Sunday, January 31, 2010

A drop in the bucket

I see where the president has miraculously found the grand sum of $20 Billion that can be cut from this years budget.

I'm very happy.

Well, somewhat.

I note with some little concern that the deficit for this fiscal year is estimated to be $1.75 Trillion out of a total budget of $3.55 Trillion.

Just a little playing with a calculator reveals that the proposed budget contains 49.29% more in spending than in receipts. Just Damn.

To put that in perspective that I can relate to, that means that this year out of a projected income of $32,876.00 I would spend $63,577.64. Hey, maybe I can take that trip to visit the pyramids of Mexico for a month or two. Shoot...maybe I can move up from hamburger to Ground Chuck.

If I would reduce my budget by the same percentage (0.005633% or $358.13) I would only be in the hole $30343.51 instead of the projected $30701.64.

Well...that's do-able. All I have to do is cut back about 40 or so whopper value meals. Oh, wait. I don't eat that many whopper value meals a year. Oh well, I'm sure I can do it even if I don't exactly know how right now.

This still doesn't address the fact that I'll spend $30 K more than I'll take in this year. I'm sure all my friends and neighbors won't mind chipping in a little bit......especially since I'll be sending my goons around to collect it at the point of a gun. They don't mind when the Government does it.

As the ol' Carrot Eater says, "What's up Doc?". How can we possibly allow them to spend nearly twice what they take in? I guess if you are working for the government or getting your sociable insecurity from them you don't mind.



Saturday, January 30, 2010

I'm Not Jealous

...really I'm not.

But Pam just has a better way of writing and describing someone than I.

Partying Pig Pelosi at the Taxpayer Trough: Hundreds of Thousands on In-flight Booze and Food


The Saturday Report

We dodged the bullet on the icy weather last night. Not sorry in the least about that. Just a little coolish this morning with a misty bit of rain. Not too much to do outside but will be doing that under shelter all wrapped up in a hand me down coat some kid left at the school the SIL works at a couple years ago and when summer break came and no owner came to claim it she passed along to me. Just damn...some middle school kid was as big as I (nearly 200 lbs). It must be all those steroids in the hamburgers these days.

The Big News is that I found when I checked my bank account online this morning, our bank has been closed and taken over by another. I'm not too surprised by that as a friend called yesterday with the rumor, which was one of a long string, and I was expecting it. Supposedly there had been a little drug money laundering going on along with some foreign loan losses.

The good news, so they say, is that everything will go along as normal except they have a new owner. Of course I have about $249,800.00 less than the amount FDIC will cover in there so the government will be insuring my accounts. Doesn't make me feel all that much safer, I have to say.

Money backed by nothing but the full faith and credit of the United States doesn't make one feel secure in these days and times. Basically they create money out of nothing, sign an IOU to the Federal Reserve and pretend it has some intrinsic value. We can see on the financial news each night what that is worth.

Wonder how many people lost their jobs last night?

Friday, January 29, 2010

Tell me again why we keep on electing these critters.

The Complete Perversion of the Law

But, unfortunately, law by no means confines itself to its proper functions. And when it has exceeded its proper functions, it has not done so merely in some inconsequential and debatable matters. The law has gone further than this; it has acted in direct opposition to its own purpose. The law has been used to destroy its own objective: It has been applied to annihilating the justice that it was supposed to maintain; to limiting and destroying rights which its real purpose was to respect. The law has placed the collective force at the disposal of the unscrupulous who wish, without risk, to exploit the person, liberty, and property of others. It has converted plunder into a right, in order to protect plunder. And it has converted lawful defense into a crime, in order to punish lawful defense.

How has this perversion of the law been accomplished? And what have been the results?

The law has been perverted by the influence of two entirely different causes: stupid greed and false philanthropy.

The Drudge Report has this Article about the Illustrious Madam Speaker of the House.

Starting Over

Rough weather ahead for tonight. Supposed to just miss us to the north; sure hope so. I generally don't pay the weather much attention now-a-days. Not like I did years ago while running the dairy farm. Back then I carried and listened to a weather radio at least twice a day, especially in the summer and fall when we were cutting hay or getting in other crops.

These days if it's cold I either stay inside or put on more clothes....if hot I stay inside in the air-conditioning and dress a little more lightly when venturing outside...although through habit of many long years and in remembrance of my skinny legged youth I never wear shorts...
today the whiteness of the skin would blind anyone within 300 yards...back then I didn't want to be teased about my knobby knees or be told only sissies would wear shorts. Try bucking alfalfa hay while wearing anything less than denim jeans for a while and it begins to make a little sense.

Oh yeah......Starting Over.

A couple years ago I thought to start anOther Blog chronicling the efforts to start over from nearly scratch and the thoughts on what it would take and any successes or further failures.

Didn't last long as I often have not much to say here less success there. Mostly just a little ranting or observations.

Today, however, the starting over has been much in my mind as when turning off the by-pass onto 441 N I had to stop on the exit ramp behind a semi waiting for the light and noticed a young woman standing in the cold shivering and holding a very small sign made of a single sheet of notebook paper. As I stopped behind the trailer I shouted out the window, "trying to get somewhere"? She shook her head No.

It was not until she stepped closer that I could make out the sign that read "Homeless need help". Not an apparent derelict, wino, druggie, just a young woman probably less than 30 years old and the clothes were neat, if perhaps a little less than the weather might have called for.

I reached in my pocket and pulled out a couple sawbucks to give get a 'God bless you' as the truck pulled out and I followed.

As I pulled away heading about a mile north to AirGas to pick up a set of new regulators for my torch I caught myself doing a little mental ass kicking....both wondering if she was just a moocher or if I should have done more like call my buddy who's tied into the local shelters and churches which might have been of a little more help to her.

I decided to make my return trip go past the intersection to stop and ask her if she wanted me to contact my friend........but, she was no longer there. Perhaps the $20 was all she needed to get her next hit or she'd gone down to the convenience store to warm up with some coffee, or maybe something warmer at the package store next door.

Whatever.....I wish her well. But the incident made me think of how close we've been to that same scenario and of all the people in the country right now who are in the same boat or only one paycheck away.

It can be hard to start over.......or it can be a very liberating experience. One can literally put everything but your thoughts behind you and strike out to stand or fall by your own efforts........or perhaps the charity of others.......and in this country now-a-days the generosity of the government who have no compunction about taking the fruits on your labor through the force of law to give however the bureaucrats decide is most politically productive.

I'll probably mull on this some more here in the world wide web. I'd appreciate your thoughts.

Perhaps I will look at that other blog again.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Tango, Mike Mike

There are days on end that go by and I begin to think that I have at least most of my shit in a sock. Got things together so to speak....the locals can sleep safely in their huts tonight...
th' demons have been beaten back to outside the firelight and the watchmen are on the towers.

Don't get me wrong....I don't regret one f***ing minute

Then while checking the websites of a few unmet friends I run across something like This..

"I don't respect your right to take the Fifth Amendment. Not at all," Rep. Bill Pascrell Jr., D-New Jersey, told the couple.

A damned dim-o-crit from New Jersey. Wouldn't you know. The man stood up placed his hand on a bible and swore to uphold the Constitution of The United States which includs the Bill of Rights. Either the asshat has never read that divinely inspired document or he was lying through his teeth to the people of his district and by extension the people of America when he said, "I do".

For that simple sentence alone he should be immediately escorted from the halls of Congress and banished for life from this country and made to live in Haiti.

I suppose you could defend him by citing the 1st Ammendment

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

and I'm sure he would be the first to proclaim his right to free speech, but to my mind the willingness to strip the protection of another's right under any of the Constitutional Protections invalidates all of his.

I hope the people of his district are happy with the scum sucker they elected to office.

For over two centuries brave men and women have fought, bled and died to secure those rights both for the citizens of this country and other peoples of the world.

Men like Master Sergent Roy P Benavidez

Bill Pascrell Jr, you scum sucker, I hope I never bump up against you, your stench couldn't be removed even by Clorex. It's such a shame that he's not the only one like that up there.

A big hat tip to Mike and LL for all they do.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

If you don't like the weather in Georgia...

....Just wait a while.

That was today. What started out as a sorta nice temperature wise day with a bit of rain devolved into a wind, almost blustry, day that would drive you inside to more inviting climes.

Still I did my duty and then after lunch traveled up to Lula intersection on 965.

On the way back home I came across a Ford Ranger pickup truck with only the right front wheel off the pavement and as I went around caught sight of a woman with bare arms carrying a two gallon gas can. A determined set to her jaw she was headed about a mile up the road for gas.

I stopped and offered to help push the truck out of the road a bit more, but she only wanted a ride to the store and back....."It won't take a minute". Loaded up and off we go only to meet a sheriff's car as we were almost at the small country store.

"Bet he'll be there waiting for you when you get back", I said. "Oh Lord", she moaned.

Two dollars of gas is not a lot anymore. That's what she bought, and off we rolled back down the highway, where sure enough the deputy was waiting with lights flashing. No harm -- no foul. He watched out for other cars as she put about 3 quarts of 87 octane in the truck and rumbled off back to the same store to get enough more to reach her destination.

Friends, there are some sure enough redneck wimmen out there. If you see one with short blondish orange hair and hippie beads around her neck, make sure she has enough gas to get back home.

Rainy Thursday

Gently falling rain interspersed with brief periods of slightly heavier rain here in the Classic City...but the temperature is a pleasant 55 degrees and inside the house it feels almost tropical even though the heat pump isn't cycling on and off every few minutes. In fact I don't recall hearing it since I arose from bed after spending a miserable night of up and down because of sinus congestion causing a slight cough.

I'll get outside to work in a bit. Sure am glad I bought that shelter back in the fall.
Gracie and I will sit out there and listen to the raindrops hit the polyethylene cover. Not quite as nice as a tin roof but will do for a 'pore' boy.

The German paper Der Spiegel gives the death knell to Obama while he and his power grabber are exercising further power over Banks. Guess most of them never read Atlas_Shrugged.

While the powers that currently be currently keep a somewhat low profile, the World Bankers will only allow the politicians to go in a direction so far until it begins to interfere with their own plans.....and make no mistake...while the current battles are with the politicians....the war is with those who create money out of nothing and cause us to en debt ourselves to them in unbreakable chains of mortgages and credit card payments. While some few hardy souls have the will and drive to remove those chains through a life of frugality and hard work, the chains lie so softly on most of us that we in our comfort hardly even know their there.

Well, off to the salt mine in the back yard. Stay dry and tell someone you love them.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

A New Day

Another sunny day here in the 'hood'. The sun has made it's way up over the pine trees and the 45 degrees feels mighty good compared to the 'teen's' of last week. This is more like it. This is one of the reasons I like living in the south. The north can keep their beautiful white snows. Give me days like this that keep hope alive and enough warmth to let us do a little outside loafing.

Emotionally it also feels like a good day for the Constitutional Republic. Scott Brown’s election in the heart of enemy territory gives me a little hope that enough people are awakening to the dangers to Liberty that we'll be able to stall for a little longer the long slow slide down the fun ride into a one world socialist government when the individual is marginalized into droid-hood.

Already we see the reaction of Slobbering Barney Frank and the dumb-o-crats in Congress to this upstart new Senator and his Pick-em-up-Truck. We'll just change the rules and do what we want anyway. I think he's made enough trips out to the barn and bent over a hay bale for the donkeys to bugger that he's no longer got the sphincter elasticity to hold his shit in. That prissy look on his face is probably caused by having to sit in a soiled diaper all day at Senate hearings.

Still I'm not getting my hopes up too high. Brown made way too many allusions to that great patriot Ted Kennedy.

Time, as it always does, will 'tell the tale' with more completeness than we now know.

Now let's go outside.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Winter in the South.....

.......can sometimes bring days of such stark beauty that you just want to sit in the sun and absorb as much as you can of the crystal blue sky above the bare reaching limbs of the one hundred year old white oak in the back yard.

Today was one of those.

While it started out with a little bit of a nip....enough to want an extra knit shirt on for soon warmed up to where that came off and you started rolling up the shirt sleeves a cuff or two.

Gracie Mae the Dalmatian with one blue eye and one brown eye came gallumping out of her straw filled barrel as soon as I set foot to the back deck. No lolly-gagging about with her snout tucked under her hind leg against the chill this morning....she was ready to greet me and the day....happy to sit by my side as we both soaked up the 60 degree warmth on the south porch of the tool shed. While she's a needy dog, constantly wanting to push her head under the hand resting on my thigh, she is wise enough to know when to turn and wander off on her own when my questioning of how she's doin' begins to wander off into musing about the general sorry state of things in the world today.

E-mails have been sent to both the Birmingham News and the Birmingham Public Library seeking information on the Trophy Cup from 1922. I guess we'll just have to wait a few days to see if anyone finds it of enough interest to bother either contacting me or looking up any long dormant information.

I determined I'd need a bigger buffing wheel and a long extension for the cordless drill to reach down into the narrow recess of the cup in my first attempts to remove the grime and tarnish inside the cup. While I almost hate to use the tripoli, it's slightly greater abrasiveness will be necessary to cut through the gunk, then changing the wheel and applying rouge will hopefully restore the satiny silver shine to the inside.

Silver is like a beautiful woman......warm and smooth....but requiring constant care and attention to prevent the subtle encroachments of time from dulling the outer surface. Of course with time a wonderful patina is obtained and she is appreciated for her true worth and not just the shiny outer surfaces. You just have to decide which is of more worth.

It may be like that with the blessing of liberty passed down to us from the Founding Fathers.
We begin to see that it's necessary to get out the cleaning cloth now and again to remove the corruption that we've allowed to build up.

If only it were as simple as applying some polish and elbow grease.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

The Prize

UPDATED: Sunday Morning.

In 1922, Birmingham Alabama, there was a playground, where, perhaps on a summer day, a Saturday perhaps, there was held a Track & Field Meet. The contests were run, heroes named, trophies given in recognition of Effort, Persistence, Determination, and perhaps, in some few instances, Luck.

I was not there, nor do I know if anyone of my family were there, although my father was born in Birmingham six and a half or seven years later. I do know that relatives probably live there to this day, although I do not know them.

How do I come to have knowledge of this long forgotten event? Well you may ask, since I have never to my knowledge been in the city limits of Birmingham, Alabama.

Yet today I acquired a Loving Cup Trophy from that event in the purchase of a bit of scrap silver. A large Trophy, standing 14 inches tall, 10 inches wide at the widest point of the art deco style handles. It weighs in at 28 troy ounces; made of sterling silver, it looks to have been neglected for many years...perhaps even used as a flower vase from the looks of the inside... until some one happened across it in an estate sale or flea market....or, I shudder to think, even a junk heap, from whence it was salvaged, scrubbed a bit with some abrasive (savages) and eventually found it's way to my hands. It looks like it could use a bit of tender loving care (no pun intended). A "do over" as the southern ladies would say on their monthly visit to the beauty and hair emporium.

I cannot tell who was the recipient of such a noble prize, as the inscription says "Boys Trophy" with the words "won by" under that and strangely no name where it should have been engraved.

Perhaps the winner was loath to turn it loose long enough for the local jeweler to scribe his name. Perhaps there simply was not enough funds to pay for that service, but it was presented by the Birmingham News, a paper no doubt......and there is where I'll start my investigation. Searching out said paper.....or if they have faded into the yellowed pages of history...perhaps the local library's micro-film records of old news papers if they still exist.

For as I start the slow process of cleaning the accumulated tarnish and grime of 88 years from the cup, gently tapping out what nick and dings as can be reached, straightening a bit of lean in the base which gives it a slightly drunken look, I'll also try to find out whose name should go in the rightful place.

A fools errand you think?

Perhaps so. But we lose a bit of our collective soul when we let those gone before (and while it's barely possible the winner still lives, not likely) fade entirely into the dust of oblivion.

Or perhaps I'm just trying to stave off the inevitable tick-tocking down of my own appointed time.

We all want a "Do Over" now and again....don't we?

Pictures to be posted's late and the bed calls........

Saturday, January 09, 2010

It can happen to anyone.....

.........especially if you are a small business or sole proprietorship.

Lord knows I had my problems with the IRS until I started filing every year completely and using all the available deductions to my advantage.

The Tax Code is so many thousands of pages long that it have become incomprehensible even to the people who work there. Don't believe it, just call them up and ask what the answer to one of your tax questions is. Then call back and ask the next operator the same question. It is likely that even if you asked 10 CPA's the same question, you'd get 10 different answers.

The only way to go in my opinion is THE FAIR TAX. If you are not familiar with it you need to do a little reading and research on your own.

Go to Fair Tax. Org and check it out.

It can happen to anyone.....

Saturday Funnies

One of my favorite performers of all time lends his voice for the cause.

Play it it proud!

If you are not registered to vote, do so, then this fall vote your conscience.

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Catching my breath

It's been a little busy here around the KG (kudzu grotto) this the first week of the New Year.

It's also been cold and windy. Nothing like they are having in the upper tier of states of course ..... I'd swear that no one with any good sense would live up there, but my Niece, who sent me the link to a great video and story about our troops overseas and the ideals they strive to live up to (see Here) and others like the indomitable and delectable LL, live there year round so the summer must be pretty nice to make up for the fug-ugly winter weather. It feels like the proverbial 'Witches tit in a brass bra' to me down here so up there must be colder than a well diggers ass in the Arctic.

Still we plug along.

Oh yes.........2 days ago the wife and I entered into the 43rd year of wedded bliss... I know...we started out as babies. Good thing we didn't wait till we knew better, I might have missed out on much joy. We went to the local steak house where I had a salad and lots of red meat cooked just enough to turn the inside a little pink. My contribution to the anti-PETA efforts.

For the wife's Christmas present last month I bought her enough laminate wood flooring to do the living room and get rid of the carpet I continually track mud upon. Can you believe how much dirt stays in a carpet? So for our Anniversary I bought enough flooring to do the hall floor also.

Not romantic enough for you? She has diamonds and gold enough, there is still chocolate candy left over from Christmas......she has access to a whole gun cabinet of firearms if the mood strikes.........what better thing to please her than a shiny new maple colored floor.

Maybe if she lasts until the golden wedding anniversary I'll get new carpet for the bedrooms.

The last two days has been occupied by actually putting down some of the flooring.....almost done......just like two runs down the hallway,... and my usual running up and down the roads looking for shiny things. I'm kinda like a crow......if it shines I'll swoop down and try to carry it back to my nest. I would say that unlike the crow I don't try to hoard it all, but still, some things like the 5 Morgan $'s and the $100 replica in 4oz of .999 silver proof may have found a home. Others like the pair of Royal Wedding Silver Pendants put out by the Franklin Mint back when Charles and Diana entered into the Holy State of Matrimony back in '81 will likely either be auctioned off or melted into an unrecognizable blob before long.

Remember how their marriage was the biggest story of the Century back then..followed, of course, by the Divorce of the Century a few years later, which was it's self followed by the car crash of the Century a few years after that?

Let's all hope that when and if Prince William takes a bride he'll have learned several lessons from the mistakes of his parents.

Anyway back to the Microwave to reheat this cup of green tea. Time to surf a while and learn what else has been happening today while I wasn't looking.

Be Good.......or at least if you can't be good don't get caught.

Saturday, January 02, 2010

How Ya doin' young fella?

Thus queried the guy behind the counter at Fedex today as I entered to mail my weekly package out.

Having just passed the 60 mark a week and a half ago I was at once delighted that someone would call me a young fella, but somewhat confused as the gentleman had fewer gray hairs than I and fewer wrinkles around the eyes by far. Smooth as a babies butt would have been a suitable description of his cheeks.

"Well thank you", I said, "But I suspect I might have a couple years on you".

"I'm nearly 70", he said............. me by nearly 10 years. Didn't look it.

He'd either liveed a stress free life with no wife and kids, or had availed himself of one of those Lifestyle Lifts you see advertised on TV.

After leaving I started pondering a little bit on the fact that in a couple of years I'll be eligible to start drawing my Sociable Security. Hot damn, just think, what joy will be mine when I start drawing those $750.00 payments on the first of every month. Las Vegas here I come. I'll be living the high life then.

Wow, just about had a Myocardial Infarction just thinking about it.. I guess that's what the gubbermint hopes seeing as how they've plundered the Social Security fund for each of the last 40 years and put IOU's in their stead pledging the full faith and credit of the United States to stand behind them. What will happen when people start losing faith in this country.

Trustees say that while the financial standing of Social Security decreased more sharply than Medicare last year, the health program remains at greater risk of insolvency. The financial difficulties facing Social Security and Medicare pose serious challenges, the report concluded.

How many more years will Peter allow himself to be robbed in order for Paul to be paid? At what point will there be not enough workers paying into the system to keep us old farts in medicine and just enough poverty to survive.

How long will the government continue waging wars in a vain effort to reduce the potential future recipients of Social Security and decide that it would be cheaper to conscript retirees to go and spill their worthless blood, and keep the young healthy workers back here at home flipping burgers and providing servants for the service economy at wages that allow them to buy the cheaply produced foreign junk that is shipped in from third world countries where the profits go to the wealthy and connected.

We've elected a good group of socialists to lead us......I'm sure they'll think of some answer to our future problems soon.

Socialism has come to mean many different things to many people, but regardless how it is defined, in the months immediately ahead it will be put to a rigorous test. The test will be visible to everyone as countries around the globe run out of money and confront overwhelming debts that cannot be repaid as well as other wide-ranging financial promises that can no longer be met. In short, the ideological bankruptcy of socialism will be laid bare by government insolvency.

It had to come sooner or later. The reasons are not hard to understand.

The ideological bankruptcy is neatly captured by British author and advocate for individual rights, Cecil Palmer: “Socialism is workable only in heaven where it isn’t needed, and in hell where they’ve got it”. And government insolvency is explained by famed economist Frederic Bastiat, who made this levelheaded observation nearly 150 years ago about the nascent modern socialism then emerging. “The State is that great fiction by which everyone tries to live at the expense of everyone else.” More recently, Margaret Thatcher, being a sensible politician, put it pragmatically: “The problem with socialism is that you eventually run out of other people's money.”

Guess I better put in my application soon huh?

They lie

One day, a seamstress sitting close to a river, made a careless move and in the flash of an eyelid, her thimble departed her finger and fell into the river.

When she cried out, the Lord appeared and asked, "My dear child, why are you crying?"

The seamstress explained that her precious thimble had fallen into the water and she desperately needed it to generate extra income to help her husband provide for their family.

The Lord dipped His hand into the water and immediately pulled up a golden thimble set with pearls.

"Is this your thimble?" the Lord asked.

The seamstress replied, "No."
Again, the seamstress replied, "No."

The Lord reached down again and came up with a soggy leather thimble.

"Is this your thimble?" the Lord asked.

The seamstress replied, "Yes."

Impressed with the woman's honesty, the Lord allowed her to keep all three thimbles. The seamstress went home happy.

Some years later, the seamstress was walking with her husband along the same riverbank when her husband tripped over some rocks, hit his head, fell into the river and disappeared under the water.

When she cried out, the Lord again appeared and asked her, "Why are you crying?"

"Oh Lord, my husband has fallen into the river!"

The Lord went down into the water and came up with Mel Gibson.

Is this your husband?" the Lord asked.

"Yes," cried the seamstress.

The Lord was furious. "You lied!....that was an untruth!"

The seamstress replied, "Oh, forgive me, my Lord, you misunderstand my motives. You see, if I had said 'no' to Mel Gibson, you would have produced Tom Cruise. Then if I said 'no' to him, you would have come up with my husband. Had I then said 'yes,' you would have surely rewarded me with all three men. Lord, you need to understand...I'm not in the best of health and would not be able to satisfy all three husbands, so THAT'S why I said 'yes' to Mel Gibson."

The moral of this story is: Whenever a woman lies, it's for a good and honorable reason, and in the best interest of others.

Do you reckon that the people in Washington have become so filled with estrogen that every single one of them wants to be like Nancy Pelosi?

Friday, January 01, 2010

And so it Begins

Nine hours into the New Year. The only fire works heard around here in the 'hood was the sound of some idiot firing off his pistol and what sounded like a high powered rifle. Of course the weather was drizzling rain and cold.......keeping decent hard working folk snug in their homes.

Unlike most New Years I stayed up to watch the clock tick-tock past twelve. Not to get a kiss or pop a cork on a bottle of bubble, but I was watching the 'Burn Notice Marathon' on channel 105. Twenty-three hours straight of Gabrielle_Anwar. Fear not tho intrepids, I only watched about three hours spaced around musing on what 2010 will bring.

Unfortunately, I'm afraid we'll see more of this...

Click on the link Here to see the full article......and send up a few prayers for our troops far from their families.

Into Thine Hand I Commit My Spirit
by Michael Yon

Arghandab, Afghanistan
New Year’s Eve, 2009

On this small base surrounded by a mixture of enemy and friendly territory, a memorial has been erected just next to the Chapel. Inside the tepee are 21 photos of 21 soldiers killed during the first months of a year-long tour of duty. The fallen will belong forever to the honor rolls of the 1-17th Infantry Battalion, 5th Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division, and they will join the sacred list of names of those who have given their lives in service of the United States of America.

The symbol of the 2nd Infantry Division is the Indian Head. At night, soldiers of the “Indian Head Division” can be seen passing by the tepee, sometimes stopping to peer inside before walking into the darkness.

Sometimes the soldiers walk by carrying lights that are red or green, or sometimes white. Tonight, Cobra Battery was firing illumination rounds from the cannons, which boom from the darkness, arcing a round into the night, where miles away a canister unsheathes, and the parachute opens, and brightness floats silently, shimmering over the valley where these soldiers died.

The firing is not done in remembrance, but to support ongoing combat operations.

Inside the tepee are the 21 photos, and a Bible. The book is opened to Psalm 31.

In front of each photo, electric candles flicker through the night.

Mostly there is silence.

Soldiers put cigarettes in front of each photo, though they say that many of the fallen did not smoke.

…for thou art my strength.

Only during such times are strong men and women of greatest importance. At all other times we have Hollywood.

Today we need soldiers who never forget their brothers, while they carry forward with devotion and strength.

The War in Afghanistan has truly begun. This will be a long, difficult fight that is set to eclipse anything we’ve seen in Iraq. As 2010 unfolds, my 6th year of war coverage will unfold with it. There is relatively little interest in Afghanistan by comparison to previous interest in Iraq, and so reader interest is low. Afghanistan is serious, very deadly business. Like Iraq, however, it gets pushed around as a political brawling pit while the people fighting the war are mostly forgotten. The arguments at home seem more likely to revolve around a few words from the President than the ground realities of combat here. I can bring the ground realities, but can sustain the coverage only by the graciousness of readers. Please keep that in mind.

Consider clicking on the link at the end of the article and send a dollar to help keep honest reporting of the war coming from someone with feet in the sand instead of getting your news from the talking heads out of New Yack.

Will we be able to avoid having to resort to arms in our own country to kick to the curb our Overlords? This year may be the year we find out.

Entering into my sixth decade of walking around in this skin, I have set and written down my goals and look forward to the opportunity to achieve them. I hope you have done the same.

May the following days bring you happiness and fulfillment no matter what comes into being.