. Zidane, tossed for an ugly headbutt of Marco Materazzi in the 109th minute, shook apart a game that had until that point shown how dominating the 34-year old midfielder could truly be.

"Zidane being sent off killed us," said coach Raymond Domenech.

"We can only be disappointed, not by our run but by the way it ended. Really, from the game we played, we deserved to win."

Domenech stayed away from answering questions on what could have provoked Zidane, saying only, "There a moments ... sometimes when you are hit for 80 or 90 minutes. I'm not saying I'm excusing it but I can understand."

According to members of the French media, French players told them that Matterazi called Zidane a racial slur which prompted the headbutt.

The greatest player of France's "golden generation," Zidane, the son of Algerian immigrants in the down-at-the-heels port city of Marseille, leaves the world stage Sunday at the right time, but not in the right manner. That red card put a sad coda onto what was one of the greatest careers ever seen in the sport.

Who knows what Matterazi said or didn't say. The only two people on Earth that probably will ever truly know will be him and Zidane (and God).

Even if he did say "it", Zidane, being the "class act" people make him out to be, should have shown a career's worth and brushed it off.

Instead, he had to blow it not just for himself, but quite likely, for France.

What a way to end your career, you tool.

And just in case you missed it...

I will hold this image near and dear to my heart for many years to come...
AP Michael Probst

Well, at least for another four years... heh

P.S. Gianluigi Buffon is a




UPDATE: Ace just kills me sometimes.

In fairness, they [France] lasted longer against the Italian soccer team than they did against Hitler.

Posted by Kyer at 09:33 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 06, 2006

A mighty injustice: Homeless Veterans

This is just not right... Homelessness a threat for Iraq vets.

NEW YORK - Herold Noel had nowhere to call home after returning from military service in Iraq. He slept in his Jeep, taking care to find a parking space where he wouldn't get a ticket.

"Then the nightmares would start," says the 26-year-old former Army private first class, who drove a fuel truck in Iraq. "I saw a baby decapitated when it was run over by a truck — I relived that every night."

Across America on any given evening, hundreds of veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan like Noel are homeless, according to government estimates.

The reasons for their plight are many. For some, residual stress from daily insurgent attacks and roadside bombs makes it tough to adjust to civilian life; some can't navigate government assistance programs; others simply can't afford a house or apartment.

[...] It was a "hell" familiar to Noel during his eight months in Iraq. But it didn't stop when he returned home to New York last year and couldn't find a job to support his wife and three children. Without enough money to rent an apartment, he turned to the housing programs for vets, "but they were overbooked," Noel says.

While he was in Iraq, his family had lived in military housing in Georgia.

In New York, they ended up in a Bronx shelter "with people who were just out of prison, and with roaches," Noel says. "I'm a young black man from the ghetto, but this was culture shock. This is not what I fought for, what I almost died for. This is not what I was supposed to come home to."

[...] Noel doesn't blame the Army, which "helped make my dreams come true," he says, recalling the military base life in Georgia and in Korea that his family enjoyed before his deployment to Iraq.

"I had a house, a car — they gave me everything they promised me," he says. "Now it's up to the government and the people we're defending to take care of their soldiers."


Posted by Kyer at 12:15 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Youths desecrate Canadian Tomb of Unknown Soldier

A few days old, but disgraceful, nonetheless: Sentries called for after youths urinate on [Canadian] Tomb of Unknown Soldier:

A lone, unemployed Canadian donned a Maple Leaf-red sweater Tuesday and stood guard under a blistering midday sun by the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier near the National War Memorial.

Authorities haven't decided yet how they'll improve security after the memorial was desecrated on Canada Day, but Don Dawson wasn't going to wait for them to make up their minds.

He draped a vintage Canadian Legion flag — a British ensign with a green maple leaf imposed in the centre — over his shoulder and stood rigidly at attention.

"I got up this morning and asked myself what I could do about this, and I decided to come here out of respect for all the soldiers who died fighting for the freedom of Canada," said Mr. Dawson, who spent the whole day at the site.

Three young men were photographed urinating on the memorial on Canada Day. Police were looking for the three on Tuesday and asked them to come forward.

Lucianne commenter Mrs. Tanto sums it up:
I don't believe this is only a Canadian problem. I believe it's more of a western civ problem and the fact that schools no longer teach respect and/or reverence of history. How else would they act toward a monument which has not importance to them? Aftr all, today's teachers and administrators are either the 60's generation of rebellion (mine) or their children brought up in permissiveness...
H/T: The always respectful Donnah Cracker

Posted by Kyer at 12:10 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Dubya turns 60

Happy Birthday, President Bush!

Posted by Kyer at 11:41 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 03, 2006

Pope refuses to pick fav. in Italy-Germany contest

C'mon Mr. Ratzinger, this is no time to sit on the fence! :)

Pope impartial over Germany-Italy semifinal:

VATICAN CITY (AP) - The papal apartment lights were on late when Germany beat Argentina last week. Will they be on late again when Germany plays Italy on Tuesday for a spot in the World Cup final?

The German-born Pope Benedict XVI told organizing committee head Franz Beckenbauer at the Vatican in October that he would watch "the most important games" and asked about the German team.

However, during the Germany-Italy semifinal in Dortmund, Germany, the pontiff's allegiance will be split between the two countries, Benedict's personal secretary was quoted as saying by Italian newspapers.

Monsignor Georg Ganswein said that "the pope is always impartial" and that his heart "will beat both for Germany and Italy," according to Gazzetta dello Sport and other Sunday dailies.

That's almost as bad as a girlfriend refusing to pick between two football teams because they both have pretty uniforms.


In all seriousness though, what a tough spot to be in! Rooting for YOUR home team, or your "new" home team?

Kinda reminds me how when my grandpa moved from New York state to south Jersey, he started pulling for the Phillies AND the Yanks.

Looking back I don't understand how the universe didn't split.

Posted by Kyer at 11:35 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 02, 2006

Taking the NYTimes to task = veiled anti-Semitism

When Geography 'Equals' Bigotry

Nancy Pelosi = "Over-her-head, out-of-touch-millionaire, with rhetorical skills that make George Bush look like Cicero."

New York Times = "Unelected, arrogant, defeatist, liberal establishment, family-controlled newspaper, the publisher of which is at the helm because of his mother and father."

'Progressive' = "Backward-looking, stuck-for-an-answer-when-greeted, insolent depressive."

Accurate but false.

Or whatever it is.


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