Friday, November 26, 2010

Things you probably didn't know about Jingle Bells

It was originally written for a Thanksgiving Sunday school program. And the last verse, tells you to "go it, while you're young, take the girls tonight and....."

You'll just have to read the rest here.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Obama administration unravelling?

Obama conducting Reign of Terror (← click for full story)

President Obama was urged by the few White House insiders from whom he still takes advice to leave the country on his ten-day Asian trip, his longest trip abroad since becoming president, in order to not inflict any more damage to the Democratic Party in the wake of one of the worst electoral defeats for the party of an incumbent president in recent history. According to sources close to the White House, who put themselves in great danger by even talking to members of the media, the plans to have Obama leave for a visit to India, Pakistan, Indonesia, South Korea, and Japan are an attempt to get Obama out of the country while top Democrats can sort through the political disaster created for the party by Obama's increasingly detached-from-reality presidency.

Virtual political guerrilla warfare has broken out between Obama's inner circle on one hand and senior Democratic officials, including outgoing House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Democratic Party strategist James Carville, former Demcratic National Committee chairman Howard Dean, and, behind-the-scenes, Vice President Joe Biden and former President Bill Clinton, on the other.

White House leaks about the ineffectiveness of Obama's presidency are expandng beyond the revelations attributed to a former high-level Obama administration insider and which have been reported by a blogger named "Ulsterman." Some White House staffers have described a "reign of terror" in the White House over continued leaks and a troika of leadership that is making decisions without any input from the president. The troika reportedly consists of First Lady Michelle Obama, presidential adviser Valerie Jarrett, and the president's mother-in-law, Marian Robinson, who resides in the White House.

Vice President Biden, under intense pressure from some Democratic Party officials and Cabinet members to invoke Article 25, Section 4 of the Constitution and have Obama temporarily or permanently removed as president because of his mental incapacity to fulfill his constitutional oath as president is reluctant to take such drastic action. Biden feels that the country would "become unglued" after such action and he doesn't want to be the one who would be responsible for "picking up the pieces," according to a source who works within Biden's office.

White House staff exodus - signs of disarray (← click for full story)

More senior White House staff are to leave in the next few months, adding to the high exit rate from President Barack Obama's administration.

Political analysts attribute the attrition rate to exhaustion, but Republican opponents blame disarray inside the White House, with an insular team responsible for too many policy failures.

"The exhaustion rate for this administration is more accelerated due to the problems they encountered in January 2009. There was no presidential 'honeymoon'," Baker said today. He added that some of them had been working intensively on economic policy in the six months before Obama took over.

"These are worn-out, depleted people who are not waiting for the fire alarm to be sounded before heading for the emergency exit," Baker said.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Late-night comedians on Obama's trip to Asia

"President Obama went to India, South Korea, then Japan. He’s going to keep traveling until he finds his birth certificate."
David Letterman

"President Obama was in India yesterday visiting our jobs. Tomorrow he goes to China to visit our money."
Jay Leno

"President Obama is still out of the country but he's keeping in contact with Vice President Joe Biden to find out when it's safe to come back home."
Jay Leno

"The president’s trip was cut short due to volcanic ash. That’s the second time his plans have been disrupted by ash. The last time was when the Democrats went down in flames."
Jay Leno

A message to HP Product Support

This soldier in Iraq had an HP printer which quit working. He contacted HP tech support for help to fix it. HP told the soldier that he would have to pay them for their advice. Watch this 60 second video for his response.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

A Veteran's Day story

On a morning in September 2009 that he will never forget, John C. Wright, a longtime professor of chemistry at UW-Madison, was getting ready to walk from his office to the class he was scheduled to teach when his telephone rang.

That call, and a fax that followed a short time later, directing him to a website, knocked Wright for a loop. He is not an emotional person, but Wright teared up reading an article on the website.

"I was astonished," he said recently. He needed a little walk to calm down before teaching his class.

What Wright, 67, learned that September morning set in motion a series of events that culminated last month when he and his family flew to England for the unveiling ceremony of a memorial plaque honoring the father Wright never knew.

Full story here.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Kama'aina Birthday Remembrance

About 1970 the Marines accepted the first all-Hawaiian training platoon to go to San Diego en masse from the Islands. They would be kept together until graduation. The Star Bulletin had a great cartoon of the boys boarding the plane in their Hawaiian shirts and zoris lustily singing
From the slopes Mauna Kea,
To the shore at Waikiki,
We eat saimin and cracker seed,
And sometimes opihi...

Happy 236th!

Happy birthday, Marines! Exactly 41 years ago, I was attending the (very formal) Marine Ball held in Spaso House, The US Ambassador's residence in Moscow. The night when a British Cavalry Brigadier General stabbed Mrs. Beam (the ambassador's wife) in the calf with his spur out on the dance floor. My father, a (real, horse-type) army cavalryman from the 1930's, was appalled. "Everyone knows you take your spurs off before dancing!"


As we Marines – active, Reserve, retired, and former – celebrate the 235th anniversary of our birth in a Philadelphia alehouse during the American Revolution (specifically Nov. 10, 1775), three things come to mind.

First: Yes, we Marines boast. We always have – things like “it’s hard to be humble when you’re the finest” – but much of this boasting stems from the pride in our organization’s amazing successes and our hard-won reputation over the past two centuries. And it also comes from the fact that – because we are the smallest, most unique kid on the block – the bigger kids have always tried to knock us down, put us in our place, dismiss us as cult-like and unnecessary, and either absorb us into their own ranks or disband us entirely.

One example of this was Army Gen. Frank Armstrong, who in the late 1940’s – even after the Corps’ stunning performance in World War II – proposed absorbing Marines into the Army, and referred to us as “a small bitched-up army talking Navy lingo.”

Decades later, in 1997, Assistant Secretary of the Army Sara Lister proclaimed before a Harvard University audience, “I think the Army is much more connected to society than the Marines are. Marines are extremists. Wherever you have extremists, you’ve got some risks of total disconnection with society. And that’s a little dangerous.”

So you see we’ve had to boast a bit, if for no other reason than to counter our detractors.

Second: I’m reminded of the words of pro-Marine outsiders (non-Marines), who heap praise on us because they are secure enough in their own skins and we are so extraordinarily good at what we do (though some might wish we weren’t so good) that it would be insincere to deny us that praise.

Third: I’m reminded of the enemies of America who praise us in the expression of their fears.

So since this week is our birthday, let me share with everyone – the sheer point of this article – some of that praise from the big kids on the block (who aren’t always thrilled that we exist), the pro-Marine outsiders, and America’s enemies.

We begin with a bit of unintentional praise.

During the 1983 invasion of Grenada, Army Gen. John W. Vessey Jr., then chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, picked up a telephone and demanded to know why “two companies of Marines [are] running all over the island and thousands of Army troops [are] doing nothing. What the hell is going on?”

We continue with a bit of matter-of-factness.

James Adams, former CEO of United Press International, describes in his 1989 book, SECRET ARMIES, "Marines with 20 percent of the [American] force ended up occupying 80 percent of the island [Grenada]"

Then in a 1992 study conducted by the Heritage Foundation, it was determined that “for every [U.S.] Army soldier in a combat position, one soldier is behind the lines in such supporting roles as administration and supply; for Marines the ratio is two combatants to one administrator or supplier. As a result, the Marine Corps delivers the most firepower in the quickest time when responding to a crisis. … The Marine Corps’ greatest advantage over other services is the speed and muscle with which it can respond to a crisis.”

In 2006, national defense and economics historian Dr. Larry Schweikart – in his book, AMERICA'S VICTORIES – WHY THE U.S. WINS WARS AND WILL WIN THE WAR ON TERROR – describes the performance of U.S. troops during the 2003 invasion of Iraq: “The Marines, given their superiority in combat training and despite their youth (Marines are the youngest, on average, of the enlisted troops) generally fared far better than the regular Army in combat situations.”

Now let’s look at some of the subjective praise based on pure observation.

"The deadliest weapon in the world is a Marine and his rifle."
— U.S. Army Gen. John J. "Black Jack" Pershing

"The safest place in Korea was right behind a platoon of Marines. Lord, how they could fight!"
— U.S. Army Major Frank Lowe

"U.S. Marines have the swagger, confidence, and hardness that must have been in Stonewall Jackson's Army of the Shenandoah."
— A British military observer's report

"Marines have it [pride] and benefit from it. They are tough, cocky, sure of themselves and their buddies. They can fight, and they know it."
— U.S. Army General Mark Clark

"Marines I see as two breeds, Rottweilers or Dobermans, because Marines come in two varieties, big and mean, or skinny and mean. They're aggressive on the attack and tenacious on defense. They've got really short hair and they always go for the throat."
— Rear Admiral J.R. Stark, U.S. Navy

And lastly, let’s look at a few examples of how America’s enemies have traditionally perceived us.

During the Korean War, Chinese premier Mao Tse Tung was so-concerned about the combat prowess of the 1st Marine Division that he issued a death contract on the entire division, which he stated, “has the highest combat effectiveness” of any division in the U.S. armed forces. “It seems not enough for our four divisions to surround and annihilate [the 1st Marine Division’s] two regiments,” Mao said in orders to the commander of the 9th Chinese Army Group. “You should have one or two more divisions as a reserve force.”

During the same war, a captured North Korean officer confessed, “Panic sweeps my men when they are facing the American Marines.”

Years later during the first Gulf War, Iraqi soldiers nicknamed their U.S. Marine foes, “Angels of Death.”

And during the 2004 U.S. assault on the Iraqi city of Fallujah, an intercepted radio transmission revealed the enemy’s utter fear of America’s few good men.

“We are fighting, but the Marines keep coming,” shouted a panic-stricken Al Qaeda insurgent to his commander. “We are shooting, but the Marines won’t stop.”

Happy Birthday, Marines, and Semper Fi!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Daylight Saving Time quote

Winning the World Series with math

To run the bases faster, baseball players just need a bit of mathematics, according to research by an undergraduate math major and his professors. Their calculations show that the optimal path around the bases is one that perhaps no major-league ball player has ever run: It swings out a full 18.5 feet from the baseline.

Read more here.

Post-election musings

Daylight Saving Time song

The Daylight Saving Time song

Only the Brits...

Notice posted at a golf course in war-torn Britain in 1940 for golfers...

Woody Allen algebra

"In summing up, I wish I had some kind of affirmative message to leave you with; I don't. Would you take two negative messages?"

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

The Politician

Behold the politician.
Self-preservation is his ambition.
He thrives in the D. of C.,
Where he was sent by you and me.

Whether elected or appointed
He considers himself the Lord’s anointed,
And indeed the ointment lingers on him
So thick you can’t get your fingers on him.

He has developed a sixth sense
About living at the public expense,
Because in private competition
He would encounter malnutrition.

He has many profitable hobbies
Not the least of which is lobbies.
He would not sell his grandmother for a quarter
If he suspected the presence of a reporter.

He gains votes ever and anew
By taking money from everybody and giving it to a few,
While explaining that every penny
Was extracted from the few to be given to the many.

Some politicians are Republican, some Democratic,
And their feud is dramatic,
But except for the name
They are identically the same.

When a politician talks the foolishest,
And obstructs everything the mulishest,
And bellows the loudest,
Why his constituents are the proudest.

Wherever decent intelligent people get together
They talk about politicians as about bad weather,
But they are always too decent to go into politics themselves and too intelligent even to go to the polls,
So I hope the kind of politicians they get will have no mercy on their pocketbooks or souls.

Ogden Nash