Monthly Archives: August 2007

The Latest Version of Lunatic Fringe

To echo the words of Microsoft senior security analyst Steve Riley: When does too much security become too much? When the cost of mitigating the risks outweighs the cost of that which you are trying to protect.

There have been a lot of dirty politics involving the Bush Administration, all the laws they keep changing or trying to change to make their illegal activites legal and all the tactics used to get results. Now there is reportedly more evidence of how low and questionable this Presidential Administration has become.

The Bush Administration U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) is trying to give the Bush Administration the authority to be above the law and to make it so that judges won’t be able to do anything about it. In other words, he’s trying to make all the illegal activities performed in the name of “National Security and Terrorism” by the Bush Administration for the past 6 years legal.

Senior attorneys from the DOJ argued in a federal appeals court that if the Bush Administration invokes the “state secret” privilege it should dismiss lawsuits that could disclose national security secrets. It would also keep every illegally performed violation against U.S. citizens, and there are a lot, secret to protect everyone in the Bush Administration.

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More Made In China Toys Recalled

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, in voluntary cooperation with the companies listed below has issued another slew of recalls for toys made in China that may be potentially hazardous to children due to paint with unsafe amounts of lead. The toys affected include:

  • About 250,000 SpongeBob Square Pants Character Address Books and Journals by Martin Designs Inc.
  • About 66,000 Thomas and Friends, Curious George and Other spinning tops and about 4,700 pails by Schylling Associates Inc.
  • About 7,900 Children’s Charm Bracelets Sold by Buy-Rite
  • About 14,000 TOBY & ME Jewelry Sets Children’s Metal Jewelry Recalled by TOBY N.Y.C.

Information about each item from the Recall notices issued are below.

Martin Designs Inc. Recalls SpongeBob Square Pants Character Address Books and Journals Due to Violation of Lead Paint Standard:

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Mattel Issues 2nd Toy Recall

For the second time this month, Mattel announced a recall of almost 9 million toys made in China due to danger from loose magnets that children could swallow or toys with lead paint hazards.

Almost 2 weeks ago, Mattel recalled 1.5 million toys made in China due to lead paint hazards.

Recalled products include:

About 345,000 Batman and One Piece magnetic action figure sets,
About 253,000 Sarge die cast toy cars,
About 683,000 Barber and Tanner play sets,
About 1 million Doggie Day Care play sets and
About 7.3 million Various Polly Pocket dolls and accessories with magnets (about 2.4 million play sets were recalled on November 21, 2006).

Mattel is intentionally recalling the large number of toys in attempts to prevent any injuries from occuring. Mattel instructed retailers to pull these toys from their shelves, made a production change, and is offering replacement products. To Mattels credit, they discovered the latest problems while investigating toys recalled earlier this month.

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Weapons given to Iraq unaccounted for

An estimated 110,000 of the 185,000 AK47 rifles, 80,000 of the 170,000 pistols, 135,000 of the 215,000 items of body armor and 115,000 of the 140,000 helmets given to Iraqi security forces (funded by the U.S.) from June 2004 until December 2005 are reportedly missing, unaccounted for by the Pentagon, thought to be in the hands of insurgents fighting U.S. forces in Iraq.

A report (PDF) from the Government Accountability Office (GAO) indicates that 30 percent of the weapons distributed to the Iraqi forces from 2004 to earlier this year disappeared and U.S. military officials don’t know what happened to them.

The GAO estimates the U.S. has spent $19.2 billion in efforts to develop Iraqi security forces since 2003, including $2.8 billion to purchase and deliver equipment. According the GAO, weapons distribution was haphazard, rushed and didn’t follow established procedures, particularly from June 2004 until December 2005.

As of July 2007 no accountability procedures, if any existed, had been specified by the Department of Defense (DoD) or the Multi-National Force – Iraq (MNF-I) to the train-and-equip program for Iraq. Because Congress funded the program, the DoD stated that their accountability programs normally applicable (including registering small arms transferred to foreign governments) did not apply.

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Update 4 on Adam the Burned Kitten

Our beloved little Adam is progressing remarkably well.

Below is the most recent emailed update. It should be available on Adam’s update page soon.

Dear Friends: Dr. Lisa, Adam’s surgeon checked his skin graft yesterday and says it is looking great and is progressing well. Last night was the first night Adam slept through the night. Why? Because he has found a new friend, Pebbles. They slept together on Tina’s bed all night long. Pebbles is a little black Chihuahua that is in charge of everyone at Tina’s house EXCEPT for Adam. They play together and now sleep together. Tina will try to get pictures for all of us this weekend.

Today a whole new batch of toys arrived at the Animal Hospital for Adam from his “Fan Club”. Tina says they are giving them to him sparingly because like a child on Christmas Day, it is overwhelming. (So many toys, so little time.)  Currently his favorite toy is the “cat dancer”. He and Pebbles, however, like to play with a feather on the end of a fishing pole which was given to him by Dr. Alexander. A member of his “Fan Club” sent him a teepee tent which he has in his cage at the Animal Hospital. (You’ll see it on our web site in the most recent batch of pictures taken on Monday evening.) Today he was so rambunctious that he tore the teepee down twice.

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Online Military Resources

Below is a small collection of links and resources for Military personnel and their families and friends. If there is something you’d like to see added or would like more information, you can contact me here.

Online resources for the Military:

  • – the best place to start for federal government information
  • Donate unused travel miles to Operation Hero Miles – a unique way to help the troops
  • The Wounded Warrior Project – (from the site) The Wounded Warrior Project (WWP) was founded on the principle that veterans are our nation’s greatest citizens. The WWP seeks to assist those men and women of our armed forces who have been severely injured during the conflicts in Iraq, Afghanistan, and other locations around the world
  • Let’s say thanks – In support of our soldiers – from Xerox – send a free printed post card to a soldier
  • The United States Army homepage
  • The United States Navy homepage
  • HQMC – United States Marine Corps Headquarters homepage
  • United States Air Force homepage
  • United States Coast Guard homepage
  • United States Army National Guard homepage
  • The Air National Guard homepage
  • Welcome to
  • Armed Forces Bank – your hometown bank around the world
  • Defense Technical Information Center (DTIC) – information for the defense community
  • Defense Intelligence Agency – committed to excellence in defense of the nation
  • Selective Service System homepage
  • Stars & Stripes – a daily newspaper published for the U.S. military, DoD civilians, contractors, and their families
  • – (from the site) Any Soldier Inc. started in August 2003 as a simple family effort to help the soldiers in one Army unit, thus our name. However, due to overwhelming requests, on 1 January 2004 the Any Soldier(r) effort was expanded to include any member, of any of the Armed Forces in harms way
  • Soldiers’ Angels – may no soldier go unloved
  • – provides helmet upgrade kits free of charge to troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as those ordered to deploy in the near future
  • Homes for our troops: get involved to help support our wounded veterans
  • Air Force Aid Society – (from the site) The Society has promoted the Air Force mission by providing worldwide emergency assistance, sponsoring education assistance programs, and offering a variety of base community enhancement programs that improve quality of life for Airmen and their families
  • Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society – (from the site) The mission of the Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society is to provide, in partnership with the Navy and Marine Corps, financial, educational, and other assistance to members of the Naval Services of the United States, eligible family members, and survivors when in need; and to receive and manage funds to administer these programs
  • Coast Guard Foundation – (from the site) The Coast Guard Foundation, Inc. is a non-profit organization that provides annual funding to support the men and women of the U.S. Coast Guard and its Academy
  • NMFA – National Military Family Association – (from the site) The National Military Family Association (NMFA) was organized in 1969 as the National Military Wives Association by a group of wives and widows seeking financial security for survivors of uniformed service personnel and retirees. From their efforts, the Survivor Benefit Plan came into being
  • TAPS – Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors – (from the site) provides a wonderful support network for the surviving families of those who have died in service to America
  • Center for Women Veterans from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs
  • Women in Military Service for America Memorial
  • National Personnel Records Center, St. Louis – (from the site) The National Personnel Records Center, Military Personnel Records (NPRC-MPR) is the repository of millions of military personnel, health, and medical records of discharged and deceased veterans of all services during the 20th century
  • Operation Shoebox – supporting our troops by sending care packages to U.S. troops over seas
  • Rolling Thunder National Organization Headquarters – (from the site) The major function of Rolling Thunder, Inc. is to publicize POW-MIA issues: To educate the public that many American prisoners of war were left behind after all previous wars and to help correct the past and to protect future veterans from being left behind should they become prisoners of war-missing in action. We are also committed to helping American veterans from all wars
  • Yellow Ribbon America – (from the site) Americans united in giving direct help and support to our nations military and their families
  • Operation deployment inspiration from – (from the site) To provide short prayers, devotions and scripture passages suitable for our military men and women in combat zones to use as prayers of protection, strength, courage, guidance and wisdom when going out on daily missions
  • Post Traumatic Stress Disorder Symptoms, Causes and Effects – a guide to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) from Psych Guides
  • A look at Post Traumatic Stress Disorder post with information and resources for PTSD

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Update 3 on Adam the Burned Kitten

Not 5 minutes after I got off the phone with Forgotten Felines to check on Adam, they sent out an update which is below. The gentleman I spoke with this afternoon said the response has been overwhelming. They even received mail from Tokyo today. That’s amazing and inspiring.

It helps restore your faith in the human race knowing that when 2 people do such a horrific thing to an innocent, practically new born kitten, that there are thousands of people all over the world that care enough to do something about it. The good far out weighs the bad for a change. It’s great to see and again, I’d like to also thank you all.

Adam Update – 8/2/07

Dear Friends: Adam came through this last surgery on Tuesday (7/31/07) with flying colors. It was his best recovery yet! Once again, Tina, his caretaker, had to confine him the next day in order to curtail his attempts to run all over the house playing chase with her dog. (Which he complained about rather loudly, I might add!) His entire back is now covered with fresh, new skin. Our surgeon, Dr. Alexander, will examine him this evening and if this new graft “takes”, we’re finished with those surgeries. Whew!

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Hazardous Toys Recalled by Fisher-Price

Approximately one million licensed character toys made in China are being recalled in the U.S by Fisher-Price due to a lead poisoning hazard in the paint used on the surface of the toys. Toys affected by the recall include Big Bird, Elmo, and the Dora and Diego characters. The details below are from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission press release issued by Fisher-Price:

Fisher-Price Recalls Licensed Character Toys Due To Lead Poisoning Hazard

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, in cooperation with the firms named below, today announced a voluntary recall of the following consumer product. Consumers should stop using recalled products immediately unless otherwise instructed.

Name of Product: Sesame Street, Dora the Explorer, and other children’s toys.

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An Ode to Common Sense

From the sad but true department. I couldn’t have said it better myself.  =)

The passing of our dear friend: “COMMON SENSE”
Today we mourn the passing of a beloved old friend, Common Sense, who has been with us for many years. No one knows for sure how old he was, since his birth records were long ago lost in bureaucratic red tape.

He will be remembered as having cultivated such valuable lessons as:

  • Knowing when to come in out of the rain;
  • Why the early bird gets the worm;
  • Life isn’t always fair;
  • and maybe it was my fault.

Common Sense lived by simple, sound financial policies (don’t spend more than you can earn) and reliable strategies (adults, not children, are in charge).

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