Monday, March 31, 2003

The Machine

Last night at just about this time, Mayor Daley showed us who is really in charge of the state government. With no notice, he sent equipment in to demolish Meigs Field under the cloak of darkness. In doing so, he stranded numerous small planes at the field and totally disregarded the handshake deal he made with George Ryan to keep the airport open for 25 years, saying that the deal was off because no one had managed to get O’Hare Airport expansion locked down in Congress.

Friends of Meigs Field is considering a lawsuit, and I wish them luck. While the Park District may have legal authority to tear that place up, it just doesn't feel like this was done in a legitimate, above-the-board manner. Guv Rod!'s administration signaled support for Daley's move despite "not being informed of the mayor's plans before backhoes moved in". Surprise, surprise! Daley and Rod! have pulled the wool over Illinois citizens' eyes yet again.
tv: what's funny?

Bobby A-G has a post up from this weekend asserting that Andy Richter Controls the Universe is one of the funniest shows on TV. I haven't seen ARCTU, but that got me thinking about TV in general. What is TV worth watching these days?

Since I am having trouble writing about topics requiring serious thought and concentration, we will veer towards the entertaining yet insignificant for a while. I will present the top seven TV programs in various categories...until I run out of themes or the rest of the week, whichever comes first.

My seven funniest shows -- with brief descriptions
1. Scrubs -- Quirky with somewhat dark humor, but it gets me laughing more reliably than anything else on tv
2. Everybody Loves Raymond -- Captures the truly hilarious regarding family life, even if a tad forumulaic.
3. Man Show / Jimmy Kimmel -- Both border on offensive and morally bankrupt, but some bits ring true and hilarious.
4. The Simpsons -- You can't beat them for coy, clever commentary on current events and life in general.
5. South Park -- One out of every four episodes is sheer comic genius. The other three stink, but that's less to watch!
6. Cosby Show -- Even if I know the rerun by heart, I still chuckle everytime. Hooray for Nick at Nite!
7. Malcolm in the Middle -- See my comments about Raymond and think wackier

If you are interested, throw in your two cents. What else do you find funny on TV?
Weekend update

I'll spare you all the rigamarole on why I didn't get those posts I wrote of Friday up this weekend. I was busy...yada, yada, yada. We all are -- you know the drill. The true scoop? I find myself starting quite a few posts lately and running out of gas before I come close to finishing them. In the past two weeks alone, I have abandoned posts on being in the world and not of it, the differences between "Our Generation" and the "Greatest Generation", the Bachelorette and what Generation X is looking for in mates, and women/men's roles in conflict. Basically I start out with a decently-formed opinion that I want to express, and by the middle of the piece I run out of gas. The words just won't come anymore.

I've been excessively tired lately. Part of this I attribute to the fact that my full-time job is suddenly interesting and demanding. Being the new kid on the block is somewhat rough. I took a day off this weekend to recuperate and spent almost all my spare-time sleeping. Of course, my body may just be having trouble adjusting to the new workout routine. I ran about twenty-two miles last week, so that is to be expected. I have built up my mileage significantly though, and I am due to start strength training soon as my 7K race is in just five weeks. Hopefully, my body will soon happily adapt to the mental and physical demands being placed on it, and I will get back to providing high-quality content.

Friday, March 28, 2003

Trying to Help

I got this e-mail at work -- not sure I can verify he wrote it and I don't agree with everything in here(*) -- but it's a pretty amusing read.

By Dennis Miller

All the rhetoric on whether or not we should go to war against Iraq has got my insane little brain spinning like a roulette wheel. I enjoy reading opinions from both sides, but I have detected a hint of confusion from some of you. As I was reading the paper recently, I was reminded of the best advice someone ever gave me. He told me about the KISS method ("Keep it Simple, Stupid"). So, with this as a theme, I'd like to apply this 20 theory for those who don't quite get it. My hope is that we can simplify things a bit and recognize a few important facts.

Here are 10 things to consider when voicing an opinion on this important issue:

1) President Bush and Saddam Hussein.....Hussein is the bad guy.

2) If you have faith in the United Nations to do the right thing, keep this in mind. They have Libya heading the Committee on Human Rights and Iraq heading the Global Disarmament Committee. Do your own math here.

3) If you use Google Search and type in "French Military Victories," your reply will be "Did you mean French Military Defeats?"

4) If your only anti-war slogan is "No war for oil," sue your school district for allowing you to slip through the cracks and robbing you of the education you deserve.

5) Saddam & Bin Laden will not seek United Nations approval before they try to kill us.

6) Despite what some seem to believe, Martin Sheen is NOT the President. He plays one on T.V.

7) Even if you are anti-war, you are still an "Infidel" and Bin Laden wants you dead, too.

8) If you believe in a "vast right-wing conspiracy," but not in the danger that Hussein poses, quit hanging out with the Dell computer dude.

9) We are not trying to liberate them. *

10) Whether you are for military action, or against it, our young men and women overseas are fighting for us to defend our right to speak out. We all need to support them without reservation.

I hope this helps.
Dennis Miller
Weekend update...
As usual, it's been a busy week down here in Central Illinois. It started off as a week of disappointment. I opened up the newspaper last weekend to find an old acquaintance from my days in the IL College Republican Federation had done something seemingly unthinkable. He's been indicted on 19 counts of forgery after stealing thousands of dollars from his mentor, a state senator. I am still in a state of shock and disbelief, as I though this guy was an incredibly nice, honest man with a great political future ahead of himself. I hope and pray that he can pick up the pieces, move on, and forgive himself some day.

In happier news, it's been a week full of new beginnings. Not only have we had beautiful springtime weather, but a good friend was accepted into a physicians' assistant program and my husband had a really promising interview for a part-time job related to his masters' program. No word yet, but if anyone reading out there wants to keep us in their prayers I'd really appreciate it!

Nothing major on tap for the weekend -- college basketball, housework, movies, and a couple good long runs. I took today off work, as I was in desparate need of some R&R. Working on a couple good long posts for later in the weekend, stay tuned...
A Gentleman and a Scholar
The recent death of former Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan has been somewhat overshadowed by the war. That hasn't stopped many conservative columnists from paying their respects to the legendary senator. I just finished reading Bill Kristol's piece over at the Weekly Standard, paying tribute to Moynihan's outstanding personality. The other tributes to his political life are no less impressive. I will admit that I know quite little about his politics, but from all accounts he was a tremendously caring man that possessed a wonderful sense of humor and wasn't afraid to admit it when liberal ideas had failed our nation.

Many of these pieces say that Moynihan was the last of a dying breed of liberal. A slight exaggeration perhaps, but I will agree that such humble, thoughtful politicians are becoming more difficult to find. In my opinion, one of the true legacies of the Clinton presidency is the knee-jerk dismissal of politically-incorrect ideas. Oppose affirmative action? You are a bigot. Favor fewer government programs? You have no compassion for the less-fortunate. Argue that broken families lead to more poverty and problems in the inner cities? (As did Mr. Moynihan) You are blaming the victims for their own misfortune. Any family structure is just as worthwhile as every other one. Our ideas are right, yours are wrong. Period.

However, Moynihan took such criticism and countered it with cold, hard facts, pinpointing trends previously ignored by researchers. As Nick Schulz asserts in a piece at NRO, he alerted social scientists to the complicated interactions between culture, economic forces, and government incentives and helped make the American family an important factor in domestic policy. He stayed involved with welfare policy reforms for decades. There are thoughtful arguments to be made for liberal viewpoints, and Mr. Moynihan made sure they were presented in an intelligent, respectful manner.

Such debates don't occur in present-day society very often. Very few individuals want to risk their careers, their reputations, their good names to do so. Mr. Moynihan was one of the few who did so time and time again. In doing so, he did our country a great service. Rest in peace and godspeed.

Sidenote: My only negative reflection upon reading all these tributes to Moynihan? In the back of my mind, I wonder if liberal columnists will ever write about the death of important conservatives this way. For example, how will journalists react when Ronald Reagan passes? Whether or not you agreed with his politics, Reagan was an incredible person by all accounts, a kind man with a wonderful sense of humor. (Anyone who has read Peggy Noonan's When Character Was King will understand this assertion -- a fabulous, riveting book which I highly recommend btw) Will journalists remember him in this manner, or will they spend time criticizing all his political stances with which they disagreed?

Tuesday, March 25, 2003

War Notes

It gets a little rougher to listen to war news every day. Today two Peoria-area Marines were reported MIA near the Sadaam canal in southeastern Iraq. My sister and I went to high school with another guy in that reserves unit. He married another girl from our hometown just days before he shipped out in January. They were scheduled to get married May 31st, but planned a ceremony in the four days after his unit was notified to deploy. (As a recent bride, I still find this feat quite amazing). I am still intrigued by the human-interest angle of each soldier's story, and I feel quite lucky to have such fine people defending our nationa. Features like NRO's @War Post-It-Notes confirms this fact...and manage to make me feel both proud and choked-up at the same time.

On a related note, Peggy Noonan has up a great column in the Times-Online discussing what kind of casualties America will be willing to bear. Will we balk at the sight of our own blood? All indications so far are no, but who knows how long this support will endure.

The always-interesting pen-namer Jack Dunphy has a piece up at NRO that discusses the difference between the actions and attitudes of the LA anti-war protestors. Love the part at the end where he compares the protestors to a gaggle of new Marines that he met at the airport several weeks ago. While protest can be doesn't sound like it was at the LA protests Dunphy has attended recently.

If you want blow-by-blow war coverage, Benjamin Kepple is doing a fabulous job keeping up on his blog. Ben Domenech is also back up with a new look and a great rundown of the war thus far.
Busy week so far...

Apologize for the lack of posting. I had an idea though. The Second-Chance NCAA Bracket Challenge is up at Who wants to join me in a virtual competition? Make your picks (just 15!) and join the private group BloggerBall with password BloggerBall. May the most hoop-happy blogger win!

p.s. Mine's already up under pseudonym Illinigirl78 -- looks quite a bit different from my bracket at this time last week. Final four currently includes Kentucky, Arizona, Syracuse, and Texas. I would not be surprised to see Michigan State or Kansas get past the Elite Eight though, and don't count Butler out yet!

Saturday, March 22, 2003

Rough day

For my NCAA brackets, not to mention my boys. The Illini were just OFF today when they took on Notre Dame. Subpar shooting and offensive rebounding doomed my favorite local basketball extraordinaires. Not to discredit the Fighting Irish, but neither Dee nor Roger nor Brian shot consistently. Cook was 6 of 23 for the afternoon - hardly the performance expected from the Big 10 Player of the Year. Oh well. Bill Self has a young team, and I have a feeling we will see far better NCAA performances as the Brown / Powell / Williams / Head / Augustine combo matures. As we Cubs fans are so used to saying, there's always next year!

I think I am throwing my support behind Michigan State for the remainder of the touranment, as I must have a Big Ten dog to root for in the race. I can't stand Wisconsin or Mike Davis (no offense Hoosier boys!), but I think Tom Izzo is a class act...and he makes his players behave like gentlemen to boot.

I had dinner tonight with my husband, in-laws, and my brother-in-law's fiance. She is out in Illinois/Iowa for a few days on her spring break from Arizona -- she is in her next-to-last year of the nursing program out there. Although we love her to death, my husband and I were rooting for the Zags to pull off the upset. The buzzer beater didn't fall in the second overtime, and Arizona edged by with a win. Just another demonstration that anything can happen when you get to the touranment. Anything...

Friday, March 21, 2003

Felt close to home...

Captain Mark Beaupre was among the war's first casualties when the CH-46 Sea Knight helicopter crashed in Kuwait last night. The 30 year-old from Bloomington was a graduate of Illinois Wesleyan University. When he enlisted in the Marines, he told his family that he felt he could do more with his life and that "he had always wanted to fly". Originally from the small town of St. Anne, his priest described Beaupre as "an extremely joyful person...he was the kind of kid that when he came home, he would visit every single relative and friend. People loved to see him. He was just a kind of ray of light, a ray of sunshine." Never married, his family used to kid him that he was "married to the Marines and having an affair with his surfboard." He was to stand up as best man at his younger brother's wedding this fall.

When I read that article, my heart goes out the Beauvres and the other Marine families grieving tonight. What would I tell them if I could speak to them tonight? Rest assured that this citizen appreciates what these Marines have done for us, attempting to rid the world of evil dictators so that we can live our lives in freedom and safety. Rest assured that our president realizes the noble sacrifice they have made. Rest assured that your sons will not die in vain. This is my hope and my prayer for you.
March Madness

We've got it in the Middle East, and we've got it at home. Aside from major holidays where I get to see family and friends, this is my favorite weekend of the year. I'm a twenty-five year old female, and I love college basketball. The guys I work with are in awe of the fact that I can have two X-chromosomes and still recap games with the best of them. Since the first year we were dating, my husband and I have picked brackets together. When I was in high school, following Illinois through the touranment was mandatory in my family.

I have been glued to the TV the past two nights, between coverage of the war and the NCAAs. I still felt my pulse race when Western Kentucky gave Illinois a run for their money. I still rooted for Colorado State to slip by Duke. I still got excited when my upset picks came true. Then CBS broke in with a special report -- with troops moving and bombs exploding. It definitely put things back in perspective for me and reminded me how important this tournament is in the grand scheme of things.

Then I read a feature like this, and I am even prouder of my Illini boys. On Thursday evening, Illinois' star freshman point-guard Dee Brown turned in a stellar performance. In his first tournament game ever, he just barely missed a triple-double (16 points, 8 assists, 7 rebounds). He took control of the game when senior Big Ten Player of the Year Brian Cook fouled out with over two minutes left, and he nailed his last two free-throws to clinch the game. What was he thinking about as he got ready for the tournament? (Courtesy of Mark Tupper, 3/21 Decatur Herald & Review)
In anticipation of the tournament, Brown did three things.

He shot an extra 60 free throws each day, "Because I knew it was going to come down to making those. People are going to say, 'Let's foul the freshman.' That's fine. I'm going to step up and make them every time."

He also visited his hair stylist and had her create a new set of braids. "It took four hours and I feel asleep."

Then he wrote these two words along the side of his shoe: "BE GRATEFUL."

"It means be grateful to be an American," Brown explained. "Be grateful with the ability God gave you. I could be over in the war now. I'm over here and I'm just grateful to be an American and play the game I love."

Why bother watching the Oscars when we've got college basketball players like these? Win or lose, thank you Dee (and the other happy, humble Illini) for reminding us how lucky we are.

Wednesday, March 19, 2003

It's Begun

You who dwell in the shelter of the Most High,
who abide in the shadow of the Almighty,
Say to the LORD, "My refuge and fortress, my God in whom I trust."
God will rescue you from the fowler's snare, from the destroying plague,
Will shelter you with pinions, spread wings that you may take refuge;
God's faithfulness is a protecting shield.
You shall not fear the terror of the night nor the arrow that flies by day,
Nor the pestilence that roams in darkness,
nor the plague that ravages at noon.
Though a thousand fall at your side, ten thousand at your right hand,
Near you it shall not come.
You need simply watch; the punishment of the wicked you will see.
You have the LORD for your refuge;
you have made the Most High your stronghold.
No evil shall befall you, no affliction come near your tent.

(Psalm 91: 1-10)

A prayer of protection for the honorable men and women who are risking their lives to protect the free world at this hour -- with gratitude from this family in Central Illinois. (Credit to Brian Logue, the guest blogger who posted a link over at Josh Claybourn's site earlier)

Monday, March 17, 2003

Peace-Loving Preteens

Rod Dreher has a post up in the Corner, discussing how he's
found it impossible to discuss the war with friends who oppose it. I had a similar experience today, as I basically lost my patience tonight with a friend who wanted to come over and watch Bush's speech because he was supposed to "put forth some reasoning to justify why we are going to do this alone". I tried to explain to her that the first resolution authorized force, numerous countries would have voted with us, and there will be an international coalition regardless. Then I just gave up and told her I wasn't going to watch the speech. (Decided to take this route because like Kevin Holtsberry, I'm pretty war-weary at present). I'm not worried about this friendship (as was Rod Dreher's concern for several of his). We have been friends since nursery school, but we have perhaps hit a rough patch as of late because we see eye-to-eye on so few topics. It's tough to feel like we truly understand each other, but we hang in there.

I think the recent onslaught of media coverage has unknowingly divided us into two camps: those strongly in support of the war (who think the peaceniks are idiots for ignoring the obvious peril in our current situation) and strongly against the war (who see all those who support it as hot-tempered barbarians and cowboys ruining our international respect). This is an over-generalization in many respects. I do have some more liberal friends who likely oppose the war that I suspect I could discuss the pros and cons of this situation with logically, based on the fact that we've had thoughtful, even-measured debates where we agreed to disagree on similar topics before. I think I could discuss reasons I am for the war with the conservative anti-war movement. I understand where Aakash and Radley and others speak from in many respects, and I am among those unhappy that we will be spending billions of dollars rebuilding Iraq when this war is over. We just disagree on whether the war is necessary in spite of these costs.

Dreher noted that his angry anti-war friends were in New York City, and he asserted that it might be possible the opposite is happening out in Red America: perhaps people who are against the war are having similar problems expressing their views out here. Let me assure him that this is not the case. Even out in Central Illinois, the media is glorifying anti-war protests for all they are worth. Consider this feature on the Peace is Cool Kids Club. Bloomington-Normal parents are getting their children to help with the Iraqi relief effort and voice "their own" opinions about the war in Iraq. One of their mothers thinks the children's involvement will "have more of an effect on the president". Sure -- if you buy that the views of 8 - 11 year-olds are more than those of their parents being reiterated. (You aren't going to convince me that these kids also care passionately about getting their neighborhood declared a historic preservation district as the article asserts. I'm just not buying.) But it's an interesting article nonetheless -- just because it illustrates that the mindless "please do it for the children!" appeal never really dies, it just fades away temporarily.

(Side note: I think helping with an Iraqi relief effort is a great humanitarian gesture. However, I would make sure my "relief packages" clearly note that they are from the people who supported this war so that the world would be safe and Iraqis can have better lives in a free society)
Tried to work on a serious post this evening, but I am not very productive at the moment. I am in awe of how Mark Byron can spend half the weekend tossing his cookies and still come up with such great content. I was on the road this weekend, up in Ronald Reagan's adopted hometown of Dixon for a friends' shower. By three o'clock Sunday afternoon, I came down with a nasty virus myself and spent about half of the gala hunched over my hosts' toilet. This wasn't helped by the fact that I was at a Pampered Chef bridal shower, and the smell of the lovely diced-veggie pizza was quite overwhelming. Ick. Let's just say that I emptied my stomach, and luckily arrived home with no damage to my friends' car. But I was out of commission all last night and today to say the least.

Saturday, March 15, 2003

blogging: motivation

I was going to start off by apologizing that I haven't posted this week, but I feel that I have made that same post repeatedly as of late. Life is keeping me busy folks, which is not in itself a bad thing. A variety of things have been keeping me away from the blog. My new job is going well -- it's a very interesting blend of computers and psychology. Both my schedule and my husband's are incredibly hectic at the moment, so we're lucky if we get to spend an hour together each evening. Weekends have been occupied with occasional family visits and a flurry of pre-wedding activities -- which will be the norm until August as many of my single friends are getting married this summer. Besides all this, my metabolism seems to be slowing down at age 25, which has led me to embark on another campaign to get back in shape and run competitively this summer. I'm up to about 20 miles a week in preparation for a 7K in May, and I am consistently exhausted. These aren't really complaints; basically, I have just had a challenging yet wonderful couple of months.

When I sit down to blog lately though, I feel somewhat empty. When I started illinigirl, I was mostly looking for an outlet to express my views. I would read about terrorism or the war, and I would hate feeling so helpless. I think I had followed a link off The Corner to Ben Domenech's site, which led me to Kevin Holtsberry's site, which led me to...well most of my blogroll at right. I was excited that I had found a group of people who had similar opinions, and I enjoyed reading their points of view on current events and other items of interest.

As the situation with the war and Iraq has drug on and on and on, I have lost some of my interest in the current political diatribe. My feelings on the war though -- they are muddled. I dread the impending war and its consequences, but I think it must be fought. As President Bush aptly put it last week, I believe that the price of doing nothing far exceeds the cost of doing something today. I don't think Sadaam is going to change. (He's had twelve years and dozens of UN sanctions that he has refused to comply with -- why will Sadaam change tomorrow?) If we give him more time, I feel that it can't help but result in strengthening the radical, jihadist Muslim movements. If Sadaam is not in cahoots with the radical, jihadist Muslim movements yet, just give it time. And heaven help us all if he is allowed to develop biological/chemical weapons and distribution methods and passes that knowledge off to terrorist networks later.

So since the war has occupied my thoughts less lately, I feel that I have arrived at a crossroads. I lack the time to properly develop lengthy, well-reasoned posts every day, and when I have the time...I get serious writers' block. I'm burnt out on the war, and very little seems to be going on in Congress at the moment. I can only express my displeasure with the thoughtlessly-lefty Hollywood elites so many times without sounding incredibly bitter. My bible studies have become less regular and thorough, so I am posting on faith matters somewhat less frequently. When I finally do find a topic to write about, generally I find that another blogger has already written a good post on the topic...which leads me to lose motivation. I have thought about giving up the blog entirely, but I can't bring myself to do so.

Instead, I am sticking with posting as I'm inspired to do so. I know that Kevin Holtsberry and Bobby Allison-Gallimore have thrown up similar posts in the past couple weeks. As Kevin did, I am requesting feedback on what topics you like to read about on Illinigirl. I'm hoping that might give me some direction for the near future. As always, thanks for stopping by and checking out what I have to say.

Monday, March 10, 2003

Scrappleface has posted a comments section where you can stop by and leave a message of encouragement for the troops. Consider posting a comment if you are so inclined and consider this quote left by another visitor:

"War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things. The decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feeling which thinks that nothing is worth war is much worse. The person who has nothing for which he is willing to fight, nothing which is more important than his own personal safety, is a miserable creature and has no chance of being free unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself." John Stewart Mill (1806-1873)

Sunday, March 09, 2003

60 Minutes tonight...
I happened to catch the first of the Clinton v. Dole debates on CBS this evening. My husband is a huge fan of Norm McDonald's SNL "Bob Dole on MTV's Real World" Saturday Night Live skits, so we made it a point to check it out. I'm a little too young to remember the 1970s Point/Counterpoint segments with Shana Alexander and James Kilpatrick that Mark Byron discussed this weekend, but from what I have read the Dole/Clinton debate format was quite similar.

Tonight Bubba and Bob took on Bush's proposed tax cuts. Clinton went first with a basic argument of "The war in Iraq is going to cost too much; never before has this country had a big tax cut in times of national crisis, so give it up". (My first thought here was what about the Kennedy income tax cut implemented shortly after his assassination and at the height of the Cold War? But I digress). Dole's thoughts on the tax cut were a bit less clear, more roundabout. He implied that making President Bush choose between the tax cut and the war would be irresponsible and this choice is being pushed so Democrats can attack the President on whichever item he "neglects", whether it be homeland security or the economy.

I must admit the debate was kind of interesting, although this definitely breaks the precedent of ex-presidents keeping mum about their successor's actions. Of course, Clinton has never been one for keeping his opinions to himself, so why not give the other prominent senatorial spouse a chance to respond? I had the pleasure of meeting Bob Dole when he stumped for a local Congressional candidate in 1998. As anyone who has met Dole in person (or seen him on Letterman) can attest, Bob does indeed have a sense of humor. I'm looking forward to seeing him wield it during these debates. His response tonight definitely got in a quiet, well-mannered barb or two:
"With all due respect, Mr. President, much of our current problems can be traced to the economic hangover of the 90s. The Bush tax cut has barely kicked in. But I’ll tell you what: I’ll gladly donate my tax cut to a worthy charity, if you will. Maybe even to the Clinton Library."
Da Cubs

Jason Steffens notes that he has signed on as an administrator to I encourage anyone who has an interest in Chicago baseball to check it out. As a die-hard North-Side fan who spent half this weekend procuring tickets for one of the Cubs v. White Sox games at Comiskey for a June bachelorette party, I have to admit that I am intrigued.

Thursday, March 06, 2003

Apologies for the gap in posting. I am really not quitting, just hitting a rough patch between work, exercise, and personal responsibilities. I am so overly tired that I have done run-downs the past two nights and lost them by hitting the "Posts" instead of "Post" button on Blogger. It either has to be blamed on my sleepiness or a bad user interface! Will try to summarize them tomorrow.

Tuesday, March 04, 2003

Oh! thus be it ever, when freemen shall stand
Between their loved homes and the war's desolation!
Blest with victory and peace, may the heaven-rescued land
Praise the Power that hath made and preserved us a nation.
Then conquer we must, for our cause it is just,
And this be our motto: "In God is our trust."
And the star-spangled banner forever shall wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

4th verse, The Star Spangled Banner, Francis Scott Key, 1814 -- Pointed out by a friend at work this week and posted in honor of Greg Pulver and all the other men and women in the Middle East.