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Wednesday, December 21, 2005

It's my Blog-i-versary

Wow. I've been blogging for a year now. Yep, this month marks my one-year blog-i-versary.

Thanks to Patti for giving me the chance to take over this blog she started, and thanks to all of you who stop by to read what's posted here.

As a little bit of nostalgia, here's one of my first posts.

Here's one of my favorites - also an earlier one, and it's my first blog-rant.

Here's the one that got the most attention.

Tank battalion grants 'wish' for 6-year-old
Lance Cpl. Lucian Friel2nd Marine Division
Most children grow up playing with trucks and tanks, but few of them have the chance to ever experience riding the “Iron Horse.” Thanks to the Make-a-Wish Foundation and the Marines of 2nd Tank Battalion, 2nd Marine Division, that experience came....

Today in History

1163 - Hurricane hits villages in Holland/Friesland, causing floods
1620 - 103 Mayflower pilgrims land at Plymouth Rock
1650 - Johan de Witt installed as Dutch pension advisor of Dordrecht
1784 - John Jay becomes 1st US Secretary of State (foreign affairs)
1788 - Hue Tay Son becomes emperor Quang Trung of Vietnam
1829 - 1st stone arch railroad bridge in US dedicated, Baltimore
1835 - HMS Beagle sails into Bay of Islands (New Zealand)
1864 - General Sherman conquers Savannah
1866 - Cheyennes, Arapho's, Sioux, Fetterman Massacre
1891 - 18 students play 1st basketball game (Springfield College)
1898 - Scientists Pierre & Marie Curie discover radium
1907 - Dutch government of De Master falls due to war budget
1909 - University of Copenhagen rejects Cook's claim that he was 1st to North Pole
1910 - Explosion in coal mine in Hulton England, 344 mine workers dies
1912 - Denmark, Norway & Sweden declare neutrality in Comende war
1913 - 1st crossword puzzle (with 32 clues) printed in New York World
1919 - J Edgar Hoover deports anarchists/feminist Emma Goldman to Russia
1921 - Supreme Court rules labor injunctions & picketing unconstitutional
1923 - Nepal changes from British protectorate to independent nation
1929 - 1st US group hospital insurance plan instituted, Dallas TX
1933 - Newfoundland reverts to being a crown colony
1937 - 1st feature-length color & sound cartoon premieres (Disney's Snow White)
1939 - Hitler named Adolf Eichmann leader of "Referat IV B"
1941 - German submarine U-567 sinks
1942 - US Supreme court declares Nevada separation legal
1946 - Earthquake in South Japan, kills 1,086; Frank Capra's "It's a Wonderful Life" premieres
1948 - State of Eire (formerly Irish Free State) declares its independence
1949 - Dutch 1st Chamber accept soeveregnty of Indonesia
1951 - Joe DiMaggio announces his retirement
1952 - Broadway Tunnel opens in San Francisco
1954 - Dr Sam Sheppard is convicted of his wife, Marilyn's murder
1957 - Indonesia proclaims end to state of war
1958 - Charles De Gaulle wins 7 year term as 1st President of 5th Republic of France
1959 - Citizens of Deerfield IL block building of interracial housing
1961 - JFK & British PM MacMillan meet in Bermuda
1962 - US & Cuba accord, releases bay of pigs captive
1966 - USSR launches Luna 13; soft-landed in Oceanus Procellarum
1968 - Apollo 8 (Frank Borman, Jim Lovell & Bill Anders) 1st manned Moon voyage
1969 - Vince Lombardi (Redskins) coaches his last football game, losing
1971 - UN Security Council chooses Kurt Waldheim as 4th Secretary General
1972 - Soviet Union signs a separate peace with East Germany
1973 - Israel, Egypt, Syria, Jordan, US & USSR meet in Geneva
1975 - Madagascar adopts constitution
1976 - Patricia R Harris named Secretary of HUD; UN General Assembly passes a resolution declaring 1979-Year of Child
1978 - Police in Des Plaines IL, arrest John Wayne Gacy Jr for murder
1979 - Zimbabwe adopts constitution
1984 - USSR launches Vega 2 for fly-by of Halley's Comet
1985 - ARCO Anchorage runs aground near Port Angeles WA
1987 - Soyuz TM-4 carries 3 cosmonauts (Musa Manarov, Anatoly Levchenko & Vladimir Titov) to space station Mir
1988 - New York bound Pan Am jumbo jet (Flight 103) explodes over Scotland, killing all 259 people on the plane and 11 people on the ground; Vladimir Titov, Anatoly Levchenko & Musa Manarov return to earth (a year) with Chretien
1989 - Romania's dictator Nicolae Ceausescu's final speech (he is executed 12/25); US invades Panamá and ousts General Noriega; Vice-President Quayle sends out 30,000 Xmas cards with word beacon spelled beakon
1991 - El Sayid Nosair acquitted of killing Meir Kahane; Soviet Union formally dissolves 11 of 12 republics sign treaty forming Commonwealth of Independent States
1994 - Bomb goes off on #4 train on Fulton Street NYC

1117 - Thomas Becket, archbishop of Canterbury
1518 - Mark van Vaernewijck, Flemish nobleman/politician
1537 - Johan III, king of Sweden (1569-92)
1804 - Benjamin Disraeli (Tory), British PM (1868, 1874-80)
1832 - John Henry Ketcham, Union Brevet Major General
1860 - Henrietta Szold,founder (Hadassah)
1874 - Juan Bautista Sacasa,President of Nicaragua (1932-36)
1879 - Joseph Stalin (Dzoegashvili), Russian dictator; murdered 11,000,000
1890 - Fred M. Vinson, US Supreme Court Justice (1946-53)
1891 - John W. McCormack, Speaker of the House (1962-70)
1896 - Carl Romme, Dutch catholic foreman/KVP-Minister of Socialist Business; Constantine Rokossovski Russian marshal/vice-premier of Poland
1898 - Ira S. Bowen, US physicist/astronomer (Mount Wilson/Palomar)
1909 - George Ball, lawyer/UnderSecretary of state
1918 - Donald Regan, White House staffer/US Secretary of Treasury (1981-85); Kurt Waldheim, Nazi/4th UN Secretary-General (1972-81)/Austrian President (1986-92)
1945 - Millie Hughes-Fulford, astronaut (STS 40)
1948 - Willem Vermeend, Dutch economist/UnderSecretary of Finance (1994-)

0918 - Conrad I, Duke of Franconia/German King (911-918)
1308 - Henry I the Child, 1st landgrave of Hessen (1256-1308)
1429 - Jacquemart de Bléharies Tournay, "heretic", burned to death
1597 - Petrus Canisius, Dutch jesuit/saint, dies at 76
1674 - Rutger van Haersolte, viceroy of Overijsselse, dies at about 66
1921 - P.B.S. Pinchback, major Reconstruction politician, dies at 84
1928 - Luigi Cadorna, Italian fieldmarshal (WWI, Caporetto), dies at 78
1937 - Frank Kellog, US foreign minister (Nobel 1929), dies at 80
1940 - F[rancis] Scott [Key] Fitzgerald, author (Great Gatsby, Zelda), of a heart attack in Hollywood at 44
1945 - George S. Patton, US general (Sicily/Normandy), in car accident in Heidelberg at 60
1994 - Dean Rusk, US Secretary of State, dies at 85
1997 - Michael Lyne air-marshal, dies at 78

Reported Missing in Action
Glenn, Danny Elloy, USN (OK); A4C shot down, released by DRV March, 1973 - retired as a Commander - alive and well as of 1998

Scurlock, Lee D., US Army SF (OH); shot while on rope ladder during extraction, and fell

Allee, Richard K., USAF (NY); F105D shot down, remains returned 1996 - ID'd April, 1998

The following USAF personnel reported MIA when their B52G was shot down:
Bebus, Charles J. (MN); gunner, remains returned November, 1988

Beens, Lynn R. (UT); crew, released by DRV March, 1973 - retired as a Major - alive as of 1998

Heggen, Keith R. (IA); crew, Killed in Captivity - remains returned March, 1974

Johnson, Edward Harvey (OR); crew, remains returned May, 1989

Lynn, Robert Ray (IL); EWO, remains returned October, 1988

Nagahiro, James Y. (HI); pilot, released by DRV March, 1973 - retired as a Colonel - alive as of 1998

Walsh, Donovan K. (NE); co-pilot, remains returned Ocgtober, 1988 - ID'd December, 1988

The following USAF personnel reported MIA when their B62G was shot down:
Craddock, Randall J. (OK); remains returned May, 1989

Darr, Charles E. (AR); remains returned 1988

Kirby, Bobby A. (GA); remains returned July, 1989

Lockhart, George B. (TX); remains returned April, 1989

Lollar, James Leon (MS); released by DRV March, 1973 - alive as of 1998

Perry, Ronald D. (TN); remains returned December, 1975

The following USAF personnel reported MIA when their AC130A was shot down:
Birch, Joel Ray (AZ); partial remains recovered in 1972

Dickens, Delma E., (GA); remains returned February, 1985

Elliott, Robert T. (AR); remains returned February, 1985

Fenter, Charles F. (AZ); remains returned February, 1985 - family disputes

Fuller, James R. (TX); remains returned February, 1985 - ID rescinded

Hart, Thomas T. III (FL); remains returned February, 1985 - ID rescinded

Kroboth, Stanley N. (GA); remains returned February, 1985

Lagerwall, Harry R. (NY); remains returned February, 1985

Liles, Robert L., Jr. (LA); remains returned February, 1985

MacDonald, George D. (IL); remains returned February, 1985 - ID rescinded

Meder, Paul O. (NY); remains returned February, 1985

Reaid, Rollie K. (AL); remains returned February, 1985

Walsh, Francis A. (CT); remains returned February, 1985

Winningham, John Q. (CA); remains returned February, 1985

Also reported MIA in 1972
Caffarelli, Charles J., USAF (PA); F111A shot down (w/Stafford)

Gould, Frank A. USAF (NY); B52G shot down (radar navigator), likely KIA - all other crew rescued)

Graustein, Robert Stewart, USN (ME); A6A shot down - remains returned December, 1985

Higdon, Kenneth H., USN (CA); A6A shot down(w/Nakagawa), released by DRV February, 1973 (injured) - alive as of 1999

Nakagawa, Gordon R., USN (CA); A6A shot down (pilot, w/Higdon), released by DRV February, 1973 - retired as a Captain - alive as of 1998

Wade, Barton Scott, USN (IN); A6A shot down - remains returned December, 1985

Yuletide Blogging

I'm going to be putting up holiday messages for our heros on Christmas Day -
please send your well wishes to me for posting!

SOUTHWEST ASIA (AFPN) -- Secretary of the Air Force Michael W. Wynne goes on a tour with Col. Mohsen Parhizkar, the commander of the 379th Expeditionary Mission Support Group. This is Secretary Wynne's first tour to the region. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Rhiannon Willard)

Three Times the Charm

Three times now—three times this year—millions of Iraqis have come out swinging and voting. Hearing the news about the high turnout (as high as 75% in some regions) and low incidence of violence during the elections in Iraq yesterday, I have to wonder how many times Iraqis have to demonstrate their commitment to freedom and democracy before the world starts to believe it.

Michael Yon's latest is up.

Washington, D.C. (Dec. 19, 2005) – President of the United States George Bush lends a hand in this year's "Toys for Tots" campaign by loading up bags of gifts at the Marine Corps Reserve Center on board Naval District Washington Anacostia Annex. The Marine Corps sponsored not-for-profit public charity aims to create a sense of recognition, confidence and positive memories among the world's youth.
U.S. Navy photo by Journalist 2nd Class Jake Joy

A Dark Day in the War on Terror

I almost drove off the road hearing the news last evening on my way home from work:

TWA Hijacker Released From German Prison

This morning brought the reaction:

Hijacker's release angers U.S., slain man's family

I posted about the hijacking of TWA flight 847 on that grim anniversary in June. And unfortunately, I am now posting about the release of Mohammed Ali Hamadi, one of the murderers in that horrible hijacking. He had served only 19 years of his life sentence. Robert Dean Stethem will get no parole for his life sentence.

The U.S. is attempting to have Lebanon turn him over, but there is no extradition treaty with that country.

On the second day of the seizure, the hijackers beat and shot to death Stethem, 23, of Waldorf, Md., and dumped his body onto the runway in Beirut.

Witnesses later identified Hamadi as having beaten the tied-up Stethem. According to testimony at Hamadi's trial, when Stethem complained about his bonds, Hamadi responded: "Let the pig suffer."

My Two Cents? We MUST bring this murderer to the justice the German court system refused to enforce. The U.S. should use all resources at its disposal to see that Hamadi's celebration of his freedom is short-lived, and that Robert Dean Stethem and his family are granted justice.

So blog, contact your legislators - do whatever it takes to ensure that Hamadi gets exactly the same amount of mercy shown to Stethem - NONE.

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by Spc. Gul A Alisan
December 21, 2005
A Soldier from Company A, 720th Military Police Battalion, 151st Field Artillery Regiment, reacts to small-arms fire during a patrol in the Al Madain section of Baghdad. This photo appeared on

Joshua Sparling Update

Fox and Friends had an update on Joshua Sparling, the wounded Hero who received this hateful card.

Joshua says that he has received about 8,000 cards since his story was first brought to light, and then run on Fox News. He said the response "just proves why it's worth fighting for Americans...the inflow of cards has been staggering."

His father has helped him some of the gifts to other wounded heroes on that ward, some of whom are Joshua's buddies, wounded in the same IED attack that sent him to Walter Reed.

And there's more good news - Joshua said he just got out of surgery, and it looks like he will probably keep his leg.

He has sent hundreds of thank yous, and passed along his thanks to everyone who has written or sent packages.

As soon as he is able, he said he is "going to be going back" for all the people who have written.

ORDNANCE DISPOSAL — U.S. Army Sgt. 1st Class Neil Morrison, an explosive ordnance disposal technician with the 710th Ordnance Company, packs a 1,000-pound bomb with plastic explosives in Taji, Iraq, Dec. 16, 2005. Third Brigade, 1st Armored Division was tasked with management of the Taji Ammo Dump and diligently worked with contractors and explosive ordnance disposal teams to clear the compound of all munitions. U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Kevin Bromley, C Team

In Today's News - Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Quote of the Day
"Most people do not really want freedom,
because freedom involves responsibility,
and most people are frightened of responsibility."
-- Sigmund Freud

News of Note
Operation Iraqi Freedom
Saddam Back in Court
U.S. Army Finds Buried Ammunition Cache in Iraq
Witness Recounts Torture by Saddam Regime
Rumsfeld: War Can Be Lost Only in U.S. - Story

Operation Enduring Freedom
Rumsfeld: U.S. Committed To Afghanistan
Afghan lawmakers squabble in first full legislative session

Welcome Home
Ohio Guard Maintenance Unit Returns from Deployment

Homeland Security / War on Terror
Report: SurveillanceJudge Steps Down
Concerned over NSA program
Debate Rages Over Legality of NSA Wiretap Program
Analysis: Bush ties surveillance to 9/11 law
Jordan Names Anti-Terror General, Cabinet
Anti-terrorist police arrest man in plot

Supreme Court
Judiciary Democrats want Alito papers

Shark Attacks Rowing Boat
Baby Penguin Birdnapped
This Santa has just the ticket for cheer
Drunk had twice the lethal alcohol level
Gorillas go through menopause, too
'Snowzilla' takes over neighborhood
Travel, weaker chemicals letting bedbugs bite

Other News of Note
Mayor Begs Schwarzenegger Not to Cut Ties
(They threatened to take his name off of things in his Austrian hometown because he didn't grant clemency for a murderer - changed their tune now that Schwarzenegger said, basically, 'Fine - just do it by the end of the month.' - Heh)
Serb: I wish I had killed man who filmed executions
Why GIs don't re-enlist: long hours, not danger

Fox News
Palestinian Officials MayCancel Elections- Gunmen Nab Teachers
NY Transit Strike: Day Two
Pa. Judge Strikes Intelligent Design in School
NTSB: Crashed Miami Plane Had Cracks
Yanks Steal Damon From Sox
Lakers' Bryant Scores 62
Google, AOL Seal $1B Deal
GOPers Talk Deficit Cuts
Stocks to Watch: FedEx, 3Com

Reuters: Top News
Third-quarter growth cut, still best since 2004
Strike forces NY commuters to improvise
Iran holds tough line as talks resume
Senate vote on Alaska drilling too close to call
Bin Laden may be unable to command: Rumsfeld Video
US, EU pursued own interests at WTO meet: Oxfam
New Orleans vendors tout mold removal and luxuries
Cheney ready for close Senate budget vote
New toxic slick cuts river water supplies in China
Scores of stranded whales rescued off New Zealand
Men face criminal charge for Xbox tampering
Google takes 5 pct stake in AOL in new ad deal
Mexican gangs force Indians to grow opium
"Little Stalin" Kadyrov runs Russia's Chechnya
New use for tobacco could save lives: US researcher
US approves new drug for advanced kidney cancer
Calpine Corp. files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy
Trends and Innovation
IBM to buy Micromuse for $865 million
Texas Instruments to buy Chipcon for $200 million
GM shares slip on Kerkorian sale, Taser up
Bayer shares rise on U.S. approval for key drug

AP World News
Two Teachers Abducted in Gaza Released
Palestinians Threaten to Cancel Elections
Sunnis, Shiites Discuss Election Gripes
EU Diplomats Pessimistic About Iran Talks
Russian City's Water Cut; Spill Approaches
Hong Kong Lawmakers Reject Government Plan
Hwang's Ex-Colleague Seeks Wider Inquiry
Next Bolivian Leader Pledges Coca Control
Mexico Vows to Block Border-Wall Extension
Colombian Rebels Free 29 Police Hostages
Passenger Trains Collide Near Rome; 50 Hurt
Rebel Weapons Destroyed in Indonesia
Venezuela, DEA to Sign New Agreement
Cuba Gov't TV Criticizes New U.S. Diplomat

The Seattle Times
L.A. violinist, his father and son burned
Judge rules against Pa. biology curriculum
EU diplomats pessimistic about Iran talks
NOTEBOOK: Cheney comfortable in the air
Kyl aims to emerge from McCain's shadow
Senate poised for showdown on the budget
Donors underwrite DeLay's deluxe lifestyle
Judge's stinging decision against intelligent design may have broad impact
Cheney halts trip to vote on budget
EPA proposes stricter rules on soot
Mexicans angered by border proposal
Report: Katrina weaker than thought at landfall
Plane's right wing detached
Study: A third of teens would fail fitness test
Hundreds gather to mourn ex-gang leader Williams
Rules can drain value from holiday gift card
Leader stays true to his roots
U.N. approves peace resolutions
Russia uses natural-gas producer to exert power
Trial begins in killings captured on videotape
Doctors tell Sharon: Lose weight
Lobbyist's plea deal reportedly in works

Chicago Sun-Times
'Get your plane off my kids' (Midway incident)
At O'Hare, step to the next line
Body found in river is missing Mass. man
Strip-search ruling lets 4,000 inmates sue
Woman, 85, fights off thief posing as repairman
Trucking firm owner: I paid bribes for city work
Celebrities denounce execution
Cheney calls for strong presidential power
Iranians say rock 'n' roll will never die
Court: Affirmative action ban must be placed on Michigan ballot
U.S. databank of umbilical cord blood set up
Thousands jump at opportunity to rename kangaroo meat
Cops: Priest fondled kid during 'King Kong'
Prosecutor was asked to take lie detector before drowning
New leader of Bolivia: Zero cocaine, not zero coca

Boston Globe: World
US raises pressure on UN to change
On bird flu, China now eager to help, US says
Ex-Sinn Fein official says he regrets espionage
A verdict leaves questions in Indonesia
Khmer Rouge victims and executioners seek reconciliation
More questions on cloning papers
Shanghai's goal: better toilets, image
2005 Year in Review
Rumsfeld Doubts Bin Laden in Full Command
U.S. Army Digs up Weapons Cache
Marine Fatally Shot in Sleep
Saddam Trial Resumes
'Active Denial System' Sought for Iraq

CENTCOM: News Releases

Department of Defense
Hadley Nixes Talk on Early Troop Withdrawal - Story
U.S. Troop Levels in Afghanistan to Drop - Story Video
Ambassador: 2006 Will Focus on Police - Story
Envoy Would Like a 'Cross-ethnic' Iraq Government

Humvee Crews Test Cooling Vests in Iraq - Story

USO Visits U.S. Troops in Kuwait
New Counter-IED Lanes Train Troops Before Iraq Duty

NFL Player Guards America - Story

Texas Band Honors Troops - Story
USO Troupe Visits Kandahar
'Hope and Freedom' Boosts Morale

Secretary of Defense Holiday Message
Joint Chiefs Chairman Holiday Message


Army Unit Closer to Full Readiness
Cheney Visits Iraq, Lauds Vote
Estonian Troops Help Secure Future
Marine Killed, Iraqis Begin New Op
Iraqis Support Anti-Terror Ops
Iraq to Have Say in Troop Levels
Report: Strategy for Victory in Iraq
Iraq Daily Update
This Week in Iraq (pdf)
Multinational Force Iraq
Eye on Iraq Update (pdf)
State Dept. Weekly Iraq Report (pdf)
'Boots on the Ground' Audio Archive
Iraq Reconstruction

Cheneys Attend Parliament Session
National Assembly to Convene
Afghanistan Daily Update

Retreat From Iraq 'Wrong Strategy'
Offense Key to Winning
Cheney Thanks Deployed Troops
Different War, Unique Stress
Troops Embody American Spirit
Review for Intel-Gathering System
Fact Sheet: War on Terror
Fact Sheet: Terror Plots Disrupted
Waging and Winning the War on Terror
Terrorism Timeline
Terrorism Knowledge Base

Strike Group Trains for Deployment
Two Cav Units Head Back to Iraq
Military Always Has Banned Abuse
National Guard, Reserve Update

Officials Identify Marine Casualty - Story

Al Azamiyah Al Basrah Al Hillah Al Karkh Al Kazimiyah Al Kut An Nasiriyah Baghdad Baqubah Mosul Najaf Nineveh Tall Kayf

Bost/Laskar Ghurian Herat Kabul Qandahar


National Hurricane Center