Day by Day

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Busy Weekend

I have a promotion board tomorrow. For those of you who know what that means, you'll understand why I haven't posted much.

For those who don't, I go sit down in front of multiple Senior NCO's, who fire questions at me that they try to ensure I can't answer.

Gah. I'm stressing. Anyways, I'll see you Monday.

UPDATE: I think I did OK. I missed two questions, one of them because I completely vapor-locked. I knew the answers, I just couldn't get them out. But other than a few minor glitches, I did alright.

I tried to listen around to see what the board members were saying afterwards, but didn't get much of a chance. One of the board members was late, and another board member didn't show up at all, so they had to find a replacement for them.

All of this caused the Sergeant Major to damn near explode.

So after the board, I walked back to the office where my bag was, and the Sergeant Major went into the next office and promptly exploded. "I WANT THAT MOTHERFUCKER CALLED RIGHT DAMN NOW, AND UNLESS HE'S MISSING A FUCKING LIMB HE'S GOING TO REGRET THE DAY HE SIGNED UP! SOMEBODY BETTER FIND ME HIS WORTHLESS ASS BEFORE I......"

At that point the office door was closed, and all you could hear was muffled screaming. I made my exit as quickly as possible at that point.

For those non-military folks who are wondering just why the Sergeant Major blew his top, let me give you a little overview. The Promotion Board, which I went to, is a major part in getting selected for promotion. You have to have everything in order. My files have to be in order; if they're all screwed up, that shows that I don't care enough about either getting promoted or my files in order to correct them. My uniform has to be perfect. I have to project a military demeanor and stay calm under pressure. And I have to know my stuff, know the answers to all the questions that they're going to ask me. And I had over ten different topics that I needed to know.

So to get to the point, the board members, the senior NCO's who will be asking me questions and judging my uniform, my performance, my files, these are the people who determine whether or not I get recommended for promotion. That's why they all have to be senior NCO's. They're supposed to be responsible, knowledgeable, top rate NCO's. And yet one of them was late, and one of them didn't even bother to show up. The people who needed to judge if I were responsible and professional enough to get promoted couldn't be responsible and professional enough to even show up on time.

Now, I'm not knocking the entire board. I personally knew two of the board members, and they're some of the best soldiers I've ever seen, and the only people who screwed up were these two. So don't think that I'm disparaging the board as a whole. But those two NCO's? Whoooooooooo boy, I do NOT want to know what the Sergeant Major is going to do to them tomorrow. Hell, I don't even want to be in the same building. That's going to be an ugly, ugly ass chewing. Blood on the ceiling kind of ass chewing. If they still have their jobs next month, I'd be surprised.

When the Sergeant Major requests your presence as a Board Member, and you tell him yes, you do not proceed to blow it off, forget it, or ignore it. Hell, you don't ignore a Sergeant Major at all if you know what's good for you.

Anyways, I need to go cook dinner. Toodles!

Friday, August 10, 2007

Mmmmmmm, editors!

Doncha just love them editors? Always fact checking, and making sure there's no outright falsehoods or lies in their publications?

Or... er, not so much.

News agency Reuters has been forced to admit that footage it released last week purportedly showing Russian submersibles on the seabed of the North Pole actually came from the movie Titanic.

"Fake but accurate", right? Um, nope. I'm laughing my ass off here. After all we bring to light about the Has-Been Media, they continue to prove us correct in our assertions.

UPDATE:

More than half of Americans say US news organizations are politically biased, inaccurate, and don't care about the people they report on, a poll published Thursday showed.


And poll respondents who use the Internet as their main source of news -- roughly one quarter of all Americans -- were even harsher with their criticism, the poll conducted by the Pew Research Center said.


More than two-thirds of the Internet users said they felt that news organizations don't care about the people they report on; 59 percent said their reporting was inaccurate; and 64 percent they were politically biased.


Gee, ya think?

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Once again, I'd like to say that I'm proud to be from Idaho.

MOSCOW, Idaho (AP) - The sheriff of a north-central Idaho county where a shooting rampage left four dead and three wounded last May wants more people to obtain concealed weapons permits and carry guns, including on the University of Idaho campus, to improve public safety.

"In my opinion, if there were more students with (concealed weapons permits), the world would be safer," Latah County Sheriff Wayne Rausch told the Lewiston Tribune on Tuesday. "Just because we (law enforcement officers) are charged with protecting the public, doesn't mean the public shouldn't be able to protect itself."

Found via the GunThing Forum.



Impressions

When we got to Bogota, the first thing that happened after we were picked up is that we all headed to the Embassy for a Force Protection Briefing. That's pretty standard. You go somewhere new, and there's somebody to tell you what the dangers are. When we went to Santo Domingo, the guy there was pretty straightforward. "Crime is high in X area, don't go there. Don't drink the tapwater. We have a problem with Dengue Fever, if you feel X, Y or Z symptoms let us know. Avoid the street food vendors, they're not really safe. Have a great time!"

Bogota? Five page memo, double sided, with maps of where you could go, where you couldn't go, places that you probably shouldn't go to, areas you couldn't go during certain times at night, clubs you can't go to, things you shouldn't do, an entire damn list of things to look out for, and a good half-hour dissertation on the dangers of a drug called scapolomine, which is used by Colombians for everything from rape to kidnapping to robbery. It's like Roofies, only they can mix it into a spray form and it'll get absorbed through your skin. I guess one way they grab people is to package it in a perfume bottle, and then spray you with it under the guise of selling you perfume. "Here sir, would you like to sample our new fragrance, "Bogota Breeze"? spray spray spray And as you're walking away, they have someone follow you. Once you go all woozy, they sweep in and do whatever they have planned.

They can also put it into your drink in damn near any form, or toss it on your food. So we were told to always travel in groups and be very careful.

One of the clubs on the list of "DON'T GO THERE" was in a supposedly safe area, the "Green Zone". So after the briefing, we asked one of the guys what had happened in that club to put it on the banned list. Apparently, some E-6 had gone there to have a drink or two, and someone slipped scapolomine into his drink. He woke up thirteen hours later, butt-nekkid in some park, with a Coca-Cola bottle shoved up his ass.

All the way up there. Yep. And it was one of those old-fashioned thick, glass bottles. He couldn't walk for a couple of days after that.

Oh, and there are swarms of kids in certain areas of Bogota who will run up and beg you for money. Either one of two things happens - either they pick your pocket as you try to fend them off, or they pull out a knife and shank you, then steal your money. Nice, eh?

Now, keep in mind that all this doesn't happen to everybody. Hell, it doesn't happen to the majority of people. But it can happen, so they have to warn us about it. Personally, I didn't have a single problem while I was there. Even got a picture of myself in front of a place called "King David's Pub". I'll have to put that picture up later.

I figure I'll do one more post about the detail tomorrow, and then I'll be done.

The Left, and why they can't be trusted

RedState has a nifty little post up about everyone's favorite sock-puppeteer, Glenn(s) Greenwald. It seems that Glenn(s) was badmouthing General Petraeus (gosh, Leftists badmouthing a military man? Who woulda thunk?) because Gen. Petraeus hadn't yet gone onto a Liberal talkshow and answered the really "hard" questions yet.

Well, Gen. Petraeus went on the Alan Colmbs show recently, of which the Sock-Puppet Master Glenn(s) is a contributor, and yet there hasn't been one peep out of Glenn(s).

What. A. Shock.

And just so you know

My Mariners have now moved into the lead in the Wild Card race for the AL.

This, from a team that people predicted to finish last in the AL West.

Yes, I'm happy. No, I'm still not going to buy cable TV. Thatisall.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Escorts

As I mentioned earlier, the Funeral Team had two escorts at all times, augmented by other armed guards as the situation dictated. One escort, as I also mentioned earlier, was a Ranger captain, prior enlisted. For those of you who don't know what that means, he had all the authority and responsibility for his unit, coupled with the knowledge and experience of someone who had served in that unit.

He was awesome. Funny guy. Been in Colombia for a week when he was pulled to cover our asses. He spent most of his time covering my half of the team, which I really didn't mind a bit. This was a guy who had seen the worst that the world could throw at him; not only did he survive, but he was shooting back and screaming "C'mon you shithead, is that the worst you got?!"

The other guard was an Air Force test pilot in his normal job. For those of you who haven't read my comment from a post below, that means that this guy strapped himself into a jet that may or may not fall out of the sky for no apparent reason, and then proceeded to push that jet to a limit beyond what any designer could even imagine. Balls of solid brass. Again, cool guy. Funny.

All of the armed guards besides our two permanent escorts were Colombian, and they treated the job with a seriousness that should be admired. Our two guards? My guy had been in country for a week. The other Air Force guy had been in country for a month and a half. So they're not exactly seasoned vets of Colombia. Or used to the Colombian women.

Now, let me state this first - I love my wife. I'm not going to cheat on my wife. Period, end of story, there are no caveats, additions, or substitutions to that statement.

Having said that, the Colombian women were easy on the eyes. Very easy on the eyes. And if I weren't so distracted by the fact that I was surrounded by armed guards and yet didn't have firearm myself, I might have noticed them more. But our guards noticed them. Especially the Air Force guy.

Now, I told you all that so I could tell you this:

Here's a physical description of our Air Force guy. As far as I could tell, he was African in heritage. And no, I don't mean "African-American", I mean African. He was so black that if he closed his eyes and mouth in a dark room, you wouldn't be able to tell if he was there. Plus, his name was certainly not anything you would find in America. No, I'm not going to give his name. Deal with it. Well, in Colombia, everyone wears sunglasses, unless you're unlucky enough to be in a military uniform where sunglasses are not allowed. And yes, my eyes are still hurting. Hell, you go from sea level to 8,000 FEET IN ELEVATION and see how your eyes react, OK? Anyways, this AF guy wore sunglasses anywhere that wasn't indoors, which means that the only part you could see of him in a dark area was his teeth.

So we're standing in front of the church while the funeral is going on, and the AF guy happens to be in the shadows. A couple of women walk by. I won't give you their description. Try this: Imagine the hottest woman you've ever seen. Now imagine that woman in a tight fitting cotton dress. Got it? Good. Because the AF guy got it. Big time. It's a damn good thing that we had other armed guards at that point, because I was looking at the AF guy, and his eyes were glued to that woman's ass the entire time was in view. The moment she walked around a corner, he snapped back to watching us. And we started cracking up. Nervous laughter, because A) we were surrounded by people armed with submachine guns, B) those submachingun-armed people were necessary, and C) one of our armed guards, who normally would be working with the other armed guards was mesmerized by a woman's ass.

OK, maybe you had to be there. But trust me, it was funny. What was even funnier to us was the fact that we'd CAUGHT our guards as they stared at a woman's ass. Don't ask me why it was so funny. I don't know. All I know is that we all lost it. And the AF guy knew we'd caught him staring at a woman's ass while he was supposed to be watching us. And he started laughing.

And all we could see was a pair of white teeth emerging from the shadows. Which made it all the funnier.

The Ranger noticed it as well, which started him laughing.

OK, I can tell that you're bored with this, but it was funny as hell to me at the time.

Homered

So by now you all should know about Barry Bonds hitting #756. My personal take on it?

Meh.

Look, we all know Barry was on the juice. A lot of people were on the juice, so it's not like he's the only person who stuck a needle into his ass to get his batting average up. But he's juiced, just like Giambi, just like Conseco, just like Maguire, just like Palmero, just like all the other guys who suddenly bulked up in an offseason and came back looking like Ah-nold.

Hank Aaron wasn't on any steroids.

But let's not just blame Barry, OK? Let's point a few fingers at the people who KNEW this shit was going on and either did nothing about it or encouraged it. Let's talk about Fay Vincent. Let's talk about Bud Selig. You know what? Bud Selig has to be the slimiest little shit I've seen in a while. He's the living embodiment of a cold-fish-handshake. You know what I mean, don't you? The handshake where you feel like you didn't really shake a person's hand, it felt more like you grabbed hold of a dead trout and squeezed it. Yeah, in human form- that's Bug Selig. He's been the Commissioner of Baseball for how long now? And he didn't do a damn thing about the players taking steroids until Congress shamed him into it. And when Bonds hit 756, where was Bud? He should have been right down there on the field shaking Barry's hand. The player on steroids and the Commissioner to allowed it to happen.

Let's talk about the owners, and general managers, who whipped out the big bucks for anyone who could knock a ball out of the park, who-cares-about-the-horse-needle-sized-trackmarks-anyway, chicks-dig-the-long-ball, here's-10-mil-a-year. And now those owners, and the Commissioner, and hell half the fans who KNEW their players were juiced up but they didn't care because they wanted to WIN, baby, all want to shake their fingers at the players and ask in a shocked tone "HOW DARE YOU?!"

Bullshit.

So here's me, hoping that Ken Griffy Jr. can somehow go on a couple year tear and beat down Barry's record. Hell, I'd even go for Pay-Rod, much as I can't stand him. I just hope that somehow, this record won't stand for as long as Ruth's or Aaron's stood.

Blah.

Power went out last night

Right as I was about to click "Publish Post". Since we're all wireless here at Dave's Castle, no juice means no internet. Laptop was on, but the "Publish Post" button was laughing at me.

LAUGHING, I SAY!

Blah.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

The wife is safe

She made it to her family in good time, and landed safe. Her father was supposed to go under the knife today, but... get this....

The surgeon injured himself.

I wouldn't normally find that humorous, I swear, but I was dealing with it in a normal state until the Raging Mrs' said "Yeah, he probably screwed up his back playing golf!"

That's when I lost it.

Scotty Beauchump - nailed to a wall

So much for standing by your story. Hmmmmmmmm.

According to the military source, Beauchamp's recantation was volunteered on the first day of the military's investigation. So as Beauchamp was in Iraq signing an affidavit denying the truth of his stories, the New Republic was publishing a statement from him on its website on July 26, in which Beauchamp said, "I'm willing to stand by the entirety of my articles for the New Republic using my real name."

Emphasis mine. How's that working out for ya, Scotty? Can anyone explain to me why ANYONE trusts the Has-Been Media these days?

UPDATE - I had published the post, and then got to thinking about why this story upsets me so damn much. My thoughts are pretty much falling into place once I had a chance to sit back and think for a minute:

--Scotty Beauchamp lied. Plain and simple. And he used his lies to make the Army look as bad as he could. His stories painted a picture of inhuman soldiers delighting in death and mocking someone elses injuries. And they were all lies.

--The New Republic published his lies without even so much as a faint background check into them. Simple questions asked by amateurs from the Right side of the blogosphere turned up answers that should have made the TNR editors at least think twice about running Beauchamp's lies, but they didn't even bother to do that. No, they ran those stories as quickly as they could. Why? The only answer I have, other than gross negligence and sheer incompetence, is that they ran the stories because the stories confirmed their view of the military. Fact-checking and doing a little background search would have poked holes in Beauchamp's lies, and their worldview along with them. So rather than do the right thing, they ran with a bunch of cooked-up bullshit that jived with the way they already think. So much for actual reporting.

--The screeching moonbats who defended both Scott Beauchamp and TNR have done everything in their power to shift the focus of the issue. Point out that Scotty lied, and the blithering idiots say "But he's a real soldier! So it's all true! You baby-murdering chickenhawk!" Every tinfoil-hat wearing asshole latched onto this story as proof that the military was full of brainwashed killbots who revel in carnage, once again because it confirmed their view of the military. Now that the stories are exposed as lies, they are doing everything in their power to avoid dealing with the truth. Just how many times has the MSM been caught lying? Hell, I'll make it easy. Start in 2004, with the Dan Rather memogate. "Fake but accurate". Um, if it's fake, then by definition IT CANNOT BE ACCURATE! They've been caught with their pants down time and time again, and yet rather than deal with the fact that the modern media is a biased load of horseshit, they make excuses, lie, obfuscate, move the goalposts, slander and insult the people who point out the lies, and generally act like a three-year-old with a full diaper and one hand in the cookie jar, throwing a tantrum in the hopes that mommy will forget about the damn cookie and just deal with the tantrum.

--The current Leftist meme is now "Oh, it doesn't matter." Jeff G. links to an article where someone says "It's a proverbial tempest in a teapot." Excuse the fuck out of me? Teapot my ass! The MSM has been caught lying, AGAIN. They've been caught printing unsubstantiated lies, AGAIN. They've been exposed as biased, agenda pushing propagandists for the Democrat American Communist Party, AGAIN. They have done everything in their power to smear, slander, and insult my Army, AGAIN. And now that they've been exposed as partisan shitsmears, AGAIN, they're doing everything in their power to brush it off as no big deal, AGAIN. We as a country cannot let that happen. We cannot continue to let the MSM pass themselves off as objective or neutral, because they simply are not either of those. We've got to hammer them flat until they either tell the truth, or go out of business.

Truth matters. It really is that simple.

I think that's enough on this subject for one day.

Monday, August 06, 2007

Armed Guards

The soldier we buried in Columbia has a rather high-ranking Uncle in the Colombian government. So, not only did we have our own armed guards, when the Uncle arrived for the funeral, he brought his own armed guards with him.

I haven't see that many submachine guns outside of the Army. And the guards were NOT joking around. At one point, a motorcyclist decided to cut across the parking lot in front of the funeral home, and the moment his tire touched the blacktop he had three different weapons pointing at him. The team had three guards with them at all times when we were in the open. We moved as a group, and the guards moved with us. I've never been involved in anything like it, so it was a learning experience, to say the least.

I'll say this - there was nobody who could mess with us without getting ventilated by several different people. Unfortunately, we weren't armed ourselves. One of our escorts was an Army captain, prior enlisted, Ranger. One morning I mentioned to him that it's rather hard for me to travel around being guarded and not have a weapon myself. He said "Don't worry bro, a Ranger never leaves a fallen comrade behind!" I replied "Yeah, but I'd rather be your comrade and not be fallen. Can we make that happen please?" He started chuckling. "Well, I've got fourteen and one in the pipe. After that, you'll see me running, and you should probably try to keep up."

I'll be tossing out bits of my trip as the week goes on. I'm busy as all hell right now, and being away from the office for a week only means that I now have two weeks of work to do and only one week to get it done. Not that I wouldn't have gone, but it does suck to see all that paperwork waiting for me when I return.

The wife is traveling

Family emergency. I dropped her off at the airport today during lunchtime.

Just damn.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

An anecdote

The funeral was last Thursday. Wednesday night, the team got together for dinner and to go over what was going to happen the next day. As we were discussing our plans, the mother and brother of the Soldier came down to the hotel lobby where we were at.

We changed the subject as quick as we could, because we didn't want to give them any more pain than they already had. But the mother came over to us directly and started talking to us about her son. What he had done. What he was like.

She told us that she was against the war. She had begged her son not to go into the Army. She didn't like President Bush.

But she also told us that she had always mailed her son items when he was in Afghanistan. Letters, goodies, whatever he needed. And she wanted to adopt a soldier over there, a troop who didn't have anyone back home to send him things, and she would continue mailing gifts and items to whoever needed them.

We ended up speaking with the family for hours. The mother alternately cried on someone's shoulder, or just spoke about her son. I'm not ashamed to say that I cried with her at times. A lot of us did. You can't be unaffected by grief that raw. In the end, she went upstairs with her heart a little bit lighter, and several people to whom she'll begin sending care packages.

We all got less than four hours of sleep that night. But it was worth staying up late in order to give the family a little comfort.

On the Minnisota Bridge collapse

I was stunned when I read about people blaming President Bush for the collapse. I mean, really. We've got people blaming President Bush for things that happened before he even took office, for G-d's sake! Now they want to blame him for a bridge collapsing.

I say we put the blame where it belongs - squarely on the shoulders of the pork-earmarking fucksticks who spend our tax dollars on everything except for what they're SUPPOSED to spend it on.

It really is that simple. One of the reason that Congress takes our money under the threat of jailtime for non-compliance is to supposedly maintain the roads.

We can all see that it's not happening. So while the parasites in D.C. take our money and spend it on monuments to themselves, people are dying on a bridge that wasn't maintained by the people who are supposed to maintain it.

Don't blame the President. He's not the people who have been sitting in Congress for decades like fat, bloated mosquitoes. Or tapeworms. Yeah, I think they fit the definition of tapeworm better than they do mosquitoes. At least mosquitoes provide a food source for bats and other insects. Tapeworm do nothing but live in shit, suck their food from you, and grow and multiply as much as possible. It's not the job of the President to appropriate funds for infrastructure repair. That's the job of who? Congress.

Our roads are crumbling, our bridges are collapsing. Our military is scraping funds from where ever they can find them. But John Murtha spent $150 million of your money on pork projects! Representative Young got $117 million! Congresscritters from both sides of the isle are spending your money and my money like it's going out of style, but they can't do the fucking job that THEY ARE SUPPOSED TO DO.

As far as I'm concerned, every congresscritter in D.C. needs to be fired. Impeached. Recalled. Kicked out into the street without so much as a "by your leave" or a retirement check. They've stolen and embezzled enough money from this country. Let them actually work for a living, if they can. Don't give them another damn penny. And find someone who can actually do the job.