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WARNING: THIS SITE FEATURES ORIGINAL THINKING...Jim Croce once sang Don't tug on Superman's cape..., which seems like reasonable advice should we not wish to anger the supreme powers. We do have this duality in our culture: the Superman that is the state collective, the leftist call to a politics of meaning managed by the state, the deification of "we're from the government and we'll take care of you" - versus the Superman that celebrates individual freedom, private property, freedom of conscience, free enterprise, and limited government. We humbly take on the latter's mantle and, eschewing the feeble tug, we dare to PULL, in hope of seeing freedom's rescue from the encroaching nanny state. We invite you, dear reader, to come and pull as well... Additionally, if you assume that means that we are unflinching, unquestioning GOP zombies, that would be incorrect. We reject statism in any form and call on individuals in our country to return to the original, classical liberalism of our founders. (We're also passionate about art, photography, cooking, technology, Judeo/Christian values, and satire as unique, individual pursuits of happiness to celebrate.)

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December 23, 2005
Christmas routes...
Filed in: Current Affairs

December 20th, 2005, America West Airlines counter, Seattle, somewhere in the 'A' gates...

"The plane has a slight maintenance problem" she said at boarding time.

I've heard this kind of thing before. 'Maintenance problem' is what they say whenever they need a cover for what is really happening.

"We'll get back to you in 15 minutes."

45 minutes later...

"We're still having that maintenance problem. We're not sure when the plane is going to leave. If I call your final destination city out, please come to the podium and we'll work on rerouting..."

"Oklahoma City."

"Dallas." (The pilot comes out of the jetway and leaves.)

They never say 'Atlanta'...

...Continue reading "Christmas routes..."

Pulled by Emcee on December 23, 2005 at 11:46 PM
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December 18, 2005
Guess I'll have to put that hoop up over the garage now...
Filed in: Current Affairs, Sports

I recently had a fun experience flying back from LA with a Beijing, China based basketball team. Really didn't think anything more of it.

Thursday, I dropped off a business associate downtown and went over to the post office. Stood in line behind a couple dozen folks for a few minutes before realizing that I was standing in line behind Lenny Wilkens. I'm pretty sure when you look up the word 'class' in the dictionary there's a picture of Lenny WIlkens there. What a credit to the game of basketball he has been for so long! He laughed good-naturedly when I said that even he had to stand in line with the rest of us at the post office.

Saturday flew to SoCal again. On the plane - sitting next to me in the exit row was a father and his son - both over 6' 8". The father's other son is playing for Stanford. Something about going for the blocked shots record.

In the land of synchronicity or whatever it is, it appears that it's time to get out the roundball again. OK! OK! I'll do it!

Pulled by Emcee on December 18, 2005 at 11:54 PM
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December 15, 2005
James: Embedded Marines!
Filed in: Current Affairs, Politics, War on Terror

Heard from James today:

MAC! Happy Holidays from your embedded Marines in Iraq. We are doing great! Hell, we got blown up this morning, what else could a Marine want? No casualties, but loud as hell. Our mission here is just beginning to unfold. We are still in the beginning stages of learning about our Iraqi counterparts. We have done some raids with them and are now currently helping with election security. Their morale is sky high and they love the Marines. They ask every day about Fallujah and Ramadi and other big fights we were in, because a lot of them were fighting patriotically for their country beside us in the same shit holes. So we have a common bond. All hope is not lost here, there is a bright light at the end of a shortening tunnel.

Happy Holidays, yours truly,

HM2 James Pell

James! Take good care my friend. We don't like to hear the 'blown up' stuff. It's really great to hear about the 'bright light'. Blessings on you as you continue this valiant effort. There's nothing we could say that could possibly adequately express our gratitude for what you guys are doing over there! Know that you are constantly in our prayers and that we know you are holding Freedom's banner for so many in your mission there, and in our hearts here.

Pulled by Emcee on December 15, 2005 at 10:26 PM
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History Made...
Filed in: Current Affairs, Politics, War on Terror

Every purple finger is a bullet to the chest of the terrorists...

Pictures speak a thousand words...


Hey, he's not Satchel, but don't you like the idea of a young man growing up in Iraq guided by the hand of Freedom?


Today's vote exceeded all expectations," said Brig. Gen. James L. Williams, assistant division commander, 2nd Marine Division. "What we saw today was the result of months of hard work by the Iraqi government, the U.S. Ambassador and his staff, the international community, ... and Iraqi and coalition forces. Most of all, it clearly demonstrates the resolve of the local Iraqi people to take their rightful place in the democratic process."

h/t Jeff for the bullet quote... Defense Link for the pictures.

Pulled by Emcee on December 15, 2005 at 06:17 PM
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What they leave behind...
Filed in: Current Affairs, Politics, War on Terror

Sometimes we take a moment to think about what the brave heroes who serve our great country leave behind. We know that they leave loves and kin but we satisfy ourselves that if something happened to love or kin they would get some leave time to tend to it.

Well, it's not always true. There are some losses that are every bit as painful as losing a loved one or a relative. But there's just no leave to succor the loss. Here's a note from one of those times - just this week - from a terrific tough guy with four stripes on his shoulder:

Old Man

The other day I found out that my cat died. His name was Simba. Simba was a cool cat, not just as an animal but as a homie. We used to watch TV together, eat pizza, sometimes share a packet of Carl Budding meat and if I was lucky he would let me pet him, but only if I needed to. This was a lot.

He was funny too. He had brain problems. Probably why we got along so well. He loved chasing shadows. I was always like "dude, it’s a shadow, you can't catch it"...

And he was always like, "Well if I had that kind of 'tude, of course not. But eventually I will. It’s all a part of my ninja training."

So he’d practice and I'd laugh at him, but he did not mind. He knew what was up.

From his Ninja training he gained a heightened sense of danger, a kind of spidey sense, if you will. This caused him to be aware instantly if someone was making a loud, sudden noise. He would then alert me by running like hell behind the couch. Even if I was the one making the noise. He would always take care of me like that.

Simba was a great roommate; I won't degrade him by calling him my pet. You don't own your buddies. Anyway, he never was loud, never crowded my space, and never made fun of me if I was hung-over: just that constant Zen serenity radiating from him (until the next shadow or loud noise).

The greatest thing Simba ever did for me was take care of my girlfriend for me. I had to leave for Korea and was sad that I had to leave my beautiful girlfriend behind. He said "Look Buddy, I know that I'm not feeling too well, but tell you what, I'll watch after her for a while, you know, just to get her through the initial shock, but then I've got to go. I'll be needed other places." So he stayed with her until he decided to move out but stayed in the area so she could still visit him. He was a good shit for that, and I could never repay him, but I know he wouldn't accept it if I could. He’d just say "Screw it dude, get me next time."

I am not sad that he died, death is natural, I'm sad that I won't see his face or share my food with him again. You know that you’ve found a friend, when you can just sit together for hours and not say a word and be comfortable. We did that all the time! I will miss that, but he was needed for other things, but that doesn't mean that he'll be forgotten. Now that you read this you know about the Old Man and though it’s trite to say, he'll
live on.

You may think it foolish to miss a cat and for that I feel sorry for you and hope that one day you could have a buddy like Simba.

Serving half-way around the world, there's no time to grieve for this little friend. There's too much duty to attend to. There's maybe just a brief chance for a strong, strong man to write a note to others that he has had to leave behind to commemorate a passing that he could not attend to.

Oh, Robert, sir, I'm sorry that you didn't have the chance to take Simba down for his last visit to the vet. I know it hurts. I know that it's a burden that you choose to bear. Please know that we are eternally grateful that you choose to fly and fight in our stead and we hope that the pain of all of your losses will be eased by our constant and abiding love.

Pulled by Emcee on December 15, 2005 at 02:49 PM
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December 12, 2005
Those terrorist insurgents we don't hear about...
Filed in: Current Affairs, Politics, War on Terror

Road Hazards

WARNING: Extremely graphic night vision video of elimination of terrorist targets.

We hear from the LSM about roadside bombs and ambushes that take American and Iraqi lives. We seldom hear about those terrorists who fail to set up their bombs because of interdiction by those who serve our great country in Iraq.

Click on the image to the left or here to see a video of an operation that took out the terrorists that were in the process of setting up a roadside bomb in an attempt to ambush an American convoy that passed by some time after the events on this video occurred.

This video was taken through gunsite over two miles away from the targets.

What if CNN broadcast something other than the toll the insurgents took this week? Something like...

This is Christiane Amanpour, reporting from Iraq: [video starts]

You can run but you cannot hide.

That's the message that our great country is sending to the terrorists that continue to plague the cause of Freedom in this emerging Democracy. Just as a warning to all those who consider themselves as insurgents or terrorists in Iraq - this is what you can expect if you attempt to set up roadside bombs or ambushes for those who serve in the American or Iraqi armed forces. We're sure you will agree that anywhere you attempt to do this, you will be shot on sight - and from miles away when you least expect it.

Instead of giving hope to our enemies, which the LSM and some of our left wing politicos are doing, something like this might assist the terrorists to think that there are severe consequences awaiting their actions. At least Christiane might feel that her reporting was 'unmuzzled'.

Hey, a guy can dream...

H/T Faithful reader Charles.

UPDATE: No, what we get from the LSM is a clickable map of the terrorist attacks in Iraq.

Pulled by Emcee on December 12, 2005 at 04:54 PM
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An Armed Services Christmas Poem
Filed in: Current Affairs, Poems Offered, War on Terror

I have seen a Christmas tribute poem or two in places that I cannot remember on behalf of those who serve in our armed forces. Today, I received in an email this beautiful poem from friends at Nellis Air Base who have a son overseas. The original author is unknown to me. My friends, please read it to your family sometime before Christmas and say a prayer for those who pay Freedom's exacting price so that we might celebrate this wonderful Season.

The embers glowed softly, and in their dim light,
I gazed round the room and I cherished the sight.
My wife was asleep, her head on my chest,
My daughter beside me, angelic in rest.

Outside the snow fell, a blanket of white,
transforming the yard to a winter delight.
The sparkling lights in the tree I believe,
completed the magic that was Christmas Eve.

My eyelids were heavy, my breathing was deep,
Secure and surrounded by love I would sleep.
In perfect contentment, or so it would seem,
So I slumbered, perhaps I started to dream.

The sound wasn't loud, and it wasn't too near,
But I opened my eyes when it tickled my ear.
Perhaps just a cough, I didn't quite know,
Then the sure sound of footsteps outside in the snow.

My soul gave a tremble, I struggled to hear,
And I crept to the door just to see who was near.
Standing out in the cold and the dark of the night,
a lone figure stood, his face weary and tight.

A Marine, I puzzled, some twenty years old,
All dressed in cammies, huddled here in the cold.
Alone in the dark, he looked up and smiled,
standing watch over me, and my wife and my child.

"What are you doing?" I asked without fear, "
Come in this moment, it's freezing out here!
Put down your pack, brush the snow from your sleeve,
You should be at home on a cold Christmas Eve!"

For barely a moment I saw his eyes shift,
Away from the cold and the snow blown in drifts.
To the window that danced with a warm fire's light.
Then he sighed and he said "Its really all right,
I'm out here by choice. I'm here every night."

"It's my duty to stand at the front of the line,
That separates you from the darkest of times.
No one had to ask or beg or implore me,
I'm proud to stand here like my fathers before me.

My Gramps died at Pearl on a day in December,"
Then he sighed, "That's a Christmas 'Gram always remembers."
My dad stood his watch in the jungles of 'Nam,
And now it is my turn and so, here I am.

I've not seen my own son in more than a while,
But my wife sends me pictures, he's sure got her smile.
Then he bent and he carefully pulled from his bag,
The red, white, and blue... an American flag.

"I can live through the cold and the being alone,
Away from my family, my house and my home.
I can stand at my post through the rain and the sleet,
I can sleep in a foxhole with little to eat.

I can carry the weight of killing another,
Or lay down my life with my sister and brother...
Who stand at the front against any and all,
To ensure for all time that this flag will not fall."

"So go back inside," he said, "harbor no fright,
Your family is waiting and I'll be all right."

"But isn't there something I can do, at the least,
Give you money," I asked, "or prepare you a feast?
It seems all too little for all that you've done,
For being away from your wife and your son."

Then his eye welled a tear that held no regret,
"Just tell us you love us, and never forget.
To fight for our rights back at home while we're gone,
To stand your own watch, no matter how long.

For when we come home, either standing or dead,
To know you remember we fought and we bled.
Is payment enough, and with that we will trust,
That we mattered to you as you mattered to us".

God Bless the men and women who serve our great country!

Pulled by Emcee on December 12, 2005 at 04:10 PM
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December 11, 2005
Richard Pryor: RIP...
Filed in: Current Affairs

I admired much of his work.

His brutal self-honesty was most endearing. That and his screenwriter work on Blazing Saddles.


Pulled by Emcee on December 11, 2005 at 01:16 PM
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December 08, 2005
Flying basketballs...
Filed in: Current Affairs, Sports

When I can't make those first class upgrades, I like to get an exit row seat - for the extra leg room.

Flying back from LA yesterday I found myself sitting in 12C - with 9 other gentlemen, most of them Chinese, and most of them 6' 9" or taller.

I began talking with the guy across the aisle - former Laker Mike McGee who has two NBA ('82, '85) championship rings - he's now an assistant coach with the Beijing (yep, China) Aoshen Olympian ABA basketball team. Seated next to him was former Sonic (and Atlanta Hawk) Fred Vinson - who is a star forward for the team. Most of the rest of the players are Chinese - it literally looked like a bunch of Yao Ming-s all seated on the plane.

Having played a little roundball myself many, many years ago, it was a real treat to sit next to someone who easily reminisced about playing with Magic Johnson a couple of decades ago. Mike - indeed all of these men - were easy going and humble, which proved to be a good thing.

These nearly seven foot tall men from China were not easily comforted in terms of leg room in the exit rows. But it was better than elsewhere for them. The problem was that the flight attendant that subsequently queried those of us sitting in the exit rows quickly decided that these basketball players from China were not fluent enough in English to sit in the exit rows. She went about the plane and found as many of the people travelling with the team as she could that were fluent English speakers and asked them and the players to exchange seats. In a couple of cases, she just recruited folks nearby and asked them and players to switch places - I think there were seven in all that had to move.

Because people were continuing to board the plane, two or three of the Chinese players ended up being moved around three times before they were in a seat that they were going to stay in. I felt sorry for them - talk about chewing on your knees!

For a few moments there as I looked at these looming, giant human beings being moved from place to place, I had the distinct thought: "This looks just like a C...",

OK, I'm not going to say it - but it did.

(The Beijing team was on their way to play the Bellingham Slam last night - who beat the Olympian with a huge 4th quarter handing the Beijing team (6-1) their first loss of the year.)

Pulled by Emcee on December 8, 2005 at 11:58 PM
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December 07, 2005
Ultimate double speak...
Filed in: Bioethics, Current Affairs, Politics


You've perhaps heard of the plight of little Haleigh Poutre who lies in a coma, possibly beaten by her adoptive mother (who - now dead - had apparently participated in a murder/suicide) and her stepfather.

The courts have decided that she will be taken off of life support - her two doctors agree with this action but are split over whether her feeding tube should be removed. Her stepfather is fighting this - and the media, having convicted him (without a trial) of beating her, questions his motives because if she dies he could be charged with murder.

This is an incredibly sad situation - and is another bellwether for our culture.

That we could have public discussion that presumes no innocence on the part of a man who fights for the life of his daughter and at the same time holds no culpability for a court system and those who have taken the Hippocratic Oath who have bound themselves to remove her life before the conclusion of any trial, demonstrates how far our culture has gone down the slippery slope.

When we abdicate life and repudiate the fundamental meaning of language that distinguishes between justice and murder and makes those terms synonymous, we have indeed fulfilled Orwellian prophecy.

And the media backdrop for this is "Save Tookie". We are slow to mete justice to evil wanton murderers and quick to sacrifice the innocent. How low, how very low we have come.

Pulled by Emcee on December 7, 2005 at 08:08 AM
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Emcee - "Don't encourage him!" Jeff Goldstein

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