13. March 2006 · Comments Off on Tricare Fee Hikes: Some Legislators Weigh In · Categories: Military, Veteran's Affairs

This just in from the Air Force Retiree News Service:

Key elected officials oppose Tricare fee increases

Key Congressional members have gone on record as opposing the proposed Department of Defense plans to impose large health fee increases to the under 65 years of age Tricare beneficiaries.

According to an announcement by the Military Officer Association of America (MOAA), House Armed Services Committee Chairman Duncan Hunter (R-CA) and the Committee’s senior Democrat, Ike Skelton (D-Mo), recently sent a joint letter to Budget Committee Chairman Jim Nussle (R-IA) saying they don’t support such increases and want more money in the defense budget to make up the shortfall in this and many other areas.

Your cards and letters make a difference, folks! As do our military associations, I’m sure.

And there’s more:

In a related area, according to an announcement by the National Association of the Uniformed Services (NAUS), Representatives Walter B. Jones (R-NC) and Chet Edward (D-TX) will introduce a bill that will restrict the current laws that permit the secretary of defense broad discretion to increase health care deductibles, co-payments and enrollment fees for military beneficiaries. The bill will specify that only Congress will have the authority to increase Tricare fees.

Background here and here.

I support this President and this SecDef, but the administration really stirred up a hornet’s nest on this one. Maybe they’ll see the light now (if you’ll pardon the mixed metaphors).

02. March 2006 · Comments Off on Joe is gone · Categories: General

…but his writing lives on, I suppose as long as Jenny allows Patriot Flyer to stay up. Just like Radar, words fail me, but what better tribute than to point you to his writing here, or at his PF blog.

Go and see that he was able to attend his daughter’s wedding before he passed.

See what he did for the victims of Katrina.

And read his advice to his grandchildren; it is clear what kind of man he was:

6. Be prayerful. Your relationship with God is all-important. You can never have a relationship with anyone if you never talk to them. Pray in praise to God for His goodness, pray in thanksgiving for His gifts, pray in humility for His greatness in you, and pray in submission to His will in your life. Pray in love for His love, and for the love He has given you by sending His Son Jesus to be the sacrifice for your sins. Seek His guidance and you can never go wrong.

I look forward to seeing you again, Joe. Thanks for everything.


PS Hope this is in keeping with Timmer’s suggestion.

10. February 2006 · Comments Off on The Frog in the Kettle · Categories: General Nonsense, Military, Veteran's Affairs

Interesting quote from an Air Force Retiree News Service story today (“DoD proposes Tricare hikes for younger military retirees”):

When the Tricare health care program for active duty and retired military members and their families was established in 1995, retirees then were contributing about 27 percent of the cost of their benefit, Dr. William Winkenwerder Jr., the assistant secretary of defense for health affairs, said during an interview with Pentagon Channel and American Forces Press Service reporters at the Pentagon.

However, military health care costs doubled from $19 billion in 2001 to just over $37 billion in the 2006 defense budget, Winkenwerder said. And today’s average military retiree contribution for health care coverage has dropped to about 10 to 12 percent, he said.

“Their contribution did not change, while the value of the benefit continued to rise,” Winkenwerder said. If approved by Congress and signed off by the president, the proposed Tricare rate hikes for retirees under age 65 would be phased in over fiscal 2007 and 2008. That should bring up younger retirees’ share of Tricare costs closer to the 1995 level, he said.

(emphasis mine)

Does he think we’re stupid? Anyone remember what the cost of health care was for retirees before 1995?

For more information, see Timmer’s post here.

06. February 2006 · Comments Off on Women in the Military – A Story That Can’t Help · Categories: GWOT, Media Matters Not, Military, My Head Hurts, War

Greyhawk over at Mudville Gazette tells us about an interesting story that is no doubt supposed to make us even more upset about the war:

The latest Iraq war urban legend: Several female service members have died of dehydration because they refused to drink liquids late in the day due to fear of being raped by male soldiers if they had to use the women’s latrine after dark.

Say what you will about the story (be sure to read the whole thing). Here’s what is bothering me:

Why it matters: Because the Left believes what they’re told to believe. Random Lefty blog response via technorati:

Jill at Feministe

Female soldiers in Iraq are having to make an impossible choice: Risk being raped , or risk dying of dehydration. Many of them have ended up dead.

Nicole in London: Tales of Los Angeles Expat

If I get one comment from ANYONE saying that this proves that women don’t belong in the army. . . Grrrrrr.

And that last comment gets to my point.

Greyhawk pretty much shreds the story (now being perpetuated by Col Janis Karpinski, of Abu Ghraib fame) to bits. If it were true, it would be a horrible, horrible thing, and all of us at the Brief would be outraged. But considering how “shred-able” it is, wouldn’t the folks on the left want to tread pretty lightly before giving the “No Women In Combat” supporters ammunition like this?

(Hat tip: Kathryn Jean Lopez at The Corner)

15. January 2006 · Comments Off on Paper of Record Seeks Military Expertise · Categories: Media Matters Not

OK. Really, they just lack military expertise. See here.

I’d like to think I wouldn’t have made this mistake, but I can’t say for sure. Nonetheless, I’m not publishing a nationally read newspaper.

It should be noted that there is a lot of discussion at the Hit and Run post about just how off the Times was and whether it even mattered. I’d like to think that precision and accuracy ought to matter to a paper with the Times’ readership. Heck, they ought to matter to any journalist period.

(Hat tip: Instapundit)

11. November 2005 · Comments Off on Veteran’s Day Speech · Categories: Military, Veteran's Affairs

Thanks for all the great ideas for my Vet’s Day speech at the university. It went well, although (sadly) it wasn’t well attended. Here’s the text of my comments from the ceremony:

We commemorate Veteran’s Day as a day to honor those who have served our nation as members of the Armed Forces. Many – too many, in fact – have fought and died defending our freedom or helping others establish their freedom. Many more fought and survived, thankfully. Still others saw no battle at all but played an important part in keeping our nation safe, and they stood ready (and stand ready) to do more should America need them.

I fall into this last category. I don’t have a compelling “war story.” I can’t provide a “there I was” moment. But I did my part and made a difference.

I entered the Air Force at the height of the Cold War. It’s probably hard for most students to imagine these days, but the Soviet threat was real. The possibility of thermonuclear war was not easily dismissed. My first duty station was a radar site whose primary mission was to detect a Submarine Launched Ballistic Missile attack. As a 22-year-old Second Lieutenant, I was responsible for the software that ensured this radar did its job of tracking missiles. It sure seemed real to me.

Later, as a young Captain, I provided technical expertise to tactical air analysts trying to determine the best response to potential Communist aggression in Europe or Asia. Halfway through my military career, the Berlin Wall came down, the Iron Curtain fell, and the once-mighty Soviet Empire disappeared in what seemed like the blink of an eye. That was about 15 years ago now, so for many of you, the Cold War is just another couple of chapters, sections, maybe just pages, in your history books.

I wanted to make sure you knew that this was not history for many of us. I write occasionally for a blog called “The Daily Brief” at sgtstryker.com. It’s a group blog with contributors who are former and current military members. I asked on the blog last week what folks would want me to talk about today, especially as it relates to the Cold War. Here are some of their thoughts:

  • One wanted me to mention the Berlin Airlift. If you’re unaware of this, you should really find out more about it. The Berlin Airlift showed the resolve of a nation (actually, nations) to keep its commitments to the people of Berlin in the face of Soviet aggression by means of a blockade.*
  • One commenter suggested that I talk about the Fleet Ballistic Missile submarines that patrolled the waters of the world, providing an unseen yet real deterrent. These guys never went to war but always, always prepared for it. Not a job many of us would have relished. True sacrifice in terms of time, family, and stress.
  • Yet another recommended that I make sure you know the grim reality of this period in American history. In spite of the fact that the Cold War was “Cold,” that we never actually went to war with the Soviets, many lost their lives in training exercises or by being involved in other dangerous activities necessary for us to maintain constant readiness. This doesn’t even take in account that the Cold War encompassed both the Korean Conflict and Vietnam.

In the absence of real war, lives are still lost.

The point is that during the Cold War, the threat to freedom and our way of life was real, and there were those willing to pay the highest price to protect us. And this has been the case ever since November 11 was established as a remembrance day at the close of World War I. The threat existed with the Germans in WWI, then the Axis powers in WWII, the Soviets during the Cold War; and it remains with the seen and unseen enemies in today’s Global War on Terrorism.

The best way I can think of to honor veterans today is to give you a sense of why they are willing to do what they do. I’d like to close by reading a selection that I think reflects the feelings of a lot of soldiers, sailors, and airmen.

This is from a letter written by Lt Walter Shuette during World War II to his newborn daughter Anna Mary. It was to be read to Anna Mary on her 10th birthday should her father not make it home. The entire letter is printed in a book edited by Andrew Carroll called “War Letters”** and it is tempting to read the whole thing. But I’ll settle for this small piece:

“Also I pray that the efforts of your daddy and his buddies will not have been in vain. That you will always be permitted to enjoy the great freedoms for which this war is being fought. It is not pleasant, but knowing that our efforts are to be for the good of our children makes it worth the hardships.”

As it turns out, Lt Shuette came back from the war and at Anna Mary’s 10th birthday, he read this letter to her himself.

I don’t mean to suggest that all those who fought or served did so with such altruistic intentions. Or that all of them believed deeply in what they were fighting for. Indeed, we make no such distinctions on Veteran’s Day. All who served deserve our thanks. And all who serve today deserve our continuing gratitude, as well as our heartfelt prayers.

Today is a Federal holiday. In places with a large Federal presence, it’s easier to remember that it’s Veteran’s Day, if only because so many Federal employees are away from work. Except for ceremonies like this, Veteran’s Day could easily be forgotten in a place like Cullowhee. I urge you never to forget. Whenever you think about the freedoms afforded you in this country, remember the price that has been paid to obtain and defend them. May the remainder of your day be spent enjoying those freedoms – it’s an appropriate commemoration for this Veteran’s Day.

——Update 11/13/2005
* I really need to do a better job of acknowledging sources. When I was preparing my talk, I went to Britannica Online (“Berlin blockade and airlift.” Encyclopædia Britannica. 2005 – subscription required) to double-check the dates of the Airlift. The last line of the article is “(a)s a result of the blockade and airlift, Berlin became a symbol of the Allies’ willingness to oppose further Soviet expansion in Europe.” There’s no doubt that this inspired the last line of my comments about the Airlift. Also, until I read that article, I didn’t know that Britain was involved in the Airlift.

** Corrected to provide an Amazon link to Carroll’s book and also to fix the spelling of his first name. The book was published by Scribner in 2001. I received a condensed version a few years ago from the VFW.

Sorry for being so pedantic. It’s the academic in me, I guess.

10. November 2005 · Comments Off on Happy Birthday, Marines! · Categories: Military

230 and still going strong! You don’t look at day over 35!

31. October 2005 · Comments Off on Veteran’s Day! I need ideas! · Categories: Military, Veteran's Affairs

I’ve been asked to speak at our university’s annual Veteran’s Day Commemoration next Friday. General theme will be the Cold War (I suggested it after struggling to come up with something I could talk about), but if you can think of anything you’d want to hear someone say on Veteran’s Day, I’d be interested to hear about it.

Comment away!

18. October 2005 · Comments Off on Behavior modification: your tax dollars at work · Categories: Ain't That America?, Media Matters Not

Skulking about the web, I happened onto a Human Events article entitled, “PBS Peddles New Online Leftist Indoctrination to Children.” I was intrigued, though not surprised. So I read the article, which describes a new environmentalist indoctrination tool aimed directly at kids. Courtesy of PBSKids.org, it’s called “Eekoworld.” Let me let Mac Johnson, the author of the HE article, describe it:

The invasion of my home by the joint forces of EekoWorld began about 14 seconds into my shower one morning. The bathroom door opened. I heard a series of tiny footsteps walk across the floor and there was a knock on the opaque shower door, about three feet off the ground.

“What?” I asked. “Um, Dad, you need to get out of the shower now. You’re taking too long,” replied the boy. “Why –do you have something at school today that we need to be early for?” I said. The very serious reply came back “Um, No. But you are using too much water, and that could kill all the fish.”

Read the rest of the story. I did, and decided to visit the site myself and meet the narrator, a flying monkey-shark-snake thing that will screech at your kids to recycle their garbage, ride their bike to ball practice (instead of having Mom drive them), and not build that second shopping mall. His voice is incredibly grating and his tone is preachy. It might actually be OK, since I can’t imagine a kid lasting more than about two minutes listening to this abomination.

Let me give you a taste of Cheeko (that’s the monkey-thing’s name). Of course, you’ll have to just imagine the screeching. Here’s a bit from Future Field Trip:

Let’s see what the beach might look like in twenty years if people don’t take care of the environment. Do you see all the trash? No one wants to swim in the water. There are not many fish either (Cheeko’s face gets angry). A lost of the birds have moved away too, and there are a lot of insects like ticks and mosquitos that can bite you and cause disease. Look at the seashore. It eroded after a big boat harbor was built nearby. The deep harbor keeps the sand from moving in the waves, so water covers more of the beach (angry face again). That means that animals and people have a lot less beach to enjoy (sad face).

Except for those ticks and mosquitos. I’ll bet they’re enjoying the beach.

Look, I’m a big believer in protecting our environment. But this site presents things in black and white (and I thought just us hyperChristian fundamentalist whackos did that). Harbor: bad. Driving to soccer practice: bad. Reusable plastic container: good. Taking long showers: bad. Air drying your newly laundered clothes on a rack: good (this is instead of using the dryer, which of course, is bad).

And kids (like Mac’s son) don’t get the complexities of the decisions that need to be made. They just take it at face value.

Of course, it’s ultimately up to us parents to monitor what our kids see on the Web, but one would have hoped (oh, well) that at least PBSkids would be safe. No more.

27. September 2005 · Comments Off on Giant Squid – Great Pictures · Categories: Science!

Go here to see some pictures of the elusive Giant Squid “in the wild.” Nobody’s ever photographed live ones before.

Squid are such way-cool bizarro animals. But I think they’d make bad pets.

Hat tip: Professor Bainbridge

11. August 2005 · Comments Off on AF Fitness Test Changes – Again! · Categories: Air Force

In the 60s, the Air Force’s fitness approach made use of the RCAF’s 5BX plan (you can download a copy of the book here — seeing the book cover brings back memories from the 60s of my Dad going through this exercise series almost every evening). When I came on active duty in 1980, the Air Force’s annual fitness test was a 1.5 mile run.

The run stuck around for another 10 or 12 years and was ultimately replaced with the dreaded stationary cycle. This program was tweaked a couple of times in the 90s and I think eventually included sit-ups.

I haven’t kept up much on the Air Force’s fitness test since I retired, but I see they’ve brought back the run AND they’re still tweaking that:

In January 2004, the Air Force underwent a major change in the way it looked at fitness. As part of the Fit to Fight program, the service adopted a more stringent physical fitness assessment that measures aerobic fitness, physical strength/endurance and body composition.

Updates to AFI 10-248 will include a change in how body composition is measured, a new table for the running portion of the test that takes into account the runner’s elevation, and a change in the number of days an Airman must wait before retesting after having scored in the marginal category.

I missed the run when they took it away. It was simple and easy to measure.

I hated the bike test. It involved all sorts of complex calculations based on heart rate, time, resistance, and other stuff. I saw some clearly fit individuals (including a guy who biked miles on a daily basis) fail the stationary bike test. Furthermore, with the run, you could test everyone at once. Not so with the bike test. At one point in my career, one of my additional duties was running the bike test, and it was an administrative nightmare (and a time sink).

I know that new discoveries are made about wellness and fitness, and I know that our requirements have changed in the GWOT, but I do wonder if the Air Force will ever stop tweaking.

Anyway, I’m glad the run has made a comeback.

11. August 2005 · Comments Off on Launch Tower at Cape Canaveral Demolished · Categories: Air Force, Science!, The Final Frontier, Wild Blue Yonder

From Air Force Space Command News Service:

CAPE CANAVERAL AFS, Fla. – What took years to build took seconds to knock down Aug. 6 when 171 pounds of strategically placed explosives were detonated, toppling the historic 179-foot mobile service tower at Launch Complex 13 here.

The 1,300-ton structure was used to launch Atlas/Agena space launch vehicles in the 1960s and 1970s. The most famous of those launches were five Lunar Orbiter missions for NASA in 1966 and 1967. Those missions photographed about 99 percent of the moon’s surface and helped pave the way to men landing on the moon in 1969.

The pictures are pretty cool, but it’s a little sad to see this. I’m sure it’s tough to have to maintain an unused launch tower, but this was a piece of history, one of the monuments to our nation’s continuing pioneer spirit.

Fortunately, the towers at Launch Complex 39 are a little bigger and would be harder to take down. 🙂

06. August 2005 · Comments Off on NCAA = No Cognitive Activity Anywhere · Categories: General Nonsense

I earned my degrees at two different universities: Florida State and the University of Illinois. Question – what do these two schools have in common?

More »

14. July 2005 · Comments Off on Marines welcome at the Ritz · Categories: Ain't That America?, General Nonsense, Military

The story of the Marine who was not allowed to talk to GA middle school kids finally has a happy ending. See Michelle or Boortz for the details.
7-15-05: I edited this post to remove a possible breach of blog etiquette.

08. July 2005 · Comments Off on Public Broadcasting Irrelevance, Part II · Categories: Media Matters Not

From the advertisement for this week’s edition of PBS’s NOW (formerly with Bill Moyers):

A new wave of bombings across London this week has some asking new questions about those detained in the war on terror.

Three questions:

1. Who exactly is asking new questions?
2. What is “new” about the questions?
3. What business does the government have funding media aimed at the American public?

[Hat tip: The Corner]

02. July 2005 · Comments Off on Clueless at NPR · Categories: Media Matters Not

More evidence of the irrelevance of mainstream media comes this morning from NPR’s Ace Legal Affairs Reporter Nina Totenberg. Talking with Scott Simon on Weekend Edition, Totenberg had this to say about Sandra Day O’Connor’s impending retirement: “Nobody knew it was coming.”

Really? That will come as news to William Kristol at The Weekly Standard (“O’Connor, Not Rehnquist?“) and the folks at RedState. It’s been all over the blogs for about a week now. When we heard it in the car this morning, my wife just about busted a gut laughing. She reads the blogs.

Granted, a lot of this was speculation, but to describe O’Connor’s departure as a surprise is pushing it. Nina needs some new sources.

21. June 2005 · Comments Off on Air Force Space and Missile Pioneer Dies · Categories: Air Force

From Air Force News, June 21, 2005:

SAN ANTONIO (AFPN) — Retired Gen. Bernard Adolph Schriever, widely regarded as the father and architect of the Air Force space and ballistic missile programs, died of natural causes at home in Washington on June 20.

I’m embarrassed to say that I thought General Schriever had passed away years ago. Nonetheless, I am deeply in his debt. In 1983, when I was still a 1Lt, my unit, the 20th Missile Warning Squadron, was one of the first in the newly formed Air Force Space Command (simply called Space Command back then). It was cool to be on the cutting edge, since it was obvious even then that Space Command was the place to be. And look how far it’s come since then.

Actually, the General’s influence on me personally goes back even further. In the early 60s, my dad was part of the team that introduced the Minuteman to F.E. Warren AFB (General Schriever helped develop the Minuteman program, as the AF news article points out). Living on base in Cheyenne is one of my earliest memories, and being an Air Force brat obviously played a part in my later decision to join the military.

I was unaware that the General was born in Germany (he came to America in 1917).

Perhaps this is a name to add to this list of 100 greatest Americans, since this list is unredeemable.

UPDATED 6/22/05: I thought I had a link that would let you quickly see Discovery Channel’s entire top 100 Americans list, but they fooled me. I have found such a link now (the second of the two links in the last paragraph above). For more on this list, see my post at Ticklish Ears.

13. June 2005 · Comments Off on Dear Sean Hannity · Categories: That's Entertainment!

“Three hours a day. That’s all we ask.”

You say that quite a bit on your radio show. And I try to give you as much of that time as I can (which, admittedly is not very much, since I have a life to lead, which usually keeps me away from my radio from 3-6PM).

But when you take one of those three hours and devote it entirely to Michael Jackson, including going over the litany of charges repeatedly, I must say you’re asking too much.

I look to you for cutting edge political commentary, interviews with some of the great conservative luminaries of our day, and the occasional useless debate with some liberal. I admire your unwavering support for our troops and their families. But I do not need to hear about the Michael Jackson trial on your show. And I especially don’t want to hear a list of molestation charges (and the details) when my seven-year-old daughter is traveling with me (as she was today). We eventually turned you off.

Get over Mr. Jackson (which I guess you can, now that the verdict is in) and get back to what you do best. Give me three hours that I can look forward to.

Lt Col Sage

05. June 2005 · Comments Off on Graduation controversy at Petaluma High · Categories: Home Front, Military

There’s a story here of a graduating high school senior and recent Marine boot camp grad who is not being allowed to wear his Marine uniform to graduation. Well, he can wear it, but he has to wear his cap and gown over it.

I read the story at The Education Wonks, where I also left a comment. Here’s an excerpt:

… I’d have to agree with the Marines, who said that the young man should conform to the wishes of the school.

One thing that Mr. Kiernan (either the son or father, take your pick) will come to understand about the military is that they appreciate the importance of tradition, including the traditions of other institutions. Tradition for high school graduation is no different in this respect. The principal even adopted the right tone: cap and gown is the “uniform of the day.”

My concern is that this story has the potential to become one of those that travels around the internet as a tale of the anti-military attitude of public school officials. I hope not. Sounds to me like the prinicpal has done nothing that I would consider anti-military, and it appears that the Marines agree. It’s certainly nothing like the story of the Georgia principal I wrote about last week who wouldn’t let a Marine visit a Middle School classroom.

In the end, it sounds like a gracious compromise has been reached:

A possible solution to the whole dilemma, “to pacify a lot of flames that have been brought up with veterans groups,” would be for the high school to announce Kiernan’s military status when they read his name, the Marine Sgt. said.

I’d be curious what others think, but really, do you want to argue with a Marine Sgt?

02. June 2005 · Comments Off on Marine not welcome at Georgia middle school · Categories: Home Front, Military, Rant

I’ve written about this over at Ticklish Ears.

Don’t read go there if you have high blood pressure or if you are holding heavy objects that you might throw.

02. June 2005 · Comments Off on Religious Extremism · Categories: Rant, Science!

You know, I get sick and tired of these religious extremists forcing their morality on us.

Oh? You thought I was talking about embryonic stem cells? Maybe abortion restrictions? Creationism? Or same-sex marriage?

No. I’m talking about those pesky Unitarians and their battle against global warming. Go read the column. You’ll learn of the great fight by Unitarians and folks like Emerson and Thoreau to end the scourge that was slavery (and you thought that maybe folks like William Wilberforce or Abraham Lincoln had something to do with it).

You’ll be treated to gems like this:

We eliminated the tyranny of slavery; now its time to eradicate the tyranny of fossil fuels.

These non-theist fundamentalists and their moral superiority! They think global warming is wrong. Don’t they know that only the Sith believe in absolutes?

Thanks to Marc at The Culture Wasteland for reminding me about this story in our local paper, and for his own insightful and charming commentary. He’s the smartest man in Asheville. And he makes reading the Citizen-Times so much more enjoyable.

22. May 2005 · Comments Off on Four downs, six downs, whatever… · Categories: General

[begin shameless self-promotion]
Besides my occasional posting here at the Daily Brief (which finally picked up again after too long of a hiatus), I’ve started my own blog: Ticklish Ears (www.ticklishears.com). I’ll continue to post here at The Brief on military stuff, hot-potato political items, and other general nonsense. At Ticklish Ears, I’ll focus more on cultural, religious, and academic issues as seen through the eyes of a conservative, evangelical college professor. I hope you’ll check it out.

I thought today was a good day to introduce my alter-ego since I’ve got an item over there that might be of interest. It concerns a math word problem that appeared on a statewide seventh-grade end of year test . Apparently, some of our educators don’t understand how the game of football is played (State Math Test Drops the Ball on Football Question).
[end shameless self-promotion]

21. May 2005 · Comments Off on British Army Amarillo Video · Categories: General

A must see at The TTR2 Blog (hat tip: Jackson’s Junction).

Go there! Now!

21. May 2005 · Comments Off on Diversions on a Saturday Afternoon · Categories: General Nonsense, That's Entertainment!

Just a couple of interesting places to visit on the web:

Despair, Inc. has lots of (de)-motivational items (mugs, posters, etc.). Very funny stuff.

And the fact that I know about this site makes me one of the “cool professors.” See especially Strong Bad’s emails. I even used his email on How to Write An English Paper in my senior seminar.

14. May 2005 · Comments Off on Obviously Above the Law · Categories: General

I get so tired of reading stories of legislators and other high-ranking officials mishandling confidential or classified information. The latest comes from Senate Majority Minority Leader Harry Reid (see Michelle Malkin: DIRTY HARRY REID: BLABBERMOUTH). Michelle quotes from the Washington Times:

Minority Leader Harry Reid strayed from his prepared remarks on the Senate floor yesterday and promised to continue opposing one of President Bush’s judicial nominees based on “a problem” he said is in the nominee’s “confidential report from the FBI.”

It should be noted that Reid doesn’t even have access to the subject FBI report — only members of the Judiciary Committee.

This follows on the heels of the light sentence recently given to Sandy Berger for taking classified documents from the National Archives. I’m also reminded of the release of Linda Tripp’s security clearance form during the Clinton-Lewinski scandal, a clear violation of the Privacy Act.

If any of us had done things like while on active duty, we’d be looking at our options for civilian life or (at least in the case of what Berger did) the four walls of a cell at Ft. Leavenworth.

I was incredibly A-R about protected information. Heck, I’d even avoid discussing blatantly non-sensitive information on the periphery, just to be safe. To watch people like Reid treat sensitive information in such a cavalier way is infuriating.

This doesn’t even touch on the fact that what he’s done is just plain despicable: attack a judge based on information that the public (and even the judge) doesn’t have access to. Fortunately, the Department of Justice is now looking into it (see Captain Ed: Reid’s Smear Raises Eyebrows At DoJ). I hope he’s forced to step down, though past experience indicates nothing will come of it.

UPDATE: Umm… as Kevin reminds us, Reid is the Minority Leader, not the Majority Leader (thank goodness!).

UPDATE2: I can’t seem to comment on my own post. I’ve written two clever retorts to comments only to have them eaten. Perhaps they’re caught in the ether and will show up later. If not, I’ll make an additional post.

UPDATE3: I figured out how to get my comments posted. Maybe I shouldn’t have called them “clever retorts.” :–)

14. March 2005 · Comments Off on Blogging and Freedom of Speech · Categories: General, Home Front, Media Matters Not

Like Sgt. Mom, I took advantage of a recent opportunity to defend blogs to our local newspaper (the Asheville Citizen-Times). The associate editor I wrote to asked me to pen a guest commentary, and today it got published. You can find it here.

But if you can only read one column today on blogs and free speech, I commend to you Scott Johnson (of Powerline fame) and his latest contribution to The Daily Standard.

04. March 2005 · Comments Off on Victory for the little guy! · Categories: General, General Nonsense

OK, I know I said (two months ago) that I’d write stuff twice a week. And I haven’t written a thing since then.

So much for that New Year’s resolution!

Anyway, I return with good news.

Background first: About a month ago, the General and I walked into our local Arby’s for a quick dinner. Now, for me, no Arby’s meal is complete without their trademark potato cakes. I’m sure it drives my cholesterol numbers through the roof, but still, they’re so delicious.

“A roast beef sandwich and some potato cakes,” I said. “Sorry, sir, we’re no longer selling potato cakes,” said my server. “What??!!” I exclaimed. “Why, they’re the only reason I come here. This is outrageous!” I said, with all the drama I could muster. “I’m very sorry, sir,” said this purveyor of all-but-potato-cakes, remorsefully. “Perhaps you’d like to fill out one of our suggestion cards.” “You bet I would.” says I. And I did.

Well, you get the idea.

So, this week, I get a voice mail from the regional Arby’s headquarters (who knew?), who received the aforementioned sugestion card. Apparently, enough people complained that they have returned potato cakes to my local restaurant. And today, to verify this information, I returned to that very store and indulged in some piping hot (OK, mildy hot) potato cakes (along with a Beef ‘N Cheddar).

Arby’s, I’m back.

Moral: it pays to speak your mind.

Secondary moral: somebody is way too obsessive about potato cakes.