Today is Memorial Day, the day set aside to remember those who died while serving in the U.S. Armed Forces. Since the birth of our nation in armed conflict and again in each generation, brave men and women have stood “Between their loved home and the war’s desolation” to keep our nation and its people free. So as you enjoy your vacation from school or work, your barbeques, or your fun times today, remember that you are free to do so because millions of American men and women served in the armed forces to keep our nation free, and too many of them gave the ultimate sacrifice while serving.

Don’t mistake this day for Veterans Day, which honors all veterans, not just those who died. But nothing says you can’t (or shouldn’t) thank any member of the military you encounter today.

Here are several good Memorial Day links well worth visiting:

Michelle Malkin

Gateway Pundit

Hot Air

Below is a wonderful National Geographic special about Arlington National Cemetery hosted on Hulu titled “Arlington: Field of Honor”.

And to finish off this post and to list out their sacrifice, here is a table taken from the Wikipedia article on American casualties of war. I have edited the list to enumerate only the dead, not the wounded.

War or conflict Date Deaths
combat other total
American Revolutionary War 1775–1783 8,000 17,000 25,000
Quasi-War 1798–1800 20 20
Barbary Wars 1801–1815 35 35
Other actions against pirates 1800–1900 10 10
Northwest Indian War 1785–1795 1221+
War of 1812 1812–1815 2,260 ~17,000 ~20,000
First Seminole War 1817–1818 30 30
Black Hawk War 1832 60+
Second Seminole War 1835–1842 328 ~1,500
Mexican–American War 1846–1848 1,733 11,550 13,283
Third Seminole War 1855-1858 26 26
Civil War: total 1861–1865 212,938 ~625,000
Union 140,414 224,097 364,511
Confederate 72,524 ~260,000
Indian Wars 1865–1898 919
Korean expedition 1871 3 3
Spanish–American War 1898 385 2,061 2,446
Philippine–American War 1898–1913 1,020 3,176 4,196
Boxer Rebellion 1900–1901 37 37
Mexican Revolution 1914–1919 35+
Occupation of Haiti 1915–1934 146
World War I 1917–1918 53,402 63,114 116,516
Northern Russian Expedition 1918-1920 424
American Expeditionary Force Siberia 1918-1920 189
China 1918; 1921; 1926-1927; 1930; 1937 5
US occupation of Nicaragua 1927-1933 48
World War II 1941–1945 291,557 113,842 405,399
China {Cold War} 1945-1947 13
Berlin Blockade 1948-1949 31
Korean War 1950–1953 30,880 2806 36,516
Russia {Cold War} 1950-1955 32
China {Cold War} 1956 16
Bay of Pigs Invasion 1961 4
Vietnam War 1957–1973 47,424 10,785 58209
Invasion of Dominican Republic 1965-1966 13
El Salvador Civil War 1980–1992 9 20
Beirut deployment 1982–1984 256 266
Persian Gulf escorts 1987–1988 39 0 39
Invasion of Grenada 1983 18 1 19
Invasion of Panama 1989 23 40
Gulf War 1990–1991 148 151 299
Somalia 1992–1993 29 14 43
Haiti 1994–1995 1 4
Bosnia-Herzegovina 1995-2004 1 12
Kosovo 1999 1 19 20
Afghanistan 2001–present 463 214 677
Iraq War 2003–present 3,760 540 4,300

Whenever I was engaged in a political discussion with supporters of then-candidate Barack Obama, I always asked them to list the things he had done that showed he was ready for the job of President. It was depressing how many people were ready to vote for him, but who couldn’t name one accomplishment off the top of their heads. A few pointed to his Senate election as a qualification, and more than one flatly stated that they were voting because of his race. During these discussions of qualifications, I always pointed out his lack of executive experience. Why should anyone place a neophyte with no executive experience into the role of the top executive? I compared it to taking a military officer with little to no leadership experience and placing him in charge of the entire military. It made as little sense then as it does now. The job of President is too important to trust to on-the-job training.

On his third day in office, President Obama signed an executive order stating that the facility in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba would be closed within a year. Bye-bye, Gitmo. I laughed at the time because I saw it for what it was: a bone tossed to the rabid anti-war branch of his party. And they dutifully gnawed on it and rejoiced. Less than two weeks later, he admitted that even he was worried that released Gitmo prisoners “might resume attacks on the United States.” Maybe his announcement to shut down Gitmo was a bit hasty.

While many countries in Europe had been calling for the U.S. to shut down Gitmo, when it came time for them to step up to the plate and take back some of the detainees, they began to balk:

Germany’s interior minister, Wolfgang Schäuble, has suggested publicly that if Guantánamo detainees pose no security risk, there is no reason the United States should not take them.

When the administration suggested that the detainees could be released in the U.S. and given welfare, Obama found out that the NIMBY principle was just as active in the U.S. as it was in Europe. I guess the decision to foist off the detainees was too hasty.

Then on May 15th, President Obama announced that he was restarting the military tribunals he had shut down at the beginning of his administration. Could it be that his decision back in January to stop the Gitmo tribunals was too hasty?

On May 4th, 2009, the House dropped the funding President Obama had requested in order to close Gitmo. And today, the Senate did the same:

In a major rebuke to President Barack Obama, the Senate voted overwhelmingly on Wednesday to block the transfer of Guantanamo detainees to the United States and denied the administration the millions it sought to close the prison.

The 90-6 Senate vote — paired with similar House action last week — was a clear sign to Obama that he faces a tough fight getting the Democratic-controlled Congress to agree with his plans to shut down the detention center and move the 240 detainees.

Holy cow! What a resounding defeat for President Obama’s plan, mustering only six Democrat Senators to vote for it. Judging by these acts from the Legislature, I guess that both the House and Senate think Obama’s plan was too hasty.

But it’s not just me, or Europe, or Americans, or the House, or the Senate who think this decision was too hasty. Even White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs says this decision was too hasty, and he thinks President Obama will say this as well tomorrow. Skip to the 2 minute mark to hear it:

“Uh, and I think he’ll say this tomorrow that, uh, we’ve made some, uh, hasty decisions that, uh, are now going to take some time, uh, to unwind. And, uh, closing Guantánamo Bay obviously was one of those decisions.”

Hasty and unthought-out decisions like closing Gitmo and others are just what you get if you hire people for a job when they have no experience qualifying them for it. But there is good news from all this — President Obama has been successful in uniting the people. The bad news is that they are uniting against him and his policies.

Face it, we have a n00b in the White House.

Tired of the poor gas mileage on your current car? Boy, do I have good news for you! All new cars in 2016 will have much better gas mileage than they do now, as reported in the news today:

New cars and trucks will have to get 30 percent better mileage starting in 2016 under an Obama administration move to curb emissions tied to smog and global warming, sources said Monday.

President Barack Obama was expected to adopt the higher mileage standards on Tuesday, administration sources said, speaking on condition of anonymity ahead of the official announcement.

The new requirement will mark the first time that limits on greenhouse gases will be linked to federal standards for cars and light trucks.

While the 30 percent increase would be an average for both cars and light trucks, the percentage increase in cars would be much greater, rising from the current 27.5 mpg standard to 42 mpg starting in 2016. The average for light trucks would rise from 24 mpg to 26.2 mpg.

If I were the CEO of an American car company, I would write the following letter to President Obama:

Dear Mr. President:

I read in the news today that your administration will mandate that all automobiles manufactured in 2016 meet the new standard of 42 mpg. I have enclosed both a yellow highlighter pen and a pocket copy of the U.S. Constitution with this correspondence. Please have one of your people highlight the passage in Article II of the Constitution that grants the Executive Branch the authority to tell me how to run my business.

Unless you can identify the section of the Constitution that grants your administration the authority to mandate the gas mileage of the cars manufactured by my company, I must respectfully decline to comply with the administration’s mandate.


CEO, Hypothetical Motors

Go ahead and see if you can spot the part of Article II that grants the President the power to mandate the fuel efficiency of American cars. Go ahead. I’ll whistle the “Jeopardy” theme to myself while you go do that.




Back? So, did you spot it? Me neither. The closest thing I could find was this part of Section 3: “he shall take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed,” but this new standard is a mandate from the administration, not a law. Congress could pass a law requiring the higher gas mileage, but I would ask them the same question, pointing them to Article I which outlines the powers and responsibilities of the Legislature. The only section I can see that relates to the auto industry is the line of Article I, Section 8 which grants Congress the power “[to] regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian Tribes.”

This is called the Commerce Clause, and it is the reason often cited by Congress as the basis of its supposed authority to regulate our lives. If you sell or buy something from another nation, state, or Indian tribe, then Congress has the authority to “regulate” that act of selling or buying. The Commerce Clause has been used as the rationale for Congressional meddling in our lives for many years. Wikipedia outlines some of the far-reaching nature of Congress’ view of the Commerce Clause this way:

The wide interpretation of the scope of the Commerce Clause continued following the passing of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which aimed to prevent business from discriminating against black customers. In Heart of Atlanta Motel v. United States (1964), the Court ruled that Congress could regulate a business that served mostly interstate travelers; in Katzenbach v. McClung (1964) the Court ruled that the federal government could regulate Ollie’s Barbecue, which served mostly local clientele but sold food that had previously moved across state lines; and in Daniel v. Paul (1969), the Court ruled that the federal government could regulate a recreational facility because three out of the four items sold at its snack bar were purchased from outside the state.

Gonzales v. Raich takes the Commerce Clause one step further and says that Congress can ban marijuana even if individual states have allowed it. This ignores the fact that people growing medical marijuana for their own consumption are not engaged in interstate commerce, and since Congress has banned the interstate transportation and use of marijuana, local growing and consumption has zero impact on interstate commerce.

But government is all about power, and the people in government, whether elected or faceless bureaucrats, seem to have an insatiable desire for more power. They won’t state it so boldly; usually they clothe these naked power grabs in language people have a hard time opposing:  they talk of the common good, or the environment, or the children. They have to pass laws or mandate regulations on every aspect of our lives; otherwise, how could puny Joe Sixpack possibly take care of himself?

The auto industry is already struggling as it is, so how do you think these tighter standards will affect the price of new cars in 2016? If you said it will make them more expensive, go to the head of the class. But I detect a whiff of arrogance in this new mandate. It is almost as if a voice were coming from D.C. saying, “Gas mileage will be 42 mpg in 2016 because I say it will be. Next, I shall command the tides and cool the sun because I wish it to be so!” As if simple fiat had the power to make it happen.

But in any case, the government has upped its standards. Now up yours!

Some random thoughts that have been rattling through my head for the last few weeks:

If you are uncertain how the current administration will react to some situation, just identify the action most likely to increase the government’s size and power, and you will know exactly how the government will act.

Posters have appeared at my work telling us when and how to wash our hands. Since I work at a company that hires people for their smarts, this seems to be a bad sign.

The call to shoot the Somali pirates was the right call to make, and kudos to Pres. Obama for making that decision. But why is the President making such a tactical decision?

And speaking of the President making a tactical decision, the military once had Osama bin Laden in its sights, but because President Clinton stalled and didn’t make the decision, that golden opportunity was lost. Read Dereliction of Duty for how that happened.

Pres. Obama didn’t actually order the attack on the Somali pirates. What he called for was “a tax” on the pirates.

Why does Hollywood think it is a good idea to take a wonderful story and change it into a terrible movie? The Dark is Rising is a great book by Susan Cooper, but “The Seeker: The Dark Is Rising” is a trés crappy movie.

If the President asks a mix of Democrats and Republicans for their opinion, and their response comes along party lines, then the issue is a political one, and the President may respond politically. But if the response comes back unanimously, then it isn’t a political issue and shouldn’t be handled politically.

The current CIA director and five of the past directors, appointed by Republican and Democrat Presidents, responded unanimously to Pres. Obama that releasing the memos outlining the enhanced interrogation techniques would be a bad idea. Obama ignored their united advice and released the information anyway. Dumb. Dumb. Dumb.

I’ve noticed some people are saying that the recession is showing signs of bottoming out, and we may come out of it this year. If that’s the case, can we please repeal all the “stimulus” sections of the budget that haven’t even kicked in yet? There’s no need to saddle future generations with debt over a stimulus package that is no longer needed.

The more I read about President Obama and what he says, the more I realize that this nation has elected a n00b.

People claim that President Obama is a skilled orator. I wouldn’t know because I don’t listen to him. In matters political I have long preferred to read, rather than hear, the things people say. After all, I’m much more interested in content than in form.

I delete any email I get that ends with a call to forward it on to everyone I know. I see that plea to forward it on as an acknowledgement that the content isn’t worth forwarding on its own.

In other news, even though the depression in the yard has been filled in and no longer becomes a pond after a hard rain, the ducks returned once this week. And again the female duck was hogging most of the bread.

Hungry ducks