12/30/2013

Female Marines Not Meeting Requirements









It is reported that female U.S. Marines are not able to do one basic function of their Physical Fitness Test.  That exercise is pull-ups.  Since the requirement is 3 pull-ups, the U.S. Marine Corp. has announced that the January 1, 2014 deadline for all female Marines to meet the 3 pull-up requirement is now being delayed.  Female Marines are required to simply do the flexed-arm hang where they see how long they can hang on to a bar with their chin level with the horizontal bar.  According to a Marine spokesman, 55% of female Marines could not do the mandatory 3 pull-ups, as opposed to 1% of males not able to do so.  Pull-ups are considered extremely necessary to demonstrate upper-body strength that would enable Marines to carry fallen soldiers who have been wounded in combat.  It also shows they are able to carry heavy munitions needed on the field of combat to fight the enemy.  U.S. Marines are required to carry a pack that weighs 90lbs, with gunners carrying an additional 60lbs for a total of 150lbs.  Most females don't even weigh 150lbs.  Women are to be allowed into combat zones in 2016.  The fact over half of females not having the strength necessary to do simple pull-ups raises questions if they are physically capable of handing the physical rigors needed in combat.

I'm all for equality for women.  How can you not be?  However, despite left-wing utopian ideas of women being able to do anything men can do, it all comes down to a basic question of the differences in strength.  For the most part, women are no match for a man physically speaking.  That should be common sense.  A woman is going to be required to carry her own weight in munitions, backpack, and weapons.  Most will never be able to do this.  She will be required to carry a man at least her own weight in a combat zone.  Common sense dictates that men usually weigh more than women.  So, will the average woman be able to carry someone 40 to 50lbs heavier than themselves?  Not without a tremendous amount of strength training not currently being offered.  Even then, there is no guarantee that a woman can carry the "dead weight" of a fallen soldier.  When it comes to intelligence, coordination, application, weapon firing, women are, at the very least, the equal of men.  But, it comes down to a basic question, once again, of strength in combat.  In many cases, over the history of warfare, we have seen combatants engaged in hand-to-hand combat.  Can a woman hold her own in these situations?  Granted, martial arts taught today are not necessarily all about strength.  In fact, Israeli female soldiers have been in combat for several years.  But, even there, women are not required to carry as much gear as men.  In combat, no exceptions should be made.  A unit is only as strong as its weakest link.  That's not to say any combat unit is weak due to women in a fighting role.  The question boils down to how safe our troops are in combat with women playing key roles.  This is a question that has yet to be answered.

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“‘If you can’t pull yourself up, have the decency to pull yourself out,’  Ralph Peters, a retired Army officer and military historian, told Time.com. “‘The military, despite all the post-modern technology, is still essentially physical.’” - See more at: http://cnsnews.com/news/article/barbara-boland/female-marines-not-required-do-1-pull#sthash.g2X18xZq.dpuf
Pull-ups have been used to test Marines’ upper body strength for over 40 years. - See more at: http://cnsnews.com/news/article/barbara-boland/female-marines-not-required-do-1-pull#sthash.g2X18xZq.dpuf
Pull-ups have been used to test Marines’ upper body strength for over 40 years. - See more at: http://cnsnews.com/news/article/barbara-boland/female-marines-not-required-do-1-pull#sthash.g2X18xZq.dpuf
Pull-ups have been used to test Marines’ upper body strength for over 40 years. - See more at: http://cnsnews.com/news/article/barbara-boland/female-marines-not-required-do-1-pull#sthash.g2X18xZq.dpuf
Pull-ups have been used to test Marines’ upper body strength for over 40 years. - See more at: http://cnsnews.com/news/article/barbara-boland/female-marines-not-required-do-1-pull#sthash.g2X18xZq.dpuf

12/27/2013

Haunted House on Wolf Hill










Today is a milestone for David's Musings.  Today we have our very first guest blogger in the nearly six-year history of this blog.  Catherine B. (Catherine has requested her last name be omitted) is going to relate her paranormal/supernatural experience I requested in my post "Guest Bloggers for Paranormal Experiences".  Catherine is a 70-year-old retired schoolteacher from South Dakota.  She is an accomplished pianist, author and dedicated mother, grandmother and great-grandmother.  In her spare time, Catherine works as a volunteer at animal shelters in her city.

***

My story begins when I was all of 12 years of age.  I was really starting to like boys, I was becoming more self-conscious of my appearance and starting to wonder what life itself had in store for me.  I had so many wonderful friends in 1955.  It was the year that rock and roll really came into its own.  It was a year that many of us feared would end in nuclear annihilation.  In South Dakota, all small burbs and Drive-Inns were hopping and bopping to the sounds of the McGuire Sisters, Bill Haley and the Comets and Ol' Blue Eyes, Frank Sinatra. Drive-ins were the rage for teens and pre-teens such as myself.  It was also a time of mischief and mayhem if you were a youngster.  There was nothing more mysterious in my neck of the woods, in the southeastern part of South Dakota than the Haunted House on Wolf Hill (as it was fondly referred to by locals).  I'm not sure why it was named Wolf Hill since we seldom had any wolves in South Dakota.  They would stray from Yellowstone National Park on occasion.  But, other than that, there were no wolves in our region.  The reason for our interest in this particular abandoned house was due to lights that would appear for no earthly reason at various times of the night.  None of us had any inclination to go up to that house.  My dear friend Millie did run up to the front door one night to knock on the door. A light in the attic immediately came on as a result.  We all ran as fast as our legs could carry us. Other than that, we were too afraid to go exploring in that house.  That all changed in November of 1955.

The Friday after Thanksgiving of that year saw my group of friends (Millie, Sandra, Molly, and Missy) and I bored beyond tears.  Like the vast majority of South Dakota (even in present day), we lived in a mostly rural area of the state. But, there was a cluster of about 8 homes within a mile of each other.  This was the equivalent of New York City in South Dakota.  Most of us were either related or fathers and mothers were lifelong friends.  So, there wasn't much to do.  The one thing that always got us fired up was when someone suggested we visit "that house on Wolf Hill."  Most of the time, this idea would be voted down by our group of five.  But, not this night, not this cold, blustery night in November of 1955.  This night we were going to the Haunted House on Wolf Hill come hell or high water.  As usual, it was Millie who suggested we go.  Millie always was the instigator of our daredevil escapades or what transpired as a daredevil escapade.  This was about 7PM that Friday after Thanksgiving.  I didn't really want to go.  It was cold, snowy and the threat of more snow that night.  I was outvoted, of course, thanks to the 3M Girls as we referred to them (Millie, Molly and Missy).  So, off we went to the "house!"

We arrived at Wolf Hill about 30 minutes later.  Yes, it was a long walk.  If our parents knew we were this far away, we would have been in trouble.  Looking at the house was intimidating.  It was an old ramshackle, two-story home that had been abandoned as far back as the 30s as far as anybody could remember.  The wind had started to pick up as we walked the winding path up to the Haunted House on Wolf Hill.  I remember thinking, what have I gotten myself into this time!  Millie went to the door and tried the knob.  It was locked.  Not to be deterred, Millie kicked the door.  It came loose at the hinges and fell in toward the house.  I told Millie someone is going to ask about this!  She didn't seem to care.  One by one, we entered the house.  If it was possible, the house seemed colder than outside (which was probably in the teens with the wind chill factored in).  There were many old pictures of long deceased family members who lived in that house.  My father said it belonged to James Thurpin, a man of means back in the day.  He owned a farm and feed store in town, some five miles away.  He was not the most liked man amongst town folks.  In fact, he was hated by most due to his temperament and unrelenting retaliation against those he perceived as unscrupulous in his business dealings.  He died a financially broken man due to the depression in 1938.  The house was never occupied after that.  I thought about that as I looked at the rotten staircase leading up to the second floor of the house.  Suddenly, we heard a loud crash from upstairs. We were all frozen with fear.  Then a bright light shown from a room upstairs.  I was heading toward the broken down door when I heard someone say "STOP!"

It was a loud booming voice of a man.  All of us were now mortified.  We couldn't move toward the door because we were just in shock from the loudness of the voice.  Millie spoke up (of course), "Who said that?"  We then heard the first quiet whisper that sent chills down our spines (and still does to this day when I think about it)....why are you in my house?  We should have left right then and there.  But, at 12 years old, you aren't usually blessed with the most common sense in the world.  Millie (again) "Sir, we were just looking around to see why there are lights turned on and off in this house.  We mean no disrespect to you."  The shapeless, formless voice whisperer replied, "Do you young girls always walk into a man's house uninvited?  You are lucky I can't find my shotgun."  I was simply trembling all over.  I wasn't alone.  With the exception of Millie, we were all trembling with fear.  Molly had actually wet on herself.  Millie asked, "Is this Mr. Thurpin speaking to me?"  "Yes, yes it is!  How do you know my name," replied the voice whisperer.  Millie said, "Mr. Thurpin, you have been dead for almost 20 years, sir.  You need to move on from the living to the spiritual."  There was a quiet respite of conversation for about two minutes before Mr. Thurpin replied.  "You children had best run off before I get riled up!  I will take no more of this nonsense.  Now, get out before I get Sheriff Tanner out here and have you all sent to the juvenile home for detention! NOW GET!!!" We didn't waste any time running out the door after those last two, booming words from the voice of one James Thurpin.  We all ran the half-mile back to my home.  We were all too scared to talk about it any further that night.  The 3M girls went back to their respective homes, Sandra asked if she could spend the night with me.  Mama said she could.  But, neither one of us discussed the night's events.

None of us talked about what happened that night in the Haunted House on Wolf Hill with anyone outside our group.  I discussed it briefly, from time to time, with Millie.  Even the extroverted Millie didn't like talking about it.  None of us told our parents about our being there mostly due to fear of being punished.  We never went back to the Haunted House on Wolf Hill.  We would walk by there (hurriedly) just to go to the local fishing hole.  But, we never walked by there at night.  At least, no one would own up to walking by that house at night again.  We were too scared.  Most of us could just imagine Mr. Thurpin coming out his door and screaming at us again.  We didn't want to chance that.

 I left that area of South Dakota in 1961 to attend The University of South Dakota.  I lost all contact with the 3M girls.  Sandra stayed and married a farmer which was the traditional thing to do in South Dakota.  I came back there with my husband (now deceased) in 1969, two days after Neil Armstrong became the first man to step on the moon.  We were there to visit my aunt and uncle whom I had not seen since leaving in 1961.  It was a warm, pleasant evening as I decided to drive our 1966 Chevrolet Bel Air up to Wolf Hill.  My husband offered to go with me (I told him about our encounter with Mr. Thurpin, but he laughed it off as I expected he would).  But, I felt as if this was something I needed to do by myself.  As I approached the Haunted House on Wolf Hill, I stopped the car and just looked at the old house.  It was in worse shape than the last time I was there.  The door that Millie kicked in was still there.  On cue, a light in the attic came on.  I was not frightened by it.  I just figured it was Mr. Thurpin still looking for that lost shotgun to get after those girls who broke into his house so long ago.


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12/20/2013

Police Abuse #5








I read something this week that appalled me.  Since the 9-1-1 attacks on the World Trade Center towers, over 5000 civilians have been killed by police.  Think about that.  How can police justify killing that many people unless they are being fired upon?  A Washington Post blogger stated that you are 8 times more likely to be killed by local police than you are a terrorist.  It appears that most Americans suffer with the misconception that the mission of your local police is to serve and protect. That is far from the truth, especially with the advent of the Patriot Act.  What the police now seem to do is enforce laws (in any way they please), make arrests and issue citations.  They still serve and protect.  But, police serve and protect themselves when they go overboard and kill an innocent civilian for simply being in the wrong place at the wrong time.  Such an incident occurred in Chillicothe, Ohio.

A mother of three, ages 9, 14, and 19,  Krystal Barrows was sitting on her couch when police knocked on the door to deliver a search warrant.  Before police even entered the house, a police officer fired a shot into the manufactured home.  Krystal was sitting on the couch, unarmed and posing no threat to police.  Krystal was "accidentally" shot in the head.  She died later at the hospital.  Police claimed to find guns, money and heroin in the house. Police also claimed to arrest six people who had outstanding warrants.  The Sheriff's office has given no details as to how Krystal was shot in the head "accidentally."  Police have only stated they are investigating how the gun malfunctioned or if it was a mistake.  I have not seen any further updates to this story.  But, it is dubious at best that six people with warrants would be stuck in a house with a large amount of guns and drugs.  The last time I checked, it is not illegal to have guns or money in your house.  The last time I checked, there was no death penalty for possession of heroin.  That search warrant had to be specific.  I simply don't believe it gave police freedom to check whatever they pleased.  The search warrant itself is going to be very interesting as this investigation goes further. I suspect those six people are going to be released.

Meanwhile, Krystal Barrows is still dead.  Nothing the police or the judicial system does now will bring her back.  If there were drugs, if there were money (that one is a red flag to me), if there were guns in the house, the police still had no excuse to fire into that house.  The idea this was an "accident" or a "malfunctioning gun" is ridiculous.  Police are becoming more blase about violating civil rights as they continue to get away wtih such actions as in Chillicoth, Ohio.  Police simply don't care any longer.  They will do as they damn well please.  The only thing that will bring forth a national police reform act is if a loved one of a politician is involved someday.  That's the way things usually get done in this country.


12/16/2013

Guest Bloggers for Paranormal Experiences








This may come as a surprise to many who have checked out our prices for those who have wanted to do guest blogging posts on David's Musings in the past.  But, be that as it may, we intend to take a few, select posts from people who have had paranormal/supernatural experiences they can share with visitors to this blog.  Now, we would like the person to have personally experienced some kind of strange, unexplained phenomena that defies explanation.  It could be a ghostly encounter, an experience with something along the "Bigfoot" lines.  In short, it has to be something you experienced and can honestly relate to a viewing audience.  It can even be something to do with UFOs.  Now, there is simply no way we could verify if someone is telling the truth, no more than producers on network TV can prove it on "Alien Encounters" or on "Paranormal Witness."   But, we do have a pretty accurate BS meter.  We can tell the difference between BS or truth 80-90% of the time.  So, if your post is not accepted, it's because it didn't pass the smell test with us.

The guest blogging post must have one pic (send your pic and backlink in EMAIL, not the doc)  that you can choose from Google stock or one of your own (if you have any "ghostly pics").  Please limit your story to 1500 words or less.  Word Count Tool is very accurate. We won't be very strict on this.  But, we would appreciate it if you did.  You get one permanent link back to your blog, website or other non-profit site IF it is related to the paranormal/supernatural topic.  No business, company or any for-profit links accepted.  Sorry, we still charge for that.  A brief bio (50 words or less) is requested.  All entries will have to be in English.  If English is a second language for you, I am afraid we won't be able to use you. 

 We have never allowed guest bloggers here before due to the large number of requests.  That is why we made such high prices for guest bloggers to cut down on the sheer number of requests.  This is a nine-year-old blog.  It might become eligible for a national landmark sometime in the future (just joking....slightly).  So, we would imagine the backlink itself would be of some value to you despite Google killing our pagerank in their updates last year.  We will consider each guest post request based on the content alone.  Again, we do have a pretty accurate BS meter.  So, be forewarned.  Also, we don't want to act like the grammar or spelling police.  But, please proofread your entries before submitting them to us.  We only do minimal editing due to lack of time we can devote to each story we are considering. 

Please use "Contact Us" link in the right column.  Place "Guest Blogger" in subject line.  Give a brief synopsis of your story. Thanks.

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12/13/2013

A Selfie That Belongs To The Ages



 





"Now he belongs to the ages." - Secretary of War, Edwin M. Stanton on death of Abraham Lincoln..  ""He no longer belongs to us. He belongs to the ages." --Barrack Obama on death of Nelson Mandela.  Say what you will about President Obama, but you can't say he's original. Regardless, this is not a political post.  I have another blog for that.  What this blog post is about is the so-called "selfie" of U.S. President Barack Obama, Prime Minister David Cameron and Danish leader Helle Thorning-Schmidt grinning as they cosied up for a quick picture at yesterday's memorial service for the former South African president, prompting an outpouring of criticism.  Now, for the longest of times, I didn't even know what the hell a "selfie" was supposed to be.  After I found out, I thought how narcissistic can you be?  But, then I remembered that President Obama is narcissism personified.  It has always been about him.  Now, I'm not excusing the aberrant behavior of the other two narcissists, Cameron and Thorning-Schmidt.  If this had been at another boring summit of world political leaders, I can almost excuse that.  But, it wasn't that at all.

This was a memorial service for a hero who fought against Apartheid in South Africa. This man was world respected for his bravery and his fight against discrimination. This was supposed to be a solemn event.  For the most part, I'm sure it was a dignified event.  Most mature people were dignified and respectful.  The vast majority paid their final respects to this brave man, Nelson Mandela.  But, three world leaders, who were supposed to be setting an example, showed how little they cared.  These three individuals deserve all the criticism and consternation they are now receiving.  Would it have been too much to concentrate on the event rather than themselves for one freaking day?  With Obama, nothing surprises me any longer.  But, the other two; well, they are no better than he is now. Prime Minister David Cameron and Danish leader Helle Thorning-Schmidt may pay a price for this insensitive action.  But, Obama is definitely the "teflon president."  He can get away with anything.  Nothing will be said to this man-child.

12/09/2013

Retirement Pensions in Detroit







US Bankruptcy Judge Steven Rhodes made a ruling on the city of Detroit's bankruptcy that is causing shock waves around the nation.  Judge Rhodes basically stated that Detroit's pension debt is no different from any other debt Detroit has.  This means that, in effect, those municipal workers in Detroit are between a rock and a hard place in regard to their pensions.  They will see less in their pension payments, some remarkably less, once they have retired.  What is so tragic is that this is coming late in the working careers of these municipal employees.  They will have little recourse in trying to counteract this cut to their pension plans.  Some are viciously criticizing Judge Rhodes over his decision last week.  However, some blame must also go to the unions who were so intransigent in negotiations on union pay and benefits.  My feeling is that there should have been some give and take with union negotiations.  That is too late now, unfortunately.  Was there wasteful spending and mismangement in Detroit city government?  It would certainly seem that way.  Detroit has been hanging by a thread for many years, teetering on bankruptcy every single year for at least a decade. When I worked for the federal government we had a contributions based pension where the employee owned their own pension fund, not the government.  However, as I remember, the unions fought that tooth and nail initially. As it turns out, it was beneficial for both employee and management.

I have great sympathy for the Detroit workers nearing retirement.  They will have to either make do with less than promised with their pension or find alternative ways to make up for this cut in their pension.  It's easy to say they can buy CDs at the bank or establish a 401k fund now.  But, how does a low paying city employee do that if they are age 50+?  Some, if not most, just now get by on their weekly salary.  Do you pay your bills now or try to save for an additional retirement fund?  For most, trying to put additional funds into an alternative retirement plan is not going to be an option.  However, these city employees should have seen the handwriting on the wall a long time ago.  The city of Detroit could not sustain that kind of debt forever.  They should have been preparing for this day when the reality became clear that their retirement pension was in danger. 

EDITOR'S NOTE:  I am accepting guest posts on my new blog, "The Retirement Life."  You must be in the financial field with an emphasis on retirement.  I seek someone who can give sound financial advice for future retirees, people already retired.  I will consider other financial advice in the future.  Right now, I want to focus on retirement financial advice.  I offer an exchange of links as compensation.  If you are interested. please use the "Contact Us" link on the right column.  Please put "Guest Posting TRL" in the subject line.  Provide any links to your work on the web.  Thanks.


12/06/2013

World's Worst Serial Killers - Part II









"I'm the most cold-blooded sonofabitch you'll ever meet.  I just liked to kill, I wanted to kill." - Theodore "Ted" Bundy.

That statement, for the most part, sums up the mindset of the serial killer.  It is a characteristic trait of the psychopath; the inability to feel compassion for other people.  To the psychopathic serial killer, people are objects not worthy of mercy.  We are all inanimate objects to the serial killer.  You can expect no sympathy from these killers.  For the most part, serial killers are antisocial.  They are not comfortable around people.  They have few friends, nor do they want any.  For some of these killers, it is an adrenalin rush, a thrill to murder, time and time again.  They will never stop unless they are caught or die.  Believe it or not, psychopaths make good businessmen or world leaders.  Not all psychopaths are prone to kill.  But, given a choice, killing comes natural to the psychopath.  Most serial killers (maybe the overwhelming majority) show no fear, no anxiety compared to "normal people."  In short, they are absolutely ruthless in their "line of work."  I guess that makes sense if you think about it.  It takes someone with no remorse to kill one person.  It takes someone who is devoid of any morality to keep killing.  Can the serial killers be treated successfully by psychoanalysis and the subsequent psychiatric treatment?  The answer from the medical community is "NO."  The reason being, psychopaths don't want to change.  One such example was a serial killer named Andrei Chikatilo.

Andrei Chikatilo of the Ukraine, was known as the "Red Ripper."  He was also known as the "Butcher of Rostov."  By any name, he was considered a monster who murdered 53 women and children in the 70s and 80s.  His purpose for killing was sexual gratification.  He would stab and slash women and young girls.  He would then ejaculate during or after the murders.  Chikatilo developed a penchant for going to bus staions and railway stations to entice his potential victims to leave with him.  He would promise them money or, in the case of prostitutes, he would promise them money and alcohol. Usually Chikatilo would take his victims into a nearby forest where he would perform his ghastly deed.  Chikatilo would attempt intercourse with the women, but was unable to achieve an erection.  This would make him furious.  He would then take out his fury, over his own inadequacy, on the unfortunate victim.  Catching Chikatilo was doubly hard since the state media would bury stories about serial killers or child rapists.  The old USSR sacrificed their children in order to present a face of a utopian society.  Chikatilo was said to have started killing young boys in 1990, and also murdered two women.  Chikatilo was finally caught while trying to entice young children who were under police surveillance.  He went on trial in April of 1992.  During the trial, Chikatilo was kept in a cage due to his loud and disruptive behavior.  The cage was also intended to protect him from the many relatives of the victims who swore to kill him.  Chikatilo was found guilty on 52 of the 53 murder counts.  He was sentenced to death for each guilty verdict. 

Andrei Chikatilo was executed by firing squad on February 14, 1994.

“I am a mistake of nature, a mad beast...” -Andrei Chikatilo




12/02/2013

The 240-million-year-old Toilet







Yes, you read that right.  A 240-million-year-old dumping ground of dinosaurs was discovered in Argentina, according by a report by Scientific Reports.  It is considered the first direct evidence to date that dinosaurs shared dumping grounds to defecate.  Thousands of fossilized "poo" by rhino-like megaherbivores were found clustered together.  Modern day animals, such as antelopes and elephants have "agreed," over recorded history, to areas to defecate in order to limit spread of parasitic diseases.  This is also a way animals mark territory, such as lions and other predators, to warn others away.  However, this is a first in that it shows dinosaurs did the exact same thing.  The "poo" ranged in size from oval shaped to cucumber shape.  Of course, they were quite big as you can imagine.  The dinosaur thought to deficate in this particular instance was the Dinodontosaurus, an eight-foot-long megaherbivore similar to modern rhinos.  Other dinosaurs, such as the crocodile ancestor, Luperosuchus, also shared this site for a dumping ground.  Scientists can gather more information on the diet of dinosaurs from cracking open the fossilized dung.  It gives clues to their environment and long dead plant life. 

Hard to fathom the pain staking search for something of this nature.  The report did state they found dinosaur bones over a wide area.  So, obviously, that was a major clue the dinosaur searchers were on the right track.  I've often wondered if DNA could be extracted from dino poop.  I'm not a scientist and don't play one on TV.  I'm sure DNA has long since evaporated if there ever was any in the dino poop.  I guess it's the Jurassic Park enthusiasm in me coming out. 

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