Monday, December 13, 2004

Retired Doc, 70, Sent to Afghanistan

R. NORMAN MOODY, GANNETT NEWS SERVICE - Dr. John Caulfield thought it had to be a mistake when the Army asked him to return to active duty. After all, he's 70 years old and had already retired - twice. He left the Army in 1980 and private practice two years ago. "My first reaction was disbelief," Caulfield said. "It never occurred to me that they would call a 70-year-old."

In fact, he was so sure it was an error that he ignored the postcards and telephone messages asking if he would be willing to volunteer for active duty to "backfill" somewhere on the East Coast, Europe or Hawaii. That would be OK, he thought. It would release active duty oral surgeons from those areas to go to combat zones in Iraq or Afghanistan. But then the orders came for him to go to Afghanistan.

Today, Caulfield, a colonel from Satellite Beach, Fla., is an example of how the continuing demands of keeping ground troops in Afghanistan and Iraq are forcing the military to go to extraordinary measures to keep its ranks filled. He's attending to patients - U.S. troops, Afghan soldiers and civilians - at the Army's 325th Field Hospital in Bagram, Afghanistan. He is one of about 100 over the age of 60 known to be serving. The Department of Defense couldn't provide exact figures.

Lt. Col. Bryan Hilferty, an Army spokesman, said the service has taken back some 350 soldiers who had already retired from the military. But some of those could have done 20 years of duty and still be only in their late 30s. He did not know how many of the returning retirees are 60 or older. The reason, he said, is clear: "It's the continuing demand in the service."

Bad Day in Galway

A remarkable series of photos of everything that went wrong on a dock on Galway after a car went off the pier:

Sunday, December 12, 2004

Someone gets it....

Thanks to The Only Mr. J. Now this is how you're supposed to play.

Girl, 10, Cuffed for Scissors in School

PHILADELPHIA (AP) - A 10-year-old girl was placed in handcuffs and taken to a police station because she took a pair of scissors to her elementary school. School district officials said the fourth-grade student did not threaten anyone with the 8-inch shears, but violated a rule that considers scissors to be potential weapons.

Administrators said they were following state law when they called police Thursday, and police said they were following department rules when they handcuffed Porsche Brown and took her away in a patrol wagon.

"My daughter cried and cried,'' said her mother, Rose Jackson. "She had no idea what she did was wrong. I think that was way too harsh.''

Police officers decided the girl hadn't committed a crime and let her go. However, school officials suspended her for five days. Administrators will decide at a hearing whether she may return to class, or be expelled to a special disciplinary school.

Irony

AP - When Marine Lance Cpl. David Battle learned he'd either have to sacrifice his ring finger or the wedding band he wore, he told doctors at a field hospital in Iraq to cut off the finger. The 19-year-old suffered a mangled left hand and serious wounds to his legs in a November 13 fire fight in Falluja...

Doctors were preparing to cut off Battle's ring to save as much of his finger as they could.

"But that would mean destroying my wedding ring," he said. "My wife is the strongest woman I know. She's basically running two people's lives since I've been gone. I don't think I could ever repay her or show her how grateful ... how much I love my wife, my soul mate."

With his approval, doctors severed his finger, but somehow in the chaos that followed, they lost his ring. Although Battle was disappointed, his wife, Devon, said she was honored.

HINT TO DOCTORS: IF YOU CUT OFF A GUY'S FINGER TO SAVE HIS WEDDING BAND, DON'T LOSE THE RING!!!

Saturday, December 11, 2004

Back Where I Come From...

From TerraServer-USA:







Friday, December 10, 2004

We Are The Blog...

Resistance is futile.

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

Them's Fightin' Words

"We will fight them, sir, until hell freezes over. And then, sir, we will fight them on the ice."

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

Word

"You can know the name of a bird in all the languages of the world, but when you're finished, you'll know absolutely nothing whatever about the bird... So let's look at the bird and see what it's doing -- that's what counts. I learned very early the difference between knowing the name of something and knowing something." ~Richard Feynman

FDA For Sale

LIBERAL STREET FIGHT - Today’s New York Times has a terrifying article detailing the extent to which the FDA has become increasingly beholden to the pharmaceutical industry in the most critical of its functions--protecting the health and safety of America’s prescription drug users. The recent Vioxx scandal provides a case study.
When federal drug officials suspected in 1992 that a popular allergy pill might cause heart problems, they turned to their own scientists. Their trial confirmed the danger, and the drug was pulled from the market.

Eight years later, similar worries surrounded the arthritis pill Vioxx. But by then, the Food and Drug Administration had shifted gears, slashing its laboratories and network of independent drug safety experts in favor of hiring more people to approve drugs, changes that arose under an unusual agreement that has left the agency increasingly reliant on and bound by drug company money. Discovering Vioxx’s dangers would take four more years.
So how did the Vioxx case, which may have led to as many as 55,000 deaths, come about? (More...)

Howard Dean: The Future of the Democratic Party

HOWARD DEAN - Since Election Day, there has been a lot of predictable moaning and groaning about the future of the Democratic Party. Particularly predictable are the suggestions that we need to be more like Republicans in order to win. Democrats need to learn by our previous mistakes - we have tried being “Republican-lite” and it does not work. It is a mistake to run away from the things we believe and I think we can win in the so-called Republican states by being real Democrats.

We have to realize that there are no red states and no blue states, just American states. I believe the country is still more in sync with Democratic values than Republican values. Our task is to remind ourselves and the American people of the hallmark issues that distinguish Democrats from Republicans.

For example, Democrats historically tackle economic issues with bold, common-sense policies. Our last Democratic president created 22 million new jobs in this country. In the last four years, George W. Bush oversaw the loss of over 1.5 million. Democrats balance budgets, Republicans do not. Democrats consistently try to pass legislation that would provide some kind of affordable health care, Republicans do not. Democrats believe we ought to raise the minimum wage to help the average worker keep up with the cost of living, Republicans do not. Democrats believe corporations have too much power over our daily lives; Republicans do not - and to prove it, they have given away billions of dollars of our tax money to the biggest corporations in the world over the last four years.

On each of these issues, the majority of the American people are with Democrats not Republicans. Democrats have the right beliefs to win; we just execute a poor public relations plan...

Democrats can win by simply being Democrats. Reinventing ourselves as Republicans is the death knell of our party.

It's December 7th.....

(a.k.a. Pearl Harbor Day....) Click here for an anti-smoking ad (or here for Broadband).

Courtesy Obladi Oblada. :^)

Teen Pregnancy - Red vs. Blue States

DAILY KOS - Teen pregnancy rates per 1,000.

(click on image to enlarge)

When Red States get their social problems under control, and things such as teen pregnancy down to nationwide lows, then they can try and foist their solutions on the rest of the country.

But as things currently stand, on this issue (as well as others like divorce), the Red States have no ground to stand on. Those crazy New England liberals are running circles around them in this tangible measure of their residents' "values".

(Source: CDC (PDF) via It affects you.)

Washington Post Can't Decide if Iraq War is Over

EDITOR & PUBLISHER - In his Sunday column, [Washington] Post ombudsman Michael Getler observed that last Saturday the paper published a letter on its Free For All page from a reader objecting to the label that editors has used for many months at the top of pages carrying news about the war in Iraq. The label reads "Postwar Iraq."

Getler noted that "the reader called attention to the 'stupidity' of such a label over stories with headlines such as, 'In Fallujah, Marines Feel Shock of War.'". . . The editors, Getler revealed, "are taking this under consideration."

America Turning Into a Fundamentalist State?

PROGRESSIVE REVIEW - Seventy-nine percent of Americans believe that, as the Bible says, Jesus Christ was born of the Virgin Mary, without a human father, according to a new Newsweek poll on beliefs about Jesus. Sixty-seven percent say they believe that the entire story of Christmas - the Virgin Birth, the angelic proclamation to the shepherds, the Star of Bethlehem and the Wise Men from the East - is historically accurate. Twenty-four percent of Americans believe the story of Christmas is a theological invention written to affirm faith in Jesus Christ, the poll shows. In general, say 55 percent of those polled, every word of the Bible is literally accurate. Thirty-eight percent do not believe that about the Bible.

93 percent of Americans say they believe Jesus Christ actually lived and 82 percent believe Jesus Christ was God or the Son of God. Fifty-two percent of all those polled believe, as the Bible proclaims, that Jesus will return to earth someday; 21 percent do not believe it. Fifteen percent believe Jesus will return in their lifetime; 47 percent do not, the poll shows.

Sixty-two percent say they favor teaching creation science in addition to evolution in public schools; 26 percent oppose such teaching, the poll shows. Forty-three percent favor teaching creation science instead of evolution in public schools; 40 percent oppose the idea.

Democrats Begin to Sell Out

DOUG IRELAND, DIRELAND - On Fox News, House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi told Chris Wallace she had proposed to the White House a bipartisan negotiation on Social Security in which "everything would be on the table"--and that includes, of course, a means test, a rise in the retirement age, and steps to privatize old age pensions. If the Dems can't stand up unambiguously in defense of Social Security--one of the most mobilizing issues the party has--and offers to negotiate it away bit by bit, it's not only a sell-out, its rather stupid electoral politics.

On "Meet the Press," Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid reaffirmed, under questioning from Tim Russert, that he thinks it's imperative for the Democrats to "go to the middle"--exactly the same counsel Reid proffered after the Gingrich-led "Republican revolution" of '94. And Reid was quick to disavow the "war room" label the press had affixed to his new communications center for Senate Dems, pooh-poohing the notion that he wanted to "go to war" with the Republicans, and affirming that this new operation was designed only to do PR for Senators when they make speeches on the Senate floor. Reid, an abortion foe, also refused to defend the Supremes' decision in "Roe v. Wade," praised the "brilliance" of Antonin Scalia as a potential Chief Justice, and failed to offer any sort of pro-active Democratic agenda.

As if that weren't enough, this week a so-called "progressive" Democratic governor, Michigan's Jennifer Granholm, rushed to throw gay couples overboard in the wake of the state's passage of a broad anti-gay marriage amendment. Granholm unilaterally pulled the plug on Michigan's recently-won domestic partner benefits--without benefit of any legal opinion saying this was made necessary by the amendment. As Detroit News columnist Laura Berman noted today, "Nobody seems to know what that fancy new constitutional amendment the state's voters approved last month actually means," adding that "nobody at the AG's office has researched the issue. But that's because not a single legislator or state official has asked [Attorney General] Mike Cox for a legal opinion on what the amendment means." Berman went on to say that "What's clear, though, is that civil rights language that's standard across the country is now being scrutinized in state government as if it was weird. Now in doubt are benefits - including tuition discounts, medical and life insurance - that have been in place for Wayne State University employees, for example, for a decade...By icing her new same-sex benefits package -- at least for now -- Granholm is opening the freezer door and letting a frosty new era begin."

Monday, December 06, 2004

Classic.

It's Alright, Ma (I'm Only Bleeding)
Bob Dylan

A long-time favorite, brought to mind again by tonight's 60 Minutes:

Darkness at the break of noon
Shadows even the silver spoon
The handmade blade, the child's balloon
Eclipses both the sun and moon
To understand you know too soon
There is no sense in trying.

Pointed threats, they bluff with scorn
Suicide remarks are torn
From the fool's gold mouthpiece
The hollow horn plays wasted words
Proves to warn
That he not busy being born
Is busy dying.

Temptation's page flies out the door
You follow, find yourself at war
Watch waterfalls of pity roar
You feel to moan but unlike before
You discover
That you'd just be
One more person crying.

So don't fear if you hear
A foreign sound to your ear
It's alright, Ma, I'm only sighing.

As some warn victory, some downfall
Private reasons great or small
Can be seen in the eyes of those that call
To make all that should be killed to crawl
While others say don't hate nothing at all
Except hatred.

Disillusioned words like bullets bark
As human gods aim for their mark
Made everything from toy guns that spark
To flesh-colored Christs that glow in the dark
It's easy to see without looking too far
That not much
Is really sacred.

While preachers preach of evil fates
Teachers teach that knowledge waits
Can lead to hundred-dollar plates
Goodness hides behind its gates
But even the president of the United States
Sometimes must have
To stand naked.

An' though the rules of the road have been lodged
It's only people's games that you got to dodge
And it's alright, Ma, I can make it.

Advertising signs that con you
Into thinking you're the one
That can do what's never been done
That can win what's never been won
Meantime life outside goes on
All around you.

You lose yourself, you reappear
You suddenly find you got nothing to fear
Alone you stand with nobody near
When a trembling distant voice, unclear
Startles your sleeping ears to hear
That somebody thinks
They really found you.

A question in your nerves is lit
Yet you know there is no answer fit to satisfy
Insure you not to quit
To keep it in your mind and not fergit
That it is not he or she or them or it
That you belong to.

Although the masters make the rules
For the wise men and the fools
I got nothing, Ma, to live up to.

For them that must obey authority
That they do not respect in any degree
Who despise their jobs, their destinies
Speak jealously of them that are free
Cultivate their flowers to be
Nothing more than something
They invest in.

While some on principles baptized
To strict party platform ties
Social clubs in drag disguise
Outsiders they can freely criticize
Tell nothing except who to idolize
And then say God bless him.

While one who sings with his tongue on fire
Gargles in the rat race choir
Bent out of shape from society's pliers
Cares not to come up any higher
But rather get you down in the hole
That he's in.

But I mean no harm nor put fault
On anyone that lives in a vault
But it's alright, Ma, if I can't please him.

Old lady judges watch people in pairs
Limited in sex, they dare
To push fake morals, insult and stare
While money doesn't talk, it swears
Obscenity, who really cares
Propaganda, all is phony.

While them that defend what they cannot see
With a killer's pride, security
It blows the minds most bitterly
For them that think death's honesty
Won't fall upon them naturally
Life sometimes
Must get lonely.

My eyes collide head-on with stuffed graveyards
False gods, I scuff
At pettiness which plays so rough
Walk upside-down inside handcuffs
Kick my legs to crash it off
Say okay, I have had enough
What else can you show me?

And if my thought-dreams could be seen
They'd probably put my head in a guillotine
But it's alright, Ma, it's life, and life only.

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

The Eternal Question: Why?

Slaten: No, the eternal question is: Why not?

Theobald: The eternal answer: Why not?

Well said. :^D

Heart