Thursday, December 31, 2009

Simply Unbelievable

Last night at dinner we violated our usual cultural standards for the meal and had a bag of Doritos on the table. Nacho cheese flavor, if you must know. Like a cereal box sports hero or a milk carton missing person, the chips had a picture and a story on the back of the bag. Curiousity got the better of me, so I read it.

What's going on is that Frito-Lay, the parent company of Doritos, has teamed with an organization called "Do Something" to recognize young people who have done something remarkably "good." Whatever that means.

I'm not sure if I'm on board with that. Of course, it is difficult to be against "good." And it is equally difficult to oppose young people who get off their pampered butts and try to offer something to society. But, is this effort supporting charity and philanthropy or is it propagandizing? I don't know.

The bag I was reading told of a young man, currently 22 years old. He traveled to Uganda when he was seventeen. While there, he determined to do something good so he founded a school where he has led the effort to educate the people, raise awareness of global climate change, and attempt to eliminate poverty. Wow!

I considered the story for a moment and then thought to myself, do you know of any seventeen year old in America who when asked where he might like to go for Spring Break would reply, "Entebbe"? Was he studying the leadership of Idi Amin in high school? Did he want to investigate possible war crimes by the Israeli defense forces which freed a planeload of hostages in a remarkable raid that fostered two made-for-TV movies? Did he view Uganda as a cool place to pick up hot girls who are about 80% HIV positive? What are the odds?

Then, how does a 17-year-old found a school? What source of capital does he have? What educational experience? Who teaches? What does Uganda allow him to do in the fight against global warming? And on and on. The questions covered too much ground.

My curiousity piqued, I went to the kitchen cupboard where I knew another virginal bag of Doritos sat. Cool Ranch flavor, if you must know. There was another heart warming story of a young person who was doing something "good."

This one told the tale of a young girl who went back-packing in Asia at seventeen. While trekking through Nepal she noted the number of orphans so she determined she would not return to America. She remained in Nepal where she established an orphanage which so far has rescued and placed 200 Nepalese orphans in loving homes.

What responsible parent in America would allow a 17 year old girl to go back-packing in "Asia"? Could she maybe have chosen a narrower and more specific destination than the largest land-mass on the planet? How does a young girl get to Nepal with a back-pack? Who lets her simply "not return" to America? Did she get a visa extension and a refund on her round-trip ticket? How does she support herself, let alone start an orphanage? How is she dealing with language issues? Does she know how to arrange a legal adoption in Nepal or anywhere else for that matter?

I'm confused. The stories are so amazing that they defy belief. In fact, I don't believe them. Am I too skeptical? Should I continue to buy Doritos?

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

The Year in Someone Else's Review

I promise to spare you from either my review of the most important junk that happened in 2009 or my predictions for what may or may not happen in 2010. I'll simply offer regular observations as events unfold in the new year and in all probability continue to suck.

But, you don't get off scot free. Here's what the master of political satire remembers about the nearly complete year:

Dave Barry Goes Month-by-Month

As you read, remember that these events are based on what actually occurred, as ludicrous as they may seem. That should be sufficiently sobering.

Policy Collapsing Under Impact of Reason

It was possibly the ultimate in left-wing feel-good political posturing. We must close the terrorist incarceration facility at Guantanamo. The horrific nature of a catered beach-front facility with prayer rugs, Korans, halal menus and La-Z-Boy recliner interrogation sessions was causing the world's potential jihadis to be radicalized. Flush toilets and daily hygiene regimens were too disgusting for the nut-jobs of the Islamic world to contemplate.

The rationale was that if we close Gitmo, then the focal point of media attention would be removed. Take that away and the terrorist threat would be mitigated. Un-bloody-likely!!!

The "chickens are coming home to roost" on this with increasing revelations of the recidivism of the previously released unlawful enemy combatants. They don't love us or even revise their evil ways when we let them go. Could the red-neck, gun-loving retards of fly-over country possibly have been right? Now even Dianne Feinstein is questioning what we've apparently demanded of our Messiah.

Sending Them Home is NOT an Option

Something is terribly amiss when the Bamster's most loyal minions are beginning to notice the transparency of the Emperor's policy cloak. I wonder if he will begin to get the picture. I wonder if his Secretary of State will emerge from her lair shortly to weigh in on this policy. I wonder if the SecDef will remember his Aggie roots. I wonder if Janet Napolitano has been tuning up her resume. I wonder if the TSA will finally merit enough administration attention to get the vacancy in the director's seat filled. I wonder.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Iowahawk On Martyrdom's Tribulations

It's a lazy day and when you find something like this prize work from Iowahawk, it becomes an escape from Drudge-ry that is easy to take:

How Tough to be a Terrorist

That's way too true!

Opportunity Is Knocking

The regime in Iran is NOT on our side. They ARE dangerous and will become more so with nuclear weapons. The policy of engagement pursued by the Messiah is so naive that even the French are laughing at us.

New York Times Praises Unrest or Maybe Not

I'm not sure where the NYT is coming from. It reads mostly as though they are on the side of people who would prefer freedom, liberty, modern technology, democratic principles and engagement with the rest of the world. But, then they offer this:

President Obama is right to remain open to dialogue with Iran and to continue looking for a peaceful resolution to the dispute over Tehran’s nuclear ambitions. He is also right to condemn the violence against Iranian civilians and to place the United States on their side, as he did in his speech accepting the Nobel Peace Prize and in comments on Monday.

So, which is it? Dialogue or condemnation? Double-speak preferable to straight talk?

Remember this:

Poland Throws Off the Yoke

Or this:

Soviet Union Collapses

Or this:

Now Two Democracies Rather Than One Puppet

Or this:

Collapse and Reunification

Those events were an outgrowth of an uncompromising policy of strength, democracy and free-market capitalism directed by a President who knew what America stood for. There was no waffling or equivocation. The results speak for themselves.

What Obama needs to realize is that there is no downside to aggressive, vocal and firm support of the Iranian dissidents. With such support they can possibly destabilize the regime and return Iran to a path of responsible membership in the community of nations. Even if they fail in their efforts, we have lost nothing in demonstrating our principles and opposing a madman dedicated to the destruction of Israel and the undermining of America. Support of Ahmadinedjad gains us nothing in this fight.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Does She Realize What She Says

Read this opinion piece from Georgie Anne Geyer and consider what she says:

Think Outside Your Self

When I read it there are two possibilities that occur to me. It is possible that she doesn't know what she has said there. Or, it is possible that she knows exactly what she is saying.

The former implies simply an ignorant liberal trying to wax philosophical about the Carter-esque "malaise" which engulfs the country. That's pathetic but it isn't malignant. The latter means that she is a professional propagandist using the language of collectivization to indoctrinate her readers to acceptance of a new social paradigm. Since Ms Geyer is making the big bucks, I've got to lean toward the second, more significant interpretation.

The problem is not so much that we are in decline, but that we are in decomposition. The country doesn't hold together because we don't hold together; we see everything in terms of only ourselves.

We shouldn't be concerned with ourselves as individuals but rather in terms of what we can contribute to the collective. We should orient ourselves to doing what we can do best and then knowing that the collective will provide for our needs as others do what they can as well. A crude paraphrase but hauntingly familiar.

Every working country needs citizens at certain crucial levels to accept leadership and not parse every demand with the imperial "me." Otherwise, a country becomes ungovernable because no leader can impose decisions.

That scares the hell out of me. It screams for subordination to someone's idea of "leadership" and it simultaneously denies the wisdom of a republican form of government responsive to the people. It recalls the governance of a Hitler, Mussolini or Stalin with imposition of decisions and acceptance of the will of the state.

The problems we face today are amorphous. They are not things like a pirate attack, or a Hitler or a Stalin, or even (God forbid!) a nuclear bomb. They are slow, gnawing problems that eat away quietly, even silently, at our society's coherence – overpopulation, unassimilable immigration, poor education, poverty among the young, households without fathers, collapsing infrastructure. They don't inspire to action; they inspire to go to sleep and wake up next year.

See, there is no threat of an attack from an outside source any more. There is no international threat from other places in the world such as Ahmadinejad or Kim Jung-il. Nuclear weapons don't pose a threat so don't worry about Iran or Syria. The agenda is boring and it takes a transcendent leader like the Messiah to deal with them: "overpopulation"--who could argue against abortion?; "unassimilable immigration"--we simply aren't assimilating, it isn't about the borders; "poor education"--just need to get a federal bureaucracy working on that; "poverty among the young"--let's send them some money to make them less impoverished; "households without fathers"--I wonder what's causing that?; "collapsing infrastructure"--maybe we can run the stimulus programs like Rocky movies and have roman numerals up to VIII or more.

Either Ms Geyer is a communist propagandist or she's incredibly naive. The choices are unattractive whichever one we make.

System Analysis

Back from the Witless Protection Program, Secretary of Homeland Security Napolitano is now on the talk show circuit and she is not acquitting herself well. This is a woman who is a personification of the Peter Principle cum laude. She has been promoted well above her level of incompetence.

She apparently believes sincerely that under her management "the system worked." So, Madame Secretary, could you help us see exactly where the system worked?

We've got no-fly lists, watch lists and suspected terrorist lists. Did they stop this guy from getting on board an airplane? We've got cues identified for special treatment such as purchasing a ticket with a large sum in cash...check; buying a one way ticket...check; traveling with little or no luggage on what would obviously be an extended trip...check. System worked?

We've got embassies and people supposedly investigating potential terrorists worldwide. So this guy's father, a prominent Nigerian banker in London, comes forward and tell our embassy, "my kid's a nut job. Watch out for him." and we do nothing? System worked?

We've got visas for entry to the country. The perpetrator got bounced from Great Britain when he tried to extend his visa to attend a non-existant college. Don't we have cross talk between embassies at least at the level of close allies, first world countries that speak our same language? We still issued a visa. System worked?

We've got a grading system for security of third world and Muslim country airports. We just cleared Lago-bloody-Nigeria to the OK bunch? System worked?

We've designed and built body scanning equipment and deployed it to several high traffic US airports in small numbers. Schipol in Amsterdam has more of the scanners than any airport in the US, but we don't have an agreement with the Dutch to get passengers from Muslim countries enroute to the US scanned? System worked?

We've had people talking off their shoes, talking off jackets and belts, emptying pockets and putting laptops in separate bins so we can suffer TSA abuse for seven years now but this guy gets on board with 80 grams of PETN strapped to his Johnson and we've done nothing to thwart such a threat? System worked?

We've had sky marshalls and similar covert security operatives since the 1960s and the rise of Castro sympathizer hijackings but this guy gets stopped by a Dutch TV "producer/director" who hurls his body across the cabin to put out the fire as Abdulmutallah lights his lap? System worked?

We were able to notify a hundred umpty-ump flights in progress within 90 minutes AFTER the event was over of a possible threat? What were they supposed to do? System worked?

We've installed enhanced security procedures? No toilet trips during the last hour of flight? The guy didn't leave his seat. What's the purpose of that? No blankets or pillows for last hour of flight? The guy wasn't sleeping, he was igniting himself! No access to overhead compartments? The guy had the explosive strapped to his package not a package in the bins. Nothing on your lap for the last hour? What is the purpose of all of that except to maximize inconvenience. System worked?

Get this, Madam Secretary, the last hour of flight is no different than any other minute of the flight. You've solved nothing. And your "system" didn't do a damned thing in this episode.

Here's some ways to get the system to work:

  1. Profile young males with Arabic names from Muslim countries aggressively.
  2. Stop political correct quotas for special treatment at security checks.
  3. Scrub the no-fly, suspected terrorist and "watch" lists then use them vigorously.
  4. Get the State Department to start denying visas to those in Step 1 until completing a background check with allied nations.
  5. Get FBI operating domestically and CIA doing foreign intell gathering like MI-5 and MI-6 in Britain.
  6. Slam the door on the ACLU and similar sob-sister organizations.
  7. Have the Secretary of Homeland Security resign. Interview Joe Arpiao for the job or maybe some Texas Rangers--not the baseball players.

If Janet Napolitano still has an office in two weeks, we need to start screaming.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Don't Ask, Don't Tell

Don't be confused by the title of this. I'm not talking about gays in the military here. The subject is terrorism and who is protecting whom from what and how are they doing it? Who knows what? Who are they telling? Who has the need to know and who is in charge of making that determination?

Remember the aftermath of 9/11? The press was filled with the tales of compartmentalization of information. It was a bureaucratic nightmare with competition for resources and lots of "not invented here" discrediting which prevented applying what we knew where it could protect us. In short order we got the Department of Homeland Security, the USA Patriot Act and TSA to disrobe us at airports while confiscating lip gloss and toothpaste. Supposedly data would be centralized and the system would prevent recurrence. There was a lot of blame casting and some of it was justified.

Here's what the media in England have found out about our attempted airplane destruction over Detroit on Christmas Eve:

Child Of Privilege Goes Astray

Why didn't I read that in the US newspapers? Apparently the Brits had a better handle on this guy than our Janet Napolitano, who has apparently gone into the Witless Protection Program since this terrorist attempt. The Sec. of Homeland Security has been conspicuously silent. Maybe she's waiting for the Attorney General to buy a prison to keep this boob who set his crotch on fire incarcerated. Let's see where this goes...shoe bomber means take off your shoes before flight, crotch-bomber means wedgies at check-in?

But maybe we've got a trend in terrorism. Or, maybe it is a trend in having info but not using it:

FBI Stings Illegal Into Bomb Plot

Wouldn't it make more sense to take these jihadis out of circulation and out of the country rather than depend that our sting will be the only bomb plot they attempt?

Or maybe you heard about this guy that we had some info on:

Counseling For the Battle Weary and Assassinations a Specialty

How much longer must we subordinate our common sense regarding anti-terrorism activity to the lesser good of political correctness? Seriously, when you see an emerging story about an attempted nut-job action do you expect that when the terrorist name is released that it will be Stanley Kowalski or Harvey Goldstein?

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Saturday Morning Blues

Martyrdom Beckons

We know way too little about Islam and that is unfortunate, since understanding the culture of your enemy is critical to effectively waging the battle. The search for information need not be difficult, but we often get stymied by the difficulty in keeping the cast of characters straight, particularly when the names are a long way from Anglo-Saxon and many of the locations are dimmed in history. Compound the issue with various trans-literations of names over the years and we will tend to throw up our hands in frustration.

The labeling of Islam as a religion of peace may or may not be realistic. Certainly there is a lot of emphasis on charity, family and proper conduct in society; the sort of things that make any religion commendable. But one can also uncover some very self-serving pronouncements of various prominent proponents of the religion starting with the Prophet himself. Subsequent caliphs or successors to Muhammed were often more political than spiritual and even in the Arab world, politics ain't beanbag. It didn't take long after the death of the Prophet before regionalism, tribalism and quests for temporal power made the religion more bloody than blessed.

One of the most vexing aspects which I've found is understanding the critical distinction between the Sunni and Shi'a factions. Why such differences and animosity? I just finished a book that helps non-Muslims to gain some understanding of how the rift developed and who the major players were. The author also makes some linkages to the current jihad and the psychology of the fundamentalist warriors we are facing.

The book, After the Prophet by Lesley Hazelton, tracks the period from the death of Muhammed through the first half dozen caliphs and helps to generate some understanding of who the players were that shaped the early Muslim world. Complications arose because Muhammed didn't have a son. His favorite wife, Aiesha, was a powerful political figure and her brother, Abu Bakr was ambitious. He claimed the succession even as one of the Prophet's daughters, Fatima, was pointing toward her son, Ali as the proper heir to the leadership.

The story is complex and bloody and culminates four decades after the death of Muhammed at Karbala when Hussein, another grandson is martyred with his small band of loyal followers. The single combat battle of Hussein is the basis for the philosophy of martyrdom. The various deaths of the early caliphs is linked to the establishment of the various significant mosques which represent their burial places. None is more significant than Karbala.

Tomorrow, the 27th of December, is the second occurrence of Ashura in this year. The rituals and memorials will begin this evening as is the custom.

Look For Activity Similar to the Attempted Detroit Airliner Attack

Learn about the enemy. Understand what motivates him. Be aware of symbolic linkages. Consider the relevance of history. Only if we understand, can we hope for victory.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Later That Same Evening

Santa Comes Early

Now, I'm not saying there's a connection here, but it would seem prudent if you wish to take advantage of your retirement plan to avoid meetings with certain groups. It would also seem wise to not get your name in the paper linking you to mass murders of US military folks. Nah, that's not linked at all...

Tag, You're It!

Climate Change

Simply by going to Copenhagen and giving a speech, we've already seen the magic of the Messiah working on the climate question. The forecast today for Dallas and Texoma region is 80% chance of snow!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Tis the Season

Lest we forget:

I Am Not Alone

I raised the question a couple of days ago regarding whether the pending healthcare reform bill is Constitutional. This morning Fox News online is running an unscientific poll which asks that very question of readers:

Is the Healthcare Bill Compliant? You Decide.

When I checked at the link, the current vote has 97% of participants saying that they believe the bill violates the Constitution. That isn't even close! But what surprises me is that the question as Fox asks only considers two aspects:

  1. Can Congress mandate a purchase by all citizens of a commodity or product from private providers?
  2. Can Congress impose unequal requirements on individual states while imposing tax burdens on all citizens equally?

Clearly those are significant issues. But one more glitch appears in my view. The Senate proposal slams the door on attempts to correct this debacle by future legislatures. That provision is possibly the most unconstitutional of all.

For a legislature today to impose a limitation on the powers granted by the Constitution to the legislative branch is well beyond their authority. Such a change to the fundamental powers enumerated in the basic document could only be done by amendment.

Let us note, however, several important considerations in this. The fact that a self-selection online poll says 97% of participants think something is interesting but irrelevant in the final outcome.

The more important factor is the need to understand how and when the Supreme Court gets involved in questions of constitutionality. Of major democracies, the only one which possesses authority to preview proposals of law and render judgments on compliance with the nation's constitution on request is France under the document adopted when Charles Degaulle over-hauled the republic. Our Supreme Court is restrained to only rule on existing and completed actions of the other branches. Only after the law is enacted will there be a possibility of review.

That review is not mandated or guaranteed either. It would come only as a result of action in a federal court brought by a citizen with standing to bring suit on the question. Then the Supreme Court is not required to accept the case but would only do so with concurrence of four of the nine justices; the Rule of Four.

Given the sweeping nature of the law as well as the clear disconnect of the current Congress from the preferences of the majority, it seems a certainty that a suit would be brought. Then, with the current composition of the Roberts court it also seems certain that certiorari would be granted and action would be taken fairly expeditiously.

At that point, however, I would have to predict a divided court and a number of opinions written both concurring and dissenting. It will all take time and you can bet you'll never get those tax dollars back regardless of how it is resolved.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

As I Said Two Days Ago...

...there are deep issues of whether this healthcare fiasco is Constitutional.

Can They Do That?

It apparently is so obvious that even the Congress-critters are noticing.

The New Lexicon

I've long held that E.J. Dionne is a sniveling, East Coast liberal who knows little about what the Founders envisioned when they bequeathed us this "republican form of government." Malone Vandam over at New Paltz Journal has been properly outraged by both the escape from realistic responsiveness to the people of the nation evidenced by this week's Senate escapades and this ridiculous item from Dionne:

Progressive, Progressive, Progressive Means Socialist

If you can read that piece and not be activated to get into the battle for what remains of our liberty and Republic then you indeed must be dead to the truth.

Dionne apparently forgets both the recent and the Revolutionary history of his nation when he writes:

The whole system is biased to the right because the Senate itself -- a body in which Wyoming and Utah have as much representation as New York and California -- is tilted in a conservative direction. The 60-vote requirement empowers conservatives even more.

The system was designed precisely to rein the "tyranny of the majority" as manifested by the large states in a pure proportional representation. That's the core rationale for our bi-cameral legislature. The House gives power to the large states and the Senate preserves a balance for the small states to have a voice.

Dionne's ignorance goes still further when he forgets that it is the rules of the legislative body, not the Constitution which establishes that evil 60-vote requirement. If the Senate doesn't like it, they can change it. They did, in fact, change the clouture requirement from 2/3 to 3/5 in the not too distant past. He also forgets that only a decade ago it was his party of "progressives" which was in the minority and effectively using the same rule to block George W. Bush judicial appointments. Sauce for your goose, Mr. Dionne?

Dionne, of course, loves to bandy the names of "progressive" fellow-travelers as in this pithy quote:

To vote against it, Rockefeller said when I caught up with him recently, "you have to be for not covering 30 million people . . . you have to be for denying coverage to people with preexisting conditions . . . you have to be against helping small businesses buy health insurance."

Does he not note that if you are "for not covering 30 million people" then by default you must be for covering 280 million because that is the balance of the American population! Does Dionne not understand that a business (unlike a government entitlement) must make a profit and covering pre-existing conditions at a low premium is a rapid route to bankruptcy. Does Dionne not recognize that forcing small businesses to spend sums of money to comply with federal mandate is not "help" but hindrance? A free-market system will provide all the compulsion a business needs to recognize that gaining and keeping quality workers will require reasonable benefits when the business is able to provide them. Fines and mandates will not pass that test.

The repetitious use of the term "progressive" in Dionne's piece is frighteningly reminiscent of the New Speak of Orwell, isn't it?

Why We Can't Make Wise Decisions

Democracy is a crude form of government. It requires a lot of disparate components to work together to enable a knowledgable electorate to make wise decisions. The people must be literate, of course. Then they must be active participants. They must inform themselves of the available alternative courses of action. They must understand the processes involve and the rationale of various choices. The electorate must understand the way their government is functioning. And in order to do those things they must have reliable and understandable information. Simple? Hardly!

Take this piece from the AM paper for example. Remember that in Texas we are less than four months from a gubernatorial primary election in which the Senator in question will be competing against the incumbent governor for the Republican nomination. Now, read:

One of Three Merits Tea Party Scorn

Wow! How could Kay Bailey Hutchison possibly justify breaking with the party? The alibi that once the magic 60 had been reached it made no difference wouldn't balance losing the unity which signals that the Reid healthcare debacle is a totally Democratic Party responsibility. The excuse that it allowed the defense funding bill to move forward seems hollow since once the sixty vote threshold was passed, it would allow funding action regardless of KBH position. Bad news for Kay!

But, that's where the problem arises when seeking that informed electorate. I did something that not one in a million Dallas Morning News readers will do. I went to check on how KBH voted on the two cloture motions that came up in the last twelve hours. Those were the critical votes. Here's the record:

Recent Votes Revealed

Scroll down to check the four votes in the early hours of Dec. 22nd. Two on cloture and two on other procedural folderol regarding Sen. Reid's folly. Hutchison was steadfast with the party on all of them.

What is the DMN trying to do? Why imply that Hutchison did something that her conservative base would staunchly disapprove? It can't be because the DMN is a fan of Gov. Rick Perry. They clearly aren't.

Perry Record on Healthcare According to DMN

Can the only conclusion be that the newspaper is firmly in the tank for the candidate of the left, whomever that might be?

Monday, December 21, 2009

A Tough Par From Here

Whatever He Says, He Means the Opposite

Here's a short one minute video that is so packed with hypocrisy and falsehood that it may set a record even for the Messiah:

Tax Dollars Not Monopoly Money

Of course there's the mandatory "It's Bush's Fault" lament. Then the reference to the "massive debt" he inherited which was about $4.8 trillion dollars last year and in a short eleven months of his stewardship now nears $13 trillion. Of course, he eagerly notes that Bush did that in eight years of mis-management while he is doing his in a year of necessary rescue maneuvering.

It becomes even more outrageous when placed in the context of the daily uncovering of the prices that the whores of Washington are charging for their support of the abomination that is healthcare reform. The first one we heard was the purchase of Sen. Mary Landrieu of LA, but that was about six weeks ago. Now we've got Ben Nelson of NE going for another $100 million and Chris Dodd getting his $100 million as well. The estimate is that Harry Reid has squandered well over one billion dollars buying up the votes:

And What Can Santa Reid Put in Your Stocking?

Now, here's a question for the Supreme Court, but it is one which I know they will not answer honestly nor with the obvious correct interpretation:

Does the Fourteenth Amendment guarantee of "equal protection under the law" provide that all citizens are protected not only from punishment of unjust and unequal criminal prosecutions but also from unjust and unequal disbursement of government services, payouts and benefits?

If "equal protection under the law" means that whether I live in one state or another I should get the same benefit of a health care bill, how can these special deals be cut which benefit one or more state at the expense of the others? How can that be?

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Apologies in Advance

Cancellation Pending

The Sunday morning paper used to be something to look forward to, an hour or two with a couple of fresh brewed cups of coffee and a relaxing read about a wide variety of topics and an opportunity for a few fun diversions like a crossword puzzle, some color comics and maybe an enticing restaurant review. This morning, however, the Dallas Daily Worker and Propaganda Sheet was so filled with liberal, left-leaning, human-interest gag-on-your-breakfast, crap that I'm once again on the verge of cancelling.

Nearly every page had some bloviation about a woman raising three children, losing two of her three part time jobs, lacking "affordable health care", recovering from domestic abuse in a a welfare shelter, and not having gifts for "the holiday". So, were there any husbands involved? How about simply fathers? Were these all immaculate conceptions? Why those part-time jobs? Didn't she take advantage of the societal guarantee of a free education? Why did she lose the jobs? Were her drug abuse and bad choices a trigger for the domestic abuse? Why did the paper have to point out the "hunger" which cycles through the family along with the rather unusual comment that such hunger doesn't effect weight? In short, the paper was simply loaded with socialist, welfare-dependency, redistribution propaganda.

Then we got this little item about law enforcement:

The Danger of SWAT Teams

What particularly piqued my attention was the lack of knowledge displayed both by the quoted officials and the crack reporters:

"To throw SWAT uniforms and tactical vests and ballistic helmets on police officers ... and a semiautomatic machine gun in their hands ... and offer them very little training – that does not give you a SWAT team," said Paul Hershey, president of the Texas Tactical Police Officers Association.

This guy is president of the tactical police officers assoc. and he says stuff like "semiautomatic machine gun"??

Or how about this non sequitur:

you have a responsibility to equip them and train them and get them to the numbers where they can do the job as safely as they can," said John Gnagey, NTOA executive director.

So apparently it escapes him that "can do the job as safely as they can" is a circumlocution that says nothing.

Here's some great confidence building language:

Without proper training, "my personal opinion is that some of these so-called SWAT teams put the public at greater risk by going out there and trying to handle something they shouldn't be handling," said Lt. D.L. Hodge, who oversees the Dallas Sheriff's Department tactical team.

Oh boy! Who ya gonna call...Dallas SWAT? Give me the clowns of Ghostbusters.

Looking for some good family entertainment this week? Check this opportunity:

No skates, no sticks, no goals, no ice. It's about an athletic event and teamwork. Yes, that's what I'd want my twelve year old son to aspire to, a bare-knuckled brawl masquerading as sport.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Saturday Morning Rocker

Who needs the USC marching band if you've got Mick (aka Billy Beck) laying down the beat?

The Entitlement Generation

I get called on the carpet every semester when the department head gets student complaints, usually from the online course students. They are unhappy with the "mean" comments I make about their contributions to the class. They don't like it when I demand that they support what they write with facts and research rather than writing what "I feel..." or "I believe..." The nice thing about an online class is that it isn't he-said/she-said where there is no record of what really happened. The whole transaction whether a threaded discussion or exchange of emails with the student is available for review.

Yesterday the student reviews of their course were released. They are given the opportunity to complete a questionnaire on the course experience. It isn't released to faculty until after grades are in, so they are protected from petty retribution. You have to be thick-skinned to read them without wanting to strangle some of the students. But then you have to laugh because they so obviously are disconnected from reality. My favorite this semester was with regard to the four short writing assignments. "Mr. R returns papers with grades but no comments on what was wrong or why a particular grade was given..." That would be a bad thing, except that every paper is read and commented on extensively using Word's "review" feature. Papers are then returned to the students as email attachments. The comment means the student never opened up the returned paper.

Coincidentally the Dallas Morning Fishwrap offered this opinion piece this morning:

Maybe No Child Left Behind is the wrong message for our students and our schools. Maybe we do need to leave some students behind. Sit in on the early-morning college class I teach, and you’ll find groggy students sneaking in 15 and 30 minutes late. You’ll see two students who came to class all semester and never turned in a paper or piece of homework. Only about half the class will have their assignments for the day — and more than half of those assignments will be sloppy and haphazard. Twenty-four percent of my students plagiarized this semester. And 42 percent of the students who registered for the class stopped showing up after a few weeks and never bothered to drop the course, which, of course, means an F on their transcripts.

I’d offer that my experiences as a teacher might be an aberration, but I’ve heard these concerns from others, too. And the problem seems to be getting worse. Our teenagers are graduating from high school without knowledge of what it means to be a good student. We worry so much about teaching core subjects, yet we have missed an important first lesson: Too many of our students have little or no work ethic. We can’t sweep this fact under the desk any longer. Good students have integrity. They have a work ethic that includes showing up for class on time, listening attentively, participating in discussions and completing assignments by the deadline. They also know that plagiarizing is academic suicide. Scholastic dishonesty is rife in our schools. Teddi Fishman, director of the Center for Academic Integrity at Clemson University’s Rutland Institute for Ethics, says, “The last figures we have indicate that about 21 percent of undergraduate students admit to some kind of cheating on a test, and nearly half of undergraduate students — 48 percent — admit to having done some kind of written cheating.” With all the portable electronic gadgets and easy access to information on the Internet, it’s easier than ever to cheat. There’s even a thriving market for businesses that will write a custom paper for as little as $10. And when students are caught — as many are — they seem remorseless.

A chapter in our textbook asks: “Is underachieving the norm in today’s education? Have we become proud about our lack of knowledge?” Students in my class were quick to offer up views of their educational experience in Texas: Parents don’t care, teachers “can’t fail us,” it is “too easy to cheat,” and the TAKS is a joke. It doesn’t matter how poorly a student performs in the classroom, the students say — he’s going to pass. One student told me she failed the science TAKS three times and graduated anyway. It seems we have let our students down. They have successfully learned how to just get by. They know we don’t expect much from them.

Apparently I am not alone in my frustration.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Early Start to the Weekend

Lindsey Buckingham is still incredible and Stevie might never have looked better:

Now, I'm not sure but is it possible that Mick Fleetwood is actually Billy Beck? I mean has anybody ever seen both of them in the same place at the same time?

Tough Week for Global Warming

Making the news in these waning days of COP15 in Copenhagen:

Snow Dumps in Tivoli Gardens

But the forecast is gloomier still:

A Meter Here, A Meter There, Pretty Soon You've Got Deep Snow

Well, at least the warm ocean breeze is keeping New York City comfortable:

Tough Sledding For Muggers in Central Park

In Washington, however, the Congress' generation of hot air is keeping the chill away:

Three Day Snow Forecast for Capitol

But, we all know that the real impact of warming is being felt in the far North:

Four Inches Per Hour Snowfall in Alaska

OK, but that's just anecdotal evidence, sort of like the kinds of data that East Anglia has been touting for years. It's hot in the summer and cold in the winter so let's dismantle the economy and do something like send a trillion dollars to third-world countries as an apology.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Does No One Understand English?

I caught some Fox & Friends this AM and again was amazed at the inability of either the Senator speaking or the people listening to understand what was being said. The frighteningly young Senator looked at the camera and intoned that, "the current medical care insurance that you and I have could not be cancelled for a pre-existing condition..."

The anachronism in that isn't complex. If you and I, Senator, have a current healthcare plan, then conditions now disclosed are not "pre-existing" by definition. I suppose he meant that seeking another plan with another job or even enrolling in that wonderful "public option" will not be vetted for pre-existing ailments, but that wasn't what he said.

Then there was the slavering in the Dallas Morning FishWrap some of which I offer here:

Most Americans would be required to purchase insurance, and the government would establish a new series of exchanges through which consumers could shop for policies.
The measure includes hundreds of billions of dollars in subsidies to defray the cost of insurance for families with incomes up to about $88,200 a year for a family of four.
Additional assistance would go to small businesses to help them afford coverage for workers.

The critical words there are "Americans would be REQUIRED to purchase..." then "hundreds of billions in subsidies..." and then "incomes up to about $88,200 a year..." I've never before had government demand that I spend my money on anything. I wonder where hundreds of billions more government money are coming from. And, I recall that the national average income for families of four runs about $42,000 a year, so that tells me that roughly 3/4 of all families will be subsidized. But, don't forget that it also says even more assistance will go to small businesses. Wow!

Large companies would not face a requirement to cover employees. But the government would impose charges if any of them did not do so and any of their workers qualified for federal subsidies to help them afford private coverage.

Recalling all of those people who will qualify for the subsidy we now see the conflict in this paragraph. Large companies would not face a requirement except if ANY of their workers qualified for federal subsidies!! Can you identify any large companies in which all of the employees make more than $88,200 per year? So all large companies will be forced to cover employees or be subject to fines.

In his remarks, Obama took issue with ads and claims by critics about the bill’s impact on the federal budget, citing CBO estimates that predicted it would reduce the deficit.
“So all the scare tactics out there, all the ads that are out there are simply inaccurate,” he said.
“There are still disagreements that have to be ironed out. There is still work to be done in the next few days,” he said, without going into specifics.
The legislation would be financed by about $460 billion in cuts in projected Medicare payments to health care providers over a decade.
It also includes higher payroll taxes on individuals making more than $250,000 annually and higher taxes on high-cost insurance policies, drug makers, medical device makers and others

And, there we have it folks, the ultimate fiscal legerdemain. All of the subsidies are going to be financed by $460 billion in CUTS to Medicare which already pays only about 60% of the cost of medical services which hospitals and healthcare providers deliver.

But the kicker is that higher payroll taxes line for that segment of the population which actually creates economic growth and jobs. Top that with the higher taxes on high-cost insurance policies (so I won't keep my excellent plan will I?), drug-makers (so I'll take a lot more aspirin for my cancer pain, won't I?), medical device makers (hooks and peg-legs are so romantic, aren't they Capt. Jack Swallow?), and that all-encompassing "others."

Deficit neutral? Tax cuts for 95% of wage earners? Gimme a break. I speak English and I still understand what you said.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

An Inconvenience Hits Home

He's a Nobel laureate for science without possessing a single credential as a scientist. He's an Academy Award winner with no acting, directing or film producing credits to his name. He's a guru of climatological disaster and he appears now to be an inveterate prevaricator.

Santa's Beachfront Property Not Yet Available

He needs to learn that the best fantasies are created with fictitious characters. When you start attributing artificially created scientific data to actual real-world scientists with a bit of reputation to uphold in their profession they are likely to stand up and pull the plug on your prognostications.

But, the sweat droplets that suddenly appeared on his blushing red brow seem to indicate a minor heat wave swept through Copenhagen and was focussed around the speaker's podium.

The Issue of Inalienability

A core belief of the Founding Fathers was that there were essential rights which we all possessed and they are not sourced from our government. Thomas Locke had elaborated on the principle of inalienable rights that are inherent in our existance as human beings. He cited "life, liberty and pursuit of property" as core. Jefferson would sweeten that up a bit and possibly make it a bit more moralistic by shifting from crass acquistion of property to a quest for happiness in our lives. I've got no problem with that. When I'm secure in my property, I am sublimely content.

Today is a little known holiday. It was established by Franklin Roosevelt, which of itself seems a bit illogical if one considers his ideological bent, but nevertheless it is noteworthy:

Bill of Rights Day

Our Constitution was designed to do what all constitutions do and in the most basic terms. It describes a form of governmental organization. It describes a system of operation for that government to perform its functions. And, it establishes limits on what those functions of the government are supposed to be. How ideal.

The citizens, however, knew better than even the wise Framers that government is often unbound by those simple descriptions of what it can do. They demanded a list of those things which the government could not do and without such a list they would not ratify the Constitution. Hence we get the Bill of Rights.

Our citizenry today is woefully ignorant of the very essence of the BOR. My college students can't tell you what a right guaranteed by the BOR is; not even least not at the start of the course.

More importantly they don't understand that the brief list is not grants from a benevolent government but lines which shall not be crossed.

We won't see or hear much about BOR day today and we certainly won't get a ringing endorsement of the limits on our federal government from anyone in the current administration but it would be a good idea to sit down for ten minutes and read through them just as a refresher.

Here they are:

Transcript of the Bill of Rights

Some notes:

  1. Speech, Press, Assembly, Petition for Redress and Religion--it's all about political discourse, not pornography.
  2. Bearing Arms--it's about the ability of citizens to oppose an oppressive government, not about hunting or target shooting or self-defense.
  3. Quartering of Troops--it's about not having your property impressed into government service.
  4. Unreasonable Search & Seizure--it's about a man's home being his castle.
  5. Self Incrimination--it's a basic protection from undue pressure to confess to government accusations.
  6. Criminal Trial Process--it's the right to face your accuser and know the charges.
  7. Civil Trial Process--it's the right to justice in disputes with others.
  8. Cruel & Unusual Punishment--it's protection from torture and false imprisonment
  9. Rights Not Listed--it's clear acknowledgement that this list is not all-inclusive. Other rights exist as well.
  10. Federal Government is Limited--Power and authority flow from the people upward to the federal government not from the government as a gift to the people.

Simple ain't it? Where have we gone so wrong?

Monday, December 14, 2009

The Back-up For Your Back-up

For those who simply don't have time to visit my regular stops and then follow through to links from those sites, which admittedly can often be a bit weird if not downright freaky, this is one I don't want you to miss.

Anyone who has considered equipping themself with a .380 auto and been put-off by the total lack of ammo availability might want to consider this well-reviewed offering:

The Gun For When You Absolutely Don't Need a Gun

Remember that the construction is an industrial process and you should not soak your own LCP and then run it through the dryer. You are not a professional.

Just in Time For Holiday Gift Giving

Sunday, December 13, 2009

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

Yes, boys and girls, it's that time again. The time when shopping malls, grocery stores, big box shops, radio stations, elevators and even the low number channels on Dish Network are all giving us that inane Christmas music 24/7 for at least a month. The stores are even displaying an assortment of new releases of repackaged arrangements by such warm, giving, clean-cut, non-denominational stars as Bob Dylan, whose growling two-note vocal range gives refreshing charm to such classics as White Christmas and Silent Night. Maybe Sting's disc is the one that will be under your Christmas tree. Or it could be that David Archuleta, the androgynous teen-aged wanna-be American Idol is going to brighten your auditory experience.

I know I've grown too old and curmudgeonly when I start to identify more with the starting Scrooge rather than the finished product. What with the Messiah's rape of the economy and blasting of the budget don't we all find ourselves asking, "Are therre no prisons? Are there no workhouses?" Which raises a perennial question.

Who is your favorite Scrooge? My vote is for George C. Scott. I would have loved to see the John Carradine interpretation or heard Lionel Barrymore doing it on radio. Patrick Stewart isn't my cup of tea and doing it as a comedy with the likes of Jim Carrey or Bill Murray simply doesn't work at all.

Second question:

If you had regal powers, such as being the Messiah's Seasonal Music Czar, what Christmas Song(s) would you abolish from the earth for all time?

Some contenders:

"Little Drummer Boy" by any artist.
"Santa Baby" by Eartha Kitt.
"All I Want for Christmas is My Two Front Teeth" by the Chipmunks, Spike Jones or Mariah Carey.
"I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus" by Jimmy Boyd or the Jackson Five.

"Blue Christmas" by Elvis

Anything done by a dozen or more almost identifiable sort of stars under the guise of charity. Nothing like a bunch of depressing images of hunger, starvation, cold, industrial grime and guilt to get you in the spirit:

But, there is hope and if it isn't found in the 86th annual release by Mannheim Steamroller, it might be something more like this:

Now I feel better. Merry Christmas to all.

Friday, December 11, 2009

The Subtleties are Blatant

It premiered last night in London and the raves are in. Cameron's taken fourteen years since Titanic and nearly as much money as an Obama dinner date to make Avatar. You've already seen the blurbs on TV spots and it would be difficult to call it anything but mind-boggling, excessive, captivating and maybe comic-books taken to the next level.

Here's one of the stars out of makeup, or for conspiracy theorists maybe she's actually in makeup:

But, check out the little bits of indoctrination we've got going on there. There is the basic motivation for invading these not quite peaceful purple people, the quest to meet our insatiable need for energy while the rest of the galaxy is somewhere between primitive and philosophical.

There is the aggressive colonial perspective of the Americans or at least white, English-speaking militants. There is the racial stereotyping in which cultures collide and prejudices evaporate as miscegenation enhances hormonal drives.

Of course there's a bit of endangered species/PETA propaganda as well. And some disregard for environments on any planet we visit.

But, wrap it all in thunderous music, state-of-tomorrow's-art special effects, cool colors and offer it in 3D, IMAX and Blue-Ray flavors to enrapture all of the slavering masses who will come away another step down the path toward guilt and servitude.

I can't wait until it releases at local theaters. It may be the first flick to get me into a real theater since Gladiator!

Piling It Up

It doesn't require elaboration. One need only start a list and in short order you should be convinced that we are way too stupid to govern ourselves.

  1. AMTRAK. Want to take a passenger train somewhere? Forget it.
  2. USPS. Want to send a package or some important documents? Pick a free enterprise solution.
  3. Social Security. The ultimate Ponzi scheme due to become insolvent in 25 years.
  4. Medicare. Increasingly not accepted by doctors and hospitals, inadequate in payments, requires a free-enterprise supplement, and forecast for bankruptcy in five to seven years.
  5. Education. Free "fisting" kits and diagrams for middle-schoolers. Indoctrination of impressionable children in the infallibility of the administration.
  6. Airport security. Online manuals of how to beat the system, delays in travel, accelerating invasiveness, and political correctness that renders it a laughing stock.
  7. Job creation. False reporting, average cost per job approximately a quarter of a million dollars, and no long term result.
  8. Mortgage banking management. Mandated issue of loans to people with no proven income or credit history for property valued at less than the mortgage.
  9. Environment protection. Critical component of life cycle declared a pollutant and artificial market created to stifle the economy.
  10. Gun control. Highest violent crime rates in communities with most restrictive laws.
  11. Community improvement. Video documentation of corruption, proposed funding of underage prostitution and instruction in how to falsify welfare claims.
  12. Defense. Slashing of budgets, waffling on strategies and objectives, and apologies for strength and promoting democracy.
  13. Finance. Quadrupling of national debt in ten months and devaluation of currency and national credit rating.

I could go on, but you should get the idea. So let's put these guys in charge of a command/control economy and disbursement of healthcare.

Nobel Acceptance Speech

I missed viewing it live since I've been busy with closing out classes at the end of the semester, but managed to find this video of the Messiah's acceptance of the Nobel Piece Prize. It was a master stroke of David Axelrod to get the One to deliver it to music:

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

A Test of Logic

In response to a discussion question on state subsidies of higher education several of my students wrote, "Everyone has a right to a college education who wants one."

That doesn't sound too bad, does it? But, what if we test the syntax by simply subsituting another good or service as the direct object of the sentence. How about "Everyone has a right to a car/boat/iPod who wants one"? How does that work for you?

A college education may be a "public good" and therefore it may be proper to subsidize it since the state will benefit from a better educated populace, a better equipped work force and a higher income base for collection of tax revenues. But, it also may be an individual responsibility governed by a free market.

What if we throw one more issue into the mix, the US Constitution and its limits on governmental power?

Try this fantasy. The government decides it is going to go into business in a market which already has an over-regulated private enterprise model in operation. The government will provide a product in direct competition with the free-market. The government will set pricing based on an arbitrary standard of what a consumer is able to pay and without regard to the cost of providing that service. The government will subsidize through direct payments to the buyer the purchase of the government's product without regard to the cost of the service. The government will mandate that certain traditional purchasers of the product will buy the government's offering or suffer fines and possible imprisonment. Does that make sense? Does it scare you a little bit?

Now, let us say there are some moral perspectives to be overlaid on the product which the government is going to provide in competition with the free market. Because of that political dynamic the government will not offer tax-payer dollars for some controversial aspects of the service which other private companies provide. And, to finish the scenario the government will then outlaw provision of those services by the free market company so that it will be removed from legal free-market access.

It sounds pretty heavy handed and indeed seems to this observer to be clearly an over-reaching, well beyond anything authorized by the enumerated powers of our Constitution. Of course, by now you recognize that the government established business is healthcare insurance and the particular service is family planning medical functions, most specifically abortion.

But, what if that same operational model were applied to auto insurance. Is it proper for government to compete with private insurers by offering a product with subsidized purchase and at cost unrelated to risk. Would it be proper for government to not offer theft insurance and then prohibit any free-market competitor from offering that insurance either? Clearly the answer is no.

Play this game with other industries. You will have a lot of interesting scenarios. Use automobiles, computers, groceries, underwear, coffee pots or any other product. you will have some laughs and you will always reach the same conclusion.

The Open Government Road Show

As I've said so often before, when the Bamster speaks you can be certain that what he does will be precisely the opposite of what he said. We're gradually recognizing that the principle applies to his promise of transparency and openness in government. While he told us of a new era of visibility of the policy-making process the actual practice has been to slam more doors shut not only to the citizenry but to the media and even to the minority party. It is policy making by fiat and diktat not by democratic process.

He's going to be off to Copenhagen to sell out the last vestiges of American sovereignty and drive an oaken stake through the heart of our economy while simultaneously firing a fusillade of silver bullets, sprinkling it with holy water and exposing it to a mirror. This vampire of free enterprise and a capitalist system will be dead, dead, dead.

So, how is the rape of the productive nations going on Day Two? Check this:

The Committee of Commitment Gets Caught

Yes folks, the real collapse of the plot to bring the industrialized world to its knees is imminent as the slavering Morlocks of the third world are disappointed that those of us with electric lights aren't going to be buying faggots and kerosene to light our golden beacon on the hill.

As the pack of jackals begin to snap at each other maybe there is a first glimpse of the Messiah bringing back another Olympic bid moment from Denmark next week.

Monday, December 07, 2009

Unrepresentative Representation

I hope I am not the only person in the nation appalled on a daily basis at the failures of the adminstration and legislature to acknowledge what the people they represent are saying.

Now, I will be the first to point out that true leadership does not operate by consensus or majority rule. Doing what everybody wants can often be incredibly wrong. Take a class of kindergarteners and ask them what they want for dinner and the majority will go for ice cream every day. That isn't leading. A great leader will often have to be transcendent. He/She must rise above the mundane and take the greater vision into consideration. That may involve forcing the bitter medicine down unwanting throats. That isn't what we've got rampant today.

This leadership is neither majoritarian nor transcendent. They are decidedly confrontational and increasingly duplicitious. They simply ignore what the voters are telling them or asking them to consider while with incredible mendacity they pervert the facts to support their lust for power. At some point it can no longer stand.

We've talked here before about the healthcare debacle which is unfolding before our eyes. Today we've got to revisit the climate change debate as Copenhagen convenes:

Don't Exhale, We're Counting Them

Once again to be fair let's acknowledge that maybe the incriminating emails and statements unfolding in "Climate-gate" are simply innocent banter and not indicative of a conspiracy. But, there is certainly enough damning evidence to merit taking a deep breath and seriously reviewing the bidding before we leap into a deep end.

We are in a recession. Unemployment is up, growth projections are down, and the national debt is stratospheric. Those are the core ingredients for a poverty stew that we may never recover from. Yet we have this on the pending announcement declaring carbon dioxide an dangerous pollutant:

An "endangerment" finding by the Environmental Protection Agency could pave the way for the government to require businesses that emit carbon dioxide and five other greenhouse gases to make costly changes in machinery to reduce emissions -- even if Congress doesn't pass pending climate-change legislation.

For those of you who flunked out of American Government 101, let me point out that the EPA is a regulatory agency under the executive branch which operates at the direction of the President. He could with the raising of an eyebrow toward Carol Browner, the leftist director of the EPA delay this precipitous action.

Is it critical to take a bit of time to evaluate this first? Why?

An EPA endangerment finding "could result in a top-down command-and-control regime that will choke off growth by adding new mandates to virtually every major construction and renovation project," U.S. Chamber of Commerce President Thomas Donohue said in a statement.

Won't you just love a society in which the executive branch has that much power? If you think it is altruism which drives this bunch, I've got some bad news for you. It is power. Raw and unbridled power.

Electricity generation, transportation and industry represent the three largest sources of U.S. greenhouse-gas emissions.

Such a simple sentence which says so much. Ponder total government control of those three segments of the economy. Review what you use electricity for and try to remember the last time the power went out. How did you do? Consider what you are dependent upon that comes to you through the transportation system of the country. What will you lose or have to pay significantly more for? Ponder that one word "industry" and see it throttled by government control. If you associate that with massive job losses, factory shut-downs, industry collapses and economic disaster, you've got the picture.

And, one last little tidbit from that Wall Street Journal piece:

The vast majority of increased greenhouse-gas emissions is expected to come from developing countries such as China and India, not from rich countries like the U.S.

Isn't that special. The problem will come from two nations that together total ten times our population yet our President is about to crush us on the altar of dubious climate data with no apparent good outcome in sight.

And, let me offer you a physiological tip. Did you ever get excited or apprehensive and find yourself hyper-ventilating? You keep trying to breath faster yet you can't seem to get any oxygen? Someone tells you to slow down or take deep breaths but you can't do it. Do you know what the problem is? You are experiencing a shortage of carbon dioxide! Breath into a paper bag for a minute. The CO2 intensified intake will calm you down and get your breathing back to normal.

A Point to Ponder

Attention Chuck Shumer, Nancy Pelosi, Barbara Boxer, Eric Holder, et. al.:

Sunday, December 06, 2009

Cliche Fest

Big football day yesterday but two things really stood out. Why is it that coaches speak to field reporters in a series of over-used cliches? Game after game as I channel surfed I heard about "one game at a time," and "big players make big plays," and "we'll have to play better during the second half," and "we just have to play within ourselves." How come the Florida coach didn't say, "we're getting our butt kicked out there"?

And, I don't mean to sound sexist but ever since Howard Cosell wrote his biographical apologia and titled it, "I Never Played the Game", I've wondered about the expertise of the sideline bimbos who report from the field breathlessly, their carefully coiffed golden locks waving in the breeze as they report that the Pitt tight end suffered a bad groin pull or his jock is chafing but he'll be back in the second half.

I seriously rooted for Pittsburgh to upset Cincinnati and thought it had happened until the last 30 seconds of the game. Had Cincy lost, it would have dropped them in the standings and improved the odds of TCU getting a serious BCS shot.

Florida didn't show up. If Tebow wasn't the son of a preacher with bible verses lettered on his eye black patches I'd swear he'd been out drinking and doing the dirty deed all night long with a platoon of nubile cheer-leaders. Florida simply didn't bring it. The result is that if the game means anything at all, Florida lost the national title and Tebow lost the Heisman yesterday.

Alabama, on the other hand, had been my hope for an "easier" opponent for Texas at Pasadena. I've got a bit of sympathy for 'Bama since I've got two significant pieces of paper for my wall from a couple of Alabama universities. They aren't Bama, but if Auburn can't play and Troy surely never will, then I'll root for the Tide. Mark Ingram actually did fulfill the cliche about great players having great games when the stakes are high. I'd say he picked up a lot of Heisman votes for his effort.

But Texas was the show for this transplant to Texoma-land. It should have been a walk-over but they must have been reading their own press releases all week. Colt McCoy almost made Tim Tebow look good yesterday in comparison. His team was flat and they didn't make the big plays. Nebraska came to Arlington hungry and almost took the turkey back to Lincoln. Only a booth review to put a second back on the clock gave the Longhorns a chance to win. They will be number two in the BCS standings this week, but just barely and McCoy may have lost that grand trophy and the trip to New York City.

They will all likely be playing on Sunday in coming years. Some will deliver, some won't. They will make a lot of money, however. The bad news is that some of them will be playing in places like Detroit, Cleveland and Oakland for at least a short period.

Saturday, December 05, 2009

The Force is Shot to Hell

It was a refrain from an old bar-room song, "the force is shot to hell..." A lament about the deterioration of the military from the good old days when whomever is singing the song was slogging along compared to the current state. They sang it in the fifties about the state since WW II. They sang it in the '70s about those halcyon days of the emerging jet age in the '50s. They might be singing it again when they read this:

Don't Offend the Mindless Drones

Who in the hallowed halls of the military rear-echelon bureaucracy has time to think up such convoluted touchy-feely policies? There is so much wrong with that whole package that I hardly know where to start.

As I recall the Navy enlisted force has taken great pride in their sea-going tattoos. I'm not saying that style is for everyone, but it put a certain touch of machismo on the chief petty officer when he walked the deck with his sleeves rolled up.

The issue, of course, is how to simultaneously recruit sufficient numbers from the shallow pool of those both eager and qualified to serve their country while still maintaining some semblance of a disciplined military appearance.

The current fad for defacing your body with beautiful (at least to the eye of the mouth-breathing teen-ager) permanent artwork creates a problem. The ink doesn't merit comment unless it can be seen and even the ubiquitous tramp stamp gets seen from some angles. Can we have some Maori face tats on the next Chief-of-Staff like Mike Tyson? Probably not.

So, we've got a generation of pierced, perforated and posterized youth and a military that needs the manpower. If you've finally found someone with enough smarts to qualify, adequate physical fitness to be trained and the motivation to do something outside of their own personal comfort zone, do you then turn them down because they've got a skull and snake on their bicep? Probably not.

That is about the point where rational regulation ends. Who is the careerist drone who made a distinction regarding tattoos on the saluting arm? Is that simply the most meaningless and inane policy decision we've encountered so far this week?

And, excuse me for noting, but what was the mother of that young man thinking when she colluded in that disfigurement? Besides, where do you find a tattoo artist who can write in Hebrew?

The force is shot to hell.

Saturday Morning Rocker

You are probably more familiar with the Eric Burdon and the Animals version, but the Canadian rockers do a better job on this morning's offering:

Friday, December 04, 2009

Promising the Impossible

Next week we will probably see the globe-trotting President off to Copenhagen. He's going early in the conference probably to avoid some sort of collapse at the end of the meeting which would be attributed as yet another Bamster slap-down by the world which he so wants to love him.

This professor from MIT who is clearly knowledgeable about the issues of carbon mitigation and the goals of Copenhagen is describing what the Messiah will promise and what it will mean to deliver it:

We Will Destroy the Economy to Save It

First let us note that the author does not base his piece on Climate-gate or the now completely discredited manipulations of the CRU at East Anglia. He's "fair and balanced" in simply saying that this is what will be promised and then this is how the numbers crunch to make that happen. No value judgments of good or bad. As Joe Friday used to say, "just the facts, Ma'am, just the facts."

Bamster will unilaterally promise to reduce the US carbon emissions by 83%. That means a current per-capita emission of 5.5 tons per year will be reduced to 0.63 tons. We will be at about 12% of our current carbon dioxide emissions.

To do that, he calculates:

  1. 30,000 new megawatts of wind power per year for the next forty years--that's four times the increase of the record year, 2008

  2. 35,000 new megawatts of photovoltaic power per year (that's solar for those in Granbury) for the next forty years--that's 100 times the increase of last year

  3. Multiply the nuclear reactor fleet by five times--unlikely due to the mindless opposition of the eco-freaks

  4. Convert all coal-fired power plants to carbon capture and double the total number

  5. Finally figure out how to run a reliable power grid with dependenc upon that much wind and solar energy

So, what does that mean for us if we recognize that those are currently unattainable goals and failure in any of them means failure of the program?

It means lights go out. It means air conditioning and heating of our buildings is drastically curtailed. It means factory production is stifled. It means products which currently travel from farm or factory to market will have to become dependent upon fleets of electric or bio-fueled vehicles. It means prices will go up to cope with increased production costs. It means taxes will rise exponentially to build all of those windmills and solar panels and nuclear power plants. When prices go up and taxes go up we slough off jobs and reduce our standard of living.

There is no up side to that picture. And, most importantly, the professor doesn't even mention that fact that the entire "problem" may be fictitious and based on perversion of data for the benefit of a small ideologically driven cadre.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Micro-Managing His Message

It becomes harder every day to accept that this isn't made up; it is real and indicative of the path we are on. The President of the United States in his Constitutional role as Commander-in-Chief has an obligation to maintain the nation's security. That is best done, in my mind, by clearly showing the world that the state of our military is the best in the world and that our technology and production capability is such that none dare challenge us.

What then to make of this:

Bring Out The Old, Disregard the New

How hypocritical can the man be? He goes to Alaska to have a photo-op with the troops who defend us from attack by air. He stands before them and praises the two squadrons arrayed dutifully in the hangar as the cameras hum and the lights flood the dias. The Dicemen of the 90th FS and the Bulldogs of the 525th FS are the finest of the force, hand-picked for the honor and privilege of flying the F-22 Raptor. Anyone wearing wings in the world is envious of them.

But, the Bamster's boys from Chicago demand that the sleek new example of America at her finest be moved out of the scene and replaced by an aging, obsolescent, soon-to-be-retired F-15 Eagle. He would be "embarrassed" by allowing himself to be pictured before an aircraft that he fought so hard to kill.

What next, puttees and muzzle loaders for the infantry photo-ops? Sailing ships for a port visit backdrop?

Stick a Fork In It

Lyndon Johnson famously said, "When we've lost Cronkite, we've lost America." That was in reference to the basso profundo declaration after the Viet Cong were soundly defeated during the country-wide attacks in S. Vietnam of Tet '68, that we had lost.

Maybe the Bamster and the Goregon are saying the same thing about dependable leftie lampoon meister, Jon Stewart:

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

No Surrender Monkey Evident

We tend to look down our nose at the Europeans lately as a collection of nations in decline, descending ahead of us into socialism and moral decline, ridiculing our might yet dependent upon our defense. At least that is the way some see it.

But take a look at this review of last night's show-and-tell event at West Point in der Spiegel, the premier German news magazine:

The Magic Is Gone

There's no praise or gloating evident. No support for the course of action chosen or the goals half-heartedly set. In fact, there is ridicule and confusion at the so obvious pandering and self-contradictory message. They were not impressed.

It was as though Obama had taken one of his old campaign speeches and merged it with a text from the library of ex-President George W. Bush. Extremists kill in the name of Islam, he said, before adding that it is one of the "world's great religions." He promised that responsibility for the country's security would soon be transferred to the government of President Hamid Karzai -- a government which he said was "corrupt." The Taliban is dangerous and growing stronger. But "America will have to show our strength in the way that we end wars," he added.

When laid out so clearly the see-saw of the Messiah's policy is cause for derision. He wants desperately to be all things to all people and in the process is nothing for anyone. As a campaigner it is an asset to offer something for every voter to feel as though they are a beneficiary. As a leader the responsibility shifts to requiring tough decisions, positive action and the spine to take the consequences of a mis-step if one should occur. Just as a parent must discipline a child rather than accede to every whim of the toddler, so also a leader must be willing to lead.

It was a dizzying combination of surge and withdrawal, of marching to and fro. The fast pace was reminiscent of plays about the French revolution: Troops enter from the right to loud cannon fire and then they exit to the left. And at the end, the dead are left on stage.

Unfortunately it takes the Germans to tell us this truth.

A New Low in Mainstream Media

Watch and listen to this thirty second video and understand how much they don't understand about us:

That's right, it is a "strange venue" for the Commander-in-Chief to be addressing on a military campaign in a war that has been going on for eight years now. The US Military Academy and the Corps of Cadets is "the enemy camp". And, how outrageous that Paul Wolfowitz used to speak of democratizing other nations. That certainly wouldn't be very noble in the socialist world view, would it?

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Say It Isn't So!

We've got yet another example of the current administration's political tin ear with this discovery:

Prime Time Speech Bumps Linus & Charlie

The President as we all know is going to announce the deep and profound policy decision that he and his 47 closest non-military, non-combatant, non-aggressive advisors have reached after three and a half months of dithering regarding what Gen. McChrystal gets in Afghanistan.

Now, if you read a newspaper or watch any TV news, you already know what he is going to say. It has all been leaked already through Pravda, oops, make that the New York Times. There's going to be 35k troops, a request for another 10k from our allies, and a double-talk message to Karzai about keeping his corruption a bit more discreet if he wants us to prop him up. No real need to watch.

But, ever one to carpe his diem the Bamster is going to seize control of the airwaves and speak it from his own teleprompted lips. OK, that will give it gravitas or whatever, but he is going to do it from the US Military Academy at West Point.

Now, he could give the speech from the desk of the Oval Office in fifteen relatively un-interferring minutes. That however wouldn't create the grand stage which he so craves. So, he packs up the family jets and at a paltry cost of a few hundred million dollars will transport the entourage to New York for an event before what is essentially a crowd of teen-agers and military academic careerists.

In the process of this waste and disruption he blacks out what for many families is a Christmas tradition, the Charlie Brown Christmas story.

Speaking the Truth

I'll freely admit that I think Howard Dean is a buffoon. But, even a buffoon can speak the truth and here we have it in spades:

That is right! He makes three points here as he speaks to this gathering of half a dozen apparently very bored and somnolent coffee-shop attendees.

First, he highlights that we have become something called a "multi-cultural generation" meaning that we now have learned to appreciate "diversity" and will make our voting choices based on really important stuff like how inter-racial is the candidate's background rather than hard policy positions.

Second, he freely admits that the Democrats are deeply into "communitarianism" which can be interpreted to mean redistribution of wealth and Socialism as an alternative to private property, free-market pricing, and profit motivation to drive the economy. That's a delightful confession.

And, finally, he tells us that it isn't simply a Messianic, ego-driven need for the spotlight which keeps us subjected to the Obama channel 24/7 but a conscious decision of the entire Democratic party to remain in campaign mode permanently rather than do that hard stuff like actually running the government.

I honestly couldn't have made that stuff up. He seems quite proud of it.