Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Ohhhhh, The Humanity

Georgetown University is a pretty good school. It's also a Catholic school. And apparently it is a really hot place!



So at $1 per encounter and $1000 per year average, that's about three times a night every night! Things weren't like that when I was in a Catholic school, although I will confess I didn't go to a Catholic college or grad schools. Maybe that's where the activity speeds up.

Creating Dependency

Want some hard numbers to convince you regarding the direction this nation is being herded? Here you go:

Dependence Growing At Fastest Rate in History

And pay particular attention to that line which cites the top 1% of wage earners in America paying more federal tax dollars than the bottom 90%.

If I hear that blustering ass utter the phrase, "pay their fair share," one more time I am going to go postal.

Gift Wrapping For Dummies

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Culture Slice

This is like a Monty Python skit:

Naked Man Seeks Welding Job Interview

That's got so many slices it could be an extra large pepperoni. He's naked. He's wacked. He wants a job interview...in a welding shop! The owner has the viddie camera handy to show the 9-1-1 operator the problem.  They all wind up rolling around the ground. The flasher goes for the lady cop, naturally.

And the helpful bystander doesn't bother to set his burger down as he gleefully jumps into the mix. I wonder if it was one of those big and messy Carl's Junior specials?

Monday, February 27, 2012

You Can Bet That Tommy Sees

The President has found a way to make some deficit cuts:

Raise the Cost of Tricare for Active and Retired--Civilians Stay the Same


Set-Up

I've got to admit it was masterful. You know the red carpet drill, all the plastic and tinsel stars show up with their temporary loaner designer dresses and the drooling TV host asks them, "Who are you wearing?"

So, Sacha Baron Cohen is arriving in a promo for his soon-to-be-released film, "The Dictator" and does his full costume schtick including two bodyguards in a parody of Qaddafi-style Amazon outfits. Ryan Seacrist is the epitome of professional red carpet host and seeing Cohen's super-stretch limo arrive does the set up line:

"When he comes up my first question is going to be 'who are you wearing tonight?'"

Then this ensues:



Now you are not going to get me to believe that was anything but a setup. Cohen was prepped, the straight line was perfect, Seacrist looked suitably stunned (but had a spare shirt and tux jacket nearby for five minutes later), and a well-positioned stage hand was handy to take the urn and cover so that Sacha was not forced to carry his joke gadgetry for the rest of the night.

It was a great piece and it did the job as nobody else has gotten the coverage that Cohen and Seacrist did on the morning news. Not even Billy Crystal, J-Lo's possible nip shot, or the Oscar winners.

Volt

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Stoolie's


Broadway & Commerce


Stoolie’s fills the northwest corner of Broadway and Commerce streets. The location sounds a bit pretentious, but Broadway isn’t quite so broad and Commerce is not much but a fading memory of booming days in the 1920s when cotton was king and Gainesville was the bustling seat of Cooke County. Today Broadway is the parallel to the real main street of town. That would be California Avenue which runs past the north side of the courthouse. Main Street isn’t the main street and it probably wasn’t preeminent even in the old days. Now Broadway is the bypass for locals who don’t want to get caught in the three or four traffic lights that run from the Interstate to Grand Avenue, past the courthouse and the old Turner Hotel and the post office. Grand ain’t that grand either, unless your idea of hot spots is a couple of shuttered gas stations, a not-quite bustling Taco Ole and a Chinese all-you-can-eat buffet enroute to Wal-Mart.

Commerce deteriorates quickly once you turn off of California and away from the courthouse square; a sandwich shop, a cutesy “boutique” with some not-very-serviceable antiques, and then a series of abandoned store fronts which may or may not be trying to attract new businesses. By the time you’ve gotten down the two short blocks to Stoolie’s you’ve transitioned to a reasonable facsimile of a movie set for a depression era pot-boiler. Two story brick buildings in that aged red that probably wasn’t the original color but rather the result of decades of being downwind from the coal smoke of the railroad yard in the first half of the twentieth century line both sides. There’s a Mexican restaurant just past Stoolie’s and an abandoned blues/jazz club across the street. The second story windows are either broken out or boarded up in many of the buildings. It doesn’t take much to tell you that you aren’t headed to a fern bar in southern California.

Broadway and Commerce is a bit less than that fabled corner of “walk and don’t walk”—it doesn’t even have a traffic light. But, there it is. A sign hangs over the sidewalk in yellow and black announcing: “Stoolie’s: Hangout and Burger Joint.” That’s pretty much the idea. The bottom half of the sign offers space for three lines of marquee text, but there’s nothing spelled out there. No neon, not even a floodlight over the sign. Illumination is strictly whatever gets captured from the corner streetlamps. It’s hard to tell what the building original housed or even if it was purpose-built for a specific enterprise. My guess is that around 1940 it was a car showroom. Using the size standards established by the rest of the defunct enterprises of the neighborhood, the bar covers about two store-widths down Broadway and maybe four stores-worth up Commerce. Most of the frontage is dark-tinted plate-glass windows. There are three doors and if it’s not summer hot or winter cold, most likely they’ll be propped open giving the prospective client a glimpse at the interior. Conspicuously missing from the fa├žade are the ubiquitous beer signs that fill every window of every bar everywhere else in this cookie-cutter country.

The surrounding buildings are mostly two or three floors. It’s hard to distinguish because of the varying heights of ceilings, windows and lofts. Stoolie’s however is a single level. First glance says new construction, but then you can see that the stucco has broken away over one window and the basic structure is very old bricks and mortar. It’s old. Maybe ninety, or even a hundred years old. Maybe more. It might even be an add-on to an older structure. It’s hard to tell.

Inside it takes a minute for the eye to adjust to the dimness. There are tables arrayed along the front windows and two pool tables on the left. A pass-through window behind the pool tables shows access to the kitchen where a short, thirty-something Mexican in a tee-shirt is busy with lunch prep. Above the window are four flat-screen televisions tuned to various sports and news channels. In the distance is the bar, which bends around to the left and continues down what is at first a hidden wing of the place. More tables along the back wall, and then far down the ell beyond the end of the bar are four more pool tables. Three more televisions are mounted above the bar. None have the audio on. There’s a well-dusted shuffleboard table along the Commerce street windows that apparently sees some regular usage. Ceiling fans dangle from the stamped tin, turn-of-the-last-century ceiling about every twenty feet. A couple of men sit at the corner stools where the bar bends toward the back section.

A cute girl is behind the bar, well beyond her twenties, but still looking pretty good in impossibly tight low-rise jeans. I take a stool a respectable two seats down from the current patrons. You’ve got to follow certain protocols when you’re a new guy in the bar and there is always the possibility of getting cross-wise with the locals and getting your ass kicked. These locals look to be a bit beyond sensitivity and ass-kicking age, but it never hurts to be polite. I scan the back-bar for a display of what beers are available. There’s the usual assortment of generic swill: Bud, Bud Light, Coors, Coors Light, Lite from Miller and MGD. Also they’ve got Heineken, Corona and Dos Equis. No Sam Adams, but I’ll still stay for a couple. I ask for a Shiner Bock, it ain’t Sam, but it isn’t all that bad.

The guy in the cowboy hat at the end of the bar checks me out for potential threats, then goes on with his conversation. He looks a bit like Marlboro Man meets Medicare; about seventy and what they used to call “wiry” or “rangy” in build. The hat has some years on it along with some dust and sweat. He’s got a working western shirt and Wrangler jeans. No effete snaps or mother-of-pearl on the shirt; simple buttons. Boots, without pointy toes or dogger heels. By my city-boy estimates he’s the real thing. When he stands he’s about six foot two or at least he would be if he didn’t have a slight stoop that reflects a lot of years of hard work. No butt in those jeans. It probably got ground off after decades in a saddle.

I drink my beer, watch the news and try to listen to the conversation. They are talking at friendly bar volume, which means they don’t mind sharing among the others at the bar who want to join the conversation. The problem is that I can’t understand half of what they say. Apparently there is something in the cowboy code that requires all speech to be accomplished without opening the mouth more than the distance it takes to put a cigarette in. Even with concentration and watching, I still miss most of it.

Marlboro Man looks my way and asks, “Y’allnewroundhere?” With a second or two of processing I realize he’s invited me to introduce myself. I volunteer that I’ve moved here from Colorado and living in a small town nearby. He’s Dolan. I’m still Ed. The bar-tenderess volunteers that she’s Becky.

With introductions out of the way, I feel better about saying something to someone, or for that matter anything to anyone. Since I don’t understand half of what Dolan says, I watch Becky for clues. If Dolan is smiling at the end of the statement, I nod and agree. If there’s a scowl, I shake my head and comment sagely, “ain’t that the truth.” It seems to work.

I decide that as long as I’m tolerated, it might be a good idea to check what the kitchen has to offer. Becky provides a menu and it meets my criteria for bar food, lots of fried and breaded stuff, heavy on cheese, bacon and beef. Any place that offers a chicken-fried steak has got a head-start in my book. Nachos grande, enchiladas, tacos and similar reflect the influence of the guy I saw cooking when I came in. A cheeseburger, however, is where a good bar is either going to succeed or fail when it comes to qualifying for my regular lunch stop. If it’s good enough for John Belushi and Lyle Lovett to make fun of it’s good enough for me. “Cheeseburger and fries, everything on it, American cheese…” Dolan nods approval and lights another cigarette.

“Awww, shit! Here comes Galen,” Dolan warns as though it could make a difference to me. Across Broadway to the south, an even older man in a cowboy hat is looking both ways before crossing the street and heading our way. He’s got a cane in one hand and a couple of plastic Wal-Mart bags in the other. His jacket looks dusty more than dirty and his shirt is red, white and blue in the huge geometrics of the Texas state flag. He’s wearing a red neckerchief and might be accused of bearing a slight resemblance to Roy Rogers, “king of the cowboys,” if Roy had lived to be ninety and Dale had routinely whipped up on him. This might be interesting.

Stimulating Green Success Story


Swoopy, luxurious, exotic and most importantly, electric. That's the Fisker. Outrageously expensive, but that is the price you'll have to pay to have mediocre performance and be at the cutting edge of the green revolution. Frankly, I'd spend the hundred large on a new Porsche, but that's just me.

The fact is that the Fisker Karma (seriously, that's the name!) is going nowhere. The project is behind schedule, over budget and may be a 21st century DeLorean before it all is over.

That's not important though. The important thing is to create "green" jobs and the only way to do that is to stimulate green companies that take us away from dependence on oil and use your tax dollars to make it all happen.

$390,000,000.00 Nets Loss of 125 Jobs and Big Bonuses

I'll bet that the executives who pull in those $300K per year and over paychecks to manage a quarter billion dollar corporate loss will be big Bamster contributors for re-election. You've got to throw some chum in the waters to get a net full of fish.

Without Further Comment

San Francisco Happening

Civil Rights Violated

This is a truly sad story. The poor gentleman was first abused and then denied the tools to continue to support himself through exercise of his profession. Clearly there is more than adequate justification for a civil suit that his rights were violated.

Tools of Trade Snatched From Working Man

There is a level of malice there that is hard to understand other than in terms of incredible ignorance.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Apologies Due?

While the American administration grovels for burning of a few Korans and the Afghans use destruction of  their already defaced books as justification for killing people, we find the stately "Gray Lady" of journalism, the New York Times simply sweeping under the rug a monumental example of bias, prejudice, religious intolerance and blatant ignorance.

No Problem Out-of-Wedlock Birth, Mr. Muddle Mouth

So, apparently, the elite intellectuals who editorialize for the premier newspaper in the nation find no problem with the incredible decline of the two-parent family in America, the application of derogatory nick-names to people with whom you disagree, and the ridiculing of an irrelevant religious practice.

How would that have played if it were a comment about African-Americans, Jews, Muslims, Latinos, or gays?

Time to take a hard look at the quality of staff that is writing for the New York Times. Ahhh, never mind. We've known for quite a while where they are coming from.

Credit Where Credit is Due

Since he successfully tracked down and killed Osama Bin Laden, we've had to recognize that the Bamster is a remarkable individual with a wide range of capabilities. Only by listening to him tell us of his achievements can we begin to appreciate what he does.

Unfortunately there are a few people on the edges of the crowd who come forward with facts and notice that the emperor is less than fully clothed.

Crunching the Numbers on Oil Production

Who are you going to believe; the Messiah running for re-election or the American Petroleum Institute?

If particularly reassuring note in that item is this from Secretary of the Treasure TurboTax Tim Geithner:
Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and others are now talking about releasing oil from the strategic petroleum reserve.
Gerard (President of API)  says it at least shows the administration recognizes that supply affects prices.
Great, the President recognizes a link between supply and demand.

Saturday Morning Rocker

I never get tired of Fleetwood Mac:



Friday, February 24, 2012

Quota Correctness

This is almost too absurd to be believable:

California Judges To Provide Gender Identity and Sexual Orientation

How is this going to work? Is there going to be a quota for judge-ships for cross-dressers, trans-sexuals, various "orientations" etc? Is it possible that a qualified jurist might rise to state court prominence and not be recognizable as male or female without confession? Is the bench going to be forcibly "outed"?

This has got Supreme Court question written all over it. If affirmative action can be ruled on, then this is AA to a ridiculous extent.

Five Lies In the Energy Speech

Yesterday I caught Fox News just as they covered the Messiah's campaign  policy speech on energy. He tends to surround himself with mouth-breathing sycophants for these pronouncements because they are non-judgmental and generally dependable for applause. As the speech proceeded I kept encountering non sequiturs. He would pronounce a fact and then within a minute or two state exactly the opposite. Yet the audience of college students didn't seem to notice. Critical thinking? Not so much when the Messiah sermonizes.

Here's what Investor's Business Daily caught:

Five Energy Lies

Is it possible that when the gas prices on February 23 for the last four years are compared and we now pay three times as much per gallon that the voters will ignore that fact and go with the Bamster's speeches? When statistics are showing high production and decreasing demand, how does Adam Smith get inverted so that prices rise?

Forrest Gump Analysis of Speech

I'm wondering if I should go with oak or hickory for the masts on my car. Is linen still in style for sails or do they use acrylics?

Why? Because They Can

Yes there is a muzzle brake and yes there is a lot of weight, but still this is substantial and wouldn't be fun for a day at the range. And I don't think that business about "you won't notice when you're in the field" would apply:

Over the Transom: "Who's Out of Work"


==================================
COSTELLO: I want to talk about the unemployment rate in America .

ABBOTT: Good "subject" in these terrible "times." It's about 9%.

COSTELLO: That many people are out of work?

ABBOTT: No, that's 16%.

COSTELLO: You just said 9%.

ABBOTT: 9% Unemployed.

COSTELLO: Right 9% out of work.

ABBOTT: No, that's 16%.

COSTELLO: Okay, so it's 16% unemployed.

ABBOTT: No, that's 9%...

COSTELLO: WAIT A MINUTE. Is it 9% or 16%?

ABBOTT: 9% are unemployed. 16% are out of work.

COSTELLO: If you are out of work you are unemployed.

ABBOTT: No, you can't count the "Out of Work" as the unemployed. You have
to look for work to be unemployed.

COSTELLO: But ... they are out of work!

ABBOTT: No, you miss my point.

COSTELLO: What point?

ABBOTT: Someone who doesn't look for work, can't be counted with those who look for work. It wouldn't be fair.

COSTELLO: To who?

ABBOTT: The unemployed.

COSTELLO: But they are ALL out of work.

ABBOTT: No, the unemployed are actively looking for work... Those who are out of work stopped looking.
They gave up. And, if you give up, you are no longer in the ranks of the unemployed.

COSTELLO: So if you're off the unemployment roles, that would count as less unemployment?

ABBOTT: Unemployment would go down. Absolutely!

COSTELLO: The unemployment just goes down because you don't look for work?

ABBOTT: Absolutely it goes down. That's how you get to 9%. Otherwise it
would be 16%. You don't want to read about 16% unemployment do ya?

COSTELLO: That would be frightening.

ABBOTT: Absolutely.

COSTELLO: Wait, I got a question for you. That means they're two ways to bring down the unemployment number?

ABBOTT: Two ways is correct.

COSTELLO: Unemployment can go down if someone gets a job?

ABBOTT: Correct.

COSTELLO: And unemployment can also go down if you stop looking for a job?

ABBOTT: Bingo.

COSTELLO: So there are two ways to bring unemployment down, and the easier of
the two is to just stop looking for work.

ABBOTT: Now you're thinking like an economist.

COSTELLO: I don't even know what the hell I just said!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Some Ammunition

The next time you hear the Bamster expounding about the need for all Americans to pay their fair share toward running this country, grab this:

And feel free to use quotes from this:

Americans Dependent Upon Government Growing Rapidly

There is no possible way that things get better with this process continuing. None!

Senior Presidential Advisor

Here is the level of economic understanding that it takes to become a very senior member of the President's staff.

See how that works? It is the very core of a productive society. Unemployment is the direct line to prosperity. If we can appreciate that unemployment at 8.3% isn't as effective as it was at 9.5% in stimulation of the economy we will be able to contemplate the reelection of the Messiah.

Imagine how the economy would churn along if we could get to phenomenal rates of unemployment and unproduction?

From the Ministry of Newspeak

It is increasingly apparent that the administration doesn't believe we have the ability to remember yesterday. We are assumed to be blissfully unaware of events and totally unable to comprehend life unless they explain to us that what we thought we saw is not what really happened.

How else can we account for this:

Carney Denies Obama Opposes Keystone XL

I'm seeing Goebbels and Baghdad Bob in this sort of thing.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Today's Video Lesson

Yes, the core concept of this video is "conservatives suck." And here is an explanation of why:

Sunday, February 19, 2012

A Matter Of Perspective

At some point a military careerist realizes that the important task is to provide your political sponsor the justification for the predetermined course of action. While a warrior might be focused on the defense of the nation, the Perfumed Prince of the Pentagon understands that the future is paved with rationale for where the boss already has decided to go.

If you know that the President is totally averse to engagement, you create a scenario of impossibility to justify that course of (in)action. Prove that it is simply too tough to do.

But, if you understand that the need is to preserve the existence of your nation, then you weigh the alternatives, evaluate the risks, plan the mission and tell the leadership what the real options are. The game may well be worth the candle.

A Range of Options In Two Nations

That is probably the clearest comparison you will see. In one example it is proven impossible. In the other, it was simply done.

A Day in the Life


A Typical Day in the Life of a Retired Fighter Pilot
by: lastoftherhino

Saturday, February 18, 2012

A Pearl of Great Price

Jonathan Turley of the Washington Post takes a stand on the First Amendment and while he creates a great rational argument, I don't buy it. If Turley had some time wearing the uniform, he wouldn't be sucked into his high flown rhetoric either:

Stolen Valor No Loss, No Harm, No Foul

I don't come close to holding the MOH. I know a couple of guys who do though. I know that I walk softly and in awe when in their presence. I have incredible respect for them and for all who have received the highest decoration which the nation awards.

Those who have served heroically didn't do it for benefit. They did what they were trained to do and what they felt obliged to do under extreme circumstances. A nation recognized that special performance and chose to acknowledge it with insignificant bits of ribbon and base metal. They are special items and viewed by most Americans with respect. We nod politely to those who have been presented the Purple Heart. We respect those with the Bronze Star or Distinguished Flying Cross. We know that someone with a Service Cross or Silver Star has been in harm's way and acted nobly. 

That is why those who claim those honors without having earned them are vile. They seek to benefit, to gain recognition and to advance themselves by claiming something which they have no right to.

In the process, they demean what I have earned. They create suspicion among Americans that those who claim to possess special recognition are all liars. They take something precious from our warriors and when they are caught it is essential that they pay a price for sullying something which we have a right to be proud of.

Feel the Luv

Isn't this special! A day of truce in honor of Whitney.

No Gang-Banging or Crazy Stuff, OK?

Is that like some sort of social commentary on the state of civilization in Newark?

Off Shore Analysis

Once again I find turning to the Guardian for objective analysis of a political situation pays off. You sure can't find rational discussion like this in the American mainstream media:

Pentagon, Politics, Policy Choices Push Prez

We need to be reminded that actions have consequences. How the seizure of the US Embassy was dealt with in 1979 had consequences, and Ahmadinejad was on the scene. How we've dealt with Iran over the years of terrorism is a record we cannot escape. How the current administration has approached America's role in the security of the civilized world generates consequences. How this president has interacted with the Prime Minister of Israel has consequences. What Israel has to lose and what they have to gain play large in this scenario.

Saturday Morning Rocker

Sometimes you feel just a bit strange, but that's still good:

Friday, February 17, 2012

The Legend

On the Content of their Character...

Harry Reid exemplifies all that is wrong with politics in America. He is a weasely little man who panders to the worst aspects of our society. He obstructs action, he misdirects blame, and he dispenses largesse to his supporters without the slightest qualms.

Yesterday he ran off about Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) as somehow failing to live up to his ethnic obligations. He characterized the Cuban-American senator as someone "supposedly representing Hispanic interests." What was the issue?

Rubio opposed President Obama's appointment of one of Reid's constituents who happens to be Puerto Rican as ambassador to El Salvador. You see, in Reid's race-based perspective the simple Latino affinity supersedes all other qualifications and mandates knee-jerk support regardless of the background of the appointee.

It might come as a shock to Sen. Reid today when it is revealed that Hispanics are not universally dependent upon the liberal agenda.

Conservative Hispanics Support Rubio's Position on Ambassador

Dealing with issues rather than ethnicity would be a giant step forward in our political dialogue. Merely because someone is Latino or Asian or Black does not establish a political ideology. It is irrelevant to qualification, education, capability or agenda.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

On a Scale of One to Four...

The outrage was indignant and vociferous. Someone had suggested that in the quest to contain healthcare costs under the omnibus government program to be known as Obamacare, there would be rationing of services and judgments would be made regarding whether anticipated future longevity would merit expenditures. The media dubbed the bureacrats, "Death Panels."

That would never happen, we were assured. That was outrageous when everyone knows it is the Republicans who are pushing grandma's wheelchair off the cliff!

But this week we saw a hint of the future. We watched as government somehow mandated a compromise on a religion's moral position cloaked in a right to prepaid contraceptives. We were told that the Messiah himself would absolve the Catholic Church of any responsibility for enabling behavior which they are unalterably opposed to. He would further mandate that a private company would dispense goods and services for free without payment and in opposition to the desires of the customers of that private company.

No women were going to be denied access to contraceptives if the Church prevailed. They simply would have to find another means of funding the product. They could violate the Church teaching but they didn't have to make their religion complicit in their behavior. Today we heard Sen. Nancy Pelosi assert that "98% of Catholic women already use birth control." That clearly is the sort of statistic we can call an "anal extraction." She pulled it out of her butt. It is obvious that 98% of Catholic women wouldn't be in need of contraceptives. Some are too old, some are too young, some are infertile and some are celibate. You don't have 98% of Catholic women sexually active and desiring contraception. It is a ludicrous statement.

The Wall Street Journal takes the contraception issue and extends it to help us understand the future under governmental healthcare. It illustrates very clearly the choices which will be made based on efficiency, practicality and bureaucratic whim.

Mandated Tests Take Funds From Necessary Procedures

There are inevitably going to be inequities in life. Some people will have skills and talents that others will not. Some will have advantages and privileges denied to others. Some will be successful and some will fail. Some will merit and some  will not deserve rewards.

When government steps in and guarantees all things to all people all of the time, it is like a Pelosi statistic. It is patently false. It can't be done. It won't be done. Many will lose and those that receive won't get what they think they are going to get.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Sir! Yes Sir!

Gunny has a message for  you:

Are You Better Off Than You Were..

..four years ago when it comes to navigating the Internet to a government website to find out where your tax dollars are going?

What?

The economy remains in shambles, the flow of scandalous pay-offs and favored project collapses continues, the military is being dismantled and the Middle East is erupting into a cross between anarchy and global collapse. Meanwhile he touts his greatest achievement:

I've Made It Easier to Get Government Services On the Internet

What a load off of my mind!

Seriously though, he's got to get a new script writer.

....Und You Vill Like It!!!!

Remember the concept of limited  government? It was pretty basic to the Constitution and a core of the ideology which the Founding Fathers brought to the table, whether they were Federalists or Anti-Federalists. They valued freedom and self-reliance. They rewarded initiative and hard work. They believed that you could make your own determinations of what is important.

Remember the concept of family? You know, that idea where in order to perpetuate the species a man and a woman would bond for life, procreate, then nurture and educate their children? Mother and father sheltered, clothed, cared for and fed their children. Some families ate better than others, but the essential was that in America we had the resources and opportunity to nourish our families.

I grew up in a big city, living in a small apartment and attending a parochial school five blocks away from home. There were city public schools in the neighborhood as well. Each morning between eight and nine o'clock, children emerged from stairways and back doors to walk to school. In spring and fall, we enjoyed the comfortable mornings and afternoons. When it rained we wore yellow rain slickers and carried umbrellas. When winter weather struck we walked through new-fallen snow wearing scarves, snowsuits, mittens and four-buckle galoshes. There were no buses. Our parents didn't drive us. We walked.

In hand we carried our lunch. A new school year often meant a lunch box of lithographed tin which might immortalize Flash Gordon or Cinderella or Mickey Mouse. A pint thermos inside could hold cold milk or warm tea or fruit juice and seldom survived very far into the school year because at some point the box would be dropped and the glass liner would rupture. The rest of the year lunch might be in a brown paper sack. There was no cafeteria or row of vending machines. We had some folding tables in the school basement auditorium. We ate lunch and then went out to the playground to burn up some excess energy.

There were sandwiches and cookies and a piece of fruit. It might be PB & J, bologna and cheese or something more exotic such as when my creative father made me a chicken wing sandwich which surprised me with the bones still in it. The essential was that the family fed the children. We were fed breakfast, lunch and dinner. That was an obligation.

Today we know about school lunches. Our unlimited federal government provides. They also provide breakfasts in many regions, because you need a good meal to start your educational day and parents don't provide any more. And in some areas they even offer an after-school "snack" aka dinner, so that the breeders have no obligation to the children at all.

Some parents may still take their obligations seriously. But our government apparently will stifle that concept.

Mandated Meals Force Nuggets on Pre-K Kiddoes

Yes, we'll take any control away from parents. We will intimidate the children and condition them to respond to our authority. We will hire mindless bureaucrats to inspect lunch sacks of four-year-olds and score the contents then stuff the appropriate ration of pre-determined food down their throats regardless of what the parents want.

Soylent Green, anybody?

Monday, February 13, 2012

In Case You've Wondered

I'll confess, I've wondered what is in it. I see the commercials and it seems way too much like either a quasi-legal shot of speed or a concentrated cup of coffee. I enjoy my coffee in the morning with the newspaper, so I don't get the attraction there, and I'm one of those people who simply needs activity to keep from slumping. Let me sit with nothing going on and I'll be napping in a minute or two. Keep some conversation bouncing or an activity ongoing and I've got no problems.

Still, I see the commercials and I wonder.

Mix Some Chemicals and Sell For More Than They Cost

So, there you have it! Or do you? Do you know much more now than before you read about it? You know who invented it. You know it has about has much caffeine as a big Starbucks. You know it lays some mega-vitamins on you.

But, is it good for you, dangerous, worth it or simply a fad?

Bread, Circuses & Fuzzy Math For All!

It is annual budget roll-out day! I know you've been looking forward to it. We've gone without a budget enacted into law for three years now but we still have the kabuki performance and it was simply spectacular this year.


Everyone walks around these days with an 8GB flash drive or two in their pocket. All the data you might need in a lifetime, indexed and searchable and smaller than the size of your house key! Yet they still print the budget proposal in huge blue bound volumes that look like the Manhattan phonebook, if anyone gets those any more. They load them on pallets and fork-lift them into the halls of Congress where people heft them but will NEVER crack a page or look anything up because they aren't really the budget at all but simply a proposal for a photo op.

Budget Hits the Floor, Congress Critters Swoon

A few minutes ago the satellite let me hear the inspiring words of the Messiah himself as he surrounded his teleprompters with sycophantic community college students and in that familiar Baptist sermon cadence he fanned the flames of class warfare and promised all things to all needy people and a level of discriminatory "fairness" that has never before been contemplated. If you don't have it, you shall be given it! If you think they have too much, it shall be taken from them. If you want a job, you will be hired by a company which will make products which nobody wants but which the government knows you should have because they are good for you.
Obama would also go outside the box by creating new mandatory spending initiatives costing tens of billions of dollars and for the first time, openly tap war savings to fund his domestic agenda.
You see, we are deeply in debt and spending much more than we take in, so we will initiate huge spending increases and after crediting dollars not spent winning wars (which we will have conceded to the enemy)  in Afghanistan and Iraq toward savings we will then spend them on the domestic agenda, aka welfare handouts.
Obama is also proposing an ambitious $476 billion six-year transportation package –a nearly 50 percent increase over current spending—as the centerpiece of his new infrastructure budget. And $231 billion of this cost would be covered by war savings, rather than demand an increase in the gasoline tax.
Try not to notice that he is spending the same money a third time after counting it as savings.
But his long-term deficit reduction plan rests very much on achieving $1.43 trillion in 10-year revenue increases at the households with income over $250,000.
If you achieve a modicum of success, you will be considered a millionaire with only one-quarter of that amount required. See how easy it has become? And in ten years you're going to pitch in a trillion and a half just to insure you don't really become an actual millionaire.

Probably the neatest thing I heard the Bamster say was that Congress (they are to blame for it all, you know!) must not allow college loan interest rates to double or they will be denying Biff and Buffy the opportunity to go to two years of college or retraining for a job or four years for a degree or even more education beyond that!

Recall that as part of Affordable Healthcare, all college loans were federalized. You can't get a college tuition loan from First National Bank of Hometown any more. It's a federal loan and lest we inadvertently teach the lesson that loans have costs, we must artificially hold down the interest rates and deny the fundamentals of economics that might cause an increase.

And the crowd roared! He was in his element! They love him!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

What Constitutes Sin?

We discussed it yesterday. There is a question of how it is possible to not do something which will inevitably get done. How can you expressly not purchase a product which then is guaranteed to be supplied to the recipient? If your action is going to unquestionably result in a moral transgression based on your deeply held theology, have you not sinned?

The Bishops Read the Fine Print

Very clearly the angel's pirouetting upon the Bamster's pinhead do not satisfy the clarity quotient of the clergy. If the insurance provides what you said you wouldn't provide and gives what you otherwise would pay for so that the end result is still the same, you haven't bypassed the gaping doorway to hell.

It Takes a Real Aviator

When the Viper showed up on the flightline, I said it was too bloody easy to fly. You could pull more G than a body could stand and keep it up forever without losing energy. You didn't need skill, technique, planning or multi-dimensional maneuver. All you needed was to grunt and point the thing.

Now the Raptor is a generation ahead of that! Guys in Raptors simply eat Vipers for lunch without thinking about it. So, what would happen if you put a Raptor guy in a Phantom and sent him off to experience what actual aviating required?

Written by a young F-22 pilot from the Virginia ANG.  He had the honor of flying a Phantom down at Eglin.

I flew your jet a couple days ago (see attached).
  I had a little trouble getting the engines started, so I climbed out and shoveled some more coal in the back; after that she fired right up.  Ground ops were uneventful, although I couldn’t figure out why the cockpit smelled like body odor, Jack Daniels and cigars…and that was BEFORE I got in it!  By the way, what’s with the no slip crap on top of the intakes, it’s like you have permanent icing conditions due to that spray-on rhino truck bed liner on top of the aircraft. It’s no wonder you needed so much coal (I mean thrust) to get airborne.

Take off scared the sh*t out of me…I lit the burners at brick one and 2 miles and 45 minutes later we were ready to rotate. 
 After barely clearing the tree tops, the gear came up and I climbed away at a VERY impressive 2 degrees nose high.  In case you don’t remember, “Trim” is your friend in the F-4 (pretty sure it’s also a good friend on the ground too).  Once I got her up to speed and a moderate altitude, we were ready for the G-Ex.  Two G-turn’s later and I’m sinking like a rock…the F-4’s energy seems to bleed like Holyfield’s ear in the Tyson fight!  After the G-Ex it was time to do a little Advanced Handling Characteristics (AHC)…and by “advanced handling” I mean the same crap the Wright Brothers were doing back in 1903…just trying to keep it airborne.

The jet flies much like my old man’s station wagon used to drive…You turn the wheel (push the stick) a few inches and nothing happens, then all of a sudden the steering kicks in, inertia takes over, and all HELL breaks loose! 
 You’re pretty much along for the ride at that point and only gravity has a real say in your lift vector placement.  “Checking 6” was really quite easy…. because you CAN’T!  Scratch that off the list of “Sh*t I need to do to keep myself alive in combat today”.  Breathing, however, was surprisingly easy in the F-4 when compared to that of the F-22 (thank you Lockheed)…LOX works, who knew!

I think I may have burned my legs a bit from the steam pouring out from behind the gauges. Where are my 6 mini-flat screen TV’s, I’m lost without my HD jet displays (editors note: actually, I’m an analog guy stuck in a digital world too…I really do like the “steam driven” gauges). 
 After the AHC, I decided to take her up high and do a supersonic MACH run, and by “high” I mean “where never lark nor even eagle flew”; but not much higher, a foot or two maybe.  I mean, we weren’t up there high-fiving Jesus like we do in the Raptor, but it was respectable.  It only took me the width of the Gulf of Mexico to get the thing turned around while above the Mach.  After the Mach run we dropped to the deck and did 600 kts at 500’; a ratllin’ and shakin’ we will go…. I though all the rivets were going to pop out.  Reference previous station wagon analogy!  Very quickly we were out of gas and headed home.

As I brought the jet up initial, I couldn’t help but think that the boys who took this thing into combat had to have some pretty big brass you know whats!

My first F-4 landing was a little rough; sub-standard really by Air Force measure… but apparently “best seen to date” according to the Navy guys. 
 Did you know that there’s no such thing as an aerobrake in the F-4?  As soon as the main gear touches down, the nose comes slamming down to the runway with all the force of a meteor hitting the earth….I guess the F-4 aerobrake technique is to dissipate energy via denting the runway.

Despite an apparently “decent” landing, stopping was a whole different problem. 
 I reached down and pulled the handle to deploy the drogue chute…at which point a large solid mass of canvas, 550 cord, metal weights and cables fell out and began bouncing down the runway; chasing me like a lost puppy and FOD’ing out the whole runway. Perfect.  I mashed down on the breaks and I’m pretty sure at this point the jet just started laughing at me.  Why didn’t you warn me that I needed a shuttle landing strip to get this damn thing stopped?

All kidding aside, VERY COOL jet! Must have been a kick to fly back when you were in Vietnam! Just kidding!

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Through the Looking Glass

I'm losing track here. I thought I got it when the Bamster's minions told the Catholic charities that their religious proscriptions of contraception didn't trump the government's prescriptions for birth control pills/devices/procedures. It mattered not what your morality dictated, the Messiah took precedence for the greater welfare. At least until the bishops of the nation developed a backbone and mustered the forces of Mother Church to send a message.

So, in a fashion which we have become familiar with over these last three years, we see the "ooops" gear once again when the administration decides that someone noticed the extent of their reach exceeded the authority of their constitutional grasp. They backed slowly away from the issue, but that's where I get confused.

As the grand Articulator and Dissembler explained it, the church will not have to provide these birth control services to their employees. It will be the insurance companies that will provide it. But, aren't the churches contracting with the insurance companies to provide the insurance? And, if the church contracts specify that birth control will NOT be part of the paid-for policy, by what authority does the insurance company provide it? And since when did they develop such benevolence as to provide free coverage for any aspect of the healthcare which they fund?

A customer opts out of a product.

A provider supplies the product in contravention of the contract.

The provider does so without compensation.

All because the government mandates it under which delegated and enumerated authority of the Constitution?

Is there now actually such a thing as a free lunch?

Which leads me to the point where I wonder if Christian Science organizations will have to provide hospitalization coverage for their employees despite their avoidance of medical consultation?

More Stand-up Then Punditry

Do Uber-Conservatives have a sense of humor? Well when the joke is on some folks they can't appreciate it, but some of the one-liners in this are pretty good:

Saturday Morning Blues

Friday, February 10, 2012

A Matter of Terminology

I like plain language. It makes sense. It is efficient, concise and doesn't offer a lot of room for misinterpretation. Want a good example?

"Congress shall make no law..."

That simply insures that when you start reading the First Amendment you will get the idea about what is meant to be protected and at what level. The essential elements of the First Amendment are speech, religion, press, assembly and redress of grievances.

Just as the Second Amendment doesn't say a thing about hunting, target shooting or self-defense because that isn't what it is about; so also the First doesn't talk about pornography, artistic expression, rap lyrics or violent video games. It isn't about those things. It is about POLITICAL EXPRESSION. The First lets us express our political thoughts openly and without fear of recrimination.

DHS and Big Sis Watching Your Blogs, Tweets and Social Networking

In that plain language which I love, that sort of chilling awareness that someone is interpreting your dissatisfaction with the abysmal performance of the current administration seems to be chopping at that First Amendment.

But then I found the last paragraph and it becomes apparent that I just didn't understand the new terminology.
The DHS has openly announced that it is actively monitoring social media for signs of “social unrest”, in a bid to pre-empt any sign of social dislocation within the United States
Does that mean if I think the Bamster is a bumbling idiot on foreign policy, totally incompetent on economic management, and tone-deaf on issues of religion or political reaction that I'm trending toward "social dislocation"?

Is social dislocation a medical, psychological, criminal or political offense?

Time to Get Real?

When cross-country travel meant you were on US highways that went through the various towns and cities of this great nation you could absorb the nuances of culture that differentiated this country. The legendary Route 66 from Chicago to LA was such a journey. You saw some amazing and beautiful things along the way. You also could get a glimpse at the sordid underbelly.

Now you don't need to drive down any Main Street you don't want to see. You can just cruise along the antiseptic concrete of indistinguishable interstates with only the occasional off-ramp to a fast food joint that offers exactly the same thing no matter where you are. That's sad.

When I first drove to New Mexico, you passed through Gallup and Grants. They were cities on the edge of the huge Navajo reservation and you could visit shops selling Native American crafts. Artisan rugs, silver and turquoise jewelry, sand paintings and pottery were on display. But if you looked carefully you saw the reservation residents stumbling down side streets, asleep on benches, begging in front of liquor stores. Alcoholism is an issue and has been for as long as we've recognized the dependency.

Years later when I lived in Alamogordo and my wife worked in Ruidoso we would pass through the Mescalero Apache reservation daily. The economic situation was considerably different than the harsh Painted Desert and barren landscape of the Navajo. The Apache had a wonderland of mountains, forest, streams, and ranchland. They built a magnificent resort hotel and expanded it into a glittering casino. They offered trophy deer and elk hunts. They raised cattle and still they were mired in poverty and alcoholism. The reservation town was dreary and looked trapped in a World War II government-issue time warp.

Take a look at this from the Sioux:

Beer Companies to Blame

Is it possible to be sympathetic to that argument? Let's take a quick and admittedly superficial look at the situation.

We provided reservations for the tribes in the 19th century and early 20th to preserve their culture and tribal identity. We recognize them as "sovereign nations" within the US. They police within their own territory, they are immune to laws of the states within which they exist (hence the plethora of casino developments), and they are heavily subsidized by US tax dollars.

They get schools, homes, healthcare, immunity, and a stipend. In many areas the tribes are operating very successful business operations.

They are not fenced in to the reservation nor out of the United States. They are not illegal aliens. They can leave the security of the reservation whenever they choose. They can compete in American society as totally accepted citizens. They can escape the poverty, the dependence and the alcoholism which pervades their communities. They are not prisoners.

It is possible to retain a people's culture without creating total dependency. We have Italian, Irish, German, Polish, Hispanic, Korean, Jewish, Middle-Eastern and Black communities that very effectively preserve all that is good about those demographic segments of our society. Why can't Native Americans assimilate? Why should they be dependent? Why should they blame the beer company for choices which they make?

Yes, it is harsh to say it, but isn't it time for some tough love and some serious weaning off of the public teat?

Thursday, February 09, 2012

Just Another Day in Paradise

Do we need more evidence that the world has gone totally insane? Can there be any doubt remaining that the youth of the nation and the culture which we have fostered are dissociated from reality? Here are some headlines:

Hold Off On Iran Strike Until Madonna Concert is Over

Yep, gather enough "likes" on Facebook and I'm certain the Israeli need to survive a nuclear Iran will become secondary in any policy decisions.

Express Yourself In Dress. It's Your First Amendment Right

That would raise questions like which bathroom gets used, what happens in the gym classes, and how did they do in football last season.

Dare Not Diss Da Prophet in a Tweet

Who knew that Twitter could get you killed? Pass the word now to all your followers. You can use the "Tweet this" button on the right.

Is Your Cellphone Bill Too High? That's Nothing Compared to Washington's

A couple of billion spent making sure that the working poor can always hook up with their connection. Maybe there's a Rolling Stones song in that.

When Crossbows Are Outlawed Only Nephews Will Have Crossbows

So, you hate your uncle, but kill your granny and after you stab her 93 times, why do you need the crossbow?

Wednesday, February 08, 2012

Still Catholic at Heart

Warrior Class posted it but I've got to pass it on. Anyone with a Catholic background will be familiar with it and the rhythms will come back naturally:
Litany for the conversion of internet thugs (2.0).
(For private use only, when truly irritated, and when the alternative is foul language.)
Lord, have mercy.
Christ, have mercy.
Lord, have mercy.
Christ, graciously hear us.
God, the Father of Heaven, have mercy on us.
God, the Son, Redeemer of the World, have mercy on us.
God, the Holy Ghost, have mercy on us.
Holy Trinity, one God, have mercy on us.
Lest internet thugs be eternally tormented by all the fiends of hell, convert them, O Lord.
Lest they pass eternity in utter despair, convert them, O Lord.
Lest they come to be damned for the harm they cause, convert them, O Lord.
Lest they roast forever in the deepest cinders of hell, convert them, O Lord.
Lest they suffer the unceasing pain of loss, convert them, O Lord.
Lest devils endlessly increase their physical agony, convert them, O Lord.
Lest devils twist their bowels and boil their blood in hell, convert them, O Lord.
Lest devils use them as toys and tools, convert them, O Lord.
Lest devils forever gnaw upon their skulls, convert them, O Lord.
Lest the innocent be harmed by the sins of thugs, convert them, O Lord.
Lest the innocent yield to thugs in weakness, convert them, O Lord.
Lest the innocent be drawn into thuggish traps, convert them, O Lord.
From faceless Facebook admin drones, spare us O Lord.
From tweeting Twitter idiots, spare us O Lord.
From loony Wikipedia liars, spare us O Lord.
From from heart-hardened spammers, spare us O Lord.
From liberal nut-case smear-blogging hacks, spare us O Lord.
From thread-dominating combox trolls, spare us, O Lord.
From sophomoric drive-by commentators, spare us, O Lord.
From server memory resource difficulties, spare us O Lord.
From rss feed problems, spare us O Lord.
From DOS attacks, spare us O Lord.
From power outages and surges, spare us O Lord.
From viruses, trojan horses, and all manner of snares, Lord save us.
From wasting our time, Lord save us.
From our own stupidity, Lord save us.
St. Michael, defend us.
St. Gabriel, defend us.
Holy Guardian Angels, defend us.
St. Isidore of Seville, defend us.
St. Francis de Sales, defend us.
St. Maximilian Kolbe, defend us.
All ye angels and saints….. GRRRRR.
Lamb of God, who takest away the sins of the world, spare us, O Lord.
Lamb of God, who takest away the sins of the world, graciously hear us, O Lord,
Lamb of God who takest away the sins of the world, have mercy on us.
V. Christ, Jesus who died for our sins.
R. Please return, and return swiftly.
Let us pray.
Almighty and merciful God,
who according to Thy ineffable plan
hast called us into existence to do Thy will
amid the vicissitudes and contagion of this world
grant, we beseech Thee,
both protection for Thy servants who use the tools of this digital age
and confusion for evil-doers who abuse their neighbors and Thy gifts.
Through Christ our Lord.   Amen.
And when you need a bit of inspiration and perspective on the upcoming battle between the Catholic Church and the incumbent administration, visit Fr. Z's blog and see what he has to say.

Yogi Was Right

"It ain't over till it's over" proves correct again. Yesterday the process, ugly though it may be, continued with two caucuses and a beauty contest, non-binding primary. What did we learn?

Colorado was my home for twenty years with many of them very active in the political process. The state was very Republican with firm control over the congressional delegation, both senate seats and the state legislature. Of the entire state, the Colorado Springs core was the heart of the religious right in America with candidates making the pilgrimage to kneel and kiss the ring of Dr. James Dobson at Focus on the Family.

That has changed considerably, but there is still a western US conservative core in my old home state.

Colorado Goes For Santorum

Look at that map. It isn't speckled. It is solid for Santorum with the exception of the Romney concentration in the northwest corner of the state. That is hard-core conservative country, but lacking the evangelical influence. The Ron Paul influence is negligible and Gingrich doesn't appear in the noise level apparently.

Minnesota Solid and Less Liberal

Once again the map tells a story about a solid organization across the state. Minnesota had once been viewed as an aberration in the heartland, a working, Scandinavian, struggling state that chose liberalism over core free market principles. They may not be as liberal as we've come to believe. Santorum consistently covers the state and only Ron Paul makes a couple of block appearances. Romney doesn't grab the ring anywhere and Gingrich...who?

Missouri Painted Solidly

That is what would be called a beat-down in any game you played.

What does this mean now? It means that there is a backlash to Romney. Mitt held consistently at 25% for the media race of last year, but never grew his base. The seeds sprouted but didn't mature. The meme was that it was a wrap because of his organization and funds raised. Apparently that isn't a done deal.

Romney went over to the dark side. He started to play coy and dirty. When someone appeared to challenge, his minions went to work slinging mud. Thankfully, that doesn't always work even in today's politics.

Gingrich looked like a new and mature version 3.0 of the Reagan Revolution. But then the mask cracked several times and voters who are tired of same old/same old rebelled.

Ron Paul holds his youth vote and his simplistic libertarian views. He doesn't appear to be gaining voters or swaying very much. His threat of a third-party candidacy remains, but it might have less fund-raising capability than another Nader effort. His persistence with the goal of gaining platform plank influence doesn't really play well if the objective of replacing the current administration is kept in mind.

Santorum has largely kept to the high road. He focuses on the issues and the enemy. That seems to be catching on. Will it translate into fund-raising prowess and the enlistment of an army of volunteers as the pace grows more hectic? We've got about a month until Super Tuesday and that should be the make or break point.

Tuesday, February 07, 2012

Is This Halftime in America?

The Level At Which Truth Can Be Found

The problem with analyzing military conditions regarding combat, morale, troop conditions, tactics effectiveness, and in the long term victory or defeat, is that somewhere along the chain of command you lose the immediacy of observation and begin to experience the politics of personal preservation.

Those who read "When Thunder Rolled" may recall the last chapter where I discuss who the real obstacles were to clear victory in Rolling Thunder. Those familiar with "Palace Cobra" will surely recall the description of warriors versus careerists in the final pages. It is possible for a few remarkable folks to walk the precarious line between war-fighting and career-building. It is possible, but damnably rare.

Conditions As SecDef and CJCS Announce Withdrawal Dates

The Armed Forces Journal is no right wing hysteria blog. I've got to say it took incredible courage for the author to write that report and allow publication. He isn't on the fast track to Pentagon stars in the current environment, but I'd be happy to buy him a beer anywhere, any time.

Monday, February 06, 2012

Befuddling the Veep

I find it difficult to underestimate the level of understanding of our Vice-President. I've watched so many gaffes captured on video and gone viral on the Internet that it is problematic for me to shoot too low in my estimation of his understanding of issues.

Here we have a college student asking him a question about free market interference. Remember the concept of a free market? That is where supply and demand determine price. Goods or services cost a certain amount to produce. A customer wants a good or service and sets a value on that commodity to them. That is what they are willing to pay. When producer and consumer agree, we have a deal. If the producer demands too much, the consumer won't buy. If the consumer won't offer enough in exchange, the producer won't sell.

Eventually supply and demand will move into balance. High priced goods in short supply will drive capital investment into production. Supply will rise and price will go down until the market is satiated or the producer doesn't see potential for reasonable profit.

The student apparently understands that when a third party who neither produces nor consumes will agree to pay the bill, there is no restraint on the consumer to limit prices nor is there constraint on the producer to keep prices within reasonable ranges.

Biden Obfuscates on Tuition Costs

What truly merits my disdain for the vice-President is the rambling, nonsensical, ballet of blather which he emits in an attempt to sound like he's got a clue:
By the way, government subsidies have impacted upon rising tuition costs. It's a conundrum here. But if we went the rate your view of the free market route what we would have done is we would have not of done that. We would not have increased pell grants, for example. And there would be 9 million fewer students in college today. 

And there would be hundreds of thousands and millions of students who would not be in college who don't get Pell grants because there was no ability for them to borrow money through Perkins loans and/or have the tax deduction.

So you are right, in a pure free-market the college tuition would have to be lower because there would be fewer people going to school, they wouldn't have as much coming in. But the end result is we would probably have -- we go for the better part, half a generation, of going 16th in the world maybe down to 20th in the world.
The only reasonable response to a statement like that is, "What???"