Tuesday, August 31, 2010

The Ignorance Defense

We heard it during the confirmation hearings for Sec. Treasury Tim "TurboTax" Geithner. He was ignorant and couldn't be blamed for tax evasion because TurboTax (aka IRS for Dummies) was too complicated. We heard it a couple of weeks ago when ethics charges popped up against pre-historic Rep. Charlie Rangel. He can't be blamed because he didn't know what was moral, ethical and legal. The cliche has always been that "ignorance of the law is no excuse."

Now we've got it in my backyard where Dem. Congress-critter Eddie Bernice Johnson is under the gun for doling out Congressional Black Caucus scholarships to friends and family as though they were M&Ms at the circus.

There Were No Qualified Applicants

Have I got that story right? She's a multi-term congress-person elected from a predominantly black district in Dallas. She is a member of the CBC and they've got a scholarship program set up to assist constituents. The Hon. Ms Johnson didn't know that giving multiple scholarships per year to her grand-children was nepotism? She didn't know that the focus of the program should be the under-privileged in her district rather than her own family? She didn't know that ethically she should be at arm's length from the awards process? She didn't know if there were any more qualified applicants than her own kin?

I don't know either. I don't know if we can be served by legislators who are so incredibly ignorant and devoid of scruples.

Do you think she will be re-elected? Charlie Rangel? Yeah, me too...

Monday, August 30, 2010

Getting a Big Picture

The market eases down to start another week, hovering around the symbolic benchmark of 10,000 but almost certain to drop well below by Friday when more dismal job info will be released. The revision last week of the second quarter growth figures to under 2% makes the decline a virtual certainty.

Yet, the Bamster blames Bush. He views the cliche line in his speech so important that he gives it a couple of times accompanied by microphone taps to check if his sound system is still working. It must be the product of a government procurement contract awarded to a firm in Chicago with connections.

What he can't seem to absorb is the very basic concept that government doesn't create jobs. Government creates bureaucracy and regulation and a black hole which consumes money, taking it out of the economy and precluding investment or productivity. Government can only create an environment in which the private sector can create jobs.

Government can clear obstacles. Government can remove uncertainty. Government can promote profit-making. Government can enable entrepreneurship by standing aside.

When the future is unclear. When debt mounts without hope of repayment. When economic reality is ignored such as today when the government announces intention to provide refinancing on home mortgages for people who are unemployed, then you don't get jobs created. You get a reluctance to build business, invest in the future or create a job.

Two thousand page legislation which no one reads before enactment and no one understands afterward can't provide certainty. There is doubt about whether a business will be allowed to make a profit. There is concern with liquidity rather than potential for success. Credit is withheld in favor of cash in hand awaiting the next round of regulation, audit and arbitrary confiscations.

Stimulating by throwing money at favored political supporters is ludicrous. It won't work. In fact, the better course would be to propose a parallel to FDR's Bank Holiday. This time, it should be a Government Holiday. It should be long, it should be complete and it should be started immediately. Take off for a year. Adjourn and let the country function. Stop redistribution. Stop propping up failure. Stop mandating. Stop over-spending. Stop doing anything beyond the most basic of required services. At the federal level that takes us to defense and security and not much else. The postal service is dispensable. That should get the recovery stimulated more than adequately.

Problem Solving

Gerald Ford, exceptional athlete in college, was characterized as clumsy and by extension an incompetent President because he stumbled coming down the steps of Air Force One. George W. Bush was ridiculed as ignorant and a draft dodger despite a Harvard MBA and six years in military jets.

But some people get a pass, even when the evidence is overwhelming that they can't deal with simple problems.

Should he call a staff meeting? Is Rahm available to deal with this? Should the Secret Service have the gate cut down? Can't he control the weather? Is Michelle offering a clue to squat down and make the Bamster and the umbrella smaller? Should he attempt to loft the umbrella over the cross-bar? Will they get wet if he tries to edge the umbrella under the bar? Did he forget his jacket? Why didn't protocol check out the width of the gate and the umbrella? Will he ever come back to New Orleans?

Taking the Measure

Before you lay your wager at the track, you might mosey on down to the paddock and ogle the horses. You can get an impression on who might be the winner in that race.

When you watch a prize fight, you size up the opponents. Sure, they weigh within a few pounds of each other, unless they are heavyweights where there is no upper limit. Once again you can make some judgments on how they are going to fare. You can learn about conditioning and attitudes and toughness.

So, here are a couple of recent pix of the leaders of the two greatest powers in the world. Who will you put your money on when the fight gets rough?

Sunday, August 29, 2010

The Obvious Unsaid

The TV news last night didn't say it or take note, but it was blatantly obvious. The Restore Honor rally was huge. If you've ever walked the mall from the Lincoln Memorial to the WW II Memorial and on to the towering Washington Monument, you know that is a lot of ground. When you see all of that ground filled with people on an August afternoon in DC, you know that you are looking at a crowd. It doesn't matter if you say 300k, 500,000 or a "million", you've got a lot of people. When the race-baiters rallied there several years ago, they called it a "Million Man March" and that got quietly accepted. Yesterday, you didn't need to be told a number to know that something is alive in America.

The contrast was the high-school parking lot several blocks away where the Rev. Al Sharpton was flogging the same old one-trick pony. It was a dying gasp, an attempt to beat a drum that has long been over-played and is now worn out. In a nation which has just elected an African American with a Kenyan father and a white mother, how can we still accept the strident shouts of racism?

No one can deny that there is prejudice in America. We've battled the institutionalized discrimination and we've largely overturned the organized segregation of Jim Crow. We've offered equal opportunity and stretched to affirmative action. We self-flagellated over past sins and at least nominally atoned.

Dr. King dreamed of a nation making judgments based on content of character not color of skin. That's why yesterday's contrast was remarkable.

Eleanor Holmes Norton Sees No Difference

"The 'March on Washington' changed America," Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.) said at the Sharpton rally, referring to King's speech. "Our country reached to overcome the low points of our racial history. Glenn Beck's march will change nothing."

She doesn't get it. Dr. King did cause a nation to rethink its handling of racial issues. Beck's rally wasn't seeking to change that, it is seeking to remember it and to continue that movement. Norton is the one who can't let color go, not Beck. Her rally was all about color, Beck's was all about being a proud American and preserving those things which made this nation great.

Yet, maybe Norton and Sharpton are still right. The Washington Post still found it essential to point out:

Sharpton drew a mostly black crowd of union members, church-goers, college students and civil rights activists. The Obama administration weighed in, too, with Education Secretary Arne Duncan speaking of education as the "civil rights issue of this generation."

The Beck crowd, meanwhile, was overwhelmingly white, and many in the crowd described themselves as conservatives with deep concern about the country's political leadership and its direction.

That is the language of racism. It is the continuation of noting the color of skin rather than the content of character. It fails to accept that America is overwhelmingly white...we are nationally only 18% black. A representative and proportional crowd would be a white majority by default. Buried in the language we get the perpetuation of stereotypes...the Sharpton crowd was "union members" so by default the Beck crowd was comprised of oppressive management and bourgeouisie. The Sharpton crowd as "church-goers" implying that the Beck crowd, despite being labeled conservatives was irreligious. The Sharpton crowd was "college students" leading to the conclusion that the Beck bunch was less educated. And Sharpton's supporters were "civil rights activists" which means that Beck's people are opposed to equality, liberty and freedom.


But still adolescent...


Not THE funniest, but certainly some chuckles. Adult rated:

Well, maybe not adult, but adolescent...

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Gun Control

Head to Head Comparison

It would be hard to miss the regular drumbeat of the Messiah's rhetoric. Even now, twenty months into his administration nothing is his fault. It is all inherited from the previous President, George W. Bush.

To be fair, it would be very difficult to objectively evaluate the responsibility. It just isn't that easy to get a parallel situation, but we do have one now.

Louisiana Makes a Choice

This week is the fifth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina and the Louisiana meltdown. There is more than enough blame to be handed out for the handling of that situation. You can fault New Orleans mayor Nagin or LA governor Blanco or the Washington bureaucracy or even the Corps of Engineers management of the control system. The left likes to point at GWB as the failure that was pivotal.

Now, we've had the summer of the Gulf. The BP blowout and the incessant coverage of the eco-nightmare (or maybe not) of oil gushing from the sea floor on 24/7 webcam coverage. Oil soaked pelicans and floating redfish every evening on the news along with video of pristine beaches emptied of vacationers.

So, we've got dueling disasters. Two presidents, two challenges, one beleaguered state. What do the people who have lived it have to say?

They believe Bush did a better job by two-to-one! And 81% demand resumption of off-shore drilling.

Is the Bamster so totally tone-deaf that he can continue to ignore this sort of thing?

Whose Memorial Is It?

He gave a speech. It was memorable. It was historic. It was about a dream. It wasn't who you're thinking.

It was Lincoln. It was Gettysburg. It was short and it captured the dream of a nation reunited and experimenting with a government of, by and for the people. The big white edifice is Lincoln's Memorial.

Yes, Martin gave a speech there. It was memorable as well. But his memorial is going to be a block or two down the Mall. This building isn't his memorial and this day is not his day. And the message that the usual racist bleaters are raising isn't Rev. King's dream.

Honoring the Troops Not On Their Agenda

Simply because a great man gave a great speech in a beautiful venue does not give that venue to the memory of that man in perpetuity. A rally to honor America's finest does not dishonor America's past. The lunacy of leaping from MLK to racism and denial of free speech in the nation's capital must be recognized for what it is. It is pure race-baiting and hypocrisy.

Saturday Morning Rocker

Maybe we need to look at some cars:

Friday, August 27, 2010


Missing one of the greats today:

Save the Animals!

You've got the right to "keep and bear arms" according to Heller v. DC. Of course you do! None of us among the residual sane slice of Americans ever doubted that. Yet, the idea that we (the people) would retain the power to withdraw our consent to be governed should the government become oppressive is anathema to so very many folks.

They lost the battle, but the war isn't over by a long shot (no pun intended.) They, meaning the Messiah's administration, will soldier on in their fight to disarm us. This one was linked by old buddy, Billy Beck:

Toxic Substance Control Act of 1976 Revision

Apparently it is necessary to over-rule the wisdom of Congress in 1976 (a bi-centennial of our revolutionary application of privately owned firearms) that lead in ammunition be exempted from the law.

Sure, we can produce ammunition without lead. The enviro-whackos and the hoplophobes joined forces to get lead shot taken out of shotguns and replaced by steel and bismuth. Expense is no problem for them, they want you to save your money anyway.

More on EPA Effort

I really like that comment by the Weekly Standard that gun-owners and hunters are the only remaining predominantly conservative group that the administration has not yet intentionally provoked! The day before election day is a perfect day for a "Ban the Bullets" rally in towns across America!

So, if this were enacted you would then become a law-breaker for possessing all of that ammunition you currently own. Recall that truism about achieving totalitarian control by creation of a network of over-arching laws which insure that every citizen can be arrested at any time because inevitably they are law-breakers.

Might have to create a blanket waiver for undocumented aliens who currently have exemption under federal guidelines from compliance with American laws.

Saturday Morning Update: Petition Denied!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Gimme an O....Gimme a B...

They call themselves a news magazine...still! They supposedly report on events in depth. They label advertisements and they identify editorials, supposedly. The features though are NEWS. Which used to mean objective observations of current events.

Take this staid and sober evaluation of policy:

Yes, the stimulus has cut taxes for 95% of working Americans, bailed out every state, hustled record amounts of unemployment benefits and other aid to struggling families and funded more than 100,000 projects to upgrade roads, subways, schools, airports, military bases and much more.

That sure reads like a campaign speech that screams for fact-checking.

For starters, the Recovery Act is the most ambitious energy legislation in history, converting the Energy Department into the world's largest venture-capital fund. It's pouring $90 billion into clean energy, including unprecedented investments in a smart grid; energy efficiency; electric cars; renewable power from the sun, wind and earth; cleaner coal; advanced biofuels; and factories to manufacture green stuff in the U.S. The act will also triple the number of smart electric meters in our homes, quadruple the number of hybrids in the federal auto fleet and finance far-out energy research through a new government incubator modeled after the Pentagon agency that fathered the Internet.

Golly gee, Mr. Wizard, how do we get "renewable power from the earth"? Do we re-heat geo-thermal? And what kind of factories manufacture "green stuff"? Is that like the goo they pour on people in that old game-show? And gimme a large box of "far-out energy research..." whatever that is.

Critics have complained that while the New Deal left behind iconic monuments — courthouses, parks, the Lincoln Tunnel, the Grand Coulee Dam — this New New Deal will leave a mundane legacy of sewage plants, repaved roads, bus repairs and caulked windows. In fact, it will create new icons too: solar arrays, zero-energy border stations, an eco-friendly Coast Guard headquarters, an "advanced synchrotron light source" in a New York lab. But its main legacy will be change.

So, FDR built the Lincoln Tunnel and Grand Coulee Dam and things like that. I think I understand the "zero-energy border station" as a manifestation of immigration policy already in place. I guess an "eco-friendly Coast Guard Hq" would be a military building that said "hello" back to you when you work late at night or maybe one that didn't generate tons of bureaucratic CYA paperwork and PowerPoint presentations. I've got to question the "advanced synchrotron". Wasn't the current synchrotron good enough?

And, still in character the main legacy will be change! Yes indeed, we've just bought $785 billion dollars worth of change.

Read the whole disgusting pandering piece of political propaganda and then swear off Time magazine forever:

How the Stimulus is Changing America or "Hail to the Chief"

This is a fantasy land! It's a drug dream gone overboard. Something has to change soon.

It's Good To Be Da King

Let's say you didn't grow up dining on Escoffier-inspired culinary delights. You missed out on Michelin three-star pilgrimages while your Kenyan father was abandoning you with just enough memories to write a book and your gad-about mother was measuring up an Indonesian bureaucrat for his political bona fides. You've been so busy, what with editing the Harvard Law Review and simultaneously avoiding any actual legal writing then hustling around organizing the community of Hyde Park in south Chicago, that you never really gave much thought to what is the most luxurious eating you can do.

They've got a historic specialty in the mountains of Colorado that dates back to the mining boom years. It's called "Hangtown Fry". The legend goes that a miner hit a rich vein on his claim and when he brought some samples in to the assay office and it was confirmed that he had struck it rich, he went down to the cafe and wanted to have the most expensive breakfast they could provide him. The proprietor told him that the two most expensive things he had available were fresh eggs and oysters. So, he ordered up a mess of eggs and oysters which became known as Hangtown Fry. It isn't that good a combination. Go with the Denver omelet.

Today, we've given oysters a suspicious background and probably bumped the cost for the next decade up to Leadville Colorado, 1859 levels. And with a few hundred cases of salmonella over a population of roughly 200 million citizens in most of the western and central states, we've pretty well trashed eggs. I guess Hangtown Fry is not on the King's menu.

That leaves lobster; lots and lots of lobster. Lobsters in Maine, lobsters in Spain, lobsters on a train, lobsters maybe plain. But hold the green eggs and ham.

Lots of Lobster Here, There and Everywhere

Yes, I know you've lost your job and hamburger helper is on the menu again, but if you want the King and the Queen to keep their vacation energy up, let them eat lobster. It's good to be da king!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Why No One Watches

Mainstream network news is at death's door. Want to know why?

Here is ABC "Breaking News" coverage of the Messiah in Martha's Vineyard. The top-tier reporter heads his column with an advisory that he is going to give you "power, pop and probings..."

Have a Great Time, Wish You Weren't Here

Some power:

As they departed the restaurant at 9:55 pm ET, reporters asked the president if he was enjoying his vacation even with the rain.

"I'm having a great time,” the president said. “Doing a lot of reading"

Wow, that's breaking news all right. And to put it in context, globally speaking,

Minutes after leaving the restaurant, Vernon Jordan appeared on a rerun of CBS’ The Good Wife, trying to purchase the fictitious Chicago law firm Stern, Lockhart & Gardner.(The episode originally aired in May.)

Jordan is a friend of the owner of State Road Restaurant – so much so that you can hear his voice on the restaurant’s phone message..

“He’s a friend of mine and I adore his voice,” owner Mary Kenworth told ABC News. The restaurant opened June 2009, but Kenworth and her husband were the original owners of The Sweet Life CafĂ©

Just a coincidence? I think not! There's a message here and this probing, powerful and popping reporter is digging out some linkages...a TV show, a fictitious law firm (in Chicago!) and a voice on a restaurant answering machine!

There appears to be a security leak, however:

Kenworth said she’d been asked not to talk about what the Obamas ordered, but “the whole table got lobster tempura with island corn succotash and lemon vinaigrette” in addition to their individual entrees.

That's serious reporting folks. Apparently Michelle has relapsed and the healthy eating program is sidelined as she encourages her friends to gorge on not only individual meals but massive portions of lobster tempura! What next? Death-by-chocolate?

Finally, leaving no lead unfollowed, no stone unturned, the probing reporter finishes with this tidbit:

Also of note: Ann Jordan and Valerie Jarrett are cousins. Ann Jordan's mother and Jarrett’s mother's father were siblings.

There may be video on this later, so I've got my schedule blocked and my DVR set to record the ABC News tonight so I don't miss a thing.

What Does It Mean

Another primary Tuesday passes and the results confound the pundits yet again. What can we make of this round?

Florida senate race a three-way: The Messiah came to town and sort of, kind of, semi-enthusiastically endorsed his bro, but gave the secret handshake to Arlen Spector...er, Charlie "Turncoat" Crist. Representative-by-inheritance Kendrick Meeks defeated millionaire party-boat panderer Jeff Greene, but Charlie "Once a Republican" Crist will be running as an independent, strictly on his principles of doing whatever is necessary to get elected even if it requires abandoning his party, cozying up to the Messiah and double-talking whatever the polls suggest he should embrace.

November prediction here? Meeks gets black vote by default, but can't carry white independents because of Bamster link. Crist is too transparent for blacks and Latinos, and will be reviled by Republicans. Looks good for Rubio.

In the governor's race, the trend to dumping Beltway insiders continues as Bill McCollum lost big to non-politico Rick Scott. The catch-phrase for success seems to be "private enterprise, met a payroll, created private sector jobs..."

Arizona Maverick Still the One: He has been trashed and vilified in a dozen ways but when it comes down to votes, John McCain still is known as a guy who will cut through the crap and speak the truth EVEN WHEN THAT TRUTH IS NOT WHAT YOU WANT TO HEAR. Former Congress-critter and radio blatherer, J.D. Hayworth proved himself to be less rather than more when he campaigned on a decidedly low road. When will aspiring pols concentrate on what they bring to the table rather than how bad the other guy is? It would sure be refreshing.

Palin Pulls a Party Putsch in Alaska: It ain't easy to unseat an incumbent senator in a primary. Yet new-comer and Tea Party favorite, Joe Miller looks like he's done it. The Palin endorsement magic seems to still have some power.

What can we tell from this week's results? Incumbents are an endangered species. Party is irrelevant, both Reps and Dems are under the gun. Conservatives rather than Republicans seem favored and this time around it is Tea Party conservatism not Religious Right moral values-based ideology. New kids on the block trump old-timers in general and successful business experience is clearly a plus. Maybe the Bamster has taught a valuable lesson to the independent electorate after all!

Hint of a Change

Does anybody still like Robert Gibbs? Did anybody ever like Gibbsie? He's not a pretty face, ala-Dana Perino. He doesn't exude intellect like Tony Snow. He's not neighborhood friendly cute Dee Dee Meyers. Actually he grates. His humor falls flat, his answers are vacuous and his command of the facts always seems nebulous. It would be hard to describe Gibbs as a liability in an administration characterized by questionable competence. He certainly fits in, but that isn't a compliment.

So, with the Bamster going low-profile on his ten day get-away from vacations before resuming campaigning into the final pre-election weeks, we've got the Gibbs guy replaced by what might be the future:

Fitting the Ethnic Mold with Panache

Someone less defensive, more self-effacing, possibly with closer ties to the inside circle of Messiah-land could be just the ticket to recapture some of those good old days of main-stream media compliance.

Apparently Burton has been in the political spokesman role for some time, dating back to press service with Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA) and before that with Congressman Bill Luther (D-MN). Remarkably little additional bio info jumps out for genial Bill.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Jobs Created

Yes folks, your government is hard at work creating jobs to get us out of this economic downturn. And, I want you to know these aren't simply make-work jobs. They are serious government positions requiring skills and high levels of education. They will be making a difference in society and offer a career path to the highest levels of the administration:

Skilled Linguists To Decode Street, Sanskrit, Pashtu and More

Dat right! Word! Yo mama taught you ebonics and dat be da ticket to da future. Of course, where one goes seeking accreditation in ebonics remains a bit problematic, but I'm certain there are a number of quality institutions which offer the degree.

Now, you will also have the problem that when you take this job and translate the street vernacular for the DEA, you will then have this huge bulls-eye on your back, front and both sides as the local homies learn what you be doing.

Who, seriously, writes a job description like that? Why would someone have sought such a credential in the first place (if there was one.)? You don't teach ebonics in schools, you learn it on the street. Like all slang it evolves almost weekly and it is very regional in dialect. What a street thug in Oakland says on a subject might be considerably different from the guy in Compton which might be indecipherable to the brother in Bed-Sty and misunderstood by your friends in Cabrini Green.

And, how many drug deals go down in Sanskrit these days?

Monday, August 23, 2010

The Modern Alternative to Extreme Prejudice

We long ago lost the courage of our convictions when it comes to fighting the war against our enemies by all means available. Those were days of agents and double-agents and labyrinths of mirrors. They were James Bond writ large and in blood. They were KGB and MI6 and Mossad and Project Phoenix.

We admitted that not all of our enemies were in uniforms and that not all of our soldiers were either. It isn't for the squeamish and we are nothing these days if not squeamish. Harry Reid, Barney Frank, Nancy Pelosi and even the Bamster would upchuck on their Bruno Maglis at the thought of a termination with extreme prejudice.

Personally, I kind of like the concept. It isn't for everyone, but in some cases it seems so very appropriate. Is anybody out there thinking Wikileaks? Perish the thought.

First we must posture and huff and puff and pout that if Julian Assange doesn't stop this immediately we will be very upset and we might send him to bed without cookies. We will have Eric Holder issue a stern warning and then we will do nothing.

But, here's a less sanguinary solution that will be less satisfying but equally effective:

American Spectator Suggests Cyber-attack

I was really holding out for a rape/molestation trial and then twenty years of small apartment dwelling with the Swedish equivalent of Big Leroy as a room-mate but this might work for the time being.

Two Years in the Future

The question can be worded in several ways. It relates to the outcome of the 2012 Presidential election. Just a week ago we looked at an item in Politico that responded to the question of the Bamster being a one-term president with the cryptic, "Yes...if he lasts that long"!

Here's a slightly different approach to the prediction which comes up with a similar but different answer:

Does Obama WANT to Be a One-Term President?

They couch the answer in different terms. They see him as having an ambition to be above it all, a "senior statesman" called upon for solutions to the world's problems without the constraints of operating within the structure of a democratic republic. He reaches a transcendent level where he doesn't need to appeal to voters, build consensus, craft compromise or even balance a budget. He assumes the status of global oracle where supplicants come seeking his counsel and he reigns in supreme comfort and continued luxury.

That might be true. He certainly has shown little concern for the dirty work of actually governing. He is much more comfortable in the world of gad-about campaigner and celebrity visitor living the high life and being worshiped by a huge cadre of supplicants. This grind of actually being in the office working the issues is so much less fun than speaking of hope and change and a world of kumbaya.

Yet, long time readers may recall that over a year ago I shaped the question of the next Presidential election in totally different words. Just like the Politico and the Times of London, I observed that the Messiah seems to operate without concern for what the electorate wants or cares about. He moved as though he didn't worry about his popularity or support or future voters. My conclusion though was much different.

My conclusion was not the somewhat disastrous outcome of a shortened term postulated by the Politico, nor was it a grandiose retirement to a penthouse office upstairs above mundane government suggested by the Times.

I said he operated as though he knows the he will not be up for re-election because he doesn't intend to allow another election for President. Whether it will be martial law, a national emergency requiring suspension of routine political process, or a Chicago style wholesale hijacking of the election remains undetermined so far. But none of those options are beyond belief.

The remarkable aspect, however, is that the conclusion is becoming commonplace: the Bamster does not expect to win a Presidential election in 2012. We simply have to flesh out the circumstances of the occurrence.

Image is Everything

Why, of course. Poor baby has spent years crafting an image of maturity, morality, purity, prudence, virginity even. She's been a role model for literally millions of young women around the world. Parents chant it like a litany to their tween-age girls and mothers continue to repeat it to their college aged daughters: "Be like Lindsay...Be like Lindsay!" When temptation appears ask yourself, "What would Lindsay do?"

So, when the court sends her off to Graybar for the week after a couple of years of flaunting probations and penalties they must use care not to damage the pristine image of the heroine.

Lindsay Threatens Legal Action Over Labeling

Well, yes, I know she was arrested for DUI and they did find cocaine on the person driving the car named Lindsay and they did test her with positive results and they did sentence her and she did ignore it until finally the court had to give her a pat on the butt that was not quite a real punishment. But see now she found a "doctor" who says she just has Attention Deficit Disorder and she was under medication.

Her attention seems to be deficient when it comes to internalizing what the rest of society expects of adults. But it seems plenty adequate with regard to keeping her name on the Pop Tart tabloid front pages.

She's got a reputation to defend here!

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Immersed in the Culture

It was a Tribute to Robin Olds last night at Wings Over the Rockies air museum. More than 250 people were in attendance on the main museum floor in the former Hangar One at Lowry AFB. If you haven't been there in ten years you wouldn't recognize the former technical training center that funneled so many thousands of maintenance, munitions, avionics, traffic control and other specialty airmen into the USAF. The base is largely assimilated into modern Denver with curving streets of manicured lawns, middle class homes and comfortable looking condos. An amazing transition.

The reception was surrounded by late 20th century jets including an F-4E that looked like you could plug a -60 power cart in and roll it out the front door for takeoff. The F-105 seems to have grown over the years. I didn't remember it being that big! The B-1A seemed comparable in size...OK, maybe just a little bit bigger.

There were old warriors and new ones. The patrons ranged from four star general test pilots to MiG killers like Bob Titus and Steve Ritchie. There were active duty flyers and AFA cadets. Iraq and Afghanistan vets, a newly operational Raptor driver and old friends from my time on active duty.

A great chance to raise a toast to Robin, sign a lot of copies of "Fighter Pilot", tell a lot of memorable stories and reconnect with a fraternity that seems to never change but always evolve.

The old guys need have no apprehension about leaving the country in the hands of the new crop of jocks.

Saturday Morning Rocker

Friday, August 20, 2010

Car Rental Convenience Conundrum

The car-rental business is complex and cut-throat. They don't differ all that much in the top tier. They buy lots of cars that mainstream America might not choose on their own and then roll them over into the used car market somewhere in a year or so. Some of the cars are pretty nice, even though they are bland white. Some of them are pretty bland, even though they are racy red. Technology is all the rage in keeping OJ Simpson from running through the airport...oh, sorry. OJ doesn't run much anymore.

I've got one of those Numero Uno Precious Metal club cards. I made my rental reservation and arrived to board a shuttle. Low digit jewelry card holders go to one place and (with disdain) "others" go elsewhere. You are supposed to have your name on a board and a clue to a stall where you car should wait. No name on my board. A dozen others, probably more than with names on a board, file into the office. When I move up the line, I'm advised that I'm an "Express" member. Back on the shuttle where I muse about whether that is better or worse. Shuttle guy says, "better!"

Arrive at Ellis Island sized welcome station. Hundreds mill about seeking cars. Far in the corner is a two-station counter labeled "Express". Here I get my car.

Actually pretty nice. An upgrade from full-sized sedan to behemoth SUV with "Bitchin Betty" the naviguesser aboard. Kool!

The keys are in it. Great. When I get to hotel, I note that I have a ring with two keys, two push-button remote lock/unlock and howl-for-help buttons and a plastic doodad that reminds me how to call the company if I'm in distress. Convenient, think I. Big, bulky, heavy, but convenient.

Then I realize I don't need all the keys to the local suburbs on a humonguous ring in my pocket. I only need one. I don't have another driver with me. I seek to detach just one key and one remote. The ring doesn't unscrew, unplug, unlatch or disconnect. A tug or two confirms this is braided steel wire with a plastic jacket. This is stupid.

I call the rental company. Nice lady says, "I'll give you the formal answer and the informal. Formal: that's the way it is, live with it. Informal: cut the wire with a bolt cutter and be sure to bring the pieces all back."

I don't need two keys. If they are bolted together a co-driver would need to be joined at my hip. If I lost a key, I'd lose them both. There is simply no justification for this. I don't get it.

Hypocrisy in Action

It's bounced through a dozen blogs already, so you've probably seen it:

US Government Balks at Sale of Korean Garands

Psst, hey Homie, I got something for ya for dat Kwik-mart heist we gonna pull Friday night. Yeah, it's eleven pounds of mayhem that hurts like hell to shoot, bites your thumb if you don't know how to load it, is fifty years old, and requires stuffing big honking cartridges in little tin holder gadgets that make a loud TWANG when it goes empty...

You don't want no black AR with 30 rounds of fast shooting. You don't need no kool lasers hung on it. You're too buff a player to want a puny six pound rifle. You wanta be Clint Eastwood on lawn patrol, bro!

In the process, we don't want to aid an ally who is seriously threatened. We don't want to allow Americans to access a piece of history that their great grandfathers wrote in blood. We don't want to encourage a new generation of riflemen in the tradition of Alvin York or Audie Murphy.

And we definitely don't want people to know about this US Government program that has been going on for half a century:

Civilian Marksmanship Program Sales

The agenda of this administration isn't hard to discern. They are smug and blatant about it.


He had to go to Florida to take a dip among the tar balls. He rushed down there in response to polling demands that he come away from Versailles and the other palaces to put a patch on the damage he's done to the Gulf coast beach industry.

He sacrificed 27 hours of his precious perpetual vacation and public adoration time to hit the pristine white sands of Florida. He and Sasha dipped and surprisingly there was no oil. For more than 90% of the Gulf beaches there never was. HRH Michelle sulked in the cabana.

They knew that this redneck purgatory was temporary and then they would be off to Martha's Vineyard where they would resume the luxury life. Ten beautiful days of:

How Was Your Swim, Sasha? Oh, Crappy?

Somewhere the gods are laughing.

There's got to be a new czar and a federal clean-up manager with twice daily press conferences on the crap clean up of the New England coast. Will we have 24/7 robo-cam coverage of the source of the problem? Will hordes of reporters be scouring the coastal rocks for offending proof of the pollution. Are there going to be thousands of government workers in white coveralls with long-handled nets and poop scoops working this issue?

Day Two of the Coastal Crap Crisis dawns.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Creeping Change

Nah, not that kind of "change"! I'm talking about the creeping changes of the computing world. I got fascinated with computers at a very superficial level when I retired from the USAF. That was one of those long ago, galaxy far away sort of times. I wasn't sure what they could do or why anybody would ever need one. I could type reasonably well, so an electric typewriter was adequate. I could balance my checkbook, so a simple calculator or even a pencil and paper would do the job. My annual tax return could be done on two sheets of paper.

I didn't "do" DOS and used to ridicule the "C-colon-backslash" command line gibberish. I could deal with the graphic interface of a Mac and then got shamed into buying a PC because the "real world" was oriented around MS-DOS and not Apple stuff. There was much more software written for PC than Apple. Of course that was before iPhones and a billion "apps". There was Windows.

In those days Microsoft was an operating system company. Real businesses used Word Perfect for word processing and some still used WordStar. They used Lotus 1-2-3 for spreadsheets and databases were the esoteric world of dBase programmers. There were lots of hacker programs to do housekeeping tasks like organize, sort and search our files. There were simply little code bits that people traded over 300 baud modems or if you were daring you even wrote your own batch files.

But then came MS Word and the blue screen of Word Perfect began to look a bit long in the tooth. Excel offered a much friendlier interface so Lotus was slipping into history. Access let even political scientists into the magic of creating relational databases. Goodby dBase. The succeeding iterations of Windows incorporated all the goodies of the shareware and batch files and disappeared. MS Office ruled. They did it by building a better mousetrap and a considerable slug of buying up good ideas and out-marketing less aggressive companies.

The Internet went graphic with Mozilla and Netscape. They attracted the gaze of Tyrannosaurus Gates and with a snap of his jaws we got Internet Explorer. Netscape charged a fee and IE was a free browser. No brainer choice. Netscape hasn't been heard from in years. Then the reincarnation as Firefox.

A couple of weeks ago I griped that IE 8 was erratic for me and although I tried Firefox repeatedly I was frustrated by mysterious malfunctions on my system. I'd try Firefox for a while then a version update would come along and I'd have no choice but to uninstall and start over with a full download. Chunks of memory would never be relinquished by the voracious Fox. I hated them both.

Someone said, "come over to the dark side...embrace the Google. Go Chrome."

I've been using Chrome for about three weeks now. I love it! It is crisp, fast, uncluttered. It grabs your existing bookmarks and imports them effortlessly. Best of all, it gives you the option of syncing through gMail so that your bookmarks update on any computer you sync to the account. Find some great links on your laptop then you'll have them next time you sit at your desktop. All updated and current at your fingertips regardless of where you work. Automatically.

Looking for info? No need to go to Google Search. Simply enter keywords in the address bar and you get it immediately. Want to post something from a web page to your blog? There's an app for that! Looking for a YouTube viddie on something? There's an app for that. Passwords and form filling? Built-in. Just like Burger-King, have it your way.

I'm sold. It's a better product. It's change I can believe in. Is Google better across the board? Well, that depends on your style. I tend to search on Bing a bit more recently, but Google Search gives me better results. I prefer POP3 mail and Outlook to gMail, but will fall back to gMail when on the road. Google docs? I'm not quite comfortable with working in the cloud. I like to keep files close and not be dependent upon someone else's security systems. Google Maps? I'm watching the world and that's pretty cool.

For now, though, color my browser Chrome.

A Different Standard

Unconstitutional? I propose that the United States Supreme Court declare the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, aka the San Francisco Looney Tunes, to be unconstitutional.

Take your Nexium before you read this, because it will cause heartburn:

No Crime In Stealing Honor

That's right. It is, in their deteriorated perspective of justice, a Constitutional right to claim that you have received the nation's highest recognition for valor. It is perfectly fine for a sleaze bag to stand in the public eye and bask in the acclaim which is afforded someone who risked their life, acting above and beyond the call of duty, without penalty. In their sheltered existence they believe that no one is harmed by this. No one is demeaned. No one loses something which they should hold as extremely precious.

One voice of apparent sanity spoke from the bench, but was drowned out by the liberal loons who find nothing glorious about heroism:

The dissenting justice insisted that the majority refused to follow clear Supreme Court precedent that false statements of fact are not entitled to First Amendment protection.

Lies are not, should not, can not, be protected speech. There is no inalienable or Constitutional right to lie, particularly if such a lie is to claim the respect that is only due to a very rare and special group of warrior patriots.

This one must be granted cert and must reach the docket of the Supreme Court before the current administration can shift the balance with one more progressive justice.

Split? No! How About Fissure?

We're looking at total fracture of a political party and surprisingly it isn't about a major federal policy issue; you know, one of those things authorized under enumerated powers. Nope, this is about a purely local municipal zoning fracas.

Now, as I've already laid out here, there are issues of the First Amendment in play, there are the issues of compassion and judgment, there are issues of political leverage. All of that and more. But they typically would only be resolved by impact on the next city election or by someone with standing bring suit in a court of law.

The mayor of a city stood and expressed a position. The zoning and historical commissions with authority ruled on the proposal. The people in the community spoke out. No really unusual stuff going on there.

Then the congress-critters with districts involved spoke out and the pot heated up. With relative wisdom the senators of the state kept their mouths shut for a time. The media started to stir the cauldron and the total temperature began to rise.

In a matter of a few days time, the Messiah himself stood to make it perfectly clear...and then clarified his remarks the next day...and then had several White House spokespersons parse his statements to wring the nuances out. He was in favor of it before he was against it because it was right even if it wasn't wise but it was traditionally American even while being anti-federalism policy intervention. That was certain.

That's his right, but the next day the Senate Majority Leader on his way to the guillotine in his district took exception to the Bamster's position and argued strongly against it.

Now, we here this:

Speaker Pelosi Marvels at What Islam Hath Wrought

Doesn't she have a magnificent way with words. From her vantage point nearly 3000 miles away in San Francisco she knows precisely what New Yorkers should be doing, which isn't what the Senator thinks and is apart from what the President says and is sort of in agreement with the Mayor who is on an opposite sheet of music from the Governor of the state.

Is this an ideologically consistent political party here or do we see a cluster of self-centered pols fighting for their political lives? Are they driven by principle and a strong belief in the Constitutional republic or are they rats snarling and biting at each other to insure they have a place at the cheese block in two months time?

A Chicago Classic

The trial is over. The outcome is meaningless. There will be no consequences. The competence of federal prosecutors can once again be questioned. And, when the jurors start to speak we find no surprises:

One Juror Blocked the Verdict

That's the way our system works. You compile a jury of twelve and it only takes one of them to corrupt the process. We've all seen "Twelve Angry Men" and know how the single principled and objective individual saves the verdict through logic and argument.

But we don't see any logic and argument in this.

"We'd listen to a tape and people would be like, 'wow, that just confirms that he's guilty' and she'd say, 'that just confirms to me that he's not guilty,'"

I sort of wish that Blago would have had an organization capable enough of executing a true Capone. Only having one drone on your payroll who simply denies what the eleven others are hearing in Blago's own voice without objective basis for the denial is way too basic. You would think they could have mustered four or five venal Chicagoans with a lust for a few hundred thou and a chance to go to a White Sox game with the former Gov. and Rahm Emanuel.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Beloit Mindset List

I often belabor (and occasionally belittle) my students for their lack of basic cultural background which I take for granted. But they have lived an entire life without things which were elemental to my perspective. Failure to consider those differences can make it difficult to connect with them; and if the prof doesn't connect there won't be effective communication.

Beloit College has recognized this and for the past twelve years has been offering the Mindset List to attempt to inform their faculty about the background experiences of the incoming freshman class. Here's their compilation for the Class of '14:

The Lives They've Lived...So Far

I come away feeling very old. To realize that I had been retired for five years from the military and was fifty when they were born is shocking!

Some excerpts:

"Honda has always been a competitor at the Indy 500"...Not true, Beloit! It was the Dallara chassis with an INFINITI engine for several years. I've been driving Infiniti since the Class of '14 were three years old.

"Nirvana is on the classic oldies station"...It's NOT on my classic oldies station!

"Hundreds of cable channels and nothing on"...Once there was quality programming, but that was before "Real Housewives" of anywhere.

"Clint Eastwood is a sensitive director rather than Dirty Harry..." C'mon gang, is nothing sacred?

Not a thing on the list about the Constitution once limiting the power of the federal government. I guess it never did in my lifetime either. I was born when FDR had already been in office for 10 years...

Emerging Story From North Dallas

About three hours ago the story started to unfold. First reports were of shots fired at Colin County Community College in McKinney. Campus was in lock-down mode and the usual aerial video was coming in of an empty parking lot and response vehicles scattered about. With classes starting at my venue next week, it merely reinforced my own tactical planning for such situations. Today's students are always seeming on the ragged edge of insanity. I don't think it was that much different thirty years ago, but today they can get a lot more violent than our generation ever seemed to consider. I plan ahead.

Later reports indicated that the campus was secure and a suspect was being sought nearby. No injuries to faculty or students--which makes sense because this is a between semesters period. Summer classes are ended and fall semester hasn't yet begun. Not many targets available.

Then it came out that the shooting actually was at the nearby police station! All the details weren't available, but one would have to question of the wisdom of arming up and going down to the local constabulary for a bit of target practice. I think it would be an exercise of very high level tactical training.

Now this:

Gunman Dead, Burning Truck Lures Targets

That, my friends, is a made-for-TV plot. Drive your truck up to the station, light it off and then stand by for cop-plinking. This was one or more seriously disturbed individuals.

Good news is that the college, for a change, was not ground zero. Surprisingly the "gun-free zone" of the campus was by-passed for the heavily armed cop central. That doesn't change my planning one bit.

Condition Yellow is a good way to live a long and happy life.

Muslims on Mosque

Understanding the nuances of a complex situation is always enhanced by info from insiders, those who speak the language and understand the protocols.

Here's a piece written by two Muslims which analyzes the proposal from the perspective of the religion and its teachings:

A Fitna For New York

A big h/t to In From the Cold for leading me there.

Politico Predicts

In a response piece to the guestion, "Will Obama be a one-term President?" The Politico (not a particularly right-wing blog) starts their reply hesitantly,

Yes, If He Lasts That Long...

I would call that being hopefully pessimistic. I like the concept!

Monday, August 16, 2010

Russian Artist

What you see is not always what you get:

More on Mosques

You've seen it as well as I have. There is a lot of comment associated with the World Trade Center mosque regarding the historic tradition of building mosques to commemorate Islamic conquests and victories.

It has been done, of course. For that matter Christians have done similar things, building churches and cathedrals to commemorate significant events. But the question is whether it is traditional or not. Is it basic to the construction of a major mosque? Is there a consistent pattern. Is a major mosque a symbol of conquest?

Here's some evidence to the contrary. These are the twenty largest in the world. They are indeed global and logically enough each has been built where you would find a significant Muslim population to support them. I could find little to indicate conquest in most of them:

Twenty Largest Mosques Around the World

None of that changes the question regarding WTC and that particular mosque. But maybe it suggests that some of the innuendo and hyperbole attached to the current issue is not very significant nor is it based in fact.

Consistency is the Hobgoblin

...of small minds. I guess my tiny little brain seeks more of it from the Bamster. I've tried so hard over the last three years to embrace the code. I decipher whatever he says as meaning exactly the opposite. I interpret every intention expressed as a description of a course of precisely the opposite action. If he says he will, he won't. If he says I can, I can't. If he says lower, he means higher. If he says negative, it will come out positive. If he says it is Bush's fault, he really knows it is his own responsibility.

Yet, I seek consistency. I want him to "make himself perfectly clear..." and then not have to go through a week of rephrasings and nuancing of the message. Call a spade a spade and then don't come back tomorrow and tell me you really meant a shovel. Please don't trot out a series of spokespersons reducing a "spade" to a garden implement but not a rake or hoe, except in certain instances. Say it, mean it, let it stand on its own perfect clarity without recantation.

But, even though I found him agreeing with me on the application of First Amendment Freedom with regard to building a mosque two blocks from the WTC site and even though he and I are on the same sheet that it isn't wise, prudent, compassionate, considerate or sympathetic in the least; I still find this item disturbing:

Germans Shut Jihadist Mosque

I'll go so far as to cede that in times of war, and we are definitely at war, it is sometimes necessary to suspend certain aspects of our freedoms for some groups of people. Lincoln suspended habeas corpus and Roosevelt incarcerated the Nisei. We can debate the action at our leisure with all the advantages of hindsight but at the time they thought it was necessary. Maybe building mosques by certain sects in some places might be an instance of the same appropriate suspension of a freedom for the duration.

Slippery slopes don't always result in a slide down them.

US Fallen Heroes Foundation

Building a memorial for the fallen heroes of our nation, the military men and women who have died defending us globally since 9/11 is a noble cause. It is one which people can easily support and are eager to contribute to. It is a vision of memorialization which should not be easily sullied.

Unites States Fallen Heroes Foundation

Unless, of course, you start out as a vile, money-grubbing scumbag with a scam:

WFAA Uncovers Scam and TX Attorney General Agrees

Some people have a special place in hell waiting for them. But I kind of hope that there's a few hints of what he should expect then which he will encounter in this life beforehand.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Let Him Be Perfectly Clear on This

CBSNews, not exactly a tool of the Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy has heard a certain echo:

They All Share Top Billing For Bamster

I'm glad at least that he's focussed...

Dealing With Diversity

Americans tend to be studiously mono-lingual. We are aggressively so. If someone comes to this country they damn well better speak English. That's the way it was when our founding fathers established this nation in Pennsylvania (German), New York (Dutch), Florida (Spanish), Louisiana (French)...er, never mind.

If you travel to Europe, you won't find such rampant nationalistic jingoism (if that isn't redundant). You will, however, benefit from a well-written phrasebook:

Losing the Left Over the Lemon

I read the local major metropolitan area newspaper because I like to keep up on what is happening in the region. I like the sports and business and NYT crossword puzzle (at least until the really tough ones on Friday and Saturday.) I recognize that the bulk of the coverage is touchy-feely, left-wing welfare state propaganda. It's the cost of doing business. Know your enemy is always good advice.

So, when I pick up the Sunday edition and see these two pieces sharing the front page of the Op-Ed section, I get the feeling that the Bamster has lost a lot of traction with his homeboys.

Government Funded Lemon Non-Starter

Snob Car Not For Masses

I've commented previously about the practicality aspects of the electric cars. I've questioned the range and the macro impact on the electricity grid. I've pondered the impact on your household utility bills and the availability of recharge stations at malls, businesses, motels, etc. These two editorialists discuss the political and sociological aspects of lemon production.

Between the three of us, we've noted that the Emperor's New Car is distinctly fenderless and un-upholstered. It's naked!

The free market is ignored at your peril, even if you are the Chosen One and temporarily given exceptional powers to destroy your country.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Life Cycle of Guns

Brigid waxes eloquently today, although today is no exception for a display of her considerable writing talent, on the subject of favorite guns and hunting memories:

The Old Man and the Meat Gun

It triggered a realization about life. Those of us who value guns and our hunting experiences go through a cycle, a dramatic arc in our lives, that relates to our relationship with guns. Some might miss the experience if they are privileged to avoid consideration of costs and their changing capabilities. But the lucky ones will know what I'm talking about.

I grew up in an apartment in a big city with what are still called "working class" parents. My father had a dead-end semi-sales, semi-management job that paid little and my mother morphed from beautician to receptionist to bank-clerk to receptionist again. They struggled and never seemed to get very far ahead.

Dad didn't hunt and mom wasn't too sure about a somewhat independent, head-strong boy who went from interest to interest and would eventually be well beyond their control. Along the way I passed through a stage of gun fascination. I never got over it. It was an inevitable outgrowth of the American culture of the time. We had the Hollywood cowboys who had the pearl-handled, nickel-plated single-action Army Colt six-shooter always at hand. We had World War II with Garands and carbines and Thompsons and the moral authority to make the world safe for democracy. When we played with our friends it was either "guns" which meant cowboys or "war" which meant guns. The most popular kid on the block was the one who could make the most realistic "bang" and ricochet sounds with his mouth then "die" convincingly.

I pored through Gun Digest every year and plotted how to save for a rifle. My first was a Beretta Silver Gyrfalcon semi-auto .22LR. I've still got it today although the stock fractured years ago and got repaired with my usual lack of craftsmanship. My second gun was a Ruger Bearcat, a .22LR six-shooter that looked like a Colt SAA left out in the rain that shrunk to half size.

When I decided I needed a center-fire rifle I dealt with the reality that financially I could only afford one rifle for all the hunting in the North America continent. It was a limit to deal with. I compared numbers and statistics, muzzle velocities and ballistic drops linked with foot-pounds of energy. I read about Winchesters and Remingtons and ruled out anything more exotic. I ignored sporterized military rifles. This would be the gun of a lifetime. A jack-of-all-trades that must master every one.

I bought the latest, greatest, be-all/end-all caliber, the .264 Win Mag. It was a pre-'64 Winchester Model 70 with 26 inch chrome-lined barrel (because the hot cartridge already had a reputation for burning up simple steel barrels). It kicked like hell and never was very accurate despite my best efforts. Eventually I killed an elk with it and an antelope as well. But that was 25 years after I bought it!

The cycle involves growing older and then with work becoming slightly more affluent so that my arsenal could grow. I still had a fascination with the ballistic numbers. I bought another Winchester 70. This one a remake of the pre-'64 called a Super Grade. This time it was .338 Win Mag. I'd get a head-ache every September when I'd put a handful of rounds through it confirming it was still sighted-in. The macho magnum thing wasn't working for me.

Soon I found a Tikka sporter in .30-06 at a gun-show. It had beautiful wood and a stock that simply felt good in my hands. A Leupold scope and it shot where I thought the bullet should go. A tack-driver that was a pleasure to own and shoot. Went through a sequence of 11 years of one-shot kills of deer, antelope and elk. It has become my meat gun. I haven't thought of taking anything else to the field except maybe for prairie dogs for a lot of years now.

I added a Marlin Guide gun in .45-70. Then a Ruger #1 in .22-250. Over the years I picked up a couple of shotguns; a Charles Daly O/U in 20 gauge and a Winchester 101 in 12. Shot a lot of skeet, dove and desert quail with them. Added a commemorative 1886 lever action as a collectible. Picked up an array of handguns including a Dirty Harry Model 29, a H&K P-9, and then a Sig P228. A couple of 1911 clones followed.

But the arc of a life continues. Recoil isn't tolerable and arguably pain in my recreation has never been a goal. I've unloaded the .44 mag. I got rid of the poor-shooting .264 about fifteen years ago. Recently I realized I hadn't shot my shotguns in 20 years. They went on the block. The .338 and the .22-250 are gone now as well.

I still love my guns. I think about picking something new up once in a while, but I know I won't shoot it that much. I'm ready for the revolution, of course and I've got the requisite wardrobe of proper carry-guns so I'm not goblin-bait. I've got my meat gun, the Tikka .30-06. Maybe I'll ask that they bury it with me. I dunno if a burial gun is allowed in Arlington. I'll have to check.

But there is a definite cycle here. It's one that should be appreciated and contemplated like a good life.

Pesky Freedoms

Unless light doesn't reach that far back into your cave, you've heard about the Ground Zero mosque controversy. Patriotism, nationalism, parochialism, jingoism, emotionalism, and a dozen other -isms running rampant. Three words to consider, "Get Over It!"

Want to get fired up this morning? OK, here's some fuel for you:

Bamster Enthusiastic Over Mosque

Now, take a few deep breaths and pay attention here.

We've got some remarkable freedoms in this country. What makes them so remarkable is that we sublimate emotion in defending them--or at least we have in the past.

The First Amendment is first because it is the most important. Speech, press, assembly, petition and religion are absolutely essential to our liberty. Support for the First Amendment is not easy even though we tend to think it is. Who could possibly be against the freedoms of that magnificent, brief paragraph?

The First Amendment gets toughest when the exercise of the freedom by someone is something most of us find abhorrent! When American Nazis want to parade through a Jewish suburb of Chicago we jump to constrain their right to assemble. When abortionists argue in support of infancticide, we leap to muzzle them as inhuman. When an "artist" urinates on a flag or a protester burns our national symbol that many have fought and died for, we rise in protest.

That is when the First Amendment is so damnably tough to support.

An Imam wants to build a Muslim community center in lower Manhattan. It is a couple of blocks away from Ground Zero...a couple of blocks away! It will be thirteen stories tall, not a towering edifice in that particular chunk of the Big Apple. Huge yes, but not within the context. It won't be face-to-face with the hole in the ground that ten years later still isn't a new beginning for anything.

We lose something huge if we object. It is tasteless and they know it. We gain if we let them demonstrate their tastelessness.

They become objects of observation and inevitably of ridicule by their choices. But their freedom and ours with it, is protected. In the process they look worse to the world. Their hypocrisy in the Muslim world is on parade when they don't allow similar religious tolerance in Saudi, Somalia, Indonesia, Iran, Syria, Libya, Afghanistan and other places. They lose when we let them build.

And, they will squander vast resources simply in waging the publicity war in America as they build and attempt to secure their poorly chosen site.

We don't lose when we exercise the First Amendment, we win.

Saturday Morning Rocker

Live from Texas:

Friday, August 13, 2010

Post-Consumer Recycled TP

I'm not sure I really want to spend too much time contemplating what "post consumer" toilet paper involves, but apparently if you are going to save the planet you've got to have a cadre of toilet paper dry cleaners or something:

The Green Rider Tour

If you are going to pour your tequila into a half gallon of grapefruit juice it really doesn't make much difference what swill you use, does it?

Top Ten List Not For Letterman

You won't see this one on David's late night love-fest for lefties:

1. The Obama presidency is out of touch with the American people

2. Most Americans don’t have confidence in the president’s leadership

3. Obama fails to inspire

4. The United States is drowning in debt

5. Obama’s Big Government message is falling flat

6. Obama’s support for socialised health care is a huge political mistake

7. Obama’s handling of the Gulf oil spill has been weak-kneed and indecisive

8. US foreign policy is an embarrassing mess under the Obama administration

9. President Obama is muddled and confused on national security

10. Obama doesn’t believe in American greatness

You'd have to read a British paper to get that sort of analysis of the Messianic Meltdown. They've got it cold though.

Telegraph Top 10 on Bamster Decline

Maybe they could have been bought off with the Helen Thomas seat and a free lunch with Gibbsie.

What is Transparency?

It's like the classic Clinton alibi, "it depends on what the definition of 'is', is." What is "transparency" in government. I guess it all depends. Remember when the Bamster was campaigning? I don't mean today or last week or last month, I mean when campaigns traditionally occur--before the election. I'll admit he hasn't stopped campaigning. It's the only thing he has actual real-world experience in. The one-trick pony has been very good at it, but it is too much like Riverdance. The novelty wears off.

He promised us the most transparent administration we have ever seen. We were going to become privy to the process of how our lives are shaped by the regime which seeks involvement in every aspect. We were going to know who said what to whom and when. What did they say and when did they say it. Laws were not going to spring full-blown from the forehead of Zeus or even Rahm Emanuel. The doors would be open. Information would flow.

But what does "transparency" really mean? Something which is transparent cannot be seen. It isn't visible. It is invisible. We can possibly feel it or perceive the effects, but we can't detect it visually. That apparently is the transparency the Messiah meant.

The "Ethics Czar" has apparently been exiled. Possibly he was lifting veils or switching off the Romulan cloaking device on policy.

Able I Was Ere I Saw the Czech Republic

It is unlikely that we will hear much anymore from Prague regarding transparency in our government. The replacement for the erstwhile czar seems to be a dedicated functionary in the Daley/Blago/Emanuel/Obama mold.

Lots more midnight meetings behind closed doors inside the beltway. Lots more Cornhusker Kickbacks, Louisiana Purchases and pay-to-play deals in our future. Transparent, all of them.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Trial in Chicago

Twelve days into deliberation and Blago jury still hasn't reached a verdict. It's Chicago after all:

Jury Tells Judge No Go on Blago Trial

Twenty-four counts to be decided and after all of this time the jury claims that they've resolved only two. Could you believe that maybe somebody somewhere got to someone and had a Chicago kind of conversation?

A Different Approach

It's just a different way of doing things. I live about an hour north of DFW. I read the Dallas Morning News every day. I didn't see a mention of this. It looks as though it wasn't meant to be a media event. There wasn't a press release and there weren't a cadre of fawning media papparazi assembled to record the posturing, posing and pontificating.

It was simply a real guy taking some time to meet some returning warriors without a lot of fanfare. If the USO photog hadn't documented it for Facebook, we might never have seen it.

Dubya and Laura Meet Some Good Folks

Flamer Flareup Draws Scrutiny

As Seinfeld repeated so often, "Not that there's anything wrong with that..." but we're beginning to get some flashback from the flamboyant finale to the flight attendant's famous fisticuffs and flight from future employment.

Did it really occur the way he said it did? Apparently detailed interviews with a planeload of pax are beginning to cast some doubt upon that:

Nobody Here Saw Nuttin'

Do you think that Twinkletoes might have staged this thing sort of like the boy in the tinfoil flying saucer or the fellow in the runaway Prius?

And, what do you suppose should have happened if Janet Napolitano's bully-boys of Homeland Security and TSA had not all been gathered around the peep show X-ray machines ogling the butts and boobs of the nubile traveling crowd?

Escape From New York, Jet Blue Style

Maybe if Slater had been wearing a djellaba and shouting "Allahu Ahkbar!" he might have gotten a reaction.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Apologies In Advance

C'mon, it was on Fox News, so can it really be inappropriate?

Here's the list of proposed names that came to me as a result of that broadcast. Email is a terrible source:

30. Honor Drillings
29. Jihard
28. Filthy Omar’s Rusty Trombone
27. The Arabian Queen
26. Dune Biters
25. Goat’s Night Off
24. The Pink Prophet
23. The Leather Burqa
22. Git Mo
21. Pig in a Poke
20. Sheiks & Freaks
19. Sodom and Gonorrhea
18. Osama Bin Dover
17. The Exploding Goat
16. Weapons of Ass Destruction
15. Alla Assbar
14. Anderson Cooper’s Apartment
13. The Sticky Prophet
12. The Sphinxter
11. Grind Zero
10. Nuclear Fuel Rods
9. Hassan’s TestostoRoom
8. Turbuns
7. Bunker Busters
6. The Tali-bone
5. Al-Jizzera
4. The Gaza Stripper
3. The Sandy Gerbil
2. The Camel’s Hump
1. Hide the Minaret

Fighter Pilot

The quickest way to get a spot on my "Regular Stops" list:

American Warrior: Robin Olds

Lousy Movies

I'm still in the honeymoon period for Netflix instant movies. I'm simply fascinated by the seamless delivery over the Internet and my wireless home network.

But, the result of watching more movies is that you encounter a surprising amount of crap. It's like reading lots of books. There are only so many classics and new works which will become classics.

When I was young the movie was a weekly event. As a schoolboy, that meant Saturday afternoon watching Johnny Mack Brown oaters or Abbot & Costello farces at the theater down the street. A dime to get in, a dime for popcorn and maybe another nickel or dime for a candy bar during the second feature. Along the way, I saw On The Waterfront, Man With the Golden Arm, Spartacus and some great stuff as well.

As a teen-ager with a driver's license it meant Friday or Saturday night at the drive-in and it really didn't matter what the movie was. Occasionally you might even forget to take the speaker off the post and hang it on the window. Working on those "night moves" not movies.

The mega-multi-plexes seem to tell me that the pattern still goes on. Every new movie that comes out seems to rake in millions and then go to disk. Some are truly great. Some are truly memorable. Some names at the Academy Awards are unfamiliar when uttered and then never heard again.

Two weeks ago I watched "Avatar" at home. Blu-ray, big screen, unimpressed. It was nothing more than an exercise in what CGI can do with color and shapes. The story was a hodge-podge of liberal morality play and over-used cliches from other movies. How many times must we see the villain in the big robot killing suit eventually fall over on his side like the walkers in Star Wars or the bad guy in Iron Man?

Two nights ago it was "Men Who Stare at Goats". This was clearly a case of three reputable movie stars having lost a Super Bowl bet. There is no other reason why Clooney, Bridges and Spacey would have done it. It was fraternity hazing for millionaires. Look stupid for the public and see if they will rave about you. Dreck!

Last night it was "Crazy Heart". Sorry, but it was a fifteen minute idea stretched into two hours plus. There is simply no way the woman would jump into bed with the drunken old country singer. None. And, the climax was a non-event. How many times every day does grandpa at the mall lose track of the four-year-old? Ten thousand? A hundred and fifty thousand? Not exactly grand tragedy. Insipid.

I'm sick of remakes, comic books, car chases with flip-ramps and end-over-ends, mechanical villains, four-letter language, blatant plot stealing, and weak characters who aren't in the slightest bit remarkable.

Anybody seen a really good movie lately? Seriously.

Can We Talk?

In a moment of remarkable candor, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid provides an ideological basis for support of his policies for the nation...or not.

See? It isn't that complicated. If you are of a certain ethnicity you don't need any more explanation for your voting choice. Would it be crude of me to point out the inherent racism of that? Would it be crass to call it "profiling"?

Let me explain, Harry.

Latinos tend to be family oriented. Your party tends to ignore, minimize and downplay those obligations.

Latinos tend to be self-sufficient, hard-working and dedicated to making their lives better. Your party tends to seek dependency through handouts and class warfare.

Latinos tend to be Catholic. Your party tends to support gay rights, oppose religious expression in the public square and vilify those who support their position with morality based arguments.

Latinos tend to distrust government rather than seek the regime's assistance in dealing with their issues. Your party is simply the opposite.

Come off the plantation, Massa Reid. Discard the title, Patron Harry. Give an entire culture the respect it deserves and don't diminish their capacity to evaluate solid political ideological arguments based on their merits.

Rodents Biting Each Other

We've had some excellent White House spokesmen over the years...and some not so much. It's a tough job each day to stand before the White House press corps and although you don't have to struggle to hold down lunch while staring at Helen Thomas any more, you still have to coherently defend what is occasionally incoherent policy.

It's easier with a sympathetic press, but even in the hallowed gallery of the briefing room the mood is shifting. There's blood in the water and the sharks are restless. A lot less ooohing and ahhhing over profound gibberish (no pun intended) is apparent.

Robert Gibbs is no Tony Snow. He's barely a Dee Dee Myers. He simply doesn't have the capacity to respond intelligently to probing questions on policy nuances. It gets tougher every day.

A couple of days ago he uttered one of his classic laugh lines which no longer get a laugh. He stood in his official capacity and told the press corps that anyone who questions the policies of the Messiah should "be drug tested."

I'm sorry, but that isn't mature political debate. It is middle school taunting when you don't have a clue what to say about a problem.

Senator Calls For Gibbsie to Be Gone

The fascinating aspect of that story is that the senator seeking the ouster of gaffe-prone Gibbs is a Democrat!

They say that when rats in a confined space are threatened that they begin to exhibit panic and then snap and bite at each other. I'm sensing there is a rising tide of dire consequences swelling in the rat nest.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Contrarian View

Oil spilled, messes were made, jobs were lost, hype was hyped.

Now a suspiciously British reporter visits Pensacola and dares to notice that the beach has white sand and the catastrophe of a millennium has largely evaporated or at least hidden itself quite well.

Never Let a Crisis Go to Waste

Who do you trust?

State & Local Government 101

Another semester starts in two weeks and once again I will find myself dumbfounded by the ignorance of a new batch of college students who have no clue about federalism in America. They graduate from high school and in Texas that means they have completed at least one high school course in American national government and one in Texas state/local government. What is the relationship between the government in Washington and those in the state/county/city/district levels? They don't have a clue.

Who pays for what? Dunno! Does it make a difference if Washington dispenses or a local government does? No clue! Where does government get money? Where is the money tree orchard?

I'll urinate against the gale as I try to explain over the next fifteen weeks. Some might get it and fewer might even remember it six months later. They are simply submerged in a swamp of insurmountable ignorance that denies the basics.

Take this for example:

Pelosi Recalls Critters to Dole Out Dollars

Get this, as as John Wayne used to say, "Get it good..." The federal government is not the source of teacher payrolls! Public education in America is a local government function. In most states the schools are organized in districts, usually with an elected district Board of Education. A few places have municipal schools which are part of city government. In all of them, the payroll is budgeted by the local Board and funded principally by ad valorem property taxes imposed on real estate.

A trend over the last fifty years has been to supplement school funding by state tax dollars. In many areas the state funds are almost equal to the local school district contribution. The justification for this policy is to insure that even the poorest districts have adequate funding to provide a reasonable standard of education.

The federal government contributes roughly ten percent of K-12 funding. It is the camel's nose which gives Washington leverage to impose policies on schools which quite arguably are more political than intellectual. It isn't, however, payroll funding.

That is why it is patently ridiculous to watch this kabuki which will be enacted for $28 billion dollars of pork. The bleat that Washington is rescuing teacher's jobs is absurd. It is a payoff to NEA and AFT designed to convince a typically Democratic voting clientèle that the administration is doing something for them right before an election which promises to be a liberal bloodbath.