Sunday, September 23, 2007
New Landlocked Sailor
Pete's back close to water, and my normal blog is having technical difficulties so I'm going to start posting here for a bit.
I'm landlocked somewhere in Germany. This has been the coldest summer I've ever experienced, and that includes the ones I spent in England. On the other hand, Sept has been pretty nice. This area seems to share the San Francisco weather pattern.
First rant: Dear CBS and Fox. Kill the sound effects you play every time you do a screen wipe during a football game. It's driving me nuts, and if I had a fancy home-theater system I think I'd be shooting at the speakers.
2nd Rant: CBS, please fire Shannon Sharpe. The man is one step away from enunciating as well as the adults in a Charlie Brown cartoon.
Wednesday, September 13, 2006
A Very Cool Day
Just wrapping up a very interesting day...had an hour long meeting with the Afghan Minister of Defense, and then a working lunch with him...not me and a bunch of other people...just me and another US officer.
He was very engaging, spoke great English, and is passionately dedicated to his job. A real honor to meet him.
As for lunch, it was good. Have no clue what I ate, but I think it involved rice and lamb...there was other stuff, no clue what it was...They make excellent flat bread here.
Yesterday, I met with one of the deputy ministers of defense. Some days, I really like my job.
Monday, September 11, 2006
In the 'Stan
I am now in country...nothing much has changed since I left in December 04.
A bit upset that it has taken me this long to get back here, but that's another story.
No pictures yet, my days have been filled with meetings.
What I have seen is that the Afghan people seem dedicated to improving their standard of living. They want an effective National Army and Police Force.
There are signs of progress. There are even more cell-phones than 2 years ago. In ministry buildings, I have noticed more computers. Leaders are buying into long-term planning...this is significant in a country where day-to-day survival was not a given for the last 30 years.
The Taliban are stepping up their activity in and around Kabul, but they are killing more fellow Afghans than military personnel. Despite this increased activity, life goes on. There were additional police on the streets today, and it was relatively quiet here in town.
So far the visit is going well. More to follow, and I hope with some photographs.
Wednesday, September 06, 2006
Back to the 'Stan
I am going back into Afghanistan for a few weeks....stay tuned for updates.
Monday, July 24, 2006
It Didn't Work...
No matter how much you polish a turd, you will not make a diamond.....
Hillary's campaign has paid $6,000 in hairstyling and makeup...
HILLARY GATHERS AN ARMY
INCLUDES 3G FOR STYLIST
July 24, 2006 -- WASHINGTON - Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton's campaign army has increased its ranks to 50 staffers and more than 20 consultants, specialists in everything from fund-raising to speech-writing to hairstyling and makeup.
Clinton, the likely 2008 Democratic White House front-runner, ponied up nearly $3,000 in campaign cash for her blond tresses to get some presidential pampering from acclaimed D.C. stylist Isabelle Goetz.
Recently released federal fund-raising records show Clinton shelled out $1,500 in April for Goetz to carefully craft her coiffure and another $1,000 for a camera-ready clip in May.
She passed off both styling sessions as "media production" expenses.
Clinton was so desperate for Goetz to style her gilded mane, she picked up the scissor siren's $405 travel tab in April and a $38 expenses tab in May.
Goetz, a fixture at the swank Cristophe salon and the favored stylist of John Kerry, has been clipping the former first lady's locks for years - she's credited for updating Clinton's coif from country to chic. To complement the touch-up of her tresses, Clinton invested another $3,000 for makeup maestro Barbara Lacy to brush on some blush.
Lacy is a Tinseltown pro who applied the makeup to actors' mugs in movies including "Minority Report," "Runaway Bride," "National Treasure" and "In the Line of Fire."
She can also take credit for working the West Wing - the NBC version. Clinton paid Lacy an eye-popping $1,600 for some eye-lining in mid-May and another mind-boggling $1,300 for some makeup two weeks later.
Again, Clinton justified the makeovers as a media production expense.
Campaign spokesman Ann Lewis said the "costs represent several days' film production for campaign use" - including film that was shown at state conventions and at house parties, and can still be seen on Clinton's re-election Web site.
The sly salon sessions were just a sliver of the $3.4 million tab to keep her political machine running, including bills of $285,000 for political polling, more than $650,000 for direct mail and $200,000 for postage.
Wednesday, July 05, 2006
Not eating for peace...let's see how long this lasts...They said they will not eat until the troops come home from Iraq. Let's hold them to their word (especially Cindy) and hopefully we wont hear from them again.
Anti-war protesters begin July 4 fast
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - About 150 protesters sat in front of the White House on Monday to savor their last meal before starting a hunger strike that some said will continue until American troops return from Iraq.
The demonstration marking the Independence Day holiday was organized by CodePink, a women's anti-war group that called on volunteers to abstain from eating for 24 hours from midnight on Monday.
Some protesters said their fast would continue beyond July 4th.
Anti-war activist Cindy Sheehan, whose son was killed in Iraq, said she would drink only water throughout the summer, which she said she would spend outside President George W. Bush's ranch in Crawford, Texas.
"This war is a crime," Sheehan told a crowd of clapping, cheering protesters. "We represent millions of Americans who withdraw their support from this government."
The demonstrators crouched in the muggy evening next to a piece of pink plastic, spread down the road as a table and table-cloth in one. It was covered with wilted pink sunflowers and plates of vegetarian curry, white rice, and beans.
The demonstration aimed at highlighting the costs of the war, in which more than 2,500 U.S. soldiers and thousands of Iraqis have died, said CodePink spokeswoman Meredith Dearborn.
"We have to put our own lives on the line, and I'm willing to do that," said activist Diane Wilson, who pledged to fast until the United States withdraws from Iraq.
Dearborn said 2,700 other activists nationwide, including actors Susan Sarandon and Sean Penn, would work as a relay team passing the fast daily from one to another
Thursday, June 15, 2006
If you can't beat 'em. Join 'em ---
From Breitbart, via Drudge
Cleric Calls on Bush to Convert to IslamJun 15 8:45 AM US/Eastern
By IRWAN FIRDAUSAssociated Press Writer
A reputed leader of the al-Qaida-linked terror group blamed for deadly bombings across Indonesia on Thursday accused President Bush and Australian Prime Minister John Howard of waging wars against Muslims in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Militant cleric Abu Bakar Bashir also called on Bush and Howard to convert to Islam, saying it was "the only way to save their souls," adding that families still grieving after the 2002 Bali blasts that killed many foreigners should also become Muslim to find "salvation and peace."
Bashir, 68, was released from prison Wednesday after completing a 26- month sentence for conspiracy in the Bali bombings that killed 202 people, was at a hardline Islamic boarding school that has spawned some of Southeast Asia's deadliest terrorists.
The firebrand cleric also declined to directly condemn young men who carry out bombings in Indonesia in the name of Islam, saying they he still considered them "holy warriors," because they believed they were defending the oppressed.
But he also said they misguided and wrong to use bombs in a country at peace.
"Why use bombs in a non-conflict zone, preaching is enough," he said.
Jemaah Islamiyah is accused of carrying out church bombings across the world's most populous Muslim nation in 2000, the 2002 bombings on the resort island of Bali, attacks in the capital Jakarta in 2003 and and a triple suicide bombing on Bali last October.
The attacks together killed more than 260 people, many of them foreigners, and have thrust Indonesia onto the front line of the global war on terror.
Though the United States and Australia said they were disappointed at Bashir's release, Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono noted Thursday that it did not mean his government was soft on Islamic militants.
"Abu Bakar Bashir was put on trial. He was punished," Yudhoyono said in Jakarta, adding that Indonesia has arrested hundreds of suspected terrorists and sentenced three linked to the 2002 Bali bombings to death.
Bashir, who has never been linked to the execution, preparation or commission of terrorist attacks, was asked Thursday about families still suffering from the Bali blasts.
He said the attacks "were God's will" and that survivors should "convert to Islam" if they wanted to soothe their suffering.
He had the same message for Bush and Howard, whom he criticized for waging wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, saying converting was "the only way for them to save their souls."
Both ideas were crudely expressed, but are in line with basic Islamic _ and Christian _ teachings on personal redemption and God's omnipotence.
Bashir also told Australia, which urged Indonesian authorities to keep a close eye on his activities, not to "intervene" in his nation's affairs.
"I don't interfere in Australian affairs, and you should not intervene in ours," he said.
Bashir called Bush an "infidel," but said he was happy the American people were starting to realize that their president had made a mistake when he decided to wage war on Muslims. He did not elaborate, but was apparently referring to sliding opinion polls.
"I feel sorry for the American people, but it seems now they realize he was wrong," Bashir told reporters who were invited to speak to him on the porch of his modest home inside the al-Mukmin boarding school complex, which he founded in 1972.
Bashir's freedom has raised concerns that he will energize Indonesia's small, Islamic radical fringe by making impassioned speeches at rallies and mosques, but few believe the cleric will play any direct role in terrorism.
Before the Bali blasts, Bashir was chiefly known for his campaign to make his secular nation an Islamic state _ something he said Thursday he would continue to do _ and his vitriolic criticism of the West.
Sidney Jones, a leading international expert on Jemaah Islamiyah, said she did not think Bashir's freedom increased the threat of bombings in Indonesia.
But, she said, "there is no question that his stature has grown in prison and that he's now seen as a symbol of defying the West and the United States in particular.
"For that reason, he will be a very popular speaker among many young Muslim crowds in many parts to Indonesia, including many people who have no interest in violence whatsoever."
I am sure that President Bush is already enrolled in a conversion class...
Tuesday, June 13, 2006
You Can't Make This Stuff Up...
Clinton blames Bush for more ... Hurricanes?
No, really he does.
See - from Breitbart.com (via Drudge)
As Tropical Storm Alberto threatened to strengthen into the ninth hurricane in 22 months to affect Florida, former President Clinton predicted Monday that Republican environmental policies will lead to more severe storms.
"It is now generally recognized that while Al Gore and I were ridiculed, we were right about global warming," Clinton said at a fundraiser for the Florida Democratic Party. "It's a serious problem. It's going to lead to more hurricanes."
Gore's documentary, "An Inconvenient Truth," chronicles the former vice president's efforts to educate the public about global warming. It's in limited release around the country.
In his critique of the GOP, Clinton also touched on the war in Iraq, the rising federal deficit and high health care costs. The crowd of about 500 greeted him with loud applause and shouts of "We love you, Bill!" and "Four more years!"
Jeff Sadosky, spokesman for the state Republican Party, decried Clinton's rhetoric. "Bill Clinton's class warfare and race-baiting message gets us no closer to solutions for the issues he brings up," he said.
Sadosky referred in part to Clinton's comments earlier this month in Arizona. At that event, Clinton characterized Republican Party leaders as right-wing, white Southerners.
Wednesday, April 12, 2006
A Few Words About Immigration
Truer words regarding immigration have never been spoken:
"In the first place, we should insist that if the immigrant who comes here in good faith becomes an American and assimilates himself to us, he shall be treated on an exact equality with everyone else, for it is an outrage to discriminate against any such man because of creed, or birthplace, or origin. But this is predicated upon the person's becoming in every facet an American, and nothing but an American...There can be no divided allegiance here. Any man who says he is an American, but something else also, isn't an American at all. We have room for but one flag, the American flag... We have room for but one language here, and that is the English language... and we have room for but one sole loyalty and that is a loyalty to the American people."
Imagine if a current politician said this.
Tuesday, March 14, 2006
Day-freakin' - tona
What is the deal with this hat? What is this young "lady" trying to say?
This woman had the can of beer in her hand for the entire race. She stood and cheered her hero, Dale Jr, every time he went by.
Every lap, 200 of them, they would stand and point. I think Dale saw them, he seemed to drive harder down the "superstretch" just for them. The younger one would have a look of nervous anticipation. It seemed as if she wasn't sure that the cars would actually come by this time...
It was actually a pretty good time. Them NASCAR boys know how to put on a show, and any place where you can bring in a cooler full of beer is OK by me.
Technorati Tags: Daytona
Monday, March 13, 2006
Were these people not beaten to a bloody pulp?
A group of protesters, 5 women, disrupted the funeral of a soldier killed in Iraq.
Not out of protest against the war, but rather...
"Five women sang and danced as they held up signs saying "thank God for dead soldiers" at the funeral of an army sergeant who was killed by an Iraqi bomb.
For them, it was the perfect way to spread God's word: America was being punished for tolerating homosexuality."
I don't care whether you think the war is right or wrong....and it takes alot for me to get mad. But if I EVER witness something like this I will not be able to restrain myself, and someone will pay. Dearly.
Read the story here: Funeral Protest
Monday, March 06, 2006
This needs to stop NOW!...
It appears that the Indianapolis Airport is run by a FOREIGN company....
Drudge Reports here
I have been to Heathrow and Gatwick. Their security operations are significant. I feel more secure traveling through the airports in the UK than I do any US airport.. and I don't have to take my shoes off...Maybe the US airports can learn something from this company.
The Academy Awards were last night. Here are my thoughts on the winners:
Best Picture - Crash - Didn't see it.
Best Actor - Philip Seymour - Capote - Didn't see it.
Best Actress - Reese Witherspoon - Walk the Line - Didn't see it.
Best Supporting Actor - George Clooney - Syriana - Didn't see it.
Best Supporting Actress - Rachel Weisz - Constant Gardner - Didn't see it.
Best Director - Ang Lee - Brokeback Mountain - Didn't see it. (Not that there's anything wrong with it)
....I need a life.
Thursday, March 02, 2006
I'd have PAID to see this....
SMASH went to a Cindy Sheehan speaking engagement...hilarity ensued. I love it when people get caught by their own words.....
Read on here: SMASH watches a Cindy Takedown
SMASH goes one better and exposes her for the ATTENTION WHORE she really is:
Wednesday, March 01, 2006
Don't Fear Dubai Ports
I have been to Dubai, and it is just like Smash describes at the link.
Smash gets it....Smash on Dubai