Thursday, October 29, 2009


Sunday, October 25, 2009

Journal 19-25 Oct

19 Oct 09

Bible Reading: I Kings 22b – II Kings 2

TAPA 1781, Lord Cornwallis surrenders his British army at Yorktown, Virginia, effectively ending the Revolutionary War. “Out of this rabble has risen a people who defy kings.”

Workout: 60 mins on elliptical (5 miles); sit ups, stretching

Breakfast: Protein Shake, oatmeal w mixed berry yogurt, coffee

Lunch: BBQ Ribs, cole slaw, fruit salad, V-8, diet coke

Supper: Taco salad, V-8, cranberry juice

20 Oct 09

Bible Reading: II Kings 3-4

TAPA 1803, The U.S. Senate ratifies the Louisiana Purchase.

Workout: 60 mins on elliptical (5 miles); sit ups, stretching

Breakfast: oatmeal w mixed berry yogurt, coffee

Lunch: Chili over rice, bean salad, jello, V-8, diet coke

Supper: Vegetable salad, Pulled pork sandwich, grapes, V-8, diet pepsi

21 Oct 09

Bible Reading: II Kings 5-7

TAPA 1797, The Navy frigate USS Constitution, “Old Ironsides,” is launched in Boston.

Workout: 60 mins on elliptical (5 miles); sit ups, stretching

Breakfast: Protein Shake, oatmeal w mixed berry yogurt, coffee

Lunch: Tuna wrap, bean salad, fruit salad, V-8, diet pepsi

Supper: BBQ rib salad, Mac/Cheese, grapes, Cranberry juice, pineapple juice

22 Oct 09

Bible Reading: II Kings 8-9

TAPA 1836, Sam Houston is inaugurated as president of the Republic of Texas.

Workout: 60 mins on elliptical (5 miles); sit ups, stretching

Breakfast: Protein Shake, oatmeal w mixed berry yogurt, coffee

Lunch: Spaghetti/meat balls, corn, garlic bread, cherry pie, OJ, diet pepsi

Supper: Salmon, rice, steamed veggies, grapes, AJ, CJ

23 Oct 09

Bible Reading: II Kings 10-12

TAPA 1864, Union forces prevail in the Battle of Westport, near Kansas City, Missouri, one of the largest Civil War engagements west of the Mississippi. I have had many meals at that site, now crowded with shops, restaurants and bars.

Workout: 60 mins on elliptical (5 miles); sit ups, stretching

Breakfast: Sausage/egg bagel, waffle, melon

Lunch: Tuna wrap, chili beans, apple, banana, plum

Supper: Crab cakes, 4 oz. steak, green beans, potato/carrot salad, apple

24 Oct 09

Bible Reading: II Kings 13-15

TAPA 1781, In Philadelphia, Congress hears a report of the American victory at Yorktown and processes to a nearby church to give thanks. (Guess there wasn’t separation of church and state, yet, huh?)

1861, The first transcontinental telegraph message is sent from San Francisco to President Lincoln in Washington, D.C.

Breakfast: Oatmeal w mixed berry yogurt, coffee

Lunch: Rotisserie chicken, green beans, corn, sweet potatoes, grapes, diet pepsi

Supper: Chicken enchilada, Refried beans, mexirice, fruit salad, cranberry juice, apple juice

25 Oct 09

Bible Reading: II Kings 16-18A

TAPA 1812, Captain Stephen Decatur becomes a national hero when his ship, the USS United States, defeats the British frigate Macedonian of the Moroccan coast.

Workout: 60 mins on elliptical (5 miles); sit ups, stretching

Breakfast: 3 egg omelet w peppers, jalapenos, cheddar, biscuit w gravy, grapefruit juice, coffee

Lunch: Chicken wrap, bean salad, diet coke

Supper: Jambalaya over rice, grapes, Snapple

Chapel service: Prayer hour with Brent Sanders. One of the soldiers started snoring loudly about 14 minutes into the very monotonatic prayer.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Journal 12-18 October 2009

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12 Oct 09
Bible Reading: I Kings 4-7
TAPA 1492, Columbus sailed the ocean blue and landed at San Salvador, Bahamas.
2000, In Yemen, al-Qaeda suicide bombers in a small boat ram into the destroyer USS Cole, killing 17 sailors. I visited survivors at Portsmouth Naval Hospital, Virginia later that Fall while on a Joint Doctrine Working Group meeting for USSTRATCOM. There were lots of cards, letters and stuffed animals and flowers in every room.
Workout: 60 mins on elliptical (5 miles); sit ups, stretching
Breakfast: Protein Shake, oatmeal w mixed berry yogurt, coffee
Lunch: Tuna salad wrap, fruit salad, V-8, diet coke
Supper: Taco salad, strawberries, V-8, diet pepsi

13 Oct 09
Bible Reading: I Kings 8-10
TAPA 1775, The Continental Congress authorizes an American naval force. Happy Birthday, Navy!
1903, the Boston Americans beat the Pittsburgh Pirates 3-0 to win the first World Series prevailing 5 games to 3, best of seven, but must win by two??
Workout: 60 mins on elliptical (5 miles); sit ups, stretching
Breakfast: Protein Shake, oatmeal w mixed berry yogurt, coffee
Lunch: Turkey bacon wrap, fruit salad, V-8, diet pepsi
Supper: NY Strip (6 oz), Fried Scallops, broccoli, grapes, Navy Birthday Cake! Iced Tea
Helped Amanda Pete with Threat Finance Brief today.

14 Oct 09
Bible Reading: I Kings 11-12; Pay heed to the lesson of Rehoboam who forsook the counsel of the wise elders for that of young whippersnappers.
TAPA 1644, William Penn, founder of Pennsylvania, is born in London.
1947, Air Force test pilot Chuck Yeager becomes the first person to fly faster than the speed of sound. He liked Beamon’s chewing gum. At least that’s what I remember from “The Right Stuff.”
Workout: 60 mins on elliptical (5 miles); sit ups, stretching
Breakfast: Protein Shake, oatmeal w mixed berry yogurt, coffee
Lunch: Chicken wrap, Shrimp salad, V-8, diet pepsi
Supper: Fried chicken, peas/mushrooms, sweet potatoes, ice cream w strawberries, V-8, diet coke, chicken machado, squid Filipino, rice
Maj Andy Knight lost his 9mm pistol today.

15 Oct 09
Bible Reading: I Kings 13-14
TAPA 1860, Grace Bedell of Westfield, NY writes Abraham Lincoln, urging him to grow a beard. He did. And, on his way to the White House the next year, he stopped in Westfield, gave Grace a kiss, and thanked her for her advice.
Workout: 60 mins on elliptical (5 miles); sit ups, stretching
Breakfast: Protein Shake, oatmeal w mixed berry yogurt, coffee
Lunch: Turkey, dressing, corn, peas, V-8, diet coke
Got a couple nice letters from mom and a really nice one from Lora!
Supper: Chicken Parmesan, mixed veggies, garlic toast, V-8, diet coke, pecan pie!
SSG James and I had a meeting of the minds tonight. We butted heads, but I prevailed upon him the importance of the work I wanted him to do.

16 Oct 09
Bible Reading: I Kings 15-17
TAPA 1758, Lexicographer Noah Webster is born in West Hartford, CT. Oh, if you don’t know what ‘lexicographer’ means, look it up.
Workout: 60 mins on elliptical (5 miles); sit ups, stretching
Breakfast: Protein Shake, oatmeal w mixed berry yogurt, coffee
Lunch: I don’t remember
Supper: Steak, scallops, green beans, salad, triple strawberry ice cream, V-8, Cranberry juice

17 Oct 09
Bible Reading: I Kings 18-20
TAPA 1916, The USS Arizona is commissioned at the New York Naval Shipyard.
Breakfast: oatmeal w peaches & honey, coffee
Lunch: chicken machado and afghan flatbread, chicken enchilada, salad, V-8, diet coke
Met with CZ minister of finance/foreign affairs representative today. Discussed projects and corruption.
Supper: Pasta night! Grapes. V-8, cranberry juice
Texas beats OU in the ugliest game I’ve ever not actually watched – I got the play-by-play from Lora, Gary and Jesse via Skype/web cam hook up.

18 Oct 09
Bible Reading: I Kings 21-22a; Note in I Kings 21:27 how God saw Ahab humble himself and repent, even after all the evil Ahab and his wife Jezebel had done, and God relented from punishing Ahab at that time. Gives us all hope that all we need to do is humbly ask forgiveness, no matter what we have done, and God will hear us.
TAPA 1767, Charles Mason and Jeremiah Dixon complete their survey of the boundary between Pennsylvania and Maryland, the Mason-Dixon line.
1867, the United States takes possession of Alaska from Russia.
Chapel Service: 1Lt Paul Walker gave his first sermon today. Quite a heart-felt message based in I John 1.
Breakfast: three egg omelet (jalapenos, cheese, bell pepper), biscuit w gravy, honeydew melon, coffee, juice
Lunch: Chicken saute, tuna casserole, carrots, broccoli, jello, V-8, Snapple
Supper: TBD

Remembering Afghanistan’s Golden Age

NYT 18 Oct 09

WASHINGTON — From presidential confidants in the White House Situation Room to anchors on cable television to ruminators at the city’s think tanks, the view has settled in: Afghanistan is an ungovernable collection of tribes that has confounded every conqueror since Alexander the Great. Like a lot of received wisdom, it may well be correct.

But as President Obama debates whether to send more American troops to Afghanistan, and whether, more pointedly, he might be sending them down a black hole of civic hopelessness, American and Afghan scholars and diplomats say it is worth recalling four decades in the country’s recent history, from the 1930s to the 1970s, when there was a semblance of a national government and Kabul was known as “the Paris of Central Asia.”

Afghans and Americans alike describe the country in those days as a poor nation, but one that built national roads, stood up an army and defended its borders. As a monarchy and then a constitutional monarchy, there was relative stability and by the 1960s a brief era of modernity and democratic reform. Afghan women not only attended Kabul University, they did so in miniskirts. Visitors — tourists, hippies, Indians, Pakistanis, adventurers — were stunned by the beauty of the city’s gardens and the snow-capped mountains that surround the capital.
“I lived in Afghanistan when it was very governable, from 1964 to 1974,” said Thomas E. Gouttierre, director of the Center for Afghanistan Studies at the University of Nebraska, Omaha, who met recently in Kabul with Gen.Stanley A. McChrystal, the top NATO commander in Afghanistan. Mr. Gouttierre, who spent his decade in the country as a Peace Corps volunteer, a Fulbright scholar and the national basketball team’s coach, said, “I’ve always thought it was one of the most beautiful places in the world.”

Afghans today say that the view of their country as an ungovernable “graveyard of empires” is condescending and uninformed. “Unfortunately, we have a lot of overnight experts on Afghanistan right now,” said Said Tayeb Jawad, the Afghan ambassador to Washington. “You turn to any TV channel and they are experts on Afghan ethnicities, tribal issues and history without having been to Afghanistan or read one or two books.”

“Afghanistan,” Mr. Jawad asserted, “is less tribal than New York.”

Zalmay Khalilzad, an Afghan-American and the former American ambassador to Afghanistan who grew up in Kabul and the northern Afghan city of Mazar-i-Sharif, said that calling a country ungovernable was a standard reaction when Americans do not want to engage in a conflict, like Iraq or the Balkans. The response, he said, is articulated as, “We were wrong to have the objectives that we had because this place is unhelpable, they’ve been at war for a thousand years, who the hell do we think we are that we can solve this problem?”

Mr. Khalilzad would be the first to acknowledge that Afghanistan was always fractious politically, and that there were assassinations and coups even during the era of relative peace. But the current downward spiral did not begin until 1978, when the prime minister, Sardar Mohammad Daoud Khan, was killed in a Communist coup, setting off three decades of conflict.

In 1979, the Soviets invaded, occupied Afghanistan for the next decade and were finally driven out by American-backed mujahedeen fighters, some of whom went on to form theTaliban, an Islamic student militia, which took control in Kabul in 1996. The Taliban in turn were toppled by the Americans in 2001, but fighting continued.

And by the end of the 1970s, many of the educated elite had fled and resettled across Europe, Asia and the United States. Gone with them was the promise of those earlier decades, when Kabul solicited foreign aid from both Washington and Moscow that brought in electricity, dams and irrigation, and when a young Parliament was trying out a fledgling democracy.

“There was definitely what was developing to be a newer tradition of a more open society and trained people” in those earlier years, said Paula Newberg, director of Georgetown University’s Institute for the Study of Diplomacy, who was an adviser to President Hamid Karzai’s government in Afghanistan from 2002 to 2004.

J. Alexander Thier, an expert on Afghanistan at the United States Institute of Peace who lived in the country during the takeover by the Taliban in the 1990s, said that some Afghans returned to the country after 2002, but that many still lived abroad. He said he was not “incredibly optimistic” about Afghanistan after eight years of the current war, but that he supported robust reconstruction aid and American help to bolster regional governments throughout the country. “I lived in Afghanistan in the absolute darkest days, when if Afghanistan was ever going to break apart into separate states, it would have happened,” he said. Now, he said, “the alternatives are so much more bleak and dangerous for us that we do need to keep trying.”

Frederick W. Kagan, a military expert at the American Enterprise Institute, made a related point: “Our enemies,” he said, “believe that Afghanistan is governable in its current state, because that’s what they’re trying to do.”

For now, administration officials say that much of the debate in the Situation Room is centered on whether the United States should focus less on the weak central Afghan government or put more money and effort into the provinces, where warlords have traditionally ruled. “We shouldn’t worry so much about Karzai, we should worry about empowering the governors and getting better district chiefs and police chiefs,” said a senior State Department official.

“I think Afghanistan is governable,” the official said, “but the question is at what level?”
For argument’s sake, let’s suppose NYC is actually more “tribal” than Afghanistan and that by extrapolation, the US is more tribal than NYC, as the honorable AFG AMB says. If I remember my math, if A is greater than B and B is greater than C, then A is greater than C by association, correct? So, if you accept that the US is more tribal than NYC and NYC is more tribal than AFG, then, US must be more tribal than AFG, correct?

So, why can’t the AFG government rule effectively outside Kabul if the US, being more tribal than AFG, and much larger geographically, can do so? AFG has been around for thousands of years. US – a couple hundred and some change.

I have some questions for the honorable Ambassador from AFG to the US:

What are your proposed solutions for the governance of your country?
What are your proposed solutions for the education of your people?
What are your proposed solutions to deal with the enemies of your country?
What are your proposed solutions to improve the infrastructure of your country?
What are your proposed solutions to deal with corruption at all levels within your country?
What are your proposed solutions to create a sense of nationalism within your country?

I quite agree with the senior State Department official quoted at the end of the Times’ article. I will add a caveat to his last question, though: AFG is governable, but at what level and what form will that government take?

Monday, October 12, 2009

Journal 05-11 Oct

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05 Oct 09

Bible Reading: II Samuel 14-15

TAPA 1703, Theologian Jonathan Edwards is born in East Windsor, Connecticut

Workout: 60 mins on elliptical (5 miles); sit ups, stretching

Breakfast: Protein Shake, oatmeal w mixed berry yogurt, coffee

Lunch: Pastrami wrap, pineapple chunks, V-8, diet coke

Supper: Taco salad, buffalo wings, V-8, diet pepsi

06 Oct 09

Bible Reading: II Samuel 16-18

TAPA 1866, In Indiana, brothers John and Simeon Reno stage the first robbery of a moving train in the United States.

Workout: 60 mins on elliptical (5 miles); sit ups, stretching

Breakfast: Protein Shake, oatmeal w mixed berry yogurt, coffee

Lunch: Turkey wrap, fruit salad, V-8, Diet Coke

Supper: Chicken wings, chili beans, broccoli salad, V-8, diet pepsi

Box from Lora!: LS Shirts, wintersilks, Kabul Beauty School book

Box from liquid soap, deodorant, vitamins, alka-seltzer cold, papaya enzyme (protein digestion), waterpik flosser!

Was asked (told) I was going to Bagram Saturday with the S2 (Major Violand) at his request to attend an Intelligence sharing conference with him.

When asked whether I had any restrictions along those lines, I whimpered, “I promised my wife that I would not leave the FOB any more than I absolutely had to…” I am going.

07 Oct 09

Bible Reading: II Samuel 19-21

TAPA 2001, U.S. troops launch Operation Enduring Freedom, the campaign to destroy terrorist training camps in Afghanistan.

Workout: 60 mins on elliptical (5 miles); sit ups, stretching

Breakfast: Protein Shake, oatmeal w peach yogurt, coffee

Lunch: Chicken enchilada, chicken quesadilla, fruit salad, pecan pie, V-8, diet coke

Supper: Beef stew over noodles, steamed cauliflower, collard greens, V-8, diet pepsi

08 Oct 09

Bible Reading: II Samuel 22-23

TAPA 1918, Alvin York almost singlehandedly kills two dozen German soldiers and captures 132 prisoners in France’s Argonne Forest.

Workout: 60 mins on elliptical (5 miles); sit ups, stretching

Breakfast: Protein Shake, oatmeal w mixed berry yogurt, coffee

Lunch: Buffalo wings, cheese enchilada, carrots, fruit salad, V-8, diet pepsi

Supper: Jambalaya, corn, pecan pie, cranberry juice, pineapple juice

09 Oct 09

Bible Reading: II Samuel 24 – I Kings 1a

TAPA 1876, Alexander Graham Bell, in Boston, and Thomas Watson, in Cambridge, Massachusetts, hold the first telephone conversation over outdoor wires.

Workout: 60 mins on elliptical (5 miles); sit ups, stretching

Breakfast: Protein Shake, oatmeal w mixed berry yogurt, coffee

Lunch: Cheeseburger w sautéed mushrooms and onions, chili beans, fruit salad, pecan pie, V-8, diet coke

Two bouts of diarrhea, trip to medic for Immodium and Pepto Bismol. Hope I am not still sick in the morning when I take a helo ride!

Supper: Crab cakes, green beans, rice, grapes, V-8, diet pepsi

10 Oct 09

What a wonderful way to start the day: No diarrhea!

Bible Reading: I Kings 1b - 3

TAPA 1845, The U.S. Naval Academy opens in Annapolis, Maryland, with 56 students.

Breakfast: Oatmeal, coffee

Just after breakfast, I boarded an up-armored HumVee with full “battle-rattle” (Kevlar helmet and Individual body armor – all 53 pounds of it.) The four of us, Major David Violand, Sgt Kimberly Zelton, Specialist Howell and I drove across the street to the helicopter boarding area. We waited a few minutes, weighed our baggage and ourselves, and then boarded the helo. All 14 of us got situated, there were others, and were told we were to take a 30 second flight to the refueling station, disembark, refuel, then head to Bagram. That we did. Once in the air, we were told we were all on the wrong bird. So, we turned around and exchanged passengers and baggage with another helo, same model, Sikorsky S-61, Russian. Then, we got as far as FOB Airborne, where we had to land, refuel that bird then onto Bagram. There were several firsts for me during that two hour period:

First time I ever flew backward

First time I ever flew sideways

First time I ever flew on two helicopters in the same day

First time I ever refueled two helicopters in the same day

First time I ever was in Wardak province (FOB Airborne)

I made sure Major Violand knew about all these “firsts.”

While attending the National Intelligence sharing conference in the Jirga Center at Bagram Air Base, an Afghani Police chief was telling a joke. All the Afghanis (and the interpreter) laughed. Then, when the interpreter finished the retelling in English, all we English-speakers laughed – at which point I leaned over to Major Violand and uttered, “That’s the first time I ever laughed at an Afghani joke.” The rest of the conference was not so funny.

I spent the evening with the Task Force Paladin, ORSA director and some 82nd Airborne Division Analysts talking shop. Then, again the next morning. Got some Burger King, Dairy Queen and Popeye’s while there. Even though there are thousands of people at Bagram, they are mostly transient, therefore, without a real mission. The place has no heart, no soul. I felt very alone there and could not wait to get back to Shank (words I never thought I would utter.)

Lunch: Beef/chicken fajita meat, cheese enchilada, salad, mexicorn, mexirice, soda

Supper: Whopper, Chicken Sandwich, Strawberry Shake (Burger King and ‘Diary’ Queen – the locals mispelled Dairy)

11 Oct 09

Bible Reading: I Kings 4-7

TAPA 1986, President Ronald Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail S. Gorbachev open two days of arms-control talks in Reykjavik, Iceland.

Breakfast: two eggs over hard (that’s the only way they make them at Bagram) biscuit, turkey bacon, turkey sausage, bread/raisin pudding, coffee, GJ Juice

Lunch: Popeye’s 3 piece meal: spicy!

Flight back to Shank was quite welcome. Took only one helo, and no refueling stops, to get there, this time!

Supper: Spaghetti w meat sauce, Italian sausage, corn, fruit salad, V-8, diet coke

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Journal 28Sep - 04Oct

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28 Sep 09

Bible Reading: I Samuel 23-25

TAPA: 1781, American and French troops begin a siege of the British at Yorktown, Virginia. (I have walked through that battlefield…)

Workout: 60 mins on elliptical (5 miles); sit ups, stretching

Breakfast: Protein Shake, oatmeal w mixed berry yogurt, coffee

Lunch: Tuna salad wrap, broccoli salad, fruit salad, V-8, diet coke

Supper: Taco salad, Grapes, V-8

29 Sep 09

Bible Reading: I Samuel 26-28

TAPA: 1780, Patriots under General Francis Marion (aka, “Swamp Fox”) surprise loyalist forces on Black Mingo Creek, South Carolina.

Workout: 60 mins on elliptical (5 miles); sit ups, stretching

Breakfast: Protein Shake, oatmeal w mixed berry yogurt, coffee

Lunch: Turkey wrap, fruit salad, V-8

Supper: Italian sausage, meatballs, corn, broccoli, grapes, V-8

30 Sep 09

Bible Reading: I Samuel 29-31

TAPA: 1949, The fifteen-month-long Berlin Airlift comes to an end. During that time, American and British planes made more than 277,000 flights delivering some 23 million tons of food, coal, medicine and other supplies after Stalin had closed all roads and train tracks leading into the free Western part of the city.

Workout: 60 mins on elliptical (5 miles); sit ups, stretching

Breakfast: Protein Shake, oatmeal w mixed berry yogurt, coffee

Lunch: Tuna salad wrap, broccoli salad, fruit salad, V-8, Snapple

Supper: Chicken enchiladas (2 small), chili beans w cheddar & onions, cole slaw, V-8, Gatorade

SSG James said that I mentally stimulate him, that I make him think. I thanked him, but not after the joking quip: “You know, that’s actually kinda disturbing…” To which he said, “Why you always gotta be like that?” (He’s a large man of color from Tennessee and a hip-hop way of talking.)

01 Oct 09

Bible Reading: II Samuel 1-4

TAPA: 1811, The first steamboat to travel down the Mississippi River, the New Orleans, reaches its namesake city after a month-long trip from Pittsburgh. (The New Orleans just happened to be built by Nicholas Roosevelt, Theodore’s great uncle.)

Workout: 60 mins on elliptical (5 miles); sit ups, stretching

Breakfast: Protein Shake, oatmeal w mixed berry yogurt, coffee

Lunch: Salmon, broccoli, peas/mushrooms, V-8, diet coke

Supper: chicken enchilada, corn dog, pulled pork, V-8, Snapple

02 Oct 09

Bible Reading: II Samuel 5-8

TAPA: 1780, In Tappan, New York, British major John Andre is hanged as a spy after he is captured carrying papers for traitor Benedict Arnold.

1835, The Texas Revolution against Mexico begins as American settlers resist Mexican troops at Gonzales.

Workout: 60 mins on elliptical (5 miles); sit ups, stretching

Breakfast: Protein Shake, oatmeal w mixed berry yogurt, coffee

Lunch: Tuna salad wrap, Fruit salad, V-8, diet coke

Supper: Steak & shrimp, corn on cob, green beans, V-8, Snapple

I received word from Rich Callas of the Newport Booz Allen Hamilton office that Mark Perry, an office colleague, died of a suspected heart attack while on business travel in Hawaii. He was in his hotel room and discovered after his wife, Cindy, was unable to reach him and had another colleague on the same trip go to his hotel and make inquiries. Mark was a good guy. Very helpful. Very intelligent. He knew a lot about American History and was an avid Civil War buff, as is his wife. He leaves behind 3 children, including a son who flew home from Iraq for the funeral. Mark Perry, dead at 51.

I used this occasion to remind Jordan and Jaclyn how fragile and short life is; that every day is a gift. We should end each day on good terms with everyone within our sphere.

03 Oct 09

Bible Reading: II Samuel 9-11

TAPA: 1904, Mary Mcleod Bethune opens the Daytona Literacy and Industrial School for Training Negro Girls.

Workout: 60 mins on elliptical (5 miles); sit ups, stretching

Breakfast: Protein Shake, oatmeal w mixed berry yogurt, coffee

Massage: $30 (with $10 tip)

Lunch: Chicken wrap, fruit salad, V-8, Diet Pepsi

Supper: Roast chicken breast, peas, steamed mixed veggies, grapes, V-8, gatorade

04 Oct 09

Bible Reading: II Samuel 12-13

TAPA: 1927, Carving begins on Mount Rushmore National Memorial

Chapel Service: Philippians 3:1-16; v. 13 sums it up for me: “Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended; but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before.” I have the choice, just as Paul did, to put aside old/bad habits and take hold of new/good ones. It really is a choice. Sometimes, oftentimes, not an easy one.

Breakfast: three egg omelet (jalapenos, cheese, bell pepper), biscuit w gravy, French toast sticks, coffee

Lunch: Tuna salad wrap, fruit salad, V-8, Diet Pepsi

Supper: Pulled chicken sandwich, 3 deviled egg halves, chicken salad, onion rings, V-8


At the request (urging) of someone very near and dear to my heart (Lora), I will aim to write more about what goes on during my day, to include, especially, humorous anecdotes, which almost always occur, daily, around here.

This week at a glance (since I won’t necessarily be able to remember/capture details of events had I written sooner afterward than now):

The incoming Brigade leadership visited this week. I met with the S2 OIC (Intelligence Officer in Charge) for 173rd Airborne. He likes what I have already been sending them as far as analysis products and wants me to review the Brigade campaign plan for their deployment from an operations analysis perspective, to wit, ensure the metrics they have set are, indeed measurable and have a timeline associated with them. No matter to them that I am a submariner looking at an Airborne Brigade campaign plan.

This week, one of the female staff sergeants was going back to her dorm-tent with her pink 2 foot diameter exercise ball under one arm and a bottle of water in the other. When she rounded the corner, a LTCOL (Lieutenant Colonel) was just coming the other way. (Note: Army must salute officers no matter what either is wearing. I have not asked about birthday suits, though.) Needless to say, she did not really have time to drop everything and render a salute. Instead of just saying Hoo-Rah! Carry on, Soldier, seeing she was obviously encumbered, the LTCOL says Just forget it, you probably don’t want to “effing” salute me anyway and even when she did put her gear on the ground, come to attention and salute, her merely took her name and reported her to the First Sergeant. Meanwhile, soldiers are dying every week around here from IEDs, corrupt Afghan National Police, separated from families (this female soldier has 2 or 3 kids and is a single mom) and this LTCOL has the gall to make a big deal out of whether he got saluted by a soldier with stuff in both hands?!? Talk about insecurity…

On a lighter note, I am rewriting the lyrics to “Ghost Riders in the Sky” to tell the story of certain aspects of life and operations around here. More to follow.

Friday night, I shared the evening meal with Joe the Seal and Jack the COIC (analyst). Joe was telling the story about a time when he was in college and he and his buddies were at the convenience store stocking up on football watching ingestables. All the guys grabbed their 6, 12, 24 packs, except for Joe, who arrived at the cashier with a tub of ice cream and that chocolate sauce that hardens on the ice cream, you know? The fellows all looked at him and quipped, “Hey Joe, are you turning into a girl? Is there something you need to get off your chest?” To which I added, “Yeah, your hair. What? Were you having your man-period or something? Feeling a little confused? Was it one of those times when you weren’t sure who looked better: SGT Fuller (a balding, Charlie Chaplin look alike, sans moustache) or SGT Zelton (a gazelle of a woman who was most recently labeled “Hottest chick on the FOB”)?” Jack spewed whatever was in his craw at the time: it was Friday night, so it could have been surf or turf. Joe, tried to look hurt and shocked, also busted a gut drawing the attention of other tables in our orbit.

There were other, much funnier events, I am just not recalling them, presently.

A typical day has me up around 4:30-5 when I talk with Lora for 30-60 minutes on Skype (oh thank Heaven for VoIP!) By 6, I am in the Brigade Intelligence Support Element Fusion Center where I spend 30-60 minutes preparing for the day, catching up on overnight emails/taskers and then head to the gym. 60 Minutes on the elliptical (usually around 5 miles) and sit-ups/stretching to cool down before the highlight of my day: O A T M E A L W I T H F R U I T Y O G H U R T ! ! ! That’s how they spell yogurt over here. Rich Gonzalez makes fun of my six-days-a-week breakfast selection, to which I usually respond with something like, “We old guys like our food as liquidinous as possible – as little chewing necessary. Taste? Schmaste! At this point, I am merely eating to live.” (all said with my best Yiddish accent.) Then he usually spews his ShMuffin back onto his plate. (McDonalds = McMuffin; Shank = ShMuffin.) Breakfast is out of the way in under 60 seconds, most mornings. Back to the BISE Fusion Center for some Tassimachine made coffee. Oh yeah, another highlight of my day. And in the afternoons, I make Lattes! Work til 1130, then lunch! (Since you already know my menu, I will not repeat here, except for the aforementioned oatmeal.) Back to the BISE for another 4 hours and the latte, then dinner! Actually, lately, I leave around 4:30PM for the MWR Call Center, from whence I call Lora on the much better connected SPAWAR run computers. The Gonzalez boys grab me around 5:30 for the evening meal. We chat about the day, what’s going on at home, why Rich makes gay Freudian slips all the time. Back to the BISE for a couple hours, prepare for the 8PM meeting, have the 8PM meeting, then head back to B-Hut #27 for some quiet time, at least until Jerry the foghorn tunes up his apno-snoring box, which I actually feel more than hear. Jerry is an older, DOD civilian with the USAID project. Oh, he’s not the oldest guy out here: there is evidently an Army Captain (O3) who first joined in N I N E T E E N S I X T Y S E V E N ! ! ! He fought in Viet Nam and rejoined to come over here. Perhaps he just wanted to get away from his wife. Anyway, that’s a typical day for me. I will keep you apprised of any changes…

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Journal 21-27 September

21 Sep 09
Bible Reading: I Samuel 4-6
TAPA: 1780, Benedict Arnold betrays his country when he gave the British information that could allow them to capture the American fort at West Point on the Hudson River in New York. His British accomplice was captured, however, before he could provide the information to British Forces. Arnold did this because he was resentful at promotions of other officers and hungered for money to support the lifestyle he and his young wife enjoyed. He died in England in 1801, scorned by many even there.
Workout: 60 mins on elliptical (5 miles); sit ups, stretching
Breakfast: Protein Shake, oatmeal w mixed berry yogurt, coffee
Lunch: Tuna salad wrap, fruit salad, V-8, diet coke
Letter from Lora: Joshua 1:7-9, 18 “Be strong and of good courage” good words to live by.
Box from Cousin Nancy : Cracker Jack (3), Sunflower Seeds (2 big bags), Beef Jerky (big bag), Twizzlers (big bag) and the piece de resistance: Home Made Brownies!!! (ate two right away – very delicious and still moist!) Thanks, Nancy!
Supper: Taco salad, V-8, Gatorade

22 Sep 09
Bible Reading: I Samuel 7-9
TAPA: 1776, Nathan Hale hanged by British in New York City for spying. His last words: “I only regret that I have but one life to lose for my country.”
Breakfast: oatmeal w peach yogurt, coffee
Lunch: Chili con carne over rice, grilled cheese, pickles, fruit salad, V-8, diet coke, brownie
Supper: Chicken wings, pork and beans, onion rings, grapes, V-8, diet coke (felt good to eat bad!)

23 Sep 09
Bible Reading: I Samuel 10-12
TAPA: 1779, John Paul Jones declares from the decks of the foundering Bonhomme Richard, “I have not yet begun to fight!” after British forces on Serapis asked if he was ready to surrender. Jones and the Richard went on to defeat Serapis.
Workout: 60 mins (5 miles) elliptical; sit ups, stretching
Breakfast: oatmeal w strawberry yogurt, coffee
Lunch: Chicken wrap, fruit salad, crab salad, V-8, diet coke
Box from Jaci and Jordan: 2 UMKC Shirts, 1 UT shirt, a Bulldog book, Cards, and a very nice picture of Jaci in a frame w an anchor on it!!
Box from Mom and Jim: Altoids, Chapstick, Playing cards (w Maxine on them), Floss sticks, Kleenex, Almonds, Quaker Crispy Oat Bars (strawberry!), Books: Glenn Beck’s Common Sense, Garth Stein’s The Art of Racing in the Rain, Magazines: National Geographic and Sports Illustrated
Box 2 from Mom and Jim: Nutrition Nuts, Warm socks, Brown Old Rye shirt (really comfy!), some clothes hanging devices, a cable turtle, some toothpaste, assorted newspaper articles, a nice bookmark, a tee-shirt and pair of pants, magazines and a pencil from Mrs. C’s Class. Quite a haul from The Felkners!!!
Supper: Polish sausage and sauerkraut, corn/bean/pepper salad, grapes, onion rings, V-8, Gatorade
Massage ($30 with $10 tip); Gave $50 for Filipino meal ingredients

24 Sep 09
Bible Reading: I Samuel 13-14
TAPA: Not a banner day for Americana, but in 1789, Congress passed the Judiciary Act, establishing the U.S. Supreme Court and federal judicial system.
Workout: 60 mins (5 miles) elliptical; sit ups, stretching
Breakfast: oatmeal w mixed berry yogurt, coffee
Lunch: Tuna wrap, fruit salad, corn/bean/pepper salad, V-8
Peach-banana smoothie ($4 with $1 tip)
Supper: Pork chop suey, broccoli, carrots, V-8
Bought Mike Hoffheinz’ Bosch Tassimo Suprema Hot Beverage System and 30 T-disks of various coffees as he was summarily dismissed by the Brigade Intelligence Support Element for “conduct unbecoming” for a civilian contractor and “mistreatment of soldiers of low rank” through intimidation of ideas. I bear no ill will toward him, and he is happy to be leaving.

25 Sep 09
Bible Reading: I Samuel 15-17
TAPA: 1775, Patriot Ethan Allen is captured by the British during an attack on Montreal. 1789, Congress sends twelve amendments to the Constitution to the states for ratification; ten are later ratified and become the Bill of Rights.
Workout: 60 mins (5 miles) elliptical; sit ups, stretching
Breakfast: oatmeal w mixed berry yogurt, coffee
Lunch: Pastrami and Provolone wrap, fruit salad, noodle salad, V-8, diet coke
Ice copy ($5 with $3 tip)
Manicure ($12 with $5 tip)
Supper: Crab legs, crab cakes, corn on cob, broccoli, V-8, turtle ice cream

26 Sep 09
Bible Reading: I Samuel 18-19
TAPA: 1774, John Chapman, a.k.a. Johnny Appleseed, is born in Leominster, Massachusetts. 1789, George Washington names Thomas Jefferson as the first Secretary of State.
Workout: 60 mins (5 miles) elliptical; sit ups, stretching
Breakfast: oatmeal w mixed berry yogurt, coffee
Lunch: Chicken quesadilla, cheese enchilada, chili beans, kidney bean and corn salad, fruit cocktail, V-8, diet coke
Massage ($30 with $10 tip)
Supper: Spaghetti w polish sausage and tomato sauce, cheese tortellini, V-8, turtle ice cream w fruit cocktail

27 Sep 09
Bible Reading: I Samuel 20-22
TAPA: 1777, Lancaster, Pennsylvania becomes the national capitol for one day as Congress flees from British-held Philadelphia to York, Pennsylvania.
Breakfast: Three egg scramble w jalapenos and cheese, biscuit w gravy, mixed berry yogurt w fruit cocktail, pineapple juice. Ate with Dave, the ex-Marine, local national interpreter manager. He always asks about the Patriot Almanac quote of the day. Told him about Ethan Allan (25 Sep) and GW setting up TJ as SoS (26 Sep). He thinks I should form my own business…
Chapel service: Sanders led service. Theme was Maintaining Integrity using the Hebrews in the wilderness as examples.
Lunch: Chicken enchilada, “Maxican” rice (Afghanis can’t spell, I guess), refried beans, fruit salad, V-8, diet coke
Box 1 (Lora): pedicure stuff/magazine
Box 2 (Lora): coffee stuff/magazine
2 Cards from Lora: very nice. Made me watery.
Supper: BBQ Brisket, Carrots, Steamed mixed veggies, Strawberries, V-8
Here are a few projects I am working:
Tactical Conflict Assessment Framework (PowerPoint)
USAID TCAF (website)
Afghanistan’s Uncertain Transition argues that Afghanistan is still far from stability.
While the country has reestablished basic institutions of government, it has barely started to make them work. The government and its international supporters are challenged by a terrorist insurgency that has become more lethal and effective and that has bases in Pakistan, a drug trade that dominates the economy and corrupts the state, and pervasive poverty and insecurity. The Afghanistan Compact, approved in January 31, 2006, provides a road map for security, governance, and development over the next five years. The United States should take the lead in ensuring full funding and implementation of the Afghanistan Compact, and develop a coherent strategy toward the Afghanistan-Pakistan relationship. This strategy would entail pushing the Pakistani government to arrest Taliban leaders whose locations are provided by intelligence agencies and taking aggressive measures to close down the networks supporting suicide bombers.

My part in all this is to help develop the metrics for measuring success and failure of stability operations and then track and analyze the results.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

BLUF: (Bottom Line Up Front) Tassimo T-disks make a great cup of coffee. If anyone is looking for care package ideas, the troops in my office are all hooked on them. Can’t keep enough in stock! Click here for more information. They are also available at Target!

14 Sep 09

Bible Reading: Judges 8-9a

TAPA: This is quite an interesting day of Americana: President William McKinley died from assassination in Buffalo, NY in 1901. Theodore Roosevelt took the oath of office in a friend’s library and became the 26th president. 1847 saw U.S. forces, including Marines, capture Mexico City and raise the flag over the “halls of Montezuma.” He’s been getting revenge ever since… 1716: Boston Light, the first lighthouse in America, is kindled for the first time (kindled means burned for those who don’t know their King James’ English.)

Also included is one of Roosevelt’s more famous quotes:

It is not the critic who counts, not the one who points out how the strong man stumbled or how the doer of deeds might have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred with sweat and dust and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, and spends himself in a worthy cause; who, if he wins, knows the triumph of high achievement; and who, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory or defeat.

Workout: 45 min elliptical, chest/arms, situps

Breakfast: oatmeal w strawberry yogurt, Protein Shake
Lunch: Turkey wrap, fruit salad, V-8, diet coke
Dinner: Taco Salad, V-8, Filipino food after Melody came looking for me… the squid was really good!

15 Sep 09

Bible Reading: Judges 9b-11 (Judges 10:16 says “And they put away the strange gods from among them, and served the Lord: and his soul was grieved for the misery of Israel.” I find interesting that God reveals himself so personally to us through the writers of the Bible. There are a few instances where we see right into the heart of God: his soul was grieved for the misery of Israel. Interesting…

TAPA: 2001, President George w. Bush names Osama bin Laden as the prime suspect in the September 11 terrorist attacks and warns Americans that a long, hard war against terrorism lies ahead. Oh, the Marines again: 1950, stormed ashore at Inchon, South Korea and retook Seoul in 11 days ultimately saving millions of Koreans from a totalitarian regime.

Workout: suspended due to back spasm (Lora’s orders); taking ibuprofen from med clinic. Though there is supposed to be no sex going on, guess what is most prominently displayed as soon as one walks into the clinic?

Breakfast: Was going to have oatmeal w some type yogurt, but Holly Charlevoix of Upper Midwest (Wisconsin, maybe) saw me while she was in the omelet line and asked me if I would take the everything omelet she accidentally ordered so she could get just a ham and cheese omelet. Even though it was an egg white only omelet (something I vowed never to order remembering the citidiots who frequented J Harper Poor and their dietary eccentricities), I deferred and took the omelet off her conscience, realizing I did not actually order it, thereby allowing me to maintain my perfect record of never ordering one myself.

Lunch: Tuna salad wrap, fruit salad, V-8

Dinner: Chicken enchilada, V-8

16 Sep 09

Bible Reading: Judges 12-15: 12: 6 Interesting how Jephthah of Gilead used a single word test “Shibboleth” to determine whether his captives were Ephraimites. 42,000 could not pronounce it correctly (they said “Sibboleth”) and were slain. Kinda mean for a guy with three H’s in his name to pick a word like Shibboleth…

TAPA: 1893, In one of the wildest land runs in history, about 100,000 settlers pour into a section of Oklahoma called the Cherokee Strip, to claim homesteads. Now they just run like heck to get out of there as soon as they can… Lora, this one is for you, my little Sooner! Oh, the Mayflower set sail on this date in 1620.

Workout: 60 min elliptical (5 miles), sit ups, stretching

Breakfast: oatmeal w strawberry yogurt, Protein Shake

Lunch: Chicken wrap (lettuce, tomatoes, grilled onions/peppers/mushrooms, ranch, Heinz 57), fruit salad, V-8

Dinner: Chicken breast, sweet potatoes, mexicorn, grapes, V-8, diet Pepsi

17 Sep 09

Bible Reading: Judges 16-18

TAPA: 1787, The Constitutional Convention approves the final draft of the U.S. Constitution at Independence Hall, Philadelphia, PA.

Workout: 60 min elliptical (5 miles), sit ups, stretching

Breakfast: oatmeal w mixed berry yogurt, Protein Shake, GJ

Lunch: Tuna wrap, cauliflower and bacon salad, fruit salad, V-8, diet pepsi

Box from Aunt Linda: Bora Bora Bars! (Almond Sunflower, my favorite!!!)

Dinner: chicken cordon bleu, mashed sweet potatoes, roasted asparagus, grapes, V-8, diet coke

18 Sep 09

Bible Reading: Judges 19-20

TAPA: 1793, George Washington lays the cornerstone of the U.S. Capitol; 1947, Happy Birthday, Air Force!

Workout: 60 min elliptical (5 miles), sit ups, stretching

Breakfast: oatmeal w strawberry yogurt, Protein Shake

Lunch: Chicken wrap, chili beans, fruit salad, V-8

Dinner: 4 oz. Steak, scallops, broccoli salad, pecan pie, V-8

Today is a good day. Our B-hut is getting flame-retardant, insulating foam applied, today. Should help in the coming winter months. Also will dampen sounds, like outgoing gunfire. Sang Elvis’ rendition of “Can’t Help Falling In Love” on Karaoke at Oasis Filipino Hut. My back is feeling better (wrenched it during weight-lifting: pec-flys – went too far out – not in high school anymore!) I walk through the motor pool every day on the way to the dining facility and the fitness center (6 times a day.) I try to remember to pray for the soldiers who go on patrol every time I walk through there. Sometimes, I forget, lost in my own thoughts. Bought a cup of coffee for Peter the Czech Liaison officer who leaves tomorrow for CZ REP. He’s been here 6 months – wanted to stay longer, but extension was not approved. Told him we will drop him a note when we visit to see if he is “in town.” Just got word that POTUS (President of the United States) will not fund a missile shield for CZ nor POL. Mentioned this to Peter – we both agreed that there’s no real need for one, now and that when there is a need, US will be there to help, just like we always do. Took a 360 degree set of pictures of my room for an update:

Shank 091809

19 Sep 09

Bible Reading: Judges 21 – Ruth 4

TAPA: 1796, George Washington’s farewell address is published:


George Washington's
Farewell Address

To the People of the United States


1 The period for a new election of a citizen, to administer the executive government of the United States, being not far distant, and the time actually arrived, when your thoughts must be employed designating the person, who is to be clothed with that important trust, it appears to me proper, especially as it may conduce to a more distinct expression of the public voice, that I should now apprize you of the resolution I have formed, to decline being considered among the number of those out of whom a choice is to be made.

2 I beg you at the same time to do me the justice to be assured that this resolution has not been taken without a strict regard to all the considerations appertaining to the relation which binds a dutiful citizen to his country; and that in withdrawing the tender of service, which silence in my situation might imply, I am influenced by no diminution of zeal for your future interest, no deficiency of grateful respect for your past kindness, but am supported by a full conviction that the step is compatible with both.

3 The acceptance of, and continuance hitherto in, the office to which your suffrages have twice called me, have been a uniform sacrifice of inclination to the opinion of duty, and to a deference for what appeared to be your desire. I constantly hoped, that it would have been much earlier in my power, consistently with motives, which I was not at liberty to disregard, to return to that retirement, from which I had been reluctantly drawn. The strength of my inclination to do this, previous to the last election, had even led to the preparation of an address to declare it to you; but mature reflection on the then perplexed and critical posture of our affairs with foreign nations, and the unanimous advice of persons entitled to my confidence impelled me to abandon the idea.

4 I rejoice, that the state of your concerns, external as well as internal, no longer renders the pursuit of inclination incompatible with the sentiment of duty, or propriety; and am persuaded, whatever partiality may be retained for my services, that, in the present circumstances of our country, you will not disapprove my determination to retire.

5 The impressions, with which I first undertook the arduous trust, were explained on the proper occasion. In the discharge of this trust, I will only say, that I have, with good intentions, contributed towards the organization and administration of the government the best exertions of which a very fallible judgment was capable. Not unconscious, in the outset, of the inferiority of my qualifications, experience in my own eyes, perhaps still more in the eyes of others, has strengthened the motives to diffidence of myself; and every day the increasing weight of years admonishes me more and more, that the shade of retirement is as necessary to me as it will be welcome. Satisfied, that, if any circumstances have given peculiar value to my services, they were temporary, I have the consolation to believe, that, while choice and prudence invite me to quit the political scene, patriotism does not forbid it.

6 In looking forward to the moment, which is intended to terminate the career of my public life, my feelings do not permit me to suspend the deep acknowledgment of that debt of gratitude, which I owe to my beloved country for the many honors it has conferred upon me; still more for the steadfast confidence with which it has supported me; and for the opportunities I have thence enjoyed of manifesting my inviolable attachment, by services faithful and persevering, though in usefulness unequal to my zeal. If benefits have resulted to our country from these services, let it always be remembered to your praise, and as an instructive example in our annals, that under circumstances in which the passions, agitated in every direction, were liable to mislead, amidst appearances sometimes dubious, vicissitudes of fortune often discouraging, in situations in which not unfrequently want of success has countenanced the spirit of criticism, the constancy of your support was the essential prop of the efforts, and a guarantee of the plans by which they were effected. Profoundly penetrated with this idea, I shall carry it with me to my grave, as a strong incitement to unceasing vows that Heaven may continue to you the choicest tokens of its beneficence; that your union and brotherly affection may be perpetual; that the free constitution, which is the work of your hands, may be sacredly maintained; that its administration in every department may be stamped with wisdom and virtue; than, in fine, the happiness of the people of these States, under the auspices of liberty, may be made complete, by so careful a preservation and so prudent a use of this blessing, as will acquire to them the glory of recommending it to the applause, the affection, and adoption of every nation, which is yet a stranger to it.

7 Here, perhaps I ought to stop. But a solicitude for your welfare which cannot end but with my life, and the apprehension of danger, natural to that solicitude, urge me, on an occasion like the present, to offer to your solemn contemplation, and to recommend to your frequent review, some sentiments which are the result of much reflection, of no inconsiderable observation, and which appear to me all-important to the permanency of your felicity as a people. These will be offered to you with the more freedom, as you can only see in them the disinterested warnings of a parting friend, who can possibly have no personal motive to bias his counsel. Nor can I forget, as an encouragement to it, your indulgent reception of my sentiments on a former and not dissimilar occasion.

8 Interwoven as is the love of liberty with every ligament of your hearts, no recommendation of mine is necessary to fortify or confirm the attachment.

9 The unity of Government, which constitutes you one people, is also now dear to you. It is justly so; for it is a main pillar in the edifice of your real independence, the support of your tranquillity at home, your peace abroad; of your safety; of your prosperity; of that very Liberty, which you so highly prize. But as it is easy to foresee, that, from different causes and from different quarters, much pains will be taken, many artifices employed, to weaken in your minds the conviction of this truth; as this is the point in your political fortress against which the batteries of internal and external enemies will be most constantly and actively (though often covertly and insidiously) directed, it is of infinite moment, that you should properly estimate the immense value of your national Union to your collective and individual happiness; that you should cherish a cordial, habitual, and immovable attachment to it; accustoming yourselves to think and speak of it as of the Palladium of your political safety and prosperity; watching for its preservation with jealous anxiety; discountenancing whatever may suggest even a suspicion, that it can in any event be abandoned; and indignantly frowning upon the first dawning of every attempt to alienate any portion of our country from the rest, or to enfeeble the sacred ties which now link together the various parts.

10 For this you have every inducement of sympathy and interest. Citizens, by birth or choice, of a common country, that country has a right to concentrate your affections. The name of american, which belongs to you, in your national capacity, must always exalt the just pride of Patriotism, more than any appellation derived from local discriminations. With slight shades of difference, you have the same religion, manners, habits, and political principles. You have in a common cause fought and triumphed together; the Independence and Liberty you possess are the work of joint counsels, and joint efforts, of common dangers, sufferings, and successes.

11 But these considerations, however powerfully they address themselves to your sensibility, are greatly outweighed by those, which apply more immediately to your interest. Here every portion of our country finds the most commanding motives for carefully guarding and preserving the Union of the whole.

12 The North, in an unrestrained intercourse with the South, protected by the equal laws of a common government, finds, in the productions of the latter, great additional resources of maritime and commercial enterprise and precious materials of manufacturing industry. The South, in the same intercourse, benefiting by the agency of the North, sees its agriculture grow and its commerce expand. Turning partly into its own channels the seamen of the North, it finds its particular navigation invigorated; and, while it contributes, in different ways, to nourish and increase the general mass of the national navigation, it looks forward to the protection of a maritime strength, to which itself is unequally adapted. The East, in a like intercourse with the West, already finds, and in the progressive improvement of interior communications by land and water, will more and more find, a valuable vent for the commodities which it brings from abroad, or manufactures at home. The West derives from the East supplies requisite to its growth and comfort, and, what is perhaps of still greater consequence, it must of necessity owe the secure enjoyment of indispensable outlets for its own productions to the weight, influence, and the future maritime strength of the Atlantic side of the Union, directed by an indissoluble community of interest as one nation. Any other tenure by which the West can hold this essential advantage, whether derived from its own separate strength, or from an apostate and unnatural connexion with any foreign power, must be intrinsically precarious.

13 While, then, every part of our country thus feels an immediate and particular interest in Union, all the parts combined cannot fail to find in the united mass of means and efforts greater strength, greater resource, proportionably greater security from external danger, a less frequent interruption of their peace by foreign nations; and, what is of inestimable value, they must derive from Union an exemption from those broils and wars between themselves, which so frequently afflict neighbouring countries not tied together by the same governments, which their own rivalships alone would be sufficient to produce, but which opposite foreign alliances, attachments, and intrigues would stimulate and embitter. Hence, likewise, they will avoid the necessity of those overgrown military establishments, which, under any form of government, are inauspicious to liberty, and which are to be regarded as particularly hostile to Republican Liberty. In this sense it is, that your Union ought to be considered as a main prop of your liberty, and that the love of the one ought to endear to you the preservation of the other.

14 These considerations speak a persuasive language to every reflecting and virtuous mind, and exhibit the continuance of the union as a primary object of Patriotic desire. Is there a doubt, whether a common government can embrace so large a sphere? Let experience solve it. To listen to mere speculation in such a case were criminal. We are authorized to hope, that a proper organization of the whole, with the auxiliary agency of governments for the respective subdivisions, will afford a happy issue to the experiment. It is well worth a fair and full experiment. With such powerful and obvious motives to Union, affecting all parts of our country, while experience shall not have demonstrated its impracticability, there will always be reason to distrust the patriotism of those, who in any quarter may endeavour to weaken its bands.

15 In contemplating the causes, which may disturb our Union, it occurs as matter of serious concern, that any ground should have been furnished for characterizing parties by Geographical discriminations, Northern and Southern, Atlantic and Western; whence designing men may endeavour to excite a belief, that there is a real difference of local interests and views. One of the expedients of party to acquire influence, within particular districts, is to misrepresent the opinions and aims of other districts. You cannot shield yourselves too much against the jealousies and heart-burnings, which spring from these misrepresentations; they tend to render alien to each other those, who ought to be bound together by fraternal affection. The inhabitants of our western country have lately had a useful lesson on this head; they have seen, in the negotiation by the Executive, and in the unanimous ratification by the Senate, of the treaty with Spain, and in the universal satisfaction at that event, throughout the United States, a decisive proof how unfounded were the suspicions propagated among them of a policy in the General Government and in the Atlantic States unfriendly to their interests in regard to the mississippi; they have been witnesses to the formation of two treaties, that with Great Britain, and that with Spain, which secure to them every thing they could desire, in respect to our foreign relations, towards confirming their prosperity. Will it not be their wisdom to rely for the preservation of these advantages on the union by which they were procured? Will they not henceforth be deaf to those advisers, if such there are, who would sever them from their brethren, and connect them with aliens?

16 To the efficacy and permanency of your Union, a Government for the whole is indispensable. No alliances, however strict, between the parts can be an adequate substitute; they must inevitably experience the infractions and interruptions, which all alliances in all times have experienced. Sensible of this momentous truth, you have improved upon your first essay, by the adoption of a Constitution of Government better calculated than your former for an intimate Union, and for the efficacious management of your common concerns. This Government, the offspring of our own choice, uninfluenced and unawed, adopted upon full investigation and mature deliberation, completely free in its principles, in the distribution of its powers, uniting security with energy, and containing within itself a provision for its own amendment, has a just claim to your confidence and your support. Respect for its authority, compliance with its laws, acquiescence in its measures, are duties enjoined by the fundamental maxims of true Liberty. The basis of our political systems is the right of the people to make and to alter their Constitutions of Government. But the Constitution which at any time exists, till changed by an explicit and authentic act of the whole people, is sacredly obligatory upon all. The very idea of the power and the right of the people to establish Government presupposes the duty of every individual to obey the established Government.

17 All obstructions to the execution of the Laws, all combinations and associations, under whatever plausible character, with the real design to direct, control, counteract, or awe the regular deliberation and action of the constituted authorities, are destructive of this fundamental principle, and of fatal tendency. They serve to organize faction, to give it an artificial and extraordinary force; to put, in the place of the delegated will of the nation, the will of a party, often a small but artful and enterprising minority of the community; and, according to the alternate triumphs of different parties, to make the public administration the mirror of the ill-concerted and incongruous projects of faction, rather than the organ of consistent and wholesome plans digested by common counsels, and modified by mutual interests.

18 However combinations or associations of the above description may now and then answer popular ends, they are likely, in the course of time and things, to become potent engines, by which cunning, ambitious, and unprincipled men will be enabled to subvert the power of the people, and to usurp for themselves the reins of government; destroying afterwards the very engines, which have lifted them to unjust dominion.

19 Towards the preservation of your government, and the permanency of your present happy state, it is requisite, not only that you steadily discountenance irregular oppositions to its acknowledged authority, but also that you resist with care the spirit of innovation upon its principles, however specious the pretexts. One method of assault may be to effect, in the forms of the constitution, alterations, which will impair the energy of the system, and thus to undermine what cannot be directly overthrown. In all the changes to which you may be invited, remember that time and habit are at least as necessary to fix the true character of governments, as of other human institutions; that experience is the surest standard, by which to test the real tendency of the existing constitution of a country; that facility in changes, upon the credit of mere hypothesis and opinion, exposes to perpetual change, from the endless variety of hypothesis and opinion; and remember, especially, that, for the efficient management of our common interests, in a country so extensive as ours, a government of as much vigor as is consistent with the perfect security of liberty is indispensable. Liberty itself will find in such a government, with powers properly distributed and adjusted, its surest guardian. It is, indeed, little else than a name, where the government is too feeble to withstand the enterprises of faction, to confine each member of the society within the limits prescribed by the laws, and to maintain all in the secure and tranquil enjoyment of the rights of person and property.

20 I have already intimated to you the danger of parties in the state, with particular reference to the founding of them on geographical discriminations. Let me now take a more comprehensive view, and warn you in the most solemn manner against the baneful effects of the spirit of party, generally.

21 This spirit, unfortunately, is inseparable from our nature, having its root in the strongest passions of the human mind. It exists under different shapes in all governments, more or less stifled, controlled, or repressed; but, in those of the popular form, it is seen in its greatest rankness, and is truly their worst enemy.

22 The alternate domination of one faction over another, sharpened by the spirit of revenge, natural to party dissension, which in different ages and countries has perpetrated the most horrid enormities, is itself a frightful despotism. But this leads at length to a more formal and permanent despotism. The disorders and miseries, which result, gradually incline the minds of men to seek security and repose in the absolute power of an individual; and sooner or later the chief of some prevailing faction, more able or more fortunate than his competitors, turns this disposition to the purposes of his own elevation, on the ruins of Public Liberty.

23 Without looking forward to an extremity of this kind, (which nevertheless ought not to be entirely out of sight,) the common and continual mischiefs of the spirit of party are sufficient to make it the interest and duty of a wise people to discourage and restrain it.

24 It serves always to distract the Public Councils, and enfeeble the Public Administration. It agitates the Community with ill-founded jealousies and false alarms; kindles the animosity of one part against another, foments occasionally riot and insurrection. It opens the door to foreign influence and corruption, which find a facilitated access to the government itself through the channels of party passions. Thus the policy and the will of one country are subjected to the policy and will of another.

25 There is an opinion, that parties in free countries are useful checks upon the administration of the Government, and serve to keep alive the spirit of Liberty. This within certain limits is probably true; and in Governments of a Monarchical cast, Patriotism may look with indulgence, if not with favor, upon the spirit of party. But in those of the popular character, in Governments purely elective, it is a spirit not to be encouraged. From their natural tendency, it is certain there will always be enough of that spirit for every salutary purpose. And, there being constant danger of excess, the effort ought to be, by force of public opinion, to mitigate and assuage it. A fire not to be quenched, it demands a uniform vigilance to prevent its bursting into a flame, lest, instead of warming, it should consume.

26 It is important, likewise, that the habits of thinking in a free country should inspire caution, in those intrusted with its administration, to confine themselves within their respective constitutional spheres, avoiding in the exercise of the powers of one department to encroach upon another. The spirit of encroachment tends to consolidate the powers of all the departments in one, and thus to create, whatever the form of government, a real despotism. A just estimate of that love of power, and proneness to abuse it, which predominates in the human heart, is sufficient to satisfy us of the truth of this position. The necessity of reciprocal checks in the exercise of political power, by dividing and distributing it into different depositories, and constituting each the Guardian of the Public Weal against invasions by the others, has been evinced by experiments ancient and modern; some of them in our country and under our own eyes. To preserve them must be as necessary as to institute them. If, in the opinion of the people, the distribution or modification of the constitutional powers be in any particular wrong, let it be corrected by an amendment in the way, which the constitution designates. But let there be no change by usurpation; for, though this, in one instance, may be the instrument of good, it is the customary weapon by which free governments are destroyed. The precedent must always greatly overbalance in permanent evil any partial or transient benefit, which the use can at any time yield.

27 Of all the dispositions and habits, which lead to political prosperity, Religion and Morality are indispensable supports. In vain would that man claim the tribute of Patriotism, who should labor to subvert these great pillars of human happiness, these firmest props of the duties of Men and Citizens. The mere Politician, equally with the pious man, ought to respect and to cherish them. A volume could not trace all their connexions with private and public felicity. Let it simply be asked, Where is the security for property, for reputation, for life, if the sense of religious obligation desert the oaths, which are the instruments of investigation in Courts of Justice? And let us with caution indulge the supposition, that morality can be maintained without religion. Whatever may be conceded to the influence of refined education on minds of peculiar structure, reason and experience both forbid us to expect, that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle.

28 It is substantially true, that virtue or morality is a necessary spring of popular government. The rule, indeed, extends with more or less force to every species of free government. Who, that is a sincere friend to it, can look with indifference upon attempts to shake the foundation of the fabric ?

29 Promote, then, as an object of primary importance, institutions for the general diffusion of knowledge. In proportion as the structure of a government gives force to public opinion, it is essential that public opinion should be enlightened.

30 As a very important source of strength and security, cherish public credit. One method of preserving it is, to use it as sparingly as possible; avoiding occasions of expense by cultivating peace, but remembering also that timely disbursements to prepare for danger frequently prevent much greater disbursements to repel it; avoiding likewise the accumulation of debt, not only by shunning occasions of expense, but by vigorous exertions in time of peace to discharge the debts, which unavoidable wars may have occasioned, not ungenerously throwing upon posterity the burthen, which we ourselves ought to bear. The execution of these maxims belongs to your representatives, but it is necessary that public opinion should cooperate. To facilitate to them the performance of their duty, it is essential that you should practically bear in mind, that towards the payment of debts there must be Revenue; that to have Revenue there must be taxes; that no taxes can be devised, which are not more or less inconvenient and unpleasant; that the intrinsic embarrassment, inseparable from the selection of the proper objects (which is always a choice of difficulties), ought to be a decisive motive for a candid construction of the conduct of the government in making it, and for a spirit of acquiescence in the measures for obtaining revenue, which the public exigencies may at any time dictate.

31 Observe good faith and justice towards all Nations; cultivate peace and harmony with all. Religion and Morality enjoin this conduct; and can it be, that good policy does not equally enjoin it? It will be worthy of a free, enlightened, and, at no distant period, a great Nation, to give to mankind the magnanimous and too novel example of a people always guided by an exalted justice and benevolence. Who can doubt, that, in the course of time and things, the fruits of such a plan would richly repay any temporary advantages, which might be lost by a steady adherence to it ? Can it be, that Providence has not connected the permanent felicity of a Nation with its Virtue? The experiment, at least, is recommended by every sentiment which ennobles human nature. Alas! is it rendered impossible by its vices ?

32 In the execution of such a plan, nothing is more essential, than that permanent, inveterate antipathies against particular Nations, and passionate attachments for others, should be excluded; and that, in place of them, just and amicable feelings towards all should be cultivated. The Nation, which indulges towards another an habitual hatred, or an habitual fondness, is in some degree a slave. It is a slave to its animosity or to its affection, either of which is sufficient to lead it astray from its duty and its interest. Antipathy in one nation against another disposes each more readily to offer insult and injury, to lay hold of slight causes of umbrage, and to be haughty and intractable, when accidental or trifling occasions of dispute occur. Hence frequent collisions, obstinate, envenomed, and bloody contests. The Nation, prompted by ill-will and resentment, sometimes impels to war the Government, contrary to the best calculations of policy. The Government sometimes participates in the national propensity, and adopts through passion what reason would reject; at other times, it makes the animosity of the nation subservient to projects of hostility instigated by pride, ambition, and other sinister and pernicious motives. The peace often, sometimes perhaps the liberty, of Nations has been the victim.

33 So likewise, a passionate attachment of one Nation for another produces a variety of evils. Sympathy for the favorite Nation, facilitating the illusion of an imaginary common interest, in cases where no real common interest exists, and infusing into one the enmities of the other, betrays the former into a participation in the quarrels and wars of the latter, without adequate inducement or justification. It leads also to concessions to the favorite Nation of privileges denied to others, which is apt doubly to injure the Nation making the concessions; by unnecessarily parting with what ought to have been retained; and by exciting jealousy, ill-will, and a disposition to retaliate, in the parties from whom equal privileges are withheld. And it gives to ambitious, corrupted, or deluded citizens, (who devote themselves to the favorite nation,) facility to betray or sacrifice the interests of their own country, without odium, sometimes even with popularity; gilding, with the appearances of a virtuous sense of obligation, a commendable deference for public opinion, or a laudable zeal for public good, the base or foolish compliances of ambition, corruption, or infatuation.

34 As avenues to foreign influence in innumerable ways, such attachments are particularly alarming to the truly enlightened and independent Patriot. How many opportunities do they afford to tamper with domestic factions, to practise the arts of seduction, to mislead public opinion, to influence or awe the Public Councils! Such an attachment of a small or weak, towards a great and powerful nation, dooms the former to be the satellite of the latter.

35 Against the insidious wiles of foreign influence (I conjure you to believe me, fellow-citizens,) the jealousy of a free people ought to be constantly awake; since history and experience prove, that foreign influence is one of the most baneful foes of Republican Government. But that jealousy, to be useful, must be impartial; else it becomes the instrument of the very influence to be avoided, instead of a defence against it. Excessive partiality for one foreign nation, and excessive dislike of another, cause those whom they actuate to see danger only on one side, and serve to veil and even second the arts of influence on the other. Real patriots, who may resist the intrigues of the favorite, are liable to become suspected and odious; while its tools and dupes usurp the applause and confidence of the people, to surrender their interests.

36 The great rule of conduct for us, in regard to foreign nations, is, in extending our commercial relations, to have with them as little political connexion as possible. So far as we have already formed engagements, let them be fulfilled with perfect good faith. Here let us stop.

37 Europe has a set of primary interests, which to us have none, or a very remote relation. Hence she must be engaged in frequent controversies, the causes of which are essentially foreign to our concerns. Hence, therefore, it must be unwise in us to implicate ourselves, by artificial ties, in the ordinary vicissitudes of her politics, or the ordinary combinations and collisions of her friendships or enmities.

38 Our detached and distant situation invites and enables us to pursue a different course. If we remain one people, under an efficient government, the period is not far off, when we may defy material injury from external annoyance; when we may take such an attitude as will cause the neutrality, we may at any time resolve upon, to be scrupulously respected; when belligerent nations, under the impossibility of making acquisitions upon us, will not lightly hazard the giving us provocation; when we may choose peace or war, as our interest, guided by justice, shall counsel.

39 Why forego the advantages of so peculiar a situation? Why quit our own to stand upon foreign ground? Why, by interweaving our destiny with that of any part of Europe, entangle our peace and prosperity in the toils of European ambition, rivalship, interest, humor, or caprice?

40 It is our true policy to steer clear of permanent alliances with any portion of the foreign world; so far, I mean, as we are now at liberty to do it; for let me not be understood as capable of patronizing infidelity to existing engagements. I hold the maxim no less applicable to public than to private affairs, that honesty is always the best policy. I repeat it, therefore, let those engagements be observed in their genuine sense. But, in my opinion, it is unnecessary and would be unwise to extend them.

41 Taking care always to keep ourselves, by suitable establishments, on a respectable defensive posture, we may safely trust to temporary alliances for extraordinary emergencies.

42 Harmony, liberal intercourse with all nations, are recommended by policy, humanity, and interest. But even our commercial policy should hold an equal and impartial hand; neither seeking nor granting exclusive favors or preferences; consulting the natural course of things; diffusing and diversifying by gentle means the streams of commerce, but forcing nothing; establishing, with powers so disposed, in order to give trade a stable course, to define the rights of our merchants, and to enable the government to support them, conventional rules of intercourse, the best that present circumstances and mutual opinion will permit, but temporary, and liable to be from time to time abandoned or varied, as experience and circumstances shall dictate; constantly keeping in view, that it is folly in one nation to look for disinterested favors from another; that it must pay with a portion of its independence for whatever it may accept under that character; that, by such acceptance, it may place itself in the condition of having given equivalents for nominal favors, and yet of being reproached with ingratitude for not giving more. There can be no greater error than to expect or calculate upon real favors from nation to nation. It is an illusion, which experience must cure, which a just pride ought to discard.

43 In offering to you, my countrymen, these counsels of an old and affectionate friend, I dare not hope they will make the strong and lasting impression I could wish; that they will control the usual current of the passions, or prevent our nation from running the course, which has hitherto marked the destiny of nations. But, if I may even flatter myself, that they may be productive of some partial benefit, some occasional good; that they may now and then recur to moderate the fury of party spirit, to warn against the mischiefs of foreign intrigue, to guard against the impostures of pretended patriotism; this hope will be a full recompense for the solicitude for your welfare, by which they have been dictated.

44 How far in the discharge of my official duties, I have been guided by the principles which have been delineated, the public records and other evidences of my conduct must witness to you and to the world. To myself, the assurance of my own conscience is, that I have at least believed myself to be guided by them.

45 In relation to the still subsisting war in Europe, my Proclamation of the 22d of April 1793, is the index to my Plan. Sanctioned by your approving voice, and by that of your Representatives in both Houses of Congress, the spirit of that measure has continually governed me, uninfluenced by any attempts to deter or divert me from it.

46 After deliberate examination, with the aid of the best lights I could obtain, I was well satisfied that our country, under all the circumstances of the case, had a right to take, and was bound in duty and interest to take, a neutral position. Having taken it, I determined, as far as should depend upon me, to maintain it, with moderation, perseverance, and firmness.

47 The considerations, which respect the right to hold this conduct, it is not necessary on this occasion to detail. I will only observe, that, according to my understanding of the matter, that right, so far from being denied by any of the Belligerent Powers, has been virtually admitted by all.

48 The duty of holding a neutral conduct may be inferred, without any thing more, from the obligation which justice and humanity impose on every nation, in cases in which it is free to act, to maintain inviolate the relations of peace and amity towards other nations.

49 The inducements of interest for observing that conduct will best be referred to your own reflections and experience. With me, a predominant motive has been to endeavour to gain time to our country to settle and mature its yet recent institutions, and to progress without interruption to that degree of strength and consistency, which is necessary to give it, humanly speaking, the command of its own fortunes.

50 Though, in reviewing the incidents of my administration, I am unconscious of intentional error, I am nevertheless too sensible of my defects not to think it probable that I may have committed many errors. Whatever they may be, I fervently beseech the Almighty to avert or mitigate the evils to which they may tend. I shall also carry with me the hope, that my Country will never cease to view them with indulgence; and that, after forty-five years of my life dedicated to its service with an upright zeal, the faults of incompetent abilities will be consigned to oblivion, as myself must soon be to the mansions of rest.

51 Relying on its kindness in this as in other things, and actuated by that fervent love towards it, which is so natural to a man, who views it in the native soil of himself and his progenitors for several generations; I anticipate with pleasing expectation that retreat, in which I promise myself to realize, without alloy, the sweet enjoyment of partaking, in the midst of my fellow-citizens, the benign influence of good laws under a free government, the ever favorite object of my heart, and the happy reward, as I trust, of our mutual cares, labors, and dangers.


Workout: 30 min elliptical (2.5 miles), stretching

Breakfast: oatmeal w peach yogurt, Protein Shake

Lunch: Turkey wrap, broccoli salad, fruit salad, V-8

2 Boxes from Lora: Starbucks T-Disks (wow!!) Book about Navy SEALs (Lone Survivor), Pedicure stuff, 5th Season of 'The Wire'

Box from Aunt Linda: Bora Bora Bars! (Almond Sunflower, my favorite!!!)

Massage: $30 ($10 tip)

Dinner: Baked Pollock, mac and cheese, veg medley, V-8

20 Sep 09

Bible Reading: I Samuel 1-3

TAPA: 1863, Mary Edwards Walker, the only female recipient of the Congressional Medal of Honor, is serving as a volunteer field surgeon near Union lines at the Battle of Chickamauga, Georgia.

Breakfast: 3 eggs over medium w cheddar/jalapenos, biscuit/gravy, coffee

Lunch: Tuna Noodle Casserole, Carrots, Broccoli, Sweet Potatoes, V-8, Snapple Tea

Dinner: Jambalaya and rice, Peas, Corn on cob, pecan pie, V-8, diet coke