Thursday, December 31, 2009

New scholarship for veterans

American University has just announced a half million dollars in scholarship money for veterans.

American University has degree programs in the financial field, like financial advisers. They offer certificates and masters degrees. You can become a certified financial planner. They do offer classes online.

>>More information on the scholarships for veterans from American University.

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Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Chuck Norris supports it, so...

Normally we don't pass along charity ads, but we just can't resist Chuck Norris. We have not been big fans of the USO in the past, but if Chuck Norris supports it, we'll give them a plug!

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Monday, December 28, 2009

9-11 is all but forgotten.

Since George Bush left office, terrorism has taken a back seat to other issues. Like him or hate him, George Bush relentlessly fought to do everything to keep this country safe. We seem to forget that nothing else matters if we are not safe.

The tragic shootings at Ft. Hood were a wake up call. Big time. And America needs to wake up. Big time. Our military, CIA, FBI, can all do their jobs if we let them have anything and everything in their hands to use. We cannot err on the side of not wanting to offend anyone.

Everything this Nigerian did to get on a plane with explosives was wrong and should have been caught. But we forget. We forget that 9-11 ever happened and that there are still people who want to destroy our way of life.

And then we have a second incident on the same route. Un-called for. Completely uncalled for. Are we so much into apologizing to the world, that we can't do what it takes, even if it ruffles a few feathers, to keep this country safe?

Here is where we really blew it:
This terrorist's father notified authorities. They did nothing.

His visa should have been revoked just to err on the side of caution.

Get this: Britian did. Yup. Great Britain rejected this man's visa. What happened to sharing information? This man was banned from Britain but not the US?

He was under a US watch, so what happened?

This terrorist also paid over $2,000 cash for the ticket. That alone should have been a tip off and alerted authorities to search him with a fine tooth comb.

Oh, that and having no luggage to check. Another hit against him. And nothing happened.

Red flag after red flag, and nothing. Nada. Zip.

One day Homeland Security's Janet Napolitano says the system worked, now today she admits failure. No kidding.

We salute the men and women who each day put their lives on the line, in the military, the CIA, the FBI, local and state police departments. But come on! This hard work is all for naught if the government will not sit up and take notice of real threats!

A man who is banned in Britain, is at least on a terror watch list in the US, pays cash, has no baggage, is STILL allowed to get on a plane with no problems, is pretty scary. And this needs to be one great big wake up call for America. Don't forget September 11, 2001. Ever.

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Thursday, December 24, 2009

Why the military uses NORAD to track Santa Claus

Colonel Shoup, first CONAD (now NORAD) Santa Tracker!

Have you ever wondered why NORAD, North American Air Defense Command, goes to the trouble of "tracking Santa Claus" ?

Well, here's a little history.

In 1955, a Sears ad in Colorado had a telephone number listed so kids could call Santa. Unfortunately, the number was misprinted. The telephone number in the ad was to the hotline at CONAD (Continental Air Defense Command, predecessor of NORAD). It was a direct line to the Commander-in-Chief, no less.

Colonel Harry Shoup, the commander at the time, knew he could not disappoint the children. He and his staff had a lot of fun giving the children who called in radar updates about Santa's location.

Now remember this was during the height of the nuclear bomb scare between the US and the Russians. Obviously these military personnel were operating under some pretty stressful conditions. But true to their military spirit, they easily handled what could have been a public relations nightmare. They could have taken Sears to task and made a huge commotion. But our military rose to the occasion, as usual!

Three years later, NORAD was formed and took over the operation. For over 50 years now, our military men and women, along with volunteers, have taken countless phone calls from children on Christmas Eve tracking Santa. Of course, now they track Santa with online updates as well.

It is kind of funny and nice at the same time, that news media from all over the world use NORAD to give Santa updates!

He probably did not realize it at the time, but Colonel Shoup was a true American hero, averting a public relations disaster for Sears, and comforting children at the same time. Sadly, the Colonel died this year March.

The First NORAD Santa Tracker!
Colonel Harry Shoup, USAF, September 29, 1917 - March 14, 2009

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Monday, December 21, 2009

News media jumps all over pregnancy issue in Iraq

The news media has jumped all over the medical edict issued by Gen. Anthony Cucolo, who heads about 22,000 US soldiers and civilians. You would think that was what the rule says and that it's only about that. It just shows how anti-military the news media is. Trying to whip anger up over a silly thing that is not really an issue.

The order restricting behavior is a common one. But, to a frenzied media, they don't care. The order actually restricts ALL behavior that is in your control and causes you to be incapacitated for military service in northern Iraq. Yes, this would include pregnancy, but that's only logical, right? It would forbid a whole host of other conditions, but the news media is not looking at that. They come up with pregnancy and run with it without getting the full story.

And that bit about being court martialed is just about what the military does. The military does not try soldiers the way civilian courts do. And the news media hates that. In fact, they seem to be always looking at anything to criticize the military about. This is just the latest.

And Gen. Cucolo has already stated the obvious. That all cases do not get court martial until he says so. He has the duty to scrutinize all cases.

This order is nothing more than what is common in war time. Period. Nothing more, nothing less. There is no nefarious women battle going on in Iraq.

General Cuculo has expressed his true reasons.

"I am responsible and accountable for the fighting ability of this outfit. I am going to do everything I can to keep my combat power -- and in the Army, combat power is the individual soldier," his statement said. "To this end, I made an existing policy stricter. I wanted to encourage my soldiers to think before they acted, and understand their behavior and actions have consequences -- all of their behavior." He further adds, that these are just a few rules in a long list of behaviors that he wants soldiers to not be engaged in.

It also bans gambling. Did you read a headline banning gambling? Of course not.

These orders are common and legal.

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Thursday, December 17, 2009

Heated electric socks - Perfect Christmas gift.

If you are looking for a unique Christmas gift for an outdoorsman, sports fan, outdoor worker, or even someone who is subject to cold feet indoors, electric heated socks make a pretty good gift.

Electric heated socks come in 2 varieties. Either run on batteries, or plugged in if indoors.

If you use the ones indoors, this can be a little cheaper than trying to keep your whole house warm.

Using the battery operated ones outdoors means a little more comfort. You can wrap up with coats and sweaters, but your feet may be left out in the cold.

They even make electric gloves!

Another option is disposable heatpacks that last in shoes and gloves for a few hours.

>>More information on electric heated socks and options.

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Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Moving detainees to Guantánamo bad idea all the way around

Never before in the history of the United States have we ever brought combatants to US soil for trial. It just does not make sense on both sides. President Obama wants to close Guantánamo prison. Yeah. So did Bush. But there lies the problem.

As long as the criminals and war prisoners are held off US soil, the rules remain they can be held as long as we think they are a threat. And, if we release them, we will not release them onto United States ground.

Moving them to a prison here presents problems on both sides.

On the one hand, if they are in US prisons, they will now have more rights, or go to court for more rights, than they have out of the country. A judge could determine whatever rights were deemed warranted by the bench. That's dangerous and that's why they should be kept out of the country. No matter what Obama says, he cannot predict what the courts will do. They are now treated as if they were just common criminals picked up on the streets. Appeals, more appeals, and yet more appeals will make this seem like on big joke.

This is not the way to close Guantánamo prison.

The other side says Obama cannot treat them the same as they do on Cuba. One of Obama's arguments is that he will make sure they are not released in the United States. But he can't. Many lawyers are just waiting to contest that. And don't even think about holding them indefinitely. Once they are on US soil they cannot be held indefinitely. And Obama saying they can and will is surely a sticking point with those who will now argue for these prisoners rights.

Bad ideas on both sides. Moving these detainees from one spot to another does nothing to quiet the critics of Gitmo. A change of scenery does not solve the problem. It's not about closing Gitmo, it's about obliterating the military's job of holding combatants. There are those who do not like the military in any way, shape, or form, and think it is an organization that needs to be subjected to regular rules.

It's not. Period.

Never before in the history of the United States have we ever done anything like this. Never.

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Monday, December 14, 2009

Organization for military wives

The National Association of Military Wives and Spouses- offers a free email newsletter and video on dealing with the difficulties that come with being a military spouse. They give advice on health and relationships, as well as a way to network with other military spouses. Military families need unusual help due to unusual circumstances. Join and add one more tool to the success of your military family.

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How to fly the flag.

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Sunday, December 13, 2009

Veterans, Military VA Home Loans, Tax Credits

Mortgage rates have not been this low since the 1940's. It is the perfect time for not only veterans, but military personnel to think about buying a home. Interest rates and home prices will rise soon.

The $8,000 tax credit is available to all first home buyers. But there is a special rule for military personnel who are on active duty overseas. The tax credit was extended until April 2010, but military personnel have an extra year to buy a home and still qualify. They have until April 30, 2011.

The April 30th deadline is for bidding or contract, but you will have until June 30th to close the deal.

There are new rules for the added extension. The tax credit that expired on November 6, was extended to the following April, but new rules apply. For the majority of home purchasers, the new rules will not apply. Here are some examples: House must cost less than $800,000, must be over 18 years of age, max of $225,000 income for joint filers, $125,000 for single. As we said, most of you are not in those categories.

The extra year for military personnel overseas is a pretty good deal. Many are overseas, but will be returning after April 30. Having that extra year will lessen any strain for any must-buy situations. We would love for all our military personnel to come home safe and get into a new house.

Veterans, your VA Home Loan benefit is still the best thing out there. It is one of the few last no-down payment home loans available. There is help for closing costs and other perks available only to veterans and the VA Home Loan program.

>Click here for more information on Veterans VA Home Loans.

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Friday, December 11, 2009

Military Service members and money tips

Being in the military can be hard on families, especially in the pocket book. We at are committed to doing what we can to support military families and veterans. We have a free e-book that you can download. It costs money to purchase this on other websites, so this is a special offer for our readers. No, anyone here can download it. You don't need to be a veteran or military service member. It's free for all. However, feel free to send out this link to other people who are struggling with a budget. Just visit the link: Military families and money to download the free e-book. Scroll down and click on the cover. It is available immediately.

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Thursday, December 10, 2009

The good about Obama's speech

Irony occurred in Oslo, when on the day Obama receives the Peace Prize Russia decides to do a missile test almost directly overhead. Makes you wonder. Missile test failed, appropriately.

President Obama accepted the Peace Prize in Oslo today, giving a conflicting speech. Here are the good parts as it applies to our military.

"But perhaps the most profound issue surrounding my receipt of this prize is the fact that I am the Commander-in-Chief of a nation in the midst of two wars. One of these wars is winding down. The other is a conflict that America did not seek; one in which we are joined by 43 other countries — including Norway — in an effort to defend ourselves and all nations from further attacks."

"But as a head of state sworn to protect and defend my nation, I cannot be guided by their examples alone. I face the world as it is, and cannot stand idle in the face of threats to the American people. For make no mistake: Evil does exist in the world. A nonviolent movement could not have halted Hitler's armies. Negotiations cannot convince al-Qaidas leaders to lay down their arms. To say that force is sometimes necessary is not a call to cynicism — it is a recognition of history, the imperfections of man and the limits of reason."

"Most dangerously, we see it in the way that religion is used to justify the murder of innocents by those who have distorted and defiled the great religion of Islam, and who attacked my country from Afghanistan. These extremists are not the first to kill in the name of God; "

These are the good parts. Of course, Obama had to weave some sort of apologetics to appease the Nobel panel. We don't think he had to do that. The United States does things for us, and for the betterment of the world. Period. Nuff said.

Read the full text of Obama's Peace Prize speech here.

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Monday, December 7, 2009

Pearl Harbor December 7, 1941 a date that will live in infamy...

Early in the afternoon of December 7, 1941, President Franklin D. Roosevelt and his chief foreign policy aide, Harry Hopkins, were interrupted by a telephone call from Secretary of War Henry Stimson and told that the Japanese had attacked Pearl Harbor. At about 5:00 p.m., following meetings with his military advisers, the President calmly and decisively dictated to his secretary, Grace Tully, a request to Congress for a declaration of war. He had composed the speech in his head after deciding on a brief, uncomplicated appeal to the people of the United States rather than a thorough recitation of Japanese perfidies, as Secretary of State Cordell Hull had urged.

President Roosevelt then revised the typed draft—marking it up, updating military information, and selecting alternative wordings that strengthened the tone of the speech. He made the most significant change in the critical first line, which originally read, "a date which will live in world history." Grace Tully then prepared the final reading copy, which Roosevelt subsequently altered in three more places.

On December 8, at 12:30 p.m., Roosevelt addressed a joint session of Congress and the Nation via radio. The Senate responded with a unanimous vote in support of war; only Montana pacifist Jeanette Rankin dissented in the House. At 4:00 p.m. that same afternoon, President Roosevelt signed the declaration of war.

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Toby Gerhart, a very upstanding young American

Toby Gerhart is a smashing fullback for Stanford University.

Normally we don't like pointing out sports figures as heroes, as we feel military personnel come first in that regard.

But the Heisman Trophy will be awarded soon and Toby Gerhart is what America is all about.

Toby starred for 4 years at Norco High School in football, setting state records, all while becoming valedictorian of his class. That is quite an accomplishment. If you saw the Stanford game this year against Notre Dame, it was Toby who carried the team on his back. Literally. Even though this young man was used and abused the whole game, he still gave 110% in the final minutes, carrying Notre Dame defenders.

Our hat is off to him. He will graduate college in January. Football star and college graduate. You don't here that often.

We wish this amazing young many, Toby Gerhart all the best. He has a great future ahead of him and we wish young people would look up to him.

Read more about Toby Gerhart, his biography and stats here.

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Thursday, December 3, 2009

A Soldier's Silent Night

A Soldier's Silent Night
Written by by Lance Corporal James M. Schmidt in 1987.
The audio was done by Father Ted Berndt and his daughter Ellen.
Enjoy. Pass it along.

Here are the words to A Soldier's Silent Night

'Twas the night before Christmas, he lived all alone,
in a one bedroom house made of plaster and stone.
I had come down the chimney with presents to give,
and to see just who in this home did live.
I looked all about, a strange sight I did see,
no tinsel, no presents, net even a tree.
No stocking by mantle, just boots filled with sand,
on the wall hung pictures of far distant lands.
With medals and badges, awards of all kinds,
a sober thought came through my mind.
For this house was different, it was dark and dreary,
I found the home of a soldier, once I could see clearly.
The soldier lay sleeping, silent, alone,
curled up on the floor in this one bedroom home.
The face was so gentle, the room in such disorder,
not how I pictured a United States Soldier.
Was this the hero of whom I'd just read?
Curled up on a poncho, the floor for a bed?
I realized the families that I saw this night,
owed their lives to these soldiers who were willing to fight.
Soon round the world, the children would play,
and grownups would celebrate a bright Christmas day.
They all enjoyed freedom each month of the year,
because of the soldiers, like the one lying here.
I couldn't help wonder how many lay alone,
on a cold Christmas Eve in a land far from home.
The very thought brought a tear to my eye,
I dropped to my knees and started to cry.
The soldier awakened and I heard a rough voice,
"Santa don't cry, this life is my choice;
I fight for freedom, I don't ask for more,
my life is my God, my Country, My Corps."
The soldier rolled over and drifted to sleep,
I couldn't control it, I continued to weep.
I kept watch for hours, so silent and still
and we both shivered from the cold night's chill.
I didn't want to leave on that cold, dark night,
this guardian of honor so willing to fight.
The the soldier rolled over, with a voice soft and pure,
whispered, "carry on Santa, it's Christmas day, all is secure."
One look at my watch and I knew he was right.
Merry Christmas my friend, and to all a good night.

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Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Is Obama right? 10 questions to ask the President

After digesting the Afghan troop surge speech, here is another post.

Here are some questions for President Obama on the Afghan "surge."

10 Questions the President Should Answer:

Is it too late?

Is the problem moved to Pakistan?

If we pull out in 2011, why would the taliban not just wait?

If we pull out in 2011, no matter what, what good are we doing?

Did we do the same thing we were asked to do 2 months ago? If so, why did we wait and lose time?

Is not sending 40,000 troops, but 30,000, a 10,000 gift to a political group?

Should all wars be politicized with a speech?

Did Obama sound just like Bush at various times?

Is the war on terror back on track?

Is it even a "war on terror" once again?

And here's a bonus question: Should we even be in Afghanistan at all?

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Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Obama, finally, commits Afghan troops

President Obama finally decided how many more US troops to send to Afghanistan. Presumably after a much thought out process. We respectfully disagree.

But before we elaborate, we will reiterate that sending troops into harms way is a difficult thing to do. And we never are happy to see our military in danger. But that is what the military is for. To do battle. Like it or not, our military's mission is to fight wars. Many would have you think the military is just a game, another business, a way to spread goodwill and cheer. Those may be by-products at times, but never, ever the reason the military exists.

By President Obama waiting, he has shown that he will make decisions based on political winds. Not on military recommendations. This long process was not to decide what was right. Only to appear to appease certain political factions. The proof of this is what he finally came up with. Basically exactly what General McChrystal asked for weeks ago. The right thing to do, would have been to call an emergency meeting and make the decision, post haste.

The danger was that we had over 60,000 troops in Afghanistan already. Wavering on more troops had to have an effect on the troops already there. Was their danger overlooked by waiting? Were they put in more danger each day more troops were delayed? If you were not going to send more troops, what was the fate of the ones there? Are they going to perform a half-duty, as they might be pulled out at any minute? I can see many troops, and rightfully so, thinking, what am I here for? There was danger in waiting.

The taliban have made gains while this debate has gone on. That in and of itself is bad news for the US and our troops.

We feel a delay put the current troops in danger. And what was accomplished by the delay? Nothing.

There was no need to wait. Either pull out existing troops, or send more. Period. President Obama has made MANY promises about doing the right thing in Afghanistan and not allowing it to fail. But instead of sticking to this promise, he has only delayed any favorable outcome. And there was no need for it.

We know that our military does the best job in the world. But they are human. They must be given the support of all leaders, from the President on down. Or get out.

President Obama had painted himself into a corner. He could not pull out. The only thing left politically to do was wait. And that was a bad idea for our troops.

A taliban-run Afghanistan is not an option. This is Obama's war from the start. And so far he has not done a very good job with it.

The delay in troops has only protracted the problem.

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