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May 30, 2011

Memorial Day

Today is a time of remembrance when we pause, and in our own way, pay our respects to the men and women who have fought for this country, some even giving the  ultimate sacrifice for our freedoms. For some Americans ('some' being a conservative number) it is just another few-and-far-between three day weekend to get drunk, sleep and have an unexpected Valentine's Day baby while most consider today the official kick off of summer.

I can count on one hand the number of duty free Memorial Day weekends I had  in my 20 years of service- par for the course for most submariners and something most of us came to grips with very quickly. For most military members family separation is the highest sacrifice they will make or endure. For a growing number of military families over the last 10 years the separation anxiety is compounded by the fear of combat injury or death as our fighting force is spread thin around the world fighting what many also fear as wars we cannot win.

I recall several instances during my career of submariners killed not in battle, but in the line of duty. Sometimes 'line of duty' is a vague term used to tell the families of the fallen service member who was killed with a ricochet bullet while trying to bullseye rats or from "friendly fire". My examples are sadder, not that my emotions are superior than others, but that they are etched into my military memory as events that should not have happened. Two of them are suicides, and the last was caused by head trauma as his submarine plowed into an underwater mountain. I recall another death caused by  heart attack when I was stationed in Mare Island but nothing you can really do about that except diet and exercise.

I come from an extensive military background as I have many past and present family members who have served. I am fourth generation Navy and my brother is currently stationed in Hawaii (poor guy). My grandfather on my mother's side retired from the US Army and my uncle is retired Air Force. My step mother's father is also retired Navy, and I only use "step" as an infrequent identifier when talking about my family tree. I estimate that my extended family has about 130 years of military service.

Our military men and women ultimately take their orders the their Commander in Chief, our President of the United States. The recent raid on the Pakistani compound that ultimately brought Usama bin Laden to justice could have had a much different ending as more information leaks out. I think Team 6 was lucky on many counts to make it back safely. I reminds me of the day, which has been counting down in the upper right hand frame of this website, when Saddam Hussein was brought to justice and hanged by an unruly mob in what looked like a basement. I cheered and even shed a few tears of joy and relief with my fellow Americans on both days.

The speeches made by The President after both captures are also very different from each other. Bush genuinely and humbly gives credit to the forces that hunted Saddam while Obama makes it sound like he was running point during the raid. Even the tone is different between the two presidents and I have included the videos below. One can almost forgive the egregious and shameful actions of Bush over the years after listening to his speech.

December 14, 2003. George W. Bush
Good afternoon. Yesterday, December the 13th, at around 8:30 p.m. Baghdad time, United States military forces captured Saddam Hussein alive. He was found near a farmhouse outside the city of Tikrit, in a swift raid conducted without casualties. And now the former dictator of Iraq will face the justice he denied to millions.The success of yesterday's mission is a tribute to our men and women now serving in Iraq. The operation was based on the superb work of intelligence analysts who found the dictator's footprints in a vast country. The operation was carried out with skill and precision by a brave fighting force. Our servicemen and women and our coalition allies have faced many dangers in the hunt for members of the fallen regime, and in their effort to bring hope and freedom to the Iraqi people. Their work continues, and so do the risks. Today, on behalf of the nation, I thank the members of our Armed Forces and I congratulate 'em.

May 2, 2011 Barrack Hussein Obama

And so shortly after taking office, I directed Leon Panetta, the director of the CIA, to make the killing or capture of bin Laden the top priority of our war against al Qaeda, even as we continued our broader efforts to disrupt, dismantle, and defeat his network.
Then, last August, after years of painstaking work by our intelligence community, I was briefed on a possible lead to bin Laden. It was far from certain, and it took many months to run this thread to ground. I met repeatedly with my national security team as we developed more information about the possibility that we had located bin Laden hiding within a compound deep inside of Pakistan. And finally, last week, I determined that we had enough intelligence to take action, and authorized an operation to get Osama bin Laden and bring him to justice.

God bless this country and the men and women who fight for it.

May 29, 2011

Mike Alessi's Hangtown 2011 Crash

It appears that I have the only still photos of Mike Alessi's spill at Hangtown last weekend that left him KTFO for a few minutes. I missed the shot of him actually hitting as there was a sponsor sign in the way. But I also have the first shots of him lying on the ground with the first responders on the scene.

Ha! Suck it pro MX photographers!

1. First pass

2. Airborne. First sign of "Oh shit, not again" feeling.


The video replay:

100th Anniversary of Indy 500 ends with a bang

Yes, it literally did. JR Hildebrand, 23 year old rookie from California, was poised to win the Indy 500 with just one lap to go and a good lead. Then, on the final corner of the final lap with the checker flag in sight, he effed it up in one of the most head shaking and unbelievable flubs as he crashed his National Guard sponsored car into the wall. That was all the time Dan Wheldon needed to zoom past Hildebrand and secure his second Indie 500 victory.
Bummer, dude.

The whole ordeal reminded of this speed skating ass clown that lost by a hair, not because he lost his balance or fell at th e finish line- this is much worse, but oh so delicious: Speed Skater Loses

In the Indie 500 "Who Gives a Shit News", Danica Patrick came in 10th place and might reconsider joining the NASCAR circuits since she sucks so bad at Formula 1.

May 21, 2011

Supposed day of judgement came and went today.

May 21, at around 6 pm local time, was the predicted and calculated day of judgement by Harold Camping. I have friends in Australia, where it is well past 6 pm, and they are fine. No earthquakes, no bodies rising from their graves, no Rapture. Bummer, Harold. Disturbing that a site dedicated to saving people's souls and preaching the end wouldn't update its doomsday timer for 8 days previous to the event.

There were a lot of these rolling billboards and there was even a static billboard on the highway close to where I live. I wonder how long it will stay up.

I started listening to Camping on Family Radio on my way home from work about 5 weeks ago. I had just bought a used car and was tuning the radio stations on the AM side looking for some political talk shows when I stopped to listen to a segment where a caller was asking for verification for the date of Judgement Day. I am always interested in the predictions of Judgement since the Bible says No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. (Mat 24:36 NIV). Camping conveniently dismisses this verse as it is extremely damaging to his case. It is the antithesis of Obama not believing his health care plan is damaging to us.

I was even more interested to learn how he came up with the date- a lot of math, a lot of assumptions. The Wikipedia write up talks about all of this and the Family Radio website gets into more detail. It (obviously) boiled down to nothing more than reading tea leaves or chicken bones and clearly he got it wrong- again. In 1994 he said there was a very high likelihood that the world would end back in 1994. When questioned on his his radio show he quickly dismisses it as people trying to discredit him and telling lies about his teachings. Last week someone called in and said a YouTube video of Camping teaching the 1994 date was readily available and can show Camping himself giving the September 1994 prediction. "Well you can't believe everything you watch on the Internet" was Camping's reply. The caller got one more question in before he was cut off, "Then why should we believe what you are saying now since your website says May 21?"

Boom, roasted.

Christ told his people back in the day that false prophets will appear and perform great signs and miracles to deceive even the elect (Mat. 24:24). How many times must you make a prediction that didn't come true before you are labeled as one?