Friday, July 31, 2009

Where They Play Discovered

Last night about 5:00 PM I was making the last mile to my destination. The two lane was empty. I hadn't seen another car for several miles. The country was broad and vast with clear skies, crisp air and broad grand vistas of rolling prairie, pinon studded hills and snow-capped mountains in the near distance. A movement caught my eye ahead and I slowed as a red fox stepped onto the road, glared at the interloper and then flounced across and into the field to resume his daily routine.

At my friend's house, we sat sipping an adult beverage looking over his newly cut pasture just beyond the barn where ten "gliders" were munching on their evening hay. Horses whose gait is so smooth across the mountain trails that the ride is a glide, they were sleek, healthy and happy. A quarter mile across the pasture the tree line delineated the Lower Snake River meandering past. Water level was a bit low as snow runoff had long ended so the trout weren't very active, but the beauty was incredible.

A movement caught my eye and I misidentified the brown backs in the distance as a pair of mulies. They rose and I realized either I was about to see a pair of deer walk erect or I was viewing something else. It was a mated pair of Sandhill cranes. Large and beautiful in flight, ungainly on the ground and with a strange, raucous call they live in the fields nearby and can be seen most of the day.

As the sun lowered in the mountains, the air turned crisp and two mule deer bucks in velvet stepped out of the river grasses into the field. Broad beams and good spreads made either a potential trophy in coming years. Now they were safe and content.

Back over my shoulder toward the country highway and across the main pasture a small herd of pronghorn grazed, overseen by a dominant buck with a reasonable but not remarkable set of horns.

When the darkness fell there was not another light to be seen except for the barn light in the distance of the nearest neighbor. The horizon displayed 360 degrees of total darkness with the only illumination coming from the half moon. A strange light showed in the east and we wondered who was out there, but it soon rose and revealed itself to be Venus climbing into the night sky. Peace reigned.

Tomorrow there will be a vintage tractor ride from Savory WY to Encampment. About sixty tractors, minimum age 50 years will "ride the divide" across the Continental Divide. Pure Americana!

I'd like to bring the Messiah here for a beer. Maybe he would understand that the environment doesn't need as much saving as he thinks.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Getting In The Mood

Up to Wyoming today. Cheyenne, Laramie, Rawlins, and eventually Dixon--you never heard of it. But, I gotta get in the mood. So, "pull your hat down low and just LeDoux it..."

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Strange Bedfellows

Escaping N. Texas for cool country yesterday took me to Colorado Springs, my home of 20 years. Along the way there are railroad tracks paralleling the highway for much of the route. The only thing they seem to carry is coal trains. Not a rolling boxcar did I see for the entire day.

I looked at the load data as the cars rolled by. A single coal car carrys a load of 110 tons--most cars indicate load limits in the range of 235,000 pounds. That's a lot of coal. Each train runs around 100-120 cars long. You do the math, I'm confused by numbers with all those zeros. They are pulled by three engines and pushed by two. When you run the road for a long way, you notice that there is a continuous stream of trains running at intervals of four or five miles between them. Are you starting to comprehend a lot of coal?

This activity goes on 24/7.

Now, consider how many people work to mine all that coal. Now, think of the machinery involved in that mining. How about the number of people building it? Now add the railroad cars and engines. Add the folks in that industry plus the ones who build and maintain the railroad infrastructure for the coal industry. Literally several million people are in that industrial chain.

The function of all that coal is to feed a significant number of America's power plants. They light our homes and power our lives. I'd be willing to bet that most of those miners, rail workers, machinery factory workers and electrical generating staff are union workers.

This flow of fuel was only the chain from Wyoming to Colorado, New Mexico, Texas and Oklahoma. Add similar chains for the Utah/Arizona mines, the Minnesota mines and the Pennsylvania, Virginia, W. Virginia, Indiana, etc. mines. You've got lots of people whose jobs are related to that coal.

Now consider the cap-and-trade environmental proposals and the Messiah's clearly stated intention to wean us off of coal (which we possess in extreme abundance as a nation.)

These union workers in an industry which he has vowed to destroy overwhelmingly supported this President.

What's with that?

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

The Cowboy Way

Heading toward Wyoming this morning. Hope the welcome is more hospitable than this one. I'll be on my best behavior:

Monday, July 27, 2009

It's Only Business

If you ever harbored the notion that it was about athletics and role-modeling for the younger generation, you need only read this to be disabused of that error.

Does Anybody Want Him?

The NFL has been a cesspool of thugs and misfits for a long time. The disease seeps down into the college ranks and that dates back quite a while as well. Forgiveness is a virtue, of course, but morality is an absolute. Players should get suspended when they reflect poorly on the team. They should suffer penalties not only in the legal system but also in their profession when they act like sociopaths.

Michael Vick now has the blessing of the NFL to play football again. Is it possible that he is that rare a commodity that his behavior must be excused? It seems as though the league went on the last two years quite nicely without him.

The real question is not whether Commissioner Goodell is simply a tool with no judgment, but whether there is a team which is going to give Vick a job. I sincerely hope not.

And if there is such a team, I can only pray that the fans will boo him loudly, shower the field with their approbation and then rise as one to leave the stadium in disgust.

My hope will be dashed and my prayer will go unanswered.

I'm So Relieved

She is disliked, distrusted, despised by more than seven out of ten Americans. That puts her right up there with the likes of Adolph Hitler, Sadaam Hussein and Idi Amin on the list of folks we wouldn't want to Facebook "friend" us.

She Could Modify Her Behavior

Of course she proudly declares that she doesn't care. She and her associates won the election and now regardless of what America feels or thinks, she will go ahead dismantling the country, socializing the economy, and disabling our freedoms.

I'm glad she doesn't expect me to like her along the way.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

The City, the State and the Nation Explained

This explains so much about our society that it should be mandatory viewing for all Americans:

Hat tip to Breda over at The Breda Fallacy.


I don't know what he is going to do, but if I were Sgt. Crowley I would be penning a polite RSVP this weekend.

Dear Mr. President,

Thank you for the kind and condescending offer to come to your place for a beer or two with my old acguaintance, Dr. Gates. We simply don't get together often enough, what with the time I have to spend on the streets of Cambridge oppressing black men each day.

I appreciate the fact that you've recognized my subordinate place in society and gone out of your way to have the staff prepare an appropriate six pack for my visit. As you are so well aware, we cops tend to go with less sophisticated social beverages than your university friends, but you've tried to make me feel at home. It's just exactly what we Irish cops always like to do on the weekends. Nothing better than sucking up a dozen beers, watching a game on the tube and then going out to beat up a couple of street punks because they aren't the right color.

Unfortunately, I've made plans already for that day so you and Michelle can maybe jet off to Chicago for some quality time with Bill Ayres. I checked my schedule and it looks as though my free time for that visit with you and Doc Gates won't open up until late 2012.


Your friend, Sgt. Crowley

Meanwhile, on the other side of the issue, Professor Gates is reaching out to his constituency with this:

It Isn't About Me

I've got to say that grabbing on that line might be construed as plagiarizing the Messiah's best understatement of the year. It is only a teaching moment if the lesson to be taught is humility, courtesy, and a total abandonment of the attitude of victization by the Doc.

It most definitely is about him.

A Teaching Moment

Went to TX CHL class yesterday. Some range time, some fingerprint/photo/notary time, and a lot of law lecture time made my day. About four hours of material mandated to fill a 10-15 hour training course by bureaucrats.

Interesting discovery. The several items that can each constitute disorderly conduct included "abusive or insulting language". An arrest for that gets your CHL revoked.

So, Prof. Gates couldn't have a CHL, if Mass. issued them, and the Prez would have been disqualified for a TX CHL because of his "acted stupidly" comment!--if either Washington DC or Chicago issued them.

Gotta love it!

Weekend Rocker

A day late, so a double header:

Friday, July 24, 2009

The Whole Story

Here is the best summary of the F-22 Raptor issue that I've seen:

VodkaPundit Tells It Straight

He's got it all down in terms that even the layman can comprehend. Maybe we can get some of them to explain it to SecDef Gates and the Messiah before it is too late.

Wages and the Free Market

The day that I ask a class of college students, "what determines a minimum wage?" and I get a correct answer, I will retire. I've been asking the question of these 18-20 years olds for more than a decade now and have yet to have a single one relate the minimum wage to the market value of the worker's labor.

Inevitably they bleat about cost-of-living, families of four and poverty levels. They look stunned when I suggest that raising the minimum wage is the surest way for a politician to gain votes without even spending a tax dollar. Simply mandate that a free enterprise business pay more.

If, I ask, $7.25 is better than $5.15 wouldn't $25 an hour be better still? Wouldn't they favor that? Occasionally a light will begin to dawn but with most of them immature greed trumps common sense.

Today, the federally mandated minimum wage goes up. Read this summary of the media coverage at Cato:

Wage Increases Not Enough Says Press

It's enough to bring a tear to my eye. My heart melts as I think of those poor single-mothers trying to raise their four children (all with different last names) on even this stipend.

Here's the Dallas Morning Fishwrapper's front page weeper:

It's a Drop in the Bucket

Poor Ms Greer! She became the sole provider for her three teen-agers when "her husband was sent to prison for parole violation..." Well, duh! Do we discern some bad life choices here? I would like to think that by the time a woman is 36 years old that she might have amassed enough work experience to be worth more than minimum wage. Notice that she lost her last job when her "sister-in-law commandeered her car" and she was late for work. Would that be the sister-in-law of the felon husband?

Did you read about the "receptionist" who is struggling to support a son and a mentally disabled granddaughter on $435 a month? So, where is the granddaughter's mother? Doesn't the son work? How many hours a month at $7.25? How about fifteen hours a week?

I wouldn't expect to support a family with that level of effort either.

Sorry, I can't support a mandated minimum wage at any level. It imposes an unrealistic burden on business, it costs jobs overall and it fuels inflation. That's as good as it gets.

What The Future Holds

If you have been asked to go "downtown" in a serious air war, you have a reasonable right to expect that the equipment you are given to do that will be the best that America can produce. It is your only hope for survival in the environment. The environment has gotten a lot more hostile since the days when I did it.

The good news, however, is that despite our political system and government bungling for the last twenty-some years, we have produced an airplane capable of doing the job. We've got another one in the pipeline to maintain the synergistic team that was defined by the F-15/F-16 force for the last thirty five years.

We are engaged now in a massive conversion of America from global superpower to groveling welfare-dependent Nanny State. That means that loyal administration functionaries stand up and spout things like Bob Gates does. "We don't need Raptors because they have little application in Iraq and Afghanistan." Of course we don't. We need them because they have massive potential applications both seen and unforeseeable for the next thirty years.

It is ludicrous to close an assembly line for Raptors today, capping the force at a puny four or five operational squadrons with the promise that we will be buying around 2000 F-35s. I don't believe the promise for tomorrow will be fulfilled. I know for a fact that the F-35 can't do the job that the Raptor does. I also learned this today:

Two Years Behind Schedule--The First Nail in the Coffin

Can you see the scenario now? Today we close the F-22 line. Next year we begin bleating about the "failed" F-35 program. The total buy gets cut to pay for welfare and healthcare disasters. With the lower buy, the unit cost goes up. Can't buy that many, so we cut further and stretch out the contract.

Somewhere along the way an adventureous enemy decides we are vulnerable, since we are. They attack, we lose.

End of story.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

It Keeps Getting Better

Ahhh, yes, the stupidity of the police. The inherent superiority of the Harvard professor. The prevailing climate of police brutality and racism in America...

But, how about the lead in this new story:

Hard To Swallow the Racist Rant

Did you get that?

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. (AP) - The white police sergeant criticized by President Barack Obama for arresting black scholar Henry Louis Gates Jr. in his Massachusetts home is a police academy expert on racial profiling.
Cambridge Sgt. James Crowley has taught a class on racial profiling for five years at the Lowell Police Academy after being hand-picked for the job by former police Commissioner Ronny Watson, who is black, said Academy Director Thomas Fleming.

"I have nothing but the highest respect for him as a police officer. He is very professional and he is a good role model for the young recruits in the police academy," Fleming told The Associated Press on Thursday.

The course, called "Racial Profiling," teaches about different cultures that officers could encounter in their community "and how you don't want to single people out because of their ethnic background or the culture they come from," Fleming said.

I'm more convinced than ever...

Try this non sequitur on for size:

The president said he understands the sergeant who arrested Gates is an "outstanding police officer." But he added that with all that's going on in the country with health care and the economy and the wars abroad, "it doesn't make sense to arrest a guy in his own home if he's not causing a serious disturbance."

This guy is a Harvard law school graduate, former editor of the Harvard Law Review, professor of law or something at the Univ. of Chicago, and a former US Senator. Does he not distinguish that "what's going on with health care and the economy and the wars abroad" are totally unrelated to a policeman on duty responding to a breaking and entering call then being verbally abused?

The Messiah probably has asked, "if we can put a man on the moon then why can't we cure cancer?" It does, however, reflect the level of discourse in this publicly educated nation.

White Rabbit

The red pill makes you larger and the blue pill makes you small, but the ones Obama gives you won't do anything at all...Go ask Alice:

The Last Refuge

I don't doubt that there is racial prejudice in America. It still exists and we must be aware. But, I'm frankly also aware that there is a victim syndrome that immediately responds with indignation to any encounter with law enforcement. I'm talking about this incident:

Harvard Professor Takes Umbrage

The scenario, apparently was that the good professor couldn't get his front door open. He went in the back way and asked his taxi-driver to help him by pushing at the front door to free it. A neighbor saw the apparent forced entry and, as we are taught by Neighborhood Watch programs, called the police.

When they arrived, the door was open and the officer inquired of Professor Gates as to what had happened. Gates then went into full rant mode. Gimme a break. He isn't a victim, he's a Harvard professor.

Here is a more detailed description of the events:

A Fair and Balanced Report

Strange, isn't it, that the local reportage should be so brief and superficial while the Bloomberg coverage describes the police officer's report and description of the events as well.

I can't fault the cop for checking what happened. It would be dereliction of duty for him to have done less. I suspect that Gates' home wasn't some ghetto crash pad, so the officer didn't think he was at a crack house. I default to the view that the officer was at least initially respectful. And, I can only be appalled at the knee-jerk accusations of Gates to the incident.

But then, Harvard has become a showcase of politically correct education and the indoctrination of tomorrow's leaders in the philosphy of professional victimhood.

And, always in character, the Messiah admits he doesn't know the facts but concludes the police acted stupidly:

The Reality of His Post-Racist America

Apparently he is so prescient that facts don't apply to him. He speaks, therefore it is so.

Every Day a Treasure

If you haven't been stopping in regularly at Home on the Range, you miss some great writing, some wonderful recipes and some exceptional photography. Brigid is a remarkable woman.

Today she waxes eloquently on fishing:

With my house fading into shadow, darkness falling, I decided to head back. I didn't catch anything, my true catch was as intangible and indescribable as the twilight playing on the water. I think of what Thoreau said "many men go fishing all of their lives without knowing that it is not fish they are after". For to fish is to flirt, with dancing water and surging life, warm lips to cool water, we reach for a transparent kiss of the unknown. We willingly bite the secret barb, to be brought to shore barely breathing, gasping up into somewhere unknown, searching upward to catch a glimpse of who it was that wanted us.

Read the whole thing here:

Fishing, Flying and Family Rememberances

Bookmark the place, you'll be glad you did.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Viewing Instructions

Tonight, your TV will once again be pre-empted by the pervasive Obama Show. It's sort of like a political version of American Idol. You find it on Tuesday nite, and sometimes on Wednesday and Monday as well. It runs anywhere from half an hour to three hours of uninterrupted entertainment. It is, as he reminded us yesterday, "not about me..."

Which brings me to the purpose of this posting. I described the game a few days ago. It is Orwellian in its simplicity. It is "reverse speak." Once you understand the basic rule it becomes as easy to comprehend as Pig Latin.

The rule is, whatever he says the opposite is what is true. When he pronounces that it isn't about him, you clearly recognize that is exactly what it is about.

When you watch his address to the nation about another non-existant crisis to be solved by another tax on the most productive citizens to add another couple of trillion dollars to the deficit, remember this:

If I Say it Is, It Isn't

Yes, if he says you can keep the coverage you currently are happy with, it means that you can't. If he tells you your costs won't go up, remember that they will. If he re-assures you that you can choose your own doctor, you definitely know that you won't. If he tells you there will be no rationing, believe that there will. If he explains that you will be able to make your own healthcare choices, be very clear about that lack. When he describes no loss of quality, know for sure that it will be third-world at best.

He hasn't read the bill. He won't read the bill. The members of the Congress won't read the bill. Only after it is rushed into law and the disaster begins to unfold in your life, will it become clear what has been done to you.

Sen. Jim Demint has suggested that if this can be stopped, it will be a Waterloo for the Messiah. I'm thinking that if it isn't it will be more like a Stalingrad.

Flogging the Long-Dead Horse

The USA has a sordid past with regard to race. It can't be denied. It traces back to the roots of slavery, but not all of the history was a pure result of white oppression. I'm not glossing over the issue, but it is important that even the most prickly of subjects be addressed with objectivity rather than emotion.

Slavery came to this country as a joint effort between the races. There was a significant contribution made by Africans against Africans. Once established, the practice became a foundation of the plantation economy of the southern states. A principled people might have abolished it, but they didn't. Their livelihood depended upon it.

When the Founding Fathers came to Philadelphia in 1787, they were trying to build an effective government depending upon the balance of regional interests. Bringing thirteen independent colonies together meant balancing political power. That required compromise and in order to get the job done, they had to deal with representation. That led to the expedience of the odious "three-fifths compromise". It can be viewed as dehumanizing, but it can also be viewed as finding a solution to a problem that could be dealt with later.

Dealing with the issue took a lot of time and a bloody Civil War. By the middle of the 20th Century, we were ready to move decisively to end segregation and racial discrimination. De jure segregation was legislated out of existence, but de facto isolation still exists. It is declining but it still exists.

Today we've got a black President, a government filled with African-Americans, and an integrated school system.

How then can we see this:

Raising Racism to Fuel the Masses

The Messiah is clearly playing to the emotions of his audience. How can he attribute educational performance in the ghettos to white racism? In a world that tolerates a Black Congressional Caucus but not a white one, that has implemented a preferential acceptance policy for college admissions, that eliminates objective performance testing in jobs as racially biased, that distributes welfare checks and advantage as the currency of politics, and that demands release of the most heinous criminals because they were identified by race, how can he continue that rhetoric?

Isn't it time for all people to really do that Martin King thing, and start to forget about skin color and focus on character?

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Common Sense in Short Supply

It isn't breaking new that the Congress of the US possesses little in the way of logical thinking or common sense. That is why the flaming non-sequitur in this piece should jump out at you:

Applying Full Faith & Credit Clause to Concealed Carry

Thirty-nine states, the last time I checked, now have "shall issue" concealed carry laws. Of the entire fifty states, only two have no allowable concealed carry for their citizens. We don't seem to be suffering from a lot of shoot-outs on the streets by legal concealed carrying citizens. In fact, as Dr. John Lott has documented in excruciating detail, the presence of legally carrying citizens has reduced violent crime wherever it is enacted.

Now, Sen. John Thune suggests that we apply the "full faith and credit clause" of our Constitution to concealed carry permits. That clause provides that each state shall give "full faith and credit" to the pronouncements of the other states. It is why your driver's license is valid when you travel across state lines. Your CHL should be as well.

A licensed carrier has been trained, vetted and authorized by his/her state. Why should they be subjected to a web of "gotcha" laws as they attempt to cross the country? Thune's bill specifies compliance with the visited states, so there is no loss to the state's laws. Thune's bill specifies that the two no-carry states will still be criminal refuges to prey upon the unarmed.

Why then does NY Sen. Chuck Schumer assert that millions will be endangered? What evidence can he offer to support this assertion? Why does he believe that when I drive ten miles across the Red River to Oklahoma I will suddenly become a gun-crazed criminal endangering all around me?

Where is his common sense? Oh, wait, he's a Democrat from NY. Never mind...

Update July 22 PM: The Thune Amendment failed. Vote was 58 in favor, 39 opposed--a super-majority of 60 votes was required.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Thanks, But No Thanks

Following the lead of her leader, SecState Clinton dutifully and abjectly prostated herself before the leadership of India, apologizing for the shameless emission of carbon dioxide by we regularly breathing Americans. Our products, technology and standard of living, she groveled, must be curtailed, reined in and abandoned.

Now, we so eagerly embrace that agenda (because Al Gore told us to,) therefore India should jump on the Luddite band-wagon and stop progressing as well. After five days in consultation, Ms Clinton gets this:

Are You Kidding Me? You Want Us to What?

That's right. They aren't drinking her Kool-Aid. They aren't about to stop their growth and economic advancement. They also aren't about to subject themselves to an arbitrary carbon tariff on goods they sell to the US.

How can they be so smart, while the Messiah and his minions are so stupid?

Get Your Blood Up

What comes from seeking to deny a free people their liberty:

Today's Challenge

This will be simple. All I want you to do is show me an example of any federal government program that has resulted in either lower cost to the consumer or better service than the competition of private enterprise.

I don't demand that you show me both results. Simply bring me a federal program that demonstrably offers one or the other.

I'll be waiting.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

What the Captain Means

There was a very popular recording that made the rounds during the Vietnam air war years. It was a pseudo press interview with an Air Force Phantom pilot answering questions in typical fighter pilot fashion, crudely, while a frantic public information officer translates into politically and socially correct verbiage. It prefaced each PIO comment with "what the captain means..."

Now we've got to learn the language of Messiah-speak. Read this:

Let Me Make Myself Perfectly Clear...

"I want to be very clear: I will not sign on to any health plan that adds to our deficits over the next decade," the president said in his weekly address. "And by helping improve quality and efficiency, the reforms we make will help bring our deficits under control in the long-term," he added.

What the Messiah means is that he doesn't give a rodent's rear about deficits or the escalating national debt, he is going to nationalize your healthcare in order to give benefits to the 7% of the population that doesn't have any at the expense of the rest of us who are quite content. If he says he won't, that means without a doubt that he will.

Now, understand that the nuances of Messiah-speak don't only apply to The One. We've also got this from the House leadership, Frau Pelosi and Field Marshall Hoyer:

In a statement issued Saturday evening, Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., said the leadership did not intend to find savings to offset the estimated $245 billion cost of higher Medicare fees for doctors.

The money is not "increased spending for a new policy, but rather the costs of maintaining our existing policy to prevent a cut in physician rates," they said. Without a change, doctor fees would fall by 21 percent

So the Messiah won't sign any deficit increase and the doyen of the Bay Area does not intend to find savings to offset the cost. Sounds like what they mean is that the debt will rise, they will mandate it and the man will sign it exactly as he promised not to.

Then try to unravel that second part--it isn't "increased spending" but the "cost of maintaining our policy". That means that they need votes next fall from doctors as well as support for this flawed program.

Actually, it is much easier than trying to understand a fighter pilot. It is just like that childhood game of "reverse speak." Whatever they say means exactly the opposite of what they are going to do. And what they are going to do is screw any productive citizen over so as to maintain their power.

The closing line of the fighter pilot interview is the PIO translating the captain's final statement, "it's a f***ed-up war." as "What the captain means is, it's a f***ed up war."

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Disarming an Airhead

I don't need a truck right now, but if I did, this guy would get my business. He ain't Cal Worthington, but he makes a lot more sense and he is unflappable as he dismantles this liberal bimbo on live TV:

Sotomayor in Context

It is so easy to misinterpret something when it is removed from context. Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor explains what she feels about gender, ethnicity and jurisprudence as she prepares to join the highest court in the land.

Read it all here:

Bringing Salsa to the Menudo

Now it is time for the music of justice! The instruments will be taken out, like the Buena Vista Social Club. Carribean drums and mazurkas, the blues guitarra and the bagpipes, creating the caliente salsa beat of la ley! Bailando en la calle, everybody! What's that Justicio Juan Roberto? You are too white and do not have the ritmo to do the dance? Let wise Latina Justicia Sonia show you the steps! Meringue, samba, macarena! ¡Andele! Yes, yes! Lose yourself in the rhythm, Perito Breyer! Together we make the beautiful Constitutional musica together!

Saturday Morning Rocker

A rock band with two cellos and a concert grand, you've gotta love it!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Patriots All

On day one of every semester I ask the students to introduce themselves giving name, political experience, course expectations and their "hot button" issue. I get to play Devil's Advocate and argue against whatever they are enraged about. It is a demonstration of the two sides of every issue and it is the point after which we become objective political scientists rather than position advocates.

Inevitably one or two students are upset about the erosion of their fundamental rights by the Patriot Act. I will ask them how they have been personally impacted. It leaves them at a loss for words. They've been told by the media that they are damaged, so they dutifully bemoan their fate despite the fact that nothing in their lives changed.

I'm a believer in waging war with all the tools at your disposal. Non-conventional enemies demand non-conventional tactics. Data mining is a viable tool. Gleaning electronic communications between potential combatants in Afghanistan and Pakistan and the US is not unreasonable to me. We have the capability to flag and intercept cell phone transmission, satellite phones and internet exchanges. We learn a lot.

Consider this:

foreign threats "are much less capable to be directed by antecedent, standing, positive laws." Legislatures are too slow and their members too numerous to respond effectively to unforeseen situations. Only the executive can act to protect the "security and interest of the public."

Or possiblty this assignment of the responsibility for securing the nation:

The power to protect the nation, ought to exist without limitation," because "it is impossible to foresee or define the extent and variety of national exigencies, or the correspondent extent & variety of the means which may be necessary to satisfy them." To limit the president's constitutional power to protect the nation from foreign threats is simply foolhardy. ..."decision, activity, secrecy, and dispatch will generally characterize the proceedings of one man, in a much more eminent degree, than the proceedings of any greater number." "Energy in the executive, is essential to the protection of the community against foreign attacks."

Is that the language of some Bush administration apologist? Is Dick Cheney or Karl Rove trying to justify his action? Nope.

The first quote comes from John Locke in the 1760s. The second is from Alexander Hamilton, writing in The Federalist. I can't dispute the wisdom of either.

Read it all here:

The Justification for Warrantless Wiretaps

Wow, that guy is teaching at Berkely! Can you believe that?

The Ghost of Tennessee Ernie Speaks

Oh What a Tangled Web We've Woven

There are some basic facts that you simply can't get around. You ignore them at your peril. Of course, if you are the Messiah, you can rewrite the rules for yourself, but you will still run afoul of the basic facts at some point.

  1. Government is a non-profit enterprise.
  2. Governments produce no product.
  3. Governments have no money except that which they take from citizens.
  4. Governments are not immune from market forces.
  5. Governments are going to be responsive to the greatest number of people.

Now consider this item with those facts in mind:

Afoul of the Facts

The first problem we see there is that government shouldn't be taking over a free enterprise, publicly held corporation. At the best it gives that entity an unfair market advantage against non-government competitors. At the worst it becomes management from a distant committee with no experience in the business. The unintended consequences are not unforeseen and they will be significant.

Next we note that the mandate to reduce dealerships does several negative things. It reduces market footprint. You lose presence in regions of the country. It also reduces availability of service after the sale for potential customers. Finally, in a period of unemployment, you are dispossesing thousands of workers. None of that is desireable either for the nation or the effected corporation.

Finally you have the political process in action as dispossessed workers and condemned dealership owners appeal to their congress-members who will be seeking campaign support in a few short months. The congress-critters will naturally respond to the voters without concern for the economic realities of the business.

So, you stick government's nose in where it doesn't belong. You damage the situation beyond what was already wrong. You impose politics into the free market. And you eventually wind up worsening the situation as you do what politicians do best, pander for votes.

This presidenting business is a bitch!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Some Things for Your Letter to Santa

So, what do you get for Christmas every year? A tie? Nobody wears ties. Some handkerchiefs? Oh boy, I can hardly wait! Maybe a cardigan sweater, so you can do your Mr. Rogers impressions in costume.

Nah. A tactically oriented individual needs some manly hardware. How about some accoutrements for the home defense equipment? Something to keep you refreshed as you wait out the storm troopers outside your adobe churchyard?

That's right, nothing says sportsman like a beercan holder for your M4.

That's a bit tongue-in-cheek. Everyone knows the recoil would shake up the beer and make it foam over. Besides, in a tough engagement the barrel heat would warm the beer and make it less than refreshing.

But, maybe there are some things you really could use. Check the latest out over at Wired:

Wild Gadgetry for the Well-Outfitted Sniper

May I suggest you set your iPhone to silent?

Stalag Gitmo

I carried a Geneva Convention card along with my military ID in what we referred to as our "combat wallet." It was a heavy plastic envelope that held those two IDs and some currency. When we went flying in SEA we left home without our American Express card despite Karl Malden's advice.

We also wore a uniform and we had very detailed and undeniably restrictive ROE. Despite what you might have heard from John Kerry and Jane Fonda we did not bomb civilian facilities indiscriminately.

There are rules of war. When you conduct terrorist activity you don't get the protections of those rules. When you detonate bombs at random against civilians, women and children, you forfeit a lot of protections. When you wear no uniform, carry no identification and represent no nation, you can't expect the protections of the Geneva Conventions. If you aren't within the United States, citizen or not, you can't be guaranteed the rights of the US Constitution. That is what an unlawful military combatant is about.

We're watching a Supreme Court confirmation hearing on the propaganda box today. It seems inconsequential in the greater scheme of things, but American Thinker helps link it to a critical issue:

Redefining the Relationship to Those Who Would Kill Us

Approaching the issue of those incarcerated in Gitmo from the emotional perspective of civil justice is a serious mistake. To ascribe American ideals in this situation is to ignore history. We can look back to Lincoln's suspension of habeus corpus during the Civil War to find precedent for detention of hostiles. We can review the Nisei internment camps in World War II. We can visit POW camps that are now historic sites like Fort Stanton in New Mexico where German merchant marine sailors were held. Some of those prisoners were uniformed miitary, some were an ethnic group wrongly abused, and some were decidedly non-combatants.

But all were held until cessation of hostilities. The group at Gitmo represents an entirely new classification and one that is very much more deadly. To treat them like mis-handled petty criminals who need their Miranda rights read to them is stupid.

Pay No Attention

It is a charade. It is great theater with bad actors. It is the confirmation debacle of Sonia Sotomayor.

I'm not a lawyer nor do I play one on TV. I didn't stay in a Holiday Inn Express last night either. So, I rely on wiser folks than I to parse the incredible performance of day one. Here we see some of it:

What Does A Judge Really Do?

She is rehearsed. She is rote. She is dull, both in affect and in intellect. She requires us to believe that the now infamous "wise Latina" line was simply an attempt at motivating her audience and her core principles are different. But, she successfully sublimated those core principles at least half a dozen documented times. "Ignore what I said repeatedly over the years and believe what I've learned to say today!" I can't do that. All I see is the lies.

The Senate has turned down nominees before. They have blistered minority candidates without compunction. They have shown that they are able to bring a level of vitriol unprecedented to bear against a conservative nominee even if they are black, Hispanic or female. They could ignore that the case in point today is Latina.

But, unfortunately they won't because this lame appointee comes from the Messiah and she is undeniably a step down the road he wishes to travel.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Getting to the Heart of It

So, were you wondering where the former Governor of Alaska might pop up?

How about inside the Beltway in the op-ed pages of the Washington Post?

Wasilla Airhead Explains the Facts on Carbon Tax

Predictably the left side of the blogosphere is livid that the supposedly properly obedient WaPo would let someone like this speak such heresy. Do you suppose Sarah paid the $25,000 access fee that the Post was soliciting from the lefties last week, or maybe they just thought she made a lot of sense?

The Inquisition

You simply outlaw thought which you disagree with. That's how you silence folks like Galileo or Copernicus. If your view of events is questioned you establish a czar (seems like we're getting a lot of those these days,) who declares the holy writ.

Billy Beck, over at Two-Four gives us some thoughts on who is handling the thought suppression tasks in Washington these days:

Resistance is Futile. You Will be Assimilated.

The whole purpose, as I see it, is to quell these pesky questions about global climate change (nee "warming"). If we don't get the issue resolved by papal decree, we won't be able to put sails on top of cars and windmills outside factories while we turn off our air conditioners and electric lights. The descent into the dark ages cannot proceed apace with lingering doubts about the science. In a debate between Al Gore and a couple of hunded climatologists, you have to have an umpire. That's where the Science and Technology czar wields his magic sword.

Care for a glass of hemlock with your theory of gravity? Want some privacy with that single shot left in your Luger to quell your earth orbiting the sun madness?

Revisionism in Action

My first Presidential vote was cast in the blissful ignorance of youth for the charismatic Jack Kennedy. He was much more appealing to me than the scowling, sweaty, five-o'clock-shadowed Nixon. I came to regret that vote within a few years as LBJ came to power. Yet, I voted for him in '64 because Stevenson was so unappealing at my age.

Within a year of that election I found myself in the Air Force and then enroute to the air war over North Vietnam. It is amazing how quickly you grow up when you spend six months starting each day in a briefing room with 25 or 30 guys and each night one or more of those guys isn't there. The disenchantment with risking your life for worthless targets picked over orange juice and croissants at the Tuesday morning breakfast meeting in the Oval Office was complete.

There was no way I could support LBJ in '68 and Robert Kennedy, already carrying a whispered reputation for Machiavellian ruthlessness in the Attorney General's office was not my cup of tea. Teddy was in his hereditary seat in the Senate by then.

It was the beginning of my realization that, all protestations to the contrary, America does have a ruling class, an aristocracy of birth that sips tea with raised pinkies, debates policy issues over scones and occasionally suggests that someone "let them eat cake."

Now, we've got the Voice of the Administration offering a paean to the declining old satyr. Read this:

I Tried to Save Her...Not!

Yes, we are canonizing him even before his imminent demise. Mary Jo gets no mention despite the fact that those events were the most defining in Teddy's life. Had she bobbed to the surface, he would have arguably become president. But, she didn't.

Not mentioned either are the cheating issues while at Harvard, or the various drunken episodes, or the presence at the beach party where his nephew was busy raping a co-ed. There is apparently a lot not being mentioned as the fat old man prepares to leave us with his legacy, a nationalization and destruction of our healthcare system.

Insight From Sam

Last night was spent with a Blu-Ray viddie of We Were Soldiers. Sam Elliot delivered the best line of the movie:

Now, if we could only get him to speak truth to the Messiah. I don't think the old Sarge would be quite as supportive as he was for Hal Moore.

Monday, July 13, 2009

On the Flight Line

You've probably asked yourself what goes on during a NATO competition among the fighter forces. You've wondered how everyone gets into the competitive spirit and how the national discipline manifests among the various allied nations. You may not have ever been on a flight line filled with dozens of multi-million dollar high performance jets taxiing through narrow taxiways and among the crowds of maintenance vehicles.

The answer is we use marshallers. And, this is how they do it:

And, on a cold day, a good crew chief can always get his hands warmed with the help of a passing jet.

Revisionism in Action

I was a Cold Warrior and also a participant in the hot variety. But, I lived through the entire period from a childhood during World War II through the occupation of Japan and Germany to the rise of global communism and the arms race that eventually led to bankruptcy of the Soviet Union. I remember "duck and cover" drills in school and the launch of Sputnik as Telestar efforts routinely crumbled on the launch pad. When the family went down to the Chicago lakefront in the summer, we drove past the Nike-Ajax missile emplacements. In college AFROTC I went through SAGE sites and saw air defense interceptor forces on alert. On Tuesdays at 10:30 AM the air raid sirens blew every week when I was in elementary school.

On active duty I was trained in nuclear weapon delivery and the targeting strategies. I traveled the world, read the papers, worked with our allies and lived with the bomb on my jet. I know about the Cold War. My professional, non-aviation education is in political science and international relations. It wasn't benign and it wasn't simply athletics and astrophysics. It was a battle of economics, military might, ideologies, dictatorships and democracies. It was a basic battle of good versus evil, as simplistic as that sounds. And harbor no doubt about it, we were good and Stalin was evil.

Here's commentary on the recent "reset" by the Messiah in Moscow:

It Wasn't a Zero-Sum Game!

I'm still proud of my part in the battle. I'm still proud to be an American. I'm still proud to have been a warrior. But, I grieve for what this man is doing to my country and our proud heritage. He grovels, he panders, he corrupts and the masses applaud him. It disgusts me.

Between the Lines

The superficiality of the mainstream media continues to amaze me. If you are in the cross-hairs they can create massive messages that say nothing about nothing and do it in a manner that implies much about everything.

Here's an example:

Mired in Scandal and Guilt, She Resigns

You couldn't expect less from the New York Times. They get wide distribution. Here it is on the MSNBC web page. A few minutes ago I read it in the Dallas Morning Fishwrapper.

I was captured by the headline, so I read it immediately. Wow, what a smoking gun. The Republican Governor's Association sent an envoy to lay down the law for Palin. They told her to...pregnant pause here...make a calendar for her activities, set aside time for family, and work on an agenda for Alaska which would get her re-elected.

Who would have thought it could be so significant? Is there anything in that triumvirate of political cliches that is an emergency directive?

Then they expound on the ethics complaints which have deluged her. She's been accused of everything from faking a fish photo to wearing a jacket with a logo on it! Heavy stuff which the assassination teams have piled on her. Nineteen complaints and Alaska state law mandates that even the most frivolous and trivial be investigated.

They NYT goes on about the time required to defend, the cost to the Governor personally and to the state, the damage to her ability to function as chief executive while responding, etc.

Then in one brief sentence, they reveal the truth. Fifteen of the nineteen charges have been dismissed as groundless and four are still pending. But, it is just one sentence and it is buried well down the column.

I said it before, and I'll say it again. She is a threat and they recognize it. Apparently the GOP leadership hasn't figured that out yet, but maybe they will in the coming months.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Gore's Global Governance

Maybe the clearest statement yet seen of where this is all going:

Leveling the Playing Field

That item is simply frightening. I can only hope that the product of America's liberal indoctrination system (i.e. public schools & universities) can have someone translate some of the code words used there.

Things like:

change is through global governance and global agreements.

by building this unprecedented instrument, the first component of an authentic global governance, we are working for dialogue and peace

Kyoto is about the economy, about leveling the playing field for big businesses worldwide.

wealthy nations like the U.S. would bear the biggest burden based on the “polluters pay principle.”

A climate change response must have at its heart a redistribution of wealth and resources,”

“a global burden sharing system, fair, with solidarity, and legally binding to all nations.”

When you have an otherwise irresponsible (as in being under no threat of being accountable to the people) agent of the United Nations using phrases like those, you are witnessing an assumption of the United States relinquishing any claim of national sovereignty.

Leveling an international business playing field and punitively taxing the most productive society on the planet brings back once again the echoes of Ayn Rand.

The News in a Nutshell

We are all busy, so in case you missed the news in detail last week, I offer this fine summary:

Hat tip to Radley Balko over at the Agitator.

Darwinism and the Descent Into Darkness

Life was normal and as it should be. A typical American teenager was traveling along life's path blissfully unaware of the sudden collapse which would await her next step. She felt secure, protected, not needing to worry about her future, then this:

R U dng NEthng? Cya! EEEEk!

What can you say but, "Duh!"

She could have walked into a wall, stepped off a curb into an oncoming truck, knocked an elderly person off their feet, impacted a pregnant woman, stepped in dog droppings, or twisted her ankle on the edge of the sidewalk. But, in her case, she simply fell into an open manhole...ooops, make that a personnel access opening.

What comes next is the real descent into darkness.

"It was just really gross and it was shocking and scary," she said. "Because of their careless mistake I got hurt."

See, it was their fault. Not hers.

She will sue. She will win. She will continue being stupid. Hopefully she will choose not to reproduce.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Revolution Evolution

This Saturday Morning Rocker is a little more ironic than usual.

You may remember it from Forrest Gump, or possibly the Jefferson Airplane Woodstock gig or maybe just the album in the basement. The pictures are the irony. Look at them today through the prism of currrent events. You may not have lived through the '68 Olympics in Mexico City with the black power salutes. You might not be clear on who Malcolm X and Che Guevara were, but trust me they did not have "traditional" American values in mind when they spoke of revolution. The images of police chiefs in the street executing spies summarily and uniformed guardsmen arrayed against the people meant one thing in those days and something quite different on today's horizon.

There is a new call for volunteers coming and the Jeffersonian prediction of a roughly forty year cycle for revolutions might be right on time:

Friday, July 10, 2009

End of An Era

I'll admit it. I'm paranoid. But, I'm also an observer of events. Let's consider what is happening and how.

We've got a President with no executive experience and clearly socialistic ideas in office. He has a revolutionary agenda. So far he has dispensed $2.4 trillion dollars which we don't have to friends and supporters all around the nation on the promise that it will be the "wealthiest" who will pay the tab. He has quadrupled the national debt.

He has seized control of the major banking and mortgage industry, subsuming authority and dictatorially mandating hirings, firings and compensation limits. He has nationalized major components of the auto industry, fired a CEO, dismissed a board of directors and with the stroke of a pen abolished obligations to legal debt holders while simultaneously awarding ownership to his union acolytes. Most observers believe nationalization in similar fashion of the airline industry is next.

He is well on his way to creating a new market for exchange of a previously non-existant commodity, carbon, which will raise the cost of every facet of our lives. He will soon control the nation's fuels which drive our industry, propel our cars, light our homes and warm our bodies. In the process he will reduce the standard of living of every American man, woman and child. We will be asked to smile as we descend into third world status.

He is ramrodding the destruction of our health care system. He will reduce your benefits, decrease the quality of your care, ration access to medical services, destroy the insurance industry and raise costs. It must be done in weeks rather than through contemplative legislative or political process. Hurry.

There is disarmament lurking in the agenda. You and I know it. It will be enforced by a new civilian security force which may look a lot like Black Panthers in ACORN t-shirts.

Without a moments hesitation he flaunts an imperial life style, jetting to New York with the First Lady for a cool couple of millions dollars spent on dinner and a play. She visits Moscow with $6000 handbags and food banks in $500 tennies.

Through it all he appears unconcerned about a re-election. He doesn't build concensus, he dictates change. He huddles with our most vile enemies and undercuts democracy-starved revolutionaries seeking a better life. He isn't worried about pleasing the electorate even a little bit.

Why would that be? The answers that first come to mind are quite benign. He believes in his agenda and will execute it in four years. He will either be vindicated and re-elected by acclamation, or he will have completed his work and simply hand over a perfect socialist paradise to his successor. Believe that? No way!

Or, he could be fatalistic. He could have an ominous foreboding of early death. It has happened to presidents before. Even the best security can be breached. Do I believe that? No. He is one of those who truly believes they are immortal. He has no advisor to whisper in his ear during the triumph parade through Rome.

What I have suddenly realized is that we see emerging in America a situation in which he does not worry about re-election because there will be no election. We have seen the last Presidential election in the history of the American republic. Control will have been effectively seized, the people will be controlled, the levers of power will be firmly grasped and it will be all over. Presidente por vida!

Thursday, July 09, 2009

The Sound of Wagons Being Circled

There is an obligation of leadership which folks in the military learn very early. You demand that your people do their job properly and when they are questioned about their performance you defend them vigorously. When you know your boss is behind you you can do your job aggressively and without hesitation.

That's why this is so disturbing:

Fostering A Cult of Cover-up

There has been a lot of information released about enhanced interrogation techniques. There have been attorney general opinions. There have been manuals describing application and limitations to be observed. There have been Congressional briefings repeatedly. There has been, apparently, a bit of reluctance to admit that what they knew and when they knew it was everything and for a long time now.

So, when she's caught out trying to deny awareness and approving of EIT, Speaker Pelosi comes back and says she was lied to. Then we have documents provided that explain what, when and where she was briefed. She doesn't like that. She calls for loyal Democratic party functionary, Leon Panetta to report to the intelligence committee and support her.

Leon, you see, is now the director of the CIA. He's the current boss of the briefers. Ignore that he is a party hack who replaced a major general with a career in intelligence work. He's now the expert. Leon stands up for his troops. He says it is not Agency policy to lie to Congress. That sounds consistent with the facts. But, Speaker Pelosi is not acquitted by that testimony.

So, we have seven Democrat congress-critters send a letter to Director Panetta. It is a back-channel letter, not on offical Congressional letterhead. It says "we were lied to and you need to find confirmation of that to keep us out of trouble."

That gets Panetta bailing out on his leadership responsibility and undermining the reliability of the most senior staffers in the CIA. Good boy, Leon. That's covering for your troops. That's improving the country and keeping us safe. That's going to do a great job of motivating the guys back at Langley to speak the truth to power.

The new script for briefing the Democratically controlled Congress will be, "Good morning ladies and gentlemen of the committee. What do you want me to say to protect you from the truth?"

Where's Jack Nicholson?

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Country Music

A good country song tells a story. The story goes that the perfect country song must include your mama, trucks, trains, prison and whiskey. Here's a verse from it:

Well, I was drunk the day my Mom got outta prison.
And I went to pick her up in the rain.
But, before I could get to the station in my pickup truck
She got runned over by a damned old train.

I dunno. Maybe this one has a better message:

What is the Problem?

The bleat goes on. We've got a healthcare "crisis" in this country! Do something quickly. Let's triage and then wrap the citizens in money.

The statistic that is repeated is that we've got almost 50 million people uninsured. But, if we start to dismantle that figure, we find some interesting aspects. It means we've got more than 260 million people covered by healthcare plans. Among those more than 70% are very satisfied with their coverage. Can we tolerate such a situation?

Of the 50 million, a chunk voluntarily choose not to buy health insurance even though they can afford to. A large chunk are not chronically uninsured, but between jobs and therefore in a gap. Some goodly percentage are eligible for Medicaid or governmental assistance already. And, at bottom line, no one can be turned away from an emergency medical facility for lack of insurance.

Here's what the census bureau published:

The US Census Bureau annually reports statistics on the uninsured. According to its most recent figures, in 2007, nearly 37 million of the uninsured were employment-age adults (ages 18 to 64), and more than 27 million worked at least part time. Approximately 61% of the roughly 45 million uninsured live in households with incomes under $50,000 (13.5 million below $25,000 and 14.5 million at $25,000 to $49,000). And 38% live in households with incomes of $50,000 or more (8.5 million at $50,000 to $74,999 and 9.1 million at $75,000 or more.

According to the Census Bureau, people of Hispanic origin were the most affected by being uninsured; nearly a third of Hispanics lack health insurance. However, this rate decreased slightly from 2006 to 2007, from 15.3 to 14.8 million, a decrease of 2 percentage points (34.1% to 32.1%). The state with the highest percentage of uninsured was Texas (24.1% average for three years, 2004-2006). New Mexico has the second highest percentage of residents without health insurance at 22%.

It has been estimated that nearly one fifth of the uninsured population is able to afford insurance, almost one quarter is eligible for public coverage, and the remaining 56% need financial assistance (8.9% of all Americans). An estimated 5 million of those without health insurance are considered "uninsurable" because of pre-existing conditions.

Now, consider the solution being proposed. We'll drastically overhaul the healthcare system. We will provide "universal coverage" and in the process destroy the private insurance sector, reduce the availability of care, degrade the income of healthcare professionals and take away the satisfaction of the 70% who don't want their healthcare screwed with.

The cost? Estimates vary but none less than one trillion dollars and most of them ranging over 2 trillion. Let's do the numbers quickly--it's easy even for me. You simply write the numbers down and cross out the zeros to get it where you can handle it as simple numbers.

Two trillion bucks at average to cover part of the 50 million uninsured means with perfect coverage of all of them, the net cost is $40,000 per person. Seems like you could get a lot of insurance for that amount. The concensus is that in reality the success will only insure about 14 million of the 50 because another 36 million will lose coverage. But let's give it the benefit of the doubt.

How about you just send a $40K check to all of those folks and don't screw with my coverage?

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Pondering Three Questions


Take a moment to read this:

The Futility of Hope in a Time of Change

Did you like the graph at the top of the page? Did you notice the detailed linking to support the facts?

Most amazing of all in that piece is the embrace of denial of reality by the Obamatrons. It really is a discouraging view of America.

Feria de San Fermin

Every town in Spain has a patron saint. For Madrid it is San Isidro. The feast of the saint is celebrated with a feria in his honor. It might involve a parade, a holy ritual as the penance of Santa Semana in Sevilla, a pagan act like burning the Fallas in Valencia or something else, but it always involves a corrida.

Papa Hemingway followed the bulls in the summer of 1931 and his experiences are the basis for "Death in the Afternoon"--a non-fiction description of bull-fighting. His summer was fictionalized in his first best-seller, "The Sun Also Rises." Today, kids in school are more likely to be tasked with reading Maya Angelou than Hemingway. We don't want them to become inadvertently masculine.

For those outside of Spain, probably the most famous aspect of bull-fighting is the running of the bulls in Pamplona. It is called an encierro.

A traditional corrida involves six bulls and three matadors who kill two each. The fighting bull is, by regulation, four years old and should have been raised in a ganaderia where he has never seen a man on foot. When the bulls arrive, usually by truck, in the town of their corrida they are corralled often at a place away from the Plaza de Toros. On the morning of the event, they are moved to the bull-ring and it often involves blocking off the streets and driving them through the lanes accompanied by a half dozen docile steers. The steers serve to keep them herded where the fighting bull is less likely to become aggressive.

The event is triggered with a cannon shot or fireworks rocket in Pamplona. Hemingway and others leaped the barricades and ran ahead of the bulls to demonstrate their courage (and probable degree of drunkeness.) Today, like much of our lives, the event has grown to excess.

Crowds fill the streets, people stumble and expensive fighting bulls are often damaged and rendered unsuitable for the ring in the afternoon. The tradition has grown to include an opening of the gates of the Plaza de Toros and of the barrera to allow runners into the ring itself. There they torment the bulls and steers and do yet more damage.

Another Feria de San Fermin has begun:

Monday, July 06, 2009

No Airspace Problems

Yesterday it was Veep Biden green-lighting. Today it is the Saudi's giving a go-ahead.

Overflight Will be Fine

Things seem to be moving rapidly into place. Would be fascinating to be privy to back-channel intel comm regarding satellite imagery, sigint data and various other components. Double sun-rises coming soon?

Only the Good Die Young

I'll shed not a single tear for the man who so incompetently put us in harm's way:

Robert Strange MacNamara Dead at 93

California: The US in a Petri Dish

It amazes me that the obvious can be so readily ignored. The government has devolved into a tremendous wealth transfer apparatus. People get elected to office on principle and then once in Washington they shed the mantle and apply the basic truth that political longevity comes from distributing bread and circuses to the masses. Reward your base and punish your nay-sayers.

Currently it doesn't seem to matter which party the panderer claims to represent. Sure, you can find a more extreme flavor of corruption on the left side of the aisle, but don't doubt for a minute that the supposed good guys on the right are equally venal.

The excesses of the current administration aren't appreciably different in any aspect except for scale. Which raises questions, the answers to which are obvious.

Can any reasonable person believe that bundling vast sums of money and sending them off into "shovel-ready" government programs will really result in creation of stable jobs and increases in free-market productivity? Can government run a complex industry better than trained management? Can everyone have everything and all of it be paid by the top 2% of wage earners?

California is so broke that they can't even borrow money to pay their bills. They've spent it so fast they can't even issue the tax refunds that are owed. They are sending out IOU's to indicate recognition of debt but nothing more. Try to stimulate your landlord, utility company or grocer with an IOU.

The Economic Truth for America from the Sacramento Lab

I like this particularly well-crafted paragraph:

The federal picture is so bleak because the Obama administration is the most fiscally irresponsible in the history of the U.S. I would imagine that he would be the intergalactic champion as well, if we could gather the data on deficits on other worlds. Obama has taken George W. Bush’s inattention to deficits and elevated it to an art form.

The problem is that the uneducated and unwashed in America simply don't comprehend that goods and services must be paid for and that industry fettered in governmental red tape cannot compete or be successful.

Until we realize those simple truths we are doomed.

Sunday, July 05, 2009

Biden Blurt Avoids Backchannel

The Messiah thought it was safe for the weekend. He sent Joe to the Middle East and got him off camera so that he and Michelle could hog some limelight and fireworks for a while. Joe can't get into too much trouble when he's wincing about the tight fit of those new combat boots.

But, now he's back and on the news. Check this out:

No Need to Ask Us, You're Sovereign

What he says might be true, but he is the Vice-President of the United States and what he says on a major news program is viewed as administration position by the rest of the world.

Israel knows what is in their self-interest. They know the threat and they know their capability. They undoubtedly would advise, if not necessarily seek consent, before acting. That is basic. But Biden doesn't need to green-light on TV. He might be off the reservation on this. He might simply be bloviating. He might very well be tipping off the Islamic Republic of an impending operation.

Whatever. What the Veep needs to know is that this sort of message is best done backchannel, "eyes only" and not in the media.

Filling the Square

Few things can trigger an irrational response like the subject of burning the American flag. You'll see the patriotic hairs rise on the back of red necks as they bristle about millions having fought and died for that flag. That's why when the country is rapidly unraveling it is de rigeur for some fool in the Capitol to propose amending the Constitution to prohibit flag burning. Immediately we have the grand show of bipartisanship as idiots fall all over themselve expressing their outrage and patriotic fervor. It always passes the House by overwhelming margin and then founders in the Senate where it is impossible to raise a quorum from the dozing, the lazy, and the senile.

Well, it's back again. Here's a great analysis of the history:

Protecting Symbolic Speech

Freedom of speech is any easy one to defend when the speech is something you agree with and support. It only becomes problematic when it is outrageous and abhorrent speech. That is a lot tougher to tolerate.

Flags get burned to attract attention. The act will collect a lot of media drones looking for violent responses and dutifully fomenting any violence they can to make it in time for deadline at the local station. Once attention is grabbed, the revolutionary will shout his slogans and be satisfied. End of story.

Flag burning is not endemic. There is no rash of banner arsonists. When was the last time you got smoke in your eyes from a burning flag? It is a non-problem.

I'd rather not start down the slippery slope of restricting speech that offends me. My speech daily inflames someone, I'm certain. I wouldn't have it any other way.

Meanwhile, if Congress could get back to work and maybe start dismantling some government...

Some Texas History

Some serious music:

They say that in the darkest days of his effort to extricate us from the unpleasantness in Southeast Asia Richard Nixon would view the movie "Patton." I watched it again last night. It is one of those great flicks that reveals something new to me everytime I see it. There is no question that Patton was a warrior and not comfortable in the nuanced world of the careerists. We could use some more like him these days.

I doubt that the Messiah could identify with the message of "Patton" or its relevance to the America he seeks to create. But, maybe here is a movie he could spend some time with:

There is a lot of that spirit remaining in this country. He should recognize it for what it is and compare it to the sniveling sycophants with which he seeks to direct this country. We will find our Travis, Bowie, Crockett, Sequin and others like them.

Saturday, July 04, 2009

Saturday Morning Quiet Rocker

A bit of mood music before the fireworks:

Taking Sides

It was definitely a blockbuster yesterday afternoon. Gov. Palin announced her intention to not run for re-election and then topped it with the announcement that she was resigning and ceding power to her Lt. Governor for the remaining 18 months of her term. The media and the bloviators revved up instantly. Most gathered to drive stakes through the vampire's heart and nails into her coffin.

One, however, took a different view:

The Risky Strategy Explained

The American people have short memories. They quickly overlook or forget wide stances in restrooms and cigars in the Oval Office. Scandals disappear and so far the Palin gambit isn't a scandal but merely an unusual tactic.

There is a lot to recommend the Bill Kristol viewpoint. Being able to forestall the constant court battles as the left attempt to undermine her will be a very positive outcome. Turning over the state to a Lt. Governor who is on the same sheet of music and bequeathing to him the mantle of incumbency is a grand gesture which bodes well for the state and can be couched in positive terms of unselfishness, devotion to the good of the party and reasonably controlled ambition.

The ability to move through the contiguous 48, meeting people, building staff, raising funds, getting into the policy loop on issues and being in the time cycle to respond to bogus MSM stories all mean a positive outcome.

It is risky, but there's a good chance it plays out well. No guts, no glory.

Or, she might go fishing.

Friday, July 03, 2009

I'm Not Sure...

When I watch a baseball game these days, I'm amazed that anyone still has the audacity to deny the involvement of modern chemistry in the professional athlete. When a mature adult becomes suddenly massively muscled over a year, you've got to suspect it isn't vitamins and dedication in the off-season. Pro-football players are an entirely different level. They resemble something from a science fiction movie about future warrior clones. Lots of 'roids involved.

So, I look at this and I wonder:

Now, I don't deny they are a talented duo. But when I compare them to some of the petite beauties that they compete against, I've got to wonder about their conditioning regimen. They are simply huge.

And, then when I look at some of the action pictures I flash back to those amazing East German women's Olympic teams when Gunter, Helmut and Lars...ooops, I mean Gertrude, Helen and Loretta, beat up on the rest of the world.

Are these two women at all?

The Declaration of Independence

I face several classrooms full of community college students every year and confess to being appalled at the lack of any knowledge about their government or the significant history of our grand experiment in democracy. I try to teach my course in American Government as something more than a trivia contest. I try to talk about process and function and problem-solving and ideology. But, I usually find myself having to return to essentials, like what is a legislature and an executive.

When it comes to our essential documents, none have read our brief Constitution and usually after ten or twelve weeks in a semester I get tired of telling them it is an assignment from day one of the class. They simply don't know what is there, nor do they care to know. They want "hope" and "change" and government to fix things for them so they can Tweet and surf and FaceBook and listen to their iPods.

Confusion inevitably reigns between the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence. They don't know what that document did, nor do they note that twelve years elapsed between the two papers, filled with a revolution and a faltering attempt at a confederation.

The Declaration was a statement of principles. It expressed fundamental beliefs and the violation of those principles was established as cause for revolt. It isn't, however, a document of law in our system.

On this week-end commemorating the signing of the Declaration, it is interesting to note this piece:

American Thinker Tells Us What the Declaration Isn't

The perspective is an important one as we watch the news unfold each day about the dismantling of our freedoms by the government which was charged to "protect and defend" them.

Maybe you should take a few minutes and scan through the words of Thomas Jefferson again:

The Declaration of Independence

I wonder what it would take to re-establish the self-evidence of that in Washington?

Thursday, July 02, 2009

Get Over It!

Do you bother trashing someone you don't worry will ever succeed? Do you spend any time concentrating on someone who is no threat? Who do you focus your energy on? Is it your strongest competitor? Your worst nightmare? The evil that could come to pass or the one that is recognized by all around you as little more than a childhood bogieman? You reserve your efforts for serious threats.

You've heard about it all ready, I'm sure. It runs a cool 10,000 words--that's well beyond the lifetime articulate production of most of my students. It is a monumental collection of pseudo-damaging quotes, hearsay and innuendoes. Read it for yourself:

Vanity Fair Fills the Void With the Barracuda of Wasilla

I don't know what they are afraid of. But quite clearly Governor Palin remains high on their threat list. Why do you suppose that might be? She's attractive, vibrant, young, conservative, successful in an executive position, outside the Beltway, connected to the heartland and realistically (not idealistically) familiar with conservation, preservation and natural resources. She's not Obama, Pelosi, Reid, Schumer, Ginsberg, Clinton(s), Kennedy or anyone like them.

Is she the future of the GOP? I kind of doubt it. I don't see them getting out of their "good ol' boy" cycle of back-slappers, insiders, glad-handers and philanderers. Too bad. We could do worse. And, they are scared of her.

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Between the Lines

"Can we come in for a minute?"

The answer ought to always be no. The principle of British common law, that a man's home is his castle, was basic in the thoughts of the Framers when they gave us the second amendment and the fourth and the fifth. We have a right to keep and bear arms and to be secure in our domicile without fear of our government probing into our activities.

Read this, and question the justification, then the bureaucracy and finally the portents for the future:

Trailer Trash, a Pastor and a Cop

Did you catch that about the Houston ATF district extending to the border? That's a lot of territory and a lot of gun owners in Texas. Makes you wonder how many door knocks are coming.

Did you catch that about the minister bought two handguns "of a type drug gangsters prefer..."? What the hell are those? Is that about color, caliber, grip size, or action type? What kind do drug gangsters prefer?

How about "on this day they weren't wearing raid jackets or combat boots..."? So, a couple of guys in bulging sport shirts come knocking at your door without warrants and want to know what kind of guns you've got. Are you going to let them in? Are you going to tell them you've got five loaded handguns in the house, a cache of ammo in the back closet and a tactical shot-gun under the bed? Given the country from Houston to the border and the expected response time of the local gendarmerie, that wouldn't be an improbable scenario for a prudent homeowner.

The pretext of tracking guns which showed up in Mexican crimes as justification for such activity in the US is flimsy. The Mexican police haven't demonstrated much in the way of accurate record tracking and US federal law prohibits quite specifically the maintenance of gun owner databases as reported in that news item. So, how do they know that "more than 7500 firearms" came from specific states?

This is going to get worse. Remember, the answer at the door is "NO!"

And Molon Labe.

It Might Have Been Fallujah

Imagine how Iraq might have turned out if we'd been just a little bit more committed and Pelosi/Reid/Schumer/Obama/etc. hadn't been undermining the effort at every nightly news opportunity: