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PostPosted: January 22nd, 2008, 10:23 pm 
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Some shocking news, Heath Ledger, the actor, was found dead today in the afternoon in his NY apartment. Here is a link showing the main story. News here.
I thought he was a great actor, and from what I just read also seemed like a very down to earth person. RIP.

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PostPosted: January 22nd, 2008, 11:11 pm 
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Yeah, I just found out today.

RIP

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PostPosted: January 22nd, 2008, 11:43 pm 
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Damnit, Heath Ledger was a damn good actor.....well at least his last role is going to be one of his best, if not the best.


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PostPosted: January 23rd, 2008, 3:46 am 
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He was a great actor, and I'm saddened that one of his talents had to die so early. RIP.

I do wonder what he would think of the fact that his most famous role will always be "that gay cowboy in Brokeback Mountain."

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PostPosted: January 23rd, 2008, 5:24 am 
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It's really sad :( I guess the current view is that he took too many sleeping pills, but they don't yet know if it was intentional or not. Truly sad.

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PostPosted: January 23rd, 2008, 7:27 pm 
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Zaxares wrote:
I do wonder what he would think of the fact that his most famous role will always be "that gay cowboy in Brokeback Mountain."


Hopefully The Dark Knight will make it so his best role will be the Joker.


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PostPosted: January 31st, 2008, 10:33 am 
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Here's a short piece of information I found in my military.com newsletter:

Berkeley Wants Marines Out of Town
Contra Costa Times, January 31, 2008

BERKELEY, Calif. - Hey-hey, ho-ho, the Marines in Berkeley have got to go.

That's the message from the Berkeley City Council, which voted 8-1 Jan. 29 to tell the Marines that its Shattuck Avenue recruiting station "is not welcome in the city, and if recruiters choose to stay, they do so as uninvited and unwelcome intruders."

In addition, the council voted to explore enforcing its law prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation against the Marines, and officially encouraged the women's peace group Code Pink to impede the work of the Marines in the city by protesting in front of the station.

In a separate council item, the council voted 8-1 to give Code Pink a designated parking space in front of the recruiting station once a week for six months and a free sound permit for protesting once a week from noon to 4 p.m.

Councilman Gordon Wozniak voted no on both items.

The Marines have been in Berkeley for a little more than a year, having moved from Alameda in December of 2006. For about the past four months, Code Pink has been protesting in front of the station.



I found it kinda funny.
I'm not sure about the general mood in the US, which is at war every few years or so, but our military over here is faced with similar intolerant attitudes. In 1997 there were considerable rainfalls in central Europe in early summer, which led the river Oder to rise dangerously high and several dams were about to break, endangering villages and towns with several 10,000 people. The defense forces stepped in with an army of volunteers who worked night and day to stabilize the dams and save people's homes, which they achieved, and the government even dedicated a special medal to those who stood knee-deep in the mud for weeks. The population was happy and cheered.
But the year after, when the boys wanted to celebrate public swearings of recruits the city councils rejected the proposal and forbade such appearances. It's sad, actually, that with military organizations versus the public it always seems to be like
"Now that I need you I welcome you, but when you're done get the hell out!"

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PostPosted: January 31st, 2008, 8:10 pm 
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It's because the general public fears and distrusts the military, as anybody rightly should of an organisation with arms, training and a mandate to kill others. The prevalence of military coups around the world show how easy it is for the armed forces to overthrow the government and seize power if they really wanted to do so.

From a more neutral perspective though, I don't envy anybody in a military position. During peacetimes, you're feared and derided, constantly subject to budget cuts. And then, when war finally breaks out, you get your ass handed to you because you've been underfunded for years. Then you get criticised for doing a shitty job. :P

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PostPosted: January 31st, 2008, 8:19 pm 
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Berkeley is actually one of the most liberal cities in the US, probably right behind San Fransisco. Berkeley seems to be following San Frans lead, since they were also trying to get rid of any sort of military presence in their city as well a year or two ago.

I don't think it's because of some sort of idea of the military suddenly taking over, it's more a protest against the current war in Iraq and how much they disprove of the current operations and the people that are willing to fight in it. Since the majority of people in these specific areas feel it is an unjust and a fraudulent war to begin with, so people that fight in it are just as guilty, so they want to get rid of them. Or something like that.

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PostPosted: February 1st, 2008, 12:51 pm 
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Zaxares wrote:
The prevalence of military coups around the world show how easy it is for the armed forces to overthrow the government and seize power if they really wanted to do so.

That's a question of discipline and middle management. How well a general performs is of lesser importance to the troops. What the grunts care for is the next superior, the squad leader, and that one above the first, the platoon and company leader. If those are people the soldiers trust everything's fine, as long as the government does not seriously neglect the troops. They want to be praised for their performance once in a while, edible food and "action events" like heavy weapon shooting now and then - panem et circenses, so to speak. Meanwhile actively forging discipline instills a sort of unit pride and at the same time keeps troops in line, like General Patton has shown. These are points that I dare say many forces of Latin-American and Middle-Eastern countries lack...
Psychologically it's kinda interesting. I would have followed my sergeants and the lieutenant virtually everywhere. You know, if they ask you to go to hell and kick the devil's butt you grin and ask "How hard?".

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PostPosted: February 1st, 2008, 7:53 pm 
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42317 wrote:
I would have followed my sergeants and the lieutenant virtually everywhere. You know, if they ask you to go to hell and kick the devil's butt you grin and ask "How hard?".


Heh, you and I must have had very different military experiences then. I absolutely loathed my platoon sergeant. I would not only have NOT followed him into Hell, I might actually shoot him in the back and THEN push him in the portal.

I suppose the lieutenant who was the platoon commander wasn't too bad, though... At least he told good jokes.

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PostPosted: February 2nd, 2008, 2:25 pm 
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Zaxares wrote:
I absolutely loathed my platoon sergeant.

Damn shame, being a soldier was the second-best time of my life... we had really gifted people in the platoon. Strict, but also fair and good guys, funny at times. We were lost in the Black Forest once because we had received a wrong map, in the middle of a cold winter night, and couldn't find a proper spot for a radio transmission to company HQ. One sergeant from Thuringia kept telling us stories from his military life to keep us awake and entertained... "You can tell recruits anything. A-ny-thing. If you tell them, when war breaks out the grass grows black, they'll believe it!" It was one of the shittiest and yet funniest nights I have experienced.
Oh well... history.

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PostPosted: February 13th, 2008, 1:55 pm 
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Berkeley rethinks Marine Snub
Now they're seeing things in a different light, as it seems... :lol:

And then again...

Marines kicked out of Toledo...
"It was all a misunderstanding!" :lol:
Did the mayor maybe decide too rashly or was there really a communication problem?
This is so nuts it could be funny...

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PostPosted: February 14th, 2008, 7:27 pm 
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Here's an article about veterans' interests concerning the elections:
For some, Issue still War, not Economy
It is not my intent to contradict Spaz, it just seems natural to me that soldiers who have risked their lives for the cause in Iraq or Afghanistan will of course be interested in a lasting success, a hope that obviously weighs more than the national economy in their opinion. I understand how they feel.

And going back to Toeldo:
Mayor draws Fire for Booting Marines
I can't quite figure it out. I'd feel insecure when I saw 200 soldiers doing that stuff in my town, why is it necessary to practice in a real town anyway? The US are so humonguously big there should be enough space where nobody will get confused or bothered, plus the US defense budget is higher than that of all other countries combined - go compare the CIA's World Fact Book 2007 - so why can't they just build a several square miles structure for urban patrol practice? Hell, even Germany has a whole town solely for such purposes, and we're just a dot on the globe.
Still I think that abruptly telling the boys they were not welcome was a bit exaggerated and rash.

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PostPosted: February 14th, 2008, 10:22 pm 
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This whole Toledo thing is strange to say the least. I agree with you 42317, the army could have easily built a practice area instead of going through an active town (If I saw armed soldiers running around, I would be more than a bit uneasy). However, the mayor didn't handle the situation well.

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