Friday, September 9, 2011

9/11/2011: Remembering Arlene T. Babakitis

Although this is a bit early, I will be unable to post this on the actual anniversary due to my work schedule, so I am posting this now to make sure that this does not get forgotten.

The following is a reprint of a post I originally assembled two years ago on my original blog, "Stander's Point", in remembrance of one of our fellow citizens lost to us on Sept. 11, 2001. Please take a moment in silence to remember what happened...and that though some of us lost loved ones to this senseless, cowardly act, it happened to ALL of us.


Arlene is remembered as a bright, energetic mother of two, born and raised on the Lower East Side of New York City in a family that understood and taught their children the values of hard work and independence. She got her first job at the age of 16, and a couple of years later began her main career as an employee of the Port Authority of NY/NJ.

Her elder sister, Evelyn Pettignano, remembered Arlene in a NY Times article from Sept. 2002:
Mrs. Babakitis and her older sister, Evelyn L. Pettignano, were pregnant with their first children at the same time, and would take the PATH train together to their jobs in Manhattan. "When you see two pregnant women walking together, you would really see the looks," Mrs. Pettignano said. "I have to admire her as a mother. She wanted the best. She was always there, giving."
Her tenure with the Port Authority would last for 30 years and lead her to a post at the World Trade Center, before her untimely death on September 11, 2001.

Her niece, author Melissa Pettignano, recalled her love of staying active in a recent article for the Hudson Reporter, and also related just how close Arlene may have been to surviving the disaster:
Before she died on September 11, 2001, Secaucus resident Arlene Babakitis loved to exercise. But according to her niece, writer Melissa Pettignano, her weight loss regimen “had a bit of a twist. My mother, my aunt, and I would exercise together. Like, we’d walk around the track at the high school – and then we’d go out for ice cream.”


According to those who were in the stairwell with her who survived, she stopped walking down after emergency workers told her it was safer to stay in the burning building and wait for help to arrive. After no help came, she eventually began walking again. Babakitis made it to street level just as the building collapsed.

“The time she spent waiting made all the difference,” noted Pettignano. “Another five or 10 minutes, who knows, maybe that’s all the time she needed to get to safety.”
Ms. Pettignano has taken the memories of her aunt and used to help write a book entitled "Suzanne Lantana", a collection of stories about the experiences and views of a young girl. Details can be found here.


This post was made as part of Project 2996, an online blogging effort spearheaded by Dale Challener Roe, aimed at keeping the memory of the events of 9/11/2001 alive by memorializing, one blogger at a time, all 2,996 victims of that day's horrendous attack on the World Trade Center. Anyone wishing to view any of today's other memorial posts can start at the link above, which displays a linked list of all the participating blogs. Please take some time and visit as many of them as you wish.


I will post again sometime soon on my own thoughts on the 10th anniversary of the World Trade Center attacks, but I wanted to make sure this did not fall by the wayside. For those who wish to peruse further, the original post is here.

Thank you for your kind attention.

Monday, October 19, 2009

By A Scribbled Name

Brian Moreland: Sir, how could they do this?
General Harlan Bache: With the stroke of a pen, sir. Their field of honor was a desktop.

---from the 1981 film "Taps"
Back in February, I put in a post which cited Ronald Reagan's prediction that, if certain events took place, we would one day be old men and women remembering wistfully the days when America was still a free country.

Ladies and gentlemen, just this morning I learned (courtesy of Pittsburgh's radio Rottweiler, Jim Quinn) about something set to happen in Copenhagen in December of this year -- just two months from now -- that might just be exactly the kind of thing Ronnie was warning us about. (Man, what is it with Copenhagen lately?)

In December of this year, according to the information I have been able to gather from around the Web since hearing of this, the city of Copenhagen will be hosting a conference of several international NGO's and environmental groups. According to the NY Times, our own Dear Leader, along with several of the usual suspects, may be planning to attend.

(Oh -- NGO means "non-government organization". Look it up.)

The stated purpose of this conference appears to be to ratify an international treaty similar to the Kyoto Protocols (which will expire sometime around 2012) which would regulate emissions, carbon levels, etc. in all the nations of the world whose leaders sign the treaty.

Yes, those Kyoto Protocols. You remember, don't you...the set of environmental standards that then-President George W. Bush refused to sign on to, recognizing them for what they were: an attempt to drag the United States of America and other developed Western nations down to the same economic level as all the other nations on Earth, developed or otherwise.

Well, that appears to be the stated intent of the upcoming NGO Copenhagen treaty as well...but there's two major differences between the Kyoto Protocols and the Copenhagen Treaty.

The first difference: Though the stated motivation of the Copenhagen Treaty is as the Kyoto treaty was (basically, international environmental regulation), there is an added wrinkle that should send chills down the spine of any liberty-loving human being.

Walter Scott Hudson, the proprietor of the blog "Fightin' Words", has done some digging through the terms of this treaty...and has found language buried therein which seems to actually set up a world-governing body whose authority could possibly usurp the national sovereignty of ANY nation which signs on -- and would possess the power to "balance the playing field" by transferring wealth and resources from those who have to those who don't, as they see fit.

Per Walter, here's the language in question (parenthetical notes are Walter's; boldface is mine):
38. The scheme for the new institutional arrangement under the Convention will be based on three basic pillars: government; facilitative mechanism; and financial mechanism, and the basic organization of which will include the following:

World Government (heading added)
(a) The government will be ruled by the COP with the support of a new subsidiary body on adaptation, and of an Executive Board responsible for the management of the new funds and the related facilitative processes and bodies. The current Convention secretariat will operate as such, as appropriate.

To Redistribute Wealth (heading added)
b) The Convention’s financial mechanism will include a multilateral climate change fund including five windows: (a) an Adaptation window, (b) a Compensation window, to address loss and damage from climate change impacts [read: the "climate debt" Monckton refers to], including insurance, rehabilitation and compensatory components,
(I'll get to the Monckton reference in a minute. Onward.)
(c) a Technology window; (d) a Mitigation window; and (e) a REDD window, to support a multi-phases process for positive forest incentives relating to REDD actions.

With Enforcement Authority (heading added)
c) The Convention’s facilitative mechanism will include: (a) work programmes for adaptation and mitigation; (b) a long-term REDD process; (c) a short-term technology action plan; (d) an expert group on adaptation established by the subsidiary body on adaptation, and expert groups on mitigation, technologies and on monitoring, reporting and verification; and (e) an international registry for the monitoring, reporting and verification of compliance of emission reduction commitments, and the transfer of technical and financial resources from developed countries to developing countries. The secretariat will provide technical and administrative support, including a new centre for information exchange [read; enforcement]."
I don't know what you heard in those words. That's up to you.

What I heard can be summed up in three words:

One. World. Government.

Lord Christopher Monckton, former science advisor to the British Crown, seems to have heard the same thing I did. He's the same gentleman who successfully sued to stop Al "I'm Relevant Dammit" Gore's planet-gots-a-fever movie from forcibly being played in Britain's elementary schools without correcting many of the distortions the film contained, and is a well-known critic of "global warming" alarmism.

He says he read through the treaty, and found the aforementioned passage just as alarming as Walter and I have...and said so, in a presentation given at Bethel University in St. Paul, MN last Friday. Here's the man himself:
But there is a second big difference between the Kyoto Protocols and the Copenhagen Treaty, as it relates to us Americans in particular...and this one may be even scarier.

This time, the man holding the U.S. President's pen isn't a rancher from Crawford, Texas who acted like the leader of a free and sovereign nation when a bunch of thugs sucker-punched us eight years ago.

This time, it's a self-obsessed, grandstand-happy bullshit artist with an ego the size of Chicago who will apparently do ANYTHING to win the accolades of the "international community"...including, quite possibly, selling his country -- and all of his loyal subjects fellow citizens -- straight down the proverbial creek.

And if what Lord Chris says is true...If the rest of the signers want us to stay stuck in this travesty, we won't be able to get out even after the Messiah-in-Training finally gets the keys taken away from him.

In other words: If Prince Barry signs this treaty, there's a good possibility that the rest of us paeans may be living with the consequences of his vain quest for international acceptance...FOR DECADES TO COME.

(Forgive me for a moment, but the little conspiracist in me just raised an ugly thought...Could something like this have been someone's reason for wanting him in the White House in the first place? Just sayin'.)

If you're feeling the same thing I am right now, you already know what to do. Call your congressmen. Call your senators. Call someone else's congressmen and senators. Hell, call the freakin' White House itself. Remind them that we sign their paychecks.


Sound paranoid, do I? Okay, fine. Call me whatever you wish.

But call your representatives first.

That way, if all this really does come to pass, you can at least say you tried.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Breaking News: Obama Gets Punked...Again

You've probably heard already, friends.

In the midst of some of the most turbulent times in American history, His Royal Barryness skittered off to Denmark, hat in hand, to plead the case for...Chicago hosting the Olympics.

The International Olympics Committee's reply:

"Who are you again?"

Man...this dude can't even convince our neighbors to let us throw them a PARTY.

Anyone still think we didn't make a big mistake last November?

Friday, September 25, 2009

Credit Where Credit Is Due

Monday, August 10, 2009

Do as We Say, Not as We Do - Or Else

“I am sick and tired of people who say that if you debate and you disagree with this administration somehow you’re not patriotic. We should stand up and say we are Americans and we have a right to debate and disagree with any administration.”
--- Former Democratic Presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton, on April 28, 2003 at a Democratic Party fundraising dinner in Connecticut

"....These disruptions are occurring because opponents are afraid not just of differing views — but of the facts themselves. Drowning out opposing views is simply un-American. Drowning out the facts is how we failed at this task for decades."
--- Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Democratic House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, as posted

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Be A Patriot! Be An Informer!

Thus reads a phone-number-equipped sticker that was affixed to store-bought copies of a recent concept album by Nine Inch Nails called "Year Zero". The plot, ostensibly, is a near-future sort of thing where humanity has become so religiously judgmental, paranoid and mean-spirited with each other that beings from the stars come down and proceed to kick the human race's collective fifth-point-of-contact. (Disclaimer: Politics aside, I'm a pretty big fan of Trent Reznor's music. No one else in the business does things quite the way he does. What can I say.)

Anyway...The aforementioned sticker referenced a fictional government agency called the "U.S. Board of Morality" and basically encouraged one to rat out one's fellow man if one saw or heard something unorthodox (for lack of a better term) committed or uttered by said fellow man.

Again...the phone number and referenced agency noted above are fictional.

THIS...from the White House's official real.
Opponents of health insurance reform may find the truth a little inconvenient, but as our second president famously said, "facts are stubborn things."

Scary chain emails and videos are starting to percolate on the internet, breathlessly claiming, for example, to "uncover" the truth about the President’s health insurance reform positions.

In this video, Linda Douglass, the communications director for the White House’s Health Reform Office, addresses one example that makes it look like the President intends to "eliminate" private coverage, when the reality couldn’t be further from the truth.

In the video, Ms. Douglass singles out a Drudge Report link to a video which shows the One True King speaking to a chapter of AFL-CIO in 2003 and directly telling them: "I happen to be a proponent of single-payer universal health care". Direct quote from the video clip.

From there, she goes on about how opponents of His Royal Barry-ness take him out of context all the time, blah, blah, blah. Watch it yourself before it goes down the memory hole.

Let's get back to the text coming up after the video...and the real reason for being just a little more nervous about our Dear Leader's intentions (emphasis mine):
There is a lot of disinformation about health insurance reform out there, spanning from control of personal finances to end of life care. These rumors often travel just below the surface via chain emails or through casual conversation. Since we can’t keep track of all of them here at the White House, we’re asking for your help. If you get an email or see something on the web about health insurance reform that seems fishy, send it to

As my wife said when she pointed this out to me last night: "George Orwell is jumping up and down in his grave."

If "1984" hasn't become your default textbook by now for how this guy seems to want to nose-dive America into the ground, start reading.

There are, of course, several far-more-able bloggers than I referencing this little gem. Here's a quick list:

Allahpundit, via Hot Air
Matters of Truth
DoublePlusUndead (See? "1984", folks.)
The Jawa Report

Read 'em while you can.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Send In The Clones

This is apparently one of the ways our Dear Leader plans to address that problematic little concept of "patriotism".

Seriously, guys...HE WON. FOUR MONTHS AGO. You can stop now.

Hey, here's one now. Let's see if we can find out what's up with this.

Excuse me, I have a question about...(waving a hand in front of clone's face)...Hello?


Uh...right. So, what happens if I decide not to sign this little petition-pledge thingy?

Clone (advancing): ....JOIIIN USSSS....JOIIIN USSSS....

(Backing up a few steps) ...Okayyy, let's try an easier one. What happens if I DO sign this thing?

Clone (shuffling closer): ....IMM-HO-TEEEP....IMM-HO-TEEEP....

(Turning and running) ...Well, there we have it, folks, a picture of the grand vision of Hope-n-Change, Inc. Tune in next time, when we'll hear President Teleprompter say....


We are apparently experiencing technical difficulties with the President's enabler crutch magic screen. Please stand by.

UPDATE - August 5, 2009: The previous video was taken down by YouTube for "terms of use violations". New copy found and posted; same clip.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Well, jeez, don't break yer arm or nuthin'...

Seriously...I find it hard to believe she couldn't find ONE competent translator IN THE ENTIRE STATE DEPARTMENT. (Thanks for the tip, Ace.)

If I was on the receiving end of this little slap-in-the-face, I'd at the very least wonder why the U.S. Secretary of State doesn't feel I was worth just a LITTLE extra effort.

But then, I suppose I would also consider myself lucky I didn't get a sock in the jaw:
The fears intensified when press secretary Robert Gibbs, announcing British Prime Minister Gordon Brown's visit to the White House, demoted the Churchillian phrase "special relationship" to a mere "special partnership" across the Atlantic.

And the alarm bells really went off when Brown's entourage landed at Andrews Air Force Base on Monday night. Obama, breaking with precedent, wouldn't grant the prime minister the customary honor of standing beside him in front of the two nations' flags for the TV cameras. The Camp David sleepover that Blair got on his first meeting with Bush? Sorry, chaps.

Still, Brown kept a stiff upper lip as he sat in the Oval Office yesterday as Obama, skipping the usual words of welcome for his guest, went straight to questions from the news services. Brown didn't get to speak for six minutes, after Obama had already answered two questions. Gamely, the snubbed premier tried to speak the president's language.

"I don't think I could ever compete with you at basketball," Brown said. "Perhaps tennis."

"Tennis? I hear you've got a game," Obama replied mildly.

"Yes, we could maybe have a -- have a shot," the prime minister went on.

"We haven't tried it yet," the president said.

"I don't know," Brown said. "I think you'd be better, but there we are."

Obama smiled faintly. Brown spent much of the session with both soles planted on the floor, his palms gripping his thighs.
Apparently that's what happens when the One True King DOES consider you worthy of special effort.

So why all the animus? Jolly old England is one of our staunchest allies, isn't she?

Ours, yes. But, according to Baldilocks, not HIS. And she's got a pretty good hunch as to why.
If you recall, before Kenya became Kenya (1963) it was a British colony known as British East Africa. Between 1952 and 1960, there was this little “difference of opinion” between the UK and the natives of British East Africa—primarily from the Kikuyu tribe. That conflict is known as the Mau Mau Uprising. There were tens of thousands of African civilians killed and, according to Wiki, seven to ten thousand Africans interned by the British colonial masters. In Dreams from My Father, President Obama says that his grandfather was tortured by the British during the conflict, though he was not a Kikuyu but a Luo. Guess which prime minister ordered the Mau Mau insurgency to be put down.
Boy, with friends like these, no wonder Barry's always sucking up to guys like Putin and Ahmadinejad.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Required Viewing: Taking Chance

My first encounter with the story of PFC Chance Phelps, like so many other people who know his name, came in a post by Blackfive on April 27, 2004. It contains an article written by LtCol Michael Strobl, USMC, upon bringing Chance home for burial after he was killed in action in Iraq.

It is a stirring piece. If you haven't read it yet, please do.

The story has had bigger legs than this, though. In fact, according to Matt Burden (Blackfive himself), it is one of the most read pieces he has ever put on the 'Net, and even eventually led to him meeting Chance's family in person.

But you can go read all that stuff for yourself. It's at the link above.

I wanted to write today about the movie that has been made from Chance and Mike's story.

It went to air on HBO this past Saturday, and stars Kevin Bacon in the role of LtCol Strobl.

Through the magic of Tivo, my wife and I were able to watch it together tonight...and we did so in complete silence.

For those who would worry about Hollywood's portrayals of soldiers in the last few years, and how this story might have been handled...

Relax. This one was done right.

No preaching. No high drama. In fact, nothing unnecessary at all.

This is, quite simply, the story of how Chance came home.

Kevin turns in a beautifully restrained performance as Mike Strobl, who volunteered to serve as Chance's escort when he learned that the young man hailed from Mike's own hometown in Colorado.

Though his is the character we see the most, Kevin's dignified and understated portrayal takes just the right amount of focus off of Strobl himself, and allows the story of Chance's last trip home -- and of all the people who contributed, in ways great and small, to its eventual completion -- to assume its proper place at center stage.

I won't blow it for you any further. Suffice it to say that proper honor was done here.

I hear tell the DVD should be coming out sometime in May. In my humble opinion, it is already money well spent.

Incidentally, Matt has recently posted a copy of the email which was sent to LtCol Strobl by PFC Phelps' commanding general, after he received Strobl's report at journey's end.

By chance (pun fully intended), the general's name was Brigadier General John F. Kelly, the same general who recently participated in the transfer-of-authority upon which I posted two weeks ago.

PFC Chance Phelps helped make that happen.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Thereby Hangs A Tail

There's a common theme I keep hearing over and over about our Dear Leader's shiny new spendapalooza law...just how much stuff is in it that somebody sneaked in under wraps, because too many of our nation's best and brightest didn't bother to read it before jumping on board.

Byron York at the DC Examiner is sounding off about one such precious little nugget. But first, a little background.

There is a position in the government called "Inspector General". Those who occupy this position are tasked with keeping an eye on government agencies, contractors, and pretty much anyone doing government business, in order to sniff out instances of waste or fraud. Think of them as a sort of wandering mongoose in the snakepit of American politics.

Classically, the IG's main strength is that they operate largely independently from the agencies in which they serve. In other words, the various offices of the IG's are not swayed by political pressure from any agencies, officials or appointees to either prosecute, or not prosecute, individual cases. They have the authority to pursue whatever malfeasance they find, regardless of who it might embarrass.

Until now.

Just before the final vote in the Senate, someone slipped in a provision which calls for the creation of (brace yourself)....the "Recovery Accountability and Transparency" board.

Sen Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) was tipped off to it by a justifiably worried IG. This is what he found when he read it.
In the name of accountability and transparency, Congress has given the RAT Board the authority to ask “that an inspector general conduct or refrain from conducting an audit or investigation.” If the inspector general doesn’t want to follow the wishes of the RAT Board, he’ll have to write a report explaining his decision to the board, as well as to the head of his agency (from whom he is supposedly independent) and to Congress. In the end, a determined inspector general can probably get his way, but only after jumping through bureaucratic hoops that will inevitably make him hesitate to go forward.

When Iowa Republican Sen. Charles Grassley, a longtime champion of inspectors general, read the words “conduct or refrain from conducting,” alarm bells went off. The language means that the board — whose chairman will be appointed by the president — can reach deep inside a federal agency and tell an inspector general to lay off some particularly sensitive subject. Or, conversely, it can tell the inspector general to go after a tempting political target.

That's right: this board will now preside over those very same IG's, with the authority to "ask" the inspectors to target -- or overlook -- any case the board deems fit.....and the One True King gets to pick the lead knave.

So why was there no hue and cry over something so completely opaque, that had absolutely nothing to do with righting the economic woes this bill was supposedly designed to combat?

Simple, says one who would have fought against it knew it existed, until it was too late.
...It wasn’t until Friday morning — after the bill was finished and just hours before the Senate was to begin voting — that Grassley discovered the board was in the final text. “This was snuck in,” Grassley told me. “It wasn’t something that was debated.”

Snuck in by whom? It’s not entirely clear. “I intend to get down to the bottom of where this comes from,” Grassley vowed. “And quite frankly, it better not come from this administration, because this administration has reminded us that it is not about business as usual, that it is for total transparency.”


Kiss the investigation into Jack Murtha's lobbying ties goodbye.
Say adios to looking the wrong way at Chuck Rangel's tax & real estate shenanigans.
And anyone who even accidentally digs up anything The Chicago Kid wants to stay buried will be painfully reminded of the plague of locusts that descended upon Wasilla when their favorite daughter dared to rise above her station.

The gloves are, ever increasingly, being taken off.

With every inch they gain on our individual and representative voices, those who now control the Capitol grasp for one inch more.

And it's only been ONE MONTH since the Inauguration.

If anyone needs me, I'll be over here clinging just a little harder to my Bible and gun collection, thank you.