Saturday, August 28, 2004

Dual Voting

I missed this earlier in the week. Well, didn't really miss it, just didn't have a chance to post on it when it first came out. Apparently there are some 46000 New York City residents who vote in both Florida and New York. I'm assuming they use absentee ballots to vote in the state other than which they are in on election day. This is a Federal offense punishable by up to five years in prison.

I am guessing that these voters own property in both states. I understand that they want to be able to have a say in voting on property tax issues. But honestly! Do they really believe they have a right to vote in two states? I guess that people like Senator Kerry who owns homes in at least three states (Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, and Idaho) should have three votes? The richer you are the more votes you deserve? I don't think so. And before anyone accuses me of class warfare (pitting the evil rich against the down trodden poor), don't. Just don't go there. It's about people committing a felony, and casting two votes for whatever reason. Period.

Oh, I forgot, these are probably poor, poverty stricken people and so deserve special treatment.

Various and Sundry Links

Beth at She Who Will Be Obeyed! says it all. There is not one thing I can argue with, or even disagree with in this post. You're preaching to the choir, girl! Amen!

The following links are via Rachel Lucas.

Robert Novak interview with Retired Rear Adm. William L. Schachte Jr., who was on Lt. Kerry's first Purple Heart mission. And this link via Michelle Malkin.

Dr Martin L. Fackler weighs in with his memories of being a combat surgeon in Vietnam.

And even Lt. Col. Oliver North has something to say about Senator Kerry.

And a link to the online version of Kerry's book, The New Soldier. This book is now out of print and the Senator will not allow it to be republished. Enjoy!
Living in Poverty

Neal Boortz has an eye-opening post on this issue on how the government decides who lives in poverty and who doesn't. Apparently the government looks at who draws a paycheck and who doesn't. If you don't draw a paycheck (ie, have a job) you're living in poverty. If you are retired, and living in your paid-off $250,000 home, golfing everyday, taking trips round the world, but, you don't have a job, you are living in poverty.

Neal also says that the average American, defined as poor by American standards, has a higher standard of living than that of the average European, not the average poor European, the average European.

Back during the days of the "Great Society" Lyndon Johnson wanted to create a method of measuring poverty that would expand the scope and nature of Johnson's poverty programs. Neal, who is of course, against government interference in our lives, says that the government uses this method of measuring poverty as a reason for even more government and government spending.

Let's define poor and poverty , in terms of monetary means. From the Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary:

Poor is defined as 1) lacking material possessions and 2) of, relating to, or characterized by poverty. Poverty is defined as the state of one who lacks a usual or socially acceptable amount of money or material possessions.

Merriam-Webster's goes on to say that poverty may cover a range from extreme want of necessities to an absence of material comforts.

My personal definition of poverty is being unable to provide the basic necessities of life: food, clothing, and housing on a consistent basis without assistance of some sort. My personal definition of poor is being unable to provide the material things of life - a nicer home, a nicer, newer car, new clothes, meat instead of beans. Somedays I feel poor because I have to buy ground meat instead of steak. But, I am not poor, and I am far from poverty stricken. I don't fall into the poor category anyway because I draw a paycheck every two weeks. My husband, however, is disabled and does not. Is he in the "poor" category? According to the government definition, yes. Is he poor? Not by most standards.

If this is true and the government is defining poor as not drawing a paycheck, I think it's time for the government to re-evaluate how poverty is measured. Think of people in your life who are not drawing a paycheck from a job they go to everyday. Do they have a roof over their head, clothes on their back, and food on the table? Be honest now, are they really "poor"?
Painted With the Same Brush

I remembered an incident in my own life that makes me realize, at least to a certain extent, how the Vietnam vets feel when they hear Kerry talking about atrocities committed in Vietnam.

Remember when the Rodney King video came out? He was being beaten by LA police officers and the incident was caught on tape. I was working in the Civil Process office of the Sheriff's Office at the time. Florida has what's called a Baker Act. This is a committment order, signed by a judge placing an individual into a psychiatric treatment center for up to 72 hours for evaluation to determine whether this person is dangerous to themselves or others. A father came into our office with a Baker Act order for his son. I went to the counter and was getting the necessary information when the father said, (and the words are seared, seared, into my memory..oh sorry, I guess I was channeling) "You're not going to Rodney King him, are you? I don't want him hurt."

Somehow, I was able to remain composed and reply, "Sir, this is not the LAPD. We know how to handle ourselves professionally." I can still remember the anger I felt, not at the father who was only concerned about the safety of his son, but at the fact that someone might think his son might be in danger because of actions taken by police officers 3000 miles away. (Okay, there was some anger at the father who was stereotyping all law enforcement officers as being capable of what had happened in LA.) I was also professional enough to refrain from adding, "Unless, of course, your son gets stupid and we have to take appropriate action to enforce the order." The key word, is of course, appropriate. I don't intend to get into a discussion about the Rodney King incident. That's not the point of this post. The point is, an incident in LA, 3000 miles away, effected my job. I realized that incident stereotyped every law enforcement officer in the country. The actions of a few cast a shadow over thousands of others.

Many Vietnam vets feel they were branded as war criminals by Kerry's words. Many people of the time disagreed with the war and used Kerry's words to denegrate the service of thousands of men and women who served honorably. I'm not saying there weren't atrocities committed and acts committed that would and should be condemned. Unfortunately, there are people who do things they shouldn't do (can we say Abu Grahib?). I do believe that Senator Kerry has the right to say what he wants to say, but the Swift Vets, and all Vietnam vets, also have a story to tell. And they also have the right to be heard.

Mr. Kerry started all this by making his Vietnam service the cornerstone of his campaign. Now, he has to live with the backlash.
Restoring the Honor

I found this link at Florida Cracker and the entire comment at Knowledge is Power. It's an important read from someone who was in Vietnam. Peter may not be a "hero" but his message needs to be heard. Here is what he wrote, in its entirety:

There is a reason that some of those veterans turned their backs to Kerry and that many others sat with arms folded, refusing even polite applause. A reason that non veterans can, perhaps, know intellectually but not feel in their guts.

Like all veterans of all wars, regardless of branch of service or duty stations, we all lost friends there. Some of those we lost were closer than brothers. Unlike other wars in our history we didn't go over together and come home together, our individual wars ended individually.Unlike other wars we came home branded by a large segment of our society as war criminals, by another segment as losers. Then, as most of us were already home, one of our own officers branded us all, including the dead that we were just beginning to mourn, as war criminals, murderers and rapists.

We later discovered that many of those that he was quoting as witnesses to our 'crimes' had not spent one day in uniform. Others had never served in Viet Nam. None of them, not a single one, would testify under oath, even if granted immunity. Yet our 'crimes' became part of the common knowlege. Our children were given that testimony as fact in their history classes. We all knew soldiers, sailors,airmen and Marines that had died, leaving children behind, we know that those children were taught those same lies as fact. Who sat with those children as we did with ours, explaining that those were lies told for political gain?

It's bad enough that we couldn't mourn our dead then. Now we see the same man that stood over the open graves of our brothers and pissed on their bodies is back. This time he's dug up those bodies and is standing on them to give himself the stature for high office.

I am no famous war hero, just one of the two and a half million guys who wore Uncle's suit for awhile in a place where the same truck would splash red mud on your trousers and throw a cloud of dust on your face at the same time. My service was entirely undistinguished but I stood shoulder to shoulder with some genuine heros. Those heros came home in shiney aluminum caskets, they cannot speak for themselves. I hope someone more famous and more eloquent will speak for them soon. Until they do I can only say that not only is John Kerry not fit to command the young men and women that inherited the uniforms but he is not fit to speak of my comrades, much less speak for them. I shall say this as long as I have a breath left in my body.This isn't about George Bush or who has a Senate majority for me. It isn't about politics. It's about a bunch of young men who never grew old. It's about the families of some 58,000 men who cannot answer the slander that this War Hee-row has never retracted. I tried to answer that slander in 1971, I had no one to hear my voice. No way to reach anyone but my family. I have that way now, if only commenting on other people's forums.

It isn't about me. It isn't even about politics. It's about restoring the honor to the 58,000 names carved in black granite.

Friday, August 27, 2004

Documentary will Expose New Issues with Kerry's Vietnam Record
HARRISBURG, PA (8/25/2004) - Even before the Swiftboat Veterans for Truth aired their first commercial, independent journalist Carlton Sherwood's company Red, White and Blue Productions was busy planning a documentary featuring the views of former Vietnam POWs on what John Kerry's actions did to them.

As a Vietnam veteran with relationships with many former POWs, Carlton remembers that when John Kerry returned from Vietnam his words and deeds caused severe pain that's never been forgotten.
More problems for Senator Kerry?
(There's a link on the sidebar for Stolen Honor)

Wednesday, August 25, 2004


From Neal Boortz:

You may have heard that Bruce Springsteen and a bunch of other leftist "artists" are going out on the "Vote for Change" tour. This Bush-bashing soiree contains other acts, including Jackson Browne, the Ditzy Chicks and other assorted do-gooders. Their mission: to elect The Poodle. They probably think that people actually care. Good for them.

Anyway, it was refreshing to read this quote from of all people, Alice Cooper. Speaking about the acts that are touring against George Bush he had this to say: "If you're listening to a rock star in order to get your information on who to vote for, you're a bigger moron than they are. Why are we rock stars? Because we're morons. We sleep all day, we play music at night and very rarely do we sit around reading the Washington Journal." He also said that mixing rock and roll with politics was treason.

Finally, an entertainer that gets it...even if he is...well...a little different.
I don't know about treason, but rock and roll and politics does indeed make strange bedfellows.
It's Wicktory Wednesday!

This is the day that bloggers ask their readers to volunteer their time to the Bush/Cheney campaign or to donate to the campaign. Because of campaign law, donations cannot be made after the GOP convention next week, so you'll have to do it now, if you intend to donate. Your time, however, is acceptable right up to the election.

If you are not registered, please do so. It's a right, a privilege, and a responsibility for every American to cast an informed vote. You can register here, and, for Manatee County voters, here. Bloggers who are not among the 800+ Bloggers for Bush can sign up here to join the fun.
Bravo, Italy!

Italy decided to stand tough against terrorists. Here's the link.

And Still More on the Swift Boat Issue

I know a previous post said it might the possibly final, but probably not, final word on the Swift Vets Brouhaha, but here are a couple of things that just need to be repeated. Both are from Michelle Malkin:

First is a letter sent to the St. Ouis Post-Dispatch by Terry Sater:

Here's a letter I received today from Terry Sater, a Vietnam Vet who served with the Mobile Riverine Force in the Mekong Delta during 1968 and 1969. He writes that "I'm not part of a 527. I voted for McGovern, Perot and Bush. I didn't volunteer for Nam. I didn't want to go. I am not a hero. I served with heroes. Kerry has dishonored all of us."

Sater said he sent the letter to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, but doesn't expect it will run. It it is reprinted here in its entirety:

People don't get it. They point out how "suspicious" it is that the "Swift Boat Veterans for Truth" are "only now" coming out with their charges, as though they should have formed their organization to refute John Kerry when he was a twenty-six year old nobody. Kerry has made his service in Vietnam the centerpiece of his campaign. He has only himself to blame that his service has been questioned. Michael Moore and Whoopie Goldberg spew their venom. The "" website carries the motto "Democracy in Action". The Swift Boat Veterans are supposed to shut up.

I served twelve months with the Mobile Riverine Force, in the Mekong Delta, during 1968 and 1969, manning automatic weapons on an Armored Troop Carrier. During the first three months of 1969, I operated in and around the little village of Ha Tien, at times, with Kerry's Coastal Division 11 Swift Boats. If one of the men I served with was running for President, I would be extremely proud. If there was any way I could support him for President, I would. The bonds that are formed in combat are special. They are strong. For the men that served in Kerry's unit to state that he is unfit for command cannot and should not be brushed off as "partisan politics." It is not a "Republican vs. Democrat", or "conservative vs. liberal" issue. They aren't doing it for money. It is personal. The Swift Boat Vets are men who came to know John Kerry in the crucible of war and saw things in John Kerry that are so disturbing, that they cannot sit quietly. They also saw and heard one of their own come back from Vietnam and trash the legacy of everyone who served honorably. John Kerry's lies of atrocities are largely responsible for the terrible reputation Vietnam veterans have lived with for their entire lives. He testified that we were murdering, raping and torturing, with the consent and direction of the entire chain of command. Now, John Kerry is angry that these 254 men dare to question him.

I haven't read "Unfit for Command", yet. I have read John Kerry's "Tour of Duty." He reminds me of a popular cartoon in Vietnam, the "Saigon Warrior". The "Saigon Warrior" cartoon figure had his helmet pushed down over his shaded eyes, ammunition belts crossing his puffed out chest, a sword in one hand and his M-16 in the other. He was a caricature.

If you served in Vietnam, you don't have to read "Unfit for Command" to question Kerry's record. His own book; "Tour of Duty" will do that. I will only point out a few things in his book that stood out, to me.

A photo caption in Kerry's book states; "A Swift boat convoy heading up the Bo De River." If Kerry had spent more than four months in Vietnam, he may have known the picture was actually a column of "PBR's" (Patrol Boat, River), not his swift boats.

The book often refers to his four month stint on the Swifts as Kerry's "second tour", since he had spent time on "the guided-missile frigate U.S.S. Gridley, aboard which he visited Vietnam for the first time in March 1968." He states in his book; "Every day that the Gridley patrolled the Gulf of Tonkin an enemy attack was remotely possible." The Gridley steamed in the Gulf of Tonkin, also known as "Yankee Station." I served on the U.S.S. Enterprise, in the Gulf of Tonkin. No self-respecting sailor who served "in-country" would have considered a tour at "Yankee Station" as a tour of duty in Vietnam, unless you were a Navy pilot.

A lot has been made of John Kerry volunteering for combat. On page 104 of his book, it reads; "John Kerry would be training in San Diego for what he thought would be purely coastal patrolling of Operation Market Time, whose objective was to establish a barrier along the coast of Vietnam to interdict the infiltration of insurgent supplies by sea."

On pages 171 and 172, Kerry describes the base for Coastal Division 11, at An Thoi. First, he described the beauty of An Thoi, which was a small village on Phu Quoc Island, good distance off the coast of Vietnam. "But to the U.S. servicemen who fought in the area and had some awareness of such ghastly guerrilla tactics as booby traps, underwater mines, and sniper nests, all An Thoi signified was danger." While I must admit the possibility that my boat crew may have been painfully ignorant and subjected ourselves to mindless risk, we viewed our occasional trips to An Thoi as the closest thing we could find to "R&R". We swam in the crystal clear waters near the village of An Thoi. We fished with percussion grenades and watched as the villagers swam out to scoop up the stunned fish. We drank and played on the beach, with the dogs that roamed the island, at night.

On page 176, he describes his Swift Boat; "Horne neglected to mention that that hull might not be able to stop a BB at a thousand yards." Even his strongest supports must admit he has a tendency to exaggerate.

On the same page he states; "For those boats stationed near the Mekong Delta, a fine source of entertainment presented itself: making hell-for-leather dashes up the Viet Cong infested rivers through "free fire zones", with guns blazing, mostly for kicks and to have something dramatic to write home about." Think about it. You are in "Viet Cong infested rivers." Would you risk low ammo to fire at nothing, "for kicks"? My boat was an armored troop carrier. We carried four .30cal machine guns, two .50cal machine guns, two 20mm cannons and a "Mark 19" grenade launcher. We kept our guns clean. We plugged the ends of the barrels with grease, so that moisture didn't get into the barrel. We kept plenty of ammunition on hand. We did not want to put ourselves at risk by running out of ammunition. We were not allowed to fire freely. During one operation, the last boat in our column was taking sniper fire. The boat captain requested permission to fire back. His request was denied. We could not fire at will, for fun and entertainment.

On page 179, there is a reference to an incident that occurred on October 14th. Page 181 begins with; "Only a few weeks later, Kerry, on a PCF-44 patrol, observed four troop battalions from the Ninth Infantry Division at Dong Tam and five Mobile Riverine Force squadrons staging an assault for the benefit of Secretary of Defense Melvin Laird. "To facilitate putting on a good show, an area was picked out for the landing where the chance of guerilla contact was minimal." Kerry sneered. "Nothing was to mess up the show for the secretary of defense." I was with River Assault Squadron 13 during this time period. Melvin Laird was the secretary of defense from January 22, 1969 to January 29, 1973. At the high point, there were only four squadrons of the Mobile Riverine Force. The four squadrons were split into two larger groups; "Group Alpha" and "Group Bravo", in early summer, of 1968, spread out over different parts of the Mekong Delta. All four squadrons were never pulled together to put on a show for Melvin Laird.

Kerry renewed his decades old smearing of Viet Nam veterans, on page 211, describing Cobra gunship pilots; "Yet Kerry found himself troubled by the realization that some of these wild boys could kill innocent people from a distance and not be bothered by it. He was no pacifist - far from it- and understood that "accidental atrocities" were a part of war. But it disturbed him that even a few trigger happy American yahoos considered killing Vietnamese civilians a sport."

Page 218 relates that Kerry wrote in his notebook, from Sa Dec; ""Merry Christmas from the most inland market time unit." He meant to be clever and point out to his superiors the incongruity on a river canal not far from the Cambodian border northwest of Saigon." In truth, Sa Dec isn't near the Cambodian border. Look at a map. Second, hundreds of various types of Navy craft were all over the Mekong Delta, many in much worse places than Kerry. The "Saigon Warrior" would like everyone to think that he was the lone "Rambo", sitting in VC territory, all alone.

I hope that the whole truth comes out. I believe it will if people read "Tour of Duty", "Unfit for Command," and Kerry signs the "180" form which will allow the Navy to release all of his records, not just the ones he has selected.

Terry SaterEureka, MO

and this also from Michelle Malkin:

From Ralph Peters' column, "Heroes Don't Shout," in today's New York Post:

...[R]eal heroes don't call themselves heroes. Honorable soldiers or sailors don't brag. They let their deeds speak for themselves. Some of the most off-putting words any veteran can utter are "I'm a war hero."

Real heroes (and I've been honored to know some) never portray their service in grandiose terms, telling TV cameras that they're reporting for duty. Real heroes may be proud of the sacrifices they offered, but they don't shout for attention.

This is so profoundly a part of the military code of behavior that it cannot be over-emphasized. The rule is that those who brag about being heroes usually aren't heroes at all. Bragging is for drunks at the end of the bar, not for real vets. And certainly not for anyone who wishes to trade on his service to become our commander-in-chief.

I can't say it nearly as well as Terry Sater, Ralph Peters, or Michelle Malkin. I can say that it's all about character, and it is important.

Tuesday, August 24, 2004

A Possibly Final, but Probably Not, Thought on the Swift Boat Vets Brouhaha

Once again, let me state that I respect, and gratefully acknowledge the Senator's service. But, I really don't care that he served in Vietnam. Four months service thirty-five years ago is hardly worth talking about and shouldn't be made to be the bone of contention that it has become.

However, it was Senator Kerry who put it out there as the cornerstone of his campaign. Apparently he feels that he can say whatever he wants (and I am not debating the truth of his statements, just the fact that they were said) and expect that no one will challenge him. In fact, no one should challenge his version of the events that transpired in those four months.

I believe, and I think I've stated this before, and if not, should have, that he has the right to say whatever he wants to about his service. The men who served alongside him, in the same boat or in other boats, at the same time, also have the right to tell their side of the story. They earned it by virtue of the fact that they are American citizens, and especially, by their service in that same war.

I wasn't there. My brother was, but wasn't in the Navy, wasn't on a Swift Boat, and didn't serve with, alongside, or anywhere near Senator Kerry. I don't personally know anyone who did. So, I can only judge his accounts and the account of those who were there by what is said today. As I said, it was thirty-five years ago. One of the accounts is of his first Purple Heart. Nine days after the action that won him the Purple Heart, he wrote in his journal that he hadn't seen action or hadn't been fired on yet - something to that effect. That makes me wonder how he was awarded a medal that is only awarded for injuries sustained in battle. If I have learned one thing in my 20-plus years in law enforcement it's: If it isn't documented, it didn't happen. And if it is documented, that's what happened. One document (the Purple Heart application) says there was a firefight, or some type of action that caused his injury, another document (his own journal), written nine days later, says he hadn't seen action yet.

Let's take a moment to define lie. From the Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary:

to lie: 1 : to make an untrue statement with intent to deceive 2 : to create a false or misleading impression.

If his journal entry says he hadn't seen action, which is the lie? The Purple Heart documentation which had to (and did) state that the injury was received in battle, or the journal entry? He was either wounded in battle or hadn't yet seen action. Then, there is Christmas is Cambodia. He said he was 5 miles inside Cambodia. His own shipmates say it didn't happen. And his own journal, again, contradicts his statements. Tour of Duty by Douglas Brinkley, a book written to document Kerry's tour in Vietnam doesn't recount this event.

But back to my original thought. Senator Kerry apparently thinks that if he or his supporters say something, they should be believed without question. And if anyone dares to contradict his version of events, televison stations, publishers, bookstores will be threatened with legal action.

I don't know who's right about those events, I think there's truth and lie on both sides, but I don't think I want someone in the White House who attempts to suppress Freedom of Speech (Amendment 1 of The Constitution): Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances. He might not be initiating a bill to limit Freedom of Speech, but his actions, or the actions of his campaign on his behalf, are an attempt to do just that: restrict someone's Freedom of Speech. And this is a man who wants to be the President of the United States.
Good News for Me

Had a doctor's appointment yesterday. Just a get acquainted visit with a new doctor prior to scheduling physicals and so on. Of course, I was weighed, which I always hate, because I've usually gained a few pounds more than I expect. Well, the surprise is that I've lost 14 pounds since I weighed in at Curves last month! Yee-Haw! Found my blood pressure was up a bit, but the doctor wants me to limit salt intake; thinks that should do the trick. Hope so, I don't want to have to start medication. High blood pressure runs in my family, so I wasn't surprised, what with my weight being up and all.

I wasn't sure about the weight loss, so when I worked out, I weighed in first. That scale showed a loss of 4 pounds. I haven't completely trusted it from the beginning. We were told it shows three pounds heavy anyway. In any case, we're talking about a seven pound difference from one scale to the next. That's a big difference.

We have a scale at work in the nurse's office, so, I think I'll weigh in on it and see what it shows. Since I have everyday access, although I won't weight myself everyday, I might use it as my base.

Anyway. I was happy to see any loss.
Update: I went to the nurse's office today and weighed in. The nurses assured me that their scale is correct. Well. I weighed in four pounds heavier, not 14 or even pounds lighter. So, I don't know which to believe. -sigh- I think I'll go with the doctor's. It makes me feel better and my clothes are looser. Yes. That's what I'll do.
Update II: For anyone who might be interested, I got the results of my blood tests back in record time. Tests were done on Monday morning and Tuesday afternoon, a message was on my answering machine telling me everything is "normal." Glad it's "normal" but what really is normal? I guess I'm not diabetic, my cholesterol and triglycerides are okay. My blood pressure is a little high, but cutting back on the salt and losing weight will probably bring it down. Now it's time for the rest of the physical. ::sigh:: She also wants to do a colonoscopy and a mammogram. What fun is in store for me!

Sunday, August 22, 2004

The Buzz Cut

I found a very interesting blog at Human Events Online, The Buzz Cut, written by Lt. Col. Robert "Buzz" Patterson. If you haven't seen it yet, take a look. Very interesting insight. You'll find a link on the sidebar (unless I do something stupid again).


Can we say "stupid"? Look in the dictionary under "stupid" and you'll see my picture. I am the Queen of all that is Stupid. In fact, we were talking at work the other day about how we all make stupid mistakes. I pointed to myself and proclaimed myself the Queen of all that is Stupid. Well, I've just proved it.

Unless I am exceedingly lucky, and not really the Queen of all that is Stupid after all, my entire blog will look different. That is not the stupid part. I was noodling around on the template page and saw a look that I liked, so, I clicked on it, and changed the template. Even that is not the stupid part. I even read the little dialog box that said or words to this effect, if you choose to change your template, you may lose any customizations you have made. This is the stupid part - I never considered my side bar. It's all customized! And I can't go back to my previous template without losing everything anyway. So....I managed to save all, or at least most of my links that were in the sidebar, so it won't be as big a chore to re-create the sidebar. Just a royal pain in the patooty!

If, when I finally get everything back on my sidebar, I manage to lose the link to your site, and you know it was there, please forgive me. I don't mean to leave anyone off. I'm just having a stupid day. I don't have enough of them as it is!
I have the original template back, but did lose my sidebar. I've managed to update most of it, and found a couple of new things to put in. Still more work to do, but I'd say it's 75% fixed. Still can't believe how stupid I was.