Wednesday, October 31, 2007

That Answers a LOT of Questions

Kucinich admits during the Democratic debate that the claim in Shirley MacLaine's new book that he saw a UFO and heard direction in his heart from them is true, yet he still has the nerve to question Bush's mental sanity and is still allowed on stage at a Democratic debate for President of the United States???

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

More Proof We Are Winning in Iraq

With the deaths in Iraq dropping so dramatically the last couple of months, the MSM is finding it very difficult to find bad news to continue their drum beat of the war is lost. So they have to take stats like non-combat injuries and illnesses are three and a half times worse than combat related injuries and turn it into the headline, "Non-combat injuries, illnesses are No. 1 hazard in Iraq." Let's not use the headline to show that the non-combat related injuries are only 10% of what they were in during WWII or Korea. No, they can't do that b/c that again would show the military in a positive light and the MSM just can't have that!

Monday, October 29, 2007

Say It Ain't So G.I. Joe

Leave it to Hollywood to continue to do whatever they can to continue to strip all pride and honor from American culture and traditions, especially anything that portrays the US military in a positive light. They are apparently making a G.I. Joe movie for summer '09, but he will no longer be the, "Real American Hero." In order to not offend the international audiences who may not like such a pro-American soldier flick, they are changing him to an international operations team member based out of Brussels and changing G.I. JOE to mean Global Integrated Joint Operating Entity...isn't that just the epitome of politically correct hogwash!

Their defense is that G.I. Joe is just a toy. Well, tell that to the Marines, most of whom died, that held Guadalcanal in WWII to turn the tide against the Japanese in which G. I. Joe was originally based off of whether their sacrifice meant nothing and can just be tossed aside for political correctness in order to make a few more bucks internationally.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Media Responsible for Killing Troops?

I'm sure you all remember a couple of weeks back when the MSM was all abuzz with comments from Retired General Sanchez calling, "the Iraq war a nightmare with no end in sight." That made the headlines of every single paper and newscast as shown on this article from CNN. You will also notice another quote in the article that lays blame, "the Bush administration, the State Department, and Congress all share blame."

Funny how though if you read the whole report, he spends just as much time blaming another entity that is no where mentioned in the above article. Hmmm...and I wonder who that is and why it was left out...I'll let you see some of it and let you decide for yourself...

"What is clear to me is that you (the media) are perpetuating the corrosive partisan politics that is destroying our country and killing our service members who are at war. My assessment is that your profession, to some extent, has strayed from these ethical standards and allowed external agendas to manipulate what the American public sees on TV, reads in newspapers and what they see on the Web. For some of you, just like some of our politicians, the truth is of little to no value if it does not fit your own preconceived notions, biases and agendas." - Retired General Sanchez

I'm sure it was just an honest mistake to leave that very important part of the speech out!

Saturday, October 27, 2007

A Walk to the Bathroom

A couple of days ago I posted on my neighborhood and living quarters Camp Liberty. One thing you may have noticed is that I didn't show the bathroom facilities, so this post is to rectify that. As I mentioned previously at our office on Camp Victory, we have the wonderful porta-potties. Well, thankfully we have a little better accommodations at "home." So, now I'll talk you on a walk to the bathroom.

First, my room is about 40 yards from the bathroom. In the pic below the entrance to the bathroom is marked by the red (thanks Mimi) wooden cigarette box.

Then you come to the shower door...

When you walk in the showers are to the left...

And the urinals and sinks are to the right. This is where I stumble to most nights during my 2-3 nightly trips to the bathroom due to having to drink so much water to stay hydrated.

However, if I need to take care a little more serious soon as you walk out the shower door you take an immediate left and stay inside the barriers until you get to the clearing a few feet ahead...

Once in the clearing you take another left and walk across to the other side...

When you get the barriers on the other side, you take one more left and walk along the barrier again to the steps ahead...

And there is the door to the serious business room...

Once inside, you have your choice of about 12 or so flushables. They also have a couple of urinals as well as sinks on the opposite wall from the stalls, but no showers in this one.

And there you have the full tour of a walk to the bathroom to take care of any amount of business that needs taking care of in my neck of Camp Liberty. Now imagine making that walk in the PITCH black and half asleep...definitely a miracle there aren't more non-combat related injuries for that reason alone =)

Installment #5 - Great Iraq News You Won't See in MSM

A quote from the article: "Shia extremists in Iskandariyah and Haswah are being arrested by Iraqi police and Coalition Forces so fast that militia leaders are in jail before the "street" knows to stop giving tips on them." The rest of the article is just as encouraging in showing more major progress in the Iraqi Police and Military as well as citizens turning against the insurgents.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Chuck Norris Says...

Unless you having been living under a rock the last few years, you have ran across the cult phenomenon of Chuck Norris facts. Here is a list of a few just in case you have been deprived:

- Chuck Norris' tears cure cancer. Too bad he has never cried.
- Chuck Norris can win a game of Monopoly without owning any property.
- There is no theory of evolution, just a list of creatures Chuck Norris allows to live.
- Chuck Norris can divide by zero.

There are MANY, MANY more. You can Google search Chuck Norris facts but be warned not all are very clean or for all audiences.

He also appears to have a great sense of humor about this and wrote an article of what Chuck Norris would do if he was elected President. Here are a few of his agenda items:

- Cut spending by dismissing the Secret Service, at least for my 8 years (why would I need them?).
- Resurrect Bruce Lee and appoint him head of homeland security (OK, the CIA and FBI too).
- Create new immigration legislation: to deport all liberals (then force them to listen to Bill O'Reilly every day for five years, at which point they may return).
- Make all Chuck Norris facts come true (well, not quite all of them - I'm a happily married man!)

There are several more here and they are well worth the read for a good laugh.

Well now Chuck has decided to weigh into the Presidential race and it is not a joke. He has written an excellent article endorsing Mike Huckabee as his choice for President.

I'm also glad to hear that Huckabee has completely rejected the idea of any participation in a 3rd party run if Rudy is the nominee because in his own words that would only aide in electing Hillary. Read more here on his thoughts on the topic.

However, for another perspective, enter John Fund, who on matters of politics will definitely carry a lot more weight with conservatives. He is not sold on the idea that Huckabee, based on his record, is the best choice for conservatives. Should Fund now fear Norris coming in the middle of the night to take him out for daring to defy Chuck Norris.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Illegal Campaign Contributions to Dems a Pattern?

Much had been said lately of how the Dems are far out raising the Repubs this cycle. Well, as more and more scrutiny is being applied to the Dems donors, more and more questions are coming up as the legality the donations.

Mike over at Mike's America has done a very thorough and comprehensive post on the Chinatown funny money that Hillary is raising. In a nutshell no one can find these supposed dishwashers and busboys who live in some of the poorest areas of NYC yet are contributing several thousand dollars to the Clinton campaign. Read more about it on Mike's blog here.

Now allegations of similar illegal contributions are coming up about Obama. One of the big "praises" of Obama has been how many new first time donors are making donations to his campaign to show he has broad appeal. Apparently he is so popular that even 13, 9, and yes even 2 year olds are contributing $2300 to his campaign. While the SCOTUS struck down the provision that minors can't give, it did say that it must be the minors own earned money, they can't be reimbursed, and they have to make the decision on their own to give the money. While one might make a far stretch to say the 13 and 9 year olds are capable of that, there is no way anyone can argue that for a 2 yr old. Oh and I'm sure it had nothing to do with their wealthy father supporting Obama and trying to find more ways to get around his donation limitations. How many others may be being encouraged to do the same to falsely inflate numbers of donors and amounts raised?

This is just another bad result of the McCain-Feingold restrictions and further proof it needs to be repealed. The answer is not to limit contributions from private citizens but to have full disclosure.

Hat Tip: WSJ's BOTW

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Installment #4 - Great Iraq News You Won't See in MSM

Stop the presses!!! There are forces in Iraq that aren't American, British or Aussie! This article which is an open letter to the US from an El Salvadorian Major is a must read! To bad all of America didn't receive his letter as he would have hoped. Here is just a small portion of it:

The reason I volunteered is simple: there is a country in need. These people are going through a terrible burden. As you probably know, my country suffered for 12 years, going through that terrible cycle in our history. My country needed a helping hand, and your country, the United States, gave us that helping hand.

I think that if we can give just a small token of that solidarity back to that friend, it is so very worth it. So I know the feeling and if I can heal some of that, then count me in. If I had to come again, I surely would.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

My 'Hood on Camp Liberty

While I work on Camp Victory, my living quarters are on Camp Liberty. The waiting list for a trailer on Victory for male contractors is about 7-8 months, so if it weren't for my company having a stash of trailers, I'd be in a tent again. Definitely thankful that I'm not because the tents have gotten WAY worse than last year going from 1o man single beds with wall lockers to 20 man bunk beds with not storage. Below are pics of my "neighborhood" and room on Liberty.

My "Neighborhood" - isn't it lovely =)

My "Street"

My "Duplex"

My Door

Sleeping and chatting side of my room (don't you love my pink comforter??? - it was free is all I have to say about that =)

Storage and bookshelf side of my room

You don't need much clothes here. You basically wear the same 7 outfits over and over and no one cares b/c they are all doing the same thing.

As you can see I have my own room which is also a huge blessing. That may change once we start the new contract in December, but still way better than being in the tents. I had a chance for a little while to move into a trailer on Victory when a friend left, but his company made him give the room to his replacement.

Living on Victory is the ultimate goal which is why I kept my name on the trailer list there. It is a lot closer to the office, walking distance versus driving distance. Well, then I guess it depends where on Victory I end up b/c there are a couple of "neighborhoods" there that if I were assigned to I may stay on Liberty.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Florida Debate Debrief

For the most part on here, I've been quietly protesting the way to early start of the Presidential horse race by not really posting much about it. I've made comments on other blogs, but not too much here. Now that we are less than 75 days out from the first votes, I decided it is time to start engaging in the debate.

I still haven't decided on who I will support yet for the Republican primary b/c I'm still working out a couple of issues between my current top two choices. Last night's debate (two nights in a row with a 3am wake up and both worth it...GEAUX TIGERS!!!) definitely helped me in that endeavor. One thing is for certain that no matter who I decide to support in the PRIMARY, I will support the eventual nominee (I can say that knowing that Ron Paul has no chance b/c if he did, he would be the only one I would have to think twice about due to his foreign policy position).

Here is in order how I think they performed in last night's Fox News debate:

1. Rudy Giuliani - In my opinion, Rudy hands down won this debate. He was very clear, articulate, funny, and commanding. I could easily see myself following him and having complete trust in his leadership. What he did in NYC is amazing and he continues to do well by highlighting his accomplishments there.

His best line of the night was how he set up the agreeing that we can't afford Hillary answer. He totally sold it as if it was something serious and then nailed her on her comment that America can't all her ideas.

He is very consistent and even though I don't agree with him 100% on the social issues he is very solid states' rights and judicial appointments which is where those two issues need to be fought.

2. Mike Huckabee - Huckabee continues to surprise and has had a very good weekend starting at the Value Voters summit and now with this debate. He has some positions on illegal immigration and big government run health care issues come up recently that I'm needing more information on. After the debate Hannity started to press the illegal immigration issue, but unfortunately the answer got off topic.

As far as last night's debate, if he would have been given equal time as the top tier, I believe he would have won the debate, but he still did very good with the little time he had.

3. John McCain - McCain had a very solid performance and definitely delivered the most memorable and most powerful line of the whole debate. He said, "In case you missed it, a few days ago, Senator Clinton tried to spend $1 million on the Woodstock Concert Museum. Now, my friends, I wasn’t there. I’m sure it was a cultural and pharmaceutical event. I was tied up at the time." Obviously referring to being a prisoner of war in Vietnam. He rightfully got a standing ovation from the audience for such a masterful line, but also as a show of great respect for the tremendous price he paid so that those at Woodstock could do what they were doing.

In my opinion, all three of the above candidates gained ground from last night's debate. The next two candidates I think stayed about the big gains but no big loses either.

4. Mitt Romney - After sleeping on the debate I really couldn't think of anything that Romney said. He was polished as always, well except for the hair out of place before the first break, but just didn't in any way stand out to me. He also completely dodged every question on his major flip flop on the social issues. That could have hurt him but that is what he has been doing the whole time. I really think the only reason he has any shot in this is b/c of his ability to self fund the race.

5. Duncan Hunter - I want so much to be able to support Hunter. The only slight issue I have with him is his trade policy ideas, but I could get over that. He just is getting no traction and at some point you have to face reality.

The rest of the candidates lost ground as a result of their performance.

6. Fred Thompson - While I don't think the late entry was the death blow, for his style of campaigning it may have been. He is just doing nothing to inspire me at all. He says all the right things and has all the right positions (well except TORT reform apparently as Rudy pointed out last night). He came off as very petty in his attacks during the debate. I know it is only his second debate and he is still getting his feet wet, but if he doesn't do something soon to get some major momentum, I think Huckabee is nipping at his heels to replace him in the top tier of candidates.

7. Tom Tancredo - He had a very good line that Pelosi is a bad Speaker of the House and would be an even worse Secretary of State, he really didn't have a chance to do much due to so little time. I so appreciate the focus he continues to put on the illegal immigration issue, but he just is overshadowed by the rest on all the other issues.

8. Ron Paul - He just keeps digging a deeper and deeper hole with his foreign policy stance. Pre 9-11, I may have been more inclined to give him a slight pass, but that just isn't a position I can support now. I really hope that he doesn't try a 3rd party run when he drops out of race. (oh first mention of RP...get ready for the invasion CT fans)

Well, there you have it. CajunTiger's quick and dirty take on last night's festivities. Hope it was as fun for you as it was for me =)

CT's blog friends also weighing in:

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Another Instant Classic

There are many things you just take for granted in life: the sun will rise, water is wet, the sky is blue, etc. Another of those things if you are an LSU or Auburn fan is that when these two teams meet, no matter rankings or what point in the season, it will a battle to the end. Last night's game was definitely no exception with LSU's last second touchdown to win 30-24 over Auburn.

Both teams fought the entire game, and it ended up being the tale of two halves. The first half Auburn outscored LSU 17-7, but the second half, which is always LSU's strength due to its depth, LSU outscored Auburn 23-7. Once again I don't think it should have been so close were it not for several key dropped passes again. I said at the beginning of the season that the one area that could hurt us is a very young and untested receiver corp. I'm definitely glad Doucet is back and healthy as he proved with his game leading 93 yards and key catches.

Next week LSU gets a very much deserved and very much needed weekend off. Then it's back to the grind on the road with ANOTHER top 25 (6th of the year so far) team versus Alabama (assuming they move up to the rankings after beating Tennessee and don't lose next weekend). Get ready for 2 weeks of Saban hype!!!

Now that I've finished the official game analysis I have a funny TII (This Is Iraq) story to go along with the game. The last couple of weeks I've been watching the game with a group of guys who have a sweet setup between their trailers (I promised a pic and I'll try to get one soon). This week I decided I just wanted to have a quiet watching at my office. Well all was going fine for the first half. At halftime I walked to the chow how to grab some breakfast (it is so weird to say breakfast at halftime but that is what happens when the game starts at 4am).

About 2 minutes into the 2nd half, the electricity goes out. It is a semi-regular occurrence, due to the heat and dust that puts huge strains on the generators, and is usually back in a couple of minutes. After waiting 10 minutes and still nothing, I quickly take the hike to the place I had been watching the previous weeks to catch the rest of the game there. I get there and the place is empty b/c no electricity there either (apparently it was a little bigger issue than normal, but still not that out of the ordinary). So, I walk all the way back (about 45 minutes round trip) and still nothing when I get back. Going a little nuts at this point b/c the game was so close, I started an every 10 minutes phone call to my brother for updates.

So, I missed the entire comeback and win!!! Such is life in a war zone. I am happy I have any opportunity to watch at all, so I'll get over it =)

Saturday, October 20, 2007

The Sky Is Falling...Wolf, Wolf...

Just like those childhood story lines were false cries of doom, the MSM will no doubt be crying from the hills on the front page of every major newspaper and lead story of every major newscast of how the economy is doomed after yesterday's 360 point drop of the DOW.

Of course they will ignore the fact that it is still higher than even the low point of this year. They will ignore the fact that the market is still the strongest it has been ever. They will ignore the fact that the market always makes corrections. They will ignore the fact that already this year we have had a couple of triple digits drops only to see the market rebound shortly after and continue to grow stronger.

They will ignore all those facts and just point to one indicator that without all the other facts appears to express their viewpoint that the economy is doomed and it is all Bush's fault because of the war in Iraq.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Institutional Bias

Headlines are powerful. They should highlight the most important fact of the article. So, I see this headline from an article, "75% Fake Bombs Missed By Screeners." I go to the article intending to do a funny post slamming the TSA by adding a tag to the end of the headline saying..."but 100% of shampoos and deodorants over 3oz and not in a clear plastic bag confiscated!" Now you have to admit that is funny =)

However, after reading the article something else stood out to me that should have been the headline in order for it to be more accurate. Here is what the headline should have been, "75% Fake Bombs Missed by Government Screeners" or "Private Screeners Outperform Government Screeners." If you read the article you will see they reported on three airports, LAX, O'Hare, and San Fran Intl. The TSA ran 70 tests at LAX, 75 at O'Hare, and 145 at SFI. LAX failed 75% of the time, O'Hare failed 60%, and SFI only failed 20%.

Now to me the whole point of the article should have been why the huge difference between SFI and the other two. You can find the answer in the article if you don't blink because it is only said really quickly, SFI is run by private screeners and not the government employed TSA screeners. Isn't that a ringing endorsement that maybe airports should switch to private screeners? But see hence the title of this post. That would mean admitting that a government run entity is less efficient than a private run one (can anyone say USPS vs. UPS) and that kind of thinking is just not allowed in the MSM.

So, here is my advice to the TSA. First, spend less time worrying about my shampoo size and more time on your actual job of finding bombs. And second, let's let the professionals take over the job to make us all much safer.

Side question...why did the TSA do double the test at SFI? I'm sure it had nothing to do with them trying to pad their own numbers at TSA run airports by hoping to make the private screeners look twice as bad...nah...they wouldn't do that now would they...too bad it back fired on them!

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Here's a Thought...Vote Out the Democrats

Apparently, according to a recent poll, 50% of New Jersey residents want to leave the state. The biggest reason given is due to the high cost of living due to high taxes. Well, here's a thought...instead of just up and leaving, how about next election vote out all the state legislatures and administration officials (not surprising it is a heavily Democrat run state) that keep raising more and more taxes...nah...that would mean taking responsibility for voting them into office in the first place and we can't go around and have personal responsibility for our actions now can we???

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Installment #3 - Great Iraq News You Won't See in MSM

The latest report on the security of the Baghdad region due to the surge is an 85% reduction in violence since May. One area that was having 150 murders per week is down to 5. Another area,though not in this article, had no civilian casualties for the entire month of September and pre-surge it was one of the worst areas. As the article says one of the biggest changes is the increased cooperation from citizens who have finally had enough. Let's pray this trend continues! Installment

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

God's Yellow Pages

Here is a very neat and useful website entitled, "God's Yellow Pages." It has quite a few issues we deal with along with a scripture reference attached to them. Issues include: anger, death, doubt, fear, and many more. Definitely going on my favorites.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Disappointing Loss

It is very disappointing to lose a game you should have won. I'm not taking anything away from Kentucky as they never gave up and played a very hard fought game to the end. However, in the triple overtime loss, 43-37, LSU repeatedly shot themselves in the foot to make it much easier for Kentucky to stay in the game and eventually win.

Two dropped passes that should have easily been caught would have made a huge difference. The first is the dropped touchdown that would have put LSU up by 20 and most likely would have closed the door. The second is on the last drive of regulation the dropped pass that would have been a first down in much closer field goal range than a 57-yarder.

Then you add on top of that 12 penalties for 103 yards with several of them being extremely dumb penalties that kept Kentucky alive, especially the personal foul in overtime that turned a 2nd and 15 from the 30, to a 1st and 10 from the 15 and several other unnecessary pass interference calls, mainly the one when we were on offense and pushed off that would have put us with a first and goal but instead gave us a 3rd and 18 beyond midfield.

So those and many others are in my view the mental errors that cost us the game we should have won. Now, I can understand them to a point and this isn't me making excuses. This was our 7th game in a row with no off weekend. Four of those seven games were against top 20 teams, with the last two back to back. That will take a huge toll out of any team as evidenced by several injuries as well last night. And now we have to gear up again for another top 20 matchup next weekend against Auburn. This is why the SEC is such a tough conference. We play 3 top 20 teams in a row and they are all in our conference. LSU shouldn't drop much after this loss, but you never know. There are still plenty games left to play and if they regroup, they definitely still have a shot to play for the championship. GEAUX TIGERS!!! =)

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Where There's Smoke...

A couple of days ago this was the scene for nearly the whole day and part of the next day. My first thought was that some pipeline or something fuel related was bombed, but thankfully instead it was only a trash dump burning tires. This is the view from my trailer, so it was very close, hence the initial cause of concern that was thankfully unwarranted.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Nobel Politically Correct Prize

Make a film filled with junk science, extreme exaggerations, and flat out all over the world in a private jet expending tons of unnecessary supposed harmful carbon emissions...make sure your gas and electric bill in your supersized mansion is one of the highest in the state...create a shell organization to sell "carbon credits" that you profit from the ignorance of those who buy them from absolutely nothing that will in any way effect the cyclical climate of the planet...and you too can win a Nobel Peace Prize like Al Gore. So sad!

Than again maybe he won it because he was "out standing in his field" like Boudreaux and Thibodaux hope to do one day. If you have never heard me tell that joke, ask next time you see me...I'll do it in full Cajun accent for ya =)

Fasting Debrief

Warning: Very long post, but hopefully worth the read, especially the last paragraph =)

As I wrote on September 13th, I felt led to do the Ramadan fast. The fast ended yesterday, so here is my debrief.

Physically: I felt like I was cheating. Yes, it was a little hard the first couple of days like all multiple day fasts are, but once my body got used to eating at night instead of during the day, it wasn't that bad. I was still eating pretty much the same amount of food each day, but instead of eating at 8am, noon and 6pm, I ate at 7pm, midnight, and 5am. I've been a little sleepy during the day due to the break of sleep, but not that much either.

Spiritually: As with all Christian fasts, it is not just about starving yourself. If all you are doing is not eating and not spending additional dedicated prayer time above your normal prayer time, then you aren't fasting, you are dieting or worse, starving yourself. My pattern when I fast is during the time that I normally eat, I instead spend that time in prayer. As with my previous fasts, this one taught me a lot and challenged me a lot.

Lessons: The longest fast I had done previously was a 7 day fast. Fasting for 30 days was definitely a very powerful experience. I drew closer to God than I think I may ever have before. That was the biggest theme during my fast that God spoke to me was to draw near to Him. I even read a book that Mimi gave me entitled, "Drawing Near: A Life of Intimacy with God" by John Bevere. I highly recommend it if you feel your life could benefit from being closer to God...yeah I know...that covers everyone =)

The second big lesson I've learned is the total need to be praying for Muslims, especially the radicals. I've been going through a 40-day daily devotion on the book of Jonah written by Brother Andrew of the Secret Believers book I blogged about a couple of days back. It is a very powerful and extremely convicting study on praying and witnessing to your "enemies." In one of the devotions he asks the very powerful question of if no one is praying for Osama bin Laden, how do we ever expect him to learn about Christ? Can you imagine if bin Laden were to have a Damascus road experience (Acts 9:1-22) like Saul and become the Paul to the Muslim world!!!

Al Janssen, the co-author of Secret Believers, tells of a story on his blog (you may have to join the free site to read it) of a meeting with one of the members of Islamic Jihad in Gaza. Abdul (not his real name) said he had read the Bible, had many questions, but never met a Christian in order to ask the questions. Since that first meeting, they have had several more and who knows where that will lead. I also just read on Drudge that Ramzi Yousef, the mastermind behind the '93 WTC bombing, has converted to Christianity. As a former very radial Muslim, Yousef could have a huge effect on some sitting on the fence if his conversion is true and real and he starts sharing the love of Christ as radically as he "shared" his Muslim faith (obviously minus the bombings and killings).

Direction: One of the purposes of my fast was to get direction for my future after this tour of duty in Iraq. Right before coming, I had started to sense that I'm being released out of politics and back to full time ministry. That will be a big change, so it isn't something I'm taking lightly, hence the fast. Ever since my mission trip to Kazakhstan in '05, my heart for missions has continued to grow. Coming to Iraq last year and then the mission trip to Burundi in May both worked to solidify that calling.

As some of you know, one direction I had been pursuing was entering the Army Reserve in the Chaplain Corp. However, I feel one of the things I sensed from God during my fast is that He wants me in the field sooner. If I were to go the Chaplain route that would mean, 3 years of seminary then 4 years of Army Reserve, so with my one year here, that would mean a minimum of 8 years before I could go full time missions.

My Church in LA, HPC, has a program called Elevate. It is a three year internship where you gain amazing practical ministry experience and at the same time earn your seminary degree. So with that route due to the third year being in the field, I could be full time in 4 years as opposed to 8. I still have more to pray about for the final details and exactly when to start, but as of now, that is the direction I'm leaning and I'm very excited about it!

Witness: The other main purpose of the fast was to create opportunities to witness to the Muslims I work with. On that front as well, God showed up big time. First, of the four people in my office who were fasting, me being the only non-Muslim, the fact that I was the only one to not break the fast early, was a huge witness for Christ. I was asked several times, how I could do the fast and not be Muslim. My response was always that it is what Christ asked me to do, so He is giving me the strength to do it.

The month long fast led to several spiritual discussions as well with a couple of my Muslim co-workers, especially the one I mentioned in my original post about the fast. I was able to share what the Injil (Muslim word for New Testament) says on fasting, specifically Mathew 6:16-18. One of the things God showed me about the Muslim fast is that it is a burden and not a privilege due to it being a mandate and not a choice. Because of that, they were almost always very somber and had the poor pitiful me attitude. I was asked once, "how are you fasting and still keeping your smile?" That is when I shared that verse.

After sharing several other scriptures about fasting in the Injil, I asked if he had ever read it being the Koran says that Muslims are to obey it as well being it is one of the Holy Books. He said that he had heard a couple of verses on the radio once in Arabic from the Injil and it was the most powerful words he had ever heard in his life (you can imagine how my heart started racing when he said that =) He called the radio station who was offering the Injil in Arabic, but he never received it. He tried finding it on his own and couldn't. He bought an English New Testament, but it didn't have the same effect on him. I asked him if he would read it if I was able to get him a copy in Arabic and he said absolutely. So...I went straight to my computer and ordered one! Hopefully it will get here in the next week or so.

I feel even more after this experience that Christians need to fast more. We have lost the importance of it as one of the major spiritual disciplines. A friend of mine posed an awesome question. What would happen if the entire Christian world fasted together for 30 days like Muslims do? The thought of that is mind blowing. I can guarantee that the world would not be the same after those 30 days (I can also guarantee the result wouldn't be to "celebrate" by killing non-Christians). So, what are we waiting for? This will definitely not be my last 30 day fast, and next time hopefully God will lead some others to join me. I'm thinking from Ash Wednesday to Easter Sunday might be a good time for such a fast. Stay tuned =)

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Religious Holiday = Killing People?

If you skate on over to Nancy's blog you will see we had another rocket attack last night and a much worse one than last time (2 US Soldiers killed and nearly 40 injuries due to 6 rockets and 8 mortars fired at our base). I had the same question as Nancy. What does it say about your religion when on one of its holiest days (the day that Mohammad supposedly received the first words of the Koran) you "celebrate" by killing people? It would be the same as Christians going out and murdering people on Christmas or Easter in order to "celebrate."

Please keep everyone here in your prayers a little more intentionally than usual over the next couple of days as Ramadan ends today and tomorrow as the attacks will likely increase due to their month of fasting being over and it is time to once again "celebrate."

Mike the Tiger Video

No, it isn't me, but a good idea of how much fun I had when it was =)

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Small World

We hear the phrase "it's a small world" many times. My two trips to Iraq have definitely proven that to be true once again. Last year when I was here, I completely randomly ran into two friends from DC that I had no idea were here. One is in the Army the other the Marines. The Army friend was in the palace meeting with our COR (Contracting Office Representative) on an issue at the exact same time I went to meet with the COR and we were both totally surprised to run into each other. The Marine friend was sitting at the table two seats down from me at the chow hall when I thought I recognized his voice, looked over and we both again were totally surprised.

This year, I knew coming out that a friend was going to be here, Berkley. We go to Church together in DC and both went on mission trips last summer, me to Burundi and him to the Philippines. It was nice to have him here for fellowship and accountability. Unfortunately for me but fortunately for him, he left a couple of days ago to go home.

Then I'm at the palace on Saturday for a very cool event that I'll blog about when I get the picture from the Corp and I see a non-US/English/Aussie uniform. I always enjoy learning where they are from. They usually, but not always, have their country name on their uniform. However, for this one, all I needed to see was the flag on his left shoulder and immediately knew he was from Kazakhstan (for those who don't know, I went on a mission trip to Kstan summer of '05). As you can see with its baby blue color, it is a very easy flag to recognize. I wanted to talk to him a little, but he didn't speak much English. However, he lit up when I said we were in Almaty and Oralsk and said he was from Oralsk...small world =)

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Michael Vick: Global Warming Hero?

Had Vick played for the 49ers as opposed to the Falcons, he may have been hailed as a global warming hero instead of a criminal being apparently in San Fran people are willing to kill puppies to stop global warming.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Installment #2 - Great Iraq News You Won't See in MSM

Here is another great report of the citizens of Iraq finally getting fed up with Al Qaeda and turning to US Forces for help. They not only were fighting Al Qaeda on their own, but they also called for backup from US Forces in the area. And this isn't out in Anbar, it is in Southern Baghdad! The tide is definitely continuing to turn in a big way. I am hearing about these reports all over the country. The surge is working. Now is not the time to shrink back!

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Undisputed #1!!!

With USC's 24-23 major upset loss to Stanford and LSU's 28-24 absolutely awesome win against Florida, LSU should be the undisputed #1 team in the nation on all polls. I have to hand this win to Coach Miles. He made some extremely gutsy calls and the Tigers answered the call! I found a group of guys watching it outside their trailer. They "tailgate" every week with BBQ and four TV screens with games on it, so I know where I'll be the rest of the season! I'll get a picture of the setup to post next week with all the school flags hanging. GEAUX TIGERS!!!

Friday, October 05, 2007

OH NO...Global wait...Warming...Cooling...Warming

If the title of this post is a little confusing, then you must be younger than 100 years old or have no long term memory. The reason I say that is if you have been reading the major newspapers and magazines for the last 100 years, that title would make total sense.

A very informative research report entitled, Fire and Ice, chronicles the back and forth reporting of impending climate disasters by major news outlets. Here is a brief summary that is further detailed in the report:

Just as the weather has changed over time, so has the reporting – blowing hot or cold with short-term changes in temperature.

Following the ice age threats from the late 1800s, fears of an imminent and icy catastrophe were compounded in the 1920s by Arctic explorer Donald MacMillan and an obsession with the news of his polar expedition. As the Times put it on Feb. 24, 1895, “Geologists Think the World May Be Frozen Up Again.”

Those concerns lasted well into the late 1920s. But when the earth’s surface warmed less than half a degree, newspapers and magazines responded with stories about the new threat. Once again the Times was out in front, cautioning “the earth is steadily growing warmer.”

After a while, that second phase of climate cautions began to fade. By 1954, Fortune magazine was warming to another cooling trend and ran an article titled “Climate – the Heat May Be Off.” As the United States and the old Soviet Union faced off, the media joined them with reports of a more dangerous Cold War of Man vs. Nature.

The New York Times ran warming stories into the late 1950s, but it too came around to the new fears. Just three decades ago, in 1975, the paper reported: “A Major Cooling Widely Considered to Be Inevitable.” That trend, too, cooled off and was replaced by the current era of reporting on the dangers of global warming. Just six years later, on Aug. 22, 1981, the Times quoted seven government atmospheric scientists who predicted global warming of an “almost unprecedented magnitude.”

In all, the print news media have warned of four separate climate changes in slightly more than 100 years – global cooling, warming, cooling again, and, perhaps not so finally, warming.

To tap into this current end of the world scenario, it is humans that are causing it, so we need government to come in and save the day with massive regulations with no concern for the what they will cost because the fate of the whole world is at stake!

One thing that always strikes me as hilarious in this whole "debate" is the fact that we barely trust meteorologists to get tomorrow's weather right, yet when they predict the weather 30-100 years from now, it is bought hook, line and sinker despite having been wrong at least three times in the last 100 years as this report shows.

Maybe it's just me...but do you think they may be wrong again? Maybe the earth goes through natural warming and cooling cycles all on its own. can't be that simple of an answer!

Thursday, October 04, 2007

10 Great Dates Before You Say 'I Do'

Mimi and I found this book about a month or so after we started dating (very cool God story on how we found it but too long for this post) and it is definitely one of the best resources I could ever recommend for dating couples that are considering marriage. It takes you through 10 purposeful dates that guides discussion on topics ranging from communication, handling conflict, finances, family, and several other very important topics.

Unfortunately most married couples never discussed these topics prior to marriage, hence the high divorce rate. The remaining couples don't usually discuss most of these topics very intentionally until the pre-marriage course after they are engaged.

Both of which, in my opinion, are too late. It's obvious why after marriage is too late. However, after engagement is not much better. Once you are engaged, you start making very solid plans for the wedding, start spending non-refundable money, send out announcements, etc. All things that could make it very hard to apply the breaks if something in the pre-marriage course brought up some flags. Most couples will just decide to work it out after they are married, hence again, the high divorce rate.

However, discussing these topics in a very intentional way even before engagement truly gives everyone involved the best chance at making the right decision with as few external pressures as possible. And that is exactly what this book helps you to do.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Can We Have Context Please!!! Part 2

Yesterday, Senator Reid went on the floor of the Senate and demanded an apology of Rush Limbaugh for calling soldiers who oppose the war phony soldiers. Then Senator Harkin (warning...the comments under this post on the lefty site are not child friendly as is usually the case on such sites) follows up with a completely despicable smear saying maybe Rush is high on drugs again. And of course, the MSM sites dutifully reported it as fact as well.

Once again it takes the blog world to set the record straight and put Rush's comments in context. He wasn't talking about all soldiers. He wasn't even talking about soldiers who oppose the war. He was talking about ONE soldier specifically and those like him who fake their military credentials in order to get free medical care or to become darlings of the anti-war left.

On his show he was talking about Jesse Macbeth who became a darling of the anti-war left with his YouTube video claiming he was awarded a Purple Heart in Iraq as a Ranger and all kinds of war atrocities like indiscriminately going into mosques and killing men, women and children while they were praying then burning the bodies and hanging them from the rafters. One problem with this "report" never happened. Why? Because he WAS NEVER IN IRAQ. Nor did he even make it out of boot camp so he wasn't even a Ranger as he claimed and definitely never earned a Purple Heart.

And just so you don't think this is just the right wing attacking his claims, he was just sentenced by a court and ABC even did a report on his lies calling him a phony hero. Oh and here is a list of Jesse Macbeth and 7 other phony soldiers being prosecuted for fake stories and claims.

So, now who owes whom an apology? Did any of the news media "reporting" this story call Limbaugh to get the facts straight? Did Reid or Harkin's office call him? No, they didn't. In fact they didn't even need to call him as the whole transcript is on the front page of his site along with all the other relevant facts and transcripts of the real story. Thankfully on the House side, some are working to set the record straight, but it isn't the Dems as apparently they aren't interested in the facts of this story.