Showing posts with label America. Show all posts
Showing posts with label America. Show all posts

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Brazil, refs, can't beat America

Abby Wombach, your Gatorness is forgiven.

Video via Sports Grid.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Lt. Richard Winters, dead at 92

From Yahoo News:
Dick Winters, a highly decorated World War II hero who became a household name when his heroics were chronicled in a Stephen Ambrose book that later became the HBO miniseries "Band of Brothers," has died. He was 92.

A very private and modest man, he died last week but requested that the news be withheld until after the funeral, a family friend told the Associated Press.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

The National Anthem: Meant to be sung

If you tuned in for the very beginning of the U.S. - Ghana match yesterday, you heard an incredible rendition of our National Anthem, sung by Americans out numbered and thousands of miles away from their home.

This video doesn't really do it justice. But, Georgia Bulldogs, when Tom Jackson says "Please join in the Sanford Stadium tradition of singing our national anthem," that is what you are supposed to sound like.

Except you've got 92,000, standing on their own free soil.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Benjamin Franklin

According to this audiobook biography of Benjamin Franklin, Franklin edited the words "self evident" into the Declaration of Indepence.

Thomas Jefferson initially wrote that "We hold these truths to be sacred and undeniable."

A digital copy of Jefferson's original draft, with Franklin's edits, is available from the Library of Congress:

Available in a more readable format here.

I recommend the book, though it's long. As I near the end, I've actually started hearing my own version of the narrator's impression of Benjamin Franklin chiding me in my head, giving me personalized advice about how to live my life. It's a little weird.

As a newspaperman, Franklin was pretty much a gossip and a liar. But he did invent the lightning rod, which he never patented.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Operation Liberty Stealth

To be fair, they probably weren't all asleep when we killed them.

Pretty sure this came from this site.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Star Spangled in Texas

Singing your National Anthem capably at a sporting event = lifetime achievement.

Also available at Cowboys Stadium.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Iran: A wheel in spin

Rostam replied, "The way is long, how shall I go without soldiers to accompany me?" Zal said, "There are two ways there from this kingdom, and both are filled with difficulties and dangers. One is the way that Kavus took; the other lies through the mountains and will take two weeks. You will meet with lions and demons and darkness, and your eyes will be bewildered by what they see. If you take the shorter way, you will come on monstrous things, and may God come to your aid then. It is a hard way, but set Rakhsh along it and you will survive its perils. In the dark night, until daybreak, I shall pray to God that I shall see your shoulders and chest again, and your sword and mace in your hand, and if God wills that a demon turn your days to darkness, can any man avert this from you?

What comes to us must be endured. No one can stay in this world forever; and even if he remains here for a long time, he is finally summoned to another place. If a man leaves behind him a noble reputation, he should not despair when he has to depart."

- Shahnameh

I don't know whether we're witnessing a revolution or not in Iran at the moment. But I do believe that everyone who calls themselves an American, who says they love freedom, should be paying attention.

My guess is that we are not witnessing a revolution, but only a step. Perhaps many steps.

Whenever people take to the streets, peacefully, to say "We are not satisfied," the cause of humanity is advanced. And whenever the government in power responds with a tightening grip, it only hastens its own demise.

But these things all take time. Government has no special powers of its own. Nor do movements. They are merely means to an end, which hopefully we will call liberty.

When I refuse to obey an unjust law, I do not contest the right of the majority to command, but I simply appeal from the sovereignty of the people to the sovereignty of mankind.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Godspeed to the 48th

Macon holds parade for departing Georgia National Guard 48th Brigade.

Image: Woody Marshall, The Macon Telegraph.

Said Gov. Perdue, at the event:
“This is worrisome. They are defending America, defending Georgia. It’s a sad (feeling), but it’s always sad. That’s the price of freedom. They hadn’t signed up to be professional warriors when they first joined, but they are ... doing whatever it takes for us to be free.”

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Update your calendars: "Bloodiest war ever" set for Junish

I often wonder whether humankind is as advanced as we think. Or if God's just up there, saying, "Man, I really thought you guys would have figured this out by now."

My buddy Silver* is a "gun show guy." That means he spends his weekends at gun shows, pretty much anywhere within a day's drive, selling people rifle scopes and those little laser pointers that attach to pistols.

This was not his primary career choice. Let's just says he's been a victim of the rapidly un-expanding economy in a particular dying industry.

Now, Silver is a Libertarian. I don't think he has any problem with gun rights. But, not wanting to shoot anything, he doesn't own a gun.

A lot of people think President Barack Obama is going to take away their guns. Or at least make them more expensive. Or maybe give them to Muslim terrorists. I can't really remember what the chain e-mail said.

Some of these fears are obviously unfounded, some of them are probably pretty realistic.

Either way, folks are just buying up guns and over-priced accessories like crazy at these guns hows. You don't have to look hard for news coverage on this. Silver says handguns and assault rifles are particularly popular. When it comes to ammunition, he used the word "stockpiling."

And the people "stockpiling" all this ammunition sound like some real characters.
Silver: I was out having a cigarette and struck up a conversation with this one woman. And she told me, "Well, everything I've read is there's gonna be the bloodiest war ever in June or July."

Me: That's pretty specific.

Silver: Yeah. And I'm just thinking, "What are you reading?"

Silver: This other guy, he was from West Virginia and said he used to work in the coal mines with a bunch of black people. And he said any time black people talk and use their hands, they're lying.

Me: I guess that makes Obama a liar, right?

Silver: I believe that was the sub-text. It's just amazing the panic that's out there.

Me: Just think about this for a minute. All these people that you're meeting — this is America. They have more access to information and education than in just about any place in the world.
As an aside, the way Silver got into this gun show business (which is apparently quite lucrative) is he got laid off. But his boss didn't.

He said that every time he ever had a conversation with her and she meant to use the word "fiscal," she actually said "physical."

* Due to Lucid Idiocy policy of changing some names to one of the school colors, this name has been changed to one of the school colors.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

A remembrance for peace, not war

Years ago we changed Armistice Day to Veterans Day in this country. And slowly the tradition of falling silent in the 11th minute of the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, to remember the end of World War I, fell by the wayside.

It is right to honor veterans, and their families. But I think you'd be hard pressed to find a soldier who doesn't prefer peace to war.

From Kurt Vonnegut, a veteran of World War II:
When I was a boy, all the people of all the nations which had fought in the First World War were silent during the eleventh minute of the eleventh hour of Armistice Day, which was the eleventh day of the eleventh month.

It was during that minute in nineteen hundred and eighteen, that millions upon millions of human beings stopped butchering one and another. I have talked to old men who were on battlefields during that minute. They have told me in one way or another that the sudden silence was the voice of God. So we still have among us some men who can remember when God spoke clearly to mankind.
Thank you to the soldiers who fight when called. May God rest the souls of those who never returned. And may we all, one day, celebrate the existence of peace. Until then, let us commemorate its hope.

UPDATE: The holiday was renamed in 1954 by an act of Congress. President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed a proclamation calling upon people to "pay appropriate homage to the veterans of all its wars who have contributed so much to the preservation of this Nation."

From the Proclamation:
On that day let us solemnly remember the sacrifices of all those who fought so valiantly, on the seas, in the air, and on foreign shores, to preserve our heritage of freedom, and let us reconsecrate ourselves to the task of promoting an enduring peace so that their efforts shall not have been in vain.

Friday, November 7, 2008

The look of the country

I watched the old Paul Newman classic, Hud, the other night. And there's a scene where Melvyn Douglas tells his Grandson:
"Lonnie, little by little the look of the country changes because of the men we admire."
There's a lot that can be said about the people we choose to elevate in America. But I figure more writing won't make the point any better.

Although, for some reason, this line from President Elect Obama got me thinking along the same lines. Have a nice weekend.

How many honest men you know? You take the sinners away from the saints, you're lucky to end up with Abraham Lincoln.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Sept. 11

Land of the free, home of the brave.

St. Paul's Chapel, NY, NY.

Friday, July 4, 2008

America, the beautiful

O beautiful for patriot dream
That sees beyond the years
Thine alabaster cities gleam
Undimmed by human tears!
America! America!
God shed his grace on thee
And crown thy good with brotherhood
From sea to shining sea!

Ray Charles singing America The Beautiful on Two Fried Eggs.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

She didn't worry anymore

America gets a pretty good working over out there. From other countries, from those of us who criticize without sacrifice, from those of us who deserve to be criticized.

But I was reading this monstrously long story last night, about Sgt. Joe Montgomery's journey home from Iraq, and I thought to myself: America still stands up.

Happy 4th of July.
The Patriot Guard was formed a few years ago in response to the threat of protesters from the extreme-fundamentalist Westboro Baptist Church, in Topeka, Kansas, who sometimes disrupted the funerals of soldiers killed in Iraq. There were rumors the church intended to hold up signs along the highway like, "God Hates Your Tears" and "Thank God for Dead Soldiers." Gail Bond stayed up the night before for a lot of reasons, but partly because she was worried about how her family and friends might react, how she might react, to such taunts. But now she saw the men on their Harley-Davidsons, with their long hair coming out the backs of their helmets, and she didn't worry anymore.

Friday, January 25, 2008

America at war

This was initially on the politics side of the blog, but it seemed more appropriate here, mostly because it's so half-assed.
I can't remember why, but the other night I was thinking that the United States is about 231 years old, counting forward from the Declaration of Independence. That's what, the life expectancy of about four people?

And I wondered: What percentage of that time have we been at war? If you haven't noticed, though I don't consider myself educated enough to know whether any specific war was a good idea, I'm not a fan of war in general. I'm sorry if you are, because I don't mean to offend.

I added it up the best I could, using several internet sites to determine the approximate lengths of American involvement in various wars and conflicts. And what I came up with was 49.7 years or about 22 percent of the time.

Now, that's rough, and it's subjective. For the Gulf War, for example, I just credited six months. That's about how long active hostilities lasted, but of course we had troops in the area long after that and were actively patrolling the no-fly zone.

For Vietnam, I went from the Gulf of Tonkin (Aug. 1964) through the last troops leaving Saigon (April 1975).

Other dates may have been more appropriate to use in many cases. Anyone know the actual length of the Franco-American Naval War? For that matter, it might be more appropriate to count the country's age from the ratification of the current Constitution, which would make us about 220 years old.

I don't know what the just or moral percentage of time for a country to be at war is, and I don't know how we stack up against other countries. But this is the seemingly relevant question that occurred to me before I looked at any of the numbers:
War should always be a last resort. Do we really live in a world where it's been the right answer X percent of the time?

In this case "X" is 22 percent.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

"I always wanted to be a soldier."

I'm working on a Veterans Day package for Sunday's paper, so I've been interviewing a lot of soldiers lately. This afternoon I spoke to Lt. Col. Mark London, who was in Iraq with the Georgia 48th for about a year in 2005 and 2006.

Talking to these guys used to make me feel small. These days I just feel proud.

Col. London was talking about the way forward in Iraq, and about how he and other soldiers tried to spend a lot of time with children. His wife, and others, would send shoes, clothes, soccer balls, etc., over and the soldiers would hand them out, he said.

From Col. London:
It's real hard to change the minds of adults. They don't really know what freedom is about. ... They don't really know what freedom is. But these young kids, they love Americans. They love soccer over there. We gave them soccer balls. We gave them shoes. ...

I really think that's going to make a huge difference there in 10, 15 years. ...

I always wanted to be a soldier. ... I think that everyone should serve this country in some capacity. Not everybody's made to be a soldier, you know. But there's other ways to serve. Peace Corps. And helping out the homeless. There's so many ways that people can serve.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Why do Auburn fans hate America?

I don't know, but, sadly, they do. Let it be known that, at the University of Georgia, we love our country.

Check out this video of the Silver Wings Command Exhibition Parachute Demonstration Team, out of Fort Benning, jumping into Sanford Stadium in 2005. I got it from the boys at Georgia Sports Blog a few months ago. They got it from this gentleman's MySpace page.

It's that time again. I have no idea how anyone can possibly be this awesome.

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Also worth sharing, these pictures of their practice jump, courtesy of the U.S. m-f'n Army.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Civil Disobedience and Democracy in America

AKA what government should be, individualism, a counter-friction to stop the machine, the tyranny of the majority and Civil Disobedience, bitches.

From Civil Disobedience:
Unjust laws exist: shall we be content to obey them, or shall we endeavor to amend them, and obey them until we have succeeded, or shall we transgress them at once? Men, generally, under such a government as this, think that they ought to wait until they have persuaded the majority to alter them. They think that, if they should resist, the remedy would be worse than the evil. But it is the fault of the government itself that the remedy is worse than the evil. It makes it worse. Why is it not more apt to anticipate and provide for reform? Why does it not cherish its wise minority? Why does it cry and resist before it is hurt? Why does it not encourage its citizens to put out its faults, and do better than it would have them? Why does it always crucify Christ and excommunicate Copernicus and Luther, and pronounce Washington and Franklin rebels? ...

If the injustice is part of the necessary friction of the machine of government, let it go, let it go: perchance it will wear smooth--certainly the machine will wear out. If the injustice has a spring, or a pulley, or a rope, or a crank, exclusively for itself, then perhaps you may consider whether the remedy will not be worse than the evil; but if it is of such a nature that it requires you to be the agent of injustice to another, then I say, break the law. Let your life be a counter-friction to stop the machine. What I have to do is to see, at any rate, that I do not lend myself to the wrong which I condemn.

From Democracy in America:
When I refuse to obey an unjust law, I do not contest the right of the majority to command, but I simply appeal from the sovereignty of the people to the sovereignty of mankind. Some have not feared to assert that a people can never outstep the boundaries of justice and reason in those affairs which are peculiarly its own; and that consequently full power may be given to the majority by which it is represented. But this is the language of a slave.

A majority taken collectively is only an individual, whose opinions, and frequently whose interests, are opposed to those of another individual, who is styled a minority. If it be admitted that a man possessing absolute power may misuse that power by wronging his adversaries, why should not a majority be liable to the same reproach? Men do not change their characters by uniting with one another; nor does their patience in the presence of obstacles increase with their strength. For my own part, I cannot believe it; the power to do everything, which I should refuse to one of my equals, I will never grant to any number of them.

Happy July 4.

Monday, July 2, 2007

America the beautiful

This Sunday we ran a compilation from Middle Georgia folks about what makes them red, white and blue. I had a few beers and wrote my own essay.

This being America, no one stopped me. May the idea that is this country echo forever throughout mankind.
I love our National Anthem, our flag, the opening lines of The Declaration of Independence and the idea that all men are created equal.

I love cold beer and whiskey and the smell of a grill. I like closing my eyes on a Saturday in October and hearing friendship all around me.

I love The Crisis, by Thomas Payne, and Civil Disobedience, by Henry David Thoreau.

I love Rock and Roll and The Blues. I love the way that even people who hate each other most days will stand together when needed, like a family that's been insulted.

I know that we can never be conquered. And that, though we may sometimes be our own worst enemies, our better angels will get the best of our demons here in America, my home, my country, this land that I love.

I love the fact that America is not a place so much as an idea.

Oh say does that star spangled banner yet wave, over the land of the free and the home of the brave?

It sure as hell does.