Friday, September 30, 2011

Revolution 21 Hits The Spot

My good friend The Mighty Favog often pisses me off.

He and I share a love of 70s music and culture and we both find ourselves out of sorts in the 2010s, the world having shifted beneath our feet.


He has a tendency to call for simplistic solutions to political problems, often involving shooting the politicians, all of them. (Sorry, dude, they tried that. Doesn't work.)

His analysis often shows his roots as a radio DJ, and he never met a Republican he didn't didn't like.

But just when I'm ready to throw him over, he goes and writes something like this, an obituary for the former Archbishop of New Orleans, Phillip Hannan, who was one of the Catholic Church's finest--the man who gave the funeral eulogy for both JFK and RFK, and saw New O through thirty years of wrenching change.

In the early part of the ritual, Aymond and the others jointly confessed their sins in prayer, and as part of the rite, Aymond said he granted Hannan absolution from his sins in the name of Jesus.

Though weak and perhaps not entirely alert, Aymond said Hannan whispered a response.

They are what so far are his last recorded words:

He said: “Sounds good to me.”

God bless and rest the Archbishop. And go over to Revolution 21 and check it out.

Take That, Mel Gibson....

Now THIS is a Patriot! (Note the date--Battle of Lexington)

Stolen from Thanks fellas! :0)

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Two American Pictures

The first is a picture of a child whose father died in Iraq before he was born.
The second needs no explanation.

HT: Patty B. and Don W.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

The Tattered Remnant #43: Andrée de Jongh

To Care for the Leper and the Foreigner: Andrée Eugénie Adrienne de Jongh (1916-2007)

The History Channel ran a program recently concerning a Belgian nurse who, during the Second World War, organized and ran an underground railroad that allowed Allied soldiers and airmen behind Nazi lines to escape to neutral Spain. After the war, she devoted her life to caring for lepers in Ethiopia and in what is now Congo and Cameroon. This amazing woman is surely one of the Tattered Remnant, both for her wartime service and her postwar devotion to the most wreched, and takes her place with

Eileen Nearne, Andree Peel, and Jeannie Rousseau, the Vicomtesse de Clarens.

Note: I do not yet have time to do a full independent essay on this remarkable lady; instead, I offer this Wikipedia biography.

Countess Andrée de Jongh (November 30, 1916 — October 13, 2007) was a member of the Belgian Resistance during World War II. She organized the Comet Line (Le Réseau Comète) for escaped Allied soldiers. After the war, she worked in leper hospitals in Africa.

Early Life

Andrée Eugénie Adrienne de Jongh (nicknamed "Dédée") was born in Schaerbeek in Belgium, then under German occupation during the First World War. She was the younger daughter of Frédéric de Jongh, a headmaster and Alice Decarpentrie. Edith Cavell, a British nurse shot in the Tir National in Schaerbeek in 1915 for assisting troops to escape from occupied Belgium to the neutral Netherlands, was a heroine in her youth. She trained as a nurse, and became a commercial artist in Malmédy.

Second World War

After German troops invaded Belgium in May 1940, de Jongh moved to Brussels, where she became a Red Cross volunteer, ministering to captured Allied troops. In Brussels at that time, hiding in safe houses, were many British soldiers, those left behind at Dunkirk and escapers from those captured at St. Valery-en-Caux. Visiting the sick and wounded soldiers enabled her to make links with this network of safe-house keepers who were trying to work out ways to get the soldiers back to Britain.

In the summer of 1941, with the help of her father, she set up an escape network for captured Allied soldiers, which became later known as the Comet Line. Working with Arnold Deppé and Elvire De Greef-Berlemont ("Tante Go") in the south of France, they established links with the safe houses in Brussels, then a route was found, using trains, through occupied and Vichy France to the border with Spain. The first escape attempt was unsuccessful, and all of the escapees were captured by the Spanish, with only two out of eleven reaching England, so de Jongh decided to lead the second attempt, a group of three men, personally.

In August 1941, she appeared in the British consulate in Bilbao with a British soldier, James Cromar from Aberdeen, and two Belgian volunteers, Merchiers and Sterckmans, having travelled by train through Paris to Bayonne, and then on foot over the Pyrenees. She requested support for her escape network, which was granted by MI9. She helped around 400 Allied soldiers to escape from Belgium, through occupied France to the British consulate in Madrid and on to Gibraltar. Andrée accompanied 118 of them herself. Airey Neave described her as "one of our greatest agents".

The Gestapo, using a traitor, captured her father, Frédéric de Jongh, in Paris in June 1943 and later executed him. De Jongh herself was betrayed and captured at a farmhouse in Urrugne, in the French Basque country, in January 1943 - the last stop on the escape line before the passage over the Pyrenees - during her 33rd journey to Spain.

She was interrogated by the Gestapo and tortured, and admitted that she was the organiser of the escape network. Unwilling to believe her, the Gestapo let her live. She was sent first to Fresnes prison in Paris and eventually to Ravensbrück concentration camp and Mauthausen. She was released by the advancing Allied troops in April 1945. Many other members of the Comet Line were also captured. 23 were executed and hundreds of helpers were sent to concentration camps, where an unknown number died. Meanwhile, the line continued in their absence: in all, it returned 800 Allied soldiers and airmen, continuing until Belgium was liberated in 1944.

For her wartime efforts, she was awarded the United States Medal of Freedom, the British George Medal, and became a Chevalier of the French Légion d'honneur. She also became a Chevalier of the Order of Leopold, received the Belgian Croix de Guerre/Oorlogskruis with palm, and was granted the honorary rank of Lieutenant-Colonel in the Belgian Army. In 1985, she was made a countess.

Later Life

After the war, she moved first to the pre-independence Belgian Congo, then to Cameroon, next to Addis Ababa in Ethiopia, working in leper hospitals and finally to Senegal. In failing health, she eventually retired to Brussels.


The Countess De Jongh died on Saturday, 13 October 2007, aged 90, at the University Clinic Woluwe-Saint-Lambert/Sint-Lambrechts-Woluwe, Brussels Her funeral service was held at the Abbaye de la Cambre/Abdij Ter Kameren, Ixelles/Elsene Brussels, six days later. She was interred in the crypt of her parents at the Schaarbeek Cemetery at Evere the same day.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

...and Pistons.

(Let's enjoy it while it lasts.)

Greg's Giggles for 9/27

Yeah, Rich can't think of anything else to post today, soooooo..... ladies and germs, it's Greg Schankin! (PS If you're a friend of Greg's on FB, send him a note.)

* Things are looking really bad for President Obama. His job approval is way down. He was up there on Martha’s Vineyard again. And it looks like he may be voted off the island.

* Nancy Astor: "Winston, if I were your wife I'd poison your coffee."
Winston Churchill: "Nancy, if you were my wife, I'd drink it."

* The oil industry says that if they are allowed to drill more, they can create a million jobs. Of course, most of those jobs would be cleaning oil off of ducks.

* Thirty-three Mexican soldiers were returned to Mexico after they accidentally crossed the border. They said they just got swept up in the crowd.

* The new “Harry Potter” movie made almost half a billion dollars. Maybe now, Harry can afford laser eye surgery. (Which reminds me: Why can't the Emperor of the Galactic Empire find a decent dentist?)

* A new study found that your personality can trigger weight gain. Yeah, especially if you have the personality of a big fat guy.

* A new study found that eating healthy adds $380 to your grocery bill every year. I'm thinking, “Cool, I saved $380 this year!”

* New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie was rushed to the hospital when he felt he couldn’t breathe. Doctors said the condition is called “living in New Jersey.”

* According to the Mexican government, the number of people leaving Mexico for the United States is now practically zero. It’s true. The other day my buddy was in downtown Los Angeles and he heard something down there he hasn’t heard in years: English.

* The Los Angeles Dodgers may be bought by Chinese investors. Finally, something China is not going to win at.

* Last night was President Obama’s jobs speech and the NFL season opener. Which explains why Biden got confused and dumped Gatorade on President Obama.

* After the earthquake on the East Coast, they found Mayor Bloomberg standing under his desk.

* The TSA has a new program where agents have in-depth conversations with passengers to detect suspicious behavior. Or as most people put it, “You know what, I’ll just take the groping.”

* There’s a fatwa on David Letterman. They say the guy that issued it is an Internet jihadist. Who says Obama isn’t creating jobs?

* To give you an idea of how bad our credit is, if Obama wants to take another loan from China, his mother-in-law has to cosign. (Note to Greg–she's been cosigning all along. So have you. - RLK)

* DELTA: Doesn't Ever Leave The Airport.
NORTHWEST: Now On Rum We Stay Totaled.
USAIR: Unfortunately Still Allegheny In Reality.

* Wendy’s is selling the Arby’s restaurant chain to the company that owns Cinnabon. Or as most Americans put it, “My lunch place is selling my dinner place to my breakfast place.”

* Do you want me to accept you as you are, or do you want me to lie to myself and try to like you?

* Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner announced he's not going to resign. He had suggested he might be leaving and getting a job in the private sector. But thanks to his economic policies there are no jobs in the private sector, so I guess he's going to stay.

* Mitt Romney revealed a 59-point job plan at a big auto dealership. That shows you how smart Romney is. He knows that a politician only looks honest when he’s standing next to a car salesman.

* I think I know now why we are occupying Iraq. In case we have to sell America and move to a smaller country.

* In his speech, President Obama said that “compromise” has become a dirty word. Then he told Republicans to go compromise themselves.

* There was no birthday party for Obama. Or at least, that’s what they told Joe Biden.

* Earlier President Obama gave his speech about Afghanistan. He's starting a new phase in the military campaign called operation reelection.

* Al Gore got so angry during a speech about global warming that he almost woke up some of the people in the audience.

* The USDA replaced the food pyramid with the 'food plate.' After years of the food pyramid, many Americans ended up shaped like pyramids.

* Obama got some lovely Birthday presents. China gave him an extension on his rent.

* No matter how far you have gone on a wrong road, turn back. - Turkish Proverb

* In his new book, Dick Cheney goes after his enemies like they’re lawyers on a quail hunt.

* Canada imposed a ban on trade with North Korea. No more hockey highlight DVDs for Kim Jong Il.

Monday, September 26, 2011

What gives You the Right....?

My good friend Donald W. posted the following. I'm stealing it.

A friend shared this with me, so I thought I would share it with you :) "Back in September of 2005, on the first day of school, Martha Cothren, a social studies school teacher at Robinson High School in Little Rock , did something not to be forgotten. On the first day of school, with the permission of the school superintend, the principal and the building supervisor, she removed all of the desks out of her classroom.

When the first period kids entered the room they discovered that there were no desks. 'Ms. Cothren, where're our desks?' She replied, 'You can't have a desk until you tell me how you earn the right to sit at a desk.' They thought, 'Well, maybe it's our grades.' ... ... 'No,' she said. 'Maybe it's our behavior.' She told them, 'No, it's not even your behavior.' And so, they came and went, the first period, second period, third period. Still no desks in the classroom. By early afternoon television news crews had started gathering in Ms.Cothren’s classroom to report about this crazy teacher who had taken all the desks out of her room. The final period of the day came and as the puzzled students found seats on the floor of the deskless classroom, Martha Cothren said, 'Throughout the day no one has been able to tell me just what he/ she has done to earn the right to sit at the desks that are ordinarily found in this classroom. Now I am going to tell you.'

At this point, Martha Cothren went over to the door of her classroom and opened it. Twenty-seven (27) U.S. Veterans, all in uniforms, walked into that classroom, each one carrying a school desk. The Vets began placing the school desks in rows, and then they would walk over and stand alongside the wall. By the time the last soldier had set the final desk in place those kids started to understand, perhaps for the first time in their lives, just how the right to sit at those desks had been earned.

Martha said, 'You didn't earn the right to sit at these desks. These heroes did it for you. They placed the desks here for you. Now, it's up to you to sit in them. It is your responsibility to learn, to be good students, to be good citizens. They paid the price so that you could have the freedom to get an education. Don't ever forget it.' By the way, this is a true story. Please consider passing this along so others won't forget that the freedoms we have in this great country were earned by U. S. Veteran." Thanks for everything you do!!.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

How To Catch Wild Pigs

This is not mine; I got this off of another blog.

It's a good story.

There was a chemistry professor in a large college that had some exchange students in the class.

One day while the class was in the lab, the Prof noticed one young man, an exchange student, who kept rubbing his back and stretching as if his back hurt.

The professor asked the young man what was the matter.

The student told him he had a bullet lodged in his back. He had been shot while fighting communists in his native country who were trying to overthrow his country’s government and install a new communist regime.

In the midst of his story, he looked at the professor and asked a strange question. He asked: “Do you know how to catch wild pigs?”

The professor thought it was a joke and asked for the punch line. The young man said that it was no joke.

“You catch wild pigs by finding a suitable place in the woods and putting corn on the ground.

The pigs find it and begin to come everyday to eat the free corn.

When they are used to coming every day, you put a fence down one side of the place where they are used to coming.

When they get used to the fence, they begin to eat the corn again and you put up another side of the fence.

They get used to that and start to eat again.

You continue until you have all four sides of the fence up with a gate in the last side.

The pigs, which are used to the free corn, start to come through the gate to eat that free corn again.

You then slam the gate on them and catch the whole herd.

Suddenly the wild pigs have lost their freedom.

They run around and around inside the fence, but they are caught.

Soon they go back to eating the free corn.

They are so used to it that they have forgotten how to forage in the woods for themselves, so they accept their captivity.”

The young man then told the professor that is exactly what he sees happening in America.

The government keeps pushing us toward Communism/Socialism and keeps spreading the free corn out in the form of programs such as supplemental income, tax credit for unearned income, tax exemptions, tobacco subsidies, dairy subsidies, payments not to plant crops (CRP), welfare, medicine, drugs, etc. while we continually lose our freedoms, just a little at a time.

One should always remember two truths:

1) There is no such thing as a free lunch, someone is paying for it

2) and when you begin to think that having your government provide for you and make your decisions is ok, realize that you’ve also given up the freedom that goes with making your own choices.

If you see that all of this wonderful government ‘help’ is a problem confronting the future of democracy in America, you might want to share this with your friends.

If you think the ‘free ride’ is essential to your way of life, then you will probably ignore this.

But God help you when the gate slams shut!

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Thank You, Jim Henson

For Jim Henson, whose 75th birthday is today.

((And the following is not a joke. Remember his last lesson to the rest of us: If you feel ill, SEE A DOCTOR.))

ADDENDUM: And then there's THIS little gem; this annoying earworm of a song was made famous by its appearance in the first Muppet Show episode.

Thursday, September 22, 2011


Breaking news...!

This is big. Really, really, really big.

ADDENDUM: Or maybe not. Just damn.

REPOST: Barack Obama and the Girl on the Swing

(Or: Why Our President Is Like A Maxfield Parrish Painting)

I figured it was time to rerun this one.

When I was in junior high school I fell in love with a painting. It's official title is Reveries; but my private title for it has always been The Girl on the Swing.

You can imagine what things were like for an adolescent geek in the days before being a geek was cool. Aside from the usual travails, there was a certain difficulty that arose that I found particularly hard to bear: my (in)ability to impress girls.

Now, this is probably a very good thing. Adolescent geekiness is the most effective form of pregnancy prevention known to man; it is both salutary to the long-term success of the geek as well as being one form of birth control fully approved by God, The Blessed Mother Mary and the Roman Catholic Church.

Be that as it may, I was miserable at that age, as it seemed that She - the mysterious She whom I would spend my life with, the Woman of My Dreams - would never appear, and that I would spend my life like I spent it at fourteen, standing at the wall during the school dance, doomed to walk the world alone.

So I fell in love with The Girl On The Swing.

Maxfield Parrish was the artist: a contemporary of Norman Rockwell, Rockwell Kent, Frederick Remington, his specialty was creating beautiful, sensual, sweet, kind-appearing, chastely lovely and (ahem) fully clothed young women in poses that would not have offended Mrs. Grundy, yet carried an electric sexuality that was detectable seventy years after they were painted.

She's almost shapeless. Her female form is barely hinted at. She appears to be wearing a semi-toga, semi-bedsheet that covers her entire body from neck to toes. All you see is face, hair, arms, and a wistful and sad look downward that makes you want to approach her and make her look at you - and fall as much in love with you as you with her.

I carried this picture in my notebook throughout my junior high school days. In days where there were no girls in my life, she was my Secret Love. Any time I wanted, I could gaze on The Girl On The Swing, and she was always there, like a flower about to open.

One day, some philistine swiped the three-ring binder with her picture glued inside the front cover and artistically amended certain deficiencies, such as a hitherto unnoticed moustache, goatee, and Groucho Marx glasses. I ripped my picture out of the binder and threw it away in a rage: how DARE they spoil this timeless beauty?

Now, my rage and grief were of course absurd, for the girl was not a girl. The Girl On The Swing was truly an Unperson: she did not exist, she had never existed. She was all those things that I saw in her because of (a) the technical skill of an artist long dead and (b) my own wants, dreams and desires. This girl in the picture represented everything about Woman that I wanted to know... and yet she was not a girl at all. It was an image, a painting, a swath of dried chemicals cunningly rendered.

Nothing more.

I eventually grew up and left the Girl on the Swing behind. I came to know, and (sometimes, rarely) even fell in love with, real women--three dimensional, living, breathing reality. Some were as prosaic as pumpkins; some were as sweet as apples on Christmas day, some were delicate as roses; but none of them were remotely like The Girl On The Swing.

In particular, the wonderful woman I met and married and who bore my children bears absolutely no resemblance to her. And I mean this in the best possible way: for The Girl On The Swing is just a representation of wants; she cannot possibly love back.

She is.... a lie.

A beautiful lie, but a lie.

For the picture was not a person, just a focal point of my desires.

Now, a similar point is made in the Harry Potter series. In Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, Harry, on Christmas day, encounters a very special magical item: the Mirror of Erised. And yes, this is relevant. From the endlessly plagiarizable Wikipedia:

On it is inscribed, erised stra ehru oyt ube cafru oyt on wohsi — which, when reversed and correctly spaced, reads I show not your face but your heart's desire. Harry, upon encountering the Mirror, can see his parents, as well as what appears to be a crowd of relatives; Ron sees himself as Head Boy and Quidditch Captain holding the Quidditch Cup (thus revealing his wish to be acknowledged out of the shadow of his highly successful older brothers, as well as his more popular friend, Harry). Dumbledore cautions Harry that the mirror gives neither knowledge nor truth and that men have wasted away before it, entranced by what they see.
Yes. And try to imagine, if you will, the reaction a man, addicted to sitting in front of the Mirror of Erised, when some prankster casts a stone through its glass: rage and vengeance would be left him, with his illusions taken away.

And this is why Barack Obama is so dangerous. He is like the Girl On The Swing, like The Mirror of Erised.

My good friend Jim, a university teacher in the DC area, pointed this out to me back in May [of 2008]. The front page of the Washington Post that Sunday morning featured a young college aged woman reacting to Obama as if she were a thirteen year old girl meeting Justin Bieber.

In spite of his manifest lack of ability as President, he has, somehow, become a natural focal point of millions, or even billions, of people's desires. People see in him not what is, but what they dearly want him to be and themselves to become.

One remembers the one good scene from the otherwise execrable movie Nixon: a drunken Tricky Dick, played by Anthony Hopkins, looks at a portrait of John F. Kennedy in the White House, and says, "When men looked at you they saw what they wanted to be. When they look at me they see what they are." And it is in this way, and this way only, that President Obama resembles his predecessor of fifty years past.

Barack Obama, age 48, former community organizer and elected nobody, is, in fact, nothing in his own right, except that he is but a mirror. He is manifestedly a great nobody - clothes which contain no Emperor, not a Being of Light, but a Being of Emptiness, filled only with our desires.

And this makes him the most profoundly dangerous kind of politician of all. Combine that level of ability to cause obsession with ambition and power, he becomes a profound threat to the Republic. For to oppose him is not merely to oppose a political figure, it is to oppose the desires and needs of his millions of followers.

Let me be perfectly oblique: it is when someone casts a stone through our Mirror of Amabo, shattering the reflection, that things become most volatile. People will not give up their illusions easily.

Those who would mock and criticize him should beware: they should remember the story of The Emperor's New Clothes, particularly the last part that they don't tell children.

To wit: "And the King's Guards arrested the little boy and he was never heard from again."

And it could be dangerous for him as well. Christ help him (and us) when--not if, when--the illusion is shattered: for in the end Obama is only a man. Not a god. A man.

Nothing more.

And God help us if anyone treats him in the way the image of my Girl was.

ADDENDUM: Since this article was first written in 2009 there have been some changes. Clearly the bloom is off the rose of most people's fanatical love for this unworthy man--not everyone, but enough people, now see the man for what he is: a swath of chemicals cunningly rendered, and not the Christ--or anti-Christ--of two years ago. This is a good thing. Men on horseback are the last enemy of democracy.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Just 'Cuz.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Greg's Giggles for 9/19

It's Monday. It's cloudy. It's raining. Summer's almost over. It's time for Greg's Giggles.

Ladies 'n' germs, Mr. Greg Schankin!

* Any day where you wake up and the government is not trying to kill or imprison you or steal your money is a good day. (After all, that's what governments tend to do. Historically, that is.)

* Another St. Clair Shores tradition bites the dust - Manzella's Fruit Market closed down this past month. Comerica Bank pulled the plug on it. A sad day for a business that has been there for over 50 years. We wish Vito Manzella and his Family as well as the employees the best of luck for their futures. I am going to miss shopping there!

* After many rounds of negotiation and compromise on both sides, a deal was finally reached. That’s right, my wife would go see “Cowboys & Aliens” while I would go see “The Smurfs.”

* Researchers found that your first decision is usually your right one. Then they were like, “Scratch that, the second decision — that’s the right one.”

* A woman in Texas gave birth to baby boy weighing in at 16 pounds, 1 ounce. When they did the sonogram, the doctor was like, “I’m not sure if it’s a boy or a girl, but it’s definitely an American.”

* There’s a light bulb in Livermore, Calif., at a fire station that’s been burning constantly day and night, for 110 years. Isn’t that crazy? First turned on in 1901 — coincidentally I think that’s when Barbara Walters was first turned on.

* A new survey found that half of all American employees have faked a sick day. While the other half have just lied on a survey.

* In China they say piracy is so rampant that there are at least three fake Apple stores. It’s hard to put these people out of the business. If china arrests them for selling fake Apple products, they'll be sent to prison where they will be forced to make real Apple products.

* After Labor Day, you’re supposed to put away your white clothes. I hope someone tells Moammar Gadhafi it would be bad to wave the white flag today.

* They say the price of gas could soon be under $3 a gallon. Do you know what that means? You can now afford to drive by the house you used to live in, go by the job you used to have, and go see the bank where you used to have money.

* Vice President Joe Biden has a new Twitter account. He said he will not rest until he can embarrass the president on every media platform ever invented.

* President Obama changed his slogan from “Yes we can,” to “Yes we cave.”

* Hurricane Irene was huge news. In fact, The Weather Channel reported something they hadn’t seen in years: viewers.

* The economy is so bad, Obama met with three small businesses to discuss his Stimulus Plan: GM, Pfizer, and Citigroup.

* The economy is so bad, a picture is now only worth 200 words.

* Researchers in Britain claim they have created a gel that prevents tooth decay. We’ve got this in America. It’s called “toothpaste.”

* President Obama urged the American people to call Congress and demand that both parties work together on a compromise. The calls are 99 cents for the first minute, and a trillion dollars for each additional minute.

* Everyone in the blamestream media, copyright, is saying Newt Gingrich is on the ropes. Wrong, you parasites. This man will rise again, just like the sourdough he appears to be made of.

* James Hoffa called on President Obama to "wipe those [Tea Party] people out." I trust he didn't mean it like "rub them out."

* Hillary Clinton says she and her family stay in touch by e-mailing a lot. Bill said, 'Yeah, that's why I'm always alone on the computer in my room, e-mailing my family.'

* “Cowboys and Aliens” takes place in Arizona, which is weird. Who would have thought they would have problems with aliens in Arizona?

* There was a small fire at President Obama’s vacation home in Martha’s Vineyard. Obama then called China and said, “Darn! That's where I was keeping the $14 trillion I was about to give back! What are the odds?”

* I don’t know why Timothy Geithner would quit working at the Treasury, it must be an easy job now, especially since there’s no money in it.

* If the Lord can turn water into wine, surely he can turn debt into wine – which is good, because we're gonna need a drink.

* The gene pool could use a little chlorine.

* Newt Gingrich says he does not support gay marriage. He says marriage is a sacred sacrament that should only be between a man and his first, second, and third wives!

* The stock market had its biggest one-day drop since 2008. Remember how the experts said we had to raise the debt ceiling or the market would crash? Well, they were half right.

* A new study found that 20 percent of Internet time is spent on social networking sites. While the other 80 percent is spent hiding a Facebook window behind Excel.

'Till next week (or until Rich runs out of ideas for blog posts).... that's Greg's Giggles!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Carville to Obama: PANIC!

James Carville, who wrote a book about how the Dems would rule for '40 More Years', was quoted by POLITICO.COM today:

In a CNN op-ed, Carville said Tuesday’s two special election results are a warning to the White House – and a sign the president must make drastic changes now to stave off the Republican momentum. It’s time to panic, he wrote.

In large, friendly red letters. Not that it will do any good.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

"It's not a sign"....

The White House says that the two GOP house victories yesterday were not a sign of things to come.


Monday, September 12, 2011

Greg's Giggles, 9/11 Plus One

In celebration of nothing whatsoever happening yesterday, ladies 'n' germs, Mr. Greg Schankin!

* Pauly D from “Jersey Shore” apparently posted an ad on Craigslist for an intern. Yeah, it’s the only internship out there where you actually lose college credits.

* Al Gore publicly attacks President Obama for taking no bold action on global warming and not fighting hard enough to pass new legislation in Congress. Then the girl behind the counter said, 'Sir, can you please just pay for your ice cream and go?'

* NASA is considering replacing the space shuttle with a space taxi. It can do everything the shuttle can do, except pick you up if you're black.

* There have been huge riots in England the past couple of days. People are fighting, throwing rocks, smashing windows. And they're doing it the hard way, without a soccer game.

* The author of “The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants” is releasing a new book that takes place 10 years later. You can tell the characters are getting older because now, the traveling pants have an elastic waistband.

* Why would we celebrate Arbor Day as a national holiday, and not Shark Week? I’ll start caring about trees when trees start biting sea lions in half.

* In “Hamlet,” Shakespeare wrote, “Neither borrower nor a lender be.” Now where better to find financial advice than a play about a bipolar, suicidal man in tights?

* "A democracy is nothing more than mob rule, where fifty-one percent of the people may take away the rights of the other forty-nine.” - Thomas Jefferson

* President Obama had a private meeting with the Dalai Lama. The President asked about the political situation in Tibet, and the Dalai Lama asked if it was too soon to bang Jennifer Lopez.

* The football game will be on Thursday night, right after the season finale of President Obama.

* A Frenchman has been ordered to pay his ex-wife £8,500 in damages for failing to have enough sex with her during their marriage. I wonder if it works both ways?

* Some political analysts are saying that President Obama is making many of the same mistakes that President Bush made. Obama said, 'That's ridiculous, and if you'll excuse me, 'Spongebob' is on.'

* Getting married is very much like going to the restaurant with friends. You order what you want, and when you see what the other fellow has, you wish you had ordered that.

* Life is not a popularity contest! Just the way it is.

* Obama caved again when “Real Housewives of New Jersey” called and said, “Our show is on at that time.”

* A study showed that every hour of TV you watch after the age of 25 shortens your life by 22 minutes. That doesn’t sound too bad to me. You’d probably watch TV with that 22 minutes anyway...

* Over 6 million people were evacuated from New Jersey ahead of the hurricane. And now, three of them have gone back!

* A postcard originally mailed in 1912 was finally delivered last week. On the back it was signed “Can’t wait to get on the Titanic!” No, that wasn’t it, it was actually signed, “Best Wishes, thanks for watching. Regis.”

* Ohio Congressman Bill Johnson said his Twitter account was hacked yesterday after an image of a naked man was posted on his page. When the Lord taketh a Weiner he giveth a Johnson.

* In a new interview, President Obama said he wants a 'debt ceiling deal' for his 50th birthday. Then he was like, 'But if I can’t have that – iPad.

* Some jobs are growing: health care, solar technology and translating for our soon-to-be Chinese overlords.

* A new study found that thin people have an extra copy of certain genes. Meanwhile, fat people have an extra copy of the Denny’s takeout menu.

* Hillary Clinton says she and her family stay in touch by e-mailing a lot. Bill said, 'Yeah, that's why I'm always alone on the computer in my room, e-mailing my family.'

* More bad news for former Senator John Edwards – an audit of his campaign finances shows he now owes the federal government $2.3 million. Apparently he spent money on everything except condoms.

* Here in Detroit, the leaves turn — and run.

* A man jumped the White House fence, but after a brief chase, the Secret Service was able to talk President Obama into coming back and finishing his term.

* Republicans actually decided not to give a rebuttal to President Obama’s jobs speech last night. I guess they figured there’s already a rebuttal to his jobs speech: No jobs.

* Everyone is watching the big global news story. We’re seeing historic changes rocking one of the most ruthless families on earth. That’s right, Kim Kardashian got married.

* Joey Chestnut won the hot dog eating contest on Coney Island; in keeping with tradition, the winner was a loser.

* Electile Dysfunction: the inability to become aroused over any of the choices for President put forth by either party in the 2012 election year.

* When I’m on a roller coaster, I love the way the wind whips through my hair, which is why I never wear pants.

* Senator John McCain is in a bit of hot water after he made an unsubstantiated claim that illegal immigrants caused the Arizona wildfires. He kind of backtracked. Now he's saying it was just the Metamucil talking.

* Rebuilding. n. A term used to describe a sports team that really sucks. (Ex: "The Predators are rebuilding after going 2-16 last year.")

* Newt Gingrich, who came in 8th place in the Iowa Straw Poll, said he’s “not dead yet.” Then he was invited on “Dancing With the Stars,” and he said, “OK, now I’m dead.”

* A Dublin lawyer died in poverty, and many people donated to a fund for his funeral. The Lord Chief Justice of Orbury was asked to donate a shilling. "Only a shilling?" said the Justice, "Only a shilling to bury an attorney? Here's a guinea; go and bury twenty more of them."

* NASA is considering replacing the space shuttle with a space taxi. It can do everything the shuttle can do, except pick you up if you're black.

* You’re not a Hell’s Angel if you moisturize, or if you know where the nearest Whole Foods is.

* Just 10 days until the big Iowa Republican presidential straw poll. How many think Mitt Romney will win the straw poll? How many think Michele Bachmann will win? How many would rather vote for the straw?

(Oh, and RLK here. My favorite line from Team America World Police: "If that happens it'll be like 911 times a hundred!" "You don't mean...." "That's right. It will be ninety-one thousand, one hundred.....")

Sunday, September 11, 2011

9/11 at 9:11.


Saturday, September 10, 2011

REREPOST: Tattered Remnants #033:
The Heroes of Flight 93

[EDITOR'S NOTE: I already reposted this once, back during Memorial Day weekend this year. I'm rerunning it again, in recognition of today's ceremony remembering the dead heroes of Flight 93. God rest them all.]

Todd Beamer, one of the heroes of United Flight 93

To read more of the Tattered Remnants series click -->here<-- .

Citizen Militia: The Crew and Passengers of United Flight 93, September 11, 2001

The following is a direct quote, page for page and line for line, from the 9/11 Commission Report: Final Report of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States, pp 10-14. Nothing I can possibly write on the subject can improve on it: non sum dignis, domine.

The Battle for United 93
At 8:42, United Airlines Flight 93 took off from Newark (New Jersey) Liberty International Airport bound for San Francisco. The aircraft was piloted by Captain Jason Dahl and First Officer Leroy Homer, and there were five flight attendants. Thirty-seven passengers, including the hijackers, boarded the plane. Scheduled to depart the gate at 8:00, the Boeing 757's takeoff was delayed because of the airport's typically heavy morning traffic.

The hijackers had planned to take flights scheduled to depart at 7:45 (American 11), 8:00 (United 175 and United 93), and 8:10 (American 77). Three of the flights had actually taken off within 10 to 15 minutes of their planned departure times. United 93 would ordinarily have taken off about 15 minutes after pulling away from the gate. When it left the ground at 8:42, the flight was running more than 25 minutes late.

As United 93 left Newark, the flight's crew members were unaware of the hijacking of American 11.Around 9:00, the FAA, American, and United were facing the staggering realization of apparent multiple hijackings. At 9:03, they would see another aircraft strike the World Trade Center. Crisis managers at the FAA and the airlines did not yet act to warn other aircraft. At the same time, Boston Center realized that a message transmitted just before 8:25 by the hijacker pilot of American 11 included the phrase, "We have some planes."

No one at the FAA or the airlines that day had ever dealt with multiple hijackings. Such a plot had not been carried out anywhere in the world in more than 30 years, and never in the United States. As news of the hijackings filtered through the FAA and the airlines, it does not seem to have occurred to their leadership that they needed to alert other aircraft in the air that they too might be at risk.

United 175 was hijacked between 8:42 and 8:46, and awareness of that hijacking began to spread after 8:51. American 77 was hijacked between 8:51 and 8:54. By 9:00, FAA and airline officials began to comprehend that attackers were going after multiple aircraft. American Airlines' nationwide ground stop between 9:05 and 9:10 was followed by a United Airlines ground stop. FAA controllers at Boston Center, which had tracked the first two hijackings, requested at 9:07 that Herndon Command Center "get messages to airborne aircraft to increase security for the cockpit." There is no evidence that Herndon took such action. Boston Center immediately began speculating about other aircraft that might be in danger, leading them to worry about a transcontinental flight-Delta 1989-that in fact was not hijacked. At 9:19, the FAA's New England regional office called Herndon and asked that Cleveland Center advise Delta 1989 to use extra cockpit security.

Several FAA air traffic control officials told us it was the air carriers' responsibility to notify their planes of security problems. One senior FAA air traffic control manager said that it was simply not the FAA's place to order the airlines what to tell their pilots.68 We believe such statements do not reflect an adequate appreciation of the FAA's responsibility for the safety and security of civil aviation.

The airlines bore responsibility, too. They were facing an escalating number of conflicting and, for the most part, erroneous reports about other flights, as well as a continuing lack of vital information from the FAA about the hijacked flights. We found no evidence, however, that American Airlines sent any cockpit warnings to its aircraft on 9/11. United's first decisive action to notify its airborne aircraft to take defensive action did not come until 9:19, when a United flight dispatcher, Ed Ballinger, took the initiative to begin transmitting warnings to his 16 transcontinental flights: "Beware any cockpit intrusion- Two a/c [aircraft] hit World Trade Center." One of the flights that received the warning was United 93. Because Ballinger was still responsible for his other flights as well as Flight 175, his warning message was not transmitted to Flight 93 until 9:23.

By all accounts, the first 46 minutes of Flight 93's cross-country trip proceeded routinely. Radio communications from the plane were normal. Heading, speed, and altitude ran according to plan. At 9:24, Ballinger's warning to United 93 was received in the cockpit. Within two minutes, at 9:26, the pilot, Jason Dahl, responded with a note of puzzlement: "Ed, confirm latest mssg plz-Jason."

The hijackers attacked at 9:28. While traveling 35,000 feet above eastern Ohio, United 93 suddenly dropped 700 feet. Eleven seconds into the descent, the FAA's air traffic control center in Cleveland received the first of two radio transmissions from the aircraft. During the first broadcast, the captain or first officer could be heard declaring "Mayday" amid the sounds of a physical struggle in the cockpit. The second radio transmission, 35 seconds later, indicated that the fight was continuing. The captain or first officer could be heard shouting:" Hey get out of here-get out of here-get out of here."

On the morning of 9/11, there were only 37 passengers on United 93-33 in addition to the 4 hijackers. This was below the norm for Tuesday mornings during the summer of 2001. But there is no evidence that the hijackers manipulated passenger levels or purchased additional seats to facilitate their operation.

The terrorists who hijacked three other commercial flights on 9/11 operated in five-man teams. They initiated their cockpit takeover within 30 minutes of takeoff. On Flight 93, however, the takeover took place 46 minutes after takeoff and there were only four hijackers. The operative likely intended to round out the team for this flight, Mohamed al Kahtani, had been refused entry by a suspicious immigration inspector at Florida's Orlando International Airport in August.

Because several passengers on United 93 described three hijackers on the plane, not four, some have wondered whether one of the hijackers had been able to use the cockpit jump seat from the outset of the flight. FAA rules allow use of this seat by documented and approved individuals, usually air carrier or FAA personnel. We have found no evidence indicating that one of the hijackers, or anyone else, sat there on this flight. All the hijackers had assigned seats in first class, and they seem to have used them. We believe it is more likely that Jarrah, the crucial pilot-trained member of their team, remained seated and inconspicuous until after the cockpit was seized; and once inside, he would not have been visible to the passengers.

At 9:32, a hijacker, probably Jarrah, made or attempted to make the following announcement to the passengers of Flight 93:"Ladies and Gentlemen: Here the captain, please sit down keep remaining sitting. We have a bomb on board. So, sit." The flight data recorder (also recovered) indicates that Jarrah then instructed the plane's autopilot to turn the aircraft around and head east.

The cockpit voice recorder data indicate that a woman, most likely a flight attendant, was being held captive in the cockpit. She struggled with one of the hijackers who killed or otherwise silenced her.

Shortly thereafter, the passengers and flight crew began a series of calls from GTE airphones and cellular phones. These calls between family, friends, and colleagues took place until the end of the flight and provided those on the ground with firsthand accounts. They enabled the passengers to gain critical information, including the news that two aircraft had slammed into the World Trade Center.

At 9:39, the FAA's Cleveland Air Route Traffic Control Center overheard a second announcement indicating that there was a bomb on board, that the plane was returning to the airport, and that they should remain seated. While it apparently was not heard by the passengers, this announcement, like those on Flight 11 and Flight 77, was intended to deceive them. Jarrah, like Atta earlier, may have inadvertently broadcast the message because he did not know how to operate the radio and the intercom. To our knowledge none of them had ever flown an actual airliner before.

At least two callers from the flight reported that the hijackers knew that passengers were making calls but did not seem to care. It is quite possible Jarrah knew of the success of the assault on the World Trade Center. He could have learned of this from messages being sent by United Airlines to the cockpits of its transcontinental flights, including Flight 93, warning of cockpit intrusion and telling of the New York attacks. But even without them, he would certainly have understood that the attacks on the World Trade Center would already have unfolded, given Flight 93's tardy departure from Newark. If Jarrah did know that the passengers were making calls, it might not have occurred to him that they were certain to learn what had happened in New York, thereby defeating his attempts at deception.

At least ten passengers and two crew members shared vital information with family, friends, colleagues, or others on the ground. All understood the plane had been hijacked. They said the hijackers wielded knives and claimed to have a bomb. The hijackers were wearing red bandanas, and they forced the passengers to the back of the aircraft.

Callers reported that a passenger had been stabbed and that two people were lying on the floor of the cabin, injured or dead-possibly the captain and first officer. One caller reported that a flight attendant had been killed.

One of the callers from United 93 also reported that he thought the hijackers might possess a gun. But none of the other callers reported the presence of a firearm. One recipient of a call from the aircraft recounted specifically asking her caller whether the hijackers had guns. The passenger replied that he did not see one. No evidence of firearms or of their identifiable remains was found at the aircraft's crash site, and the cockpit voice recorder gives no indication of a gun being fired or mentioned at any time. We believe that if the hijackers had possessed a gun, they would have used it in the flight's last minutes as the passengers fought back.

Passengers on three flights reported the hijackers' claim of having a bomb. The FBI told us they found no trace of explosives at the crash sites. One of the passengers who mentioned a bomb expressed his belief that it was not real. Lacking any evidence that the hijackers attempted to smuggle such illegal items past the security screening checkpoints, we believe the bombs were probably fake.

During at least five of the passengers' phone calls, information was shared about the attacks that had occurred earlier that morning at the World Trade Center. Five calls described the intent of passengers and surviving crew members to revolt against the hijackers. According to one call, they voted on whether to rush the terrorists in an attempt to retake the plane. They decided, and acted.

The Wikipedia Account of the Revolt

Passengers and crew began making phone calls to officials and family members starting at 09:30 using GTE airphones and mobile phones. Altogether, the passengers and crew made 35 airphone calls and two cell phone calls from the flight. Ten passengers and two crew members were able to successfully connect, providing information to family, friends, and others on the ground. Tom Burnett made several phone calls to his wife beginning at 09:30:32 from rows 24 and 25, though he was assigned a seat in row four. Burnett explained that the plane had been hijacked by men claiming to have a bomb. He also said that a passenger had been knifed and that he believed the bomb threat was a ruse to control the passengers. During one of Tom Burnett's calls, his wife informed him of the attacks on the World Trade Center and he replied that the hijackers were "talking about crashing this plane ... Oh my God. It's a suicide mission." He ended his last call by saying, "Don't worry, we're going to do something."

An unknown flight attendant attempted to contact the United Airlines maintenance facility at 09:32:29. The call lasted 95 seconds, but was not received as it may have been in queue. Flight attendant Sandra Bradshaw called the maintenance facility at 09:35:40 from row 33. She reported the flight had been hijacked by men with knives who were in the cabin and flight deck and had stabbed another flight attendant.

"Jack, pick up sweetie, can you hear me? Okay. I just want to tell you, there's a little problem with the plane. I'm fine. I'm totally fine. I just want to tell you how much I love you." - Message left by passenger Lauren Grandcolas at 09:39:21.

Mark Bingham called his mother at 09:37:03 from row 25. He reported that the plane had been hijacked by three men who claimed to have a bomb. Jeremy Glick called his wife at 09:37:41 from row 27 and told her the flight was hijacked by three dark-skinned men that looked "Iranian", wearing red bandanas and wielding knives. Glick remained connected until the end of the flight. He reported that the passengers voted whether to "rush" the hijackers. .... Joseph DeLuca called his father at 09:43:03 from row 26 to inform him the flight had been hijacked. ....

After United Airlines Flight 93 was hijacked, Todd Beamer and other passengers communicated with people on the ground via in-plane and cell phones, and learned that the World Trade Center had been attacked using hijacked airplanes. Beamer tried to place a credit card call through a phone located on the back of a plane seat but was routed to a customer-service representative instead, who passed him on to GTE supervisor Lisa Jefferson. Beamer reported that one passenger was killed and, later, that a flight attendant had told him the pilot and co-pilot had been forced from the cockpit and may have been wounded. He was also on the phone when the plane made its turn in a southeasterly direction, a move that had him briefly panicking. Later, he told the operator that some of the plane's passengers were planning to "jump on" the hijackers and fly the plane into the ground before the hijackers' plan could be followed through. *

A United employee in San Francisco, California, sent an ACARS message to the flight at 09:46: "Heard report of incident. Plz confirm all is normal." Linda Gronlund called her sister, Elsa Strong, at 09:46:05 and left her a message saying there were "men with a bomb".

Flight attendant CeeCee Lyles called her husband at 09:47:57 and left him a message saying the plane had been hijacked. Marion Britton called her friend, Fred Fiumano, at 09:49:12. Fiumano recalled, "she said, 'We’re gonna. They’re gonna kill us, you know, We’re gonna die.’ And I told her, 'Don’t worry, they hijacked the plane, they’re gonna take you for a ride, you go to their country, and you come back. You stay there for vacation.' You don’t know what to say—what are you gonna say? I kept on saying the same things, ‘Be calm.’ And she was crying and—you know—more or less crying and screaming and yelling."

Flight attendant Sandra Bradshaw called her husband at 09:50:04 and told him she was preparing scalding water to throw at the hijackers. Passenger Lauren Grandcolas called her husband twice, once before take off and once during the hijacking. He missed both of her calls. She then passed her phone to Honor Elizabeth Wainio. Wainio called her stepmother at 09:53:43 and concluded, four and a half minutes later, by saying, "I have to go. They're breaking into the cockpit. I love you." Jarrah dialed in the VHF omnidirectional range (VOR) frequency for the VOR navigational aid at Reagan National Airport at 9:55:11 to direct the plane toward Washington, D.C. Bradshaw, on the phone with her husband, said "Everyone is running up to first class. I've got to go. Bye."

According to Jefferson, Beamer's last audible words were "Are you guys ready? Let's roll."*

*From the Wikipedia article on Todd Beamer

From the 9/11 Report:

At 9:57, the passenger assault began. Several passengers had terminated phone calls with loved ones in order to join the revolt. One of the callers ended her message as follows: "Everyone's running up to first class. I've got to go. Bye."

The cockpit voice recorder captured the sounds of the passenger assault muffled by the intervening cockpit door. Some family members who listened to the recording report that they can hear the voice of a loved one among the din. We cannot identify whose voices can be heard. But the assault was sustained.

In response, Jarrah immediately began to roll the airplane to the left and right, attempting to knock the passengers off balance. At 9:58:57, Jarrah told another hijacker in the cockpit to block the door. Jarrah continued to roll the airplane sharply left and right, but the assault continued. At 9:59:52, Jarrah changed tactics and pitched the nose of the airplane up and down to disrupt the assault. The recorder captured the sounds of loud thumps, crashes, shouts, and breaking glasses and plates. At 10:00:03, Jarrah stabilized the airplane.

Five seconds later, Jarrah asked, "Is that it? Shall we finish it off?" A hijacker responded, "No. Not yet. When they all come, we finish it off." The sounds of fighting continued outside the cockpit. Again, Jarrah pitched the nose of the aircraft up and down. At 10:00:26, a passenger in the background said, "In the cockpit. If we don't we'll die!" Sixteen seconds later, a passenger yelled, "Roll it!" Jarrah stopped the violent maneuvers at about 10:01:00 and said, "Allah is the greatest! Allah is the greatest!" He then asked another hijacker in the cock-pit, "Is that it? I mean, shall we put it down?" to which the other replied, "Yes, put it in it, and pull it down."

The passengers continued their assault and at 10:02:23, a hijacker said, "Pull it down! Pull it down!" The hijackers remained at the controls but must have judged that the passengers were only seconds from overcoming them. The airplane headed down; the control wheel was turned hard to the right. The airplane rolled onto its back, and one of the hijackers began shouting "Allah is the greatest. Allah is the greatest." With the sounds of the passenger counterattack continuing, the aircraft plowed into an empty field in Shanksville, Pennsylvania, at 580 miles per hour, about 20 minutes' flying time from Washington, D.C.

Jarrah's objective was to crash his airliner into symbols of the American Republic, the Capitol or the White House.

He was defeated by the alerted, unarmed passengers of United 93.


Some called what happened on that flight "The American Unorganized Militia," and they hail the passengers as volunteer paramilitary heroes who lacked only uniforms.

They were that. But they were far more than that.

They saw that they were likely doomed themselves: but they acted in a thoughtful, wise and organized manner. They knew that other aircraft had been turned into horror weapons, but having a few minutes to compose themselves, they chose to resist evil. They acted in a manner most quintessentially in keeping with the spirit of the Tattered Remnant.

They thought. They voted. They chose. They acted.

In military terms, they went from reaction to intelligence gathering to planning to execution to success--on their own, in less than 20 minutes, with no training or even preparation for their mission. Not a single passenger is known to have had even the slightest military experience. But they acted with an alacrity and a decisiveness that would have done our special forces proud.

And they succeeded on that blackest of days and showed, in a decision taking but a few minutes, what can be accomplished by those who are willing to give their lives for the preservation of others.

And they inspired a nation, a world.

And finally, it is possible that they have given an example that at last puts the threat of air piracy to an end. Passengers now know that in order to live it may be their responsibility, personally, to immediately physically overcome any incipient attempt to hijack or destroy an aircraft--as both Richard Reid, the Shoe Bomber, and Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the Underpants Bomber, both found out to, ironically, their relief. An alert populace of air passengers now know: if you want to live, attack without hesitation.

And we have the citizens of United 93 to thank for this.

May their names be ever remembered and may light perpetual shine upon them:




We should note also those who acted on the spirit of the citizens of United 93:

In 2001, when Shoe Bomber Reid attempted to blow up his flight, two flight attendants, Hermis Moutardier and Cristina Jones, fought with Reid as he attempted to light the fuse on his shoe-bomb; both were small women but were able to prevent the 6'4'' Reid from acting; thereupon, other passengers, identities, unknown, then tackled him, secured him with duct tape, and a tranquilizer administered by a physician.

Again, in 2009, when Abdulmullab tried essentially the same thing, passenger Jasper Schuringa, a Dutch film director, jumped on Abdulmutallab and subdued him as flight attendants used fire extinguishers to douse the flames.

These brave men and women deserve salutes as well. And let it be a warning to Qaida that the days of aircraft hijackings have perhaps at last come to an end.

Monday, September 5, 2011

We are on (temporary) hiatus.

Back soon.