Wednesday, June 30, 2010

First Impressions

After a while one gets tired of attempting to be 'fair and balanced.' When that happens, just going with the first impulse is a welcome respite. Ergo, we present the following.

Primus...

If you can believe the tabloids, Tiger Woods' girlfriends are costing him around $750 million. According to one calculation, that's about $25 million per wench. No offense to any ladies reading this, but that's a helluva a lot to pay for a little variety. Call me old-fashioned, but I happen to believe in "Till death do you part." If one wants to stray, one should get divorced first.

He should have taken Harper's advice and Passed Up Strange

Secundus...

Who woulda thunk that the obama administration would indulge in reverse racism?

I have to admit that if me and mine had been treated like second class citizens for generations, I might be tempted to seek a little payback. But I hope I would be up-front enough to admit it, and not throw up a screen of bullshit.
A former Justice Department attorney who quit his job to protest the Obama administration's handling of the New Black Panther Party voter intimidation case is accusing Attorney General Eric Holder of dropping the charges for racially motivated reasons.

J. Christian Adams, now an attorney in Virginia and a conservative blogger, says he and the other Justice Department lawyers working on the case were ordered to dismiss it.

Adams says the dismissal is a symptom of the Obama administration's reverse racism and that the Justice Department will not pursue voting rights cases against white victims.
(Video here.)
So if I happen to stand around outside my local polling place in 2012, holding a baseball bat and wearing a "Don't Tread On Me" shirt, that's okay? I'm sure Attorney Asshole General Holder and his minions (see below) won't press charges...




And The Hits Just Keep On Coming...

(Or in other words, I got tired of counting in Latin)

Like I said, I'm tired of tracking down original sources for much of the stuff I use. So I'm just going to post the following with only a reference to where I found it. I don't see the need to validate it further. After all, if it's on the Internet, it must be true - right...?
Advocates for illegal aliens lately have informed us those can be legitimate lifestyle choices that, rather than being prosecuted, should be supported by allowing people to obtain government papers such as driver’s licenses without having to produce supporting documents, and that people who lack legal authority to be here should be allowed to move freely, work, attend schools and receive government benefits.
Do I really need to comment on this foolishness?

One more: Oil spill visits get partisan
Rep. Steve Scalise (R-La.) wanted to fly 10 lawmakers down to the Gulf of Mexico to see the damage caused by BP’s gigantic oil spill first hand.
House Democrats said no.

Scalise’s trip was rejected for a variety of bureaucratic and logistical reasons, but it has also opened a new vein of partisan squabbling over who should be allowed to arrange a trip to view the impact of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.

Republicans want to be able to take trips using their office spending allowance. But Democrats have heard from the Department of Homeland Security, which has asked that Congress organize trips through committees of jurisdiction, to avoid having to cater to a ton of individual lawmakers in a disaster zone, Democratic aides say. GOP leaders say they’ve heard nothing of this.
The squabbling over who gets to travel to the Gulf on whose dime is the latest sign that congressional oversight of the oil spill oversight from Capitol Hill has been bogged down by partisanship. Congress has held upwards of 20 hearings on the disaster, often duplicative ones each week, as lawmakers struggle to grasp and fully realize the scope of BP’s giant oil spill.
The federal government is so dysfunctional that at this point the only solution is to throw every single Goddamn one of 'em out this Nov. - repubs and dems; conservatives and liberals; men and women; black and white and brown and yellow and striped and polkadotted - EVERY Goddamn worthless scum-sucking one of 'em!!! There ain't a single incumbent worth the gunpowder it would take to blow him/her away.

I feel the need for Shiners. Many, many Shiners...

Sigh...

The Constitution is the Precedent

A mishmash of thoughts today, from a smorgasbord of sources, all related to a central theme - the underappreciated, and hence often overlooked, impact of Supreme Court justices.

From Sen Jim DeMint (R. - South Carolina) (link here):
When a president and a Congress collude to pass and sign into law unconstitutional power grabs, bailouts and takeovers there is only one immediate backstop: the Supreme Court. Every branch of government has an obligation to preserve, defend and uphold the Constitution, and if the legislative and executive branches overstep their boundaries, the judicial branch can stop them.
On the other hand, if the Supreme Court doesn't say "no" when the other two branches go too far, there is no tax that can't be levied, no mandate that can't be imposed, no regulation that can't be instituted and no industry that can't be taken over. The only recourse Americans have is to remove and replace members of Congress and the president slowly through the election process. But when Supreme Court judges, who are unelected and given lifetime appointments, refuse to say "no" when the Constitution says they should, it can take much longer to undo the damage.
Got that? Supreme Court appointments are for life. There's no do-overs. That's why it is so very crucial to ensure that appointees are qualified, reasonable, and impartial. Trying to fill some sort of quota (so many blacks, so many hispanics, so many women, so many fill-in-the-blanks) is not the way to do it. Just look at the mess our affirmative-action president has got us into.

DeMint painted the picture with broad strokes. The next two selections provide a more focused perspective on two topics near and dear to me: the idea that legal decisions of foreign justices can be used as guides by the U.S. Supreme Court, and the Second Amendment.

For the former, we turn to Phyllis Schlafly, lawyer, and political analyst (link here).
During Kagan's confirmation hearing for solicitor general, Sen. Arlen Specter asked her views on using foreign or international law or decisions to interpret our Constitution and laws. She wrote in reply that she approves using "reasonable foreign law arguments." Au contraire. The U.S. Constitution says our judges "shall be bound" by "the Constitution, and the laws of the United States which shall be made in pursuance thereof."
Most reasonable people would agree that U.S. law should be guided by the U.S. Constitution, not something the Italians or the English or, God help us, the French have dreamed up. Nothing against those folks, but they have different cultures, different histories, and different traditions than we do. One of the reasons for the ascendancy to greatness of this nation is it's legal framework: loose enough to allow individuals to succeed while at the same time protecting a core of fundamental liberties. Using foreign laws to govern U.S. citizens would be like wearing someone else's shoes: ill fitting, potentially harmful, and just downright icky.

As for the Second Amendment, John Lott, economics professor, author, and commentator, links Kagan with Sotomayor (the self-proclaimed "wise Latina") (link here): 
Obama's first Supreme Court pick, Sonia Sotomayor, looked no better. For instance, in one of her decisions as an appeals court judge, she argued that the Second Amendment would not block any gun-control laws as long as the politicians passing the laws thought the weapon was "designed primarily as a weapon and has no purpose other than to maim or, in some instances, kill."  
In other words, as long as politicians think that they are doing the right thing, even if totally misguided, these good intentions trump any individual right to bear arms.

With an interpretation like the one offered by Justice Sotomayor, the Supreme Court would never have struck down Washington, D.C.’s gun ban, let alone any other gun-control law.
Unfortunately, there is no easy quick-fix: every place in the world that has tried a gun ban -- not just Chicago and Washington, D.C. -- has seen an increase in murder rates.  
But despite her past decisions, Sotomayor clearly promised the Senate Judiciary Committee that as a Supreme Court justice she would follow Heller and accept its decision that the Second Amendment guarantees an individual right to own guns for self-defense. Here's this example from her 2009 confirmation hearing:
Senator Patrick Leahy: “. . . you, in fact, recognized the Supreme Court decided in ‘Heller’ that the personal right to bear arms is guaranteed by the Second Amendment of the Constitution against federal law restrictions. Is that correct?"

Sotomayor: "It is."

Yet, in the Supreme Court’s decision on Monday to strike down the Chicago handgun ban, Sotomayor apparently completely forgot her promise last year.

"I can find nothing in the Second Amendment’s text, history, or underlying rationale that could warrant characterizing it as 'fundamental' insofar as it seeks to protect the keeping and bearing of arms for private self-defense purposes."

Breyer’s dissent provides a clear warning: the Supreme Court is just one vote away from totally reversing “Heller” and “McDonald” and declaring that the government can completely ban gun ownership.

With Kagan on the Supreme Court, there will continue to be four (out of nine justices) who support the government’s decision to completely ban gun ownership.
No Senator can seriously claim that he strongly supports gun ownership and still vote for Kagan’s confirmation.
Kagan, like Sotomayor, is just another lying liberal whose false words are betrayed by their hypocritical actions once they rise to a position of power (see Obama, Barack Hussein).

A picture is worth a thousand words, so I'll close with an image lifted from gottagetdrunkfirst . It's something that's for sure on my to-do list...

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Call His Bluff

From here:
Here's something that could make for some awkward exchanges at the cash register this summer.

Americans for Tax Reform, which rarely met a tax it likes, has put out an "Obama Tax Hike Exemption Card," which (in theory) exempts "Americans making less than $250,000 from any form of tax increase signed into law by President Barack Obama."

"This card a tangible reminder that Obama has deliberately broken his central campaign promise not to raise any form of taxes on Americans earning less than $250,000," said Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform, in a release. "The last President to break his tax pledge - Bush 41 - served only one term."

If you'd like to give one of these cards a test run, here's how it works: If you make under $250,000 and find yourself facing any of the new taxes highlighted by ATR ("Tax on Indoor Tanning Services," "Medicine Cabinet Tax," "Special Needs Kids Tax," etc.), you present the card and, if challenged "politely ask, 'Excuse me, but are you calling President Obama a liar?'"

No guarantees, of course.












For more info go here.

It's about time that conservatives adopted some of the tactics of the left, in this case a variation of Guerrilla Theater as practiced by Abbie Hoffman, ACT UP, and other leftist commie pinko icons.

Monday, June 28, 2010

One For The Good Guys

From GunReports.com : Supreme Court Ruling Strikes Down Chicago Gun Ban
In its second major ruling on gun rights in three years, the Supreme Court Monday extended the federally protected right to keep and bear arms to all 50 states.

Justice Samuel Alito wrote for the five-justice majority, saying "the right to keep and bear arms must be regarded as a substantive guarantee, not a prohibition that could be ignored so long as the States legislated in an evenhanded manner." 
Yes, this is a win for the Constitution and individual liberties, but it's important - and scary - to note that the vote was 5-4. That means four count 'em four sitting Supreme Court justices believe that the rights guaranteed to U.S. citizens by the Bill of Rights are applicable only at the federal level, and can be overridden by the states.  
The ruling builds upon the Court's 2008 decision in D.C. v. Heller that invalidated the handgun ban in the nation's capital. More importantly, that decision held that the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms was a right the Founders specifically delegated to individuals. The justices affirmed that decision and extended its reach to the 50 states.

...

The discussion over "liberty" was a major philosophical theme of the arguments. Gura and National Rifle Association lawyer Paul Clement argued that the rights articulated in the Second Amendment are fundamental freedoms and would exist to all Americans even if there was no law specifically saying so.

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg dissented in Heller and wondered why the right to bear arms was necessary to extend to the states. "[I]f the notion is that these are principles that any free society would adopt, well, a lot of free societies have rejected the right to keep and bear arms."
In a previous post I pointed out Ginsburg's belief that interpretation of U.S. law should be guided by laws of other countries (that post referred to this article). Well, here's a news flash for her: the notion is not that we should be in compliance with other "free societies," but rather that this is a right guaranteed to We the People by the Second Amendment of the United States Constitution. Whatever other countries do is irrelevant. I don't know why Ginsberg has this compulsion to be in lockstep with other nations, but that's a dangerous and erroneous perspective for a United States repeat United States Supreme Court justice to have. If she believes that strongly in the rule of international law then she should resign and go to work for the Hague or the U.N. 

Here's a thought exercise. Go through the arguments and ruling in this case and substitute "First Amendment" for "Second Amendment." Is there anyone who seriously thinks the justices' votes and opinions would remain unchanged?

Bottom line - one in the win column for We the People, accompanied by a reminder why it is so critical to elect a president who understands and supports the Constitution. After all, the four commie pinko liberals who opposed this ruling were appointed by mistakes from our past (and one from the present).

A Parent's Dilemma

Our 14-year-old daughter is house sitting for the neighbors. Twice a day she goes over there to take care of pets, water plants, and generally check on things. Their house is about 1 1/2 miles from ours. We live in what is considered a 'good' area. It is out in the country, and the road between our place and theirs is lightly traveled.

My wife or I usually drive her when she goes. This morning she announced that she wanted to jog there and back. I let her go, making sure she had her cell phone. She's a black belt in karate, and has had all the usual warnings about what to look out for, how to escape and evade, etc. But still I am worried. I actually thought about grabbing my .45 and trailing her, just in case (and totally overlooking the fact that she'd be out of sight within 500 yards).

So the dilemma is this. Kids need the opportunity to spread their wings - to grow and develop on their own, building independence, self-reliance, self-confidence, and all those other life skills that are becoming increasingly rare in this country. At the same time, there is evil out there. It only takes one moment of carelessness or inattention for a tragedy to occur. So am I being overly protective and overly concerned about her, or is this an essential step in her maturing?

And how the hell am I going to handle things when she starts dating...?

UPDATE: She got home okay. Still doesn't resolve my dilemma: much ado about nothing, or justified concern?

As for dating, below is a poster I have on the wall next to the garage door leading into the house. I think it gets the point across. (Click to embiggen.)

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Division of Labor

A few days ago I posted an innocent remark about my wife's housework duties. Since then, there has been a deluge of responses from overly-sensitive women (well, okay, only one comment, and it was relatively reasonable). But I thought I should clear the air regarding the division of labor around here.

It's pretty traditional. I do everything outside that requires power tools or heavy manual labor - mowing, edging, chopping down trees, digging holes, etc. The Mrs. is responsible for the more refined tasks - pruning, watering, fertilizing, that sort of thing. This is not sexist. She has a green thumb, I have a black one. Plants left under my care tend to wither and die.

Inside, it's much the same. My pet peeve is clutter, so I pick things up. Her pet peeve is dirt, so she gets to indulge her unnatural fetish for vacuuming and dusting. To facilitate this, I go in another room and watch TV.

That leaves cooking. Our kids are old enough to fend for themselves, so they're responsible for their own breakfasts. On weekends we tend to have large late breakfasts, usually the standards - pancakes, omelets, bacon and eggs, etc. Since our schedules vary, lunches are pretty much every man for himself. My wife and I generally take turns fixing dinner. Whoever cooks, the other cleans up. On weekends we usually work together, cranking up the music and sharing a little wine as we waltz around the stove. Occasionally we go out to dinner, although this doesn't always turn out well.

The main exception is when we do a little grilling. Since I'm the man, and men specialize in meat and fire, the following chain of events are put into motion:

   1. The woman goes to the store.
   2. The woman fixes the salad, vegetables, and dessert
   3. The woman prepares the meat for cooking, places it on a tray along with the necessary cooking utensils, and takes it to the man, who is lounging beside the grill, beer in hand.
   4. The man places the meat on the grill.
   5. The woman goes inside to set the table and check the vegetables.
   6. The woman comes out to tell the man that the meat is burning.
   7. The man takes the meat off the grill and hands it to the woman.
   8. The woman prepares the plates and brings them to the table.
   9. After eating, the woman clears the table and does the dishes.
  10. Everyone praises the man and thanks him for his cooking efforts.
  11. The man asks the woman how she enjoyed "her night off."

And, upon seeing her annoyed reaction, concludes that there's just no pleasing some women.

I hope that clears everything up...

You Go, Sooners

I'm normally not a big fan of Oklahoma. This stems from a profound dislike for their semi-pro football team (OU) and an unpleasant encounter a few years back with an Okie state trooper. But I've got to give 'em their props for this.
Oklahoma is poised to become the first state in the nation to ban state judges from relying on Islamic law known as Sharia when deciding cases.

The amendment -- which also would forbid judges from using international laws as a basis for decisions -- will now be put before Oklahoma's voters in November. Approval is expected. 
This is a big deal for a couple of reasons. First, it reinforces the trend of states getting tired of the federal government's inaction when it comes to controversial social issues (see AZ and SB 1070). Second, it reinforces the notion that the U.S. is a sovereign nation with our own rules and laws. This is particularly crucial when we have sitting Supreme Court justices who look to international law, not U.S. law, when making a ruling.

Of course, it would help if the idiots in D.C. actually knew what was in the laws they passed:
Pelosi on obamacare: “But we have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it..."

Dodd on the financial reform bill: "It's a great moment. I'm proud to have been here," said a teary-eyed Sen. Christopher J. Dodd (D-Conn.), who as chairman of the Senate Banking Committee led the effort in the Senate. "No one will know until this is actually in place how it works..."
But I digress. Back to Oklahoma: an incident that highlights the growing conflict between traditional U.S. values and Muslim influence took place a few days ago in Dearborn, Michigan.
Police in the heavily Arab Detroit suburb of Dearborn say they arrested four Christian missionaries for disorderly conduct at an Arab cultural festival.

Police Chief Ron Haddad says his department made the arrests Friday. The four are free on bond.

Christian proselytizing at the festival has been a matter of dispute for several years.

Haddad tells the Detroit Free Press he isn't taking sides in any dispute and says police have to keep peace at a festival that draws 300,000 over three days.

On Thursday, the Sixth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals court ruled in favor of Anaheim, Calif., evangelist George Saieg (SAYGH). It overturned a lower court and said Saieg could distribute information on the festival's perimeter.
So let me get this straight. A local police chief ignores both the First Amendment and a U.S. Court of Appeals ruling to placate a bunch of Muslims?!? What's next in Dearborn? Sharia law? That's why the Oklahoma amendment is such a big deal.

It's time this country got back to basics. Simple things like secure borders, understandable laws, and adherence to the Constitution. If the feds won't do it the states must...

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Dog Days

We have a couple of dogs - mutts, actually - that consume time and other resources way out of proportion to their size. They're rescue dogs; we got them when they were around 1 year old. They had either been abandoned or run away. They were found living on their own and taken to the local animal shelter.

As might be expected, they came with a set of issues. They evidently had been abused. They were alternately fearful of or aggressive towards men in general, and men wearing baseball caps in particular. They were okay with women and children, although a little skittish at first. On the plus side (sometimes) they're very intelligent and learn quickly. That's a mixed blessing. They've made a lot of progress since we got them, and for the most part behave like 'normal' dogs (whatever that is).

They're sisters, although you'd never know it to look at them. One is blond, hyperactive, and quite insecure. She has to be the center of attention. If you're petting her sister she'll come over and shove her way between you and the other dog. She's also quite territorial; lots of barking, growling, and aggressive behavior towards guests, delivery people, repairmen, and other visitors. The good news is that she only weighs around 25 pounds, although she doesn't seem to recognize that as a limitation. She's become a little more tolerant in the two years we've had them. She now accepts repeat visitors that she's become familiar with, although she still isn't happy with new ones.

The other is black and quite mellow. She must have some hound dog in her, because her favorite activity is laying. Just laying. Kind of like Duke from the Beverly Hillbillies. Her second favorite activity is eating. It's like an on/off switch, from inert canine to whirling dervish whenever the food bowl appears. She also has an extremely mournful look that she employs very effectively. Picture Eeyore as a dog instead of a donkey and you'll get the idea. She plops down on the other side of the room and then stares at you with sad, drooping eyes until you get up and go over there and pet her. This excites the blond one, who then runs over and inserts herself in the middle of everything.  

The preceding is a long-winded way of setting up the following. I mentioned that they were pretty intelligent. Well, they're so smart that they've learned to read and write. Not very well - they're still dogs, after all. Anyway, we found a diary that they've been keeping. The handwriting (pawwriting?) was hard to read, but I think I got it right. I've reproduced it below.

Excerpts from a Dog's Daily Diary:

8:00am Dog food! My favorite thing!

9:30am A car ride! My favorite thing!

9:40am Going for a walk! My favorite thing!

10:30am Got rubbed and petted! My favorite thing!

12:00pm Took a nap! My favorite thing!

1:00pm Played in the yard! My favorite thing!

3:00pm Wagged my tail! My favorite thing!

5:00pm Got to play ball! My favorite thing!

7:00pm Dinner! My favorite thing!

8:00pm Watched TV with my master! My favorite thing!

11:00pm Sleeping on my bed! My favorite thing!

Next day: Repeat!

Friday, June 25, 2010

Friday Night Fire Follies

My wife and I went out to dinner tonight. Just the two of us. Something that doesn't happen too often. Our kids are old enough (16 & 14) and responsible enough that we feel comfortable leaving them home alone. The neighborhood is pretty safe, and both of the kids have their karate black belt, so we don't worry about their safety. But between their activities and our schedules we don't get a whole lot of 'couple time,' so when we do get an opportunity we treasure it.

So like I said, we went out tonight. We were in the middle of a nice meal at a decent restaurant (no drive thru window, wine list, etc.) when my wife's cell phone started making noises. All at once she had voice mail, an incoming call, and a call waiting. (My cell was at home. I hate carrying the damn thing around, so when we go out she takes hers and I leave mine in its cozy little charger cradle, where both it and I prefer it to be.)

Turns out our home alarm system went off, claiming there was a fire somewhere in the house. We've drilled the kids on what to do, so they went outside, then very cautiously went back in and checked each room looking for smoke or flames. Nothing.

The calls were from our son, the alarm company, and the VFD. After we sorted through everything and made sure it was a false alarm we tried to recapture the ambiance, but it was a lost cause. So we got doggie bags, chugged what was left of the wine, and headed for the casa.

What evidently happened was that enough dust had collected in one of the smoke sensors to diffuse the photoelectric beam and trigger the alarm. We usually clean the dust out of the smoke alarms every six months, when the time changes and we change the batteries, but I guess we forgot this year. So that's on the to-do list tomorrow, along with baking cookies for the VFD guys. 

I keep tellin' that woman she needs to stay on top of her housework...

Moms Brawl At Kindergarten Graduation

Skipping the question about why there even is a kindergarten graduation, let's focus on the meat of the story.

Brawling parents interrupted a Southern California kindergarten graduation ceremony.
School officials placed Puesta del Sol Elementary in desert Victorville on lockdown Wednesday morning after a fight broke out among a group of parents.

San Bernardino County sheriff's spokeswoman Karen Hunt said witnesses told deputies several mothers were involved in a verbal argument and it got physical in a field near the ceremony. Several men then jumped into the fray and the incident turned into a brawl.

Hunt said arriving deputies didn't see any physical contact. 
From a follow-up report:
A deputy following up on leads later arrested two people – Marina Vargas and Queiona Burt – on suspicion of being a disruptive presence at a school. Witnesses said they were the main instigators.

There were no reported injuries, and no children were hurt.

Police didn't say whether more arrests are planned. 
1. I am reminded of the old Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young song "Teach Your Children Well."

2. Here's some info about the sociodemographic composition of the school in question. Just sayin'... 


Student Ethnicity
Information 
about this data
Source: CA Dept. of Education, 2008-2009
EthnicityThis SchoolState Average
Hispanic or Latino59%49%
African American25%7%
White10%28%
Multiple or No Response3%3%
Pacific Islander<1%<1%
American Indian or Alaska Native<1%<1%
Filipino<1%3%
Asian<1%8%

 
 
 
 
 This SchoolState Average
Students participating in free or reduced-price lunch program181%51%
English language learners218%24%

Home Languages of English Learners
Information 
about this data
Source: CA Dept. of Education, 2007-2008
LanguageThis SchoolState Average
Spanish98%85%
Hindi<1%<1%
Vietnamese<1%2%

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Yellow Dogs Refuse To Die

Not surprisingly, given the state of the nation, obama's poll numbers continue to drop.
"Americans are more pessimistic about the state of the country and less confident in President Barack Obama's leadership than at any point since Mr. Obama entered the White House..."
What is surprising is not that his numbers are dropping like BP stock, but that 49% of the respondents rate him positively in terms of "strong leadership qualities,'' and  40% rate him positively on his "ability to handle a crisis." Of course, these figures are down from 70% and 51%,respectively, but still...

What president are those fools watching? The same one who kowtows to foreign leaders, who doesn't understand the most basic rules of economics, who can't manage the oil spill, who can't string together a coherent sentence without a teleprompter, who lies about the costs and consequences of his legislation (and probably his golf scores), ... well, you get the picture. How on earth can any rational person think this clown is doing a good job?

Oh, wait, they're liberals, That pretty much rules out rationality.

The term "yellow dog democrat" refers to a hard-core democrat who would rather vote for a yellow dog than a republican. Based on history, it appears that about 40% of the population are yellow dogs. So obama is getting close to the rock bottom of his supporters. (To be fair, about 40% of the population are hard core republicans who would rather vote for the walking dead than a democrat. But that's different...)

One final note: based on the poll, "African-Americans remain the firmest part of Mr. Obama's base, with 91% approving of his job performance."

91%, huh? Of course, that has nothing to do with race...

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Good News from the Goose Front

Papa Goose, aka the Guardian Gander, is regaining his health (previous story here and here).

Not only that, but the eggs he was injured guarding have now hatched (story and photos from here).



The first born began emerging about 7 p.m., the first of seven eggs to hatch. Now used to all the attention at their fenced nesting place on River Road, the happy couple opened their "nursery" to dozens of spectators with flashing cameras as a second egg began to crack.

As dusk began to fall shortly after 8 p.m. on the longest day of the year, the gander, who has regained the use of his neck, head and vocal chords, began covering the first gosling with grass and shielded it with his body as a beak and a wing emerged from the second egg.


Hill Country Animal League Director J.J. Blackson said she was going to leave the gander, who is still unable to walk, with his mate during the night with plans to check back early Tuesday. The gander continues rehab at the HCAL facility as friends and animal rescue consultants prepare for the time the mother goose will want to lead her brood across busy River Road.
The tragic love story has captured statewide attention since the strutting gander featured in an article in the Boerne Star June 11 was struck by a car. For weeks he had guarded his mate, who chose the shrubs fronting the Dodging Duck Restaurant on River Road as a nesting place, often running out into the street to fend off cars that came too close. After he suffered the serious back injury that left him unable to walk, friends from HCAL took over, fencing the area and providing food and water.

More friends from Wildlife Rescue are helping arrange a new place for the family to live, away from busy streets.
Meanwhile, hundreds of ducks and geese of all colors and species populate Boerne's popular River Road Park across the street frm the Dodging Duck. After last year's drought, early spring and summer rains have filled the creek running through the park, attracting picnickers, who often share their lunches with the many waterfowl.
Methinks this calls for a visit to the Dodging Duck to toast the good news...

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Recognizing Incompetence Is Not Racism

Action: obama is criticized.

Reaction: the race card is played.

Today's totally bogus and irrelevant, yet totally predictable, claim of racism comes from John Coombs, president of an organization of black firefighters in NYC. Seems a picture of obama was overlaid with the word "Hustler" (image below and story from here).






















A Bronx firehouse is feeling the heat after officials discovered an image of President Obama was painted on a toolbox - and then defaced with the word "hustler."

An iconic picture of the President above the word "BELIEVE" appears to have been stenciled on a large toolbox visible inside Engine 45, Ladder 58 in East Tremont.

Right across Obama's face is the word "HUSTLER" in big red letters.

...

The president of the Vulcan Society, the organization of black firefighters, said he was disappointed that the image was on display.

But he said he was not surprised.

"Racism is alive and well in America, and the Fire Department is evidence of that," John Coombs said.
I guess by now I shouldn't be surprised by nonsense like this, but my mind still boggles whenever people confuse recognizing incompetence with racism. obama is the worst president in my memory, which extends all the way back to JFK (actually, I remember Ike, but I was too young then to be politically aware). He's quite possibly the worst president ever. It's coincidental that he's black, or half-black, or cafe au lait, or whatever.

But to Coombs and his ilk, any criticism of the chosen one is racially motivated. obama could have sex with a seven-year-old on national TV, and those who see things only in terms of black and white would cry "Racist!" at anyone who said it was wrong. They would do well to recall the story of the boy who cried wolf. Repeated playing of the race card only desensitizes many to legitimate instances where race is a factor - like the underrepresentation of blacks in NASCAR or the NHL...

ROE II

As a follow-up to the previous post on Rules of Engagement in Afghanistan, I did a little poking around on the Internet. Unsurprisingly, there have been other instances of the ROE increasing the danger to our troops.

Perhaps the most egregious took place in Sep. 2009.
We walked into a trap, a killing zone of relentless gunfire and rocket barrages from Afghan insurgents hidden in the mountainsides and in a fortress-like village where women and children were replenishing their ammunition.

"We will do to you what we did to the Russians," the insurgent's leader boasted over the radio, referring to the failure of Soviet troops to capture Ganjgal during the 1979-89 Soviet occupation.

Dashing from boulder to boulder, diving into trenches and ducking behind stone walls as the insurgents maneuvered to outflank us, we waited more than an hour for U.S. helicopters to arrive, despite earlier assurances that air cover would be five minutes away.

U.S. commanders, citing new rules to avoid civilian casualties, rejected repeated calls to unleash artillery rounds at attackers dug into the slopes and tree lines — despite being told repeatedly that they weren't near the village.

Four U.S. Marines were killed, along with eight Afghan troops and police and the Marine commander's Afghan interpreter. Three Americans and 19 Afghans were wounded.

Hey, when you need light, or smoke, or arty, or air, you need it. It's literally a matter of life or death. What you don't need is delay or denial while higher-ups dither about whether or not it's allowed.

In Feb. 2010 the Wall Street Journal published a story that, if I'd read it anywhere else, I would have thought was satire. Seems like the Marines now have to consult with an attorney before calling in airstrikes.

When Capt. Zinni spotted the four men planting the booby trap on the afternoon of Feb. 17, the first thing he did was call his lawyer.

"Judge!" he yelled.

Capt. Matthew Andrew, judge advocate for 1st Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment, advises the battalion about when it is legal to order the airstrikes. He examined the figures on the video feed closely. "I think you got it," Capt. Andrew said, giving the OK for the strike.

The Washington Times published a partial list of the ROE, which includes:

  • No night or surprise searches.
(Seems like that would make it pretty tough to find anything.)
  • Villagers have to be warned prior to searches.
(Ditto.)
  • Afghan military or police forces must accompany U.S. units on searches.
(Quoting from the column referenced in the previous post: "But when his unit asked Afghan police to search the house, the police refused on the grounds that the people in the house 'are good people.' ")
  • U.S. soldiers may not fire at the enemy unless the enemy is preparing to fire first.
(If someone's carrying a weapon, to me that's a prima facie indicator that he's preparing to fire.)
  • U.S. forces cannot engage the enemy if civilians are present.
(In an environment where the enemy doesn't wear uniforms, and where he routinely hides among and fires from buildings and villages, this rule magically transforms our troops from a military force to a collection of targets.)
  • Troops can fire at an insurgent if they catch him placing an IED but not if insurgents are walking away from an area where explosives have been laid.

(Oh my aching butt.)

Look, I'm all for minimizing civilian casualties, and winning hearts and minds, and all that good stuff. But not at the expense of American casualties. Since osama-oops-I-mean-obama has already announced the timetable to pulling U.S. forces out of Afghanistan and Iraq, it doesn't make much sense to needlessly endanger our men and women over there by ROE that quite literally tie their hands.

If we were committed to a long term presence then I could understand the approach of 'small' costs now that pay off in the long run (it's not a small cost if it's your loved one that gets killed or maimed). But if a long term presence isn't in the cards, then lets at least let our troops take reasonable steps to defend themselves. Otherwise this is Viet Nam all over again...

Monday, June 21, 2010

Rules of Engagement - Not

All games have a set of rules that govern how the game is played. This concept has been co-opted by politicians to control how the military functions when politicos send in the troops. Known as Rules of Engagement (ROE), they control what, when, how, and where force can be used. The idea is to use enough force to accomplish the mission without incurring excessive collateral damage.

Conceptually, the notion is valid. War is, after all, the application of force to achieve political ends. Unfortunately, ROE are often micro-managed by senior levels of command and their political counterparts. When that happens we get situations like those currently occurring in Afghanistan.

According to a recent George Will column, a NCO serving in Afghanistan sent an email to congress detailing the following:
Receiving mortar fire during an overnight mission, his unit called for a 155mm howitzer illumination round to be fired to reveal the enemy's location. The request was rejected "on the grounds that it may cause collateral damage." The NCO says the only thing that comes down from an illumination round is a canister, and the likelihood of it hitting someone or something was akin to that of being struck by lightning.
I've called for and been under illumination rounds, and I'd say the likelihood of anyone or anything getting hit by lightening is much greater than getting hit by an illumination round canister. Plus what about the likelihood of someone in his unit getting hit by a mortar round? I'd rate that as much higher than either lightening or canister impact. Sounds like some REMF should be out there with the troops on patrol instead of bunking in an air-conditioned trailer in the middle of a secure base.
On another mission, some Afghan adults ran off with their children immediately before the NCO's unit came under heavy small arms fire and rocket propelled grenades, and the unit asked for artillery fire on the enemy position. The response was a question: Where is the nearest civilian structure? "Judging distances," the NCO writes dryly, "can be difficult when bullets and RPGs are flying over your head." When the artillery support was denied because of fear of collateral damage, the unit asked for a "smoke mission" -- like an illumination round; only the canister falls to earth -- "to conceal our movement as we planned to flank and destroy the enemy." This request was granted -- but because of fear of collateral damage, the round was deliberately fired one kilometer off the requested site, making "the smoke mission useless and leaving us to fend for ourselves."
You've got to be kidding! A smoke round offset by a klick?!?! Like the man said, totally useless. That's like a fireman pointing his hose at the house next door while yours is burning down.

To use one of my father's favorite expressions, crap like this just torques my jaws. It's a bunch of useless bullshit that does nothing to defeat the enemy, and only increases the risk to our own people. Folks in that part of the world mistake kindness for weakness.

I get that one component of effective counterinsurgency is winning the hearts and minds of the local population. However, it's a lot easier to win their hearts and minds when you're holding them by the balls.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Happy Father's Day

“One father is better at caring for ten children than ten children are for one father”

Thanks, Dad.

My Father's Day present was an "Old Guys Rule" t-shirt.

























It brought to mind the following story.
An old prospector shuffled into town leading an old tired mule.

The old man headed straight for the only saloon to clear his parched throat.

He walked up and tied his old mule to the hitch rail. As he stood there, brushing some of the dust from his face and clothes, a young gunslinger stepped out of the saloon with a gun in one hand and a bottle of whiskey in the other.

The young gunslinger looked at the old man and laughed, saying, "Hey old man, have you ever danced?"

The old man looked up at the gunslinger and said, "No, I never did dance... Never really wanted to."

A crowd had gathered as the gunslinger grinned and said, "Well, you old fool, you're gonna dance now," and started shooting at the old man's feet.

The old prospector --not wanting to get a toe blown off-- started hopping around like a flea on a hot skillet. Everybody was laughing, fit to be tied.

When his last bullet had been fired, the young gunslinger, still laughing, holstered his gun and turned around to go back into the saloon.

The old man turned to his pack mule, pulled out a double-barreled shotgun, and cocked both hammers.

The loud clicks carried clearly through the desert air.

The crowd stopped laughing immediately.

The young gunslinger heard the sounds too, and he turned around very slowly. The silence was almost deafening.

The crowd watched as the young gunman stared at the old timer and the large gaping holes of those twin barrels.

The barrels of the shotgun never wavered in the old man's hands, as he quietly said, "Son, have you ever licked a mule's ass?"

The gunslinger swallowed hard and said, "No sir..... But... I've always wanted to."

There are a few lessons for us all here:
  • Never be arrogant.
  • Don't waste ammunition.
  • Whiskey makes you think you're smarter than you are.
  • Don't mess with old men. They didn't get old by being stupid.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Zero Tolerance = Zero Common Sense

Zero tolerance began as a Congressional response to drugs and guns in school (the Drug-Free Schools and Campuses Act of 1989; the Gun-Free Schools Act of 1994). Conceptually, its intent was the strict imposition of penalties regardless of the individual circumstances of each case. Like most things congress gets involved in, it was ill-conceived and poorly implemented. Naturally, this has led to a host of unintended consequences.

Those federal laws were the catalyst for school zero tolerance policies that soon went beyond drugs and weapons to include hate speech, harassment, fighting, and dress codes. School principals, who must administer zero tolerance policies, began to suspend and expel students for seemingly trivial offenses. Students have been suspended or expelled for a host of relatively minor incidents, including possession of nail files, organic cough drops, a model rocket, a five-inch plastic ax as part of a Halloween costume, an inhaler for asthma, and a kitchen knife in a lunch box to cut chicken.

Other examples include:
  • A seventeen-year-old junior shot a paper clip with a rubber band at a classmate, missed, and broke the skin of a cafeteria worker. The student was expelled from school.
  • A nine-year-old on the way to school found a manicure kit with a 1-inch knife. The student was suspended for one day.
  • In Ponchatoula Louisiana, a 12-year-old who had been diagnosed with a hyperactive disorder warned the kids in the lunch line not to eat all the potatoes, or "I'm going to get you." The student, turned in by the lunch monitor, was suspended for two days. He was then referred to police by the principal, and the police charged the boy with making "terroristic threats." He was incarcerated for two weeks while awaiting trial.
  • Two 10-year-old boys from Arlington, Virginia were suspended for three days for putting soapy water in a teacher's drink. At the teacher's urging, police charged the boys with a felony that carried a maximum sentence of 20 years. The children were formally processed through the juvenile justice system before the case was dismissed months later.
  • In Denton County, Texas, a 13-year-old was asked to write a "scary" Halloween story for a class assignment. When the child wrote a story that talked about shooting up a school, he both received a passing grade by his teacher and was referred to the school principal's office. The school officials called the police, and the child spent six days in jail before the courts confirmed that no crime had been committed.
  • In Palm Beach, Florida, a 14-year-old disabled student was referred to the principal's office for allegedly stealing $2 from another student. The principal referred the child to the police, where he was charged with strong-armed robbery, and held for six weeks in an adult jail for this, his first arrest. When the local media criticized the prosecutor's decision to file adult felony charges, he responded, "depicting this forcible felony, this strong-arm robbery, in terms as though it were no more than a $2 shoplifting fosters and promotes violence in our schools." Charges were dropped by the prosecution when a 60 Minutes II crew showed up at the boy's hearing.
  • A sixth-grader at Des Moines’ Brody Middle School was issued a one-day suspension for bringing empty shotgun shells to school. Jazmine Martin, 12, collected the empty shells, which were blanks, at a Wild West show she attended with her family in South Dakota. She then took them to school to show to her science teacher and classmates, an act the school claims was in violation of its weapons policy.
"They called me to the office and when I was walking through the hallway I am like 'what did I do?'" said Jazmine Martin.
[Brody Middle School Principal Randy] Gordon said that even though they were empty, the shell casings are considered ammo, which violates the school's weapon policy.
"I called the principal and asked about this and he said it was something that posed a risk," said [Jazmine’s mother] Chenoa Martin. "I thought it was the most absurd thing I'd heard because it's empty and it says 'blank' right on the shell itself."
(Sources for the above may be found here, here, and here.)

The latest example of zero tolerance = zero common sense is the case of David Morales, an 8-year-old second grader in the Tiogue School in Coventry, Rhode Island. David's class was assigned to make creative hats for an occasion when they would meet their pen-pals from another school. David and his mother Christan Morales decided to add patriotic decorations to a camouflage hat, so they attached a small American flag and several toy soldiers to the hat. So far, so good, right?















David Morales and his hat.

(Picture and following story from here.)
But the school banned the hat because it ran afoul of the district's zero-tolerance weapons policy. Why? The toy soldiers were carrying tiny guns.

"His teacher called and said it wasn't appropriate," Morales said.

Earlier this week, after the hat was banned, the principal at the Tiogue School in Coventry told the family that the hat would be fine if David replaced the Army men holding weapons with ones that didn't have any, according to Superintendent Kenneth R. Di Pietro.

But, Morales said, the family had only one Army figure without a weapon (he was carrying binoculars), so David wore a plain baseball cap on the day of the pen pal meeting.

"Nothing was being done to limit patriotism, creativity, other than find an alternative to a weapon," Di Pietro said.

The district does not allow images of weapons or drugs on clothing. For example, a student would not be permitted to wear a shirt with a picture of a marijuana leaf on it, the superintendent said.

GMAFB! First of all, weapons are a fact of life and a staple of history. Does the school district go through all the history and library books and tear out pictures of minutemen with their muskets, cowboys and Indians with six-shooters and bow-and-arrows, WWII soldiers with rifles, machine guns, and tanks? What about law enforcement officials who carry weapons as part of their uniforms? Sticking the students' collective heads in the sand and pretending such things don't exist is not the way to prepare them for reality. Let's educate and inform them about the historical role, capabilities, and consequences of weapons usage, as opposed to a 'close your eyes and they'll just go away' approach.

Second, what lesson are the kids taking away from this episode? That blind obedience to rules is the correct course? '"Just following orders" is a justifiable defense? God forbid anyone should think for themselves, or exercise any degree of judgment.

And last but certainly not least is the young man's motivation. Why did he decorate his hat with toy soldiers?
Morales said her son was inspired to honor the military after striking up a friendship last summer with a neighbor in the Army.

Banning the hat "sent the wrong message to the kids, because it wasn't in any way to cause any harm to anyone," she said. "You're talking about Army men. This wasn't about guns."
And for all those people who respond to things like this by saying "The rules are the rules. People have to learn how to follow them" I have the following question:

Why don't we apply zero tolerance to illegal aliens?

As the old saying goes, there is nothing so uncommon as common sense...

Friday, June 18, 2010

One of Those Days

Nothing went right today. I won't bore everyone with a list of my troubles, but if you've ever had one of those days, you'll appreciate the following.


Thursday, June 17, 2010

Some Answers

What's wrong with obama? It's a question that's being asked more and more, by both conservatives and liberals. Here's a few answers that should lend some urgency to the 2010 and 2012 elections.

Concern regarding obama's ability to manage, much less lead, this country has been spreading like oil across the Gulf. As pointed out here and elsewhere, even hard-core liberals are abandoning obama's sinking ship. Left unanswered, however, is the question of why is he becoming such a spectacular failure.

It's not due to a lack of intelligence (intelligence in this case being defined as the ability to learn and to reason, at least to a limited extent). After all, he did get a B.A. from Columbia and his law degree from Harvard, a pair of overrated but nevertheless academically rigorous universities. That indicates some learning ability.

And he did orchestrate his rise through the ranks of community activists into politics. He ran effective campaigns for state senator, U.S. senator, and, God help us, president. This shows he's capable of formulating and executing a strategy.

So why is he such an ineffective president? Some have speculated that it's due to his lack of executive experience. Nothing in his past has prepared him for a job as complex and demanding as leader of the free world. This is a variation of the Peter Principle, which states that "in a hierarchy every employee tends to rise to his level of incompetence," and its corollary: "in time, every post tends to be occupied by an employee who is incompetent to carry out his duties."

There is some merit in this, but I think it goes deeper than that. I think that at some level obama is deeply and fatally flawed. A recent article, written by a psychotherapist, explored the possibility that he suffers from some form of psychotic disorder.

"Obama's family tree is replete with the unbalanced. His maternal great-grandmother committed suicide. His grandfather, Stanley Dunham, was particularly unhinged: He was expelled from high school for punching his principal; named his daughter Stanley because he wanted a boy; and exposed young Barry to not just drunken trash talk, but unrestricted visits with alleged pedophile Frank Marshall Davis. Barack Sr. was an abusive, alcoholic bigamist.

Obama … seems to have delusions. His believing he has a Messiah-like special gift smacks of grandiose delusions. His externalizing all blame to conservatives, George W. Bush, or the "racist" bogeyman hints at persecutory delusions.

If my assessment is accurate, what does this mean?

It means that liberals need to wake up and spit out the Kool-Aid...and that conservatives should put aside differences, band together, and elect as many Republicans as possible.

Because Obama will not change. He will not learn from his mistakes. He will not grow and mature from on-the-job experience. In fact, over time, Obama will likely become a more ferocious version of who he is today.

Why? Because this is a damaged person. Obama's fate was sealed years ago growing up in his strange and poisonous family. Later on, his empty vessel was filled with the hateful bile of men like Rev. Wright and Bill Ayers.

Obama will not evolve; he will not rise to the occasion; he will not become the man he was meant to be. This is for one reason and one reason alone:

He is not capable of it."

That's one explanation for obama's floundering in office. It certainly explains why he doesn't learn from his mistakes. But it doesn't explain his warped political philosophy, his underlying ignorance of and disdain for the bedrock principles of this country. For that we need go no further than his background and upbringing.

Because obama's formative years were spent outside mainstream America, he is not imbued with traditional or even generally accepted American values. He is basically an outsider.

"One of the reasons a lot of Americans find Obama oddly foreign is that he had an oddly foreign childhood: his formative years were spent in Indonesia. His half-sister, Maya Soetoro Ng, was born there. The rest of Obama's childhood was spent in Honolulu, a Pacific Ocean capital soaked in East Asian culture.

Obama is the first US president who was raised without cultural or emotional or intellectual ties to either Britain or Europe. The British and the Europeans have been so enchanted with 'America's first black president' that they haven't been able to see what he really is: America's first Third World president."

Another commentator has termed this "alien rule:"

"... the Obama administration and its congressional collaborators almost resemble a foreign occupying force, a coterie of politically and culturally non-indigenous leaders whose rule contravenes local values rooted in our national tradition. It is as if the United States has been occupied by a foreign power, and this transcends policy objections. It is not about Obama's birthplace. It is not about race, either; millions of white Americans have had black mayors and black governors, and this unease about out-of-synch values never surfaced.

Awareness began with Obama's odd pre-presidency associations, decades of being oblivious to Rev. Wright's anti-American ranting, his enduring friendship with the terrorist guy-in-the-neighborhood Bill Ayers, and the Saul Alinsky-flavored anti-capitalist community activism. Further add a hazy personal background -- an Indonesian childhood, shifting official names, and a paperless-trail climb through elite educational institutions.

None of this disqualified Obama from the presidency; rather, this background just doesn't fit with the conventional political résumé. It is just the "outsider?" quality that alarms. For all the yammering about George W. Bush's privileged background, his made-in-the-USA persona was absolutely indisputable. John McCain might be embarrassed about his Naval Academy class rank and iffy combat performance, but there was never any doubt of his authenticity. Countless conservatives despised Bill Clinton, but nobody ever, ever doubted his good-old-boy American bonafides.

But far worse is Obama's tone-deafness about American government. How can any ordinary American, even a traditional liberal, believe that jamming through unpopular, debt-expanding legislation that consumes one-sixth of our GDP, sometimes with sly side-payments and with a thin majority, will eventually be judged legitimate? This is third-world, maximum-leader-style politics. That the legislation was barely understood even by its defenders and vehemently championed by a representative of that typical American city, San Francisco, only exacerbates the strangeness. And now President Obama sides with illegal aliens over the State of Arizona, which seeks to enforce the federal immigration law to protect American citizens from marauding drug gangs and other miscreants streaming in across the Mexican border."

So to sum up, obama's family history is suggestive of mental instability, his upbringing instilled in him Third World and un-American values, and his education and early associations in this country reinforced those outsider traits. God help us all.

Hurry November...

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Goose and Sexy Senior Citizen Updates

Unfortunately, what I feared has come to pass. The guardian goose previously posted about was hit by a car and severely injured. (Story below adapted from The Boerne Star.)
The gander who faced traffic guarding his nesting mate on the busy corner of River Road and Mesquite Street was struck by a car over the weekend and suffered a severe back injury. According to the Hill Country Animal League, veterinary examination revealed the gander is unable to eat, swim, walk or continue his vigil.



















While his injuries are most likely fatal, he seems content to spend his remaining time resting near his mate. Orange barricades, a fenced yard, and a swimming pool now surround the nesting pair and their soon-to-arrive goslings. Patrons and friends from The Dodging Duck restaurant continue to give moral support.



















It's nice to see that people took action to help safeguard the geese. However, it would have been even nicer if someone had thought to do this before Papa Goose got hurt. Isn't there a saying about barn doors and horses...?


On a different note, a previous post noted the availability of free condoms for the residents of my father's assisted living facility. Turns out that randy senior citizens is an international phenomenon, as illustrated by this story about an orgy in a British retirement home.
It's bound to make you smile, it's bound to make your imagination run wild, but for the old folks involved, it ended in tears.

A group of nine elderly English residents were kicked out of their nursing home after having decided to celebrate their friend's 90th birthday party in style and with gusto ... by having an orgy in the recreation room!

The oldsters, ranging in age from 73 to 98 lit candles, slathered baby oil and played music to create the sexy mood. The three romeos and six seductresses boogied for about twenty minutes until a staffer, on hearing the rumba music, went to investigate.

"They hadn't gotten too far -- I guess it was taking some of the gents a while to get started," said the unidentified staffer. "But they were all naked. Believe me, it was the scariest thing I've seen in all my life!"

Why were they booted out?

"This may sound harmless or amusing to some people, but Scarborough has a reputation to uphold. We cannot tolerate that kind of conduct!"

Although the nursing home endeavoured to keep the story out of the press, enough detail was released to force the well respected Edith Scarborough Nursing Home to admit the bizarre story was true.
IMO the nursing home management overreacted. A warning should have sufficed. I doubt if that type of activity would become a recurring pattern. Like the story's first paragraph said, you start off smiling but end up feeling sad. Another example of image taking precedence over common sense.

Speaking of which, anyone going to watch obama's speech about the oil spill tonight...?

Monday, June 14, 2010

What A Day

Today is Flag Day . It's also the U.S. Army's 235th birthday.


Johnny Cash and the American Flag - it just doesn't get any better...




Happy Birthday to my former branch of the service. It wasn't much fun at the time, but looking back on it I have to say that it certainly helped make a man out of me.




God Bless the U.S. Flag and all who serve under her.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

True Love

Boerne (pronounced "Bernie," not "Born") is the nearest town to where we live. When I go in to town one of my favorite stops is a microbrewery called The Dodging Duck. It's across the street from River Road Park (below), a small green space that parallels a local creek that meanders through town.











River Road Park's biggest claim to fame is that it is home to an assortment of ducks and geese that were first attracted by the dammed-up creek, but stayed when they realized that the people who came to the park were more than willing to feed them. Thus we have a population of lazy, overweight waterfowl who have become dependent on handouts from others for their sustenance (think democrats with feathers).

One of the consequences of this avian lifestyle is that the birds have become conditioned to associate people, and by extension automobiles, with food. So the ducks and geese often wander into traffic. This requires some fancy moves by both drivers and birds to avoid fatalities. Hence the name of the brewhaus - The Dodging Duck.

Our love story starts with the decision of a pregnant goose to build her nest underneath some shrubbery running along the front lawn of the brewhaus. As the local paper reports, her loving and devoted mate has stationed himself a few yards in front of the nest and zealously chases off any person, dog, or car that comes too close (if you're not familiar with geese, they make great guard animals).

This particular goose is so diligent that he now has his own 'parking place', delineated with orange traffic cones, in front of The Dodging Duck. Regular patrons have learned to take a detour around the nest, and Papa Goose has learned that they're not a threat, so he usually lets them pass. He also ignores the traffic, as long as it stays out of his parking spot.

























Geese mate for life, and tend to return to the same nesting area year after year, so this may be the start of an annual tradition. Boerne is a friendly place, and a small enough town, that things like this are not just tolerated, but encouraged.

The eggs are expected to hatch soon. I don't know what will happen when a bunch of little goslings start waddling around, but I sure hope they don't wander out into the traffic. I'd hate to see such a happy story end in tragedy.

In the meantime, I'll spend some time sitting on the Dodging Duck's front porch sampling their wares and watching Papa Goose chase off the newcomers. Great way to spend a summer afternoon...

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Credit for Trying

My father is widowed, 92, and in pretty good mental and physical condition. He moved into an independent/assisted living facility last Nov. It's about an hour's drive from us. We go see him once or twice a week. Last week I had some business near there, so I went in early and took him his favorite breakfast tacos. We sat around and talked for a while, and had a couple cups of coffee.

On the way out the coffee was making itself felt, so I stopped in a restroom in the lobby. I was flabbergasted to find a supply of free condoms in there!!! I asked the manager about it, and she said that many seniors are still sexually active, especially with drugs like Viagra available, and that the STD rate among senior citizens is increasing. I did a little research and found that she was right. So I did a little more research and came up with the following.

* * * * * * * * * *

Three old ladies were sitting on a park bench talking amongst themselves when a flasher comes by. The flasher stood right in front of them, and opened his trench coat.

The first old lady had a stroke.

Then the second old lady had a stroke.

But the third old lady had arthritis and couldn't reach that far.

* * * * * * * * * *

























* * * * * * * * * *

A husband and wife were celebrating their 50th anniversary. That night the wife approached her husband wearing the exact same negligee she had worn on their wedding night. She looked at her husband and said, "Honey, do you remember this?"

He looked up at her and said, "Yes dear, I do. You wore that same negligee the night we were married."

She said, "That's right. Do you remember what you said to me that night?"

He nodded and said, "Yes dear, I still remember."

"Well, what was it?" she asked.

He responded, "As I remember, I said, 'Oh baby, I'm going to suck the life out of those tits and screw your brains out.'"

She giggled and said, "Yes honey, that's exactly what you said. So, now it's 50 years later, and I'm in the same negligee I wore that night. What do you have to say tonight?"

Again he looked up at her and replied, "Mission accomplished."

* * * * * * * * * *



















* * * * * * * * * *

A fitness fanatic took excellent care of his body. He lifted weights and jogged six miles every day while wearing a speedo. One morning he looked into the mirror, admiring his body, and noticed that he was suntanned all over with the exception of his penis. So he decided to do something about that.

He went to the beach, undressed completely, and buried himself in the sand, except for his penis, which he left sticking out of the sand.

A bit later two little old ladies came strolling along the beach. When they saw the you-know-what sticking out of the sand, the first old lady turned to the other and said "There really is no justice in the world."

The other little old lady asked, "What do you mean by that?"

The first one replied, "Look at that. When I was 20, I was curious about it. When I was 30, I chased it. When I was 40, I enjoyed it. When I was 50, I asked for it. When I was 60, I prayed for it. When I was 70, I forgot about it. Now that I'm 80, the damned things are growing wild, and I'm too old to squat."

* * * * * * * * * *

Friday, June 11, 2010

AZ Misc.

Miscellaneous tidbits on Arizona's recent illegal immigration legislation, and reaction to it (miscellaneous because I'm unorganized today, and tidbits because I'm lethargic today).


Now's a great time to visit scenic Arizona. The liberals are boycotting the state, and the illegals are leaving in droves. That leaves AZ uncrowded and free of undesirables.


Speaking of liberals and Arizona, here's another example (like we needed any more) of liberal hypocrisy (source here.)

Seattle has joined several other U.S. cities in protesting Arizona's sweeping new immigration law.

However, the Seattle City Council's 7-0 vote on Monday to boycott the state won't have much practical effect.

The council's resolution was written to protect the only substantial contract Seattle has with an Arizona company - a $106,000-a-month deal with American Traffic Solutions. The Scottsdale-based company operates Seattle's 29 red-light cameras.

So let me get this straight -- a police officer verifying the immigration status of someone is a gross violation of civil liberties, but sending someone a letter accusing them of a crime based on a machine that took a picture of their license plate is a necessary revenue stream function of government that must be protected?


By now most people have seen the picture that's been floating around the internet regarding a billboard urging illegals to move from AZ to California. Unfortunately, the billboard is a digital mock-up, not a real one. Nevertheless, it captures the essence of the majority's sentiments.



















If there's one thing Arizona has more of than illegal aliens, it's cactus. Below are a couple of examples of cactus (cacti?) that reflect the prevailing attitude towards those opposed to SB 1070, the notorious illegal immigration bill.


























Bend over, California. This one's for you!!!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Angry Black Man II

Following up on the previous post, author and columnist Fareed Zakaria has written an interesting opinion piece in which he argues that obama has caved in to the public and the media's demand for more anger regarding the BP oil spill. Zakaaria's premise is that obama:
"has been caving in to this media outcry that he show more emotion and anger and energy in dealing with the problem. And I think the result of it is that you're getting government as theater rather than government that is actually doing something effective."
No!!! obama acting in response to public opinion, rather than showing leadership!?!? Who woulda thunk it?
"...the president has been demeaning himself by trash-talking the CEO of BP. He's engaging in, as far as I can tell, pointless committees, make-work briefings, ... all of which is really just designed to appease this hungry media, and as far as I can tell is not going to speed up by one second the point at which the leak is plugged."
Admittedly, there's not much the government can do to plug the leak. What it can do, though, is help manage the leak: that is, provide resources and coordinate efforts to contain the oil, mitigate the damage, and help with the economic and environmental recovery. That's where obama is failing.
"In what other profession is it supposed to be a good idea that you suspend your rational faculties and let yourself be overtaken by raw emotions? Unless you're an offensive linebacker, this is not supposed to be a good thing. And in this case, we're saying the president is being too rational, too calculating."
It's one thing to empathize with people affected by the spill. But when that emotion gets in the way of solving the problem, then rationality and calculated response is a good thing. As Kipling said, "If you can keep your head when all about you are losing theirs ... you'll be a man my son!"

And while obama is running around trash talking, what about the opportunity cost of all this hardline rhetoric?
"And the real effect it will have is to totally distract the government from dealing with the important issues the federal government has competence and jurisdiction over, such as the state of the economy, the dangers of a European debt crisis, the issues involving the way in which the Chinese military has been flexing its muscles, North Korea, Iran -- these are the things the president should be holding lots of meetings on, these are areas which are uniquely within the purview of the federal government. We have descended to government as theater."
There's more from Zakaria here. Check it out.


One more thought on the oil spill: yes, it appears at this point that BP cut some corners on safety and backup issues. They certainly should be held responsible for cleaning up the mess they've made. But has anyone thought to ask why they were drilling so far offshore?

Actually, that's a two-part question. The first is why were they drilling, and the second is why were they drilling in 5000 feet of water.

Why were they drilling? Every administration since Nixon has failed to implement a reasonable, forward-looking, long term energy policy. Remember the oil embargo of 1973? I do. Limited gasoline availability, waiting in line for hours, rationing, odd and even days, and more. But did we learn from that? Hell no. We were (and still are) so addicted to oil that we passed up numerous opportunities to lessen our dependence on oil, or at least foreign oil. So today, 37 years later, we end up paying obscene amounts of money to Middle East despots who despise us and everything we stand for.

And why were they drilling in 5000 feet of water? Everything at that depth is incredibly difficult and complex. The pressure, the cold temperatures, the technological problems of what the energy industry refers to as 'ultra deep drilling' are exponentially greater than drilling at shallow depths or on land. As Charles Krauthammer points out, "
Environmental chic has driven us out there." Safer locations, such as off the east and west coasts, or even in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR), have all been put off limits by the environmentalists. Consequently, they must share part of the blame for the Gulf spill.

As the masthead of this blog states, "We have met the enemy, and he is us."

Sigh...