A Little Civics Quiz

H/T to Beth at MVRWC for this gem!

Civics Quiz

Interesting quiz.  I did not get 100%, but did get 93.33% correct.  My downfall was Aquinas and Plato, neither of which I have dealt with in 15+ years in any serious capacity.  Still, I’m both amazed and disappointed in how some major Colleges and Universities fared on the quiz.  I blew them away with my score by a wide margin.  Heck, the web users for the month of May are beating out the likes of Harvard and Duke, both Freshmen and Seniors.  Sad, but highly unsurprising.

 

Ferraro, for McCain?

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/northamerica/usa/2022398/US-Elections-Barack-Obama-has-lost-women-%27with-sexist-campaign%27.html

 

Interesting artcle. 

While Geraldine Ferraro is no stranger to controversy, or speaking her mind, this one does shock me just a little bit.  Until this point, Ferraro had been easily defined as a partisan Democrat.  I guess the Obama campaign has ticked her off quite a bit if she’s publically talking about “jumping ship” to Mac.  If her responses in the article are true, it could spell a huge dent to Obama, more so as a lot of those who Ferraro talks to are Democratic fund raisers and organizers.  And not just any fund raisers and organizers, but the big money people, people who draw in and influence others to donate.  could be a very interesting run through the Democratic convention.  Perhaps a floor fight?  A lot will depend on what the DNC decides to do with the Florida and Michigan delegations.

Barack Bumbles his history..

So Barack, was it Auschwitz, Buchenwald, or Ohrdruf? 

http://www.cbsnews.com/blogs/2008/05/26/politics/fromtheroad/entry4127479.shtml

http://elections.foxnews.com/2008/05/27/recollection-of-obama-familys-service-missing-key-details/

 

Now I know that delving into family history can be confusing, misleading, and fraught with exaggerations and fabrications.  But this one just seems to be politically driven.  It was a calculated move on his, and his campaign’s part, to try and shore up his appearance to Jewish voters.  It was a dumb move.  They had to know that such a misstep would be covered, and the “mistake” exposed.  If not, then someone is lying.  It could be Barack, it could be his uncle, it could be another family member who told teh story.  OR even worse, it could be Barack is just that ignorant of history, and living history at that.  No excuse if that’s the case, and certainly would not be a mark in his favor.  Heck, no matter what the end result of this is, it is a mark against him.

NACBL NY Mets May Wrap Up

Ugh.  After a very promising April, we back slid just a bit.  The team went from 4 games over .500 to 2 games under.  We went from 2nd place in the NL East to 4th.  A record of 10-15 in the month of May might allow Willie Randolph to keep his job, but I need to make some shake ups.

Even so, there have been some good things happening.  Hunter Pence is 4th in the NL in average, Jered Weaver is tied for the league lead in wins with 7, Papelbon is 3rd in saves with 11, and Brandon Webb is 2nd in ERA with 2.45. 

The team’s big problem was not winning games we should on the road.  Of course this is a curse of PC strat, as the game has a definite bias towards the home team.  Still, I can’t complain too much, as I did have a nice road record in April.  Hopefuly this was just a fluke, and we’ll rebound along with the temperatures in June. 

Still, some guys just aren’t performing up to snuff.  Livan Hernandez has been dropped in the rotation form the 2nd slot to 5th.  Jorge de La Rosa, who had been in the 4 slot, has been sent to the bull pen with his 7+ ERA.  Kameron Loe, called up at the begining of May to soak some garbage innings, gets promoted to the 2nd slot in the rotation, after posting a 0.63 ERA and 1-1 record out of the pen.  I doubt he’ll be over powering (his card just isn;t good), but he can’t do any worse that de La Rosa’s 1-8 7.77 ERA.  Okajima did give up an earned run finally, raising his ERA to 0.84. 

The line up got a bit of tweak as well.  Due to AB/PA limitations, Darrin Erstadt has been relegated to the bench, except for PH and defense.  Garret Atkins will move to 1B full time, and Akinori Iwamura will play every day at 3B.  Tony Pena jr, and his .222 average, is on the bench, and Jack Wilson will be playing full time at SS. 

So we’ll see how well the next month goes.  May have to sell out to try and win this year.  I have a problem bringing myself to do that, but it may be a few years before I can make a good run again otherwise.

Some Memorial Day Links

Not going to sound off today.  Just post some links worth reading on this particular holiday.

http://www.dailygazette.com/news/2008/may/26/0526_ambrose_photog/

http://www.cmohs.org/

http://www.mishalov.com/Citations.html

http://www.homeofheroes.com/

http://www.tombguard.org/

http://www.soldiersperspective.us/2008/05/22/memorial-day-2008/

http://anziobeachheadveteransofwwii.com/

http://www.sbarcodianzio.it/english.htm

http://www.axpow.org/stories.htm

http://www.acc-vac.gc.ca/remembers/sub.cfm?source=collections/hrp/hrp_detail&media_id=480

http://www.45thinfantrydivision.com/

Some Second Amendment Commentary (Part II)

Again, shamelessly swiped from the Glenn Beck newsletter (www.glennbeck.com), this time it’s Senator John McCain…

My support for the 2nd Amendment
By John McCain

Glenn Beck fans, gun rights are an important issue, and I wanted to share with you some highlights of the speech I will deliver today at the National Rifle Association annual meeting. I think they will give you some good insight into my strong belief in the Second Amendment.

“When I first ran for Congress in 1982, I was proud to have the support of gun owners. For more than two decades, I’ve opposed efforts to ban guns, ban ammunition, ban magazines, and dismiss gun owners as some kind of fringe group unwelcome in “modern” America. The Second Amendment isn’t some archaic custom that matters only to rural Americans, who find solace in firearms out of frustration with their economic circumstances. The Second Amendment is unique in the world. It guarantees an individual right to keep and bear arms. To argue anything else is to reject the clear meaning of our Founding Fathers.

“Self-reliance is the ethic that made America great, and our Founders understood that. They knew there would be circumstances where Americans might need to use firearms to protect themselves and their families. Some Second Amendment detractors think this is a mere abstraction, or a relic of America’s distant past. But Americans exercise their Second Amendment rights every day to protect themselves from criminals, as happened in Scottsdale, Arizona where earlier this year, a 74-year-old woman defended her home from a man who repeatedly attempted to break in, extort money and threatened to set fire to her garage. The Second Amendment – and its guarantee of an individual right to keep and bear arms – is certainly not an abstraction.

“But the clear meaning of the Second Amendment has not stopped those who want to punish firearms owners – and those who make and sell firearms – for the actions of criminals. It seems like every time there is a particularly violent crime, the anti-gun activists demand yet another restriction on the Second Amendment. I opposed the ban on so-called ‘assault weapons,’ which was first proposed after a California schoolyard shooting. It makes no sense to ban a class of firearms based on cosmetic features. I have opposed waiting periods for gun purchases.”

“Like your members, I am a committed conservationist. I have long supported multiple uses for public lands that ensure they are available for this and future generations to hunt, fish and explore. Over 12 million hunters in the United States contribute $25 billion to the economy, much of it in rural areas. Hunters pay billions of dollars in federal revenue through license and other fees. Here in Kentucky, hunters spend over $400 million and support thousands of jobs.”

“Over the years, I haven’t agreed with the NRA on every issue. I have supported efforts to have NICS background checks apply to gun sales at gun shows. I recognize that gun shows are enjoyed by millions of law-abiding Americans. I do not support efforts by those who seek to regulate them out of existence. But I believe an accurate, fair and instant background check at guns shows is a reasonable requirement. I also oppose efforts to require federal regulation of all private sales such as the transfer between a father and son or husband and wife. I supported campaign finance reform because I strongly believed our system of financing campaigns was influencing elected officials to put the interests of “soft money” donors ahead of the public interest. It is neither my purpose nor the purpose of the legislation to prevent gun owners or any other group of citizens from making their voices heard in the legislative process.

“Those disagreements do not detract from my long record of support for the Second Amendment and the work we have done together to protect the rights of gun owners from the political attitudes of the moment in Washington that view the Second Amendment as a once quaint custom that must now yield to the judgment of modern enlightened opinion. We have real differences with the Democratic candidates for President. They have learned something since 2000. They don’t talk about their plans for gun control. They claim to support hunters and gun owners. But just because they don’t talk about gun control doesn’t mean they won’t support gun control. Let’s be clear. If either Senator Clinton or Senator Obama is elected President, the rights of law-abiding gun owners will be at risk. They have both voted as Senators to ban guns or ban ammunition or to allow gun makers to be sued out of existence.

“It seems every election, politicians who support restrictions on the Second Amendment dress up in camouflage and pose with guns to demonstrate they care about hunters, even though few gun owners fall for such obvious political theater. After Senator Obama made his unfortunate comment that Pennsylvanians ‘cling to guns and religion’ out of bitterness, Senator Clinton quickly affirmed her support for the Second Amendment. That drew Senator Obama’s derision. ‘She’s running around talking about how this is an insult to sportsmen, how she values the Second Amendment,’ he said. ‘Like she’s on the duck blind every Sunday, . . . packin’ a six shooter!’ Someone should tell Senator Obama that ducks are usually hunted with shotguns.

“Senator Obama hopes he can get away with having it both ways. He says he believes that the Second Amendment confers an individual right to bear arms. But when he had a chance to weigh in on the most important Second Amendment case before the U.S. Supreme Court in decades, District of Columbia v. Heller, Senator Obama dodged the question by claiming, ‘I don’t like taking a stand on pending cases.’ He refused to sign the amicus brief signed by a bipartisan group of 55 Senators arguing that the Supreme Court should overturn the DC gun ban in the Heller case. When he was running for the State Senate in Illinois, his campaign filled out a questionnaire asking whether he supported legislation to ban the manufacture, sale and possession of handguns with simple, ‘Yes.’

“The Heller case should be decided soon. But however that case is decided, the federal judiciary will continue to be an important forum for protecting Second Amendment rights. The next President will appoint literally hundreds of federal judges, and is likely to have the opportunity to nominate one or more Supreme Court justices.”

“Quite rightly, the proper role of the judiciary has become one of the defining issues of this presidential election. It will fall to the next president to nominate qualified men and women to the federal courts, and the choices we make will reach far into the future. My two prospective opponents and I have very different ideas about the nature and proper exercise of judicial power. We would nominate judges of a different kind, a different caliber, a different understanding of judicial authority and its limits. And the people of America – voters in both parties whose wishes and convictions are so often disregarded by unelected judges – are entitled to know what those differences are.”

“The decisions of our Supreme Court in particular can be as close to permanent as anything government does. And in the presidential selection of those who will write those decisions, a hunch, a hope, and a good first impression are not enough. I will not seek the confidence of the American people in my nominees until my own confidence is complete – until I am certain of my nominee’s ability, wisdom, and demonstrated fidelity to the Constitution.”

“But I would like to close my remarks with an issue that I know is much on the mind of Americans – the war in Iraq. Senator Obama has said, if elected, he will withdraw Americans from Iraq quickly no matter what the situation on the ground is and no matter what U.S. military commanders advise. But if we withdraw prematurely from Iraq, al Qaeda in Iraq will survive, proclaim victory and continue to provoke sectarian tensions that, while they have been subdued by the success of the surge, still exist, and are ripe for provocation by al Qaeda. Civil war in Iraq could easily descend into genocide, and destabilize the entire region as neighboring powers come to the aid of their favored factions. A reckless and premature withdrawal would be a terrible defeat for our security interests and our values. Iran will view it as a victory, and the biggest state supporter of terrorists, a country with nuclear ambitions and a stated desire to destroy the State of Israel, will see its influence in the Middle East grow significantly.

The consequences of our defeat would threaten us for years, and those who argue for premature withdrawal, as both Senators Obama and Clinton do, are arguing for a course that would eventually draw us into a wider and more difficult war that would entail far greater dangers and sacrifices than we have suffered to date. Thanks to the counterinsurgency instigated by General Petreaus, after four years of terribly costly mistakes, we have a realistic chance to succeed in helping the forces of political reconciliation prevail in Iraq, and the democratically elected Iraqi Government, with a professional and competent Iraqi army, impose its authority throughout the country and defend its borders. We have a realistic chance of denying al Qaeda any sanctuary in Iraq. We have a realistic chance of leaving behind in Iraq a force for stability and peace in the region, and not a cause for a wider and far more dangerous war. I do not argue against withdrawal because I am indifferent to war and the suffering it inflicts on too many American families. I hold my position because I hate war, and I know very well and very personally how grievous its wages are. But I know, too, that we must sometimes pay those wages to avoid paying even higher ones later. I want our soldiers home, too, just as quickly as we can bring them back without risking everything they suffered for, and burdening them with greater sacrifices in the years ahead. That I will not do. I have spent my life in service to my country, and I will never, never, never risk her security for the sake of my own ambitions. I will defend her, and all her freedoms, so help me God. And I ask you to help me in that good cause. Thank you, and God bless you.”

Some Second Amendment Commentary (Part I)

Not from me this time aorund, but from some “names” that are involved in the issue.  First up. the Motor City Mad Man, Ted Nugent. (This is swiped from the Glenn Beck newsletter, www.glennbeck.com):

Special Report: I am the NRA

I am the NRA
By Ted Nugent

I like guns. I cherish freedom. That is why I am a proud life member and on the Board of Directors of the National Rifle Association (NRA).

This coming weekend tens of thousands of like-minded Americans will come to Louisville to celebrate the 2nd Amendment guarantee to our right to self defense and all the various freedoms we as Americans uniquely enjoy.

The NRA stands with all freedom-loving Americans. Indeed, our focus is on the 2nd Amendment, but the NRA members realize that the other freedoms contained in our sacred US Constitution and Bill of Rights are also worthy of our watchful eye and protection. Just like the NRA will not support gun-control, we also won’t support freedom-control.

The NRA understands the toll of freedom is responsibility, which is why we adamantly support mandatory sentences for those individuals who violate the freedoms of others with a gun. The NRA has always advocated tougher sentences for criminals. Interestingly, our most vehement adversaries are typically those individuals and organizations who advocate lighter sentences for criminals and other policies that weaken the fabric of our criminal justice system, thereby putting you and me at risk.

Not only does the NRA believe you have a Constitutional right to own and posses a gun, but we also believe you have God-given right and duty to defend yourselves and your loved ones. A cursory review of the statements of our founding fathers regarding why the 2nd Amendment was included in the Bill of Rights will indicate that they believed this too. The 2nd Amendment has nothing to do with duck hunting.

Let me be very clear: the NRA believes, supports and fights for the rights of Americans to carry a concealed weapon. Various misinformed or anti-gun media ideologues will attempt to convince you that concealed carry will lead to carnage in your streets. But that hasn’t happened with the hundreds of thousands of Americans that legally carry a concealed weapon. In fact, just the opposite is true, but the facts, however interesting, are routinely ignored by media. How convenient.

Law-abiding citizens with guns thwart criminals well over a million times a year. While our brave men and women of law enforcement do their best, they can’t be everywhere to protect you and me. The protection of our loved ones is ultimately our individual responsibility. Without a gun, those Americans who otherwise thwart crime with a gun each year almost certainly would have been a victim of a crime. Instead, they prevented crime. More than likely you didn’t know that because our media hasn’t been honest with us. The number of anti-gun news stories dwarfs the amount of pro-gun stories covered by American media.

Having conducted thousands of pro-gun radio, print and television interviews, I am continually appalled at the attempts by anti-gun adherents to spin, slant and overtly lie about guns, law abiding gun owners, crime and the NRA. There are misinformed people who actually believe the NRA is responsible for crime instead of working hard to prevent it. Once exposed, they are typically the same people who believe you and me aren’t taxed enough.

At over four million members, the NRA’s ranks are composed of teachers, cops, farmers, lawyers, welders, hero military veterans and at least one gonzo guitar player who is not afraid to speak his mind and stand up for what he believes in. NRA members believe it is our responsibility as Americans to participate in this experiment in self-government.

I personally invite you to come to the Kentucky Expo Center this weekend to celebrate freedom with tens of thousands of other like-minded Americans. You will encounter courteous, polite and gregarious Americans who believe freedom is worth fighting for. We are the NRA.

Ted Nugent has consistently received more votes to the NRA Board than any other nominee, with the exception of the late, great Charlton Heston. Nugent continues to set attendance records at every NRA seminar and book signing event he hosts. For more information on all things Nugent, please visit www.tednugent.com.

More Living History

H/T to Kurt via email for this one.

http://formerspook.blogspot.com/2008/05/last-of-tigers.html

http://www.mysanantonio.com/news/military/stories/MYSA.051008.METRO4BFlyingTigers.3897e91.html

Most people don’t know that Americans were volonteering for WW2 before Pearl Harbor.  Many think it just a Hollywood invention, a bit of propaganda to bolster the image of Americans in that period.  While it certainly has been propagandized, it is still none the less true.

Prior to the attack on Pearl Harbor, Americans were enlisting in the Royal Canadian Armed Forces, the RAF, and in 1940/41, a group volonteered to go help the Chinese against the Japanese under Claire Chennault.  This last group came to be known as the “Flying Tigers.”  They have been immortalized in a John Wayne film, and indirectly on a TV series (Black Sheep Squadron).  They have been enshrined in multiple museums and memorials in the US and China.

The group was recruited after an agreement between the Nationalist Chinese government of Chiang Kai-Chek and FDR.  Pilots, mechanics, and other personel were recruited from both the civilian and military ranks.  They would go to China (through Burma), anf fly P-40 Warhawks against the Japanese.  All on a minimal salary and bonus for each Japanese plane shot down.

In a rather brief period of time, the Flying Tigers made one heck of an impact.  Not only in terms of bolstering the image of Americans abroad, but in terms of combat effectiveness, reputation, and tactical lessons later applied in the war in the Pacific.  They operated for less than a year, yet made an indelible mark on the Chinese and their Japanese opponents.

Despite all this, these guys are only well known to students of WW2 history, their families, and those who served.  Much like the Tuskegee Airmen who came later, they are more often a footnote, rather than a main subject of history.  Despite popular movies, TV shows, and TV movies, they still don’t enter the general consciousness of people when the subject of WW2 comes up. 

These guys were special, in a time when special was the norm.  It’s not called our “greatest generation” for nothing you know.  We need to keep the memories of these guys and gals alive.  Not just for today, but for future generations as well. 

Semper Fi Jim Kean (Small Update)

http://www.thebostonchannel.com/news/16201750/detail.html

While I have no personal connection to Lt.Col. Jim Kean, his passing is just another one of those living bits of history that has now passed us by. 

I did not know Lt.Col. Kean, nor do I know anyone who did.  That does not matter.  He was a soldier, a Marine, and had to command one of the worst possible missions a soldier may be called upon to do.  He was one of the last men out of the US Embassy in Saigon (yes it’s Saigon, not that silly affectation that was put on it after 1975).

The story of those last days is well known, either by having lived through it, or from immediate family, or even just from the History Channel.  It was chaotic.  It was embarassing.  It had moments of great humanity, and some of the lowest facets of human nature.  Yet from all accounts, Colonel Kean maintained his composure, and kept the evacuation going, despite some over whelming conditions. 

The costs of that evacuation could have been much worse than what actually transpired.  Not only in terms of US casualties (4 Marines KIA), but in terms of civilian deaths from those swarming the ad-hoc helipad on the Embassy roof.  Yes, there were plenty of civilian deaths that day.  Most of them trampled to death in the rush to try and get to the Huey’s and Sikorsky’s running from the Embassy to a US Navy Task Force off the coast. 

Through all of that, Jim Kean did not only his duty, his job, but maintained a level of control, that is surprising in such a situation.  It may be a low point in US history, a shameful exodus after abandoning an ally, but what Jim Kean did that day, and during that whole operation, should be properly commended.

Rest in peace.

 

UPDATE:

http://www.fallofsaigon.org

A site dedicated to, and maintained by, the members of the Embassy, Consulate, and Personal Security Detachments in RVN in 1975.  For more information, some truly interesting stories and such not only about the Fall of Saigon itself, but of those who participated in the evacuation, go there and spend some time reading through it all.  It will be worth your time.

More from Zimbabwe

Well, it seems that old Robert Mugabe just can’t do enough to hold on to power.  Having lost the election, not only for parliament, but for his coveted presidency, and having failed to properly rig the electoral outcome, he’s now resorting to tried and true dictatorial tactics. 

I really had planned on waiting to comment more on this, as the story was becoming just “more of the same old same old” with police and military crack downs on the opposition, thugs roaming and beating people, destruction of opposition offices, etc.  But this CNN piece had a line that caught my attention.  Read the whole thing HERE.

The paasage in question is this: “On Wednesday, police arrested Harrison Nkomo, a lawyer who represented New York Times journalist Barry Bearak when Bearak was briefly detained last month, the rights group Human Rights Watch said. Bearak, a Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter based in Johannesburg, South Africa, spent four nights in jail in Zimbabwe on charges of “committing journalism” while covering the election.”

“Committing Journalism” is apparently a crime when covering the elections in Zimbabwe/Rhodesia.  I just had to laugh out loud at that one.  While I wasn’t exactly sorry for a “reporter” for the NY Times, not all of them are agenda driven morons.  Some do still believe in accuracy, honesty, and reporting facts not rumor.  Even so, in this case, I do think that the reporter, Nkomo, was essentially arrested for doing his job.  Of course the Mugabe regime doesn’t want the facts on teh ground in Harare or the rest of the country getting out.  So, it’s only “natural” that “committing journalism” would be a crime.

So now when you hear about how reporters are so “abused” or “mistreated” in the US, look here at Zimbabwe for what that really means.  And remember, thsi is not some right wing regime that’s trouncing on civil liberties and rights.  It’s an old school leftist.  And one who was once the darling of the liberal West.