Archive for June, 2009

This is ‘Faith’

Monday, June 29th, 2009

This dog was born on Christmas Eve in the year 2002. He was born with 3  legs –
2 healthy hind legs and 1 abnormal front leg which had to be  amputated.
He of course could not walk when he was born. Even his mother did not want him.

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His first owner also did not think that he could survive and he was thinking of ‘putting him to sleep’.
But then, his present owner, Jude Stringfellow, met him and wanted  to take care of him.
She became determined to teach and train this little dog to walk by himself.
She named him ‘Faith’.
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In the beginning, she put Faith on a surfboard to let him feel the movement.
Later she used peanut  butter on a spoon as a lure and reward
for him for standing up and jumping around.
Even the other dog at home encouraged him to walk.
Amazingly, only after 6 months, like a miracle,
Faith learned to balance on his hind legs and to jump to move forward.
After further training in the snow, he could now walk like a human being.

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Faith loves to walk around now.
No matter where he goes, he attracts people to him.
He is fast becoming famous on the international scene and
has appeared on various newspapers and TV shows.
There is now a book entitled ‘With a Little Faith’ being published about him.
He was even considered to appear in one of Harry Potter movies.

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His present owner Jude Stringfellew has  given up her teaching post and plans to take him around the world
to  preach that even without a perfect body, one can have a perfect soul’.

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In life there are always undesirable things, so in order to feel better
you just need to look at life from another direction.
I hope this message will bring fresh new ways of thinking to everyone
and that everyone will appreciate and be thankful for each beautiful day.
Faith is the continual demonstration of the strength and wonder of life

When this email hit my box, it included a small request: keep this story circulating.  So I’ve placed it here for all to see.

Only 101 today …

Sunday, June 28th, 2009

… summer must be over, that was quick. Of course that was just the weather channel’s report–the outside temp gage on the wall hit 104 … so maybe I’m jumping the gun.

Rumor of rain on Monday. Anybody like rain?

Does it ever rain in Honduras?

102 degrees …

Saturday, June 27th, 2009

… In Louisiana today, putting our heat index at 116!  My air conditioning is working big time over time.  Must be all that global warming hitting all at once.  Anybody else hot?

How’s This Direction Working For You?

Friday, June 26th, 2009

How’s This Direction Working For You?

June 26, 2009


“Tonight is a great victory for the American people.  Today they voted for change and for the Democratic Party to the take the country in a new direction,” is what Nancy Pelosi said following the Congressional upset election in 2006.  Since that night, we’ve seen a lot of change but I’m not sure this was the direction we wanted to go.

Unemployment has more than doubled since the Democratic Party leadership has taken our country in a new direction–from 4.5% to 9.5%. 


They managed to convince President Bush back in October 2008 that a “bail-out” package of $700 billion was needed to prevent the economy for collapsing. Then eight days after the Obama administration took control, the Democratic Party leadership was able to pass a “stimulus package” of another $787 billion, mostly before anybody read it. But even with that spending, unemployment still continues to increase at an alarming rate.


You probably remember how during the last few years of the Bush administration, many people complained about our deficit spending. And deficit spending is bad, as each year’s deficit piles on to the collective national debt, which is now reported to exceed $11 trillion. That’s a difficult number to grasp, though we Americans are getting more used to such numbers. Here’s what that looks like: $11,000,000,000,000. That’s still hard to understand.

Okay, how about this, if you had $11 trillion in your mattress when Jesus was born in Bethlehem and then you spent $14 million every day until now, you’d still have over $730 billion left to spend. That’s a lot.

Of course, we should all know that the legislative branch controls the budget. The President is limited by the Constitution to merely suggesting and then either approving or vetoing the budget which Congress votes to approve. Thus, it directly affects the American tax-payers when Congress approves extreme spending. Here’s what has happened to the deficit since Pelosi and Reid took control of Congress.


Economics can be confusing to most of us, but as a historian the way I understand it is that they have a theory, which is based on the idea that if they can create enough deficit spending it will make the economy recover. Before we completely denigrate that theory, we should understand that it is supported by the statistics from the depression, World War II, and the years that followed the war.

America went into extreme debt in order to fight back fascism and the leftist oligarchies of Germany and Japan. Following the war, under the weight of all that debt the economy dipped and then recovered. However, the idea that the debt made the economy recover ignores the fact that just about anybody who could work, did work during that time. American factories spit out tanks, airplanes, beans, and bullets as fast as possible during the war and then transitioned to cars, trucks and washing machines after the war. While it wasn’t the smoothest process imaginable, I believe the recovery was sparked by productivity (along with the absence of war) and not by bail-outs, pay-offs, and unemployment.

This day, an outnumbered minority of our honorable representatives have been desperately trying to keep Pelosi’s majority from passing a huge national energy tax. The result of which is believed by some to raise electricity prices, increase gasoline prices, and ship American jobs overseas to countries like China and India. In the process it will create another cluster of agencies that will redistribute trillions of dollars that rightfully belong to working-class Americans.

As I write this article, the battle to stop Pelosi’s energy tax may already be lost. Either way you need to take notice as unemployment continues to rise, and deficit spending continues to dwarf anything done by previous administrations, and as your hard-earned dollars are increasingly taken from you to be given to those with their hands out so that you can remember how your Representatives in Congress have voted.

If all this looks good to you, then smile and be happy.

But if you think the government has over-stepped its constitutional limits–you’d better make sure you vote with your brain in 2010. Regardless of party affiliation, we need representatives in government who do the right things because we may soon discover that we really can dig a hole so deep that we can’t get out of it.

As far I have read, no nation has ever taxed and spent itself into prosperity.

It just makes sense.

Achmadinejad or Mousavi?

Sunday, June 21st, 2009

Is this really the choice that is causing so much pain for the people of Iran? What difference will it make for the rest of us?

Over 66 million people live there, according to the CIA’s world factbook, and the median age is 27, which means most of the people who are in this charter-member country of the “Axis of Evil” were born after the Islamic revolution of 1979.

For those people, it seems they’ve grown up knowing nothing else. But in the 21st century, is it really possible for people to know nothing else?

Well, that probably depends on which people we’re talking about. Nobody believes the North Koreans understand the world outside of their prison walls. And there are still some backwards people living in jungles are deserts who know little to nothing about the world. But Iran? Those people are pretty smart, I suspect they know more about the world than many of us have given them credit for knowing.

They’ve embraced technology as part of their lives.  It takes almost no effort to see the videos posted on YouTube.com about the on-going civil disorder there.  Even with the government crack-down on the internet and cell phone service, the people there manage to spread the word about their fight to world, while the rest of the people watch and wonder about this struggle.

Iran was once a great ally of the United States. Less than half of the people in Iran can remember such a time. I don’t know how many in the United States remember that era. But I’m one who does.

Prior to 1979 revolution, Iran had a monarch named Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi. Many of the their military trained in the United States. I met a few of them and we became friends.

When you make friends in the military, you know that your actual association with them will be short-lived–we all move around so much. Even more so with foreign exchange personnel, as they are destined to return to their homelands after their precious training. Still, we’d like to think that we will remember each other.

To make it easier, two of my old friends, Amir and Babak, gave me a few Iranian coins. In return I gave them each a shiny new 1975 Eisenhower dollar. At first they protested, saying that the silver dollars (actually cupronickel) were of greater value than their gifts. I explained that the coins were tokens of friendship, not something that would be spent.

They accepted my explanation and then gave me some of their currency with handwritten notes of friendship. There was a time when I could read them, but alas skills not practiced soon fade away. The first one is a 50 rials bill from Babak, signed front and back.

The next two are a twenty rials and then a one hundred rials signed by Amir.

We crossed paths again later at a base in North Carolina.  One weekend in 1976, Amir traveled with me to my hometown in Virgina (about 150 miles from where we were stationed) and I introduced him to my family and friends. At the time, I considered him to be one of my closest friends. Eventually we went our different directions and lost contact with each other. But thanks in part to these out-dated bills, I’ve never really forgotten him or Babak.

Watching the 1979 revolution from afar, I assumed he’d met his end in the violence that transformed the greatest regional ally of the United States of the time into our sworn enemy as they exported terrorism to the rest of the world. Most recently it seems they are intent on obtaining nuclear weapons in order to destroy Israel. Many Americans blame Achmadinejad, while others blame the left-wing, religious leaders, who hold the real power.

Some Americans have been confused over the left and right of things. Simply put, left-wing political theorists believe the government is the state and people are just part of the state. The more power the government has– power it takes from the people–the more leftist the government. Powerful leftist nations include North Korea, Cuba, Iran, and China. Historical leftist nations which used to exist include Hitler’s Nazi Germany and the USSR. Leftist nations are sometimes called socialist nations.

Mousavi was Prime Minister of Iran from 1981 to 1989. That was a pretty tough time for Iranian and US relationships. In 1987, we even had a little war with them in the Gulf, called the “’87 Persian Excursion” by the Navy. Iran was littering the Gulf with random mines and shooting at ships from oil platforms as they attempted to disrupt the free-flow of oil. One by-product of that Persian Excursion was the rebuilding of the Air Force’s conventional bombing capability–as it was embarrassing to just watch the Navy fix a problem without Air Force play. That conventional bombing capability came in handy during the 1991 Desert Storm–our first war against Saddam Hussein.

Thirty years ago, the outcome of a revolution pitted Iran against its former friends and most of the world. Will this new revolution reverse all of that? Will Mousavi be the leader that the Iranian people are dying to have? Will the nations who Iran’s government terrorized since 1979 come to the aid of these people?

So once this unrest or revolution is sorted out, will Iran be any different–as far as the rest of the world is concerned? Will the people fighting and dying in the streets, since the bogus election, be willing to accept merely exchanging one puppet-president of a cleric-led oligarchy for another. Especially when that oligarchy appears to be dead-set on obtaining nuclear weapons in order to attack Israel.


Moments before death (warning graphic video)

Over the years, Israel has proven that it will act in concert with other nations to defend itself, but when other nations will not assist them–they are the masters of unilateral, preemptive action. Thinking out the consequences of such activity, it is possible for us to imagine the level of human-suffering that is about to happen.

This new revolution may be the only thing that can prevent the suffering of an impending nuclear war.

Thus it appears that whatever the outcome of this revolution is–the result can’t possibly be worse than it is now, or at least what it is about to become. Therefore, the United States, Israel, Iraq, Afphganistan, and all other nations who have suffered from the terrorism exported from Iran over the last thirty years should provide whatever support the bold people need. Who knows? We might even find an old friend when this is all over.

It just makes sense.

Great Come Back

Sunday, June 21st, 2009

A few of you might remember “Slider”.  During his initial qual as a copilot, he was Professor’s student–way back when the FTU had hard lines. I know . . . ancient history.

Anyway,  I also flew with him several times (maybe four at the most).

I don’t think I flew with him when he upgraded to AC.  And he went to CFIC after I retired.  But he did get a no-flap touch and go–we managed to pass that down to him.

Today he’s a weapon school instructor and has a line-number for major.

We solicited  the weapon’s school to give the 608 AOC a B-52 Capes brief–maybe because nobody wants to hear my “pulling alert with SRAMs and B-28s” stories. 🙂

I gave Slider orientation training on SIPR DCO the day prior to his briefing.  While he was building some Poll Questions, the deputy chief for the Combat Operations Division (Tigger) came into our office to discuss an entirely separate issue.   Tigger is a Lt Colonel with an A-10 background, plus he’s a big Hawaiian-looking guy.  I like him, but like many fighter pilots–his sense of humor can leave bomber guys wondering if he’s kidding or picking a fight.

I decided to introduce Slider to Tigger, and Tigger took advantage of the moment to interject some of that A-10 style humor.

“You mean you let this old guy in your cockpit?  What could he ever do?”

Slider didn’t smile.  Instead he maintained eye-contact with Tigger and calmly said, “He taught me everything I know.”

Tigger looked at me, a bit bewildered, and I said something, but whatever it was, it didn’t measure up to what that B-52 pilot had just laid on him.

Yeah, that was a good moment.

June blog…

Saturday, June 13th, 2009

I’ve been meaning to write for the last couple of months, but I’ve been out of town – company business.  So maybe I can get caught up this time.

I thought that once retired time slows down…still waiting! LoL

Still making models – that latest is a 1/48th scale B-26 Marauder of the 441st Bomb Squadron, 320th Bomb Group, 9th Air Force at Dijon, France in April 1944.  Maybe someone remember the 441st BS, 320th BW?  No I’m not taking about the WWII unit but the B-52 unit – Mather – some thought it was the dream base (for me it was Ellsworth! another story).  For others it was the start of our Nav Training.  Anyway, if the model looks a little weathered – it is.  When I was putting on the final finish, it frosted the model.  Heather thought it looked cool, but not for me.  So I finished it off looking a bit more for wear & tear.

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I’ve decide to take a break from aircraft and work on some military armor dioramas.  First up is a USMC M48 Patton tank set in the Battle for Hue during the 1968 Tet Offensive.   This will be built in three phases; the tank, the men, and the place.  I have an idea of how I want the scene to look like, but trying to find an image that support your idea is proving tough!

Phase 1 – The Tank – it will be a USMC but what will it look like?  True that is a lot of material out there, but I’m trying to find a picture that represents how my M48 would look like – unit wise.  For example; I was looking at adding a Confederate battle flag to the radio antenna – so far only US Army M48s had that flag, adding the Playboy bunny on the turret – yepper some USMC’s had it but which one and what was the tanks unit number, or what about the searchlight cover – some had the skull & crossbones (only US Army so far) or Ace of Spades (found one that had the Spade but a ‘2’) or the Maltese Cross, etc.  Was that unit in Hue during the battle?  I have several books but not many images, so I had to order more books.

Phase 2 – the Men – I have model figures from DML (Dragoon) that represents the USMC, Viet Cong & the NVA during that time period.  However, I’ll have to modify some of the figures to make the different poises I envision; i.e., making a USMC sniper team hiding in a building, re-modeling the tanks commander to be firing the .50 cal MG, or re-poising the enemy into firing positions.

Phase 3 – The Place – it will be a street fighting scene with the tank moving down it, men hiding behind walls, palm trees, damaged houses & building, debris, etc.

So…the tank is in various stages of assembly, acquiring more reference books and the material to build the diorama; more figure models, add-ons for the tank, and material for the scene.  Stay tune for more updates…

Next month I’ll have some notes on Heather’s acting career & Clayton’s (son #1) singing/musical career…

Andy

Directional Extremism – 11 Jun 2009

Thursday, June 11th, 2009

By now you’ve heard most of the story about the 88 year-old shooter that killed Stephen Tyrone Johns while he was on duty as a security guard in the Washington DC Holocaust Museum.  If you’re like most people, you’re sadden at the loss of yet another productive American citizen and sickened at the reports of the shooter’s hatred for so many people.  Depending on where you get your news, you might also be confused over some misleading references to the shooter representing right-wing ideology in America.

Adding to the confusion, is a fundamentally flawed statement in the Homeland Security report on alleged “Rightwing Extremism” inside of the United States.  There were 50 uses of the term “rightwing” in the report.  It even used the term as a single word, instead of the the grammatical correct hyphenated term right-wing.   No references were made to “left-wing extremism,” leaving some to wonder if the report might condone that side of the argument.  Of course even suggesting such a thing might be classified as blasphemy in the near future, so I won’t go any further with that line of reasoning.

Are we really to believe neo-Nazism is right-wing?

If so, that would make the Nazi regime of Hitler’s Germany a right-wing government.  If true, then on the extreme right of the concept of government theory, you have Hitler and the SS running everything.  The rest of us would work as slaves in government-owned factories and fields and have to put up with soldiers banging on our doors at night only to be hauled off to the concentration camp–where we’d die.

So what is the opposite of that?  The communists?

If so, on the extreme left of the concept of government theory, you have Stalin and the KGB running everything.   The rest of us would work as slaves in government-owned factories and fields and have to put up with soldiers banging on our doors at night only to be hauled off to the gulag–where we’d die.

I don’t see a nickel’s worth of difference between those two systems, unless you happen to be a member of the small group that is controlling everything and everyone else.  Which means the popular notice of left and right must be flawed, as the two should be in contrast to each other.

Here’s something that makes much more sense.

Government theory is all about how much power the government has.  The more power the government has, the less power or rights the people have.  On one extreme, government has all power.  On the other extreme, government has no power–or doesn’t exist at all.  That’s also called anarchy.

In theory, anarchy could be a nice thing.  No taxes, no police, no rules to get in your way–every man doing what he things is right.  If everyone were just like Jesus, that might work out pretty good.  But humanity is wrought with selfish behavior–striving to advance oneself over others.  In total anarchy, only the strongest men could retain their property, which would soon be countered by less strong people teaming together to take what they wanted.  Eventually the land would be littered with myriad teams or gangs all striving for their collective superiority over the other groups.  Chaos and mayhem–anarchy is a bloody unproductive state in practice.

So with anarchy at the extreme right, what’s at the extreme left?  Government with total power, of course.

If a single person were powerful enough to control everyone else–that would be extreme left–but with millions and billions of people on earth, nobody is that powerful.  It wouldn’t even work with a small region of several thousand people.  No, the king has to have an army.  That army could consist of knights sitting at a round table or goose-stepping storm troopers–but a king without his army is a pathetic sight.

Throughout history, most kings have had some collection of advisors to assist them in their rule of the masses.  They might be family members or just ideological partners–but loyalty is generally the primary selection criteria.  Kings use a variety of job titles: Potentate, Chief, Czar, Leader, Lord, Master, Commander, Seignior, President, Chairman, Chairwoman, Big Cheese, Skipper, or any other of a multitude of “I’m-the-boss-of-you” sounding titles.  All those various titles only serve to confuse people who are trying to make sense of the left and right of things.

When a relatively small group of people control all or even most all of the power over the people it is called an oligarchy.  If you are not part of the oligarchy, you will be most severely punished by those who control the power if you should oppose any decision they make. The irony is, you don’t even have to oppose the seat of power to be oppressed by it–they have the option of abusing you at their whim.

To the right of an oligarchy, is a democracy–rule by the majority.  In theory a democracy sounds pleasant, but in practice that would only be true if you were part of the majority.  The majority can vote to take the minorities possessions or even their lives.  If the only thing that establishes right is a majority–you basically have mob rule, albeit a majority mob.  Democratic principles are good, but a system of laws that protect the rights of all people is necessary if the people are to really enjoy freedom.

Which brings us to a republic, which is more than just a government controlling the people, it is a state in which supreme power is held by the people and their elected representatives.  In the great American experiment, the wonderful document called the Constitution spells out just how much power the government is allowed to control.  The rest of the power is supposed to remain with the people.

Some people argue that twenty-first century America is violating certain restrictions of the Constitution, but few people are wanting an America without a central government–the ones who advocate anarchy could correctly be labeled “right-wing extremists.”

The Constitution’s governmental concept is left of anarchy but well right of a direct democracy or an oligarchy.  Some say the Constitution is well right of our current practice and that we’re plunging into socialism.

What’s socialism?

Socialism is the Marxist theory that declares all means of production, distribution, and exchange should be centrally controlled.  The theory is that individuals won’t be able to hoard great wealth if the governing oligarchy has control.  The reality is that the oligarchy hoards the wealth and the people suffer.  You’ve seen the term used in some now defunct oligarchies.

The National Socialists (Nazis) were about a specific people-group’s oligarchy controlling all means of production, distribution, and exchange first in Germany and then hoping to spread across the world.  They were thwarted by America and her allies during World War II.

Remember the USSR (a.k.a Union of the Soviet Socialist Republic)? Soviet Communism was about world conquest by any means, most in order for their oligarchy to control all means of production, distribution, and exchange.  They also were thwarted by America and her allies during the Cold War.

Somehow the Nazis and the Communists were labeled right and left in attempt to suggest you had to go one way of the other.  History shows the two groups didn’t get along very well, but of course each side was fighting for total control.  Unless you were part of their small oligarchy, each of the systems were oppressive–each were extreme leftists.

So what would you call a person, regardless of their age or veteran status, who believes a small group of people should control all power, disregarding the concept that all men are created equal, and also believes he has the right to ignore the Constitution of the United States?

Wouldn’t that be–left-wing extremist?

It just makes sense.

Boudreaux and Thibodeaux at the Boil

Tuesday, June 9th, 2009

Boudreaux invites Thibodeaux over for a crawfish boil. After he dumps a basket of mudbugs into the boil, one of the mudbug says, “Is it just me, or is it hot in here?”
The rest of the mudbugs scream, “Holy file’ — a talking crawfish!”

This may scare the dickenson out of you …

Sunday, June 7th, 2009

Snow is falling in Dickinson, ND,  Anybody remember bombing that place?  By the way, check the calendar … it’s June.  I guess global warming must be really bad now.

Very soon somebody will say, “Any idiot knows that one of the signs of global warming is summer snow.”

And there’s the problem.  I guess I’m not an idiot.