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STATE OF THE UNION -- 2005 [Live Thread]
2/2/05

Posted on 02/02/2005 3:43:44 PM PST by Timeout

The pre-spin: Bush will spend about 1/2 the speech on foreign policy, 1/2 on domestic, with heavy emphasis on Social Security reform. It's said he will provide a detailed tutorial on the SS system and its problems with a few details on his personal accounts proposal.

Laura's guests are said to be an Afghan voter and an Iraqi voter (too bad there's no Ukrainian wearing an orange hat!).

Should we start a drinking game on how many times the pool camera swings to Hillary? Hmmm. Probably not...it would likely hamper out typing ability.

Word on the blogs has it that the closing part of the speech is a hum-dinger. Set your VCR's.

Report here on outrageous MediaCrat spin before AND after the SOTU. Pictures and screen caps welcome.


TOPICS: Breaking News; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: africa; aids; amnesty; appointees; appointments; budget; bush43; bushhatesgays; damnedlies; deficit; democracy; dontcrylurch; egypt; freedom; hadenoughwhining; hiv; iran; iraq; israel; judges; lies; marriageammendment; military; northkorea; overspending; palestine; runawayspending; ryanwhite; saudiarabia; socialsecurity; sotu; spendyourmoney; stateoftheunion; statistics; syria; taxpayersdollars; term2; w2
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To: OldFriend

Speaking of Rush.........he just said that this was "A SPEECH FOR THE AGES"........."THE BEST SPEECH BUSH HAS EVER GIVEN."


4,551 posted on 02/03/2005 9:18:39 AM PST by ohioWfan (George W. Bush........AVENGER of the BONES!!)
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To: ohioWfan
I posted last night that I thought the speech surpassed the one made after 9/11.........

Do you think Rush is reading our thread.....LOL

4,552 posted on 02/03/2005 9:26:37 AM PST by OldFriend (America's glory is not dominion, but liberty.)
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To: HostileTerritory
Massachusetts has poured way more money into the welfare sinkholes of Montana and North Dakota over the last 20 years than we've gotten back for our highway projects.

You must be referring to the "Red Welfare State" story that was released by Democratic operatives just prior to the election. This was later thoroughly debunked as being due to 1) the progressive income tax structure [MA has a lot more millionaires than MT] and 2) the effect of defense spending [most of the nation's nuclear arsenal is in MT and ND].

Montana and North Dakota receive one train each way per day. That train makes money on solely-related costs, but thanks to Amtrak's bizarre accounting scheme, appears to lose money. That's because the western long distance trains are "taxed" a fee to connect to the Northeast Corridor -- without that fee, all but one make money. The NEC, in contrast, makes money on its operating costs, but DOES NOT make its cost of capital, which is paid for by ... the long distance western trains.

To replace the one train per day, the federal government would have to either 1) build a string of Class 1 airports along the northern tier, or 2) bring US 2 up to Interstate standards, both of which would cost billions and certainly not break even.

4,553 posted on 02/03/2005 9:27:40 AM PST by HolgerDansk ("Oh Bother", said Pooh, as he chambered another round.)
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To: sheltonmac
So why bother having our elected representatives swear before God and country that they will do everything in their power to uphold the Constitution? The whole point of a representative republic is to avoid mob rule. But if politicians simply govern by the will of the majority, that's exactly what we have, making us no better than countries like Zimbabwe.

The entire point of a representative republic is to avoid short term swings of majority rule.

Long term, in the case of social security and government spending, it's the people -- the electorate -- by majority who must want something. There's no protection in the constitution against that.

To depend on politician's over the long haul to protect you from government spending when the electorate wants big government spending is -- a statist idea.

Ben Franklin said we had a republic "if you can keep it." He wasn't talking about the politicians. He was talking about the electorate and it's the electorate that is to blame.

4,554 posted on 02/03/2005 9:28:32 AM PST by FreeReign
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To: HolgerDansk
Believe what you like. There is no way on Earth that an Amtrak train covering the upper Plains states--territory Greyhound doesn't even want to cover any more, it's so sparse--is SUBSIDIZING the capital needs of the northeast corridor. Surely Amtrak isn't covering the capital needs either, but those trains running through the west aren't making money for anyone but the lucky saps who get to ride them.

When I referred to the welfare sinkholes in North Dakota and Montana, I was thinking more along the lines of agricultural subsidies in addition to other services that are naturally more expensive in sparse rural areas and not provided by the market. Defense doesn't begin to explain the federal money piled high in those states like snow drifts in February.

If Massachusetts has more millionaires, that's because we have people who work hard, succeed, and earn the fruits of their labor. I don't cotton well to class-warfare arguments that the larger number of high-income people in northeast states mean that we should be sending so much more to farmers and rural folk as Congress has been doing for years. It could just as easily mean that we need some CONSERVATIVE government that allows us to keep some of our money--turn Amtrak over to the states or a private company, and see which train lines are still running in 5 years. I bet it won't be the one running through Havre, MT.

To replace the one train per day, the federal government would have to either 1) build a string of Class 1 airports along the northern tier, or 2) bring US 2 up to Interstate standards, both of which would cost billions and certainly not break even.

Excuse me, but since when is every two-bit town entitled to a Class 1 Airport or an interstate-quality road? If Montana wants to make US 2 into an interstate, it has the road taxes to do so. That they haven't yet shows how little sense it makes to have transportation to the northern prairies be a federal entitlement. I can see more people out my front window than live in all of eastern Montana--and people like you have the nerve to complain about our highways!
4,555 posted on 02/03/2005 9:37:23 AM PST by HostileTerritory
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To: OldFriend
Last night I thought that his speech was only surpassed by his speech of 9/20/01...........but as I thought about it, it was perhaps the deep grief and emotion that made that seem even better than this one.

Perhaps Rush (and you) are right. One thing I definitely agree with, is that it was a speech for the ages............and I'm just beginning to digest it's import.

4,556 posted on 02/03/2005 9:51:15 AM PST by ohioWfan (George W. Bush........AVENGER of the BONES!!)
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To: FreeReign

That is why I think voting strictly along the lines of Democrat and Republican is an exercise in futility. Under the current one-party system, it's no longer a question of whether or not government is going to grow; it's a question of who will be in charge of that growth.

Nothing will change unless the people can be convinced otherwise. Hopefully, they can be convinced to once again hold their elected representatives accountable. The only alternative is to admit that there is no going back--that the Constitution is indeed a dead letter and that our representative republic no longer exists--and prepare for another revolution. Frankly, I don't think even the most conservative among us is ready for that.

4,557 posted on 02/03/2005 9:58:50 AM PST by sheltonmac ("Duty is ours; consequences are God's." -Gen. Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson)
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To: sheltonmac

If you watched the President's speech last night, and came away believing there's no difference in the parties, you had ear plugs in, and blinders on.


4,558 posted on 02/03/2005 10:01:35 AM PST by ohioWfan (George W. Bush........AVENGER of the BONES!!)
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To: Skywarner

It will be interesting. I am wondering how long it will be before something happens?


4,559 posted on 02/03/2005 10:02:12 AM PST by Sprite518
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To: A Citizen Reporter

haha........I just give up.....you guys are stuck in your won little window......I will repeat it again.....I did not call one person narrow minded fro criticizing her........why are you guys so uncomprehending......anyone can crticize her for what she said.....what I had a problem with is some keep up at it and won't forgive her though she has spent most of her life as a supporter of conservatives and Repubs.......you guys are proving by your posts that you are not following me.......


4,560 posted on 02/03/2005 10:08:56 AM PST by NorCalRepub
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To: ohioWfan

Maybe you're right about there being a difference. I have noticed over the last four years that the size and cost of government tends to grow more when the Republicans are in power.


4,561 posted on 02/03/2005 10:09:35 AM PST by sheltonmac ("Duty is ours; consequences are God's." -Gen. Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson)
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To: A Citizen Reporter

no I don't but again, what i'm asking is why they are judging (not criticizing, that is ok) a person who has spent her life supporting conservatives and Repubs. You should have heard her comments after 9/11....they were beautiful. I'm not judging the women doing this....I'm ASKING them why they are doing that to Peggy.....two very different things


4,562 posted on 02/03/2005 10:11:23 AM PST by NorCalRepub
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To: HostileTerritory
Believe what you like.

It's not a belief, it's factual, and that came out of the Amtrak Reform Council. If you don't believe it, pick up a copy of Amtrak's annual budget, which is available via the FOIA.

The reason this is true is that the western trains run 70% to full, and the average passenger rides a longer distance, so passenger-mile revenue is substantially higher than on the NEC. Last I checked, the Empire Builder made about $30,000 per run, which is why it was increased from a tri-weekly to daily about fifteen years ago.

The NEC is a huge multibillion dollar gimme to the eastern states, that far exceeds the amount of money spent on ag subsidies. Out west, our state budgets pay for our regional and commuter trains. So you honestly think that the Ag budget is greater than the defense budget? Please. While I'll agree that the ag subsidies are of questionable value, the missiles and bombers that protect Massachusetts have to be based inland. And would you honestly prefer that Ag jobs paid as well as manufacturing (what does MA make anymore, now that Route 128 is gone and DEC is dead)? Hope you like paying $10 for a loaf of bread, or $20 a pound for steak...

4,563 posted on 02/03/2005 10:17:27 AM PST by HolgerDansk ("Oh Bother", said Pooh, as he chambered another round.)
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To: ohioWfan
The inauguration speech needed to be read and re read.

This speech was more visual. There was something about the President's demeanor that made it unforgettable.

I was thinking too about the continuum of soldiers willing to stand in the breach for freedom. The sacrifice made by so many that can never be repaid, only honored.

This President honors us all with his integrity and dignity. His respect for every last one of us. The worthy and the unworthy.

4,564 posted on 02/03/2005 10:42:35 AM PST by OldFriend (America's glory is not dominion, but liberty.)
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To: HolgerDansk

If subsidies disappeared tomorrow we'd still be paying the same amount for bread and steak, only we'd be paying efficient large farms and ranches to grow the food instead of wasting money propping up small family farms that can't compete on the world market. Subsidies don't keep prices down; overproduction all around the world does a good enough job already. All they do is pay the buggy whip^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H family farmers to hang on for their next welfare check. And then the big farms go along for the ride, collecting subsidies they don't need because it's built into the system.

If transit in western states is such a good deal, why is Greyhound pulling out of places like northern Minnesota? How is it cost-effective to run trains in places where buses can't even break even and air connections are maintained through federal essential service guarantees?


4,565 posted on 02/03/2005 10:46:26 AM PST by HostileTerritory
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To: HolgerDansk
So you honestly think that the Ag budget is greater than the defense budget? Please.

Read what I wrote. I said specifically in terms of money sent to midwestern states. Defense money is distributed a little differently from farm welfare, and there aren't many theatres of operation or defense MANUFACTURERS in Montana and North Dakota.
4,566 posted on 02/03/2005 10:48:31 AM PST by HostileTerritory
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To: sheltonmac
There is no way to reason with a cynic.

A short sighted, self-centered person who sees so little of the vast, sweeping, glorious vision, but only the tunnel vision of his own little world.

Much like a leftist, I'd say. Different politics. Same small view of life. Sad.

4,567 posted on 02/03/2005 10:52:17 AM PST by ohioWfan (George W. Bush........AVENGER of the BONES!!)
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To: OldFriend

Just caught up with the thread.

In some dark place, Ted Kennedy must harbor deep resentment that the CIA, FBI and US military intelligence could not save his brothers from the murderous hatred of Oswald and that Muslim, Sirhan.

His violent anti-war appeasement approach - the same evil that influenced his brothers' murderers.


4,568 posted on 02/03/2005 11:00:47 AM PST by highflight (from a distance - buzzards might appear as eagles.)
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To: HostileTerritory
If subsidies disappeared tomorrow we'd still be paying the same amount for bread and steak, only we'd be paying efficient large farms and ranches to grow the food instead of wasting money propping up small family farms that can't compete on the world market.

Not if ag workers were paid as well as the inflated wages of Masachusetts, obviously. In any event, FYI, most of the Ag subsidy goes to Iowa, and not ND/MT, where there are very few family farms left. Oh, and also FWIW, as of a few months ago, the US became a net importer of food. Hope that makes you happy.

If transit in western states is such a good deal, why is Greyhound pulling out of places like northern Minnesota?

Amtrak hasn't served Northern Minnesota since the 1970s, and even then, that train was state subsidized.

4,569 posted on 02/03/2005 11:05:12 AM PST by HolgerDansk ("Oh Bother", said Pooh, as he chambered another round.)
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To: highflight

Considering old Joe Kennedy was totally lacking in honor and/or integrity it is not surprising that the children are as untrustworthy.


4,570 posted on 02/03/2005 11:10:05 AM PST by OldFriend (America's glory is not dominion, but liberty.)
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To: ohioWfan

You took the words right out of my mouth.

4,571 posted on 02/03/2005 11:11:35 AM PST by sheltonmac ("Duty is ours; consequences are God's." -Gen. Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson)
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To: OldFriend

Yes - wans't old Joe pro-Nazi(anti-Semite)? - Teddy is pro-IRA(anti-British) and most of the 3rd generation are pro-environmentalism(anti-commerce). Always anti-something or other. LOL

Not a very clean gene pool, mostly a mud puddle.


4,572 posted on 02/03/2005 11:20:24 AM PST by highflight (from a distance - buzzards might appear as eagles.)
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To: HostileTerritory
I said specifically in terms of money sent to midwestern states. Defense money is distributed a little differently from farm welfare, and there aren't many theatres of operation or defense MANUFACTURERS in Montana and North Dakota.

That opinion has no basis in fact. All of the remaining silos are in MT, ND and WY; about 3/4 of the strategic bomber fleet is located in ND, MT, and ID. Minot AFB alone contributes over $227 million annually to the ND economy.

Also, it's worth noting that Ag subsidies peaked in 2000 (last Clinton Budget) at $32 billion, and by 2002 had fallen to $15 billion. The largest farms also receive the largest subsidies, since the money is proportional to production capacity.

4,573 posted on 02/03/2005 11:34:54 AM PST by HolgerDansk ("Oh Bother", said Pooh, as he chambered another round.)
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To: HostileTerritory
Excuse me, but since when is every two-bit town entitled to a Class 1 Airport or an interstate-quality road?

They have real weather in Montana and North Dakota. That cute little storm that brought Boston to a standstill recently was nothing compared to typical real winter weather elsewhere. Currently the only dependable long distance transport is by train.

4,574 posted on 02/03/2005 11:37:03 AM PST by HolgerDansk ("Oh Bother", said Pooh, as he chambered another round.)
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To: HolgerDansk

I'm looking at the Department of Agriculture budget right now and spending on commodity programs rose to $25 billion in 2003 and then back to $21 billion in 2004. I expect that market conditions account for the differences.

Other budget items in 2004: $8.3 billion in loans and grants for the Rural Utility Service, $3.5 billion in Farm Loan and Grant Programs, $6 billion in Rural Housing Service loans and grants.

How much was the Amtrak subsidy for one year, again? $1.2 billion or thereabouts? How many people live in the NEC?

I'm not even intending to defend Amtrak. I only take issue with the idea of a northeastern money pit when we've been bailing out the rest of the country for years.


4,575 posted on 02/03/2005 12:03:16 PM PST by HostileTerritory
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To: Timeout

After 4500 threads or so, I don't think there's too much left to say about Pres. Bush's SOTU address that hasn't already been said, so I'll just throw my two cents out there real quick just to get it "on record".

For my money, the SOTU address last night was a smashing success-- maybe Bush's finest address to date. Standing in stark contrast to the losercrats across the aisle from the President, Bush provided a clear, strong and optomistic vision of the future, backed up by a factual catalogue of the successes America has achieved under Pres. Bush as well as a thorough understanding of the challenges yet to come.

Now, it wasn't just the policy itself (per se) that dazzled last night, or the fact that Bush delivered it confidently and professionally. No, it was something else that made last night special. What really struck me last night was that Bush reminded America how GENUINE he is. His tears for the parents of the slain Iraqi soldier were deep and heartfelt; his points about the cause of freedom here and around the world were the product of an almost startling sense of duty to his country. Unlike Clinton, his disgusting predecessor, last nights speech wasn't delivered with the sole intent of boosting the Presidents poll numbers or giving the people what you think they want (nomatter how costly) just so he could build a legacy of some sort.

I was especally inspired by the Presidents call to Americans to align with our newly Democratic Iraqi allies to take the cause of freedom to other outposts of tyranny in the world. Bush understands that building an open and democratic Iraq is crucial to protecting Americans against the advances of Iran, North Korea and other brutal regimes. I was also wowed by the Presidents firm support of his plan for saving social security for future generations through the limited privitization of SS accounts, and his outstanding call for funding to battle AIDS in America and around the world.


4,576 posted on 02/03/2005 12:03:32 PM PST by RockAgainsttheLeft04 (Chaos is great. Chaos is what killed the dinosaurs, darling. -- from Heathers (1989))
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To: highflight
One of Bobby Kennedy's daughters is married to an IRA terrorist who was jailed in Great Britain.

Kennedy was the one who convinced bubba to allow Gerry Adams to come to the USA and fundraise for further terror activites.

4,577 posted on 02/03/2005 12:39:16 PM PST by OldFriend (America's glory is not dominion, but liberty.)
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To: OldFriend
Hi OldFriend.

Rush doesn't have to read our threads to completely nail Chris Matthews, Ron Reagan, Diane Sawyer, and all the Clintonistas who speculated that last night's hug between the Mom and the Iraqi voter was staged. Rush knew the libs were "projecting". That they knew their guys would have faked the moment, created it, so they projected that unto Bush. I LOVE it when Rush "gets it" with such ease, and expressed it so simply that I want to slap myself for not thinking of it first.

4,578 posted on 02/03/2005 1:06:38 PM PST by YaYa123
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To: YaYa123
You have to admit that Rush or someone in his organization reads FR.........

Sometimes I see quotes that are verbatim.....

I turned off the TV immediately after the President's speech. I wanted nothing to take away from that amazing performance by the greatest president in my lifetime.....and I remember when FDR was president!!!

And when Dewey won!!!!!!!

4,579 posted on 02/03/2005 1:12:32 PM PST by OldFriend (America's glory is not dominion, but liberty.)
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To: HostileTerritory
I only take issue with the idea of a northeastern money pit when we've been bailing out the rest of the country for years.

The problem is that this isn't true to a significant extent. Again, have a look at any of the websites which debunked the "Red Welfare State" myth. Incidentally, both California and Massachusetts did very well on federal dollars until the end of the Cold War, owing again to defense spending. The fundamental problem with these kinds of comparisons, however, is the differential in prevailing wages around the country is now pretty substantial.

As for Amtrak, their funny accounting is entirely politically motivated -- the NEC gets them votes in the House, the long distance trains in the Senate. They've received about $27 billion in subsidies over 30 years (of which $19 billion went for NEC capital improvements); for perspective, the Big Dig ran $15 billion (and counting), and typically, highway subsidies run about $32 billion per year.

Having said that, there are a lot of things that could be done better at Amtrak, and it would be helpful to start over. Notably, the on-board personnel do a marginal job and are extremely well-paid for it; this could and should be privatized to Marriott or something similar. Unfortunately, it's a real racket for the federal unions, and it would cost billions more in payments to the Railroad Retirement System to get rid of them (payout was $160 million last year).

4,580 posted on 02/03/2005 1:44:16 PM PST by HolgerDansk ("Oh Bother", said Pooh, as he chambered another round.)
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To: sheltonmac
ROFLOL! Funny!

That's the first time in my life I've ever been accused of being a cynic..........and by a visionless, self-absorbed cynic, no less.

Funny.

4,581 posted on 02/03/2005 1:57:16 PM PST by ohioWfan (George W. Bush........AVENGER of the BONES!!)
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To: OldFriend

Speaking of FDR, on brit's grapevine tonight he produced a quote of FDR's in an address to congress in which he advocates the same plan the president is pushing! LOL


4,582 posted on 02/03/2005 3:43:02 PM PST by Soul Seeker
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To: Soul Seeker

This afternoon Sean had VP Cheney on the air and played all the quotes from X42 and various other dems promoting fixing the crisis in social security in general and in particular promoting the savings accounts.


4,583 posted on 02/03/2005 4:51:44 PM PST by OldFriend (America's glory is not dominion, but liberty.)
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To: maine-iac7
How's the weather over there?

Hot, muggy, and raining. Typical tropical weather. :-)

4,584 posted on 02/04/2005 12:19:25 PM PST by coconutt2000 (NO MORE PEACE FOR OIL!!! DOWN WITH TYRANTS, TERRORISTS, AND TIMIDCRATS!!!! (3-T's For World Peace))
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To: arasina

Arasina, I am just now getting through all the discussion on this thread and I had to tell you I was ROFLMAO at your post!!! I want a George Bush Clone!!!


4,585 posted on 02/04/2005 5:45:50 PM PST by lawgirl (Proud 2 time voter for George W. Bush as of 7:21 AM CST, November 2, 2004. LUVYA DUBYA!!)
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To: lawgirl
Arasina, I am just now getting through all the discussion on this thread and I had to tell you I was ROFLMAO at your post!!! I want a George Bush Clone!!!

Why did that make you laugh? I'm serious as all get out.



;^)

4,586 posted on 02/04/2005 9:17:43 PM PST by arasina (So there.)
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To: Choose Ye This Day
Don't mind me...Just trying some HTML tricks.

Great speech!

4,587 posted on 02/04/2005 9:26:19 PM PST by Choose Ye This Day (America is a great country. 38 million illegal aliens can't be wrong.)
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To: Choose Ye This Day
Well, that one worked. Good. Let's try a few others:

The Democrat Party Anti-American Party

Barbara Boxer is deeply saddened.

Thanks, Mary Mapes. But I'd Rather not.

4,588 posted on 02/04/2005 9:30:08 PM PST by Choose Ye This Day (America is a great country. 38 million illegal aliens can't be wrong.)
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To: Choose Ye This Day
VDH covers this.

In place of Harry Truman and JFK we got John Kerry calling the once-maimed Prime Minister Allawi a "puppet," Senator Murray praising bin Laden's social-welfare work, Senator Boxer calling Secretary of State Rice a veritable liar for agreeing with the various casus belli that Boxer's own Senate colleagues had themselves passed in October 2002. And for emotional and financial support, the Democratic insiders turned to George Soros and Michael Moore, who assured them that their president was either Hitlerian, a dunce, or a deserter.

4,589 posted on 02/04/2005 9:37:58 PM PST by Choose Ye This Day (America is a great country. 38 million illegal aliens can't be wrong.)
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To: arasina

I was laughing because I totally understand and agree. He needs to make enough clones to go around- men today are totally too wimpy!


4,590 posted on 02/05/2005 12:23:56 AM PST by lawgirl (Proud 2 time voter for George W. Bush as of 7:21 AM CST, November 2, 2004. LUVYA DUBYA!!)
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To: ntnychik

Live Thread Ping


4,591 posted on 02/05/2005 10:53:29 PM PST by ntnychik (Proud member of the Bush-eoisie)
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To: benice
********************** By Steven Kreytak AMERICAN-STATESMAN STAFF Tuesday, November 16, 2004 The phone calls and e-mails and instant messages from their son in Iraq stopped Nov. 5, as the military imposed a blackout before the U.S.-led offensive into the insurgent-ridden city of Fallujah. Still, Janet and Bill Norwood slept with a baby monitor next to the computer in their Pflugerville home, the receiver next to their bed. They didn't want to miss the knocking sound their instant messaging program made when their 25-year-old son Byron, a Marine sergeant, jumped online to write home.

In the wee hours of Sunday morning a knock came, but not from the computer. There were two Marines at their front door. "Through the window I could see the brass buttons on the dress blues," Janet Norwood said Monday. "I thought if I didn't open the door it wouldn't be true." Marine Sgt. Byron Wayne Norwood, a graduate of Pflugerville High School, died Saturday during combat in Iraq, the Defense Department announced Monday.

It was the news that Bill and Janet Norwood dreaded during their son's first tour of duty in Iraq at the start of the war last year. It was the news they thought they had dodged when they met him with balloons at the Austin airport as he returned home after six months. It was the news they began to fear all over again when he returned to the fight in July. "I always had the feeling that once we got him home safe and sound after the first time, that sending him again we were just kind of tempting fate," Janet Norwood said.

She spoke as a stream of friends and co-workers came to the house to offer their condolences and food and drinks, each pausing at the dining room table to view an array of family photos showing Byron as a boy. A UPS deliveryman knocked on the door with a box containing a Marine Corps flag that Janet Norwood had ordered. Bill Norwood had once told the deliveryman to announce "UPS" upon knocking, so as not to scare his wife, who had constantly feared news of her son's death. Monday, Bill Norwood told the deliveryman, a Gulf War vet, that their son had died.

The circumstances of his death have not been disclosed. A Defense Department news release said only that it was "the result of enemy action in Al Anbar province." Al Anbar province is west of Baghdad and includes the city of Fallujah, where a major offensive against insurgents began more than a week ago. U.S. and Iraqi officials have declared that they now control most of the city, although pockets of resistance remain. At least 38 American soldiers have died in the offensive, The Associated Press reported.

Norwood was assigned to the 3rd Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, I Marine Expeditionary Force, based at Camp Pendleton, Calif. Through patching together news reports, Bill Norwood believes that his son's battalion entered Fallujah from the northwest last week, captured the train station and has been involved in house-to-house fighting for the past several days. "He believed strongly in keeping the fight on terrorism over there," Bill Norwood said. "He said, 'We fight the battles over there so you don't have to fight them at home.' "

Byron Norwood was determined to make the United States safer, to bring freedom to the Iraqi people and to make the world a better place, his family said. And he made it clear that he wasn't afraid to die. "Byron understood the consequences," said his older brother Grant Norwood, 26. "There was no unfinished business with the family. We all understood that he might not come back."

In addition to his parents and brother, Norwood is survived by sisters Kristen Hullum, 28, and Grayson Norwood, 22; brother Colin Norwood, 20; and grandparents Jake W. Aston and Jeane Aston of Houston. Funeral arrangements have not been set. The family is unsure when Norwood's body will be returned to the United States.

Byron Norwood was born in Austin and went to elementary schools in the Eanes school district. His family moved to Pflugerville in 1991, where he attended Westview Middle School. At Pflugerville High School, where a moment of silence was observed Monday, Norwood played trumpet in the jazz and marching bands and acted in dramatic productions, including "Fiddler on the Roof." But he always wanted to be a Marine. Upon high school graduation in 1998, Norwood joined the Marine reserves. He took some classes at Austin Community College and worked as an assistant in the Marine recruiting office in Round Rock.

In 2001, he signed up for active duty. In January 2003, Norwood deployed to Iraq for the invasion to oust Saddam Hussein. His father said he was involved in 20 engagements during his first tour, including a dogged fight to clear the way for supply lines at Nasiriyah following the capture of U.S. troops by Iraqi forces in that city.

When he returned home, Norwood spent two weeks in Pflugerville. He wanted nothing more than to spend time with his family, eating fajitas and spaghetti and green bean casserole at home, his parents said. He seemed more mature, his siblings said, but not so much so that he stopped doing his impressions of Jim Carrey in the movie "Ace Ventura: Pet Detective," or of Carrey as Fire Marshal Bill in a skit on the television show "In Living Color," said Hullum, his sister. "He was a jokester, so fun," she said. "It was hard to think of my baby brother as this big strong Marine."

When Norwood returned to Camp Pendleton, he was put in charge of organizing training for the 160 Marines in his company as they prepared for redeployment to Iraq. For his part, Norwood took intensive Arabic language and culture classes to use while training the developing Iraqi army. For his parents, the second deployment was even tougher than the first. He was one year away from completing his enlistment requirement and going to college. But Norwood was excited to return and "get the job done," his mother said. "I told him, 'I just feel like I am sending you into the world and I am supposed to protect you,' " Janet Norwood said. "He said, 'Mom, now it's my job to protect you.' "

4,592 posted on 02/06/2005 8:20:17 AM PST by NewsGal
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