Archive for November, 2007


Posted in Society on November 20th, 2007

GETOSAMA license plateAccording to the Post Chronicle the New York Department of Motor Vehicles has banned the vanity license plate GETOSAMA because they deemed it offensive. DMV spokesman Nick Cantiello said the GETOSAMA plates violate a regulation banning any tag that is obscene, lewd, lascivious, derogatory to a particular ethnic or other group or patently offensive.

So let me get this straight, a vanity plate saying “GETOSAMA” – obviously referring to Osama Bin Laden, an individual who the US federal government has a $25 million bounty on for Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the United States – is either “lewd, lascivious, derogatory to a particular ethnic or other group or patently offensive?”

Other sources:

It seems that the NY DMV is either overwhelmingly caught up in extreme Political Correctness or they’re “paying the tax” to CAIR.

Cambridge, MA vs. Troops

Posted in Politics on November 16th, 2007

On November 6th, 2007 Cambridge, MA election officials have ruled that collecting toiletries, magazines, candy and other items for care packages for US Troops stationed overseas is far too political and violated a Massachusetts State law prohibiting political statements pertaining to a particular election within 150 feet of any polling station . They forced Troop 45 Cambridge Boy Scouts to remove every flyer and every box from the environs surrounding the polling stations despite having twice previously giving their approval for the collection drive!

The troop 45 Cambridge Boy Scouts scouts earned some money in an unexpected fundraiser. Instead of using for the originally suggested purpose of trips to Water Country, Six Flags, white water rafting, or skiing they chose to use it to fund collecting donations of toiletries, magazines, candy and other items for the US troops at the polling sites on Election Day. That’s right, the children chose to give up their fun in order to support American troops who are far from home.

But sadly for us all, on Election Day, Marsha Weinerman, executive director of the Election Commission, removed the boxes from all the polling stations because one woman, a poll worker, complained it was a political statement.

Scouts Had been given verbal permission by the city election commission twice and at the polling stations as well. A promotion for the polling place collections was still up as of November 5th on the Veterans’ Services Department section of the city’s Web site. But it was all in vain; Marsha Weinerman, executive director of the Election Commission had all the flyers taken down and the collection boxes removed because of the complaint that claimed that supporting our troops is implicitly “pro-war.”

The location where this female poll worker was complaining about the flyer was on a bulletin board with 70 or so other flyers, including ones promoting: Get Out of Iraq, Campus Green, College Democrats of America, China’s New Property Law, Save the Non-Proliferation Regime, and Global Warming. The only flyer the Election Commission removed was that of the Boy Scouts collecting things for the troops.

What is truly sad is that, while sickened and enraged, I and many others aren’t even that surprised by Cambridge’s attitudes and behavior. We’ve come to expect such thing from “The Kennedy State.” In the current Massachusetts social and political climate one has to wonder how long it will remain safe for the Boy Scouts to operate. They are in uniforms after all.

Six Boys

Posted in Politics, Society on November 12th, 2007

In October 2000 Michael T. Powers, transcribed the following from a videotape he made of a talk given by author James Bradley at the Marine Corps War Memorial in Arlington, Virginia. Bradley, whose father, John, was one of the six men pictured in the famous photograph of the flag-raising on Mt. Suribachi in February 1945 (and is thus depicted in the monument’s), had earlier that year published Flags of Our Fathers, an account of the life stories of those six men.

Each year I am hired to go to Washington, DC, with the 8th grade class from Clinton, WI, where I grew up, to videotape their trip. I greatly enjoy visiting our nation’s capital, and each year I take some special memories back with me. This fall’s trip was especially memorable.

On the last night of our trip we stopped at the Iwo Jima memorial. This memorial is the largest bronze statue in the world and depicts one of the most famous photographs in history – that of the six brave soldiers raising the American Flag at the top of a rocky hill on the island of Iwo Jima, Japan, during WW II.

Over one hundred students and chaperones piled off the buses and headed for the memorial. I noticed a solitary figure at the base of the statue, and as I got closer he asked, “Where are you guys from?”

I told him we were from Wisconsin. “Hey! I’m a Cheese Head, too. Come gather round Cheese Heads and I’ll tell you a story.” he said.

(James Bradley just happened to be in Washington, DC, to speak at the memorial the following day. He was there that night to say good night to his dad, who had passed away. He was just about to leave when he saw the buses pull up. I videotaped him as he spoke to us and received his permission to share what he said from my videotape. It is one thing to tour the incredible monuments filled with history in Washington, DC, but it is quite another to get the kind of insight we received that night.)

When all had gathered around, he reverently began to speak. Here are his words from that night:

“My name is James Bradley, and I’m from Antigo, WI. My dad is on that statue and I just wrote a book called ‘Flags of Our Fathers’ which is #5 on the New York Times Best Seller List right now. It is the story of the six boys you see behind me.

Six boys raised the flag. The first guy putting the pole in the ground is Harlan Block. Harlan was an all-state football player. He enlisted in the Marine Corps. with all the senior members of his football team. They were off to play another type of game. A game called ‘war.’ But it didn’t turn out to be a game. Harlan, at the age of 21, died with his intestines in his hands. I don’t say that to gross you out, I say that because there are people who stand in front of this statue and talk about the glory of war. You guys need to know that most of the boys in Iwo Jima were 17, 18, and 19 years-old – and it was so hard that the ones who did make it home would never talk to their families about it.

You see this next guy? That’s Rene Gagnon from New Hampshire. If you took Rene’s helmet off at the moment this photo was taken and looked in the webbing of that helmet, you would find a photograph – a photograph of his girlfriend. Rene put that there for protection because he was scared. He was 18 years-old. It was just boys who won the battle of Iwo Jima. Boys. Not old men.

The next guy here, the third guy in this tableau, was Sgt. Mike Strank. Mike is my hero. He was the hero of all these guys. They called him the ‘old man’ because he was so old. He was already 24. When Mike would motivate his boys in training camp, he didn’t say ‘Let’s go kill some Japanese,’ or ‘Let’s go die for our country.’ He knew he was talking to little boys. Instead he would say ‘You do what I say and I’ll get you home to your mothers.’

The last guy on this side of the statue is Ira Hayes, a Pima Indian from Arizona. Ira Hayes was one who walked off Iwo Jima. He went into the White House with my dad. President Truman told him ‘You’re a hero.’ He told reporters ‘How can I feel like a hero when 250 of my buddies hit the island with me and only 27 of us walked off alive?’ So you take your class at school, 250 of you spending a year together having fun, doing everything together. Then all 250 hit the beach together and only 27 of your classmates walk off alive. That was Ira Hayes. He had images of horror in his mind. Ira Hayes carried the pain home with him and eventually died, dead drunk, facedown at the age of 32, 10 years after this picture was taken.

The next guy, going around the statue, was Franklin Sously, from Hilltop, KY. A fun-lovin’ hillbilly boy. His best friend, who is now 70, told me ‘Yeah, you know, we took two cows up on the porch of Hilltop General Store. Then we strung wire across the stairs so the cows couldn’t get down. Then we fed them Epsom salts. Those cows crapped all night.’ Yes, he was a fun-lovin’ hillbilly boy. Franklin died on Iwo Jima at the age of 19. When the telegram came to tell his mother that he was dead, it came to the Hilltop General Store. A barefoot boy ran that telegram up to his mother’s farm. The neighbors could hear her scream all night long and into the morning. Those neighbors lived a quarter of a mile away.

The next guy, as we continue to go around the statue, is my dad, John Bradley, from Antigo, WI, where I was raised. My dad lived until 1994, but he would never give interviews. When Walter Cronkite’s producers or the New York Times would call, we were trained as little kids to say ‘No, I’m sorry, sir. My dad’s not here. He’s in Canada fishing. No, there is no phone there. No, I do not know when he will be back.’ My dad never fished or even went to Canada. Usually he was sitting there right at the kitchen table eating his Campbell’s soup. But we had to tell the press that he was out fishing. He didn’t want to talk to the press.

You see, like Ira Hayes, my dad didn’t see himself as a hero. Everyone thinks these guys are heroes because they’re in a photo and on a monument. My dad knew better. He was a medic. John Bradley from Wisconsin was a care giver. In Iwo Jima, he probably held more than 200 boys as they died. And when boys died in Iwo Jima, they writhed and screamed, without any medication or help with the pain.

When I was a little boy, my third grade teacher told me my dad was a hero. When I went home and told my dad that, he looked at me and said, ‘I want you always to remember that the heroes of Iwo Jima are the guys who did not come back. DID NOT COME BACK.’

So that’s the story about six nice young boys. Three died on Iwo Jima, and three came back as national heroes. Overall, 7,000 boys died on Iwo Jima in the worst battle in the history of the Marine Corps. My voice is giving out, so I will end here. Thank you for your time.”

Suddenly, the monument was not just a big old piece of metal with a flag sticking out of the top. It came to life before our eyes with the heartfelt words of a son who did indeed have a father who was a hero. Maybe not a hero for the reasons most people would believe, but a hero nonetheless.

© 2000 Michael T. Powers


Michael T. Powers, the founder of and, is the youth minister at Faith Community Church in Janesville, Wisconsin. He is happily married to his high school sweetheart Kristi and proud father of three young rambunctious boys.

He is also an author with stories in 29 inspirational books including many in the Chicken Soup for the Soul series and his own entitled: Heart Touchers “Life-Changing Stories of Faith, Love, and Laughter.” To preview his book or to join the thousands of world wide readers on his inspirational e-mail list, visit:

A lot of people over the years have added bits of text to this story, but this is the original version. I think it’s worth reading – by those who hold to the illusion of “the glories of war”, by those neo-liberals who are allowing partisan politics to hinder our servicemen’s and servicewomens’ ability to survive the battlefield, and by those in power who have chosen to put these men and women in harm’s way.

CNY Trumps CBC

Posted in 2008 Olympics, Politics, Religion on November 8th, 2007

For those that don’t know CNY is one of the abbreviations for Chinese “People’s Currency”, and the CBC is the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, Canada’s national public broadcaster. That sets the stage as it were.

This last Tuesday, November 6th, 2007 CBC was supposed to be airing Peter Rowe’s new documentary Beyond the Red Wall: The Persecution of Falun Gong on CBC Newsworld’s documentary program, The Lens. Sadly just hours before the show was slated to be aired Mr. Rowe received word that the film wasn’t going to be shown and that they felt the film should be re-edited. Even though CBC editors and lawyers approved the documentary in March it was not going to be shown. Even though Red Wall was promoted in television spots and on the CBC website for weeks it was not going to be shown. Mr. Rowe obviously questioned this last minute decision.

Two related facts came quickly and malignantly to light, like the first eruption of a melanoma on otherwise fair skin – CBC is currently Canada’s 2008 Beijing Games Olympic Broadcaster and cultural representative in Ottawa’s Chinese embassy had called CBC within the last week to complain about the film.

Peter Rowe was informed that he must change segments of the film that are particularly sensitive to the Chinese authorities. One segments involves the confirmed report that Chinese communist regime has been killing Falun Gong believers for their organs and selling the organs for profit, some to foreigners. Another “inappropriate” segment is one that discredits an alleged Falun Gong “self-immolation” incident. An analysis of the self-immolation video in Rowe’s film supports that the incident was staged!

How much would anyone like to wager that the Chinese government threatened CBC with the loss of the Olympic Broadcast privileges or other similar threats that would have made their broadcasting of the Olympic impossible or ineffective? How fast do you think CBC gave in and kowtowed to Beijing?

For more details you can go Epoch Times, which provided the source of this post.

Bible Ban Lifted

Posted in 2008 Olympics, Religion on November 8th, 2007

The U.S. Olympic Committee (USOC) received confirmation from Olympic officials Wednesday, November 7th, 2008 that there will be no restrictions on Bibles being brought into the Olympic village in Beijing next year.

We have heard from the IOC and there will be no restriction on athletes bringing the Bible or any other religious book into the village for their personal use.

— Darryl Seibel
U.S. Olympic Committee Spokesman

Organizers of the Beijing Olympics claim the ban was never in place and that religious texts and symbols were intended to be allowed “for personal use” – i.e. you won’t be arrested unless you give a Bible, Qur’an or similar text to a Chinese person.

I have my doubts about the truth of this claim by the Chinese officials. They did not refute the allegations until confronted by the USOC, and until a US Senator demanded an explanation for this wrong-headed behavior from the Chines Ambassador to the US. China’s atheist government does not have a an even marginally good record for maintaining religious freedom.

China’s officially atheist government grudgingly permits religious observance, but allows worship only in Communist Party-controlled churches, temples and mosques. Worship outside that official structure, such as at Tibetan Buddhist retreats or home churches, is banned, and organizers face harassment, arrest and terms in labor camps or prison.

Beijing has also reportedly expelled more than 100 foreign missionaries in what critics say is an effort to tighten control on non State-controlled Christian home churches prior to the 2008 Olympics.

Because of all this it would not surprise me if they had tried to ban the religious symbols and texts, but hastily recanted when called on it.