Saturday, May 31, 2008

Obama Quits Circus Church

Campaigning in South Dakota today, Sen. Barack Obama resigned his 20 years membership in Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago. In recent months, the pastoral messages from the pulpit have caused Obama's bid for the Presidency a great deal of trouble.

The Rev. Jeremiah Wright, once described as Obama's spiritual mentor, invoked God to damn America after which Obama said the Reverend was just a crazy uncle figure from a different time, he was family that Obama would not toss out. Later, when pressed by the public controversy, Obama threw Wright to the lions. Reverend Wright then lashed out in an insane press conference tirade which shocked Obama into denouncing his spiritual advisor as "divisive and destructive."

Obama was again compelled to denounce another liberal man of the cloth, the white Catholic priest Father Michael Pfleger, long time friend of Rev. Wright and Sen. Obama, and guest preacher at Trinity Church last Sunday.

Pfleger mocked Clinton for appearing to cry days before the New Hampshire primary in January, saying she was on the verge of tears because "there is a black man stealing my show."

"She always thought, 'This is mine. I'm Bill's wife, I'm white and this is mine,' Pfleger said in the dramatic sermon, which now has 100,000 hits on YouTube.

"And then out of nowhere came him, Barack Obama. And she said: 'Damn, where did you come from? I'm white, I'm entitled, there's a black man stealing my show!'"
"She wasn't the only one crying, there was a whole lot of white people crying," said Pfleger, a white Catholic priest.

Pfleger seems to have known he'd gone too far. When he was closing his sermon, he apologized to the congregation, ''Sorry . . . don't want to get you into any more trouble.'' He later issued a statement saying, ''I regret the words I chose on Sunday. These words are inconsistent with Senator Obama's life and message, and I am deeply sorry if they offended Senator Clinton or anyone else who saw them."

I am always skeptical of apologies offered like Pfleger's. "I am deeply sorry if..." is not an apology from an understanding of wrong doing and a desire to set things right. It's a cheap attempt to avoid further trouble.

Obama, however, made it immediately clear he did not like what Pfleger had preached saying he was "deeply disappointed in Father Pfleger's divisive, backward-looking rhetoric, which doesn't reflect the country I see or the desire of people across America to come together in common cause."

Is this the change we can believe in -- offend, deny, apologize, denounce and renounce? What kind of domestic and foreign policy is that? Certainly not a policy which anyone will long endure.

Barack Obama is, I believe, sincere in his new found outrage at discovering his close friends are divisive and destructive elements in this campaign cycle. In the 21st Century, racism and stupid comments do not play well before the You Tube unblinking eye, except to the parishioners of Trinity United Church of Christ who cannot see the mote in their own eye.

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

Friday, May 30, 2008

Iran Making Nukes Says IAEA

Smart guys at the International Atomic Energy Agency now believe Iran, at least, wants to learn how to make an atomic bomb. The agency has received an Iranian government document showing how to form uranium metal into a warhead shape. Despite Iran's denials, the IAEA has determined the documents are genuine and believes Iran really does want to make nukes.

Over the past year, ten IAEA member nations have supplied intelligence data on Iran's nuclear program. The intel was circulated in a report to members May 26.

Diplomats said the agency report cited Iranian government documents that discussed the production of high explosives that could be used to detonate an atomic bomb.

Another document referred to an Iranian project to design a missile re-entry vehicle, a key component of any nuclear warhead.

The latest report determined that Iran was operating 3,500 gas centrifuges for uranium enrichment. The agency said Iran could reach its goal to operate 6,000 centrifuges by July 2008.

IAEA also determined that Iran was testing advanced centrifuges, said to be three times more productive than the Pakistan-designed P-1. The agency said only several advanced centrifuges entered the testing stage.
Wanting to learn how to make an atomic bomb and actually making an atomic bomb are two very different things. I want to know how to make an A-bomb, too. So, just out of curiosity, I went to How Stuff Works. That doesn't mean I'm actually making an A-bomb in my kitchen. Although, apparently I can.

But, that isn't what Iran has done. They went way beyond How Stuff Works. They've got centrifuges, high explosive triggers, a missile re-entry delivery system, yellowcake, and labs with lab rats wearing white coats with embroidered name tags. I don't have any of that stuff, except the white coat. Mine has "Lars" embroidered on it.

I think Iran is seriously trying to make an A-bomb. Maybe even more than one.

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

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Battle of Adobe Walls, Afghanistan

U.S. Marine Sgt. William O. Bee, Alpha Company, 1st Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment of the 24th MEU, came under heavy fire in a firefight May 18, 2008 with Taliban fighters near Gamser, Helmond Province, Afghanistan. Bee and fellow Marines are shown in a dramatic series of photographs taken by a Reuters photographer and published by Fox News.

Bobbie and Sgt. William O. Bee on their wedding day, April 1, 2006.
Bobbie Bee, pregnant with their first child, said she immediately knew the Marine in the gunfight with Taliban depicted in the photos was her husband. Shown firing from behind a mud wall, Sgt Bee is without his helmet and vest.
He is OK.
That was little consolation to Bobbie Bee who told FoxNews three days later, "I'm over seven months pregnant, so I thought I was going to go into labor... I knew automatically it was him... I wouldn't believe anybody saying he was OK until I actually spoke with him."
He explained to his wife in a phone call that he was changing into fresh clothes when they were attacked. She told Fox, "He said he turned around and did what he had to do."
It's what Marines do.

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

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Janjaweed Ambush, Disarm UN Force

(Photo, Mia Farrow: Janjaweed in Darfur)

Darfur has been a battlefield for centuries. The most recent blood lust from 2003, has seen the genocide of the people for whom the land (dar) is named, the Fur. Khartoum sponsored Arab militia, Janjaweed (devils on horseback), attack villages killing nearly everyone in them. To mitigate the killing the UN sent armed troops to the area. UNAMID, United Nations-African Union Mission in Darfur, began operations October 31, 2007.

As UNAMID celebrates 60 years of Peacekeeping, Janjaweed attacked UNAMID Nigerian Peacekeepers, taking their Peacekeeping weapons.

KHARTOUM - Up to 60 heavily armed men on horseback ambushed a patrol of peacekeepers in Darfur, in a new attack on international forces in Sudan's strife-torn west, the United Nations said on Friday.

The raiders, wearing uniforms and armed with AK-47 rifles, rocket-propelled grenades and machine guns, took weapons from Nigerian troops from the joint U.N./African Union Mission in Darfur (UNAMID), an official added.

[Photo: UNAMID troops practice putting on berets or maybe surrender]

It was at least the fifth serious confrontation between armed groups and UNAMID troops since they took over from a beleaguered African Union force at the beginning of the year.

The attack happened on Wednesday [21 May] close to the capital of West Darfur, El Geneina.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon strongly condemned the attack, according to a U.N. statement released on his behalf on Friday. In it, Ban urged all parties to cease military action and commit themselves to negotiations and a peaceful solution.
The animist, Christian, and non-Arab victims of Arab Muslim violence in Darfur are so very lucky to have UNAMID protection. Without UN help there's just no telling how many people would still be alive.

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

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Company's Coming and the Plumbing's Backed-up

(Photo: $19 mil Russian built toilet)

We've all wondered how it's done. Come on, admit it, you really want to know. In fact, it is asked more than ten to one over all other questions - how do astronauts go to the bathroom in space? In coming days, we're going to know more than we truly wanted to know because the Space Station toilet is broken.

Last week, while using the space loo, a very lucky astronaut "heard a loud noise and the fan stopped working.” Now, that's bad enough here on Earth where the bathroom has a window that can be cracked open, but this is Space with that pesky airless vacuum problem. Yeah, and don't even think of lighting a match.

There is good news though. The 'solid' waste collector is working fine. The bad news is that the 'liquid' waste collector took a dump.

The use of toilets in Earth gravity often proves too much for many folks down here, but up there where the air is rare, toilet navigation is trickier. "Space toilets use jets of fan-propelled air to guide waste into the proper container." To get around the current plumbing problems, the multinational crew has been advised to use the Soyuz facilities, however those are quite limited.

And it gets worse - company is coming.

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

Monday, May 26, 2008

Dick Martin

Dick Martin, one half of the Rowan and Martin comedy team, died Saturday from respiratory complications at a Santa Monica hospital. He was 86.

(Photo: Dan Rowan, Pres. Richard Nixon, Dick Martin)

Martin partnered with Dan Rowan in 1952 and worked the nightclub circuit. Dick Martin played the dopey, wisecracking, smart-ass, while Rowan played straight man. In 1968, the team scored a spot on NBC with the very controversial comedy show, Laugh-In, which ran for 140 episodes until cancellation in 1973. A reborn vaudeville shoe, Laugh-In made stars of Lily Tomlin, Goldie Hawn, Ruth Buzzi, Arte Johnson, Henry Gibson, Jo Anne Worley, Judy Carne, and Gary Owens, and created such catchphrases as "Sock it to me!", "Here come de judge", "Wanna walnetto?", "Verrry interesting", and "You bet your sweet bippy".

During the September 16, 1968 episode, presidential candidate, Richard Nixon, appeared on the show saying disbelievingly "Sock it to me?" His opponent, Hubert H. Humphrey declined an invitation to appear, later saying that the decision may have cost him the election. Since then, presidential candidates have made appearances on the popular comedy shows of the day.

Laugh-In was a very topical satire show that drew from the subjects of the day. During that time, over-population was the global warming that was going to destroy the planet. During the opening routine of one show, Dan Rowan was explaining that the population of Earth was growing to catastrophic proportions, that there would not be enough space or food for all the billions of people. Dick Martin was incredulous and dismissive. Trying to convince Dick of the danger of the exploding birthrate, Dan said, "Every 30 seconds, somewhere in the world, a woman is giving birth." Suddenly convinced, Dick said, "Well, we've got to find that woman and stop her!"

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

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Iraq Air Force Takes Flight

The Iraq Air Force (yes, there really is one) has flown more than 5,000 sorties so far this year. That's an 80% increase over last year.

BAGHDAD — The Iraq Air Force is steadily intensifying operations in 2008, U.S. officials said.

The officials said the air force, with 100 pilots, has conducted more than 5,000 sorties this year. They said the amount marked an 80 percent increase over 2007, when the air force flew 7,663 sorties.

Officials said the air force played a major role in the Iraqi military and police operation in Basra in late March. They said the air force, with eight rotary and fixed-wing flying units, also conducted reconnaissance and other missions during operations in Mosul and Baghdad's Sadr City in May.

The most active Iraq Air Force unit has been that of the CH-2000 light reconnaissance aircraft. The air force unit in Basra conducted more than 518 intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance missions and 700 training sorties.

"This year, they have taken the reins in operations," [the 370th Air Expeditionary Advisory Group commander Col. David] Penny said. "They're working very hard, and their efforts are working to dissolve terrorist cells in Iraq."
There are some 200 junior flyboys training at Taji Air Base where over 300 have already graduated. This year alone, the Iraqi Air Force has graduated 116 Warrant Officers and 50 Commissioned Officers who will form the base upon which the modern IqAF will be built.

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