Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Jack's been back for 5 hours now and this is just my first post on it?! Man I'm slacking... Please don't hurt me Jack.

I know, I know... I've been slacking off on the whole blogging thing... And it's certainly not the Wookette's fault. She loves 24. I think she finds the annoyingly loud ticking clock soothing...

I just hope I can redeem myself before Jack finds me and puts a plastic bag over my head in a effort to locate the remaining "visitors."

Anyway here's the last episode's recap...

So President Chappelle's resident weasel in training, Dr. Janosz Poha is going behind his back with new and improved Patriot Act measures that prevent government employees from being able to work. Good for the Unions, bad for national security. And bad for the token, hot, Muslim chick. Sure she's a Republican (which makes her even hotter), but she still can't play tetris without Chiggy's authorization.

Meanwhile, back at the Bauer Malibu estates, fresh off of torturing his brother and oogling is sister in law (I've got money Romano stole her from Jack at some point) Jack drags his bro out to find the Brit in the Astin Martin (really how many off those are rolling LA in Astin Martins? Where's CTU on that one?) and hopefully dear ol' dad.

Back in the Presidential bunker, Weasel Janosz blackmails Frau Blucher (who's married to Chiggy?!? What's up with that? She had him thrown in jail two years ago... Jail must do strange things to people...) into resigning. So weak! Get some cajones Frau! Don't let the weasel win!

Now at the evil 007's offices, Jack get blindsided by his Dad, Captain Dudley Smith. He says "Hey boy-o" and wham, Jack's out like a light. Dudley wants Jack to give him the chance to clean up Romano's mess, but then Romano the one-armed wonder doc double crosses his own Dad and has his double agent henchmen take Jack and his Dad out for execution. Of course since he has put off killing them, that means they will escape. Romano had Jack 2 years ago but let the Chinese take him, and now he's going to blow his second chance at killing his bro. What's with the brotherly hostility Romano? Jealous that Jack got the good looks in the family?

Now before I ressurect the Jack Bauer Moment of Zen, a couple notes on past hours...

My favorite line so far has to be when Jack carjacked that white Jeep to chase down the terrorist with terrorist/politician/shirpa guy. He threw the guy down and said "Don't get up." Who can argue with that?

Then of course Jack killed Curtis to save terrorist/shirpa guy. WTF!! No more Bicardi and Cola!! Now it's just straight rum... that's no fun.

And of course we can't leave out the nuke that wiped out Valencia. I lost 7 cousins in that blast, so I hope Jack tortures the hell out of Ali Baba al Fayed when he gets him...

And now, without any further ado, your Jack Bauer Moment of ZenTM:

Chuck Norris Jack Bauer was the first person to tame a dinosaur.

Chuck Norris Jack Bauer was not born, he was forged.

Fear was a word created to describe Chuck Norris Jack Bauer.

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Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Lest we forget that terrorism and specifically al Qaeda aren't limited to Iraq

I think we're so focused on our own problems and issues in Iraq and to a lesser extent in Afghanistan, that we're losing the bigger picture. Terrorism is still a major threat in the world and al Qaeda, and their evil spawn sub-groups, is still the foremost perpetrator of terrorist attacks around the world.

Playfuls - Seven people were killed, five of them soldiers, in separate attacks by terrorist groups in Algeria over a 48-hour period, local media reported Tuesday.

Four soldiers and a local policeman were killed early Monday in a mortar attack on a military base at Batna, 435 kilometres east of the capital Algiers.

In the ensuing reprisal, Algerian troops killed about 10 members of the Salafist Group for Preaching and Combat (GSPC), a terrorist group associated with al Qaeda, in a sweeping operation in the region around Batna.

In addition, one Algerian soldier was killed and another injured during a battle with suspected Islamist terrorists at Ain Kechra, some 550 kilometres east of Algiers.

In related news, a former fighter for Algerian independence was found dead at a fake military roadblock erected by Islamic insurgents at Boumerdes, 50 kilometres east of Algiers.

Terrorism isn't just a threat to Iraqis, it's a worldwide threat, and worldwide includes us. The MSM focuses all their attention on Iraq and can't seem to see anything outside of Iraq like the above al Qaeda terrorist attack in Algeria. Or what about this story about terrorist gangs in the Netherlands. Or a similar story from Toronto. Or Sri Lanka. Or Yemen.

So don't forget to ignore the rest of the world, and remember America is the root of all problems great and small. If only we got out of Iraq and Afghanistan, all terrorism would stop immediately, and peace would reign over the world...

Nevermind the millions of people freed from oppressive regimes that used torture, rape, murder, and genocide as basic tools for governing... But that's not what's important to the anti-war crowd. War is bad. War for oil. War for Halliburton. Give peace a chance and all the other lame slogans that are nothing more than cheap, meaningless soundbites.

So if you're tired of people who don't think beyond their three word soundbite directing policy for the nation, go take the pledge. Tell Congress that war is tough, but the only way we'll lose this one is if we give up, so grow a set of brass ones and do what it takes to win the war. We already invested so much, why give up part way through? All that does is invalidate all that has been accomplished, abandon a fragile, new democracy, and make the sacrifice our soldiers have made pointless.

Sign the pledge.

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Monday, January 29, 2007

Palestine calls for ceasefire with itself

I wonder if they had to bring Jimmy Carter in the broker this deal...

Gaza City, Jan 30, 2007 (AFP) – The Palestinian ruling party Hamas and its rivals Fatah late Monday called a joint ceasefire after four days of vicious factional fighting left 33 people dead, the territories’ foreign minister said.

[…] The ceasefire statement also called for militants loyal to both parties to release hostages they have taken from each side over recent days. [Minister Mahmud] Zahar added that Haniay and Abbas would meet soon to relaunch a dialogue.

The call came after the worst violence since Hamas won a landslide election a year ago. The unrest torpedoed on and off talks to broker power-sharing agreement and sparked Arab diplomatic efforts to appease the disturbances.

Where else is 4 days of fighting, taking hostages, and 33 dead just another week of poltics as usual? And people wonder why this Palestinian blogger has just about given up, resorting to approving of Israeli military intervention.

Israel poising to respond on Eilat attack, it could be by the aerial bombardment and artillery, or perhaps they will try to assassinate Palestinian resistance leaders, what a ironically, we really want that to happen quickly, it might be the only solution to stop the bloody fighting between brothers in the Gaza Strip.

“They said that the shedding of Palestinian blood is a red line, which has happened to them, the Red waldem become everywhere in the streets, hospitals and houses of Gaza, what remains of taboos that they talked about!

[...] It's defective to reach such thinking, to call Israel to stop this shameful chapter in the chapters of the Palestinian case, if there is case still after all that has already happened and is happening.

So Israel, be merciful and stop the killing! Just go in a bomb the hell out of Gaza. It's the only solution.

They said it... not me...

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Gratuitous adorable baby picture post...

I can't help it! She's so cute!

We took more pictures at the mall picture place...

Thank you for listening...

Now back to your regularly scheduled blogging...

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Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Take the pledge...

I think it's fair to say that the war hasn't gone as planned. Sure we defeated Saddam's military forces quickly, but despite the President's warnings, I still think most Americans still expected our military might to not only crush Saddam's traditional military, but any residual guerrilla fighting as well. Despite the warnings, I don't think America was mentally prepared for the stubborn toughness (tough in the hard to kill a cockroach kind of tough) of the terrorist elements, insurgents, and religious warriors.

But simply chalking this one up as a loss because we as a society weren't mentally prepared for a war that was intended to change the hearts and minds of a Muslim population that has been battered and beaten into submission by religious rivals and then expected to dismiss all past transgressions to allow the country to unify and move forward, Kurds, Shiites, and Sunnis all together as one.

That sort of a unification takes a lot of time.

So instead of throwing in the towel on the current plan, he let it be reworked, changed, and revamped by professionals like General Petraeus. The big idea he got in return was "send more troops." So that's what he pledged to do.

But now the newly elected Democratic Senate is getting Republican support from Senators Norm Coleman and John Warner for a measure that would block the 21,500 extra troops that were approved for deployment into Iraq.

On an anecdotal note, the possibility that these extra 21,500 troops might be prevented from going by a Senate vote is pissing the hell out of our troops and their supports. A lady I work with, who's son died in Iraq, made the statement that "if they refuse to send those extra troops, they are giving up on the war and motivating the enemy, and if they lose the war, my son died for nothing."

My thoughts exactly... What honors our troops more? Pulling out and truly making this another Vietnam (that anaolgy would finally be accurate to an extent) or finishing the job, so that the sacrifice our troops and their friends and family have made won't have been in vain.

So if you're pro-victory, sign the pledge (via Hugh Hewitt).

We can win this war. We just have to want to win it.

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Monday, January 22, 2007

I had a small, teeny-tiny, itsy-bitsy redneck moment this weekend...

The Fetching Mrs. Wookie, the little Wookette, and I had to make a run to the local WalMart Sunday to pick up a few things...

Diapers? Check.
Baby wipes? Check.
Deodorant? Check.
12 guage shotgun shells? Check.

I think the funniest part was that the girl at the register didn't even think twice about it.

I guess diapers and ammunition is a frequent purchase combo at most WalMarts...

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Bernanke calls current medicare and social security structure a potential "crisis"

Privitizing social security was one of the best parts of Bush's plans when he was campaigning for reelection. Unfortunately, it got slammed by, well, by most of the Senate and House. Slammed by a bunch of elected officials who'd rather placate their constituents or stick their heads in the sand and hope the problem resolved itself.

Jan. 18 (Bloomberg) -- Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke said the U.S. government may face a ``fiscal crisis'' in the coming decades if it fails to deal with the rising costs of retirement and medical benefits for the aging population.

``If early and meaningful action is not taken, the U.S. economy could be seriously weakened, with future generations bearing much of the cost,'' Bernanke said today at a Senate Budget Committee hearing.

His comments may help frame a debate leading up to President George W. Bush's Feb. 5 budget, in which he will unveil a plan to balance the budget by 2012. Bernanke, unlike his predecessor Alan Greenspan, refused to endorse a strategy on taxes and spending. The projected budget shortfall results from spending on the Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid programs.

While official forecasts may show a stable or narrower budget deficit over the next few years, ``unfortunately, we are experiencing what seems likely to be the calm before the storm,'' Bernanke said in his first hearing on Capitol Hill since Democrats won control of Congress from the Republicans in November's elections.

Now Bernanke was diplomatic and didn't say "do what Bush says" or "don't do what the Democrats want," but he should've. It's the same problem we had last year, and the year before that, and the year before that, and the year before that....

So let's look at some facts I blogged on back in 2004:

In about 13 years, the system is projected to start paying out more in benefits than it collects in benefits. Then, the government must start repaying the excess Social Security funds it already has spent. With the repaid funds, the system can cover full benefits until 2042, according to the forecast by Social Security’s Board of Trustees. The Congressional Budget Office predicted the system is in better shape and probably can pay full benefits a decade longer.

And that's just social security! Medicare isn't a damn bit better. And now that Hillary's officially announced her intentions to run for President, I think we can expect to hear some more about her state run Hillary-care. And if you think that's a good idea, I'm sure we can find you the phone number for a British guy who has cancer, who's been waiting for his surgery for months. Or how about a Canadian lady who needs heart surgery? Maybe you can talk to them and they can tell you how great it is waiting and waiting and waiting for an important surgery, hoping they don't die in the mean time.

But they didn't have to pay for it! That's the biggest lie of the century... They've been paying for it since they got their first paycheck, since they bought their first piece of candy when they were six. In fact the whole country has been paying for their surgery. I don't know about you, but I don't want to pay for anybody else's medical necessities. Just my own.

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Hillary's in...

It's kinda the "duh" statement of the year so far. Pretty much everyone assumed she'd be in the running for President.

(CBS/AP) Sen. Hillary Clinton finally ended all the speculation about her presidential ambitions over the weekend, declaring her candidacy on her Web site.

[...] "It will be a great contest with a lot of talented people," Clinton said Sunday – "a lot" being the operative word.

So the election for the most powerful person in the free world is just a contest huh?

Hope you're not a sore loser...

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Monday, January 08, 2007

Baby picture time! (finally...)

I know, I know... you'd think I could've gotten my little girl's pictures up a little faster than I have.

But hey... no one told me this baby stuff was so much work.

But despite the diapers, late night feedings, and crying, it's the most wonderful thing in the world...

And she's the cutest damn baby ever!

So for those interested here's the birth saga...

My original post on December 21st that we were off the the hospital ended at 1pm when they sent us home because The Fetching Mrs. Wookie was only 1cm, despite contractions 3 minutes apart. Well I had called everyone that we were heading to the hospital, and by the time they discharged us, my parents had arrived. So we all go get some lunch, then head home. My parents leave at about 4pm and 15 minutes later my wife's water breaks. Go figure.

Anyway, we didn't head right back to the hospital because her contractions had stopped, so we figure we can wait for contractions to start again in the comfort of our own home, or in the cramped, uncomfortable, hospital room. We stick it out at home until about 8pm and then figure as nothing's changed, we ought to head back to the hospital.

We check in around 9, and the nurses confirm the her water did indeed break. We still don't have any contractions however and The Fetching Mrs. Wookie is still only 1cm. As a general rule, the doctors will want the baby delivered within 24 hours of the water breaking. At this point, we're still trying for a natural childbirth, so there are no drugs or IVs in place. Contractions start up on their own around midnight (I think they started around midnight... I took a short 90 minute nap around that time). Everything is going swimmingly until around 3am when our little girl starts getting shifty in the womb and rotates herself from a correct, anterior presentation (face down) to a posterior presentation (face up) more commonly called back labor. I had heard back labor was more painful, but my mother described it to me as the feeling of being ripped in half from the inside out. Ouch...

My wife endured 3 hours of grueling pain before deciding to take the edge off first with Nubain. Then at around 9am, 15 hours after her water broke her doctor wanted to speed things along, since she was still only at 2cm. She wanted to add pitocin but as that would increase the frequency and strength of the contractions, she wanted to give her the epidural. We agreed.

But as 1pm rolls around, we're still only 2cm dilated. And now my wife has a fever as well. Things are starting to look like a c-section, but then things start moving along rapidly. At 3pm we jump to 5cm, 7cm at 4, and by 6pm we're at 10.

In comes the labor and delivery nurse, who ensures us that moving the baby down into the birth canal and the actual delivery portion can take 3 hours or more. That just motivated my wife even more. She breated the baby down the birth canal in 20 minutes and then began the real pushing. They actually had to rush to get the doctor there in time to deliver the baby. He walked in, she pushed twice, and out came my little girl.

Well not so little actually... 9 pounds, 6 ounces, and 21 inches. And when all things were said and done, it was 39 hours of labor.

And watching the birth was probably the most amazing thing I've ever been a part of... literally an undescribable feeling. It seems cliche to say it was the best day of my life, but now I understand why so many men say that.

Thanks to everyone for the well wishes! Hopefully now some form of regular blogging will resume...

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