Saturday, July 31, 2010

Husband Down

A husband and wife are shopping in their local Wal-Mart.

The husband picks up a case of beer and puts it in their cart.

"What do you think you're doing?" asks the wife.

"It's on sale, only $10 for 24 cans" he replies.

"Put it back. We don't need it" demands the wife.

A few aisles further on along the woman picks up a $20 jar of cold cream and puts it in the basket.

"What do you think you're doing?" asks the husband.

"It’s my face cream. It makes me look beautiful," replies the wife.

Her husband retorts: "So does 24 cans of beer and it's half the price."

A minute later the PA system announces "Cleanup on aisle 25, we have a husband down."


Friday, July 30, 2010

Term Limits

The idea has been discussed before, but recently it's sounding more and more attractive. Given the current mess we're in, and the fact that most of the people who got us into this are the ones claiming they know how to get us out of it (Barney Frank, Chris Dodd, Chuck Schumer, etc.), term limits sure sounds like a good idea.

Poster children for term limits include, but are not limited to, Ted Kennedy, Robert Byrd, and Charlie Rangel. If bloodsucking slimeballs like those doddering old fossils can keep getting re-elected, there's something wrong with the system.

So here's a modest proposal: limit all U.S. politicians to two terms.

One in office.

One in prison.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Vacation

On vacation for the next several days. Going to the Bighorn Mountains in central-northern Wyoming. No TV, no phones, no Internet - just horses, a log cabin, and cold beer. It's not totally primitive - we will have indoor plumbing and electricity. And we'll only be about 30 miles or so from the closest Wal-Mart.

We go there every year. It's a great way to get away from things, reconnect with friends and family, and recharge the batteries for another year.

In preparation, I've pre-loaded a bunch of posts. If I figured out the technology correctly, they should pop up daily, and my loyal readers (both of them) wouldn't even know I was gone if I hadn't spilled the beans. The only clue will be a lack of comments on events that occur while we're gone.

So assuming we successfully negotiate the airlines and rental car companies, by the time you read this we should be well on our way.

Here's some examples of where we'll be and what we'll be doing.

Rodeos...



















Horseback riding up in the mountains...













Hangin' out on the porch...










Stay tuned...

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Hope n' Change Cartoons: Pwesident Bawack Obama

I couldn't say it any better, so I'm taking the day off the prepare for my The View-watching party and turning things over to Stilton Jarlsberg of Hope n' Change.


Hope n' Change Cartoons: Pwesident Bawack Obama: "As much as Hope n' Change likes to present compelling, thoughtful analyses of current news events and controversies, some things just make us want to blow our freaking brains out. And topping that list would be Barack Obama's upcoming appearance on The View this Thursday.

The program, which is the least logical and most screechy liberal lovefest on television, will make Barack Obama welcome by offering him unbridled praise interspersed with softball questions. And Obama will feel right at home with the all-female panel, as he has yet to demonstrate that he has even trace amounts of testosterone.

Because he's taping this all-important show, Barack Obama will not be able to attend the 100th anniversary of the Boy Scouts of America. Of course, this isn't a big problem for him as he doesn't actually like the Boy Scouts, what with their annoying pledges of honor, truthfulness, service to others, and patriotism. No, he'll be much more at home with Joy Behar and Whoopi Goldberg, kicking America in the nuts, and giggling like a schoolgirl whenever the term "teabagger" comes up.

It's impressive that Mr. Obama has found time for a gyno-chat show between his many vacations, considering he hasn't found time to address joblessness, consumer confidence, skyrocketing debt, the release of his "let the bomber go" Lockerbie letter, the unauthorized leak of secret military papers, or anything else that a president might be expected to have on his to do list.

Tune in if you dare. We don't have either the strength or the stomach for it...

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Makes Too Much Sense

There's a new sheriff in town, and he's doing much more to get rid of undesirable illegal aliens than Arizona's S.B. 1070 ever will. Called Secure Communities, it's a Department of Homeland Security program that runs the fingerprints of anyone arrested for a crime through FBI and DHS databases. It "improves public safety by implementing a comprehensive, integrated approach to identify and remove criminal aliens from the United States." (Story link here).
Under the program, the fingerprints of everyone who is booked into jail for any crime are run against FBI criminal history records and Department of Homeland Security immigration records to determine who is in the country illegally and whether they've been arrested previously.

Since 2007, 467 jurisdictions in 26 states have joined. ICE (Immigrations and Customs Enforcement) has said it plans to have it in every jail in the country by 2013. Secure Communities is currently being phased into the places where the government sees as having the greatest need for it based on population estimates of illegal immigrants and crime statistics.

Since everyone arrested would be screened, the program could easily deport more people than Arizona's new law, said Sunita Patel, an attorney who filed a lawsuit in New York against the federal government on behalf of a group worried about the program. Patel said that because illegal immigrants could be referred to ICE at the point of arrest, even before a conviction, the program can create an incentive for profiling and create a pipeline to deport more people.

"It has the potential to revolutionize immigration enforcement," said Patel.
He says that like it's a bad thing.
Supporters of the program argue it is helping identify dangerous criminals that would otherwise go undetected. Since Oct. 27, 2008 through the end of May, almost 2.6 million people have been screened with Secure Communities. Of those, almost 35,000 were identified as illegal immigrants previously arrested or convicted for the most serious crimes, including murder and rape, ICE said Thursday. More than 205,000 who were identified as illegal immigrants had arrest records for less serious crimes.
So let's see - it identifies both illegal aliens AND dangerous criminals, at the same time. Sounds like a two-fer to me.
Carl Rusnok, an ICE spokesman, said Secure Communities is a way for law enforcement to identify illegal immigrants after their arrest at no additional cost to local jurisdictions. Butler County (Ohio) Sheriff Rick Jones agreed.

"We arrest these people anyway," he said. "All it does is help us deport people who shouldn't be here."

Rusnok said ICE created the program after Congress directed the agency to improve the way it identifies and deports illegal immigrants with criminal backgrounds. ICE has gotten $550 million for the program since 2008, Rusnok said.
Wow, a government program that actually delivers benefits. And at a mere $550M it's a bargain, at least as far as government programs go.

Of course the libs and other illegal immigrant apologists are apoplectic. One whiner states:
Rather than weed out incarcerated felons that could menace the public order, the program’s been targeting low-level misdemeanor offenders, including people who may be guilty of little more than running a stop sign or driving with a broken taillight.
First of all, the only people who get fingerprinted are those who are actually arrested and booked, not those getting traffic tickets. Second, even if they are not guilty of the particular crime for which they were arrested, they're guilty of being here illegally, which is a crime. So off they go. 

Win-win, unless you're a criminal, illegal alien, or liberal...

Monday, July 26, 2010

It Could Have Been Worse (?)

Lord knows obama has been a dismal failure as president. But when you look back at the other democrap wannabes who fell by the wayside, you might say that it could have been worse.

Al Gore splits the sheets with Tipper, leaves huge carbon footprints all over the place, and turns to massage therapy for a happy ending.

John Edwards fathers a love child with his mistress while his wife is dying of cancer. Classy guy, huh? And oh yeah - it takes the National Enquirer to break the story, because the slimeballs that make up the lamestream media band together to bury it.

John Kerry buys a yacht built in New Zealand (depriving American workers of the jobs) and moors it in Rhode Island to avoid paying higher Massachusetts taxes
“The message is, ‘The American boat builders aren’t good enough, and the Massachusetts people aren’t good enough to maintain it.’ It’s just a bad message all around,” said Connecticut boater Steve Potter. 
Sexual infidelity, hypocritical actions, lying, cheating ... just typical politicians.

Thank God we now have a president who is open, honest, and competent...

Friday, July 23, 2010

Give Him Credit For Trying

Man Arrested For Breaking Into Bar, Selling Drinks
A Placer County man has been arrested after he broke into a shuttered bar, reopened the business and started selling drinks to unwitting customers, according to the Placer County Sheriff's department.

The Placer County Sheriff's department arrested 29-year-old Travis Kevie of Newcastle after his 4-day stint as the barkeep of the historic Valencia Club in Penryn which had been shutdown for more than a year.

Detective Jim Hudson became suspicious after reading about the Valencia Club's re-opening in an Auburn Journal newspaper article that featured a picture of Kevie and identified him as the club's new "owner/operator". Not only had Detective Hudson had previous run-ins with Kevie, he knew the Valencia Club's liquor license had been surrendered.

When Detective Hudson went to the bar to investigate, he found it open for business and customers at the bar.  Kevie quickly went from behind the bar to behind bars.

Deputies describe Kevie as a transient. They say he broke into the Valencia Club and put an open sign in the window on July 16th.  Kevie kicked off his business with a six-pack of beer he bought and resold at the club.  He used his profits to buy more alcohol keeping the club open throughout the weekend serving about 30 customers a day, deputies say.

Kevie is being held in the Placer County Jail for burglary and selling alcohol without a license.
Follow-up article here.

I don't know what harm he did. In fact, he left the place in better shape than when he found it, and he provided goods and services that the public obviously desired. For this he was arrested and thrown in jail.

I'm sure that somehow, someway this is all obama's fault...

Make no mistake - it's a WAR.

It's getting more and more like living next door to Iraq.

Mexico Under Siege: The Drug War at our Doorstep

Mexico Braces for a Deadlier War

And what are we doing about it? Not a damn thing. When AZ tries to stop the illegal traffic of drugs and people, it gets sued by obama. When other states ask for help, they get token dribs and drabs. Haven't we learned anything from Viet Nam, Iraq, and Afghanistan? If you want to win a war, go in with enough force to do so. Otherwise you're just wasting time, money, and lives.

Of course, this assumes that we have a commander-in-chief with enough brains to realize it's a war, and enough cojones to do the right thing.

obama is short on both counts...

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Can't Hear Myself Think

Our roof is being replaced this week. It was damaged in a hailstorm last April (!). After going 'round and 'round with the insurance company, appraisers, inspectors, and roofing companies, we finally got everything straightened out and work commenced.

It's a metal roof - fairly common in this part of the country - and a little less than 10 years old. Still, roofing technology has advanced in that short time frame (roofing technology - go figure...). The old roof has a layer of 30# felt between the roof decking and the metal panels. This serves as a sound and insulation barrier, and also sops up any minor leaks. The current technique is to use a waterproof poly-something membrane in place of the felt. No problem with that - technology marches on, and all that good stuff.

The problem is that the insurance company mandates removal of the felt before laying down the new membrane. Doesn't make much sense to me or the roofers - just layer the membrane over the felt. If the membrane's truly waterproof, and is installed correctly, then we end up with two layers of protection between the metal roof and the decking. But nooooo... the insurance company wants the felt removed.

That adds a couple of days to the process (and makes it more expensive). It also adds a bunch of trash to the ground below. The felt is removed by using a shovel-like tool that scrapes the felt off the decking. The problem is that the felt is held down by metal discs about the size of a beer can top - many, many discs, all with a nail through their center.

As the shovel-like tool scrapes off the felt, it also pulls up the discs and nails, which drift merrily down to the ground. Our lawn and landscape beds are littered with hundreds - nay, thousands - of these discs and nails. Of course, they also litter the driveway as well.

Top that off with little pieces of metal with razor-sharp edges that are generated as the new metal panels are installed and cut to fit.

To be fair, at the end of each day the roofers go around and pick up most of the debris. They also make a few passes up and down the driveway with a large magnet on wheels to zap up stray nails and bits of metal. But after working all day in the hot Texas sun their focus is getting to the closest ice house and grabbing a cold beer, not on picking stuff up. Can't say as I blame them.

So after they leave I get the wife and kids, we form a line abreast, and have police call around the house and driveway. We find a fair amount of debris left behind. It must be working, because so far no one's gotten a flat tire, and none of the dogs have suffered a cut paw. I thought I was done with police calls when I mustered out of the Army.

And did I mention the noise? Scraping, banging, crashes as the old metal panels are removed and dropped off the roof (think of the old sound effect days, when a sheet of tin was rattled to simulate thunder). It starts around 8 a.m. and ends around 6 p.m.

You can't hear conversations on the phone, can't hear the TV, can't hear the wife (mixed blessing, that). And it drives the dogs crazy. They usually spend a lot of time outside, and get their kicks barking madly at strange noises and strange people, so this is pretty traumatic for both them and us.

As a result of all this, I 'volunteered' to take the dogs up to our weekend place at Lake Buchanan. I needed to do some work up here anyway, so this is a 'two birds one stone' kind of thing.

So the dogs and I are here, the wife and kids are there, and the reunion is planned for Friday night.

In the meantime, peace and quiet - blessed, blessed peace and quiet...

Small Town Life

Shopping at a small town grocery store is quite a bit different than shopping at one in a larger town. We moved to Boerne (pop. 6000+) from Houston (pop. 2,000,000+), and had to go through a de-programming period.

In Houston grocery shopping is just one more chore to be done as expeditiously as possible. No time for chit-chat; just get in and out as quick as you can. Here, one is expected to chat. It doesn't matter if you know the checker or any of the other customers, socializing is the norm. Most of the time you all know someone in common, or at least are familiar with the local topic de jour. So, as I said, you chat.

Take today. I was waiting in line with my groceries. Ahead of me was a young mother with a couple of pre-school kids. Also present was the checker and a sacker. The subject of today's conversation was whether or not GPS chips should be implanted in children so they could be tracked if lost or abducted.

The young mother ahead of me was adamant that this should be mandated by the government, implemented by the government, and monitored by the government. Understandable, I guess, given that it looked like she had her hands full keeping track of her young 'uns.

The sacker, who was about my age (middle-aged, if you consider under 60 to be middle-aged) with a ponytail, was equally adamant that the practice should be banned. He made reference to George Orwell's 1984 and Big Brother.

When they both looked expectantly at me, I said I thought it was a good idea, but that it should be up to the parents to decide, and it should be handled through the free market, not the government.

The cashier, a 30-something Hispanic female, pointed at me and said "I agree with him."

I then added that when an individual turns 18 they should have the option to remove or deactivate the chip. The cashier repeated "I agree with him."

After the lady in front of me paid and left, I told the cashier "You and I should be running this country."

She looked at me and said "We'd do a damn sight better than the people in charge now."

Hard to argue with logic like that...

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

We're Screwed - Literally

Recently Harper was wondering about the cost of illegal immigration. One estimate argues that illegal immigration costs the U.S. around $113 billion annually.
The cost of harboring illegal immigrants in the United States is a staggering $113 billion a year -- an average of $1,117 for every “native-headed” household in America -- according to a study conducted by the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR).
It should be noted that FAIR is a "conservative organization that seeks to end almost all immigration to the U.S." As such, its findings were disputed.
Groups that support immigration reform immediately attacked FAIR's report and pointed out that it is the polar opposite of the Perryman Report, a 2008 study that found illegal immigration was actually a boon to the American economy. It estimated that illegal immigrants add $245 billion in Gross Domestic Product to the economy and account for 2.8 million jobs.
I suspect that the truth, as usual, lies somewhere between those two extremes. One thing that is indisputable, however, is that our social welfare rules and agencies tend to err on the side of leniency towards illegal immigrants. Case in point: over $50,000 of public funds were spent to buy an illegal immigrant a penis pump.
A Minnesota town is outraged over reports that an illegal immigrant was implanted with a penis pump – paid for by taxpayers.

Shakopee Police Chief Jeff Tate said the expense to taxpayers was more than $50,000.

“It’s shocking,” he told FOX News Radio. “It’s certainly disturbing as well. You know it’s not going to set well with the public at large.”

Scott County Attorney Pat Ciliberto wants to know how an illegal immigrant was able to obtain tens of thousands of dollars in medical assistance.

“There’s no logical argument for why that should have been approved,” Ciliberto told the Shakopee News. “I don’t know how many illegal aliens are getting emergency medical assistance for such a procedure.”

Ciliberto told county commissioners the cost of taking care of illegal immigrants in their community is skyrocketing.

“It should be obvious when Scott County goes from seven bookings in 2006 to 90 bookings in 2009 – that Arizona’s problem is Minnesota’s problem, too,” he told the newspaper.

According to published numbers, the county spent more than $800,000 housing inmates with immigration holds – and that doesn’t include medical coverage.

“We have no control over the southern border,” he said. “We don’t know who is coming in and what country they’re coming from.”

Regardless, local officials said they are required by federal and state laws to provide welfare to illegals – from court costs to health care – including a penis pump.

At least one local said they sympathize with the plight of Arizonans.

“My hats off to Arizona, to people who’ve said, ‘We’ve had enough,’” Commissioner Barbara Marschall told the newspaper. “We’re thousands (of) miles away from the southern border. It’s here and it’s going to get worse.”
It's bad enough that the government isn't doing enough to stop illegal immigrants, but to pay for them to literally screw us is unconscionable.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Something I said II

First the Senate, now the House. What's next - the White House?


Domain Namehouse.gov ? (U.S. Government)
IP Address143.231.249.# (Information Systems, U.S. House of Representatives)
ISPInformation Systems, U.S. House of Representatives
Location
Continent : North America
Country : United States  (Facts)
State : District of Columbia
City : Washington
Lat/Long : 38.9097, -77.0231 (Map)
LanguageEnglish (U.S.)
en-us









Connect the Dots

Following up on yesterday's post regarding border security:

May 26, 2010 - Feds Issue Terror Watch for the Texas/Mexico Border
The Department of Homeland Security is alerting Texas authorities to be on the lookout for a suspected member of the Somalia-based Al Shabaab terrorist group who might be attempting to travel to the U.S. through Mexico...

In 2008, the U.S. government designated Al Shabaab a terrorist organization. Al Shabaab has said its priority is to impose Sharia, or Islamic law, on Somalia; the group has aligned itself with Al Qaeda and has made statements about its intent to harm the United States.

In recent years, American Somalis have been recruited by Al Shabaab to travel to Somalia, where they are often radicalized by more extremist or operational anti-American terror groups, which Al Shabaab supports. The recruiters coming through the Mexican border are the ones who could be the most dangerous, according to law enforcement officials.

Security experts tell FOXNews.com that the influx of hundreds of Somalis over the U.S. border who allegedly have ties to suspected terror cells is evidence of a porous and unsecured border being exploited by groups intent on wrecking deadly havoc on American soil.
al Shabaab - remember that name. More on them later.

May 27, 2010 - Democrats stop bid to send 6,000 troops to border
President Barack Obama's Democratic allies in the Senate have repelled a move by presidential rival John McCain to send an additional 6,000 National Guard troops to the U.S-Mexico border.

The Arizona Republican says the security situation along the order has deteriorated so badly that 3,000 guard troops are needed just to help protect his state.

Obama on Tuesday promised to send 1,200 Guard troops to the border to support efforts to block drug trafficking and temporarily supplement Border Patrol agents until more agents can be trained.

Former President George W. Bush sent thousands of Guard troops to the border in 2006.
1200 troops. A 1700 mile border. Do the math - that's about 1 soldier every 1.5 miles. That'll really shut down illegal border crossings. 

June 18, 2010 - Five Federal Lands in Arizona Have Travel Warnings in Place
Imagine the federal government closing a section of the Lincoln Memorial because it was under the control of Mexican drug lords and bands of illegal immigrants.

That scenario is playing out as reality in southern Arizona, where parts of five federal lands -- including two designated national monuments -- continue to post travel warnings or be outright closed to Americans who own the land because of the dangers of "human and drug trafficking" along the Mexican border.

Roughly 3,500 acres of the Buenos Aires National Wildlife Refuge -- about 3 percent of the 118,000-acre park -- have been closed since Oct. 6, 2006, when U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service officials acknowledged a marked increase in violence along a tract of land that extends north from the border for roughly three-quarters of a mile. Federal officials say they have no plans to reopen the area.b

Dennis Godfrey, a spokesman for the Bureau of Land Management's Arizona office, said roughly a dozen signs were posted earlier this month along the Sonoran Desert National Monument advising that travel in the area is not recommended due to "active drug and human" smuggling. The signs are not far from where a Pinal County deputy was shot and killed during a confrontation with marijuana smugglers in April and the fatal shooting of two men suspected to be drug smugglers.

"It is a corridor for smugglers of all types," Godfrey told FoxNews.com.

Similar signs have been posted at the Cabeza Prieta National Wildlife Refuge and the Coronado National Forest, which covers nearly 1.8 million acres in southeastern Arizona and southwestern New Mexico.

Estimates of exactly how many acres of federal land are closed due to safety concerns near the border were not immediately available, but at least one lawmaker told FoxNews.com that the policy of "ceding" federal land to drug and human trafficking is unacceptable.

"This is one of those things that the Department of Interior does not want to publicize," said Rep. Rob Bishop, R-Utah, ranking Republican on the House Parks and Public Lands Subcommittee. "These bad actors are now being channeled into federal lands along the border because it's so easy to make that access. The situation is getting worse on federal lands and will only get worse until we make some proactive activity to change the status quo."

"Frankly," Bishop continued, "the status quo is failing. We are failing to control our borders."
I don't get it. If the feds know where the illegal crossing points are - and they must, as evidenced by the signs - then why on God's green earth aren't they beefing up enforcement at those points? 

We have ceded portions of our country - U.S. soil - to narcoterrorists, human smugglers, and illegal aliens. How can any president or U.S. official - elected or appointed - stand by and let this happen? Maybe to curry favor with a certain ethnic group....?

But isn't undermining national security for personal and political gain the definition of treason? I'll freely admit I know very little about the law, but it sure would be nice to see some of those officials charged. If nothing else, it might light a fire under someone and result in some meaningful action.

July 13, 2010 - Suspects held after World Cup bomb attacks
Somali al-Shabab Islamists linked to al-Qaida have claimed responsibility for the attacks on a crowded restaurant and a rugby club in the capital Uganda while fans watched the World Cup final on television.

"I think that there's a common recognition that this is a new phase for al-Shabab in terms of expanding their geographic reach unfortunately," U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano told reporters.

"We are constantly looking at ways that we can increase our preparation for, prevention of, and interdiction of any type of terrorist attack before it should occur on our own soil."
76 people were killed in the bombing, including 1 American. Five other U.S. citizens were wounded.

Yes, that's the same al-Shabab mentioned in the terror alert issued on May 26. The same al-Shabab that freely uses the U.S.-Mexico border to smuggle in terrorists. If Napolitano is serious about "ways that we can increase our preparation for, prevention of, and interdiction of any type of terrorist attack before it should occur on our own soil" then perhaps securing our borders would be a damn fine place to start.

July 19, 2010 - 250 soldiers to be deployed along border
Texas will see 250 National Guardsmen along the border with Mexico when troops are deployed Aug. 1 to help battle drug, immigrant and gun smuggling, federal officials said Monday.

“These troops will provide direct support to federal law enforcement officers and agents working in high-risk areas to disrupt criminal organizations seeking to move people and goods illegally across the Southwest border,” Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said.

The troops are part of 1,200 National Guardsmen ordered to the border by President Barack Obama in May.
Texas, with a 1260 mile border with Mexico, gets 250 Guardsmen. One every five miles. Nationally, 1200 Guardsmen are spread across a 1700 mile border.
Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, said the troop deployment “falls woefully short of the resources needed to truly secure America's borders.”

Nearly half the guardsmen, 524 troops, are headed to Arizona, where frustration with the federal government's failure to stop illegal immigration resulted in the passage of a state law that requires local police to check the immigration status of those stopped or apprehended for other crimes or violations. The Obama administration is challenging the law in federal court.

Napolitano said the recently announced plan to bolster border security is just part of ongoing efforts to step up enforcement of current laws “with an unprecedented sense of urgency.”
Oh my aching butt. She's nothing but obama's sock puppet.
The 1,200 guardsmen are far fewer than the 6,000 dispatched to provide border security in 2006 under then-President George W. Bush.

Still, some Texas lawmakers applauded the Obama administration's efforts.
Yeah, the democrap ones who are more interesting in political posturing than border security.
“As drug-related violence persists in neighboring Mexico, this is one more step we're taking to ensure the safety of our border states,” said Rep. Henry Cuellar, D-Laredo, chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee's subcommittee on border affairs.

Cuellar is one of six Democratic congressmen from Texas who represent border communities and support Obama's efforts to thwart drug trafficking and immigrant smuggling.

Republicans were more cautious in their praise, saying the administration's recent actions are a response to the frustration with the federal government's inability to secure the border.

“It's taken far too long for this administration to supply much-needed additional border agents, resources and equipment to our law enforcement personnel,” Cornyn said.
Jonathan Gurwitz, an op-ed columnist with the San Antonio Express-News, does a fine job of wrapping things up.
Border security is national security. The latest confirmation of what should be an obvious statement came last week from Uganda. What does the East African nation have to do with America's porous borders?

Terrorists struck in the capital Kampala as fans watched the World Cup championship. Suicide bombers set off lethal charges at a mass viewing party and a crowded restaurant. Seventy-six people were killed.

Twelve summers ago, another little-known Islamist group carried out simultaneous suicide attacks on the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, leaving more than 200 dead. The group responsible for the 1998 bombings was al-Qaida, and the East African operation was the first sign of its lethal international reach and a prelude to the plot — executed three years later — to attack the United States.

Al-Shabab is al-Qaida's subsidiary in Somalia...

A Homeland Security intelligence assessment produced before the Uganda bombings and obtained by the Associated Press warned, “We cannot exclude the possibility that U.S. persons aligned with al-Shabab in the Horn of Africa may return to the U.S., possibly to carry out acts of violence.”

How might they enter the United States undetected? ... (by) following the same routes and with the same human smugglers that millions of other unauthorized immigrants have used to surreptitiously cross the border.

Let's acknowledge that the overwhelming number of unauthorized immigrants entering the United States are simply seeking better lives and economic opportunity. Let's also acknowledge that in most cases, they are compelled to break the law because of irrationally restrictive U.S. immigration policies.

Those are arguments in favor of reforming immigration. They are not reasons to ignore the federal government's responsibility to secure the border. And they are certainly not reasons to legally challenge states that act to remedy the federal government's delinquency.

In most cases, unauthorized immigrants come here to cut American lawns, make American beds and pick American crops. But some of them want to come here to cut American throats. And there's no way to turn a blind eye to the former without also enabling the latter.
Let me repeat and emphasize one point. Immigration reform and border security are two different things. We can and should improve both. It's like sailing in a boat that's taking on water. You need to bail (immigration reform). But all the bailing in the world isn't going to help until you plug the hole (border security). I don't know why that's so hard for some people to understand.

There is nothing so uncommon as common sense...

Monday, July 19, 2010

Enough is Enough

The drug-fueled violence in Mexico has become so routine that new reports of it barely register any more. It's like those damned vuvuzelas during the World Cup - at first, they were all you heard, but by the end of the tournament you hardly noticed them. However, the most recent flurry struck a little close to home.
Twelve people, including two civilians and a soldier, died in Nuevo Laredo in gunbattles that broke out in broad daylight between suspected drug traffickers and the Mexican army, officials said.

Nearly two dozen people were injured in Friday's shootouts, including numerous children who were riding in a bus shot up by the gunmen as they tried to escape, a source said.
Got that? Narcoterrorist gunmen shot up a school bus full of kids to facilitate their escape. Kids. In a school bus.

It's gotten so bad that schools in Mexico now have 'shootout drills.'
Schools across Mexico are teaching students to dive to the floor and cover their heads as urban gunfights between drug gangs multiply in the violence-torn country.

At least nine shootouts have erupted in school zones since mid-October, three of them in the past month. On June 15, soldiers and gunmen battled for an hour just 60 feet from a preschool in the central town of Taxco.

 My kids go to school. In a school bus. I cannot fathom anyone using a school bus as a target. Or engaging in a gun battle near a school. I guess that's the difference between a normal human being and a terrorist.

Just to make it perfectly clear, I consider the people creatures involved in smuggling drugs to be terrorists. They have no regard for human life or civilized practices. They have attacked U.S. consulates, killed U.S. embassy employees, shot up government buildings on the U.S. side of the border, threatened U.S. LEOs in Arizona (here and here) and Texas, and now have even resorted to that staple of terrorists, the car bomb.

And notice the pattern. The level of violence is increasing, and spreading north. Does anyone seriously think that if we ignore it and stick our heads in the sand that it will go away? 

As far as I'm concerned, we should treat them no different than that al-Qaeda scum. Shot 'em on sight. Labeling drug smugglers as terrorists also removes any lingering posse comitatus issues with using the military to help secure our borders.

So beef up the law enforcement presence along the border. Use technology such as ground sensors, infrared and night vision cameras, and aerial reconnaissance. Bring in the military to conduct terrorist interdiction, apprehension, and elimination operations. Get serious about this. Don't wait until your kids' school buses get shot up - or worse.

And for what it's worth, I hold the customers of those narcoterrorists equally responsible. Remove the demand, and a lot of the problems would disappear.

Don't get me wrong. I'm not necessarily opposed to a little tooting. But I do hope that all you Cheech and Chong types out there man up and admit to the consequences of your actions. It's like Prohibition. Making booze illegal led to the rise of organized crime. Making it legal resolved some problems, while creating others. But on the whole I think we'd be better off legalizing marijuana. At the very least it'd give the government a whole new revenue stream, which I'm sure they wouldn't fritter away.

But's that a subject for another day......

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Word for the Day

Lassitude: A state or feeling of weariness, diminished energy, or listlessness.

Usage example: I am afflicted today with a general feeling of lassitude.

Why, you ask? Because we just got back from our small weekend place on Lake Buchanan. Currently I am tired, frustrated, sunburned, and slightly hungover.

Tired because I spent most of one day replacing a starter relay on a jetski. Whoever designed those things should be consigned to the lower levels of Hell. They're impossible to work on unless you have long skinny tentacles instead of heavily muscled arms (or even normal ones).

Frustrated because about an hour after I finally got it running one of the kids managed to suck the tow rope into the engine. That means a trip to the jetski doctor, which ain't cheap.

Sunburned because the only sunscreen we had up there was SPF 70, and I refuse to be that big of a wimp.

Slightly hungover because of all of the above.

So I'm giving in to my feeling of lassitude and signing off...

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Was It Something I Said?

While checking site traffic info, I found the following:


Domain Namesenate.gov ? (U.S. Government)
IP Address156.33.15.# (U.S. Senate Sergeant at Arms)
ISPU.S. Senate Sergeant at Arms
Location
Continent : North America
Country : United States  (Facts)
State : Maryland
City : Silver Spring
Lat/Long : 39.0521, -77.015 (Map)
LanguageEnglish (U.S.)
en-us

This visit occurred shortly after I posted comments about the recently passed (and woefully misnamed) finance reform bill. Since I know that the federal government wouldn't be interested in anything I had to say, its attention must have been drawn by the links to other, more subversive sites.

Paranoia strikes deep...

Gulf Boil Spill

If obama's bungling of the Gulf oil crisis already has you at a low simmer, this video will bring you to a raging boil.

Remember this when it's time to take out the trash on Nov. 2


Oil Spill Timeline from RightChange on Vimeo.

Thanks, Bots, for the video...

Friday, July 16, 2010

It's Friday, So Let's Make Fun Of obama

Some old, some new, all of them sadly funny... (the last one is my favorite)

The Obama economy utilizes a system of carefully monitored checks and balances. He writes the checks, you pay the balance.

You remember the Reagan era, when Ronald Reagan was President, and Bob Hope and Johnny Cash were still with us? Well, now we have Obama, no hope, and no cash.

Q: Have you heard about McDonald's' new Obama Value Meal?
A: Order anything you like and the guy behind you has to pay for it.

Q: What is the difference between ObamaCare and a car battery?
A: The battery has a positive side.

Q. What do Obama and Osama bin Laden have in common?
A. They both have friends who bombed the Pentagon.

Q: How do you starve an Obama supporter?
A: Hide his food stamps under his work boots.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Not Again

Congress passed a new 'financial reform' bill today.
The law will give the government new powers to break up companies that threaten the economy.
Like the democrap party, or the obama administration? Or maybe GM, or the energy industry?
A powerful council of regulators would be on the lookout for risks across the finance system. Large, failing financial institutions would be liquidated and the costs assessed on their surviving peers.
Oh great. Firms that run their businesses right will have to bailout those that don’t. Kind of like those of us who pay our mortgages have to subsidize those who don’t.
Republicans said the bill is a vast federal overreach that will drive financial-sector jobs overseas.
Just like the offshore drilling rigs, sailing away into the sunset.
At an eye-glazing 390,000 words — half the size of the King James Bible — the legislation doesn't offer a quick remedy, however. Rather, it lays down prescriptions for regulators to act. In many cases, the real impact won't be felt for years.
Just like obamacare. How many bozos who voted for it actually read it?
Named after Dodd and Massachusetts Rep. Barney Frank, the Democratic committee chairmen who steered it to passage…
And who are responsible for getting us into this mess in the first place…
Borrowers are to be protected from hidden fees and abusive terms, but also will have to provide evidence that they can repay their loans, thus halting the no-document loans that had flooded the markets.
AKA liar loans (or NINJA loans – No Income, No Jobs or Assets)
"The result will be over 5,000 pages of new regulations on traditional banks and years of uncertainty as to what the massive new rules will mean” … (the bill also does not address) mortgage financing giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, whose questionable lending helped start a collapse in the housing market.
START the collapse?!? How about CAUSE the collapse? If they didn’t make loans to people who couldn’t afford them there wouldn’t have been a bubble in the first place, much less a bursting of that bubble.
Some supporters of the bill also voiced reservations, claiming the bill did not give regulators specific direction on how to implement and enforce new rules.
"Congress largely has decided instead to punt decisions to the regulators, saddling them with a mountain of rule-makings and studies," said Sen. Ted Kaufman, D-Del.
Gee, what a surprise. Congress ducking a tough issue and passing the buck.

To paraphrase Peter, Paul, and Mary: “When will we ever learn?”

Remember, Nov. 2 is Take Out The Trash Day.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Quick Hits on Harry Reid

Links from Drudge ...
Election 2010 has just heard from a member of the Silent Majority.

You know, from a deceased person.

Chances are good you never met Charlotte McCourt during her 84 years, but I’m willing to bet you’ll be hearing about her in the coming days now that her obituary has taken Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to task. It’s the kind of small story that has the potential to ricochet like a bullet through the campaign showdown between incumbent Reid and Republican challenger Sharron Angle.

Not because McCourt, who died July 8 after a long illness, was a political player or business powerbroker, but precisely because she was neither of those things. She was a homemaker, proud mother and grand mother and wife of 67 years to Patrick McCourt.

And she was at one time a loyal supporter of Harry Reid.

Her obituary, printed in Tuesday’s Review-Journal, reads in part, “We believe that Mom would say she was mortified to have taken a large role in the election of Harry Reid to U.S. Congress. Let the record show Charlotte was displeased with his work. Please, in lieu of flowers, vote for another more worthy candidate.”

Ouch.
Don't weep for Charlotte. I'm sure Reid and the dems will resurrect her in Nov. so she, like many other dead voters, can cast her ballot for Harry et al.

 * * * * * * * * * *
Harry says "No illegal immigrants working in Nevada."
When a reporter from KLAS-TV in Las Vegas told Reid a 2009 Pew Hispanic Center report found 17 percent of the nation’s construction workers were undocumented, the Nevada Democrat replied: “That may be some place, but it’s not here in Nevada.”

Facing a tough challenge this fall from Tea Party darling Sharron Angle, Reid has been touting the success of the Democrat-backed stimulus plan, saying it has created jobs and helped repair the nation’s battered economy.
I don't know what alternate reality Harry lives in, but it's evidently one where the border is secure, there's prosperity and full employment, unicorns exist, and obama is competent.

Talk about a tenuous grasp on reality...

A Modest Proposal

From a random email...
Like most folks in this country, I have a job. I work, they pay me. I pay my taxes and the government distributes those funds as it sees fit.

In order to get that paycheck, in my case, I am required to pass a random urine test. I have no problem with this.

What I do have a problem with is the distribution of my taxes to people who don't have to pass a urine test.

So, here is my question: Since I have to pass a urine test to earn my money, shouldn't recipients have to pass a urine test to get a welfare check?

Please understand, I have no problem with helping people get back on their feet. I do, on the other hand, have a problem with helping someone sitting on their ass doing drugs while I work.

Can you imagine how much money would be saved if people had to pass a urine test to get a public assistance check?

I guess we could call the program "URINE OR YOU'RE OUT"!
Makes sense to me...

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

The Second Shoe Has Fallen - More to Come

I don't pretend to be an expert on offshore drilling, but I have done some work with energy companies, I have contacts in the industry, and I've lived in energy-producing regions and worked at banks that made loans - substantial loans - to drilling companies. So I think I have a reasonable understanding of some fundamental issues related to the energy industry, and the business world in general, that seem to have escaped Team Obama.

1. Companies are in business to make money. If they can't make it in one place they'll go elsewhere.

2. Offshore drilling rigs aren't fixed structures. They are mobile - essentially floating platforms - meaning that they can be moved from one location to another.

The net result of 1 and 2, combined with an ill thought out and illogical moratorium on offshore drilling, is that rig owners will move them from unprofitable locations to profitable ones when conditions warrant.

The first shoe fell on July 9:
Diamond Offshore announced Friday that its Ocean Endeavor drilling rig will leave the Gulf of Mexico and move to Egyptian waters immediately — making it the first to abandon the United States in the wake of the BP oil spill and a ban on deep-water drilling.

Larry Dickerson, CEO of Houston-based Diamond, signaled that other of his company's rigs could be relocated, too.

"As a result of the uncertainties surrounding the offshore drilling moratorium, we are actively seeking international opportunities to keep our rigs fully employed," Dickerson said. "We greatly regret the loss of U.S. jobs that will result from this rig relocation."

It was unclear how many U.S. jobs could leave with the Ocean Endeavor, but typically more than 100 workers are on the rig at any given time, doing everything from drilling to cooking meals. Onshore, a network of businesses supplies the rigs with groceries, equipment, uniforms and drilling materials.

"It's not unusual for an energy service company to have 1,000 vendors that they buy from or purchase services from," noted Rep. Kevin Brady, R-The Woodlands. As a result, Brady said, the economic damage from the moratorium stretches far and wide.

Dan Pickering, a financial analyst with Tudor, Pickering Holt & Co. Securities, said the legal uncertainties surrounding the ban - and the administration's plan to issue a new, revised moratorium - ensure that no companies will resume deep-water drilling in U.S. waters anytime soon.

"Are you really going to spend $5 million … getting ready to drill a well that someone would then probably block you from drilling?" Pickering said.


Pickering added that prospects are high that a dozen rigs ultimately could leave the Gulf of Mexico because of the ban.

Brady said the rig owners are searching for revenue - even if it means relocating to get it.

"There are two types of rigs in the deep-water Gulf today: those that are leaving the country and those that want to, because with this moratorium hanging over their heads, they simply can't go back to work," Brady said. "I'm afraid this is the first of many rigs and many American jobs to leave the Gulf."

Once the rigs relocate, it could be a minimum of five to 10 years before they return, predicted Rep. Pete Olson, R-Sugar Land.

"We cannot afford to lose these jobs or the energy they provide," Olson said. "President Obama should allow this moratorium to remain lifted and let Americans get back to work."
The second shoe fell shortly thereafter.
Diamond Offshore Drilling has pulled another rig out of the Gulf of Mexico due to restrictions on deepwater drilling in U.S. waters due to the BP oil spill.

The Houston company said this week that it has ordered the Ocean Confidence rig to the Republic of Congo. The rig departed the Gulf over the weekend and is expected to arrive off the African coast in 60 days.

Diamond Offshore said it moved the rig after rewriting a drilling contract with a subsidiary of Murphy Exploration and Production Co. Its current contract with Murphy was changed to a one-year commitment in the Gulf that will begin when Murphy is confident it can get permits to drill.

In exchange, the companies signed a new agreement to drill off the coast of the Republic of Congo.

The Congo project is expected to generate about $234 million in total revenue.

It is widely expected that many offshore operators will move equipment out of the Gulf until the backlash from BP's out-of-control well subsides.

Note that, in addition to conditions 1 and 2 mentioned above, a major contributing factor is that businesses do not like uncertainty. Sometimes referred to as FUD (Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt), this generally spurs a firm to take whatever actions it can to reduce it. In this case, that involves fleeing from a FUD-rich environment (Fear that the obama administration will hamstring the energy industry, Uncertainty about the offshore drilling moratorium, and Doubt that, under obama, the business and regulatory climate will improve) to one with greater certainty. It's pretty sad when Egypt and the Congo - the Congo, for God's sake - are perceived to have a more stable business environment than the U.S.

The disturbing thing about obama's reaction (lack of action regarding the cleanup; debilitating action regarding drilling) is that it reflects a total lack of understanding regarding offshore drilling. A few facts from a recent WSJ article:
The most recent spill of this magnitude was the Exxon Valdez tanker accident in 1989. The largest before that was the Santa Barbara offshore oil well leak in 1969.

The infrequency of big spills is extraordinary considering the size of the offshore oil industry that provides Americans with affordable energy. According to the Interior Department's most recent data, in 2002 the Outer Continental Shelf had 4,000 oil and gas facilities, 80,000 workers in offshore and support activities, and 33,000 miles of pipeline. Between 1985 and 2001, these offshore facilities produced seven billion barrels of oil. The spill rate was a minuscule 0.001%.
Got that? Once every 20 years or so there's a major oil spill. Percentage-wise, it's 1/1000 of 1%. What other industry has a similar track record?
According to the National Academy of Sciences—which in 2002 completed the third version of its "Oil in the Sea" report—only 1% of oil discharges in North Americas are related to petroleum extraction. Some 62% of oil in U.S. waters is due to natural seepage from the ocean floor, putting 47 million gallons of crude oil into North American water every year. The Gulf leak is estimated to have leaked between two million and three million gallons in two weeks.
What? Oil spills are a natural occurrence? Next we'll be told that the earth's temperature goes through natural cycles of cooling and warming.
Such an accident is still unacceptable, which is why the drilling industry has invested heavily to prevent them. The BP well had a blowout preventer, which contains several mechanisms designed to seal pipes in the event of a problem. These protections have worked in the past, and the reason for the failure this time is unknown. This was no routine safety failure but a surprising first.

One reason the industry has a good track record is precisely because of the financial consequences of accidents. The Exxon Valdez dumped 260,000 barrels of oil, and Exxon spent $3.14 billion on cleanup. Do the math, and Exxon spent nearly 600 times more on cleanup and litigation than what the oil was worth at that time.
This is Key Point #1 that obama and his ilk just don't get. Drilling firms HATE spills. They have a vested interest in doing whatever they can to prevent them, because it's bad for business.
As for a drilling moratorium, it is no guarantee against oil spills. It may even lead to more of them. Political fantasies about ending our oil addiction notwithstanding, the U.S. economy will need oil and other fossil fuels for decades to come. If we don't drill for it at home, the oil will have to arrive by tanker and barges. Tankers are responsible for more spills than offshore wells, and those spills tend to be bigger and closer to shore—which usually means more environmental harm.
And here is Key Point #2. The Law of Unintended Consequences comes into play. Shutting down offshore rigs just transfers the risks elsewhere - in this case closer to home.
The larger reality is that energy production is never going to be accident free. No difficult human endeavor is, whether space travel or using giant cranes to build skyscrapers. The rest of the world is working to exploit its offshore oil and gas reserves despite the risk of spills. We need to be mindful of such risks, and to include prevention and clean up in the cost of doing business, but a modern economy can't run without oil.

To summarize, obama's response to the situation is to take actions that eliminate jobs here, create jobs in other countries, enrich those countries at the expense of the U.S., and increase the likelihood of more spills.

I used to think his missteps were ignorance. Now I doubt that anyone can be that stupid. There has to be an element of malice in there somewhere. Perhaps he's figured out that La., Miss., Ala., and Fla. are going to be red states in the next few elections, and is punishing them. He may also be trying to reinvigorate his leftist base, which is growing increasingly disillusioned with him. In any event, it's painfully obvious he does not have the best interests of the United States at heart.

God help us all...

Monday, July 12, 2010

Cancer, Common Sense, and Perspective

I hate to start the week on a down note, but... (link to story here)
The co-chairmen of President Obama's debt and deficit commission offered an ominous assessment of the nation's fiscal future here Sunday, calling current budgetary trends a cancer "that will destroy the country from within" unless checked by tough action in Washington.
Tough action in Washington? Don't hold your breath.
The two leaders -- former Republican senator Alan Simpson of Wyoming and Erskine Bowles, White House chief of staff under President Bill Clinton -- sought to build support for the work of the commission, whose recommendations due later this year are likely to spark a fierce debate in Congress.
A fierce debate in Congress? That's a candidate for Understatement of the Year.
Bowles said that unlike the current economic crisis, which was largely unforeseen before it hit in fall 2008, the coming fiscal calamity is staring the country in the face. "This one is as clear as a bell," he said. "This debt is like a cancer."

The commission leaders said that, at present, federal revenue is fully consumed by three programs: Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. "The rest of the federal government, including fighting two wars, homeland security, education, art, culture, you name it, veterans -- the whole rest of the discretionary budget is being financed by China and other countries," Simpson said (chart below).


"We can't grow our way out of this," Bowles said. "We could have decades of double-digit growth and not grow our way out of this enormous debt problem. We can't tax our way out. . . . The reality is we've got to do exactly what you all do every day as governors. We've got to cut spending or increase revenues or do some combination of that."
A combination of increasing revenue and decreasing spending? Gee, why didn't anyone else think of that? It's not rocket science, folks (good thing, since NASA is now a muslim feel-good program). It just seems so basic: don't spend more than you take in. Of course, that's part of how we got in this mess in the first place - individuals buying more house than they could afford. I guess this country's lack of common sense exists at all levels.

Here's another visual that puts things in perspective


On a related note, obama played golf again yesterday.

Sigh...

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Sunday Comics

"Immigration is Abandoned, Not Broken"


(From Angie Comics)

Saturday, July 10, 2010

One Last Goose

For those of you following the saga of the goose family that I've posted about previously (#'s 1, 2, and 3), here's what I expect to be the final update.

From the Boerne Star:
Weekend mornings are usually pretty quiet on Boerne's River Road, but this Saturday, a miniature parade took place with almost 100 cheering spectators on hand.

Although the event wasn't set to start until 10 a.m., Kim Kuykendall came early; she was holding down a spot by 9:15 a.m.

"I was the first one here," she said with an expectant smile.

A KSAT news cameraman as well as a couple of Boerne policemen added to the general feeling of happy anticipation.

It didn’t seem to matter that the only entry in the parade would be a small family - a mama goose and her three young who’ve been living within the protective confines of a pen, their recent world just a slice of lawn that’s sandwiched between the Dodging Duck restaurant and several heavily-trafficked lanes of road. The procession got off to a festive start when Hill Country Animal League Director J.J. Blackson “released” the mama fowl and her toddlers for the more amenable edges of Cibolo Creek.

The adult white Chinese goose didn’t need much urging. While her human fans briefly blocked traffic from both directions, the watchful parent carefully goose-stepped her wee processional trio on its waddling way toward the riverbank.


Conspicuously absent from the festive occasion was Dad-goose, still recovering from injuries incurred when sentry duty put him up against a passing car. Although the male has spent a good deal of his convalescence inside the pen on River Road, as of Friday night he'll be enjoying the idyllic grounds of the Wildlife Rehabilitation and Rescue organization, a place where his safe future is better assured.
So who, exactly, was that other goose in attendance?

"That's not Daddy," Angel Santiago, HCAL wrangler said with a shake of his head and a hint of a smile "That's just another guy who wants to be a volunteer now. Actually," Santiago added, "I think he's trying to romance her."

A bystander asked the wrangler, "What kind of guy takes up with a single mom and three kids?" Santiago responded with a wry gesture, "Well, there's one taker already."

As the young family and their new protector made it to the creekside curb of River Road, the spectators broke from their corridor-like ranks and into applause. Their cheers started up again when after a few reconnoitering moments, the strong and handsome stranger, along with the mama and her three downy young waddled down the riverbanks and into the water.


With the parade over and the family in the water, still the many attendees continued to hang around; no one seemed disposed to go home, at least not immediately.

"I'm really going to miss them," owner of the Dodging Duck, Keith Moore, said with a wistful, it’s-the-end-of-the-story kind of smile. He watched as the palm-sized goslings satisfactorily managed their maiden voyages. "(Somebody) should write a children's book about this."

Those interested in spotting the female Chinese white and her goslings, should watch for a white-plumed goose whose head and upper neck have been marked with a black Sharpie. The ink will wear off quickly, but in the interim, the markings will allow those who’ve cared for her to monitor her progress.
Pretty much a happy ending, except for the part where the heroic Father Goose, injured while protecting his mate and offspring, is cast aside by his bride once he's no longer of any use to her. She then takes up with another whom she assumes will be a better provider.

Reminds me of my first ex-wife...

Friday, July 9, 2010

Obama's Oil Spill To-Do List

re: the Gulf oil spill (Actually, that's a misnomer - it's not a spill, but a blow-out or eruption. The Exxon Valdez was an oil spill. Calling this a spill is like calling Old Faithful a water spill. But I digress...)




re: the Gulf oil crisis - a few days ago the Heritage Foundation posted an excellent analysis of what should be done to more effectively clean up the mess. The Heritage piece focused on clean-up, not the cause or stopping the flow of oil. It's a well thought out list of actions that could - and should - be done right now to help minimize the impact of the spill/flow. Excerpts below.
The oil spill crisis in the Gulf of Mexico gets worse by the day. Oil spews from the broken well, further polluting our water and shores. The clean-up efforts drag on with bureaucratic interference, making matters worse. And what is the Obama administration doing? It continues to push for unrelated responses that will have a disastrous effect on our economy, especially the economy of the Gulf states most affected.

Day after day, blind allegiance to the president causes his supporters on the left to simply say the government is doing all that it can. The national media, prone to attention deficit disorder when a president they support is in the White House, have already moved on to a myriad of other subjects, offering only sporadic updates on the continuing crisis.

Here are the first ten actions President Obama can take immediately to help solve the crisis in the Gulf.

1. Waive the Jones Act: According to one Dutch newspaper, European firms could complete the oil spill cleanup by themselves in just four months, and three months if they work with the United States, which is much faster than the estimated nine months it would take the Obama administration to go at it alone. The major stumbling block is a protectionist piece of legislation called the Jones Act, which requires that all goods transported by water between U.S. ports be carried in U.S.-flagged ships, constructed in the United States, owned by U.S. citizens, and crewed by U.S. citizens. But, in an emergency, this law can be temporarily waived, as DHS Secretary Michael Chertoff did after Katrina. Each day European and Asian allies are prevented from helping us speed up the cleanup is another day that Gulf fishing and tourism jobs die.

2. Accept International Assistance: At least thirty countries and international organizations have offered equipment and experts so far. According to reports this week, the White House has finally decided to accept help from twelve of these nations. The Obama administration should make clear why they are refusing the other eighteen-plus offers.  In a statement, the State Department said it is still working out the particulars of the assistance it has accepted. This should be done swiftly as months have already been wasted.
Take Sweden, for example. According to Heritage expert James Carafano: “After offering assistance shortly after the Deepwater Horizon explosion, Sweden received a request for information about their specialized assets from the State Department on May 7.  Swedish officials answered the inquiry the same day, saying that some assets, such as booms, could be sent within days and that it would take a couple of weeks to send ships.  There are three brand new Swedish Coast Guard vessels built for dealing with a major oil spill cleanup.  Each has a capacity to collect nearly 50 tons of oil per hour from the surface of the sea and can hold 1,000 tons of spilled oil in their tanks. But according to the State Department’s recently released chart on international offers of assistance, the Swedish equipment and ships are still ‘under consideration.’So months later, the booms sit unused and brand new Swedish ships still sit idle in port, thousands of miles from the Gulf. The delay in accepting offers of assistance is unacceptable.”

3. Lift the Moratorium: The Obama administration’s over-expansive ban on offshore energy development is killing jobs when they are needed most. A panel of engineering experts told The New Orleans Times-Picayune that they only supported a six-month ban on new drilling in waters deeper than 1,000 feet. Those same experts were consulted by Interior Secretary Ken Salazar before he issued his May 27 report recommending a six-month moratorium on all ongoing drilling in waters deeper than 500 feet. A letter from these experts reads: “A blanket moratorium is not the answer. It will not measurably reduce risk further and it will have a lasting impact on the nation’s economy which may be greater than that of the oil spill. We do not believe punishing the innocent is the right thing to do.”
And just how many innocent jobs is Obama’s oil ban killing? An earlier Times-Picayune report estimated the moratorium could cost Louisiana 7,590 jobs and $2.97 billion in revenue directly related to the oil industry.
4. Release the S.S. A-Whale: The S.S. A-Whale skimmer is a converted oil tanker capable of cleaning 500,000 barrels of oil a day from the Gulf waters. Currently, the largest skimmer being used in the clean-up efforts can handle 4,000 barrels a day, and the entire fleet our government has authorized for BP has only gathered 600,000 barrels, total in the 70 days since the Deepwater Horizon explosion. The ship embarked from Norfolk, VA, this week toward the Gulf, hoping to get federal approval to begin assisting the clean-up, but is facing bureaucratic resistance.
As a foreign-flagged ship, the S.S. A-Whale needs a waiver from the Jones Act, but even outside that three-mile limitation, the U.S. Coast Guard and the EPA have to approve its operation due to the nature of its operation, which separates the oil from the water and then releases water back into the Gulf, with a minor amount of oil residue. The government should not place perfection over the need for speed, especially facing the threat of an active hurricane season.
5. Remove State and Local Roadblocks: Local governments are not getting the assistance they need to help in the cleanup. For example, nearly two months ago, officials from Escambia County, Fla., requested permission from the Mobile Unified Command Center to use a sand skimmer, a device pulled behind a tractor that removes oil and tar from the top three feet of sand, to help clean up Pensacola’s beaches. County officials still haven’t heard anything back. Santa Rosa Island Authority Buck Lee explains why: “Escambia County sends a request to the Mobile, Ala., Unified Command Center. Then, it’s reviewed by BP, the federal government, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Coast Guard. If they don’t like it, they don’t tell us anything.”
State and local governments know their geography, people, economic impacts and needs far better than the federal government does. Contrary to popular belief, the federal government has actually been playing a bigger and bigger role in running natural disaster responses. And as Heritage fellow Matt Mayer has documented, the results have gotten worse, not better. Local governments should be given the tools they need to aid in the disaster relief.

6. Allow Sand Berm Dredging: The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has recently prevented the state of Louisiana from dredging to build protective sand berms. Plaquemines Parish President Billy Nungesser immediately sent a letter to President Obama requesting that the work continue. He said, “Once again, our government resource agencies, which are intended to protect us, are now leaving us vulnerable to the destruction of our coastline and marshes by the impending oil. Furthermore, with the threat of hurricanes or tropical storms, we are being put at an increased risk for devastation to our area from the intrusion of oil.”

7. Waive or Suspend EPA Regulations: Because more water than oil is collected in skimming operations (85% to 90% is water according to Coast Guard Admiral Thad Allen), operators need to discharge the filtered water back into the Gulf so they can continue to collect oil.  The discharged water is vastly cleaner than when it was skimmed, but not sufficiently pure according to normal EPA regulations.  If the water has to be kept in the vessel and taken back to shore for purification, it vastly multiples the resources and time needed, requiring cleanup ships to make extra round trips, transporting seven times as much water as the oil they collect.  We already have insufficient cleanup ships (as the Coast Guard officially determined); they need to be cleaning up oil, not transporting water.

8. Temporarily Loosen Coast Guard Inspections: In early June, sixteen barges that were vacuuming oil out of the Gulf were ordered to halt work. The Coast Guard had the clean-up vessels sit idle as they were inspected for fire extinguishers and life vests. Maritime safety is clearly a priority, but speed is of the essence in the Gulf waters. The U.S. Coast Guard should either temporarily loosen its inspection procedures or implement a process that allows inspections to occur as the ships operate.

9. Stop Coast Guard Budget Cuts: Now is not the time to be cutting Coast Guard capabilities, but that is exactly what President Obama and Democratic leaders in Congress are doing. Rather than rebuilding and modernizing the Coast Guard as is necessary, they are cutting back assets needed to respond to catastrophic disasters. In particular, the National Strike Force, specifically organized to respond to oil spills and other hazardous materials disasters, is being cut. Overall, President Obama has told the Coast Guard to shed nearly 1,000 personnel, five cutters, and several helicopters and aircraft. Congress and the Administration should double the U.S. Coast Guard’s active and reserve end strength over the next decade and significantly accelerate Coast Guard modernization, but for the time being, they should halt all budgetary cuts.
10. Halt Climate Change Legislation: President Obama has placed his focus to the oil spill on oil demand rather than oil in our water. Regardless of political views, now is not the time to be taking advantage of this crisis to further an unrelated piece of legislation that will kill jobs and, in the President’s own words, cause energy prices to “skyrocket.” Less than 5% of our nation’s electricity needs are met by petroleum. Pushing solar and wind alternatives is in no way related to the disaster in the Gulf. It’s time for President Obama to focus on the direct actions he can take in the Gulf rather than the indirect harm he can cause in Congress. As Heritage expert David Kreutzer opines: “Fix the leak first, and then we’ll talk.” A crisis should not be a terrible thing to waste, as Rahm Emanuel said, but a problem to be solved.

Overall, this paints a chilling, but not unexpected, picture of a vast federal bureaucracy that can't get out of it's own way, and that places more value on blindly adhering to its rules and regulations than on solving the problem. The items above are common-sense steps that most reasonable people would agree are warranted. The problem is that the obama and his lackeys are not 'reasonable people'...

Thursday, July 8, 2010

More on NASA

It seems that I wasn't the only one appalled by obama's decree that NASA abandon it's original space exploration mission in favor of muslim outreach. Here's a couple of my favorite responses.

From  Barking Moonbat Early Warning System:
Hey Abdul! Remember when you were 15 and used to ride your camel naked across the desert while pulling your weasel? And you’d get the camel up to a gallop so that when you spooged off it would shoot up in the air and land right in your own mouth? That’s as close to lift-off as anyone in the entire muslime world has come to in the past 1400 years. You losers can’t even do fireworks, and your first cousins the paleoswinians make such poor baby-dick missiles that they can’t even hit the ground half the time.

So yeah, let’s send NASA over to sandland to help build up their self esteem. That’ll work!

Hey, see this rocket? Yeah, the one that’s taller than every other building in the Middle East except that one empty and unfinished office tower in Yemen. Uh huh, that one. Says Saturn V on the side. That one we spent $12 billion dollars on 41 years ago, more than your entire nation’s gross national product at the time, to send 3 white guys to the moon. Where they planted our flag. And took a zero gravity dump on the koran, but that’s part’s a state secret. Then we brought them all home again. And then we did it again ... half a dozen times. Just for fun, because we could. In your country at that time ... they hadn’t even invented clean water. Still haven’t, come to think of it. Feeling better yet?

And from the Friendly Tavern:



Seriously, folks, NASA is the organization that landed men on the moon not once, but multiple times. Once upon a time it represented all that was great about America. And now that loser-in-chief who's squatting in the White House has reduced it to a propaganda arm that's stroking a religion that treats women like second third class citizens, that is dedicated to eliminating us and our way of life, and that promotes such barbaric practices as stoning women to death. (The preferred method is to bury the hapless victim up to their shoulders, then stone away.)




This is what obama wants to reach out to?

Screw him and the camel he rode in on...

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Apples and Trees

We have tried very, very hard to raise our kids in a non-judgmental, non-prejudicial environment. So I was quite surprised when the following occurred.

Sitting around the dinner table tonight, chatting about nothing in particular. Out of nowhere the 16 y/o son comes up with:
"Why don't women need drivers licenses?"

"Because there's no road between the kitchen and the laundry room."
I spewed my wine across the table. I didn't know whether to laugh or be appalled. Needless to say, my wife blamed me.

"The apple doesn't fall far from the tree..."

Alex 1, obama 0

Once Hurricane Alex made landfall last week, most people lost interest. However, the remnants of Alex continued to move WNW, dumping large amounts of rain in the Rio Grande's watershed. As the Rio Grande rises, Texas-Mexico border cities are being flooded, international bridges are being closed, and the river is becoming impassible. In one short week Alex has done more to impede illegal immigration than obama and several presidents before him have done in decades. (Story here.) 

Now there are reports of freshening tropical activity in the same region of the Gulf that spawned Alex. Preliminary predictions are that it will follow a similar path.

If it does, obama will probably sue the weatherman...