Teacher's Ramblings

A potpourri of education, politics, family matters, and current events.

Saturday, February 05, 2005

Diplomad Is History

I have to go lie down now, I feel a headache coming on...

An Iraq Story Not to be Missed

I look for these stories on the Mad Ghosts, since they are based in Chicago. This particular post though, needs a 'hankie alert.'

North Korea Is A Threat

Ok, so this isn't news to most of us. However it is news that Foreign Affairs has an article rebutting one of its previous articles. Also when one of the writers has previously been quite critical of the administration.

Finger Pointing From the UN

From Reuters we find that Boutros Boutros-Ghali is not inclined to take the blame Kofi has been trying to share.

Friday, February 04, 2005

America Since 9/11 and Before

Truth is America is not involved in a Vietnam-like quagmire in Iraq. Heck, in Vietnam it wasn't what it is now protrayed to be by the NYT and its ilk. In actuality it is becoming more clear that we may be on the right path, one we lost sight of post WWI, when we knew that countries were behaving badly.

I'm not saying that GW is the 'Great white hope', but he certainly is the most sane response since Reagan.

Thursday, February 03, 2005

On Social Security

I thought the SOTU address was very good and delivered better than I could have hoped for. Great writing and pacing, in spite of themselves the Democrats couldn't stay seated for more than a minute. On foreign affairs, well it's GW and I do believe the world and the Democrats and more importantly the American people are convinced, the man means what he says and has the ability to make his will felt.

Now onto the more difficult arena of domestic affairs. Social Security is the issue. At the above link is a very interesting discussion across generational lines. For the past thirty years I've basically thought that there has to be reform of this program, which has been costing those of us working a fortune during our lifetimes and has never paid out enough to make anyone's retirement adequate on its own.

It seems to me the crux of the problem is that every US citizen alive that has worked, has paid into it, thus is entitled to benefits. I've never come to a better conclusion than we should all be able to get back the money we were forced to pay in, with some minimum interest. Once that threshold has been reached, there should be a means test for whether or not additional payments should continue and at what rate.

Considering the cost of health care, a person that may not make the 'cut off' after their original contributions have been collected, might find that after X number of years, because of declining health, they would now qualify, and they should have that safety net. We cannot continue to burden the young worker to supplement so many increasing aged citizens who have the means to care for themselves. On the other hand, we cannot be callous to seniors that no longer have the ability to care for themselves.

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

As Blackfive Would Put It: Someone You Should Know

(Hat Tip, Michelle)

The beginning of the story of Paul R. Smith:

The GIs were dirty, mosquito-bitten, fatigued, homesick. They had been on the road almost constantly for two weeks. Many had not slept in days.

At dawn on April 4, they arrived at Saddam International Airport to the sound of sporadic gunfire and the acrid smell of distant explosions. Breakfast was a mushy, prepackaged concoction the Army optimistically calls "pasta with vegetables."

Still, the mood was upbeat. Reaching the airport meant the war was almost over. Some of the men broke out cheap cigars to celebrate. Afterward, Sgt. 1st Class Paul R. Smith and his combat engineers set about their mission that day, putting up a roadblock on the divided highway that connects the airport and Baghdad. Then, just before 10 a.m., a sentry spotted Iraqi troops nearby. Maybe 15 or 20. By the time Smith had a chance to look for himself, the number was closer to 100.

Smith could oppose them with just 16 men. He ordered his soldiers to take up fighting positions and called for a Bradley, a powerful armored vehicle. It arrived quickly and opened fire. The Americans thought they were in control until, inexplicably, the Bradley backed up and left.

"Everybody was like, "What the hell?"' said Cpl. Daniel Medrano. "We felt like we got left out there alone." The outnumbered GIs faced intense Iraqi fire. Whether they would survive the next few minutes hinged largely on Smith. He was 33 years old, a 1989 graduate of Tampa Bay Vocational-Technical High School, a husband and father of two.

To his men, Smith was like a character in the old war movies they had watched as kids, an infuriating, by-the-book taskmaster they called the "Morale Nazi."

Diplomad on Cuba and the EU

This is just the introduction:

Showing that all those gusano accounts of his murderous disposition are just CIA fabrications, Cuba's benevolent lider maximo Fidel Castro will forgive the EU, the world's sole remaining
supersoftmarshmellow power. Despite their sins against him, he has decided that he will allow Europeans to continue to give him aid, remain the regime's major trading partner ($2.1 billion in two-way trade, or 40% of Cuba's total foreign trade is with the EU) and host cocktail parties at their embassies in La Habana. He has forgiven them for forcing him in July 2003 to say the
following, as reported by the ever-so-delicate German DW wire service,

Castro [called the EU] the "Trojan Horse" of the United States and stated that Cuba no longer needed EU funds to survive <...> this bold remark follows weeks of verbal tirades, with Castro taking on Europe collectively and European leaders individually. <...> Directing his ire at
Spain's Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar, one of the most vocal of the EU leaders in calling for sanctions, Castro said: "From a political and moral point of view, Aznar is a coward," and likened him to Adolf Hitler, calling him "the little Führer with the moustache." Italy came next. Current EU president and Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi was branded a "fascist", "bandit" and "a clown" after Italy cut off Euro 40 million in aid.

And, last but not least, British Prime Minister Tony Blair was attacked for leading the U.K. into a war with Iraq, and he was personally held responsible by Castro for his role in the death of scientist David Kelly, the biological weapons expert who committed suicide <...>

When I saw the above, I knew I had to run over to Val’s site and see what he had on. While I didn’t see the same information, he had plenty of postings on why Fidel remains an enemy of the US.

There are times, too many in the past 20 years or so, that one must just shake one’s head in wonder at the Europeans.

We've Won the War on Terror

(Hat Tip: Instapundit) True, very true. Confederate Yankee explains.

German Unemployment Soars

There is no doubt that Germany is running into serious problems economy-wise. I doubt very much that the coming US base closings are going to help this situation, though the problems seem endemic to much of Europe. I guess the next time a European spoouts off about how many hours we in the US work and how little vacation we have, I'll have more of a rejoinder than, "We like to work."

It will be interesting to see how the reforms are taken by the people. I do wonder what is more important to them, their overall economy or their holidays?

UPDATE: A better source at painting the whole picture: http://www.windsofchange.net/archives/006249.php

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

Pope Rushed To the Hospital

Seems he had the flu for 3 days, then his breathing became a serious problem. My prayers are with this very good man. It's been a very rough few years for him physically and regarding the church, especially the pedophilia scandals. No matter what, for me the good he had done will overcome some bad judgements.

The NJ 'Hate Crime' Against the Coptics

There seems to be so much more on this than on the MSM; I know, I know, we're all surprised. Here is more than I've seen anywhere regarding specifics and family information.

Warning: Do not check these out if you just finished eating.

It's Bill's 1st Birthday At INDC Journal

I didn't realize I've been reading him since the beginning! He has the best photojournalism site on the web combined with a wicked wit. His Moonbats pieces are not to be missed. Added bonus on the link above, 122 of his favorite pics, with the original postings available.

Happy Birthday INDC Journal!

Monday, January 31, 2005

On Interdepartmental Cooperation

Roger L Simon did a wonderful job of live blogging the Iraqi elections for several hours Sat-Sun night. Seems there was a bit more to his story than he could write.

Sunday, January 30, 2005

Chairman Kim’s dissolving kingdom

There have been rumblings for months now, his disappearing pictures and such. Looks like it's falling. I'm tempted to say any change would have to be better, then again you just never know.

A Finger In the Eyes of the Terrorists

I saw this on television too, Iraqis holding up their ink stained fingers, as if to say, "It was worth it, we are taking back our country." Kudos to them for showing up in such dramatic numbers and making many realize, you can't kill them all!

A Great Day!

Went to bed around 1:30 CST, after watching coverage and reading Roger Simon, who did a spectacular job at live blogging the opening hours. At that time, CNN was doing a wonderful job at covering various election locations. FOX provided Geraldo, who was actually great to watch, his enthusiasm for democracy being unchecked.

Woke at about 5:30. FOX was covering turn out, some of the 'incidents', and women voters. Went to CNN, they had a women ranting about how the election should have been postponed, until all the factions were in agreement. This was followed by a military funeral-guess they beat ABC on that one. Turned CNN off.

Just heard, 6:45CST that Reuters is reporting a 72% turnout!

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