August 26, 2005

At Walter Reed...

It is Friday night. Families of the men and women at Walter Reed are filtering in and out of the old building, coming and going from their loved ones. Some are pleased with the progress they are seeing, the healing they witness each time they visit. Others are saddened by the weakening and loss they see, and are concerned that the time they have with their dear one is short.

Alone or in small groups they make their way up the walk to the entrance of the building. Alone or in small clusters they find their ways back to their cars. Alone or in small gatherings, they worry and wonder and make necessary plans for homecomings, whether to a small warm room in the family home, or to a sun-caressed piece of hallowed ground.

For months these people, the parents, spouses, and children of the wounded within, came and went peacefully and were able to concentrate their thoughts and their emotions on helping their warrior to heal. Recently, however, this has not been the case.

Groups of protesters, not satisfied with the effect they have had outside government buildings and military bases, have begun to occupy the area through which pass the grieving and those with wounded hearts. They harangue the mothers of dying young men. They harass the wives of men who may never be whole again. They abuse the families of the dying. And they do so gleefully for their "cause."

Signs, slogans, songs, and shouted insults await those who come to say "goodbye", and those who say "welcome home" to broken men and women bearing the wounds of war be they physical, mental, emotional, or spiritual. Hatefull speeches are directed pointedly at the ambulatory wounded as they come to visit those beside whom they fought but who fared not as well as they. "Murderer," "Puppet of Big Oil," "Fool" are among the epithets hurled at them.

Free speech! They are exercising their constitutionally protected rights by abusing those who protect it, who bled for it, who are in some cases dying for it. Political dissent! They disagree with a governmental policy, so they attack those who are ordered to uphold it.

They proclaim their moral superiority by acting in an amoral manner toward families who are already filled with pain, further adding to the anguish they carry with them each time they visit.

Where are the men and women who would quietly form a strong, broad gauntlet along those walks to seperate those who would abuse from those who bear its brunt? Where are the active, reserve, retired, or discharged personnel who will place themselves around these families, to intercept the insults and yells of those who would hurt them? Where is the rumbling thunder of motorcycles bearing denim and leather-clad Viet-era Vets who remember first hand the feeling of being pelted in spittle and ire to stand alongside each other to make this quiet gauntlet?

Where are those who will come and thank these families by offering up their time to stand guard over them as they pass along that walk to their sons, their daughters, their wives and husbands, their mothers and fathers as they lay in their beds and wonder how they will rejoin their units, their families, and the world?

I cannot stand beside them as they make that passage. I can only ask those who can why they do not. I can only look into the anguished faces in photos on a news site and ask why they were allowed to pass unprotected from those who mistake Hate for Free Speech.

I can only ask one of you to take a place in that gauntlet for me, and to hold it strong for me, and to block the hate directed at a survivor, and do it in my name.

Posted by Mamamontezz at 06:58 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

August 24, 2005

A small grey cat...

Early yesterday evening Chris-the-new-guy and I were out in front yard taking photos he could post on his Yahoo profile. It was about 6:30 or so, and we were just about done when we heard a cat mewling.

Neither of my cats were standing in the window demanding our attention, so Chris walked to the side of he porch where the sound seemed to be originating. There, he found a kitten.

A small kitten.

A tortured kitten.

After Chris got past his own shock of seeing this mutilated little thing, he called me over to see. He kept pointing out the tail of the small, gray kitten, a tail that was only a third as long as it should have been, ending in an exposed bone and a dangling flap of dead furry skin. Then we looked closer, and saw that the tail had other cuts, as though the freak responsible for this evil had tried unsucessfully to cut it off further down the tail but had given up and moved on.

It stood there and mewed at us, filthy and injured yet still alert, from the weeds at the base of the gas meter. It followed Chris across the yard, then rubbed his ankles when he stopped. It stood and raised up to butt the hands that reached to pet it. It flopped onto its back and writhed enticingly to get it's tummy rubbed. This suffering little kitten, no more than three months old, was sweet and loving when others would have been distrustful and afraid.

I looked at the kitten, watched Chris as he petted it, and decided I wasn't going to leave it out there. Whomever had done this might just find it again and finish the job. Not to mention the fact that leaving it out in the yard with it's wounds unattended was a death sentence of the worst kind.

I went and got the pet carrier from the back porch, got an upbraiding accompanied by horrid looks from the spouse when he saw it, and went out front. At least it would be confined and safe until I could decide what to do. Fed and watered by Chris, it started to calm, but it was decidedly unhappy about being confined.

Now, by this time it's 6:40pm. The Humane Society is open, but doesn't do rescue or abuse cases. Animal Control, aka "the pound", aka a "death sentence", is closed but has a voicemail so I leave the particulars on the case for them, just in case they decide to investigate the little Serial Killer in Training who did this. And then, because I cannot bring an unknown cat into the house with my two healthy and unexposed to germs little girlie girls, I call Sharon.

Now, let me tell you a little bit about Sharon. Sharon is one of the few "Animal People" I know who has as much sense as she has about it. No fauning member of PETA, or militant paint thrower, she steps up to the plate and does what needs to be done, even when others cannot. And that is just what she did.

After hearing about the kitten and its list of visible injuries, she got directions to my house and was there in no time. And when she saw him, she was just as angry and concerned as I have ever seen her. She dropped that little fuzzy-face into a carrier and sped off to a vet with evening hours. And then, after the kitten had been examined, she called and gave Chris an update.

What we saw when we looked at the kitten for the first time was not the full extent of its injuries. Yes, the flesh had been cut to the bone in several places on his little tail, and over half of it had been cut away. But it's little ears were hurt too. They were perforated with half-way done holes from a paper-puncher. You know, the office supply type that every 5th grader in the world wants as part of his school kit, so he or she can make confetti? Seems our little sociopath used one on the kitten's ears. Repeatedly.

And his fur was covered in something. And his ears, in addition to the punched out holes, had either axel grease or some sort of adhesive in them, so he had to be cleaned thoroughly before they could even work on him. Glue in a kitten's ears. Quaint.

But through it all, this little baby has remained sweet and loving and a real charmer. Even after his tail was amputated this morning, after being neutered, after the indignity of a bath, after being examined and poked and prodded and given shots and everything else, it just wants to be loved on.

This little baby is at Above and Beyond Animal Care in Avon, Indiana, recovering from it's surgery and trauma. I work with Sharon, so I know she's in no position to absorb the cost of saving this kitten and bringing it into her home.

If you can spare a little change, please send it to their address,

Above & Beyond Animal Care
10828 E US Hwy 36
Avon, IN 46123

and specify that it is to defray the surgery and care costs for the kitten brought in on August 24th by Sharon Wilson. I bet they'll even accept a credit card payment over the phone at (317) 273-1700 if you prefer to do it that way.

I have pictures in my files at home of Chris with the kitten as we found him. I'll post one when I get the chance. I just hope that someone in my neighborhood is missing a wee babe like this and sees him, so at least they'll know what happened to their pet. And if they have the freak of nature who did this living under their roof... well, I know what I'd do if it were one of my own who had done this. Not pretty. Not pretty at all.

Posted by Mamamontezz at 08:37 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Munuviana Attacked

In an unprecedented move in the wake of serious attacks on Tuesday, the tiny nation of Munuvia has sealed its borders and begun plans for “The Wall,” a barricade similar to one already being constructed in Israel.

Prime Minister Pixy Misa made the announcement today from an undisclosed location in Outer Mongolia where he had been vacationing with cabinet members and their families.

“The persons responsible for these attacks are cowards of the worst order,” stated the PM. The use of illegal Spam-bomb technology, the timing of the most recent attack, the pattern of attack, each of these leads us to believe that these attacks are not the work of disgruntled individuals or insurgents organized by Blogsnotistanian, but are well funded and well orchestrated attacks by organized mercenary Spammers.”

Casualties were heavy on Tuesday when the latest attack occurred. Hospitals in the capitol city of Ambia filled quickly, as the wounded were moved in from the outlying regions of Munuviana and Ellis Island.

“I don’t believe any were killed in the most recent attack, but there is not a single citizen untouched by the events of the last several weeks,” observed Misa. “They have found their families under attack, their businesses cut off from traffic, and their constitutionally protected rights violated by these terrorists.”

These attacks have caused residents to demand work be sped up on the wall, known in adminstrative circles as Project Firewall. In spite of the obvious benefits provided by such a barrier, however, there have been some problems getting it built.

"The project to construct a wall between the more vulnerable regions of Munuvia and known Spammer hangouts has been in the works for years," stated an undentified bar owner and IT guru involved in Operation Firewall. "But in spite of the safety it would afford our small nation, UN officials and Amnesty International have already denounced it and are calling for a tribunal of nations spearheaded by Nigeria to study it. Can you believe that? Nigeria, of all places. Spamming is the greatest part of their GNP."

"Next thing you know," added a patron seated at the bar, "we'll be forced to give these terrorists land for a homeland within our own borders. And we know how well that works. Look at Gaza."

The Cotillion, a think tank of conservative women with offices located in the green zone in central Munuvia City, suffered extensive damage during the attack on Tuesday, but was able to rebound quickly. Workers from several private US and Pan Pacific defense contractors were onsite within hours, securing the perimeter and providing a much needed visual respite for the women in the facility.

“We were not terribly concerned about being overrun during this wave of attacks,” stated Cotillian spokesman e-clair, blogger with a penchant for witty remarks at the end of each group post. “We’re well armed, both literally and metaphorically. And unlike other think tanks, we actually are able to defend our statements. That one fact seems to attract the sort of situation we saw here in Munuvia on Tuesday. We hate to think that it was our recent move to this lovely country that precipitated these attacks, but it certainly would appear to have been a factor.”

Affected Munuvians spent the night in temporary shelters, anxiously awaiting the end of the attack and the return of service to their stricken nation. Members of the USAir Force Security Force, under the watchful eye of Slaglerock, provided security for both the shelters and the affected sites.

Working with local law enforcement, Slaglerock’s contingent also kept the local morale up by providing a temporary beach volleyball court and several teams for pairs play with residents, who were appreciative of the vast improvement in scenery.

“There’s just something to be said for the men providing security here,” commented Anika, a longtime resident of Munuvia. “They work hard, they apparently play hard, and they look great doing it. And just because the women of Munuvia are intelligent and discerning doesn’t mean we don’t appreciate the human form.”

Posted by Mamamontezz at 07:16 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

August 22, 2005

Pathos and Anger on Sheehanville.

Let me preface this with a warning that this piece will be rambling and difficult to follow, as I have watched this nonsense without comment since my original post on Cindy Sheehan. I wanted to keep away from this, to not give her and her little group and their tactics any space here. I cannot, however, sit back any longer and hold my tongue on a few of the aspects of their protest that I have found to be the most offensive and reprehensible.

Unless you've been under a stone or in an altered state of consciousness for the past several days, you are very aware of the pathetic and self-serving vigil being held in Crawford, Texas. Designer sackcloth and organic, biodegradable ashes are being displayed conspicuously by a woman and her ever increasing and politically powerful entourage under the guise of wanting a meeting with the President. All she wants is to ask why he personally orchestrated the deaths of all of the innocent children duped into military service by evil, lying recruiters to be fodder in an unjust war for the benefit of Big Oil.

Day by day, these enlightened, sensitive, and morally superior individuals trample the weeds in a ditch outside the gates of the ranch and make a very public display of prayer and grief. Part of this display is a small "pseudo-Arlington" of white crosses. On each of these crosses is the name of a man or woman child, military fatalities all, the sons and daughters of grieving mothers and fathers.

Their Children™. These parents and their handlers, prostrate in the Texas dust, keening and vocalizing their grief and indignation, wailing and gnashing their teeth over the selfless sacrifices needless deaths of their brave soldiers, airmen, sailors, coasties, and marines innocent children for as long as the microwave dishes stand and the television trucks remain parked nearby.

The crosses in their little piece of performance art are intended to be a display of angry protest and shame against the war in Iraq by parents who have lost their Children™ to this country's fight to bring democracy to an enslaved nation, and to secure a beach head against known terrorist groups in an area known by the world to be a breeding ground for such groups and the individuals which populate them.

These fallen ones were not children, and to be personified as such by these and others of their ilk is a grievous insult to them and to their families. It discounts their service to this country and to the world, and it trivializes their deaths. They were adults who made an adult decision to join the armed service of this country, regardless of the underlying reason, knowing fully that any who enlist can at any time be sent into a war zone or placed in harm's way in any of a thousand different ways.

These brave young men and women gave all, often to save their comrades in arms from the same fate, and did so because that is what soldiers do. They are gone forever from friend and family, their sacrifices barely makeing the faintest of blips on the Mass Media Radar unless they can be used to serve their anti-war agenda.

And now their names are being used, perhaps in a manner that they would find as disgusting and repugnant as I do. Many are the names on the little white crosses alongside that back road. Many are the parents all over this country who currently may not even be aware that their own son's or daughter's name has been usurped by the protesting anti-war crowd, which has gone from a few supporters of a single obsessive mother to a well organized media machine. One has to wonder how many of these parents would be enraged to find that the sacrifice made by their son or daughter or husband or wife was being used in such a manner.

I know that at least one father has gone to Sheehanville to remove his son's cross from this display, only to see it replaced against his wishes. A mother has also demanded the name of her son be removed from the protest. How many other parents would do the same if they knew their grief and sacrifice were being hijacked for bad theater? I have wondered several times if they have even posted a list of the names being used, the memories being violated on these crosses, to give the mothers and the fathers, the husbands and the wives, the sons and the daughters an opportunity to stand up and tell them "No, I will not be a part of this."

Posted by Mamamontezz at 09:59 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

August 17, 2005

This is So Wrong

Austin, Texas, is by most definitions a beautiful college city which also prides itself on it's inclusiveness, progressiveness, and all around liberal propensities.

Unless you're a Marine, I guess.

Carl Basham, a Marine who spent two tours in Iraq, who has maintained his Texas Driver's License, who has remained registered to vote in his Texas district, who has kept up all requirements to maintain his residency in the Republic of Texas, now cannot go to school at Austin Community College at the resident rate because Military Duty is not a valid excuse for being away from one's primary address.

What kind of crazy law is that? Was some Provost or admissions geek afraid he'd contaminate the classroom with fumes of Duty, or Honor? Maybe housekeeping needs that extra 400% per semester to sweep up the sand from the cuffs of his BDU's.

Yes. 400% more because a Texan was declared a non-Texan by a committee.

Posted by Mamamontezz at 09:20 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

Excuses, excuses...

This has been an extremely chaotic last few weeks, and it has affected a great many aspects of my life, personal, home, work and work. Another Cotillon has passed, and if not for the goodness of the gracious and ever thoughtful hostesses, I'd have not been included at all.

Anna, my precious girl, has moved in with her older half-sister and her mother to go to school at a better school. She is safer there, as there are adults in the home in the evening who can help her with her school work and be with her. I have been forced to work evenings, and was never seeing her, and as a consequence her grades were suffering as was her emotional state. Delfts and I were both concerned about her safety in the area, and agreed to sign an educational "guardianship" for the school year. It has been pretty awful, not having her around, seeing her asleep when I got home, finding her "experiments" in the kitchen or bathrooms. I hate it that she's gone, but at least she's safe.

Delfts took another step on the way to a decision on his Social Security on the 1st when he took a treadmill EKG at a local hospital. Three minutes into the test, the technician pulled him off the treadmill and made him take nitro tablets. His baseline EKG before the test was already abnormal to the point of concerning her, but then his blood pressure shot to 260+/198 and the poor woman was not happy. She did state that if she were the one making the decision, he'd be on SSD, but sadly she is not. I just wonder what the next test will be. One step closer, how many steps back?

A young man has moved into our home as a means of providing him with a good place to stay while he prepares for college in the spring, as well as giving the household accounts a small and much needed infusion. Chris has been very helpful, working hard in the yard, keeping things picked up, and being good company for Delfts. He has also wasted no time getting applications for jobs in the area, not to mention he thinks he and Delfts may be able to get the "totalled" Chrysler working. I could not have asked for a better person to take the spare room, as I have known and trusted him for a long time and just knew he'd be family in no time.

Work is as stressful as ever, but then again, when is it not? We all deal with personalities and foibles each and every day, and try to move on. Sometimes it's easier said than done, but still we all try. At least my review went better than I had expected, and perhaps the small raise it may entail will not throw me into the next tax bracket. I've had that happen before, and it can certainly ruin one's finances.

We do have water again, and the utilities will be caught up as much as possible on Friday when I'm paid. As long as we can just keep them up, we'll be fine. In the meantime, I'm getting ready to put a few of my 50's era pre-space race home furnishings up for sale. Hopefully, given that they're in good shape, it will give me a little extra for the household. There's a free section of the classified ads now for inexpensive items. Wish me luck on that. And if any of you is near Indy, I have some great Eames era lamps with original shades.

Writing used to be such a release for me, a place for me to explore my mind, my heart, my soul... a place where I could entertain myself and hopefully entertain a few readers as well. Lately, though, I cannot put three words in order on a page and find any pleasure in it. Nothing wants to be written, nothing wants to be written about, and it has been extremely frustrating and brutal. Paper and pen, word and phrase have been my refuge for as long as I can remember, and this has produced such a sense of abandonment as to render me creatively impotent. I had hoped that finding some stability at work and at home would help, but so far all I get are small glimpses of what I want to write, or fleeting glimmers of phrase.

Because of this, I have had nothing to contribute to the Cotillion, something that makes me feel quite small and very inadequate. To have been thought of highly enough to be included, then to be unable to produce anything even remotely suitable has hurt deeply. I do not like feeling that I have let down anyone, much less such a talented and amazing group of women as these women are. Please, take a moment and go to their blogs, because they, at least, are out there slaying the dragons and saving both the Knights and minions in distress the way I should be but oddly cannot. And to you fine women, please accept my apologies and be patient with this insane woman. This too shall pass, I hope, and quickly.

Yes, yes, excuses, excuses. I'm sure this will be sniped at by that delusional Aussie blogger wanabe, but so be it. I had to laugh the other day when Delfts pointed out that I'm back in its sights again. Something about my "strap-on" if I remember correctly. Anyone who knows me knows I don't believe in strap-on devices unless they have ballistic capabilities, and those use a holster, not a harness.

Well, go out and visit the Cotillion. Awesome reads by awesome women. Even if I can't write worth a damn, I can still point at good writing and enjoy it.

Posted by Mamamontezz at 07:33 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

August 11, 2005

The List

Please go and read the names and honor these men and women.

Don't dishonor them by calling them "Boys" or "Girls" but honor them by acknowledging their actions, their deeds, their sacrifices. I'm sick to death of those sad, infantile sympathy-mongers who try to cheapen the sacrifices of these service members. I'm disgusted by those who say "You're killing our children."

Children do not answer a call to arms selflessly. Children do not place themselves in harm's way for Freedom, Honor, Duty, Family, or Country. Children do not suck it up when shit flies. Children do not lie in a hole in their own blood, giving comfort to one wounded even worse. Children do not make sure that no one is left behind.

Brave Men do. Brave Women do. The rest of us pale by comparison.

Posted by Mamamontezz at 05:23 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Sheehan Family Speaks Out.

In a "Flash" on the Drudge Report, we find that Cindy Sheehan does not enjoy a solidarity with the rest of her family with regards to her protest outside of the Bush ranch in Crawford, Texas.

To quote the email as posted on Drudge:

Our family has been so distressed by the recent activities of Cindy we are breaking our silence and we have collectively written a statement for release. Feel free to distribute it as you wish. Thanks Ð Cherie

In response to questions regarding the Cindy Sheehan/Crawford Texas issue: Sheehan Family Statement:

The Sheehan Family lost our beloved Casey in the Iraq War and we have been silently, respectfully grieving. We do not agree with the political motivations and publicity tactics of Cindy Sheehan. She now appears to be promoting her own personal agenda and notoriety at the the expense of her son's good name and reputation. The rest of the Sheehan Family supports the troops, our country, and our President, silently, with prayer and respect.


Casey Sheehan's grandparents, aunts, uncles and numerous cousins.

It is a developing story, but if this is true then it certainly gives credence to what several columnists and pundits have said in recent days: that Cindy Sheehan is a tool of a faction of the MSN for the bashing of Bush and of this country's fight in Iraq. She is "special" and a celebrated member of the War Against Bush for as long as she generates ratings.

I would hope the rest of her family would be able to talk some sense into her, but knowing how families are I realize that she's just simply out of control and they are the ones now suffering for it. They've lost their grandson, nephew, cousin... and now they've lost his mother a well.

Update: You want a story of another family? Go read about the bravery of the extended family of Shane Kielion. This young man left a 23 year old widow and a son who was born quite literally as his soul was passing from this earth.

Posted by Mamamontezz at 04:40 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Here's a Hero for you.

Cpl. Tony Stevens, USMC, is a hero you'll probably never hear about unless you're one of those crazed baseball fans who tracks stats down to the minor league level.

Yes, baseball stats.

You see, Cpl. Stevens was a member of the Minnesota Twins minor league farm club, the New Britain Rock Cats in 2001 when the WTC was attacked. And like Pat Tilman, he answered both a national and personal call to duty, joining the Marines. Since then, according to the Republican-American from Waterbury, CT, he "was there during the assault on Baghdad. He was involved in a firefight in "Ambush Alley" that has been called the bloodiest American military engagement since Vietnam. On his second tour he was in a place called the "triangle of death" south of Baghdad."

Because the Republican-American news site doesn't have separate links for individual articles, I have it posted in its entirety in the extended post.

New Britian is proud of him. They're so proud of him, they honored him before the game last night and had Tony Stevens bobblehead dolls for the people in attendance.

We should all be proud of him. So, why isn't this in the NYSlimes or Newsbleak? Is it because he's still alive? Because he hasn't been accused of some Human Rights crime? Because he hasn't keyed cars in protest, like that moronic Air Force Reservist did in Colorado?

Cpl. Stevens returns to Iraq in November for a third tour. Keep him in your hearts and be ready to wear a Rock Cats ball cap next spring.

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Minor leaguer now major player for America

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Copyright © 2005 Republican-American

He went from patrolling shortstop at New Britain Stadium to charging up Ambush Alley on the road to Iraq.

He went from ducking high, tight fastballs tossed by Eastern League pitchers to hunkering down in a fighting hole as mortars flew over his head. He went from a dugout on the sidelines to a bunker on the firing line.

He went from being a ballplayer to an American hero.

Tony Stevens, a former professional baseball player in the Minnesota Twins minor league system who spent one season with the New Britain Rock Cats, quit the game and went to war. Days after the Sept. 11 attack on America, Stevens made a decision. He turned in his baseball bat for a grenade launcher.

He joined the Marines, fought in the battle of Baghdad, and has now served two tours of duty in Iraq. He's been in the line of fire for a total of 14 months. In November he goes back again.

Wednesday night the Rock Cats brought Cpl. Stevens back to New Britain. They handed out 1,200 Tony Stevens bobble head dolls. Wednesday was declared Tony Stevens Day by Gov. M. Jodi Rell. He was brought in from left field riding a golf cart. They waved flags, they rose to their feet and cheered, and the modest Stevens, a Florida native, hardly knew what to make of it all.

He was there during the assault on Baghdad. He was involved in a firefight in "Ambush Alley" that has been called the bloodiest American military engagement since Vietnam. On his second tour he was in a place called the "triangle of death" south of Baghdad.

In November he goes back. Tony, why?
"There was a lot of history with the military in the family," Stevens said. "It's what I wanted to do. The country has a job to do, and I wanted to do it as a Marine."

But Wednesday, Tony Stevens, 26, was a ballplayer again. He put on a Rock Cats uniform. He took ground balls at short for the first time since his 2001 season. He took his whacks in the batting cage while the Marine Corps Hymn was blasting through the stadium sound system.

His skills were obvious. You could see this guy was a pro ball player once, and yet his bearing was all military. He didn't stand straight, he stood at attention. He wore his baseball cap military style, riding up in the back with the bill riding low, hooding his eyes.

In 2001 he hit just .171, your classic middle infielder who throws a lot of leather. He didn't lead the league in any offensive category. But Stevens, all 5 feet, 10 inches and 170 pounds of him, leads the U.S. military in a dreadful category: roadside bombings. Stevens has been through 11 roadside attacks in 14 months. He's seen 30 Marines die, three of them close friends.

"I haven't been injured," he said. "Just dinged up a bit."

Stevens said there isn't time to grieve in a war zone. "It puts a lot of things in your life into perspective," he said.

He also said the word hero is not in his vocabulary. "We're just doing our jobs."

Stevens isn't a name as recognizable as Pat Tillman, another former professional athlete who went off to war. The former Arizona Cardinal football player turned down a multi-year, multi-million dollar contract. Instead, Tillman joined the Army Rangers and lost his life in Afghanistan in April 2004.

Stevens doesn't think about that. He won't discuss U.S. policy in the Middle East, saying only those decision are made by people "on a higher pay scale."

Some guys from that 2001 Rock Cats season kept playing the game. Justin Morneau, Lew Ford, Mike Cuddyer, even David Ortiz, are now in the Major Leagues. Stevens is in the Bigs too, but he wears fatigues and a flak jacket.

"I have no regrets," he said. "When I am in a fight hole in Iraq I'm not thinking that I could be playing a ball game tonight. It is a big job there, and I just have a small part in it."

When he turns in his military uniform he plans to try on a baseball uniform again. Right now he's the property of both the U.S. Marine Corps and the Minnesota Twins.

He has a one fan in Rock Cats manager Stan Cliburn. He thinks Stevens still has a shot at this game, "Especially the way he was hitting the ball in batting practice. He didn't hit it that far before.

"Everyone has the aspiration to be a professional athlete, but he is serving his country and you have to respect that. In my eyes there are a lot of heroes -- Reggie Jackson, Mickey Mantle, Babe Ruth, Paul Molitor -- but when I look at Tony Stevens, I say there is a real hero right there."

Joe Palladino is a Republican-American staff writer. He can be e-mailed at

Posted by Mamamontezz at 04:01 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

August 06, 2005


Cindy Sheehan, the mother of a young soldier killed in Iraq in 2004, protested outside the Bush ranch with a group of protesters demanding to speak to President Bush.

Supported by more than 50 shouting demonstrators, Cindy Sheehan, 48, told reporters, "I want to ask George Bush: Why did my son die?"

Why did her son die? She honestly claims not to know why her son was killed in Iraq?

Your son, as well as every other soldier killed in this conflict, died because he made an informed and conscious decision to join the military of a nation committed to protecting its citizens during a time of terror and upheaval. To say he was duped by a recruiter with promises of cash and a guarenteed slot in the Chaplancy is to call into question and discount to the world his intelligence, his sense of duty, his honor, and his manhood. You turn him from the man he was into the child you raised. He earned his manhood and independence, and the world owes him it's respect.

Your son died because he stepped up bravely when he was needed and did what was necessary to quell rioting near Baghdad. He knew the risk and accepted it.

Your son died because thousands of foreign nationals cross the border into Iraq every day from such places as Iran, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Chechnya, Jordan, Palestinian Israel, Morrocco, Pakistan. They cross the border and take up arms, not for the freedom of a nation, but to preserve the status quo of corruption, despotism, fanatisism, and intollerance. They do so, emboldened by the words and deeds of those here who do not merely question or debate the war, but who take up verbal and written arms against this nation, her government, and her military for no other reasons than intellectual arrogance and political intollerance.

Your son is dead because France and Germany and Russia put their own greed and self interest ahead of the good of an entire people held in servitude by the avarice and ego of one man, Saddam Hussain, and his quest for ever increasing territory and power in the Middle East. Even after the US pulled away from him after the gas attacks during the Iran-Iraq war, these countries and more continued to trade with him, enhancing his military and his outlandish palaces while leaving his country in ever increasing poverty. If you want to yell "No Blood for Oil" and accurately address the involved parties, you will need to have a visa and risk imprisonment. Most of these countries are not nearly as open to dissent as what you are used to.

If you want to know why your son is dead, look in the mirror. He is dead because you raised him right, inspite of your behavior now. And although you may hate the man he called Commander in Chief, and you may hate me for what I believe, I have nothing but thanks for how your raised your son. Just remember that what you say and do endangers the sons and daughters of other mothers just as caring and loving as you are. Do not endanger them as a part of your grief process.

Posted by Mamamontezz at 10:20 PM | Comments (9) | TrackBack

August 02, 2005

Semper Fi/A Study in How An Event Is Covered

This is an example of why it is essential to take the time necessary to find all the facts surrounding what should have been a straight-forward news story. This is why we do what we do, we bloggers, when we get a piece together and post it on our sites. To do less is simply irresponsible.

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Seven Marines were killed in action Monday, six of them in Haditha, and one southwest of the same town.

According to the radio reports I heard this afternoon before work, the group of six had received intel and orders to take sniping positions within town. When they reached and established their positions, they came under small arms fire from what was catagorized as an ambush by insurgents. Yahoo News, however, is not giving any details on the situation surrounding the deaths.

The UK Guardian, however, is providing a little more information on the battle:

Lieutenant Colonel Steve Boylan, a US army spokesman in Baghdad, said six marines died on Monday during a battle with insurgents in the town of Haditha, 120 miles north-west of Baghdad. A seventh was killed by a suicide car bomber in Hit, about 40 miles south-east of Haditha.

According to WCCO, a CBS affilliate, we get just slightly more information:

Seven U.S. Marines were killed in two separate attacks west of Baghdad, where American forces are trying to seal a major border infiltration route for foreign fighters, the military said Tuesday. The deaths pushed the U.S. military death toll in Iraq past 1,800.

One of the Marines died Monday in a suicide car bombing in Hit, 85 miles northwest of Baghdad. The other six were killed Monday in Haditha, 50 miles from Hit. All were attached to the same suburban Cleveland unit.

“Every single one of them is a hero,” said Lt. Col. Kevin Rush of the Headquarters and Service Co. 3rd Battalion, 25th Marines based in Brook Park, Ohio.

Intrestingly enough, the PakTribune had many more details and wasn't shy about sharing them:

US Marines battled insurgents with tanks and aircraft on Sunday in western Iraq after the Americans came under attack from a village schoolhouse, the US military said, adding eleven insurgents were killed in fighting.


The building was rigged with explosives and fortified with at least three 0.30 caliber machine guns in the windows, a military statement said. US Abrams tanks and jet aircraft attacked the building, setting off secondary explosions from the munitions stored inside, the statement added.

Coalition forces on the scene described the secondary explosions as being larger detonations than the bombs that were dropped," the statement added.

ABC International expands a little further with these details:

The U.S. command said the six Marines were "engaged by terrorists and killed by small-arms fire" in Haditha, which U.S. and Iraqi officials have identified as a major route for insurgents entering Iraq.

After the attack, residents of Haditha said several masked gunmen identifying themselves as members of the Ansar al-Sunnah Army, a major Sunni Arab insurgent group, appeared in the market carrying helmets, flak jackets and automatic rifles they said belonged to U.S. troops.

They distributed fliers claiming they had killed 10 American service members.

"They were on a mountain near the town so we went up, surrounded them and asked them to surrender," the statement said. "They did not surrender so we killed them."

Now, to put this in perspective, let's look at the DOD/AFIS release for the same time period. See if you...

...remember any of these details in the previous items.

Seven U.S. Marines were killed in Iraq Aug. 1, U.S. officials there announced today.

Six Marines assigned to Regimental Combat Team 2, 2nd Marine Division, 2nd Marine Expeditionary Force (Forward), were killed in action near Haditha. Elsewhere, a Marine assigned to the same unit was killed by a suicide car bomber while conducting combat operations near Hit.

The names of the deceased are being withheld pending notification of next of kin.

Three U.S. military personnel and two civilian interpreters assigned to a Multinational Security Transition Command Iraq special police transition team were injured today in central Baghdad when their Humvee was struck by a suicide car bomb.

Two soldiers and one interpreter were later transported by helicopter to the 86th Combat Support Hospital, officials said.

In other news from Iraq, coalition forces captured 11 terror suspects and seized weapons and bomb-detonating devices during five separate sweeps through western and southwestern Baghdad on July 31, Task Force Baghdad public affairs officials announced today.

A task force unit securing a roadside bombsite at around 1 p.m. in southwest Baghdad saw two people parked on a nearby overpass. One of the men had a cell phone, and both were acting suspiciously.

As the soldiers went to investigate, another car drove up, and the two men jumped inside and the car sped off. The soldiers gave chase and detained the men. The vehicle was impounded after the soldiers found explosives material inside, and the two men were held for questioning.

At around 2:30 p.m., a U.S. patrol working in the western Baghdad district of Ghazaliya saw four men in a vehicle waving weapons in the air while driving along a major highway. When the unit stopped the vehicle, one of the occupants tried to run away and then pointed a weapon directly at the soldiers. "The patrol then fired and killed the terrorist," stated a release from Task Force Baghdad.

When the unit went back to the car, they detained the other three occupants and searched the vehicle, finding two AK-47 assault rifles and a pistol. The soldiers impounded the car and detained the three men.

In southwest Baghdad, anti-Iraqi forces driving a blue van fired on a Task Force Baghdad patrol at 6 p.m. The unit pursued the van for 10 minutes until the vehicle pulled over and the enemy fighters jumped out and tried to get away by running through a cornfield. The unit caught one of the attackers and took him into custody for questioning.

Elsewhere in Baghdad, Task Force Baghdad soldiers working in the western part of the city saw a car speeding down a road throwing items out the window just before 8 p.m. The unit found two of the items, which were hand-held radios. One of the radios was wired to a motorcycle battery. Other members of the patrol chased the vehicle and detained five terror suspects for questioning.

Shortly after midnight, a terrorist fired on U.S. soldiers working in the Amin district of eastern Baghdad. No one was hit and the patrol returned fire, hitting the attacker in the arm. The soldiers then captured the attacker and brought him in for medical treatment before taking him into custody.

An hour later, the same patrol ran across an Iraqi woman who had injured herself in a fall. The soldiers suspected she was bleeding internally and brought the woman to a military medical facility for treatment.

In northern Baghdad, task force soldiers manning a traffic control point stopped a minivan with four military-aged men just before 4 a.m. The van matched a description of a vehicle that was involved in a roadside-bomb attack earlier in the day.

When the soldiers searched the minivan they found $4,000 in U.S. currency and explosive materials. All four men were taken into custody for questioning.

Later, the soldiers stopped a car in western Baghdad and the driver gave them a fake I.D. card. The driver told the patrol he was from the area, but when the soldiers asked other residents in the neighborhood about him, no one recognized the man or confirmed his story. The soldiers then searched the vehicle, found explosive material inside, and detained the driver.

Just before noon, an Iraqi farmer led U.S. soldiers working in the Ghazaliya district of western Baghdad to a weapons cache hidden in a field. When the soldiers arrived at the site they found nine mortar rounds and two rocket-propelled grenades. A team of explosives experts safely detonated the munitions.

See how it works, people? And isn't it sad that it takes some old chick on dial-up on a busted office chair with nothing but a pig lamp for light to do this, while the journo-types get paid good money to turn out half-assed articles. And don't talk deadlines. I did this in an hour. Most deadlines are more lenient than that, unless one has been hiding in the lounge at the hotel for too long and cut themselves short.

Posted by Mamamontezz at 10:30 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack