Monday, November 30, 2009
Here's an excellent summary from Financial Times:
Competition, Secrecy and Machiavelian Plotting
Now, try this on for size, something you won't hear much of in the mainstream US media:
We Dumped the Data, But Trust Us
Have I read that right? You want to dismantle modern society based on a threat to the globe's very survival as a habitable planet and you threw out the supporting data when you were cleaning house? Psst, Fry's has got 1.5 terabyte USB drives on sale this week for $99 which would only be around 55 pounds sterling. Pick up a couple, stat.
Maybe if we look at the markets today we might find Al Gore dumping preferred stock in his various climate change corporations. Is it insider trading if you are the one who created the entire scenario out of fabrication in the first place? I guess it is more like a Madoff ponzi.
Sunday, November 29, 2009
There will be no shortage of gift ideas placed in your path during the next three weeks. The newspapers and TV will be filled with ads offering novel, interesting, compelling, and occasionally useful gifts for those on your list. I could be isolated without a calendar and know that it was approaching Christmas gifting season simply by seeing the resurrection of certain perennial commercials on TV. You'll be deluged and I'm here to help you avoid the worst mistakes.
Here's your list of things you absolutely must NOT buy:
- Your husband does NOT want an electric razor. No man ever in history has bought himself an electric razor. They are only sold at Christmas and only purchased by wives, girlfriends and mothers.
- Your wife does NOT want a Salad Shooter. No one will ever make a salad with one and no one has a place to store a useless gadget like that.
- Your elderly mother does NOT want a Clapper. No one can deal with lights going on and off at random moments like the house is haunted simply because the dog barked or a door slammed.
- Nobody you know wants a Snuggie. I don't care if it has their school colors and logo on the lap, you will have beer poured on your head if you wear it to a football game and you will trip over it and hit your head on a table if you try to get up to go to the bathroom while wearing one.
- Do NOT get your child one of those remote control helicopters. It won't fly through tunnels, won't chase another one around the light fixtures and won't last longer than the time it takes for the dog to catch it in mid-air and chew it up.
- Do NOT buy your boyfriend a flashlight with three legs to hold it up while he changes a tire on the car. His car won't have a flat for years and by then the batteries will be dead.
- Don't even think about getting your kids a Hamster...I don't mean the mammal; I refer to the mechanical variety. It looks like a deal at just $8.00, but it is useless without another fifty to a hundred bucks invested in habitat. Once it runs around the track one time you can throw it out.
- Avoid video games that teach your little boy how to kill with simple household tools and your little girl how to dress and talk like a whore. Become a pimp, a gangster, a drug-dealer or a gang-banger is not a worthwhile ambition.
So, there are some pitfalls to avoid. Maybe sports equipment, a book, or some nice clothes that don't show navels, butt-cracks, tramp-stamps or obscene slogans would do the trick. Have a happy holiday shopping season.
Bin Laden Could Have Been Nabbed
In classic Monday morning quarterbacking we get a Senate committee reporting that the world would be so much different today if we had simply blocked Bin Laden's escape from Tora Bora to Pakistan in December of 2001.
Imagine, only three short months after 9/11 we could have ended the problem. Did you apply an overlay that President Bush screwed the pooch on this?
But step back a bit and examine the premises of the committee report. Does the fact that it was initiated by Sen. John Kerry indicate an agenda? Did we really have a fix on OBL and could the 100 Special Forces troops on the ground really have blocked the territory between Tora Bora and Pakistan? Maybe you simply accepted the report statement that there were "thousands" in place to handle the job?
Yes, it is our crack, non-combatant Senators who now eight years later are able to conclusively tell us where Bin Laden was, what we should have done, and how badly President Bush and SecDef Rumsfeld bungled the job.
Now if you want to really reach for conclusions, try this one from the Senate report as it was covered in the Dallas Morning News today:
“Removing the al-Qaeda leader from the battlefield eight years ago would not have eliminated the worldwide extremist threat,” the committee’s report concludes. “But the decisions that opened the door for his escape to Pakistan allowed bin Laden to emerge as a potent symbolic figure who continues to attract a steady flow of money and inspire fanatics worldwide.”
Do they notice that the "potent symbolic figure" has been off of the world stage for the last five years. His total "leadership" role has been to release a videotape about every eight months to quell rumors that he is dead from kidney failure. Where is the PayPal account that receives this "steady flow of money" and how do the Senators link OBL to any sort of fund-raising program. Maybe even a tougher question is how inspirational is it to be forced to live in a cave eating roots and sucking on damp rocks for liquid while showing your face anywhere will result in immediate death or capture?
Might it not be more obvious to examine the madrassas and imams around the world and within our borders running blogs and webpages encouraging jihad and terrorism and against America?
The protracted war on terror would still be going on with or without the capture of OBL. We've rolled up most of the senior leadership and decimated the ranks of potential replacement leaders. The organization of al-Qaeda is dispersed and isolated with little coherence but still with potential to do damage. For the Senate to empanel a commission of self-professed experts to try to deflect blame for anything which exists today away from themselves and their half-hearted policy-making waffling is nothing short of ludicrous. Much might have been done differently, but the war today is what we have and the future is where the action needs to be.
Saturday, November 28, 2009
Friday, November 27, 2009
For those who may have doubted my fame and impact on the world, I'm pleased to announce the release this week of "When Thunder Rolled" in hardcopy in Finland!
Thunder Goes to Finland--Great Cover, Too Many Vowels!
The only connection I've been able to deduce with regard to a Finnish language edition of the book is that the spelling of my last name is a typical Finnish spelling. A Google search or checking Amazon publications will show my books along with a half dozen or more professional texts by Finns.
I can only assume that some eager editor or publishing scout saw the book, the author and assumed a local boy had made good. Regardless, I welcome the new audience.
Thursday, November 26, 2009
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
Try this quote:
The popular narrative of what happened to Detroit contains a great deal of truth but its focus is too narrow to account for the astonishing decline of this former industrial colossus. Yes, there were the riots of 1967, and white flight; and political leadership that was not just shortsighted but at times embarrassingly incompetent and corrupt. And, yes, the auto industry was a case study in self-destruction.
Who is downplaying the Detroit disaster? It is a Univ. of California-Berkeley professor. He asserts that burning down your city in riots in 1967 wouldn't be a factor in discouraging economic growth. He denies that the white population exodus to suburbia leaving the inner city as a crime-ridden ghetto wouldn't be a player. He excuses political leadership which is incompetent and undeniably corrupt for any hand in the matter. And he can't bring himself to acknowledge that if you run an industry without regard for what your competition is doing, you will inevitably fail.
Read the whole column from a New York Times opinion writer:
Whose Fault Is It?
They just don't get it. They ascribe the cause to economic policies, which should be translated as free-market capitalism, low taxes, profitability, minimal government regulation and competition.
Professor Shaiken and I drove past vast lots filled with rubble and garbage and weeds, past the old Michigan Central Terminal, which was once Detroit’s answer to New York’s Grand Central Terminal but which has long since been abandoned; past a onetime Cadillac manufacturing plant that is now an empty lot.
Did that terrible economy mean people didn't want luxury cars? Well it seems that Mercedes, BMW, Lexus and Infiniti thrived during the period. Cadillac simply didn't compete.
Is it that demand for cars disappeared and like the buggy-whip maker of yore, Detroit was left out? Actually we need only look at Toyota, Nissan, Volkswagen, Hyundai, Kia and others to see that building cars in the USA that people want could be a very profitable enterprise.
Maybe here is the crux of the argument:
We need a revitalized industrial policy, including the creation of whole new industries, if American families are to prosper in the coming decades.
Can I translate that? It means we need more government regulation (that's industrial policy); we need it revitalized or subsidized by a controlling government; we need to get on the green bandwagon (that's creation of whole new industries despite the recent exposure of wholesale fraud on that data) and we need to increase welfare because only that way can American families prosper.
But it doesn't hurt your community a bit to riot, elect corrupt politicians, or run a business without regard to markets. Absurd!
Ultra-Realistic Modern Warfare Game Features Awaiting Orders, Repairing Trucks
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
But, become one of the finest military special operations troops in the world and you get no kudos for capturing a barbarian terrorist and turning him over to Iraqi authorities.
He Could Have Slipped and Hit The Table. It Happens in NYPD Interrogation Regularly.
It would be so much more satisfying to just assist these vermin to their rendezvous with 72 virgins and then let the jackals finish the remains. But, we bring them in to face crap like this.
Is it any wonder that the military seems to have less than total confidence in their government these days?
Take a peek at this:
Take Control of the Government by Reforming It?
But, in case you were worried about identity theft if you were ever involved with ACORN and let them have your sensitive personal information, relax, they would naturally shred those papers just like you would at home. Wouldn't they?
Accounts, Credit Cards, Social Security Numbers, Ooops!
Well, that was an innocent mistake. ACORN does a lot of good. Like they help hungry people get food stamps. They do the paperwork and ease the system for the needy, don't they?
No Turkey For You Turkeys!
So, don't bother dropping by to pick up your food stamps this week. You've got a better future for a Thanksgiving dinner by prowling dumpsters that aren't jammed with incriminating documents.
Of course if you've signed up to be a regular contributor to ACORN, you can be sure that your money is well spent helping those less fortunate get a leg up in society. That is if that assistance involves one of the ACORN staffers dropping nine Gs at a reproductive services clinic. That sounds like a lot of Viagra for the dude.
Maybe an Enhancement?
I think the little red button on ACORN's buttery breast is about to pop out. Put a fork in them, they're done.
Monday, November 23, 2009
More often I focus my gripes on the lack of essential world news and the incessant accentuation of human interest stories about single parent households of four, five or six children all of whom have different last names. Someone is needing shelter, food, healthcare, an increased welfare check, a ride to her parole officer, and an excuse for keeping her abused children. We should all feel bad about ourselves because of this.
This comes from the opinion pages today's edition:
Remember All the Good ACORN Has Done for N. Texas
We certainly can't let one or two bad apples spoil the entire fetid barrel can we? Well, what about this:
The Attorney General is Coming, Dump the Documents!
I particularly like the part where the ACORN spokesman gleefully expresses his opinion that the video crew that caught their malfeasance is the one that will be in trouble. Can you say "chutzpah"?
Here's one instance where it didn't work out as well:
Voters Cost More Than a Dime a Dozen
But the Dallas Morning News is pretty sure that's not representative of the organization. I'm more inclined to believe that it typifies the activity of a "community organizer" in the current parlance.
Sunday, November 22, 2009
This seems to be well researched and supported, even though it re-inforces my own pre-conceived notions about where all of this is headed. They seem conspicuously unencumbered by the Constitution or the basic provisions of existing law.
Let's Keep the Records and Pick Up the Equipment
Among the stumbling blocks there:
- The background check law specifically prohibited maintaining records of those checks.
- Presumption of innocence is flaunted by application of "watch lists".
- Although Sen. Kennedy merits suspicion in many minds he illustrates a problem with blacklists.
- Confiscation of owned property without due process is specifically prohibited by the Constitution.
- Both Holder and Feinstein like it.
It was about four days later that I got a note from a guy on the East side named Vinnie "Big Cheese" Mozzarella. He told me that I really needed to jump on the bandwagon of 7 or possibly bad things could happen to my dog in the yard or maybe my car in a parking lot or possibly my knees in a barroom. "What's in it for me?" I asked.
"I'll let you have a fully licensed CD of Windows 7 for just $19 because of some of your affiliations," he told me. "Just don't ask too many questions, OK?"
There it was, the offer. Naturally, I couldn't refuse.
Three days later a plain white mailer arrived in my mailbox. Inside was a single golden DVD platter in a simple cardboard sleeve. It was sealed as all licensed MS products are and had the requisite license key printed on disc and sleeve. I installed. What else could I do? It was Windows 7 Ultimate Edition. An upgrade from MS would be $220, a full version would be $320. My $19 looked like a bargain.
Install took about two hours for an upgrade of a stable Vista system on a system just under three years old. All settings were retained. All peripherals and networking remained operative. In short, after the install my computer restarted in fully operational, no problems, Windows 7 mode.
It isn't much different than Vista. The Aero interface looks almost the same except the taskbar now offers large icons only but they are more functional than the old sytem. Active applications are framed. Hover over an active one and it expands to show all screens. Got a tabbed browser going? See all of the tabs in thumbnail and jump to one right away. Hover over the expanded tab and your open windows go transparent to let you see the desktop. Want the desktop at any moment and there's an unobtrusive tab on the right end of the task bar.
The notification area on the right end of the taskbar is cleaned up as well. Most background icons are hidden until you click on a small arrow, then a grid of running stuff lets you get to what you need.
No more widgets on the Sidebar. Now place those gadgets wherever you want on the desktop. Much cleaner and more functional.
Best feature I've found is the new Windows Explorer. The familiar folder hierarchy is still there, but the default when you click on the taskbar icon is to open to a display of "Libraries". This is a new metaphor for your files. They still reside in their traditional folders but you can create libraries to organize your projects, establish categories of data, or keep your busiest stuff at your fingertips. The neat thing is a particular file can be accessed through multiple libraries. Very handy. Search for anything anywhere is lightning fast with results coming in faster than you can enter search criteria.
Boot-up is faster as are hibernate and wake-up times. Nothing to complain about.
If you are happy with Vista, I still think there is nothing compelling as far as my work patterns. If you are dissatisfied, then the upgrade makes sense. Shop for your best bargain. If you are using XP, the entire ballgame changes. Unless you are prepared for a tedious operation of backing up all of your data, doing a clean install of 7 and then reinstalling and configuring all of your applications you might not want to make the move. Be sure to check your system resources as well, since many satisfactory XP installations don't have the horsepower for Vista or 7.
If you are on the cusp for a new system, Christmas shopping should offer bargain prices and Windows 7 looks like a weighty input to the decision-making process on the side of leaping now.
Saturday, November 21, 2009
Here's a quote from TJ:
Yes, we did produce a near perfect Republic. But will they keep it, or will they, in the enjoyment of plenty, lose the memory of freedom? Material abundance without character is the surest way to destruction.
If that doesn't sum up our current situation perfectly I can't imagine what would.
Read more about what we have become at American Thinker here:
It's Character, Stupid!
We don't show much of that lately. Is it possible to turn back or are we too far gone?
Florida struggling with pass protection for Tim Tebow defends their #2 ranking by picking on Florida International Airport Security Institute for Shoe-Checking and Shampoo Confiscation. They are only a 45 point favorite.
Texas at #3 will at least face a Big 12 opponent in Kansas, but the poor Jayhawks have lost five straight along with the last five meetings with TX. And to top it off, poster-boy for Nutri-System avoidance, Mike Mangini is under pressure for being mean to his players. Can't have a coach demanding his highly paid thugs actually listen to him or put out some effort, can we?
Number 4 TCU will face the cold and snow of Laramie in a match-up with Wyoming, demonstrating once again that while the Frogs are the class of their conference this year, their conference is their liability in gaining national ranking. Purple is a big color in Ft. Worth these days.
Probably the game to watch is crippled Oklahoma, a team that had great potential at the start of the season, facing off against Texas Tech another front-runner fallen on hard times. At least it is likely to be competitive.
Friday, November 20, 2009
National Jobs Czar & Storm Door Repair Technician
If you can handle it, drop off an application online. She says the phones have been tied up lately.
Here Jonah Goldberg highlights a little test of the knee-jerks run at Slate.com:
Simply Pathetic Writing Skill Displayed
This is pretty bad writing:
"The apartment was small, with slanting floors and irregular heat and a buzzer downstairs that didn't work, so that visitors had to call ahead from a pay phone at the corner gas station, where a black Doberman the size of a wolf paced through the night in vigilant patrol, its jaws clamped around an empty beer bottle."
For Gov. Palin to conjure a Doberman the size of a wolf would be to deny her Alaskan background. For anyone to suggest a dog carrying around a beer bottle would be indicative of never having been around a canine before. To suggest that you could have a phone but not two bucks to fix the doorbell probably means a welfare mentality--"when's the government going to do that for me..."
So, it isn't strange that one of the Palin-phobes offered this insight:
"That sentence by Sarah Palin could be entered into the annual Bulwer-Lytton bad writing contest. It could have a chance at winning a (sic) honorable mention, at any rate."
But, then Goldberg drops the punch-line:
But soon, the original contributor confessed: "I probably should have mentioned that the sentence quoted above was not written by Sarah Palin. It's taken from the first paragraph of Dreams From My Father, written by Barack Obama."
Now that is simply funny!
Thursday, November 19, 2009
No Dog Parks With Stimulus Money...Except
The language was incredibly clear. The $800 billion wasn't going to porkery and diddle projects. It was going to build real infrastructure and not frivolous pooping places. That was where real jobs would be "created"...And, in exactly the opposite of what he said, the picture doesn't lie.
Meanwhile as the troops endure the daily dangers of Afghanistan, the commander in theater is ignored and the Messiah smiles at the photo op of standing before a group of uniformed warriors co-opted for the occasion:
Taking Every Opportunity Before Him
Yes indeed, they do make a "pretty good photo op" but they deserve to be getting a bit more consideration than as simple window dressing. How many months longer will it take for him to make a simple decision on forty thousand troops to actually have a chance to win in Afghanistan? You either commit to victory or you pull a Clinton-in-Somalia moment and tuck your tail between your legs. But, of course then everyone will love us again and we will finally be safer.
This is about a piece of non-representative legislation that was cobbled together behind the locked doors of Sen. Reid's office. It is about emotions, inflammatory numbers which don't stand up to examination, free-market destruction, control of a sixth of American society and a grasp for power.
It even includes a bare-faced denial of the impact of the government's own task-force recommendations on mammograms. If anyone seriously believes that insurance companies will not be quoting the government experts as justification for denial of services then I've got some swamp land in Florida to sell them.
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
Right For Some and Wrong For Others
Apparently the writer is on my sheet of music. How can the "Rule of Law" and equal justice be applied by New York criminal court trials for one handful of terrorists and military tribunals be acceptable for that other bunch over there?
How can the evidence gained by enhanced interrogation techniques be unreliable and immoral last week and now the basis of assured conviction?
How can a presumption of innocence until proven guilty in a court of law be squared with AG Holder's assurances that these terrorists are guilty?
This is simply not going to work out well. Have no doubt of it.
I knew he had flown the F-105 and that he had commanded the first deployment of the F-5A to Vietnam as "Skoshi Tiger" in 1965/66. I also knew he had flown the F-4 out of Danang over North Vietnam and had three confirmed MiG kills. I learned later that he had been a test pilot at Edwards both for airplanes and for parachutes! Among his accomplishments in that role, he has some time doing this:
Putting an F-100 on a truck bed and tying a rocket to the tail is a "special" talent!
Here is some video of some other friends of mine along with some meaningful words on Robin Olds and those who went North so long ago. The other folks in the video are also long term friends and I am a very privileged individual to find myself in the company of those and dozens more like them.
Consider yourself fortunate if you ever enounter any of these people. They are the best of the best.
We've got a new textbook for American National Gov't this term and in the materials for the chapter on economic policy we've got some data. That curve is pretty impressive to the students. But it, unfortunately doesn't reflect the reality of the situation since the new administration took office.
That outrageously steep curve shows the climb to 5.5 trillion dollars. In the last year the line has gone literally off of the chart. I quoted to my class yesterday that the current level is $10.4 trillion. But, that was yesterday.
This morning's figure on national debt direct from the Treasury is here:
Past $12,000,000,000,000.00 and climbing
Of course, the President is ready to act as he warns us about the dangers of too much debt:
This Could Be a Problem
But, we recognize that in the long run the sheeple of the United States won't love him if he doesn't fill their stocking with Christmas goodies. His success is about giving, not taking. His philosophy is about having not wanting. His belief is about equality not reality.
Does anybody think he is going to do anything at all to cut spending, reduce the deficit and nibble away at that awesome debt?
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
The creation of the administration is the new terminology, "created or saved jobs." The obvious difficulty in measuring when a job was in jeopardy and a particular action saved it seems to elude the Bamster. Since it is immeasurable it is difficult to really disprove it. Unless of course, the claim is so patently false that even ABC News notices. Try this on for size:
Bread Cast Upon Imaginary Waters
Who would ever have thought that some curious journalist from a major network would actually look at the claims of recovery.gov regarding jobs saved or created in relation to specific amounts of stimulus spending?
Well, ABC did and the astonishing discovery was that jobs were saved and created in congressional districts that don't even exist!
But, the real mystery here relates to the question that isn't addressed in that news item. If the page lists specific dollar amounts that went to create or save these jobs as claimed in non-existant districts who in fact got the money?
One or two errors in a massive compilation of statistics can be excused, but when you've got a laundry list of job creation claims against specific congressional districts and a lot of them are imaginery you begin to suspect more than errors. We know that the money was appropriated and distributed, but if the administration documents that it was spent in non-existent locations then where did the real money go? Who got the check? What happened to it?
Is this entire business simply an embezzlement of the public funds?
I Did It For The Children
Looking back in history we might forget that Jimmy Carter's achievements were more than simply allowing a US Embassay to be over-run and the staff to be held prisoner for 444 days. His accomplishments are much greater:
- Gave away the Panama Canal and control of a strategic chokepoint to an unstable government.
- Managed an economy into 21% inflation and an 18% prime rate.
- Froze military pay and allowance cost-of-living adjustments for three full years during that inflation rise.
- Personally managed the botched Desert One rescue effort.
- Undercut the strongest ally in the Middle East, the Shah of Iran and aggressively refused to provide him sanctuary when he was dying of cancer and ousted from his throne.
- Reduced the size of the US military by nearly 40%.
There is more of course, but those are the high points of the four year term. What does he give to justify his inaction for the hostage taking?
Carter said Monday that one proposed option was a military strike on Iran, but he chose to stick with negotiations to prevent bloodshed and bring the hostages home safely.
Yes indeed. When stable government collapsed in Iran and our embassy was over-run by revolutionaries led by the current President of Iran, he wanted to avoid bloodshed. In fact, it was clearly an unstable situtation and minute-by-minute unclear whether the hostages would be summarily slaughtered.
I've discussed the imprisonment on a couple of occasions with Col. Dave Roeder who was the Air Force attache in the embassy and a "guest of the Ayatollah." He holds little respect for Carter and he unequivocally confirms that among the leadership of the revolutionaries was Ahmadinejad.
"I could have destroyed Iran with my weaponry. But I felt in the process it was likely the hostages' lives would be lost, and I didn't want to kill 20,000 Iranians. So I didn't attack."
His memory seems a bit flawed here. Unless his plan was to use nuclear missiles, we were very limited in what we could have done at the time militarily. Forces in place in Turkey and at sea in the Persian Gulf were incapable of reaching Teheran. Available basing for tactical forces in nations close enough to allow strikes were unlikely to offer assistance. No ground forces were any closer than Germany.
But all of that is history. It is little more than a reminder of what happens when we are led as a nation by someone with unrealistic ideals, a pacifist nature, and a reluctance to act aggressively when our country is threatened.
And, the poverty question?
It's about Habitat for Humanity. We've all seen the warm and cuddly TV commercials with the liberal bimbo crooning about making a house a home. We've watched as typically over-weight minority women with several children and no male in the household receive a shiny new house built by volunteers in the community. It is a nice picture. According to the last paragraph in that news article above, in the last 35 years Habitat has built and given away more than 300,000 homes.
The question I've got is, has anyone ever done a follow-up on those free houses? Are they still standing? Are they well cared for and maintained? Are the original recipients still in them? Was their future improved by the charity?
I wonder what happened to them.
Monday, November 16, 2009
Traffic was moving slowly, and a car in front of us had an Obama bumper sticker on it. It read: "Pray for Obama. Psalm 109:8". Mike's Bible was lying on the dash board & he got it & opened it up to the scripture & read it. He started laughing & laughing. Then he read it to me. I couldn't believe what it said. I had a good laugh, too.
Psalm 109:8 "Let his days be few; and let another take his office.
As the attorney general takes the heat for either being the front man for the Messiah or a rogue cannon on terrorist/criminal trials in New York, and unemployment continues to rise, we see the never-ending campaign interrupted in Asia by a visit from the Copenhagen Climate Consulting and Storm-door company:
We Won't Have Time to Save the Planet Next Month!
That's right, boys and girls, the need to dismantle the US economy, tax our exhalations and wait for the developing world to bury us in their cheap products has receded. Just because Brazil, China and India with fifteen times our population were reluctant to restrict themselves to exactly the same climate saving chains they wanted for us, it looks like the Bamster will have to be content with handing out free money to voters and deep-sixing our medical system.
Meanwhile, the Messiah agrees to reduce our nuclear arsenal, he sits down at a meeting with the brutal dictator of Myanmar, he cuts out his scheduled comments on that nation's political prisoners, and he promises to welcome the Asian-Pacific trade meeting next year in Hawaii. What a grand guy!
Sunday, November 15, 2009
What to make then of this double-talk:
I Don't Want to Change the Status Quo and I'll Have it Both Ways
Did you get that explanation of status quo from Axelrod? Here's the President's own statement:
"I laid out a very simple principle, which is this is a health care bill, not an abortion bill. And we're not looking to change what is the principle that has been in place for a very long time, which is federal dollars are not used to subsidize abortions," Obama told ABC News on Monday. "And I want to make sure that the provision that emerges meets that test -- that we are not in some way sneaking in funding for abortions, but on the other hand that we're not restricting women's insurance choices."
Got that? No federal funds for abortions! But the federally created healthcare provider which will be subsidized by federal funds will not be prohibited from funding abortions. It's clearly the best of both worlds. He funds abortions without funding abortions.
My basic rule still applies. If he is speaking, he is lying. Whatever he says you can be secure in believing that what he will do is exactly the opposite.
Like everything else in the modern world, we have a need to return to the past and recast it into our current terms. Yet I can't help but feel a nagging apprehension that we are being co-opted into a world in which everything is undermined with a hidden agenda.
I could enjoy a fantasy about a top level secret agent trying to quit his agency and being spirited away to a holding place. His service merited him life, but his secrets required detention. This new version, however, is about the evils of that nasty old capitalist world, the competition and marketing jungle in which the better choice would be conformity and subordination to the directives of your benevolent government.
Welcome to the Twenty-First century, Six.
I would hate to be a voter in the AP or coach polls this week. The lower half of the top 25 would be pretty easy. Ranked teams that lost to unranked opponents simply disappear. But what to do with the top four?
Only one of the four teams was playing a ranked team. That should mean something. Florida, currently number one, didn't look like a top-of-the-heap team. The game was a lot closer than the final score would indicate and Tim Tebow wound up on his head way too many times throughout the game. They ought to be bumped.
Alabama played well. They certainly looked, as a team, better than Florida this week. In a head-to-head ranking, I'd have to say that 'Bama outplayed the Gators and should jump ahead. The interesting aspect there is that the final game of the season for each of them is the SEC championship which will put them on the same field. That might indicated a 1-vs-2 pairing but it will make it virtually impossible for the loser to hold on in second place after that game.
Texas looked like a well-coached, well-trained, professional machine playing a high-school level opponent in Baylor. The first half was the only time for both offense and defense first-strings to show their stuff, but they did it exceptionally well. The execution was flawless, but the lack of a credible opponent will probably keep the Longhorns from moving up.
Which brings us to the real problem. The Horned Toads of TCU, currently number four in the rankings, played #16 ranked Utah and beat them like the proverbial drum. What then to do about TCU? They would seemingly be a candidate to move up in the standings, but all three teams above them won their games as well. The real dilemma is that since TCU is in the Mountain West conference they don't face the sort of schedule of football machine powerhouses that Florida, Alabama and Texas do in the SEC and Big 12.
If I were voting, I'd say 'Bama, Texas, TCU and Florida in that order. If I were a betting man, however, I'd put my money this week on no changes from before these games.
Saturday, November 14, 2009
I'm not a lawyer, as I repeatedly confess. I'd rather be a piano player in a sporting house and make my mother proud. But, almost anyone who can read knows that one of the most difficult decisions that is made in a capital punishment crime trial is whether or not a fair trial can be held in the community which was victimized by the alleged criminal. It is almost routine to ask for a change of venue to avoid the inflamed citizenry and attempt to get an unbiased jury.
How then to explain how this great legal mind overlooks that and brings the mastermind of the 9/11 attack to New York City to the federal court building just a few short blocks from Ground Zero? I didn't call him the "alleged" mastermind you may note because he has proudly and repeatedly confessed to that plotting. How does the Messiah and his equally embarrassing Attorney General deal with that one simple issue?
Show and Tell For Terrorists Time
It doesn't take much consideration to build a pretty long list of negatives about this whole business.
- Makes NYC a prime target for terrorists
- Gives the terrorists a public platform for their message
- Jeopardizes American counter-terrorist operations
- Compromises sources, methods and security measures
- Generates a public spectacle
- Creates the very real possibility of a hung jury as some guilt-riddled American apologist digs in with a not-guilty vote
- Damages American prestige worldwide
- Elevates terrorism to a simple criminal act rather than an act of war
- Provides Constitutional protections to a non-citizen acting against the nation in a global conspiracy from outside the country, in other words someone who doesn't possess those protections.
I could probably add to that list and you will undoubtedly find more reasons this is bad policy from other sources.
Increasingly I am coming to believe that the administration sits around a table and brain-storms for "what's the stupidest thing we can do today?"
Friday, November 13, 2009
Take seven minutes out of your day to listen to what he has to say about the clear and present danger we face:
I've been in the military and I know they system, or at least the way the system was then. Officers and senior NCOs are intelligent and dedicated people. They are also honest, blunt, occasionally crude and inevitably patriotic. What was going on around Hasan?
Let's recognize for a second that the Medical Corps is a bit different than line. The mission is different, the backgrounds are different and even the philosophy is different, but they are in the chain of command and, like it or not, they wear the uniform and are subject to the UCMJ. Who was paying attention to this odd-ball? Were they all cowed into this abysmal jungle of political correctness that fails to recognize the enemy, the associations with the enemy, the manifestations of sympathy for the enemy, the announciation of support for the enemy? Is there no one to stand and shout, "Incoming"?
He gives a professional briefing with PowerPoint slides to an assembly of his peers and in it he professes support for and understanding of the mission of our enemies, yet no one says this is treason. What happened to rational thinking?
He suggests, then demands that he be excused from deployment because he is Muslim and doesn't want to fight Muslims. Does he not distinguish that the war is against violent, terrorist, Neanderthals who wish to thrust us back into the 12th century rather than against adherents to his "religion of peace"? That lack of judgment alone renders him unqualified for further service.
Can you imagine soldiers in World War II asking for excusal from combat because the Germans are predominantly Christians and he doesn't want to fight against his own religion?
I don't condone wire-tapping, email monitoring, or financial background investigations without warrant. In the case of Major Hasan, however, there seems to have been more than enough openly available information about his allegiance to justify issuance of such warrants.
And, if I hear the Chief of Staff of the Army utter that inane drivel about "we don't want diversity to become a casualty of this" one more time I will scream. If this is what diversity gives us then it damn well better become not only a casualty but a bloody mort!
Thursday, November 12, 2009
Recognizing a Class Act Honestly
Now, that comes from a blog operated by some apparently self-confessed gay guys in Chicago who are big fans of Hillary. They are disenchanted with the current deteriorating situation, regretful over their mis-guided choices and embarrassed about their past rhetoric.
There can be redemption under such situations.
Find more videos like this on Mywesttexas Chatter
Mess with the Messiah and he will dump a hundred illegal aliens a day into your state. Is that his idea of comprehensive immigration reform?
Perry speaks truth to power and I think he's right!
If you visit, you may want to pay your respects at Robin's resting place. You could wander through the lanes reading the flat bronze plaques that mark the graves. But, in Robin's case the irreverent fighter pilot community has created a fitting memorial of our own.
We come to throw a nickel in the grass in a long standing fighter pilot tradition. And we come to share a drink with our leader, our friend, our mentor and a great warrior. Robin enjoyed a good scotch, but the younger crop has adopted Jermiah Weed for special toasts. Here's what to look for:
That must be bugging the hell out of the Academy slick pocket senior staff but the cadets are learning something about their heritage.
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
"Where is Travis again?"
"You sent him to San Antonio de Bexar to hold the place against Santa Ana. He's got not much more than a company of Texians with him. He says Crockett showed up with some fellows from Tennessee and Bowie's there, but he's drunk most of the time. Are we going to send help?"
"I thought I could trust Travis not to be whining. He's supposed to be an expert in that area. Doesn't he know I'm the territorial governor and the people don't want me in a war with Mexico? Let's convene my staff and talk about what to do here. We need to have some meetings and be sure we make the right choice. A lot of voices need to be heard. Maybe Travis will stop his belly-aching before we have to commit."
"I don't think so, General. He's got about 180-200 fighters in the old mission there, but Santa Ana has got about three or four thousand just a few days march away. It's going to be a massacre!"
"Naahh, the people will forget about it in a couple of days. And besides, Travis may hold and Santa Ana will get tired."
We know the rest of the story. Travis did hold for a siege, but in the end the Alamo fell and all of the defenders died. A few days later Santa Ana marched onward and at Goliad engaged another force of Texians, this time about 350 led by Colonel James Fannin, a most inept commander who waffled on defense or retreat until his options were lost. He surrendered to Santa Ana who then executed the disarmed troops.
Eventually Houston moved and whether through military skill or incredible luck, he conducted a strategic withdrawal which extended Santa Ana's army further and further from his supply sources until during a mid-day siesta along the San Jacinto River, Houston's forces turned and in a brief skirmish killed more than 750 of Santa Ana's army and wounded another 700 before capturing the general himself.
What is the parable? Travis is McChrystal. Texas is Afghanistan. Santa Ana's army is the Taliban and al-Qaeda.
Unfortunately Obama is no Houston. He can do the indecision and waffling part very well, but he apparently can't figure out when the moment will ever be to turn and fight. I wonder if the troops in Afghanistan feel at all like defenders of an Alamo waiting to see if there will be reinforcements arriving before the deguello is played:
One volunteered that it was Tuesday, which it was. Another knew that it was November 11th as opposed to the 10th or 12th. No one knew what special day it was.
I asked if it had a special name like Christmas or Labor Day or Martin Luther King Day. No one knew.
I wondered if maybe it had once been called a different name. Did anyone know what an armistice was? Not a clue.
I volunteered that it was the agreement to stop the fighting of the "War to End All Wars." Did anyone know what war that was? One student, knowing my background, volunteered that it was the Vietnam War. Another thought maybe that would have been Korea.
I gave up and explained that it was World War I and I tried to offer some brief insight into the meat grinder that was trench warfare, the destruction of the very core of European manpower for a generation, the impact of Verdun, Galipoli and Flanders fields and the sacrifices which were made. I tried to get them to consider the several hundred thousand who died in that brutal war. I told them that the armistice was signed on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month and that day was commemorated each year as Armistice Day.
That war didn't end all wars and mankind managed to easily surpass the mayhem of the Great War in only 25 years. Brave men still fight and die for their country and their country acknowledged those sacrifices by changing Armistice Day to Veteran's Day, a day to honor all who have served in uniform.
Now we no longer have a school holiday on 11/11. We don't have much in the way of ceremonies or parades down mainstreet anymore. Students in schools don't have a clue about what sacrifices have allowed them to enjoy their comfortable lives. Other things are more important. Maybe so.
But, today I remember and today I'll try my experiment with another class and see if the results are better.
Tuesday, November 10, 2009
The simple solution for the library district on which I served as member of the Board of Trustees was to review our record-keeping requirements. We determined that we had no reason for maintaining records of materials checked out after they had been returned to the collection. We simply revised our software and took care of the update that cleaned out the data.
In the long run, it never became an issue. I've yet to hear of a library system's data being subpoenaed.
But, what about this tidbit:
Who Is Reading This Blog and Why? Your Government Needs to Know!
When the federal government is demanding IP addresses of folks who access online news sites, it is going to require some very clear and present danger to justify such behavior. While the media in America has absolutely embarrassed themselves with fawning over every passionate exhalation of the Messiah, when you start pulling this sort of thing there is going to be a vigorous backlash.
My sincere recommendation to Attorney General Eric Holder is for him to get a copy of the United States Constitution and read it very carefully. I'd particularly point him toward the First Amendment:
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.
There are no supporting clauses, no exceptions or exclusions, no specific conditions. It simply says, "shall make no law...prohibiting free exercise...or abridging the freedom...of the press."
This sort of thing shall not stand. Even CBS appears to have noticed. When they offend them, they are goring the wrong ox.
Monday, November 09, 2009
Something there is that doesn't love a wall,
That sends the frozen-ground-swell under it,
And spills the upper boulders in the sun;
And makes gaps even two can pass abreast.
The work of hunters is another thing:
I have come after them and made repair
Where they have left not one stone on a stone,
But they would have the rabbit out of hiding,
To please the yelping dogs. The gaps I mean,
No one has seen them made or heard them made,
But at spring mending-time we find them there.
I let my neighbour know beyond the hill;
And on a day we meet to walk the line
And set the wall between us once again.
We keep the wall between us as we go.
To each the boulders that have fallen to each.
And some are loaves and some so nearly balls
We have to use a spell to make them balance:
"Stay where you are until our backs are turned!"
We wear our fingers rough with handling them.
Oh, just another kind of out-door game,
One on a side. It comes to little more:
There where it is we do not need the wall:
He is all pine and I am apple orchard.
My apple trees will never get across
And eat the cones under his pines, I tell him.
He only says, "Good fences make good neighbours."
Spring is the mischief in me, and I wonder
If I could put a notion in his head:
"Why do they make good neighbours? Isn't it
Where there are cows? But here there are no cows.
Before I built a wall I'd ask to know
What I was walling in or walling out,
And to whom I was like to give offence.
Something there is that doesn't love a wall,
That wants it down." I could say "Elves" to him,
But it's not elves exactly, and I'd rather
He said it for himself. I see him there
Bringing a stone grasped firmly by the top
In each hand, like an old-stone savage armed.
He moves in darkness as it seems to me,
Not of woods only and the shade of trees.
He will not go behind his father's saying,
And he likes having thought of it so well
He says again, "Good fences make good neighbours."
Have You Now or Have You Ever Been Uninsured?
Remember, when you take that first step that you will then be committed to a path of resistance. It is an honorable path and one which we all should consider, but it will take courage and strength to follow it through to conclusion.
Should We Condemn Them All?
But, here is another perspective:
The "Unlikely" Terrorist?
Let's consider the problem for a moment in an historical context. Do we have some historical data to give us a perspective on terrorism? Review the last thirty years for major homicide bombings, mass shootings as a terrorist tactic, random acts of violence committed against unsuspecting innocents, and what do you discover?
There is a serious shortage of Protestants, Jews, Buddhists and atheists committing these acts. Nary a Catholic or a Wiccan on the roster. We get young, disaffected, bearded men in keffiyah and C-4 vests shouting Allahu Akbar as they wreak havoc. Is it stereotyping to acknowledge that grandmothers, pregnant women and business suited Wall Street brokers aren't doing this sort of thing?
What are the goals? Look around the world at the status of women in society. Where do we find not simply repression but abuse, denial and servitude for any and all women? Can we find other societies beyond Islamic nations which deny education as a matter of policy? Are there other places that prohibit driving by women? Who else sanctions "honor" killing for violations of Sharia? If there are others, then we should note them in our quest for securing our future.
Are those nations interested in simply "live and let live" where they do their thing and we do ours? Or, do they profess an active and aggressive interest in spreading their benighted views to the infidels that offend them? If they were to stay in their twelfth century medieval squalor, I might be able to feel more secure. Ground Zero in New York tells me that isn't the case as does a readiness center at Fort Hood, a nightclub in Indonesia, a disco in Berlin, a train station in Madrid, an Underground tube in London and many other sites.
Can we ignore the fact that deep in our minds when the first breaking news headline appears for a shooting, a bombing, a hijacking, we immediately take a deep breath and wait for the name of the perpetrator. We are seldom surprised when it is clearly of Islamic origin. Coincidence?
Freedom of religion is a worthy objective. There is no doubt of that. There are millions of peaceful Muslims around the globe. That is obvious. But, there are also millions of festering, potential, disaffected, fundamentalist, time-bombs being indoctrinated in madrasahs world-wide.
Should we stereotype? Should we ascribe positive attitudes as the default for Muslims? Is it a religion of peace? Frankly, I've got serious doubts. Repeatedly telling me something in words and then repeatedly disproving it in violent actions will make me skeptical and inevitably aggressive.
Sunday, November 08, 2009
We wore the jungle hat in F-105 squadrons operating out of Thailand and we recorded our combat missions with hashmarks around the band. When you got 100 hashmarks you got to go home. Fully sixty percent of the guys that inked the first hash never logged the 100th.
My hat has 100 hashmarks on the band starting at the front and another ten that didn't count for NVN credit starting at the back. I was very fortunate to have had great leadership in my squadron and I unabashedly acknowledge my debt to them for my survival.
When I returned to Thailand in 1972, flying the F-4E, the jungle hats were no longer worn, but we were still flying against NVN so I took my hat with me and continued logging. I got another fifty marks in a second row above the first and ninety more non-counter combat missions marked from the rear of the hat which is now displayed at the museum. The total is 250 of the marks.
It is an honor for the hat to be on display at the museum and if you take a closer look you'll see that I get an even greater honor by having my meager effort acknowledged next to a photo of Robin Olds whose MiG-kill marked F-4D, Scat XXVII, is displayed nearby.
But What About the Uninsured?
Notice that neat circumlocution? Remember how we talked about 40 million uninsured Americans a few days ago? Then when examined and we removed the illegals and those who could insure themselves but chose as free Americans to not do so the number went down to about 25 million. Now the the bleat is about 96% being covered. Which leaves 4% or 12 million uninsured! In order to achieve that grand goal we are going to screw up the best healthcare in the world and effectively damage the medical system of the nation along with the economy for the foreseeable future. Great job guys.
Want to know how much "stuff" is buried in the depths of the 2000 pages?
Help For Community Organizers AKA Acorn
There are some great requirements there couched in the language of diversity and opportunity and equality and that sort of thing:
• Sec. 399V (p. 1422) provides for grants to community "entities" with no required qualifications except having "documented community activity and experience with community healthcare workers" to "educate, guide, and provide experiential learning opportunities" aimed at drug abuse, poor nutrition, smoking and obesity. "Each community health worker program receiving funds under the grant will provide services in the cultural context most appropriate for the individual served by the program."
Don't you just love that "cultural context"? Or maybe you like the establishment of a preferential system of opportunity? Can that possibly be Constitutional?
• Secs. 2521 and 2533 (pp. 1379 and 1437) establishes racial and ethnic preferences in awarding grants for training nurses and creating secondary-school health science programs. For example, grants for nursing schools should "give preference to programs that provide for improving the diversity of new nurse graduates to reflect changes in the demographics of the patient population." And secondary-school grants should go to schools "graduating students from disadvantaged backgrounds including racial and ethnic minorities."
Preferences by race and ethnicity for receiving federal tax dollars? Graduating students from disadvantaged backgrounds? Improving diversity of nurse graduates? Hasn't the Supreme Court covered stuff like this in the Bakke decision of thirty years ago?
This only gets worse.
Saturday, November 07, 2009
Insure Yourself or Go to Jail With Spouse--Separate Cells, of Course
Did you read that carefully? Remember the promise of "95% of Americans won't see their taxes go up..."? Well, apparently that is no longer operative.
Some essentials for those who won't follow the link:
You will be required by government to purchase healthcare insurance. The average estimated cost for a non-group family policy will be $15,000 per year. So, you are low income and young with little healthcare risk, but you've got to spend $1250/month right off the top before shelter, food, clothing, transportation or existing taxes.
Wouldn't that be a tax?
But, if you choose not to you can be fined 2.5% of your adjusted gross income. If that is on top of existing income taxes isn't that a tax increase?
If you default, you can be fined up to $250,000 and imprisoned. Remember that British custom of indentured servitude? As I recall it was influential in fleeing England to the colonies and then the American Revolution.
Can Congress figure out that you can't get blood out of that turnip? If you can't buy the insurance and you can't pay the taxes, why would they think you had a quarter of a million for a fine? And, why should a spouse be imprisoned simply because you filed joint taxes?
Can you miss the unintended consequence of the financial burden of all that new prison space and staffing and prisoner support?
The US Congress is quite apparently totally insane and out of control.
I've been interested in terrorism for a long time. I've often thought that if I had ever pursued a PhD in political science that terrorism would be an interesting field of study. I did several papers and an independent research course in my Masters program in International Relations. I've taught a block on terrorism in Introduction to Political Science courses and I've lectured on terrorism at both Univ. of Colorado/Colorado Springs and Colorado College.
When I was in grad school, terrorism wasn't focussed on jihadists, but on socialist and liberation ideologies. The significant threats were folks like Baader-Meinhof, Red Army Faction, IRA, ETA and Shining Path. Surprisingly, a definition of terrorism developed to cover those groups is equally applicable to the current crop.
Here's what I consider to be criteria for defining a terrorist act:
- Random--the site and victims are not usually associated with the "enemy" of the terrorist. The fact that anyone is a potential target is significant to the terror aspect of the campaign.
- Violent--there must be considerable violence. Death and injury are required and great numbers of victims are essential. The violence must be quick and deadly.
- Public--there must be rapid access of media to a very prominent and public location. Consider the attack timing of 9/11. The second strike was perfectly spaced to insure live coverage on all of the media. Publicity is necessary to be terrifying.
- Ideologically driven--there needs to be an underlying ideology. This is a commonly shared belief system that is embraced by the terrorist whose goals are outside of the societal mainstream.
- Political goal--it must be more than personal. It must be aimed at forcing a change in public policy such as foreign policy, civil rights, national identity, religious recognition, etc.
- Outside of accepted political process--it is a non-standard method of seeking political recognition through intimidation, fear and an attempt to trigger a backlash of governmental repression in the name of security. Such repression is deemed as beneficial to build the numbers of adherents to the political ideology. The movement lacks sufficient numbers currently but with backlash, hopes to gain enough strength to become a revolution, insurgency or dominant power.
Run down the list. Can we call the actions of Major Nidal Malik Hasan a terrorist attack? I don't see how it can be labeled anything else. It wasn't discontent with the army. It wasn't pre-PTSD or secondary-PTSD, both of which are sniveling apologist terms for cowardice. It wasn't about prejudice in the work place.
It was random, violent, about Islam, seeking US withdrawal from the war on terror, and both public and outside of political process. It wasn't personal. It was terrorist business as usual.
Much can change with arrangments of a particular piece of music. Leon Russell showed it in a single stream-of-consciousness hippie-style conversation when he jammed "Straight Brother" at two distinctly different time signatures. Here's what happens when "Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood" gets updated by a master:
Now doesn't that make you want to go out and find some Honzu steel?
Friday, November 06, 2009
Hasan is continually being identified as "Army major". That is technically correct but there is an important distinction. He served in the Medical Corps and not the line Army. It brings to the forefront a point I've made over the years about doctors in the military. They are given officer's rank upon joining but other than a brief orientation course they seldom look, act or think like military officers. They often are embarrassments to the uniform. The justification has been that giving them advanced rank gains them higher pay scales to enhance both recruiting and retention. That's crap. Hire them. Let them wear lab coats. Pay them what you need to. They aren't officers.
A psychiatrist treating wounded warriors at a major military medical center is in a sensitive position. They are supposedly trained to deal with the medical trauma of stress and combat. Psychiatrists are customarily members of professional groups that deal with their own issues to help them in their work. This guy either wasn't screened or the fog of political correctness allowed his "issues" to be ignored.
All of the significant terrorist actions around the world for the last ten to twenty years have been jihadists. They have been carried out by young Muslim men. Those men have either come from terrorist cells or they have been homegrown and cultured within our own society. They have all, however, been vocal in their intentions. We ignore it. Muslims in any position of responsibility should be under careful and even-handed scrutiny.
If I hear one more apologist tell me that Islam is a religion of peace. I'm going to gag. Islam is a religion of violence. Denying it is simply placing one's head deeply into the sand.
I've had a personal plan for facing a terrorist action. It is a result of the new paradigm about such matters that emerged so quickly on 9/11. The actions on United Flight 93 showed what is required. You can't cower under a desk and wait to die. Death is inevitable then. Take action. Charge the shooter. Disarm him. Do it as a group. Some will be injured but you will stop the attack. Failure to act will not make things better. This fool shot for 10 minutes and reloaded several times.
Hasan is Muslim. He is guilty (or as we say in America, accused) of a terrorist attack on a US military installation. Why don't we send him to Gitmo? He needs to be interrogated by some pros. Enhanced techniques seem to be in order.
Lethal injection is too good for some folks. Do we have any military manuals or T.O.s on flailing? This guy will get off too lightly if we simply conduct a trial, twenty years of appeals and then a plain execution. I suggest some people review the last fifteen minutes of Braveheart for ideas.
The President's staff must coach him that when a major terrorist attack takes place that your next public statement should not start with a "shoutout" to a supporter in the audience. Can this guy really be that stupid and insensitive?
End of random thoughts.
Thursday, November 05, 2009
The suspected gunman was identified by ABC News as Major Malik Nadal Hasan.
We wouldn't want to be doing any racial profiling here would we?
This is going to have an interesting play-out over the next few days.
So, Ras, what type pistol would you recommend? Not a big gun type, but have this uneasy feeling that bad times are coming. Would like something easy, reliable, reasonable assurance that if hit, the target will not continue coming, not outrageously expensive and has ammunition readily available.
Advice on self-defense handguns is worth what you pay for it. But, everyone is willing to offer it. So, here's my two cents.
First, Juvat says "not a big gun" which is in the eye of the beholder. It easily encompasses hunting handguns, macho-recoil calibers like .454 Casull and .50 S&W, and stuff with huge barrels or lots of whiz bangs. In other words something easily controllable, handy to keep around and potentially a carry gun. Let's go from there.
Choices abound. Juvat also phrases his question maybe inadvertently but it defines a first choice already. He says "pistol" rather than hand-gun. That means semi-auto and not revolver. For many folks that's a preferred option to begin with. In Texas, if you are going for concealed carry, you can carry either type if you qualify with a semi-auto, but only a revolver if you do your qualification shooting with a wheel-gun.
So, let's say semi-auto is preferred. Now, what about caliber? I rule out .380 currently because of lack of availability. If that shortage passes, then a .380 becomes a viable light-weight pocket pistol for concealed carry on a year-around basis. That's a factor in Texas where hot weather rules out jackets, sweaters, and sweat-shirts much of the year. Eliminate lesser calibers like .22, .25, .32 etc. Some will say they are fine, my preference is bigger.
The default favorites are 9mm, .40 S&W, and .45 ACP. These are commonly available rounds. They come in a variety of loadings including some very effective combat loads and inexpensive training ammo loadings as well. They are offered in a wide range of styles of pistol.
Next consider functionality of the pistol to be chosen. The options include single-action--meaning you fire the gun by pulling the trigger but it must be cocked by some other action. Either racking the slide for a first chambering or the cycling of the slide by the firing of another round. The hammer is cocked by the slide action. The trigger releases the hammer. These guns typically have two or more safeties to preclude inadvertent fire with a chambered round. A thumb safety which must be moved to fire and a grip safety which is activated by holding the weapon in a normal firing grip are basic. Training and familiarity with the safety operation is essential.
A double-action pistol performs two functions with a trigger pull. It cocks the hammer first and then releases it to fire. This requires a longer and heavier trigger pull which may effect your accuracy. These weapons usually have a "de-cocker" which lets you chamber a round and then let the hammer down safely for carry. After the first round is fired the hammer is cocked by the slide action so future shots are similar to a single-action. These guns are easy to operate and as long as you remember to de-cock after loading they employ no separate safety levers or controls.
A third option is the DAO or "double-action-only". These guns don't cock a hammer or striker when the slide is racked. They cock the hammer only with a trigger squeeze. All shots have the same weight and length of trigger pull and there are no safeties involved. You must pull a long trigger to get a shot off. These are very typical of the small pocket pistol type.
With an action chosen, you then introduce your individual stature. How big are your hands? A variety of weapons come with double or single stack magazines in widely varying capacity. Small hands mean a single stack would probably feel more secure. Larger hands mean a double stack could give you extra firepower. Small pocket pistols might not give you adequate grip surface for a large handed person. Access to controls like safeties, hammer, slide lock and magazine release should be checked. It has to feel good to you.
Sights are important. Night sights with tritium inserts are popular for home defense since you might need the weapon at night. An accessory rail on the underside of the barrel housing might appeal if you want to add a small compact flashlight or a laser dot. Those are personal choices.
If you intend to carry concealed, don't neglect a quality holster. There are plenty available but to get the best you will probably want to order from a maker rather than shop the shelves at Gander Mountain. Look for comfort and concealability. If you are going to make a decision to carry you will want to do it consistently and without inconvenience. A small gun with you and accessible is better than a bigger gun at home.
Go shopping. Try handling some. Talk to folks at the stores. Visit private gun shops rather than chains or big-box stores which generally don't have knowledgeable staff. I find insignificant difference between 9mm and .45 ACP in recoil. Others claim that one is acceptable and the other is excessive. I can't tell the difference.
If you can, find a pistol range and spend some time there test firing some loaners. They will be happy to help you.
My choices? Right now I've restricted myself to two calibers for simplicity--9mm and .45 ACP.
In .45, I prefer the 1911 style single-action, single-stack magazine with tritium night sights. I've got one full size (5" barrel) and one Commander-size (4" barrel.) They ride in a Kramer inside-the-waistband holster and are loaded with 230 grain Hydra-Shok tactical ammo. You can find 1911 clones from a wide range of manufacturers in 3, 4 and 5 inch barrel lengths from $500 to $2500. Expect to pay around $800-1000 for a nice gun.
In 9mm I've got a Sig P-228 and a Kel-Tec P9F pocket pistol. The Sig is a compact double stack, double action with 13 rounds. It has tritium night sights and a Kramer belt scabbard holster. It carries 115 grain Cor-Bon +P tactical ammo. The 228 is no longer in civilian production but a wide range of similar quality handguns is on dealer shelves. Costs range from $500 and up. Expect to get a very nice 9mm for $500-750 and maybe even less.
The Kel-Tec is a DAO pocket pistol that weighs a scant 12 ounces. Seven round of Cor-Bon and a couple of holsters: an IWB Cross-Breed for belt carry and a Galco pocket holster which simply slides into a trouser pocket to break up the outline and keep your nickels and dimes out of the action. Lots of pocket pistol choices around and most are in the $300-400 range. Having something with you is better defense than having nothing.
Your mileage may vary.