When the music stopped

Chaplain Jim Higgins | LSA Anaconda Balad Airport in Iraq, north of Bagdad
For those who are unaware, at a military theater, the National Anthem is played before every movie.

In Iraq I recently attended a showing of 'Superman 3,' here at LSA Anaconda. We have a large auditorium we use for movies, as well as memorial services and other large gatherings. As is the custom back in the States, we stood and snapped to attention when the National Anthem began before the main feature. All was going as planned until about three-quarters of the way through The National Anthem the music stopped.

Now, what would happen if this occurred with 1,000 18-22 year-olds back in the States? I imagine there would be hoots, catcalls, laughter, a few rude comments; and everyone would sit down and call for a movie. Of course, that is, if they had stood for the National Anthem in the first place. Here, the 1,000 soldiers continued to stand at attention, eyes fixed forward. The music started again. The soldiers continued to quietly stand at attention.

And again, at the same point, the music stopped. What would you expect to happen? Even here I would imagine laughter, as everyone finally sat down and expected the movie to start. But here, you could have heard a pin drop.

Every soldier continued to stand at attention. Suddenly there was a lone voice, then a dozen, and quickly the room was filled with the voices of a thousand soldiers, finishing where the recording left off: “And the rockets red glare. The bombs bursting in air. Gave proof through the night, that our flag was still there. Oh, say does that star-spangled banner yet wave, O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave.”

It was the most inspiring moment I have had here in Iraq. I wanted you to know what kind of soldiers are serving you here. Remember them as they fight for you! Pass this along as a reminder to others to be ever in prayer for all our soldiers serving us here at home and abroad. For many have already paid the ultimate price.
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Photos of Arpaio and Gascon differ

Brad Burdick | Cave Creek
A letter to Senta Scarborough, Gary Nelson and J.J. Hensley

I am e-mailing a photo of the Sheriff that you can use. It’s a file photo and is much more professional than the one you used in efforts of trying to make him look unusually different than Racist Gas-cone-eey.

When you decide to become a big city professional paper, maybe you can get Ward Bushee to publish it. By the way, I see his e-mail is no longer listed in the directory for the rag website. That’s OK, we still have it, and know that he lives in a gated community in North Scottsdale, immune from the effects of crime of illegal aliens. I take it he got inundated with complaints, being the tool that he is.
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Proposed lighting, signage a step in the right direction

John and Denise Turner | Carefree
Regarding the proposed lighting and signage improvements for downtown Carefree, I would like to applaud the Council and planning staff for a job well done. Having seen the Council's presentation firsthand, these improvements were obviously well-researched and studied before asking for the public input.

A town government with fiduciary responsibility recognizes that a healthy downtown retail and restaurant area needs adequate lighting, signage, and marketing to decrease the vacancies; and makes wise use of the tax revenue from its merchants to invest in the town.

This is a much-needed step in the right direction, and will begin to renew pride in our town's appearance. Additionally, building landlords will hopefully recognize this as an opportunity to improve any neglected areas to take advantage of this "fresh look" that's on the way.
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Joe Foss presentation

Carl G. Schneider | Maj Gen USAF (Ret) | | 480-595-7668
The Joe Foss Institute is the program that I along with many other veterans have been promoting for the past several years. The program honors our good friend and great American Patriot, Joe Foss, with the plan of helping educate our future leaders. We are looking for military veterans who would be willing to be a speaker in your local schools and/or would volunteer to be an area coordinator in your state.

We have the goal of making the Joe Foss Institute presentations to one million school children by 2010. We are well on track toward meeting that goal. I personally made presentations to about 5,000 students last year and have found the program to be very rewarding to the students and to the veterans. All of the school administrators have been most supportive.

Please call or e-mail me, or the Joe Foss office, if you would be interested and want more information, or if you know any veteran who would like to be involved with this very worthwhile – and much needed – program. There is no cost to you or your schools – except for the time involved. The schedule is very flexible and wouldn’t interrupt your golf game or travels!

Please check the website: (JFI is a 501 (c) (3) non-profit organization.)
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Passionate for preserving Arizona’s desert

Lyle Anderson | Apache Junction
To be passionate for something like trying to preserve and save our Sonoran desert is a bit obscure, but somebody has to do it. It’s been a compassionate journey for me and I feel compelled and glad to do it, (Edward Abbey would be proud of me and my antics) an eco-warrior maneuver, (with pen only of course).

I stand for what I stand on, for I love the desert. If you don’t stand for something your liable to fall for anything, like against overbuilding in Phoenix Metro area. It’s hard to say no to wealthy developers with deep pockets flashing cash in tough economic times I suppose.

From the eyes of a young boy in a black Buick journeying from Page to Phoenix in the 1960s and seeing the abundant vastness of land that was in it’s natural state back then and seeing it vanish off the face of the earth so quickly today well I’m a bit perturbed and notably saddened, that more hasn‘t been done to protect this wonderful state.
Over the years I’ve written to most all the local newspapers and other sources on the Internet pertaining to this topic of concern, rabid, rapid and rampant growth, “in the valley on the run,” and the state.

Even in a time of foreclosures and housing market fall out’s we’re still building homes and developments. Am I the only one who doesn’t get it? It’s like the auto makers continually building these giant humongous trucks and SUVs when the gas scenario is going amuck in their rearview mirror, go figure.

When will we homo sapiens come to our senses? And realize we live in a desert, not a man made empire with it’s mentality of sucking up all our resources like a giant vacuum, our land, water, energy, air and quality of life which diminishes daily.

“When Jesus comes again and he asks, “where are the desert tortoises that I left on the northern edge of the Mojave Desert?” We may not be so quickly to say, “Well we needed an extra 18 holes of golf.” ~ Paul Alan Cox, a botanist, author, and an individual who helped save the Samoan rain forest from globalization.
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Drill for American oil now!

Ed Nemechek Landers, California
We should drill NOW, as Chuck Norris (of ’Walker, Texas Ranger’ fame) is demanding, AND LEAVE THE OIL COMPANIES ALONE, is the answer to our oil and gas crisis and we can do it only if we get the government off the backs of the big, and especially the small, oil companies and let them drill where they want.

Private enterprise in the oil industry is the answer and it always has been. Government restrictions stopping oil drilling and production have caused the present gas crisis, not the oil companies. We have hundreds of year’s supply of American oil and gas in our country and we should develop it NOW. Our oil companies are not allowed to drill off our coasts but Communist China and Cuba reportedly are allowed to drill off our shores in the Gulf of Mexico and we shouldn’t allow it.

We should go to and search: “gas gone wild” to see Congressman Ron Pauls’ bill H.R. 2415, the “Affordable Gas Price Act” that will get oil production going again in our country big time and bring down the price of oil, natural gas, and gasoline. This is critical to our everyday life and national security. We should contact our congressmen and demand they cosponsor and support Congressman Pauls’ H.R. 2415 “Affordable Gas Price Act” immediately to restore oil production now.
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Drilling in ANWR

Sue E. Dean | Scottsdale
A friend sent me a comprehensive packet of information on why we should allow drilling for oil in more places (like ANWR). I'd like to explain why I can't go along with that.

First, I truly believe the scientific community's assessment that global warming is real, and that burning fossil fuels is a major contributor to this warming.

Second, as I understand the problem, the volume of greenhouse gasses already in our atmosphere is causing the glaciers around the world to melt. I am confronted with that from various sources (satellite pictures of the world, National Geographic pictures from the north and south poles, etc.)

Finally, my conclusion is we cannot afford to waste any more time on fossil fuels. We need to put our money and effort into figuring out ways to get off fossil fuel energy and switch to clean, renewable sources, many of which need to be developed.

If we want to give future generations any semblance of the earth we were given, it's up to us to try, right now, today, to stop the progression.

That's about the best way I can say why I'm not in favor of more oil exploration.
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Congress is the culprit!

Nancy Barker Brennan | Camarillo, California
Today, people are blaming the oil companies for high gas prices. We are awash in oil, but the U.S. Congress refuses to allow drilling in the huge tracts offshore and in Alaska. Congress is the culprit, not the oil companies!

There is nothing in the U.S. Constitution that authorizes Congress to meddle in our marvelous free market system that was working very well without federal interference. However, massive interference has stifled production of oil and nuclear power. Visit for details.

In addition, Congress is mostly legislating in areas unauthorized by our Constitution. Foreign aid and regulating education are just two of many examples. In areas where Congress is authorized, it has created several major disasters. Our military is dispersed in many countries around the world, but it is not protecting our southern border to keep out the illegals. In addition, Congress gave up its power to declare war to the President. Therefore, we now have perpetual war to achieve perpetual peace as George Orwell wrote in his classic novel, 1984.

A citizen who does not obey the Constitution would quickly be arrested. However, Congress truly is a criminal enterprise because it continues to violate our Constitution after taking an oath to uphold and defend it. We must demand that Congress obey the Constitution, or we soon will see the destruction of our nation.
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Carefree’$ Newsletter

John Traynor | Carefree
After reading the letter regarding Carefree’s Newsletter in the last issue, I’m uncertain of the point. The actual postage cost, based upon town records, is over $7,000 per year, still high given the value of its content. The more pressing issues are the cost to produce it and its purpose in life. In 2007 the town spent $7,000 for the newsletters. It now costs Carefree about $1,700 a month, or just over $20,000 this year to print 12 issues. The town’s FY-2009 budget for printing the newsletter is $28,000. Maybe that is pocket change for some folks, but when you factor in the usual content you have to wonder, why waste the money.

The included plug for COINS [Carefree’s e-mail notification system] was also a bit odd; it sounded like a resident advisory but it didn’t come from a town official. Too bad there were no COINS alerts for the major traffic disruption on the northbound side of Tom Darlington these past several weeks. Carefree may not be doing the work, but that work sure affects residents.
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Habitat rebuttal

Paul Christopherson | President, Habitat for Humanity Desert Foothills
Your reporter’s description of Habitat for Humanity Desert Foothills in the May 28, 2008 Sonoran News is incomplete and distorts the description of Habitat for Humanity in our community. Since your reporter apparently did not make an effort to talk directly with HFHDF representatives, I am not particularly surprised at the resulting article. I am happy to extend an invitation to you and your reporters to meet with HFHDF to get a more comprehensive and accurate picture of our operation, as we encourage all responsible news media to do.

With more than 1,200 families making less than the median income and more than 800 families in the Cave Creek Unified School District who spend more than 30 percent of their income on housing, there is a clear need for affordable housing here. I am proud of our record of providing decent, affordable homes for deserving families in the Desert Foothills, and we are committed to continuing to do so.

I hope you will accept this invitation to meet with us to learn more about HFHDF so that you may publish a more accurate description of our operations in the future.
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