Sunday, July 1, 2012

Several Federal Air Marshals Reportedly Fired For Drinking On Duty

Like the former DEA agent in the news clip, I am guessing there must be something more to this than some air marshals having a beer at lunch. It just does not seem likely that they would be fired for that (at least if not probationary agents, probationary agents can kiss the job goodbye for that offense).

Thinking back, on older times in government service, when I was in U.S. Customs, I would estimate half of the Customs Service could have been fired in one day, and at least another 25% to 40% more the next day, had the rules been enforced that strictly back then.

All the best,
Glenn B

Shooting Tragedy Apparently Caused By Potential Darwin Award Winner

What a shame, a young life snuffed out at the moment it should have started shining it brightest. Why? Who can tell what would spark a teenager to play a game of Russian Roulette with his friends. Maybe he wanted to commit suicide and figured he could do it that way - making it look like a dumb move on his part to play the game. Maybe there were alcohol and drugs mixed with the gunpowder - it is a certainty they do not mix well. Maybe it was just a stupid decision. Whatever, his life is over and his parents or relatives will likely mourn for years to come. Senseless or so it seems.

Of course, because it seemingly was senseless, he may just win a Darwin award:

All the best,
Glenn B

Mr. Beer

My brother-in-law, the younger, gave me a Mr. Beer kit with a few extra cans of malt, probably well over a year ago. It must have been for Christmas 2010. It has sat in my basement all that time. Sure, I opened it, took a look, and figured I would brew some beer in no time. Well, no time turned into sometime, which grew to quite some time, and aged until it was a long time, and became almost ancient over a very long time. Finally it was time, well not yet to enjoy a beer but to start the process. I took it all out of the box this afternoon, read up on how to do it, and finally got it done - that is - at least the first part. Now the concoction, consisting of water, booster, hopped malt extract (man did that stink), and yeast, has to sit around in the plastic fermenting keg for at least a week, they say two weeks is better. Then I have to bottle it and add some sugar, do whatever else it says in the instruction pamphlet, then seal up the bottles and wait at least another week. They also say two weeks is better for this stage and I think I will give it at least those two weeks so the beer comes out better tasting and stronger. Then I will imbibe, I think it is 8.5 quarts, that should make for a nice buzz for me, my son and my brothers-in-law.

I really am looking toward enjoying my home brewed concoction. It should be ready on or about July 29th. The hopped malt extract kit I used was for an India Pale Ale. If it comes out right, it should be ambrosial, especially on a hot and humid summer's evening.

All the best,
Glenn B

Today In History - One of America's Greatest Battles Commences At Gettysburg, PA

One of this country's greatest battles began today, July 1, 1863. It was a battle that would last through three days of some of the most terrible fighting our military has ever seen and would result in some of the highest ever casualty numbers for our troops throughout U.S. military history. The Battle of Gettysburg resulted in the highest number of casualties of any single battle in the Civil War (the Civil War, on the whole, eclipses all other U.S. conflicts to date regarding deaths of Americans). I am also pretty certain that the Battle of Gettysburg had the highest rate, per day, of U.S casualties of any single battle in which our country ever has been engaged. It had, more casualties, by far, than even battles like those of: Pearl Harbor with 2,335 dead and 1,143 wounded (duration one day), the Guadalcanal Campaign 7,361 dead and 1,000’s wounded (186 days), the Battle of Bataan 10,000 dead and 20,000 wounded (99 days). Remember that Gettysburg lasted only 3 days, yet there were and estimated 46,000 to 51,000 military casualties between both sides (and both sides were Americans). That works out to an astonishing 15,333 American troop casualties per day for the lower estimate, or 17,000 per day for the higher estimate, over only 3 days of fighting.

We should never forget the sacrifices made on that day. No matter which side's cause you favor, they were Americans. As President Abraham Lincoln later put it (November 19, 1863):

Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation, so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.

But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate, we can not consecrate, we can not hallow this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us—that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion—that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain—that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom—and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.

It is a shame that politicians and many of the American people seem to have forgotten that our government is supposed to be government of the people, by the people, for the people and that our nation was conceived in Liberty. It is truly a crying shame that we are all probably familiar with the words of the Gettysburg address, words that Lincoln thought would soon be forgotten but which have been meorialized forever; yet, we seem to have forgotten the sacrifices  made by those who fell in that battle. They were sacrifices to assure we would never allow our great nation to turn into what it has become recently.

All the best,