Saturday, April 30, 2011

Things That Help Pass The Time On Road Trips

If you think texting while driving is bad, check out this loon.

Ladies, shaving and driving don't mix
By now I'm sure that most of you have heard about the Florida woman who caused a two-vehicle wreck because she was shaving her bikini area while driving.

Guess that makes the time you drove with your elbows while eating a Whopper seem downright virtuous, doesn't it?

Florida Highway Patrol troopers said the car Megan Barnes was driving crashed into the back of a pickup truck at about 45 mph. Her reaction time was slowed down because she was too busy grooming her hoohah to pay attention to the road. Oh, like that's never happened to you?

Ms. Barnes told the investigating officer that she was on her way to a date and "wanted to be ready for the visit."

Yes, she wanted to look her best. All over. Except, well, we've seen Ms. Barnes' mug shot and she appears to have a face that would stop a clock and raise hell with small watches, bless her heart. To be blunt, I don't think a perfectly groomed love rug could possibly make that much difference.

It could've been worse, I suppose. Ms. Barnes could've been waxing her bikini area as she drove along in her T-bird (Yes, fun, fun, fun till the po-lice took her T-bird awaaaaaayy) on those scenic bridges. Imagine the horror if she'd tossed the used wax strips out the window. The manatees might have tried to adopt them.

Hons, I've driven on this particular stretch of highway between Miami and Key West and it's flat-out beautiful with crystal blue water, gorgeous mangroves and cloudless skies.

Not once have I been so bored that I decided I'd rather drag a sharp blade over my nether regions just to have something to do.

There are so many "You might be a redneck if" elements to the story of Megan Barnes, but my favorite is that, while performing this extremely personal grooming ritual, she asked her EX HUSBAND to steer the car so she could concentrate ("Help me out, Buford, I'm gonna make it look like a LIGHTNING BOLT!")

What a guy! Not only did he hold the steering wheel so she could concentrate on primping for her big date with ANOTHER MAN, but when the cops arrived, he tried to switch places and claim he'd been driving.
Trouble was, he had burns on his chest from the airbag that had deployed on THE PASSENGER SIDE ONLY. Oops.

To no one's particular surprise, the Highway Patrol quickly discovered that Ms. Barnes didn't have a valid driver's license. Oh, and, the day before, she'd been convicted of DUI and driving with a suspended license. Oh, and her car had been seized and had no insurance or registration. Oh, and she was on probation. Oh, and SHE'S A FLIPPIN' LUNATIC!

Albeit an impeccably groomed one.
Below is a scanned image of the article as printed so you can get a good look at Ms. Barnes. As the story states, below-the-belt personal grooming won't do much to help. Anyone 'dating' this woman needs a permanent set of beer-goggles. (Thanks to Curmudgeonly & Skeptical for the original link.)


Friday, April 29, 2011

Happily Ever After

The video below is in honor of today's royal wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton. But first, we have to set the stage.

Back in the day, before digital cameras, we all used film cameras. This required that the film be processed or developed. There were a number of stores that offered this service, but if you lived deep in the woods, like Snow White, your best option was to mail the film off to a firm that would develop it and mail the pictures back to you.

In the following video, Snow White has sent off her film and is now hanging out with the dwarfs waiting for the pictures to show up in her mail box. That's why she's singing "Someday my prints will come."

Sorry...



I wasn't that interested in the royal wedding. I'm glad it came off so well, I'm happy for them, and I do hope they live happily ever after. But I was happily ignorant of the details (man, that's a lot of 'happys') until I ran across this story.
Best man Prince Harry will turn Buckingham Palace into a nightclub Friday to keep the post-nuptial celebration continuing until sunrise.
For those who may find the day's formality a bit too stuffy, this bash offers an opportunity for guests to loosen their ties and let their hair down. He plans to convert three of the Palace's state rooms into the post-reception reception for 300 of Will and Kate's closest mates. The exclusive bash, kicking off at 7 p.m. on Friday, will see a DJ keeping the beats pumping until dawn as guests celebrate the newlyweds. The revelers will sip on "treasure chest" libations filled with rum and champagne cocktails.
For "party survivors" still standing at 6 a.m. the next morning, Harry will graciously offer a second royal wedding breakfast, this one significantly different than the one provided by the Queen a day earlier. Instead of a lavish arrangement of canapes and dainty pastries, Prince William has asked caterers to prepare the more homely-sounding "bacon butties" - buttery bacon sandwiches, along with "fry-ups" (the classic full English breakfast which can consist of eggs, bacon, sausages, roasted tomatoes, baked beans, and fried bread). Smart thinking, Harry. Sounds like the perfect hangover cure.
Though it may well be the party of the lifetime, this is hardly the prim-and-proper event expected of the British Monarchy. Perhaps that's why Queen Elizabeth plans to turn a blind eye to her grandson's antics and disappear to Windsor Castle for the night. It's certain to be a night to remember or, for the wilder guests, to try to remember.
Wish I was there...

Best Response To The Ongoing Birth Certificate Story

Pawlenty on Obama: ‘I do question what planet he’s from’
"I'm not one to question the president's birth certificate, but when you look at his policies, I do question what planet he's from."
Gives new meaning to the term "illegal alien."

Other zingers from Pawlenty's speech:
"I have to give the president credit for one thing. He's proven that someone can deserve a Nobel Prize less than Al Gore."
He accused Obama of catering to powerful unions. "Forming a more perfect union does not mean coddling the ... public employee unions."
 I'm starting to get a man-crush...

Well, It Is South Of Us

During one of the waste-of-time meetings I was forced to attend yesterday we were reviewing a report summarizing the demographics of our student body. The report is required by a variety of government and regulatory agencies for God knows what purposes, so it is somewhat important that the information be somewhat accurate (close enough for government work...).

Anyway, the person presenting the report broke down the student body by global regions (North America, Europe, Asia, etc.). For some reason the numbers seemed a little off so we asked her to drill down into the data. When we got to 'students by country' we found the problem. Seems the report's author considered North America to consist of only Canada and the U.S. - Mexico was included in South America.

This was especially embarrassing since our university is on the Texas-Mexico border, we brand ourselves as an international university, we have a large number of students and faculty from Mexico, and we have joint academic programs with a couple of Mexican universities.

Did I mention that the person who prepared the report is not a Ph.D., but a lawyer (she teaches Business Law) (pardon the elitist snobbery, but those of us who hold a Ph.D. look down our noses at those with 'other' degrees such as a J.D. or Ed.D.).

Sigh...

Thursday, April 28, 2011

HR = Headache Redoubled

One of the things I've been dragged kicking and screaming into at the university where I work is to serve on search committees for new faculty, our department chair, and the dean of the business school. I've been around enough blocks to know that if you do a good job on something you keep getting tapped to do more, while if you screw up you eventually get left alone. However, these are people we'll have to be working with (or for) over the next several years, so I thought it prudent to do what was necessary to ensure we got the best individuals available.

The downside is that the administration has taken note of my participation in hiring initiatives, and in their infinite wisdom decided that I would benefit from additional training on how to hire people. Never mind that I did a fair amount of hiring at entry, mid-manager, and senior levels in my corporate life, and have served on multiple faculty search committees at three different institutions of higher education. The good folks here have decided that I need to take a standardized on-line training course in "Effective Hiring Practices."

If you've ever taken an online training course (for example, the defensive driving course you take if you get a speeding ticket) it's obvious that their only purpose is to allow the administration to check off the "trained in" box to satisfy regulators and in-house attorneys. Below are some direct quotes from the alleged 'training' course I was forced to take. Keep these in mind next time your hear about the high cost of college education.
The purpose of a job description is to "provide a defensible basis for the hiring process and decisions."
Similar to the defensive practice of medicine that does nothing to help the patient, but rather protects the doctor/hospital from malpractice lawsuits.
"Be careful not to set minimum qualifications too high as this might unduly limit the applicant pool."
Also known as affirmative action. God forbid we should set high standards when hiring.
"The Position Description describes job functions ... and may be divided into essential and non-essential duties."
The problem with this one is pretty obvious. If the duties are non-essential, why on God's green earth are they part of the job?
"It is not appropriate to ask former employers about the applicant's history of violence."
WTF? We can't even ask if the guy gal person (see, I did learn something) is a serial killer or ax murder? Maybe we can approach it in a roundabout way and ask if there were the same number of employees alive when the applicant left as there were when s/he was hired.
"Criminal history information obtained from the Texas Department of Public Safety or third party vendors should be destroyed as soon as the position is filled. However, criminal history provided by the candidates should be retained for two years..."
So if we get it from an outside agency we can't keep it on file, but if we get the same information from the applicant we not only can, but should, retain it? That makes about as much sense as any other government regulation.
"It can be tempting to view employment laws in a negative way, such as 'If I say something wrong I could get sued'."
Well no shit, Sherlock. Can there be any other reason for all this administrative crap?

Saints preserve me from administrators and lawyers...

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Go Spurs Go

I've been watching basketball for a long time, but I can't recall a more exciting finish to a game than tonight's playoff game between the San Antonio Spurs and the Memphis Grizzlies.

I'm a Spurs fan not because of geography (as some comic once pointed out, rooting for the home team is basically just rooting for laundry, especially in today's free agent environment), but because the organization  emphasizes character at all levels, including the players (well, maybe with the exception of Dennis Rodman).

I doubt if the Spurs will win the series. They're still down 3 games to 2, and have to play the next one in Memphis, where they have yet to win a game this year.

But none of that should detract from tonight's game. It was incredible, exhilarating, thrilling - pick an adjective, and it won't do the game justice. So I'll relax and enjoy the afterglow, and have (at least) one more Shiner before bedtime.

After all, all I have to look forward to tomorrow is back-to-back meetings from 1:30 to 4:30, followed by class until 7:00, and then a three hour drive home...

More Notes From South Texas

It was a little more tolerable down here today. According to the thermometer in my truck, it was 'only' 101 in the shade. But the humidity was lower and there was a northerly breeze, which helped. I know Harper doesn't believe in global warming, but I'm starting to feel like the fellow below.


In other news, we have some visiting hotshots coming to town next week. I've been tasked with taking them out to eat one night. There aren't a whole lot of fine dining establishments down here, although the range of ethnic choices is surprising. In addition to those South Texas staples -- Tex-Mex and barbecue -- there are a few Mediterranean and mid-east places (lamb dishes, kabobs, pita dishes, etc.) along with a nice assortment of Asian restaurants. But what really blew me away when I first came down here was the proliferation of sushi joints. Even the local grocery stores have in-house sushi counters where they will prepare to your order a selection of fresh bait sushi.
Anyway, my go-to wining and dining joint is an old but recently refurbished hotel, shopping, and dining complex located in the town's historic district. It's a stylish linkage of long ago Mexican and Texan cultures. In fact, it is literally within spitting distance of the Rio Grande, and I could throw a rock from the patio into Mexico.
It also has great food, an exceptional wine list, and killer margaritas. But I haven't been there in a while, so I thought I'd check it out online and make sure it was still up to snuff. While doing so I came across the following review, which made me spew Shiner all over my keyboard.
I tend to judge restaurants based on their reaction to my people (vegetarians). The restaurant is like 99.9% of the restaurants in South Texas...they act like they've never HEARD of vegetarians down here, I swear.

Just skip South Texas completely if you're a vegetarian. Seriously. If I eat one more plate of cheese quesadillas I might lose my mind. Their idea of a vegetarian 'meal' here was a plate of beer battered fried asparagus - which was fine, but not a meal. My coworker the meat eater left very full and happy, though. His pork chops were a thing of beauty, and by the way he cleaned his plate I am going to guess they were worth every penny of the $35 they cost.
Just to remove any doubt, the above review was written by someone from California. What they were doing in South Texas is anyone's guess...

Stroking My Ego

Alternatively titled "Student Sucks Up To Professor" (Get your mind out of the gutter - there was no significant stroking or sucking going on).

The following is an excerpt from a paper one of my students recently turned in:
Although iPads are great at handling any type of work, they’re only capable of having one window or application open at a time. This can be seen as a great disadvantage. I personally disagree. The majority of people like multitasking, or as Professor CenTexTim calls it, “not paying attention.”
It's so gratifying to know that I am making a difference and shaping young minds...

FID 2011.04.27

From BMEWS: More evidence why the West should ban the burka.
Women who do not wear head scarves are being threatened with violence and even death by Islamic extremists . . .,” states the opening sentence of an April 18 story in the Daily Mail in Britain.

Sadly, nothing unusual there, except that these threats are being made to non-Muslim women. Again, this is not unusual, since that happens throughout much of the Islamic world that imposes rules about dress on all women, regardless of their religion.

What makes the above news so disturbing is the women who are being threatened with violence and even death by Islamic extremists for not wearing a hijab (the Muslim head covering) and a veil (the niqab) are non-Muslim women living in . . . wait for it . . . Great Britain. Yes, you read that correctly. Non-Muslim women in a free and democratic country are being threatened with violence or death...

This story, and others like it, should put to rest the nonsensical arguments of people who say that the niqab (which leaves just a slit for the eyes) and the burka (which even covers the eyes with a mesh) are just another choice of clothing that women can make. History simply does not back that up. Wherever the niqab becomes common, it eventually becomes mandatory and women are never given a choice of what to wear again.

“The burka and the niqab is the political uniform of the regiments of the Muslim Brotherhood, which is a fascist, supremacist organization,” explained (Tarek Fatah, renowned author and founder of the secular group Muslim Canadian Congress)...

“You can’t wear a swastika today and not be a Nazi, and the niqab is the swastika of the Muslim Brotherhood,” added Fatah.

Nevertheless, our (Canadian) Supreme Court has ruled that it’s unconstitutional, for instance, to ban the Hells Angels criminal organization members from wearing their colours. The big difference, however, is the Hells Angels don’t want every other person on the streets to also wear their uniform. If Islamo-fascists have their way ... they will impose their oppressive dress code on all women, regardless of their individual beliefs. Therein lies the difference.


Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Notes From South Texas

It was 108 down here at 7:00 this evening.

A few more days like this and I may begin to believe in global warming...


UPDATE (as of the evening news): As I said above, it was 108 at 7:00 this evening. However, the official high down here today was 110. For those of you who are not hunters or amateur kitchen types, that's damn near the temperature at which one cures beef or venison jerky.

Told Ya So

Do yourself a favor and read this story from the Washington Times. Then do the rest of the country a favor and contact your congresscritter and senators and demand that they get serious about securing our southern border and protecting the citizens that live along it.

This is serious shit, folks. I see it every day. When I'm down here I carry pepper spray, a tactical knife, and a firearm everywhere I go, and there are times when I still don't feel safe (especially when I go to work, since it's illegal for me to carry a weapon on campus, or even leave it in the car - but that's a subject for another post). 

Brutal Mexican drug gang crosses into U.S.
The signature crimes of the most violent drug cartel in Mexico are its beheading and dismemberment of rival gang members, military personnel, law enforcement officers and public officials, and the random kidnappings and killings of civilians who get caught in its butchery and bloodletting.

But this disparate band of criminals known as Los Zetas is no longer just a concern in Mexico. It has expanded its deadly operations across the southwestern border, establishing footholds and alliances in states from New York to California.

Known for mounting the severed heads of their rivals on poles or hanging their dismembered bodies from bridges in cities throughout Mexico, the Zetas have easily become the most feared criminal gang in Mexico...

“The Zetas are determined to gain the reputation of being the most sadistic, cruel and beastly organization that ever existed,” said George W. Grayson, professor of government at the College of William & Mary and an expert on Mexican drug gangs.

“They won’t just cut off your ear, they’ll cut off your head and think nothing of it.”

Zapata County Sheriff Sigifredo Gonzalez Jr., whose Texas county lies on the Rio Grande 50 miles southeast of the Zetas’ stronghold of Nuevo Laredo, said U.S. authorities on the border are outgunned and outmanned by drug smugglers armed with automatic weapons, grenades and state-of-the-art communications and tracking systems.

“Their violence has emboldened them and they are expanding to cities all across the United States,” he said. “Our own country needs to stop them at the border. We know they’re coming, we just don’t want to admit it. Instead, we continue to say the border is more secure than ever, when we all know that is absolutely not true.”

Sheriff Gonzalez said Middle Eastern terrorists brought the practice of beheading their enemies to Central America and later Mexico.
Got that? The Mexican drug cartels are getting advice from Islamo-terrorists. It's not limited to beheadings. They're also using car bombs and IEDs. Can you imagine how bad it will get if the narcoterrorists ever join forces with those camel-fucking ragheads?
An internal Department of Homeland Security document describes the car bomb used in Ciudad Juarez as the latest tactic that the armed wing of the Juarez cartel, La Linea, has lifted from Islamic jihadis.
The Ciudad Juarez car bomb was particularly cruel, and effective, because the cartel used a wounded man as bait to lure first responders to the scene before detonating the device, apparently via cell phone. The blast killed the wounded man, a police officer, a doctor and a bystander.
Like fire ants and killer bees, the cartels are spreading northward, getting worse, and we don't seem to be able to stop them.
Many of the gang’s targets have been Mexican military and police personnel, but in recent years, U.S. law enforcement authorities also have come under attack. As early as 2008, the FBI warned U.S. authorities that the Zetas were attempting to gain control of drug trafficking routes into America and had ordered its members to use violence against U.S. law enforcement officers to protect their operations.

Pinal County, Ariz., Sheriff Paul Babeu ... said Mexican drug gangs “literally do control parts of Arizona,” noting that gang members are armed with radios, optics and night-vision goggles “as good as anything law enforcement has.

This is going on here in Arizona — 30 miles from the fifth-largest city in the United States,” he said.
Read that last statement again. Think about it. Let it sink in. The federal government is literally ceding large swatches of our territory to foreign terrorists without even firing a shot. That's far beyond criminal neglect. It borders on treason.

At least some in the federal government are starting to wake up, even if it is too little, too late.
The U.S. Homeland Security Department has said that Mexican drug cartels, including the Zetas, have infiltrated 276 U.S. cities and represent the nation’s most serious organized-crime threat.

The National Drug Intelligence Center said the influence of Mexican drug gangs is “still expanding,” adding that they were more deeply entrenched than any other drug trafficking organization and operate coast to coast.

While the FBI has called the violence associated with drug trafficking along the border a daily fact of life, the boldness of the attacks and the savagery of the Zetas has shocked many veteran law enforcement authorities. Kevin L. Perkins, assistant director of the FBI’s Criminal Investigative Division, told a Senate committee last year the level and severity of violence was “unprecedented.”
Isn't there something terribly wrong when senseless, brutal, vicious attacks, killings, beheadings, and dismemberments are considered by our premier national law enforcement organization to be "a daily fact of life?" If that doesn't frighten and appall you then I give up.
Rep. Michael McCaul, Texas Republican, has introduced legislation seeking to place six Mexican cartels, including the Zetas, on the Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO) list — a designation that would limit their financial, property and travel interests, and impose harsher punishment on those who provide material support.
That sounds like a promising approach. If you want to get their attention, hit 'em in the pocketbook.

Another option, of course, is just to legalize the damn stuff...

Monday, April 25, 2011

Who Grades The Graders?

Our kids will be taking the TAKS tests this week. (The TAKS tests are the Texas state school system's standardized tests required for, among other things, graduation from high school).

There is a lot of debate regarding whether TAKS and similar tests are worthwhile or not. One thing I would hope we can all agree on, however, is the need for teachers and school administrators to be qualified to teach our children. As the following pictures show, that is far from a given.




Please explain to me again why periodic teacher recertification, charter schools and school vouchers are bad things...

FOD 2011.04.24

Stop me if you've heard this before - another member of obama's cabinet is a tax cheat.

This time it's none other than Attorney General Eric Holder. I guess he was too busy protecting us against drug traffickers and illegal aliens from crossing the border ... no, wait, maybe it was protecting voters from intimidation ... no, wait, maybe it was prosecuting terrorists ... no, wait, maybe it was, well, you get the idea.
US Attorney General Eric Holder and his brother failed to pay the property taxes on their childhood home in Queens, which they inherited last August after their mother died, The Post has learned.

And because their ailing mom, Miriam, was already behind on two quarterly tax bills when she succumbed to illness on Aug. 13, the charges went unpaid for more than a year -- growing to $4,146.

It wasn't until The Post confronted Holder last week about the delinquency that he and younger brother William Holder finally paid up Friday, including $73.14 in interest.
Just another example of obama's hypocrisy: do as I say, not as I do.
The Obama Administration’s call for greater taxes and “shared sacrifice” is hollow and morally bankrupt. President Obama wants to convince the nation that many Americans, most of them small business owners, must pay more tax as “their fair share” of huge, annual deficits. What Mr. Obama never mentions is that he has surrounded himself with key advisors and selected key members of his Administration that are tax cheats. Never before has an Administration been so wholly composed of senior officials that push so stridently for increasing taxes on Americans, while they avoid any personal responsibility for paying their own personal taxes. Seemingly, if you are a member of the Obama Administration, your “fair share” of the national tax burden is zero. Instead, taxes are an instrument of “shared sacrifice” to be loaded onto someone else.

First some numbers. Some 41 different Senior Obama Administration Officials have been identified as tax cheats, owing over $840 million in back taxes. Many of Obama’s key officials that are responsible for the economy and have been given wide powers in tax policy are themselves, tax cheats and tax avoiders. The most notable of these is Timmy Geithner, Secretary of the Treasury and nominal head of the IRS...


Sunday, April 24, 2011

Whose Idea Was This?

Sunrise service comes WAY too early...

Sunday Funnies 2011.04.24

I hope you're enjoying your Easter weekend.



Why does the Easter bunny hide his Easter eggs??

He doesn't want anyone to know he's been screwing chickens.


When the Easter rabbit was an infant his parents were killed in a tragic accident, leaving him an orphan. He was adopted by a family of squirrels who took him in and raised him as if he were one of their own. This adoption led to some peculiar behaviors, including a tendency to avoid hopping or jumping, but rather to run around like his step-siblings.

As the Easter rabbit got older, however, he soon faced an identity crisis. He went to his stepparents to discuss how he felt different from his step-siblings, was unsure of his place in the universe, and was generally forlorn.

Their response was, “Don’t scurry; be hoppy.”

Saturday, April 23, 2011

I'm Running Out Of Energy To Post This

By now most people are aware of the most recent transparently political posturing of obama and his administration.

High gasoline prices prompt Justice Department to eye energy industry
Prodded by growing public frustration over sharply rising gasoline prices, the Justice Department on Thursday announced the formation of a team -- the "Oil and Gas Price Fraud Working Group -- tasked with the goal of ensuring consumers are not victims of price gouging.

Attorney General Eric Holder made no secret the move is a direct response to public angst, not to current evidence of any illegal conduct.

While promising official vigilance, the attorney general acknowledged regional differences in gasoline prices, and said, "It is also clear that there are lawful reasons for increases in gas prices, given supply and demand."
"(No) evidence of any illegal misconduct."

"It is also clear that there are lawful reasons for increases in gas prices, given supply and demand."

So why are Holder and his stooges investigating gas prices? "(In) direct response to public angst."

Perhaps they should instead focus on the "lawful reasons for increases in gas prices, given supply and demand."

There are the obvious reasons, such as the obama-mandated moratorium on resuming drilling in the Gulf of Mexico. Not only has this contributed to rising gas prices, it has cost jobs, bankrupted businesses, and reduced government revenue. Another unreported consequence of the obama-ban is that it "affects only American businesses, as other nations such as Brazil and China are still drilling in the Gulf." (Source)

And of course there's the billions of barrels of oil sitting untapped in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR), a 19 million acre region roughly equivalent in size to South Carolina. Opening a single site of around 2000 acres would produce approximately one million barrels of oil daily. That's the same amount we import from Saudi Arabia (Source). It would keep that revenue stream in the U.S., generate government income in the form of taxes, and create jobs.

So why don't we drill baby drill? The only reason I can think of is that obama and the rest of his commie pinko posse want to see America reduced to a socialist Euro-state. And what's the role of the so-called main-stream media in reporting all this?

 

A major, and often overlooked, factor in the supply side of the equation is getting the oil from the source to market. The U.S. currently does not have enough pipelines to move existing supplies of oil, much less any new supply. That's another reason the cost of gasoline is skyrocketing.

Why gas is so expensive, when oil isn't
Gasoline prices have been rising for months and are within striking distance of their 2008 all-time high of $4.11 a gallon. But while oil prices are above $100 a barrel, they're still 24% below their 2008 all-time high.

So why is gasoline so expensive, when oil is so far off its record price?

The answer is that the price of oil Americans see every day has little to do with the price of gasoline at the pump.

Those prices are for a particular type of oil -- West Texas Intermediate (WTI) -- that's stored in Cushing, Okla.

Prices for most other types of oil, which make up the vast majority of oil that refiners use in U.S. gasoline, are much higher than West Texas Intermediate. London's Brent crude, for example, was closer to $124 a barrel on Wednesday.

"It's really a broken benchmark," Tom Kloza, chief oil analyst at the Oil Price Information Service, said of the West Texas price.

The gasoline Americans buy is made not just with U.S. supplies but mainly with oil from around the globe, and that fuel is surging in price.

In the Northeast, a gallon of gas may not contain a single drop of WTI oil.
 Adding to the confusion, in Cushing there's currently an oversupply of crude.
Oil production from Canada's oil sands and North Dakota's Bakken shale formations has surged. Most of this oil is sent to Cushing.

But pipelines out of Cushing to refineries along the Gulf Coast can't handle all the excess oil.

"What is needed is a way to get oil out," Adam Sieminski, chief energy economist at Deutsche Bank, wrote in a recent research note.

Adding to the glut, refineries in the area have been down for maintenance, and the cheap price is giving traders an incentive to store even more oil in Cushing, hoping prices will rise and they can sell it at a profit in the future.
This is speculation, which is the bedrock of the commodities market. It is also practiced with other commodities such as wheat, cotton, sugar, and that all-time favorite, frozen concentrated orange juice. Speculation is not manipulation, despite what obama and his cronies might think. It is not illegal or unethical. It's been around for centuries

And finally we come to the profit margin. If gas prices are so high, oil companies must be raking in a fortune, right? At least that's what the lefties would have us believe. Their mind is made up - to hell with the facts.
The difference between what refiners pay for a gallon of oil now and how much a gallon of gas sells for -- excluding taxes -- is about 78 cents, said Rayola Dougher, a senior economic advisor for the American Petroleum Institute.

That's slightly higher than normal, but not terribly so, said Dougher.


So when can we expect to see obama open up drilling in the Gulf and ANWR, and encourage the construction of new pipelines?

The answer to that question is painfully obvious...

Our Little Boy Is Growing Up

Last night our 16-year-old son got his first grounding.

It's a natural progression, a rite of passage, if you will. It's not that he did anything really bad. It was more an unthinking stretching of the boundaries.

His crime? He went down to the river with some friends and spent the day swimming, tubing, playing frisbee, and just in general hanging out. No problem there - he had permission, and we knew where he was, who he was with, and in general what he was doing. The problem started when it got dark and he went over to his buddy's house without checking in - and turned his cell phone off. That's the kind of reasoning our Labrador used to do when she would run off and refuse to look at us when we called her. She figured if she didn't see us she didn't have to come. He figured if we couldn't contact him he didn't have to come home.

So along about 8:00 last night his mother started to get worried. By 9:00 she was convinced he was lying in a ditch somewhere hurt and bloody, if not dead. I figured he was just being an irresponsible teenager, and would show up sooner or later.

It was later - around 10:00.

I was just going to give him the "where have you been - you scared your mother half to death" lecture, but I never got a chance. As soon as he walked in the door his mother laid into him, demanded the car keys, and informed him he was grounded for the rest of the weekend.

To his credit, he knew he done wrong, and took it like a man. I later explained to him that her reaction was so strong because she was so worried. Today she'll make it up to him by fixing him a big breakfast (well, more like brunch) and his favorite desert.

Makes me wonder if maybe he's smarter than we give him credit for, and planned the whole thing...

UPDATE: As Harper has pointed out (see the comments below), mom guilt is a powerful force. My wife cooked 2 1/2 ponds of bacon this morning, and is currently bustling around the kitchen making brownies and a key lime pie. Not that I'm complaining...

Friday, April 22, 2011

Friday Follies Happy Hour 2011.04.22

A special contribution for Easter weekend from the one, the only Kinky Friedman.

Don't watch this if you are easily offended...

It Figures

The government has decided to stop doing one of the few things it does that is of value to us common folk. And of course they did it with little or no fanfare.

Social Security statements halted
One of the most valuable pieces of mail from the federal government every year won't be coming anymore.

It may not rank with an income-tax refund check, but the annual Social Security Statement arriving about three months before workers' birthdays each year was a fabulous service. The statement was probably the single most important financial planning document most people ever received.

The Social Security Administration started mailing the statements in 1999 to everyone over the age of 25. The service was only 12 years old when the agency decided to cut costs by ending the automatic statements. As they say, the good die young.

The mailings stopped without advance notice almost two weeks ago. People with July birthdays and later won't receive one this year. The agency stopped the statements despite not having them available online. It hopes to do so by the end of the year.
Don't hold your breath.
The Social Security Administration says that stopping the four-page statements will save the agency about $30 million in the current fiscal year and $60 million in 2012. Last year, the agency mailed statements to 152 million people. The mailed statements had been available by request since 1988, but the agency no longer takes requests.
$60 million is not even a drop in the bucket of the looming social security shortfall. It's more like a molecule in a drop. Yes, I know that every little bit helps, and we have to start somewhere, and if you save $60M here and $60M there pretty soon it adds up to real money, but still ... this was something useful.
The value of the statements to individuals goes beyond deciding whether to retire with early, full or delayed benefits. By seeing benefit amounts, individuals were reminded they will need other income sources in retirement. The statements were helpful nudges toward starting an individual retirement account or signing up for an employer-sponsored plan, such as a 401(k).
They were valuable for precisely that reason. At a time when it is becoming painfully obvious that social security cannot survive in it's current form, the statements would help make any changes to the program up close and personal. In theory, this would serve to help people prepare for their own retirement, rather than depending on an unsustainable government program that has as its primary objective redistributing wealth from worker ants to fiddling grasshoppers. 

I can dream, can't I...

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Things Could Be Worse

This morning I posted some woe-is-me comments about a few problems I've had this week. Then I went into a series of meetings this afternoon that were complete and utter wastes of time. i came out of the last on with steam boiling from my ears. I sat down in front of the PC and started a new post:
I work with idiots.

No, scratch that. It's unfair to idiots everywhere. I work with FRIGGIN' MORONS!!!
But I reconsidered and deleted the post.  :-)

A few minutes ago I came across something that cooled me off big time and made me realize how petty my problems truly are.

One of the things we as faculty do is evaluate applications for admission into our graduate programs. I was going through a stack of applications and came across the following, written as part of a letter of reference for an individual from south of the border who is applying to our university. It was written in part to explain why this person wanted to attend our school.
Last year, criminals assaulted his home while he and his wife were at work. If it had not been for the quick thinking housekeeper stating that the boy was her child, they would have probably kidnapped his son. Housekeepers do not have a lot of money to pay ransom so they didn't bother.
That really put things in perspective. No matter how bad my problems are, at least I don't live in a place where I have to worry about criminal gangs engaging in organized kidnapping rings. Yes, this country has issues, and we need to take action to fix a lot of things, but it's still the best place to live on this earth.

Let's do what we can to keep it that way...

The Comeback

Today, 21 April 2011, is the 175th anniversary of the Battle of San Jacinto, in which Sam Houston and a ragtag Texas army kicked the collective asses of Santa Ana and the Mexican Army.



Nine years later they blew it by joining the Union...

The Week That Was

Our 16-year-old son was asked by a girl to be her escort to her quinceaƱera last Saturday. A quinceaƱera is the Hispanic version of a sweet 16 party, but much more complex and ritualistic. It's a very big deal in the Hispanic culture, and it was an honor for him to be invited, especially as the escort of the honoree. However...

Being the escort requires wearing a tux. But not just any tux. The poor boy had to go shopping with the girl and her mother as they searched for a suitable dress. His presence was necessary so that after they picked out the dress they could go straight to the formalwear rental shop and make sure they got a tux to match. Of course, mom and daughter needed multiple trips to find just the right dress, so the boy got to spend a couple of days tagging along with two women looking for something he had absolutely no interest in. Welcome to my world, kid.

Anyway, the big event went well. A good time was had by all, and there were no unfortunate incidents. The tux rental place is located near downtown San Antonio. We live about 40 miles northwest of there, but I drive past it on my way from home to the South Texas city where I work several days a week. Being a dutiful husband, I volunteered to return the tux so my wife wouldn't have to drive all the way there and back. I mapquested the address and figured out how to get there. As I was leaving the house I mentioned the exit I planned to take to my wife. She told me that was wrong, and preceded to give me very detailed and explicit directions to the store. After a couple of rounds of "Are you sure?" "Yes I'm positive" I decided to follow her directions because she was so damned sure of herself.

You can guess where this is going, right?

Of course, when I got to where my wife told me to go there was no sign of a formalwear store. I called her and we played the "Where is it? "It should be right there" game for a while, until I asked her what should have been my first question.

"When's the last time you were here?"

Turns out she had never been there, but one of her friends had told her where it was.

Sigh...

So I went to where I should have gone in the first place. Lo and behold, there it was. Normally I don't sweat the small stuff like this but that part of San Antonio has some really twisted streets and awkward exits and entrances to the freeway. Plus it's just got to have the largest concentration of idiot drivers in the entire county.

To top things off some bozo driving one of those 'I wanna be an offroad ranger' pickups parked next to me as I was in the store. The damn thing had tires about as tall as I am, a brushguard and extended rear bumper that made it about 25 feet long, and was parked so close to me that I couldn't get in through the driver's door. I had to go around to the passenger's side and crawl over to the driver's seat.

The whole process delayed me enough on my trip down south that I didn't get there until after 5:00. That's significant because the manager's office in my apartment complex closes at 5:00. Usually not a big deal, but the air conditioner in my apartment picked that day to quit working. The temperature down here on Mon. was 100, on Tues. it reached 104, and Wed. it topped out at 106. Thankfully the A/C was fixed yesterday afternoon, but it's been like living in a sauna. I've spent as much time in my office as I dare, but this time of year the students are swarming the halls seeking extensions to projects that they should have completed by now. The little darlings have no concept of time management or deadlines. Talk about being between a rock and a hard place.

Tomorrow I have a whole slew of waste-of-time admin meetings and busywork, followed by class and the long drive home. Friday I get to take my truck into the shop and go to the dentist. Sunday the entire clan comes over for Easter dinner.

Thank God the semester ends in three weeks...

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

D'oh

I was channel surfing last night and clicked into the middle of a Simpson's episode. I'm not sure what the story line was, but some therapist was trying to build up Homer's ego. I was just in time to hear the therapist say:
"Homer, you have the same qualities that made America great. You have no understanding of the limitations of your power, and you have a complete lack of concern for what other people think about you."
When you stop and think about it, there's a lot of wisdom in that quote. We need to get back to acting like the biggest baddest SOB on the block and not giving a crap about what anyone else thinks.

Step one is to boot that oxygen-wasting loser in the White House out on his worthless ass...

FID 2011.04.20

Barack Obama dies and somehow ends up in heaven. (I know, I know - the idea of obama going to Heaven is far fetched, but work with me on this...)

At the Gates of Heaven, he meets a man with a beard.

'Are you Mohammed?' Obama asks.

'No my son, I am St. Peter. Mohammed is higher up.' Peter then points to a ladder that rises into the clouds.

Delighted that Mohammed should be higher than St. Peter, Obama climbs the ladder up through the clouds and comes into a room where he sees another bearded man. He asks again, 'Are you Mohammed?'

'Why no,' the man answers, 'I am Moses. Mohammed is higher still.'

Exhausted, but with a heart full of joy Obama climbs the ladder yet again. He discovers a much larger room where he meets an angelic looking man with a beard. Full of hope, he asks again, 'Are you Mohammed?'

'No, I am Jesus, the Christ. You will find Mohammed higher up.'

Mohammed - higher than Jesus!  Man, oh man!  Obama can hardly contain his delight and climbs and climbs ever higher. Once again, he reaches an even larger room where he meets this truly magnificent looking man with a silver white beard and once again repeats his question. 'Are you Mohammed?' he gasps, as he is by now totally out of breath from all his climbing.

'No, my son.... I am Almighty God, the Alpha and the Omega. But you look exhausted. Would you like a cup of coffee?'

Obama says, “Yes please.'

God looks over his shoulder, claps his hands, and yells out, "Hey Mohammed - two coffees!"

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

We're Creating A World Of Wimps

What is this - the crazy season? In the past week we've seen school districts ban chocolate milk and lunches from home, a city ban sodas, another city propose to ban Happy Meals, and now this. (Link courtesy of JammieWearingFool)
(New York) State bureaucrats have identified a potentially deadly hazard facing our children this summer - freeze tag.

That's right, officials have decided the age-old street game - along with Wiffle Ball, kickball and dodgeball - poses a "significant risk of injury."

And classics like Capture the Flag, Steal the Bacon and Red Rover are also deemed dangerous in new state regulations for day camps.

The Health Department created a list of supposedly risky recreational activities - which also includes more perilous pursuits like archery, scuba and horseback riding - in response to a state law passed in 2009.
Holy Crap. I spent most of my summers doing some or all of the above, plus more. BB guns, .22s, and fireworks come to mind, along with bike rides along ravines and swimming in rivers, lakes, and canals. Oh yeah, there were also dirt clod fights and King of the Hill sessions. Some of this took place in camps, but most of it was unsupervised. We all picked up some bumps and bruises, along with a few stitches, but no one was seriously injured. And we didn't spend all summer sitting around watching TV, playing video games, and getting fat.

Readers will be relieved to know that the NY nanny nazis deemed Frisbee, tug of war and sack races as safe.

Insanity. Plain old friggin' insanity. Why don't we just wrap all the precious little darlin's up in bubble wrap and be done with it?

Oh, wait...

This Is A Surprise?

Anyone who's been paying attention and that knows how to balance a checkbook just can't be surprised by the news that Standard & Poors, one of the world's top credit rating firms, downgraded its rating of US sovereign debt from "stable" to "negative."
A blunt warning Monday from a credit rating firm about the U.S. government's mounting debt pushed stock markets lower and intensified political divisions in Washington about how best to tackle growing deficits.

The S&P report questioned whether the White House and Republicans would be able to reach an agreement before the 2012 presidential elections on a plan to rein in deficits. "The sign of political gridlock was a key determinant in our outlook change," said John Chambers, chairman of the sovereign ratings committee at Standard & Poor's Ratings Services.

This year's budget deficit is projected to rise to between $1.5 trillion and $1.65 trillion, equal to roughly 10% of America's gross domestic product, or total economic output.


This is one category in which we do not want to be leading the free world. The last time the deficit was this large on a percentage basis was in 1945, when we were at the tail end of underwriting WWII.

The CBO projects total government spending to be more than $5 trillion dollars in 2020. That's 26% of projected GDP. "There is simply no realistic way the federal government will be able to raise that kind of revenue. Since 1950 the government has collected revenue above 20 percent of GDP exactly once. That was in 2000 and the percentage was 20.6." (Source.)

The obvious solution when expenses exceed income, as most of us who manage a household budget know, is to reduce expenses. I'm at a loss to understand how that simple truth eludes our congresscritters.

And then there's our national debt, which is basically the accumulation of the annual deficits.
The U.S. debt now stands at $14.219 trillion—just shy of the $14.294 trillion cap—and is expected to balloon in part because of rising costs for health care, retirement and other so-called entitlement programs, and the interest on existing debt.

While there has been a lot of focus on the so-called 'mandatory' spending portion of the budget (the entitlement programs - social security, medicare, and medicaid), an often-overlooked driver of the deficit and debt growth is interest costs for our national debt—"the bar tab for our binge."
The CBO projects that in the next 70 years, public money spent on interest will grow from 1.4 percent of GDP (or $204 billion in 2010 dollars) to almost 41.4 percent of GDP (or $27.2 trillion in 2010 dollars). In the short term, the cost of our debt will reach 3.8 percent of GDP by 2020 and 7 percent of GDP by 2030. Today spending on interest represents about a third of the cost of Social Security; in 20 years it is expected to exceed the cost of that program.
Think of it as paying interest on your credit card balance. Once that interest payment becomes unsustainable, any rational person would do whatever was necessary to pay off the balance. Of course, "rational person" leaves out the politicians and special interest groups currently fattening themselves at our expense.

To summarize: the cut in our national debt rating from "stable" to "negative"means S&P believes there is a one-in-three chance that Treasury bonds could be downgraded from their AAA rating. The consequences of that would, at a bare minimum, mean an increase in the interest rate the US would have to pay to borrow money via Treasury instruments. That in turn would increase the spending on the debt, quite possibly triggering another downgrade and locking the US government into a death spiral. 

So what can we do about all this? Stay tuned for some suggestions tomorrow...

Monday, April 18, 2011

We Have A New Contender

I used to think Sheila Jackson Lee was the dumbest empty suit named jackson that is wasting oxygen in congress. But after reading the following, I may have to reconsider.
Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. (D, IL) recently took the floor of Congress  to complain about what he perceived as inaction to create jobs for millions of unemployed Americans. Bizarrely, he took aim at Apple’s iPad, claiming the device as “probably responsible for eliminating thousands of American jobs.”

...Jackson went on to explain that the iPad is manufactured in China, and that Chinese workers are therefore take advantage of “our First Amendment value, that is to provide freedom of speech through the iPad to the American people.”
Jackson's point is that the digital revolution has changed the publishing business, resulting in some job loss as people use iPods and similar devices to access their reading material. There is some validity to that, but it is a small and limited perspective. To wit:
Apple has paid over $2 billion to software developers of iOS devices. That doesn’t account for the millions in revenue generated by the sales of iPad accessories - cases, screen covers, cables, and so on. Or for the bucks raked in by retailers - big box stores, Apple retail stores, mail-order companies and independent retailers alike - who sell the iPad.

In short, ... the iPad has created - and will continue to create - a lot more jobs than can be directly or indirectly related to its release.
A video clip of Jackson demonstrating his foolishness is below. Watch it at your own risk...

FOD 2011.04.18

Like I said yesterday, I'm tired. So I'm going to piggyback off a posting from curmudgeonly and skeptical.

Take a look at the picture below and see if you can identify which future president he is. Then go to this link for more child pix of our prezzies. Make absolutely positively sure you scroll down to the last picture...

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Tired

It's been a long couple of months. I'm not much of a golfer, or a scuba diver, but the past several weekends have consisted of plenty of both.

Feb. 5 Golf Tournament (not much golf, but lots of 'socializing')

Feb. 12-13: Golf Tournament (two days of golf, plus lots of 'socializing.')

Hell, why deny it. 'Socializing' = drinking.

Feb. 18 - 20: Out of town (Houston) Golf Tournament, plus 'socializing.'

Feb. 26-27: scuba pool training (plus Feb. 27 was my birthday, which meant more 'socializing.')

Mar. 5 - 6: scuba open water training (minimal 'socializing.')

Mar. 12 - 17: Spring Break in Cancun, involving travel, diving, and 'socializing.'

Mar. 26 - 27: Golf Tournament and 'socializing.'

April 1 - 4: Extended weekend in Wyoming, with - you guessed it - more 'socializing.'

April 9 - 10: Normal weekend (minimal 'socializing.')

April 15 - 17: Extended weekend out of town golf tournament (Austin). Mucho 'socializing.'

Throw in doing our taxes, and it's been a tough two months (we're in the 50% part of the population that pays taxes to support the other 50% that doesn't, so I don't feel a damn bit guilty about spending my weekends enjoying myself.)

Like I said, I'm not much of a golfer. I've played more golf the last two months than I have the 12 months before them. But these were "special occasion" outings - charities, reunions, etc. Nevertheless, the bottom line is that I've spent most of my last dozen or so weekends either traveling, playing golf, or both - plus a heavy dose of 'socializing.' I'm flat tuckered out.

Thankfully, there's only one more golf outing scheduled for the near term (May 14 - 15). My wife will be along for that one, so the 'socializing' should be kept to a minimum.

That's good, because at this point I'm very, very tired...

Sunday Funnies 2011.04.17

Income Tax Weekend ... 'nuf said





 * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

It's tax time. I know this because I'm staring at documents that make no sense to me, no matter how many beers I drink.
-- Dave Barry

How is a mugger different from the Internal Revenue Service? Both take your money, but the mugger doesn't make you fill out forms.
-- Jacob Sullum in Reason

If obama and an IRS agent were both drowning, and you could only save one of them, would you go to lunch or read the paper?

Friday, April 15, 2011

Friday Follies Happy Hour 2011.04.15

We all know what today is. April 15 - Income Tax Day. After mailing your return and then visiting the nearest bar to intake enough beer to keep your head from exploding, check out the following videos. They may help.

Since it's Happy Hour, you get two-for-one...




It Is Said That A Picture Is Worth 1000 Words

I'd like to hear the words - and it'll probably take more than 1000 - that explain this picture.


There's got to be a great story behind it...

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Mary Poppins Would Be Proud

There's been a spate of nanny-state related stories lately (schools banning kids from bringing their own lunches, schools banning chocolate milk, Boston banning sodas on city property ... the list goes on).

Well, our friends across the pond  - home to the world's best known nanny, Mary Poppins - have done us one better. A town in England has banned fire extinguishers because they are a safety hazard.
Fire extinguishers could be removed from communal areas in flats (apartments) throughout the country because they are a safety hazard...

The life-saving devices encourage untrained people to fight a fire rather than leave the building, risk assessors in Bournemouth decided.
Jesus H. Christ on a bicycle. Is there no limit to the ridiculous steps that people will take in making decisions for others because "I/we/the government knows best?"

What part of "leave me and my family the fuck alone" don't these meddlesome nitwits understand?

I am now officially in the market for my own private island - as soon as I win the lottery...

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Must Be Something In The Milk

Posted with minimal comment, mainly because such foolishness deserves little response. (H/T to Peter for the original link.)

These are tough times for Minnesota schools.
In Lakeville, for example, the school board recently announced wrenching cuts of almost $7 million. Ninety-four teachers will lose their jobs, arts programs will suffer and a school will be closed.

There was wailing and gnashing of teeth, but the board set its jaw: There's not a dime for anything extra.

Unless you've got an ax to grind with white folks. Then the money spigots open.

The Lakeville schools are sending a delegation of teachers to the 12th annual "White Privilege Conference" at the Bloomington Sheraton from April 13-16. The district is shelling out $160 a pop -- plus $125 a day for teacher subs -- for this "white guilt" festival.
Let me get this straight. The school district is closing schools, laying off teachers, and cutting back programs due to a shortage of funds, but can still come up with the money to send employees to a conference "built on the premise that the U.S. was started by white people, for white people," with a stated mission of getting participants to confront their biases in a "journey in understanding white supremacy, whiteness, privilege, power and oppression..."

And what do the school district's taxpayers get in exchange for subsidizing this conference?
Teachers can attend workshops where they will "discuss how white privilege, white supremacy, and oppression affects daily life." Another workshop instructs attendees how to "rapidly release and overcome stress, trauma, drama and toxic beliefs."
I "release and overcome stress" with a bottle of wine and a roll in the hay. It's less expensive, doesn't take four days, and is a lot more fun. 

Participants will also have their worldview expanded, and presumably will pass these insights along to their students, as exemplified by selected quotes from the conference's website and assorted speakers:
"(Americans) are completely dependent on U.S. imperialism and war to sustain our daily lives."

"Our school system has been set up ... to perpetuate white supremacy and white privilege." Poor and minority students "do not drop out -- they are pushed out."

Christianity "has played a key role in developing and justifying sources of oppression" such as "violence and genocide" and is "the beginning of modern or biological racism."

The solution to 'white privilege' is to look beyond our "declining empire" to "exciting progressive developments" in Hugo Chavez's Venezuela -- among them, "land reform and redistribution of wealth, neighborhood committees, recognition of women's unpaid labor, end of spanking."
Ah, yes. If we end spanking then all our problems will be over.

If only it were that simple.

Yesterday's post highlighted a Chicago school's plan to prohibit students from bringing their own lunch to school. Also yesterday, Harper commented on a controversy over serving chocolate milk in public schools (now that I think about it, that should be a topic for the White Privilege Conference - after all, no one's talking about banning white milk). Now we have schools ignoring the budget crisis and blowing taxpayer dollars on obviously biased, one-sided, ideologically-driven brainwashing sessions. Whatever happened to teaching reading, writing, and 'rithmatic?

I wonder how much money these school districts receive from the Department of Education?

Where Are You Now, Ross, When We Need You

JammieWearingFool has recently posted a compilation of Ross Perot's commercials from his presidential run in 1992.

I worked with Perot's company (EDS) back in the 1980's and was extremely impressed with the competency and professionalism of his firm and its employees. I also watched with interest the interaction between EDS and GM during their 'merger' (GM saw it as an acquisition. So did EDS, although the two firms vehemently disagreed on who was acquiring who (whom?) )  Perot was so obviously on the side of the blue-collar working guy, without going overboard into liberal-land, that it was hard not to be on his side.

I figured anyone who could build a world-class company like that from the ground up would be a huge upgrade from the career politicians then running our government. And he had such a firm grasp on macroeconomics. He was, IMO, without a doubt the right person at the right time.

Unfortunately, Perot didn't win. Furthermore, he drew enough votes to swing the election from Bush the Elder to Bill Clinton. While I'm not a big Clinton fan, I will reluctantly agree that he didn't screw things up as bad as he could have (with the exception of Monica, but that's beside the point).

The reason I bring this up now is that Donald Trump is making noises about running for president. In my world he gets points for being a successful businessman, and for not being a professional politician/ Washington insider. However, he loses points for his prickly personality (look how he responded to criticism from Bill Cosby) and what, IMO, is his propensity to demand everything be his way or the highway.  

FWIW, I agree with Trump that obama owes the nation a resolution to the birther debate. (I'm not a birther, but I am starting to wonder - "methinks he doth protest too much.") However, I'd hate to see a rerun of the 1992 election in which Trump siphons off enough votes to let obama be reelected.

We as a country could survive eight years of Bill Clinton. There is no way on God's green earth that we could survive eight years of obama.

Everything You Need To Know About Obama's Budget Speech

Even his VP couldn't stay wake as obama babbled on in what was billed as a major policy speech aimed at reducing the deficit, but instead was a mishmash of recycled campaign slogans, ideological catchphrases, misleading statements, and outright lies.

"Hey, look, Biden is sleeping while the president drones on about an almost incomprehensible amount of money."

(ABC News video below - we'll see how long it takes them to pull it once it hits the blogosphere.)


Yep, Biden sure looks like he was asleep. Here's the ABC news video, screenshot above, of the Vice President nodding off for a solid 30 seconds (when the clip ends). As the network noted, the woman behind him looks a little bit drowsy also:

Biden would not be the first member of the Obama Administration to nod off while their boss talked. In 2009, his then chief economics advisor was snapped by a Getty Images photographer apparently napping during a meeting about the economic crisis.


Of course, if the camera was on me during the speech you would have seen images of me puking...

From The Mouths Of Commie Pinko Idiots

We are all sadly aware of Nancy Pelosi's famous "we have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it" quote. Now, in a recent speech, she has topped that one in absurdity.
"...the fact is that elections shouldn't matter as much as they do."
Unfortunately for the rest of us, elections do matter, especially when they result in the continued election of commie pinko whack jobs like her...

FID 2011.04.13

The big news in Europe is the French banning the burqa (or burka, or however that face-covering rag is spelled). For once, I'm proud of the French. They actually showed some couilles (that's French slang for testicles).

Vive La France!
Women are fighting in the streets of Paris. Alas, they are not fighting against Islamic gender apartheid—they are not protesting arranged marriage or honor killings. Instead, they are fighting for the right to veil their faces (*end sarcasm*).

It is important to note that France has not banned the headscarf (hijab) and that the French ban is not specific to Islam. The French law is ethnicity- and religion-neutral and refers only to a generic “face-covering.”
In other words, ski masks and cowboy-style bandannas are also banned, but I don't see Jean-Claude Killy or Roy Rogers protesting.
Increasingly hostile and anti-assimilationist Muslim immigrants (have) poured into France ... Why leave Mecca or Kandahar if you want France to resemble it in every way? 
... the burqa is not religiously mandated by Islam. It is a political and jihadic statement. There is a long, long history of Muslim-majority countries allowing women to shed the face veil and burqa (Egypt, Turkey, Algeria, Lebanon, and Iran to name a few). Only recently has one Muslim country after another returned to this misogynist custom, and with a vengeance.
Keep in mind that comment about "the burqa is not religiously mandated by Islam." Below is a similar commentary by Dr Taj Hargey, who is Imam of the Oxford Islamic Congregation and Chairman of the Muslim Educational Centre of Oxford. He makes the same point.

The burka is an alien, cultural monstrosity
The decision by the French government to outlaw all forms of public face-masking, including the burka and niqab, is welcomed by all thinking Muslims around the world.

All the Koran requires is that both genders dress modestly...

Face-masking is a pre-Islamic Byzantine and Persian practice and is non-existent in the Koran. Indeed, since Muslim women are banned from hiding their faces while praying or when they perform the pilgrimage, why do they need to do so in the public realm?
So what's all the fuss about? IMO it's best explained by a quote from the first article:
"The burqa is not a dress, it’s a message, one that clearly communicates the subjugation, the subservience, the crushing and the defeat of women..."
Where's NOW when we need them...?

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

We Know Better Than You What Is Good For You

Paul beat me to the punch on this one. His prose is admirably succinct and has a wonderful clarity. There is no doubt where he stands on this topic. However, being a college professor compels me to use many, many words when few will do. It's an occupational hazard.

Chicago school bans lunches brought from home
Fernando Dominguez cut the figure of a young revolutionary leader during a recent lunch period at his elementary school.

"Who thinks the lunch is not good enough?" the seventh-grader shouted to his lunch mates in Spanish and English.

Dozens of hands flew in the air and fellow students shouted along: "We should bring our own lunch! We should bring our own lunch! We should bring our own lunch!"

Fernando waved his hand over the crowd and asked a visiting reporter: "Do you see the situation?"

At his public school, Little Village Academy on Chicago's West Side, students are not allowed to pack lunches from home. Unless they have a medical excuse, they must eat the food served in the cafeteria.

Principal Elsa Carmona said her intention is to protect students from their own unhealthful food choices.
Oh yes, by all means please protect us from ourselves. You and the rest of the nanny state demo-libs know so much more about what is good for us than we do. Thank you for your all-encompassing knowledge and compassion.
Any school that bans homemade lunches also puts more money in the pockets of the district's food provider, Chartwells-Thompson. The federal government pays the district for each free or reduced-price lunch taken, and the caterer receives a set fee from the district per lunch.
Oh my - you mean there's a financial incentive for the school district to ban brought-from-home lunches? Who would have thought?
At Little Village, most students must take the meals served in the cafeteria or go hungry or both. During a recent visit to the school, dozens of students took the lunch but threw most of it in the garbage uneaten. Though CPS has improved the nutritional quality of its meals this year, it also has seen a drop-off in meal participation among students, many of whom say the food tastes bad.
What's that? A government program that is less effective and less popular than letting people make their own choices. I'm shocked! And what if a home-packed lunch might might be healthier than those offered to crammed down the throats of the students?
"This is such a fundamental infringement on parental responsibility," said J. Justin Wilson, a senior researcher at the Washington-based Center for Consumer Freedom, which is partially funded by the food industry.

"Would the school balk if the parent wanted to prepare a healthier meal?" Wilson said. "This is the perfect illustration of how the government's one-size-fits-all mandate on nutrition fails time and time again. Some parents may want to pack a gluten-free meal for a child, and others may have no problem with a child enjoying soda."
Then there's the cost aspect.
For many CPS parents, the idea of forbidding home-packed lunches would be unthinkable. If their children do not qualify for free or reduced-price meals, such a policy would require them to pay $2.25 a day for food they don't necessarily like.

"We don't spend anywhere close to that on my son's daily intake of a sandwich, Goldfish crackers and milk," education policy professor Diane Whitmore Schanzenbach wrote in an email. Her son attends Nettelhorst Elementary School in Lakeview. "Not only would mandatory school lunches worsen the dietary quality of most kids' lunches at Nettelhorst, but it would also cost more out of pocket to most parents!
Finally, what about teaching the kids to make sound decisions?
Many Little Village students claim that, given the opportunity, they would make sound choices.

"They're afraid that we'll all bring in greasy food instead of healthy food and it won't be as good as what they give us at school," said student Yesenia Gutierrez. "It's really lame. If we could bring in our own lunches, everyone knows what they'd bring. For example, the vegetarians could bring in their own veggie food."

"I would bring a sandwich or a Subway and maybe a juice," said seventh-grader Ashley Valdez.

Second-grader Gerardo Ramos said, "I would bring a banana, orange and some grapes."

"I would bring a juice and like a sandwich," said fourth-grader Eric Sanchez.
Like so many other things, including most of what the dingbats in congress waste time and money debating, little children make more sense than the so-called adults in charge.

In a similar vein, we have the mayor of Boston deciding what drinks can and cannot be sold 'for the good of the people.'

Boston Mayor KOs Soda, OKs Alcohol
Boston Mayor Thomas Menino has banned soda, sports drinks and sweetened ice teas from city property...
In an attempt to reduce the city’s rising obesity rates, Menino has banned all sugary drinks from city vending machines, cafeterias and concession stands, just one day after reaching an agreement with the Boston Red Sox that allows the team to sell mixed drinks at its ballpark.

“I want to create a civic environment that makes the healthier choice the easier choice in people’s lives, whether it’s schools, work sites, or other places in the community," said Menino...

Meanwhile, Menino has signed off on a proposal that will allow Fenway Park to sell mixed drinks during baseball games...
Allowing the selling mixed drinks - or even just beer - at a ballgame gives the lie to Menino's efforts to get Bostonians to slim down. A 12 oz Budweiser has 145 calories while 12 oz of Coke has 142. A Rum and Coke has a whopping 314 calories while a Scotch and Soda has 135.

But try and take a beer away from a Red Sox fan and you would probably lose the next election.
Gee, could the possibility of losing votes influence the mayor to expand the not-good-for-you drink choices of baseball fans while narrowing the drink choices of everyone else "based on the idea that (he) knows what's best?" Naw, that couldn't happen - could it...? 
Our last point comes from the story of a 16 year old who only wanted to help a local elementary school's students celebrate a  - well, read the story for yourself.

'Easter eggs' renamed 'spring spheres' at Seattle public school
The educrats strike again, and make themselves look ridiculous again, according to a 16 year old student identified only as Jessica, who volunteered to do a project at a local elementary school, supplying plastic eggs filled with jellybeans. 

"I went to the teacher to get her approval and she wanted to ask the administration to see if it was okay," Jessica explained. "She said that I could do it as long as I called this treat 'spring spheres.' I couldn't call them Easter eggs."

Rather than question the decision, Jessica opted to "roll with it." But the third graders had other ideas.

"When I took them out of the bag, the teacher said, 'Oh look, spring spheres' and all the kids were like 'Wow, Easter eggs.' So they knew," Jessica said.
I'm not much of a Bible guy, but my parents, God bless 'em, did their best to churchify me. I seem to recall a quote from Isaiah: "... and a little child shall lead them."

Too bad no one else seems to remember that one...