Monday, May 31, 2010

Blog sprinkles


Thank you for your service to our nation.
CAMP VICTORY, Iraq — With heads bowed beneath a palace dome still etched with the initials of Saddam Hussein, dozens of U.S. service members paid tribute Monday to Americans killed in action not only in Iraq, but also in Afghanistan and in wars of the past.

Officers presented a Memorial Day wreath, a bugler played "Taps" and a lieutenant general spoke about how "little compares to the loss of a brother in arms." Soldiers in uniform and contractors in work boots said the nearly 4,400 Americans who've died in Iraq since 2003 weren't faceless statistics: They were commanders, friends, family.

For some of the troops who gathered at Camp Victory in Baghdad, it was difficult to discuss individual losses, even now that combat deaths have tapered off and the war here is eclipsed by the bloodshed in Afghanistan, where the number of troops killed in action just passed the 1,000 mark.

"It's too personal," said Air Force Staff Sgt. Bien Covita, 34, of San Jose, Calif., looking away as he declined to discuss the fallen service member on his mind. He added that he wished that Americans would view Memorial Day as "more than just a day off work. We sacrifice every day for them to sleep comfortably."
Seeing the war dead arrive at Dover:
It was pretty stark in the dim light with an almost full moon; at first there was no one there. Then the bus carrying the families showed up but it was choreographed so they got out on the side away from us so we could not see them. One white van, what they call the "transfer vehicle," was parked on the tarmac and one soldier, a young woman, stood next to it. She is the "Transfer Vehicle Guide," whose ceremonial role it is to close the van's back doors after the bodies are loaded on board.

The procedure began with high-ranking officers and the pall-bearer details appearing, marching in formation. Since there were two dead that night, Cpl. Kenneth Nichols, Jr., of Chrisman, Illinois, US Army, and Lance Cpl. Jonathan Taylor, of Jacksonville, Florida, US Marine Corps, both killed in Afghanistan, there were two separate teams, one from the Army, the other of Marines, dressed in their different uniforms.

The Army went first, boarded the stairs onto the airplane, and emerged out the front. The loading ramp then lowered onto ground level with the coffin and the seven pall-bearers carried the body past the saluting officers, into the waiting van. The Marines then repeated the same. Not a sound could be heard from the hidden family members just a few feet from us on the other side of their bus. Another time, I could hear a woman, probably the wife or the mother, crying a terrible wail that was the only sound on the airfield.
Asking too much of our military and their families:
Brooke Knox, a former Navy wife, counsels military relatives who are struggling with the repeated deployments of husbands and fathers, wives and mothers.
There's often one unifying refrain -- one deployment too many to handle well. She has found that often, that number is three.
"There's a saying among Army wives," said Knox, who leads a free counseling program for military families through the Mental Health Association of Tarrant County.
"The first deployment, they say, 'I think I can do this.'
"The second deployment, they say, 'I know I can do this.'
"The third deployment, they say, 'I can't do this.'"
And the week that was:

28 Of The Worst Money-Saving Ideas Ever The comments are entertaining...

Tylenol being recalled:
The company recalled 40 widely used children's pain and allergy medications, saying some may have a higher concentration of their active ingredients, while others may be contaminated. J&J has had four recalls in the past year of over-the-counter medicines.

In an FDA report issued on Tuesday, inspectors said they found thick dust, grime and contaminated ingredients at the J&J plant that produces Children's Tylenol and dozens of other products recalled last week.

DeLauro, in her letter, said the company's "disregard" for manufacturing standards was "both unnerving and unethical."

"The corporate oversight observed at this facility appears to be symptomatic of reckless behavior that is clearly unacceptable," she wrote.
What the hell was Israel thinking?:
After least nine people have been killed after Israeli commandos stormed a convoy of ships carrying aid to the Gaza Strip, the Israeli army says.

Armed forces boarded the largest vessel overnight, clashing with some of the 500 people on board.

It happened about 40 miles (64 km) out to sea, in international waters.

Israel says its soldiers were shot at and attacked with weapons; the activists say Israeli troops came on board shooting.

The activists were attempting to defy a blockade imposed by Israel after the Islamist movement Hamas took power in Gaza in 2007.

THIS is what I've been saying. All that oil just doesn't disappear.
NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Streaming video of oil pouring from the seafloor and images of dead, crude-soaked birds serve as visual bookends to the natural calamity unfolding in the Gulf of Mexico.

But independent scientists and government officials say another disaster is playing out in slow motion — and out of public view — in the mysterious depths between the gusher and the coast, a world inhabited by sperm whales, gigantic jellyfish and diminutive plankton.
All about fucking booms... and how BP isn't doing anything right:
It's fucking obvious. Boom is not meant to contain or catch oil. Boom is meant to divert oil. Boom must always be at an angle to the prevailing wind-wave action or surface current. Boom, at this angle, must always be layered in a fucking overlapped sort-of way with another string of boom. Boom must always divert oil to a catch basin or other container, from where it can be REMOVED FROM THE FUCKING AREA. Looks kinda involved, doesn't it? It is. But if fucking proper fucking booming is done properly, you can remove most, by far most of the oil from a shoreline and you can do it day after day, week after week, month after month. You can prevent most, by far most of the shoreline from ever being touched by more than a few transient molecules of oil. Done fucking properly, a week after the oil stops coming ashore, no one, man nor beast, can ever tell there has been oil anywhere near that shoreline.
And the inevitable:
While work continues to try to staunch the flow of oil into the Gulf of Mexico, an avalanche of class action lawsuits is descending upon BP in courthouses from Texas to Louisiana, Alabama, Mississippi and Florida.
Pakistan, between a rock and a hard place....
This week's visit by the US president's national-security adviser and the head of the Central Intelligence Agency to Pakistan was portrayed as a feel-good trip that highlighted the high level of cooperation between Washington and Islamabad.

But despite what may have been written about CIA chief Leon Panetta's and General James Jones's meetings with civilian and military leadership during their visit, analysts in Pakistan say all is not well between the two sides.

They note that as senior US officials visit Islamabad to make new demands -- mostly about increasing military or law enforcement efforts against myriad extremist groups in Pakistan's western border regions -- Pakistani officials continue to respond by urging patience, asking for more money and weapons, and calling for a true understanding of their military, political, and economic limitations.

Former Pakistani diplomat Tayyab Siddiqui says the US-Pakistani relationship is currently on a "bumpy road" and the visit by the two senior US officials a week ahead of a planned second round of strategic dialogue was significant.
Uhhhh.... right.
The Vatican is planning a new initiative to reach out to atheists and agnostics in an attempt to improve the church's relationship with non-believers. Pope Benedict XVI has ordered officials to create a new foundation where atheists will be encouraged to meet and debate with some of the Catholic Church's top theologians.
The Vatican hopes to stage a series of debates in Paris next year. But militant non-believers hoping for a chance to set senior church figures straight about the existence of God are set to be disappointed: the church has warned that atheists with high public profiles such as Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens will not be invited.
No Dawkins and Hitchens? Then you aren't serious. And then there's this:
Tombstone, shackles found in priest's home
Poole, accused of shoplifting, nailed posters all over rectory
So how about you fix your own house before you go knocking on other people's doors, Pope?


Steve Bates said...

Re the spill: those underwater cameras give new meaning to the phrase "streaming video."

Re the Vatican: if they want more respect or credibility from atheists and agnostics... which in their opinion seems to include just about everyone not Catholic... THEY CAN KEEP THEIR FUCKING HANDS OFF OTHER PEOPLE'S RELIGION, CHILDREN, POLITICS, etc.

I'm sorry. I'm not areligious (I'm a UU) and I'm not hostile to Catholicism; I'm just hostile to Catholic priests buggering children, the U.S. Council of Catholic Bishops trying to intervene in the fundamental processes of American democracy, and the ongoing attempt to demonize me and my religious cohort. Enough is enough.

No Dawkins and Hitchens? Then you aren't serious.

Now THAT is an understatement!

ellroon said...

Read that first comment as 'screaming'... which is what I feel like doing nowadays...

And add to your list the efforts to get between two lovers (gay or not), between the act of sex and conception, between a woman and her doctor.....

Who do these guys who wear funny hats and wear dresses think they are?