Thursday, December 25, 2008
Wednesday, December 24, 2008
It is early morning on Christmas Eve Day..I just wanted to welcome you to this glorious day and tell you to take a moment today..breathe..and look around at all God has given us with the birth of His Son...There is so much beauty and so much love..not just in the nature and scenery around us but the beauty in each one of our souls and the love that He has so put in our hearts ... just by looking you can see that it is there. He gave us each other to love and cherish and without each other and our different souls brought together, we could not enjoy all that is around us. It is through the eyes of our spirit that we can appreciate this. Truly, our eyes are the window into our soul.
My greatest gift has been to bear our children...through the pain of labor such a beautiful thing was created and at the end of the hard laboring--a gift. Isn't that how life is..through the challenges and trials..through the pain we endure..God enriches our lives with such reward and beauty, it is hard to even describe. There is nothing as amazing in God's creation, then the gift of a child born..Isn't that what His birth is all about? I now understand why it was to be that way for all mother's bearing their children..the pain and the joy all mixed into one and when done..it is good.
I am thinking about each one of you today..It is hard not to be all together...realizing that this is how it has to be at times..it makes me appreciate the times we are even more. Not to forget, after it is all done..God keeps adding to your life through your children...that is you Gretchen. We are thankful for you now blended into our family.
Make this day wonderful. Keep Him in your heart in everything you do..remember that anything else is just the "earthly details" and only temporary..and know that there is no greater love than what your Dad and I feel for you..
God's peace this day..
Love you always,
Thursday, December 18, 2008
By Calvin Woodward, Associated Press Writer
WASHINGTON — At first glance, everything seems out of place on the map of a new interstate road system taking shape across the nation.
Interstate 95 runs down the stunning sweep of the Pacific Coast, not the congested blandness of the Eastern Seaboard. Route 1 meanders along country roads, not strip malls. And you'll get your kicks on Route 76.
Mapmakers gone wild? Not quite.
State officials and bicycle enthusiasts are stitching together more than 50,000 miles of pedal-friendly pavement to form a vast network of bicycle routes connecting byways, cities and offroad trails in a system like the one created for cars and trucks over half a century ago.
The American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials, working with the Adventure Cycling Association and other groups, recently approved a plan, four years in the making, that lays the foundation for the network. Now it's up to each state to create the routes and put up signs.
"It's a big turning point," said Jim Sayer, executive director of the Adventure Cycling group, the authority on transcontinental bike travel.
"We're coming down out of the clouds, having created the overall national plan, and getting to the nitty-gritty of creating interstate routes on the ground. It's a great opportunity for the U.S. to establish what could be the largest bicycle route network in the world."
The effort relies on cartography instead of construction, signposts instead of earth-movers.
Working from a bewildering tangle of existing roads, planners mapped a web of corridors where the national bicycle system should go. They considered traffic volume, terrain, amenities and ways to link together lightly traveled byways, secondary roads, urban trails and already established transcontinental bicycle routes.
Each corridor on the map they approved is a broad swath 50 miles wide; the precise routes within each corridor are still to be designated, numbered and given signs.
To avoid confusion, the proposed numbering system is reversed from interstate highways. For example, Route 10 is the southernmost east-west interstate for motor vehicles; bicycle Route 10 runs east-west close to the Canadian border.
Long-distance bicycling is catching the imagination — and in some cases, purse strings — of governments worldwide as they look for ways to encourage people-powered travel and tourism. If completed as planned, the U.S. network would outdistance anything offered in other countries, or even continents.
In Europe, a dozen long-distance routes are coming together in the 38,000-mile EuroVelo network, about one-third complete. For a route to qualify, it must have traffic volume under 1,000 vehicles a day, a grade no steeper than 6% and enough width for cyclists to ride two abreast.
In Quebec, the 2,700-mile Route Verte, or Greenway, was finished last year at a cost of more than $80 million Canadian from the provincial government and millions more from localities along the way.
Quebec set rigorous conditions for operators who want business from the cyclists. For example, certified campgrounds must guarantee space to cyclists, reservation or not, and offer a sheltered place to eat. Participating hotels must offer high-carb meals, fresh fruit and secure storage for bikes. Amenities and public transportation are offered at set intervals.
The U.S. is a long way from that level of organization and is unlikely to adopt rigid nationwide standards for what constitutes a bike-friendly interstate route. The lay of the land is such that busier roads with wide shoulders are included along with quiet roads with no shoulders.
Adventure Cycling has thoroughly mapped 38,000 miles on its own. The new corridors incorporate many of those routes, perhaps most notably the TransAmerica Trail, the mother road of transcontinental bicycling connecting Virginia and Oregon over 4,262 miles.
The interstate plan marks a revival of sorts for Route 76, the 1976 bicentennial bicycle route that shares most of the same roads with the TransAm. Virginia has already put up Bicycle Route 76 signs for the new system — signs that will rise again across the country if the vision of the planners is made real.
Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed
Sunday, December 14, 2008
Your running 100 mph with your hair on fire, you have a 500 mile drive to make, you feel like the wheels are falling off, 14 people are coming to dinner and the refrigerator breaks down and you have to buy a new one.
Just a typical Christmas adventure, all in the span of 3 days in the Chamberlain home. I get home from work Thursday night and Val says the fridge isn't cooling. She moves all the food down to the basement refrigerator. I am planning on leaving to get Molly at WVU from work around 2pm on Friday. I call in and pull the refrigerator apart Friday morning to find the recirculating fan shot. We're off to Lowes and "think" the one we want will fit. I get the measurements and we head home. Yes it will fit "IF" I pull the cabinet out and take out all the floor moulding. The opening is 35 15/16". The new Whirlpool is 35 3/4" wide. What's 3/16 among friends?
All this is completed by about 1:30 pm. Back to Lowes I go. Mean while Valerie is doing her best to prepare for 14 people coming to dinner Saturday night, arriving at 5:30 pm for 1/2 of our church's progressive dinner. Oh, yes she didn't have to walk 4 miles on Friday with all the trips up and down to the basement refrigerator.
Great, Lowes had the fridge we want in stock. Good deal. 10% off, 6 months no payment no interest. The American way. Who could ask for more. Free delivery (guaranteed between 9 am and 5 pm Sat.) and installation and removal of the old one. Gee, it only takes until 3pm because when I get to the register and swipe my Loew's card it says rejected. Haha. Sir you haven't used your card in 4 years. Yes, that is correct, when we bought the dryer. Sorry sir you'll have to fill out an application for a new card.
Finally at 3 pm it's out the door, heading west for M-town. Molly is waiting. So is 22 degrees and 2 inches of new ice and snow as I go over Keyser's ridge on I-68 at 45 mph. Well at least we found a stool at Blackbear and I wasn't driving back the same night. That meant an Irei Remember burrito, an Oatmeal stout, and a Santa pale ale. All this to keep us fortified until 1:30 am while we packed Molly, loaded the car and cleaned her room.
"God is faithful..." Saturday it was a beautiful sunny day for the drive home. The new Whirlpool was delivered by noon and as usual, Valerie pulled off a miraculous stunning dinner for 17 people.
Tuesday, December 9, 2008
"Valerie, believe me when I say the red ribbon is a 10 foot tree. The STICK doesn't lie"
Friday, December 5, 2008
I came across two really cool bloggers this week.
Up in Alaska.
Jill Homer, "I'm an Alaska journalist who likes to bicycle in horrendous conditions and eat goldfish crackers and Pepsi for breakfast." She has ridden and is preparing to ride the 2009 Bike Iditarod. A 350 mile winter, crosscountry bike race. She is the author of, "Ghost Trails" a sometimes joyful, often harrowing ride through my experiences in the 2008 Iditarod Trail Invitational, and the events that inspired it. Jill also takes some amazing photos on her daily winter bike rides.
The second blog I found is
The Adventures of Mike and his Bike
"Let the Good Times Roll"
Thursday, December 4, 2008
For Immediate Release
Contact: Mark Eller, IMBA Communications Director
An upcoming National Park Service (NPS) rule change could greatly benefit mountain bicycling by improving the administrative process for opening trails to bicycles. IMBA has been asking the agency to revise its policies since 1992, because the current "special regulations" process is needlessly cumbersome and treats bicycles like motorized vehicles.
The NPS has said the proposal for new rules will be formally announced later this year. IMBA hopes the enhanced procedure will allow park superintendents to make trail access decisions locally, instead of being tied to a Washington-based, multi-year regulatory journey. The new rule would treat bicycling like other non-motorized trail users, such as equestrians.
The suggested NPS rule change would only apply to places where including bicycling is non controversial, and would maintain current requirements for environmental review and public notice. Opening a trail to bicycling must be in compliance with the National Park Service Organic Act, the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), the Historic Preservation Act, and all NPS General Management Planning processes.
Proposed Rule Subject of Misunderstandings
Recently, the American Hiking Society (AHS) published a national action alert opposing the as-yet-unreleased NPS rule. This alert is based on the incorrect assumption that requirements for comprehensive environmental review and public commentary about opening a trail to bicycling will be discarded. In fact, these safeguards will remain in place, as required by federal law. IMBA and AHS leaders met nationally on this issue last week.
Unfortunately, the alert has rippled through the hiking community, causing consternation and confusion amongst the shared-use trails community. Some hiking-based groups have expressed concern that mountain biking will infringe on foot travel in national parks, but IMBA remains confident that shared-use trails can succeed in national parks, as they do in countless public land settings around the globe.
The alert also suggests that this regulatory change could affect how Wilderness, or areas proposed for Wilderness, will be managed. In fact, these issues are completely separate. IMBA recognizes that cycling is not allowed in areas designated as Wilderness. The NPS proposed rule change would have no impact on Wilderness regulations.
National parks that are not interested in expanding opportunities for bicycling will not be affected by the rule change. The new proceedures will not force mountain biking on any park unit, and superintendents that do not see opportunities for mountain biking in their parks will not be asked to adopt it.
IMBA Encourages Clubs to Reach Out to Hiking Groups and NPS Leaders
IMBA encourages mountain bike organizations to reach out to their local hiking trail partners and NPS local leaders with our fact sheet on the issue, to address concerns and answer questions about the rule change.
Creating opportunities for mountain biking will not diminish experiences for existing users such as hikers or equestrians. Park staff are skilled at selecting appropriate trails for shared-use experiences. Hikers and bikers can work together to repair eroded trails, get kids exercising in parks and build excitement about our national parks.
More on What the Rule Change Will Achieve
The current "special regulations" process for opening NPS trail to bicycling is onerous and cumbersome, often typically taking years to complete. Only two of the roughly 24 parks that allow singletrack mountain biking have managed to complete special regulations, highlighting the unrealistic and unnecessary burden it places on NPS staff. The special regulations process required for bicycles also applies to snowmobiles, jet skis, airplanes, commercial trucking and other similarly intensive park uses. IMBA believes local park management, using the inclusive NEPA process, can best make decisions regarding bicycle use on the trails that they oversee.
In one real-world example, Tennessee's Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area, trail users and park staff worked for many years to open two existing routes to bicycling, detailing the process publicly in environmental reviews, park planning documents and rigorous scientific research. Regardless, the trail opening was prohibited because special regulations had not been completed. While bicyclists, NPS staff, hikers and equestrians all support opening these trails to bicycles, the opening date is likely several years in the future, at best.
Another example can be found in Washington, DC, at Fort Dupont National Park. IMBA affiliated club Trips for Kids has been bringing inner-city youth to the park to ride the existing network of singletrack trails for many years. This program helps build self-esteem, get kids exercising and exposes an often underserved population to the benefits of bicycling and national parks. Technically, these trails are out of compliance with this bureaucratic, special regulations process - although all groups involved would call this program wildly successful.
For more information on this issue, please contact IMBA's Government Affairs Director Jenn Dice (firstname.lastname@example.org), or Policy Analyst Drew Vankat (email@example.com).
Tuesday, December 2, 2008
Thursday, November 27, 2008
Holiday Eating Tips...Wink, Wink!
Tongue-In-Cheek Tips For A Chuckle
By Robin McClure, About.com
When eating around the holidays, here are tips to consider before having that next food orgy at the all-you-can eat buffet!
Avoid carrot sticks. Anyone who puts carrots on a holiday buffet table knows nothing of the seasonal spirit. In fact, if you see carrots, leave immediately. Go next door, where they're serving rum balls.
Drink as much eggnog as you can. And quickly. Like fine single-malt scotch, it's rare. In fact, it's even rarer than single-malt scotch. You can't find it any other time of year but now. So drink up! Who cares that it has 10,000 calories in every sip? It's not as if you're going to turn into an eggnog-aholic or something. It's a treat. Enjoy it. Have one for me. Have two. Toast to the holidays!
If something comes with gravy, use it. That's the whole point of gravy. Gravy does not stand alone. Pour it on. Make a volcano out of your mashed potatoes. Fill it with gravy. Eat the volcano. Repeat.
As for mashed potatoes, always ask if they're made with skim milk or whole milk. If it's skim, pass. Why bother? It's like buying a sports car with an automatic transmission.
Do not have a snack before going to a party in an effort to control your eating. The whole point of going to a holiday party is to eat other people's food for free. Lots of it. Hello?
Under no circumstances should you exercise between now and New Year's. You can do that in January when you have nothing else to do. This is the time for long naps, which you'll need after circling the buffet table while carrying a 10-pound plate of food and that vat of eggnog.
If you come across something really good at a buffet table, like frosted cookies in the shape and size of Santa, position yourself near them and don't budge. Have as many as you can before becoming the center of attention. They're like a beautiful pair of shoes. If you leave them behind, you're never going to see them again.
Same for pies. Apple. Pumpkin. Mincemeat. Have a slice of each. Or, if you don't like mincemeat, have two apples and one pumpkin. Always have three. When else do you get to have more than one dessert? Labor Day?
Did someone mention fruitcake? Granted, it's loaded with the mandatory celebratory calories, but avoid it at all cost. I mean, have some standards.
One final tip: If you don't feel terrible when you leave the party or get up from the table, you haven't been paying attention.
Reread tips; start over, but hurry, January is just around the corner!
Note from Guide: Author is unknown, but this list has been circulating across the public internet, so it's fair game to spread the holiday cheer!
Friends/Family, below is an Email from an ROTC buddy of mine, 1LT Sgroi, some of you know Tony, some of you don't, please keep him in your prayers as he approaches his final months in Iraq and celebrates Thanksgiving over there.
I realize it's been months since I sent out a big email update so I figured today would be a good day to get it done.
Anyhow, Happy Thanksgiving to all of you and your families. I'm thankful that I have so many great friends and family that have supported me since I've been here. It's been almost a year now, and I've still got about 3 months left. Hopefully the time will go by quickly.
Work here has been kind of crazy as of lately. Just like when I was in school, as time winds down I seem to get busier and more overworked. Since I started working in the city of Abu Ghraib, I've learned to expect anything and be ready for it at any time of the day or night. My men and I are all pretty tired, and definitely ready to come home (or at least take a break). It's that kind of exhaustion that can't be fixed by taking a day off or sleeping. We all need some serious relaxation (and a beer) I think.
The bright side of all that work though is all the progress we've accomplished here. Abu Ghraib has gone through a major transformation over the last year. The residents feel safe again, and we've begun to really focus on rebuilding. Over the last couple of weeks we've been paving roads, installing street lights, renovating hospitals and schools, and cleaning up a lot of the rubble from the war. People are sometimes so thankful that they'll invite me into their homes and insist on feeding me. Iraqis are some of the most generous people you'll ever meet and I've learned to respect and love that about this place.
Of course there's always still some bad guys left and that's what I spend most of my time doing is targeting those remnants of the insurgency. Its similar to being a detective and a SWAT team all at once.
Anyhow, I hope you're all doing well. You're all in my thoughts and prayers, especially those of you who may be reading this and here in Iraq or on your way here soon.
God bless and happy Thanksgiving.
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
Special Agent FBI Ret.
For the wealth that is our friendship,
Whereon no harm did fall;
For the training that we shared alike,
That let us each stand tall.
For the cases that we worked and solved
For the paths we all did trod
For the bravery of our fallen ones,
I thank thee, O my God!
For reports that were well written
And the grace to do what's right.
With our egos badly smitten
Long hours worked through the night.
For Thy safety and protection,
And the disciplining rod
For our fight against crimes evil,
I thank Thee, O my God!
For respecting badge and gun,
And the laws that show the way.
For success in our endeavors,
For completing every day.
For the justice that we strove for
For your blessings and your nod,
For all our brothers died for,
I thank Thee, O my God
For the splendor of your wisdom
Deep rooted in all things
For justice that was well served
And all that goodness brings.
For agents steeped in courage,
We stand so proud, yet awed,
For watching o'er our Bureau,
I thank Thee, O my God.
And as our time grows shorter
And as our suns do set.
We thank thee for this journey
Each agent that we met.
For helping in the battle,
Within, above, abroad,
For watching o'er us daily,
I thank Thee, O my God.
Monday, November 24, 2008
So 38 plus years of riding I have had numerous "close encounters". Almost hitting a deer at 40 MPH in a rain storm on the Blue Ridge Parkway. Elbow brushed by passing vehicles. Empty beer cans bounced off my helmet. Dogs, plenty of dogs (but no bites). Last week's Arte Johnson in the middle of Eskimo Hill road. This to name a few.
I might have to rank last nights Piper encounter as one of the most unique yet. I was out wandering and decided to do a loop of Dogwood Air park, just off Route 1 near Stafford High School. Looking at the photo, I came in on the far right road/taxi way, rode to the far East end and then came back. I cross over to the road on the left heading for Piper Lane. Half way down an airplane landed East to West. I didn't give it much thought as I turned left onto Piper lane, looking up to the top of about a 1/2 mile hill. So imagine my surprise as I am half way up I am out of the saddle, and I hear the airplane behind me. I reached the top and end of the road and turned back to see the Piper taxiing toward me. Not knowing which house he was heading for I backed off the road as far as possible and just watched. He turned left into the last driveway, closest to me, his wing tip less than 30' from me. I just wish I had my camera.
Sunday, November 23, 2008
Saturday, November 22, 2008
Iraq: What would happen if the U.S. Won a war but the media didn't tell the American public? Apparently, we have to rely on a British newspaper for the news that we've defeated the last remnants of al-Qaida in Iraq .
London's Sunday Times called it 'the culmination of one of the most spectacular victories of the war on terror.' A terrorist force that once numbered more than 12,000, with strongholds in the west and central regions of Iraq, has over two years been reduced to a mere 1,200 fighters, backed against the wall in the northern city of Mosul.
The destruction of al-Qaida in Iraq (AQI) is one of the most unlikely and unforeseen events in the long history of American warfare. We can thank President Bush's surge strategy, in which he bucked both Republican and Democratic leaders in Washington by increasing our forces there instead of surrendering.
We can also thank the leadership of the new general he placed in charge there, David Petraeus, who may be the foremost expert in the world on counter-insurgency warfare. And we can thank those serving in our military in Iraq who engaged local Iraqi tribal leaders and convinced them America was their friend and AQI their enemy.
Al-Qaida's loss of the hearts and minds of ordinary Iraqis began in Anbar Province, which had been written off as a basket case, and spread out from there.
Now, in Operation Lion's Roar the Iraqi army and the U.S. 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment is destroying the fraction of terrorists who are left. More than 1,000 AQI operatives have already been apprehended.
Sunday Times reporter Marie Colvin, traveling with Iraqi forces in Mosul, found little AQI presence even in bullet-ridden residential areas that were once insurgency strongholds, and reported that the terrorists have lost control of its Mosul urban base, with what is left of the organization having fled south into the countryside.
Meanwhile, the State Department reports that Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's government has achieved 'satisfactory' progress on 15 of the 18 political benchmarks 'a big change for the better from a year ago.'
Things are going so well that Maliki has even for the first time floated the idea of a timetable for withdrawal of American forces. He did so while visiting the United Arab Emirates , which over the weekend announced that it was forgiving almost $7 billion of debt owed by Baghdad, an impressive vote of confidence from a fellow Arab state in the future of a free Iraq.
But where are the headlines and the front-page stories about all this good news? As the Media Research Center pointed out last week, 'the CBS Evening News, NBC Nightly News and CNN's Anderson Cooper 360 were silent Tuesday night about the benchmarks 'that signaled political progress.'
The war in Iraq has been turned around 180 degrees both militarily and politically because the president stuck to his guns. Yet apart from IBD, Fox News Channel and parts of the foreign press, the media don't seem to consider this historic event a big story.
Copyright 2008 Investor's Business Daily. All Rights Reserved.
Addendum: The reason you haven't seen this on American television or read about it in the American press is simple--journalism is 'dead' in this country. They are controlled by Liberal Democrats who would rather see our troops defeated than recognize a successful Republican initiated response to 9/11.
Friday, November 21, 2008
FBI Special AgentSamuel S. Hicks, Suddenly, On November 19, 2008,
SAMUEL S., beloved husband of Brooke A. Hicks (nee Whaples), loving father of Noah, dear son of David Hicks and Charlotte Carrabotta and son-in-law of John and Sherry Whaples, dear grandson of French and Efie Trogdon, loving brother of Ben and Emily Hicks and uncle of Emma Hicks.
Relatives and friends are invited to call at the Schimunek Funeral Home, Inc., 9705 Belair Road (at Forge Road) on Sunday and Monday, 2 to 4 and 7 to 9 P.M. Funeral service will be celebrated at the Cathedral of Mary Our Queen, 5200 N. Charles Street on Tuesday at 11 A.M. Interment to follow in Dulaney Valley Memorial Gardens. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to an educational fund to be set up for Noah Hicks.
I am sad, very sad for his family and young son, Noah.
Family vows son will understand FBI father's love, valor
Thursday, November 20, 2008
Wed Nov 19, 10:01 pm ET
GLENSHAW, Pa. – An FBI agent trying to arrest a cocaine-dealing suspect at a home near Pittsburgh was killed Wednesday by the man's wife, who might have thought she was shooting an intruder, authorities said. Agent Samuel Hicks was shot about 6 a.m. in the middle-class community of Indiana Township. The 33-year-old was taking part in a drug-ring roundup at the home of Robert Korbe, who was taken into custody on the drug charge.
Christina Korbe, 40, was charged with homicide. Her attorney, Sumner Parker, said his client was with her 10-year-old daughter and 5-year-old son when agents arrived and might have feared for their safety. Korbe "ultimately called 911 to get local police to her house based on what she thought was happening," said Parker, adding that he is representing his
client on state charges.
According to the criminal complaint for Christina Korbe, law enforcers arrived shortly after 6 a.m., announced themselves as police and saw a man running inside. Officers rammed the door and broke a window to enter. Hicks entered first and turned left. A shot was fired, he yelled "I'm hit," and police dragged him outside and called 911.
Christina Korbe later told police she was standing at the top of the stairs and thought she shot an intruder. She called 911 and was arrested while on the phone. Korbe said she never heard police identify themselves.
Robert Korbe said he told his wife to stay upstairs while he went to the door. When he realized it was the police, he ran to the basement, dumped cocaine into a washtub, dressed and ran out the back door before he was arrested, the complaint said. Christina Korbe was at Allegheny County police headquarters until Wednesday evening, when she was taken away on a stretcher crying with a white blanket over her head. She was put into an ambulance and taken to a hospital because she was feeling ill.
Her husband was one of 35 people charged in the 27-count indictment that accuses the defendants of conspiring to traffic cocaine and crack from October 2007 through September. Christina Korbe was not named in the indictment.
Robert Korbe appeared briefly in federal court Wednesday and was represented by a public defender but told the judge he planned to hire his own attorney.
He had told reporters at his home as he was being led into a police car that "they shot their own guy."
FBI agent William Crowley, an agency spokesman, said, "Based on the information we have right now, every indication is that no shot was fired by law enforcement at the crime scene."
Hicks had been with the FBI since March 2007. He was a former Baltimore police officer and school teacher with a wife and 3-year-old son.
"Special Agent Hicks made the ultimate sacrifice that any law enforcement officer makes for his country," Michael Rodriguez, agent in charge of the Pittsburgh FBI office, said in a statement read to reporters.
"He served with honor and bravery and will be greatly missed by his colleagues here in Pittsburgh and throughout the FBI," he said. FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III said: "The loss of Sam Hicks is a tragedy. Our hearts and prayers go out to Sam's family and the members of the Pittsburgh field office."
The last FBI special agent killed in the line of duty was Barry Lee Bush, who was accidentally shot and killed by a fellow agent outside a bank on April 5, 2007, in Readington, N.J., according to the FBI.
Bush, 52, of Forks Township, Pa., and other agents were in pursuit of three bank robbers who were armed but did not fire their weapons, authorities said.
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
Special Agent Hicks, 33, joined the FBI in March 2007 and reported to the Pittsburgh Office in August 2007. He was a graduate of the University of Pittsburgh. Special Agent Hicks is a former police officer with the Baltimore Police Department and also worked as a teacher. He is survived by his wife and three-year-old son.
“This is a real tragedy with the loss of such a talented agent who made the ultimate sacrifice for his country when putting on a badge and accepting the responsibility for protecting our nation,” said Special Agent in Charge Michael A. Rodriguez. “The FBI family mourns alongside Agent Hicks’ family. We ask that the media and the public respect the family's privacy during this very difficult time.”
"The loss of Sam Hicks is a tragedy," said FBI Director Robert S. Mueller, III. "Our hearts and prayers go out to Sam's family and the members of the Pittsburgh Field Office."
Because our futures are linked, I want you to know that General Motors is doing everything possible to deal with the impact the financial crisis is having on the domestic auto industry. Yet despite our successful efforts to restructure, reduce costs and enhance liquidity, we are facing an uphill battle with the current administration and Congress in securing a bridge loan.
That's why we need your help now. Simply put, we need you to join us to let Congress know that a bridge loan to help U.S. automakers also helps strengthen the U.S. economy and preserve millions of American jobs.
Despite what you may be hearing, we are not asking Congress for a bailout but rather a loan that will be repaid.
The consequences of the domestic auto industry collapsing would far exceed the $25 billion loan needed to bridge the current crisis. According to a recent study by the Center for Automotive Research:
• One in 10 American jobs depends on U.S. automakers
• Nearly 3 million jobs are at immediate risk
• U.S. personal income could be reduced by $150 billion
• The tax revenue lost over 3 years would be more than $156 billion
Discussions are now underway in Washington, D.C., concerning loans to support U.S. carmakers. I am asking you to support this vital effort by contacting your representatives.
Please take a few minutes to call your representatives by dialing 1-866-471-5332. Just state your name and address, and your message will reach your legislators. You can review a script that will help you state your support at gmfactsandfiction.com. Under the "Mobilize Now" section, click on "I'm a Supplier." If you would rather e-mail your representatives, use the link "I'm a Concerned American."
Please share this information with friends and family using the link on the site.
Thank you for helping keep our economy viable.
President GM North America
Sunday, November 16, 2008
Friday, November 14, 2008
Taken from the FOCA website
Sign the Fight FOCA Petition
Barack Obama is now the incoming President.
And he made a promise to Planned Parenthood last year they expect him to keep.
"The first thing I’d do as President is sign the Freedom of Choice Act. That’s the first thing I’d do."
The Freedom of Choice Act (FOCA) would eliminate every restriction on abortion nationwide.
Barack Obama believes this legislation will "end the abortion wars." To him, "ending the abortion wars" means eradicating every state and federal law on abortion — laws that the majority of Americans support.
The time to Fight FOCA is now. With Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid in charge of Congress, we can expect a fight over FOCA to begin as soon as the next Congress begins.
Please add your name to the Fight FOCA petition and let your friends know about President-Elect Barack Obama’s promise to expand abortion throughout the country.
Fight FOCA Petition
I oppose the Freedom of Choice Act (FOCA), because:
FOCA is a radical attempt to enshrine abortion-on-demand into American law;
FOCA seeks to sweep aside existing, protective laws that I and the majority of Americans support;
FOCA will prevent states from enacting protective measures in the future.
The FightFOCA petition will be sent to key Members of Congress upon the re-introduction of the Freedom of Choice Act in the 111th Congress, and to President-Elect Obama.
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
In the United States, today is a very special holiday honoring our veterans, which originated on November 11, 1919, when President Woodrow Wilson proclaimed that day to be Armistice Day at the end of World War I. It evolved over time and, in 1954, Congress amended the name to Veterans Day as it has been known since. By any name, it is an important day on which we pay tribute to all former and current members of our Armed Forces.
Just one week ago, we experienced an unprecedented Election Day in the United States. It is not lost on me that we have the distinct privilege of being able to vote in this great democracy because of the brave men and women who have fought for and defended our country’s freedoms. We owe a tremendous debt of gratitude to our veterans for the many rights and privileges we currently enjoy.
BAE Systems is committed to bringing our future veterans home safely and to supporting our military and their families in everything we do. As part of our commitment, we must always remember those who have gone before us in battle and those who are currently fighting in the global war on terror. Please join me today in saluting all of the courageous men and women who have served our country. And as always, should you come in contact with one of our men and women in uniform, be sure to take a moment to stop and say thank you. For this simple act of gratitude, those who are serving our nation around the world are willing to sacrifice their all for us.
President & CEO of BAE Systems Inc.,
the US subsidiary of BAE Systems plc
Monday, November 10, 2008
Sound familiar? Maybe not unless your old like me.
Sore wrist, skinned knee, just one more slow speed wreck to add to my growing list.
I didn't get run over by a garbage truck, laying in the middle of Eskimo Hill Road still clipped into my pedals, because it was Sunday evening.
Sunday, November 9, 2008
Thursday, November 6, 2008
We Lost The War
With major losses in congress and executive offices, including the presidency, we now have some major changes in our future. Creeping socialism finally has a secure toe in the door and we can expect our individual and collective freedoms to deteriorate and perhaps, in time, disappear altogether. There will be token choices, of course, but as a nation, we have chosen to sacrifice freedom in the hope of security - thereby insuring the loss of both freedom and security.
The "Robin Hood" style redistribution of the nation's wealth will destroy incentive as it has in other nations who've fallen victim to the false promises of socialism/communism. If we think we've seen corruption in the past, we have our head in the sand. Corruption under a socialized system of government - which is where we're headed - has free reign to proliferate like weeds in an unattended garden. We know what happened to Soviet Russia. Corrupt Communism lead to the eventual downfall of a powerful, massive people. They were not prepared since historically they had never experienced any form of democratic government - corruption was a way of life in Russia and rest of the union.
It may be too late to correct the errors that we have voted into power - especially in our pending loss of guns in the household. One of the earliest - if not the earliest - examples of gun control occurred in Japan on Aug 29, 1588, when a peasant who rose to power banned the possession of swords and firearms by anyone other than the noble class. He was Hideyoshi - later changed to the aristocratic name of Toyotomi. His edict was carried out by the samurai who went door to door and took possession of all firearms other than those belonging to the nobility. He did this under the guise of collecting metal to provide nails and bolts for a temple to house a statue of Buddha. In fact, the metal was used to build a statue of himself. His actual motives for disarming the peasantry was to insure that there would be no resistance to his plans for taxation of the peasantry. In the book, The Samurai, the Mountie, and the Cowboy, author David Kopel states, "The inferior status of the peasantry having been affirmed by civil disarmament, the samurai enjoyed kiri-sute gomen, permission to kill and depart. Any disrespectful member of the lower class could be executed by a samurai's sword."
The principle of the foregoing is clear, conform or suffer the consequences. If we give up our guns, we will be powerless to prevent the existing government(s) from exerting any form of control over our lives that they choose. Our second amendment to the Constitution of the United States, clearly states that an armed militia is - well let's use the original wording, "A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the People to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed."
What is a militia? It is not the National Guard. When the Second Amendment was ratified by the members of the United States, the war of independence was over. The purpose for the militia was to provide a military force independent of the government that would serve to protect the citizens from any oppressive form of government such as the ones that had forced those people to leave other countries, including England. We must not be mislead into thinking that the National Guard is a state-operated equivalent of a militia. On the contrary, the guard is a federally funded and controlled arm of the federal government. It is ready to do the bidding of those in control of our lives.
It is not too late. But we must understand the danger of disarmament. From disarmament to enslavement is a short step for those who "know what is best for us."
Steve, a friend of Travis' also passed his concern.
Thank you, Travis.
If I may add a quote from the president-elect himself, exactly what you have written becomes more abundantly clear. And frightening:
In a July 2nd speech in Colorado Springs;
“We cannot continue to rely only on our military in order to achieve the national security objectives that we’ve set,” he said Wednesday. “We’ve got to have a civilian national security force that’s just as powerful, just as strong, just as well funded.”
Up is down and down is up.
"This was slipped into a speech addressing public service, and I’m going to have to confess that I’m dumbfounded. What in the world is he proposing? A non-military security force that is funded the same as the miltary? What are their powers and why are civilians being put in charge of national security? Why shouldn’t we rely on our military to achieve national security objective? Isn’t that’s the whole reason for having a military. This needs some serious explaining. Any new government organization comparable in size and funding to the military would need explaining, but a civilian national security force is radical and illogical."
Wednesday, November 5, 2008
Last major stockpile from Saddam's nuclear efforts arrives in Canada
AP - updated 6:57 p.m. ET, Sat., July. 5, 2008
The last major remnant of Saddam Hussein's nuclear program — a huge stockpile of concentrated natural uranium — reached a Canadian port Saturday to complete a secret U.S. operation that included a two-week airlift from Baghdad and a ship voyage crossing two oceans.
The removal of 550 metric tons of "yellowcake" — the seed material for higher-grade nuclear enrichment — was a significant step toward closing the books on Saddam's nuclear legacy. It also brought relief to U.S. and Iraqi authorities who had worried the cache would reach insurgents or smugglers crossing to Iran to aid its nuclear ambitions.
What's now left is the final and complicated push to clean up the remaining radioactive debris at the former Tuwaitha nuclear complex about 12 miles south of Baghdad — using teams that include Iraqi experts recently trained in the Chernobyl fallout zone in Ukraine.
"Everyone is very happy to have this safely out of Iraq," said a senior U.S. official who outlined the nearly three-month operation to The Associated Press. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the subject.
While yellowcake alone is not considered potent enough for a so-called "dirty bomb" — a conventional explosive that disperses radioactive material — it could stir widespread panic if incorporated in a blast. Yellowcake also can be enriched for use in reactors and, at higher levels, nuclear weapons using sophisticated equipment.
The Iraqi government sold the yellowcake to a Canadian uranium producer, Cameco Corp., in a transaction the official described as worth "tens of millions of dollars." A Cameco spokesman, Lyle Krahn, declined to discuss the price, but said the yellowcake will be processed at facilities in Ontario for use in energy-producing reactors.
"We are pleased ... that we have taken (the yellowcake) from a volatile region into a stable area to produce clean electricity," he said.
The deal culminated more than a year of intense diplomatic and military initiatives — kept hushed in fear of ambushes or attacks once the convoys were under way: first carrying 3,500 barrels by road to Baghdad, then on 37 military flights to the Indian Ocean atoll of Diego Garcia and finally aboard a U.S.-flagged ship for a 8,500-mile trip to Montreal.
And, in a symbolic way, the mission linked the current attempts to stabilize Iraq with some of the high-profile claims about Saddam's weapons capabilities in the buildup to the 2003 invasion.
Accusations that Saddam had tried to purchase more yellowcake from the African nation of Niger — and an article by a former U.S. ambassador refuting the claims — led to a wide-ranging probe into Washington leaks that reached high into the Bush administration.
On July 5, 2008, the Associated Press (AP)
released a story titled: Secret U.S. mission hauls uranium from Iraq.
The opening paragraph is as follows:
The last major remnant of Saddam Hussein's nuclear program a huge stockpile of concentrated natural uranium reached a Canadian port Saturday to complete a secret U.S. operation that included a two week airlift from Baghdad and a ship voyage crossing two oceans.
See anything wrong with this picture? We have been hearing from the far-left for more than five years how, Bush lied. Somehow, that slogan loses its credibility now that 550 metric tons of Saddam's yellowcake, used for nuclear weapon enrichment, has been discovered and shipped to Canada for its new use as nuclear energy.
It appears that American troops found the 550 metric tons of uranium in 2003 after invading Iraq. They had to sit on this information and the uranium itself, for fear of terrorists attempting to steal it. It was guarded and kept safe by our military in a 23,000-acre site with large sand beams surrounding the site.
This is vindication for the Bush administration, having been attacked mercilessly by the liberal media and the far-left pundits on the blogosphere. Now that it is proven that President Bush did not lie about Saddam's nuclear ambitions, one would think the
mainstream media would report the story. Once the AP released the story, the mainstream media should have picked it up and broadcast it worldwide.
This never happened, due in large part I believe, to the fact that the mainstream media would have to admit they were wrong about Bush's war motives all along. Thankfully, the AP got it right when it said,
The removal of 550 metric tons of yellowcake the seed material for higher-grade nuclear enrichment was a significant step toward closing the books on Saddam's nuclear legacy.
Closing the book on Saddam's nuclear legacy. Did Saddam have a nuclear legacy after all? I thought Bush lied. As it turns out, the people who lied were Joe Wilson and his wife.
Valerie Plame engaged in a clear case of nepotism and convinced the CIA to send her husband on a fact finding mission in February 2002, seeking to determine if Saddam Hussein attempted to buy yellowcake from Niger. The CIA and British intelligence believed Saddam contacted Niger for that purpose but needed proof.
During his trip to Niger, Wilson actually interviewed the former prime minister of Niger, Ibrahim Assane Mayaki. Mayaki told Wilson that in June of 1999, an Iraqi delegation expressed interest in "expanding commercial relations" for the purposes of purchasing yellowcake.
Wilson chose to overlook Mayaki's remarks and reported to the CIA that there was no evidence of Hussein wanting to purchase yellowcake from Niger.
However, with British intelligence insisting the claim was true, President Bush used that same claim in his State of the Union address in January of 2003.
Outraged by Bush's insistence that the claim was true, Wilson wrote an op-ed in the New York Times in the summer of 2003 slamming Bush.
Wilson did this in spite of the fact that Mayaki said Saddam did try to buy the yellowcake from Niger. The Senate Select Committee on Intelligence disagreed with Wilson and supported Mayaki's claim. This meant nothing to Wilson who
was opposed to the Iraq war and thus had ulterior motives in covering up the prime minister's statements.
It was a simple tactic really. If the far-left and their friends in the media could prove Bush lied about Hussein wanting to purchase
yellowcake from Niger, it would undermine President Bush's credibility and give them more cause for asking what other lies he may have told.
Yet, the real lie came from Wilson, who interpreted his own meaning from the prime minister's statements and concluded all by
himself that the claim of Saddam attempting to purchase yellowcake was "unequivocally wrong." Curiously, the CIA sat on this information and did not inform the CIA Director, who sided with Bush on the yellowcake claim. This was made public in a bipartisan Senate Intelligence Committee report in July 2004.
Valerie Plame also engaged in her own lie campaign by spreading the notion that the Bush administration outed her as a CIA agent. Never mind that it was Richard Armitage -- no friend of the Bush administration -- who leaked Plame's identity to the press. Never mind that Plame had not been in the field as a CIA agent in some six years.
The truth is, due to their opposition to the war, Joe Wilson, Valerie Plame, the mainstream media and their left-wing friends on the
blogosphere engaged in a propaganda campaign to undermine the Bush administration. Now that Saddam's uranium has been made public and is no longer a threat to the world, do you think these aforementioned parties will apologize and admit they were wrong? Don't count on it. The rest of the American people should hear the truth about Saddam's uranium. It is up to you and me to inform them every chance we get.
As far as the anti-war crowd is concerned, the next time they say that, "Bush lied," we should tell them to, "Have the yellowcake and eat it too."
A national defense analyst says President Bush should be commended for keeping quiet about a discovery that could have blown his critics out of the water.
Retired Major General Jerry Curry is a decorated combat veteran who served as an Army aviator, paratrooper, and Ranger during a military career that began during the Korean conflict. He recently wrote on his blog about a very under reported story by the Associated Press.
According to the report, a large stockpile of concentrated natural Uranium, known as "yellowcake," reached a Canadian port to complete a top secret U.S. Operation that included a two-week airlift from Baghdad, and a ship voyage crossing two oceans. The Uranium material had been housed at a former Iraqi nuclear complex 12 miles from Baghdad.
Curry says the president kept mum about the discovery in order to keep terrorists in the dark. "He made a very brave stand, a resolute stand..., in which he decided that he wasn't going to blab everything to the press," Curry commends. "...And in the meantime while he kept it quiet, he was buying time from the terrorists to get all that stuff out of the country. So that's what was done -- he just very quietly kept his mouth shut."
"The press beat him to death for the last several years," he continues, "and now it turns out that, yes, there were weapons of mass destruction...." Curry also maintains that Saddam Hussein had an active nuclear program and the material could have been made into a nuclear weapon.
President Bush's actions took courage, he notes, and all Americans should be thankful to have such a brave president who puts the welfare of the American people above personal considerations.
Tuesday, November 4, 2008
(click on any image to enlarge)
It was about 47 degs. at the start
Travis, Val and I rode the bikes to mile 5 and mile 10.5 to watch Maggi run by.