Sunday, May 29, 2011

Thoughts On Memorial Day

There is a lot of racing and BBQ going on today. Well, I like racing and BBQ as well as the next guy but this day is more than that, it's supposed to be a day to remember the men who have lost their lives under the Red, White and Blue.

The first three wars our nation's soldiers, sailors and Marines fought were against folks who far outnumbered and outgunned us. The Brits of the Revolutionary War and the War of 1812 had us beat on everything but morale. And the forces under Presley O'Bannon and General Eaton were certainly outgunned, along with having about a thousand sword waving crazies to one.

Our fourth war, beside the constant war against the Indians* is the most problematical war in our history, again, beside the war against the Indians*.

Between the end of the Texas War of Independence of 1836 and 1846 the Mexican government pushed hard against the border of the Rio Grande. It is popular among historians and other academics to call the Mexican War a war of conquest and the big bully against the smaller Mexico. They, of course, being academics, look at today's United States of America against today's Estados Unitos de Mexico. It was a lot more even in 1846. And all, repeat ALL of the opening battles in that fight were on our side of the Rio Grande.

The real tragedy in that war was the San Patricos. A little known fact of the great potato famine of Ireland is that the first place nation where the Irish fled to was, of course, the United States of America. The second nation? Estados Unidas de Mexico. Mexico, being a Catholic country, gave the Irish a warmer welcome than we did, to our eternal shame. Still, a lot of Irish men joined the U. S. Army right off the boat, the Army being a steady job. Not much pay but at least they ate and had shoes and a shirt on their backs.

Still, the Irish soldiers of 1846 were treated very poorly in the Army. By the Civil War the Army had learned a lot but in that war the Irish got the worst jobs, the meanest quarters and, perhaps worst of all, were denied Catholic Chaplains.

So, at the beginning of the Mexican war an Irish Soldier deserted the US Army, one of many. He refused to fight against his fellow Catholics of Mexico, he went so far as to join the Mexican Army and formed the San Patrico Battalion. This battalion, a force that ultimately numbered 600 men fought in many of the battles,ending it's life at the Battle of Churubusco.

After that fight the US Army went on an orgy of killing, whipping and branding of the captured survivors. Any survivor know or suspected to have deserted the US Army after the declaration of war was hanged, including Francis O'Conner who was already dying from having both legs removed. The hangings were carried out by putting the men in wagons, putting the noose around their necks and whipping the mules. Without enough drop to break their necks, the men strangled, slowly.

Contrast this with our next war the War of Southern Rebellion or, as they used to call it down here, the War of Northern Aggression.

The Band Played Dixie

As the Civil War (as if that was civil, ask the citizens of the Shenandoah Valley or Missouri.)became inevitable a whole slew of officers of the Army, Navy and Marine Corps resigned their commissions, along with a lot of enlisted men, to join up with the South. At West Point the southern Cadets who left to join the Confederacy did so at a morning parade, complete with all the other Cadets and the commissioned instructors. As the Cadets marched off the band played Dixie.

Six hundred thousand American dead later the war was over and slavery ended.

Memorial Day started as Decoration Day. It wasn't even the same day everywhere, it was just a day in the late spring when the people of the South went to the graveyards of the dead of that awful war and cleaned up the graves. They pulled the weeds, straightened the leaning headstones, planted and placed flowers and otherwise spruced the graveyards up.

We have had a lot of wars and a lot of dead since it was Decoration Day. And it's a damned shame so few of us remember why this day is this day. It's not the beer or the BBQ, nor the first big day at the lake or seashore. It's not the day you get to wear white shoes or go to the races. Today is the day to think of lonely, frightened men, mostly very young who, if they had time for last words it was usually "Momma".

It's still going on today. Rightly or wrongly, we have sent our young men, and now women, thousands of miles to fight. And they are dying. Not in near the numbers we did in my war, nor near the numbers of earlier wars. Still each death is a husband and father or a son, or now a mother and daughter. Unlike the days of the draft, most Americans do not know a Serviceman or Woman. This started in my war. The sons of the upper class and upper middle class went into the University and then found a doctor pal to claim a disability like Howard Dean's bad knee which miraculously healed up enough for him to go skiing for a few winters.

Today Washington doesn't care where they send our sons and daughters since the kids that are serving today aren't theirs. Today it's the kids of the south and Midwest serving, the lower middle class kids that somehow missed the indoctrination of the education bureaucracy. Give those "educators" a couple more generations, though, and we'll have no one left that knows how to fight.

*I refuse to call the tribes "native Americans because everyone born in this country is a native American. For that matter, everyone born in Central and South America is a native American.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

We Are Still Earthboud

So I got up, wondering when The Rapture was going to be. Linda Lou, who is a pretty fair hand at being a Christian did not disappear. Then the power went out and we started to wonder, just a little, did some really good Christians hit the wires on their way up?

Turned out somebody cut a tree and it fell the wrong way. Spoiled my plan, I was going to write a nice post and then, kind of in the middle of a sentence, say something like the dog ca

Then just hit post and see if everybody thought I'd been raptured. Personally I think that old duck out in Californey is just a little senile and simply got his calculations almost right, only one letter off. So, today he was not talking to anyone in the media. It's because today was his day to be ruptured. We won't hear from him until he gets him a truss.

In other news, it was Armed Forces Day. Somewhere along in May was the forty-sixth anniversary of the landings at Chu Lai. I was three minutes behind the first wave in an LCM MK8. There was a Rifle Platoon and a big ol' M-48 Tank. The Army, of course, already had the M-60. I was supposed to go with the guys that made the first landings at Da Nang until they put me off the boat in the practice landings in Okinawa. I had picked up a nice case of pneumonia. Oh well, a week in the hospital and then about six-eight weeks in Okinawa, first on light duty, then regular but still pulling liberty on a regular basis. I'm not sure if it's still that way over there but, back then there were a lot of girls with low morals that just loved them some teenaged American Servicemen. I must confess, back then I placed a very high value on low morals in a woman.

That bout of Pneumonia changed my life. If I hadn't got sick I would have gone into Da Nang, instead I went into Chu Lai, not very far away but the duty was very different. We got a lot closer to the people.

You know, we Viet Nam Vets are getting as old as the WW1 Vets of my boyhood. There were days that I spent hours in the park listening to their stories. I learned a lot from those old men. I reckon the Internet is my generation's park.

Well, Linda Lou just managed to fall down again, this time she was able to work herself up into the chair and get off the floor without the poor guys from the Tawakoni South Volunteer Fire Department. I feel the effing nursing home breathing down my neck. Linda Lou takes enough pills at night to knock out a horse. Then a dog wakes her or something does and she feels, since she's awake (sort of) and it's been two hours, she must get up and pee. Then she falls back asleep walking, I think, and the next thing I know I'm on the phone with the dispatcher.

Well, at least this time she didn't break anything. I'm pretty sure she'll have another big ol' bruise, though. I swear, if that woman ever turns on me, the way she's always bruised from falling down and scratched by dufous dog claws I could spend my golden years behind bars.

Nothing I can say (Lord knows I tried) convinces her to just go back to sleep. Nothing I can say (Lord knows I've tried) convinces her to lay off drinking soda right up until her head hits the pillow. Then there is a bottle right there on the table next to her. I reckon it took a stubborn, mule headed woman to put up with me all these years but we're past too much stubborn.

I wonder if the nursing home will let me have my computer and books. It's too much to think they'll let me have my loading press, components and guns. I can see it now, talking to the manager of the prospective nursing home "Why yes, it's a nice place but I'm going to need a small, lockable and fireproof locker for my black and smokeless powder for loading my cowboy action and general shooting ammo. Oh, and a lockable gun rack, please.

Somehow I don't see myself playing well in the nursing home. Golden years my butt.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Just Thinkin'

So now the Feds think that the Unabomber, who probably started wanting to kill people because he always had to spell his name five times to people, might be the Tylenol poisoner. Seein' as how he's locked up can we go back to packaging that does not require a knife and pliers to get to the effin' product? Or are they just tryin' to clear the case? I hate to believe that but with the history of the FBI Labs being a mess, and various "scientist expert witnesses" being as crooked as that Lombardy Street in San Francisco, I just don't know. I do not understand DNA. I read a lot, I follow Instapundit and Althouse, in addition to a life experience so I can confidently say no jury will ever understand DNA. If a potential juror actual education and experience to understand DNA, one or the other sterling advocates of justice trying the case would use one of the peremptory challenges to get rid of her.

I don't know what to do about this. We have too many cases on record of these people and these outfits being biased away from the truth, for power, for a twisted sense of "justice", to put away "undesirables", for money from a wealthy defendant, or that matter in civil cases, plaintiff or plaintiff's lawyer.

I can understand a case of "we caught the guy at the scene with the victims all over, the chainsaw still in his hand, he was covered in blood...". Anything more scientifical than that is beyond me. And I'm supposed to sit on a jury.

So I was driving along today, after my first bout with the new physical terrorists and Hannity had Carville on, letting Carville talk. So, Carville thinks that after some primaries Romney will be the guy to go against Obama. I really hope he's wrong. I really dislike Carville, he has a voice made for roadside billboards and a face made for radio, as well as political ideas that will kill millions. Still, he knows ground politics and he's hoping the Washington Republicans do it to us again.

Romney as the nominee will guarantee that both the Tea Party types and the Evangelicals will either sit the election out or bolt to a third party. Bottom line, Romney means we lose, again. It may well mean that the big money guys on the coasts will be sitting around with a big headquarters and no voters. The Republicans are in real danger of going the way of the Whigs.

Dear big money guys: Please anoint someone that the voters will support. We've had decades of "it's his turn". It gave us Jimmy Carter. And then it gave us Bill Clinton. George H. W. Bush is a good man, a very good man. He was only elected the first time because the Donks ran a dork named Dukakis. Actually the only reason Bush won in '88 was that picture of the dork in the tank. Without that there would have been no opposition to the Iraq invasion of Kuwait and no fall of the Berlin Wall.

Then the "it's his turn crowd gave us Bob Dole, another good guy who would, or could never win a national election. Starting to get the picture, big money guys? Let me build on it to make sure. McCain. Now Romney isn't anything like McCain except that he is pure poison to the people that work the phone banks and walk the precincts. Now you big money guys think that since it's Obama you can win without those awful Tea Party types and those smelly Evangelicals. Please, please, l00k back on recent history. The Democrat base hates us and fears us. They will go all out, no matter who their nominee is. Sorry, our side's base has some standards. I can see you guys being willing to lose the odd, unimportant election here or there. Losing the country is a different matter. We are almost out of time for us to remain a constitutional republic. In my darker moments I think it's already too late. Sigh.

In a more immediate note I was fixing my navy bean soup and, as I was frying the quarter box of Wrights Bacon Ends and Pieces a thought crossed my mind...With all the laws being passed, do you think we could make it a felony to use the words "too much" and "bacon" in the same sentence?

Navy bean soup is probably the best thing ever to come out of the galley of a ship. I was slicing up the little bit of carrot and celery and getting ready for the humongous onion I was putting in when I started wondering about the sweet onion craze. Dear Georgia, I know you're proud of your sweet Vidalia onions, I even like them sometimes. Can you, please, though, make it a little easier to find the old fashioned onions for cooking? I go to the supermarket and it's sweet Vidalia over there, Texas sweet over here, damn it! I'm cooking soup and stew and (when I have a few buck) pot roast! I'll let you know when I want to make candy.

Anyhow, the soup is in the crockpot, and it'll be ready by Friday evening. Patsy, our neighbor is making cornbread from scratch and we should do some serious eating. Desert is apple pie. I like pie. If we decide the Republican Party is defunct, we could fight it out, the TEA Party and the I Like Pie Party. Winner gets to try to repair the damage these idiots are doing.

Anyhow, that's what I'm up to, and it's almost four AM so I should try to go to bed.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Bad Investment In Pima County Law Enforcement

Taxpayers pay a heck of a lot of money for law enforcement and, contrary to what many think, they usually get a fairly good deal. The bluesuits, deputies and state guys are head and shoulders above most of the rest of the world.

Sometimes, though, we get a bad return on our investment. We see a case in Tuscon, Arizona where it looks like the Sheriff's Department has just thrown away all the money that was supposed to train their SWAT Teams. Now Sheriff Dupnik, yeah, THAT Sheriff Dupnik, has shut down the information pretty well, unlike with Loughner awhile back, but we have another mass shooting. Only this time one man was killed, a man who served two tours in the sandbox for us. Seems this young father was sleeping when his wife woke him because she heard strange noises and saw men through the windows where they shouldn't have been.

Jose Guerena, former Corporal, United States Marine Corps did what a trained man would do, got his rifle, the civilian version of the M-16, the famous old AR-15 and told his wife to hide in the closet with their four year old son.

Seventy-one shots later Guerena lay dying with his rifle still on safe, unfired. As he lay dying the Sheriff's Dept would not allow an ambulance because of "the possibility of a barricaded suspect".

The whole idea of these Special Weapons and Tactics teams is that some LEOs in an organization get extra training. One of the most important, indeed one of the first parts of weapons training is fire discipline.

Jose Guerena may or may not have had drugs in his house. He wouldn't have been the first guy to go for the easy money, although considering that he was sleeping after working the graveyard shift at a Pima County mine I would need a lot of convincing. Nor would he be the first to ever self medicate for the pain brought by serving an only somewhat grateful nation. If there were any drugs in that house. We do not know.

What we do know is that Jose Guerena fired no rounds at Law Enforcement Officers. Law Enforcement Officers fired seventy-one rounds. At the time, Guerena had been convicted of no crimes. He still has not. He is still dead.

Why did those LEOs shoot? I read on Blackfive's site that one of the SWAT Team guys may have had a negligent discharge, in other words, some damned fool running around with his finger on the trigger. And then all fire discipline disappeared. Ohmygod! He's got a GUN! I heard a SHOT!!! BANGBANGBANGBANGBANGBANGBANGBANGBANG!!!!! In other words, exactly what we pay big money to train these meatheads not to do.

It could even be worse than that, one of these LEOs could have seen Guerena and his rifle and just started shooting and then fire discipline went away and everyone else got into the act. The shame is we'll never know. The Blue Wall and the Khaki Curtain will see to it that the people who pay the bills will only get the properly massaged version of the troof.

I do not know Pima County as well as I do Maricopa County, our oldest lives in Phoenix. I do know that the whole state has pockets where an LEOs seeing a homeowner with a gun in his (or her) hands when hearing a noise. It's one of those things, there is a drill for it. There's no reason for loud noises just because an LEO sees a gun, even while serving a warrant.

Somebody screwed the pooch here. A husband and father, a veteran and a miner is dead. He died with the safety on. He didn't fire a shot. We sure deserve some answers. And the people in charge of the Pima County Sheriff's Department firearms training should lose their jobs. The people in that SWAT TEAM need to be reassigned to school crossing guard duty except that that wouldn't be fair to the children. Seventy-one rounds. News article says sixty hits. Folks, that is not trained officers work. That's panicky jerks with guns.

This is why I think it was a major mistake to move from revolvers to semiautos for police work. Yes, there might have been two times in history that more shots on tap might have saved the day for the good guys. But think of all the other times a bunch of half-trained clowns have emptied the magazine into a house with a mother and child inside. Chalk up one more.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

I'm Not Dead, I Think.

It's like this: Linda Lou's physical therapy is taking up a lot of time, from getting ready for the bus, then waiting for the bus, then riding on the bus, then the deal with the physical terrorists. Then dressing in dry stuff, calling the bus, waiting for the bus, riding the bus, horsing that damned wheelchair up the ramp, then supper. I need a nap just thinking of it.

Nor does it help that my Neurologist has me on a new med that is supposed to do a better job of controlling my tremors. Well, I'm steady. Dizzy, hardly able to walk but steady. Plus it makes me drowsy while unable to really sleep. Hope that passes, I like the steadyness, though. It would be nice to be steady and not be sitting around drooling on myself, though.

On top of everything else we had a command performance up in the Dallas suburb to see Josiah graduate from preschool. They do graduation gowns and mortarboard hats and everything. Funny, though, none of the graduates could tell me their majors. I asked several. They couldn't even SAY microbiology, much less study it.

Afterwards we babysat while the kids went to an important parent teacher conference. The little kids napped, William wanted to do something. We ended up bicycling, God help me. I used to ride bikes, I mean I rode all over. Back then I had legs like tree trunks. Even Ann Althouse would have liked to see me in my cut off blue jeans back then. Today, not so much. I thought I'd have to get better to die.

Anyhow, the blog is going to have to just survive without me for a few more weeks. It should not be very much longer before Linda Lou can just go to physical therapy without me. Until then, I dunno. Talk among yourselves, maybe read a good book or try a new recipe or something. If I survive all this, I'll be back.

Monday, May 02, 2011

Good Job!

The regular reader, all couple of you might be surprised here but let me start by saying, "Good Job, Obama!" I am not sure just how he got the gonads to pull the trigger on the Bin Laden job, perhaps he borrowed Hillary's. Or Michelle's.

Then, of course, good job to the folks who gathered the Intel. The biggest props go to the men of Seal Team Six and the Special Ops Helo unit. These men must sleep in specially soundproof barracks, otherwise the clang of those big brass ones would wake everyone up every time any of them needs to get up to pee during the night.

Unlike some, I am pleased they took OBL's body out to an aircraft carrier and buried it at sea. Now when we capture one of these fanatics we do not need to imprison or execute them. Instead we can take them on one of those pilgrimages to OBL's grave and leave them there.

My hope is that we have a nice picture of OBL trying to shoot his AK from behind his human shield wife. Note to the brave jihadis: When you want to use your wife or child as a human shield you must practice a lot with them. The muzzle blast of your weapon will make them flinch, throwing your aim way off. The only way to resolve this is to practice with them enough to deafen them so that they won't flinch. With just a little luck the practice will also cause enough scar tissue from the hot gas of the muzzle flash to harden your wife or child against that pain. A further note to brave Jihadis: Fat girls. Marry fat girls to hide behind. Maybe they'll stand a better chance of stopping that bullet. After all, you can always find a sheep for your lovin'.

My only fear is that many will now think this fight is over. Please note that Germany kept fighting after Hitler ate his gun. Of course, by that time they didn't have much left with which to fight, unlike the Jihadis. Between the opium money and the oil, Islam has plenty of resources and lots of young men. In a society when wealthy men can have multiple wives the poorer men have, what, exactly? Lots of frustration.

The Overseas Military Contingency is far from over. It would be nice if the Dems do not cut the military to the bone again.

Update, 05/04/11: It sure would be nice if the powers that be could decide that our military and intelligence operations deserve a bit of secrecy. Osama has achieved room temperature. That is news we can use. I can stop eyeing every real tall Arab-lookin' dude. Still the guys in Special Ops like to be anonymous, for good reason. When they go out they leave their wives and kids. Nor do we need to know how they disposed of Osama's corpse. An aircraft mechanic from one of the squadrons, or maybe some guy or gal from the Engineering Dept. does not travel armed, nor are they particularly trained to ward off an angry Islamist.

While I am still pleased that OBL has been found, and offed, I can't help thinking that, if we could keep a secret anymore, we could have, perhaps run the op a little blacker, say with French helicopters, bought with fake IDs snatched OBL up, carried him to a secret location, say just outside of Resume Speed, Idaho, wrung every scrap of info out of him and then um, "find" him in a cave someplace. and then cap him.

Oh, and BTW, it should not have been vital for your hacks to lie. If Osama didn't have a gun and wasn't hiding behind his wife, fine. A large majority of Americans would have supported offing him if he were standing, without a stitch on the nude beach. You clowns watched the op on TV fer Heaven's sake! Why did y'all have to add "drama" one day just to walk it beck the next?