Sunday, July 31, 2011

Sunday Funnies 2011.07.31

If all went well this morning, we are on our way to the Wyoming mountains for our annual summer vacation. Our destination is a guest ranch about 20 miles outside of Sheridan. My wife's been going there since she was a wee lass. Her father was an Arizona rancher who got to know the Wyoming ranch family back in the 1940s. In those long-ago days before central air and heat the Wyo family would visit the AZ family in the winter, and the AZ family went to WYO in the summer. After my wife's father sold his ranch the winter visits ended, but the summer ones continued. When my wife and I got married one of the conditions was that the WYO tradition would continue. For the last 20+ years it has.

This place is up in the mountains. We spend most of our time hiking, horseback riding, lounging on the porch, and visiting historic sites.

Deer and antelope abound, along with elk and the occasional moose, mountain lion, and bear.

We go at the same time every year - usually around the first week in August. There are several other families who are repeat visitors at the same time we go. We've become friends with some of them. One of them is a lawyer. 

Last year the lawyer invited a Czechoslovakian friend to accompany him. The friend, happy to get anything free from a lawyer, eagerly agreed. When the time came, they spent a wonderful time, getting up early every morning and enjoying the great outdoors. One morning, as the lawyer and his Czechoslovakian friend were picking raspberries and blueberries for their breakfast, they were approached by two huge bears--a male and a female. The lawyer noticed them in time to run for cover.

His friend, however, was not so lucky. The male bear reached him and swallowed him whole. Seeing this, the lawyer ran back to his Mercedes and raced for the nearest town to get the local sheriff.

The sheriff grabbed his high-powered rifle and raced back to the berry patch with the lawyer. Luckily, the bears were still there.

"He's in THAT one!" cried the lawyer, pointing to the male.

The sheriff looked at the bears, leveled his gun, took careful aim, and shot the female.

"What did you do that for?!" exclaimed the lawyer, "I said he was in the other bear!"

"Exactly," replied the sheriff. "Would YOU believe a lawyer who told you that the Czech was in the male?"






Saturday, July 30, 2011

Weekend Update

Tropical Storm Don turned out to be Tropical Storm Dud.

Little drought relief after Tropical Storm Don fizzles
Sunshine and warm temperatures returned to rain-starved South Texas after Tropical Storm Don fizzled across the region before dawn Saturday, the National Weather Service said.

Don left less than an inch of rain across much of the lower Rio Grande Valley...

"No one really thought it would shrivel up and die so quickly..."
Funny, that's what my ex-wife used to say.

In other news, our 17-year-old son returned safely from his medical mission to Guatemala. He went down there with a volunteer group led by a couple of neighbors of ours. He's a doctor, she's a nurse, and they're both caring people who are sincerely devoted to helping better other people's lives. More info about their efforts is available here. If you're in a giving mood, they can always use donations or volunteers.

Anyway, The Boy was allegedly down there bringing the benefits of modern medicine to poor and underprivileged people. Below, however, is a photo that shows how he spent his evenings.


My wife blames my side of the family...

Don't Mess With Texas

My 12 year old grandson has a birthday in a couple of weeks. I asked his father he wanted for a present. The answer: a 20 gauge over/under shotgun. When I mentioned this to some friends of ours from the northeast, they were appalled.

For those of you not familiar with rural Texas, kids down here usually learn to shoot long before they learn to drive. And they learn to drive on the ranch long before they can legally drive on public roads.

The grandson already has a .22 and a deer rifle. He wants a shotgun so he can go dove hunting with Dad and Pappy (not my choice of names, but Granddad was already taken). An over/under is probably the best choice, given that he's left handed. A standard auto would eject the shells into his face, and most pumps have the safety and other controls configured for righties. I know there are left-handed versions available, but they are usually more expensive. So all in all, an O/U is the preferred model.

Right now the front-runner is the Stoeger Condor. There are several other nice youth style over/unders out there, but the Stoeger is a little less expensive. Since the kid will outgrow a youth model in a few years, saving $$$ makes sense to me.

And to all you DamnYankees*, I'm getting him an NRA membership to go along with the shotgun...

(*I was 12 years old before I learned that DamnYankee was really two words.)

Friday, July 29, 2011

Mixed Blessing

Texas has been suffering through a relentless drought this year. Here in the central part of the state it's been the driest Jan. - July period in 85 years.
The ferocious Texas drought is clobbering crops, thinning out cattle herds, decimating wildlife, and drying up streams and reservoirs, but it's also wreaking havoc deep underground, where the state's aquifers are dropping at a precipitous rate, experts say.

Bob Patterson, president of the Upper Trinity Groundwater Conservation District, which covers Parker, Montague, Wise and Hood counties, said the drought has caused aquifer levels to dip 20 feet in many areas and 50 feet or so in places.

The drop has been even deeper in parts of the Blanco-Pedernales Groundwater Conservation District in Central Texas, General Manager Ron Fieseler said.

It's so bad that the district's namesake rivers, the Blanco and Pedernales, are no longer flowing, he said.
"It's worse than the drought we had in the '50s. It's off the charts," Lange said. Stringent watering restrictions are in place at the Cow Creek Groundwater Conservation District in Kendall County, northwest of San Antonio, General Manager Micah Voulgaris said.

"When the cedar trees are dying, you know it's dry," he said. "We've only had 4.8 inches of rainfall this year. The average since 1893 is 16.7 inches."

"People are learning to adjust. Rainwater systems have caught on. {We have a rainwater system - one of the best investments we've ever made - more on that in a later post.} But you need rain for that to work," he said. "It's pretty bad when people are praying for a hurricane."
Well, maybe not a hurricane. But a lot of people are hoping that Tropical Storm Don pays us a visit.
Tropical Storm Don is expected to bring beneficial rain to parched southern Texas this weekend, forecasters said.

AccuWeather.com meteorologist Alex Sosnowski said the storm is just the prescription Texas needs for heat and drought relief, bringing much-needed rain to coastal Texas Friday, then will spread to central Texas Saturday.
Normally that would be cause for celebration. But I'm feeling conflicted.

Our 17-year-old son is currently in Guatemala on a medical mission. He's teaching oral hygiene to young children down there. This from a kid who we had to stand over to make sure he brushed his teeth when he was younger.

He's scheduled to fly back through Houston this Saturday - right about the time the tropical storm will be coming ashore. It looks like it'll hit south of Houston, so hopefully he'll make it okay AND we'll get some rain.

We're really sweating out his arrival, because we leave early the next day for our annual Wyoming vacation. If his flight gets delayed it could wreak havoc with our travel plans - plans that were made months ago, with, of course, non-refundable tickets.

The best of both worlds would be that he gets back without complications, we leave on our trip as scheduled, and TS Don dumps several inches of rain around here after we leave.

One can only hope...

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Hanoi Jane's Running Buddy

Jane Fonda was in the news a few days back when the TV shopping network QVC pulled the plug on her appearance to plug her new book.

As far as I'm concerned, she should have been plugged.


Be that as it may, an old running buddy of hers is in the news today, although peripherally.
John F. Kerry almost became president running on the basis of his alleged heroism in Vietnam. Thanks to the efforts of a group of truth-tellers, the Swiftboat Veterans for Truth, the serious holes in the fantasy narrative propounded by the Kerry campaign came to the attention of enough Americans that John Kerry was not the first faux-Irish President of the United States. 
One of Kerry's enablers in propounding his imaginary heroism was a man named Wade Sanders, who himself held a Silver Star, and who introduced Kerry to the Democratic Convention.
Turns out Kerry's old buddy lied about the details regarding his (Sanders) Silver Star. As a result, the Secretary of the Navy has stripped Sanders of the award.
Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus has revoked Sanders' Silver Star. A Navy spokesman cited "subsequently determined facts and evidence surrounding both the incident for which the award was made and the processing of the award itself."
Not only that, but Sanders is currently serving a term in prison for possessing child pornography.

So the man who almost was leader of the free world has dodged taxes on his yacht, hung out with a commie rat bimbo, and seen the point man on his naval service exposed as a liar and pervert.



Another democrat presidential contender, John Edwards, has admitted fathering a child with his mistress while his wife was dying of breast cancer. Edwards was also recently indicted on charges of accepting and misusing illegal campaign donations.

These guys almost -- almost -- make obama look good...

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Barber Shop Wisdom

I got my hair (what little there is of it) cut yesterday at the local barber shop. Larry's has been there for decades, as has its proprietor - Larry, of course.

Larry and his shop are throwbacks to a simpler America. It's like a living, breathing time capsule. It's not a salon, and Larry is not a stylist. He's a barber. Larry knows most of his customers by name, and tells the same old corny old jokes while he works. The peanut gallery usually contains a few old farts who just hang out there passing the time. I almost expect them to start whittling.

Yesterday was a typical day. The crowd consisted of a couple of contractors getting their hair cut during their lunch break, a small businessman, a young father with his kids, a middle-aged office worker, two old farts, and me. Two of the patrons were Hispanic, the rest were white. It was a fairly representative sample of our small town.

Usually the banter is free-flowing, inclusive, and good-natured. For example, the young father had brought in his son for a trim. The kid looked to be about four or so, and behaved like you would expect a 4-year-old to behave. Fidgeting, squirming, asking questions, the whole bit. At one point dad told the kid "You're going to get your hair cut just like the man in the chair." The kid turned and looked at the current occupant of the barber's chair - one of the contractors, a big, husky, well-built deeply tanned guy who obviously spent a lot of time doing manual labor outdoors. When the kid looked up at him the contractor promptly started whimpering and saying "Ouch - that really hurts." The kid's eyes got as big as silver dollars and he tried to hide behind his father while the rest of us, his dad included, cracked up.

Maybe you had to be there to appreciate it, but is was funny.

Anyway, as you might expect, the topic de jour was the debt ceiling mess and obama's Monday night speech. The unanimous opinion was that the speech was a joke, the debt ceiling debacle was a joke, and the partisan squabbling about it was a joke. Although obama received the majority of the derision - with good cause - there was general agreement that both sides are scum-sucking politicians concerned more about their selfish interests than what's good for the country (sample comment - "How is congress like a garden? It's full of blooming idiots").

The barbershop crowd's general position was that we have to live on a budget and within our means. The government should do so as well. The consensual solution was significant cuts to government spending and meaningful tax reform- NOT tax increases.

I think this is a pretty good reflection of what main street America is thinking. I know it reflects what just about everyone I know is thinking...

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Hypocrisy, Thy Name Is Liberal

It's no secret that liberals regularly say one thing and do another. A recent example is obama's public insistence of raising taxes for 'the wealthy' while at the same time taking advantage of the current lower tax rates.

Another example is illustrated in the choice of schools for both the obama children and the children of rahm emanuel, obama's former chief of staff.

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel chooses private school for kids
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, who strongly supports school reform that centers on standardized test-based accountability for students, schools and teachers, has decided to send his children to a private school that doesn’t obsess on standardized tests.
Do as I say, not as I do.
It’s the same school that President Obama’s daughters attended when they lived in Chicago. Sasha and Malia Obama now attend the private Sidwell Friends School.

The decision where to send your children to school is certainly a personal one, even for public officials. But it is worth publicly noting what public officials who support test-based school reform — including Obama’s main education initiative, Race to the Top -- choose to do with their own children when given the chance.

Obama and now Emanuel opted for schools that do not require teachers to spend hours a week drilling kids to pass standardized tests, and they don’t evaluate teachers by how well their students do on those assessments.

Meanwhile, Emanuel was none too happy about being asked about the choice of school for his children, as shown when he stormed out of an interview with Mary Ann Ahern of NBC Chicago.
Rahm, of course, has long been known for his temper, ruthlessness, and bullying tactics.
... the Mayor of Chicago positioned himself inches from my face and pointed his finger directly at my head. He raised his voice and admonished me. How dare I ask where his children would go to school!

Several hours later I called the mayor... I thought it might be best to clear the air.  But no air was cleared.

“My children are private and you will not do this," he said...

I also let him know that I felt wronged and bullied during his earlier tirade. “You are wrong and a bully," Emanuel fired back. "I care deeply for my family. I don't care about you." With that, he hung up the phone.

Quite the temper tantrum.

The problem is not testing itself. What is corrupting public education is the high stakes that are put on the results of standardized tests. In Chicago, Emanuel’s commitment to this will only make things worse in the public schools. But not for his kids.
Read those last two sentences again. It's typical liberal bullshit. "This is what we want all of you to do. We, of course, will do elsewise."

What else is new...?

Words Fail Me

There aren't enough words in the dictionary to express my disgust at obama, the democrats, and yes, even the republicans, for allowing this country's financial situation to get into the mess in which it is currently stewing. It never should have gotten this far. Spending should have been controlled decades ago. Instead politicians of both parties pedaled their souls to special interest groups in order to get re-elected.

Screw 'em all.

Fortunately, when I get in a funk like this I usually stumble across something that renews my faith in this country and her people. Today's inspiration may be found here.
And knew that ... we would make it through this tough time. . .
Please go there and recharge your batteries.


Monday, July 25, 2011

The Reviews Are In

I didn't realize that racoons were such followers of current events, but an incident this morning convinced me that they, like humans, are fed up with the political wrangling in D.C. over the debt ceiling.

I'll explain, but you'll have to concentrate in order to put the pieces of the puzzle together.

Piece 1: The fruit on the persimmon bushes in our area has ripened, drawing raccoons and skunks from miles around. Persimmons have readily identifiable seeds. 

Piece 2: Raccoon scat can be identified by its appearance, and by the presence of seeds in the droppings - especially persimmon seeds.

Piece 3: Our driveway is several hundred yards long. There are several wild persimmon bushes along side it.

Piece 4: When I walked to the end of our driveway this morning to pick up the paper, a raccoon had carefully and purposefully pooped on the paper. More specifically, on a headline that read "Backup Proposals for Debt Crisis in Works."

Obviously, the only logical explanation is that the raccoons are as disgusted with this whole process as we are.

For God's sake, even the French are noticing.
As the acrimony index peaks in Washington and the Aug. 2 US debt ceiling deadline nears, the political war of words has been accompanied by a flurry of opinion polls. All the surveys state the obvious: Americans are sick of the Beltway politicking.
If the French and the raccoons can figure it out, why on earth can't our elected 'leaders'...?

FOD 2011.07.25

In a recent op-ed piece Peggy Noonan of the Wall Street Journal had some advice for obama re: the ongoing debt ceiling crisis: "Out of the Way, Please, Mr. President."

Her reasoning is based in part on obama's narcissistic personality. The narcissist:
  • Feels grandiose and self-important (e.g., exaggerates accomplishments, talents, skills, contacts, and personality traits to the point of lying, demands to be recognized as superior without commensurate achievements)
  • Is firmly convinced that he or she is unique
  • Behaves arrogantly and haughtily 
Sound familiar?

As Noonan points out:
... his decision to become engaged has become a decision to dominate, to have his face in front of the television cameras with his news conferences, pronouncements, and what his communications people are probably calling his "ownership" of any final agreement.

... "I wanted to give folks a quick update on the progress that we're making." We're. ... "The good news is that today a group of senators . . . put forward a proposal that is broadly consistent with the approach that I've urged." I've urged. Me, me, me.
This continual use of "I" and "me" was also on display during his speech announcing the death of osama bin laden.
And so shortly after taking office, I directed Leon Panetta, the director of the CIA, to make the killing or capture of bin Laden the top priority of our war against al Qaeda, even as we continued our broader efforts to disrupt, dismantle, and defeat his network.

Then, last August, after years of painstaking work by our intelligence community, I  was briefed on a possible lead to bin Laden. It was far from certain, and it took many months to run this thread to ground. I met repeatedly with my national security team as we developed more information about the possibility that we had located bin Laden hiding within a compound deep inside of Pakistan. And finally, last week, I  determined that we had enough intelligence to take action, and I authorized an operation to get Osama bin Laden and bring him to justice. Today, at my direction, the United States launched a targeted operation against that compound in Abbottabad , Pakistan.



This is, of course, nothing new.
In his major addresses, Obama's modesty about his own country has been repeatedly on display as, in one venue after another, he has gratuitously confessed America's alleged failing -- from disrespecting foreigners to having lost its way morally after 9/11.

It's fine to recognize the achievements of others and be non-chauvinistic about one's country. But Obama's modesty is curiously selective. When it comes to himself, modesty is in short supply.

It began with the almost comical self-inflation of his presidential campaign, from the still inexplicable mass rally in Berlin in front of a Prussian victory column to the Greek columns framing him at the Democratic convention. And it carried into his presidency, from his posture of philosopher-king adjudicating between America's sins and the world's to his speeches marked by a spectacularly promiscuous use of the word "I."

Notice, too, how Obama habitually refers to Cabinet members and other high government officials as "my" -- "my secretary of homeland security," "my national security team," "my ambassador." The more normal -- and respectful -- usage is to say "the," as in "the secretary of state." These are, after all, public officials sworn to serve the nation and the Constitution -- not just the man who appointed them.

It's a stylistic detail, but quite revealing of Obama's exalted view of himself. Not surprising, perhaps, in a man whose major achievement before acceding to the presidency was writing two biographies -- both about himself.
Obama is not the first president with a large streak of narcissism. But the others had equally expansive feelings about their country. Obama's modesty about America would be more understandable if he treated himself with the same reserve. What is odd is to have a president so convinced of his own magnificence -- yet not of his own country's.
The last word on obama's narcissism comes from an article written about obama's May 19, 2011 speech regarding the so-called “Arab democracy movement.” While the article was written in response to that speech, it does an admirable job of summing up the obama presidency to date.
Seldom, if ever, has any president been so infatuated with his own words at the expense of reality.

We have elected a narcissist, naive and incapable, mesmerized by his own words echoing from the teleprompter...
November 6, 2012 cannot get here soon enough.


Sunday, July 24, 2011

Tim Reads The Paper

Today's headlines:


Heat Wave Torments East Coast

** Yawn. Just a routine summer for us down here, although it is a little drier than usual. But since it's happening to the east coast it must be news. Of course, it is evidence of global warming. Oh, wait...**
1935 – The dust bowl heat wave reaches its peak, sending temperatures to 109°F (44°C) in Chicago and 104°F (40°C) in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. And THIS summer they’re acting like it’s THE WORST THING EVARRRRRR!!!!!!


Amy Winehouse found dead of a drug overdose

** Yawn. Another entertainer who couldn't handle success. Sad, yes, but not really a surprise. **


NFL Strike Continues

** Yawn. Billionaires squabbling with millionaires. **


NBA Strike Continues

** Yawn. More billionaires squabbling with millionaires. **


Debt Ceiling Talks Continue

** Yawn. Millionaire politicians squabbling over how much of our money to take from us, and what to waste it on. What else is new? **

-- 30 --

Why Won't "They" Listen

Sunday editorial...

Silent majority fed up with Washington

I'll quibble with this on a few points, but overall it hits the nail squarely on the head.
The brilliant but disgraced President Richard Nixon once gave a speech in which he spoke of the "silent majority" in American politics.
Substitute "under-appreciated" for "brilliant" and move on.
These were the people, he observed, who didn't wave signs or march in the streets. Rather, they were the people who quietly went about their lives, going to work, raising their families and giving back to their communities.

Nixon gave this speech in 1969 at the height of the Vietnam War. But more than four decades later, his basic observation still rings true. For if there was ever a time that a silent majority existed in American politics, it is today. The current debate over raising the debt limit is a good example.

The debate is dominated by the political extremes. Those on the far right would rather have the federal government default on its financial obligations than give ground on what is anathema to most conservatives: raising taxes. Those on the far left would rather risk default than give ground on what is anathema to most liberals: reducing entitlements.

Caught between these two extremes are those Americans who want their leaders to set aside ideology and do what's best for the country. This is America's silent majority. These are the Americans who watch ESPN and HGTV at night instead of MSNBC and Fox. They vote in most elections, although they've been known to miss a primary or two. If they contribute to a campaign, it's usually to a local candidate or a friend who's running for the school board.

They supported the Democrats in 2008 and the Republicans in 2010. They're sympathetic to the tea party, but only to a point. More than anything, what turns them off about politics is the pettiness and partisanship coming out of Washington.

They voted for Obama because he seemed like a different kind of leader, and then opposed him two years later because he ended up being not that different at all.
This is one of those points where I quibble. I don't think the Silent Majority supported the democrats and obama in 2008. I think they mostly stayed home and didn't vote because they were uninspired by the choices given to them by the republicans. There may also have been a little 'Bush fatigue' in play, IMO due to the one-sided nature of reporting by the lamestream media.
They're willing to give him another shot next year, because they like him. But they're keeping their eyes open for other possible candidates, such as New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, as well.
I definitly disagree with "They're willing to give him another shot next year, because they like him." Even the democrats don't like that narcisstic SOB.
If you had to put a label on them, it would most likely be independent, but there are also some Republicans and Democrats in the group. Political consultants are frustrated by them because they're unpredictable. But if you ask them, they'll make it perfectly clear what they're looking for. They're looking for results from their leaders, not rhetoric, because they want government to work. To that same end, they're looking for value, not values, from Washington, because they want to know the tax dollars they are sending to our Nation's capital are being put to good use and providing some sort of return.
Amen, brother!! Testify!!!
This is America's silent majority, and they are underrepresented in American political life. Polls released over the past few days bear that out. Eighty percent of respondents to a Washington Post/ABC News survey reported they are "dissatisfied" or "angry" about the way the federal government is working.

Along those same lines, a USA Today/Gallup Poll found that at least two-thirds of those surveyed said members of Congress from both parties gave priority to their political interests above the country's best interests.

So what's the solution? Above all, Washington needs to figure out a way to free itself from the grip of the political extremes. And the best way to do that is to make sure America's silent majority is heard. For example, since many Americans are looking for results, we should establish a Sunset Commission, as Texas Sen. John Cornyn and other Republicans have recommended, that would put a time limit on every program and subject them to performance reviews.
Texas has a Sunset Commission for state agencies and programs. It works pretty well - better than that dysfunctional mess in D.C. Of course, the ultimate Sunset Commission is voting the bastards and bitches out of office, but the collective we seem unable to do that.
Similarly, since many Americans are also looking for value, provide them with a taxpayer receipt, as the Third Way and other centrist Democrats have recommended, so they can see how their tax dollars are being spent on a programmatic basis.
Transparency and openness in government?!? Never happen.
Of course, these kind of common sense policy solutions will be for naught if the federal government defaults on its fiscal obligations. Which is why the most important thing the President and Congress can do right now is come together on an agreement to raise the debt ceiling.

Make no mistake -- raising the debt ceiling is a bitter pill to swallow, and something that would call into question America's commitment to live within its means. Unfortunately, failure to raise the debt ceiling would also call into question our commitment to another important principle -- the principle of paying our bills on time. This, in turn, could lead to fiscal chaos and, experts warn, result in an economic "death spiral" that would drive markets into the ground.

But it's not just the experts who feel this way. The American people do, too. In fact, an NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll released earlier this week revealed that 55 percent of the American people believe that failure to reach such an agreement would create serious problems for our nation. This is America's silent majority talking. Amid all the rhetoric and finger pointing, isn't it time our elected leaders listen to their voice?
Term limits, anyone? Or perhaps what Warren Buffet suggested?
"I could end the deficit in 5 minutes. You just pass a law that says that anytime there is a deficit of more than 3% of GDP all sitting members of congress are ineligible for reelection."

Sunday Funnies 2011.07.24



Yes, the political wrangling over the debt ceiling is so pervasive you can't escape it. It's gotten so bad that even children aren't safe.

After watching the evening news with his father, a little boy asks him, "Dad, What is politics?"

Dad says, "Well son, let me try to explain it this way: I'm the breadwinner of the family, so let's call me Capitalism. Your Mom, she's the administrator of the money, so we'll call her the Government. We're here to take care of your needs, so we'll call you the People. The babysitter, we'll consider her the Working Class. And your baby brother, we'll call him the Future. Now, think about that and see if that makes sense,"

So the little boy goes off to bed thinking about what dad had said.

Later that night, he hears his baby brother crying, so he gets up to check on him. He finds that the baby has severely soiled his diaper. So the little boy goes to his parents' room and finds his mother sound asleep. Not wanting to wake her, he goes to the babysitter's room. Finding the door locked, he peeks in the keyhole and sees his father in bed with her. He gives up and goes back to bed. The next morning, the little boy says to his father, "Dad, I think I understand the concept of politics now."

The father says, "Good, son. Now tell me in your own words what you think politics is all about."

The little boy replies, "Well, while Capitalism is screwing the Working Class, the Government is sound asleep, the People are being ignored, and the Future is in deep shit."


We find ourselves in this mess because, for the past several decades, we've elected politicians instead of statesmen.

Q: What's the difference between a politician and a prostitute?
A: The prostitute gives value for the money she takes.





Here's the solution...

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Saturday Morning Cartoons

I've been text-heavy this past week, so I thought a couple of videos might be a welcome change.

The first one has some quick views of assorted critters stuck in situations where they just flat do not belong. It's only 21 seconds long, and well worth it. Make sure you watch it to the end - the last scene is the best.




Video #2 is about a minute long. It's a humorous message about the fuss and bluster over the debt ceiling. CenTexTim says "Check it out!"

Friday, July 22, 2011

Friday Follies Happy Hour 2011.07.22

I was saddened to see an obituary in the paper for Jon "Bubba" Littrell. He was one of a vanishing breed - musicians that played at Texas dance halls scattered around the state.
He and his long-running band, the Melody Mustangs, were fixtures in venues including the Melody Ranch, the Hi-Ho, the Farmer's Daughter, Texas Star Inn, the Junction, the San Antonio Stock Show & Rodeo and in dance halls across South and Central Texas.
It wasn't that long ago that we lost Johnny Lyon, another dance hall performer and owner of the Melody Ranch in Waco.
Lyon owned the Melody Ranch, now operating as El Rancho, from 1983 to 1999. During that time, it became one of the city's biggest and busiest dance halls, drawing a lot of A- and B-listers in country music while providing a strong local venue for Waco-area country bands. Willie Nelson and Merle Haggard played there and the club's popular college night on Thursdays in the '80s proved the starting rungs on Deryl Dodd's career ladder.

He was a performer, too, leading the Country Nu-Notes band, and a champion of tried-and-true Texas honky-tonk music. In recent years, he teamed with country veteran Johnny Bush, opening for him at shows across the state.
I've boot-scooted to both of them, and I've been to most of the places they played. The Texas music scene is better off for having them, and lessened now that they're gone.

I couldn't find videos of either Littrell or Lyon, but I managed to dig up this one of another classic honky-tonk performer, Johnny Bush.

I think Bubba and Johnny would approve...

Looking At The World Through Government-Colored Glasses

In recent news:
U.S. taxpayers likely lost $1.3 billion in the government bailout of Chrysler, the Treasury Department announced Thursday.
Originally, the government committed a total of $12.5 billion to the struggling automaker. Of those funds, $11.2 billion has been returned...

Even though that means $1.3 billion will not be recovered, the Treasury called it a "major accomplishment."
Only the government would consider a $1.3B loss a "major accomplishment." Why don't we lose $2.6B and accomplish twice as much?

No wonder we're in the mess we're in...

I'm Mad As Hell, And I'm Not Going To Take It Anymore

In the classic 1976 movie "Network" there is a scene where the lead character, a network news anchor, has had enough. He urges his viewers to open their windows and shout out to the powers-that-be, "I'm mad as hell, and I'm not going to take it anymore."

Which brings us to retired Army colonel and current congressman Allen West.
Rep. Allen West unleashed a scathing email to House leadership to raise his objections to “unprofessional and inappropriate sophomoric behavior” from fellow Sunshine State lawmaker Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, after the Florida Democrat waged what West has deemed as a personal character attack on the House floor today.
Wasserman-Shultz, of course, is the "I-know-nothing" head of the DNC, and a representative from the Florida congressional district next to West.
“You are the most vile, unprofessional, and despicable member of the US House of Representatives. If you have something to say to me, stop being a coward and say it to my face, otherwise, shut the heck up. Focus on your own congressional district!” West, R-Fla., wrote in an email Tuesday afternoon. “You have proven repeatedly that you are not a Lady, therefore, shall not be afforded due respect from me!”

In his typed protest to leadership over the comments, West, a former lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Army, did not hold anything back:

“I understand that after I departed the House floor you directed your floor speech comments directly towards me. Let me make myself perfectly clear, you want a personal fight, I am happy to oblige,” West wrote. “From this time forward, understand that I shall defend myself forthright against your heinous characterless behavior……
That was enough to get me pumped up. But what came after was even better, including the following article that comes right out and says what most politicians and commentators are afraid to even hint at.
The Left is scared to death of Colonel Allen West. They know he is a political rising star and threat to Barack Obama. He has latitude to point out that nothing in a person's melanin content makes them remotely interesting or accomplished.

Colonel West and Barack Obama both have a darker pigmentation than I do. Yet Colonel West is an accomplished retired soldier and a spellbinding speaker. Barack Obama is mediocre and boring with few skills outside of standing on street corners and agitating workers to riot.

Colonel West knows what too few conservatives have the courage to say.

Nobody cares if Mr. Obama is light-skinned or dark-skinned.
Amen, brother! Tell it like it is!!!
Colonel West has a steel spine. He is speaking for every conservative who has had it with liberal bullies who accuse us of wanting to starve children and kill old people. He is defending every Republican who is tired of being called a racist, sexist, bigot or homophobe for wanting to cut taxes and reduce our debt.

Colonel West fought for, bled for, and defended this nation. Debbie Wasserman-Schultz seems to think that screeching hysterically makes her a human being with any notable accomplishments. The loudest, shrillest voice is not always the correct one.

Colonel West is normally the voice of reason and calm. So when a guy like him has had enough, then enough is enough.

Spineless Republicans need to follow this real leader and fall into line.

Liberal Democrats are now on notice. The schoolyard bullying stops now.
I sincerely hope that enough conservatives will sit up and take notice of this. It's time to quit trying to be the adult in the room. It's time to fight back. To quote from another movie: "They pull a knife, you pull a gun. He sends one of yours to the hospital, you send one of his to the morgue."

"That's the Chicago way..."

Thursday, July 21, 2011

When You Lie Down With A Dog You Get Up With Fleas

It wasn't my intent to spend the last few days posting about the ongoing jihad against businesses by obama's stooges in the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), but one thing (prosecuting a dead man) led to another (SEIU thug appointed in the dead of night to head the NLRB) which led to what I sincerely hope is the final post in this mini-series.

By now it should be obvious to anyone with a level of awareness greater than a protozoan that obama talks out of both sides of his mouth. He is such an accomplished liar and hypocrite that even his allies are often stabbed in the back. Today's case in point is his use of the EPA "to kill the coal industry because of its alleged contribution to global warming."

Doing so will, however, wreak havoc on big labor, one of his staunchest supporters, by eliminating millions of union jobs in the coal mining industry.

Obama and the EPA have proposed something called the Mercury and Air Toxics Standard (MATS), which would affect virtually every fossil-fuel powered steam generating unit in the country.
The MATS proposal has sparked massive opposition from among energy industry groups and conservative think tanks, but now a huge coalition of unions that normally are vocal supporters of Obama are warning of the loss of millions of jobs, substantial power-generation capability, and other harmful consequences radiating throughout the entire U.S. economy.
Not to mention the fact that "more than half of the electrical power used every day by Americans is generated by power plants fueled by coal. And 90 percent of all the coal consumed in the U.S. goes to electrical power generation."

So the new EPA regulations would not only kill millions of union jobs, they would leave the rest of us literally in the dark, without sufficient power to meet current or future needs.

Typical obama: he supports his allies with one hand (the NLRB) while stabbing them in the back with the other (the EPA).

And at the same time screws the rest of us with whatever he has leftover…

I'll Have What She's Having

Author and sex instructor Nicole Daedone claims that women can learn how to have a four-month orgasm.

Yes, you read that right. This woman claims that she can teach you how to stretch out the Big O from whatever duration you currently experience to four long, bliss-filled months.

I don't know about you, but my wife has other things to do. She can't afford to go 'on vacation' for four months.

Part of the answer, of course, is in the definition of orgasm.
In Daedone’s world, however, women can experience a four-month orgasm through the applied practice of ‘orgasmic meditation’, or OM, which allows them to live in a continually aroused state that helps them embrace all areas of their life with sensuality and vigour.

‘It’s a way that any man can bring out the orgasm in any woman, in just 15 minutes.’
A fifteen minute investment that has a four-month payoff?!? I wish I could get that rate of return on my financial investments.

Would one of you out there please try it and let me know how it works out for you?


Meg Ryan in the infamous scene from When Harry Met Sally

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

A Responsible Young Adult?

My wife and I try. We really do.

We try very, very hard to raise responsible kids that will be self-reliant and productive members of society.

For the most part, we think we're doing okay. But then we have run like this one.

Our 17-year-old son is, generally speaking, a pretty good kid. He does well in school - good grades, plays sports, no significant discipline problems - works during the summer, has friends that are likewise good kids.

But at times I'd swear he is the human equivalent of a Labrador - good natured, enthusiastic, but lacking the slightest iota of common sense.

In the last 6 months he has (1) backed out of the garage without raising the door, (2) hit a deer (the deer ran off laughing, the car suffered a broken headlight), and (3) right after we got the headlight fixed he swerved off the road trying to avoid another deer.

His explanation: "I didn't want to break a headlight again, so I drove into a culvert and hit a tree."

Fortunately, he wasn't hurt beyond a few bruises and scrapes, but the car was totaled (a waste of a perfectly good 1996 Crown Victoria).

Last week he flew on his own for the first time. He was going from Lubbock to College Station (more on that trip later) and had to change planes in Houston. Of course, he missed his connecting flight. Add to that the fact that his cell phone was dead, because he forgot to charge it the night before he left, so we had no way to contact him. Missing the flight wasn't totally his fault - the first flight was late - but it was just another chapter in the comedy his summer has become.

Last night he went to the movies with a couple of buddies. When he got home he noticed that his wallet didn't arrive with him. After a search of the car and a frantic phone call to the theater he tracked it down. Some Good Samaritan had turned it in to the theater's Lost & Found. It probably helped that he had literally spent his last dollar on snacks there, and he doesn't have any credit cards, so the only thing in the wallet was his driver's license.

Which he will need in two days so he can board the plane for a medical mission to Guatemala.

Here's the really scary part. He is leaving the mission early and flying back from Guatemala by himself, so we can all leave the next day on our annual family vacation. Talk about being on pins and needles until we actually see him get off the plane.

And when he does I'm sure he'll have the same goofy grin and carefree attitude he always does.

If I squint real hard I can see his tongue hanging out of his mouth and his ears flapping in the breeze as he sticks his head out of the car window on the ride home...

This Is What We Get For Not Paying Attention

Following up yesterday's post about the National Labor Relations Board prosecuting a dead guy:

There's other skullduggery afoot at the NLRB. Most of you will recall the outrageous action taken by the NLRB in opposition to Boeing opening a new production facility in South Carolina. A brief summary:
  • Boeing's main facilities are located in Washington. The plant is heavily unionized.
  • Union strikes over the last several years have caused Boeing to miss important deadlines in the delivery of new planes.
  • Boeing is expanding its facilities to build a fleet of next-generation airplanes - the 787 Dreamliner.
  • As part of that expansion, Boeing built a new factory in South Carolina, a right-to-work state.
  • The NLRB alleges that Boeing is moving work from Washington to South Carolina to punish union members for striking, which is a violation of labor law.
  • This ignores the fact that Boeing plans on hiring more workers in both WA and SC to build the 787s and other planes.
Even the normally liberal Washington Post has criticized the NLRB's move.
The allegation that the company “transferred” jobs out of state is unconvincing because the jobs in South Carolina are new. The company has not cut jobs in Washington, nor has it demoted or slashed the wages of union workers. Boeing has added about 3,000 — albeit temporary — jobs in Washington since it announced its South Carolina plans and says it is likely to add more to keep up with demand for its commercial airliners.

Employers who engage in unfair labor practices should be penalized. But the NLRB’s move goes too far and would undermine a company’s ability to consider all legitimate factors — including potential work disruptions — when making plans. It also substitutes the government’s judgment for that of the company. This is neither good law nor good business.
Speaking of that which is neither good law nor good business, the NLRB is launching another assault on American businesses.
Even as the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) is pilloried by the editorial pages of mainstream newspapers from coast to coast for its ridiculous efforts to tell Boeing how - and where - to create jobs, the captured agency is already warning of its next target: the 6 million businesses, large and small, within the board’s grasp.

On July 18, the NLRB is holding a hearing on its proposal to overhaul virtually the entire manner and set of rules by which union-representation elections are conducted in the workplace. To the surprise of no one who can read federal election donation reports, all of the agency’s changes appear to help union bosses at the expense of everyone else.

. . .

(The hearing) is another sign the administration isn’t listening: American workers want jobs, and American employers want to create them. The economy can’t grow and employers can’t hire while fending off a government-backed assault by labor bosses.
The person driving all this job-killing carnage is Craig Becker, a former SEIU goon. Here's a couple of quotes illustrating his viewpoint on labor relations.
“On these latter issues employers should have no right to be heard in either a representation case or an unfair labor practice case, even though Board rulings might indirectly affect their duty to bargain.”

"...employers should have no right to raise questions concerning (union) voter eligibility or (union) campaign conduct."

“Just as U.S. Citizens cannot opt against having a congressman, workers should not be able to choose against having a union as their monopoly-bargaining agent.
In short, employers and workers have no rights. Only unions do.

And just how did Craig Becker end up as the head of the NLRB? It should come as no surprise that obama appointed him. What is surprising -- and disappointing, and downright scary -- is that Becker was appointed despite his nomination being rejected by the Senate.
“He never satisfactorily answered a series of questions that I posed to him – failing to reassure me that his years of service to labor unions would not color his decisions at the NLRB," Senator Orrin Hatch (R.,UT) said in a statement as reported by the Washington Post.

Becker couldn’t answer questions for a number of other Senators either so they scrapped his nomination.

Obama then made a recess appointment of Becker to the NLRB, the presidential equivalent of Enron accounting for political appointees.   

Becker is losing no time now in answering the questions and concerns Hatch and his fellow Senators had.

The answers are about as bad as they feared.
Becker's appointment was largley overlooked by the press and most of the populace. Ho-hum. Just another political hack appointed to some board or another. Unfortunately, this is an excellent illustration of that old saying about elections having consequences.

So where does that leave us? We have a head of the NLRB who was shoved down our throats over the oppostion of the U.S. Senate. We have the NLRB embarking on an unprecedented program of job-killing initiatives. And all this nonsense comes as the nation is experiencing an unemployment rate in excess of 9%, a cratering economy, and a debt crisis that threatens a major disruption to the nation's economy at a time when we can least withstand it.

And lest anyone think this is just demagoguing by some right wing extremist, let's take a look at a fact or two.

Over the last 30 years, from 1977 - 2008, employment in right-to-work states, or states where union membership is not compulsory, doubled, while employment in non-right-to-work states grew at a little less than half that rate. Unsurprisingly, per-capita income growth in those states followed a similar trend, although not as pronounced.



As the article linked to above goes on to point out, most of the right-to-work states tend to vote Republican. Is it any wonder that obama, the democrat establishment, and big labor want to punish them and reward the labor-dominated blue states?


Employers and employees alike are voting with their feet. And they likely will continue to do so.

Unless the NLRB has its way...


Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Death Is Not An Excuse

Every week the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) publishes a summary of NLRB decisions. In the latest weekly summary, there was one decision that exemplifies government in general and the NLRB in particular, especially since obama weaseled in the NLRB's new director (more on this tomorrow).

The NLRB granted a Motion for Default Judgment based on the respondent’s failure to file an answer to the complaint. The Board found that the death of the company's owner and the insolvency of his estate did not constitute good cause for the failure to answer the complaint (source).
So, in addition to prosecuting companies for deciding to open new non-union plants, giving union pushers the ability to physically threaten voters, as well as legitimizing sweetheart unions, Obama’s National Labor Relations Board is now prosecuting dead people too.

What’s even more pathetic is the NLRB’s prosecution of said dead person is, in part, based on said dead person’s failing to respond to the NLRB.

"In the absence of good cause being shown for the failure to file a timely answer, we deem the allegations in the complaint admitted as true, and we grant the Acting General Counsel’s Motion for Default Judgment."

In other words, being dead is no longer a good enough cause not to respond and, as a result, the dead person is guilty.
A summary of the case:

In August 2010, the International Union of Operating Engineers unionized BLSI (the company in question, Gordon L. Wray Jr.). Shortly thereafter, the union requested to begin bargaining with the company. BLSI never responded to the union. As a result, the union filed unfair labor practices with the NLRB, which the NLRB found the company guilty of failure to respond.
"As a result of this scofflaw-like behavior, the NLRB has ordered the Respondent to perform specific remedies to correct this egregious violation of the law."
Remember now, at this point the Respondent is dead and his estate is insolvent.

The kicker - the Respondent, Gordon L. Wray, Jr. died on July 28, 2010. The union filing the complaint was certified in August 2010 - after the owner was dead.

So we have the NLRB ruling in favor of a union that didn't even exist while the business owner was alive. Furthermore, the NLRB found the business owner at fault for failing to respond to the NLRB after he was dead.

And we wonder why the government is incapable of, among many other things, managing the economy and resolving the debt crisis...

Monday, July 18, 2011

FOD 2011.07.18

There's been a lot of blather emanating from the libs about how "the rich should pay their fair share." Conspicuously absent from their bleating, however, is a definition of just what exactly they consider fair. All we know for sure is that, in their rainbow-and-unicorn-filled world, 'fair' is more than they're paying now.

Let's stop for a minute and take a look at a few of those pesky little things called facts. As the following shows, (1) those whose income ranks in the top 5% of taxpayers pay proportionately more in taxes, and (2) the share of taxes paid by the top 5% is greater today under the current Bush tax rates than it was in 2000 under the higher Clinton tax rates.

If rich aren't paying their "fair share," then what's fair?
In 2008, the most recent year for which full data is available, the infamous top 1% – those earning over $380,354 – paid 38.02 percent of federal income taxes... Meanwhile, the bottom 50 percent of income earners – the group that, according to the liberal world view, is subsidizing tax handouts to the wealthy – shouldered just 2.7 percent of the federal income tax burden.
The top 1 percent ... earned 20 percent of the nation's adjusted gross income in 2008 – yet their share of the tax burden was nearly twice that (over 38%). Meanwhile, the bottom 50 percent earned 12.75 percent of the nation's income, while their share of the tax burden was about one-fifth of that. You can see this demonstrated in the chart below.

Another way of looking at this is the average tax rates paid by each income level. As you see below, it's much higher at the higher income levels.

Still, some might respond, surely the rich are now paying a smaller share under the Bush tax rates than they were back in the good old Clinton days? Actually, that's not true either. As you can see in the table below, the distribution of the tax burden across income levels was roughly similar in 2000 – the last year of the Clinton tax rates – than it was in 2008, after the Bush rates had been effect for years. In fact, the rich paid a slightly higher share in 2008.


But much of the current debate has focused on the need to raise marginal income tax rates on higher earners while keeping them the same for everybody else. The question is, though, if a society in which the top 1 percent already pay nearly 40 percent of the nation's income taxes (and when combined, the top 10 percent pay nearly 70 percent), then what would it take for liberals to be satisfied that the rich are paying their fair share? Should the top 10 percent pay 90 percent of the taxes? Should the bottom 50 percent pay zero income taxes? President Obama's vision to subsidize the ballooning social safety net by shifting even more of the tax burden on the wealthy – while increasing the percentage of people who are net takers in society – is simply unsustainable.
It is instructive to note that obama's proposal to raise taxes for families and small businesses that earn more than $250,000 a year ($200,000 for single filers) is estimated to increase tax revenue by only $709 billion over 10 years. That will do little to reduce estimated annual deficits in the neighborhood of $1.5 trillion over the same period. In numbers, obama's proposed tax hikes will reduce the annual deficit by less than 5%. So it is blatantly obvious that the underlying reason behind his proposal is to score political points and incite class warfare. No surprise there.

Moving now from the abstract to the concrete, let's take a look at what obama earned and what he paid in income taxes. Or as I like to say, practice what you preach, asshole.
President Barack Obama and his wife, Michelle, reported income of $1.728 million for last year... They paid federal taxes totaling $453,770 after receiving a $12,334 refund.
The Obamas paid their taxes at lowered Bush-era rates, even as he campaigns to end them for households with adjusted gross incomes above $250,000 – a category into which the first family clearly fits.
Note two things. First, the obamas paid their taxes at the lower Bush rates, while at the same time publicly yammering about how unfair those rates are and how they benefit only the priviledged few. Second, they received a $12K refund. Did they sign that back over to the Treasury? Of course not. They did what most of us would do and pocketed it. But at least we're not hypoctrical enough to loudly proclaim how unfair the tax rates are while at the same time quietly taking advantage of them.

Bottom line - obama is only concerned with getting reelected. If he were serious about solving the debt and deficit crisis he would be pushing spending cuts and tax reform. When the IRS code is thicker than War and Peace, and so complex that even IRS employees cannot answer questions about it consistently, not to mention the time and effort required to comply with it (a recent study suggests that a reduction in tax code complexity would help the U.S. reduce its national debt by as much as $1.4 trillion over a 10-year period), then it is painfully obvious that it's time for a change.

Perhaps to a truly Fair Tax...


Sunday, July 17, 2011

Have A Heart

The whole family spent four hours today getting our CPR/AED Heartsaver certification.

Our 17 year old son is a certified lifeguard, which means he's already been exposed to much of the material. Plus he's 17, so he knows everything.

My wife has been a scuba diver for longer than we've been married (don't ask me how many years exactly - I look it up when I need to know - but it's been at least 20). As part of her diver certification she's taken multiple CPR classes. Plus she's a woman, so she knows it all.

I've been through numerous first aid and medic classes, beginning way back in Boy Scouts, progressing through the Army, and continuing through assorted first aid, diving, swimming, and CPR courses.

Our 15 year old daughter hasn't taken a single first aid class.

Guess who did the best...

Sunday Funnies 2011.07.17

Ah, the economy. We have to laugh to keep from crying...

 $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $

  
$ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $


$ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $

A man visits the Small Business Administration and says, "How do I start a small business in today's economy?"
The manager replies, "Start a large one and wait six months."

 * * * * * * * * 

What is the difference between Fukishima Reactors One through Four and the Obama economy?
The Japanese reactors took longer to melt down.

 * * * * * * * *

Obama was leaving the country club golf course when he was accosted by an armed robber who demanded, "Give me all your money!"  Barack haughtily replied, "Do you know who I am. I'm the President of the United States!"

The robber snarled back, "Then give me all MY money."

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Higher Education - An Investment In Their Future?

I'm a college professor. I also have a couple of teenagers headed off to college in the next few years. This gives me pause, although perhaps not for the reasons you might expect.

Yes, there are the usual concerns regarding foul companions leading them astray. Drinking, drugs, sex, rock-and-roll ... Of course, I lived through all those and worse, so I imagine my kids will too. I just don't want to know about it.

No, what I'm really worried about is that college is no longer the institute of higher learning it was in my day. Admission standards have been lowered. The curriculum has been watered down. The administration considers students to be "customers" and insists that they be treated as such. State and federal funding for universities is governed by a formula that places undue emphasis on graduation rates. Faculty salary and benefits are influenced to an extreme by student evaluations. The net effect of those last two is tremendous pressure to retain and graduate students, regardless of their performance.

Add to this the culture in which most of today's students grew up (the so-called Trophy Generation -- "This generation was treated so delicately that many schoolteachers stopped grading papers and tests in harsh-looking red ink.") and you have a host of students with unrealistic expectations, coupled with an incentive system that punishes high standards and rewards throughput.

The institutional goal is to maximize attendance, which in turn maximizes revenue. The increase in federally subsidized student loans, while noble in intent, "has only exacerbated this problem since in addition to helping a relatively small number of kids who couldn’t go to college be able to afford it, its also let colleges get away with continually jacking up tuition costs."

These two factors have contributed to the number of students in college who often are not equipped or capable of doing what used to be considered college-level work. This is not an elitist position, but rather an acknowledgement of the fact that different people have different abilities. Just as everyone is not equivalent physically - not everyone is capable of running a 4-minute mile - not everyone is equivalent in terms of mental ability, maturity, and preparation. Bottom line: there are an awful lot of kids in college that shouldn't be there (and I think most of them end up in my classes).

But that doesn't prevent them from having 'high' expectations.

Do College Students Spend More Hours Drinking than Studying?
Do you have a teen going to college soon? If so, you may want to check out Iain Murray’s new book entitled Stealing You Blind: How Government Fat Cats Are Getting Rich Off of You. There is an excellent chapter on “The Education Bubble” that discusses how grade inflation has “significantly devalued the academic worth of an education. Professors have an incentive not to give realistic grades, because if they do, their enrollment will drop and, thanks to the higher education funding system, they will suffer as a result. A 2009 article for the National Association of Scholars (NAS) reveals the effect of such easy marking:”

A recent survey of more than 30,000 first year students revealed that nearly half were spending more hours drinking than they were studying. Researchers from the University of California, Irvine found that a third of students surveyed expected B’s just for attending class, and 40 percent said they deserved a B for completing the assigned reading….
In today's environment, with shrinking government support and increasing tuition, plus the worst job market for recent college grads in 30+ years, something has to give. Here in Texas we are seeing calls for more vocational schooling, at both the high school and community college levels. That's a step in the right direction.

Another step is the return to higher standards for higher education. Students must realize that they are not there to be entertained. Rather, they are there to be educated. I believe in the mission of a higher education - to teach students how to think and reason, not to memorize and regurgitate irrelevant and insignificant factoids. I am old school, curmudgeonly, and nearing retirement. Consequently, I will continue to maintain fair and reasonable standards for my students until I am dragged kicking and screaming out of my classroom.

Someday they'll thank me for this...

Friday, July 15, 2011

Friday Follies Happy Hour 2011.07.15

Tequila is such a good cure for what ails you...

Karma Is A Bitch

Posted with minimal comment.

Owner of killer bear chokes to death on sex toy
An exotic-animal owner who made headlines last summer when one of his bears mauled a woman to death has died after apparently choking on a sex toy, authorities said.

Sam Mazzola, 49, was found dead in his Columbia Station home on Sunday, face down on a water bed. He was bound to the bed with handcuffs, chains and padlocks, Lorain County Chief Deputy Coroner Dr. Frank Miller told the Cleveland Plain Dealer.

Mazzola had a sex toy in his throat, which apparently obstructed his breathing, Miller said. He was also wearing a leather mask with the eyes and mouth zipped shut and a two-piece metal sphere covering his head, the coroner told The Morning Journal.

"He had done this by request according to the story we were given,” Miller told The Morning Journal. “There was an assistant, but that is under investigation.”

It appeared Mazzola died from an "accident during sexual role play," Miller told the Plain Dealer.

An autopsy determined the preliminary cause of death was asphyxia due to airway obstruction by foreign body. Suicide and homicide have been ruled out. "The manner of death is pending further investigation and will be released when the case is finalized,” the coroner’s office said in a press release.

Sheriff’s detective Mike Lopez told The Morning Journal that a teenage co-worker found Mazzola’s body.

He said someone else was at the home and helped Mazzola with the bondage but had left before he died.

“It was an unattended death,” Miller told the Journal.

No one has been charged in the death, which Lopez said was not suspicious.

Mazzola has been in the news in the past because of his ownership and exhibitions of wild animals, which he kept on his property southwest of Cleveland.

In August, one of his black bears fatally mauled Brent Kandra , 24, of Elyria, after Kandra opened the bear’s enclosure for a routine feeding.

Kandra's death was ruled a workplace accident. The bear was euthanized.
My sympathies are for, in order, the bear, the mauled employee, and the bear-owning pervert...

Maybe I Spoke Too Soon

A couple of weeks ago I posted something to the effect that I wasn't opposed to New York's new law legitimizing gay marriage. IMO the government has no business interfering in the private lives of citizens.

Then I saw the picture below.


I may have spoken too hastily...

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Liar, Liar, Pants On Fire

There's been so much written and said about obama and the debt limit that there's nothing new I can add. Instead, I'd like to reemphasize two points.

First, obama lied. Not exactly a blinding news flash, I know, but nevertheless ... obama lied.

He's lied more than once, of course, but in this case I am referring to his statement that he can't guarantee older Americans will continue receiving Social Security checks next month. He went on to say "there may simply not be the money in the coffers" to issue Social Security, veterans and disability checks after Aug. 3.

That's actually two lies rolled into one.

Lie # 1: "I cannot guarantee that those checks go out."

Truth: in the event that the debt limit is reached, the president - not congress, not some federal agency, but barack hussein obama - is the one who decides what gets paid and what doesn't. So obama can in fact guarantee that Social Security checks will go out as scheduled.

Lie # 2: "there may simply not be the money in the coffers" to cover those checks.

Truth: Government revenue for the period Aug. 3, when the debt limit will be reached, and Aug. 31, will be in the neighborhood of $172 billion. That's more than enough to pay interest on the national debt ($29B), thereby avoiding default, along with paying SS benefits ($49B), Medicare and Medicaid ($50B), funding the Department of Defense ($2.9B pay for the military and $31.7B for DoD contractors), with approximately $10B left over.

Obama has made no concrete proposals for resolving this debt limit mess. He is angling for a $2.4 trillion increase - just enough to get him and the dems through next year's elections. And he is approaching the problem in a highly partisan manner. As Karl Rove points out:
His tone also hasn't helped achieve a comprehensive agreement. The president's two most recent press conferences, in which he accused the GOP of foot-dragging, convinced Republicans that he was interested in scoring political points and attracting independents, not facilitating a deal. Convening high-profile White House meetings without offering substantive concrete proposals and then having his aides leak madly (and inaccurately) to the press afterward further squandered trust.

Washington is dysfunctional. And to paraphrase the president's senior adviser, David Plouffe, Mr. Obama owns the dysfunction. The president has not only governed as a liberal—he's governed as an incompetent liberal...
The second point worth underscoring is obama's total lack of presidential behavior. Throwing a temper tantrum and storming out of the room is not the way to resolve a crisis.
As the talks wound up yesterday, progress was clearly stymied. The two-hour meeting concluded for the day when President Obama abruptly ended the talks and left the room.

"Enough is enough," Obama reportedly said, before ending the meeting.
It certainly is. We taxpayers are fed up with the supposed 'adult in the room' acting instead like a little drama queen.

Obama went on to say "This may bring my presidency down, but I will not yield on this."

We can only hope...



Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Too Much News, Not Enough Time

I thought summer was supposed to be when things slowed down and we had a little extra time on our hands. But the last couple of weeks have been somewhat hectic. There have been doctor visits and medical procedures for various family members. Nothing serious - mostly routine maintenance - but its fallen on me to provide transportation and convalescent care.

Then there's been some home repair issues, both at our primary residence and at the lake cabin, which required my presence and involvement.

Our daughter just got her learners permit, and I'm the designated instructor, so that gobbles up the hours.

And finally, the world has been going crazy. I won't go through all the happenings. Most people with any sense of awareness in the world around them are probably more up-to-date on current events than I am. I will, however, touch briefly on two of the issues I find extremely troubling.

U.S. Government Arms Narcoterrorists
Federal agents can't account for more than 1,400 guns after a widely criticized operation aimed at tracing the flow of weapons to Mexican drug gangs...

Of 2,020 guns involved in the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives probe dubbed "Operation Fast and Furious," 363 have been recovered in the United States and 227 have been recovered in Mexico. That leaves 1,430 guns unaccounted for, the sources said.

But the ATF knowingly allowed individuals to purchase weapons that they knew would end up in the hands of criminals on both sides of the border. And when Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry was killed in Arizona in December, two AK-47 variants that were allowed to "walk" under the program were found at the scene.
This is not the way to maintain good relations with your neighbor. More troubling, this has led directly to the death of at least one U.S. LEO, and who knows how many Mexican and American citizens. Whose bright idea was it to allow over 2000 weapons to be handed over to criminal and terrorist organizations? Who knew about it, and when? Heads should roll, up to and including Eric Holder. If he didn't know about it, he should have. When I was in the military I was responsible for the actions of soldiers under my command. That concept of personal accountability seems to be lost on the current occupant of the White House and his appointees.

Which brings us to issue #2 - the contretemps over the debt limit, and obama's unconscionable threat to withhold Social Security checks.
In his effort to blackmail Republicans into agreeing to potentially job-killing tax hikes on businesses and investors, Barack Obama has announced that he may choose to not send out Social Security checks to senior citizens on August 3rd, sneering "there may simply not be the money in the coffers to do it."

Which strikes us as a little odd. After all, if no debt ceiling agreement is reached, the government's bills will be paid in the order that Obama decrees.
In other words, if the checks don't go out it will be because that's the way obama wants it. But you don't hear his lackeys in the lamestream media mentioning that fact.
And money is flowing in to Social Security every day, meaning that its "coffers" should be full-to-bustin' with cash which has allegedly been accumulating for decades...suggesting that it should be other programs that bring in no money which should be the first to go unfunded.

But nooOOOooo, the president would prefer to inflict the greatest and most visible pain that he possibly can... essentially making his elderly hostages shriek in terror in hopes of getting the Republicans to pay a $2 trillion ransom.
What a despicable lying bully. Contemptible doesn't begin to describe that sack of shit currently befouling the Oval Office.

While the two issues above are indeed serious, they pale in comparison to the fate threatening citizens of Minnesota. As a result of the ongoing state government shutdown due to a budget dispute, millions of Minnesotans are now facing life without beer.
The MillerCoors brewing company will soon be forced to pull 39 brands of beers from every restaurant, bar and liquor store in the state of Minnesota.

It's all because the company wasn't able to renew their brand label registration far enough in advance before the state's government shut down.

"What that means is they're not able to either distribute or sell their product in this state," said Doug Neville, spokesperson for the Minnesota Department of Public Safety.

When Andrew Oliver of Minneapolis heard the news, he headed over to Surdyk's Liquor to stock up on Miller Lite, his wife's favorite beer.

"We just had a kid, so she's looking forward to Miller Lite."
We have a candidate for Mother of the Year.
MillerCoors, a joint venture of SABMiller and Molson Coors (TAP), actually put in for the label registration renewal back in mid June, but that application wasn't accepted because they "overpaid their fees," according to Neville.

A second attempt at renewal could not be processed before the license expired on June 30, and the government shut down the next day, Neville said.

But Julian Green, a spokesman for MillerCoors, insists that the original application made it in before the deadline, and therefore, the license should have been renewed. Furthermore, Green said, the state never returned the original check for the fee, and now has two checks from the company.
Typical government. The taxpayer pays before the deadline - twice!!! - and the government can't process either one in a timely manner. But it damn sure holds on to the funds, while at the same time punishing the taxpayer for the government's incompetence.

And in typical government fashion is short-sighted about the whole thing. 
"With a 38% share of the marketplace, we believe that the state revenue or the state taxes that we would provide certainly would be sorely needed in the state of Minnesota," Green said.
Run guns to Mexico. Take away Social Security checks. But by God if the government denies me my Shiner there's gonna be hell to pay...