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May 2009

Field expedient 9mm holster

Anyone who has met my buddy Kev or seen the Freefly videos we made knows he's not right.....in the 'ead. Below the fold is proof perfect of that. Do not go look and them complain to me, the picture is twisted and just plain wrong. Plus you will need eye bleach for sure. I warned you. Wish him well at FOB Grizzly.

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Ah, Diplomacy

Greetings from Baghdad. 

Everyone remember General Order #1?  It's the order that all troops in Iraq and Afghanistan (and myself as well, as a civilian advisor to the military) have to live under, in order to avoid giving offense to our Muslim hosts.  I suspect it was inspired by the folks who labeled us Crusaders, in that it rather resembles the original law of the Poor Knights of the Temple:  no sexual activity, no racy magazines, no alcohol, no visiting soldiers of the opposite sex in their quarters, no gambling, no anything that might be even slightly offensive.  

Apparently they have different rules at the State Department.  This isn't pointed at the lads and lassies on the ePRTs who are doing good work, running the hazards and sharing the suffering with the rest of us.  I've yet to meet a one of them I didn't like, while I've met a few I genuinely admire.  But what should I read in the paper?

Change has certainly come to Baghdad. And it appears that includes the U.S. Embassy, where they are holding what the invitation says is the first-ever U.S. Embassy Gay Pride Theme Party next Friday at Baghdaddy's, which is the embassy employee association's pub.

'At their pub,' he says. 

That's awesome, guys. 

Two Questions for Bloggers & Readers

First, I know some of us have noted some interesting and odd occurrences over the last year or so, in terms of computer outages and such at places like the FAA and the power grid.  If you have any specific examples of similar occurrences, or peculiar activities at or near power or flight centers, and/or contacts on same, please feel free to drop me an e-mail or leave what you care to in comments.

Second, if you are a blogger who received a nastygram from AP for what you feel was fair use of an AP story, I would love to get a link to the article in question and a copy of the e-mail or print letter sent. 



"I think my mother prayed me out of that camp"

He Kept His Faith In The Man Upstairs

Submariner survived 3½ years in Japanese POW camp

The Day, May 29, 2009 

Ernest “Ernie” Plantz survived 1,297 days as a prisoner of war during World War II because he had a “strong belief in the man upstairs” and the will to live.

”I never, ever really thought I was really going to die,” he said. “… I think my mother prayed me out of that camp. She was very religious. I wasn't a particularly religious boy. I had been raised Baptist, went to church, but like most teenagers I wasn't too religious. But I'm convinced that's what got me out, between my mother and the man upstairs.”

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Prince Harry: Playboy or Soldier?

And I thought the US press corps was rude.  Check this piece out in the Guardian, talking about Prince Harry.  Lede:

Prince Harry arrives in New York today for a two-day rite of passage that will see him seek to dispel his playboy image and replace it with a patina of empathy in his mother's mould.

Not once does the writer of the piece, Ed Pilkington, mention that Prince Harry has already done a tour as a British soldier in Afghanistan, and acquitted himself well.  

The scale of the PR challenge facing the 24-year-old prince, who has set foot in the US only once before, as a child, has been underlined by advance media coverage. The New York Daily News noted his "hard-partying ways", Time magazine highlighted his penchant for "long, alcohol-fueled nights" and the Associated Press reminded its subscribers of the apology he had to make for wearing a Nazi swastika at a fancy-dress party.

Playboy indeed.  I think by going to Afghanistan Prince Harry showed more character than his older brother, or his father, or his sainted mother, or the vast majority of young men from his highly privileged background.  Ed Pilkington and the Guardian may think Harry has something left to prove, that Harry needs to establish his estrogen credentials, that Harry needs to start playing ball.  Don't rock the boat, Harry.  Don't make the rest of your class look bad.  Don't make Ed Pilkington's class, which washes the balls of your privileged class, look bad.  Get back to the business of being a Prince and acting like your mother and doing charity work and playing polo and driving bio-diesel fueld cars like your father because that makes the Guardian's liberal readers feel all warm inside and less guilty that they aren't making the same kinds of personal sacrifices their service members make in Afghanistan and Iraq every day.  

-- Uber Pig

Digital Life: Back to the Newsroom

This panel features Ted Bridis, news editor, Associated Press.  For bloggers, we do have his thoughts on the AP use guidelines as well as his take on the history/issue of same.  You might want to read it. As before, the majority of this is being put below the fold and will be built in part or whole from  the tweets.

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Congrats to Operation Gratitude

Operation Gratitude has taken care of a lot of military men and women over the years (and their XMas Stocking program is very well known).  Their founder, Carolyn Blashek, is an amazing person and responsible for over 440,000 care packages sent to our troops in harms way.  Op Gratitude just participated in a contest sponsored by Target and they received some much needed funds.  I voted for them.  Thanks to all who participated.

Troop Support Group Hits Target's Charity Bullseye

Office of the Secretary of Defense Public Affairs RSS
Story by Sharon Foster

WASHINGTON - Operation Gratitude will receive $232,948 from Target as part of the company's first online giving campaign.

The California-based troop-support group was one of 10 charities selected by Target to receive a percentage of $3 million based on votes cast in its online "Bullseye Gives" contest, hosted by the social-networking Web site Facebook.

"I would like to thank everyone who voted for Operation Gratitude," Carolyn Blashek, Operation Gratitude founder, said. "Each vote paid to send an additional care package to our deployed troops. Target and our voters have truly made a difference to the men and women of the U.S. military who are in harm's way, far from home and their loved ones. I am forever grateful for their dedication to this cause."

From May 10-25, Operation Gratitude's Facebook fans, volunteers, donors and supporters joined forces to cast 22,627 votes, earning the organization 7.8 percent of the $3 million charitable donation pledged by Target.

Target invited all Facebook members to visit its Facebook page to make a choice on how 10 national charities would receive a portion of its $3 million in weekly charitable giving. The charities Target selected included the American Red Cross, Breast Cancer Research Foundation, Feeding America, HandsOn Network/Points of Light Institute, Kids In Need Foundation, Operation Gratitude, Parent Teacher Association, National Park Foundation, St. Jude Children's Research Hospital and the Salvation Army.

St. Jude Children's Research Hospital received the most votes -- 77,427 -- and earned $797,123.

Laysha Ward, president of Target's community relations department, said the company is grateful to the online voters for their "passionate" response to "Bullseye Gives" and their willingness to share personal stories about why these charities are important to them.

"We're excited that all 10 amazing charities will receive a generous donation, as well as increased awareness through social-networking platforms," Ward said.

In return, Blashek said, she thanks Target for its generous support and creative vision in embracing the social-networking world for good causes.

"My attitude has completely changed about Facebook and other social-networking tools," Blashek said. "This is a very powerful thing. It is a wonderful way to reach out to people and for people to reach out to you."

Blashek said the donation comes at a good time. "Operation Gratitude is in the midst of its annual Patriotic Drive, during which a total of 40,000-plus care packages will be assembled for U.S. servicemembers," she said. "These funds will carry us a long way. All of it will go toward care packages for our troops."

In addition to earning Operation Gratitude a financial windfall, "Bullseye Gives" also resulted in a windfall of "fans" for the organization during the two-week voting period.

"Our fans on Facebook increased from 472 on May 9 to 5,131 on May 26," Blashek said. "We are so excited about this new base and members wanting to learn more about us and how they can support our troops."

Overall, more than 167,000 Facebook members voted for the charity of their choice.

French honors for the Lafayette Escadrille

French honors hires_090523-f-1014w-121c

A missing-man formation of F-16 Fighting Falcons follow French Mirages and a Naval Air Factory N3N biplane (not shown) in a flyover at the Lafayette Escadrille Memorial ceremony outside Paris, May 23, 2009. French and American citizens paid homage to some of America's first combat aviators known as the Lafayette Escadrille. The all-American squadron of volunteers flew under the French flag during World War I. U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Scott Wagers