9/11/2017 – Fly your flag today, honor the victims and heroes

September 11, 2017

Rose honoring a victim at the 9/11 Memorial, Manhattan, New York City. (Photo by Ed Darrell)

Rose honoring a victim at the 9/11 Memorial, Manhattan, New York City. (Photo by Ed Darrell)

Fly your U.S. flag today to honor the victims and heroes of the September 11, 2001, attacks on the U.S. The day is designated in U.S. law as National Patriot Day (36 USC § 144).

U.S. flag flies in front of construction restoring the sites of the World Trade Center in New York City (bus station opened a few weeks later).

U.S. flag flies in front of construction restoring the sites of the World Trade Center in New York City (bus station opened a few weeks later).

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Sad memorial to American victim of tragic American violence

May 23, 2017

Neal Augenstein‏ at WTOP Radio in Washington, D.C. posted this photo on Twitter: @AugensteinWTOP -- Richard Collins III's graduation gown draped over front row chairs at Bowie State University ceremony. He was murdered Saturday.

Neal Augenstein‏ at WTOP Radio in Washington, D.C. posted this photo on Twitter: @AugensteinWTOP — Richard Collins III’s graduation gown draped over front row chairs at Bowie State University ceremony. He was murdered Saturday.

Bowie State University honored a man who should have graduated today, Richard Collins III.

Another reminder that senseless violence threatens us all, and that we must oppose all violence, regardless its origin.

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For victims of Nice attack, President Obama orders flags to half-staff

July 15, 2016

White House flag lowered to half-staff, honoring victims of the attacks in Nice, France. Screen capture of ABC News video

White House flag lowered to half-staff, honoring victims of the attacks in Nice, France. Screen capture of ABC News video (see video in Tweet, below)

President Obama ordered flags to be flown half-staff until sundown, June 19, 2016, to honor the victims of the attack in Nice on France’s National Day.

HONORING THE VICTIMS OF THE ATTACK IN NICE, FRANCE

– – – – – – –

BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

A PROCLAMATION

As a mark of respect for the victims of the attack perpetrated on July 14, 2016, in Nice, France, by the authority vested in me as President of the United States by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, I hereby order that the flag of the United States shall be flown at half-staff at the White House and upon all public buildings and grounds, at all military posts and naval stations, and on all naval vessels of the Federal Government in the District of Columbia and throughout the United States and its Territories and possessions until sunset, July 19, 2016. I also direct that the flag shall be flown at half-staff for the same length of time at all United States embassies, legations, consular offices, and other facilities abroad, including all military facilities and naval vessels and stations.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this fifteenth day of July, in the year of our Lord two thousand sixteen, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and forty-first.

BARACK OBAMA

 

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is in France on diplomatic business, and offered his condolences directly.

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Bagley, on what terrifies the Taliban

October 15, 2012

Here’s the editorial cartoon that should win the Pulitzer for Pat Bagley of the Salt Lake Tribune, this year:

Pat Bagley, Salt Lake Tribune, October 2012

Pat Bagley, Salt Lake Tribune, October 2012

Pat Bagley, Salt Lake Tribune, What terrifies religious extremists like the Taliban

Pat Bagley, Salt Lake Tribune

Perhaps Bagley has a few he could enter in the Ranan Lurie UN cartoon judging, too.

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Because Obama opposes them, Limbaugh endorses terrorists and murderers

October 18, 2011

There may be no better demonstration of how the blind, unthinking and unfounded hatred of Barack Obama has skewed the rationality of conservatives than Rush Limbaugh’s endorsement of the war criminals, murdering “Lord’s Resistance Army”  (LRA) in Central Africa.

Watch this short excerpt from a PBS documentary, “The Lord’s Children”:

Original PBS airdate: Tuesday, July 29, 2008. The region of Northern Uganda was ravaged by one of Africa’s longest civil wars until 2006. For over 20 years, more than 65,000 children, some as young as five years old, have been kidnapped by Uganda’s anti-government rebel group, the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), and forced to serve as child soldiers and sex slaves.

Under the command of LRA leader Joseph Kony, these children have been terrorized into committing the worst atrocities, even killing their own families. Lord’s Children follows three former LRA soldiers who escaped from the bush and have since taken refuge in a rehabilitation center. WIDE ANGLE is with the center’s counselors as they help the physically and emotionally scarred children put their lives back together.

For more information, visit http://www.pbs.org/wnet/wideangle/episodes/lords-children/introduction/1769/

Oh, one may have second and third thoughts about President Obama’s dispatching of “advisers” to help Uganda’s government fight the LRA.  Anyone who remembers Vietnam would think twice about such a deployment, though Rush appears not to remember Vietnam at all (!), and ignores the dramatic success of Obama’s policies toward Libya over the past year.

Worse, Limbaugh appears to believe the LRA is a simple group of Christians fighting for freedom.

So that’s a new war, a hundred troops to wipe out Christians in Sudan, Uganda, and — (interruption) no, I’m not kidding.

You should read Matt Yglesias’s comments on Limbaugh’s despicable claims:

Victim of Lord's Resistance Army - image from Human Rights Watch via Matt Yglesias

(Image of a victim of a machete attack by the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) - Human Rights Watch via Matt Yglesias))

I don’t have a really strong view on whether or not it’s advisable to dispatch a small number of US combat troops to help fight the Lord’s Resistance Army. My instinct is to be skeptical. I want to see less military intervention, not more. But Rush Limbaugh’s instinct is to embrace brutal murderers:

Now, up until today, most Americans have never heard of the combat Lord’s Resistance Army. And here we are at war with them. Have you ever heard of Lord’s Resistance Army, Dawn? How about you, Brian? Snerdley, have you? You never heard of Lord’s Resistance Army? Well, proves my contention, most Americans have never heard of it, and here we are at war with them. Lord’s Resistance Army are Christians. It means God. I was only kidding. Lord’s Resistance Army are Christians. They are fighting the Muslims in Sudan. And Obama has sent troops, United States troops to remove them from the battlefield, which means kill them. That’s what the lingo means, “to help regional forces remove from the battlefield,” meaning capture or kill. […]

Lord’s Resistance Army objectives. I have them here. “To remove dictatorship and stop the oppression of our people.” Now, again Lord’s Resistance Army is who Obama sent troops to help nations wipe out. The objectives of the Lord’s Resistance Army, what they’re trying to accomplish with their military action in these countries is the following: “To remove dictatorship and stop the oppression of our people; to fight for the immediate restoration of the competitive multiparty democracy in Uganda; to see an end to gross violation of human rights and dignity of Ugandans; to ensure the restoration of peace and security in Uganda, to ensure unity, sovereignty, and economic prosperity beneficial to all Ugandans, and to bring to an end the repressive policy of deliberate marginalization of groups of people who may not agree with the LRA ideology.” Those are the objectives of the group that we are fighting, or who are being fought and we are joining in the effort to remove them from the battlefield.

This post is illustrated with a photo of a man who survived a Lord’s Resistance Army machete attack and has the gashes on his head to prove it. You can read more about it courtesy of Human Rights Watch:

LRA forces attacked at least 10 villages, capturing, killing, and abducting hundreds of civilians, including women and children. The vast majority of those killed were adult men, whom LRA combatants first tied up and then hacked to death with machetes or crushed their skulls with axes and heavy wooden sticks. The dead include at least 13 women and 23 children, the youngest a 3-year-old girl who was burned to death. LRA combatants tied some of the victims to trees before crushing their skulls with axes.

The LRA also killed those they abducted who walked too slowly or tried to escape. Family members and local authorities later found bodies all along the LRA’s 105-kilometer journey through the Makombo area and the small town of Tapili. Witnesses interviewed by Human Rights Watch said that for days and weeks after the attack, this vast area was filled with the “stench of death.”

I think reasonable people can disagree as to whether or not chasing a relatively small band of depraved mass murderers around central africa is a reasonable thing for American military personel to be doing. But let’s make no mistake—these are depraved mass murderers. And yet Rush Limbaugh is pleased to welcome them as fellow Christian allies.

Oy.

If Limbaugh has a human brain cell and human heart cell left, surely he will retract this bizarre endorsement of terrorists.

You don’t know about the LRA?  I suppose it’s possible people have slept through the past two decades or forgotten the news reports.  The group has been terrorizing Sudan and Uganda since 1987.  The facts from Wikipedia:

“The International Criminal Court issued arrest warrants on 8 July and 27 September 2005 against Joseph Kony, his deputy Vincent Otti, and LRA commanders Raska Lukwiya, Okot Odhiambo and Dominic Ongwen. The five LRA leaders were charged with crimes against humanity and war crimes, including murder, rape, sexual slavery, and enlisting of children as combatants. The warrants were filed under seal; public redacted versions were released on 13 October 2005.”

  • You may wish to start with the Lord’s Resistance Army Disarmament and Uganda Recovery Act of 2010:
    The Lord’s Resistance Army Disarmament and Northern Uganda Recovery Act was a 2010 act of Congress promoted by the Obama administration that makes it American policy to kill or capture Joseph Kony and to crush his rebellion once and for all. According to the President, “The legislation crystallizes the commitment of the United States to help bring an end to the brutality and destruction that have been a hallmark of the LRA across several countries for two decades, and to pursue a future of greater security and hope for the people of central Africa.”[1][2]

Limbaugh’s actions are really beyond the pale. Clearly he is undergoing some kind of mental disturbance.  Is there any organization over him to see he gets the treatment he needs,  and get him off the air before he does more damage?  Responsible radio stations should pull his program until there is a retraction and some sort of indication that the man is not himself a threat to the country — assuming he thought he knew what he was doing.

Call your local Limbaugh outlet, ask if they endorse terrorism, too.  If they don’t endorse terrorism, ask what they intend to say and do about Limbaugh.


O’Donnell: Obama ‘soft on terror?’

May 7, 2011

MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell, in his feature “The Last Word”: Who’s soft on terror?


Domestic terrorism in the U.S.

June 4, 2009

This is terrorism, isn’t it?  What definition of terrorism would leave this out?


Domestic terrorists kill again, in Kansas

May 31, 2009

Bulletin from NPR:  A physician in Kansas who provided abortion services was murdered at his church today.

George Tiller was gunned down at Reformation Lutheran Church in Wichita.

This sort of terrorism has been wonderfully absent from American of late.

Update:  Suspect captured.  News conference at 4:00 p.m. Central.


Oh, this will get some attention at the water cooler

May 15, 2009

Scouting is one of the most vulnerable victims of wedge politics and attempts to polarize voters.  Even among veteran Scouts and Scouters, lines tend to get drawn over what the program should be doing.

Today the New York Times headlines a story, “Scouts Train to Fight Terrorists, and more.

It’s Explorers, a group which has been distanced from Boy Scouts by moving it to BSA’s Learning for Life programs.  These are not traditional Boy Scouts. I suspect that distinction, small as it is, will get blurred quickly.

It will be interesting to watch discussions about Scouts pictured with semi-automatic weapons and bullet-proof vests.

Exploring used to be more closely related to Scouting.  Exploring was for kids 14 years and older.  I belonged to an Explorer Post in Utah that specialized in kayaking (I was more active at the council level at the time), and I had the grand opportunity to work with a large Explorer Post affiliated with AMR Corp. (American Airlines), where some of our Scouts got significant time in aircraft simulators (in the good old days, when such machines had downtime).  It was a great program.

That was then.  Today, 14-21-year-old Scouts can join Venture Crews, which can be co-ed.  The old Exploring program you remember survives today mostly in Venturing.


Creationist as Texan of the Year

December 10, 2008

Time Magazine’s Person of the Year selection sometimes produces a shudder, such as when Ayotullah Khomeini got the designation for 1979.  Time patiently explains that the designation is for the person who most affected the year, not necessarily the good guys.  Even bad guys affect history.

The Dallas Morning News designates a “Texan of the Year,” with a month of conjecture and nominations for who it should be.  True to the Time tradition, News columnist Steve Blow nominated a member of the Texas State Board of Eduacation, Cynthia Dunbar.  Blow explained his nomination:

I mean, how do you top someone who warned us that the next president is a terrorist sympathizer with plans to topple the government?

Thank you, Cynthia Dunbar.

You knew about that, of course.

Dunbar is part of Dark Ages Coalition threatening to take Texas school kids hostage if science standards should — brace yourself — support science in Texas public school classrooms.   You think I’m kidding?  Blow noted that Dunbar’s views, now available in a book, do not count America’s public schools as things of much value.

In fact, she calls public education itself a “subtly deceptive tool of perversion.” (Her kids have been home-schooled and attended private school.)

So on the slight possibility that she’s completely wrong about Barack Obama’s secret plan to overthrow America, I’d make her Texan of the Year for a second reason.

The Prophet Dunbar just might wake Texans up to the circus that is our State Board of Education.

That would be valuable, yes.

Note:  I do object, with a smile, to Blow’s calling Dunbar our state Cassandra.  Cassandra’s curse was that no one would listen to her, though she accurately foresaw the future.  Dunbar doesn’t seem to be connected with accuracy in any discernible fashion.

Other resources:


Is our children learning science? O, woe is Texas

November 5, 2008

So, last week or so I commented on the woes of Kentucky, where, the polls showed, 28% of voters were yoked with the millstone belief that our president-elect is Muslim. Someone commented, and sent me the link that showed 23% of Texans carry a similar burden in their own swim.

Can it get much more weird, more divorced from reality?

How about we marry bizarre, untrue beliefs about religion with bizarre, untrue beliefs about science? And then — God save us, please — how about let’s put that person on the state school board during a rewrite of science standards?

Meet Cynthia Dunbar, member of the Texas State Board of Education.

Cynthia Dunbar, Texas State Board of Education member

At the tinfoil hat website “Christian Worldview” (as if Christians are unable to see normally), Dunbar posted this bizarre statement:

So we can imagine the blatant disregard for our Constitution, but what other threats does an Obama administration pose? We have been clearly warned by his running mate, Joe Biden, that America will suffer some form of attack within the first 6 months of Obama’s administration. However, unlike Joe, I do not believe this “attack” will be a test of Obama’s mettle. Rather, I perceive it will be a planned effort by those with whom Obama truly sympathizes to take down the America that is threat to tyranny.

Challenged by the Texas Freedom Network to do the American, patriotic thing and take the comments down, Dunbar refuses.

Dunbar was not worried about martial law when President George W. Bush actually took the steps she claims to worry about now, assigning troops to domestic crowd control in the U.S. It’s the marriage of presidential power with the bizarre phantasms of “the Christian worldview” that makes Ms. Dunbar’s views so nutty. It’s her position on the Texas State Board of Education that makes her views troubling, if not downright dangerous.

Her statement is as crazy as if she had accused John McCain of being a communist sympathizer, and Manchurian candidate, for ‘having spent so much time schmoozing with North Vietnamese officials.’ It’s also every bit as offensive as such a claim would be.

One mystery remains: Do wacko views produce creationism, or does creationism produce these wacko views? We await the creationist who can make an argument in favor of creationism without making a detour off the deep end.

It’s going to take more than tinfoil to protect Texas’s children, and Barack Obama, from these nuts.

If you want to pray, pray that God grants us reason, to save us and our children from such nuts, and this one especially.

Tip of the old scrub brush to Chris Comer.

_________________




Bush didn’t bother to catch Osama bin Laden

October 25, 2008

Can this be accurate?

Gareth Porter argues in Asia Times that the Bush administration never had any plans to get Osama bin Laden they were too busy planning an attack on Iraq to have time to get the man who led the attacks against us.  So Osama bin Laden went free, free to attack the U.S. again and again.

New evidence from former United States officials reveals that Osama bin Laden and other al-Qaeda leaders were able to skip Afghanistan for Pakistan unimpeded in the first weeks after September 11, 2001, as the George W Bush administration failed to plan to block their retreat.

Top administration officials instead gave priority to planning for war with Iraq, leaving the United States with not nearly enough troops or strategic airlift capacity to close the large number of possible exit routes through the Afghanistan-Pakistan border area where Bin Laden escaped in late 2001.

Because it had not been directed to plan for that contingency, the US military was also forced to turn down an offer from then Pakistani president Pervez Musharraf in late November 2001 to send 60,000 troops to intercept the al-Qaeda leaders.

Nuts.  Who could ever have guessed that incompetence in the White House could so cripple our military, and ultimately, so cripple our nation?

Can we move inauguration day up to December 1?  Please?


“Dare to call for justice, get labeled ‘terrorist'”

October 10, 2008

This is where we are: Marylanders who exercised their rights guaranteed under the First Amendment, peacefully gathering to call for changes in law, were labeled “terrorists” by the Maryland State Police, and reported to federal databases that way.

Do you wonder why you get searched every time you fly?  Remember that letter you wrote to your Congressman complaining about high taxes?  Remember that phone conversation with your brother-in-law over whether either of you would serve in the military today, without the threat of a draft?

Remember that time you taught the Cub Scouts how to fold the flag?

All of these things used to thought of as patriotic participation in government by citizens.  But not any more.

All of these things are protected under the First Amendment.  But if you use those First Amendment rights, and you’re in Maryland, watch out.

The abuses of the system were discovered and exposed by the Maryland attorney general.

And if you don’t live in Maryland?  That doesn’t make you safe.  It only means your state’s attorney general has not investigated what the cops are doing.

Your vote on November 4 is important.

You can also vote in a poll at the Baltimore Sun, asking whether such surveillance is okay.  (No, it’s not.)

Below the fold:  The New York Times editorial on the issue.  Also, the editorial from the Baltimore Sun.

Read the rest of this entry »


Kicking education while it’s down

May 15, 2008

For the past half century at least one of the greatest exports from the U.S. has been education. The benefits to the U.S. flow from having trained many of the best scientists, business executives, international leaders and others worldwide. Friends in high places help a lot.

Beginning with the Reagan administration as I count it, there has been a concerted war on education. Without openly stating the case, officials in government have systematically hammered away at America’s leadership in science research, technology applications and defense readiness. In 1993 Newt Gingrich led the effort to stab America’s nuclear research in the back, successfully, killing the Superconducting Supercollider, in a move that simultaneously took revenge on the education establishment, science and scientists, and Texas politicians like LBJ and former Speaker of the House Jim Wright, of Fort Worth.

The War on Education continues. Notice that in fighting against scientists and educators, officials also must sabotage America’s readiness to defend against natural disasters, and chemical and terrorist attacks.

Do I exaggerate? I wish I did (click to read).

Where is David Pierpont Gardner to write the report when you need him?

Tip of the old scrub brush to the Liberal Doomsayer.

Other resources:


Pragmatic, applied geography: Baghdad

November 27, 2007

Do your students ever ask why we bother to study geography? Consider these sources for a one-day exercise in geography, world history or U.S. history:

How U.S. forces took back Baghdad


al Quaeda map of Baghdad, used to take back Baghdad by U.S. forces

Geographic Travels with Catholicgauze alerts us to this interesting story of applied geography.

The map of Baghdad, above, was found in a raid on an al Quaeda house in the past year. It details the organization of al Quaeda, especially with regard to shipping guns, ammunition and explosives into Baghdad.

Armed with this knowledge, U.S. forces set about severing each of the cells from each other, separating the pieces of the snake to kill the beast.

Here is the New York Times story. (So much for wild claims that “mainstream media” do not cover such news.) Here is the Fox News story, with a link to a .pdf version of the map.

A map drawn by Al Qaeda in Iraq leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi — who was killed last year by U.S. forces — turned up last December in an Al Qaeda safe house and essentially gave U.S. war planners insight into the terrorist group’s methods for moving explosives, fighters and money into Baghdad.

“The map essentially laid out how Al Qaeda controlled Baghdad. And they did it through four belts that surrounded the city, and these belts controlled access to the city for reinforcements and weapons and money,” said Maj. Gen. Bob Scales, a FOX News contributor who recently visited Iraq.

That’s what geographic knowledge can do. It can be the difference between peace and war, the difference between life and death.


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