Texas This I Know...

Texas This I Know...
Texas Farm to Market Road

Tuesday, August 31, 2004

102,168 Iraqis Alive!

Iraqis look for relatives among the bodies found in a mass grave.

August 29, 2004

102,168 Iraqis alive due to US intervention!

The total number of Iraqis who are alive, and have NOT been murdered, or killed by Saddam's criminal neglegience, since the invasion is now 102,168.

As of midnight August 29, 2004 the deaths attributable to Saddam had been stopped for 495 days. This is only one of the things our soldiers made their sacrifice for!



Saddam Hussien became "President" of Iraq in 1979. The Coalition invaded Iraq March 22, 2003.

This makes his total time in power equal 23 years , 2 months, 22 days. Or 8,477 days.

The conservative estimate of the number of Iraqis murdered by Saddam's regime and placed in mass graves is 400,000.

The number of Iraqi civilians who starved to death, or died from lack of proper medical care while Saddam spent Oil-for-Food money, and sold medical supplies to get money for palaces and weapons adds another 1,350,000 for a total of 1,750,000.

Assuming that the murders and deaths attributable to Saddam stopped when the invasion started that would make Saddam's average number of Iraqis killed per day to be 206.4


Sunday, August 29, 2004

New York Observer on the legalization of Drugs.

An opinion piece appeared in the New York Observer. Obviously the author in the Left end of the political spectrum. I am not! The following comments [in brackets and italics] are my thought as I was reading it. I was struck by the overall fuzzyness of the facts in the piece. I come to the conclusion that Hoffman is a drug user because of the fuzzyness and his obvious support for the legalization of drugs.

A Police State of Mind: Don’t You Feel Safer?
by Nicholas von Hoffman [comments by gowain]

The city is full of cops and empty of tourists. [Why is that? Because of the anarchist protesters, perhaps?] Presumably, after the Republican politicians [and the protesters] leave, the tourists will return. The cops will never leave. There will be ever more of them as the months turn into years. Cops, private and public, are probably[?] already the largest single occupational group in New York, outnumbering even lawyers, stockbrokers and advertising hucksters.[ And that is bad?]

There can’t be less than a couple of hundred thousand cops, [How do you know? Clairvoyance?] security guards and special agents, not a few of whom are so evidently out of physical condition that it’s preposterous to imagine them subduing a resisting adult without resort to a weapon. [So they are supposed to subdue "restisting adults" without resorting to weapons? These "adults" are not little children, to be handled with gentleness and not ever, ever hurt. They are adults with adult responsibilities. Including the responsibility of suffering the consequences of their actions. In every situation, the lawbreakers outnumber the cops. Why not use a weapon? If an adult makes trouble, break his head!]

Overweight, undersized and out of shape (from the looks of them, at least), a hefty percentage of these guardians of public safety are not a force to be reckoned with if you’re a terrorist, [Again, how do you know?] although if you’re an ordinary person [Who breaks the law.] , you may find your protectors—many of whom are short on manners and brains—a nuisance at best and an expensive impediment at worst.

Whether they have made life in New York safer is a matter of conjecture. Every so often, a low-level functionary does recognize and capture a baddie. [Clairvoyance? Again?] Assuming what we’ve been told is true—and that often turns out to be a false assumption—the Y2K plot to blow up LAX was frustrated by a civil-service foot soldier. Nevertheless, not one of them or all of them together, with their guns, their radios, their war rooms and their officiousness, could have saved the World Trade Center from destruction, which makes for poor odds that these untested and indifferently disciplined people will successfully protect us often enough when and if the Arabs hit us again. [ It has not happened since 9-11. I wonder why?]

Let’s hope that they’re more effective than they seem to be. [No successful terrorist attacks since 9-11. I wonder why?] But as we cower and wait, watching the terror-alert color levels flicker from code orange to code lime to code mango to code lemon, we might ask ourselves: What price security? Anthony Williams, the mayor of Washington, D.C., has been posing that question and having something close to a fit at what the closing of streets, the erection of barriers and the institution of checkpoints at traffic intersections are doing to the movement of people and commerce in his city. Walls are going up faster in the nation’s capital than they are in Israel. [No successful terrorist attacks since 9-11.]

Do these armies of cops make us safer, or do they merely make us feel safer? [No successful terrorist attacks since 9-11.] And if they only make us feel safer, what’s wrong with that? Especially since, in the murk of hysteria, misinformation, announcements, explanations, retractions, contradictions, amplifications, emendations, press conferences, silences, assurances and official utterances of defiance against malefactors, it’s difficult for anyone—the officials included—to make an accurate appraisal of the degree of real danger we may or may not be living in. [ No successful terrorist attacks since 9-11.]

Evidently nobody knows how large the threat is or even what the threat may be. We don’t know if it comes by land, by sea, by air, whether it explodes, infects, poisons, radiates or chokes. The only established fact is that we are scared out of our wits and don’t know what to do about it, except to demand picture ID’s and make new rules—which may or may not fool terrorists, but which certainly baffle the non-terrorist. Why, will you please explain, is the public allowed halfway up the Statue of Liberty, but barred for "security reasons" from climbing up to the torch to have a look at the harbor from that vantage point? As the police are ceded increasing power, daily life is increasingly regulated by the incomprehensible, the contradictory and the arbitrary. All questions will be answered by a command to step to the left—and this is the last time you will be told to do so.[ No successful terrorist attacks since 9-11.]

The spread of the police presence and police power is blamed on 9/11. We are repeatedly told by cabinet officials and TV noodleheads that 9/11 "changed everything." Without a doubt, 9/11 did change some things, but the swelling ubiquity of the police antedates 9/11. Bill Clinton was putting 100,000 new cops on the streets of the nation before 9/11, and Presidents before him were pouring money into local, state and federal police organizations. The failures of home, school and community were met by cops in the corridors and magnetometers at the entrances years and years before 9/11. The F.B.I. was armed years before 9/11. (It will come as a surprise to younger people to learn that well into the 1960’s, F.B.I. agents didn’t carry firearms except when permission was given—and that rarely occurred.)

What may have changed everything was not 9/11, but drugs. [Finally, we begin to see the point of all this ranting. Hoffman is a pothead! Or a druggie!] You can date the explosion in police numbers and budgets from the wholesale introduction of drugs and drug-taking into all classes of American society. Right off the bat, I cannot name another government program which has cost as much and failed as grandly as the attempt to suppress drug use. After spending a couple hundred billion at a minimum over the past 30 years, we end up with drugs everywhere, including in your children’s schools, admit it or not, and gigantically enlarged police power in daily life. [Drugs are good, drugs are our friend.]

The people who defend what was done in fighting the drug war will ask how much worse things would be without the police. Maybe they’re right, but it makes you think about the degree of safety we enjoy vis-à-vis terrorism if the cops are as successful at suppressing it as they have been at suppressing drugs. [ No successful terrorist attacks since 9-11.]

However, the two are not the same. Our knowledge of the terrorists is so poor that we can’t say how many of them there may be, or how well organized they are, or anything else which would make it possible to accurately assess the degree of danger we are in. We are in a better position, however, to consider the damage done by ceding so much power to the police, whatever the protection they afford us.

First off, who are the police? They and the television dramas tell us that they’re heroes, first responders, and also separate and different from the rest of us. They carry responsibilities we ordinary ones cannot imagine; they live under stress we cannot begin to understand. They are special, they are set apart, and by their very nobility, you might say, they are aliens—persons from a society closed to us. As such, most of us have learned that what a police authority says, goes. Obey the cop and shut up, unless you are some kind of truculent, ACLU-type nut. [ This is cops from the pothead/druggie's point of view.]

Once upon a time, we were brought up to believe that the police officer was our friend. Now we’re brought up to understand that he is our boss. Do as he tells you, because if you protest, you will immediately be handcuffed, stuck in a cage in the back of an automobile and taken off to a world of trouble and expense. The routine police procedures have the cumulative effect of teaching us docility. As we repeatedly hear of police maltreatment of self-evidently harmless 70-year-old grandmothers, cuffed and led off to be strip-searched, we learn to do exactly as instructed and not to make the mistake of asking questions. We are becoming a highly biddable people. [Pothead's point of view.]

The way the various police forces and security agents dress and behave also makes us a more compliant people. We have long since learned, when on any kind of police or security line, that you make a joke at your own peril. We all have our own pet stories of people who wisecracked their way into the hoosegow. [So the practical jokers, the one who would yell "fire!" in a crowded theatre, got called to account.] We are learning that when government agents are present, we must mind our words and try not to attract attention. Mind you, this is just daily life, not political protest. We have learned that the cop or the government agent is an enemy to the terrorist but also no friend to us. We know that our police are unpredictable and often unfriendly. The reason the memory of Rodney King doesn’t fade away is that, black person or white, the police have instilled the belief in most of us that but for the grace of God, there go I. [Druggie's point of view.]

Increasingly, the police dress to intimidate. From relatively innocuous-looking sidearms, more of them are carrying what looks to this amateur like machine guns. These days, they frequently wear boots in preference to shoes. They show up in teams wearing black. They are frightening. [Pothead's point of view.]

Apparently, when a person is accepted into one of our multitudes of police forces—who can count how many?—they are instructed never to say "please" or "thank you" again, never to smile and never, ever to explain a police order or a police procedure. Giving people badges and guns does not bring out the best in them—but how does it shape the rest of us, who are being taught to take orders without question? Are these the habits of mind, personality and behavior best suited to citizens of a democracy? [Cops are taught how to control a situation. This is not accomplished among "resisting adults" with "please' and 'thanks you".]

J. Edgar Hoover, the director of the F.B.I. from 1924 until his death in 1972 and the bugbear of civil libertarians, famously resisted the idea of a federal police force and did all in his power to prevent the F.B.I. from becoming one. To Hoover, law enforcement was primarily a local obligation in conformity with the federal idea, but in the generation since his death such considerations have been forgotten. Congress has made every misdemeanor, from spitting on the sidewalk to driving under the influence, a federal crime. Where once you had to be some kind of special criminal to bump into federal law enforcement, now local law enforcement has become subsidiary to a Washington-based national network of cops, police agents, security workers, government spies and federal investigators.

And aren’t we happier and humbler for it? [Certainly not if you are a pothead/druggie!]

Wednesday, August 25, 2004

Another parody of an Etta Hulme cartoon

She drew another cartoon I could not resist.

We Sez:

Etta Sez:

Kerry's "The New Soldier" in .pdf format

Someone has placed Kerry's book online in Adobe format.

Find it here: johnkerrythenewsoldier.blogspot.com/

Be sure to save it to your computer in case it is taken off.

Monday, August 23, 2004

A Parody of a parody, Etta Hulme's Cartoons

Etta Hulme is a political cartoonist for the Fort Worth Star Telegram. This is what I thought when I saw her work today.

We Sez,

Etta Sez,

Sunday, August 22, 2004

Molly's Folly's #1

Molly Ivins has written a column that contains some flat out untruths, as is her usual style. The title of the piece is "Thucydides had it right" and the whole thing can be read here: http://www.dfw.com/mld/dfw/news/opinion/9460281.htm . I am just going to point out one thing she got wrong.

Molly Sez : "I bring this up only because it doesn't look as if anyone else is gonna. John Kerry is running such a cautious campaign that George W. Bush can get away with falsely claiming that Kerry would have supported the war even if he had known then what he knows today."

Reuters Sez: "GRAND CANYON, Ariz. (Reuters) - Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry said on Monday he would have voted for the congressional resolution authorizing force against Iraq even if he had known then no weapons of mass destruction would be found. " Read the whole thing here: http://www.reuters.com/newsArticle.jhtml

This is typical of Ivins writings. Just plain sloppy.

Wednesday, August 18, 2004

Thoughts on Bob Kerrey's Endorsement of Kerry for Prez

Why Kerry Is Fit to Be President, By Bob Kerrey, Saturday, August 14, 2004
The former Navy personnel who are attempting to discredit Sen. John Kerry's record of service in Vietnam are doing so to argue that he is unqualified to be commander in chief. Most appear to be angry with him on account of his opposition to the Vietnam War, not his service in it. They have done a better job of damaging the reputation of the U.S. Navy than they have of damaging John Kerry.

How did you make that determination, Senator? Seems to me, the Navy's rep is still as intact as it was when this thing started. It is John Kerry's rep that is starting to shred.

Moreover, they ignore what I consider to be the most important qualities any commander in chief must possess. If elected in November, John Kerry will make an exceptionally good commander in chief.

Again, how did you make that determination? From Kerry's tepid record as a legislator in the Senate? Didn't he write nine bills in twenty years and none of them passed?

Citizens may disagree with every other position he has taken in this campaign or they may dislike the legislation he enacted during his nearly two decades of service in the U.S. Senate. But they should have no doubt about his capacity to perform the duties of commander in chief.

What legislation? I would think that his Senate record would be cause to doubt his capacity to lead. Oh well, maybe as a leading dove!

For the record, I do not include the fact that Kerry commanded a Swift boat among the main reasons that he will be a good commander in chief.

That's wise. Seeing as he only served four months as a boat commander and the men who served with him mosly think he was not very good at it.

I don't even include the fact that he chose to serve in the military and to go to Vietnam.

After he was turned down when he asked to go to Paris to "study".

I am impressed by his service and by the loyalty of the band of brothers who served under his command. And as a Vietnam veteran myself, I do hope that one of our own will make it all the way to the White House before I die.

A majority, 254/7, of his "band of brothers" say he is unfit to command.

But at the top of my list of reasons for believing Kerry can and will do this most difficult of jobs is that he has the requisite sympathy for the men and women who give up many of their rights as citizens in order to defend ours.

Kerry has sympathy for the little people? That would be news to the "little people" he has dealt with over the years.

My confidence also comes from knowing that he knows what it's like to have served under leaders who lacked the moral clarity or the political backbone to sustain an effort from beginning to end.

Let's talk about moral clarity. First he fought for his country, for a while, then he came home and fought against it. Where is the political backbone in that? More like political opportunism.

He also understands from personal experience and practice that strong and determined diplomacy can enable the United States to avoid having to send our sons and daughters into harm's way in the first place.

At what diplomatic or ambassadorial posts has he served?

Evidence backs up my claim in each of these three areas. Kerry demonstrated time and again the sympathy I speak of by fighting for veterans' health and educational benefits. Can his opponents cite one instance in which he failed to put his political career on the line for those who have already served?

Why doesn't Kerry educate us to these wonderful accomplishments? Cite one example of Kerry putting his carreer on the line.

Long before it became cool to do so, Kerry was arguing that we must take care of our veterans if we are going to be able to enlist the volunteers we need in our military. In the post-Selective Service era, in which fewer and fewer members of Congress or their children have worn the uniform, Kerry's actions on behalf of veterans speak for themselves.

Why doesn't Kerry educate us to these wonderful accomplishments? Is it because the veterans of North Vietnam endorse him?

Nothing teaches you how to be a good leader better than having the opportunity to follow. In the military and out, Kerry has had this experience. He knows from personal experience how dependent you are on the person in charge and how essential it is for that person to speak clearly, forcefully and with moral conviction.

With all due respect, Kerry started out as "the person in charge". He was the Commander of the swift boat. He was never at the bottom of the command chain.

He knows how terrible it is to follow someone who is lost --morally and politically as well as geographically. He knows how vital it is that we sustain whatever it is we begin, and that we support our troops all the way to the end.

Seems he was lost on Christmas Eve 1968. Where was it? Inside Cambodia? Outside Cambodia? Which location is "seared, seared!" into his memory this week?

He also knows that the troops count on their leader to be a visionary capable of planning for each and every possibility.

He has a plan? Is the one where all the troops are brought home in six months? The one where we abandon the Iraqis to their fate? Like we did the Vietnamese?

No soldier, sailor, airman or Marine wants to follow someone who substitutes rosy scenarios for hard-headed calculation of risk. No one wants to follow someone who believes political jargon is more important than detailed planning and execution.

Then how come the soldiers support Bush almost to a man, or woman?

Almost every person in uniform will tell you that the best war is the one we deter because our enemies know we have the capability and will to strike back with relentless and deadly force. It is also the one we prevent because we used our diplomatic and economic muscle to reduce threats before they grew into the real thing.

This is 9-10 thinking. We cannot afford to wait until we are hit. It is too costly. Remember the WTC? The Pentagon? Flight 93?

Again, John Kerry has a tremendous amount of experience working with Republican and Democratic presidents to negotiate and prepare for the peaceful world most of us prefer. In Southeast and Southwest Asia, in the Middle East and in LatinAmerica, Kerry has been involved in some of the most difficult and successful of our bipartisan foreign policy efforts. No one will have to remind him as president that partisan politics should be kept at the water's edge to respect and honor those who continue to serve us.

Again, why doesn't Kerry educate us to these wonderful accomplishments? Why is he so reticent in touting this wonderful record of his?

Tellingly, the attacks on Kerry's war record have been orchestrated in large part by the same Texas publicity firm involved withnotorious television advertisements meant to derail the last veteran of the Vietnam War who ran for president, John McCain. Kerry's service in Vietnam was extensively documented by the U.S. Navy, especially in connection with his awards, and has been reviewed numerous times by historians and news organizations.

Smear and destroy the messenger! Ignore the message! Don't even ask if it is true!

I was going to end this by calling on President Bush to join McCain in calling for the cessation of this misguided effort to discredit Kerry's service in Vietnam. But fair is fair. There are just as many misguided ads running against President Bush today by these "527" organizations. Unless our campaign finance laws are changed again, U.S. voters are just going to have to figure this one out on their own.

Please! Please! Stop the Swift Boat Vets!!

Tuesday, August 17, 2004

Some Thoughts on David Broders Aug. 15 Editorial

The following are my thoughts as I read David Broder's column of August 15,2004. Broder shows a tendency to slip into 9-10 thinking at several points in this op-ed. 9-10 thinking is defined as the mindset Americans had before 9-11-2001. Perhaps a majority of Americans have started thinking this way. If so, Kerry will win the Whitehouse. In the long term, though, we will all lose. Kerry will not have the political will to do what needs to be done at home, nor will he have the backbone to do what is needed abroad to prevent attacks and win The War On Terror. America will pay for this mistake. First with the betrayal of its friends. Then with the lives of its citizens. Broder's words are italicized.

Bush's Two Albatrosses, By David S. Broder, Sunday, August 15, 2004

"The factors that make President Bush a vulnerable incumbent have almost nothing to do with his opponent, John F. Kerry. They stem directly from two closely linked, high-stakes policy gambles that Bush chose on his own. Neither has worked out as he hoped. The first gamble was the decision to attack Iraq; the second, to avoid paying for the war. The rationale for the first decision was to remove the threat of a hostile dictator armed with weapons of mass destruction. The weapons were never found."

Could he afford to take the chance? Wouldn't he have been severely derelict in his duty if he had not gone into Iraq and looked? Saddam wouldn't tell us. What if Saddam had given an atomic bomb to Osama and it had been set off in downtown Cincinnati? The decision to go into Iraq was not a gamble, it was an imperative.

"The rationale for the second decision -- the determination to keep cutting taxes in the face of far higher spending for Iraq and the war on terrorism -- was to stimulate the American economy and end the drought of jobs. The deficits have accumulated, but the jobs have still not come back. "

Not true. The jobs haven't come back as fast as we would like but they are coming back. They would not be back, for sure if not for the tax cuts.

"If Bush can win reelection despite the failure of his two most consequential -- and truly radical -- decisions, he will truly be a political miracle man. But as his own nominating convention approaches, the odds are against him. Why call these decisions radical? From World War I right through the Persian Gulf War, the United States had never initiated hostilities or invaded a major country without the provocation of an attack from that country on this nation or its allies. "

The US has never been attacked on its own ground on such a scale. Broder, you are straying off into 9-10 thinking.

"Bush changed that by announcing a new doctrine of "preemptive war" and applying it first to Iraq. Iraq was a military dictatorship with a horrible record of human rights abuse and a well-earned reputation as an international malefactor that had attacked its neighbors.

But the urgency that Bush cited for moving against Saddam Hussein was the threat he posed by his possession of chemical and biological weapons and his pursuit of nuclear arms. "Iraq's weapons of mass destruction are controlled by a murderous tyrant," Bush said in his major domestic speech justifying the war. "If we know that Saddam Hussein has dangerous weapons today -- and we do -- does it make any sense for the world to wait to confront him as he grows even stronger and develops even more dangerous weapons?"

Long after Hussein was defeated and captured, the American forces occupying Iraq have found no evidence of the supposed stockpiles of weapons of mass destruction. The rationale for a war that has taken nearly 1,000 American lives, caused several thousand American casualties and cost well over $100 billion does not exist. "

It still exists. The reason we went in was because we needed to know. the jury is still out on whether Saddam sent them to other countries. But the reality is still there that we couldn't know before we actually looked. Saddam kept up a good front. Lying, making false reports, kicking the UN inspectors out. He made us all think he had, or was on the verge of having WMDs.

"Linked to the decision to go to war was the decision not to do what every other wartime American president has done -- raise taxes to pay for the cost of hostilities. Instead, in the face of growing annual deficits, Bush continued to press a compliant Republican Congress for more and bigger tax cuts. In 2003, when he asked Congress for $87 billion for Iraq, Bush said, "I heard somebody say, 'Well, what we need to do is have a tax increase to pay for this.' That's an absurd notion. You don't raise taxes when an economy is recovering. Matter of fact, lower taxes will help enhance economic recovery. We want our people going back to work."

Despite the triple dose of stimulus -- tax cuts on top of historically low interest rates set by the Federal Reserve Board on top of a huge increase in federal defense and domestic spending -- the recovery from a not-very-severe recession during the first year of Bush's term has been painfully weak. Especially when it comes to his No. 1 goal of producing jobs. "

Another example of 9-10 thinking. Broder does not give any weight to the psychological impact of 9-11 on the business climate

"As a result, Bush finds himself defending the loss of more than 1 million jobs during his tenure -- the first president, as Democrats love to point out, since Herbert Hoover to suffer an actual job loss in office. The 32,000 jobs added to the economy in July were the smallest number this year, raising fears that the recovery proclaimed last spring may be losing steam. "

Every once in a while your bias shines through, Broder. Note the hopeful qualifier "may be losing steam"

"Just before the new numbers came out, the president was bragging to campaign audiences, "When it comes to creating jobs for America's workers, we've turned the corner, and we're not turning back." Democrats are making that phrase as famous -- or infamous -- as the "Mission Accomplished" sign on the aircraft carrier Bush visited in a premature celebration of the end of major fighting in Iraq.

The president has suffered other blows to his credibility -- a survey of seniors earlier this month showed major doubts about his touted Medicare prescription drug plan. But they pale in importance compared with Iraq and the economy. In The Post's polls every month since January, more voters have voiced disapproval of his performance on those two issues than approval.

Time is short for changing people's minds. Bush is dragging two huge weights -- and he has no one to blame but himself.

There! You......Cowboy! You........ Texan! You........Philistine!

Thursday, August 12, 2004

Iraqi Women say "Thanks"

This article appeared in the Detroit news today. It confirms what me and others have been saying for a long time. Toppling the monster Saddam was a good and noble thing by itself. The blood we spill and the money we spend are well worth it.

Iraqi women tour U.S. with this quiet, stunning message: Thanks

"They are two Iraqi women on a tour of the American Midwest, conveying a simple but somehow stunning message. To wit: Thanks for liberating Iraq. Thanks for sending American troops. You Americans are a lovely people.

Taghreed Al-Qaragholi, 30, and Surood Ahmad Falih, 33, are college-educated, professional women who have flourished in post-occupation Iraq. They are believers in democracy, believers in the current transformation of their country. As women, they feel particularly affected.

Both insist that their lives, and those of most Iraqis, have improved since Saddam Hussein’s statue was toppled in Baghdad. Falih, who watched family members being bombed in their own car under Saddam’s regime, has no doubts that the situation has improved.

For 10 years, as a United Nations employee, she’s worked with a small Kurdish village in Iraq whose male population was completely eliminated during the Saddam regime. “There are no men. Zero,” she says. “It was very bad there. There was no safe place.”

She carries a folded e-mail print-out from a South Carolina soldier’s mother — a woman who invited her to stay with her family — and tears flood her eyes when she speaks of other kindnesses she’s experienced in the United States.

Both women are here under the auspices of the Iraq-America Freedom Alliance, a coalition of Chaldean, Kurdish and Muslim groups, among others. And that group is, in turn, funded by a U.S. foundation whose board members include Steve Forbes, former U.N. Ambassador Jeane Kirkpatrick, and Al Gore’s former aide, Donna Brazile — a foundation committed to what its spokesman, Bill McCarthy, calls “an aggressive war on terrorism.”

These two women are here to say good things about the U.S. presence in Iraq, and to encourage an American response to terrorism, and during their visit Wednesday to the Detroit area, they did so with conviction and charm.

They describe themselves as women fighting for the rights of women in Iraq — rights they say have now been won, if not fully secured. Under the country’s new constitution — the document that Al-Qaragholi laboriously typed and re-typed while its words were being debated and repeatedly changed — women are guaranteed representation in the parliament.

“Before women had no political rights. Now we have four government ministers who are women, six deputy ministers. It is very different than under Saddam Hussein,” says Al-Qaragholi, who is an administrator with one of Iraq’s political parties. She also says that women make up 60 percent of the population, a gender distortion produced by years of war and political executions.

She sees her two younger sisters, ages 18 and 17, as newly hopeful about their lives and futures.

“Before, we educated ourselves to be able to leave. We were like machines, and we kept our emotions inside,” said Falih.

Both women insisted that most Iraqis support the American troops. “We want to say thank you to the mothers and fathers of American soldiers,” says Falih.

They are here, uttering words Americans do not often hear. And no matter how you might feel about the American military presence in Iraq, their clear sense of hope is at once surprising and affecting."

Laura Berman’s column runs Sunday, Tuesday, and Thursday in Metro. Reach her at (248) 647-7221 or e-mail lberman@detnews.com.

Source Link: www.detnews.com/b01-233339.htm

Tuesday, August 10, 2004

Operation Iraqi Children, or Good News From Iraq

Operation Iraqi Children: Mission Statement
Actor Gary Sinise and author Laura Hillenbrand founded Operation Iraqi Children, a program that will enable Americans to send School Supply Kits to Iraqi children. This is a worthy effort that individuals can get involved in. Read the tease below then check it out!

Sinise, Hillenbrand and the organizers of Operation Iraqi Children believe that the benefits of this program will reach far beyond the recipients of the supplies. By bringing Americans and Iraqis together and demonstrating American devotion to the welfare of the Iraqi people, the program can foster understanding between our nations and generate goodwill between Iraqis and American soldiers. "Every time a box of school supplies is delivered by our troops it will be another small victory for them in helping win the hearts and minds of the Iraqis," says Sinise. "It is a beautiful way to begin a relationship with the future leaders of Iraq. They have been forgotten for so long. Now there is a chance for them."

The Need. During and after Operation Iraqi Freedom, American soldiers passing through Iraqi villages were horrified at the squalor of Iraqi schools, which had been severely neglected under the dictatorship of Saddam Hussein. Corralled in sweltering one-room buildings without air conditioning, fans, windows, solid floors, or even toilets, Iraqi students lack even the rudimentary supplies that American children take for granted. Libraries and books are almost nonexistent. Without these basic tools of education, Iraqi children face an uphill struggle to learn. "Imagine sending your child to a school in which there are virtually no books, no pencils, no paper, no blackboards," says Hillenbrand. "This is the reality for Iraqi children. The future of the Iraqi nation is being squandered for lack of basic school supplies."

Moved by the plight of these children, many American soldiers have taken it upon themselves to help. Unfortunately, the need for help is so great and widespread, encompassing some 1,500 schools, that our soldiers' efforts cannot possibly answer the entire problem. The situation is critical. "The future of Iraq lies in the education of its children," says Hillenbrand. "We owe it to them, and to the hundreds of American men and women who gave their lives to bring them freedom, to give these children the basic tools of learning."

The Answer. Inspired by their conversations with Operation Iraqi Freedom soldiers as well as Sinise's recent tour of the region, Sinise and Hillenbrand founded Operation Iraqi Children, a grass roots program to provide concerned Americans with a means to reach out to Iraqi kids and help support our soldiers' efforts to assist the Iraqi people.

Through the School Supply Kit Program, American children, church groups, and other organizations can help Iraqis by gathering school supplies in local drives, assembling them in kits according to our instructions, then sending them to Heart to Heart International for transport to Iraq, where our soldiers will take them to Iraqi villages.

OIC Links
School Supply Kit Program
Good News From Iraq
Media Center

Monday, August 09, 2004

Murderin' Wasps

Notice: The following story is fictional, any resemblance to former wives or their lawyers, married or divorced is strictly coincidental.

I had to climb up on my roof today to make an assessment of a soft place in one of the eave lines. In the process, I discovered three large wasps nests.

Being as one of the nests was right above the place where my wife parks her car, I decided I should take care of the situation pronto in order to avoid a messy divorce when she got stung due to my negligence.

I could imagine her lawyer pointing her trembling trigger finger at me and saying, "Your Honor, this...this...man is the cause of my client's decline in health. His criminal negligence in allowing a wasp's nest to be built right over her parking space resulted in extreme pain and mental anguish for her. We ask that she be awarded all the property except his 14 foot Lone Star fishing boat and 1985 Dodge truck. We ask that you order him to pay her $5000 dollars for the outfit." And banging his gavel the judge says, "It is so ordered, next case"

With this vision in mind I hurried down to the Home Depot and bought the biggest, baddest looking can of RAID wasp spray I could find. The can was black, which is fitting for a weapon of mass destruction, I guess. Anyway, I wanted the best, a man don't take chances when he's protecting the thing he loves, his half of the community property.

I waited until my wife got home so she could see what a big brave husband she had. Yeah, Waspkiller! That's me!

I couldn't get the spray button to work so my wife read the directions on the side of the can and removed the safety pin from under the spray button. Of course, I did this on purpose to make her feel smart.

Then I advanced on the first objective. Approaching to a distance of seven feet I let fly with the concentrated stream of insecticide. All the wasps that had been milling around on the nest immediately dropped to the ground, dead as mackerals. I soaked the nest to kill the larvae.

It reminded me of when I use to kill wasps in my grandma's chicken house with a mason jar half full of red gasoline. The trick was to pitch the gasoline at a point far enough away so that by the time it reached the nest it has spread out enough to drench all the wasps on the nest. Gasoline was instant death for wasps, they would drop straight to the ground, dead. If you missed, or was too far away, or too close, you had to run like hell to keep from being stung by semi-conscious but very angry insects.

Anyway, the second nest went as easily as the first. But on the third nest the juice ran out almost as soon as I had started to spray. This left me with a bunch of pissed off wasps coming at me with the intent of putting their stingers into my flesh until they got tired of it.

I ran as fast as an old man can run, which ain't very damn fast, to the first door on my screened in porch. Let me tell you something about the doors on my porch.

A few months ago my wife got worried that the cats would push them open since they were only held closed by a screen door spring. So she nagged me into installing screen door locks on them so they would not come open. This worked great until the day I needed in through the door that I had not unlocked because I had come out of the other door.

To make a long story short, they caught me and stung me about five times before I was able to get to the unlocked door and get inside the porch.

When the swelling goes down I need to go get another can of RAID.

I don't want start all over again with a fishing boat and an old truck.


Kerry hires lawyers to silence critics

One of the many attempts by the Democrats to have their cake and eat it too. As told by the New Hampshire Union Leader.

Not so swift: Kerry asks lawyers to silence critics

Link: www.theunionleader.com/Swift-Boat

"PREPARING for this weeks release of "Unfit for Command: Swift Boat Veterans Speak Out Against John Kerry", the pro and anti-Kerry camps last week rehashed the 35-year-old battle exploits of Sen. Kerry.

One of the allegations in the book is that Kerry won the Silver Star for a raid in which he chased a wounded, loin cloth-wearing teenager and shot him in the back. This allegation is not new. It was covered in Boston Globe stories compiled into a biography of Kerry that was published earlier this year.

"He was running away with a live B-40, and, I thought, poised to turn around and fire it,..." Kerry told The Globe about the enemy soldier he shot. Asked if that meant he shot the soldier in the back, Kerry responded, "No, absolutely not." Well, if he was "poised to turn around and fire" then he was not facing Kerry. Sounds like another Kerry distortion, and an unnecessary one at that. It was war, and the enemy was carrying a weapon. Kerry would have been justified in firing at a fleeing, armed enemy. Of course, that usually does not earn the Silver Star.

Unfortunately, we may never know the full truth about Kerry's actions during his four months in Vietnam.
(Kerry still hasn't released all of his records. gw) What we know for sure is that when Kerry's record was questioned, his campaign and the Democratic National Committee attempted to silence the critics. Lawyers for the DNC and the campaign last week intimidated television stations into not running anti-Kerry ads, produced by Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, which question Kerry's heroism.

This is the same tactic Michael Moore employed to silence critics of "Fahrenheit 9/11." Meanwhile, Moore, Howard Dean and other left-wing conspiracy theorists spread lies, rumors and innuendo about President Bush every day, while claiming to stand for honest, open debate."


Saturday, August 07, 2004

Monday, August 02, 2004