1/29/07

"...the duration plus six..."

Here's a good one from today's Chieftain:

http://www.chieftain.com/national/1170079474/2

Anyone even vaguely familiar with World War II remembers that "...for the duration plus six months...".

It had to do with enlistments, or draft service. You were in for the duration of the war plus six months.

In today's War on Terror, the military has been extending regular troops and reservists past their terms of service. The government can do that, and it is not unreasonable at all in times of national emergency.

But...

In previous times of emergency, such as World War II, there was a general mobilization. The troops knew up front they were signing on for that "...duration plus six...". The measure was not used to compensate for stupidity and/or poor planning, or bad internal politics, on the part of the administration.

George Bush, and Donald Rumsfeld, for years maintained that the military was just fine regarding strength levels - troop levels - manpower - whatever you want to call it. Some of their parrots dressed in military uniforms have repeated that mantra.

But...

Anyone at all familiar with the military can see that this is not true. When you have the numbers of rotations and the numbers of involuntary extensions to which the troops have been subjected, you have what is called a 'clue'. That 'clue' points to the fact that the military manpower levels are not adequate, and have not been since well before 9/11. One might argue that Dubya was handed a short-changed military, and one would be right. That was the doings of the Clinton adminstration.

But...

That was then. Now is now. Dubya had a chance to build the military up. He has not. And the troops, as always, have been paying that cost.

In the last few days, Dubya has essentially announced that he has received a Revelation: "We need to build up troop strengths."

Ya think?

Back when the Republican Guard did not stand and fight, but instead faded into the palm trees, most people knew that the poop was about to hit not just a fan, but one of those great big shop circulator fans, the ones that really move air - and poop. And it did. Rather than shift strategies to fight what was unquestionably becoming a Fourth Generation conflict in place, Dubya, Rumsie, and their parrots continued to maintain that all was well.

Can anyone hear that echo of Lyndon Johnson's "...light at the end of the tunnel..."? Or was that Richard Nixon? No...Richard Nixon was "PeacePlan with Honor©™".

Meanwhile, while the politicians try to figure out how to pull their heads out of their collective butts, the troops, as always, bear the load.

And how is the VA doing these days?

1/28/07

"...we don't care whether the Army owns the land or not..."

From this morning's Chieftain:

http://www.chieftain.com/metro/1169998356/2

An excerpt:

"A request to enlarge the training area southwest of La Junta is pending with the Secretary of Defense's office, but Mixon and Milano said the Army wants to talk with landowners about many options, short of buying land, if that request is approved.

"We want to have that conversation with the public because, as Army officers, we don't care whether the Army owns the land we're training on or not," Mixon said."

So.

What exactly does that mean? Is The Resistance having an effect? Is the Army starting to use its brains as a result of The Resistance? Has it begun to soak in that the Army and the Federal government will have another war - of sorts - on their hands if they try to take the land down south?

Mixon's comment seems to smack of a willingess to compromise. If that is true, then why not? It is not, of course, a simple thing. The use of the land by the Army has all kinds of problems associated with it, not the least of which is preservation. But it is a smaller problem for ranchers to work out that finding a mover to haul the furniture to a nice little retirement village.

Presuming that is in fact a kind of feeler regarding the possibility of compromise, one of the biggest obstacles is trust. The Army has not handled preceding 'maneuvers' well when it comes to expanding Pinon Canyon. They need a new PR team. They need someone handing this who does not act and sound like a used car salesman; someone who lacks the governmental arrogance we have been seeing.

Meanwhile, let's continue to watch the latest ploy by Wes McKinley and Ken Kester, that one about rescinding the State's acquiesence over eminent domain.

1/27/07

Christine's Restaurant and Bakery

Shopping at the Walmart late this morning, we came across DinkyDau Billy doing some basket-bumping with the citizenry.

"Wutsup, Billy?" I asked, "are you inciting the populace to civil disorder?" This in reference to Billy's days at Berkeley.

"Naw, man, I'm over that. I'm just pollin' the public over economic development. Most people ain't happy in the least."

"Oh. That's too bad. Wayne's been working the contacts pretty hard this past year," I miserated.

"Naw, man. They ain't unhappy over Wayne. They's unhappy over local politics. Most people say if they want to watch politicians playing those little ego and power games, they's gonna watch Nancy Pelosi and the rest. They don't like this stuff here at home."

"Ah. I see."

"So. Wutchoo gice bin doon?" Billy was curious.

"We went to Rocky Ford this morning and stopped by Christine's for cinnamon rolls," I told him, "you might want to do the same. They are the best cinnamon rolls I've had."

There was a bit of throat-clearing and 'ahem-ing' over to the side. I looked over and saw that Lisa had an eyebrow raised, somewhat archly, I thought.

"Uhm...except Lisa's, of course," I hastened to add. "And the coffee was first rate. I expected the usual watered down overboiled horse pee, but this stuff was quite good. And the service was very good, too."

"Huh," Billy grunted, "Ain't that the place in the old Methodist church? Over on Second Street?"

"Yes, it is, Billy," Lisa answered, "at least, I think it was a Methodist church. It's very nicely done. They do a three course dinner menu on Friday and Saturday nights, too. In the evening, they do table linens and candles and it's really quite nice."

"Yeah, Billy, dinners are a soup or salad, an entree, and a dessert, and are a flat charge of fifteen bux per dinner. The menu is very good, too," I continued, trying to gauge the mood after the cinnamon rolls faux pas.

"I think I gots summa their rolls as day olds once," Billy said.

"Day olds? Day olds? Billy. You got them out of the dumpster, didn't you?" Lisa asked him.

"Yeah. Yeah. I did," Billy confessed, "But that was the old days. I ain't done that in a while. And you're right, they were very good, even stale," Billy continued, trying to change the subject.

"Hey Billy, they're doing a special Valentine's Day dinner, they're taking reservations now," I told him, "you got anyone special you might want to take?"

"Naw. Naw. Well...maybe...well...I bin thinkin' maybe I might ask that nurse from the psych ward..." Billy got a faraway look in his eyes....

Christine's Restaurant and Bakery
209 North 2nd
Rocky Ford, CO
254-3833

Bakery hours Monday-Saturday 7-4 (great pastries and coffee)
Dinner hours Friday and Saturday 5:30-8

Dinner reservations suggested.

ChristinesFineDining@hotmail.com

1/26/07

FARM and RANCH WATER SYMPOSIUM AND TRADE SHOW

FARM and RANCH WATER SYMPOSIUM AND TRADE SHOW


Thursday – February 1, 2007

William L. Gobin Community Center

Rocky Ford

For more information and an agenda of the entire Symposium, please visit www.farmranchwater.org

SMALL BUSINESS / ENTREPRENEURSHIP

Cost - $10.00 per person for afternoon

12:30 – 1:45 p.m. – “Beyond Wine and Pumpkins”

(Agri-Tourism in the Rural Area)

Presenter: Judy Walden, President
Walden Mills Group
Community-Based Tourism

1:45 – 2:00 p.m. – Break

2:00 – 3:15 p.m. –

“Direct Marketing / Colorado Proud”
Marketing your Colorado products
Presenter: Tom Lipetzky
Markets Division Director
Colorado Department of Agriculture

If you are interested in agri-tourism or presently promote agri-tourism on your farm or ranch, this will be an information-filled afternoon that you will not want to miss. Plan to attend this event

1/25/07

The Way It Is Redux

We were standing in front of 608 Belleview during lunch today, kind of giving the joint the once-over.

"I'd love to run a Bed and Breakfast," Lisa said,"I think it would be a lot of work, but also a lot of fun."

I had to agree with her.

We wandered around back to check out the carriage house and apartment in the back.

Billy was riffling through a garbage can just up the alley.

"Man, what are you doin'?" I asked, "Billy, you gotta knock this off."

"I ain't looking for eats," he said, holding up a John Kerry for President t-shirt, "look at what people throws away. It's downright crimnul."

"Uh..." I sort of mumbled.

"JOHN KERRY!!??!! Billy! Have you no standards?" Lisa's political bent was showing.

"Really, Billy. Look up the business of how he got that PH of his, then think about how you got yours. You might want to think about using that t-shirt as a TP reserve," I said, thinking of Christmas dinners in far away places, long, long ago.

"Huh. Yeah. You're right," he said, tossing it back into the garbage.

"Say. You guys lookin' at Finney House?" he asked.

"Yes, we are, Billy," Lisa replied, "We've been thinking about cashing in some chips and going for broke, seeing what we can negotiate, but we're very hesitant about it."

"Yeah, Billy, we've been giving this one some real deep thinking, but we've come to the conclusion that the economic and political environments just don't warrant the risk." I added.

"Huh?"

"Well, think about it. A B&B is in great part dependent on a tourist trade. You might get by on the odd pass-throughs, but a tourist trade is the bread and butter of a B&B. And we don't have a tourist trade, nor are we likely to have one with the moronics we have going on over tourism and economic development," I added even more, "can we trust council after the last tourism go-around, even if we are the beneficiaries of a pooper scooper ordinance and a pit bull ordinance? We certainly can't trust the motel owners, and it seems a couple of them have all the say these days. We can't invest in a hospitality business like a B&B in that kind of environment."

"And where are we going with economic development?" asked Lisa, "where is the focus, the united effort, the vision?"

"Yeah. They's too busy snapping at each other's guts," Billy said.

"And listen...there's Becerra's dog again, going off like he's lost his mind," I pointed out, "who'd want to stay here with that going on just up the street twenty-four seven?"

"Yeah. Yeah," Billy said, thoughtfully stroking his dreadlocks, "I see what you mean.Too bad. You guys would look good up on that front porch welcoming visitors."

"Yep. We've been working on a business plan, you know, Brian up at the Small Business Center is pretty good at that, and I have some really great layouts for a website, too, but I don't think I'm going to waste a lot of time on it."

We bid Billy adieu and wandered back out to the car.

Candidates for an 'ass wippin' Redux

Here's an interesting comment to the original post on this subject, posted by a person purporting to be one Jenn Montanez:

"Take Stan off the list and add me..his daughter. I've dealt with the small and judgemental minds in this community before. My Dad, however, is dumbfounded at the hatred he has encountered for having his own OPINION in the matter, which is a God given right. 38 years of being a volunteer and 43+ living in Cheraw has no bearing on the people in this place. The "meetings" I read about in the school newsletter are nothing more to me than a Klan meeting. Because in Cheraw if you are against the majority then you must be gone. Being chastised in a small town is much more hellacious than other places where you can remain more anonymous. So leave the 63 year old man alone, he's had no enemies before all of this nonsence. Can you say THREAT? That's what I see on the whiteboard.........I'm watching you Cheraw."

Taking that at face value; that is, presuming that Jenn Montanez really posted it and that Jenn Montanez is really Stan's daughter...you go, girl. Bounce 'em off the wall a few times. That is, if they have the cojones to take off their hoods in the light of day...say...isn't Nick Koch from Cheraw? Isn't he a member of the fire department out there? I remember the article about him in the fishwrapper. It was very inspiring. Surely an honourable fellow like Nick would step forward and denounce such cowardly tomfoolery? How about it, Nick? Perhaps you could put a stop to the foolishness by displaying a little of that military leadership and discipline here? Get things back on track to support the community? Become a hero, as it were, on the local scene? A reg'lar Horatius at the Bridge?

1/24/07

Advanced Transportation Technologies, LLC

ATT signed a lease for a building in Rocky Ford. This was announced at last night's Rocky Ford City Council meeting.

Boy howdy, I gotta tell you, my first thought on this was..."Those sneaky Rocky Forders; Wayne did all the work on this and they STOLE IT! Those WEASELS!"

But let's think about this a bit.

First, my understanding is that the Oliver Building, the one they leased, is in fact better suited to their requirements than is the Bell building out at the airport.

If that is so, and I believe that it is, then the Bell building would have required modification. Who would have borne that cost? The city, I think. Do we really want to do that? Again?

Second, remember we should be thinking regional development. That is, economic development in the 'northern Otero metroplex' rather than that archaic and obsolete municipal parochialism of yore.

There's a good example of that evident in all the prisons around here. None of them are in La Junta. Yet we have a lot of people who live in La Junta who work in all of those prisons, including the one down in Trinidad. So there is a good example of how an industry can be located down the road apiece and still benefit all of the communities in northern Otero County. Commuting is a way of life in most of America. It's no different here.

The regional concept has been endorsed by at least some of the political leadership.

For example, from the March 23, 2006 fishwrapper:

"La Junta Mayor Don Rizzuto said with recent economic changes in both communities - both recently lost major plants - and for future planning, the entire Lower Arkansas Valley needs to work together.

“It's time we change the definition of the term community,” Rizzuto said. “If we're going to get things done, like four-laning Highway 50, if it's not a concentrated effort, it's not going to happen.”

Rizzuto said Lamar and La Junta have continued to have a healthy rivalry between the cities, especially in high school athletics, but it's time to come together in other areas while still maintaining that healthy rivalry.

“When the football game's over, we have to work together,” he said. Rizzuto said if Lamar and La Junta can join forces on specific issues and create a statement together, it could have a stronger impact at the state level with two councils, representing almost 20,000 people, backing it."

And of course this sentiment was prevalent in the Community Assessment forums...for whatever those were worth.

But...did economic development screw the pooch? Did Rocky Ford pull a fast one?

No. I don't think so.

We have a business coming in. True, the business will be located in Rocky Ford, but we here in La Junta and the Swink megopolis will benefit from it. Especially if that business takes off and hits the numbers they've been projecting. And the La Junta political leadership seems to understand that, given Mayor Rizzuto's comments last year, as well as what was said by so many political and community leaders during the Community Assessment forums.

So I'm sure that the Mayor and city council would be moved to join me in a "Well done, Wayne".

I just hope the naysayers can keep focused on The Big Picture. I have my doubts that they will do that. I have my doubts that they want to do that. It interferes with their other agenda.

Meanwhile, where do we stand on a regional economic development office funded by participating communities? Wouldn't that "...and for future planning, the entire Lower Arkansas Valley needs to work together..." seem to indicate that the political leadership of our respective communities needs to be working on that, rather than trying to snipe Snider and take us back to the LJDI Dark Ages?

1/23/07

The Way It Is

Lisa and I were getting gas at Loaf West, using our 3 cent discount card from King Soopers and thinking about coming back for a Weenie Wednesday lunch.

Billy came in, stomping the snow and ice off his cycling shoes.

"Hey. Hey. Man, these cleats sure do pick up the muck. I dunno if they's worth it in this mess. Hi Leece, hey, that was some great coffee cake you made last weekend. I think I gained five pounds from two slices."

"Yes, it turned out very well, I thought. There was a cup of shortening and a cup of butter, real butter in it, and you had four slices, not two," Lisa corrected, "but I'm glad you liked it and thank you for saying so."

Billy looked guilty at the mention of four slices. Actually, it was five. He snuffled one while Lisa was making more coffee.

"You bin ridin' any?" Billy queried.

"I've not ridden a bike for a few weeks now. No snow tires, ya know," I replied, "I'll probably fall off the next time I get on the Excalibur."

"Yeah. Yeah. Hey, I went by your old place, thinkin' about them garlics in the front yard. You gonna move them to Swink?"

"You betcha. Leece has some herbs at the house and we'll be moving the garlic and the other perennials, too. In fact, I was over there at lunch time to see how much of the snow had melted. Quite a bit, though it's still too deep to do much."

"Yeah. Yeah. You gonna miss that place?"

"Of course I am," I said, "we lived there since '78, and I put a lot of work into it, and we had the yard looking like a little park, and there's so many songbirds in there it's more like an aviary than a back yard. I was thinkin' of keeping it and renting it out, or just using it for a guest house, but that ain't gonna work."

"Yeah? Why not?"

"Ah, that Becerra dog was going off the whole time I was there. You can hear that stupid mutt for three blocks around. I signed a couple of complaints, and all that happened was a pretrial conference on one and a 25 buck fine on the other. And the nonsense continues. That's how effective nuisance ordinance enforcement is in The Smile Hi City," I told him, "and besides, it's a waste of time to even try anymore, since the city government plain told me there's nothing they can do about it."

"Really?" Billy was dumbfounded.

"Really. Time to MoveOn. We were thinking about selling both houses and buying one of those nicer oldies but goodies - that big one in the 600 block of Belleview is particularly nice and it would be great for the boys and having the grandkids over - but we aren't going to put up with that 'cain't do nuthin' attitude while Becerra's mutt is going off and the thumpers and boomers are cruising up Belleview. We'll stay in Swink," I said.

"Huh. I heard that it depends on who you are how you can git somethin' done," Billy said,"like having that cop come around with that Ruger .22 and red dot scope and shoot whatever's making the noise."

"Oh. That. Well, that guy is gone. That was the last administration. He did mostly cats, anyway, though there were some dogs that got into the mix, depending on the Who that might have complained. Nonetheless, that Ruger will...does...figure into the book."

"The book?" Billy queried.

"Yeah. Just think of me as the next Joe Wambaugh, except Smallville, not LAPD. Life on the mean streets of Podunk. More like "Catch 22" than "The New Centurions", though."

"You gonna give me a copy?"

"Yep. Autographed, too."

"Must be nice to have visions of grandeur," Billy commented.

"Yep."

"Swink's nice," Billy observed.

"Yes, it is," I also observed, "and we were talking just yesterday about how nice it's going to be this spring, right on the edge of the country, for cycling and just enjoying life without thumping and booming car stereos, drunken wetbacks throwing beer cans in the street at 5th and Lincoln, and dogs crapping in the front yard and barking in the back yard. Yep. It's a shame, it used to be a real nice 'hood, but that's the way it is in The Smile Hi City these days. Though I kind of miss the Duran sisters rolling around in the middle of 6th and Lincoln pulling each other's hair out. Great cat fight. Very entertaining."

"You can bet that if one a them gen'ruls or whatever from that new outfit what's lookin' at the Industrial Park said somethin' about all that, there'd be somethin' done," Billy said, "they'd be someone crappin' his drawers and fallin' all over hissef to git somethin' done about it."

"Yes. Well. That's the way it is."

Cowboy Up!

Wes McKinley says, regarding the Army and Piñon Canyon:

"You certainly aren't going to win until you take them on."

He has introduced legislation, HB 07-1069, that will make the Piñon Canyon expansion illegal by withdrawing the state's consent to the Federal government allowing it to exercise eminent domain.

You can find the bill here:

http://tinyurl.com/2a7wxt

Of course, the bill states that it would apply only to condemnation/eminent domain actions commencing on or after the effective date of the bill should it actually be enacted.

Does he really think it's worth a fight? Or is it a sham bill, designed to appeal to the likes of me? I don't know him or Ken Kester, the co-sponsor, personally, but neither strikes me as a city-boy political panderer. So I'll take it at face value.

But some of our elected officials have already gone on the public record as saying that the Piñon Canyon expansion is a done deal and we should be looking simply at salvaging what we can. "Landing on our feet."

Really?

Hey. If the Army and the US gummint is going to pick up we Hicks from the Sticks and shove our noses into the nearest pile of cow poop, we should at least let them know they've been in a fight. That seems to be Wes McKinley's thinking on it. It's about time we had some of that, rather than the pap we've been fed so far.

The vets from World War I who marched on Washington in 1932 knew that. From that action, coupled with yet another example of government indifference down in Florida in 1935, came the Veterans' Administration. It wasn't a matter of taking handouts from the government or 'salvaging what you can'; it was a matter of holding the government to its word. Here, it is standing up for what is ours. The ranchers have their land. Their land is part and parcel of who and what we are in southeastern Colorado. Their land, and how they do, is tied directly to our economic and cultural well-being. "Well, we salvaged what we could and we're 'still on our feet'..." Is that the legacy we are going to hand down to our kids and grandkids?

"Still on our feet." Wow. That's the American Dream in The Smile Hi City? No wonder we're happy with 7.00 an hour jobs.

I thought this was America. That We the People do not take the leavings of the government. That We the People do not 'dumpster dive' because that is all the government has left us.

It's good to see that at least a couple of our elected officials - Wes McKinley and Ken Kester - understand that. In the long run it may not do any good - after all, there's that two billion dollar overhaul of Fort Carson that has everyone along I-25 salivating, so we'll see who in the General Assembly gives a whit about southeastern Colorado when the vote comes up.

Where does that leave we clod-kickin' Hicks from the Sticks? Who knows at this point - but at least McKinley and Kester are doing more than trying to appease the Army and the Federal government in the hopes we can get some scraps from the table.

1/22/07

SHARE

Leece and I were sitting in the office munching a lunch of a couple of 'chicken laigs' from Ringos.

Billy wandered by.

Billy rarely comes into the city building. It smacks of governmental authority to him. He doesn't like that, especially after VA stuck it to him for riding a Fat Possum.

"Hey, Billy! Would you care for a piece of chicken?" Lisa asked Our Stalwart, "it's fresh, and we didn't get it out of the dumpster."

Billy gave her an owlish look, his eyes rather widely open. He gets skittery over dumpster-diving or references thereto.

He didn't let that skitteriness stop him from grabbing a piece of chicken, however.

"Hey. Hey. Wassup with all these guys I'm seeing with things stuck in their ears and babbling to themselves?" he asked.

"Things stuck in their ears? Babbling?" I wasn't sure what he was talking about.

"Yeah. Yeah. They walk around Walmart talking to themselves. I was going to give one guy my helmet but he gave me a real weird look."

"Oh. Ummmm...I think the Bluetooth Revolution is upon us. That's a wireless cellphone headset, Billy. They're talking on their cell phones," I explained.

"Huh. I guess we gots a lot of real important people in La Junta, that they gotsta talk on the phone while they's pinching tomatoes?"

"Beats me. I don't think I'd like all that babble in my ear all the time," I replied.

"Not to mention wondering if your brain's frying," I added, thinking of those articles on cell phone radiation and brain tumors.

"Easier to listen to the babble in the ear than the babble of the conscience," Lisa interjected.

We both looked at her.

"I've been thinking about this dumpster diving thing and about that comment on the Veteran's post, the one about making too much to qualify for any government aid but not having enough to make ends meet. The one where it's easier to stay on welfare than try to stick it out," she explained.

"Yeah? Yeah?" Billy was interested.

So was I: "What are you getting at?"

"Well, in California there was a thing, a program, called SHARE, whereby people who were having problems making ends meet could purchase food at a considerable saving. The program buys bulk food and redistributes it in packages, like a grocery bag. People have to buy the food, but it's a lot cheaper than regular shopping," she explained.

"Huh," I said, "Whaddya think, Billy?"

"I think that would be great," he said, "but do you think there's anything like that around here?"

"Let's check," I said, and we all gathered around the computer and gave Google a wringout.

Here is what we found:

The Knights of Columbus here in La Junta run a SHARE point. Frank Medina is the local contact, according to the Parish office. The main program is run by the Archdiocese of Denver. You can order food packages on the first Wednesday of each month, or you can order packages on line. All they ask is that you be sure to pick up your order on time, and they would like for participants to volunteer a couple of hours a month. They give some examples of what they consider 'volunteer' work. It can be just about anything, so long as it helps someone without charging them.

From their website:

"Our host distribution sites are generally churches, senior centers, schools, community centers, etc. The experience of picking up your "Share" of food at the host site is almost like a community party. People begin to know each other and many meet new friends. Many love and support the program so much that they ask how they can help out next month! Actually we encourage 2 hours of volunteerism for every participant. We consider volunteering anything from working at the host site or warehouse, to babysitting, to sharing a meal with a neighbor or friend. Virtually anything that you do for anyone not in your immediate family for free is volunteering. Most people find that they're already doing it without realizing it. With SHARE, we feed both the body and the Spirit."

Here is their website:

http://www.sharecolorado.com/index.cfm?action=homepage

I asked if you have to be a member of the Parish to participate. You don't. Anyone can participate.

"Wow, Leece!" Billy exclaimed,"that was a good idea!"

Yep. It sure was. And even better, we have people here in the community who are willing to put in the time and effort to make it work.

That's what makes The Smile Hi City a nice place to live. Teamwork; a willingness to contribute positively; no hidden agendas.

"Hey. Hey. It'd be nice if them politicians and summa them others could do the same. Then maybe we'd have more and better jobs and there'd be no need for SHARE! Whaddya think?" asked Billy.

"I think it would take a bit more exercise of conscience and a bit less exercise of the Bluetooth or whatever else is interfering with the cerebral synaptic response," said Lisa.

"Huh? Huh?" Billy was lost.

"Never mind, dude," I said, "Just have another piece of chicken. It's cold out there. In more ways than one."

The Threat

From the Pueblo Chieftain:

http://www.chieftain.com/national/1169474496/1

"In a desperate bid to fend off an all-out American offensive, the radical cleric Muqtada al-Sadr last Friday ordered the 30 lawmakers and six Cabinet ministers under his control to end their nearly two-month boycott of the government. They were back at their jobs Sunday."

Yeah.

That's the way it works with third world thugs and murderers.

The Democrats seem to be fond these days of comparing Iraq to Vietnam.

In Vietnam, the politicians provided sanctuary for the North Vietnamese and the Viet Cong, in Laos, in Cambodia, in North Vietnam itself.

The 'secret war' in Laos resulted from the United States allowing the North Vietnamese to operate openly in support of the Pathet Lao and the North Vietnamese and indigent forces in the south. Even the Red Chinese operated with impunity in what was supposed to be a neutral country. Yet it was the United States that was taken to task when we became involved.

Bombing restrictions emboldened the North Vietnamese to hem and haw and hedge at the so-called 'conference table'. It wasn't until December of 1972, when Richard Nixon unleashed the B52's on the North, in Linebacker II, that the North Vietnamese said to themselves, "Holy rat poop, that nut is like, dude, serious!"

If there is anything these thugs understand, it is force. Force is not the ultimate answer, of course, but it certainly clears the air and sets the stage. Once the debris is shoveled off stage left, then the peacemaking and rebuilding can get on. But pandering to them, appeasing them, never works.

You'd think the Democrats would understand that.

OTOH, in defense of the Democrats, their opposition has forced the administration's hand somewhat. That's good. But the shrill whining coming from that side of the aisle goes much further than simply moving the administration off the dime. They fail utterly to grasp the overwhelming reality and magnitude of the Islamofascist threat, and persist in thinking that negotiation and 'peaceful coexistence' is possible.

It is not.

We 'peacefully coexisted' with the Soviet Union for more than four decades because as warped as the Communist thinking was, they still had a sense of survival. The Islamofascists see martyrdom as a way out, presumably from their miserably pathetic and pitiful existence in this world. That this miserably pathetic and pitiful existence is brought about by their medieval religion is beside the point; killing is a way of life for them, and is to be rewarded in Paradise.

When Nancy Pelosi and her ilk get their minds around that, we'll all be better off.


1/21/07

Veterans

I was stirring a cup of cappaccino there at Quickee's. The mutt was tied to the rail outside. I figured the fresh air would do the little pencil-nosed weasel some good. Maybe even work on his bladder a bit. It certainly needed a little work.

DinkyDau Billy came wandering in, adjusting his tinfoil cap.

"Billy. Isn't wearing that thing in this cold really uncomfortable?" I asked.

"Naw," he said,"I gots Goretex on under it."

He lifted it to show a North Face ski cap under the foil. Billy is nothing if not a fan of modern technology.

"Hey. Hey. Didja see that article in the Chieftain about vets?" he asked.

"Sure did. It was pretty good. I liked the way Hudson brought out the Veteran's Riots from back in the thirties, and that the last cavalry charge of the US Army was not against an enemy of the state, but against US Army veterans from World War I."

http://www.chieftain.com/editorial/1169391556/2

"Yeah. Yeah. Didja know they cut my VA bennies last year?"

"No! I didn't. Why did they do that?" I was shocked. Billy is a bit off, but he got that way during some rather nasty experiences near Tchepone during Lam Son 719. Those scars on Billy's face are from fragments of ChiCom 14.5mm machine gun rounds and bits and pieces of Billy's Huey. They aren't the only scars he bears; the rest come from too many friends dying in front of him and in his arms, for what seems to be no good reason other than to provide fodder for Bob McNamara's autobiography.

"They said I make too much money from my Vanguards. They say anyone who rides around on a Fat Possum XO don't need no help from the taxpayers. They say I costs 'em too much money."

Huh. When the sabers quit rattling and the guns fall silent, and the Teddy Kennedys and Nancy Pelosis wrap themselves in the flag and get their traps a-rattling instead,and the Republicans start looking at the moral thing to do as costing too much, things play a little different, don't they.

It's nothing new, nor is it particularly American. Rudyard Kipling wrote about it years ago:

I went into a public-'ouse to get a pint o' beer,
The publican 'e up an' sez, "We serve no red-coats here."
The girls be'ind the bar they laughed an' giggled fit to die,
I outs into the street again an' to myself sez I:
O it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an' "Tommy, go away";
But it's "Thank you, Mister Atkins", when the band begins to play,
The band begins to play, my boys, the band begins to play,
O it's "Thank you, Mister Atkins", when the band begins to play.

I went into a theatre as sober as could be,
They gave a drunk civilian room, but 'adn't none for me;
They sent me to the gallery or round the music-'alls,
But when it comes to fightin', Lord! they'll shove me in the stalls!
For it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an' "Tommy, wait outside";
But it's "Special train for Atkins" when the trooper's on the tide,
The troopship's on the tide, my boys, the troopship's on the tide,
O it's "Special train for Atkins" when the trooper's on the tide.

Yes, makin' mock o' uniforms that guard you while you sleep
Is cheaper than them uniforms, an' they're starvation cheap;
An' hustlin' drunken soldiers when they're goin' large a bit
Is five times better business than paradin' in full kit.
Then it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an' "Tommy, 'ow's yer soul?"
But it's "Thin red line of 'eroes" when the drums begin to roll,
The drums begin to roll, my boys, the drums begin to roll,
O it's "Thin red line of 'eroes" when the drums begin to roll.

We aren't no thin red 'eroes, nor we aren't no blackguards too,
But single men in barricks, most remarkable like you;
An' if sometimes our conduck isn't all your fancy paints,
Why, single men in barricks don't grow into plaster saints;
While it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an' "Tommy, fall be'ind",
But it's "Please to walk in front, sir", when there's trouble in the wind,
There's trouble in the wind, my boys, there's trouble in the wind,
O it's "Please to walk in front, sir", when there's trouble in the wind.

You talk o' better food for us, an' schools, an' fires, an' all:
We'll wait for extry rations if you treat us rational.
Don't mess about the cook-room slops, but prove it to our face
The Widow's Uniform is not the soldier-man's disgrace.
For it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an' "Chuck him out, the brute!"
But it's "Saviour of 'is country" when the guns begin to shoot;
An' it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an' anything you please;
An' Tommy ain't a bloomin' fool -- you bet that Tommy sees!


Yep. Tommy sees. The remarkable thing is that Tommy keeps on coming back to serve, every time the bugle sounds.

Politicians are amazing critters. They give all manner of tear-jerker speeches about how great America is; how so many have suffered and sacrificed for "The American Way"; how lucky we are to have all those rights...till someone actually exercises them.

It's amazing to me how many of those politicians thought blogging was great so long as the blogs supported them and their election or re-election, or decisions they make during their terms, but when they started screwing the pooch with some really out-to-lunch decisions and the blogs became forums for discussing that, well, all of a sudden 'something has to be done about that blog!'

Let's all remember that the next time they get up there and start talking about how great America is.

America would be a lot better off if we had politicans who understood America.

And if we had newspapers whose editors and publishers could remember the value of the Fourth Estate.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fourth_Estate

1/19/07

A Blessed Event

So there we were, snuffling some chili down at Wendy's, me with extra cheese and even more extra onions, and Lisa just plain, thank you very much.

We'd had some discussion about the beans.

"I dunno if I want something with beans, after being sick these past couple of days," she had commented as we were standing in line.

"Nah. It's OK. It'll clean out whatever bugs might be left in the old poop chute," I said.

That got me a whack on the shoulder. Actually, it was more like a solid punch. I felt it. I was going to feel it for awhile.

We were sitting at one of those little twofers tables by the window. There was a shadow across the table, and I looked up to see Billy outside with his nose pressed against the glass, looking cross-eyed at us.

"Now there's something you don't see every day," I noted, while Lisa just shook her head and rather daintily ate another bean. Yup. One bean. Me, I just snuffle. But she has to be dainty.

Billy came up with his quadruple-burger and a gi-normous order of fries, pulling up a chair and moving our eats out of the way.

"Hi Billy, why don't you just make yourself to home?" I said.

"Why thank you. I was not wanting to eat lunch by myself today," he said.

"Well, you aren't now," I observed.

Lisa looked at the quadruple burger with raised eyebrows and pursed lips, said burger representing the better part of a side of beef as it lay there oozing rivers of grease.

"Oh. Is this too much for you, Leece? I mean, you know, does the smell of the beef upset you, I mean, you know, in your condition and all?" Billy was seriously solicitous.

"My 'condition'?" she asked,looking puzzled.

"Yeah. I know it's lunchtime and all but I know how morning sickness works." Billy reads a lot.

"Morning sickness?"

"Yeah."

"Morning sickness? Me?"

"Yeah."

"Do you mean to say that you think I've been suffering from morning sickness?" Her voice was rising a bit.

"Take a few deep breaths, Leece," I said, "and maybe toss a few 'ooommmmms' in there too."

I got a glare for my helpful concerns.

"What makes you think I'm suffering from morning sickness?" she asked Billy. She asked very intensely, I thought.

"Well," Billy said, "you were all queasy this morning when I offered you that chicken laig, you know, an' I was thinkin'..."

"YOU THINK I'M PREGNANT BECAUSE I ALMOST PUKED WHEN YOU OFFERED ME COLD GREASY CHICKEN SALVAGED FROM A DUMPSTER!!!!!"

"Uh...Leece...you seem to have the wind up a bit, m'dear...Billy was only trying to be nice..." I tried to explain in conciliatory fashion.

"I'VE BEEN OUT OF WORK FOR TWO DAYS WITH 'THE WIND UP' HUGGING THE PORCELAIN THRONE WITH MY INTESTINES TIED IN KNOTS AND THIS...THIS...THIS...YOU...YOU..."...

"I'm a disabled vet," Billy said, very defensively, adjusting his tinfoil cap.

Lisa looked at him. Glared, actually. Tookie could take pointers from that look. Heretofore Tookie has been the only one that could stare Billy down. We seemed to have another even more capable.

Billy cringed.

"I'm a disabled vet," he whined, "you wanna fry? They's still hot."

I took one of the fries and dipped it in Billy's Frosty.

"You should take him up on that," I said, "after all, it ain't out from a dumpster."

I got another glare for my peace-making effort. No matter, I was enjoying this.

Billy said, "So I guess there ain't gonna be no Blessed Event?"

"Billy," I shared, "Never lose the opportunity to keep your mouth shut. Let's cut our losses and run."

"I'm a disabled vet," he whined.

Hot tip from an avid reader...

Al Lewis has a good column in today's Denver Post:

http://www.denverpost.com/allewis

The title is "A Straight-up Cure for CEO Hubris"

Our tipster comments: "...could this apply to some of our elected leaders?"

Indeed.

An excerpt:

"There's a tremendously fine line between being supremely confident and having an out-of-control ego," Hayward said. "And you can cross that line at any minute of any day in a way that can destroy the reputation of your company."

Here are four things Hayward recommends to avoid crossing the line:

Leaders need introspection to be sure they are not getting too full of themselves. They should not be motivated by a need for incessant praise or validation. This isn't as easy as it sounds, with all the suck-ups that surround a top executive: "The more successful and powerful you become, the harder it is to have a good sense of yourself," Hayward said.

Leaders need trusted advisers, not sycophants. "Warren Buffett won't make an investment decision without running it by (his associate) Charlie Munger," Hayward said. "Steve Balmer (of Microsoft) always gets Bill Gates to buy in."

Leaders must constantly gather and respond to new information, or they risk kidding themselves about their situation. In his book, Hayward discusses how Merck mishandled allegations regarding the safety of arthritis drug Vioxx, ignoring feedback that could have prevented billions in claims.

Leaders must manage the possibility that their actions may have undesirable consequences. Only the arrogant believe they can predict the future. Wise leaders try to anticipate all possible outcomes.

It's not likely Hayward's book will change the world. I say this because people with big egos don't recognize their often fatal flaws. They are like alcoholics who do not believe they have a drinking problem - and don't want to read about it, either.

"I've written the book in the hopes that some people will try," Hayward said.

If nothing else, it makes a great gift ... for the boss."

Bypass Surgery

There has been quite a bit of hoohah over council's decision to pass a resolution favoring a southern bypass for Highway 50.

People are up in arms over it.

"Why would those bozos want to route the highway around the city! Haven't we lost enough business as it is! What are they thinking! Are they thinking?"

Well.

While the city council has pulled some real bloopers in recent months, they are not in the same league as Bozo the Clown on this one.

Here's the deal:

US 50 is a major US highway. But is has many two lane bottlenecks, and even more chokepoints in some of the towns. Like La Junta, where the traffic slows to 35, and in Holly, where it slows to 25.

People don't like that. Think of how you react to such things when you are on a cross country trip. So what people do is look for other routes with fewer chokepoints.

And that means they don't come through La Junta anyway.

Way back in the '60's, there was a project to widen US 70 - not Interstate 70, but US 70, in eastern North Carolina - to four lanes from Raleigh-Durham and the Research Triangle all the way to the beaches in Carteret County. This was really necessary because even back then, traffic was a nightmare from Friday afternoon through Sunday evening. People even quit going to the beaches because of the traffic bottlenecks and chokepoints; it was just too much hassle.

The project included bypassing all the little - and some not-so-little towns - all the way to the beaches.

People threw hissy fits, for exactly the same reasons as they are throwing hissy fits now. "It will hurt business!" they cried.

It seems logical, doesn't it?

But it isn't.

What happened is that with the completion of the project, more traffic went to the beaches, with the percentage of people stopping for eats, bait, beer, ice, sunscreen, and whatever, staying about the same as before.

So if you have 5,000 cars going through town on a given day and 10 percent stop, you have 500 carloads doing business in the city.

But if you have 15,000 cars going by on the US 70 bypass, and 10 percent stop, you have 1500 carloads doing business in the city.

And that's what happened with that US 70 project. That's a simplified version, of course, but that's the essence of it. And there's a lot more than 15,000 cars passing through, these days.

That's part of the thinking with the US 50 project.

Will it work? That remains to be seen. One thing is certain, however. No one is going to stop in La Junta if the chamber and the governing body do nothing useful to sell the city. Each of those podunks in eastern North Carolina had to git out there and pimp (in a manner of speaking) their wares. Those that did, and did it effectively, have done well economically. Those that did not, have not.

That's the bottom line.

Where does The Smile Hi City stand in that respect?

Wonder Roast, the Fishwrapper, and the Tanakh

So we were on our way into the Smile Hi Megopolis this morning, and stopped at Quickee's to scarf up on some cappaccino.

As we were walking in the door, I noticed Billy's Fat Possum XO at the rail outside.

He was sitting at one of the tables snuffling some Wonder Roast chicken and reading what appeared to be a bible. Lisa went over to the cappaccino while I wandered over to Billy. I was right. He was reading the Tanakh we had gotten him for Christmas.

"Hey! Hey! Thanks for getting me this for Christmas! It's great!"

"Denada, dude. Besides, it was Lisa who thought you'd like it, after I told her that you're an Old Testament kinda guy."

"Yeah. Yeah. HEY LEECE! LEECE!"

Lisa looked over as she filled her cup.

"THANKS LEECE! I LOVE THIS THING!"

"Our pleasure, Billy," she said,"you seem to be enjoying it."

"Yeah. Yeah. Hey. Hey. Have you read the essays in the back?"

"Sure have," I said,"take a look at the one about redaction and cultural hermeneutics. You'll really get a kick out of that one. Remember that conversation with Tookie at McDonald's about politics and editing of translations to suit whatever king was on the throne at the time? There it is, neatly laid out."

"Hey Billy!" Lisa called out, "take a look at the notes with Genesis, too. That'll give you some pause for thought." She came over to the table and grinned at Billy. She thinks he's cute, in a lost puppy sort of way.

Billy nearly swooned at the grin.

"So. Having some Ringo's chicken this morning, I see..." I commented on Billy's breakfast.

"Yeah. Yeah. They was two bags in the dumpster last night. Can you believe it?"

I glanced over at Lisa. She was a bit green about the gills.

"You dumpster diving again? I thought you quit that when you quit drinking?"

"Nah, man, no sense in throwing good food away."

Lisa was definitely a bit green about the gills, all the more so when I helped myself to a wing. I suspected that I was going to hear about that later.

"Very tasty," I opined.

"Hey. Hey. You know what else I found? I found piles and piles of the fishwrapper out behind the newspaper building by the recycling bin. What's up with that? Aren't they selling the things?"

"Good question. I heard the circulation was way down."

"Not surprising," Billy said,"if they got to reporting and digging stuff up rather than publishing a bunch of pablum they might sell some papers."

"Good point. But newspapers have really taken a hit what with us being in the electronic info age, and you'll see that many papers are printing less news and more of that 'pablum'. It's a real shame, because the Fourth Estate is part of what made this country great. Not any more, I guess."

"Yeah. Yeah. Hey, Leece! Wanna chicken laig?" Billy asked, extending a drumstick out.

She fled the scene.

"What's up with her?", Billy wondered, snuffling his Wonder Roast.

"Oh, she's been feeling a bit queasy the last couple of days. It's probably the thought of greasy chicken."

"Yeah. Yeah. But that's what makes it good! Do you think Scott has 'em pour a bit of chicken fat from the meat department over those birds?"

"Oh. I dunno. You might ask him. I don't think so, though. Last one I had was pretty good, and didn't seem overly greasy."

"Yeah. Yeah."

"Hey, gotta go. See ya 'round the flagpole, bro."

1/18/07

Gamesmanship

On the way back from The Smile Hi City, I stopped in at the Swink post office. Swink, as you may or may not know, does not do residential mail delivery. It reminds me of the general post offices on the overseas bases. Ramstein, for example.

Anyway...I was peering into the box, when I heard that "Hey! Hey! Wutcha doon?" again.

"Billy, sometimes I wonder if you and I are the only people who get out and about in metro Swink. I've not seen anyone but you the last few days."

"Yeah. Yeah. Everyone else is smart enough to stay home when it's this cold."

"Uh...yeah. There's probably a lot of truth to that. Anyway, I've been off with the kids to the basketball practices. You know, the La Junta Parks and Recs youth leagues."

"Yeah. Yeah. Wutcha think about them?"

Billy is very sports-minded. I am not.

"Well, I was thinking about that this evening. All those kids, being coached by all those volunteers. I think it does a great deal of good. It's a great self-confidence builder for the kids. The coaches are first rate. I've not seen a bad one in these last several years. They teach the kids a lot of good things."

"Yeah. Yeah. That's what I was thinking. And I was thinking, hey, we gots all these adults teaching the kids the things they need to know that will help make them responsible adults. It's one of the things that makes life in these little podunks so great."

"Yep. And maybe someday some of the bigshots will figure it out. Or maybe the parents and the kids will continue to ignore the bigshots and continue on with learning and practicing that stuff that matters most. Building character, practicing fellowship based on friendly competition rather than cutting each others throats and backstabbing each other, learning to get along with each other and get things accomplished. What a concept."

"Yeah. Yeah. Maybe."

Economic Development Redux

At lunchtime I wandered into Quickee's to grab a cup of cappaccino. Billy was sitting there at one of the tables, reading the fishwrapper. The La Junta fishwrapper.

"Hey! Hey! How ya doon!" Billy boomed.

"Pretty good. Anything worthwhile in the fishwrapper today?"

"They's got this thing about that new bidness out at the Industrial Park. Advanced Transportation Technologies or somethin'," Billy noted.

"Yep. That's one of those things that Wayne Snider has been working on. He got a tip through the people interested in the pickle plant when he was up at one of those meetings. He's been working on it since then. Looks like he is going to bring home some bacon, huh?"

"Snider? The paper doesn't say anything about Snider," Billy observed.

"No, it doesn't, does it. Odd, since Wayne introduced the guy to council Tuesday night. Selective reporting, do you think? Or just indifference? Or just sloppiness?" I asked.

"I smell an agenda here," said Billy, "who at the paper what has some pull is also involved in the decision making process about Snider? And who belongs to the old power network?"

Billy is very astute.

"And another thing," Billy continued, "I been pokin' around this thing. This outfit first looked at the old Gibson's building, you know."

"No, I didn't know that," I said, "That's news to me."

"Yeah? Well, they didn't go for the Gibson's building; they's going for that one out at the Industrial Park. Snider showed 'em that one when they waffled on Gibson's."

"Oh. I see," I said.

"No, you don't see at all," Billy went on, "Who has a vested interest in selling or leasing that Gibson's building, and who's involved in the decision making process about Snider?"

Billy is very astute.

"Ah. I see," I said.

"Yeah. How 'bout them agendas?" Billy asked, "so what's the deal here? Is the goal to bring in new jobs for the citizens, the ones that have been on food stamps and welfare since the pickles closed, or is it to play those same old sleazy podunk power games, and let the pickle packers eat cake?"

Billy likes to read the old classics.

"Well, I dunno, Billy, but you know, there's some interesting people involved in this new company. A couple of Air Force generals. The kinds of people who will see right through cheap Smallville shenanigans and take their business elsewhere. Why would they want to be part of an outfit that eats its own young? That screws over the citizens over personal agendas?"

"They really think we's stupid, don't they?" asked Billy.

"Oh, I don't think it's that so much as they don't really give a rat's rosy red backside as to what the people think. After all the people haven't really made much of a stink over anything, have they?"

"Good point. Hey. Why'd you dump off the liberry board? You was on that for years. You like the liberry, doncha?"

"You betcha, Billy. I think the Woodruff is one of the finest small town libraries I've ever seen. And the staff over there is first rate. But when you have board members, members of the Old Guard, screwing over projects and staff and other board members by going behind their backs, it's time to MoveOn. It's a perfect example of how the process has been corrupted, and the good ol' boys can do whatever they want whenever they want."

"You sound pretty hot about that," Billy observed.

"You betcha I am. My daughter's family lives here. My grandchildren live here. Why should they have to put up with second-rate jobs and consider themselves lucky to have that pittance, all because the Good Ol' Boys have their egos and their heads up their backsides? You don't see the families of the GOB working at slop jobs. You see them pretty well taken care of."

"Wow. You are hot about it."

"Yeah, I am, especially since some of them are making noises about the blog and 'having something done about that.' I guess the light of day is too much for some. Boy howdy, but I've been thinking about retiring again and pulling out all the stops on this thing. Rake out all the muck and the incestuous slime that passes for local politics. Name names, cite sources, follow the money, that sort of thing. You know, the sort of thing that got Mike Harris torpedoed."

"Yeah. Hey. Whatever happened to him, anyway?"

"Beats me. I think he MovedOn to somewhere where there was less interest in self-service and more interest in public service."

Koshare Winter Ceremonials



http://www.koshare.org/

The Koshare Indian Dancers perform the Commanche Dance at the opening ceremonies for the 16th Japan-American Grassroots Summit at the Colorado Springs Broadmoor International Center.

(La Junta, CO) – The Koshare Indian Dancers in La Junta, Colorado conclude their Winter Ceremonials this weekend. The Winter Ceremonials are the more sacred dances performed by the Koshares. The Winter Ceremonials are scheduled for Friday and Saturday (January 19 and 20) at 7:00 PM and Sunday (January 21) at 4:00 PM. All performances are held in the Koshare Indian Kiva (built in 1949) located at 115 West 18th Street in La Junta.

The dances of the Pueblo Indians ask for the spirits to listen to their requests for the earth to provide rain for good crops. Among the dances performed by the Koshare Dancers are:

 Dance of the Four Winds which calls on the spirit guides of the four cardinal directions (north, south, east and west) to send the Blessings of Rain to the Pueblo fields;

 Matachina Dance - with origins in the Middle Age morality plays of Spain, this dance was brought to the New World by the conquistadors to teach the native people their duty to the King and Church;

 Sun Dance – done by the people of the Santa Clara Pueblo, this dance brings rain, fertility to the crops and a good harvest;

 Turkey Dance of Zuni – one of the most traditional dances performed by the Koshares, this dance honors the wild turkey, the staff of life, the people of Zuni dance to this wonderful bird;

 Winter Eagle Dance – the Eagle is one of the most sacred animals to Native American People, and this dance honors the Eagle, who intercedes for the people with the Spirit Father far above;

 Hoop Dance – To the Pueblo People the circle represents the fullness of life, complete and whole. Through their agility, the dancers demonstrate one’s passage through life;

 Basket Dance – done as a prayer of remembrance for the ancient past, but most importantly as a plea for rain so that the crops will grow and food will be plentiful.

One of the newest dances performed by the Koshare Indian Dancers is the Buffalo Dance. This dance and its elaborate headdresses were made possible by a Kinder-Morgan Kids’ Grant. The Buffalo Dance shows the variety in step among the Pueblo people and is one of the favorite of Koshare alumni who have come back to visit. The music used for this dance is among one of the most beautiful songs performed by the Koshare singers and the Navajo Clan drummers.

In the Museum, the Annual Silent Auction is continuing. Original artwork from the Koshare Indian Museum’s Artists of the Month is on display in the Museum and online at www.kosharehistory.org. Many of the pieces were made specifically for the Museum and its patrons. Bids are accepted through the evening of January 21, 2007.

All show tickets include admission to the Museum. Tickets can be purchased at the door. There is no reserved seating. Since the Kiva is a replica of an authentic Pueblo Kiva, you might want to bring something comfortable to sit on. No photography or cell phone use is permitted during the Ceremonials. However, the dancers will pose after the show for photographs. The Koshare Indian Dancers are not a Native American tribe, but young people who have been studying and respecting American Indian culture, dances and songs since 1933.

Museum hours from January through March are: Noon to 5:00 PM Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday. If you are from out of town and will be visiting, please call us at 719.384.4411, and we can arrange to open the Museum and Trading Post for you during non-business hours.

Blizzardry

I had the mutt out again this morning. I was staring out at the snow on the open fields as the little pencilneck sniffed hither and yon. He is very particular about that which he graces by peeing upon it. I usually don't mind that but not when it's 12 degrees in the Swink metroplex. At least it's 12 above zero this morning. And if we were still in La Junta, I'd just let him crap in the neighbor's yard, that being the La Junta standard that I had to deal with for years. But we Swinkians do things a bit differently, at least so far.

DinkyDau Billy came crunching down the street, riding the Fat Possum with those really cool studded snow tires. Innova Tundra Wolves. Good tires.

"Yo! Yo! That little rat's got your number, don't he?" Billy was chortling happily.

I fixed him with a baleful glare.

"You're lucky Innova isn't making those things for 29'ers or I'd chase you down for that."

"Hey. Hey. Be nice. Hey. Hey. Whaddya think about the snow removal over in the northern Otero Megopolis?"

"The Smile Hi City? Well...I remember that blizzard back in the early 80's, when I was still a reserve with the cops. And the '97 blizzard, when I was full-time with the cops. And of course, this last one."

"Yeah? Yeah? How's they compare?"

"Well...by all reports this last one was by far the worst one, yet it seemed to me that the cops and fire departments had it covered much better than the other two, and the snow removal by the city was handled a lot better, too. Getting those contracts out for the out-of-city trucks, so quickly, was a real saver. I'd have to say that so far as the city is concerned, this one was handled a lot better."

"Yeah. Yeah. Seemed that way to me, too. The ranchers are still catching it bad, though."

"Yep. I think they are still adding up the dead livestock. It's a real kick in the butt for them."

"I heard Little Caesar's was donating part of their proceeds to the ranchers, through January 31."

"I heard the same thing. If it's true, good on 'em, hey?"

"Yep. Hey. Hey. I'm outa here. I'm stopping for a breakfast pizza this morning."

Billy pedaled off.

The mutt sniffed, lifted his leg, and did his thing with great skill and dignity.

1/17/07

Economic Development

I stopped off at The Barista early this morning for a latte, which isn't a bad way to start a cold day like today.

There was Billy, slurping down a double 'spresso and snuffling an onion and garlic bagel. He was dressed head to toe in a Goretex body suit. It was a...sight.

"Yo! Yo! Howyadoon!" Billy asked.

"Oh, once I get over the sight of you in that zoot suit I think I'll be OK. You rode the Fat Possum in from the Swink Metroplex?"

"Yup. Bracing, that's what it was. Bracing." Billy was on a roll.

"It was minus fifteen in the Swink city center," I noted.

"Yup. Bracing. Really bracing. Hey. What's up with economic development now?"

"Well," I said, thoughtfully, "I think it's like this:

Way back when, the powers-that-be decided that we needed to go forth and seek out business to come into town. So this LJDI outfit was formed. Thing is, it wasn't a gummint entity, but it got a big chunk of its funding from the City of La Junta. That's your tax dollars and mine."

"Yeah? Yeah?"

"You gotta admit, it's a good idea."

"Yeah. Yeah."

"But like too many other projects, this one got mired down in good ol' boys back-scratching and politics. They had more junkets than a freshman congressman. Lots of wining and dining. You can do that when the taxpayers are footing the bill, and there is no accountability to the taxpayer."

"No accountability?"

"Nope. Once the money was transferred to LJDI, it was theirs to do with as they wished. There may have been audits, but they did not have to answer to the taxpayer, and besides, when did you ever see an audit from LJDI?"

"Yeah. Yeah."

"Remember how city council would ask for reports, and that guy who was the chairman basically told 'em to pound sand?"

"Yeah. Grasmick, I think."

"Yep. He was one of several. And then it got to be that the director, the board, and everyone involved with it was carrying on like a bunch of inbred hillbillies. The good ol' boys and girls syndrome taken to the max. Like they were the Hatfields and everyone else was the McCoys and what they did was nobody's business."

"Yeah. Yeah."

"Every time anyone had the audacity to raise questions, the great and the near-great threw hissy fits, and started listing all the 'accomplishments'. Thing is, close scrutiny of those 'accomplishments' showed that they weren't all that great, and usually LJDI wasn't all that influential anyway. It was a classic snowjob on the public."

"Yeah. Yeah. And I remember that Courtner started staying home from that office We the People were funding, and 'working' from home. Yeah. I remember that. Boy howdy, but she got a good golden parachute out of that by going to Ken Salazar's office."

"Yep. They sure do take care of each other. Lots of those taxpayers who footed the LJDI bill are thoroughly screwed - no jobs, you know - but them what sucked from the public tit and left those people hanging sure managed to do OK for themselves. It usually happens that way, doesn't it?"

"Yeah. Yeah."

"And so when council finally worked up the gumption to do something about it, and dumped LJDI, some of those great and near-great of La Juntan society seriously vapor-locked. It ain't supposed to be that way. When you buy a councilman, he's supposed to stay bought."

"They were paying off councilmen?" Billy was aghast.

"No. Nope. It's a figure of speech. No, they weren't paying off people literally, of course, but it was that old political capital thing. Back-scratching, ticket-fixing, good ol' boy backslapping...the usual stuff."

"Oh." Billy was relieved.

"Bob Friedenberger had a lot to do with getting us out of that. Bob's got guts. He saw through the political garbage associated with LJDI and the lack of progress and was pretty much fed up with the secrecy and the 'screw you' attitude from LJDI. It was one of the best moves council ever made."

"Yeah. Yeah." Billy was in complete agreement.

"So then we went to Wayne Snider, who had been the new director over at LJDI till they started screwing him, too, and he resigned. This was all taking place concurrently, you see."

"Ah. So council picked him up as a consultant. The funding that went to LJDI now went to Wayne Snider."

"Yep. That's my understanding. And ever since, he's been working on various deals trying to get companies to come in. Right now there are several simmering away, but the great and the near-great who backed LJDI are trying to torpedo Snider because he hasn't come up with any miracles fast enough."

"Yeah. How come they didn't raise such a stink when LJDI wasn't coming up with anything and Courtner was sitting on her backside at home?"

"Now that's a question, isn't it. I'd say it's a good bet they are more interested in scratching each others' backs and feathering each others' nests more than they are interested in getting jobs for all those people who got screwed in the end by LJDI's lack of production."

"Yeah. Yeah. Think they'll get away with it?"

"Probably. If people don't realize what's going on and raise a stink over it, yeah they probably will. You know, here we are, the national economy doing quite well despite what the doomsayers are dribbling out, but here...we have families struggling to make ends meet, to pay bills, to put food on the table...no jobs...it seems every time someone comes up with some viable idea to make things a bit better we end up taking two steps back. Look at the fiasco over tourism."

"Yeah. Yeah. I remember that. So much for citizen input, huh?"

"You got it. Hey. I gotta go. My latte's getting cold and I gotta git to work. At least I still have a job. For the moment."

"Yeah. Yeah. You keep shootin' your mouth off and how long do you think that will last?" Billy snickered nastily.

"If I don't shoot my mouth off and these yay-hoos get their way, and the local economy continues to tank, it will probably last a lot less time. C-ya 'round the flagpole, dude. Stay warm."

"Yep. Long as I kin pay the heatin' bill..."

1/16/07

The Man in the Water

The other day I was reading the fishwrapper's "Today in History", and I noticed that January 13, 1982 was the day that Air Florida's Flight 90 crashed into the 14th Street Bridge in Washington.

I remembered that. Who could not? The television shots of the few survivors in the ice-choked river; the people on the shore jumping in to try to save them; the one fellow who kept handing over others to the rescuers. He was never rescued. They went back for him, but he was gone.

That one fellow led to Roger Rosenblatt writing what became one of my favorite essays. It appeared in the January 25, 1982 issue of Time Magazine.

Time has all that archived.

Here it is:

http://tinyurl.com/y92uaw

It's a two pager. Click on the 'page 2' link at the bottom of the first page.

An excerpt:

"The odd thing is that we do not even really believe that the man in the water lost his fight. "Everything in Nature contains all the powers of Nature," said Emerson. Exactly. So the man in the water had his own natural powers. He could not make ice storms, or freeze the water until it froze the blood. But he could hand life over to a stranger, and that is a power of nature too. The man in the water pitted himself against an implacable, impersonal enemy; he fought it with charity; and he held it to a standoff. He was the best we can do."

Piñon Canyon: The Snowjob Continues...

Contact: Lon Robertson
President, Pinon Canyon Expansion Opposition Coalition (PCEOC)
719.980.5114

Michelle Wiseman
Purgatoire, Apishapa & Comanche Grassland Trust (Grassland Trust)
719.251.0544


IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
January 15, 2007

Feds Stonewall Public on Escalation of War Training


Opponents to a proposal for escalated military training in southeastern Colorado are feeling like they've been stranded twice.

First by a series of record-breaking blizzards that have cut them off from the outside world and then by a refusal on the part of the military to give them more time to review and comment upon a 400 page, legally required document which outlines the anticipated damage to the environment and to the social fabric of ranching communities that proposed escalated war training would inflict upon the area.

An alliance of ranchers, archaeologists, environmental conservationists, paleontologists, historians, wildlands advocates, educators, private property proponents, business people, and residents of southeastern Colorado scrambled to meet an imposed deadline for public input on a plan for escalated war training at the 235,000-acre Pinon Canyon Maneuver Site in southeastern Colorado. They had hoped for more time.

Federal Representatives and the Department of Defense stonewalled requests from people buried in snow in southeastern Colorado, now a declared Federal Disaster Area.

Although United States Senator Ken Salazar (D-CO), a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, wrote a letter to Secretary of the Army, Francis J. Harvey, requesting an additional 21 days for the public to have their say, there was apparently no response from the Army to the Senator.

“We appreciate Senator Salazar’s letter to assist us,” stated Lon Robertson, President of the Pinon Canyon Expansion Opposition Coalition. “It’s too bad that Secretary Harvey chose to ignore the Senator’s request and slap all of us in the face in the process,” he added. The 21-day extension would have meant that all residents of southeastern Colorado would have had the chance to have their voices heard through comments on the plans for escalation.

Congressman John Salazar (D-CO) and Congresswoman Marilyn Musgrave (R-CO), both members of the House Agriculture Committee, earlier submitted letters responding to the Coalition’s request for an extension of time for public input without success.

Escalation of war training on one of the last remaining healthy grasslands in the American Great Plains would drastically affect the people and environment of southeastern Colorado at tremendous taxpayer cost.

* Southeastern Colorado is vital to agriculture in the region and has a rich history of ranching that is the backbone of the local economies. Much of that ranchland has been passed down through several generations.

* Las Animas, Huerfano and Otero counties will be impacted most heavily; approximately 44,000 people live and work in these counties and will be severely affected.

* Las Animas County will lose millions of dollars in annual tax revenue if the proposed expansion is approved. Similar losses can be expected in the other counties near the maneuver site. Without this revenue, local governments will not be able to pay for fundamental services such as police and fire protection or social infrastructure including schools, hospitals and clinics.

* Pouring more taxpayer money into the existing facility -- when the military already holds 25,000,000 acres in the United States -- to escalate war training on a fragile grassland will contaminate water resources with lead, petroleum products and other hazardous materials, rendering water unfit for agricultural or domestic use while introducing more pollutants into the Arkansas River.

* Expanded training activities will destroy vegetation and increase soil erosion, creating the potential for another dust bowl in the area. These ecosystems contain critical habitat for many diverse species of flora and fauna and cannot be replaced if destroyed. According to The Nature Conservancy, “the lands surrounding the Pinon Canyon Maneuver Site represent one of the largest blocks of native grasslands on the western High Plains.”

* The archaeological and historical sites located on the PCMS form an important cultural record and should be protected to the fullest extent possible. War training damage to archaeological resources is permanent, and incremental damage is cumulative and adverse.

* The Purgatoire River valley, its tributaries and the surrounding areas contain an abundance of diverse paleontological resources that include trace plant, and invertebrate fossils from the Permian through Cretaceous geological periods (about 250-145.5 million years ago). Dinosaur fossils are harmed and/or destroyed by mechanized training exercises and dismounted training exercises.

Public input was limited by disastrous blizzards, and then later by the refusal of the Secretary of the Army and Federal Representatives to allow adequate opportunity for many affected by the storms.

Even though expressions of concern were limited, Pinon Canyon Opposition Coalition and the diverse alliance of groups and individuals who value this important bio-cultural region will continue to strongly oppose the continued use and escalation of war training on the Pinon Canyon Maneuver Site.

1/15/07

Economic Development 101

Trudging back from the post office, I was crunching my way through the snow and ice and wondering if we would ever see pavement or dirt again, when I heard a holler:

"Hey! HEY! Wutcha doon?"

It was DinkyDau Billy.

"Hey yerself," I replied, "I'm on the way home from the post office. Why?"

"C'mon over to Quickee's for a cappy," Our Stalwart demanded.

So I did.

We were sitting there, having taken off parkas, gloves, hats, scarves, and boots. I had my feet up on the opposite bench.

"Hey. Hey. You hear the best things right here in Quickee's," Billy enthused, "It's even better than Loaf West over in the La Junta Megopolis."

I raised my eyebrows in encouragement.

"For example, did you know that this business of putting out bids for the city attorney and the city judge and the economic development dude were all a cover?"

"Uh...I had an inkling," I cautiously replied, "you don't have to be a rocket scientist to figure it out. I mean, it isn't normal, so there must be some underlying reason for it. I suppose that reason is as good as any."

"Yeah. Yeah. Summa the great and the near-great gots a hangman's noose out for that white-haired guy, whatsisname, over in economic development and they figger that by putting them all up for bid they can get ridda him."

"Uh. That's pretty bluntly put," I observed, "where'd you come by your info?"

"Yeah. Yeah. Well. I wuz eatin' a Moon Pie over there by the cash register and some suits, bankers and real estate agents and a couple of theater managers got gassed and were gossipin'. Summa them Big City Powerbrokers still have their knickers in a twist over LJDI and now they're putting on the heat to go back to the old ways, even though council voted unanimously to dump LJDI."

"You mean 'got gas' and were paying for it over by the register?"

"No, man, listen to me. Quit puttin' words in my mouth. They wuz gassed. I think they'd been over at the Stickhorse Saloon, you know, the one wit da big 'Hangover Hangout' sign on the front."

"Oh. Oh, yeah, the old ways that did so much good, right? Hey. Maybe what Wayne - that's the white-haired dude - needs to do is sit on his backside over at his house and tell everyone he's working from home. That worked for LJDI for quite a while, though it didn't work very well for those of us what were footin' their bill, hey wot?" I was a bit miffed.

"Like dude! You get all het up over this! Ain't it amazing how many of the big shots will buy into all kinds of slacking based on who is pals with who or who is screwing who at any given time? And then get all affronted over questions of character?"

Billy was a bit miffed, too, and so stated in his usual inimitable way.

"Well, I'd say we have no lack of characters, Billy."

"Huh. Hey. Hey. What's up with that councilman wantin' to bid on the economic development thing? Yeah. I hear he wanted to bid on the economic development thing. What about that?"

"Beats me. I've heard rumors but that's all. I think it'd be a terrible conflict of interest, though, don't you? I mean, if it were true?"

"Yeah buddy. And I gots doubts about lawsuits and stuff like that, too. I don't wanna see nobody in there what's got lawsuits."

"Yes. Well, I am sure that as always it will come down to what's best for the citizens of La Junta, and personal hates and dislikes and unseemly legal entanglements won't be factors."

Billy snorted some hot cappacino up his ample snoot. He gasped and wheezed and blew snot over three tables, causing more than a bit of consternation among other patrons. He even knocked his tinfoil cap askew.

I pounded him on the back.

"Billy. Why don't you put in a bid for the economic development position?" I asked.

"Huh. I should," he gasped, "after all, I gots my Vanguard funds all lined up and producing money like a row of dairy cows dumpin' milk. Do ya think I'd fit in at the Legislative Dinner or the hoity-toity flesh-pressin' meetings?"

"I'm sure you would, dude. Trim your beard a bit and maybe think about untying the dreadlocks for a bit and I think you'd be a shoo in. You could become one of those 'metrosexuals', you smoothie, you."

"Hey! HEY! I ain't no pree-vert!" Billy, being an Old Testament kinda guy, was enraged.

"No, dude, I said 'metrosexual'. Very smooth yuppie type. Nothing wrong with that, though you'd have to develop a much more sophisticated taste in coffee beverages. And maybe give up the Fat Possum and the Harley. No, the Fat Possum would fit right in up in Yuppiedom; the Harley would be a deal killer though."

"I kin park the Harley in your garage."

"Yep. You could."

Last thing I know, Billy was online with his laptop ordering a copy of "Economic Development 101: Small Town Economics Made Fashionable" and "Economic Development for Dummies".

Living in Swink might turn out to be a hoot, after all. Quickee's seems to be the place to go.

Snow Tires

So there I was, standing out in front of the house, watching the mutt pick up one foot after another, trying to keep his toes from freezing to the ground.

"C'mon, you weasel-nosed little toad, pee," I said.

I'm not entirely without sympathy but standing there in my shorts, bundled up in my parka, wearing my tennies with no socks, I was not oozing out a great deal of good will toward Man's Best Friend.

I heard a strange crunching behind me, and turned to see DinkyDau Billy on his latest bike. Yep. He was riding on the snowpack.

"Whoa. Dude! That's quite a ride you have there!" I exclaimed.

"Yeah. Yeah. It's a 'Fat Possum XO'," Billy noted,"Pretty, ain't it?"

"No kidding. That metallic black really stands out," I said.

"Yeah. Yeah. Hey. How do you like Swink?" Billy asked.

"Well, it's different, I'll say that," I said,"It's a lot quieter, for one thing. The only thumpers and boomers you hear are the ones on the way to The Smile Hi City over on the highway, and there's not a lot of barkers, either. I'm quite surprised at that."

"Huh. Yeah, I've noticed that myself. I moved over here last month," he said.

"Wow. I didn't know that!" I exclaimed. I was doing quite a bit of exclaiming today. Meanwhile, the mutt was beginning to dribble. "Keep going, you little varmint," I told him, "I'm not coming back out here till you cross your feet and put a clothespin on it." He glared at me over the frost building up on his nose.

"What is that thing, anyway," Billy asked, wrinkling his nose at the little steamer the mutt had just dropped.

"It's a dachshund-beagle," I explained, "with visions of grandeur. He actually thinks he's a lot bigger than he really is. It gets him in trouble sometimes."

"Huh. I'll bet. Anyway, I moved out here last month. I figgered I wanted to try a bit of life in the suburbs."

"Well so far it ain't bad. Getting away from the hub bub and bustle of the metropolis. Hey. How are you riding on the snow pack?"

"Like, dude, it's easy. I got summa those studded tires. These are Innova Tundra Wolfs."

"Wolves."

"Huh? No. Wolfs."

"Whatever. They work good, huh?"

"Yup. Hey. Why're you standing out here in shorts? Are you stupid or what?"

"Well, I was thinkin' the mutt would pee quick in this cold. You know, get it done and get back inside. But nope, he just stands there looking pathetic. Sooner or later hydraulic pressure is going to force the issue."

"Yeah, but your knees are looking really bad, dude. You might wanna cut your losses and git back in the house."

"Nope. I ain't givin' this little hose-nose the satisfaction. It's a test of wills. It's a matter of pride."

"Huh. Well. I'm gonna go over to the post office and check mail and then over to Quickee's and sit there with a cup of crappacino and watch the traffic drive by on the highway. It's really relaxing."

"Yes. It is. Especially in the spring and summer with a nice warm breeze blowing and the flowers blooming over by the flag across the road."

"Yup. Hey. C-Ya," Billy said, as his studded snows dug in. "Suck it up, rat-tail, you ain't gonna win," he said to the mutt as he passed him in the snow.

The mutt just snorted out a whiff of fog, adding to the frost on his nose.

"It was not like a very pretty scene..."

It would appear that the current regime in Iraq needs to take a few lessons from Saddam Hussein:

http://tinyurl.com/v885w

I'll bet it wasn't like a very pretty scene.

It's like, dude, so tacky when the hangee's head detaches. Very unprofessional.

Perhaps the current regime might consider pardoning some of Saddam's henchmen, so as to form a professional gallows team. After all, they've had enough practice at it...a detail the handwringers will undoubtedly forget or overlook.

1/14/07

What Thomas Jefferson Learned

Much was made of Keith Ellison's recent swearing in as a Congresscritter. Mr. Ellison is the first Muslim to serve in the Congress. Much was made of the fact that he used a Koran from Thomas Jefferson's collection. But not much was made of how TJ came to have a copy of the Koran. Here is the rest of the story:

What Thomas Jefferson learned
by Jodie A. at 09:45PM (EST) on January 9, 2007

By Ted Sampley- U.S. Veteran Dispatch
January 2007

Democrat Keith Ellison is now officially the first Muslim United States congressman. True to his pledge, he placed his hand on the Quran, the Muslim book of jihad and pledged his allegiance to the United States during his ceremonial swearing-in.

Capitol Hill staff said Ellison's swearing-in photo opportunity drew more media than they had ever seen in the history of the U.S. House. Ellison represents the 5th Congressional District of Minnesota.

The Quran Ellison used was no ordinary book. It once belonged to Thomas Jefferson, third president of the United States and one of America's founding fathers. Ellison borrowed it from the Rare Book Section of the Library of Congress. It was one of the 6,500 Jefferson books archived in the library.

Ellison, who was born in Detroit and converted to Islam while in college,said he chose to use Jefferson's Quran because it showed that "a visionary like Jefferson" believed that wisdom could be gleaned from many sources. There is no doubt Ellison was right about Jefferson believing wisdom could be "gleaned" from the Muslim Quran. At the time Jefferson owned the book, he needed to know everything possible about Muslims because he was about to advocate war against the Islamic "Barbary" states of Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia and Tripoli.

Ellison's use of Jefferson's Quran as a prop illuminates a subject once well-known in the history of the United States, but, which today, is mostly forgotten - the Muslim pirate slavers who over many centuries enslaved millions of Africans and tens of thousands of Christian Europeans and Americans in the Islamic "Barbary" states.

Over the course of 10 centuries, Muslim pirates cruised the African and Mediterranean coastline, pillaging villages and seizing slaves. The taking of slaves in pre-dawn raids on unsuspecting coastal villages had a high casualty rate. It was typical of Muslim raiders to kill off as many of the "non-Muslim" older men and women as possible so the preferred "booty" of only young women and children could be collected.

Young non-Muslim women were targeted because of their value as concubines in Islamic markets. Islamic law provides for the sexual interests of Muslim men by allowing them to take as many as four wives at one time and to have as many concubines as their fortunes allow.

Boys, as young as 9 or 10 years old, were often mutilated to create eunuchs who would bring higher prices in the slave markets of the Middle East. Muslim slave traders created "eunuch stations" along major African slave routes so the necessary surgery could be performed. It was estimated that only a small number of the boys subjected to the mutilation survived after the surgery.

When American colonists rebelled against British rule in 1776, American merchant ships lost Royal Navy protection. With no American Navy for protection, American ships were attacked and their Christian crews enslaved by Muslim pirates operating under the control of the "Dey of Algiers"--an Islamist warlord ruling Algeria.

Because American commerce in the Mediterranean was being destroyed by the pirates, the Continental Congress agreed in 1784 to negotiate treaties with the four Barbary States. Congress appointed a special commission consisting of John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, and Benjamin Franklin, to oversee the negotiations.

Lacking the ability to protect its merchant ships in the Mediterranean, the new America government tried to appease the Muslim slavers by agreeing to pay tribute and ransoms in order to retrieve seized American ships and buy the freedom of enslaved sailors.

Adams argued in favor of paying tribute as the cheapest way to get American commerce in the Mediterranean moving again. Jefferson was opposed. He believed there would be no end to the demands for tribute and wanted matters settled "through the medium of war." He proposed a league of trading nations to force an end to Muslim piracy.

In 1786, Jefferson, then the American ambassador to France, and Adams, then the American ambassador to Britain, met in London with Sidi Haji Abdul Rahman Adja, the "Dey of Algiers" ambassador to Britain.

The Americans wanted to negotiate a peace treaty based on Congress' vote to appease.

During the meeting Jefferson and Adams asked the Dey's ambassador why Muslims held so much hostility towards America, a nation with which they had no previous contacts.

In a later meeting with the American Congress, the two future presidents reported that Ambassador Sidi Haji Abdul Rahman Adja had answered that Islam "was founded on the Laws of their Prophet, that it was written in their Quran, that all nations who should not have acknowledged their authority were sinners, that it was their right and duty to make war upon them wherever they could be found, and to make slaves of all they could take as Prisoners, and that every Musselman (Muslim) who should be slain in Battle was sure to go to Paradise."

For the following 15 years, the American government paid the Muslims millions of dollars for the safe passage of American ships or the return of American hostages. The payments in ransom and tribute amounted to 20 percent of United States government annual revenues in 1800.

Not long after Jefferson's inauguration as president in 1801, he dispatched a group of frigates to defend American interests in the Mediterranean, and informed Congress.

Declaring that America was going to spend "millions for defense but not one cent for tribute," Jefferson pressed the issue by deploying American Marines and many of America's best warships to the Muslim Barbary Coast. The USS Constitution, USS Constellation, USS Philadelphia, USS Chesapeake,USS Argus, USS Syren and USS Intrepid all saw action.

In 1805, American Marines marched across the dessert from Egypt into Tripolitania, forcing the surrender of Tripoli and the freeing of all American slaves.

During the Jefferson administration, the Muslim Barbary States, crumbling as a result of intense American naval bombardment and on shore raids by Marines, finally officially agreed to abandon slavery and piracy. Jefferson's victory over the Muslims lives on today in the Marine Hymn, with the line, "From the halls of Montezuma to the shores of Tripoli, we will fight our country's battles on the land as on the sea."

It wasn't until 1815 that the problem was fully settled by the total defeat of all the Muslim slave trading pirates.

Jefferson had been right. The "medium of war" was the only way to put and end to the Muslim problem. Mr. Ellison was right about Jefferson. He was a "visionary" wise enough to read and learn about the enemy from their own Muslim book of jihad.

Original US History Docs
First time on the Internet! U.S. history documents and images.
http://www.footnotesignup.com/lg007/

1/12/07

"Go away and leave us alone..."

Our spies in Cheraw tell us that is what's up now on the white board in the Cheraw fire station.

It's quite sad, isn't it, that this is the attitude of those upon whom the citizens of Cheraw depend?

"Go away and leave us alone."

The product of abject ignorance is what that comment is.

How sad.

Put me on the 'ass wippin' list, boys. Please.

The Boxer Strikes a Low Blow

Barbara Boxer, Democratic senator from California, once again demonstrates that she is shrill, shrewish, and ill-mannered, with her comments about Condoleeza Rice:

When Condi appeared in the Senate in defense of President Bush's policies in Iraq, this is what Boxer had to say:

"Who pays the price? I'm not going to pay a personal price," Boxer said. "My kids are too old, and my grandchild is too young."

Then, to Rice: "You're not going to pay a particular price, as I understand it, with an immediate family."

What's that? She's taking Rice to task for being a single, childless woman?

Yup. That's exactly what she did.

Apparently Boxer feels that Condi, with no children, is unable to understand the terrible cost of a war.

What drivel.

And it once again illustrates that entirely too many of the Democratic leadership operate on mindless emotionalism. It's hard enough to make decisions of public policy without introducing emotional pukery into the equation.

That doesn't seem to bother Barbara Boxer.

The Sheehan Nutjob Strikes a Blow For Freedom!

The January 11 entry over on No Pasaran! :

http://no-pasaran.blogspot.com/

Cindy continues to lose her mind over Imperialist/Fascist America, while snuggling up with the likes of Castro and ignoring the Ba'athist murderers in Iraq. How nice to be possessed of situational morality.

I wonder if she visited Isla de Pinos? If she did, it was most likely as a monument to Castro's 'suffering' while he was imprisoned there rather than to protest the hundreds, thousands of torturings and murders that took place there later under his regime, before he turned it into a scuba resort.

Ironically, the Protestors Can Leave Cuba
posted by Joe Noory @ 8:57 PM

Unlike the Cubans, these wankers don’t need to risk it on an innertube:

A dozen American peace activists, including Cindy Sheehan, marched to the security fence around the US military enclave in eastern Cuba chanting "Guantanamo prison, place of shame, no more torture in our name."

Fine. Feel free do it in MY name if you have to. The Fascist Fishwife can join her peaced-out pacifistic kindred spirits and just stay in Castro’s “paradise” for all I care.

As for her fellow travelers, make a note of the fake photo montage and how many times the word “probably” appears in this feeble parody, all anticipating hopes of finding the very worst of their “real enemy” – their fellow citizens from a country where it’s still bad form and at last check unlawful to target unsuspecting civilians just to get your jollies. Behold, their chachas at Reuters prattling on about Sheehan and Medea Benjamin “defying” the travel ban on Cuba under the heading of “crisis” while neglecting to mention the Cuban “travel ban” on Cubans that thousands have died defying.

Apparently, that’s not a crisis to Reuters or the "peace" camp, and neither was this:

"I was ten years old. But they changed my age to 18 for execution.”
“Dear Mom and Dad. I am going to be executed by the Baath. I will not see you again.”
10,725 people were killed in this one building alone. All died during torture. Formal execution actually took place in Abu Ghraib.

Yet the sad subculture of leftist protesters is uniquely obsessed with entirely different things that happened at Gitmo and on the island of Cuba.