And Now for Something Completely Different…

…at least for me.

If you’re weak of, uh, spirit, you might want to skip this post. I damned-near didn’t write it. However, the late and greatly lamented Rob Smith began the tradition of Crap-Blogging, which was taken up by no less a literary light than James Lileks just days later (albeit about a dog.) In fact, Rob’s inspiration led to no less than three “Carnival of the Crapper” aggregations before they, thankfully, sank from sight (so to speak.)

Here is my initial (and probably final) foray into scatalogical bloggage. Hopefully it won’t be a “striver.”

As I noted a couple of posts ago, I’m ill with whatever the current creeping-crud is. Sinuses that alternately flow like rivers or block up like my head is full of winter molasses, sore throat, croaking voice, general low-level fever (that’s now thankfully gone), green goo from my eyes, etc.

Post-nasal drip tends to have a negative effect on my gastrointestinal tract. Hopefully without sharing too much information, my GI tract ain’t all that “regular” anyway. As I’ve noted before, I have a genetic condition (Acute Intermittent Porphyria) and it also has some influence on what my body does. While AIP tends to trend most people it affects towards constipation, I am apparently the exception to that rule. “Normal” bowel movements for me are rarities. I can’t tell you how unusual it is for me to (as an acquaintance once so crudely but poetically put it) “pinch off a three-pound Brown Boneless sewer trout.” My condition has rendered me somewhat… curious about the end-result of my digestive process.

Don’t get me wrong! I’m not obsessive about it. I mean, I haven’t gone out and bought one of those German shelf toilets or anything (but I know they exist, which is a weirdness I think I’ll not pursue further here.) But I have to admit to some fascination when, a mere eight hours after dining on Mongolian Chicken from my local favorite Chinese restaurant, I stand and see undigested green onion pieces floating in the bowl.

It gives one pause to consider the wonders of the alimentary canal, digestive acids and enzymes, peristalsis, and the miracle that is the Charmin Ultra Double-Roll.

Anyway, when I’m ill, and especially when I’m not being hounded cared for by my lovely and concerned wife, I tend to not eat. As I discovered however, the “not eating” thing tends to aggravate the Porphyria, so I do try to force myself to consume something. The results of what I eat, along with post-nasal mucus are generally uninteresting in the extreme, in addition to being dully repetitive. (Take soup, add scum, result: bleh.)

Except Wednesday. While I’d have rather been in bed, I had to be on the work site programming away in anticipation of start-up. Thus, I tended to ignore the urges of my abdomen a bit, until they couldn’t be ignored anymore. The results were, um, a bit explosive, but not… ah, er, liquid, you might say. It felt… odd.

My curiosity was piqued, I must admit.

No, I hadn’t dropped a three-pound Brown Boneless. In the bottom of the bowl were…


(I swear, that’s what popped immediately to mind. Little light brown tadpoles. Turdpoles! That and “I ought to blog this!”)

So, what did I eat to fend off the Porphyria?

Tootsie rolls. Midgees, to be precise.

Science. Isn’t it fascinating?

Truer Words…

Or, as Henry Louis Mencken put it in the 1930’s:

The government consists of a gang of men exactly like you and me. They have, taking one with another, no special talent for the business of government; they have only a talent for getting and holding office. Their principal device to that end is to search out groups who pant and pine for something they can’t get and to promise to give it to them. Nine times out of ten that promise is worth nothing. The tenth time is made good by looting A to satisfy B. In other words, government is a broker in pillage, and every election is sort of an advance auction sale of stolen goods.


A professional politician is a professionally dishonorable man. In order to get anywhere near high office he has to make so many compromises and submit to so many humiliations that he becomes indistinguishable from a streetwalker.

One more, for good measure:

Under democracy one party always devotes its chief energies to trying to prove that the other party is unfit to rule–and both commonly succeed, and are right… The United States has never developed an aristocracy really disinterested or an intelligentsia really intelligent. Its history is simply a record of vacillations between two gangs of frauds.

As Jan says, “until we’re all involved….” This is why I’m personally convinced that both parties are complicit in the destruction of public education. One more quote – not Mencken, this time:

Reason and Ignorance, the opposites of each other, influence the great bulk of mankind. If either of these can be rendered sufficiently extensive in a country, the machinery of Government goes easily on. Reason obeys itself; and Ignorance submits to whatever is dictated to it. — Thomas Paine

Not Ennui, ILL Me.

Sorry, sorry, sorry. Haven’t posted in quite a while. I’m out of town on business AND sick as a dog. Went to bed last night about 7:30 PM, and at 9:30 some yahoo pulled a fire alarm handle. I went out and sat in my truck and shivered until the damn thing warmed up. Once the fire department verified there was no smoke, much less a fire, I discovered that the electronic lock to my room was toes-up. After three trips to the front desk, I finally got someone to let me in using an actual KEY.

And has anyone noticed how weird fever dreams are?

Vote for Bruce!.

The 2006 Weblog Awards is now taking votes. Bruce of mAss Backwards is on the ballot for Best of the top 2501-3500 blogs. This sounds a little ridiculous until you realize that there are literally tens of millions of blogs out there, and that Truth Laid Bear tracks over 58,000 of them. The “top 3500” represents the top sixth percentile of that 58,000+.

Bruce is escaping Taxachussetts (Live Free or Die Here), and will be retiring mAss Backwards once he moves to his new digs in (slightly more free) New Hampshire where he and his family will be living side-by-side with the thirty-five or so die-hard (big “L”) Libertarians who moved there for the Free State Project. I think winning this Webby would be a great and well-deserved send-off to mAss Backwards, and I wish him all the luck in the world in his new state of residence.

So, go vote for him already!

UPDATE: I’m informed via email that “almost 200” libertarians of the big and small “L” variety have moved to New Hampshire as part of the Free State Project. According to this site, a whopping 663 people have pledged to move there before 12/31/08. Just for your edification, the 2005 population estimate for New Hampshire was 1,309,940.


Due to various influences – workload, current events, some specific business-oriented things not workload related, family issues, etc. – I have not been posting much lately. My apologies, but this may continue for a bit. I’m going out in the desert tomorrow with a bunch of guys from work to expend a bit of ammo. Perhaps I’ll come back in a better frame of mind.

Perhaps not.

Is it Denial, or is it Deliberate?.
(Not that it matters, much.)

James Lileks expresses – as only he can – my take on current events in today’s Bleat:

I heard some of the confirmation hearings for the new SecDef and was impressed, providing they’ve changed the name of the office to the Secretary of Deference. I think they should have pressed him to list all the other countries he opposed “attacking” just so everyone’s clear and we can begin the new year on the same page.

The Bush doctrine has been dead for some time, but this was the funeral oration. I don’t believe in “rope-a-dope,” and I don’t believe in the miraculous Israeli strike, and I don’t think the momentum can be reversed. It’s as if we invaded France and spent three years getting their government back on their feet before proceeding to Berlin. Given this, the debate over the ISG’s recommendations is rather superfluous, but the report does tell you where some people’s heads have become permanently socketed.

Go read the rest.

Peggy Noonan in her “Separate Peace” column from last year said (and was pilloried for saying):

Our elites, our educated and successful professionals, are the ones who are supposed to dig us out and lead us. I refer specifically to the elites of journalism and politics, the elites of the Hill and at Foggy Bottom and the agencies, the elites of our state capitals, the rich and accomplished and successful of Washington, and elsewhere. I have a nagging sense, and think I have accurately observed, that many of these people have made a separate peace. That they’re living their lives and taking their pleasures and pursuing their agendas; that they’re going forward each day with the knowledge, which they hold more securely and with greater reason than nonelites, that the wheels are off the trolley and the trolley’s off the tracks, and with a conviction, a certainty, that there is nothing they can do about it.

I suspect that history, including great historical novelists of the future, will look back and see that many of our elites simply decided to enjoy their lives while they waited for the next chapter of trouble. And that they consciously, or unconsciously, took grim comfort in this thought: I got mine. Which is what the separate peace comes down to, “I got mine, you get yours.”

Let’s see what the elites of the “Iraq Surrender Group” recommends we do:

RECOMMENDATION 15: Concerning Syria, some elements of that negotiated peace should be:

• Syria’s full adherence to UN Security Council Resolution 1701 of August 2006, which provides the framework for Lebanon to regain sovereign control over its territory.

• Syria’s full cooperation with all investigations into political assassinations in Lebanon, especially those of Rafik Hariri and Pierre Gemayel.

• A verifiable cessation of Syrian aid to Hezbollah and the use of Syrian territory for transshipment of Iranian weapons and aid to Hezbollah. (This step would do much to solve Israel’s problem with Hezbollah.)

• Syria’s use of its influence with Hamas and Hezbollah for the release of the captured Israeli Defense Force soldiers.

• A verifiable cessation of Syrian efforts to undermine the democratically elected government of Lebanon.

• A verifiable cessation of arms shipments from or transiting through Syria for Hamas and other radical Palestinian groups.

• A Syrian commitment to help obtain from Hamas an acknowledgment of Israel’s right to exist.

• Greater Syrian efforts to seal its border with Iraq.

Right. We went through how many years of trying to get Saddam to comply with UN Security Council resolutions? And if Syria decides not to play? What then? We issue another strongly-worded condemnation? The report also says:

The United States must build a new international consensus for stability in Iraq and the region.

In order to foster such consensus, the United States should embark on a robust diplomatic effort to establish an international support structure intended to stabilize Iraq and ease tensions in other countries in the region. This support structure should include every country that has an interest in averting a chaotic Iraq, including all of Iraq’s neighbors—Iran and Syria among them. Despite the well-known differences between many of these countries, they all share an interest in avoiding the horrific consequences that would flow from a chaotic Iraq, particularly a humanitarian catastrophe and regional destabilization.

A reinvigorated diplomatic effort is required because it is clear that the Iraqi government cannot succeed in governing, defending, and sustaining itself by relying on U.S. military and economic support alone. Nor can the Iraqi government succeed by relying only on U.S. military support in conjunction with Iraqi military and police capabilities. Some states have been withholding commitments they could make to support Iraq’s stabilization and reconstruction. Some states have been actively undermining stability in Iraq.


To achieve a political solution within Iraq, a broader international support structure is needed.

Who does the Iraq Surrender Group think we need the aid of? Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Egypt, and Jordan, in addition to Iran and Syria.

Let me think… What was one of the reasons for the invasion of Iraq, the overthrow of Hussein and the establishment of a democratic form of government in the heart of the Arab world? Oh, yeah. Let Charles Krauthammer express it more eloquently than I, from his Time Magazine piece after Lebanon’s “Cedar Revolution”:

Jon Stewart, the sage of Comedy Central, is one of the few to be honest about it. “What if Bush … has been right about this all along? I feel like my world view will not sustain itself and I may … implode.” Daniel Schorr, another critic of the Bush foreign policy, ventured, a bit more grudgingly, that Bush “may have had it right.”

Right on what? That America, using power harnessed to democratic ideals, could begin a transformation of the Arab world from endless tyranny and intolerance to decent governance and democratization. Two years ago, shortly before the invasion of Iraq, I argued in these pages that forcefully deposing Saddam Hussein was, more than anything, about America “coming ashore” to effect a “pan-Arab reformation”–a dangerous, “risky and, yes, arrogant” but necessary attempt to change the very culture of the Middle East, to open its doors to democracy and modernity.

And it wasn’t just Krauthammer. See line 4 of the eye chart:

That’s a Henry Payne cartoon from 2004.

And the clowns elites of the Iraq Surrender Group expect the existing governments of the Middle East to HELP us establish the viper we’ve deliberately tried to place in their midst?

What were they smoking? Or are they just trying to convince and placate us, while really knowing the reality on the ground?

Today is the 65th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor. Back then we, as a nation, understood the job and the risks. While we’ve never, really, been 100% united about anything, during that period I’d say the percentage behind the effort was in the 90’s. But now I think Peggy may have been more right than anybody wanted to acknowledge. They’ve got theirs. No one in “the elites of journalism and politics, the elites of the Hill and at Foggy Bottom and the agencies, the elites of our state capitals, the rich and accomplished and successful of Washington, and elsewhere” wants to stand up and say “we’ve got to roll up our sleeves and sacrifice.” No one’s going to do a Churchill and say “I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears and sweat.” It might affect the sales of Playstation 3’s. Or their chances of getting re-elected.

We’ll just wait ’till a young muslim male chanting “Allahu akhbar!” presses the button on a nuclear weapon in some American port city, and then report on how we need “greater understanding” and ask ourselves – again – “why they hate us.”

In his October 2001 speech, President Bush concluded with:

The battle is now joined on many fronts. We will not waver; we will not tire; we will not falter; and we will not fail. Peace and freedom will prevail.

Well, we’ve wavering, the public is apparently tired (since the media chants nothing but defeatism at them), and the Iraq Surrender Group recommendations indicate that faltering should be official U.S. policy. Lileks is right. The Bush Doctrine is dead.

All that’s left now is the failure part.

Ah, well. How ’bout them Chargers?

This has to be Some Kind of Record

Reader Robert Gallagher, webmaster of, sent out a blanket email a couple of days ago:

This is a little bit odd.
I went to the State Departments Bill of Rights website and every area of our enumerated rights were covered EXCEPT the 2nd Amendment.
In place of the essay was this statement:
(The accompanying essay is under review.)
The Website is:

That rang a fuzzy bell, so I dug through the archives and found this old post.

That essay has been “under review” since Professor Eugene Volokh spanked it severely back in March of 2004. Pushing three years now, and they still haven’t come up with a suitable essay?

D’you think they’d like some outside contributions?

UPDATE: Joe Huffman recommends that the State Department depend on this Justice Department memorandum opinion for its essay. I concur.

Quick! Somebody Tell the 9th Circuit!

(And the New Jersey Superior Court)

Eugene Volokh reports that the Washington Supreme Court has declared in State v. Williams:

In the present case, we are similarly concerned that possessing a firearm can be innocent conduct. Citizens have a constitutional right to bear arms under both the federal and state constitutions. U.S. Const. amend. II; Wash. Const. art. I, § 24. A person may lawfully own a shotgun so long as the barrel length is more than 18 inches in length and has an overall length of less than 26 inches.

This is an error. The overall length must be greater than 26 inches, not less. The decision gets this right in at least two other places.

See RCW 9.41.010(6). RCW 9.41.190 precludes possession of a short-barreled shotgun. Moreover, the statute also criminalizes possession of a short-barreled rifle and a machine gun. The factor concerned with innocent conduct is particularly important in the case of a machine gun, which can be altered in ways not easily observable.3 If strict liability is imposed, a person could innocently come into the possession of a shotgun, rifle, or weapon meeting the definition of a machine gun but then be subject to imprisonment, despite ignorance of the gun’s characteristics, if the barrel turns out to be shorter than allowed by law or the weapon has been altered, making it a machine gun. The legislature likely did not intend to imprison persons for such seemingly innocent conduct.

This decision did uphold Mr. Williams’ conviction for possession of a short-barreled shotgun, but contrast this wording to, for example, New Jersey’s Superior Court in State v. Pelleteri. Here are the facts of that case:

On May 30, 1990, our Legislature proscribed the “knowing” possession of “assault firearms.” N.J.S.A. 2C:39-5f. Persons legally in possession of such firearms prior to the effective date of the statute could retain these weapons by obtaining the appropriate registration. N.J.S.A. 2C:58-12. Included in the definition of “assault firearm” is “[a] semi-automatic rifle with a fixed magazine capacity exceeding [fifteen] rounds.” N.J.S.R 2C:39-1w(4). Defendant was convicted of “knowingly” having in his possession an assault firearm, a semi-automatic rifle with a magazine capacity of seventeen cartridges.

Defendant, an expert marksman who at one point was employed as a firearms instructor, won a Marlin semi-automatic rifle in the late 1980’s by placing first in a police combat match. An avid gun collector, defendant placed the weapon in his safe. Defendant claimed that he neither inspected nor used the firearm. When the police recovered the gun from defendant’s residence in December 1993, it still had the manufacturer’s tags and the owner’s manual attached to the trigger guard. The owner’s manual indicated that the rifle could hold at least seventeen cartridges. Defendant claimed that he never read the manual. While conceding that he knew the rifle was a semi-automatic weapon, defendant contended that he was unaware that the firearm had a magazine capacity exceeding fifteen rounds.

And here’s the court’s decision:

We are concerned here with a statute dealing with gun control. “New Jersey has carefully constructed a ‘grid’ of regulations” on the subject. In re Two Seized Firearms, 127 N.J. 84, 88, 602 A.2d 728, cert. denied sub nom Sholtis v. New Jersey, 506 U.S. 823, 113 S.Ct. 75, 121 L.Ed.2d 40 (1992). This is an area in which “regulations abound and inquiries are likely,” and where the overarching purpose is to insure the public safety and protect against acts and threats of violence. State v. Hatch, 64 N.J. 179, 184, 313 A.2d 797 (1973); see also Burton v. Sills, 53 N.J. 86, 248 A.2d 521 (1968). “[T]he dangers are so high and the regulations so prevalent that, on balance, the legislative branch may as a matter of sound public policy and without impairing any constitutional guarantees, declare the act itself unlawful without any further requirement of mens rea or its equivalent.” State v. Hatch, 64 N.J. at 184-85, 313 A.2d 797. When dealing with guns, the citizen acts at his peril. In short, we view the statute as a regulatory measure in the interests of the public safety, premised on the thesis that one would hardly be surprised to learn that possession of such a highly dangerous offensive weapon is proscribed absent the requisite license.

Here’s that “highly dangerous offensive weapon” that the State of New Jersey declared an “assault firearm.”:

Actually, that’s not true. The picture here is of the current Marlin Model 60 .22 rimfire semi-automatic tube-magazine rifle. The new one has been redesigned so that it can only hold fourteen of the horrificly deadly .22 rimfire rounds, thus rendering it not an “assault weapon” in the eyes of the State of New Jersey.

Then, of course, there’s the Ninth Circus, who, in Hickman v. Block declared:

The Second Amendment to the United States Constitution states: “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.” U.S. Const. amend. II. Hickman argues that the Second Amendment requires the states to regulate gun ownership and use in a “reasonable” manner. The question presented at the threshold of Hickman’s appeal is whether the Second Amendment confers upon individual citizens standing to enforce the right to keep and bear arms. We follow our sister circuits in holding that the Second Amendment is a right held by the states, and does not protect the possession of a weapon by a private citizen. We conclude that Hickman can show no legal injury, and therefore lacks standing to bring this action.

In the later Silveira v. Lockyer case, Judge Kleinfeld wrote this in his dissent to the decision to refuse to hear the case en banc:

The panel opinion holds that the Second Amendment “imposes no limitation on California’s [or any other state’s] ability to enact legislation regulating or prohibiting the possession or use of firearms” and “does not confer an individual right to own or possess arms.” The panel opinion erases the Second Amendment from our Constitution as effectively as it can, by holding that no individual even has standing to challenge any law restricting firearm possession or use. This means that an individual cannot even get a case into court to raise the question. The panel’s theory is that “the Second Amendment affords only a collective right,” an odd deviation from the individualist philosophy of our Founders. The panel strikes a novel blow in favor of states’ rights, opining that “the amendment was not adopted to afford rights to individuals with respect to private gun ownership or possession,” but was instead “adopted to ensure that effective state militias would be maintained, thus preserving the people’s right to bear arms.” It is not clear from the opinion whom the states would sue or what such a suit would claim were they to try to enforce this right. The panel’s protection of what it calls the “people’s right to bear arms” protects that “right” in the same fictional sense as the “people’s” rights are protected in a “people’s democratic republic.”

About twenty percent of the American population, those who live in the Ninth Circuit, have lost one of the ten amendments in the Bill of Rights. And, the methodology used to take away the right threatens the rest of the Constitution. The most extraordinary step taken by the panel opinion is to read the frequently used Constitutional phrase, “the people,” as conferring rights only upon collectives, not individuals. There is no logical boundary to this misreading, so it threatens all the rights the Constitution guarantees to “the people,” including those having nothing to do with guns. I cannot imagine the judges on the panel similarly repealing the Fourth Amendment’s protection of the right of “the people” to be secure against unreasonable searches and seizures, or the right of “the people” to freedom of assembly, but times and personnel change, so that this right and all the other rights of “the people” are jeopardized by planting this weed in our Constitutional garden.

Washington’s Supreme Court has stated that the Second Amendment and Washington’s Constitution both protect an individual right to arms, but Washington is one of the states in the 9th Circuit. If someone attempts to appeal in FEDERAL court on the grounds that they have such a right, said claim will be rejected. Hickman v. Block settled it.

UPDATE: Ben at Carnaby Fudge has an excellent take on the search that resulted in Mr. Williams’ arrest for possession of the sawed-off. But in my case I think I’m just going to stick with telling the officer, “No, you can’t come in without a warrant.”

And I want one of these for Christmas.

Still Trying to Make Hay.with the “Shipping Fallen Soldiers as Freight” Meme

Last December I got into a urination contest with Jack Cluth, proprietor of The People’s Republic of Seabrook over his apparent outrage that, well as the original story put it:

Family Upset Over Soldier’s Body Arriving As Freight

Bodies Sent To Families On Commercial Airliners

SAN DIEGO — There’s controversy over how the military is transporting the bodies of service members killed overseas, 10News reported.

A local family said fallen soldiers and Marines deserve better and that one would think our war heroes are being transported with dignity, care and respect. It said one would think upon arrival in their hometowns they are greeted with honor. But unfortunately, the family said that is just not the case.

Dead heroes are supposed to come home with their coffins draped with the American flag — greeted by a color guard.

But in reality, many are arriving as freight on commercial airliners — stuffed in the belly of a plane with suitcases and other cargo.

John Holley and his wife, Stacey, were stunned when they found out the body of their only child, Matthew John Holley, who died in Iraq last month, would be arriving at Lindbergh Field as freight.

You can read the rest of the piece for yourself. There’s even a video link of the story apparently showing a body being unloaded from a commercial aircraft.

Jack was outraged. OUTRAGED!

OK, let’s imagine something for just a second. Let’s say that Bill Clinton was still in office. And let’s say that the bodies of dead American soldiers were being shipped to their families as freight, stuffed in the cargo hold of a plane along with the luggage?

If Republicans were to get wind of this sort of Democratic perfidy, CAN YOU IMAGINE THE WEEPING AND GNASHING OF TEETH, AND THE PEALS OF RIGHTEOUS INDIGNATION that would be raining down upon a Democratic Administration? And guess what? They’d have a damn good point. So why then is it acceptable for Our Glorious Leader’s Administration to be shipping the bodies of fallen soldiers as they would Aunt Ethel’s luggage? It’s simple, really; because Democrats simply lack the cojones to to raise Hell and demand that this disrespect stop IMMEDIATELY.

Yes, Jack was outraged that the Democrats hadn’t raised hell over this disrespect, thus getting themselves some much-needed positive press. After all, Clinton (blessed be his name) would NEVER have done anything so disrespectful!

But he did. The government always has. Bodies are shipped as air cargo via commercial carrier – just like they did your great-aunt Melba when it was time to send her body home. Was that disrepectful of her?

John Holley, father of Matthew Holly, protested:

What do you mean civilian aircraft? Why isn’t he flying into Miramar or North Island and having the military handle, you know, the military can handle the military. I mean he’s a war hero for crying out loud. If it was the President or some general or somebody like that, this wouldn’t be occurring.

No, probably not. But your son isn’t a general or the president. He’s a soldier. As I explained in the earlier post, bodies are shipped home via air cargo – with military escort. This is done for several reasons. First, I imagine, is economy. Should the military send all remains to the nearest military air base, as Mr. Holley asked? Should they be on a dedicated cargo aircraft? Wouldn’t it be just as “disrespectful” to ship the body on a military plane otherwise full of spare parts, mail, or other cargo? What if the parents of the fallen soldier don’t live anywhere near a military air base? Or should the military dedicate a C-37 (the military version of the Grumman Gulfstream V) for the deceased and his entourage? Wouldn’t somebody then complain about the astronomical expense?

The fact is, soldiers are shipped home honorably. Your grandmother may go back to old Virginnie as air cargo to be met by the local undertaker, but our honored military dead get an escort to ensure that they are treated properly. Noplace is this better described than by The Rocky Mountain News in their absolutely outstanding and emotional piece “Final Salute,” which I strongly recommend you read if you haven’t already. Be prepared to spend some time, and bring a hanky.

Well, once again, the “disrespectful treatment” meme has raised its ugly head. On Wednesday the Rochester Democrat & Chronicle published a “guest essay” decrying this same practice. Cynthia Hoag penned the essay after reporting that she saw a flag-draped coffin come down the baggage conveyor out of the cargo hold, under the observation of the escorting soldier, and then she watched it

disappear into the cart with the rest of the luggage. The waiting soldier stayed with the casket and rode in the cart as they pulled away.

She was shocked! Shocked, I say!

Well, her essay stirred up some controversy. In today’s edition there was a story saying that the Army was probing the report, but Northwest Airlines was saying they did everything according to procedure. The most interesting thing about the story, though, wasn’t the story. It was the comments. Like this one by “Reader11722”:

This administration doesn’t care how the soldiers are treated when they are alive (i.e., improper vests and inadequate protection on Humvees), why would they care in death? This lady is probably 100% correct and the misdeeds of this administration are about to worsen. However, Iraq is a bloody diversion. As the army attacks Iraq, the US gov’t erodes rights at home by suspending habeas corpus, stealing private lands, banning books like “America Deceived” from Amazon, rigging elections, conducting warrantless wiretaps and starting 2 illegal wars based on lies. Soon, another US false-flag operation will occur (sinking of an Aircraft Carrier by Mossad) and the US will invade Iran (on behalf of Israel) costing more American lives.

Yes, the moonbats were attracted to the light! (And make sure you take a gander at the book he’s hawking.) Another, “rwb100”:

Boy. Talk about making a mountain out of a molehill!! The lady was appalled at seeing a flag draped coffin on a baggage cart? What I want to know is why she wasn’t appalled at the fact that the soldier was even in the coffin in the first place. If you want to be appalled at something, be appalled at that!! Be appalled that our fearless leader, King George The Pea Brained, had the audacity, tumerity, and unmitigated gall to get us into this senseless war in the first place. And as for one comment I read about treating our “fallen military heroes” this way, well, as far as I am concerned, anyone who voluntarily signs up for the military, knowing full well that it just might mean having to go to war, is an idiot, not a hero. Especially those who volunteered after this war was started, with the express intent of going to Iraq. War is never the right answer to any problem, anywhere, anytime. Never!!! Now I know all of you red state republican flag waving lemmings out there probably have steam spewing out of your ears right about now, but if you would all just pull your heads out of your collective anal orifices and take a good look around, you will no doubt see as clearly as I do that you have all been sold a bill of goods by the current administration. George Bush is by far the stupidest president that this country has ever had, not to mention the most dangerous. By comparison, he makes Nixon look great! Maybe you remember immediately after 9/11 how America had the sympathies of pretty much the entire world. Everyone was in our corner then, but Bush has, in just a few short years, completely reversed world opinion about us. We are hated and reviled the world over, thanks to the backwards, mean-spirited, and paranoid policies of the Bush administration, and the sooner we all wake up and tell them NO MORE!!!!! , the better off we all will be. So again , I say WAKE UP AMERICA!!!!! End this bloody war now, and then we won’t have to see any more flag draped coffins on conveyor belts, baggage carts, or anywhere else for that matter. Now, what a wonderful world that would be!

Had to archive that one for posterity.

On a more sober note, MJL posted:

Last December I was waiting to board a flight from Atlanta to San Antonio. I looked out the window at my plane and noticed a large box being loaded into the cargo hold. I wondered what it was and then noticed a soldier standing at attention, watching the box move up the conveyor. I looked around…it was cold, freezing rain outside, and typically hectic inside the airport terminal. I couldn’t see anyone who had noticed or was watching besides the soldier, the baggage handlers, and myself. After we were in the air the first announcement the pilot made was regarding the fallen soldier’s remains and the accompanying soldier. In this case I saw nothing but quiet, subdued respect.

“Mudflap” posted:

I worked for 20 years as a customer service agent. I have worked on the ramp, inside, the warehouse and baggage service. The coffin is too big to put in a regular baggage cart. It is brought to the warehouse where freight is prepared for shipping. It is put on a open cart and does not carry extra baggage, unless it was the military’s member luggage that was accompanying the coffin. It is taken over to the freight house where the vehicle can pick it up. It has to come off the plane on the conveyor belt. It is heavy and long, and the plane sits off the ground quite a bit. There also has to be enough people to be able to lift it on and off the cart. I find the story hard to believe. In all my years at the airport, nothing but respect is paid to a coffin weather it be civilian or military.

“USAF2T2” chimed in:

As an Air Force Transportation Specialist, we handle the human remains of fallen soldiers within specific guidelines ordered by Air Force Regulations. They do return in “transfer cases” but are carefully placed level, with the heads stowed towards the nose of the aircraft – the head ALWAYS higher than the feet. NO OTHER CARGO is loaded on top of remains’ transfer cases. When they arrive at a terminal such as Dover AFB, human remains are stored in a secure area and separated from other cargo. At that point the shipment is made available to the receiving individual or agency.

So from the military’s point of view, as a RULE, we handle all with care and respect.
Do they also travel in commercial baggage area? Of course they would with they(sic) same rules applied. BTW, the baggage area is not a bad place to travel in (many pets travel that way) and when you consider how annoying some passengers are, it’s probably more preferable.

At any rate, the receiving agency is responsible for the remains once released. Since the reporter of this “story” did a poor job of doing his journalistic duty of investigating and getting the facts, all we have is a “story” which, as we know, can be as fictional as “The 3 Little Pigs”. But then had he dug into the story and found the truth, we wouldn’t be here on this site reading about it. Such is modern news, entertainment (to sell more papers/ad space) at the expense of a few.

May God Bless the family of Army Sgt. 1st Class Tony Knier especially at this time of the year when the rest of us sit around the tree and enjoy our families. Sgt. Knier truly sacrificed his life (as others) so that our children and we can continue OUR traditions and way of life; not one forced upon us by radical Islamics.

Now there’s a voice of reason. Finally, I’ll select the post by “gvenema” though there are pages more:

I don’t understand the outrage, Beenthere is correct.

I worked the Ramp 10 years ago in Minneapolis. There are no special carts for Human Remains. There is no special unloading crane painted red white and blue just for military personnel. The ramp agents have to use the equipment they have. How else are the remains supposed to be removed from the aircraft?

The outrage is over the remains being unloaded and placed into a cart.

From the article:
Northwest Airlines, on which the casket was flown, said in a statement tonight that a military escort stood at attention as three airline agents transferred the casket from the aircraft to an empty cart, then closed the privacy curtains. Northwest said it complied with all military and airline procedures.

There isn’t even a real disagreement on what happened. I guess people expect a band playing stars and stripes to follow around every casket until the funeral.

That’s how it appears to me.

It also appears that this is just another opportunity for the Left and Right to scream at each other. Reading the six pages of commentary, that’s much the impression I got. This comment by “aki009” said it well:

I have to say that we live in a day and age where I find myself having to question all the data that is being presented to me from essentially any source. I had to add photography to the list of things to question thanks to Reuters, UPI and others with their contributors who took a free hand to “enhance” images. Unfortunately such doubt can cause something genuine to fall into the questionable category.

Perhaps some day various forms of media will regain my trust.

In the meantime, ill-educated swipes from the left _and_ the right simply undermine any remaining trust I have in any form of communication from either side. Though from my perspective it seems that the left fabricates a significantly larger volume of “information” than the right.

Doesn’t it, though?