Exclusive: You Can’t Make This Stuff Up! (12/23/09)
by THE EDITORS
December 23, 2009
Whenever you think general incompetence by those who purport to serve by the consent of the governed can’t get any worse, think again:
“Ross stumps for melon stamp” (HopeStar.com, 12/21/09)
Never mind the healthcare debate; forget the federal deficit; isolate the immigration issues; there are bigger things to do in Washington, and Fourth District U.S. Representative Mike Ross, D-Ar., is in the middle of the effort.
Ross is working in Washington to have a commemorative postage stamp dedicated to the watermelon, putting Hope and Hempstead County into the spotlight as the center of all things watermelon.
“For many years, watermelons have been a staple of American life, especially in Arkansas’ Fourth Congressional District where farming has helped shape our culture and way of life,” Ross stated in a recent letter to the Citizens’ Stamp Advisory Committee of the U.S. Postal Service. “For instance, in my hometown of Hope, an annual watermelon festival is held which allows families and friends to come together and enjoy locally grown watermelons while participating in a great number of events that support the local community.”
Not to mention three Guinness Book of World Records titles for the world’s largest watermelons held by the Ivan Bright and Lloyd Bright families of Hempstead County.
Ross’ letter of support notes that, “...on average, Arkansas watermelons have accounted for nearly 3,000 acres of cultivated farmland per year. This multimillion dollar industry employs many people whose families depend on the success and preservation of the watermelon as a staple of American life.”
There really isn’t much more we can add to this. It speaks for itself.
“Bombs not away” (Noah Shachtman, New York Post, 12/22/09)
As part of his push to win over the people of Afghanistan, top US Gen. Stanley McChrystal in July abolished air attacks in all but the most dire of circumstances. But that ban is having all kinds of ugly and unexpected consequences.
US troops are paying a tough price for it. Consider the running firefight that Echo Company of the 2nd Batallion, 8th Marines faced in the town of Mian Poshteh in late August.
For 36 hours, the local Taliban did everything they could to kill the Marines of Echo Company. The militants planted improvised bombs. They fired mortar rounds at the adobe compound where the Marines were holed up. And when most of the Americans left to get fresh supplies, the Taliban attacked from three sides, while a sniper took aim at the troops' heads.
The Marines, on the other hand, had to hold back.
Sure, they could return fire, launching rockets and artillery and Cobra helicopters at the militants. But for a day and a half, Echo Company had no effective access to the most powerful weapons in the US arsenal: bombs dropped from the sky.
A certain politician famously remarked during a campaign, “If they bring a knife to the fight, we bring a gun.” So why aren’t our soldiers allowed to bring the big guns to the fight? Apparently Gen. McChrystal is trying to avoid innocent deaths that proved to be propaganda boons for the Taliban.
During WWII, Harry Truman had to make the difficult decision to drop nuclear bombs on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. More than 200,000 innocent civilians died. But it was the catalyst that caused Japan to surrender and end the war.
Speaking of innocent deaths, we remember 3,000 of them in 2001.
Now is not the time to be squeamish.