Thursday, November 30, 2006

Summary of All Employee Meeting

We had our all employee rah-rah yesterday. In summary; "Blah, blah, blah....BOP* is huge..... Combined ratio is very good....yada, yada, yada. If you keep up the good work, the streets will be paved with gold and we'll all be farting through silk!"

Sounds good to me.

* BOP = Business Operating Profit - this is where everyone's bonus, if any, comes from...

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Two organizations I have joined this past year...

First, I answered the call of the Iowahawk, and I enlisted in...the Legion of Dumb.

Not content with that glory, I soon found another group worthy of joining...

Behold, the League of Disguntled Majors!

A Second Blogging Indentity

Anyone who reads here should be familiar with the Inner Prop's second blogging home - Illini Six. If you are not, you should sit in the corner and feel much shame...well, not really, but you should go give it a look.

As for me, I was asked by the Milblogging legend, Greyhawk (an OEF vet and blogger extraordinare) to join the crew at Milblogs. The site features a slew of milbloggers, from all the services, as well as military spouses and Moms. Consider giving it a look too.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Another revelatory remark by a politician

See if the statement I italicized sounds familiar...

WALLACE: Congressman Rangel, you caused quite a stir this week when you said that you're going to introduce a bill to reinstate the draft. Here's what you said this week in a newspaper article. Let's take a look. "The great majority of people bearing arms in this country, for this country in Iraq, are from the poorer communities in our inner cities and rural areas."
But a recent and very detailed study by the
Heritage Foundation, Congressman, found the following and I'm going to put that up: 13 percent of recruits are from the poorest neighborhoods. That's less than the national average of people living in those neighborhoods. Ninety-seven percent of recruits have high school diplomas. Among all Americans, the graduation rate is under 80 percent. And blacks make up 14.5 percent of recruits for the military; the national average is 12 percent.
Congressman, in fact, contrary to what you've been saying, isn't the volunteer army better educated and more well-to-do than the general population?
RANGEL: Of course not. I want to make it abundantly clear that I have been advocating a draft ever since the president has been talking about war, and none of this comes within the jurisdiction of the Ways and Means Committee.
But I want to make it abundantly clear, if there's anyone who believes that these youngsters want to fight, as the Pentagon and some generals have said, you can just forget about it. No young, bright individual wants to fight just because of a bonus and just because of educational benefits. And most all of them come from communities of very, very high unemployment.
If a young fellow has an option of having a decent career or joining the Army to fight in Iraq, you can bet your life that he would not be in Iraq.
So anyone who supports the war and is against everyone sharing in the sacrifice is being hypocritical about the whole thing. The record is clear, and once we are able to get hearings on this, everyone will see what they already know, and that is that those who have the least opportunities at this age find themselves in the military, as I did when I was 18 years old.

Full transcript here. [I upgraded the Heritage link directly to the study too].

Yeah, quite revealing, Rep Rangel. Another politician saying that only the desperate and futureless bother to fight. Please. Sir, will you make no allowance that some of us actually serve because we want to? No press gangs roam the streets, no recruits wake up hung over and realizing they have been shanghaied into taking the King's shilling. You appear to have lost touch in the 50 years since you last served. Please try to reaquaint yourself with who is in the service these days - then come back and talk to the press.

Not that you seem to watch your words lately...

[h/t Maggie Katzen, via the Signaleer]

Friday, November 24, 2006

News of Afghanistan ٣٠ - the Thanksgiving Edition

In the spirit of our Thanksgiving Holdiay, I thought I would concentrate this edition on the things Afghanistan (and I) have to be thankful for.



Polio Vaccination Targets Children In Afghanistan's South
Afghanistan has begun its latest drive to vaccinate millions of children under the age of 5 against the crippling polio virus, officials from the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) have said, IRNA reported on November 21. The three-day campaign is the fifth this year and was launched on November 19 by the Public Health Ministry, with the support of the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), the World Health Organization (WHO), Rotary International, and other partners. Afghanistan, one of just four countries in the world where polio is endemic, has seen the number of people suffering from the disease surge this year. There have been 29 confirmed polio cases in 2006, compared to just nine cases last year, according to the WHO in Kabul. "This is a massive campaign and involves 34,000 volunteers administering drops of polio vaccine to 7.2 million children across the country," UNAMA spokesman Adrian Edwards said in Kabul.

Suicide bombers often fail to hit target in Afghanistan

Hamid Karzai presented Indira Gandi Prize for Peace

photo: USAF file/SRA Bethann Hunt

Afghanistan’s only female minister takes on domestic violence

Afghan Woman’s Affairs Minister Hussn Banu Ghazanfar is trying to draft laws making violence against women illegal in Afghanistan, and to push the government to teach women and society about the rights women deserve. Picture: AP

Some Pashtuns are trying.

Abdul Jabbar Sabit, and those like him.

For the fight going better


For my brothers-in-arms in Afghanistan

Photo by Spc. Ethan AndersonNovember 22, 2006 Soldiers from Company B, 2nd Battalion, 87th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division take cover after receiving fire from insurgents in Paktika Province, Afghanistan.


For men like Officer Abbarker

Ghazni, Afghanistan Uniformed personnel from other countries also give others something to be thankful about. In a display of selfless heroism, Afghan National Police Officer Abbarker died protecting the lives of the Andar District governor, his fellow police officers and coalition soldiers. While guarding the Miri District Center in the District of Ghazni, Abbarker noticed that a man had bypassed the security checkpoint and was attempting to run into the center. Abbarker immediately suspected foul play and gave chase to stop the intruder. He tackled the man, forcing him away from the others. As he wrestled to restrain the man, the intruder detonated a vest packed with explosives, killing himself and the brave Abbarker. Abbarker's actions cost him his life, but in so doing, he saved the lives of others. Abdul Rhaim, the Andar District governor, said Abbarker was a brave soldier and that he was deeply grateful for his unselfish sacrifice. "The honor and bravery of this man amazes me," said Lt. Col. Steven Gilbert, commander of Task Force Iron Grays. "His actions have saved the lives of many fellow Afghans and coalition forces from the cowardly actions of a suicide bomber. His great sacrifice will not be in vain."

I am thankful for the experience of serving in Afghanistan. Why would I be thankful for spending 14 months away from family, friends and home? Since I have returned, I have so much more enjoyed and appreciated the magnificence of freedom, the generous spirit of so many, the selflessness I encountered in so many.

I am thankful for seeing (and benefitting from!) the example setting, leadership and I don't know how else to describe it but "wisdom", of CSM Bones. I am thankful that the Inner Prop could be handed an almost impossible job, in an awful situation, and show what determination, ethical behavior, selfless service and commitment can accomplish. I am also thankful they share some of that with us on this blog.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Gratutious Afghanistan Photo, yet again.

So, why did I post this picture of RAF Regiment Squadron leader Rich Langley with a elder from a village in Parwan? Because I can!

Yet another disappointing Illinois Senator

The junior US Senator from IL has a plan. In a single word it is "quit". From the article linked here, I draw your attention to this gem:

"We know these countries want us to fail and we should remain steadfast in our opposition to their support of terrorism and Iran's nuclear ambitions," Obama said. "But neither Iran nor Syria want to see a security vacuum in Iraq filled with chaos, terrorism, refugees and violence as it could have a destabilizing effect on the entire region and within Iran and Syria themselves "

The Iranians Syria don't want to see a security vacuum, eh? They have been striving mightily to get us out of Iraq, of course they want a vacuum. They want it, so that they may fill it.

Oh, and for "negotiating Iraq's future with neighboring Iran and Syria"... please. I can imagine what that conversation would look like...

US Representative: OK, lets talk about Iraq!

Iranian and Syrian Representatives: Why? You're leaving... Six months at the most, right?

US Representative: Uh, something like that. But you don't want instability in Iraq, so we need to cooperate!

Iranian and Syrian Representatives: Riiight, and if we do whatever our despotic/theocratic regime wants? What are you gonna do about it.

US Representative: uh... go to the UN?

Iranian and Syrian Representatives: Sure - we have two names for you. "Russia" and "China".

US Representative: ...

Iranian and Syrian Representatives: Anything else? M'kay, bye.

Monday, November 20, 2006

A Gratutious Afghanistan Photo for today

" think this roof will hold up OK?"
Bagram District Attorney, Kabir Ahmad during the construction of the Gholam-ali District Government Center in the Spring of 2005.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

More evidence of shattered morale

The Inner Prop and I are at drill this weekend. Today we found out that three soldiers will be leaving us .... they have volunteered for OIF. A Master Sergeant, a Staff Sergeant and a Captain have asked, and been granted places with units going over this next rotation. The Staff Sergeant had previously deployed with us to Afghanistan, the Master Sergeant has not deployed yet, and the Captain had previously deployed to Iraq.

Sound like members of a disspirited and broken Army to you, Rep. Murtha?

Friday, November 17, 2006

News of Afghanistan ۲۹

Alokozay Tea at hand (thanks to the World's Greatest Military Contractor™) I'm ready for the News - shall we?

"The business of Afghanistan is business! Really, so please come and invest...please!"

Afghan children in a rain-hit area. Flash floods caused by heavy rains have killed nearly 50 people in western Afghanistan with 60 more missing, the Afghan health ministry said.(AFP/File/Joel Robine)

Man, I love!


Does this mean more golf outings?

PRT's - we help with everything.

photo: Paula Bronstein/Getty Images

"Gee, thanks for the advice"

I hate this - I don't ever want this type of thing to happen again. Unfortunately, it will for the near future.

I agree with Kenzo Oshima - I think some folks are having a little attack of turf defensiveness.

Still working on that press relations thingie, Wolesi Jirga?

"You want answers? I've got answers!"

Take that, Pakistan!

Thursday, November 16, 2006


"Hey, that is unpleasant..."

Got an arthrogram on my left shoulder. I will have to say, having a needle slipped into my shoulder joint to fill it up with dye was a tad uncomfortable. I will try to get my regular News of Afghanistan up tomorrow, but between this and Guard drill this weekend, not much else.

UPDATE: So this afternoon I get an EMG on the other arm... I don't know if I just left a session with Commander Burge or the Egyptian Secret Police. What is with all the needles and electrical shocks?!

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Another lost Fighter from Kohe Safi

Gul Zaman was killed by Taliban 3 Sept 2006 in Kohe Safi. He was the Security Chief and worked very hard to get his town benefits and jobs from Bagram. Kohe Safi was always a key in the fight against the Russians and had their mix of Taliban, Northern Alliance, and HIG. I had the opportunity to travel to the area with our resident Brit. Another Kipling moment for me, where I am sure MAJ John was trapped inside the wire for some S-5 targeting meeting. Here are pics of him and Matt the Brit, his brother who is a Battalion Commander in the ANA, and our group over looking the Bagram valley from the East.

Unfortunate Advertising Symbol Choice of the Year

Whe I forst saw the new Budweiser Select logo, it sure looked familiar.

Then I remebered... When I was an Assistant State's Attorney I used to see this stuff all the time - Latin Kings' symbols.

An unfortunate, 5 point crown choice of logo...

UPDATE: I am not the only one seeing gang signs out there...

Illinois - Will the Defendant Please Rise?

That was the winning motto in Chicago Tribune columnist, John Kass' contest a while back. Mr. Kass, upon the occassion of former Governor George Ryan being indicted (later convicted) had suggested replacing the motto on Illinois license plates from "Land of Lincoln".

It seems that the people of my great state just don't care, however. Current players, old cons, whatevah... Current, all but beatified pols, yawn. Members of the incoming 'most ethical Congress ever' - boring.

We seem to be getting what we deserve here in the Land of Lincoln (wept).

Monday, November 13, 2006


"scruple-free German windfarm burglars".

Heh. Thanks to Tim Blair for cheering me up with that one.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Bad news from Afghanistan

I just learned an Afghan security offical I worked with while S-5 of TF Eagle was killed a while back. Gul Zaman worked a really wild area - the Koh-e Safi. I didn’t really go to the place much, as I contented myself with almost blowing up in a minefield on the border of the Koh-e Safi (in Ashrafkhel).

The report says it was Taliban, but it easily could have been smugglers, rivals, or whatnot. Zaman was quite a character, but he really did want his area to stop being a quasi-Wild West.

I am asking CSM Bones to add what he can - he actually went into the Koh-e Safi. I did manage to steer a couple of aid projects to Gul Zaman's area, but I wish I could have done more for the people of that area.


Yea Me Day!

That is how I jokingly refer to Veteran's Day. It's the one day a year I pat myself on the back about serving.

Of course, it was Armistice Day, first of all. It meant something different back in the day.

"Welcome Home,"Barbelle, Albert W., illustrator, Ed. G. Nelson, music, Bud Green, words, 1918.
Now days I find myself at my kids school on Veteran's Day (or the last school day before Veteran's Day if it is a Saturday like this year) for an observance program.

"Thanks kids!"

I was much more reflective last year at this time. I guess this year I am a little more relaxed - it helps a bit that I am not just back from Operation Crescent Relief or Afghanistan. Maybe that extra hour of sleep and third cup of coffee have helped too.

Of course, I fully intend to remember those who should be remembered (and thanked!) today. Uncle Jack , my Dad, and one of old mentors, SFC Chuck Reed.

Later I will pat myself on the treating myself to some Amarillo Cheese Fries! Thank me very much.

UPDATE: Why cheese fries? Last year I sat in a Lone Star and enjoyed an order of them while mulling things over (see link above about reflection). They sure were good. I guess this is how goofy traditions get started.

Friday, November 10, 2006

News of Aghanistan ٢٧

I'm knocking this one out early - Veteran's activities at my kids' school, dontchaknow.

A good variety of stories can be found here.

There is fightin' down South!

President Karzai, let us speak of Kabul...

Iranian been working on the raaaiiiilroad, all the live long day.

This may be the only time ever, that I blog anything about Angelina Jolie.

photo: UNHCR/K.McKinsey

Missing Rummy, already.

There is your Taleban Warrior...trying to escape in drag.

So, you say you want to know all about Herat, eh?

Pashtun leader Mohammad Usman Kakar addresses a protest meeting in the Pakistan-Afghan border city of Chaman yesterday. Several thousand ethnic Pashtuns rallied in Chaman yesterday, accusing Pakistan of meddling in Afghanistan's affairs.

photo: John Moore/Getty Images

"We're as mad as Hell and we're not going to take it anymore!"

Unleash the Kiwis!

by Sgt. 1st Class Dexter D. Clouden.

November 6, 2006. Pfc. Raymond Purtee, from the 561st Military Police Company, attached to the 10th Mountain Division, provides convoy security during a patrol near Bagram, Afghanistan.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

8 Chicago Charter Schools to be run by Political group

I taught in some very poor Chicago Schools and I have always been appalled by the the failure of Chicago Public Schools. Only 6 out of 100 students who finish High School actual finish College. The Students and Staff Pay the price along with the community. Millions are spent to no avail. I was surprised to find out 8 Charter schools will be run by a group by the name of the United Neighborhood Organization. This is a strong grass roots organization which is growing as fast as the immigrant population it supports. This group has a model based on the teachings of Saul Alinsky an old school Chicago Radical. I say try anything for these kids, they deserve the best we can provide. But the obvious political agenda of the supporting organization causes concern. Being a Charter school, they have more freedom in setting curriculum. Chicago suffers as one of the most segregated cities in the world. Will these community based schools speed or hamper assimilation?

Tanks, but no Tanks

I question the need for heavy Armor like the Leopards. I think the Russians found out that Main Battle Tanks just attract bad guys and the terrain just sucks for decent maneuver. I think the sight of armor running down the road providing security may fire up the old "Muj". Commander Commander may come out of retirement. Oh, and can we stop dropping ordinance on Canadian Troops? Is the Illinois Air guard back in action? Sorry, I could not resist.

Milblogging - Spreading the word.

I opened my Army e-mail and look what I see:

"Blackfive" is a Milblogger. His name is Matthew Burden and he was also a Major in the Army. What was CENTCOM thanking him for? This:

Blackfive had talked about him on his own site, here.

Good work, Blackfive. Important work. Thanks.

The Duchy of Illinois and the County of Cook

Hereditary rule lives! And the son shall follow the father as the Count of Cook... the son-in law of the ward boss shall remain Duke... the daughter of the Majority Leader shall remain the barrister...

UPDATE: My torpid county - a flabby, Mostly All Republican Sort Of place - remained so.

UPDATE II: Bah. I should think not!

UPDATE III: How could I forget another son...

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Donut Election Update

My Cook County Source of Information™ reports that some nice young men went through his grandmother's nursing home last week and made sure all the elderly folks got assistance in 'early voting'. And the nice young men made sure all the elderly residents voted their ballots with a full Democratic ticket ...

In my torpid county - a flabby, Mostly All Republican Sort Of place, the new electronic voting machines were sluggish in coming online, and the early crowd at my poling place (and others I heard from) was a bit baffled at having to wait 30 minutes to vote a fairly empty ballot [no slew of referenda, and only a couple of judges rention votes]. A few people showed up, snorted in disgust at the line, spun about and left.

I intend on doing the following as the election results start coming in tonight: have dinner with my family, then play with the kids, get them to bed and then sprawl out in some position that will make my torn up left shoulder feel better [arthrogram and MRI next week, whee].

UPDATE: The Election Night cure-all is here.

UPDATE II: My flabby, Mostly All Republican Sort Of County screwed the pooch with the new voting the polls stay open until 8:30pm...and at 5:50pm I received and automated GOTV call mentioning this from the local Congresscritter. Amazing.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Round up the Usual Suspect Reactions!

"But Amnesty International complained!"

A priceless round-up by the AP - they sought out anyone they could latch on to, to complain of the verdict and death sentence Saddam Hussein was handed. Beyond the usual suspects - Socailist politicians, the EU, the Vatican, Amnesty International, UN apparatchiks - they scrape up such such worthy figures as; Hafiz Hussain Ahmed, a senior lawmaker from the Mutahida Majlis-e-Amal coalition, which is critical of Pakistan's military cooperation with the United States, Mahmoud al-Saifi of the Arab Liberation Front, Sonya Sceats, an international law expert at the Chatham House foreign affairs think tank in London, and Chandra Muzaffar, president of the Malaysian-based International Movement for a Just World. A scoundrels list that should prove educational for future reference purposes.

The dead of Jubail were unavailable for comment.

I think I have now ceased to view the AP as a source of fact, but at best a source of data mixed with editorial content.

Oh, and to those bitching about "victor's justice"... Yeah, so? Victory over a terrible despotic/totalitarian ruling cohort. Victory over a "Big Man" and his attendant bloodthirst. Victory over genocide ("never again" right?). Victory over droit de seigneur.

Justice simply consists of one getting what one deserves, Saddam deserves death.

TO the Gallows:
Awad Hamed al Bander, former chief judge in Saddam's Revolutionary Court, Saddam's half-brother Barzan al Tikriti, head of the feared Mukhabarat intelligence service,

TO Prison:
Vice President Taha Yassin Ramadan - life in prison
Abdullah Kazim Ruwayyid, former Ba'ath official - 15 years
Mizhar Abdullah Ruwayyid, former Ba'ath official- 15 years
Ali Dayih Ali, former Ba'ath official - 15 years


Mohammed Azawi Ali, a Ba'ath party official in Dujail, was cleared.

A curious combination - one that works

My daughter was a My Little Pony™ fan, my son is a huge Transformers™ fan. When they used to play together, they would have "Transformer Ponies" events. Apparently, someone else had thought of this combination a while ago. And they filmed it...

Check it out HERE. Well, only if you like seeing something like a world conquering robot trampled by a herd of baby ponies seeking candy...

Friday, November 03, 2006

Guya Principal

It's National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) again and I've fallen victim to peer pressure (actually Major John pressure). I signed up to write a comedy/fantasy/scifi novel of at least 50,000 words.

Last year I wrote a YA space opera named Reach Out. The first four chapters can be found on Illini6.

I'm calling it Guya Principal. That's ger in the picture.

I've posted the first chapter on Illini6. Go there and let me know what you think.

News of Afghanistan ۲۸

This week's installment was created at a much more relaxed pace. Why? The World's Greatest Military Contractor™ made sure I have a mug of Alokozay Tea at hand...


So let us get to it!

The morning round up.

Solatia payments made. The worst experience I ever had was one of these...

President Hamid Karzai, right, gestures with an Afghan elder shopkeeper on a main road after laying the foundation stone of the Jamhuriat Hospital in Kabul, on Thursday, Nov. 2, 2006. The modern ten-story hospital funded by China, will be well equipped with 350 beds, and will cost an estimated U.S.$20 million. (AP Photo/Musadeq Sadeq)

The refugee problem just hangs around.

NATO, put up or go away.

photo: U.S. Army by Sgt. 1st Class Dexter D. Clouden

Looonnngggg term talks?

The business of Afghanistan should be business!

Kandahar - you figure it out. All I know is the airport there is mighty important (i.e. lots of pilgrims making the Hajj go through there) and it is a natural center for good times and bad.

China pitches in. Their interests are not as strong as the Iranian ones, but they do care what happens in Afghanistan.

I always wondered where I could get some Afghan music!

"It is much better to have a corrupt businessman than a dangerous warlord"

War? In Afghanistan?! Huh. I guess it is a good thing exhibits like this are around.

e-Ariana's latest editorial cartoon. Oooh, that one hurts.

Thanks, but if I remember corresctly, the US and Japan gave more...

A sniper from the Jalalabad Provincial Reconstruction Team looks for enemy activity along the hilltops near Dur Baba, Afghanistan. Photo by Cpl. Bertha Flores.

This week's Source of Afghan Information might be the best yet...heh heh...

"Hey, it's my website!"

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Tempus, they are at it again!

"Die Humans, die!"
Calling Tempus42, calling Tempus42...another incident of Sciurinae violence.
Enemies List here.

Yeah, file it with the other one

"I sincerely regret that my words were misinterpreted to wrongly imply anything negative about those in uniform, and I personally apologize to any service member, family member, or American who was offended." Sen. John Kerry

Another "I'm sorry if you misinterpreted me" non-apology, apology. I've seen this before from another member of the World's Greatest Deliberative Body.

Whatever. I'll put it in the file with the other one...

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Hmmm, a small area?

"I wish to underline that these systems cannot be used in offensive operations," Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov told Russia Today television in an interview broadcast early Wednesday. "Secondly, they have a limited use as they are capable of protecting a small part of the Iranian territory." [From this]

Maybe a small area like a nuclear facility?

  • Wikablog - The Weblog Directory

  • My blog is worth $60,970.32.
    How much is your blog worth?