Next week I will offer a beginners guide to Islam. The thoughts expressed will be my own, based on approximately three years of study. This has included a complete reading of the Qur'an under the guidance of a respected Islamic scholar, interface with the Islamic scholarly and diplomatic community and continuous research of books not normally digested by the Western reader. It has also included a look at the science of Hadith (Usool al-Hadith) with a gaze toward what is known as "The Sound Six" (as-Sihaah as-Sittah) or the Hadith which are considered accurate. Hadith represent the sayings and actions of Prophet Muhammad, as conveyed via matn and snad which are respectively, text and chain of transmission.
My writings in this arena always give recognition of rank. As such, please do not be offended if you are one of my Christian readers, when you see the title Prophet Muhammad. As such, I give Muhammad bin 'Abdullah bin Abdul-Muttalib the rank of prophet, which is afforded him by his followers. Conversely, as a Christian, I will not follow his name with the designation (PBUH) as my faith does not recognize his prophethood. So now I ask that my Muslim readership, also not engage offense.
This series will be titled "The Government of Allah" with the first section posted tomorrow night. I take ownership for what I present as my own thoughts, receiving no official recognition or stamp of approval from any quarter. The goal of this endeavor is to acquaint you with Islam beyond the confines of religion.
Saturday, March 31, 2007
Posted by tammyswofford at 9:48 AM
Do you ever wonder if you are reading in a sterile environment of thought? Even major news organizations will note that their editorial blogs support many readers but few players, when it comes to the comments section. People can just be shy to engage free speech, even when posting anonymously.
But just to let you peek into the blog a bit more closely, here is a list of areas where readership has been tracked in just the last two weeks. Much readership exists on the East coast and to a lesser degree the West coast. Very little readership in the Midwest, and none to the immediate south of our border. But here are where others are putting pings on our map.
*Italy *France *Scotland *Czech Republic *Saudi Arabia *S. Korea *Germany *Australia
*Brazil *Argentina *Canada
We continue to appreciate the support, which shows on our site analytics. Readership is both serious and strong. My e mail shows a predominantly professional, college degree crowd reading the blog. The readers are well-read, as noted by the articles and thoughts which are passed on in private dialogue.
Please continue to read, and venture into the comments section to agree or disagree with any view which is presented. This is America. Let your voices be heard. smile
Posted by tammyswofford at 7:37 AM
Friday, March 30, 2007
Baby boomers are those born after the troops came home from WWII. My generation were the War Babies. Nowhere nearly as large as the boomer generation, the War Babies are still worth noting. The social conscience of the 1960s started with us, although we had plenty of company from Depression Babies and even a few from the 20s.
My earliest memories include listening while my grandfather and Jim Farley, who had been FDR’s campaign manager, talked about politics.
When I was 10 years old, in 1953, I realized that the migrants working on the New Jersey truck farms that surrounded our house were being taken advantage of. They lived in tar paper shacks without electricity or indoor plumbing. Their water came from an irrigation pond, which also supplied mosquitoes of Homeric proportions and the bullheads they ate. One fall day, I took matters into hand and destroyed that hovel. Some time later, a state policeman came by and I was invited to explain myself. My parents paid the farmer and I worked two hours a day during school days and six hours a day during weekends and holidays for slightly less than a year to repay them. My work was exclusively outdoors and consisted of cutting and splitting firewood, mowing lawns, tending the garden and any other chore that arose. The farmer was made to build a cinderblock structure with electricity, propane for cooking and hot water, and indoor plumbing to house his migrant workers. Conscience is a good thing, but it has a price which must be paid.
Conscience snoozed for several years until 1962, when as a college freshman, I signed up to spend my spring vacation in rural Virginia with hundreds of other college students helping African Americans register to vote. Our earnest efforts were treated with disdain. Compared with what happened to those who came after us and ventured deeper into Dixie, we might as well have been drinking beer and soaking rays in Daytona. I have no idea if anybody ever got to vote as a result of our efforts. It was just something that we had to do.
Next year found me in Parris Island, S.C.,a Marine recruit. Although the time I spent in the Marine Corps included the build up in Vietnam, my career at Camp Lejeune, NC, was completely uneventful and beneath notice. I read a lot of books. In the bubble of Camp Lejeune, we were not aware that people were actually questioning our presence in Vietnam. It wasn’t until troops who had fought there came back and explained what a mess it was that we began to question our role.
Once discharged in 1967, people had begun to question our Vietnam adventure. I had no medals to give back, and was not a combat veteran, so I marched as a private citizen. Just another body in the mass.
All the efforts of thousands from my generation have been for naught. The same battles have returned and must be fought again. The environment hasn’t improved enough since Iron Eyes Cody wept on TV. Civil liberties are under as much threat as they were under Nixon. And we are in a war, the reason for which changes almost daily. These ancient bones have got to march again. Thanks for dropping the ball, Boomers, Gen-Xers, etc.
Baby boomers are those born after the troops came home from WWII. My generation were the War Babies. Nowhere nearly as large as the boomer generation, the War Babies are still worth noting. The social conscience of the 1960s started with us, although we had plenty of company from Depression Babies and even a few from the 20s.
Posted by tammyswofford at 7:28 PM
Thursday, March 29, 2007
Approximately two years ago I attended a mandatory one day course with the Navy. It was an intense day of teaching a code of conduct for military personnel taken as POW's. It included practical "lessons learned" shared by some of our prior military men and women who had served under such difficult circumstances. We moved through "good-guy, bad-guy" interrogation techniques which might be used against us. Talked about the international implications of placing our signatures to any document, writing letters home or speaking on a videotape against our own government. We were instructed on the pitfalls of dealing with anti-war activists who would come bearing gifts, hoping to return to the U.S. with a message of distortion. But it was hammered into us that the Navy code of honor, courage and commitment was not to crack except under the most dire of predicaments. Our traditions are meant to serve us well in time of war and of peace.
Everyone knows the value of a POW as a stage prop. But Tehran has erred in releasing photos of their only female British sailor dressed in a hijab. It was not necessary and it could possibly spark tensions on the Queen's soil where public interest is high regarding the welfare of these British sailors. Britain has grappled since 9/11 with the fault line of public opinion regarding the right of British Muslim women to wear hijab in public. This battle has gone from the public school domain, to the workplace and into the highest reaches of government. On the one side, PM Tony Blair's wife Cherie, representing Shabina Begum, a Muslim school student. On the opposite side of the fence, former Foreign Secretary Jack Straw weighing in on the issue and proclaiming that hijab brings a distinct line of separation between British Muslims, and other British citizens. So the battle has blazed steadily. Is hijab an allowable sign of personal devotion or a walking billboard for non-assimilation of the immigrant into the host nation?
Tehran would do well to wash and press Faye Turney's uniform of the day and send her home in the cloth of her nation. The Union Jack will surely be toasted in the pubs of London when all the British sailors are released. But meanwhile, the grandstanding tactics of Iran must cease with regard to prisoner photos.
Posted by tammyswofford at 11:55 AM
Wednesday, March 28, 2007
Attorney General Alberto Gonzales was recently reported to have begun to wonder if his loss of credibility may be adversely affecting his ability to do his job.
That depends on what his job is. Some people hold that the Attorney General is the nation’s number one law enforcer. That role used to be claimed for J. Edgar Hoover, but now seems to have fallen to the Attorney General.
Others say that the Attorney General is the President’s lawyer. This theory stems from the belief that a lawyer needs a client. Philander Knox served brilliantly as Theodore Roosevelt’s first Attorney General because Roosevelt was his client.
Gonzales has clearly assumed the role of the President’s lawyer. Well, perhaps, that is a calumny upon lawyers, many of whom spend a great deal of time telling their clients what those clients may not do. Gonzales seems to see his role as finding ways to enable the President to do whatever he wants to do.
So, Mr. President, you think that torture will help the War on Terror? Well, of course the Geneva Conventions are merely quaint, antiquated leftovers from a bygone era and that fact that we signed many of them should in no way be seen as binding on us now.
Do you find the rules the previous 42 presidents of the United States have worked under too constraining for the current situation? The protection against unreasonable search and seizure clearly do not apply now. We must be able to spy on whomever we like, whenever we wish, for whatever reason, or lack of reason, we have.
Do you think the reason we took such a shellacking at the polls last November was because the people you appointed as federal prosecutors failed to investigate Democrats? I hid a little bomb in the USA Patriot Act that will fix that problem without bothering the Senate for its consent. We will just fire those prosecutors and put others in their place.
I think it was Justice Holmes who said the man who represents himself has a fool for client. I wonder what the Justice would make of Gonzales’s predicament.
Posted by tammyswofford at 6:17 PM
Tuesday, March 27, 2007
You did not know that it would be your last time to tuck your son in bed. Did not realize it would be your final reminder for him to brush his teeth before school. And you did not stop to think that when he walked out the door wearing his little school backpack that this goodbye, should mean the most to both of you.
When his body was found chances are you were not allowed to see it. His clothing, dental records and DNA would be enough to confirm his identity as the victim of a horrible crime. He was abducted from within feet of his grandmother's residence. He was taken into a neighbor's home and sodomized and made to perform oral sex acts on both a father and his son. The woman watched, and got a sexual kick out of the whole thing. He was strangled. His trachea was crushed. And then with the help of a third man, your child's body was buried nearby. You gave your son back to the earth and released a white dove at the graveside. Now you go home. You don't touch his room. His dirty clothes stay in the laundry basket. At least you still have his little boy scent on those items to remind you of his presence. And you wait. You wait to see what society will do in response to what was done to your son.
We are a civil society. So you cannot bring the kerosene and I will not strike the match. But I do strongly support the death sentence for child rapists. Be it priest, school teacher or that winning soccer coach, their usefullness to society ceased the minute they raped that small child. What may have amounted to a small amount of time engaged in a sick and criminal behavior can have lifetime consequences for the child. Adult-on-child rape not only imposes what could be physical structural damage to the body but it also rewires the circuitry of childhood innocence and trust in ways that psychologists still grasp to understand. Think of it as PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) dumped on a child. And if adults have a hard time discussing their rape, just imagine what it does to the kid.
Are we willing to put a few pedophiles to death to send a message? What if we execute even a few of the worst repeat offenders? Might the pay-off be in preventing thousands of additional children from being raped? Because for many pedophiles, the only thing that will stop their behavior is fear of losing their own lousy skin. Otherwise, they will just keep raping kids; your kids and my kids. Hell, they are not picky. Any available little kid will do.
Approximately ten percent of our states now have statutes in place to allow a death penalty verdict for child rape. Missouri was the last state to execute a pedophile rapist and that was in 1964. Louisiana has a man on death row for the savage and repeated rape of his eight year old step-daughter. His attack required surgical intervention for the little girl. Those graphic trauma photos are the ones which a seated jury does not want to view. They should be instructed to throw up onto their shoes and view the pictures anyway. The trend in child rape laws in the various states is for a death penalty allowance for the second conviction in rape of a child under a certain age. For instance, in Oklahoma the age is set at fourteen years. So far, juries are too squeamish to give the death penalty. They approve life in prison. That way, their taxes can feed and house the pedophile rapist for decades. Smart choice, huh?
In all its wisdom, our Supreme Court struck down the death penalty for rape of adult women in a ruling in 1977. They deemed rape as not being either cruel or unusual. I imagine they were not taking into consideration some very real rape trauma events, such as that suffered by a Dallas area nurse several years ago in the parking garage of her hospital. The attacker nearly removed her nose completely off her face and left her features slashed beyond belief. I have a friend who took care of this victim and can attest to the vicious nature of a rape attack. Even some rapists of adult women deserve a little trip to the chamber, don't ya' think?
But raping little kids? Death penalty. The sooner, the better.
Posted by tammyswofford at 7:27 PM
Monday, March 26, 2007
It does not matter what you believe concerning Muslims and their conceptualization of jihad. The issue is not whether you understand root Arabic meanings, historical contexts and pending battles, as the backdrop in the Qur'an. It is of little consequence what your Western, secular Muslim neighbor gives as his own belief. What you need to consider is how 21st century technology is propagating the message of jihad.
All ideological movements and purges of the past century relied on cult leadership, televised speeches and print journalism to generate their messages among restive population groups. Technology has changed operational capabilities. The ability of jihadists to bring explosive messages into Muslim cyber communities has opened up a vast new frontier of opportunity for those bent on the destruction of the West. Having followed some of these sites for years and observing the changes in the formats and messages, I have noted what appears to be a greater investment in upgrades to some of these websites with a concurrent strengthening of the message of jihad. Sites are also moving along with multiple language translations, such as the "required reading" link at the bottom of this blog. They seek a wider and more diverse audience. They wish for readership in both the east and the west.
Thought precedes action and is seed in the soil. The messages coming across some of these sites should scare you. They will scare most American Muslims. But for other people, these messages will produce action; even among those "born in the U.S.A." Men such as John Walker Lindh take up the banner of the Taliban. Young idealists such as Ismail Royer travel to Chechnya to learn guerrilla warfare tactics. Careful and patient cultivation of college students such as Adam Gadahn, bring to al-Qaedah a man with a gift for learning Arabic and a willingness to function as a spokesman for an organization which has killed his own countrymen. Such men, having passed through a network of thought then pass through a network of handlers to further their training. And if the road less traveled leads them abroad, surely the same road can also lead them back home. Our American soil still remains under a level of threat. And the threat is not merely in the physical realm, but in the realm of anti-west ideology.
The current jihadist threat which we face was born on the wings of thought in the previous century. The lingering effects of British colonialism brought about a potent pan-Arab nationalism in the 1920's-1930's. The writings of Sayyid Qutb and Hassan al-Banna were a backlash against what was seen as Western imperialism in Muslim lands during the nineteenth and early 20th centuries. Passionate and eloquent writers, the consolidation of thought by these two men brought a rallying cry to Muslims seeking a return to Islamic state legitimacy with autonomous rule within defined geographic boundaries. This move back to a core set of values included the right to bear arms.
But the cry for freedom early in one century has evolved into the steady drumbeat of oppression in our new century. Jihadists have become that which they abhorred. Moving beyond the confines of establishing autonomy within Muslim-majority nations they have extended their battle to breach into the wall of the West. And this will be the long war. This will include hybrid wars configured along smaller scales for control of regions within states. It is war with guerrilla tactics transiting national boundaries and financed via the wallets of the bigger ticket players on the international geopolitical stage. The increasing ability for some of these groups to access sophisticated weaponry through both weapons dealers and states which sponsor terror makes me lose sleep. Their ability to take the war from the field to the hearth is of concern. Urban areas provide the necessary foliage for their actions, much as field camouflage makes combatants less visible to the adversary.
But what disrupts my sleep the most is not the consideration of the concrete land bridges which exist for weapons acquisition. It is not the configuration of sought after soft targets in the West or whether an elementary school will suffer an attack. My thoughts turn to these jihad websites. How many people are being swept into the net of an ideology which has gone through a potent distillation process in the hands of those who which to take ownership of the thoughts of men? Please click and read the following link. It is just a token offering of the many sites which are now available if you know the web address. We need to stop and consider how the internet can be used to advance ideological causes. And how many people are seated at their computers accessing such messages, and slowly building a dossier in their minds against the West?
Chechnya rebel site
Posted by tammyswofford at 6:03 AM
Saturday, March 24, 2007
Good Morning! It is a lovely, beautiful day in the Dallas area. The Monday blog will be served up like a strong cup of coffee. The subject is "JIHAD".
Those who consistently read, understand my style. I present one side of the coin and await for the readership to flip the coin of thought either in the comments, or in personal dialogue in my e mail.
With this is mind, please know that you will receive a reading assignment in the Monday blog. And Jihad will take a hard hit. But for those who wish to flip the coin of thought, please write into my e mail on Monday. I will direct you to one "flip of the coin", presented to me by an Islamic scholar, prior to the submission and acceptance of his article to al-Jazeerah a couple years ago. Other resources will also be offered, should you so desire.
Posted by tammyswofford at 7:59 AM
Friday, March 23, 2007
American parents are producing a crop of children with chips on their shoulders. So the stakes are high in the case of young Mr. Joseph Frederick, a Juneau high school student, who brought suit against his school principal for what he claims abridged his right to free speech. Representing the principal on a pro bono basis is a team led by Kenneth Starr. Remember that name?
When I was young, children were to be "seen and not heard". What that meant in its essence was that a child was to observe, listen and learn from the adults placed in positions of accountability over them. These formal authority structures were the means of both modeling and maintaining civil society. But in the brave new world of "childrens' rights" in combo with parents lacking common sense, we are seeing increasing numbers of students who are assailing both teachers and school administrators with challenging displays of narcissism in our courts of law.
Mr. Joseph Frederick and his lawyer would throw out the red herring of free speech. SCOTUS justices should listen to all arguments. But the scales should be balanced in favor of recognition of the validity of preserving formal accountability structures in society for the greater good. Of course it appears that filing lawsuits is a lifestyle choice for the Frederick's clan. Young Joseph has already sued the Juneau police department for harrassment. And the apple does not fall far from the tree on this one. His father has also filed and won a lawsuit which sprung secondarily, from the actions of his son. Now the dynamic duo, father and son, are living in China. Joseph is teaching ESL (English as a second language) to Chinese students. Maybe this move to the other side of the world has something to do with young Mr. Frederick being arrested for distribution of marijuana in Texas? Remember, this is the guy who claims that his banner "Bong Hits 4 Jesus" had nothing to do with drugs. So was he selling the stuff for Jesus too when police in the Lone Star State caught up with him in his distribution mode in college?
It is time for the courts to step up and weigh more heavily in favor of the right of teachers and administrators to wield the necessary authority to teach our children accountability. A father in Tennessee filing suit against a school district over his son's confiscated yo-yo is just another small example of parents-gone-wild with children who will become much wilder. This needs to end.
How many parents have stiff-armed administrative school discipline of their child to later cry tears of remorse when that same child falls into the arms of a court that is unafraid to punish their child for their misbehavior? The child with "rights" can grow up into an adult without sensible societal boundary. Adult tigers do not behave as baby tigers. And the adult may end up in a cage instead of being offered milk from the nipple. The courts are not constructed for nurturing.
I can only hope that Mr. Frederick loses big. Our school teachers deserve a break. Maybe it is time they receive the support they need to do their jobs? And remember, it starts with you. It starts the next time a teacher e mails you requesting a parent/teacher conference. Don't get your hackles up. Discipline your child and teach them that actions, have consequences.
Posted by tammyswofford at 7:18 PM
Thursday, March 22, 2007
The most disgusting creature in public life since Roy Cohen, has announced that he is considering running for President of these United States. And members of the Republican (Character Counts) Party are ready to embrace him. Cohen was Joe McCarthy’s right hand and a man universally held to be devoid of scruples.
Newton Leroy McPherson Gingrich is considering a run for the presidency in 2008. Not only that, but the person who drove the impeachment of President Clinton has now decided that a man’s private life (affairs) should not be part of the public debate as to his fitness for office.
Gingrich has a lot to hide. Not only was he having an affair with Callista Bisek, who had a key to his apartment, at the same time Gingrich was leading the fight to impeach Clinton; he also bounced 22 checks; had the gall to try to get his wife to sign a property settlement while she was in recovery after a cancer operation; had to be taken to court to because he wasn’t paying child support; misappropriated funds and was fined $300,000 for doing so; then, instead of paying the fine, or his wife, arranged for them to receive payment out of the royalties from a book; and clearly misused his office to benefit his second wife, Marianne.
Gingrich divorced his first wife, not so he could marry his true love, but because she “was not pretty enough or young enough” to be a president’s wife. Wonder what Mrs. G. H.W. Bush thinks about that.
But his personal life should not be examined. And someone is bound to point out that Rootie Tootie Newtie has, several years after he was caught, admitted what he was caught for and has asked forgiveness. That, of course, makes everything A-OK.
Fine, let’s look at his professional life. He wasn’t even good enough to get tenure at the jerkwater Georgia college that hired him to teach history. Once in Congress, he climbed into the speaker’s chair, but presided over one disastrous session after another and was finally driven from Congress for corruption.
Ain’t he a peach?
Posted by tammyswofford at 12:18 PM
Wednesday, March 21, 2007
The Rev. R. Albert Mohler Jr., has called a firestorm down upon himself. The president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, KY, said that scientific research “points to some level of biological causation” for homosexuality. Most of Mohler’s colleagues believe that homosexuality is a sin and a matter of choice which can be overcome with counsel and prayer.
Rev. Mohler went on to say that homosexuality might be fixed by a medical proceedure on the cells in utero. That got the gay community exercised since they object to the idea that gay people would want to be "fixed."
Not since Galileo Galilei said the earth orbited the sun have the roots of religious belief been so shaken.
In a March 2 publication entitled, “Is Your Baby Gay? What If You Could Know? What If You Could Do Something About It?” Mohler says scientific research may discover a “gay gene” which could be identified before the child is born. Mohler also suggests the possibility of a gene manipulation cure. This is the second furor in the evangelical community. Some evangelicals are beginning to say there is something to global warming, and it is a Christian duty to do something to stop it. Others say this is heresy.
Mohler is not ready to leave the fold. Even if it is biologically based, Mohler views homosexuality as a sin, which seems to put him on some very iffy ground. If homosexuality is caused by a gene, wouldn’t it be more likely to be a disease rather than a sin? Are there genes for other sins? Does one need to take Jesus as his personal Savior, or will an operation accomplish the same thing?
Falling back on the Bible won’t do any more good now than it did in 1633. Psalm 93:1, Psalm 96:10 and Chronicles 16:30 say “the world is firmly established, it cannot be moved.” Psalm 104:5 says “(The Lord) set the earth on its foundations, it can never be moved.” Ecclesiastes 1:5 says “the sun rises and the sun sets, and hurries back to where it rises.” In 1633, that was enough to condemn Galileo to house arrest for saying that the earth moved and the sun didn’t. We now know the Bible was wrong, and so was Galileo. The earth moves about the sun, but the sun also moves.
The Catholic Church was very clever. It condemned Galileo, but it never quite got around to condemning Galileo’s proof that the earth went around the sun, thus saving itself from an untenable position. Wonder if the Southern Baptist Convention will manage as well.
Posted by tammyswofford at 11:15 AM
Tuesday, March 20, 2007
Mainstream media has evolved into a chameleon of sorts. For example, Time Warner is the publisher of both "Time" and "People" magazine. Subscriptions for the former are dropping and the latter, are climbing. Although I consider "Time" to be somewhat slanted in how they report, at least they manage to throw in some facts. "People" magazine, is pure opinion. Slowly, we have become a society that lazily accepts opinion, with a pinch of truth. Our intellects are being dumbed down to dangerous levels. We no longer make demands on our regional news organizations to stick with the facts and follow with a short analysis. We do not demand that they allow a solid rebuttal opinion on the front page. Oh sure, a couple of readers' letters follow investigative reporting, such as that done by Washington Post last month. Walter Reed made the page front and center. Most newspapers do allow later news impacting the original stories..... conveniently buried on page fifteen the following week. Things must move along with an appearance of fairness. But in the feeding frenzy that followed in Congress after the story broke surely it would be unwise to stop the presses and adjust the story a bit, right? A bit of truth with a lot of opinion makes for sensationalism. And that, little kiddies, is what sells news print. We must not consider BRAC or the A76 process as potential culprits in the decline of adequate facilities and structure at Walter Reed. Smart readers might begin to think more longitudinally as to the nature of how the oversight neglect of the finger-pointers at the top produced a trickle effect down the blame chain.
Such is the case with Walter Reed. Sure, there is truth to the conditions in Building 18. I found the pictures in the Washington Post appalling. Yep, we need to fix the bureacratic maze and fast-track the process during times of war. But when a media mogul decides to choose paint from the palette for their story, it seems no amount of additional truth, or "paint thinner" is allowed to adjust the opinion on the page. When this story of the neglect of our soldiers first hit the front page of the Washington Post, I followed it with interest. After vets began writing into my e mail as witnesses to the fine care they had themselves received at Walter Reed, I began to realize there was a disparity. Trekking to the library, I pulled the archive and read the original story. A nugget of truth emerged: Walter Reed had an ugly problem with Building 18, a physical facility housing outpatient soldiers. Many soldiers were also walking through a nightmare maze of paperwork which delayed their healthcare options. As a civilian with my own private medical insurance I can feel their pain. The paperwork for my husbands recent hospitalization was formidable also. I imagine theirs might be worse?
But Walter Reed is not some sausage factory for our troops. It has been a bulwark of healthcare for our soldiers with provision by solid healthcare professional for many decades. Having served in ICU and PACU environments in Naval hospitals in Guam, Puerto Rico (Roosevelt Roads, now closed), Camp Pendleton and National Naval Medical Center, Bethesda , it has been a distinct pleasure to witness an excellent standard of care. I have found a level of professionalism and state of the art equipment comparable with my own civilian hospital. Military hospital corpsman function on the level of LVN's at these facilities. When at NNMC, I was involved in patient care research studies linked to the National Institutes of Health. Very fascinating things going on, for the benefit of all our sailors and soldiers. I have never served at Walter Reed. But if the standards observed in Navy hospitals are the norm for which the military strives, surely many soldiers have found themselves in good stead at Walter Reed.
Basically, the point I am trying to get across is the same thing I stated the first month into my new blog. Always read with a filter. Take what is offered in print and weigh it in the scales of fact versus opinion. And can the opinion be substantiated by across-the-board facts? Just as some seemingly great works of art are later found to be frauds, is it possible that some of our best newsbreaking stories of the week, have also been touched up a bit? Maybe the paint needs to be thinned. Maybe we need to see the broader truth. I don't think Walter Reed deserves the heated opinion which has been generated against it. A thick paintbrush has been used which brings a guilty verdict against the hospital system in totality. And sadly, in the Congressional environment of "off with their heads", some of those best-suited to engage the skill sets to rectify the situation have probably lost their jobs. And they have been denied both monies and manpower to upgrade their systems.
Posted by tammyswofford at 7:00 PM
Monday, March 19, 2007
Americans do not like to consider evil. Oh sure, it works good for our entertainment. If it is one of our many body bag television shows which mostly portray violence against women, or new films such as "Zodiac", we do not mind. We can eat a bag of popcorn and digest the psychological violence without flinching. We have allowed ourselves to be desensitized to evil. But are we desensitized to the point that we don't cry when evil casts its gaze on our children?
What about the children in Iraq? Have you really stopped to think what a truck bomb laden with chlorine does to the lungs of a child? What about the child's eyes, skin or digestive tract? Do we dare consider that in this world, individuals exist who would consider attacks such as the one meted out on pilgrims to Karbala in recent weeks, a non-issue when reviewing their planned attacks against other civilians? What is happening in Iraq is not necesssarily unique. Different men in other times, have plucked children from the bundle of the living with their grand schemes. We sent a harvest to God with our own bombings of Nagasaki and Hiroshima. That being noted, I still lie in the column of support for what we did. It brought a finality and end to a long war where much blood had already been shed on all sides. I honor the brave men who served on those flight missions. But yet..... that small and nagging sense of uneasiness remains. I don't like to think about killing children. But the very fact that such things pierce my heart gives hope in the end. I know that war shifts some boundaries, but good people return to these boundaries at a war's end.
But it does seem to me there is point in time when a nation is judged for the blood of the innocents which runs along its streets. What happened to the school-age children of Beslan, comes to mind. The earth groans under its burden. And that which pollutes the ground, the blood of children, rises to the nostrils of an Eternal God.
I believe in a God who is vastly observant of the affairs of men. The God who sees that which is knit together in the womb surely knows when that same child suffers by the hand of man. It is time to pray. We must pray for stable governmental boundaries in Iraq and a stable boundary restored in the hearts of men. And for the children....
Posted by tammyswofford at 7:17 AM
Friday, March 16, 2007
The demand from gay and lesbian advocacy groups that General Pace, USMC, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, apologize for some recent remarks showcases what we need to understand. Free speech is dead. Do not foolishly imagine that it is still a sacred right for Americans.
Your free speech only exists if there is not a special interest group or powerful lobby on Capitol Hill opposing you. So as a citizen, you need to be wary. Before you express what is your personal belief, the conviction of your heart, do a Google search. It matters not, that what you say does not contain malice, provocation to violence, or hate-mongering. If you manage to piss off one of these special interest groups, they will demand an apology. They are the watchdog for their own beliefs. And should you cross the line into their ideological yard, that pit bull, will come off the leash. Such is the case of the demand from gay coalitions for an apology for what they deem outrageous remarks from a man, whom personally, I hold in deep esteem. General Pace did not get to the position he is in by being a hothead who shoots off his mouth. Who are these little organizational weasels who think they are so important? And what makes their opinion better than that of anyone else?
In context, General Pace stated that our military has a code of justice which can prosecute acts of adultery. That code, is occasionally enforced, and some stellar officers have lost their careers because of what is considered an immoral act. General Pace, also personally believes that homosexuality is an act of immorality. Does he have the right to a personal belief? Or as a culture do we now demand a tolerance which is not really tolerance at all? It is distinctly intolerant, if you demand an apology from one who holds an opposing view. You are the one, who is intolerant. So, if the homosexual community has firm conviction that their lifestyle is not immoral, does it really matter what General Pace has confirmed as his own standard? Why are they up in arms? Talk about showing their own anti-free speech stripes. Make no mistake. The battleground is not immorality. The battleground, is free speech. This is America! What do you believe? What did our Founding Fathers give to us?
But let's do a little test just for fun. Run a Google search and look for a powerful lobby group for adulterers. They have their rights too. What about a powerful lobby for thieves? Surely their feelings must get hurt if anyone dares to say that stealing is wrong. How about a lobby for student cheats in our public schools? See what I mean? Your free speech is being threatened every single day and the encroachment is coming from bullies. It is the many, against the lone one. So if you hold to a belief that homosexuality is immoral, please just hide in a closet and say it into a paper bag. Do not engage free speech. Unless of course, you have a backbone.
Ask me for an apology. I dare you!
Posted by tammyswofford at 6:08 AM
Thursday, March 15, 2007
The Greek word "hamartia" means to miss the mark. Whether in the poetic writings of Aristotle or the usage of the word with physical contests of skill such as archery or throwing of a javelin, it connotates a warrior or a protaganist in the story, who has missed the mark.
Hamartia, would be the descriptive word to use when assessing our attempts to bring democracy to Iraq. It is not due to a flaw in democracy, that Mr. Bush's vision for Iraq has failed. It is due to a flaw in our thinking. The flaw has not been because of the configuration of our troops, but the configuration of understanding among our foreign policymakers. History shows again and again that sociopolitical change is best served, coming from the will and desire of the indigenous population. And while our Western cocoon of thought has served us well in America, democracy remains a hybrid of poor transplant value into the soil of the war-torn region of Iraq.
I believe that democracy provides the best form of government possible with regards to the freedom of people. I will be a flag-waving American patriot until the day I die. But I also believe that other stable forms of government can adequately meet the needs of their people. We have encountered difficulties in attempting to bring a rapid political change into a region which has had Islamic forms of government, whether via tribal councils for centuries or national governments as seen in more recent history. Some of these difficulties we have brought upon ourselves in an erroneous understanding of how adaptation processes work in the soil of the human heart. Adaptation is slow, just as adaptation in nature may also take decades of time.
There is the old saying, "You can take the boy out of the country, but you can't take the country out of the boy." The integration of cultural memory, national identity and oral traditions passed on from generation to generation provide strong societal anchors of thought for regional population groups or nations. Bringing sociopolitical change to the Middle East must have a beginning point in the hearts and agreement of a local population, not any particular policy generated by the few. We have tried to sell a product, democracy, which we see as good. But Muslims see their product, Islam, as preferable. It is that with which they are comfortable. Their roots are nourished from a tap root in the seventh century. My own tap root of Christianity goes back 2,000 years. The good will and intent for an Iraq no longer under the iron fist of Saddam Hussein and the Baathist party has been realized. But the vision for a stable and well-governed Iraq, has not been achieved. The nation formalized a new constitution and chose to almost immediately engage a civil war instead. And this war, is also drawn along the battle line of ideas. These ideas, are distinctly Islamic. And in waving the flag of democracy, the extremes have found both increased energy and polarization for their causes, with anti-Western sentiment at the epicenter of their storm. Let's face it folks, we are just not loved in all quarters.
Where do we find ourselves now? Where does Iraq now find its self? I am not quite sure. It is easy to identify some of the problems. The harder task, is to find solutions.
Posted by tammyswofford at 1:10 PM
Wednesday, March 14, 2007
Libertarians, Conservatives and Liberals like me all agree that people ought to be made to take responsibility for their actions.
Thanks to Chief Justice Morrison R. Waite who announced before hearing arguments in Santa Clara County vs. Southern Pacific Railroad, “the court does not wish to hear argument on the question whether the provision in the 14th Amendment to the Constitution, which forbids a State to deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws, applies to these corporations. We are all of the opinion that it does.” Corporations are persons before the law. Therefore, they must take responsibility for their actions.
This is where the Conservatives jump ship. For some reason, they believe that multibillion dollar corporations should be treated with the kid gloves we Liberals want to reserve for the poor, the infirm and the underage. An egregious example of this was the revamping of the bankruptcy laws, designed to make it harder for people to declare bankruptcy and get out of paying their credit card bills.
Since the credit card companies hold themselves out to be authorities in their business, it has always seemed to me that they should take the consequences of their decision as to whom they should extend lines of unsecured credit. Instead, the credit care companies offered everything from nonagenarians in their dotage to the family dog, a credit card. Then, rather than to admit they had made some mistakes, they trundled millions of dollars into Congress to make the credit card holders bear full responsibility.
That’s the bell and it is round two. These same bonehead bankers, is there any other kind, have been extending credit to terrible risks in the mortgage market through, what is euphemistically called “subprime” mortgages. The way these instruments work is that they start out at a very low rate, but after a few years, that rate goes up. When the homebuyer signed up, he was told not to worry about the balloon at the end of the rainbow. He would be able to refinance before it ever came due. Not only that, but his house would appreciate in value, so he would have enough equity in his house to get a lower rate.
Not surprisingly, none of those things have happened and subprime houses are being foreclosed on right, left and center. The subprime lenders are no longer able to get money to keep this Ponzi scheme going and New Century Financial is headed for bankruptcy. The NYSE suspended trading in its stock on Monday. New Century’s problems threaten to spread through the $8 trillion mortgage industry, setting off a wave of falling house prices, which will decimate the home equity loan business, as the equity that was borrowed against disappears.
What this means is the banks that funded the subprime lenders and bought their mortgages, may well be in for some hits in earnings.
Couldn’t happen to a nicer bunch of guys. Let's let it happen and not save them.
Posted by tammyswofford at 8:34 AM
Tuesday, March 13, 2007
My father recognized early in my life that beauty would not be my selling point. I remember being a very clumsy child. In second grade he suggested to my mother they invest in a charm school, which then funneled students to print advertising for clothing catalogues. My mother would not allow it as she thought it would make me a prideful individual. When I started college I weighed 96 pounds and walked around campus with the figure of a praying mantis displaying long brunette hair. So I can relate to the angst which is being suffered by the sorority sisters of Delta Zeta who (according to rumor) have been booted from their local college chapter for being ugly.
Luckily, my own father was never deterred in his quest to make his daughter into a beautiful woman. For his guidance, I remain thankful. My Dad knew that well-groomed, well-bred and educated women become more beautiful with age. So he set to work; and while my mother taught me aspects of my future role as a wife and mother, it was my Dad, who taught me how to be a lady.
My father demanded that I dress like a lady. He understood that I needed to learn how to display my brain before I displayed my breasts. He believed it so strongly, that I was not allowed to go shopping for my own clothing and everything required his final approval. But he was not unkind. On a trip to Mexico City he once requested that a dress be taken off a mannequin in a department store and boxed up for me. It was the only one of its kind and he knew I would love it. I wore that outfit for many months. I have always loved my father, for that one act.
My Dad also taught me the art of polite conversation. I learned to debate and hold my own ground with this man who graduated Magna cum Laude from his university. He is still one of my favorite people to use to challenge my own new ideas. If I think up anything new, I bounce it off his brain first.
My father believed in education. I entered college under an early admissions program for high school seniors and flourished emotionally and socially during my college years. Daddy once said to me, "Marry a man smarter than yourself. Otherwise, you will be bored with him after the honeymoon." Looking at me with his cool and steady gaze, I knew that his words meant the opposite. He wanted me to also be fascinating to my husband. So he demanded that I be educated, encouraged me to pursue a career after my marriage and not let my talents rust.
It is sad that our culture has become so dominated with idolizing physical, external beauty. Our youth are allowed to fawn over women such as Britney Spears. But when she shaves her head we see her for what she really is, a rather senseless, uneducated and ugly woman. I am grateful that my father gave me the tools to attain to true beauty. I hope the Delta Zeta women, also find their way back to sensibility. Many a young ugly duckling has made the transition to a lovely, and self-assured woman. It is about the whole package, not only that which the eye beholds.
Posted by tammyswofford at 10:08 AM
Sunday, March 11, 2007
“For the past three years, Michael J. Wagner directed the Army's largest effort to help the most vulnerable soldiers at
Just who are these big-hearted donors? Or, not to put too fine a point on it, just how much have the wealthy war supporters in the Bush administration contributed to ease the financial plight of the people who answered their call?
We know that the administration has drawn the line of family members actually joining the military. But, perhaps they have tapped their considerable bank accounts to support the troops, some of whom are in danger of losing their homes because they are no longer getting combat pay and their spouses have had to quit their jobs to help their wounded spouses.
There can be no doubt that Mr. Rumsfeld, who boasts about his myriad houses throughout the world, is wealthy. So is his friend Vice President Cheney who is building a $15 million pied-a-tier at St. Michael’s,
There is also no record that MedFac, as Walter Reed calls this marriage broker between needy vets and big-hearted donors, has received contributions from President George W. Bush, or that President Thousand Points of Light H.W. Bush has seen fit to send checks from his Carlyle Group earnings.
Anyone needing to borrow a barrel of hypocrisy will know where to find it. Just don’t ask for donations. These guys are too busy supporting the war to support the troops.
Posted by tammyswofford at 8:00 PM
Friday, March 09, 2007
Something happened which is too wonderful for words. I will try to do justice to the topic, as a former neuro ICU nurse. But this week, Christa Lilly woke up. She had been in a vegetative state for seven years after a heart attack and stroke. But she made reentry into the world we know, for three days. It was long enough for her to eat a piece of cake, visit with her family, and welcome the three new grandchildren who were born while she was "unaware of her surroundings". She also said three small words that should echo like thunder into our humanity. She said, "Look at me!" And having completed her most likely divine task, she journeyed again, to the land of coma. It is not a geographic location, not a place to which we have the directions, but a place in which many Americans reside. They are living. They just live in a different time zone.
We killed Terri Schiavo. Our society allowed the death of an innocent. And Terri was allowed to die because she was a burden. It is o.k. to be an unproductive and miserable wad of flesh if you can talk and complain. We will support you. No burden is to great. Be a heroin abuser who hasn't worked for ten years, and who has a theft record as long as my arm. We will let you collect a little monthly check and receive a stipend for everything from electricity to health care. Pedophile who has raped little girls and posted it on the internet? We will lock you up and feed you. But what if you have a stroke, or a traumatic brain injury and are in a vegetative state? We can't have that now, can we? It is so hard to look at people in such condition. It makes us uncomfortable to view what in our minds, is the living dead.
I cared for people with brainstem strokes, anoxic encephalopathy, traumatic brain injuries for three solid years. Looking at them every single day, I began to see their worth. They meant so much to me that when they died, my tears were on my pillow at night. Having cared for some of them for several weeks or months, I would walk into their rooms and see them as a friend. Yes, a silent but faithful companion.
And if we do not care for people like Christa Lilly and do not give them the time to make the journey back to what we claim is "reality", how will we ever begin to learn how it is that they are able to wake up? I have taken care of many individuals in a coma who have come back from their journey. Others pack their bags to stay, in the place where they have gone. But they are still human. We should not kill them.
Christa Lilly video link
Tammy Swofford, RN, BSN
Posted by tammyswofford at 7:50 AM
Thursday, March 08, 2007
Having never been a "Desperate Housewife" and hating all the bad press heaped on women, it has been a breath of fresh air to read the unfolding story of the NASA astronauts caught up in a love triangle. While we will all remember poor Lisa Nowak for driving 900 miles in a diaper to confront her rival, there is also plenty of steamy news unfolding regarding the male astronaut, William Oefelein. And I certainly think he deserves his fifteen seconds of fame on the blog.
USA Today gave some of the most salacious details yet for what will soon be a new movie release, "Astronauts Gone Wild". That had to have been the best reading with a cup of coffee, in a long time. Luckless Will must have thought that he had the pick of the litter, over at NASA. First, he boings Lisa and loses his marriage. He then moves in on Colleen Shipman, without properly severing the ties with soon-to-be bachelorette number 1, because she is hopelessly in love, and divorcing her husband.
Poor Shipman was not the brightest woman either. She has admitted that while in bed with Will he called her "Lisa". That should have been a definite red flag. Like a male friend of mine drily commented, "I call 'em all Baby. That way I don't slip up."
So while Will Oefelein is taking his time dumping Lisa Nowak, Colleen Shipman is sending e mails to her new hero while he is in orbit on the space shuttle Discovery. "Will have to control myself when I see you. First urge will be to rip your clothes off." Mr. Wonderful responds, "You must really have me wrapped around your little finger that I can't even function without you here.... and with you here, I am slightly smarter than a slug." Good God! This man is whipping around the universe in an expensive spacecraft and he admits to being nonfunctional! This is about as good as a story can get, when it comes to the power of conquering "luv". The poor man has been rendered senseless.
But in all honesty, can someone just send Mr. William Oefelein a shovel? He needs one, to bury his career and lay it to rest. Talk about desperate men! It is good to see the shoe on the other foot for once. I will be scanning the news tomorrow, for further fun-to-read e mails from high above our planet. If anyone wants to join me, bring your coffee cup and we will have a great time. Otherwise, anyone with some sage advice or remarks for Mr. Oefelein? Post it over in our free speech zone! smile
Posted by tammyswofford at 1:24 PM
Wednesday, March 07, 2007
Well, children, are we sitting comfortably? Good, then let’s see what the doyen of the ridiculous right has to say.
Last week, Ann Coulter announced that John Edwards was gay. She said that because she could not say “faggot” she could not discuss Mr. Edwards.
The 45-years-old Miss Coulter has never been married. Mr. Edwards has been married since 1977 and has four children. Miss Coulter is reported to have “dated” Bob Guccione, Jr., scion of the Penthouse Magazine fortune. Do you think she brought him to her spiritual home to meet Rev. Dobson? That might have been fun. But it also leads us to ask just how deep is her devotion to the ideals of the mindless goofballs who actually buy her books?
When the three major Republican candidates for President slammed her for her remark about Edwards, Miss Coulter replied that she would never compare gays to Mr. Edwards. That would be unkind to gays. This newly discovered empathy for gays may represent a turning point of Damascus Road proportions in Miss Coulter’s outlook. Don’t bet on it. The gutless blond is trying to deflect the consequences of an unconscionable remark by saying it was “just a joke” (see Rush Limbaugh for additional examples).
Prior to her jaw-droppingly stupid remarks at the Conservative Political Action Conference , Miss Coulter published a typically huge load of codswollop on her web page. This time, she has decided that...wait for it… Joseph Stalin and Adolph Hitler were LIBERALS. Conservatives accuse liberals of all sorts of things, but Mass murder is something entirely new. What she said on the subject in her February 28, 2007 screed is this:
“Liberals have always had a thing about eliminating humans (Gee, is that what all those Peace Marches were about? I thought they were just a chance to meet girls, and to stop people from killing people). Stalin wanted to eliminate kulaks and Ukrainians, vegetarian atheist Adolf Hitler wanted to eliminate Jews.” And that, according to Miss Coulter, makes them Liberals.
Having completely misunderstood Stalinism and Nazism, Miss Coulter goes on to misunderstand Margaret Sanger by saying she wanted to eliminate poor blacks. Since she is in the same paragraph as Stalin and Hitler, one would fail to understand that Mrs. Sanger wanted to eliminate poverty among blacks (and whites, browns, yellows, greens and purples as well). It is such a pity that Miss Coulter’s mother did not avail herself of the little pill that Mrs. Sanger and Dr. Pincus developed.
Miss Misinformation R Us Coulter, then goes on to assail Rachel Carson who wrote The Silent Spring. According to Miss Coulter, Rachel Carson had Al Gore write the preface to her book. That was incredibly prescient of Ms. Carson since Master Gore was all of 14 years old when the book came out in 1962.
What would happen if Miss Coulter’s fans discover that she is playing them for the fools they are? Never happen. After all, everybody knows Rush’s drug problems are a Communist conspiracy to keep him off the air.
Posted by tammyswofford at 11:09 AM
Tuesday, March 06, 2007
On January 23, the president presented the State of the Union in which he said, “We’re now in the 41st month of uninterrupted growth, in a recovery that has created 7.2 million jobs—so far. Unemployment is low, inflation is low, and wages are rising.” He concluded by saying, “the State of the Union is strong.”
But is it? According to the Children’s Defense Fund, 2005 report, “Real incomes are falling and poverty in the United States is more prevalent now than in the late 1960s and early 1970s, having escalated rapidly since 2000.”
If that weren’t bad enough, consider this: “At age 20, more than one in 10 Americans live in poverty. By age 40 more than one in three Americans have experienced at least one year of poverty during their early adulthood. Between the ages of 20 and 65 more than two out of three Americans participate in some public assistance programs and two in five receive some type of public assistance for a total of five years or more.
And finally, “for the first time in our nation’s history, the projected life expectancy for children may be less than that of their parents.”
Did you know that 69.1% of uninsured children live in families above the poverty level? Uninsured children are a middle class problem too.
Then, there are the other ignored and abused Americans, the wounded veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan who are being strangled with red tape designed to save the Pentagon money. At the same time, the Pentagon is attempting to get out of paying a decent amount to our mutilated vets, many of whom are now below the poverty level as a direct result of serving their country. Their wives or parents have had to leave their jobs and come to the hospital where the veteran is being treated because the Pentagon is not looking after them. The Washington Post has told stories of brain-damaged vets being left to take care of themselves, including figuring out where to go to file the right paperwork. As a result, mortgages and other bills are not paid and vets are losing their homes.
In order to save money, our grateful nation is stalling the few Americans who were willing to step up and serve their country. Consider Marine Sgt. Ryan Grove, an amputee who has been hanging around Walter Reed for more than 16 months while Pentagon sorts through his paperwork and decides what to do with him.
Last December, President Bush told the wounded troopers at Walter Reed, “we owe them all we can give them.” We obviously can’t give them very much, since we are depending on the kindness of strangers to support them. Surely, by now, everybody knows about the rat and black mold infested Building 18 where the Pentagon has put so many of its wounded troops. We also know that the Army knew about conditions there for four years and did nothing about it. Too expensive, no doubt.
The Army has a Medical Family Assistance Center at Walter Reed. This unit goes hat in hand to businesses, individuals, and charitable foundations to beg money to help the troopers’ families make ends meet now that the breadwinner is no longer getting combat pay and the spouse has had to quit his or her job to look after the vet. Just got to save those tax cuts.
President Bush appointed Michael J. Wagner, PhD (ed) to be in charge of this outfit. But, instead of soliciting funds for the vets’ families, Wagner decided it would be better if the money was put into Wagner’s private charitable foundation. That is what he told potential donors until the Army started looking into what he was doing. Then Wagner resigned and ran back to Dallas.
Why do we no longer use tar, feathers and a rail to register our disapproval?
Posted by tammyswofford at 2:26 PM
Monday, March 05, 2007
It used to be that Americans could send great little postcards home from exotic vacation spots such as Sri Lanka. Well..... maybe not anymore. While U.S. Ambassador Robert O'Blake is playing down the incident, Italian Ambassador Prio Mariani did have to dig a piece of shrapnel out of his head. Traveling abroad, sure ain't what it used to be.
The British are also having their own problems. As the slept, embassy staff members and relatives were kidnapped in the middle of the night in Hamedilla last week. The Brits have sent a team to Ethiopia to investigate the disappearance. Although some of the Ethiopian drivers and translators have been released, there has been no word released on the British captives.
So if the world outside our borders is a dangerous enough place that even diplomats and their families can be targeted, it begs the question: Should Americans be prudent in the allocation of their vacation dollars? The State Department has not rescinded their public warning to Americans traveling abroad. And when absorbing what is stated in the link, do you really want to vacation in some area where you are advised to be in a state of heightened alert to the conditions and people around you? Should you have to worry about watching your own back while on vacation? Should you allow your teenager to travel to Acapulco for Spring Break with the drug cartel activity and turf wars in the area? See what I mean? You need to think about these things.
Late last year we were treated to the bizarre tale of Rick Warren (author of the bestselling book, "The Purpose Driven Life") traveling to Syria on his tambourine-beating Christian goodwill tour. Now granted, our State Department had a travel advisory in effect asking that all Americans on non-essential business stay out of Syria. But Mr. Warren claimed to be a "Bush buddy". I guess that excluded him from personally heeding the State Department advisory. He even produced a nice little video shown on YouTube, strolling down the streets of Damascus extolling the moderate Syrian government, claiming they did not support extremism of any kind. His organization quickly yanked the video after a backlash against him. It is as hard to find now, as Hillary's misplaced F.B.I. files. You would think integrity, would allow the video to stay, and the man, would be willing to take the political hit. But please pause here.... belly laugh for a full minute, regarding his ludicrous take on Syria. Best-selling author in a Christian pop culture venue, does not the intelligence officer make.
So what do you need to do prior to taking the ultimate exotic vacation to some isolated spot in the world? Obviously, check the State Department and local consular fact sheets to determine the safety of such a venture. Whenever you travel, leave copies of all important I.D. with a relative. NBC may want to show them along with your newly released kidnapping video. And please, travel with the telephone number of the American Embassy or local consulate in the foreign land of your excursion. The world is an increasingly dangerous place for American tourists abroad. At this point, I prefer to spend my dollars at home.
Posted by tammyswofford at 6:09 PM
Friday, March 02, 2007
In 2004, Raytheon delivered their first payload of exoatmospheric kill vehicles to Fort Greely, Alaska. Welcome to the newest frontier of the battle space, made possible by advancing technology. It is a theater of operations beyond the field of natural vision; a place where hostile ballistic missile targets are intercepted in midcourse flight phase, outside of the earth's atmosphere.
The National Missile Defense program was in the technological development column until 1996 when Secretary of Defense William Perry gave direction for transition to a major defense acquisition program. Here is the link to a speech by Perry. Remember, this was a decade ago. Things have moved steadily forward since that time. And although this technology is not perfected in the truest sense, as in a one hundred percent track and kill ratio with every test launch, we all know that technological advances come in waves. Each wave crests and then the next wave builds off the previous. So let's examine just one weapon in the exoatmosphere battle space, the kill vehicle.
The beauty of an EKV is that a hostile predator now becomes our prey. When a predatory missile is launched against us, a deployed EKV attains an intercept trajectory with a boost vehicle. With infrared and a nice package of artificial intelligence linked with ground control command, the EKV functions as a "kinetic kill" predator. This is the ultimate in Star Wars. Beyond the lead taken by Raytheon, other hands are in play to bring this weapon into our arsenal. For instance, Goodrich provides the visible focal plane assemblies. This technology is absolutely unbelievable! I don't have enough nuerons in my brain to synapse and grasp this stuff, but I am smart enough to appreciate it. smile
It could all happen while you are sleeping, you know. A rogue state deploys a ballistic missile with a nuclear warhead. The missile is detected by an early warning system via both satellite and high resolution radar which track the warhead's path. As this information is tracked, the EKV is put into launch from the ground with the assist of a booster. It is then aided by command center control on the ground, feeding information into sensors on board which not only isolate the warhead but also run a differentiation algorithm for decoys and debris. The kill vehicle then positions for a direct collide maneuver with the inbound missile. This then produces the ultimate crash movie.
The technology has a price tag in the billions. Do we need it? Ask the other nations which are dabbling in the exoatmosphere battle space. Their governments support the price tag. And do sleep well at night. Remember: there are people paid to stay awake while you sleep. They manage both offensive and defensive weapons systems 24/7. And may the the world to which you awaken tomorrow be the same world you experienced today.
Posted by tammyswofford at 3:35 AM
Thursday, March 01, 2007
The one certain thing is that we are going to have to elect Barbara Bush as the next President of the United States. The woman has spent most of her life cleaning up after George W. Bush. There is no reason to let her stop now.
To see why we cannot allow Mrs. Bush to spend her remaining years in well-earned rest let's recite the litany of blunders that have gotten us to the point where al Qaida is growing more and more capable of detonating a nuclear device inside the US. Notice I said al Qaida. I did not say Iraq or Iran, or even North Korea.
That is the opinion of Michael Sheuer, who used to be in charge of the unit hunting for Osama bin Laden, back in the days when we were actually looking for the man responsible for bombing our embassies in Africa, attacking the USS Cole and 9/11. The bin Laden unit was shut down and now, the bin Laden trail is “stone cold.” Actually, it turned stone cold when we let him escape from Tora Bora in December of 2001, although the administration didn’t own up to that blunder until the Washington Post spilled the beans in April 2002.
What is our Commander-in-Chief doing while bin Laden tries to figure out how to nuke us? He is spinning like a dervish, albeit a dervish who seems to think he is George Washington. On President’s day, Our Only President tried to steal a leaf from Our First President, aka the Man Who Could not Tell a Lie, by…wait for it…Lying.
Those British troops are not leaving Basra because the Iraqi forces there are capable of handling the situation, as Mr. Bush said. At least the Pentagon, which advises Mr. Bush on such things, doesn’t think they are. Those troops are leaving Iraq so they can go to Afghanistan, where al Qaida is. The reason for this sudden volte face is that al Qaida has re-established control over its worldwide terror network. It is regaining the power to strike us at home while we are fighting in Iraq.
The infusion of British troops is not going to do any good. If the Russians couldn’t subdue Afghanistan with 150,000 troops, would anyone but a complete fool thing we could do it with 40,000? We have been in Afghanistan for five years and Hamid Karzai, our puppet president, has barely the power to command kabobs in Kabul.
We don’t want to conquer Afghanistan. All we want to do is to destroy the Taliban and al Qaida. That is going to be hard when our number one ally in that part of the world has made a separate peace with our enemies.
General Pervez Musharraf has decided that he really likes being president of Pakistan. At least he would rather be president than be deposed. The only way he can do that is to make sure that al Qaida and the Taliban stay on their sides of the tribal areas. Therefore, last September, Musharraf signed an accord giving the tribal chieftains control over the Afghani-Pakistan border. Not only do the chieftains have control of the border, but Musharraf withdrew his troops leaving the tribal areas wide open to al Qaida and the Taliban. Bin Laden has put in training camps and attacks into Afghanistan from Pakistan have more than trebled.
I certainly hope Mrs. Bush uses her transition money on a whale of a lot of cleaning supplies, she is going to need them.
Posted by tammyswofford at 8:00 PM