Wednesday, June 28, 2006

American Confidence Remains High

Patriot from A Soldier's Perspective points us to the latest Gallup poll results, which show that American confidence in our military is still riding high:
The 2006 Gallup poll results on public confidence are in and the military is again at the top of the list.

Seventy-three percent of Americans polled from June 1-4, 2006, said they have a "great deal" or "quite a lot" of confidence in the military, according to Gallup poll writer Lydia Saad. [snip]

The military surpassed the police and organized religion, the next highest ranking organizations, by 15 percent. The police and organized religion are the only other institutions rated in the poll that earned a high confidence rating from Americans, according to Saad.
This in spite of the almost endless haranguing by the American media and certain members of Congress and the almost daily depiction of the U.S. military as cold-blooded murderers.

And speaking of Congress, you might wonder just how well that august body performed in this public confidence poll.
Congress earned a confidence rating of 19 percent, while big business earned a confidence rating of 18 percent. In the 2005 poll, Congress and big business were tied at 22 percent.
I would be curious to see just how well certain media outlets fared, especially in light of the latest New York Times treachery.

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The Personal Touch

I've heard of "giving her the finger," but this is going a little too far:
CORPUS CHRISTI - A woman received a severed human finger in the mail along with a threatening letter from her ex-boyfriend that said, "This is my last chance to touch you," police said.

Hat-tip: Lone Star Times


Fighting Terrorism, One Classified Secret at a Time

Courtesy of The People's Cube.

Back to the Drawing Board

The U.S. Supreme Court today upheld all but one of the changes made back in 2003 to Texas' congressional districting map.
By a 5-4 vote, the court said the 23rd District in Southwest Texas, represented by Republican Henry Bonilla, was unconstitutional because its design violated the rights of some Hispanic voters. Reshaping the district, a task that apparently now is assigned to federal court in Texas, would force a change in at least one other neighboring district.

But the high court ruling preserved the other districts in the Houston area and elsewhere that were created by the Texas Legislature in 2003. This includes a Dallas-area district whose constitutionality was challenged by black voters.
The "one other neighboring district" that will likely require changes is the 25th District, represented by Democrat Lloyd Doggett of Austin and which currently stretches from Austin to the Mexican border.

I found it interesting that the Houston Chronicle and the Austin-American Statesman seemed to look at the court's decision in two very different lights, as reflected by their headlines:

Chronicle: Most of Texas' redistricting map upheld
Statesman: Supreme Court throws out part of Texas congressional map

Both papers seemed to agree on one point, though: that former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay was the evil engineer behind the malevolent redistricting act. The Austin reporter spent almost a quarter of his article on the charges against DeLay, and seemed almost gleeful in his subtle reminder that the redistricting move "indirectly led to [DeLay's] political demise."

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Missing in Action

My apologies for the unanticipated absence. A business trip was unexpectedly extended due to some major design changes that had not been communicated to us. When I realized I would be unable to post for a while I tried to contact my backup blogger to fill in for a few days, but discovered he was out due to a death in the family.

I am back and will resume blogging as schedule permits, while I attempt to catch up with a week and a half worth of email, phone calls, customer complaints and the like.

Friday, June 16, 2006

Rather Not

Not on CBS, that is.
CBS executives have decided there is no future role at the network for Dan Rather, making it certain that the man who sat in the anchor chair for 24 years will depart by this fall.
Rather, who has been missing from the anchor chair for over a year now, was demoted to the level of "contributor" and "advisor" to CBS' 60 Minutes news team, has been allowed minimal exposure since his highly visible departure. And now it appears the network is finally ready to move on, dropping the formerly high profile anchor like an aging first wife over a newer model with a sexy pair of gams.
The CBS executives hope a dignified exit can be arranged and that Rather can find a second career, perhaps in cable, the sources say. But they also believe that with Couric debuting as anchor in September, the news division needs to move on from the Rather era. And the fallout over his 2004 piece alleging that the Guard had given Bush favorable treatment -- based on documents that the network later acknowledged could not be authenticated -- has been a complicating factor.

Hat-tip to Austin-American Statesman TV blogger Diane Holloway, who is still pining over the loss that America endured when Mr. Rather was forced off the air due to, as she put it, "a poorly sourced story":
Will we ever see Dan Rather on TV again? Or will we just have to catch him ambling through Whole Foods, near his downtown Austin condo?

It's hard to imagine Rather sitting still for long. Sure, he loves to fish and play with his grandkids, but he's too energetic, smart and restless to languish for long. It would surprise no one if he turned up on CNN — or even Fox — and began trotting the globe once again.
I, for one, would be very surprised to see Rather turn up on Fox. It would require an awful lot of conservative counterweight to maintain that "fair and balanced" equilibrium they so proudly espouse.

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A Time for Heroes

Thanks to Lone Star Times editor David Benzion for pointing out this excellent special publication of Stars and Stripes honoring U.S. military heroes and their extreme valor in the war on terror:
For more than four years now, American soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines have been fighting the war on terror. While politicians and pundits argue the merits and demerits of strategy and prosecution, the military man or woman has been slugging it out, every day, with a foe who is often unseen. [snip]

In this special section, Stars and Stripes ... looks at the deeds that have earned medals of valor for the servicemembers profiled in these stories. Those included stand as surrogates for the thousands of others so recognized.
There are more than twenty servicemen and women featured, and each story is an intriguing look in to the hearts and minds of those heroes who are daily giving their all to shield us from harm. Please take the time to read — and make sure you have time to spend, because once you start reading it is very hard to stop.

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Tuesday, June 13, 2006

You Heard It Here First!

You may remember that back at the beginning of the year, I made a few pretty wacky predictions. Looking back over that post, I am actually surprised that one or two have been right on the money. Okay, not really, but this one was somewhere in the vicinity:
13.Hurricane season will start off with a bang in early June, prompting Al Gore to say "I told you so." Bill Clinton will come out of retirement to lead Gore's 2008 presidential campaign. The entire former Clinton administration will reunite to [blame] Presidential Bush and Karl Rove for any and all hurricane damage, caused of course by the secret Republican Weather Control Machine.
I know, I know, we aren't supposed to mention the secret weather control machine. But according to this AP story you can see I was on the right track:
As Tropical Storm Alberto threatened to strengthen into the ninth hurricane in 22 months to affect Florida, former President Clinton predicted Monday that Republican environmental policies will lead to more severe storms.

"It is now generally recognized that while Al Gore and I were ridiculed, we were right about global warming," Clinton said at a fundraiser for the Florida Democratic Party. "It's a serious problem. It's going to lead to more hurricanes."
Sometimes I amaze myself.

Hat-tip: Ian of Expose the Left

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Oh Canada, Thy Liberal Heart Still Beats

In spite of the media's wailing and gnashing of teeth after the Conservative Party's recent rise to power, it appears that liberalism is alive and kicking in Canadian politics.

Less than a year after the terrorism attacks in the States took place on September 11, 2001, the Canadian Parliament passed a sweeping Anti-Terrorism Act (much like our own Patriot Act) as a tool to help authorities prevent a similar attack on Canadian soil. Four years later the powers permitted under the ATA were key weapons in the exposure and capture of a cell of radical Islamic would-be terrorists in the Toronto area. And yet Canadian lawmakers are now scrutinizing the ATA, worried that key sections may be considered offensive to some portions of the population.
The federal government is considering changes to the Anti-Terrorism Act to make it clear police and security agents do not engage in racial or religious profiling.

Justice Minister Vic Toews said last night he is troubled by the ATA's definition of terrorism as an offence motivated in whole or in part for a "political, religious or ideological purpose." [snip]

As Justice Minister, he told a Senate committee, he has seen no evidence that in fact the RCMP, CSIS or any other federal law enforcement or security agency has engaged in profiling.

Nevertheless, he fears the motive section "may be at cross purposes to Canadian values" of respect for human rights and equality before the law.
Never mind the Canadian values of personal safety and national security. As pointed out by Robert Spencer of Dhimmi Watch,
Equality before the law does not require willful blindness or tolerance of an imperialist, totalitarian, supremacist ideology.
Unfortunately, that is too often the creed of liberalism, which tends to elevate the comfort and liberties (note that I did not say "rights") of the individual far above the rights, safety and well-being of the society in which they live.

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Media Bias, Part 247

I just love it when the media gets this blatant:
White House Deputy Chief of Staff Karl Rove listens to questions after his speech on economic policy at the American Enterprise Institute in Washington May 15, 2006. REUTERS/Jim Young
It calls to mind this recent attempt at photographic journalism regarding the vice president.

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Monday, June 12, 2006

That Warm Fuzzy Feeling...

There have been some interesting posts across the blogosphere concerning the news of last week's death of al-Zarqawi. But I have to say, one of the best MSM stories I have yet seen comes from The Boston Herald's Jules Crittenden, who sums it up quite nicely in his op-ed title: That warm, fuzzy feeling when a murderous thug is blown to hell.
A murderous bastard is dead. Who better than the Iraqis to celebrate this.
Sometimes, you just have to stop and smell the roses. We’re in the middle of a very long war. Savor the moment: In this case, it’s that warm, fuzzy feeling you get when you learn that a cold-hearted, murderous thug has been blown to hell.

Hat-tip: Those Wacky Iraqis, who was linked to in the Boston Herald piece.


Those EEEE-vil Texas Longhorns

Opportunity Missed

CNN reporter Brent Sadler, currently on assignment in Afghanistan, filed this report last week about a recent chance to view the USAF's Predator drones up close and in person:
CNN image: reporter Sadler in sights of Predator droneAs I stood talking into a camera on a remote airstrip in Kandahar, a Predator drone circled the sky, putting me into its sights with its high-precision cameras -- and just a trigger away from being turned into the charred remains of a Hellfire missile.
Better luck next time.

Prison: Merciful or Inhumane?

Earlier in the year, many from the left and members of the American and international media seemed to be somewhat united in their outspokenness about the fate of convicted terrorist collaborator Zacarias Moussaoui. Their opinion? The death penalty is bad — life in prison with no chance for parole is the perfect solution. Reporters anguished in great detail over Moussaoui's chaotic upbringing "in a violent and unstable household." Trial updates for weeks included the defense arguments that rather than execution he should receive "the long, slow death of a common criminal" with life in prison. Columnist Molly Ivins stated what so many of the liberal media seemed satisfied to argue: "Why let this guy have martyrdom and world fame when we could just put him away?"

Only two short months later, they seem to have changed their tune. Over the weekend, it was reported that three of the suspected terrorists being held at Guantanamo Bay committed suicide. The liberal media — who so recently praised life in prison as a reasonable penalty — was quick to bemoan the deaths as new American military atrocities and to denounce the imprisonments as cruel and inhumane.
Dispirited and desperate prisoners at Guantanamo Bay look to suicide as a way out of a hopeless situation, and not because they seek martyrdom...

"There is no hope in Guantanamo. The only thing that goes through your mind day after day is how to get justice or how to kill yourself..."

In seemingly unrelated news, charity organizations across Texas have reported record increases in donations of rope.

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Friday, June 09, 2006

Fresh from the Garden

Not to be outdone by the new McFungus Asian Salad, Burger King unveiled its newest all-natural garden salad this week in the Netherlands.
A woman eating at a Burger King restaurant in the Netherlands found a live frog in her salad, the company confirmed Sunday. [snip]

Dutch newspaper Algemeen Dagblad quoted the customer, identified as 23-year-old Astrid Roek, as saying "it was a big black thing, a frog or a toad."
There is no news yet as to when the new menu item will be featured in the Houston area. When it is, expect to hear that old familiar question: "Do you want flies with that?"


Thursday, June 08, 2006

This Round's on Me

I got an email yesterday from an old buddy of mine. Several of us from the old gang still get together for steak and a beer a couple of times a year, and we have plans for this weekend. It turns out his son is home on R&R, and he was wondering if anyone minded if he brought the kid along. I wrote back that we would be honored to have him, "as long as that flyboy doesn't mind hanging around with a bunch of old grunts." (Pete is currently stationed in Europe, but according to his dad has seen Afghanistan from the air more than once over the past couple of years and is somewhat familiar with the aerial view of northern Iraq, as well.)

I woke up to the outstanding news from Baghdad this morning, and immediately fired off another email. Not only is he welcome, but I'll be buying that young man's dinner at Taste of Texas on Saturday. And I can guarantee he won't have to pay for a single drink this weekend.


A Request for Prayer

Regular readers of The Texas Songbird will want to know about this. I got an email Tuesday morning from Kyle M, who has guest blogged for me on several occasions over the past several months. His mother-in-law has been fighting cancer for about a year now — one of the things that brought us together, as Shebird has been struggling through the same battle — and he sent me the following note:
Yesterday they had to take Tiffany's mom Ethel back in to the emergency room at MD Anderson, the second visit in a week's time. The fluid that keeps building up in her chest is compressing the lungs, and she has been in a constantly increasing struggle just to breathe. We are still in hopes that she will be accepted for the experimental drug study later this month, but if they cannot do something soon I worry that she may not make it that long.

Please be praying for Ethel, and for the doctors who are treating her.
I got a follow-up note from Kyle a little while ago that she was doing better, and might be going back home as soon as this afternoon. The doctors inserted a catheter in order to better control the fluid build-up, but for the foreseeable future she will need someone to move in with her to help take care of her until she is back on her feet and able to regain some independence again. She is not "out of the woods," but is at least moving in the right direction. Their main concern now is that she gets back enough strength to be able to participate in the new chemo drug test.

I would encourage friends and family alike to be in prayer for Ethel and her family in this time of need.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Fat Free, No Calories

Blogging will be light over the next few days, as I will be tied up in client meetings most of the week. (It's that "OBSCENE PROFITS" thing my fellow LST bloggers keep talking about.)

In the meantime, enjoy the Top Ten list from last night's Late Show with David Letterman:
Top Ten Surprises in Al Gore's Global Warming Movie

10. The role of Al Gore was played by Bruce Willis

9. During summer months, Al and Tipper host nude barbecues

8. Hilarious outtake of Al Gore saying, "Wobal Glarming"

7. It's a musical

6. Refers to Arizona as being "Hotter than Tipper's ass"

5. Claims global warming melted Kenny Rogers' face

4. Blames the crisis on a creepy Albino

3. The scientist who supports all his claims is Al Gore in a mustache

2. Best solution is to contribute heavily to

1. It felt longer than the Florida recount

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Thursday, June 01, 2006

Moron Criminal Masterminds

It has been another hard week for the shady side of the street, as criminal masterminds around the world have learned much to their chagrin.

In Longview, Texas:

An East Texas man [was] killed when a bomb he was making detonated... [snip]

[Assistant Fire Marshal Brian] Howell said Torrence had been looking into his case records on the Internet. He said investigators are not certain of Torrence's intent and do not plan to notify the people they believe he was targeting with the bomb. [snip]

"We don't know for sure," Howell said, "but you don't build pipe bombs before you go to jail for no reason."
Luckily, the local neighborhood watch was keeping a close eye on this repeat offender.

Neighbors previously reported hearing explosions from Torrence's home but didn't report them to authorities.
In Paderborn, Germany:

Thieves broke into a car repair garage in Germany and sliced open the roof of a convertible being worked on, but had to abandon their night-time robbery when the vehicle wouldn't start.

Police said the engine was missing — being repaired in a separate part of the garage...
Another proud product of German engineering.
Near Tokyo, Japan:

A would-be Japanese bank robber asked staff how he should carry out the crime before meekly obeying a request to leave and then accidentally stabbing himself in the leg with a knife he was carrying. [snip]

...[T]he man first asked a bank teller, "Any idea how you rob a bank?" The teller alerted another member of staff, who asked the man to leave.

"He left quietly when asked to," the police spokesman said.

However, the staff member escorting the man out of the bank noticed the knife sticking out of his pocket and a bloodstain on his trousers.
They're such a quiet, respectful people.
In Ogdensburg, New York:

A man was arrested Wednesday for allegedly stealing seven calves from a Canton farmer, sheriff's deputies said.

Victor R. Gardner, 22, is accused of squeezing seven of the young cattle into the back seat and trunk of a 2000 Dodge Neon. He is charged with third-degree burglary and third-degree grand larceny.
Cattle rustlin', Yankee-style.
But the real mastermind didn't get caught! From Rio de Janeiro, Brazil:

Brazilian police are investigating how an accused drug kingpin wanted by the authorities dropped by a local prison to take part in a sermon last week and left through the front door.

Alberico Medeiros spoke during a Pentecostal sermon in front of 480 inmates about his years as a drug trafficker, how he used drugs, carried guns and had a huge gang of cutthroats at his command. He says he has since become religious and has abandoned his criminal ways.

Medeiros, who has spent time in Rio de Janeiro's maximum security jail, faces trial on 12 counts of trafficking and other unlawful activities.
I wonder if his confessional sermon can be used against him in a court of law.


A Sea of Red

We all remember the highly effective imagery of the political maps showing the vast plains of red stretching across the nation after the last two presidential elections. Wouldn't it be nice to see such a sea of red stretching across the workplace, restaurants, and elsewhere around town — this time in a solid show of support for our troops?
Very soon, you will see a great many people wearing Red every Friday. The reason? Americans who support our troops used to be called the "silent majority". We are no longer silent, and are voicing our love for God, country and home in record-breaking numbers. We are not organized, boisterous or over-bearing. We get no liberal media coverage on TV, to reflect our message or our opinions.

Many Americans, like you, all our friends, and me simply want to recognize that the vast majority of America supports our troops. Our idea of showing solidarity and support for our troops with dignity and respect starts this Friday — and continues each and every Friday until the troops all come home, sending a deafening message that. Every red-blooded American who supports our men and women afar will wear something red.

By word of mouth, press, TV — let's make the United States on every Friday a sea of red, much like a homecoming football game in the bleachers. If every one of us who loves this country will share this with acquaintances, co-workers, friends, and family, it will not be long before the USA is covered in RED and it will let our troops know the once "silent" majority is on their side more than ever, certainly more than the media lets on.

The first thing a soldier says when asked "What can we do to make things better for you?" is...We need your support and your prayers. Let's get the word out and lead with class and dignity, by example; and wear something red every Friday.

We live in the land of the free, only because of the brave.


May God help America to become one nation, under God.