TarHeelPirate

  • August 2017
    M T W T F S S
    « Jan    
     123456
    78910111213
    14151617181920
    21222324252627
    28293031  
  • Twitter

    Error: Twitter did not respond. Please wait a few minutes and refresh this page.

Why I’m Thankful

Posted by AB on November 25, 2009

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving–a time when we gather with family and friends to feast, as we give thanks for all of the things that we hold dear.  In some ways, it is unfortunate that we might wait until Thanksgiving to give thanks for those things that we should appreciate throughout the year.  And that is something that I would hope will change for me, personally.  I want to give thanks every day for all of the blessings that I have been given.

When I was younger, I never really understood the true meaning of this holiday.  I always focused on the part of Thanksgiving that involved turkey, ham, dressing, gravy, pie, and the rest of the fixings.  I always focused on the pick-up football games and the chance to see uncles, aunts, and cousins.  At school, we learned about the origins of Thanksgiving, including Pilgrims and Native Americans.  We celebrated by making turkeys from painted handprints.  As I have grown older and have seen some of the more difficult parts of life, the true meaning of Thanksgiving has become clear.

These are just some of the things for which I am thankful:

-I am thankful for my mother.  She has done so much for me throughout my life, and I would not be here without her.

-I am thankful for my little sister.  She has served our nation in Iraq for the past year, and she continues to grow into a person that would make any brother proud.  I used to think that it was my responsibility to protect her.  It is ironic, now, that she is a part of the force that protects all of us.  Also, her husband, my brother-in-law, who also serves in the military.

-I am thankful for the rest of my family and all of my friends.  Explaining why I am thankful for each of these people would turn this blog post into a novel.

-I am thankful for the US Military.  These men and women have volunteered to serve their nation, to place themselves into harms way, all in the name of America.

-I am thankful for all of the veterans who have served to protect this nation throughout its history.

-I am thankful for the families of those in the military.  Many times forgotten, they make sacrifices that cannot be measured by any scale. 

-I am thankful for our police officers, firefighters, and teachers.  They do some of the most important work that I can imagine.

-I am thankful for every breath that I am given.  There were times that I thought that my next breath could be my last.

-I am thankful for everyone who volunteers for or donates money to our charities.  You make a difference in the lives of those less fortunate and, at this time, nothing could be more important.

-I am thankful for this great nation in which we live.  I couldn’t imagine a greater force of good in the world than the collection of people and institutions of the United States of America.

-I am thankful for the state of North Carolina.  This is the greatest states in the union (in my opinion, anyway).

-I am thankful for Thanksgiving Day football.  Although I think that the games should rotate from year to year, rather than having Dallas and Detroit hosting, I still love it.  I am not thankful, however, that the third game is on the NFL network, which is not available for subscribers to Time Warner Cable.

-I am thankful for the food that I have to nourish me.  When I think of all of the people throughout the world and, unbelievably, in this country, I am heartbroken.  Whatever it is that makes me so fortunate, I am thankful.  

-I am thankful for our dogs, Max and Rocky.  They give all who know them such a great deal of joy and love.  Pets are not just pets, they are family.

-I am thankful for all of the opportunities that I have received, educationally and otherwise.

These are just some of the things for which I am thankful.  I surely left someone or some things out, but they are no less important for a complete, well-rounded life.  Let us give thanks each and every day, and do not wait for a holiday to be reminded.

Happy Thanksgiving!  Gobble-Gobble!

Posted in Misc. | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

CIPA and How We Win Against Terrorism

Posted by AB on November 24, 2009

There is much concern about the decision to try Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and four other accused terrorists in a federal court in New York City.  Personally, I think that those concerns are unfounded, and I think that those concerns are raised in order to scare the public, for partisan political purposes.  Most of this noise comes, not from the populous at large, but from partisan politicians and media critics of the Obama Administration.

The fact of the matter is that our justice system has tried terrorists and have been quite successful in doing so.  I did, however, accept one concern in particular.  That is the concern that classified information could be provided to the defense, and subsequently, admitted at trial.  I was concerned about that until I did a little research, and I didn’t have to look far.  An important procedural tool for the prosecution (US Government) in trials for which classified information could be requested.  The Classified Information Procedures Act (CIPA) is used to protect classified information from being revealed in court, or to the defense. 

There are other pieces of legislation that is used to protect sensitive information, but CIPA has been used in recent terror trials, including that of Zacharias Moussaui, who was convicted in a federal court.  The trial of the so-called 20th hijacker was praised by some of the same people who are currently fear-mongering about the KSM trial.  And to my knowledge, no classified or, otherwise sensitive information, was released to the public or to the defense. 

Again, our courts have tried many terrorism suspects, and our prisons currently hold hundreds of terrorists, none of which have escaped.  That’s another point of contention being raised by the right–holding terrorists in our supermax prisons will increase the terror risk.  Unfortunately, these same detractors said nothing about these concerns during the Bush Administration.  And that is the difference, I think.  In their eagerness to damage President Obama, these critics have forgotten that our system of justice is far superior to the messages and tactics of terrorists.

Remember when it was understood that if our nation was forced to change our ways of life, then the same terrorists who were responsible for the 9/11 attacks will have won.  Seems to me that right-wing America has surrendered to cowards like Khalid Sheikh Mohammed.  I will never surrender my way of life, to no one, ever.  Luckily, our nation now has the leadership that understands that the strength of the United States of America is, in a large part, due to our system of justice.  It is time for these terrorists to receive the justice that they deserve, rather that sitting in a military prison without charge.  When justice is served, the world will know that we have not surrendered, and we will have won a small, but significant battle against terrorism.

Posted in Misc. | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

First President of EU Selected

Posted by AB on November 19, 2009

Today, the European Union (EU) announced the selection of its first President and High Commissioner.  Belgium Prime Minister Herman Van Rompuy has been selected as the union’s president, and Great Britain’s trade commissioner Catherine Ashton has been selected High Commissioner.

I’m not really sure of the job descriptions for these jobs, and many others are unsure what part these two jobs will play in the scope of global issues.  These jobs were created, reportedly, so that the European Nations will have a larger, more unified voice within the global community, especially for issues like terrorism, economics, and climate-change.  The smaller European nations and economies are dwarfed by powers like the United States, China, and India.

The nations of the European Union are:  Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, United Kingdom   

 Maps and facts at EU Country List http://www.eucountrylist.com

 

Posted in Economics, Misc., Politics | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Who’s Afraid of Khalid Sheikh Muhammad?

Posted by AB on November 17, 2009

Remember when Republicans acted so tough on the issue of terrorism? You know, the days and months after 9/11. Remember when we weren’t going to allow terrorism to defeat us? Most Americans bought into that then, and we came together as a nation because of that belief, but fewer and fewer believe that in the subsequent years.

After our nation was attacked by religious extremists, our president assured us that those responsible would face justice–there was reason to believe in our nation. All that we needed to do was to go shopping, for if we allowed those terrorists to change our ways of life, they will have won. Do you remember that? All of that tough-sounding cowboy talk really got the red-blooded, “real” Americans’ juices flowing.

Time and truth, however, uncover the facades of even the most strident conservatives. As we moved farther and farther away from that infamous date of 9/11, the attacks have become less of a cause to do good, while becoming an excuse to forget that we have stronger values than others.  Behind the leadership of George W. Bush and Dick Cheney, conservatives used the attacks of 9/11 to justify just about anything:  wars, wiretapping of American citizens, holding prisoners without charge, torture, assassinations, the corporate rape of the American people (think Halliburton, KBR, Blackwater), etc. 

Recently, current United States Attorney General, Eric Holder announced that the mastermind behind 9/11, Khalid Sheikh Muhammad, and four of his cohorts would be tried before a federal court in New York City, the site of the attacks on the World Trade Center.  Republicans, conservatives, and some Democrats seem to have forgotten that we are a nation of laws, and they are huffing and puffing about how scary it will be to try these terrorists on American soil.  They are outraged and afraid; they want you to be outraged and afraid. 

Is it that they have so little faith in our justice system that they fear that the killers might be acquitted?  Do they fear that our law enforcement system cannot protect New York civilians?  Those are a couple of the excuses that you’ll hear, all designed to make you afraid of terrorism, all designed to paralyze this nation in fear.  It should be of no surprise, however, because conservatives have been doing this for years–using the threat of terrorism to weaken domestic opponents.  This time it is to weaken the President of the United States, Barack Obama.  It is easy to see that is the case, because terrorists were successfully tried in civilian courts during the Bush Administration, including the so-called 20th hijacker, Zacharias Moussavi.  That prosecution was supported by conservatives as a triumph of the American way of life.

Well, guess what fraidy-cats.  Trying these terrorists in the courts is not only the right thing to do constitutionally, but it is quintessentially American.  In our country, even the worst of the worst get due-process under our laws.  Even admitted murders get their day in court.  Even admitted child molestors have a right to a trial.  And yes, terrorists, domestic and foreign, must be tried and convicted if they are responsible for crimes on our soil.  Why?  Because we are America, stupid.  We do things the right way, no matter the fears of partisan politics.  If we forget that we are a nation of laws, then the terrorists have won.

This is the man that makes Republicans/conservatives wet their beds.  As an American, are you afraid of Khalid Sheikh Muhammad?

View Image

Posted in Politics | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Not This Again

Posted by AB on November 16, 2009

It’s been a while since I have posted, but I really need to write about the most recent, predictable outrage displayed by right-wing pundits in response to President Obama’s trip to Asia.

The first thing that I must say is, “Not this shit again.”  Earlier this year, the President visited Saudi Arabia, and while meeting King Abdullah, there is a photo of a bow.  The right-wing crazies were incensed.  They believed that it showed weakness, even though it is not customary in that culture to bow before the King.  Saudis do not even bow to their King, so it hardly makes sense that there was a conscious bow by an American President.  It doesn’t matter, though.  There was a photo at some angle that made it look as though the President was subordinating himself to the Saudi King.  That’s all the right-wing television and radio pundits need in the overt attempt to weaken and harm President Obama.  They talked about it for weeks and weeks and weeks.

This weekend has created a reawakening for outrage toward the President for bowing.  While in Japan, the President bowed to the Japanese Emperor Akihito during a meeting.  This time he clearly bowed, and rightly so.  The custom in Japan is to bow, and that is for everyone, not just civilians to Emperors or Kings.  The custom here, in the United States, is to shake hands.  But customs and protocol mean little to the President’s most vociferous critics.  They are having a panty-wetting contest about what they perceive as weakness.  Most sane individuals would call it being a respectful guest in an allied country, but sanity is not the strength of the right-wing or the Republican Party.

This is just further evidence of the Obama Derangement Syndrome.  Our President can do nothing satisfactory for these people, not because he’s a screw-up like our previous President, but because they are so bitter and petty.  Everyday, these blowhards find something insignificant to attack, but all they are doing is showing themselves for what they truly are–HATERS.  They stay up late at night, ignoring their spouses and children, thinking of the outrage du jour (yes, “du jour” is French for “of the day,” which means that I must hate America).

I really try to ignore this nonsense, but it’s becoming far too frequent.  All of this hate toward our President is becoming tiresome.  If anyone dared, during the Bush Administration, to criticize the President while he was overseas, they would be labeled by these same right-wing clowns as a traitor, or un-American.  It’s funny how those things change after a single election, but there it is, and it’s not going to end anytime soon.  That’s unfortunate.  Who will stand up, and call this b.s. for what it is–nonsense.

For those Obama-haters out there; remember this?  Where was the outrage back then?

Posted in Misc., Politics | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

World Series Begins Tonight!

Posted by AB on October 28, 2009

world_series_trophy.jpg  The Prize

In less than an hour, New York Yankees’ pitcher, C.C. Sebathia, will throw the opening pitch of the 2009 World Series to the Philadelphia Phillies’ leadoff batter, Jimmy Rollins.  The best-of-seven series opens at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx, New York.

This is a matchup between what I thought were the best in their respective leagues, throughout the regular season.  The Phillies are the defending World Champions, but you wouldn’t know it if you listened to the media.  According to most national media commentators, the Phillies might want to save some embarrassment by just forfeiting.  Well, I have news for those people:  the Phillies are going to win.  Don’t get me wrong, the Yankees are a great team, but the dismissal of the defending champs will seep into the mindset of the Yankees players, and they will be out-classed, out-played, and out-coached.

It really saddens me two know that either of these fan bases are going to celebrate a World Championship, but I am heartened that the other will be miserable.  These are two of the most obnoxious fan bases in professional sports; the New York snobs and the Philadelphia ass-holes.  While saying that, I must point-out that while I am annoyed by them, they are some of the most passionate, knowledgable, and loyal fans in professional sports.  I have to give it to them; they are great sports fans.

While I was rooting, slightly, for an all Los Angeles World Series, I have not the slightest rooting interest in this series.  I don’t care who wins.  But I do love baseball, so I look forward to a great World Series, and this one should be a good one.

My prediction:  Phillies win in 6 games

Posted in Sports | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Yankees Win ALCS, Advance to World Series

Posted by AB on October 26, 2009

Last night, the New York Yankees won the American League Championship Series over the LA Angels, four games to two.  They will host the National League Champion Philadelphia Phillies when the World Series begins, on Wednesday.  This is the Yankees’ first trip to the World Series since 2003, when they lost to the Florida Marlins.  They haven’t won the Series since 2000, against their cross-town rival New York Mets.

Posted in Sports | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Leave George W. Bush Alone!

Posted by AB on October 22, 2009

I know, I know.  Many of our nations obstacles are the direct result of his and his administration’s policies.  He was an utter disaster as a President.  We, as a nation, are dumber from listening to him explain his backward policies during the past eight years.  All of that is true–and more.  But I beg of the media, the pundits, and the comedians–LEAVE GEORGE W. BUSH ALONE.

It was announced, this week, that former President George W. Bush would be speaking at two motivational speaking events in Texas.  I know what you’re saying to yourself:  “Who in hell is going to be motivated by George W. Bush?”  Well, I cannot answer that question, but it doesn’t really matter.  He’s going to have some opportunities to make money, and we shouldn’t be mad about that.  Recent presidents and other public servants have made fortunes by speaking to large groups and corporations, so Mr. Bush should have that opportunity without being mocked.  We should pray to God, every moment of every day, in thanks that he is no longer in office.  If someone wants to pay him six figures to speak for 30-40 minutes, more power to them–and him.

Look, I disliked the leadership of George W. Bush and his administration as much as anyone, but it’s time to move on.  We have many challenges ahead, so just leave this man to his retirement.  He seems like a good man, in the sense that he’s not deliberately evil.  He seems like a good father and husband.  He is a former President of the United States and, for me, that still earns him a modicum of respect.  Just keep him as far away from critical decision-making as possible.  

All I am saying is that, at this point, making fun of George W. Bush is like beating a dead horse.  I don’t feel sorry for him, but I am tired of hearing about him.  I wish to put the former president as far from my mind as possible.  Just leave him alone; leave George W. Bush alone!

Posted in Economics, Misc., Politics | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

UPDATE: Phillies Advance to World Series

Posted by AB on October 22, 2009

Last night, the Philadelphia Phillies beat the LA Dodgers to win the National League Championship Series, four games to one.  The defending World Series Champions will play the winner of the Yankees/Angels American League Championship Series.

This Phillies team is much better than last years, in my opinion.  Not to mention the experience from last years series, the additions of Raul Ibanez and Cliff Lee bolstered the lineup and starting rotation.  No matter which team represents the American League in the World Series, it will be difficult to stop the red-hot Phillies.  What was an up-and-down regular season for Philly, they easily won the NL East, and now they seem to be playing their best baseball of the season.

Congrats to the Phillies.  I don’t like them, but they are one helluva baseball team.

Posted in Sports | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

The White House is Right about Fox News

Posted by AB on October 20, 2009

The White House is right about Fox News.  It is a wing of the Republican Party, masquerading as a news organization.  In the past week or so, the Obama White House has lashed-out at Fox News for being, not a news organization, but a Republican research and propoganda organization.  Members of the President’s staff have taken some heat over commenting, directly, about a news organization.  Pundits from the right and the left have questioned the strategy that may or may not influence Fox News to do actual news, and will most certainly increase their (Fox News) ratings.  The majority of political observers believes that this is a bad move by the Obama Administration, but I strongly disagree.  Not only is it right, but it is already working.

Fox News has been in attack mode since Senator Barack Obama won the Democratic nomination for President.  While other news organizations were focusing, for the most part, on the real issues facing the next President of the United States, Fox News focused on the character of Barack Obama and any person with which he was vaguely associated.  Reverend Jeremiah Wright and William Ayers were daily foils for Fox News and, frankly, they still are, according to Sean Hannity.  During the election, Fox News could muster little criticism toward Obama’s opponent, John McCain, unless of course, you count loving your country just too damn much as criticism.  

Barack Obama was inaugurated on January 20, 2009.  That day marked, not only the inauguration of America’s first minority president, but it marked the day that Fox News became the opposition to the President of the United States.  You want proof?  Here is a quote from Fox News Vice President for Programming, Bill Shine:

 “There were a couple of people who basically wrote about our demise come last November (and) December and were, I guess, rooting for us to go away…With this particular group of people in power right now, and the honeymoon they’ve had from other members of the media, does it make it a little bit easier for us to be the voice of the opposition on some issues?” (March 23, 2009)

That sounds exactly like a Fox News executive telling whoever will listen that they are not interested in reporting the news, but instead being the “voice of the opposition.”  That is Fox News’ V.P. of Programming pushing a point-of-view.

Bill Shine not a big enough player for you?  Here’s a quote by Fox News President, Roger Ailes, via right-wing lunatic, Glenn Beck:

“I see this as the Alamo…If I just had somebody who was willing to sit on the other side of the camera until the last shot is fired, we’d be fine.” (March 6, 2009)

With all of the recent headlines blaring that the White House has started a war with Fox News, you have to wonder if anyone in the media can do their jobs.  Fox News started this “war” a long time ago.

Roger Ailes not big enough, still?  Well, here is the most telling quote of all, from the biggest of big dogs at News Corp., Rupert Murdock.  This is his reaction to a question about the “war” with the White House:

“There were some strong remarks coming out of the White House about one or two of the commentators on Fox News…And all I can tell you is that it’s tremendously increased their ratings.” (October 16, 2009)

There you have it.  News Corp. Chairman, Rupert Murdoch, just told you and me that he is interested in the bottom line–ratings.  Facts?  Integrity?  Who gives a damn about all of that, right.  This is clear-cut evidence that Fox News’ opposition to the President comes from the top.

What everyone needs to understand is that the Obama Administration is not really complaining about the prime-time commentators like O’Reilly, Beck, and Hannity.  We all know what they are about.  They are about destroying the Obama Administration, and the individuals serving in that administration.  They are for the personal destruction of President Obama and those who work for him.  They are now on daily witch-hunts for Obama Administration officials, using fear, misrepresentation, and lies to take them down.

The problems lies with the research and points-of-view of these hate-mongers are the subject of Fox News’ “news” coverage.  Rather than reporting the news, they are pushing the opinions of their pundits.  It’s almost as though Fox News anchors refuse to leave the building.  The news production gets its news from the shows of Glenn Beck, Bill O’Reilly, and Sean Hannity.  And these clowns get their news from right-wing radio and the Drudge Report.

The decision made by the White House was a good one.  The Obama Administration cannot continue to allow Fox News to attack, without response.   They have just placed Fox News beneath the media’s microscope and, even though the ratings at Fox News might rise in the short term, more people are going to know what they are about.  They are about destruction, not news.  And in its haste, Fox News will prove the White House right, again and again.

Posted in Economics, Entertainment, Misc., Politics | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »