Thursday, September 30, 2010

A Threat Emerges

I didn't think much of it when he first read the note, but then just this week I corrected my first student writing assignments of this semester and there, embedded in the delicate prose of the functional illiteracy which is the hallmark of Texas high school graduates these days was a paper written using eerily similar language and syntax. Could it be? Will explore this further.


The Founding Fathers never could have seen this one coming. In their vision of a limited government they wouldn't have a city being forced to waste $27 million replacing perfectly functional street signs. Cities, counties, special districts and governmental entities below the state level are not even addressed in the Constitution. It is a two-level system and the top level is supposed to be the one limited to exercising enumerated powers.

Smaller Letters Make Easier Reading?

In a deep recession, in a period in which state and local governments are operating on the precarious edge of default, the Feds sticking their greasy fingers into this issue is simply stupidity of the highest order. This should be strictly a stylistic concern of the city council, not mandated.

Whether or not someone is going to be safer because of a millisecond difference in sign recognition because of all caps or first letter only is debatable at best and unlikely under most considerations. Most people know where they are going. Only a few need to read the sign and of those most will be in no danger whatsoever.

It's your money. This would be a great moment for a strong mayor to stand up and say no. But, that isn't going to happen in NYC with Bloomberg at the helm.

And So It Begins

They warned that if Obamacare were enacted that businesses would react by dropping their healthcare plans. It was demonstrated repeatedly that the option of bailing out and if necessary even paying the fines would be more economical than trying to comply with the convoluted law. The Messiah assured Americans repeatedly that it wouldn't happen. You remember the words, don't you?

"If you like your plan, you can keep it!" "Fifty million more Americans will receive healthcare coverage!" "Costs will go down, care will improve, and pigs will aviate."

Mickie D's Wants a Waiver

And, it is apparent that Big Mac is simply the visible point of the shaft.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Trust Us

Yeah, I trust that the Attorney General will use this power judiciously. Of course I do.

Don't Challenge the Material, Just Pull the Domain Plug

Did I mention the really nice bridge I bought in New York from that guy on the phone. I couldn't resist when I saw the pictures. He said his name was Bloomberg and it was his to sell. Of course I trusted him.

New Speak On Taxes

We have a tax rate currently in place. It was established after the previous administration enacted sweeping tax reductions. Those tax cuts of the Bush administration reached all levels of working society in America, but the reluctance of the opposition party to deny themselves all of the benefits of having big bags of money to dispense to their constituents led to a "sunset" provision that in ten years those tax cuts would expire. But, in all normal applications of our language, those were cuts in taxes.

Now the Congress postures, but doesn't act. They passed no budget but they strewed the landscape with federal tax dollars largely from the empty bag of money which they magically deny has a limit. The give-aways didn't gain them love. Now they are faced with a conundrum.

They can admit that spending has a relationship to revenue. That would be scary stuff! They can continue to increase their spending by increasing our deficits and our national debt. Scarier still. They could allow the Bush tax cuts to expire and thereby collect taxes at higher rates, but in the process they will suck money for jobs, growth and development out of the economy and effectively reduce federal revenue. Or they could simply extend the current tax rates for a reasonable period or even indefinitely.

But that means people who are going to receive the greatest crotch kick from failure to act will be the same people who actively work to vote the Democrats out of office. Seems like they need to administer that kick simply to feel good about themselves. Apparently their answer is to preach class warfare and extend current tax rates only for those at lower income levels. Those people don't hire others, they don't own businesses and they don't make significant investments with their money but they do exist in large numbers and that means voters.

The real catch is that keeping the tax rate where it is can not be called a CUT! A cut is when you pay less than you do now. A rise in tax is when you pay more. Keeping tax the same does not put a dollar in your pocket that wouldn't otherwise have been there. So, these adjustments are now called the Obama Middle Class Tax Cuts. Language is a wonderful thing.

Notice, however, that Congress has NOT acted. They won't act before the election. They promise they will but after November 2nd they have no motivation to follow through. None at all. Vote for the Dems because they say they will maintain your taxes at the level they are now? I doubt it.

Here's a real analysis with real numbers from a respectable source on what the failure to act will mean:

Mom, Pop and Baby Take a Big Hit

Still think it doesn't make much difference? Those numbers resonate with me. SWMBO and I each have an earned retirement, we each receive a Social Security pittance, we each continue to work and earn money to maintain our comfortable life style. We earned what we have, we didn't inherit it, steal it or cheat someone out of it. I want to keep as much of it as I can.

Deck Chair Shifting Aboard HMS Titanic

They are moving out at an accelerating rate. As the election debacle looms, the power elite from the administration is seeing handwriting writ large upon the public walls. Summers, Romer, Axelrod, Emmanuel and more are exiting stage left, right and center. Announcing early gives them the cover of not being fired, replaced, embarrassed or rendered impotent by the voters. Emmanuel is going for the lifetime sinecure of Chicago royalty rather than the few months of Washington stress and a big book contract in the future.

So, who is going to replace Twinkle-Toes as the strong arm of the administration? Who is going to intimidate in the showers of the Congressional gym? How about Valerie Jarrett? That's the take of the WaPo:

First Name Basis Grounds For Advancement

That's great. The Bamster "trusts" her. The Bamster has confidence. She's can call him "honey" and give him advice that he believes. The examples which the Post offers of her performance makes that really a reinforcement of what convoluted criteria the Messiah has for his policies.

As the senior adviser in charge of "public engagement," she has been the White House official responsible for maintaining relationships with the business community and with liberal interest groups -- two of the most conspicuous areas of failure for the White House during Obama's first two years.

Conspicuous failure in the two areas of her primary responsibility? Check!

She's also the one who arranged the hiring of social secretary Desiree Rogers, only to cut her friend loose when Rogers was tarnished by the party-crashing Salahis at a state dinner in November.

Staffing advice for incompetence in office? Check!

Consider the recent hiring of Harvard's Elizabeth Warren as the White House official in charge of setting up the new Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection. Emanuel and others had opposed the appointment on grounds that Warren is difficult to work with and politically radioactive. But Jarrett, arguing for the need for more senior women in the White House, got Obama to overrule Warren's detractors. "Elizabeth Warren is in the administration because of Valerie," one of those involved in the appointment told me.

More staffing advice supporting "hard to work with and politically radioactive" appointments? Check!

Jarrett made a similar intervention months earlier, when some senior White House officials were losing confidence in Attorney General Eric Holder. His job appeared to be in jeopardy over the decision to put Khalid Sheikh Mohammad on trial in New York, but Jarrett made sure that Holder, a friend, would remain in good standing.

Cover for DOJ's incredible and continuing series of blunders? Check!

I understand having friends and people you trust man your senior staff positions. But when the evidence mounts over time that the judgment and performance is damaging your office, then you've got to stop promoting those friends and start making some hard choices. At least that's what successful leaders usually do.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Gun-Free Zone

How's that gun-free campus thing working out for you? This morning in an apparent case of severe depression following the Longhorns pathetic performance Saturday against UCLA or maybe the unbearable pressure of being responsible for attending classes, meeting assignment deadlines and finding his own meals each day, a shooter armed apparently with an "assault" rifle walked into the library and started shooting.

Shots Fired, All Misses Except the Last One

When the first reports rolled in, the response of the university was to email everyone to lock their doors and "shelter in place". Apparently that is the tried and proven technique of curling up in the fetal position and waiting for the shooter to find you and kill you. Passivity is vastly superior to defensive aggressiveness in modern society.

Of course shootings are extremely rare on university campuses due to the effectiveness of the gun-free zone policies. It was a full four days since this one at Seton Hall.

Student Dies Saving Friend at University Party

The best that the schools can do apparently is protect the defenseless students and faculty by maintaining a Barney Fife squad of chubby guys who like to dress up in black tactical underwear and stand around looking menacing until they hear the shooting stop.

In Texas that meant the shooter finally hit something...himself. End of problem. Lucky outcome this time.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Look Into Their Minds

He won a Nobel Prize, so he must be really, really smart just like Al Gore and the Bamster. We know they are really, really smart because they told us so and they surround themselves with really smart people like Nancy Pelosi and Barney Frank and Sheila Jackson-Lee and Harry Reid and Joe Biden. Really smart.

He is so smart that the New York Times, which is the newspaper that all the really, really smart people turn to if they wish to be told what to think by other really, really smart people who all live in financially bankrupt places with incredible taxes and crime rates and corruption. So, here's what this really, really smart guy tells us:

Default is Not Denial But De Truth for Da Future

Want a truly incredible perspective? Try this:

A naive view says that what we need is a return to virtue: everyone needs to save more, pay down debt, and restore healthy balance sheets.

Saving, getting out of debt and having income/expenditures in relative balance is naive! Bad prudent person. Bad!

You see according to the Nobel Prize economist, the real answer is default on the debt rather than repayment. Start by understanding that default means bankruptcy. Someone who loaned money in the expectations of repayment should not get repaid. They should lose their investment in this wonderland and someone who borrowed should be relieved of their moral burden so that they can resume their profligacy. Bad habits will fuel success!

Why doesn't Krugman consider that debt keeps people from growing their businesses, creating jobs and investing in their lives. If people save money, they put it in investments which then have it available for loans. If people pay off their debts rather than default they can resume growth and their own investment while simultaneously the paid-off creditor has funds to reinvest thereby creating a doubling of the impact. If businesses have healthy balance sheets investors are more likely to offer credit and invest in growing the business.

I can't see a downside to my naivete. But, then I'm not among the really, really smart who live in NYC and like Mr. Krugman.

Shameless Blog Theft

When something is really good, I'm not ashamed to lift it, but I retain enough decency to offer a hat tip to the source, Men Are Not Potatoes:

Big Brother Is Watching, Listening and Texting

One of my favorite questions comes during the block of instruction in the American Government course on policy. At some point we get to the major issue of the current period, the war on terror. Just as the Cold War took precedence over all else during the period from the '50s through the '80s, so today the issues of security against a powerful and damaging threat should be overwhelming all other concerns. If we experience a terrorist attack with WMD, the question of whether unemployment is 9.4 or 9.6 percent will be irrelevant. I know that last week the Bamster reassured us that we can absorb a major terrorist attack, but that really doesn't make me feel all that much better.

When the topic comes up, it is inevitable that someone will raise the USA PATRIOT Act and recite the meme that it has infringed upon our freedoms and it was imposed upon us by that evil George W. Bush. My first response is always to remind the students that by this point in the class we should have it firmly entrenched in our mushy little minds that Presidents don't legislate. Legislatures do. It wasn't Bush, it was Congress that passed the law.

But, then comes the question: What specific impact on your freedom can you find since the PATRIOT Act became law? Where have your freedoms been impacted? Which of your friends has experienced a loss?

They will talk about wiretaps and cell-phone conversations and email intercepts. I ask if they are aware that the government requires court approval to get such access. They aren't. I ask if they previously were unaware that cell-phones and emails and text messages were interceptable. They weren't. I ask if their monthly cell bill lists every call by number, date, time, duration and location without government involvement. They didn't think of that.

So, where has their freedom been impacted? What did George Bush do them?

But, all is not rosy. Consider for a moment this item:

Government Wants Access to Encrypted Comm

When India was arguing with RIM about Blackberry encryption, I chuckled softly and thanked my good fortune that I was born in America. Apparently the Bamster wants us more like them.

The long-term implications are what is frightening. Government will have the key to delve into every aspect of our lives. Buy something online with an encrypted credit card transaction? Big Brother's got it. Have your doctor transmit your medical records to a hospital? Big Brother knows what ails you. Deposit some business proceeds in a bank? BB will have a duplicate deposit slip. That's Obama, not Bush.

And, did you notice in that NYT article where the first executive orders for cell phone access by the Feds originated? It was 1994 and the President was William Jefferson Clinton.

So Clinton pried into phones in '94 and the Messiah wants our encrypted online info in 2010. Why then does George W. Bush still take the rap for undermining our freedoms?

Sunday, September 26, 2010

GM Doublespeak

This press release seems to state clearly what everyone has always known all along. When dealing with a government entity, often there is confusion about what they really mean. Phrases like "bend the cost curve" or "tax cuts for 95% of Americans" often are misunderstood as clear expressions and therefore we need to have a spokesperson stand and preface a statement with, "Let me be perfectly clear".

So, we learn this about the $41,000 green machine:

When We Said 40 Mile Range We Meant 25-50, But Probably Less Than 40

That sounds like I would be able to go from my house to the nearest supermarket and make it about a third of the way home before I ran out of juice. But, it would be reassuring to know that if I plug it in to suck 220 volts in my rewired garage overnight, I could then make it to school for classes the next day and half way back.

The release locations are particularly enlightening. Washington DC, of course. I've got a life sized 8x10 glossy of the Congress-critters that will be gallivanting around the mall on these. New York city metro area? Sure thing. Who would want to steal one?

But California and Texas are two places where you simply can't get anywhere in 40 miles of round tripping. A few days of puttering along in your lawn-mower recharge mode as guys roar by in 3/4 ton pick-em-ups and expectorate Copenhagen on your window in their wake should drive a stake in the heart of this lunacy.

Especially telling is that line about reductions in your range if you wish to heat or cool the passenger compartment. Yeah, Texans in the summer will just eat that up.

We Have Met the Enemy

...and he is us. The wisdom of Pogo Possum was never more applicable than in this commentary about America's youth and why they are so incredibly stupid and disaffected:

Boogers, Flatulence, and Potty Jokes as Literature

Last semester I asked one of my classes of freshman college students what was the last book they had read which was not a textbook. (I already know that they don't bother reading the textbook.) The answers were disappointing by not surprising. Most of them had no answer at all. They simply don't read. They have never been taught to read. They have never been exposed to interesting literature. They don't view reading as a pleasurable or profitable pastime.

I was fortunate in my education. Reading came naturally to me. My parents encouraged me to read, questioned my about books and topics, challenged me to find out about things I was interested in, and never stood in the way of what my choices might be. When a topic piqued my interest, I read everything I could find in the school library or the Chicago Public Library branch down the street from our apartment.

When I found out about Sgt. Preston of the Yukon, I read all the adventure books about the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. I dreamed of a red tunic, lanyard secured revolver and Smokey Bear hat.
When I saw my first Lassie movie, I found a dozen books about heroic collies. Fascination with tropical fish and a desire for a more entertaining aquarium than a round globe and a dime store goldfish led to consumption of a dozen books on fresh water tropicals. I could discuss tetras and gouramis and beta splendens with the best of them. Bubbly colored water, smoky concoctions in test tubes and flasks with Bunsen burners led me to chemistry hobbyist books. Airplanes, model trains and trout fishing dreams took me to other areas.

Through it all there was the escapism of fiction. Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn, Ivanhoe and Lancelot, Long John Silver and Blackbeard were entertaining and fun. By the time I was in the seventh and eighth grade, I was sneaking into the adult stacks and bringing home racier tomes. Best-sellers like Peyton Place and the Caine Mutiny and classic eroticism by Henry Miller and Anais Nin were sandwiched between more acceptable subjects on my dresser top.

But, here is the WSJ telling us that the publishing eggheads believe that putting low-brow crap in front of young men is going to encourage them to read more. Somehow there is no way I can believe that is going to create the next generation of Faulkners and Hemingways.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

In Questionable Taste

They should be afraid for their jobs. Their performance has been pathetic over the last two years and since they have abandoned any pretense of being responsive to the electorate it should be apparent to them that the nation is watching and getting ready to sweep the place clean.

A prudent individual would be on their best behavior. They would be cautious and try to avoid mis-steps. Most would try to look as though they were taking the job seriously. They would soberly discuss the problems the nation faces and consider meaningful solutions. They would try to look like professionals.

Apparently that isn't the case in the House of Representatives this week.

Colbert in Character Does Stand-up Sitting Before Congress

Immigration reform should be serious business. I'd like to think that they would hope to learn details of the problem that might contribute to crafting a workable solution. Instead they get this pithy commentary:

"This is America," Colbert said. "I don't want a tomato picked by a Mexican. I want it picked by an American, then sliced by a Guatemalan and served by a Venezuelan in a spa where a Chilean gives me a Brazilian."

Who thought this would be a good idea?

In her eighth term. She lists her previous occupations as "attorney" and "congressional aide". Even though conspicuously lacking in work experience she should have some semblance of mature, adult judgment.

The stunt was so outrageous than even committee co-chairman, John Conyers, wanted Colbert to simply get out of the chair and wait in the hall. Conyers isn't the sharpest knife in the Democrats drawer, but he made the right call on this one. Zoe, however, didn't take the easy way out.

Saturday Morning Rocker

The kids are still all right!

Somebody needs to tell Pete that he isn't wearing a proper C/W shirt. He let someone palm off a 1950's bowling team shirt.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Poor Baby Linds

Maybe, just maybe, there is someone on the bench with a lick of sense. Possibly there is a judge who actually presides over the court in accordance with the law rather than as a willing accomplice to the publicist of an air-headed celebrity outrage.

No Bail, Trial in a Month

The moral of the story? When you are on probation and fresh out of rehab it isn't wise to Tweet your millions of fans about your failed drug test. That makes the judge look bad and judges typically don't respond well to that.

Counting the Number of Lines

There are many things I like about Texas. The people are friendly, the winters are better than the summers, the sports teams range from excellent to pathetic, taxes are lower than a lot of places and there's plenty of space. Skies are blue, wild flowers bloom most of the year, longhorn steers are neat and we get to wear funny hats if we want.

There are some downsides as well. The influence of the Bible Belt is not as pervasive as it was during my first visits when a guy couldn't find a beer in most towns and a man's wallet bulged with the number of "private club" membership cards he needed to carry if he wanted a martini before dinner at a fine restaurant. We've still got more churches per square mile than gas stations and fast food joints have only recently taken the lead away from Baptist steeples.

But there is serious buffoonery always lurking when the state Board of Education meets to discuss curriculum and textbooks. Last year it was equal billing for "intelligent design" the oxymoronic concept of all of the universe popping up in six calendar days about six thousand years ago. Can't let scientific observation and evaluation of data get in the way of a good biblical legend.

This year we've got this one:

High School Students Might Learn About Islam

Why do you go to school? My impression has always been that it was to learn about something you don't already know. I would like to think that by the time a young Texan has gotten to high school they probably would have a pretty good idea about things Christian. They have been immersed in it for their entire lives.

Today, we are at war and the focus seems to be on or near the Muslim world. That means that finding something out about Islam might be pretty high on most intelligent folks priority list. The religion has been around for fourteen hundred years. It has at various times occupied or conquered much of the civilized world. It has contributed significantly to art, architecture, literature, mathematics and engineering. It has been violent as well.

There are only so many lines of text available for a high school history book. Apparently the crack TX BOE majority likes to count them and demand a balance for their pet perspectives, regardless of whether or not a student knows about those aspects or not. If you already know plenty about Christianity, would it not be unreasonable to avoid squandering that space on repeating information but rather use it to expand knowledge?

Are they afraid that if their children read about Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists and Jews that they will abandon their family faith? Maybe their faith wasn't that strong in the first place.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Responsibilities of an Editor

Not many of us can muster a rational and reasoned argument anymore. We used to learn the techniques in classes in "rhetoric" or in debate clubs or in high school civics and government classes. We learned the difference between facts and assertions. We learned about non sequiturs and red herrings and strawmen. We found out about statistical significance and anecdotal evidence. We were chastised when we used phrases such as "everybody knows" or "the fact of the matter is..."

Now nobody can tell the difference between discussion of issues and sound-biting or sloganeering. Americans simply take regularly repeated assertions as foundational facts. "There were no WMD" and "George W. Bush was stupid" and "Gore won the 2000 election" and even "the economic recovery is moving forward." Pesky facts can be mustered to challenge all of those and they might prevail or they might not, but they offer adequate grounds to question the assertions.

Yet some of the most fertile ground for examples of the ignorance in our political dialog can be found in your daily newspaper on the Letters to the Editor page. I regularly used to ask classes to bring the editorial page into class where we would dissect the comments of the citizenry. One of my favorites was the refutation of poll results with the statement that "nobody ever asked me!"

The Dallas Morning News, however, takes the exercise to an entirely new level. They publish comments which are so ill-founded and baseless that I often think that they are acting cynically in choosing them. They must be sitting around the editorial production desk and nominating foolishness each day to see if anyone notices. Take this beauty for example:

Rich aren't usually hiring
Re: "Partisan arguments cloud the facts on tax cuts," Wednesday news analysis.
The Republicans claim that extending tax cuts for those making over $250,000 will stifle the economy because these are the only people who hire workers -- and if their taxes go up, they won't hire the unemployed folks.
Well, I know a lot of rich people, maybe over a hundred. I can't think of one who hires anybody except his or her maid, gardener or maybe, stockbroker.
Herman I. Morris, Fort Worth

Apparently Mr. Morris considers his acquaintances as being a significant sampling of the population. Rich, I assume, means someone with more money than he has. But, is he right? Should the editors have said, "This guy has a point. The citizens of Dallas will need to consider this."

Who hires workers? Who creates jobs? Who gets hired?

First, let's stipulate that people who get hired for a job are unemployed before they are hired. An unemployed person is the most likely to be hired. OK, maybe we should recognize that some people move from job to job, but then they are replaced in the original job by someone who was first unemployed. No eureka moment there.

Second, who "creates" a job? An employer would be my best guess. That would be someone who owns a business and (soft drum-roll, please) that would be someone well-to-do rather than someone poor. I confess, I never "created" a job. I've hired a housekeeper and someone to mow my lawn. That's not dealing with unemployment. Businesses create jobs. Wealthier people tend to own businesses. A job comes from a business having inadequate staff to meet their production needs.

A small business has twelve workers. They produce profit for the business. Employees get paid, owner takes profits and if demand is growing, eventually owner uses excess return on investment to add employees--i.e. create jobs. The goal is to grow the business.

Conversely, same business, but after producing goods/services the return on investment is paid to the government in increased taxes. Then no money is left to hire that unemployed worker and conceivably even some of the original dozen will be in jeopardy of losing their jobs. Raising taxes on small or large businesses does not enhance job creation.

It is so obvious that Mr. Morris is economically clueless that even the Dallas Morning News editors should have said, "Hey guys, we can't print this stupidity without looking for all the community to see like a bunch of buffoons...can we?"

Letting successful people keep their earned dollars rather than confiscating them in taxes will result in more than hiring of "maids, gardeners, and maybe a stockbroker."

Honestly, can you imagine the contribution that editorial responsibility with regard to selection of letters for publication could make to the level of public discourse? If they chose letters which raised meaningful and rational arguments to enhance understanding of the issues they would be performing a public service.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Topsy Turvy World

The military is not society at large. That means things are different inside that particular population. They are asked to do different things and live under different rules. Some make sense. Some don't. But, if you give the benefit of the doubt to your leaders then you go with what they tell you.

The Obama-chosen new Commandant of the Marine Corps says quite clearly that repeal of Don't Ask/Don't Tell will be a distraction for his troops. It will damage unit cohesion and morale. Duh!

Is prejudice against homosexuals a good thing? No one can reasonably argue that it is good to be prejudiced against any segment of society. Many disagree with the practices, many assert the morality aspect, some quote scripture, some are simply prejudiced and conditioned. It still isn't appropriate to discriminate based on sexual preference.

If I were to say I refuse to hire you, rent to you, work for you or allow you into my club because you were a blatant, flaming, conspicuous heterosexual you would call it outrageous. Simply insert other words and you make the argument.

But, the military is different. It isn't about showers, or cramped quarters, or unwanted advances or freedom of association. We worked out race and gender issues for facilities and sexual advances are not condoned between heterosexuals or ranks, so I don't see a problem with the gay community.

The issue is leadership. A basic concept is up-or-out. You must advance in rank and responsibility over time. That means eventually you must rise to a position of authority, if only over a squad or a team of co-workers. We admit that our society is not yet blind to many aspects of difference. Nowhere is this more apparent than in the attitudes of some segments with regard to homosexuals. The military draws heavily upon sectors of American society which have low tolerance for the behavior. Is that a state of denial? Maybe, but it is undeniably true nevertheless. Until our society changes, these barely out of high-school, macho types are not going to follow or obey someone who is openly and avowedly gay.

This is America, however, and we need to respond to the demands of Lady Gaga that we repeal DA/DT. Seriously! She gets coverage for that sort of pronouncement.

Sen. Harry Reid (death-bed-D NV) bucks the advice of the generals and goes with the pop-culture icon and brings an amendment to the floor of the Senate to chain repeal to the Defense appropriations bill. The amendment is so toxic that even Sen Olympia Snowe (RINO-ME) can't support it.

Amendment Kills Current Term Efforts. Squeals of Agony Heard

That triggers the question of why Reid brought it up and then voted against it? The simple answer is to demonstrate that there is no hope at this time. He brings it forward to show his good will toward the gay community at large, but he is such a good public servant for the people of Nevada who are poised to oust him that he accedes to their wishes and sublimates his higher liberal thinking by voting against it himself. What a great guy!

Indictment of the System

She's bitter. She's been taken advantage of. She is a victim of circumstances. She is cared for by divine providence. She seeks no favors and has garnered no preferences. She apparently is unhappy about how it has worked out and somehow sees nothing wrong with her very unusual perspective.

Aunt to the Messiah Flaunts the Law and Gripes

She shouldn't be picked on or highlighted simply because of who she is related to. The old cliche still applies; you can pick your friends but you can't pick your family. You're stuck with the accidents of birth.

But check out some of the issues this poor woman raises:

For two years Onyango said she lived in a homeless shelter, before she was assigned public housing despite thousands of legal residents also awaiting assistance. "I didn't take any advantage of the system. The system took advantage of me."

"I didn't ask for it; they gave it to me. Ask your system. I didn't create it or vote for it. Go and ask your system," she said unapologetically.

That's gratitude for you. She jumps the line, gets free public housing, is an acknowledge illegal and she casts blame upon America. Maybe being picked up by ICE, detained for processing and then deported would be a choice she could respect. Would she blame that system as taking advantage of her?

In 2004 a judge ordered Zeituni Onyango out of the country, but she never left. She stayed, hiding in plain site. In 2005 she attended her nephew's swearing in as the junior Senator of Illinois. In 2008 she was invited to, and traveled to D.C. for President Obama's inauguration.

However her nephew, she says, never pulled any strings for her.

"Listen. Obama did not know my whereabouts."

Excuse me? She is destitute, living in public housing, yet she travels to Washington for the Bamster's swearing in as a Senator from Illinois? How did she know when, where or what was going on? She was INVITED(!) to the Messiah's inauguration, but he did not know her whereabouts? Can you say "non sequitur"?

Onyango hired a top immigration lawyer from Cleveland to help fight her case. We asked how she afforded that lawyer, when she claimed poverty.

"When you believe in Jesus Christ and almighty God, my help comes from heaven," she responded.

I'm not sure what firm the late JC has on retainer in Cleveland to argue these cases. I will confidently assert, however, that it wasn't pro bono and the lawyer probably didn't declare an overnight precipitation of manna from heaven as his compensation for services rendered.

When asked about cutting in line ahead of those who have paid into the system she answered plainly, "I don't mind. You can take that house. I will be on the street with the homeless."

"To me America's dream became America's worst nightmare," she said adamantly. "I have been treated like public enemy number one."

She gets preferential treatment, free housing, a check without working each month and regular invitations to the White House. Her legal problems are handled by a top flight attorney. It's our worst nightmare. She's treated poorly in her mind.

She says she wouldn't mind if we took back that house. Let's see if she means it. Let's be fair America. Stop picking on her with all of these benefits. She feels abused by it all. Let's all come together and stop the bad treatment. Terminate it now.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Social Engineering Defense Policy

No one in the US Congress seems to have ever read the Constitution because they very clearly don't embrace the concept of enumerated powers. The whole idea when they wrote the document in 1787 was to limit what the federal government could do. They left a loophole, but even that isn't very big. The escape clause the Founders added was the "Necessary and Proper Clause"--a statement that Congress could legislate in areas that were BOTH necessary to the fulfillment of their Constitutional obligations and a proper exercise of their powers. The dusty Tenth Amendment nailed the rest of the doors shut with the clear expression of retention of unenumerated powers by the states.

Among the very clearly enumerated powers are the ones to establish a postal system, which they haven't succeeded in managing very well; to coin money which they are determined to abuse for the sake of welfare redistribution; and the very elemental authority to raise a military for the defense of the nation.

The current Congress is ten days short of the end of the fiscal year and has not fulfilled their obligation to adopt a budget. They have thumbed their collective noses at the very concept of discussion, debate and prioritization of expenditures for the coming year. They don't talk about it because they couldn't get re-elected if they did. Rather they have decided that next year's budget will be "deemed" to have been passed.

The military, however, needs a bank bag of firmly fixed funds to continue to conduct operations and to plan for the development of weaponry to deal with future conflicts and enemies we might face. A DOD budget won't wait, so they are talking about it now.

It is no secret that the administration and the majority in Congress begrudge every dollar that they must direct to defense. Those are dollars Congress can't spend to expand the dependency of their voting base upon themselves. So, they do the next best thing. They lard up the defense budget with a menu of social engineering programs to simultaneously appeal to their leftist adherents and to undermine the ability of the military to function as a cohesive, strong, fighting force.

The Abortion Pill From the Lame Senator

Admittedly the question of military hospitals providing abortions at overseas locations is one that needs dealing with. The social conservatives of the previous administration succeeded in incorporating that restriction in DOD policy. It isn't problematic at CONUS locations where alternative routes exist for medical services. It is a huge problem when the issue arises for military families in overseas duty stations.

You might not approve of abortion, but you have to recognize that young people will get pregnant. When they are military members serving in foreign lands, they are totally dependent upon the military for their healthcare. They also are not combat ready or contributing to mission accomplishment when this issue arises. Rotating them out of theater simply adds costs to the undertaking.

Whether this solution proposed by Sen. Burris is necessary or proper is irrelevant when it comes to DOD budget authorization however.

Ditto for the other social engineering programs which threaten to bugger the works of the coming year's budget. Repeal of "Don't Ask-Don't Tell" may or may not be a good idea, but it isn't budget related. Dangling a shortcut to citizenship for illegals who serve in the military or enroll in college is similarly a debatable policy, but has nothing at all with purchase of beans and bullets.

The sausage making in Washington is way too visible these days and most of us are losing our electoral appetites.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

More Gaga Goo

The question is inevitable after Lady Gaga's appearance at the MTV Video Music Awards. Where does one send a side of beef to be cleaned after it has been worn once or twice? It is washable? Permanent press? I can only assume that it must be pressed with a cool iron, lest it transition from delightfully rosy red to a bland medium rare taupe with grey tones predominant.

For that matter, do you have to turn the air conditioning up a bit higher when wearing a meat suit so that you don't run the risk of having your deodorant offend? Can you sit down in it? Is it necessary to spread a towel or possibly some Glad Wrap on the theater seats when you attend a major award ceremony like VMA?

Of course, there is the explanation that she is just a simple girl wearing whatever she finds hanging in her closet. Here she is this week as she arrives in New York wearing a non-descript traveling outfit:

This is a joke, isn't it? She makes Sasha Baron Cohen's "Bruno" look like serious haberdashery.

Tracking Down the Heritage

At Korat Royal Thai Air Force Base in the O'Club bar there were plaques on the wall. They were large teak wood shields and they held individual brass name plates of people who had completed 100 combat missions over North Vietnam. One plaque contained the handful of names of those with 200--a very small group indeed.

That was in the late '60s and early '70s. There were never more than a couple of hundred guys who made the board. The base is still there, but the US presence is long gone. A couple of time there have been combined exercise deployments in which USAF forces in the Pacific have visited and flown from Korat, but it is a sovereign Thai military installation now. Some of the guys have returned to Thailand and a few tours have been granted access to the base. The club is still there and the buildings are older but still recognizable.

A question came up about two weeks ago in an online group of fighter pilots regarding who had flown and made that short list of 200 missions North. That led to a wondering about what ever happened to the plaques. Did they simply get lost over time?

The magic of the Internet and the network of guys worldwide went to work. First response to the question came from one of the bunch who was an Air America pilot who fell in love with the culture of Asia and a local woman in particular. He has remained in Thailand. He is firmly in our communication loop and has a lot of connections with the ex-pat community and the Thai military. In short order the report came back that the plaques were not at Korat. No one there knew where they went.

That might have meant a dead end. Some suggested that they may have been packed up and sent to the archives when the US moved out of Korat. We confirmed that they hadn't made it to the National Museum of the USAF at Dayton. They expressed an interest in finding them and possibly adding them to their 100 Missions North display.

Today the word came in from Europe. The national CINC-Rat, the boss of the Red River Valley Fighter Pilot's Association (aka River Rats) had met a guy at the Ramstein Air Base Germany club bar. The individual had just reported to Europe from his previous assignment at Hill AFB in Utah which is the current home of the 388th Fighter Wing. He confirmed that the plaques are saved and have been in the possession of the 388th where they are proudly displayed on the wall of the wing headquarters building.

That's good to know.

Avast Ye Scurvy Dogs...

Don't forget it. Today it returns:

September 19 is International Talk Like a Pirate Day

If the Cowboys weren't going to stink up the stadium against the Bears today, I'd probably have a Pirates film fest at the Alamo North.

If you've gotten rusty over the past year, Brigid offers some excellent pirate pick-up lines which you may find useful in the cantina at Tortuga:

Top Ten Ways to Meet A Wench

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Logic and Reason

In the latest twist on the Christine O'Donnell saga in Delaware, we have Bill Maher providing unequivocal evidence that Christine is a duck. See here for the reasoning process:

Well, maybe that was a bit of artistic license. It's more like Maher has suggested that the Republican candidate for the "Biden Seat" in the US Senate is a witch. No, not in the Nancy Pelosi sense, but in the classic burn-at-the-stake sort of Nathaniel Hawthorne scenario. Salem Massachusetts, not Castro-district San Francisco sort of witch.

You see, if we go back many years ago to a much younger Christine we find her making appearances on Maher's comedy show in which attractive, articulate and entertaining people sat around a table and talked in a manner which was advertised as being politically incorrect. What would be more entertaining to a group of pseudo-intellectual metro-sexuals and liberated women chatting on the ragged edge of acceptability than a giggly young girl talking about hanging around with some friends who were into witchcraft and finishing up a date with the rather risque adventure of picnicking at midnight on a "Satanic altar"? That's late night entertainment, 1990's style.

Here's Maher casting the gauntlet to the ground and with tongue placed firmly in his cheek leering that he's got her on record as being a loon:

Will this be politically damaging? Honestly I think it is more entertaining than disruptive. It sounds like the candidate is outgoing, gregarious and not above making fun of herself and conventions. Maher, however, seems to think he's got 22 smoking guns to hold over her head. The impish grin however, seems to be more aware then some about what he's really doing.

We'll see how this develops.

The Family Background

By now you have probably experienced the rather ludicrous image of the President of the United States taking to the stump and personally denigrating a minority party congressman. (Attn: no words in the previous sentence are in any way related to racism.) The Messiah sees a potential John Boehner speakership as the apocalypse for the American welfare class. He finds nothing wrong with vilifying Boenher for playing golf like Obama does himself. There is nothing wrong with pointing out that the congressman from Ohio smokes, just as the Bamster does. While White House royalty spends hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars he extends his nicotine stained bony finger toward the congressman's entertainment background. He even has made snide remarks about Boehner's complexion...he really shouldn't go there.

We know quite a bit about the President's upbringing. He would hardly be characterized as typical of Americans or even underprivileged when we view his educational history and his rise to political prominence. That is why this background sketch is so remarkable:

Unemployed Bro, Barmaid Sis, Seven Year College, Rise to Corporate Success and More

The gang that never shoots straight might just be highlighting an opponent who looks exactly like the people that comprise their core supporters.

Saturday Morning Rocker

Yeah, I went to Catholic grammar school and Catholic high school. I think I might have used exactly these words at the drive-in movie:

And later that same night:

Friday, September 17, 2010

Federalism Redux

The Founders created a federal system in which the relationship between the two levels was weighted in favor of the states. The national level was limited by enumerated powers, delegated by the states. The deal was sealed with the Tenth Amendment which clearly said that if we didn't give it to the federal government in the Constitution or deny a power to the states, then the states keep it.

All this is clear and essentially abandoned in current practice. The federal government has their fumbling fingers in every slice of every pie in our lives. And they continually seek more even while blatantly ignoring what we (the people) are seeking from our government. Is it irreversible?

Well, here's a Georgetown constitutional law prof who offers a solution to get us back on track:

Time For A Repeal Amendment--The Final Check & Balance

Certainly the point he makes about the impact of the 16th and 17th amendments resonates. The democratization of the Senate by directly electing them does remove a significant check on the capability of the federal government to run amok in a frenzy of populist handout programs without regard to the needs or capabilities of the individual states.

Today when we have the full implementation of the omnibus healthcare bill looming and we see state after state appealing to the federal courts for relief or exemptions, the efficacy of a repeal amendment becomes apparent. When a democratic legislative process seems hell-bent on ignoring the will of the states strictly for their own aggrandizement, this seems to be a solution.

Congress Shall Make No Law...

...respecting an establishment of weirdness, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.

They sent her home from school because she violated the school dress code. I'd say that might be a First Amendment issue if couched in terms of freedom of expression. Is her political speech being curtailed? The problem there is that the courts haven't bought into a right to express speech through dress if it disrupts the educational process which is the purpose of the schools.

So, how about freedom of religion?

Nose Piercing A Worshipful Act for 15-yr Old

Initial reaction was where are the parents in this? How does a fifteen year old get into facial piercing and then stir the First Amendment pot without a parent drawing the adult line in the sand? Well, according to the WaPo, mommy is a member of the church as well. The apple falls not too far from the tattooed and cavity riddled tree.

C'mon now, is this a real church? Of course it is. Here's all you need to know including how to join and even how to become a minister.

Sew Your Mouth Shut For God

They do advise you before you fill out the application for ministership, that you check the resumes of some of the senior ministers in the congregation so that you can appreciate that not just any applicant gets into the ministry. You've got to be professionally weird to qualify.

Current Modifications:
1/2″ Lobes (left/right)
4g Lobes, Second Hole (left/right)
8g Lobes, Third Hole (left/right)
16g, 1/2″ long surface bar vertically in front of tragus (left/right)
18g Nostril Piercings (left/right)
14g Bridge of Nose Piercing
8g Septum Piercing
14g Navel Piercing
Crop Circle Tattoos – Back of Left Calf
Black-work knot – Back of Neck
Butterfly – left forearm

Temporary Modifications/Events:
Numerous Play Piercing Sessions
Back Pull (12-28-2007)
Back Pull (03-16-2008)
Chest Pull (07-13-2008)

Ritual Events:
Public Drumming Circles (2000-Present, 4-8 Times Per Year)
Public Spiritual Camping Retreats (2007-Present, Twice Yearly)
Private Rituals Facilitated Since 2000
Personal Rituals Conducted Frequently

Foundation For Shamanic Studies, Basic Shamanism Course Graduate (2001)
Moorpark College (Philosophy/Theology)
Palomar College (American Sign Language), studying affects of non-verbal language in ritual magic context.

If you don't have any experience in facilitating private rituals it will be tougher to be ordained. As you can tell, graduation from the basic shamanism course is essential.

I wonder how she got into the ministry without a tramp stamp?

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Juggle The Numbers

A question I will often ask my Texas State/Local Government class is whether the national ranking statistics of state per capita expenditures on public education which show Texas in the bottom five consistently are relevant. Once I've explained what "per capita" means and how that makes big population states or small population states irrelevant we can get to the question.

The rankings are irrelevant for two major reasons. First, dollars spent does not equate with learning. Some of the regions with highest per capita spending offer the worst quality of educational performance. Second the cost of living variance between states mean that Texas might get considerably more educational bang for their bucks.

Here's a classic example of cooking the books:

Poverty Rate Peaks for Last Half Century

Once you consider the fact that "poverty" is defined by the federal government as an income level for families of one through four, you find the same problem as with school spending. An income level which would leave you destitute in San Francisco or New York City would have you living in middle class comfort in small town Texas areas.

If government wants to convince you of a problem, they set the statistics to support that contention. Want more poverty? Raise the poverty income level. Want poverty to go away, then define the poverty level at a much lower number. If you want to legislate welfare policy and redistributionist tax rates then crank up your poverty levels.

"Given all the unemployment we saw, it's the government safety net that's keeping people above the poverty line," Douglas Besharov, a University of Maryland public policy professor and former scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, told the Associated Press.

Hard to believe that gentleman is a university professor. Apparently he embraces the concept of a benevolent government providing for our wants and needs by dispensing magical government dollars. He doesn't know that government only has those dollars it takes from us in the first place.

In addition, 51 million Americans were uninsured, as the number of people with health insurance dropped from 255 million to less than 254 million -- the first decrease since the government started keeping track in 1987. The number would have been worse because 6.5 million fewer people got insurance through their jobs, but it was offset by a leap in government-backed health insurance. More than 30 percent of Americans now get coverage from the government.

Got that? Obamacare in action. 6.5 million people no longer get their insurance through their employer. 51 million now uninsured instead of the 33 million that was generally accepted during the debate. Must need more government healthcare, I guess.

Read the rest of that piece for some remarkable stories of people who have gotten themselves into unfortunate circumstances on their own volition. A "single mother of five" who is raising both her own children and her grandchildren--apparently it's a generational thing. A lawyer and mortgage broker who were "in the business of buying and selling homes" but suffered THREE foreclosures and are homeless.

It just makes me want to send a check to them this very minute.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Droopy Drawers A Cops Friend

A long time friend, fighter pilot, former airline captain and hobbyist police officer in his spare time refers to the outfit as "Arrest Me" clothes. You know what I'm talking about; the hugely over-sized shorts with the crotch down to the ankles, the baggy jeans suspended seemingly by magic and bad intentions at mid-thigh, the questionably hygienic boxer shorts exposed, the ragged black tee or over-sized athletic jersey, the flat-brimmed baseball cap worn sideways. It is a unique look that is ubiquitous among the thuggist class of American metropolitan areas.

So, what does a female cop do when she has a suspicion about three young reprobates in a White Castle parking lot? Why would anyone go to a White Castle parking lot and not have a slider in their mitts? What brings folks there if not the cholesterol and saturated fats? The officer had reason to believe it was the transfer of illicit herbal substances.

Roust the young men out of the car. Prepare to pat them down but experience a realistic reluctance to be patting the underwear of the miscreants. She tugs the trou to raise them to a civilized level and behold a firearm drops from the pocket to the pavement. That could be problematic for the suspects. It once again clearly demonstrates the value of a quality holster!

So, was the officer guilty of an unreasonable invasion of the drug trafficker's privacy?

Minneapolis Court Finds Trouser Elevations Legal

But, the episode demonstrates the gentility of law enforcement in the cultured state of Minnesota. Down here in Texas, the gun wouldn't have fallen. The officers would have picked the young man up by the belt loops of his pants and placed him on the ground spread eagled. It reduces the incidence of falling firearms considerably.

The Sun Is Setting on the Reich

The last of the primary elections took place yesterday and the mood of the electorate still seems to be holding. Mike Castle (RINO-DE) was soundly defeated despite the crude attempts of the entrenched Republican Old Tuskers (ROT) to discredit her. It seems that folks are seriously disgusted with the direction of government. The cult of personality in which elected officials subjugate the will of the people to their own career preservation is both apparent and triggering voter revulsion.

Long ago, in terms of American political memory, we had a President who likened America to a golden city on a hill. He had pride in his country, even before they voted for him, and he believed in our principles and uniqueness. We could and would prevail against those who would bring us down not simply because we were stronger but because we were better.

He firmly espoused a core principle and enunciated it as the Eleventh Commandment, "Never speak ill about a fellow-Republican." In so many races across the country we have seen that elemental principle abandoned as career politicians discredit and attempt to destroy primary opponents. They seldom talk about the issues, they run from their record and they resort to the most base lies and innuendo.

But, the time are changing.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Fighter Porn

Tenth Amendment and Michelin Stars

The Framers tried to give the federal government they were creating a clear mandate about what they expected to be done by that level. Those are called enumerated powers. They are delegated by the level of government which was creating this super-power, the thirteen original colonies now become states. Anything not listed or specifically delegated was reserved to the states. They put the Tenth Amendment in the document which said exactly that.

Sure, they offered a bit of latitude for unforeseen circumstances. They inserted a "necessary and proper" clause which allowed for legislation in unspecified areas if they were necessary and proper for fulfilling the enumerated powers. The fed level was not to be unlimited. What people freely choose to eat is not within the necessary and proper region.

Would someone please explain this Marie Antoinette?

Less Salt, Less Fat, Less Butter, Eat as She Says!

Excuse me! Yes, Michelle, we have become a society which does not know how to boil an egg for ourselves. A couple of years ago an enterprising company packaged breakfast kits which offered a serving of dry cereal, a ration of milk, a portion of dehydrated fruit, and a pouch of sweetener. This was for those folks who couldn't figure out how to pour their own milk over a cereal straight out of the box.

This component of society eats all meals in fast-food joints. They cycle from place to place down the local strip eating at McD's, BK, Subway, Pizza Hut, Taco Bell, Wendy's, Applebee's, Chili's, and back to the beginning. Maybe they should be told what to eat. This bunch will have planned menus placed before them pretty soon anyway as they get apprehended and offered three hots and a cot in the Graybar Hotel.

But there are still some of us who dine out. We don't "go out to eat" but we go to a nice restaurant to have a dining experience. That will often mean food cooked without concern for calories but only for flavor and freshness.

There are few things in this life which are more sublime and at the same time more unhealthful than foie gras. It is delicate. It is delightful. It is a taste experience. It is pure fat and cholesterol...the bad kind. I will have some any time it is offered.

I will eat osso bucco. I will eat lasagna. I will eat calamari fritti. I will eat a prime steak cooked bloody rare. I will eat over-fished Chilean sea bass with a beure blanc. I will do it for as long as I live and my heart lasts. A Napoleon or a creme brulee is a fine finish.

Michelle, mind your own damned business. It is not your right to interfere with what people eat. You can advocate but you can't legislate. Don't even try.

Take care of whatizzname.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Sez Who?

In what may be the ultimate manifestation of arrogance and misunderstanding today we get this gem from the mouth of Imam Rauf:

Disingenuous To Consider It Hallowed or Sacred Ground

Maybe he hasn't really had a chance to read much American history. Certainly getting to Imam level and being issued a rug, a collar-less shirt and a pair of shoes with the heels broken down for easy entry and exit five times a day leaves little time for boning up on the local culture. There are a few documents I would suggest for him before his next pronouncements. Certainly our Constitution and Declaration of Independence are required as well as a cursory glance at the Federalist Papers and some De Tocqueville would help. Then there's this short little blurb which comprises about three quarters of one of America's most famous speeches:

But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate -- we can not consecrate -- we can not hallow -- this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us -- that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion -- that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain -- that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom -- and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.

Those three thousand people weren't intending to be warriors on that morning when they went to work. Before the morning coffee had grown cold they were shedding their blood in one of the most remarkable events of our lifetimes. They died in what is undeniably a war, Imam Rauf, and that war was initiated by your brethren. Do not try to downplay that episode.

Please, do not dare to try to explain to us the nuances of what you call sacred ground.

The State of the Polity

I'm not a bubble-gum tween-ager heart-throb kind of music lover. I never was. That's why my first awareness of Justin Bieber was when an interview he did in New Zealand or Australia last year showed him to be a bit on the uneducated side. Yet, he's got a cute smile and a faggy sort of bushy haircut which along with a lot of meaningless lyrics and a production staff which surrounds him with diverse dancers of various ethnicities and orientations he is tremendously successful. Good for him. Money which you make yourself is always commendable.

But now we encounter the Beebster as a tool of the political propaganda machines. They use the waif to appeal to his base of 12-year olds to "Vote for Justin"!

Tell Your Mommy & Daddy to Save Beebs!

So, the follow-up will be to ask the young man-child for opinions on a nuclear Iran, tax cuts for the wealthy (which would be him), the rising national debt, devaluation of the currency, global carbon control and national energy policy. Then when the screaming mouth-breathing little girls calm down in their oozing about their love, they should run to their parents and urge them to vote for the Bamster's minions to save the world for Justin who is supposedly going to grow up some day.

Are we really ready for democracy?

Busy Busy

Another tough week ahead. This presidenting business is so difficult. Dressing for the never-ending round of parties, making it to the golf course for tee times, trashing the predecessor for the failed healthcare and stimulus, rephrasing last years speeches that were blatant lies to fit the current evidence. It never seems to end.

Busy Week Ahead for Royals

I don't think we (the people) can really comprehend how they slave away for us. Let us go and eat some cake...

Sunday, September 12, 2010


So, this should explain it:

Modern Phenom Described in Detail

I thought I might be the only one who thought this sort of thing.

Muslim Moyel

Religion of peace? Maybe when they no longer take to the streets by the thousands screaming "Death to America!" and shooting AK-47s into the air I will entertain that concept. When they stop issuing fatwas directing the killing of anyone who minimally tickles their delicate sensibilities I could accept that. Maybe when the moderates of Islam actually take charge of their society and root out the radicals I will believe that they are a religious and charitable people simply worshiping in their own chosen way. When they stop planting bombs, clothing themselves in explosive belts, flogging their women, and beheading reporters we could discuss it again.

But, frankly, I don't see much hope of that. There hasn't been in the past and there won't be in the future.

What Does He Mean?

It was a stunner. Fidel Castro grants an in-depth interview with Jeff Goldberg for Atlantic Monthly and says this:

I asked him if he believed the Cuban model was still something worth exporting.

"The Cuban model doesn't even work for us anymore," he said.

This struck me as the mother of all Emily Litella moments. Did the leader of the Revolution just say, in essence, "Never mind"?

I asked Julia to interpret this stunning statement for me. She said, "He wasn't rejecting the ideas of the Revolution. I took it to be an acknowledgment that under 'the Cuban model' the state has much too big a role in the economic life of the country."

It is a fascinating interview, particularly if the leader of the revolution is actually honestly appraising what he has done over the last fifty years to a nation which potentially could have been a garden spot of tourism and industry in the Caribbean.

Time For Transition ala China?

The interpreter offers a reasonable explanation of such a statement. All societies are inherently a mix of market and planned economies. If the balance is heavily into free enterprise we call it capitalism. If the weight falls on government planning, regulation and controls then we call it communism or socialist. There is still always an element of the opposite model. Cuba's model has always been heavily weighted in favor of the state. They don't go as far as North Korea, but they are a long way to the left of China as it exists today. Maybe Castro sees the future? Possibly he is proposing a bit of lightening up.

But, no. That's not what he meant when he said what seemed quite clear. Here's the revision. Apparently there is a Latin parallel to Robert Gibbs who does a classic "What the Captain Means" shtick.

When I Said Cuban I Meant Capitalist

Got that? He must be from the same school of logic and rhetoric as our own Dear Messiah. He communicates similarly employing reverse-speak. Whatever he said, he means exactly the opposite.

If You Burn It They Will Come

The loons, the media, the gawkers, the fools will gather. It is New York City after all. Pay attention to the audio here. That's the chilling message.

Once again we have the mindless chanting of the drones. Shouting slogans repeatedly to drown out the reality has become the norm.

"Why did you do it?" Because this is America and he can express his opinion either verbally or symbolically. Would there have been such reactions if he had been torching a Bible, a Torah, a flag, or a copy of Huckleberry Finn?

The comparison from the one mindless shouter to Nazi German book-burning is demonstrative of the vapidity of the arguments. The man burns his own private property, denying no one in America access to the ramblings of a 12th century nut-job with four wives and a fetish for dominance. If anyone in that crowd wanted a Koran, I would bet there were two or three bookstores within a short walk of that scene where the book could be purchased for reading, cherishing, burning or replacing the Sears catalog in the little shack out back.

Note the NYPD performance. When they apparently are apprehending the man in the early minutes, they merely escort him from the hostile crowd and by the end of the video they are no longer in the picture as he strolls like the Pied Piper of Hamlin across the street leading a pack of media rats out of the area.

Friday, September 10, 2010


We tend to "love ourselves more than those who don't" use Facebook. I'm sort of in favor of intense self-appreciation. The opposite is self-loathing or possibly liberalism...

Facebook Users Narcissistic

Of course, the reality is "it depends" on your use of social networking sites. If you use them to expand your circle, interact with people of common interests, maintain business relationships and quickly correspond when necessary they are practical solutions. If you fiddle with hourly postings of which cheek you are scratching, what you had for lunch and feeding your pigs in Farmville then you've got a problem.


It brings back memories of American metropolitan area reactions to events like an NBA championship or a Super Bowl win. We celebrate by taking to the streets, torching cars, breaking store windows, looting and getting so drunk we lie in pools of our own vomit for a day and a half afterward. Yes, nothing says involvement like an eruption of random, bloody destruction.

That's why this seems so very appropriate:

Eleven Injured in Afghanistan Riots Over Koran Burning

The message of that posting is precisely what I've been saying. Resistance to intimidation and a clear statement of America's unwillingness to be cowed by an organization of thugs is the proper course of action. Why no one seems willing to do that is a puzzlement.

And, when they get really mad it us and storm the Bastille, the defenders will be likely to injury some of them. Apparently their outrage is so complete that they are even willing to injure themselves to demonstrate it.

That should teach us a lesson!

A Trend is Developing

This morning brings news that the Rev in Gainesville got snookered by the local imam. Imagine that! Seems that the representative of the religion of peace in residence locally met with the incendiary preacher and told him that Rauf was agreeable to moving his "cultural center." In response the Koran burning was off.

But, wait a sec. Rauf and henchmen deny even being contacted by local imam. I'm crushed! My illusions of Muslim honesty are shattered. Who lied to the poor, but ignorant preacher? Response of said preacher is to restore the scheduled conflagration.

So, really, how many Korans could a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck in a small church could chuck Korans? Not a big deal in the perspective of a world religion.

Tennessee Minister Plans Sympathy Burning

Are you surprised? You shouldn't be.

Kansas Cornfield Conflagration Considered

Cheyenne Cowboys Consider Koran Burning at Capitol

It seems that there is likely to be a market shortage soon of suicide belts, Neanderthal jihadis and previously unsoiled virgins. They're going to have a full schedule of terrorism and a lot of frequent flyer miles piling up killing all of us infidels.

This is getting interesting.

Thursday, September 09, 2010

Don't Make the Imam Angry

And the drumbeat of threats and intimidation from the religion of peace and moderation continues:

If I Had Known I Wouldn't Have--But I Did and I Must

Duplicity, thy name is Rauf. If he had known the outrage it would generate he wouldn't have proposed the mosque near Ground Zero. Really? How could he not have anticipated it?

If he had it to do over he would have proposed a more distant site. Really? Not a shovel has turned, not a brick of the existing structure has been dismantled so why can't he change the plans?

Once again it is because those peace-loving Muslims around the world will blow us up for offending them even through implication and innuendo.

Frankly, I'm ready to offend them a bit. Bring it on!

I Wish to Detonate Myself...

If I've got the scenario right, the Jihadis can be offended by the simplest of things and they are immune to any restrictions on their activity. The religion of peace that slices heads off of journalists on video and issues death threats to cartoonists who dare to draw an image of the Prophet must be acceded to when they indicate their displeasure. What surprises me, however, is the litany of prominent Americans from all corners of the political landscape who counsel rolling over and playing dead lest we provide offense.

More amazing to me has been the extension of the "Burn the Koran Day" activity to liken it to Nazi book burnings and the destruction of religious materials in totalitarian regimes. The fact that there is a distinct difference between an individual choosing to destroy his own book on his own property by his own free choice and the intentional repression of thoughts and ideas by government is overlooked. This isn't Fahrenheit 451 here.

Turn the Other Cheek? Extend the Hand of Love?

It is a book. The preacher isn't doing a Christian thing or a wise thing, but he is doing a politically illustrative act. He is pointing something out and apparently there are a lot of folks who aren't seeing it. But consider this mature, adult, 21st century response to the burning:

Postings on the Al-Faloja website included a forum member writing, "I wish to detonate myself in this church now. ... I want to become a martyr and detonate myself in this filthiest filth."

There is a guy who can't take a joke. But, he isn't alone.

Another member warned, "Oh you Americans, I swear by Allah if you do this deed await a war that you have not witnessed ... we will not rest until we kill tens of you in place of every letter in the book of Allah. ..."

Apparently a practicing Muslim is not obliged to turn another cheek or to recognize any sort of restraint. Proportionality in response is not a factor nor is reciprocity in their own actions.

UPDATE: Burning Called Off!

I was kind of looking forward to the event. Maybe I'll toast up a couple of holy books myself this weekend and see if I can offend someone.

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Hermine Visits Texoma

Well, we're usually a long way from hurricanes in Texoma, but give me a little ol' tropical storm that sneaks ashore by Brownsville and then comes up the core of Texas and we've got some rain. I just wonder where it picked up all that water:

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Collapsing House of Cards

I had always thought they would carry him out of City Hall in a box. It looks as though the dissatisfaction with the entire corrupt system has gotten so much sunshine that even the immortal are throwing in the towel:

Hizzonor Won't Run Next Year--21 Years Is Enough

There will be the usual posturing among the alderman of the city, but it isn't likely that any of those largely faceless sycophants of Da Mayor would be able to muster the political clout or the cash to pad the proper pockets for the position. If the retiring mayor were to anoint an heir it might be different.

Meanwhile, who does have the name recognition?

"I Wouldn't Run Against Daley"

With Daley not running, the door is open. The timeliness would be perfect. He gets out of Washington before the final days in the bunker in 2012. He reaps the largesse for a year as the Reich liquidates assets and gets the gold and artwork out of Washington and he gains a position which he can milk for millions for decades into his old age with the empire totally collapsed around him. Maybe he might even have a job for his old buddy, the Bamster.

Wagging the Dog

Fanning the flames of prejudice isn't a good thing. But sometimes it can be a whole lot of fun. Maybe that's the thinking of this Florida minister:

Burn a Koran Day

Now here we've got a minister who clearly doesn't scare easily. When major newspapers and magazines are intimidated by fatwas to not publish a drawing of the Prophet and independent movie producers descended from the classic dutch painter Van Gogh are assassinated in the streets, this non-inclusive Christian decides to tweak the Muslims of the world with a sacrilege. I think Salmon Rushdie is still hiding in plain sight to avoid a ceremonial beheading.

The government's reaction is to point out that this will make many folks unhappy. And, much like the mild-mannered doctor who transforms into The Hulk, you won't like them when they're angry.

Petraeus Warns Taliban Will Be Inflamed

The State Department issues a solemn warning against the demonstration as well, but let's think about where we are.

This is a nation with a First Amendment. We burn our own flag to make political statements and you can bet that used to make a few people unhappy although not so much anymore. We display crucifixes in Mason jars of urine and admire the artistic statement. We adorn Madonnas in dung and comment on the creativity of the production.

Our Supreme Court has ruled that symbolism is protected speech. The Koran burning seems quite clearly to be offensive, crude, inflammatory (no pun intended) and definitely in the category of protected political expression. It might even piggy-back on the free exercise of religion aspects of the First Amendment as well.

I don't particularly like the idea of demeaning someone else's religion or their revered objects. But I also am not yet willing to abandon the liberties of America. I'm not quite comfortable with modifying my behavior, my expression, my attitudes, my literature, my life view simply so that it doesn't offend some knuckle-dragging goatherd living in a cave and abiding by the rulings of a twelfth century megalomaniac. If they can't take a joke, screw 'em.

Burn, baby, burn!

Monday, September 06, 2010

Freak Accident Claims Rocker

They broke new ground in rock music. Classically trained they brought strings into the mix including violins and cello to offer new perspectives in the genre and maybe dispel a bit of the garage band hack-meister view that many held about four piece rock groups.

One of the originals was lost in this freak accident:

Mike Edwards Killed in England

You just never know what's going to get you.

Throw a Nickel...

For the benighted few who don't understand the nickels at Robin's grave marker at the USAFA cemetery:

Clio Not Calling

I'm regularly asked about the next book project. It seems reasonable to consider something although I never hesitate to explain to folks that book writing for all but a handful of very talented people is a labor of love not money. For cash in hand, I would be better off seeking a mid-management position at the local Subway. And, I could nibble on what I couldn't sell.

I've used up my wars and been fortunate enough to be part of the preservation of Robin's story. That means I've got to cull my past to find something of interest or figure out how to write compelling fiction. There aren't enough readers of ThunderTales to create a demand for a book of my political musings or initiate a request from a metropolitan newspaper for editorial contributions.

For a while, actually still, my wife has been pressing me to string the anecdotes of my upbringing together into another memoir. Growing up in an apartment in Chicago with a hypochondriac, narcissistic mother and an alcoholic, under-appreciated father has many elements of a salable book. It might be a cross between Mommy Dearest and Catcher in the Rye. The problem is building a flow of the events of a life time and sustaining the story of my mother without it being a conscious attempt to either gild her or admit her very serious shortcomings. I'm totally ambivalent on it.

There is always the option of staying within established genre. That could mean another flying book and there are two potential stories there. One is the pilot training years and the other is the peacetime fighter pilot in Cold War Europe. Each could be interesting, but neither seems likely to fill a demand or stir up a market.

That leaves fiction. Frankly, I don't know how people do that. Stephen King offered a handy little throw-away book with the accurate, though unimpressive title, "On Writing" which explains his prolific output. The question of creativity is dealt with by King simply by not worrying about it. His method is to create characters and then place them in a context. That's all there is to it. Then he lets his characters speak and act in a manner consistent with the personae which he has created for them. Voila! A story appears.

Clearly that requires a talent which only a few like King possess. Most of us have to have a story to tell with a beginning and an end. I don't know that I do yet.

There are enough "characters" in the tactical aviation community to populate a shelf full of novels. I know Tom Wilson who has done some great novels on the fighter business and those of us who were there can clearly identify a bunch of the players. I've had several conversations on fiction writing with Mark Berent, whose six part Vietnam saga draws heavily on his experiences in the war. Each of them have a skill which I've not yet found for myself.

I leave the office door open. Maybe one of these days the rustling behind my chair won't be the dog coming in to curl up or bark at me to put some food in his bowl. Maybe it will be the muse with the boot in the butt to push me into the book. I leave the door open...