Sunday, December 20, 2009

The Weldon Christmas letter 2009

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays! It’s time to get out a magnifying glass and feel good about your life. We are blessed as always but there have definitely been some speed bumps in the road of life this year. Alan's dad's appendix ruptured and he had emergency surgery. His mom's breast cancer recurred and she is undergoing Chemo therapy now as is Robert's wife Elizabeth who was also diagnosed with breast cancer. Mac hit his head playing football(not the real thing but the fooling around after lunch kind) and had an MRI which was fine but his nose continued to bleed daily until he had it cauterized and then it still bled daily for another week or so. Polly and Mac probably had Swine Flu, (Alan thinks this is because their rooms are pig sties). My sister-in-law Pam has a mass on one of her heart vessels and Alan has now forbidden me or the kids to see any doctor for any reason until 2010 (since I'm overdue for both a colonoscopy and a mammogram I am very happy to wait)! We went to Cumberland, took a cruise in March, went to Canada for a veterinary meeting in May, took a vet school cruise in June, stayed at the beach and the mountains this summer, took Sarah to Wash U and visited Providence and the CGA with Murph, went back to Wash U for parents weekend, and did Halloween Horror nights at Universal. Alan lost 2 associates this year and has hired another part-time so he is crazy busy. He is Captain of Revellers(Jacksonville's only remaining Marde Gras krewe) this year which means he has to write, direct, and produce an off-off Broadway type theatre production ending with the presenting of the court (Sarah is his Queen but that's another whole story), a dance with a big time show band, and open bars! He has to hire the place, arrange decorations, tables, chairs, table cloths, the bars and booze, hire security and everything else I can't even remember. He has arm twisted every friend and relative either of us has to join so they could vote for Sarah. I feel like I'm married to an Amway salesman! He says it is the funniest thing he has ever done. He is excited and VERY STRESSED pegging it as a “number 9 pucker factor”. He is still playing great tennis, doing yoga sporadically, and hitting the gym in spurts. He loves his Thursday morning men’s Bible study (how anyone can enjoy anything at 6 AM is beyond me).He does ultrasounds for the zoo and went to Disneyworld to evaluate some critters for cardiac problems (we were “On Show” with a large crowd watching which made Alan happy until he saw the glare from his head on the monitor). He has interns train with him occasionally and enjoys life. I work at Merrill Animal Clinic 3 days a week and Parkway 1 day monthly. I love my job and that's a real blessing! As I tell my kids, I feel there are 3 critical choices you make in life: your faith, your spouse/partner/family (someone to share life with), and your profession (and by that I mean what you are passionate about and what makes you feel fulfilled and useful in life). Most people are lucky and happy if they have 2 out of 3. I have been blessed with all 3! I am consistent with my exercise and spend 30 minutes 5 days a week on the elliptical, yoga 3 times weekly, and play doubles tennis once weekly on Monday nights with Alan and many of the rest of my family. My biggest challenges this year entail preparing my various children to leave the nest. Sarah is a serious rule follower and I did not want her to go off without ever having a drink. I told her she needed to have a few drinks while still at home. She went to school and told all of her friends that her mom wanted her to get drunk and told me that she refused to break the law. We went on a cruise for spring break and while we were in Mexico we went to lunch with all of the kids and we ordered Sarah a frozen pina colada and a margarita with lunch because she was 18 and it was legal! She had her 2 drinks, did not fall apart and I was satisfied. I realized after prom that Sarah was not ready socially for college and took it upon myself to decree that she had to have 10 dates before she left for school. She had a blind date to Revellers the year before and her prom date thanks to mom so she needed 8 more. She set up her usual squawk but I told her I would pay $10,000 of her student loans if she would go happily and make sure that both she and her dates had some fun in the process. She immediately told her friends that I was paying her $1,000 a date for 10 dates! Now that she had agreed, I had to find 8 more dates. I hit up my friends with sons the right age and most said "here's his number. Good Luck!" I called each guy and said "I'm a friend of your parents and my daughter is headed off to college and I think she needs some dates before she goes. Would you be willing to take her out?" Each of them paused and then either agreed outright or asked a few questions and then agreed. I was so grateful and impressed that these young men were willing to help a relative stranger even though it put them in an awkward situation. None of them would even let me pay for the dates! They made me feel good about young men today. I am still working on the last 4(any takers 18-20 please let me know) but even Sarah has grudgingly admitted that it was something she needed and she had had fun with each of them! Sarah’s tuition is a bit of a stretch for us so she had to take out a loan for$10,000 each year that she will pay back (except for the 10 I am paying in date bribe money). To help her pay her loans, I decided to breed 2 of our Italian Greyhounds and apply the puppy money to her student loans. Kiwi is an experienced, great mom but I was worried about Netty so when they came into heat together I figured that we could breed them both and if Netty was a bad mom, then Kiwi would be happy to raise her pups and Netty's too. Both got pregnant and were due 4 days apart. 3 days before Netty was due she was out in the yard and I was doing laundry when I looked out of the window and saw Momo had gotten out of the yard. I went searching and found a huge hole and no Netty! I sent the kids out into the neighborhood and scoured the yard and started making flyers and signing in to lost dog websites. After no luck, I told Murphy to go fill in the hole and we had dinner and went to bed with no Netty. The next morning bright and early I went to all of the nearby vets and put up signs and went to Animal control and searched the runs and the "Dead Dog Log" with no luck. When I got home Patty was still there cleaning and asked how many dogs were in the yard. It was summer so all kids were still in bed and only Munchie was out and I told Patty this. She told me that she had seen 2 grey dogs in the back yard. We went out and looked thoroughly with no results again. I went out front to see if she had gone in and out of the hole that Murphy had NOT filled in. Patty called and I returned and Netty was emerging from the hole! Unfortunately, she was no longer pregnant. I told Patty I couldn't stand to see any puppy carnage and she offered to look. We got a flashlight and the hole was so long she couldn't see all of the way in but said she could hear puppies! I ran and hauled Mac out of bed since he was the skinniest and shoved him in the hole. He wiggled in so that only his knees were showing and yelled back that the hole/den took a turn to the left and the pups were at the end of it but his arms weren't long enough to reach them. Patty and I pulled Mac back out and now the hole was big enough for Patty to wriggle in (she's nice and thin) and she could just reach the pups. Badger, Meerkat, Moley, and Mako (it was shark week and Polly insisted) were all fine despite being born underground with an inexperienced mom. I have never been so thankful that Murphy is not always diligent in his assignments! I could not believe that Netty had dug a den 4 feet out and 3 feet to the left in an "L" shape and delivered her pups and stayed outside all night with no food or water! Turns out she's a pretty good mom too! Sarah is a sweet, considerate person who is somewhat shy but bold at the same time. She throws herself fully into things that she is passionate about and wears her emotions on her sleeve for all to see. In some ways she is very confident and worldly and in others perhaps too sheltered. She rowed crew last spring and started to row at Wash. U.until she got a cold and started hacking and the coach suggested she take a few days off and the few days became 6 weeks! I think that she is finally getting back on track. Sarah loves Washington University and although I was a little anxious about her going I was also excited about taking her up and settling her in. We arrived in St.Louis late, got up early the next morning, settled Sarah in her room, unpacked, had lunch, and made the mandatory trips to Target and Bed, Bath, and Beyond. At 4:00 we were to leave Sarah for a dorm meeting and pick up pizza to have with Cate, Carlos and the kids before returning at 7 for the Chancellors talk. At 4:15 Alan was still puttering around Sarah's room trying to get her printer set up. I had to physically grab his arm and drag him out of the dorm. As soon as we got outside, Alan said "I need a drink, I feel like I've been punched in the stomach!" He looked a little peakish but I thought he was kidding. We went to the nearest pizza parlor and ordered the pizza and I pointed out that they had beer. Alan informed me that beer would NOT do. The pizza man pointed to the bar next door and told us the pizza would be ready in 20 minutes. We walked next door and Alan ordered a double Bourbon and told me he hadn't felt this bad since he found out that his dad had cancer! I was so busy worrying about my own concerns that I hadn't even noticed Alan's misery! I tried to explain that it was familiar to me because it reminded me of my own college experience to which Alan muttered " Yeah, me too, I'm paying for college all over again,only it’s a lot more expensive this time around and I don't even get to attend” . Dani is at Florida and has enough AP and IB credits that she is already a sophomore. She is studying and doing well with her grades but still works too many hours. She is learning how to budget and what is important in life and that sometimes she has to do unpleasant things because I feel they need to be done even if she doesn’t (like talking person to person to a Teaching Assistant before dropping a class, etc).She is a wonderful young lady who is maturing nicely and making good decisions. Alan had Dani helping at the Revellers fall party and she was wearing Cat ears and a snug black top and jeans in keeping with the cat woman theme. She did a great job and her tip jar was full at evenings end. Polly and Katie were at the sushi bar and their tip jar was not as full (somehow the Kimonos were not as tip inspiring). When Polly and Dani were on their way home, they decided to stop at the Gate station for gas, a soda, and a snack. When they got back in the car, Polly was snickering and Dani wanted to know why. Polly informed Dani that she had forgotten to take her ears off and had paid with a fist full of ones and the guy behind the counter thought that she was a "dancer" and was pointing her out to the other attendant! Murphy is a great young man. He is kind, considerate, fun, bright, entertaining and has no ambitions or passions (at least that he will share with me.) I worry about him being able to self-motivate next year at college. He was Captain of the Boys JV Tennis team this year (which I didn't know until the tennis banquet where the Girls JV captain’s mother told me!). I was watching one of the his matches against a much weaker opponent and when it ended the boys started talking and instead of coming off of the court, Murphy started helping the other young man with his serve and coaching him! The people sitting next to me asked me if I knew who that boy was who was so nice that he was helping their grandson who had not been playing tennis for very long. I was very proud. Murph is a senior and as far as I can tell the only reason he has applied to any colleges is because on 2 occasions when he wanted to go out with friends I required that he finish at least 2 applications before he could go. Those are 4 of the 5 schools to which he has applied. FSU, UCF, UNF, USF, and my personal favorite the Coast Guard Academy. When I mentioned the CGA to Murph he waved me off as usual and I thought that was the end of it. The next day he came home from school and told me "I've been thinking about it mom (another surprise) and maybe the CGA would be good for me. I don't know what I want to do and they will tell me what to do. I will have a guaranteed job when I get out of college and 85% of the Coast Guard re-up after their 5 year commitment so they must like it." Unfortunately the freezing rain and snow when we visited the school in Connecticut was not encouraging (Murph hates the cold) and I think the CGA is in his #2 spot right now (which may be good because he's a long shot to get in). Murph is a techno kid and doesn't go anywhere without his cell phone (kind of like Dani and her lip gloss which she tells me is now chapstick). The only way I can get him to do his chores promptly is to take his phone and threaten to read all of his text messages until said chores are done! Turns out he's a pretty good worker under the right circumstances. Alan was sitting at his desk the other day when he received a text from Murph "Dad stuck on the toilet please bring toilet paper!"No more yelling at the top, of your lungs praying that someone would be within hearing range and not extract too heavy a deal for the needed rescue! These kids don't know how easy they have it! Polly runs cross country, plays soccer, fosters any injured or orphaned animals that get dropped on our doorsteps, and works Saturdays at Parkway. She is a pleasant kid with a really quirky but superb sense of humor (I know exactly where that gene came from!). To celebrate getting out of school last spring we all went out to dinner. Mac had just found out that he was taking Chinese the next year and was bragging about how much Chinese he already knew from Catherine (who speaks fluent Chinese). Polly was annoyed by his bravado and blurted out "Then how do you say ‘I like to eat dogs’ in Chinese" loudly enough to make the patrons at the nearest tables in our Chinese restaurant turn around and stare! Another example of her humor happened 2 weeks ago on a Sunday. I woke up to find Alan in a foul mood and when I asked him why, he told me that he had had a bad dream (I'm still trying to figure out why it wasn’t a nightmare) that I was cheating on him with a fat construction worker who lived in Callahan. I laughed until I realized that he was really annoyed. "But I didn't do anything!" I complained. To which he replied "I saw you!" He then proceeded to describe how he had tracked us to a hotel and gotten video that he was going to put on You-Tube and send to all of my friends and family (probably the same ones he made join Reveller’s this year) with a "must watch really funny" tag on it and he was even going to send it to our minister. By now all of the kids were in on it and putting in their 2 cents worth. At the mention of our minister Polly piped up "Yeah, you could put a notice in the urgent prayer request part of the church bulletin saying" please pray for Alan Weldon whose wife is a cheating whore!" Then they all discussed whether or not the church bulletin people would notice it and print it or not. I'm still trying to figure out how Alan had the dream and I took the heat! Polly’s poodle Fou escaped (again) 3 weeks ago and poor Polly cries herself to sleep every night. He usually turns up in the first several days but I feel certain someone has adopted him and is keeping him confined. Pray that he turns up. Polly (still) wants to be a veterinarian and I think that's a great fit for her. Mac is even more different than the rest of the crew. He has his father's confidence perhaps to a flaw. He wrestles, plays football, and hopes to make the tennis team this year. His grades are great when he applies himself but that is a bit iffy. He is wrestling Varsity and he is only in the 8th grade but he's the best 1 small enough to wrestle the 103 weight class. He got 3rd place in the Varsity tournament this weekend and got a medal so he was very pleased. Mac joined the church this year and dad was his mentor. Robert shot some video of the new members for the presentation in church and he asked each new member their favorite flavor of ice cream. Mac immediately replied "Neapolitan because you get the 3 best flavors just like the Holy Trinity". Here is Alan’s Mac story he insisted on including in his words (minus the stuff I thought absolutely had to be edited). “After the Margarita lunch episode in Mexico, the three girls went back to the ship because Beth wanted to go shopping and I needed to find a special bottle of Tequila for my buddy Eric Peterson. Mac decided it would be more fun to go with me (and Beth thought Mac would make sure I was on good behavior Ha!), so we started down the crowded back streets of the tequila trail. We went from shop to store looking for the particular bottle but weren’t having any luck. Unfortunately, when you go into these Tequilerias it is customary to sample all the tequilas via paper shot glasses and of course I followed custom (when in Rome and all of that). I had shot after shot of some of the most God-awful liquids you could imagine as I searched for the Holy Grail of Tequila. Needless to say I was getting progressively hammered at this point and a little bit vocal (not Alan!). As we continued on our trek I began to tell each shop keeper explicitly what I thought of their Tequila. Mac now interjects that he thinks Tequila makes me mean and incoherent and Beth interjects at least I wasn’t driving anywhere. My lower lip is numb and I think I might be having a stroke as I keep rubbing it with the back of my hand and drool keeps rolling out. The sweaty Mexican woman behind the counter says “try deez juan senior, it’s berry smooth” 3 other guys step up to try it as well. At least I think it was 3 but can’t be sure because I didn’t cover one eye to see if it was double vision or not. It was absolutely ghastly, kind of a cross between diesel fuel and a lime someone wiped their@$$ with. Mac flattens himself to the back wall as I spit spray it across the counter….”OMG..WTF..I’m positive the back of my throat now has a gaping hole in it that you can see through” and there’s a high pitched whine in my ears. The 3 other gringos start swearing at her. She starts sweating some more. An old woman comes out of the back with a bottle of “aged” tequila. (Note- you know it’s good when it is aged in months) I’m starting to have the shakes and I can’t even feel the fluid in my mouth anymore as it dribbles down my chin. The whine won’t go away. As we/ I stagger down the street Mac convinces me to loan him $20 to buy a knife. We are now moving down the center of what was once a crowded street as everyone now has moved to the sidewalks to let us pass. The whine in my ears is replaced by the rhythmic click…snap….click…snap… of Mac repeatedly opening and closing the 6” switch blade he just bought. Miraculously, coming down the street towards us out of the sun was Beth…it was like a scene from a Clint Eastwood western (am I Clint or the bad guy?). I’m beginning to think I’m actually saved and will make it back to the ship before it sails. We tack into the last store and a large woman with a mustache said “how much do ju want to speend, deez juan is mucho expensivico”. I said “what”. Mac translated “it costs a lot of money”. I’m not sure I can actually get it up to my lips at this point and the burning in my throat has now migrated southward, a harbinger of something truly horrible to come. Everyone is staring at me as rivulets of sweat pour off my bald head “are ju OK senior?”, I have an intense sense of warmth rush over my body …and bright lights are popping in my peripheral vision. “Wow…That’s a really good tequila” I said. Mac is shaking his head in disbelief (but not as much as Beth shook hers when she found out that I not only let Mac buy a switch blade but also gave him the money!) as I hand her my credit card …I bought two. While our lives may seem hectic to some, we wouldn’t have it any other way. God continues to smile on us and for that we are truly grateful. Merry Christmas all!
Alan, Beth, Sarah, Dani, Murphy, Polly & Mac (the switchblade kid)

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Really weird lights in the sky

I saw this reported yesterday about this bizarre light that appeared over Norway. This would absolutely freak me out.

Anyone for some Arctic roll? Mystery as spiral blue light display hovers above Norway

By Mail Foreign Service
Last updated at 12:53 AM on 10th December 2009

What's blue and white, squiggly and suddenly appears in the sky?

If you know the answer, pop it on a postcard and send it to the people of Norway, where this mysterious light display baffled residents yesterday.

Curiously, it appears to be unconnected with the aurora borealis, or northern lights, the natural magnetic phenomena that can often be viewed in that part of the world.

Strange spiral: Residents in northern Norway were left stunned after the lightshow, which almost looked computer-generated, appeared in the skies above them

Strange spiral: Residents in northern Norway were left stunned after the lightshow, which almost looked computer-generated, appeared in the skies above them

Curious: A blue-green beam of light was reported to have come shooting out the centre of the spiral

Curious: A blue-green beam of light was reported to have come shooting out the centre of the spiral

The mystery began when a blue light seemed to soar up from behind a mountain in the north of the country. It stopped mid-air, then began to move in circles. Within seconds a giant spiral had covered the entire sky. Then a green-blue beam of light shot out from its centre - lasting for ten to 12 minutes before disappearing completely.

Onlookers describing it as 'like a big fireball that went around, with a great light around it' and 'a shooting star that spun around and around'.

The Norwegian Meteorological Institute was flooded with telephone calls after the light storm.

Confusion: The Norwegian Meteorological Institute was flooded with calls after the light storm

Confusion: The Norwegian Meteorological Institute was flooded with calls after the light storm

Totto Eriksen, from Tromsø, told VG Nett: 'It spun and exploded in the sky,'

He spotted the lights as he walked his daughter Amalie to school.

He said: 'We saw it from the Inner Harbor in Tromsø. It was absolutely fantastic.

'It almost looked like a rocket that spun around and around and then went diagonally down the heavens.

'It looked like the moon was coming over the mountain, but then came something completely different.'

Celebrity astronomer Knut Jørgen Røed Ødegaard said he had never seen anything like the lights.

He said: 'My first thought was that it was a fireball meteor, but it has lasted far too long.

'It may have been a missile in Russia, but I can not guarantee that it is the answer.'

What could it be? Astrologists say the spectacle did not appear to have been connected to the aurora, or Northern Lights

What could it be? Astronomers say the spectacle did not appear to be connected to the Northern Lights

Air traffic control in Tromsō claimed the light show lasted 'far too long to be an astronomical phenomenon'.

Norwegian defence spokesman Jon Espen Lien also said the lights were probably from a Russian missile test claiming it was normal for Russia to use the White Sea and the Barents Sea as a testing ground.

Tromsō Geophysical Observatory researcher Truls Lynne Hansen agreed, saying the missile had likely veered out of control and exploded, and the spiral was light reflecting on the leaking fuel.

But the mystery deepened last night as Russia denied it had been conducting missile tests in the area.

A Moscow news outlet quoted the Russian Navy as denying any rocket launches from the White Sea area.

Norway should be informed of such launches under international agreements, it was stressed.

The Russian Defence Ministry was unavailable for comment.


Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/worldnews/article-1234430/Mystery-spiral-blue-light-display-hovers-Norway.html#ixzz0ZKGqndO0

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Strange Calf Mutilations in Colorado

SAN LUIS, Colo. (AP) - A creepy string of calf mutilations in southern Colorado has a rancher and sheriff's officials mystified.

Four calves were found dead in a pasture just north of the New Mexico state line in recent weeks. The dead calves had their skins peeled back and organs cleared from the rib cage. One calf had its tongue removed.

But rancher Manuel Sanchez has found no signs of human attackers, such as footprints or ATV tracks. And there are no signs of an animal attack by a coyote or mountain lion. Usually predators leave pools of blood or drag marks from carrying away the livestock.

Two officers from the Costilla County Sheriff's Office have investigated the mutilations but say they don't know what's killing the calves.

"There's nothing really to go by," said Sanchez, who's ranched for nearly 50 years. "I can't figure it out."

A spokesman for the sheriff's office told The Pueblo Chieftain that investigators doubt a person butchered the calves because there is no blood at the scene.

"I've butchered a cow before and I know what kind of a mess it leaves," Sgt. James Chavez said.

Some in the area believe the mutilations are the work of aliens. An area UFO chaser, Chuck Zukowski of Colorado Springs, has been to the Costilla County pasture to investigate.

He told the paper there have been other unexplained calf mutilations in the area, including three in March. One of the other calves, found dead on a ranch near Trinidad, had its ears removed, Zukowski said.

"We're trying as much as we can to find a pattern," said Zukowski, who runs a UFO Web site called ufonut.com.

Sanchez said he has sold off his 32 remaining calves out of fear more would be mutilated. He hasn't decided how he'll manage the remaining 40 animals in his herd.

"It's a big loss for a small rancher," he said.

They Might be Giants

This is the Dr Evil theme song from Austin Powers

Dr. Evil (Album Version) - John Flansburgh

Friday, November 27, 2009

Farting Pig causes scare

Flatulent pig sparks gas leak scare

A suspected gas leak at an Australian farm, which led to 15 firemen in two fire engines to rush to the scene, turned out to be the work of a flatulent pig.

Flatulent pig sparks gas leak scare
Gas! Gas! Quick, boys! Photo: Christopher Jones

The farmer in Axedale, a town in Victoria in the south-east of the country, called the emergency services after believing he had smelled gas.

But when the fire crews arrived, they found the real culprit – a 260lb sow the family's children kept as a pet.

Fire captain Peter Harkins said: "When we got there, as we drove up the driveway, there was this huge sow, about a 120-odd kilo (265-pound) sow, and it was very obvious where the gas was coming from.

“We could not only smell it, but we heard it and it was quite funny."

He added: "She got very excited when two trucks and 15 firies turned up and she squealed and farted and squealed and farted.

"I haven't heard too many pigs fart but I would describe it as very full-on."

However, despite the false alarm, Mr Harkins said the farmer had done the right thing by calling 000 (the Australian equivalent of 999). He told The Melbourne Herald Sun: "It's all bottled gas up here and a leaking cylinder could pose a major fire risk.

"It was because we took it so seriously that 15 volunteers still managed to attend the call out at 10.30 on Tuesday night."

The Pentagon Parade-great story

This is a fantastic story that really needs to be told. The Pentagon Parade, from Micheal Yon's website. He is the best war correspondent of our era. Well worth your time.

By JOSEPH L. GALLOWAY
McClatchy Newspapers

Over the last 12 months, 1,042 soldiers, Marines, sailors and Air Force personnel have given their lives in the terrible duty that is war. Thousands more have come home on stretchers, horribly wounded and facing months or years in military hospitals.

This week, I'm turning my space over to a good friend and former roommate, Army Lt. Col. Robert Bateman, who recently completed a yearlong tour of duty in Iraq and is now back at the Pentagon.

Here's Lt. Col. Bateman's account of a little-known ceremony that fills the halls of the Army corridor of the Pentagon with cheers, applause and many tears every Friday morning. It first appeared on May 17 on the Weblog of media critic and pundit Eric Alterman at the Media Matters for America Website.

"It is 110 yards from the "E" ring to the "A" ring of the Pentagon. This section of the Pentagon is newly renovated; the floors shine, the hallway is broad, and the lighting is bright. At this instant the entire length of the corridor is packed with officers, a few sergeants and some civilians, all crammed tightly three and four deep against the walls. There are thousands here.

This hallway, more than any other, is the `Army' hallway. The G3 offices line one side, G2 the other, G8 is around the corner. All Army. Moderate conversations flow in a low buzz. Friends who may not have seen each other for a few weeks, or a few years, spot each other, cross the way and renew.

Everyone shifts to ensure an open path remains down the center. The air conditioning system was not designed for this press of bodies in this area.

The temperature is rising already. Nobody cares. "10:36 hours: The clapping starts at the E-Ring. That is the outermost of the five rings of the Pentagon and it is closest to the entrance to the building. This clapping is low, sustained, hearty. It is applause with a deep emotion behind it as it moves forward in a wave down the length of the hallway.

"A steady rolling wave of sound it is, moving at the pace of the soldier in the wheelchair who marks the forward edge with his presence. He is the first. He is missing the greater part of one leg, and some of his wounds are still suppurating. By his age I expect that he is a private, or perhaps a private first class.

"Captains, majors, lieutenant colonels and colonels meet his gaze and nod as they applaud, soldier to soldier. Three years ago when I described one of these events, those lining the hallways were somewhat different. The applause a little wilder, perhaps in private guilt for not having shared in the burden ... yet.

"Now almost everyone lining the hallway is, like the man in the wheelchair, also a combat veteran. This steadies the applause, but I think deepens the sentiment. We have all been there now. The soldier's chair is pushed by, I believe, a full colonel.

"Behind him, and stretching the length from Rings E to A, come more of his peers, each private, corporal, or sergeant assisted as need be by a field grade officer.

"11:00 hours: Twenty-four minutes of steady applause. My hands hurt, and I laugh to myself at how stupid that sounds in my own head. My hands hurt... Please! Shut up and clap. For twenty-four minutes, soldier after soldier has come down this hallway - 20, 25, 30.... Fifty-three legs come with them, and perhaps only 52 hands or arms, but down this hall came 30 solid hearts.

They pass down this corridor of officers and applause, and then meet for a private lunch, at which they are the guests of honor, hosted by the generals. Some are wheeled along.... Some insist upon getting out of their chairs, to march as best they can with their chin held up, down this hallway, through this most unique audience. Some are catching handshakes and smiling like a politician at a Fourth of July parade. More than a couple of them seem amazed and are smiling shyly.

"There are families with them as well: the 18-year-old war-bride pushing her 19-year-old husband's wheelchair and not quite understanding why her husband is so affected by this, the boy she grew up with, now a man, who had never shed a tear is crying; the older immigrant Latino parents who have, perhaps more than their wounded mid-20s son, an appreciation for the emotion given on their son's behalf. No man in that hallway, walking or clapping, is ashamed by the silent tears on more than a few cheeks. An Airborne Ranger wipes his eyes only to better see. A couple of the officers in this crowd have themselves been a part of this parade in the past.

These are our men, broken in body they may be, but they are our brothers, and we welcome them home. This parade has gone on, every single Friday, all year long, for more than four years.

"Did you know that?

The media haven't yet told the story."

V/R TK
TOM KUNK
COL, GS
Division Chief for ODO
HQDA, G3/5/7

Monday, November 23, 2009

Steelers fan kicks puppy to death

Police: Pa. man killed puppy before Steelers game
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BRIDGEVILLE, Pa. (AP) - Police say a western Pennsylvania man told them he kicked his girlfriend's puppy to death because he was upset that the pit bull wouldn't behave before the start of the Pittsburgh Steelers game.

Twenty-two-year-old William Woodson, of Bridgeville, remained jailed Monday on a charge of animal cruelty.

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazettes reports that a witness told police that Woodson was kicking the dog down the street shortly after 1 p.m. Sunday, which is when the football game began. Police say Woodson was supposed to be taking the pit bull for a walk, but the animal resisted. By the time police arrived, the puppy was dead.

Police say Woodson didn't like the dog and was upset that his live-in girlfriend bought it.

Online court records don't list an attorney for Woodson.

___

Information from: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, http://www.post-gazette.com

Friday, November 20, 2009

Global Warming hoax.....just like I've been saying.

there is now a report that has gone viral on the net that seems to prove what I've been saying for years....man made global warming is a hoax and a religion.
this from Newsbusters.org

NYT Environmental Writer Confirms Probable Authenticity of Hacked Climate Change Messages

Let us give New York Times environmental writer Andrew Revkin credit. He is one of the few in the mainstream media reporting on the hacked global warming e-mails story which has gone viral in the blogosphere and was covered in-depth by NewsBusters' Noel Sheppard. If you aren't yet familiar with this brewing scandal then I recommend you get up to speed on this controversy by reading Sheppard's blog post.

Despite Revkin's commendable willingness to at least cover this controversy, he is still stubbornly clinging to his global warming belief...for now. Perhaps his stubborness against veering away from the global warming doctrine is more a matter of inertia. After all, he has invested over 10 years of his life in that particular dogma and it is not easy to give it up overnight despite the shocking revelations of the e-mails. Here is Revkin's not very convincing money quote disclaimer:

The documents will undoubtedly raise questions about the quality of research on some specific questions and the actions of some scientists. But the evidence pointing to a growing human contribution to global warming is so broad and deep that the hacked material is unlikely to erode the overall argument.


Noel Sheppard has this great post.

Possible Conspiracy To Falsify Temperature Data Uncovered

Photo of Noel Sheppard.
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E-mail messages between high-ranking scientists appear to indicate a conspiracy by some of the world's leading global warming alarmists to falsify temperature data in order to exaggerate global averages.

Those involved allegedly include: James Hansen, Director of NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies; Michael Mann, famous for Mann's "Hockey Stick"; Gavin Schmidt, NASA climate modeler, and; Stephen Schneider, Stanford professor and Al Gore confidant.

A statement released Friday by the alarmist website RealClimate has confirmed that e-mail servers at the University of East Anglia's Climate Research Unit (CRU) in Norwich, England, were hacked recently with contents illegally made available over the Internet.

Although the authenticity of all these e-mail messages has yet to be proven, what's currently available points to a coordinated attempt to manipulate climate data by those directly involved in advancing the theory of anthropogenic global warming.

New Zealand's Investigate magazine reported Friday that it has verified these e-mail messages are indeed real:

The director of Britain's leading Climate Research Unit, Phil Jones, has told Investigate magazine's TGIF Edition tonight that his organization has been hacked, and the data flying all over the internet appears to be genuine.

In an exclusive interview, Jones told TGIF, "It was a hacker. We were aware of this about three or four days ago that someone had hacked into our system and taken and copied loads of data files and emails."

Friday, November 13, 2009

Sniffer dog reunited

Sniffer dog that went missing in action after Afghan battle is discovered safe and sound after 14 MONTHS lost in the desert

By Mail Foreign Service
Last updated at 6:23 PM on 12th November 2009


A sniffer dog that went missing in action after a battle in Afghanistan has been found safe and well after more than a year in the desert.

Sabi the black Labrador was with a joint Australian-Afghan army patrol when it was ambushed by Taliban militants in September 2008.

Nine soldiers were wounded in the ensuing gun battle, which earned one Australian SAS trooper the country's highest bravery award.

But there was no sign of the bomb-sniffing dog after the battle in a remote area of Uruzgan province.

Sabi's handlers spent months scouring the desert looking for the four-year-old animal, but to no avail.

Enlarge

Having a ball: Sabi at Forward Operating Base Ripley in Tarin Kowt, Oruzgan Province, Afghanistan, after her amazing return

Last week - 14 months after she disappeared - a U.S. serviceman spotted a dog with an Afghan man at an isolated patrol base in another part of Uruzgan.

The Afghan handed Sabi over and the American quickly realised she must be a military-trained animal.

Within days, the Labrador was returned to her unit - no worse for wear.

Mark Donaldson, the SAS trooper awarded the Victoria Cross for rescuing a wounded interpreter during the battle, said: 'Sabi's the last piece of the puzzle.

'Having Sabi back gives some closure for the handler and the rest of us that served with her in 2008. It's a fantastic morale-booster for the guys.'

The dog's unnamed handler told of the moment he was reunited with Sabi. He said: 'I nudged a tennis ball to her with my foot and she took it straight away.

'It's a game we used to play over and over during her training. It's amazing, just incredible, to have her back.'

Enlarge Hero's welcome: Sabi is greeted by Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and US commander General Stanley McChrystal

Hero's welcome: Sabi is greeted by Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and US commander General Stanley McChrystal

The dog was returned to the Australians' base just in time for a visit by Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, who was photographed along with the U.S. commander in Afghanistan, General Stanley McChrystal, petting Sabi.

'Sabi is back home in one piece and is a genuinely nice pooch as well,' Rudd told reporters.

The canine star appeared composed and relaxed, showing no signs of stress - she even welcomed strangers with a sniff and a lick.

Exactly where Sabi has been or what happened to her during the past 14 months will probably never be known, though her good condition when she was found indicated somebody had been looking after her, military spokesman Brig. Brian Dawson said.

The dog was being tested for diseases before a decision was made on whether she can return to Australia.

More than 1,500 Australian troops are in Afghanistan and most are involved in training Afghan security forces. Among them are units that use dogs to sniff out roadside bombs and other explosive booby traps.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Happy veterans Day



This is a great letter and is perfect for Veterans Day. Thanks to all of you that put your lives on hold and at risk .

Drafting Guys over 60

This is so Funny & obviously written by a Former Soldier----

New Direction for any war: Send Service Vets over 60!
I am over 60 and the Armed Forces thinks I'm too old to track down terrorists. You
can't be older than 42 to join the military. They've got the whole thing ass-backwards. Instead of sending 18-year olds off to fight, they ought to take us old guys. You shouldn't be able to join a military unit until you're at least 35.

For starters:
Researchers say
18-year-olds think about sex every 10 seconds. Old guys only think about sex a couple of times a day, leaving us more than 28,000 additional seconds per day to concentrate on the enemy.

Young guys haven't lived long enough to be cranky, and a cranky soldier is a dangerous soldier. 'My back hurts! I can't sleep, I'm tired and hungry' We are
impatient and maybe letting us kill some asshole that desperately deserves it will make us feel better and shut us up for a while.

An 18-year-old doesn't even like to get up before 10 a.m. Old guys always get up early to pee so what the hell. Besides, like I said, 'I'm tired and can't sleep and since I'm already up, I may as well be up killing some fanatical son-of-a-bitch.

If captured we couldn't spill the beans because we'd forget where we put them. In fact, name,
rank, and serial number would be a real brainteaser.

Boot camp would be easier for old guys. We're used to getting screamed and yelled at and we're used to soft food. We've also developed an appreciation for guns. We've been using them for years as an excuse to get out of the house, away from the screaming and yelling.

They could lighten up on the obstacle course however. I've been in combat and didn't see a single 20-foot wall with rope hanging over the side, nor did I ever do any pushups after completing basic training. I can hear the Drill Sgt. In the 'New army' now, 'Get down and give me ... um..er .. One!'

Actually, the running part is kind of a waste of energy, too. I've never seen anyone outrun a bullet.

An 18-year-old has the whole world ahead of him. He's still learning to shave, to start up a conversation with a pretty girl. He still hasn't figured out that a baseball cap has a brim to shade his eyes, not the back of his head.


These are all great reasons to keep our kids at home to learn a little more about life before sending them off into harm's way.

Let us old guys track down those dirty rotten coward terrorists. The last thing an enemy would want to see right now is a couple of million pissed off old farts with attitudes and automatic weapons who know that their best years are already behind them. Also, we won't get in trouble for mistreating prisoners.

We won't take any.

If nothing else, put us on border patrol....we will have it secured the first night!

Share this with your senior friends. It's purposely in big type so you can read it!!!

Sunday, November 08, 2009

Deer jumps into Lions den at National Zoo

At zoo, no escape to safety for deer in the lions' den

By Martin Weil
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, November 9, 2009

A young deer that jumped a wall at the National Zoo was fatally injured by two lions Sunday as dozens of startled spectators looked on.

The incident, which zoo spokeswoman Pamela Baker-Masson described as highly unusual, occurred about 2:50 p.m. as zoo visitors lined the perimeter wall of an enclosure that contained two female lions.

At some point after jumping into the enclosure, the deer broke free from one of the two lions and bounded into a moat, as the spectators cheered, according to zoo visitor Josh Shpayher.

"Everyone was cheering, 'Go, go, go' " to encourage the deer to reach safety, Shpayher said.

"Everyone was rooting for the deer," which began swimming in the leaf-strewn waters of the moat, as the two restlessly pacing lions stared from the moat's edge.

Alerted to the incident, zoo personnel sent visitors away and brought the lions indoors. With the enclosure empty, the deer left the moat on its own. It was anesthetized and taken for evaluation by specialists.

They found it "pretty evident" that the deer "would not survive," and it was euthanized, Baker-Masson said.

Shpayher said that when he approached the lion enclosure, the crowd there was swelling to at least 100 people.

When he asked what was happening, he said a woman told him that "a deer jumped in and the lions got him."

Video footage taken by a visitor begins with the deer on the ground, under a lion's paw. It then shows the deer breaking free and bounding toward the moat with no obvious wounds.

However, Baker-Masson said an examination indicated that in addition to head and neck scratches, the deer, a female, had a serious wound on its belly.

Many deer live in Rock Creek Park, where the zoo is located, and many have been spotted on the zoo grounds.

weilm@washpost.com

Staff writer Amy Argetsinger contributed to this report.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Nicole's Law now in effect in Florida


I have to say I had not heard of this until I saw the notice at a farm this weekend. Under this law
all kids will have to wear a helmet when riding. This was in the Sun-Sentinal


LOXAHATCHEE - Nicole Hornstein was riding a horse when the animal stumbled and fell, tossing her, and her head slammed into the pavement.

The 12-year-old girl, who wasn't wearing a helmet, died in 2006 after 20 days in a coma.

But her death was not in vain, her father and state legislators said Monday, moments before Gov. Charlie Crist signed a safety bill into "Nicole's Law."

"Because of the hard work of Nicole's family and all her friends ... families in the western communities and all throughout Florida will be saved the pain and anguish the Hornsteins have experienced," said state Sen. Dave Aronberg, D-Greenacres, who co-sponsored the bill with state Rep. Joseph Abruzzo, D-Wellington. "Because of your efforts, children will be saved and families will be spared."

About 80 people attended the signing at The Acreage's Hamlin Equestrian Park, adjacent to an equestrian ring. The signing comes three years after Nicole's accident. Her father, Gary, traveled regularly to Tallahassee to push for the law.

As legislators pondered the bill, two other children were injured in horse-related accidents.

"This is truly a remarkable achievement because good legislation often doesn't happen for years in Tallahassee," Aronberg said. "It takes a groundswell ... The perseverance of all of you put it back on the agenda and when Gov. Crist came out in favor of it, it really rocketed that bill to the top."

Similar to the youth-helmet law for riding bicycles, Nicole's Law requires horseback riders 16 and younger to wear a helmet when riding on public roads and rights of way and while taking riding lessons. Rodeos, parades and private property are exempt.

Crist told the Hornstein family that while they cannot go back and change what happened, others can learn from those experiences to make children safe.

"This is about the future, about doing what's right, about making this a safe place to live," said Crist, a former horseback rider who said his sister was injured in a fall from a horse. "I know the courage it takes to take a family tragedy like this and turn it into something very positive for so many other people. My heart bleeds for you but also my heart sings for what you're doing for Florida."

Head injuries are the most common cause of death for people who ride horses or ponies, according to the American Medical Equestrian Association.

Under the new law, anyone who allows a child to ride a horse without a helmet would be fined $500.

Some Florida cities, including Davie, Plantation and Parkland, already have laws that require minors to wear helmets when riding, but the law makes helmets mandatory throughout the state.

"The ones that don't, they'll learn real fast because there's no margin for error," Gary Hornstein said. "[Nicole] did not have a second chance. It happened once and that was it. It was horrific and she went through things that no man, woman or child should ever go through."

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Am I a racist

There is a debate raging....are you a racist if you disagree with the direction the President is going.
There are several problems with this premise. (1.) the President was elected primarily by White people, there just aren't enough minorities to provide sufficient votes to win. (2) the definition of "racist" : a belief that race is the primary determinant of human traits and capacities and that racial differences produce an inherent superiority of a particular race. Unfortunately, the term racist is thrown out as the reason you might disagree with any person of color when actually you just might happen to disagree with them. In the current political debate...I just disagree. The government spends to much money, is involved in way to many activities and everyday lives, it regulates to many aspects of business and is currently in the process of doubling the National debt and the money supply (ie.printing more money). This is the wrong direction and it is saddling my children with a debt load that will require them to give up even more of there time and treasure to pay for these bills, and that PISSES ME OFF. That does not make me a racist, I could care less what color someones skin is, where they come from, what religion they follow or what football team they root for. The accusation of racist is becoming a tool of distraction and I think I've had about enough of it. Heres a link to how it is currently applied.



Friday, September 18, 2009

A new virus threat

This from Reuters:

By David Morgan

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States and Europe face a new health threat from a mosquito-borne disease far more unpleasant than the West Nile virus that swept into North America a decade ago, a U.S. expert said on Friday.

Chikungunya virus has spread beyond Africa since 2005, causing outbreaks and scores of fatalities in India and the French island of Reunion. It also has been detected in Italy, where it has begun to spread locally, as well as France.

"We're very worried," Dr. James Diaz of the Louisiana University Health Sciences Center told a meeting on airlines, airports and disease transmission sponsored by the independent U.S. National Research Council.

"Unlike West Nile virus, where nine out of 10 people are going to be totally asymptomatic, or may have a mild headache or a stiff neck, if you get Chikungunya you're going to be sick," he said.

"The disease can be fatal. It's a serious disease," Diaz added. "There is no vaccine."

Chikungunya infection causes fever, headache, fatigue, nausea, vomiting, muscle pain, rash and joint pain. Symptoms can last a few weeks, though some suffers have reported incapacitating joint pain or arthritis lasting months.

The disease was first discovered in Tanzania in 1952. Its name means "that which bends up" in the Makonde language spoken in northern Mozambique and southeastern Tanzania.

The virus could spread globally now because it can be carried by the Asian tiger mosquito, which is found in Asia, Africa, Europe, the Americas, Australia and New Zealand.

In the United States, the mosquito species tends to live in southern regions east of the Mississippi but has been found as far afield as western Texas, Minnesota and New Jersey.

Health officials are greatly concerned about the appearance of Chikungunya in the islands of the Indian Ocean -- Mauritius, Seychelles and Reunion -- which have beach resorts frequented by European tourists.

"It is hyper-endemic in the islands of the Indian Ocean," Diaz told the meeting.

"Travel by air will import the infected mosquitoes and humans," he added. "Chikungunya is coming."

Diaz warned of possible double-infections involving Chikungunya and dengue fever or malaria, which are also carried by the Asian tiger mosquito.

The spread of the disease could be greatest in so-called mega-cities such as Mumbai and Mexico City, which have large and impoverished populations, poor health controls and water systems that provide ready breeding grounds for mosquitoes, Diaz said.

West Nile, spread by a different mosquito species, first appeared in New York in 1999 and now can be found in most of North America.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

People of Wal-Mart...I just couldn't stop looking

I just got this link today. It is wrong on so many levels but I just couldn't stop looking. It's like a bad car accident. Page 6 just killed me. Peopleofwalmart.com

130

Let’s run through my rock star list….Mullet? – check; big sunglasses? – check; heart shaped tattoo? – u know i love my mom; Cut jean shorts? – are there any other type of shorts?; wife beater tied at the midriff – check;….. He is an official ROCK STAR!

Oklahoma

127

Y’all like camo? Y’all like NASCAR? Do y’all like to keel stuff? Den come on down to da huntin’ headquaters and we’ll getcha fixed up!

North Carolina

129

I tried to fart and a little sh*t came out. I just sharted. Now let’s go.

Washington

126

It seems like you just started adding random things to that list. Midgets and DSL make you hard? Really?!

Florida

H1N1-swine flu...oops not 'spose to call it that

With my oldest daughter off at College now this current "pandemic" (as everyone freaks out) is a bit closer to home. A student at Cornell recently died from the H1N1 related disease. LINK."A student from Cornell University in Ithaca, N.Y., has died of complications from the H1N1 virus, according to a statement on its Web site. Warren J. Schor, 20, died Friday at Cayuga Medical Center." Now the Agriculture secretary is upset about the name, "Each time the media uses the phrase 'swine flu,' a hog farmer, their workers and their families suffer," Vilsack said in a statement. LINK US Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack stood up Friday for pigs and hog farmers, saying their name has been dragged through the mud by people who insist on calling the A(H1N1) influenza pandemic "swine flu." Is this really that important...is it really that serious.
Here are a few thoughts that may help shape your opinion. Remember that any virus can be serious because we dont have significant anti-viral drugs like we do anti-biotics for bacterial infections. Heres a link to Virology on the recent outbreak in Mexico".
Influenza incidence is difficult to determine because most infections are not confirmed by laboratory tests. Consequently case estimates play an important role in understanding transmission and spread. In this study, the authors used mathematical models to calculate the number of infections in Mexico based on exportation of the disease by travelers. They estimate that 23,000 infections had occurred in the country by late April. From this number they calculated a case fatality ratio of 0.4%. I note that my own crude calculations yielded a similar number." The CDC reports that the current fatality from infection rate in the US is approximately 5%.

Heres a good look at the potential threat from Global Security.org. which looks at the H1N1 (swine flu...sorry, shouldnt call it that) and the H5N1(avian flu)

"Pandemic years are associated with many more cases of influenza and a higher case fatality rate than that seen in seasonal flu outbreaks. It is common to encounter clinical attack rate ranges for seasonal flu of 5% to 15% in the literature. For pandemic flu, clinical attack rates are reported in the range of 25% to 50%.

During a typical year in the United States, 30,000 to 50,000 persons die as a result of influenza viral infection. Frequently cited numbers are 20,000 deaths each year, and 37,000 annual deaths. About 5-10% of hospitalizations for influenza lead to fatal outcome in adults.

In normal years, although most influenza infection is in children, the serious morbidity and mortality is almost entirely among elderly people with underlying chronic disease. During influenza epidemics from 1979–80 through 2000–01, the estimated overall number of influenza-associated hospitalizations in the United States ranged from approximately 54,000 to 430,000/epidemic. An average of approximately 226,000 influenza-related excess hospitalizations occurred per year, with 63% of all hospitalizations occurring among persons aged > 65 years."

In a nut shell.....if either virus develops significant pathogenic variables then we could be in for a BIG problem. That said , it hasn't and dare I say...probably won't do that anytime soon. As I am fond of saying...probably my microbiology and infectious disease training...It wont be the bombs but the bugs that get us.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

545-vs-300,000


I recently received this article and it really struck a chord with me. In a time when our Government is spending ever larger sums of money ( which everyone seems to think is a bad idea)it seems logical to question why they keep doing it. Here's a thought.



545 PEOPLE
By Charlie Reese
Politicians are the only people in the world who create problems and then campaign against them.
Have you ever wondered, if both the Democrats and the Republicans are against deficits, WHY do we have deficits?
Have you ever wondered, if all the politicians are against inflation and high taxes, WHY do we have inflation and high taxes?
You and I don't propose a federal budget. The president does.
You and I don't have the Constitutional authority to vote on appropriations. The House of Representatives does.
You and I don't write the tax code, Congress does.
You and I don't set fiscal policy, Congress does.
You and I don't control monetary policy, the Federal Reserve Bank does.
One hundred senators, 435 congressmen, one president, and nine Supreme Court justices equates to 545 human beings out of the 300 million are directly, legally, morally, and individually responsible for the domestic problems that plague this country.
I excluded the members of the Federal Reserve Board because that problem was created by the Congress. In 1913, Congress delegated its Constitutional duty to provide a sound currency to a federally chartered, but private, central bank.
I excluded all the special interests and lobbyists for a sound reason.. They have no legal authority. They have no ability to coerce a senator, a congressman, or a president to do one cotton-picking thing. I don't care if they offer a politician $1 million dollars in cash. The politician has the power to accept or reject it. No matter what the lobbyist promises, it is the legislator's responsibility to determine how he votes.
Those 545 human beings spend much of their energy convincing you that what they did is not their fault. They cooperate in this common con regardless of party.
What separates a politician from a normal human being is an excessive amount of gall. No normal human being would have the gall of a Speaker, who stood up and criticized the President for creating deficits.. The president can only propose a budget. He cannot force the Congress to accept it.
The Constitution, which is the supreme law of the land, gives sole responsibility to the House of Representatives for originating and approving appropriations and taxes. Who is the speaker of the House? Nancy Pelosi. She is the leader of the majority party. She and fellow House members, not the president, can approve any budget they want. If the president vetoes it, they can pass it over his veto if they agree to.
It seems inconceivable to me that a nation of 300 million cannot replace 545 people who stand convicted -- by present facts -- of incompetence and irresponsibility. I can't think of a single domestic problem that is not traceable directly to those 545 people. When you fully grasp the plain truth that 545 people exercise the power of the federal government, then it must follow that what exists is what they want to exist.
If the tax code is unfair, it's because they want it unfair.
If the budget is in the red, it's because they want it in the red ..
If the Army & Marines are in IRAQ , it's because they want them in IRAQ
If they do not receive social security but are on an elite retirement plan not available to the people, it's because they want it that way.
There are no insoluble government problems.
Do not let these 545 people shift the blame to bureaucrats, whom they hire and whose jobs they can abolish; to lobbyists, whose gifts and advice they can reject; to regulators, to whom they give the power to regulate and from whom they can take this power. Above all, do not let them con you into the belief that there exists disembodied mystical forces like "the economy," "inflation," or "politics" that prevent them from doing what they take an oath to do.
Those 545 people, and they alone, are responsible.
They, and they alone, have the power.
They, and they alone, should be held accountable by the people who are their bosses.
Provided the voters have the gumption to manage their own employees.
We should vote all of them out of office and clean up their mess!
Charlie Reese is a former columnist of the Orlando Sentinel Newspaper.