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Monday, May 14, 2007

Muzzling the Military, Part II

Recently, the Army's new regulation on blogging was unveiled, prompting a great deal of criticism.

This morning, this headline appears:

Pentagon: NoSpace for MySpace

In summary, the DoD has now begun blocking access to sites like MySpace and YouTube. They claim that the reason is the security risk posed by those sites, and an interest in reducing drag on DoD networks:
"This recreational traffic impacts our official DoD network and bandwidth ability, while posing a significant operational security challenge."
Troops can still access those sites with their own computers - which doesn't help our deployed troops with access only to DoD networks.

All issues with those sites aside, they have represented a link for our troops to their loved ones at home - a place to share videos, pictures, and updates with family and friends back home - and a place where people can find out what's going on from sources other than mainstream media.

In the wake of extensions and a crack-down on bloggers, this could further damage morale. In addition, keep stifling the word coming out of the field, and you look like you have something to hide - even if you don't.

And not to put too fine a point on it, but if operational security and the function of DoD computer systems is severely compromised by a Soldier posting a video on YouTube, or viewing one, then I'm REALLY concerned.


May 14, 2007 - Soldiers participate in a cordon and search for weapons caches and insurgents in Old Baqubah, Iraq, April 2. The Soldiers, from the 2nd Infantry Division, are acting in a courteous and professional manner. Gen. David. H. Petraeus stresses that all troops must take "the moral high ground."

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Help Support G.A.S.P.

Guardian Angels for Soldiers' Pets is one of my favorite Soldiers' Angels projects. I have a small zoo here, and I can't imagine what it would be like to have to leave them for a year - or worse, give them up because I couldn't find anyone to take care of them.

That's where G.A.S.P. comes in. The dedicated volunteers at G.A.S.P. help find loving foster homes for these military pets, so that their owners can be confident that their beloved pets are well taken care of while they're away.

Linda, the co-founder, emailed to pass the word along that G.A.S.P. has made it to the finals in the Kindness in Focus photo contest. The top two finalists will receive a $1,000 donation.

The money can certainly be put to good use by G.A.S.P., ensuring that our Heroes can do their jobs without the worry of what will happen to their animal companions, or the heartache of having to surrender them.

Here's what you need to do:

1. Go to

2. Look for the picture entitled "Mission Accomplished"

3. Follow the directions (below all the picture thumbnails) to find out how to register your vote. (Note, when I clicked the arrow to vote, the "pop-up" showed up at the side of the page, so look to the right if you click to vote and nothing happens)

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Marines from the Parris Island Marine Band pose with Flat Stanley, a journalism project where students create a paper doll to send to friends and family across the country and write journals about his traveling experiences, at the Chow Wagon at the Waterfront Park outdoors concert May 3. During the concert, the band had the opportunity to talk to people in the crowd and show then a different view of the Marine Corps than what they see in advertisement.

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Outrage! WWII Vet Beaten as Spectators Watch!

There just aren't words...

Carjacker Beats 91-Year-Old Man as Bystanders Look On

Monday, May 14, 2007

A 91-year-old World War II veteran was repeatedly beaten in the head by a carjacker in Detroit as a group of people stood by watching.

The beating was caught on surveillance tape outside a Detroit party store. Soon after the tape was released, a 22-year-old man was arrested in connection with the beating. Local news reports say a second man and a woman who accompanied the suspected assailant were also arrested.

The victim, Leonard Sims, is bruised but says he's doing better every day. He was punched in the head 21 times, and was caught between his car door and the car next to his during the attack so he could not escape.

Read the Rest, and keep the barf bucket handy.

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First Lt. Ryan Brewer, an 816th Expeditionary Airlift Squadron pilot, displays one of the Atlanta Braves baseballs being passed around deployed locations. The Georgian native recorded a shout out for the Atlanta home game to be played Sept. 18, on the Air Force's 60th Anniversary. Atlanta will be hosting several events leading up to Air Force Week, Heritage to Horizons, celebration. to be held Oct. 8 to 14 in Atlanta. (U.S. Air Force photo/Capt. Wes Ticer)

Read the story:
'Brave' baseballs make way around deployed bases

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Et tu?

Senator Mitch McConnell, the ranking Republican in the Senate, earned himself an armchair general award over the weekend....speaking with CNN (aptly enough), he was harshly critical of Iraq's progress to date:

"The Iraqi government is a huge disappointment," Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell told CNN'S Late Edition on Sunday.

"So far, they've not been able do anything they promised on the political side," the Kentucky Republican said, citing the Iraqis' failure to pass a new oil revenue bill, hold local elections and dismantle the former Baath Party of Saddam Hussein. "It's a growing frustration."

"Republicans overwhelmingly feel disappointed about the Iraqi government," he added.

If it wasn't so irritating, it would be hilarious.

How's that Iraq war funding bill going, Congress? Oh, and where is that border security plan? And not to be picky or anything, but any progress on Social Security or Medicare? No?

Hmmm...let's change these statements around just a bit...just for fits and giggles. Let's see, what if we try it this way:

"The American government is a huge disappointment." Yeah, some days I'm right on board with that one.

"So far, they've not been able to do anything they promised with regard to illegal immigration / social security reform / border security." Oooh, that works too!

"It's a growing frustration." If it grows anymore, it's going to need it's own room in my house.

"Voters feel overwhelmingly disappointed with the American government." Wow, it's uncanny!

I can understand being somewhat frustrated with Iraq's leaders. But let's keep this in perspective.

From the beginning of the American Revolution to the end of the war, it took 7 years, an estimated 25,000 American dead and another 25,000 wounded, $150 million in American money and 1.3 billion French livres. By today's standards, that's nearly $2 billion American and nearly $111 million spent by the French.

From the beginning of the American Revolution to the signing of a U.S. Constitution (without Amendments) took 9 years.

Add the amendments, and you end up with it having taken 216 years to get to the form it's in now.

Abolishing slavery took 89 years.

Giving women the right to vote took 144 years - Iraq's actually way ahead of us on that one.

Freedom of religion? Jury trial? Prohibition against illegal search and seizure? 15 years.

Figuring out how to elect a President and Vice-President? 28 years.

Ironing out the Presidential term limits and succession rules? 157 years.

Figuring out how to appropriately fund Social Security? Figuring out how to secure the border? How to iron out campaign finance guidelines? still counting

After years of dictatorship, it's no wonder that Iraq isn't on solid ground yet. How's Russia? Let's see, that's been about 16 years now, right?

Yes, we should be keeping the pressure on Iraq to get things moving. Absolutely, they should be told that our commitment isn't open-ended. Yes, there should be milestones.

But to say that they're a huge disappointment because they haven't solved everything in the two years the current government has been in place is just a wee bit of hypocrisy.

And let's couple that with Senator Carl Levin, a Democrat, who is criticizing Admiral William J. Fallon's idea of diplomacy:

"I think your message is very much weakened, and it's troubling to me because you meet with the leaders of Iraq," Levin said, adding that Fallon had "let them off the hook."

But I thought that the Democrats' central criticism was that we too quickly leapt to war, and hadn't tried diplomacy? Now diplomacy is the problem? I'm confused.

Then again, maybe I'm not so confused. I'm beginning to form the belief that our politicians - on both sides of the aisle - are a bunch of fickle, media-loving mush-heads, far more interested in their own political careers and point-scoring in front of the cameras than in fighting and winning a war, or protecting the American people. The fact is, if this whole war can't be wrapped up in a convenient package they can sell come election time, they're not interested.

Shame on the lot of you.

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PERSIAN GULF (May 12, 2007) - Aviation Boatswain's Mate (Equipment) 3rd Class Trevino Crowder directs flight deck personnel working together to rig the aircraft barricade aboard the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74). The barricade is used to help recover aircraft during emergency situations. The John C. Stennis Carrier Strike Group is on a regularly scheduled deployment in support of Maritime Security Operations (MSO). MSO help set the conditions for security and stability, as well as aid counter-terrorism and security efforts to the regional nations. U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Jon Hyde

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General Petraeus Stresses Ethics

Michael Yon has a post up regarding General Petraeus' recent letter to the troops. In that letter, the General speaks about the recent survey on ethics in war, and the need for our troops to remain morally above the enemy.

Among the insights that Michael has, gained from his own experiences in Iraq:

"This letter from General Petraeus deserves the widest possible dissemination. It should be published widely, and posted on every headquarters wall, and read aloud by every troop in Iraq and Afghanistan. We can pummel al Qaeda and other terrorists mercilessly and grind them into the dirt, but we cannot afford to turn local populations against us while we do it."
I always find the concept of "ethics in wartime" to be somewhat dubious; you can't judge actions in war by the standard of every day societal mores. It's the reason I have such a problem with troops being placed on trial because they reacted in a way judged to be incorrect in hindsight. But I have to give credit where credit is due. General Petraeus here makes a pretty strong statement about not losing what makes our troops ideologically a world apart from the enemy, and that's to be commended.

Read Michael Yon's "Values Message"

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CLEAR PATH — During an early morning mission of targeting and raids in the back of a Stryker assault vehicle, U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Christopher Froboccino alerts his soldier counterparts of the route they will be traveling to Baghdad, May 6, 2007. Froboccino is a Joint Terminal Attack Controller in-charge of communicating coordinates for close air support during fire fights with enemy ground forces.

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In Today's News - Monday, May 14, 2007

Quote of the Day
"The beauty of the soul shines out
when a man bears with composure
one heavy mischance after another,
not because he does not feel them,
but because he is a man of high and heroic temper."

-- Arisotle

News of Note
Breaking News
Cruise Ship With 281 People on Board Runs Aground off Alaska

Operation Iraqi Freedom
U.S. Scours Countryside for Missing Soldiers
U.S.-Iraqi forces battle insurgents
Admiral's Tactful Touch in Iraq Troubles U.S. Senator
Republican senator slams Iraqi government
Questions Raised on Army Troop-Carrying Vehicle

Operation Enduring Freedom
Taliban sources confirm killing of top commander (WOOOOOHOOOOO!)
Taliban Chief's Death a Big Victory
Blast hits Western forces in Afghanistan, several hurt

Homeland Security / War on Terror / Hamas-Hezbollah Happenings
How Fort Dix Terror Plot Was Foiled
'California Zephyr' Bomb Scare
2 Dead, 10 Hurt in Gaza Fighting
Palestinian interior minister resigns
U.S. jury to get preview in Padilla terrorism case
Jose Padilla trial to start in Miami

Other Military News
Pentagon: NoSpace for MySpace
U.S. National Guard chief says funds lagging risks
DoD Blocks Internet Access

Worldwide Wackos
Iranian President Ahmadinejad Leads Anti-U.S. Rally in Dubai
Iran: We Will Retaliate Against Any Strike

Politics / Government
Republican Presidential Candidate Tommy Thompson Explains Gay Rights Remark
Obama: Racial Threats Sparked Security
Cheney Wraps Up Mideast Trip in Jordan
Bush visits Jamestown on 400th anniversary
Rice goes to Moscow to mend U.S.-Russia ties - Video
Romney says voters will accept a Mormon
Democrats prod automakers on mileage

In the Courts / Crime and Punishment / Law and Order
One of FBI's 'Most Wanted' Arrested in Canada for Alleged Sex Crimes Against Kids

Adventures in Political Correctness
Chicago Board of Ed Sued for Teacher Allegedly Showing 'Brokeback Mountain' in Class

Science / Medicine / Technology
Dogs Trained to Help Battle Against Bedbugs
Drop in U.S. mammography rate worries cancer experts
Belgium recommends Merck's HPV vaccine for girls

Mother Nature
Fla. Wildfire Evacuees Waiting to Go Home
Scorched Earth in the Sunshine State
Strong wind to complicate wildfire fight

News from My Neck of the Woods
Conn.'s civil unions law faces challenge

It's a Bird! It's a Plane! It's a Floating Naked Guy!
Nudists Seek to Attract Younger Members, Finding it a Tough Sell
'Miracle' Woman Survives Internal Decapitation in Car Crash
Want hair? Don't expect insurance toupee for it! - Video

Other News of Note
Britain's Wealthiest Show $upport for Missing Girl
Blast and Fire Kills 10 in Russian Cafe
Parents Outraged After Elementary School Teachers Stage Fake Gunman Attack (OK, how stupid was THIS?)
U.K.'s Rich Show $upport for Missing Girl
Japan takes step towards revising constitution
Wide access to Nazi Archive moves ahead

Fox News
Filipinos Head to the Polls
Chrysler Sold to Private Equity Firm
Ford, Acura Receive Top Crash Test Scores
Pope Rips Marxism, Unbridled Capitalism
NBC OKs Deal to Save 'Law & Order' Shows
Red-Eyed Whitney Houston Celebrates Stevie Wonder's Birthday

Reuters: Top News
France's Sarkozy meets unions on labor reforms
Pakistan city virtually shut down after strike call - Video
Marathon count follows bloody Philippine poll
Sri Lanka clashes kill 15, war refugees resettled
Online retail is years away from saturation: survey
China tea town hopes name change will brew success
Exiled Duke of Windsor's desk on auction in Paris
"Spider-Man 3" still rules worldwide box office
Cannes film festival hits 60
Oil up; Saudi export news, Africa outages support
Dollar steady, eyes on Fed speakers, data this week
Wall St set for flat open, inflation in focus
CORRECTED: European shares languish as miners slip, autos gain
Weak dollar to keep fueling M&A boom
Shift may change shape of oil market
Top 10 Best-Selling Research Reports
Daily Investor Update - Sign up today
Ford family members weigh stake sale: Bloomberg
Molson Coors to take charge for Fosters
Bancroft family split on meeting Murdoch: FT
Barclays to reassure on ABN integration fears: source
Merck KGaA sells generics unit to Mylan for $6.6 bln
Consortium offered $24.5 bln for ABN AMRO's LaSalle

AP World News
Study shows online apparel sales growing
Jazz beat Warriors, take 3-1 series lead
No word yet on cause of skydivers' crash
Ducks beat Wings in OT for Detroit split
Phil Mickelson wins Players Championship
Cable operators expand local programming
Congregations meet in tornado-torn town
Geek Squad hospital calls Kentucky home
AP's primer on borrowing for college
"Thank a Military Spouse" Contest
Advisors: Hey, You . . . Smile!
New Must-Have Benefits Guide
What To Do This Weekend?
Podcast: An Immigrant's "Act of Honor"
Def Tech: The Aging C-130 Career Fair Coming to Jacksonville on May 16th

CENTCOM: News Releases

USJFCOM and Microsoft announce cooperative research and development agreement - podcast
More about CRADAS
U.S. Joint Forces Command modeling and simulation division wins award - podcast
Liveblogging: Department of Defense Modeling and Simulation Conference 2007

National Guard Executes Nuclear Disaster Drill - Story
Bush Honors Military Spouses at White House - Story
Bush Proclaims May 11 Military Spouse Day
Transcript: Bush Commemorates Military Spouse Day
Chairman Recognizes Military Spouses
Marine Wife, Officials Reflect on Military Spouse Day
Cheney to Sailors: U.S. Committed to Middle East - Story
Transcript of Cheney's Comments
Video: Cheney aboard the aircraft carrier USS Stennis
Petraeus Urges Troops to Use Ethical Standards - Story
Petraeus Letter to the Troops (pdf)
Army Must Be Prepared for ‘Persistent Conflict’ - Story
Iraqi Lawmakers Must Make Political Decisions - Story
Blocking Flow of ‘Accelerants’ Critical in Iraq - Story
Official: Progress Slow but Vital to Iraq Stability - Story

More Headline News
Casey Addresses Bonuses, Stability Operations
Bush Asks for Time, Resources for Iraq Plan
America Will Stay on Offensive Against Terror

Military News
Military Displays Equipment, Technology to Public
Deployed F-22s Leave Pacific, Return to Langley
Center Helps Find Sailor's Family After Tornado

War on Terror
Terror Suspects Captured in Iraq - Story
Five Soldiers Killed in Iraq - Story
Soldier Killed in Iraq
Taliban Militants Killed

America Supports You
Nationals Honor Military Service - Story
SemperComm Cites Troops for Morale-Boosting Efforts Overseas
Gala Raises Funds for Troops
Kids Salute the Troops

Pentagon Channel Documentary Focuses on Military Technology - Story
Unmanned Aircraft Wing Debuts
New Concept Ensures Latest Technologies Reach Warfighters
Technology Leaves No Place to Hide

Face of Defense
Sons Follow Mother’s Footsteps - Story
Softball Champ Fixes Aircraft
Deployed Soldier Will Rely on ‘Ohana’
Specialist Sews for Others
Airman Dedicates Work to Fallen

Multiple Terror Suspects Captured - Story

Devil Dogs Take a Bite Out of Anbar Insurgency - Story
Transportation Mechanics Keep Group Rolling - Story
Deployed Moms Stay in Touch with Families - Story
Liaison Officer Builds Cohesive Relationship - Story
Iraqi, Coalition Forces Focus on Rashid District - Story
‘Fire Base Delta’ is Home Sweet Home for Troops - Story

Teamwork Pays Off for Iraqi Farmers, Residents
Iraqi Special Ops Forces Show off Capabilities
Soldiers Continue To Build Schools Amid Attacks
Iraqi Soldiers Say They Serve for Country, Family
Wolfhounds Secure Economic Success in Iraq
Bombed-out Baghdad Building Has New Mission

Djiboutian Institute of Arts Embraces Americans
Army Reserve Chief Visits Troops in Africa
Marines Donate Fitness Equipment to Villagers

Former Infantryman Finds Calling in Civil Affairs
Base Dedicated to Fallen ‘Spartan’ Leader
Vanguard Engineers Pave Way for Victory
Mental Health Care Moves to Military Front Lines

Renewal In Iraq
Iraq: Security, Stability
Fact Sheet: Progress and Work Ahead
Report: Strategy for Victory in Iraq
Iraq Daily Update
This Week in Iraq
Multinational Force Iraq
State Dept. Weekly Iraq Report
'Boots on the Ground' Audio Archive
Weekly Reconstruction Report (PDF)
Iraq Reconstruction

Afghanistan Update

Fact Sheet: Budget Request
Fact Sheet: Terror Plots Disrupted
Waging and Winning the War on Terror
Terrorism Timeline
Terrorism Knowledge Base

Bost/Laskar Ghurian Herat Kabul Qandahar

Ansbach Aschaffenburg Berlin Berlin-Tempelhof Berlin/Schonefeld Bremerhaven
Darmstadt Frankfurt Frankfurt/Main Freiburg/Breisgau Garmisch
Garmisch-Partenkirchen Geilenkirchen Gelnhausen Giessen Kitzingen
Hanau Am Main Heidelberg Mainz Mannheim Nurnberg Stuttgart Trier
Wiesbaden Wurzburg


Agana Agana Heights Agat Andersen AFB Asan Barrigada

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

Kadena Air Base Okinawa Tokyo Yokohama

Today in History
1607 - The first permanent English settlement in New World is established in Jamestown, VA.
1787 - Delegates gather in Philadelphia to draw up the U.S. Constitution.
1804 - Lewis & Clark set out from St. Louis.
1863 - Battle of Jackson, MS.
1864 - The Battle of Reseca (Atlanta) continues for a second day.
1908 - The first airplane passenger flight occurs.
1921 - In Italy, Mussolini's fascists obtains 29 parliament seats.
1940 - The Germans break through at Sedan.
1940 - The Nazis bombs Rotterdam, killing between six and nine hundred; the Netherlands surrender.
1941 - 3,600 Jews arrested in Paris.
1942 - The U.S. Women's Army Auxiliary Corps (WAAC) is founded.
1944 - German bombers harass Bristol.
1944 - British forces occupy Kohima
1945 - A Kamikaze Japanese Zero strikes the U.S. aircraft carrier Enterprise; she is seriously damaged and forced to return to port for repairs. She did not see war action again.
1945 - The U.S. launches an offensive on Okinawa; Sugar Loaf is conquered.
1948 - Jordan's Arab League captures Atarot.
1948 - The State of Israel is established; the U.S. gives it de facto recognition.
1949 - President Truman signs a bill establishing a rocket test range at Cape Canaveral, FL.
1955 - The Warsaw Pact is signed.
1960 - The USSR launches the first unmanned space capsule.
1961 - In Alabama, a bus containing the first group of Freedom Riders is bombed and burned. 1963 - Kuwait becomes the 111th member of the U.N.
1970 - Police kill two Jackson State University students in a during a racial disturbance.
1970 - Harry A. Blackmun is appointed to the U.S. Supreme Court.
1970 - RAF-leader Andreas Baader is freed after serving two years in West Berlin.
1973 - Skylab is launched
1973 - U.S. Supreme court approves equal rights for women in the military.
1974 - The Symbionese Liberation Army is destroyed in a shoot-out; 6 are killed.
1975 - U.S. troops raid the island of Koh Tang (Cambodia)
1986 - Anne Frank's complete diary published by the Institute for War Documents
1987 - Colt revolver (Peacemaker) of 1873 sells for $242,000
1989 - Chinese students hold a demonstration for democratic reforms in Tiananmen Square.
1991 - Robert M Gates becomes head of CIA.
1991 - Winnie Mandela sentenced to 6 years for her involvement in the kidnapping and beating of four youths (one died).
1991 - World's Largest Burrito created at 1,126 lbs.

- Charles IV king of Bohemia / emperor
1686 - Gabriel Daniel Fahrenheit Germany, inventor of the thermometer
1830 - Confederate Brigadier General George Pierce Doles
1836 - Confederate Brigadier General James Patrick Major
1883 - Jan Olieslagers, Belgian aviation pioneer
1939 - M. N. Fathulin, cosmonaut
1942 - Byron L. Dorgan (Representative-ND)
1943 - Alan B. Mollohan (Representative-WV)
1946 - Robert Jarvik, surgeon, inventor of the Jarvik 7 artificial heart
1952 - Donald R. McMonagle, Major USAF / astronaut (STS 39, 54, 66)
1957 - William G. Gregory, Major USAF /astronaut (STS 67)
1964 - James M. Kelly, Captain USAF / astronaut

- Henry IV, 1st Bourbon king of France, murdered
1643 - Louis XIII, king of France
1864 - Union Brigadier General William N. Green, Jr.
1968 - Rear Admiral Husband Edward Kimmel, WWII commandant, US Ocean fleet
1978 - William Powell Lear, inventor of Lear Jet
1991 - Jiang Qing, Mao Tse Tung's widow, suicide
1997 - Princess Caradja-Kretzulesco, descendant of Dracula
1998 - Frank (Francis Albert) Sinatra

Reported Missing in Action
King, Donald L., USAF (MI) - aircraft last tracked 20 mi. west of Dong Hoi, N. Vietnam

Ralson, Frank D. III, USAF (CO) - aircraft last tracked 20 mi. west of Dong Hoi, N. Vietnam

Rollins, David J., USN (CA) - Released by DRV March, 1973 - alive as of 1998

Southwick, Charles E., USN (AK) - Released by DRV March, 1973 - alive and well as of 1998

Cota, Ernest K., USN (CA) - KIA/BNR

Karger, Barry E. , USN (CA)- Remains returned January, 1994

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