It's that time of the Year....
My friend, Won Park of Hawaii, recently designed the dollar bill koi.
I'll be officially teaching this model, as I do every year, designed by Herman Lau in Sacramento:
Illuminating the untempered soul and the blunt mind by hammering out sparks of Clarity and Truth on the Anvil of Debate.
"Sometimes, you go to war with the media you have, not the media you wish you had"
At Blackfive, we have been trying to improve our relationship with theSo far, they've received over 2,000 e-mails. More are needed. 6,000 being the goal. So spread the word.
Public Affairs Officers in Iraq and Afghanistan. Not surprisingly, the
Marines have begun a really intense exchange of ideas with us. One
Marine Combat Commander embraced our offer of support.
One of the requests that they had of *us* was to attempt to get 6,000
positive and supportive emails - one for each Marine, Sailor and Soldier
in the Marine Regimental Combat Team - 6. Grim, our resident thinker and
former Marine at Blackfive, has taken responsibility for this project.
From Grim's interview with Marine Colonel Simcock, Commander of RCT-6:COL. SIMCOCK: (Chuckles.) I'll tell you what, the one thing that allThe Marines have set up a special email address to send a supportive
Marines want to know about -- and that includes me and everyone within
Regimental Combat Team 6 -- we want to know that the American public are behind us. We believe that the actions that we're taking over here are very, very important to America. We're fighting a group of people that, if they could, would take away the freedoms that America enjoys.
If anyone -- you know, just sit down, jot us -- *throw us an e- mail,
write us a letter, let us know that the American public are behind us. *Because*we watch the news just like everyone else. It's broadcast over here in our chow halls and the weight rooms, and we watch that stuff, and we're alittle bit concerned sometimes that America really doesn't know what's going on over here, and we get sometimes concerns that the American public isn't behind us and doesn't see the importance of what's going on.* So that's something *I think that all Marines, soldiers and sailors would like to hear from back home, that in fact, yes, they think what we're doing over here is important and they are in fact behind us*.
to the Marines is:
The emails are being scanned by the PAO before being printed and
distributed to individual Marines.
And, guess what?, the RCT-6 has a blog at http://fightin6thmarines.vox
AFTER A FEW DAYS, WE HAVE ONLY GOTTEN THE MARINES ABOUT 2,000 EMAILS. WE COULD USE SOME HELP IN GETTING THE WORD OUT.
The metasticized cancer is surge-ically being removed and its influence upon Mesopotamia sent into remission.
Thoughts flow on the eve of a great battle. By the time these words are released, we will be in combat. Few ears have heard even rumors of this battle, and fewer still are the eyes that will see its full scope. Even now—the battle has already begun for some—practically no news about it is flowing home. I’ve known of the secret plans for about a month, but have remained silent.
This campaign is actually a series of carefully orchestrated battalion and brigade sized battles. Collectively, it is probably the largest battle since “major hostilities” ended more than four years ago. Even the media here on the ground do not seem to have sensed its scale.
Baquba has been an important city in this fight for several years, and for various reasons. It’s critical to keep in mind that AQM and others had the specific goal of starting a civil war, and this was plainly clear by early 2005. When the Golden Dome was obliterated in Samarra in 2006, and blood gushed into the streets, the politically inconvenient truth about the malignant potency of Al Qaeda was undeniable. In a perverse anniversary commemorated earlier this month, the two lone minarets left standing in Samarra after the 2006 bombing, were unceremoniously flattened in attacks that resulted in reprisals nearby in Babil Province and as far removed as Basra.
At least part of the reason we are not seeing even wider-spread open-necked reprisals for the recent bombings (though the reprisals have been serious) is because our current leadership under Petraeus is adroitly pushing political buttons behind the curtains. Based on things I saw, heard, and even videotaped while out among Iraqi tribal leaders in Anbar, unseen hands are reaching out and finding peace with tribes where others found war. Based on what I see all around Iraq, and not just in Anbar, I believe intuitively that most of this war can be ended through smart politics.
Smart politics is not transparent. The best politician leaves no traces of his handiwork in the resolution of complex issues, because if the resolution is to hold, the local parties must be able to claim responsibility with confidence, even to the extent of believing they did it themselves. Further, success in complex negotiations involves compromise, which (after open hostilities) can be perceived as caving and taken as indication of undue influence from outsiders. That kind of perception gets people killed over here.
Smart politics leaves more people standing with their heads, and so discretion has to be seen as vital to the war effort. Reports claiming that no political progress is happening here because the Iraqi parliament seems stalled are tantamount to claiming that when the US Senate bogs down the stop lights don’t work on Main Street USA. At the same time, no one is interested in going for the broomstick once they’ve seen the man behind the curtain, so smart politicians don’t let that happen, especially when the stakes are this high.
Disarmed in RPV
Cornerstone at Pedregal School students are told to cut weapons off toys on mortarboards before they could participate in promotion ceremony.
By Paul Clinton
Who knew a 2-inch toy army man could cause such a stir?
A fifth-grade promotion ceremony in Rancho Palos Verdes turned into a free-speech battleground Thursday, when students were asked to remove weapons from toys that had been placed on mortarboard caps because of the school's zero-tolerance policy for weapons on campus.
Each year, students decorate wide caps with princesses, football goal posts, zebras, guitars and other items to express their personalities and career goals. Cornerstone at Pedregal School is the only Palos Verdes Peninsula public school to practice the tradition.
On Thursday, before the ceremony, one boy was told he couldn't participate unless he agreed to clip off the tips of the plastic guns carried by the minuscule GIs on his cap. Ten others complied with the order before the event.
Parents reacted angrily, calling Principal Denise Leonard's decision censorship, but the Palos Verdes Peninsula School District defended her.
Cole McNamara and Austin Nakata, 11-year-old buddies who share an interest in all things military, said they put the toys on their hats to support American troops in Iraq.
"I was kind of mad because they just went over and clipped them off and didn't say anything about it," Austin said.
His father, Glen Nakata, said he was disappointed that parents were not approached or consulted on elimination of the "firearms."
"I felt they were keeping the boys from expressing their patriotism, their strong beliefs toward the military," he said.
Glen Nakata's father served in the U.S. Air Force. And Austin wants to attend a military academy when he's older. Cole wants to join the Marine Corps, said his father, Paul McNamara.
To treat the "injuries" caused by the order to remove the offending weaponry, Austin wrapped the plastic stumps in white gauze and painted on faux blood.
The principal pulled Cole aside Thursday morning, handed him a pair of scissors and said the guns had to go.
"We're supporting our troops," Cole said. "But I wanted to graduate, so I just cut the guns off."
A teacher at Cornerstone started the mortarboard tradition about a decade ago. At Thursday's ceremony, the 62 fifth-graders each gave a 30-second speech in the auditorium, as their pictures flashed on a large screen.
Leonard, a first-year principal, didn't respond to several requests for comment, deferring to district administrators, who said the toys with miniature rifles and grenades violated a zero-tolerance weapons policy.
Leonard "directed students not place images of weapons on student-created mortarboards to be used in the promotion ceremony," according to a district statement. "The district fully supports her decision to comply with school rules and practices. In addition, practically all fifth-grade parents understood and accepted this decision and, in some cases, modified the student mortarboards, sans the weapon images."
In enforcing the decision, the district cited its Safe Schools policy and the federal Gun Free Schools Act of 1994, a federal law designed to remove firearms from schools.
Susan Liberati, an assistant superintendent, said she believes "the principal has interpreted district policy accurately, and we support her in that."
A copy of the district's Safe Schools policy obtained by the Daily Breeze includes no mention of toy army men. Students found to be "possessing, selling or otherwise furnishing a firearm" are expelled for one year, the policy states.
Weapons are also mentioned in the board's "weapons and dangerous instruments" policy that allows only authorized law enforcement or security personnel to possess "weapons, imitation firearms or dangerous instruments of any kind" on school grounds.
Board President Barbara Lucky declined comment on the incident or the policy.
"Sounds like a good question for legal counsel," Lucky said.
Cross-posted at Flopping Aces
Where on Earth are the moderate Muslims? Thanks to PBS, they’re not on public television.
-Deroy Murdock, National Review
The film focuses on the lives of four Muslim 'moderates': Naser Khader, a Danish lawmaker; Mohamed Sifaoui, a French journalist; Dr. M. Zuhdi Jasser, an American physician; and Tariq Fatah, a Toronto-based TV host [looks like a blogger as well- check it out!]. All four are portrayed as valiant protagonists working against the influence of extremist imams and terrorists who are trying to hijack Islam for their own purposes. Jasser explains, "I wouldn't be taking this time away from my family and my profession…unless I felt that I was trying to struggle for the soul of my faith."Dr. Jasser, Frank Gaffney, and Martyn Burke gave a Q & A right after the airing, which I managed to record with my digital camera (at one point, I tried to get a picture with my phone camera in one hand, digital camera on movie mode still recording in the other). Their message and the message of their film is an important one. A message that, most of all, needs to be heard in the Arab world to counter the propaganda of the puritanical extremists who are making the loudest noise today, and defining Islam, in the eyes of the world. It is pathetically funny that the clerics in the film characterize themselves as the moderate majority, and Muslims such as Jasser as the radical, dangerous extremists.
“To make laws — only a god does that. And there is only one god in Islam, and that is Allah,” says Slimane Abderrahmane, an Algerian-Danish alumnus of al Qaeda’s terror camps and, later, Guantanamo. “So you’re saying, ‘I’m just like Allah.’ And you can’t do that.”The moderates in the film, such as Dr. Jasser, deplore how Islamic clerics are dictating how Muslims should feel on issues of foreign policy, rather than confining themselves to matters of personal relationship with God and His Prophet; with simply being a good human being.
Militants from Hamas stand at the desk of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas inside his personal office after it was taken over by Hamas during the fighting in Gaza City.
Hatem Moussa - AP
Joe Klein looooves blogging …. BUT…. “the smart stuff is being drowned out by a fierce, bullying, often witless tone of intolerance that has overtaken the left-wing sector of the blogosphere. Anyone who doesn’t move in lockstep with the most extreme voices is savaged and ridiculed—especially people like me who often agree with the liberal position but sometimes disagree and are therefore considered traitorously unreliable.” (Time)