House Vote

Today the House of Representatives passed a $124 billion supplemental funding bill for the troops in Iraq and Afghanistan by a vote of 218-212, which President Bush promptly vowed to veto. Being as the President had expressly requested this funding, how does this make sense? If you were to read CNN.com, it may be difficult to locate the heart of the conflict. Directly tied to these funds is a specific timetable for troop withdrawal which Bush had specifically rejected and swore to veto were it to come across his desk. In essence the Democrats in Congress put forward and passed (along party lines) a bill to expose the President’s stance on timetables for withdrawal, which has been well-known for no less than a year. And at what cost? If this $103 billion – the other $21 billion was pork used to buy enough congressional votes to pass the bill – is not approved by mid-April, the military will be limited in training and deployments. Speaker Nancy Pelosi is playing with the lives of our servicemen (and women) and the President’s response oozed an anger that he has rarely shown since 9/11.
In an earlier post I state that this shows why it is important to understand the 2-party American political system. If you vote for a conservative Democrat on your belief that he/she is the better candidate, you must consider that you are also voting for the military-disdaining Nancy Pelosi, socialist Bernie Sanders(who caucuses with the Democrats) and others. Think about this next time you pull the lever.


Slick Update

This is an update for all of you who might be suffering from withdrawal symptoms during the past week or so that Slick's blog has been broken. It is now fixed but your old link will no longer work to connect you to his current posts. I felt the need to address this because he cannot inform you of the change on his old page (which doesn't work) or on his new one (which you didn't know existed). Please make sure you get to his new page make the necessary fix on your favorites list.


Why I feel inferior

Sometimes when I drive around Colorado Springs I wonder, "how do so many people afford $400K homes? What do they do for a living and how, as a relatively intelligent person, has this opportunity eluded me so completely?" Today in a random conversation with my co-worker, I was brought face-to-face with my inferiority. Kacie and I were discussing Internet access at home (which I don't have) and she made reference to her husband Phil "broadcasting" wireless signal to one of their neighbors. The limit of my understanding of wireless technology lies somewhere between nil and knowing that it is available at Panera Bread, so I was very impressed. She directed me to his blog post in which he explains and rates the "cantenna" that he uses for this purpose.

I mention this as a telling example of why I shouldn't be terribly confused by the success of others. People like Phil have what is known as a "marketable skill", whereas I am marginally capable and a purveyor of semi-interesting trivia. I guess society is much like the body of Christ. People like Phil are the cerebellum or central nervous system while some of us have to be the appendix or tonsils; useful to an extent but once removed, not greatly missed.


When Words Fail

This isn't a spectacular photo-just the buckle on my new belt-but since I rarely tuck in my shirt (and when I do it isn't the occasion for a Dickies belt), no one ever sees it. What a travesty! To date, it is best $12 belt I have ever owned.
I have been thinking for a week about how I can include this picture in a clever and poignantly witty post and I have thus far been unsuccessful. I decided that if I just start writing, maybe some poetically brilliant metaphor will come to mind. Ummm....well ok, it didn't work but the beauty of this format is that I can always come back and augment a struggling post.

Please comment if you can think of the perfect analogy that is eluding me at the moment. At least I got my super sweet belt buckle on my blog.


Even Newer Campbell Pictures

Head to the Campbell Webified (or click here) link on the right to see up-to-date pictures of the little monster.

Running With Scissors Gig

I must report that if you did not attend the Running With Scissors gig on Friday night - which I know you didn't because I know everyone who reads this blog and none of you were there - you definitely missed out on a good time. Mike was great and the interplay between the band members was entertaining. They were also kind enough to perform an unplanned but nonetheless stirring rendition of "If You're Happy and You Know It" for CK.

Keep an eye on their blog for upcoming shows. I believe the next will be in late April.


Rock me on a dais...teacher

(If the title doesn't make sense to you, try looking up Falco on Wikipedia)

I must announce the upcoming concert by Colorado Springs greatest cover band comprised of a radio personality and a high school teacher/track coach (a narrow niche to be sure). Running with Scissors will play on Friday, March 16th at It's a Grind, from 7-9. Check the band's blog and I'll see you there.


Band of Brothers

I have just returned from men's retreat outside of Woodland Park with The Gathering and Band of Brothers Ministries. I am still processing the spiritual and relational truths imparted there so stay tuned for a serious post in that regard. This is only a quick note to describe what will likely be one of the most memorable moments of my life. I am not easily star-struck, but as may be gleaned from my near-reverential post about Lt Colonel Shivers, I have an immense amount of respect for the men who battled and fought for this country, particularly during WWII.

This weekend I was honored to be able to shake the hand of Ed "Doc" Pepping, surviving member of Easy Company, 506 Parachute Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne Division during the Normandy landings. For any of you who still lack historical perspective, Easy Company was one of the most successful, highly decorated and consistently effective units in the entire European theater. I guess I might also mention that Easy was also the subject of the HBO mini-series "Band of Brothers" from Stephen Ambrose's book by the same name. Ed, holder of a Bronze Star for valor himself, is a hero from a near mythical company, within a legendary Airborne Division. He is simultaneously fiery and approachable; gruff and loving; confident and humble. Taking nothing away from the rest of the weekends program, I would have paid the entire cost of the weekend to sit and talk to Ed for all 2.5 days. He was kind enough to write a personalized note to Aaron Hildreth, who is the closest to an Easy Company groupie as I know.

This was by no means the only valuable moment of the weekend and I hope to have more insights into this retreat as the days go on, but if nothing else, I have gained another reader whose opinion and ministry I deeply value and respect (thanks Wes).


Anti-semitism in the European, Socialist Utopia

I just read a story on CNN about an Israeli pop band named Teapack whose entry into the Eurovison music contest has causes some protest from Europe. They claim that the title, "Push the Button" is inappropriate for the contest. Teapack explains that it refers to "living in the shadow of danger and laughing in the face of terror," and is not a glorification of violence, rather the opposite. Despite this explanation, the outrage continues. I watched the video on YouTube (I am trying to figure out how to imbed the video itself in the post, but have had no luck yet) and happened to check out some of the comments, which I included. You tell me if the problem for Europeans is with the lyrics or just with the Jewish people.

foxbod1 (32 minutes ago)
Hopefully Iran can get a nuke and push the button on "israel". It should be Palestine anyways and everyone knows that.

eksoristos (6 hours ago)
You f#$%&ing hebrews .... get serious or be soaps [edited to be family friendly]

The latter comment is quite possibly the most amazing public anti-Semitism I have ever seen. For those of you with a lack of historical understanding, one of the more twisted aspects of the Holocaust was the Nazi's ingenuity in utilizing the actual corpses of dead Jews (and others) for commercial purposes. Skin made into lamp shades, hair used to stuff mattresses AND human fat tissue boiled down to use the glycerin for soap-making. Just thought you might like to know which side of the political spectrum contains the true "hatemongers."


Sir, are you sure you emptied your pockets?

I was directed to this little story by Dennis Prager on the radio today. This serves as counterpoint to my sad post of a few hours ago. In the Los Angeles Times there is a story of an Iraqi man being detained after having been caught smuggling suspicious items. This is a segment of the article.
Fadhel Al-Maliki, a 35-year-old Iraqi national living in Atlantic City, N.J., had been flagged by security officials at LAX and was undergoing a secondary "selectee screening" when he set off a metal detector. Al-Maliki, a former security guard, told screeners that he knew what had triggered the alarm and proceeded to remove items from his rectum, including a rock, chewing gum and thin wire filament...
...The rock, authorities said he told them, was from another planet.

I must say that there are very few things that can honestly say I would not do as a job, but I must now include removing and studying space rocks for perspective terrorists rectums.

In all seriousness, these types of incidents are not a joking matter. Annie Jacobsen has pointed out that these suspicious but inconclusive activities are often probes for security weaknesses. She relates that in August of 2001 actor James Woods was admittedly present when 9/11 leader Mohammad Atta and 3 associates perpetrated a false hijacking as a final test before the actual attacks.

I Could Cry...

I just caught this on The Drudge Report. It is a Boston Globe story about a woman who is suing a Planned Parenthood physician, the organization itself and a doctor at Boston Medical Center for child rearing costs. Is it because they failed in some way to keep her child healthy and as such are responsible for additional costs in raising her? No...nothing so human as this.

Ms. Raper is suing because her abortion at Planned Parenthood was botched and Boston Medical failed to recognise this in time to make a second attempt on the baby's life. Raper's daughter is now 2 and her mother is looking for compensation based on what? Regret of failed infanticide? I dare anyone to convince me that there isn't a slippery slope when it comes to valuing the life of a child.

I just thought you guys may have been having too good a day and needed a real downer.


Health Care in the US

I just took a quick look at the new CBS/New York Times poll which is being touted as a public opinion victory for the universal health care crowd. It shows that nearly 2/3 of the country believes that the government should guarantee health insurance for all Americans (and presumably anyone who can can fake it too). When I read the actual text of the poll and I am amazed how they played word games with the truth. Here is how the article is titled:

Poll: The Politics Of Health Care
Most Americans Favor Universal Health Care, Give Democrats Edge On Improving System

Oh really? How do you interpret "universal health care?" I think most reader would say that it is synonymous with the socialized medicine available in Europe. Universal means everyone has it and we're all on the same playing field, right? Is that what the poll actually says? Let's see:

Question #27 (from which the title gets its facts) - Do you think the federal government should guarantee health insurance for all Americans, or isn't this the responsibility of the federal government?
64% - Should Guarantee
27% - Not Responsibility

"Guaranteeing insurance" is not as definitively stated as "universal health care." The follow-up question asks those who approve of the guarantee if they stand by this opinion if their own costs go up (mandatory result of more policies with the same # of policy payers). This leaves only 49% (76% of respondents). Look at the results of the rest of the questions that deal with this issue.

Questions 31 and 32 (82% of the 60% from #31) show those same 49% would be willing "to pay $500 a year more in taxes so that all Americans have health insurance they can't lose, no matter what." Once again, without the money follow-up, the original question is just Utopianism.

Of course the question is easily misinterpreted (and I think was, in fact, in at least a few cases) to mean that for $500 more a year in taxes, all Americans would be covered by universal health insurance. Setting aside that $500 is a ridiculous number, I would be tempted to pay $500 a year for insurance instead of the $500 a MONTH that I pay for my current plan.

Question #38 shows roughly the same percentage (47%) approve of "having one health insurance program covering all Americans that would administered by the government and paid for by taxpayers."

We still have not hit the majority that is claimed in the title.

Here is the most interesting quirk of this poll. Question #37 asks "Do you think it would be fair or unfair for the government in Washington to require all Americans to participate in a national health care plan, funded by taxpayers?" 43% state that it would be fair.

Up to this point we have had about the same number of people submitting similar responses to similar questions. If you look closely and compare the percentages on questions 37 and 38 there is 4 percent of the population that want socialized medicine but recognize that it is fundamentally unfair. Weird, huh?

If we consider the follow-up questions that give answers context, we never do actually hit a majority of the American people being in favor of the universal health care touted in the title.

Laura Pix

I thought you guys might like to see one of the pictures of Evie and I meeting Laura Ingraham last week. We didn't make her website, but I was able to snag these off the KZNT website. Obviously I'm on the left, then it goes Laura, Joe Vollono (producer), and Evie.