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TODAY
Wednesday September 17th, 2014

"It Is Not A Question of Who Is Right Or Wrong But What Is Right Or Wrong That Counts."
--Geoff Metctalf



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                         The Cold Tower: The Dark Heritage Saga, Book 1 | [Michael J Bertolini]

The Cold Tower: The Dark Heritage Saga, Book 1

Publisher's Summary

Peace. Prosperity. Freedom. After 50 years it ends. In the world of Scyllia darkness is coming. The evil sorcerer Enlokirim has risen from the grave, seeking revenge against those that destroyed him. He searches for the Triangles of Power: nine magical stones that are individually powerful, but even more dangerous together. Amras Oronar, an outcast elf warrior, leads a group of adventurers in hope of stopping Enlokirim. He is joined by Isla Solwen, a vampire hunter and priestess of the dead; Zara Wolf, a barbarian with a mysterious heritage; and Ginerva Page, a witch that knows the history and power of the Triangles. Together they'll face monstrous creatures both living and dead in an effort to save their world... but is that enough?

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World & National                 

Obama Insists U.S. Will Not Get Drawn Into Ground War in Iraq

President Obama on Wednesday repeated his vow to destroy Islamist terrorists in Syria and Iraq, but he insisted that the United States would not go it alone and promised a military audience that he would not send them back into direct combat.

“Whether in Iraq or in Syria, these terrorists will learn the same thing that the leaders of Al Qaeda already know: We mean what we say,” Mr. Obama said at MacDill Air Force Base. “We’ve always known that the end of the war in Afghanistan didn’t mean the end of threats or challenges to America.”

But Mr. Obama also hailed the official end of America’s combat mission in Afghanistan at the end of the year and said he was not starting another extensive war in the Middle East. He said the American troops currently in Iraq — they will soon number 1,600 — were not there to fight on the ground.



Mood Tense Ahead of Scotland Independence Vote

The mood is tense on the streets of Scotland’s biggest city, Glasgow, less than 24 hours ahead of the referendum on independence with both sides optimistic of victory.

At a packed pub in Glasgow’s West End, the punters are discussing an unusual topic for a Tuesday night - politics. There’s just one day to go before Scotland heads to the polls to vote on independence and emotions are running high.



Trust in Mass Media Returns to All-Tine Low

After registering slightly higher trust last year, Americans' confidence in the media's ability to report "the news fully, accurately, and fairly" has returned to its previous all-time low of 40%. Americans' trust in mass media has generally been edging downward from higher levels in the late 1990s and the early 2000s.

Americans' Trust in the Mass Media

Prior to 2004, Americans placed more trust in mass media than they do now, with slim majorities saying they had a "great deal" or "fair amount" of trust. But over the course of former President George W. Bush's re-election season, the level of trust fell significantly, from 54% in 2003 to 44% in 2004. Although trust levels rebounded to 50% in 2005, they have failed to reach a full majority since.



Number of websites explodes past a billion (and counting)

The number of websites has burst above one billion and is growing apace, according to figures updated in real time Tuesday by online tracker Internet Live Stats
.
                 

Tim Berners-Lee, considered the father of the World Wide Web, touted the milestone on Twitter -- one of the most prominent websites in the mushrooming but sometimes murky Internet world.

It comes as the agency responsible for managing addresses on the Internet expands choices far beyond ".com" and ".net" to provide more online real estate for the booming ranks of websites.

The World Wide Web turned 25 in April this year.



Fed Keeps 'Considerable Time' Pledge as Growth Is 'Moderate'


The Federal Reserve maintained a commitment to keep interest rates near zero for a “considerable time” after asset purchases are completed, saying the economy is expanding at a moderate pace and inflation is below its goal.

“Labor market conditions improved somewhat further” while “significant underutilization of labor resources” remains, the Federal Open Market Committee said today in a statement in Washington. “Inflation has been running below the committee’s longer-run objective.” In July, the Fed said inflation was “somewhat closer” to its goal.



Fireball Was Russian Spy Satellite?
Military experts believe they have identified an object seen streaking across the sky over the Rockies earlier this month.

Military experts believe a mystery object spotted streaking across the sky over the US was a Russian spy satellite.

More than three dozen witnesses reported seeing a bright object that broke apart into three "rocks" with glowing red and orange streaks as it moved northward over the Rocky Mountains on September 2.

Russia has denied claims that the fireball spotted at 10.30pm was a piece of the Cosmos 2495 satellite, which was designed to shoot reconnaissance photos and send them back to Earth in capsules.



GOP Sweep Likely Thanks to 'Rapidly Decaying' Obama?

President Barack Obama’s handling of everything from America’s response to the Islamic State (ISIS) to the economy and the border crisis have laid the groundwork for “a remarkable Republican sweep” in the midterm elections, former Republican House Speaker Newt Gingrich told Newsmax TV’s “America’s Forum” on Wednesday.

“The president is decaying,” he said. “People don't believe him. Even if he says what they want him to say, they don't believe he'll do it.

"He's angering his own left both on the border and with the war against ISIS. At the same time, the economy's still not good and people are worried about the deficit, they're worried about big spending. It doesn't feel right to them.



From outside voice to inside player

At the center of the swirling congressional debate over funding the government and arming rebels in Syria stands the new House majority whip, Rep. Steve Scalise, whose rise to power reflects the challenge facing GOP leaders seeking to bring unity to a traditionally rancorous caucus, just weeks before the midterm elections.

Officially on the job for less than two months, the 48-year old Scalise (R-La.), is a tea party conservative learning on the fly as he tries to build support for a short-term spending bill that is likely to include authorization of President Obama’s plans to train and equip moderate Syrian forces to combat the Islamic State.



Silver: Odds of GOP Senagte Takover Significantly Down


The Republican Party's chances of taking control of the Senate have decreased significantly as the fortunes of Democrats in key states have surged, says Nate Silver of FiveThirtyEight.com.

According to the former New York Times statistician, Republican odds stand at 55 percent, a drop from 64 percent just two weeks ago. 

"We've never quite settled on the semantics of when to call an election a 'tossup.' A sports bettor or poker player would grimace and probably take a 55-45 edge. But this Senate race is pretty darned close," Silver said on an article on his website.



Sen. Jim Inhofe: Obama ISIS Strategy Based on Public Opinion

President Barack Obama's strategy on combating the Islamic State (ISIS) is based on public opinion rather than relying on advice from military leaders, said Sen. Jim Inhofe, ranking member of the Senate Armed Services Committee.

Case in point, Inhofe told Fox News' "America's Newsroom" that in 2011, the Armed Services Committee, as well as Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey, advised the president against pulling all troops from Iraq. However, he said Obama didn't follow that advice, a move that had now "come home to haunt him."

"This president responds to one thing, and that is public opinion. When the public demands that we defend America, he will do it. It's all poll-driven," the Oklahoma Republican said Wednesday.



The Obama disease takes toll on economy

Ronald Reagan’s famous question that sank Jimmy Carter in 1980 — “Are you better off than you were four years ago?” — could be reprised to measure the performance of Barack Obama and the Democrats. The latest figures from the Census Bureau and Federal Reserve suggest the answer would be an emphatic “no.”

In 2008, Mr. Obama’s message of hope and change resonated with the promise of “policies that invest in our middle-class, create new jobs, and grow this economy from the bottom up so that everyone has a chance to succeed.” Audiences cheered, but now with the knowledge from experience, the question becomes, has that investment paid off?



Multiculgturalism: Lethal to Western VAlues

German Chancellor Angela Merkel declared that in Germany, multiculturalism has “utterly failed.” Both Australia’s ex-Prime Minister John Howard and Spain’s ex-Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar reached the same conclusion about multiculturalism in their countries. British Prime Minister David Cameron has warned that multiculturalism is fostering extremist ideology and directly contributing to homegrown Islamic terrorism. U.K. Independence Party leader Nigel Farage said the United Kingdom’s push for multiculturalism has not united Britons but pushed them apart. It has allowed for Islam to emerge despite Britain’s Judeo-Christian culture. Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair said the roots of violent Islamism are not “superficial but deep” and can be found “in the extremist minority that now, in every European city, preach hatred of the West and our way of life.”

The bottom line is that much of the Muslim world is at war with Western civilization. There’s no question that the West has the military might to thwart radical Islam’s agenda. The question up for grabs is whether we have the intelligence to recognize the attack and the will to defend ourselves from annihilation.



Medal of Honor
The Medal of Honor is the highest award for valor in action against an enemy force which can be bestowed upon an individual serving in the Armed Services of the United States.
GeneTrerally presented to its recipient by the President of the United States of America in the name of Congress.
The first award of the Medal of Honor was made March 25, 1863 to Private JACOB PARROTT.The last award of the Medal of Honor was made September 15, 2011 to Sergeant DAKOTA MEYER.

Since then there have been:  • 3458 recipients of the Medal of Honor.
    • Today there are 85 Living Recipients of the Medal of Honor.

PETRY, LEROY A. Photo

PETRY, LEROY A.

Rank: Staff Sergeant

Organization: U.S. Army
Company: Company D
Division: 2d Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment
Place / Date: 26 May 2008, Paktya Province, Afghanistan

Citation

For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty: Staff Sergeant Leroy A. Petry distinguished himself by acts of gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty in action with an armed enemy in the vicinity of Paktya Province, Afghanistan, on May 26, 2008. As a Weapons Squad Leader with D Company, 2nd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment, Staff Sergeant Petry moved to clear the courtyard of a house that potentially contained high-value combatants. While crossing the courtyard, Staff Sergeant Petry and another Ranger were engaged and wounded by automatic weapons fire from enemy fighters. Still under enemy fire, and wounded in both legs, Staff Sergeant Petry led the other Ranger to cover. He then reported the situation and engaged the enemy with a hand grenade, providing suppression as another Ranger moved to his position. The enemy quickly responded by maneuvering closer and throwing grenades. The first grenade explosion knocked his two fellow Rangers to the ground and wounded both with shrapnel. A second grenade then landed only a few feet away from them. Instantly realizing the danger, Staff Sergeant Petry, unhesitatingly and with complete disregard for his safety, deliberately and selflessly moved forward, picked up the grenade, and in an effort to clear the immediate threat, threw the grenade away from his fellow Rangers. As he was releasing the grenade it detonated, amputating his right hand at the wrist and further injuring him with multiple shrapnel wounds. Although picking up and throwing the live grenade grievously wounded Staff Sergeant Petry, his gallant act undeniably saved his fellow Rangers from being severely wounded or killed. Despite the severity of his wounds, Staff Sergeant Petry continued to maintain the presence of mind to place a tourniquet on his right wrist before communicating the situation by radio in order to coordinate support for himself and his fellow wounded Rangers. Staff Sergeant Petry's extraordinary heroism and devotion to duty are in keeping with the highest traditions of military service, and reflect great credit upon himself, 75th Ranger Regiment, and the United States Army.



From the Archives

American Fairness to a Fault — a Deadly One
Tuesday, 10 Nov 2009 02:28 PM

American’s tragic flaw is our unbridled fairness, which has been corrupted ever more by the cancer of political correctness to the point we put ourselves at risk rather than create even the perception of prejudice.

Sometime after the VOLAR (all volunteer) Army, the military veered from the “yes sir, yes sir, three bags full” blind adherence to all orders to the concept of refusing “unlawful orders” and that was ostensibly a good thing.

However, the uniformed services do not set or get to pick and choose foreign policy. The civilian leadership sets foreign policy, and the U.S. military enforces it — with a big, honking combined arms stick.

Retired Lt. Col. Ralph Peters has been one of the rare pundits with the courage to target the “culture of political correctness” in leadership of the military. In at least two interviews on Fox, Peters (correctly) blamed the culture of political correctness for the Army’s diffidence in taking action against Nidal Malik Hasan in the wake of knowledge of the problem.

Many mechanisms exist for dealing with matters of deep conscience — all without killing those one might think disagree with in principle.

However, it is not prejudice to discriminate based on threat facts in evidence. Refusal to act judiciously for fear of a tainted perception is just plain dumb.

Notwithstanding the articulated fears of the Army chief of staff and the secretary of Homeland Security, officials made an epic mistake in handling suspicions about Hasan. A mistake founded on political correctness and sustained by diffidence that cost the lives of innocents.

Reportedly, U.S. intelligence agencies were aware (months ago) that Hasan was attempting to make contact with people associated with al-Qaida. He spoke openly to too many people about his angst and misdirected sympathies. He was apparently a poster child for suspicion, and the Army failed bigtime to intervene.

“It is not known whether the intelligence agencies informed the Army that one of its officers was seeking to connect with suspected al-Qaida figures," the officials said.

But you damnbetcha they SHOULD have done so.

Investigators want to know whether Hasan maintained contact with a radical mosque leader from Virginia, Anwar al Awlaki, who now lives in Yemen and runs a Web site that promotes jihad around the world against the United States.

In a recent blog posting titled "Nidal Hassan Did the Right Thing," Awlaki calls Hasan a "hero" and a "man of conscience who could not bear living the contradiction of being a Muslim and serving in an army that is fighting against his own people."

Increasingly we are told people who knew or worked with Hasan say he seemed to become gradually more radical in his condemnation of the war in Iraq and Afghanistan. Subordinates and superiors had a responsibility to flag the inappropriate rhetoric, and they apparently did not.

The fear to speak out is a symptom of the PC disease fueled by recriminations and implied threats of discrimination — a fear that indirectly resulted in mayhem.

Sen. Joseph Lieberman said, "If Hasan was showing signs, saying to people that he had become an Islamist extremist, the U.S. Army has to have a zero tolerance," and despite the echo of shutting the barn door after the horse got out, he is right.

Army Chief of Staff Gen. George Casey Jr. is concerned that speculation about the religious beliefs of Hasan could “cause a backlash against some of our Muslim soldiers.” He’s right, but such a backlash would be a direct result of the failure of command — not prejudice.

When confronted about whether he thought the Army “dropped the ball” in not responding to warning signs, Casey replied that the Army needs to be careful not to jump to conclusions based on early tidbits of information.

Sen. Lindsey Graham, R.-S.C., and Sen. Jack Reed, D-R.I., both of whom are veterans, took pains to say that Muslims have served honorably in the military and at risk to their lives.

“At the end of the day, this is not about his religion — the fact that this man was a Muslim,” Graham said on CBS’ “Face the Nation.”

But, hey, it is (kinda/sorta) about religion (when the FBI says 10 percent of American Mosques preach jihad) — at least from a risk analysis perspective.


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