Monthly Archives: February 2011

RIP. Mr. Frank Buckles

Frank Buckles was the last American WWI veteran alive and he passed away today in his West Virginia home. Obviously in 110yrs he has seen many things change, reform, and be created and destroyed. With his death there are now only two WWI veterans world wide of the almost 5 million that served. Today America lost another hero. Its is stories like this that make me want to scream from the roof tops, treat the Veterans close to you right. A little respect and a little thanks goes along way.

Frank Buckles, the last surviving American veteran of World War I, died of natural causes Sunday at the age of 110 in his Charles Town, W. Va., home, a family spokesman said in a statement.

Eager to serve his country and escape the tedium of farm life in Missouri, Buckles told the Daily News in 2008 that he lied about his age to enlist.

He was 16 when he shipped off to France in 1917 to join the ambulance corps with the serial No. 15577 — one of 4.7 million Americans to serve in “The War to End All Wars” against Germany.

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Posted by on February 28, 2011 in Day in the life


You want Maggie Reese you get Maggie Reese

I was digging through my search statistics and found that the top search term that leads people to my site is Maggie Reese. My only mention of her was in my original Topshot Season 2 post but even today she is still the top search term. So I figured I would do what I can to provide more info about her.

In short she is a USPSA and 3 gun shooter, who has been shooting for 13 years and is now on Top Shot Season 2. She shoots for Team Surefire. Her website has a pretty good slideshow but not much info on her and she does not yet have her own Wiki entry.

Here is her official website









On Wikipedia it says: Professional shooter, 13 years of experience in shooting sports with various awards.


Here is her link on the Women of USPSA website

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Posted by on February 23, 2011 in Gun stuff


Somali Pirates take more hostages

Somali pirates have taken a yacht with 4 Americans on it hostage off the coast of Oman, apparently this yacht broke off from its larger sailing group and essentially got picked off. According to CNN the US Navy is following the boat and monitoring the situation. My first reaction was “damm I hope the US Navy uses some badass snipers like they did on Easter 2009“. However cool that might be I really think there needs to be a push from boat owners, yacht clubs, and travelers in general to allow these sailors to arm themselves. While I am not an attorney and no expert at maritime law it is my understanding that most ports are VERY hostile to any sort of firearms on board passenger vessels. I would certainly like to see this change and restrictions loosen up. I assure you that after the first few batches of pirates get thwarted by a few yacht owners with Saiga shotguns, we would see much less of this crap.

(CNN) — A U.S. Navy warship and helicopters are trailing a boat believed to be the one that was hijacked by Somali pirates over the weekend, a senior military source with knowledge of the operation told CNN. Four Americans were manning the boat.

Pirates boarded the American yacht off the coast of Oman last Friday, three days after the boat’s owners split off from the relative safety of a sailing group traversing a dangerous section of the Indian Ocean, according to the group, the Blue Water Rally.


Although only tangentially related to this story I cant even think about a Somali pirate story without remembering this gem from a letter to the editor I read in one of the alternative newspapers in portland last year. When responding to an article about a company that built UAV unmanned drones, the author wrote. Link to the Letter to the Editor and a link to the Original story about the drones.

Finally, Pitkin’s frequent use of the word “pirate” to describe the Somali activists forced to commit desperate acts to protect their shores from intentional deadly dumping of nuclear waste by the Brits and the Mafia. We are being lied to about that situation as well. Corporate control of the media assures the stories we are fed are red herrings. We are in the age of media brainwash. Language is powerful and writers must be especially vigilant. The stakes are higher than ever.

That said, I was glad WW stepped up to the plate and dealt with this issue. There were some excellent ethical questions raised.

Helen Hill
Bay City


It appears that negotiations have broken down and the pirates have killed all four Americans. The navy did kill at least two pirates but it was too late. My prayers go out to the families of these men and women.

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Posted by on February 21, 2011 in Politics


Alaska State Rep. Cissna says screw off to TSA

I regularly interact with the TSA staff at SeaTac airport since I work nearby and in general most of them are semi-decent human beings but a few are complete asses. Which by itself is not that unusual since people in all professions can be difficult to deal with. Then this morning I wake up and read this from the Seattle PI.

Rep. Sharon Cissna underwent a body scan as she was preparing to leave Seattle-Tacoma International Airport Sunday and was then required to undergo the pat-down by Transportation Safety Administration officials, said Michelle Scannell, her chief of staff.

Scannell said that TSA called for the pat-down because the scan showed Cissna had had a mastectomy. But it wasn’t immediately clear from statements by the lawmaker’s office and TSA why that would necessitate the further search.

So at least from this article it appears that the woman had a medical device, the body scan machine cant tell the difference between a prosthetic and a bomb so some frisky TSA agent decided that she needed to be groped. Then Rep. Cissna decided to say screw off and chose a slower, likely more expensive mode of travel to keep her dignity intact. To this I applaud her and encourage others to do this as well. I hope that when she gets back to Alaska she holds a news conference to make sure that this hits national news.

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Posted by on February 21, 2011 in Politics


What a surprise….NOT

So I remember when the airport screener first got federalized we all of the sudden started hearing stories about TSA agents making off with all of the leathermans/ nail clippers that they had confiscated from those passengers who had accidentally brought some sort of contraband into the airport. In fact when I flew to New York in 2004 I bought one of those statue of liberty lighters where the flame comes out of the torch, I called the airline to ask if I needed to do anything special with it and the nice lady told me that, “Those sort of things are better in your carry on bag since they are not banned (at that time) and they tend to walk away from checked baggage”

Well now it turns out that two TSA agents decided to just steal 39,000 in cash from a passengers luggage.

From Reuters:

Coumar allegedly X-rayed a passenger’s bag and found cash inside. Coumar told Webb, who allegedly marked it with tape, according to Queens District Attorney Richard Brown.

Coumar then located the marked bag in a luggage area, took out cash that he hid before taking it home, Brown said.

After getting the tip, authorities said they found roughly $40,000 stashed at the homes of Coumar and Webb.

Police said the men confessed to other thefts that could total as much as another $160,000.

None of this really surprises me and I am sure now that TSA is unionizing that things like this will continue to happen and their supporters will explain that this is just a few bad apples and blah..blah…blah. The article says that these guys can face up to 7yrs in prison which frankly seems like very light to me but I am sure that they will end up doing less than 18months.


But wait there is more

It turns out that at the begining of January 2 agents were arrested at LAX one for using drugs and the other for acting nuts and going off the deep end.

NBCLA reports:

A TSA agent was arrested on January 3rd in Terminal One at LAX, a source told NBCLA. He had just gotten off duty and was behaving erratically, saying, “I am god, I’m in charge.”

Meanwhile, a TSA Internal Affairs investigation turned up evidence of LAX TSA agents using drugs at an after-hours party.

Should be interesting to see what else comes out soon.

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Posted by on February 17, 2011 in Politics, Uncategorized


Movie review: The Special Relationship

Somewhere between being a new subscriber to Netflix and being a political science major in college I have been watching a lot of movies with a political theme recently. Most recently it was The Special Relationship this movie describes itself as

“A dramatization that traces former U.K. prime minister Tony Blair’s relationships with Bill Clinton and George W. Bush.

In all reality that description is only half right, it does a great job of showing the unique and sometimes odd relationship between Clinton and Blair but we don’t even see GWB until about 10min before the end of the movie. All of the characters seemed true to their parts and even the “private” conversations seemed very believable. One of the most interesting parts of this movie is the views of First Lady Hillary Clinton and Cherie Blair. It was interesting to see the effects of the Clinton sex scandal and other trials and tribulations of the Clinton administration on the Blair administration.



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Posted by on February 14, 2011 in Uncategorized


The revolution in Egypt

So the past two days I have been glued to the TV watching the happenings in Egypt. So far I have been impressed that the protesters have remained largely peaceful. I fully expected to see burning cars and the capitol being torched. Group think can be so dangerous that these things can shift pretty easy. Secondly I have been surprised by the US reaction, at first Obama struggled to find his place, first taking flak from the media for being uninvolved and then being attacked for being too involved. Its no secret that the US has a history of wanting to be intimately involved in these sorts of things and I fully believe that within weeks we will have some sort of Congressional delegation sent over.

I hope the people of Egypt realize the greatness of the opportunity ahead of them and snap it up for all its worth because these events are rare and precious. Also whatever government gets established will hopefully be stable. The last thing the world needs is another unstable government in that region. Also the reaction of Israel should be very interesting to watch.


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Posted by on February 11, 2011 in Uncategorized