color: SOME SOLDIER'S MOM: November 2008

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

What's on YOUR List??

From the Military Officers Association of America


If our country can afford almost $1 trillion in bailouts for firms whose financial troubles were caused by their own mismanagement or recklessness, what about those in the uniformed services community suffering grievous circumstances imposed on them by the government through no fault of their own? Here are MOAA’s nominees for those most deserving a government bailout. Add your own views and nominations in the “rate this item” forum at the bottom of the list.

8. Currently serving uniformed services families – the only large group of employees denied use of Flexible Spending Accounts to deduct out-of-pocket health and dependent costs from income and payroll taxes. Who needs a child care tax break more than a family whose sponsor has been deployed?

7. Employers of Guard/Reserve personnel -- who deserve tax breaks to help ease the burden of hiring temporary replacements for ever-more-frequently deployed staff members. The government that imposes these requirements on them, and expects them to keep hiring Guard/Reserve members, needs to do more to assist them.

6. Guard-Reserve members deployed since 9/11 – whom the government has acknowledged deserve a reduced retirement age in return for frequent active duty callups, but has denied credit for those called up (for multiple combat tours in hundreds of thousands of cases) between 2001 and 2008.

5. Military families (again) – who’ve suffered terrible family separations because of past government resistance to manpower increases, despite predictions of a long war. Now, some congressional leaders have proposed cutting back on manpower increases, when the only possibility for relief is to accelerate them.

4. Severely disabled retirees with less than 20 years of service – who forfeit most or all of their military retired pay to fund their own VA disability compensation. Congress passed legislation to assist the combat-disabled, but a glitch in the law stymied relief for many. And a 100% non-combat disabled retiree has no relief.

3. Military widows whose sponsors died of service-related causes – thousands of whom must live on an annuity of $13,000 a year because their VA survivor benefits are deducted from their Survivor Benefit Plan annuities. Congress’ “first-step” relief action provided a mere $50 extra per month.

2. Separated wounded warriors – Thousands of wounded or potential PTSD/TBI victims were separated with low-balled disability determinations, “personality disorder” or disciplinary discharges that limited or denied benefits. Programs are changing now, but those already separated since 9/11 deserve reconsideration.

1. Caregivers for wounded warriors – hundreds of mothers, fathers, siblings, spouses, and other loved ones have had to quit their jobs, sell homes, and cash in retirement funds – to provide full-time care to severely wounded servicemembers. The government owes training, respite, and compensation to those who never dreamed that a loved one’s wounding could put their own livelihood at such risk.

I would add: Reimbursing all those wounded servicemembers who received an artificially low disability rating from the services prior to Jan. 1, 2008 and who were/are required to pay back (some still are!!) the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, etc. disability severance payment from their VA disability allowances -- in effect, funding their own medical separations from the service!!

Just wondering what would be on your list?

Also, as Mrs. Greyhawk reminds us, let us not forget the Reality of Valour-IT

x-posted at Milblogs

Labels: ,

Saturday, November 22, 2008


Victory in Iraq Day

November 22, 2008

We won. The Iraq War is over.

I declare November 22, 2008 to be "Victory in Iraq Day." (Hereafter known as "VI Day.")

By every measure, The United States and coalition forces have conclusively defeated all enemies in Iraq, pacified the country, deposed the previous regime, successfully helped to establish a new functioning democratic government, and suppressed any lingering insurgencies. The war has come to an end. And we won.

What more indication do you need? An announcement from the outgoing Bush administration? It's not gonna happen. An announcement from the incoming Obama administration? That's really not gonna happen. A declaration of victory by the media? Please. Don't make me laugh. A concession of surrender by what few remaining insurgents remain in hiding? Forget about it.

The moment has come to acknowledge the obvious. To overtly declare a fact that has already been true for quite some time now. Let me repeat:
And since there will never be a ticker-tape parade down Fifth Avenue in New York for our troops, it's up to us, the people, to arrange a virtual ticker-tape parade. An online victory celebration.

Saturday, November 22, 2008 is the day of that celebration: Victory in Iraq Day.

I am ALL IN on this one. We have won the war. And if you want the proof, GO HERE... scroll down. Read the facts.


Labels: , ,

Wednesday, November 19, 2008


I am thankful for many things in my life... the list is long. And on my list are having the use of my hands and my eyes... and the ability to organize my thoughts and communicate with friends and family far and wide via my computer. Sadly, for any number of wounded soldiers, sailors, marines and airmen, they do not... and they can use our help.

The annual fund-raising drive for
SOLDIER'S ANGELS' PROJECT VALOUR-IT, which donates voice-activated laptops to disabled soldiers, kicked off last week. It goes through Thanksgiving.

In the years since its founding in 2005, the project has acted to meet emerging needs and its mission of supporting the severely wounded. Valour-IT helps provide voice activated laptops, to our injured Soldiers and personal GPS systems that help compensate for short-term memory loss and organizational/special challenges common in those with traumatic brain injuries -- the signature wound of the Iraq war.

Originally Valour-IT provided the voice-controlled software, but now works closely with the Department of Defense Computer/electronic Accommodations Program (CAP): CAP supplies the adaptive software and Valour-IT provides the laptop. In addition, DoD caseworkers serve as Valour-IT’s “eyes and ears” at several medical centers, identifying possible laptop recipients. Wounded military personnel can also directly request a laptop through the sign-up form or through the Valour-IT/Soldiers’ Angels representatives at the following medical centers:

* Balboa Naval Hospital
* Brooke Army Medical Center
* Madigan Regional Medical Center
* National Naval Medical Center (Bethesda Naval Hospital)
* Naval Hospital, Camp Pendleton
* Robert E. Bush Naval Hospital (29 Palms)
* Walter Reed Army Medical Center

Thanks to the efforts of the Military Order of the Purple Heart, Valour-IT is also able to reach patients in VA hospitals who would benefit from a Valour-IT laptop.

Valour-IT accepts donations in any amount to support the purchase and distribution of laptops, but also offers a sponsorship option. An individual or organization may sponsor a wounded soldier by completely funding the cost of a laptop and continuing to provide that soldier with personal support and encouragement throughout recovery. This has proved to be an excellent project for churches, groups of coworkers or friends, and members of community organizations such Boy Scouts.

This year in honor of the three Navy guys I love (two veterans and one still serving), I am raising money as part of the NAVY team! Click below to donate NOW! The campaign runs through Thanksgiving!

(Stolen shamelessly for a good cause from LW at Blackfive - but moved to Navy.) WORTH NOTING: It's a tax-deductible donation and eligible for matching funds from companies who do that sort of thing (see: IRS INFO for proof for the cautious).

The snail mail address for those who'd rather donate that way (be sure to put NAVY in big letters on the check):

Soldiers' Angels
Project Valour-IT Fund - NAVY TEAM
1792 E. Washington Blvd
Pasadena, Ca 91104

Let's be a part of something big.

Labels: , , ,

Monday, November 17, 2008

National Resource Directory For Wounded Warriors

When my son was wounded -- and then when he was being medically discharged -- I spent a hundred hours or more researching what treatments and benefits were available, how to access care and benefits, the process of who, what, where, when, how... So I was pretty thrilled to see the email below announcing a single resource guide for Wounded Warriors and their families. I haven't reviewed this new resource directory yet, and I hope it is everything they say it is, but something is always better than nothing! And it's about time!!

Department of Defense Launches National Resource Directory For Wounded Warriors, Families And Caregivers

The Department of Defense today launched the National Resource Directory, a collaborative effort between the departments of Defense, Labor and Veterans Affairs.

The directory is a Web-based network of care coordinators, providers and support partners with resources for wounded, ill and injured service members, veterans, their families, families of the fallen and those who support them.

"The directory is the visible demonstration of our national will and commitment to As new links are added each day by providers and partners, coverage from coast to coast will grow even greater ensuring that no part of that journey will ever be made alone," said Lynda C. Davis, Ph.D., deputy under secretary of defense for military community and family policy.

Located at, the directory offers more than 10,000 medical and non-medical services and resources to help service members and veterans achieve personal and professional goals along their journey from recovery through rehabilitation to community reintegration.

"The VA is extremely proud to be a partner in this innovative resource. This combination of federal, state, and community-based resources will serve as a tremendous asset for all service members, veterans, their families and those who care for them. The community is essential to the successful reintegration of our veterans, and these groups greatly enhance the directory's scope," said Karen S. Guice, M.D., executive director, federal recovery care coordination program at the Department of Veterans Affairs.

"The National Resource Directory will prove to be a valuable tool for wounded, ill, and injured service members and their families as they wind their way through the maze of benefits and services available to them in their transition to civilian life. The Department of Labor is pleased to have the opportunity to work with our partners at DoD," said Charles S. Ciccolella, the assistant secretary of labor for the veterans' employment and training service.

The National Resource Directory is organized into six major categories: Benefits and Compensation; Education, Training and Employment; Family and Caregiver Support; Health; Housing and Transportation; and Services and Resources. It also provides helpful checklists, Frequently Asked Questions, and connections to peer support groups. All information on the Web site can be found through a general or state and local search tool.

The National Resource Directory's launch in November is a key feature of Warrior Care Month.

x-posted at Milblogs and Parents Zone.

Labels: , , , ,

Saturday, November 15, 2008


(click for more information)

As part of Warrior Care month, the Military Health System launched a short, anonymous questionnaire for wounded, ill or injured service members to provide input about the care they received and what can be improved.

There is a separate questionnaire for families, both available directly at

or through the MILITARY HEALTH SYSTEM (MHS) homepage,

So far, they have received a great deal of response from Soldiers and are now pushing the other services and family members to weigh in. The deadline is Nov. 28.

ALSO: The MHS is hosting a web town hall meeting where experts will answer questions from service members and their families about the Defense Department’s medical care programs for its wounded, ill and injured troops. Everyone is welcome to participate.

When: Nov. 19 from 2 to 4 p.m. EST
Questions: Submit to

During the event, medical experts, supporting organizations and service members who have been touched by warrior care will be dialoging about health care solutions.

Labels: ,

Thursday, November 13, 2008

A 4-Star HOOAH!

First woman four-star general to lead major Army Command

FORT BELVOIR, Va. (AMC News Service, Nov. 7, 2008) - Lt. Gen. (promotable) Ann E. Dunwoody will assume command of the U.S. Army Materiel Command from outgoing commander, Gen. Benjamin S. Griffin in a ceremony at the AMC headquarters parade field here Nov. 14 at 2 p.m.

Army Chief of Staff Gen. George W. Casey, Jr. will preside over the ceremony, which will include a 19-gun salute, the AMC Band and the AMC ceremonial color guard.

Dunwoody will be promoted as the first woman four-star general in the U.S. military in a ceremony at the Pentagon earlier in the day.


The U.S. Army Materiel Command is the Army's premier provider of materiel readiness - technology, acquisition support, materiel development, logistics, power projection and sustainment - to the total force, across the spectrum of joint military operations. If a Soldier shoots it, drives it, flies it, wears it or eats it, AMC provides it.

What? A woman? A 4-star? Note to the US Army: What took you so long!!??

Monday, November 10, 2008

Veterans Day 2008

I have written before about the members of my family that have served honorably in the Armed Forces of the United States and how proud I am of them. I have also stood as personal witness to the terrible cost of Freedom (start with the picture of my father at left... notice he has lost his left arm above the elbow) and HERE HERE HERE HERE HERE HERE HERE

Thanks to my mother, our family learned early to honor those that serve. We attended Memorial Day, Independence Day and Veterans' Day parades in our town...

some years we sat and cheered from the curbs as we waved our American flags, while in other years we participated as Girl Scouts, pep squad members, cheerleaders. After the Vietnam War, honoring our service people was not particularly celebrated and, in many towns, the parades were discontinued because no one came to cheer the Veterans.

When we had children of our own, we took them to the parades... we cheered the vets, we saluted the flag. We waved at ships arriving home with fathers and sons on deck and mothers and wives smiling and crying on the pier.

We attended many wreath laying ceremonies at our war memorial on the grounds of our county court house in New York and cheered from the court house lawn on Main Street (really) as the Veterans' paraded by. The large court house square, the large military community and the community's patriotism were key factors in our choice of the town we now live in. Paying homage to those that serve is the least we can do... a few minutes from a whole day set aside to honor our Veterans.

I sometimes think that even without the influence of DH's career (he had finished his 25 years and started his second career by the time the oldest was entering high school), our patriotism and our respect for our service members might have influenced our three sons' choices to serve in the military. We could not be any prouder of them.

This year we will be at the closest Veterans Hospital where our town, and the surrounding communities come to honor our Veterans... this year there are eight Grand Marshals... all Veterans wounded in the service of their country.

So on Veteran's Day, we each have the opportunity -- the obligation -- to thank all the Soldiers, the Marines, the Sailors, the Airmen, and the members of the Coast Guard who have served and are serving to protect us -- whether they fought or just stood on the Wall.

To all those who raised their hand, swore the oath and said, "This we'll defend", from the bottom of our hearts, we thank you.

And don't forget, Veterans: WEAR YOUR MEDALS ON VETERANS DAY. (Info on that HERE)

and remember, HIRE A WOUNDED VETERAN when you have the need or the chance...

The Annual Inter-Military Branch Campaign for Project Valour-IT -- which gives laptop computers to wounded military members (including voice-activated software to those that need it) IS ON!! Go HERE for more information on this incredible program. This year in honor of the three Navy guys I love (two veterans and one still serving), I am raising money as part of the NAVY team! Click below to donate NOW! The campaign runs through Thanksgiving!

The Soldier

It is the soldier, not the reporter,
who has given us freedom of the press.

It is the soldier, not the poet,
who has given us freedom of speech.

It is the soldier, not the campus organizer,
who has given us the freedom to demonstrate.

It is the soldier, not the lawyer,
who has given us the right to a fair trial.

It is the soldier,
who salutes the flag,
who serves under the flag,
and whose coffin is draped by the flag,
who allows the protester to burn the flag.

-- Father Dennis Edward O'Brien, USMC

Labels: , , , , ,

Sunday, November 09, 2008


Pulling this and updating from my 2007 post... (which was from 2006... and 2005... -- it's a classic!!)

my site meter is filled with people looking for ideas of things to send the troops. TIME'S AWASTIN' -- SO GET GOING!!

First, I suggest that you make this a family project -- nothing better than to explain the sacrifices of the military to your children. It is also a GREAT group project -- Homeowners Associations, church groups, community groups, poker groups, reading and investment clubs...

Second, if you do not personally know a Soldier, Marine, Sailor or Airman serving, go to any of these sites and adopt one (or a whole platoon!!) There are too many soldiers, sailors, marines and airmen who do not receive any mail... and that's especially hard to take at the holidays.

I highly recommend each of the following organizations:

Third, if you have received or do receive that email about sending Christmas cards to "any wounded soldier" at Walter Reed, please don't. The program was discontinued a few years back because they do not have the staff or time to sort and screen all that mail... and those extra cards (however well-intentioned) delay the delivery of holiday cards and mail to these wounded soldiers from their family and friends. HOWEVER, the American Red Cross has a program this year which allows people to send Holiday greetings and well-wishes to service members -- even if you don't know their names! HERE is that information ...

Also, please check with your local Veterans hospital or Veterans Center... they all have programs for the holidays (consider volunteering!! Our veterans love company!)

Fourth mailing info & deadlines:

  • Packages must be addressed to an individual service member. Mail cannot be delivered to “any service member.” Use the member’s full name, military organization or unit and APO/FPO address.
  • Do not include the country name in any part of the address when using an APO/FPO address.
  • Choose a box strong enough to protect its contents, and use plenty of cushioning material such as popcorn or newspapers.
  • For packages, print on one side only with the recipient’s address in the lower right portion ZIP Codes 093XX and 964XX are currently unavailable for electronic labels. AND DON'T FORGET the Customs forms.
  • Place a return address label inside the package.
  • The earliest deadline is for troops that are serving in the Iraq [and] Afghanistan area,” said Al DeSarro, spokesman for the western region of the U.S. Postal Service. “You want to send all your holiday mail and packages [to those areas] by Dec. 4.”

Here are all the USPS mailing dates and HERE is info on the mailing process and helpful hints (including about the DISCOUNT for packages to military addresses (APO/FPO)

Now for the goodies stuff:


Christmas Stockings.
  • Individual packets of hot chocolate, cider or hot soup mix…
  • Candy (bite sized, individually wrapped, all kinds -- any kind)
  • AT&T Phone Cards (keep in mind that these cards are sold in minutes but calls from Iraq & other places are charged in "units" which are really just multiples of minutes -- so buy cards with LOTS of minutes. You can check out the pre-paid cards and the "unit" charges HERE
  • Hand held games (battery games with batteries, please)
  • Small puzzle books, coloring books
  • Small, signed Holiday cards from you and your families (include your name and address!)
  • Cigarettes (no lectures, please. I don't smoke, but most soldiers we know do)
  • Cigars (good ones!)
  • Books (current titles are greatly appreciated)
  • Magazines (cars, trucks, men's health, exercise, business, computing...)
  • Microwave food items (popcorn, all-in-one pan microwave deserts, heat & eat soups, etc.)
  • Cereal bars
  • Granola Bars
  • DO NOT SEND Home baked goods unless you know the soldier/Marine personally (I understand that soldiers are advised to discard home baked goods from strangers -- for safety reasons. ) If you are sending baked goodies, pack brownies and cakes in bread slices or package in tins and wrap in plastic wrap -- vacuum sealing works GREAT (but freeze your cakes/breads, etc. FIRST or the vacuum will crush it! Plus it stays fresher!)
  • Army & Air Force Exchange Service
  • Pre-paid gift cards or gift certificates from American Express, Visa,, or from specific stores - Best Buy, Staples, Barnes & Noble, Circuit City, etc.) These soldiers have a range of things they need or want over the course of their deployments...
Holiday decorations. Look around your homes and see your most cherished reminders of the holidays... and replicate those for our troops.
  • Garland
  • Shatterproof ornaments (Kohls, K-Mart, Wal-Mart, Target all sell these)
  • Tinsel
  • Lights (small wattage)
  • Small artificial trees
Cold weather items (it's cool there now -- Iraq, Afghanistan, Korea, Germany -- and getting colder).
  • Stocking caps (black only)
  • Long sleeve t-shirts -- (M, L or XL) but must be Army brown... Under Armour is preferred but also (less pricey) Dri-Release shirts (Soffee, Anvil, etc.)
  • You can also order t-shirts and other deployment items at AAFES (click on the "Gift from the Homefront" icon in the right column!)
  • Gloves (tactical gloves are preferred... which you can also find online or at gun stores or military or police supply stores)
  • Lightweight fleece blankets.
  • small pillows
DVDs, Music CDs... new releases are greatly coveted... and believe me, they pass them around and trade them so one DVD or one CD makes its way to a lot of soldiers...

Footballs, baseballs, baseball gloves, soccer balls, volleyballs...

Holiday Cards that they can send to friends and families back home (they do not need postage!) and ~K commented last year that she found sending boxes of Holiday Greeting Cards to be a huge success but also sent some All Occasion card boxes and they were just as appreciated.

Be sure to include your handwritten greetings... especially handwritten cards and notes from children!!

for links to some of the favorite shopping places that the many thousands of Soldiers Angels like! So many useful things for our Troops (h/t to MaryAnn -- our most favorite Angel!!)

HERE is the link to my list of "regular" care package stuff for Our Guys that might give you some ideas!

Be sure to check the comments for additional suggestions!!


Now for some practical suggestions:

Use FLAT RATE BOXES from the US Postal Service. These cost $10.95 (I think that's what they cost now) to mail no matter how heavy you make the boxes (don't use this if you're sending lightweight things -- if you use these Flat Rate boxes stuff 'em as heavy as you can and get your money's worth!!) Postage rates to APO and FPO are at DOMESTIC mailing rates -- not international rates... so if you're just sending a card/s it's regular First Class Postage.

Don't forget the Customs Forms:
  • every package to Iraq or Afghanistan MUST have one...
  • fill them out as best you can BEFORE you get to the P.O. but the postal clerk will attach it for you.
  • These are multi-part (self-carbon) forms that are a pain in the butt -- but necessary.
  • You do not have to fill in the weight... and in the lower right corner it asks for instructions on what to do if the package cannot be delivered as addressed... tell them to direct delivery to another... and fill in "First Sergeant" and then the rest of the unit address for your soldier or the name & address of another soldier if you have more than one you have adopted.
  • Mail Early!!
  • Be aware that soldiers have a limit on the amount of "stuff" they can bring back so hold off sending priceless heirlooms and bulky items if your soldier is redeploying soon.
Finally, be aware of the RESTRICTIONS ON CONTENTS:

If you are sending to Iraq or Afghanistan, DO NOT SEND ANY OF THE FOLLOWING:
  • obscene articles such as prints, paintings, cards, films, videotapes, etc.
  • pork or pork by-products
  • alcoholic beverages
  • any matter depicting nude or semi-nude persons, pornographic or sexual items
  • unauthorized political materials.
If contraband is found in a package, the entire contents may not be delivered!


My friend Chuck (aka Major Z) says, "Don't feel like you have to go overboard on huge care packages, or spend lots of money. A simple "We are thinking about you, and we support you and your mission, and wish you were home with us" is sufficient. The most important thing is for the soldier to know that Mr. and Mrs. America really do know he's there, and that they care about him and what he's doing.

PS Feel free to link away... copy & paste this... email this... print this. Spread the word!

And feel free to add suggestions and tips in the comments !!

Labels: , , , ,

Administration is Not A License to Censor

I have belonged to a private 3ID family support forum since Noah's 2005 deployment. The forum was originally formed to offer support to the families left behind during the 2003 deployment and continued through the 3rd ID's 2005 and 2007 deployments. Membership is controlled via a free application process: if you can prove a connection to a 3ID soldier -- you're "in"! Even though families move out of the 3ID Family to other Divisions and some members' soldiers are no longer in the Army (like our youngest), many remain members on the site because we have "been there, done that" and use our experiences -- in and out of the military -- to offer support and encouragement.

Basically, there has been no topic that I have not seen addressed in the 4 years I have participated on this site -- from diaper rash, ink on furniture, PTSD, benefits, housing, re-integration, abuse... and every health problem and family situation imaginable. Members talk about husbands, parents, in-laws (and out-laws), children, siblings. Topics are accessed via a menu of topic titles. Military operations are discussed in the most general of terms -- OpSec is strictly enforced -- ESPECIALLY during deployments. For the most part, threads (topics) and the discussion they engender are caring, supportive and respectful -- sometimes raunchy and occasionally even crude (a fair share of bathroom/body humor kind of stuff.) There are occasional posts and rants about Congress or the stupidity and misinformation that comes from politicians mouths or perpetuated by the media. Occasionally conversations turn to politics and whether we should have gone to Iraq in the first place and whether and how long we should stay (ALL IN TO VICTORY is predominant.)

The forum has two volunteer administrators; they do not own the site and members make voluntary financial contributions to keep the site running. On election night this past week, a long-standing member (who also happens to be an administrator) began a thread wondering how they could be calling the election when the polls in her state had not even closed and in other states had just closed minutes before!!?? The comments and discussion turned quickly to the two candidates and the media... why this one voted for that one and vice versa. It was clear that some people were very passionate, but it was a pretty respectful discussion that contained about 30 posted opinions/comments.

Last night I logged on to the forum and saw a recent update to the topic, so I clicked on only to find that the second site administrator (not the one that originally started the discussion) had determined that the whole discussion was inappropriate for the Forum and was being deleted (although she said it would be deleted in a few days, minutes later it was gone.)

I am aware of just one or two -- maybe three -- other threads over these past four years that have been deleted in the past: one that was a personal attack on another member (a soldier's wife) by the former spouse and family of the soldier who had been killed in action, one was a thread promoting an x-rated business started by one of the members... I can't recall what the third one was. In all cases, the content of the deleted threads was rude, crude, personal attacks, name-calling or promotion of a commercial endeavor and I -- and based on complaints of other members at the time --thought that it was appropriate in each case to delete the content and ban the offending members. I don't think the administrator acted unilaterally in any case -- the deletion was at the behest of many members' complaints.

After I saw that the political discussion had been deleted, I began a new discussion thread that said:
I'm sorry to see the "I Wonder Why" Thread gone... I presume "soft deleted" means that once you access it, it disappears? I do not believe in censorship. I thought it was a respectful posting of positions on each side after a very passionate election. I saw no name calling or disrespect to any member or between members. After all, what could more affect the lives of our military members and their families than a new CinC??

Additionally, no one is forced to read the threads nor post comments there: like television and radio -- members are free to "change the channel". I can understand deleting the posts of individual members if there was disrespect or threatening or uncivilized behavior... but there wasn't -- and the entire thread was deleted?? I believe it was totally inappropriate to have the thread deleted... it smacks of censorship because some of the posting wasn't to someone's liking.
Comments this morning from other members were in support of my position -- one even saying that she thought we didn't need to have our fingers slapped like two-year-olds and told what was or was not appropriate. Another member sent me a private message saying that she whole-heartily agreed but didn't want to say so publicly on the site BECAUSE SHE WAS AFRAID TO BE LABELED A "TROUBLEMAKER" AND HAVE HER PRIVILEGES PULLED. One other commenter said, "who cares, let's move on" and another that said, "well, I didn't think it was an inappropriate topic, but I was afraid it might get personal" (after 4 days, it had not).

And there was one comment from the administrator that deleted the discussion that said she had been asked by the originator (also a Forum administrator) to either close the thread so that it could not get personal or out of hand (in 4 days it had done neither). Instead, the primary administrator -- who had posted the last comment before deletion that said she didn't care for some of the content and which inferred support for the winning candidate -- decided it should be entirely deleted instead... and basically she said, "Thanks for your opinions but they're meaningless, it's not open for discussion... tough titties -- I'm the boss and I said so."

To which I responded,
sorry... don't agree

were there complaints from the members who posted or even read the thread? I saw no posted complaints about the content -- only informational (and some passionate) exchanges on people's positions. We are not sheep and we do not need to be led to the kumbaya side of the world (no matter how well-meaning or intentioned). Nor are we children that need to be sent to sit in a corner. The administrators have the email addresses of most members, they could have picked a random sample of the active members and ask if they were offended and should the thread be deleted?

As I stated above, what could be more important to the military and their family members than the election of a new Commander in Chief? And does this mean no one will be allowed to discuss or inform the others about the decisions this man makes (or the Congress) for the next four years that affect the lives of the people here? Was the thread deleted because it contained objectionable posts (rude, crude, cursing, name-calling or threatening?) or was it deleted because someone didn't like what was being said? What next? Will we have to have new threads and comments pre-approved?? Someone thought that maybe, might, kinda, coulda, shoulda, woulda gotten personal? Then THOSE posts -- if it had actually gotten personal -- should have been deleted and/or a warning posted to keep the discourse civil -- or even just CLOSING the thread. but delete?

I understand the role of "administrator" but I think this was outside the parameters as I understand that function. Administrator -- not moderator.

Additionally, I have seen some pretty raunchy and crude threads -- some of which were thinly disguised as humor, but those were not deleted as inappropriate. So I guess the policy is if it's talking bodily functions or orifices, it stays, but if you want to have an intelligent discussion on politics it will be deleted?

If the policy is going to remain that someone else gets to decide what's appropriate to post when it is clearly not offensive or pornographic, please remove my information from the data base. I no longer wish to participate in a group that so actively censors content.
I cannot believe that there are people in the world who do not see the difference between "administering" (solving technical problems, keep the site running, approve access, etc.) for a site -- where people join voluntarily to discuss whatever -- and censoring and stifling the content and discussion because they don't agree with what others have said or don't like where the discussion MIGHT go. Shameful behavior. This woman has forgotten what her soldier is (or was) fighting for.

As soon as I posted my second comment, my access to the site was terminated and-- if previous practice is followed -- every entry I ever made to the site will also disappear to the round file cabinet. I hope the extensive reference/link library on services and resources available was preserved. I will miss most of the people on the site but it's the principle (can you believe -- it wasn't even my post!)

And Administrator P needs to be reminded whose site and whose content it is: it belongs to the Members... the Administrator might think it prudent to close a thread if the discussion has strayed (in this case, it had not) or has gotten out of hand (again, this one had not) but the members alone should decide what's an appropriate or inappropriate thread. Adminstrators administrate... they do not get to censor.


Thursday, November 06, 2008

Veterans and active-duty military not in uniform can now render the military-style hand salute during the playing of the national anthem

WASHINGTON -- Veterans and active-duty military not in uniform can now render the military-style hand salute during the playing of the national anthem, thanks to changes in federal law that took effect this month. "The military salute is a unique gesture of respect that marks those who have served in our nation's armed forces," said Secretary of Veterans Affairs Dr. James B. Peake. "This provision allows the application of that honor in all events involving our nation's flag." The new provision improves upon a little known change in federal law last year that authorized veterans to render the military-style hand salute during the raising, lowering or passing of the flag, but it did not address salutes during the national anthem.

Last year's provision also applied to members of the armed forces while not in uniform. Traditionally, members of the nation's veterans service organizations have rendered the hand-salute during the national anthem and at events involving the national flag while wearing their organization's official head-gear. The most recent change, authorizing hand-salutes during the national anthem by veterans and out-of-uniform military personnel, was sponsored by Sen. Jim Inhofe of Oklahoma, an Army veteran.

It was included in the Defense Authorization Act of 2009, which President Bush signed on Oct. 14. The earlier provision authorizing hand-salutes for veterans and out-of-uniform military personnel during the raising, lowering or passing of the flag, was contained in the National Defense Authorization Act of 2008, which took effect Jan. 28, 2008.

x-posted at Milblogs

Tuesday, November 04, 2008




(and remember to thank a Veteran or a Soldier, Marine, Sailor or Coast Guardsman while you're out there... the Founding Fathers made it happen, but these guys keep it real.)

(I am working at a local polling place as a Poll Watcher -- trying to be sure all the rules are followed. We wouldn't want any voter fraud, would we??)

Monday, November 03, 2008


Our local paper features a local "guest columnist" who is so far left that he is entirely off the page. He teaches at a local "alternative college"... and -- you cannot make this up -- he teaches peace studies and social thought. Around town you don't even have to use his name... people say "the local professor of unproductive thought and navel gazing". He is a "peace at any cost" guy (he once wrote a column on how we could solve all the world's problems if neighbors would just talk to each other over their fences... I wish I was kidding) and a "change for the sake of change" kind of guy as well.

The local paper (which has endorsed John McCain) published a column of pablum by this guy today... here are a few select quotes:
But there's much more on the line here. This is also a generational contest, a match-up between "age and experience" and "youth and excitement." John McCain presents himself as a political elder with the right pedigree and history to lead us in these difficult days; Barack Obama represents a generation unafraid to be innovative and speaks in the forward-looking, media-friendly language of this era.
ok.... "youth and excitement" last I checked were not qualifications for President of the most powerful nation on Earth... and neither is the ability to speak geek. Are you joking???

Also this:
The question really is who will best fit the times ahead, not who has served in those [sic] past.
So experience and a solid record of accomplishment is meaningless?? I repeat, Are you joking??? and McCain doesn't just PRESENT himself as such -- he ACTUALLY HAS THE EXPERIENCE (the "Pedigree" if you will) TO LEAD US!! McCain's background and experience are FACT ... Obama just "hopes to be..."

He says to look past "black and white" and tells us about Obama,
In his life story are contained the complexities of the postmodern, globalized era of combinatorial processes.
Huh?? Is this double speak for a culturally diverse individual with ties to the Muslim world? Combinatorial? It's a term of pure mathematical theory -- not the combination of social, genetics or ethnic traits or modes. And it serves as just another example of the so-called "elite" intelligentsia that is supposed to make up the left -- as if their language and reasoning is so much superior to those of the middle or the right. Yah.

And he follows on with this,
McCain harks back to the bygone binaries and well-worn cultural referents of the so-called "greatest generation,"
Binaries?? Binaries?? more gobblygook... binaries? like star systems? fortran code? news feeds? Or do you mean, he's a white guy with honor who has fought and served this country selflessly for his entire life span?? Well-worn cultural referents? Like Freedom of speech, freedom of religion, studying hard, working hard, being successful?? I'll take those well-worn referents ANY DAY.

But he has his concerns about Obama -- but it's not Obama's lack of sound economic plans or unfair taxation nor his unsavory associations (which this guy NEVER even mentions) nor Obama's complete lack of experience... It's because Obama ISN'T FAR ENOUGH LEFT FOR HIM!

Despite these important potential shifts, I have some concerns about a President Obama. His "run to the right" strategy includes nods to outmoded energy inputs including "clean coal," offshore drilling, and the use of nuclear power. He has championed the corporate "bailout" to the tune of over a trillion dollars. He chose a running mate who supported the war in Iraq ...
See... even though Obama HAS THE MOST LIBERAL VOTING RECORD IN CONGRESS -- Obama has strayed too far to the right! And he hasn't done it slowly -- but has RUN to the right. And this guy is such a small thinker that every source of power in the U.S. other than wind and solar -- and maybe biomass -- are unacceptable and must be considered part of the vast right wing capitalist conspiracy... apparently his thinking on the subject hasn't produced any solutions to the energy crisis... but hey easier to just say, "No."

ahhh... then we find the real source of his discontent... it's not McCain... his raging Bush Derangement Syndrome rears its ugly little head... seems a fitting resolution to the last eight awful years to have President Bush pass the torch to someone who, personally and politically, is nearly his polar opposite.
and finally, he doesn't see Obama's "spread the wealth" as being any indication of socialism... and points to McCain's support of the bailout as proof

It's also interesting that Obama is branded a socialist for wanting to "spread the wealth around," even as McCain too supported the massive corporate welfare package. Apparently, some feel it would be better if wealth stayed at the top where it belongs, and any redistribution should commence from the ground-level in a perverse "trickle up" process.
First, most of the people who have "wealth" (what's that number these days?? $120,000 already?? ) got it the old fashioned way -- they EARNED it. For the life of me, I can't figure out why people like Randall here find the thought of people holding onto the money they earned as some nefarious plot to deprive the rest of the world of something. As for the "perverse 'trickle up' process"? What Obama proposes is trickle up poverty -- until everyone at the "top" is just as "not rich" as those at the bottom!

and Randall, dahling, Obama & Joe the Plumber were talking about redistributing INCOME via TAXES... his comment was not about the bailout... but it IS about socialism -- you're just too left of socialism to see it.

I have had Obama supporters tell me to "take a little time to read their web sites and see what both candidates are advocating as policymakers and political leaders. Make your decision based on what they really say they're going to do in office.

I have found this attitude so prevalent in the left and liberal base -- that somehow we HAVEN'T looked and read and INFORMED ourselves??

and as for "what they really say they are going to do in office"?? words. just words.

As for me?? I look at
  1. what they SAY they will do

  2. the candidate's actual record of accomplishments,

  3. solid meaningful experience,

  4. whether a candidate has held and supported their position for more than a presidential campaign,

  5. their character references

I see that as +5 in the McCain column and a big "0" in the "O" column.

The only thing this guy was even close to being correct about (because it would be an insult to call him "right") was this:
In the end, no matter how this plays out, we'll still have a lot of work to do. Waiting for Washington to solve our problems, whoever's [sic] at the helm, isn't a viable plan. Change may be in the air, but the power to make it happen rests with all of us.
so get out and vote Nov. 4!!

Here is Randall's" opinion.