Tuesday, November 28, 2006

'Nuff Said!

From the U.K's Daily Mail:
Women talk three times as much as men, says study

It is something one half of the population has long suspected - and the other half always vocally denied. Women really do talk more than men.

In fact, women talk almost three times as much as men, with the average woman chalking up 20,000 words in a day - 13,000 more than the average man.

Women also speak more quickly, devote more brainpower to chit-chat - and actually get a buzz out of hearing their own voices, a new book suggests.

The book - written by a female psychiatrist - says that inherent differences between the male and female brain explain why women are naturally more talkative than men.

In The Female Mind, Dr Luan Brizendine says women devote more brain cells to talking than men.

And, if that wasn't enough, the simple act of talking triggers a flood of brain chemicals which give women a rush similar to that felt by heroin addicts when they get a high.

Dr Brizendine, a self-proclaimed feminist, says the differences can be traced back to the womb, where the sex hormone testosterone moulds the developing male brain.

The areas responsible for communication, emotion and memory are all pared back the unborn baby boy.

The result is that boys - and men - chat less than their female counterparts and struggle to express their emotions to the same extent.

"Women have an eight-lane superhighway for processing emotion, while men have a small country road," said Dr Brizendine, who runs a female "mood and hormone" clinic in San Francisco.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Whatever Happened to Personal Responsibility?

One of the virtues that made this country great was personal responsibility -- the notion that when something needed to be done, it was up to the individuals and/or the local community to deal with the problem and not the government. Unfortunately, our modern age has gone to great lengths to destroy that virtue.

Mark Steyn aptly notes this trend in American Alone. In the Prologue on page xxix, Steyn notes:
For Al Gore and Paul Ehrlich and Co., whatever the problem, the solution is always the same. Whether its global cooling, global warming, or overpopulation, we need bigger government, more regulation, higher taxes, and a massive transfer of power from the citizen to some unelected, self-perpetuating crisis lobby. Not only does this not solve the problem, it is, in fact, a symptom of the real problem: the torpor of the West derives in part from the annexation by government of most of the core functions of adulthood.
We saw this and its fatal consequences when Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf Coast. It wasn't that long ago so I won't bore you with the details. However, I'm sure you recall the fall-out from the government's inept response to the disaster.

Note, however, the unchallenged premise of the whole controversy: that it was the responsibility of big government (state and federal) to respond to the disaster. Thousands, if not millions, of Gulf Coast residents sat there amidst the rubble and did nothing because they were waiting for the government to rescue them. Some of them died while they waited.

This point was set in stark contrast for me this past weekend as I read David McCullough's Johnstown Flood. (If you are not familiar with the particulars of that disaster, check out this short article on wikipedia.)

The flood hit Johnstown, Pennsylvania late in the afternoon on Memorial Day 1889, completely destroying a large part of the city and killing 2,200 people. The next day, the survivors did not sit around waiting for the government to rescue them; in fact, I don't think it even crossed their minds. So, what did they do?

The survivors got together and elected one of the town's leading businessman as "dictator". This man (I can't recall his name) immediately formed a number of citizen's committees to address their most pressing needs: emergency morgues were set up to collect the bodies which were laying everywhere; a hospital was established to treat the wounded; rescue teams were formed to search for survivors, etc. Later that day, wagons started showing up from the surrounding countryside as local farmers brought in food, water and clothing.

The residents of Johnstown did not sit on their hands waiting for the government. Their mindset was: we have a disaster here and we need to take charge and deal with the problems. Local farmers did not kick back and say "the government will come to the rescue". On their own initiative, they loaded up provisions and headed into Johnstown to help.

How different we are today. We've been so indoctrinated to depend on the government that when disaster strikes, many of our fellow citizens will literally do nothing and die rather than take responsibility for their situation and their lives.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

The View from the Audience

I've posted a couple of reviews of Mark Steyn's book America Alone. Today I thought it would be interesting to hear from some of the "regular folks" in the audience to see what they're saying about the book after reading it. So, I read some of the customer reviews off Amazon.com's site. Here are some interesting takes on the book.

One of the most important books of the decade, November 25, 2006
Reviewer:David Luken (Washington, DC) - See all my reviews
Much as it sounds like a cliche, this is a book that should be read by every American who cares about the world in which his children will live. I have several dozen books on Islam and the ongoing confrontation between Islam and The West in my library and this, beyond question, is the best of them all. I plan to give copies to ten or twelve friends during the holidays and will buy AMERICA ALONE by the case once it comes out in paperback. It's a serious book with some witty moments but every- thing Mark Steyn writes is like that. It reads with the fluidity of his columns and pieces in Atlantic Monthly. This book should be STUDIED, not just read.

Exceptionally brilliant, maybe important and very, November 22, 2006
Reviewer:David D. Begley (Omaha, NE USA) - See all my reviews

Steyn lists many facts and incidents that most Americans probably don't know about. The numbers alone are staggering.

For those that don't think we are at war or that we can just "redeploy," they need to wise up.

The primitives will win if we don't strengthen our will.

I just about choked last weekend when C-Span asked its audience if Al-Jazera's English language version should be carried on American cable networks. To my utter shock, all sorts of people called in and said, "Yes."

My thought? How is this even open for debate?

It is a propganda network that wants to create a fifth column right here in America. Do you think Fox News is broadcast in Iran or Syria?

It is real simple. The Islamists want to convert (or revert) you and if you refuse, cut off your head. That's the religion of peace for you.

The Islamists play us for fools and try to turn the constitution into a suicide pact. Perfect example this week when some imans claimed they were victims for being removed from a jet. The drive-by media omitted the fact that an Arabic speaker overheard anti-American comments and some rather thin men wanted seatbelt extensions. They also refused to go to their assigned seats. There was substantial factual justification to remove these clowns. But one NPR report just said someone "felt" afraid. BS!

We are at war. Too many people fail to realize this fact. They also fail to realize the stakes. No more Starbucks or cable TV when the mullahs are in charge.

I'm still in shock that the NYT writers, editors and publishers aren't in jail for publishing state secrets.

Not enough proposed solutions, but that's the hard part. The goal of the book is to make people realize the scope of the problem. It was successful there.

Also pay attention to the Richard Gere reference. If you don't believe in anything, you'll believe anything. As a culture, we lose our way when we abandon our Judeo-Christian heritage and foundation.

A little too much repetition as some text could have been cut.

Demographics and Nihilist Depravity, November 18, 2006
Reviewer:Ralph White (New England) - See all my reviews
Twenty years from now we'll look back on books like this one and Bruce Bawer's book, "While Europe Slept," and we'll wonder why we didn't listen. We started seeing this theme in Henry Kissinger's 1995 book, "Diplomacy," in which he argued for heightened recognition of what he called "American Exceptionalism." Kissinger, Bawer, and now Mark Steyn recognize that America is governed by ethical values in its foreign policy and by sustainable macroeconomics in its domestic policies. This may sound like motherhood and apple pie, but there isn't a single other country out there which is similarly governed, or ever has been. Perhaps more remarkable than this American exceptionalism is that we are so loathed for it among even our closest allies, all of whom owe their existence to us. And things can only get worse, due to a demographics-based argument which Steyn develops throughout the book.

With Americans reproducing themselves a the rate of 2.1 for each woman, we are much less dependant on immigration than Western Europe, Canada, and Japan, where the average is more like 1.4. Of course we have too many entitlement programs, and are overly dependant on the productivity of future generations, but we are not in the death spiral that other Westernized nations are. The best and the brightest in the rest of the world are emigrating to the United States, and the principal immigration into Western Europe is from Muslim countries. Muslims are reproducing themselves at an extremely high rate (fertility rates over 4.0), but they are not (in aggregate) productive members of the societies in which they settle. They are dependant on welfare and the other lavish entitlements offered by Western European countries. So, while we are "mortgaging our grandchildren's futures" in burdening them with debt to support populist entitlements, Western Europeans are dependant on the grandchildren of angry, resentful, unskilled Muslim immigrants. Good luck!

But as bad as this macroeconomic situation is, it pales beside the political problems that Muslims bring with them. In the 2005 rankings of Freedom House's survey of personal liberty and democracy around the world, five of the eight countries with the lowest "freedom" scores were Muslim. This is the way they like it, and this is the political system they want to recreate in the West. Moreover, the great preponderance want some form of sharia, or Muslim law. This isn't about race. The distinguishing feature of Muslim immigrants is not their race, but simply that they don't believe in pluralist democracy. They want to destroy the Western societies which are supporting them.

Italy and Greece are already lost. France and Germany are probably also beyond the tipping point. And England probably doesn't realize what it must to do to save itself. And America cannot survive alone in a world governed by nihilist theocratic depravity. The subtitle of Steyn's book is "The End of the World as We Know It," and it would be a tragic mistake for us to ignore the problems the book illuminates.

I cannot thank my friend, Richard Davis, enough for recommending "America Alone," "Islamic Imperialism," and "While Europe Slept." These are remarkable books, and we all urgently need to get their messages out to any who will listen.

Solid State Steyn

Mark Steyn's column from today's Sun-Times on the demographics of the West and Islam. This column encapsulates the theme of his great book America Alone. If you haven't read America Alone yet, get a copy and do so.

Quartet of ladies shows where we're headed

Have you seen a movie called ''Four Jills In A Jeep''? Don't worry, it's not at the multiplex. It came out in 1944. A wartime movie, about the contribution of the gals to the big existential struggle. Great title, and downhill after that. This column is, metaphorically speaking, four Jills in a jeep: It's about a quartet of ladies who provide useful glimpses of where we're heading.

The first is Fatma An-Najar, a 64-year-old grandmother who had a livelier Thanksgiving than most grandmas. She marked the occasion by self-detonating in the town of Jebaliya, and, although all she had to show for splattering body parts over the neighborhood were three "lightly wounded" Israeli soldiers, she will have an honored place in the pantheon of Palestinian heroes. She was, according to the official statistician from the Hamas Book Of Records, the oldest Palestinian suicide bomber ever. And, naturally, her family's pleased as punch.

"We are really happy," her son Zuheir told Agence France-Presse. "She told us last night that she would do a suicide operation. She prepared her clothes for that operation, and we are proud. 'I don't want anything, only to die a martyr.' That's what she said."

Awww, bless the sweet l'il ol' biddy. She wouldn't have wanted to die a long lingering death in some old folks' home. This is the way she wanted to go: quick and painless, except for any Zionists in the immediate vicinity.

An-Najar gave birth to her first child at the age of 12. She had eight others. She had 41 grandchildren. Keep that family tree in mind. By contrast, in Spain, a 64-year old woman will have maybe one grandchild. That's four grandparents, one grandchild: a family tree with no branches.

Which brings me to our second Jill: the new Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church, Katharine Jefferts Schori, the first woman to run a national division of the Anglican Communion. Bishop Kate gave an interview to the New York Times revealing what passes for orthodoxy in this most flexible of faiths. She was asked a simple enough question: "How many members of the Episcopal Church are there?"

"About 2.2 million," replied the presiding bishop. "It used to be larger percentage-wise, but Episcopalians tend to be better educated and tend to reproduce at lower rates than other denominations."

This was a bit of a jaw-dropper even for a New York Times hackette, so, with vague memories of God saying something about going forth and multiplying floating around the back of her head, a bewildered Deborah Solomon said: "Episcopalians aren't interested in replenishing their ranks by having children?"

"No," agreed Bishop Kate. "It's probably the opposite. We encourage people to pay attention to the stewardship of the earth and not use more than their portion."

Now, that may or may not be a great idea, but it's nothing to do with Christianity, only for eco-cultists like Al Gore. If Bishop Kate were an Episcogorian, a member of the Alglican Communion, an elder of the Church of Latter-Day Chads, this would be an unremarkable statement. But, even in their vigorous embrace of gay bishoprics and all the rest, I don't recall the Episcopalians formally embracing the strategy that worked out so swell for the Shakers and enshrining a disapproval of reproduction at the heart of their doctrine.

Which brings me to our third Jill in the jeep: Scarlett Johansson. Like every other sad middle-aged loser guy, I fell in love with Scarlett's fetchingly pert bottom in the opening of ''Lost In Translation,'' and it pains me to discover she's no different from Bishop Kate's generation when it comes to being in thrall to the cobwebbed pieties of the 1960s. In a bit of light Bush-bashing the other day, she attacked the president for his opposition to "sex education." If he had his way, she said, "every woman would have six children and we wouldn't be able to have abortions." Whereas Scarlett is so "socially aware" (as she puts it) she gets tested for HIV twice a year.

Well, yes. If "sex education" is about knowing which concrete condom is less likely to disintegrate during the livelier forms of penetrative intercourse, then getting an AIDS test every few months may well be a sign that you're a Ph.D. (Doctor of Phenomenal horniness). But, if "sex education" means an understanding of sexuality as anything other than an act of transient self-expression, then Scarlett is talking through that famously cute butt.

Here's the question for Bishop Kate: If Fatma An-Najar has 41 grandchildren and a responsible "better educated" Episcopalian has one or two, into whose hands are we delivering "the stewardship of the earth"? If your crowd isn't around in any numbers, how much influence can they have in shaping the future?

Well, the Episcopal head honcho and even Scarlett Johansson are not the most powerful figures in the world, so let's usher on our fourth Jill: Condoleezza Rice.

"The great majority of Palestinian people," said the secretary of state to Cal Thomas the other day, "they just want a better life. This is an educated population. I mean, they have a kind of culture of education and a culture of civil society. I just don't believe mothers want their children to grow up to be suicide bombers. I think the mothers want their children to grow up to go to university. And if you can create the right conditions, that's what people are going to do."

Cal Thomas asked a sharp follow-up: "Do you think this or do you know this?"

"Well, I think I know it," said Dr. Rice.

"You think you know it?"

"I think I know it."

So many of our present woes are due to thinking we know things. To our four Jills in the jeep, let's add one Jim, apparently back at the steering wheel in the current war: James Baker, renowned foreign policy "realist" and the man Beltway wags are currently referring to as "the acting secretary of state." The "realists" think that "containment" and "stability" are wise strategies. In fact, they're the absence of strategy. The fertility rate in the Gaza Strip is one of the highest on earth. If you measure the births of the Muslim world against the dearth of Bishop Kate's Episcopalians, you have the perfect snapshot of why there is no "stability": With every passing month, there are more Muslims and fewer Episcopalians, and the Muslims export their manpower to Europe and other depopulating outposts of the West. It's the intersection of demography and Islamism that makes time a luxury we can't afford.

We can argue about exactly what this trend means, but not that it means nothing. At the very minimum, I'd suggest, it means the Episcopal Church is irrelevant to "the stewardship of the earth" and that Scarlett Johansson will end her days on an earth whose stewards regard being tested for HIV twice as a sign of many things, but not, on the whole, "social awareness."

©Mark Steyn 2006

Bears Stink Up the Joint

I'm kind of surprised by the pooh-poohing that's going on in the media here after the Bears lost to the N.E. Patriots this afternoon. The radio commentators are saying things like "the Bears were in the game until the end", "the Bears held their own against the cream of the AFC", etc.

What nonsense.

The Bears flat out stunk -- at least their offense and coaching did.

Late in the game the Bears were down by a touchdown. They had a fourth down yet they chose to kick a field goal to make the score 17-13. Why? A field goal does no good. They still needed another score.

But now they had to give the ball back to the Patriots with only a couple of minutes to go. What were they thinking? Did they think N.E. was going to go "three and out" and hand the ball back to the Bears for another shot at scoring. Or, did the Bears coaching staff assume that the Defense was going to get another turnover? (Amazingly, they did. But I don't think relying on defensive turnovers is real smart coaching.) In the end, it didn't matter because the Patriots best friend was the Bears QB and his one fumbled snap and three interceptions (pictured here).

It's becoming painfully obvious to every defense in the league that the way to beat the Bears is to pressure Grossman. And it sure was apparent today. I lost count of how many times he either made bad passes or threw the ball up for grabs. His last pick -- on the first play after the Bears got an incredible fifth turnover -- ensured that the Bears slim hopes to win the game were for naught.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Ann Coulter Lays the Wood on the
Poor Oppressed Muslims

What Can I Do to Make Your Flight More Uncomfortable
By Ann Coulter
FrontPageMagazine.com | November 24, 2006

Six imams removed from a US Airways flight from Minneapolis to Phoenix are calling on Muslims to boycott the airline. If only we could get Muslims to boycott all airlines, we could dispense with airport security altogether.

Witnesses said the imams stood to do their evening prayers in the terminal before boarding, chanting "Allah, Allah, Allah" – coincidentally, the last words heard by hundreds of airline passengers on 9/11 before they died.

Witnesses also said that the imams were talking about Saddam Hussein, and denouncing America and the war in Iraq. About the only scary preflight ritual the imams didn't perform was the signing of last wills and testaments.

After boarding, the imams did not sit together, and some asked for seat belt extensions, although none were morbidly obese. Three of the men had one-way tickets and no checked baggage.

Also, they were Muslims.

The idea that a Muslim boycott against US Airways would hurt the airline proves that Arabs are utterly tone-deaf. This is roughly the equivalent of Cindy Sheehan taking a vow of silence. How can we hope to deal with people with no sense of irony? The next thing you know, New York City cab drivers will be threatening to bathe.

Come to think of it, the whole affair may have been a madcap advertising scheme cooked up by US Airways.

It worked with me. US Airways is my official airline now. Northwest, which eventually flew the Allah-spouting Muslims to their destinations, is off my list. You want to really hurt a U.S. air carrier's business? Have Muslims announce that it's their favorite airline.

The clerics had been attending an imam conference in Minneapolis (imam conference slogan: "What Happens in Minneapolis – Actually, Nothing Happened in Minneapolis"). But instead of investigating the conference, the government is now investigating my favorite airline.

What threat could Muslims flying from Minnesota to Arizona be?

Three of the 19 hijackers on 9/11 received their flight training in Arizona. Long before the attacks, an FBI agent in Phoenix found it curious that so many Arabs were enrolled in flight school. But the FBI rebuffed his request for an investigation on the grounds that his suspicions were based on the same invidious racial profiling that has brought US Airways under investigation and into my good graces.

Lynne Stewart's client, the Blind Sheik, Omar Abdel-Rahman, is serving life in prison in a maximum-security lock-up in Minnesota. One of the six imams removed from the US Airways plane was blind, so Lynne Stewart was the one missing clue that would have sent all the passengers screaming from the plane.

Wholly apart from the issue of terrorism, don't we have a seller's market for new immigrants? How does a blind Muslim get to the top of the visa list? Is there a shortage of blind, fanatical clerics in this country that I haven't noticed? Couldn't we get some Burmese with leprosy instead? A 4-year-old could do a better job choosing visa applicants than the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.

One of the stunt-imams in US Airways' advertising scheme, Omar Shahin, complained about being removed from the plane, saying: "Six scholars in handcuffs. It's terrible."

Yes, especially when there was a whole conference of them! Six out of 150 is called "poor law enforcement." How did the other 144 "scholars" get off so easy?

Shahin's own "scholarship" consisted of continuing to deny Muslims were behind 9-11 nearly two months after the attacks. On Nov. 4, 2001, The Arizona Republic cited Shahin's "skepticism that Muslims or bin Laden carried out attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon." Shahin complained that the government was "focusing on the Arabs, the Muslims. And all the evidence shows that the Muslims are not involved in this terrorist act."

In case your memory of that time is hazy, within three days of the attack, the Justice Department had released the names of all 19 hijackers – names like Majed Moqed, Ahmed Alghamdi, Mohand Alshehri, Ahmed Ibrahim A. Al Haznawi, and Ahmed Alnami. The government had excluded all but 19 passengers as possible hijackers based on extensive interviews with friends and family of nearly every passenger on all four flights. Some of the hijackers' seat numbers had been called in by flight attendants on the planes.

By early October, bin Laden had produced a videotape claiming credit for the attacks. And by Nov. 4, 2001, the New York Times had run well over 100 articles on the connections between bin Laden and the hijackers – even more detailed and sinister than the Times' flowcharts on neoconservatives!

Also, if I remember correctly, al-Qaida had taken out full-page ads in Variety and the Hollywood Reporter thanking their agents for the attacks.

But now, on the eve of the busiest travel day in America, these "scholars" have ginned up America's PC victim machinery to intimidate airlines and passengers from noticing six imams chanting "Allah" before boarding a commercial jet.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

As therefore you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so live in him,
rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving.

Colossians 2:6-7

The Real Story of Thanksgiving by Rush Limbaugh
On August 1, 1620, the Mayflower set sail. It carried a total of 102 passengers, including forty Pilgrims led by William Bradford. On the journey, Bradford set up an agreement, a contract, that established just and equal laws for all members of the new community, irrespective of their religious beliefs. Where did the revolutionary ideas expressed in the Mayflower Compact come from? From the Bible. The Pilgrims were a people completely steeped in the lessons of the Old and New Testaments. They looked to the ancient Israelites for their example. And, because of the biblical precedents set forth in Scripture, they never doubted that their experiment would work.

"But this was no pleasure cruise, friends. The journey to the New World was a long and arduous one. And when the Pilgrims landed in New England in November, they found, according to Bradford's detailed journal, a cold, barren, desolate wilderness," destined to become the home of the Kennedy family. "There were no friends to greet them, he wrote. There were no houses to shelter them. There were no inns where they could refresh themselves. And the sacrifice they had made for freedom was just beginning. During the first winter, half the Pilgrims – including Bradford's own wife – died of either starvation, sickness or exposure.

"When spring finally came, Indians taught the settlers how to plant corn, fish for cod and skin beavers for coats." Yes, it was Indians that taught the white man how to skin beasts. "Life improved for the Pilgrims, but they did not yet prosper! This is important to understand because this is where modern American history lessons often end. "Thanksgiving is actually explained in some textbooks as a holiday for which the Pilgrims gave thanks to the Indians for saving their lives, rather than as a devout expression of gratitude grounded in the tradition of both the Old and New Testaments. Here is the part [of Thanksgiving] that has been omitted: The original contract the Pilgrims had entered into with their merchant-sponsors in London called for everything they produced to go into a common store, and each member of the community was entitled to one common share.

"All of the land they cleared and the houses they built belong to the community as well. They were going to distribute it equally. All of the land they cleared and the houses they built belonged to the community as well. Nobody owned anything. They just had a share in it. It was a commune, folks. It was the forerunner to the communes we saw in the '60s and '70s out in California – and it was complete with organic vegetables, by the way. Bradford, who had become the new governor of the colony, recognized that this form of collectivism was as costly and destructive to the Pilgrims as that first harsh winter, which had taken so many lives. He decided to take bold action. Bradford assigned a plot of land to each family to work and manage, thus turning loose the power of the marketplace.

"That's right. Long before Karl Marx was even born, the Pilgrims had discovered and experimented with what could only be described as socialism. And what happened? It didn't work! Surprise, surprise, huh? What Bradford and his community found was that the most creative and industrious people had no incentive to work any harder than anyone else, unless they could utilize the power of personal motivation! But while most of the rest of the world has been experimenting with socialism for well over a hundred years – trying to refine it, perfect it, and re-invent it – the Pilgrims decided early on to scrap it permanently. What Bradford wrote about this social experiment should be in every schoolchild's history lesson. If it were, we might prevent much needless suffering in the future.

"'The experience that we had in this common course and condition, tried sundry years...that by taking away property, and bringing community into a common wealth, would make them happy and flourishing – as if they were wiser than God,' Bradford wrote. 'For this community [so far as it was] was found to breed much confusion and discontent, and retard much employment that would have been to their benefit and comfort. For young men that were most able and fit for labor and service did repine that they should spend their time and strength to work for other men's wives and children without any recompense...that was thought injustice.' Why should you work for other people when you can't work for yourself? What's the point?

"Do you hear what he was saying, ladies and gentlemen? The Pilgrims found that people could not be expected to do their best work without incentive. So what did Bradford's community try next? They unharnessed the power of good old free enterprise by invoking the undergirding capitalistic principle of private property. Every family was assigned its own plot of land to work and permitted to market its own crops and products. And what was the result? 'This had very good success,' wrote Bradford, 'for it made all hands industrious, so as much more corn was planted than otherwise would have been.' Bradford doesn't sound like much of a..." I wrote "Clintonite" then. He doesn't sound much like a liberal Democrat, "does he? Is it possible that supply-side economics could have existed before the 1980s? Yes.

"Read the story of Joseph and Pharaoh in Genesis 41. Following Joseph's suggestion (Gen 41:34), Pharaoh reduced the tax on Egyptians to 20% during the 'seven years of plenty' and the 'Earth brought forth in heaps.' (Gen. 41:47) In no time, the Pilgrims found they had more food than they could eat themselves.... So they set up trading posts and exchanged goods with the Indians. The profits allowed them to pay off their debts to the merchants in London. And the success and prosperity of the Plymouth settlement attracted more Europeans and began what came to be known as the 'Great Puritan Migration.'" Now, other than on this program every year, have you heard this story before? Is this lesson being taught to your kids today -- and if it isn't, why not?

Can you think of a more important lesson one could derive from the pilgrim experience? So in essence there was, thanks to the Indians, because they taught us how to skin beavers and how to plant corn when we arrived, but the real Thanksgiving was thanking the Lord for guidance and plenty -- and once they reformed their system and got rid of the communal bottle and started what was essentially free market capitalism, they produced more than they could possibly consume, and they invited the Indians to dinner, and voila, we got Thanksgiving, and that's what it was: inviting the Indians to dinner and giving thanks for all the plenty is the true story of Thanksgiving. The last two-thirds of this story simply are not told.

Now, I was just talking about the plenty of this country and how I'm awed by it. You can go to places where there are famines, and we usually get the story, "Well, look it, there are deserts, well, look it, Africa, I mean there's no water and nothing but sand and so forth." It's not the answer, folks. Those people don't have a prayer because they have no incentive. They live under tyrannical dictatorships and governments. The problem with the world is not too few resources. The problem with the world is an insufficient distribution of capitalism.

Thanksgiving Day, 2006
A Proclamation by the President of the United States of America

As Americans gather with family and friends to celebrate Thanksgiving Day, we give thanks for the many ways that our Nation and our people have been blessed.

The Thanksgiving tradition dates back to the earliest days of our society, celebrated in decisive moments in our history and in quiet times around family tables. Nearly four centuries have passed since early settlers gave thanks for their safe arrival and pilgrims enjoyed a harvest feast to thank God for allowing them to survive a harsh winter in the New World. General George Washington observed Thanksgiving during the Revolutionary War, and in his first proclamation after becoming President, he declared November 26, 1789, a national day of "thanksgiving and prayer." During the Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln revived the tradition of proclaiming a day of thanksgiving, reminding a divided Nation of its founding ideals.

At this time of great promise for America, we are grateful for the freedoms guaranteed by our Constitution and defended by our Armed Forces throughout the generations. Today, many of these courageous men and women are securing our peace in places far from home, and we pay tribute to them and to their families for their service, sacrifice, and strength. We also honor the families of the fallen and lift them up in our prayers.

Our citizens are privileged to live in the world's freest country, where the hope of the American dream is within the reach of every person. Americans share a desire to answer the universal call to serve something greater than ourselves, and we see this spirit every day in the millions of volunteers throughout our country who bring hope and healing to those in need. On this Thanksgiving Day, and throughout the year, let us show our gratitude for the blessings of freedom, family, and faith, and may God continue to bless America.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, GEORGE W. BUSH, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim Thursday, November 23, 2006, as a National Day of Thanksgiving. I encourage all Americans to gather together in their homes and places of worship with family, friends, and loved ones to reinforce the ties that bind us and give thanks for the freedoms and many blessings we enjoy.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this sixteenth day of November, in the year of our Lord two thousand six, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-first.


Uh, Who's The Victim Here??

From Clayton Cramer's Civilian Gun Self-Defense blog:
Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Cleveland, Ohio

Further to this incident

From Cleveland’s WKYC.com of November 21, 2006
Who should be charged when a homeowner shoots an intruder?

Nelson says two teenage boys came to his east-side home looking for money for McDonalds on Monday, and when they wouldn't leave, they stormed inside.

Nelson says he ran to his upstairs bedroom, the two teens followed him-- then began charging the door.

"If they thought I was messing around messing around, just playing--I don't know what gave them that idea."

Nelson lodged a dresser against the door, then, police say, the two began trying to kick it in, and that's when Nelson grabbed for his gun.

"[The one teen] kept on pushing the door--and that's when it [the gun] went off," he says.

One boy was shot in the face. Both were able to run. The injured teen was hospitalized, the other was booked on robbery charges.

A short time later the 60-year Nelson was arrested for felonious assault.

Within 24-hours he was released, forgave the teenagers and says he's eager for the next step. "Next is my court date, to determine whether I'm guilty or not."

The teenager who was shot is 14-years old. His sister tells WKYC.com he is still hospitalized, re-covering from injuries to his eyes and nose.

The second teenager is 15-years old. He's out of jail, and tonight tells WKYC.com he has not been charged, but charges may be coming.

As for Nelson, he was arrested on felonious assault charges, but it will take a Grand Jury to decide whether the charges will stick.
So, let me get this straight. Two thugs break into a man's house. He retreats -- even though (at least in most jurisdictions) he doesn't have to -- and barricades himself in his bedroom. The thugs pursue him and start to break down the door. At that point, the man shoots to defend himself from what looked like, from any reasonable perspective, an immediate threat of death or serious bodily injury.

And the end result is? He's arrested and charged with felonious assault!! It's idiotic scenarios like this which should compel any freedom loving American to go to their computer or their phone and become a member of the NRA.
Check Out "The Thrill of the Chaste"

Saw this book recommended on the American Chesterton Society blog. Dawn Eden sounds like a lively, witty writer and "The Thrill of the Chaste" sounds like a 'must-read' book. Here are a couple of blurbs on the book from Dawn's web site for the book:

The Thrill of the Chaste: Finding Fulfillment While Keeping Your Clothes On by Dawn Eden

“Why would a thirtysomething modern woman give up sex? At the heart of The Thrill of the Chaste is this mystery story which as it unfolds reveals our deep human longing for a love that matters, for a sexual union that is real. A brave, beautiful book.”
- Maggie Gallagher, President, Institute for Marriage
and nationally syndicated columnist

“Dawn Eden is part of a growing group of talented professionals who, having bought into our culture's message about sex, found it wanting and searched for something better. Her life experience enables her to demonstrate with compelling, hard-earned wisdom why living chastely is, as the title suggests, 'thrilling.'"

- Christopher West, Theology of the Body Institute

New York Daily News columnist and blogger [Dawn] Eden offers a Christian apologetic for premarital chastity, aimed at “marriage-minded single women who’d had enough of the Sex and the City lifestyle.” Eden herself is a convert to both Christianity and chastity, and now an unmarried 30-something, she’s persuaded that chastity is more “hope-filled” and “vibrant” than sex outside of marriage. She draws on John Paul II’s theology of the body to explain why Christians should reserve sex for marriage; “our bodies are living metaphors of God’s loving nature,” she argues, and to have sex casually is to make a false promise of total commitment…” [Full review]
- Publishers Weekly

Dawn also has a "headquarters" web site and blog. She has an excerpt from "The Thrill of the Chaste" there and I'm posting an excerpt of that excerpt here:
The realization that I had blunted my emotions for the sake of physical pleasure helped me gain the strength to resist casual sex.

Healing the damage takes time—but there are some fun surprises along the way. The biggest surprise for me has been discovering how much there is to like about men.

I now notice things about the men in my life that I never noticed before, like their thoughtfulness, their love of family, their integrity, even their vulnerability. These are intangible qualities that don’t jump out at you when you’re in a frame of mind where you’re viewing men only as potential dates. Put together, they add up to character. It’s the most important quality to seek in a husband, and the one that’s least discussed in this day and age.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Looking for Lifeguards

Saw this via Instapundit:

Némo33: The Deepest Pool in the World

Europeans, rejoice! At just over 100 feet deep, Belgium's Némo33 may be the world's coolest pool. Filled with heated, drinkable, unchlorinated spring water, the Némo33 is ideal for the leisure diver who wants to practice, improve, or acquire new skills in a safe, warm, accessible area. While the 660,000-gallon pool may be a bit overwhelming for the beginner diver, the year-round temperature of 30°C (86° F), may help soothe their fears. Featuring 3 permanent, underwater bells of airs (a.k.a., "under pressure water caves") so instructors and students can compare notes at depth, 250 anchor points, and 12 portholes allowing visitors to watch divers clear their flooded masks, the facility also features heated changing rooms, a clubhouse, an on-site restaurant, exotic gardens, and rooms for "happenings." Although the website doesn't feature photos of the "happenings" rooms, it does boast some majorly cool shots of the pool, itself.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Cutting and Running

Sometimes, cutting and running makes sense. I see that News Corp. (the owner of both Fox and HarperCollins) has decided to cancel the despicable book and TV show by O.J. Simpson called 'If I Did It'.

According to this story in the Wall Street Journal, the chairman of News Corp., Rupert Murdoch, said: "I and senior management agree with the American public that this was an ill-considered project".

This, of course, is total bulls**t on Murdoch's part. The reality is they thought this was a great idea. That is until they got an earful of the outrage from an American public. A public who, despite the depths they're usually willing to sink, are still able to take issue with rewarding someone who murdered two people and is now trying to cash in on the crime with a "tell all" book and TV show.

Only after the eruption and the refusal of a number of Fox affiliates to run the show, did Rupert and News Corp. discover how "ill-considered" it was.
Cop Lights Up His Life

Saw this story from New Zealand linked to from the Of Arms and the Law blog:
Policeman stuns himself
Nov 18, 2006

A clumsy constable attending a domestic dispute in Central Auckland accidentally shocked himself and a teenager with a taser gun before pepper-spraying an innocent woman, reports said on Saturday.

The constable was loading his weapon when he accidentally blasted himself with the stun gun's 50,000 volts while trying to stun a man at the centre of the incident last month, the New Zealand Herald reports.

Another shot hit the man's 16-year-old son.

After five attempts to hit the man, the officer eventually used pepper spray, but succeeded only in hitting the man's 21-year-old daughter, an unintended target.

The wanted man eventually gave himself up.

Friday, November 17, 2006

What's Wrong with these People?

Look at this guy. He waited 3 days to be able to buy Playstation 3. No, you read that right: not 3 hours, this idiot wasted 3 days of his life to buy this thing. And who knows how many more days he'll waste playing games on it.

There's a number of other, equally idiotic, examples on Drudge about this Playstation 3.

Here's a link to a story about a store in Ohio where armed robbers stole 5 of these games at gunpoint from a store. Some quick legal research on Ohio's criminal code (I can do this, I'm a professional -- don't try this at home :-) indicates that the penalty for armed robbery is 2 - 8 years in prison.

Can you believe these people? They risked people's lives, and risk spending several years in prison for a stupid video game!
Some Holiday Advice from the CPD

I'm on the "Life Safety Team" at my office and our security folks occasionally forward some interesting stuff. Here is a holiday "safety" message they forwarded from the Chicago Police Dept.

Subject: FW: Holiday Season Chicago Police Department Safety Detail and HOLIDAY SEASON SAFETY SUGGESTIONS


This information is coming from the Chicago Police Department.

From: Graziano, Ron D. [mailto:xxxxxx@xxxxxxxx.xxx]
Sent: Friday, November 17, 2006 9:39 AM
To: Graziano, Ron D.
Cc: Keating, James M.; Chiczewski, Ralph
Subject: FW: Holiday Season Chicago Police Department Safety Detail and HOLIDAY SEASON SAFETY SUGGESTIONS

During the holiday season the Chicago Police Department has assigned an additional 21 Police Officers to the Central Business District. The assignment began on, 09 November 2006, and will continue through, 03 Jan 2007. These officers will be deployed in shopping and tourist locations from 1:00 pm to 9:00 pm, hours of assignment may be adjusted for special events.

To Our Partners This Holiday Season,

The following is a list of holiday season safety suggestions:

  • Be alert, aware and cautious know where your belongings are; know where you are going and be aware of your surrounding area.
  • Remain alert at all times especially in crowded areas, one may bump into you while another picks your pocket.
  • If you must take a purse, carry it with the clasp or flap against the front of you body.
  • Never leave your purse in a shopping cart or on a counter while you shop.
  • Be aware of where your purse is when you go into a restaurant or bar, thieves prey on purses hung over the back of a chair or left on the floor or under your chair.
  • Try to avoid taking a large purse.
  • Wallets and check books should be carried in an inside pocket, cash should be carried in a front pocket.
  • Take only cash and credit cards that you will need do not display large sums of cash, be discreet.
  • Never allow yourself to become distracted when opening your purse or wallet to make a purchase or browsing.
  • Plan your stops in advance and inform others of your destination.
  • If possible shop with friends or relatives, there is always safety in numbers.
  • While shopping or anytime you leave home give you house an occupied appearance leave lights on and use timers.
  • Don’t use short cuts through alleys or walkways between buildings, take well lit traveled areas.
  • Never leave your purse or other valuables in your vehicle in plain view, remove these items before reaching your destination.
  • Park in well lit busy areas, keep windows up and doors locked.
  • Be aware of your surroundings when going to or from your vehicle, criminals will hide between and under vehicles.
  • When using public washrooms avoid placing purses on hooks or door handles, maintain control of your valuables.
  • Carry your keys separate from your identification, incase of a theft the criminal will not have your address and keys.
  • Try to avoid carrying numerous large shopping bags and/or packages, this makes it difficult to secure purses or wallets.
  • Plan ahead, when returning to your vehicle or home have your keys ready in hand.
  • Visually scan the area as you approach your vehicle when returning from shopping and as you approach your home.
  • If your vehicle is in a parking area and something you see or sense doesn’t appear to look or feel right return to the shopping area call for security and/or call 9-1-1.
  • If the same situation occurs while approaching your home, go to a neighbor’s home and call 9-1-1.
  • Before entering you vehicle check the front and back seat, after entering immediately lock your doors.
  • If you are going to continue to shop place your packages in the trunk and move your vehicle to another area of the parking lot, if potential thieves are watching you they will think you are leaving the area.
  • Carry a good quality defensive weapon whenever you go out. We recommend the S&W Model 66 revolver or Sig P232 loaded with high performance hollow-point cartridges for maximum stopping power.
  • [OK -- I added the last bullet :-) ]


  • Be aware of scams and cons, nothing is free, no one is going to give you a large sum of money if you put up a sum of money first.
  • Scam and con-artists are literally going to attempt to pick your pocket or use a ruse to extract money from a person by some out of the ordinary scam, story or staged incident, or play on a victim’s sympathies.
  • Be careful of potential set-ups, once a shoppers attention is diverted, another offender may take the person’s wallet or purse.
  • Be mindful of those who pass you on a crowded bus or train or bump into you on a sidewalk or entering a revolving door, these individuals may be pickpockets.
  • Keep an eye on credit cards and the paper trail they generate to avoid becoming a victim of identity theft.
  • Destroy extra copies of credit card receipts.
  • Do not carry personal information in a wallet or purse, this includes a social security number, old credit card, ATM receipts, or seldom used credit cards.


  • Senior citizens are also warned to be on the lookout for scam artists in their neighborhood and to immediately report any suspicious behavior to 9-1-1.
  • Seniors are asked to pay particular attention to people knocking on their doors claiming to be city employees, utility employees etc.
  • Just because someone claims to be a city or utility employee etc. it doesn’t mean it’s true.
  • First and foremost, don’t open your door to strangers.
  • Second, always ask to see identification.
  • Third, report all suspicious activity by calling the police, 9-1-1, no matter how insignificant the incident may seem.

Be aware of what is going on around you, keep an eye on others around you, residents look in on elderly neighbors; help be their eyes and ears in the community.

By pulling together we can become hard targets, look out for each other and work with the police.

Sgt. Ron Graziano
Chicago Police Department
First District

"Strong Leonid Meteor Shower Expected This Weekend"

Saw this headline on Yahoo! News. I love meteor showers! But wait a minute. I don't live in southern California any more -- I moved back to the Midwest. I'd Better check the weather for this weekend.

Ugh. This is one of the things that bugs me most about the Midwest. I checked the weather report and it says: "Saturday Night: A 30 percent chance of snow showers. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 29. North northwest wind between 10 and 15 mph."

Uh, not good conditions for spending a couple of hours outside watching meteors. :-(

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

"For which they gave the last full measure of devotion ..."

A long article but definitely worth your time.

In Combat, Marine
Put Theory to Test,
Comrades Believe

Cpl. Dunham's Quick Action
In Face of a Grenade
Saved 2 Lives, They Say
'No, No -- Watch His Hand!'
May 25, 2004

AL QA'IM, Iraq -- Early this spring, Cpl. Jason Dunham and two other Marines sat in an outpost in Iraq and traded theories on surviving a hand-grenade attack.

Second Lt. Brian "Bull" Robinson suggested that if a Marine lay face down on the grenade and held it between his forearms, the ceramic bulletproof plate in his flak vest might be strong enough to protect his vital organs. His arms would shatter, but he might live.

Cpl. Dunham had another idea: A Marine's Kevlar helmet held over the grenade might contain the blast. "I'll bet a Kevlar would stop it," he said, according to Second Lt. Robinson.

"No, it'll still mess you up," Staff Sgt. John Ferguson recalls saying.

It was a conversation the men would remember vividly a few weeks later, when they saw the shredded remains of Cpl. Dunham's helmet, apparently blown apart from the inside by a grenade. Fellow Marines believe Cpl. Dunham's actions saved the lives of two men and have recommended him for the Medal of Honor, an award that no act of heroism since 1993 has garnered.

A 6-foot-1 star high-school athlete from Scio, N.Y., Cpl. Dunham was chosen to become a squad leader shortly after he was assigned to Kilo Company, Third Battalion, Seventh Marine Regiment in September 2003. Just 22 years old, he showed "the kind of leadership where you're confident in your abilities and don't have to yell about it," says Staff Sgt. Ferguson, 30, of Aurora, Colo. Cpl. Dunham's reputation grew when he extended his enlistment, due to end in July, so he could stay with his squad throughout its tour in the war zone.

During the invasion of Iraq last year, the Third Battalion didn't suffer any combat casualties. But since March, 10 of its 900 Marines have died from hostile fire, and 89 have been wounded.

April 14 was an especially bad day. Cpl. Dunham was in the town of Karabilah, leading a 14-man foot patrol to scout sites for a new base, when radio reports came pouring in about a roadside bomb hitting another group of Marines not far away.

Insurgents, the reports said, had ambushed a convoy that included the battalion commander, 40-year-old Lt. Col. Matthew Lopez, of Chicago. One rifle shot penetrated the rear of the commander's Humvee, hitting him in the back, Lt. Col. Lopez says. His translator and bodyguard, Lance Cpl. Akram Falah, 23, of Anaheim, Calif., had taken a bullet to the bicep, severing an artery, according to medical reports filed later.

Cpl. Dunham's patrol jumped aboard some Humvees and raced toward the convoy. Near the double-arched gateway of the town of Husaybah, they heard the distinctive whizzing sound of a rocket-propelled grenade overhead. They left their vehicles and split into two teams to hunt for the shooters, according to interviews with two men who were there and written reports from two others.

Around 12:15 p.m., Cpl. Dunham's team came to an intersection and saw a line of seven Iraqi vehicles along a dirt alleyway, according to Staff Sgt. Ferguson and others there. At Staff Sgt. Ferguson's instruction, they started checking the vehicles for weapons.

Cpl. Dunham approached a run-down white Toyota Land Cruiser. The driver, an Iraqi in a black track suit and loafers, immediately lunged out and grabbed the corporal by the throat, according to men at the scene. Cpl. Dunham kneed the man in the chest, and the two tumbled to the ground.

Two other Marines rushed to the scene. Private First Class Kelly Miller, 21, of Eureka, Calif., ran from the passenger side of the vehicle and put a choke hold around the man's neck. But the Iraqi continued to struggle, according to a military report Pfc. Miller gave later. Lance Cpl. William B. Hampton, 22, of Woodinville, Wash., also ran to help.

A few yards away, Lance Cpl. Jason Sanders, 21, a radio operator from McAlester, Okla., says he heard Cpl. Dunham yell a warning: "No, no, no -- watch his hand!"

What was in the Iraqi's hand appears to have been a British-made "Mills Bomb" hand grenade. The Marines later found an unexploded Mills Bomb in the Toyota, along with AK-47 assault rifles and rocket-propelled-grenade launchers.

A Mills Bomb user pulls a ring pin out and squeezes the external lever -- called the spoon -- until he's ready to throw it. Then he releases the spoon, leaving the bomb armed. Typically, three to five seconds elapse between the time the spoon detaches and the grenade explodes. The Marines later found what they believe to have been the grenade's pin on the floor of the Toyota, suggesting that the Iraqi had the grenade in his hand -- on a hair trigger -- even as he wrestled with Cpl. Dunham.

None of the other Marines saw exactly what Cpl. Dunham did, or even saw the grenade. But they believe Cpl. Dunham spotted the grenade -- prompting his warning cry -- and, when it rolled loose, placed his helmet and body on top of it to protect his squadmates.

The scraps of Kevlar found later, scattered across the street, supported their conclusion. The grenade, they think, must have been inside the helmet when it exploded. His fellow Marines believe that Cpl. Dunham made an instantaneous decision to try out his theory that a helmet might blunt the grenade blast.

"I deeply believe that given the facts and evidence presented he clearly understood the situation and attempted to block the blast of the grenade from his squad members," Lt. Col. Lopez wrote in a May 13 letter recommending Cpl. Dunham for the Medal of Honor, the nation's highest award for military valor. "His personal action was far beyond the call of duty and saved the lives of his fellow Marines."

Recommendations for the Medal of Honor are rare. The Marines say they have no other candidates awaiting approval. Unlike other awards, the Medal of Honor must be approved by the president. The most recent act of heroism to earn the medal came 11 years ago, when two Army Delta Force soldiers gave their lives protecting a downed Blackhawk helicopter pilot in Somalia.

Staff Sgt. Ferguson was crossing the street to help when the grenade exploded. He recalls feeling a hollow punch in his chest that reminded him of being close to the starting line when dragsters gun their engines. Lance Cpl. Sanders, approaching the scene, was temporarily deafened, he says. He assumed all three Marines and the Iraqi must surely be dead.

In fact, the explosion left Cpl. Dunham unconscious and face down in his own blood, according to Lance Cpl. Sanders. He says the Iraqi lay on his back, bleeding from his midsection.

The fight wasn't over, however. To Lance Cpl. Sanders's surprise, the Iraqi got up and ran. Lance Cpl. Sanders says he raised his rifle and fired 25 shots at the man's back, killing him.

The other two Marines were injured, but alive. Lance Cpl. Hampton was spitting up blood and had shrapnel embedded in his left leg, knee, arm and face, according to a military transcript. Pfc. Miller's arms had been perforated by shrapnel. Yet both Marines struggled to their feet and staggered back toward the corner.

"Cpl. Dunham was in the middle of the explosion," Pfc. Miller told a Marine officer weeks later, after he and Lance Cpl. Hampton were evacuated to the U.S. to convalesce. "If it was not for him, none of us would be here. He took the impact of the explosion."

At first, Lance Cpl. Mark Edward Dean, a 22-year-old mortarman, didn't recognize the wounded Marine being loaded into the back of his Humvee. Blood from shrapnel wounds in the Marine's head and neck had covered his face. Then Lance Cpl. Dean spotted the tattoo on his chest -- an Ace of Spades and a skull -- and realized he was looking at one of his closest friends, Cpl. Dunham. A volunteer firefighter back home in Owasso, Okla., Lance Cpl. Dean says he knew from his experience with car wrecks that his friend had a better chance of surviving if he stayed calm.

"You're going to be all right," Lance Cpl. Dean remembers saying as the Humvee sped back to camp. "We're going to get you home."

When the battalion was at its base in Twentynine Palms, Calif., the two Marines had played pool and hung out with Lance Cpl. Dean's wife, Becky Jo, at the couple's nearby home. Once in a while, Lance Cpl. Dean says they'd round up friends, drive to Las Vegas and lose some money at the roulette tables. Shortly before the battalion left Kuwait for Iraq, Lance Cpl. Dean ran short of cash. He says Cpl. Dunham bought him a 550-minute phone card so he could call Becky Jo. He used every minute.

At battalion headquarters in al Qa'im, Chaplain David Slater was in his makeshift chapel -- in a stripped-down Iraqi train car with red plastic chairs as pews -- when he heard an Army Blackhawk helicopter take off. The 46-year-old Navy chaplain from Lincoln, Neb. knew that meant the shock-trauma platoon would soon receive fresh casualties.

Shortly afterward, the helicopter arrived. Navy corpsmen and Marines carried Cpl. Dunham's stretcher 200 feet to the medical tent, its green floor and white walls emitting a rubbery scent, clumps of stethoscopes hanging like bananas over olive-drab trunks of chest tubes, bandages and emergency airway tubes.

The bearers rested the corporal's stretcher on a pair of black metal sawhorses. A wounded Iraqi fighter was stripped naked on the next stretcher -- standard practice for all patients, according to the medical staff, to ensure no injury goes unnoticed. The Iraqi had plastic cuffs on his ankles and was on morphine to quiet him, according to medical personnel who were there.

When a wounded Marine is conscious, Chaplain Slater makes small talk -- asks his name and hometown -- to help keep the patient calm and alert even in the face of often-horrific wounds. Chaplain Slater says he talked to Cpl. Dunham, held his hand and prayed. But he saw no sign that the corporal heard a word. After five minutes or so, he says, he moved on to another Marine.

At the same time, the medical team worked to stabilize Cpl. Dunham. One grenade fragment had penetrated the left side of his skull not far behind his eye, says Navy Cmdr. Ed Hessel, who treated him. A second entered the brain slightly higher and further toward the back of his head. A third punctured his neck.

Cmdr. Hessel, a 44-year-old emergency-room doctor from Eugene, Ore., quickly concluded that the corporal was "unarousable." A calm, bespectacled man, he says he wanted to relieve the corporal's brain and body of the effort required to breathe. And he wanted to be sure the corporal had no violent physical reactions that might add to the pressure on his already swollen brain.

Navy Lt. Ted Hering, a 27-year-old critical-care nurse from San Diego, inserted an intravenous drip and fed in drugs to sedate the corporal, paralyze his muscles and blunt the gag response in his throat while a breathing tube was inserted and manual ventilator attached. The Marine's heart rate and blood pressure stabilized, according to Cmdr. Hessel. But a field hospital in the desert didn't have the resources to help him any further.

So Cpl. Dunham was put on another Blackhawk to take him to the Seventh Marines' base at Al Asad, a transfer point for casualties heading on to the military surgical hospital in Baghdad. During the flight, the corporal lay on the top stretcher. Beneath him was the Iraqi, with two tubes protruding from his chest to keep his lungs from collapsing. Lt. Hering stood next to the stretchers, squeezing a plastic bag every four to five seconds to press air into Cpl. Dunham's lungs.

The Iraqi, identified in battalion medical records only as POW#1, repeatedly asked for water until six or seven minutes before landing, when Cpl. Dunham's blood-drenched head bandage burst, sending a red cascade through the mesh stretcher and onto the Iraqi's face below. After that, the man remained quiet, and kept his eyes and mouth clenched shut, says the nurse, Lt. Hering.

The Army air crew made the trip in 25 minutes, their fastest run ever, according to the pilot, and skimmed no higher than 50 feet off the ground to avoid changes in air pressure that might put additional strain on Cpl. Dunham's brain.

When the Blackhawk touched down at Al Asad, Cpl. Dunham was turned over to new caretakers. The Blackhawk promptly headed back to al Qa'im. More patients were waiting; 10 Marines from the Third Battalion were wounded on April 14, along with a translator.

At 11:45 p.m. that day, Deb and Dan Dunham were at home in Scio, N.Y., a town of 1,900, when they got the phone call all military parents dread. It was a Marine lieutenant telling them their son had sustained shrapnel wounds to the head, was unconscious and in critical condition.

Mr. Dunham, 43, an Air Force veteran, works in the shipping department of a company that makes industrial heaters, and Mrs. Dunham, 44, teaches home economics. She remembers helping her athletic son, the oldest of four, learn to spell as a young boy by playing "PIG" and "HORSE" -- traditional basketball shooting games -- and expanding the games to include other words. He never left home or hung up the phone without telling his mother, "I love you," she says.

The days that followed were filled with uncertainty, fear and hope. The Dunhams knew their son was in a hospital in Baghdad, then in Germany, where surgeons removed part of his skull to relieve the swelling inside. At one point doctors upgraded his condition from critical to serious.

On April 21, the Marines gave the Dunhams plane tickets from Rochester to Washington, and put them up at the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Md., where their son was going to be transferred. Mrs. Dunham brought along the first Harry Potter novel, so she and her husband could take turns reading to their son, just to let him know they were there.

When Cpl. Dunham arrived that night, the doctors told the couple he had taken a turn for the worse, picking up a fever on the flight from Germany. After an hour by their son's side, Mr. Dunham says he had a "gut feeling" that the outlook was bleak. Mrs. Dunham searched for signs of hope, planning to ask relatives to bring two more Harry Potter books, in case they finished the first one. Doctors urged the Dunhams to get some rest.

They were getting dressed the next morning when the intensive-care unit called to say the hospital was sending a car for them. "Jason's condition is very, very grim," Mrs. Dunham remembers a doctor saying. "I have to tell you the outlook isn't very promising."

She says doctors told her the shrapnel had traveled down the side of his brain, and the damage was irreversible. He would always be on a respirator. He would never hear his parents or know they were by his side. Another operation to relieve pressure on his brain had little chance of succeeding and a significant chance of killing him.

Once he joined the Marines, Cpl. Dunham put his father in charge of medical decisions and asked that he not be kept on life support if there was no hope of recovery, says Mr. Dunham. He says his son told him, "Please don't leave me like that."

The Dunhams went for a walk on the hospital grounds. When they returned to the room, Cpl. Dunham's condition had deteriorated, his mother says. Blood in his urine signaled failing kidneys, and one lung had collapsed as the other was filling with fluid. Mrs. Dunham says they took the worsening symptoms as their son's way of telling them they should follow through on his wishes,.

At the base in al Qa'im, Second Lt. Robinson, 24, of Kenosha, Wis., gathered the men of Cpl. Dunham's platoon in the sleeping area, a spread of cots, backpacks, CD players and rifles, its plywood walls papered with magazine shots of scantily clad women. The lieutenant says he told the Marines of the Dunhams' decision to remove their son's life support in two hours' time.

Lance Cpl. Dean wasn't the only Marine who cried. He says he prayed that some miracle would happen in the next 120 minutes. He prayed that God would touch his friend and wake him up so he could live the life he had wanted to lead.

In Bethesda, the Dunhams spent a couple more hours with their son. Marine Corps Commandant Michael Hagee arrived and pinned the Purple Heart, awarded to those wounded in battle, on his pillow. Mrs. Dunham cried on Gen. Hagee's shoulder. The Dunhams stepped out of the room while the doctors removed the ventilator.

At 4:43 p.m. on April 22, 2004, Marine Cpl. Jason L. Dunham died.

Six days later, Third Battalion gathered in the parking lot outside the al Qa'im command post for psalms and ceremony. In a traditional combat memorial, one Marine plunged a rifle, bayonet-first, into a sandbag. Another placed a pair of tan combat boots in front, and a third perched a helmet on the rifle's stock. Lance Cpl. Dean told those assembled about a trip to Las Vegas the two men and Becky Jo Dean had taken in January, not long before the battalion left for the Persian Gulf. Chatting in a hotel room, the corporal told his friends he was planning to extend his enlistment and stay in Iraq for the battalion's entire tour. "You're crazy for extending," Lance Cpl. Dean recalls saying. "Why?"

He says Cpl. Dunham responded: "I want to make sure everyone makes it home alive. I want to be sure you go home to your wife alive."

Write to Michael M. Phillips at michael.phillips@wsj.com6

Last Saturday, Pres. Bush posthumously awarded Corporal Dunham the Congressional Medal of Honor.

Eternal rest grant unto him, O Lord.
And may perpetual light shine upon him.
May the souls of the faithful departed
through the mercy of God rest in peace.


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