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Thursday, October 09, 2008

Did Biden Get It Wrong? You Betcha

Monday, October 06, 2008

By John R. Lott, Jr.

When you interview for a job, here is a hint: make sure you know what the job is. Joe Biden failed that test last Thursday. He couldn’t even get right what a vice president does, but the media didn’t notice.

The media is all over itself about how smart and experienced Biden is. Political analyst Charlie Cook is quoted in the Washington Post on Saturday as saying “Biden is clearly so much more knowledgeable, by a factor of about a million.” Saturday Night Live does a skit about Biden being smart, if slimy. Meanwhile, Governor Sarah Palin is treated as being nothing more than a simpleton.

Yet, take Biden’s statement from the debate on the role of the vice president:

Vice President Cheney has been the most dangerous vice president we've had probably in American history. The idea he doesn't realize that Article I of the Constitution defines the role of the vice president of the United States, that's the Executive Branch. He works in the Executive Branch. He should understand that. Everyone should understand that.

And the primary role of the vice president of the United States of America is to support the president of the United States of America, give that president his or her best judgment when sought, and as vice president, to preside over the Senate, only in a time when in fact there's a tie vote. The Constitution is explicit.

The only authority the vice president has from the legislative standpoint is the vote, only when there is a tie vote. He has no authority relative to the Congress. The idea he's part of the Legislative Branch is a bizarre notion invented by Cheney to aggrandize the power of a unitary executive, and look where it has gotten us. It has been very dangerous.
One should be careful when throwing around terms such as “most dangerous” and “bizarre.” But Biden is confusing which part of the Constitution covers the Executive Branch (it is Article II, not Article I). More importantly, the notion that the vice president can preside over the Senate only when there is a tie vote is simply wrong. Nor is it true that the only legislative involvement the vice president has is to break tie votes. The vice president is the president of the Senate, where he interprets the rules and can only be overridden by a vote of 60 senators.

Read the Rest, at FOX News

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Burning the midnight oil
Airman 1st Class Jessica Guinn tightens clamps around an actuator on an F-16 Fighting Falcon Oct. 6 during some late-night maintenance at Joint Base Balad, Iraq. Airman Guinn, an aerospace propulsion apprentice with the 332nd Expeditionary Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, is deployed from Misawa Air Base, Japan. Her hometown is Flint, Mich. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Jason Epley)

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Army Reservist to Receive Silver Star for Heroism in Afghanistan

From DefenseLink:

Army Sgt. Gregory S. Ruske will become the fourth Army Reservist to receive the Silver Star for heroism demonstrated after he and his fellow soldiers were ambushed in Afghanistan’s Kapisa province April 21, 2008. U.S. Army photo

By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Oct. 8, 2008 – Army Sgt. Gregory S. Ruske is quick to call himself an ordinary soldier, but later this month the Army Reserve will single him out for extraordinary heroism in Afghanistan that earned him the Silver Star medal.

The 28-year-old Colorado Springs, Colo., native will become the fourth Army reservist to receive the prestigious award for heroism in the war on terror. Army Lt. Gen. Jack C. Stultz, chief of the Army Reserve, will present Ruske the Silver Star during a ceremony in Orlando, Fla.
Ruske visited Washington yesterday to meet with Stultz and other Army Reserve officials and to attend the Association of the U.S. Army annual meeting taking place here. He said he doesn’t see the actions he took when his platoon was attacked by a much larger Taliban force as anything exceptional.

“I don’t consider myself a hero,” he said. “I was just an ordinary guy put in an extraordinary situation. I reacted based on my upbringing, training and compassion, and thankfully, it worked out in the end.”

Ruske was assigned to Combined Joint Task Force 101, operating in Afghanistan’s Kapisa province, when the incident that led to his Silver Star award took place April 21. He and his fellow soldiers from 3rd Platoon, A Company, Task Force Gladiator, were on a patrol in a remote area not accessible by vehicle when Taliban operatives attacked them with heavy grenade, machine-gun and rifle fire.

“There was no way our gun truck support could get to us, so we were kind of out here by ourselves when all Hades broke loose,” he said.

Trapped with his unit in an exposed position, Ruske returned fire so most of the platoon could move to protective cover. Ruske then moved to a rooftop and continued laying fire even after taking a bullet to the hip.

At that point, Ruske realized that two Afghan National Police officers were still pinned down in the open, taking fire from their Taliban attackers. One ran for cover, but the other officer -- one Ruske had worked with at vehicle checkpoints and chatted with through an interpreter – had been shot and was trying to crawl to safety through a hail of bullets.

“Seeing that dirt kick up no more than six inches from his head, I said, ‘Man, this is jacked up,’” Ruske recalled thinking. “They are still shooting at this guy. He is still bleeding and shot. And I said, ‘We have to go get him.’”

Ruske said he didn’t take time to think about his own safety, but simply reacted to the training the Army had used to prepare him for combat.

Ruske credited his mentor during his three years of active duty, Sgt. 1st Class Glen Boucher, with instilling the discipline and skills that he drew on while under fire.

“He was fair, but if you stepped across that line, he would check you, and that was good,” Ruske said of his former squad leader, then a Bradley infantry fighting vehicle commander. “He could joke with you and mess around with you, but when it came down to work, it was time to work.”

A stickler for soldiering skills, Boucher taught Ruske tactics he said enabled him to assist the fallen Afghan police officer.

“He’s the one who taught me all the ins and outs of dismounted and mounted techniques, and actually it was the ‘Z’ pattern he taught me that I had my [squad automatic weapon] gunner do to suppress [enemy fire] and buy us a little time when they were shooting at us,” Ruske said.

Ruske ordered his SAW gunner, Spc. Walter Reed, to spray the enemy in a Z-shaped pattern, expending a whole box of 200 rounds to give Ruske and his buddy, Spc. Eric Seagraves, time to run out to retrieve the officer.
The two dodged bullets as they grabbed the Afghan police officer’s arms and dragged him toward a wall that provided protective covering.

Only when Ruske and Seagraves went to lift the man behind the wall did they realize that Ruske’s leg had been shattered.

Later that day, after Ruske was taken to Bagram Air Base to receive treatment for his gunshot wound, he checked on the Afghan officer and was relieved to see that he had survived and would keep both legs.

Almost six months later, Ruske said he finds it amazing that he will receive a Silver Star for his actions. “I still don’t really believe it,” he said. Ruske deflected attention from himself, emphasizing that he acted as part of a team.

“I had help the whole time. It’s not like it was just me,” he said. “None of it would have been possible without Reed [and] with the SAW and Seagraves helping me with the guy. It was the one plan that turned out all right.”

Now back at his civilian job as a juvenile corrections officer in Denver, Ruske is awaiting his reassignment to a new Army Reserve unit because his former unit was deactivated. Once he gets his new assignment, he said, he hopes to be like the combat veterans within the Army Reserve who helped him get ready to deploy by sharing what they had learned about roadside bombs, search techniques and other combat techniques.

“I picked their brains, and they passed their experience and lessons learned to me,” Ruske said. “Now that I’m back, it’s my turn to pass on my knowledge and experience to some of the newer guys, just like the other guys did for me.”

Army Sgt. Gregory S. Ruske, center, and an interpreter try to calm Afghan National Police officers he helped save after they were wounded in combat in the Afghanya Valley of Afghanistan’s Kapisa province, April 21, 2008. Ruske, the interpreter and the officers were on patrol as part of Combined Joint Task Force 101 when they came under insurgent attack. Ruske will receive the Silver Star for his actions. U.S. Army photo ks

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FARAH SECURITY - U.S. Army 1st Lt. Edward Dudick provides overwatch protection in the village of Khormelq, Afghanistan, during a shura meeting of village elders and Farah Provincial Governor Azadi Roohul Amin, Oct. 2, 2008. U.S. Air Force photo by Lt. Col. Leslie Pratt

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In Today's News - Thursday, October 9, 2008

Quote of the Day
"Those who suggest that pulling out of Iraq
will remove the incentive for radicals
to join the jihad are mistaken."

-- Oliver North

News of Note
Operation Iraqi Freedom
U.S. Air Force Instructors Build Tactical Course for Iraqi Airmen
Iraqi Police Take Over More Security Roles
U.S. Soldiers Host Eid Al Fitr Festival
Continued Training Increases Iraqi Police Confidence, Abilities

Operation Enduring Freedom
Military Says U.S. Airstrike Killed 33 Afghan Civilians
U.S. to call for more NATO troops for Afghanistan

Homeland Security / War on Terror / Hamas-Hezbollah Happenings
Man Allowed to Fly After Grenades Found in Luggage
Court Blocks Release of Guantanamo Detainees

Troops on Trial
U.S. justices seem split over Navy sonar whales case

Fallen Heroes
DoD Identifies Pilot Missing Since Vietnam War

Wounded Warriors
Policy Change Expands Purple Heart Eligibility

Religion of Peace??
The Holy Quran Teachings & Teachers

Worldwide Wackos
Report: N. Korea to Launch Missiles
Iran faces U.S. challenge in "pistachio war"

Politics / Government
U.S. Considers Taking Ownership Stake in Banks (this is really, really scary)
Fed Loans AIG Another $37B
World Markets Rebound
Paulson Says Financial Rescue on the Way
McCain Pledges to Balance Budget
Palin Says She'd Love to Appear With Fey on 'SNL'
McCain-Palin on 'Hannity & Colmes' TRANSCRIPT - VIDEO
FOX FORUM: Newsweek's Palin Pot Shot - VIDEO
NRA: Hillary Was Right, You Can't Trust Obama With Your Guns
Obama Rejects McCain's Plan to Buy Bad Mortgages
Man Shot 3 Times Claims He Was Gunned Down Over Pro-Obama Shirt
$45,000 handbag, anyone?
Obama has 4-point lead on McCain
McCain pushes $300 billion mortgage plan
Obama increases lead
Did McCain do enough to turn tide?
Palin galvanizes Democratic base
Video: From "The One" to "That One"
Surge in younger voters seen favoring Obama
After civil debate, candidates back on attack
McCain, Obama campaigns clash on trade deals
Video: Post-debate moments
Foo Fighters blast McCain use of "My Hero"
Report: Both candidates increase health coverage
Todd Palin had unusual access to wife's staff
Report: Voter purges in 6 states may violate law
Obama: McCain camp brings up Ayers to score points
Missouri officials suspect fake voter registration
Son of Tenn. Democrat indicted in Palin hacking
Obama holds advertising advantage over McCain
McCain, Obama compete for voters' trust on economy
Debate Disaster - 'What do you not know?'
What do we know about Obama's ties to Kenya?
Column: Bears, pork and crisis
GOP Calls for Polygraphs in Ind. Congressional Debate
California gov. says no special budget session yet

Illegal Immigration / Border Control
Criminals targeted in U.S. "kidnap capital"

In the Courts / Crime and Punishment / Law and Order
WANTED: Cop Killer On the Lam in Cuba - PHOTOS
Girl, 15, Gets Child Porn Charges for Pics of Herself
Man Charged in Deadly Tennessee Mall Shooting
Chicago Sheriff Orders End to Foreclosure Evictions
Man indicted in murder of Denver Broncos' Williams
Customer opens fire at Tenn. mall, killing worker

U.N. News
EXCLUSIVE: U.N. Faces Billions in Health Care Liabilities
Cities should do more to protect nature: U.N.

Media in the Media / Bloggers in the News / Watching the Web
Two American Journalists Missing in Lebanon - PHOTOS

Science / Medicine and Health / Technology
Food or Fuel? (The dark side of biofuels)
Palm oil threat to Papua rainforest
Oil price unlikely to kill biofuels boom
Seeking clean energy "Black Swans"
Suntech: Solar demand exceeds supplies
Kleiner makes India cleantech investment
First Solar mulls projects, partnerships
China says 10,700 children in hospital over milk
Scientists make ultrathin superconducting films
Scripps to study lifestyle impact of gene testing
Gene-testing startup's study responds to critics
Scientists map genomes of two malaria parasites
Scientists find key protein helps people hear
Mice overcome fear, depression with natural Prozac
Web technology cuts mobile calling fees
Sony says to launch 80-GB PlayStation 3 in Japan
Scientists make ultrathin superconducting films
Touch-screen BlackBerry coming this fall
Sprint Nextel executives top list of most overpaid
German doing well after 1st double arm transplant
New Study Determines Double Flu Jab Needed Against Bird Flu Pandemic

Mother Nature
Economics seen bolstering case to protect nature
Focus sharpens on forests for climate fix
Expect severe winter in East: forecaster
Climate change could force millions from homes
Yosemite National Park rock slide destroys cabins

Parents: Teacher Made Girls Strip in Search of Stolen $
Woman Declared Dead, Still Breathing in Morgue
Judge Tosses Hair Dye Lawsuit for Blonde Who Had Less Fun as Brunette
Washington Woman Says She Was Shot by Her Stove
Angry about the economy? Smash some plates and move on
Crackdown on tight trousers cancelled
How safe is your city? Put it to the bicycle test
For sale: Yourself, in Legos
Video: And Finally

FOX News
National Debt Clock Adds a Digit for Growing Deficit
'Pregnancy Pact' School to Give Out Contraceptives
Qantas to Reimburse Passengers After Plane Plunge

Taiwan says president to meet China official
More show than substance in Lithuania vote
Temporary reprieve?
Japan looks for ways to up economy
Peace prize strays from will: author
Time for a focus on finance?
Favorites top literature prize guess-list
Well-heeled shoppers getting scuffed
Making "Made in Bangladesh" trendy
Richemont's new luxury focus
Slideshow: Ready-to-wear...?
Big-size designer wear bucks gloom
Asia cuts rates, U.S. looks at bank stakes - Video
Treasury says has power to inject bank capital
Wall Street panic rolling over consumers worldwide
Oil falls below $88 on downturn fears
Detroit gets a break
BA pension deficit could hurt merger talks
IBM's earnings strength calms tech jitters
Metlife, Hartford held merger talks: report
Up to 5 deals on table as memory makers face gloom
Microsoft says raising Xbox 360 forecast for Japan
Shellshocked Iceland takes control of biggest bank
Wachovia talks hit snag over division of assets: report
U.S. bank National City in sale talks: report
Walgreen pulls buyout offer for Longs
Lloyds TSB says no comment on report of HBOS deal renegotiation
Gerard Butler accused of punching photographer
Kirk Douglas fired up over blacklist, slavery
Web TV shows porn, without the sex
Madonna leads fans through intense workout
Video: Blues on Broadway?
Chinese creeps in on Korean language birthday
Thai artists find new ways to get political
Boston's Matsuzaka v Shields in series opener
Cubs pick up the option on right-hander Hardin
Couples eyes Jordan, Williams, Tiger for President's duties
Gonzalez survives scare to reach Vienna quarters
WITNESS: A 36-hour non-stop run through Greece

AP News
Thai protest leaders say they will surrender
Report: Minority college attainment up, but stalls
Hugh Hefner opens up about Holly Madison breakup
Dice-K gets ball in ALCS opener vs. Rays
Police: Pacman Jones involved in fight at hotel
Confident Rays prepare to take on Red Sox in ALCS
Movie tells tale of a young Billy Graham
Phillies need more production from Utley, Howard

Family Covers The Bases
IA, Gimlet MiTT conduct cache search during Operation Gimlet Tidal Wave
Soldiers' Angels and Patriot Guard
Iraq News
Operations in Iraq
FOB Warhorse Memorial Photos
From Connectedness, Strength

CENTCOM concludes Shindand investigation
Soldiers in Iraq help comrades vote

Command moves C2Pedia to unclassified network - podcast
Free Salute to Veterans 2008 tickets - Click here to get your free tickets
Allied Command Transformation, USJFCOM begin co-sponsored conference on urban operations

Multi-National Force - Iraq
Two suspected terrorist detained in Mosul
Ninewa Province ready to spend over $6.6 million for infrastructure improvements (Mosul)
NP detains two suspects for alleged criminal activity (Abu Gharma)
Media Advisory: Transition ceremony for BIAP hangar
CF donate $8.5 million to MND-N provinces for relief
IA, Soldiers participate in logistics conference (Kirkuk)

Gates Reaffirms Support for Ukraine
North Korea’s Nuclear Activities Destabilize Region, Commander Says
Changes to Benefit U.S.-Korean Alliance


Training Increases Confidence for Police
Coalition Kills Two Insurgents, Captures 17


Reconstruction Team Enhances Stability


Armed Forces Retirement Home Receives Prestigious Continuing Care Accreditation
Pilots Fly Namesake Helicopter to Lakota Powow
Defense Dept. Announces Detainee Transfer
National Guard, Reserve Activated


Pentagon Ceremony Honors Disabled Employees


Corporal Keeps Weapons, Marines Ready for Battle


America Supports You: Veterans to See Stars on ‘Road 2 Recovery’

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

National Hurricane Center

Today in History
0680 - Husain ibn 'Ali, Shi'ite religious leader, is brutally killed (along with his family), in Karbala (the Muslim holy day of Ashurah is based on this).
1000 - Ericson discovers "Vinland" (possibly New England).
1635 - Religious dissident Roger Williams is banished from the Massachusetts Bay Colony.
1701 - The Collegiate School of CT (Yale U) is chartered in New Haven.
1837 - The steamboat Home sinks off NC, killing 100.
1876 - The first two-way telephone conversation occurs (also the first over outdoor wires).
1877 - In Cleveland, the American Humane Association is organized.
1888 - The public is first admitted to the Washington Monument.
1903 - New York City sees 11" of rainfall in 24 hrs.
1915 - Woodrow Wilson becomes the first U.S. President to attend a World Series game (World Series #12).
1930 - Laura Ingalls (not that one) completes the first transcontinental flight by a woman. completed, Laura Ingalls
1936 - The Hoover Dam begins transmitting electricity to Los Angeles.
1947 - The first telephone conversation between a moving car and a plane takes place.
1960 - Dallas Cowboys Quarterback Eddie LeBaron throws the shortest ever touchdown pass (2").
1961 - Tanganyika becomes independent within the British Commonwealth.
1962 - NASA civilian test pilot John B. McKay takes the X-15 to 39,200 m.
1963 - Uganda becomes a republic within the British Commonwealth.
1970 - The Khmer Republic (Cambodia) declares independence.
1975 - Soviet dissident Andrei Sakharov wins the Nobel Peace Prize.
1977 - Soyuz-25 is launched to Saluyt-6, but returns after it fails to dock.
1983 - Four South Korean cabinet ministers are assassinated in Rangoon, Burma.
1984 - Kathy Sullivan becomes the first American woman to walk in space.
1986 - The U.S. Senate convicts U.S. District Judge Harry E. Claiborne, making him the fifth federal official to be removed from office through impeachment.
1990 - Saddam Hussein threatens to hit Israel with a new missile

1547 - Miguel de Cervantes, novelist (Don Quixote)
1757 - Charles X, reactionary king of France (1824-30); deposed
1782 - Lewis Cass (Gov-MI)
1899 - Bruce Catton, civil war historian
1908 - James E. Folsom (Gov-AL 1947-51, 1955-59)
1918 - E. Howard Hunt, involved in the Watergate break-in
1924 - Robert Rushworth, pilot (X-15)
1940 - Gordon Humphrey (Sen-NH); John Lennon, musician (The Beatles)

1934 - King Alexander of Yugoslavia, assassinated by Georgief, a Croatian terrorist
1958 - Pope Pius XII
1967 - Che Guevara, executed in Bolivia
1988 - Felix Wankel, developer of the Wankel rotary engine

Reported Missing in Action
Tanner, Charles N., USN (TN); F4B shot down (pilot, w/Terry), released by DRV March, 1973 - retired as a Captain - alive and well as of 1998

Terry, Ross R., USN (FL); F4B shot down (RIO, w/Tanner), released by DRV March, 1973 - alive as of 1998

Clements, James A., USAF (TX); F105 shot down, released by DRV March, 1973 - R.I.P. March, 1997.

The following lost when the rotor blades of a UH1D struck trees during an extraction, and it crashed in Long Khanh Province, Vietnam.

Driver, Dallas A., US Army (VA)

Garbett, Jimmy R., US Army (FL)

Moore, Raymond G., US Army (OH)

Suydam, James L, US Army (NJ)

Turner, James H., US Army (OH); crew

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