Better late than never

Ever have something sneak up on you and by the time you realize it, you’ve missed out? Such was the case with Troopathon 9, which occurred last Thursday. The six hour internet telethon is put together annually by the advocacy group Move America Forward. At one time they held competitions to see which group of bloggers could raise the most money and I was pleased to be on teams that were among the leaders, even if my part was much smaller than some of the others. It’s an event I have supported for some time, so I was disappointed to realize I missed it.

Luckily, if you have the time and would like to see what a number of conservative commentators have to say about the troops and the cause, the original broadcast is still available for viewing. More importantly, though, they reached their initial goal of $300,000 to help provide care packages for our troops overseas – so with that success they’ve pushed the goal to $325,000. As of last night when I wrote this they were at $309,639 and they are collecting Troopathon donations through July 4.

The good news on this front is that the cost to send a care package has not changed since the last time I sent one, as they start at $24.99. According to the sponsor, this is what they receive:

Each care package sponsored is packed with love and care by our team of dedicated volunteers and include the following:

Gourmet Coffee, Premium Beef Jerky, Genuine Oreo Cookies, Flavored Gatorade, Mixed Nuts/Trail Mix bags, Baby Wipes, Hot Chocolate, M&M’s, Snickers, Skittles and other assorted treats, Natural Grain/Granola/Protein Bars, Gum, Sunflower Seeds, Hot Apple Cider, Shampoo & Conditioner, Deodorant, Toothpaste, Toothbrushes, Foot Cream or Powder, SPF Lip Balm, SPF Sunscreen, Bug Repellent, Military Issue Boot Socks, Magazines and Books, Casino Style Playing Cards, Phone Cards, Instant Lunches, Batteries, Laundry Detergent, Military Crisis Line/Military OneSource Resource Information, Care Packages Request Form, Handwritten Thank You Messages from School Children and other Supporters, Seasonal Items for Current Holiday, K-9 Care Packages also include eye-protecting “Doggles” & extra thick PetSport “Tuff” Balls

***Care Package Items vary depending on time of year, supply, and troop request***

That’s right the most important part of our care package comes from you. Each comes with a personal message you write.

I’ve often wondered what has become of the few that I’ve sent over the years, but I suppose that doesn’t matter as much as making sure the troops in the field know we have their back. While the recent withdrawal from Afghanistan (with a smaller ramp-up in Iraq) has meant that only around 10,000 soldiers remain in the field, the need is still there.

So if you have a few spare dollars in your couch cushions, dig them out and let our military know they are not forgotten, unlike me and my faulty memory for neglecting to plug Troopathon 9 earlier.

A Troopathon update

troopathon2014_banner_160x240Just before heading into the Independence Day holiday, I wanted to update you on the status of Troopathon 7.

When I last left you on the subject, they were looking to reach a goal of $300,000. At the end of the telecast they finished about $1,600 short of the goal, but subsequent offerings enticed them to raise the goal to $350,000. As of this writing, they are at $317,950.

One thing I have not been able to track down is how much this site raised in the overall bloggers’ competition. I know that Wayne Dupree won (and received the AR-15 they were giving away) but I don’t have my own number. I will tell you that one of my readers donated to my PayPal account with the intention of using that as a donation, so I purchased another care pack on her behalf (made sure the note said so as well.) If, between her donation and my personal purchase, that was all I accomplished I would be a little disappointed in my readership but secure in the knowledge I made a little bit of difference.

It will be interesting to see in which direction Troopathon goes next year, since plans have been made to withdraw most of our remaining armed forces from Afghanistan. Unless we suddenly decide to slug it out with the ISIS terrorists in Iraq, 2015 will bring perhaps the smallest number of Americans in combat this century, since Barack Obama is hellbent on wrapping up the Long War whether victory is in hand or not. Of course, it won’t mean those few who remain won’t appreciate the efforts provided by Move America Forward, but I think it’s a question I think is worth asking. So I will and if the response is worthwhile it can be featured here.

Update: I raised $50 out of the total bloggers’ pool of $600, good for fourth-best. I think as a group we did better last year, but every little bit helps. It’s sort of sad that a number of bloggers who agreed to participate didn’t even help for themselves.

Today is the day

Well, I didn’t win my election. But there’s another place I can be a winner with your help.

There are a number of bloggers competing for prizes in a contest sponsored by Troopathon 7, which goes online tonight. (Later this afternoon I will set up a live feed as I have done before.) Sorry, no live feed. I got home much later than I thought.

I found out last night that this humble blog is in fifth place overall, neck-and-neck with Pamela Geller’s Atlas Shrugs, and I’m not all that far out of the lead. So if you want to help out me and a good cause, donate through the box on the right-hand side of the page (it accrues to my score.) With some help I can win this thing.

Troopathon 6 is today!

Update: I have an embed code so I’m going to try and see how it works. Look for it at 4:00 after a special matinee Shorebird of the Week announcement at 10:30 this morning.

I’ll be away for a good part of the day with my outside job, but I’ll be anxious to get back and see how this 8-hour internet broadcast goes.

In its sixth year, the Troopathon combines guests from the worlds of Hollywood and politics to try and entertain and inform those watching, meanwhile raising money which goes to creating care packages for our troops in harm’s way overseas. This year’s guest roster includes such familiar names as Gary Sinise, Gene Simmons, Vice-President Dick Cheney (as well as his daughter Liz), Texas Governor Rick Perry and his state’s junior Senator Ted Cruz, former Congressman Lt. Col. Allen West, Ambassador John Bolton, and radio talkers Mark Levin, Herman Cain, Dennis Miller, and Dana Loesch, just to name a few.

They will also be giving away an AR-15 rifle (see their site for details) and attempt to raise as much as they can for this purpose. Last year they set an original goal of $250,000 but exceeded it and ended up around $400,000 when all was said and done.

Now there are several ways you can donate but perhaps the easiest is to just click on the “Please Donate” yellow button on my site under the Troopathon banner. Not only do you help the overall cause, you also help our team, the Hot Air Steamers. As I write this we are leading the race for most contributions, but the three-time defending champion Greyhawks are making a fast and furious charge. I’d like to finish first this year.

Troopathon 6 begins at 4 p.m. here in the Eastern Time Zone (1:00 where broadcast, from the Richard Nixon Library in Yorba Linda, California.) If possible I will try and live stream it here (since I had issues with it last year) but you can always go to the Troopathon site to watch it.

A renewed effort

Tonight I’m pleased to announce that I will yet again be a collection point and participating blogger on the Hot Air Steamers team for Troopathon 6, coming up Thursday, June 27 and broadcast from the Richard M. Nixon Presidential Library in Yorba Linda, California. (Interesting choice of venue, but I digress. I’m sure their staff will bend over backwards to make it a good event.)

The 8 hour Troopathon will be hosted by San Francisco-area radio talk show host Melanie Morgan and Gold Star Mother Debbie Lee, along with co-hosts Gov. Mike Huckabee and Larry O’Connor of They always have an interesting roster of special guests as well.

Now I can’t imagine the time and effort it takes to put together an 8-hour telecast with an ambitious fundraising goal – generally they aim for around $250,000, although the very first effort in 2008 raised $1.2 million. Since we now have fewer troops in harm’s way, the fiscal goal is more modest but the need is still there.

As I mentioned above, I’m once again on the Hot Air Steamers team which includes Hot Air (of course), The Lonely Conservative, myself, and some fourth blog called Raging Against the Rhetoric. Yes, my friend Jackie Wellfonder has graciously agreed to jump on board and will probably outraise the rest of us, so I better get cracking!

Something a little different this year is that the Troopathon is using the crowdsourcing website Fundly to raise money. If you follow the  “Please Donate” link on my site, whatever you donate accrues toward our team’s total – and I want to win this year.

The contribution process

Today promises to be the last of the brutally hot days our region has endured, as temperatures are predicted to retreat into the eighties for the next few days. (If anything, we could use the rain this cold front may bring us.) But for several thousand men and women, 100-degree days are common during the summer because they’re serving in the arid lands of the Middle East.

Now I understand the argument that many make: well, they’re the ones who volunteered to serve so they probably had an idea of what they were getting into. Moreover, when they return they’re going to be the recipient of a host of government goodies, such as a lifetime of medical benefits, assistance in paying for a college education, and preferences in various areas of housing and employment. No doubt many have seen this as an attractive way of life, well worth the risk to life and limb – particularly as the benefits of military service are continually promoted in venues attractive to the younger generation.

Yet when they arrive at the front against Islamic terrorism they find that William Tecumseh Sherman was right: war is hell. Soldiers can do all the training and wargaming that’s demanded of them, but when the objective by the enemy is to inflict real, honest-to-God death and destruction onto people they have no compunction whatsoever about killing (nor about dying for their own cause) by any means possible – including tactics far outside the Geneva Convention – it’s a wonder more don’t crack under all that stress. Seeing good friends blown to bits by an IED doesn’t do wonders for one’s psyche. And yes, I again acknowledge the argument that these sons and daughters of ours volunteered for the gig.

So when they receive something tangible which expresses our support I’m sure it makes their day; an island of hope and comfort among the drudgery and despair.

The cynic in all of us also says that those companies and entities which supply the items placed in the care package are in it for the publicity or the tax writeoff, and that could be true. To be honest, I’m not clear just how Move America Forward (the organization which sponsors the Troopathon and these care packages) acquires the items for the packages they send overseas – my guess is that many of them are donated by suppliers while others are purchased at a nominal to wholesale price. And obviously there’s the cost of postage involved in getting these overseas. I can tell you the price has increased over the years since I think the initial 2008 package (which may not have had the same number of items, so I could be doing an apples-to-oranges comparison) was around $15 apiece. It’s gone up a couple dollars each year since.

Still, I figure it’s the least I can do to thank those who put their lives on the line for us. While many question our purpose in fighting overseas, the fact is that we will be there until our Commander-in-Chief says we come back.

As for the Troopathon itself, it will be broadcast over the internet, presumably at the Troopathon site, starting at 4 p.m. this coming Thursday, July 12. (At this time they have a rebroadcast of last year’s program there.) Over previous years a veritable who’s who of conservative and pro-troop personalities have stopped by, and this year will be no exception.

The difference is, as I detailed a little last week, that I have a fair amount of bragging rights at stake because I am part of a larger blogger team. No question I want to do my part as I have the third-most-read website on the team (behind Hot Air, of course, and The Lonely Conservative) according to Alexa ranking so I should be a key contributor to the cause. I figure if fifty readers can help out that would be an appropriate kickstart. Now I know I have way more than fifty readers on any given day so this is quite doable, I think.

If you support the troops, here’s a way to do so. I did, and I’m just a struggling middle-aged blogger. Just click on the large banner on the right sidebar and enlist yourself in my army of troop supporters!


Troopathon 2012 set to go, and I’m a small part

No, I won’t be appearing on the internet broadcast. But last evening, for the first time, I was accepted into the bloggers’ competition for this event. There are several teams of bloggers which attempt to outdo the others and I will be part of a team called the Hot Air Steamers. Besides Hot Air (which will likely get most of the contributions) there are others like Maggie’s Notebook and The Lonely Conservative on the team, or so I am told. I’m sure the Move America Forward group will be putting out team rosters at some point.

So what I have done is set up a link to our team on the sidebar – you can’t very well miss it – and your job (should you choose to accept it) is to contribute by buying a care package for the troops, starting at $24.99. I’m a person of modest means but I will be getting one on Friday when I’m paid. Shoot, if everyone who reads this website in a week got one the Hot Air team would get a significant boost and people there might just say, “what is this monoblogue?” and stop by. It can’t hurt, and it certainly would be a great morale boost for our volunteers in far-flung lands.

(I was just looking at the e-mail which invited me, and the bloggers as an aggregate raised $30,000 in care packages for the troops last year. So my readership note definitely stands – even the small fraction of my readership that 50 packages would account for would be huge at $25 apiece. Seems like a worthy goal.)

Now I understand that a large percentage of my readership is burnt out on war and probably despises the Commander-in-Chief. But it’s always been said on the Left that “oh, we support our troops, we just don’t support their mission.” Well, to them I say put up or shut up. And to those on the right side, it’s a worthy cause to which I’ve donated a few times over the years.

As I said up top, I’m not going to be on the actual broadcast (July 12, 4 p.m. to midnight in the Eastern Time Zone) but if I get the chance I will be watching. They have a number of interesting guests from the conservative world each year and this year they’ll also be remembering Andrew Breitbart as part of the webcast. It would be nice to see them crack the million-dollar barrier again as they did in the inaugural 2008 edition, but I’m sure they’d settle for beating last year’s mark of around $500,000.

And if I can be of assistance, I’m glad to help.

Dinner fundraiser for the troops slated

They always say ‘freedom isn’t free’ but sometimes a good cause needs a helping hand.

That will be the case tomorrow evening as the Salisbury University Military Student and Veterans Club hosts a Spaghetti Dinner fundraiser at the Salisbury VFW, 821 East William Street in Salisbury. It will run from 5:30 t0 8:00.

A $6 donation is requested, with $5 going to defray the cost of care packages for deployed troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. (The organizers also ask that if you have a family member serving in those areas to contact them about arranging for the delivery of a care package.)

To attend or make a donation otherwise contact Jason Hillestad: jh80596 (at) Jason is a returning veteran who came to SU after multiple tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan so he’s trying to help his buddies out. He reminded me that anyone is welcome and they are only about halfway to their goal of 100 or more tickets sold.

While I can’t be there because of a family commitment, I encourage anyone else reading this to take the time and help a good cause. There’s always room on my site for pro-troop causes.