Saturday, January 05, 2008

Africa is BIG! How Big is Africa?

Africa is a continent and a big one. Much happens there that most us never hear about. What we are aware of often makes us shutter and cringe - slavery in Mauritania, gunfights in the city streets of Somalia, genocide in Rwanda and Sudan, proto-genocide in Kenya, ebola outbreaks in Uganda, near starvation in the former breadbasket Zimbabwe, the kidnapping of Chadian children by French aid workers and Malawian kids by Madonna, and of course, Oprah's attempts to educate all Africans to the blessings of O.

But what do we really know about the "Dark Continent"? Do we even know the simplest things about Africa, like how big is it compared to where we live? Probably not, so here is a good comparison map of Africa overlaid with other continents and countries -

Wow! That's really BIG!

The life of Indigo Red is full of adventure. Tune in next time for the Further Adventures of Indigo Red.

Friday, January 04, 2008

Hot Dog Kills Child Molester

Once in awhile, good things happen to bad people.

Child molester inmate dies after choking on hot dog
Article Launched: 01/04/2008 12:56:33 PM PST

ATWATER, Calif.—Prison officials say a convicted child molester and kidnapper died last month after choking on a hot dog.

Forty-five-year-old Frederick Fretz was serving a 20-year sentence at the federal penitentiary in Atwater.

Prison spokesman Jesse Gonzalez says medics tried to remove the hot dog from Fretz's throat before taking him to a Merced hospital. He was pronounced dead on Dec. 19[2007].

According to The Orlando Sentinel, Fretz pleaded guilty in 2005 to kidnapping an 11-year-old boy from Marion County, Fla.

Frederick Fretz committed his crime in Florida during January 1995. For three days he held an 11 year boy, Adam Kirkirt. Fretz, a convicted child molester, was living with Aadm and his father, Ivert Kirkirt.

The elder Kirkirt and Fretz had served time in the Marion County Jail together. Fretz was doing time for domestic battery and possession of marijuana. Kirkirt was in for a probation violation. Kirkirt was unaware that Fretz had been convicted in Pennsyvania in 1991 on two felonies and one misdemeanor the sexual assault of a 10-year old boy. He served five years and was set free.

Adam was rescued unharmed and was returned to his father. Mr. Kirkirt then returned Adam to the safer custody of his now ex-wife. The father said, "If you've got kids, don't trust them with anybody. Keep them by your side."

Read more from the Orlando Sentinal at Indigo Continuum.

The Associated Press / Mercury News

The life of Indigo Red is full of adventure. Tune in next time for the Further Adventures of Indigo Red.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Fred Thompson Wins in Iowa

Fred Thompson won in the Iowa caucuses. No, he didn't finish with the majority of the votes; that would be Mike Huckabee.

From last September, the pundits and the MSN have declared that Fred was dead and the mantra has continued through to tonight in Iowa. Thompson was given enough slack to finish fifth at best, maybe a distant fourth. But, Fred Thompson has flummoxed all prognostications by beating out the favored John McCain for the third spot.

As I am writing this, 95% of the Republican votes have been counted and only 273 votes (a statistical tie at 13%) separate Thompson and McCain. There is every possibility McCain can pull ahead. Even if that were to happen, Fred still wins because he wasn't supposed to do well at all. Indeed, earlier in the evening there were rumors that Thompson would drop out of the race tomorrow, rumors that Fred quashed personally and immediately.

Hillary Clinton was the big loser in Iowa. She entered the race as the "inevitable nominee". Barack Hussein Obama handily out ran the Clinton machine by pandering to the "Opie Vote." Obama got 38% of the Democrat vote compared to only 29% for Sen. Inevitable. Even John Edwards beat Clinton with 30%.

Of course, the Iowa vote means very little in the total scheme of primaries. It's just the first vote. The winner in Iowa doesn't always win the party nomination to run for President or win the Presidential office. Only half the Iowa winners have gone on to win the high office.

Christopher Dodd who had moved his family to Iowa for the primary campaign, finished well out of the Democrat race with only .02%. The Connecticut Senator dropped out of the race after the counting was over.

Senator Joe Biden of Delaware, also called it quits tonight after garnering less than 1% of the Democrat caucus votes. He will return to the Senate Chairmanship of the Foreign Relations Committee.

The field narrows.

The most noteworthy fact to have come out of Iowa caucus history was in 1976. Former Governor Jimmy Carter finished a distant second to an uncommitted Democrat slate. He went on the win the White House. Pretty sad.

The life of Indigo Red is full of adventure. Tune in next time for the Further Adventures of Indigo Red.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Petraeus: Letter to the Troops

Gen. David Petraeus, the true Man of the Year, sent the following letter to the troops this past December 28, 2007. The General thanks the troops for the superb job they have done, but reminds them that "...the progress is reversible and there is much more to be done." He reminded the troops of the redeployment without replacement of one Army brigade combat team and a Marine Expeditionary Unit adding that in the months ahead, "...four additional brigades and two Marine battalions will follow suit."

There has been a 60% drop in per week enemy attacks from the June peak and fewer attacks has been seen in fewer deaths. Civilian deaths, consequently, has fallen by about 75% from its high a year ago and Coalition losses are also significantly lower.

Petraeus used the opportunity to also praise the Iraqi civilians who have, after many years of oppression and fear, stepped up to manage their own security. Awakening Councils have spread beyond their birthplace in Al Anbar to other areas of Iraq where the people have rejected AQIs "indiscriminate violence, extremist ideology, oppressive practices, and criminal activity." Citizens volunteered for the Police, local concerned citizen groups, and the Army. The additional police and army personnel allowed Iraq to stage its own surge of over 100,000 uniformed troops.

A Letter to the Troops
December 28, 2007
General David Petraeus, Commander of Multi-National Force Iraq

Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines, Coast Guardsmen, and Civilians of Multi-National Force-Iraq:

As 2007 draws to a close, you should look back with pride on what you, your fellow troopers, our Iraqi partners, and Iraqi Coalition civilians have achieved in 2007. A year ago, Iraq was racked by horrific violence and on the brink of civil war. Now, levels of violence and civilians and military casualties are significantly reduced and hope has been rekindled in many Iraqi communities. To be sure, the progress is reversible and there is much more to be done. Nonetheless, the hard-fought accomplishments of 2007 have been substantial, and I want to thank each of you for the contributions you made to them.

In response to the challenges that faced Iraq a year ago, we and our Iraqi partners adopted a new approach. We increased our focus on securing the Iraqi people and, in some cases, delayed transition of tasks to Iraqi forces. Additional U.S. and Georgian forces were deployed to theater, the tours of U.S. unites were extended, and Iraqi forces conducted a surge of their own, generating well over 100,000 more Iraqi police and soldiers during the year so that they, too, had additional forces to execute the new approach. In places like Ramadi, Baqubah, Arab Jabour, and Baghdad, you and our Iraqi brothers fought--often house by house, block by block, and neighborhood by neighborhood--to wrest sanctuaries away from Al Qaeda-Iraq, to disrupt extremist militia elements, and to rid the streets of mafia-like criminals. Having cleared areas, you worked with Iraqis to retain them--establishing outposts in the areas we were securing, developing Iraqi Security Forces, and empowering locals to help our efforts. This approach has not been easy. It has required steadfastness in the conduct of tough offensive operations, creative solutions to the myriad problems on the ground, and persistence over the course of many months and during countless trying situations. Through it all, you have proven equal to every task, continually demonstrating an impressive ability to conduct combat and stability operations in an exceedingly complex environment.

Your accomplishments have given the Iraqi people new confidence and prompted many citizens to reject terror and confront those who practice it. As the months passed in 2007, in fact, the tribal awakening that began in Al Anbar Province spread to other parts of the country. Emboldened by improving security and tired of indiscriminate violence, extremist ideology, oppressive practices, and criminal activity, Iraqis increasingly rejected Al Qaeda-Iraq and rogue militia elements. Over time, the desire of Iraqis to contribute to their own security has manifested itself in citizens volunteering for the police, the Army, and concerned local citizen programs. It has been reflected in citizens providing information that has helped us find far more than double the number of arms and weapons caches we found last year. And it has been apparent in Iraqi communities now supporting their local security forces.

As a result of your hard work and that of our Iraqi comrades-in-arms--and with the support of the local populace in many areas--we have seen significant improvements in the security situation. The number of attacks per week is down some 60 percent from a peak in June of this year to a level last seen consistently in the early summer of 2005. With fewer attacks, we are also seeing significantly reduced loss of life. The number of civilian deaths is down by some 75 percent since its height a year ago, dropping to a level not seen since the beginning of 2006. And the number of Coalition losses is down substantially as well. We remain mindful that the past year's progress has been purchased through the sacrifice and selfless service of all those involved and that the new Iraq must still contend with innumerable enemies and obstacles. Al Qaeda-Iraq has been significantly degraded, but it remains capable of horrific bombings. Militia extremists have been disrupted, but they retain influence in many areas. Criminals have been apprehended, but far too many still roam Iraqi streets and intimidate local citizens and Iraqi officials. We and our Iraqi partners will have to deal with each of these challenges in the New Year to keep the situation headed in the right direction.

While the progress in a number of areas is fragile, the security improvements have significantly changed the situation in many parts of Iraq. It is now imperative that we take advantage of these improvements by looking beyond the security arena and helping Iraqi military and political leaders as they develop solutions in other areas as well, solutions they can sustain over time. At the tactical level, this means an increasing focus on helping not just Iraqi Security Forces--with whom we must partner in all that we do--but also helping Iraqi governmental organizations as they endeavor to restore basic services, to create employment opportunities, to revitalize local markets, to refurbish schools, to spur local economic activity, and to keep locals involved in contributing to local security. We will have to do all of this, of course, while continuing to draw down our forces, thinning our presence, and gradually handing over responsibilities to our Iraqi partners. Meanwhile, at the national level, we will focus on helping the Iraqi Government integrate local volunteers into the Iraqi Security Forces and other employment, develop greater ministerial capacity and capability, aid displaced persons as they return, and, most importantly, take the all-important political and economic actions needed to exploit the opportunity provided by the gains in the security arena.

The pace of progress on important political actions to this point has been slower than Iraqi leaders had hoped. Still, there have been some important steps taken in recent months. Iraq's leaders reached agreement on the Declaration of Principles for Friendship and Cooperation with the United States, which lays the groundwork for an enduring relationship between our nations. The United Nations Security Council approved Iraq's request for a final renewal of the resolution that authorizes the Coalition to operate in Iraq. Iraq's leaders passed an important Pension Law that not only extends retirement benefits to Iraqis previously left out but also represents the first of what we hope will be additional measures fostering national reconciliation. And Iraq's leaders have debated at length a second reconciliation-related measure, the Accountability and Justice Bill (the de-Ba'athification Reform Law), as well as the 2008 National Budget, both which likely will be brought up for a vote in early 2008. Even so, all Iraqi participants recognize that much more must be done politically to put their country on an irreversible trajectory to national reconciliation and sustainable economic development. We will, needless to say, work closely with our Embassy teammates to support the Iraq Government as it strives to take advantage of the improved security environment by pursing political and economic progress.

The New Year will bring many changes. Substantial force rotations and adjustments already underway will continue. One Army brigade combat team and a Marine Expeditionary Unit have already redeployed without replacement. In the coming months, four additional brigades and two Marine battalions will follow suit. Throughout that time, we will continue to adapt to the security situation as it evolves. And in the midst of all the changes, we and our Iraqi partners will strive to maintain the momentum, to press the fight, and to pursue Iraq's enemies relentlessly. Solutions to many of the tough problems will continue to be found at your level, together with local Iraqi leaders and with your Iraqi Security Force partners, in company and battalion areas of operation and in individual neighborhoods an towns. As you and your Iraqi partners turn concepts into reality, additional progress will emerge slowly and fitfully. Over time, we will gradually see fewer bad days and accumulate more good days, good weeks, and good months.

The way ahead will not be easy. Inevitably, there will be more tough days and tough weeks. Unforeseen challenges will emerge. And success will require continued hard work, commitment, and initiative from all involved. As we look to the future, however, we should remember how far we have come in the past year. Thanks to the tireless efforts and courageous actions of the Iraqi people, Iraq's political and military leaders, the Iraqi Security Forces, and each of you, a great deal has been achieved in 2007. Thus, as we enter a new year, we and our Iraqi partners will have important accomplishments and a newfound sense of hope on which we can build.

As always, all of your leaders, our fellow citizens back home, and I deeply appreciate the dedication, professionalism, commitment, and courage you display on a daily basis. It remains the greatest of honors to serve with each of you in this critical endeavor.


David H. Petraeus

A very impressive one year record of achievement.


The life of Indigo Red is full of adventure. Tune in next time for the Further Adventures of Indigo Red.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Resolution for 2008 (if I can keep it)

Resolutions and goals are not for me - never have been. After a few weeks or months, if one really pushes oneself, the resolution is abandoned. As in war, the plan, not truth, is the first casualty. This past year I have been remiss in my blogging and my brain has paid the price. I might be getting that 'old timer's disease'. Or madcow, I don't know.

When I recently went into the archives to read some old posts that people had accessed, my reaction was oft times, "Wow! Did I write that?" Sometimes, it was, "Good lord! Did I write that?" I much prefer the former to the latter, but for good or ill, I wrote both the good and the bad. And sometimes the ugly. The commonalities of the good posts were a sense of urgency and heartfelt passion, an unrehearsed stream of thoughts and words that somehow coalesced with a semblance of sense.

So, get to the point already? Okay, okay. Here it is: I will write, at least, one post a day - good, bad, or indifferent. I hope that by the end of 2008, I will not only have a minimum of 366 more posts (I had to pick a Leap Year, sheesh!), but also be a better, smarter writer and maybe even a better person. The 'better, smarter' part is a stretch, but 366 is closer to doable.

The life of Indigo Red is full of adventure. Tune in next time for the Further Adventures of Indigo Red.


Happy New Year!

The life of Indigo Red is full of adventure. Tune in next time for the Further Adventures of Indigo Red.

Monday, December 31, 2007

Hillary Clinton Risked Life of Innocent Child

Photo: Chelsea Clinton and Sheryl Crow, Bosnia 1995

Hillary Clinton risked life and limb on official White House missions in the 1990s. On one mission, she had to make a hair-raising, "corkscrew" landing into Bosnia, capped with a sprint from the tarmac to escape and evade snipers. Wow, is that what happened to her hair?!

Ever the puckish First Lady and Presidential candidate, she said last Saturday night in Dubuque, Iowa, "I don't remember anyone offering me tea!" OMG, she is like so-o-o heroic!

"Clutch" Clinton was not alone on this dangerous March 1995 mission, or any other. And she didn't actually fly and land the plane, nor actually sprinted, but rather sat as a passenger and walked really fast. She had taken along funnyguy Sinbad, musician Sheryl Crow, and First Child Chelsea Clinton.

You read that right - Chelsea Clinton! Fifteen year old child, Chelsea Clinton!

President Bush has been chided for not sending his twin daughters into combat or even on "dangerous White House missions" (doesn't the Rio trip count?). But, Clutch Clinton was willing and eager to drag her minor child along into a war zone without any self defense training, without a weapon...nothing, just a babe in the woods.

If Hillary Clinton was willing to risk the life of her own 15 year old daughter, what kind of dumbass risks might she have in mind for the kids of other's who have voluntarily enlisted in the military, have received the proper training, and have been issued a weapon? The soldier in the photo indicates by crossing his fingers, that he is under duress in shaking the hand of Sen. Clinton, and that we should not trust Senator Clinton either. When it comes to trusting the judgement of one of the two, I'll trust the soldier.

Drudge Report/

The life of Indigo Red is full of adventure. Tune in next time for the Further Adventures of Indigo Red.

Calexico School District Boots Illegal Students

The Calexico, California school district, 120 miles east of San Diego, has taken drastic action to curb the attendance of crossborder students. School board officials have hired a photographer to document the faces of Mexican kids who cross the checkpoints to attend school illegally in the US.

Illegal immigrants have a right to an education in the US the Supreme Court has ruled, consequently schools cannot ask about residency or immigration status. The decision was originally intended to address the educational needs of the children of seasonal workers who would return to Mexico when the work ended. The children in question, however, do not fit the seasonal worker category. Their families live just across the border and for years have crossed the border for an education much better than what they would have received in Mexico, if any at all.

For the greater part of the history of the area, the practice was simply accepted because the crossborder students were few and posed no hardship to the school districts. As the residency on the Mexican side of the border increased, so did the crossborder student population. The Calexico citizens pointed out that neither US citizens, Mexican citizens, nor illegal immigrants can claim false residency in a school district.

Schools are funded through property taxes and the parents do not own property in Calexico and do not pay school taxes. That is unfair to the legal citizens of any school district. So, Calexico citizens asked the School District to address the situation and they decided to identify the offenders. The number of crossborder students has declined 5% in the past two years from 9,600 to 9,100 while the city population has grown by 3%.

Sweetwater Disttrict superintendent, Jesus Gandera, administers 44,000 students along the San Diego-Mexico border. He decries the action of Calexico as going too far, that "you're playing immigration agent." He's probably right. But, the crossborder students and their parents are playing thief.

Luis Villalobos of the El Paso Independent School Distict in Texas, says they send representatives to student's homes if they are suspicious. He said that snapping pictures of student violators would be a monumental, unproductive effort. I don't think a 5% drop in illegal student attendance is unproductive. It's what should happen in more border districts.

The truth is that Mexican children have crossed the 1,952 mile border to attend United States public schools for decades. Adequate records and statistics have never been kept. The growth of many border towns like Calexico has outstripped school resources, culminating in overcrowding, the construction of more classrooms and the proliferation of portable classrooms at local cost of $30 million. Finally, Calexico taxpayers were fed up with having their own children bussed across town because their neighborhood schools were full of interlopers, and demanded the Mexican students be booted.

Former Calexico mayor, Fernando Torres, was taken aback when told by the district that his grandchildren would be transferred to another school because there was no room in their neighborhood school. Torres said, "It's not right" for U.S. taxpayers to build classrooms in the US for illegal Mexican bordercrossers.

Personally, I don't care if Mexicans, or anyone else, come here for an education, or even medical care. I have a real problem when I and all other US citizens must pay for the whole boatload. If the parents of the bordercrossing students want their kids to have an education, then pay for it. I'm not opposed to legal arrangements made between the two nations. But not paying for services obtained by deception is theft, and I will not countenance that. It's rude and unneighbourly.

BreitBart/Associated Press

Or read the article at Indigo Continuum.

The life of Indigo Red is full of adventure. Tune in next time for the Further Adventures of Indigo Red.

Sweet Death

The Israeli Army seized 6.5 tons of explosive material marked 'SUGAR'. The bags were labelled as aid from the European Union for Hamas controlled Gaza. The explosive material was actually saltpeter, black powder, Potassium Nitrate - KNO3.

The mineral salt is used for making bombs and as a homemade rocket accelerant. In civilized areas of the world, it is used as fertilizer to grow the crops that feed the hungry who are often Palestinians who use their KNO3 to kill Israelis and each other. Potassium nitrate is not generally used to sweeten coffee and tea, or to make donuts and candies.

The truck transport was stopped at an IDF checkpoint several weeks ago while in the occupied West Bank, as reported by Reuters. Military and economic restrictions were reinforced after the the inter-factional war last June in which Islamist Hamas captured the territory from the more, but not much more, secular Fatah.

The European Union supplies the greater part of humanitarian goods to the Gaza Strip. When informed of the six and a half tons of potentially deadly material, an EU official said,

"We are looking into this report ... If it is found to be accurate, this is an illegal act that should be condemned."
I'm heartened the EU is willing to stick their collective neck out and "condemn" the "illegal act." That will surely stop criminals from committing "illegal acts", because we all know it has always worked so well in the past.


The EU told the Jerusalem Post today that the fake sugar bags were not part of the EU aid program. They don't ship sugar, an EU official said.

"...the bags could not be confused with bona fide EU aid for several reasons: the EU does not export sugar as part of its aid to the Palestinians and food assistance to the PA - funneled through UNRWA or the World Food Program - clearly carries the 12-star symbol of the EU and the name of the European Commission on the bags."
The IDF released a photo of the potassium nitrate filled bags (left) and I have found a photo of a genuine bag for comparison (right).

H/T: Atlas Shrugs

The life of Indigo Red is full of adventure. Tune in next time for the Further Adventures of Indigo Red.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Fidel Castro - Morally Insane to the End

Fidel Castro wanted to cling to power for as long as there was power to cling to; ever since he was a young man he knew this. By the time of the Cuban Revolution in 1959, Castro had determined it was his "duty to fight for (socialist) goals or die in combat."

Now at 81 years of age, he conversely says, he did not want to stubbornly hold on to power in a letter written to the Cuban people read at this year's closing session of parliament, December 17th. After stubbornly clinging to power for almost fifty years, this admission seems just a tad bit disingenuous, I should think.

What doesn't seem disingenuous, but uncharacteristically candid, is this tid bit of honesty from Castro, "Let me add that I was [clinging to power] for a time, because of excessive youth and lack of conscience." He says he has long since outgrown the urge.

Who doesn't want to rule the world or some small part of it when they are young? It's the "lack of conscience" part that is important. Not many sociopaths ever come to grips with their personality disorder, much less admit to it. I am not in the least bit sure that Castro even understands what he has said about himself in this letter.

Sociopathic individuals were called, from the early 1900s, "psychopaths" . From the 1830s til then the disorder was known as "moral insanity." Castro fits the description for the morally insane, the psychopath, the sociopath, or whatever else we conjure up to call them. Personally, I like "morally insane." What are the characteristics of this kind of nut job? Here are a few from CalTech, Profile of the Sociopath web page:

Manipulative and Conning; Grandiose Sense of Self; Pathological Lying; Lack of Remorse, Shame or Guilt; Lack of Realistic Life Plan/Parasitic Lifestyle; Contemptuous of those who seek to understand them; Does not perceive that anything is wrong with them; Authoritarian; Secretive; Paranoid; Only rarely in difficulty with the law, but seeks out situations where their tyrannical behavior will be tolerated, condoned, or admired; Conventional appearance; Goal of enslavement of their victim(s); Exercises despotic control over every aspect of the victim's life; Has an emotional need to justify their crimes and therefore needs their victim's affirmation (respect, gratitude and love); Ultimate goal is the creation of a willing victim; Incapable of real human attachment to another; Unable to feel remorse or guilt; Extreme narcissism and grandiose; May state readily that their goal is to rule the world.

He writes in the letter that he "was not a person clinging to power." Although Fidel ceded provisional government control to his brother, Raul, 17 months ago, Fidel continues as the head of the Council of State, the highest governing body. He has vowed he will not stand in the way of younger leaders, however, Fidel's name is on the Jan. 20 election ballot, supported by the Communist Party. Despite all claims to the contrary, Fidel Castro, in the twilight of his life, appears to be an aging sociopath clinging to power til his dying breath.

Yahoo News/ Associated Press

The life of Indigo Red is full of adventure. Tune in next time for the Further Adventures of Indigo Red.