Monday, December 6, 2010
Sunday, November 14, 2010
Sunday, July 4, 2010
Sunday, May 9, 2010
Monday, May 3, 2010
When I joined the Navy in 1994, I had not given much thought to serving long-term, but when I hit the ten year mark I realized how much I have riding on my commitment to this nation. When I joined it was the fulfillment of a lifelong dream to serve in the world's finest Navy. I joined because Don't Ask Don't Tell gave me the opportunity to do so without lying.
But silence is a lie.
We have proven the world did not end when we signed up to protect this nation. I think of Sailors such as Allen Schindler, who was murdered by his fellow shipmates because there were no protections for him as a closeted gay Sailor. I think of Sailor Keith Meinhold who served the Navy well for 15 years, but was forced to resign because he is gay. I think of Sailor Jason Knight who was discharged, somehow readmitted and recalled to duty to serve in Kuwait in 2006 and then discharged yet again, yes, because he is gay. I think of a personal friend who I shall let remain nameless who received a dishonorable discharge from the Navy when it was discovered he was gay in the 1970s.
I respectfully ask your support in repealing DADT immediately.
Monday, March 22, 2010
This is for the doubters who decry the passage of the new health care bill awaiting President Obama's signature (tomorrow). I cannot take credit for the following, but I applaud its absurdities and the points it raises.
To all Tea Party members, I urge you to take the following pledge before it's too late.
Please pass it on to fellow members:
I do solemnly swear to uphold the principles of a socialism-free society and heretofore pledge my word that I shall strictly adhere to the following:
I will complain about the destruction of 1st Amendment Rights in this country, while I am duly being allowed to exercise my 1st Amendment Rights.
I will complain about the destruction of my 2nd Amendment Rights in this country, while I am duly being allowed to exercise my 2nd Amendment rights by legally but brazenly brandishing unconcealed firearms in public.
I will foreswear the time-honored principles of fairness, decency, and respect by screaming unintelligible platitudes regarding tyranny, Nazi-ism, and socialism at public town halls.
Also, I pledge to eliminate all government intervention in my life. I will abstain from the use of and participation in any socialist goods and services including but not limited to the following:
•State Children’s Health Insurance Programs (SCHIP)
•Police, fire, and emergency services
•US Postal Service
•Roads and highways
•Air Travel (regulated by the socialist FAA)
•The US Railway System
•Public Subways and Metro Systems
•Public Bus and Lightrail Systems
•Rest areas on highways
•All government-funded local/state projects
•Public water and sewer services (goodbye socialist toilet, shower, dishwasher, kitchen sink, outdoor hose!)
•Public and state universities and colleges
•Public primary and secondary schools
Publicly funded anti-drug use education for children
•Public parks and beaches
•State and national parks
•Municipal garbage and recycling services
•Treatment at any hospital or clinic that ever received funding from local, state or federal government (pretty much all of them)
•Medical services and medications that were created or derived from any government grant or research funding (again, pretty much all of them)
•Socialist by-products of government investment such as duct tape and velcro (Nazi-NASA inventions)
•Use of the Internets, email, and networked computers, as the DoD's ARPANET was the basis for subsequent computer networking
•Foodstuffs, meats, produce and crops that were grown with, fed with, raised with or that contain inputs from crops grown with government subsidies
•Clothing made from crops (e.g. cotton) that were grown with or that contain inputs from government subsidies
• I will not accept the thousands of dollars in federal benefits that are accorded by an act of government-sanctioned marriage
If a veteran of the government-run socialist U.S. military, I will forego my VA benefits and insist on paying for my own medical care
I will not tour socialist government buildings like the capitol in Washington, D.C.
I pledge to never take myself, my family, or my children on a tour of the following types of socialist locations, including but not limited to:
•Smithsonian Museums such as the Air and Space Museum or Museum of American History
•The socialist Washington, Lincoln, and Jefferson Monuments
•The government-operated Statue of Liberty
•The Grand Canyon
•The socialist World War II and Vietnam Veterans Memorials
•The government-run socialist-propaganda location known as Arlington National Cemetery
•All other public-funded socialist sites, whether it be in my state or in Washington, D.C., I will urge my member of Congress and Senators to forego their government salary and government-provided health care.
I will oppose and condemn the government-funded and therefore socialist military of the United States of America.
I will boycott the products of socialist defense contractors such as GE, Lockheed-Martin, Boeing, Northrop Grumman, General Dynamics, Raytheon, Humana, FedEx, General Motors, Honeywell, and hundreds of others that are paid by our socialist government to produce goods for our socialist army.
I will protest socialist security departments such as the Pentagon, FBI, CIA, Department of Homeland Security, TSA, Department of Justice and their socialist employees.
Upon reaching eligible retirement age, I will tear up my socialist Social Security checks.
Upon reaching age 65, I will forego Medicare and pay for my own private health insurance until I die.SWORN ON A BIBLE AND SIGNED THIS DAY OF __________ IN THE YEAR ___. _____________ _________________________Signed Printed Name/Town and State
Tuesday, March 16, 2010
As our tour came to end in the spring of 2006, I had made my mind to stay behind with Customs Battalion QUEBEC, so I had to let my friends go back to the United States while I, and 30 others stayed behind to help the next group perform our customs mission. Dawn, again was the voice of encouragement.
Even with my friends from PAPA gone, I remained in touch with Dawn and was pleased to learn when she advanced to Chief Petty Officer. Was I surprised? Absolutely not! Dawn never did anything halfway and when she was pinned I wished I could have been there.
In the intervening five years since we deployed I often received an email from Dawn and with the advent of Facebook we kept even more closely in touch. She sent me emails while I served in Afghanistan in 2008 and I, in turn, kept in touch with her when she once again went Active Duty. I often thought about those lucky Sailors who would benefit from her leadership.
Just two weeks ago Dawn and I chatted online for about an hour. We talked about our new directions, she asked me about my cats and I asked her about training for a marathon whe want to run (naturally) and as we closed our chat, she told me she looked forward to seeing my name on the new Chiefs list this year. Those were our last words, but not my last thoughts of her.
Even with 900 miles between us, Dawn still offered encouragement and advice, offering support and best of all... her friendship. I will treasure that friendship and my memories of her. I know when I do make Chief I will see Dawn in my mind and know that she is looking down on me and the rest of us, her friends and comrades of U.S. Navy Customs Battalion PAPA.
And every time I go out to enjoy a warm sunny day, I will reminisce about Dawn's smile and how it was meant for me and for every other soul she met and helped become a better person. Dawn, you and the rest of the members of Customs Battalion PAPA became a family that year. You were an important part of that 'Navy machine' and most importantly, a part of our lives--we made a difference. What more could someone want out of life?
Dawn, I know I speak for all of us PAPAs when saying I respect you, love you and will miss you forever!
Monday, March 15, 2010
Clearly the culture war has heated up with conservative leaders working feverishly to present a purely conservative point of view to our children. In other words, the good ole white boys club is back in town.
It has been a rough year on Texas citizens. Last year, their governor suggested the state should secede from the Union in disagreement with some of President Obama's policies. Last weekend former congressman Tom Delay suggested that this nation's unemployed are out of work by choice. Now, add to to this debacle the radical change in education curriculum and some Texans fear they will become this nation's laughing stock, but I find nothing humorous about any of this.
If this news was not bad enough, it is made even worse with the fact that Texas is the second largest buyer of high school textbooks in the country. For decades, Texas has held school textbook publishers hostage to what is and is not to be included in our children's textbooks.
What Texas demands of publishers, will eventually end up in textbooks slated for purchase in the other 49 states of the union. For conservative right-wing leaders to impose their backward small-minded values on an entire nation smacks of arrogance and deception.
Here, in my opinion, are the real reasons why members of the Texas Board of Education have worked tirelessly to remove Thomas Jefferson from the curriculum:
"Millions of innocent men, women and children, since the introduction of Christianity, have been burnt, tortured, fined and imprisoned; yet we have not advanced one inch towards uniformity." -Thomas Jefferson, Notes on Virginia, 1782
"In every country and in every age, the priest has been hostile to liberty. He is always in alliance with the despot, abetting his abuses in return for protection to his own." -Thomas Jefferson, letter to Horatio G. Spafford, March 17, 1814
"Priests dread the advance of science as witches do the approach of daylight and scowl on the fatal harbinger announcing the subversions of the duperies on which they live. -Thomas Jefferson, Letter to Correa de Serra, April 11, 1820
"Man once surrendering his reason, has no remaining guard against absurdities the most monstrous, and like a ship without rudder, is the sport of every wind." -Thomas Jefferson to James Smith, 1822.
"Law is often but the tyrant's will, and always so when it violates the right of an individual." --Thomas Jefferson to Isaac H. Tiffany, 1819.
"Whenever the people are well-informed, they can be trusted with their own government." --Thomas Jefferson to Richard Price, 1789.
"Question with boldness even the existence of God; because, if there be one, he must more approve of the homage of reason than that of blindfolded fear." - Thomas Jefferson
"Religions are all alike - founded upon fables and mythologies." - Thomas Jefferson
"The clergy, by getting themselves established by law, and ingrafted into the machine of government, have been a very formidable engine against the civil and religious rights of man." --Thomas Jefferson to Jeremiah Moor, 1800.
"Religion is a subject on which I have ever been most scrupulously reserved. I have considered it as a matter between every man and his Maker, in which no other, and far less the public, had a right to intermeddle." --Thomas Jefferson to Richard Rush, 1813.
Clearly, uber-conservative religious leaders, in their minds, have reason to deny Jefferson his seat in this nation's history. Jefferson was a free-thinker who questioned everything, INCLUDING religion. Religious zealots cannot stand the fact that he and many other of our forefathers were deeply suspicious of religion's role in our society-- and especially our government. And clearly it is no coincidence the conservative leaders of the TBOE have removed Jefferson when considering his writings about religion.
Mind you, if right wing conservative leaders have their way, these are surely the first steps of implementing more wholesale changes in our nation's textbooks. Is it so hard to believe that creationism is not the next element they wish to foist on our public schools? Will evolution be the next target for removal?
I have no problem with people having faith in their religion and God, but I do when religious kooks are not content until they force every single person to believe as they do. Anyone who knows me knows I believe in God, just not his (or her) followers-- nor most of organized religion.
The culture war is not going away any time soon. For those who yearn for more enlightened, more intellectual education, one firmly entrenched in science, research and constant review, this is not the time for complacency. For historians, the old adage of 'history textbooks are written by the victors' surely must be alarmed and suspicious of the turn of events of this past weekend.
Again, complacency is the educators worst enemy.
Monday, February 15, 2010
Furthermore, churches themselves don't even agree on what story of God is correct, so why expect schools to insert their own stamp? Next, for those who have worked tirelessly to secure a moment for daily school-led prayer, are the rest of us to seriously believe that you would stop there? Next, creationism will be taught; next, biology and physical science classes will be compromised; next, health classes will be compromised; and next, English classes will include the Bible as a textbook.
I offer this warning: If this door is opened, every single faith will be wanting their say. Do you want a school teaching things in matters of religion you do not agree with? I know those same people who feel school prayer is a good thing would be horrified if their child would be forced to sit through a Muslim prayer... and there are some really kooky churches out there that who will also be standing in line for their turn at your child's young mind.
Teachers are not preachers, they are not theologians, nor are they Bible thumpers... or least they'd best not be. Personally, faith is not something you can teach anyway; it is something you feel.
Thursday, February 4, 2010
Wednesday, February 3, 2010
For me personally, it comes down to integrity — theirs as individuals and ours as an institution. I have served with homosexuals since 1968. Putting individuals in a position that every single day they wonder whether today’s going to be the day, and devaluing them in that regard, just is inconsistent with us as an institution.”
--Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Adm. Mike Mullen, USN
"I fully support the president's decision. The question before us is not whether the military prepares to make this change, but how we best prepare for it. We have received our orders from the commander in chief and we are moving out accordingly."
Each explained as a matter of conscience the cost this policy has inflicted upon the military, both morally and politically--as well as the implications of undermining the military's longstanding commitment to integrity. Their testimony before the senate committee signals an end of the nearly 17-year old ban on gays and lesbians from openly serving their country in the world's finest military force.