Here's a story out of Afghanistan that would be completely wonderful, were it not for the five wounded US soldiers that are central to it:
CAMP SALERNO, Afghanistan (AP) - A 19-year-old medic from Texas will become the first woman in Afghanistan and only the second female soldier since World War II to receive the Silver Star, the nation's third-highest medal for valor.Can you imagine having that maturity, esprit de corps and selflessness at the age of 19? I just asked that of Incredible Daughter #2, who happens to be 19, and she just shook her head and said, "That's crazy."
Army Spc. Monica Lin Brown saved the lives of fellow soldiers after a roadside bomb tore through a convoy of Humvees in the eastern Paktia province in April 2007, the military said.
After the explosion, which wounded five soldiers in her unit, Brown ran through insurgent gunfire and used her body to shield wounded comrades as mortars fell less than 100 yards away, the military said.
"I did not really think about anything except for getting the guys to a safer location and getting them taken care of and getting them out of there," Brown told The Associated Press on Saturday at a U.S. base in the eastern province of Khost. ...
Brown, of the 4th Squadron, 73rd Cavalry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, said ammunition going off inside the burning Humvee was sending shrapnel in all directions. She said they were sitting in a dangerous spot.
"So we dragged them for 100 or 200 meters, got them away from the Humvee a little bit," she said. "I was in a kind of a robot-mode, did not think about much but getting the guys taken care of."
For Brown, who knew all five wounded soldiers, it became a race to get them all to a safer location. Eventually, they moved the wounded some 500 yards away and treated them on site before putting them on a helicopter for evacuation.
"I did not really have time to be scared," Brown said. "Running back to the vehicle, I was nervous (since) I did not know how badly the guys were injured. That was scary."
The military said Brown's "bravery, unselfish actions and medical aid rendered under fire saved the lives of her comrades and represents the finest traditions of heroism in combat."
It does take a little crazy to be a good soldier, and five guys in her unit and all of America have a very good, and a little crazy, soldier to thank this morning for her valor.
Name The Fanatical Motivation
What motivated these fanatics? I had the answer five words into this story ... but had to read 18 paragraphs before BBC provided just a hint:
Suspected militants arrested in western China earlier this year were planning attacks on the Beijing Olympics, a Chinese official says.Put "militants" and "Western China" together and what do you have? Islamists! BBC can't bring itself to say that, though. Way down at paragraph 18 and beyond we find:
Two people were reported to have been killed and 15 arrested in a raid on 27 January in Urumqi, Xinjiang province.
Officials now say their aim was to attack the August Olympics.
The alleged plot was disclosed as officials also revealed that a plane crew prevented an apparent attempt to crash a jet on an internal flight.
The incident occurred on Friday.
China has been struggling for years to contain separatist sentiment among the Uighur minority in Xinjiang.There it is: "mainly Muslim." And then you can read "separatist" to mean "wanting to set up a Shari'a theocracy."
Some Uighurs have campaigned for the mainly Muslim province to become an independent republic.
Not that the media would ever make it that clear.
Gagging On Universal Health Care
A lot of us smell a rat on hearing the Dem-patter on the need for a system of universal health care. "Smell a rat" is just a figure of speech, of course ... [cue the sinister voice] ... or is it?
LONDON (Reuters) - A patient was told there was no reason why he couldn't have surgery in a hospital, despite the smell caused by a dead rodent trapped in the building's ceiling.Cowper, 19, who had been waiting 11 months for the unspecified operation, opted out, despite the experts opinion that it was perfectly safe under the rule of England's national health care system to be cut open within feet of a decomposing rodent.
Andrew Cowper was due to have an operation at the Queen Elizabeth II hospital in Hertfordshire when staff "were made aware of a dead rodent in the single storey unit's roof space," the hospital said in a statement.
The hospital said its experts concluded that the dead animal was outside the operating theater and posed no risk.
Why I'm Not As Famous As Lileks
You remember Benny Sharon, the drugged-up Hebrew University prof and latter-day Timothy Leary, who recently postulated that Moses (I think that's Moses on the right and Jethro on the left) was stoned when he had a vision of God giving him tablets, and that the real hand-off never occurred. I thought my post on Sharon was pretty clever ... then I read what James Lileks had to say in his Bleat on the subject (with a hat-tip to Jim).
Talk about an effective rebuttal!
I just remembered that I called the Bob Davis show this morning to talk about the new theory re: Moses and the Ten Commandments: dude was high. Apparently a professor somewhere has suggested that the entire experience was the result of a mushroom or some such ceremonial intoxicant. I called to say I didn’t believe it, because if Moses was tripping we wouldn’t have ten commandments. We would have three. The first would make sense, more or less; the second, written half an hour later, would command profound respect for lizards who sit on stones and look at you, because they’re freaking incredible when you think about it, and the third would be gibberish. Never mind the problem of getting the tablets down the mountain – anyone who has experience of watching stoners try to assemble pizza money when the doorbell rings doubts that Moses could have hauled stone tablets all the way down.After the chuckles (or "grass-giggles" if you will) die down, Lileks gets to The Big Point:
Sure: you cannot call them Commandments without someone doing the Commanding, and once they’re not commandments they lose the moral authority that supercedes the individual precepts. It doesn’t mean they’re not good ideas still; it just means they are one set of ideas in competition with other ideas that found their origin in the rude clay of history.That, my friends, is why people who so enjoy sinning spend so much time and energy attacking the foundations of religion.
Whaling War Escalates
Paul Watson, a founder of GreenPeace who now has moved on to forcefully impose his anti-human view on others as captain of the anti-whaling ship Sea Shepard, is facing some stiff opposition this time around as Japanese whaling boat captains are standing up to his grandstanding:
Paul Watson, captain of the Sea Shepherd group's protest ship Steve Irwin, said on Friday he was shot, but survived because he was wearing a Kevlar vest.
Japan's fisheries agency said coastguard officials had only thrown "flash grenades," which are used for crowd control and are not regarded as weapons, after activists threw stink bombs on to the Japanese factory ship the Nisshin Maru. (source)
Tit for tat, I'd say.
Previously, the Japanese seized two whale-lovers who boarded a whaler and held them for quite some time, keeping them handcuffed to an outside railing to enjoy the Antarctic weather until an Australian fisheries patrol vessel intervened.
In my eleven years in Japan, my encounters with whale meat were slim to almost none. The Japanese whaling industry says whaling is cultural to the Japanese -- but whale meat is rarely served and hardly popular.
Still, anyone who stands up to holier-than-thou Watson -- a certifiable jerk-off who, when just 10, shot a kid in the butt to stop him from shooting a bird, and who once said "earthworms are far more valuable than people” -- is a hero in my eyes.
For more on the chief thug of eco-terrorism, read the bio on Activist Cash or this one on Target of Opportunity (a bit of a scary site in its own right). Skip Wikipedia; it's a bunch of bullsh ... propaganda.
Yes, there is a town in Ireland called "Muff," and yes, there is a SCUBA diving shop there named after the town.
That's just one of the bizarre bits of info on European towns I learned on Spiegel's quiz based on the odd nature of European town names. (You're going into the quiz with a one-question advantage, thanks to me!)
If you thought "muff diving" is a bit obscene, just you wait ... it gets much more X-rated than that!
Making Jerry Brown Look Good
It's common knowledge that Cal. AG Jerry Brown is using global warming grandstanding as a stage for a run for the governorship -- Moonbeam II, if you will.
Frightening as that thought is, Brown just became a minor irritant in the scheme of things, as reported by the SF Wrongicle:
San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom is considering a 2010 run for governor - a campaign that would embrace many of the same divisive causes he has championed as mayor, including same-sex marriage, universal health care and protections for illegal immigrants, The Chronicle has learned.Could there be better proof of the premise that big fish in small ponds tend to think they can be big fish in big ponds? Can you imagine how Newsome's honoring of a gay porn studio would play in Fresno? How his city's sanctuary city status will play in Orange County and San Diego? And shall we consider the stinking $229 million black pit that is the city's finances?
Newsom has long been rumored to be a potential contender in what is likely to be a crowded field of Democrats looking to succeed Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, a list that includes Attorney General and former Gov. Jerry Brown, former state Controller Steve Westly and Los Angeles Mayor Antonio ["Grease-Zipper"] Villaraigosa.
In recent months, Newsom has quietly been meeting with Democratic campaign strategists and other supporters to discuss a gubernatorial run, and he is now "certain to at least consider the possibility," said Eric Jaye, a Newsom confidant and political consultant.
When asked whether he was planning to run, Newsom said, "A number of people in the last few months have reached out and talked to me about it."
(If you want a good rundown of the bizarreness of life under Newsome, here's a list of SF-watcher Bookworm's posts on Baghdad by the Bay.)
Bring it on. Let the Dems strut their stuff in the Cal primaries, turning off sane Californians by the multitudes.